Archive for the ‘The Beatles’ Category
With a burst of boogie woogie, Paul McCartney finally acknowledged the elephant in the room. And then he made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to be standing in any shadow, even his own. That moment came seven songs into the first disc of Wings Over America when Paul suddenly became Beatle Paul once again, tearing into “Lady Madonna” with Fats-inspired glee. The Wings Over the World tour – taking in three continents, 66 concerts and roughly one million fans – was the most dramatic realization yet of McCartney’s reinvention. It was also the first time he performed his Beatles back catalogue as the leader of Wings. “You could seriously go down in history as a guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles and failed miserably,” he’s recently said. “I felt, in the end, like the guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles – and didn’t. But did awfully well.” And he arguably never did better than the Wings Over America leg of the tour.
From May 3, 1976 in Fort Worth, Texas, through June 23 in Inglewood, California, Wings played 31 dates for 600,000 fans. The massive arena rockshow party thrown by McCartney, wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Joe English and a four-person brass section (Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard and Howie Casey, a fellow Liverpool native and longtime hero of McCartney’s who played the same venues as the young Beatles) translated to disc as one of the most electrifying live albums ever. And now the chart-topping Wings Over America has been released as the fifth entry in The Paul McCartney Archive Collection – and the most dizzyingly lavish yet.
The remastered 2013 Wings Over America has flown into shops in multiple editions. The original album is available as a standard 2-CD edition and a 3-LP set. Retail giant Best Buy is offering a 3-CD version. But the centerpiece is the individually numbered, slipcased set of 3 CDs, 1 DVD and 4 books. This massive, heavy box dwarfs even last year’s Ram, which itself was significantly bigger than the book-style format of Band on the Run, McCartney and McCartney II. Despite its larger size, though, its similar spine design and identical height still makes it possible to display on your shelf next to those volumes. With this set, it’s likely that you’ll lose yourself in the not just the music, but in the overwhelming array of printed material relating to McCartney’s American jaunt.
After the jump: we dive into the various versions of Wings Over America! Read the rest of this entry »
The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965′s Help!, is making its Blu-Ray debut this June.
Reuniting with A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester with a bigger budget (for one, they shot in color), Help! finds The Fab Four in yet another set of wacky predicaments – this time, Ringo can’t seem to get a ring unstuck from his finger, and an evil cult want said ring for their own purposes. Silly stuff, for sure – and, at perhaps the most grueling heights of Beatlemania, not as fun a shoot for the band as A Hard Day’s Night – but a captivating chapter in the band’s catalogue.
The accompanying album remains one of the most drastically different in the band’s catalogue on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.K. (now the standard version of the album, remixed by George Martin for its 1987 CD release), it featured chart-topping singles in “Ticket to Ride” and the title track as well as instant classics “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – all of which featured in the film – and “Yesterday” (a U.S. No. 1 hit). The U.S. version, released on the United Artists label, was a much more standard soundtrack album, featuring some non-Beatles orchestral passages arranged by Ken Thorne.
First officially released on DVD in 2007, this single-disc Blu-Ray ports over all of that two-disc set’s material into a new HD set. Features included are:
- A 5.1 surround sound mix for the film
- The Beatles in Help! – a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles on-set.
- A Missing Scene – a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard
- The Restoration of Help! – an in-depth look at the restoration process
- Memories of Help! – the cast and crew reminisce
- 1965 Theatrical Trailers – two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer
- 1965 U.S. Radio Spots (hidden in disc menus)
Help! arrives on Blu-Ray June 24 around the world and a day later in America. Pre-order links will be added as they are available.
One of the most significant catalogue-era releases by The Beatles – the newly-mixed Let It Be…Naked, a stripped-down version of the band’s final album – makes its debut on iTunes today.
The story of Let It Be is by now the stuff of music legend. Bassist Paul McCartney proposed an LP that stepped away from the complex, overdub-heavy works of their 1968 self-titled album (better known, of course, as “The White Album”). Provisionally titled Get Back, the sessions featured plenty of new songs overseen by longtime producer George Martin but plenty more tension as well; guitarist George Harrison temporarily quit the band during this time, and as a planned documentary by Michael Lindsay-Hogg captured, the once-blossoming collaboration between John Lennon and McCartney was nearly nonexistent.
The band ultimately shelved the sessions as compiled by engineer Glyn Johns and recorded Abbey Road, released in 1969. The resultant album, released in May of 1970, five months after Lennon’s unannounced departure and one month after Paul announced his departure and issued his own solo album, was still full of great works, including singles “Get Back,” the title track and “The Long and Winding Road” as well as “Across the Universe” and “Two of Us.”
But, as McCartney would remind audiences consistently, one of his sorest contentions with the album was the decision to have producer Phil Spector remix the tracks for the finished album. Thus, in 2002 McCartney and a team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios restored, remastered and remixed the album into a fashion that hewed closer to Paul’s original vision. Released in 2003 to divisive reviews, Let It Be…Naked is nonetheless a captivating alternate account of the legendary band’s swan song.
And now, following the release of the band’s full studio album discography on iTunes, as well as the Love soundtrack and the Anthology series, Let It Be…Naked will make its debut on the digital music service as a paid download and free streaming album. The set will feature a digital booklet replicating the physical album’s liner notes as well as the full contents of the “Fly on the Wall” bonus disc included with first pressings of the album. featuring a 22-minute sound collage of in-studio rehearsals and chatter. Videos for the “Naked” versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are also available.
Let It Be…Naked (released as Apple 07243 595714 2 3 (U.K.), 2003)
- Get Back
- Dig a Pony
- For You Blue
- The Long and Winding Road
- Two of Us
- I’ve Got a Feeling
- One After 909
- Don’t Let Me Down
- I Me Mine
- Across the Universe
- Let It Be
- Fly on the Wall (bonus)
Original versions from Apple LP PXS 1 (U.K.), 1970
Those were the days, my friend. In June 1967, The Beatles opened Apple Publishing in a one-room office on London’s Curzon Street, predating even the birth of Apple Records. Soon, the publishing concern moved to new quarters at 94 Baker Street, and later to 3 Savile Row. In that heady period when anything seemed possible, the Fab Four signed a multitude of talented young writers to Apple, many of them discovered by Terry Doran. Doran, a 27-year old Liverpool native who had previously owned an auto dealership with Brian Epstein, was selected as Apple Publishing’s Managing Director. The fruits of his labor have been revealed in an ongoing series courtesy of Cherry Red’s RPM label. The most recent volume in the Apple Publishing collection, 94 Baker Street Revisited, has recently been released, and brings together another 22 rare slices of the Apple.
RPM’s series began with 2003’s release of 94 Baker Street: The Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 1967-1968. That compilation was the first to present demos, singles and unreleased songs by artists signed by Apple Publishing (not necessarily by Apple Records) such as Focal Point, Grapefruit, Ways and Means, The Iveys (later to become Badfinger), Paintbox, and John Fitch and Associates. Paul McCartney famously discovered Paul Tennant and David Rhodes in Hyde Park, leading to their signing as Focal Point. The Beatles’ interest in the Apple-signed songwriters was variable, but a number of them had Fab connections. Subsequent volumes of RPM’s series have included An Apple a Day: More Pop-Psych Sounds from the Apple Era, Treacle Toffee World: Further Adventures Into the Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era, and Lovers from the Sky: Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 1968-1971.
Unlike Lovers from the Sky, which brought the Apple Publishing story up to 1971, 94 Baker Street Revisited does just that: it revisits the incredibly fertile 1967-1968 period. All but three of the twenty-two tracks here have never been issued before. Many Apple Publishing songs were written with the idea of being recorded by the artists themselves or groups “created” by Apple, such as Grapefruit. Still others, though, were intended to be pitched to the day’s reigning pop stars. So it’s not surprising that you might hear a song here that sounds like it should have been a hit for Cliff Richard or another that might have worked for the girl group (and supreme session singers) The Breakaways.
There’s plenty more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
The Beatles, Stereo Vinyl Box Set (Capitol/EMI)
The Fab Four’s 2009 stereo remasters have been painstakingly pressed on vinyl. The whole box set will set you back considerably, but you can get the ones you want on their own (and, if you’re in New York City or Los Angeles, can do so through the roving pop-up shop/double-decker buses that’ll be cruising each city). (Vinyl box: Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.)
The Rolling Stones, GRRR! (Rolling Stones/UMe)
The Stones’ 50th anniversary is commemorated with this multi-format compilation, featuring all their hits, two new tracks and, in some cases, some tunes from the vault:
- 3CD compilation: Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.
- 3CD compilation – deluxe packaging: Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.
- 5CD box set with unreleased demos disc and unreleased BBC session 7″: Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.
Elvis Presley, Prince from Another Planet / Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden – Legacy Edition (RCA/Legacy)
Elvis’ two triumphant MSG shows in the summer of 1972 (the latter released as Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden a week after the shows and the former released as An Afternoon in the Garden in 1997) have been remixed and paired up as a Legacy Edition (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.), or as a deluxe 2CD/1DVD box set (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.) featuring rare footage of the afternoon show as well as the King’s press conference in the Big Apple. (Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden is also getting a double-vinyl reissue, available at Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K.)
Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition (Hip-O Select/Motown)
Marvin’s underrated film soundtrack album – the last of his ’70s albums to get the deluxe treatment – is expanded with session outtakes, and for the first time, the original film score as heard in the Trouble Man film, meticulously recreated from the original tapes. (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.)
Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You: The Very Best of Whitney Houston (Arista/RCA)
The dearly departed diva is paid tribute through this new single-disc overview of her career, featuring two unreleased tracks. The U.K. edition is two discs, just with more hits and album cuts. (Amazon U.S./Amazon U.K.)
Mel Brooks, The Incredible Mel Brooks: An Irresistible Collection of Unhinged Comedy (Shout! Factory)
A five-DVD/one-CD box set treasury from one of the undisputed kings of comedy. (Amazon U.S.)
Sonic Youth, Smart Bar Chicago 1985 (Goofin’)
The legendary chanteuse is celebrated by the likes of Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Jeff Beck and Leona Lewis on this new DVD/BD release.
Judi Dench, currently on the big screen as M in James Bond blockbuster Skyfall, made a splash in the West End as London’s original Sally Bowles in Cabaret! The long-OOP cast recording returns digitally and as a disc-on-demand from Masterworks Broadway.
Real Gone revisits the lush orchestral stylings of Percy Faith with this 2-CD set dedicated to some of the bandleader’s greatest holiday music.
Power-pop group Shoes see vinyl reissues of four of their albums.
The B-52′s, Cosmic Thing / Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes (Mobile Fidelity)
The B-52′s pop crossover album (on vinyl – Amazon U.S./U.K.) and The Bard’s highly sought-after collaboration with The Band (on hybrid SACD – Amazon U.S./U.K.) are the latest hi-def offerings from Mobile Fidelity.
Rebbie Jackson, Reaction: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Champaign, Modern Heart/Woman in Flames (U.S./U.K.) / Black Ivory, Black Ivory/Hangin’ Heavy (U.S./U.K.) / Kashif, Condition of the Heart: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) / Love Changes: Expanded Edition (U.S./U.K.) (Funkytowngrooves)
Lana Del Rey, Born to Die: The Paradise Edition (Interscope)
A year late for the actual 25th anniversary (PG never was one for deadlines), So sledgehammers record shops with a variety of expanded formats, including one of many mega box sets released this year.
Originally bungled due to a mispressing, The Fab Four’s debut 45 is replicated and reissued a few weeks after the actual 50th anniversary.
The Lizard King returns with an incendiary audiovisual live set, newly remixed and remastered from the original elements.
Demon’s dance imprint reissues the two albums by Italian disco studio band Change (whose iconic “The Glow of Love” featured lead vocals by a then-unknown Luther Vandross); both are packed with various edits and remixes from the period.
Brownie sits in with Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan and more.
From this Cherry Red imprint comes a Motown rarity from Thelma Houston and two albums by The Miracles on Columbia Records.
The second of three unreleased volumes of Art Pepper on colored vinyl, taken from a 1981 concert in Japan.
Mike Rutherford’s side project, released before Genesis hit pop pay dirt with Invisible Touch, features the hits “Silent Running” and “All I Need is a Miracle.”
Rupert Holmes’ “Solve-It-Yourself Broadway Musical” is finally back on CD to coincide with the show’s current Broadway revival! A full rundown on Verve’s reissue is coming soon!
“Paul said ‘Look I’ve got this idea’ and we said ‘great!’ and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top – that’s where we started,” Ringo Starr recalls in one of the special features included on Apple’s new DVD and Blu-ray of The Beatles’ 1967 BBC television film Magical Mystery Tour. That McCartney-drawn circle, later transformed into a pie chart, is included in the accompanying booklet. It epitomizes the loose, freewheeling nature of this largely improvised musical journey directed by Macca and his bandmates. The new video releases are among the most lavish accorded any Beatles film, eclipsing even the fine Yellow Submarine from earlier this year, with over an hour of bonus material and a film-length Director’s Commentary from Paul McCartney.
The loopy musical travelogue Magical Mystery Tour found the Fab Four joined by a motley crew of performers including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, not to mention a bus full of fans-turned-extras. The film’s nominal plot follows Ringo and his recently widowed Auntie Jessie (Jessie Robins) on a British tour bus headed for the English countryside. Ringo and Auntie Jesse are joined by tour director Jolly Jimmy Johnson (Derek Royle), hostess Miss Wendy Winters (Mandy Weet), conductor Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler), and of course, the other Beatles, who portray whimsical wizards alongside pal and road manager Mal Evans. (Remember Where’s Waldo? Watching Magical Mystery Tour, you could play Where’s Mal?) Spinetti, who also appeared in A Hard Day’s Night and Help! with the Fabs, portrays an unintelligible army drill sergeant in one amusing vignette, reprising an off-the-wall character from Joan Littlewood’s stage play Oh, What a Lovely War! (1963).
Of course, the film frequently seems as little more than excuse on which to hang music videos for Beatle songs, long before that term existed. John, Paul and George’s songs all get a turn in the spotlight, with extended sequences for “I Am the Walrus,” “The Fool on the Hill,” and “Blue Jay Way” among the fun. “Fool on the Hill” is quite literal, with Paul actually spinning round and round on a hill, while “I Am the Walrus” memorably has the boys in their most groovy finery, transforming into the Egg Man, the Walrus, etc. There was a method to their madness, as McCartney remembers in his genial commentary: who was the walrus? The Beatles didn’t want to give a definitive answer. “Blue Jay Way,” appropriately, stars George in a swirling, psychedelic haze.
During the ride, passengers on the bus appear and disappear, and scenes and locales shift at the drop of a hat. McCartney warmly recalls the chaotic spirit of fun that characterized the film’s making. He frequently laughs at the absurdity of it all, while fondly remembering the band’s desire to disregard most conventions of filmmaking. Much of Magical Mystery Tour was shot not at a film studio, but at an RAF airfield and hangar! He also reveals some secrets: who knew that the footage seen during group song “Flying” was actually outtake material from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Dr. Strangelove, enhanced with color filters? McCartney naturally mentions the anarchic influence of Spike Milligan and the Goons, always a Beatle favorite. When Ringo asks “Where’s the bus?” in a zany laboratory sequence, you might find yourself echoing the question! Ringo has an easy presence onscreen, but the other Fabs acquit themselves well, too, particularly John Lennon as a waiter who wields a shovel in case of any food-related accidents that might occur…
Hit the jump to continue the Tour! Read the rest of this entry »
Update (10/10/2012): The official Record Store Day Facebook page just confirmed a new date for the corrected, repressed single is October 22. Check your local stores for more details!
Original post (10/5/2012): Bad news for anyone looking for EMI’s repressed Beatles 50th anniversary single: you’re not going to find it anytime soon.
The label announced in a statement earlier this week that the single would be pulled from the release schedule. Embarrassingly, EMI cites a “faulty” pressing as the issue – namely, that the Please Please Me LP version of A-side “Love Me Do” (which had session drummer Andy White playing drums, with Ringo Starr relegated to tambourine duties), rather than the famous single version with Mr. Starkey at the kit. Worse yet, the label added, “it is yet to be decided whether the single will be repressed.”
Here’s hoping that Beatles vinyl box set won’t have any issues.
The summer gets a little more endless with a new compilation (in two formats) and remasters of nearly all of the band’s ’60s albums. (A full breakdown of those albums is here, and a full review is coming up from Joe today!)
Deep Purple, Machine Head: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)
A five-disc box set devoted to this classic rock LP, featuring various different mixes of the album (including quad and 5.1 mixes) and other goodies.
Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)
The incomparable Barbra’s newest album is actually an offering of entirely unreleased performances from the vaults. Lots of great discoveries herein!
The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony: Expanded Edition (Hip-O Select/Motown)
Another Supremes classic expanded to two discs, featuring the original album in mono and stereo and a host of live and studio treasures from the vault.
David Ruffin, David: The Unreleased LP and More (Hip-O Select/Motown)
Out of print for years, Hip-O Select reissues this compilation of the Temptation’s unissued 1971 album and a host of outtakes from the album sessions.
Various Artists, The Best of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks (Capitol/EMI)
It’s been 50 years since Dr. No hit theaters and it’s only a few weeks until Skyfall is released, so it’s time for a new 007 compilation that features all the classic title themes on one disc and a sampling of other tracks from the Bond films on the other.
Their latest at the time was The Who by Numbers, but this newly-restored show, on DVD in its first official release, is anything but.
Old 97′s, Too Far to Care: Deluxe Edition (Omnivore)
A demo-packed reissue of the 1997 country-rocker.
Various Artists, Athens, GA – Inside Out (Omnivore)
A nice deluxe set featuring both the classic documentary on the colorful Athens, GA music scene in the 1980s on DVD (with new special features) and the expanded soundtrack on CD.
Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Original Sound Track from the CBS Television Special (Fantasy)
The classic holiday album gets a brand new remaster with three bonus tracks. Full review coming later today!
Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, In Session (Fantasy)
Two legends collaborate on this live performance from 1983, newly released as a CD/DVD set.
Adam Ant, Destiny’s Child, Shawn Colvin, Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Carole King, Taj Mahal, Ricky Martin, Johnny Mathis, Meat Loaf, Laura Nyro, Collin Raye, Starship, Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, Playlist (Legacy)
A surprisingly strong batch of Playlist titles includes a few neat surprises, too, from brand-new compilations for Destiny’s Child and Ricky Martin to rare and unreleased tracks on the Meat Loaf, Starship and Laura Nyro sets.
The Chipmunks, Christmas Collection (Capitol)
Because it wouldn’t be the holidays without some squeaky-voiced renditions of holiday classics, plus the immortal “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”
Edie Adams, The Edie Adams Christmas Album (Omnivore)
Another Christmas treat, sourced from rare kinescopes of Adams on television in the ’50s.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Video)
A timeless favorite at Second Disc HQ (in particular, Mike’s favorite movie!) comes home on Blu-Ray for the first time, featuring the restored original 1982 version of the film and a new retrospective consisting entirely of on-set footage shot by John Toll. Retail exclusives abound: Target’s offering a deluxe steelbook package (available internationally as a basic deluxe edition), Best Buy has a special book package with pages of full-color notes and artwork, Walmart throws in a free E.T. doll for the kids, and Amazon carried a limited deluxe package (now sold out) housed in a replica of E.T.’s spaceship.
Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner Home Video)
One of the most purely fun musicals of the past few decades, this loving musical adaptation of the Roger Corman cult classic features a killer, ’60s-flavored pop score from future Disney legends Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. For this special Blu-Ray release, the hilarious, 20-minute alternate ending (seen only on a quickly-recalled, highly-collectible DVD) has been fully restored and added to the end of the picture, and other great special features abound, too!