Having read that Paul McCartney flew to LA and then to San Francisco, and that the purpose of the trip was for him to meet up with Jane Asher to celebrate her 21st birthday, I just assumed that they would be rendezvousing in Baghdad-by-the-Bay. It all seemed just so perfectly romantic. But no, Jane was actually in Denver, so I’m not sure why Paul went to SF; it’s not exactly on the way. Probably he just wanted to check out what was happening there.

At this point San Francisco was already becoming known as the epicenter of the psychedelic music scene; the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company were all active, though only the Airplane had made records (their second album, Surrealistic Pillow, had been released in February).

It was the Airplane who Paul sought out, visiting the Fillmore where they were rehearsing, then hanging out at Marty Balin and Jack Casady’s apartment. Their attempts to play music together were hampered by the fact that all the Airplane’s guitars were right-handed, and lefty Paul (unlike Jimi Hendrix) was not used to playing upside-down. Instead they just got high, though Paul supposedly turned down the Airplane’s offer of DMT and stuck with good old marijuana.

Meanwhile, back in London, George Martin and Geoff Emerick were hard at work putting the finishing touches on Sgt. Pepper. In The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn sums up the day’s accomplishments with haiku-like precision:

Final mono and stereo remixing of “Within You Without You,” with heavy use of ADT. At George Harrison’s request a few seconds of laughter was edited onto the end of both mixes, courtesy of the Abbey Road sound effects collection, “Volume 6: Applause and Laughter.”

This last part may have been because G.H. had spent a lot of time listening to “Within You Without You” over the last few days and decided, “Hmm, I sound a bit pompous, don’t I?” So he decided to add some laughter to lighten things up, similar to the way John chose a goofy Ringoism as the title to leaven the heaviness of “Tomorrow Never Knows.” It doesn’t really work in either case, but that’s OK; it didn’t stop anybody from listening.

 

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