The first of two recording sessions for the song was at Regent Sound Studio in London on February 9, 1967 in three takes. Regent was used because Abbey Road was not available that night. This was the first time the Beatles used a studio other than Abbey Road for recording a track for an EMI album.
The lead vocal was recorded at the same time as the rhythm track, a change from their post-1963 approach of overdubbing the vocal.
According to McCartney, on the night of the session an unusual man appeared at the gate of McCartney's home and identified himself as Jesus Christ. After a cup of tea, and after getting him to promise to be quiet and sit in a corner, McCartney brought the man to the recording session. After the session the man left and was never heard from again.
In another version of the story, John Lennon arrived at the studio, found the man hanging around the front door, and it was Lennon who invited him in.
* Paul McCartney: Vocals, bass guitar.
* John Lennon: Backing vocals.
* George Harrison: Backing vocals; guitar.
* Ringo Starr: Drums
* George Martin: Harpsichord
McCartney said the song was "another ode to pot," and considering the song's slightly psychedelic vibe (due to the heavy use of echo on McCartney's vocals and the overall use of rather surrealistic imagery in the lyrics), this may very well be true. He further said the song was about having the freedom to let one's mind roam freely. Another theory is that the song is about McCartney repairing the roof of his Scottish farmhouse, but McCartney said he didn't get around to that until much later. Many believe the song is a reference to track marks or "holes" left in a heroin addict's arm after getting their fix, though McCartney denied this interpretation.
McCartney has added to the confusion:
* In an interview with Q magazine from around the time of his 1997 album Flaming Pie, McCartney said that the song's lyric began with the simple idea of someone mending a hole in the road, and that he was living alone and smoking a lot of marijuana when he wrote it.
* In a 1967 interview, McCartney said the following lines were about those fans who hung around outside his door day and night and whose actions put him off.
See the people standing there
who disagree, and never win
And wonder why they don't get in my door
According to his diaries, Mal Evans (the Beatles' roadie) made some contributions to the lyrics of the song.
* In the 1978 film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, George Burns performed the song in a soft shoe style.
* The Fray performed the song on 2 June 2007 for a 40th anniversary tribute to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
* Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his 2007 release Pepper Front To Back.
* Easy Star All-Stars covered the song in a reggae style for Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band.
Album: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released: 1 June 1967
Recorded: Regent Sound Studio, 9, 21 February 1967
Genre: Rock, Psychedelic rock
Producer: George Martin