Beatles at Abbey Road: No Digital Trickery Here

Here’s the Beatles in 1964 at Abby Road Studios trying to get some takes down. This video kind of gives a peak into what they went through to get a good one.

This write-up from YouTube:

“Beatles recording I should of Known Better and And I love her – from electric to acoustic versions! Taken from every source to make complete and in order! Enjoy! Ringo even playing brushes on And I Love Her! Musicians take note of the chord changes matching the footage! Uploaded earlier and the vido was not in sync – howevr on our end it was – maybe a glich uploading thru YouTube – hopefully it will appear correct this time :o )” more

For sure, the recording process has really changed since 1964 but for the better?

Personally and for a lot of fellow record producers I’m associated in the business with, the golden age of recording which by today’s standard had so many limitations, had many more positives that made for better sounding recordings and arrangements. An example of this limitation would be the live playing and singing that had to go down all at once. The reward was the sound quality, as there is really no replacement for mic bleed and a good sounding room.

This particular segment shows Ringo switching from drums to the bongos during the session (which was the final arrangement on record). That decision had to be made right then and there.. Today that decision could have been held off but, who knows what might have happened without the group making the adjustments together?
Too often today, the lack of commitment aided by the opportunity to go over and over with virtual tracks after tracks, turns music into a science project that always ends up taking a lot more time. I’ve heard that while Beatle songs was being cut, the engineers would already have the board ready for mixing.

Now one big downfall with this “old-time” recording process is, if you sing out of tune and play out of time, you are not going to fair well. I guess you can imagine what I’m getting at- a large amount of people that have careers now in music wouldn’t have one back in the old days.

Les Paul, who may be the first to blame for inventing the multi track tape machine, told me that he invented it “out of necessity” …. but also commented that people abused the multi tracks, “It wasn’t intended for all those repeated overdubs.”

Okay Les, I guess since you didn’t invent all the new digital trickery, we can let you off the hook now.