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Past Masters, Vol 2

The Beatles
Past Masters, Volume 2

CDP7 90044 2

1. Day Tripper

(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1965
A double A-sided single with ‘We Can Work It Out’, completed in three takes, one session, on 16 October. The single was released simultaneously with Rubber Soul on 3 December 1965 but neither song appeared on that LP.

2. We Can Work It Out

(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1965
The joint double-A with ‘Day Tripper’. The recording commenced with two takes on 20 October 1965, and was completed with an overdub nine days later.

3. Paperback Writer
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1966
The Beatles’ first single of 1966, released on 10 June and recorded in two takes and an overdub on 13 and 14 April.

4. Rain
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1966
The B-side of ‘Paperback Writer’, and the first released Beatles song to feature a backwards tape (John’s final verse). The instrumental recording – played fast and remixed with the tape machine on slow vari-speed – commenced on 14 April 1966 and the song was completed with vocal overdubs two days later, the seventh of eight takes providing the master version.

5. Lady Madonna
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1968
Recorded for a Spring 1968 single and release while the Beatles were in India studying Transcendental Meditation. The five-take recording commenced on 3 February and was completed with a four-man brass overdub on 6 February. Issued on 15 March.

6. The Inner Light
(Harrison) (P) 1968
The B-side of ‘Lady Madonna’, and the first George Harrison composition to appear on a Beatles single. The instrumental track was recorded in five takes by Indian musicians, under George’s direction, at the EMI studio in Bombay on 12 January 1968. George’s lead vocal and John and Paul’s brief backing vocals were overdubbed at Abbey Road on 6 and 8 February.

7. Hey Jude
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1968
An enormously successful single, issued on 30 August 1968. The recording commenced at Abbey Road on 29 July but switched to Trident Studios, in Soho, for a re-make version two days later. A one-take recording, with overdubs, it was completed at Trident on 1 August.

8. Revolution
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1968
One of three ‘Revolution’ songs released by the Beatles in 1968: this was the last to be started but the first to be issued, on the B-side of ‘Hey Jude’. This 16-take recording commenced on 10 July and was completed two days later. Although fully proficient themselves, the Beatles invited Nicky Hopkins, one of the British rock scene’s leading session musicians, to contribute the piano track.

9. Get Back
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1969
The original title track of the film and recording sessions which became Let It Be. The song was recorded live, without overdubs but with organist Billy Preston, at the Beatles’ new Apple Studios in Savile Row, London, on 28 January 1969, five days after it had first been attempted. (None of the recording takes were numbered.) Issued as a single on 11 April 1969. This is different from the version of ‘Get Back’ which closed the Let It Be compact disc, taped the previous day, 27 January.

10. Don’t Let Me Down
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1969
Recorded live – again with Billy Preston – just minutes after the completion of ‘Get Back’ on 28 January 1969. Again, none of the recording takes were numbered, but the song had first been taped on 22 January. Issued as the B-side of ‘Get Back’.

11. The Ballad of John and Yoko
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1969
Recorded and mixed in one swift 8½ hour session at Abbey Road on 14 April 1969 and issued as a Beatles single on 30 May, closely following ‘Get Back’. The released version was the tenth of 11 takes. Only John and Paul played on this recording, the instrumentation being, John: acoustic guitar, two lead guitars and percussion, plus lead vocal; Paul: drums, bass guitar, piano and maracas, plus backing vocals.

12. Old Brown Shoe
(Harrison) (P) 1969
Another George Harrison B-side composition, backing ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’. Recorded in four takes at Abbey Road which began on 16 April 1969 and were completed two days later.

13. Across The Universe
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1969
Different – but also not different! – from the version on the Let It Be compact disc. This one is commonly known as the ‘Wildlife’ version because it first appeared on 12 December 1969 on a charity album for the World Wildlife Fund, and was adorned especially with that LP with wildlife sound effects. But it had been recorded much earlier, in eight takes on 4 and 8 February 1969, as a rival to ‘Lady Madonna’ for the Beatles’ March 1968 single. In March 1970 Phil Spector re-worked this original tape, omitted some of the original instrumentation in a new remix, omitted the sound effects, slowed it down and added an orchestra and a choir for Let It Be.

14. Let It Be
(Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1970
This version issued as a single on 6 March 1970, seemingly (but again actually not) different from the recording on the compact disc of the same name. the chief difference was the lead guitar solo and a slightly shorter running time. In truth, the two versions were mixed from the same eight-track master recording which contains both guitar solos playing simultaneously. The song has a long recording history; it was first recorded at Apple on 25 January 1969; the released versions come from a 31 January session, with further overdubs taped on 30 April 1969 and 4 January 1970, the latter being the last ever Beatles recording session, although John was absent.

15. You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)* (Lennon/McCartney) (P) 1970
A bizarre recording, issued on 6 March 1970 as the B-side of ‘Let It Be’ but which already spanned 34 months. It was recorded, without vocals, in five separate parts at Abbey Road on 17 May, 7 June and 8 June 1967 and was the compiled into one all encompassing master take on 9 June 1967. It then sat on a shelf until 30 April 1969, when John and Paul added vocals and, aided by their assistant Mal Evans, sound effects. By this time the song lasted more than six minutes though despite making three different mono remixes it was again left unissued. On 26 November 1969 John Lennon edited down the best mix to four minutes for release as a single by the Plastic Ono Band. That single never appeared an then, a little over three months later, the song finally cropped up as this Beatles B-side. A curious burlesque comedy number, conceived by John, it also features Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones playing saxophone. (His contribution was taped on 8 June 1967.)

Produced by George Martin
Compilation by Mark Lewisohn

Original Sound Recordings made by EMI Records, Ltd., This compilation (P) 1988 EMI Records Ltd. © 1988 EMI Records, Ltd.

Stereo except *Mono

Twenty-two singles, an EP with exclusive song material, 13 albums – one a double-set. By no means a bad haul for just seven years of recording activity. For apart from their unquestionable talent, the Beatles were mightily prodigious. So much, in fact, that to gather together a complete collection of their output is no easy task. While the material remains available – it still sells in such quantities that it has to be – the prospective purchaser has to gather up veritable armfuls of small and large sized vinyl, tape or shiny discs.

This compact disc, and its sister volume issued simultaneously, simplifies matters considerably. If you have the other 13 CDs, and these two, you have everything the Beatles, the most successful artists in the history of recorded sound, commercially issued during their remarkable reign. These two sets gather together A and B-sides of singles, those special EP tracks, oddities like the Beatles’ two German-language recordings, a song recorded primarily for the American market and another especially donated to a charity album. But don’t fall under the illusion that these songs are mere “fillers”. ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘We Can Work It Out’, ‘Hey Jude’ and many others like them didn’t exactly wallow in the lower reaches of the chart.

The singles, couplings and release dates referred to in the above notes apply to releases originated in the United Kingdom.

Compilation and Notes by Mark Lewisohn. Information extracted from the definitive book on the Beatles at Abbey Road to be published in the UK by Hamlyns during 1988.

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