Abbey Road Beatles Pianos Sampled

For any musicians out there looking to recreate the exact piano sounds found on many iconic Beatle recordings, it is now possible.

A company called Cinesamples, working directly with Abbey Road Studios, has been given complete access to two of the vintage upright pianos in Studio 2.

One is called the Challen Studio piano (as played by the Beatles on several albums), and the other the “Mrs Mills” piano (again used extensively by the Beatles). Both pianos have also featured on countless recordings by numerous other famous acts:Challen-IMG_9908The samples were recorded in-house by Abbey Road’s studio engineers, in the same studio the Beatles used as well. You can’t get any better than that! These samples can now be purchased and played by anyone – using software developed by Cinesamples:abbey-road

There are two pianos but three main sounds which can be reproduced: the Challen, the Challen Tack, and the Mrs Mills. Here Mike Patti from Cinesamples demonstrates the upright Abbey Road Challen pianos:

According to reviews, these two pianos – three if you count the harder-edged and more jangly Challen Tack version – sound flawless. These are really some pretty special instruments, with piano sounds that are just not available anywhere else. Given the impossibility of ever getting near one of these two pianos yourself, if you’re a musician this software provides a remarkable way to get the exact same sounds that the Beatles made onto your own recordings – or in live performances.

Another “Soviet Abbey Road” Cover Photo Contender

Last year Andrey, our reader and an avid Beatle collector in Russia, sent in an amazing historical photo which closely resembled one particular iconic Beatle LP image:xc1tylrv_jcAndrey has just sent another contender for Russian Abbey Road lookalike. It’s a beauty and was taken in Surgut town in 1976. The picture was called “To drilling site with concert”:

They sure do have a lot of muddy roads over there!

Fifth and Final Instalment of “Restoration of The Beatles 1 Video Collection” Released

The final instalment in the five-part series backgrounding the work done to restore the Beatles 1 video collection has been uploaded to YouTube:

In it leading Australian Director of Photography Mike Molloy reminisces about his time with the Beatles. In 1968 he’d been living and working in London as a freelance cameraman for about a year when he was asked to go down to EMI’s Studio Three at Abbey Road and film a promo clip for “Lady Madonna”. Instead, what he came back with was unique footage of the band recording what was then a brand new song called “Hey Bulldog”.

As Mark Lewisohn says in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, “While the cameras whirred, the Beatles recorded ten rhythm track takes of “Hey Bulldog” and completed it with overdubs. Then, at the conclusion of this 4.00pm-2.00am session, after the filming had ended, they watched as it was mixed into mono.”

Mike Molloy says he spent all day with the Beatles. Mike told me that they were very easy to get along with, very friendly. “In the film, for effect, I superimposed a shot of a paisley tie over George Harrison’s face. It was George’s tie! He was great, and very open to trying the effect to see how it turned out.”

Molloy went on to work in London as a cameraman and Director of Photography on feature films for 29 years, before returning to Sydney, Australia, where he now lives. He’s worked with some of the greats, including Stanley Kubrick (on A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon) and Nicolas Roeg (on Performance and Walkabout).

The Beatles 1 and Beatles 1+ DVDs and BluRays are released globally tomorrow, November 6. (Note that the “Hey Bulldog” video is only available on Disc 2 of the Beatles 1+ edition).

You can see the other four parts in the Restoration Series here. Just click on “The Restoration” tab at the top.

Abbey Road Studios Revealed

Using Google today we accidentally stumbled across a fantastic interactive gateway they’ve created which takes you into the world of the historic Abbey Road studios in London – the place where so much Beatles history was created:Abbey Road 5

On the Google home page all you have to do is click on the link ‘Step inside Abbey Road Studios‘. When you do you’ll see this:Abbey Road 1Once inside you can choose to go to Studio One, Studio Two, or to Studio Three.

If you choose Studio Two (where the Beatles made so much of their music), have a look around. You can also click on a link to the making of Paul McCartney’sQueenie Eye‘ video, which was shot entirely in Studio Two:Abbey Road 4Don’t forget to go upstairs to the Studio Two control room. There you’ll find Giles Martin at the mixing desk and a number of interesting features to click on:Abbey Road 2There’s also an option to visit the Abbey Road Mastering Room. Have a look at what’s on top of the stack of LPs on the coffee table at the back:Abbey Road 3This is a fantastic resource, one you can spend quite a while clicking around on and finding our more about the famous Abbey Road. Thanks Google!

Complete Set of Beatles Abbey Road Photos to be Auctioned

A complete set of signed outtake photographs, including the final cover shots for the Beatles Abbey Road album, is coming up for auction in November.Reproduction, © Bloomsbury AuctionsReproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The press release from Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions says:

The set of six photographs commissioned from Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan (1938-2006) as possible designs for the album’s front cover – together with the Abbey Road street sign used on the back cover – is of legendary rarity on the art market.

This is believed to be the first time that a complete suite of the signed and numbered photographs has ever been offered at public auction. [Hmmm. Maybe not. See WogBlog’s thoughts on this claim…..Ed.) The collection will be on view to the public in central London from Sunday 16th November, before going under the hammer on Friday 21st November where they are estimated to achieve £50,000 – 70,000.

On 8th August, 1969 Macmillan, a close friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, climbed a ladder in the middle of Abbey Road and in the next ten minutes took six photographs of the Fab Four walking back and forth across a zebra crossing. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles’ last-recorded album and one of pop music’s most famous and recreated images.

In 1989 Iain Macmillan was quoted saying; “That photo’s been called an icon of the 60s. I suppose it is. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It’s a very simple, stylised shot. Also it’s a shot people can relate to. It’s a place where people can still walk.”

With his Hasselblad camera storing the six images, Macmillian set off to photograph a road sign to use as the back cover. To Macmillan’s annoyance, whilst he was photographing the sign on the corner with Alexandra Road, a girl in a blue dress walked through the shot, however it was this image that was later chosen as the back cover.

Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions [pictured below] said; “To see the full collection of photographs together is a rare and fascinating opportunity for fans of the Beatles, Music and Photography. We are delighted to be offering them at auction and anticipate worldwide interest for this famous and timeless suite.”

Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The Photographs & Photobooks sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Friday, November 21. The full catalogue will be available to view and download soon at www.bloomsburyauctions.com

If you are going to bid you’ll need to have very, very deep pockets. As WogBlog has also reported, an original single photograph from the same set sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2012 for £16,000!

Here are the remaining outtakes from that historic shoot:Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

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.

Abbey Road – Cover Inspiration?

Last month saw the 45th anniversary of the day the famous Abbey Road cover photo was taken. An interesting image has been sent to us by Beatles Blog reader Andrey (the dedicated Beatles collector and expert in Russia):xC1TYlrV_JcAndrey says it was taken at the turn of the 20th century – in the Russian city of Yeysk on Chernomorskaya Road (Black Sea Road)! Could Paul McCartney (who had the initial idea for the Abbey Road album cover) or photographer Iain Macmillan possibly have seen this archival photo and used it as their inspiration? Probably not – but it’s fun to dream…..

By the way, Andrey helps to keep this fantastic site up-to-date. It is an absolutely comprehensive guide to all the Beatles‘ Russian vinyl releases.

Russian collectors have also just launched a new special site which gathers together all the early Soviet press about the Beatleshttp://beatlespress.com.ua

As usual it’s a thoroughly researched site. So far only the years 1964-1971 are ready but Andrey recommends a look at this chapter on all the printed music which has been released in his country. It details everything he has found so far. The very first edition is from the Soviet Estonia. Andrey’s research on the song “Yesterday” is here (complete with videos).

 

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).

 

A Big Beatles Garage Sale Haul

In my previous post I was bemoaning the scenario where you make the effort to get out and about early on a Saturday morning on the hunt for Beatles vinyl – and return frustrated and empty-handed.

Not so this last weekend which produced a wealth of great Beatles treasure, including one LP I’d not seen before. My son has taken to joining me on these forays into others people’s garages and front lawns. He calls it “crate digging“. He’s on the lookout for jazz plus wide range of other artists he might be able to take samples from to load into his computer. He then uses short grabs from these to mix into new songs he’s creating himself.

Anyway, we go to this one house early Saturday morning and the lady says yes, she has some records, but as she hasn’t gone through them she doesn’t want to put them out right now. If we could come back after lunchtime she’d find them (somewhere up the back of a very packed garage) and we could have a private look through to see if there is anything we want. We like the sound of an exclusive “crate dig” and so return at the appointed time. By this time four very large plastic bins filled with records have been located and we begin to look through….

First out of the crate comes an Australian copy of Sgt Pepper. It is in the old-style gatefold cover with the fold-over tabs, plus it has the original paper inner and the “cut out” insert. Things are looking good. This one is on the old Parlophone black and silver “Stereo Banner” label. Jaesen Jones, the author of “An Overview of Australian Beatles Records“, says this label was used on some pressings of Pepper by EMI here between between the years 1967-1969:sgt Peppersgt Pepper Inner Sgt Pepper InsertSgt Pepper Aust BannerNice. Next find was an Australian copy of Let It Be. It’s not an original issue, but one of the many, many re-issues of this disc. This one is on the Apple label and is in pretty good condition – near mint. Here’s the rear cover and label:beatles-collection2-lib-rearLIB Label Aust

While flipping through the boxes we got talking to the lady and it turns out this collection of records (which was literally a couple of hundred discs across a wide variety of genres – but mostly rock and pop) came from a very well-known Sydney radio and TV personality. He was an old family friend and years ago when moving house asked the lady if she wanted his records…

Next I find, in quick succession, a Beatles White Album and an Abbey Road (both re-issues on Apple and probably about the same vintage as the LIB above). The White Album even has the poster and all four photos and is in very good condition: beatles-collection-beatles-all-insertsThe Beatles Aust LabelABBEY_ROAD_sleeveabbey-road-label

Further digging then reveals a red The Beatles/1962-1966, again an Australian copy, with the Apple label and a red background. It has both lyric sheet inserts and is in reasonable condition. Not mint, but OK:beatles_1962_1966-800x800Beatles Red Aust Apple LabelThe final Beatles treasure to come out of these crates is a bit of a rarity. It’s an album I’ve not seen before The Beatles – Birth of  Legend. A New Zealand release from 1983 on the budget Music World Records, it features twelve songs from the famous Decca audition tapes:IMG_0051IMG_0052IMG_0055As the liner notes on the rear cover say, the Decca audition refers to the now-famous audition by the Beatles for Decca Records before they reached international stardom. In what was considered one of the biggest mistakes in the music business ever, Decca decided to reject the band selecting instead a band called Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

So, after a weekend before of nothing, this time around it is a different story.