Like Some Forgotten Dream – Book Review

In the lead-up to the re-mixed Let It Be album and all it’s associated special releases, and The Beatles: Get Back – the mammoth three-part, six-hour Peter Jackson film looking at the final days of the Beatles as a band – its tantalising to speculate on just what might have been had the band not called it a day back in 1970.

Enter Daniel Rachel’s new book, Like Some Forgotten Dream – What if the Beatles Hadn’t Split Up?

The first part of that title derives from the first two lines of ‘Real Love’, a John Lennon song recorded long after his death by the “Threetles” – the three surviving members of The Beatles: Paul, George and Ringo. Its a clever reference to exactly what is going on in this book: what if this incredible band actually went on to record again instead of going their separate ways in 1970?

This requires the reader to susupend disbelief for a moment around what is a very big “what if” question, but basing that suspension firmly around evidence and real events. Author Daniel Rachel steps us through a very well-researched premise that things in fact could have – with just a few changed decisions by the Beatles – worked out very differently.

This book is not a novel. It’s what I’d describe as ‘informed speculation’. It takes real facts and cleverly strings them together to form a narrative that proposes a possibility. Its a bit like that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors which examines an alternate reality of what might happen in a person’s life if just one or two decisions are different.

In-depth and scholarly, this book is, on the whole, exceptionally well-researched. Even if you can’t bring yourself to believe the book’s central premise, along the way you’ll learn heaps about The Beatles, their music, and what was going on around them at the time of their break-up.

Author Rachel delves into events and real statements made by John, Paul, George and Ringo in interviews that play into the story he is telling. As he states in his Introduction “Often, this necessitated taking words out of context to serve the argument, but it is important to stress that no words have been invented. Like Some Forgotten Dream is a fantasy [but] the information used – dates, facts, interviews – is all genuine.” He goes on: “The fantasy involves retracing the last years of the group’s working relationship, from the personal and the political to the artistic and the financial. The tragic death of manager Brian Epstein, the fragmented recording of the White Album and, in 1969, the problematic Get Back/Let It Be sessions that spawned a year of internal rancour and bitterness.”

Rachel skillfully re-evaluates all these areas, and through this we as readers catch a glimpse of an alternative to what really happened – a world where the band fought just a bit harder to stay together, compromised a little more, and negotiated their way through all their disagreements to release another Beatle album to add to the canon.

Like Some Forgotten Dream is presented in two parts. Part One: ‘Don’t Upset the Apple Cart’ examines the world of the Beatles pretty much from 1966 (the time they decided to stop being a touring band) through to late 1969/early 1970 and the eventual, drawn-out demise of the band. The sections on the Twickenham and Apple Studios Get Back/Let It Be sessions, their final live roof-top performance, and the sessions for Abbey Road are fascinatiing in their detail – essentail reading as we await the release of the newly remixed Let It Be album and its many outtakes due later this year.

Part Two is called ‘Four Sides of The Beatles’. It imagines that John, Paul, George and Ringo stay together to release one more double LP. This is based on a real suggestion put forward by Lennon in the dying days of the band: that each Beatle gets one side of an LP and is given free reign to fill it with their own songs. Daniel Rachel calls this album Four Sides of the Beatles and again, using real events and what actually transpired once they became solo artists, posits what those songs might have been.

Again, we learn heaps about the origins of real songs – songs which in many instances were released on solo albums. But here we’re invited to imagine what the end results might have sounded like with magic Beatle dust being sprinkled across each track as all four band members contribute to them in different ways.

I was a little sceptical about this book at first. I’m not usually big on speculative stories like this, but because this is not a fictionalised account but rather a premise firmly based around facts to build it’s case, Like Some Forgotten Dream turns out to be a fascinating read. It is well worth you it seeking out.

Daniel Rachel is a musician turned award-winning author. His previous books include the NME and Guardian Book of the Year Isle of NoisesEvening Standard Book of the Year Don’t Look Back in Anger, and Walls Come Tumbling Down, which was described as ‘triumphant’ by the Guardian and ‘superlative…brilliant’ by Q magazine, and was awarded the prestigious Penderyn Music Book Prize in 2017.

Like Some Forgotten Dream is published by Cassell, an imprint of Octopus Books. It was released on August 26 in the UK, and will be available in other territories shortly.

Linda McCartney Retrospective – Aussie COVID Delay

A couple of weeks ago the weekend edition of my local newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, carried this front page article in it’s lift-out arts section:

The article inside also appeared in sister paper, the Melbourne Age.

(click on the images above to see larger versions)

This was announcing something of a coup for the regional Art Gallery of Ballarat in Victoria in securing what was to be a fascinating exhibition of Linda McCartney photographs called Linda McCartney: Retrospective. The exhibition was one of the main attractions of a bigger event called the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, showcasing photography and photographers from around the world. The exhibit was set to run from August 24 through to October 24.

Sadly though it has all been postponed indefinitely due to the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus putting the whole state of Victoria into a strict lockdown. Due to a separate outbreak it has also put Sydney (where I write this today) and many parts of the state of New South Wales also into lockdown……

It is all very disappointing. This would have been the first time this extensive look back at the career of Linda McCartney (1941-1998) would have been shown in Australia. Curated by Paul McCartney, along with his daughters Mary and Stella, Linda McCartney: Retrospective features more than 200 photographs, including images of the McCartney family, the 1960s music scene, and a series of prints from the McCartney’s time in Australia between 1975 and 1993 which have never been shown before.

From the exhibit website: “Linda McCartney’s photographic career spanned from 1965 to 1997, during which [she] bore witness to the evolution of pop and youth culture as we know it. Linda’s early portraits of the burgeoning New York 1960s music scene capture the vulnerability of future world conquering rock stars. Known for her portraits of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, among many others, she was the first female photographer whose work was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1968, with a portrait of Eric Clapton. Linda McCartney: Retrospective showcases some of the most iconic artists and moments from the 1960s music scene alongside intimate family portraits. The photographs capture the world as she experienced it, representing the people, places and landscape around Linda in her inimitable, spontaneous and experimental style.”

The exhibition that was to be shown here has some images exclusive to Australia, but the core works have been shown at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery in 2019, and also last year at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. This video give just a taste of what we’re missing:

See also lindamccartney.com for more.

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale site says “New Dates To Be Announced“, so……fingers crossed.

The Beatles – Let It Be Special Edition Releases

Finally, after months (or is it years?), the official announcement for the 50th anniversary editions of The Beatles Let It Be has been made public.

And in physical form this is what we’ll be getting – on October 15:

It begins with a 180-gram, half-speed mastered vinyl 4LP set that also includes a 45rpm 12-inch vinyl EP, with a 105-page hardbound book in a special die-cut slipcase.

There’ll also be a special edition of the same content on a 5CD + 1Blu-ray (containing the album’s new stereo mix in hi-res 96kHz/24-bit; new 5.1 surround DTS and Dolby Atmos album mixes), also with a 105-page hardbound book in a die-cut slipcase.

Both these total 57 tracks in all: the original Let It Be LP in a new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, two discs of previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams and rehearsals, and the previously unreleased 1969 Get Back LP mix by Glyn Johns, newly remastered. Then there’s that Let It Be EP (in both the vinyl and CD boxes) as a separate disc containing 4 tracks:
o Glyn Johns’ unreleased 1970 mixes of ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘I Me Mine’.
o Giles Martin & Sam Okell’s new stereo mixes of the ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Let It Be’ singles.

The hardback book this time will be available in both boxes – something that hasn’t happened before with Beatle re-mix re-issues. It features a foreword by Paul McCartney, an introduction by Giles Martin; a remembrance by Glyn Johns; chapters and detailed track notes by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett; and an essay by journalist and author John Harris exploring the sessions’ myths vs. reality. The book is illustrated, scrapbook style, with rare and previously unpublished photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney, as well as never before published images of handwritten lyrics, session notes, sketches, Beatles correspondence, tape boxes, film frames, and more.

After the two ‘Super Deluxe’ boxes there’s a 2CD set that comes in a digipak with a 40-page booklet. This set contains on one disc the original Let It Be album (in it’s new stereo mix), plus a disc unique to this set with 13 tracks of highlights from the previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, rehearsals, and the previously unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix of ‘Across The Universe’. That makes it an interesting purchase for those completists among us!

Of course, there’s the stand-alone 1 LP which is also half-speed mastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, along with a single CD of the of the original album in re-mixed form too.

And there’s to be a picture disc as well.

As to track listings, here are images of the rear covers of the 4LP/EP box set:

 And the 5CD/Blu-ray:

And the rear cover of the single LP:

Click on any of the images above to see larger versions.

We liked the artwork on the offical Bealtes page depicting some masking tape with the words Let It Be roughly stuck over what was the original title of this project: Get Back.

Really looking forward to hearing this re-mix. It is a favourite LP for us, up there with Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album for sure.

At Last – A Blue Box for The Beatles Singles Collection

For quite a few years now we’ve had in the collection a complete set of all the Beatles UK singles that go inside the 1982 box set, The Beatles Singles Collection.

Only thing is, we didn’t have the lovey blue box with gold embossed writing to hold them.

Until now.

We’ve been searching on eBay and other places for quite some time to find an empty box in excellent condition. Have even bid on a couple over the years, but have never been successful.

Then, a few weeks back, a very nice example came up for sale, and here it is:

This box has the catalogue number BSCP1:

That BSCP1 marking means that the box should contain all 22 singles The Beatles released between 1962-1970, plus 4 singles that were issued following the break-up (‘Yesterday’ from March, 1976; ‘Back In The USSR’ from June, 1976; ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’ from September, 1978; and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’ from May, 1982). Each should also be housed in unique paper picture sleeves, plus (and this is what delineates this release from the earlier BSC1 Singles box), a picture disc of ‘Love Me Do’ should also be included.

So, that’s 27 discs in all.

It should also have a blue paper insert detailing the complete list of singles with recording dates, release dates and chart positions.

Each single has labels reproduced just as they would have been in the UK at the time of original release too. That means the first two singles, ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’, are on the red Parlophone label:

From the singles ‘From Me To You’ through to ‘Lady Madonna’, the labels are the black and silver Parlophone/EMI:

Then, from ‘Hey Jude’ through to ‘Let It Be’, we get the green Apple label:

Here are the covers and labels for the four additional singles, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Back In The USSR’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’, and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’:

The final single in this set is a ‘Love Me Do’ picture disc, housed in its original clear plastic sleeve:

Here’s the picture disc image on the flipside:

So, at last a blue box for The Beatles Singles Collection (BSCP1). See also our posts on the 1978 edition of 25 singles called The Beatles Collection; the Australian edition blue box containing all the LPs – also called The Beatles Collection. And the CD Singles Collection (two versions), and The Compact Disc EP Collection.

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions.

Ringo Starr Announces New EP

Ringo Starr has taken a somewhat unusual route to annouce the forthcoming release of his new EP, Change The World.

He appeared live yesterday on the US online marketing channel, talkshoplive®.

talkshoplive® is the first live streaming, social buying and selling platform that allows anyone, anywhere to sell and buy products – from mops to mopeds, frying pans to pearls. And, it seems, records, CDs and cassette tapes from former Beatles (the platform carried a pre-recorded plug from Paul McCartney at the time of the release of his McCartney III album late last year).

The difference here was that Ringo chatted to talkshoplive’s Steve Harkins for just over 45 minutes before throwing to a YouTube clip that debuted the title track of the new EP, ‘Let’s Change the World’.

True to his word last year when announcing the EP Zoom In, Ringo confirmed he’d only ever be releasing extended plays (or EP’s) from now on. Change The World contains just 4 new tracks – recorded in lockdown.

There’s the lead single ‘Let’s Change The World’, written by Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather; ‘Just That Way’, written by Ringo and Bruce Sugar; ‘Coming Undone’, written by Linda Perry and featuring Trombone Shorty; and Ringo’s version of the blues-rock track ‘Rock Around The Clock’. 

Change The World arrives in full on September 24th in CD form:

It’ll also be available on that same date in cassette form:

If you are after the 10″ vinyl you’ll have to wait until November 19:

McCartney III Imagined: The Variants So Far (Further Update…)

Just when you thought you’d made it through to release date without any other variations of this one….

A mere three days before the physical release (at last!) of Paul McCartney’s McCartney III Imagined, Universal Music has gone and thrown one more colour variant into the mix: Violet Vinyl.

This is “exclusive” to the official McCartney stores in the US, in the UK, and also in France.

And it seems to be available in a couple of the official UMe stores too. We found it for sale in the German Bravado store for example.

It brings to ten the number of different coloured vinyl you can buy. It’s a nice round number.

It’ll be nice to finally get this as a physical release. The digital version came out on April 16, so it has been a long wait.

So, here’s the lay of the land visually as far as all the known variants that will be shipped this Friday, July 23. (Click on the image below to enlarge):

Just Announced. The Beatles: Get Back Documentary

Apple, Walt Disney Studios and Wingnut Films have just gone public on their plans for the release of the Peter Jackson-directed film, The Beatles: Get Back.

What many thought would be something like a 2-hour cinema release has morphed into something much, much bigger. It is to be a three-part documentary series, screened over three days on the Disney+ channel. Each episode is around two hours in duration.

Journalist Joe Hagan has been given an exclusive preview and his article about what he saw is in the magazine Vanity Fair. He describes it as “a mindblower”.

THE BEATLES: GET BACK. COURTESY OF APPLE CORPS LTD

Here’s the official press release (from thebeatles.com):

Over Six Hours of Never-Before-Seen Restored Footage, Including The Beatles’ Last Live Performance, to Roll Out on Disney+ Over Three Days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021

BURBANK, Calif. (June 17, 2021) – The Walt Disney Studios, Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd. announced today that Disney+ will bring “The Beatles: Get Back,” a Disney+ Original documentary series directed by Peter Jackson, to fans and music lovers worldwide.

Because of the wealth of tremendous footage Peter Jackson has reviewed, which he has spent the past three years restoring and editing, “The Beatles: Get Back” will be presented as three separate episodes. Each episode is approximately two hours in length, rolling out over three days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney+.

“As a huge Beatles fan myself, I am absolutely thrilled that Disney+ will be the home for this extraordinary documentary series by the legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson,” said Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company. “This phenomenal collection of never-before-seen footage offers an unprecedented look at the close camaraderie, genius songwriting, and indelible impact of one of the most iconic and culturally influential bands of all time, and we can’t wait to share ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ with fans around the world.” 

Peter Jackson commented, “In many respects, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s remarkable footage captured multiple storylines. The story of friends and of individuals. It is the story of human frailties and of a divine partnership. It is a detailed account of the creative process, with the crafting of iconic songs under pressure, set amid the social climate of early 1969. But it’s not nostalgia – it’s raw, honest, and human. Over six hours, you’ll get to know The Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible.”

He added, “I’m very grateful to The Beatles, Apple Corps and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told. I’ve been immersed in this project for nearly three years, and I’m very excited that audiences around the world will finally be able to see it.”

Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” takes audiences back in time to the band’s intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history. The documentary showcases the warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defined the legacy of the iconic foursome, compiled from over 60 hours of unseen footage shot in January 1969 (by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been brilliantly restored. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to these private film archives. “The Beatles: Get Back” is the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they plan their first live show in over two years, capturing the writing and rehearsing of 14 new songs, originally intended for release on an accompanying live album. The documentary features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.

An exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde (“Eight Days a Week”), with Ken Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy) and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones (“Eight Days a Week”) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as the documentary’s editor, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin (“Rocketman”) and Sam Okell (“Yesterday”).

“The Beatles: Get Back” is being made with the enthusiastic support of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Ahead of the documentary’s Disney+ debut, Apple Corps Ltd./Callaway Arts & Entertainment will release The Beatles: Get Back book on October 12. Beautifully designed and produced, the 240-page hardcover complements the “Get Back” documentary with transcriptions of The Beatles’ recorded conversations and hundreds of exclusive, never before published photos from the three weeks of sessions. The collectible book will be published in nine international language editions, including English. (ends)

No news yet about a physical release of the 6-hour plus documentary for fans, nor of any Super Deluxe box set of the music. Watch this space.

‘McCartney 3, 2, 1’ is Coming to Hulu

Paul McCartney has just posted this on Instagram:

Seems the McCartney and Rick Rubin documentary series examining the former Beatles’ musical history has landed at Hulu.

It’ll be a fascinating six-part series that will launch on the streamer on July 16. News that two were working together on a documentary series first broke in December last year.

“Never before have fans had the opportunity to hear Paul McCartney share, in such expansive, celebratory detail, the experience of creating his life’s work – more than 50 years of culture-defining music,” said Craig Erwich, president, Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “To be an observer as Paul and Rick Rubin deconstruct how some of the biggest hits in music history came to be is truly enlightening. It is an honor that Paul chose to return to Hulu to share this one-of-a-kind series.”

For more detailed information see Deadline (which broke the original story), New Musical Express, or Rolling Stone.

Paul McCartney – McCartney III Imagined

After more dice being mailed out to certain fans and a short social media teaser campaign, it’s just been officially announced that there’s to be an album of McCartney III covers and remixes – called McCartney III Imagined.

The details are here and it looks to be a REALLY eclectic and inventive choice of artists:

It’s a 2LP set – and the coloured vinyl whirlwind begins all over again……

At the official McCartney store you can order a limited edition exclusive splatter vinyl, and exclusive cover art:

And of course plain old black:

As far as we know right now there’ll also be an exclusive limited edition gold vinyl version available through Indie stores:Plus a green Spotify exclusive version (available through the official McCartney store):Newbury Comics in the US has weighed in again, this time with red vinyl:

Barnes and Noble (in the US) has added blue to the rainbow:

While Target has announced a silver vinyl exclusive with “alternate artwork” enclosed:

Meanwhile, back over at the McCartney Store (only in the US) they now have a limited edition pink vinyl available, 2500 copies only:

And the official store in the US has also added a dark green vinyl variant. It comes in the same unique cover as the splatter and pink. This green is darker than the Spoitfy vinyl, and there are only 2000 copies available apparently:

McCartney iii Imagined 2There’ll be a single CD too:

And Target stores (US only) will have the CD “with alternate artwork enclosed”:The first YouTube video has also hit. It is Dominic Fike’s version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’. Interesting!

So, what is your take on it? Let us know in the comments below.

Some sites are saying the digital release is April 16. Looks like physical media won’t ship until July 23 though, which is a long way off.

Keep an eye on our site for more details (and vinyl colour variations) as they emerge!

The Wait Is Over – Lennon/Plastic Ono Band Finally Announced

The dream wait is over, what can I say? The dream wait is over, yesterday….

It’s taken a while (there’s even been an official countdown clock ticking down just for the announcement) but Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon have at last revealed the release date (16 April), and the contents of the 50th anniversary box set of John Lennon’s legendary Plastic Ono Band solo album.

And it looks really good. The wait appears to have been worth it:

Rather than detail it all here it’s best to click through to the official John Lennon website which has all the information – and more – about what this 6 CD, 2 Blu-Ray Audio Disc Plastic Ono Band Ultimate Collection deluxe box set will contain. They’ve created a fantastic site with masses of information, images and memorabilia.

There is of course also a 2LP Half Speed Master release, a two CD edition, and a single CD release as well. Accurate track listings for each for each of these are also included on the Lennon site.

Also, for a great summary article, you can’t go past the great Super Deluxe Edition site.

The Lennon camp has embarked on a social media blitz to publicise the release, and there will be no doubt be more to come.

Given the tempo of the times, we particularly liked this image which appeared on Twitter and on Insta:

The caption reads: “What’s the meming of this?” 🙂