New Album for Ringo Starr – ‘What’s My Name’

Official details are slowly emerging about the new album from Ringo Starr.

It is to be called What’s My Name, and it will feature Paul McCartney on one track (the John Lennon penned Grow Old With Me). Universal Music this morning leaked the title track onto YouTube:

There is now a full press release about the album on Ringo’s official site, detailing the background to the recording, the track list, and musician credits.

For those of us who still like their music in physical form it looks like there’ll be a CD and black vinyl, plus there are rumours of a limited edition blue vinyl as well.

What’s My Name is due to hit record stores on October 25th.

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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:

‘Above Us Only Sky’ Set For Home Release

Last year when the John Lennon Estate re-issued the extensive, multi-disc and book Ultimate Collection of his Imagine album we thought we had it all. Multiple CD’s, Blu-ray’s and LP’s of audio alongside a coffee table style book, and the re-release of the two original  documentaries, Imagine and Gimme Some Truth on DVD and Blu-ray.

But at the time that massive re-issue program was unfolding there was a third, new documentary also doing the rounds – on subscription TV and eventually on free-to-air TV in various countries around the world.

The doco was called Above Us Only Sky and while it features a lot of footage from the two previous documentaries, these were supplemented and inter-cut with never-before-seen footage of John and Yoko, new interviews and archive material. It was made with the full cooperation from and exclusive access to Yoko Ono and the Lennon Estate.

Now Above Us Only Sky is coming to a store near you. On September 13 it will be issued on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download.The Universal Music and Eagle Rock Entertainment press release says:

“The feature-length film, directed by the Emmy Award-winning Oscar nominee Michael Epstein, tells the untold story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s unique and enduring relationship and the creation of the 1971 album Imagine….Unseen film of the time is complemented by archive and brand new interviews, including an exclusive new conversation with Yoko.

Others featured in new interviews in the film include John’s son Julian Lennon and photographer David Bailey, who took the 1971 image of John and Yoko that was on the cover of Vogue. Also contributing their memories are gallerist John Dunbar, the man who set up Ono’s first art show in London in 1966 and introduced the couple there; her neighbour and later personal assistant Dan Richter; and studio design pioneer Eddie Veale, who build Ascot Sound Studios at the couple’s home in Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire.

Lennon’s musical collaborators Klaus Voorman, Alan White and Jim Keltner, all of whom played on Imagine, are also featured in new interviews. They add to a vivid insight into the making of the album, alongside the newly-seen film footage, audio and rare images.”

Unusual/Unknown McCartney Guest Appearances

You might have noticed that we’ve been away for a bit. Holiday’s beckoned so this ‘ere Beatle page has been in recess. But we’re back now, and there’s been a lot going on.

First up, a brand new guest appearance by Paul McCartney to check out, plus we catch up on a couple of his other guest spots from the archives that we didn’t even know existed until recently.

The latest album by Australian singer/songwriter Thelma Plum has just dropped and, surprise surprise, there’s a McCartney connection in the form of a writing credit and the contribution of guitar to one of her tracks, “Made For You’.

Speaking to Stacked magazine, Plum related how it all came about:

“Well, I was in New York City recording a song called ‘Made for You’ which I wrote with Paul Kelly, which is already just incredible, he’s an idol to me. So anyway, I am in the studio with David [Kahne, producer of the song] who also works with Paul McCartney – they are close, [and] work together quite often. We had finished up for the day and I just got a text message from David saying, “You’ll never guess who played on the album?!” Paul had come in, heard the song and asked who it was, then asked if he could lay something down, and just wrote a guitar part – which is a really beautiful part, and made the song come together so well, and I am just so grateful for that. He invited me to come to [a] show when he came to Australia and I got to thank him in person for being a part of that. It’s pretty unbelievable to me even now.”

So, check out Thelma’s album, Better in Blak, and in particular the track ‘Made For You’.That of course opens up the topic of other little-known Paul contributions out there – not only guest appearances, but also stand-alone tracks that he’s written, or vocal performances he’s recorded for different projects over the years. With an artist of McCartney’s stature and longevity that list is by now extensive and way too long to go into here. Here however are four of them that we’ve only recently become aware of, and have added into the collection.

First up an amazing vocal duet with George Michael which dates way back to 2006. Michael originally recorded the song ‘Heal The Pain’ solo for his 1991 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1. The McCartney duet though wasn’t recorded until 2005, and didn’t see the light of day until year later with the release of the 2 CD George Michael greatest hits collection, Twenty Five:

This next one we only became aware of via the very informative Take It Away podcast that has set itself the mammoth task of examining, in detail, every Paul McCartney solo release. At the end of each episode the boys (Ryan Brady and Chris Mercer) list McCartney side projects and recordings associated with the timeframe they’re dealing with. For their show about the Driving Rain album (released in 2001) there’s mention of a vocal duet he recorded that year with a singer named Lindsay Pagano. McCartney guests on her version of his 1983 song, ‘So Bad’:

Charity albums hold rich pickings for the completist who has to have every version, or every strange or obscure one-off song. Paul McCartney donated one such track to a 1998 fundraiser CD for the The Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust called Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward. Artists as diverse as the Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Michael Nyman, Suede and Elton John each covered a favourite Noel Coward composition. McCartney’s contribution, recorded at his Hog Hill Mill studio in rural Sussex, was one of Coward’s biggest hits, ‘A Room With A View’: The other source for obscure or little-known songs is soundtrack albums, and over the years Paul McCartney has had quite a few songs used in films. Some are just direct lifts of previously released hits or album tracks, but there are some songs which are unique. One we only recently realised was in this latter category (thanks again to the Take It Away podcast – see above) comes from the 2001 movie, Vanilla Sky. This is not an outtake from the Driving Rain sessions that were under way in 2001, but a song – which also has the title ‘Vanilla Sky’ – written specifically for the Cameron Crowe film.

So, there you have it. Four obscure performances that, even after this long collecting Beatle and solo music, we didn’t have in the collection.

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)