The Fan Who Almost Threw a £10k Beatle Record Away

We love stories like this. This is the tale of a rare Beatle item that almost ended up as landfill. It comes from the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

A British man named Derek Plant was clearing out some records purchased by his late father at a car boot sale some 40 years ago when, by complete accident, he discovered an extremely rare Beatle acetate that no-one knew was there.

It was a recording of the song ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’, made in September 1968. It’s an early take that is quite different to the one that eventually appeared on The White Album:

Back in the day acetate recordings were created at the studio when an artist wanted to take home an example of a song they were working on to listen to some more. They don’t stand up to many plays and are fairly fragile things. In this case an acetate was made for Paul McCartney.

How it came to be in that car boot sale box of records is unknown, but Derek was about to take it to the tip. Unbeknownst to him the rare disc was tucked away inside the cover of this children’s novelty record:

As he was packing his van the Ken Dodd and the Diddymen record just happened to fall out of the box, land on the driveway, and it was only then it revealed it’s Beatle treasure inside. The acetate had been hidden inside that record sleeve all along. Having been a Beatle collector for years, Derek knew immediately that he’d discovered something very special.

The acetate is now up for auction at Omega Auction House’s Beatles Auction in the UK where online bids close on September 28. It is Lot 100. The top estimate by Omega is for the 7″ disc to fetch £10,000 (that’s about US$13,800 or AUS$18,900).

It’s on the way to that figure. At the time of writing someone has already bid £5,000. Not bad for a record that was so very close to being literally thrown away.

Like Some Forgotten Dream – Book Review

In the lead-up to the re-mixed Let It Be album and all it’s associated special releases, and The Beatles: Get Back – the mammoth three-part, six-hour Peter Jackson film looking at the final days of the Beatles as a band – its tantalising to speculate on just what might have been had the band not called it a day back in 1970.

Enter Daniel Rachel’s new book, Like Some Forgotten Dream – What if the Beatles Hadn’t Split Up?

The first part of that title derives from the first two lines of ‘Real Love’, a John Lennon song recorded long after his death by the “Threetles” – the three surviving members of The Beatles: Paul, George and Ringo. Its a clever reference to exactly what is going on in this book: what if this incredible band actually went on to record again instead of going their separate ways in 1970?

This requires the reader to susupend disbelief for a moment around what is a very big “what if” question, but basing that suspension firmly around evidence and real events. Author Daniel Rachel steps us through a very well-researched premise that things in fact could have – with just a few changed decisions by the Beatles – worked out very differently.

This book is not a novel. It’s what I’d describe as ‘informed speculation’. It takes real facts and cleverly strings them together to form a narrative that proposes a possibility. Its a bit like that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors which examines an alternate reality of what might happen in a person’s life if just one or two decisions are different.

In-depth and scholarly, this book is, on the whole, exceptionally well-researched. Even if you can’t bring yourself to believe the book’s central premise, along the way you’ll learn heaps about The Beatles, their music, and what was going on around them at the time of their break-up.

Author Rachel delves into events and real statements made by John, Paul, George and Ringo in interviews that play into the story he is telling. As he states in his Introduction “Often, this necessitated taking words out of context to serve the argument, but it is important to stress that no words have been invented. Like Some Forgotten Dream is a fantasy [but] the information used – dates, facts, interviews – is all genuine.” He goes on: “The fantasy involves retracing the last years of the group’s working relationship, from the personal and the political to the artistic and the financial. The tragic death of manager Brian Epstein, the fragmented recording of the White Album and, in 1969, the problematic Get Back/Let It Be sessions that spawned a year of internal rancour and bitterness.”

Rachel skillfully re-evaluates all these areas, and through this we as readers catch a glimpse of an alternative to what really happened – a world where the band fought just a bit harder to stay together, compromised a little more, and negotiated their way through all their disagreements to release another Beatle album to add to the canon.

Like Some Forgotten Dream is presented in two parts. Part One: ‘Don’t Upset the Apple Cart’ examines the world of the Beatles pretty much from 1966 (the time they decided to stop being a touring band) through to late 1969/early 1970 and the eventual, drawn-out demise of the band. The sections on the Twickenham and Apple Studios Get Back/Let It Be sessions, their final live roof-top performance, and the sessions for Abbey Road are fascinatiing in their detail – essentail reading as we await the release of the newly remixed Let It Be album and its many outtakes due later this year.

Part Two is called ‘Four Sides of The Beatles’. It imagines that John, Paul, George and Ringo stay together to release one more double LP. This is based on a real suggestion put forward by Lennon in the dying days of the band: that each Beatle gets one side of an LP and is given free reign to fill it with their own songs. Daniel Rachel calls this album Four Sides of the Beatles and again, using real events and what actually transpired once they became solo artists, posits what those songs might have been.

Again, we learn heaps about the origins of real songs – songs which in many instances were released on solo albums. But here we’re invited to imagine what the end results might have sounded like with magic Beatle dust being sprinkled across each track as all four band members contribute to them in different ways.

I was a little sceptical about this book at first. I’m not usually big on speculative stories like this, but because this is not a fictionalised account but rather a premise firmly based around facts to build it’s case, Like Some Forgotten Dream turns out to be a fascinating read. It is well worth you it seeking out.

Daniel Rachel is a musician turned award-winning author. His previous books include the NME and Guardian Book of the Year Isle of NoisesEvening Standard Book of the Year Don’t Look Back in Anger, and Walls Come Tumbling Down, which was described as ‘triumphant’ by the Guardian and ‘superlative…brilliant’ by Q magazine, and was awarded the prestigious Penderyn Music Book Prize in 2017.

Like Some Forgotten Dream is published by Cassell, an imprint of Octopus Books. It was released on August 26 in the UK, and will be available in other territories shortly.

Linda McCartney Retrospective – Aussie COVID Delay

A couple of weeks ago the weekend edition of my local newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, carried this front page article in it’s lift-out arts section:

The article inside also appeared in sister paper, the Melbourne Age.

(click on the images above to see larger versions)

This was announcing something of a coup for the regional Art Gallery of Ballarat in Victoria in securing what was to be a fascinating exhibition of Linda McCartney photographs called Linda McCartney: Retrospective. The exhibition was one of the main attractions of a bigger event called the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, showcasing photography and photographers from around the world. The exhibit was set to run from August 24 through to October 24.

Sadly though it has all been postponed indefinitely due to the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus putting the whole state of Victoria into a strict lockdown. Due to a separate outbreak it has also put Sydney (where I write this today) and many parts of the state of New South Wales also into lockdown……

It is all very disappointing. This would have been the first time this extensive look back at the career of Linda McCartney (1941-1998) would have been shown in Australia. Curated by Paul McCartney, along with his daughters Mary and Stella, Linda McCartney: Retrospective features more than 200 photographs, including images of the McCartney family, the 1960s music scene, and a series of prints from the McCartney’s time in Australia between 1975 and 1993 which have never been shown before.

From the exhibit website: “Linda McCartney’s photographic career spanned from 1965 to 1997, during which [she] bore witness to the evolution of pop and youth culture as we know it. Linda’s early portraits of the burgeoning New York 1960s music scene capture the vulnerability of future world conquering rock stars. Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton. Linda McCartney: Retrospective showcases some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene alongside intimate family portraits. The photographs capture the world as she experienced it, representing the people, places and landscape around Linda in her inimitable, spontaneous and experimental style.”

The exhibition that was to be shown here has some images exclusive to Australia, but the core works have been shown at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery in 2019, and also last year at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. This video give just a taste of what we’re missing:

See also lindamccartney.com for more.

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale site says “New Dates To Be Announced“, so……fingers crossed.

Lennon – Imagine 50

On September 9, 2021, John Lennon’s Imagine LP turns 50 years-old.

With that anniversary comes a new logo, and a new opportunity to sell the LP to us once more….this is despite it having had something of a spectacular re-mix campaign reissue just three years ago in a wide range of formats.

To celebrate it’s 50th, Universal Music yesterday announced a 50th anniversary, limited-edition “collectors” white vinyl 2LP of Imagine.

This features the exact same 2018 “Ultimate Mix” of the album by engineer Paul Hicks and produced by Yoko Ono on disc 1, and the exact same set of album outtakes on disc 2.

When that 2LP set was issued in 2018 it was offered on a 2LP black vinyl:

And there was also a limited edition 2LP clear vinyl set:

As you can see, its now a case of “spot the difference” with this latest white vinyl iteration:

So, what do you think? Will you be buying it one more time?

The white vinyl version ships on September 10th. Here’s the track listing:

Side A
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die

Side B
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Side C
11. Imagine (Original demo recorded at Ascot)
12. Imagine (Take 1)
13. Crippled Inside (Take 3)
14. Crippled Inside (Take 6 alternate guitar solo)
15. Jealous Guy (Take 9)
16. It’s So Hard (Take 6)

Side D
17. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (Take 25)
18. Gimme Some Truth (Take 4)
19. Oh My Love (Take 6)
20. How Do You Sleep? (Takes 1 & 2)
21. Oh Yoko! (From Bed Peace footage – Sheraton Hotel, Bahamas 1969)

Paul McCartney – The Stories Behind the Songs. A Review and a Giveaway Competition

Fifty years as a solo artist, and as a member of the band Wings, has seen Paul McCartney produce an absolutely enormous catalogue of songs. Picking the eyes out of that extraordinary post-Beatle career and giving us the lowdown on how some of the most memorable of his solo compositions came about is the task of a new book about to hit stores near you.

It’s called Paul McCartney: The Stories Behind the Songs and in it author Mike Evans dives deep into 50 key songs across a recording span of fifty years. The territory he traverses here ranges across 26 solo and Wings albums, from McCartney (1970) all the way through to McCartney III (2020). It also includes key single releases that never made it onto albums – and let’s face it, there are so many of these (especially in the early days) that are absolute classics. No book about McCartney’s output over this period would be complete without songs like ‘Another Day’; ‘Live and Let Die’; ‘Helen Wheels’; ‘Mull of Kintyre’; and rarer items like ‘(I Want To) Come Home’ from 2009 – to name but a few.

With last year’s McCartney III being included it’s refreshing to have book that is so current. It’s also refreshing to have a book that contains a discography, not one but two indexes, and that has a bibliography up the back. That is testament to thorough research and so helpful when seeking out information on particular albums and songs. It makes it so much easier to go straight to what you’re looking for, especially when dipping in out. And this is probably the way most readers will use this book: it’s the sort of reference you’ll keep coming back to as curiosity about different albums, songs and singles take your attention.

Each album and single in the book includes full session details, personnel lists and chart data and is described in detail, from original inspiration to the final release. Quotes from co-writers, session musicians and studio personnel bring the making of every song to life, alongside a wealth of related photographs in and out of the studio.

Just what to put in and what to leave out must have meant many a sleepless night for author Mike Evans. He says himself that he’s opening a pandora’s box: “The final list of inclusions is inevitably subjective and some readers are bound to ask, “Well, what about…?” Such exclusions include ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’ and ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, both singles from 1972, and ‘We All Stand Together’ (with the Frog Chorus) from the 1984 Rupert Bear animated film Rupert and the Frog Song.” We’ll go out on a limb and support him wholeheartedly on those choices.

Likewise he’s decided not to include music from McCartney’s five volumes of classical recordings, the instrumental projects he released under the psuedonym The Fireman (though he does include a song from 2008’s Electric Arguments), and two singles featuring Kanye West (plus one with Kanye and Rihanna).

Conversely, Evans explains in his Introduction the inclusion of a few non-original compositions: “‘Walking in the Park with Eloise’ from 1974, written by Paul’s dad Jim McCartney; ‘No Other Baby’, a UK skiffle record from 1957; and the old gospel song ‘Light from Your Lighthouse’, (which is actually credited to McCartney on the recording). Along with his three albums of mainly non-original material – 1988’s “Russian” rock ’n’ roll release Choba B CCCP, the similar Run Devil Run collection from 1999, and the 2011 “standards” album Kisses on the Bottom – all of these songs reflect the essential influences that informed McCartney’s musical taste during his teenage years.” Fair enough.

As we said earlier, this is a book you don’t have to read cover-to-cover if you don’t want to. You can dip in and out as the mood or interest strikes. It is well-researched and well worth it.

Paul McCartney: The Stories Behind the Songs is published by Welbeck on September 2.

BOOK GIVEAWAY COMPETITION

Now, for our readers in the UK and Europe we have a treat.

Thanks to the kind folks at Welbeck Publishing you can win one of three copies of Paul McCartney: The Stories Behind the Songs. All you have to do is to be the first to correctly answer this question:

‘Jenny Wren’ is one of the many memorable songs on the 2005 album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. It features an evocative solo using an ancient Armenian woodwind instrument called the duduk. Who was the player?

The first three people to correctly answer will win a copy of the book.

Remember, this is only for our readers in the UK or Europe!

UPDATE! UPDATE!

The answer to who played the beautiful duduk solo on the song ‘Jenny Wren’ was Pedro Eustache.

No more entires please. We have our three winners. They are Michael from Germany, Fin from Ireland and Chris from the UK. Your books will be in the post to you shortly. Thank you to the lovely folks at Welbeck Publishing for providing the prizes.

The Beatles – Let It Be Special Edition Releases

Finally, after months (or is it years?), the official announcement for the 50th anniversary editions of The Beatles Let It Be has been made public.

And in physical form this is what we’ll be getting – on October 15:

It begins with a 180-gram, half-speed mastered vinyl 4LP set that also includes a 45rpm 12-inch vinyl EP, with a 105-page hardbound book in a special die-cut slipcase.

There’ll also be a special edition of the same content on a 5CD + 1Blu-ray (containing the album’s new stereo mix in hi-res 96kHz/24-bit; new 5.1 surround DTS and Dolby Atmos album mixes), also with a 105-page hardbound book in a die-cut slipcase.

Both these total 57 tracks in all: the original Let It Be LP in a new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, two discs of previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams and rehearsals, and the previously unreleased 1969 Get Back LP mix by Glyn Johns, newly remastered. Then there’s that Let It Be EP (in both the vinyl and CD boxes) as a separate disc containing 4 tracks:
o Glyn Johns’ unreleased 1970 mixes of ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘I Me Mine’.
o Giles Martin & Sam Okell’s new stereo mixes of the ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Let It Be’ singles.

The hardback book this time will be available in both boxes – something that hasn’t happened before with Beatle re-mix re-issues. It features a foreword by Paul McCartney, an introduction by Giles Martin; a remembrance by Glyn Johns; chapters and detailed track notes by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett; and an essay by journalist and author John Harris exploring the sessions’ myths vs. reality. The book is illustrated, scrapbook style, with rare and previously unpublished photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney, as well as never before published images of handwritten lyrics, session notes, sketches, Beatles correspondence, tape boxes, film frames, and more.

After the two ‘Super Deluxe’ boxes there’s a 2CD set that comes in a digipak with a 40-page booklet. This set contains on one disc the original Let It Be album (in it’s new stereo mix), plus a disc unique to this set with 13 tracks of highlights from the previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, rehearsals, and the previously unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix of ‘Across The Universe’. That makes it an interesting purchase for those completists among us!

Of course, there’s the stand-alone 1 LP which is also half-speed mastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, along with a single CD of the of the original album in re-mixed form too.

And there’s to be a picture disc as well.

As to track listings, here are images of the rear covers of the 4LP/EP box set:

 And the 5CD/Blu-ray:

And the rear cover of the single LP:

Click on any of the images above to see larger versions.

We liked the artwork on the offical Bealtes page depicting some masking tape with the words Let It Be roughly stuck over what was the original title of this project: Get Back.

Really looking forward to hearing this re-mix. It is a favourite LP for us, up there with Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album for sure.

At Last – A Blue Box for The Beatles Singles Collection

For quite a few years now we’ve had in the collection a complete set of all the Beatles UK singles that go inside the 1982 box set, The Beatles Singles Collection.

Only thing is, we didn’t have the lovey blue box with gold embossed writing to hold them.

Until now.

We’ve been searching on eBay and other places for quite some time to find an empty box in excellent condition. Have even bid on a couple over the years, but have never been successful.

Then, a few weeks back, a very nice example came up for sale, and here it is:

This box has the catalogue number BSCP1:

That BSCP1 marking means that the box should contain all 22 singles The Beatles released between 1962-1970, plus 4 singles that were issued following the break-up (‘Yesterday’ from March, 1976; ‘Back In The USSR’ from June, 1976; ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’ from September, 1978; and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’ from May, 1982). Each should also be housed in unique paper picture sleeves, plus (and this is what delineates this release from the earlier BSC1 Singles box), a picture disc of ‘Love Me Do’ should also be included.

So, that’s 27 discs in all.

It should also have a blue paper insert detailing the complete list of singles with recording dates, release dates and chart positions.

Each single has labels reproduced just as they would have been in the UK at the time of original release too. That means the first two singles, ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’, are on the red Parlophone label:

From the singles ‘From Me To You’ through to ‘Lady Madonna’, the labels are the black and silver Parlophone/EMI:

Then, from ‘Hey Jude’ through to ‘Let It Be’, we get the green Apple label:

Here are the covers and labels for the four additional singles, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Back In The USSR’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’, and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’:

The final single in this set is a ‘Love Me Do’ picture disc, housed in its original clear plastic sleeve:

Here’s the picture disc image on the flipside:

So, at last a blue box for The Beatles Singles Collection (BSCP1). See also our posts on the 1978 edition of 25 singles called The Beatles Collection; the Australian edition blue box containing all the LPs – also called The Beatles Collection. And the CD Singles Collection (two versions), and The Compact Disc EP Collection.

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions.

Ringo Starr Announces New EP

Ringo Starr has taken a somewhat unusual route to annouce the forthcoming release of his new EP, Change The World.

He appeared live yesterday on the US online marketing channel, talkshoplive®.

talkshoplive® is the first live streaming, social buying and selling platform that allows anyone, anywhere to sell and buy products – from mops to mopeds, frying pans to pearls. And, it seems, records, CDs and cassette tapes from former Beatles (the platform carried a pre-recorded plug from Paul McCartney at the time of the release of his McCartney III album late last year).

The difference here was that Ringo chatted to talkshoplive’s Steve Harkins for just over 45 minutes before throwing to a YouTube clip that debuted the title track of the new EP, ‘Let’s Change the World’.

True to his word last year when announcing the EP Zoom In, Ringo confirmed he’d only ever be releasing extended plays (or EP’s) from now on. Change The World contains just 4 new tracks – recorded in lockdown.

There’s the lead single ‘Let’s Change The World’, written by Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather; ‘Just That Way’, written by Ringo and Bruce Sugar; ‘Coming Undone’, written by Linda Perry and featuring Trombone Shorty; and Ringo’s version of the blues-rock track ‘Rock Around The Clock’. 

Change The World arrives in full on September 24th in CD form:

It’ll also be available on that same date in cassette form:

If you are after the 10″ vinyl you’ll have to wait until November 19:

McCartney III Imagined: The Variants So Far (Further Update…)

Just when you thought you’d made it through to release date without any other variations of this one….

A mere three days before the physical release (at last!) of Paul McCartney’s McCartney III Imagined, Universal Music has gone and thrown one more colour variant into the mix: Violet Vinyl.

This is “exclusive” to the official McCartney stores in the US, in the UK, and also in France.

And it seems to be available in a couple of the official UMe stores too. We found it for sale in the German Bravado store for example.

It brings to ten the number of different coloured vinyl you can buy. It’s a nice round number.

It’ll be nice to finally get this as a physical release. The digital version came out on April 16, so it has been a long wait.

So, here’s the lay of the land visually as far as all the known variants that will be shipped this Friday, July 23. (Click on the image below to enlarge):

McCartney III Imagined: The Variants So Far (Update)

Back in April we posted a list of the physical variants (to date) of the forthcoming McCartney III Imagined.

Since then there have been a few additions, so here’s an update about. It includes a standard cassette (available fairly widely), plus a more limited pink cassette and two ‘Limited Edition Mini Jacket’ CD versions. These appear to be only available via the US official Paul McCartney website.

Here’s the regular, or standard, ‘Smokey Tint’ cassette:

And here is the more limited pink shell cassette:

There have also been two low-cost ‘mini jacket’ CD alternates added too – much like the ones made available in the initial McCartney III release program. These are just simple cardboard sleeves. One is available with the standard McCartney III Imagined cover:

The other comes in the colourful ‘alternate’ McCartney III Imagined cover:

Release day for physical product is getting closer – it’s July 23 – and there’ll be a bonus track included on each of these – ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba Remix)’.

Here’s a chart showing all the release variations of McCartney III Imagined so far (as usual, click on the images to see larger versions):