The worst-kept secret of this fall's upcoming release schedule is finally out - and we're shouting, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" After weeks of speculation, Capitol Records has finally confirmed the November 11 arrival of The Beatles' On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2. Its 63 tracks - encompassing 40 musical performances (37 of which are previously unreleased) and 23 selections of on-air, in-studio repartee - were all recorded for the Fab Four's 1963-1964 BBC radio performances on shows such as Pop Go the Beatles and Saturday Club.
This new collection, available in 2 CD and 180-gram vinyl formats, is the eagerly-awaited sequel to 1994's Live at the BBC, a U.K. No. 1/U.S. No. 3 release. [That title, too, arrives on November 11 in a newly-remastered edition.] None of the tracks here overlap with those released on that original anthology. A full ten of the songs on On Air were not recorded by The Beatles for EMI in the 1960s, and two of these songs make their debuts here: Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" and Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer." As The Fabs frequently revisited repertoire at the BBC, six songs heard on the 1994 set are reprised here in different performances: Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee," Little Richard's "Lucille," Chan Romero's "The Hippy Hippy Shake," Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman," and two tracks the band learned from Carl Perkins' records, "Glad All Over" and "Sure to Fall."
All told, no fewer than 275 unique performances by John, Paul, George and Ringo were broadcast over the Beeb’s airwaves between March 1962 and June 1965. 88 distinct songs were played, meaning that some songs were performed numerous times and others just once. On Air takes listeners back to the period when the BBC primarily broadcast live music only; George Harrison once recalled that “we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”
Still on the ascendant, the group recorded songs for 39 shows in 1963 alone. One marathon day that year – July 16 – yielded 18 songs for three Pop Goes the Beatles shows, recorded in less than seven hours! Saturday Club was another BBC favorite. One particular rarity here is The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday Dear Saturday Club.” In 1980, John Lennon remembered, “We did a lot of tracks that were never on record for Saturday Club – they were well recorded, too.” Paul McCartney concurred. “We’d been raised on the BBC radio programs. One of the big things in our week was Saturday Club – this great show was playing the kind of music we loved, so that was something we really aspired to.”
There's more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order links!
You’ll hear The Beatles talking to DJs Brian Matthew and Alan Freeman and Pop Go the Beatles hosts Lee Peters and Rodney Burke. On Air also includes the candid interviews recorded for the Pop Profile series in November 1965 and May 1966. Of the more familiar songs, On Air features never-before-released versions of “And I Love Her,” “Please, Please Me,” “If I Fell,” “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” and the Music Man favorite “Till There Was You.”
Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley have followed in the footsteps of Sir George Martin, producer of the 1994 BBC collection, in assembling On Air. Guy Massey and Alex Wharton have remastered all tracks at Abbey Road Studios (where else?), and Howlett provides copious notes in the 48-page booklet. Beatlefans take note that Howlett’s hardcover tome for Harper Design, The Beatles: The BBC Archives, arrives in stores on October 29, not long before the release of On Air. The book’s 336 pages chronicle the band’s recordings for the BBC – on both radio and television – in truly definitive fashion.
Ringo Starr commented in 1994, “You tend to forget that we were a working band. It’s that mono sound. There were usually no overdubs. We were in at the count-in and that was it. I get excited listening to them.” Chances are you will, too. Look for The Beatles’ On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 from UMe’s Capitol Records label on November 11. You can pre-order below!
The Beatles, On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Capitol, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- And Here We Are Again (Speech)
- Words of Love
- How About It, Gorgeous? (Speech)
- Do You Want to Know a Secret
- Hey, Paul… (Speech)
- Anna (Go to Him)
- Hello! (Speech)
- Please Please Me
- I’m Talking About You
- A Real Treat (Speech)
- Absolutely Fab (Speech)
- Ask Me Why
- Till There Was You
- Lend Me Your Comb
- Lower 5E (Speech)
- The Hippy Hippy Shake
- Roll Over Beethoven
- There’s a Place
- Bumper Bundle (Speech)
- P.S. I Love You
- Please Mister Postman
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Devil in Her Heart
- The 49 Weeks (Speech)
- Sure to Fall (In Love with You)
- Never Mind, Eh? (Speech)
- Twist and Shout
- Bye, Bye (speech)
- John - Pop Profile (Speech)
- George - Pop Profile (Speech)
- I Saw Her Standing There
- Glad All Over
- Lift Lid Again (Speech)
- I’ll Get You
- She Loves You
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Happy Birthday, Dear Saturday Club
- Now Hush, Hush (Speech)
- From Me to You
- Money (That’s What I Want)
- I Want to Hold Your Hand
- Brian Bathtubes (Speech)
- This Boy
- If I Wasn’t In America (Speech)
- I Got a Woman
- Long Tall Sally
- If I Fell
- A Hard Job Writing Them (Speech)
- And I Love Her
- Oh, Can’t We? Yes We Can (Speech)
- You Can’t Do That
- Honey Don’t
- I’ll Follow the Sun
- Green With Black Shutters (Speech)
- Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!
- That’s What We’re Here For (Speech)
- I Feel Fine (Studio Outtake)
- Paul - Pop Profile (Speech)
- Ringo - Pop Profile (Speech)
Rich Dudas says
Should be interesting !! Wonder if some of these tracks will be significant upgrades from what's been out for years on bootlegs ?
Most likely since the tracks on the first set were upgrades of the versions on bootlegs.
Philip Cohen says
As for the remastered edition of the 1994 "Live At The BBC", will it merely be a remastering from the 1994 digital compilation master, or have some new and improved source tapes been discovered? In other words, is there any reason for people who have already purchased the 1994 CD edition to buy "Live at The BBC" again? Perhaps "The Second Disc" could provide an answer to that question.
They have been newly remastered most likely by the same crew that did the 09 remasters. The original set has always been low volume.
Brian from Canada says
Disappointing track listing. There were 6 songs the Beatles didn't record for their own that were left off the last volume, and just two — "Lend Me Your Comb" which was also on Anthology, and "Beautiful Dreamer" — here. Where are "Besame Mucho," "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)," "A Picture Of You" and "I'm Talking About You"?
Rich Dudas says
Brian - Just a shot in the dark but I'm guessing that EMI didn't have "releasable" versions of those tracks. I can't remember if the versions of these tracks I have on various bootlegs were in "top notch" quality.
None of the versions on Volume 2 are the same as the versions on Volume 1. The songs mentioned above are poor quality except for "I'm Talking About You".
Joe Marchese says
Just FYI: "I'm Talking About You" *is* included here as Track 11 on CD 1.
As usual, both volumes 1 and 2 are cheaper from UK than US...
Why would it be cheaper to order from the U.K. instead of the U.S. of A. if I may ask?
By the time you pay the shipping to the U.S. it's not all that much cheaper.
Bradley James says
Excited about this news, awesome!
Like Christmas in November! It was the same way in November of 1968 when the White Album was released.
mark schlesinger says
Besame Mucho and Dream Baby survive only in VERY poor, off the air recordings, as bootlegged. I've never heard of A Picture Of You.
Sad but true. "A Picture Of You" is better quality but not by much.