Abbey Road 50th Anniversary – More Teaser Audio Released

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

They are the 2019 remix of ‘Oh! Darling’, plus an outtake version of the same song, ‘Oh! Darling – Take 4’:

See also The Beatles Revisit Abbey Road.

Beatles’ Pop-up Radio Station for Abbey Road Anniversary

The Beatles and the BBC have announced a special 4-day pop-up radio station called Radio 2 Beatles as part of the celebrations around the 50th anniversary of Abbey Road.
Here’s the BBC press release:
BBC Radio 2 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album with RADIO 2 BEATLES, a four-day pop-up DAB radio station. It will feature programs fronted by Gary Barlow, John Bishop, Martin Freeman, Guy Garvey, Dave Grohl, Giles Martin, Cerys Matthews, Paul Merton and many more.

Broadcasting from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September from London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios, the station will honour John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, and as individual artists, and as songwriters. All the live shows on Radio 2 Beatles will come direct from Abbey Road – with some also simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds – and broadcast alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatle content from the unique BBC archive.

All programs featured on Radio 2 Beatles will be available to listen to on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 says: “The Beatles are woven into the fabric of UK culture. They inspired and continue to inspire artists of all generations and created some of the world’s most loved music. As their seminal album Abbey Road is 50 years old, I am delighted that Radio 2 is celebrating the Fab Four with a four-day pop-up DAB radio station.”

Programme highlights include We Write The Songs, where Gary Barlow interviews Paul McCartney about the music, where Paul discusses how The Beatles only began writing because other bands were stealing their act, and describing how he’s stayed at the top of the music business for six decades.

In the series My Beatles, Dave Grohl, Jack Savoretti and Tom Odell talk about the influence the Fab Four’s music had on them; across the daily series I Was There, the likes of Tony Blackburn and radio critic Gillian Reynolds talk about what it was really like being part of the swinging Sixties, whilst Martin Freeman presents the story of The White Album across two shows.

6 Music Breakfast and Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne presents Desert Island Beatles, featuring the many guests who’ve selected one of their group or solo records, as a must-have track, plus Liza Tarbuck meets pop-artist and Sgt. Pepper sleeve designer Sir Peter Blake, while Jimmy Tarbuck hosts an hour of novelty versions of hit Beatle songs.

Gary Barlow says: “It was an absolute honour that Paul McCartney, one of my true heroes and a legendary songwriting genius, agreed to talk in depth about his work for my Radio 2 series We Write The Songs. This particular episode really is a masterclass from the master! I am thrilled to launch my first series on the network as part of Radio 2 Beatles, which sounds like it is going to be four days of unmissable radio.”

Simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and broadcasting live from Abbey Road studios on Thursday morning, Radio 2 Beatles will be launched by Ken Bruce whose show will feature a special Beatle themed Tracks Of My Years and PopMaster quiz (9.30am-12pm). Later that day, Jo Whiley will present her Radio 2 evening show live from Abbey Road with live performances and very special guests (7pm-9pm). On the Friday, the day kicks off with The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, with a special Friends Round Friday (6.30am-9.30am) including music from Rick Astley.

Later that day, Sara Cox is joined by the listeners for a Beatles All Request Friday (5pm-7pm), and that evening Friday Night Is Music Night presents The Beatles Orchestrated. Guy Garvey will be hosting, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a guest list of artists, including Cerys Matthews, Katie Melua, Level 42’s Mark King, alongside Guy himself, all performing songs from across the Beatles catalogue (8pm-10pm). On the Saturday morning Dermot O’Leary presents his show live from Abbey Road (8am-10am), followed by an extra hour exclusive to the Pop-Up, where Dermot speaks to writer Richard Curtis about his recent film Yesterday (10am-11am).

Other shows exclusive to Radio 2 Beatles include Grace Dent presenting Hip to the Trip focussing on free love, fashion and The Fab Four, while Nicky Campbell discusses the crucial role played by the band’s producer Sir George Martin, with his son Giles. Actor Himesh Patel, the star of the movie Yesterday, tells the incredible story behind Abbey Road – the band’s last recorded album – in a new two-part special and songwriter Guy Chambers looks at the genius of their lyrics and melody.

Craig Charles uncovers some of the BBC’s incredible archive audio, and Paul Merton takes to the imaginary stage to introduce The Beatles Fantasy Concert, featuring the ultimate collection of live performances recorded by The Beatles as a band and as solo artists. Scott Mills takes us on an alphabetical trip through the Beatles back catalogue, Paul Gambaccini tells the musical story from the other side of the Atlantic, and Tris Penna presents a four-part series charting each of the Fab Four’s individual music careers and most memorable albums.

Radio 2 Beatles has also commissioned a special chart from the Official Charts Company – The Beatles Downloaded: Official UK Top 60, will be revealed across the Saturday and Sunday afternoons (5-7pm) with Janice Long and Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James counting down the most downloaded and streamed Beatle songs in the UK. Plus Steve Wright presents a special Beatles Love Songs, Trevor Nelson playing classic soul Beatles’ covers in Rubber Soul, Radio 1’s Alice Levine explores the Fab Four’s various musical pairings, and Country Covers with Ben Earle, from country band The Shires, features Fab Four tracks covered by country artists.

From the BBC archive Radio 2 Beatles will be broadcasting When John Met Paul with Bob Harris, Radio 4’s Mastertapes with Paul McCartney, and Sgt. Pepper Recreated, recorded in 2007 and featuring performances from Oasis, Bryan Adams, and Kaiser Chiefs.

The Beatles Revisit ‘Abbey Road’

If you follow The Beatles you’ll know that the full release plans for the Abbey Road 50th anniversary have just been made public.

In one big photo, here’s what we’ll be getting (click on images to see larger versions):To flesh that out a little, there’s a 3 CD, 1 Blu-ray (audio) plus hardback book super deluxe edition:

A 3 LP vinyl box set, 180 gram half speed mastered:

A unique 2 CD deluxe edition:

A single, black vinyl LP:

A picture disc LP:

And a single CD edition:

There’s more lovely visuals and info in the official “unboxing” promo:

And for a full description and background to each of the formats and some of the extras see Paul Sinclair’s very detailed article at superdeluxeedition.com. It has complete track listings as well.

Also, check out the offical Beatles site, and the official Beatles Vevo YouTube channel where Apple has uploaded three versions of George Harrison’s beautiful song, ‘Something’. Firstly the studio demo version:

Then the new stereo remix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell:

And finally, ‘Something (Take 39)’ – Instrumental Strings Only. Very special:

Mike McGear – ‘McGear’ LP

Look what has just arrived from the UK:It’s the long-awaited 2019 re-issue of Mike McGear’s McGear LP.McGear was produced by Paul McCartney, and features him playing on various tracks too, along with the other members of Wings. It features songs co-written by McCartney and his brother Mike McGear, and was originally recorded in 1974.  This 180 gram re-issue LP comes in a replica of the original UK and US gatefold cover:

It joins a nice, original Australian pressing already in the collection. The Aussie version from 1974 came in a non-gatefold cover, and so all the credits, etc are located on the rear cover:

McGear is re-mastered and re-issued by Cherry Red Records. There’s also a 2CD, 1DVD box set available featuring lots of out-takes and other rarities.

Digging For Some Beatle LPs

A recent post featured some Apple and Beatle-related 45 singles found on a recent crate digging trip to Melbourne. Here are the LPs found during that same trip.

In the early 1980s in Australia and New Zealand the Polydor label issued a series called Rock Legends. Included were a range of artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, The Easybeats, The Velvet Underground, Maggie Bell, The Allman Brothers, Thunderclap Newman and Roger Daltry – to name a few.

Polydor Records has long held the rights to the earliest of all Beatle studio recordings. Made while they were as yet unknowns in Germany in 1961, the band was enlisted to back Tony Sheridan, a singer they’d fallen in with while playing the clubs in Hamburg. At the Sheridan sessions they got to record a couple of cover songs themselves, and those tapes have been a goldmine for Polydor ever since. The label could therefore include in its Rock Legends series many years later a coveted Beatle title. It is of course a record that has seen many an iteration around the world, but this version of it is unique to the Australia/New Zealand market.

What we have here though is a little bit different again – it is a re-issue of a re-issue. Once the Polydor Rock Legends albums had run their course the budget Australian music publishers, the Rainbow Music Group, somehow acquired the rights and put out the Beatle recordings one more time on their own Rainbow label. It has the very same cover art (front and rear) as the Polydor release, just the labels are different:

Rainbow seems to have picked up a few other Polydor artists over the years because in 1976 they released Ringo Starr’s Rotogravure album too.

Quite coincidentally we also stumbled across a nice Japanese pressing of the very same material –  but this time on Polydor. It has the exact same track listing and running order as the Rainbow release above, but on the original Polydor label and in a thick cardboard gatefold cover, with an insert:Here’s the gatefold:And the insert, front and back:

Sadly the OBI is missing, but otherwise this record is in great shape.

For some time now we’ve been on the lookout for a couple of early Beatle albums on the Capitol label with cover artwork unique to the Canadian market. There are three main titles that qualify: Twist and Shout, Long Tall Sally, and this one – Beatlemania! 

Of course this one isn’t a first pressing (it originally came out in 1963 on the Capitol ‘Rainbow’ label). The purple Capitol label dates this example to around 1978. It was pretty hard to resist though as it is in near mint condition. If you’re interested in Canadian pressings have a look at The Capitol 6000 website which is terrific.

Finally, a record that we’ve wanted to have in the collection for some time – and quite surprisingly discovered what is probably a more rare Australian pressing:

This is the film soundtrack to The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. The movie was released in 1969 and featured songs by Apple recording artists Badfinger, one of which (‘Come and Get It’) was written and produced by one Paul McCartney.

(As usual click on the images to see larger versions)

McCartney’s Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition Officially Announced

The rumour mill has been humming for weeks, but it’s now official.

There will be yet another version of the Paul McCartney album Egypt Station to collect. The Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is to be released on May 17.

After the super-deluxe, suitcase Egypt Station – Traveller’s Edition was announced many fans who just wanted the new music it contained and not all the trinkets (like jigsaw puzzles, playing cards and the like), were hopeful that stand-alone – and way cheaper – CD and LP sets would be made available. Now, that wish has been granted.

Sporting a cool new colour variation on the original cover art, Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is comprised of the original record plus a second album, Egypt Station II. The bonus disc collects all the bonus materials that were to be included in the super deluxe Traveller’s Edition.

The Explorer’s Edition will come in three forms: as a digital download, as a two CD set and as a triple 180 gram “Limited Edition” black vinyl LP. 

There has been speculation that there’d also be a coloured vinyl version, but the official announcement today makes no mention of it.
However, it has popped up as available for pre-order on the Canadian Musicvaultz online music store site – but it’s already listed as sold out – and at the German JPC online store where it is still listed as available:The track listing for the Egypt Station II bonus disc is:
Get Started *
Nothing For Free *
Frank Sinatra’s Party [previously unreleased]
Sixty Second Street [previously unreleased]
Who Cares [full length version]
Get Enough [previously available only as a digital download]
Come On To Me [recorded live at Abbey Road Studios]
Fuh You [recorded live at The Cavern]
Confidante [recorded live at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts]
Who Cares [recorded live at Grand Central Station]
* [previously only available on Egypt Station CDs purchased at Target (US), HMV (UK), and some independent record stores, and on the Japanese release of Egypt Station]

More ABC Radio Beatle LP Podcasts

Back in 2014 the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) began hosting an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary release of each British Beatle LP.

As each album marks its anniversary ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn speaks to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is the author of the extraordinary (and ambitious!) nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest instalment in Jude’s amazing series was released late last year – Volume 4: Should Have Known Better (to see the details scroll down after clicking).

Well, after a bit of a break, the pair are back. In October last year they took a look back at both sides of the original Yellow Submarine album:

Then came the big one, The Beatles (or The White Album) 50th Anniversary. It took Jude and host Rod Quinn some time to work through all four sides of the legendary album on air, but they’ve put the results together in one, long podcast:

They also talked through highlights of The Esher Demos bonus disc that came with 50th Anniversary release of The White Album last year:

Each of these podcasts are very insightful – and really are well worth a listen.

Previous broadcasts/podcasts have covered Please Please MeWith the BeatlesA Hard Day’s NightBeatles For Sale and of course, Help! – in two parts: Side One here, and Side Two here.

You can hear Rod and Jude talk about Rubber Soul; Revolver; and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by clicking here.