What Goes On
What Goes On: The Beatles Anomalies List

Anomalies P

Paperback Writer

    Breath sound and rustling, centred. More audible listening to right channel only.

    Sounds like a cough and a tambourine rattle, again centred but more audible on right channel.

    Left channel, riff fades too quickly.

    Somebody manages to forget to come in with the harmony until literally one second too late on the "Frere Jacques". (Right channel, likely it's John).

    Right channel again, someone clears his throat, and then has a couple of quiet tries at the correct notes before singing "Paperback Writer".

Penny Lane

    Crescendoing microphone feedback, similar to the sound at the end of the song, but most likely an error here.

    A bizarre sound on the 4th beat of each of these measures (under "my ears", "my eyes", "meanwhile back"). Sounds like the studio was collapsing around the recording! Whatever the sound is, it is irregular and not consistent within the choruses.

arp@slab.org writes

I have in my possession a 3:06 rough mix of this song, I believe dating from January 12, 1967:

At [2:32] the sound mentioned above is very noticeable; it is actually somebody doing a glissando down the keys of a piano on which the strings have been muted. The dominant sound is that of the keys themselves, rather than the strings.

That would certainly fit with the sound audible in the track, for all three occurrences.

    Two bar passage of double-bass, under the lines "banker sitting waiting for a trim". Was this a mixing decision (only to put double-bass there, i.e. it could have been throughout the song), or was it recorded like that?.

Mike Dickson observes

I understand that this is a deliberate musical effect, this particular song being littered with them. The sound of the double-bass playing the slow deep lines is being used to signify the banker, presumably as an emblem of slowness or arthritis or something.

So it would appear for the fireman and the tubular bell .... and Max Mismetti adds

I don't think they had channels enough to record a double-bass isolated [to mix in later] It was supposed to be like that.

Some reports indicate that this is a cello, played low. However, Lewisohn states that it was a double-bass, played by Frank Clarke.


    Possible edit to track, one of the stringed instruments is cut off in mid-stroke here (left channel), and the ambience on the right hand channel vanishes.

Pepperland Laid Waste

    Possible edit to track, again the attack of the lead instrument (clarinet, oboe?) is cut off, with an audible click. The note seems rushed, as if a small piece of the recording has gone.

    On my copy of the CD, the right channel clips on the second orchestra stab (mastering error in production of the CD).


    Centre, harpsichord is distorted, sounds like tape damage.

    Sounds like a sniff (might be a badly done Piggy-snort effect).

1:53 Listen!
    Print-through (or previous take audible) of "One more time" (i.e. it is quietly said just moments before it is said for real).

Please Mister Postman

    Again, a mono track, but there is a distinct stereo wobble in the sound on the word "Mister".

    John struggles with the lyrics, "There must be some merzin day" (should be "some mail today").

    John struggles with the "Deliver de letter, the sooner le bet/You gotta" through trying to deliver all the vocals at once, seemingly in two or more languages.

Please Please Me

    Every time there is harmonica, on the stereo version, there's "leaking" to the other side of the stereo image.

    John sings "rain in my heart". Backing singers try out the note for harmony, giving "Mmm....in my heart". Audible in both mono and stereo versions.

    The first word of "I do all the pleasin' with ..." has a loud click in it. On my copy of the CD, the waveform tries to exceed 0db (maximum level), leading to clipped samples. This is a mastering error when producing the CD.

    John sings "Why do I-you never even try, girl?"
    Paul sings "I know you never even try, girl." (Correctly)

John, apparently realizing his mistake, chuckles out his next "come on." Stereo version only. This is caused by John singing the second line of the second verse (not the third verse!).

1:37 (Red Album)
    Momentary drop in level of Ringo's crash cymbal. Possibly also 1:36 in mono version.

1:45 Mono version
    Dip out in level and muffling, as the end is edited on.

1:45 Stereo version
    Same edit as above, but badly done. Timing goes out with the introduction of a harmonica edit piece. Edit piece is slower than the left (rhythm) channel and catches up in time for the last three chords.

Polythene Pam

    Leakage of guide vocals, sounds like "She Should See Polythene Pam!". The word "Pam" sticks out most audibly, just before John sings it for real.

    Paul's slid-to bass note is very ragged each time. Audibly ends up one fret flat, and steps up the 2nd time.

    Left channel, someone yells "Yeah!"

    Right channel, someone picks up the maracas. (After the cowbell clonk and the tambourine, which were possibly intentional.)

Also miscellaneous shouts from Paul: "Yeah", John: "Great".

    Left channel, voice counting measures from 4 to 7.

This sounds like the same voice as at 0:41. Probably John.

P.S. I Love You

Whole Song
    The bass guitar seems to have intonation problems. The lowest notes are slightly flat, yet the higher notes are sharp.

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