Sgt. Pepper was recorded using four-track
equipment. Although eight-track tape recorders were available in the
US, the first units were not operational in commercial studios in London
until late 1967. As with previous Beatles albums, the Sgt. Pepper recordings made extensive use of the technique known as reduction mixing, in which one to four tracks from one recorder are mixed and dubbed down onto a master four-track machine, enabling the Abbey Road engineers to give the group a virtual multitrack studio. EMI's Studer
J37 four-track machines were well suited to reduction mixing, as the
high quality of the recordings that they produced minimised the
increased noise associated with the process.
Preferring to overdub his bass part last, McCartney tended to play
other instruments when recording a song's backing track. This approach
afforded him the extra time required to write and record melodic
basslines that complemented the song's final arrangement. When recording the orchestra for A Day in the Life,
Martin synchronised a four-track recorder playing the Beatles' backing
track to another one taping the orchestral overdub. The engineer Ken Townsend devised a method for accomplishing this by using a 50 Hz control signal between the two machines.
A key feature of Sgt. Pepper is Martin and Emerick's liberal use of signal processing to shape the sound of the recording, which included the application of dynamic range compression, reverberation and signal limiting. Relatively new modular effects units were used, such as running voices and instruments through a Leslie speaker. Several innovative production techniques feature prominently on the recordings, including direct injection, pitch control and ambiophonics. Another is automatic double tracking
(ADT), a system that uses tape recorders to create a simultaneous
doubling of a sound. Although it had long been recognised that using
multitrack tape to record doubled lead vocals produced an enhanced
sound, before ADT it had been necessary to record such vocal tracks
twice, a task that was both tedious and exacting. ADT was invented by
Townsend during the Revolver sessions in 1966 especially for the
Beatles, who disliked tracking sessions and regularly expressed a desire
for a technical solution to the problem. The process soon became a
common recording practice in popular music.
Martin playfully explained to Lennon that his voice had been "treated
with a double vibrocated sploshing flange ... It doubles your voice,
John." Lennon realised that Martin was joking, but from that point on he referred to the effect as flanging, a label that was universally adopted by the music industry. Another important effect was varispeeding. Martin cites Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as having the most variations of tape speed on Sgt. Pepper.
During the recording of Lennon's vocals, the tape speed was reduced
from 50 cycles per second to 45, which produced a higher and
thinner-sounding track when played back at the normal speed.
According to John Lennon, the inspiration for the first two verses of A Day in the Life was the death of Tara Browne, the 21-year-old heir to the Guinness fortune who had crashed his Lotus Elan on the 18th of December, 1966 in Redcliffe Gardens, Earl's Court. Browne had been a friend of Lennon and Paul McCartney, and had, earlier in 1966, instigated McCartney's first experience with LSD. Lennon adapted the song's verse lyrics from a news article in the January 17th, 1967, edition of the Daily Mail, which reported the ruling on a custody action over Browne's two young children.
Lennon wrote the song's final verse inspired by a Far & Near news brief, in the same January 17th edition of the Daily Mail
that had inspired the first two verses. Under the headline, "The holes
in our roads", the brief stated: "There are 4,000 holes in the road in
Blackburn, Lancashire, England, or one twenty-sixth of a hole per person,
according to a council survey. If Blackburn is typical, there are two
million holes in Britain's roads and 300,000 in London.
The story had been sold to the Daily Mail in Manchester by Ron Kennedy of the Star News agency in Blackburn. Kennedy had noticed a Lancashire Evening Telegraph
story about road excavations and in a telephone call to the Borough
Engineer's department had checked the annual number of holes in the
Lennon had a problem with the words of the final verse, however, not
being able to think of how to connect "Now they know how many holes it
takes to" and "the Albert Hall". His friend Terry Doran suggested that the holes would "fill" the Albert Hall. The Royal Albert Hall, a symbol of Victorian-era London and a concert venue is usually associated with classical music performances.
The song includes two orchestral glissandos that were partly improvised in the avant-garde
style. As with the sustained piano chord that closes the song, the
orchestral passages were added after the Beatles had recorded the main
rhythm track. A grand piano in EMI Studio Two, where the closing piano chord was recorded on 22 February 1967:
On 27 August 1992 Lennon's handwritten lyrics were sold by the estate of Mal Evans in an auction at Sotheby's London for $100,000 (£56,600). The lyrics were put up for sale again in March 2006 by Bonhams in
New York. Sealed bids were opened on 7 March 2006 and offers started at
about $2 million. The lyric sheet was auctioned again by Sotheby's in
June 2010. It was purchased by an anonymous American buyer who paid
"A Day In The Life"
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car;
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords
I saw a film today, oh boy;
The English army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I'd love to turn you on
Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream
Ah I read the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
RCA introduced the new 45 RPM format records and record players in 1949. This 1950 RCA Victor 45-EY-2 Phonograph was designed to stack and play up to seven 45 RPM records at a time.
The smaller diameter record produced higher fidelity and the raised edges and center prevented the groves on the records from touching each other when stacked. Lighter tone arms and tracking forces increased the life of the new "45s." By the early 1950s most record players produced would accommodate a stack of 45s on the changer with the use of a large diameter adapter that fit over the center spindle which was meant to accommodate only the smaller pencil sized hole of 78s and the newer 33 1/3 LPs.
The 45 became very popular in spite of its ability to hold only one or two songs per side. This was mostly due to its smaller size and lower cost. The new smaller vinyl records released by RCA were color-coded at first. Children's records were yellow, County and Western green, Classical red or dark blue, Rhythm & Blues orange, and Popular songs were pressed on black vinyl. The popularity of the 7-in. 45 record soured and record players that played 45's exclusively were manufactured in large numbers throughout the 1950s. Early RCA 45-rpm record players like the one pictured above are still quite common at auctions and sell for $20 to $100+ depending on model and condition.
60 years ago today, May 27, 1957, The Crickets and leader Buddy Holly released the smash hit, That'll Be the Day. I remember the first time I heard it. I was in high school and at a friend's party. She slapped her 45 of the song on her RCA 45 record player and it was one of the "What in the World is this?" events I've had in my life.
About that time we were dancing the Madison by Al Brown's Tunetoppers(a line dance that features a regular back-and-forth pattern interspersed with called steps), the Stroll with C. C. Rider by Chuck Willis (also a line dance) (link below), the Hand Jive with Willie and the Hand Jive by Johnny Otis (link below), and the Richmond. I couldn't find any reference to the Richmond on the Net, so it might have been a local thing. It was a dance with moves similar to the Lambada (link below) but very, VERY much slower, not nearly as erotic and without the Latin beat. I know, what is left? But at the time, during school dances I remember the teachers would break up couples who tried to do it. We only danced it at private parties.
Pressed By – Decca Records Pressing Plant, Gloversville
Manufactured By – Brunswick Radio Corporation
Label variation: Gloversville pressing with comma used in both matrix numbers on disc labels
Etched D in circle on both sides in runout
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Matrix / Runout (Side A Label): (102,022)
Matrix / Runout (Side B Label): (102,021)✤
Matrix / Runout (Stamped in runout side A): M45 102022 6 Ⓓ2 C
Matrix / Runout (Stamped in runout side B): M45 102021 6 Ⓓ3 B
The front cover photograph was taken by actress, director, writer, jeweler and photographer Alice Elizabeth Skinner Ochs, the wife of folk singer Phil Ochs from 1962 to 1976. She died on November 27, 2010.
The most famous song on the album is Brown Shoes Don't Make It, a track which has been described as a "condensed two-hour musical" and by AllMusic
as "Zappa's first real masterpiece". The song features 2 violins, 1
viola, 1 cello, 1 trumpet and 1 contra-bass clarinet. How's that for a
The title for Brown Shoes was inspired by an event covered by Time magazine reporter Hugh Sidey in 1966. The reporter correctly guessed that something was amiss when the fastidiously dressed President Lyndon B. Johnson made the sartorial faux pas of wearing brown shoes with a gray suit.
The lyrics start off as a general attack on suburban American society: TV, greed and conformity are all mocked openly in the song. It then shifts in tone, dealing with a city hallofficial fantasizing about having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl.
Frank Vincent Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 21, 1940. He was an American musician,
activist and filmmaker. His work was characterized by nonconformity,
free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and
satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention
and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and
music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the
most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his
Zappa's output is unified by a conceptual continuity he termed
"Project/Object", with numerous musical phrases, ideas, and characters
reappearing across his albums. His lyrics reflected his iconoclastic
views of established social and political processes, structures and
movements, often humorously so. He was a strident critic of mainstream
education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education,
political participation and the abolition of censorship. Unlike many
other rock musicians of his era, he personally disapproved of and seldom
used drugs, but supported their decriminalization and regulation.
Zappa died on December 4, 1993 at his home with his wife and children by
his side. At a private ceremony the following day, his body was buried
in a grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles, California. The grave is unmarked.
On December 6, his family publicly announced that "Composer Frank Zappa
left for his final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday".
Side one: "Absolutely Free" (#1 in a Series of Underground Oratorios)
A1 Plastic People 3:40
A2 The Duke Of Prunes 2:12
A3 Amnesia Vivace 1:01
A4 The Duke Regains His Chops 1:45
A5 Call Any Vegetable 2:19
A6 Invocation And Ritual Dance Of The Young Pumpkin 6:57
A7 Soft-Sell Conclusion & Ending Of Side #1 1:40
Side two: "The M.O.I. American Pageant" (#2 in a Series of Underground Oratorios)
B1 America Drinks 1:52
B2 Status Back Baby 2:52
B3 Uncle Bernie's Farm 2:09
B4 Son Of Suzy Creamcheese 1:33
B5 Brown Shoes Don't Make It 7:26
B6 America Drinks & Goes Home 2:43
Herb Cohen – cash register machine sounds on "America Drinks & Goes Home"
Terry Gilliam, girlfriend and others – voices in "America Drinks & Goes Home"
Composed By, Arranged By, Conductor, Performer – Frank Zappa
Producer - Tom Wilson
Mastering - Doug Sax
Engineer [Director Of Engineering] – Val Valentin
Engineer [Remix] – David Greene
Engineer, Recorded By – Ami Hadani
Layout, Artwork By [Cover Art, Collages], Liner Notes – Zappa*
Performers – Billy Mundi, Bunk Gardner, Don Preston, Jim Black*, Jim Sherwood*, Ray Collins, Roy Estrada
Performer [Uncredited] – Jim Fielder
Photography By [Front] – Alice Ochs
Photography By [Other] – Jerry Deiter, Marshal Harmon
Gatefold sleeve, top-opening on back, sealed with a small flap. Titles on spine.
Both sides with tracks normally banded.
Cat.no. on label is V6/5013, on front cover it is V/V6-5013.
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Matrix / Runout (Run-out info [hand-etched] side A): V6-5013 SIDE 1 M𝒢S672
Matrix / Runout (Run-out info [hand-etched] side B): V6-5013 SIDE 2 M𝒢S673
Matrix / Runout ((Variant) Run-out info [hand-etched] side A): V6-5013 SIDE 1 M𝒢S-672
Matrix / Runout ((Variant) Run-out info [hand-etched] side B): V6-5013 SIDE 2 M𝒢S-673
The Mothers Of Invention* – Absolutely Free
Label: Verve Records – V6/5013, Verve Records – V/V6-5013
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold
Released: 26 May 1967
Style: Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Avantgarde