Friday, 19 December 2014

Album covers - A Hard Day's Night

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

A Hard Day's Night - Robert Freeman
For the cover of the third Beatles album, Robert Freeman was asked again. He wanted to suggest the idea of movement, by expressing a flow of a pictures: four rows of four head shots, set up as though they were frames from a movie. The pictures of the four individual Beatles were taken in Freeman’s studio, in London. He asked them to make another facial expression for each new photo.

This UK movie poster had even more images
The photos were also used at the end of the movie.









While there was a blue frame for the British albums, in some countries they used a red frame. For example for the Brazilian and the American album. The US counterpart of A Hard Day's Night had only four large frames instead of sixteen small ones, thus ruining the original idea.

The US album, ruining the original idea but still a cool design

The Brazilian album

The german film programme was also designed with a red frame. Note Wilfred Brambell as one of the heads.


For the last time, the back cover notes are written by Tony Barrow. There are also four head shots of the Beatles, taken from the movie.

A Hard Day's Night back cover - Robert Freeman
This article was written by Patrick Roefflaer and you can find it in it's older incarnation here.

Sources:
Books: 'Yesterday' by Robert Freeman, The Beatles Anthology book, 'Many Years From Now' by Miles, 'In My Life' by Pete Shotton, 'The complete EMI Recording Sessions' by Mark Lewisohn and 'The Beatles London' by Mark Lewisohn and Peter Schreuder. And countless websites.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Album covers: With The Beatles

WITH THE BEATLES

With The Beatles - Robert Freeman
In August 1963, during the Summer tour in the coast towns, the Beatles stayed a week in a Bournemouth hotel. At the invitation of Brian Epstein, the young jazz-photographer Robert Freeman (27), hung around with them for a few days, to take some pictures. When George Martin phoned that he needed a photo for the cover of the second Beatles album, Brian asked him for a few ideas. Robert suggested something in half-shadow, to reflect the image of the Beatles in black. Something similar to his black-and-white jazz photographs.

Freeman remembers that the next noon a set up was prepared in the dining room of the Palace Hotel: with a maroon velvet curtain as a solid dark background and the natural bright sidelight coming through the large windows.

Robert Freeman's book - The Beatles: A Private View
Paul McCartney on the other hand, is sure the session took place in a corridor: "He pulled out four chairs and arranged us in a hotel corridor; it was very un-studio-like. The corridor was rather dark and there was a window at the end, and by using this heavy source of natural light coming from the right, he got that photo."

Freeman put Ringo a little lower not to have four heads in a row. Ringo was a bit smaller anyway and he was the last to join the group. Freeman doesn’t remember consciously arranging the Beatles in any particular order, but noticed later that they ended up in the reverse order of their grouping on the cover of Please Please Me.

Outtake from the photo session - Robert Freeman
Freeman used a very sensitive film, with big grain and a 180 mm telelens. Within half an hour one of the most famous sleeves in rock history was conceived. Paul: "He got this moody picture which people think he must have worked at for ever and ever in great technical detail. But it was an hour. He sat down, took a couple of rolls and he had it... Robert was good. I liked his photography a lot."
While the Beatles were pleased with the results – it remembered them of the pictures Astrid Kirchherr and Jürgen Volmer took of them in Hamburg in 1960 – that was not the case for everybody else. Beatles’ publicist Tony Barrow noted in Beatles Monthly that "Brian Epstein was very disappointed with the photograph and the Beatles put tremendous pressure on him to support them and take the picture to EMI."

The marketing executives at EMI thought that the picture was "shockingly humorless". "Where is the fun? Why are they looking so grim? We want to project happy Beatles for happy fans."

Happy Beatles for happy fans - unused outtake from photo session, Robert Freeman
Moreover that kind of black-and-white photographs had only been used for jazz album covers, whose standards of design were constantly high, but for popular musicians it was simply not done.
In the end the Beatles won and the sleeve went on to become another iconic Beatles image.
For the second time, the tasks to write the notes on the back cover, came to Tony Barrow.
In the United States, the same picture was used for the first Capitol album Meet the Beatles!. However, the US copies were tinted blue.
Meet The Beatles - USA album
Freeman was not designated the Beatles' official photographer, but he did frequently take pictures of them in the next three years. Paul McCartney described his photographs later as "amongst the best ever taken of the Beatles".

This article was written by Patrick Roefflaer and you can find it in it's older incarnation here.

Sources:
Books: 'Yesterday' by Robert Freeman, The Beatles Anthology book, 'Many Years From Now' by Miles, 'In My Life' by Pete Shotton, 'The complete EMI Recording Sessions' by Mark Lewisohn and 'The Beatles London' by Mark Lewisohn and Peter Schreuder. And countless websites.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Album covers: Please Please Me

PLEASE PLEASE ME

Please Please Me - Angus McBean

When the matter came up of the album cover for the first album of the Beatles, their producer George Martin proposed to call the album Off The Beatle Track. A picture could be taken at the nearby London Zoo, he reckoned, in front of the home of the insects. Paul doodled a few sketches for a design with that title. George Martin advised the use of the theatrical photographer Angus McBean, a man he worked with in the past.

Please Please Me - Paul McCartney's illustration. Even though it was John Lennon that had attended Art school, it was usually Paul McCartney who took an interest in the design for the Beatles record covers.
However the direction of the zoo made objections. George Martin clearly liked the title, and when it wasn't used for the album, he used it for his own LP with instrumental Beatles covers in 1964.

George Martin's album
Around the third week of January 1963 a first session took place, at the studio of Angus McBean, in his London house. The Beatles wore their new, mole-colored velveteen performing suits. One of these pictures was used in September 1963 for the cover of the EP The Beatles’ Hits and later, in America, for the Vee Jay album Introducing The Beatles. For this album, however, Vee Jay mirrored the image.

UK EP-cover

USA - Introducing The Beatles album
This first photo session was not satisfactory and a second was arranged. McBean agreed to meet them at the EMI house in Manchester Square, London around mid-February 1963. The photographer recalled later: "As I went into the door I was in the staircase well. Someone looked over the banister - I asked if the boys were in the building, and the answer was yes. "Well", I said, "get them to look over, and I will take them from here."
I only had my ordinary portrait lens, so to get the picture, I had to lie flat on my back in the entrance. I took some shots and I said, "That’ll do."




Please Please Me - Photo session. Apple no longer has all the originals of these photos, as they were accidentally binned in 2003 by someone who was cleaning the offices at Apple.
A number of pictures were taken with the four boys looking down over the railing of the first floor to the entrance of the building.

But not everybody was convinced. On March 5th, EMI staff photographer John Dove took publicity pictures of the Beatles in and round the EMI-house. On some of these also Dick James, George Martin and Brian Epstein can be spotted. Afterward he tried to make a suitable picture for the album-cover, with the Beatles fooling around with a parking meter at the nearby Montague Place and jumping of the steps of the EMI studio in Abbey Road.

Unused idea for the first Beatles album
Fooling around with a parking meter at Montague Place
At last it was decided that the Angus McBean picture in the staircase was the best option.

When The Beatles were on tour with Chris Montez and Tommy Roe, an advertisement for the Please Please Me album was featured in the tour programme. The cover is a mock up, as final typefaces had not been decided upon yet.
Detail from the programme page (above).
The cover made the staircase so famous that when, at the end of the ‘90s EMI vacated the premises at Manchester Square and moved to alternative office accommodation, the staircase was dissembled and painstakingly rebuild on the new premises.
Besides for the cover of the first album, different variations of the session are used for these covers:
  • the EP The Beatles (N°1)
  • the two compilations The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970
UK Beatles EP
Red album (1962-1966)

The sleeve notes on the back of the album sleeve are written by Tony Barrow.
The cover of the first pressings was a laminated sleeve with a polythene lined inner sleeve on which an advert for "Emitex" cleaning cloths was printed.

As proud as can be, the boys are showing off their fresh first album.
An equally proud record store owner/manager.
This article was written by Patrick Roefflaer and you can find it in it's older incarnation here.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ringo to be inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ringo got a phone call from Paul, who told him he was about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Ringo Starr is finally going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Previously, The Beatles as a band was inducted in 1988, John Lennon posthumously in 1994, Paul McCartney in 1999 and George Harrison posthumously in 2004.

Rolling Stone has an interview with Ringo about this, where he also says that his new album is finished and talks a bit about the upcoming tour.

The induction ceremony will be held on April 18th, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio, and the drummer will be inducted by his bassman, Paul McCartney, who said he was looking for something to do that night.


Source: Rolling Stone
Ringo's page at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website

Hope For The Future - Promo CD

Paul McCartney's new release is also out as a promotional CD.
Good news if you're a McCartney CD collector: The new "download-only" release from the Beatle is available on a promotional CD, featuring six tracks.

1. Hope For The Future (Edit) 3:08
2. Hope For The Future (Main) 4:06
3. Hope For The Future (Trash) 2:56
4. Hope For The Future (Beatsession Mix) 6:00
5. Hope For The Future (Jaded Mix) 5:33
6. Hope For The Future (Mirwais Mix) 4:24

The EP will also be made available on a 12" vinyl disc on January 12th (Jan. 13th in the USA), but if you don't own a turntable and you prefer physical, factory made discs to downloads, the promotional CD is what you'll need to hunt down.

In an interview with Digital Spy, McCartney was asked if he thought more and more acts will turn to video games as an option to get their music out there?

"I think it's a possibility, yeah. It really depends on whether the people making the games think it's appropriate. I mean Prodigy did that thing years ago, 'Firestarter', and that was for a video game. It was for a very early Playstation thing, and I remember thinking, 'Wow, that's cool,' because that's how I would hear that song. People have done it since, so I'm not the first to do it. But what I've done is a straight forward song rather than a digital one, which you can do for computer games. With this game being big and epic, it was more like writing a film soundtrack. I wonder that it well might happen that people start to ring up the video game developers... 'Hey, I've got a song!'"

Of course, McCartney is known to have been fascinated by video games early on. Back in the 8-bit era, a video game was created around his "Give My Regards To Broad Street" film in 1984, and his 1989 music video for Ou est le Soleil was inspired by the video games of the day.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 on sale


The price just went down a notch on the album The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963. It went down from £34.99 to £19.99 in the UK, and a similar reduction is also in effect across the iTunes Stores in other countries. 

The Beatles in St. Louis book

The Beatles in St Louis, 1966.
Our friend Sara over at the Meet The Beatles For Real blog has started a funding campaign to help her achieve her goal of writing a book about The Beatles' visit to St. Louis in 1966, as well as subsequent visits to the city by members of The Beatles. Here's her plea:

Ever since I was in the 4th grade, I have dreamed of writing and publishing a book. After running the popular Beatles blog site for the past 5 years, Meet the Beatles for Real, I have decided that Ican make my dream come true and write a book about the Beatles. Living close to St. Louis, Missouri, and being a Beatles fan, I have always been fascinated by the stories of the fans who saw the Beatles that rainy night on August 21, 1966 at Busch Stadium.

I am in the process of writing a book about the Beatles in St. Louis. The book will include the stories of the Beatles 1966 concert and also stories of George Harrison's concert in 1974, Paul McCartney's concerts in 1993, 2002 and 2012 and Ringo's concerts in 1995, 1997. 2000, 2001 and 2014. Right now I am calling the book "Happiness is Seeing the Beatles."

I want this book to be the best book that I can and it needs a lot of photos to make the stories come to life. Of course including photos in a book costs a lot of money and that is why I am asking for some help.

Please help me with my dream of writing a Beatles book.

Peace and Love,
Sara S.

Visit this website to help Sara raise $2000 towards the project. Anyone who contributes at least $25 will receive a free copy of the book when it is published in the summer of 2016.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Presentation folder for the 1965 Intertel promos

Sales presenter from 1965
Currently up for sale over at ebay is a presentation folder for the 1965 Intertel promos, the folder is said to have come from Brian Epstein's own collection.

It is a 4 page presentation folder, on gray and black textured medium card stock measuring 35 cm by 48 cm.

The presenter was made specifically for the program purchasers of the worlds major TV networks, announcing the completion, for the first time of 5 video clips of The Beatles newest hit songs ready for distribution.

Up until this time, late 1965, the Beatles would do the rounds of the various TV programs in person to mime to their latest singles, and were becoming increasingly reluctant to do so because of their hectic live and recording commitments. So they decided to self produce and videotape their own promotional promotional clips and distribute them for free to the various TV networks.

Ten clips were shot at Twickenham Studios, produced by Tony Bramwell on the 23rd and 24th of November 1965 and distributed immediately. The clips were:

- We can work it out, 3 versions
- Day Tripper, 3 versions
- Help, 1 version
- Ticket to ride, 1 version
- I Feel Fine, 2 versions

The clips appeared on programs such as BBC's Top of The Pops and ITV's Thank Your Lucky Stars in the UK in late 1965 and early 1966. In other countries, the clips also appeared on various pop music shows.

The text is as follows:
Brian Epstein Presents
The BEATLES
FIVE FABULOUS RECORDINGS
FOR TELEVISION
NOW AVAILABLE WORLD WIDE

WE CAN WORK IT OUT
DAY TRIPPER
HELP!
I FEEL FINE
TICKET TO RIDE

The opened folder shows a small black and white photo from each of the filmed songs, and the
text goes: Five fabulous recordings for television * A Subafilms Production
THE BEATLES performing their biggest hits!

The photo captions are:
1. WE CAN WORK IT OUT
Running time 2 minutes 13 seconds
2. DAY TRIPPER
Running time 2 minutes 50 seconds
3. HELP
Running time 2 minutes 16 seconds
4. I FEEL FINE
Running time 2 minutes 20 seconds
5. TICKET TO RIDE
Running time 3 minutes 0 seconds

Here is a superbly produced series of performances by The Beatles.
Specially filmed in London, these recordings feature five of the Group's
biggest world wide hits - including their most recent double-headed
chart topper "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper"

The opened folder

The back of the folder has the address, phone number and cable address to be used for enquiries about the clips. In fine print at bottom of back cover are the words "Designed and Printed by Converta Limited."

The back of the folder
Tony Bramwell talks about these films in his Magical Mystery Tours book: "At Twickenham we shot up to three versions of each promo and simply sent copies of the best, free of charge, to every TV station The Beatles had ever been on. But it was too expensive, so we were told. When EMI called and complained that we had spent a total of seven hundred and fifty pounds, we fell about the office laughing. Their accounts office said it was far too much."

The BBC paid £1,750 for the right to broadcast several on Top Of The Pops, their flagship music show, on various occasions throughout December, and NEMS struck deals with numerous other broadcasters around the world.

Friday, 12 December 2014

A new live album from Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney: Live at the Electric Proms, 2007
A new Paul McCartney album, “Live at the Electric Proms 2007” on the Charly label was introduced to iTunes (and other music download shops) in the U.S. and several other countries, but (probably for contractual reasons) not in the UK. It's a 17-track album, which sadly only lacks 7 more tracks to be a complete audio document of the evening. The concert was shown on TV in Great Britain in HD quality, and has been heavily DVD-bootlegged ever since. I had the pleasure of attending this concert, just a few days after having attended his Paris Olympia concert.

The track list:
  1. Magical Mystery Tour
  2. Flaming Pie
  3. Got to Get You into My Life
  4. Dance Tonight
  5. Only Mama Knows
  6. Blackbird
  7. Calico Skies
  8. Eleanor Rigby
  9. Band on the Run
  10. Back in the USSR
  11. Live and Let Die
  12. Baby Face
  13. Hey Jude
  14. Let It Be
  15. Lady Madonna
  16. I Saw Her Standing There
  17. Get Back
Total Length: 54:02
Missing songs performed at the concert but not available on this album:
  • C Moon
  • The Long And Winding Road
  • I'll Follow The Sun
  • That Was Me
  • Here Today
  • House Of Wax
  • I've Got A Feeling

iTunes (USA) link.

For this concert, Paul McCartney's backing band was helped by the inclusion of live strings, which really made a difference and breathed new life to songs like "Eleanor Rigby". Too bad Paul "Wix" Wickens still opted for stringing along on his keyboards.

Additional details about this release:
Original Release Date: December 3, 2014
Label: Charly
Copyright: © 2014 Charly Acquisitions Ltd

Mal Evans' article about the Get Back album

Reproduced in the Beatles' Anthology book, this was the original artwork for the Get Back album. Looks like it has been pasted over with a corrected cover from when the album's name was changed to "Let It Be", and then that paste-over has been removed again. According to John Kosh, John Lennon wrote the corrective measures on the artwork pictured here.
In July 1969, the Beatles' Get Back album was being readied for release in August, and Mal Evans wrote an article about the upcoming album for the official fan club magazine, "The Beatles Book Monthly". He describes the album thoroughly, and does a track by track detailed account about what's in the grooves. Here is the article, reproduced from #72 of Beatles Book Monthly.

THE BEATLES GET BACK

AUGUST LP SURPRISES


* 10-year-old song is included ! * Skiffling Beatles do "Maggie May" ! * No vocals from Ringo ! * "The Beatles with their socks off" - and they've re-recorded "Love Me Do" but it's not on the LP!

The Beatles' next LP album was finished at the end of May - with George the only Beatle remaining in Britain at the time, supervising the last of the re-mixing and re-balancing sessions to produce the final tapes from which the LP record will be made.

Release of the album is being held back until August so that it can coincide with the publication of a special book full of recording session pictures.

Apart from the LP and the book, there's the film which was made while the new numbers were being rehearsed at Twickenham and recorded in Apple's own new studio in the basement beneath 3, Savile Row, our London headquarters.
The fe!lows would like the film to go on television in August so that everything comes together at the same time. Before I go into the new LP in track-by-track detail let me set down some of the background information. The title of the album is The Beatles; Get Back. And indeed John, Paul, George and Ringo do get back with these recordings - all the way back to the simplicity of their earliest stuff.

Remember the fellows' first Parlophone album Please, Please Me, issued in May 1963? Well, the photograph for the new LP cover was taken in exactly the same place by the same photographer, Angus McBean. With the four fellows grouped over the staircase at the offices of EMI Records in London's Manchester Square, just as they had done six years earlier.
The Beatles; Get Back is by far the most informal set of records The Beatles have ever put out. Everything was rehearsed, as you know, down at Twickenham - both those sessions were really to get together the new songs and decide how each one would be treated. Once we moved from Twickenham to Apple all the recording we did was "live" with no "over-dubbing" of extra voices or instruments, no orchestras brought in boost the accompaniments, no special electronic happenings whatsoever. Just three guitars plus Ringo's drums - with piano and occasional organ contributions from Paul and from Billy Preston who was the only non-Beatle to work with us throughout the series of sessions.

The stereo version of the LP is particularly great - thanks to sound expert Glyn Johns who was the studio engineer for all the recordings.

Gradually since Please Please Me The Beatles have been going for greater and greater studio perfection, using every possible audio and electronic technique to add to and improve the finished productions. This time the policy has been entirely different. The Beatles; Get Back is The Beatles with their socks off, human Beatles kicking out their jams, getting rid of their inhibitions, facing their problems and working them out with their music. During and in between most of the tracks you will hear lots of studiofloor conversation, each of the fellows chatting, preparing for the next number, shouting comments up to the control room. On other albums all this type of ad-lib stuff has been cut from the tapes befare putting the tracks on disc.

This time everything is left for you to hear-just as it happened. You even hear a clapper board banging down and a yelled instruction from one of the filming crew people who were making the separate visual recording of everything which took place.

In all there are nine entirely new numbers on The Beatles; Get Back-plus both sides of the recent single, Get Back and Don't Let Me Down. At the very end of the second side they get back to Get Back again for a brief encore version of that number. And between a couple of other items are brief "link" tracks featuring Save The Last Dance For Me and Maggie May the only non-Beatle compositions the fellows have put out on record since they made Act Naturally and Dizzy Miss Lizzy for their Help! album in 1965.

The article is from The Beatles Book Monthly #72.

There is only one George Harrison composition – For You Blue - and it hasn't a trace of sitar or anything else Eastern about it.

Ringo stays with his drums all the way through this new programme and he doesn't have a solo vocal track of his own on this occasion.

Although this LP has only 11 main numbers on it, far more tracks have been recorded. The Beatles didn't want to repeat the "double disc" idea and make everyone buy a pair of LP records together. lnstead all the other tracks are held "in the can" so that they can be used later.

Amongst the stuff that "stays on file" so to speak is enough material for a special rock 'n' roll LP - including famous American rock hits like Shake Rattle And Roll and Blue Suede Shoes.

What's more we even did a re-make of Love Me Do, The Beatles first single from October 1962! But one of the recordings which you WILL find on the new album goes back even further than that. It's a number called One After 909 which John and Paul wrote as long ago as 1959 ! Oh yes, Ringo DID put down one vocal item, his own composition called Octopussy's Garden, but along with at least another 15 others by George, John and Paul, it's "in the can" for future release unless now that all the Beatles are back they decide to make last minute additions to the August LP.

On the LP the version you will hear of Get Back is the same one which went on the single but we did a special LP version of the single's other side, Don't Let Me Down. Everything you hear on The Beatles; Get Back was recorded at Apple and the starting dates for all recordings were during the last fortnight of January. The first one to get under way was Dig A Pony on January 20 and the last one we started work on was One After 909 (May 28).

As you may remember if you saw all the newspaper stories at the time or read what I had to say about it several Beatles Monthly issues ago, we recorded five numbers in the open air on the roof of the Apple HQ building. The five were One After 909, I've Got A Feeling, Don't Let Me Down, Get Back and Dig A Pony BUT only ONE roof-top version is included on the LP-and that's One After 909. We did fresh versions of the other items way down below in the basement.

O.K.-it's time to get back. Here's my run-down on all the LP recordings, the ones The Beatles have made just to please, please you :

SIDE ONE

I. ONE AFTER 909

One After 909 was written by John and Paul ten years ago when they were not Beatles at all but The Nurk Twins or something like that. Like I said a little earlier, this is the album's only Apple roof-top recording. It makes a punchy kick-off to the Get Back programme with Paul's raw voice ravin' all the way. It opens with a piano run and a guitar chord echoing out around the January sky - but that's just a false start. Then straight into the heavy rocking. Ringo on drums, John playing rhythm guitar, George on lead guitar, Paul playing bass guitar and good old Billy Preston adding his electric piano work. The vocal is shared by Paul and John. You won't catch all the words at first hearing---except, perhaps, the line about ''she said she was travelling on the one after 909" which tells you a missing bird and a train are involved in the story. Make up the rest for yourself. Sounds to me as if this fellow really knows how to mess things up. His bird isn't coming on the next train either. He's a right loser!

LINK TRACK: SAVE THE LAST DANCE

At the end of the first track there's a bit of applause and you'll hear Paul saying "Thanks Mo" to Ringo's Mo because she was clapping hardest! Then you'll hear a fragment of freaky vamping, just a nice bit of guitar stuff, and Paul saying ''Just a minute boys". Then John and Paul go into the familiar old Drifters' hit Save The Last Dance - not much of it because this wasn't meant to be on the new LP at all but we left this bit to maintain the fun atmosphere of the whole session. Then:
Paul: "Do your thing man."
John: "I can't keep off it."
John again: "Give me the courage to come screaming in".

2. DON'T LET ME DOWN

Nobody ever loved me like she does. You know that - and you know this track unless you've just never played the ''B"-side of the Get Back single. For this LP version of Don' t Let Me Down John sings with the guitar and drums line-up just as it was for One After 909 but Billy didn't play this time.
Paul sings too but it's mostly John. I love this slow, bluesy one with its banging beat and great wailing guitar from the fingers of G.H. At the end of the track you'll hear this:
John: "We'll do Dig A Pony straight into I've Got A Feeling."
And, friends, that's what they do.

3. DIG A PONY

Mostly John this one, with occasional Paul again. Billy's back on electric piano, Paul on bass and lots of metal coming from Ringo's department. A bit of blues this, nicely heavy, with emphasis on the tune rather than the words.
In gist the line is that you can do anything you want to do so long as you set your mind to it. Overcome everything if you really try to work it out. You can even dig a pony. Lots of ad lib comments flung around, a crash of the cymbal and we're straight on into ...

4. I'VE GOT A FEELING

Paul and John sharing the vocal. Paul coming in with that great screamy style of his. John replying to Paul's lines and, later, coming in to take over the lead singing for a verse. And you'll just about hear him mutter to himself "I cocked it up trying to get loud."
Story comes in the middle with the tag-line "All that I was looking for was somebody who looked like you."
Between I've Got A Feeling and the last track of the first side you'll hear Ringo thump his tomtoms and ask: "What does that sound like?"

5. GET BACK

Get back to where you once belonged-obviously the main theme not only of this terrific track but of the whole album, The Beatles' whole frame of mind for 1969. Paul does a great job of the vocal. Again it's George on rhythm, John on lead, Paul on bass, Ringo drumming and Billy doing his bit on the electric piano.

SIDE TWO

1. FOR YOU BLUE

George's composition, George as vocalist. You'll hear him say "O.K.''? and give a bit of a false start on his guitar. Then he gets into this beautiful love song about the girl you're always dreaming of, the one who haunts you, the one you never quite meet up with. The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.
No bass here or on the next couple of tracks. Instead we had George playing acoustic guitar, John on steel guitar, Paul on piano-plus Ringo's drumming. Interesting middle with 12 bars guitar and 12 bars piano. Almost like a South Sea Beat Ballad with the "island" effect of John's Fender running through here. "You're a sweet and lovely girl, I love you". Nice words, neat tune. When you hear this one you'll agree that George's songwriting is better than ever these days. I'd say this is one of the most pleasing things he's ever done. Thank you George and now for ...

2. TEDDY BOY

George switches to electric guitar here, John plays acoustic and Paul sings a simple story about a mother comforting her boy. Mama's going to see you through. We all need someone to turn to-that's the message. We need people. No man is an island. Later on the whole session gets a bit like a square dance with genuine (genuine?) calls. And we didn't cut out the electronic squeal that came halfway through this recording. The result of feed-back from one of the amps. All through the making of the LP we used portable equipment fetched over from EMI because the stuff being built into the Apple Studio wasn't ready for action.

3. TWO OF US ON OUR WAY HOME

Two of us riding nowhere. You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead. We're on our way back home. We're getting back. John and Paul share the vocal on this pleasant mediumpaced lazy Sunday afternoon sort of number. The two of them with their voices in good harmony. Still not using a bass here but George reaching his fingers down low to the bass lines of his electric guitar. All fades away . . . "So we leave the little town of London, England...." (Paul).

LINK TRACK: MAGGIE MAY

This is a riot. All the fellows getting together for a brief reminder that we're all Mersey Beat Boys at heart. Yes, this is THE Maggie May, dirty Maggie May who'll never walk down Lime Street anymore. Sung with much Liverpool gusto.

4. DIG IT

Fast and very rhythmic. A great big free-for-all. John takes over the bass guitar playing for this and the next two tracks with Paul playing piano and George on acoustic again. Paul singing here with John shouting enthusiastic remarks like "I can hardly keep my hands still." Scatty vocal vamping above the piano and rhythm laid down as a solid base. "I want it, I want it" (George). "You're gonna get it all right, get it good" (John). The words are saying you can't really knock anything – BBC, Doris Day, anything because SOMEBODY digs it even if you don't.
John: 'That was Can You Dig It. Now we'd like to do Hark The Angels Come." Yes the voice you'll hear at this point belongs to J. Lennon and not G. Fields.
Then you'll hear a voice say 'Take 27" which is nothing to do with 27 different recording "'takes" - just the filming people readying themselves to roll their cameras on the day's 27th bit of shooting.
"Take 27" (clap) "Sync the second clap" (clap).

5. LET IT BE

This is the track I like best of the Get Back LP bunch. It's Paul using his soulful voice, sounding so very sincere, backing himself on piano. When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there'll be an answer Let it be. Behind Paul we had John and George doing the harmoney. There's a lot of flowing piano above and around the vocal. George plays his Lesley guitar-which can sound like organ and does here. Light metallic beat from Ringo with his foot right down to close up the hi-hat.

6. THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

Paul again here on another slow, sentimental piece with much piano surrounding his plaintive balladeering. About the girl who teft him standing there all alone and the many times he's cried. But "you'll never know the ways I've tried." Don't leave him there lead him down the long and winding road to your door.

GET BACK (REPRISE)

Back to the beginning to remind you what the album's all about. What else can I say in July about a recording which has sold a few million singles and was still at the top of the charts in Britain and America when we came out with The Ballad Of John And Yoko at the beginning of June?

So that's The Beatles; Get Back - the record, the book that's coming out with it and the film we've made to show people what LP making is really like. In fact that's the real intention of the album itself. All the off-the-record bits left ON the record for you to hear. None of the loose ends tied up. Just a friendly album that invites you to join in what happens in The Beatles' recording studio. Certainly something different. Quite unlike the carefully prepared, expertly edited LP productions the fellows have spent so many months on in the past. In just a few weeks from now you'll have the chance of hearing it all for yourselves. I hope you'll agree that The Beatles; Get Back is a very interesting addition to your collection and that you'll enjoy the come-and-join-us informality of the whole thing.

MAL EVANS

A bootleg reproduces or mimics the album cover after the name change to "Let It Be". Of course, after this the idea for the retro front cover was dropped and a totally new design, based on the "Get Back" book and "Let It Be" movie poster favoured.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

"Hope" due out on vinyl - in the future

In the future, "Hope for the Future" will be out on vinyl.
Contrary to previous reports, the recent iTunes release from Paul McCartney, "Hope For The Future" will be out on a physical disc in the er... future, it is being readied for release as a 12" vinyl single early next year, January 12th. (source: Spin-CDs)

Tracks:
1) ’Hope For The Future (Main)
2) ’Hope For The Future (Thrash)
3) ’Hope For The Future (Beatsession Mix)
4) ’Hope For The Future (Jaded Mix)
5) ’Hope For The Future (Mirwais Mix)

In the video for "Hope for the Future", Paul was filmed while standing on a circular platform, very reminiscent of  a clip for another time travel oriented saga.

Paul on a round platform
Paul etc on a round platform

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Petition: Bowie-McCartney

Ziggy and Macca
A group of teenagers has started a campaign trying to get Paul McCartney and David Bowie to collaborate on a song. Despite their age, they deeply appreciate and admire these two artists (who share a common common link in John Lennon) and, basically, they want to bring them together before "it's too late", as they say.
To this end, they have established a Facebook group, a Twitter account and created a petition page. Meanwhile, we'll air the only collaboration between the two we have known of: Here's Paul McCartney introducing and backing Mick Jagger and David Bowie's impromptu performance of "Dancing in the Street" from the Prince's Trust concert in 1986.

Lennon's Own Books

In His Own Write 1964
The two John Lennon books that he wrote at the height of Beatlesmania, "In His Own Write" (1964) and "A Spaniard In The Works" (1965) have been reissued on December 8 by the publishing house Canongate in the UK.

"In His Own Write", Lennon’s critically acclaimed debut was one of the biggest selling books of the Sixties, selling over 600,000 copies in the UK alone. Combining nonsense verse, oddball stories and stunning line drawings, it reveals a side to Lennon’s creative output that has always been overshadowed by his music.



"A Spaniard In The Works", Lennon's second collection, is every bit as witty, whimsical and wonderful as his debut. Lennon's writing style owes much to his favourite author, Englishman Lewis Carroll, while his drawings are influenced by American James Thurber.

A Spaniard in the Works 1965

Jamie Byng, Publisher at Canongate, says: “Fifty years on, these two books by Lennon remain wonderfully fresh and memorable and distinctive and it is a great honour to be publishing new editions of them which do justice to the original drawings. Lennon was an exceptional artist and there is a growing appreciation of this which is borne out by the recent, record-breaking sale at Sotheby’s.”

Byng is referring to an extensive auction of original poetry and artwork from the two books, which took place at Sotheby’s, New York earlier this month and raised $2.9M, well over double the pre-sale estimates.

It was reported in an article that an initial printing in Great Britain sold 50,000 copies the first day, and Simon & Schuster had a first printing of 90,000 in the USA. The books were also translated to other languages in the sixties, here in Scandinavia they were available in Danish, Swedish and Finnish.

The regular price of these books is £12.99 each, but they are available now from Canongate's web site for just £5.20 each, which is a pre-Christmas sale price. The books are faithful facsimile copies of the originals with hard covers, on the back cover is the legend "50th Anniversary Edition" and they do have bar codes on the back as well.

The backs of the books, click to enlarge


Originally published by Jonathan Cape in hard covers in the UK, both books have had several reprints in hard covers as well as paperback, "In His Own Write" especially so, as recent as the year 2000. And here they are again!

A Spaniard in the Works English/Swedish 1997

Back in 1997, I purchased an English and Swedish edition of "A Spaniard in the Works" from the Swedish publishing house Bakhåll. Together with that edition was a CD containing tracks with never before released Lennon pieces and interviews.

1997 CD tracks:
  1. "My Life" (Lennon) 2:30
  2. "John Meets Yoko - Teacher/Pupil" (Lennon) 1:44
  3. "Dear John" (Lennon) 4:10
  4. "Cosmic Joke Number 9 / The Future Is Ours To See" (Lennon) 1:30
  5. "Lord, Take This Makeup Off Me" (Lennon) 2:18
  6. "Do It Yourself" (unknown) 1:13
  7. "Make Love Not War" (Lennon) 3:13
  8. "Groupies" (Lennon) 1:45
  9. "Here We Go Again" (Lennon/Spector) 2:57
  10. "What Does It Mean When You're Such A Pacifist That You Get Shot?" (Lennon) 0:57
  11. "His Spirit Is Still Around" (Yoko Ono) 0:46
The book with the CD. CD notes on this page (click to enlarge).
After John Lennon's death, Yoko Ono published a third volume in the trilogy, "Skywriting by Word of Mouth". Subtitled "and Other Writings Including the Ballad of John and Yoko", it was published posthumously in 1986 and included an afterword by his widow, Yoko Ono. Like his other works, it contains miscellaneous writings and cartoons.

Skywriting by Word of Mouth 1986

The book includes Lennon's autobiography (titled "The Ballad of John and Yoko"), in which he talks about the Beatles' break-up ("I started the band. I disbanded it.") and says that he has no hard feelings against his former bandmates: "Paul, George, and It's Only Ringo. I bear them no ill will." However, he also referred to them as "avant-garde revolutionary thinkers" a statement which could be interpreted as sarcastic in intent and declared "In retrospect, the Beatles were no more an important part of my life than any other (and less than some)."

Lennon mentioned the manuscript in a 1980 Playboy interview: "At one point ... I wrote about two hundred pages of mad stuff." The manuscript was stolen from the Lennons' apartment in 1982, and later recovered in 1986, when Ono had it published.