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#askNat – concerning different intros on “Money”

This time around on #askNat I have a second question from Roger Tomlin in Augusta, Georgia who sent in the question about Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass for last week’s discussion. Here is what Roger has to say this week:

Nat…What’s the story concerning the very different intros on “Money?” It can’t be simply mixing. Those intros are definitely different. I’ve been curious about this for years. It’s only the British versions, right?

Another good one Roger. There are actually six different official versions of this song by The Beatles, including the live version recorded in Sweden on the Anthology 1 CD and the version played for their Decca audition issued on the LP The Complete Silver Beatles (now out of print). The other four versions are the ones I believe you are referring to and they are the mono and stereo versions from mono and/or stereo copies of With The Beatles and the mono and stereo mixes heard in the U.S. counterpart on Capitol Records, mono and/or stereo copies of The Beatles Second Album. The song was recorded on July 18, 1963 which was the very first day of recording the With The Beatles LP. They started out the session working on “You Really Got A Hold On Me” and worked on “Money” (aka “Money (That’s What I Want)”) after that.

The backing track for “Money” was recorded in five takes all with live lead vocals. Takes 6 and 7 were overdubs added to take 5. Take 6 lasts only 14 seconds as it is only producer George Martin playing the opening piano riff while Ringo Starr tapped time with his drumsticks through the intro. This take 6 was used to create the mono mix heard on mono copies of With The Beatles. Use the player below to hear how this mono intro sounds.

The Beatles - Money (mono intro)

Take 7 overdubbed the whole song with the original instrumental backing sent to one track of the new tape. George Martin’s piano overdub of the intro (from Take 6) was added to the second track (it was a two-track recording) and finally the original vocals plus new handclap overdubs were added to both tracks. Since take 7 was used to create the stereo mix heard on stereo copies of With The Beatles, this explains why Ringo’s tapping heard in the intro of the mono version (above) is not heard in the stereo intro. It also explains why the vocals and handclaps are centered in the stereo mix. Use the player below to hear how this stereo intro sounds (Note: If the player above starts simultaneously with the player below, simply hit the pause button on the player above).

The Beatles - Money (stereo intro)

Mono mixing for “Money” took place on August 21, 1963 and stereo mixing took place on October 29-30, 1963. The mixes differ in a few different ways. First off, the guitar in the intro sounds clearer in the stereo mix and the piano sounds louder in the stereo mix throughout the entire song (more on that below). Additionally, if you compare when the band enters the recording (after George Martin’s piano intro), you’ll note that it’s at a slightly different time on each mix. This accounts for why the intro’s differ but if you’re interested in some “extra credit” comparisons, there’s more to the story concerning why the whole song sounds different. This will make the most sense if you have access to the complete mono and stereo versions of “Money” from With The Beatles (see the ‘Extra info’ section below the photo for this).

For Capitol’s The Beatles Second Album, the stereo mix of “Money” was made from the stereo mix used for With The Beatles but completely rebalanced. The vocals are consequently off-center and there is an overabundance of echo added. The distinct differences (some of which are described below) between the mono and stereo versions of the song on With The Beatles are not apparent on The Beatles Second Album because the stereo mix was also used to create the mono mix by means of a reduction.


Producer George Martin with The Beatles at EMI Studios, 1963

Producer George Martin with The Beatles at EMI Studios, 1963


Extra info: There was further work done on “Money” after the initial session of July 18, 1963. On July 30, George Martin did some further piano overdubs on to take 7 but none were used. Also, though not confirmed (since the actual session tapes are long gone), there is evidence that after the initial mono mixing of August 21, a completely new piano overdub by George Martin of the entire body of the song was made that replaced the one on the initial mono mix – but not the stereo mix as stereo mixes were considered less important at the time. If you compare the stereo and mono versions of the song you’ll note that at around 1:21 into the song (just before the solo and during John Lennon’s scream), the stereo mix has George Martin playing a downward piano glissando, but this is missing in the mono mix. Also, the stereo mix at around 2:13 into the song has an error where George Martin goes into the B chord on the piano a couple of bars early and this error is not apparent on the mono mix. It was pointed out above that the piano sounds louder in the stereo mix and the reason may be that a completely different piano track was mixed into the mono mix at a different level. Some tape logs indicate that it’s possible this alleged replacement piano section was recorded by George Martin on September 30, 1963.

Thanks for reading and thank you Roger for two good questions over the last couple weeks! As always, I welcome your comments below to keep the discussion going.

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) With The Beatles – 2009 CD remaster of original 1963 stereo LP. Contains the original stereo mix of “Money” made from take 7 as described above.

2) Capitol Albums Vol. 1 – 2004 4-CD Box set containing 4 1964 Capitol albums by The Beatles in both mono and stereo: Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65. Includes both mono and stereo mixes of “Money” that differ from the U.K. versions on With The Beatles.

3) Anthology 1 1995 2-CD set containing alternates and extras from the very early days of The Beatles up to 1965. Includes a live version of “Money” recorded for Swedish radio on October 24, 1963, prior to the release of With The Beatles.

4) 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief (2 CDs) – 2-CD set just released on Jan 22, 2013 featuring coverage of the Madison Square Garden Concert for Sandy Relief from Dec. 12, 2012 by many big name artists including Paul McCartney who performs “Helter Skelter.”

5) Beatles Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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