Thursday, 19 July 2018

Secret gig with Paul in London next week?

Paul McCartney's message
After his pub concert at the Philharmonic in Liverpool earlier this summer, Paul McCartney spoke about perhaps doing more small gigs with his band in July. It looks like something's afoot in London next week, if we're to take his Instagram and Twitter message today seriously: "Why do you think you should attend a secret event in London with Paul next week? Post a short video using the hashtag #UnderTheStaircase". An unconfirmed rumour points to studio 2 at Abbey Road as the most likely venue. So if you're planning to be in London next week, you know what to do!

Link: Instagram #UnderTheStaircase

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Beatles museum opens in Liverpool this week

The Magical History Museum - the new Beatles museum in Liverpool.
Friday is opening day for Liverpool's new Beatles museum "Magical History Tour", owned by the Best brothers - Roag and Pete.

There have been mixed reactions to the focus two earlier group members have been given on the fasade, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe were members of the group when they were only locally known, in Liverpool and Hamburg.

The museum is smack in the middle of Beatleland, Liverpool - in Mathew Street, which is also where the Cavern Club, the Cavern Pub, the Beatles shop and the pub "The Grapes" are located, and right around the corner for the Hard Day's Night hotel.

You can listen to a telephone interview with Roag Best about the new museum here.

McCartney single as promo CDs

French promo CD for Paul McCartney's song "Come On To Me"
Eager CD collectors have informed us of the availability of promotional or radio promo CDs of Paul McCartney's two new songs. Apparently French releases, these were bought by one collector through ebay. The two CD's contain one song each, but in two versions: regular and (shorter) radio edits. So, listen out for those radio edits!

French promotional CD for Paul McCartney's song, "I Don't Know".

The corrected cartoon

Remember this cartoon? It has been around since 2014. That final panel was recently updated to say 2018.
This cartoon has been floating around on social media since 2014 at least, and is a satirical statement on the vinyl revival, at the same time telling the story of the development of mainstream audio carriers. The artist has chosen the iconic "Meet The Beatles" to illustrate his point. Still, as a Beatles fan I have always tried to make corrections whenever false information has been published. I have resisted commenting on this cartoon for years, but I finally gave in.

Cartoon with comments
The real publication years for the various editions of the "Meet The Beatles" album wouldn't have illustrated the development of mainstream audio carriers well enough.

Basically because when The Beatles' official CDs were going on release back in 1987, the British editions were the only ones deemed good enough, so the US "Meet The Beatles" wasn't released until 2006 - when the record company felt a need to further milk the market without offering anything really new.

This US album was never released as mp3-files in an official capacity, as the streaming files and other digital releases have been concentrating on the British albums.

There was no vinyl edition of "Meet The Beatles" in 2014, and the 75th anniversary edition listed in 2016 by Capitol Records as a future release hasn't materialised yet, so the most recent vinyl edition is from 1988.

Finally, I wanted to add reel-to-reel tapes to the collection. Please note, there were no mini-disc, digital compact cassette or DAT tapes of "Meet The Beatles", but then again those formats never took off.

Final edition

Friday, 13 July 2018

When did The Beatles cross the road?

Was it really the 8th of August 1969?
A few days ago, I was contacted by one Richard Heath, a man who was Iain Macmillan's printer from the mid eighties and until the photographer passed away in 2006.

Heath was eager to correct some of the information I provided on my Abbey Road Photoshoot page. The first issue is the actual date when The Beatles were photographed crossing the Abbey Road. It has been generally accepted that this happened on the 8th of August, 1969. That makes it a Friday. However, people seem to remember the shoot having taken place on a Sunday! Iain seems to have always remembered it to have been a Sunday. Here's what Heath wrote: "Now on one of the many conversations I had with Iain, and once you got him started he was off, I'm sure he said it was on a Sunday. So to be honest it may not even have been the 8th., I really don't know.".

Also, Kevin Harrington wrote about it as a Sunday in his 2015 book. He remembers having been picked out to do a "dry run" for the photo the previous Sunday, and The Beatles were photographed the next Sunday. So if the Sunday reporting is true, the photo may have been taken on Sunday the 10th or perhaps even Sunday the 17th.

A policeman held up the traffic during the photo shoot. Or, so they say anyway!
Another issue Heath was keen to pursue was the shutter speed and exposure time. Macmillan used a Hasselblad camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens, aperture f22, at 1/500 seconds. Or at least, that's what was reported earlier - but again in comes Richard Heath with some corrections: "Regarding the camera exposure: Back in those days film speed was not all that fast, maybe 64-100 ASA which I would be amazed if that gave you a setting of f22 and 1/500th of a second. I would think it would be 2 or 3 stops down from there, maybe f11/f16 at 1/250th, even 1/125th of a second. ... Strangely the rear shot of the wall/girl was shot on a different film (but) both front and rear films were Kodak, as most transparency film was in those days. "

The setting of f22 at 1/500 seconds have also been disputed by a commentator over at The Beatles Bible in 2016: "As a professional photographer for the past 45 years I can tell you with certainty that this photo was not taken at 1/500 at f22.on transparency film. Even the most sensitive transparency film of the era, Kodak high speed Ektachrome, would have been three stops under-exposed at that setting."

The photo of the back cover was shot using a different type of film.
The original photo that made the cover of "Abbey Road" may have been lost, and it's likely that the only original negatives remaining, are the outtake photos. Richard Heath: "Believe it or not but back in those days it was quite common to send an original to the blockmakers, ie for an album cover - even a Beatles one, and never see it again. Exactly that happened in this case. I started making prints for Iain in the mid 80's and I have never seen the original transparency, when I asked him about it he just said he never saw it again."

Heath also told me about the different prints, those that were printed on Kodak photo paper, and those that were printed on Fuji photo paper. Remember, this is information starting in the mid eighties:

"When I started printing them you could only buy Kodak "R" type paper, and it was always a problem to get an accurate print. Basically because the Kodak paper was not very good. It was almost impossible to John's white suit to look natural, the contrast just wouldn't allow you to get detail in it. In fact, I can remember having a heated conversation with Iain in which I ended up suggesting, very politely, maybe he might be better if he used another laboratory, but he absolutely wouldn't hear of it".

"Then we started to get Fuji paper. OMG! This stuff was amazing, the colour, and contrast was from a different galaxy. Needless to say Iain loved it. So if you look on the back of the very early prints and it says Kodak, and other ones say Fuji, that's why they can be so different in colour with the Fuji versions being much richer and accurate in colour".

"The watermark (is) a very faint printed name of the paper producer. To complicate things a little, Fuji didn't always print their name on the back, it depended on what size of paper you were using. Just for the record, they were never printed on "C" type paper from the originals. The only ones made on that paper would have been made from digital files. Negatives were never made from the originals, not by me anyway".

I hope this is valuable information for all you photo collectors out there. Save for the photo paper information, the other subjects of the discussion have been incorporated into the main  Abbey Road Photoshoot page.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Ticket To Ride piano in Austria

Look - nine hands!
Some of you may have noticed a discrepancy in the "Ticket To Ride" segment in The Beatles' "Help!" movie. In the scenes around the piano, there seems to be an extra hand.

The extra foot
Then there was this still photo, which seemed to contain an extra foot, because George didn't normally sport three feet?

Richard Lester
This photo shows that Richard Lester may be the one lending The Beatles' an extra hand. We discovered it at Gotta Have Rock and Roll's Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction.

Piano sculpture in Obertauern
Incredibly, at the location in Obertauern, Austria, a piano sculpture has been installed to commemorate this movie scene. This and other installations were unveiled in March 2015, fifty years after the filming.

Friday, 6 July 2018

1999 Yellow Submarine EPKs

The first restoration of "Yellow Submarine" was done in 1999, when the film cells were painstakingly restored, faded colours recoloured, the sound was stereo remixed and the first surround sound mix was made. The three remaining Beatles were interviewed for the re-release (on DVD and VHS), resulting in several EPKs (Electronic Press Kits) distributed to TV stations. VH-1 made a TV programme from these EPKs. In 2018, The Beatles' official YouTube channel have released short clips from these 1999 interviews, but here is the VH-1 Special.

And here are the official clips from 2018:

Electronic Press Kits
As mentioned above, prior to the release of the DVD and the new Songtrack CD in 1999, six Electronic Press Kits were issued as promotional products and two featurettes were released for TV broadcast featuring all-new interview footage of the fab three talking about Yellow Submarine. All featured clips from the renovated movie in a 4.3 aspect ratio. The EPKs have a selectable narration track with a voiceover by comedian Nick Hancock. Paul, Ringo & George were all interviewed separately for the Yellow Sub promotion and snippets of the interviews are spread throughout the different EPKs;

Hey Bulldog EPK - Much was made of this song's inclusion in the film and on the Songtrack. In between the Anthology DVDs and the Yellow Submarine re-release footage was uncovered of The Beatles in Studio 3 of Abbey Road recording Hey Bulldog. Parts of the footage were used in the promotional film for Lady Madonna but when the original reels were viewed again it was discovered that almost the whole of Hey Bulldog had been captured on celluloid. From these reels a new 'video' was made for Hey Bulldog and released with the new stereo mix of the song from the Songtrack CD. Also on this EPK is some brief interview footage relating to the song.

Yellow Submarine Songtrack EPK - Paul, George and Ringo chat about the new mixes of 'Yellow Submarine', 'Hey Bulldog', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Love You To' and 'All You Need Is Love'. Also five preview clips from the upcoming DVD: All You Need Is Love, Meanies Attack, Hey Bulldog, Sea of Monsters & Sea of Holes. Also includes 44 second Mod Odyssey clip and a preview of the packaging for the upcoming releases.

Yellow Submarine Returns EPK - Paul, George and Ringo chat about the renovation of the sounds and pictures, Blue Meanies, their animated portrayals and the songs. Also includes 44 second Mod Odyssey clip and a preview of the packaging for the upcoming releases.

The Making Of Yellow Submarine EPK - A 6 and a half minute featurette with further interview footage of Paul, Ringo and George, Heinz Edelmann, Roger McGough, Paul Angelis, Peter Cobbin and Bruce Markoe. Brief behind-the-scenes footage.

The Yellow Submarine Collection EPK - 2:30 clip regarding the merchandising tie-ins.

For Kids Of All Ages EPK - 3 minute film featuring the reaction to the film of some Liverpool school kids and further interview footage with Paul, George and Ringo.

The EPKs were originally distributed on video cassettes, but are available on a bootleg DVD from the Yellow Cow label,"Yellow Submarine, The Complete 1999 EPKs" Total time: 34:26, but some footage is repeated on several of the EPKs.

Yesterday, The official Beatles YouTube channel uploaded the 1999 special stereo remixed "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" as a playlist. If you haven't heard these remixes, now is the time to get that headset on and hit play!

For info about the contents of the various EPKs, thanks goes to

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Paul McCartney announces UK dates for December

Paul McCartney relaxes in a St John's Wood restaurant.
Hot on the heels of having announced four concerts in Canada, Paul McCartney revealed that he is coming to the UK to do three gigs in December: Liverpool, Glasgow and London. See his announcement here. The venue in Liverpool, Echo Arena, dropped lots of hints about Paul's return to the city through their Twitter account yesterday.

Tickets go on sale Monday 16th July at 10am. An American Express® presale will run from 10am on Wednesday 11th July until 10pm on Friday 13th July for all American Express Cardmembers. T&Cs apply. Also, fans registered at will have access to the presale.

The gigs are part of his "Freshen Up!" tour. "Up and Coming" became "On The Run" became "Out There" became "One on One" has become "Freshen Up"! So that means new stage clothes for Paul, a new programme and tour merchandise, a slight change to the pre-show film and perhaps new curtains.

In other, McCartney-related news, record producer Greg Kurstin was interviewed quite extensively by Rolling Stone magazine about Paul's new album, "Egypt Station". You can read that interview here.

It appears that the first track the pair worked on was not for this project but for Paul's upcoming - but still in the works - cartoon, "High in the Clouds", which we have reported about earlier. In fact, we mentioned the plans for this animated feature as early as in 2010, and then again in 2013. Then, three years ago, McCartney reportedly duetted with Lady Gaga on one of the songs for the film.

During the phone interview, Kurstin mentioned a few song titles which haven't been revealed before: "Confidante", "Hunt" or "Hunt You Down" and "Back in Brazil". 20-something songs were recorded with Kurstin. The title "For You" is mentioned as produced by Ryan Tedder, but that was probably a bad phone line or a misheard title, as that track has been mentioned earlier, as "Fuh You". Before this, we knew about these titles: The instrumentals "Station 1" and "Station 2" bookend the album, "Happy With You", "People Want Peace", "Despite Repeated Warnings" and of course the single: "Come On To Me" and "I Don't Know".

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The note Paul wrote

From recording sessions for "Egypt Station", Pauls upcoming album.
The EU-parliament has received a letter from Paul McCartney (who just announced his new tour - beginning with four dates in Canada in September) today.

Here is the letter:
Dear Members of the European Parliament,

I write to urge your support for the mandate on Copyright in the upcoming plenary vote this week.

Music and culture matter. They are our heart and soul. But they don’t just happen: they demand the hard work of so many people. Importantly, music also creates jobs and economic growth and digital innovation across Europe.

Unfortunately, the value gap jeopardizes the music ecosystem. We need an Internet that is fair and sustainable for all. But today some User Upload Content platforms refuse to compensate artists and all music creators fairly for their work, while they exploit it for their own profit.
The value gap is that gulf between the value these platforms derive from music and the value they pay creators.

The proposed Copyright Directive and its Article 13 would address the value gap and help assure a sustainable future for the music ecosystem and its creators, fans and digital music services alike.

Please vote to uphold the mandate on Copyright and Article 13. You hold in your hands the future of music here in Europe.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sir Paul McCartney

Source: Music Business Worldwide (GB)

The issue at hand is really about YouTube, a website which - despite it's popularity - hardly creates any revenue at all for composers or artists, because of outdated legislations from the previous century. This has been a hot potato in the record industry for years.

It's quite possible that this is the reason why, in the past few weeks, The Beatles have uploaded nearly all their albums to their YouTube channel, for free of charge playing - just to illustrate this point.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Richard Avedon originals

Paul McCartney by Richard Avedon.
May 29, 2018, the original portrait of Paul McCartney that Richard Avedon used to create his "psychedelic" posters from, appeared online on social media. This was the first time I had ever seen the original photo. And June 22, what appears to be the original George Harrison portrait was posted.

George Harrison by Richard Avedon
It looks like these originals have been published by the Richard Avedon Foundation on various social media, including Instagram. We are grateful for that, because it is nice to finally see these as they were before the solarisation process.

On the finished version, a hand was included, possibly pasted into the photo.
The Beatles were photographed by Richard Avedon on August 11, 1967 in the photographic studio in Thompson House, 200 Gray's Inn Road, London.

Avedon, whose career spanned 60 years, died in 2004 at the age of 81 while on assignment in Texas for The New Yorker. You can read about Avedon's Beatles portraits and posters here.

Friday, 29 June 2018

The new Beatles museum in Liverpool

A new Beatles museum opens in Liverpool.
On the 20th of July, 2018, Roag Best's new Beatles museum in Liverpool will open, smack in the middle of Mathew Street, next to the newly re-opened The Grapes pub. The museum will guide you through Beatles history, but unlike other museums like The Beatles Story in Albert Dock, this museum will be choc-a-bloc with genuine artefacts from that history.

Roag Best is of course Pete Best's younger brother, but he is also the son of Neil Aspinall, and a number of the objects on display were gifts from his father. Neil Aspinall worked for The Beatles nearly all his life, starting out as their driver in Liverpool all the way through to running their Apple Corps company until 2007.

Magical History Museum occupies five floors of an old Victorian building in 23, Mathew Street, (opposite the Cavern Club) and the interior has been completely refurbished. They are currently hiring employees to the museum.

Roag Best
Roag says: "It's going to blow people's minds. We will be taking people on a journey though the Beatles' career but unlike any other museum before it, every part of the journey will be accompanied with memorabilia. Many things they will never have seen before, others they will have seen back in the day but not for many years."

Objects include George Harrison's Futurama guitar, John Lennon's Sergeant Pepper medals, the cello from I Am The Walrus and Pete Best's Premier drum kit.

Cello - not from "I Am The Walrus" but from "Blue Jay Way".

Roag has around 1,200 items of Beatles memorabilia in his personal collection, which he keeps in storage units. As well as buying them himself, he was given many objects by his, and Pete's mother - and by his father. Despite being over five floors, the museum will only fit 300 items at any one time so the collection will be on rotation.

Magical History Museum, 23 Mathew Street, opens Friday 20 July. Tickets will be £15 for adults, £7.50 for children, and free entrance for kids under the age of five.

Source: Liverpool Echo

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Yellow Submarine in Henley

Yellow Submarine at the Regal Picturehouse in Henley-on-Thames.
In 1997, The Regal Picturehouse cinema in Henley-on-Thames opened. Henley is the little town in England George Harrison resided in after the Beatles, where he lived in his mansion in Friar Park. When the cinema opened, the town had been without a cinema for ten years. Supermarket giant Waitrose had wanted to knock down the original cinema, which had stood in Bell Street since 1937, and replace it with a supermarket, but was forced to change its plans following a public outcry.

The campaign to keep a cinema even garnered the support of George and Olivia Harrison, of Friar Park, who joined a protest against the closure in June 1986. The following month the former Beatle stated his concerns in an open letter to the Henley Standard. The Save the Regal Trust was also established in the hope of buying the cinema and re-opening the venue.

Although the activism of the Harrisons and other members of the community was unable to save the old cinema, the strength of public feeling meant a new venue was included in the redevelopment plans. The three-screen Regal was built on part of the site of the original Regal/Odeon cinema which was demolished in 1993 but it was several years before an operator could be found.

George Harrison joined other members of the community in an effort to save the cinema.
The new cinema finally opened its doors on February 26, 1997 with a gala premiere of The Crucible and also screened Jerry Maguire, Mars Attacks! and Matilda during its opening week.

In light of George Harrison's engagement in trying to keep the cinema open, it's a delight to notice that The Regal Picturehouse in Henley is one of the cinemas who will be screening the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Beatles full length animated feature "Yellow Submarine" on Sunday, July 8. There will be two shows, one at 11am and one at 6pm, and everyone attending these screenings will also receive an exclusive 50th anniversary commemorative pack, including four stunning limited edition collector's cards and a Peppertastic sticker set!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Back in the charts

Songs and albums with The Beatles and Paul McCartney are charting after Paul's TV appearance
In the wake of Paul McCartney's appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden recently, Paul and The Beatles had 6 songs in the Top 100 song charts and 7 albums in the Top 100 albums charts of iTunes USA. Among the songs are the two new ones from Paul, while the other Beatles songs were performed during Paul's "Carpool Karaoke" segment.

10. Paul McCartney: Come on to me
20. The Beatles: Let it be
51. Paul McCartney: I don't know
54. The Beatles: Blackbird
62. The Beatles: Hey Jude
98. The Beatles: Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da

8. The Beatles: 1
21. The Beatles: 1967-1970 (Blue album)
51. Paul McCartney: All the best
60. The Beatles: 1962-1966 (Red album)
63. The Beatles (White album)
64. The Beatles: Abbey Road
90. The Beatles: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

As the numbers are changing all the time, the above list just reflects the situation at a given moment during the past weekend. The same tendency is apparent over at Amazon, and as I am writing this, McCartney's new album "Egypt Station" places second on the best selling albums charts, despite the fact that it can only be pre-ordered. Of course, the availability of several versions contribute to the strong action, chartwise.

Screen capture from

At the moment, the official YouTube video of "Carpool Karaoke" with Paul McCartney has been shown more than 16 million times. This number comes in addition to the number of people who watched it on TV in USA and the UK last week. In addition to this are numerous views of the Facebook video of the same segment, which was uploaded by the official Late Late Show Facebook page and that edition of the video has been shared 816 860 times so far. It has been so widespread that people have been updating their profiles of late about how sick and tired they are of everyone posting it! Either way, it looks like McCartney has pulled off quite a successful stunt, boosting sales of both his own songs as well as those of The Beatles.

Monday, 25 June 2018

The Beatles - for free on YouTube

The Beatles - Free As Birds on YouTube!
In an unprecedented move, The Beatles have released most of their albums for free - on YouTube. Whether or not this is going to be a permanent move remains to be seen. It's all the original British albums, from "Please Please Me" from 1963 to "Let It Be" from 1970, all presented in their remastered stereo editions. In addition to this, the following albums are also available:, "1962-1966" (The Red Album), "1967-1970" (The Blue Album), Anthologies 1-3 plus "Anthology Highlights", "1", "Love", and both volumes of "Past Masters".

In some instances, a music video is screened during the song, in others, there's just a still picture of the album cover. For instance, "Anthology Highlights" starts with the "Free As A Bird" video, then continues with the other tracks with just a still photo, then near the end, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has the modern music video, as has the closing song, "Real Love".

Screen capture from YouTube (Norwegian text)
It seems that these albums are not available worldwide, as some readers of this blog have reported that they are unable to see them on YouTube. I sent one of my readers in Hungary a link to "One after 909", and all he got was an "attachment unavailable" message. Chile, the Netherlands and Iceland are other countries where the albums are not available, but they are available in important markets like USA and U.K.

Other recent uploads to the channel: "Eight Days A Week" (the Shea Stadium video they made for Ron Howard's film), the Intertel music videos for "Ticket To Ride", "I Feel Fine" (chipless version) and the umbrella version of "Help!". Also, the "Come Together" animated video they made for "1" back in 2000 and "A Hard Day's Night" from the Paris concert. As part of the promotions for the cinematic event "Yellow Submarine" they have published two new short films,  "Yellow Submarine - An Introduction" and "Yellow Submarine - The Design":

Here's a link to The Beatles' YouTube channel, straight to the album listings, which are themed playlists sorted by album.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Egypt Station - the full range

Egypt Station from Paul McCartney is to be released on 7. September. And then some.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will have been informed that the word is out: Paul McCartney's new album is called "Egypt Station", and will be out on 7 September on Capitol Records, the company he signed a worldwide deal with in 2016. The two tracks that were released as downloads, streams and YouTube videos on June 20th, the rocking "Come On To Me" and the ballad "I Don't Know" will be released as a vinyl 45 rpm single late this summer. We have been told that these two tracks will be tracks 2 and 3 on the upcoming album, following the instrumental track, "Station 1".
So far, a number of variations of the albums have been announced, but there are more to come, and this will probably be the McCartney album available in more editions than any other album of his.
Capitol Records have never shied away from marketing.
Egypt Station has been recorded in studios in Los Angeles, London and Paul's own studio "The Mill" in Sussex, and is produced by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck and Foo Fighters), except for one song, "Fuh You", produced by Ryan Tedder. Tedder actually produced three songs for Paul, but "Fuh You" is the only one of those who made the album. The instrumentals "Station 1" and "Station 2" bookend the album. Other songs mentioned in the press release: an acoustic "Happy With You", a slogan anthem "People Want Peace", and a seven minute long suite along the lines of "A Day In The Life," "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," "Back Seat of My Car," or "Band On The Run," called "Despite Repeated Warnings". More song titles have not been revealed.

In a new interview, McCartney said that playing in the tiny Philharmonic pub in Liverpool gave him the urge to play more of these kind of concerts in July, after which he will move on to bigger productions, so it's likely that means another stage of his tour. Be on the lookout for those pub concerts!

The "Target" edition containing two extra tracks.
On Paul McCartney's YouTube-channel are lyric videos for the two songs that were released as a single.

Okay, so we promised a breakdown of the full array of editions of the album, here goes:
  • An album with 16 tracks as download
  • 140 gram black double vinyl, single jacket with 16 tracks (14 songs + 2 interludes)
  • Same on coloured double vinyl 
  • Same from Barnes & Noble on coloured double vinyl, likely a unique colour to this store
  • From Spotify and other stream providers 
  • 180 gram black deluxe double vinyl unique tri-gatefold packaging with 16 tracks
  • Same, on coloured double vinyl
  • CD with 16 tracks
  • CD with 18 tracks, but only from physical stores
  • Target (USA) / HMV (UK) edition with two extra tracks
  • Luxury boxed set with 26 tracks and various ephemera (Coming in October)
  • And when that one sells out, expect a re-release without the ephemera
Oh, and we guess there's going to be high resolution files from select download providers and probably shm-cds in Japan. Actually, when it comes to vinyl, we have previously found that the 140 gram British pressings from the sixties of Beatles albums surpass the deluxe 180 gram albums of late, in fidelity and resistance of crackling.

There will be both 140 and 180 gram editions on vinyl, and colour variations of both.
Furthermore, what with all these releases and "White album" from The Beatles in November, we are not expecting to see the archive editions of "Wings Wild Life" and "Red Rose Speedway" this side of Christmas. But then of course, we could be wrong, and hope we are.

Anniversary edition of White Album confirmed - by Paul!

There WILL BE a 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles' "White album", Paul has confirmed.
In an interview promoting his upcoming new album, "Egypt Station", Paul McCartney happened to mention The Beatles' white album sessions and this prompted the interviewer to ask, innocently: "Have you finished preparing the 50th anniversary package of that one yet"? And Paul took the bait: "It’s all in place, I’ve just got a couple of essays [to approve]. It’s all lined up and it’s really good." And that was the confirmation, this is the first time someone in "the inner circle" has actually confirmed that the 50th anniversary edition of "The Beatles" will indeed become reality.

But the rumours have been floating in such a manner that it's not strange if the interviewer Lisa Wright really thought that the anniversary edition of "the white album" was a sure thing. As early as amidst the hoopla last year just before the 50th anniversary "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", remixing producer Giles Martin tweeted and talked in a radio programme about doing "the next one". Following a storm of re-tweets and questions, Martin had to make a statement that he hadn't actually meant to confirm that there was going to be an anniversary "white album" release. Then this May, mastering engineer Tim Young happened to mention to someone that had just finished mastering the Beatles' "White Album" in 5.1 surround sound as well as in stereo at Metropolis Mastering in London. But still, that was "off the record", until now.

But back to the McCartney interview, he actually also seemed to confirm that at least some Kinfauns demos may be part of the package:

"Are there any moments you’d forgotten about when you were trawling back through the archives"?

"Something sparks another memory, but it’s really nice because we were a great little band – I think we can agree on that. So for me to be a part of that and to be remembering it is great; all these little things remind me of it and I do learn things".

"The album itself [‘The White Album’] is very cool and it sounds like you’re in the room; that’s the great thing about doing remasters. But we’ve also got some demos of the songs, so you get things stripped right back to just John’s voice and a guitar. You just think, how f***ing good was John?! Amazing. We were just doing it; it was amazing. We were having a good time".
The full interview can be found here.

Recording "Honey Pie".
The idea that they were having a good time are words not all critics of the Beatles would describe the white album sessions with. After all, it was during the recordings of this particular album that the first Beatle let it know that he had had enough, and he was quitting. The quitter? Ringo Starr! So the drummer took his family to Sardinia for a holiday, while the band struggled on with the recordings, taking turns playing drums. After a while, Ringo was to return to the EMI studios in Abbey Road, and was warmly welcomed back with a sign and with lots of flowers decorating his drum booth, courtesy of George Harrison.

Someone else who didn't want to be part of the white album sessions was The Beatles' engineer, Geoff Emerick. Having started engineering for the band on "Revolver" and then working on "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (which he later was awarded a Grammy for), Emerick already abandoned them during the recording of songs for "Magical Mystery Tour", and Ken Scott took his place. Scott actually made his debut as a recording engineer during "Your Mother Should Know", and had to figure out what all the knobs, meters, levers and wheels on the recording console did to the sound. But by the time the white album sessions started, Scott had learned his trade, and had already worked on the "Wonderwall Music" album with George Harrison - the Beatle he would remain the closest to.

We had a chance to hear Scott talk about the white album sessions when he visited Oslo earlier this summer. Surprisingly, Scott also remembered the sessions as "a good time", and said that after Ringo's return, The Beatles were back to being a group again - and fed off each other in a big way during these sessions. This is quite contrary to the popular belief that these sessions were fragmented, and that not many members of the group were together in the studio at the same time. On the contrary, Scott says, they recorded songs as a band - much more so than during the Sgt Pepper recording sessions. It was only when they were approaching deadline for delivering the new album that they split up work between them and started recording on their own in separate studios, Scott maintains. And it only became a double album when they realised how much material they had. There was no way they would be able to wither it down to "one super single album".

Ken Scott holding the "Norwegian Wood" magazine, alongside Roger Stormo. Photo: Audun Molde.
Scott also told an interesting story about mixing the album with Paul McCartney. They were mixing "Helter Skelter" in stereo, when - after having faded the song - Paul told him to fade it back up again. Scott was puzzled, and even more so when Paul asked for another fade - and then wanted the volume quickly back up again to capture Ringo's "I've got blisters on my fingers!" The puzzled engineer asked Paul the reasoning behind this, as this was different from what they had done during the mono mix. Paul replied that they had been getting letters from fans asking how come there were differences between their mono and stereo albums? So they reasoned that by making these differences even more easily discovered, they could probably sell two albums to people instead of just one! Scott explained that the earlier differences between mono and stereo mixes were accidentally created because engineers and producers never took notes during mixing. And since mono mixing in 1963-1967 took place first, and stereo mixes were done days, maybe weeks and in some cases years after mono mixing, some of the choices made during mono mixing had been forgotten about.

Now that "the secret" is out, perhaps Giles Martin and others are more free to comment on the upcoming release (most likely slated for November 9), although they are probably instructed to keep quiet until the press brief, currently slated for September.

As you may or may not know, there was a 30th anniversary edition of The Beatles' "white album" back in 1998.

The 30th anniversary white album release was a limited edition.
However, sonically the sound was the same as on the original, 1987 first "fatbox" CD release of the album, only the splitting up of tracks were different (where, in segues, one track ends and another starts), plus the 30th anniversary packaging mimicked the original vinyl release, with a cardboard cover, black inner sleeves, miniature portraits and poster.

When the catalogue got a makeover for the remastered CDs of 2009, the sound was improved, and the packaging pretty much replicated the 30th anniversary edition. The remastering project for both mono and stereo versions was led by EMI senior studio engineers Allan Rouse and Guy Massey.

As mixing for stereo had made much improvement by 1968, there really hasn't been much demand for a new edition "white album" remixed in "new" stereo, and we don't know if this is Giles Martin's approach. What we do know, is that stereo and surround mastering has taken place. Whether or not this is "new" stereo or if the stereo image has remained the same is anyone's guess, until this kind of information is revealed. And nothing has been said about mono this time. Still, Paul's mention of essays and demos do point to a comprehensive boxed set. And if this keeps up, perhaps we'll even see a Let It Be boxed set in 2020, which includes the film? Keep dreaming...