This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient but I do love Fig Newtons

Monday, June 2, 2008

On this date in Beatles recording history...

Tuesday 2 June, 1964*

The Beatles continue work on A Hard Day's Night, recording "Any Time at All," "Things We Said Today," and "When I Get Home."

The boys started the day recording "Any Time at All." They ran into a little problem, though, seeing as John hadn't actually finished writing the song. Seven takes later and they still didn't have a song, so it was decided they'd better take a little tea break and let John write the middle eight, which he did, and they finished it all up before the evening was through. Paul's "Things We Said Today" is a moody bit of minor key work, and "When I Get Home" is pure pop; all three songs showing that the Beatles could churn out infectious pop records with ease back in the summer of 1964.

The second engineer during the session was just a 17-year-old kid named Ken Scott (who would later go on to produce stuff from David Bowie and Supertramp). Poor thing was pretty nervous about working with the Beatles and couldn't help making a mistake. The Beatles wanted to hear a playback of the day's recordings for some friends who had come by, but the four-track machines in those days were actually in a hallway outside the control room (because they were too big to fit in the control room itself) and you could only get communication with the control room through a speaker. So when Ken Scott heard George Martin say "home" through the speaker, he thought that meant things were a wrap, so he switched off the power, put his coat on, and headed for the door. A moment later he ran into Martin who had to explain to him that "home" didn't mean quitting time but "Put When I Get Home on the machine." Scott, utterly embarrassed, booked it back to the machine and put the tape on, all the while, in typical seventeen-year-old-trying-to-act-cool style, pretending like the whole thing was no big deal even as he was having an internal freak out.

*My source for all this is a wonderfully wonkish book called "The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970" by Mark Lewisohn

No comments: