50 years ago, on December 7, Wings released their debut album Wild Life – recorded over an eight-day period at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Now it joins McCartney and RAM in getting the Limited Edition, 50th Anniversary Half Speed Master treatment:
Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Seiwell and Denny Laine arrived at the studios on 25 July, 1971 to begin recording with engineers Tony Clark and Alan Parsons.
“They rehearsed for a while, sang some old songs, wrote some new ones and in time headed for the big city studios. In three days they had laid down most of the tracks and by the end of a couple of weeks the album was finished. In this wrapper is the music they made. Can you dig it?”, wrote Clint Harrigan for the original album’s back cover liner notes.
On PaulMcCartney.com Paul wrote: “Wild Life was about spontaneity: the opening track ‘Mumbo’ was recorded in one take. I’d read that Bob Dylan had just made a quick album and I really liked the idea, because we tended to take longer and longer to make records. The early albums by The Beatles hadn’t taken long and it seemed to me that Dylan was getting to that. I was a great admirer of his – and still am to this day – so I thought, well, if it’s good enough for him, let’s do it.”
The 50th anniversary edition of Wild Life is cut at half speed at Abbey Road using a high resolution transfer of the original 1971 master tapes. The Half Speed 50th will be released on February 4. It is available for pre-order now.
To celebrate the release this week of the Disney+/Peter Jackson marathon re-cut of the original Let It Be footage, here are some of the movie theatre lobby cards (and a poster) from the 1970 movie-length version, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg:
The Beatles And India documentary film (released last month) is an historical chronicle of the influence that India had on the Beatles – and how that in turn changed perceptions of that country in the West.
Through rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments, along with location shoots across India, the film brings alive the journey’s of George, John, Ringo and Paul “from their high octane celebrity lives to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspired an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting. It is the first serious exploration of how India helped shape the development of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role in bridging two vastly different cultures”.
The Guardian newspaper wrote of The Beatles And India: “The memory of the Beatles’ relationship with India is revived in this engaging documentary, and if there isn’t much really new here, it’s still salutary to be reminded of how these four young men…used their colossal influence, greater than any politician or movie star or religious leader, to direct the world’s attention to India.”
Not only that, there’s also a companion album called Songs Inspired By The Film The Beatles And India. This CD features interpretations by contemporary Indian artists of the songs the Beatles were inspired to write as a result of the time they spent there.
The album is evidence of the legacy of the enduring cultural and musical crossover which occurred and it features a diverse cast of Indian artists (Vishal Dadlani, Kiss Nuka, Benny Dayal, Dhruv Ghanekar, Karsh Kale, Anoushka Shankar, Nikhil D’Souza, Soulmate and many others) – each bringing their own musical styles, as well as contemporary and classical Indian influences and techniques to the record.
The companion CD release also includes a bonus disc of the original soundtrack score to the film. The music is composed by award-winning composer Benji Merrison and was recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2 (the legendary home of The Beatles recording sessions), and also in Budapest in Hungary and in Pune, India.
In the lead-up to the release next week of the Peter Jackson film The Beatles: Get Back, John Harris, editor of the new book of the same name, takes us on a fascinating journey to the three key locations in the making of the Let It Be album. It is delightful:
While looking around the web shopping for Paul McCartney’s fabulous new book The Lyrics, we stumbled across a couple of different translations, and it got us wondering how many countries were getting versions of the book in their own language?
There are of course two main English editions. The two most common of these are the US edition in the green outer box:
And there’s the UK edition – which has exactly the same content as the US, but externally is quite different in design:
Also worthy of mention is a third English language version of the book: the Limited Edition. This one is actually signed by Sir Paul. There have reportedly been just 175 copies made available worldwide, though as one reader points out there have been two different signed books with the number #95 sold on eBay. Each had a different publishing logo, raising doubt on the accuracy of “175 worldwide”. Maybe it is 175 in the US, and 175 in the UK. Either way, it comes in a distinctive bright orange box with blue lettering. The design inside is quite unique too – including the two volumes inside which are also in that distinctive orange binding:
Then we get onto the translations, and those we’ve been able to uncover (to date) all seem to have the same outer box and book binding as the US green version above.
The Italian translation has only just been released (9 November). There aren’t any great images of how it is packaged yet – but we’ve asked one of the translators and can confirm that this is the cover:
As you can see, like the French edition, the Italians have gone for a white outer box. The translation has been done by Franco Zanetti and Luca Parasi, who is author of the highly regarded Paul McCartney reference book Recording Sessions (1969-2013).
A further confirmation that this is the way the Italian edition is presented are the images in this advertisement that the publishers, Rizzoli Libri, was running on Amazon:
And finally, two unexpected translations – one in Finnish:
And the other in Swedish (thanks to reader Ole for sending this one in). Interesting that the front covers of the two books inside appear to have the images and super-imposed lyrics used for the rear covers of the books in the rest of the world:
Is that all? Do you know of any others?
Let us know using the ‘Leave a Reply’ link below if you have any updates and we’ll publish them here.
It’s not often you see one of these come onto the market, so it’s worth mentioning.
The UK online second-hand store eil.com currently has a Wings Back To The Eggvinyl picture disc for sale. This super-rare, 1979 UK original promotional-only picture disc is an exclusive in-house edition conceived by Paul McCartney’s company MPL Communications for distribution only to friends, family and label executives, and was never made available for retail sale.
Widely believed to be limited to just 200 copies, or fewer, this example comes from the archive collection of a retired music industry executive.
The picture record displays the same image on both sides. Only the printed matrix number at the end of the perimeter text differs from side one to side two. Here’s the rear cover:
It is a genuine original and near impossible to find, and comes with a cool £1,995.00 price tag. (That’s US$2,720.00, or around $3,640.00 Australian dollars).
Find out more at eil.com where there’s more detailed info and pictures.
This collage detailing the source photos for Klaus Voormann’s legendary cover image for the Beatles’ 1966 release Revolver has been doing the rounds for a while but its worth returning to because it is awesome:
(Click on the image to enlarge) Those pictures with yellow circles are still being sought after. If you know, contact us in the comments section below.
There’s a great article on the genesis of the cover here. “Revolver was the first Beatles’ album that truly marked out the four distinct personalities of the group. Voormann’s illustration captures the band perfectly. Looking at it, you can see that the group is made up of four unique individuals, but they are also connected by kinship, a friendship and an affinity for one another. It is the perfect summation of the band’s relationship at that point in time.”
UPDATE: Thank you to reader Angel who sent us a link to the Dutch magazine Furore and the information that they did a major article on the Revolver cover. It really looks good.
They pitch it as “an exhaustive ten-page story describes the genesis of Klaus Voormann’s iconic cover design of The Beatles’ Revolver album, now fifty years ago, and traces the source of each photograph used therein.”
You can see a teaser graphic on Furore’s back-issues page for the larger article that’s inside the magazine. It gives a hint of the detailed info they provide on the origins of the photographs that Klaus Voormann used. Here’s that teaser image:
Click on image to see a larger version.
And here are two pages from the article itself:
Again, click on the image to see a larger version.
Also, on Revolver, we’ve just discovered the very good I Am The Eggpod podcast. You really should have a listen. Check out the latest episode where host Chris Shaw and songwriter and musician Andy Bell discuss the1966 masterpiece.
And here’s an unboxing of the 5 CD 1 Blu-ray set from a collector in Japan:
A couple of things to note.
It’s interesting that the CD box set outer shell, book, folder and CD covers are all done in a matte finish, not shiny and glossy throughout – like you see in the LP set video. We didn’t know about that difference until we saw these unboxings.
It’s also great that, for the first time vinyl collectors are getting a full-sized, 100 page book to go with their records. And that Apple/UMe have produced two different sized books – one for the LP set, and a smaller format (with exactly the same content) for the CD box. That’s a lot of extra effort, but greatly appreciated.
Finally, despite a few complaints from some fans about the breadth of extra content on these discs, there’s generally been a very positive vibe about this reissue so far and the feeling that Giles Martin and his team have done a great job on the sound of the re-mix.
We can’t wait for our sets to arrive Downunder from the USA (where its a LOT cheaper than buying locally)!
Host and creator Hrishikesh Hirway works with musicians to take apart their songs and, piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made – delving into the specific decisions that went into creating the work. Guests have included Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, U2, Metallica, Solange, Lorde, Yo-Yo Ma, The Roots, Bon Iver, and more. Here’s the full list of episodes.
Now, Song Exploder has taken a deep dive into John Lennon’s song ‘God’, from his 1970 solo album Plastic Ono Band. It’s the first time Hrishikesh has unpacked a song posthumously, teaming up with the Lennon Estate for a special, first-of-its kind episode using demos, out-takes, multitracks and interviews from their vaults.
“Earlier this year, I got an amazing email—the estate of John Lennon said that they have a treasure trove of audio material from his life, and they were wondering if I would be interested in making an episode around the song ‘God‘. I’ve never tried making a posthumous episode before, because hearing directly from the artist is at the heart of Song Exploder. But with all the interview archives that they have of him speaking, plus all the isolated tracks from the recordings, and the original demo, it actually seemed possible. So this is a very different and special episode of the show.”
Speaking about the episode on Instagram Sean Ono Lennon said “I’m a big fan of Song Exploder and the way Hrishi analyzes songwriting and recording using the multitracks and sessions and the creator’s voice. The shows are always intelligent, well-researched and beautifully edited, so we felt comfortable and confident opening up the archive to them to tell the story of this important song’s creation. They’ve done an amazing job and I’m excited for everyone to hear this special episode.”
In the episode we hear from John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, Billy Preston, and psychologist Arthur Janov.
After the tragic death of co-host Ryan Brady last year in a motoring accident, his podcast partner Chris Mercer has (understandably) been lying low for a while. The good news is that the show has returned.
Two weeks ago Mercer posted on Facebook: “I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Paul Kaminski as the new co-host of Take It Away. Many of you will have guessed as much already. When it comes to the Beatles, Paul Kaminski is the real deal. He’s also a highly accomplished podcaster, having worked on the Jack White-related Third Men Podcast, the Beatles podcast Yesterday and Today, The Lucy & Annabel Show, and Now Hear This!, which he co-founded with Ryan Brady. We‘ve already had a productive collaboration going for some time, and we can’t wait to talk everyone’s heads off about music we love!”
And they’ve announced there’ll be a Season 5 coming this fall. “While we will honor the show’s roots by covering McCartney‘s latest projects and expanding our Macca-related offerings, Paul and I are eager to take TIA to new places, and we think you’ll enjoy what we have planned” said Mercer.
It is a very limited boxed set of the two-volume compendium of 154 songs with accompanying stories, photos, drafts and artifacts associated with each song from the McCartney archives.
Just 175 copies of this will make their way into the world, though as one reader points out in the Comments section below, there have been two different signed books with the number #95 sold recently on eBay. Each had a different publishing logo (Liveright Books = US, and Allen Lane = UK) thus raising doubts on the accuracy of 175 worldwide number. Maybe it is 175 in the US, and 175 in the UK? Either way, this edition is actually signed by Paul McCartney, and comes in a bright orange textured outer binder with the words to ‘Hey Jude’ embossed in the fabric. Very tasteful.
The Special Edition is being distributed only to selected bookstores in the UK and the USA, and has a recommended retail price of US$2083.00 (or UK £1500.00), though some stores appear to be taking bids on the signed book, a bit like an auction.
The stores with the Special Edition in the UK were all listed on a Penguin Books website for a few days, but this now seems to have disappeared. Perhaps all copies have been sold already? The stores in the US are listed here.
For us mere mortals (i.e. poor people!) it joins two other more affordable editions. The one to be published in the UK under the Allen Lane imprint has this outer box and plain book spines for each volume:
And the other – in the US – will be published by Liveright Books. Their edition comes in a bright green outer box and has an image of McCartney on each spine:
The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is published worldwide on November 2.
On Saturday, November 6 there’s to be a special event in London Paul McCartney In Conversation where he will appear live at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall along with the book’s editor Paul Muldoon. Tickets for the live event, and to join in online, are on sale here.
The official McCartney YouTube channel has also released this teaser video with Paul speaking to Bob Mortimer at the British Library about the inspiration for his song ‘Rocky Racoon’.
UPDATE: Just on the orange, signed, limited edition above – here is one very excited owner giving us a bit of a look at his US Liverlight book, number 30/175!