Welcome to the first #askNat for 2013! I hope everyone had a fab New Year’s celebration and now I’m going to march ahead with this week’s question. It comes from Jose Rivera in Houston, TX who has this to say:
Nat, this has been buggin’ me – As per Mark Lewisohn, “Long Tall Sally” was recorded in one live take, so, if both John Lennon’s and George Harrison’s guitar solos appear together on one track, panned stereo left, then who’s playing the rhythm guitar with George Martin’s piano (assuming that’s Sir George) on the other track, panned stereo right?
Wow! Great question Jose! First off for those of you who care but don’t already know – Mark Lewisohn has worked for EMI, MPL Communications and Apple, and has written many reference books and liner notes about The Beatles. He has been credited as the world’s leading authority on the group, renowned for his meticulous research and integrity and even credited with discovering such facts as the precise date when John Lennon first met Paul McCartney. I’m not sure if Jose is referring to Mark’s 1992 book The Complete Beatles Chronicle or his earlier work, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years, but whichever book, they are not in disagreement with each other and therefore it only matters to say that Jose is correct in his recount of Mark’s findings.
At the start of “Long Tall Sally,” John is in the left channel with his rhythm guitar and George is playing rhythm too, heard in the right channel. John does the first guitar solo while still in the left channel with George continuing to play rhythm in the right. After John’s solo, his guitar swaps places with George’s so that when George’s (second) guitar solo commences he too is in the left channel with John’s rhythm now in the right. Also Jose is correct that it was done in one take and with producer George Martin playing those keys. George Martin made a great call in mixing the stereo track this way which shows he cared about stereo mixes at this point even though The Beatles may not have yet.
Again great question Jose! It’s even made me decide to go break out my copy of the stereo mix and give it a spin right now! Have something to add. Feel free to stick it in a comment below.
Extra info: “Long Tall Sally” was recorded during the sessions for A Hard Day’s Night and was even considered as a song to be used in the film. Also recorded that day were the songs “I Call Your Name” and “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You.”
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:
1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.
2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.
3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.
4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Past Masters 2009 remaster of original 1988 compilation of non-album Beatles tracks including stereo mix of “Long Tall Sally.”