Having decided that they liked the last of yesterday’s “Helter Skelter” takes, lucky #21, today The Beatles set about adding overdubs: vocals, more guitar, more drums, and some piano. Then, in the spirit of general anarchy, it was decided to add sax and trumpet — but to have them played by John Lennon and Mal Evans, who had no particular skill with those instruments.

The Beatles Bible identifies today, not yesterday, as the session at which George Harrison ran around with a flaming ashtray on his head. But I got my information from Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, and I have never known Lewisohn to be wrong. This is of course a matter of the minutest importance and can safely be left unresolved. We can all agree that a receptacle of some kind was in fact set aflame and worn by a Beatle named George, and isn’t that what really matters?

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