60's paperbacks


On this day in music history: June 25, 1966 - “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks (non-consecutive). Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the twelfth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. The first track to emerge from the recording sessions that produce the “Revolver” album, McCartney comes with the idea for the song after having a conversation with one of his aunts, asking him if he can write something that wasn’t about love or romantic involvement. During a writing session at Kenwood, John Lennon’s home in Weybridge, McCartney sees an article in the newspaper The Daily Mail about an aspiring author. The pair write the lyrics in the form of a letter to a publisher, with the author asking that they consider publishing it. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios on April 13 - 14, 1966, the basic track of the song is perfected in two takes, with the first take breaking down before complete. The single marks McCartney’s first use of his recently acquired Rickenbacker 4001 bass on a Beatles single, producing a clearer and more defined tone than his venerable Hofner bass. The band having complained to producer George Martin about the lack of bass on their records (compared to American R&B records), sets about addressing The Beatles request for more bottom end on their records. Along with assistance from EMI technical staff, recording engineer Geoff Emerick devise a way of getting a louder bass sound by using another loudspeaker as a microphone. The engineers also uses a custom piece of outboard gear called an ATOC (Automatic Transient Overload Control”) during the mastering process, allowing for the lacquers to be cut with more low end and volume, but without distortion, and for the finished records to track properly without skipping. Released the US on May 30, 1966 (June 10, 1966 in the UK), the single is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #28 on June 11, 1966, it leaps to the top of the chart just two weeks later, at the time making the second largest leap to number one in Billboard chart history from #15 to #1. The singles run at the top is temporarily interrupted when Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night” takes the number one spot on July 2, 1966. Though “Paperback Writer” rebounds and moves back to the top on July 9, 1966. “Paperback Writer” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.