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."