Pro-Ject – The Singles Collection Turntable

As part of the forthcoming The Beatles: The Singles Collection box set due on November 22, Apple Records has once more teamed up with the Pro-Ject turntable guys to produce a Beatle-themed turntable so that you can play your new 45rpm box set discs.

In a Beatle USA webstore exclusive to celebrate the release of The Beatles: The Singles Collection, Pro-Ject Audio Systems will be releasing the “Singles Turntable”.

The record player deck will be a collage of all the original Beatles single sleeves. The unit will be based on Pro-Ject’s award-winning Debut III model but will feature the following upgrades:

  • Electronic speed change (33/45)
  • 8,6” Aluminium S-shaped tonearm with two SME headshells, each with its own pre-calibrated cartridge so you can easily change headshells to switch between a mono and stereo cartridge for playback
  • The two included cartridges are a new Pro-Ject designed Ortofon manufactured Pick It Mono cartridge for mono record playback, and an Ortofon 2M Red for stereo record playback
  • Heavy acrylic platter

This turntable will only be available on the official Beatles web store, and on Pro-Ject’s website, and will only be available for order and purchase through to December 31 this year.

Check out our article for more on all the other Beatle-related turntables that Pro-Ject has produced.

The Beatles: The Singles Collection

Long speculated upon, now officially announced. Apple Records will be releasing a new Beatles box set of 23 UK 7-inch vinyl singles titles, each with unique cover art from around the world faithfully reproduced – right down to the record labels used in the particular country.

The set includes all 22 singles issued in the UK between 1962 and 1970, plus a single that is unique to this set – a double A-side of the songs ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. All the singles have been remastered from the original mono and stereo tapes at EMI’s Abbey Road studios and will be pressed on “180-gram vinyl”. Don’t they mean just heavyweight vinyl? A 180-gram vinyl 45 is gonna be kind of thick…..

The box will include a 40-page illustrated booklet with an essay by respected Beatle historian Kevin Howlett.

You can read the full press release from Apple/Universal Music, which includes a full track listing and details the country from which each cover comes from. Glad to see that Australia will be represented by the double A-side ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’! The picture cover for this was used in a number of markets, but the labels are unique:

The Beatles: The Singles Collection will be released on Novemver 22nd.

 

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:

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.

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: