Today, after almost a week of rehearsal, Ringo finally made his appearance on Cilla Black’s TV show. No recording of this seems to have survived, if indeed one ever existed, but The Beatles Bible describes it this way:

[Ringo] appeared during the opening credits and in a number of skits. In the first, he assisted Black in sorting through her fan mail and introduced one of her singing performances, I’m Playing Second Fiddle To A Football Team. A second sketch saw him interact with Peter Brough and performing with his own “dummy,” introduced as Ariadne but actually Black in a school uniform.

Starr and Black duetted unaccompanied on the 1905 song Nellie Dean while he drank from a pint of beer, and finally they sang and danced to a 1917 song entitled Do You Like Me?

While Ringo was out gallivanting, the other three were hard at work in the studio. If you call that work; it’s not exactly coal mining, is it?

The first order of business was to transfer the backing track of “The Inner Light,” which George had recorded in India, from two-track tape to four-track so overdubs could be added. George then recorded his lead vocals, with words taken from the Tao Te Ching, after a little pep talk by Paul. According to Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions,

George seemed reluctant to record his vocal, according to tape operator Jerry Boys. “George had this big thing about not wanting to sing it because he didn’t feel confident he could do the song justice. I remember Paul saying, ‘You must have a go, don’t worry about it, it’s good.’ ”

When George was done they added one more track, of an Indian instrument called the shehnai, and mixes of the song were made. “The Inner Light” would appear as the B-side of The Beatles’ next 45, making it the first George song to appear on a single.

At this point they took a break — perhaps to watch Ringo on the telly — and then went to work on “Lady Madonna,” adding vocals, piano, and handclaps. Paul had an idea that he wanted some brass on the track, and so the three Beatles present stood around a microphone together, humming through cupped hands in an attempt to sound like horns.

Paul was unsatisfied with the results — though I believe some remnant of the humming remains in the final mix — and decided that he wanted real horns. And so, abracadabra, four horn players were summoned to the studio. Says saxophone player Harry Klein:

I was in the bath at about 6:30 in the evening when [EMI’s session booker] called and said “Are you working tonight?” “No, I’m in the bath!” “Well get over to EMI as quick as you can….”

There was no written music but we played around with a few riffs until Paul liked what he heard. And then we recorded it – 101 times! I remember there was a big pile of meditation books in the corner of the studio, like the back room of a publisher’s office, and I also recall that they asked if we wanted a bite to eat. We were expecting a terrific meal but a few minutes later someone returned with pie and chips!

And what, may I ask, is wrong with pie and chips? Unless it’s, you know, the flaming kind:

0 0 votes
Article Rating