Paul McCartney Recalls His Favorite Recording Session at Abbey Road

Paul McCartney has recorded at many studios worldwide, but he loves to return to Abbey Road Studios, the famous studio where The Beatles produced most of their music. McCartney has many fond memories from recording sessions at Abbey Road and brought up one that has stuck to his brain. 

The Beatles recorded most of their music at Abbey Road Studios

Paul McCartney spotted leaving Abbey Road Studios after performing a secret gig
Paul McCartney | Neil Mockford/GC Images

Abbey Road Studios (formerly known as EMI) has become iconic due to their famous client, The Beatles. The band produced most of their music at this studio, including their final album, Abbey Road. The cover image of the four members walking across a crosswalk was taken right outside the studio. 

Since The Beatles split, the studio has become a historical landmark and a popular studio that many artists still use. Artists who have had the privilege to record at Abbey Road include Elton John, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Frank Ocean, Pink Floyd, Brockhampton, Adele, Amy Winehouse, and John Williams. 

Paul McCartney shares his favorite memory of recording at Abbey Road

In an interview for his website, Paulmccartney.com, Paul McCartney shared a few of his favorite memories from recording sessions. When discussing Abbey Road, McCartney recalled bringing in a symphony orchestra to record “A Day in the Life” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles wielded their power over the orchestra by asking them to wear suits paired with “funny hats.”

“There are so many great memories at Abbey Road. It’s very hard to choose one, but just to pick out of the bunch, I think it was recording the orchestra on ‘A Day In The Life’. That was pretty special. It was crazy because we told George Martin that we wanted to use an orchestra, and he said, ‘No, no, it’s way too expensive!’ We said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re The Beatles, we can do that at this point in our career!’ So, he said okay.”

“Then, once we realized we were going to use a symphony orchestra, he said, ‘Well, if you’re going to hire a symphony orchestra, you can tell them what to wear.’ We wanted evening suits – full, posh orchestral attire. They came along with that, and we said, ‘Can we really tell them what to wear?’ Yes. So, we suggested that they also wore funny hats and funny noses. That was very, very Beatles; we liked taking it to the extreme. A few people in the orchestra were good sports and put them on, and it was a fun session. That was fabulous to do.”

McCartney sometimes preferred a remote setting to record

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In addition to his Abbey Road story, Paul McCartney also shared a fond memory of a session at his Sussex Studio with George Harrison and Paul McCartney. The three former bandmates recorded “Free as a Bird,” a single they released in 1995. The track was initially written and recorded as a home demo by John Lennon in 1977. Following his death in 1980, the three decided to complete the track years later. 

“Recording the Beatles track ‘Free As A Bird’ at my studio in Sussex,” McCartney recalled. “Because it was so remote, nobody knew that George, Ringo, or myself had got together. So, it was very cool, and it was very private. Those were fabulous sessions. ‘Free As A Bird’ was made with John’s vocal s taken from his old cassette demo, and then the three of us played live along with it. It was really exciting, because having him in our ears and playing along with him felt like he was really there, just in another studio. That was a really lovely memory.”