Paul McCartney and his former Beatles bandmates have famously produced many hits at Abbey Road Studios. Nevertheless, there are two recording sessions that are fondly etched in his brain. The band produced most of their hits at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, including their final masterpiece Abbey Road. A historical landmark, artists such as Lady Gaga, Elton John, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Sam Smith, and Pink Floyd have recorded at the popular studio. In a recent interview for his website, McCartney shared a few of his favorite memories from recording sessions.
“There are so many great memories at Abbey Road. It’s very hard to choose one, but just to pick out of the bunch, I think it was recording the orchestra on ‘A Day In The Life’. That was pretty special. It was crazy because we told George Martin that we wanted to use an orchestra, and he said, ‘No, no, it’s way too expensive!’ We said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re The Beatles, we can do that at this point in our career!’ So, he said okay.”
“Then, once we realized we were going to use a symphony orchestra, he said, ‘Well, if you’re going to hire a symphony orchestra, you can tell them what to wear.’ We wanted evening suits – full, posh orchestral attire. They came along with that, and we said, ‘Can we really tell them what to wear?’ Yes. So, we suggested that they also wore funny hats and funny noses. That was very, very Beatles; we liked taking it to the extreme. A few people in the orchestra were good sports and put them on, and it was a fun session. That was fabulous to do.”
“And Henson… I think really the favourite memory from Henson was just making the Egypt Station album. I was in the habit of visiting some of the other studios in the building, because there are a few there, and if anyone was in the building working I would go and say hello to them. Just wandering round all the other people, nosing in on the sessions. There were people like will.i.am and Chaka Khan. You know, some pretty cool people. So, I enjoyed wandering around, and then beyond that just making the Egypt Station album with Greg Kurstin.”
In addition to that, McCartney recalled another fond memory of a recording session with George Harrison at his Sussex Studio. In 1995, the three surviving bandmates completed and released the single “Free As A Bird” which was initially written and recorded as a home demo by John Lennon in 1977. McCartney reflected back to that special recording session at Sussex Studio.
“Because it was so remote, nobody knew that George, Ringo, or myself had got together. So, it was very cool, and it was very private. Those were fabulous sessions. ‘Free As A Bird’ was made with John’s vocals taken from his old cassette demo, and then the three of us played live along with it. It was really exciting because having him in our ears and playing along with him felt like he was really there, just in another studio. That was a really lovely memory.”
Photo: Getty Images
Lovely memories, and a lovely article! And that “Free As A Bird” video really takes you on a flight through time and emotions.
Agreed re the FAB video. Bittersweet.