Friday, August 20, 2010

Yellow Submarine


The eleventh official UK Beatles LP and the sixteenth official North American Beatles LP was entitled "Yellow Submarine".

The UK version was released on January 17 1969 on two catalogue numbers: Apple PMC 7070 and Apple PCS 7070. Although the "PMC" pre-fix of the catalogue number indicated mono, the mixes contained on this version were simply fold-down stereo. In North American, the LP was released on January 13 1969 as Apple SW 153 in stereo.

"Yellow Submarine" is a very strange LP in the body of the Beatles entire catalogue. First off, it was meant to be the soundtrack to the current film "Yellow Submarine". Side one contains only four new Beatles songs, although the songs had been recorded a year or two previously. The title song and "All You Need Is Love" had been previously released on singles during 1966 and 1967 respectively. Side two of the LP saw film music composed and orchestrated by George Martin. The orchestration in the film and the LP both differ. The LP version of George Martin's orchestration were re-recorded after the release of the film in October 1968 at EMI studios.

The LP also contained the new song "Hey Bulldog" which was only featured on the UK film prints at the time and not on the North American film prints. Also; "All Together Now" appears twice in the film and "It's All Too Much" appears heavily and sloppily edited in the film with a verse not heard on the LP version. I'm sure the LP at the time could have been filled with the Beatles music heard in the film such as "When I'm Sixty-Four", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", "Nowhere Man", etc. It's highest chart position in the UK was number 3 and it's highest chart position in North American was number 2.

The front cover of the LP features the movie designs of Heinz Edelmann with the cartoon characters of the four Beatles on top of a gray mountain (some covers in the US had a darker almost black mountain) surrounded by the animated characters of the film. The title of the LP: "The Beatles Yellow Submarine" had the animated submarine beneath it. In the UK the words "Nothing Is Real" appear between the yellow submarine and the animated Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. These words do not appear on the North American cover. Another difference between the two continents are the words "Selections by the Beatles plus original film music" which only appears on the upper right hand side of the North American front cover of the LP; not in the UK.

The back covers of the LP also differ in both continents: The words "Side One", "Side Two", "The Beatles" and "Original film score composed and orchestrat by George Martin" are written in black on the UK covers but in red on the North American covers. Different font is used on the above words as well. The liner notes are also extremely different. In the UK, the liner notes were by Derek Taylor who included a review of "The Beatles" (White Album) written by Tony Palmer and originally appearing in the London Observer while in North America, the liner notes were written by Dan Davis who composed an short story based on the characters of the "Yellow Submarine" film. Original UK back covers also had red lines between the song titles and liner notes and the Apple logo. North American covers did not have An Apple logo on the back.

In the UK, the vinyl LP came in a back sleeve. Side one had the full Apple on the label while Side two had the half Apple. Both labels had the words "Sold in UK subject to resale price conditions, see price lists". In North America, the records came in a white sleeve or no sleeve with the full Apple on side one and a half Apple on side two.

In 1999, Apple/EMI released the LP/CD "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" which contained 15 Beatles tracks; all of which appeared in the newly-restored film in some form or another. The songs were re-mixed and re-mastered and the audio is quite lovely. More of this release in a later blog.

In 2009, the four new songs from "Yellow Submarine" were finally available in true mono when Apple/EMI released the Mono box set and all four songs are contained on the Apple/EMI 2 CD : "Mono Masters".

"Yellow Submarine" was the very first Beatles' LP I bought and owned ( I still have it).

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