The beatles recording sessions – Mark Lewisohn

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At last: the complete, official, inside-the-studio details of every Beatles recording session.

Suspending microphones inside water jars, recording guitar solos backward, and cutting up tape and splicing it back together in random order, the Beatles experimented tirelessly. From the raw energy of their made-in-a-day debut LP Please Please Me through the technical genius of the seminal Sgt Pepper to the last album they recorded, the finely crafted Abbey Road, the Beatles sustained an unsurpassed level of creativity in the recording studio. They used the Abbey Road recording studio in ways no studio had been used before, and in the process they completely revolutionized popular music.

The photos, stories, and recording details in The Beatles: Recording Sessions open up this magic laboratory where the Beatles created the sounds that changed the world. For every day the Beatles ever laid down a track in the recording studio, this book details what songs they were recording, who was present, how many takes were done, what special effects or techniques were employed, and anything unusual that happened that day. Here are the Beatles as you’ve never seen them before: John Lennon asking to be suspended from the ceiling with a rope around his waist and spun over a microphone to achieve a unique vocal effect; George Harrison running around the studio holding a flaming ashtray over his head while Paul McCartney records the vocals of ‘Helter Skelter’; and rock-steady Ringo, after one of his rare foul-ups, grousing “We all make mistakes”.

EMI Records, the Beatles’ British record label, has made available to author Mark Lewisohn its unpublished documentation for every recording session the Beatles ever did, and has allowed him to listen to the hundreds of hours of alternative takes and unreleased tracks in their archive. From these sources, in combination with interviews with Paul McCartney and the producers, engineers, session musicians, and others who were in the studio with the band, Lewisohn has created a thorough, fascinating, and definitive record of the Beatles at work. Featuring details of every recording session, more than 350 photos in color and duotone, facsimiles of contracts, studio documents, and other memorabilia, and a rare and exclusive Paul McCartney interview, The Beatles: Recording Sessions is the last great Beatles book —a treasure of information and a loving tribute to the Beatles at their best.

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