Friday, July 29, 2016

A Cameo For The Film "Yellow Submarine"

On January 25 1968, The Beatles dropped in to Twickenham Film Studios in London for the task of appearing in a cameo for the upcoming "Yellow Submarine" feature film based on the song. In the end, the cameo lasts less than a minute. The Beatles are seen in similar shirts and the background is black. The original idea was to have animation happening in the background during the cameo, but this failed to materialize due to budget constraints and time constraints. It's a nice little ending and it's great to see the group together for this segment as they introduce the last song "All Together Now" which would end up on the songtrack, of course.
Also taped on this day are segments of the individual Beatles hanging out in the animation studio with Paul listening to a playback wearing headphones, Ringo looking through one of the movie cameras and George running across the studio holding a tape measure. These brief scenes appeared in a short documentary on the film entitled "A Mod Odyssey" which is available commercially on the "Yellow Submarine" DVD (1999 version as well as the upgraded 2012 version).

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) Sessions

On November 28 1967, The Beatles entered EMI Studio 3 in order to fulfill their duties to the Official Fan Club and record their Christmas flexi for the year 1967. The format of the flexi was to have various audio skits interspersed with a theme song.
The theme song was recorded first. The title being "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)". The tune has Ringo on drums, Paul on piano, George on the acoustic guitar and John on the timpani drum. The entire instrumental backing was recorded in one take with 10 repeated verses played one after the other. Once this was completed, the vocals were added to the first 09 of the verses with the entire group singing the title over and over and Ringo singled out for the line "O-U-T spells OUT" (of which the words would later be used by Paul on his 2013 solo LP "NEW" on the song "Queenie Eye").
The skits themselves were recorded in ten takes and overladen with certain sound effects and then interwoven with the new theme song. A guest on the flexi is Beatles' friend Victor Spinetti who appears in three of the Beatles' films in various capacities. Sketches include mention of the BBC, tap dancing, Beatles roadie Mal Evans makes an audio appearance. This is followed by a jingle for a product called "Wonderlust" and a television show with voices from Paul and John.
A fragment of the theme song is played, a skit with George as announcer followed by a skit containing John as a quizmaster and George as a contestant for a quiz show, the commercial jingle once again, a skit with Ringo. Once again the theme song appears underneath the voices of John and George from the quiz show with applause.George Martin thanks the "boys" for a wonderful year. John sums it all up with a Scottish seasonal verse heard over the organ (Paul?) which plays "Auld Lang Syne".
The original flexi disc was released only in mono for the Fan Club. It was mailed out on or around December 15 1967. Produced by George Martin. Catalogue number LYN 1360. It is one sided and plays at 33 and a third. The flexi lasts 6:06 minutes.
The entire mono version of the theme song only can be heard the vinyl bootleg "File Under: Beatles". A stereo mix of the theme song in full with the introduction including John's "Interplanatery remix; page four hundred and forty four!" was conducted for the release of the aborted 1984 "Sessions" LP and can be heard on LP and CD bootlegs of this title. A proposed single from the "Sessions" LP would have included a mix of both "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/ Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" which contains about a minute of the theme song and can be found on the vinyl bootleg "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da".
Finally, the theme song for this Christmas flexi was released commercially as a B-side to "Free As A Bird" in 1995 on the Apple Vinyl/CD single. The first two and a half minutes includes the theme song (in stereo) mixed in with some 1966 Christmas greetings by each individual Beatle and ending with the previously mentioned Scottish seasonal verse by John.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

"All Together On The Wireless Machine"

Broadcast around November 25 1967 on BBC Radio 1, this Paul McCartney tune or rather "ditty" of a fragment appeared with Paul on piano and vocals.
This small number was basically a promotional or a jokey way to promo the DJs or personalities associated with the radio program entitled "Where It's At".
The number starts with the chords of the song "Hello Goodbye" being played on piano by Paul which leads us to speculate that this was done at Abbey Road sometime earlier in the month and then a little bit of whistling. The tune starts with basically the basic chord, four chord and five chord played over and over with the lyrics "Kenny Everett and Chris Denning/ All together on the Wireless Machine".
The tune has warranted enough attention as to appear on the vinyl bootleg "Abbey Road Revisited" in bad quality. It was also released on the bootleg CD "Mythology, Vol. 3 `.
I found a copy of the recording on `youtube`and have included it for your listening pleasure:

Friday, July 1, 2016

"Step Inside Love" Demos

In mid to late November 1967, Paul McCartney was approached to write a theme song for a new television show featuring Cilla Black as host. As both Mr. McCartney and Ms. Black were clients of manager Brian Epstein, I'm sure this arrangement had been previously handled by him before his passing. The confirmation for the theme song would have probably been an afterthought, or maybe Mr. McCartney was too busy with the "Magical Mystery Tour" project.
Whatever the case, a demo was constructed of the song in late November of 1967 and features Paul singing and playing acoustic guitar. There are three verses, although no lyrics for the second verse are sung but simply hummed as the lyrics are incomplete at this point. The demo is probably a run-through of the song to show DJ Kenny Everett how is goes as he was the one who recorded it in horrible quality and is featured on a vinyl bootleg entitled "Abbey Road Revisited".
On November 21, Paul McCartney met up with both Cilla Black and George Martin at Chappell Studios in London to record a proper demo of the song for orchestration and arrangement purposes. The run through of the song features Cilla on vocals and Paul on acoustic guitar with both of them humming through the instrumental break in the middle of the song. This time, all verses are complete. The demo/rehearsal was also filmed (probably by Tony Bramwell) for future use. This demo was officially released on the CD box set: "Cilla 1963-1973 The Abbey Road Decade". I've included a nice copy of the Cilla/ Paul demo...beautiful song !!