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Manchester, November 20, 1963
December 10, 2016 02:43 PM PST
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Went to see the film 'Eight Days A Week". A splendid time was guaranteed for all, and it was exciting to see the Beatles live on stage. I found it disappointing that of the live performances are interrupted by interviews; these add little to the story, but break the spell of watching the Beatles live.

I noticed hardly any new material as such; virtually all was available on Anthology, or on bootlegs. I was struck, however, by the quality of the concert in Manchester, of November 20, 1963. The Beatles performed two shows at Manchester's ABC Cinema on their 1963 Autumn Tour.

During the first show, Pathé News filmed the group performing. Accompanied with backstage footage and crowd scenes, this became an eight-minute cinema feature entitled The Beatles Come To Town, shown for a week from 22 December 1963.

In Eight Days a Week the show is presented with great picture quality (widescreen, not TV), and sound in HiFi stereo! This may well be the best quality document of any Beatles concert!

Unfortunately, only 2 complete songs are included in the extended DVD-CD set, She Loves You and Twist and Shout.

These are also the songs that were known before, in much lesser quality. Was the remainder of the concert recorded, and does it still exist? I hope so, but I doubt it.....

For the real Beatlemaniacs, I have recreated the 1963 Manchester concert, using the 2 songs actually from that concert, and the remaining setlist from concerts around the same time. This recreates the original sound of their concerts at that time: dominated by the warm, compressed sound of the VOX-AC30 amplifiers. A few months later, they would switch to the somewhat harsher sounding AC-50s and AC-100's, since the AC-30's weren't loud enough for the stadium concerts in the US.

So clap your hands and stamp your feet!

Setlist 1963-11-20

1 I Saw Her Standing There
2 From Me to You
3 All My Loving
4 You've Really Got a Hold on Me (The Miracles)
5 Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)
6 Boys (The Shirelles)
7 Till There Was You (Meredith Willson)
8 She Loves You
9 Money (That's What I Want) (Barrett Strong)
10 Twist and Shout (The Top Notes)
11 From Me to You - reprise

Come Together: Stones vs. Beatles
October 08, 2016 01:53 PM PDT
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The Rolling Stones closed out the opening night on October 7th of the all-star Desert Trip festival in Indio, California with a greatest-hits set that featured a few surprises, including the rock legends' first ever attempt covering the Beatles' "Come Together."

The Stones faithfully ran through the Beatles song complete with an extended guitar solo courtesy of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards and a mouth organ solo by Mick.

How does it line up against the Abbey Road original? Judge for yourself: The Stones (left) and the Beatles (right) battle it out in this duet.

Every Day (BDJ Singers cover)
October 11, 2015 08:42 AM PDT
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"Every Night" was written by Paul McCartney while he was on holiday in Greece, and first released on his McCartney album on April 17, 1970.

Every Night is a long-time favourite Macca track of mine. Why? Just so, but the lyrics have a calming effect that resonates with me; I like to be home too. And the chords changes are great too.
But overall, the appeal form me is how the lyrics and music are completely aligned; you could feel much of the emotion of the song from the music, even if you didn't know the words.

This starts by droning the low E on the opening bars. Although the E chord seems to alternate to a sort of Bm7 chord, this is all done by changing just 1 note in the chord. In concert, Paul just lifts his pinky here from the high E string, nothing more. This prolonged E sound is the 'home key', and fits beautifully with the concept of staying home in the lyrics.

The long E sound creates tension, and we then get a quick succession of chords that suggest a move to the key of A. (Listen to Mull of Kintyre for a similar move just before the bagpipes come in). But before we really get there ("and every day I want to do"), Macca plays a F# major, instead of the F#minor. The major chords drives us directly back to the key of E. Again, this marvellously reflects the lyrics: he thinks of going out (moving to the key of A), but quickly decides to stay home (in the key of E).

The 'middle eight' is ultra simple: no lyrics, just 'woooooo' and a simple blues chord progression. Did Macca run out of creative ideas? I don't think so. I suppose he liked this simple section to reflect the simple pleasure of staying at home with his loved one. He doesn't want to DO anything, just BE there. What better way to express this?

Macca may have been inspired by Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", which expresses a similar sentiment; and it has a long E7 chord to start-off with. You can midrash on the lyrics if you will: is it about a life in the Beatles, versus living & performing with Linda?

So there you have it. The BDJ singers cover Every Night, basically emulating Macca's version. Who could do better?

NB The picture shows Macca playing the long E chord.

Temporary Secretary (Live)
May 25, 2015 08:28 AM PDT
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"Temporary Secretary" is featured on the 1980 album McCartney II. It was released as a third single from the album only in a form of 12" single. McCartney claims that he viewed the song as an "experiment", somewhat influenced by Ian Dury.
It indeed showcases Macca's 'avant-garde' strand and may be Pauls attempt to outdo the Who's 'Won't get fooled again' in its repetitive synthesizer riff.
Macca played the song for the first time ever at the O2 Arena in London on May 23, 2015. This is the audience recordings of the June 7 concert in Amsterdam (which I attended).

Because (Instr.)
January 11, 2015 10:13 AM PST
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Because the A Capella Isolation of Because is well known (it appeared on Love), we complete the catalogue with the instrumental isolation.

All you have to do, is go to your bathroom, and add a 4 part harmony to it.

Stu Sutcliffe provided the cover painting.

Fear Of Flying ft. Charlie Dore
October 26, 2014 03:08 PM PDT
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A demo of the obscure Charlie Dore song "Fear of Flying" recorded one day in 1979/1980 when Dore visited Harrison's house was rediscovered by Olivia Harrison while searching through George's archives, a section of which was used on the Jools Holland show on BBC Radio 2.

Olivia Harrison: "It's a demo, it's not embellished, it's just him, George, on an acoustic guitar. I don't know how he'd feel about it being played, but I think it's really sweet."

Written by the lady herself, backed by "Hula Valley" and produced by Bruce Welch and Alan Tarney for Island records, "Fear Of Flying" was Charlie's Dore's debut single. And it didn't fly!

She learned her lesson, or maybe her record buying public did, and her next release literally flew: "Pilot Of The Airwaves". The latter went on to become an enduring radio favourite, reaching #13 on the US Billboard Hot 100, earning Dore the Record World New Female Artist of the Year, an ASCAP award and charting in Canada, Australia and Europe.

George's demo is a great find.
But that was not enough for the BDJ team. Based on the fragment (ca 1 minute) of the acoustic demo, we recreated the complete song, as it would have sounded if George had finished it.

Country Dreamer (arr. BDJ)
January 06, 2014 01:23 PM PST
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"Country Dreamer" is the B-side song to the single "Helen Wheels" released by Paul McCartney and Wings on 26 October 1973 in the UK and 12 November 1973 in the US.

It is a pleasant acoustic song, it was not on an LP at the time. It has since been included as bonus track on the CD re-issue of Band On The Run, so that completists can easily find it these days.

It was recorded in October 1972, and its country ambiance is similar to "Heart of the Country" from Paul McCartney's 1971 album Ram.

Unfortunately, it was produced similarly to Hellen Wheels, rather like a rock song, with sloppy double tracked vocals. Furthermore, Paul seems to have trouble singing in key, starting the song in a very low voice, shifting to a rock voice just above his range.

Fortunately, there is a 'home recording', of Paul demo-ing this song on acoustic guitar. It was apparently recorded during a photo-shoot, Linda is audible chatting away, and her Kodak makes distinctive clicks.

However, in a suitable arrangement, these intrusions can be easily overlooked. Hence, we added more guitars, piano, a trumpet, bass, drums and a fiddle; that's a real country atmosphere.

Once you've heard this production, you'll never go back to the Band on the Run version.

Misery (BDJ Upgrade)
December 31, 2013 03:00 PM PST
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"Misery" was written for Helen Shapiro on 26 January 1963, and later completed at Paul McCartney's Forthlin Road home.

This is the official version of things, but wouldn't it be problematic for Helen Shapiro to sing "I'm the kind of guy who never used to cry"?

For this reason or another, Shapiro didn't use it and British singer and entertainer Kenny Lynch recorded it instead, thus becoming the first artist to cover a Lennon–McCartney composition. He had only a minor hit with it, though. Kenny Lynch's version of the song put a soulful spin on the pop song, which caused a little dissension from Lennon, mostly because of his utilizing the skills of British session guitarist Bert Weedon. The original first line of the song, as sung by Kenny Lynch, was “You’ve been treating me bad”, whereas, during the Beatles’ recording of the song, the line was changed to “The world is treating me bad.”

The Beatles recorded "Misery" on 11 February 1963 in 11 takes, the last take being used for the commercial release. For this upgrade, we used take 1 and take 7.

“Take One” of the song was complete and performed with great vocal enthusiasm. Ringo even puts in a little drum fill after the second verse which he dropped later. Already in place was the ending with John and Paul’s alternating “ooohs” and “la-la-las,” although they sounded fresher and more vibrant this first time around. The only fault in this take was George Harrison’s rhythmic guitar run in the bridges of the song, which weren’t in time.
Takes 2-5 were incomplete. Take 6 was complete but not used; George added guitar fills at the end of the verses, that George Martin probably didn't like. These fills were omitted in Take 7. Interestingly, George Harrison managed to play all kinds of fills when thy played Misery on various BBC sessions! Note also, Kenny Lynch's version has these guitar fills! And he has a - piano - solo too.

It is remarkable that the lyrics still changed during the recording session, since there is a change in the last verse somewhere between takes 1 and 7, the takes we used for this upgrade: in the second bridge. “Can’t she see she’ll always be the only one, only one” is replaced with “She’ll remember and she’ll miss her only one, lonely one”. Usually in Beatles songs, as well as the established song structure of the day, the bridge is identical when repeated. And Kenny Lynch's version has "Please come back to me" instead of 'Send her back to me".

Slight change in the outro too, where John sings Ooom instead of Oooh.

George Martin added piano to take 11 on February 20th, ending up with take 16. Thi is how it featured on the LP Please Please Me, and on the EP "The Beatles (No 1)", first issued 1 November 1963.

Takes 1 and 7 are otherwise very similar, so perfect material for this true stereo upgrade. See if you (too) like it better than the official release!

Do You Want To Know A Secret (BDJ Upgrade)
December 29, 2013 03:00 PM PST
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In the United States, Do You Want To Know a Secret was the first top ten song to feature Harrison as a lead singer, reaching number 2 on the Billboard chart in 1964 as a single released by Vee-Jay, VJ 587. The Beatles' version was never released as a single in the UK, where a cover version by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas hit number one in the NME chart.

Lennon said he based the song on Wishing Well, from Walt Disney's 1937 animated feature film Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. Indeed, the opening lines of the lyrics are taken from this film song. However, the melody of DYWTKAS appears to owe more to "I Really Love You", a song released by The Stereos in 1961. This record, issued on Cub Records, a subsidiary of MGM Records, reached number 29 on the Billboard Top 40 chart. The lead singer on I Really Love You was Ronnie Collins. This song was covered by the le George Harrison in his 1982 studio album Gone Troppo, so indeed it appears to have been well known to the Beatles.

Lennon later said that he gave "Do You Want to Know a Secret" to Harrison to sing because "it only had three notes and he wasn't the best singer in the world". So George did pretty well with these 3 notes.....

The song was recorded during a ten-hour session on 11 February 1963 along with nine other songs for Please Please Me.

Take 8 was best — being a superimposition take of the harmony vocal and two drum sticks being tapped together (You can hear them from 1:09 to 1:20.), onto take six.

Here, we used take 7 and Take 8 to create a stunning true stereo version.

From Me to You (BDJ upgrade)
December 27, 2013 01:59 PM PST
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"From Me to You" was the first Beatles song to reach number one in Britain. "From Me to You" would be the first of eleven consecutive British number one singles by the Beatles.

The recording of From Me to You took place on 5 March 1963 at Abbey Road Studios and on 11 April Parlophone released "From Me to You" in the UK as a single.

The stereo version (recorded on two tracks) lacks the harmonica intro which was inserted into the mono version which was issued as a single, on the 1988 issue of Past Masters, the 1962–1966 CD reissue and the One compilation. The stereo version was included in the compilations A Collection of Beatles Oldies, the original LP issue of 1962–1966 and the 2009 reissue of Past Masters.

John and Paul wrote it on 28 February on the artistes' coach travelling down from York to Shrewsbury during a concert tour. McCartney remembers it was a leap forward in writing technique: "it was great, that middle eight was a very big departure for us. Say you're in C then go to A minor, fairly ordinary, C, change it to G. And then F, pretty ordinary, but then it goes [sings] "I got arms" and that's a G Minor. Going to G Minor and a C takes you to a whole new world."

So that explains it.......

'From Me To You' was recorded in seven takes, then six additional edit piece takes were done, featuring harmonica, the guitar solo and the harmonised introduction.

For the 'Golden Oldies' album of 1966, several songs were remixed in stereo, but From Me To You was never done. The album's stereo mix of this song is simply the original two-track tape, rhythm on the left channel, vocals on the right. The mono single and stereo LP versions differ, the mono being the only one to have harmonica in the introduction. This was because the single included a harmonica edit piece which was overlooked during the preparation of this album. The 14 March 1963 stereo mix of `From Me To You' had already been scrapped.

So there's the challenge, to produce a satisfying true stereo remix of the epic From Me to You.

In this remix, we used takes 1,2, 5 and an edit piece (the harmonica solo). The Beatles intended the song to open with a guitar solo, so we did not replace it with an edit piece harmonica intro.

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