Graham Bond‘s July 1, 1965 recording of “Baby Can It Be True” (as noted in the previous post) was likely the first appearances of a Mellotron in popular music. Manfred Mann‘s “Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James” – the Mellotron’s next big pop moment – would be released as an A-side in October, 1966 at the same time The Beatles’ were incorporating a Mellotron in their demos for “Strawberry Fields Forever”:
“Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James”
Manfred Mann (1966)
Planet Mellotron pegs “Semi-Detached Suburban” as “possibly the first Mellotron hit” (reached #2 UK). Manfred Mann would continue to use the Mellotron to great effect on 1967’s (single-only) “Ha! Ha! Said the Clown” and “So Long Dad.”
England’s Next Number One Record
Bonus Beatle Bit
Lennon Takes Delivery of His Mellotron
Love the fact that the Mellotron merits an entry in The Beatles Bible for August 16, 1965 – “John Lennon’s Mellotron is Delivered to Weybridge“:
While The Beatles were on tour in North America, a Mellotron was delivered to Kenwood, John Lennon’s home in Weybridge, England. Lennon had seen a Mellotron for the first time on 9 August 1965, while producing The Silkie‘s version ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away‘ at London’s IBC Studios.
The Mellotron had a range of ‘sampled’ sounds stored on magnetic tapes, which had been recorded at IBC in 1964. Lennon was intrigued and impressed with the instrument, and immediately ordered one in black.
The instrument was used on a number of recordings by The Beatles from 1966 onwards, perhaps most notably in the introduction to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever.’