Friday, 23 August 2019

The Ballad of John and Yoko photo session

The U.S.A. version of the Ballad of John and Yoko single, B-side.
On April 14, 1969, Paul McCartney and John Lennon recorded the new Beatles single A-side, "The Ballad of John and Yoko", playing all instruments and singing themselves. George and Ringo weren't available for the recording session and John was eager to get it done. Just a few days later, the four Beatles met up for a photo session to have available for the single cover in foreign markets. In the U.K., photos for single covers weren't the norm - they used factory sleeves. Yoko Ono was with the Beatles on this occasion, since she is both in the title and the lyrics of the song they were to illustrate. We don't have the exact date, but we have the U.S. single cover from this session, with two of the photos. Other photos from this session emerged elsewhere. YouTube user Elena has produced a number of videos with images she has collected over the years and themed. Here is her collection of photos from this photo session:

Recently, a new photo was published from this occasion. It premiered in the current issue of the Mojo music magazine, as part of their article on the new "Abbey Road" release. The photo is taken by Linda McCartney who was along for the session.

The U.S.A. version of the Ballad of John and Yoko single, A-side.
The Beatles are seen smiling to their photographer, while Linda snapped her picture from standing to the side of them. It looks as if it's taken just as the front cover of the U.S. "Ballad of John and Yoko" is captured.

Linda's photo. Copyright Apple Corps Ltd.
An earlier known photo from Linda, taken from the other side is this black and white one:

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Follow The Beatles

Screen captures from "Follow The Beatles".
The 1964 British documentary "Follow The Beatles", mostly about The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night Film" has emerged in full on the internet. The film has long been the source for footage used in newer AHDN documentaries, but it's nice to have this in the context it originally was meant for. The film contains footage filmed on location and during a recording session at Abbey Road studios in February 1964.

Bitchute:Follow the Beatles

Monday, 19 August 2019

Paul McCartney returned to the stage after microphone malfunction

In 1985, when Paul McCartney was performing "Let It Be" at the Live Aid concert on Wembley Stadium, his vocal microphone was not working for the first part of the song. But the occasion was the first step in Paul's return to the stage.

Still, the audience knew the song well and helped with their singalong. Aware of the problem, Paul McCartney went to a studio the next day and re-recorded his "Let It Be" vocals, should there ever be need for it. He reckoned some TV channel may reprise the concert film, or perhaps it would see a video cassette release. That never happened, but in 2004, the Live Aid concert was finally available for purchase for the home video market, as a DVD set. Last year, the official Live Aid YouTube channel published this video, of Paul playing "Let It Be" on Live Aid, with his inaudible vocals replaced by the recording from the next day.

The appearance by Paul was his first live performance since the UK tour of Wings in December 1979. He must have enjoyed his comeback to the stage, because he then went on to play, unannounced, at the Prince's Trust anniversary concert on June 20th, 1986 - a year after "Live Aid". He did "I Saw Her Standing There", "Get Back" (duetting with Tina Turner) and the old closing number of the Beatles as well as on the first Wings tour, "Long Tall Sally". He was also in the backing band when David Bowie and Mick Jagger performed "Dancing In The Street", introduced by Paul.

The same year, Paul also took to the stage at the Royal Variety Command Performance on the 24th November, to perform his new song "Only Love Remains".

A little over a year later, 27th November 1987, Paul returned to the stage yet again, this time performing with a TV-studio band for the TV programme "The Last Resort". To a studio audience, Paul and the band performed "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", two of which were recently recorded for his upcoming "Russian" album, "CHOBA B CCCP". The two songs in question, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" were also released in 1987 for the U.K. market as they appeared on the two different 12"-singles for "Once Upon A Long Ago", one song on each record.

Just two years after this, Paul finally returned to touring again for a spell, lasting from 1989 to 1993. After that, he didn't tour again for another nine years. Thankfully, he went back to touring again in 2002 and has barely stayed off the road ever since.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Mojo celebrates Abbey Road

The upcoming edition of Mojo magazine celebrates Abbey Road's 50th anniversary.
The October edition of MOJO music magazine is in the shops in the UK on the 20th of August and comes in a presentation bag. The issue celebrates 50 years of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, bringing exclusive news of the 2019 Anniversary Edition, new mix and bonus material. Inside the bag you’ll find: MOJO magazine, with a special cover featuring Paul McCartney’s original designs for the cover of Abbey Road; a lavishly detailed, double-sided Beatles map – one side Liverpool, the other side London.
The Liverpool side of the map

MOJO’s Abbey Road celebration includes fresh looks at all the songs by top MOJO writers plus all you need to know about the forthcoming reissue, including its revealing studio banter and revelatory alternate versions.

Link: MOJO

Sunday, 11 August 2019

New Abbey Road photo by Linda

Iain Macmillan’s photo no 4 above, newly published Linda McCartney photo below.
Observant viewers may have caught a glimpse of a hitherto unpublished photo of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road in the new YouTube ad for the upcoming anniversay edition of the album.
The photo catches the fab four just after Iain Macmillan’s fourth attempt of the front cover image. You’ll notice that Macmillan is positioned slightly above the Beatles, as he was standing on a stepladder. Heavily pregnant Linda was standing on the pavement, and must have just walked into the street for this shot.

New boxed set with the singles

Illustration photo
It looks like The Beatles are about to release a new boxed set with the 22 original titles, as released in Great Britain, plus single no. 23, which combine the nineties songs, «Free as a bird» and «Real love» on one disc.The boxed set, thought to be a limited edition, was accidentally listed on Amazon Italy and briefly on the Brazilian official Beatles online store, according to fans. Release date for these vinyl singles is November 15.  People «in the know» who have seen the set, are describing it as a nice package.
According to our sources, the single sleeves will neither mimic their 60’s U.K. originals (mainly just factory sleeves), the 70’s green series nor the individual picture sleeves of the eighties.

Update: The set also appears on Amazon in France for 221,39 € (248 USD). An insider is saying that this will not simply be a re-release, so perhaps we can expect the set to feature the latest mixes of the songs. Also, in line with recent official calendars and licensed products by the Beatles, it is starting to look like they are going to use foreign picture sleeves from the sixties as front covers of the new series. Like we had in our illustration photo all along!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Something new

The official announcement came today, a new experience of the "Abbey Road" album, spearheaded by the release of the track "Something" in three versions, the demo (as on "Anthology III"), the string arrangement only, and in the brand new stereo remix. So get your headphones on, and listen to this:

The three versions also available on some streaming media platforms, like Spotify.
"Come Together" also sounds smashing, judging from the bits in the presentation videos. The stereo mix is based on Sir George Martin's mix, he supervised the original mixing sessions.
As there's no reason for me to simply give you the words from the press release, here it is from the horse's mouth: Official press release.

As for formats and contents, these have been described by the Superdeluxeeditions blog, so I don't have to ramble on about that, either.

Finally, here's the link to preorder the stuff.

And here's a couple of promotional videos:


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Get Back sessions gets a new looking at

Both quotes from members of the band as well as earlier accounts by biographers, article writers etc have been describing the "Let It Be" movie as a close look at a group who is falling apart. Exhibit A: George quit. But Peter Jackson has promised us an alternative version, where things aren't as grim as Lindsay-Hogg's film paints it to be. Sometimes revisionism is a good thing, when it sheds new light on events that have been interpreted one-sided in the past.

George quits: But he was very casual about it in his diary.

People who have been listening to bootlegs from the era have always seen the bright moments of these sessions as well, and Jackson's view has been backed up by no other than Ringo himself earlier this year. Now, more people are chiming in. The latest episode of the podcast series «Swinging through the sixties» takes us through facts and fiction regarding the Twickenham sessions, that first part of the "Get Back sessions".

This time, Allan Kozinn is subbing for Erik Taros alongside regular host Richard Buskin. Soundbites from the Twickenham sessions illustrate the points made in the discussion. Events are presented chronologically, on a day-by-day basis. Some of the points made are that John wasn't nearly as incommunicative as previously thought, and his heroin abuse not as frequent as we may have believed. The episode runs for a little less than two hours.

Link: Swinging Through The Sixties

P.S. We expect an official announcement about the Abbey Road anniversary editions tomorrow, if rumours are to be believed.

Monday, 5 August 2019

New book from Pattie

"My Life Through A Lens" by Pattie Boyd. Final cover to be revealed.
Due out next year is a new book from former Beatle wife Pattie Boyd, this time concentrating on photography. The book's title is "My Life Through A Lens". 

Here's the blur from the publisher:
"An extraordinary visual memoir from Pattie Boyd--model, photographer, and muse to rock 'n roll royalty. The former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd is perhaps the most famous muse of all time, inspiring Harrison's "Something" and Eric Clapton's "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight." Swept up into the height of Beatlemania as a young model, Boyd captured endless photographs of her years with the band, and later with Clapton. In Pattie Boyd: My Life Through A Lens, Boyd offers candid and intimate photographs of rock royalty and the elite social circles of the 60s and 70s, and also shares the drawings, paintings, and mementos collected from a life shared with pop-culture icons. Alongside it all are Boyd's own stirring reflections, giving a look into the golden age of rock 'n roll that only a woman at the center of it all could provide."

Of course, we only have Pattie's own words about her being the inspiration for "Something". George stole the opening line from James Taylor's "Something In The Way She Moves" from his eponymous Apple album, and imagined the song vocalised by his idol, Ray Charles (who went on to cover it in 1971). In early 1969, George told his Hare Krishna friends that the song was for Krishna, and in 1996 he told music journalist Paul Cashmere that "everybody presumed I wrote it about Pattie". Most likely, the music video for the song helped establish that myth, with Pattie in the opening shot.

In her 2007 autobiography, "Wonderful Today", Boyd recalls: "He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful ..." Boyd discusses the song's popularity among other recording artists and concludes: "My favourite [version] was the one by George Harrison, which he played to me in the kitchen at Kinfauns."

"My Life Through A Lens" is due out April 7, 2020.

Casbah poster found

Pete Howard at Poster Central has found another old poster advertising the Beatles. It's hand drawn by Neil Aspinall and Mona Best, and is actually advertising a rare constellation of the Beatles: It's from one of the concerts in late 1960 where Chas Newby was substituting for Stuart Sutcliffe.

This is the first British poster advertising The Beatles under that name. You will remember that an earlier, German poster advertising both Rory Storm and his Hurican as well as the Beatles was in use at the Kaiserkeller, Hamburg and has been reproduced in various colours over the years.

From The Archives podcast

The Beatles on "Pops and Lenny" May 16, 1963.
"From the archives" is a British Television podcast, discussing lost or missing or thought missing and found again film and / or audio from TV. In the latest episode, video archivist and Beatles author Keith Badman is guest, discussing off-air audio recordings of missing television appearances by the Fab Four plus so much more. Apart from Top of the Pops, the idea of missing music programs sometimes gets overlooked by Kaleidoscope in favour of other series (they are Doctor Who fans) but they do think Keith’s knowledge of the subject is very intriguing Some very rare clips of The Beatles from the Kaleidoscope archives are played, a clip from "Pops and Lenny" as well as a clip from the opening of the very first "Pop Go The Beatles" radio show.

Read more and listen to the podcast at "From The Archives"

Rare films to be screened in Liverpool

As part of International Beatles Week, the British Music Experience have partnered with Kaleidoscope to screen astonishing missing-believed-wiped tapes from television performances from The Beatles and many more on 24 August 2019. 

The British Music Experience is the UK's Museum of Popular Music, located at the Cunard Building, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 1DS, United Kingdom.

Kaleidoscope has had considerable success in recent years finding lost tapes of iconic music performances, not just of the Beatles but also other acts such as T-Rex, The Sweet and Elton John. All on obsolete formats which have required many hours of restoration and dedicated work from Kaleidoscope’s engineers.

Two hour-long sessions will screen on our main stage during the day, each with an introduction from Chris Perry, CEO of Kaleidoscope.

Session 1

11:00am – midday.

For a group that appeared hundreds of times on television worldwide, it is surprising how few of those original performances of The Beatles have survived.

Today starts with a highlights package of lost Beatles material found by Kaleidoscope including performances on Ready Steady Go and Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Session one concludes with eleven minutes of off-air 8mm footage from June 1966 Top of the Pops.  Filmed by David Chandler and including the Beatles performing Paperback Writer, plus The Troggs, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, The Small Faces and Gene Pitney amongst others.

Session 2


Session two begins with thirty minutes of recently found 405 domestic recordings which have been digitally transferred to a modern format. Acts include Elton John and T-Rex, Lt Pigeon, Pan’s People, The Sweet and others.

The final twenty minutes highlights package of recently found 405 domestic recordings are taken from Lift Off and include The Sweet and Ayshea Brough.

More info here: British Music Experience

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Beatles: First steps

Logo of playlist
A few days ago, a playlist was posted on the official Beatles channel on YouTube, under the name "first steps". It consisted of videos with the still image displayed above, and the songs were taken from the Polydor sessions with Tony Sheridan, plus the two songs from the first single on EMI, "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You".
The ten songs on the playlist are:

Love Me Do
Let's Dance
P.S. I Love You
What'd I Say
Ya Ya
Cry For A Shadow
Sweet Georgia Brown
Ruby Baby
If You Love Me Baby (aka Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby)

Only the bold titles are tracks actually featuring The Beatles. The featured Polydor tracks are the same eight tracks as released on the vintage "This Is The... The Savage Young Beatles" 10" disc. (shown below in a modern edition without the double The's.)

It seems the songs on the playlist were uploaded in 2014, and provided to YouTube by Daredo. According to Daredo's website, digedo, a subsidiary of daredo GmbH, is one of the leading independent digital music distribution companies in Europe. They deal, among other things, in monetizing music videos at all the important video portals like YouTube, Dailymotion, Vevo, Muzu and MyVideo.

The problem with this playlist, as far as the Polydor session songs concerns, is that it contains a number of songs which aren't The Beatles at all, it's Tony Sheridan with a different backing band.

The songs recorded for Polydor actually featuring the Beatles were:
My Bonnie
The Saints
Cry for a Shadow
Why (Can't You Love Me Again)
Nobody's Child
Ain't She Sweet
If You Love Me, Baby (aka Take Out Some Insurance on Me, Baby)
Sweet Georgia Brown

Just four of those songs are featured in this playlist. I don't know what's happening here. Have The Beatles finally acknowledged their Polydor past? Is someone not very historically minded put in charge of their YouTube account? Or is this an automatically generated playlist by YouTube? One thing is for sure, this is going to confuse fans.

Link to YouTube Playlist

The list is also featured on the Narrma website, who have added these "sleeve notes", trying to put the songs into context:

First night at the Indra Club, August 1960.

The Beatles First Steps Playlist with Tony Sheridan

Allan Williams, The Beatles‘ unofficial manager, arranged a residency for them in Hamburg, but lacking a full-time drummer they auditioned and hired Pete Best in mid-August 1960. The band left four days later, contracted to club owner Bruno Koschmider for what would be a 3​1⁄2-month residency.

Nightclub on the Reeperbahn in St Pauli – the red-light district of Hamburg where the The Beatles performed extensively from 1960 to 1962.

Koschmider had converted a couple of strip clubs in the district into music venues, and he initially placed The Beatles at the Indra Club. After closing Indra due to noise complaints, he moved them to the Kaiserkeller in October. When he learned they had been performing at the rival Top Ten Club in breach of their contract, he gave the band one month’s termination notice, and reported the underage George Harrison, who had obtained permission to stay in Hamburg by lying to the German authorities about his age. The authorities arranged for Harrison’s deportation in late November. One week later, Koschmider had Paul McCartney and Pete Best arrested for arson after they set fire to a condom in a concrete corridor; the authorities deported them. John Lennon returned to Liverpool in early December, while Stuart Sutcliffe remained in Hamburg until late February with his German fiancée Astrid Kirchherr, who took the first semi-professional photos of The Beatles.

During the next two years, The Beatles were resident for periods in Hamburg, where they used Preludin both recreationally and to maintain their energy through all-night performances. In 1961, during their second Hamburg engagement, Kirchherr cut Sutcliffe’s hair in the “exi” (existentialist) style, later adopted by the other Beatles. When Sutcliffe decided to leave the band early that year and resume his art studies in Germany, McCartney took up the bass.

Producer Bert Kaempfert contracted what was now a four-piece group until June 1962, and he used them as Tony Sheridan’s backing band on a series of recordings for Polydor Records. As part of the sessions, The Beatles were signed to Polydor for one year. Credited to “Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers“, the single “My Bonnie”, recorded in June 1961 and released four months later, reached number 32 on the Musikmarkt chart.

After The Beatles completed their second Hamburg residency, they enjoyed increasing popularity in Liverpool with the growing Merseybeat movement. However, they were also growing tired of the monotony of numerous appearances at the same clubs night after night. In November 1961, during one of the group’s frequent performances at The Cavern Club, they encountered Brian Epstein, a local record-store owner and music columnist. He later recalled: “I immediately liked what I heard. They were fresh, and they were honest, and they had what I thought was a sort of presence … [a] star quality.”

Epstein courted the band over the next couple of months, and they appointed him as their manager in January 1962. Throughout early and mid-1962, Epstein sought to free The Beatles from their contractual obligations to Bert Kaempfert Productions. He eventually negotiated a one-month-early release from their contract in exchange for one last recording session in Hamburg.

Epstein began negotiations with record labels for a recording contract. In order to secure a UK record contract, Epstein negotiated an early end to the band’s contract with Polydor, in exchange for more recordings backing Tony Sheridan. After a New Year’s Day audition, Decca Records rejected the band with the comment “Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein.” However, three months later, producer George Martin signed The Beatles to EMI’s Parlophone label.

So, the "sleeve notes" aren't so bad, but they should have used the correct songs.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Abbey Road formats

Here's a list we found posted on Facebook, purporting to be five formats of the 50th anniversary release of The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album on September 27.


12” x 12” hardcover book to house:
CD1: New ‘Abbey Road’ stereo album mix
CD2: Demos and Outtakes
CD3: Demos and Outtakes
DISC 4 (Blu-ray): Dolby Atmos mix of whole album / 5.1 surround of whole album / hi-res stereo mix of whole album
Limited Edition

Although we have seen a draft of a 3CD track list, this was not final:

Abbey Road usual track list

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) [Take 32 + Billy Organ]
Goodbye [Demo]
Something [Demo]
Ballad Of John And Yoko [Take 7]
Old Brown Shoe [Take 2]
Oh Darling [Take 4]
Octopus Garden [Take 9]
You Never Give Me Your Money [Take 36]
Her Majesty [Takes 1-3]
Golden Slumbers - Carry That Weight [Takes 1-3]
Here Comes The Sun [Take 9]
Maxwell's Silver Hammer [Take 12]

Come Together [Take 5]
The End [Take 3]
Sun King / Mean Mr Mustard [Take 20]
Polythene Pam - Bathroom Window [Take 27]
Because [Take 1]
The Long One [Trial Edit and Mix]
Something [Orchestral – Take 39]
Golden Slumbers [Take 17]


Expanded 2CD package features the new stereo album mix on and adds a second CD of demos and outtakes
Limited edition


1CD digi featuring the new ‘Abbey Road’ stereo album mix
Unlimited edition


12” x 12” lift off lid box to house:
LP1: New ‘Abbey Road’ stereo album mix
LP2: Demos and Outtakes
LP3: Demos and Outtakes
Limited edition


180-gram 1LP vinyl featuring the new stereo album mix
Packaging faithful to the original album

Of course, there will also be non-physical formats for purchase or streaming.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Ringo about the new Let It Be era documentary

Sir Peter Jackson is working on a new movie based around The Beatles' final album, Let It Be.

The as-yet-untitled film will draw on 55 hours of never-released footage of the band in the studio, and some 140 hours of recorded sound, all the material filmed and recorded between January 2 and January 31, 1969.

The Beatles Channel on Sirius XM recently published a Facebook video where Ringo Starr talks a bit about the old film as well as the upcoming one. He has been shown excerpts via Jackson's iPad, and says that the new film will be a more upbeat film. He claims that filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg made the film more downbeat by focusing on small moments of irritation rather that the mostly happy days of filming. "Prior to us doing that [the rooftop concert], we're all hanging out, and it's a lot of fun, lot of humour, and not like the one that came out."