Yellow Submarine – Songtrack and Blu-Ray

The new “Yellow Submarine” has been out for a couple of weeks now and my copies have just arrived – courtesy of Amazon in the United States.

I got the re-packaged “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” CD.  Yes I know, it’s the exact same songs re-mixed and remastered way back in 1999.  Despite a perfect opportunity to do so Apple hasn’t provided us with the 09.09.09 remixes that were used for the “1962-66″ (Red), “1967-70” (Blue), and the “1” re-issues – but the same old remixes used on the original “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” release. As one Beatles collector wrote: “Just how lazy is that. Making us pay again for the same 12 year-old mixes?”

But it does come in the re-versioned packing making it compatible with all the new-look cardboard CD covers, including the back-catalogue titles in the 2009 box set – and the Beatles “1”, and so the completist collector just has to have it:

I also got the Blu-Ray of the 1968 film (it’s also out in a refreshed DVD, too) in excellent remastered quality.

(Click on images to see a large version)

But did you know that there was a unique, limited edition Blu-Ray cover offered in the UK, apparently issued in small numbers only by the HMV chain of record stores there? Check it out in this un-boxing video…

For more on “Yellow Submarine” see this post. Yes, the Blu-Ray will be crystal clear and worth it, but what are we collectors really getting that’s new?

yellowsubmarine.com (Plus a Few Other Things)

I’ve been a bit slow in telling you about some of the supporting websites and background info around two of the latest Beatle-related releases – Paul McCartney’s “Ram” reissues, and “Yellow Submarine” which is now out on BluRay, DVD and CD.

So, here’s a bit of a catch-up:

(click on the image to go there)

On the Yellow Submarine site there is a wealth of interactive material like photos, games, movie dialogue, sounds and “making of” videos. Well worth a look.

There’s also a range of great things out on the web now about the reissue of Paul McCartney’s “Ram” album:

Paul’s people certainly have been busy in producing supporting web content for “Ram” with not one but two dedicated websites:

(click on the image to go there)

In the Deluxe Box set of “Ram” you also get the 1977 orchestral/instrumental version of “Ram” that Paul put out under the pseudonym of Percy “Thrills” Thrillington:

(click on the image to go there)

There’s also a very interesting and insightful interview with McCartney by Paul Draper from the band Mansun. It’s not only about “Ram” but a wide range of other things. One great example is Paul talking about his early influences as a songwriter:

What I take the influence back to was A Teenage Opera. That was a very early record in the late 60s, by Keith West… it was his only, like, big hit. That was episodic, there was a bit and it went ‘buh-buh-bum’, then it went there, and there, and there [Sir Paul makes some stacking gestures with his hands]. I think that was the first record I heard, and we heard, and we thought ‘that’s interesting’. You can have a song here, then you can cut like a film to another song, and you can even cut the tempo and go slow and so on. That was really the one that was the biggest influence, and then lots of people started doing it. We’d do it a bit, prog-rock did it, Townshend started doing it a bit, The Who opera and all that. I think it was just that one record that made you realise that it didn’t have to be the same tempo or the same key all the way through, you could cut like a film.

You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. There are links to musical examples given throughout.

Finally, one cute little “Ram” publicity item – a “Ewe-Tube Map” – based on the London Underground train network:

(click for a larger version)

Oh, and this kind person has added a “Ram” Deluxe Edition “unboxing” video to YouTube:

“New” Yellow Submarine?

You’re no doubt aware that there’s a BluRay and DVD re-issue of “Yellow Submarine” due in May. There’ll also be a re-issue of the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” CD too.

But what will we actually get that is really “new”?

The Beatles site says (quote):  “Bonus features for the Yellow Submarine DVD and Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled “Mod Odyssey”, the film’s original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos. Both Digipak packages will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios)”.

That got me thinking, and so I got down off the shelf my 1999 edition of the DVD. This was issued at the same time as the newly digitally remastered “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” CD first came out. The cover looks like this:

Listed on the back in that yellow box breakout are the Special Features. They are: a short making-of documentary titled “Mod Odyssey”, the film’s original theatrical trailer, full length audio commentary, interviews with crew and vocal talents, storyboard sequences (including two not used in the original film), original pencil drawings, behind-the-scenes photos, a collectible booklet, and a music-only track highlighting the film’s score.

So, this new addition coming in May adds what exactly? I figure it’s the “….reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter”.

And that’s it.

Apart from the individually hand-cleaned, frame by frame digitisation – which I’m sure is going to look fantastic – there’s not a real lot else I’m afraid.

I’ll probably get the BluRay (the complete-ist in me will have to have it), but I just wish Apple Corps and the remaining Beatles would stop forcing us to re-purchase stuff we already have and re-issue some genuinely new material.

What do you think?

Happy Christmas – Free Yellow Submarine iBook download

The Beatles and iTunes are giving fans an early Christmas present this year – a free illustrated and interactive iBook download of “Yellow Submarine”.

You can go to the Beatles official website for more information, but basically the press release says:

“From today (9 December) an exclusive Beatles “Yellow Submarine” book that lets readers tap their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to immerse themselves in the legendary film’s colourful sights and sounds is available for free download at itunes.com/thebeatles. Featuring animated illustrations and text from the 2004 book, 14 full-colour video clips from the original 1968 film, audio clips of classic Beatles hits and Sir George Martin’s original score, plus original dialogue from the film. Actor Dean Lennox Kelly narrates the book which includes interactive features that let you tap the story’s wild array of butterflies, starfish and sea monsters to make them come alive.

The book, designed by Fiona Andreanelli, uses Heinz Edelmann’s original artwork from the film and its story has been adapted by Charlie Gardner from the film’s original screenplay, co-written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Eric Segal.

Inspired by The Beatles’ song of the same name, “Yellow Submarine” dives 80,000 leagues beneath the sea to Pepperland, a musical paradise where Sergeant Pepper’s band plays on until the music-hating Blue Meanies invade, sealing the band inside a music-proof bubble and leaving it a silent wasteland.  But Old Fred, captain of the Yellow Submarine, escapes to Liverpool and persuades Ringo – with a little help from his friends John, Paul and George – to join him on a magical adventure to return music and love to Pepperland.”

On the Beatles site front page at the moment there’s a short promotional film about what you’ll get in the free download.