Friday, 31 October 2014

The "Sessions" LP

The "Sessions" LP remained unreleased.
"Sessions" was a compilation album by The Beatles planned for release by EMI in 1985, but never issued due to objections by Apple. The album consisted of thirteen finished, but unreleased, Beatles songs. A single—"Leave My Kitten Alone", with an alternative version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", which was not to appear on the album, as its B-side—was also planned, but it too was left unissued.

The single (front cover)

On 26 Jan 1976, when The Beatles' nine-year contract with EMI Records finally expired, EMI immediately began to take stock of The Beatles' back catalogue, seriously considering for the first time the hundreds of hours of unreleased recordings stored haphazardly in the Abbey Road Studios' tape vault.

Ever since the break-up of the band, there had always been rumours of unheard Beatles titles. Titles such as Junk, The Void, Not Guilty, and What's The New Mary Jane were among the song titles that were talked about. In an article in the New Musical Express of 23 March 74 a list was compiled of Beatles' rumoured EMI outtakes. Titles mentioned included "How Do You Do It", "Suzy Parker", "If You've Got Troubles", "Jazz Piano Song", "You'll Know What To Do", "Pink Litmus Paper Shirt", "Penina", "Not Unknown", "India", "Annie", "When I Come To Town", "Four Nights In Moscow", "Colliding Circles", and "Always And Only". Some of these did indeed exist, some were misinterpretations apparently based on EMI session sheets (working titles etc) and some looks like they were just made up. The 1975 discography book "All Together Now" by Castleman/Podrazik mentioned all of these, plus the following: "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby", "Tell Me If You Can", "Peace Of Mind", and "I Should Like To Live Up A Tree".
Further rumored titles among the fans were "Baby Jane", "I'm Sorry", "Bad Penny Blues", "Echoes Of The Merseyside", "Home", "Just Dancing Around", "Maisy Jones", "Moonglow", "My Kind Of Girl", "Portrait Of My Love", "Proud As You Are", "Rubber Soul", "Swinging Days", and "Zero Is Just Another Even Number".

While people were speculating, EMI executives listened to all the material that had not been released. However, they only considered song titles which hadn't been released, ignoring four hundred hours or so of rehearsals, demos, alternate takes, arrangements, and mixes of familiar songs. So their initial research only came up with about ten titles considered worthy of attention. According to Mark Lewisohn, EMI "began doing in-house compilation cassettes" of this material - one of which found its way into private collectors' hands by late 1978. The tape was played in 1980 at a Beatles convention, and eventually released on a bootleg entitled File Under: Beatles.

1983  File under: Beatles bootleg LP
File under: Beatles was put together from songs that appeared on the so-called 'boardroom tape', which was an off-line recording (hence sound quality) of unreleased Beatles tapes which were submitted to a board of EMI people in 1976, in order to decide if any of them was releasable. They listened to it, but decided against it and issued the compilation album Rock And Roll Music instead.

The whole boardroom tape eventually leaked in full, and has been released on a CD bootleg.
The material was all apparently dubbed directly from the session tapes, with no attempts at remixing or editing, and was more of a rough assembly of potential songs for a Beatles outtake LP. The titles were as follows:
  • Leave My Kitten Alone
  • One After 909 the 1963 recording
  • If You've Got Troubles
  • Christmas Time (Is Here Again!) Only excerpts of this was used on the 1967 Christmas single
  • That Means A Lot
  • Come And Get It Paul's demo for Badfinger
  • Rip It Up / Shake Rattle And Roll from a Get Back sessions jam
  • Not Fade Away / Bo Diddley Another one of those
  • Dig A Pony Alternate take, but much like the released version.
EMI was considering all of these for release, and the list was expanded to include more material from the Get Back sessions and the sessions for the Abbey Road LP, but nothing came of it.

This photo was supposed to be on one side of the "Sessions" inner sleeve.

In 1981, an engineer at Abbey Road named John Barrett found he had cancer, and was looking for a way to occupy his time while undergoing treatment. Ken Townsend, the manager of the studios at the time, thought that finally going through the vaults and seeing exactly was and was not there with regards to the Beatles' many recording sessions would be an excellent task for the ailing engineer.
Barrett ripped into his task with gusto, spending weeks listening through every tape and making up a detailed "catalog" of sorts, with multi-colored tabs and dividers for easy access to the various sections, and color codings for the multitudes of mixes and takes which were included. The first fruits of this research was used on the insert for the box of EMI's "The Beatles Singles Collection" issued in December of 1982, which featured for the first time the recording dates for the tracks enclosed. Also, an informative article in "Record Collector" by Nick Piercey in october 1983 included EMI mouthpiece Mike Heatley using Barrett's guide when answering Piercey's queries about various Beatles recording issues.
On 19 February 1982, Barrett notated the previously-blank tape box for the "Leave My Kitten Alone" session, pointing out "Track cuts off before end" (in other words, the tape ends abruptly before the song has finished) next to take 5. This take was again considered for single release at Christmas 1982 but nothing was done about it.
Besides the discovery of great alternate versions ("I'm Looking Through You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and "Norwegian Wood" for example), Barrett's work led EMI to take its first steps towards letting the public actually hear this material. It was decided that Abbey Road's Studio 2, during a summer 1983 renovation, would be opened to tourists - the highlight being a visual history of The Beatles' recording career, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring outtakes and alternate mixes. It was during the preparations for this show that copies of some complete EMI reels were made and eventually sold to bootleggers, ultimately resulting in albums like Ultra Rare Trax and Unsurpassed Masters.

This photo was supposed to be on the other side of the "Sessions" inner sleeve.
Years of speculation were about to come to a close, and expectations were high in the months leading up to the show. In February 1983, EMI confusingly confirmed the existence of "parts of" longer versions of "Hey Jude", "Revolution" and "Helter Skelter". Even when they knew what they had, EMI weren't quite sure what they had. On 11 July 83, they further confirmed titles like "Leave My Kitten Alone", "How Do You Do It", "If You've Got Trouble," and "That Means A Lot".

When the presentation, The Beatles Live At Abbey Road, opened on 18 Jul 83, it was a mixed bag. I had the pleasure of attending one of these, and was delighted to hear new Beatles naterial. Songs like "Leave My Kitten Alone" and "How Do You Do It" were included, but incomplete. There was no sign of "If You've Got Trouble" or "That Means A Lot", the long "Helter Skelter", or known titles like "Come And Get It", "Mary Jane" and "Not Guilty". Beautiful stripped-down versions of "Because" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were mixed in with less compelling things like early takes and false starts from "Don't Bother Me", "I Saw Her Standing There", "She's A Woman" and "A Hard Day's Night". Also, songs like "Rain," "Hello Goodbye," and "Penny Lane" were presented in remixed form, whereas "Love Me Do" and "Twist And Shout" were simply the standard recordings. The one that stood out for me was George Harrison's acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

Somehow, some people managed to smuggle a tape recorder past Abbey Road security, and new bootlegs appeared on the market. The show closed on 11 September 83, and EMI again started to seriously work towards coming up with a new LP of outtakes. Meanwhile, the engineer responsible for unearthing and making sense of the recordings, John Barrett, eventually died of cancer in February 1984.

In November 1984, a radio series called "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: A History Of The Beatles Years 1962-1970" made use of different mixes and outtake recordings of some of the familiar Beatles songs, as well as featuring debuts of several other songs, mostly from acetates and demo tapes sold at auctions. One such notable recording was "Besame Mucho", from the Beatles' first EMI session, previously unheard and unreported.

Speaking of the Beatles' first EMI session: There was a book store here in Oslo which always used to have a good selection of music books in the eighties, many of them were Beatles books. The clerk who was in charge of the music books was interested in the group, and kept ordering new Beatles books as they appeared. Because of this, he became friendly with his customers, and I always had a chat with him whenever I was in the store. One day he told me that one of his customers had claimed that he was in possession of that entire session tape, with all four songs. It always struck me as strange that "Besame Mucho" was leaked, but not the rest of the songs. A few years later, George Martin discovered an acetate of "Love Me Do", which was released on "Anthology 1", but the remaining two still haven't found their way to a bootleg or an official release. So maybe they are in the hands of a Norwegian collector. Or perhaps it was just a tall tale.

Anyway, the recording of "Besame Mucho" was, in fact, one of the tracks EMI was considering for its own Beatles project, which had the in-house code name "Mary Jane", the joke working-title "Boots", and the penultimate title "One-Two-Three-Four". Throughout the summer of 1984, once the line-up was set, engineer Geoff Emerick did his best to desecrate the material by chopping it up and assembling new versions which in some cases scarcely resembled the original takes. EMI prepared a press release which claimed that Emerick merely "remixed them and enhanced the overall sound quality by transferring the tapes". In fact, over half the songs were severely edited, others more subtly faded or spliced to bring them into line with Emerick's (and EMI's) idea of 1984 commercial standards.

By August 1984 a near-final track listing was set:


1. Christmas Time (Is Here Again!) / Come And Get It (presumably crossfaded)
2. Leave My Kitten Alone
3. Not Guilty (very edited)
4. That Means A Lot
5. I'm Looking Through You
6. What's The New Mary Jane (another one with lots of edits


1. How Do You Do It (with the ending chopped up)
2. Besame Mucho
3. One After 909 (using an edit piece as The Beatles had intended)
4. If You've Got Trouble (edited)
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Unfortunately the last guitar phrase is looped, repeated and faded)
6. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues (edited from a 1969 jam session)
7. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Christmas Time (Is Here Again!) (crossfaded)

Then they found another, final album title: "Sessions".

The proposed back cover of "Sessions". A nod to the bootleggers?

The album was planned for release in November 1984, with "Leave My Kitten Alone" and the "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" / "Christmas medley" (which was dropped from the LP lineup) supporting it as a single. However, Paul unwittingly intervened by scheduling his "Give My Regards To Broadstreet" album for release the same month. So EMI bit their tongues, sat on their hands and watched the profitable Christmas season pass by rather than compete with Paul's release. In fact, so eager were they not to upset Paul, EMI didn't bother to tell him (or George and Ringo) about "Sessions" until it was almost out of the gate.

The right side of the inside part of the fold out cover

Sleeves for the LP and 45 were designed, sleeve notes written (in August 1984 by Allan Kozinn, later replaced by Brian Southall's notes), label copy was prepared (on 14 December 1984), catalogue numbers were assigned (Parlophone EJ 2402701 and Capitol ST-12373 for the LP, Parlophone R6088 for the single), and release dates were set. 28 January 1985 for the single and George's birthday, 25 February 1985 for the LP.

On the inner sleeve was a message from Geoff Emerick:
"The advantages that have been made technically, over the years, have enabled me to enhance the original sound of these songs and to present them to you at their full potential, musically and artistically. Hope you enjoy it. GEOFF EMERICK"

The final line-up of the tracks on the LP was as follows:

Side 1
  1. “Come And Get It” Eventually released on Anthology 3.
  2. “Leave My Kitten Alone” Eventually released on Anthology 1.
  3. “Not Guilty” Eventually released on Anthology 3.
  4. “I’m Looking Through You” Eventually released on Anthology 2.
  5. “What’s The New Mary Jane?” Eventually released on Anthology 3.
Side 2
  1. “How Do You Do It” Eventually released on Anthology 1.
  2. “Besame Mucho” Eventually released on Anthology 1.
  3. “One After 909″ Eventually released on Anthology 1.
  4. “If You’ve Got Trouble” Eventually released on Anthology 2.
  5. “That Means A Lot” Eventually released on Anthology 2.
  6. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Eventually released on Anthology 3.
  7. “Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues” Eventually released on Anthology 3.
  8. “Christmas Time Is Here Again” Short edit. Eventually released in a longer edit on the “Free As A Bird” CD single.

And then The Ex-Beatles found out about the project.

Everything came to a dead halt; EMI tried to put the best face on things. An article published 26 May 1985 quoted EMI representatives as follows: "We're now discussing the matter with the remaining Beatles and representatives of John Lennon's estate with an aim to releasing an album sometime. The format that (EMI) suggested was not acceptable, but one obviously has to start somewhere. And then we move on from there. We move on to other formats now, other suggestions and discussions."

Which we now know eventually became the Anthology project.

However, a copy of the Sessions master reel was traded around collectors and pressed onto bootlegs by early 1986, eventually becoming probably the best seller of all Beatles bootlegs.

The most common cover for the "Sessions" bootleg.

All of the tracks above using the same edits and mixes, were featured on The Beatles "Anthology" sets in the mid-nineties with the exception of “Christmas Time Is Here Again” which is only a short edit lasting just over a minute on "Sessions". A longer edit of “Christmas Time Is Here Again” appeared as a b-side on the “Free As A Bird” CD single which was released in December 1995 in conjunction with the Anthology releases. The song was originally recorded by The Beatles in 1967 for use in their annual message on flexi-disc issued to fan club members over the Christmas holidays each year.

A complete slick set for the gatefold cover for the "Sessions" album was auctioned on ebay recently by Perry Cox, but the bidding stopped at US $2,910.00, which failed to meet the reserve. the size of each slick is approximately 30" x 18". This was the complete artwork including the front cover, the back cover, and the inner sleeve.

This was as far as production ever reached before the entire project was cancelled by EMI Records and no album was pressed for it.

There was also one 7" picture sleeve made in the U.S.A. to final production for "Leave my kitten alone" which was made, but also not issued.

The left side of the inside part of the fold out cover
Thanks to John C Winn for a lot of the text in this blog post, as well as leaning on research done by someone who posted in in the newsgroup. Thanks to Mark Jones for a scan of the final photo.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Beatles on SHM-CDs

These will be available on SHM-CDs in Japan December 17.
As another twist in the recent flurry of new Beatles related releases on the SHM-CD format, Universal Japan has just announced a December 17 release date for SHM-CDs of the entire BEATLES stereo catalogue, packaged as Mini-LPs. Often the Japanese SHM-CD releases are followed by SHM-SACD releases of the same albums, but nothing of the sort has been mentioned so far. The following titles will be released:

1. Please Please Me
2. With The Beatles
3. A Hard Day's Night
4. Beatles For Sale
5. Help!
6. Rubber Soul
7. Revolver
8. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
9. Magical Mystery Tour
10. The Beatles (2CD) (White Album)
11. Yellow Submarine
12. Abbey Road
13. Let It Be
14. Past Masters (2CD)
15. The Beatles 1962-1966 (2CD)
16. The Beatles 1967-1970 (2CD)

The audio will be the same as the regular 2009 stereo release, as will the booklets accompanying each album. However, this edition will mimic the original LP packaging. The SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) format features enhanced audio quality through the use of a special polycarbonate plastic. Using a process developed by JVC & Universal Music Japan discovered through the joint companies' research into LCD display manufacturing SHM-CDs feature improved transparency on the data side of the disc allowing for more accurate reading of CD data by the CD player laser head. SHM-CD format CDs are fully compatible with standard CD players.

Source: Universal Music Japan
See also recent news items about SHM-CD releases by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. In 2011, "The Beatles' first featuring Tony Sheridan" was released on a SHM-CD.

While we were sleeping on the job, some Ringo Starr SHM-CDs passed under our radar, too. "Live at the Greek Theatre 2008" and "Y Not" was released in 2010, "Ringo 2012" in 2012, appropriately enough, and on December 3, 2014, "Photograph:The Very best of Ringo Starr" will be out.
Planned for SHM-CDs in 2010 but eventually cancelled and left unreleased, were "Ringo the 4th", "Bad Boy", "Ringo's Rotogravure" and "Vertical Man".
Since 2011, a bunch of Paul McCartney's releases in Japan have also gotten the SHM-CD treatment. These include all the McCartney Archive releases, including the new ones, plus "Driving Rain", "Off The Ground", "Chaos And Creation in the Backyard", "Run Devil Run", "Kisses on the Bottom", "Amoeba's Secret" and all editions of "New".

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wings - Letting Go - extended remaster

Wings - Letting Go
Today, Paul McCartney has shared a version of "Letting Go" which is not part of the upcoming "Venus and Mars" package. It's an extended and remastered version of the classic Wings track, available to download for free from this page.

New vinyl editions appear

The new batch of Beatles vinyl albums are being readied for release.
As we noted in September, Universal Music/Apple are set to rerelease some of The Beatles' double vinyl albums for the Christmas market via their joint Calderstone company.
Amazon in Germany and France are early as always, and they are inviting preorders for "1", "Love", "1962-1966" (aka "The Red Album") and "1967-1970" (aka "The Blue Album") which all are due out in these countries 21 November.
Expect them to be released a few days later in the UK and USA.  The "1" album is likely to be based on the remastered edition of the CD, but since no official announcement has been made yet, we can't know for sure.

The Beatles: 1967-1970 (aka "The Blue Album")

We are hoping that this is not going to continue with the release of old albums like "Rock and Roll Music", "Love Songs", "Beatles Ballads", "Reel Music" etc.

CD bootleg of the "Love Songs" album

The Rolling Stones are releasing another volume in their new series of live concerts from their archives, "From The Vault" with "LA Forum" from the 1975 tour on 17 November on CD and DVD.
We'd be delighted if Universal Music/Apple could do something which was more along those lines, but then again, the Beatles never followed in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones. It was always the other way around.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The early Lennon & McCartney cover album

The Stars Sing Lennon & McCartney
Yesterday we blogged about the 1979 album, "The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away" and its Swedish predecessor "Northern Songs". Now, in the Wikipedia entry of the former, it is said that the album was first released in 1971, and updated in 1979 by including one more track from 1973. We told you we could find no information on the internet about this earlier incarnation of the album and doubted its existence. Then we received a commentary by Popper, who pointed us in the direction of the album which likely is the culprit of the story. "The Stars Sing Lennon & McCartney" was released in the UK and the Netherlands in 1970 on the MFP (Music for Pleasure) budget label. Although some of the songs fit the bill, this is really quite a different album, but still interesting. Here is the track list:

Side 1:

1. Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas: Bad To Me
2. Peter & Gordon: World Without Love
3. The Fourmost: Hello Little Girl
4. Bernard Cribbins: When I'm 64
5. Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas: I'll Be On My Way
6. David & Jonathan: She's Leaving Home

Side 2:

1: Cilla Black: Love Of The Loved
2: Peter & Gordon: Nobody I Know
3: Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas: I'll Keep You Satisfied
4: Kenny Lynch: Misery
5: Peter & Gordon: I Don't Want To See You Again
6: The Fourmost: I'm In Love

Most of the tracks ended up on the 1979 album, but there were a few that didn't fit the concept:
- Bernard Cribbins: When I'm 64, released in June 1967 on Parlophone R5603
- David & Jonathan: She's Leaving Home, released June 2, 1967 on Columbia DB 8208
- Kenny Lynch: Misery, released in March 1963 on His Master's Voice POP 1136

These were all simply cover versions, but as singles released at the same time as the Beatles original appeared on an album.

A simlarly titled album expanded on the theme in 1986.

Monday, 27 October 2014

McCartney's next archive releases

Advertising poster for "Tug of war", 1982.
According to someone who has received an advance copy of the "Venus and Mars" and "Speed of Sound" sets, the card in the package announcing the next releases are saying that these will be "Tug of War" and "Pipes of Peace".

Coming soon... Photo: @GermanBeat on Twitter
This is a deviation from the 2011 "insiders information" list, which we also posted in this blog back then. Apart from "Wings Over America" being released before schedule, this is the first major deviation.
It seems fitting to release "Tug of War" and "Pipes of Peace" simultaneously, since a lot of the tracks on "Pipes of Peace" were leftovers from the excellent "Tug of War" album recording sessions. Of course, there's no indication as to when these new releases will be scheduled.

Pipes of Peace promotional photo, 1983.

Still, those of us who wanted the full Wings ouvre to be next in line, with the promised "Wild Life", "Red Rose Speedway", "London Town" and "Back To The Egg", alongside a proposed Wings live CD and DVD from 1979 are disappointed.

Update: A spokesman for Concord Music has told Beatles Examiner that despite this card, the plans for the next archive release are still not definite.

The Heineken Cassette

A poster and some of the beer cans
In 1986 EMI Parlophone in the UK put together a promotion with Heineken, unusual for the fact that the Beatles have rarely lent their name to brands for advertising purposes.
Specially printed cans of Heineken beer were made, featuring a red triangular banner across the top that said "The Beatles - A Unique Cassette", in white, bold capitals. Around the bottom, the Beatles' first names, in capitals, in white on a red background, repeatedly circled the entire can. The cans came in two sizes : 275ml and 440ml of beer. The can was available only in Great Britain.
By sending in four special ring pulls from the cans and a crossed postal order or cheque for £2.99 (£2.49 + 50p P&H) made payable to "Heineken Beatles Offer", consumers received a special copy of a unique EMI compilation cassette titled "Only The Beatles..." (Parlophone/Stiletto SMMC 151). You could apply as many times as you liked. The offer ended on June 30th 1986 and production started on July 1st.
The cassette claimed to include two tracks that had not been previously made available in stereo, but only "Yes It Is" lived up to the hype as "This Boy" was in fact mock-stereo. Copies were sent out with a gift card, of which there were two versions - the green card came with Heineken's logo on the front whilst the red version had a picture of the Beatles on both the front and on the inside.

The cassette cover (front)


Side 1:
Love Me Do
Twist And Shout
She Loves You
This Boy
Eight Days A Week
All My Loving

Side 2:

Ticket To Ride
Yes It Is
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
And I Love Her
Strawberry Fields Forever

The inlay card (continued from front)

The compilation was ℗ &© 1986 for Stiletto Limited, 122 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UA, with project realisation by Paul Watts (Stiletto) and Norman Bates (EMI).

The back of the inlay card advertised The Beatles' catalogue of albums.
Not happy with the arrangement, Apple Corps Ltd sued over it on the 18th of July, 1986, EMI got cold feet and the promotion was halted quite swiftly, thus rendering the cassettes valuable.

In 2007, UK magazine "Record Collector" reported that it had been rumoured that a large cache of cassettes were found in the late nineties, so there are probably more of these cassettes in circulation than previously thought. Thus, a cassette can be bought for £5-10 GBP whereas the promotional beer cans are usually more expensive - unopened even more so! Full packages of the cassette, the promo poster, gift cards and beer cans are commanding higher prices than each item in itself.

4 cassettes in the original cellophane and a used beer can went for $68.22 USD on ebay in September 2014.
The cassettes were originally sealed in packs of 20 in this cellophane wrapper.

Finally, PoggMeister sent us some pictures of a cardboard sales presenter featuring a pop-up of the Beatles. Here they are:



First fold

The Beatles pop-up on the left side.

The Songs Lennon, McCartney and Harrison Gave Away

The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away LP from 1979 on EMI.
"The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away" was a conceptual compilation album containing the original artist recordings of songs composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the 1960s that they had elected not to release as Beatles songs. The original album was released in the UK on EMI's mid-price Music for Pleasure label in 1971. The album was reissued by EMI in 1979 with a 1973 Ringo Starr track added.

At least, that's what Wikipedia says. However, I have not come across that earlier, 1971 release of the album, and can only find references to the 1979 LP on the internet. (Update: We found that album)

Earlier in 1979, the Swedish chapter of EMI released an album which dealt with the same subject, called "Northern Songs" (Cat. no. EMI 7C 038-06829). The album contained: "Bad to me", "I'll keep you satisfied", "From a window" and "I'll be on my way", all by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, "It's for you", "Love of the loved" and "Step inside love", all by Cilla Black, "I don't want to see you again", "World without love", "Nobody I know" and "Woman", all by Peter & Gordon, "I'm in love" and "Hello little girl" by the Fourmost.

Northern Songs LP, EMI Sweden 1979

All the songs from the 14 track "Northern Songs" album were repeated on the 20 track "The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away" later that same year.

"The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away" LP was released in several countries, including the UK, Australia, the Netherlands and Japan. The album has never been reissued as a CD, so here's a project for you, Universal/iTunes!
Track list:

Side 1

1. Ringo Starr: I'm The Greatest
2. The Strangers With Mike Shannon: One & One Is Two
3. Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas: From A Window
4. Peter And Gordon: Nobody I Know
5. The Applejacks: Like Dreamers Do
6. Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas: I'll Keep You Satisfied
7. Cilla Black: Love Of The Loved
8. Peter And Gordon: Woman
9. Tommy Quickly: Tip Of My Tongue
10. The Fourmost: I'm In Love

Side 2

1. The Fourmost: Hello Little Girl
2. P.J. Proby: That Means A Lot
3. Cilla Black: It's For You
4. Carlos Mendes: Penina
5. Cilla Black: Step Inside Love
6. Peter & Gordon: World Without Love
7. Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas: Bad To Me
8. Peter And Gordon: I Don't Want To See You Again
9. Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas: I'll Be On My Way
10. The Chris Barber Band: Cat Call

It's not a complete collection, since a few of the songs these composers gave away to other artists are missing (see below).

Here now is a collection of samples from "The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away" compilation album and more, including some songs George Harrison gave away, plus the original versions played by the Beatles.
This is just to give an idea of how the songs written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison sound like, by the artists who recorded the songs.

If you want to listen the complete songs, you have to look for them yourself! Here are the titles and artists in order of appearance.

1. "I'm the Greatest" (John Lennon) · Ringo Starr · 1973
2. "One and One Is Two" · The Strangers with Mike Shannon · 1964
3. "Like Dreamers Do" · The Applejacks · 1964
4. "Tip of My Tongue" · Tommy Quickly · 1963
5. "Bad to Me" · Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas · 1963
6. "I'll Be on My Way" (McCartney--Lennon) · Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas · 1963
7. "From a Window" · Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas · 1964
8. "I'll Keep You Satisfied" · Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas · 1963
9. "I'm in Love" · The Fourmost · 1963
10. "I'm In Love" · Billy J Kramer · 1963
11. "Hello Little Girl" · The Fourmost · 1963
12. "Hello Little Girl" · Gerry and the Pacemakers
13. "That Means a Lot" · P.J. Proby · 1965
14. "It's for You" · Cilla Black · 1964
15. "Love of the Loved" · Cilla Black · 1963
16. "Step Inside Love" · Cilla Black · 1968
17. "Penina" · Carlos Mendes · 1969
18. "Penina" · Jotta Herre · 1969
19. "I Don't Want to See You Again" · Peter and Gordon · 1964
20. "Nobody I Know" · Peter and Gordon · 1964
21. "A World Without Love" · Peter and Gordon · 1964
22. "Woman" · Peter and Gordon (by Bernard Webb alias Paul McCartney) · 1966
23. "Catcall" · The Chris Barber Band · 1967
24. "Sour Milk Sea"(Harrison) · Jackie Lomax · 1968
25. "Goodbye" (McCartney) · Mary Hopkin · 1969
26. "Come And Get It" (McCartney) · Badfinger · 1969
27. "Badge" (Clapton/Harrison) · Cream · 1969
28. "My Dark Hour" · Steve Miller (Paul Ramon alias Paul McCartney:backing vocals, drums and bass guitar) · 1969
29. "Thingumybob" · Black Dyke Mills Band · 1968
30. "Thingumybob" · George Martin Orchestra · 1968

This collection is from songs the Beatles wrote for others but never recorded themselves with the purpose of releasing them for themselves. All of the Beatles' performances here were unpublished until they appeared on bootlegs and Anthology albums.

From an idea of the Facebook page "The Beatles FanClub Italia"
Video edited by Sam Mecis Caria (AKA Area Musicale) for the Sgt.Pepper's Channel (Weekly videos)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Paul is dead - from BBC Radio

New radio programme explores the myth.
In 1969, with The Beatles in financial and creative turmoil, a strange rumour swept the world. It began with a phone call to a US chat show - Paul McCartney had been killed in a road accident and replaced by the winner of a look-a-like competition, William Campbell an orphan from Edinburgh. And there were clues that could only be revealed by playing the Beatles records backwards.
It sounds unlikely, but millions of fans believed it.
In this radio programme, we speak with the man who took that phone call, the hoaxer who developed the myth, and an expert on folklore who sees uncanny parallels with ancient myths about changelings and the darker side of fairies.
What does this odd tale tell us about The Beatles' place in our cultural history?
The programme includes out takes, clips from interviews and rarer versions of Beatles songs.

Produced by Matt Thompson
A Rockethouse production for BBC Radio 4

The half hour programme is available from this link: BBC Radio 4

Wherever possible or appropriate, raw sounding demo or instrumental recordings from The Beatles Anthology albums were used. For ultra lush mixes, the remixed versions from The Beatles' Love album were used. Interludes and chit chat were from the Let it Be Naked - Fly on the Wall CD which contains out takes from the Let It Be film recordings.
Timings refer to the actual programme start.

0.00 Yesterday (alt acoustic version) (Disc 1, Track 7 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
1.08 Ballad Of Paul (Track 24 - Beatlemaniacs!!! The World of Beatles Novelty Records)
1.17 I Am The Walrus (no overdubs) (Disc 2, Track 14 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
1.37 Revolution 9 (Disc 2, Track 12 - The Beatles, The Beatles)
1.53 Ballad Of Paul (Track 24 - Beatlemaniacs!!! The World of Beatles Novelty Records)
3.17 I'm Looking Through You (Unissued version) (Disc 1, Track 15 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
4.07 Revolution 9 (Disc 2, Track 12 - The Beatles, The Beatles)
4.17 Revolution 9 (reversed by programme producer)
5.25 The Fool On The Hill (Demo) (Disc 2, Track 15 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
6.33 A Day In The Life (take1/2) (Disc 2, Track 5 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
8.16 Strawberry Fields Forever (Track 8 - Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles)
8.24 I'm Only Sleeping (Rehearsal) (Disc 1, Track 22 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
9.02 Fly On The Wall (In rehearsal) (Disc 2, Track 1 - Let It Be...Naked, The Beatles)
9.12 Revolution 9 (Disc 2, Track 12 - The Beatles, The Beatles)
10.57 Glass Onion (Remix) (Track 3 - Love, The Beatles)
11.12 Glass Onion (Disc 1, Track 3 - The Beatles, The Beatles)
12.07 Eleanor Rigby (Strings Only) (Disc 1, Track 21 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
13.34 Strawberry Fields Forever (Remix) (Track 13 - Love, The Beatles)
14.54 Strawberry Fields Forever (Remix) (Track 13 - Love, The Beatles)
16.47 I'm Looking Through You (Disc 1, Track 15 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
17.33 John, Paul, George & Ringo (Track 1 - Beatlemaniacs!!! The World of Beatles Novelty Records)
18.13 Within You, Without You [Instrumental] (Disc 2, Track 11 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
21.21 Your Mother Should Know (take 27) (Disc 2, Track 16 - Anthology 2, The Beatles)
23.18 Fly On The Wall (Paul on piano) (Disc 2, Track 1 - Let It Be...Naked, The Beatles)
23.54 Fly On The Wall (Anyone seen John) (Disc 2, Track 1 - Let It Be...Naked, The Beatles)
25.15 Octopus's Garden / Sun King (Remix) (Track 16 - Love, The Beatles).

Friday, 24 October 2014

Beatles magazine from 1963 returns

2014 Collector's Edition of the "Meet The Beatles" magazine.
Souvenir Press Ltd, the company who released the magazine "Meet The Beatles" in 1963 has announced that the company will reissue the magazine on 3 November 2014. Some report that the new edition has already hit the news stands in the U.K.
The company says that this will be a hardback collector's edition for a new generation of Beatles fans. Originally priced at 2 shillings and sixpence, the new edition will be priced £10 in the U.K., and $12,05 in U.S.A.

The original had a soft cover.
This is a faithful reissue of the original 38 page publication. And it is very much an introduction to the band, featuring a photographic day in the life as well as rarely seen images taken of their first London appearance and a performance on the TV programme Thank Your Lucky Stars.
The introduction to the book comes from Tony Barrow, the man who coined the phrase "the Fab Four". Most of the photos were taken by Dezo Hoffmann, the rest were from Peter Kaye, Graham Spencer, Stan McLeod, Cyrus Andrews and ABC Television.
The original edition was the first official book the band released, after Ernest Hecht, founder and publisher at Souvenir, saw them play live in Finsbury Park, London, and bought the rights from the band’s manager Brian Epstein.

The idea to reissue the title came from watching the 50th anniversary media reports about the band, as well as the publicity Mark Lewisohn's biography of the band has been getting.

The original edition is Souvenir’s biggest selling title of all time, selling more than one million copies. The rights were also licensed to publishing houses in other countries, who offered translated versions of the book to their customers.

Danish edition

Hecht says: “We want to make sure every Beatles fanatic we know of knows that this book is coming out.”

Hecht wanted to keep the book exactly the same as it was, in order for it to act as a piece of memorabilia, and declined Tony Barrow's offer to write an updated introduction. To us, it's amazing that these people are still with us.

  • Personal Portraits
  • Beatle Background
  • Beatling Beside The Seaside
  • Back Home With The Beatles
  • Chart-toppers At Their Moment Of Truth
  • Stars Of Stage, Home-Screen & Radio
  • A London Day In The Life Of The Beatles
  • From Us To You - A Personal Introduction To "Meet The Beatles" By George, John, Paul And Ringo.
The Scandinavian editions of the magazine had a follow up, Meet The Beatles number two, I don't know if this was the case elsewhere as well?

"Meet The Beatles no. 2"  from Norway.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

"White album" no. 01 for sale

White album no. 01
But it's not No. 00000000001, it's actually No. 01!
It's a 1st pressing of The Beatles (White Album) UK 1968 mono album, complete with poster and photos, and the sleeve is marked No. 01, a rare number variant.
When purchased by the current owner, the previous owner said that this album had been given to him by an Apple executive who had worked for The Beatles.
This apparently mis-pressed sleeve was subsequently gifted to him by one of the group.
It is believed that The Beatles did not like the first sleeve enumeration system as they wanted more digits to allow all covers to be numbered and not just a batch with double figures up to 10, which Apple had delivered to their offices in Saville Row for the group.
Subsequently it is believed that the printers added more 000s to accommodate the Beatles request and sent another batch to Apple, leaving the first run as very rare anomalies.

The item is coming up at an auction is held by Special Auction Services (SAS) in Newbury, Berkshire on October 30. They have a price estimate at £4000 - £5000 (British pounds), and we think it will easily get that. The auction also features many other Beatles records, as well as leather jacket once owned by John Lennon.

Link to Auction: Special Auction Services

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Half a Harrisong

Olivia and George Harrison
Olivia Harrison was a guest on a BBC radio show on Monday, during which she let us hear about one minute of a demo with a previously unknown song by George, a cover of "Fear Of Flying". The show is available for online listening for a few weeks from this link: BBC Radio 

The show is around an hour long, and features these songs:

George Harrison – My Sweet Lord
George Harrison – Ski-ing
The Goons – I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas
Josh White – One Meatball
Badfinger – Day After Day
George Harrison – Under The Mersey Wall (excerpt)
Billy Preston – All Things Must Pass
Hoagy Carmichael – Stardust
George Harrison – Fear Of Flying (acoustic demo, excerpt)
George Harrison – Maya Love
George Harrison – This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying)

The mystery man again

The "Mystery man" on the Abbey Road cover

Who is that person beside the police van?
This is an update about a mystery that we have previously covered. The update was made because we got hold of some Abbey Road photos that were in a higher resolution than earlier, which enabled us to take a closer look at the person in question.

In February 2008, news was that Florida resident Paul Cole, by the media identified as the man beside the police van on the famous Abbey Road cover photo of The Beatles, had died, aged 93. But was he really that man? We don't think so, and here's why.

Mystery man close up from the record cover.

According to a couple of interviews he gave in 2004, Paul Cole was on the pavement while he was waiting for his wife, who was visiting a museum in Abbey Road. He was starting a conversation with the driver of the police van, and a bit later he realized that the police was there for a special occasion. When he looked over at the Beatles, he only recognized them as "A bunch of kooks, I called them, because they were rather radical-looking at that time. You didn't walk around in London barefoot".

Paul Cole's story
I think Paul Cole was telling tales, his story seems to indicate that he has only seen the one photo that most people have seen, the actual Abbey Road cover. There's no museum in that part of Abbey Road. The police van was a late arrival to the photo session, as evidenced by the previous photos, so Paul Cole can't have had such a conversation with the driver prior to the Beatles arriving at the scene. And the "mystery man" can be seen in several photos. Paul Cole was just someone who knew three things about the cover:

1. There's a police van there.
2. Next to the police van there's a man standing.
3. One of the Beatles was not wearing shoes and socks.

So, he invented a story, putting himself in the picture. Well at least he got a laugh when news media all over the world reported about it. It's even in the Wikipedia entry of the album. There were six different photos taken of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road:

Abbey Road photos
You can look closer at all these photos in our "The Road Goes On Forever" piece.

Close-up made from photo #2.
Here's a close-up from photo #2 of the "mystery man".

Abbey Road man
Rockband commercial
This is a reenactment from the recent The Beatles RockBand commercial, the scene seen from the "mystery man's" point of view.

Clearly looking straight at The Beatles before the police van had turned up, here's a close-up of the "mystery man" as early as photo 1, when Paul McCartney still had his sandals on:

Photo #1
Earlier references to the "Mystery man"

Over the years there are several people who have claimed to be the man on the Abbey Road cover. I have heard stories about people claiming to be or to know "the man on the cover" for as long as I have been a Beatles fan. One of them supposedly was a gay man who died in the seventies. Here's another, earlier claim:

Jo Poole: "At 21, I was a dedicated Beatles fan, and bought the 'Abbey Road' album the moment it was released. As soon as I saw the cover, I shouted, 'That's my brother, Tony.' He was 33, and was very distinctive at six feet four inches tall. Tony Staples was his name and he lived in Scott Ellis Gardens, near Abbey Road, and regularly saw the occasional Beatle, though catching a glimpse of all four Beatles together was rare, even in Abbey Road. He was on his way to work as an administrative secretary for the National Farmers Union on the Friday morning when that photo was taken. I used to travel regularly from my home in Gloucestershire to visit Tony in St. John's Wood, and I remember him pointing out Paul McCartney's house."

Of course, since Paul Cole was the first of the "mystery man" candidates who managed to get in the news during the internet age (2004), and because he was referred to as "the man on the Abbey Road cover" in an obituary that was widespread all over the internet (2008), AND because the job of research has been abandoned along with the proof reading job by the media at large, it has become almost impossible to google and find all those other, previous claims (from the pre-internet seventies) about the identity of the man. In 2004 and 2008, a news item such as this could "go viral". In the seventies, it would have been published in a small, amateur Beatles fanzine and read by the die-hard subscribers only.

This post is part of the all-encompassing article about the Abbey Road photo cover session, which you can find here.

George Harrison also set for SHM-CDs

Does the SHM-CD format bring some extra texture to the music?
One of our readers has alerted us to the fact that on October 28, George Harrison's individual titles which were in the Apple Years box are all being released in Japan as SHM (Super High Material) CDs. This comes hot-on-the-heels of other news reports about SHM-CDs from John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Since the SHM-CDs conform to the CD redbook standard, we are in doubt whether the use of a different coating material will do anything for the quality of the music.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

George's house sold

George Harrison's childhood home as it is now.
George Harrison's former Liverpool home, 25 Upton Green in Speke, was sold for £156,000 at an auction yesterday - to a Beatles fan who tried to buy John Lennon’s home last year. This was reported by Liverpool Echo, who reported live from the auction through their website. The modest three bedroom mid-terrace is where George, Paul McCartney and John Lennon held some of their first rehearsals before achieving worldwide success as the Beatles. George lived here from the age of six, when his parents Harold and Louise moved into the council house in 1949.
The family remained there until the early 1960s and it was during George’s final years at the house that he met Paul and John.
The property went under the hammer at the Cavern Club yesterday evening.
Beatles fan Jackie Holmes was the lucky bidder, and she travelled from north London to be there. She told the ECHO: “I’m absolutely thrilled. This was the house where the Beatles rehearsed and now I own it. I missed out on John Lennon’s house last year, so this is just a dream come true.
This has got more historical importance, this is the rehearsal house, this is the house that George was a Beatle in and I’m just absolutely made up to have this property.
I wanted to pay around the £150,000 figure, at that price it’s double what a house in that area is, I’ve paid an awful lot for an ex-council house but I’m very happy.”
Ms Holmes was up against a bidder on the phone from American and another reserve bidder in Liechtenstein.
The 47-year-old added: “Now I own a property in Liverpool and I love this city, I may well be moving.
I can’t tell you how happy I am right at this moment, I’ve been a real fan now for about 30 odd years, I’ve collected Beatles memorabilia. I’ve seen George Harrison live at the Albert Hall. Basically I’ve seen all the Beatles live accept for John sadly, so to own an ex-house of theirs with an historical connection is just fantastic.”
Ms Holmes said she also intends to put one of the rooms back to the way it was in the 1960s.
The successful sale comes after John Lennon’s former childhood home at 9 Newcastle Road sold at auction for nearly half a million pounds in October 2013.