Audio Analysis of the Beatles Multitrack Masters

While digging through Usenet, I stumbled on these three unidentified tracks that pick apart three of the Beatles’ original multitrack masters, isolating and highlighting pieces from “She’s Leaving Home,” “A Day in the Life,” and “Come Together.” It’s an astounding, and very listenable, glimpse into their recording process.

Update: Removed the downloads, see update below.

  • Multitrack Analysis of She’s Leaving Home
  • Multitrack Analysis of A Day In the Life
  • Multitrack Analysis of Come Together

Unfortunately, I don’t have any information about the source. In the “Come Together” one, they mention one of the narrators is named “Steve.” Beyond that, I haven’t had any luck finding where they came from. Can anyone identify them? I’d love, love, love to hear more.

Update: It’s from a BBC Radio 6 program called The Record Producers, hosted by Richard Allinson and Steve Levine, that aired last month. Unfortunately, the original BBC broadcast is no longer available on their site.

January 16, 2012: I was politely contacted by Steve Levine, creator of The Record Producers, who politely asked me to remove the sound clips. The BBC was granted permission to broadcast the sensitive Beatles master recordings with strict limitations: they could license it for only seven days after broadcast, and with the condition that they actively prevent non-authorized sources from making them available.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any legal way to purchase or listen to these recordings, and likely won’t for some time.

59 thoughts on “Audio Analysis of the Beatles Multitrack Masters

  1. HEADPHONES,HEADPHONES,GET YOUR HEADPHONES,More fuel added to the fire of the genesis of the Beatles and of the people they surrounded themselves with. I could have listened for hours of this.thanks for bringing this to us,the fans.

  2. I only listened to the “she’s leaving home” analysis and was quite blown away. Of course George Martin was one of the Beatles. All I can say is sit and listen to that boy bands, girl bands and learn from the masters. Thank you for posting these recordings. Wonderful stuff !

  3. i’m so tired of the Beatles, but this gave me chills.

    I think this is more of a testament to how much everything better woulda sounded if they’d played it a bit looser and not overproduced everything. The recording is all so nice and clear, too bad the final is so busy and muddy.

  4. The entire show is available via torrent.

    The Record Producers The Fifth Beatle – Audio Documentary – BBC 6Music via DVB-T

    1 x 120 minutes episode – 128k – MP3 – Slimoo

    The Record Producers profiles a man often labelled “The Fifth Beatle” – Sir George Martin.

    Richard Allinson and Steve Levine examine his work as a producer, arranger and, through his experiments with sound, technical innovator. Highlights include the first chance to hear newly restored versions of the original master tapes for Please Please Me, along with analysis of the original multi-track of Come Together.

    This programme also gives Radio 2 listeners the opportunity to hear some of the Beatles most famous songs in a new way. Because of the limitations of tape machines during the 1960s, it was necessary to either record or mix various instruments and voices onto the same track. Once they’d been committed to tape there was no way of separating them. But now, through the use of revolutionary software, listeners can hear some of these parts in isolation for the very first time.

    In his exclusive interview, Sir George talks about various aspects of the studio and recording process, the albums Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road, along with a number of songs, including Strawberry Fields Forever, Tomorrow Never Knows and Rain.

    Audio Format : MP3

    Duration Approx : 120mn

    Bit rate mode : Constant

    Bit rate : 128 Kbps

    Channel(s) : 2 channels

    Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz

    Resolution : 16 bits

  5. Does anyone know if George Martin has done a documentary like this? I would love to see (and hear).

    Aside:

    There was a documentary called “The Complete Beatles” from the 80’s that was amazing. I keep waiting for it to be released on DVD.

  6. @illinoise I’m one of those that rejected the Beatles when I was a kid, so I’m still always discovering the details of what the Beatles did to make amazing compositions. I love hearing stuff like this. And hearing their process is actually helping us with ours, although we are cheating and using Logic Studio and Reason 4. With the Abbey Road refills. So yeah, REALLY cheating.

    Love this deconstruction stuff. Keep it coming.

  7. Beatle breakdown clips fantastic. thanks so much. must hear entire BBC program! only blog I’ve ever enjoyed. very interesting and eclectic.

    and not snarky.

    I’ll be back.

  8. This is even better than pulling out the headphone jack half-way to eliminate the stereo mix! Great stuff.

    George (M) was so integral, and apparently really level-headed, good influence all around. Sad to think his hearing has suffered to the point of preventing him from working on the ‘Love’ sessions’.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I have both versions of the George Martin Record Producers programme, held at my apple idisk storage, but they are not lossless. If you want an invite to download just let me know via email Andy. 🙂

  10. There are a lot of great bands that I admire. However every time I hear The Beatles, it just reconfirms in my mind that they are THE GREATEST band ever. Hands down. I’m in my 50’s now and I listen to a lot of modern music. But I wonder if in my life God will ever again put together 4 individuals, each bringing just the right talents in order to create musical perfection. BTY do yourself a favor and listen to listener supported radioparadise.c-m

  11. These guys were and are geniuses. They use what would be considered antiquated gear and produced a new standard.

    That’s real talent.

  12. beautiful! thanks for hosting this.

    Paul’s crystal clear voice sounds amazing. Even better than the album.

    Just a tip (not offtopic): if you’re into music or audio production and you enjoy Beatles, you’d like to know that recently released “Beatles Rock Band” video game opened a wide amount of posibilities cause, to make that video game developers needed the multitrack sessions for all songs included in the application.

    Those audio files are hard coded into the program. however, some people found the way out to decrypt these files and extract the audio wich are actually high quality MOGG (Multitrack OGG) files you can play with audacity or any software supportinf these audio format.

    Just try searching for MOGG rockband. You’ll find multitrack recordings for every band on rockband, guitar hero’s catalog, not only Beatle’s, wich are harder to find.

    Second and last tip: X-Box files are much better (same amount of tracks than the source) than Wii version (just 4 tracks), while playstation is in the middle (i think it’s limited to 8 tracks).

    Enjoy.-

    PS: sorry about my english, i’m chilean (spanish speaker)

  13. Thank you for this post… Been a huge Beatles fan since I was a kid and went to an audio engineering school in the early 90’s so this is like… fantastic for me!

  14. Superb program.. Just to let everyone know this is one of a series of programmes called “The Record Producers” I think it is in its 3rd series. I have not heard them all, but everyone i have heard has been excellent. Unfortunately they are no longer availible to listen. Re other multitracks,there are a few about, I have about six beatles tracks, some Marvin Gaye & some Bob Marley stuff..

  15. Many of you may already know of this… but after all the memoirs and “inside” stories of The Beatles (and I have read quite a few also) THIS one is truly one of the BEST… because it’s about the lads in their element, the one we care MOST about — therecording studio. And it’s written by the man who was there and shares firsthand knowledge of the experiences, Geoff Emerick. A must read!! “Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles”

    http://www.amazon.com/Here-There-Everywhere-Recording-Beatles/dp/1592401791

  16. @ Mary

    I agree, the harp and violins at the start of the “She’s Leaving Home” clip are stunning.

    However, I do find it hard to determine any ‘best’ track from the above. I started out with “Come Together” as my fave of the three (at the moment 🙂 ) but in the end I’m just left floored by them all.

    I’ve been learning how to record and mix myself (a teenage dream which lay dormant for 30-odd years) and I find the whole process fascinating and insightful from that perspective as well.

  17. This is so fantastic. It’s very cool to listen to how The Beatles made their magic. Thank you so much Andy.

  18. Me too!!! Me too!!!!!!

    Very cool. I’m so glad someone resurrected this blog post ’cause I missed it the first time around.

  19. This is fantastic stuff, for musicians and music-lovers alike.

    I had the very, very good fortune to work on a recording with George Martin. Even in our brief time together, his genius was obvious. He was utterly non-controlling, open to anything, and yet at the end of the day it was obvious he had the vision and he effortlessly encouraged those around him to help accomplish it. It was a life lesson for me as a burgeoning music engineer and, eventually, producer.

    The Beatles found their soulmate in George Martin, who shared their fearlessness and tremendous imagination to use every last tool in the box. Technology had nothing to do with their brilliance, if anything it was a hindrance. They were exceptional musicians, peerless composers, and with George Martin, never took no for an answer.

  20. I’m going to say that I think that it was not George playing rhythm guitar on Come Together but John, in spite of what the narrator says. It’s sounds like John’s style,and at that point, they were hardly a band, so why would John have George play a part he could easily do himself.

  21. Though I certainly understand what David is saying about John having George play instead of himself, I do know that the track sheets created during Beatles sessions were meticulously kept by engineering room assistants. If George did in fact play those parts, I can think of no one on Earth that could have channeled John Lennon’s guitar style better than George.

  22. I have to laugh when I think of the incredible weight that George martin was carrying each time he bounced several tracks together to make room for more playing and singing.

    I can remember how I agonized over each time I had to bounce tracks on my four track cassette Tascam Porta Studio in 1982, as if the world depended on my getting it right. LOL!

    I can’t put into words how thrilling it is to hear the naked voice of Paul McCartney blending with John Lennon’s reverb-soaked voice in “She’s Leaving Home”.

    Every one of these new discoveries is the equivalent of deciphering the Rosetta Stone, and I am incredibly grateful to have lived long enough to hear this stuff. My thanks to Andy Baio for unearthing and especially for sharing these priceless pieces of music history! Not to be too greedy, but is it possible that we might be treated to more of these any time soon?

  23. How sublime to here those tracks separated like the strands of beautiful memories they evoke.

    thanks to whomever produced this and a dear friend how sent me this link

Comments are closed.