News for the ‘The Beatles’ Category

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

45-adapter-logo2beatlesslowdownpicsleeve

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

The Beatles not only had three of the greatest songwriters of all time in their band, but early on they were also great tastemakers, choosing unknown American R&B, Country, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll tunes and repurposing them for the UK market. As a result of their world domination of the music charts, they pretty much reintroduced songs like “Please Mr. Postman,” “Rock And Roll Music,” “Anna,” “Act Naturally,” “Baby It’s You,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money (That’s What I Want),” “Honey Don’t,” “Long Tall Sally,” “A Taste Of Honey,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Devil In Her Heart” and even a Broadway tune “Till There Was You” to the American market.

Today’s jukebox classic features two such cover records, although I have taken some liberties and flipped the single in the juke to make the B-side of the single, the A-side instead. Both of today’s songs originally appeared on the British Long Tall Sally EP released in 1964.

“Slow Down” is a cover of a Larry Williams tune from 1958. The Beatles probably first heard it as the flip side of Williams’ single “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” which they also covered. The Beatles would also return to Larry Williams’ cannon of material for a third time to record his song “Bad Boy.” Williams was a New Orleans R&B recording artist who was far more influential across the pond than here in the U.S., which is probably why The Beatles covered three of his songs.

The song has also seen covers by The Young Rascals, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Jam, Led Zeppelin, Golden Earring, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello and many others. Today, The Beatles’ recording can be found on the compilation album Past Masters Vol. 1 and also on the first Live at the BBC album.

The other side of today’s single is one of three Carl Perkins songs that the Beatles recorded. (“Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Tryin’ To Be My Baby” were the other two.) The song was first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927, but The Beatles based their version of “Matchbox” on Carl Perkins’ 1956 single version released on the Sun record label.

The Beatles began performing the song as early as 1961 with Pete Best handling the vocal chores. The group continued to perform the song and live versions have turned up from The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany featuring Lennon on vocals. By the time the group got around to performing the song for BBC radio (as heard on the Live at the BBC album), Ringo was featured on vocals. The song later turned up on The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally EP in England, and on the Something New album in America also with Ringo on the vocals.

The Beatles’ recording of “Matchbox” was issued as the A-side of today’s single in a nice picture sleeve and climbed to number 17 on the pop charts. Today, it also can be found on The Beatles’ Past Masters Volume 1 album. For the studio recording, the group was augmented by George Martin who played piano on the track.

The song has also been covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Hawkins, Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan (unreleased), Derek and the Dominos, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Jeff Beck & The Big Town Playboys, Duane Eddy and “The Silver Wilburys” (featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Taj Mahal & Jesse Ed Davis).

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 11th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #16 – The Beatles: “Paperback Writer” b/w “Rain” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 5651 (K2/L2)

45-adapter-logo2beatlespaperbackwriterrain

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #16 – The Beatles: “Paperback Writer” b/w “Rain” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 5651 (K2/L2)

We’ve hit ground zero for classic singles! It really doesn’t get any better than the coupling of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” on a single slab of 45RPM vinyl. And, the single wasn’t even intended to be a double A-side, it just worked out that way on the strength of the material.

Both songs were cut during the sessions for Revolver in which The Beatles began to spread their creative wings and experiment in the studio. “Paperback Writer” was recorded with a boosted bass sound because Lennon wanted to emulate the bass sound on a Wilson Pickett record he liked. It was also cut much louder than other singles of its time to make its searing guitar riff stand out on the radio, and as a result, the song topped the charts in 1966.

The lyrics were in response to a comment that McCartney’s Aunt Lil made to him challenging him to write a song that wasn’t about love. Paul: “Years ago my Auntie Lil said to me, ‘Why can’t you ever write about a horse or the summit conference or something interesting?’ So I thought, All right, Auntie Lil. I’ll show you.” (songfacts.com)

The song is written in the form of a letter from an author to his publisher talking about a book he’s written based on “a man named Lear.” Lear was Edward Lear, a Victorian painter who wrote poems and prose whom John Lennon admired. Paperback books were seen to be a cut-rate second cousin to hardcover books which were looked upon as works of art, so the writer in the song is only striving to be a paperback writer. During the song, Lennon and Harrison interpolate the French nursery rhyme, “Frere Jaques” as a counter melody.

The “meat and dolls” photo that graced first pressings of the Yesterday And Today album was originally taken to promote this single in the trades, and a promotional film directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg was created showing the Fabs traipsing around an English garden.

On the flip, is “Rain,” one of The Beatles’ all-time greatest tracks exemplifying the amount of experimentation the group were putting into their recordings of the time. “Rain’s” backing track was recorded faster than normal and played back at a slightly slower speed giving the record a psychedelic off-kilter feel. Conversely, Lennon’s vocals were recorded at a slightly slower speed and sped up during playback making his vocals sound slightly higher than normal.

The song also features one of the first uses of backwards vocals on a rock record. Lennon: “After we’d done the session on that particular song—it ended at about four or five in the morning—I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that’s how it happened.” (songfacts.com)

The backwards vocal at the end fade out is actually the songs first line: “When the rain comes they run and hide their heads.” Beatles engineer, Geoff Emerick said “From that point on, almost every overdub we did on Revolver had to be tried backwards as well as forwards.” (songfacts.com)

The song reached number 23 on the charts as a B-side, and Ringo Starr considers his drumming on the track to be his best recorded performance. The single’s picture sleeve inadvertently depicted Lennon and Harrison playing left handed because Capitol’s art department mistakenly reversed their photos.

Three videos were created to promote “Rain,” directed again by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. (Lindsay-Hogg first worked with the group on the set of Ready Steady Go several years earlier.) One was filmed at Chiswick House in London and shows The Beatles walking and singing in a garden, while the other two feature the band performing on a soundstage.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: April 15th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #7 – Paul & Linda McCartney – “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” b/w “Too Many People” – Apple Records 45 1837 1971 (M1/N1)

45-adapter-logo2paulmccartneyunclealbert

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #7 – Paul & Linda McCartney – “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” b/w “Too Many People” – Apple Records 45 1837 1971 (M1/N1)

Lyrics were never his strong suit…and the lyrics from “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” are at best incoherent. However, you’d be hard pressed to argue with the musical prowess of Paul McCartney especially on today’s Song of the Day.

Today’s single was culled from Paul McCartney’s second solo album Ram, the only album in his vast catalog credited to Paul & Linda McCartney. The album was recorded in New York City with backing musicians David Spinozza on guitar, Hugh McCracken (who replaced Spinozza for the second half of the sessions) on guitar and future Wings member Denny Seiwell on drums.

The construction of “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” picks up where the second side of The Beatles’ Abbey Road left off. Here we have McCartney dabbling in multi part suites of music, and the song is an amalgam of its many unfinished parts. McCartney wouldn’t perfect this way of song construction until “Band On The Run” two years later.

The song was inspired by Paul’s real Uncle Albert Kendall who married his Aunt Millie. Uncle Albert would habitually get drunk and then read passages from the Bible out loud. The admiral of the song was inspired by American Naval Admiral William “Bull” Halsey,” however Paul’s use of Admiral Halsey’s name was chosen because of the way it sounded and had nothing to do with who Halsey was or what he did.

The single was McCartney’s first chart topper away from The Beatles and it won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists in 1971. It was never released as a single in the UK, where they got “The Back Seat Of My Car” instead as Ram’s first single. The song’s flugelhorn part was played by Jazz be-bop trumpet player Marvin Stamm who never met McCartney in person, as his parts were recorded in London and overdubbed onto the master in New York. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra was also brought in for the arrangement.

The flip of the single is “Too Many People” which is also the opening track on Ram. After the acrimonious split of The Beatles, Lennon and McCartney cryptically addressed each other in lines from their songs. Several lines from “Too Many People” were seen as snipes at John Lennon, like the line “Too many people preaching practices.” Paul: “[John had] been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit.” (SongFacts.com) The line “You took your lucky break and broke it in too” was also seen as addressing McCartney’s former writing partner with the lucky break referring to being a member of The Beatles and his breaking it in two about their breakup.

Lennon retorted on his next album Imagine with the scathing “How Do You Sleep.” The album also included a postcard photo in early pressings depicting a smiling Lennon holding a pig’s ears in the same pose as McCartney holding the ram’s horns on the cover of Ram.

The sessions for Ram also produced McCartney’s first solo single “Another Day,” as well as early versions of “Big Barn Bed,” “Little Lamb Dragonfly” and “Get On The Right Thing” which turned up on McCartney’s 1973 album Red Rose Speedway. McCartney released an all-instrumental version of the Ram album in 1977 under the pseudonym of Percy “Thrills” Thrillington.

Ram was roundly panned by the critics when it was released in 1971; however it has grown in stature over the years. I’ve always loved the album and it is still one of my all-time favorite records all these years later. As far as “musical comfort food” goes, this one has been a staple in my diet since it came out – very tasty, always reliable with plenty of room for multiple helpings.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 22nd, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long, Long, Long” by The Beatles

45ADAPTERgeorge_harrison_1968[1]

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long, Long, Long” by The Beatles

One of George Harrison’s most underrated songs and a highlight of The White Album for sure. The song was actually recorded by “The Threetles” since John Lennon was not present for any of the sessions.

Lennon’s absence kind of illustrates the short shrift that Harrison’s songs were given during Beatle recording sessions, considering that songs like “Something,” “Not Guilty” and “Sour Milk Sea” were left off The White Album and “All Things Must Pass” “Isn’t It A Pity” and “Let It Down” were left off of Let It Be in favor of much weaker material like “Dig It,” “Maggie Mae” and “Good Night.”

The rattling heard during the psychedelic meltdown at the end of the track was from a bottle of wine that was left on top of a speaker during the recording. Happy “mistakes” like this were often left in making the recording more interesting and more psychedelic. “Long, Long, Long” is one in a long line of Harrison love songs that can be directed at either his wife or the Lord.

Edited: June 12th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

beatlesslowdown45beatlesslowdownpicsleevebeatlesmatchbox45

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #64–The Beatles: “Slow Down” b/w “Matchbox” – Capitol 5255 (G7/H7)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

The Beatles not only had three of the greatest songwriters of all time in their band, but early on they were also great tastemakers, choosing unknown American R&B, Country, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll tunes and repurposing them for the UK market. As a result of their world domination of the music charts, they pretty much reintroduced songs like “Please Mr. Postman,” “Rock And Roll Music,” “Anna,” “Act Naturally,” “Baby It’s You,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Money (That’s What I Want),” “Honey Don’t,” “Long Tall Sally,” “A Taste Of Honey,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Devil In Her Heart” and even a Broadway tune “Till There Was You” to the American market.

Today’s jukebox classic features two such cover records, although I have taken some liberties and flipped the single in the juke to make the B-side of the single, the A-side instead. Both of today’s songs originally appeared on the British Long Tall Sally EP released in 1964.

“Slow Down” is a cover of a Larry Williams tune from 1958. The Beatles probably first heard it as the flip side of Williams’ single “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” which they also covered. The Beatles would also return to Larry Williams’ cannon of material for a third time to record his song “Bad Boy.” Williams was a New Orleans R&B recording artist who was far more influential across the pond than here in the U.S., which is probably why The Beatles covered three of his songs.

The song has also seen covers by The Young Rascals, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Jam, Led Zeppelin, Golden Earring, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello and many others. Today, The Beatles’ recording can be found on the compilation album Past Masters Vol. 1 and also on the first Live At The BBC album.

The other side of today’s single is one of three Carl Perkins songs that the Beatles recorded. (“Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Tryin’ To Be My Baby” were the other two.) The song was first recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927, but The Beatles based their version of “Matchbox” on Carl Perkins’ 1956 single version released on the Sun record label.

The Beatles began performing the song as early as 1961 with Pete Best handling the vocal chores. The group continued to perform the song and live versions have turned up from The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany featuring Lennon on vocals. By the time the group got around to performing the song for BBC radio (as heard on the Live At The BBC album), Ringo was featured on vocals. The song later turned up on The Beatles’ Long Tall Sally EP in England, and on the Something New album in America also with Ringo on the vocals.

The Beatles’ recording of “Matchbox” was issued as the A-side of today’s single in a nice picture sleeve and climbed to number 17 on the pop charts. Today, it also can be found on The Beatles’ Past Masters Volume 1 album. For the studio recording, the group was augmented by George Martin who played piano on the track.

The song has also been covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Hawkins, Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan (unreleased), Derek and the Dominos, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Jeff Beck & The Big Town Playboys, Duane Eddy and “The Silver Wilburys” (featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Taj Mahal & Jesse Ed Davis).

Edited: January 22nd, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #16 – The Beatles: “Paperback Writer” b/w “Rain” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 5651 (K2/L2)

beatlespaperbackwriterbeatlespaperbackwriterrainbeatlesrain

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #16 – The Beatles: “Paperback Writer” b/w “Rain” – Capitol 45 RPM Single 5651 (K2/L2)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

We’ve hit ground zero for classic singles! It really doesn’t get any better than the coupling of “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” on a single slab of 45RPM vinyl. And, the single wasn’t even intended to be a double A-side, it just worked out that way on the strength of the material.

Both songs were cut during the sessions for Revolver in which The Beatles began to spread their creative wings and experiment in the studio. “Paperback Writer” was recorded with a boosted bass sound because Lennon wanted to emulate the bass sound on a Wilson Pickett record he liked. It was also cut much louder than other singles of its time to make its searing guitar riff stand out on the radio, and as a result, the song topped the charts in 1966.

The lyrics were in response to a comment that McCartney’s Aunt Lil made to him challenging him to write a song that wasn’t about love. Paul: “Years ago my Auntie Lil said to me, ‘Why can’t you ever write about a horse or the summit conference or something interesting?’  So I thought, All right, Auntie Lil. I’ll show you.”

The song is written in the form of a letter from an author to his publisher talking about a book he’s written based on “a man named Lear.” Lear was Edward Lear, a Victorian painter who wrote poems and prose whom John Lennon admired. Paperback books were seen to be a cut-rate second cousin to hardcover books which were looked upon as works of art, so the writer in the song is only striving to be a paperback writer. During the song, Lennon and Harrison interpolate the French nursery rhyme, “Frere Jaques” as a counter melody.

The “meat and dolls” photo that graced first pressings of the Yesterday And Today album was originally taken to promote this single in the trades, and a promotional film directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg was created showing the Fabs traipsing around an English garden.

On the flip, is “Rain,” one of The Beatles’ all-time greatest tracks exemplifying the amount of experimentation the group were putting into their recordings of the time. “Rain’s” backing track was recorded faster than normal and played back at a slightly slower speed giving the record a psychedelic off-kilter feel. Conversely, Lennon’s vocals were recorded at a slightly slower speed and sped up during playback making his vocals sound slightly higher than normal.

The song also features one of the first uses of backwards vocals on a rock record. Lennon: “After we’d done the session on that particular song—it ended at about four or five in the morning—I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that’s how it happened.”

The backwards vocal at the end fade out is actually the songs first line: “When the rain comes they run and hide their heads.” Beatles engineer, Geoff Emerick said “From that point on, almost every overdub we did on Revolver had to be tried backwards as well as forwards.”

The song reached number 23 on the charts as a B-side, and Ringo Starr considers his drumming on the track to be his best recorded performance. The single’s picture sleeve inadvertently depicted Lennon and Harrison playing left handed because Capitol’s art department mistakenly reversed their photos.

Three videos were created to promote “Rain,” directed again by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. (Lindsay-Hogg first worked with the group on the set of Ready Steady Go several years earlier.)  One was filmed at Chiswick House in London and shows The Beatles walking and singing in a garden, while the other two feature the band performing on a soundstage.

Edited: October 28th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/27/13

45 adapterbeatlessgt

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Lovely Rita” by The Beatles

I just heard The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time today!

Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been listening to this record since it was new. I guess that’s one of the big positives of having older siblings, you got to hear cool records when they came out, way before your peer group caught on to them.

I’ve been reading the Howard Kaylan biography Shell Shocked which was written by Kaylan and Jeff Tamarkin. Howard Kaylan was a member of The Turtles and The Mother’s Of Invention. He was also Eddie of Flo & Eddie. So far, the book is a great read with numerous first person accounts of historic musical moments, a real page turner!

Kaylan tells the story of The Turtles’ first visit to England in 1967 when their hit “Happy Together” was riding high on the charts. No sooner had the band arrived at their hotel, they received a call from Graham Nash, then of The Hollies, who invited the group over to his house for a little “refreshment.” While visiting, Nash pulls out a reel-to-reel tape of The Beatles’ forthcoming Sgt. Pepper album. Kaylan proceeds to tell about that game changing first listen, and the seismic impact the record had on him and everything that came after it. The story continues with Nash taking them to a swingin’ London club for an audience with The Fabs (at least three of them) that went awry because John Lennon was being a prick.

Inspired by Kaylan’s story, I tried an experiment on my way to work today. I cued up Sgt. Pepper on my iPod and tried to listen to the record as if it were the first time I’d ever heard it. In my mind, I wiped away the impact the record had on everything that came after, and proceeded to attempt to experience the record as if it was the first time I’d ever heard it.

It was impossible to do. Too much baggage, too many lyrics ingrained in my memory, too much life lived with this record for it to sound truly brand new.

What I did get from my experiment was a newfound appreciation for how it really was one of the most groundbreaking records of the time, and for that matter all time. With its segued songs and symphonic sequencing, use of recording techniques and layers upon layers of sound, plus its distinctive front cover graphics that begged hours of study and the inclusion of lyrics on the back, it really is a special record from a very special time in history.

That said, it was never my favorite Beatles record, but after 46 years the record still remains fresh and unique. Its inventiveness remains stunning. So what more can I possibly say about this record that hasn’t been said before? Absolutely nothing, except if you haven’t visited its wonderment in awhile, it’s high time you did.

Edited: April 26th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/15/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals (Live NME Version 1965)

Some classic Animals from the 1965 NME Poll Winners Concert, as “Song Of The Day by Eric Berman” looks at a terrific “grey area” CD release!

The New Musical Express is a weekly British newspaper that has focused solely on the music scene for nearly 50 years. For several years during the 1960s, the paper sponsored concerts featuring artists who topped their music polls. The 1965 edition took place at Wembley Stadium on April 11, 1965, and was filmed. An edited version of the concert was screened on ABC TV in the U.S. on April 18 of that year. The New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert 1965 2 CD set was compiled from the soundtrack of the unedited master.

OK, so today’s Song Of The Day (and resultant album), isn’t an “official” release. It was put out in 1998 by Vigotone Industries, one of the best of the “grey area” record labels that existed for a brief time in the late 1990s. Vigotone specialized in Beatles and Beach Boy related bootlegs, comprised mostly of studio outtakes. Some of their landmark releases included The Beach Boys’ Leggo My Ego, featuring studio outs from 1965, and the Beatles Off White Album featuring the 1968 Escher demos recorded at George Harrison’s house shortly after the group returned from India.

Kicking things off are The Moody Blues, no not the version with the overblown orchestral arrangements and such, but the Brit-beat version of the group with future Wings-man, Denny Laine, performing a muscular and extended take of “Bo Diddley,” plus a version of their current single at the time, “Go Now.”

Next up are Freddie And The Dreamers with a credible version of Thurston Harris’ “Little Bitty Pretty One,” followed by Georgie Fame And The Blue Flames, and an early instrumental take of “Yeah Yeah,” plus a terrific performance of “Walkin’ The Dog.”

From there, it’s a trip down under for The Seekers and their hits “I’ll Never Find Another You” and “A World Of Our Own.” Herman’s Hermits were riding high with three records in the U.S. top ten at the time of this recording. They debut their then, brand new single “What A Wonderful World,” followed by the crowd pleaser “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.”

The Ivy League And Division Two take the stage next, with the gorgeous ballad “That’s Why I’m Crying,” and then Sounds Incorporated spread a little of their instrumental magic with “Time For You” and a rocking version of Grieg’s classical masterwork “In The Hall Of The Mountain King.”

A real crowd pleaser is up next with Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders performing “Game Of Love” and “Just A Little Bit Too Late,” before The Rolling Stones tear it up with a four-song set  comprised of “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” Otis Redding’s “Pain In My Heart,” Chuck Berry’s “Around And Around,” and finally, “The Last Time.”

Disc one is rounded off by Cilla Black backed by Sounds Incorporated on “Going Out Of My Head,” and that old Disney favorite “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which was covered by in the U.S. by Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans, as well as fellow Brit Invasion groups Freddie And The Dreamers, The Hollies and Dave Clark Five.

The second disc kicks off with Donovan, “The British Dylan,” performing six minutes of “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond” followed by “Catch The Wind,” before the Belfast Cowboy (Van Morrison) and Them are brought on for rough and ready takes of “Here Comes The Night” and an nearly seven minute version of “Turn On Your Love Light.”

The Searchers are up next with “Bumble Bee” and “Let The Good Times Roll,” before pop royalty takes the stage in the form of Dusty Springfield giving Martha Reeves a run for her money on “Dancing In The Street,” followed by a cover of Inez and Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird” and “I Can’t Hear You.”

The big ending is in sight with three more heavy hitters on deck, including The Animals tearing it up on John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Talkin’ ‘Bout You,” followed by The Kinks with two of their very best, “You Really Got Me” and “Tired Of Waiting For You.”

Finally, the group that the audience has been waiting for all day takes the stage! It’s The Beatles with a five song set including “I Feel Fine,” “She’s A Woman,” “Baby’s In Black,” “Ticket To Ride” and “Long Tall Sally” bringing the festivities to a rousing conclusion.

Much of this concert is up on YouTube (search by artist and NME 1965) and is recommended viewing.  So there we have the next to last NME Poll Winners Concert from 1965 in its entirety, in pristine sound quality to boot. Why hasn’t this been released officially?

The Animals “Boom Boom”

The Animals “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

The Animals “Talkin’ ‘Bout You”

Edited: February 14th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 12/12/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dr. Robert” by The Beatles – Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set Review

I should have left well enough alone, but I had to go there. When Capitol-EMI released the remastered Beatles catalog on compact disc in 2009, it was great cause for celebration. The CDs that had been on the market since the mid-1980s had sub-par sound quality, and if ever a catalog was crying out for an upgrade, it was this, the Holy Grail for most music fans. And for the most part, Capitol-EMI got the CD reissues right. The sound quality was much improved across the board, and the new packaging, while a little on the skimpy side regarding notes and photos, were for the most part adequate with, at the very least, replicas of what originally came in the records.

It was also cool that the mono version of the box set came out at the same time, since many of us had never really heard the mono mix of records like The White Album before.
My big qualm back in 2009 was the notion that the mono box set was a limited edition. Limited to what? Once they realized that there was way more demand than the number of mono boxes pressed, Capitol-EMI went back for more pressings. I guess they were “limited” to whatever demand was out there for them….and they’re still out there and readily available for anyone who wants one (and worth the price of admission). But that was a minor snafu that music collector’s like myself have come to expect from the major labels.

So when news broke that a stereo vinyl box set would finally see the light of day this winter utilizing the 2009 remasters, I was ready to take the plunge (even though I already own the catalog several times over on vinyl). The draw for me was the promise that the sound quality on the 2009 remasters would even be better on vinyl because of the increased dynamic range inherent to the format. Although this news was soon met with some irritation due to the fact that the mono vinyl box set wouldn’t be released until next year, so no mono vinyl White Album for now.

When the day finally arrived and the 22 pound box set arrived at my door, I was duly impressed. The box came housed inside not one, but two outer shipping boxes complete with foam shielding, to insure that the set would arrive damage free, and it did. Once I dug the box out of the crates, I was confronted with a savory feast for the eyes that heightened the anticipation for the feast for the ears that would soon be coming.

Finally the time came to remove the outer wrap on the box and open the lid. What a joy to take clean fresh copies of these records out of the box and remove the shrink wrap on each one anew. These are indeed the simple pleasures that record geeks live for. As I sifted through the records, I noticed that the album covers had crisp and clean graphics and, for those that had inserts, they were all present and accounted for.

When I got to The White Album I came across my first packaging quibble. Why on earth are these not numbered? The box set is supposedly a worldwide limited edition of 50000, so why wouldn’t EMI-Capitol number each album, just like they were when first issued back in 1968. They got the raised lettering correct, but no number. For the amount of money they’re charging for this box set, I want my White Album numbered!!

Next up, I delved into the 252 page hardcover book that comes with the set. While I haven’t read any of it yet, I can’t imagine I’ll garner any new information I haven’t seen elsewhere. Flipping through all of the pages, I noticed many photos I’ve never seen before, and the presentation of glossy photos on matte finished pages is nothing short of sumptuous. But this is all packaging…how do the records sound?

The sound quality on the albums I’ve auditioned so far is absolutely horrendous!

How could they have gotten it so wrong? The pressings I own of these albums from the early 1980s “Blue” vinyl box set and the original Capitol and Apple pressings that I’ve had for years are far superior to what is in this box. The new pressings I’ve auditioned so far are Help, A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Please Please Me, With The Beatles, Abbey Road, The White Album and Past Masters, and every single record has significant levels of surface noise. I’m not talking about intermittent surface noise that subsides once the music kicks in; I’m talking about surface noise you can hear throughout the pressings. Add to that, a fair amount of clicks and pops on all of the records and you have what I would call a public affairs disaster for Capitol-EMI and The Beatles, and a travesty for all of us who shelled out over $300.00 for the set.

After listening to a few of the pressings and realizing that this problem was consistent, I decided to check out the customer reviews on Amazon, where I bought the set. Sure enough, I was not alone. Numerous customers were as unhappy as I am with the sound quality of the vinyl for the same reasons I just spelled out. Next I called Amazon’s usually exceptional customer service. The Amazon rep gave me an email address for Capitol-EMI and told me that they were handling all issues regarding the box set. My email went unanswered for several days, until I got a generic response saying that they were looking into my complaint and would get back to me shortly. So here I wait, with new vinyl – broken hearted, in much worse shape, than I started…

Hopefully Capitol-EMI will do the right thing and go back the drawing board to re-press these records with the care they should have taken the first time around. While my expectations are now low, I can still dream, can’t I? And if you haven’t taken the plunge on the set, or purchased any of the record separately, hold off for now until this issue is corrected.

Edited: December 11th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/5/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Thank You Girl” by The Beatles

Pretty good song…I think this band has a future…

Edited: July 5th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/5/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long, Long, Long” by The Beatles

One of George Harrison’s most underrated songs and a highlight of “The White Album” for sure. The song was actually recorded by “The Threetles” since John Lennon was not present for any of the sessions. Lennon’s absence kind of illustrates the short shrift that Harrison’s songs were given during Beatle recording sessions, considering that songs like “Something,” “Not Guilty” and “Sour Milk Sea” were left off this album and “All Things Must Pass” “Isn’t It A Pity” and “Let It Down” were left off of “Let It Be” in favor of much weaker material like “Dig It,” “Maggie Mae” and “Good Night.” The rattling heard during the psychedelic meltdown at the end of the track was from a bottle of wine that was left on top of a speaker during the recording. Happy “mistakes” like this were often left in making the recording more interesting and more psychedelic. “Long, Long, Long” is one in a long line of Harrison love songs that can be directed at either his wife or the Lord.

Edited: May 4th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 1/4/12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles

Prudence was, of course, actress Mia Farrow’s sister. They were in attendance in India studying Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi along with The Beatles, Donovan and Mike Love of the Beach Boys. Prudence was very serious about TM and spent most of her time in her room meditating. Beatle John was concerned for her wellbeing and wrote this song inviting her to come out to play. Prudence went on to become a teacher and still practices TM to this day. The song appeared on “The Beatles” better known as “The White Album” from 1968 and features Paul McCartney on drums because a frustrated Ringo had walked out of the sessions — and the band — for a few days.

Edited: January 4th, 2012