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First released: 1969, January 17
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A new album by the Beatles? Not quite. Half by the Beatles, half "original film score, composed and orchestrated by George Martin, produced by George Martin". Side A is the Beatles, side B is the score.
Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the LP was the time it had taken to see the light of day. Yellow Submarine , albeit a highly successful film in both critical and box-office terms, had been on release for all of seven months before this (supposedly) accompanying soundtrack album was issued. The songs themselves were even older.
One reason for the delay was the November 1968 release of The Beatles , which the group felt was of greater import and must take precedence. Another was that George Martin wanted to re-record his side of the album. (He had originally taped the film score at Olympic Sound Studios, with Keith Grant and George Chkiantz assisting.) On 22 and 23 October 1968, personally conducting the 41-piece George Martin Orchestra and sharing production duties with John Burgess and Ron Richards, he re-taped everything in two three-hour sessions in studio one, Abbey Road. The engineer was Geoff Emerick, tape operator Nick Webb. Stereo remixing and editing was done on 24 and 25 October, Martin producing, Emerick and Mike Sheady assisting. The stereo album was cut at Abbey Road by Harry Moss on 22 November, the mono (simply a monaural cut of the stereo) was done on 25 November.
The Beatles was mildly criticised at the time of this LP release for giving less than their usually excellent value-for-money. Lovely though George Martin's score was, fans of the group were having to buy a full-price album for just four "new" songs by the group (even the most recent was 11 months old), two of the six titles - Yellow Submarine itself and All You Need Is Love - having long been released. The group evidently took the criticism to heart, for there remains in the EMI library a master tape for a seven-inch mono EP, to run at LP speed, 33 1 / 3 rpm, compiled and banded on 13 March 1969 by Abbey Road employee Edward Gadsby-Toni, with the following line-up: Side A: Only A Northern Song ; Hey Bulldog ; Across The Universe . Side B: All Together Now ; It's All Too Much . (Note the bonus inclusion of Across The Universe , long finished and mixed but, as of March 1969, still awaiting issue on the World Wildlife Fund charity album.)
The EP was never issued. Perhaps the Beatles, never too enamoured with any part of the Yellow Submarine project, felt that they were better off washing their hands of the whole affair.
- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"