Sgt Pepper Exposed: The Making of “Good Morning Good Morning”

The Beatles began work on John’s “Good Morning Good Morning” on February 8th 1967, but continued to fiddle with it until the very end. The animal effects were not added until March 28th and the final mixing did not take place until mid-April. The title itself is taken from a Kelloggs Cornflakes TV commercial. The sound effects added to the song were taken from EMI sound-effects tapes Volume 35: Animals and Bees and Volume 57: Fox Hunt, each placed, at John’s insistence, in order of ability to eat, or at least frighten, its predecessor.

Paul: This is largely John’s song. John was feeling trapped in suburbia and was going through some problems with Cynthia. It was about his boring life at that time, there’s a reference in the lyric to “nothing to do” and “meet the wife”: there was an afternoon TV  soap opera called “Meet the Wife’ that John watched, he was that bored, but I think he was also starting to get alarm bells and so “Good Morning Good Morning”. When we came to record it we used Sounds Incorporated to do a big sax thing: they were friends of ours who had been on tour with us. But we still felt it needed something more manic so we decided to use a lot of sound effects on the fade. The great thing about working at EMI Abbey Road was that anything you needed was reasonable within reach. EMI was so multi-dimensional they had everything covered and we took advantage of all this. We used Daniel Barenboim’s piano that he’d just recorded on: they would sometimes lock it but we would just ask, “Can you unlock it?” and they’d say “sure.” That was used on the big chord at the end of “A Day In the Life”. There were so many organs, there were harmoniums, and there was a sound-effects cupboard which they used for doing plays and spoken-word albums. George Martin said “There is a library, what do you want?” and we said “What have you got?” So we got the catalogue.  “Right, elephants, cock-crowing, the hunt going tally-ho, we’ll have that.”

Geoff Emerick: For nearly a month, John had been ruminating about what kind of instrumentation he wanted on “Good Morning, Good Morning”. He finally decided to add brass, but he was adamant that it mustn’t sound ordinary, and he insisted that George Martin hire a horn section comprised of old Liverpool mated instead of the top-flight session musicians we had been using. The group who called themselves Sounds Incorporated, were nice enough blokes- actually, they were a lot of fun, which explained why John liked them so much. But it took a long time to get a good take out of them because, through-out the session, John kept complaining that they were playing too ‘straight’- he had a real bee in his bonnet about that. In the end, to satisfy John’s demand that I take a different sonic approach, I shoved the microphones right down the bells of the saxes and screwed the sound up with limiters and a healthy dose of effects  like flanging and ADT: we pretty much used every piece of equipment at hand.

Later that same evening Paul overdubbed a lead guitar part on the song, which didn’t do anything to improve George Harrison’s mood. It seemed to me as if George was aggrieved a lot of the time…with good reason: Paul was playing a lot of his leads and he had precious little to do. In addition, the one song he’d brought to the album had been rejected (Only a Northern Song). As we got into out 4th and 5th month of recording, the preparatory meetings at Paul’s house started to tail off, so the four Beatles began arriving separately. Paul was almost always the first to come in, since he lived nearby, and George was often the last, so if Paul got an idea for a guitar part and George wasn’t around, he’s sometimes say, “Well, let’s get on with it- I’ll just play the part myself.”

As George Harrison himself later said, his heart was in India the whole time the Beatles were recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. AS a result, he was a detached participant: the only thing that brought him around again was when we worked on “Within You Without You”

George Martin: The way in which the record seemed to generate its own togetherness became particularly apparent during the editing. A perfect example of that was the song “Good Morning”, an up-tempo, fairly raucous song with a curious, irregular meter to it. We normally faded out with music at the end of a song, bit this time we decided to cover the fade with a host of sound-effects, particularly animals. We shoved everything in, from a pack of hounds in full cry to more basic farm yard noises. The order we had worked out for the album meant that that track was to be followed by the reprise of the “Sgt. Pepper” song, and of course I was trying to make the whole thing flow. So imagine my delight when I discovered that the sound of a chicken clucking at the end of “Good Morning” was remarkably like the guitar sound at the beginning of “Sgt Pepper”. I was able to cut and mix the two tracks in such a way that the one actually turned into the other. That was one of the luckiest edits one could ever get.

George M. and Paul675


4 Responses to “Sgt Pepper Exposed: The Making of “Good Morning Good Morning””

  1. 1 hidden spy cameras with dvr November 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Dead indited content material, Really enjoyed looking through.

  2. 2 Buzz Fleischman February 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Brings back memories and MORE! Thanks Woody

  3. 3 Woody Lifton August 11, 2009 at 1:18 am

    you are one of my favorite Beatles fans…see you on the cruise!

  4. 4 Barbara Liebowitz July 20, 2009 at 4:41 am

    great story i love the beatles

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