This was the day that The Beatles — having been spoiled by their experiences with Trident Studios’ 8-track tape machine — decided to help themselves to the one that was languishing in an EMI Studios bigwig’s office. (A quick reminder that when we talk about an 8-track, we are talking about a professional machine that allows recording on eight separate tracks, not the kind of 8-track you would have used to listen to Styx or Cheap Trick back in the day.)

Being who they were, they escaped punishment for this caper, but the purloined item was not without its downsides. According to Mike Sheady, who worked as a tape op at Abbey Road,

Unless the tape operator remembered to mute the output from the machine when you spooled back … it would send the spooling noise straight into the Beatles’ cans (headphones), almost blasting their heads off. They got very uptight about that, understandably, because it can be very disconcerting.

The new machine was first used on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” After the previously recorded tracks were mixed down from the existing tapes, George Harrison spent several hours trying to get a backwards guitar solo to sound the way he wanted it to. But he just couldn’t seem to quite get there. It may have been at this point that he said to himself, “Hmm… who else do I know who plays guitar?”

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