Sgt. Pepper Previews and Liverpool Sound Collage

Alternate versions of some of the songs from the forthcoming 50th Anniversary Edition of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are beginning to appear on the web.

There’s this one, a stripped-back example of the title track, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 and Speech]’:

It’s interesting on a whole range range of levels, not least because we now know exactly where Paul McCartney went for inspiration for his experimental album Liverpool Sound Collage, released back in the year 2000.

If you listen to the ‘Sgt. Pepper [Take 9]’ track at around 2’08” in, he’s singing the same words we hear on the track ‘Free Now’:

On the Liverpool Sound Collage album cover McCartney credits The Beatles (and collaborators the Super Furry Animals), but not exactly where the Beatle samples used across the album come from. Now we know the origins of at least one of them.

Alternate take tracks are being intentionally leaked to the media as part of the publicity for the big Pepper 50th Anniversary next month. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9  and Speech]’ was played on the Chris Evans Radio Show (BBC Radio 2). It was also given to the British newspaper The Guardian, and to US radio station WCSX in Detroit, which has also played a preview of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]’:

 

 

Massive Beatles Record Store Day Fail – An Update

Well, our initial post on Record Store Day about a fruitless early morning hunt for The Beatles ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’ 7″ single and Paul McCartney’s Cassette Demos release with Elvis Costello has garnered some reaction.

On social media we’ve copped some criticism for expecting there to be a copies of at least the Beatles RSD disc in one of the largest independent record stores in Sydney, Australia – which I might add is a city of over 5 million people. The store had two copies.

Roger Stormo over at The Daily Beatle has posted an interesting comparison.

He lives in a small town near Oslo in Norway. His local local store just down the road had two copies of ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’.

Meanwhile, in the city of Oslo itself (population 1.71 million), a friend of Roger’s said that late into Record Store Day there were still plenty Beatles singles available in two of the participating stores there. They sent him this photo from one of the locations: 

As you can see above, there was a stack of the 7″ single left. I would estimate it to be at least 40 to 50 copies. They even had multiple copies of the McCartney/Costello Cassette Demos tape still available, and this was after the store had been open for about 4-5 hours:

To quote Roger: “So it seemed there were more of these Beatles and related items in Oslo than anywhere else on the planet! How very strange. The single was supposedly pressed in only 7,000 copies and the cassette just 2,500. So how come so many of them ended up in Norway?”

Indeed. 

Meanwhile, this eBay seller reckons he can get $75.00 US for the ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’ RSD single (thats about £58.00 UK, €70.00 Euros, or $100.00 Australian).

Go figure.

Massive Beatles Record Store Day Fail….

Well, what a disappointing Record Store Day 2017 we had….

The plan was reasonably good on paper:

a) get up at 6.30am; b) drive straight into the city and go to Red Eye Records, one of the largest and most respected record stores in Sydney – we’ve spent a lot of money here over the years; c) buy a copy of The Beatles 7″ ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’; d) ask if they also have the Paul McCartney/Elvis Costello Cassette Demos from Flowers In The Dirt released specially for RSD; e) if so, buy that too; f) come home happy.

What really happened:

a) got up at 6.30am; b) drove into the city (first mistake – nowhere to park); c) eventually parked away across town and had a lengthy walk to Red Eye, arriving at 7.40am; d) big crowd already there waiting for the doors to open at 8.00am, long queue stretching down the block:

e) at about 9.00am we eventually get to the counter; f) at about 9.01am we’re told that the store only got two copies of the ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’ single and that these sold long ago; g) they didn’t get any of the Cassette Demos at all; h) at 9.02am come out of the store disheartened, race down to Utopia Records nearby; i) they don’t have any copies of either title; j) race back to the car; k) drive to Newtown just outside the city, to two other participating record stores (Egg Records and Hum on King); l) no luck there either; m) drive home empty-handed, disappointed, tired and by this stage a little angry….

Firstly, how can the biggest independent record store in Sydney be allocated just two copies of the only Beatle Record Store Day release?

Secondly, now we search eBay only to see a large number of sellers who have copies of the Beatles 7″, don’t want it for their own collections, and are offering multiple copies for sale online at exorbitant prices. They are the equivalent of concert ticket scalpers, preying on the true fans.

There’s something basically wrong with Record Store Day when this sort of thing happens, don’t you think?

Flowers In The Dirt – In Depth Producer Interviews

With Flowers In The Dirt to be released tomorrow in various formats as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection re-issue series, here’s a link to an extraordinary series of interviews with the people who helped McCartney bring the original project to life.

Flowers In The Dirt was produced by not one, but several different producers – and in the lead up to the newly remastered re-issue coming out, Paul Sinclair from the impressive Super Deluxe Edition site has interviewed four of them.

What was it really like to work with Paul McCartney in the studio?

You can find out here in what is a comprehensive and informative backgrounder to this 1989 McCartney album:And here’s a new, official “unboxing” video detailing the contents of the Deluxe edition box set:

Free Download of Exclusive Demo Track from ‘Flowers In The Dirt’

As he has done with previous Paul McCartney Archive series releases Paul McCartney, in the lead-up to his forthcoming re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt in multiple formats, is making available a track that won’t be part of those packages.

If you go to McCartney’s official website you can get the demo version of ‘Distractions’, an album track from Flowers. It’s exclusive and it is free.

Speaking earlier this week about the song, Paul said:

“I like a good love song, you know. And it’s always nice to be in the mood to write a ballad and that was the case when I sat down to write this. It just occurred to me that if you love someone, one of the problems is that you don’t always spend enough time with that person. Because you’ve got things to do, you’ve got work or you’ve got other obligations to other people or whatever. And so I thought, yeah you could call those distractions from the main event kind of thing. That was basically what this is:

“What is this thing in life that persuades me to take time away from you?…                  ….Distractions, like butterflies….”

I elaborated on that theme, it’s just someone wishing they could spend more time with their loved one. And you know for me at that time it was about Linda. But people often say to me, ‘Who did you write this about?’ and even though then I would have been writing specifically about Linda – because she was the object of my affection – I liked the idea that it could also be the sort of dream of romance. It could just be an ideal – we all love someone and wish we could spend more time with that someone. A romantic ideal! I know that a young couple won’t hear this about me and Linda, the guy will hear it about him and his girlfriend, the girl will hear that it’s about her and her boyfriend, and I like that. I like that about my songs, that people use them for their own purpose. And I think that’s a very romantic idea.”

There are still five other free downloads from previous McCartney Archive Series re-issues available on the site as well.

McCartney Announces RSD Limited Edition….Cassette?

In the lead-up to Record Store Day 2017 (which falls on 22 April), Paul McCartney has just announced he’ll issue a limited edition, three-song cassette that will be distributed to some participating stores. The cassette will contain three of the “download only” demos he made for the album with Elvis Costello that will form part of his forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt box set deluxe edition. Here’s the official press release:

PAUL McCARTNEY

FLOWERS IN THE DIRT — THE CASSETTE DEMOS WITH ELVIS COSTELLO

RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE 3-TRACK CASSETTE-ONLY RELEASE

With the Flowers In The Dirt Archive Collection edition’s March 24th release date via MPL/Capitol/UMe fast approaching, Paul McCartney has confirmed a very special Record Store Day exclusive.

To commemorate Record Store Day this April 22nd, a limited edition three-song cassette of Paul and Elvis Costello’s Flowers In The Dirt demos will be made available at participating RSD stores.

The limited edition cassette-only release will be the first time these recordings – ‘I Don’t Want To Confess’, ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Mistress And Maid’- will be made available in the same form as when Paul and Elvis first cut them directly to tape.

Speaking about these tracks Paul said: “The demos are red hot off the skillet and that’s why we wanted to include them on this boxed set. What’s great about these songs is that they’ve just been written. So there’s nothing more hot off the skillet as I say. So that was the kind of great instant thing about them. I hadn’t listened to them in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out. We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment’s finally arrived.”

The demos will be made available digitally only as part of the Deluxe Edition when Flowers In The Dirt is released as the 10th installment in the multiple-GRAMMY-winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection.

The Paul McCartney Archive Collection release of Flowers In The Dirt was, as always, personally curated and overseen by Paul himself. (ENDS)

As Paul Sinclair says on his influential Super Deluxe Edition website “…it is ironic that they are coming out on tape when they were denied a release on CD partly because Paul wants to stay ‘modern’ and embrace/drive people to streaming!”

You can read his report on the cassette here, and the saga of the “download only” decision here.

Paul McCartney Limited Edition Microphones – For Sale and Auction

US microphone manufacturer Shure has joined forces with Paul McCartney to produce a limited edition run of 300 numbered and custom-painted 50th Anniversary SM58 microphones.

The SM58 is a legendary workhorse. If you’ve seen a vocalist live on stage any time over the last 50 years, chances are they were singing into an SM58.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Shure has produced a limited run of 300 mics that feature a photo portrait of Paul taken by his daughter, Mary McCartney. The image was used originally for the front cover and other associated releases associated with his 2012 project, Kisses on the Bottom.paul-mccartney-kisses-on-the-bottom-2012-front-cover-66534shure-mccartney-mic

The rare microphones are being made available for sale and auction – with all proceeds donated to the McCartney family charity, Meat Free Monday. Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week.

Each of the SM58 microphones is numbered at its base as a limited edition:shure-mccartney-mic-closeupNumbers 300 to 011 went on sale on March 1. These are at a set Ebay “Buy It Now” price of US$350.00.

The last ten microphones, 010 to 001, feature McCartney’s signature as well as the image and these will be available by auction only, starting from March 13 and ending on March 23.