Saturday, August 31, 2019

Paul talks "Cold Cuts" - abandoned outtakes album

And you thought he was a vegetarian...

In his latest "You Gave Me the Answer"column on his website, Paul discusses Cold Cuts, his planned "rare cuts" LP that never saw official release (but plenty of illicit ones):
The original idea was based around a title I came up with and quite liked which was Hot Hitz and Cold Cuts. I thought it would be great, you just put all your top hits on it and then some “cold cuts”. But actually when I mentioned it to my record label at the time, they didn't like the idea of the cold cuts, they wanted everything to be hits, hits, hits! So they didn't particularly go for that idea. But what has happened over the years ismany of those cold cuts – which are B-sides and unknown tracks – have been released in our remastered Archive Collection series… 
Maybe one day it would make an album. The funny thing is, I was friends with an American artist that I admire a lot called Saul Steinberg. I asked him if he would do a cover for it and he did. It's a nice thing! So, I've got the cover and maybe one of these days it will get released. The thing is, how much can you release without it looking stupid, you know? New album, Archive Collection reissues, and then The Beatles stuff! So, it's hard to slot in another thing, but maybe one of these days. It would be an interesting little thing!
Here's a picture of Saul Steinberg, famous for his many New Yorker magazine covers:

Video: John, George and Ringo watch Bob Dylan perform at the Isle of Wight Festival, Aug. 31, 1969

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ringo: More comments on "Abby Road" anniversary release - plus a new solo album on the way

Ringo Starr made some additional comments about the upcoming Abbey Road 50th anniversary release in a recent interview with the New York Daily News. Plus, he mentioned he has a new solo album recorded and nearly ready for release.

Starr is in the midst of a year of milestones — it’s also the 50th birthday of the beloved Beatles album “Abbey Road" on Sept. 26. 
“I just love Side Two. … ‘Bathroom Window’ and ‘Polythene Pam’ are all like short bits because they hadn’t finished the songs, really,” Starr said. “The other thing I’m really always proud of is there was a bit of tension. Not all the time, not as much as people like to think, but if you counted it in, everybody gave their all. Nobody said, ‘Oh, well, not my song.’ Nobody held back. You did your best every take.” 
In addition to touring, Starr has several projects on the horizon. His latest photography book, “Another Day in the Life," hits shelves Sept. 24, and he has a new album on the way as well. 
“I’ve got the album finished, and we’re trying to decide a cover,” Starr said.

Vintage pic: Paul, Dusty, Tom and Ringo

Thursday, August 15, 2019

New Mojo mag focuses on "Abbey Road"

The world's best music mag spotlights the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Abbey Road LP in its new issues, which also includes a double-sided map that highlights Fab-centric locales in Liverpool on one side and London on the other.

Details from the publisher:
THE NEW MOJO MAGAZINE, in UK shops from Tuesday, August 20, comes in a presentation bag and celebrates 50 years of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, bringing exclusive news of the 2019 Anniversary Edition, new mix and bonus material.
Inside the bag you’ll find: MOJO magazine, with a special cover featuring Paul McCartney’s original designs for the cover of Abbey Road; a lavishly detailed, double-sided Beatles map – one side Liverpool, the other side London; MOJO Rising 2019 CD brings you the up-and-coming sounds of Amyl & The Sniffers, Fontaines DC, Faye Webster, Jessica Pratt, Black Midi, Weyes Blood, Mattiel, Jamila Woods, Modern Nature, Nérija, Mdou Moctar and more.
MOJO’s Abbey Road celebration includes fresh looks at all the songs by top MOJO writers plus all you need to know about the forthcoming reissue, including its revealing studio banter and revelatory alternate versions.

Review: "McGear" 2-CD+DVD reissue is a must for Paul fans

The buzz among Beatles fans right now is all about the upcoming anniversary edition of Abbey Road. But that shouldn't let another new archival release slip your attention.

McGear, a 1974 release by Paul McCartney's younger brother, Mike, is out now in an excellent 2-CD, 1-DVD mini box set, and it shouldn't be dismissed as a for-completists-only release.

If you're unfamiliar with it, the sound of McGear might best be described as "Mike McCartney and Wings." While Mike sings lead on all the tracks, they also all feature vocal and instrumental parts performed by his older brother, who produced the album and wrote or co-wrote most of the music. Linda McCartney and Denny Laine join in on backing vocals on many tracks, and the great Henry McCulloch, pre-dating any of his recording sessions with Wings, contributes some excellent lead guitar work.

Song-for-song, McGear contains some of Paul's best work of the 1970s, even if he's not singing the lead vocals. If you've not heard the album and are a fan of Paul's solo/Wings work, you're in for a treat.

Mike isn't he singer his brother is - his vocals are thinner and more nasal - but with the support he's provided here, and the strong material, it hardly matters.

Highlights of the album include the entirely Paul-penned "Leave It," which was released as a single that hit #36 in England. If sung by Paul and released under his name it likely would've been an instant #1. "The catchy "Rainbow Lady," with it's gorgeous Wings-style backing vocals from Paul, Linda and Denny, is another should've been hit, as is the waltzing, lovely "Simply Love You."

Really, there's not a bad song on the album. Mike's take on the Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music track "Sea Breezes" isn't the liveliest opening track, but it's an interesting choice, and perked up by "Uncle Albert"-ish oompa section in the middle. Second tune "What Do We Really Know" is an up-tempo rocker with heavy, distorted guitar, Wings harmonies and spirited yelps from Paul near the end. The oddball "Norton," about a despised school classmate,  meanwhile, sounds a bit like a John Lennon poem set to music. Mike, a member of Liverpool's 1960s satirical/poetry troupe Scaffold, is known for his sense of humor and, sensibility wise, probably leans more toward John than his older brother.

"The Casket," a haunting nautical ballad, is another odd but compelling track, which takes its lyrics from a poem by Mike's fellow Scaffolder-er Roger McGough. Paul provides a beautiful haunting musical arrangement, featuring aeolian pipes played by the Chieftain's Paddy Moloney, in an appearance pre-dating his work on Paul's Tug of War LP by several years.

"Given' Grease a Ride," meanwhile, is synth-festooned car song with a bass line lifted straight from Johnny Kidd and the Pirates "Shakin' All Over," while the album's closing track, the spiritually minded "The Man Who Found God on the Moon" includes some lovely, brotherly harmonies. You're reminded, listening, that Paul learned how to do Every Brothers-style harmony singing with Mike before he finally met up with John.

The first CD in the set is rounded out by the non-album single "Do the Do," a glammy rocker with vocal contributions from the Bonzo Dog Band's Viv Stanshall, and "Sweet Baby," a lovely Mike, Paul and Linda-penned song that served as the B-side to "Leave It" but could've/should've been a hit on its own. As Mike has noted, the song's original title was "All My Loving," but another group had already copped that title.

The second disk is a hodgepodge of McGear outtakes and rarities from roughly around the same period. There's some oddball stuff here, including "A to Z," a "Sesame Street"-style counting song with way-way guitar and babbling Moog; the Steely Dan-slick "Girls on the Avenue"; A couple of traffic safety jingles, and the environmentally minded "All the Whales in the Ocean." Not stuff you'll listen to a lot, but nice to have.

The region-free DVD (which plays on my computer but, likely for some technical reason I don't understand, not my rec room player) includes interviews with Mike, which are well worth a look. He's an engaging, funny storyteller who comes across as far more open and revealing than his older brother. The guy clearly loves to talk.

The set also includes a nice, informative booklet and a small poster of the album's cover art. You can order it from Amazon now.

Vintage Beatles pic: Rehearsal at the Cavern

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Videos: Abbey Road 50th anniversary edition - including "Something" outtakes, remix

Here's a batch of video just uploaded to the Beatles' official YouTube channel. Full details on the "Abbey Road" anniversary editions here.

Full details: Abbey Road 50th anniversary editions

Here's the official news release:


Abbey Road  Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos 

London – August 8, 2019 – It was 50 years ago today, on August 8, 1969, that the world’s most famous band stepped out from London’s EMI Recording Studios to stride, single-file, across the black and white stripes of Abbey Road’s nearby zebra crossing. With photographer Iain Macmillan balanced on a stepladder and one policeman stopping the street’s light traffic, The Beatles crossed back and forth three times, led by John Lennon, followed by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Just six photos were taken, with the fifth selected as the cover shot for The Beatles’ penultimate studio album, Abbey Road, named after the tree-lined street in which the studios are located. Released September 26, 1969, Abbey Road was not The Beatles’ final album, as Let It Be followed in 1970, but it was the last one John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together as a band. The Beatles will celebrate Abbey Road’s anniversary with a suite of beautifully presented packages to be released worldwide on September 27 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Now available for preorder, the album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased.
“The Beatles recording journey had gone through many twists and turns, learning curves and thrilling rides. Here we were – still wondering at the magic of it all,” McCartney recalls in his written foreword for Abbey Road’s anniversary edition packages.
This is the first time Abbey Road has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings and demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The BEATLES (‘White Album’) released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. To create Abbey Road’s new stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios. All the new Abbey Road releases feature the new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original eight-track session tapes. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin.
“The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments, the blend of The Beatles’ voices, the beauty of the arrangements,” Giles Martin explains in his written introduction for the new edition. “Our quest is simply to ensure everything sounds as fresh and hits you as hard as it would have on the day it was recorded.”

Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box set presents 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc (Dolby Atmos, 96kHz/24 bit high resolution stereo, and 96 kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1). The four discs are housed in a slip-sleeved 12” by 12” 100-page hardbound book with McCartney’s foreword; Martin’s introduction; insightful, in-depth chapters written by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett covering the months preceding The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions, track-by-track details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot, and the album’s reception upon its release; plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the album’s influence through 50 years. The gorgeous book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, and tape boxes; and reproduced original print ads. The Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming in standard and MFiT formats, as well as in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.

Abbey Road’s limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The album’s new stereo mix LP is packaged in a faithfully replicated sleeve, with the two Sessions LPs paired in their own jacket, presented with a four-page insert in a lift-top box. The Deluxe 2CD set pairs the new stereo mix with versions taken from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs, sequenced to match the album’s running order. The two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. The album’s new stereo mix is also available in 1CD and 180-gram 1LP vinyl packages, for digital download in standard and MFiT audio, and on a limited edition picture disc vinyl LP illustrated by the album’s front and back cover art images.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets’ 23 session and demo recordings are presented in chronological order of their first recording dates. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” leads the charge:
For an overnight session on February 22, 1969, The Beatles were joined at London’s Trident Studios by producer George Martin and engineer Glyn Johns to record “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Abbey Road’s new edition combines a take from that session with the concluding part of the Trident master’s eight-track reduction mix made later at the EMI studios, revealing for the first time Billy Preston’s thrilling overdubbed organ solo. With their amps turned up high, The Beatles received a noise complaint from one of the studio’s neighbors in the Soho area of the city. The take starts with Lennon exclaiming, “My boys are ready to go!,” before the band is told about the complaint. Lennon replies, “What are they doing here at this time of night?,” then lays it down: “Well, we’ll try it once more very loud. And then if we don’t get it, we’ll try it quiet, like it might do it the other way. OK. The loud one, last go. Last chance to be loud!”
In the same month that the raucous Trident session took place, McCartney recorded a home demo of “Goodbye” for the Apple-signed singer Mary Hopkin and Harrison recorded a solo demo of “Something” at EMI Recording Studios. Both demos are featured on Abbey Road’s new edition. “Goodbye” makes its release debut. Although previously released on Anthology 3 in a version featuring guitar and vocal, the new anniversary mix of George’s “Something” demo features for the first time vocal, guitar and piano.  
The Beatles reconvened at EMI’s studios and Olympic Sound Studios for sessions spanning mid-April to early May. On April 14, Lennon and McCartney recorded the single “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” in EMI’s Studio Three, with Geoff Emerick as the balance engineer. Two days later, the single’s B-side, “Old Brown Shoe” was recorded. Session recordings for these tracks, as well as three more songs started during this period, “Oh! Darling,” “Octopus’s Garden,” and “You Never Give Me Your Money,” are featured in Abbey Road’s anniversary edition.
The remainder of Abbey Road’s sessions took place in July and in August with George Martin producing, and with principal engineers Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald taking turns at EMI’s groundbreaking new mixing console, the TG12345. On July 2, 3, and 4, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr recorded “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight” as a medley (Lennon was hospitalized in Scotland, recuperating after a car accident). A sequence of Takes 1-3 from the first day’s session is featured in the anniversary edition. Take 9 from McCartney, Harrison, and Starr’s backing track session for “Here Comes The Sun” on Starr’s July 7 birthday is also included.
On July 21, 22, and 23, The Beatles were in-studio to record “Come Together,” followed by additional sessions on July 25, 29, and 30. The anniversary edition features Take 5. On July 23, The Beatles began recording “The End,” which, along with McCartney’s timeless couplet – “And in the end, the love you take / Is equal to the love you make” – features Starr’s only drum solo on a Beatles recording. Take 3 is included in Abbey Road’s new edition. The next day, just before the band’s 34-take session for “Sun King” and “Mean Mr Mustard,” McCartney cut a quick studio demo for “Come And Get It” – later a hit for the Apple-signed band Badfinger. The demo’s original 1969 stereo mix, made with McCartney and Lennon present in the control room, is released for the first time in the new edition, as is Take 20 from The Beatles’ “Sun King” and “Mean Mr Mustard” session. On July 25, two more songs, “Polythene Pam” and “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” were recorded as one for inclusion in the album’s epic medley. Take 27 from that session is featured on the new edition.
After Harrison had transported his rare and cumbersome Moog synthesizer to the studios, four songs received Beatle-played synthesizer parts: “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (Lennon), “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (McCartney), and “Here Comes The Sun” and “Because” (Harrison). This was a very early use of the newly-invented instrument on a pop record. George Martin wrote arrangements for several tracks that were recorded in Studio One toward the end of the sessions in August 1969. The original overdubbed recordings of Martin’s scores for “Something” and “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight” are included in Abbey Road’s anniversary edition.
August 20, 1969 was the last time The Beatles were together as a band at the EMI studios, for an evening session to compile Abbey Road’s master tapes. The album’s sides were sequenced, with “Come Together” opening Side 1, and with the medley of “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Sun King,” “Mean Mr Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End” placed on Side 2. “The Long One,” a different trial edit and mix of the medley, including “Her Majesty” (ultimately placed 14 seconds after “The End” as an unlisted, hidden track) is included in Abbey Road’s new edition.
A few weeks before Abbey Road’s release on September 26, 1969, Apple’s press officer Derek Taylor revealed that the album was “recorded at nice, workmanlike sessions which usually began at 2pm and continued until the end of the evening.” Millions of Abbey Road LPs were pressed at manufacturing plants around the world. The album was another blockbuster release for The Beatles, holding the No. 1 spot on the U.K. albums chart for a total of 17 weeks and topping Billboard’s U.S. albums chart for 11 weeks. For their work on Abbey Road, Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald won the year’s GRAMMY Award® for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical. In 1995, Abbey Road was inducted into the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Hall of Fame, recognizing “recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance.” The Beatles’ best-selling studio album, Abbey Road’s universal popularity and influence have continued to grow since its debut.
Since Abbey Road’s release, the street’s zebra crossing has been one of the most celebrated and photographed sites in the world, protected as an historic landmark and visited by thousands of Beatles fans each year. Due to the success of The Beatles’ album, EMI Recording Studios was renamed Abbey Road Studios. Owned and operated by Universal Music Group, Abbey Road Studios is the most famous recording studio in the world and a global music icon.

3-CD, 1 Blu-Ray Super Deluxe Editon Track List:

CD 1 (2019 stereo mix)

1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus's Garden
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Because
9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr. Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty

CD 2
  1. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
  2. Goodbye (Home Demo)
  3. Something (Studio Demo)
  4. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7)
  5. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)
  6. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
  7. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
  8. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
  9. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)
  10. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
  11. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
  12. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)
CD 3

  1. Come Together (Take 5)
  2. The End (Take 3)
  3. Come And Get It (Studio Demo)
  4. Sun King (Take 20)
  5. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
  6. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
  7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
  8. Because (Take 1 – Instrumental)
  9. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969) (Medley: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End)
  10. Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only
  11. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)

1. Dolby Atmos
2. Surround Sound 96kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
3. 96kHz/24 bit High Res Stereo (2019 Stereo Mix)

3-LP Vinyl Deluxe edition contains all of the above, minus the Blu-Ray content.

2-CD Deluxe Edition includes:

CD 1 (2019 Stereo Mix)
1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus's Garden
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Because
9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr. Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty

CD 2
1. Come Together (Take 5)
2. Something (Studio Demo)
3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)
4. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
5. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
7. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
8. Because (Take 1 Instrumental)
9. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
10. Sun King (Take 20)
11. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
12. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
14. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
15. The End (Take 3)
16. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)

New Beatles video teaser: #AbbeyRoad

Announcement coming soon, looks like...

50 Years Ago Today: Four Beatles crossed the Road...

Friday, August 2, 2019

Petula Clark on getting advice from John Lennon, singing on "Give Peace a Chance"

Beatles-adjacent content in a new profile on the singer, published in The Guardian:

Performing in Montreal in 1969, she was heckled for singing in English and French – she had not been advised that a separatist movement was under way. Distraught, Clark sought advice from John Lennon, who was in Montreal for a bed-in with Yoko Ono. She recalls turning up at the door of their hotel suite, snivelling, in the middle of a downpour.

Lennon welcomed her warmly. “They were both still in their nighties. I sat there, dripping water all over their bed, and told them the story. He said: ‘Oh, fuck ’em.’ I said: ‘Thank you, John.’” Lennon was happy to play therapist, she says. “He was so funny and very philosophical. We had a chat about the situation. Did it really matter? ‘This too shall pass.’ That sort of stuff. Then he said: ‘I tell you what – you need a drink’. Which was very true.”

There was a crowd in the next room, among them Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and one of the Smothers Brothers – “but no drugs”, she adds, firmly. Someone handed her a lyric sheet, and she joined the group in singing “a simple little melody: ‘All we are saying, is give peace a chance.’ I don’t think any of us knew we were being recorded.”

Ringo confirms upcoming "Abbey Road" anniversary release

We all knew it was coming of course, but we finally have an actual Beatle talking about the 50th anniversary Abbey Road release(s). Official details on the set are expected very soon. Something New, the Beatlefan blog, recently posted some unconfirmed details about the box set contents here.

Here's Ringo's recent mention of the set:

...he's acknowledged that the Beatles will be releasing an Abbey Road boxed set to celebrate that album's 50th anniversary.

"I've loved all the re-releases because of the remastering, and you can hear the drums, which got dialed down in the old days," Starr says. "I get a bit fed up, personally, with all those, like, Take 9 or Take 3, the odd takes that we didn't put out, but that's part of the box set and you have to do stuff like that. But I've always just listened to the record itself, what we put out in the 60s or 1970, and it's brighter. It's amazing with Beatles music; We have a billion streams a year now, and every generation still has a listen to us. Far out."