The songs – part one

The choices of songs and song snippets on Love were weighted towards the mid- to late-Sixties. This was, Giles Martin explained in 2007, due to the similarity in sound in many of the early recordings, lack of separation between the audio elements, and its appropriateness to a dazzling multimedia stage show.

The earlier stuff is sonically similar. It lacks the imagery the later stuff has. Bearing in mind we’re doing a show, ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ lends itself more to a visual thing perhaps than ‘I Should Have Known Better’. On top of that, a lot of the earlier Beatles stuff has no separation on it at all. We were pushed by the Beatles to change things: they wanted experimentation, and you can’t really do that with the earlier stuff. A lot of people say to me ‘Why didn’t you use the drums from this?’ But there’s only a certain number of clean drum tracks in the entire Beatles catalogue. There’s not much stuff from Let It Be, because it’s all live with no separation.
Giles Martin
Sound On Sound

‘Because’

The opening track on Love takes the multi-tracked vocals of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison harmonising on ‘Because’, without the original’s harpsichord or Moog synth.

An inspired offering from John when we recorded it for the Abbey Road album. He had heard the opening of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ and then evolved a pattern of arpeggios on his guitar that laid the foundation for this song. Listening anew to this track, with the harmonies that only John, Paul and George could provide, one realises what great vocalists they were.
George Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

The only other sound on the Love version is birdsong. Some was taken from the 1969 World Wildlife Fund mix of ‘Across The Universe’, which was also used in ‘Free As A Bird’. A new recording – one of only two on Love – of a wood pigeon was added to the mix.

The birds are from ‘Across The Universe’. Well, actually, we did add a wood pigeon – to make it more British. That was one of the two things we recorded especially for this, the other being the new orchestration for ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’.
George Martin
Entertainment Weekly

The track ends with the final piano chord from ‘A Day In The Life’, reversed to increase in volume, which leads into the next song.

‘Get Back’

The first full band performance on Love begins with the distinctive opening guitar chord from ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. As it fades, the drum and guitar solos from ‘The End’ are heard, along with percussion from ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’, crowd noise, the orchestral crescendo from ‘A Day In The Life’, and finally, the introduction and main part of ‘Get Back’.

When I started doing it, I was using modern techniques, as it were. I put a tempo map out which was 122.5bpm and put in the drums from the intro of ‘Get Back’, and then put ‘Get Back’ in time with it and it just sounded like I’d removed all the soul from the Beatles.
Giles Martin
Sound On Sound

Percussion from ‘I Will’ can be heard underneath the guitar solo. The swelling orchestration from ‘A Day In The Life’ returns towards the end of the song. In the final seconds a “shoot” from ‘Come Together’ appears, leading into…

‘Glass Onion’

This begins midway through ‘Glass Onion’, with one of the instrumental passages punctuated by John Lennon’s “Oh yeah”s. Added to it are Paul McCartney’s falsetto “Oh no” and “Hello, hello” from ‘Hello, Goodbye’.

‘Glass Onion’ also includes brass from ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘Penny Lane’, guitar strums from ‘Things We Said Today’, violin from ‘All You Need Is Love’, and sound effects from ‘Only A Northern Song’.

‘Glass Onion’ has such a great groove. In the show we needed something to get across the chaos of wartime Liverpool so the idea was to combine snippets of instruments from other songs flying through the mix. On the left hand side listen out for the ‘Things We Said Today’ guitar that sounds like it’s always been part of the song!
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

The “ahh” vocals from ‘Eleanor Rigby’ can be heard over the ending of ‘Glass Onion’.

‘Eleanor Rigby’

Originally recorded for the Revolver album, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ featured a double string quartet.

The original recording had four violins, two violas, and two cellos. The instruments were recorded two per track, using all four of the available multitracks.

Although a reduction mix was made at the end of the session to free up three further tracks, for Love the original tapes were used to give greater separation between the instruments.

Allan Rouse, who’s looked after the Beatles archive for years, had developed a technique in which we could combine the first recording of each four track with the ‘bounce-down’. This means that we could have more than the original tracks to mix from. This version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ has the strings in stereo for the first time.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

‘Julia’ (Transition)

‘Eleanor Rigby’ ends with the first of four transition tracks on Love.

This takes John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from ‘Julia’, backing vocals from ‘Eleanor Rigby’, and an ambulance siren and other effects from ‘Revolution 9’.

The guitar from ‘Julia’ in the transition into ‘I Am The Walrus’ is so beautiful and peaceful it seemed to act as a good counterpoint to the madness within the main track. The song is timeless, and it still sounds like nothing else out there today. There was certainly nothing we could add to make it any more psychedelic so we decided to bring the band out a bit more.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006