George Harrison – The Stories Behind the Albums

We just had an email from Universal Music alerting us that the George Harrison page on their site has some new content.

Every week, music writer Richard Havers will review each of the fourteen Harrison solo albums and tell the stories behind them. Each review will contain audio streams of the album (Spotify and Deezer), quotes, insights and soundbites.

So far they have up there: Wonderwall Music; Electronic Sound; All Things Must Pass; The Concert for Bangladesh; and Living in the Material World.

1WonderwallMusic

2ElectronicSound3AllThingsMustPass3ConcertForBangladesh5LivingInAMaterialWorldGeorge-Harrison-150x150

More on The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Apple and Universal Music have now officially announced details of the expanded and newly remixed version of The Beatles’ 1977 live album At The Hollywood Bowl.

The new release will be known as The Beatles: Live At The Hollywood Bowl, and it is directly sourced from the original three track tapes of the concerts. Producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell have remixed and mastered the recordings at Abbey Road Studios. The album will include the thirteen tracks from the original album produced by George Martin, plus four bonus tracks – 3 of which are previously unreleased recordings from the concerts. Those tracks are: ‘You Can’t Do That’ and ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ (both from 23 August, 1964) and ‘Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby’ and ‘Baby’s in Black’ (both from 30 August, 1965).

Giles Martin gave this background:

“A few years ago Capitol Studios called saying they’d discovered some Hollywood Bowl three track tapes in their archive. We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive. Alongside this I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track.

With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes. Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago. Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before. What we hear now is the raw energy of four lads playing together to a crowd that loved them. This is the closest you can get to being at the Hollywood Bowl at the height of Beatlemania. We hope you enjoy the show…”

Live at the Hollywood Bowl will include a 24-page booklet with an essay by music journalist David Fricke, and will be issued on CD on 9 September and as a gatefold double vinyl LP on 18 November 2016.LATHB-EMAIL-BANNER

Read more at Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines.

Beatles “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” to be Re-issued

Looks like the Beatles At the Hollywood Bowl is to be re-issued as part of the release program surrounding the new Ron Howard film Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years, due out in September.At_the_hollywood_bowl

One change from the original is the title. It becomes Live at the Hollywood Bowl, and rumour has it that there will be four additional tracks included, though it’s not clear exactly what these will be. Two of the songs will most likely be ‘Baby’s in Black’, which has previously been issued as the b-side of the 1996 ‘Real Love’ single, and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, part of which appears in Love, the Cirque du Soleil Beatles stage production and which appears on the 2006 Love album.

The US Amazon site has the CD only (so far) listed for pre-order, saying the release date is September 9. No images of the packaging are available yet. This will be the first time this album has been officially issued on CD.

UPDATE: Amazon have now added an image. If this is the actual item it is disappointing. While this artwork works as a movie poster, it’s not a classic Beatle album cover by any means.Live at the Hollywood Bowl

They’ve also added info about a vinyl release too. It’s due on November 18.

Looking at the cover it seems to indicate that a Hollywood Bowl reissue may be the only release that will be associated with the new film, which is also disappointing if that’s the case. We await further news.

New Klaus Voormann Book – Revolver 50

Klaus Voormann has a new book due for release in the first week of August called Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50.

It celebrates the background story to his now classic front cover design for the Beatles Revolver LP, released on the 5th of August, 1966.

His book, done in a graphic novel style, tells the story from his perspective as a musician and artist who was called by upon by the Beatles, then nearing the height of their fame, to come up with something special, something new, different and lasting.To say he was put under pressure is something of an understatement.Rev 50 Cover Resize

It looks like it’d be a really interesting read.

Pre-orders for The Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50, which will be hand-signed by Klaus Voormann, 
have a pre-sale price 46 Euro (+ shipping & handling costs).

“…it is good for me to see the other side of a story I know so well and to realize aspects like the sheer panic that Klaus must have felt at being asked to do our album cover. In the end, the Revolver cover was a classic and this book is another.”  Sir Paul McCartney

“…your Revolver book – it brought back such great memories – even farther back than Revolver…I hope it sells a million copies!…the Revolver cover was incredible and perfect for that album.” – Ringo StarrRev 50 Page 2 ResizeRev 50 Page 5 ResizeRevolver

Ravi Shankar – ‘In Celebration’ 4CD Set

In 1995 George Harrison was producer of an impressive 4 CD compilation box set honouring the musical life and genius of his friend and mentor, the Indian master musician Ravi Shankar. It was called In Celebration and it formed a key part of the celebrations that year marking Shankar’s 75th birthday.

The four CDs trace four distinct aspects of Shankar’s output: Classical Sitar; Orchestral and Ensembles; East-West Collaboration; and Vocal and Experimental.

The set was released on the Angel label (an EMI subsidiary specialising in classical music), and George’s own Dark Horse Records label.

Because it was expensive the following year (1996) there was also an In Celebration – Highlights single-disc version for those wanting a taste from each of the four CDs:Ravi Highlights1Ravi Highlights2Ravi Highlights3

We’ve had a copy of the single disc Highlights for years and have often enjoyed escaping into the world of Indian music. As a result we’ve been on the lookout for a long time for a reasonably-priced second-hand copy of the full box set – now long out of print. At last we’ve got our hands on a copy (via eBay and from a seller based in France of all places).

The larger set is a much more detailed and elaborate affair, with silver embossed printing details and individual artwork for each CD. When we say “box set” this is actually presented as a tall, deluxe hard-back book, with the four CDs stored in holders inside the front and rear covers.Ravi 1Ravi 2

In between them is a beautiful 60 page book with a foreword by George Harrison and a lengthy essay, richly illustrated with photographs, on the life and work of Ravi Shankar by Timothy White, a former Editor In Chief of Billboard magazine: Ravi 4Ravi 3

There’s a handy glossary of terms included at the back – a big help in understanding and appreciating Indian classical music, its instruments and main themes and influences.

This is all really nicely done as a package and a great selection of, and tribute to, Shankar’s life and work.Ravi 5Ravi 6Ravi 7Ravi 8_0003

A Very Unusual “All Things Must Pass”

We went crate digging last weekend at one of the best second-hand record stores in the Sydney area called Revolve Records and Relics in the suburb of Erskineville. If ever your’e in Sydney it is well worth a visit as they have a constant turnover of new stuff.

What we found there was an intriguing version of the 1970 George Harrison triple LP All Things Must Pass.

We’ve detailed in the past a couple of the different pressings that are out there – including what we thought was the unique, Australian triple-gatefold version.

Well, it appears that another market also had a triple-gatefold that is similar, but not identical.

The front cover looks familiar:

ATMP Cover

As you can see this one is a little beaten up and has a bit of ring-wear but overall it’s not in too bad a condition. (Those black spots at the top are small, dark paint droplets where it has accidentally been splashed by someone not being too careful….).

The rear cover is very different:ATMP rear

As you can see, it’s plain black with a white Apple in the centre and the words: “2 George Harrison LP’s plus 1 Apple jam session  3 LP’s for the price of 2  Apple STCH 639”

The gatefold opens out to reveal the first of the three coloured, top-loading sleeves into which the vinyl slips. The lyrics for the songs on Side 1 and 2 are printed here:

ATMP GF1

Open the out the second of the gatefolds and this is what the right hand side looks like – with lyrics for the songs on Sides 3 and 4 printed on the centre, grey coloured panel. The mauve (or lilac) coloured panel on the right has the song titles and details of who plays in the Apple Jam tracks on Sides 5 and 6, plus a large “Apple Jam” logo:

ATMP GF2

The labels are trying to be like the original, bright orange found on other versions of this release worldwide, but they are really more a dull, reddish brown. There’s the full Apple for Sides 1 and 3:ATMP L1

And a “cut” Apple for Sides 2 and 4:ATMP L2The Apple Jam record (Sides 5 and 6) has custom Apple Jam labels on both sides: ATMP L3

Unlike the Australian triple gatefold, the spine on this release has a dark black and white print:ATMP Spine

[Click on any image above to see larger versions]

Nowhere, either on the cover or on the labels, is a place of manufacture stated – making it something of a mystery. Also, if there was ever one of the large George Harrison posters which came with this release in other markets, it is long gone. None to be found.

This exact same version is listed on the Discogs site, but no country of origin is definitively stated there. They just say: “Unknown country of manufacture, likely Singapore or Malaysia. Released in a three-panel fold out gatefold cover very similar to the Australian original”.

However, the fantastic apple records.nl has this version detailed fully, and suggests it could either be from Singapore or Hong Kong, depending on subtle differences in the label colours. (This site is an absolute goldmine for anyone interested in the different Apple pressings from around the world).

UPDATE: One other item of evidence has just emerged!

While fishing around in the sleeves just now out fell what looks like an official EMI flyer advertising other releases available from the company for the year 1971. We hadn’t noticed this before. It’s small (about 7″x7″), and has four pages.

The front page of the flyer:

IMG_1714

The inside two pages:IMG_1718The rear cover:IMG_1716

A tiny reference at the bottom says this flyer is “Designed & Printed by Times Litho Publicity Pte. Ltd.” A little Internet detective work reveals this to be a former Singapore-based company, active between the years 1965-1971. So, I guess that’s definite proof that this is in fact a genuine Singapore pressing!

If anyone else has anything more definitive please do let us know. Would it have come with a poster, for example? Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply section below.

 

McCartney’s ‘Pure’ – Place of Manufacture

The three iterations of Paul McCartney’s latest “personal favourites” compilation, Pure, are interesting.

The small print on the rear covers of each of the formats and editions (2 CD Standard; 4 CD Deluxe; and the 4LP version) reveal that each are manufactured in different places, and one of them is very surprising.

The 4LP sets come from Germany:PureMcCartney_VinylIMG_1680[Click on each “small print” image to see a larger version]

The 2CD version is made in Poland:PureMcCartney_StandardIMG_1679But the real surprise of the bunch is the 4CD Deluxe edition. A check of the small print on the back shows that these are manufactured in China: 

PureMcCartney_DeluxeIMG_1678Once upon a time any CD with “Manufactured in China” stamped on it immediately aroused suspicions amongst collectors. That usually rings loud warning bells.

Chinese manufacturers are famous for producing unauthorised editions, and also counterfeit rip-offs – entirely fake copies of official releases. Just ask anyone who purchased a 2009 Beatles Stereo or Mono remastered box set at an unbelievably low price. Many of them discovered later that they’d been duped and the quality was just not there:

And so China has been very much on the nose in the music business. But not anymore it seems….

Clearly the country is gaining a new credibility in the legit music business. It is definitely moving into the mainstream.

McCartney’s distribution company, Concord Music, must have shopped around for which companies internationally could deliver the best product at the best price – and a Chinese CD maker won the Pure contract – at least for the 4CD “book” style deluxe edition.

We are seeing this more and more as Chinese manufacturers gain a reputation for making high quality items at affordable prices. It’s happening in the hi-fi industry as well, with some Chinese brands turning now out first-class speakers, amplifiers and players now.

(If your’e interested in this sort of thing see also Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed and New John Lennon LP Box Set Pressed By Optimal Media).

You might also like Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.