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Who Sang the "A-h-h-hs" in "A Day in the Life"...?

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Last post 19/09/2019

Posted by Nancy R

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      There is a big discussion amongst the experts over at Steve Hoffman Music Forums.  I thought that maybe the experts here could help.  Anybody know the answer?

        The Blastproof wrote:

        There is a big discussion amongst the experts over at Steve Hoffman Music Forums.  I thought that maybe the experts here could help.  Anybody know the answer?

        Yoko

          Sounds like mostly John to me with Paul doing oohs underneath.

          https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EJD1pEz3rUUvp81jodOdLYslMKumXrzm/view?usp=drivesdk

            Nancy R wrote:

            Sounds like mostly John to me with Paul doing oohs underneath.

            https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EJD1pEz3rUUvp81jodOdLYslMKumXrzm/view?usp=drivesdk

            Agreed. 

              Ive heard the isolated tracks, and it could be either or.  There is an interview with Geoff Emerick here-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1558s    At the 24 min mark he talks about ADITL.  The people on the Hoffman forums tear this apart saying its technically impossible to do what Geoff describes blah blah.  They say his memory is shot, and that a ghost writer "created" his memories for a book he released in 2006. 

              I highly doubt a ghost writer would create such a vivid recollection what GE describes here in 2017.  He even refers to Richard Lush in the video. 

               

              The other claim is that Paul did the "woke up" and the "aaahs" all in the same take which I find almost impssible to believe

              I tend to believe GE here.

                Clickable link:

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1558s

                Geoff calls them “John’s aaahs.” 😉

                  Reading Mark Lewisohn's comments in his book 'The Complete Beatles recording sessions', it appears all the echo drenched vocals were by John apart from the section which features Paul on lead vocal. 

                    I always thought it was John, but their voices blended so well together it could be either, or both.

                      Maccaroni1974 wrote:

                      Ive heard the isolated tracks, and it could be either or.  There is an interview with Geoff Emerick here-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1558s    At the 24 min mark he talks about ADITL.  The people on the Hoffman forums tear this apart saying its technically impossible to do what Geoff describes blah blah.  They say his memory is shot, and that a ghost writer "created" his memories for a book he released in 2006. 

                      I highly doubt a ghost writer would create such a vivid recollection what GE describes here in 2017.  He even refers to Richard Lush in the video. 

                       

                      The other claim is that Paul did the "woke up" and the "aaahs" all in the same take which I find almost impssible to believe

                      I tend to believe GE here.

                      I enjoyed Geoffs book, but thought he often tried to take the credit away from George Martin a bit. He was also pretty dismissive of George and Ringo which I didn't like

                        Geoff Emerick.  Ringo step on his foot.

                          McCartney sang it. There are many examples of McCartney singing these notes in this style in his recording catalogue, and no examples of Lennon singing these notes in this style.

                          Apart from this, there is also technical evidence. It's proven to be one take, no audible edit, and you can hear McCartney smoothly finishing his last note to do a breath inhale after his first bit. Same vocalist at the same mic. 

                            nobodytoldme wrote:

                            McCartney sang it. There are many examples of McCartney singing these notes in this style in his recording catalogue, and no examples of Lennon singing these notes in this style.

                            Apart from this, there is also technical evidence. It's proven to be one take, no audible edit, and you can hear McCartney smoothly finishing his last note to do a breath inhale after his first bit. Same vocalist at the same mic. 

                            Have you read the rest of this thread? Agree to disagree. 

                              I've always assumed that it was John. Sounds much more like him than Paul, I think.

                                Nancy R wrote:

                                nobodytoldme wrote:

                                McCartney sang it. There are many examples of McCartney singing these notes in this style in his recording catalogue, and no examples of Lennon singing these notes in this style.

                                Apart from this, there is also technical evidence. It's proven to be one take, no audible edit, and you can hear McCartney smoothly finishing his last note to do a breath inhale after his first bit. Same vocalist at the same mic. 

                                Have you read the rest of this thread? Agree to disagree. 

                                I did. It's a decade old discussion to which I contributed extensively at various places, haha.

                                Geoff Emerick indeed can be dismissed instantly. It's true he had to rely on ghostwriters to fill in the gaps for his book, so not a single detail can be relied on. Already in interviews from the 70's he often answered "I can't remember" when asked about certain sessions. And then 30 years later he suddenly remembers all in detail...

                                Besides this it's clear: his whole recollection of this session is technically impossible and easily proven wrong by listening to the multi-tracks. 

                                For example, it's proven that there is no edit in the vocal take until Lennon's original verse vocal comes back in again. With the vocal takes naturally going smoothly into each other ("and I went into a dream", same vocalist doing a breath inhale, and that vocalist then going into the next bit) it's impossible that this was done by two different vocalists. Emerick's ghostwriter made up some story about having to do a hard edit on the spot for two different takes. Impossible at the time, and the multi-tracks prove that's not what happened.

                                  nobodytoldme wrote:

                                  Nancy R wrote:
                                  nobodytoldme wrote:

                                  McCartney sang it. There are many examples of McCartney singing these notes in this style in his recording catalogue, and no examples of Lennon singing these notes in this style.

                                  Apart from this, there is also technical evidence. It's proven to be one take, no audible edit, and you can hear McCartney smoothly finishing his last note to do a breath inhale after his first bit. Same vocalist at the same mic. 

                                  Have you read the rest of this thread? Agree to disagree. 

                                  I did. It's a decade old discussion to which I contributed extensively at various places, haha.

                                  Geoff Emerick indeed can be dismissed instantly. It's true he had to rely on ghostwriters to fill in the gaps for his book, so not a single detail can be relied on. Already in interviews from the 70's he often answered "I can't remember" when asked about certain sessions. And then 30 years later he suddenly remembers all in detail...

                                  Besides this it's clear: his whole recollection of this session is technically impossible and easily proven wrong by listening to the multi-tracks. 

                                  For example, it's proven that there is no edit in the vocal take until Lennon's original verse vocal comes back in again. With the vocal takes naturally going smoothly into each other ("and I went into a dream", same vocalist doing a breath inhale, and that vocalist then going into the next bit) it's impossible that this was done by two different vocalists. Emerick's ghostwriter made up some story about having to do a hard edit on the spot for two different takes. Impossible at the time, and the multi-tracks prove that's not what happened.

                                  Interesting 

                                   

                                    in

                                     

                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s Geoff Emerick explains its John starting at 23min mark. Giles also explains its John starting at 26 min mark-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s

                                      Maccaroni1974 wrote:

                                      in

                                       

                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s Geoff Emerick explains its John starting at 23min mark. Giles also explains its John starting at 26 min mark-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s

                                      I hate to dismiss the legend Geoff Emerick is, but what he's saying over there doesn't align with what is documented in paper and on audio. The evidence on the multi-tracks - which by the way "leaked" in raw form a decade ago - hasn't been altered in the last 50+ years, but memories can be. 

                                      Read this interview with Geoff Emerick from 1979: http://www.angelfire.com/planet/beatlesrecording/GeoffEmerick1979.html

                                      He didn't remember a thing in 1979. Which I can imagine, and which isn't weird at all. He was there in the heat of the moment, in the middle of the creativity, no blame there. But skim through it, and see how many times he literally says things like "it's difficult to recall details of specific sessions so many years on, they sort of blur together" and "that's really going back quite a few years, it's a bit difficult to recall, actually..." (little over a decade on).

                                      On top of that, he's already in 1979 erroneously talking about easily verifiable things like how 'Eleanor Rigby' was McCartney solo on acoustic guitar (as we know from just putting on the song it wasn't) before he corrects himself, he's talking about 'Revolver' being the first album on 4-track (it's a fact 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' 2,5 years earlier was the first 4-track session), he's talking about 'Pepper' barely have any tape bounces and the most they ever did is one tape bounce at the time (it's on paper almost every song on 'Pepper' received multiple tape bounces).

                                      On 'A Day In The Life' he said in the same interview from 1979, while being asked whether Lennon or McCartney played piano on that song: "Sorry, no. Haven't a clue. It was basically John's song, I think, so it might have been him. I don't remember."

                                      For his book in 2007, he suddenly goes in vivid details: "As Lennon sang softly, strumming his acoustic guitar, Paul accompanied him on piano. A lot of thought must have gone into the piano part, because it was providing a perfect counterpoint to John's vocal and guitar playing. Ringo joined on bongos, while George Harrison, who seemed to have been given nothing specific to do, idly shook a pair of maracas."

                                      So this is the reason his recollection isn't worth much more. On top of this, in the same book he wrote fictional stories about for example recording 'Blackbird' in the open air, with live birds and a metronome. It's proved the tapping is McCartney's feet (by video footage) and the birds are sound effects from the tape library (it's written down which sounds from which tape, which are also still available isolated). 

                                      Regarding Giles Martin, what he's got in his hands is exactly what we got, the raw multi-tracks audio. He wasn't there, we weren't there. Giles Martin often dismissed himself as not being a Beatles expert, and often gets details wrong. Which also isn't a big deal, he's only human. But it's important in this case. Even more so since he isn't actually doing the technical parts of the remixes, that's Sam Okell. And guess who labeled the full bridge "Paul's vocals" in the Pro Tools session for the 2017 remix, that's seen in a screenshot from Sound On Sound Magazine? https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/inside-track-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band (screenshot #12 at the bottom).

                                      Also, if we're counting Geoff Emerick and Giles Martin, we definitely gotta involve Richard Lush, who was the Second Engineer on all recordings of the Pepper album. He was there, and got contacted 2 years ago on this subject by a member of SH.tv. He also confirmed it's McCartney singing.

                                        Oh no, there's even a YT video on this very subject now !!!  

                                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFaV_ZglrAc

                                         

                                        .

                                          Kestrel wrote:

                                          Oh no, there's even a YT video on this very subject now !!!  

                                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFaV_ZglrAc

                                           

                                          .

                                          I think that's what triggered this discussion again, over here and other places. The video and especially the ill-informed comments on the video aren't getting us anywhere. The information is incomplete, the technical aspects are overlooked and the musical examples are just off.

                                          The 'A Day In The Life' bridge got every tail-sign of McCartney's vocals, and none of Lennon's. Full voice, long high notes, the timbre of the vocal. In the video Lennon's 'Mother' is used as comparison, which is just apples and oranges. A gritty vocal in a different range, sung with separate notes, and not sung like McCartney does with the earlier mentioned melismas at all and the voice he's using for the 'A Day In The Life' bridge.

                                            nobodytoldme wrote:

                                            Maccaroni1974 wrote:

                                            in

                                             

                                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s Geoff Emerick explains its John starting at 23min mark. Giles also explains its John starting at 26 min mark-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5caf6mAACA&t=1551s

                                            I hate to dismiss the legend Geoff Emerick is, but what he's saying over there doesn't align with what is documented in paper and on audio. The evidence on the multi-tracks - which by the way "leaked" in raw form a decade ago - hasn't been altered in the last 50+ years, but memories can be. 

                                            Read this interview with Geoff Emerick from 1979: http://www.angelfire.com/planet/beatlesrecording/GeoffEmerick1979.html

                                            He didn't remember a thing in 1979. Which I can imagine, and which isn't weird at all. He was there in the heat of the moment, in the middle of the creativity, no blame there. But skim through it, and see how many times he literally says things like "it's difficult to recall details of specific sessions so many years on, they sort of blur together" and "that's really going back quite a few years, it's a bit difficult to recall, actually..." (little over a decade on).

                                            On top of that, he's already in 1979 erroneously talking about easily verifiable things like how 'Eleanor Rigby' was McCartney solo on acoustic guitar (as we know from just putting on the song it wasn't) before he corrects himself, he's talking about 'Revolver' being the first album on 4-track (it's a fact 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' 2,5 years earlier was the first 4-track session), he's talking about 'Pepper' barely have any tape bounces and the most they ever did is one tape bounce at the time (it's on paper almost every song on 'Pepper' received multiple tape bounces).

                                            On 'A Day In The Life' he said in the same interview from 1979, while being asked whether Lennon or McCartney played piano on that song: "Sorry, no. Haven't a clue. It was basically John's song, I think, so it might have been him. I don't remember."

                                            For his book in 2007, he suddenly goes in vivid details: "As Lennon sang softly, strumming his acoustic guitar, Paul accompanied him on piano. A lot of thought must have gone into the piano part, because it was providing a perfect counterpoint to John's vocal and guitar playing. Ringo joined on bongos, while George Harrison, who seemed to have been given nothing specific to do, idly shook a pair of maracas."

                                            So this is the reason his recollection isn't worth much more. On top of this, in the same book he wrote fictional stories about for example recording 'Blackbird' in the open air, with live birds and a metronome. It's proved the tapping is McCartney's feet (by video footage) and the birds are sound effects from the tape library (it's written down which sounds from which tape, which are also still available isolated). 

                                            Regarding Giles Martin, what he's got in his hands is exactly what we got, the raw multi-tracks audio. He wasn't there, we weren't there. Giles Martin often dismissed himself as not being a Beatles expert, and often gets details wrong. Which also isn't a big deal, he's only human. But it's important in this case. Even more so since he isn't actually doing the technical parts of the remixes, that's Sam Okell. And guess who labeled the full bridge "Paul's vocals" in the Pro Tools session for the 2017 remix, that's seen in a screenshot from Sound On Sound Magazine? https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/inside-track-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band (screenshot #12 at the bottom).

                                            Also, if we're counting Geoff Emerick and Giles Martin, we definitely gotta involve Richard Lush, who was the Second Engineer on all recordings of the Pepper album. He was there, and got contacted 2 years ago on this subject by a member of SH.tv. He also confirmed it's McCartney singing.

                                            Youre stretching the truth here.  Starting with Richard Lush.  Somebody CLAIMED to have contacted him.    Doesn't mean they did, nor was the actual conversation through LinkedIn, which is how Lush was allegedly contacted posted in that thread.

                                             

                                            Regarding Giles and Okell, correct Okell labled that part as Pauls, and Giles stated it was John.  Okell has only the isolated tracks to go by as anybody else.  No more or no less insight than anybody else.

                                            Giles also had access to his father.. It IS conceivable  George may have mentioned the recording of that song at some point in time

                                             

                                            Emrick DOES make mistakes in his book.  Doesn't mean everything is wrong that he states.  Can you remember every detail of your work from years ago?!?   In the interview I posted, he even states regarding the recording of theh "aahs"  "Did you ask Richard(Lush)?"  who was onsite that day.  Implying that Lush could corroborate the story.

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