60's paperbacks


On this day in music history: May 30, 1966 - “Paperback Writer” / “Rain” by The Beatles is released (UK release is on June 10, 1966). Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the first track to emerge from the recording sessions that produce the “Revolver” album. McCartney comes up 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 about the lack of bass on their records (compared to American R&B records), recording engineer Geoff Emerick devises a way of getting a louder bass sound by using another loudspeaker as a microphone, also using a piece of outboard gear created by EMI’s technical engineers called “Automatic Transient Overload Control” during the mastering process.“Rain” (written primarily by John) is inspired when the band are on tour in Australia in 1965, when they arrive in Melbourne in poor weather. Recorded between April 14 - 16, 1966 at Abbey Road, the song is recorded with the four track machine running at a slightly slower speed with the band playing the rhythm track at a faster pace, so that the track and vocals take on a different texture on playback at normal speed. Lennon also hits upon the idea of having part of his vocal playing back backwards when he takes a work tape home and accidentally puts the tape on upside down. He likes how it sounds so much, that he has George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick to take part of his vocal from the master, copy it and insert the backward vocal into the final master. “Paperback Writer” becomes The Beatles thirteenth US number one single on June 25, 1966 (2 weeks non-consecutive). The B-side “Rain” (written by John Lennon, also credited to Lennon - McCartney), peaking at #23 on the Hot 100 on July 9, 1966.