Having completed my study of documented hours spend in the recording studio on each Beatles album, I can now compile my findings to produce a visual illustration: a bar graph comparing total documented studio time per Beatles album.
Using this example, it is very clear indeed that The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) took the longest time to record by far (about twice as much time as it took the band to record Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, or Abbey Road). This isn't surprising as The White Album is the only Beatles double album, so it makes sense that it would take about twice as long to record.
Lastly, notice that both Let it Be and Yellow Submarine have asterisks next to their number. This is because documentation for those two albums is incomplete. No doubt both albums took more time than shown (probably about twice those figures), but the number listed is what is documented. Any attempt to estimate precise numbers above those shown would be futile.
Trying to document studio time for Abbey Road is tricky (although not as tricky as it was for Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, or Let it Be) because many of the tracks eventually released on Abbey Road were first tested out in the studio well before the band started recording Abbey Road. To make things easy, and since none of the preliminary rehearsals were used in the final album, I have chosen to start counting from 16 April 1969.
year.month.day start time - end time = # of hours
1969.04.16 2:30pm-5:00pm = 2.5 hours
1969.04.18 1:00am-4:30am = 3.5 hours
1969.04.20 7:00pm-12:45am = 5.75 hours
1969.04.26 4:30pm-4:15am = 11.75 hours
1969.04.29 7:30pm-1:00am = 5.5 hours
1969.05.01 2:30pm-7:00pm = 4.5 hours
1969.05.02 7:00pm-3:40am = 8.67 hours
1969.05.05 7:30pm-4:00am = 8.5 hours
1969.05.06 3:00pm-4:00am = 13 hours
1969.07.01 3:00pm-7:30pm = 4.5 hours
1969.07.02 3:00pm-9:30pm = 6.5 hours
1969.07.03 3:00pm-8:30pm = 5.5 hours
1969.07.04 2:45pm-5:30pm = 2.75 hours
1969.07.07 2:30pm-11:45pm = 9.25 hours
1969.07.08 2:30pm-10:45am = 8.25 hours
1969.07.09 2:30pm-10:15pm = 7.75 hours
1969.07.10 2:30pm-11:30pm = 9 hours
1969.07.11 2:30pm-midnight = 9.5 hours
1969.07.15 2:30pm-11:00pm = 8.5 hours
1969.07.16 2:30pm-12:30am = 10 hours
1969.07.17 2:30pm-11:15pm = 8.75 hours
1969.07.18 2:30pm-8:00pm = 5.5 hours
1969.07.21 2:30pm-10:00pm = 7.5 hours
1969.07.22 2:30pm-9:30pm = 7 hours
1969.07.23 2:30pm-11:30pm = 9 hours
1969.07.24 3:30pm-10:30pm = 7 hours
1969.07.25 2:30pm-2:30am = 12 hours
1969.07.28 2:30pm-8:00pm = 5.5 hours
1969.07.29 2:30pm-10:45pm = 8.25 hours
1969.07.30 2:00pm-2:00am = 12 hours
1969.07.31 2:30pm-1:15am = 10.75 hours
1969.08.01 2:30pm-10:30pm = 8 hours
1969.08.04 2:30pm-9:00pm = 6.5 hours
1969.08.05 2:30pm-6:30pm = 4 hours
1969.08.06 2:30pm-11:00pm = 8.5 hours
1969.08.07 2:30pm-midnight = 9.5 hours
1969.08.08 2:30pm-9:00pm, 5:30pm-9:45pm = 10.75 hours
1969.08.11 1:00pm-2:00pm, 2:30pm-11:30pm = 10 hours
1969.08.12 7:00pm-2:00am = 7 hours
1969.08.13 2:30pm-9:15pm = 6.75 hours
1969.08.14 2:30pm-2:30am = 12 hours
1969.08.15 2:30pm-5:30pm, 7:00pm-1:15am = 9.25 hours
1969.08.18 2:30pm-10:30pm = 8 hours
1969.08.19 2:00pm-4:00am = 14 hours
1969.08.20 2:30pm-1:15am = 10.75 hours
1969.08.21 1:00pm-2:00pm, 2:30pm-midnight = 10.5 hours
1969.08.25 2:30pm-8:00pm = 5.5 hours
Total: 379.42 hours
Lewisohn, Mark. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970. Harmony Books, a division of Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1988.
The album we now know as Abbey Road was originally titled Everest - not after the mountain but after the brand of cigarettes smoked by the Beatles' recording engineer Geoff Emerick. Regardless, the band considered flying to Tibet to shoot the cover photo, but eventually opted to simply call the album Abbey Road and shoot the cover photo on the crosswalk outside the studio. Nevertheless, on some level the band was thinking of the album as their pinnacle - and indeed (though this is subject to debate) the level of artistic sophistication and achievement surpassed anything the band accomplished up to that point, and represents a level that none of the four would ever reach again in their solo careers.
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.