Thursday, March 31, 2016

UPDATED: Amazon links up for "Pure McCartney" new best-of compilation

Updating this post with official details on this new best-of compilation via Paul's website.

Interesting to note that the tracks aren't sequenced chronologically and, also, there are no outtakes, demos or real obscurities included. Many unheard and rare tracks have turned up on Paul's Archives releases and will likely continue to do so. I'd love to see a whole box of such things and maybe, someday, we will.

In the meantime, though, this looks like a set for casual fans who want to cherry pick Paul's best and best-known tracks and for completists. I'll likely skip it.

Now, the skinny:


McCartney curated career-spanning compilation out 10th June

- Release of career-spanning collection, from 1970 debut solo album all the way through 2012’s ‘My Valentine’, 2014's ‘Hope For The Future’ and 2015’s ‘Say Say Say’ remix.

- Available on 10th June in three different formats; 2CD, 4CD, 4LP and Digital, all featuring versions of Paul's greatest solo, Wings and Fireman compositions.

- 4CD version features 67 tracks, more than 40 of which were Top 40 hits including 'Maybe I'm Amazed', 'Live and Let Die', 'Mull Of Kintyre', ‘Ebony and Ivory’, ‘Dance Tonight’ and ‘New’.

Paul McCartney and his music need no introduction. Together with three of his friends, he changed the cultural landscape forever.
And Paul’s accomplishments since then as a member of Wings and a solo artist make for a staggering body of work that stands proudly alongside those eight sensational years with The Beatles.

'Pure McCartney', a new compilation of his solo, Wings and Fireman work, celebrates that fact, showcasing 67 highlights from one of the most-revered catalogues in music - from 'McCartney' in 1970, his debut solo album, right through to 'Hope For The Future', his 2014 track taken from 'Destiny', the most-anticipated video game of the last decade. Not only is 'Pure McCartney’ a monumental mixtape of some of popular music's most memorable moments from 1970 to the present day, it also features curios for the superfans and some of Paul's personal favourites — all handpicked by the man himself..

"Me and my team came up with the idea of putting together a collection of my recordings with nothing else in mind other than having something fun to listen to," Paul says of this project.

"Maybe it's to be enjoyed on a long car journey or an evening at home or at a party with friends? So we got our heads together and came up with these diverse playlists from various periods of my long and winding career.”

As a songwriter Paul has never stood still, dipping his toe in countless genres and styles. 'Pure McCartney' is testament to that fact. From the songwriting masterclass of 'Maybe I'm Amazed' and adventurous, three-songs-in-one of 'Band On The Run' to the irresistible groove of 'Say Say Say' and ahead-of-its-time electronica of 'Temporary Secretary', described by NME when compiling a list of the greatest ever songs as “not so much ahead of its time, but out of it altogether”, 'Pure McCartney' charts the unstoppable adventures of McCartney's unique and eclectic songwriting talents and shines a light on his post-Beatles artistic achievements.

"The word 'career' is a bit misleading because to me it has been more like a musical adventure than a proper job," says Paul, reflecting on the 'Pure McCartney' tracklisting. "It pleases me, and often amazes me, that I've been involved in the writing and recording of so many songs, each of them so different from the others."

Paul's unparalleled career has seen his music break global chart records, win countless awards, fill stadiums around the world and become the soundtrack to millions of people's lives across generations.

1. Maybe I'm Amazed
2. Heart Of The Country
3. Jet
4. Warm And Beautiful
5. Listen To What The Man Said
6. Dear Boy
7. Silly Love Songs
8. The Song We Were Singing
9. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
10. Another Day
11. Sing The Changes
12. Jenny Wren
13. Save Us
14. Mrs Vandebilt
15. Mull of Kintyre
16. Let ‘Em In
17. Let Me Roll It
18. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
19. Ebony and Ivory   

DISC 2:   
1. Band on the Run
2. Arrow Through Me
3. My Love
4. Live and Let Die
5. Too Much Rain
6. Goodnight Tonight
7. Say Say Say [2015 Remix]
8. My Valentine
9. The World Tonight
10. Pipes of Peace
11. Dance Tonight
12. Here Today
13. Wanderlust
14. Great Day
15. Coming Up
16. No More Lonely Nights
17. Only Mama Knows
18. With a Little Luck
19. Hope For The Future
20. Junk 

'PURE McCARTNEY': 4CD – 67 tracks
DISC 1:   
1. Maybe I'm Amazed
2. Heart Of The Country
3. Jet
4. Warm And Beautiful
5. Listen To What The Man Said
6. Dear Boy
7.  Silly Love Songs
8. The Song We Were Singing
9. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
10. Early Days
11. Big Barn Bed
12. Another Day
13. Flaming Pie
14. Jenny Wren
15. Too Many People
16. Let Me Roll It
17. New

1. Live and Let Die
2. English Tea
3. Mull of Kintyre
4. Save Us
5. My Love
6. Bip Bop
7. Let 'Em In
8. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five
9. Calico Skies
10. Hi, Hi, Hi
11. Waterfalls
12. Band on the Run
13. Appreciate
14. Sing The Changes
15. Arrow Through Me
16. Every Night
17. Junior’s Farm
18. Mrs Vandebilt

DISC 3:   
1. Say Say Say [2015 Remix]
2. My Valentine
3. Pipes of Peace
4. The World Tonight
5. Souvenir
6. Dance Tonight
7. Ebony and Ivory
8. Fine Line
9. Here Today
10. Press
11. Wanderlust
12. Winedark Open Sea
13. Beautiful Night
14. Girlfriend
15. Queenie Eye
16. We All Stand Together

DISC 4:   
1. Coming Up
2. Too Much Rain
3. Good Times Coming / Feel the Sun
4. Goodnight Tonight
5. Baby’s Request
6. With a Little Luck
7. Little Willow
8. Only Mama Knows
9. Don’t Let it Bring You Down
10. The Back Seat Of My Car
11. No More Lonely Nights
12. Great Day
13. Venus and Mars / Rock Show
14. Temporary Secretary
15. Hope For The Future
16. Junk

1. Maybe I'm Amazed
2. Heart Of The Country
3. Jet
4. Warm And Beautiful
5. Listen To What The Man Said
6. Dear Boy

1. Silly Love Songs
2. The Song We Were Singing
3. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
4. Another Day
5. New
1. Mull of Kintyre
2. Sing The Changes
3. Jenny Wren
4. Mrs Vandebilt
5. Save Us

1. Let 'Em In
2. Let Me Roll It
3. Ebony and Ivory
4. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

1. Band on the Run
2. Arrow Through Me
3. My Love
4. Live and Let Die
5. Too Much Rain

1. Say Say Say [2015 Remix]
2. My Valentine
3. Goodnight Tonight
4. The World Tonight
5. Pipes of Peace

1. Dance Tonight
2. Here Today
3. Wanderlust
4. Great Day
5. Coming Up
6. No More Lonvely Nights

1. Too Many People
2. Only Mama Knows
3. With a Little Luck
4. Hope For The Future
5.  Junk 
Here's a look at the cover, plus links from Amazon.

Artifact: Beatles cartoon series TV Guide Article

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Update: McCartney best-of box set on the way?

A second video teaser posted by Paul McCartney on Twitter and YouTube today (see earlier post) scrolls rapidly through a list of songs - some hits, others not - indicating some sort of compilation might be on the way.

There are enough songs listed - 67! - that we're looking at more than a single disk, though how knows how many configurations a set might take.

Given the different formats used for the McCartney Archive series - double CD sets, boxes, vinyl, etc. - I imagine we'll see a variety of different ways to buy what most of us already have!

Here's a list of the songs included on the teaser video:
  1. Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney)
  2. Heart of the Country (RAM)
  3. Jet (Band on the Run)
  4. Warm and Beautiful (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  5. Silly Love Songs (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  6. Listen to What The Man Said (Venus and Mars)
  7. Dear Boy (RAM)
  8. The Song We Were Singing (Flaming Pie)
  9. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (RAM)
  10. Early Days (New)
  11. Big Barn Red (Red Rose Speedway)
  12. Another Day (non-album single)
  13. Flaming Pie (Flaming Pie)
  14. Jenny Wren (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  15. Too Many People (RAM)
  16. Let Me Roll It (Band on the Run)
  17. New (New)
  18. Live and Let Die (non-album single)
  19. English Tea (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  20. Mull of Kintyre (non album single)
  21. Save Us (New)
  22. My Love (Red Rose Speedway)
  23. Bip Bop (Wild Life)
  24. Let ‘Em In (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  25. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Band on the Run)
  26. Calico Skies (Flaming Pie)
  27. Hi Hi Hi (non-album single)
  28. Waterfalls (McCartney II)
  29. Band on the Run (Band on the Run)
  30. Appreciate (New)
  31. Sing The Changes (The Fireman – Electric Arguments)
  32. Arrow Through Me (Back To The Egg)
  33. Every Night (McCartney)
  34. Junior’s Farm (non-album single)
  35. Mrs Vandebilt (Band on the Run)
  36. Say Say Say (2015 remix) (Pipes of Peace)
  37. My Valentine (Kisses on the Bottom)
  38. Pipes of Peace (Pipes of Peace)
  39. The World Tonight (Flaming Pie)
  40. Dance Tonight (Memory Almost Full)
  41. Souvenir (Flaming Pie)
  42. Ebony and Ivory (Tug of War)
  43. Fine Line (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  44. Here Today (Tug of War)
  45. Press (Press to Play)
  46. Wanderlust (Tug of War)
  47. Winedark Open Sea (Off The Ground)
  48. Beautiful Night (Flaming Pie)
  49. Girlfriend (London Town)
  50. Queenie Eye (New)
  51. We All Stand Together (non-album single)
  52. Coming Up (McCartney II)
  53. Too Much Rain (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  54. Good Times Coming / Feel The Sun (Press to Play)
  55. Goodnight Tonight (non-album single)
  56. Baby’s Request (Back to the Egg or Kisses on the Bottom)
  57. With A Little Luck (London Town)
  58. Little Willow (Flaming Pie)
  59. Only Mama Knows (Memory Almost Full)
  60. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (London Town)
  61. The Back Seat of My Car (RAM)
  62. No More Lonely Nights (Give My Regards to Broad Street)
  63. Temporary Secretary (McCartney II)
  64. Great Day (Flaming Pie)
  65. Venus and Mars/Rock Show (Venus and Mars)
  66. Hope For The Future (non-album single)
  67. Junk (McCartney)

Official McCartney "white labels" teasing new release?

Along with the mysterious videos released by Paul McCartney this week (see posts below), comes the news of limited edition, vinyl "white label" pressings of his music available for order via the legitmate Phonica Records retail site.

Details via Super Deluxe Edition:
Vinyl Factory’s Phonica Records today listed the record without crediting it to McCartney (instead putting ‘Unknown Artist’ by the product) although the ‘detail’ text was a little less coy:

“Anthem alert! Mysterious edits of Paul McCartney and his post-Beatles band Wings classic ‘Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five’. UK Exclusive. Limited to 300 copies worldwide”

The two tracks are Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (Remix) and Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (Club Mix) and you can hear short previews of both on the site. They clearly utilise stems from the original multi-track, meaning that this can only have been created with McCartney’s cooperation.

Another mystery video from Paul McCartney - teasing a new best-of?

Artifact: Beatles Souvenir Music Book 1965

Friday, March 25, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

The so-called "Holy Grail" Beatles record - a 78-r.p.m. acetate Brian Epstein had made of some of the band's Decca recordings - sold for £77,500 at auction this week.

Brian Epstein's visit to the HMV record store in London to have this disk made was pivotal to the Beatles' history.

The engineer there who transferred the Decca recordings to disk, Jim Foy, liked what he heard and was impressed that the songs were Lennon-McCartney originals. That led to Epstein meeting representatives from EMI's music publishing arm and, ultimately, George Martin - who gave the band a recording contract after they'd been rejected by nearly every label in Britain.


In a considerably better bargain, a Colorado man bought a "butcher cover" version of the Yesterday ... And Today album for $5. This was one of the copies where the offending picture was pasted over with the photo of the Beatles posing amidst luggage.


Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick discusses his role as adviser for "The Sessions," a live touring show that allows audiences to witness recreated recording sessions by the Fab Four, with songs performed by a tribute band.
Although the music is fully licensed, The Beatles do not endorse any tributes. Having Emerick on board as adviser brings an imprimatur of legitimacy to this production. “For all that has been written about it, there was really only a handful of people in the room,” Emerick points out. “George Martin always kept control. There was a sense of calm on his sessions, and a lot of humour. When it’s not fun, that’s when problems start. George was a great enabler and facilitator. But when it comes to genius, if you want to use that word, it came from the band themselves. The Beatles were the originators.”

French animation studio Superpod is working on a TV adaptation of Ringo Starr's song "Octopus' Garden."
SUPERPROD secured the rights in a deal with Simon & Schuster, Universal Music Publishing and Startling Music. The book Octopus’s Garden features Starr’s lyrics illustrated by Ben Cort, the artist behind Aliens Love Underpants. Superights will represent the international rights for the animated program.
Clément Calvet, the president of SUPERPROD, and Jeremie Fajner, the managing director at SUPERPROD, commented: “We are particularly proud and happy to work on this great book and music. The evergreen song by Ringo Starr and the superb drawings by Ben Cort are a wonderful setting for telling our animated stories. We are thrilled to team up with such great talents and major partners in the music and book publishing industries.”

Martin Guitars has released a John Lennon model D-28. It'll set you back $5K+.

The new D-28 John Lennon makes its debut at Musikmesse 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany April 7-10 and features John Lennon’s famous self-portrait illustration on the rosewood headplate, along with a beautiful mother-of-pearl, John Lennon themed design inlaid on the ebony fingerboard.


A provision in U.S. copyright law may help Paul McCartney finally regain some rights over his Beatles songs.
When Michael Jackson passed away, his estate retained the rights to the catalog, but recently the estate sold those rights to Sony/ATV for $750 million. The US Copyright Act of 1976, however, allows songwriters to reclaim the rights to their songs 56 years after they were written. This gives McCartney the chance to recapture his share. 
As Billboard reports, McCartney has already made moves to claim his portion of the Lennon-McCartney collection, filing a termination notice for 32 songs written between 1962 and 1964 with the U.S. Copyright Office on December 15, 2015.

"Only the McCartney half of the Lennon/McCartney songs are eligible for termination, and only for the US," a source told Billboard. "Sony/ATV still owns [those] Beatles songs in the rest of the world."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Video: Joe Garagiola interviews John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Major league baseball star and broadcaster Joe Garagiola passed away today. Here he is in 1968, subbing for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" and interviewing guests John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Video: Brussels Mourners Spontaneously Sing Lennon's "Imagine" In Solidarity

Sad that "Imagine" has become a sort of anthem in the face of such tragedy. But it's also encouraging so many find hope in such situations and within the lyrics of the song. It's a secular prayer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Candy," 1968 film featuring Marlon Brando and Ringo Starr coming to DVD, Blu-ray

Amazon has listed new DVD and Blu-ray edition's of the 1968 film "Candy," featuring Ringo Starr.

Candy Christian (Ewa Aulin) is an innocent yet luscious high school student and when fate sends her on a far-out journey of sexual discovery - Candy on her trippy travels, encounters lust and lunacy at the hands of a drunken poet (Richard Burton), a Mexican gardener (Ringo Starr), a patriotic general (Walter Matthau), a mad surgeon (James Coburn), and a mystic guru (Marlon Brando). Can the world's most stalwart members get their own sweet piece of Candy? Or will a final freaky twist swallow her whole forever? John Astin, Charles Aznavour, John Huston, Elsa Martinelli, Florinda Bolkan, Anita Pallenberg, Enrico Maria Salerno and boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson co-star in this notoriously sexy '60s satire, featuring music by The Byrds and Steppenwolf and based on the novel by Terry Southern (Easy Rider) and Mason Hoffenberg that scandalized the decade! Screenplay by the great Buck Henry (The Graduate) and directed by actor Christian Marquand (Of Flesh and Blood).

History: Beatles Book Monthly March 1966

The March 1966 issue of of the Beatles' official magazine arrived just as the band was finishing up a relatively inactive period, but looking ahead at more recording dates, touring and a potential third film. There's not much in the way of news, but numerous nice photos - mostly from the Rubber Soul recording sessions the previous fall.

In the Beatles Talk section, John and Ringo talk about the Shea Stadium concert film, which was broadcast on BBC television March 1.

Several pictures of George and Pattie Harrison's Jan. 21 are featured, including this one of the couple with George's mother, Louise.

The letter section generated a couple of fan questions regarding "Norwegian Wood."

The Behind the Spotlight section looked back at March 1964, which saw the band starting to film "A Hard Day's Night."

The month's featured Beatles song was "I'm Looking Through You."

The new section included items about the band's planned third live-action film and a third book from John, neither of which was completed (though a third collection of John's writings through the 1970s was published after his death as "Skywriting By Word of Mouth").

Friday, March 18, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

Pop star Demi Lovato recounts the time she almost ran over Paul McCartney.
“I almost hit him with my car,” Lovato told Jonas of her encounter with McCartney during Demi and Nick’s live stream session on March 16, where Lovato confessed that she didn’t even know at the time that her altercation involved one of the most famous musicians in the world.

Paul McCartney is doing a comedy sketch cameo on British TV as part of a benefit for the Sports Relief charity.
Sir Paul McCartney is to make a cameo appearance in the new Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em sketch for Sport Relief.

The Beatles star will be seen in the revival of the hit sitcom as an everyday pop legend taking a stroll in the park and talking on his phone.


Luxury Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil has created a limited edition Beatles model that will set you back $2,400.
One of the quirkiest features on the watch are the 13 album titles that are marked on the dial.

Simon Cowell is set to produce a biopic of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. This is a separate project from the graphic novel-based TV series in production: "The Fifth Beatle."
"A Life in the Day" will detail the story of Brian Epstein, who discovered the Fab Four during an appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England in 1961, and helped to turn them into global superstars before he died from a drug overdose in 1967, aged 32.

Sony Corp. has purchased the rights to the Beatles song catalog formerly owned by Michael Jackson for $750 million.
In the deal announced late Monday, the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant agreed to buy out the Michael Jackson estate's half of their joint venture Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The company owns 3 million copyrights and represents artists such as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift and the Beatles.
A New York Times story recounts how Jackson attained the rights in the first place.

Negatives to more than 100 stolen photos taken around the time of John Lennon's wedding to Yoko Ono in 1969 have been recovered.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

George Martin - Beyond the Beatles

Sir George Martin, who passed away at age 90 this week, had an invaluable impact on the Beatles' career and sound.

Not only did he sign the Beatles to a recording contract at a time when they'd been rejected by most of the other record labels in Britain, he made early crucial decisions that would define the group.
  • He decided the band's original drummer, Pete Best, was not skilled enough to play with them on record, leading to the group's decision to bring in Ringo Starr.
  • He was open to the group being a group - not just one vocalist and backup musicians. As a result, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison all had vocal features on the Beatles' first album, and Ringo had at least one vocal per album on all the releases that followed.
  • He decided the group could record their own material - a relative rarity at the time, when producers found songs by outside writers for artists to perform.
  • He also played keyboards on many of the Beatles' recordings - most notably the baroque-style piano solo on "In My Life" - and provided orchestral arrangements for many more. 
  • And, with engineer Geoff Emerick, he helped the Beatles expand their sonic palette, creating new sounds and recording techniques in the studio.
In short, the Beatles wouldn't have been the Beatles we know today without him.

But the Beatles weren't Sir George's only claim to fame. He made numerous records both before and after his association with the group and, for anyone deeply interested in the Beatles, they're all worth a listen.

Here's a look at some of the highlights.

The Mersey Beat hits he produced for other acts in manager Brian Epstein's stable, such as:
  • "Little Children" and "Bad to Me" by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.
  • "Hello Little Girl" and "I'm in Love" by the Fourmost.
  • "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," "Ferry Across the Mersey," "How Do You Do It," "You'll Never Walk Alone" and more for Gerry and the Pacemakers.
  • "Love of the Loved" "You're My World" and "It's for You" by Cilla Black.
Ella Fitzgerald's swinging cover of "Can't Buy Me Love."

Songs for films, such as:
  • "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey.
  • "Alfie" by Cilla Black.
  • And "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney and Wings.
Martin, in fact, wrote the entire instrument score for the "Live and Let Die" film, as he did for the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" and "Yellow Submarine" films.

Before the Beatles, he had a strong association with members of BBC Radio's "Goon Show" cast, producing comedy/novelty recordings for Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine. In fact, one of his biggest pre-Beatles hits was the novelty song "Goodness Gracious Me," by Sellers and Sophia Loren.

These comedy/novelty records and other early releases that made use of sound effects and odd instruments and arrangements, such as "Time Beat," a single he released as "Ray Cathode," made Martin a perfect match for the Beatles. He'd been experimenting in the recording studio for several years before the Beatles got experimental in the mid 1960s.

Martin kept active as a producer for many years after the Beatles disbanded, too, producing albums for Jeff Beck, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jimmy Webb and solo recordings by Paul McCartney.

Beatles fans who haven't explored Martin's work outside the group will find much of interest to hear.

The major highlights of Martin's work are collected on a now out-of-print, six-disc box set released in 2001, Produced By George Martin: 50 Years of Recording. If you can find a copy, it's well worth picking up. You can also find CD reissues of a few of his instrumental albums released during the Beatles years, such as Off the Beatle Track and the awkwardly titled George Martin Instrumentally Salutes the Beatle Girls.

Martin also wrote two books well worth a read: "All You Need Is Ears: The Inside Personal Story of the Genius Who Created The Beatles" and "With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper."

The documentary film, "Produced By George Martin," is also highly recommended.