What Goes On
What Goes On: The Beatles Anomalies List

Anomalies A

Across The Universe

0:00 [Let It Be version]
    The attack of the first note of the guitar is clipped off.

2:28 [Past Masters Volume 2 version] Listen!
    After the line "inciting and inviting me", a bassy, soft male voice in the right channel says something like "Hit me with a pizza". OOPS brings this out better than listening to just the right channel.

Act Naturally

    Right channel, the backing vocal comes in late, on the words "you come..."

    The right hand harmony sings "All I gotta do is, act natch" and is then cut off by the guitar riff.

    Numerous rattles and hisses in outro, both left and right channels. John almost entirely misses the last strummed acoustic chord!

A Day In The Life

    The middle note (the 'D') of the three descending notes after John's "aaah" is played a little early and quiet, with a backbeat feel that doesn't match the rest of the playing.

    Switch click as the orchestra comes in, orchestra's volume suddenly doubles at this point (right channel). Maybe this is the introduction of one of the additional tracks of orchestra used to thicken the sound.

1:44-2:16, 3:50-4:19
    Mal Evans is heard counting the bars from 1 to 24; only about the first dozen are audible, starting at about three to 12 (left channel). 1:53 "9" and 1:55 "10" stick out quite well, as do 3:51 "4" 3:52 "5" 3:53 "6".

    Right channel - sudden intake of breath.

2:18 Listen!
    An alarm clock sounds to mark the end of the first 24 bar orchestral section. At this point in the recording, there was a gap 24 bars long, with no orchestra. It was undecided what would go there, the orchestra was added in later.

    A strange ticking noise, like a rotary-dial phone returning to its rest position. It could be a 'tick' sound through a heavy delay setting. Then someone says "One" to mark the downbeat (it's easy to lose the correct rhythm without this). Quieter, but just audible on the CD is the trailing "two three four" (right channel).

    Strange effect on the "t" of "flat", it's really over-pronounced, like "fla-tuh".

    Just before and after the words "had a smoke", Lennon starts talking and carrying on, most audibly a loud "hoooo" under the word "smoke" (right channel).

    (Left channel) Sounds like a cough.

    Paul can be heard doing a faint falsetto "ooo" harmony above John's more prominent "aah's".

4:49-4:52 Listen!
    A chair squeaking (four creaks total, the last three being most audible). This is probably one of the piano stools.

Also wrongly reported as a nose sniffle, paper rustling, someone saying "Shh!", the sustain pedal being released on the piano ...

    I've failed to verify reports I occasionally get of the sound of an air conditioning fan in this area of the track. I've also seen reference to it in Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions", but I can't find it to verify for myself.

Rumour has it that the alarm clock at 2:18 was timed to go off after 24 bars to mark where the downbeat is. Common sense should tell you that this is nonsense. You cannot set an old, mechanical style alarm clock to go off with anything like that level of accuracy.

The more likely explanation is that the alarm was "let off", that is deliberately triggered by hand at that moment. Lewisohn states this was a mechanism to mark the end of the passage. Many people disbelieve this, as the musicians should be capable of following along for 24 bars. However odd Lewisohn's comment seems, it may well be true. I've had justifications of why the count of bars (on its own) is insufficient to cue the orchestra.

JustToJess@aol.com writes

I've spent my entire life since I was three in musical theatre, and I can assure you that many people do need to "wake up" after 24 bars of music. Not that they have poor concentration, or that they would have missed the cue, but after rehearsing this song over and over and over again, and after countless takes, it is VERY reasonable to assume that the alarm clock (most likely hit from the piano ...) got them back into the music, and started that "umph" that they needed to maintain the same quality of ... atmosphere? Charisma? I don't know the right word, but just that little bit of enthusiasm and excitement by the performers that gives the song that special something. I know that many a director I have worked with has done something like this during long, tedious rehearsals.

Yes, certainly the alarm fits in with the "Woke up, fell out of bed..." line. I don't think that was intentional - it is widely written that fitting with the lyrics was only coincidental, and the alarm clock's purpose was originally as a marker. Nothing more. A happy accident that was capitalised on, as the Beatles often did.

Even given this, I still received reports on this alarm clock entry, perpetuating the idea that the alarm was set and timed to go off after 24 bars. Please feel free to try it with any wind up alarm clock of your choice, if you can do it, I'd like to hear about it.

I think the reason for this long running misconception is this :-

There is a very subtle distinction between "setting an alarm clock to go off" and "setting an alarm clock off". In telling of this story, one phrase has turned into the other. The former implies an interval passing between doing something with the clock, and having it sound 24 bars later. The latter implies direct interference with the clock to make it sound now. The latter is the only reasonable explanation.

A Hard Day's Night

    Towards the end of the solo, everything slows down slightly.

2:17, 2:19
    Mono CD has a distinct "stereo" wobble in the track here during word "All-ll", and then "feel". This is more audible on headphones, and probably caused by physical damage to the master tape.

A Taste Of Honey

    Where John and George respond to Paul's "I'll come back", George (higher harmony) only seems to manage "ll come back". Maybe he wasn't sure as to whether it was "I'll", "He'll" or "You'll". John's voice is the low harmony.

All I've Got To Do

Whole Song
    Squeaky pedal mechanism on the bass drum throughout the song, especially audible in the intro (0:03,0:05,0:07). "When ever <squeak> I ... " and from 1:51 onward in the fadeout.

    Strange buzz or squeak noise in the opening strum, which doesn't sound like fret buzz from the guitar.

    Stereo version only, Paul hums the melody low in the background (right channel).

    Definite edit in the track here between "running home" and "yeah, that's".

All My Loving

Right before start
    Parlophone Stereo LP PCS3045 "With The Beatles" has an audible ghost of the opening "Close your eyes" phrase. This may be print-through in the master tape used to make the master disc, but it is possibly a mechanical effect of the stylus picking up the next groove along on the record, in the background. Certainly, this is not audible on a CD. It may happen with other tracks too, but on vinyl only.

    Cymbals get louder for a few bars, but only for part of the solo.

    Really bad (very unusual) mistake from Paul, he plays a completely wrong note in the bass line on the word "miss". It sounds like he may have played the next highest string up by accident, the note is very very sharp!

    Paul's "All My Loving" may be edited (mono and stereo versions), it is preceded by a vocal noise (this noise is audible in the right channel of the stereo version).

    Possibly paper rattling.

All Together Now

0:14, 0:24
    Click, right channel.

    Paul definitely seems to sing "Yellow Olange and Blue". Some suggest this is a tongue twister, transferring the 'l' sound between Yellow and Blue into Orange. Say "Red Lorry Yellow Lorry" rapidly, and repeatedly. Others suggest he may have been thinking of the colour "Olive".

Ratko Santl says

That kind of thing happens because our vocal apparatus is slow and it is searching [for] the easiest (most comfortable) way to pronounce vowels and consonants.

    Voice on the left channel says "Help ... Me ...", under the main lyric of "skip the rope". There are a couple of other quiet vocals here, but they seem to match the main lyric.

All You Need Is Love

    Listening to the centre (gentle) snare sound, it is clearly ahead of the beat (reference to left channel instruments) for a little while at the start of this phrase.

    Nasal intake of breath. Between the lines of the song John can also be heard chewing gum! Listen before the line "nothing you can make that can't be made" (0:44) for the most obvious one.

    Plink of a guitar with a plectrum (left channel). This was fixed in the new Yellow Submarine remastered CD/DVDs.

    Right channel, someone speaks. It sounds like "then check it", "Check it Steve" or possibly "makes a change", "makes the change tough". Also fixed in Yellow Submarine remastered.

    Two edits in the guitar tracks, right channel.

    Random plinking of solo guitar, this isn't part of the solo, surely?

    Plinking notes, guitar (banjo like sound, centred), they don't seem to fit with the song. Followed by a tentative go at the riff at 2:08.

    Paul makes a few errors in the bass part. His speed varies all over the place through this part.

For a detailed look into who sang "She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah" at the end of this track see this discussion in the extras section. You may be surprised.

And I Love Her

    Double tracking error on the phrase "lover brings".


    Vocal loses double tracking for these two lines.

    Quiet click, maybe this is where the double tracking restarts.

    Sounds like Paul says "Tut!"

    Talking during the end of the guitar solo (Hard to hear on the CD).

    Someone "Dum Dum Dum's" the guitar line. Michael Bain suggests that Paul was the culprit. I thought it was George...

    Creak, someone leaning back in a wooden chair? (Not audible on CD).

And Your Bird Can Sing

Whole song
    John's tambourine playing is very on-off beat, as if he couldn't decide what he wanted to do with it.

    John or Paul takes a deep breath under the cover of the intro, most audible in the right channel.

    Listen to the pattern of the hi-hat in the right channel. There is some inconsistency between the patterns Ringo plays in the first and second versions listed above.

    Hi-hat here is a lot louder than the surrounding beats.

    Sharp edit as cymbal crash is dropped in. The crash is a beat too early anyway (compare 0:51, where the crash is on beat 2 of the bar, not beat 1) which is why it got caught in the edit.

    Faint guitar notes mixed in with the bass line, during and after the fade out.

Anna (Go To Him)

Whole Song
    The bass drum pedal squeaks through this song.

    Rhythm guitar stops here for a moment.

1:15-1:18, 2:11 (but less obvious)
    George seems to expect a "minor" harmony to be appropriate here, and wavers into a major one. Jim Neher points out

Many bridges include a four-chord that goes to minor, and George apparently expected this even though it is not there.

    John sings the word "ring" very flat.

    A possible edit after "like I", the rhythm guitar pops up in level, and there is a click.

    A click (probably drumsticks) then a pop (maybe a guitar).

Another Girl

    Stray electric lead guitar notes.

    Subtle drop in the cymbal ring, and the volume of acoustic guitar, plus a click. A possible edit?

Any Time At All

    Note that although John sings the lead vocal throughout the song, Paul does the second "Any time at all" every time. This is often not noticed.

    Click, and a time lag in the guitar rhythm. Maybe there's an edit here?

    Edit between "at" and "all". The acoustic guitar strum becomes heavier, and the bass guitar gets louder here.

    Discrepancy between guitar chords and keyboard chords (second and third chords of the run differ).

    Talking during solo.

    Edit in cymbal track.

    John flubs the vocal, missing the first "Any" on the double tracking.

    Tape wrinkle at fade out, although this track is mono, the stereo image wobbles.

Ask Me Why

0:31, 0:40
    John's voice cracks on "makes me cry" and "if I cry".

What is it with John and the word "cry"? In "I Am The Walrus" he struggled with "I'm crying". In "I'll Cry Instead", an edit was performed around the word "cry" (1:10). Now this!

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