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Accordion Beatles
John Lennon played accordion!

Preliminary information indicates this shot was taken during rehearsals for the "All You Need Is Love" satellite broadcast on June 25, 1967. Notice that he's not playing the left hand bass side, just pumping the bellows with his left arm.

I've since heard from Mr. Gary Blair from Scotland, who is a friend of Jack Emblow, the accordion player with the orchestra that accompanied the Beatles on the recording and during the live telecast. John borrowed the accordion to run through some parts with some of the players in the studio during a recording session. It was recorded on June 14th 1967 and took 33 takes Work was also done on it on the 19th (vocal , drums, banjo and Piano) 21st (mixing) 23rd  (orchestral overdubs) 24th  (overdubs). The Beatles Anthology book indicates that the recording sessions took place at Olympic Studios in Barnes, and the broadcast was done in Studio No.1 at EMI.

Harmonica and accordion were John's first instruments as a very young boy of around 5 or 6 years old. This might account for the predominance of harmonica hooks in the early Beatles songs written (mostly) by John, such as Love Me Do, From Me To You, Please Please Me and I Should Have Know Better. Paul has featured keyboardist Wix Wickens playing accordion on such songs as Here, There and Everywhere on his tours. Both Paul and Ringo have featured accordions on their solo albums.

Check the links page to find a well-researched essay on free reeds in Beatles music by Henry Doktorski.

So, it would seem that the accordion and The Beatles are not such odd bedfellows after all!

Thanks to Niels Tiebosch in Holland for sending in the photo, and to Gary Blair for the details about it.

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