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Publié par JEAN HELFER

GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
George and Ringo arriving at Abbey Road Studios for the recording session for Strawberry Fields Forever - November 1966
George and Ringo arriving at Abbey Road Studios for the recording session for Strawberry Fields Forever - November 1966
George and Ringo arriving at Abbey Road Studios for the recording session for Strawberry Fields Forever - November 1966

George and Ringo arriving at Abbey Road Studios for the recording session for Strawberry Fields Forever - November 1966

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 24, 28-29 November; 8-9, 15, 21-22 December 1966
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 17 February 1967 (UK), 13 February 1967 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, bongos, Mellotron
Paul McCartney: Mellotron, bass, electric guitar, timpani, bongos
George Harrison: electric guitar, svarmandal, timpani, maracas
Ringo Starr: drums, percussion
Mal Evans: tambourine
Neil Aspinall: guiro
Terry Doran: maracas
Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen, Derek Watkins, Stanley Roderick: trumpets
John Hall, Derek Simpson, Norman Jones: cellos

GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
 The first day of recording "Strawberry Fields Forever", 24 November 1966

The first day of recording "Strawberry Fields Forever", 24 November 1966

Paul McCartney arriving  at Abbey Road Studio on the 24th November 1966, to record Strawberry Fields Forever

Paul McCartney arriving at Abbey Road Studio on the 24th November 1966, to record Strawberry Fields Forever

That November John came into the studio, and we went into our regular routine. I sat on my high stool with Paul standing beside me, and John stood in front of us with his acoustic guitar and sang the song. It was absolutely lovely. Then we tried it with Ringo on drums, and Paul andGeorge on their bass and electric guitars. It started to get heavy - it wasn't the gently song that I had first heard. We ended up with a record which was very good heavy rock. Still, that was apparently what John wanted, so I metaphorically shrugged my shoulders and said: 'Well, that really wasn't what I'd thought of, but it's OK.' And off John went.

A week later he came back and said: 'I've been thinking about it, too, George. Maybe what we did was wrong. I think we ought to have another go at doing it. Up to that time we had never remade anything. We reckoned that if it didn't work out first time, we shouldn't do it again. But this time we did. 'Maybe we should do it differently,' said John. 'I'd like you to score something for it. Maybe we should have a bit of strings, or brass or something.' Between us we worked out that I should write for cellos and trumpets, together with the group. When I had finished we recorded it again, and I felt that this time it was much better. Off went John again.

A few days later he rang me up and said: 'I like that one, I really do. But, you know, the other one's got something too,'

'Yes, I know,' I said, 'they're both good. But aren't we starting to split hairs?'

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word 'split', because John's reply was: 'I like the beginning of the first one, and I like the end of the second one. Why don't we just join them together?'

'Well, there are only two things against it,' I said. 'One is that they're in different keys. The other is that they're in different tempos.'

'Yeah, but you can do something about it, I know. You can fix it, George.'

All You Need Is Ears
George Martin

"Strawberry Fields Forever" (Take 1)
Recorded EMI Studio, London, 24 November 1966
Producer George Martin
Engineer Geoff Emerick

(Mark Lewisohn)
After five months away from the studio, and three apart from each other, the Beatles came together at Abbey Road on Thursday 24 November 1966, encumbered no longer by deadlines and touring schedules, and keen to explore new song ideas and methods of recording. In the next five months they would deliver the two sides of their forthcoming single, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forvever, and the album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. After issuing 116 titles in 46 months, a rate of 30 per year, in between concert dates, film shoots, TV recordings and radio sessions, the Beatles were clearly giving themselves and their music a chance to breathe. The result was startling - few could dispute that this was an era of tremendous creativity.

Strawberry Fields Forvever typifies this: a succession of fine recordings captured the gist of the song but no one performance wholly seized its spirit (at least, not to the satisfaction of its composer), and the final master was not completed until almost a month after this initial session. As it took shape on 24 November, with an alternative lyric order and arrangement, this recording was considerably different from that ma
ster.

George Martin on Strawberry Fields Forever

Let me take you down, cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me
Let me take you down, cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

No one I think is in my tree
I mean it must be high or low
That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right
That is I think it's not too bad
Let me take you down, cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

Always, no sometimes, think it's me
But you know I know when it's a dream
I think I know I mean a "Yes" but it's all wrong
That is I think I disagree
Let me take you down, cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever

[Cranberry sauce...]

GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER

THURSDAY 24 NOVEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

With touring behind them, The Beatles retreated from public view to begin work on their eighth album. They were keen to use the studio to its full potential, experimenting with different sounds with the intention of producing their best work to date. The first song of the late-1966 sessions was John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever, which was issued as a standalone single along with Penny Lane in February 1967.

I came back to England [from India] towards the end of October and John got back from Spain. It was all predetermined when we'd meet again. Then we went in the studio and recorded 'Strawberry Fields'. I think at that point there was a more profound ambience to the band.

George Harrison
Anthology

Following considerable discussion and rehearsal, just one take of Strawberry Fields Forever was recorded on this first day. The Beatles performed the song in the key of C, as had Lennon on his most recent home demos of it.

It began with a Mellotron introduction performed by Paul McCartney, and featured Lennon and George Harrison on electric guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums. Onto track two Lennon recorded his first lead vocal, with the tape running fast so it was slower and at a lower pitch upon playback, and Harrison simultaneously added a slide guitar part.

Now we were off the road and in the studio with new songs. Strawberry Fields is the song that John had, about the old Salvation Army home for kids he used to live next door to in Liverpool. We related it to youth, golden summers and fields of strawberry. I knew what he was talking about.

The nice thing is that a lot of our songs were starting to get a little bit more surreal. I remember John having a book at home called Bizarre, about all sorts of weird thoings. We were opening up artistically and taking the blinkers off.

We used a mellotron on Strawberry Fields. I didn't think it would get past the Musicians' Union, so we didn't advertise it; we just had it on the sessions. It had what would now be called 'samples' of flute, which are actually tapes that play and then rewind. We had eleven seconds on each tape, which could be played on each key.

Paul McCartney
Anthology

Track three was filled with double-tracked vocals by Lennon during the first chorus and the third verse, and the fourth track featured harmony vocals by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. These latter two parts were omitted when the song was remixed for Anthology 2 in 1996.

MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

The Beatles recorded three more takes of Strawberry Fields Forever during this 7pm-1.30am session.


The Beatles' first task was to complete a satisfactory rhythm track. Take two followed a similar arrangement to the first session's, with a Mellotron introduction performed byPaul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison on electric guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums and maracas. It ended after the final chorus.They chose to arrange the song differently from the first session for the song, and lowered the key from C to A major. The three takes were numbered 2-4.

Take three broke down during the introduction, after Lennon complained that the Mellotron was too loud. The fourth take was complete, however, and featured Harrison using the Mellotron's guitar setting to add slide guitar and Morse code-style notes. Lennon then added lead vocals, with the tape running faster so it was slower upon playback, and McCartney added a bass guitar part to the final track.

Take four was marked 'best', albeit temporarily. Three rough mono mixes were then made for reference purposes, but after further reflection, The Beatles decided to re-record the rhythm track on the following day.

TUESDAY 29 NOVEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

The Beatles recorded two more takes of Strawberry Fields Forever, numbered 5 and 6, during this 2.30-8pm session.


The Beatles used the same arrangement as the previous day's session, with a rhythm track featuring Paul McCartney on Mellotron, John Lennon and George Harrison on electric guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums.The group began with lengthy rehearsals and discussions, before recording take 5. The performance was a false start, however, but take 6 was successfully performed through to the song's close.

Take 6 was a strong performance with an extended coda. Lennon added slowed down vocals and McCartney recorded a bass guitar part, and a reduction mix was made to free up two tracks on the tape. This mix became take 7.

John Lennon then double-tracked his vocals during the choruses, and an overdub using the Mellotron's guitar and piano settings was the last item to be recorded. Three rough mono mixes, numbered 1-3 were then made and four acetate discs were pressed for The Beatles' reference.

The group later remade the song, but the first minute of take 7 was eventually incorporated into the final release.

Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7 & Edit Piece) [Mono]
Recorded EMI Studios, London, 29 November and 9 December 1966
Producer George Martin
Engineer Geoff Emerick

(Mark Lewisohn)
Just five days after that initial take of Strawberry Fields Forever the song's arrangement was undergoing dramatic change. The master was a composite of two seperate recordings - the first minute came from Take 7 the remainder from Take 26. Presented here, issued for the first time, is the full Take 7, going beyond those first 60 seconds (indeed, including within that first minute a 23-second verse that was later excised).

The sound is mono because the recording presented here is an original mono mix - labelled RM3 - made, like Take 7, on 29 November 1966.

The conclusion of the original master (embracing Take 26) included sections flown in from a combination of edit pieces taped on 9 December featuring backwards cymbals, a "wild drum track" played by Ringo and some extemporal vocalising by John. A much longer section of this edit piece is released here, again for the first time, crossfaded on to the end of RM3. At the conclusion one can hear John twice mutter "cranberry sauce", a phrase which, less clearly audible right at the end of the master mix, has long puzzled
listeners.

THURSDAY 8 DECEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producers: George Martin, Dave Harries
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Dave Harries

The Beatles worked on two songs on this day: When I'm Sixty-Four and Strawberry Fields Forever.

The second session began at 7pm and continued until 3.40am the following morning. Although The Beatles had completed a version of Strawberry Fields Forever on 29 November 1966, John Lennon was dissatisfied with the results and had asked George Martin to score it for brass and strings.There were two scheduled sessions. The first took place from 2.30-5.30pm, and saw Paul McCartney overdub lead vocals onto When I'm Sixty-Four. None of the other Beatles were present.

The first task was to re-record the rhythm track. This took 15 attempts, numbered 9-24 with no take 19. Only nine of the takes were complete, and were faster than the previous attempts.

George Martin and Geoff Emerick arrived late to the studio as they had tickets for the première of the Cliff Richard film Finders Keepers. As The Beatles were keen to start recording, technical engineer Dave Harries oversaw the early part of the session.

Soon after I had lined up the microphones and instruments in the studio that night, ready for the session, The Beatles arrived, hot to record. There was nobody else there but me so I became producer/engineer. We recordedRingo's cymbals, played them backwards. Paul and George were on timps and bongos. Mal Evans played tambourine, we overdubbed the guitars, everything. It sounded great. When George and Geoff came back I scuttled upstairs because I shouldn't really have been recording them.

Dave Harries
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Towards the end of the session an edit was made of the work so far. The first 2:24 of take 15 was combined with the latter part of take 24, which featured Lennon muttering phrases including "Cranberry sauce" and telling Starr to calm down. An attempt at a reduction mix was then made, but was redone during the following day's session.

FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

The Beatles continued working on their remake of Strawberry Fields Forever during this session, which began at 2.30pm and ended at 10pm.

The reduction mix was labelled take 25. Onto track two of the tape Paul McCartney then recorded a lead guitar part, and two Mellotron tape sounds were added towards the end of the song. These sounds were the 'swinging flutes' and 'piano riff' pieces that came with the instrument.They had re-recorded the backing track on the previous day, and now turned their attention to overdubs. The first task of the day, however, was to create a reduction mix, placing the various instruments onto the same track of the four-track tape.

The song was then left until 15 December 1966, when more overdubs and mixes were created. The delay between sessions allowed George Martin to prepare the trumpet and cello score.

THURSDAY 15 DECEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Following a six-day hiatus, The Beatles resumed working on Strawberry Fields Forever in a session which began at 2.30pm and ended at midnight.


Martin conducted the musicians as they recorded their parts onto tracks three and four of the four-track tape. A reduction mix, numbered take 26, was then made to free up space for more overdubs. After this the rhythm parts filled track one and all other overdubs were on track two.George Martin had prepared a score and booked session musicians to play the brass and string parts. The trumpeters were Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen, Derek Watkins and Stanley Roderick, and the cellists were John Hall, Derek Simpson and Norman Jones.

John Lennon then recorded his first lead vocals onto track three, and double-tracked himself during the choruses on track four while George Harrison added a svarmandal, an Indian zither instrument.

Five mono mixes, numbered 5-9, were made towards the end of the session, and acetate discs were cut for each of The Beatles to take home.

THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966
THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966
THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966
THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966
THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966
THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966

THE BEATLES 20 DECEMBER 1966

THURSDAY 22 DECEMBER 1966

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

After reviewing the tapes of previous sessions, John Lennon decided that he liked both the original recording ofStrawberry Fields Forever and the later remake. He asked George Martin to join them together, despite them being in different keys and tempos.

That November John came into the studio, and we went into our regular routine. I sat on my high stool with Paul standing beside me, and John stood in front of us with his acoustic guitar and sang the song. It was absolutely lovely. Then we tried it with Ringo on drums, and Paul andGeorge on their bass and electric guitars. It started to get heavy - it wasn't the gently song that I had first heard. We ended up with a record which was very good heavy rock. Still, that was apparently what John wanted, so I metaphorically shrugged my shoulders and said: 'Well, that really wasn't what I'd thought of, but it's OK.' And off John went.

A week later he came back and said: 'I've been thinking about it, too, George. Maybe what we did was wrong. I think we ought to have another go at doing it. Up to that time we had never remade anything. We reckoned that if it didn't work out first time, we shouldn't do it again. But this time we did. 'Maybe we should do it differently,' said John. 'I'd like you to score something for it. Maybe we should have a bit of strings, or brass or something.' Between us we worked out that I should write for cellos and trumpets, together with the group. When I had finished we recorded it again, and I felt that this time it was much better. Off went John again.

A few days later he rang me up and said: 'I like that one, I really do. But, you know, the other one's got something too,'

'Yes, I know,' I said, 'they're both good. But aren't we starting to split hairs?'

Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word 'split', because John's reply was: 'I like the beginning of the first one, and I like the end of the second one. Why don't we just join them together?'

'Well, there are only two things against it,' I said. 'One is that they're in different keys. The other is that they're in different tempos.'

'Yeah, but you can do something about it, I know. You can fix it, George.'

All You Need Is Ears
George Martin

And indeed he could, during this 7-11.30pm session. The first recording had been performed in C major, while the second was in A major. Against the odds, Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick found that by speeding up the first version and slowing down the second, they matched perfectly. The resulting pitch was around B flat.

We gradually decreased the pitch of the first version at the join to make them weld together.

Geoff Emerick
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

First of all new mono mixes were made of both versions. These were numbered RM10 (remix mono 10) from take 7, and RM11 from take 26 (the remake). The mixes were then edited together, and the resulting version was named RM12.

The edit can be found at approximately one minute into the song, following the words "Let me take you down, 'cause I'm". From the first cello note onwards, the sound of the remake is heard.

GEORGE MARTIN & THE BEATLES : STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER
John Lennon / The Beatles ‎– It's Not Too Bad - The Evolution Of Strawberry Fields Forever
Tracklisting
Notes

From the other side of Penny Lane come these recordings of unparalleled historical importance! For the first time, collectors can trace the complete evolution of the Beatles' paramount release - "Strawberry Fields Forever". This collection includes John Lennon's earliest composing tapes, multi-tracked home demos, and unbelievable studio outtakes - all presented in the most complete and sonically stunning quality to date! Together with rare photographs and authoritative liner notes, this is one package that no fan of popular music can do without!

"I have an original tape of it around somewhere. Of how it sounded before it became the sort of psychedelic-sounding song it became on record."

John Lennon - September 1980


Here it is! John's complete composing work tape, offering the listener a unique insight into the genesis of "Strawberry Fields Forever," arguably the pivotal point in the Beatles' career. Coupling these home recordings with a demonstrative sampling of the EMI session tapes, this collection offers an unparalleled perspective of the evolution of "Strawberry Fields Forever" - from conception to release. It is an outlook unavailable for any other song in the Beatles' canon! One can actually hear the composition taking form, and aurally witness John's modus operandi in action! Many have theorized on the importance and effect of this composition on the Beatles' career, not to mention popular music as a whole. Supposals range from the accurate to the absurd, but they all have one thing in common - they aren't much fun to read! As Mr. Lennon himself once said, "Writing about music is like talking about fucking." So rather than wax prophetic about the "drooping appoggiatura" or the "sinister distortions of the instrumental sonorities", I'd like to present more of a technical history of the recordings and the events with surrounded them. Listeners who are interested in the inspiration behind the composition should forsake the essays, and search out the transcripts of John's marathon interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine. The inspiration goes deeper than the image of the gothic orphanage, once visible from the now famous gates.

THE SANTA ISABEL DEMOS

The story begins while John was on location in Spain, filming 'How I Won The War' with producer/director Richard Lester. It was during these early weeks of Autumn, 1966, while temporarily residing in the tiny valley village of Santa Isabel, that John's new composition began to take shape. (Although some have erroneously attributed its impetus from a few notes played by John on a Hohner mouth organ during the Beatles' stay at New York City's Plaza Hotel in February, 1964!)

The first section of the tape finds John alone with his nylon-stringed classical guitar, which has been drastically de-tuned to accommodate his vocal range. The ambiance and instrumentation are also reminiscent of his earlier demos for 'She Said She Said.' After a few moments of warming up with a decidedly 'Paperback Writer-esque' lick, John switches off the portable tape recorder, then returns with the first of six attempts at "It's Not Too Bad".

At this stage, only the second verse exists, and in a lyrically incomplete stage at that. Two takes are recorded initially, both consisting of the sole verse sung repeatedly. After a seemingly brief pause, John returns with the verse completed and continues to polish the meter with each of the two performances that follow. In the fourth and final of these
close-miked passes, a skeletal version of the chorus is first introduced.

After some off mic composing has taken place, John resumes recording, this time taking advantage of the acoustical properties found in the bath. The two "distant" takes show considerable progress, with part of the third verse and a nearly completed chorus having been added. The acoustic demos concluded with a brief snatch recorded at another sitting, of John polishing a portion of the second verse. There is a possibility that this snippet is the remnant of a previous sessions that was spooled back and recorded over.

THE KENWOOD DEMOS

The next batch of home demos was recorded in the two week interim between John's return from Spain on November 7th and the Beatle's return to the studio on November 24th. Once John was ensconced in his home studio, tucked away in the upstairs loft at Kenwood, he was able to experiment with a wider range of instrumentation and production techniques.

Appearing on this tape is the first evidence of John's primitive "sound on sound" recording technique. To achieve these "overdubs," John would play back a previously recorded performance through an amplified speaker, and record the ambient song along with a new live performance (the overdub) onto a second tape machine. He utilized this technique as late as the 'Double Fantasy' pre-production recordings some fourteen years later. While effective at capturing multiple Lennons, the technique was horrific from a technical standpoint, exponentially degrading the original performance with each "overdub"!

The reel presented in this segment consists of John's overdubs onto another series of home demos: one instrumental, one with vocal, both replete with false starts. Since John was not utilizing true "multi-track" technology, these undubbed performances existed on a separate reel and are not included here. In addition, one must realize that these recordings are work tapes. They are the rough notes used to realize the final objective: an accurate demo recording. The fragmentary nature of these recordings is akin to the writer's overflowing waste bin of discarded and half-finished ideas.

After a few attempts at rehearsing and adding some fumbling guitar flourishes to the instrumental demo, John moves on. He double tracks his lead vocal onto the other pre-recorded take, which still lacks the first verse. After a handful of technical interruptions, John abandons these recordings and starts anew on his Epiphone Casino. It is in this composing sequence that the melody and lyric finally gel.

During these performances, an unknown individual is present, most likely a musical associate judging from the comments to which John passes. By this time the composition has shifted to the key of C in comparison to the takes of 'It's Not Too Bad' which were recorded and performed somewhere near the key of A. The first attempt breaks down a few lines into the performance, and after some tuning, pickup and recordings level adjustments, he resumes. The second, third, and fourth endeavors break down even sooner than the initial take, as John wrestles with the dynamics. Growing impatient, John alters the rhythm for the next two passes, although he quickly abandons the idea.

The next two takes are keepers. Even though the first verse is still absent, all other elements, save for the introduction, are present. An edited, resequenced and sonically squashed version of the sixth and seventh takes appear on 'Anthology 2'. This "demo sequence" consists of a complete take six, John's comments which followed take four, and a heavily edited take seven. In addition, for reasons that are unclear, the sequence has been sped up one half step (to C#).

The final stage in the home demo process was to flesh out his simple arrangement by adding vocal and mellotron overdubs. As the unidentified assistant cued up the final composing sequence on the Brennell tape machine, John warmed up his new Mellotron Mark II. As the incomplete passes played, John experimented with numerous "samples" and spastic impressions, before adding "wine glasses," "pipe organ" and a double tracked vocal to the last demo take.

It was time to go to the studio.

THE EMI SESSIONS

On November 24th, The Beatles entered EMI for their first sessions since completing the 'Revolver' LP over five months earlier. This evening, starting at 7pm in Studio Two, they dedicated the entire 7 1/2 hour session to recording Take 1 of John's new composition. This take also appears on 'Anthology 2' in an unedited form, although the backing vocals have been mixed out for no apparent reason. This collection presents the take as originally performed, with the backing track in the key of B-natural.

It should be noted that the versions appearing on this release are undocumented stereo remixes, balanced from the original multi-track tapes. Although some analogue artifacts are still apparent, this collections offers the highest fidelity source of this material ever to surface.

The following evening was spent recording their 1966 Christmas single, 'Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas'. Then after breaking for the weekend, the Beatles returned to Studio Two on Monday, the 28th of November. It was during this evening session that Takes 2-4 were recorded and three rough mono mixes of Take 4 (RM1-RM3) were prepared.

The next evening saw recording of what would become the basic track for the first section of 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. Once again working in Studio Two, but this time starting in the afternoon, takes 5 and 6 were committed to tape. Take 6 was determined as the "best", and was treated to a tape reduction, Take 7. The Beatles then added more vocals, piano and bass guitar. Once the overdubs were completed, three mono remixes of Take 7, incorrectly numbered RM-1 - RM-3, were completed.

RM3, of Take 7 with overdubs appears here taken from a contemporary acetate. Although this version is not stellar from a sonic standpoint, it does feature the complete ending in comparison to the 'Anthology 2' version. This commercially released version differs as a result of being crossfaded with an excerpt of Take 25 as prepared on December 9th, 1966. Takes 2 through 7 were all performed in the key of A major, which is how they are presented here. Overdubs were recorded at various speeds lending a unique quality upon playback.

At this point, John expressed his dissatisfaction in the Beatles' recording to George Martin and requested that the producer prepare a score. On Thursday, December 8th, the Beatles recorded an additional 15 attempts at the backing track during an 8 hour plus session in Studio Two. Of takes 9-24 (there was no take 8 or take 19), eleven were complete according to the studio documentation. It was determined that a composite consisting of the first 3/4 of take 15, and the final 1/4 of take 24 would provide the most suitable backing. An attempt to prepare this edit was abandoned until the next day.

The next afternoon in Studio Two, a tape to tape reduction was prepared of the previously described edit, which now occupied track 1 of Take 25. The Beatles then overdubbed swordmandel, additional percussion, and George's guitar solo onto track 2.

Over the next week, George Martin finalized his score for three cellos and four trumpets, and on December 15th, these overdubs were layered onto tracks 3 and 4 of the multi-track tape. It appears as though the score was prepared in the key of C and recorded at roughly 53cps in order to sound as though it were in the key of B-natural upon playback. This explains why George Martin's count-in sounds so unnatural. The reason? Quite possibly, it was the ease of notation and performance. Even though these were highly-trained classical musicians, it is easier to deal with no incidentals as opposed to five. The mix of Take 25 appearing on this collection consists of tracks 1, 3 and 4, with a slight amount of bleed-through from track 2.

The studio musician's efforts were permanently committed to the master tape upon a tape reduction of take 25 into tracks 1 and 2 of take 26. John then recorded two new lead vocals onto tracks 3 and 4 of the multi-track, with the speed adjusted to sound in the key of B-natural upon playback. Upon completion of these overdubs, 5 mono mixes (RM5-9) were prepared. It has been thoroughly documented that John's infamous "cranberry sauce" statement (undoubtedly inspired by some Thanksgiving leftovers) was added after the tape reduction into Take 26. However, it is apparent in listening to the mix of Take 25 that this statement was indeed part of Take 24's backing track.

Nearly a week later, on December 21st, during a late night session in Studio Two, a piano overdub and more Lennon vocals were added, thus completing the actual recording process. A mix of Take 26, with these overdubs in place, appears here adjusted to play in the key of B-Natural.

The next day, Martin and company were faced with the task of remixing and editing, not to mention John's innocent request to join the two completed version. Fresh remixes of Take 7 (RM10) and Take 26 (RM11) were prepared with speed adjustments, then edited together as Mono Remix 12. It is this remix which appears on the currently-available CD single.

A week later, on December 29th, a tape copy was made of RM12 (ingeniously labeled RM13) and dispatched for US consumption. It was on this day as well, in a session lasting just under an hour, that the production team worked in the Studio Three control room to mix 'Strawberry Fields Forever' into stereo for the first time. A single remix of take 7 (RS1) and two remixes of Take 26 (RS2 & RS4) were completed. RS1 and RS2 were then edited together as RS3, while a second attempt, joining RS1 and RS4 as RS5, proved to be most successful. It is this final mix which closes this collection.

RS5 first appeared on the stereo 'Magical Mystery Tour' EP/LP, depending on your country of origin. It differs from the "German" stereo mix prepared on Oct. 26, 1971, which is currently the standard mix utilized by EMI for all official releases. An additional stereo remix was prepared by George Martin in 1988 for inclusion in the "Imagine: John Lennon" documentary where it appears heavily edited. The accompanying soundtrack CD contains the standard EMI mix.

Well, that about wraps it up. I hope you've enjoyed this romp through Strawberry Fields. I know I have. Until next we meet, remember "tuoba gnuh teg ot gnihton dna, lear si gnihton"!

Ernest Goodbody - OSIHF (Ret.)
Somewhere in Germany
August, 1997

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