I no longer have the vigor of youth. Both my physical body and mental acuity have become Couch Potatoes. My energy level is akin to a cold, neglected poutine, forgotten in the back seat of a Subaru from Quebec. I still have dreams of breaking through the sludge of this apathy and indifference, yet most days, I feel lucky if I can manage a single, solitary, productive task.
Still, I try not to jealously begrudge others their energy and vigor. Some days that’s easier than other days. And other days, when I see or hear or read about somebody else who is doing or did something pretty extraordinary with their day, I just have to stand up and applaud the effort. Or, I would stand up if the physical act didn’t hurt my knees and back so much.
But I can type! And type I will about one such productive day for a guy named Paul McCartney who was in a band called The Beatles. (I bet you already knew that!)
On June 14, 1965, Paul McCartney had an extraordinarily productive day in the Abbey Road Studios. On that singular day, he and The Beatles, along with George Martin and the engineers etc., managed to record three songs. You might say “Big deal! They recorded their entire initial album in one just one day.” That’s true, and remarkable, but even in the 2 years between then and this day, The Beatles songwriting and recording methods had become more developed and intricate.
Three songs in one day. And each one a Macca creation. Impressive, I say. And more impressive still as they represent the amazing breadth of creativity he and The Beatles were experiencing at that time. It was, undoubtedly, a most fruitful period for everyone involved.
The day started off with the recording of the rollicking acoustic folk tune, I’ve Just See A Face. After 6 takes and a maraca overdub, they considered the song complete. I’ve always thought this song was rather underappreciated. Have a listen and see what you think.
After a relatively quick completion of McCartney’s I’ve Just Seen A Face, and after a short break, they moved on to another new McCartney composition. I’m Down. From the rather pure pop-folk of I’ve Just Seen A Face, to the rip-roaring all out rocker of I’m Down – and a Macca performance that certainly proves it’s not only John who can belt out layrnx-demolishing vocals like on Twist and Shout.
Have a listen. The guy absolutely tears into the vocals! And listen to Ringo showing those cymbals absolutely no mercy, and John pounding those keys on the organ! A fantastic group performance, and a vocal highlight, for sure. Seven takes in total, a couple of overdubs of backing vocals and such, and they decided to move on to the next song.
So far on this day, two songs in the can, each pretty different from the other in terms of style. But there’s still time to get one more song in the can, surely? Wrapping up the day, just after ripping his vocal chords on I’m Down, Paul tackled the melodic ballad Yesterday, which, you know, would only become the most covered song in history.
George Martin had Paul take a crack at both singing and playing the guitar in one take. It landed pretty well. A bit later, as the strings are overdubbed, he had Paul sing the lead again, but in the end, they went with the first vocal. And that was it. Two takes and done!
Three terrific songs. One productive day. Today, I barely managed to get myself through a drive-thru for an Egg McMuffin.