Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Beatles Year!

It was 50 years today that The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records. Ever since the mid-seventies, the Decca audition tape has been floating around among Beatles fans, but always from the same source tape. Some of the tracks were released by small record companies in the eighties and nineties, until The Beatles/Apple won a court case, and became the exclusive owner of the recordings. In 1995, The Beatles released the album Anthology 1, which included five of the songs performed at the audition: "Searchin'", "Like Dreamers Do", "Hello Little Girl", "Three Cool Cats", and "The Sheik of Araby". The full session tape goes like this:

"Like Dreamers Do" (Lennon–McCartney)
"Money (That's What I Want)" (Gordy/Bradford)
"Till There Was You" (Meredith Willson)
"The Sheik of Araby" (Smith/Wheeler/Snyder)
"To Know Her Is to Love Her" (Phil Spector)
"Take Good Care of My Baby" (King/Goffin)
"Memphis, Tennessee" (Chuck Berry) (not released)
"Sure to Fall (In Love with You)" (Cantrell/Claunch/Perkins)
"Hello Little Girl" (Lennon–McCartney)
"Three Cool Cats" (Leiber/Stoller)
"Crying, Waiting, Hoping" (Buddy Holly)
"Love of the Loved" (Lennon–McCartney)
"September in the Rain" (Warren/Dubin)
"Bésame Mucho" (Consuelo Velázquez)
"Searchin'" (Leiber/Stoller)

2012 is a big year for The Beatles, and will no doubt be a year which we'll see some new Beatles releases. Why I think this is the case is because EMI has always used the release of "Love Me Do" in 1962 as a reference point to stage their Beatles anniversaries. But we fans know that New Year's Day is the real anniversary. So how about it, Apple? Even though this is the Pete Best incarnation of the Beatles, the full Decca audition tape is riper than ripe for an official release. And in late 2011, a new and better source tape started to circulate among Beatles collectors...

Friday, 30 December 2011

Ringo on BBC Radio 6

A second chance to hear a radio show we missed out on before, Matt Everitt discusses musical milestones with the one and only Ringo Starr. Ringo talks Matt Everitt through his remarkable career - from the early days when his family inspired him to pick up the drumsticks, the influence of Radio Luxembourg and his very first performance with The Beatles; to Beatlemania, conquering the world and how the band's slow and painful break-up felt to an insider. Ringo also discusses life after The Beatles, his solo career and his All-Starr Band in an interview first heard in September 2011. 5 days left to hear this here.

"Home" finds a home

One of the things Beatles fans indulge in, is trying to imagine what an early Beatles concert would be like. Oh, to have a properly equipped DeLorean! Little exists in the way of recorded material from the years 1957-1960, but thanks to the research of Beatles historians like Mark Lewisohn we have a list of songs they performed. Old set lists unearthed and the memories of early fans have been jogged to establish a body of songs that graced the early shows. But who was the lead vocalist on which song? One such song is now finally finding it's Beatles home on Paul McCartney's upcoming "Kisses on the bottom" album. Historically, "Home (When Shadows Fall)" was part of the Quarrymen/Beatles set lists from 1957-1960. No recording of the fabs performing said song exists, but now that Paul McCartney has recorded it, it seems likely that he was the one resposible for it's inclusion on stage back then. That much we might have guessed.

"Home (When Shadows Fall)" was composed around about 1931 by Peter Van Steeden, Harry Clarkson and Jeff Clarkson. The McCartney household may have had a recording of it, or even more likely, sheet music. Paul's father James used to play songs on the family piano, and this song seems right up his alley.

The culprit of the recent leaks, this advance copy of McCartney's album has a different song order than the one previously published. Which explains the segue between "Only Our Hearts" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"

Paul McCartney's valentine's day album "Kisses on the bottom" was recently leaked in the form of an audio stream played by several internet radio stations. Fan reactions to the album have been mixed, and the subtle use of autotune commented on. The most ridiculous reactions have been of ignorants speculating that McCartney has run out of songs of his own. As we know, McCartney has recorded not one but two albums, one with cover versions and one regular album. The other album, due out in the future, is full of new McCartney compositions, no doubt. And even the cover album has got two new McCartney compositions.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ringo 2012 DeLuxe

Details about the forthcoming album by our favourite singing drummer have been revealed. The regular CD will be released on January 24th, followed by a DeLuxe edition (CD + DVD), which will be an Amazon exclusive, on January 31st. On that same date, the album will also be released on 180 grams vinyl.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Kisses on the Bottom

The new McCartney album, due out February 6th (7th in the USA), has leaked out to the internet in it's entirity today. And the title has been revealed (and twittered by Paul), "Kisses on the Bottom" - a lift from the lyrics of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter".
Amazon's editorial review: While many a musician is often asked about the tunes that have influenced their songwriting, it is not a question Paul McCartney ordinarily gets to answer - until now. Paul is about to offer a glimpse into "the songs which inspired the songs" with the upcoming release of a brand new album of those standards he grew up listening to in his childhood-plus two brand new McCartney compositions. With the help of Grammyr Award-winning producer Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall and her band-as well as guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, McCartney's new album is a deeply personal journey through classic American compositions that, in some cases, a young Paul first heard his father perform on piano at home. As authentic and daring a musical statement as he could make, this is the album Paul has been thinking about making for more than 20 years - and probably the last thing his fans are expecting. "In the end it was 'Look, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it'," he says. In short, Paul believes it is about time "the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on" received the recognition they deserve.
Moreover, the record also features a couple of new original McCartney compositions in the spirit of those classics. "When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them," Paul explains. "I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys - I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it's beautiful, the way they made those songs." Determined to approach the record in a new and unique manner, Paul enlisted the help of LiPuma and Krall and her band-who delivered ultra-high quality musicianship and were completely in tune with Paul's restraint and feel for the music.

In the studio, the recording of this album was also a new challenge for Paul who, for the first time ever, performed exclusively in the vocal booth without an instrument - no guitar, no bass, no piano - which led to a vocal performance like no other in his career. He adds, "It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we'd work with The Beatles. We'd bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we'd say 'Okay, let's do a take now' and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we'd learnt the song. So that's what we did, we did the take live in the studio." "It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise." The album was recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011. It also features guest musicians Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, respectively, on the original compositions "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts."
The deluxe version will include the same tracks below but have expanded artwork and a download card for an exclusive live performance.

The vinyl will be 180 gram with a download card as well.

1 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter 2:36
2 Home (When Shadows Fall) 4:04
3 It's Only A Paper Moon 2:34
4 More I Cannot Wish You 3:03
5 The Glory Of Love 3:45
6 We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me) 3:22
7 Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive 2:31
8 My Valentine 3:14
9 Always 3:49
10 My Very Good Friend The Milkman 3:04
11 Bye Bye Blackbird 4:26
12 Get Yourself Another Fool 4:41
13 The Inch Worm 3:42
14 Only Our Hearts 4:21

Thursday, 22 December 2011

BBC Radio 4 Beatles Christmas

Presenter Alexei Sayle ('ullo John, got a new motah'?) explores how the Beatles' fan club messages were recorded with comments from the man who wrote the scripts, Beatles publicist Tony Barrow. The fan club recordings are featured and reflect the changing stages of the Beatles career and creativity. The programme also reveals the Beatles played two seasons in pantomime, and we hear what was going on back stage.
Christmas 1963 saw The Beatles taking to the stage for 16 shows across the seasonal period and it's surprising they took to wearing pantomime costume so well.
The Beatles did a second spell in pantomime, this time playing 21 shows in London Christmas '64 and the programme has comments from supporting acts, singer Elkie Brooks and Barron Knights guitarist Peter Langford.
Time is also devoted to the group's Boxing Day broadcast on BBC 1 for their 'Magical Mystery Tour' film, and we hear how the movie was made and scheduled for festive family viewing, with comments from the film's editor Roy Benson.
And all this in only thirty minutes. First broadcast on the 27th of December, and repeated on the 31st.
Programme website

Off The Beatle Track album cover

Several attempts were made to shoot the cover photo for The Beatles' first album, originally titled "Off The Beatle Track".Here's a video I made from this particular cover session, set to "Chains", my girlfriend's favourite.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

My Valentine tracks

"My Valentine" track list (from Wikipedia)
1. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter (Alhert/Young) 2:36
2. Home (When Shadows Fall) (Van Steeden/Clarkson/Clarkson) 4:04
3. It's Only a Paper Moon (Arlen/Harburg/Rose) 2:35
4. More I Cannot Wish You (Loesser) 3:03
5. The Glory of Love (Hill) 3:45
6. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me) (Dorsey/Robertson/Mysels) 3:22
7. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive (Arlen/Mercer) 2:31
8. My Valentine (McCartney) 3:14
9. Always (Berlin) 3:49
10. My Very Good Friend the Milkman (Burke/Spina) 3:04
11. Bye Bye Blackbird (Henderson/Dixon) 4:26
12. Get Yourself Another Fool (Forrest/Heywood) 4:42
13. The Inch Worm (Loesser) 3:42
14. Only Our Hearts (McCartney?) 4:21

My Valentine will be the fifteenth solo studio album by Paul McCartney, and is set to be released on 7 February 2012 from Concord/Hear Music.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ram update

About the delayed RAM deluxe remaster book and CD's: word is 80% of the book is ready, but only 20% of the audio and the video discs have been finalised. Meanwhile you can visit Paul McCartney's HP revamped cloud-based website, both the Ram videos are viewable there, "Heart of The Country" and "3 Legs". But you need to find your way around there to discover them.

While on the subject of Paul McCartney, his next studio album will be entitled "My Valentine" and is expected to be released on Feb 6th 2012. It will be an album of old standards, along with his own compositions in the same style. "You Gave Me The Answer", "When I'm Sixty-four" and "Honey Pie" comes to mind. "My Valentine" is also the title of the composition he serenaded his wife with at their wedding recetion.

Ringo Starr 2012

So here's the cover and the track list! The new Ringo Starr album Ringo 2012 will feature the following nine songs:
1. Anthem (Richard Starkey/Glen Ballard)
2. Wings (Richard Starkey/Vince Poncia) re-working
3. Think It Over (Buddy Holly/Norman Perry) from the Buddy Holly tribute album
4. Samba (Richard Starkey/Van Dyke Parks)
5. Rock Island Line (Arrangement by Richard Starkey)
6. Step Lightly (Richard Starkey) re-working
7. Wonderful (Richard Starkey/Gary Nicholson)
8. In Liverpool (Richard Starkey/Dave Stewart)
9. Slow Down (Richard Starkey/Joe Walsh)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Let's all be Beatles!


Currently for sale on ebay is the rare movie poster for a 1963 compilation of Pathe Newsreels, claiming to be the first Beatles movie poster.
And here's the film in question: