Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight had already been recorded and had deliberately been left open-ended. Now, on July 23rd, 1969, John counted the band in to provide the link to those previous tunes and bring the medley to a satisfying conclusion. Seven takes were required before they got the basic track just right, especially Ringo's brief drum solo. The drummer hated such solo displays, which were becoming all the rage at the time, so the others eased his mind by continuing to play bits on guitar and tambourine which would later be eliminated from the master. These were not erased, however, and Anthology 3 allows us to hear how it all sounded in the studio on that day.
They did not return to the track until August 5th, with vocals being added for the first time. Two days later, on August 7th, Paul, George and John strapped on their guitars and recorded the famous guitar duel in one incredible take according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here, There and Everywhere. Emerick even claims that during this final moment of brotherhood, Yoko was not even by John's side, as was usually the case.
|Once everybody got used to Yoko's bed in the studio, it was apparently not off-limits to Linda, Mal and others.|
Ah, that couplet... While Martin had encouraged McCartney to "think symphonically" when constructing the medley, at the time that he was composing this particular number, Paul was also in a Shakespearean frame of mind. And, though his couplet is not strictly Shakespearean (each line has only eight syllables instead of the ten of iambic pentameter), Paul manages to sum up all that has come before just as the Bard did at the end of his plays.
Though several tracks for the album had to be completed over the next few days, The End was the last united effort by all four Beatles. It contains all of the elements they had displayed over the years - they start out by playing together with their unique feel for one another, they each get to shine instrumentally for a moment, they then seamlessly incorporate their producer's complementary orchestration, and John, Paul and George give us one last taste of their innate ability to blend their voices in that distinctively beautiful three-part harmony. Few artists in any medium have ever given the world a more fitting farewell.