Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. John Lennon’s inspiration for the lyrics of “Good Morning Good Morning” came from, of all places, a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial. On February 8th, 1967, he presented the song to the band for use on the upcoming Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP. They recorded a rhythm track for it on the same day and had it nailed in 8 takes with drums, tambourine, rhythm guitar and a guide vocal by John.
The following week on February 16th, Paul McCartney overdubbed his bass and John perfected his lead vocal. This completed take 8 sounds good and punchy in it’s simplicity and can be heard on The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set. However, The Beatles were not done with this one. The 4 track recording was reduced down to two tracks, with the background music on one and John’s vocal on the other, in order to make room for more overdubs. On March 13th, at John’s request, producer George Martin brought in the group Sounds Inc. who were previously road mates of The Beatles, to add some horns to the song. This resulted in two trombones, three saxophones and even a French Horn added to the third track on the tape.
On March 28th John made a second lead vocal on the fourth track, harmonizing with himself in places and this was combined with his original vocal to free up a track for more background vocals and Paul McCartney’s sizzling guitar solo heard on the finalized version of the song (George Harrison and John Lennon both play rhythm guitar on this track). About twenty-five seconds before the fadeout completes the backing vocals which repeatedly chant “Good Morning” switch from English to German (“Guten Morgan”).
Some suggest that the idea for the animal sound effects in the song came from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album released in 1966. John asked sound engineer Geoff Emerick to assemble a collection of sound effects for the song’s conclusion where each animal heard was capable of devouring (or at least frightening) the animal heard previously. Geoff takes us from birds, to a cat, then a dog, a cow, a horse, a sheep, a lion, an elephant and even a group of fox hunters on horseback. A final sound of a chicken clucking is used at the very end of the track that segues into the guitar sound that starts the subsequent track on the Sgt. Pepper album, which is the title track’s reprise. Geoff also placed a rooster sound at the very beginning of the track and overdubbed all of the animal effects onto the lead vocal track of the recording.
For this week’s BROW I have pieced together a composite of “Good Morning Good Morning” in different stages of completeion to give a nice sampling of the innovative work on this track by The Beatles, George Martin and Geoff Emerick. I’ve placed specifics on how the track is broken down immediately below the player. Enjoy!
0:00 – 1:00: John Lennon’s original demo recorded at his home in Kenwood around January or early February 1967. At this point on the bridge John sings “everyone you see is fast asleep” instead of “everyone you see is half asleep.”
1:00 – 1:12: this is a short linking piece from the completed take 8 recorded on February 16th 1967. It is heard in it’s entirety on The Beatles Anthology 2 CD set.
1:12 – 1:32: This comes from the television special The Making of Sgt. Pepper and we hear George Martin explaining John’s specifications on the animal sounds as the March 29th 1967 recorded take 11 plays in the background.
1:32 – 2:58: Isolated account of Geoff Emerick’s sound effects montage which was derived from the EMI sound effects library.
Extra info: The mono version of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP/CD gives us a slightly longer version of “Good Morning Good Morning” due to a lengthier fadeout of animal sounds.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 2009 remastered CD of the original 1967 stereo masterpiece LP. Includes the finalized stereo mix of “Good Morning Good Morning.”
2) Anthology 2 – 1996 2-CD set of out-takes and extras by The Beatles and including a complete account of take 8 of “Good Morning Good Morning.”