Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

The Super Deluxe 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles, a.k.a. “The White Album”, is a deep behind-the-scenes look at how that 30-song, double-album masterpiece came to be. It’s been a trope since the album’s U.K. release, on November. 22nd 1968, that the White Album—so nicknamed because its cover was all-white, save for a stamped serial number on each LP produced in the early pressings—was the sound of The Beatles dissolving. That’s true to a great extent—many of its tracks are the work of a sole Beatle or partial-group performances.

The Beatles”, also known as “The White Album“, was the ninth studio album by the band, released on 22nd November 1968. It was a double album, its plain white sleeve has no graphics or text other than the band’s name embossed, which was intended as a direct contrast to the vivid cover artwork of the band’s earlier Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Although no singles were issued from The Beatles in Britain and the United States, the songs “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” originated from the same recording sessions and were issued on a single in August 1968.

Paul when asked about the 50th anniversary package” of the 1968 double album and responded by saying it’s really good.” He went on to say that “The album itself 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 fucking good was John?! Amazing. We were just doing it; it was amazing. We were having a good time.”

All The other tracks, and much of what we can now hear on Super Deluxe commemorative edition, display a quartet that still enjoys making music together—and takes the group quite seriously (some songs required dozens of takes in the studio until the band was happy with one). At the same time they were maturing, they were preparing to leave behind the phenomenon that was the Beatles.

The history has been meticulously documented: the arrival of Yoko Ono into John Lennon’s world: the group’s time together at the Indian meditation compound of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, where several of the White Album’s songs were written; Ringo Starr’s decision (short-lived) to walk out on the group. It’s all spelled out in vivid detail in the comprehensive, lavishly illustrated hardcover book that houses the CDs that comprise the Super Deluxe Edition.

Housed in its legendary plain white, subtly embossed sleeve,  came out in November 1968. It arrived at a time when both the group and the world had changed irrevocably: the former since their first forays into fame and fortune, the latter scarred by the ongoing war in Vietnam and the assassination of Martin Luther King, to touch upon the tip of the iceberg.

The music on the original White Album is, like all of the Beatles’ output, the product of a very specific time; the new anniversary releases (also available in abbreviated standard and deluxe editions) aim to put it into context. In addition to the music of the original album, newly mixed by producer Giles Martin (the son of original Beatles producer George Martin) and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround sound, the Super Deluxe includes the 27 so-called “Esher Demos”: early, stripped-down working versions of songs that would appear on the album plus others that would find their way to other projects (including Abbey Road and solo albums). It also includes 50 session recordings of in-progress and outtakes galore. They are, to be sure, a revelation.

The Super Deluxe, like the similar treatment afforded Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely hearts Club Band in 2017, is nothing less than fascinating; even fans who have owned the bootleg releases containing much of this music will savoir the enhanced audio and newly discovered tracks that populate the six discs. There are in-studio jams, rehearsals, instrumental backing tracks, drastically different and unfinished lyrics and so much more.

For all of the excitement and revelation generated by the expanded releases though, in the end there remains—to paraphrase from the landmark they released the previous year—the album we’ve known for all these years.

From the inside looking out, maybe everything wasn’t going to be alright, despite John Lennon’s assurances on the rousing “Revolution 1″, just one of many highlights on what is perhaps The Beatles’ most ambitious studio album.

After writing dozens of songs while meditating in India in the spring, the group returned to Abbey Road and Trident, in Soho – to record over 30 tracks of new material up until the summer. During these sessions, arguments broke out among the foursome over creative differences. Another divisive element was the constant presence of John Lennon’s new partner, Yoko Ono, whose attendance at the sessions broke with the Beatles‘ policy regarding wives and girlfriends. After a series of problems, including producer George Martin taking a sudden leave of absence and engineer Geoff Emerick quitting, Ringo Starr left the band briefly in August. The same tensions continued throughout the following year, leading to the eventual break-up of the band in April 1970.

When you think of how unrest had started to simmer within the group’s ranks – Yoko Ono arriving in the studio; Apple forming; Ringo leaving and then returning – and how broad the album’s palette of sounds (blue beat, heavy metal, folk and doo-wop, to name a few), The Beatles still manages to hang together like few other works.

The John Lennon and Paul McCartney stereotypes are at once reinforced, yet also dismissed – few would have thought Good Night was the product of Lennon’s pen, and likewise “Helter Skelter” didn’t immediately scream McCartney. Away from such showpieces, it’s the doodles that delight – George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle” is a fine counterweight to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, and “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey” balances the gravitas of “Revolution 1”.

Given that it also contains Lennon, Ono and Harrison’s nine-minute noise collage “Revolution No 9″ and McCartney’s genuinely pointless “Wild Honey Pie”, it’s little wonder that producer George Martin always opined that The Beatles could have made a splendid single album. That said, without such variety on offer, the compiling of one’s own version wouldn’t be the national pastime it is today.

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Side one

Back in the U.S.S.R.

One of many songs on the album written (this one by Paul) during the Beatles stay in Rishikesh, India, to study Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi, the Beach Boys tribute/parody was recorded without Ringo, who had temporarily left the group due to what he said was criticism of his drumming. The song includes a mention of the Hoagy Carmichael composition “Georgia on My Mind,” included by Paul because the nation of Georgia was part of the Soviet Union at the time. Minutiae: The airplane sound effects are different on the mono and stereo versions.

Paul McCartney wrote “Back in the U.S.S.R.” as a surreal parody of Chuck Berry’s song “Back in the U.S.A.” field recording of a jet aeroplane taking off and landing was used at the start of the track, and intermittently throughout it, while the backing vocals were sung by Lennon and Harrison in the style of the Beach Boys at the request of Mike Love, who had accompanied the group to India. The track became widely bootlegged in the Soviet Union and became an underground hit.

Dear Prudence

Prudence Farrow, sister of actress Mia Farrow, was one of the Westerners meditating in India with the Maharishi the same time the Beatles were there. She was being reclusive, and John wrote the song to try to convince her to “come out and play. “Dear Prudence” was one of the songs recorded at Trident. The style is typical of the acoustic songs written in Rishikesh, using guitar arpeggios. Lennon wrote the track about Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence Farrow, who rarely left her room during the stay in commitment to the meditation.

The song was recorded sans Ringo, who was into his brief departure from the band. Sean Lennon later covered the track, as did Jerry Garcia, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Leslie West, Alanis Morissette and others.

Glass Onion

John refers to five other Beatles tunes in his lyrics: “I Am the Walrus,” “The Fool on the Hill,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Fixing a Hole” and “Lady Madonna.” John later said that his line “The walrus was Paul” was a joke. Glass Onion was also a name suggested by Lennon for a new band originally called the Iveys that signed to the Beatles’ Apple label. They chose Badfinger instead.

“Glass Onion” was the first backing track recorded as a full band since Starr’s brief departure. MacDonald claimed Lennon deliberately wrote the lyrics to mock fans who claimed to find “hidden messages” in songs, and referenced other songs in the Beatles catalogue – “The Walrus was Paul” refers back to “I Am the Walrus” (which itself refers to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”). McCartney, in turn, overdubbed a recorder part after the line “I told you about the Fool on the Hill”, as a deliberate parody of the earlier song.A string section was added to the track in October.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

The title comes from an expression Paul heard spoken by Nigerian conga player Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor: “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah.” John reportedly hated the song and some fans must agree because it’s been named among the worst songs ever in several music polls. Nonetheless, the song, which took on a Jamaican ska-influenced rhythm after much studio experimentation with the tempo, was released as a single in some countries and topped the charts in Japan, Australia and a few others. That conga player, by the way, later tried to sue the Beatles for royalties—he did not prevail.

Lennon went straight to the piano and smashed the keys with an almighty amount of volume, twice the speed of how they’d done it before, and said “This is it! Come on!”
Recording engineer Richard Lush on the final take of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”.  Written by McCartney as a pastiche of ska music. The track took a surprising amount of time to complete, with McCartney demanding perfectionism that annoyed his colleagues. Jimmy Scott, a friend of McCartney, suggested the title and played bongos on the initial take. He demanded a cut of publishing when the song was released, but the song was credited to “Lennon-McCartney”. After working for three days on the backing track, the work was scrapped and replaced with a new recording. Lennon hated the song, calling it “granny music shit”,while engineer Richard Lush recalled that Starr disliked having to record the same backing track repetitively, and pinpoints this session as a key indication that the Beatles were going to break up McCartney attempted to remake the backing track for a third time, but this was abandoned after a few takes and the second version was used as the final mix. The group, save for McCartney, had lost interest in the track by the end of recording, and refused to release it as a single. British pop group Marmalade recorded a version that became a number one hit. In 2004, an online survey of 1,000 people in the UK by Mars ranked the song as the worst ever.

Wild Honey Pie

The recording lasts less than a minute and feels like something tossed off in the studio, which it basically was: Paul wrote it and is the only performer on the track, contributing all of the vocals and instruments. Most of what you hear in the background is a harpsichord.

McCartney recorded “Wild Honey Pie” on 20th August at the end of the session for “Mother Nature’s Son”. It is typical of the brief snippets of songs he recorded between takes during the album sessions.

The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

Another Lennon composition stemming from the Rishikesh visit, this one was inspired by John’s scorn for Richard Cooke III, a wealthy American college student who was present at the Maharishi’s ashram and went out on a tiger-hunting caravan. The little flamenco guitar line heard at the song’s start was actually played on a Mellotron by studio engineer Chris Thomas.

“The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” was written by Lennon after an American visitor to Rishikesh left for a few weeks to hunt tigers. It was recorded as an audio vérité exercise, featuring vocal performances from almost everyone who happened to be in the studio at the time. Ono sings one line and co-sings another, while Chris Thomas played the mellotron, including improvisations at the end of the track. The opening flamenco guitar flourish was a recording included in the Mellotron’s standard tape library.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

No big secret that the lead guitar, uncredited on the album, was played by George’s friend Eric Clapton. Harrison wrote the song after returning from India and recorded an acoustic demo. The other Beatles were not all that impressed with it at first, perhaps because the lyrics partially reflect the disharmony that was brewing with the group. Upon the album’s release, and ever since, the track—one of four by Harrison on the White Album—became one of the band’s most popular.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was written by Harrison during a visit he made to his parents’ home in Cheshire. He first recorded the song as a solo performance, on acoustic guitar, on 25th July – a version that remained unreleased until Anthology 3. He was unhappy with the group’s first attempt to record the track, and so invited his friend Eric Clapton to come and play on it. Clapton was unsure about guesting on a Beatles record, but Harrison said the decision was “nothing to do with them. It’s my song.” Clapton’s solo was treated with automatic double tracking to attain the desired effect; he gave Harrison the guitar he used, which Harrison later named “Lucy”.

Happiness is a Warm Gun

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” evolved out of song fragments that Lennon wrote in Rishikesh. According to MacDonald, this working method was inspired by the Incredible String Band’s song writing. The basic backing track ran to 95 takes, due to the irregular time signatures and variations in style throughout the song. The final version consisted of the best half of two takes edited together. Lennon later described the song as one of his favourites, while the rest of the band found the recording rejuvenating, as it forced them to re-hone their skills as a group playing together to get it right. Apple’s press officer Derek Taylor made an uncredited contribution to the song’s lyrics.

Considering how we lost John, it’s chilling to think that he wrote this song after seeing the title on the cover of a gun magazine. (What might be even more stunning is that the gun magazine was playing off the Peanuts cartoon’s phrase, “Happiness is a Warm Puppy.”) The track is one of few on the album that features the traditional Beatles configuration of John and George on guitars, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums, without any additional instrumentation or outside help.

Side two

Martha My Dear

It was written by Paul for his Old English Sheepdog, Martha, although some accounts have McCartney’s ex-girlfriend Jane Asher being the real inspiration (the lyric “You have always been my inspiration” was said to be the giveaway). John and Ringo do not appear on the recording.

The entire track is played by him backed with session musicians, and features no other Beatles. Martin composed a brass band arrangement for the track.

I’m So Tired

John missed Yoko Ono terribly while he was in India for the meditation retreat, and wrote this ballad while unable to sleep. The nonsensical mumbling at the beginning of the track is actually John saying, “”Monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?” Some fans, however, misheard it as a masked reference to Paul being dead, fueling a rumor that McCartney had died and been replaced by a look-alike/sound-alike.

“I’m So Tired” was written in India when Lennon was having difficulty sleeping. It was recorded at the same session as “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”.The lyrics make reference to Walter Raleigh, calling him a “stupid git” for introducing tobacco to Europe, while the track ends with Lennon mumbling “Monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?”. This became part of the Paul is Dead conspiracy theory, when fans claimed that when the track was reversed, they could hear “Paul is dead man, miss him miss him”.

Blackbird

Paul wrote and recorded this solo after hearing a blackbird while in India. But he has long said that it actually refers to the Civil Rights movement in America at the time. The recording consists entirely of Paul’s acoustic guitar, double-tracked vocal and foot-tapping, as well as the sound of a blackbird singing. McCartney has performed the song during every tour he’s done since going solo. Among the many cover versions is a beautiful harmony-rich take by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

“Blackbird” features McCartney solo, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. According to Lewisohn, the ticking in the background is a metronome, although Emerick recalls capturing the sound via a microphone placed beside McCartney’s shoes. The birdsong on the track was taken from the Abbey Road sound effects collection, and was recorded on one of the first EMI portable tape recorders.

Piggies

One of the four George Harrison-penned numbers on the album, “Piggies” was meant as social commentary—the word pig, at the time, referred to both a police officer and any “Establishment” type who was deemed to be greedy or ultra-conservative. Many found the song somewhat humorous, but one person who did not was Charles Manson, the California-based cult leader who believed the Beatles were speaking directly to him. Manson interpreted the song’s lyrics as a call for him to start a race war. When his followers committed their notorious murders, they wrote the word pig in their victims’ blood on the walls.

Harrison wrote “Piggies” as an attack on greed and materialism in modern society. His mother and Lennon helped him complete the lyrics. Thomas played harpsichord on the track, while Lennon supplied a tape loop of pigs grunting. The harpsichord was left in one of the studios at EMI after a classical session and Harrison decided to incorporate it into his song.

Rocky Raccoon

Paul’s attempt to write a cowboy song about a near-fatal love triangle began at the Rishikesh ashram. The piano on the recording was played by producer George Martin. Donovan, also present at the ashram, is said to have had some part in writing the song but was not credited.

“Rocky Raccoon” evolved from a jam session with McCartney, Lennon and Donovan in Rishikesh. The song was taped in a single session, and was one of the tracks that Martin felt was “filler” and only put on because the album was a double.

Don’t Pass Me By

This was Ringo’s first solo composition for a Beatles album but it was not new when he cut it with the group in 1968. In fact, “Don’t Pass Me By” dates all the way back to 1962, to shortly after the time he joined the band. The lyrics certainly underwent some changes over the years though, and the bizarre line “I’m sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair, you were in a car crash and you lost your hair” was later cited as another clue by the conspiracy theorists who spread the “Paul is Dead” rumour, as McCartney had supposedly died in a car crash. Ringo and Paul are the only Beatles on the track—the wild violin solo was contributed by Jack Fallon, a British jazz musician.

“Don’t Pass Me By” was Ringo Starr’s first solo composition for the band,  he had been toying with the idea of writing a self-reflective song for some time, possibly as far back as 1963. It went by the working titles of “Ringo’s Tune” and “This Is Some Friendly”. The basic track consisted of Starr drumming while McCartney played piano.  Martin composed an orchestral introduction to the song but it was rejected as being “too bizarre” and left off the album.

Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?

Less than two minutes long, it was written by Paul after he witnessed two monkeys having sex in the open in India. Other than Paul, Ringo is the only musician on the track. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” was written by McCartney in India after he saw two monkeys copulating in the street and wondered why humans were too civilised to do the same. He played all the instruments except drums, which were contributed by Starr. The simple lyric was very much in Lennon’s style, and Lennon was annoyed about not being asked to play on it. McCartney suggested it was “tit for tat” as he had not contributed to “Revolution No 9”.

I Will

There is no bass on this tune—Paul (who wrote it) supplies “vocal bass” instead. There is also no George Harrison on this all-acoustic song: Paul plays nearly everything except for some percussion from Ringo and John. Despite its simplicity, the Beatles did 67 takes of the song. During take 19, Paul improvised a bit that’s come to be known as “Can You Take Me Back?,” half a minute of which was later excised and included on the album between “Cry Baby Cry” and “Revolution 9.” (You can hear the full tune now on the Super Deluxe White Album.) “I Will” has been covered by everyone from Diana Ross to Phish to Art Garfunkel.

“I Will” was written and sung by McCartney, with Lennon and Starr accompanying on percussion. In between numerous takes, the three Beatles broke off to busk some other songs. While recordings of Cilla Black’s hit “Step Inside Love” and a joke number, “Los Paranoias”, were released on Anthology 3.

Julia

John is the only person who appears on the song, which was written about his late mother while the Beatles were in India. John employs a finger-picking acoustic guitar style he learned from singer Donovan. The phrase “ocean child” in the lyrics was, however, a nod to Yoko Ono, whose Japanese last name translates to Ocean Child. The opening line is taken directly from the poem “Sand and Foam” by Kahlil Gibran, which reads (in the original version), “Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it so that the other half may reach you.”

“Julia” was the last track to be recorded for the album and features Lennon on solo acoustic guitar which he played in a style similar to McCartney’s on “Blackbird”. This is the only Beatles song on which Lennon performs alone and it was a tribute to his mother Julia Lennon, who was killed in 1958 in a road accident while Lennon was only seventeen, and the lyrics deal with the loss of his mother and his relationship with Ono, the “ocean child” referred to in the lyrics. Ono helped with the lyrics, but the song was still credited to Lennon-McCartney as expected.

Side three

Birthday

One of the rare instances of a song truly co-written by Lennon and McCartney (although mostly by Paul) in the latter Beatles years, “Birthday” was composed in Abbey Road Studios.

According to McCartney, the authorship of “Birthday” was “50–50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all on the same evening”. He and Lennon were inspired to write the song after seeing the first UK showing of the rock’n’roll film The Girl Can’t Help It on television, and sang the lead vocal in the style of the film’s musical star, Little Richard. After the Beatles had taped the track, Ono and Pattie Harrison added backing vocals.

Yer Blues

Another one from the India stay, it was written solely by John, who also sings the lead vocal. A basic blues progression, given a deliberate hard edge by John, it was recorded by the four Beatles in their original, basic guitar-bass-drums format sans additional instrumentation or personnel. John performed the song on the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus concert with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Mitch Mitchell“Yer Blues” was originally written by Lennon in India. Despite meditating and the tranquil atmosphere, he still felt unhappy, which was reflected in the lyrics. The style was influenced by the British Blues Boom of 1968, which included groups such as Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack. The backing track was recorded in a small room next to the Studio 2 control room at Abbey Road. Unusually for a Beatles recording, the four-track source tape was edited directly, resulting in an abrupt cut-off at 3’17” into the start of another take (which ran into the fade out).

“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” and “Sexy Sadie” were both written in reference to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Mother Nature’s Son

Paul is the only Beatle on this acoustic beauty, with a brass arrangement by George Martin. The bongos-like sound was achieved by Paul playing timpani and bass drum at the far end of the studio so that the microphone dulled the sound. Among the cover versions: Harry Nilsson, Sheryl Crow, John Denver and jazz artists Ramsey Lewis and Brad Mehldau (separately).  McCartney wrote “Mother Nature’s Son” in India, and worked on it in isolation from the other members of the band. He performed the track solo alongside a Martin-scored brass arrangement.

Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey

One of the more raucous songs on the album, John wrote it (as he did so many songs) about Yoko. Some have commented that the song was about heroin, which the couple admitted using, but Lennon denied that. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” evolved from a jam session, and was originally untitled. The final mix was sped up by mixing the tape running at 43 hertz instead of the usual 50. Harrison claimed the title came from one of the Maharishi’s sayings (with “and my monkey” added later).

Sexy Sadie

John’s song was a thinly veiled critique of the Maharishi, with whom Lennon had become disillusioned. In fact, an original draft of John’s lyrics was filed with all sorts of obscenities directed at the guru. One of the surviving original lines, “What have you done?/You made a fool of everyone,” was inspired by a verse in a song by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. “Sexy Sadie” was written as “Maharishi” by Lennon, shortly after he decided to leave Rishikesh. In a 1980 interview, Lennon acknowledged that the Maharishi was the inspiration for the song: “I just called him ‘Sexy Sadie’.

Helter Skelter

Probably the Beatles’ “heaviest” rock song, and often considered an influence on the developing metal genre, the fierce, raw McCartney-written rocker, has, unfortunately, become as closely associated with the Manson murders as with the Beatles—the murderous cult leader somehow interpreted the song to mean that he was to start a race war in the United States. A book on the Manson “family” took the title of the song as its own. McCartney has since re-embraced the song and includes it in his concerts to this day.  “Helter Skelter” was written by McCartney and was initially recorded in July as a blues number. The initial takes were performed by the band live and included long passages during which they jammed on their instruments. Because these takes were too long to practically fit on an LP, the song was shelved until September, when a new, shorter, version was made. By all accounts, the session was chaotic, but nobody dared suggest to any of the Beatles that they were out of control. Harrison reportedly ran around the studio while holding a flaming ashtray above his head, “doing an Arthur Brown” The stereo version of the LP includes almost an extra minute of music compared to the mono, which culminates in Starr infamously shouting “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” . Charles Manson was unaware that helter skelter is the British name for a spiral slide found on a playground or funfair, and assumed the track had something to do with hell. This was one of the key tracks that led Manson to believe the album had coded messages referring to apocalyptic war, and led to his movement of the same name.

Long, Long, Long

This folkish, placid, ethereal tune was penned by George in Rishikesh and, he said, was addressed at God, although it could also be interpreted as being directed toward a missed ex-lover. John sat this one out while Paul provided the Hammond organ as well as the bass, with engineer Chris Thomas playing piano and Ringo, of course, on the drums. It was the final song on side three is Harrison’s “Long, Long, Long”, part of the chord progression for which he took from Bob Dylan’s “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”. MacDonald describes the song as Harrison’s “touching token of exhausted, relieved reconciliation with God” and considered it to be his “finest moment on The Beatles”. The recording session for the basic track was one of the longest the Beatles ever undertook, running from the afternoon of 7th October through the night until 7 am the next day. McCartney played Hammond organ on the track, and an “eerie rattling” effect at the end was created by a note causing a wine bottle on top of the organ’s Leslie speaker to resonate.

Side four

Revolution 1

The Beatles recorded three “Revolution” songs in 1968: “Revolution 9,” the avant-garde sound collage; the un-numbered, hard-rocking “Revolution,” released as a single; and “Revolution 1,” a bluesy, slowed-down, shuffling version. That’s the one that appears on the White Album and, like the single, it found John expressing empathy with the revolutionary fervour of the tense time while simultaneously cautioning against violence. While Nicky Hopkins added piano to the single version, he’s not on the album cut, which instead includes horn players and backing vocals.

“Revolution 1” was the first track recorded for the album, with sessions for the backing track starting on 30th May. The initial takes were recorded with the aim of it being a possible single, but as the session progressed, the arrangement became slower, with more of a laid-back groove. The group ended the chosen take with a six-minute improvisation that had further overdubs added, before being cut to the length heard on the album. The brass arrangement was added later.

Honey Pie

Paul, whose father led a jazz big band, always harboured an appreciation for the British music hall style, and “Honey Pie,” which he wrote, is a direct tribute to the form. At one point the staticky crackle of a 78 RPM record was added to give the song an old-time feel. Although the others weren’t quite as enamoured of the old music as Paul, they each played on the track, as do a team of horn men, including one George Martin on sax and clarinet. “Honey Pie” was written by McCartney as a pastiche of the flapper dance style from the 1920s. The opening section of the track had the sound of an old 78 RPM record overdubbed while Martin arranged a saxophone and clarinet part in the same style. Lennon played the guitar solo on the track, but later said he hated the song, calling it “beyond redemption”.

Savoy Truffle

What might have been a throwaway from anyone else—the soul-flavoured song was written by George and inspired by Eric Clapton’s love of sweets—becomes a compelling tune in the Beatles’ hands. John takes a break from this session, and in addition to Ringo and Paul, plus a six-piece horn section and Chris Thomas on keyboards boosts up the sound. Strangely enough, Ella Fitzgerald once covered the tune. “Savoy Truffle” was named after one of the types of chocolate found in a box of Mackintosh’s Good News, which Clapton enjoyed eating. The track featured a saxophone sextet arranged by Thomas, who also played keyboards. Harrison later said that Derek Taylor helped him finish the lyrics.

Cry Baby Cry

This somewhat haunting number was written by John, with playing input from the other three plus George Martin on the harmonium. On the album, it’s followed by the brief uncredited snippet by Paul, “Can You Take Me Back?,” which actually originated during a jam session that arose out of one of the takes for “I Will.”

Lennon began writing “Cry Baby Cry” in late 1967 and the lyrics were partly derived from a tagline for an old television commercial. George Martin played harmonium on the track.

Revolution 9

The most controversial “song” on the White Album, the experimental “Revolution 9” was John’s creation, influenced heavily by Yoko. Paul and Ringo are nowhere to be found, but George was involved, contributing some guitar, vocals and sound effects. Ono can also be heard on the track. Largely constructed around tape loops and other snippets of sound, the audio collage has been interpreted in many different ways. Lennon said at the time that it was about death, but he discounted that explanation later and said it was just a collection of unrelated sounds. The spoken word snippet at the beginning is Alistair Taylor (late manager Brian Epstein’s personal assistant) saying to George Martin, “I would’ve gotten claret for you but I’ve realized I’ve forgotten all about it, George, I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

“Revolution No 9” evolved from the overdubs from the “Revolution 1” coda. Lennon, Harrison and Ono added further tape collages and spoken word extracts, in the style of Karlheinz Stockhausen. The track opens with an extract from a Royal Schools of Music examination tape, and ends with Ono’s infamous comment, “you become naked”. Ono was heavily involved in the production, and advised Lennon on what tape loops to use. McCartney did not contribute to the track, and was reportedly unhappy on it being included, though he had led similar tape experiments such as “Carnival of Light” in January 1967.The track has attracted both interest and disapproval from fans and music critics over the years.

Good Night

Ringo Starr, as the singer, is the only Beatle who appears on the track, which features a full orchestra arranged and conducted by George Martin. John wrote the lush ballad for his son Julian, who was five at the time. The final words on the White Album are, “Good night. Good night, everybody. Everybody, everywhere. Good night.” “Good Night” was a lullaby written by Lennon for his son Julian, and he specifically wanted Starr to sing it. The early takes featured just Lennon on acoustic guitar and Starr singing, Martin scored an orchestral and choral arrangement that replaced the guitar in the final mix, and also played the celesta.

Unreleased material

Some songs that the Beatles were working on individually during this period were revisited for inclusion on the group’s subsequent albums, while others were eventually released on the band members’ solo albums. According to the bootlegged album of the demos made at Kinfauns, the latter of these two categories includes Lennon’s “Look at Me” and “Child of Nature” (eventually reworked as “Jealous Guy”); McCartney’s “Junk”; and Harrison’s “Not Guilty” and “Circles”. In addition, Harrison gave “Sour Milk Sea” to the singer Jackie Lomax, whose recording, produced by Harrison, was released in August 1968 as Lomax’s debut single on Apple Records. Lennon’s “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” would be used for the medley on Abbey Road the following year.

The Lennon-written “What’s the New Mary Jane” was demoed at Kinfauns and recorded formally (by Lennon, Harrison and Ono) during the 1968 album sessions. McCartney taped demos of two compositions at Abbey Road“Etcetera” and “The Long and Winding Road” – the last of which the Beatles recorded in 1969 for their album Let It Be. The Beatles versions of “Not Guilty” and “What’s the New Mary Jane”, and a demo of “Junk”, were ultimately released on Anthology 3.

“Revolution (Take 20)”, a previously uncirculated recording, surfaced in 2009 on a bootleg. This ten-minute take was later edited and overdubbed to create two separate tracks: “Revolution 1” and the avant-garde “Revolution 9”.

A new best-of box set of John Lennon’s solo work will arrive on October. 9th, which would have been the Beatle’s 80th birthday. The new set, titled ‘Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes‘ was executive produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and produced by Sean Ono Lennon. The two handpicked 36 of Lennon’s solo tracks, which “have all been completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.” (Quote via press release.)“John was a brilliant man with a great sense of humour and understanding,” wrote Yoko Ono Lennon in the preface of a 124-page book included in the Deluxe Edition (quote obtained via press release). “He believed in being truthful and that the power of the people will change the world. And it will. All of us have the responsibility to visualize a better world for ourselves and our children.

The truth is what we create. It’s in our hands.”The box set will come in various forms, including the Deluxe Edition, which will come along with the book, postcards, a fold-out poster and a bumper sticker. For more information on the various packages, head to johnlennon.com. In addition to the box set announcement, the Lennon estate also shared one of the tracks from Gimme Some Truth: a remixed edition of “Instant Karma (We All Shine On).”

Instant Karma! (We All Shine On) · John Lennon · Yoko Ono

As part of the celebrations for John Lennon’s 80th birthday, his most vital and best loved solo recordings have been completely remixed from scratch for a new collection:

The-Beatles-Revolver

(It was 50 years ago today! August. 5th in 1966: The Beatles ‘Revolver’ album was released in the UK (August. 8th in the US); it was the band’s 7th studio release featured the likes of “Taxman”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Here, There & Everywhere”, “She Said She Said”, “And Your Bird Can Sing” & “Tomorrow Never Knows”; it reached #1 on both the UK (seven weeks) & US (six weeks) charts; in a 1967 article for ‘Esquire’, music journalist Robert Christgau called the album “twice as good & four times as startling as ‘Rubber Soul’, with sound effects, Oriental drones, jazz bands, transcendentalist lyrics, all kinds of rhythmic & harmonic surprises, & a filter that made John Lennon sound like God singing through a foghorn”; Rolling Stone ranked it #3 on their list of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’…

“Revolver” is the seventh studio album by the English rock band The Beatles, released on the Parlophone label and produced by George Martin. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous LP, the folk rock inspired Rubber Soul (1965). In Britain, the fourteen tracks from Revolver were released to radio stations throughout July 1966, “building anticipation for what would clearly be a radical new phase in the group’s recording career”. The album was remastered 9th September 2009 for the first time since its 1987 digital compact disc release. the album is often regarded as one of the greatest achievements in music history and one of The Beatles’ greatest studio achievements.

We’d had acid on Revolver. Everyone is under this illusion… even George Martin saying ‘Pepper was their acid album,’ but we’d had acid, including Paul, by the time Revolver was finished. … Rubber Soul was our pot album, and Revolver was acid.  John Lennon, Sept 1971, St. Regis Hotel, NYC

Unlike our previous LPs, this one is intended to show our versatility rather than a haphazard collection of songs. We use trumpets, violins and cellos to achieve new effects. George has written three of the tracks. On past LPs he never did more than two and Ringo sings, or rather talks, a children’s song. This is all part of our idea of being up-to-date and including something for everybody. We don’t intend to go back and revive ideas of twenty years ago. Paul McCartney, 1966

The Beatles had initiated a second pop revolution – one which while galvanising their existing rivals and inspiring many new ones, left all of them far behind.
~Ian MacDonald (Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties) ….. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Recorded on 6th April – 21st June 1966, at EMI Studios, London

All the rules fell by the wayside with Revolver, as the Beatles began exploring new sonic territory, lyrical subjects, and styles of composition. It wasn’t just Lennon and McCartney, either — Harrison staked out his own dark territory with the tightly wound, cynical rocker “Taxman”; the jaunty yet dissonant “I Want to Tell You”; and “Love You To,” George’s first and best foray into Indian music. Such explorations were bold, yet they were eclipsed by Lennon’s trippy kaleidoscopes of sound. His most straightforward number was “Doctor Robert,” an ode to his dealer, and things just got stranger from there as he buried “And Your Bird Can Sing” in a maze of multi-tracked guitars, gave Ringo a charmingly hallucinogenic slice of childhood whimsy in “Yellow Submarine,” and then capped it off with a triptych of bad trips: the spiraling “She Said She Said”; the crawling, druggy “I’m Only Sleeping”; and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a pure nightmare where John sang portions of the Tibetan Book of the Dead into a suspended microphone over Ringo’s thundering, menacing drumbeats and layers of overdubbed, phased guitars and tape loops…

It may seem like an odd introduction to one of the Beatles’ more important and experimental albums. Written as a children’s song, “Yellow Submarine” made an impression at the time, but my fondness for Revolver only grew as I did and learned about what it really meant, about the impact it had for the band and for music. Now that I’m a music writer and proudly own their albums—on vinyl, Revolver offers an entirely different listening experience. Hearing it now, “Yellow Submarine” doesn’t quite fit, and yet it somehow does. Revolver is an amalgamation of different styles and genres, and the Beatles excelled at all of them.

The band was heavily involved with drugs at the time—the most mild being marijuana with Lennon becoming more interested in LSD—and questioning their musical identities among other more existential inquisitions. Pair that metaphysical exploration with three months in the studio after they retired from touring and the result is an album that defies the limits often ascribed to music genres.

If one thing in particular defines Revolver, it’s the fact that it evades the Western notion of meaning; of a definitive beginning, middle and end. “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the first song the Beatles recorded for the album and the final track on it, served not as the period to a complete sentence but as a pathway back to the start again. As Ian MacDonald noted in his book Revolution in the Head, part of the song’s instrumental break contains Paul McCartney’s guitar solo (chopped up and played backwards) from “Taxman,” the album’s opening track.  However minutely, the album’s last song references its first, and in doing so presents something closer to a cyclical chant that’s meant to go on and on and on.

Even Revolver’s title referred to a continual loop, but with a keener self-referential touch. McCartney observed that albums “revolved,” so Revolver became an album about albums—about making them and defying what that typically entailed. The now oft-quoted lyric from “Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream,” which John Lennon pulled from Timothy Leary’s LSD drug manual The Psychedelic Experience (which itself is an adaptation of The Book of the Dead), presents a challenge to listeners used to albums being a certain way. Are you willing to let go of any preconceptions you have of pop music? Are you willing to do away with any clear categorized notion of “the Beatles?”

How influential was “Tomorrow Never Knows” exactly? It’s always celebrated by rock and pop magazines, but even dance music magazine Muzik ranked it as one of the most influential records of all time, saying “Every idea ever used in dance music exists in this song. ” Again, this is on the same album with “Yellow Submarine,” the string octet of “Eleanor Rigby” and the garage rock of “Taxman.”

By the time of Revolver, Paul McCartney had developed an interest in more classical sounds, which arise in the French horn on “For No One” and the orchestration in “Eleanor Rigby.” But George Harrison went in a different direction. He preferred sounds that lay farther East. “Love You To” integrates Hidustani classical instrumentation and juxtaposes McCartney’s sound at the time as well as the other two songs Harrison contributed to Revolver, “Taxman” and “I Want to Tell You.” Harrison said in 1980, “’Norwegian Wood’ was an accident as far as the sitar part was concerned, but [‘Love You To’] was the first song where I consciously tried to use the sitar and tabla on the basic track.”

That the world’s most popular pop band could explore such varying and digressive ideas in one album signalled the possibilities involved in letting loose rather than keeping an album to one strict idea, be it thematic or melodic. Songs like “Doctor Robert” and “Got to Get You Into My Life” seemed like the natural progression from Rubber Soul, but paired next to such strange and singular songs as “I’m Only Sleeping” and even “Yellow Submarine,” Revolver showed what the Beatles could really do when someone loosened the reigns a little. “We were really starting to find ourselves in the studio,” Starr said of their recording sessions, according to biographer Bob Spitz.

Even though McCartney’s “For No One” feels closer to the typical pop structure the Beatles had followed up to Revolver, it too is an exercise in meditation a la “Tomorrow Never Knows.” At two minutes, it’s the briefest of thoughts with a French horn serving as the harmony John and George would’ve normally provided. Their absence allows McCartney to weave his narrative, but he isn’t concerned with an ending. “And in her eyes, you see nothing/ No sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one/ A love that should have lasted years,” he sings before the horn ends the song. It would make more sense to include an ellipses at the end of his last line, because the fade away is so sudden. There is no grand finale, no punctuative moment that marks its finish. The song merely ends before a silent beat stars the next track and listeners are on to “Doctor Robert.”

For Beatles fans across the globe, “What’s your favourite album?” serves as the ultimate litmus test. No matter the answer, Revolver can’t be ignored, even if, like me, your appreciation for it started off far differently than  it did for a Beatles fan in 1966. It changed the game quite literally for the Beatles and for pop music, and continues to resonate to this day, gaining new fans every year, myself included.

Perhaps if my second grade teacher had played “Taxman” or “Tomorrow Never Knows” (the latter probably would have gotten her in trouble), I wouldn’t have been drawn in at such an early age. And maybe that’s the genius of “Yellow Submarine”: it was an invitation to children, then and now, to enter a world that they would love for the rest of their lives.

Voormann’s history with the Beatles dates to Hamburg, and later living with George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the band’s flat after Lennon and McCartney moved out to be with their ladies.. Voormann who divided his time between graphic arts and playing bass, provided Manfred Mann with a bottom in in the late ’60s, worked as a session musician for Lou Reed, James Taylor and others, and on the Beatles’ Lennon, Harrison and Starr’s solo work. As a graphic artist, he designed a host of album covers for a variety of artists and was enlisted by Lennon to create the cover for the Beatles’ 1966 classic “Revolver.” This is one of the many variations before the final version evolved. His black and white collage style was the perfect complement to the Beatles‘ zany style at the time. Voormann left a lasting mark on the graphic arts and is still busy as he approaches 82. Most people who know his work will forever associate him with his classic “Revolver,” album design.

In the long spectrum of the Beatles’ work, Revolver serves as the dividing line. It marked the boundary between the light-hearted fare that helped the band rise to worldwide fame, and the more serious song writing and experimentation that would define the latter half of their career. Released on August 5th, 1966 in the UK (with the U.S. release following three days later), Revolver signified a meditative moment that would not only change the face of pop music, but continues to impact listeners as powerfully as it did upon its arrival 50 years ago.

The Beatles
John Lennon – lead, acoustic and rhythm guitars, lead, harmony and backing vocals, piano, Hammond organ and harmonium, tape loops and sound effects, cowbell, tambourine, maracas, handclaps, finger snaps
Paul McCartney – lead, acoustic and bass guitars, lead, harmony and backing vocals, piano, clavichord, tape loops, sound effects, handclaps, finger snaps
George Harrison – lead, acoustic and rhythm guitars, bass, lead, harmony and backing vocals, sitar, tamboura, sound effects, maracas, tambourine, handclaps, finger snaps
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, handclaps, finger snaps, lead vocals on “Yellow Submarine”

The-Beatles-Revolver back

Track Listing:

Side one
1. “Taxman” (Harrison)
2. “Eleanor Rigby”
3. “I’m Only Sleeping”
4. “Love You To” (Harrison)
5. “Here, There and Everywhere”
6. “Yellow Submarine”
7. “She Said She Said”

Side two
1. “Good Day Sunshine”
2. “And Your Bird Can Sing”
3. “For No One”
4. “Doctor Robert”
5. “I Want to Tell You” (Harrison)
6. “Got to Get You into My Life”
7. “Tomorrow Never Knows”

In case you weren’t aware already, here’s a friendly reminder that The Beatles‘ legendary Melbourne concert from the ’60s will be on TV across Australia tonight.

Starting at 9.30pm on Nine, One Night Only – The Beatles In Oz “is a stunning broadcast of the concert, completely remastered, that also includes never-before-seen footage of the Beatles’ tumultuous and only visit to Australia“.

Channel Nine was given access to film The Beatles‘ final sold out Melbourne concert in 1964 which took place at Festival Hall. “When they touched down here in 1964 on their first world tour Australia went into hysterical Beatlemania,” a statement from Nine reads.

“They captivated the nation for 13 amazing and unforgettable days. Wherever they went, tens of thousands of screaming fans lined the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of John, Paul and George, as well as Jimmie Nicol, the drummer filling in for Ringo, who missed some dates of the tour due to illness.” Beatlemania was at fever pitch in the summer of 1964 as the band prepared for its first tour to Denmark, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. But on June 3rd, the day before the Beatles were to leave, Ringo Starr collapsed at a photo shoot and was hospitalized with tonsillitis.

With hotels and concert halls booked and thousands of tickets sold, manager Brian Epstein understood that cancelling the tour would have been a financial disaster. A scramble began to find a replacement for Starr.

Epstein had to convince the other three Beatles to accept a substitute drummer. And where would he find a musician competent enough to back the biggest group in the world – and fit into Starr’s stage clothes? John Lennon and Paul McCartney accepted that hiring a replacement was necessary but George Harrison balked at the idea. Enter Jimmie Nicol, a 24-year-old London drummer whose studio work had impressed Epstein. McCartney also knew Nicol; the Beatle had recently caught a performance by Nicol with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.

After a six-song audition, Nicol was hired, given a Beatle haircut and told to pack for the flight to Denmark the next day. In the hospital, Starr recalled that he’d replaced Pete Best as the Beatles’ drummer two years earlier. “It was very strange, them going off without me,” Starr said in Anthology. “They’d taken Jimmie Nicol and I thought they didn’t love me any more – all that stuff went through my head.”

Jimmie Nicol became a Beatle for 13 days, participating in press conferences and enjoying the adulation of fans. Nicol played eight concerts and taped a TV show as the Beatles’ drummer. Ringo Starr was released from the hospital and rejoined the Beatles in Melbourne, where he performed on June 14th. The next day, Jimmie Nicol did his final television interview as a Beatle and went to the airport for the lonely trip home. Before he left, Epstein presented Nicol with a gold watch inscribed, “From the Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmie – with appreciation and gratitude.”.

It was over 50 years ago that The Beatles made their one and only tour of Australia. The Beatles touched down in Sydney on June 11, 1964 and for an amazing 13 days they captivated the nation. Hundreds of thousands lined the streets everywhere, Beatlemania was more intense here than anywhere else in the world. It was a time of massive musical and cultural change and a time for teenagers to challenge and defy authority. Over 300,000 people turned out in Adelaide – it was the biggest crowd anywhere in the world, anytime! The Beatles performed 20 shows across Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane leaving in their wake a trail of euphoric, captivated youth. Australia was never the same following The Beatles 1964 tour. This montage captures the highlights of their tour and the euphoria that followed.

See the source image

This is a great hard bluesy song on one of my favourite Beatle’s albums…“The White Album”. This is one reason I like the White Album so much. The song was written and composed by John Lennon during the Beatles’ retreat in Rishikesh, India. The song was a parody of blues music, specifically English imitators of blues. Lennon said that, while “trying to reach God and feeling suicidal” in India, he wanted to write a blues song, but was unsure if he could imitate the likes of Sleepy John Estes and other original blues artists he had listened to in school. In “Yer Blues” he alludes to this insecurity with a reference to the character Mr. Jones from Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man” and with the third verse, which draws on Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound on My Trail.” Instead, Lennon wrote and composed “Yer Blues”  featuring tongue-in-cheek guitar solos and rock and roll-inspired swing blues passages. In the chorus, Lennon sings, “If I ain’t dead already, girl you know the reason why.”

What I like about it is the rawness. This song and Helter Skelter show what a great rock band they were. The room they recorded this in was called Room 2A, which was next to the control room of EMI Studio Two and was a mere 8 ft. by 15.5 ft. The room had been used for storing four-track machines before it was emptied. It was very tight quarters for The Beatles once they set everything up. That added to the sound. They jammed together from 7pm to 5am and after 14 takes produced this song.

Lennon was self-conscious about singing the blues based tune.

John Lennon: “There was a self-consciousness about suddenly singing blues,” John continues. “Like everybody else, we were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school (in the late ’50’s). But to sing it, was something else. I was self-conscious about doing it.”

Paul McCartney recalled, “We were talking about this tightness, this packed-in-a-tin thing. So we got in a little cupboard – a closet that had microphone leads and things, with a drum kit, amps turned to the walls, one mic for John. We did ‘Yer Blues’ live and it was really good

Ringo Starr: “We were just in an 8 foot room, with no separation, just doing what we do best: playing.” .

The song is in the key of E major, but like many blues numbers, it prominently features accidentals, such as G, D, and B♭. It is primarily in a 6/8 meter, but as with several of Lennon’s tunes, the time signature and tempo are altered many times.

The stripped-down, bluesy nature of the number bears similarity to much of Lennon’s early solo output, including “Cold Turkey” and his 1970 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album and marks a retreat from the concerns that Lennon had with such studio experimentation as had marked such songs as “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

A Toronto promoter named John Brower was on the phone trying to convince John and Yoko they should attend a September 13th musical event in Canada featuring a host of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll legends. Maybe, suggested the ever-keen and eager Brower, John might even consider a performance piece?.  Two days later, the Lennons had gathered at Heathrow Airport with guitarist Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann (bass player), Alan White (drummer working with Alan Price), Beatles manager Allen Klein and roadie Mal Evans for the flight to Toronto and a show later that evening.

Only three first-class tickets were available, so the newly formed Plastic Ono Band gathered in the rear of the 707 jet, vamping their acoustic way through a cluster of classic rock ‘n’ roll favorites. Songs that the principal players worshipped. Perhaps this in-flight camaraderie inspired the bout of intense honesty that unfolded en route to the Toronto Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival concert. Later it came out that John had informed both Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann that he was thinking about starting a new group. It seems he went as far as to enquire about their interest in joining him in this new enterprise . . . At Varsity Stadium the jet-lagged John was extremely nervous. He hadn’t been onstage in three years, and he admitted to throwing up from nervousness before the show — with abundant reason. “Imagine if you were in The Beatles from the beginning, and you were never in any other band?” he postulated. “Then all of a sudden you’re going onstage with this group who’ve never played live together, anywhere. We formed on the plane coming over here, and now we’re gonna play in front of 20,000 people.”

The audio would be released in December of that year as the Plastic Ono Band’s “Live Peace In Toronto” LP. John bounced out onstage, bedecked in a white tropical suit overpinning a black shirt, and was bedeviling with his new band. The Toronto audience was equally uplifted. After whipping through a number of rock ‘n’ roll chestnuts, John plunged into “Yer Blues” from the White Album.

A 9 minute version with Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell was performed on the Rolling Stones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. They called the band the Dirty Mac.

Recorded before a live audience in London in 1968, The Rolling Stones “Rock and Roll Circus” was originally conceived as a BBC-TV special. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, it centers on the original line up of The Rolling Stones — Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman (with Nicky Hopkins and Rocky Dijon) — who serve as both the show’s hosts and featured attraction. For the first time in front of an audience, “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” performs six Stones classics. The program also includes extraordinary performances by The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, and The Dirty Mac. A ‘supergroup’ before the term had even been coined, the band was comprised of Eric Clapton (lead guitar), Keith Richards (bass), Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience (drums) and John Lennon on guitar and vocals.

Check out this great cover of the John Lennon Beatles song “Yer Blues” covered by his son Sean Lennon

Sean Lennon – “Yer Blues” 2012

The new film features extensive, never-before-seen footage of the legendary band’s “Let It Be” recording sessions along with the entire iconic rooftop concert, fully restored

The Walt Disney Studios has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s previously announced Beatles documentary. The film will showcase the warmth, camaraderie and humor of the making of the legendary band’s studio album, “Let It Be,” and their final live concert as a group, the iconic rooftop performance on London’s Savile Row. “The Beatles: Get Back” will be released by The Walt Disney Studios in the United States and Canada on September 4th, 2020, with additional details and dates for the film’s global release to follow. The announcement was made earlier today by Robert A. Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company, at Disney’s annual meeting of shareholders.

“No band has had the kind of impact on the world that The Beatles have had, and ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ is a front-row seat to the inner workings of these genius creators at a seminal moment in music history, with spectacularly restored footage that looks like it was shot yesterday,” says Iger of the announcement. “I’m a huge fan myself, so I could not be happier that Disney is able to share Peter Jackson’s stunning documentary with global audiences in September.”

“The Beatles: Get Back,” presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., is an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles, the most influential band of all time, and three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy). Compiled from over 55 hours of unseen footage, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and 140 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings from the “Let It Be” album sessions, “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Jackson and produced by Jackson, Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde, with Ken Kamins and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones serving as executive producers. The music in the film will be mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in London. With this pristine restoration behind it, “The Beatles: Get Back” will create a vivid, joyful and immersive experience for audiences.

Peter Jackson says, “Working on this project has been a joyous discovery. I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces. I’m thrilled that Disney have stepped up as our distributor. There’s no one better to have our movie seen by the greatest number of people.”

Paul McCartney says, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”

Ringo Starr says, “I’m really looking forward to this film. Peter is great and it was so cool looking at all this footage. There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”

“The Beatles: Get Back” is also being made with the enthusiastic support of Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Although the original “Let It Be” film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and the accompanying album were filmed and recorded in January 1969, they were not released until May 1970, three weeks after The Beatles had officially broken up. The response to the film at the time by audiences and critics alike was strongly associated with that announcement. During the 15-month gap between the filming of “Let It Be” and its launch, The Beatles recorded and released their final studio album, “Abbey Road,” which came out in September 1969.

Shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, the 80-minute “Let It Be” movie was built around the three weeks of filming, including an edited version of the rooftop concert. The GRAMMY®-winning “Let It Be” album topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.

The new documentary brings to light much more of the band’s intimate recording sessions for “Let It Be” and their entire 42-minute performance on the rooftop of Apple’s Savile Row London office. While there is no shortage of material of The Beatles’ extensive touring earlier in their careers, “The Beatles: Get Back” features the only notable footage of the band at work in the studio, capturing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they create their now-classic songs from scratch, laughing, bantering and playing to the camera.

Shot on January 30th, 1969, The Beatles’ surprise rooftop concert marked the band’s first live performance in over two years and their final live set together. The footage captures interactions between the band members, reactions from fans and employees from nearby businesses, and comical attempts to stop the concert by two young London policemen responding to noise complaints.

The fully restored version of the original “Let It Be” film will be made available at a later date.

For over two decades, “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” was a lost film, unfinished and unseen, more rumor than pop culture memory. In theory, it captured a lot of what anyone might desire in a rock ‘n’ roll movie from London circa 1968: the Stones, the Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and more.

On a sound stage designed like the inside of a circus big top, each of the musicians performed at the height of their powers while mingling with trapeze artists, fire-eaters and other semi-dazzling acts from a traveling circus. “The clowns and the Rolling Stones got along very well,” recalls the film’s director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 78.

Yet the film’s planned television premiere was delayed indefinitely for one reason: The Stones thought the Who’s performance was better.

It took 28 years, but the Stones came around in time for Lindsay-Hogg to finish the legendary rock film for a 1996 premiere at the New York Film Festival and release on home video. “You had these little explosions of greatness in the room,” says Lindsay-Hogg of the two-day shoot, “and the Rolling Stones recognized that.”

Now, in time for the North American leg of the Stones’ ongoing No Filter Tour, “Circus” has been remastered for a limited U.S. theatrical run during the first week of April. Last week, Lindsay-Hogg, who now lives in Los Angeles, attended a private screening in Hollywood of the film, recast in vivid Dolby Vision color and Dolby Atmos sound.

“I was thrilled by it anew, which I hadn’t been for a long time,” says Lindsay-Hogg, whose career began in England as director on the ’60s music show “Ready Steady Go!,” where the camerawork could be as frenzied as the acts onstage.

He also directed music videos for the Stones, Beatles and the Who, and made the intimate Beatles documentary “Let It Be.” In the pipeline is a long-awaited restoration of the 1970 Beatles film, which will follow an entirely new film being assembled from the same 55 hours of footage by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. Attending the “Circus” screening was Brett Morgen, director of 2015’s acclaimed “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and his own Stones documentary, 2012’s “Crossfire Hurricane.” In an onstage Q&A with Lindsay-Hogg following the film, Morgen celebrated the filmmaker’s essential work with these epochal musical figures.

“The man defined the image that so many of us have of the Stones and the Beatles,” Morgen said in an interview with The Times. “He created a new language. You look at the ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ video and what he did is as innovative as what Busby Berkeley did to the musical.”

In “Circus,” the Stones performed several songs from the just-completed “Beggar’s Banquet,” the first of four consecutive album milestones that defined the band’s greatest work. There was also Lennon leading a supergroup he called the Dirty Mac, with Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, and drummer Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing a new Beatles song, “Yer Blues.” Yoko Ono then joined for an improvisational jam. Other performers included Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal and Jethro Tull. The Who’s playful reading of the mini-rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away” was close to perfect. Jagger had personally invited all of them.

“In those days, rock ‘n’ roll bands would arrive late. You’d schedule something for 1 and they’d arrive at 4,” recalls Lindsay-Hogg. “But on this particular day, because they all respected each other, everybody was on time.”

A London sound stage was rented and Lindsay-Hogg hired the best camera operators from “Ready Steady Go!” The production also used experimental cameras from France, which shot both 16mm film and provided a video feed to the control room. Aside from having to change film canisters every 10 minutes, the new cameras frequently stopped working. “When one of the cameras had broken down for the 11th time that day, we had a little break,” the director recalls. The musicians would then retreat to their dressing rooms. “I went backstage to see how everybody was, and they were all sitting in a room – John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton – playing blues on guitar and harmonica. Keith Moon was playing spoons on a table.”

The Stones didn’t get onstage to perform until 2 a.m. It was the final live appearance of guitarist Brian Jones, dazed and fading from drug abuse, but still able to re-create his heartbreaking slide guitar lines on “No Expectations.”

Within months of filming, Jones left the band and drowned soon after. Jagger went to Australia to star in “Ned Kelly.” Lindsay-Hogg traveled to California to work on a film. The momentum of the era pushed its participants forward, but somehow left “Circus” behind until the footage was rediscovered in the ’90s.

Lindsay-Hogg continued working with the Stones through the early 1980s, directing several music videos, from “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” to “Waiting on a Friend.” He turned his attention to feature films, TV specials and directing theater, though he remains friendly with the Stones. “We knew each other when we were kids,” he says now. “It wasn’t my nature to hang ’round if I didn’t have to. In a funny way, I think they respected that. I was happy to just be working with them.”

Image result for images of vinyl records

The album of the week shines in every facet of its existence. Phosphorescent (aka Matthew Houck) has meticulously crafted an intensely warm album of americana pop, drawing together a multitude of instrumental textures – from guitars and pedal steels, to synths, to his own voice – and yoking them into perfect harmony. his lush melodies are executed with the utmost sincerity, giving his music a widescreen poignancy.

There are many more tasty treats out this week…big thief vocalist Adrianne Lenker has struck out on her own with an absolute pearl of an album. sweet & understated, this collection of songs poured out of her in the moments between performing & practicing with her band, resulting in her most intimate work yet. that’s on very limited glow-in-the-dark vinyl, for people who like to listen with the lights off. picking up the tempo a little, Molly Burch’s country pop sophomore features that same beautiful, warbling voice channelled through a stronger, more confident set of songs founded upon indelible melodies.. we’ve also been loving the debut from kentucky’s the Other Years, whose angelically pure vocal harmonies, underpinned by a sweet backing of violin & banjo, are a thing of simple beauty. this is the perfect album to come home to after a strenuous day – trust. predictably, Cat Power’s new album is a stone-cold stunner! her largely acoustic set of folk-tinged, blues-tinted songs continue to prove her to be one of the strongest songwriters working today.

Further recomendations Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh delivers another powerful solo album of darkly melodic scuzz-songwriting Will Hoge injects his rumbly-voiced country with an invigorating dash of soul and an exhilarating bolt of rock bravado;  it’s also worth knowing that Blood Orange’s ‘negro swan’ is finally in on vinyl, amy helm’s red vinyl lp has finally popped in & settled its round little body into our shelves. & Marie Davidson’s excellent new record – which had me & mark jiving away.

Reissues this week, Bloc Party‘s classic debut ‘silent alarm’ arrives for the very first time on sturdy 180 gram vinyl. john Lennon’s ‘imagine’ gets a new stereo remaster, along with a bounty of alternate mixes & alternate takes that offer tremendous insight into his recording process. and possibily the greatest guitar album ever Television’s very seminal ‘Marquee Moon’ is in on blue vinyl, with a bonus disc of alternate versions – yum!

Imagine (2018 reissue)

John Lennon  –  Imagine (2018 reissue)

this truly unique edition of one of the most iconic albums of all time sees the timeless record remastered with a new stereo remix and some additional non-album singles.

digging through extensive archival content, Yoko and her team deliver us an incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process – from the very first writing and demo sessions at John’s home studio at tittenhurst park through to the final co-production with Phil Spector – providing a remarkable testament of the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words. ***the deluxe 2cd comes with an extensive bonus disc of different mixes, demos and alternate takes. *** ***the super deluxe boxset comes with an incredibly vast array of different mixes, demos and alternate takes, the restored ‘Imagine’ and ‘Gimme Some Truth’ films and a 120 page hardcover book documenting the album’s creation***

Abysskiss

Adrianne Lenker – Abysskiss

the big thief vocalist lays down a mesmerising set of songs that are hushed & disarmingly intimate, in which we climb into her consciousness without encountering any barriers & revel in the sweet beauty of her gentle melancholy.

the songs chosen for this collection were the songs that felt the most alive in the room. these are not castaways or b-sides. some of these songs have been alive for years while some were written just days before the recording session. with this collection, Lenker further illuminates to the listening public that she is a songwriter of the highest order, following her voice & the greater voices that pass through her with an unflinching openness & clarity of translation. “it’s an invitation to peer into the hidden spaces of an extraordinary modern songwriter, where calm & quiet moment prompt superlative work”

C’est La Vie

Phosphorescent  –  C’est La Vie

Matthew Houck has crafted an electrifying collection of songs that blend a dreamy, psychedelic americana aesthetic with solid pop foundations that never fail to engage.

this album reveals a crystallisation of what made ‘Muchacho’ such a breakout record release — a little sweetness and a little menace, sometimes boot-stomping and sometimes meditative. the magic of Matthew Houck’s music has always been the way he weaves shimmering, almost golden-sounding threads through elemental, salt-of-the-earth sounds. it’s not experimental, exactly, but it’s singular and it’s definitely not traditional. that knack, the through-line across the phosphorescent catalogue, is front and centre here. fans of bon iver, iron and wine, bonnie prince billy, damien jurado and okkervil river will love this! “songs of experience make up Matthew Houck’s heavenly seventh”

First Flower

Molly Burch  –  First Flower

a walk through Molly Burch’s most intimate thoughts – broken friendships, sibling relationships and overwhelming anxiety – ‘First Flower’ is a bright, beautiful album peppered with moments of triumph with Burch’s voice as strong and dexterous as ever.

opening track “Candy” is a swinging, playful hit, while “Wild” deals with pushing away fear. title track “First Flower” is classic Burch, a simple love song that gives you goosebumps when she breaks into the chorus. but the album’s true stand-out is “To the Boys”, a courageous, sassy fuck-you to her own self-deprecation where she learns to love all the things she hated about herself. if you enjoyed angel olsen’s ‘My Woman’, this is the album for you. “more dreamy, torchy country-pop goodness from this Austin breakout”

Stardust Birthday Party

Ron Gallo –  Stardust Birthday Party

Ron Gallo’s punk-poet persona remains intact, backed by a generous injection of scuzz and fuzz.

“the details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. it is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question ‘what am i, really?’ it’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. i think at one point i wanted to change the world, but now i know i can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. and that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person i thought i was, and hopefully forever”. fans of oh sees, ty segall and warm drag should check this out

WANDERER

Cat Power  –  Wanderer

Chan Marshall’s return to the folkier, bluesier side of the tracks is very welcome on this lustrous set of understated, yet quietly powerful, acoustic ballads.

produced in its entirety by Marshall, ‘Wanderer’ includes appearances by long-time friends & compatriots, as well as guest vocals courtesy of Lana del Rey & an exquisite cover of Rihanna’s ‘Stay’. the 11 tracks encompass “my journey so far,” says Marshall. “the course my life has taken in this journey – going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me. folk singers, blues singers, & everything in between. they were all wanderers, & i am lucky to be among them.” “the set has both strength & a lean, lustrous beauty, tapping Carole King-style classicism & american folk standards”

Fall Into the Sun

Swearin’ – Fall Into The Sun

their scuzztastic reunion has gifted us a blissful set of melodic bangers that go hard on distortion and easy on the ears.

much like the band’s previous albums, Gilbride anchored the recording and producing of the record, but this time around, the band worked to make the process feel more collaborative than ever before. “i feel like this was the first time i could look at a Swearin’ record and say that i co-produced it, and that felt really good,” said Crutchfield. Crutchfield and Gilbride always had an innate ability to mirror the other’s movements in songs, but here, they build a focused lyrical perspective across their songs, one that’s thankful for their past, but looks boldly toward the future. fans of rilo kiley, the beths, speedy ortiz and forth wanderers need to check this out!

Masana Temples

Kikagaku Moyo – Masana Temples

the psych-prog quintet return with a serene set of wah-heavy motifs, seasoned with moments of exquisitely delicate, hushed vocals.

more than the literal interpretation of being on a journey, the album’s ever-changing sonic panorama reflects the spiritual connection of the band moving through this all together. inspecting the harmonies and disparities between their evolving perspectives, the group reflects the emotional impact of their nomadic paths. the music is the product of time spent in motion and all of the bending mindsets that come with it. fans of minami deutsche and sundays & cybele should check this out.

Possible Dust Clouds

Kristin Hersh  – Possible Dust Clouds

enveloping the juxtaposition of the concept of ‘dark sunshine’, this brooding solo album expands her off-kilter sonic vision; a squally, squeaky cocktail of discordant beauty.

feedback and phasing gyrate from simply strummed normality, imagine Dinosaur jr and My Bloody Valentine cranking up a Dylan couplet. messing with both extremes of the sonic spectrum: atonal and arrhythmic, a unique sound and a glorious return to form for one of alternative rock’s true innovators. “sometimes the most subversive thing i can do musically is adhere to standard song structure, sometimes the creepiest chords are the ones we’ve heard before, twisted into different shapes” – Kristin Hersh, july 2018. “the prodigious output and commitment to quality is pretty staggering, but then Kristin Hersh is a very, very special musician.”

LIVE AT THIRD MAN RECORDS

Father John Misty – Live at Third Man Records

Live at Third Man Records covers songs from the first three of his albums, heard here stripped totally bare, you lucky tikes.  In September last year, Josh Tillman stopped by Third Man’s Nashville headquarters on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday afternoon and surprised them with a lunchtime solo, acoustic set before his sold-out Ryman Auditorium performance. They, of course, had our 1955 Scully Lathe warmed at the ready to capture the occasion. As is typical for direct-to-acetate recordings in the Blue Room, Josh warmed up the room (and our engineers) with two songs before they started cutting the LP. He began with the debut performance of his newly penned Mr. Tillman(foreshadowing its release as the first single on God’s Favorite Customer 9 months later). They then used the second song as an opportunity to carve a 12” on-the-spot single of Now I’m Learning to Love the War, which was promptly handed it to a lucky attendee for safe keeping. If you want to know more about that, you’ll have to scour the depths of FJM’s fan net. Live at Third Man Records covers songs from all three Father John Misty albums out at the time of its recording, heard here stripped totally bare

my american dream

Will Hoge  –  My American Dream

Hoge gives it his all on this blazing album of gritty, country soul, newly infused with a furious rock energy.

with ‘My American Dream’, Hoge hopes that others will follow his lead, see the world through someone else’s eyes, and maybe begin to fix the mess we’re living in. “i don’t want to write songs telling people how they should feel” Hoge says. “if anything, maybe there’s a 16- or 17-year-old kid in the small-town south who has rumblings of these feelings but doesn’t have anybody in his little community to go, ‘hey man, think about it like this for a second. here’s another group of people’s perspectives’”. fans of chris stapleton, lydia loveless, steve earle’s ‘copperhead road’ and nikki lane will love this!

ICON OF EGO

Arc Iris  –  Icon of Ego

the trio’s third is a vividly expressionistic record that reflects their protean talents, creating an avantgarde experimental pop that’s entirely their own.

‘Icon of Ego’ finds a stronger, more experienced band. the band has evolved into a concentrated pop-prog explosion, mixing styles with disparate elements that captivate and surprise. with heavy synthesiser work by Tenorio and Jocie Adams, and seemingly impossible transitions executed effortlessly by Belli, the songs here carry a thick, analogue electronic sound that harks back to the ’70s. presiding over these are Adams’ powerful vocals that house the energy under pop forms. fans of cocorosie and deerhoof should check these guys out.

I

Terry – I’m Terry

the Melbourne quartet capture their particular kind of witty diy, garage pop beautifully on this lp.

there are few rules in Terry’s world. “they seem to make a song out of whatever sounds good to them. the only stylistic consistency is in their hat wear. terry are like Steely Dan or 10cc. both bands make me queasy after a certain point. Terry probably also make me a bit queasy, singing about police beatings and nationalism and all that. but they’re not out to hurt you. they’re like the kindly bearer of bad news. Terry puts it in terms that speak to me. it’s a tragicomedy.” – fans of the go-betweens, courtney barnett and rolling blackouts coastal fever need to hear this.

henry / I

Soccer Mommy – Henry / I’m on Fire

Soccer Mommy aka Sophie Allison puts her own heavenly spin on the boss’ timeless classic, plus reworks the lead track from her obscure 2016 album ‘For Young Hearts’, previously only physically available as a rare cassette release. we think she’s done Bruce proud. Soccer Mommy is a must for fans of snail mail, phoebe bridgers, lucy dacus and julien baker.

LIVE AT THIRD MAN RECORDS

Kevin Morby – Live at Third Man Records

Kevin Morby performs two tracks for third man, stripping them down and revealing something completely new, in relation to their studio counterparts.

Formally a member of New York folk group Woods, Kevin Morby has made a name for himself with his four acclaimed solo releases. these songs, “Destroyer” and “Black Flowers”, come from his third record ‘Singing Saw’. “Destroyer” is an autobiographical minimalistic keyboard ballad, a distant cousin of the full band album version. “Black Flowers” on this single borrows less from the sweeping orchestras of leonard cohen’s catalogue and more from the melancholic austerity of bert jansch.

The iconic rock band expand their ‘White Album‘ with 50th anniversary sets featuring new mixes and outtakes.  The album, which was the first to be released on the Beatles’ Apple label, was issued in stereo and mono in the U.K., but only stereo in the U.S.

The Beatles announced that they are releasing new versions of The Beatles (White Album) on November. 9th adding new 2018 mixes and a wealth of unreleased demos from the vaults to celebrate the original two-disc album’s 50th anniversary of release in November, 1968.

The mixes for the new packages were done by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell. Their announcement of their release follows the success of their 50th anniversary sets for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2017 .

The White Albumhad long been seen as the first glimpses of the Beatles as solo artists. Looking back on that time, Paul McCartney writes in the new set, “We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map.” Adds producer Giles Martin, “In remixing The White Album, we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio. We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”

The Beatles photographed in 1968.

The largest of the new releases, the seven-disc Super Deluxe set, will have unreleased songs, including three discs of “Sessions” outtake tracks with alternates of album tracks like “Revolution,” “Blackbird,” “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Helter Skelter” (the longest, a spokesman said, is 12:49 and not the legendary 27-minute version) and some Beatles jams such as on the Elvis Presley hit “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care.” The Super Deluxe set will be housed in 164-page hardbound book with detailed track information, rare photos and copies of handwritten lyrics, recording sheets and print ads. It will also be numbered, as was the original LP.

In advance of the album, the Beatles also recorded a group of 27 acoustic-based demos at George Harrison’s house in Esher, Surrey, during the last week of May in 1968. Some of the demos were included on Anthology 3, but a complete set of these Esher Demos, including alternate versions of “Back in the U.S.S.R,” “Piggies,” “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Revolution” along with some songs that didn’t make the album, such as Lennon’s “What’s the New Mary Jane” and “Child of Nature,” and George Harrison’s “Circles” and “Not Guilty,” will be released for the first time in some configurations, answering a longtime wish from Beatles fans. The demos had been bootlegged in lesser quality for years.

There will be several versions of the new releases: Two 180-gram LPs with the 2018 stereo mix; three CDs or four LPs and digital audio with the 2018 stereo mix and the Esher demos; and a Super Deluxe set of seven discs with 6 CDs with two CDs of the new stereo mixes, three CDs of “Sessions” outtakes, a CD of the Esher Demos, and an audio Blu-ray with four mixes — hi-res PCM stereo, DTS-HD Master audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1 and a direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix. That mix included several differences from the stereo version, among them a faster “Don’t Pass Me By,” different animal and bird sounds on “Piggies” and “Blackbird” respectively and an altered ending for “Helter Skelter.”

       

Here are 15 of the most revelatory moments:

1. “Revolution 1”
The legendary Take 18, a nearly 11-minute jam from the first day of the White Album sessions. The other Beatles were surprised to see someone new at John’s side: Yoko Ono, who became a constant presence in the studio. It begins as the version you know from the record: John’s flubbed guitar intro, engineer Geoff Emerick’s “take two,” John’s “okaaay.” But where the original fades out, this one is just getting started. The groove builds as John keeps chanting “all right, all right,” from a low moan to a high scream. Yoko joins the band to add distorted synth feedback, while Paul clangs on piano. She recites prose poetry, fragments of which that ended up in “Revolution 9”: “It’s like being naked…if you become naked.”

The story of this jam has been told many times, usually presented as a grim scene where Yoko barges in, sowing the seeds of discord—the beginning of the end. So it’s a surprise to hear how much fun they’re all having. It ends in a fit of laughter—she nervously asks, “That’s too much?” John tells her it sounds great and Paul agrees: “Yeah, it’s wild!”

2. “Sexy Sadie”
As the band warms up, George playfully sings a hook from Sgt. Pepper: “It’s getting better all the tiiiime!” John snorts. “Is it, right?” Take 3 is an acerbic version of “Sexy Sadie,” with Paul doodling on the organ. Yet despite the nasty wit, the band sounds totally in sync. When George asks, “How fast, John?,” he responds, “However you feel it.”

3. “Long, Long, Long”
George’s hushed hymn has always been underrated—partly because it’s mastered way too quiet. In the fantastic Take 44, “Long, Long, Long” comes alive as a duet between George and Ringo, with the drums crashing in dialogue with the whispery vocals. Giles Martin explains, “I suppose, as is documented here, George was Ringo’s best friend, as he says. That song is kind of the two of them.” George starts freestyling at the end: “Gathering, gesturing, glimmering, glittering, happening, hovering, humoring, hammering, laquering, lecturing, laboring, lumbering, mirroring…” It closes with the spooky death-rattle chord, originally the sound of a wine bottle vibrating on Paul’s amp. “It still gives you the fear when it comes.”

4. “Good Night”
Of all the alternate takes, “Good Night” is the one that will leave most listeners baffled why this wasn’t the version that made the album. Instead of lush strings, it has John’s finger-picking guitar and the whole group harmonizing on the “good night, sleep tight” chorus. It’s rare to hear all four singing together at this stage, and it’s breathtaking in its warmth. “I do prefer this version to the record,” Martin admits. (He won’t be the last to say this.)

John plays the same guitar pattern as “Dear Prudence” and “Julia.” That’s one of the distinctive sonic features of the White Album—the Beatles had their acoustic chops in peak condition, since there had been nothing else to do for kicks in Rishikesh. In India, their fellow pilgrim Donovan taught them the finger-picking style of London folkies like Davey Graham. “Donovan taught him this guitar part. John was like ‘great!,’ and then in classic Beatle style, went and wrote three songs using the same guitar part.”

The other “Good Night” takes are closer to the original’s cornball lullaby spirit. In one, Ringo croons over George Martin’s spare piano; in another, he does a spoken-word introduction. “Come on now, put all those toys away—it’s time to jump into bed. Go off into dreamland. Yes, Daddy will sing a song for you.” By the end, he quips, “Ringo’s gone a bit crazy.”

5. “Helter Skelter”
This Paul song inspired endless studio jams, lurching into proto-headbang noise—they started it the day after the Yellow Submarine premiere, so maybe they just craved the opposite extreme. This take is 13 minutes of primal thud—remarkably close to Black Sabbath, around the time Sabbath were still in Birmingham inventing their sound.

6. “Blackbird”
Paul plays around with the song—“Dark black, dark black, dark black night”—trying to nail the vibe. It isn’t there yet. He tells George Martin, “See, if we’re ever to reach it, I’ll be able to tell you when I’ve just done it. It just needs forgetting about it. It’s a decision which voice to use.” He thinks his way through the song, his then-girlfriend Francie audible in the background. “It’s all in his timing,” Martin says. “There’s two separate things, a great guitarist and a great singer—he’s managed to disconnect and put them back together. He’s trying to work out where they meet.”

7. “Dear Prudence”
Of all the Esher demos, “Dear Prudence” might be the one that best shows off their rowdy humor. John ends his childlike reverie by cracking up his bandmates, narrating the tale of Prudence Farrow that inspired the song. “A meditation course in Rishikesh, India,” he declares. “She was to go completely berserk under the care of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Everybody around was very worried about the girl, because she was going insaaaane. So we sang to her.”

8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
There’s an early acoustic demo, but Take 27, recorded over a month later, rocks harder than the album version—John on organ, Paul on piano, lead guitar from special guest Eric Clapton. (George invited his friend to come play, partly because he knew the others would behave themselves around Clapton.) The groove only falls part when George tries to hit a Smokey Robinson-style high note and totally flubs it. “It’s okay,” George says. “I tried to do a Smokey, and I just aren’t Smokey.”

9. “Hey Jude”
Recorded in the midst of the sessions, but planned for a one-off single, Paul’s ballad is still in raw shape, but even in this first take, it’s already designed as a 7-minute epic, with Paul singing the na-na-na outro himself. Another gem on this box: an early attempt at “Let It Be,” with Paul’s original lyric showing his explicit link to American R&B: “When I find myself in times of trouble / Brother Malcolm comes to me.”

10. “Child of Nature”
Another treasure from Esher. “Child of Nature” is a gentle ballad John wrote about the retreat to India: “On the road to Rishikesh / I was dreaming more or less.” He scrapped it for the album, but dug it back out a few years later, wrote new words, and turned it into one of his most famous solo tunes: “Jealous Guy.”

11. “JULIA”
One of John’s most intimate confessions—the only Beatle track where he’s performing all by himself. You can hear his nerves as he sits with his guitar and asks George Martin, in a jokey Scouse accent, “Is it better standing up, do you think? It’s very hard to sing this, you know.” The producer reassures him. “It’s a very hard song, John.” “‘Julia’ was one of my dad’s favorites,” Giles says. “When I began playing guitar in my teens, he told me to learn that one.”

12. “Can You Take Me Back?”
The snippet on Side Four that serves as an eerie transition into the abstract sound-collage chaos of “Revolution 9.” Paul toys with it for a couple of minutes, trying to flesh it out into a bit of country blues—“I ain’t happy here, my honey, are you happy here?”

13. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”
Paul spent a week driving the band through this ditty, until John finally stormed out of the studio. He returned a few hours later, stoned out of his mind, then banged on the piano in a rage, coming up with the jingle-jangle intro that gets the riff going. This early version is pleasant but overly smooth—it shows why the song really did need that nasty edge. A perfect example of the Beatle collaborative spirit: John might loathe the song, Paul might resent John’s sabotage, but both care too deeply about the music not to get it right.

14. “Sour Milk Sea”
A great George highlight from the Esher tapes—“Sour Milk Sea” didn’t make the cut for the album, but he gave it to Liverpool pal Jackie Lomax who scored a one-shot hit with it. (It definitely deserved to rank ahead of “Piggies,” which remains the weakest track on any version of this album.) “Not Guilty” and “Circles” are other George demos that fell into limbo—“Not Guilty” sounds ready to go at Esher, yet in the studio, it was doomed to over a hundred fruitless takes.

15. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”
A tricky experiment they learned together in the studio, with John toying with the structure and his mock doo-wop falsetto. “Is anybody finding it easier?” he asks. “It seems a little easier—it’s just no fun, but it’s easier.” George pipes in. “Easier and fun.” John replies, “Oh, all right, if you insist.” It’s a moment that sums up all the surprising discoveries on this White Album edition: a moment where the Beatles find themselves at the edge of the unknown, with no one to count on except each other. But that’s when they inspire each other to charge ahead and greet the brand new day.

The Beatles released their 12th and final LP “Let It Be” on May 8th, 1970. It was released almost a month after the group had broke-up.

The album started out being named “Get Back” where the band was hoping to return to their earlier, less complicated approach to music. It was recorded and projected for release before their album “Abbey Road,” which came out in 1969. Paul McCartney said a new edit of the Beatles movie Let It Be could enter production in the near future.

The original 1970 documentary hasn’t been available in home formats since 1982 as a result of scenes that showed the band in a negative light as the members moved toward their split.

McCartney had been asked about the movie during a recent radio interview. “We keep talking about that,” he said. “We have meetings. … People have been looking at the footage.” He added that he’d been told that a great deal of the unused material showed “a bunch of guys making music and enjoying it.” “Who knows, that may be happening in a year or two,” he noted.

The report also quoted Let It Be cinematographer Tony Richmond, who’d previously said a proposed DVD remaster had been blocked “by George’s Harrison’s estate and his wife and Yoko Ono, because they don’t want the acrimony shown.” In 2007, Apple Corps boss Neil Aspinall said “the film was so controversial when it first came out. When we got halfway through restoring it, we looked at the outtakes and realized: this stuff is still controversial. It raised a lot of old issues.”

Discussing a potential re-release in 2018, McCartney said that he’d had no objection to the idea, though he added that the “objection should be me. I don’t come off well.” He went on to explain that he was “one of the votes” on the board of Apple Corps, and that Ringo Starr, Ono and Olivia Harrison counted as much as he did.

“That’s the secret of the Beatles – can’t do three to one,” he said. “During the breakup was when it got screwed up – we did three against one. But now it has to be unanimous. The two girls are Beatles.”

Because “Let It Be” was supposed to be released before “Abbey Road”, there are those who say that some Abbey Road should be considered the group’s final album.

Happy 46th Birthday to The Beatles’ LP “Let It Be”!!!