January 06, 2019

Beatles Live -- Melbourne, Australia Concert - 06-1964 - 24 minutes

Wednesday 17 June 1964 - The Beatles' final two shows in Melbourne, Australia took place on this day.

In the afternoon George Harrison went driving in an MG in the Dandenong Mountains with tour organiser Lloyd Ravenscroft. Concerned with more important matters, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr had their hair cut in their hotel, the Southern Cross.

This was The Beatles' last of three consecutive nights of shows in the city's Festival Hall, Each night they gave two concerts, which were enjoyed by a total of 45,000 people.

Cameras from the Australian Channel 9 recorded the sixth and final show of the Melbourne leg of the world tour. It was screened on 1 July 1964 as an hour-long special, The Beatles Sing For Shell, named after the oil company which sponsored the broadcast.

Nine of The Beatles' Melbourne performances were included in the show: I Saw Her Standing There, You Can't Do That, All My Loving, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Roll Over Beethoven, Can't Buy Me Love, Twist And Shoutand Long Tall Sally. During Long Tall Sally, a male audience member rushed onto the stage to shake John Lennon's hand.

The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein had initially agreed to allow Channel 9 to show just 12 minutes of the performance. However, after watching the recording an hour after the show he had a change of heart and increased the limit to 20 minutes.

In the end 22 minutes of The Beatles were included, the rest of the hour being footage of Australian and international performers. The only song from the set not broadcast was This Boy. Full bootleg recordings exist of both concerts from this day.

Source: https://www.beatlesbible.com/1964/06/17/live-festival-hall-melbourne-3/

The Year in Music 2018: Paul McCartney scores first US #1 album since 1982 with "Egypt Station"

In September of 2018, Paul McCartney released Egypt Station, his first album in five years. It became McCartney’s first album to reach #1 on the Billboard 200 since 1982’s Tug of War.

Nearly all of the album was produced by Greg Kurstin, who’d previously worked with Adele, Foo Fighters, Sia, Kelly Clarkson and other stars. OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder also co-wrote and produced a track on the album, “Fuh You.”

McCartney promoted Egypt Station with a variety of special intimate concerts, including a July 23 gig at Abbey Road Studios in London; a July 25 show at the Cavern Club in his hometown of Liverpool, U.K.; and a release-day performance at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal that was streamed on his official YouTube channel.

Sir Paul also appeared in The Late Late Show‘s popular “Carpool Karaoke” feature with host James Corden in Liverpool in early June. In the segment, McCartney and Corden drove around the city singing various Beatles tunes and solo songs by Paul, while also visiting McCartney’s childhood home, Penny Lane and other landmarks. In addition, Macca played a set at a local pub called The Philharmonic.

Paul’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment, which aired on The Late Late Show on June 22, was hugely popular on YouTube. An hour-long prime time special featuring extended footage from the segment aired on CBS on August 20.

Paul also released a number of music videos for the Egypt Station songs, the most high-profile of which was a short film for “Who Cares” that co-starred Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone. The surreal clip echoed the song’s anti-bullying theme, and in conjunction with the tune and video, McCartney partnered with a number of organizations to launch a new campaign, #WhoCaresIDo, which seeks to inspire people to stand up to bullying and negativity.

Meanwhile, McCartney also mounted the Freshen Up Tour, kicking off the trek with four concerts in Canada in September. He also played Japan, mainland Europe and the U.K. In addition, Sir Paul played two headlining sets in October at Texas’ Austin City Limits Music Festival.

At Macca’s final 2018 concert, December 16 at London’s O2 Arena, his ex-Beatles band mate Ringo Starr and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood joined him during the show’s encore for a rendition of the Fab Four’s “Get Back.”

The Freshen Up Tour is scheduled to start up again in 2019 with a series of South American shows in March and a U.S. leg that gets underway in May.

Also of note: 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ classic self-titled double album, aka The White Album. To mark the milestone, expanded reissues were released on November 9.

The most expansive of the reissues was a seven-disc Super Deluxe edition that boasts three CDs of studio outtakes, a CD of rare demo recordings, and a Blu-ray disc featuring 5.1 surround-sound, mono and stereo mixes of the album.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Source: https://www.classichitsandoldies.com/v2/98627/

January 05, 2019

A Look Back at: Let It Be...Naked

From the time of its release, Let It Be was regarded as an aberration by many of those closely involved in its creation because of the involvement of Phil Spector in the final production process after the basic album had been recorded.
Over 30 yeas later, was advertised as “Let It Be as it was meant to be“, promising the original album as envisages prior to Spector’s involvement. In fact it was a brand new mix of the original tapes, produced by Poul Hicks, Guy Massey and Allan Rouse, all of whom had been involved in Anthology and Yellow Submarine songtrack projects. They created entirely new master version.

First pressing, November 17, 2003. Set include: ‘Let It Be… Naked’ album, 20-pages booklet and ‘Fly On The Wall’ 7″ single.

Unlaminated gatefold light grey glossy cover with Apple and Parlophone logos on the back side. The earliest gatefold sleeve has a misprint in the the writing credits on the back side. The words, ‘recordingis’ is written as one word. Later pressings have the corrected, ‘recording is’ as two words. Record housed in generic anti-static die-cut poly-lined dust inner sleeve without corners.


Light grey glossy labels with Apple and Parlophone logos. Matrix numbers scratched: Side 1: 5954380 1A1 SRz; Side 2: 5954380 1B1 SRz.


‘Fly On The Wall’ 7″ single. As part of the cleaning-up process, the brief jamming sequences and bits of humorous banter disappeared from the album, but this is more than compensated for by the ‘Fly On The Wall’ bonus single. 7″ sleeve has a misprint where credits are written. The words, ‘recordingis’ is written as one word.

Light grey glossy sleeve with die-cut on the back side.

Light grey glossy labels. Matrix numbers scratched: Side 1: 5954380 1A1; Side 2: 5954380 1B1.

Second pressing, 2010s. The second edition has pronounced differences: polygraphydarker, less contrast, paper thinner, gatefold sleeve has a smaller size. Difference in color is particularly noticeable on the back of the sleeve. In addition, the cover of second edition has is smaller sizes in width and height.

Unlaminated gatefold dark grey glossy cover with Apple and Parlophone logos on the back side.

Compare sizes of sleeves: size of the first edition is 32 x 31.5 cm, wide spine – 10 mm, size of the second edition – 31 x 31 cm, wide spine – 6 mm.

Dark grey glossy labels with Apple and Parlophone logos. Matrix numbers scratched: Side 1: 5954380 1A1 SRz; Side 2: 5954380 1B1 SRz.

‘Fly On The Wall’ 7″ single. Dark grey glossy sleeve without die-cut on the back side. Dark grey glossy labels. Matrix numbers scratched (hard to see): Side 1: 5954380 1A1; Side 2: 5954380 1B1.

posted in 17. Beatles Compilations. E-mail the author

Courtesy of : http://thebeatles-collection.com/wordpress/2016/10/25/let-it-be-naked-apple-parlophone-72435954380/

January 04, 2019

The Naked Truth About Making The Beatles' Let It Be Naked

JAN 1, 2004 - Ever wondered what The Beatles' Let It Be album would have sounded like had it been properly completed instead of released as a companion disc to their 1970 fly-on-the-wall motion picture of the same name? Such was the charge given to EMI's Abbey Road Studios by the group's Apple Corps Ltd. The result is the recently released Let It Be…Naked (Apple/Capitol-EMI).

After the tumultuous sessions for the 1968 album The Beatles (aka, The White Album), the Fabs regrouped at Twickenham Film Studios in London in January 1969 to make a TV special showing the group rehearsing and recording an album. The concept was a “warts and all” view of the band with no overdubs; everything was as live as possible. After those sessions broke down, the production moved to the basement studio of The Beatles' own Apple offices, where recording continued through the month. The sessions culminated in a historic live performance (The Beatles' last) on the office's rooftop on January 30 of the same year with their new temporary “fifth Beatle,” keyboardist Billy Preston (himself an Apple recording artist by the end of the sessions), who played on the studio recordings, as well.

Glyn Johns, who had recorded the sessions, was given the task of mixing and compiling the recordings into an LP (originally titled Get Back) in May of that year, though the group chose not to release it. Johns tried a second compilation in January 1970, though that version also failed to see the light of day. John Lennon, on new manager Allen Klein's advice, brought in legendary producer Phil Spector to revamp the album in March 1970, which he did, adding orchestration to three tracks and editing others. The result — with studio chatter and quips intact — was the May 1970 Apple release Let It Be, The Beatles' last original album (although , which came out in 1969, was actually recorded after Let It Be).

In February 2002, following a chance meeting of Paul McCartney and the film's original director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Abbey Road veteran Allan Rouse received a call from Apple's Neil Aspinall asking him to take a stab at remixing the album. Rouse had acted as project coordinator for a number of Beatles remix projects, among themThe Beatles Anthology, Yellow Submarine Songtrack and Lennon's Imagine. While the task for those projects had always been to re-create the original mixes known to millions of fans using current technology, the charge for the Let It Be project was different.

“This was not an attempt to remaster an existing album,” Rouse says. “We were asked to make it sound the way the band had believed the finished album was going to sound.” This meant, for the most part, producing mixes that reflected only what the four bandmembers (or five, including Preston) could play live: no overdubbed guitars or vocals, and certainly no orchestras.

In addition, all of the between-song chatter, breakdowns, jokes and ditties — including “Maggie Mae” and the “Dig It” jam — were dropped. Says Rouse, “They just didn't really fit in with an album of 11 songs and neither did the dialog. Those little bits were fine for a soundtrack album, which Glyn's was, but they didn't fit comfortably with the concept of a straight album.”

Rouse tapped two young staff engineers, Paul Hicks and Guy Massey, for the job. Both had worked on prior Beatles projects (and had, coincidentally, started at the studio on the same day in 1994), including the 5.1 surround mixes for the recently released The Beatles Anthology DVD set.

The group took a team approach, making decisions democratically, each chipping in suggestions but deciding with one voice. During a two-week period, the three listened to all 30 reels of 1-inch 8-track session tapes, which had been recorded through a pair of borrowed 4-track consoles onto a 3M 8-track machine. As a reference, the producer/engineers also studied the released Spector album and both of Johns' versions. “We mainly listened to identify the takes they used,” says Rouse. They also noted where Spector had made any edits, deciding if there was a good reason to either keep or discard those edits. “As it turns out, Glyn and Phil had done most of the legwork. We ended up using the vast majority of their takes.”

But because the group's mission was to make the best possible album, they didn't limit themselves to what had been done previously. “Once we started, we would A/B against the Spector disc to see if what we were doing was an improvement,” says Massey.

Upon listening to the tapes in Rouse's room at the studio, they were transferred into Pro Tools 5.2 using a Prism Sound Dream ADA 8 A/D converter. And, as part of the improvement process, once the recordings were in the digital world, the engineers began researching which takes were the best performances, and, if more than one take of a song had strong attributes, trial edits were made to see what combination would make the best overall performance. “Once we had the building blocks in the digital domain,” says Massey, “we'd delve into a bit more detail. If there were fluffed lines or pops, etc., if there was another take without the errors, we'd try inserting that part from the other take.”

Adds Hicks, “Sometimes we did the tiniest little things. If something wasn't quite right — if there was a bend in a note or something — we did actually replace it with a slightly better one. Again, our main theme was to make it as strong as possible.”

The live rooftop recordings offered their own special challenges, given that the band was playing on a blustery winter day. Because the group was being filmed, the film crew had chosen an unobtrusive vocal microphone during the sessions, the Neumann KM84i, which features a small capsule on the end of an extension tube, with the mic's preamp located at the bottom near the floor. (The mic was commonly used for TV talk shows and awards programs.) The same mics were brought upstairs to the roof, where second engineer Alan Parsons simply tied clippings of pantyhose over the capsules to act as windscreens. “The wind noise was actually quite manageable,” says Hicks. “It was really only when they weren't singing that you could hear it.” For the inevitable hard consonants and mic pops, “We mainly handled that with a combination of filtering and EQ,” notes Hicks. A small amount of de-noising was done using an analog Behringer dynamic filter.

The following is a breakdown of what was done to each Let It Be…Naked track (in running order, along with the mix engineer's name in parentheses):

“Get Back” (Hicks): While Johns and Martin used a master recorded on January 28, 1969, for the aborted LP and released single, Spector had used a recording from the day before, and the same master is used on this album. Notably absent is the song's coda, which appeared on the single. “It turns out that the coda had been recorded as an edit piece four or five reels later,” explains Hicks. “Since it wasn't on the original session recording for the song, it wouldn't have represented what actually took place in the studio during that take, so it was decided to leave it off.”

“Dig a Pony” (Massey): Those who've heard bootlegs of Johns' mixes know the song originally featured an “All I Want Is You” intro and outro, which Spector removed for his LP. “The tuning is particularly bad in the beginning,” says Massey, prompting the decision to eliminate them in the new version, as well.

“For You Blue” (Hicks): Using the same master as Spector used, Hicks mainly focused on keeping the sounds bright and clear. What was interesting, he says, was learning about the unique sound McCartney got out of his piano. “It's a fuzzy, metallic sound, which he did by putting a piece of paper in the piano strings, causing them to vibrate against the paper when struck. You can hear on the session tape Paul's fiddling around, trying to get the right sound.” And because McCartney is playing piano, he does not play bass on the song. “The bass comes from the piano,” says Hicks, with McCartney playing a bass line on the keys. George Harrison's vocal, it turns out, was one of the few overdubs used. “We took out his live vocal, which was basically a guide vocal. It wasn't a complete take, really, and I don't think it was ever intended to be used.”

“The Long and Winding Road” (Hicks): Perhaps the greatest achievement on the album is the improvement to this track, easily accomplished by removing Spector's overblown orchestra. Actually, though, the master on Let It Be…Naked is not even the one used by Spector; it's the only take on the album that was changed in its entirety. The group returned to the Apple basement the day after their rooftop show to record three more songs, this one among them. Says Rouse, “Spector had used one take recorded five days earlier.” “This version, recorded on January 31, we felt was a stronger basic performance,” says Hicks. “There's also a slight lyric change,” adds Rouse, who suggests that, this being the later recording, it represents McCartney's final lyric choice.

As a listening experience, it's a first for Beatles fans to hear them play the song instead of an orchestra. The recording features McCartney on piano, Harrison playing lead guitar through a Leslie speaker, Lennon on a newly acquired Fender Bass VI and Ringo Starr keeping light time with his hi-hat.

“Two of Us” (Massey): The same master used by Spector, also from January 31, 1969, features Lennon and McCartney on acoustic guitars, Harrison on electric and Starr providing a simple bass drum/snare/tom beat. By the way, Starr's drums were typically recorded onto a single track, precluding mixing them into stereo. Small amounts of de-essing and rumble filtering were also performed.

“I've Got a Feeling” (Massey/Hicks): A rooftop recording, this song was edited by Massey before being mixed by his colleague. Massey used the best of each of two rooftop takes of the song, creating a version, Hicks says, with the most energy. And while Johns had opted for a studio recording of the song for his version of the album, there was no beating the live performances. Notes Hicks, “I don't know if it was just the fact that they were playing live and knew it or just because they were so cold, but there was just so much more energy in the live recordings.” Sonically, he notes, the live recordings — minus the wind and pops — are not much different from their studio counterparts, making a surprisingly good match when listening to the album.

“One After 909” (Hicks): Another rooftop performance, though, interestingly, the team did consider using a studio version. “We did research to see if there was another version,” says Hicks. “But it was just much slower, and it had a completely different feel. There was no contest, really. It's one of the more up-tempo numbers, so we went with the live one.” Hicks is proudest of his drum sound, bringing Starr out to the fore. “We found so many details we wanted to bring out, which we tried our best to do. Everything is a lot more focused.”

“Don't Let Me Down” (Hicks/Massey): Though not included on Spector's album, this song was a product of those sessions. A studio version from January 28, 1969, was released as the B-side to the “Get Back” single. This version, however, is an edit of the two rooftop versions. The Beatles recorded a second take because Lennon forgot the lyrics during the first take.

“I Me Mine” (Massey): This song was not originally recorded at Apple in January 1969, though Harrison is seen in the film playing it briefly at Twickenham. In January 1970, Harrison, McCartney and Starr recorded a studio version of the song, with Harrison playing acoustic guitar and singing a guide vocal, McCartney on bass and Starr on drums for the master take. Electric piano, electric guitar, lead vocal, backing vocals, organ and a second acoustic guitar were added as overdubs. The recording was a brief 1:34 in length, so before adding his orchestra, Spector lengthened it by repeating one of the verses, resulting in a 2:25 final master. The Naked team decided to leave in the overdubs — which made the recording complete as The Beatles had envisioned it — and Spector's edit. “We were originally going to do it unedited,” says Massey, “but if you listen to it at that length, it's just far too short.” Jokes Rouse, “That was our one concession to Mr. Spector.” Massey also built up the mix as the song progressed by adding elements of the mix as the song enters the second verse.

“Across the Universe” (Massey): Again, while no studio recordings of this song were made at Apple, Lennon is seen playing the song at Twickenham in the film. “Across the Universe” was actually recorded a year earlier, in February 1968, at the same Abbey Road sessions that produced “Lady Madonna” and “Hey Bulldog.” The basic track featured Lennon on acoustic guitar, his vocal and a tom-tom (all recorded onto one track), with Harrison playing a tamboura. At the time, George Martin had added background vocals and animal sound effects. Spector's version removed the latter two parts, as well as the tamboura, replacing them with an orchestra and a choir.

The new mix features Lennon's guitar and vocal, Starr's drums and the tamboura. “Again, because the concept was whatever the guys could play live onstage, we took everything else away,” says Rouse. The ending has been given a spiritual touch, with a building echo (via real Abbey Road tape delay) added.

“Let It Be” (Massey): another recording from January 31, 1969, the day after rooftop, with McCartney on piano, Lennon on Fender Bass VI, Harrison on lead guitar (through a Leslie), Starr on drums and Preston on organ. Three months later in April, Martin added a new electric guitar lead from Harrison, and in January 1970, added backing vocals from McCartney and Harrison, brass and cellos and yet another pass at a Harrison lead. Martin produced the single release of the song, issued in March 1970 (pre-Spector), featuring the April 1969 guitar solo. Upon Spector's arrival, the song was lengthened by repeating a chorus and issued featuring the January 1970 guitar lead.

The new version features the same master and uses a few edits from other takes, most notably the Harrison guitar solo that came from the take of the song that appears in the film. “We'd always thought that the guitar lead in the version in the film was just really soaring,” says Massey. “We edited it in, just as a trial take, and we all thought it sounded great.”

The album comes with a 22-minute companion “fly-on-the-wall” dialog/music disc put together by the BBC's Kevin Howlett and engineer Brian Thompson. Howlett listened to more than 80 hours of tapes, recorded in mono by the film crew during both the Twickenham and Apple sessions, discovering a number of previously unknown Lennon/McCartney tunes (which are included on the disc), as well as some other surprises. “I had expected to hear the kind of disagreements and arguing we've all heard about,” Howlett tells Mix. “Instead, I heard the bandmembers actually having a good time. By the end, they were, in fact, quite excited about what they were doing.”

Remixing an album by the greatest rock band of all time can be, well, daunting. “It's hard to make it as up-to-date as stuff nowadays, because it wasn't recorded these days,” says Massey. “From that point of view, it was a challenge to make it sound as punchy and as present as possible. But it's a good representation of what they were like then.”

Adds Hicks, “We all collectively felt that we wanted it to stand along all the other Beatles albums, and hopefully, we've achieved that.”


Source: https://www.mixonline.com/news/naked-truth-about-beatles-let-it-benaked-425110

January 03, 2019

George & Giles Martin: Remixing The Beatles- The Making of the Love Album

When the Beatles' record company tempted their producer out of retirement for one last project, no-one had any idea how radical the resulting album would be.

Part high-concept mash-up, part elaborate restoration job, the Beatles' Love was originally conceived as the soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas show, but became much more. Upon its release as an album, listeners were invited to play spot-the-elements, as well as to hear new mixes of classic recordings. The project also marked the first collaboration between George Martin and his son Giles. The legendary producer, who turned 81 in January, had in fact gone into retirement, but the thought of returning to the Beatles' masters proved too tantalising a prospect.

"It's a funny word, 'retirement'," he says. "Because it suggests you're giving up everything, and I certainly haven't done that. But I've given up recording, because my ears aren't good enough. This, however, was an offer I couldn't refuse, when they asked me to produce the music for the show. It was such a challenge. But I couldn't have done it without Giles. He's my ears."

"He refuses to get old, which is great," laughs Giles. "I would rush forward and do stuff, then find myself lost without him. Even though his hearing is bad, he has a great ability in his brain to work things out."

"One day," George recalls with a smile, "I was apologising to Giles because I couldn't hear the top. He said 'Dad, how many 80 year-old people do you know who're experts in sound?'"

Through The Ages

Martin joined EMI as a producer in 1950, initially working mostly on classical recordings. "But of course you'd have to chop up the music into little bits and pieces," he explains. "Four minutes, 15 seconds was about the length of a disc. So if you've got a 15-minute overture, you have to chop it up into four parts. You, the producer, had to tell the conductor where he should end. You had to say 'I think the good place is bar 191, but resolve the chord so it doesn't sound too bad, and when we start again we'll start with that chord, OK?' And that's the way you did it."

Branching out into comedy recordings with the likes of Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan and enjoying crooner hits with Matt Monro, Martin was on the lookout for a rock & roll band when Brian Epstein brought the Beatles in to audition. Three years later, in 1965, when his contract with EMI expired, he made the shrewd move into independent production.

"I was forced into it," he recalls. "Before I met the Beatles, I had been lobbying my bosses, saying 'I want some kind of recognition of the sales I'm achieving. Your salesman are getting a commission on their sales. I'm making the damn things and I'm getting nothing.' I was on a salary of £3200 a year, no car and nothing else. When the Beatles came along I was making a fortune for EMI."

Sitting in the small studio ('At the end of the corridor next to the loos,' Giles points out) in Abbey Road where the majority of the work on Love was done, I wonder if it's strange for George Martin, returning to a building where's worked on and off for close to 60 years. "Well, the building itself hasn't changed at all," he states. "Number Two studio is very, very similar to the time with the Beatles. The control room is different: when I first came here, the control room of Number Two was on the ground floor because we didn't have tape machines then. We had lathes in the control rooms cutting discs. We had to wear a suit and a tie and the engineers wore white coats. Nobody sat down. We did have tape machines but they were considered to be rather inferior, which they were. Because the tape in those days was pretty raw stuff and the signal-to-noise ratio wasn't very good so you got a hell of a hiss, which you never got on the disc. The disc was a very clean sound. And of course everything was mono: 78rpm shellacs, which were breakable."

Give The Drummer His Due

Something that both producers agree on is that Ringo Starr is the star of Love. "Listening to this recording, he drives that band right through the show," says George. "Fantastic stuff. And it isn't just the technique of playing the drums, but it's also thinking up what he's going to play. If you listen to 'Come Together', for example, his work on that is very, very thoughtful and very clever. And the stuff he did on 'Day In The Life' with the toms... magic."

"It's great that his drumming has come out so well," Giles agrees. "He's not even louder, it's just I guess his drums are slightly bigger than they were. I've had the ability to take Ringo off the Beatles' records and put them back on, and the great thing is that he plays stuff you wouldn't imagine a drummer playing. As a producer or a musician, you can go 'Right, what would I have the drummer doing now?' And it's never what Ringo plays."

Chopping & Changing

It's incredible to think that George Martin has been working with sound for so long that he's not only seen shellac made obsolete by tape, but has watched tape lose out to DAWs. "Isn't it incredible?" he says, gesturing towards the Apple Mac studio display.

"He finds it amazing what can be done," says Giles. "At first he said 'Why don't we use tape?' I said 'Well Dad, you know I'm enthusiastic about that world, but we couldn't do this on tape.' The way that we worked was I would do the chopping and changing and play it to him and he sort of produced me doing it. One day he watched me grab something and turn it around and he said 'My God, sound is like putty nowadays, you can just mould it into any shape you want.'"

"The brief on this show," George says, "was that I should use all previous recordings in any form I wanted. It gave us carte blanche to muck about."

Preliminary work on Love began in November 2003, when Apple Records' Neil Aspinall gave Giles a brief to create a mash-up demo of 'a gig that never happened,' using elements of the Beatles' catalogue. The resulting 13-minute piece comprised the opening section of Love, from the 'A Hard Day's Night' guitar chord through to 'Get Back', a 5.1 mix of 'I Am The Walrus' and his clever pasting of 'Within You Without You' over 'Tomorrow Never Knows'.

Speaking of the latter, George says "It was Giles's idea and he did it without my being here. I thought, fantastic. So did Ringo, he thought it was amazing."

"To begin with," Giles continues, "it was just going to be the Beatles remixed, and the idea of chopping and changing didn't really come to fruition until we tried stuff out. Apple are the four Beatles' families, so we played them to Paul, to Ringo, to Yoko, to Olivia Harrison, and they gave the green light for the whole thing to go ahead. There wasn't actually that much politics, it was just 'Does it sound good or not?'"

Wasn't Giles slightly intimidated by the thought of setting to work on the Beatles' masters? "Yeah. But I didn't believe it was going to happen, to be honest. When I first came to Abbey Road, in people's eyes they were looking at me thinking 'You're only going to get so far into doing this.' Because it's kind of like the Holy Grail. I thought it was never going to see the light of day, so that kind of helped me. I just launched into it without worrying too much, presuming that things were going to go wrong. The funny thing about Beatles stuff is that if the Beatles aren't happy, then no-one hears it. There's no A&R teams or record companies, there's only them and my Dad involved, so it kind of makes it easier in a way. The pressure is really whether you are gonna get fired or get the job!"

The Tools For The Job

Once he'd secured the job, Abbey Road engineers set to work building a studio to Giles's specifications ("Which is always nice," he laughs). He chose to work in Pro Tools ("They've only just updated me — I was on 6.4 for ages") run on a Mac, using Adam S3A monitors ("They're the best cross between nearfield and big studio speakers").

The Love project began life as the soundtrack for Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas show.

His first task when work got under way properly in 2004 was to load almost all of the old Beatles' one-inch four-track and eight-track masters into Pro Tools. "I realised that none of the Beatles' tapes had been backed up properly at Abbey Road, so I thought that might be a good idea! It also gave me a chance — and my Dad, to be honest — to listen to all the stuff again. So we went through everything, and we did it by album. It's catalogued as albums, singles, 'B' sides, miscellaneous. We listened to absolutely everything and backed it up. Everything that's been released we loaded up. We wanted to use the best takes possible, trusting that my Dad had chosen the best takes before, and also to use as many elements of the songs as possible. The way the Beatles worked is they'd lay something down and if they weren't happy with the take, then they'd lay nothing more on top.

"We were trying to keep a clean signal path, so we just went straight from a tape machine into Pro Tools. The whole idea was to copy the tapes as exactly as possible. I had a Pro Control desk as a way of having faders for my Dad. We kept on running out of RAM after a while. The funny thing is, even if I'm compiling songs, I'm not really going above 16 or 20 tracks. So I didn't really need as much as perhaps someone making a modern record."

Critics of the choice of material on Love have pointed out its bias towards mid-to-late-period Beatles. There is, however, as Giles insists, a fairly obvious technical reason for this. "The earlier stuff is sonically similar. It lacks the imagery the later stuff has. Bearing in mind we're doing a show, 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' lends itself more to a visual thing perhaps than 'I Should Have Known Better'. On top of that, a lot of the earlier Beatles stuff has no separation on it at all. We were pushed by the Beatles to change things: they wanted experimentation, and you can't really do that with the earlier stuff. A lot of people say to me 'Why didn't you use the drums from this?' But there's only a certain number of clean drum tracks in the entire Beatles catalogue. There's not much stuff from Let It Be, because it's all live with no separation."

In returning to the earlier masters, Abbey Road's Allan Rouse came up with a suggestion that would help shape the sound of songs like 'Eleanor Rigby': going back to the original, unbounced masters as well as using the mixed-down four-tracks. "We would sync up the fours to fours," Giles says. "So 'Eleanor Rigby' was recorded originally on a four-track one-inch as a double string quartet, and then we'd sync the bounce of the strings that was done, so we could then have a six-track of a four-track."

Keep To The Rules

The Martins set themselves two fairly severe rules for the creation of Love: never to loop the drums or pitch-change the voices. And they managed to stick to them. Almost. "We mucked about with rhythms," says George, "but we never sampled anything, we thought that was wrong. We wanted to keep the performances, particularly in the rhythm sections, so that if you hear Ringo playing, it's Ringo playing. It's not a sample of one bar and then repeating it. The only thing that was anywhere near [a time-stretch] was 'Octopus's Garden', because we had to chop it up into pieces so it fitted a slow orchestral section at the beginning, which it wasn't designed for. But it worked very well."

"Of course," Giles goes on, "On 'Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows' the voice has been stretched. The screams in 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)/Helter Skelter' I put down a tone. The end of 'Strawberry Fields' has been looped, but after a very long period of time, and there's a slight loop in 'Drive My Car', but generally it's them playing. When I started doing it, I was using modern techniques, as it were. I put a tempo map out which was 122.5bpm and put in the drums from the intro of 'Get Back', and then put 'Get Back' in time with it and it just sounded like I'd removed all the soul from the Beatles."

"Another complication," George adds, "was that a lot of the recordings I did with the Beatles we used to record at different speeds. Not necessarily at half-tone intervals, but just a wee bit off. You know, maybe instead of being 60 cycles, we'd be 59 cycles, or 61. We didn't care too much about tuning, about making the things work together and run into each other. So when we came to merge these tracks, sometimes they were out of tune with one of the other ones. So one of my jobs was to physically tune them, bring them into pitch, just slightly up or down to make them work within the limits of the even-tempered scale."

Giles remembers: "With 'Here Comes The Sun', I realised that the original was much brighter-sounding, and it's actually up a quarter tone. So I went back and reimported everything at a quarter tone up in order to make it like the original. So we did actually keep to the originals as much as possible. 'Here Comes The Sun' not sped-up sounds like a different record. It makes such a difference, varispeed."

One happy accident occurred when the pair pasted a live recording of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' from the Hollywood Bowl over the studio master. "I wanted to use the Hollywood Bowl recordings, the atmosphere of the Beatles live in the early days," George explains. "But they weren't awfully good from the point of view of the technology. So we overlaid the studio recording on top of the Hollywood Bowl recordings, which meant matching every beat so that you couldn't tell the difference. Giles painstakingly plastered in each beat, and the result was that we got the Hollywood Bowl recording with all the tremendous screams in the audience and these great sounds."

"It probably took about three days," Giles says. "The funny thing is you had to do it before you realised it was going to work. The Hollywood Bowl sits behind the other one. It's amazing how loud the screams are."

Getting The Sound

Of the more traditional restoration mixes on Love, tracks such as 'I Am The Walrus' and 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!' come across as less psychedelic, revealing the band arrangements more. Starr's drums and McCartney's bass, in particular, enjoy more 21st century punch.

"I love his bass lines," Giles enthuses. "In fact the bass took a lot of work. McCartney's bass is such a great sound, so myself and [remix engineer] Paul Hicks re-looked at it because I wasn't happy with it. We didn't get it quite right at the beginning. For 'Walrus' we could suddenly open it out — we had nine tracks or something to play around with — there's two drum kits. I think the original is really nicely claustrophobic and ours is more of an in-your-face rock number."

Revisiting 'Mr. Kite' reminded George of the incredible work that had gone into creating the effects on the original. "John was never definitive," he remembers, "he lived in a kind of dreamworld. He would have an adjective, he would talk about 'orange sounds'. With 'Kite', he said 'I want it to sound like a circus, I want to smell the sawdust.' I said we should have a calliope and he was thinking about the Magic Roundabout signature tune, the little pipey sound. I said 'Yeah, I was thinking of the little organ that the seven dwarfs played in Snow White.' We laid it down with organs first of all. The double-speed technique came in because I couldn't handle all those chromatic runs at real speed. Then we cut the steam-organ tapes into 18-inch sections, threw them up in the air and joined them up again. That was the background mush that made the thing sound effective."

The elder producer admits that, particularly around the time of Sgt. Pepper, he found himself in a more experimental mood which matched the ambitions of the Beatles perfectly. "They were continually coming to me saying 'What can we do here, George? What other instruments can we use?' I would show them how to do backwards sounds or how we could edit things and make them different and change the speed of the tape to give us a different sound on the bass drum. They wallowed in this, they thought it was great. The backwards sound, the first time I used it was on 'Rain', and when John heard it, he didn't believe it was his voice and they loved it so much they wanted to do everything backwards."

In terms of modern effects for Love, was Giles at all wary of using digital reverbs and delays?

"We'd use mostly all old gear, just because it sounds good. The only digital thing we used a lot of was Waves' Z-Noise. It's really good at taking hiss off tracks. On 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', we used that on the vocal and guitar and it gave us more of a dimension without affecting the sound. We used the old plates in Studio Two, we used the old compressors, the Neves, the Fairchilds. We used a lot of the EMI EQs in the desks and there's a company called Chandler who make copies of the EMI limiters and compressors and we used a couple of their things as well. We just tried to keep it as analogue as possible. We used the original delays. Occasionally we'd rig up a tape delay or we'd just use the Pro Tools digital delay. All we were looking for was something really simple. Sometimes we'd ADT things using a tape machine, the same way that it was done 40 years ago."

New Guitar Strings
Given the nature of the project, of course, there are hardly any new sounds or recordings on Love, apart from the birdsong atmospherics that backdrop 'Because'. However, George Martin did write a new string arrangement, recorded at his AIR Studio in London, for George Harrison's demo of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. George recalls: "Dominic Champagne, the director of the show, loved George's demo recording of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', and it is very touching. It's in a lower key than the master; it's also slower, much more gentle and shorter. He wanted to put it in the show and Olivia didn't think it was good enough — it had always sounded what it was, a demo, she said. It was done here, take three. So this was a revival and Dominic said 'Well, what if we make it more official? Why don't we ask George to write a score?' I was put on the spot, y'know, because his widow is going to listen to it... But she did love it, thank the Lord."

Going To The Circus

When it came to the mastering of Love the album, Giles opted for both digital and analogue approaches. "We were running at 96k for the whole project and we mastered onto Pro Tools, but we mastered on two-inch eight-track as well, and we ended up using the tape and not Pro Tools to cut the album, because it sounded better. Tape seems to join sounds together in the way that digital gives you separation."

The audio production for Love, the show, was a more complicated affair. Giles travelled to Montreal, where Cirque du Soleil were rehearsing the show, and then to Las Vegas, where a purpose-built theatre had been erected at the cost of $120 million. In both locations, the Abbey Road studio had been replicated almost to the millimetre.

"The funny thing is I'm fairly slapdash," Giles states. "I'm very perfectionist when it comes to sound, but studios are just a space to work in. They'd measured everything and put my piano in the same place, even my old Yamaha beatbox that I use to tap tempos. It was like walking into the Giles and George Martin museum. Then they had the same thing in the Mirage in Vegas. I had hand-recognition systems to go into my room because of the security around the Beatles' drives."

The Love auditorium boasts 360-degree sound through 8000 speakers. A mixing nightmare? "It's done in sections. We'd mix at night off laptops and then we'd bounce our mixes onto a 16-track Gigasampler, all the effects and everything. It means that we can have things flying around your head. For 'A Day In The Life', we have left and right in the headrests and a centre speaker in the seat in front of you, so I stuck John's voice right in your head and the band 50 feet away, up in the rafters. It's the same principles as 5.1, but a lot more outputs."

Giles admits that the hairiest part of the project was letting the ex-Beatles hear the results of his three years of work. "With 'Lady Madonna' I put 'Hey Bulldog' in the middle. I remember thinking 'What's Paul going to think?' Because he arranged the song. And he said 'That's the single, that's cool'. We played him stuff loud in the theatre and he said 'You've taken our music and you've been so sympathetic with it and yet you've added stuff to it that I wouldn't even think of.' So we went out and got absolutely hammered. Well, I did, anyway."

I Wanna Shake Your Hand

George Martin reckons that Love will be the last airing for the Beatles' masters: "I would think so. It'll be my last for sure." His son, however, begs to differ. "I don't know... he's lied before about this stuff."

Even if he has clearly enjoyed the process of putting together Love, George Martin insists that he isn't one for nostalgia. "Not really. I don't really look back, I look forward. In fact, until we'd decided to do the Anthology, I hadn't really listened to the old stuff at all. You don't dig 'em out and say, 'Let's listen to this again.' You've done it, you move on. So there's an awful lot of records I've made which I have a great affection for... but in the main I don't go back."

It's a measure of Martin's characteristic modesty that even as an octogenarian he still can't quite get his head around the fact that he's regularly named the most successful and influential record producer of all time. He shakes his head and chuckles at the memory of the PLASA (Professional Lighting And Sound Association) show at Earl's Court that he attended last year. "I was there for a purpose," he recalls. "I had to present an award but also [he laughs] I was on the scrounge for stuff for my Montserrat auditorium. As I walked through the show, people would come up to me and say 'Can I shake your hand?' And that's a bit cringe-making really. I say 'Well, that's very kind of you, thank you very much.'"

Ultimately, it seems, George Martin, like the rest of us, is still trying to get to grips with exactly what he achieved with the Beatles. He allows himself a polite laugh. "In the end," he says, "it's quite difficult to come to terms with, really."

Source: https://www.soundonsound.com/people/george-giles-martin-remixing-beatles

December 06, 2018

Listen to the Beatles Christmas Messages: 7 Vintage Recordings for Their Fans: 1963-1969

Every year from 1963 to 1969, the Beatles recorded a special Christmas greeting to their fans. It started when “Beatlemania” took off and the band found itself unable to answer all the fan mail.  “I’d love to reply personally to everyone,” says Lennon in the 1963 message, “but I just haven’t enough pens.” The first message was intended to make their most loyal fans feel appreciated. Like those that followed, the 1963 message was mailed as a paper-thin vinyl “flexi disc” to members of the Beatles fan club. The recording features the Beatles’ trademark wit and whimsy, with a chorus of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo” and a version of “Good King Wenceslas” that refers to Betty Grable. It was made on October 17, 1963 at Abbey Road Studios, just after the band recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The band recorded their next holiday greeting, Another Beatles Christmas Record, on October 26, 1964, the same day they recorded the song “Honey Don’t.” Lennon’s rebellious nature begins to show, as he pokes fun at the prepared script: “It’s somebody’s bad hand wroter.”


Recorded on November 8, 1965 during the Rubber Soul sessions at Abbey Road, the 1965 message features a re-working of “Yesterday,” with the refrain “Oh I believe on Christmas Day.” The band’s gift for free-associational role playing is becoming more apparent. One piece of dialogue near the end was eventually re-used by producer George Martin and his son Giles at the end of the re-mixed version of “All You Need is Love” on the 2006 album Love: “All right put the lights off. This is Johnny Rhythm saying good night to you all and God Blesses.”

You can sense the band’s creative powers growing in the 1966 message, Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas. The recording was made at Abbey Road on November 25, 1966, during a break from working on “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The Beatles were just beginning work on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Instead of simply thanking their fans and recounting the events of the year, the Beatles use sound effects and dialogue to create a vaudeville play based around a song that goes, “Everywhere it’s Christmas, at the end of every year.” Paul McCartney designed the cover.

This was the last Christmas message recorded by the Beatles all together in one place. Titled Christmas Time (Is Here Again), it reveals the group’s continuing experimentation with sound effects and storytelling. The scenario, written by the band earlier on the day it was recorded (November 28, 1967), is about a group of people auditioning for a BBC radio play. Lennon and Ringo Starr designed the cover.

By the Christmas season of 1968, relations within the Beatles were becoming strained. The holiday message was produced around the time the “White Album” was released, in November of 1968. The four members’ voices were recorded separately, in various locations. There’s plenty of self-mockery. Perhaps the most striking moment comes when the American singer Tiny Tim (invited by George Harrison) strums a ukulele and sings “Nowhere Man” in a high falsetto.

The Beatles were in the process of breaking up when they recorded (separately) their final Christmas message in November and December of 1969. A couple of months earlier, just before the release of Abbey Road, Lennon had announced to the others that he was leaving the group. Yoko Ono appears prominently on the recording, singing and talking with Lennon about peace. Fittingly, the 1969 message incorporates a snippet from the Abbey Road recording of “The End.”

This post was written by Open Culture contributor Mike Springer.

Related Content:
The Beatles: Unplugged Collects Acoustic Demos of White Album Songs (1968)
Peter Sellers Reads The Beatles’ “She Loves You” in Four Different Accents
The 10-Minute, Never-Released, Experimental Demo of The Beatles’ “Revolution” (1968)

Source: http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/listen-to-the-beatles-christmas-records.html

December 04, 2018

How The Beatles Made 'The White Album'

Fifty years ago, just before the holidays in 1968, The Beatles put out not just a new album, but a double album, something relatively unheard of at the time. The album art was a stark, white, glossy cover with raised, slanted lettering that simply said, "The Beatles." That self-titled album, with its 30 songs that span genres from American country music to avant-garde tape collage, has come to be known as "The White Album." And in celebration of its birth 50 years ago, The Beatles label Apple Records has scoured the archives for a new deluxe edition of the album that, for the first time, includes previously unreleased, early demo recordings, studio outtakes and stunning remixes in both stereo and 5.1 surround.

Today we've got a conversation with the man who produced this 100-plus song celebration, Giles Martin, whose father, George Martin, produced "The White Album" back in '68 (along with most everything else The Beatles ever made). In this interview with Giles Martin, you'll hear some of the early demos, outtakes and remixes. But he begins by describing the process of making of the "The White Album," how it turned out to be a much-less planned and much more organic process than ever, and how that frustrated George Martin.

You can hear the full conversation (and the music) with the play button at the top of the page and read edited highlights below.

November 16, 2018

Christmas Messages Covers- Updated HQ Scans

Each year the Beatles would send a studio message thanking all their fan club members for a wonderful year. Below are the covers for each year from 1963 thru 1969 and a link where you can get them. Enjoy http://returntopepperland.blogspot.com/2006/11/beatles-christmas-records.html