Inspiration for McCartney’s ‘The Kiss of Venus’

Speaking of books, here’s the little one that Paul McCartney referenced as part of the inspiration for his song ‘The Kiss of Venus’, found on the recently-released McCartney III.

“I had a cool little book Jools Holland’s wife had given me, kind of an astrology book, all about the planets and the movements and the fantastic synchronicity of it all. A fascinating book, actually, when the planets go through all the little things, if you look at a graph, as it were, of them all, it like makes a lotus. It’s trippy. There was some great little phrases – “the kiss of Venus” was one of them. So I was loving that book and I was making up a song about that, but that was an instance of forcing myself to write. And I felt good after it. I thought, ‘Yeah that’s a pretty good little song.’ I haven’t had time to record it, but I will.”

It is indeed a lovely little paperback by John Martineau called A Little Book of Coincidence in the Solar System, which examines geometry and harmony in the universe and yes, there is a chapter entitled The Kiss of Venus.

Martineau is the publisher and editor of the award-winning Wooden Books pocket liberal arts series, which has been translated into 20 languages worldwide.

The “kiss” of Venus with the Earth occurs every 584 days and, over an eight year period (exactly!), that movement of the heavenly body as it moves around the Earth draws a beautiful geometric pattern.

Meanwhile, the song features Paul on vocals and guitar, and there’s a neat little harpsichord solo included as well:

A demo “phone” version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ is one of the four bonus tracks on the Japanese CD edition of McCartney III. It’s can also be found as a single bonus track (Track 12) on one of the four “budget” CD versions of the album released in the UK and in the US:

I wonder if we’ll learn anything more about the origins of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ in McCartney’s forthcoming The Lyrics book?

McCartney – ‘The Lyrics’ Book

Does this 78 year-old ever stop?

The latest content announced from the ever-prolific Paul McCartney is to be a comprehensive, two-volume book examining the lyrics to 154 of his songs dating back to 1956 and progressing to the present day. And it really looks like is going to be something special.

Simply called The Lyrics, the 960 pages will feature never-before seen photographs, letters, drafts, and more.

The Lyrics is edited by the Irish Pulitzer Prize–winning author and poet Paul Muldoon, who also penned the introduction. It is based on conversations with McCartney about his songs and his songwriting craft, conducted over a five year period.

“These commentaries are as close to an autobiography as we may ever come,” Muldoon said in press materials. “His insights into his own artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed—that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”

Rather than a traditional autobiography, the book will cover the inspiration behind the lyrics and McCartney’s reflections on them. It won’t be in chronological order, but alphabetical.

The book itself is two hardcover volumes that slide into an outer slipcase. The volumes will not be available separately and each one is 480 pages in length. The outer slipcase of the UK edition features the same photograph, taken by Paul’s brother Mike, that was used as the cover to McCartney’s 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.The US edition appears to have a different, plain green outer slipcase, and a different spine:

The Lyrics will be published on November 2.

New Dylan Features George Harrison

More good news on the Beatle-related release front today. From the Super Deluxe Edition site:

“On 4 December this year, Sony ‘released’ 50th Anniversary Collection: 1970, a Bob Dylan collection that included all the out-takes from the New Morning and Self Portrait sessions that were not already available on The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait along with a legendary session with George Harrison.

This was put out in extremely limited quantities (in Europe only) and these kind of releases have happened for the last eight years and have become known as the ‘Copyright Collection’ series. Due to fan demand this 1970 set is now being made available in February for a full commercial release (albeit it’s still limited to some degree).

These are all the unreleased recordings from 1970, effectively. There are 74 tracks in total and nine of those feature George Harrison. In fact this commercial version includes two extra tracks that were “inadvertently left off the original release.

This three-CD set will be an eight-panel digi-pak and features notes by Michael Simmons. This is being released physically and for download only. It won’t be available via streaming.”

Bob Dylan: 1970 will be released on 26 February, 2021.

New Ringo Starr EP Coming

Universal Music has announced overnight pre-orders for a new 5-song EP from Ringo Starr called Zoom In, available on March 19, 2021.

At the launch of last year’s What’s My Name LP (his 20th solo effort), Ringo intimated he was done with putting out full albums of songs and in future would turn to the more limited tracklists of the EP, or ‘extended play’. He’d just issue an EP here and there when he felt he had enough decent material to justify it.

Looks like that wish is coming true because this next release is definitely being marketed as an EP.

Zoom In will be issued on traditional black vinyl:

The now de rigueur coloured vinyl:

And of course on CD and digital download.

Zoom In tracklist:
1. Zoom in, Zoom Out
2. Here’s to the Nights
3. Waiting for the Tide to Turn
4. Not Enough Love in the World
5. Teach Me to Tango

To mark the occasion, Ringo has today released Track 2 from the EP, ‘Here’s To The Nights’. It’s an all-star affair with vocal contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eric Burton (Black Pumas), Sheryl Crow, Finneas, Dave Grohl, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny Lewis, Steve Lukather, Chris Stapleton and Yola:

UPDATE: And here’s the official video for ‘Here’s To The Nights’:

More on the My Sweet Lord RSD Limited Single

The only Beatle related item in today’s Black Friday Record Store Day releases is a re-issue of the George Harrison single ‘My Sweet Lord’/’Isn’t It A Pity’.

This is described on the official RSD website as being a 7″ Vinyl, on the Capitol/UMe label, a ‘RSD First’ release, and that it would be limited to 7500 copies worldwide.

From the cover image supplied at the time collectors soon worked out this was going to come in a picture sleeve which replicated the one issued in Portugal, and was pressed in the former Portuguese colony of Angola way back in 1970. See our original post on this release for more.

Well, one of the new RSD singles has already popped up on the Discogs site – and it seems there is much more to it than that….. Firstly, from the hype sticker on the front we can see that the single is pressed on clear vinyl!

There’s confirmation it’s a reissue of the 1970 Angola pressing, but also that it is a numbered limited edition.

Additionally, the picture sleeve has been very faithfully reproduced – right down to the flipback construction style that would have been used for the original Angolan sleeve:

And we can see that the limited edition number is stamped in gold foil on the rear:So, there’s much more to this RSD release than we first thought. For collectors this sort of attention to detail is good to see. Well done Capitol/UMe.

Meanwhile, in other George Harrison news, it looks like there’ll be a big reissue program for the album All Things Must Pass in 2021.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary the George Harrison Estate has made available to stream a new 2020 stereo mix of the LP’s title song as a prelude of what’s to come.

“The new stereo mix of the album’s title track is just a taste of more things to come in 2021 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father’s legendary All Things Must Pass album,” says Dhani Harrison.

 

McCartney III – Orange Vinyl

There are now no fewer than 10 vinyl colour variations of the forthcoming Paul McCartney release McCartney III.

It’s just been announced that a further colour has been added to the rainbow – an orange vinyl limited to 3000 copies – available exclusively through Universal Music Stores online (e.g. the US uDiscover Music Store, the UK uDiscover Music Store, German uDiscover Music Store, etc.)

You can check out the other vinyl colours (many now sold out) here.

Add to that the four “McCartney III Color Collection” CD versions, in two sleeve designs with individual bonus tracks associated with each colour.

Oh, and there’s a cassette……

The release date for the album has slipped back from December 11 to December 18. It’s rumoured that the one week delay was caused – in part – by Capitol having to press so many different variations and colours!

By our reckoning there are now 21 different ways to buy this album in physical form.

To help you keep track here’s a chart of where we are at (so far):

(click on the image to see a larger version)

UPDATE!

Since we published this article there were many additional variations to this release. Here’s where it eventually got to:

More (and we mean more!) McCartney III Variations

Oh boy. Just when you thought that 9 vinyl colour variations, plus 2 CD cover variations – and a cassette – were enough, the folks at MPL and Capitol have devised even more ways to get you to buy the forthcoming McCartney III album – due out December 11.

If you are a collector of rare audio then hidden in amongst what, at first glance, looks like a merchandising onslaught are four bonus “secret demo” tracks. But to get them you have to buy four more copies of the main McCartney III CD. And as you’ll see there are LOTS of permutations….

It’s all a bit confusing. We’ll try to unpack it for you starting with what is available on the official US McCartney Store site (because it’s different on the UK McCartney store site).

First thing to get clear in your head are the colours: white, red, blue and yellow.

For example, on the US store you can buy a box containing a McCartney III white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that white cover CD), plus one of the following: a white McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a white McCartney III t-shirt; a white McCartney III cap; or a white McCartney III face mask.

These box sets are obviously custom printed, but also seem to be specially made to hold the CD too. If you look closely there is a black cardboard slot inside that surrounds the CD. It’s got an opening on the right hand side to get your finger in to neatly lift out the cover: If you prefer red you can buy a box containing a McCartney III red cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that red cover CD), plus one of the following: a red McCartney III cap; a red McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a red McCartney III face mask; or a red McCartney III t-shirt.

And so on for the blue and yellow boxed CDs and merch.

Note however that each colour has a different McCartney III logo. (The pouch and logo for the dice sets remain the same though. Click on the image below for a larger version):

So, that means for the extremely keen collector of merchandise and audio you’d have to buy 16 boxes to get absolutely every variation – but, you still only end up with the same 4 “secret bonus demo tracks”.

Staying on the US site, if audio is your main thing, for US$7.33 you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo edition store-exclusives as mini-jacket CDs. These are the same as those in the merch-related box sets above. We believe (but it’s not definitive at this point) that the CDs contain the standard CD track listing, plus one unique demo for each colour. Here’s the yellow example. As you can see it comes in a simple card sleeve cover only – no booklet, etc:Or, for US$14.33, you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo colour-coded editions in what is described as a “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD cover. These we presume are similar to the standard retail CD packaging and will come with a gatefold and booklet. The yellow example is shown below and this would also contain the standard CD tracklisting plus the unique “yellow” secret bonus demo track:

So, for the absolute US completist they’d also have to buy four more copies of this CD to have every possible permutation.

It’s interesting that no details have been given about the titles of the four demo tracks. I guess that’s why they are secret!

Meanwhile, over at the UK McCartney store, the offer is slightly different. There, if you purchace one of the four coloured merchandise boxes on offer, you get all the merchandise (plus your CD colour of choice) in one box.

For example, if you order the white box it will bundle together the white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (including the “white cover” secret bonus demo track), the white dice set, white t-shirt, white cap, and white McCartney III face mask:

Likewise the red, blue and yellow bundles.

Also, unlike the US store, at the UK store you can’t get the simple card sleeve coloured versions separately, you only have the “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD on offer. But you can get just the red tee if you want, or just the blue dice, or just the yellow face mask. No need to get the bundle if you don’t want to.

On fan blogs and forums fans are debating this new announcement, not only trying to nut out all the confusing variations but also asking the question why? There are now 10 CD variations. Why so many permutations? And why make us buy multiple copies of the CD to add these four tracks of bonus materials to our collections?

One astute observer probably has it correct: “The whole reason for this is to juice the first-week sales of the ALBUM. Selling a CD single won’t do that. Between the four CD versions here, the green one, the regular one and the black/white/red/green/cokebottle/[blue]/pink vinyl versions (not even counting the yellow one, because hardly anyone got it), some members here will likely have purchased 5-10 copies of this EACH! Hello, Billboard…”

It’s not so much about money (though no doubt that plays a factor) – it’s about trying to get a Number 1 album on the charts the first week the record goes on sale.

Check out McCartney’s Twitter feed too.

McCartney III – It’s Official and the Many Different Vinyl Versions Emerge

It is now official, and here is the news release.

Like Egypt Station before it, this latest Paul McCartney LP McCartney III will be offered in a multitude of variations. Absolute completist collectors will be driven to distraction!

First variation to be offered for pre-order today will probably become the most sought after, and the rarest.

It will be pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Records pressing plant in Detroit, Michigan. Known as the ‘333 Edition’, this is limited to 333 copies only, pressed on ‘yellow-with-black-dots’ vinyl:

This vinyl is created by recycling 33 vinyl copies of old McCartney and McCartney II LP’s. The special “regrind” pressing, the first version of McCartney’s third self-titled solo album available for purchase, is hand-numbered, comes in an exclusive screen-printed jacket, and contains a printed inner sleeve and poster.

Just how Jack White’s company became the first to offer this brand new Paul McCartney recording to the world – even before McCartney’s own website store had the same thing on offer, only in red vinyl – remains a mystery. Not surprisingly the 333 copies sold out within minutes:

Next up in the rarity stakes is another Third Man Records pressing, offered a little bit later in the day exclusively on the official US Paul McCartney Store website:

This is described on the site as a “Hand-numbered gatefold featuring photography by Mary McCartney, Sonny McCartney and Paul McCartney (it’s a family affair!). Limited-edition (3000 units worldwide) store exclusive made in collaboration with Third Man Records,180g red vinyl disc with printed inner disc sleeve and a 12” x 18” insert poster.” Again, this is showing as “SOLD OUT”.

Both these pressings are distinguished by a prominent yellow Third Man Records logo on the front cover.

There is also a non-Third Man red vinyl pressing. This is a limited edition available on the official UK Paul McCartney Store site:

This is presented in a gatefold cover and is limited to 3000 units worldwide as a “store exclusive” in 180g red vinyl. It comes with a printed inner disc sleeve and the 12” x 18” insert poster. Also listed as “SOLD OUT” at the moment. However, it is still available in Europe at the German UMe online store Bravado. The difference between this and the UK listing is that the German red vinyl is in a hand-numbered gatefold cover with poster.

Interestingly, the MusicVaults store in Canada (a UMe subsidiary) also had this version on sale briefly. It too was listed as “SOLD OUT”.

Then came news of a white vinyl edition, exclusive to independent record stores. Rumoured to be limited to 4000 copies in the USA, and 3000 copies in the UK. It comes in a hand-numbered cover and includes a poster. Try your local independent store for this one:

Newbury Comics in the United States has a pink vinyl exclusive:

After this came the bigger chain stores who bagan offering their coloured vinyl variants. Target in the US is to have an exclusive green vinyl:

They also have an exclusive Target-only cover for the CD version:

And, here in Australia, the big chain JB Hi Fi is to offer an exclusive blue limited edition:

Like Target US, the Aussie store will also have the CD outer cover available to pre-order in an exclusive colour variant (the same as the Target US one actually!):

The “exclusive” blue vinyl version is also being made available in the UK via the HMV chain of stores, at FNAC in France and at JPC in Germany. Looks like these aren’t 180 gram vinyl and don’t come with the poster.

And the anomaly of the group – again, like they did with Egypt Station – there’s a “Coke bottle” clear vinyl edition being made availble associated with the streaming music company Spotify. I don’t reallly get why vinyl records are being marketed by streaming music companies, but maybe that’s just me? Anyway, this too is “SOLD OUT” on the McCartney Store site. But, if you live in Australia it is still available here.

But of course, if you can’t get your hands on any coloured vinyl there’s always the humble, plain old 180 gram black vinyl, in a gatefold cover:

 

New George Harrison For RSD Black Friday

This year Record Store Day just keeps on giving.

We’ve already had the main Record Store Day release program for 2020 spread out over three separate “drops”. This has stretched out the process considerably.

And now the folks at RSD are adding to that with the traditional Black Friday set of releases thrown into the mix as well.

Amonst the Black Friday offerings (which is November 27 this year) is one for Beatle collectors, a 45 rpm single of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’/’Isn’t It A Pity’:

This will be limited to 7,500 copies worldwide, and comes in a re-created picture sleeve – the one pressed for the Portuguese market in the former Portuguese colony of Angola back in 1970. Curious to know if it will come complete with the same mis-spelling on the B-side of the original, ‘Ins’t It A Pity’?

Not sure why we’re getting this Angola/Portuguese picture sleeve, but it looks cool. I guess this is in line with the Beatles’ The Singles Collection box set that came out about this time last year, with every Beatle single in a picture sleeve from a different place around the world?

(Just as an FYI – Valentim de Carvalho CI SARL was a Portuguese record company that, in a joint venture with EMI, had the contract for pressing Beatle and Beatle-related titles back in the 1960’s and 70’s. They had a plant in Angola which, back then, was still a Portuguese colony. Aparently the quality of these pressings was excellent.)

Note that this reissue single is listed as a ‘RSD First Release’. These titles are sold first at independent record stores, but may also be released to other retailers or webstores at some point in the future.

For the full RSD Black Friday release list click on the icon below.

 

Paul McCartney’s ‘We All Stand Together’ 7″ Picture Disc

Well, here we all were, waiting for something like a Plastic Ono Band 50th anniversary deluxe re-issue, or maybe even a big All Things Must Pass 50th anniversary box set.

Heck, some fans were even speculating about an LP of brand new solo music from Paul McCartney that had supposedly been recorded in lockdown. They’d even given it a title already: McCartney III….

But which announcement did we get?

To mark what would have been the 100th anniversary of the cartoon character Rupert the Bear on November 6 we’ll be getting this:

Now, we’re not against novelty items like this. Not at all. Nor are we against Paul McCartney’s dedicated support of the art of animation over the years. It’s great. But ‘We All Stand Together’ by Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus is a very long way away from the Plastic Ono Band album, or George Harrison’s triple LP opus All Things Pass. I guess it’s a case of expectation meeting reality…..

Having said all that, ‘We All Stand Together’ (a.k.a. ‘The Frog Song’) is really quite sweet and beautifully orchestrated and produced by George Martin. This limted edition 7″ single cut-out shaped picture disc will be a faithfull reproduction of the original shaped picture disc that came out in 1984. As then, it will accompany the re-release (in lovely 4K quality, and with a new audio mix) of the short animated film Rupert and the Frog Song that McCartney began work on in 1981 with animator Geoff Dunbar. In it Paul voices the character of Rupert.

‘We All Stand Together’ has been remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton along with the B-side instrumental ‘We All Stand Together (Humming Version)’, which was also included on the original release.

The single features The King’s Singers and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral.

‘We All Stand Together’ is available for pre-order now, and the cleaned up film Rupert and the Frog Song will be re-released on YouTube on November 6.