56 years ago today (April 14th, 1966) the Beatles recorded their 12th U.S. chart topper, “Paperback Writer.” The song, which was recorded during the group’s Revolver sessions, was the first to prominently feature Paul McCartney‘s Rickenbacker bass guitar as a lead instrument.
The Beatles’ legendary engineer, the late-Geoff Emerick told us that he thought that by mic’ing McCartney’s bass with a loudspeaker he could break new ground with how a bass sounded on the radio: “So my theory was that if a loudspeaker could push a bass out then a loudspeaker can take it back in. And use that loudspeaker as a moving core microphone, and that’s exactly what I did. And it did have a certain roundness and a fullness to it.”
“Paperback Writer” was not included on Revolver, but released as the group’s spring single. It went on to top the charts for two weeks in the spring and early summer of 1966. It was the only song from their current set of sessions to be included on the 1966 tour, which proved to be their last.
McCartney resurrected the song in 1993 and played it on his New World Tour. It was eventually included on that year’s Paul Is Live album. “Paperback Writer” — now featuring McCartney on lead guitar and including an extended coda — is now in his current concert rotation and featured on the 2009 Good Evening New York City live album.