New Album and Soundtrack: The Beatles And India

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.”

Now, following the release of the film, comes the original soundtrack to the film:

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.

Here’s Nikhil D’Souza’s interpretation of John Lennon’s ‘India, India’, a song written by Lennon and recorded in 1980 as a home demo, but not released until 2010’s John Lennon Signature Box.

Origins of the ‘Revolver’ Cover Art

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.

For those interested the exact magazine issue is Furore No 22, from January 2012. and it appears that back-issues are still available to be purchased.

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.

The Fan Who Almost Threw a £10k Beatle Record Away

We love stories like this. This is the tale of a rare Beatle item that almost ended up as landfill. It comes from the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

A British man named Derek Plant was clearing out some records purchased by his late father at a car boot sale some 40 years ago when, by complete accident, he discovered an extremely rare Beatle acetate that no-one knew was there.

It was a recording of the song ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’, made in September 1968. It’s an early take that is quite different to the one that eventually appeared on The White Album:

Back in the day acetate recordings were created at the studio when an artist wanted to take home an example of a song they were working on to listen to some more. They don’t stand up to many plays and are fairly fragile things. In this case an acetate was made for Paul McCartney.

How it came to be in that car boot sale box of records is unknown, but Derek was about to take it to the tip. Unbeknownst to him the rare disc was tucked away inside the cover of this children’s novelty record:

As he was packing his van the Ken Dodd and the Diddymen record just happened to fall out of the box, land on the driveway, and it was only then it revealed it’s Beatle treasure inside. The acetate had been hidden inside that record sleeve all along. Having been a Beatle collector for years, Derek knew immediately that he’d discovered something very special.

The acetate is now up for auction at Omega Auction House’s Beatles Auction in the UK where online bids close on September 28. It is Lot 100. The top estimate by Omega is for the 7″ disc to fetch £10,000 (that’s about US$13,800 or AUS$18,900).

It’s on the way to that figure. At the time of writing someone has already bid £5,000. Not bad for a record that was so very close to being literally thrown away.

‘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.

A very Merry Christmas – from us to you

Wishing all our readers and followers the very best at this special time of year. Across 2020 we’ve shared our interest in collecting the Number 1 band in the world.

Despite these being very bleak times this has given us a lot of joy along the way.

To you and yours, stay safe. We wish you much happiness.

Here’s to a much brighter 2021!

McCartney and Rick Rubin

Now this actually looks interesting.

Paul McCartney can be difficult to interview and get new and deeper insights from. He’s been interviewed and the subject of so many on-screen studies of his craft that he almost automatically falls back on a tried-and-true set of reactions and answers – and we (the audience) end up learning nothing new.

But chuck in a personality like veteran producer Rick Rubin – in what looks to be an in-depth, six-part examination of some of the greatest songs that McCartney has ever been involved with – and we might just have a classic on our hands.

McCartney has just teased on his website and YouTube channel “Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A Forthcoming Documentary Event. Coming Soon”

And it looks good:

The pairing of the two has been known about for some time, but there are scant other details as yet – not even where or when it will be shown. Rumour is it’ll be either Netflix or Apple TV+. Hence the interest in this 1’36 clip.

Deadline says the project is still untitled but it’s a six-parter, and that it marks “….the first time ever that the original masters have left Abbey Road”.

That claim is a little questionable as in 1982 the original master tapes of all 14 Beatle studio stereo albums left the EMI vaults at the Abbey Road Studios and were couriered to the Mobile Fidelity offices in California to produce this box set:

Suffice it to say, if that’s what’s happened again for this new doco, the original master tapes leaving the building nowadays is a very, VERY rare thing. A more likely scenario is that they’re using a digital copy.

Either way, it certainly looks from the footage released that Rubin and McCartney are listening to original recordings, isolating various tracks on the mixing desk, and discussing in detail the making of classics like ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. This will be fascinating because the legendary producer knows his stuff and will hopefully push for detail and stories that haven’t ever been told before. Fingers crossed.

50 Years Since Let It Be – Podcast

Time for the final podcast instalment in what has been a long and winding Beatle road.

Back in 2014 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) began a series celebrating the 50th anniversary release of each British Beatle LP.

As each album anniversary came around ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn spoke to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert, Jude Southerland Kessler.

Jude is the author of the ambitious nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest book in the series is Volume 4: Should Have Known Better (to see the details for this volume scroll down after clicking through).

In May the pair finally made it to Let It Be, the final LP released by the band.

You can find it online here, or just click on the red US Let It Be Apple label below:

Previous broadcasts/podcasts in the series are Please Please MeWith the BeatlesA Hard Day’s NightBeatles For Sale and of course, Help! – which is in two parts: Side One here, and Side Two here.

You can hear Rod and Jude talk about Rubber SoulRevolver; and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by clicking here.

And they tackle Yellow SubmarineThe Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album), and The Esher Demos disc here.

The Abbey Road podcast is here.

A Happy Christmas to All – And a Beatle Podcast Discovery

Thanks to all our followers and readers – it has been a hectic 12 months, but here we are at the end of another year, and another decade!

Wishing you and yours a very special holiday season, with lots of good things to eat, drink and of course good music to listen to (especially Beatle music)!

One small gift to leave you on this Christmas Eve – the discovery of a great podcast.

This one has been around quite a long time but has, until now, flown under our radar. There’s a lot to catch up on!

It is simply called I’ve Got A Beatles Podcast! and it’s great fun. Hosts Dave and Chris deliver content that will be right up your alley if you like our blog. Their aim is to be “an educational, informative, and irreverent look at all things Beatles“, and this podcast delivers. It’s terrific and well worth a listen.

If I’ve Got A Beatles Podcast! is new to you too, and you don’t know where to begin, then why not start this Christmas by checking out their Annual Holiday Gift Episode.

McCartney – ‘Coming Up’ Sheet Music

Sometimes record-hunting can have very slim returns.

A recent trip to Melbourne, which is a great city and usually a very good place to go crate digging, turned up very little. All we came home with was this, found not in a record store but a second-hand bookshop:

It’s the sheet music for Paul McCartney’s song ‘Coming Up’, the single taken from the McCartney II LP, released back in 1980.

And that was it. Must admit, it was fairly easy to bring home on the plane!