Sometimes I collect odds and ends around the internet thinking I will eventually make a page devoted to such a subject. Sometimes those odds and ends just get lost over time as there seems to be a never ending stream of “stuff” out there. I get distracted, I forget about some cool stuff I have tucked away on my hard drive, I have to rely upon the right moment to make the leap and put forth my holdings. Today is such a day for the Beatles. I love the Beatles and always will. They are my desert island band, I grew up to their soundtrack. I am currently putting together my super 8 films from early childhood and Beatles music is the only thing that fits. Below are some interesting items that have cropped up recently as well as those aforementioned odds and ends. Of course there is WAY too much out there to even scratch and sniff at and I am not saying my tidbits are any better than anyone else’s, but you gotta start somewhere.
The first items are pretty amazing. EMI made them and released them on to their website awhile back. A friend of mine happened to snag ’em. They are 360 degree panorama’s from each of the fab fours mic position inside EMI’s legendary studio two.
George Martin, The fifth Beatle
The next two clips are from the same period. The late stages of work done at Abbey Road. The are both high quality and contain footage that I love seeing because it is as close as the Beatles got to being grownups while still playing music together. Gone is the wide eyed mugging for camera falsetto innocence of the sixties, these are Beatles I can somehow relate to. You see the wear and tear on their faces and all the stories you have ever heard become true, still the music is rock solid. One clip I assume from the Let it Be! Documentary, the intro says this version of the song is unreleased. I love it for two reasons. Billy Preston (the only non-Bealte ever credited on an official Beatles release) sashaying across the studio floor to his own internal funky beat and a shot of Mick Jagger in the control room with the most dead pan look of “how do they do it” on his face. The other is from a documentary entitled ‘Music!’, made by Britain’s National Music Council.
If you are into the tech side of the Be-Atles and want two wonderful resources, One is a first hand memoir of what it was like to be the lead engineer at EMI from Revolver through to the end, Geoff Emerik’s Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (you can even get it wireless delivered to your Kindle, should you own a Kindle). The other book, which I have not seen first hand, but hope to some day, is this gorgeous looking tome entitled Recording The Beatles. Pretty much everything there is to know about HOW they did what they did from mechanical perspective with lots of picture and diagrams and circles and arrows.
Speaking of technique, if you have any interest in knowing more about the ground swell of Beatle remixing and mash up mania that sprouted a few years back on the heels of DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, I can add the following:
Another very well done, wholly available online mash-up is entitled Mutation, a third, not so easy to find online, is called Tuned to a natural E. I had a heck of a time tracking that one down. It is actually available for download at the moment (2/2008), but who knows for how long. If you want a copy let me know and I send mail you one.
Of course the Grey Album itself is virtually impossible to download these days. Every time it appears, another cease and desist letter is generated. I have a copy of that as well if you are interested, but in the meantime there is a Grey Album music video that seems to have stabilized on YouTube.
And then, almost by magic, or certainly in some sort of a response to, the Beatles legacy themselves released an incredibly listenable remix of there own music for the Circe Du Soleil production Love! A good friend and Beatle devotee recently went to Vegas to see the show and says it is really worth checking out. (thanks again Doc!)
A few months ago I stumbled onto this thing on YouTube that had the four tracks from Sgt. Pepper title track separated. You could hear all four tracks separately. The theory is that these tracks found there way into the hands of bootleggers as the Love! sessions were the first time since creation the original separated tracks of any Beatle music had been strung up on a tape machine. Regardless of the source, I had to find out what I could. The complete set is a bootleg entitled Sgt. Peppers Deluxe Edition and includes six cd’s of separated studio tracks, like original individual tracks. This is nirvana for anyone that has wanted to play “home recording engineer” with one of the most important rock and roll albums ever produced. Coupled with software like Garageband you can remix the entire album for your own enjoyment.
The most poplar tracks from this set are the ones from track one, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. THESE REALLY do not stay online very long and thus I decided to put just one of the tracks up to get a taste of what it is like. Best to listen to with ear phones as you can hear all kinds of background sound and mic bleed that really feel like you are there in the studio. Note that since Sgt. Peppers was recorded with only FOUR tracks, they had to drop in layer upon layer to build the incredibly full sound of recording, so on the lead guitar track also has the horn section as they did not overlap.
And to finish, here are two piece’s of wacky Beatle related fun. One is a group entitled “Beatnix” singing “Stairway to Heaven” to the tune of “I Want to hold your hand” completely in the guise of a 60’s TV broadcast such as American Bandstand. It is brilliant to say the least. The other is indeed some strange British TV show about Beatles music with folks singing and dancing and acting crazy, like we all should.