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?Who Played Guitar on She's So Heavy (Beatles)?


Pappy P

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I was listening to the Beatles for Breakfast on the local classic rock station.

 

I haven't heard She's So Heavy for years, and I just never realized how excellent song it is.

 

However, I found myself wondering if that was George Harrison playing guitar or not. It was not very characteristic of his guitar playing (from other Beatles classics).

 

? :confused:Can any one of you esteemed Forumites verify if GH played lead on this track? :confused:

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And Paul McCartney played his tushie off on bass on that track, too! Played great on the whole album.

 

I have a beautiful old Fender bass I want to do more with this year.. one of those famous New Year's Dissolutions, I mean Resolutions... and McCartney is one of the guys I most want to study!

 

He played some great stuff but NEVER got in the way of the song.. that's an art in itself!

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McCartney played lines on some stuff that the whole song would fall apart without. "Silly Love Songs" comes to mind in particular. He is innately very musical overall seems like. Very talented man.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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According to the Beatles recording sessions, on April 18, 1969 in Studio Three (abbey road) George and John overdubbed multi-tracked guitars onto the Feb 23 Trident master, created a reduction master from that called "take one", then overdubbed more guitars onto Take One, then did a rough stereo remix. According to engineer Jeff Jarratt, "They wanted a massive sound, so they kept tracking over and over."

 

They did additional overdubs on the 20th, August 8 (where they worked on both the Trident and Take One versions), August 11 (where they did harmony vocal overdubs...at this point there were two versions of the song... the Trident version, and the Take One version.) On August 20, 1969, they performed the final mix on this recording, mixing the two versions and editing them together, since neither one satisfied John on it's own.

 

What is intersting to me is that this is listed as the last time that all four Beatles were in the Abbey Road studio together. (quote, "..from which they had changed the face of pop music'...)

 

Originally Abbey Road had a different running order, and the final order was selected on this day. The last words to the last song that the Beatles did was , "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I always thought that was Lennon playing the solo on that tune for some reason. (I couldn't open that page, Pappy).

 

BTW...I heard that the last time an official "Beatles" session took place (although Lennon wasn't there) was January of 1970, when they recorded "I Me Mine".

 

I believe the song "Her Majesty" originally went in the medley somewhere...but they cut it out and edited it on the very end of the album because it didn't fit. And that's why it ends so abruptly...because the real last note of "Majesty" was supposed to be the opening chord of "Polythene Pam" or something.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Hey Geezer:

 

I have to catch the early bus to get down town by 7am.

 

Thanks for the info Bill.

 

I remember getting frustrated when I tried to play that song in my younger days. It never sounded right. Now I know I just wasn't using enough guitars.

 

Funny, I do that same trick when I record tracks as well. It works really good.

 

God love the beatles, living and dead.

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I think Bill & Ted've done the honors here but I'd like to add ("Does that guy ever shut up?" :rolleyes: ) some comments...

Lennon rarely gets his due as a guitarist; at least McCartney gets some nods & recognition (but even he played more than most realize). Besides the stuff on A Beer Up The Road ;) (this track & the medley), he played the solos on several other tracks like "Yer Blues" (he can be seen duplicating it in the live performance on the Rolling Stones film Rock & Roll Circus where he & Clapton trade off) & in the Beatles Anthology he can be seen playing the solo of "You Can't Do That" onstage as well!

 

Nothing to detract from Harrison, who I happened to see in performance once & is a great player with incredibly flexible hands. He regularly fingered chords covering 5 & 6 frets in the middle range of the fretboard.

 

 

I'd also like to engender some discussion of this point:

Originally posted by Eric Iverson:

And Paul McCartney played his tushie off on bass on that track, too!

I've long wondered if this is George Harrison on bass. The playing's unlike anything that McCartney did before or after, very jazzy in both line & execution...with the divisions in that band at that time it's not impossible that Lennon & Harrison did it without him.

 

 

& Finally ("Thank God!" :rolleyes: ), I think the original ending of the whole album was intended to be the mid-note cut-off of Lennon's song (think about it...with "Here Comes The Sun" as openner) which then got subverted by the "accidental" similar treatment of "Her Majesty"...thereby giving Sir Paulie the last word & solo spot on what was (then) planned as the last Beatles record.

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Originally, the B side was the A side and vice versa. John was so pissed off that he wanted all of his songs on one side and Pauls on the other. But cooler heads prevailed. The cut off note has to do with an edit, and a decision to change the order of the songs after they were already edited together... something DAW guys might not 'get'... but there was a time when you made a recording choice, and it was relatively irrevocable. They sliced and diced the tape after the fact, and that lead to the chopped off note, as well as the fading note as an intro to what I think ended up being the song just before that one. (I could look it up, be we all know which tunes I mean,...)

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by d:

Thanks for confriming my opinion on the "descent into white noise/abruptly slashed" ending...now about GH bassist ?

I'd have to go and look it up. I can tell you that George and John both played a lot of bass for each ther and Paul, on a Fender VI (I have one, way cool);just as Paul played a lot of guitar on his own songs.

 

You have to remember that the Beatles were originally a three guitar band with another bassist. Paul got the job by default, when the bassist left. My guess is that George was the killer player, and John probably simply refused to be the bassist.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Actually I think Lennon used the Fender VI & Harrison a Jazz model...but they could've easily both used either.

What I've read is they were provided by Fender, along with a Rhodes, as inducement to get publicity.

I've read both Lewisohn's books (one on the sessions & one correlating their overall schedules) & I'm fairly certain he doesn't address the issue I've raised about the bass on this track. My opinion's based on the fact that it just doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard PMc play---not that he couldn't, just that he's never sounded like that.

 

One interesting thing is that in their early audittion for Decca records PMc is alledged to've tried to do a guitar solo & flubbed it badly (some say nerves caused his voice to break on the tape, too). Later on he did play some very remarkable stuff: "Taxman", "Good Morning, Good Morning" (a similarly outrageous explosion) &, I think, the bluesy licks on one of the songs from Help! (can't recall the title offhand) & he probably designed the bass/guitar duet on "And Your Bird can Sing".

 

 

For Beatles fans with some interest, check out the guitar solo (duet?) on "Hey Bulldog" from Yellow Submarine---hands down one of most exciting, snarling-toned & harmonically-edgy things you'll ever hear.

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Idunno, rhythmically- particularly in feel, in relation to the beat, as in pushing it or being right on top of it, instead of laying back some- the bass in "I want you (she's so heavy)" reminds me at times of that in "Hey, Bulldog". Personality-wise, more than musical style-wise, if you will. In short, I think that Walrus was Paul...

 

I'd also guess that a lot of the guitar-overdubs mentioned for the "I want you (she's so heavy)" sessions were for the arpeggiated "rhythm" guitar parts, and the fills or whatever you want to call those other bits, that all sound doubled (and tripled, and further multiplied) and somehow excited.

 

For no particular reason, I always felt that the lead/solo was played by George, but evoked a sort of 'Blue-Paul' (McCartney, not a guitar) ;) vibe for me, as well (if that makes any sense).

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I'll have to give that a good listening to and think about that; tentatively, I'd guess that he's "playing in character" a bit, along with the organ, and the whole lounge-full-of-moody-beatniks-wearing-shades-in-the-dark vibe that permeates the song. Funny how I can only recall shards of it here and there right now, though!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Harrison on bass? Well, it's not inconceivable by any means - any good guitar player can play some bass! I'll pop by the library and borrow Abbey Road and give it a fresh listen!

 

I agree that Lennon is underrated as a guitarist. Above all, he was one of the best rhythm guitarists ever - which I didn't appreciate at the time! And as a big harmonica fan, I love his harp playing on "Love Me Do" and a couple of others.

 

Re: rhythm guitar: Tom Petty once said in a GP interview that rhythm guitar was a lost art! Do you guys agree? Should this question be another thread?

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I'm pretty sure that the solo over the "verse" part is Lennon. It is very similar to his part on the 3-way solo on "The End" as well as "I Found Out" on his first solo album.

 

I saw a clip from a press conference once where Lennon defended his playing saying something like "I'm a good guitarist, just ask Eric".

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Originally posted by d:

Actually I think Lennon used the Fender VI & Harrison a Jazz model.....

 

...

Possibly, but I have pictures of George playing the Fender VI.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by Eric Iverson:

Re: rhythm guitar: Tom Petty once said in a GP interview that rhythm guitar was a lost art! Do you guys agree? Should this question be another thread?

It has been my passion since I started playing. I think that, in a lot of local bands, the rhythm player is just the least good lead player, and he is still waiting for his chance to play a lead. I'm a rhythm player/singer/writer... always have been.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I never was a natural rhythm player - quite the contrary, but I always had natural finger dexterity, so the lead first thing came naturally to me!

 

But later on when actually PLAYING with people they made me realize that I had to get that aspect together, assuming I wanted to continue playing with them!

 

Over the years, I've come to really enjoying playing rhythm; but I still have to work at it sometimes! And then there's the fact that your "brilliant" rhythm part may not blend well with what the other people are doing!

 

Really GOOD rhythm players are worth their weight in gold and much appreciated by their fellow musicians.. good musicians, I mean... even if the public doesn't realize that it's an "art in itself" like my former bandleader Joey likes to say!

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FYI John was a great rhythm guitarist(but like all lybras he could be lazy)P.Mc was one of the greatest Bass players ever and was 2nd lead in the Cavern Dazes But No way was JL going to be the Bass,and until Jimi who played left handed guitar Also Clapton was alwas hanging around and is on quite a few tracks Listen to Sgt Peppers hes in there and Jimmy Page.All the early Beatles hes playing
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Yes, Clapton was a good friend of George Harrison and known to the rest of the Beatles. It is well known that he played lead on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and Harrison played on "Badge". Clapton also played with Harrison onstage after the Beatles, "Concert for Bangla Desh" and a tour GH did in Japan.

 

But Jimmy Page and Clapton on Sgt. Pepper's?? That's sure news to me!

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