Sunday, October 15, 2017

George Harrison Beatles Demos February 1969

On February 25 1969, George Harrison entered the EMI studios in London specifically to demo three of his latest (at the time) compositions. George had not contributed any songs for the rooftop session nor for the next day's basement session although several of his tunes were committed to tape during both the Twickenham rehearsals and the Apple Studios recordings during the "Get Back/Let It Be" session a month earlier. It also happened to be George's 26th birthday.
The new tunes included "Old Brown Shoe" (take 2) with George singing and playing piano. Two electric guitars were overdubbed as well. This demo can be heard on the commercial recording for the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project.
Up next is a beautiful version of "All Things Must Pass" (take 2); this consisted of George playing an electric guitar with the tremolo effect up full and vocal. A second vocal and plain electric without the effect was also added. There are two mixes available of this tune. One is on the bootleg "More Masters" which contains the second vocal - the other being the version on the official recording for the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project whereby there is only the single vocal.
Finally, the third demo consists of George's masterpiece "Something". The recording is built on an electric guitar and George's vocal. This version can also be found on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project. All three tunes were mixed and given to George on acetates for him to take home.
As an aside, the George Harrison demo version of "Something" was most likely the demo given to Joe Cocker to record (as well as a demo of "She Came In through The Bathroom Window" which was also recorded by Joe). It's ironic that Joe Cocker recorded both songs in LA but that the songs were released after the issuance of "Abbey Road" in November 1969.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mary Hopkin's Second Apple Single

Sometime in early February 1969, Paul McCartney wrote a lovely song intended to be recorded by Apple artist Mary Hopkin for her second single. The first single being "Those Were The Days". Instead of pulling another song off of her debut Apple LP "Postcard", an original was written and then a demo was recorded for her.
The name of the song is "Goodbye". The demo consists of Paul on acoustic guitar and vocals. The song was most likely recorded at Paul's home in London on his own recording equipment from 7 Cavendish Avenue in London. The tape was most likely brought over to Dick James' Nothern Song publishing offices and was pressed on an acetate.
The acetate came under the hammer and sold at an auction back in 1981. As a result of this, the demo can be heard on bootlegs such as "File Under: The Beatles" (LP) and "Not For Sale"(LP and CD) as well as "Acetates" (CD). I remember when the "Anthology" series was commercially released and there was a discussion with other fans about why this particular demo was not on those disc - probably due to the fact that it was technically a solo performance. The song is credited to "Lennon/McCartney" although it is obviously a Paul song.
The commercial single with full band was released on April 07 1969 as Apple 1806. "Goodbye" was the A-side and "Sparrow" being the B-side. Both labels have full Apples. It came in a nice picture sleeve with a tear running down Mary's cheek. An excellent coupling.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 31 1969

On January 31 1969, The Beatles descended downstairs in the basement of Apple Studios for the last true session of the "Get Back/Let It Be" saga. This day was spent recording songs on film for the cameras and for the soundtrack of the film as well.
Three songs were scheduled to be recorded; namely "Two Of Us", "The Long and Winding Road" and "Let It Be". The first song would be performed by The Beatles with John and Paul on acoustic guitars while the other two would have the addition of Billy Preston on organ while Paul played piano.
"Two Of Us" was up first. Take 11 (all songs started with take 10 for the benefit of the cameras) was used on the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" as well as on the "Let It Be...Naked" LP/CD (with an improved mix). The "Let It Be" film included an edit of both take 11 and the end of take 12.
Once this wrapped up, the instrumental section was changed and Billy Preston was added to try a few takes of "The Long And Winding Road" as well as rehearsal of "Let It Be" although there was no used footage of these takes.
Once the Beatles and crew completed their lunch break, more takes of the piano songs were recorded. After fooling around musically with "Lady Madonna", The Beatles take 19 of "The Long and Winding Road" is captured on film was eventually released on the final "Let It Be" film and in a different improved mix for the Apple/EMI "Let It Be...Naked LP/CD. ( A take from an earlier January 26 session was used on the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be".)
Finally, the third song recorded was the eventual title track "Let It Be". The film uses one of the choruses from take 24, although the main body of the song seen in the film comes from take 27A. Lastly, the entire performance of take 27B (the last take) was marked as best and used - with later overdubs in April 1969 and January 1970 - on the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" as well as a different mix and overdubs for the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked".

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 30 1969

And so it was that on this day of January 30 1969 that The Beatles performed live on the rooftop of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row in London.This would mark the last time The Beatles performed live although the audience was very limited. The lucky few who were on the roof or who happened to be on the adjacent roofs got to see them live. Most people would only hear the songs reverberating on the street below.
All four Beatles and Billy Preston on Rhodes piano warmed up with a rehearsal of "Get Back" which also allowed the sound technician (in the basement of the building) to adjust the sound faders and EQ. Once this was completed, a few bars of "I Want You (She's So Heavy) was played and then a second take of "Get Back" was performed. A stereo mix of this second take with the count-in from the first rehearsal is available in the film "Let It Be". Up next is a take of "Don't Let Me Down" which was also used in the film "Let It Be" and this take was used in the documentary "Imagine: John Lennon" although it has been edited for the documentary.
The next song performed is "I've Got A Feeling" which ends up on both the film and the Apple LP "Let It Be". After this, the next tune is "One After 909" with a snippet of "Danny Boy" (only one version is performed on the roof) and this tune appears on the official Apple "Let It Be" LP/CD, the film of the same name and the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP tapes as well.  An alternate mix of this tune can be found on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked". A request comes in for "Dig a Pony"; this performance can be seen unedited in the film including the false start and ended up on the official "Let It Be" LP with edits but the false start remains on the Phil Spector version. An alternate mix of "Dig A Pony" was released on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked"The reels are changed at this point and The Beatles play a loose rendition of "God Save The Queen"!
A second performance of both "I've Got A Feeling" and fragments of "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody"/ a snippet of "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down" are performed but these two songs only appear on bootlegs and not used commercially. Both "I've Got A Feeling" and "Don't Let Me Down" are edited from the first and second performances and end up on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked" with cleaner mixes.
A final take of "Get Back" is attempted although by this time the London Police have made their way up to the roof to try and shut down the concert. Mal Evans (the Beatles' roadie) starts to shut off some amps to no avail as the band continues trying to get a proper take. This fails when the last chorus goes off time but the band continues until the end. John Lennon steps up to the microphone and does his famous "I hope we passed the audition" quote which is used at the end of the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" and also used on the Glyn Johns "Get Back" tapes at the end of "One After 909". This final take of "Get Back" can be found on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project.
Most of the rooftop concert can be heard on the vinyl bootleg from "Swinging Pig" entitled "The Rooftop Concert" as well as a CD bootleg containing the same material from Yellow Dog "The Complete Rooftop Session".
It is also interesting to note that the first version of the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP mixing was completed at Olympic Studios during the evening and later released on bootlegs such as "WBCN recordings" and "Kum Back" and finally "Posters, Incense and Strobe Candles" all from vinyl.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The "Get Back/Let it Be" Project January 29 1969

January 29 1969 was the big day before the big (and last) Beatles' concert. In the end, everyone agreed to have the musical equipment moved from the basement Apple studios onto the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London and get set up for a free lunchtime show and entertain the surrounding buildings. At first it seems that both Paul and George were a little reluctant but history shows that they all agreed in the end.
So the first order of the day was to rehearse the songs to be performed. The first part of the rehearsal consisted of tunes to be played on the roof such as "I've Got A Feeling", "One After 909", "Don't Let Me Down", "Dig A Pony", "Get Back" and "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"( the latter of which was never played). A couple of George Harrison composed songs were also rehearsed but never played on the roof or recorded in the Studio the day after the show: "Let It Down", "All Things Must Pass" and "For Your Blue".
After being joined by Billy Preston, the discussion of having some of the acoustic guitar/piano songs recorded the day after the live concert back in the studio included the rehearsal of "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road".
Now that the original and self-penned numbers had been rehearsed, The Beatles decided to do a bit of jamming on some oldies but moldies including a version of "Besame Mucho" which appears in the "Let It Be" film as well as "Not Fade Away" (appearing on the bootleg vinyl "File Under: the Beatles" as well as the bootleg CD "Turn Me On Deadman: The John Barrett Tapes").
Another song that was contemplated for the 1984 compilation of unreleased material entitled "Sessions" was a cover of "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues" originally recorded by Buddy Holly. John takes the vocal on this one. The song was remixed and heavily edited due to the fact that when it was recorded, Glyn Johns delayed in pressing the "record" button on the eight track machine -and it has appeared on various "Sessions" bootlegs and was ultimately released on the Apple 3LP-2CD "Anthology 3". Both the bootleg version and the commercial version have the same mix and edits applied back in the early 80s.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" project January 28 1969

The day started with The Beatles having a go at "I've Got A Feeling" until Paul has to leave for a meeting (probably to discuss the upcoming release of the Mary Hopkin LP "Postcard") while John, George , Ringo and Billy Preston continue on with the latter song for a while.
The Lennon tune "Dig A Pony" or "I Dig A Pony" (depending in which country you bought your "Let It Be" album) is recorded but none of the takes are released. The next song being recorded on this day was the ending or the reprise for "Get Back". The reprise was added on to the previous day's take and released on the commercial single for Apple as well as used on the first two Glyn Johns LP reels.
The Beatles ( and Billy Preston) also recorded the B-side "Don't Let Me Down" with addition overdubs completed during a February recording session which unfortunately remains undocumented. Other songs rehearsed and recorded on this day at Apple Studios include more of "I've Got A Feeling", "One After 909" and "Teddy Boy". One of the takes of "Teddy Boy" was used for the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" with an edit of segments from this day's session paired with segments from the January 24 1969 session.
The "Get Back" take with coda was mixed for mono on March 26 1969 at Abbey Road and then again at Olympic Studios on April 07 1969. The stereo mix for "Get Back" (with coda) and "Don't Let Me Down" (with overdubs) was completed three days earlier on April 04 viola....the "new" Beatles' single was ready. As nature intended.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 27 1969

The Beatles gathered into Apple Studios on this day to continue their work on the project, all four Beatles; Billy Preston as well as George Martin and Glyn Johns were all present.
The day started with a bit of work on an untitled composition written by George Harrison which would evolve into "Old Brown Shoe". The song would remain un-revisited for the time being and the piano songs "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" are rehearsed.
The main focus of the day was the rehearsal and recording of the upcoming single "Get Back". There were various reels of recording tape used this day to record the song and one of the takes (27.63) was used for the commercial Apple 45 single - without the coda at this point. It was produced by George Martin and the credit was "The Beatles with Billy Preston" on the label once it was released.
Also on this day, a nice take of "Oh! Darling" with Billy Preston on Fender Rhodes Electric piano surfaced on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" which also features John Lennon's comment the Yoko getting her divorce from Tony Cox !!
During the afternoon, an improvisation of a Blues type number was played by The Beatles and eventually molded itself into the Jimmy McCracklin hit "The Walk" - this was recorded on tape and used on some vinyl bootlegs including the "Beatles: On File" bootleg.