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11 October 2012
4.37am
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RunForYourLife
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I've always really enjoyed the harmony on this song, however, it seems to be a bit controversial - Is it John or George singing the lower harmony during the verses?

 

I have to say it's George singing on the lower end of his register. It does sound like it could be John, but George had the uncanny ability to sound like John at times (listen to how their voices blend on "She Said She Said").

 

I've been listening to the isolated vocal tracks, and the way I hear it...

 

- John clearly comes in on the "You can do something in between" line, while George continues to sing the low part.

- The way the lower "car" and "star" are pronounced sounds more like George than John.

- I can hear John's voice matching Paul's while George sings low.

 

I'm about 90% sure that it's George, but I'd like to hear your opinions.

Who sings w/ Paul during the verses of Drive My Car?

  • George(38% : 3 votes)
  • John(63% : 5 votes)
Total Voters: 8
11 October 2012
5.12am
linkjws
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(this is all guess work on my part so don't shoot me if you don't like it!)

The isolated vocal track to "Drive My Car" for those who want a quick listen.  I had trouble recognizing who was who on the harmony originally, but I always thought it was John. 

My Guess is:
John harmonizing on the verse.

At the pre-chorus and chorus it's a 3 part harmony with Paul, John, and George. (like you said).

 

However...

http://www.beatlesbible.com/so.....ve-my-car/

Here at the end..

The group then overdubbed piano, lead guitar, piano and cowbell parts, along with lead vocals by Lennon and McCartney, and backing vocals by Harrison.

Does that mean when they recorded those, they were all at once, or did George do his afterwords?  Because that could possibly shed some light.  If they were separate I could see how the parts that were clearly John were recorded with Paul, and then that low harmony came later by George.  Now I am not entirely sure what to think...ahdn_paul_02

 

And also, if you listen closely to the isolated track I think you can hear what seems to be some George guitar work before Paul went over it with his own takes.  Right at the end of the solo when you hear that last high note, it seems earlier than in the recording.  In fact I listened to it on the released version and you can hear it as well. Also the licks at the end seem different  Hmm, maybe? 

11 October 2012
5.27am
linkjws
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Wait a minute, had a brain lapse.  They could have done them all at once and still had George on the low part.  But its odd because in the scores it says its two parts, when you hear 3 people singing...double hmmmmm.  Hope I helped somehow and didn't entirely confuse you or myself.

11 October 2012
2.56pm
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Von Bontee
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Well, it's definitely John & Paul doing the verses. Not sure exactly who's singing what during the choruses.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

11 October 2012
4.34pm
linkjws
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Von Bontee said
Well, it's definitely John & Paul doing the verses. Not sure exactly who's singing what during the choruses.

 

I think this song might be just John and Paul.

Is it possible John sung the lower harmony, and then John added an overdub on the pre-chorus where it becomes 3 parts (the higher of his two parts)?  Because "and maybe I'll love you" is double tracked, and the second one of that could be from the overdub.  The only part I could see George singing on would be the "Beep beep" parts. 

https://i0.wp.com/i62.photobucket.com/albums/h103/linkjws/DriveMyCarchorus.png?w=200Image Enlarger

29 April 2015
1.55am
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Oudis
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Edit by Joe: The following part of the discussion was hived off a thread titled Ringo Starr and the development of the Air Fill, but it made more sense to have it here.

ewe2 said

Drive My Car

The most confusing start ever to a song...

@ewe2 

I've read that several times but to me it's just a nice intro... Could you elaborate? And as always, thanks for all the effort you put into this. Oudis

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

29 April 2015
3.17am
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ewe2
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Oudis said

ewe2 said

Drive My Car

The most confusing start ever to a song...

@ewe2 

I've read that several times but to me it's just a nice intro... Could you elaborate? And as always, thanks for all the effort you put into this. Oudis

It's a great intro but the timing of it is confusing for me and many others! The guitar seems to begin on an offbeat and the bass on the on-beat but then pauses for an extra beat, and the drums come in exactly on time. And then the lyrics start after a beat in the measure. The sheet music starts with a bar of 4/4 then a bar of 9/8 where the drums start exactly 4 beats before the first chord of the first verse which starts 4/4 off again. Clear as mud, eh? Even knowing the timing, what throws you off is the style of the guitar riff combined with the bass holding the note for an extra beat. It's deliberate, and as far as I know, unique in a Beatles song. And we don't know who came up with it, or any other details about it.

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29 April 2015
12.40pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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I'm a bit lost as I'm not a drummer - but I sure appreciate the analysis!

The opening to "Drive My Car" always sounded a bit muddled to me - but in a great way.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)

29 April 2015
4.47pm
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Oyster Black Pearl
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This probably belongs in the "song" section for Drive My Car, but here's my drum notation of the first 4 bars.

 

Drive-My-Car-opening.pngImage Enlarger

 

As mentioned by @ewe2 , the song starts with a bar of 4/4 - count 1,2,3,4 - then a bar of 9/8 - at twice the speed as previously -  count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Then swiftly settle back into 4/4 again.

Any clearer? If not, the top notes are hi-hat/cymbals, below is the tom-tom, below that is snare, next below but not used is the floor-tom, then the bass drum. I suspect the "late" cowbell  and tambourine (missing the first beat of the third bar) is either down to a late fade-up during mixing, or confusion as to when start playing?!!!!!

🙂

 

PS You'll have to click on the image, I've no idea why it's displaying as tiny as it is.

29 April 2015
7.05pm
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Oudis
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ewe2 said

Oudis said

ewe2 said

Drive My Car

The most confusing start ever to a song...

@ewe2 

I've read that several times but to me it's just a nice intro... Could you elaborate? And as always, thanks for all the effort you put into this. Oudis

It's a great intro but the timing of it is confusing for me and many others! The guitar seems to begin on an offbeat and the bass on the on-beat but then pauses for an extra beat, and the drums come in exactly on time. And then the lyrics start after a beat in the measure. The sheet music starts with a bar of 4/4 then a bar of 9/8 where the drums start exactly 4 beats before the first chord of the first verse which starts 4/4 off again. Clear as mud, eh? Even knowing the timing, what throws you off is the style of the guitar riff combined with the bass holding the note for an extra beat. It's deliberate, and as far as I know, unique in a Beatles song. And we don't know who came up with it, or any other details about it.

ewe2 said

Oudis said

ewe2 said

Drive My Car

The most confusing start ever to a song...

@ewe2 

I've read that several times but to me it's just a nice intro... Could you elaborate? And as always, thanks for all the effort you put into this. Oudis

It's a great intro but the timing of it is confusing for me and many others! The guitar seems to begin on an offbeat and the bass on the on-beat but then pauses for an extra beat, and the drums come in exactly on time. And then the lyrics start after a beat in the measure. The sheet music starts with a bar of 4/4 then a bar of 9/8 where the drums start exactly 4 beats before the first chord of the first verse which starts 4/4 off again. Clear as mud, eh? Even knowing the timing, what throws you off is the style of the guitar riff combined with the bass holding the note for an extra beat. It's deliberate, and as far as I know, unique in a Beatles song. And we don't know who came up with it, or any other details about it.

 

Well, then The Beatles were indeed masters in their craft, because what is confusing from an intellectual viewpoint sounds perfect when you hear it. Yes, I wonder whose idea it was. The four of them as a band? George Martin?

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29 April 2015
7.46pm
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ewe2
Inside the beat
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Oyster Black Pearl said
 As mentioned by @ewe2 , the song starts with a bar of 4/4 - count 1,2,3,4 - then a bar of 9/8 - at twice the speed as previously -  count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Then swiftly settle back into 4/4 again.

I suspect the "late" cowbell  and tambourine (missing the first beat of the third bar) is either down to a late fade-up during mixing, or confusion as to when start playing?!!!!!

Handy illustration! So in that 9/8 bar you can see two symbols, one is a rest for 4 beats, the other is a rest for 1, so the drums wait five beats and then start over the last four beats of the bar. And that's a good point about the speed, its 9/8 because the base note is an eighth note, which means the drum pattern is actually in sixteenths. This is often why people say to hell with sheet music 😛

Oudis said

Well, then The Beatles were indeed masters in their craft, because what is confusing from an intellectual viewpoint sounds perfect when you hear it. Yes, I wonder whose idea it was. The four of them as a band? George Martin?

My best guess is that it was a lucky mistake and they ran with it. Probably a misstart on a take pasted on the rhythm track and stuck to the beginning of the song. That would explain why the drums come in correctly and possibly why there's a beat missing in the first bar, from the paste overwriting the first eighth beat (or a fade-up to obscure the join). The boys liked the idea and George made it happen.

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30 April 2015
4.53am
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Joe
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Here's the intro with a count-in, from Rock Band:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC8ComT3u8k

It sounds to me more like a bar of 4/4 followed by a bar of 5/4 (George's opening guitar note is on the off-beat just before the 4/4 bar), but Ringo speeds up a little and brings the song in a fraction early. I'd bet nobody in the studio was counting out eighth notes.

For years, when listening to the record without the count-in, I'd always assumed that George's first note is on the first beat, which is why it sounds so discombobulating.

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30 April 2015
6.33am
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ewe2
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Joe said
It sounds to me more like a bar of 4/4 followed by a bar of 5/4 (George's opening guitar note is on the off-beat just before the 4/4 bar), but Ringo speeds up a little and brings the song in a fraction early. I'd bet nobody in the studio was counting out eighth notes.

Sheet music is often exact for pointless reasons and misses out essential nuances for equally pointless reasons, and the Beatles compete scores is not immune. It can be annoying. In terms of swing, 5/4 feels more right but in terms of accuracy they went with 9/8 just to make sense of it and base the timing on the drums.

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30 April 2015
7.01am
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Oyster Black Pearl
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ewe2 said

Joe said
I'd bet nobody in the studio was counting out eighth notes.

Sheet music is often exact for pointless reasons and misses out essential nuances for equally pointless reasons, and the Beatles compete scores is not immune. It can be annoying. In terms of swing, 5/4 feels more right but in terms of accuracy they went with 9/8 just to make sense of it and base the timing on the drums.

Purely instinctive-the guitar part was probably a spur of the moment necessity with no regard for timing issues.

if the second bar is 5/4 it's difficult to time the drum fill. 9/8 gives you the urgency to time the fill perfectly. I've played the song live, and relied on instinct, made for a few anxious looks between band members! She's A Woman can be similarly troublesome.

30 April 2015
10.04am
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Silly Girl
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 Should this fascinating discussion be in the Drive My Car thread? 

(No, Ahhh Girl, you may not move it until we say you can.) 

@Oudis @ewe2 @Oyster Black Pearl Thank this post if you think the above posts should be moved. 

If not, oh, forget I said anything... ahdn_george_07

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30 April 2015
10.05am
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Starr Shine?
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ahdn_paul_06

stay-on-topic

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30 April 2015
10.36am
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Joe
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I'd been thinking that too, so I jumped the gun and moved it.

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30 April 2015
11.42am
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vonbontee
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Joe said

For years, when listening to the record without the count-in, I'd always assumed that George's first note is on the first beat, which is why it sounds so discombobulating.

It took me hundreds (thousands?) of listenings before I realized that the notes George play duplicate the melody of the sung "...and baby I'll love you", with maybe an extra grace note or two thrown in. But this awareness only serves to disorient me further, if anything.

(I can't see Joe's video with the count-in here at work, so I dunno if it can help me to find the "one". I'll have to watch it later to find out.) 

@Oyster Black Pearl 's comparison with "She's A Woman" is a good one, and I'd also throw in "...Me And My Monkey" as another song with a misleadingly-syncopated intro.

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30 April 2015
12.37pm
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Shamrock Womlbs
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And what if we think of it as a 2/4 instead of a 4/4? And the riff starting in the upbeat of the first bar? 

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1 May 2015
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lillo78 said
And what if we think of it as a 2/4 instead of a 4/4? And the riff starting in the upbeat of the first bar? 

Nah. i think they are two 4/4 bars. The guitar starting at the very first beat of the first bar, the bass coming in the second half of the third beat of the first bar (so the last note of the bass riff is in the first beat of the second bar) and the drum-fill would come also in the second half of the third beat  and should fall into the first beat of the next bar... but it seems that the drums make a little rallentando dunno if it's on purpose or not...

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