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When did you first meet The Beatles?
“The first session I was on as a second engineer, button-pusher, was side two of A Hard Day’s Night , the non-movie stuff. Obviously, a landmark session for me. I was petrified, but it seemed to go okay in the end, I guess! I kept working with them in that capacity more than anyone else, from that time on, through Rubber Soul.”
How experimental were they during that 1964 session?
“They’d moved on a little from the live thing. They were starting to get accustomed to four-track recording, and being able to double-track vocals easily, and put on a couple of additional things, but they hadn’t reached that point where they would tell you what kind of sound they were after.
“It was still left totally up to Norman Smith, who taught them so much. Norman was always trying to push the envelope as much as he could, within the bounds of Abbey Road management, the bounds of technology at that point, and at the point where The Beatles were.
"They hadn’t reached that point where one could go nuts with experimenting with things and getting all of these different sounds. Their progression, at that point, was still in the music, as opposed to the sound.”
When you started working with them again after Revolver and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you must have noticed a big difference...
“Yes, they were into doing four-track to four-tracks, so that they could put things on, and on, and on, until they got it exactly the way they wanted it. Then, on the White Album, they decided they wanted to get back to basics and more rock ’n’ roll. Even though some of the songs were very individual, and there would be times when it would just be the person that wrote the song in the studio working on it, so much was a group effort; all of them in the studio, playing at the same time. It was amazing.”
How were those raucous guitar sounds on the White Album recorded?
“It was generally pretty standard. It would be a Neumann U67 on a guitar amp, and just 18 inches to two feet away, I guess. More than anything, I think the sounds were got down in the studio, more than from us.
"I have very little memory of Clapton coming in and playing the guitar solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. But the one thing I do remember is Eric didn’t want it to sound like himself. He wanted it more Beatle-ish. We had to do something that we often did with The Beatles, which was flange the guitar, so it had a more strange sound, a more out-of-tune sound, less like Eric and more like The Beatles, so there were some things that we did in the control room, but a lot of it was just got from downstairs.”