The Beatles ‘The Singles Collection’ – First Unboxing Video and Review

Once again* every other reviewer and music writer has been beaten to the draw by US critic Michael Fremer of Analog Planet website fame.

Fremer has not only the first review of The Beatles new The Singles Collection box set, but also the first unboxing video showing in detail what the box, the 23 seven-inch singles and booklet look like. This box set is not officially released until this coming Friday (22 November), but Fremer uploaded his unboxing video on November 16:

The review, which followed the unboxing, is not kind.

Fremer, who had hoped the laquers for the singles had all been cut direct from the original analogue tapes, says: “The new box sounds dry, flat and boring. All of the voices reside on a flat plane, attack is stunted, sustain minimized and decay almost non-existent—all of the telltale signs of bad digitization—obvious even on the early “primitive” tracks. After comparing a few I moved forward to “Baby You’re a Rich Man” and after that comparison I stopped to write this.”

He went on to compare these latest singles with those from the 1978 World Records/EMI box set containing 25 Beatle singles. These he writes “…sound alive, exciting and packed with transient details and depth. The top end sparkles where appropriate—like on “Ticket to Ride”, where the guitar jangle is intense and Ringo’s toms have depth and texture.” 

“To say I’m disappointed with the sound [of this new box] is an understatement. It’s as weak as the packaging is strong. As a souvenir or attractive shelf item this set gets an 11. As something you’d want to play it gets a 5: middling. I don’t know what happened here but it produced a dull top, rubbery bottom, congested midrange, flat, dry perspective and heavy dynamic compression.”

This has re-ignited the hot debate about whether or not these new singles are indeed all analogue (AAA), or if they have been digitised and then cut to vinyl. You can read Fremer’s full review here.

* Fremer did the same with the 50th anniversary re-issue of Abbey Road in September this year, and The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) in October last year.

My Love – McCartney’s Wings

Back in 1973 when Paul McCartney and Wings released the vinyl single ‘My Love’, in most places around the world that’s how it was credited on the label: Paul McCartney and Wings.

For example, here’s the UK pressing:However, in a couple of territories they obviously didn’t get the memo detailing just how the band should be credited on the label.

We’ve just picked up a New Zealand pressing which is interesting for a couple of reasons. Number one is that it’s on the green Apple label. The other is the name of the band – McCartney’s Wings: Seems that this mistake may have been caused back in England when a few copies of ‘My Love’ also escaped into the public arena there with that very same band credit – McCartney’s Wings. Here’s a UK pressing that was probably quickly withdrawn and replaced with the proper band credit (seen on the UK pressing above):

And it looks like at least four other countries (Sweden, Israel, France and Venezuela) also stuffed up:In the rest of the world it is definitely Paul McCartney and Wings that performed ‘My Love’……..but we’re glad to have a unique New Zealand pressing now in the collection.

As usual, click on the labels to see larger versions. And if you know anything more on the back story to this one, please use the Comments section to let us know.

Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 – McCartney Release Announced

Just when you thought that all the Egypt Station releases had been tapped to the full, there’s more.

The Record Store Day people have just announced that Paul McCartney will be issuing a further two tracks from his Egypt Station recording sessions as a limited edition vinyl picture disc single for RSD Black Friday, coming up on Friday, November 29. The songs are ‘Home Tonight’ and ‘In A Hurry’:Both ‘Home Tonight’ and ‘In A Hurry’ are previously unreleased and were produced by Greg Kurstin during the sessions for the Egypt Station LP – which has come out in numerous versions and iterations in the year since its release.

The limited edition vinyl picture disc will feature new artwork exclusively created for this RSD Black Friday release, based on the parlour game/collaborative drawing method known as Exquisite Corpse. The single will include a lyric insert.

See the full list of RSD Black Friday special releases here. And check out McCartney’s blog about the release too.

Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years That Shook the World

Got the chance on the weekend to visit Melbourne Museum and the second-to-last day of a significant exhibition (mounted in conjunction with The Victoria and Albert Museum in London) called Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years That Shook the World.

This extensive collection explores five explosive years between 1966–1970, focussing on the immense cultural shifts being experienced around the world by a liberated, post-war generation coming of age. It’s the 60s we’ve heard about brought to life with a massive amount of memorabilia, fashion, books, art, posters and music.

And of course, The Beatles are scattered liberally throughout.

The project highlights many of the key subject areas that shaped the late 60s: revolution, fashion, drugs, sub-cultures, human rights, feminism, war, protests, consumerism, festivals… all the while set against an awesome rock & roll soundtrack of the time.

On display are some iconic Beatle items, including original posters advertising their albums:

Beside this poster for the album Revolver (above – eye reflections are in the glass) is another one called ‘A is For Apple’, designed by the Dutch artists The Fool whose psychedelic and colourful work was highly influential on The Beatles. This poster promoted the band’s short-lived Apple Boutique on Baker Street in London:

Also on display were John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’:

And the brocade frock coat he wore while filming the historic 1967 Our World broadcast of the Beatles song ‘All You Need Is Love’:

Of course Lennon’s original  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band uniform drew a big crowd:

There were also two original, hand-lettered Hair Peace and Bed Peace signs from 1969 and the ‘Bed-In For Peace’ events held by John Lennon and his newly-married bride Yoko Ono. The one in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada was where they recorded ‘Give Peace a Chance’ with Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and others. These two come from the collection of Yoko Ono:

Another item from her collection is this notepad sheet from the The New York Hilton containing hand-written lyrics to Lennon’s ‘Imagine’:

And just across from it, the jacket that John wore when filming the song at the white piano in the couple’s lounge room in their Tittenhurst Park estate:

All images from Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years that Shook the World. The exhibition at the Melbourne Musum in Victoria, Australia was extended by popular demand from its original closing date of Sunday, August 25 to Sunday, October 6.

Abbey Road 50th Anniversary – ‘Here Comes The Sun’ Video and 2019 Mix

Apple Records has just uploaded the full 2019 mix video of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ – rounding out the teasers for the 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles legendary Abbey Road. The album is officially released today in multiple formats!

The film – part animation, part archival photos and footage – takes us on a journey from EMI’s Studio 2 at Abbey Road (where the album was recorded) to John Lennon’s home at Tittenhurst Park and The Beatles’ final photo shoot as a band.

Included is some lovely film footage of the band there during the shoot – taken by Linda McCartney – that has possibly been restored by Peter Jackson. If that’s correct then it’s a harbinger of good things to come when he releases his take on the Let It Be film, which is due early next year. It looks crisp and beautiful.

Abbey Road 50th Anniversary – First Unboxing Video and Review

Well, just about every other critic and music writer has been pipped at the post by the one-and-only Michael Fremer (of Analog Planet website fame) who has bolted out of the starting blocks with not only the first full review of the Beatles new Abbey Road 50th Anniversary re-mix and re-master, but also what must be the very first unboxing video showing in detail what the contents of the 3 LP and 3 CD/1 Bluray box sets look like. The album is not officially released until Friday (27 September) so jump online and soak up this preview of what is the real deal:

Abbey Road 50th Anniversary – Two More Teaser Audio Tracks

Two further audio tracks from the forthcoming Abbey Road 50th Anniversary box set have been released by The Beatles on their official YouTube Vevo channel.

They are the 2019 remix of ‘Come Together’, plus an outtake version of the same song, ‘Come Together – Take 5’:

Rumour is there’ll be one more set of audio tracks next week (possibly ‘Octopus’s Garden’?), plus a new video version of the same song.

That would make sense because it would mean each Beatle has a song preview in the lead up to release day: George (‘Something’); Paul (‘Oh!Darling’); John (‘Come Together’); and Ringo (‘Octopus’s Garden’).

Only one week now until the official Abbey Road 50th Anniversary release!

EDIT/UPDATE: Apple has just announced that the final teaser track from the 2019 Abbey Road re-mix and remaster will be George’s ‘Here Comes The Sun’, and that it will be a newly-produced animated video of the song. They’ve just uploaded a 51 second long trailer of the song video to their YouTube site:

The new music video for ‘Here Comes The Sun’ can be seen in full on Thursday 26 September from 9.00 a.m. PDT (Pacific Standard Time).