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Old Aug 22, 2007, 08:11 AM   #1
62hofner
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Default John's guitar on "I Want To Hold Your Hand"

Have any of you ever singled-out John's rhythm guitar on "I Want To Hold Your Hand" while listening? His playing really drives that song more than any of the other instruments. He's really attacking that thing in that song, and the guitar sound he gets is really raunchy.

I always thought that the riff that falls between the lines, "Oh, yeah I'll tell you somethin'....." and "...I think you'll understand" was Paul's bass when I was younger. It has that bubbly, bass-toned sound to it. But it's actually John riffing on his guitar. Same for the part immediately following the line, "I think you'll understand...".

On Ed Sullivan, George plays that signature riff on his Gretsch. Probably because John had to concentrate on singing in a live setting. But, it's just not the same. Same goes for "Komm Gib Me Deiner Hand".
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 08:30 AM   #2
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John seems to be driving All My Loving pretty good!

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Old Aug 23, 2007, 09:02 AM   #3
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Yes, he really cranked on that Rick 325! He gets a similar sound on "You Can't Do That".

If you watch the Anthology DVD where they're performing "Everybody Wants To Be My Baby" in France, you hear John's bluesy guitar riffs more than poor George's!
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 12:33 AM   #4
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Have any of you ever singled-out John's rhythm guitar on "I Want To Hold Your Hand" while listening? His playing really drives that song more than any of the other instruments. He's really attacking that thing in that song, and the guitar sound he gets is really raunchy.

I always thought that the riff that falls between the lines, "Oh, yeah I'll tell you somethin'....." and "...I think you'll understand" was Paul's bass when I was younger. It has that bubbly, bass-toned sound to it. But it's actually John riffing on his guitar. Same for the part immediately following the line, "I think you'll understand...".
In 1989 BBC radio played a long interview with Paul where he talks about the Beatles singles and he mentioned that they all loved John's pumping Rickenbacker guitar sound in this song. In fact, if you listen carefully to the 'out-takes' during the Anthology DVD you can hear John saying "I love that" as he practices it!
The five note riff between lines that absolutely MAKES that song for me, it was the first thing I noticed about it way back, is actually double tracked by 2 or all 3 of them on the record. The DVD 5.1 sound demonstrates this clearly. I think the 1972 BBC radio show The Beatles Story or The Story of The Beatles had an interview with one or other of them about this where they said they played it together, but I haven't heard it since 1972! (I don't mean that awful US 1980s one either, this one hasn't turned up for sale or trade)

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Old Feb 20, 2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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When you examine the Rythym track of the song, you realize that johns guitar is joined by an organ which gives the song that rich, smooth sound unobtainable live.
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Old Feb 20, 2009, 02:56 PM   #6
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When you examine the Rythym track of the song, you realize that johns guitar is joined by an organ which gives the song that rich, smooth sound unobtainable live.
An organ? Really? Fascinating. What... like a Rhodes?
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Old Feb 21, 2009, 02:02 AM   #7
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There's no organ on I Want to Hold Your Hand, that's just a theory someone had once before the session tapes were examined by Lewisohn which reveal the usual line-up of guitars. John's pumping Rickenbacker is cranked up high. The sound was never satisfactorily achieved live because there's a lot of compression on the track which was impossible (in those days) onstage or on rushed TV or Radio sessions.
A Rhodes in 1963???? I guess a Hammond would be the most likely organ at Abbey Road in those days, as for instance on I Wanna Be Your Man, but not on I Want to Hold Your hand!

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Old Feb 21, 2009, 08:15 PM   #8
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There's no organ on I Want to Hold Your Hand, that's just a theory someone had once before the session tapes were examined by Lewisohn which reveal the usual line-up of guitars. John's pumping Rickenbacker is cranked up high. The sound was never satisfactorily achieved live because there's a lot of compression on the track which was impossible (in those days) onstage or on rushed TV or Radio sessions.
A Rhodes in 1963???? I guess a Hammond would be the most likely organ at Abbey Road in those days, as for instance on I Wanna Be Your Man, but not on I Want to Hold Your hand!
Ok... I never thought there was any organ on "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

I'm not a keyboard person, so I wouldn't know what was available in 1963... aside from the Hammond.

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Old Feb 22, 2009, 03:23 PM   #9
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I can't listen to the early stuff anymore, it just sounds immmature
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Old Oct 01, 2013, 08:12 PM   #10
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Its astounding to me as a musician who has played guitar over 45 years, seen the Beatles live and was the FIRST and only person over 30 years ago to raise the controversial issue of Lennon's Rickenbacker (not Gibson J-160E) creating the bizarre sound on the backing track of IWTHYH, that so few people can "hear" it as if I was proposing a UFO. George Martin was renown for tacking on keyboards, subtle over dubs of extra vocal or guitar corrections etc. that recently available track isolations reveal are pervasive throughout the Beatles recording catalog.
No, nobody has re-created that sound attributed to Lennon's 325 Rickenbacker on IWTHYH, not with compression, not with the same Vox combo amp and not even with todays myriad special effects available at a fingers touch on Pro Tools, Logic or any digital recording software. Sure there are those who "claim" to have heard the master multi tracks like Steve Hoffman to which I say BS! They have NOT heard the actual "raw" multi-tracks that contain each take, 1 through 17 pre-mixed, before any dubs, or the later tracks revealing every subsequent overdub, edit etc.. Norman Smith is dead, Geoff Emerick doesn't remember and nobody has apparently ever asked Sir Paul directly that I am aware of:-)
That said, via an employee that worked with George & Giles Martin to produce the remasters project, I was able to email Sir George directly in 2010 regarding IWTHYH, after trying for 40+ years and his answer was ambiguous. His response was as follows "I don't think there were keyboards on that song but than again it was so long ago i can't be sure...I CAN'T say that there ISN'T a keyboard on that tune". Additionally via my research that led me to contact an EMI employee who does not want his name revealed, he emailed the this following, very revealing message back in 2009. "there are things about the recording of I Want to Hold Your Hand I am not at liberty to discuss, however, I can tell you this, beyond the documented 17 takes, people have no idea how complex this recording was and what went into it".
As for those who simply dismiss the "organ" theory as if it were some far fetched, absurd notion are simply either in denial or are simply incapable of hearing it. lets dissect it again for those of you who think that incredible sound of TWO instruments fused together creating degrees of displacement, is just John banging away on his Ricky through his Vox AC-15 twin combo. Suffice to say, during all the late 63 and 64 performances including the BBC shows, Johns guitar (both 325's) NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER simulated that sound, or got even close. Here is my analysis again for those of you who are objective enough to listen with an open mind that acknowledges George Martins mastery of dubbing techniques.
On track 1 of the isolated rhythm track (bass, drums, Johnís guitar and companion keys) IWTHYH intro begins with John's Ricky 325 Capri (without companion) banging the low (5th and 6th strings) of C7 and D7 with some overtones of the upper chord, revealing the seventh tone on the fourth string) of the bar chords) and it is evident that the tone is subdued with some compression, however, at 0:8 seconds into the intro at the point the vocals start "oh yeah I'll", John's guitar takes on a whole other worldly realm that is far deeper, revealing and out of phase sound, widened and infiltrated with another instrument revealing the subtle percussive tones of the low keys of an organ and its the ORGAN that is using extremely heavy compression for the very purpose of blending in with John's guitar, paralleling the bottom root and fifth notes (with passing 6th tone) of the chords during the verses and then holding the the low intervals of the middle eight chords as well where on the isolated track I have, you can clearly hear John softly strumming simple open chords of Dm to G to C to Am etc.. The available outtakes of IWTHYH, which conveniently always stop at the point the vocals start and switch to the actual final mix, clearly reveal Lennon's guitar sounding even thinner, and more anemic that it sounds on the final recording intro although the difference is very slight. On the final cut, his guitar is heavier on the low frequency tones but not that much and is somewhat similar to his sound on tracks like Don't Bother Me where he handles the backing passing chords (evident on the outtakes) or other tunes like Roll Over Beethoven where he handles the same basic Chuck Berry low intervals with the passing 6th tone but again, with far less body, or anything near what happens past 8 seconds into IWTHYH. Its at 8 seconds that Martin decided to give the Hammond its stealth entrance.

Now lets move on to where his guitar demonstrated the most dramatic infusion of the extra "stealth" instrument which is....the Hammond Organ RT-3 that was in Abbey Road at that time. The next prominent example of a two instruments fused is at 0:13-0:14 where you can a hear a strikingly conspicuous attack of low keys fused with Johns' guitar on the B7 chord, NOT an artifact, not a bleed through, not another guitar paralleling his and not special effects. George's lead guitar is on another track, which is track three on my version and he just plays discrete chord chops, a few riffs and arpeggios etc..using a very trebly tone on his Gretsch Country Gentlemen.
Now during the refrain of the title, where the chord sequence is C to D to G to Em etc., on the isolated track I have (track 1) that is just of the rhythm section, bass, drums, John's guitar and the additional keys, you can hear John clearly hitting plain vanilla chords while the organ is hitting those deep tones at the same time noticeable at 0:22-23 etc.,very cleverly interlaced by Martin. The other examples of the stealth organ (meaning Martin's attempt to blend the low register organ keys into Lennon's chords so tightly that it would not be overtly obvious) are again during the B7 chords at 1:17, and most conspicuous of all at 1:59-2:00.
Another give away of the organ, again being subtle, is more easily heard with the isolated tracks (a person from England kindly sent me samples of actual isolated tracks he somehow gleaned off a version of the multi tracks) during the ending G chord at 2:19, where on George's track, he hits an open G with the prominent D note on second string 3rd fret but his guitar quickly fades out leaving the isolated rhythm track of the drums, bass, and John's guitar with companion organ also hitting the G except you can hear John just hit the low fifth interval of the G bar chord at the third position while the organ hits the same G inversion as George with the upper D note and THAT decays much longer and continues on after George's guitar stops. Since John only hits a vanilla G bar chord, its the organ that hits the additional G voicing with the D and it slowly decays just as it would if you hit that chord on the organ.
In closing, lets just say that I have NO doubt the Hammond is on there and for those of you who will deny it no matter what evidence is presented, regardless of the irrefutable facts that are evident on the audio isolated tracks, the motives were just as sound
First of all, only a few weeks before the recordings of IWTHYH and This Boy commenced with an aborted attempt to redo You Really Got a Hold on Me, Martin was editing I Wanna Be Your Man in preparation for the final mixes of With the Beatles and wanted to bolster the sound of the backing guitars. Whether John even played rhythm or not on the first takes of IWBYN, Martin, according to self proclaimed Beatles guru, Mark Lewisohn, set out to dub on a Hammond organ himself while the boys were out of the studio. He apparently realized the organ infused a more powerful force into the tune providing more energy and it was either recorded over Lennon's original rhythm guitar or John never played rhythm at all which is unknown. Only Harrison's guitar is evident on the track. It is logical to assume that Martin, realizing how powerful the organ dub effect on IWBYM was, planted the seed for the IWTHYH sessions which Martin, as revealed in various interviews, KNEW had to be the most sophisticated recording to date and what he felt was their chance to go all out in order to break open the American market. He did not want to waste any opportunities now that he had permission from EMI to finally utilize the Telefunken four track. It makes perfect sense, he had the motive, the means and the opportunity to not only record a great new tune in IWTHYH but to enhance it with the best effects possible and take full advantage of a four track for the first time.
Its obvious that after the initial final takes of the basic rhythm tracks, he and the Fabs must have agreed that the backing need to have more punch, something more powerful than anything they had tried to date. Either during a live take or dubbed on later during the last takes (but requiring the rhythm track to then be mixed down so the organ would be imbedded), Martin decided to this time add the Hammond organ but with far more stealth in order to fuse it with Johns guitar so that the organ would NOT be as obvious as it is on IWBYM which if he had not added those glissandos, might have been even harder to distinguish as an organ.
Not taking any chances this time, Martin employed massive compression on the Hammond in addition to its already impressive tonal palette than using his renowned talents, merged it perfectly with Johns guitar JUST as he merged his piano solo with Georges 12 string solo and intro chord in a Hard Days Night. Just read the book Recording the Beatles where the authors recount the meticulous methods Martin used such as recording Harrison's 12 string very slow at half speed, then adding his "wind up" piano and later speeding it up to create the effect we all hear now, also evident on the recording, Any Time at All and other recordings where he used the wind up method.
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Old Oct 15, 2013, 11:43 PM   #11
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"...at 0:8 seconds into the intro at the point the vocals start "oh yeah I'll", John's guitar takes on a whole other worldly realm that is far deeper, revealing and out of phase sound".

Yes, it's the sound of John's guitar coming out of the white elephant speaker and being picked up by the vocal mic which has had the gain pushed up, and being added to the sound of the guitar coming out of the Vox amp. No mystery, no intrigue, no organ.

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Old May 21, 2014, 11:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by martinmocha View Post
Its astounding to me as a musician who has played guitar over 45 years, seen the Beatles live and was the FIRST and only person over 30 years ago to raise the controversial issue of Lennon's Rickenbacker (not Gibson J-160E) creating the bizarre sound on the backing track of IWTHYH, that so few people can "hear" it as if I was proposing a UFO. George Martin was renown for tacking on keyboards, subtle over dubs of extra vocal or guitar corrections etc. that recently available track isolations reveal are pervasive throughout the Beatles recording catalog.
No, nobody has re-created that sound attributed to Lennon's 325 Rickenbacker on IWTHYH, not with compression, not with the same Vox combo amp and not even with todays myriad special effects available at a fingers touch on Pro Tools, Logic or any digital recording software. Sure there are those who "claim" to have heard the master multi tracks like Steve Hoffman to which I say BS! They have NOT heard the actual "raw" multi-tracks that contain each take, 1 through 17 pre-mixed, before any dubs, or the later tracks revealing every subsequent overdub, edit etc.. Norman Smith is dead, Geoff Emerick doesn't remember and nobody has apparently ever asked Sir Paul directly that I am aware of:-)
That said, via an employee that worked with George & Giles Martin to produce the remasters project, I was able to email Sir George directly in 2010 regarding IWTHYH, after trying for 40+ years and his answer was ambiguous. His response was as follows "I don't think there were keyboards on that song but than again it was so long ago i can't be sure...I CAN'T say that there ISN'T a keyboard on that tune". Additionally via my research that led me to contact an EMI employee who does not want his name revealed, he emailed the this following, very revealing message back in 2009. "there are things about the recording of I Want to Hold Your Hand I am not at liberty to discuss, however, I can tell you this, beyond the documented 17 takes, people have no idea how complex this recording was and what went into it".
As for those who simply dismiss the "organ" theory as if it were some far fetched, absurd notion are simply either in denial or are simply incapable of hearing it. lets dissect it again for those of you who think that incredible sound of TWO instruments fused together creating degrees of displacement, is just John banging away on his Ricky through his Vox AC-15 twin combo. Suffice to say, during all the late 63 and 64 performances including the BBC shows, Johns guitar (both 325's) NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER simulated that sound, or got even close. Here is my analysis again for those of you who are objective enough to listen with an open mind that acknowledges George Martins mastery of dubbing techniques.
On track 1 of the isolated rhythm track (bass, drums, John’s guitar and companion keys) IWTHYH intro begins with John's Ricky 325 Capri (without companion) banging the low (5th and 6th strings) of C7 and D7 with some overtones of the upper chord, revealing the seventh tone on the fourth string) of the bar chords) and it is evident that the tone is subdued with some compression, however, at 0:8 seconds into the intro at the point the vocals start "oh yeah I'll", John's guitar takes on a whole other worldly realm that is far deeper, revealing and out of phase sound, widened and infiltrated with another instrument revealing the subtle percussive tones of the low keys of an organ and its the ORGAN that is using extremely heavy compression for the very purpose of blending in with John's guitar, paralleling the bottom root and fifth notes (with passing 6th tone) of the chords during the verses and then holding the the low intervals of the middle eight chords as well where on the isolated track I have, you can clearly hear John softly strumming simple open chords of Dm to G to C to Am etc.. The available outtakes of IWTHYH, which conveniently always stop at the point the vocals start and switch to the actual final mix, clearly reveal Lennon's guitar sounding even thinner, and more anemic that it sounds on the final recording intro although the difference is very slight. On the final cut, his guitar is heavier on the low frequency tones but not that much and is somewhat similar to his sound on tracks like Don't Bother Me where he handles the backing passing chords (evident on the outtakes) or other tunes like Roll Over Beethoven where he handles the same basic Chuck Berry low intervals with the passing 6th tone but again, with far less body, or anything near what happens past 8 seconds into IWTHYH. Its at 8 seconds that Martin decided to give the Hammond its stealth entrance.

Now lets move on to where his guitar demonstrated the most dramatic infusion of the extra "stealth" instrument which is....the Hammond Organ RT-3 that was in Abbey Road at that time. The next prominent example of a two instruments fused is at 0:13-0:14 where you can a hear a strikingly conspicuous attack of low keys fused with Johns' guitar on the B7 chord, NOT an artifact, not a bleed through, not another guitar paralleling his and not special effects. George's lead guitar is on another track, which is track three on my version and he just plays discrete chord chops, a few riffs and arpeggios etc..using a very trebly tone on his Gretsch Country Gentlemen.
Now during the refrain of the title, where the chord sequence is C to D to G to Em etc., on the isolated track I have (track 1) that is just of the rhythm section, bass, drums, John's guitar and the additional keys, you can hear John clearly hitting plain vanilla chords while the organ is hitting those deep tones at the same time noticeable at 0:22-23 etc.,very cleverly interlaced by Martin. The other examples of the stealth organ (meaning Martin's attempt to blend the low register organ keys into Lennon's chords so tightly that it would not be overtly obvious) are again during the B7 chords at 1:17, and most conspicuous of all at 1:59-2:00.
Another give away of the organ, again being subtle, is more easily heard with the isolated tracks (a person from England kindly sent me samples of actual isolated tracks he somehow gleaned off a version of the multi tracks) during the ending G chord at 2:19, where on George's track, he hits an open G with the prominent D note on second string 3rd fret but his guitar quickly fades out leaving the isolated rhythm track of the drums, bass, and John's guitar with companion organ also hitting the G except you can hear John just hit the low fifth interval of the G bar chord at the third position while the organ hits the same G inversion as George with the upper D note and THAT decays much longer and continues on after George's guitar stops. Since John only hits a vanilla G bar chord, its the organ that hits the additional G voicing with the D and it slowly decays just as it would if you hit that chord on the organ.
In closing, lets just say that I have NO doubt the Hammond is on there and for those of you who will deny it no matter what evidence is presented, regardless of the irrefutable facts that are evident on the audio isolated tracks, the motives were just as sound
First of all, only a few weeks before the recordings of IWTHYH and This Boy commenced with an aborted attempt to redo You Really Got a Hold on Me, Martin was editing I Wanna Be Your Man in preparation for the final mixes of With the Beatles and wanted to bolster the sound of the backing guitars. Whether John even played rhythm or not on the first takes of IWBYN, Martin, according to self proclaimed Beatles guru, Mark Lewisohn, set out to dub on a Hammond organ himself while the boys were out of the studio. He apparently realized the organ infused a more powerful force into the tune providing more energy and it was either recorded over Lennon's original rhythm guitar or John never played rhythm at all which is unknown. Only Harrison's guitar is evident on the track. It is logical to assume that Martin, realizing how powerful the organ dub effect on IWBYM was, planted the seed for the IWTHYH sessions which Martin, as revealed in various interviews, KNEW had to be the most sophisticated recording to date and what he felt was their chance to go all out in order to break open the American market. He did not want to waste any opportunities now that he had permission from EMI to finally utilize the Telefunken four track. It makes perfect sense, he had the motive, the means and the opportunity to not only record a great new tune in IWTHYH but to enhance it with the best effects possible and take full advantage of a four track for the first time.
Its obvious that after the initial final takes of the basic rhythm tracks, he and the Fabs must have agreed that the backing need to have more punch, something more powerful than anything they had tried to date. Either during a live take or dubbed on later during the last takes (but requiring the rhythm track to then be mixed down so the organ would be imbedded), Martin decided to this time add the Hammond organ but with far more stealth in order to fuse it with Johns guitar so that the organ would NOT be as obvious as it is on IWBYM which if he had not added those glissandos, might have been even harder to distinguish as an organ.
It's astounding to me that any who claims to be a musician would come up with such a rambling nonsensical conspiracy theory. The rhythm guitar on IWTHYH is very easily explained. Rickenbacker 325c58, bridge pickup, VOX AC30 brilliant channel, kill bass, treble 3/4. Power chords only, release slightly after each attack to create staccato effect. Add tremolo and compression and viola - the wonky underwater rhythm sound...

It's the same effect as Don't Bother Me...

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Old May 22, 2014, 11:03 AM   #13
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I can't listen to the early stuff anymore, it just sounds immmature
There are some lame songs, but also a lot of good straight rock & rollers, that really are gems.

But ya, it don't compare to A Day In The Life or Helter Skelter......
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Old Oct 31, 2014, 05:00 AM   #14
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I can't listen to the early stuff anymore, it just sounds immmature
I used to feel the same till I saw The Bootleg Beatles playing them. Hearing those songs played live brings a whole new dimension to them and made me realise the power they would have had at the time.
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Old Nov 10, 2014, 07:46 AM   #15
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I'm not a musician but whenever I read a thread like this where the conversation is around chords, instruments, I'm so amazed at the knowledge some of you have and the time you've spent singling out particular parts of songs, knowing who played what guitar, the kind of guitar and how certain sounds were achieved. Of course, it makes no sense to me, but it's sure interesting to read.

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Old Dec 12, 2014, 02:36 PM   #16
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I have to admit I always thought John's guitar on "Don't Bother Me" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" were similar sounding. And I don't think George Martin would have gone to the trouble to add the "stealth organ" to one of George's tunes.
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