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Recording: Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End, Something, Here Comes The Sun

Studios One and Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald

The orchestral overdubs were added to five Abbey Road songs on this day: ‘Golden Slumbers’/‘Carry That Weight’, ‘The End’, ‘Something’, and ‘Here Comes The Sun’.

The 30-piece orchestra was stationed in Studio One, but the sound recording was overseen in the control room of Studio Two. The balance engineers and tape operators were able to monitor proceedings via closed-circuit television, which on this day gave a visual link between the two studios for the first time.

George Harrison, George Martin and orchestral musicians, 15 August 1969

The first overdub was for ‘Golden Slumbers’/‘Carry That Weight’, which was added to track eight of the tape. The recording was doubled via artificial double-tracking during a later mixing session.

‘The End’ was next. In addition to the song’s grand finale, the orchestra also played during the “Love you, love you” section, although this was omitted from the final mix.

This was not the song’s final overdub, however, as Paul McCartney added an extra piano part towards the song’s end during a session three days later.

While George Martin was conducting the orchestra in Studio One, George Harrison was in Studio Two simultaneously recording a new guitar part for ‘Something’. This was not, contrary to some reports, a re-recording of his guitar solo, which was taped on 5 May 1969 and present in the take 37 reduction mix made on 11 July 1969, which has circulated widely on bootlegs.

The final song was Harrison’s ‘Here Comes The Sun’, the score for which required 17 musicians. Eight woodwind players were recorded onto track four of the multitrack tape, and nine string players were added to track five. The strings replaced Harrison’s harmonium part, which had been recorded on 16 July.

The song’s recording was completed on 19 August 1969 with a Moog overdub.

The orchestral players were as follows:

  • ‘Golden Slumbers’/‘Carry That Weight’ and ‘The End’: 12 violins, four violas, four cellos, string bass, four horns, three trumpets, trombone, bass trombone.
  • ‘Something’: 12 violins, four violas, four cellos, string bass.
  • ‘Here Comes The Sun’: four violas, four cellos, string bass, two clarinets, two alto flutes, two flutes, two piccolos.
Last updated: 8 July 2022
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