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Just Fun - Complete Pre-Take
October 11, 2020 04:37 AM PDT
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“Just Fun” is one of the very first songs written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, in late 1957 or 1958.

It remained rather obscure for decades. The Beatles played a rough version during the 'Get Back' sessions in January 1969. It only lasts for 20 or 30 seconds.

As part of the John Lennon 80th birthday celebrations on 9 October, Paul McCartney has announced that he would play the unreleased Beatles song to mark the day. And he actually sang a single verse, strumming his guitar, as part of the BBC special ‘John Lennon at 80’, which aired on October 3 and 4 between 9 and 10pm London time.

That was a great disappointed for true Beatles fans, who expected a real Beatles version that would have remained hidden in the EMI vaults. But no such recording probably exists. And that is the kind of challenge that the BDJ engineers like: re-create a long lost song from the scraps found at the bottom of the stairs of the Abbey Road studios. Our version has a 'Wings' feel to it, although it is possible that George played slide guitar.

Her Majesty - Complete
October 04, 2020 07:15 AM PDT
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'Her Majesty’ was first performed at the Get Back/Let It Be sessions in January 1969. McCartney brought the song to the band in Twickenham on 9 January.

But it lasted until July 2nd before McCartney recorded the takes on Abbey Road that we all know and love. Or do we? Her Majesty is the least popular Beatles track on Spotify. In defence of Her Majesty, the statistics may lead us astray since Her Majesty is only 23 seconds long, not long enough to be consistently registered by the Spotify statistics......

Still, I haven't met many Beatles fans who name Her Majesty as their favourite track. It certainly has an unfinished feel to it: it consists of only one verse, there is no intro, chorus, middle eight.... Did McCartney consider it to be a finished song? On the one hand, he recorded 3 takes of it, suggesting that it was finished. On the other hand, Her Majesty was intended to be included in the Medley on the B-side of Abbey Road, which consist of half-finished songs.

Because of its place in the medley, McCartney may have felt there was no need to come up with a second verse and a middle eight; but in the end, he rejected Her Majesty altogether for Abbey Road. It was only because junior technician John Kurlander refused to discard the tape, that Her Majesty was included on Abbey Road at all.

This makes it interesting to think about what would have happened if Kurlander had followed McCartney's instructions to discard the tape. It is my assumption that McCartney would have resurrected Her Majesty for his first solo album, McCartney; he did so for several other songs composed in his Beatles era, but not included on any Beatles album. For the McCartney Album, he would have made a proper backing track (woodwind and slurpy cello arrangement) and composed a middle eight.

And here we have it, as a world premiere, what Her Majesty might have sounded like on the 'McCartney' album.

So what is Her Majesty about? The easy answer would be the British Queen, and that is what McCartney himself has hinted at in interviews. However, the lyrics don't seem to fit Queen Elisabeth at all: no disrespect, but Elisabeth is not a 'pretty nice girl', nor does she stay quiet, or changes every day......So the subject must be someone else, who can't be named. Once you hear the name, it is quite obvious, but I'll leave that for some other occasion. Feel free to comment if you have suggestions!

Yesterday (BDJ Stereo Remix)
March 25, 2020 05:47 AM PDT
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McCartney sang Yesterday accompanied by his Epiphone Texan guitar on the evening of 14th June. A score for string quartet — George Martin's first major arranging contribution to The Beatles - was over-dubbed three days later.

A string quartet, in the pop world of those days, was quite a step to take. It was with ‘Yesterday’ that George Martin started breaking out of the phase of using just four instruments and went into something more experimental.

Unfortunately, the recording was still very much focused on MONO. The STEREO mix of Yesterday has the guitar on the extreme left, and the string quartet in the extreme right. This makes for an awkward listening experience. Here, we present a more balanced stereo version of Yesterday, with the string quartet in stereo. Quite some work for the BDJ Spectral Demuxers, since there is no stereo recording of the string quartet available. We thought we would do credit to Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax (violins), Kenneth Essex (viola) and Francisco Gabarro (cello) by rendering them in glorious stereo.

We can now hear the string quartet better; they had to play listening to the recoding of vocals + guitar of 3 days earlier, and at some points they are a bit out of sync. But the beautiful arrangement (score by George Martin) easily makes up for these imperfections.

The highlight of the arrangement is the little cello phrase in the middle eighty (1:25-l :27), and the violin's held high A in the final verse. And that must have been frustrating for poor George Martin; George Martin had asked McCartney to comment on Martin's score; and it was McCartney who added the cello in the middle eight and the violin's held note! Frustrating no doubt, since Martin had studied music at university, and was an accomplished arranger. McCartney couldn't read music and had never scored a string quartet before.......

New Beatles Song: You Won't Get Me That Way
March 16, 2020 01:56 PM PDT
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It doesn't happen every day that you get to hear a new Beatles song; but today is that day! We proudly present the premiere (as a complete song) of 'You Won't Get Me That Way', as recorded by the Beatles on 27 January 1969 in Apple Studios, Savile Row.

You Won't Get Me That Way is a swinging blues, in classic McCartney rocker style. Soulful vocals by McCartney, in excellent voice that day. Some neat drum playing by Ringo, and bluesy guitars by George and John. With a bit more work, this could have turned into a track on 'Let It Be' (compare with 'For You Blue'!), were it not that the Beatles had run out of time to rehearse new songs; Ringo was scheduled to take off at the beginning of February to appear in The Magic Christian with Peter Sellers, so they had to finish the sessions soon. They had not come to a conclusion about the finale for the sessions yet, but they realized there would have to be some kind of live performance, and that an album should be assembled from what had been recorded. Later of course, this would culminate in the live performance on the rooftop of Apple studios on 30 January.

Anyway, on 27 January it was high time to put the finishing touches on the songs that had been rehearsed since January 2nd.

We can only conclude that the Beatles were in a good mood that day, perhaps they were happy that the rehearsal sessions were coming to an end? This Monday was the 16th day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. The Beatles recorded a total of 32 takes of Get Back in a single day, experimenting with different tempos and styles – including mock Japanese and German versions and alternative lyrics. One new song to be introduced on this day was George Harrison’s Old Brown Shoe, which would become the B-side to The Ballad Of John And Yoko later in 1969.

Towards the end of the day, they were in the middle of rehearsing I've got a Feeling, when Billy Preston (on keyboards) played a classic blues intro. All 4 Beatles picked up on it, Paul improvised the vocals and the lyrics, and You Won't Get Me That Way was born. They then played a little of Jimmy McCracklin's song "The Walk" before returning to I've Got a Feeling. A pretty disciplined rehearsal session, for Beatles standards in those days.....

Still, the lyrics may betray some of what was on Paul's mind in these final days of January. The lyrics mainly consist of 'no, you won't get me that way, you're gonna have to go it on your own', with some additional lyrics at the very end: "you won't get what I can give you. No why should I give you what I gotta give, the way you treat me like you do.'

The easiest explanation would be to label the lyrics as some pretty nonsense, produced on the spot. However, when improvising on the spot - as Paul was doing here - some inner thoughts might pop up that otherwise might have remained suppressed. Is it a coincidence that these lyrics emerge in the middle of rehearsing 'I've Got a Feeling, a feeling deep inside'? Let's find out what these lyrics could relate to!

The first thing that comes to the attention, is the negative form of the lyrics; it is mostly 'No you won't'. This is unusual for McCartney, whose lyrics are usually upbeat. One of the few McCartney songs with lyrics in the negative form is 'You Never Give Me Your Money'. This song was written 2 months later, in March 1969. Could these 2 songs be related?

'You Won't Get Me That way' seems to be a reply to a request to give something to somebody. Paul will not do that, because of the way 'you treat me like you do'. In fist instance, we may imagine that this would be about some 'love' relationship of Paul's, but that doesn't agree with his actual situation. He had met with Linda (Eastman), was deeply in love, and would marry her soon afterwards (March 1969). It is highly unlikely that he would be singing about refusing Linda what she would ask of Paul.

Therefore, the refusal could relate to business, or money matters. And that fits nicely with the lyrics of You Never Give Me Your Money; McCartney has said that this song was written with Allen Klein in mind, saying "it's basically a song about no faith in the person'. A notoriously brash character and tough negotiator, Klein invented the role of business manager, taking a stance as the outsider siding with the artists, the enemy of the record companies.

And this Allen Klein would have very much been on McCartney's mind already in January 1969. Klein had been trying to become the Beatles financial manager since 1964. Epstein and Klein had met face-to-face, in London, Klein offering to help with handling the Beatles’ finances. Brian Epstein was royally offended at the suggestion that someone else should do his job for him, and he had Klein shown to the door.

After Epstein's death in 1967, Klein renewed his efforts. He had spoken with Lennon during the recording of on 11 December 1968 of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, where Lennon performed Yer Blues. A December 1968 article in Disc and Music Echo in which Lennon worried that the Beatles were nearly broke (Apple losing around 20000 pound each week) lent an air of urgency to Klein’s appeal for Lennon to meet with him to talk Beatles business, and Klein continued his contact with Lennon from the US.

He managed to set up a meeting with John & Yoko on January 26, in the Harlequin suite of the Dorchester Hotel, London, where Klein was staying. Klein served them “a carefully researched and prepared vegetarian meal—exactly the macrobiotic dishes John and Yoko preferred.” Klein had studied the music and lyrics of Lennon and spoke sensibly about the meaning of Lennon’s songs. John & Yoko were very impressed with him, and John decided on the spot to make him his personal adviser. There and then he wrote to Sir Joseph Lockwood, the chairman of EMI: "Dear Sir Joe: From now on Allen Klein handles all my stuff." Lennon wrote a similar letter to Dick James, who ran Northern Songs to publish the Beatles songs.

After meeting with John & Yoko, Klein set up a meeting with all four Beatles on 27- or 28 January. Paul McCartney preferred to be represented by Lee and John Eastman, the father and brother respectively of his fiancée, Linda. In fact, the Beatles had appointed Lee Eastman as their financial advisor earlier in January. But now, George and Ringo sided with John & Yoko, and Paul walked out of the meeting.

Although we have no direct evidence, it seems likely that Paul was aware of Klein's presence and intentions on January 27th, when they recorded 'You Won't Get Me That Way'. Klein would have had to invite Paul to his meeting sometime during January 27, and they recorded You Won't Get Me' towards the end of the recording session.

It was clear that the Beatles could not continue this way; John Eastman came over but could not convince the other 3 Beatles. Eastman felt he could not represent the Beatles if they did not have confidence in him. On 3 February the Beatles met again. Allen Klein was charged with examining their finances and finding a way to stop NEMS from bleeding them of a quarter of their income. As a compromise to Paul, Linda's father and brother were appointed as Apple's General Council, to keep an eye on Allen Klein's activities.

However, Klein’s assignment would turn out badly for the Beatles: Dick James, their music publisher, owned a controlling 37.5% of Northern Songs. Lennon and McCartney owned 15% each. After Epstein's death on 27 August 1967, Lennon and McCartney sought to renegotiate their publishing deal with James. In 1968 they invited James for a meeting at Apple Records and it became clear to Dick James that Lennon and McCartney would not renew their contract with Northern Songs. With no new songs being published, Dick James expected that the value of Northern Songs would plummet, and he would lose millions as the major shareholder. In January, Dick James noticed the arrival of Klein through Lennon’s letter. James knew that Klein was a hardball player not averse to questionable business deals; he had a string of lawsuits behind him pending in the States. James feared that Klein would pull some scam that would suddenly leave James out in the cold with nothing.

Dick James could no longer offer to sell his shares to Lennon and McCartney, because he expected that they would not pay the full price - threatening to write no more songs when their contract ran out. Therefore, Dick James sold his share of Northern Songs without informing Lennon and McCartney (or Klein), so they had no time to announce their intentions in public. Klein was unsuccessful in buying back NEMS or blocking the sale of Northern Songs, despite his intense efforts. Allen Klein's strategy became to sell Lennon and McCartney’s shares quickly and make some cash before news of the Beatles' breakup leaked - after which the shares would tumble in value. This is why, in the meeting at Apple in October of 1969, where John officially told Paul the Beatles were over, Allen Klein pressured everyone to keep quiet about the situation for at least the next few months.

Thus Klein was a factor in Lennon and McCartney losing control of their songs, and they would only regain it decades later; thanks to a revision of copyright laws in the US, the copyright returns to the composer after 56 years, so only now do the first songs return to McCartney and Lennon's estate (Yoko Ono).

Klein was successful in other business: sorting out the financial mess of their ill-fated Apple Corps venture. He put an end to the Apple Boutique and got rid of the charlatans and hangers-on.
The Beatles’ existing deal with EMI and Capitol gave them 17.5% of the US wholesale price – a considerable amount already. Klein was able to increase to 25%. He argued that, should the label object, The Beatles would cease to record for them.

Klein also gained Apple Corps the right to manufacture and sell The Beatles records in the US. EMI would retain the recordings, but Capitol would manufacture the releases on Apple’s behalf. Apple would then profit from the difference between manufacturing and retail costs. The new terms gave The Beatles the right, for the first time, to determine the ways in which their music was manufactured and sold. By 1971 the group’s entire back catalogue was made available on Apple Records.

Klein also made sure Let It Be was released as a motion picture rather than a TV film, therefore fulfilling the group's contractual obligations with United Artists.

So, the positive contribution of Klein was that The Beatles’ personal incomes were greatly improved, and Apple was guaranteed a regular income until at least 1976.

Still, it was downhill from there for Allan Klein and the Beatles. Klein held on to the proceeds from the Concert for Bangladesh, the charity event he organized with Harrison at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1971, delaying the release of the funds to UNICEF for years, and was investigated by the US authorities. After Klein’s contract with Lennon, Harrison and Starr expired in March 1973, they opted not to renew it. The group eventually paid Klein an estimated $4m when all litigation was finally settled in January 1977.

Klein was the subject of veiled references in the Harrison song "Beware Of Darkness" – from 1971's All Things Must Pass – and the Lennon composition "Steel And Glass" – on 1974's Walls And Bridges album.

In 1979, Klein was sentenced to two months in jail for tax evasion after helping himself to the proceeds from the sale of promotional copies of the Concert For Bangladesh triple album. Klein died 4 July 2009.

Of course, McCartney did not know all of this on 27 January 1969, but he must have seen troubles coming his way in the form of Allan Klein. And his sub-conscious pushed the lyrics to his lips: "You won't get what I can give you. No why should I give you what I gotta give, the way you treat me like you do."

Unknown Performance of Love Me Do (1962)
January 25, 2020 07:53 AM PST
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A three-minute sample from a tape auctioned in the '90s and purchased by the Beatles, featuring selections from various 1962 TV appearances has hit the Internet in December 2019. The samples consist of songs performed on October 17th, October 29th, and December 29th, 1962 — “Some Other Guy,” “Love Me Do,” A Taste of Honey,” and “Twist and Shout.”

As this performance went out live on TV, it wasn't taped at all. As luck would have it, the audio of these Beatles' appearances on Granada TV's People and Places were recorded by Adrian Killen, a 16-year-old fan from Kirkdale, on a reel to reel deck wired to the TV Speaker. It was sold at an auction and purchased by Apple for around £2000 per track.

Unfortunately, only brief samples are available, form the tape that was used to advertise the auction of the complete recordings. For instance, the Love Me Do sample lasts only 48 seconds.

Here, as a world premiere, we present a complete version of this Love Me Do as played on 17 October 1962. Love Me Do is highly repetitive, consisting of just 3 chords, and the verse is repeated four times! This enables us to re-constitute the complete song from the sample, with only minor fudging of the intro and outro.

The Love Me Do performance of 17 October is a revelation: not only was it the first Lennon-McCartney song to be played on television, it also differs from the version of Love Me Do on the single (and Please Please Me LP)! The difference is subtle, but it helps to resolve a mystery around the sacking of Pete Best as drummer. While the Beatles were rehearsing Love Me Do in Hamburg (with Pete Best on drums), Best made a suggestion for the arrangement: "The idea was to make the middle-eight different from the rest of the tune, and I said, 'OK, we put the skip beat in.'" The 'skip beat' was a fluctuation in tempo, an acceleration to lead into the vocal bridge and again later, before the instrumental middle-eight. It sounded good enough for John and Paul to accept. And when the Beatles went into the studio - with Pete Best - to record Love Me Do on June 6th, 1962, they included the skip beat (on Anthology 1). Later, the drumming of Pete Best was criticized, and the skip beat section was highlighted as being particularly poor. However, the critics do not consider that Lennon and McCartney accepted this skip beat in all performances until then.

Next, when Ringo recorded the song with the Beatles (September 4th, 1962), they did not play the 'skip beat', but added handclaps during the solo section to liven things up a bit. The version with Andy White on drums (September 11th, 1962) similarly omitted the skip beat, and featured Ringo on tambourine instead.

Therefore, it is amazing that Ringo played the skip beat on October 17th, just over a month after recording Love Me Do - without the skip beat. Apparently, Lennon, McCartney and Ringo didn't think it was such a bad idea (of Pete Best!) after all. This suggests that it was probably George Martin who objected to the skip beat, not Lennon or McCartney.

In subsequent TV and radio performances (recordings available after January 1963), Ringo never played the skip beat again! I suppose they wanted to remain consistent with the version out on the record.

So here we go, a truly unique live performance of Love Me Do!

Abbey Road at 50: the ATMOS Remixes
December 07, 2019 02:39 PM PST
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The Abbey Road box released in 2019 marks the first time that Beatles songs are released in ATMOS format (on the Blue-ray disc). Since the 'One' DVD, all subsequent releases featured Dolby 5.1 mixes, but these were mostly rather underwhelming. But the 5.1 and Atmos mixes of Abbey Road mark a turning point; I can imagine that these mixes will become the preferred way to listen to Abbey Road, relegating the stereo mix to older audiophiles....

What is Atmos? It is a surround system like 5.1, but with sound coming form above as well. True 3-dimensional sound. Home Atmos systems are becoming affordable, but are not yet as widespread as 5.1 systems. To give some feeling for how amazing the Atmos mixes are, we have isolated the (8) Atmos channels and used them to produce remixes of the tracks on Abbey Road.

3 of these tracks are full remixes (Come Together, Something, I Want You), the other tracks are just short highlights of the Atmos channels. To showcase the way it works, we start with Her Majesty. This song starts with a chord, which actually was the closing chord of Mean Mr Mustard. We play 4 ATMOS channels (each twice) so it becomes clear that the instruments playing the chord are distributed over the channels. Listening to a real Atmos system, a different instrument would come at you from each corner of the room. Most of these remixes are just samples of what can de done with the Atmos channels. Don't worry, we have already produced full remixes of the major tracks, which will appear in the Cellar on a later date.

Come Together (ATMOS Remix)
December 07, 2019 02:20 PM PST

The vocals shine in this remix. Does Paul sing on Come Together? Sure he does, harmonizes with John during the first half of the song. In the latter half, John harmonizes with John. The vocals in the outro can be heard clearly, perhaps it was a good thing they were no so clear in 1969?

Something (ATMOS Remix)
December 07, 2019 02:16 PM PST

This remix just begged to be produced. The vocals from the centre channel, as pure as you can get (no reverb), supported by the (stereo) orchestra from CD3.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer (ATMOS Remix)
December 07, 2019 02:14 PM PST

We scan through the channels to highlight piano, guitars, and - yes- the Moog synthesizer.

Oh Darling (ATMOS Remix)
December 07, 2019 02:12 PM PST

Paul playing his characteristic Piano style. The Oooh aah chorus stands out well.

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