The Beatles ‘Hard Day’s Night’ Mystery Chord Revealed

Sum of All Parts is an ABC Radio podcast here in Australia.

The show recently examined (from a mathematical perspective!) the famous opening chord of The Beatles’ song, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’:

The podcast episode is called ‘The Magical Mystery Chord’.

Using the research and insights of mathematician and Beatle fan Professor Jason I. Brown, and personal experiences at Abbey Road Studios by Canadian musician Randy Bachman, the podcast un-picks just how The Beatles (with producer George Martin) achieved a chord that has tantalised musicians now for over fifty years…..

There is also a very short Sum of All Parts “bonus” episode, ‘Slow Down, George Solo-son’. Also well worth a listen.

 

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Beatles Sgt. Pepper Picture Disc – and More

Along with the news about the Beatles’ Christmas Records box set (due out on December 15), there’ll also be available – on that same day – a picture disc edition of the 2017 stereo re-master/re-mix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:

To date there is no information about how the picture disc will be packaged. However, we do know that it will be joined by a single-disc black vinyl version of the 2017 re-mix of Sgt. Pepper (the initial vinyl release was a two record set):

Plus, if you fancy yourself as a bit of an audiophile and into the best sound you can get, there’ll be a high definition digital audio download version of Sgt. Pepper’s available in 96 kHz/24 bit quality.

It will basically be the same running order as the two-disc Deluxe Anniversary CD which features the new Giles Martin 2017 stereo mix, plus 18 additional tracks.

These include complete alternate takes for each of Pepper’s 13 songs, plus the 2017 stereo mix and an instrumental take of ‘Penny Lane’, and the 2015 stereo mix and two complete alternate takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ – all in 96 kHz/24 bit…..

All of the above are out on 15 December.

The Beatles’ Christmas Records – Box Set

The Beatles’ Christmas Records were last officially released together in one package (a single LP issued to fan club members only) way back in 1970:

Prior to that, starting in 1963, the Official Beatles Fan Club in Britain and in the US sent members a one-sided flexi disc each December containing Christmas greetings and lots of larking about by the Fab Four. The flexidiscs were each housed in unique covers:

Now, Apple Records and Universal Music are reissuing all seven discs as coloured vinyl 45’s:

The Christmas Records ‘limited edition’ box set will be accompanied by a booklet and will be released on December 15 this year.

The seven individually coloured vinyl discs are:

1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 5’00)
Recorded: 17 October 1963 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 3’58)
Recorded: 26 October 1964 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’20)
Recorded: 8 November 1965 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’36) Recorded: 25 November 1966 – Dick James Music, New Oxford Street, London
1967: “Christmas Time (Is Here Again): The Beatles’ Fifth Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’06) Recorded: 28 November 1967 – Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1968: “The Beatles’ Sixth Christmas Record” (two-sided, duration: 7’48) Recorded: 1968, various locations
1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” (two-sided, duration: 7’39) Recorded: 1969, various locations

 

If you want to get a better idea of some of the Christmas Records frivolity check out this medley of all seven discs, mashed together by Tom Teeley.

The official Beatles press release is here.

Selections from Paul McCartney’s ‘Liverpool Oratorio’

Here’s another recent addition to the collection.

We’d been aware of course of Paul McCartney’s numerous foray’s into the world of classical music. Over the years there have been a number of his compostions released, including his first major work Liverpool Oratorio – which dates back to 1991. 

This was issued on 2 CDs, double cassette (remember them?), and as a two LP box set.

There were also two CD singles released from the work, ‘The World You’re Coming Into’ and ‘Save The Child’: 

What we weren’t aware of for quite some time was that a year after these initial releases there came a further CD called Selections From Liverpool Oratorio. This was issued in October, 1992. Despite the fact that the album is clearly represented on McCartney’s   official discography we’d completely overlooked it’s existence.

Selections From Liverpool Oratorio gathers together on one CD all the most important songs for those people who don’t want to buy the full double CD version – which has a lot of connecting pieces and incidental music included.It comes in a single jewel case with a very thick booklet containing an introduction by Paul McCartney, a longer article about the background to the work, plus a liberetto with all the words to the songs:The track listing:The CD’s rear cover, and it’s distinctive yellow spines:The EMI Classics logo is prominently displayed throughout, but so too is McCartney’s own mpl company logo.

The Paul McCartney Collection – 1993 Reissue Series

Before The Paul McCartney Archive Collection series first began being released in 2010 there was another, less ambitious attempt to re-issue McCartney’s extensive back-catalogue.

This was back in 1993 with a series of discs simply called The Paul McCartney Collection.

It was CD-only and just one disc per issue, and there were sixteen titles included in all. The first eight were released on June 7th, 1993, and the remainder on August 9th the same year.

Each disc (except for the albums McCartney and Wings Greatest Hits) has at least two and sometimes up to four bonus tracks – usually singles that never made it onto albums, or the hard-to-find B-sides of singles as well. There’s a complete list here.

We never purchased these back in the day, and so in recent years have slowly (and I mean very slowly) been picking them off one-by-one. As of last week we now have the complete 16 CDs.

The most difficult to track down (and as a result the most expensive) have been Wings’ Wings Wild Life and Back To The Egg. It also took us ages to secure a reasonably priced copy of Red Rose Speedway:

The easiest to find (and cheapest) are Band on the Run and Wings Greatest Hits.

Medium difficulty would be London Town and Venus and Mars. Here’s a Canadian pressing of London Town:                                         [click on images to see a larger version]

McCartney ‘Archive Collection’ Coloured Vinyl – Confusion Reigns

Five days on from the official announcement on the Paul McCartney website that there are to be eight titles in the McCartney Archive Collection series re-issued as single discs on the Capitol label (on CD, black vinyl and limited coloured vinyl), confusion reigns about just how anyone can actually order the coloured vinyl.

Both McCartney’s own site, and the Universal Music store site included links to order these but by the weekend both had been quickly taken down. The Universal link is just dead (and again here), while the official McCartney links for each album have since been altered and only take you through to the US Amazon site where there is no mention of the coloured vinyl whatsoever. The links are clearly for the black vinyl editions only.

Many online stores over the weekend quickly put up thier own images and prices – both for individual coloured LPs and bundles – but these too have since been either completely taken down (for example SoundStage Direct in the US), or now carry an apology (for example the Bull Moose store) stating that they’ve been asked by the artist and the label NOT to sell these titles online.

To quote collectors on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums thread, many of whom have pre-orderd and paid their money before the links just disappeared:

“Seriously, what a mess. I was actually stoked about this. Now i can see it’s probably not going to be easy…..”.

and:

“Yes I’m worried about sites filling the orders. If the link was pulled from Paul’s site on the official announcement then I would worry about them being filled at any other site [too]. I have them pre ordered thru the link that was on his site and even thru that I’m worried I won’t get them. They seem very limited and none of the sites seem to be able to confirm they will honor the pre orders.”

It has to be said that this looks like a complete and utter stuff up my MPL and Capitol. They’ve gone into print and raised epectations, but they haven’t thought through what they were publicising, nor communicated how fans and collectors could get their hands on these eight coloured vinyl editions. Pretty bad form and does not auger well for the McCartney/Capitol/UMe relationship.

UPDATE: This just in from the Record Store Day site: Indie record stores are the ONLY physical retailers in the US to have the limited edition colored vinyl versions…..

The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Music of George Martin

Here’s a release to look out for in November – a newly recorded disc of music composed by the late Sir George Martin.

Called The Film Scores and Original Music of George Martin this gathers together a cross-section of works illustrating his musical genius – some for the very first time: The music is performed by The Berlin Music Ensemble, under the baton of US-born producer, composer and arranger, Craig Leon who is the driving force behind the project.

“When I was going through it, I was just struck by the elegance of the composition and how much they fit the era that I grew up in music, and again made me think how much I wouldn’t have even had the life I had if George Martin hadn’t done what he did,” Leon said. “He bridged the gap between an interpretive producer and a creative producer, which was the thing that I wanted to do.”

The recording will be out on November 10 on CD and digital download on the Atlas Realisations label. Then, in January 2018 to celebrate George Martin’s birthday, a 2LP vinyl edition will also be released.

The track listing:

  • 1-5 The Pepperland Suite (Original music written for the film Yellow Submarine)
  • 6-9 Live and Let Die Suite (Original music written for the film Live And Let Die)
  • 10-12 Three American Sketches for Violin & Chamber Orchestra
  • 13 Judy’s Theme
  • 14-16 Under Milk Wood Overture (Incidental music to Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas)
  • 17 Belle Etoile (* First recording)
  • 18 Waltz in D Minor for Flute & Chamber Orchestra
  • 19 Prelude for Strings
  • 20-29 The Mission Chorales (* First recording of the original sketches written for the film The Mission)

And here’s a short background video featuring Craig Leon talking about how the project evolved:

We love the music of George Martin. See also:

Vale Sir George Martin

Produced by George Martin – New DVD/BluRay

Produced by George Martin – Six CD Box Set