Two New McCartney Box Set Downloads

As he has done in the past (for example with Flowers In The Dirt, Venus and Mars, etc.), Paul McCartney has just made available for free download two additional tracks not included in his two current Archive Collection box sets, Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway.

For fans and completists who simply must have everything officially available, these additional downloads when offered are welcome little “Easter Egg” extras to add to the materials in the box sets.

The reason behind why these two tracks didn’t quite make the final cut is explained at paulmccartney.com:

“When MPL began the research for Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, they had a good idea of what they would find in the audio archives. But, you can never be quite sure. The paperwork for the release was in good order, but often the more you look, the more gems you’re able to find. So, to make sure no stone went unturned, Paul’s audio team spent weeks listening to several days’ worth of material. Eventually this was whittled down to Paul’s preferences and what made sense for the story being told.

And sometimes you just end up having too many songs! So, as a thank you from us to you, we are happy to offer fans free downloads of two of those songs that did not make the final tracklisting…”

The first track is ‘Dear Friend (Orchestra Up)’. It’s an alternate version that comes from the Wild Life sessions:

“When Paul instructed arranger Richard Hewson about how to score the touching ‘Dear Friend’ – a note to former songwriting partner, John Lennon – he suggested it should sound, “as if there was an orchestra just over the hill. It wasn’t in your face. And when you’re at the top of the hill, there it is, full blown”. As often happens with a song, a number of mixes of ‘Dear Friend’ were done, to get the tone just right and, in this case, one of those mixes featured the orchestra playing a more prominent role.

For the release of Wild Life, it was decided to go with a version where the orchestra is a little more subtle, and today we’re happy to let you hear how it could have sounded.”

The other is ‘Hands Of Love (Take 2)’ from Red Rose Speedway:

“One of the – many! – highlights of Red Rose Speedway is the 11-minute medley that closes the release. Paul has mentioned previously how he enjoys writing medleys as it’s a challenge to make them fit together (it’s not always easy to go from one key to another, a certain amount of musical gymnastics are involved!). But even though a medley may be comprised of a number of songs, it doesn’t mean they’re recorded in one go. Often they’re pieced together after the recording. It’s a fascinating and chin-stroking process. The version of ‘Hands Of Love’ used in the medley of Red Rose Speedway was cut from the original tape and mixed with the other tracks to make the medley. However, we found the original tape had alternate takes, and this was our favourite.”

To get these downloads you’ll need to register as a user on the official Paul McCartney website, then go to his Download page and follow the prompts.

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John Lennon ‘Imagine’ – Film, Audio and DVD/BluRay On The Way?

Speculation and rumours that there would be a number of additional elements accompanying the forthcoming Imagine John Yoko book (due on October 9) has had an on again/off again nature over the last few days.

The story so far…..

Officially, all we know is that the book is happening, as is a cinema release of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono film Imagine, announced this week: This is the 1972 film with each of the songs from Imagine portrayed (plus four songs from the Ono LP FLY, recorded at the same time) in between glimpses into the lives of John and Yoko, plus some fun sequences featuring the pair and a host of celebrity mates. It looks like it’s the original 70 minute cut of the film, plus an additional 15 minutes or so of bonus material.

If you’d like to go along and see the movie on the big screen there’s a special site set up find out where it is on near you and you can book tickets. Screenings start from September 17.

We also now know that there will be definitely be a DVD and Blu-ray release of the 1972 Imagine film, coupled on the one disc with Gimme Some Truth – The Making of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Album which dates from 2000 and is directed by Andrew Solt:Gimme Some Truth is a surprisingly good examination of the recording process, a fly-on-the-wall window on Lennon in the studio creating the Imagine album that stands the test of time. The DVD and Blu-ray will be available from October 5, and Amazon is taking pre-orders now. There will be bonus material included, but it has not yet been revealed just what this will be. These two films will be great to have in remixed sound, 5.1 mixes (if that is your thing), and fully restored visual content.

And that leads us to what hasn’t been announced yet regarding the last piece in the puzzle: the audio from the Imagine sessions.

There’s been lots of talk about a super deluxe box set; a single CD; a double CD; and a double LP (with a limited edition in clear vinyl for collectors too). Depending on who you believe this is about to be officially announced (like in the next few days, with an October 9 release date), or this part of the Imagine re-issue project has been delayed and we won’t see it until at least February, 2019. (This courtesy of Lennon producer, Jack Douglas, who apparently stated at the Chicago Fest for Beatles last weekend that the project had been shelved to February next year).

Until something official comes out it all remains speculation, but the big box set (which will be audio only) will likely contain four CDs, plus two Blu-rays of material. On these will be some 140 tracks – which is HUGE!

In the box we’ll get the remixed stereo Imagine album, plus singles and extras; outtakes from the album, singles and extras; the Quadraphonic album remastered; raw studio mixes; plus a host of other audio content. For example, someone well-connected to the project has posted this as the content on CD2:

CD 2 – ELEMENTS & OUTTAKES
Elements Mixes and Album & Single Outtakes
ELEMENTS MIXES
Imagine (Strings only) 
Jealous Guy (Piano, bass & drums)
Oh My Love (Vocals only) 
How? (Strings only) 
ALBUM OUTTAKES
Imagine (Original demo recorded at Ascot) 
Imagine (Take 1) 
Crippled Inside (Take 3) 
Crippled Inside (Take 6 alternate guitar solo)
Jealous Guy (Take 9) 
It’s So Hard (Take 6) 
I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier (Take 25) 
Gimme Some Truth (Take 4)
Oh My Love (Take 6) 
How Do You Sleep? (Takes 1 & 2) 
How? (Take 31)

That’s just for one CD. Those two Blu-rays alone will contain a massive amount of additional audio and this release (if it comes about) will set a precedent for the Apple/Universal box set re-issue approach so far. There will be raw studio mixes; “elements” mixes with instruments and voices separated out; documentary content about the evolution of the songs; plus interview material from the time of Imagine with John and Yoko included. To date the breadth of material planned for release is unprecedented.

The promotional music site Ultimate Classic Rock jumped the gun today and published an article called “John Lennon’s Imagine Album Explored in a Six-Disc Box Set“. As you can see if you click through, they’ve subsequently taken that story down, possibly with a big rap across the knuckles form Apple/Universal….

We reckon this big release program WILL happen. It’s just a matter of when.

UPDATE: The official Lennon site has now uploaded a teaser Imagine the Music page and a video (a beautiful short extract of just the isolated vocals from ‘Oh My Love’). Looks like we’ll know exactly what is on offer on August 23, when The Ultimate Deep Listening Experience will be officially announced.

A Little More Info on the ‘Egypt Station’ Super Deluxe Box Set?

There’s been some further bits of information trickling out about what might be in Paul McCartney’s mystery super deluxe box set of the forthcoming Egypt Station album.

The usually reliable Daily Beatle blog says that it is due for release in October, will contain 26 tracks (ten more than the 16 tracks announced so far), and will come with “various ephemera” included.

We don’t know if the image below is real or mocked up by a fan, but it kind of looks official and shows what could be some of the mystery super deluxe contents. It comes from the Macca-News blog Facebook page:

Now, we don’t know where the Macca-News blog sourced this. All they say is a cryptic “Well, well, well, look at this…”, but it appears to be an additional vinyl LP, housed in a sleeve with the same artwork McCartney’s official US store uses to link through to a super deluxe edition sign-up page. When you click through on that page you can sign up to be notified about the box set and when it will become available.

It’s also an image that formed part of the social media teaser campaign in the lead-up to the new album’s official announcement. The Egypt Station wording was intentionally washed out at the time to add to the mystique:In the image we can also see four pin buttons, plus four postcards – also with images that were part of the extensive social media lead-up campaign. Could these be the “ephemera” that The Daily Beatle refers to?As we say, its all speculation and could be a wild goose chase…..If you’d like to chip in your two cents worth, or you have any other clues, please get in touch!

Flowers In The Dirt – What Could/Should Have Been

As you’re no doubt aware, the deluxe Archive Collection box set of Paul McCartney’s 2017 re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt created quite an angry response amongst many fans and collectors.

The issue was around his decision to include a whole CD’s worth of B-sides, remixes and single edits, and three cassette demos as downloadable content only. No physical CD would be included in the four-disc set.

Well, no doubt many who purchased the box set have taken that download code provided and created their own CD burns to put inside the box. Here’s a look at the three CD’s and one DVD you do get (click on images to see larger versions):

And here’s what could have/should have been – one disc for the thirteen B-sides, remixes and single edits plus the three cassette demo songs:

Plus on the official Paul McCartney website there are a further three exclusive downloads (‘Distractions (Demo)’, ‘This One (Demo)’, and ‘Back on My Feet (Demo)’) not included in the box set at all, so why not a separate disc for these songs too?:

Call us pedantic and old-fashioned for wanting tactile, hard copies of this bonus material. And call us fussy for creating our own matching labels, but discs V and VI will now be filed inside our Flowers In The Dirt box alongside the other content provided in physical form to create a complete set. They’ll be in their own paper sleeves:

George Harrison Vinyl Box Set Hits Stores

George Harrison’s big vinyl box set containing every solo studio album, plus the double LP Live in Japan and two picture disc 12″ singles, has at last been released.

Some fans have got their copies already and some “unboxing” videos are beginning to appear online, including this one from an excited Vinyl Collector James, who goes into some detail on the box itself as well as its contents:

Universal Music has also used the occasion of the box set release (and George Harrison’s 74th birthday) to upload a series of interesting articles on various aspects of his life and career.

Written by Richard Havers, these cover off George Harrison in 20 Solos:george-in-20-solos-header George Harrison: Humanitarian:george-and-ravi-at-concert-for-bangladesh-press-conference

George Harrison: The B Sides:george-b-isdes

The Sweet Success of “My Sweet Lord”:george-my-sweet-lord

and George Harrison’s Beatle Songs:george-the_beatles_-_last_photo_session

Also, don’t forget Universal’s series of articles on Harrison album-by-album.

George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection 1968-2002 – Box Set Announced

Long rumoured, now official. The Harrison family has announced the release of George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection box set containing all of George Harrison’s solo studio albums on 180 gram vinyl in one collection for the first time:

The box set LPs (also available separately) will be in their original packaging, faithfully reproduced with all the original inserts, posters, etc. included.

However, it’s not clear if Universal Music is releasing the Somewhere In England LP as a separate album with its original black and white image of George’s head superimposed on a map of England. This makes it different to all the images shown for the box set version. Collectors should note that both the Harrison online store and the Universal music website for the individual albums currently show the alternative cover if you are buying it as a single LP….

Exclusive to the box set will be two 12″ bonus picture disc singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’), housed in their own custom box.

Not only that, for an additional £429.00, there’s a cool-looking, custom-made Pro-Ject turntable to play your LPs on, plus there’s to be a re-issue (in expanded form) of the book  I Me Mine.

harrison-turntableharrison-book

Early birds who place orders for the 13-album box set online at the georgeharrison.com store will also get a limited edition set of enamel pins. harrison-pins

All the discs are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box with a 3D lenticular front cover image:harrison-lenticular

The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout.

Wonderwall Music (1968)
Electronic Sound (1969)
All Things Must Pass (1970) (3 LP)
Living In The Material World (1973)
Dark Horse (1974)
Extra Texture (1975)
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
George Harrison (1979)
Somewhere in England (1981)
Gone Troppo (1982)
Cloud Nine (1987)
Live In Japan (1992) (2 LP)
Brainwashed (2002)
Bonus 12” Picture Disc Singles (‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Cloud Nine’)

John Lennon – 8 LP Box Set

Here at Beatlesblogger we have a few items that we are always on the lookout for. When we first heard about the impending box set reissue of eight John Lennon LPs on 180 gram vinyl – we knew we’d have to eventually get a copy….

This is a deluxe box set of Lennon’s solo albums released between 1970 and 1984. The studio albums are remastered from their original analogue masters and have been newly cut to vinyl from 96k digital files with faithfully replicated original album art.

The albums featured in the box are John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970); Imagine (1971); Some Time In New York City – a double album (1972); Mind Games (1973); Walls And Bridges (1974); Rock’n’Roll (1975); Double Fantasy (1980); and Milk And Honey (1984). The albums, which feature the 2010 remasters, will be available separately on August 21st.

It’s taken a little while with this one, but we finally got up the courage to visit Sandy’s Records, a great local independent record shop with an impressive range of CDs and LPs, to invest in a copy (it is a very expensive addition to the collection):

Lennon Box Set 2015

Rather than uploading a swathe of photographs of each LP here, this collector named Jordan has recorded quite a nice unboxing video (unfortunately though he doesn’t show all the actual discs and their authentically reproduced labels):

If you are after more of what is inside this official video promo clip takes comprehensive care of that:

As you can see, in keeping with the authentic UK album artwork for each LP: Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner sleeve; Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeves; Walls And Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, the original eight-page booklet and inner sleeve; Mind Games, Double Fantasy, and Milk And Honey also include faithful reproductions of their original inner sleeves. Nice.

However, the thing that has become really collectable about this box set is that it’s been temporarily withdrawn from sale while Universal Music sort out a BIG mistake with one of the albums in the set. In first pressings Lennon’s Rock’n’Roll LP has a production error. The song “Sweet Little Sixteen” appears twice, and “You Can’t Catch Me” is missing altogether….making it something of an instant collector’s item.

The good news for those who’ve paid out the big $$ for the box is that Universal Music has acknowledged the mistake and set up a website where you can request a replacement copy of that particular album. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase: Claim.LennonVinylBox.com