June 25, 1968: On this day in history the Beatles made a monumental change in the way they approached recording in the studio. It would forever alter their approach to the recording of every Beatles song and Beatles album thereafter.
Prior to this day, the Beatles had approached studio recording in more traditional and structured ways, as dictated by the adults in charge, where the band would rehearse and then start cutting rhythm tracks once they came into the recording studio to record that particular Beatles song.
But on June 25, 1968 they reflected together on how they recorded their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Beatles album and they realized something in the context of their recent studio freedom:
They had not recorded more than ten takes per song on most instruments and vocal parts during the recording of Sgt. Pepper, and most often usually half that many takes. So they thought, why not record every rehearsal session as a studio session, keeping the best tracks of the many takes or run throughs during the course of the rehearsal/recording sessions?
My guess is they wanted to consolidate rehearsal and recording to enjoy their personal time, relationships, money and so they decided on this day in history to just roll tape whenever they were in the studio from that day forward.
In today’s world of digital recording, this is a common and technically easy thing to do but in 1968, with the meter running on studio time, most bands had no choice but to rehearse, get it tight, then record. The Beatles had the luxury of having Producer George Martin and others sorting it out in post production from what was captured on tape.
The first Beatles song they tried this new method of recorded rehearsing on was a track that ended up being re-recorded the next day. This song turned out to be John’s “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide (‘Except for Me and My Monkey).”
So the Beatles broke their new rule on night one but they obviously got better at it. The great part about this looser approach is that many of these outtakes were possibly better than the released version.
Most of these Beatles recordings from these types of recording sessions constitute the Beatles Anthology album box set released in the late ‘90s and they are some of my favorite versions of Beatles songs.
The Beatles On This Day In History: June 25, 1968
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