Paul McCartney in America; Beatles Finish ‘Sgt Pepper.’
Tony Barrow, KRLA Beat, 5 May 1967
Paul McCartney flew from London to the West Coast of America, via Paris, accompanied by Mal Evans who is one of The Beatles’ two remaining road managers. It was Mal who acted as Paul’s traveling companion late last year when the Beatle took off for an unplanned vacation, driving down through France into Spain and, finally, making an on-the-spot decision to visit North Africa for a brief cine’-safari in Kenya.
With Jane The simple but important motive behind Paul’s trip to America was to spend time with Jane Asher before and on her 21st birthday. His travel plans were cloaked in utter secrecy since Paul made it clear that he wanted to avoid publicity.
So that he could get away from London on time, The Beatles worked to an April 2 deadline on the final recording sessions for their next 12 album. They didn’t quite make it—while Paul was away extra orchestral accompaniment was added to a ballad track entitled “She’s Leaving Home.”
Otherwise the main work remaining unfinished was that of re-balancing and finally mixing all the recordings, a long and intricate job involving a series of tape playback meetings between producer George Martin and The Beatles themselves.
Named Now everything has been worked out and the album has a title (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) and a U.K. release date (early June). What’s more, there is to be a most elaborate open-out album cover carrying, in addition to much highly decorative artwork, colorful new photographs of John, Paul, George and Ringo. For the photo session they hired an assortment of military gear from a theatrical costume agency in London!
The album takes its title from the song which will be heard on Side One, Band One. As this issue of BEAT goes to press The Beatles have yet to decide the precise running order of the rest of the tracks but I can reveal exclusive details of at least a few recordings involved.
Ringo’s track, one of the last to be written and recorded, started out with the title “Bad Finger Boogie” but this has been amended to “A Little Help From My Friends.”
Two For George George wrote and recorded two of his own original items during the 4-month series of sessions. One is to be held in the can for future use but the other, called “Within You And Without You,” is amongst the Sgt. Pepper selections. Other tracks include “A Day In The Life” (which has full orchestral accompaniment supplied by no less than 41 top musicians). “Good Morning, Good Morning” (for which brass men from Sounds Inc. were brought in to produce the beefy R & B backing). “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” (with lyrics which John based upon the wording of an old theatrical poster he bought at an antique shop). “Rita” (all about a female traffic warden) and “When I’m Sixty-Four” (Paul’s novelty specialty with a Vaudeville influence.)
A bright meteor sped across the skies in the lower Florida Keys on April 25, and the flash was caught on a Monroe County sheriff deputy’s dashcam.
Sgt. Evan Calhoun was behind the wheel when the meteor appeared. In the video, it can be seen from the upper left hand top portion of the video, before breaking up. Credit: MCSO – Florida Keys via Storyful
In 1963, the first Beatles album was completed in a day. Four years on, sessions now ran through the night into the early hours. A song might start with only a basic melody so copious studio time was spent on building up the arrangements and rehearsing and recording a basic track, slowing or speeding up the tape or playing it backwards, adding parts as they went along. Session musicians were brought in to augment the track where necessary. John listens intently to a playback and watches with Paul while George makes a point. In retrospect, ‘Sgt Pepper’ could be seen as the last unified Beatles project where all four were working towards and co-operating on a common purpose. George’s main contribution was the philosophical ‘Within You Without You’ and he is seen working through the arrangement on a harmonium watched by visiting Indian musician, Amiya Dasgupta, erroneously identified in ‘The Beatles Book’as Ravi Shankar’s brother. Other visitors to the session included Sean O’Mahony (talking to Mal) and Dick James (seen behind George Martin). - From ‘Looking Through You’.
March 30,1967 - George Harrison with Mal Evans, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr during the cover shoot for the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band album. held at Chelsea Manor Studios with photographer Michael Cooper.