Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Abbey Road pics got £180,000

One of the Abbey Road photos, #4.  Photo: Iain Macmillan. Copyright: Apple Corps Ltd.
The not particularly rare photographs of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, shot for the cover of the album of the same name have sold for a staggering £180,000. Experts, texperts predicted the photos would make £70,000 when they went under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auctions.

According to Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions, the set was originally sold individually, but were collected and put together as a set by a private collector, the current seller.

Funny that, he could have just visited Snap Galleries in 2011 and bought a full set.

Source: Daily Mail

From the exhibition "Beatles and bystanders", here's a rundown of various people in the background of the six Abbey Road photos for the front cover, as described by Snap Galleries owner Guy White in an article in Sabotage Times. (We have substituted the name Paul Cole with the words "Mystery man"):

The session photographs in more detail:

Frame 5. The cover shot, has been discussed and analysed in depth over the years, even to advance theories of the death of Paul McCartney. But what of the five other front cover session photographs taken that day: the three right to left and two left to right passes that weren’t used? They have been reproduced sparingly in publications over the years, but the opportunity to view them together on a wall in a gallery setting has allowed us to go much deeper.

Frame 1. "Mystery man" is there, on the right, but so are two other people further back on the same side of the road. One is looking at the camera, the other is bending down, looking for something in a bag. On the left pavement, a man sits on the wall, his legs dangling, while closer to camera, two women and a young girl appear behind the Volkswagen Beetle.

Frame 2. There’s "Mystery man" again, but this time he is all alone on the right pavement. The two people on the right in frame 1 have gone. Meanwhile our friend sitting on the wall on the left has been joined by a man in a white shirt and a woman with a parasol.

Frame 3. "Mystery man" is there, but now he has moved further away from his position in frame 2. He shares the pavement this time with a lady in a red sweater, looking directly at the camera. Here’s where it gets interesting. You have to look very, very carefully on the left pavement to spot her, but there in the closest gateway, just behind the Beetle, is a young woman in a purple top. This is her first appearance, but she is present in three of the six frames – just one fewer appearance than "Mystery man".  Immediately behind the Beetle, a black delivery van has pulled in. It has gone before frame 4. Look carefully and you can see the left arm of the driver, standing behind the van.

Frame 4. There’s no sign of "Mystery man", but there is another man in a white shirt, striding with some purpose, walking towards the camera. Over on the left we get a clearer sight of the mysterious girl in the purple top, on the move this time, and two of the three decorators who appear on the actual cover, appear in this frame.

Frame 5. The actual cover. The one everyone knows. "Mystery man" is there on the right, of course. On the left pavement, further back, stand three decorators, subsequently identified as Alan Flanagan, Steve Millwood and Derek Seagrove. They were all captured for posterity on the cover photograph. Close viewing shows another man, as yet unidentified, standing behind a car, close to the group of three. There is no sign of the mysterious girl in the purple top.

Frame 6. "Mystery man" has had enough – he’s gone. The three decorators remain on the left, joined by a fourth person. The girl in the purple top is there on the left, clearly visible, back in the gateway she first occupied in frame 3. Other people appear, but are not engaged with the scene: a man dressed in black walks away from camera on the left pavement. On the right, by the police van, two people are looking away, while in the distance, on the left, passengers spill out of a number 159 bus. Who were these other people? Maybe we’ll never know, or maybe this can be the start of their 15 minutes. Anyone out there recognise their mum, or their aunty Beryl?

Guy White's descriptions of the bystanders in each of the Macmillan shots have been added to our main blog post about the Abbey Road photo session, "The road goes on forever".

Friday, 21 November 2014

Yoko bought Lennon's former home?

Newcastle Road number 9

An article in Breitbart.com speculates that Yoko Ono may have been the anonymous bidder who last year bought 9 Newcastle Road in Liverpool, John Lennon's address from birth to age five. After that, he was taken away from his mother Julia and given to his aunt Mimi and uncle George, to be raised at 251 Menlove Avenue, also known as "Mendips". According to Breitbart.com, the identity of the buyer has been "common knowledge" around Liverpool since the auction. Another tell tale sign is that the same team that Yoko Ono hired to refurbish Mendips, is working on 9 Newcastle Road.

One thing that may have mattered in Yoko's decision to purchase the house, is that it fits into one of the Lennons' theories: That the number 9 has great significance in Lennon's life. Apart from the things he created himself, like #9 Dream, Revolution #9 and Yoko deciding to give birth to Sean on John's birthday, the number 9 has popped up by coincidence several times. John's first address was 9 Newcastle Road, so it fits. Even in death, number 9 haunted Lennon, as it may well have been just before midnight on December 8 in New York when he was killed, but it was already many hours into December 9th in Liverpool at the time.

After having bought and refurbished Mendips, Yoko gave the building to the National Trust, who have turned it into a tourist attraction with regular daily visits: see this link.

Perhaps we'll get another Liverpool Lennon attraction once the house has been refurbished? Next year John would have turned 75, had he lived, so we know something is planned to mark that.

Source: Breitbart.com

McCartney in new app for android smartphones

Still from the app. © Copyright Jaunt.Inc.
Paul McCartney's performance of "Live and Let Die" from the concert at Candlestick Park is a featured preview in a new app.
Here's the blurb: "Experience musical legend and visionary Sir Paul McCartney performing "Live and Let Die" in 360 degrees, with stereo 3D and immersive audio in Jaunt's first publicly released cinematic VR experience. Requires a recent 5" or 6" phone and a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer."

We tried to get it to work with our Samsung Galaxy tab, but no luck. Soon to be available for Rift on Macs and Windows PCs, though.

McCartney's Facebook publicity said: "Paul has partnered with Jaunt to allow fans to watch 'Live and Let Die' in an immersive 360-degree virtual environment at his recent Candlestick Park concert. The app puts you right in the crowd, onstage, backstage, or even right by Paul’s side in the midst of the song's climactic pyro!"

Nice to see a Beatle featured in an app that isn't solely for IOS, though.

Links:
Google Play
Developer's site

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

New Italian Beatles boxed set

A new boxed set of the official albums.
Looks like the Italians will be able to collect their official Beatles CDs and DVDs in a box. But they have to buy the contents one by one, and Abbey Road is the first one out 25 November, along with the box itself. After that, it's one release a week until the set is complete. Single CDs are priced at €9,90, double CDs and DVDs at €12,90. You can buy these from news agents in Italy, or order online. This is an official Apple product, in cooperation with Italian newspapers.
The collection is released in this order:
  1. Abbey Road
  2. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  3. Let It Be
  4. The Beatles (White album) 2CD
  5. Help!
  6. Yellow Submarine
  7. Rubber Soul
  8. Revolver
  9. Please Please Me
  10. A Hard Day's Night
  11. Past Masters 2CD
  12. Magical Mystery Tour
  13. Beatles For Sale
  14. With The Beatles
  15. Live at the BBC Vol 1 2CD
  16. On Air: Live at the BBC Vol 2 2CD
  17. Love 2CD
  18. Anthology 1 DVD
  19. Anthology 2 DVD
  20. Anthology 3 DVD
  21. Anthology 4 DVD
  22. Anthology 5 DVD
They seem to have missed the mark slightly, though. "Let It Be...Naked" is not included, so you have to have something outside the box.
Similar boxed sets of the Who and Bob Marley have been released in the same fashion in Italy previously.
Source: Gazzetta Store
A presentation: Gazzetta Store promo

Wings singles released elsewhere

"Let'Em In" and "Letting Go" singles - based on the German picture sleeves, but stripped for logos.
Looks like the "Best Buy" offer wasn't as exclusive as we thought, the latest newsletter from Universal Music of Norway also lists these singles as available over the counter in my country. Another vinyl release which will be available here, is the Record Store Day "Black Friday" release of the "Long Tall Sally" EP. The company also says that music download cards will accompany the newly re-released "Love", "1", "1962-1966" and "1967-1970" albums.
Meanwhile, a Canadian reader who made the trip across the border to get the Best Buy "Venus and Mars" and "Speed of Sound" Archive releases with the coupon to purchase the new Wings singles, has written to me and informed that to his dismay, the offer was only valid for customers with an address in the United States. Also, people in the U.S. has written in and complained that the website to order the singles from has been down.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Beatles on Top Of The Pops

The Beatles on Top Of The Pops

1966 rehearsal.
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, was a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening on BBC1, except for a short period on Fridays in late 1974, before being again moved to Fridays in 1996, and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005. Each weekly programme consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart. Additionally, there was a special edition of the programme on Christmas Day (and usually, until 1984, a second such edition a few days after Christmas), featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year.

Although the weekly show was cancelled, the Christmas special has continued. It also survives as Top Of The Pops 2, which began in 1994 and features vintage performances from the Top Of The Pops archives.

Top Of The Pops began on New Year's Day 1964 in Studio A on Dickenson Road in Rusholme, Manchester, which the BBC had bought from Mancunian Films in 1954. The studio was a converted church. With a limited budget, the studio had no facilities for artists to perform live and all the early shows were mimed. DJs Jimmy Savile and Alan Freeman presented the first show, which featured (in order) the Rolling Stones with "I Wanna Be Your Man", Dusty Springfield with "I Only Want to Be with You", the Dave Clark Five with "Glad All Over", the Hollies with "Stay", the Swinging Blue Jeans with "Hippy Hippy Shake" and the Beatles with "I Want to Hold Your Hand", that week's number one - throughout its history, the programme proper always finished with the best-selling single of the week, although there often was a separate play-out track.

This is according to the BBC page about the Top of the pops episodes from the sixties. However, I can't find anything about a Beatles appearance on the first show, on New Year's Day the Beatles were still doing their `Beatles Christmas Show' at the Astoria in Finsbury Park, London. They may well have recorded a mimed performance of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" for TOTP, but I haven't been able to find out anything about it, and the episode has been wiped anyway. Presenting the show from Manchester created problems as many of the bigger acts did not want to travel there, and later Top of the Pops moved to the Lime Grove Studios in west London. Any Beatles appearance on TOTP was pre-recorded for transmission, they never took the trip to Manchester to perform live on the show. Usually this was a mimed performance recorded in another studio.

According to reliable sources the Beatles debut appearance on TOTP was Thursday 19 March 1964. Here's what happened:

Can't Buy Me Love

Between 7pm and 8.30pm The Beatles were at the BBC's Television Theatre (since renamed the Shepherd's Bush Empire) in west London, to film their debut appearance on Top Of The Pops.
The Beatles were allowed to pre-record, without an audience, two songs in London. They mimed to both songs from their new single, "Can't Buy Me Love" and "You Can't Do That".

The appearance was shown on Wednesday 25 March between 6.35pm and 7pm, with "Can't Buy Me Love" repeated on the 8 April edition. At the time Top Of The Pops was Britain's most popular music show on TV.

A Hard Day's Night

Tuesday 7 July 1964
From 2-5pm The Beatles recorded an appearance for the BBC television show Top Of The Pops, at Lime Grove Studios in London.
The day's recording involved three parts: a two-hour rehearsal for the cameras; from 4-4.15pm a line-up for the assembled acts appearing; and recording from 4.15-5pm. The Beatles mimed to three songs: "A Hard Day's Night", "Things We Said Today" and "Long Tall Sally".
The performances of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Long Tall Sally" were first broadcast on BBC1 from 7.35pm on 8 July 1964. "Things We Said Today" was shown on 29 July from 7.10pm.

Ticket To Ride

Saturday 10 April 1965
The Beatles filmed an appearance for the BBC television show Top Of The Pops on this day at Riverside Studios in London. They performed two songs: "Ticket To Ride" and "Yes It Is".
Rehearsals and filming began at 1.30pm. The Beatles wore the fawn-coloured jackets they would later wear for their Shea Stadium concert on 15 August 1965.
The edition of Top Of The Pops, the BBC's flagship music programme, was shown on Thursday 15 April from 7.30-8pm. It was later wiped by the BBC, in common with their archiving rules at the time.
However, a snippet of the performance was included in an episode of Doctor Who entitled The Executioners, part of a mini series known as The Chase. The episode was first screened on 22 May; although the episode of Top Of The Pops did not survive, the episode of Doctor Who did, and as a result part of The Beatles' performance from this day was preserved.


The episode was originally to have included The Beatles appearing as themselves in the future, wearing make-up to look older. However, Brian Epstein objected and the producers used the Top Of The Pops performance instead.

Apart from showing mimed performances specially filmed for TOTP, the show also showcased some of the promo films the Beatles had made, and in 1965, film clips from "Help!" was also featured on the show. on 2 December, Top Of The Pops premiered the new promo films for "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out" and the Christmas Day edition had promo clips of the group performing "I Feel Fine", "Help!", "Ticket to Ride" and "Day Tripper". These clips are usually called the Intertel promos.

Paperback Writer

Thursday 16 June 1966


Although by June 1966, Top Of The Pops had been running for over two years, The Beatles had never previously appeared live on the show. They had pre-recorded exclusive performances in BBC studios, or sent promotional clips to be played on the show. Now the show had already moved from Manchester to London, and The Beatles finally agreed to appear live to promote their latest single.  The Beatles had agreed two days previously, when manager Brian Epstein passed on a request from Top Of The Pops producer Johnnie Stewart.
Both "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" had previously been featured on Top of the Pops, courtesy of their promotional films. Both clips were shown on 2 June, and "Paperback Writer" was reprised on 9 June.
The group arrived at BBC Television Centre at 2.30pm for a rehearsal for the camera, and to pose for publicity photographs and conduct press interviews. More rehearsals followed between 4.15pm and 5.30, and from 6.30pm to 7pm.
The live broadcast took place between 7.30pm and 8pm on BBC One. The Beatles were the final act to appear, and did both "Paperback Writer" and its b-side, "Rain". They were introduced by host Pete Murray. Some sources say that the Beatles played the songs live this time, others that they mimed. Given that they never did perform "Rain" live on stage, that one is most likely to have been mimed, what with it's backwards vocals etc.
The Beatles' performance has since been wiped by the BBC, and the footage no longer exists in their archives. However, in 2010 a clip of The Hollies performing "Bus Stop" from the same season of Top of the Pops, in front of the same stage decoration as the Beatles, was posted on YouTube by a retired film editor based in the USA. Sadly, he only had that particular clip, but the appearance of the clip has rekindled hope that someone may be in the possession of the Beatles footage.

In the wake of the green singles series, the Beatles were riding high in the charts again. However when TOTP was to feature "Paperback Writer" again, they had to just play the record and the visuals were of dancers.


1967

The promo clips for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were shown on TOTP 16 February. As the Musicians' Union was very busy banning miming on television this year, these two clips were filmed without the Beatles mouthing the words of the lyrics. However, when recording the promotional films for "Hello Goodbye" later in the year, they were back to miming, and when the song was to be featured on TOTP on 23 November, footage from "A Hard Day's Night" accompanied the record, much to the annoyance of the Beatles.

1968

The solution? Film the Beatles recording one song, and use it to promote another. While recording "Hey Bulldog", The Beatles were filmed and the footage was used to assemble a promotional clip for the current single release, "Lady Madonna". The film was shown on Top Of The Pops the day before Lady Madonna was released, 14 March.

The only contemporary UK screening of the "Revolution" promo clip was on the BBC's Top Of The Pops on Thursday 19 September.

Here's a full episode of Top of the Pops from 15 February 1968. The Beatles are not included, but featured are Manfred Mann - "Mighty Quinn", The Foundations - "Back On My Feet Again", Status Quo - "Pictures Of Matchstick Men", Alan Price Set - "Don't Stop The Carnival", Brenton Wood - "Gimme Little Sign", The Move - "Fire Brigade", Hermans Hermits - "I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving", Amen Corner - "Bend Me Shape Me", and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich - "Legend Of Xanadu". The show is presented by Jimmy Savile & Dave Cash.

1969: Get Back

From the "Get Back" project which was eventually going to become the "Let It Be" film and album in 1970, footage was used to become promotional clips for certain songs. On 17 April, such a film was aired on TOTP for the song "Get Back", then the current single. The Beatles performed the song from the roof of their Apple HQ in 3 Savile Row. The clip was reprised several times during the year, and on Christmas Day, it was shown in colour for the first time.

1970: Let It Be

On February 11, John Lennon was the first solo Beatle to appear on Top of the Pops, filmed exclusively for the show, but later also used as promotional films for the song in question, "Instant Karma!". Two versions were filmed, and the line-up of Plastic Ono Band consisted of John on vocals and electric piano, Klaus Voormann on bass, Alan White on drums, Mal Evans on tambourine, and Yoko either holding cards or knitting while blindfolded. In fact John's vocal was the only thing performed live, as the entire backing track was the one from the actual single, which had been specially mixed at Abbey Road the day before for the occasion. One of the films was shown the following day, clip number two appeared a week later, 19 February.
On 5 March, Top of the Pops showed a promotional clip of the Beatles performing "Let It Be" from January 1969. The clip was repeated on 19 March.

Since then, the Beatles and solo Beatles have appeared many times on Top of the Pops, but the Beatles only courtesy of old or new promotional clips, or music videos, as they were later to be called. The same goes for the solo Beatles, but Paul did appear live on the show a few times.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Beatles in Copenhagen

Knud Ørsted: Beatles i København 4.6.64
Beatles i København - 4.6.64
By Knud Ørsted
Pages: 104
Hard cover
Graphic design: Michael Jensen
Released: 07.11.14
ISBN: 9788792894793

A new book was published this weekend, in Danish

It is 104 pages, packed with hitherto unpublished photos from the day the Beatles came to play two concerts in Copenhagen on the 4th of June, 1964. As you'll know, this was a Ringo-less version of the Beatles, Jimmy Nicol subbing for the hospitalised drummer. Knud Ørsted, who was 23 at the time, managed to get to document the day through being there and taking photos all from the build-up, the Beatles' arrival, teenage expectations, both concerts and the next day departure of the band.

The text is in Danish, Ørsted talks about how he managed to monitor the Beatles so closely. The book also includes clips from the Danish newpapers from the event.
The book can be ordered from the publishing house, Strandberg Publishing.

Link: www.strandbergpublishing.dk

Friday, 7 November 2014

Another free McCartney download

Wings "Rock Show" (New Version) in mp3 format now available.
In November 1974 Paul McCartney and Wings were in the process of recording the album that came to be known as Venus and Mars. As with all recording sessions there are songs and different versions of tracks that don't make the final release.

Today, in association with Geoff Lloyd at UK's Absolute Radio, we bring you another exclusive download only available through PaulMcCartney.com. This exclusive track is a previously unreleased and unheard version of the song 'Rock Show'.

Link to download: PaulMcCartney.com/downloads

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The two "Get Back" photo sessions

Early May 1969: First attempt. Photo: Angus McBean.

In early May 1969, photographer Angus McBean and the Beatles returned to EMI House to recreate the cover photo from the "Please Please Me" LP for their upcoming LP, "Get Back".  However Angus found that EMI had constructed a new porch which prevented him from photographing the Beatles from the exact same perspective as he had done in 1963. Pictures from this day feature John and George wearing different jackets.

13 May 1969: Second attempt. Photo: Angus McBean.

When EMI House heard that the exact photo angle could not be replicated, they agreed to have the new porch taken down temporarily. The Beatles and Angus then returned on May 13 1969 at 6pm for another attempt. Pictures from this day feature John and George wearing pin stripe suits (their 1966 tour suits).

A bootleg LP featuring one of the three versions of the "Get Back" LP.
The recreation of the "Please Please Me" cover shoot was probably not an attempt to bookend the Beatles' recording career, it was merely an idea sparked by the original intention of the "Get Back" LP project of the Beatles going back to their roots, again recording an album without studio trickery like overdubs. In an interview with Terence Pepper for a book about Angus McBean, Paul McCartney says that the idea for the "Please Please Me" cover recreation came up at a Beatles group meeting, and that they all thought it was a fun and "full circle" idea.

Photographer Angus McBean himself has also recalled the occasion: "(In 1963) I asked John Lennon how long they would stay as a group, and he said, "Oh, about six years, I suppose – who ever heard of a bald Beatle?". Well, it was just six years later that I was asked to repeat the shot with the Beatles as they now looked – very hairy indeed. When I got there I couldn’t retake the shot; a new porch had been built and I couldn’t get into the same position. However, EMI asked if I could come back in a week. Meanwhile, the whole new porch was pulled down and we tried again. Ringo Starr was so late that the staff of EMI was streaming down the stairs. I got the camera fixed up and John, fascinated by photography, came and lay down beside me to look at my view-finder. I can still hear the screams of the EMI girls as the realized who they were stepping over to get out the door!"

When the "Get Back" project was reshaped into the "Let It Be" album, the cover idea also went out the window, and no one has really explained why. Indeed, John Lennon himself wondered what happened to that idea, but no one has stepped up to give an explanation. Our best guess is that with Paul McCartney sporting a beard in the whole of the "Let It Be" film and John being clean shaven, the "Get Back" photo would seem out of place, adorning the accompanying album.

Still, it finally became a bookend of sorts with the release of the red and blue albums in 1973.

Beatles red and blue is AAA

The Beatles 1962-1966 aka "the Red album".
Analog Planet has had a word with Abbey Road mastering engineer Sean Magee, who told them that the two upcoming Beatles compilations, the "Red" (1962-1966) and "Blue" (1967-1970) albums were cut from the original analogue tapes used to produced the original LP sets—with a few exceptions. The tapes originally used to produce the two double LP sets back in 1973 were again used, but with a couple of changes: mono versions using EQ from the mono box set replaced the few faux stereo tracks originally used.

Apart from those, whatever differences there were between those versions and the ones on the original albums remain. Analog Planet quotes Magee, who said:
"The cutting notes made by Harry Moss were followed to the letter except for overall levels, which were a touch quieter, but cleaner. All analogue too"
So, as far as hype goes, AAA is the new DDD these days.*

We presume that it's the original British masters that were used, as you know there were a few differences between the US and the British original releases of these.

"Help!" on the American edition includes the same pseudo-James Bond intro as the mix found on the American Help! soundtrack LP, while the same song on the British edition does not. Also, the British LP uses the stereo "whispering intro" mix of "I Feel Fine", while the US LP uses the mono mix from Beatles '65, which is drenched in additional reverb. Here's a comparison:

US vs UK 1973 Red Album

Song
USA
UK
From Me To You stereo mix, reversed channels correct channels
She Loves You 1964 US fake stereo 1966 UK fake stereo
I Want To Hold Your Hand  1964 US fake stereo 1966 stereo mix 
A Hard Day's Night 1964 mono mix  1964 stereo mix 
I Feel Fine 1964 US mono mix  1964 stereo mix 
Ticket To Ride 1965 mono mix  1965 stereo mix
Help!  1965 stereo mix, "James Bond" intro   Same mix, no intro
We Can Work It Out  1965 stereo mix  1966 stereo mix
Paperback Writer  1966 stereo mix, reversed channels    Correct channels

Note: Day Tripper uses 1965 stereo mix on both US & UK.
Love Me Do is 1963 fake stereo on both.

US vs UK 1973 Blue Album

Song
USA
UK
 Strawberry Fields Forever  1966 stereo mix  1971 stereo mix
 Penny Lane  1967 mono mix  1971 stereo mix
 I Am The Walrus  1967 US stereo mix  1967 UK stereo mix  
 Hello Goodbye  1967 mono mix  1967 stereo mix

For a full comparison of mixes used on the original US release, the original UK release and the 2010 new CD masters, we refer you to the table in this Wikipedia entry.

The Beatles 1967-1970 (aka "the Blue album")

By the way, did you notice that before the photo session that ended up on the front of the blue album cover, George and John must have made a mutual agreement to show up in their 1966 tour tan striped stage suits? Paul and Ringo have also been coordinating their clothes, but where are those threads from? The 1966 "dark" stage suits were actually green, but these look positively blueish.

* The three letter so called SPARS code AAA and DDD was implemented in 1984 and refers to Recording, Mixing and Mastering of a track or an album. The code denotes which parts of the recording process were completed using analogue equipment and which were completed using digital equipment. The first two positions, representing recording and mixing respectively, may be either an "A" for analogue or a "D" for digital; the third position, representing mastering, is always D on digital CDs, but can be A on LP records.

In 1979, the first digitally recorded album of popular music now with vocals, "Bop 'Til You Drop" by guitarist Ry Cooder, was released by Warner Bros. Records. Dire Straits' 1985 album "Brothers in Arms" was one of the first albums to be directed at the CD market, and was a full digital recording (DDD) at a time when most popular music was recorded on analogue equipment.

Of course, from the beginning, all recordings were analogue all the way in the process towards the finished record. When Compact Discs were launched, all the old Beatles albums kept their first A, since they were all recorded in the analogue era. When The Beatles' first four CDs were released in 1987, they displayed the code ADD on the cover, which was actually a mistake. They used the old analogue mixes, only the mastering was done digitally, so it should have been AAD. The mistake was corrected by putting a sticker on the CD plastic case, noting "ADD should read AAD". As we know, George Martin went in and remixed "Help!" and "Rubber Soul", and he was mixing them digitally. So these two CDs are correctly labeled ADD. For the remainder of the catalogue, the old mixes were deemed good enough back in 1987, so they are all AAD. Vinyl records from this era were also pressed from digital masters, so they will also be AAD (except, of course, "Help!" and "Rubber Soul").

With The Beatles 1987 CD. Note SPARS code and correcting sticker.
Starting with "Brothers in Arms", it became fashionable, especially among high tech CD collectors to have as many totally digital (DDD) CDs as possible. Starting with this year's new Beatles in Mono vinyl releases, having an all-analogue process (AAA) seems to be trending. Their 2012 stereo counterparts were made from digital masters based on analogue mixes, making them AAD (except, of course, "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" still being ADD, because of their respect for George Martin's work).

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wings "Best Buy" singles

"Let'Em In" and "Letting Go" singles - a Best Buy exclusive.
Looks like there was a change of heart about which singles that the "Best Buy" chain of stores provided us with. Originally, the "Venus and Mars"/"Rockshow" single was announced to be the exclusive bonus item for purchasers of the "Venus and Mars" album, this has now been changed to "Letting Go".
The singles look like their seventies US counterparts, but they have been stripped of record company logos.

You'll have to pay $4.25 each for shipping on the singles. Approximately 5,000 of each single were pressed, so supply is limited. If you're checking out your local "Best Buy" for this offer, look for a sticker on the CD sleeve announcing the bonus single. Only the CDs with the sticker are the ones which will get you these singles.

The originals
Meanwhile, Paul McCartney has released another free download from his past, a hitherto unheard little ditty from the 1974 "One Hand Clapping" sessions, called "Love My Baby", accessible from paulmccartney.com/downloads. The song is not part of any of these new archive releases.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Uncut: The Long and Winding Road

A book and 4 DVDs

From Blitz Books comes this book and DVD package, due out in USA 11 November and UK/Europe 24 November 2014.
Here's the description:
THE BEATLES UNCUT THE LONG WINDING ROAD HARDBACK BOOK AND 4 DVD SET.
This Illustrated Limited Edition hardback book together with four DVD s provides an insight into the unique journey of the most ground breaking and influential British groups of all time The Beatles. The book features a track by track analysis of every studio album The Beatles recorded and follows the origins of the band first formation in August 1960 as a five piece through to their eventual split with McCartney leaving in April 1970. The book is illustrated throughout with many colour images. The four DVD films are jam-packed with rare archive interviews with the band with insights and the views from journalists and insiders who followed the band from the very beginning.

I wouldn't expect any Beatles music here, though.

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Beatles and Norway

At least the airline was partly Norwegian.
As you know, the Beatles never played in Norway - a sore point for us Norwegian fans of the group, but here are some stories related to Norway.

Beatles concert in Norway
Even though the Beatles never did come to Norway, some negotiations are said to have taken place prior to their second visit to Sweden. The Beatles were booked to play at Johanneshov Isstadion in Stockholm on 28-29 July 1964. Not part of any tour, these one off bookings were supposedly just to fulfill a promise they had made during their Autumn 1963 short tour of Sweden, their first tour abroad. Brian Epstein is said to have been keen to make appointments for the surrounding dates, and Norway was among the interested parties. To my knowledge, no paperwork or quotes about this have surfaced, all I know are rumours in the industry and among fans about this. What has been suggested, is that Epstein wanted more money than Norwegian promoters could afford, which is why a Beatles concert in Norway never happened.

Another theory, substantiated by many remarks on the radio, on TV and in newspapers in Norway in the sixties, is that the professionals, the moguls of the Norwegian music business, were all opposed to the Beatles. Music in Norway was pretty much dominated by the jazz era style of music, and pop was more of the harmony singing variety (listen to a YouTube sample), backed by musicians who came from a jazz background. And these people were also in charge of the music industry, supplying their music to records, to films and to TV and radio broadcasting. These key players didn't want the change that the Beatles represented, not in music, not in hairstyles or fashion or the youth culture, and these people could easily have been obstacles in the negotiations about a Beatles visit to Norway.

What they could not, was change the public opinion, and the Beatles became very popular solely on the basis of their records, and eventually their films. The company in charge of releasing Beatles records in Norway supplied the market with a total of 34 different singles (see them all here), and 1964 was the peak year of this. The "A Hard Day's Night" film was also a big theatrical hit.

Sadly, "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" was not among the songs picked as candidates for a single release. If any country should have released the song as an A-side of a single, it should have been Norway. But we settled on "Michelle"/"Girl" instead.

"Norwegian Wood" was a single in Australia.

At the same time, there were no fewer than two separate official Beatles Fan clubs operating in Norway, one in the Oslo area and one on the southwest coast, in Stavanger.

When the dust settled, the jazzy artists of the early sixties era in Norway would look back and say; "Then the Beatles came along and everything was ruined".

But as the Beatles' fame signalled the end of an era, for another generation of musicians they were the start of something new.

The Sunbeams
This Norwegian group shared a dressing room with the Beatles at the Drop-In taping in Stockholm. The Sunbeams appeared on TV the week after The Beatles, but the show was taped the same day.



It was the autumn of 1962 that the five band members from the two pop bands in Eidsvoll, Norway got together and called themselves "The Sunbeams". After only six months, they entered a nationwide competition at the "Rondo" club in Oslo and won a recording contract with the company Manu Records. In May 1963 they recorded a rocking instrumental version of "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" (listen to it on YouTube). On 28 September 1963 the song went straight into 4th place on "Tio i Topp" (a Swedish radio chart) and spent the next nine weeks on this Swedish hit list with the best week as No. 2. This made The Sunbeams the first Norwegian band who had a hit abroad. In Norway itself, they did not have the same explosive success, and although it has been said in several articles that they were also on the hit parade (VG-lista) here, I have found no evidence supporting this.

One thing led to another and The Sunbeams went to Stockholm, Sweden on tour where they got to play on the big stages. It was all topped on 30 October 1963 with a TV recording for the popular Swedish TV programme "Drop In" at the Narren Theatre in Gröna Lund in Stockholm.
More popular artists participated, and of course they were all a little curious about each other. Original Sunbeams band member Ole Kristian Fredriksen remembers a great Lill Babs performance with the song "Leva livet" (It's my party). "But the ones who got the biggest attention were the guys from England who we should share our dressing room with," recalls Ole Kristian. "The guys from England also had impossibly long hair, and they called themselves The Beatles!"
At this time The Sunbeams were 4th at "Tio i Topp", while The Beatles were on sixth with the song "She loves you". The Sunbeams also placed high in the Danish charts at the time, eventually hitting the no. 1 spot in January 1964. The guys from England were a few years older than Ole Kristian and the other guys in the band, but he remembers that John Lennon asked him, "Where are you from?", And notes with a laugh that this was his first conversation in English ever. "We are from Eidsvoll, in Norway". Lennon was surprised and said, "I thought The Sunbeams were from Sweden?!" Seeing and hearing The Beatles on stage was a musical experience Fredriksen had never had before. He felt all empty inside after the Beatles performance as the final notes of the "Drop In" theme faded out and became a Beatles fan forever.
"They had a new, disruptive way to act on a 'no limits' manner on stage, although they kept it musically tight. I was undoubtedly a Beatles fan from the beginning," he says. Ringo gave the Sunbeams' drummer Jan Erik Brustad a pair of his drumsticks.

The members of the Sunbeams helped to carry the Beatles' instruments and amps into the waiting lorry, while the Beatles themselves left by taxi. Then the next show was to be taped, and the Sunbeams did their spot. On the following Saturday, the Sunbeams' song got its highest position on "Tio i Topp" on 2. place, only beaten by Bobby Bare's "Detroit City". The Beatles and "She loves you" ended on 5th.

The first of three Swedish editions of the hit single.
Even though the Sunbeams became quite popular and their records (14 songs in all, released on singles and EPs) were released in many European countries and even in the USA, they split up in mid-1964, because three of the band members were drafted into military service.

The Beatniks
The Beatniks formed in 1961, and became very popular. Starting out as a "Shadows" type instrumental group (listen to one of their instrumentals on YouTube), they won the Nordic competition for Shadowsbands in 1963, as this was actually regarded a genre of its own back then.
But ahead for The Beatniks lay a profound change. In the autumn of 1963 they were invited to hold a concert in Gothenburg. The British pop group The Beatles was also in town, already in the process of conquering all of Europe with a whole new sound. Along with a number of bands from the northwest coast of England, the group was the foremost exponents of a sound also known as Mersey Beat. The Beatniks got to meet The Beatles. Initially, it was Paul McCartney who started talking with his Norwegian colleagues, but immediately after this, George Harrison and John Lennon also joined the conversation. John wanted to know, among other things, how they had come to call themselves the Beatniks. Ringo, however, seemed quite distant and bored, sitting quietly in a corner. Afterwards the Beatniks attended the show from the spectator area, and the experience was momentous. The Beatles exhibited an unusual precision, not an erratic note or false chord, and their driving polyphonic singing was immaculate. Bass guitarist with the Beatniks Carsten Deberitz later recalled: "We travelled to Gothenburg as a Shadows-type orchestra and returned to Norway as a Beat group." 
In their luggage they also had a hand written note from The Fab Four: "To The Beatniks from The Beatles. Signed by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
The Beatniks, with Svein Finjarn in the lead, were among the best skilled instrumentalists in Scandinavia, but now they started practicing singing harmonies and focused much more on vocal performance. The Beatniks recorded a strong Beatles-influenced single with Svein's instrumental composition, "Mustang", the B-side, which also represented a final farewell to the Shadows-style.

They started covering Beatles songs, and also songs by the Kinks, Rolling Stones and other British acts. In the summer of 1965 Svein left The Beatniks, after an internal dispute over the hair. Svein wanted everyone in the band to have long hair. Svein was replaced by Freddy Lindquist. Svein then became a member of "The Blue Secrets" and participated as guitarist and second vocalist on the recording of the single "Please Stay" / "I Want You Back". Both A- and B-side was written by himself. With "The Blue Secrets" he also played at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool. After only a year away from The Beatniks, he returned to the group.

Here's a poster of the Beatnicks, spelt with a "c" from 1964, now equipped with Beatles-like suits.

Some of the original members of the band are now deceased, but the group is still playing, they have a gig coming up in Oslo on November 14th, now back to the original "Beatniks" name.

By 1965, the change in the music scene was so profound, helped by a plethora of young Norwegian Beatles inspired bands, that the powers that be was unable to stop The Rolling Stones from holding a concert in Norway.

The Rolling Stones arrive in Norway. Photo: Scanpix/NTB

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Beatles on Calderstone: Singles next?

The Beatles - The Singles was a 7" vinyl box set, Record Store Day Black Friday 2011 exclusive.
The joint venture between The Beatles/Apple and Universal Music, Calderstone Production Limited, has been very busy this year, shifting records over from their once home at EMI and over to their new Universal Music life. It happened with the USA albums in January, continued with some of the Japan releases and the UK mono vinyl albums. Now a limited edition of the UK EP "Long Tall Sally" is due out, and industry insiders are now talking about the Beatles' singles being next.
We don't know if these are the British singles, which has been re-released several times while the Beatles were under contract with EMI, or the USA singles, which has so far only seen partial individual re-releases, like the recent Record Store Day package (photo above).

Back in 1987 when the Beatles EMI catalogue was to be released on CD for the first time, Apple Corps Ltd decided that from now on, only the British catalogue (incorporating the US made "Magical Mystery Tour" album) was to be the one, official version of the Beatles' recording history to be continued, and the various records (singles, EPs and albums) released in other countries worldwide, USA included, was to be discontinued.

Obviously times have changed, and USA now being the primary market which Apple Corps Ltd is catering for, it was a good idea to give the old Capitol albums a proper re-release this year. It would make sense to give the Americans another nostalgic trip back in time by bringing out the old US singles - now of course in their remastered form.

Not counting the Tony Sheridan sessions, there were 32 different USA singles, mainly on the Capitol and Apple labels, but also Vee Jay, United Artists, Swan and Tollie. Since Universal Music now also handles the Hamburg Polydor recordings, these can also be included. Originally these were on Decca, Atco, MGM and Swan in the USA. Including these, a boxed set containing all the USA singles will contain thirty-seven 45s, most of them with individual picture sleeves.

We have to say though, that there is absolutely no official word about any of this, so file under speculation.

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)

The road to "Sessions"

On 26 January 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 1974 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 July 83, it was a mixed bag. I had the pleasure of attending one of these, and was delighted to hear new Beatles material. 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 really stood out for me was George Harrison's acoustic version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". That one gave me goosebumps.

Somehow, some people managed to smuggle tape recorders 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, died of cancer in February 1984.

In November 1984, a US 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.

"Sessions" comes along

One "Sessions" bootleg had this cover, supposedly also a rejected idea for the original LP. Note the Odeon label.

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

SIDE 1:

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

SIDE 2:

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? Photo: Robert Whitaker

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 foldout cover had a layout resembling Mark Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions" book.

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.


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."

"Sessions" becomes "Anthology"

As we now know, the proposed "Sessions" album was merged with Neil Aspinall's in the works "The Long and Winding Road" documentary and finally materialised as the "Anthology" project, with a TV-series, three 3LP / 2CD releases and eventually a book.

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.

The above photo was also one of the three different sleeves supposedly being among the contenders for the finished album sleeve.

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. 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. There seems to have been a lot of these covers around, but no vinyl single was ever produced.

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 rec.music.beatles.moderated newsgroup. Thanks to Mark Jones for a scan of the final photo.

Liner notes and production notes from the image above:

THE BEATLES SESSIONS

Between September 4 1962 and May 8 1970, the Beatles recorded and released over 200 different recordings through EMI Records. The fact that during that time, and the period 1962 to 1966 in particular, they were also busy giving live performances, making movies and TV appearances and satisfying the demands of the world's media, makes their recording output even more extraordinary.
Even before the Beatles split up and stopped recording as a group in 1970, there was talk of unreleased tracks lying undiscovered in studio vaults. These stories, depending on your source, put the number of unissued titles anywhere between 50 and 250. The truth, however, is a vastly different story; only a handful of titles were recorded that, until now, have remained unreleased.
The claims from fans and media alike that EMI was sitting on a veritable "gold mine" of unreleased material have steadily grown over the past 15 years fired by material continually appearing on bootlegs or being played on the radio.

The sources of this material are well known to Beatles fans and collectors:

1. BBC RECORDINGS - Between March 1962 and June 1965 the Beatles recorded in BBC studios in Manchester and London 36 songs for radio broadcast only. They were not recorded by EMI for commercial release. The Beatles also re-recorded many of their early hits and album tracks at the same time, but it is the original material that has stirred the public's interest.

2. PUBLISHER'S DEMONSTRATION TRACKS - It has been wrongly and widely assumed that the Beatles recorded all the songs they composed for other artists. They did, however, as composers, demo some songs for their publishers. Based on the tracks that have been unearthed these few demos consist purely of vocals with an acoustic guitar accompaniment and were probably recorded at home or in the publisher's demo studio.

3. OTHER STUDIOS - Towards the end of their career as a group, the Beatles did record in other studios apart from Abbey Road; for example, Trident, Apple and Twickenham Film Studios. where much of the "Let It Be" material was recorded. It is therefore quite possible that some songs were recorded in rough form, but these were never delivered to EMI.

However, it is the tracks that EMI do have, those that appear on this album, that are of the most interest, and we take up the story in 1976, when the Beatles' contract with EMI finally came to an end. At that time executives in the company sat down and listened to all the material that had not been released. In the main it existed in the form of rough mixes only, and few were considered suitable for commercial release.

One track - "Leave My Kitten Alone" - was seriously considered as release for a single in 1980 but with the tragic death of John Lennon in December of that year the idea was abandoned.
At the beginning of 1982, with the 20th anniversary of the release of "Love Me Do", the Beatles' first single for EMI fast approaching and in response to scores of letters from fans, it was decided to appoint one person to undertake the mammoth task of listening to every tape the Beatles had recorded for EMI and note any reference to material that was previously unknown.
The task was undertaken by Abbey Road studio engineer John Barrett and although no new tracks were found, John did discover many interesting alternate versions of previously released songs. In fact, when Abbey Road presented "The Beatles At Abbey Road" in the summer of 1983, much of the audio material had been discovered by John during his research. Tragically, John died in February 1984, but the fruits of his painstaking research remain.

After appraising the original unreleased tracks once more and listening to the alternate versions discovered by John Barrett, it was decided that all the titles recorded in anything but mono would benefit from being remixed. Geoff Emerick, who had worked with the Beatles and engineered many of their recordings, was approached and asked to listen to the multi-tracks and remix them in order to improve their overall sound quality.

Geoff set to work in Air studios in London and Montserrat and when he finally presented the tapes to EMI it was clear that the end product was an album that justified its release both artistically and musically.

SIDE ONE

1 "COME AND GET IT" (Paul McCartney) 2:26
Lead Vocal: Paul
Recorded in Studio 2 Abbey Road on July 24 1969, the same day as "Sun King". This song was given to the Apple band Badfinger and became their first hit in 1970. It was featured in the movie "The Magic Christian", which starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

2 "LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE" (Turner-McDougall) 2:54
Lead Vocal: John
Recorded in Studio 2 Abbey Road on August 14 1964 during sessions for the "Beatles For Sale"album. This late 50's rocker was previously recorded by, amongst others, Little Willie John and Johnny Preston.

3 "NOT GUILTY" (Harrison) 3:17
Lead Vocal: George
This track, recorded on August 8 1968 in Abbey Road Studio 2, was intended for release on the"White Album" in November 1968 but never made it onto the final album. It has long been rumoured that a certain well-known guitarist featured on this recording. Incidently, George re-recorded a gentler version of this song for his 1979 Dark Horse album "George Harrison".

4 "I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU" (Lennon-McCartney) 2:53
Lead Vocal: Paul
The final version of this song appeared on the "Rubber Soul" album in December 1965. This is take one, recorded on October 24 that year, again in Studio 2. Although this version is longer than the one on the album, the "bridge" or middle part of the song does not appear, probably because it had not been written at the time.

5 "WHAT'S THE NEW MARY JANE?" (Lennon-McCartney) 5:59
Lead Vocal: John
Like George's "Not Guilty", this track was also recorded during the "White Album" sessions (in Studio 2) on August 14, 1968. However, it was again omitted from the final album.

SIDE TWO

1 "HOW DO YOU DO IT" (M. Murray-Edmond) 1:55
Lead Vocal: John
Recorded on September 4 1962, the same date as the original commercial version of "Love Me Do", with Ringo drumming. Much has been written about the group deliberately performing this song badly in order to have their own song chosen as the second single, but as this track was recorded a month before the release of "Love Me Do", this theory would appear to be somewhat far fetched.This song was later recorded by Gerry and the Pacemakers and became their first Number One in the UK.

2 "BESAME MUCHO" (Valazquez/Skylar) 2:33
Lead Vocal: Paul
On June 6 1962 the Beatles recorded for the first time at EMI's Abbey Road Studios. At this stage the group consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and on drums Pete Best. Four titles were recorded - early versions of "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "Ask Me Why", plus "Besame Mucho". The song, which dates back to the thirties, was revised in the late fifties and had long been part of the Beatles stage set. It was included in their audition for Decca in January 1962.

3 "ONE AFTER 909" (Lennon-McCartney) 2:53
Lead Vocal: John and Paul
Despite being on of the earliest Lennon/McCartney compositions, "One After 909" didn't make it onto vinyl until 1970 when it was included on the "Let It Be" album. This version, however, was recorded on March 5 1963, the same day as the first takes of "From Me To You" and"Thank You Girl".

4 "IF YOU'VE GOT TROUBLES" (Lennon-McCartney) 2:21
Lead Vocal: Ringo
This previously unreleased Lennon/McCartney original was recorded on February 18, 1965, during sessions for the "Help" album. It was no doubt intended as Ringo's vocal contribution on the album, but it was ultimately replaced by "Act Naturally".

5 "THAT MEANS A LOT" (Lennon-McCartney) 2:27
Lead Vocal: Paul
Recorded on February 20, 1965 during sessions for the "Help" album. The track was given to P.J. Proby and he had a minor hit with his version a year later.

6 "WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS" (Harrison) 3:21
Lead Vocal: George
Recorded on July 25 1968, this version demonstrates how a song can change between the first take and the final released version. Take one features only George singing and just two instruments - acoustic guitar and keyboards. It's interesting to note that the last verse of the song was not retained when it was re-recorded for inclusion on the "White Album".

7 "MAILMAN BLUES" (Lloyd Price) 1:50
Lead Vocal: John
Recorded on January 29 1969 during the sessions for a "Get Back" album that was later re-titled"Let It Be".

8 "CHRISTMAS TIME (IS HERE AGAIN)" (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey) 1:08
Lead Vocal: The Beatles
Between December 1963 and December 1969 the Beatles fan club issued seven Christmas flexidiscs to their members. These records, which have become collector's items, ranged from more or less audio "thank you's" to their fans to mini pantomimes. Although the records featured strongly the Beatles' madcap humour, some music was featured, particularly on the 1967 release, which originally featured this track.


"Since I first started recording the Beatles on the "Revolver" album on through to "Sgt. Pepper"and "Abbey Road", I have seen the recording process go through many stages, from 2 tracks to 24 tracks, even 48 tracks."
"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


PRODUCTION NOTES:
Remixed at Air Studios, Montserrat.
Engineered by Geoff Emerick.
Second Engineer: Steve Jackson.
Assistant to Mr. Emerick: Nicole Graham.
Cover and Creative Concept: Brian Southall.
Sleeve design: Bill Brooks and John O'Brien.
Back Cover photograph by Robert Freeman
Front Cover photograph taken between sessions at Abbey Road Studios.
Tape Research: John Barrett and Ken Townsend.
Project research and liner notes: Mike Hendley.
Production Liaison: John Burgess.
Sleeve production: Quick On The Draw and Tony Wadsworth.

This text is lifted from the proposed black and white foldout cover version of "Sessions". As far as we know, a finished sleeve was never produced, only the slicks exist.

Back of the simple colour sleeve.

Here are the liner notes from the above edition of the Sessions sleeve:

This is the Beatles album that millions of fans have been waiting for. It is an entirely new collection of previously unreleased originals and some alternate versions of familiar tunes. Running from the Parlophone audition in June 1962 to a McCartney demo recorded on the eve of the group's demise, it shows The Beatles’ musical development from a perspective even veteran collectors are not used to.

Over the years. much has been written about the possible number of unreleased Beatles tracks supposedly remaining in "EMI's vaults" The truth of the matter is that there is only a handful.
As studio technology got more and more intricate during the 1960s. so did the Beatles' creativity and inventiveness. More and more the boys would begin a recording session with only the vaguest outline of a song, which would then be tested in a varying number of formats and styles during the actual recording process.

The possibility of adding any number of "layers ' to a tune was used in full by The Beatles, who composed, so to speak, 'paintings" in sound like a master painter using a palette of infinite richness.
The unreleased Beatles material which still exists today. aside from false starts, snippets of songs and some "warmup" jamming, consists mainly of separate music tracks that were not used in the released version of a song. In addition, many alternate takes of released songs survive, but to suggest that they are better or more interesting than the released version would be to question The Beatles‘ own artistic judgment. After all, The Beatles were at the very top of their field precisely because they only allowed their best material to come out. As a result, most unreleased recordings are left unreleased for very good reasons.

There remains, therefore, only a very limited number of tracks of which after all these years a release could be considered. These contain songs that were "left over" from their many sets of recordings - the main reason being that the space available on an LP simply made it impossible for the boys to release everything that was set down on tape When the time came for the next album or single, there was an abundance of new material to be recorded. and besides, the group's sound and approach had changed. So a number left over from, say, the "Revolver" sessions was unlikely to be included on the "Sgt Pepper" album.

Here is a detailed listing of all the tracks on this album in the order in which they were originally recorded.
Besame Mucho, sung by Paul. comes from the Beatles‘ very first recording session with Parlophone on Wednesday 6 June 1962 with Pete Best still a member of the group!

How Do You Do It? was recorded on Monday 26 November 1962. the same session which also produced Please, Please Me.

One After 909 (in a version predating the released one by six years! was left over from the Tuesday 5 March 1963 sessions which also produced From Me to You.

Leave My Kitten Alone comes from the "Beatles for Sale" sessions and was recorded on Wednesday 5 August 1964.

That Means a Lot was recorded during the "Helpl" LP sessions in the spring of 1965. serving as a demo for P.J. Proby's version released that September.

The "Rubber Soul" sessions yielded take 1 of I‘m Looking Through You lacking the middle section of the song which had not yet been written at the time, and If You've Got Troubles written by Paul and sung by Ringo.

Christmas Time was the theme song of the Beatles‘ fifth Xmas record. taped on Tuesday 28 November 1967 and originally published by The Official Beatles Fan club.

The following three songs were recorded during the sessions for the 1968 double album "The Beatles“. With My Guitar Gently Weeps on Thursday 26 July with solo acoustic guitar and with a verse not included in the finished version. Not Guilty on Wednesday 7 August is a slightly more "psychedelic" version than the one released on the 1979 ‘George Harrison’ album) and What's the New Mary Jane on Wednesday 14 August.

The January 1969 sessions for the "Get Beck" album project eventually resulting in the "Let It Be" film and LP contain a Lennon cover version of Buddy Holly‘s 1957 success, Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues.

Come and Get It was written by Paul McCartney as the theme song for the Peter Sellers movie ‘The Magic Christian” (also starring Ringo Starr). His demo record sounds even more fabulous than the version sung by Badfinger as released on 5 December 1969.

The Beatles themselves were actively lnvolved in getting this new collection off the ground. ln the summer of 1983, EMl’s Abbey Road studios staged a unique video spectacular containing some of the alternate takes and unreleased tracks mentioned before. On one particular night after Paul McCartney had finished work in EMI's new penthouse studio, he quietly slipped into the audience after the lights had gone down, and watched most of the show making sure to disappear in time before the end. He apparantly enjoyed listening to the Beatles‘ classic material and alerted George and Ringo, who were treated to a private viewing.

After George had listened to himself recording the first take of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, he immediately asked EMI to release the track as soon as possible!

Here, then, is the long-awaited new Beatles album. More than any previous record it presents us with a historical view of The Beatles at work at the Abbey Road studios. But even more to the point, it is a tribute to the lasting talents of the true masters of pop.

BRIAN SOUTHALL


Even if the above liner notes suggest that Paul, George and Ringo wanted to have some unreleased Beatles material in the shops, preventing this was probably the ongoing problem of royalties.

All throught the eighties, the Beatles chased EMI through the courts in the UK and the USA, claiming that they had been routinely ripped off of royalties to the tune of millions of pounds. In 1984, the case reached London's High Court. Mr Justice Gibson ruled that EMI should have paid royalties on at least 85 per cent of net sales. In 1986, he ordered a court-supervised trawl through EMI's royalties records and again found for The Beatles. In 1989, EMI gave in, and settled the case on both sides of the Atlantic with its most famous artists. The resulting payout was "an eight-figure sum".
But it was not the end of the wrangles between the Beatles and EMI. In 1993, The Beatles again issued legal action over EMI, this time over plans to release a double box-set of the compilation red and blue albums on CD without the Beatles' permission. Again, a High Court judge ruled in their favour and insisted they did have artistic control of their output. Pride satisfied, the Beatles agreed to the release.
Now the time was right, and The Beatles and EMI tested the waters for unreleased Beatles material by compiling and releasing "The Beatles Live at the BBC" in 1994. It was a success, and the "Anthology" project became reality. But not before getting another raise: In 1995, The Beatles launched another royalty dispute with the record company. Again the two sides settled with EMI digging its hand into its pocket. The result was a rise in the royalty rate and a payment of about $35 million dollars.