Birthday - Reviews

Quoted from Recording Sessions: p.158

Wednesday 18 September. Studio Two: 5.00pm - 4.30am. Recording: 'Birthday' (takes 1-20; Tape copying: 'Birthday' (take 20 into takes 21 and 22). Recording: 'Birthday' (SI onto take 22). Mono mixing: 'Birthday' (remix 1, from take 22).

"I had mentioned to Paul a couple of days earlier about The Girl Can't Help It being on television during this evening," says Chris Thomas. [This was the first British TV transmission of the classic 1956 rock and roll film, shown on BBC2 between 9.05 and 10.40 pm in the series The Hollywood Musical.] "The idea was to start the session earlier than usual, about five o'clock in the afternoon, and then all nip around the corner to Paul's house in Cavendish Avenue, watch the film and go back to work.

"So on the day Paul was the first one in, and he was playing the 'Birthday' riff. Eventually the others arrived, by which time Paul had literally written the song, right there in the studio. We had the backing track down by about 8.30, popped around to watch the film as arranged and then came back and actually finished the whole song. It was all done in a day!"

'Birthday' is a remarkable recording, displaying Paul McCartney's great versatility. Just the day before he had been working on 'I Will', a ballad in anyone's book; now he was writing - right there in the studio- one of the Beatles' most compelling rock and roll songs, and lending it the McCartney power vocal in a style reminiscent of 'Long Tall Sally'.

'Birthday' was also the sort of song into which any idea would fit. When the other Beatles arrived they all tossed in little contributions here and there, just as, when the recordings started, session visitors Patti Harrison and Yoko Ono were recruited to add backing vocals. The recordings began on four-track but were transferred across to eight-track to accomodate all the overdubs and instruments which, for the record, were: drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, tambourine, piano, handclaps (helped out by Mal Evans), the backing vocals and the lead vocal, predominantly Paul, but joined on accasions by John.

Between 4.30 and 5.00 in the morning the completed 'Birthday' recording was mixed for mono. The stereo would be done on 14 October.

Posted: 11 mrt 2012

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