I thought that as Deutschland 89, last series of this rather fine German TV programme was finally airing in the UK from 5th March 2021, I would revisit the second series to produce a soundtrack for it. Unlike the soundtracks to Deutschland 83, there will only be one and it will be a mix of both German and English speaking artists. I also felt that this album, if it had been released in 1986, would have come out once agin on the K-Tel label, so their logo is included in the top left of the sleeve.
With the previous compilation for Deutschland 83, I felt that the record label would have wanted to have squeezed on as many songs as they could so went for the shorter version where available. That includes the single versions for the Level 42 and Evelyn Thomas songs. That was also the reason for concluding the 1985 version of Howard Jones’ ‘No-One Is To Blame’, regardless if this was the version used in the show or not. Record companies have not always been the best at releasing the correct versions of songs in tie in compilations. As the song ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ by Peter Schilling was once again used as the theme tune in the UK, it would also be the opening song to this collection. However, I selected another Schilling track which is included on the flip side of the LP.
Other than Peter Schilling, the two other German speaking artists are a pre ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ Falco and Klaus Nomi. The Falco song, ‘Der Kommissar’ is seen as an influential German language rap song which was later a bigger hit for the British band, After The Fire. Klaus Nomi on the other hand was a one off. With a counter tenor vocal range which meant he had the vocal range equivalent to a female contralto of mezzo-soprano, this is the one obscure artist per compilation. Nomi is known for appearing on Saturday Night Live with David Bowie in 1979 as well as being one of the first people connected to the arts to die from AIDS. I cannot give his back story justice here, but if you are interested to find out more, the internet is your friend. The man was a true one off and his back catalogue is also well worth checking out.
Being as this is 1986 and all that, I felt that the record label would be interested in appealing to the CD buyer. This was the year of ‘Brothers In Arms’, the first CD album to not only sell a million copies but to outsell its vinyl equivalent. One way of appealing to the CD buyer was to offer them something not available on another format. With ‘Brothers In Arms’ there wasn’t any bonus tracks on the CD version of the album, but the songs were longer. They had to be edited to fit onto a single LP. Queen on the 1986 CD edition of ‘A Kind Of Magic’ put three exclusive mixes of songs at the end of the disc. With this soundtrack album, I have added two additional songs in the shape of ‘Such A Shame’ by Talk Talk, and ‘I Want You’ by Elvis Costello & The Attractions. These songs are both quite long and would have been a doubt for the LP, unless edited. Enjoy.
Deutschland 83 – Original Soundtrack (German Language Edition)
One of the few bonuses of being in lockdown is that I have actually had the time to catch on TV I have been meaning to watch for what seems like years, as well as discovering shows I have never heard of. One of these is Deutschland 83, set during the final years of the Cold War but with a plot that could turn the situation very hot. The programme follows the adventures of Martin Rauch, and East German border guard who is sent into West Germany as an undercover agent in the role of an aide-du-camp to a West German Major General. They may speak the same language, but East and West Germany are two very different places. Check it out, and the follow up Deutschland 86. They are well worth your time.
Not only do the programme transport the viewer back into time with the visuals, the person responsible for the music did a fantastic job. Not only do we, the viewer get a smattering of classic 80s pop tracks from English speaking countries, there are also a sprinkling of tracks from German bands from both sides of the Iron Curtain. I thought about putting together a single disc vinyl LP, as this was the dominate format at the time but once I started looking at the songs in the series, I realised there was enough material for the German artists have an album all to themselves. So let’s take a dive into who these artists are.
Peter Schilling – Part of the German New Wave (Neue Deutsche Welle), and one of the most commercially successful. Major Tom (Coming Home) was his first single and after it was a big hit throughout Europe, he re-recorded it in English. This became a top twenty hit in the USA and number one in Canada. Not such a bit hit the UK with it failing to break into the Top 40. The TV Show uses this in English speaking markets as the theme song, but I decided to use the original version which is not heard in the programme as Germany used ‘Blue Money’ by New Order in their opening credits.
Puhdys – One of the most successful rock bands to come out of East Germany, they have sold over 20 million records. Their style in the early days was compared to Western rock bands but on Sehnsucht, they sound like the 80s has caught up with them. A bit more pop than rock.
Berluc – Another band from East Germany. This song is perfect for the time the show it was set as it pleads for no bombs of a nuclear variety being dropped so there is no radioactive fallout. It also references the President of the USA at that time, Ronald Reagan who was an actor before he went into politics.
City – The third East German band on this compilation, the song Am Fenster was voted in 2019 as the best song ever to come out of East Berlin. They were so popular that even during the Cold War, they were selling records in West Germany.
Nena – The only artist on this compilation I had heard of before I saw the show. I only knew her for ’99 Red Balloons’, of which the German language original is selected here. Both versions deal with the end of the world through warfare, with the cause of all the hostility being the release of balloons into the air which are mistaken for enemy hostility, even though in the German version the balloons are misidentified as a UFO.
Joachim Witt – Another artist associated with the German New Wave, Witt has had commercial success but he has mostly produced music that has been described as challenging as well as making music videos that have been controversial. See the video to the song ‘Gloria’ to see what I mean.
Ideal – Hailing from West Berlin, Ideal were another German New Wave band. Their self titles debut album was the first independent LP to achieve a Goal Disc in Germany. The band records three studio albums before deciding to call it a day with the release of a live record in 1983.
Fehlfarben – Their debut album ‘Monarchy & Everyday Life’ is seen as one of the key releases in the German punk movement. Ein Jahr was released as a single and all sorts of early 80s influences are in here, included punk, ska and a bit of disco.
Ute Freudenberg – Another song considered a classic of East German pop, the title translates as childhood love and describes the love of two teenagers who meet many years later to reminisce on that time.
Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst) – Peter Schilling
Sehnsucht – Puhdys
No Bomb – Berluc
Am Fenster – City
99 Luftballons – Nena
Goldener Reiter – Joachim Witt
Keine Heimat – Ideal
Ein Jahr (Es Geht Voran) – Fehlfarben
Jugendliebe – Ute Freudenberg & Gruppe Elefant
Even though the majority of the artists included on this compilation were from West Germany, I thought it would be more fun to release it through the Amiga label, which was based in the East. The company logo has been added in the bottom right of the sleeve. The covers that Amiga were producing in 1983 were very basic, with a picture of the artist. Being as this is a various artists soundtrack, a picture of the star of the show would be perfect, even though a Walkman (which is what the actor is holding in his hand) would, I suspect, not been an item everyday East Germans would have known about, let alone seen.
Deutschland 83 – Original Soundtrack (English Language Edition)
Well, having created a soundtrack to Deutschland 83 with only German recordings on it, I thought it would be interesting to create another playlist made up of English language artists. There was a lot more choice with the material for this compilation and I was tempted to make it a double, but I felt that a single set would have been truer to what would have been released if this had really come out in the year 1983. The album once again starts of with Peter Schilling singing ‘Major Tom (Come Home)’ as it is used on the version the programme I saw. On this occasion, the vocals are in English.
Nothing is too out of the ordinary here, with the majority of songs being quite well know. The only obscurity would have been ‘Berlin’ by Fischer-Z, a group that was the creative project of singer and guitarist John Watts. Two songs from their 1981 album ‘Red Skies Over Paradise’ were used in Deutschland 83. The parent album would also make the top ten in Germany and they were more poplar there, and in the Netherlands than their home country of the UK. I decided to put this in instead of something more well known as these soundtracks always seemed to include a song or two by bands that were not that well known, and also because the song deals with subject matter that relates to the TV series more than the other included here.
What surprised whilst putting this soundtrack together was how many songs were used in the show there were that were released after 1983. It does annoy me some what when songs are chosen for time specific films and TV programmes and the material they chose comes after that time. It just smacks of laziness, going for the more well known instead of being historically accurate.
Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) (Single Version) – Eurythmics
Maniac (Single Version) – Michael Sembello
She Works Hard For The Money (Single Version) – Donna Summer
Berlin – Fishcer-Z
Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder
Club Tropicana – Wham!
The Safety Dance (Single Version) – Men Without Hats
I have tried listening to records by BIlly Bragg and Wilco released without each other, but there was something about them that meant they were never quite made my shopping list. However, I was quite surprised when listening to Bob Geldof on XFM that a song came on which I instantly fell in love with. This was 1998 so I hoped that he would say who the artist was at the end of the record because this was before the internet had really caught on so if I missed it, there was no way I could look it up afterwards to find out who it was. To my (pleasant) surprise, he said that it was Billy Bragg and Wilco. My interest was peaked.
Going a local record shop (these existed in 1998) and buying the CD (this wasn’t released on vinyl in the UK at that time), I gave it a spin and fell in love with it. The limited sleeves notes in the accompanying booklet told me that all of the lyrics had been written by left wing songwriter Woody Guthrie. In the years since his death, his daughter Nora had been running an archive of her father’s work which included over a thousand sets of lyrics that Guthrie had not recorded himself. Nora had an idea of having a number of contemporary artists record these songs to these lyrics and had asked Billy Bragg to come on board after he had taken part in a Woodie Guthrie tribute concert. Braggs reputation as a left wing activist may also have helped Nora make this decision. Guthrie did not write music and apart from some vague notation, there was little in the way of clues as to what these songs should sound like. The reason these songs were left in this state was down to the fact that Guthrie was suffering from Huntington’s disease, which causes the sufferer to lack co-ordination. That and an injury to his arm in the mid 50’s meant he could no longer play his guitar. Guthrie continued to write lyrics until he was unable to hold a pencil. The songs Guthrie was writing ranged from politics, his fantasy’s about actress Ingrid Bergman, nonsense songs for children and reflections on his own childhood.
Bragg did not gather together a cast of contemporary musicians to help work on this project apart from American band Wilco, who were given their own set of lyrics to work on. Natalie Merchant also came on board to provide vocals on a couple of the songs. It was mentioned at the time that there was enough material in the can for another album and in 2000, a second volume was released. It was easy to tell that the A-grade material was used on Volume 1, but this was still a good album. It was when the second collection came out that I put together a compilation taking what I considered to be the best tunes from both of these volume into one extended edition. In 2012, a compilation was released that contained Volumes 1 & 2, along with a third disc of additional outtakes. I did not feel that any of these songs were strong enough to make appearance on this collection, which I had been playing off and on since 2000.
Billy Bragg and Wilco would not be the only artists to make an album using unused Woody Guthrie lyrics. The Klezmatics would release two albums in 2006, Jonatha Brooke in 2008 and Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker with Jim James in 2012. This has also lead to other artists such Sandy Denny having their own archives of unreleased lyrics set to music by modern musicians and released as albums.
The cover is the same as the one used for Volume 1. It did not feel the need anything added to it. The entire collection is available to listen to via Spotify. Enjoy.
So, here we are with my fourth and final part of my Beatles alternative history.
After much argument, John Lennon decides that he will not record the three covers demanded of Morris Levy in the ‘Come Together’ settlement on a Beatles album, but that he will release them on a solo record instead.
With his private life in turmoil and the ever-present threat of deportation hanging over him, he decides to stay in America and record the new album in Los Angeles with Phil Spector producing. The sessions drag on for months, descending into an alcohol fuelled mess, and only end when Spector is hospitalised after being involved in a car crash. Unknown to Lennon, Spector had been taking the master tapes home at the end of every day, leaving noting for the session musicians to work on in his absence and, with Spector out of action for the foreseeable future, Lennon abandons the sessions.
Taking some of the same players with him, John decides to accept an offer from his drinking buddy Harry Nilsson to produce his album Pussy Cats. Again the sessions end in drunken debauchery, but at least this time RCA, Nilsson’s label, are prepared to release it, reasoning that having Lennon’s name and picture splashed all over the cover might help boost sales. Taking the album back to New York for mixing, Lennon also starts work on some new material.
Ringo Starr has spent the early part of the year getting drunk with Lennon and Nilsson whilst Harrison stayed at home writing material and furthering is devotion to Hare Krishna. After the success of the ‘Live & Let Die’ single, McCartney has been recording his own material with the view of releasing a solo album called Wings. However, before he goes through with this, he reads reports of Lennon’s riotous behaviour and feels that getting back in the studio with the other Beatles will curb his excessive behaviour.
Harrison and Starr agree to come on board. Though their relationship is still a little strained, they feel that they owe a duty to Lennon, as without him, there would not be a band in the first place; the trio also accept that Ringo’s recent reckless behaviour will be curtailed once he has a new project to concentrate on.
The sessions take place at Abbey Road and under the guidance of George Martin, brought in from his own AIR studios in the Bahamas. McCartney brings the songs he had earmarked for his solo album to the sessions, and both Harrison and Lennon bring in enough material for another double album. Starr also offers up a couple of tunes for consideration, and the sessions pass by smoothly.
There is a feeling within the band that this record will be it for a while. They have been making records together for twelve years and there is a generally feeling that they need a break. The sessions are a happy time for everyone involved, but Harrison is especially happy that, even though are calls from the fans to do so, The Beatles will not be going on the road to promote this.
After sessions from the album wrap, Lennon goes back to the states. He had already made up his mind to accept an invitation to join his friend Elton John on stage at his concert in Madison Square Garden, and is looking forward to jamming a few old tunes without the pressure of having to be a Beatle. Backstage he reconnects with Yoko Ono and the pair decide to work on repairing their marriage. Shortly afterwards comes the news that his five-year struggle with the immigration department is at an end, and he can finally settle in the country as a US citizen. Still aware of the fact that he needs to record an album of rock n roll songs to meet the demands of the court case over ‘Come Together’, he tells the rest of the band that he intends to work with session musicians in America on this and release it as a solo album.
Shortly afterwards, Ono finds out she is pregnant. It’s a difficult pregnancy, but on Lennon’s 35th birthday she gives birth to a son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon. After much discussion at home about who will look after the business and who will raise the child, Lennon contacts the other Beatles to say he will be taking the next five years off to help raise their newborn son. He does not want to be an absentee father like his was for his first son, Julian. McCartney, one again adrift without his fellow Beatles, goes home to his farm in Scotland with his family and soon recommences work on his aborted solo album. George Harrison splits from his wife Pattie; shortly afterwards he meets Olivia Arias who, at the end of 1977, will fall pregnant with Harrison’s first child, Dhani. Ringo also splits with his wife, Maureen, and flies back to LA where he once again attempts to drink the town dry with friends including Nilsson and Keith Moon. All three wait patiently for Lennon to pick up the phone and tell them that he’s ready to be a Beatle again.
Venus & Mars – Venus & Mars
Rock Show – Venus & Mars
Love In Song – Venus & Mars
Dark Horse (Early Take) – Dark Horse (2014 Edition)
Oo-Wee – Goodnight Vienna
Let’s Love – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
Simply Shady – Dark Horse
You – Extra Texture
Move Over Mrs. L – Single B-Side
Soily (From One Hand Clapping) – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
Back Off Boogaloo – Single A-Side
Steel & Glass – Walls & Bridges
This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) – Extra Texture
#9 Dream – Walls & Bridges
Bless You – Walls & Bridges
Scared – Walls & Bridges
The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord) – Living In The Material World
Call Me Back Again – Venus & Mars
Mind Games – Mind Games
Letting Go – Venus & Mars
The Light That Has Lighted The World – Living In The Material World
Treat Her Gently (Lonely Old People) – Venus & Mars
Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down & Out) – Walls & Bridges
That Is All – Living In The Material World
A Bit More Of You – Extra Texture
Whatever Gets You Thru The Night – Walls & Bridges
Old Dirt Road – Walls & Bridges
Junior’s Farm – Single A-Side
Grey Cloudy Lies – Extra Texture
Listen To What The Man Said – Venus & Mars
The Answer’s At The End – Extra Texture
In completing this, the last of these alternative history albums, it just goes to show how much good material the individual members had and were able to produce up until these come to an end in 1974. I do acknowledge that I was pushing it bit to say that they would have been able to produce four double LPs in five years because they did it once in 1968 and all that did was to highlight the cracks beginning to appear within the band. To produce that amount of material would have taken far too much time in the studio for them to work together. A safer bet would have been to produce a set of single albums that would sacrificing so many good songs and these albums work well to my ears. To have enough material to make a number of singles and one EP was an added bonus. There were also top notch songs that were not used, such as Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. Anyway, this was a bit of indulgence on my part and it was great fun putting it together, especially with the research.
I know there will be those who go that would have not happened, or that song would not have been written then but this was an alternative history project. Therefore, why not go with what sounds good and put in some speculation about what might have been? I also acknowledge that this last entry is a lot shorter in terms of story, but by this point, the speculation had diverged too far from the reality for it to continue much further. Even though others have completed this project have included an album from 1980, I have decided against that. The Beatles were meant to be getting back together in the real world around that time anyway until Lennon’s untimely death. This, therefore, seems like the perfect place to stop.
Even though this would work as a CD (like the other play lists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The image for this cover comes from http://beatles7081.blogspot.com/.
I would like to thank friend of the Squire and all-round Beatles fanatic Darryl Bullock for his help in putting this together. Enjoy.
Back in late 2012, I was listening to a number of music related podcasts and fancied putting a show together of my own. The first thing was the name. Well, The Squire was a nom de plume I had used for a number of years before hand so that was easy. The origin of the name though is something for another time and place. The tag line of ‘the podcast that brings you the wonderful, the obscure and the just plain bizarre’ came to me rather quickly as well. What took the longest time was trying to work out what the hell would the first show contain. I eventually settled on the idea that it would contain records from the Squire Archive that were just before the time in which The Beatles became the musical behemoth they were to become. I also remember those early podcasts stating that this would be an irregular podcast because I felt that I would neither have the time or the subject matter to complete a new episode a month. Well, that went out of the window pretty quickly and there has been a new episode every month since November of 2012.
Well, that was then and this is now. So after 99 episodes, I have decided to make the 100th the last of the initial run. It seems a good place to finish. I have rediscovered some records in the archive I forgot I had, bought in new ones to complete shows and interviewed some wonderful guests. I must thank them for giving up their time to talk to me. I must also thank the people behind the scenes who have help in one way or another to bring this show to life. For the theme of this show, I will be using songs that say goodbye in one way or another as this seems like a fitting way to say farewell, adios, adieu and most probably the most fitting would be arrivederci.
Hello, Goodbye – Sparrow
Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers.
Goodbye – Mary Hopkins
Go & Say Goodbye – Buffalo Springfield
Goodbye Forever – The Association
I Said Goodbye To Me/One – Harry Nilsson
It’s Us Who Say Goodbye – We All Together
Goodbye – John George
Rhymes of Goodbye – Scott Walker
Goodbye – Rusty Harness
Goody Goodbye – Sandy Salisbury
Goodbye – Andwella’s Dream
Farewell – Fleetwood Mac
Last Farewell – Kula Shaker
Farewell – The Yardbirds
Farewell My Friend – Dennis Wilson
Farewell, Farewell – Fairport Convention
I Gotta Go Now – The Kinks
The End – Greenfield and Cook
Departure and Farewell – Hem
Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone – The Haden Triplets
Back in the early years of the 21st Century, there was a short lived series of compilation albums where each track was selected by a band or artist to showcase the music that influenced their own work. In response to this, I thought I would put my own series of compilation CDs together which would showcase a particular style of music that could be said to be very influential. On this volume, I focused on music that could be classed as funk and soul as well as being from (but not exclusively limited to) the 1970’s. Judging by the tracks on this first one, Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B etc could be said to have been influenced by what is on this compilation. There are also numerous samples taken from these tracks. I did a slight edit with track 1, ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye as I took the introduction from the original album version and edited it to flow into the single mono mix. The single mix had a bit more punch for me (as well as distinctive fake ending). The second disc opens with ‘Ike’s Rap’ by Isaac Hayes, which I changed slightly so it fades in. The third disc concludes with ‘Inner City Blues’, which finishes with reprise of ‘What’s Going On’, brining the compilation full circle.
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Squire mix)
The Boss – James Brown
I Can’t Stand The Rain – Anne Peebles
Kissing my Love – Bill Withers
California Soul – Marlena Shaw
The Message – Cymande
Do The Funky Chicken – Rufus Thomas
Watts Breakaway – Johnny Otis Show
Shack Up (Part 1) – Banbarra
I Got The – Labi Siffre
Apache – Michael Viners Incredible Bongo Band
I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth
What A Man – Linda Lyndell
Be Thankful For What You’ve Got – William DeVaughn
Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms) – The Detroit Emeralds
Hercules – Aaron Neville
Get Up & Get Down – The Dramatics
Supernatural Thing – Ben E. King
Higher Ground – Ellen Mcillwaine
Move On Up (Album Version) – Curtis Mayfield
Ike’s Rap – Isaac Hayes (Squire Mix)
Woman Of The Ghetto – Marlena Shaw
The Payback – James Brown
Respect Yourself – The Staple Singers
S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear
Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) – The Chi-Lites
Wicky Wacky – The Fatback Band
Everyman – Double Exposure
Hot Pants Road – The J.B.’s
Family Tree – The Family Tree
Ready Or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love) – The Delfonics
Back Stabbers – The O’Jays
Itch & Scratch (Part 1) – Rufus Thomas
I Think I’d Do It – Z. Z. Hill
Cramp Your Style – All The People
Summer Madness – Kool & The Gang
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
Inside My Love (Album Version) – Minnie Ripperton
I Forgot To Be Your Lover – William Bell
I Can’t Write Left Handed – Bill Withers
It’s A Shame – Detroit Spinners
Right On For The Darkness – Curtis Mayfield
Funky President (People It’s Bad) – James Brown
Cross The Track (We Better Go Back) – Maceo & The Macks
Down On The Avenue (Slow Ride) – Fat Larry’s Band
The Bottle – Gill Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
We Are Neighbours – The Chi-Lites
Low Rider – War
Sing A Simple Song – Please
Get Me Back on Time – Wilson Picket
Do The Funky Chicken (Part 2) – Rufus Thomas
Chicken Yellow – Miami
Express Yourself – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Born to Live With Heartache – Mary Love
Impeach The President – The Honeydrippers
I Walk On Gilded Splinters – Johnny Jenkins
Mighty Mighty Spade & Whitey – The Impressions
The Assembly Line – The Commodores
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye
A play list could not be completed for this compilation due to the unavailability of one on more songs on Spotify.
In January 1972, the rumour mill surrounding the band goes into overdrive, with talk that they are going to be a touring band once again, six years after their last show (not including the Rooftop gig from 1969). The rumours prove to be accurate but not in the way anyone would expect. Even though they played live at the Bangladesh concert, there were enough musicians on the stage to cover over the rustiness. That, and the fact that the set list was full of songs from when they were a touring act meant it was a bit easier for them to play, especially at such short notice. Now back on the road, they wanted to include more recent material, but they knew that the four of them would not be able to play those songs without additional musicians. They asked keyboardist Billy Preston to join them once again, as well as a few members of the Hollywood Horns and old friend Klaus Voorman to double up on bass or rhythm guitar, reasoning that this would free up McCartney for additional keyboards and guitar parts depending on the song. Lennon and Harrison are very happy with this arrangement because even though the pair of them have played bass on some of the Beatles records, neither of them felt comfortable playing that instrument on stage.
To make sure they are stage ready, the band play a number of very small venues around the UK, some of which they played on their first tours in the early 60s. As not to raise suspicion, they go out under a number of pseudonyms such as The Ramones, The Gripeweeds, The Firemen and The Reverend Fred Gherkin Band. The pseudonyms came in useful because they could use these smaller shows to get a feel for the live environment and bed in their set. News leaks that The Beatles are touring small venues in the UK under pseudonyms and fans look closely in the music press for any hint that the band are playing near them. When it becomes clear that the names being chosen can be seen as being a bit on the silly side, any act that fits the bill sells out the venue. A number of novelty acts of the time find themselves with a much larger, but very disappointed set of fans that had come to the venue in the expectation of seeing someone completely different.
When the tour is finally announced in the April, it is revealed that the band will be playing in North America (USA and Canada), Australasia, Hong Kong, India (where Ravi Shankar is set to be the support act) and Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, and finally the UK). The tour will finish with a set of homecoming shows in Liverpool. After the tour of small venues finished, the band meet up once again with George Martin to record some new songs that could be released as singles throughout the year. The three-principle writers all present material but in the end, four of McCartney’s songs were selected.
The songs are all recorded and the first single is released as the tour starts in May and the second comes out in time for the Christmas market. The first single, ‘Hi Hi Hi’ is banned in the UK by the BBC for what is thought of as a sexually suggestive lyric and perceived drug references. When asked about this, McCartney says “The BBC got some of the words wrong. But I suppose it is a bit of a dirty song if sex is dirty and naughty. I was in a sensuous mood in Spain when I wrote it”. Lennon likes the fact that he is still relevant enough to be on a banned single. When it comes to ‘My Love’, the second single, Lennon mocks McCartney for having criticised Phil Spector over the production of the Let It Be song, ‘the Long and Winding Road’, and then asking for the same thing for ‘My Love’ from George Martin.
Hi Hi Hi Single A-Side
Little Woman Love Single B-Side
My Love Red Rose Speedway
When The Wind Is Blowing Wildlife 2018 Edition
The band hit the road for the summer months of 1972 and sell out stadiums everywhere they go. This proves to be the highest grossing tour of all time, but by the end, they are tired and in need of a well-deserved break. The tour had been a selection of mostly newer songs from the ‘White Album’ onwards as they felt that material was more in tune with the times. The only nods to the mop top days are in the encore where they play ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, which all go down a storm. The critics were full of praise for the band but by its conclusion, Harrison once again says that he will not be in a hurry to repeat the experience. He is still interested in making more music with the rest of The Beatles so retires to his home in Henley on Thames to relax and work on material in his home studio. McCartney does the same producing a solo single for the film Live and Let Die. Starr decides to go off to the US to hang out with the likes of Harry Nilsson, having earlier in the year played on his Son of Schmilsson album The two also appear together in a film for Apple, Son of Dracula. He has never been the most prolific of writers and feels that hanging out with a writer of the calibre of Nilsson might stir his creative juices.
Lennon goes back to New York and straight into sessions for an album that Yoko Ono was making called Approximately Infinite Universe, which would be released early in 1973. He also uses the time to lay down some tracks with more of a political edge, which he and Ono had written the year before but not recorded. He decides to release a couple of songs under the Plastic Ono Band moniker to test the water with the view of releasing them on an LP if successful. The single comes out just before Ono’s solo album. The A-Side is ‘Woman is the Nigger of the World’ backed by ‘The Luck of the Irish’. The songs are both controversial for their lyrical content and Lennon is stung by the relatively low placing on the singles chart. He decides against releasing the rest of the session material and sets about writing more commercial material for The Beatles.
The first few months of 1973 come and go there is silence of The Beatle front. The four members have made the most of their time away from the band environment, hanging out with friends and family as well as working on new material. They decide to meet at Harrison’s house to see what they have, and the fact that they can play in a studio comparable, if not better than the majority of recording facilities in the country, without being disturbed by the press and fans. They rehearse and introduce new songs to one another, but the sessions are not very productive. Starr, Lennon and Harrison were distracted by their personal lives. Each had had affairs and both Starr and Harrison were in the process of splitting from their wives. Harrison was having an affair with Starr’s wife, which did put a strain on their relationship, but not before they had written the song ‘Photograph’ together. The band self-produce the sessions and they release them as an EP, but apart from the aforementioned Photograph, it is not A-Grade material and press swoop in feeling that after the tour of the previous year, the band is potentially spent as a creative source.
The EP is called Skywriting By Word of Mouth and is released as an elaborate double-pack single in a similar vein to the Magical Mystery Tour EP from 1967. There is critical praise for Starr’s first lead vocal on a Beatles 7 inch release since ‘Yellow Submarine’. The rest of the material is seen as substandard. Annoyed at the criticism, Lennon rings up the rest of the band to meet up and work out what they are going to do. The relationship between Starr and Harrison is still strained but the meeting proves positive. No one wants to see the Skywriting EP as their final release, so they agree to go away, clear their heads and put together some better music.
Two months later, they meet up at Abbey Road with George Martin in the producer’s chair once again, as everyone feels they need him to bring a bit of discipline to proceedings. It is felt that Martin will keep the band focused on the material and not the distractions from the outside world. This proves to be what the band needed, as the single released to promote the forthcoming album is ‘Jet’, described by some of the critic as a return to form and a power pop gem. The single makes the top ten in the UK and US, but only just. The band now has to compete with new artists such glam rockers Slade and Little Jimmy Osmond and their once rabid fan base has other things to spend their money on, such as families of their own.
The LP shows the band maturing. More messages of spirituality with a couple of political songs brought in by Lennon from his work with Ono at the end of last year. The rest of The Beatles were reluctant to record these less commercial songs as, apart from ‘Revolution’ and ‘Working Class Hero’, the band had not really been known for its political message. Harrison was also quick to point out that what may be relevant in 1973 might not be so in ten years’ time. Lennon is adamant that these should be on the album because he is still involved in the left wing political scene in New York as well as wanting to ensure he has his fair share of songs on the record. Even with these songs, Lennon’s contribution to the record is the lowest it has ever been, and he knows that his failing marital life has affected his song writing.
The album comes out in time for Christmas and reaches number 1. The Beatles have matured, not only in themselves, but also in their song writing, and even with three double albums in four years and a massive tour behind them, the band is still popular enough to sell enough records to reach the top of the charts. Critics notice that McCartney songs are in the majority on this album. Lennon concedes that he didn’t have much to offer this time around, and Paul’s songs were good, even the ones that date back a couple of years. Harrison stays quiet on the subject, as he does not give any interviews after the album’s release. His private life is taking his toll on his public image.
Lennon finds that outside of the band, he has a lot to deal with. His marriage to Ono collapses and he is served with a writ by music publishers Morgan Levy. It is because they feel that Lennon’s song ‘Come Together’ and Chuck Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ are far too similar melodically. Lennon even took the third line from the second verse for his own song, the “Here come old flat top’ part. Lennon attends court but the case it settled out of court with an agreement that Lennon must produce an album with three songs from the back catalogue Levy owns through his Big Seven publishing company. It is at this point that Lennon spirals out of control and goes on what is known as his ‘Lost Weekend’ period.
Band On The Run – Band On The Run
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) – Living In The Material World
Mama’s Little Girl – Single B-Side
I Know (I Know) – Mind Games
Devil Woman – Ringo
Tragedy – Red Rose Speedway 2018 Edition
Living In The Material World – Living In The Material World
John Sinclair – Some Time In New York City
Mrs. Vandebilt – Band On The Run
Out The Blue – Mind Games
Dear Friend – Wildlife
Bip Bop Link – Wildlife 1993 Reissue
Oh My My – Ringo
Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) – Mind Games
Be Here Now – Living In The Material World
Little Lamb Dragonfly – Red Rose Speedway
Nineteen Hundred & Eighty Five – Band On The Run
C Moon – Single A-Side
New York City – Some Time In New York City
Tomorrow – Wildlife
Wild Life – Wildlife
Try Some, Buy Some – Living In The Material World
Nutopian International Anthem – Mind Games
Jet – Band On The Run
Bluebird – Band On The Run
Skywriting By Word Of Mouth EP
Photograph – Ringo
Here We Go Again – Menlove Ave.
Big Barn Bed – Red Rose Speedway
Who Can See It – Living In The Material World
Even though this would work as a CD (like the other play lists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The artwork has been ‘borrowed’ from https://clumsytuba.wordpress.com and their own mash up of Beatles album called Imagine. I replaced the title and band name with The Beatles logo and I love the way it mimics the style of the Lennon album of the same name. Like The Reconstructor, I hope that they don’t mind it being used here.
In its first two years of existence, Blood Records released ten limited edition LPs. With all of the problems that 2020 threw at us, the label managed to press up and supply nineteen. That is not bad going by anybody’s standards. As always, these were exclusive to the Blood Records but unlike their earlier releases, there was:
A reissue of a previously released record. ‘Champagne Holocaust’ by the Fat White Family had originally been released in 2013, including a black vinyl variant. However, the Blood Records version was the first of its Zoetrope releases and was listed as a ‘dick-ture disc’ It has to be seen to be believed.
Charity records. They released their largest ever run (so far) of a record. ‘Songs For The NHS’ was a various artists release, made up of songs unavailable anywhere else. With 5000 pressed, it entered the UK vinyl charts at number 1 and helped raise money for equipment to help the NHS during the Covid 19 pandemic. A worthy cause and a good record to boot. It was even pressed on NHS Blue coloured vinyl. There was another release raising money for the Save Our Venues charity and that was called ‘What’s Going On?’.
Archive release. Vistas released an album that collected material the band had recorded before the release of their debut album. None of the songs only this record had had a physical release before and it was released on rather fetching clear vinyl.
Exclusive variations of records released on other labels. The Cribs and Biffy Clyde both released new albums on 2020 but Blood Records was there with their own versions. The Cribs’ ‘Night Network’ came out on TV Test Card coloured vinyl, where as Biffy Clyro’s ‘A Celebration Of Endings’ was another in the Zoetrope range.
There were also exclusive releases by artists such as Nova Twins, Halloweens and Be No Rain.
All in all, 2020 was an interesting year for Blood Records and judging by the amount of campaigns they have already started, 2021 looks set to be another bumper year of vinyl releases.
To celebrate the label, here is a sampler of songs from each of the nineteen releases from 2020, presented as though it was a vinyl LP. I’m sure they would not have it any other way. The artwork is one of Blood Records’ logos taken from their Facebook page (with the year added. My IT skills let me down on this one).
Mary Don’t Mind – Vant
In This Decade – The Blinders
Space – Biffy Clyro
My Baby Looks Good With Another – Halloweens
Fashun – Willie J. Healey
I’m What You Want – Walt Disco
Half Life – Spector
Is This All There Is? – Tempesst
Media Luna – Be No Rain
Sign Language – Vistas
Care Less – Sheafs
Auto Neutron – The Fat White Family
(The World) Outside My Door – The Magic Gang
Room With A View (Demo) – Flyte
Taxi – Nova Twins
My God – Lucia & The Best Boys
Growing Up – Alfie Templeman
I’m Only Going To Hurt You – The Ninth Wave
Goodbye – The Cribs
This playlist could not be recreated as not all of the songs are available on Spotify
Here is the second part of an alternative history where The Beatles did not break up in 1970. Not wanting to repeat the mistake of the ‘White Album’ by going back to recording too soon after releasing a double album, The Beatles decide to take a break from recording and recharge their batteries, spend some time with their respective families and work on some new material. It is agreed that they will meet up again in June. However, these plans need to be changed earlier than expected due to the fact that some of the outtakes from the ‘Imagine’ sessions have been released as a bootleg. The record is called ‘Imagination’ and contains rough mixes of ten songs that had not been officially released.
What Is Life
I Found Out
Isn’t It A Pity (Version One)
Art Of Dying
Gimme Some Truth
Long Haired Lady
No one is sure how these rough mixes made it out of the studio but suspicion falls on Ringo Starr who has been known to give friends such as Peter Sellers tapes of Beatles songs in the past. However, the band are in no mood to let the bootleggers make money off of their product so meet in the spring, listen back to the tapes and come up with another record to release as soon as possible. What the ‘Imagination’ bootleg shows is the dearth of McCartney material that was recorded due to the writers block that he had been suffering from at the start of the sessions. Since then, he had been writing constantly and says that if they use some of these newly minted tracks, they will have enough material for another double album judging by the quality of songs Harrison and Lennon left in the can. This would mean the fans that bought the bootleg would be happy as they will have more new material and won’t feel cheated for buying the same songs twice. The album could be ready by the end of the summer and there is enough quality material for a couple of singles to boot.
When Starr says that having a second double album out after such a short space of time might rip off or at least annoy some fans, Lennon says ”It doesn’t seem to have hurt that band Chicago” and the matter is dropped. For an album that is mostly made up of outtakes from sessions to the ‘Imagine’ album, Lennon jokes that they should call it ‘Scraping the Barrel’. Feeling that this will be a bit close to the bone, it is agreed that the title should be called ‘Have You Heard The Word’.
Phil Spector is brought back in to oversee the mixing of the old material and the production of the new songs. The band agree that as he was the producer on the ‘Imagine’ album, the sound needs to be constant throughout. The first single release comes out in March and is Lennon’s ‘It’s So Hard’ backed with Harrison’s ‘Let it Down’. Neither of these songs were on the ‘Imagination’ bootleg and the single is eagerly snapped up by fans, sending it into the top ten the world over and the press is informed that the parent album will be released in June. The band work feverishly to finish off McCartney’s songs as well as work on Starr’s ‘Coochy Coochy’ before the deadline.
Harrison has the busiest schedule of any of the band and once the sessions are over, he goes off to work with Badfinger on their album ‘Straight Up’. Taking a break from Badfinger just as ‘Have You Heard The Word’ hits the shelves, he starts doing some production for his friend and legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar and the soundtrack for the documentary film, ‘Raga’. It was during work on this album that Shankar tells Harrison about the humanitarian crisis caused by the Bangladesh Liberation War. Shankar wants to put on a charity concert in the hope of raising $25,000 for the cause. Harrison believes that with his involvement, and the possibility that he can convince the other Beatles to perform live at the concert, the amount of money that can be raised would be significantly higher.
Calling Badfinger to say he cannot commit to finishing their album, Harrison contacts the other Beatles about the concert. Even though there is a reluctance to play live (due to amount of time it has been since they have played in front of a paying audience), they agree with the feeling being that they missed out on the late 60s festivals such as Woodstock and Monterrey, and don’t want to miss out here. Harrison then opens up his address book and manages to secure the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, the whole of Badfinger and the Hollywood Horns. With the concert booked for 1 August, The Beatles arrive in Los Angeles for rehearsals. Harrison has also written a song that he calls ‘Bangla Desh’ and it is recorded at the beginning of July for release before the concert. When news gets out that The Beatles will be performing at the Madison Square Garden venue in New York, demand for tickets is high and the event sells out so quickly that an afternoon show is arranged to maximise receipts as well as to satisfy demand. However, due to the short notice of the concert, Harrison is not able to organise more dates due to Madison Square Garden being fully booked before and afterwards.
The single comes out two days before the concert and is another huge hit all over the world. The concerts raise $243,000 and Harrison retreats back into the studio to mix the concert tapes for a potential release in time for the Christmas market, feeling that if it was left any later, people would forget about the humanitarian crisis and it will not make as much money as he hopes.
After the Concert for Bangladesh, Lennon decides he is going to stay in New York. He wants some time to focus on not being a Beatle in a city he feels comfortable walking around without the hassle he would receive back in the UK. He has also started to become more involved in radical left wing politics and he starts to focus on collaborating with Ono. This leads to the ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ single which the couple decide to release it under their own name. Unfortunately, he is in competition with himself because Apple Records have another ‘Imagine’ outtake on the singles release schedule with his ‘Gimmie Some Truth’.
Lennon says that the message of his Christmas record resonates with the feelings generated by the Bangladesh Concert and says a portion of the profits should go to that charity. Both Lennon’s single and The Beatles release break the UK top ten, but are kept off of the top spot by Benny Hill and his ‘Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)’ novelty single. The live album of the Bangladesh Concert means that at the end of 1971, there is a lot of Beatles related product on the market. However, all of the band members enjoyed playing live together. This is put down to the fact that the audience is older and, therefore, there was not the screaming that was a constant at concerts during the height of Beatlemania. However, it is not only the press who are wondering if this is a one off or will they do more live performances in future.
What Is Life – All Things Must Pass
Crippled Insid – Imagine
Monkberry Moon Delight – Ram
Behind That Locked Door – All Things Must Pass
Isolation – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Eat At Home – Ram
Art Of Dying – All Things Must Pass
I Found Out – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Coochy Coochy – Single B-Side
Long Haired Lady – Ram
The Lovely Linda (Mono) – McCartney
Apple Scruffs – All Things Must Pass
Oo You – McCartney
Well Well Well – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
I Dig Love – All Things Must Pass
God – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
If Not For You – All Things Must Pass
How? – Imagine
Run Of The Mill – All Things Must Pass
Hear Me Lord – All Things Must Pass
The Back Seat Of My Car – Ram
It’s So Hard – Imagine
Let It Down – All Things Must Pass
Bangla Desh – Single A-Side
Isn’t A Pity (Version 1) – All Things Must Pass
Gimmie Some Truth – Imagine
Man We Was Lonely – McCartney
What surprised me when I was listening to The Beatles solo albums once more, is how much great material was recorded for those early solo albums, that was not used on ‘Imagine’. I did not expect to be able to make another record, let alone another double with singles. They were releasing so many good records that there was even room for me to have Lennon have a solo release with ‘Merry Xmas (War is Over)’. What was most surprising to me when putting these first two albums together was the solo output of Paul McCartney between 1970 and 71. He released three albums where the quality of music on the grooves was varied. If a bit more quality control had been in place, there was enough material for one stellar album. A What-If project for the future methinks. The records of Lennon and Harrison during the same period are stone cold classics. Starr released his own classic single with ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, but I find listening to a Ringo album a bit much as I am not a great fan of his voice. I did debate whether I could use Harrison’s cover of ‘If Not For You’ as the group had not recorded a cover for a while (the bits and pieces on the ‘Let It Be’ album not included). I played with the order of the songs on the fourth disc but whatever I did with the order, it just did not sound right without it.
Even though this would work as a CD (like the other playlists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The artwork has been ‘borrowed’ from http://the-reconstructor.blogspot.com/ and was the cover for their own Beatles mash up called Falling Rain. A brilliant use of the front cover of Paul McCartney’s first solo album and I hope that The Reconstructor doesn’t mind its use here. This would be only the second Beatles LP that does not have a picture of the band or at least an image representing them on the cover. The ‘White Album’ being the other one. The ‘Imagination’ front cover was based on ‘The Dream is Over Vol.1’ bootleg.