The Beach Boys – Greatest (UK Edition)

Last month, I posted a collection called ‘Endless Bummer – Vol.1’ which was a collection of some of the worst tracks the beach Boys released before they put out the glorious ‘Pet Sounds’. Well, I did feel a bit bad about posting that so I thought about what I could do to make up for that and this is it, a collection of their hits. This is not just any collection of their hits mind you. This compilation only includes the singles that were hits in the UK. 

A lot of the material The Beach Boys recorded in their early career just did not translate to the record buying pubic in the UK. Songs about sunshine, surfing and hot rod cars didn’t have much of a market over here and out of the really early singles, only ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ would be a hit, and a minor one at that, only reaching number 34. It would take until ‘I Get Around’ in 1964 for their first top ten hit. Out of the 21 singles the band released in the US between 1961 and 1966, not all would see a release in the UK and out of those that were, only 10 managed a chart placing; Granted, by the time we get to ‘Good Vibrations’, they have scored their first UK number 1. 

Their albums would also be released out of order as well. ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ would be released in 1963 in the US, but would only see the light of day in the UK in 1965. Therefore, I have a problem with any release that claims to be a Greatest Hits record in the UK. That is because they always contain songs that were not hits in the UK. That might be why the majority of them go under the Best Of tag. 

I have decided to address this with a collection that only includes songs that were hits in the UK. There is just about enough to fit onto a double LP, or one CD. All of these songs were Top 40 hits and I have also looked to include the single versions. That means, most of them are in mono. It also means that the disco version of ‘Here Comes The Night’ is also a lot shorter at four and a half minutes, whereas the album version was over ten. The harpsichord intro to ‘Lovely Lynda’ is also absent. That only appeared on the album version. 

There is also a bonus track (if you can call it that) for the CD version, which is the collaboration between The Beach Boys and Status Quo. Unlike the collaboration between The  Beach Boys and the Fat Boys, this version of ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ did not initially appear on a Beach Boys album. I only include it here because if this were a real record, there would be enough room on the CD for it. The joke being that when the original Beach Boys version of this song was released in the UK, it was not a hit. This inferior version with Quo, made number 24. 

The songs are presented in the order in which they were hits in the UK. 

Side A

  1. Surfin’ U.S.A
  2. I Get Around
  3. When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
  4. Dance, Dance, Dance
  5. Help Me, Rhonda
  6. California Girls
  7. Barbara Ann
  8. Sloop John B

Side B

  1. God Only Knows
  2. Good Vibrations
  3. Then I Kissed Here
  4. Heroes & Villains
  5. Wild Honey
  6. Darlin’
  7. Friends

Side C

  1. Do It Again
  2. Bluebirds Over The Mountain
  3. I Can Hear Music
  4. Break Away
  5. Cottonfields (The Cotton Song)
  6. California Saga (On My Way To Sunny Californ-i-a)

Side D

  1. Rock & Roll Music
  2. Here Comes The Night
  3. Lady Lynda
  4. Wipe Out (with The Fat Boys)
  5. Kokomo

CD Bonus Track

Fun, Fun, Fun (with Status Quo)

The sleeve was taken from the a piece of artwork created by a user on the Smiley Smile message board. 

Various Artists – Beck Record Club

Between ‘Golden Feelings’, his first album release in 1993 and Modern Guilt in 2008, Beck Hansen released a new record nearly every other year. This all finished in 2008 and Beck would not release another album under ‘Morning Phase’ in 2014. So what was Beck up to in those six years. He spent some of that time recovering form a spinal injury that he received whilst filming a music video for the song ‘E-Pro’ in 2005. He said that recording the ‘Modern Guilt’ album was like “doing it with both hands tied behind your back. It hurt to sing. I’m whispering through half of those vocals”. This also meant that Beck was unable to tour and he also changing record labels. 

With all of this going on, Beck was not idle. He worked on a number of projects including recording enough material to have released around four albums. 2012 would seen he ‘I Just Started Hating People Today’ single and a set of 12 inch singles was released in 2013 that included songs from a unfinished project that was similar to ‘Odelay’. The drought of albums finished with 2014 and ‘Morning Phase’, but there was also a second album that Beck said would also be released that year which has not been released so far. 

However, Beck did record five albums in 2009 which did see the light of day, but not on any physical format. These record’s came out via YouTube under the banner of Beck’s Record Club and the idea behind that project was to cover an entire album by another artist with a rotating set of musicians. These albums were:

1. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground

2. Songs Of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen

3. Oar – Skip Spence

4. Kick – INXS

5. Yanni Live At The Acropolis – Yanni

I had heard all of these albums before (except for the Yanni one) and enjoyed the idea as well as the execution. These songs were all available to hear on YouTube and I also remember that there was poll on Beck’s official website (or possibly a fan site – I cannot remember) where fans were asked to vote on which songs from these record would be officially released. I took part in the voting and looked forward to it being released. Well, I am still waiting so I thought I would put together my own Record Club LP using my favourite tracks from those sessions. Highlights include the duet on ‘Need You Tonight’ and electronica of ‘Run Run Run’. I also like the way in which they turned ‘Black Angel’s Death Song’ from the noise experiment of the original into a folk tune, reminiscent of the early demo tape The Velvet Underground recorded in 1965. The amount of songs I had would have made the album too long for an LP release, so I took the two that did not fit the flow of the record so I put these on B-Sides to any singles that was released. 

There are not songs from the Yanni album because I just did not like this record. 

Side 1

  1. Little Hands – Oar
  2. Run Run Run – Velvet Underground & Nico
  3. I’ll Be Your Mirror – Velvet Underground & Nico
  4. Diana – Oar
  5. All Tomorrow’s Parties – Velvet Underground & Nico
  6. Never Tear Us Apart – Kick

Side 2

  1. Broken Heart – Oar
  2. Mystify – Kick
  3. Need You Tonight – Kick
  4. Sunday Morning – Velvet Underground & Nico
  5. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong – Songs Of Leonard Cohen
  6. All Come To Meet Her – Oar

Single B-Sides

  1. Black Angel’s Death Song – Velvet Underground & Nico
  2. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Songs Of Leonard Cohen

The front cover was adapted from an image found on https://rockinon.com/blog/miyazaki/41821 with a Beck logo added to it. 

This play list could not be reproduced with one or more songs not being available on Spotify.

The Beatles – Let It be / Abbey Road (Mono)

As this is Black Friday, and Record Store Day also deem this a suitable time to release ‘exclusive’ vinyl, here is something I would like to see come out which no doubt never will. That is, the last two Beatles albums in mono.

Even though there been some experiments with stereo recording in the 19th Century, mono recordings would dominate audio recording from its early days until the late 1960s. This however began to change because the technology to produce a stereo sound improved and musicians were making more experimental music that would use the format to make the music move from one speaker to the next. Check out the end of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ from Pink Floyd’s debut album for a good example. 

In the early 60’s, stereo was thought of a niche product and not as much time was spent on these compared to the mono mixes. Mono was also the broadcast medium for AM radio so singles tended to be exclusively in Mono. This would even continue into the 70s where mono mixes of records were made exclusively for radio stations until FM radio caught on. For a while, both mono and stereo versions were released with differing mixes but by 1967 in the US, mono versions would start to be discontinued. In the UK, mono was essentially gone by 1968 but in other areas of the world, this would not be the case. Mono records continued to be pressed and so it was with these records that were released in Mono in Brazil.

There is nothing particularly special about them as they are just a fold down of the stereo mix. However, they are a nice curiosity. 

Side 1 – Abbey Road (Side A)

  1. Come Together
  2. Something
  3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
  4. Oh! Darling
  5. Octopus’s Garden
  6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Side 2 – Abbey Road (Side B)

  1. Here Comes The Sun
  2. Because
  3. You Never Give Me Your Money
  4. Sun King
  5. Mean Mr. Mustard
  6. Polythene Pam
  7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
  8. Golden Slumbers
  9. Carry That Weight
  10. The End
  11. Her Majesty

Side 3 – Let It Be (Side A)

  1. Two Of Us
  2. Dig A Pony
  3. Across the Universe
  4. I Me Mine
  5. Dig It
  6. Let It Be
  7. Maggie Mae

Side 4 – Let It Be (Side B)

  1. I’ve Got A Feeling
  2. One After 909
  3. The Long & Winding Road
  4. For You Blue
  5. Get Back

Since I initially put this together, I have discovered that a Mono version was released of Abbey Road in Czechoslovakia in the early 1970s which like the Brazilian, is a Stereo fold down mix. Let It Be was also released in a fold down Mono mix in Argentina. I am sure that further Mono versions will come to light once I have uploaded this. 

I was also able with my rudimentary computer skills to make up a front cover that is a mash up of both the original sleeves. 

The Beach Boys – Endless Bummer Vol.1

I am not be the first person to come up with the concept of looking at the worst recordings from an artists back catalogue. I believe that the first was the infamous bootleg, ‘Elvis’ Greatest Shit’ which was released in 1982 showcasing some of the worst recordings from the King’s career. 

When it comes to The Beach Boys, I and also not be the first to take this concept and run with it. Mine is a little different though as I will explain. The Beach Boys must be one of the most bootlegged bands of all time, and normally, these contain enough gold to justify a few repeat listens. However, for a group that has been performing for the best part of 60 years, there was always going to be some skeletons in the closet that the band would much rather have not seen the light of day. Luckily (or unluckily depending on your point of view), a number of the worst recordings the band has made were compiled on a bootleg called ‘Endless Bummer, The Very Worst of The Beach Boys’, and it sure does live up to its title. There is a drunk Carl Wilson trying to make his way through ‘Good Vibrations’, Mike Love making a quick buck on some adverts, a Spanish language version of their massive mid 80s hit, ‘Kokomo’ as well Brian Wilson’s father berating him in the recoding studio. However, all of these recording from this have not been released commercially as far as I can tell, and it is unlikely that they ever will be anyway. 

Now, if we look at the bands output during their mid 60s heyday, we can see that between 1961 and 1966, the released eleven studio albums (I will include Beach Boys Party on that list) and one live album. There was even room for 19 singles, numerous EPs (these tended to be country specific) and even a Best of Album. Coupled with concert tours and promotion, it is no wonder that main song writer Brian Wilson stopped touring after a breakdown. With this amount of product, it is also not a surprise that some filler would be included. However, some of this filler really does defy description. We have an interview, some unfunny studio banter and a drum solo. It is not like Brian Wilson didn’t have enough material knocking about as he gave some pretty good songs away to the likes of The Honeys, Glen Campbell and Jan & Dean.

So what do we have for your listening pleasure?

Side 1

  1. Ten Little Indians (Surfin’ Safari)
  2. Country Fair (Surfin’ Safari)
  3. Chug-A-Lug (Surfin’ Safari)
  4. Cuckoo Clock (Surfin’ Safari)
  5. The Shift (Surfin’ Safari)
  6. South Bay Surfer (Surfer Girl)
  7. Heads You Win, Tails I Lose (Surfin’ Safari)
  8. Louie Louie (Shut Down Volume 2)
  9. Bull Session With ‘Big Daddy’ (The Beach Boys Today!)

Side 2

  1. Our Favourite Recording Sessions (All Summer Long)
  2. Finders Keepers (Surfin’ USA)
  3. Denny’s Drums (Shut Down Volume 2)
  4. Be True To Your School – Album Version (Little Deuce Coupe)
  5. I’m Bugged At My Ol’ Man (Summer Days & Summer Nights)
  6. In The Back Of My Mind (The Beach Boys Today!)
  7. The Times They Are-A-Changin’ (Beach Boys Party!)
  8. ‘Cassius’ Love vs ‘Sonny’ Wilson (Shut Down Volume 2)

Ten Little Indians – Released as the follow up single to Surfin’ Safari because Capitol Records thought that surf music would be a short lived craze. This song was based on a children’s rhyme  and only just scrapped in the US top 50, and nowhere else. Well, except Sweden where it inexplicably made number 6.

Country Fair – Said to have been written in ten minutes and it shows. Detailing, as it does, a trip to the country fair and all of the ‘exciting’ things that can be done there. It sounds like a young persons nightmare. It also includes the lyrics ‘The most specialist girl I knew, I had her pack us a lunch and on down the dirt road we flew’. Were The Beach Boys too manly to make their girlfriends lunch then? No wonder the girlfriend of the song narrator leaves him for the fair’s strongman. 

Chug-A-Lug – There is certainly a lot of songs taken from the first beach Boys album, but it really is an awful record. Is this the only record ever recorded about hanging out at a root beer stand, drinking the stuff?

Cuckoo Clock – You want to make out with your girlfriend but every time you get a little too close, the cuckoo clock goes off. Instead of just going to another room, the singer decides to dismantle the clock. What a waste of a good clock. Terrible lyrics to boot. 

The Shift – A song about a particular type of dress, Brian Wilson and Mike Love presented the song as a fashion statement. The lyrics make it sound as though there are perving over the girl wearing it and what the hell does “It’s tighter than a moo-moo and it’s just too much’ mean?

South Bay Surfer – A rewrite of the song ‘Old Folks at Home’, also known as ‘Swanee River’. When you run out of ideas, just nick someones else’s song and write some new lyrics over the top (Student Demonstration Time repeated the trick on the ‘Surf’s Up‘ album). When the singer says ‘rock out’, there is also a distinct lack of rocking out. The band must have known this was a clunker. 

Heads You Win, Tales You Lose – A song about flipping a coin, or numerous other devices to work out who should win an argument. The singer then claims that his girlfriend is cheating to get the result she wants and then deciding to do the same. A blueprint for a long and happy relationship this is not. 

Louie Louie – Rock critic Greil Marcus once said “Has there ever been a bad version of Louie Louie?”. Well, yes there has and here it is. Coming a year after the garage rock behemoth that was the version by The Kingsmen, this sounds so polite and insipid. Move along, nothing to hear here. 

Bull Session With ‘Big Daddy’ – A recording made during an interview with Teen Set magazine editor Earl Leaf. Half way through, food is delivered because we all want to hear that. This is a rambling, unfocused mess edited down from a recording that was 20 minutes long. The aching ballad ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ was recorded during the sessions for the parent album but no one in the band wanted to sing it so it was given to Glen Campbell. Surely that would have been better than this spoken word piece of drivel.  

Our Favourite Recording Session – Tape noises, mucking around and a distinct lack of care for the record buying public. Not even worth inclusion on an outtakes album.

Finders Keepers – Sounds like at least two different songs stitched together with a lyric about losing a surf board and then getting it back. It sounds too long at 1 minute and 38 seconds.

Denny’s Drums – There are those who say that Dennis Wilson was a better drummer than he is given credit for. However, on the evidence of this track, it is not hard to see why Brian Wilson used the cream of L.A. sessions drummers on his recordings once he retired for the road. Also, the Beach Boys are meant to be a vocal group. Instrumentals are bad enough, but a drum solo. Filler for fillers sake. 

Be True To Your School (Album Version) – Not a bad song, but included here because of the subject matter. Why is one of the premier bands of their age sining a song about being true to your school? Not exactly the most hip thing a band could do is it?

I’m Bugged At My Ol’Man – Sounds like a demo than a fully realised track. Just Brian Wilson and the piano with his brother and wife backing him up. Written in response to Brian Wilson’s tumultuous relationship with his father, the lyrics mention the punishments the singer has to content with for any minor incident, including having his windows boarded up, his hair cut off and a meal of bread crumbs. Brian Wilson would credit himself as ‘Too Embarrassed’ instead of by his actual name. If he was that embarrassed, why release it?

In The Back Of My Mind – A Brian Wilson experiment with Dennis Wilson singing solo. Includes an unusual time signature and a chord sequence that was not common in Brian Wilson’s work. Some say that this os one of the band’s masterpieces, but to my ears it sounds sloppy, especially when the instrumentation starts to play out of sync with itself. 

The Times They Are-A-Changing – Taken from the ‘Beach Boy’ Party!’ LP, an album made to have some produce ready for the Christmas market, it was meant to be recorded at an actual party, but was made after lots of rehearsing and recorded in the studio. Party noises added on later. In the hands of The Beach Boys, this anthem of change sounds like Little Richard songs covered by Pat Boone. 

‘Cassius’ Love v ‘Sonny’ Wilson – Supposedly showcasing a behind the scenes look at The Beach Boys in the recoding studio. There is no doubt that during their history, fights in the studio undoubtably happened. However, this is so clearly staged for the microphones. Not worthy of a B-Side, let alone an album track. The cultural reference in the title is now lost on anyone not above the age of 70. 

This compilation only includes tracks that were on original US albums, so there isn’t anything that has been subsequently released on any of the numerous reissues/archive projects that have been released under the Beach Boys name down the years. There will be some who disagree with this collection, but that is the nature of music. One persons gold is another person manure. 

The cover artwork is adapted from an archival released called ‘Ultimate Christmas’. 

Harry Nilsson – In Italiano

One of the many surprises included on the 2013 box set ‘The RCA Albums Collection’ was a number of songs Nilsson had recorded in Italian. Even though the majority of these Italian versions were recorded as far back as 1967, only ‘Cuddly Toy’ would see an initial release. Another song, called ‘Leggenda’ was the B-Side the the Italian language version of ‘Without You’. Leggenda is an Italian folk song that is about catching a butterfly but accidentally killing it. The moral being that you cannot catch your dreams. 

Nilsson would return to recording in Italian in 1971 for his super hit single, ‘Without You’. There is also an interloper on this mini album in that I have included a Spanish language version of ‘Without You’ as well. This follows the trend of records of this type by not being a direct translation but following the feeling of the words instead. In the opening there is no mention of evening, and the first verse is all about a single event of her leaving rather than a longer problem (‘always smile but..’). The second verse is different words but same sentiment – about seeing everything dark in the future so needs her to hear the truth right away. The title of the Spanish version translates as ‘If You Aren’t There’. This matches the chorus which would read ‘Living Isn’t life, if you aren’t there. I can’t exist without your love’. This is also true of the Italian versions where the meaning is similar but not exactly the same.  

The sleeve is a photo of Nilsson from the late 60s with the title and record company logos added. If this were to be released, it would fit nicely onto a 10” record and if was released, it would have been a nice exclusive for the Italian market. 

Side A

  1. Cuddly Toy
  2. You Can’t Do That
  3. Without Her
  4. Per Chi

Side B

  1. It’s Been So Long
  2. Sleep Late, My Lady Friend
  3. Leggenda
  4. Si No Estas Tu

Harry Nilsson’s London

Harry Nilsson was an American musician famous for his interpretations of Everybody’s Talking’ and Without You. During the 1970’s he spent a lot of time in London. In this video, we follow in his footsteps as we discover Harry Nilsson’s London.

If you would like to follow the route of the walking tour, please download this file.

The Beatles – The “Get Back” Box Set

‘I thought it would be great to go out, because it would break The Beatles. It would break the myth. That’s us, with no trousers on and no glossy paint over the cover’. John Lennon. 

Over the previous four years, we have had a steady stream of deluxe box set versions of the albums the Beatles released between 1967 and 1970, finishing off with the recent ‘Let It Be’ effort. Even though the contents of the previous box sets was always a bit on the short side (with the ‘White Album’ being the exception), I feel that ‘Let It Be’ was a major slap in the face to the fans, especially if you bought the CD/DVD like I did*. The two CD’s worth of rehearsals, jams and sessions could easily have fitted onto one disc. The EP was particularly poor as this contains only four songs. What about the rooftop concert? I suspect that this will come out as part of a box set that will tie in with the physical release of Peter Jackson’s ‘Get Back’ TV series. Why not put it with the ‘Let It Be’ box set though? It isn’t as though there wasn’t enough room for it seeing as it was 42 minutes long? There was plenty of room on the EP CD. 

Anyway, what is most probably most irritating to me is the lack of care that went into the much heralded release of the 1969 Glyn John’s mix from when the project was called ‘Get Back’. It turns out that this is the not the 1969 mix at all, but a hybrid of the 1969 and 1970’s version of the LP. A good example of this is the song ‘For You Blue’, which uses the re-recorded vocals from 1970. The Japanese box set does include the true 1969 ‘Get Back’ mix. Why is it the Japanese box set is correct whereas the rest of the world has to suffer with a botched job. Replacements would be nice, but I doubt that this will happen. 

With this in mind, I thought about putting together my own ‘Let It Be’ box set, but listening through all of the Nagra rolls and session tapes would take a considerable amount of time, and there are only so many times you listen to the false starts, breakdowns of takes and jams of old songs before turning off the stereo and playing something else instead. 

The idea behind the sessions that led to the ‘Let It Be’ album was to get the band back to playing like a unit again and, potentially, playing a live gig, something they had not done for three years. This was in response to the experimentation and hours spent recording in the studio which had led to tension during the sessions recording the ‘White Album’. The initial plan was to actually play material from the ‘White Album’, with the rehearsals being recorded and the gig being the finale. The plan changed slightly when it was decided to play new material instead. Lennon had developed an heroin addiction and had not produced much new material, whereas Harrison was the opposite. He had recently returned from a stay in the USA where he had jammed with Bob Dylan and The Band and was armed with a number of songs, most of which would end up on his first solo album. McCartney was a busy as ever and had plenty of songs to bring to the table, even if some were not fully formed at the start of proceedings. 

With rehearsals kicking off at Twickenham studios on 2nd January, the band were expected to turn up at the beginning of the day (instead of their usual practise of turning up in the late afternoon and/or evening) to practise. The film studio space was massive (and cold), the camera crew were intrusive and tensions ran high, especially between Harrison and both Lennon (for his lack of involvement) and McCartney (for numerous reasons that I won’t go into here). This lead to Harrison walking out of the band, saying ‘see you round the clubs’ as he left. 

Lennon quipped that they could get Eric Clapton in as a replacement, but instead, the rest of the band persuaded Harrison to return, although he insisted on certain conditions being met before he did so. These were that the band move from Twickenham Studios to their purpose built recording facility at their offices in Saville Row as well as abandoning the live concert idea. Harrison also brought in keyboard player, Billy Preston. Preston had known The Beatles since their Hamburg days and when he entered the sessions, the working environment became a bit more conducive to recording music. The band would actually play a concert, but it was on the roof of their office building (something that has been imitated many times down the years) and recording would finish on 31st January. 

Engineer Glyn Johns was given the task of producing the album and, in May 1969, a version was ready. It favoured the rougher mixes over the more polished efforts from later in the sessions. There were false starts, breakdowns and jams. Even though this did fit the objective of the sessions, the band rejected it and so at the end of 1969, Johns compiled another mix. That would complement the soon to be released film as only songs that were in the movie would now be included. That meant that a version of ‘Across The Universe’ was prepared as well as a brand new recording of ‘I Me Mine’, as no multi track of the song was recorded at the time. Lennon did not appear on this session having left the band the previous September. This version was also rejected and the tapes finally handed over to producer Phil Spector to produce and his version with strings, choirs, edits and all sorts of studio shenanigans (which was what this project was meant to avoid) included. The LP topped both the UK and US album charts, but the band had disintegrated by the time of its release and this would be their last album of original material. 

What I was looking here was to put together these two Glyn John mixes as part of the ‘Let it Be’ box set, but whilst researching this piece, I found that there were two other mixes of the ‘Get Back’ material as well as a proposal to release another LP made up of covers of the rock n roll oldies the band played during rehearsals. I must thank the people over at https://www.beatlesource.com for listing the differences between the four versions presented here. 

I have decided to follow the current trend with this one and present this as though it was released on vinyl.

Disc 1 – ‘Get Back’ Version 1

It has always been assumed that the tape Glyn Johns delivered in May 1969 was the first attempt at mixing material from the sessions, but this is not actually the case. A tape was constructed and cut to acetate in January of 1969 and it can be said that this was never intended for a commercial release, but just as a reference for the band so they knew what the recording sounded like. At some point though, a tape was made of the acetate and fell into the hands of a number of US radio stations which broadcast this. These broadcasts were taped off of the radio by an unknown listener and these recordings would end up as the first known Beatle’s bootleg. Called ‘Kum Back’, it has been bootlegged many times over the years, but the whereabouts of the original Johns tape is unknown. What is also unknown is how the radio stations received a taped copy of the acetate, even though Lennon himself took responsibility for that slipping out. 

Side A

  1. Get Back (unique mix).
  2. Teddy Boy (This mix adds an additional 1:16 of performance between the breakdown at the beginning and the start of the song, which is not heard on versions 2 and 3).
  3. Two Of Us (This mix includes a snippet of another performance, probably a remnant of an earlier, discarded mix and a false start not heard on versions 2, 3 or 4).
  4. Dig A Pony (Strangely, although this is a different mix, it features the tape-start sound heard at the beginning which is heard on versions 2 and 3 but not on version 4). 
  5. I’ve Got A Feeling (This mix includes an additional 10 seconds of extended ending after John’s comment “Not bad though” not heard on versions 2, 3 or 4).

Side B

  1. The Long & Winding Road (This mix features a second or two additional intro of Ringo getting set on the drums and a longer, piano tinkling outro not heard on not heard on versions 2, 3 or 4 or the Let It Be album). 
  2. Let It Be (This begins with what is probably a remnant of an earlier, discarded mix. None of this performance or mix appear anywhere else.)
  3. Don’t Let Me Down (With the exception of John’s comment about “give me the courage to come screaming in” being a bit more clear, this mix features nothing not heard on versions 2, 3 or 4).
  4. For You Blue (This mix features a five second longer outro which includes guitar chop not heard on versions 2, 3 or 4).
  5. Get Back (This performance would form the basis of both the single and Let It Be album versions. The performance, itself, appears on all versions. The spoken intro is heard on compilation 2 and the Let It Be album. The post-song dialog is extended on compilation 2. The single version, which also appears on compilations 3 and 4, omits the spoken intro and adds a coda (taken from another performance) to the end, eliminating the post-song bits).
  6. The Walk (a short jam of a Jimmy McCracklin song from 1958. This is the only version of ‘Get Back’ where this song appears).

Disc 2 – ‘Get Back’ Version 2

This could be considered the lost version of the ‘Get Back’ album. Compiled in May 1969, this version was broadcast on WKBW radio station in Buffalo, USA in September the same year. It was always thought that this was the same as version 3, but it does have some marked differences. This are most notably on the song ‘Get Back’ which is the same performance as the single version, but lacks the coda nor the cold ending of version 1. This version comes to a natural end with some studio chat at the end. The other is the ‘Dig It’ jam, which is almost a minute longer than any other version. 

Side A

  1. One After 909 (This is the same as versions 3 and 4).
  2. Rocker/Save The Last Dance For Me/Don’t Let Me Down (Intro) (This is the same as version 3). 
  3. Don’t Let Me Down (This is the same as version 3).
  4. Dig A Pony (This is the same as version 3).
  5. I’ve Got a Feeling (on the bootleg recording taken from the original broadcast, this has been recorded over by a version of ‘Across the Universe’ form the ‘No One’s Gonna Change Our World’ charity album. I have assumed that this would be same as the version used on version 3 but without Ringo’s comment. See below). 
  6. Get Back (see above)

Side B

  1. For You Blue (This is the same as version 3).
  2. Teddy Boy (This is the same as version 3).
  3. Two of Us/Maggie Mae (This is the same as version 3 and 4).
  4. Dig It (This is a longer 5-minute edit but otherwise, it sounds the same as the 4-minute edit on version 3. The additional minute is at the beginning of the song. Both edits end the same). 
  5. Let It Be (This is the same as version 3 and 4).
  6. The Long & Winding Road (This is the same as version 3 but is missing Lennon’s comments “are we supposed to giggle in the solo” and McCartney’s response, “yeah”).
  7. Get Back (Reprise) (This is the same as version 3 and 4).

This version is so similar to Version 3 that I almost did not include it, but for completeness’ sake, it stays. 

Disc 3 – ‘Get Back’ Version 3

Glyn Johns went back to the studio to complete further work on the ‘Get Back’ album and this is the version, if it had been accepted, that would have seen the light of day in August 1969, or September, or December when the ‘Let it Be’ single was scheduled to be released. the single would be delayed until March the following year. The version of the song ‘Get Back’ was the April 1969 single mix, and ‘Dig It’ was trimmed by a minute. Some dialogue was also changed. Though this version was not broadcast on US Radio like versions 1 & 2, tapes began circulating of this mix in the 1970s. It shares a lot of similarities with versions 2 & 4, as you will se below. 

Side A

  1. One After 909 (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  2. Rocker/Save The Last Dance For Me/Don’t Let me Down (Intro) (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  3. Don’t Let me Down (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  4. Dig A Pony (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  5. I’ve Got A Feeling (This is the same as compilations 2 and 4. At the end, Glyn has added Ringo’s comment, “Glyn, what does that sound like?”).
  6. Get Back (This is the same as compilation 4. It’s the stereo single mix (RS5) with the coda. Gone are John’s intro comments, “picks with the fingers” and the chat at the end).

Side B

  1. For You Blue (This the same as versions 2 and 4 except version 4 edits out a bit of the intro).
  2. Teddy Boy (This is the same as version 2. It was not included on version 4).
  3. Two Of Us/Maggie Mae (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  4. Dig It (This is the same as version 4).
  5. Let It Be (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).
  6. Long & Winding Road (This mix is the same as versions 2 and 4 however, this version add John’s comment “Are we supposed to giggle in the solo?” and Paul’s reply, “yeah”. These comments are absent from version 2 but are present on version 4).
  7. Get Back (Reprise) (This is the same as versions 2 and 4).

Disc 4 – ‘Get Back’ Version 4

Almost a year after the sessions had wrapped up, the ‘Get Back’ album had still not seen the light of day. Was it because The Beatles had washed their hands of the material, or the book that was meant to accompany the album was taking longer than expected. Whatever the reason, it was decided that the album now need to reflect the music seen in the nearly completed film. That meant that ‘Teddy Boy’ was out, but ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘I Me Mine’ were in. 

This proved to be a bit of a problem as neither song had been recorded on multi track once the sessions moved away from Twickenham Studios to Saville Row. ’Across The Universe’ had seen a release on the ‘No One’s Gonna Change Our World’ charity album which came out in December of 1969. A different version was needed so Glyn Johns set about creating a mix hat removed the sound effects and female backing vocals that had accompanied the charity album performance. ‘I Me Mine’ needed to be recorded from scratch, so in what would prove to be the last Beatles session until the mid-90s, Starr, Harrison and McCartney met at Abbey Road studios to produce the track.  

Side A

  1. One After 909 (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  2. Rocker/Save The Last Dance For Me/Don’t Let Me Down (intro) (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  3. Don’t Let Me Down (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  4. Dig A Pony (The opening note, which previously had a glitch sound, has been smoothed out a here. Perhaps it was remixed but, otherwise, it sounds the same as versions 2 and 3).
  5. I’ve Got A Feeling (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  6. Get Back (This is the same as version 3. This is the stereo single mix (RS5) with the coda).
  7. Let It Be (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).

Side B

For You Blue (This track is missing a bit of the dialog and the longer false start that is heard on versions 2 and 3. This is the new mix mentioned above. Verses 1 and 2, along with the last line of verse 3, feature the new vocal. Most of verse 3 is the old vocal. In portions of verse 2, both vocals can be heard).

  1. Two Of Us/Maggie Mae (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  2. Dig It (This is the same as version 3).
  3. Long & Winding Road (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).
  4. I Me Mine (This is the original minute and a half edit and features a spoken intro found nowhere else).
  5. Across The Universe (This is an unique mix of this song and features a spoken intro found nowhere else).
  6. Get Back (Reprise) (This is the same as versions 2 and 3).

Disc 5 – “Get Back’ Oldies Compilation

One thing that is apparent when looking at what was played during these sessions, there was an awful lot of old songs from The Beatles early days getting an airing. These would include songs that Lennon & McCartney had written before fame (including ‘One After 909’, which did it make it on to the final album), but mostly it was rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Whilst the ‘Get Back’ tapes were being prepared, it was rumoured that a bonus disc made up of these rock ‘n’ roll oldies was also going to see the light of day. 

A tape has surfaced which some have called the ‘Oldies Companion’, but when listening to it, it does not completely fit the bill. That is because the first two songs are a rather good version of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and an eight minute edit of ‘Dig It’. These do not go with the theme of the album, so I did not use these but instead focused on just the old tunes. The problem with these oldies is they were never recorded up to release standard. The band used them as a way of warming up or alleviating boredom. 

Others sounded quite good but they were recorded to the Nagra machines the camera crew were using, so on occasions there is a good deal of talking and the occasional beeping noise. The recordings included here do not have any of the camera crew talking over them but there is the occasional beep. Some of the songs were also recorded quite early on in the process when the band were at Twickenham Film Studios, so these were only available in mono. Stereo equipment was only brought into proceedings when the band moved to Saville Row. 

I have included the date when these versions were recorded in case you fancy making your own version. 

Side A

  1. Blue Suede Shoes – Recorded 26th January 1969
  2. Shake, Rattle & Roll – Recorded 26th January 1969
  3. Kansas City/Miss Ann/Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Recorded 26th January 1969
  4. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues – Recorded 29th January
  5. Bad Boy – Recorded 24th January 1969
  6. Besame Mucho – Recorded 29th January 1969
  7. Cannonball/Not Fade Away/Hey Little Girl/Bo Diddly – Recorded 29th January 1969
  8. Maggie Mae/Fancy My Chances With You – Recorded 24th January 1969

Side B

  1. Maybe Baby – Recorded 29th January 1969
  2. Suzy Parker – Recorded 9th January 1969
  3. School Days – Recorded 24th January 1969
  4. Crying, Waiting, Hoping – Recorded 29th January 1969
  5. Gone, Gone, Gone – Recorded 7th January 1969
  6. Because I Know You Loved Me So – Recorded 3rd January 1969
  7. Peggy Sue Got Married – Recorded 29th January 1969
  8. You Really Got A Hold On Me – Recorded 26th January 1969
  9. Rip It Up – Recorded 26th January 1969

So there it is. The Beatles and their ‘Get Back’ album given the deluxe box set treatment. Will we ever see anything like this come out officially? I doubt it even though by the 60th anniversary comes along in 2030, it would no doubt be a digital only release. 

The cover art is taken from https://bbchron.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-beatles-get-back-glyn-johns-mixes.html

*Now, I know I know I didn’t need to buy it, but I am a completist and I had all of the others, so I bought this one as well. 

Harry Nilsson – The Voice Behind The Face

This second Nilsson What-If album of the month could be seen as a companion piece to the previous ‘Singles’ compilation, but instead of focusing on material that was released under his own name, this includes recordings recorded as part of a group or under pseudonyms or for one release, no mention of the recording artist was made at all. More on that later.

The first songs are ‘Donna’ and ‘Wig Job’. Eagled eyed reader will notice that these songs were listed on the previous post. However, these have been re-rerecorded. They were released under the name of Johnny Niles. There are also a couple of singles that were released under the name of Bo-Pete, including ‘Baa Baa Blacksheep. These are the same songs as the ones that Nilsson released under his own name. I have included them here for completeness. The final songs on Side A are a slab of Bo Diddley mixed with novelty combined with a massive jump onto The Beatles bandwagon. The original single came with a 8mm film with clips of The Beatles which, according to a note found on the single, could be synched up to play at the same time. Needless to say, none of these records were hits. I have also never seen the film and so far, it has eluded a posting on YouTube. Someone must have this somewhere.

Side B starts off with another Tower single that was released under the name of The New Salvation Singers (featuring Harry Nilsson). The rest of this album includes songs that were recorded by Nilsson that were released on the ‘New Nilsson Songs’ promo album. This record was released to promote the songs Nilsson had written for his publishing company, Rock Music Co. There were also a couple of songs on there from Perry Botkin and Gil Garfield who just happened to own the publishing company. The reason these songs are included here is because when the record came out, none of the people singing the songs were listed. All that was put onto the label was the name of the songs, the publishers name and their contact details. 

These 60s releases were not the last time that Nilsson would release music that was not under his own name. As a bonus 7” single, this release would include the single ‘Joy’ and its B-Side ‘I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City’. This was released under he name of Buck Earl in an attempt to get played on country music radio. It didn’t work and this is one of the more obscure releases connected to Harry Nilsson. It does not end there though as Nilsson had one more pseudonym up his sleeve. This additional cheeky bonus is ‘Party From Outer Space’ Albert Brooks’ comedy album ‘A Star Is Bought’. Nilsson recorded under the name of Lassie.

The sleeve is an adaptation of the the late 1960s reissue of ‘Spotlight Of Nilsson’ with the new title added. 

Side A

  1. Donna, I Understand – Johnny Niles
  2. Wig Job – Johnny Niles
  3. Do You Wanna (Have Some Fun) – Bo-Pete
  4. Groovy Little Suzie – Bo-Pete
  5. Baa Baa Blacksheep – Bo-Pete
  6. Baa Baa Blacksheep (Part 2) – Bo-Pete
  7. Stand Up & Holler (Film Side) – Foto-Fi Four
  8. Stand Up & Holler – Foto-Fi Four

Side B

  1. The Path That Leeds To Trouble – New Salvation Singes (feat. Harry Nilsson)
  2. Good Times – New Salvation Singes (feat. Harry Nilsson)
  3. 1941 – Harry Nilsson 
  4. The Boy From The City – Harry Nilsson 
  5. The La LA Song – Harry Nilsson
  6. There Will Never Be – Harry Nilsson 
  7. Without Her – Harry Nilsson 
  8. The Story Of Rock & Roll – Harry Nilsson

Bonus 7” Single

  1. Joy – Buck Earl
  2. I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City – Buck Earl
  3. Party From Outer Space – Albert Brooks (feat Lassie)

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the wonderful book ‘Harry & Me’, in which yours truly briefly appears in.

Harry & Me

The Beatles – Lost EP’s

So, after an additional wait of a year, ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles receives the deluxe box set treatment. Must be time therefore to come up with some fantasy releases for the band. For this entry we are not looking at LPs, but  EPs. EP stands for Extended Play and tend to be produced on 7” records that contain on average four songs. The format was popular enough (in the UK at least) to have its own chart for a period of time. By 1967, the chat was history and any EP released after this would be listed in the singles chart. The Beatles released a number of EPs during the 60s, and they cover the full range of what was possible with the format. ‘Twist & Shout’ and ‘No.1’ featured songs that had been on the first LP, so if you couldn’t afford the album, this was a nice alternative. ‘The Beatles’ Hits’ could be seen as an early attempt at a greatest hits package. ‘Long Tall Sally’ contained songs that had not appeared anywhere else before. They even released a double EP with ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, that contained a lovely booklet which gave you an idea of what the film was like for those not old enough to have been around when it was shown on the TV in 1968 (like me for instance). It is with this in mind that I present three alternative history EPs for you. 

Yellow Submarine (1968)

This one was almost released back in the day, and even though some work was put into mixing the songs ready for release, it was shelved until 2009. More on that later. ‘Yellow Submarine’, the song, was released as the A-side as well as featuring on the ‘Revolver’ album. It was the only A-Side Ringo Starr was lead singer on during the band’s lifetime and even though it was designed as a lighthearted tune for Starr’s limited vocal range, multiple interpretations of the songs meaning were put forward at the time. 

The song would be the inspiration behind the ‘Yellow Submarine’ film which was released in 1968 as a way of fulfilling The Beatles three film deal they had with United Artists. Having an animated film with the band only featuring in a short cameo at the end meant that this contract had been honoured. The film came out in July 1968 in the UK, but fans of the band had to wait until the beginning of 1969 for a soundtrack album to come out. The album was criticised for not giving fans of the band the usual value for money that they had become accustomed to. In that, of the thirteen tunes on the record, only six were by The Beatles and of these, only four had not been released before. The other seven were instrumentals written by their producer George Martin. The band considered releasing an EP of the four previously unreleased songs with the additional of the Across the Universe, which had not come out up until that point. The EP idea was shelved, but the songs had been mixed in mono specifically for this release and would eventually see the light of day in 2009 when ‘The Beatles in Mono’ box was released. Well all except the original version of Across the Universe.  

What if the band had released this EP in the summer of 1968 when the film came out? All of the songs that were used had all been recorded at that point, being as they were outtakes from other recording projects. As the songs on the EP are quite long, the original EP would have been released playing at 33rpm. However, this meant that the sound quality would have compromised some what so for this exercise, we will keep the playing speed at 45rpm. That means that the EP will need to take inspiration from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP and being a double disc affair. That also means that there is a little more time to play with. So here is the play list. 

Disc 1 – Side A

  1. Yellow Submarine (Spoken Intro, different sound effects, mono)

Disc 1 – Side B

  1. Hell Bulldog (Mono)
  2. All Together Now (Mono)

Disc 2 – Side A

  1. It’s All Too Much (Mono)

Disc 2 – Side B

  1. Only A Northern Song (Mono)
  2. Across The Universe (Take 8, mono)

‘Hell Bulldog’, ‘All Together Now’, ‘It’s All Too Much’ and ‘Only a Northern Song’ are as per the mono found on ‘The Beatles in Mono’ box set, but to be good value for money, there would have been the aforementioned Across the Universe. This would have been take 8 of the song, which included some additional humming vocals and psychedelic instrumentation which were removed when it was eventually released in 1969. No doubt because psychedelia was a bit old hat by then. This would also be at the original speed so would last for 3 mins 44 seconds. The second previously unreleased track (in this version anyway) is ‘Yellow Submarine’. Instead of putting out the version most fans would have owned on Revolver or single, this version would have included the spoken intro version as well as using a slightly different mix with alternative sound effects. It’s A Too Much would most probably have been needed to be released at 33rpm due to it being nearly six and a half minutes long. 

If that had been released in June 1968, it would have fitted a gap in The Beatles release schedule and would have been a way of wetting the appetite for the forthcoming ‘Yellow Submarine’ film. George Martin though would have missed out on the biggest pay day of his career if this EP had been released instead of the soundtrack LP. 

Let It Be (1969)

Music, as has been said many times before, is subjective to the person listening to it. Therefore, there is no such as thing as bad music. There is just music you like or you don’t. With the ‘Let It Be’ album though, this is without doubt one of the weaker releases in the groups discography. The original 1970 LP had been worked over by legendary Phil Spector to paper over some of the cracks which was down to there being a lack of top notch material, apathy from the participants or the realisation (even if they were not going to admit it) that the bands days were numbered. George Harrison, out of all of the The Beatles was feeling the need to branch out on his own due to the lack of space for his material on the bands LPs, and it was only in 1968 that one of his songs was included on a single, albeit on the B-Side. 

Having listened the the original LP, the Naked variation and numerous bootlegs that have circulated shows that even though lots of songs that would become well known were presented at the sessions, these tended to not to be finished, or in Harrison’s case, not given the recognition they deserved. The sessions took place in January of 1969 and until ‘Let It Be’ came out in May 1970, the only release from those sessions was the ‘Get Back’ single, backed with ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in April 1969. George Martin, the bands producer up until this point, had been there for the recording sessions, but the tapes were given over to audio engineer Glyn Johns to do something with, and what he back with was the ‘Get Back’ album. 

Johns was given a free hand to do what he wanted with the tapes, and he preferred to use the rougher version of the songs that had been recorded. More polished performances would be used when the ‘Let It Be’ album was eventually released. These rougher versions included some studio chatter, flash starts and takes that broke down. It really did show The Beatles with their trousers down. Needless to say, the mix that John’s had prepared in May 1969 was rejected. 

What if the album was not released in 1970, but an EP of some of the stronger songs was sent to record shops, using Glyn John’s mix and released as a stop gap between the release of ‘The Ballad of John & Yoko’ single in May 1969 and the ‘Abbey Road’ LP in the September. Once again, the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is the inspiration behind this release. 

Disc 1 – Side A

  1. Dig A Pony

Disc 1 – Side B

  1. For You Blue
  2. I’ve Got A Feeling

Disc 2 – Side A

  1. Let It Be

Disc 2 – Side B

  1. Two Of Us

If we look at what did make the ‘Let It Be’ album and is not on this EP, ‘Get Back’ is most probably the most glaring absentee. However, this was released as a single in April of 1969 so would be doubling up on songs if used. The Beatles tried to keep singles off of albums and so I used the same logic here. If we look back to the ‘Yellow Submarine’ EP, we are looking at giving Beatles fans value for money. The B-Side of this single, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ does not get a place on the EP for the same reason. In this alternative timeline, ‘Across The Universe’ would have come out on the Yellow Submarine EP with ‘Dig It’ and ‘Maggie Mae’ being short snippets so no major loss there. As was the way of thing, Harrison would not have got more than one song on this proposed EP, so it was a toss up between ‘For You Blue’ and ‘I Me Mine’. Not much to choose from on these, and neither are particularly good, especially with what Harrison would release on the next Beatles album and his first solo album. 

That leaves ‘One After 909’, which we’ll come back to on the next Lost Beatles EP and ‘The Long and Winding Road’. McCartney obviously loves the song. He re-recorded it for his ‘Give My Regards to Broadstreet’ project, and wanting to remove the production work of Phil Spector was the impetus for completing ‘Let It Be…Naked’. Plenty of people have covered it, Brian Wilson (who knows a thing or two about great songs) says it is his all time favourite Beatles track, but to these ears, it it just not up there with McCartney’s best work, and there are better songs on this EP. Granted, this is not the worst McCartney song from these sessions. ‘Teddy Boy’, take a bow. 

Rooftop Concert (1977)

When The Beatles deal with EMI ran out in the mid-70s, the company spent a good deal of its time releasing numerous compilation albums of bands work. However, the only release that of previously unissued material was the ‘Live at the Hollywood Bowl’ LP. You would have thought that with the amount of unreleased material in the archive, they would have been a bit of imaginative, but what do I know about the workings of a multinational record company out to make the quickest buck as possible. 

The album does suffer from the technology of the time that it was recorded, and the time in which it was released. George Martin did a good job with what he had, but the alternative history release here is what would have happened if EMI had raided the archive for a release of another live performance by the band. In this case, a few songs from the rooftop concert from 1969, recorded during the making of the ‘Let It Be’ album. Once again, taking a cue from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP, this is spread over two discs. The Rooftop concert is so famous and inspirational that many other band have copied it down the years, and was brilliantly parodied by The Rutles. 

‘One After 909’ starts things off and then is followed by ‘Dig a Pony’, which is a different version than the one used on the ‘Let It Be’ EP. ‘I Got A Feeling’ actually finishes, which did not happen in take that was used when Glyn Johns produced his mix. ‘Get Back’ finishes the EP off nicely, but without Lennon famously saying ‘thank you on behalf of the group’ as this was on the third run through of the song. With that, we finish our look at the Lost Beatles EPs. 

Disc 1

  1. One After 909
  2. Dig A Pony

Disc 2

  1. I’ve Got A Feeling (First Version)
  2. Get Back (Second Version)

None of these EPs could be reproduced on Spotify due to some of the material still not having been officially released. It would have been nice if the Rooftop Concert had been included in the ‘Let It Be’ deluxe edition box set which in my opinion, is a bit light on bonus tracks.