Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today in Beatles history

On this day in 1966, The Beatles took a bold step forward, musically, as they began work on their experimental psychedelic masterpiece, "Tomorrow Never Knows."

But it was the otherworldly, floating vocals of Lennon that proved both the most challenging aspect of the recording and the most significant. Lennon wanted his vocals to sound like something never recorded before. As producer George Martin recalled in

Anthology: “‘For Tomorrow Never Knows’ he said to me he wanted his voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a hilltop, and I said, ‘It’s a bit expensive, going to Tibet. Can we make do with it here?’ I knew perfectly well that ordinary echo or reverb wouldn’t work, because it would just put a very distant voice on. We needed to have something a bit weird and metallic...

“A Leslie speaker is a rotating speaker, a Hammond console, and the speed at which it rotates can be varied according to a knob on the control. By putting his voice through that and then recoding it again, you got a kind of intermittent vibrato effect, which is what we hear on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ I don’t think anyone had done that before. It was quite a revolutionary track for Revolver.”

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