Beatles “Love” – Lots of Collectable Variations

At the Beatles own official website there’s a lot of info about “Love” their 2006 album, which is not only the soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil performance show celebrating the Beatles music, but also a controversial departure for the Beatles in that its made up of some of their best-known songs remastered and re-mixed with sounds and songs from across their extensive catalogue. “Love” is produced by longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles, and it won two Grammy Awards in the categories Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Medium, and Best Surround Sound Album.

For dedicated Beatles fans and collectors it proved to be a bit of of a challenge. Firstly, had the Beatles done the unthinkable and started to mess with the canon? Debate still continues as to whether this was a smart move, or a folly. Additionally, there were numerous release variations to buy if you were an avid collector. Two CD versions, promotional CDs, and other bits and pieces to track down for the completists amongst us…

To start with there was a single disc with the standard stereo mix in a standard jewel case:

“Love” single CD – front cover

“Love” single CD – rear

“Love” CD – with the single CD artwork

Then there was a two-disc set that came with more elaborate packaging. It’s a double fold-out Digipac in a thick slipcase. The package contains the single CD with the standard stereo mix (but with a slightly different printed image on the CD to the single version CD shown above). Added to this is a separate DVD disc containing the 5.1 surround sound mix. Same track list and songs – but if you have a 5.1 stereo set-up at home, the songs and sound effects surround you. It has the same booklet as the single CD release.

“Love” two disc edition – front cover

“Love” two disc edition – rear of slipcase

The final official commercial release (which came out a few weeks after the CD’s) was the vinyl LP. It arrived in a deluxe, 2 disc, gate-fold package. Mine is still sealed, so these images I’ve borrowed from the web.

“Love” vinyl LP set

“Love” gatefold open

“Love” vinyl LP – rear

As you can see the vinyl edition came with custom labels for each LP, and is contained in a gate-fold cover with a large-format book. Its similar to the CD booklet, but because of the large format – complete with rich colour images from the Cirque du Soleil production – it is way more impressive.

There was also a four-song radio sampler released to stations around the world. This was done in an effort to generate publicity and conversation about the forthcoming new Beatles release for 2006. The songs on it were “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Octopus’s Garden”, “Lady Madonna” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (which was one of the most anticipated tracks from the whole album as it was George Harrison’s original demo tape of the song accompanied by a completely new string arrangement composed by George Martin for the new “Love” record). This promo CD was sent out with a press release containing quotes from Sir George Martin and his son Giles – who co-produced the album – talking about the four tracks on the promo CD. They describe how those songs were selected and give some of the background to the production techniques employed in mashing together different parts of Beatles songs to pretty much make completely new versions -a radical thought at the time. The cover of the radio sampler promo CD looks like this:

“Love” radio sampler promo CD – front

And the rear:

“Love” radio sampler promo CD – rear

Apple/EMI was obviously determined to give “Love” the full promotional and marketing treatment because they also pressed and distributed (in limited numbers) a special “Interview Disc” featuring Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George and Giles Martin in conversation about “Love”. The interviews were recorded in October 2006, and they are all stand-alone statements about dirrent aspects of the work that went into producing “Love”, and the running order works through the release track-by-track. Its an interesting historical artifact to have in the collection. And definitely an authentic, original release. As you can see, again it has a colour variation of the “Love” artwork common to all releases:

“Love” promotional interview disc – front cover

“Love” promotional interview disc – rear cover and CD art

This disc is entirely spoken word and contains edited voices only. No music. The idea was that radio stations would get the songs from the official CD and make their own radio specials. For a time there on the web, via Ebay and the like, there was also a disc called “The Beatles Love – Radio Special”, purportedly distributed by Capitol in the US. I got a copy of this but, while someone has gone to a lot of trouble to make it look authentic, there is something suspicious about this one. The special is hosted by a DJ named Andre Gardner. If you Google him he seems legit, very much associated with covering Beatles news, hosting a show on WMGK in Philadelphia and having a Facebook page dedicated to the Beatles. Now, Capitol may well have commissioned this radio special and hired Andre to host it. It does have additional material to the official “Interview Disc” in that there are comments on “Love” by Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono in addition to Paul, Ringo, and George and Giles Martin. And it comes with an official-looking running sheet, with track details and outcues. Here’s a short extract from the program:

There are some images of this CD below. If anyone can shed any more detail on this release – drop me a comment and let me know….

“Love” Capitol Records Radio Special – front cover – genuine?

“Love” Capitol Records Radio Special – CD

Meanwhile….at the time of the “Love” release the Beatles official website had not long been launched (it looked quite different to it’s present incarnation), and Apple used the new site to deliver a series of five down-loadable podcasts to further promote “Love”. Each was between six to seven minutes in duration, and like the official “Interview Disc” above, it contained extracts of Paul, Ringo, George Martin and Giles Martin talking about “Love”. Hosted by UK presenter Robert Lindsay, it contains music extracts mixed with the spoken word extracts. Quite nice to have.

Yet another spin-off for collectors was the DVD “All Together Now”, a documentary film about the creation of the Cirque du Soleil show and the accompanying soundtrack CDs. Earlier this year took out a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. (I posted about this at the time).

“Love” – the “All Together Now” DVD documentay

You can still see “Love” by Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage Casino in Las Vegas. MTV reviewer Gil Kaufman saw the show just last month (April, 2010) and had this to say. The Beatles own site has some fun facts about the “Love” show.

Finally, an official printed promotional cardboard flyer for the two CD releases came my way. It’s about foolscap size, and is four pages in all – the front looks like this:

“Love” cardboard promotional flyer – front cover

40th Anniversary of Beatles Breakup – Special Programs are Under Way

The ABC Radio weekend of special programming in Australia to mark the 40th Anniversary of the breakup of the Beatles is now under way. To listen:

Windows Audio

Real Audio

Here’s the schedule of documentary programs – most of which are from the BBC, many of which have never been heard in Australia before and are rarely heard overseas.

You’ll hear tracks and rare moments from the Beatles along with the following full docos (all times Australian Eastern Standard Time):

Saturday April 10
8:00am Nothing’s Gonna Change My World
9:20am The Beatles Story
2:53pm The White Album at 40
3:50pm Songwriters – Lennon and McCartney
4:04pm Nothing’s Gonna Change My World
5:26pm The Beatles At The Beeb Take 2
6:23pm The Beatles Story

Sunday April 11
0:08am Songwriters – Lennon and McCartney
0.22am The Making of Sgt Pepper
1:18am The Beeb’s Lost Beatles Tapes
8:02am Nothing’s Gonna Change My World
9:23am The White Album at 40
10:21am The Beeb’s Lost Beatles Tapes
5:04pm Nothing’s Gonna Change My World
6:29pm The Beatles Story
Midnight ABC Beatles ends

Further info here.


More on Beatles Breakup and the Special Australian 40th Anniversary Broadcasts

This weekend (10 & 11 April) is the 40th anniversary of the day Paul McCartney told the world  that his songwriting partnership with John Lennon was over – forever

It was effectively the first public confirmation that the Beatles as a group were no more. It was also another action by Paul that upset his former companions.

Privately John, George and Ringo had each individually, for short periods and at different times, told the others that they had “left the group” due to being frustrated with each other, but most often due to being frustrated with Paul – who seemed the one most locked in to trying to keep the band together. That it was Paul who made the first public move to announce the dissolution of the group just drove a wedge further between them all – especially John.

If you’re around this weekend Australian radio is marking the end of the world’s greatest band by playing a series of special programs.  ABC Radio has created a special digital radio station just for the weekend called ABC Beatles:   

On ABC Digital Radio and streaming online, beginning at 8am (Eastern Australian Time), Saturday 10th April and continuing until midnight Sunday 11th April, ABC Beatles will give listeners the opportunity to hear rare and exclusive material drawn from the depths of the BBC Radio archives. The broadcast will include an in-depth history of the band, interviews and recordings from their visits to BBC studios and documentaries never broadcast in Australia.

To get to the online streaming (Windows Media & Real Audio) click through to this page and follow the links.

40th Anniversary of Beatles Break Up – Special Broadcasts This Weekend

Here’s some news for Beatles fans.

This coming weekend (10 & 11 April) marks the 40th anniversary of Paul McCartney formally announcing the break-up of the Beatles. He was about to release this album:

"McCartney" April, 1970

McCartney issued a press release in the form of a self-interview that was inserted into early promo copies of his first-ever solo album. It went something like this (I’ve highlighted the most telling question that signaled the Lennon/McCartney partnership was over – forever):

FROM: Paul McCartney
DATE: April 9, 1970

Q: “Why did you decide to make a solo album?”

PAUL: “Because I got a Studer four-track recording machine at home, practiced on it (playing all the instruments)- liked the results, and decided to make it into an album.”

Q: “Were you influenced by John’s adventures with the Plastic Ono Band and Ringo’s solo LP?”

PAUL: “Sort of, but not really.”

Q: “Are all songs by Paul McCartney alone?”

PAUL: “Yes, sir.”

Q: “Will they be so credited: McCartney?”

PAUL: “It’s a bit daft for them to be Lennon/McCartney-credited, so ‘McCartney’ it is.”

Q: “Did you enjoy working as a solo?”

PAUL: “Very much. I only had me to ask for a decision, and I generally agreed with me. Remember, Linda’s on it too, so it’s really a double act.”

Q: “What is Linda’s contribution?”

PAUL: “Strictly speaking, she harmonizes, but of course it’s more than that, because she’s a shoulder to lean on, a second opinion, and a photographer of renown. More than all this, she believes in me- constantly.”

Q: “Where was the album recorded?”

PAUL: “At home, at EMI (no. 2 studio), and at Morgan Studios. (Willesden!)”

Q: “What is your home equipment– in some detail?”

PAUL: “Studer four-track machine. I only had, however, one mike, and as Mr. Pender, Mr. Sweathenham and others only managed to take six months or so (slight delay) I worked without VU meters or a mixer, which meant that everything had to be listened to first for distortion, etc, then recorded. So the answer– Studer, one mike, and nerve.”

Q: “Why did you choose to work in the studios you chose?”

PAUL: “They were available. EMI is technically very good and Morgan is cozy.”

Q: “The album was not known about until it was nearly completed. Was this deliberate?”

PAUL: “Yes, because normally an album is old before it even comes out. (aside) Witness GET BACK.”

Q: “Why?”

PAUL: “I’ve always wanted to buy a Beatles album like people do and be as surprised as they must be. So this was the next best thing. Linda and I are the only two who will be sick of it by the release date. But we love it really.”

Q: “Are you able to describe the texture or feel of the album?”

PAUL: “Home, family, love.”

Q: “How long did it take to complete- from when to when?”

PAUL: “From just before Christmas, until now. ‘The Lovely Linda’ was the first thing I recorded at home and was originally to test the equipment. That was around Christmas.”

Q: “Assuming all the songs are new to the public, how new are they to you? Are they recent?”

PAUL: “One was from 1959– ‘Hot As Sun.’ Two are from India– ‘Junk’ and ‘Teddy Boy.’ And the rest are pretty recent. ‘Valentine Day,’ ‘Momma Miss America’ and ‘Oo You’ were ad-libbed on the spot.”

Q: “Which instruments have you played on the album?”

PAUL: “Bass, drums, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano, organ, mellotron, toy xylophone, bow and arrow.”

Q: “Why did you play all the instruments yourself?”

PAUL: “I think I’m pretty good.”

Q: “Will Linda be heard on all future records?”

PAUL: “Could be. We love singing together and have plenty of opportunity for practice.”

Q: “Will Paul and Linda become a John and Yoko?”

PAUL: “No, they will become a Paul and Linda.”

Q: “Were you influenced by their work?

PAUL: “No.”

Q: “Will they or who will receive the first copies?

PAUL: “The press.”

Q: “What has recording alone taught you?”

PAUL: “That to make your own decisions about what you do is easy, and playing with yourself is very difficult but satisfying.”

Q: “Who did the cover?”

PAUL: “Linda came up with and took the photos, and she and I designed tha album cover.

[The following question was not part of the original press release, but appears in some sources on the web.]

Q: “Is it true that neither Allen Klein nor ABKCO have been nor will be in any way involved with the production, manufacturing, or promotion of this new album?”

PAUL: “Not if I can help it.”

Q: “Did you miss the other Beatles and George Martin? Was there a moment when you thought, ‘I wish Ringo were here for this break?'”

PAUL: “No!”

Q: “Assuming this is a very big hit album, will you do another?”

PAUL: “Even if it isn’t, I will continue to do what I want, when I want.”

Q: “Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?”

PAUL: “No.”

Q: “Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?”

PAUL: “Time will tell. Being a solo means it’s ‘the start of a solo career…’ and not being done with the Beatles means it’s just a rest. So it’s both really.”

Q: “Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?”

PAUL: “Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don’t know.”

Q: “Do you foresee a time when Lennon/McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?”

PAUL: “No.”

Q: “What do you feel about John’s peace effort? The Plastic Ono Band? Giving back his MBE? Yoko?

PAUL: “I love John and respect what he does, but it doesn’t really give me any pleasure.”

Q: “Were any of the songs on the album originally written with the Beatles in mind?”

PAUL: “The older ones were. ‘Junk’ was intended for ‘Abbey Road,’ but something happened. ‘Teddy Boy’ was for ‘Get Back,’ but something happened.”

Q: “Were you pleased with ‘Abbey Road’? Was it musically restricting?”

PAUL: “It was a good album. (No. 1 for a long time.).”

Q: “What is your relationship with Klein?”

PAUL: “It isn’t. I am not in contact with him, and he does not represent me any way.”

Q: “What is your relationship with Apple?”

PAUL: “It is the office of a company which I partly own with the other three Beatles. I don’t go there because I don’t like offices or business, especially when I am on holiday.”

Q: “Have you any plans to set up an independent production company?”

PAUL: “Yes, McCartney Productions.”

Q: “What are your plans now? A holiday? A musical? A movie? Retirement?”

PAUL: “My only plan is to grow up!”

Well, all this coming weekend ABC Digital Radio in Australia will be marking the anniversary with a continuous stream of special programs and documentaries (many sourced from the BBC and never before heard in this country) celebrating the music and the history of the band. If you have a digital radio and you live in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth you can hear the special programs on your radio. If you don’t have digital, or don’t live in any of those places you can still hear them streamed on the internet.

This is from the ABC Radio press release:

ABC Beatles: Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 April

On the 40th anniversary of Paul McCartney’s announcement that his songwriting partnership with John Lennon was over, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is presenting a weekend of very special digital radio broadcasts to celebrate the band from Liverpool that changed the course of popular music.

On ABC Digital Radio (and online), beginning at 8am (Eastern Australian Time), Saturday 10th April and continuing until midnight Sunday 11th April, ABC Beatles will give listeners the opportunity to hear rare and exclusive material drawn from the depths of the BBC Radio archives. The broadcast will include an in-depth history of the band, interviews and recordings from their visits to BBC studios and documentaries never broadcast in Australia.

There will be online streaming links (Windows Media & Real Audio) via this page.

How the Beatles Recorded Their Music

Have you ever wondered how the Beatles actually pieced together the masterpieces, instrument-by-instrument, track-by-track?

Well, here’s a fantastic insight thanks to blogger Andy Baio who has posted some all-too brief extracts from what looks to be a fascinating BBC 6 radio documentary called “The Record Producers: Extended Cut”.

The BBC was given free access to the original multi-track recordings of some of the Beatles most famous music, and the radio show begins to pick apart how the songs we know so well now were made in the studio way back when.

Andy has three short extracts from the show on his blog: “She’s Leaving Home”, “A Day In The Life”, and “Come Together”. Each of them is just amazing in the insights they give. Really worth a listen.

As Andy says, unfortunately the original BBC broadcasts are no longer available on their site.

Anyone who has access to where we can find the whole program please let us all know!

New Beatles Radio Special – Update

Regarding my previous post about the new Beatles radio special distributed to radio stations around the world, the Beatles official site today announced they are streaming Part One from their own site.

Click here to read more about the series and to hear Part One, which is called “Meet the Beatles!” , streamed in full.

The Beatles site will start streaming Part Two (which is called “Ask Me Why”) the week beginning December 7th, and Part Three (which is called “The Beatles on the Record”) the week beginning December 15th.

Just to keep you ahead of the game, here’s a short preview extract from Part Two – “Ask Me Why”: