It seems I was a little premature in saying that the boys “put the finishing touches” on “Revolution” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” last week. Having pondered the latest mixes of each over the weekend, today John and Paul decided that further changes were necessary.

In the case of “Revolution,” it was a simple matter of remixing, making the guitar intro even more loud and raucous. But much to the dismay of everyone else in the studio, Paul wanted to completely redo his lead vocal for “Ob-La-Di.” He tried it over and over, according to Geoff Emerick, “in search of some kind of elusive perfection that only he could hear in his head.”

When George Martin suggested “rephrasing the last line of each verse,” Paul snapped, says Emerick.

“If you think you can do it better, why don’t you fucking come down here and sing it yourself?” he snarled as he whipped off his headphones and glared up at the control room.

Stunned, I looked over at George. Even he couldn’t understand why Paul was still trying to redo the vocal track; in those days you simply didn’t spend huge amounts of time doing that sort of fine-tuning. But as the ferocity of McCartney’s vocal attack sunk in, he turned pale, clearly choking back his anger and humiliation.

Remember, now, that these are British people. That kind of talk is simply not cricket. Emerick continues:

What happened next shocked me to the core: in sheer frustration, quiet, low-key George Martin actually began shouting back at Paul.

“Then bloody sing it again!” he yelled over the talkback, causing me to wince. “I give up. I just don’t know any better how to help you.”

This dust-up was the last straw for Emerick, who had been growing increasingly unhappy with the tense working conditions. After this session he asked to be relieved of his Beatles duties and was granted his wish. His last contribution to the White Album was recording the first takes of a new John song, “Cry Baby Cry.”

This was also the day when Apple officially moved into its new headquarters at 3 Savile Row. I’ll leave you with a couple paragraphs on that subject from the redoubtable Derek Taylor:

The Apple building is in Savile Row, a street which believes itself to be awfully important. It lies behind Regent Street, another street which has a high opinion of itself. Both are in the Western End of London, glamorised some time between the wars by the title “West End,” a phrase much affected by the media to suggest a beautiful way of life in which big band leaders and rich society people wined and dined and opined on the really essential things like oysters and quails and champagne and staying up late and keeping things much the way they are, only better and bigger and finer.

Savile Row didn’t really welcome the Beatles. Many of the shopkeepers there, silly, snobbish, growly, obsequious people, believed that since they had been selling marvellous suits to marvellous people they had a right to be the only ones there which is about as daft as you can get, for, as Lewis Carroll said, a cat may look at a king, though few enough choose to. When the Beatles gave their wonderful rooftop concert and, however briefly, gave West London a shining hour of absolutely unique excitement, in 1969, it was the stiffnecked shits of Savile Row who called in the law and had the music stopped.

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