Come Together - Reviews

Quoted from Recording Sessions: p.181-183

Monday 21 July 1969. John Lennon had kept a low profile during recent Beatles recording sessions and he hadn't offered a new song composition to the group since 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' on 14 April. (He and Yoko had released 'Give Peace A Chance' however, as the Plastic Ono Band.) In fact, new compositions were generally a little thin on the ground at this time, with recordings for the last new song, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', having begun on 9 July.
But John returned with a vengeance in this session, scorching through same terrific takes of his 'Come Together', recording the basic track on a four-track machine, then later copying the 'best' take (six) across to eight-track. Take one was a magnificent version, marked by a supreme Lennon vocal free of the massive tape echo which was applied later.

Freed too from the restrictions of a guitar, John was able to sing while simultaneously clapping his hands (again, later applied with tape echo) immediately after each time he sang the line "Shoot me!". There was only one guitar on the tape at this stage and that was George's, Paul played bass and Ringo played drums. John tapped a tambourine part-way through, too. It was a memorable recording.

"On the finished record you can really only hear the word 'shoot'," says Geoff Emerick, "the bass guitar note falls where the 'me' is." This was Emerick's first full day back as the Beatles' balance engineer. "I started working with them again at Paul McCartney's request, just a week after I had left EMI to run Apple Studios. I went back to Abbey Road as the first freelance engineer that had walked in the building."

[It is interesting to note how, due to the Beatles, EMI - and particularly EMI Studios - suffered two exoduses of staff. In 1965, with the mirrored success and fame of George Martin, he, Ron Richards and John Burgess left to form AIR, taking with them others like Emerick, Dave Harries, Keith Slaughter and various secretarial staff in later years. (And Norman Smith left Abbey Road for Manchester Square to shore up the A&R department.) With Apple, the Beatles tempted away Emerick, Ron Pender, Malcolm Davies (the first to go, he cut the masters for 'Hey Jude' and Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were The Days' at Apple in August 1968), Phil McDonald, John Smith, John Barrett, Eddie Klein and several others. They also offered jobs to Terry Condon and John Skinner but both turned the offers down.]

Tuesday 22 July. Superimposition onto take 9.
Wednesday 23 July. Superimposition onto take 9.
Friday 25 July. Further overdubs (vocal harmonies) onto take 9.
Tuesday 29 July. A guitar overdub for the middle part onto take 9.
Wednesday 30 July. Overdubbing guitars onto take 9.

Posted: 24 mei 2009

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