Welcome to the first BROW for 2013. BROW = “Beatles Rarity Of The Week” and my name is Happy Nat. Each Monday I add a new one of these to the stack right here at TheBeatlesRarity.com and this is what I’m offering up for you this week. It comes from sessions held in Studio 3 at EMI on April 20th, 1969. Paul McCartney’s “Oh! Darling” was actually a leftover from the Get Back Sessions held a few months earlier that he thought would fit well on the next Beatles LP. On this date, The Beatles, with Chris Thomas acting as producer, recorded 26 takes of the song. Ringo Starr was in good form with his regular drumming duties while John Lennon played the piano by pounding out triplets with a “doo-wop” rhythm style. George Harrison played guitar, which he amplified by means of a Leslie speaker to give it the desired sound. Paul played bass while singing a guide vocal. Take 26 was considered the best and they added a Hammond organ overdub on that one before setting it aside for later. There was still a lot of work to be done for the track at this point.
Paul later explained that during this time he would come in to the studio each day and begin by singing a run-through of “Oh! Darling” because he felt his voice was “too clear” on the one they had already done. He claimed he wanted his voice to sound rougher, as if he’d been performing it on stage all week. On April 26th, Paul recorded a new vocal for the song and used it to upgrade the previously recorded take 26. Even though Chris Thomas was present at the session, Paul, acting as his own producer, removed the Hammond organ overdub that had been added earlier and overdubbed some of his own backing vocals including some “oohs” and other additional vocals of singing in harmony with himself on the final verse.
For this week’s BROW – I’m featuring this improved take 26 recording of “Oh! Darling” from April 26th. Paul’s vocal on the first bridge sounds rough as he originally intended, while the second bridge is sung in a quiet falsetto. Paul’s double-tracked vocal on the third verse is also in place here with the Hammond organ removed. Have a listen for yourself.
Extra info: Further work was to be done with “Oh! Darling” later in the year to include a session on August 8th where Paul added lead guitar and tambourine overdubs that were later removed. On August 11th after Paul had added the finalized lead vocal track, John Lennon added a new set of backing vocals to the song and this ended up being his final contribution to a Beatles recording.
In his Playboy magazine interview of 1980 John said ‘”Oh! Darling!’ was a great one of Paul’s that he didn’t sing too well. I always thought I could have done it better – it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell. He’s going to sing it.”
George Harrison described “Oh! Darling” as “a typical 1950s-’60 period song because of it’s chord structure.”
Paul can be heard playing an early account of “Oh! Darling” while playing piano and testing out an echo unit during the Get Back Sessions, right here.
“Oh! Darling” appeared in final form on The Beatles album Abbey Road released on September 26th, 1969 in the U.K. and October 1st, 1969 in the U.S. In Japan it was released as an Apple single (b/w “Here Comes The Sun” as the b-side) in June 1970.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Abbey Road (2009 remaster) 2009 remaster of original 1969 LP including finalized version of “Oh! Darling.”
2) Anthology 3 – 2 CD set of alternates and extras by The Beatles between 1968 and 1969. Includes a Get Back Sessions recording of “Oh! Darling” recorded on January 27, 1969.