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Anniversary Editions

August 28, 2019

Penultimate Beatles

The Beatles, Tittenhurst Park, 22nd August 1969. © Apple Corps Ltd.

The Beatles revisit Abbey Road with special anniversary releases

RELEASED SEPTEMBER 26, 1969, Abbey Road was not The Beatles’ final album, as Let It Be followed in 1970, but it was the last one John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together as a band.

The Beatles will celebrate Abbey Road’s anniversary with assorted packages to be released worldwide on September 27 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. the album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin.

For their work on Abbey Road, engineers Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald won a GRAMMY Award® for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical.

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 “I had the wonderful opportunity of recording The Hollies at Abbey Road Studio Two while Beatles era EMI Chief Technical Engineer Ken Townsend was the then Studio Manager,” reminisced record producer and engineer, Richard Bosworth, who offered some remarkable insights into sonic aspects of Abbey Road.

“He made a point of hanging out at the sessions as The Hollies were longtime friends and co-workers recording a string of hit singles and albums going back to 1964. Townsend was gracious and forthcoming explaining to me how he had designed ADT (automatic double tracking) tape flanging and STEED (send tape echo delay). Although familiar with these techniques and the mechanics of them it was extraordinary to have the actual inventor excitedly tell me his very personal story how it all came to pass.

“Several years later I attended for the second time one of Phil Spector’s annual birthday parties held for his daughter at a bowling alley/snack bar in Montrose California. There were always significant record making people at these functions, musicians, recording engineers, etc., some from Spector’s own
iconic productions.

“That year I was introduced me to the quiet unassuming Geoff Emerick. Mentioning that I had been trained as a producer/engineer by Val Garay whose work Emerick was aware of and admired and that I worked on projects with Peter Asher who of course Geoff knew from EMI Studios going back to the 1960’s. Emerick was very open to talk and answer questions about Beatle recording techniques. We started with Revolver and took it all the way to the Beatles Anthology project. 

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The Beatles, Tittenhurst Park, 22nd August 1969. © Apple Corps Ltd.

“Geoff was particularly interested in sharing with me the recording of Abbey Road. He explained ‘When recording the album it was the first project to utilize the new solid state TG12345 EMI designed recording console. Up until then every session ever done by The Beatles and myself had been achieved with the EMI REDD tube electronic audio desks. From the moment of that first session I was shocked to find the new solid state equipment sounded nothing like what we had all been accustomed to and I was absolutely distressed. I felt I had lost my sound! It was a real struggle at first to get things sonically happening.

“Emerick also shared with me, ‘Richard I want you to know one specific thing that will give valuable insight into the recording of the song ‘Because.’ I didn’t use any compressors either in the recording or the mixing of that track, I tried to but every time I made the attempt it just didn’t sound right so I did without. The Beatles themselves performed the song so beautifully with the proper dynamics that any attempt to change what they were doing instrumentally and especially vocally would have diminished their genius performance.’”

In 2007 I interviewed Giles Martin about his production of The Beatles’ LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage in Las Vegas. I asked him about collaborating with the surviving group members and reflecting about re-mixing their landmark catalog.

“With both Ringo and Paul, my main memory, my biggest fondest moment, of the whole thing, was nothing to do with me, both Paul and Ringo said to me that I had been so sensitive with our material and really taken it in, and that means a great deal, but the thing that struck me was at Abbey Road was listening to ‘Come Together’ with them both and individually, they weren’t together at the time, ‘God, we were really good on this day. I remember this day. We really nailed this.’”

Harvey Kubernik is the author of 15 books, including titles on The Beatles, Leonard Cohen Neil Young and The Doors.






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