Here, There and Everywhere – Geoff Emerick

We recently purchased a nice, used hardback copy of Geoff Emerick’s fantastic Beatle book Here, There and Everywhere – My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles.

Not having read it before it’s currently our favourite, especially given the release in the last week of the The Beatles In Mono vinyl LPs as a boxed set (and also as individual albums).Here, There 1 Here, There 2Geoff Emerick was George Martin’s right-hand man in the control room at EMI’s Abbey Road studios in London. At the age of 15 (on just his second day at EMI) he was present – as an assistant recording engineer – when a scruffy-looking quartet from Liverpool came in for their very first studio session. Emerick progressed from that recording (“Love Me Do” in 1962), to being directly involved with the majority of the band’s classic albums. He confirms on a number of occasions in his book that a lot more time was spent getting the mono mixes correct as compared to the time taken over stereo.

With his ability to interpret the sounds that John, Paul, George and Ringo had in their heads as they worked at getting their songs down on tape, Emerick made a huge contribution to their records. He wanted as much as they did to experiment – to take the recording process into new and un-charted waters. Here, There and Everywhere takes us into the famous Studio’s One and Two at Abbey Road as history was literally being made.

Amongst other things we read about the antiquated attitudes, policies and equipment at EMI Records during the 1960s. Given their strict and old-fashioned rules it’s incredible that the greatness of the Beatles was ever captured at all. EMI management back in the day seemed stuck in the 1940s and 50s. As an organisation it frequently stood in the way of creativity rather than fostering it. It was Geoff Emerick who was willing to go out on a limb and flaunt the studio rules at Abbey Road to capture the sounds we have today.

One of the other big surprises in the book is Emerick’s low opinion of George Harrison. There are frequent mentions of how stand-offish and surly Emerick found him to be, not to mention that he regarded George as a pretty lacklustre lead guitarist….

Here, There and Everywhere was published way back in 2006, but it is highly recommended if you are at all interested in the Beatles and their music. The copy we have is a signed copy. It’s not dedicated to us because this one is second-hand – but that doesn’t matter. There is the signature of Geoff Emerick (and his co-author Howard Massey), a man who had a significant impact on the Beatles legacy.

We wouldn’t have the Beatle canon without him.Here, There 3

George Harrison – Living in the Material World – 1973 Pressing Plant Footage

Check out this great YouTube promotional video posted on the George Harrison official YouTube page.Living in the Material World footageThe footage – shot in 1973 on 16mm film – was taken both at the EMI pressing plant in Hayes Middlesex in the UK (the black & white film), and in the USA at Capitol Records (colour film).

It shows the packaging and testing of the original vinyl pressings of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World LP – back when vinyl was king!

The album has been newly remastered for the forthcoming The Years 1968-1975 CD box set – to be released on September 22.

McCartney’s “Destiny” Credits and Closing Theme Song

Paul McCartney’s work on Destiny, the long-awaited new blockbuster in the video game world, made its public debut when the game hit store shelves for the first time earlier this week:McCartney Destiny-Hope credits

As you can see in the screen grab above, there are two main McCartney contributions. There’s his joint composing credit (with Martin O’Donnell) for the instrumental passages used throughout the game called “Music of the Spheres”, and there’s a new song recorded specifically for the game which is played across the extensive closing credits – much like those at the end of a movie. That song is called “Hope”. Produced by Giles Martin, and utilising members of McCartney’s current touring band, the song was recorded in Abbey Road and at Sir Paul’s own Hog Hill Mill studio in East Sussex, England:

It has been confirmed on McCartney’s official site that “Hope” is to be released as a single, but no date has been announced yet.

The Official Beatles Site Goes a Bit Mono Vinyl Mad

Perhaps not surprisingly the Beatles official website has gone (a bit like us) a bit Beatles in Mono mad:Beatles Get Back To Mono

As well as various links off their front page, they have created a dedicated site which includes, amongst other pages, a media player where you can browse every title in the box set to get a sample of each track – in beautiful mono. The site comes complete with its own record player:Beatles Mono Vinyl Player

The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Is Here

Picked up our copy today!Beatles Mono Box1BEatles Mono Box2

As you can see, The Beatles in Mono comes in a protective outer cardboard shipping box, similar to the one the Stereo LPs set was delivered in back in 2012. The sticker shows our Mono box was packed on June 18.

Like the Stereo box it comes delivered essentially as a box-within-a-box, providing very good protection and padding while the set is in transit:Beatles Mono Box3 Beatles Mono Box4 Beatles Mono Box6

In Australia The Beatles in Mono was actually available in store from last Thursday (September 4). The reason for the delay in posting these photos is that we couldn’t physically get to the shop we’d ordered ours from (the fab Redeye Records in Sydney) until today….a frustrating four-day wait!

Once removed from its protective packaging there’s a printed cardboard slip-cover which wraps around the box. Here’s the front:Beatles Mono Box7

And here’s the rear of the slip-cover:Beatles Mono Box8

Slip it off and here’s what you see on the front of the actual box itself:Beatles Mono Box9

FYI on the rear of the box is a sliced Apple logo: Beatles Mono Box10

The Mono box is exactly the same size as the Stereo box from 2012. If they are sitting side-by-side on a shelf they are pigeon pairs – one black, one white: Beatles Mono Box30Beatles Mono Box 31

No need to go into hugely great detail about this set as there has already been a very early “unboxing” video released by Pete Nash of the Beatles Fan Club Magazine. That video is comprehensive and well worth a look, but here are a few photos of some of the detail contained in the packaging you might be interested in seeing – things that Pete Nash doesn’t show up close:Beatles Mono Box11 Beatles Mono Box12

First this out is the beautiful, specially produced hard-cover book (still sealed in its heat- shrink):Beatles Mono Box13

Of course first album out is Please Please Me:Beatles Mono Box14Beatles Mono Box16

(Click on images to see a larger versions)

Each album (except the triple LP Mono Masters) is in a re-sealable clear plastic sleeve. This is different to the Stereo box where each LP was in heat-shrink plastic which has to be cut open to get to the cover and the record inside.

Here’s some of the detail in the printing and sleeve construction – all exactly faithful to the way this would have looked in 1963:Beatles Mono Box15

All printing and pressing of the box set is done by Optimal Media, based in the town of Robel in Germany. It has to be said that the quality and attention to detail is absolutely first-rate. The cardboard used for the covers is thick, and the 180g vinyl feels chunky and solid in your hands.

Each LP comes with individual 2014 insert cards, complete with mastering notes specific to each title:Beatles Mono Box17 Beatles Mono Box18 Beatles Mono Box19

All the labels are authentic reproductions of what the originals would have looked like at the time of release:Beatles Mono Box20 Beatles Mono Box21

Magical Mystery Tour has the original booklet pasted inside the gatefold cover; Sgt Pepper is a gatefold with the cut-out sheet and a replica of the psychedelic pink inner sleeve; and the White Album is a top-loader, with The BEATLES embossed on the front, a limited edition number stamp, poster, four photos, and black inner sleeves – just like the 1968 originals:
Beatles Mono Box22 Beatles Mono Box23

Beatles Mono Box24 Beatles Mono Box25Last album out of the box is the Mono Masters triple LP, containing all the singles and B-sides not captured on any of the original albums:Beatles Mono Box26 Beatles Mono Box27A reader has requested we publish some shots of the record spines. Here they are – and yes, that is the way that Sgt Pepper is printed. It looks upside down, but that’s also faithful to they way the original LPs were presented: Beatles Mono Box32

Beatles Mono Box33There are only two bar-codes to be seen. One on the rear of the Mono Masters, and one on the outer slipcase for the box set:

Beatles Mono Box28 Beatles Mono Box29

(Click on images to see larger versions)

There’s a very interesting Billboard magazine article in which it is clear that these LPs are not “sanitised” versions of the mono releases like the mono CDs were all the clicks and pops and studio mistakes removed:

‘Five years after the Beatles mono recordings were released on CD, Capitol Records and Universal Music are fostering the notion that to hear the Beatles music the way John, Paul, George and Ringo did in the 1960s, a mono LP is mandatory listening….The mono CDs, which were cleaned up and re-EQ’d in a way that did not occur with the new set of LPs, “was an attempt to give the history its day in the sun,” said project supervisor Guy Hayden. “There was no hurry and, in true Beatles fashion, if you can do it better, you do it again,” says Sean Magee, an Abbey Road-trained engineer who oversaw the mastering of the albums.’

For a more in-depth review from a sound quality perspective have a look at this article from the audiophile magazine The Absolute Sound. Reviewer Neil Gader steps through a listen to of each album. As he says, “Spoiler alert: Wow!”.

There is also a great set of reviews of the sound at Analog Planet.

And who could have resisted this invitation to hear the Mono LPs launched at a function held in the actual place where these masterpieces were recorded – Abbey Road’s famed Studio 2:beatles-mono-sidebar

Apple Records, Universal Music and Mojo magazine hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for a select few at Abbey Road in London last week. Not only did the lucky audience get to listen to tracks from the new records in-situ on a £300,000 sound system (that’s A$522,000!), but also to hear a panel of distinguished guests discuss how the group recorded and mixed their songs. Read more here.

The Apple Years 1968-75

As well as cover art and a picture of the contents of what’s inside the new George Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968-75, the release is now appearing for pre-order on both the UK Amazon and US Amazon sites – with September 22 and September 23 release dates respectively. Harrison Apple Years CoverHarrison The Apple Years Box Set

Confusingly the US Amazon site has the heading The Apple Years [9 CD Box Set], but below that in the “Product Details” section it says: Number of Discs: 7 …. which makes us think that to get to the number nine they’re counting the three CD’s which will be inside All Things Must Pass.

If you click on the box set contents photo above to enlarge it you’ll see that ATMP comes in a faithfully replicated box, just like the original LP. If that’s the case then we can expect two CDs with orange Apple labels to be in there, plus a third CD which on the custom “Apple Jam” label – and that these will all be housed inside individual coloured inner sleeves. There should also be a great little replica poster of George Harrison in there as well.

From what is shown above it’s clear that the Dark Horse CD has been similarly faithful to its original 1974 LP release. It will come in a gatefold cover with all the inserts, and will replicate the label styles from that LP on the CD. It all looks to have been very nicely done.

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!