not Always a Beatle, aka

Guest Musicians

on Beatle recordings

George Martin

(their producer on every album except Let It Be )

was the 2nd guest musician, but the 1st notable.

On early recordings, most of the tracks were just a live performance recorded, no overdubs to speak of, so when a piano part can be heard it's probably

George Martin

(in my opinion the only real candidate for the title of 5th Beatle, some call him the 6th?)

Amid his many piano contributions

Sir George

is said to be playing the


(hammers strike metal bars rather than strings as on a piano, note smaller size and fewer keys as well)

on Baby It's You,

from their 1st LP

On Rubber Soul, George Martin is given credit on the album sleeve for playing the Harmonium

It's a full sized console version, foot powered positive pressure reed organ, on The Word

on In My Life that's George on piano (double playback speed, to give it that Baroque feel) not a harpsichord as it may sound.

In the same project

Mal Evans

(long time Beatles insider, former bouncer at the Cavern, drove the van from gig to gig in the early days) is playing the Hammond in

You Won't See Me

(& we didn't!)

Mal also participated in SPLHCB

by way of the Harmonica(Mr. Kite) & the alarm clock

that rings during the A Day In The Life sequence

In some stripped down versions (as in the Anthology tracks) you can hear Mal counting the time in between that is later filled with the orchestral crescendo. 

(one of several on final piano chord too)

Tambourine during MMT & the White Album as well as trumpet, in the latter project (Helter Skelter).

He's also the bass drum player in

Yellow Submarine

Mal is playing the anvil in Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, in a sequence of the film

Let It B Ringo plays it on the record.

It's said, that in addition to numerous uncredited writing contributions from Mal, he was the inspiration for the fictitious Sgt. Pepper. When eating together it was Mals way to ask for the salt & pepper, by saying "would you pass me the Sgt. Pepper please?"

Nicky Hopkins

(famous British session player, the Who, the Stones, Led Zepplin) is playing the electric piano


Fender Rhodes suitcase 73, some say it was a silver sparkle model!

during Revolution

on the single version (Hey Jude was the A side).

Billy Preston played the Hammond

(D-152 & RT-3) 


& Rhodes Piano (suitcase 73)

on the White Album & Get Back sessions. During the roof top concert as seen in the film Let It Be , he looks to be having the time of his life!

most consider Billy to be the 5th Beatle

Various keyboard contributions can be heard on

 Abbey Road, as well from Mr. Preston.


Another White Album veteran was

Eric Clapton

playing the lead guitar in

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Due in part to John & Paul's lack of interest, George insisted that his friend Eric play on the track. When listening to the playback, Eric didn't think it was Beatle-y enough so he suggested that they add ADT* so that it would sound a little wobbly! It's rumored that he played on other tracks too, but I can't confirm or deny that.

* see There's A First Time For Everything for more on ADT

So who was the first guest Musician on a Beatles recording?....

Andy White a session drummer brought in by producer George Martin, after deciding that Pete Best...wasn't!

He told Brian " I don't care what you do with him on stage, but for the recording, I'm bringing in a professional drummer."

It seems that great minds think alike and the Beatles were fed up with Pete

He wasn't showing up for gigs, and he wasn't really a Beatle anyway! ( that is to say he didn't fit in, he wasn't as out going, was sort of sullen and to himself & that ain't no Beatle hair cut! ) So Brian was given the task of giving Pete the "axe".

Ringo had been a long time friend, the professional drummer with local band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He would sit in with the boys (often when Pete didn't show up)

You know somehow, when things click!

Ringo was all set for the studio gig-- the new drummer and all...but nobody told George Martin of the change in walks Ringo, expecting to play and there is Andy White! From the producer's point of view, "burned once...not twice, we'll use the pro." Ringo was hurt, and for years he would needle George Martin by saying, "You wouldn't let me play would ya." This little incident healed over years ago, but is quite amusing now.

on to Part 2

more Guest Musicians


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