Well, here is a mystery solved . . or is it?.

76 Responses to “Well, here is a mystery solved . . or is it?.”

  1. henry_the_horse says:

    Except for one little detail. They do not have microphones balacing the quartet. They are play against a pre-recorded track.

  2. Dan says:

    They wouldn’t have individually mic’ed the players, there would have been a boom mic above.

    This indeed solves it.

  3. Kwai Chang says:

    Are we to believe that classically trained quartet is going to attempt this ‘LIVE’ performance without their sheet music???
    The fakery will be ongoing!
    I love George and John’s enthusiasm!
    America…this is aimed at your wallets, purses, milk money!

  4. henry_the_horse says:

    1) Booms microphones are directional and moved above the person speaking according to dialogue. This is not practical with a group of players.
    2) Proximity of filming crew and equipment would create noise picked up by a directional boom microphone.
    3) With multiple studio lightning a boom microphone would cast shadows on the floor or the background. There are no microphone shadows on the floor, yet there are multiple shadows of the players and their bows, the crew, McCartney, Harrison and Lennon.
    4) Musical mistake or issue 1: there are 3 violins being filmed when “Yesterday” arrangement calls for a string quartet (2 violins, 1 viola, 1 violoncello). The viola and the cello are nowhere to be seen, yet they are heard (violoncello solo line is heard in the second middle-eight).
    5) The positions of the violin players is staged for camera. There is no way that players of such a small violin ensemble could heard themselves standing in a row, with girls shouting (loud shouts are heard), and crew talking. The proper position would have been seated in a circle looking at each other, as we can see during “All You Need Is Love” broadcast. These were U.S. classical musicans playing a song by an English group released in an album in the U.S. only the previous day (13 August), in the U.K. the previous week, and they were not reading a score.

  5. Kwai Chang says:

    I would love to meet you someday…
    you know the rest!


  6. Nick D. says:

    Oh, Henry! I wish I knew who you really are!

  7. MarkZapp says:

    Phenomenal rare rehearsal photo! Never saw any like this before. Paul’s first solo ever in The United States.

  8. Dan says:

    Any thoughts on how McCartney would have dealt with the tempo issue?

  9. Dan says:

    To your points:

    1. Usually, but not always. Many examples of groups of players mic’ed this way in dozens (that I’ve seen) of late 1950s/early 1960s tv shows.
    2. Not necessarily.
    3. Photo is too tight to show that.
    4. Your strongest point, but could be slightly out of frame.
    5. Eh, nothing here that goes very far to prove your point. Visually arranged doesn’t mean staged.

    And then there’s the pesky tempo issue. Live TV? Singing along to a track that doesn’t even start until 1/3 of the way through and without a strong rhythmic component?

  10. Kwai Chang says:

    What would be bitchin’ but, DOESN’T exist is a SINGLE pan from audience to performer(s) during the so-called LIVE ANYSHOW. They are about as LIVE as Saturday Night Live. YAWN!!!
    THAT’s why this picture was taken to begin with. To support the illusion that ANYTHING on tv is REAL.
    Apollo anyone…no time delay during tr5ansmission?
    Etcetera, and so on and so forth….
    Warmest regards and w/ NO disrespect!

  11. Kwai Chang says:

    If we continue, we might as well figure out why the group was in England when Ed Sullivan was telling America/World that they were in New York City for their 3rd appearance on his…ahem…’Live’ BULLSHIT…
    I love The Beatles
    but, they are extruded like the rest of the art.

  12. So, it seems as if the string section were brought in for staging, you can see they’re rehearsing camera angles here. It was obviously decided this would be too tricky, or not what was wanted so they cut the idea, which kinda sucks for the players, because I bet the all told their families ‘We’re gonna be playing with The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, only to be shafted at the last moment.

    Having played in many orchestras I can say with all certainty these guys are not set up for live performance, more like the orchestra seen on the Academy Awards recently with Lady Gaga.

    So . . where did those string sounds come from during the Sullivan performance?.

  13. mcarp555 says:

    Maybe we shouldn’t assume the guitar is live. The entire backing could be canned, with Paul singing live, but miming the guitar playing. Does anyone even see a guitar mic in the photo? Looking at the performance on YT, I think the mic position is wrong for the sound of the guitar.

    This way it would be easy to keep the guitar and strings in sync, but allow the the appearance of a ‘live’ performance with Paul’s vocal.

  14. Kwai Chang says:

    I just want somebody to prove that there is even an audience in front of the Beatles on ANY Ed Sullivan ‘performance’. otherwise, I will rename the topic…’Ed StrangeSullivan: Or, How I Learned To Love The Beatles’
    (Kubrick…where are you???)
    TV isn’t PROOF of anything…
    Quite the opposite…it is a reason to scrutinize.
    Myths should NEVER be explained in DETAIL…
    Oedipus wasn’t banging his mom…
    he was screwing every girl in the family.
    Warmest regards from A Beatle Lover…

  15. Kwai Chang says:

    Just think of it this way…
    “Kwai Chang, shut the fuck up…and buy the single”

  16. mcarp555 says:

    Kwai, if you and I can’t even convince each other we exist, how can we explain the Beatles? A perfect ‘brainstorm’?

    From Matrix to You
    We are our own Walrus…goo goo are you?
    She’s not a girl who imagines much,
    Paperback Brain Jar!

  17. Kwai Chang says:

    you mean, if I wore a NASA spacesuit and was named Neil Armstrong
    I could sponsor a Beatle concert on the moon…as long as it was on TV?
    I exist…the hole in my wallet is all the proof I need.
    What I don’t need are fairytale stories of the romantic struggle to stardom…
    and, the gatekeepers that abound.
    Be honest…and my wallet would have NEVER been involved!
    Yours, truly
    Kwai Chang

  18. Cara says:

    While the rest of you discuss metaphysics, my little brain ponders the truly important things… like when was the a/c installed? Paul sweats more than Nixon ever did, yet all of Letterman’s guests complain how freezing it is in there. (The strings sound canned to me, but what do I know?)

    @Kwai ~ Heading up to Acton week after next for my annual “Day in the Country” to get fresh lilacs and almonds. Looking for a new lunch spot… got a suggestion?

  19. Vitaliy says:

    Here is the uncropped version.

  20. Tammy says:

    This honestly does my head in, Mr Horse, what’s your final call on the live or taped strings?, if it was taped, how would they have synched up?.

    This are the questions people should be asking Paul, not those idiot questions his website poses to him.

  21. Kwai Chang says:

    Really good sushi at Miso Sushi…Sierra Hwy @ Crown Valley behind McDonalds. The 49er is ‘in town'(1.5 miles from freeway) on Crown Valley.
    They serve steaks, burgers, and Mexican food. At Santiago Exit there is a good coffee shop/restaurant with a great menu and huge portions called Crazy Otto’s.
    There is no Chan Darae out here…so nothing exotic.
    Enjoy yourself!


    Chronicles/Lewisohn p.198: ‘Yesterday'(sung by Paul accompanied only by a pre-taped track of three violins).

    I don’t know the difference in instrument sounds very well…
    so, is this tape prepared by George Martin and brought by the group to New York? If so, it should sound different than the ‘quartet’…
    but, I’ve always thought the ‘strings’ on Sullivan sound like the record.

    (end of intermission)

  22. henry_the_horse says:

    @Kwai Chang and @Tammy,
    IMHO, the quartet and the guitar were pre-recorded. The guitar sounds exactly played as -in dynamics, snapped strings, and timbre- as the released version, as is the quartet. One thing to remember is that McCartney asked the quartet to play without vibrato. This was an unusual request and it were uncomfortable trying to comply to it. The style of performance in the 1st half of the 20th century was ‘always vibrato’. This was a practice that permeated from late Romanticism, as it allowed more sustain and volume in the days when the microphones were few, sometimes just one, and most of the time none at all. Compare Lester Young’s tenor sax with John Coltrane’s in “Stardust”. Singers were also doing vibrato all the time.
    I imagine how difficult would have been to try to reproduce that sound with a U.S. quartet without the score and rehearsing more the camera angles than the sound reinforcement or the actual score.
    Now regarding the score, there is certainly a violoncello sounding in the recording which is nowhere to be seen on the photographs. Even Lewisohn lists just 3 violins. There is one famous cello phrase dictated by McCartney in the second middle-eight after the line “Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say”, and then the cello answers ‘forte’ a 4-note countermelody : C-Eb-C-Bb (rehearsal letter D, measure 4 ).
    Then there is the cello solo line in the ending playing a 5-note part: C-B-Bb-F-F (rehearsal letter F).
    Both lines are perfectly heard in the Sullivan performance, hence a cello was recorded. Why call a cello player and not showing him on screen? If the cello was pre-recorded on location, why sending him off after the recording? Why not rehearsing with it before deciding not to including it (The photograph in question is from the rehearsal)? Why not making him stay for play-back filming?
    As for the viola, it is heard as well as it should be necessary. It should be there to cover the range between the cello and the violins, but there is a line that is out of range for a violin (the note F) while the cello plays its famous line dictated by McCartney.
    How do you play guitar over a recording that should start in measure 9? Same way with “Hey Jude” and the orchestra: you get a special mix without the vocal or you get the official mix and sing over it. Since the phrasing of McCartney in the Sullivan performance is different than the official mix, then they took to N.Y. a special mix. Then the microphone for the acoustic guitar was just a prop.
    Finally, the Sullivan performance and the album version can be synched since both are in the same tempo and last the same. How come this? Because they are the same recording.

  23. henry_the_horse says:

    This is Martin’s original score for “Yesterday” to look for the passages mentioned. Rehearsal letters D and F are on the right page.

  24. henry_the_horse says:

    This is Martin’s original score for “Yesterday” to look for the passages mentioned. Rehearsal letters D and F are on the right page.

  25. Kwai Chang says:

    Now, THAT was my kind of Waltz.

    The Day The Humidity Rose In America:
    The event was probably designed to maximize pre-release interest in the single. The performance was obviously envisioned to be a nonchalant dropping of the wet-panty-bomb on the U.S. The only problem was that nobody invited George Martin to be there. So, the incompetence could not navigate the labyrinth of cinematography logistics. Sure, the intro by George…the Boo-Hoo dramatics of the singer being rosined into heartbreak by the nearby strings was to be the visual uppercut of the merchandizing season. But, the oil and water wouldn’t mix. So, what kind of technical wizardry did Ed’s crew dream up? Well, most of America’s smartest problem solvers probably worked at NASA already…
    so, clear the stage…lower the lights…give him one microphone and let him sing over that record…we can play it on the Marantz Console behind the stage. John adds a little more moisture…and the crowd noise can do the rest. Use standard ‘LIVE’ 7-second delay on broadcast to place shrieks over vocal compromises. And have the pressing plants work round the clock…this one is shipping Platinum…
    “That was just like him”
    Ever, so grateful, henry
    Kwai Chang

  26. Yesterday had only 1 Beatle on it. Revolution #9 had 2. I’ve always been amused at the suggestion by some that Free As A Bird should not be considered a “real” Beatles recording. Whether someone thinks it’s a good song or not is another matter.

  27. mcarp555 says:

    Henry and I agree. Phew.

  28. Jorge says:

    Ahhh, a picture really is worth 1,000 words 😉 nuff said

  29. LeftyBass says:

    I LOVE this website!

  30. Lizzie says:

    Me too, LeftyBass! Though sometimes I feel rather Beatle-ignorant when reading it… but I love to learn.

  31. Michael says:

    Henry, could you repeat that, please!

  32. Kevin says:

    There was always an audience on Ed Sullivan. When Paul sang Yesterday on Ed Sullivan, I am told the String Quartet music was a tape of the original track that Paul played live to. No strings in the studio for that one.
    Did someone say this photo is from the Ed Sullivan broadcast? I never saw any quartet in the studio and I have a copy of the broadcast from 1965.

  33. Kevin says:

    That photo looks like a rehearsal with the strings just put there. And where is the cello?

  34. henry_the_horse says:

    Or the viola, for that matter. Three violins do not a quartet make.

  35. henry_the_horse says:

    Neither do 3 violins and a viola, or 3 violins and a cello.

  36. Kwai Chang says:

    Crew/Techs don’t qualify an audience.
    How do you know there was an audience? I haven’t seen a single photo that shows The Beatles on Ed Sullivan AND the audience in ANY CAPACITY. I’m curious why you think there was an audience. That already isn’t true for the third appearance…
    So, the other appearances need something to help verify your claim.
    The formula techniques are brutally crude and offer no opportunity for verification. Production is begging the ignorance of the audience…
    Spectacle was the magic dust. It worked then because of the awe-inspiring pre-game hype…and the ‘audience track'(laugh track). Ed Sullivan crew blew it. Etcetera…

  37. philalban7 says:

    Prerecorded guitar and quartet in my opinion. Look at the surprise on Paul’s face at the start as the song begins. He looks slightly unprepared as though he wasn’t sure where it started. He wouldn’t have this reaction if he was playing it live. Guitar is too ‘studio’ sounding aswell. The question is… where was the backing track done? I don’t think they could have used the guitar from the master as there would be too much bleed from the original vocal.

  38. Wow, there you go, I’ve never even considered it was prerecorded guitar, with the a string section.

  39. Kevin says:

    There was an audience for the third appearance. It was the same audience that saw the first appearance. My understanding is they taped the third appearance after the conclusion of the first live appearance on Feb. 9 using the same audience who got to stay and watch. Just was not aired until Feb.23, 1964.
    My understanding is there was an audience for show which aired Yesterday in 1965;
    Excerpt info;
    “The Beatles had wowed US television audiences during their first three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, recorded in February 1964 during their first American visit. On this day they made a fourth and final appearance.

    They were driven to CBS-TV’s Studio 50 in the morning of 14 August 1965, in a convoy of limousines. Rehearsals took place from 11am-2pm, as The Beatles were unhappy with the initial sound balance and continued work until they were satisfied. A dress rehearsal took place from 2.30pm in front of a studio audience of 700, and the show itself was recorded from 8.30pm.

    The Beatles performed six songs: I Feel Fine, I’m Down, Act Naturally, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday and Help!.

    There was a short break after Act Naturally, after which The Beatles returned to perform the remaining three songs with a different stage set. Ticket To Ride included a lengthy introduction during which the cameras panned to each of the group. Paul McCartney sang Yesterday with a pre-recorded string trio backing, after which John Lennon remarked “Thank you Paul, that was just like him”. Lennon, meanwhile, forgot some of the lyrics to Help!.”

    The taped show with “Yesterday” was not aired until a few weeks later in September. The Beatles were on their 1965 US Road Tour in September, so were not available to go back to NYC to play live.

    So this picture indicates the “string trio” that was used to record the accompaniment to Yesterday. BTW; I think one of the instruments is a viola. But it appears the strings were recorded first, my guess is in the morning rehearsal and then Paul sang the song to the string trio on tape, in front of the audience in the afternoon and evening, and that version was videotaped for subsequent airing in September.

    So there was an audience present for all four Ed Sullivan appearances of The Beatles, even though the third and fourth performances were taped first and aired at later dates.

  40. Kwai Chang says:

    Very romantic…
    I mean…VERY, VERY romantic.
    And yet, not a single camera pan from audience to performer.
    Not a single photo showing both.
    I am WAY unconvinced.
    I just glanced at page 144in Lewisohn’s Chronicle. I can’t even read through it again. Claims of an AFTERNOON performance in front of a DIFFERENT crowd…Geez…
    the MOST huge LIVE event EVER on TV…
    now, we got multiple audiences
    728 audience members
    HISTORICAL moment
    and not a single fucking picture.
    Brother, you need to live closer to Hollywood. I’m jaded!
    All I need is one picture.
    With warmest regards and NO disrespect…
    I’m still waiting!

  41. mcarp555 says:

    Kevin, We just went through sorting out how the strings could not be live. Have you read the earlier comments?

    Kwai, What difference does it make? Do you think it didn’t happen?

  42. Kwai Chang says:

    “What difference does it make?”
    That’s an incredible thing to ask.
    MY answer to that question would in dollars and cents…
    the picture might be helpful…but, that sure the hell isn’t a picture taken during the one hour LIVE broadscast.
    So, yeah…it looks like Tranquility Base…
    (without any delay in audio transmission)
    Calling Buzz Aldrin

  43. Kwai Chang says:

    I would have been completely pacified if Ed Sullivan could have just said “They are in England already but we taped this before they left New York”. Why pretend they are there???
    When they went to Miami…he said Miami.
    There would be no loss of sparkle to say on Feb. 9, “Now, earlier today, the boys taped a performance you will see in two weeks….but, for now…”. It may have even increased the intensity of the first show.
    My gripe might seem trivial…however it was the Realness of the group that supercharged their charisma and made me want their records. If too many ‘minor details’ get clarified AND alter the story…it could diminish the charm.
    What would the ‘maximum effect’ involve if all three shows were taped on the 9th?
    Would they be in Miami for the next and then back to New York???
    All of it matters…real events don’t need any changes.
    But if a real event is just another day on the soundstage(TV style). Forget it.
    I will buy John’s books and listen to the radio.
    So, yeah, what difference does it make.
    It’s only a sales pitch.
    Humble, fat and Paul

  44. mcarp555 says:

    It’s show biz, baby. Television is fake? Of course it is. Why was it done the way it was? Who knows? Ask Dead Ed. The band was probably told that was the way it was going to be – who were they to argue? It’s always been smoke and mirrors. Not to tell tales out of school, but the bassist has always been the most disingenuous of the bunch. But we still love him.

    What is real? The songs. The personalities. The connection between performer and audience. If you like your illusions, don’t read Lewisohn’s giant books; the real story is just as amazing as the myth, but more cynical than you’d believe at first.

    But I come back to my original question – what difference does it make? Does it make the songs less brilliant? Does it make the impact on our culture less resounding? Methinks the Chang doth protest too much.

    It’s only a Northeastern song.

  45. Kwai Chang says:

    my, my…
    if you had said all that on the 9th of Feb., 1964…
    I would own a house today instead of a fucking bunch of ‘collectable’ Beatle records. I think that would be much warmer place to live than a metal storage container that they are all stored in. So, fuck the Beatles, and any clown that thinks deception is just smoke and mirrors.
    It’s called a con-job.
    Thanks, Ed…

  46. Kwai Chang says:

    Thank you, mcarp555…
    This isn’t personal.
    I just wish the Beatles ‘REALness’ was spoken of this honestly…
    all the time. I am anti-hero…
    they had me completely fooled.
    I don’t have anything else to say about them…
    At least I didn’t run and buy volume 1 of the latest Lewisohn book…
    I’m at least that much richer.
    It hasn’t been real…but it was fun….and expensive.

  47. Kwai Chang says:

    Please remove my negative comments. I don’t want to derail anything…hurt any feelings…ruin any illusion. I never meant to disgrace myself. I have always loved Beatle details…because I have an hawk’s eye for them. I noticed the Ed-Yesterday strings on the Have You Heard The Word(?) bootleg in 1976. I started asking everyone that might have watched Ed Sullivan regularly “Did the show employ an orchestra/band?”. Nobody knew.
    Until Chronicles(Recording Sessions?), I assumed the orchestra was off-camera and the music came from there.
    Either way, The Mystery has been solved.
    Sorry, folks…
    “That wasn’t just like me”

    Debag the rotter!

  48. Kwai Chang says:

    Apollo is what I’m really pissed off about…
    (Did I say that?)
    Shut up!!!
    Dat ain’t funny

  49. mcarp555 says:

    Apollo happened. Every crazy myth about it has been debunked. I saw 11 take off with my own eyes (just as many years later, I saw Challenger explode in the sky above me).

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