Monday, December 13, 2010

1963, February 25: Mixing: Details

PLEASE PLEASE ME

(LP)

Another One-Day Affair. Except for the previously-completed “Love Me Do” (Andy White version, Mono mixed September 11, 1962), “P.S. I Love You” (single, Mono mixed September 11, 1962), and “Please Please Me” (single, Mono mixed November 30, 1962), the mixing of the 14 songs for the Please Please Me LP, both Mono and Stereo, took place on one day, February 25, 1963.

Stereo Mixing. Lewisohn, in Recording Sessions, gave a linear chronology that included two stretches of Stereo mixing. The first stretch came in the morning, after much Mono mixing, and continued until lunchtime, 10 songs mixed to Stereo. The second stretch ended the day, the four songs already released on 45 mixed to Stereo, and an extra Stereo mix for "Misery."

Barrett acknowledged Stereo mixing ("2T") for all 14 songs, six on EMI Reel E48978, and eight on EMI Reel E48979. This seems to be counter-intuitive to Lewisohn's chronology, only because it would entail George Martin changing reels more often than seems prudent. But it is not outside the realm of possibility.

Winn, in his comments on Barrett's notes, disagreed, “There IS NO RECORD of a stereo mix reel for the PLEASE PLEASE ME album. Thus, direct twin-track copies of the session tapes were assembled to make the stereo master reels (TL11440A/B), and Martin was apparently correct in all those 1987 interviews when he said he never remixed this album for stereo (although he was wrong about it not being released in stereo at the time).” First, I think there is a record of Stereo mixing (Lewisohn) and of a Stereo mix reel, in fact, two (Barrett). Second, I have not been able to discover where George Martin stated that he never remixed the album for Stereo. In Recording Sessions (1988), Martin is quoted, "The reason I used the Stereo machine in twin-track form was simply to make the Mono better, to delay the vital decision of submerging the voices into the background. I certainly didn't separate them for people to hear them separate!", but this does not necessarily support Winn.

Still, I will not say that George Martin did much more than transfer the twin-tracks, instruments sent hard (wide) to the Left channel, vocals and overdubs send hard to the Right channel.

EMI Reels and Take Numbers. I will be organizing the events of this day in terms of EMI Reels, that is, tape designation numbers given to the recordings, as listed in John Barrett's notes. To read Barrett’s notes, and John Winn’s comments on these notes, go: here.

The contents, and order of contents, for the EMI Reels this day differs between Lewisohn's Recording Sessions and John Barrett's notes. I will endeavor to reconcile this below.

Whereas Lewisohn did not provide mix take designations, Barrett did, generally calling the finished mix by the take number which would follow the "best" take number, but sometimes deriving his number by other means. These will be noted as well.

_______________________________________________________________________

No EMI Reel

(Morning)

General. Prior to mixing for reels, George Martin made a final recording master, applying the final edit to "I Saw Her Standing There." This edit was noted by Lewisohn, but not by Barrett.

“I SAW HER STANDING THERE”

(still called "Seventeen" or "17")

EDIT, Take 9 count-in substituted for Take 12 count-in.

The “one-two-three-faw!” opening was edited in from the start of take 9 onto take 12. This new count-in was not, as some think, an afterthought, but was a planned maneuver (as previously detailed). Paul asserted: “There always was a count-in on the front of songs, but I think that one was particularly spirited, so we thought, ‘We'll keep that one, sounds good’”1.

The count-in is now considered an essential part of rock history: “The journey begins with McCartney’s celebrated count-off... A classic call to rock, and it continues to resonate in the ripples of the history it helped to shape. Aside from the palpable thrill in his voice, the count-off shows just how important the beat is to everything that follows”2.

The count-in has also been compared to Elvis Presley's “Well, it's one for the money, two for the show” on the opening track (“Blue Suede Shoes”) for his debut album seven years earlier.

1 Lewisohn, Recording Sessions, p.10

2 Riley, Tell Me Why

_______________________________________________________________________

EMI Reel E48978

(Morning)

General. This order of mixes, and the information given in dark blue text, comes from Lewisohn's Recording Sessions. Information in dark red text comes from John Barrett's notes.

“ANNA (Go to Him)”

MONO, from Take 3. Barrett mix designation: Take 4.

“BOYS”

MONO, from Take 1, fade-out added during mix-down. Barrett mix designation: Take 2.

“CHAINS”

MONO, from Take 1, fade-out added during mix-down. Barrett mix designation: Take 2, even though "Chains" had four studio takes.

“MISERY”

MONO, from Take 16 (edited intro). Barrett mix designation: Take 17.

Lewisohn and Barrett both note this as the first of two Mono mixes for "Misery" completed this day, the second one residing on EMI Reel E48979. There are two Mono releases, one with an intro using a 5-note arpeggio strummed on guitar (which I will call "Mono 5"), released everywhere except in the US, and one with an intro using a 6-note arpeggio strummed on guitar (which I will call "Mono 6"), released on the US Vee-Jay label. However, I cannot say with certainty if the two Mono mixes correlate to the two Mono releases, or which Mono mix constitutes Mono 5 and which Mono 6. Previously, I wrote that it would be wiser to call this one Mono 5, if only to satisfy that the first Mono mix created this day should be that released in the UK, or to somehow explain why, as Barrett noted, more time was given to the second Mono mix, that extra care perhaps lavished on the American debut. But my decisions were prejudicial without evidence. Furthermore, several puzzles went unsolved: (1) If this mix is Mono 5, and the second Mono mix is Mono 6, why are almost all Mono releases of this song Mono 5? Did George Martin decide to revert back to Mono 5 after hearing Mono 6? (2) If this mix is Mono 6, and the second Mono mix is Mono 5, was Mono 6 considered to be inferior? If so, why was the Stereo mix allowed to be Stereo 6? Additionally, does that make Mono 5 an edit from Mono 6? If so, why call the second Mono mix a "mix" rather than an "edit"? (3) Was there a cataloging error (common in Beatles lore) due to the gap between the release dates for the Mono UK LP (March 22, 1963) and the Stereo UK LP (April 26)? Was it simply a mix-up that Vee-Jay received Mono 6, and/or that Parlophone released Mono 5 and Stereo 6? No documentation exists to make any concrete argument, although a quick listen to the reels would solve all.

Nevertheless, I will say that the first Mono mix is Mono 5 (edited) simply because I believe that the first Stereo mix, completed this morning also, is Stereo 5 (see below).

In his comments on Barrett's notes, contrary to the evidence, Winn claimed that no Mono mix for "Misery" was created for this reel. In Way Beyond Compare (p.34), Winn noted only that Mono 5 is an edit from Stereo 6. However, he also stated erroneously that George Martin added piano to the arpeggio intro (there is none).

“BABY IT’S YOU”

Barrett: “(2T ONLY)(TK6-TK8)”

Winn commented that these are “twin track copies incorporating the new overdubs," meaning that George Martin transferred all three February 20, 1963 overdub takes (4-6) for further consideration. This makes sense. Barrett’s “TK6” is a repetition, being used also for the unused piano overdub take number. Lewisohn did not report these transfers.

“DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET”

MONO, from Take 8. Barrett noted this mix, but without any further information.

_______________________________________________________________________

EMI Reel E48979

(Morning)

General. This order of mixes, and the information given in dark blue text, comes from Lewisohn's Recording Sessions. Information in dark red text comes from John Barrett's notes.

“THERE’S A PLACE

MONO, from Take 13. Barrett mix designation: Take 14.

“I SAW HER STANDING THERE”

(still called "Seventeen" or "17")

MONO, from Takes 12+9. Barrett mix designation: Take 13.

“TWIST AND SHOUT”

MONO, from Take 1. Barrett mix designation: Take 3, acknowledging the existence of Take 2.

“A TASTE OF HONEY”

MONO, from Take 7. Barrett mix designation: Take 8.

_______________________________________________________________________

EMI Reel E48978

(Morning)

General. At this point, Lewisohn reported a change from Mono mixing to Stereo mixing. Barrett's notes awkwardly place these Stereo mixes ("2T") on this reel.

“ANNA”

STEREO, from Take 3. Barrett mix designation: Take 4.

“BOYS”

STEREO, from Take 1. Barrett mix designation: Take 2.

“CHAINS”

STEREO, from Take 1. Barrett mix designation: Take 2, even though "Chains" had four studio takes.

“MISERY”

STEREO, from Take 16 (edited intro). Barrett mix designation: Take 17.

Barrett noted only one Stereo mix for "Misery." Lewisohn reported another Stereo mix at the end of this day's session. If that later mix replaced this mix, and is the released Stereo, it is Stereo 6, and this first mix is Stereo 5. If so, for the sake of continuity, the first Mono mix should probably be Mono 5.

“BABY IT’S YOU”

STEREO, from Take 5. This is probably Barrett’s “TK8.”

"TK8" would be the "best" take incorporating celesta SI, George Martin making the decision to forgo the piano overdub.

“DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET”

STEREO, from Take 8. Barrett noted this mix, but without any further information.

_______________________________________________________________________

EMI Reel E48979

(Morning)

General. A continuation of Stereo mixing.

“THERE’S A PLACE

STEREO, from Take 13. Barrett mix designation: Take 14.

“I SAW HER STANDING THERE”

(still called "Seventeen" or "17")

STEREO, from Takes 12+9. Barrett mix designation: Take 13.

“TWIST AND SHOUT”

STEREO, from Take 1. Barrett mix designation: Take 3, acknowledging the existence of Take 2.

“A TASTE OF HONEY”

STEREO, from Take 7. Barrett mix designation: Take 8.


A lunch break was taken here, from 1pm to 2:30pm.

_______________________________________________________________________

No EMI Reel

(Afternoon)

General. Before returning to mixing for reels, George Martin made a final recording master, editing "Please Please Me" for upcoming Stereo mix.

“PLEASE PLEASE ME”

EDIT, Takes 16+17+18. Barrett noted the edit, but not this step of the process.

This edit pertains only to the Stereo mix of this song. Full details: here (1962, November 26: Back-Story). Despite some sources, there is no other Mono mix, and certainly not one that uses this edit. Barrett did not make this distinction, which has caused confusion.

_______________________________________________________________________

EMI Reel E48979

(Afternoon)

General. Mono mixing resumed.

“ASK ME WHY”

MONO, from Take 6. Barrett mix designation: Take 7.

Winn called this “apparently a straight copy” of the Mono single mix. Possibly, but at some point in the mastering process it became the wet master, as previously detailed.

“MISERY”

MONO, from Take 16 (full intro). This is probably Barrett’s “TK20.”

Lewisohn placed this Mono mixing here, but Barrett put it after Stereo mixing for “P.S. I Love You.”

Combined with the fact that three takes (“TK18-TK20”) were needed, this late addition lends credence to the idea that the first Mono Mix for “Misery” was causing Martin some concern.

This is likely Mono 6, which can be heard on (at least) Introducing the Beatles. There is some argument over whether Vee-Jay used an actual Mono mix or a Mono-from-Stereo 6 (the only released Stereo) fold-down. After many kinds of tests, I report that it is nearly impossible to say which side of the argument is correct. It also was not useful to compare the reverb in the Stereo mix against the reverb in both Mono mixes, though some sources contend that there is a noticeable difference which could identify a Mono-from-Stereo fold-down. On a more practical front, it seems highly unlikely that The Beatles, eager to make a splash in America, would send Vee-Jay only the Stereo masters, or that Vee-Jay would fail to request the more popular Mono format. But if the contents of the Mono LP Introducing the Beatles are any indicator (thereon “Ask Me Why” is certainly the dry master, and “Please Please Me” is certainly the true Mono mix), their Mono mix for “Misery” should be considered authentic.

Barrett's notes state, "(SI PIANO ON MONO RECORDING ONLY)" This is confusing. The Stereo recording uses the same SI piano, contrary to Winn's comment that “we have three mono mixes of ‘Misery,’ the ‘best’ of which uses a different piano overdub to the stereo mix" (this observation not repeated in Way Beyond Compare or in any other source).

“BABY IT’S YOU”

MONO, from Take 5. Barrett mix designation: Take 9, following copy Take 8.

Lewisohn placed this Mono mix here, but Barrett put it as the final mix of the day. This, plus the fact of an additional take designation, makes it appear that there was some hand-wringing over whether to use the celesta or the piano overdub. However, though Barrett wrote “MONO ONLY,” there does not seem to be any SI difference between the Stereo and Mono mixes for this song.

“ASK ME WHY”

STEREO, from Take 6. Barrett mix designation: Take 7.

“PLEASE PLEASE ME”

STEREO, from Takes 16+17+18. Barrett called this “TK16-TK18.”

“LOVE ME DO”

MOCK-STEREO, “from 11 September 1962 mono remix.” Barrett mix designation: Take 19.

Barrett noted “ST ONLY,” meaning that no new Mono mix was created this day.

“P.S. I LOVE YOU”

MOCK-STEREO, “from 11 September 1962 mono remix.” Barrett mix designation: Take 11.

Barrett noted “ST ONLY,” meaning that no new Mono mix was created this day.

“MISERY”

STEREO, from Take 16 (full intro). Not in Barrett's notes.

Barrett noted only one Stereo mix for "Misery" but Lewisohn listed two. If true, I make the assumption that this mix is Stereo 6, although it certainly could have been anything, including Stereo 5.

_______________________________________________________________________

Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com


Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.


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