The songs – part four

‘Strawberry Fields Forever’

One of the most elaborate remixes on Love, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ charts the song’s genesis from acoustic demo to its final form as a psychedelic epic.

John Lennon and The Beatles recorded the song a number of times in a variety of keys and tempos. Famously, the final version was an edit of two takes, varispeeded to fix the differences, and in 2006 George Martin repeated the trick once again.

The LOVE show director had wanted us to demonstrate the Beatles experimentation and creativity in the studio. Yoko had brought in some early demos of John singing ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ so in the spirit of the original we decided to combine the very early takes with the final version. I went on holiday and my poor father spent hours with a vari-speed tape machine putting all the takes in the key of B. I came back and spent about six weeks combing the various tracks to make one long new version of the song. And at the end, with those fantastic drums, we just decided to have a bit of fun.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

The Love remix contains Lennon’s demo recording, and takes 1 and 26 by The Beatles. The song’s finale also contains crowd noises and brass from ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, the piano solo from ‘In My Life’, brass from ‘Penny Lane’, cello and harpsichord from ‘Piggies’, and the coda from ‘Hello, Goodbye’.

‘Within You Without You’/‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

‘Within You Without You’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was one of Giles Martin’s earliest attempts at a Beatles mashup for the Love project.

This was one of the first things I tried when we were making the initial demos for the show. I was really quite scared about offending all who were involved and at one stage we weren’t even going to play it anyone. The fact that it was accepted showed how open-minded everyone was in the approach to the music we were creating.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

The remix also appeared in the 2009 video game The Beatles: Rock Band, the only Love track to be included.

The end of the remix contains the sound of tape being rewound, href=”/people/john-lennon/”>John Lennon’s backwards vocals from ‘Rain’, and other voices and effects, plus the opening organ notes from ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

As soon as the LOVE show director showed me his ideas on creating a starry sky by using LED effects I set out on trying to introduce the song by having shimmering stars appear individually with sound. By slicing the original keyboard and using vari-speed we managed to get the effect I was looking for.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ contains brass, guitars and drums from ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, and ends with the clavioline from ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ and tape loops from ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.

‘Octopus’s Garden’

I am glad we were able to use Ringo’s ‘Octopus’s Garden’ in the show. In many ways it’s timeless, a children’s song, easy on the ear and perfect for the LOVE show director’s imaginative undersea scene, with an unexpected beginning.
George Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ ends with string parts from ‘Good Night’, which then act as a bed beneath Ringo Starr’s vocals for ‘Octopus’s Garden’.

I thought it would be great to start the song with Ringo on his own. I first tried to combine his vocal with the end strings from ‘Glass Onion’ and it sounded creepy. Then I tried the strings from ‘Good Night’ — they had always interested me because they’re in stereo. My dad came in and pointed out if I had doubled up the strings and played the verse twice the vocal would work better, and as usual he was right, and Ringo sounds great.
Giles Martin
Love press release, 21 November 2006

This was one of the few instances on Love where the speed of a sample was considerably altered.

We mucked about with rhythms, but we never sampled anything, we thought that was wrong. We wanted to keep the performances, particularly in the rhythm sections, so that if you hear Ringo playing, it’s Ringo playing. It’s not a sample of one bar and then repeating it. The only thing that was anywhere near was ‘Octopus’s Garden’, because we had to chop it up into pieces so it fitted a slow orchestral section at the beginning, which it wasn’t designed for. But it worked very well.
George Martin
Sound On Sound

‘Octopus’s Garden’ also contains sound effects and vocals from ‘Yellow Submarine’, plus drums from ‘Lovely Rita’, speech and more drums from ‘Polythene Pam’, and guitar from ‘Helter Skelter’. It ends with guitars and vocals from ‘Sun King’.