Discover How The Beatles Were Recorded

Museum of Making Music hosts November 17 event      05/11/07
Discover How The Beatles Were Recorded


On Saturday, November 17 at 1 PM, the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California hosts an intimate conversation with Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew about their journey of discovery as they pieced together and authored Recording the Beatles, a thorough and definitive guide that explores how the Beatles’ albums were recorded.
The book is a culmination of years of research and extensive interviews with the Beatles’ former engineers and technicians and sheds new light on classic sessions. It examines every piece of studio equipment used, fully explains the effects and recording processes, and presents the reader with an inside look at how specific songs were recorded.
During the event, Kevin and Brian will discuss how they came to write the book, how they found the information and people, and some of their key findings (out of the hundreds published in their tome) that seem unusual today or to modern methods of recording music. Some of those surprises have to do with the Beatles themselves:
“Things were different in the '60s,� relates Kehew, “and maybe not as wonderful as we might have imagined. The technology of today was far off, so things had to be done more manually.�
“On the sessions for ‘Lady Madonna’ Paul McCartney did a ‘scratch vocal,’ or a vocal recording put temporarily on tape as a reference for the players. It would be erased later and replaced with a ‘good take.’ As the sessions went on, the scratch vocal was copied to another tape to free up more tracks (they were still using 4-track machines). When transferring to the new tape, they did not copy the old vocal, as it would be replaced soon. The new tape was soon filled with new parts, but no vocal. Eventually, Paul came in to sing the new vocal part, but he could not beat the original performance from before. Unfortunately, it was on the old tape!�
Kehew continues, “So, without any means to synchronize the two machines, the vocal had to be transferred slowly to the new tape. It took an entire Saturday, which was normally a day off. Assistant engineer Jerry Boys (now a famous producer and engineer) laboriously copied the old vocal onto the new tape one phrase at a time. He would play the vocal on the first tape and record onto the second hoping it would line up for at least one phrase. If it did, it was kept; if not… rewind and try again. Until now, no one has ever known that the vocal we love today was originally just a ‘demo’ pieced together!�
In addition to these insights, the authors will show a multimedia presentation of photos and sounds, helping to demonstrate the equipment the Beatles used and the sounds that resulted. The museum believes that this is, by far, the most exciting aspect as it provides audiences with a sneak peek into one element that the book can't do: play music. The authors will then finish with a question and answer session for the audience.
Pricing and Availability:
This event is free, though a $5 donation is greatly appreciated More information:
  • www.museumofmakingmusic.org
  • www.recordingthebeatles.com More From: MUSEUM OF MAKING MUSIC



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