Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Four

One of the most difficult items to identify in photographs of the Beatles with records are vinyl test pressings or acetates. These are cut at the studio and often contain demos or finished versions of songs or albums for them to listen to privately to gauge the quality of the pressing or the mix.

At EMI in the 1960s these were pressed onto 45rpm singles or 331/3 LP’s using labels which looked like this: emidisc recording blankThe labels were left blank for the producer or engineer to hand-write or type information about the track including the title, which take it was, duration, name of the artist, etc.

That brings us to this great picture of George Harrison, taken in the studio at about the time of the recording of the The Beatles (or The White Album) in 1968:George with ACETATE 2First thing to say is that is a really cool watch he has on…..

Second point of interest is that acetate or test pressing of a single he has at his left elbow. It’s in a plain white paper sleeve with writing on it, and it’s on the Emidisc label – just like the example in the picture shown above. If we rotate the picture and adjust the contrast a bit we get this:George with Acetate

This makes the writing on the sleeve a little easier to make out. If we rotate it just a little bit more we can see a bit more clearly:George with Acetate 3It is fairly clear that the hand-writing on the sleeve says: “with love  from  Paul McCartney“. His signature is very distinctive – it features on his official website even now – and here we can see that familiar looped “l” in the word “Paul”, and the trailed off “y” at the end of “McCartney”. Here’s another random example:Paul autograph

The tougher task is to identify what is hand-written onto the Emidisc label. We reckon it is this: under the word Emidisc there’s something like a number (maybe the duration of the track), then comes the song title. We think two words and, given this picture was taken during recordings for The White Album, our guess it’s the McCartney song “Honey Pie”. The writing looks a bit like that, too. Under that, just above the spindle hole, are some more letters or code numbers. On the left of the spindle hole it says “45 RPM”. On the right it looks like the duration of the track in minutes and seconds (which is difficult to make out). Then at the very bottom the writing clearly says “The Beatles”.

Was this a test cut for George to take home and have a listen to “Honey Pie”? Any further insights, thoughts or suggestions are very welcome.

There is one fly in the ointment with theory though……It is this photograph from the web of Ringo Starr, clearly taken at around the same time, also holding an acetate/test pressing:2RingoWithGetBackAcetate

The person who posted this says it is Ringo holding an acetate recording of “Get Back” -which would place it in early 1969, not 1968. We’d prefer to go with this website that clearly places it as a photo session from September, 1968. It is pretty likely therefore that this is the exact same disc as the one seen with George. The plain paper sleeve has the same greeting written in the same position: “With love  from  Paul McCartney“. It is difficult to make out the writing on the label, but it has a very similar set-out to the previous one….again, thoughts and theories are welcome!

 

Next McCartney Archive Series Releases – Dates Pushed Back

Seems the never-ending announcements about releases for Beatles or Beatle-related product in the month of September has forced Paul McCartney to delay the release of the next two instalments in his Archive series. We just had an email from Amazon saying that the dates for Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound have been pushed back.

It’s not that surprising that something had to give.

We’ve just had the new DVD and BluRay of A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles Japan Box CD set, and the vinyl re-issue of Lennon’s Shaved Fish. Then in September comes The Beatles In Mono vinyl box set (September 8); the Icon series CD’s for John Lennon and Ringo Starr (both September 9); and the news that a George Harrison The Apple Years CD box set is due for a September 22 release.

The schedule was getting very crowded….not to mention the strain on collectors’ wallets!

With The Beatles: Inside Beatlemania

We were in the city of Sydney last week and dropped by our fave discount bookshop to see if there was any Beatle treasure lurking there. And there was. Stacked on one table where multiple copies of this very beautifully produced large-format hardback:01_Beatles

The book’s full title is LIFE With The Beatles: Inside Beatlemania, and it features hundreds of never-before-seen and rare photographs by Robert Whitaker, who was hired by the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein to document what was happening to the band for two crazy years between 1964 and 1966.

Typical of LIFE magazine, the book has a wealth of great and unusual images:09_Beatles04_Beatles

A Google search revealed a website for a company called Li’l Robin, the people who actually worked on the design and layout of the book. Their site has more images from inside. It’s very much worth a look. Li’l Robin has also produced a digital version of this book:03_Beatles_iPad-566x379Nice. Amazon has a “Look Inside” if you would like a further peek at the contents.

George Harrison The Apple Years – Update

The Spin online CD and vinyl shop is today listing The Apple Years – the new George Harrison 7 CD/DVD remastered box set – with a definite September 22 shipping date. I

The British site displays a £69.99 price tag, shows the the likely cover image, and lists the contents as being:

1. Wonderwall Music;  2. Electronic Sound;  3. All Things Must Pass (2CD);  4. Living in the Material World;  5. Dark Horse;  6. Extra Texture (Read All About It);  Bonus DVD;  Booklet. Wonderwall Insert

 

Lennon’s Shaved Fish Vinyl To Be Re-issued – More info

A little while back Wogblog’s Beatles site alerted us that the 1975 John Lennon “best-of” compilation Shaved Fish was being being readied for a re-issue on vinyl.

Always seemed like an odd one to select for a vinyl re-issue….

A little more digging reveals that the album is part of Universal Music’s “Back to Black” vinyl re-issue series which was created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the LP record. Shaved Fish joins eighty-four other titles already released under the “Back to Black” imprint, including LP’s from the likes of Deep Purple, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, Abba, Elton John, and Grace Jones – to name but a few. Each album also comes with a code for an MP3 download.

While the record won’t be available in the US until August 19 (according to Amazon US), turns out it’s already come out in the UK. Universal’s online listing for the record has a release date of July 14, and Amazon UK has it available to ship now. 0600753511121_medium0600753511121_malt1We found another Universal Music Back to Black website that seems to indicate that Shaved Fish is being issued on it’s original green Apple labels – and that Universal has been faithful to the original packaging, housing the album in an inner sleeve with lyrics on one side and a Japanese rising sun on the other:john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-side1john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-side2john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-sleeve

If anyone already has a copy let us know if this is correct.

 

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Three

Over at The Beatle Forum there’s a bit of a discussion happening at the moment about a record that John Lennon was carrying into the EMI Abbey Road Studios. He’s being interviewed on the steps of the studios in 1966 for the UK weekly television series Reporting ’66, made by Independent Television News (ITN):

The video is quite interesting in itself as it has all four Beatles arriving at Abbey Road and being quizzed on the band’s future directions.

The question is: is that a record John has under his arm? And if so, what is it?

Here’s a still from the video, plus some close-ups:

Lennon with RecordLennon LP closeup1Lennon LP Ultraclose

Can anyone out there help identify the record?

If so please contact us at beatlesblogger @ gmail.com

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here (just go to the links at the bottom of the page).