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Goodbye in 2018
January 05, 2019 01:22 PM PST
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In 2018, we again had to say Goodnight to a few famous names in Beatles history. The best known casualty is Geoff Emerick, so we begin and end this 'in memoriam' mix with Geoff.

Second to be heard is Tony Calder, the music manager who promoted the Beatles’ debut single Love Me Do, died on 2 January at the age of 74. The British record executive, producer and manager worked with acts including Marianne Faithfull, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac.Calder was hired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein to promote the band in the early 1960s. Soon after, Calder and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham – whom Calder had met while working at Decca Records – formed a PR company called Image. It managed the Rolling Stones and promoted the Beach Boys.

Then Ken Dodd. He was a comedian, singer and occasional actor. He was described as "the last great music hall entertainer", and was primarily known for his live stand-up performances. He also had 18 singles in the British Top 40, including a no. 1 ("Tears"). The Beatles' appeared only once on Ken Dodd's BBC radio show.
Friday, February 16, 2018

We then hear Kenneth Haigh, cast member in 'A Hard Day's Night'.He played the role of Simon Marshall in one of the best scenes. He was the man who didn't recognize George Harrison as he lectured him on how he was supposed to be hip to "Susan." "Oh, that posh bird who gets everything wrong," George snapped at him. But his other roles included playing Brutus in "Cleopatra" with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Geoff Emerick, who worked on several of the Beatles' most important albums, died from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.Emerick is credited as being an innovator, willing to do anything to help his demanding clients craft their sound. When John Lennon said he wanted to sound like the "Dalai Lama singing on a mountain" for the 1966 song "Tomorrow Never Knows," Emerick and other sound engineers fed his voice through rotating speakers to distort it. "I remember the surprise on our faces when the voice came out of the speaker. It was just one of sheer amazement," Emerick said, according to Beatles chronicler Mark Lewisohn.
Emerick joined EMI at the age of 15 in 1962, sitting in on the Beatles' first session for the record label during his first week of work.
"It was the right place at the right time," Emerick told CNN in a 2006 interview about his time with the Beatles. "It could have happened to anybody," he said.
"At the time of doing those albums we never realized it was going to develop into what it developed into."
He became the right-hand man to late producer George Martin, working the board through the '60s for seminal Beatles' albums like "Revolver," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Abbey Road" and much of "Magical Mystery Tour" and "The White Album."
After the Beatles split in 1970, Emerick continued to work with Paul McCartney, producing his third studio album "Band on the Run." He also worked with Elvis Costello, The Zombies and Johnny Cash.
His work won him four Grammy Awards, including Best Engineer for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Band on the Run" and "Abbey Road." He won the technical Grammy in 2003 for "pushing the boundaries of studio recording techniques to new frontiers of creativity and imagination," according to his website.
In 2006, he released the book, "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles," which received criticism for its dismissal of the work of George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

My own Claim to Fame came last year: while attending a concert of the famous Beatles cover band 'the Analogues' I noticed that Emerick was sitting in the row behind me. After the concert I approached him, but I didn't have the courage to speak to him. The opportunity will not offer itself again......

Billy Preston & The Beatles
October 30, 2018 01:32 PM PDT
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Keyboard player Billy Preston is another excellent candidate to be called the Fifth Beatle. In April 1969 the Get Back single was credited to "The Beatles with Billy Preston", as was its b-side, Don’t Let Me Down. Along with Tony Sheridan, he was one of just two non-members to receive top billing on a Beatles single.

On the Beatles albums ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Abbey Road’ we can listen to Preston’s keyboard playing. Here in the Cellar, for the first time ever, we have a recording of Preston singing, accompanied by the Beatles. He really makes ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ his own!

Billy Preston is also associated with the history of the Beatles in many ways over the years. Billy Preston first met the Beatles in Hamburg in 1962. Preston was playing keyboards for Little Richard, and the Beatles were huge fans. Harrison, the youngest of the Beatles, bonded with the 15-year-old Preston, and they remained life-long friends. They met again in 1969, during the sessions for the Let It Be album and film. According to George Harrison, George had walked out of the studio and gone to a Ray Charles concert in London, where he saw Preston playing the organ. George brought Billy in to play keyboards on some of the Let It Be tracks, as the original idea of Let It Be was to be a "live" recording with no overdubbing, which left none of them to add things like a keyboard part. According to others, George invited Billy to say hello to the Beatles when they were recording in the Apple studios, and Paul invited him to jam along. Anyway, they probably all felt that bringing in an outsider would make the others behave nicer and make the Let It Be set a happier place to be, and it worked, albeit temporarily.

Billy worked with The Beatles from 22-31 January 1969, playing Fender Rhodes electric piano and a Lowrey DSO Heritage organ (not Hammond organ!). The Beatles were happy to have Billy in the studio, and after 2 days John suddenly said that he’d like to see Billy join The Beatles. Feeling that two days involvement is rather too short an apprenticeship for membership in the world’s most influential band, Paul half-jokingly stated that it’s bad enough with four of them. George settled the matter by saying that he then would invite Bob Dylan to join The Beatles! If only………..

Preston performed with The Beatles during their 42-minute performance on the rooftop of Apple, on 30 January 1969, which was the band's final public performance.

Billy Preston also played on the Abbey Road album. He performed on the songs I Want You (She's So Heavy) and Something, though was not credited.

Billy's relationship with the Beatles continued even after their breakup. George Harrison co-produced two albums for Apple with Billy. His greatest hit single, That's The Way God Planned It, was produced by George Harrison.
Billy performed with George at the Concert for Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden, and played on these George Harrison albums: All Things Must Pass, Extra Texture, Dark Horse and 33 1/3. He also played on John's Plastic Ono Band and Sometime in New York City albums (and is reputed to play on Instant Karma!), and with Ringo on the ‘Ringo’ and ‘Goodnight Vienna’ albums. Billy Preston performed at the Concert For George, the 2002 tribute concert for Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall, where he played My Sweet Lord and Isn't It A Pity.
In 2003 he was heard on Let It Be... Naked, the de-Spectored version of the 1969 Let It Be sessions.
His final public appearance was at a 2005 in Los Angeles, for the re-release of the Concert for Bangladesh film. Afterwards he performed Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth), My Sweet Lord and Isn't It A Pity with Ringo Starr and George's son Dhani.

Preston was the first to record My Sweet Lord, for his 1970 album Encouraging Words, and this would come to haunt poor Harrison; Harrison wrote “My Sweet Lord” in 1969, while he, Eric Clapton, and Billy Preston were on a European tour backing Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Harrison had been listening a lot to the chart hit “Oh, Happy Day,” a gospel recording by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. George continued to develop the composition over the next few days, including a recording session during which Billy Preston recorded “My Sweet Lord,” featuring backing vocals from the Edwin Hawkins Singers. Billy Preston’s version was issued on Apple just prior to George's.
Preston's version didn’t chart, but George took his version all the way to the top, becoming a major smash over Christmas of 1970. It remains his biggest chart hit to date.

Unfortunately, My Sweet Lord sounds rather similar to another song: the Chiffons' 1963 hit 'He's So Fine'. A liability trial over “My Sweet Lord” began on February 23, 1976 in Manhattan. District Judge Richard Owen was also a trained pianist who composed publicly performed operas, sometimes sung by his soprano wife, Lynn. Harrison was accused that the songs were so similar that Harrison could have only written his by copying “He’s So Fine.”
In court, the Judge had both versions (Harrison and Preston’s) played, to compare with ‘He’s So Fine’. Surprisingly, the Judge found that Preston’s version included a few notes that made it more similar to He’s So Fine than Harrison’s own! This probably contributed to the Judge’s ruling: My Sweet Lord was copied from He’s So Fine.
In a strange twist, the legal battle over financial compensation continued for decades, and saw Harrison opposed by his former manager, Alan Klein (who had bought the rights to He’s So Fine). The matter was finally settled in 1998. A few notes can have big consequences!

Preston passed away in 2006. Intriguingly, in the years preceding his death Billy worked on a collection of Beatles cover versions, which remains unreleased……….

With thanks to P.R. Lee for the idea.

I'll Still Love You.
October 14, 2018 01:26 PM PDT
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This Harrison composition has a recording history that is far longer than the song itself....it was written during the All Things Must Pass period as "Whenever", after which it was copyrighted with the title "When Every Song Is Sung".

Harrison originally intended the song for Shirley Bassey, who had a hit in the summer of 1970 with a cover version of "Something".

Harrison recorded a demo of "When Every Song Is Sung" during the sessions for All Things Must Pass; some of the outtakes are available and show that his voice sounds tired, and he doesn't have all the words yet. The song is performed in a jazzy style, and Harrison is often barely audible above the instruments.
We managed to isolate the vocals for this remix.

Obviously, the track "Whenever" was not included on All Things Must Pass. He went on to produce recordings of the track by Ronnie Spector in February 1971, and Cilla Black in August 1972, but neither version was completed for release. Mary Hopkin and Leon and Mary Russell also attempted the song during the first half of the 1970s. A later version by Black – produced by David Mackay and titled "I'll Still Love You" – appeared on her 2003 compilation Cilla: The Best of 1963–78.

The song was finally released in 1976 by Ringo Starr on Ringo's Rotogravure.
The musicians on "I'll Still Love You" included pianist Jane Getz and a rhythm section comprising Starr and Jim Keltner (both on drums) and Voormann (on bass). Lon Van Eaton, a former Apple Records signing, played lead guitar on the track. Harrison was "not pleased" with Starr's version of the song and took legal action against him, which was soon settled out of court.

We used Ringo's instrumental track for this remix.

Musically, I Still Love you combines features of Harrison's greatest compositions. The verses have the same descending pattern as in "Something" and the middle eight is harsher compared to the verses, just like the middle eight in Something. And then the chords are very similar to those of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Now, you can judge for yourself if I'll Still Love You is the greatest Harrisong that never was.

Many thanks to Paul-René Lee for alerting me to this possible Synmix.

The Beatles in Dutch
July 24, 2018 11:52 AM PDT
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The BDJ engineers at North End Music Studios seized upon the opportunity to release a new Beatles EP, in Dutch. Two Ductch authors, Bindervoet and Henkes, have just pulished a book (Alle 214 Goed) in which they translate the complete Beatles oevre. Some of these songs were performed in a podcast (Fab4Cast 96) by famous singer/songwriter Yorick van Norden. He accompanied himself on guitar in the studio. We post-produced these tracks into full-blown tracks with proper arrangements. Listen to It's Only Love, Norwegian Wood, Julia and I will. Time to learn Dutch!

Lennon's Third Eye: the Bart Huges Story
June 03, 2018 12:11 PM PDT
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Bart Huges, a former medical student from the University of Amsterdam and the grandfather of modern trepanation, recounts meeting with John Lennon in the 60s.

Huges, already having bored a hole into his own skull with a basic drill, was approached by Lennon who told of his desire to open up his own “third eye”. Huges advised that Lennon needed no such intervention. “Third eye people are your kind of people,” Huges told Lennon. Because of Lennon’s creative talents and the fact that a small percentage of the population has a skull with a naturally formed hole, Hughes deduced, “there’s no doubt about it, you have the hole.”

Lennon was unconvinced. “He kept wanting it,” Huges remembers, “and I kept contradicting him.”

Finally, Yoko chipped in. Hear Huges tell it all......

Mumbo Back
March 30, 2018 10:09 AM PDT
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A great fan of the Cellar, P.R. Lee alerted me to the similarities between two McCartney songs: Mumbo, and Get Back. In particular, some early versions of Get Back have a more improvised character, resembling the mumbo-jumbo of Mumbo.
Mumbo was recorded on July 25th, 27th, 28th & August 1971, and appeared on Wild Life. The song is credited to Paul and Linda McCartney. McCartney appeared to have liked this nonsense song, since he played it live 10 times, a.o. in Amsterdam and Groningen in 1972.
McCartney said about Mumbo: “Mumbo is just a big scream of no words. A wacky idea, cos it was just ‘Whuurrrgghh A-hurrgghhh!’ and we mixed it back so it was like ‘Louie Louie’. Everyone’s going, What are the words of that? Just hope they don’t ask for the sheet music. Which no one ever did, luckily.”
We don’t need to ask for sheet music, because the chords are very similar to Get Back…..
Get Back also started with different lyrics, describing immigration of Pakistani and others; but McCartney changed them into more innocent lyrics.
Both Mumbo and the early takes of Get Back feature Paul’s “Little Richard’ voice that he also used on Helter Skelter. In this remix, these McCartney tracks mesh seamlessly together.

Sympathy for Jude
March 18, 2018 03:14 PM PDT
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Much has been said about the Rolling Stones vs. The Beatles. Which one was the better band, the most innovative, the loudest, the most anti-establishment?
No need to enter hat discussion here. For a recent talk, listen to this podcast: http://beatlesfanclub.nl/fab4cast-90-the-stones-the-beatles/ (in Dutch).

Although the Beatles launched the Stones’ career by giving them I Wanna Be Your Man (the Stones’ first hit single), they parted ways musically thereafter. The Beatles never covered a Stones song, and the Stones covered Beatles tracks very rarely (recently they performed Come Together). But the bands remained friends and they sometimes attended each other’s recording sessions.

One song where the Stones and the Beatles appear to be approach each other is Sympathy for the Devil, and Hey Jude. The ‘na na’ section uses the same chord sequence as the verses of Sympathy for the Devil. Both songs were released in 1968; hey Jude was composed around June 1968, while Sympathy was recorded on June 4th. Hence, Sympathy was probably composed earlier, but there is no indication that McCartney had heard it before he wrote Hey Jude.
No need to cry about plagiarism; this chord sequence is very common, listen to I Can’t Explain (the Who), if I Were a Carpenter (Bobby Darin), Fortunate Son (Creedence CR), All Right Now (Free), and many others.

Sympathy tells about several atrocities (wars, murders) committed throughout the history of humanity as if they were somehow inspired by the Devil. No link with the Beatles, although one line might refer to them: The “troubadours who got killed before they reach Bombay” might refer to the Beatles visit to the Maharishi in India, but – fortunately – the Beatles didn’t get killed on the way….

This remix plays bot songs together. The Stones were well aware of the similarity of the chords; in a concert in Baltimore Nov 26, 1969 Mick Jagger actually sang ‘nana na’ and Hey Jude’ over the end of Sympathy. This fragment concludes this remix.

Where did McCartney find "My Carnival"?
February 12, 2018 09:27 AM PST
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I'm always thrilled when I discover where the Beatles found inspiration for their songs. And sometimes that inspiration bordered on infringing other's rights: examples are Harrison getting in trouble for My Sweet Lord vs. She So Fine, Lennon angering Chuck Berry's lawyers over Come Together, and McCartney.......
It seems that I don't have an example of McCartney crossing the line when using other people's music; he had some trouble over the the phrase "Ob la di, ob la da", and financially compensated the alleged source. And he clearly paraphrased Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA" in his own "Back in the USSR, but that's about it. McCartney is quite frank about being influenced by a whole range of artists, but - as far as I know - has never been suspected of copying. In fact, McCartney takes great care to avoid accidental copying, as exemplified by his hesitation to release Yesterday: he was afraid that he had heard the melody somewhere.

Some time ago, I heard the song "Hey Little Girl" by Professor Longhair. Professor Longhair blended Afro-Cuban rhythms with rhythm and blues. The most explicit is Longhair's Blues Rhumba,' where he overlays a straightforward blues with a clave rhythm.The piano part for the rumba-boogie "Hey Little Girl" employs the 2-3 clave onbeat/offbeat motif.

This song has nothing to do with Hello Little Girl, the first song known to be written by Lennon. But it did remind me of McCartney's style of songwriting. I felt there could be some influence of Hey Little Girl on Hey Jude (more than just the Hey"...), but could not pinpoint it exactly. And then I heard the song "My Carnival", on McCartney & Wings re-release of Venus & Mars. The music and melody of My Carnival is an exact copy of Hey Little Girl! In the remix in BDJ's Cellar you can confirm that yourself.

Where and how did McCartney pick up this song by the rather obscure Professor Longhair? Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd (December 19, 1918 – January 30, 1980), better known as Professor Longhair, was a New Orleans
blues singer and pianist. Longhair's first recordings were made at the Hi Hat Club, where a rudimentary recording studio was set up. Four sides were issued on the tiny Star Talent label as by Professor Longhair & His Shuffling Hungarians, including Hey little Girl (1949). He is best known for his song "Mardi Gras in New Orleans", which has the same chords and melody as Hey Little Girl. There is evidence that Mardi Gras was actually performed by McCartney (on MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.9 and Complete Cold Cuts). McCartney has never played this song in concert. So where did McCartney hear "Mardi Gras in New Orleans"?

Wings flew to New Orleans to record their fourth album,“Venus and Mars.” And on Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 11,
1975, the McCartneys waded into the holiday revelry, masking as a pair of clowns. McCartney, asked what
musicians he’d heard during his New Orleans 1975 visit, said: “Well, we saw Professor Longhair play. And
he’s the greatest. He’s a classic. I love ’em.”

Wings recorded “My Carnival” at Sea-Saint the day after Mardi Gras. The song’s piano, rhythm and vocals
parallel the music of Professor Longhair's Mardi Gras and Hey Little Girl.

Venus and Mars reached No. 1 internationally. The original album did not include “My Carnival.” Was
McCartney hesitant because he might have copyright issues? Five years after Professor Longhair’s death,
McCartney released “My Carnival” as the B-side of “Spies Like Us,” (title song for a 1985 Chevy Chase-
Dan Aykroyd movie). In 1993, Venus And Mars was remastered and reissued on compact disc as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series; My Carnival was released as a Bonus Track.

So there we have it, clear evidence that McCartney copied others; we have to note that he single’s label says: “Recorded in New Orleans & dedicated to Prof. Longhair”. Now there's an understatement!

The 5th drummer of the Beatles
January 09, 2018 08:54 AM PST
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Who was the Fifth Beatle? There are a lot of candidates for this honorary title: some consider themselves the fifth Beatle, others could qualify through their merits for the Beatles. That's why we highlight a potential Fifth Beatle: Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. Purdie has clearly put his name forward with his bold statements:

- "I overdubbed the drumming on 21 songs from the first three Beatle albums".
- "There are four drummers on the Beatles records, but Ringo is not one of them"

Purdie is known as a groove drummer with flawless timing and precision half notes, backbeats and grooves. His groove sometimes combines different influences, such as swing, blues and funk. He created the now well-known drum pattern the "Purdie Half-time Shuffle".

He is widely appreciated and admired for his drum performance, so why would he say this kind of strange stuff?

It seems possible that Purdie has drummed on the American version of some of Tony Sheridan's songs and the Beatles. But otherwise, Purdie seems to exaggerate when he talks about 21 songs on 3 LPs. But how many songs should you record with the Beatles to be called the Fifth Beatle?

Here we made a remix of the German (with Pete Best on drums) , and the American version (with Purdie on drums) of "Take out some insurance on me". There is additional guitar, drums and harmonica. The drums are clearly improved, a hi-hat error by Pete Best towards the end has been eliminated.......

Getting Better - Take 1
December 01, 2017 02:20 PM PST
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Here's a different (new!) mix of Getting Better. This song was featured (of course) on Sgt Pepper, following Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds.

Getting Better is mostly a Paul song, although Lennon contributed significantly to the lyrics and the vocals.

On March 9, 1967, recording started at Abbey Road studios. They first recorded the 'rhythm' tracks, including drums, pianet (Wurlitzer?), rhythm guitar and - some - bass. The bass is only heard when the pianet is not playing, suggesting that Paul played both instruments. Seven takes were recorded, the last one being labelled 'best'. This take 7 forms the basis of the version heard on Sgt. Pepper. However, on the 50th anniversary release of Sgt Pepper, also Take 1 of the rhythm track is included. It is remarkably lively, and appears to 'rock' more than take 7. Therefore, we used this rhythm track Take 1 and combined it with the vocals (recorded on 21 and 23 March). we also used the conga and piano in places.
Notable differences are the prominence of the pianet in the mix, the absence of the high pitched guitar and the tamboura drone. The high energy of the track is probably also due to the speed: they played Take 1 significantly faster than Take 7. Take 7 starts at 118 bpm, increasing to 126 bpm at the end. Take 1 starts at 122 bpm, reaching 132 bpm at some points (Ringo's drumming is more uneven than in take 7).

Musically, Getting Better combines aspects of other McCartney songs: the 'drone effect', a single note played for a long time, is also heard in e.g. Paperback Writer. The drone (a G note) is much more proounced in Take 7, since the high pitched guitar plays this note throughout (except the verses), as well as the tamboura (starting 2/3 into the song).
Here, There, and Everywhere appears to be the model for the refrain ("I've got to admit...') It consists of rising chords, going up the musical scale step by step. This is much more noticeable on the pianet in Take 1 of Getting Better. Lennon would use this same sequence later in Sexy Sadie.

Paul wrote this song on a piano, so it is no surprise the pianet is played throughout take 1, probably by Paul. Other evidence is that Getting Better is written in the key of C, a typical key for less experienced piano players; Paul could play the whole song on the white piano keys only!

There is the well-known story of Lennon feeling ill after taking LSD, and George Martin taking him to the roof....This took place during the recording of the vocals on March 21, which may explain why some of the - backing- vocals sound slightly off-key.

So here it is, new mix based on Take 1. Is it -compared to take 7- Getting Better?

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