Apparently Paul was obsessed, as he sometimes could be, with getting a certain sound for his lead vocal on “Oh! Darling.” According to the redoubtable Alan Parsons, who was an assistant engineer on the sessions, “My main memory of the Abbey Road sessions is of Paul coming into studio three at two o’clock or 2.30 each afternoon, on his own, to do the vocal… he’d come in, sing it and say ‘No, that’s not it, I’ll try it again tomorrow.’ ”

“I wanted it to sound as though I’d been performing it on stage all week,” Paul later explained, harkening back to The Beatles’ days in Hamburg. John liked the song — a rarity among latter-day McCartney compositions — but thought his voice would have suited it better, á la “Twist and Shout.”

Oh! Darling was a great one of Paul’s that he didn’t sing too well. I always thought that I could’ve done it better – it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell, he’s going to sing it. If he’d had any sense, he should have let me sing it.

Today marked Paul’s first try at the vocal — he would attempt it several more times before finally getting one he liked. After that, the rest of the session was devoted to “Octopus’s Garden,” with overdubs including Paul on piano as well as

Paul and George… singing in very high pitch and having Phil McDonald use limiters and compressors to produce a gargling vocal sound, matching the song’s lyric about “under the sea.” Not wishing to be outdone, Ringo thought back to “Yellow Submarine” and came up with the idea of blowing bubbles into a glass of water. “That was miked very closely to capture all the little bubbles and sounds,” recalls Alan Brown, technical engineer on the session. (The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions)

Meanwhile, Apollo 11 was making its way toward the moon. And this is probably as good a time as any to state for the record that we here at The Beatles Plus 50 have even less patience for moon-landing conspiracy theories than we do for Paul-replacement scenarios. If that’s your scene, there are plenty of other places to go. Over and out, Houston.

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