McCartney has also issued on YouTube a newly-restored 4K version of the 1984 animated short film Rupert and the Frog Song. It was written and produced by Paul McCartney and directed by animator Geoff Dunbar:
Just out of interest we dragged out our copies of the original 1984 UK black vinyl 7″ single, and also the shaped picture disc. The black vinyl came in this picture sleeve:
The 1984 shaped picture disc came in a clear plastic cover:The sleeve is colour printed on the outside:Sadly, the shaped picture disc inside is showing definite signs of age. The clear vinyl is yellowing quite a bit in places. Here’s the A-side:
And the B-Side (note the yellowing around the edges):
It’s looking more and more as though Paul McCartney’s rumored third “one-man-band” album, McCartney III is set for a release announcement very shortly.
It kind of makes sense. Like everyone, Paul has been in isolation and no doubt has been in his home studio a lot as a result.
His long-time lead guitarist Rusty Anderson, who’s been recording and performing with McCartney since 2001, appeared on the Tone-Talk! podcast at the end of September and pretty much confirmed the McCartney solo set saying: “Paul said that he — ’cause we’ve been hangin’ in Covid — he basically, kind of, finished a record. ‘Cause he had, sort of, nothin’ to do but go down to his studio and record, y’know? So, he sort of, did everything himself. I think there’s a song that we ended up on, that we cut earlier.”
And, as he’s done in the past, McCartney is using his considerable social media presence – and streaming services – to drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints.
For example, if you play any song from McCartney or McCartney II on Spotify at the moment a hand continually picks up a dice and rolls a three:
That “dice” motif is continued in a low-key way on his official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Here’s Twitter:
And of course Facebook, where he’s promoting that Spotify playlist (which is all tracks where Paul plays all the instruments), and it states: “It’s coming up, it’s coming up, it’s coming up like a flower…”, and the dice with the THREE is there again.
Then there’s the obvious symmetry to the release years for McCartney, McCartney II, and a potential McCartney III = 1970/1980/2020.
I think we can expect an announcement soon. And that it will be a December, 2020 release.
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.
With COVID-19 restrictions now easing quite a bit in most parts of Australia (sadly still not for our friends in Melbourne, Victoria – we’re thinking of you guys!), some of the previously closed opportunity shops around Sydney are re-opening and getting back to normal.
One near us that’s been completely closed for at least six months has suddenly opened its doors once again, and so a forage there over the weekend turned up a couple of interesting items.
With what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday looming large this coming Friday, it was a coincidence that all three of the finds where Lennon-related.
They are two books, We All Shine On – The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song, 1970-1980 and John Lennon – In My Life.
We All Shine On – The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song, 1970-1980 is by journalist and author Paul Du Noyer.
This is an original Australian edition paperback in a large format, dated 1997. It’s a book that’s been published and re-published numerous times over the years. According to Du Noyer’s website, the latest version is from 2020. The book is also available in German, Spanish, Italian and Czech language editions.
The title says it all: it is the track-by-track story of John Lennon’s last ten years, revealed through the music he made.
In fact we already had a revised and updated UK edition of this same title (in a small paperback format from 2010), but this earlier edition has a slightly different layout. Here are some images of what’s inside:
The second book is quite a fascinating account from former Lennon friend and personal assistant, Pete Shotton (as told to Nicholas Schaffner):
Pete Shotton’s friendship with John Lennon spanned more than thirty years, from the time they met as children in Liverpool to their last meeting in John’s Dakota apartment building in New York. They grew up together in the leafy Liverpool suburb of Woolton and Pete stayed close right through his friend’s rise to fame, wealth and stardom – not as a hanger-on, but as a trusted buddy or mate whom Lennon valued. He was someone who knew Lennon well and didn’t treat him like a star.
Nicholas Schaffner is an author and acknowledged Beatle expert – probably best known for his book The Beatles Forever. In this book Shotton and Schaffner reveal an insider’s view of many of the key public events in Beatle history, but also the private life of John Lennon throughout his career.
As you can see, the text is accompanied by many photographs and documents to help tell the story. This book is well worth seeking out if you haven’t got it already. It was first published in 1983. Here’s the rear cover (and yes, it’s a reverse image of the front):
Also in amongst the CD’s at the opportunity shop was this Apple recording. The photos are ‘as-found’ as they tell a bit of a story in themselves:
This is John Tavener’sThe Whale. Tavener was a young classical composer signed to The Beatles’Apple label in 1969. And it was John Lennon who was influential in making that happen. From the CD booklet:
“Although it was Ringo Starr who became Tavener’s main contact at Apple and who was responsible for getting The Whale onto disc, it was in fact Lennon – contrary to stories elsewhere – who took the first initiative and provided the composer with an introduction to the company. [They] first met in 1969, at a dinner party in London’s Hereford Square, and they marked the occasion by swapping tapes of their latest works. Lennon brought along his avant-garde experiments with Yoko Ono, whilst Tavener played extracts from his opera Notre Dame Des Fleurs, and the BBC recording of The Whale. On the strength of the opera, Lennon invited Tavener to join Apple, although it was The Whale which eventually sufaced on the label.”
The Whale is based on the the story of Jonah and the Whale, and has been described as both a ‘dramatic cantata’ and a ‘Biblical fantasy’. It is performed by the London Sinfonietta and the London Sinfonietta Chorus, conducted by David Atherton. It was recorded in 1970. This CD edition though came out as part of the Apple Records re-issue program in 1991/1992.
It’s interesting to note that the original purchaser of this disc (her name and address is on a sticker on the back) paid $46.99 Australian for it at the time! That’s US$33.74 by today’s exchange rate, or £26 UK pounds. That’s a lot of money – even today. It would have been a huge amount in 1992. The record store JB Hi Fi (it’s a big Australian music chain store) has put a “JB Hi Fi Special Import Sticker” on the spine of the jewel case.
(As usual, click on any of the images to see larger versions)
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.
Today comes the announcement that, as part of the celebrations for John Lennon’s 80th birthday, a new selection of his solo recordings have been completely re-mixed from scratch for a new collection called (you guessed it), Gimme Some Truth: Huh? What’s this all about, and why?
This is yet another “Best Of” selection, this time around chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon, and in physical format it will be issued in a plethora of ways:
1 CD (19 tracks); 2 LP (19 tracks); 2 CD’s (36 tracks); 4 LP Box Set (36 tracks); and a Deluxe Box Set with 2 CD’s + Blu-Ray (audio only with High Definition 24-96 Stereo,
5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos mixes) + 124 page book, poster, postcards and sticker (36 tracks).
Of the 36 tracks on offer here, 30 of them were already included on the 2010 Gimme Some Truth box.
However, the Lennon official site says that what differentiates this 2020 Gimme Some Truth is that all the tracks have now (quote) “…been completely remixed…using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality…radically upgrading their sonic quality, presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.”
This new box set has been mixed and engineered by multi GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks.
It was Hicks who did the mixes for Imagine – The Ultimate Collection in 2018 and, it has to be said, he did an exceptional job so it’ll be interesting to hear the improvements to these 36 tracks.
“After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analogue equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles (formerly A&M Studios, where John had recorded some of the Rock ‘n’ Roll album), and then mastered in analogue at Abbey Road Studios in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.”
Have a listen and make up your own mind on this preview track on YouTube:
So, there will be the inevitable claims of another cash grab and that this is another go at selling us music we already have. Personally, I’m looking forward to these tracks being presented in the best possible audio. But that’s just me. What do you reckon? Let us know in the comment section below.
The question a lot of collectors are now asking is does this mean we won’t be getting the rumoured big re-issue campaign for Plastic Ono Band, John’s 1970 masterpiece which has its 50th anniversary later this year? It seems we won’t.
It was sad to read last week that after 34 years the influential and very readable Q magazine has shut up shop for good. Here’s the cover of the last-ever edition:. Editor Ted Kessler said in a tweet: “The pandemic did for us, and there was nothing more to it than that.” In an editor’s letter in the final issue he writes: “We’ve been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head above water in an extremely challenging print market. Covid-19 wiped all that out. I must apologise profusely for my failure to keep Q afloat.”
The magazine’s circulation had fallen to 28,000 per month from a peak of 200,000 in 2001.
Q was founded in 1986 by Smash Hits writers Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. It arrived at the same time as the CD revolution took off – and its glossy, aspirational format chimed perfectly with the times.
Over those 34 years Q, like many other music magazines, has had its fair share of Beatles on the cover. They are, and remain, a way to sell more copies – just take the latest edition of British GQ magazine that has Paul McCartney front and centre – including an extensive new interview:
In a trip down memory lane, here are a few favourite Q magazineBeatle-inspired covers from over the years. Turns out McCartney graced the very first Q :
He became a fairly frequent visitor:
As was John Lennon on many an occasion:As they did above, sometimes Q would produce multiple versions of a cover to make a particular commemorative edition more collectable – like this series for Lennon’s 70th birthdate:
The Beatles as a band were not all that frequently seen, though certainly written about often:
This image of John and Paul is memorable:
As are these two of Paul, firstly with his Hofner bass: And then as a mystery man: So, fare-thee-well Q mag. You’ll be missed. It’s been mighty real over the last 34 years. Sad to see yet another casualty of COVID-19. The shockwaves of this thing continue to ripple outwards.
As he’s done a number of times in the past Paul McCartney, in the lead-up to the deluxe Archive Collection box set re-issues of Flaming Pie next week, has begun to release a few ‘teaser’ rare tracks.
These are tracks that won’t be included in the forthcoming box sets. The only way to get them is to sign up and download them from his official site.
Today sees the release of three free songs on the download site: ‘Somedays [Without Orchestra]’, ‘Beautiful Night ’ – which is in its original 1986 mix version, and ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’.
‘Beautiful Night ’ will be on the Deluxe Box Set and the Collector’s Edition of Flaming Pie, but it will be embedded in a longer track called ‘Oobu Joobu – Part 5’. (‘Oobu Joobu’ is a series of short radio-like shows made in 1997 to promote Flaming Pie. These were included on maxi CD’s that came out featuring singles from the record). All six episodes of ‘Oobu Joobu’ are included on the bigger box sets, but on the McCartney site you can now download all 6 minutes and 10 seconds of ‘Beautiful Night ’ as a stand-alone track.
The download-only version of ‘Somedays’ is minus the beautiful 14-piece string ensemble orchestration by Sir George Martin but it’s great to hear it in this more embryonic form. This version won’t be included on any of the forthcoming box sets.
Nor will ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’, which is an alternative acoustic version of ‘Calico Skies’, part of which is featured during the In The World Tonight documentary.
Moving away from the official McCartney download site, if you visit Rolling Stone magazine they’ve been given an exclusive instrumental version of a song from the Flaming Pie sessions called ‘Broomstick’. The original with vocal (also a rarity) was previously only available on the B-side to the ‘Young Boy’ single. This one, which does not appear in the new box set, is an all-acoustic instrumental backing track jam that features just McCartney and Steve Miller, who plays guitar. This instrumental version also lacks the sound effects that closed out the vocal version.
Finally, according to those who have received their Flaming Pie Deluxe Box sets (ours is still to arrive so we can’t confirm), there are at least two “Easter Eggs” or hidden tracks on a couple of the discs.
On CD 2 – the Home Recordings disc – after the final track ‘Great Day’ make sure you don’t stop your CD player. Let it keep playing and an additional 30-second instrumental of the song will play.
Likewise, on CD 3 – the In The Studio disc – after the “rude cassette” version of ‘Heaven On a Sunday’ there’s a period of silence followed by about a minute and a half of Paul and Ringo vamping on the track ‘Beautiful Night’.