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Rick Suchow: Bass

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In 1966, the Beatles made a decision to stop playing live concerts and exist only as a studio band, focusing on creating great records. Within a year of that decision the group released what many music critics consider to be the finest pop record of the twentieth century, the groundbreaking masterpiece Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.geoffringo.jpg

I was recently invited to an intimate little Q&A session that took place in the live room of Legacy Recording Studios here in Manhattan. The session's featured guest was none other than Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick, the man responsible for recording every Beatles album from Revolver to Abbey Road (and assisting Norman Smith on all of the earlier ones). Geoff, who was hugely responsible for creating the sound of Sgt. Pepper, was in NYC for a book signing of his great memoir Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording The Beatles.

While it's one thing to read a book, it's an entirely different experience to sit a few feet from Geoff and listen to his amazing behind-the-scenes stories for two hours-- then have the opportunity for a conversation. Speaking of opportunities, I'm certainly not one to pass one up. I asked Geoff if he would autograph my Sgt. Pepper album (that I just happened to bring), and he did, graciously:






Paul's Sgt. Pepper Bass Tracks

For bass players and Beatle fans alike, listen to Paul McCartney's actual recorded bass tracks (mostly isolated) on four songs from the original Sgt. Pepper 4-track master tape.

To hear Paul on "A Day In The Life", "With A Little Help From My Friends", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (with the unreleased full ending) and "When I'm 64", click here.

"You’ve said Sgt. Pepper is your strongest bass work with the Beatles."
"Yeah, probably, right around that period; it was the most inventive. Take a track like “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” with the sort of independent bass line that wanders off as its own little tune. And I got away with it—John didn’t tell me off! I think Pepper was a highpoint in many ways: in clothes, in songs, in concepts for albums, as well as in bass playing. I was looking for something different, for somewhere to go, really, that I hadn’t been before—using heavy James Jamerson and Brian Wilson influences. It all came together on that album."
  (Bass Player Magazine interview)



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