Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Four

One of the most difficult items to identify in photographs of the Beatles with records are vinyl test pressings or acetates. These are cut at the studio and often contain demos or finished versions of songs or albums for them to listen to privately to gauge the quality of the pressing or the mix.

At EMI in the 1960s these were pressed onto 45rpm singles or 331/3 LP’s using labels which looked like this: emidisc recording blankThe labels were left blank for the producer or engineer to hand-write or type information about the track including the title, which take it was, duration, name of the artist, etc.

That brings us to this great picture of George Harrison, taken in the studio at about the time of the recording of the The Beatles (or The White Album) in 1968:George with ACETATE 2First thing to say is that is a really cool watch he has on…..

Second point of interest is that acetate or test pressing of a single he has at his left elbow. It’s in a plain white paper sleeve with writing on it, and it’s on the Emidisc label – just like the example in the picture shown above. If we rotate the picture and adjust the contrast a bit we get this:George with Acetate

This makes the writing on the sleeve a little easier to make out. If we rotate it just a little bit more we can see a bit more clearly:George with Acetate 3It is fairly clear that the hand-writing on the sleeve says: “with love  from  Paul McCartney“. His signature is very distinctive – it features on his official website even now – and here we can see that familiar looped “l” in the word “Paul”, and the trailed off “y” at the end of “McCartney”. Here’s another random example:Paul autograph

The tougher task is to identify what is hand-written onto the Emidisc label. We reckon it is this: under the word Emidisc there’s something like a number (maybe the duration of the track), then comes the song title. We think two words and, given this picture was taken during recordings for The White Album, our guess it’s the McCartney song “Honey Pie”. The writing looks a bit like that, too. Under that, just above the spindle hole, are some more letters or code numbers. On the left of the spindle hole it says “45 RPM”. On the right it looks like the duration of the track in minutes and seconds (which is difficult to make out). Then at the very bottom the writing clearly says “The Beatles”.

Was this a test cut for George to take home and have a listen to “Honey Pie”? Any further insights, thoughts or suggestions are very welcome.

There is one fly in the ointment with theory though……It is this photograph from the web of Ringo Starr, clearly taken at around the same time, also holding an acetate/test pressing:2RingoWithGetBackAcetate

The person who posted this says it is Ringo holding an acetate recording of “Get Back” -which would place it in early 1969, not 1968. We’d prefer to go with this website that clearly places it as a photo session from September, 1968. It is pretty likely therefore that this is the exact same disc as the one seen with George. The plain paper sleeve has the same greeting written in the same position: “With love  from  Paul McCartney“. It is difficult to make out the writing on the label, but it has a very similar set-out to the previous one….again, thoughts and theories are welcome!


Beatles With Records – Part Twelve

A few people have sent in some more images of the Beatles either as a band or as solo artists being photographed with those things they sold so many of – records and CDs.

This first one, from Beatles Blog reader Ariel Caceres,  is a stunner – a photograph of John Lennon I have never seen before. Ariel says this was taken  on 24 October, 1973 during the filming of a TV commercial to publicise John’s “Mind Games” LP. There are some more images documented here:
If anyone knows more about the background to this shot just get in touch. Why is John kneeling and holding a copy of his 1973 LP “Mind Games”? Why is a man dressed as a fairy godmother casting a spell over him? And who is the bearded gentleman? Please write in and let us know:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

I think you’ll agree that it is an extraordinary photograph! Lennon is clearly doing something to publicise his latest record at the time (below), but what is going on in the scene above?

Our friend Claude Defer in France has once again been busy in his archives and has sent through some more images of the Beatles photographed with records.

First, a photograph of George with sleeves of his “33 1/3” album (from 1976) behind him:

Next comes Paul and Linda (in Bruxelles according to Claude – on July 2, 1992). They’re signing a copy of the “London Town” LP from 1978:

You can see in Paul’s hand the rear cover of the LP:

You can also just see that the man at the right in the photograph is holding a copy of the Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson picture-cover, 12-inch single from 1983, “Say, Say, Say“. You can see the rear of the cover:

Claude also sent in a picture which was already shown in the Beatles With Records – Part Seven, but he’s kindly included the full set of George Harrison photos taken at the same location of George looking at, and signing, a copy of the Beatles “Help!”:

And a final photo, another one from Ariel. This time not of a Beatle, but a Beatle son. It’ s Julian Lennon holding what could be a book – or is it a 45 rpm picture-cover record? The photo is kind of faded and I’m not sure:

He definitely has in his hands something with this image on the front cover:

If you know what this item could be let us know at, or simply submit a comment in the space provided below.

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 123456789101113141516 and 17.