Here is some sonic spelunking from the Martin Scorsese 2012 documentary Living In The Material World. Sir George Martin, Giles Martin, and Dhani Harrison are sitting at a mixing console listening to the stems of Here Comes The Sun. Sir George tells Dhani, “Try this” as he isolates his fathers lead vocal. “What do you think of that?” asks Sir George. “That’s great.” replies Dhani.
Giles pots up the string track commenting that “this and Something had great string arrangements on it.” Then he points out to Sir George; “Here was a guitar solo that he played that never made the final cut” as Danhi slides the fader on a track never heard beyond the confines of Abbey Road.
Dhani, “It’s totally different to anything I’d ever heard.”
Sir George (to Giles), “We never used it?”
Sir George, “I’d forgotten about that.”
Dhani, “I never even knew about it.”
Many thanks to Marco Moir for recommending this clip.
For artists, limitations can be the mother of invention. Leonardo da Vinci famously stated that “small rooms or dwellings set the mind in the right path; large ones cause it to go astray.” For Sir George Martin and his team, the right path was Abbey Road where they pushed 1960’s recording technology to its limits.
It was fifty years ago today, give or take, when the height of British studio recording technology was a Studer four-track tape deck. Modern-day musicians best this technology today ten-fold on their phones alone, and have access to an almost unlimited number of tracks on the average laptop recording rig. However, in the 1960’s four tracks were not limiting: they were empowering. Multi-track recording opened vast new areas of creativity, and allowed geniuses like Sir George to invent the next era of popular music.
This January 1969 recoding features the song’s author George Harrison on vocal and acoustic guitar, John Lennon on lap steel guitar, Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo as usual on drums.
George: Does this guitar sound in tune?
George Martin: It’s good enough for skiffle.
About For You Blue from Wikipedia:
The song is in the key of D and is one of the few original Beatles songs in which every section follows a classic twelve bar blues (I-IV-V) pattern. Indeed, in his vocal at 1.18 secs Harrison states this is “the twelve bar blues.” The ‘bluesy’ feel to the song is accentuated by the addition to the blues-based minor pentatonic scale (I-flat3-4-5-flat7) of a flat7 on each of the I (D7), IV (G7) and V (A7) chords. A variation from the twelve bar blues pattern is the insertion of a IV7 (G7) chord on “lovely girl” in the opening I (D7) verse bar.
This iTunes advert is worth watching frame by frame as you fly through 12 Beatles album covers. There is some nice motion graphics work here and what appears to be some new cell animation, and even a bit of 3D, done in the same style as Yellow Submarine.
* World's best blog solely focused on music technology, Apple stores, stage magicians, and interactive media.**
** Probably because it is the only blog solely focused on music technology, Apple stores, stage magicians, and interactive media.