Listen: Beatles’ Original Take of ‘Lucy in the Sky’

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The Beatles, during the recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper (Photo © Apple Corps Ltd. Used with permission)

On the day (May 18) that The Beatles‘ dedicated channel on SiriusXM debuted, Apple Corps Ltd. has released a second outtake from the mammoth Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th anniversary packages that are coming on May 26. This time it’s the first take of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” and it’s remarkable how the song evolved until its official version.

Amidst an organ riff, studio banter and the strumming of an acoustic guitar, the familiar first harpsichord notes are heard, followed by John Lennon’s vocal. After the first verse, a musical bed is heard where one expects to hear the chorus. At 3:59 in length, including John’s final “Okay… yeah,” it’s a half-minute longer than the final version. The song can be heard directly below or at NPR where it premiered.

Related: Our preview of the Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary edition

In late April, an outtake of a stripped-down version of the album’s opening title track was released, without much of the additional instrumentation (no horns or crowd laughter) but with studio chatter from Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Listen to the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band” outtake

The Pepper reissues feature the album newly mixed by Giles Martin (George’s son) and Sam Okell, a 144-page book with liner notes from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and 34 previously unreleased recordings. Among those are numerous takes of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” which were released as a single prior to the album’s release.

“It’s a humbling process,” said Martin. Last fall, he told Best Classic Bands, “I never, ever planned or thought that I’d work on Beatles material. My father never planned or thought I’d work on Beatles material.”

Related: Our interview with Giles Martin on his Beatles projects and his father, George

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.


Best Classic Bands Staff

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