Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Her Majesty

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
The medley, or 'the Long One' as it was known in the studio, went through a number of changes before reaching its final order. The little fragment known as "Her Majesty," which Paul wrote in Scotland, was originally placed after "Mean Mr. Mustard" but Paul decided it didn't work there and asked the tape operator John Kurlander to edit it out and throw it away. Following normal studio practice, he attached a long piece of leader tape to it to identify it as separate from the rest of the tracks and tacked it on the end of the reel. When an acetate was made of the medley, "Her Majesty" was accidentally included. Paul liked it in its new position, and it was allowed to remain. This accounts for the long silence which precedes it, and the decaying chord with which it opens, which is in fact the last chord of "Mean Mr. Mustard."
McCARTNEY: "That was very much how things happened. Really, you know, the whole of our career was like that so it's a fitting end." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "It was quite funny because it's basically monarchist, with a mildly disrespectful tone, but it's very tongue in cheek. It's almost like a love song to the Queen." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

July 2, 1969, at Abbey Road, by McCartney

McCartney, as usual, was the first Beatle in the studio and recorded this song quickly - in three takes - before the others arrived. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: acoustic guitar, lead vocal

At 23 seconds, this is the shortest recorded Beatles song.
"Her Majesty" was originally meant to be placed in the middle of the album's medley, between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam." When a rough edit of the medley was put together July 30, McCartney changed his mind.

JOHN KURLANDER, second engineer: "We did all the remixes and crossfades to overlap the songs, Paul was there, and we heard it together for the first time. He said, 'I don't like "Her Majesty," throw it away,' so I cut it out - but I accidentally left in the last note. He said, 'It's only a rough mix, it doesn't matter,' in other words, don't bother about making a clean edit because it's only a rough mix. . . .
"I'd been told never to throw anything away, so after he left I picked it up off the floor, put about twenty seconds of red leader tape before it and stuck it onto the end of the edit tape. The next day, down at Apple, Malcolm Davies cut a playback lacquer of the whole sequence and, even though I'd written on the box that 'Her Majesty' was unwanted, he too thought, 'Well, mustn't throw anything away, I'll put it on at the end.'
"I'm only assuming this, but when Paul got that lacquer he must have liked hearing 'Her Majesty' tacked on the end. . . . We never remixed 'Her Majesty' again, that was the mix which ended up on the finished LP."
This is why "Her Majesty" doesn't have a final guitar chord - it lays, unheard, at the beginning of "Polythene Pam." And the jarring electric guitar chord that begins "Her Majesty" is actually from the end of the original "Mean Mr. Mustard." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970
"Her Majesty" was not originally listed on the album package. Beatles Forever

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