The Beatles


Terms in this set (...)

Klaus Voorman
Created artwork for Revolver. Psychedelic, overwhelming, lifelike eyes cause cognitive dissonance with drawings. Bass Player and artist associated with the group but especially John for a number of years. Shared an apt with George and Ringo for a while in London. Rumored to be a possible replacement for Paul when the group disbands.
Norman Smith
The Beatles first engineer. Produced their first 6 albums. In 1959 landed a job as a recording assistant at EMI studios on Abbey Road. Last album he recorded was rubber soul. In '65 he was promoted to producer.
Geoff Emerick
Former tape operator takes over for Norman Smith as Engineer at age 20. His approach was much more experimental. He does things in a novel, potentially dangerous, yet ultimately effective way. Would remain close, especially with Paul, through the '70s and '80s doing engineering work for him. Wrote a book about his experiences, but is often not thought to be the most reliable because of his closeness with Paul.
Eventually Emerick and Ken Townsend will develop a way to synchronize multiple four-track machines together. Using a variable pitch as a control track to tune a second machine, getting you up to 7 tracks.
Ken Townsend
Eventually Emerick and Ken Townsend will develop a way to synchronize multiple four-track machines together. Using a variable pitch as a control track to tune a second machine, getting you up to 7 tracks.
Mal Evans
Roadie assistant and friend of the band. In the early 1960s, Evans was employed as a telephone engineer, and also worked part-time as a bouncer at the Cavern Club. The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, later hired Evans as the group's assistant roadie, in tandem with Neil Aspinall. Evans contributed to recordings, and appeared in some of the films the group made. After The Beatles stopped touring in 1966, Evans carried on assisting them until their break-up in 1970.
Neil Aspinal
A school friend of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, he went on to head the Beatles' company Apple Corps. The Beatles employed Aspinall as their road manager and personal assistant, which included driving his old Commer van to and from shows, both day and night. After Mal Evans started work for the Beatles, Aspinall was promoted to become their personal assistant, later becoming chief executive of their company, Apple Corps.
Alan Civil
As well as his work in classical music, Civil played the horn solo on The Beatles' song "For No One" from the album Revolver. Civil was also part of the orchestra crescendo in the song "A Day in the Life" from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
David Mason
On 17 January 1967 at Abbey Road Studios Mason recorded the piccolo trumpet solo which is a prominent part of The Beatles' song "Penny Lane". Mason also contributed to several other Beatles songs, including "A Day in the Life", "Magical Mystery Tour", "All You Need Is Love" and "It's All Too Much".
Brian Epstein
Following the death of Brian Epstein (to accidental overdose? Suicide? As a closeted gay man in this time of serious homophobia, life was hard, and perhaps he felt he was no longer needed by the Beatles, as their touring years had ended. But this is speculation, no-one knows what really happened.) Paul's idea to keep the band going was to create the Magical Mystery Tour film / double EP.

They had been getting into transcendental meditation, were planning to go on an extended trip to India. Paul worried if they went to India, they band would just break up, each would go their own way. Making the film was an activity to keep the band going after Epstein's death.
Allistair Taylor
James Alistair Taylor (21 June 1935 - 9 June 2004) was the English personal assistant of Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles. As an employee at Epstein's company NEMS, Taylor accompanied him when he first saw the Beatles perform, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on 9 November 1961. Taylor subsequently worked as the group's so-called "Mr. Fixit", devising escape routes from crazed fans and assisting the band members in purchasing property. He later became general manager of Apple Corps but was fired soon after Allen Klein arrived to address the company's financial problems
Derek Taylor
Taylor was a national journalist working for the Daily Express when he was assigned to write a review of a Beatles concert on 30 May 1963.[2] He had been expected by his editors to write a piece critical of what at that time was considered by the national press as an inconsequential teen fad. However, he was enchanted by the group and instead sang their praises. Shortly afterwards, he was invited to meet the Beatles and soon became a trusted journalist in their circle, especially as he was a fellow Liverpudlian

In early 1964, Beatles manager Brian Epstein hired Taylor away from his newspaper job, putting him in charge of Beatles press releases, and acting as media liaison for himself and the group. He subsequently became Epstein's personal assistant for a short period

In April 1968, at Harrison's request, Taylor returned to England to work for the Beatles again, as the press officer for their newly created Apple Corps.
The Beach Boys
Leader and cofounder of The Beach Boys.

"Rubber Soul inspired Pet Sounds, which inspired Sgt. Pepper's and that inspired me to make Smile," Brian Wilson tells me, recalling his 1960s game of one-upmanship with the Beach Boys' so-called rivals The Beatles.
Peter Blake
Pop artist Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth conceived and constructed the set, including all the life-sized cut-outs of historical figures. The set was photographed, with the Beatles standing in the centre, by Michael Cooper. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Maharishi
Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London in August '67 after Pattie Boyd's introduction. Proponent of transcendental meditation.

Attended Bangor, Wales workshop, cut short by Epstein's death.

John later claimed that he should have known Maharishi was full of shit when he told them to stay at the workshop when Epstein died.

Councils/convinces the Beatles to publicly renounce drug use (meaning LSD).

The Beatles travelled to Rishikesh, India in Feb '68 to studio with the Maharishi, for an unplanned amount of time.

Other celebrities present included Donovan, Mia Farrow, Mike Love (from the Beach boys).

Acoustic guitar was the main available instrument (The Beatles weren't supposed to write songs, were just supposed to meditate, but wrote over 40 songs!)

Ringo and his wife Maureen left after 10 days, Paul next, George+John last, after approximately 2 months.

John was telegramming with Yoko daily, his marriage was falling apart, (asked to sleep in separate room from Cynthia after just a few days in India; Cynthia thought the trip was going to bring them closer together).
Rishikesh and Maharishi
The Beatles travelled to Rishikesh, India in Feb '68 to studio with the Maharishi, for an unplanned amount of time.
Maharishi was catering to rich westerners, claiming to be able to cleanse their souls, provide them with spiritual fulfillment, etc.

Maharishi told them not to write songs/play music while they were in India, that they were there just to meditate, but they ended up writing 40 songs!!

Ringo left first, due to food allergies, poor health.

John and George leave once they get the impression that the Maharishi wants to take advantage of their brand to promote his own brand. There were also allegations of sexual impropriety on the Maharishi's part during the meditation sessions. (Inspiration to "Sexy Sadie," originally titled "Maharishi.")

When they return, they are in an exciting place. Apple is just getting started, and The Beatles are still excited about it.
I've only recently come to realize what an influence '60s songwriter Donovan Leitch was to the Beatles, perhaps to Paul more than the others. He was such a good friend and prolific songwriter that Paul at one point asked Donovan to contribute a line or two to the song "Yellow Submarine." Donovan came up with "sky of blue, sea of green" which made its way into the final product.

But it was George Harrison who first alerted the public to Donovan's influence on the band when, back in 1995, he said, "Donovan was all over the White Album."
John Lennon asked Donovan to teach him a certain style of finger-picking the guitar.
BBC- Our World
The broadcast took place at the height of the Vietnam War. The Beatles were asked to write a song with a positive message.[9] At 8:54 [GMT] the Beatles topped the event with their debut performance of "All You Need Is Love". The Beatles invited many of their friends to the event to create a festive atmosphere and to join in on the song's chorus. Among the friends were members of The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Graham Nash.
Yoko Ono
-Japanese-born, U.S. educated

-NY scene: Fluxus, La Monte Young, John Cage, Ornette Coleman, Fredric Lieberman . . . .

-Cut (1965)

-No. 4 (1966) (a.k.a. "Bottoms" ...look it up)

Met John in 1966 (possibly 1965). Paul claims he sent her to John, that he would enjoy her strangeness; John doesn't recall that.

Two previous marriages; Toshi Ichiyanagi, Anthony Cox—both artists. Yoko had a daughter named Kyoto from second marriage, who she was estranged from for decades.

-Sean Lennon (b. 1975).
Magic Alex Madras
-Electronic 'engineer' (so-called engineer)

-Impressed John with his "Nothing Box" back in '66-'67.

-Told the Beatles he could build a 72-track console—they made him head of Apple Electronics, in charge of building a new studio. screwed up the construction of the Apple Studio

-Likely the source of rumors about the Maharishi's inappropriate behavior. Allegedly tried to seduce Cynthia on John's behalf.

-Lost Apple Corps. about 300,000 pounds (equivalent to ~$3 million today).
Allen Klein
Beatles' new manager. Originator of modern "business manager" role. Assertive, a little rough/intimidating on the band's behalf. He had previously been the manager of the Rolling Stones and other successful rock groups.

Klein was favored by John to replace Brian Epstein.

Paul wanted Lee Eastman (Linda Eastman's father) as the manager. Paul had met Linda in the spring of 1968, and they soon were married. Paul never actually signed the representation contract with Allen Klein. But, by letting him manage them for a year, it counted in court as an acquiescence.

Klein Apple Corps. around, cut spending, alienated a lot of people (Alistair Taylor, 'Magic' Alex). Liquor bill had been (approximately) 1000 pounds a week.

Renegotiates the Beatles' abysmal contract with EMI to get the highest royalty rate at the time (69 cents per $7 album).
Lee Eastman
Paul wanted Lee Eastman (Linda Eastman's father) as the manager.
Linda Eastman
Paul had met Linda in the spring of 1968, and they soon were married.
Al Brodax
After seeing the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, Brodax approached the band's management with the idea of producing an animated series featuring the Fab Four. The series, of which 39 episodes were produced, premiered on September 25, 1965 on ABC. He was later involved in the production of the Beatles' animated film, Yellow Submarine, for United Artists, as producer and co-screenwriter
Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton first met The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr) in December 1964 while Clapton was in The Yardbirds. The Yardbirds were one of the support acts for The Beatles Christmas Show at London's Hammersmith Odeon. Over the next several years, Eric Clapton would form an abiding friendship with fellow guitarist, George Harrison.
Billy Preston
They'd hook up again in 1969, when the Beatles were about to break up while recording the last album they released, Let It Be (they would later record Abbey Road, which was released prior to Let It Be). George Harrison, a friend of Preston, had quit, walked out of the studio and gone to a Ray Charles concert in London, where Preston was playing organ. Harrison brought Preston back to the studio, where his keen musicianship and gregarious personality temporarily calmed the tension.

In 1978, he appeared as Sgt. Pepper in Robert Stigwood's film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Preston also worked, in a more limited role, on the Abbey Road album, contributing to the tracks "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Something".
Glyn Johns
Glen Johns was brought in as an engineer/producer. The role of George Martin was unspecified, though he is credited as a producer. Martin took a bit of a side step on this album, with less direct involvement. A lack of focus/confusion on this project is due to Martin's not really being there, exaggerated by the fact that Glyn Johns has no report with the Beatles.

Glyn Johns assembled two potential albums from the session tapes, both of which were rejected by the band.

As of spring of 1969, the project was shelved.
Phil Spector
At the height of his success, he wrote, co-wrote, or produced for John Lennon and George Harrison of the Beatles - often using the Los Angeles conglomerate "the Wrecking Crew" as his de facto house band. Spector's other chart-topping singles include "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (Righteous Brothers, 1964), "The Long and Winding Road" (Beatles, 1970), and "My Sweet Lord" (Harrison, 1970).
Fred LaBour
Created the myth of 'Paul is dead'

Fred La Bour "mock review" at University of Michigan of Abbey Road which gathered all of the so-called clues. WABC nighttime broadcast, October 21 covered 38 states and could be heard abroad, because of other stations going dark at night. Talked all night long about it. Rumors subsided by November 1969 (Life Magazine interview).
William Campbell
Idea is that EMI, the surviving Beatles, and possibly the Illuminati had decided to keep it a secret and hire a lookalike (William Shears Campbell). For some untold reason, they also decided to drop "clues" on subsequent releases. (makes sense, right?)
May Pang
May Fung Yee Pang (born October 24, 1950) is an American, best known as the former girlfriend of John Lennon. She had previously worked as a personal assistant and production coordinator for Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono.
Wings, also known as Paul McCartney and Wings, were an Anglo-American rock band formed in 1971 by former Beatle Paul McCartney with his wife Linda on keyboards, session drummer Denny Seiwell, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings were noted for frequent personnel changes as well as commercial success, going through three lead guitarists and four drummers. However, the core trio of the McCartneys and Laine remained intact throughout the group's existence.
The Fireman
The Fireman is the experimental music duo of Paul McCartney and Youth formed in the early 1990s. Their music catalogue ranges from rock to electronica, evolving over more than two decades and three albums. Although officially anonymous until 2008 with the release of the album Electric Arguments, the identities of the two members had been heavily rumored since their initial album's release in 199
The Traveling Wilburys
The Traveling Wilburys (sometimes shortened to the Wilburys) were a British-American supergroup consisting of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. The band recorded two albums, the first in 1988 and the second in 1990, though Orbison died before the second was recorded.
Apple Corps
(references Magritte's paintings; also, at Yoko's solo show in London where John Lennon met her, he apparently took a bite out of an apple that was sitting on a podium as one of the pieces).

-Epstein's last great idea. Beatles at the time were vulnerable to takeover; anyone could buy out a controlling share in the Beatles' business. Epstein also wanted to separate his family from the international business (perhaps to avoid a degree of liability). Formalized after Epstein's death, Apple Corps. officially formed in end of 1967, to avoid losing 2 million pounds to taxes.

Multimedia company:

-Apple Films, Apple Electronics, Apple publishing (hired songwriters for other projects, and for McCartney, Lennon, Harrison to publish music for other artists)

-Apple Records/Zapple Records. (Beatles and other acts)

-Apple Boutique. Sold Beatles everything, hippie gear.

-Apple Studio (recording studio).

Unprecedented for a band to go and develop a giant multimedia company. Most of these projects fail, but Apple Corps. is still alive and well. Oversees the Beatles to this day.

Managers: Alistair Taylor (Epstein's old assistant), Neil Aspinall, Allen Klein (1969-75), Aspinall again (until the 2000s sometime) (Wanted to solve the lawsuit between Apple Corps and Apple Computers) , Jeff Jones (present). Owned by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the estates of Lennon and Harrison (as carried out by their widows).
Anthology Project
The Beatles Anthology is the name of a television documentary, a three-volume set of double albums, and a book focusing on the history of the Beatles. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all participated in the making and approval of the works, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the Anthology project, while John Lennon had archival interviews.
Northern Songs
A music publishing company holding the vast majority of the Beatles catalogue. The first two Beatles songs were not published by The Beatles, they didn't have the rights. So, Brian Epstein contacted a publisher named Dick James, and the company is founded in 1963 by Dick James, Epstein, Lennon, and McCartney.

Dick James set up the company to maintain 50% of control; Paul and John each got 20%. Epstein gets 10%.
Later, when the company goes public, Ringo and George gain 0.8% each. Northern songs employs George as a songwriter, so he gets a much worse deal than John and Paul. (John and Paul make more than George on each song that George writes).
Twice the company is sold under the Beatles' noses! (second time to Michael Jackson, who, ironically, gets into the business after McCartney advised him to get into publishing).
Songwriting Rights
Phonorecord Rights
All of the following are "phonorecords" under the law: A wire recording; a 16-rpm, 33-rpm, 45-rpm or 78-rpm phonograph record (vinyl disc), a reel-to-reel tape, an 8-track tape, a compact cassette tape, a compact disc, an audio DVD, and an MP3 file stored on a computer, compact disc or USB flash drive.

From the Copyright Act: "Phonorecords" are material objects in which sounds, other than those accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work, are fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the sounds can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term "phonorecords" includes the material object in which the sounds are first fixed.
String Octet
The song continued the transformation of the Beatles from a mainly rock and roll- and pop-oriented act to a more experimental, studio-based band. With a double string quartet arrangement by George Martin and striking lyrics about loneliness, "Eleanor Rigby" broke sharply with popular music conventions, both musically and lyrically
Lowrey Organ
The Lowrey Organ is one of several organs on The Beatles' 1967 song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" (from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album), helping create a fairground atmosphere.[5] Furthermore, a Lowrey DSO Heritage organ was used to produce the classic opening for "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds"
"I Feel Fine" is a song written by John Lennon[4] (credited to Lennon-McCartney) and released in 1964 by the Beatles as the A-side of their eighth British single. The song has one of the first uses of guitar feedback in popular music.
Audio feedback (also known as acoustic feedback, simply as feedback, or the Larsen effect) is a special kind of positive feedback which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input (for example, a microphone or guitar pickup) and an audio output (for example, a loudspeaker).
Leslie Cabinet
k of Pet Sounds, released the following year.[64] The Beatles first recorded using a Leslie during the sessions for Revolver in 1966. After John Lennon had asked for his voice to sound "as though I'm the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountain top",[65] Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick rewired the input of the studio's Leslie so a vocal microphone could be attached to it. Emerick used this setup to record Lennon's vocal on the track "Tomorrow Never Knows" and claims the Beatles subsequently wanted to record everything through a Leslie.[65] George Harrison played his guitar through a Leslie on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "You Never Give Me Your Money".[66] The Beatles subsequently inspired other guitarists to use the speaker. George Harrison played through a Leslie in his guest appearance on Cream's song "Badge", and David Gilmour used a similar setup when recording with Pink Floyd
Automatic double tracking. The Beatles had been doing regular double tracking vocals since very early on, but the old fashioned way, actually recording a second track. (this is that sound when only one person sings a melody, but it sounds like it is getting out of sync with itself at times; creates a bigger sound.)
-ADT is using a tape machine with a slight, variable delay (milliseconds) to achieve the same effect as recording multiple passes of a take. John loves this. Starts using it almost all the time, eventually going back to old fashioned double tracking to get more organic sounds at times. Famously runs the whole of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamond" through the machine to have the entire track get that swimmy/floaty vibe.
Flanging is one specific type of phase-shifting or "phasing".[23] In phasing, the signal is passed through one or more all-pass filters which have non-linear phase response, and then added back to the original signal. This results in constructive and destructive interference that varies with frequency, giving a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency response of the system. In general, the position of these peaks and troughs do not occur in a harmonic series.
Flanging /ˈflændʒɪŋ/ is an audio effect produced by mixing two identical signals together, one signal delayed by a small and gradually changing period, usually smaller than 20 milliseconds. This produces a swept comb filter effect: peaks and notches are produced in the resulting frequency spectrum, related to each other in a linear harmonic series. Varying the time delay causes these to sweep up and down the frequency spectrum. A flanger is an effects unit that creates this effect.
The Beatles' 1967 single "Strawberry Fields Forever" features a swarmandal, played by George Harrison, as does "Within You Without You", from the band's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Within You Without You" is a song written by George Harrison and released on the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was Harrison's second composition in the Indian classical style, after "Love You To", and was inspired by his six-week stay in India with his mentor and sitar teacher, Ravi Shankar, over September-October 1966. Recorded in London without the other Beatles, the song features Indian instrumentation such as sitar, dilruba and tabla, and was performed by Harrison and members of the Asian Music Circle. The recording marked a significant departure from the Beatles' previous work; musically, it evokes the Indian devotional tradition, while the overtly spiritual quality of the lyrics reflects Harrison's absorption in Hindu philosophy and the teachings of the Vedas. Although the song was his only composition on Sgt. Pepper, Harrison's endorsement of Indian culture was further reflected in the inclusion of yogis such as Paramahansa Yogananda among the crowd depicted on the album cover.
"Tamboura'" and related words are used to describe large plucked stringed instruments of the lute family in a geographic swath running from southeastern Europe to the Indian subcontinent. Most commonly the word indicates an Indian instrument between four and five feet long, used in both classical and folk traditions. The tamboura is used in Indian music to provide a drone-- a tone or group of tones that continue resonating in the background for a long period of time while other musical events occur in the foreground. The instrument's ability to produce long-lasting drone tones results from the unique parabolic construction of its bridge (originally from an animal antler or bone) and from silk threads mounted on the strings at certain points in their courses. Perhaps the most prominent Western use of the tamboura has been in the Beatles' "Within You Without You," which provides an excellent example of its characteristic drone sonority.
However, the version with the sitar riff was not released at the time and George Harrison is now recognised as having introduced the instrument to pop music. During a break in the filming of The Beatles' second movie, Help!, Harrison picked up a sitar left on the set as a prop and attempted to play it. His initial interest eventually led to his taking lessons from Pandit Ravi Shankar and Shambhu Das. He subsequently played the instrument on the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" on the LP Rubber Soul in 1965, which became the first released Western pop song to feature the sitar.

George Harrison went on to play the tambura, a long-necked plucked lute, on both Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as laying down sitar tracks for both albums on the songs "Love You To", "Tomorrow Never Knows", and "Within You Without You". A later Beatles song, "Across the Universe", also featured the sitar. Additionally, Harrison made great use of the sitar on his first solo album, 1968's Wonderwall Music.
Esher Tapes
Esher Tapes" were demos of these tunes written in India, recorded back at George's house in the UK.

The precise date is unknown, but towards the end of May 1968 The Beatles met at Kinfauns, George Harrison's bungalow in Esher, Surrey. There they recorded demo versions of a number of songs written in India, 19 of which later appeared on the White Album.
Kinfauns was probably the home the Beatles gathered at most, as it was only a short drive from the homes of John Lennon (Kenwood) and Ringo Starr (Sunny Heights). It was where Harrison, Lennon and their wives retreated during their first LSD experience in 1965, and in May 1968 it was where many of the demo recordings for the White Album were made, on Harrison's Ampex four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. (These demos have been released on various bootleg albums; seven of them also appear on The Beatles Anthology, Vol. 3.)
Kinfauns was where police arrested Boyd and Harrison in March 1969, for hashish possession, as Lennon and Yoko Ono had been months earlier while staying at Ringo Starr's Montagu Square apartment. Both couples insisted the drugs found had been planted on the premises.

George Martin made it while the Beatles were at lunch and wanted something Baroque sounding, and while he couldn't play a harpsichord speed, he could play the piano at half the speed and an octave lower. When sped up, it gives us the sound we hear in the song.
Twickenham Studios
Because 'Magic' Alex screwed up the construction of the Apple Studio, the Beatles had to rehearse/record/film at Twickenham studios. (huge, cold, dark, depressing) Jan 2-10 1969. Bright lights from camera crew.
Rooftop Concert
Jan. 30, 1969, unscheduled/unannounced, brings traffic to a halt.

Final public appearance of the Beatles (plus Preston on keys). (Jefferson Airplane had just done something similar in NYC).

"Get Back"
"I Want You/She's So Heavy"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"I've Got a Feeling"
"One After 909"
"Danny Boy"
"Dig A Pony"
"God Save The Queen"
"A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody"

A lot of the sound from this concert ends up on the album. (unedited or lightly edited).

Look like they're having fun on the rooftop session, maybe just physically uncomfortable because it's cold out. They look super hip, as, due to the cold temperature, John is wears Yoko's fur coat and Ringo wears Maureen's red vinyl jacket.
Moog Synthesizer
Harrison was the first Beatle to own or use a Moog synthesizer, and he recorded "Under the Mersey Wall" with his Moog at Kinfauns. The track filled one side of his Electronic Sound album, released in May 1969.
Most early Moog appearances on popular recordings tended to make limited use of the synthesizer, exploiting the new device for its novel sonic qualities, and it was generally only used to augment or 'color' standard rock arrangements, rather than as an alternative to them as in Abbey Road
A melody ("singing, chanting"),[1] also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, while more figuratively, the term can include successions of other musical elements such as tonal color.
Revolver, 1966
Recorded April-May 1966, before their last American tour. The tracks released one by one to ration stations to build anticipation, extremely unusual marketing for the time.

First album cover that isn't just a photo of them, instead its many pics of them and drawings and others assembled into a collage. Artwork by Klaus Voormann.

Uses session players more than on previous records, as well as new inventive studio techniques. 3/4 Beatles are deeply into LSD at this point, since fall '65 (Paul allegedly wouldn't try until fall '66 when John accidentally takes some at a recording session, Paul drove him home and joins him for the rest of the trip).

Ringo's drumming is transcendent at this time, not fancy just highly creative in several tracks. His drum sounds change as well, via sound effects, close mic'ing, and de-tuning the drum heads. As the Beatles' composition gets increasingly complex metrically, Ringo is the rock that keeps the band together.
SIDE ONE REVOLVER strange slow count off with coughing/guitar string noises/ambient sounds ["1,2,3,4,1,2"]. Not a love song(!) George's second non-love song ("Think for Yourself") Sardonic/sarcastic. (Context for George's hatred of being taxed: Ringo would later move to Monaco to avoid paying taxes for about 25 years. The Rolling Stones moved to France to not pay taxes [see: Exile on Main Street]. Rod Steward avoided taxes. Etc.) Lead guitar solo by Paul. Crazy looseness, compared to George's pre-composed solos. Almost Indian tinge to solo. Same solo is heard in the outro. This sort of economic/political statement in a song signals The Beatles' change into adulthood.

Taxman or Batman? The "Taxman" tag and accompanying chords sound VERY similar to the Neal Hefti's theme for the TV Show "Batman" (the Adam West one).

Release history is problematic though—show aired in the US in Jan 1966, but the Beatles hadn't been to the US since '65; UK debut is June 66 (AFTER the recording of "Taxman")

However, theme song was released as a single in Jan 1966 in the US, so maybe Harrison got his hands on that somehow?
Eleanor Rigby*
SIDE ONE REVOLVER First song by a rock band to be recorded using only classical instruments (string octet, a double string quartet) George Martin's string arrangement was inspired by Bernard Hermann's soundtrack for Psycho. Strings are close mic'd for a bigger, warmer, bassier sound (the players were horrified, slowly edging away from microphones).

The melody is mostly in the Dorian mode with uneven phrase length. Lyrics somehow portray both the boring day to day grind and the intense loneliness of life on earth.

Paul originally said he made up the names, but there is a grave marked Eleanor Rigby in the Liverpool cemetery. Coincidence?

Released in the UK as a double-A side with "Yellow Submarine," just after the release of Revolver. Paul showed growth here in writing a character song, not about anyone he knew, nor about himself. Perhaps George Martin's best string arrangement. Not too schmaltzy, manages to express the lonely character, and the impossible sympathy of Paul's lyrics.
I'm Only Sleeping*
Trippy, psychedelic song by John. (John describes himself at this time as the most lazy person in the UK. Song is about that, or acid/drug use in general?)

Backwards guitar solo and fills by George (carefully composed so it would fit). Backwards tape composition takes up all his time in these days.
Backwards Tape. Literally running a piece of tape backwards allows you to hear the sounds in reverse. Beatles used this to great effect, most famously on George's guitar solo on "I'm Only Sleeping."
Love You To*
SIDE ONE REVOLVER George's first real attempt at bridging rock and (Hindustani) Indian music. Uses Indian (sitar, tambour, tablas) and western instruments.

Structure mirrors classical Hindustani music: slow opening (alap); main composition; last section speeds up (drut). Drone sitting beneath the piece for the duration

Includes/supercedes/inspires 'raga rock,' an exoticist subgenre.
Here, There and Everywhere*
SIDE ONE REVOLVER A "response" to Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys (which was, in turn, a response to Rubber Soul...) Harmonically very complex—frequent modulations. Paul might have actually recorded this whole thing by himself, maybe Ringo on drums, who knows? Vocal arrangement sounds like the Beach Boys. (Another love song to Jane Asher).
Yellow Submarine*
Iconic song, children's song in disguise. Psychedelic. Lots of weird sounds (for the time period) appearing throughout. Idea of a countercultural community (like Ken Kesey's Further bus tour). Became a rallying call for the hippie movements. Utopian/escapist 60's dream. Back to the land etc. Sounds drawn from EMI's recording catalogue of sound effects, some were made in the studio (bubbles in glasses of milk, condom on microphone to record underwater, dripping chains in buckets of water etc.) Sounds like from very far away was recorded in the echo chamber in Abbey Road. (Echo chamber is a room designed specifically to reverberant sound; sound would be piped out to the chamber, reverberated, and piped back in. John and Paul just went in there and yelled stuff to get the iconic far-away call-responses from the middle of the song.) Long fade. Sound will later be used for the cartoon movie. Chorus is recorded by a group of friends, as an improvised conga line.
She Said She Said*
SIDE ONE REVOLVER. Written by John.
Relates to an LSD-party incident with Eleanor Bron (Ahme from Help!) and Peter Fonda (famous actor). Peter Fonda came on a little too strong trying to impress John. Apparently said "I know how it feels to be dead." They had him removed from the party.

Two part bridge. Highly intricate meter changes, group of 8 then groups of 9:(4+4; 3+3+3; 6+3; 6+3).

No Paul (had "a barney", a fight, he left the studio during the recording). Bass was probably played by George, possibly John.
Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
Good Day Sunshine*
Perhaps literally about the weather. Also maybe psychedelic, although Paul probably hadn't taken LSD at this point. Lines like "burns my feet as they touch the ground" are pretty freaky.

Proto "Penny Lane", in a way. Opening refrain sound like some kind of meter-change; accents create a large-scale syncopation, emphasizing beats [1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4] of a two measure phrase.

Ending modulates up to a new key, short repeats over long fade.
Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
And Your Bird Can Sing*
Perhaps a reference to Maryanne Faithful (singer/Mick Jagger's girlfriend at the time), a slight jab/nudge at Jagger.

Dual guitar riff/solo (George + Paul) twin Epiphone Casinos, gnarly semi-hollow guitars. Harmonizing in thirds the same way voices might harmonize, and have harmonized in Beatles songs of the past; the guitar harmonization is reflected by the vocals throughout the song..
For No One*
Written in a bathroom after a really bad fight with Jane while they were on vacation. Melancholy, neo-Baroque style. Beautiful, virtuosic performance by French hornist Alan Civil. Song does not resolve, last chord is left off, beautiful unfinished touch. Love for Paul in these days is more than adolescent fantasy, it is a struggle.
Doctor Robert*
References to a famous NYC doctor who prescribed stimulants to his patients.

Also references the dentist who introduced the Beatles to LSD ("National Health"), via dosing them with LSD-infused sugar cubes. (fall/winter '65)

Psychedelic change of tone/arrangement in the bridge ("well well well...")
I Want to Tell You*
Progressive effort by George. Song about communicating in complicated relationships. Features an unusually dissonant chord [dominant 7 flat-9?] in each verse, reflecting the idea of being "stuck" in the lyrics. Paul throws in a little Indian-like melisma at the end.
Got to Get You Into My Life*
It's not about meeting somebody, it's about smoking pot. He wanted to write a 'love song to pot.' Bass + drums + horns. World's strangest Motown group. Guitars come in at the end; complete change of sound/timbre. Brass arrangement by McCartney/Martin. (Paul sang it to George Martin).
Tomorrow Never Knows*
Psychedelic masterpiece; title is another of Ringo's malapropisms.

One of few Beatles song whose title does not appear in the lyrics (along with "Love You To", "A Day in the Life", and few rare others).

Harmonically static groove/drone: one chord song. Just a series of verses, no choruses or a bridge; electronics and sound effects provide variety, while the drums and droning "lock you in".

Uses acoustic and Indian instruments (tambura, sitar) to create a drone. Extensive use of homemade tape loops (Paul's interest in Stockhausen and the European avant-garde) Highly performative studio playback of tape-loops/effects; impossible to recreate. Some backwards tape (in the guitar solo), use of tape flanging (slowing down the tape manually with your hand) to change the pitch. close-mic'd drums. Bass drum is stuffed with things to muffle it, so it doesn't blow out the mic's.

Lyrics reference The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a Buddhist manual for navigating the death process (John had read The Psychedelic Experience: A Manuel Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, by American psychedelic advocate Timothy Leary, and taken an LSD using it as a guide). John wanted his voice to sound like "a thousand monks chanting from a mountaintop"—they ended up using voice through Leslie cabinet.
Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Chatter at the beginning of the record. First two songs morph into eachother. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," features the fictional or 'costume' band introducing themselves and their featured performer (Billy Shears), who sings the second song. Very high production value, bigger, lusher sound than Revolver. Reverberant sound quality that makes you feel like you're at a concert. Tuning sounds/chatter at the beginning of the album creates a sound world for a record.

Coy, contrived, baroque, overwrought, overdone, overproduced, fantastic idea for an album. Has drawn long-lasting praise, citations of influence, as well as serious criticism. (predecessors: Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and Frank Zappa's Freak Out). What does it mean to be rebellious? Beatles up to this point have always been class clowns/ cheeky, doing such an eclectic album with lots of orchestral arrangements, experimental songs, ideas drawn from lots of different places as a sort of provocation for a rock n' roll band. (notice that there are no straight forward 'rockers' on this album.

Recorded from Nov 1966 - April 1967, following The Beatles' first period of extended vacation from each other. Each member starts defining themselves as individual artists. Does this signal the beginning of the end? Length of the recording process causes issues, especially for the record companies, who have been expecting a continuation of the back to back releases that the Beatles had been spinning out since '62.

Production cost ~25,000 pounds. (roughly translates $500,000 in 2017 currency)

First Beatles album to feature the same tracklist across the pond.

22 weeks at #1 in the UK, 15 weeks in the USA.

First time a rock album shocks the system in this way of absolute dominance for an extended period of time. Timing couldn't have been more perfect: Pepper served as an unofficial soundtrack of the "Summer of Love"

First time (maybe the last time) that the western world, for a moment, are all listening to one album together. (some radio stations would just play it on repeat all day long)

One of the first "concept" albums, with a loose concept of a fictitious band performing a concert. Very loose concept that goes for the most part after "With a Little Help from My Friends," but reemerges at times. Not exactly cohesive. Really unabashedly explored variety. Only makes stylistic sense by being consistently eclectic. No straight-forward rock n' roll songs. (even the opening tune has a brass band!!).

First record without "banding" (continuously running tracks). No space between tracks meant it was hard to drop the needle to play a specific song. This invited the listener to hear the whole album as one piece of art.

First record liner that was not plain white. (crazy pink graphics). Also came with cardboard cut-out badges, mustache, and bandstand (?!)

Extravagant, costly production. In addition to the extended and costly recording sessions, an unprecedented amount of money spent for the cover art (by Peter Blake, about 3000 pounds vs the usual 50 pounds).

Many people The Beatles admired were featured in the album cover tableau, such as Bob Dylan, Laurel and Hardy, Albert Einstein, Gandi (who was painted over due to political realities of '60s India; record cover couldn't have been printed there), Leo Gorcey (actor, also painted over, because he asked for royalties for the inclusion of his likeness), Edgar Allen Poe, Marilyn Monroe, Karlheinz Stockhausen (German avant grade composer; tape techniques + electronic music, aleatoric/orchestral work may have influenced "Day in the Life" swell?), Oscar Wilde, etc. Many of these icons have since been dropped from the cultural consciousness, but the cover serves as a kind of time capsule. John wanted to include Jesus and Hitler, was clearly overruled.

Paul felt like it would be fun to reimagine themselves as a different band for a while. John lets Paul take the lead, as John was very into LSD in these days, not taking a leadership role at all. George is totally uninterested in being a Beatle at this time, spending time in India, studying Sitar etc. Ringo is along for the ride. He describes that during the Pepper session, he learned Chess as he was waiting around all the time. Paul's leadership role creates problems going forward.

Unusual detail about the album is that it came with full printed lyrics. In the lyric sheet photograph, Paul is facing his back to the camera. Coincidence? Album art for Sgt. Pepper's is not just an accompaniment, but becomes an art object and signifies an art experience, of flipping through the materials/staring at the lyric sheet as the music plays. Invites the listener into a world surrounding the music.
Sgt. Pepper's.. Song*
Sgt. Pepper opens with the title track, starting with 10 seconds of the combined sounds of a pit orchestra warming up and an audience waiting for a concert, creating the illusion of the album as a live performance.
With a Little Help From My Friends*
jokingly refers to Ringo's singing troubles. (Includes an obvious drug reference, and an immature dick joke).

Song pair is exemplary of two of Paul's main styles: the rocker and the cheeky Broadway tunes. (the third style being acoustic ballads)

EMI gets really nervous during recording. Earliest songs recorded for Pepper sessions, released upon pressure from EMI, after a long silence from The Beatles. Maybe the greatest double A-side ever? But didn't make it to #1 (first time since 1963). George Martin regretted not including them on the finished album:
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds*
Inspired by a drawing by John's son Julian. (allegedly)

Imagery and colors certainly informed by LSD, drug experience.

Iconic psychedelic/experimental track:

-double-tracked vocals (John), Lowrey organ (intro), guitars run through Leslie Cabinet, very active over-dubbed bass part.

Whole track was fed through ADT (automatic double tracking); over time gets out of sync with itself, leading to a strong phasing effect, especially evident on mono version. Sounds almost like comb filtering.

Harmonically, 3 parts of song are sort of in 3 different keys.

Metrically, verse and pre-chorus are in 3/4; chorus is in 4/4.

Surreal, nursery rhyme lyrics—a new John trademark, as in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" and "I Am the Walrus."
Getting Better*
From a sonic point of view, this is a synthesis of the mid '60s Beatles sound. Stabby piano chords, active bass lines. (think "Good Day Sunshine," "Your Mother Should Know," etc ) Indian instruments: Tamboura part takes over before the last verse. Underscores honest/freaky lyrics.

Echo of a phrase Jimmy Nichol used to say all the time when he was (briefly) on tour with the band, as Ringo's replacement. Title comes from Paul taking a walk after a rain-storm.

John's sardonic responses ("Can't Get No Worse") add other possible interpretations, rather than the upbeat cheer-up vibe.

Rhythm track bass lines were overdubbed with very expressive, loud baselines.
Fixing a Hole*
Psychedelic elements, harpsichord, gnarly guitar solo/fills. Solo by George, one of few spotlight moments in the album. Guitar sounds here are fuzzy/ugly/distorted/gnarly.

Strange rhythmic intro, starts with straight square feel, moves to shuffle feel.

The Beatles recorded the track in February 1967, with the main session taking place at Regent Sound Studios in central London. It marked the first time that the Beatles had used a British studio other than EMI's facility at Abbey Road for one of their EMI recordings.
She's Leaving Home*
SIDES ONE SGT. PEPP. Lennon-McCartney song, released in 1967 on the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Paul McCartney wrote and sang the verse and John Lennon wrote the chorus, which they sang together.

Based on a story they read in the papers. Two sides in the story, the daughter's side and the parents' side, with Greek Chorus-like responses to the narrative ('fun is the one thing that money can't buy'). This string arrangement was not done by George Martin, who was too busy with other projects the day Paul wanted him to do it. Instead, another EMI arranger, Mike Leander did it. Martin conducted the orchestra doing this other person's arrangement, and was hurt by the circumstances. Arrangement is a little schmaltzier, perhaps, than what Martin would have done.

"She's Leaving Home" exemplifies The Beatles' growth as songwriters who aren't just concerned with themselves, but can project and empathize with others.
Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!*
Taken from a late 19th century circus advertisement. John saw this in an antique shop years earlier. Lennon loved the words/ wordplay.

Almost all of the lyrics can be sourced to the advertisement; of course the Horse's name was changed from "Zanthus" to "Henry."

Tape-splicing and aleatoric techniques (think John Cage/Stockhausen) to create the psychedelic circus organ part. Random reassmbledge of cut up tape pieces of the original organ recording. John said he wanted to "smell the sawdust" in the arrangement.

John and Paul are still collaborative in these days, at least in the studio arrangements, if not in the actual song compositions.
Within You Without You*
Written, sung, and recorded by George without any other members of the band. Lots of Indian musicians brought in for the session, on carpets and with incense and candles burning. Lots of onlookers, (John, Paul, Ringo, Neil Aspinall, etc.). First song after "Yesterday" to be recorded by just one Beatle.

Uncredited Indian session musicians (Dilruba- a sort of bowed guitar), Neil Aspinall and Harrison overdubbed Tamboura, Martin wrote a string arrangement imitating Indian instruments. (The session musicians were perhaps never paid!!)

Musicologist Alan Pollack says it falls "between too stools:" too strange for rock fans, too naive for Indian music experts.

George apparently wrote the song after hearing Ravi Shankar on the radio. He wanted to distill a 40 minute piece down to something more approachable. The song was written at Klaus Voorman's house, who had a harmonium. Voorman was pumping the pedals while George played with only 3 fingers from each hand.

Laughter after the track, on George's request. After a 'heavy' tune, maybe a way of releasing the tension, or shows some self-confidence issues? Or, a way of tying the song into the concept of the album? Or, the Beatles lightening up the mood after something heavy, sort of like following up "Yesterday" with "Dizzy Miss Lizzy."
When I'm Sixty Four*
English Music-hall / tin-pan alley style at its finest. Written on the occasion of Paul's father's 64th birthday. Cool arrangement.
Lovely Rita*
About a (fictional?) meter maid. A meter maid (traffic guard) alleges to have given Paul a ticket this summer. Apparently paying for parking was new in London; Paul got a bunch of tickets right in a row. Possible connotations of an orgy?
Good Morning Good Morning*
Inspired by a breakfast cereal commercial. Suburban depression song. About being stuck in the suburban lifestyle with no excitement. Lots of strange phrase lengths, held together by Ringo. (bars of 2, 4, 5 etc.) Brass by Sounds Inc. Sound collage of barnyard animals, in the food-chain order. (nod to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds). Guitar solo (probably) by Paul.

Chicken clucking transitions directly into the "Sgt. Pepper" reprise.

Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
A Day in the Life*
SIDES TWO SGT. PEPP. John mostly, some Paul.
Very direct communication. Banned from airplay because of 'turn you on' drug reference. Didn't pass the BBC censors.

Two songs (John/Paul) spliced together by the sound mass/alarm clock sequence (Paul's idea, orchestrated by G. Martin, conducted by Paul and GM).

John's elegiac tune about someone who 'blew his brains out in a car;" Paul's humdrum day fantasy.

Full orchestra of session musicians recorded three times, paid much more than what was usual at the time. At the end of the recording session they gave the Beatles a standing ovation.

Total recording time on the track was 34 hours.

Final chord was played by Paul, Mal, John, Ringo, and G. Martin on three grand pianos + one harmonium.

Album ends with a literal dog whistle followed by strange/spooky sound on the run-out groove (the loop at the end of the record).
Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
Paperback Writer*
A-side single released with Revolver. Huge fuzz-guitar + bass sound. Almost sarcastic song by Paul. One of his many 'story songs'. Just a premise for someone that wants to write commercial fiction; self referential to The Beatles as hit makers, not necessarily respected at the time among 'high art' connoisseurs.
Recording of bass - reversing a speaker to act like a microphone into the board. Beatles were demanding a bigger bass sound, more like what they were hearing on Motown records. Emerick had this idea; they tested it out and it worked fine, though it did cause a dust-up with the higher-ups at EMI. Emerick was also worried that this huge bass sound would cause the needle to hop out of the groove on playback.
Check out the intricate vocal harmonies (two different groups) and "Frére Jacques" in the background vocals. Some say the background vocals are making fun of Paul, but who knows? George Martin actually didn't notice the nursery rhyme being sung, and said it was Paul's idea.
Long Fade. Pointing to infinity. Counterpart to "Day Tripper" in many ways.
B-side single for Revolver recorded while running the tape at a higher speed; later slowed it down, bringing down the tempo/pitch, but also changing the timbre of the sound. Rubbery/springy. You can hear the change in speed as it was done manually.
Ringo's drumming is highly creative. Thunderous drumming performance by Ringo.
Backwards vocals in the last verse (first time on a rock record).
Artifacts of tape speed changing over time.
Strawberry Fields Forever*
Written by John
John worked on the demo for "Strawberry Fields Forever" while in Spain on the set of Richard Lester's movie How I Won the War.

Listening to the process from demo to studio recording shows the change in concept and style for the song. Earliest version is acoustic guitar-driven, but several lyrical/harmonic elements are already present. Early studio version introduces the Mellotron - a keyboard instrument and primitive sampler: pressing a key results in a bit of tape being played back (here, flute sounds, there clarinet sounds, etc). Electric guitar, slide guitar/ out of tune acoustic guitar are also all featured. Bass parts were overdubbed after first live rhythm takes, a common practice for Paul in these days. Recording the song took over 55 hours of studio time.

Two different takes were spliced together to produce the final version; one with mellotron, electric slide guitar, etc; the other featuring a cello+brass arrangement by George Martin. John wanted to splice them together, but the two takes were recorded several days apart, and were in different keys and tempos (whoops!).

Difference between keys/tempi was such that if you changed the playback speed, the pitches ended up being close enough. Nearly seamless edit at 1 minute mark. Sonic atmosphere changes at that point.

Personal song about being in his own world. Lyrics feel like having a conversation with yourself. 'no one I think is in my tree/ I mean it must be high or low/ that is you can't, you know, tune in but it's all right / that is I think it's not too bad.' Transformed into sonic dream.

Indian Zither was featured in the intro to later verses, and in the double-outro. Indian instruments find their way into many of the songs on this album. (tamboura drone in "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," and others).

Cymbal hits (hi-hats) played backward on the tape. Low-tuned, free-flowing drum parts were overdubbed, in this case, with excessive yet musically compelling fills.
Ringo's drumming is highly creative.
Penny Lane*
Released on The Magical Mystery Tour US soundtrack. A full LP including all remaining singles from 1967. all with "fake stereo" mixes
All You Need Is Love*
John's anthem/mantra/slogan thing. Commissioned by the BBC for Our World, the first world-wide satellite simulcast, as the British contribution to the program. Aired on 25 June 1967.

Filmed in the studio; performed live to pre-recorded backing tracks.

Mick Jagger is at the recording/broadcast session along with several other Beatles friends

Intricate arrangement by G. Martin at the end, with Bach, Jazz Tunes, etc.

Extreme self awareness in inclusion of quotes from "Yesterday" and "She Loves You" in the end of "All You Need is Love." [ See "Glass Onion" later, on The White Album].
Released on The Magical Mystery Tour US soundtrack. A full LP including all remaining singles from 1967. all with "fake stereo" mixes
Baby You're a Rich Man*
B-side to "All You Need Is Love."

John/Paul split composition (verse/chorus) Referenced perhaps Brian Epstein, written before he died. John's verse part referencing the hippies, the 'beautiful people.' Paul's part was the quasi-nonsense chorus.

Weird intro features toy keyboard (clavioline), sped up to sound almost like an oboe.
Blue Jay Way*
I Am the Walrus*
Hello Goodbye*
(Single, A-Side)

Written by Paul on a whim. Display of Paul's ability to whip out a song very quickly, on a sort of dare. Someone was talking about how hard it was to write a song, Paul wanted to prove them wrong, requesting a topic.

The video was directed by the Beatles and seems almost purposefully bad. Issues of miming vs. performing, were perhaps exaggerated to piss the unions off. (The difference between miming a performance and giving an actual performance on film apparently forced the work into different classifications.)
Lady Madonna*
1968 single recorded + released before trip to India. B-side, "The Inner Light" (George's first single)

Sax solo by Ronnie Scott—kind of buried in the mix (fixed for Anthology and Love projects)
Hey Bulldog*
(like the yang to "Lady Madonna" 's yin. ) Rock. Pre-India, Band having fun in the studio. James Bond-esque, a signature of Lennon. Mod vibe. Mid 1960s British cool.
It's All Too Much*
An extended psychedelic rock jam. Use of feedback (like in "I feel fine"), different instrumental timbres/textures. Perhaps Jimi Hendrix inspired, he was at the height of his powers in London when this was recorded. Different kind of guitar use for the Beatles.
Only a Northern Song*
George) sarcastic/polemical vitriol over the Northern Songs deal. George is pissed about his bad deal. Written for Pepper; blocked by G. Martin.

Distorted trumpet, glockenspiel, "wrong" harmonies. (similar melody to "If I Needed Somebody")
Hey Jude*
Paul wrote "Hey Jude" to console young Julian Lennon at the time of his parents' divorce. Paul tried to be a bit of a diffusor and comforter by spending time with Cynthia and Julian at the time. John apparently thought the song was actually about him.

This was the first Apple Release, (B-side: "Revolution," rocking version different from what was on 'The White Album').

"Hey Jude" was the longest #1 single in the UK, over 7 minutes. Includes long long long coda, with orchestrated arrangement, lots of vocals.

Proto-Stadium Rock.
Revolution*/ Rev 1
The single "Revolution" was the B-side to "Hey Jude," the heavy/fast version of "Revolution 1."

Rev 1: "Revolution 1"/"Revolution 9" started as the same song, over 10 mins long. Later, it was split into a regular song and an 8 minute experimental tape-collage (largely by John, Yoko, and George).
Back in the USSR*
Part of the Esher Tapes

Beach Boys influence (or spoof?). Witty lyrics with wordplay on California/surf music and Soviet imagery. Great wordplay: "Georgia's always on my mind" is nod to Ray Charles.

Influenced by Chuck Berry

Impressive solo/lead guitar work (prof. thinks it is Paul, but very disputed). Paul also played drums. (Song had been recorded during the time that Ringo quit the band. He had been feeling estranged, not feeling good about his drum-playing, not feeling good about his place in the band.)

Composite drum parts, with spurious random snare hits, loosening things up.

[transition via jet engine sound]
Dear Prudence*
Part of the Esher Tapes

First song on the album with the fingerpicking style picked up from Donovan in Rishikesh. Shows up on lots of tracks on the White Album, a bit later on. Paul on drums, again. Written for Prudence Farrow, Mia's sister, who was staying in her tent all the time, presumably meditating, during the Rishikesh sessions. John wanted her to just come out and join the fun.
Glass Onion*
Part of the Esher Tapes
Lots of inside jokes. Very self-referential. Seems to be egging on conspiracies, though it was before the 'Paul is Dead' thing took off. John was perhaps referencing the idea that they were putting secret messages in songs. He's giving fake hints. ("The walrus Was Paul,' a lie). Musical quote: recorders from "Fool On the Hill." Some James Bond-ian motion in the verse, ending is slightly related. Certainly an oddity.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps*
Part of the Esher Tapes

-originally a mellow, acoustic guitar driven ballad; hear it on the Esher Tapes, Anthology, and Love

-Lead guitar by Eric Clapton (of the Yardbirds, Cream)-joins the session as a guest of George. Everyone was on best behavior while Clapton was there. Legend is that Clapton showed up drunk/high on Cocaine, knocked out the solo in one take. Clapton's solos get treated liberally with ADT to sound more Beatles-like.
Happiness Is a Warm Gun*
Part of the Esher Tapes
Three songs stitched together. Opening lyrics come from an acid trip; the rest is often interpreted to reference John's heroin habit. Also, sexual innuendo about Yoko.

Chorus (or section 3) Taken from paradoxical ad for a gun manufacturer (riffing on Peanuts' "Happiness is a Warm Puppy")

Complex time/meter changes—the band rehearsed it extensively in the studio in order to pull it off ("like the old days")

Donovanesque finger style at the beginning. End is spoof of 1950s pop.

Guitar solo probably by George, (maybe John?).
Part of the Esher Tapes
Solo acoustic guitar, toe taps, and some tape loops (birdsong)—recorded by Paul alone. Dedicated to the unfolding of the civil rights movement in the U.S.

Guitar accompaniment is a combination of classical techniques (i.e. J.S. Bach's Bourrée in E minor for lute) and Donovan's finger style.
Part of the Esher Tapes
Lots of animal themed songs on 'The White Album.' ("Blackbird," "Rocky Raccoon")

Satirical/Political song by George. Neo baroque tinges, harpsichord part, string arrangement, final cadence. Very manneristic. (Very different from Esher tapes recording). Perhaps inspired by Animal Farm, a critique of capitalist society.

Like other songs from 'The White Album,' lyrics were interpreted by Charles Manson as having prophetic/instructional meaning. He thought The Beatles were speaking through their lyrics directly to him, to bring about a race war.

George was horrified by the Manson situation, realized that things they meant as a joke or satire might be interpreted badly by lunatics.

"What they need's a damn good whacking" was something George's mom used to say about children who misbehaved. Manson took it literally . . .

Recording it was not particularly fun; during a break George was starting to strum some chords (for what would become "Something"), the engineer asked if they could work on that song instead.
Don't Pass Me By*
Ringo's first solo composition as a songwriter. Almost a regular country song, but with the psychedelic production treatment. Strange out-of-tune fiddle part, quasi-idiomatic.

[They realized people were buying both stereo and mono versions, so The Beatles started putting different segments of music in different versions]
Part of the Esher Tapes
John's hymn to his mother AND Yoko. Oedipal. Ocean-child is one translation of Yoko's name. Loss intertwined with new-found love. He used to say he lost his mother twice—once when he moved in with aunt Mimi, and once when Julia actually died. Yoko was both a lover and a mother-figure for him. John's only solo recording from the Beatles time-period. Fingerpicked guitar (Donovan pattern again), and vocals, both double-tracked (manually; no ADT). Very vulnerable, honest.
Mother Nature's Son*
Part of the Esher Tapes
Another acoustic ballad showing the influence of Donovan. Caused some trouble, quite a scene of Paul being walked in on by John and Ringo, while Paul was working on timpani overdubs. They weren't included, were pissed off. Very awkward.

Inspired by a lecture by the Maharishi (same inspiration as John's "Child of Nature," which turned into "Jealous Guy")

Arrangement is sort of reminiscent of Blackbird (guitar, toe taps), but horns make it strangely like Mahler or something post-romantic. Obvious individuality in this song.
Helter Skelter*
Paul's response to those who said he only wrote ballads. Also, read review of a song by "the who," saying their new song was the dirtiest, craziest, ugliest, etc. song ever. Paul wanted to do them one-up. Various versions, one almost 1/2 hr long. Classic Beatles moment, Ringo yelling: "I got blisters on me fingers!" at the end of the take.

Major 'inspiration' for the Charles Manson scenario/murders.

A Hester Skelter is a slide that spins around in a circle on British playgrounds. Manson thought it sounded like 'hell,' took meaning about a slide to be prophetic of race war/revolution.
Long, Long, Long*
Very personal/vulnerable song by George. Ambiguous love song, talking to a woman or to god?

George lived a Hindu life from this point forward. The experience of having found the divine is expressed in this song. Ending has a crazy sound, combination of buzzing whisky bottle set on top of an organ, amplified and orchestrated w/ pick scrape and drum roll. Counterpart to opening chord of "Hard Days Night."
Revolution 9*
SIDE 4 WHITE ALBUM. John/George.
"Revolution 9" shows the influence of several avant grade artists (Cage, Varése, Stockhausen) through Yoko. Sound collage. Invitation to listen. Things take on new meanings when out of sonic context.
Good Night*
Written by John for Julian, sung by Ringo

Super-cheesy arrangement by George Martin (schmaltzy on purpose).
Get Back*
Single Side A. Paul.
Released April 1969
credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston
Different mix of the song was used to close Let It Be album
Two of Us*
About Linda or John? ("memories that go back further than the road that stretches on ahead..." Paul hadn't really known Linda all that long, so how could these memories stretching back be about her?)

Some of these songs were never really finished, never stitched together, so Phil Spector made his own decisions about how they should be organized.
Across the Universe*
Originally recorded as a demo in 1968.

Released for No One's Gonna Change Our World/WWF benefit in 1969.

Overdubbed orchestration by Spector, digitally corrected in Let it Be . . . Naked

John was reportedly upset that his vocal take was never corrected in this song, he's out of pitch at times.

Spector arrangements/mixes don't seem to match the Beatles sound.
I Me Mine*
Preachy song by George, about materialism. Recorded in January 1970 (without John).

Last new Beatles song recorded

Different meter in verse/chorus.
Let It Be*
Classic Paul balled (along the lines of "Hey Jude")

Notice horrid delay on hi-hat (gag!)

Three versions: Album (produced by Specter); Single (produced by G. Martin); ...Naked. three different guitar solos by George on each version.

Spector kitsch-zone.

About Paul coming to grips with the Beatles breaking up. Paul's mother was named Mary as well, to confuse some of the biblical imagery.
For You Blue*
SIDE 2 LET IT BE. George.
Straightforward 12-bar blues. John on lap steel guitar. George referencing Elmore James is a joke. Acknowledges that this is a hokey, inauthentic version of Chicago blues. Doesn't actually believe that 'Elmore James ain't got nothing on this ...'
The Long and Winding Road*
John later made fun of this song, said Paul was trying to re-write Simon & Garfunkel's "Bride Over Troubled Water." (BS: written and released almost a year before the "Bridge")

Perfect example of Spector's heavy handed arrangement style.
The Ballad of John and Yoko*
Chronicles events leading up to and immediately following their marriage.

Recorded by just John and Paul, a sign of their enduring friendship even during the infighting of the late 60s. George and Ringo were not around.

The song was banned in the United States due to blasphemy, (for the lyrics "christ you know it ain't easy . . . they're going to crucify me,") and in Spain, for political reasons (the line "Gibraltar near Spain" proved contentious, as Spain considered Gibraltar to be in Spain, not near it.)

Released as a single in May 1969, [B-side "Old Brown Shoe" (George)]

Bed-ins, referenced in the song, were a form of peace protest, in which Yoko and John stayed in bed for a week and talked, gave interviews, etc. 'Bagism,' also referenced, is a sort of tongue-in-cheek political belief system of John's in which he thought the world would be better if everyone just wore a bag on their head, couldn't see people's race.
Come Together*
Written after/for Timothy Leary's gubernatorial campaign. [Tim Leary is a well known psychedelic advocate / leader of the Hippies / disgraced Harvard Psychologist.] Obscure, oblique lyrics, referencing each Beatle member. Contains muffled drums, handclaps, vocal sound effects ('shoot me') and featured Billy Preston on organ.

Lennon was later sued by Big Seven (owner of Chuck Berry's songs) for lifting a line from Berry's "You Can't Catch Me": "Here come ol' flat top"

[1st verse: about George. 2nd verse: about Ringo. 3rd verse: about John. 4th verse: about Paul.]
Also released as a single on side A coupled with Something
Older song by George, dates back to The Beatles (aka 'the White Album'). George's first A-side single, featuring a GREAT guitar solo by George. (double A-side with "Come Together"). Tasteful arrangement, orchestral on the verses. [First line comes from a James Taylor song] Strange transition between verse and chorus. Guitar lick leads differently when heading to verse and heading to chorus. (music theory nerds: Median relationship between C maj and A maj triads)
Octopus's Garden*
Second solo composition by Ringo. Found out in Sardinia (while bailing on 'the White Album' sessions) that octopuses collect rocks and items to build underwater "gardens." Great guitar work/arranging by George, with lots of cool/tasty licks and sound effects (bubbles solo?). Arrangement is fun, cheeky, and innocent sounding. Children's song? Escapist dream? Utopian fantasy?
I Want You/She's So Heavy*
Two distinct parts to the song, (as reflected in the title). One of the band's longest tracks, also least words in a song. About Yoko. Includes some 'primal scream;' John had been studying primal therapy at the time. Lead guitar work BY JOHN! Extended coda with overdubbed guitar chords and white noise faded in before an abrupt cut . . . real heavy! Real doomy track in the 'she's so heavy' / coda part. The White noise was generated on a Moog Synthesizer, at the time a new machine. (George gets really into it, making a record called Electronic Sound, released on Zapple records.).
Here Comes the Sun*
Written in Eric Clapton's garden. George and Eric are very close friends at this time. Iconic finger style guitar intro. Has a positive energy/vibe like in Octopus's Garden. George coming to terms in a positive way with impending solo-hood. Lots of Moog synth in the arrangement, exuberant treatment.
Maybe the most lavish thing the Beatles ever did. Three-voice harmony, overdubbed twice (sounds like nine voices). Electric harpsichord, Moog synthesizer in the bridge (played by Harrison). Simple, almost inane lyrics become transcendental due to the harmonic setting and overall sound of the song.
Abbey Road Medley*
Climactic suite stringing together finished/unfinished songs and ideas.
The Beatles revealed that they created the medley to "use up" several previously incomplete songs. All the songs are in different keys and styles and all written by different composers to cover almost the entire B-side of Abbey Road.
You Never Give Me Your Money*
About Anne Klein maybe

Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios consisting of Paul on piano and guide vocal, Ringo on drums, John on distorted electric guitar and George on chiming electric guitar put through a Leslie amp. A rough stereo mix was also created.
Sun King*
Three-voice harmonies and spanglish lyrics
Mean Mr. Mustard*
Part of the Esher Tapes
Just some crap written in India
Polythene Pam*
Part of the Esher Tapes
Mr. Mustards sister? sex worker maybe?
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window*
Based on crazy fans
Golden Slumbers*
SIDE 2 ABBEY ROAD. lyrics by 17th c. poet Alexander Dekkers. Found by Paul.
based on the poem "Cradle Song", a lullaby by the dramatist Thomas Dekker.
Carry That Weight*
reprises you never give me your money
features vocals from all four Beatles (a rarity in their songs).
The End*
drum solo (Ringo's only), triple guitar solo (Paul, George, John, 3x), really BIG ending until . . .

It was the last song recorded collectively by all four Beatles,[2] and is the final song of the medley that constitutes the majority of side two of the album.
Her Majesty*
a 'discarded' piece of tape (that used to be between 'mustard' and 'pam') tacked at the end by an assistant engineer. The Beatles liked the effect, so it stayed. Originally unlisted (until CD re-release). (ghost track, in modern terms). EMI engineers/techs working with the Beatles knew never to throw anything out, so they just pasted it to the end of the master for safe keeping.

The song is notably one of the few tracks by the Beatles to directly refer to Queen Elizabeth II,
Free as a Bird*
Originally composed and recorded in 1977 as a home demo by John Lennon.

In 1995, a studio version of the recording, incorporating contributions from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, was released as a single by The Beatles. It was released 25 years after the break-up of the band and 15 years after the death of Lennon.
The Beatles (The White Album)
The anti- Pepper cover. Original edition had "The Beatles" embossed, with a different serial number on each edition, like a series of art prints.

Has been described as three solo projects and a song by Ringo, or as the sound of a band breaking up. This album had the most of songs recorded by a solo Beatle. (Paul is the prime offender).

The Beatles was a double album, twice the length of a normal LP, and much more expensive to make. George Martin felt that the material was not all great, and should've been squeezed into one single uniformly excellent album. They vetoed George Martin, in part because their song-writing agreement with EMI required them to finish out publishing a ton of songs, so they could finish their contractual obligation, to make a better deal. (They got a better deal the next year through the help of their new manager Allen Klein)

The album is extremely varied in terms of song genres, style, and quality.

Songwriting became much more individual; several tracks were recorded solo. At this point, there is a schism between John and Paul, partly due to Yoko's constant presence at the sessions. The other Beatles felt that it was great that John found this new love/relationship, but they resented her presence in the studio. They greet Ono with despicable racism/sexism. People would ignore Yoko, while interacting with John. John said this stress lead them into heroin use.

Tension and strife in the studio (beginning of the end...); George Martin goes on hiatus, Geoff Emerick leaves altogether. During the session period, Ringo and George just go on holiday. Ringo actually quits the band at some point, and has to be invited back. Once he returns, things are somewhat more cordial through finishing the album.

First album release on Apple Records, 22 November 1968 (first single was "Hey Jude"/"Revolution"). Distributed by EMI.
The Magical Mystery Tour Movie
Paul's idea to keep the band going was to create the Magical Mystery Tour film / double EP.

"Written" and produced by the Beatles themselves. Scripting involved drawing destinations on a map, touring around, filming things sort of impromptu at each locale.

They had been getting into transcendental meditation, were planning to go on an extended trip to India. Paul worried if they went to India, they band would just break up, each would go their own way. Making the film was an activity to keep the band going after Epstein's death.

Released by Apple Movies (more later), the first outing of the new Apple Corps business they had set up.

Largely unscripted, seat-of-the-pants approach.

Magical Mystery Tour was Shown on British TV on Boxing Day, a huge shopping holiday, in black and white. This presentation of the film probably didn't help it, as the colors account for much of the visual interest. Christmas holidays 1967

It was savaged by critics upon its televised showing, and loathed by fans. As a cheeky move, pull quotes from terrible reviews were used for advertising the theatrical release.

ALBUM: Side One (soundtrack). Side Two (Singles).
The soundtrack has a complicated release history:

British version is a double EP (2 * 7'', 45 RPM) containing just the movie soundtrack; includes a fancy 28 page color booklet. Dec 1967

US version: a full LP including the remaining 1967 singles, ["Hello, Goodbye," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Baby, You're a Rich Man," "All You Need is Love." (all with "fake stereo" mixes). Nov 1967

CD version (1987) based on the US version, fixed stereo mixes—now considered part of the core catalogue.
Yellow Submarine Album/Movie
Arguably the Beatles' worst album? Better film than album. Not particularly coherent or successful.

Recorded in '67 and '68, but not released untill Jan 1969. Most of the material had already been released in some way or another; only 2 or 3 actual new songs. This was a way to get out of the United Artists film contract. They were supposed to deliver 3 films. But, UA didn't think it counted, as The Beatles didn't actually appear in the film (except for a short cameo at the end), they were played by voice actors. Thats why they were still on the rope with UA to make the "Let It Be" film.

Director: Al Brodax.

Different references for children/adults watching the movie.

Only "Hey Bulldog" and "All Together Now" were recorded specifically for the movie soundtrack; the rest is previously recorded material.
Let it Be Album/Movie
Concept: "Get Back" to the old days/style. After the 'White Album' unpleasantness, the Beatles think that the recording/ production process/ studio tricks were too complex. They thought they could just get back to the four of them playing rock songs together, live, in a room. They wanted to record an album without any overdubs.

Glen Johns was brought in as an engineer/producer. The role of George Martin was unspecified, though he is credited as a producer. Martin took a bit of a side step on this album, with less direct involvement. A lack of focus/confusion on this project is due to Martin's not really being there, exaggerated by the fact that Glyn Johns has no report with the Beatles.

At this time, Lennon is really not interested in working as a Beatle, dealing with trying to kick Heroin, interested in Yoko and his own solo music.

Paul is the overachiever in the group, takes the lead to fill the gap left by John, which turns the others (especially George) off.

George is fed up with playing 3rd fiddle with the Beatles, resented how Paul instructed him to do things, and that John didn't care anymore.

Meanwhile, proto-reality show film/documentary was made of the recording sessions. (United Artists was not impressed with their Yellow Submarine cameo, demanded that the Beatles appear in another film to fulfill their contract). Their idea is to turn the rehearsal / recording process into a film. They were already having issues interpersonally, now they are under a microscope, being filmed the whole time.

quip: they were supposed to make a film about how to make an album, ended up making a film about how to make a band breakup.

Original album cover picture is taken from same location as the cover of Please Please Me.
Abbey Road Album
Paul sketched the iconic album cover, of The Beatles crossing the street. It took many takes to get the photo right; very hard for a group to cross a street in synchronicity and still look good.

First sessions (for "I Want You/She's So Heavy") began three weeks after the Let It Be/Get Back sessions. Bulk of the album was recorded July-to August 1969. George Martin and Geoff Emerick are back in; everyone on best behavior. Alan Parsons also works these sessions as an engineer—will later record Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project

Things are better, not perfect: John requested that his and Paul's songs be on separate sides; Paul wanted the entire album to be a medley. Eventually they compromise with the medley taking up the majority of side two, with some of John's songs woven into it.

Released September 29, 1969.

Modern sounding album. The studio had a new 8 track tape machine, plus a new solid-state mixing board (unlike previous consoles, which used vacuum tubes). Some audiophiles say the new console board creates a slightly harder, less 'warm' sound.