All posts by Richard Porter

THE BEATLES CELEBRATE ‘SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND’ WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY EDITION RELEASES

‘Sgt. Pepper’ Presented with New Mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings, Video Features & Special Packaging

Previously Unreleased 1992 Documentary Film, ‘The Making of Sgt. Pepper,’ Restored for Anniversary Edition’s Super Deluxe Boxed Set

London – April 5, 2017 – It was 50 years ago this June 1st when The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr astonished and delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. To salute the occasion, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition packages on May 26 (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 34 previously unreleased recordings.

“It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition.

“‘Sgt. Pepper’ seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book.

For Record Store Day on April 22, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” among the first songs recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, which began in November 1966. Rather than being held for inclusion on the album, the two songs were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967. Amidst intense media speculation about the band’s next move, the single bridged what was then considered a long gap between the Revolver album, released in August 1966, and ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ which followed 10 months later.

This is the first time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings, and it is the first Beatles album to be remixed and expanded since the 2003 release of Let It Be… Naked. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases include:

A CD featuring the new ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix, complete with the original U.K. album’s “Edit for LP End” run-out groove.

Deluxe: Expanded 2CD and digital package features the new stereo album mix on the first CD and adds a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album. The second CD also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased complete takes of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Deluxe Vinyl: Expanded 180-gram 2LP vinyl package features the new stereo album mix on the first LP and adds a second LP with previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album.

Super Deluxe: The comprehensive six-disc boxed set features:
CD 1: New stereo album mix
CDs 2 & 3:
– 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most previously unreleased and mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates
– A new stereo mix of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”
CD 4:
– Direct transfers of the album’s original mono mix and the “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” singles
– Capitol Records’ U.S. promotional mono single mix of “Penny Lane”
– Previously unreleased early mono mixes of “She’s Leaving Home,” “A Day In The Life,” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (a mix thought to have been erased from a tape in 1967, but discovered during archive research for the anniversary edition)
Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray and DVD):
– New 5.1 surround audio mixes of the album and “Penny Lane” by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”
– High resolution audio versions of the new stereo mixes of the album and “Penny Lane” and of the 2015 stereo mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”
– Video features: 4K restored original promotional films for “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and “A Day In The Life;” plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film (broadcast in 1992), featuring insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.

– “A splendid time is guaranteed for all” –

The album’s vibrant artwork, including its extravagant Pop Art cover which finds The Beatles surrounded by a crowd of heroes in a 3D collage, was created by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth in collaboration with the band. The original artwork is showcased across the suite of Anniversary Edition releases, including the album’s pull-out sheet of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cutouts. Housed in a 12-inch by 12-inch box with lenticular artwork and two bonus posters, the six-disc Super Deluxe set is presented with a 144-page hardcover book. The book includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; composer and musicologist Howard Goodall; music producer and writer Joe Boyd; and journalists Ed Vulliamy and Jeff Slate, illustrated with rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten lyrics, Abbey Road Studios documentation, and original ‘Sgt. Pepper’ print ads. The Deluxe 2CD digipak is slipcased with a 50-page booklet abridged from the box set’s book, and the 2LP Deluxe Vinyl is presented in a faithful reproduction of the album’s original gatefold jacket.

– “We hope you will enjoy the show” –

Just as many ideas are sparked by chance, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ first sprang from a conversation between Paul and Beatles roadie Mal Evans on an airplane, when Mal’s request to pass the salt and pepper was misheard by Paul as “Sgt. Pepper.” The concept of who such a figure could be took root in Paul’s mind, blooming with the imagination of The Beatles as an Edwardian era military band — “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Beatles’ creative wellspring for ‘Sgt. Pepper’ also flowed from such myriad sources as The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, a Victorian circus poster (“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”), a TV commercial for breakfast cereal (“Good Morning Good Morning”), a picture drawn by John’s young son, Julian (“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”), a teen runaway reported in the news (“She’s Leaving Home’), and Hindu teachings (“Within You Without You”).

– “Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song” –

Using the standard four-track tape recording equipment of the day, The Beatles collaborated with producer George Martin to achieve “the impossible,” as they dubbed it, to go as far out as they could with arrangements and new technology to realize their collective vision for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As George Martin described it, “We were into another kind of art form where you were putting something down on tape that could only be done on tape.” The Beatles clocked more than 400 hours in Abbey Road’s Studio 2 to record the album, wrapping sessions in April 1967.

– “I read the news today oh boy” –

Upon its release on June 1, 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at number one. During its first U.S. chart run, the album held the number one spot for 15 of the 88 weeks it appeared in the Top 200. ‘Sgt. Pepper’ won four GRAMMY Awards®, including Album of the Year, and it remains one of the most influential and bestselling albums of all time. In 2003, the U.S. Library of Congress selected ‘Sgt. Pepper’ for the National Recording Registry, recognizing the album as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” ‘Sgt. Pepper’ tops Rolling Stone magazine’s definitive list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Preorder Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition: http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversary

Watch a brief trailer video for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition:
https://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversaryTrailer

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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition
Tracklists

CD
(‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix)
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life

Deluxe [2CD, digital]

CD 1: ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)

CD 2: Complete early takes from the sessions in the same sequence as the album, plus various versions of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9]
2. With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4. Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5. Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6. She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]
8. Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
9. When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
10. Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
11. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
13. A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]
14. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
15. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]
16. Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix – 2015]
17. Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]
18. Penny Lane [Stereo Mix – 2017]

Deluxe Vinyl [180g 2LP]

LP 1: ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)
SIDE 1 SIDE 2
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1. Within You Without You
2. With A Little Help From My Friends 2. When I’m Sixty-Four
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 3. Lovely Rita
4. Getting Better 4. Good Morning Good Morning
5. Fixing A Hole 5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
6. She’s Leaving Home 6. A Day In The Life
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

LP 2: Complete early takes from the sessions in the same sequence as the album
SIDE 3
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]
2. With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4. Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5. Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6. She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]

SIDE 4
1. Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
2. When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
3. Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
4. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
6. A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]

Super Deluxe [4CD/DVD/Blu-ray boxed set]

CD 1: ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)

CD 2: Complete early takes from the sessions, sequenced in chronological order of their first recording dates
1. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 1]
2. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 4]
3. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
4. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]
5. Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix – 2015]
6. When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
7. Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]
8. Penny Lane [Vocal Overdubs And Speech]
9. Penny Lane [Stereo Mix – 2017]
10. A Day In The Life [Take 1]
11. A Day In The Life [Take 2]
12. A Day In The Life [Orchestra Overdub]
13. A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord) [Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11]
14. A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)
15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 1 – Instrumental]
16. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]
17. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 1 – Instrumental, Breakdown]
18. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]

CD 3: Complete early takes from the sessions, sequenced in chronological order of their first recording dates
1. Fixing A Hole [Take 1]
2. Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
3. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Speech From Before Take 1; Take 4 And Speech At End]
4. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 7]
5. Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
6. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1 And Speech At The End]
7. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Speech, False Start And Take 5]
8. Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
9. Getting Better [Take 12]
10. Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments Only]
11. Within You Without You [George Coaching The Musicians]
12. She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
13. She’s Leaving Home [Take 6 – Instrumental]
14. With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Speech And Take 8]

CD 4: ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and bonus tracks in Mono
(Tracks 1-13: 2017 Direct Transfer of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Original Mono Mix)
14. Strawberry Fields Forever [Original Mono Mix]
15. Penny Lane [Original Mono Mix]
16. A Day In The Life [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
17. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Unreleased Mono Mix – No. 11]
18. She’s Leaving Home [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
19. Penny Lane [Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single – Mono Mix]

DISCS 5 & 6 (Blu-ray & DVD)
Audio Features (both discs):
– New 5.1 Surround Audio mixes of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album and “Penny Lane,” plus 2015 5.1 Surround mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever” (Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1 / DVD: DTS Dolby Digital 5.1)
– High Resolution Audio versions of 2017 ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix and 2017 “Penny Lane” stereo mix, plus 2015 “Strawberry Fields Forever” hi res stereo mix (Blu-ray: LPCM Stereo 96KHz/24bit / DVD: LPCM Stereo)
Video Features (both discs):
– The Making of Sgt. Pepper [restored 1992 documentary film, previously unreleased]
– Promotional Films: “A Day In The Life;” “Strawberry Fields Forever;” “Penny Lane” [4K restored]

Enough to Fill the Albert Hall?

Documents have been uncovered that show the owners of the Royal Albert Hall objected to their establishment being mentioned in the Beatles Song  ‘A Day in the Life’ and even suggested the lyrics be re-written to show the Albert Hall in a better light :>)

The letter from the Albert Hall to the Beatles

Pepper Colours?

This interesting design appeared today on the official Beatles Website http://www.beatles.com – it took me a minute or two to realise it is the colours of the uniforms the Beatles are wearing on the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Expect an announcement about a re-release of the album very soon!

 

The Colours of the the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper uniforms.

30th March 1967 – The Photo for the Sgt Pepper Album Cover Taken

It was 50 years ago today that the photo for the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was taken. The cover was designed by Peter Blake and his wife, Jan Howarth, and the photo taken by Michael Cooper. It was all put together at the Chelsea Manor Studios in Flood Street, just off the Kings Road, Chelsea.

Hear are some of those involved talking about how it came about  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_5je4nPesc

The Sgt Pepper album cover

RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL STARR BAND ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR FALL 2017

THE LONGEST RUNNING ALL STARR ENSEMBLE FEATURES TODD RUNDGREN, GREGG ROLIE, STEVE LUKATHER, RICHARD PAGE, WARREN HAM AND GREGG BISSONETTE

TOUR KICKS OFF FRIDAY OCTOBER 13 WITH A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT AT PLANET HOLLYWOOD RESORT & CASINO IN LAS VEGAS AND CONCLUDES IN THE NEW YORK AREA INCLUDING SHOW AT BEACON THEATER NOVEMBER 15

Monday, March 27, 2017 – Today Ringo announced new tour dates with his longest running All Starr Band. The All Starrs include Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette. This line-up first came together in 2012 and have been touring together since.
“The dream is still unfolding,” affirmed Ringo. “I love to play, and I love to play with this band. I can’t say that enough, and we’re on the road again.”
The tour kicks off with eight shows at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. From there they head south with stops in Texas, Oklahoma and then east with stops in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, making their way north to New Jersey and New York. A full list of tour dates is below, with a few more to be added soon:

October:
13-14, 17, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
30 Abraham Chavez Theatre, El Paso, TX
31 Moody Theater, Austin TX

November:
2 Smart Sugarland Civic Center, Sugarland, TX
4 Global Events Center at Winstar, Thackerville, OK
7, 8 Parker Playhouse, Ft Lauderdale, FL
11 Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA
12 ODU Pavilion, Norfolk, VA
14 Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ
15 Beacon Theater, New York City, NY
16 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

25 March 1966 – the Beatles ‘Butcher Cover’ Photo Session

March 25th 1966. The Beatles have a photo session with Robert Whitaker  that produces the infamous ‘Butcher Cover’.

In 2004, in this exclusive interview, Robert told me how it came out:

“I wanted to ask about the infamous ‘Butcher Cover’. The picture was your idea, to show they were human….

To show they were flesh and blood – which is what they are. Some people would saw them as saints, which they weren’t. I also found that every time we got off the stage girls would have ripped them to bits, had they got the chance, torn them to pieces – that was something to do with the meat. The dolls are really little girls screaming away. There are a lot of false things there like false teeth, false dolls eyes. It was never meant to be the cover.

What is John’s idea to have it as the cover?

No, the images were snatched as soon as I had finished them and sent to America without asking me how I wanted to see it. The sausages are meant to be an umbilical chord coming out of a woman and the whole thing would be put inside the womb of a woman. All you would have had on the record cover was a breast, nipple and big tummy. Inside the tummy is The Beatles holding the umbilical chord. Around all of that would have been transfers of little people blowing trumpets, as they do in frescos. There is another picture of George banging nails into John’s head – he would have had wood grain put over his head so he would be a piece of wood – George would be banging nails into a piece of wood. Another of Ringo being unpacked from a box. Written on the box is ‘2 million’. He would have been a piece of alabaster plaster. The whole thing would have been falseness, dummies, unreality. The back cover would have been the butcher picture, about 2 inches square and the rest of it would have been gold, like a Russian icon that canonises them. I was thinking of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments and finding people worshiping the golden calves – like people did to The Beatles, treating them like gods, but they are not.

What was your reaction to the furore around the sleeve?

I thought it was not my fault! If they had asked me what the artwork was I don’t think it would have been that frightening. I don’t blame people for being upset about it. But as it turns out it actually released John to say that they were pissed off looking like pretty little boys all the time and that they were human beings. It gave them a release.
There is a lot written about the ‘butcher’ sleeve and very little I’ve said about it. I’ve never written anything by hand. It’s nearly 40 years ago since I did it and it’s hard to recreate the train of thought when I did it.

The Beatles ‘Yesterday and Today’ album cover

Pete Shotton RIP

I’ve just heard of the passing of Pete Shotton, John Lennon’s best friend, and a founder member of the Quarrymen. Pete later was the manager of the Beatles Apple Shop in Baker Street, and John’s personal assistant.

In 1997 Pete took part in a reunion of the Quarrymen, and I was lucky enough to meet him, and the other members of the band, the the 40th anniversary party for the Cavern Club.

Pete had been in ill-health for a while, but it is very sad to hear we’ve lost another very important member of the Beatles family.

RIP Pete

Pete Shotton (in the light coloured shirt) with the Quarrymen, The Cavern Club 1997