Monday, 22 May 2017

Sgt Pepper - what's new

"We are taking a walk in the park"
Last week, we published a review by Anna Crusis of the super deluxe anniversary edition of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Anna has now written a post script to her initial review, which we have tagged on to the end of the post with the original review.

Next up is Mike Carrera, who has sent us his own thoughts about the upcoming release. You might remember Mike as he has guested the blog earlier, with his thorough analysis of Beatles and solo music videos. His analysis of the Sgt Pepper outtakes compare them to previously available versions from the Anthology releases, the stems from the decoded RockBand Beatles video game, as well as various bootleg releases - especially noting what's new and previously unavailable. So this is basically a review for an audience of fans who are avid students of Mark Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions" book and The Beatles' studio work.

Record store promo standee, now you can be George!

By Mike Carrera

This is not like the other review or a copy and also is not a review regarding sound quality (the tracks of this Deluxe edition are exceptional regarding that, all the tracks are upgrades compared to previously available versions), but comparing how much of the outtakes tracks on the forthcoming Sgt. Pepper DeLuxe edition (discs 2, 3 and Bonus tracks from CD 4) are new, edited, longer, etc compared with previous releases, official and bootleg. Giles Martin recently said that almost everything was left intact, well this is not so.
Mistakes and corrections are so welcome, just be respectful, we are no experts but real fans. English is not my native language, but we’ll try our best.


1.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 1]
Too much criticism to George Martin because on Anthology CDs Vol. 2 he "erased" Paul and George’s backing vocals, when in reality, he gave us the actual TAKE 1 without any overdubs as Mark Lewisohn documented, a version that wasn’t bootlegged before that. The very same day of this recording, November 24th, 1966, John recorded a second vocal (double tracked vocal) and Paul and George added backing harmonies, all over that first take and that’s the version that was bootlegged before and it’s the same version appearing now.
Now, on this Deluxe edition: Giles edited out some mellotron warm up sounds after the "Take One" announcement, missing 22 seconds that are available on bootleg, and also he faded out 8 seconds of post-take studio sounds.

2.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 4]
The bootlegs have it complete, while now Giles faded out five seconds of music (the actual end). Everything else is the same, including the slate announcement.

3.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
Could this be something new (as Take 7- overdubs on Take 6-  has been around on bootlegs for many years)?
It runs 3:16, while the booted version of this very same take runs 3:29 (depending on the source of your bootleg, some runs at a slower speed (3:29), some faster (3:24). Don’t count the version of this very same take that appear on Pegboy’s title "It’s Not Too Bad" which is way much slower and incomplete).
This Take 7 from the new Pepper Deluxe Box set has the same introduction as on bootlegs (with someone whistling and George Martin saying "Strawberry Fields Forever Take seven…"), Giles again edited out 8 seconds after the "Remix from four track Take Six" announcement and also did a fade out, but despite having those edits, there is something different:
- On any of the bootleg versions of Take 7 stereo, after the "Remix from four track take six" announcement, there is a slight space of silence, then the tape running again, some mellotron sounds and John making a quick "Donald Duck" impression over those sounds (not available on Take 6), some silence  and after that John can be heard with a small hiccup and saying "Ohh" (that comes from Take 6), then the take begins.
- On this "new" version after the "Remix from four track take six" announcement, we can hear only a count-in from Paul "Two, Three, Four" (not present on any of the past takes, especially Take 6), there is no John with hiccup or saying anything. If we compare this version with RM3 (Mono Remix) but the version from the bootleg and not the one included on Anthology CD 2 because that version  has the slate edited out; we can hear after George Martin says "Strawberry Fields RM3" a different tape intro and later the same mellotron sounds but without the Donald Duck impression, and Paul’s count in loud and clear, and also no hiccup from John, so the RM3 Mono mix from the bootlegs is very similar to this new "Take 7", but this is in stereo. An undocumented RS mix or simply Giles edited out the "Donald Duck" sounds, the hiccup, the "Ohh" and added Paul’s count-in? But if he did that, why the original RM3 doesn’t have also neither of that and the count-in has the same volume intensity? Giles took Paul’s count-in from the Mono Mix? (because none of the bootleg sources containing Take 7 have a count-in.)
This Take 7 Stereo Mix is new to me. Let’s wait for what the line notes of the Deluxe Box will say.

4.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]  
Again, the bootleg version is complete with pre-take announcement sounds and no slight fade out at the end, while on this new version we have that. Also Giles try to hide John’s vocal warm ups during the first seconds on the song that can be heard clear and loud on the bootleg and here are almost imperceptible.

5.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix - 2015]
This doesn’t belong here, this is an outtakes CD, Come on Giles?

6.  When I'm Sixty-Four [Take 2] (*Actually SI onto Take 2)
New. This "mix" made by Giles could be a replica of a Rockband mogg version if it wasn’t that we have some extra vocals from Paul (u-bi-doo) during the middle and at the very end.
Starts with a "Take Two" announcement and some warm up but the rest is just the released take (minus overdubs), so this is not actual Take 2 (Takes 1 and 2 were instrumental). This is Take 2 + Vocal Overdub (the same as the released version, Giles could have use a different vocal take but he didn’t) recorded two days later. Why not Take 1 instead or both? Why only one version of this song (same with other songs like Lovely Rita or Pepper reprise) and six (if you count the mono mix) of Strawberry Fields Forever?

7.  Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]
New. One of the highlights of this new Deluxe set not available before.
Paul starts the count-in and the familiar piano notes, but from the second 41 the song adds  a different rhythm buried on the final take (and also buried on the Anthology CD2 version that uses part of this take).
 This is like hearing a new Penny Lane version with instruments and elements not present on the final or the other known takes. Length 2:55

8.  Penny Lane [Vocal Overdubs And Speech]
New. "Vocal overdubs"??  Just the boys hearing through their headphones a rough cut of the song while they add some "da da daa" and handclaps (and sing some parts at the same time but not for recording, just to keep track of their "hand clap overdubs"). Still, new and nice to hear. Length: 1:47

9.  Penny Lane [Stereo Mix - 2017]  
Again Giles?

10. A Day In The Life [Take 1]
"In the Life Of… Take One" announcement available before but some micro seconds before that are new. This take was partially available mixing the Anthology Vol. 2 CD and the Making of Sgt Pepper, here is complete for the first time. It lacks Paul’s vocal part. During the last 24-bar count in by Mal, John jokes on him counting from 10 to 13 in a funny voice.

11. A Day In The Life [Take 2]
The other highlight of this new boxed set. Pretty much the same as Take 1 but at the end John improvises with his piano. Starts with a "Take Two" announcement that is new. 2:20 of this song was available before on the Anthology CD 2, now we have it complete running 4:48. It also lacks Paul’s vocal part. The final  "Hummm" Take 11 was edited here at the end for some strange reason and on the 2 disc version will be included after Take 1. (For the die-hards, they need to also buy the 2 CD version just for that edit)

12. A Day In The Life [Orchestra Overdub]  
Already available on Anthology 2 discs but now here it is complete and clean, still nothing really new or great because it’s also the released take from the final part. Starts with some ambient noises, people talking at distance, "A Day in the Life" playing as background just to keep track. The end is the same as on the Anthology CDs but lacks Paul’s comments that were inserted there.  Just 0:55 of duration.

13. A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord) [Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11] 
New although Take 11 was already available coming from the Rough Cut of the Anthology Video but from off-line audio, now we have it direct from the board. 1:53 is the total length of this track and until we have the liner notes, we don’t know yet who’s doing the "Hummmss" besides John, Paul and George that can be heard on the tape, plus a woman that could be Patti Boyd (picture available) or Leslie Bryce (Beatles Monthly Book) or Cynthia or anyone else and one or two more male vocals that could be also anyone since Mark Lewisohn says this four takes named edit pieces takes 8-11 were recorded after the orchestral session where many friends attended. Even Mark L. don’t document who’s here doing all the “Hummmms” but it immediately reminds me of these pictures:

14. A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)
New. All nine takes for the first time (all announced and all complete except the final take, according to Mark L, take 7 was 59 seconds long but Giles here just included THREE seconds, the rest seems to be as complete as they were recorded).  John, Paul, Ringo and Mal Evans at the same time on three pianos recording all nine edit pieces of the final piano note. Take 9 here is the overdubbed version and almost near the end we can hear George Martin saying "pretty good". Total length of this track is 2:52, another highlight of this new collection.

15. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 1 – Instrumental]   
New. Take announcement coming from both Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush. That is new, the following warm-up pre take is edited here on the official box to just 13 seconds, five of which are new, but the rest was already available from the Rockband video game "chats and warm up before the actual song" mix and lasting longer (49 seconds) before they play the actual Take 1 (also NEW). Another highlight from this box, and after the take ends we can hear Geoff saying "Take Two"..

16. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]  (*Actually Takes 9 & 10 and Speech)
Another "Gilestein" mix. Actual Take 9 was a backing track or instrumental. Take 10 became when Paul added his final vocal part BUT before that he also tried many vocal takes, none of which were included here but the final and official vocal take! (except for the "Free Now" impro)  Why, Giles? (An alternate vocal take  snippet can be heard during the "Eight Days A Week" movie, by the way). So this could be also be near as another Rockband mogg of the official vocal track on top of the instrumental Take 9. The actual Take 10 Mono mix is available on bootlegs coming from an acetate in poor quality but  we can hear the final part with the longer ending and there is no Paul improvising the "Free Now" bit. That came from an earlier vocal take and we can hear the difference in Paul’s vocal, there is echo on his voice during "I feel it, I feel it", and there was no echo when he sang the actual Sgt Pepper song, and Giles simply added it here (works great though!), and the final speech is little bit suspicious: First, it doesn’t come from the final vocal take since we can hear Paul saying "I think it'll probably be another day singing it", second, it was already available also from the Rockband chats and bits but CLEAN, no background music apparently coming out from the headphones of the Beatles as we can hear now on this official track, where we can hear again in the background the "Free Now" bit, while Paul, John and George are talking. Weird, Rockband has this dialogue clean.
So, this is  a mix from Takes 9 &  10 with a mix from another vocal take, not Take 9.
Take Nine announcement and full end of the song (the acetate version of Take 10 fades out little bit earlier): New, vocal track (Take 10): the official version, not new; Free Now impro: well, partially new and the final Speech: Not new and with a strange mix on the background (clean on Rockband).
17. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 1 - Instrumental, Breakdown]
New, only 1:03 but great. After the breakdown we can hear a "Take Two" announcement as well.

18. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
The first 8 seconds pre-take warm up are new, the rest of the take was already released on the Anthology 2 CDs in a different mix (inverted channels plus sounds better there than here in my opinion, John’s vocal is brighter), the rest of the song until it’s end is identical, no extra seconds after.

Paul McCartney and George Martin in studio 2 with session musicians, probably for "Penny Lane".

CD 3:

1.  Fixing A Hole [Take 1] (partially NEW)
2.  Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3] (NEW)
We have something weird happening here with the "Fixing a Hole" takes. Mark Lewisohn documents that TAKE 2 was marked "Final Master" from the Feb 9, 1967 Regent Studio session and was the one used to work on Feb 21. He says the Beatles did three takes at Regent, One and Two complete and the third being a breakdown (which could only mean incomplete), but the following track on this new Deluxe Box has Take 3 complete (2:38 plus the dialogue and warm up and the intro), only Paul changing and missing a few verses but the take is complete not a breakdown. Then he says that of Feb 21 they did another Take 1 to be mixed together with the original Take three recorded Feb 9. Yes, Take 3! (a breakdown take?), Take 2 was “Final Master” but they wanted to use a Breakdown take 3? But as that didn’t work, they used that original Take 2 from Feb 9. But if you listen carefully this Take 1 on the new Deluxe box set is the released Take (with the original bass, the released version has (apparently) a small part re-recorded), not only the instrumentation but also Paul’s vocal (not double tracked yet), it lasts longer than the released take (this is 2:49 (+ ten extra seconds of post-take) and the released take is 2:37) and maybe that’s why it could sound like a different take and also Paul singing different vocals near the end. But this is the released take, after a back to back comparison using also Rockband’s moggs for backing track (slight different speed on the released version) and for vocal track (playing both at the same time, even the "Heeh" during middle eight that is buried on the official version and that can be heard with the Rockband mogg is present on both versions). Other people who have also been listening to it have posted the very same. More weird, this doesn’t have a double tracked vocal from Paul yet but at 2:34 we can hear another Paul vocal singing with himself. Also this "Take 1" is not slated at the intro and also is incomplete, we can’t hear the actual end, the tape cuts at 2:49 and after that we can hear like another warm up intro for a following take (or part from an overdub?), so we can’t compare the actual end of "Take 1" versus the actual Take 3 from Regent Studios.
Maybe documentation for this song was incorrect and now it's accurate and Take 1 was the one used to add overdubs and not Take 2. Still, if you also do a back to back comparison between this Take 1 and 3, some instruments sound different, Take 3 has a more "naked" and "live" sound and Take 1 sounds already mixed. Also, Paul’s vocal tones and intentions on many of the lines of the song are way different compared to the released take (or "Take 1" here). Maybe Giles also added a vocal overdub from Feb 21 that was also double tracked that day and erased the actual live vocal take from Feb 9? With the liner notes perhaps we will find out more, or maybe not.
Part of the "Speech" before Take 3 was already on the Rockband "pre song" chats.

3.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Speech From Before Take 1; Take 4 And Speech At End]  
"Speech From Before Take 1" was already on the Anthology 2 CDs and it’s the very same.
The pre-take 4 warm up is already available from the Rockband songs (shorter here), Take 4 is new and also the speech at the end. Length 3:07

4.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 7]  
The pre take warm up also already available on the Rockband songs but Paul’s count-in is new, it’s not the same count-in from the Anthology 2 CDs: (George Martin: "OK Man let’s go, Lights on"/Paul’s count-in and John whistling) so the count-in here or on the Anthology CDs comes from a different take but not the 7th.  The other main difference is that the Anthology Version has double tracked vocal or echo attached to John’s vocal, while on this new release it's pure, single tracked. the vocal is also centered, while on Anthology it's on the left channel. Here, the take is complete while on the Anthology, the tape-loops at the end.
Also the end here was already available as part of the "outtakes medley" from the Anthology video but now it's longer.

5.  Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9] (*actually SI onto Take 9 into take 10 or 11)
Partially new although according to Mark Lewisohn, take 9 was a reduction mix from take 8 and also a backing track and vocals were added a day after giving birth to take 10 and 11, so this could not be Take 9. The speech at the intro could be from an earlier take and it’s already available (edited here) at the Rockband intros, then we can hear Paul’s count in very far away ("One, Two, Three, Four" and by the way, this same count-in intro is also available on the Rockband mixes starting from "two, three, four" ) and once the song starts he is reciting with loud and clear voice, not the same as for the count-in, so this is a vocal overdub take, but it’s actually the released vocal take. Sadly, the only difference is the lack of overdubs and the harmonies from the intro, the best is that we can hear the full ending of the song and Paul and John singing at the end when the song already ended "Oh no no, I refuse to Go".

6.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1 And Speech At The End]   
Part of the pre-take warm up was already available from the Rockband intros, the rest of the take is new.
7.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Speech, False Start And Take 5]   
The speech is already available as part of the "Eight Days A Week" movie and also the False Start, the rest of the take is new.
8.  Getting Better [Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End]
Part of the pre-take warm up is already available from the Rockband intros, the take announcement is new and the full take 1 is new (and superb!)

9.  Getting Better [Take 12]
New-This time the actual Take and not with a vocal overdub, although this was the backing track for the released version, starts with count-in  and some extra guitar riffs before they start the actual take.

10. Within You Without You [Take 1 - Indian Instruments Only]
New- Well, to start, Giles inserted the announcement for "Take One" five seconds after the song started. I’m sure that the original take announcement from Geoff Emerick  was before the song started and not once it has already started (like the rest of the Beatles sessions!). Second, Giles also added George’s voice saying "OK, ah just go"  at 2:35 . Why? To avoid people get bored? I don’t think this is part of the actual take but.. maybe. Although it sounds as taken from the same rehearsal tape from the following track..
Third, Mark Lewisohn describes Take 1 with a duration of 6:25 but here we only have 5:32. Nice Take 1 without violins.

11. Within You Without You [George Coaching The Musicians]
New. This is fantastic, better than “Take 1”, this sounds like a rehearsal and 22 seconds of this were already on the Rockband intros. "Just tape it Geoff, just in case", Harrison indicates at the end. The length is 3:55.
12. She's Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
New- In the end, this was the take used for the final version. Some warm-ups, then George Martin doing the count-in. Both Takes 1 & 6 features the extra cello segment that Martin edited out from the final version (and that was already available as part of the 4-track Multitrack tape on bootlegs)

13. She's Leaving Home [Take 6 – Instrumental]
New- The other "best" take to choose from. The intro from George Martin "(Is)the tempo all right Paul?" is edited here, we can’t hear Paul’s answer here but this is available from the Rockband intros and Paul says: "YES", and sadly we can’t hear that on this official box.
Where is an alternate vocal track from Paul for this song, Giles? Two instrumentals for the same song sounding almost the same and where no Beatle is playing?

14. With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 - False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
New- Are we missing some vocal take from Ringo on the entire outtakes discs?
15. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Speech And Take 8]
New- and the final highlight in my opinion from this set. Missing are also more takes of this song.

London taxis advertising the new Sgt Pepper release.

CD 4:  bonus tracks in Mono

16. A Day In The Life [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
"A Day in the life.. this is RM1 of Four Track Take..ahh.. Six" announcement  from Geoff Emerick is new.  But on bootleg we have a different announcement circulating: "Four track remix, this is Take six" and was placed together with the RM1 acetate version, so maybe that announcement on bootlegs comes from the tape reduction made to create Take 6 but not the Mono mixing?. The rest of the song is the same version on bootleg circulating from many years where Paul makes the "Oh S**t!" mistake, but here is in perfect quality.

17. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Unreleased Mono Mix - No. 11]
New- "RM 11" announcement from Emerick, it has also some pre-take sounds. The ‘lost’ version for many years.

18. She's Leaving Home [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
New- "RM1" announcement from Emerick, Paul and John can be heard at the beginning ready to sing and then Paul’s count in. The harp at the intro has the ADT effect not featured on the final version and also the extra cello part is present here.

19. Penny Lane [Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single - Mono Mix]
New- This is RM11 although no slate is available, it’s similar to RM10 which circulates in perfect quality and features the extra piccolo trumpet at the end. This RM11 comes from an acetate and despite what people have commented, the quality is pretty decent considering this was also a lost acetate and the original mix is no longer at the Abbey Road Studios. Better to have RM11 rather than having the same version already on bootlegs and many other releases (RM10).

Thursday, 18 May 2017

White album up next?

"The Beatles" aka "The White Album".
In a radio interview on BBC Radio 6 Music, Giles Martin seemingly let it slip that The Beatles' self titled "White album" will be next up to get the remix treatment. (Listen to radio interview here, the Giles Martin section starts at around 1:32:20 into the broadcast).

Ultimate Classic Rock picked up on this, and in their article they published the following quotes from the radio interview with Martin: "The White Album, which is the next release – that is where they started becoming indulgent. There are 70 takes of ‘Sexy Sadie,’ for instance. The efficiency went slightly out the window. There’s a lot of stuff. So, it’s getting the balance right."

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock

So, did he mean that the White album was the next release from The Beatles back in the day (it wasn't, the "All You Need Is Love" single, the "Hello Goodbye" single and the double EP "Magical Mystery Tour" was) - or that it will be the upcoming, next release from Apple/The Beatles?

And if the latter is what happens, whether or not we are going to be treated to another super deluxe multidisc extravaganza for the "White album" release remains to be seen. There are of course session outtakes from the recording of the album available, as well as a set of very interesting acoustic or semi-acoustic demos taped at George Harrison's house and elsewhere. Some of these have already been part of the nineties "Anthology" album series, but there's plenty more where they came from.

After publication of this post, Giles Martin tweeted this:

Monday, 15 May 2017

Review: Sgt Pepper Super DeLuxe

The Super DeLuxe edition
SGT PEPPER SUPER DELUXE SET - Some random musings
by Anna Crusis

The new stereo remix of the full album.
(See further down)


01. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1)
This is the same version that has been heard on bootleg for several decades now. When included on Anthology the beautiful backing vocals were omitted but here they are present (and in stereo). Like all the tracks on the two sessions discs, this recording is presented completely "dry" and without any added reverb or echo. Sounds better than the boot version although the mellotron ramblings at the start are absent.

02. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 4)
Another track that was booted many years ago, sounding very similar here but in higher quality.

03. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7)
A mono mix of this was used on Anthology but here it is in stereo. Great track.

04. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 26)
The complete fast version with score. Oddly John didn't bother to sing the first verse on either of his vocal overdubs, and instead la-la's it and doesn't come in till the final line. Since there was an earlier mono mix that featured him singing the verse, the implication is that he'd decided to use the start of take 7 already and therefore didn't bother singing the opening verse on this version. We'll never know for sure.

05. Strawberry Fields Forever (Stereo Mix - 2015)
Just like the label says. Doesn't really fit in here and should have been on disc 1.

06. When I'm Sixty Four (Take 2)
Take announcement, then a few seconds of preliminaries and into the take that ended up on the album. Here there are no lavish overdubs though, just bass, drums, guitar, Paul's vocal and a piano overdub. Paul does some extra jazz scat vocals that were mixed out later. The piano is more prominent too. Nice.

07. Penny Lane (Take 6 - Instrumental)
A very basic instrumental version. The foundation seems to be Paul on piano, which is really nice to hear so clearly. On the other channel are a myriad of sounds from organ to cymbals and tambourine, some of which work and some of which don't! All of these sounds can be heard on the Anthology version but here they are much clearer.

08. Penny Lane (Vocal Overdubs And Speech)
A very interesting track: Paul and George adding experimental background vocals to the song. You just hear their isolated voices and the backing track faintly through their headphones. Firstly they add what was obviously a carefully worked out Beach Boys-style part and handclaps to the section where the trumpet solo would end up. It sounds very similar to the cor anglais overdub heard on Anthology. This is obviously a rough take though, so they can be heard talking afterwards as the song goes on and Paul suggests various ideas as they proceed. Then there is some mention of backwards trumpet, and then some actual backwards trumpet (not sure if this is kosher or has been added by GM). A really interesting track this one.

09. Penny Lane (Stereo Mix 2017)
They've apparently found some new elements for this song and so have done a new stereo mix to supersede the one on 1. Should have been on disc 1 though.

10. A Day In The Life (Take 1)
Wow, we've struck gold here. The spoken intro was heard on Anthology and the first part of the take in the "Making Of Pepper" tv special, but this is the first time we've heard the full take. John's vocal is ethereal and beautiful, and Paul turns in some budding avante garde piano. No drums, just John's vocal and guitar, someone (probably George) on maraccas, Mal counting and Paul's piano. This is my favourite track on the set.

11. A Day In The Life (Take 2)
Continues on in the same vein. This take was included on Anthology, but in mono. Here it is stereo and is not intercut with other versions except at the end where there is a cut to the "OOOMMMMM" they recorded later, but the take itself is not abbreviated so no real harm done.

12. A Day In The Life (Orchestra Overdub)
An isolation of the second orchestral build up. It starts a bit beforehand and there is so much studio noise, even the sound of people talking. Sinister and disturbing.

13. A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord, Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11)
"This is take 8, the choir for the end" says Geoff Emerick. "Choir?" responds a bemused John. There's then some talking, a girl says "you lead in" and then follows a pretty lame attempt at the "Ommmm". Much laughing. The girl vocalist seems to be Cynthia Lennon. "Stop freakin' out, missus" says John. There is another unidentified (male) voice too. A few more attempts and then the final one which has been multitracked to make it more effective but, honestly, still sounds pretty silly.

14. A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)
"You got yer loud pedal down Mal?" asks Paul. "Which one's that?" responds Mal. Paul puts him right and then follows several attempts at the final chord, with George Martin giving some pointers. Ringo and John can also be heard.

15. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 1 - Instrumental)
A garage band version of the rhythm track, with punky out-of-tune guitars. No bass, just drums so it's hard to know who is on the guitars but one is so rough and ready it has to be John.

16. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9 And Speech)
Identical to the version floating around on acetate for years but in stereo and with extra vocals and chat at the end. Paul sings "I feel it, I feel it! Gotta be free now..." and opines "I think it'll probably be another day singing it." George suggests Paul insert some vocals where he runs out of breath, so maybe the vocal track contains punch-ins.

17. Good Morning Good Morning (Take 1 - Instrumental, Breakdown)
"This is called Good Morning Good Morning I believe, I'm not sure about that" intones Geoff Emerick. John seems to recite the wedding vow. Paul counts in, which is a bit odd since he doesn't seem to be actually doing anything. John sings and plays guitar while Ringo drums, but the Dingle boy blows it about halfway through due to the complexity of the arrangement.

18. Good Morning Good Morning (Take 8)
The version that wound up on the lp but in a basic form. Unlike the Anthology version John's voice is completely dry here. Paul is on bass now.


01. Fixing A Hole (Take 1)
The take which ended up on the album. This seems to be entirely live with harpsichord, bass, drums and Paul's vocal. It keeps going towards the end so there are some new vocal bits not heard before. Some very faint guitar.

02. Fixing A Hole (Speech And Take 3)
Another live take with some chat at the start. John: "Paul, did you make it with [drums?] on? I thought I was going to do the whole thing you see." Paul: "try and make it the whole way through." John is presumably on bass since it is very poorly played. There's some nice improvised vocals towards the end once more.

03. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite (Speech From Before Take 1, Take 4 And Speech At End)
George Martin in American accent: "Okay man, let's go the light's on." A full live take which ends with John counting out the beat in the final bar. GM tells John just to mouth it or it'll come out on the bass track. John - dubious - replies, "Well, we'll have the Massed Alberts on by then won't we?" He then jokes, "This time you'll get it in the middle of the song."

04. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite (Take 7)
Another live take as they try and get the performance tighter.

05. Lovely Rita (Speech And Take 9)
The take that ended up on the album, but with less overdubs and some extra vocals from Paul at the start. I say "vocals" but it's actually him reciting something in Latin. John is on acoustic guitar: "I did a freakout one then - one of them where you don't know what you're doing." He complains about his guitar cutting in and out of the mix on the previous take. The lack of overdubs allows one to hear Paul's improvisations at the end more clearly... strange.

06. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1 And Speech At The End)
Starts with a groovy little organ riff that reminded me of Johnny And The Hurricanes at the Star Club. George says something about his part and George Martin tells him it will only be in the headphones and not be recorded to tape. George: "Oh well." John in scouse accent: "It's direct injection." George Martin is on piano, John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums and Paul on organ. Then follows a live take with a (very) rough guide vocal.

07. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Speech, False Start And Take 5)
Paul: "Right, now: concentrate, swing it!" He then gives John some vocal coaching and there follows another live take more or less the same as the previous one.

08. Getting Better (Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End)
A really heavy early take. No vocals, just drums, electric piano (Paul), fuzz guitar doubling as a bass and another lighter guitar. Almost unrecognisable (but good!)

09. Getting Better (Take 12)
The take from the album but without any vocals. Instead there is a very loud tamboura drone.

10. Within You Without You (Take 1 - Indian Instruments Only)
Just like the label says. Not very interesting for me.

11. Within You Without You (George Coaching The Musicians)
This is much more interesting. George uses a kind of Indian solfege to coach one of the musicians. I hadn't actually realised George had learnt to do this and he is quite good at it. Very different from the way he coached his fellow Beatles with "Da-da-da, la-la"!

12. She's Leaving Home (Take 1 - Instrumental)
George Martin conducting the score. Nice enough, and there is an extra little cello phrase at the end of the "She's leaving home after living alone for so many years" parts.

13. She's Leaving Home (Take 6 - Instrumental)
George Martin: "Is the tempo all right Paul?" Paul grunts.

14. With A Little Help From My Friends (Take 1 - False Start And Take 2)
No vocals, but lots of other stuff: drums, guitar, organ, cowbell, maracca, tambourine and really great piano from Paul. Paul had developed a terrific style of his own by this point.

15. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Speech And Take 8)
A different take from Anthology, but similar in content. Paul thinks his guide vocal may be confusing Ringo and is tripping out on the shapes on the walls of Studio 1. They sound like they are having fun.


(The first 15 tracks are the original mono mixes and not discussed here)

16. A Day In The Life (Unreleased First Mono Mix)
The same as the acetate version that has been kicking around since the year dot, but now with a slate at the start.

17. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Unreleased Mono Mix - No. 11)
Similar to the released mono mix but even more phasey.

18. She's Leaving Home (Unreleased First Mono Mix)
Some horrible flanging on the poor harp at the start. Otherwise similar to the released mono mix but with the extra cello phrases retained at the ends of the choruses (edited out for the lp).

19. Penny Lane (Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single - Mono Mix)
Crikey, this sounds like it was trod around the floor of the studio before being transferred. Surely there is a better copy somewhere.


The much-vaunted 2017 remix. I won't go into every track (hey, I've gotta leave some stuff for other people to cover!) but generally the stereo placement is much better. There's no lead vocals coming awkwardly out of the speaker on the other side of the room. Now vocal harmonies are often spread out in stereo, which is nice. Instruments are often placed more subtly in the picture rather than being panned hard left or right.

Okay, so in terms of actual mixing that's a tick. Now the crosses. My big beef is with the dynamic range. I mean, there isn't any. None. Everything is just constantly loud and it became fatiguing for me after about 15 minutes. I don't want to sound negative but I wish they'd concentrated on making the stereo image better and not tried to make everything sound loud. She's Leaving Home is not meant to be a loud song. There also seems to be quite a lot of reverb sometimes. So as usual it's swings and roundabouts - plenty of good stuff, but some regrettable apects too.

As for the 5.1 mix I don't have a surround system so I can't comment on the effect. But the centre channel generally has the vocals in mono, with the vocals in wide stereo on the front left-right channels. The rear channels are kind of similar to the front channels and don't seem to have too much discrete material. But, like I said, I can't listen to it the way it was meant to be so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

My verdict: buy it! It's not as exciting as Anthology back in the day but still a fascinating listen.

A review of the new surround mix is available here.

We have received a post script from Anne Crusis:
To follow up on my review of the set:

The new mix definitely sounds loud. It's not that it's brickwalled - it isn't. It's mainly a case of compression and harmonic enhancement (something like Aphex Aural Exciter) on the vocals, and a lot of bass boost on the drums. There is also quite a lot of reverb. When I listen to the outtakes, they have a very natural sound (and they are way better quality than the bootlegs), but when I switch to the 2017 album mix the difference is immediately obvious. Some people are going to love it, I have no doubt. But for me, most of the subtlety is gone and it is very wearying on the ears after only a short time. They've absolutely gone for a modern sound to try and bring it up to date, I guess. For me this oversteps the original remit of being true to the mono mix. I fear that in a decade or two this version will sound even more dated than the original. All in all the whole thing reminds me of George Martin's remix of the Rock And Roll Music album in the 1970s. He made it sound more impressive to be sure, but now it just seems like a curio.

Re "Fixing A Hole" take 1 I have read a number of comments saying this must be an outtake and not the version on the album. But I think what has happened is that the take here is take 2 and not take 1, unless you believe that the original 1967 documentation is wrong (which I don't for a second). There's no slate at the start of "take 1" and I'm sure someone has just messed up here - it's take 2, absolutely the same take as on the album.

The dvd also contains a tv special from 1987 about the making of the album, as well as three music videos previously included on 1.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Paul has daughter's photo removed

Paul's youngest daughter was sporting a hairdo very much like this one. Photo: Astrid Kirshherr.
A private photo taken backstage at the musical "Carousel" in London’s West End, depicting Paul McCartney and his teenage daughter Beatrice Milly together with cast members was published by several newspapers recently.

Sir Paul and his daughter were joined by Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins, Nicholas Lyndhurst and a few other cast members from the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic backstage. Mainstream media and fans got hold of the photo after Katherine Jenkins posted it on her Instagram account, writing alongside it: "Macca at the matinee! Eek!".

The story in the newspapers focused on 13 year old Beatrice's hairdo, and pointed out a similarity to the quiff Paul himself sported at the Beatles' first visit to Hamburg in 1960. The photo, and usually also the story, has now been removed from most of the overground media who published it, including The Daily Mail, OK! magazine, The Daily Mirror, The Telegraph, The Sun, Hello Magazine and others, probably at the request of the McCartney family.

This is rather futile in this day and age, though - as the photo spread like wildfire on the various Beatles and McCartney fan pages in social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and the like. A couple of other photos taken on the same occasion are also making the rounds, one of these depicting Paul and Beatrice with a much larger crowd of crew and cast members of the musical.

Paul McCartney has always been careful not to publish photos of his youngest daughter, and his attorneys have previously been busy trying to keep paparazzi photos of her off the internet. In 1983, a ransom plot to snatch then six year old son James Louis McCartney was uncovered. The would-be kidnappers were captured and jailed after police action, and it was after this incident Paul McCartney started ramping up his family's security.

During a 2016 televised interview, Beatrice's mother Heather Mills said: "I rarely talk about my daughter. I’m really proud of the fact that I have kept her image protected". "She’s not mixing in celebrity lifestyles. She’s not out in public places."

Thursday, 4 May 2017

May the Fab Fourth be with you

Five years in the making, this is an astonishing achievement.
After five years of labouring, a couple of musicians, singer/guitarist Dan Amrich and digital drummer and keyboard player Jude Kelley - collectively known as Palette-Swap Ninja, have finally published a product which celebrates both the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, as well as Sgt. Pepper's 50th. The project was to tell the entire story plot from the first Star Wars film (in latter times called "A New Hope") in the context of lyrics to "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". The result, a freely downloadable album, "Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans" in lossless Flac or lossy but high quality mp3s, as well as a series of videos on YouTube was released May 1. It has gone viral, and rightfully so. This is both hilarious and brilliantly made. And if you're a Star Wars buff in addition to being a Beatles fan, it's a must see - and hear.

"We’ve released song parodies before, but nothing this ambitious," says Dan Amrich. "Once we settled on merging A New Hope with Sgt. Pepper’s, we completely committed ourselves to turning these two sacred cows into the ultimate double cheeseburger."

"We were surprised to find just how well it all synched up," says Jude Kelley. "The title song sets everything up with the pursuit of Princess Leia on the Tantive IV. ‘She’s Leaving Home’ hits just as Luke decides to follow Ben to Alderaan, and the circus atmosphere of ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite’ is the perfect parallel for Mos Eisley." Similarly, Ben teaches Luke about The Force to the mystical strains of "Within You Without You," and both of the original works end in thunderous explosions – the Death Star’s destruction and the final chord of "A Day in the Life." The resulting album presents two classics that superfans know by heart in a way they’ve never imagined.

Jude and Dan first met as members of a Bay Area ’80s cover band in 2003, and hatched the idea for a geek-culture parody project while sharing long car rides home from rehearsal. When Jude relocated to Boston a few years later, Palette-Swap Ninja simply collaborated cross-country, ultimately releasing an album’s worth of material online to a loyal fanbase. A fan-created YouTube video for "Halo ((All I Play-Oh))" – their spoof of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Halo series of videogames – has received half a million plays to date.

Both musicians possess serious geek cred. Jude is a research scientist and ex-chemistry professor who restores classic arcade machines in his spare time. Dan has spent 20 years in and around the videogame industry; his editorial cartoon character "Dan Elektro" at GamePro magazine was so popular, it was made into an action figure.

The timing of the parody project couldn’t be more perfect: Star Wars celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, 2017, while Sgt. Pepper’s marks 50 years just a week later on June 1. "We both grew up obsessed with Star Wars and surrounded by Beatles music," notes Jude.  "This whole project comes from a place of deep love and respect, so we had to take the time to do it justice. The final album needed to be high quality, accurate, and entertaining on repeat listenings." Authentic touches included recording the same model of vintage organ the Beatles used on "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and weaving in musical motifs from A New Hope where fans might least expect them.

"Recording all our music from scratch has always been part of the Palette-Swap Ninja process; it wouldn’t feel right to just use karaoke tracks," says Dan. "And we hand-craft our lyrics, down to each syllable. Making sure the words hit the right rhythmic cadence and told a coherent story – and would make fans smile – took more than a year."

"We think we’ve created something worthy of the source material that fans will really enjoy," adds Jude. "We like to think that the Force was with us."


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Beatles-backed radio channel

First ever Beatles-backed radio channel to feature exclusive programming, spanning the songs, stories, influences and legacy of The Fab Four! The Beatles Channel launch to be celebrated with SiriusXM's free listening preview program, offering 24/7 listening on inactive satellite radios

Press release: SiriusXM is pleased to announce The Beatles Channel, launching May 18 at 9:09 am ET exclusively on SiriusXM channel 18.

Celebrating popular music’s most legendary and influential band, The Beatles Channel has been created by SiriusXM to present unique and exclusive programming in collaboration with and fully authorized by The Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. The Beatles Channel will also be available online and through the SiriusXM app.

The Beatles Channel will showcase all-things-Beatles with regular and special programming spanning the history-making careers of the band. The channel will explore The Beatles’ entire career including their hits and deeper tracks, live recordings, rarities, and solo albums, while also spotlighting musicians who have inspired, and have drawn inspiration from, The Beatles.

Paul McCartney said, “I still remember the thrill of when we first heard our music on the radio, but I don’t think any of us would have imagined that we’d have our very own Beatles radio channel more than 50 years later. The SiriusXM channel will have it all, 8 Days a Week.”

Ringo Starr added, “Great news, The Beatles will have their own channel on SiriusXM. Now you can listen to The Beatles, Any Time at All. Peace & Love.”

“We are so proud to announce the most popular band in history has joined us for their own SiriusXM channel,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM. “We’ve worked with The Beatles and Apple Corps Ltd. to create a channel that is as vital today as when the band’s music was first recorded. The channel will be all-things-Beatles, 24/7. The soundtrack of our world, made by John, Paul, George and Ringo.”

The Beatles Channel will launch at exactly 9:09 am ET on Thursday May 18, and will be celebrated as part of SiriusXM’s free listening preview program, offering 24/7 listening on inactive SiriusXM radios from May 17 to May 30.

The Beatles Channel will present a curated mix of music tailored to a wide range of Beatles fans, along with a variety of regular shows and specials, including:

Breakfast with The Beatles: A daily morning show hosted by musician and lifelong Beatles aficionado, Chris Carter, featuring music, stories and all things Beatles.

A Day in the Life: A daily feature noting milestones in the lives and career of The Beatles.

My Fab Four: A daily guest DJ session, hosted by musicians influenced by The Beatles, celebrities, and super fan listeners, each playing their four favorite Beatles songs.

Beatle Bites: A daily “name the song” quiz featuring a short snippet of a Beatles recording.

Dedicated Phone: # 844-999-BEATLES, for fans to make requests and share their Beatles stories.

The Fab Fourum: A live weekly call-in roundtable show hosted by veteran broadcaster Dennis Elsas; TV producer and author, Bill Flanagan; and panelists including authors, musicians and fans.

Peter Asher: From Me To You: He sang Beatles compositions as a member of Peter & Gordon, was part of the formation of Apple Records and went on to become a multiple Grammy-winning producer and much more. Now, his stories come to life in this exclusive weekly series.

Magical Mini Concert: A weekly fantasy concert featuring live music from The Beatles and their solo works.

Northern Songs with Bill Flanagan: A regular show from TV producer and author Flanagan, focusing on themes that tell the story of The Beatles, their music and the effect it had on generations of fans.

Get Back: The Beatles in Britain: A monthly show recorded in and around London and Liverpool that offers the UK perspective of the Beatles phenomenon, hosted by Geoff Lloyd.


The radio station is probably not going to be available anywhere in the whole wide world (except in the USA).