Thursday, 28 August 2014

Teaser for Apple Years

George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-75
Here's the artwork for the upcoming boxed set from George Harrison. As a teaser for the upcoming The Apple Years 1968-75 boxed set the George Harrison estate has chosen this previously released concert clip from Japan. This video can be found on the bonus DVD from the 2004 Dark Horse Years boxed set, and was also made available on it's own later on. It was also included on the DeLuxe edition of "Living In The Material World".



New Lennon film in pre-production

Ice bucket challenge, 1965.
The BBC reports that a new film has gone into pre-production in New York looking at the events that took place on the night that John Lennon was shot and killed outside his Manhattan home in December 1980.
"The Lennon Report" looks at the focus on the efforts of first responders at the site of the shooting - and at the Roosevelt hospital where Lennon was taken.

I must confess that I find this focus on that senseless murder depressing. I can barely watch these films. I stayed away from that 2008 "Chapter 27" film.

There are lots of stories to tell about the adventurous life of John Lennon. Give me a "Lost weekend" film any day. May Pang is currently rewriting her "Loving John" book, because the editors removed so much from her original manuscript. A dramatisation of John Lennon's interaction with Phil Spector and the rock'n'roll gang in Los Angeles, including a visit from the McCartneys would be something I'd like to watch.
Or how about his retreat from the public eye following the "Rock'n' Roll" album, his house-husband days leading up to his Bermuda adventure?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

New Please Please Me mono master tape

Please Please Me master - stereo
The original mono tapes for The Beatles' Please Please Me are becoming "sticky" and "sludgy" – so much so that Abbey Road engineers working on the new Beatles In Mono vinyl set have been forced to make a new master for the album.

As mastering engineer Sean Magee explains in the new issue of Uncut, out August 26, the glue on the original mono master tape of The Beatles’ debut album was seeping through the layers of the tape, making playback difficult.

“The tape was playing and it left a sticky sludge on the playback head,” says Magee. “Which isn’t very good: it places the tape under tension and potentially induces friction. We thought rather than have it do that, we thought we’ll make a new one".

“We used that tape and transferred it. Playing one track at a time wasn’t an issue but if you played five at a time, you had a sludge on there. It’s a historic tape, it’s pretty old, and it’s affecting the sound. You gum up the heads, all the high frequency starts to disappear, so you transfer the tracks, one at a time, analogue to analogue, then put in some new leader tape to get the gaps right and we now have a cutting master for this new boxed set.”

Wings albums delayed

Wings: Venus & Mars
A press release from Concord Music: Due to production issues, the release of the latest albums in the GRAMMY Award winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection will be delayed. The classic Wings albums Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound will now be released on November 3rd in the UK and November 4th in the US and not the previously announced September dates. This has also been confirmed on PaulMcCartney.com.

I guess the upcoming George Harrison Apple Years boxed set will benefit from this...as well as our wallets!

Let It Be Timeline

I just updated my 2008 post about the "Let It Be" film with a timeline, and to keep you noted, I'm posting it here as well.

TIMELINE: LET IT BE (movie)

"Let It Be" US movie poster, 1970.

1969: 16mm footage of the Beatles filmed in January for proposed TV Special and album, "Get Back". Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
1969: Film and album shelved for now, new album "Abbey Road" recorded and released.
1969-70: Footage reworked for movie screening, to fulfill 3 film contract with United Artists.
1970: Theatrical release. Film has been blown up to 35mm, sound is in mono, retitled "Let It Be".
1980: John Lennon is killed.
1981: Home Video release (USA) of 35mm film pan-and-scan: VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc and Videodisc on 20th Century Fox/Magnetic Video Corporation. Mono.

Laser disc
Beta videocassette (USA)

1982: TV screening (UK) of 16mm cropped version on BBC TV. Mono.
1983: TV screening (West Germany - Bayerische Rundfunk). 16mm version, mono. The film was also shown on TV in several other countries, Finland and Australia among them, but we have no full overview of this. And of course, the film was also shown on TV in the seventies.

Comparison: The German TV version has the biggest picture. Note yellow hue on US version. More natural colours on BBC version. Still, when clips were shown on the Anthology TV-series, the picture was even bigger.
1984: Home Video Release (West Germany) of transfer from 16mm full screen version: VHS, Betamax on Warner Home Video. German subtitles. Mono.
1984: Home Video Release (Holland) on Warner Home Video. Transfer from 16mm, mono. Dutch subtitles.

Dutch video cassette.

1992: Original 16mm film restored by Ron Furmanek, remastered sound, stereo when multitracks exist.
1995: Restored footage from film and outtakes shown on The Beatles Anthology TV series.
1997: VCI (UK) announces plans to release the film on VHS. It doesn't happen.
2001: George Harrison succumbs to cancer.
2002: Paul McCartney says plans for DVD release alongside "Let It Be...Naked".
2003: Original 16mm film plus outtakes restored by Bob Smeaton.
2003: "Let It Be...Naked" album released. Outtakes from "Let It Be" film used in promotion of album. No sign of the film on DVD.
2003: Movie director Lindsay-Hogg says 2 DVDs with the film and outtakes ready for 2004.
2004: A review of a 3 disc version appears online.
2005: "The Toronto Sun" features interview with Bob Smeaton who says a DVD will come out that year.
2006: In a US radio show, Bob Smeaton gives three possible release dates in 2006 for the DVD.
2007: Apple Corps Ltd register the domain name letitbemovie.com.
2007: Neil Aspinall says the film is still too controversial for release.
2008: Yoko Ono says the DVD will not be released yet.
2008: "The Daily Express" (UK) says DVD was cancelled by Paul and Ringo.
2009: Unidentified "insider" claims Yoko Ono is the one blocking the release.
2009: Theatrical screening at a film club in Philadelphia, PA. Good print, poor mono sound.
2010: BBC radio show says DVD is still considered for release at a future date.
2011: Original film and outtakes re-transferred again in higher resolution for future release.
2012: Film due out for 50th anniversary of "Love Me Do", but plans are again scrapped.
2012: Richard Porter learns from insider that the film may be released in 2014 or 2015.
2012: Ringo says: "One day that will come out, but we're not thinking about it right now".
2013: The "Let It Be...Naked" album released on iTunes and two videos made available for download: "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down" - both compiled in 2003 of outtakes from the original "Let It Be" movie.
2013: "Help!", "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Yellow Submarine" restored and released on Blu-ray.
2014: "A Hard Day's Night" released on Blu-ray.

Bootleggers have, of course, released numerous versions of Let It Be video cassettes, DVDs and even Blu-rays. The first ones were taken from either the US laser disc or one of the US video cassette formats. Later ones are taken from video cassettes recordings of the BBC televised version or from the German video cassette, since these provide better colours and a bigger picture than either of the USA releases.

On the best of these underground releases, the bootleggers have substituted the original mono soundtrack by soundtracks compiled from the Nagra (mono) tapes as well as stereo audio from various compilations of the Get Back album, the Let It Be album, the Let It Be...Naked album and single, and audio extractions from various officially televised or released video clips.

Some bootleg versions of the film include bonus material, usually in the form of outtakes from the film (various clips were released to TV companies around the world as promotion of the Let It Be...Naked album in 2003).

Through the years, outtake footage from the film has circulated among fans. Some of the footage has been silent, some with sound, some in black and white. Since the Nagra audio tapes with the sound captured simultaneously with the filming are also circulating, the silent film footage has been synched with its correct audio. Usually, the picture quality of the circulating outtake material is pretty bad.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

"1" on vinyl coming...

Coming up: "1" vinyl reissue (CD pictured)
From the new release plan from Universal Music Group, the George Harrison Apple Years is confirmed, boxed and individually, The Beatles in Mono vinyl likewise (boxed and individually), McCartney's two Wings remasters in a variety of formats..and the status for "1" vinyl reissue is t.b.a. (to be announced). It has got a catalogue number though, and shows up on various internet record stores without a release date. You can see entries here and here, for instance.
Disappointingly though, the release plans has blu-ray and DVD entries as well, but no such thing for the "1" themed release which last December was planned for this October.

The Beatles Again

"The Beatles Again" front cover and record.
Had it not been for the reputation of the seller, we would have thought it was a fantasy dream item, manufactured by bootleggers. This is the very first fully manufactured album cover and record for the Beatles' US LP release from 1970, "The Beatles Again" (Apple SO-385). As you may know, the original title of this album was slated by Apple Records to be "The Beatles Again". That title was later changed to "Hey Jude" when they decided to market the album on the strength of that huge hit single.
You can find the "Beatles Again" records themselves around as they were issued in the far more common fully marked "Hey Jude" titled covers upon their initial release. A long time ago, I won that album in a competition on the radio here in Norway, with "The Beatles Again" on the labels and a regular "Hey Jude" album cover. These were imported to Norway and could be found in record shops.

What you don't find around and will likely ever see again, is the original authentic alternate "Beatles Again" fully titled covers! In fact, this is perhaps the rarest Beatles album cover in the world! Well, behold, , here indeed, is a truly authentic early "Beatles Again" album cover and record! It is 100% authentic guaranteed. It is a fully constructed cover from corner to corner. note the "Beatles Again" title and "SO-385" number are on spine as well. Also note the back cover features a purple border around the image and the title "Beatles Again" in purple print on the image. The spine is purple as well, with white print.

"The Beatles Again" back cover and record.

The quality of the record, currently for sale on ebay: "The condition is a very nice vg+ to ++. The seams are intact with only a 1/4" seam wear through at the lower right corner. Some very light wear otherwise, but this one is in great shape. To date, there are two known examples of this rare album to exist at all. The record is near mint all the way around labels and vinyl."
This item will be accompanied with the seller's lifetime guarantee letter of authenticity.

The seller of this item is Perry Cox, co-author of a series of price guides for American Beatles records.

Source: Ebay.com

Beatles promo clips on TV

Fantasy blu-ray compilation of Beatles promo clips. Reality soon?
This weekend, a TV station in Holland presented a couple of TV shows which may be of interest to you. On Saturday 23 August 2014, the Dutch oldies TV station "192 TV" broadcast 33 Beatles promo clips (that's "music videos" for any youngsters out there) in a show called "The Beatles: 50 jaar na Blokker - ook op veler verzoek in de herhaling" ("50 years after Blokker - too many requests in the repetition", translation by Google). The TV station had replaced all of the original audio with the 'best available' audio (which means live audio is replaced by studio audio). It was an entertaining 1,5 hours of Beatles clips in chronological order (based on the Dutch singles chart entries - plus three inserts 'I Need You', 'You're Gonna Lose That Girl' and 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' which weren't issued there on a single). The next day they played an hour long special, featuring Beatles solo promo clips.

Here's the tracklisting (and the sources):

1) LOVE ME DO (1982 promo clip)
2) SHE LOVES YOU (from The Mersey Sound)
3) I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND (from Ed Sullivan Show)
4) FROM ME TO YOU (from Ed Sullivan Show)
5) PLEASE PLEASE ME (from Ed Sullivan Show)
6) CAN'T BUY ME LOVE (from Ready Steady Go)
7) ALL MY LOVING (from Ed Sullivan Show)
8) I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER (from A Hard Day's Night)
9) AND I LOVE HER (from A Hard Day's Night)
10) I FEEL FINE (from Ed Sullivan Show)
11) TICKET TO RIDE (from Help!)
12) HELP! (the promo from the start of the Help! film, without darts etc.)
13) I NEED YOU (from Help!)
14) YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE THAT GIRL (from Help!)
15) YESTERDAY (from Ed Sullivan Show)
16) WE CAN WORK IT OUT (from The Music Of Lennon-McCartney)
17) DAY TRIPPER (from The Music Of Lennon-McCartney)
18) YOU'VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY (from Help!)
19) PAPERBACK WRITER (colour promo clip from Chiswick)
20) PENNY LANE (promo clip)
21) STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER (promo clip - original version)
22) ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (from Our World - Anthology colour version)
23) HELLO GOODBYE (promo clip - Anthology version)
24) I AM THE WALRUS (from Magical Mystery Tour)
25) MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (from Magical Mystery Tour)
26) THE FOOL ON THE HILL (from Magical Mystery Tour)
27) LADY MADONNA (promo clip - Anthology version)
28) HEY JUDE (promo clip)
29) REVOLUTION (promo clip)
30) GET BACK (from Let It Be)
31) THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO (promo clip-Anthology version)
32) LET IT BE (from Let It Be - Anthology version)
33) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD (from Let It Be)

And here's "Part Two": John, Paul, George and Ringo solo:

1) GIVE PEACE A CHANCE (footage of demonstrations)
2) INSTANT KARMA! (Top Of The Pops - Yoko knitting)
3) IT DON'T COME EASY (shot in snow clad Norway - from "Cilla in Scandinavia")
4) MY SWEET LORD (from the Bangladesh concert film + stills)
5) MOTHER (studio version to stills)
6) POWER TO THE PEOPLE (Promo film, more demonstrations)
7) EAT AT HOME (footage of Paul and Linda from various sources)
8) IMAGINE (Promo film)
9) MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB (Promo film (fading colours) in a barn)
10) HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) (Christmas tree + winter photos of John. Harlem Community Choir and War Is Over poster campaign)
11) HI, HI, HI (Original promo film in 4:3, not from McCartney Years)
12) MY LOVE (as above)
13) HELEN WHEELS (as above)
14) MIND GAMES (Original promo film - John walking in New York with hat)
15) BAND ON THE RUN (Starts with "drawings" promo with Beatles imagery, as on McCartney Years, goes over to footage from "Wings Over The World", as well as footage from the cover shoot)

The TV station broadcasts digitally, and the quality was quite nice. So, is the Beatles section an early clue to what we might expect from the proposed "1" music video compilation or was this something a Beatles fan at the 192 TV station put together?
The nicely synched record sound to the Ed Sullivan clips hints at official Apple work. I wouldn't be at all surprised if these clips are included on the "1" DVD.
Disappointing if they stick with the "Anthology" creations, though. The Anthology editions of the promo clips usually inject outtake or unrelated footage into the original sixties promos, creating new (and perhaps more entertaining) but historically incorrect music videos. Thankfully, "Strawberry Fields Forever" remains like it was in the sixties (and is probably inserted here by 192 TV, it's not on "1"). The version shown on Anthology had some orange nineties colourisation added, as well as some home movie footage which was never part of the original promo. "All You Need Is Love" was originally filmed in black and white, the colour was added by the producers of Anthology. The Anthology version of "Hello Goodbye" was a mix of original promos 1, 2 and 3 from the sixties, the "Lady Madonna" clip, originally just footage of the Beatles recording "Hey Bulldog" had inserts from other films (notably "Hey Jude" clips from the "Music! Experiment in Television" film), and "Let It Be" contains a still of the film poster not originally present. I was hoping they would leave the sixties versions of the promo clips intact, but judging from the clips here, they will be the Anthology era edits. "Hey Jude" however, is not in great quality here (good, but not Anthology quality), so perhaps these are not the "1" films after all.

This weekend's programming was certainly reminiscent of the old Australian Beatles TV specials by the "Rage" TV show on ABC, although they usually mixed the solo stuff in between their Beatles clips. That show was the source of many Beatles video compilations being traded among us Beatles video collectors back in the late eighties/early nineties. In 2005, "Rage" wanted to do a Beatles TV Special again, featuring "over 3 hours of videoclips, interviews and *live* performances". Sadly, the show never aired, the website of the show citing "unforseen circumstances" as the reason.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Beatles' first USA concert tour

THE BEATLES' FIRST USA TOUR 1964


Tour programme

19 August Cow Palace, San Francisco
20 August Convention Hall, Las Vegas
21 August Coliseum, Seattle
22 August Empire Stadium, Vancouver
23 August Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
26 August Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver
27 August The Gardens, Cincinnati
28-29 August Forest Hills Stadium, New York
30 August Convention Hall, Atlantic City
2 September Convention Hall, Philadelphia
3 September State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis
4 September Auditorium, Milwaukee
5 September International Amphitheatre, Chicago
6 September Olympia Stadium, Detroit
7 September Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
8 September Forum, Montreal
11 September Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
12 September Boston Gardens, Boston
13 September Civic Centre, Baltimore
14 September Civic Arena, Pittsburgh
15 September Public Auditorium, Cleveland
16 September City Park Stadium, New Orleans
17 September Municipal Stadium, Kansas City
18 September Memorial Coliseum, Dallas
20 September Paramount Theatre, New York

America is celebrating the Beatles' first proper North American tour these days, and in every city they played some sort of commemorative stuff is going on, either in the local papers, tribute concerts, photo exhibitions. local TV news etc.
Above is the tour itinerary, and it's linked to actual footage of each concert, with a few exceptions.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

George Harrison Apple Years update

Amazon Germany screen shots
Thanks to Dirk Bock, for alerting us to the fact that the new George Harrison remasters have shown up on Amazon's German affiliate, as imports. So now we have the album titles confirmed. As you can see they are:

- Wonderwall Music
- Electronic Sound
- All Things Must Pass (2 CD)
- Living In The Material World
- Dark Horse
- Extra Texture

Seven discs in all, just like Dhani Harrison implied.

Release date is given as 19 September 2014, but we heard 23 September for USA and 22. September for Europe (the Germans always release titles a little earlier than the rest of Europe).
From "insiders", here are some more details, including a list of the bonus tracks.
"George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-75" will be the full title of the boxed set. All the albums are remastered again in 2014, ignoring the previous remasterings of "All Things Must Pass" and "Living In The Material World".

There is no separate CD of bonus audio. All bonus tracks will be on their respective albums. The boxed set will contain a bonus DVD and a beautiful book full of never-before-seen photos. The CD labels will be virtually identical to the original LP releases, even including a Zapple label for Electronic Sound. Copyright info on the discs is listed as G.H. Estate Limited under exclusive license to Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group).

- The Platinum Weird version of "This Guitar" will be the sole bonus track on "Extra Texture".
- The studio version of "Bangladesh" is a bonus track on "Material World", along with "Deep Blue" and "Miss O'Dell".
- For Wonderwall Music, the bonus tracks are "In The First Place", "Almost Shankara" and "The Inner Light" (Alternative Take Instrumental).

The cover of "All Things Must Pass" is black and white on this release. In addition to some never-before-published pictures, the booklets to the albums, as well as the book accompanying the boxed set, show really nice pictures of master tape boxes from Abbey Road Studios, Apple Studios, A&M Records and FPSHOT, plus there's a funny picture of George's original handwritten and colored label idea for "Ding Ding, Ding Dong", which is listed as being by "G. Plan & The Wigtappers."

The separately released CDs will be in the same digipak style as The Beatles remasters.

The remastering was not done at Abbey Road but at Lurssen Mastering.

A placeholder listing of the boxed set at Amazon (UK) says "Label: Apple Corps Ltd".

Unboxing The Beatles in Mono vinyl box



Pete Nash from The Beatles Fan Club Magazine unboxes The Beatles Mono Vinyl box set.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

TV biopic of Cilla Black

Here's the trailer for an upcoming TV dramatisation of the Cilla Black story, produced by ITV. Look out for cameos by "the Beatles"!



Cilla is played by award winning actress Sheridan Smith. Just in case you were wondering, that's actually her singing too!
Acclaimed writer Jeff Pope has penned Cilla, a three-part drama for ITV, starring Sheridan Smith as the famous Liverpudlian songbird.
Sheridan will be joined in the cast by Aneurin Barnard as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, John Henshaw as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill is Cilla’s mother.
‘Cilla’ tells of her rocky rise to fame and will capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool, the atmosphere of promise and excitement as the Merseybeat music scene was on the verge of exploding in a blaze of tight-fitting skirts, stiletto heels, and beehives.
A young, unknown Cilla works in the austere environs of the typists’ pool at a local company, dreaming of stardom. The drama looks at how she met the two men who came to love her and ultimately fought over her - future husband Bobby Willis and legendary manager Brian Epstein, the tragic young businessman who also guided the career of The Beatles.
We learn how Cilla’s burgeoning friendship with John, Paul, George and Ringo - the four young men who went on to conquer the music world - shaped her career. The names of the actors playing the parts of John, Paul, George and Ringo are still unknown. It was family friend Ritchie Starkey (Ringo), the teddy-boy with a greasy quiff, who help her to cross paths with Brian Epstein and producer George Martin - who were to launch her career with recording sessions at the world famous Abbey Road Studios.
The ITV Studios production will recount the dark days of her early career, her on-off relationship with Bobby, a baker at Woolworth’s with the gift of the gab, who struggled to accept Cilla’s iron determination to succeed and become a star at the expense of practically every other area of her life.
The ITV drama Cilla will be released in late 2014.

Abbey Road - September 1969

Abbey Road, September 25, 1969. Photo: Dr. Ronald Kunze  

Thanks to Thorsten Knublauch who alerted us to this photo. Taken by Dr. Ronald Kunze in September 1969, it shows the crossing, Abbey Road studios and that VW Beetle, now parked on the other side of the road than when the Beatles had photos taken for the album the previous month. It was taken the day before the album release. The photo appeared on the German Wikipedia entry for Abbey Road.

Abbey Road studios entrance, September 25, 1969. Photo: Dr. Ronald Kunze  
A second photo shows the entrance to the studios, at the time the studios were still named "EMI Recording Studios". They changed the name to "Abbey Road Studios" in the early seventies following the success of the Beatles' album. Ever since, they have never been content with the sign above the door...
The sign above the door has been subject to change many times after the studios were renamed.

Your's truly on the steps of Abbey Road Studios a few years back.
Of course, the Beatles.com page has also published a black and white photo, said to have been taken the morning of the day when the Beatles crossed the road.

Empty crossing, 1969.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Beatles CD's on their way?

Vol 3 in the new "Historic Live Recordings" series
We're more than a little puzzled by the fact that OxTango Music got away with re-releasing the Beatles' Star Club tapes on CD, seemingly without any legal action taking place. And what's more,  a couple of days ago they revealed plans for further Beatles CDs in a series called "Historic Live Recordings" (3 double CD sets) as well as a "Get Back Nagra Tape Remasters" (a 3 CD set). The company is also releasing new CDs by Bob Dylan as well as the Rolling Stones.

Is there an amnesty for bootleggers regarding CD releases these days? What's happening? A cunning plan from Apple Corps Ltd to sneak out Beatles recordings for hard core fans?

Track listings and artwork on the company's website: OxTango-Music.com

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ringo & John's Icon albums

As we posted earlier, a couple of Ringo Starr and John Lennon compilations are hitting the CD market in the shape of two releases in Universal's "Icon" series.

John Lennon: Icon
Tracks:
Imagine
(Just Like) Starting Over
Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
Stand By Me
Watching The Wheels
Mind Games
Jealous Guy
Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
Love
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Give Peace A Chance

Ringo Starr: Icon
Tracks:
Photograph
It Don't Come Easy
You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful and You're Mine)
Oh My My
Only You (And You Alone)
King of Broken Hearts
No No Song
Back Off Boogaloo
Walk With You
(It's All Down To) Goodnight Vienna
Yellow Submarine (live)

Nice to see two of his newer songs (King of Broken Hearts, Walk With You) mixed in with this mainly seventies collection. "Yellow Submarine" may have been taken from a previous release by the All Starr Band. Or perhaps not?
Badfinger's album "Timeless" was also an Icon release, and sported a full Apple label. Maybe these will, too?
Release date is 9 September.