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Book a Beatles Box Set...

 
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jdw
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Book a Beatles Box Set... Reply with quote

Back in the White Album Sessions thread, a few of us talked about the problems of the 62-66 and 67-70 "double albums" in the CD era. The primary problem was the cost ($34.98 list per double album) vs. clock time (61 minutes *total* on the first two disc set, 98 minutes on the second set, 159:39 total across four discs). These were classic sets on vinyl, but in CD form they're a massive short change of the CD space, and also jack the price way high. All of that material could fit on a simple three disc package *and* still have 50 minutes of space left over if you average 70 minutes a disc.

So the notion was of trying to figure out a better essential Beatles collect that could replace the 62-66 and 67-70 sets, both making it more cost friendly and also getting more music onto the set.

Originally I was thinking of going 3-disc, tweaking the songs on the older sets a bit, and going a bit deeper into the album tracks because there are some great songs on there. But then there's that old Led Zepp box that was four disc long, and frankly rules pretty hard if you're trying to grab a fistful of Zepp to toss in your CD changer. Zepp had just 8 studio albums, one of which is a double. The Beatles had:

* 11 studio albums, one of which was a double

* roughly 1 album of tracks that came out on EPs or semi-EPs. Those would be the four tracks off the Long Tail Sally EP, the six tracks off the Magical Mystery Tour double-EP, and the four "new" tracks off the Yellow Submaine sound track. Considering that that "album" was one side of songs and a side of Martin intrumental music, four of the songs were new while the other two were older singles, the sountrack was essentially an EP worth of material that was fresh from the band.

* all those A-sides, double A's, and B-sides of singles that weren't put on the studio albums. There were 26+ songs of these, depending on how one wants to count various versions and how one wants to deal with the 90s singles. 26 songs is roughly another two albums worth of tracks.

That's 14 albums, one a double, vs. Zepp's 8 including a double.

So I'm not totally against the notion of a four disc set.

I'll toss out some stuff as I work through the jdw version of the box set... which I'm making some cuts on as I type this. :)


John
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably the one thing that pushes me in the direction of going 4-disk is that if you're trying to expand 62-66/67-70 to including a deeper cut of essential album cuts, you quickly run into this problem when "booking backwards:

You Never Give Me Your Money (4:02)
Sun King (2:26)
Mean Mr. Mustard (1:06)
Polythene Pam (1:12)
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (1:57)
Golden Slumbers (1:31)
Carry That Weight (1:36)
The End (2:19)

The "Abbey Road Suite" or "Abbey Road Medley", depending upon who's naming it. You don't get much more "essential" in studio tracks than how the Beatles booked then end of the last recording sessions together and the studio album that came out of it. Their producer thinks it's their best album, largely for this side of the album and the Suite. Obviously Paul loved it. Ringo thought it was probably the best thing they ever did, and Harrison is rather complimentary of it. John of course hated it. ;)

At the very least, Golden Slumbers + Carry That Weight + The End should make it... but that really yanks them out of their contex, so it's hard for me to cut the Suite down.

Problem number two his hit right after that when looking at the rest of Side 2:

Here Comes The Sun (3:05)
Because (2:45)

Here Comes The Sun is probably George's second most remembered Beatles song (and frankly of his career) behind Something. I'm a While My Guitar Gently Weeps mark myself and it will make the set, but it's impossible to deny that HCtS doesn't merit getting on the set.

So that's every song but one on Side 2...

Wait...

Harrison and Paul have said at times that Because is their favorite song on the album because of the intricate harmonies, and late in his life it was one of the few songs on Side 2 that John would have anything good to say about. :P

That's the entire Side 2 of Abbey Road as the band takes their partnership home, largely interlocking across 22 minutes.

That would be just over 10% of a 210 minute three disc set, and we haven't even gotten to the album's double A-side single:

Come Together (4:20)
Something (3:03)

Another seven and a half minutes, almost 30 minutes on Abbey Road alone.

Granted... I'm not that liberal with every album, or even remotely close to it. Abbey Road and the suite are an odd special case where the sum of the whole are greater than the parts.

But, there are other tracks that have a lot of meaning on a set like these that are hard to pitch overboard.

No Reply + I'm A Loser + Baby's In Black that open Beatles For Sale set the table for the lyrical tone of the group in the post-Beatlemania period of Beatles For, Help and Rubber Soul. More reflective, melancholy and introspective than the Beatlemania material of the first three albums, and even the singles recorded at the time of Beatles For Sale (I Feel Fine / She's A Woman). They set the table for things like Help, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, Yesterday and the high points of Rubber Soul. Despite being sorely underplayed songs, leaving those three off seems wrong to me when trying to get across the definative arcs of their career.

Similarly, how does one take a hammer to Revolver? The single obviously make it. Paul's ballads Here There And Everywhere and For No One are among the best he ever wrote, while his Good Day Sunshine and Got To Get You Into My Life are the types of songs that would have been top 10 hits if they had been released in the place of the two singles from the album. And then how does one sift through John's five very trippy, musically creative and inventive, but largely lyrically throw away songs?

Then there are all those hits across their career, and if this is to be essential/definative, one really needs to mix all of them in... even if I hate Lady Madona. :)

So I think four disks is it. Even cutting Revolver tighter than most (including myself) might like, it's going to need four disks and 280 minutes to cut down to size.


John
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three other quick cuts that I made my mind up at the start to try to make this easier to sift through:

(a) no live tracks

(b) no BBC & Anthology

(c) no covers

The first two because I don't really want to play the game of finding a favorite version that I like that might not be one of the original studio release.

The third to largely follow the format of the original 62-66/67-70 sets, and also to make it a bit easier. I suspect that the original sets pitched the covers to avoid royalties. Also to put over the Beatles. I don't have a problem with that, and as I said... not having to focus any attention on them makes life easier in putting it together.

I make one exception:

Twist And Shout.

For various reasons. It went to #2 here in the US, then went to #23 when re-released in the 80s after Bueller came out. It's pretty hard to be definative for a US+Global set when you pitch overboard a #2 hit single. The other reason is that it really is the definative Beatles cover song of the Beatlemania era, right down to closing out their first album. It's so definative that I break my own rules to include it.

For those who love covers, my thought would be to release a "Beatles Covers" disc a year or so after this one. For that disc I'd sift through the 27 studio covers and then the BBC set (which was hugely titled towards covers) to find the best for a disc in the range of 70 minutes, perhaps 30 songs. I haven't given it any thought at the moment.

I also wish that Apple/EMI would do something along those lines for a Beatles Live Album that would be along the lines of Springsteen's original 75-85 set. I don't mean a three disc set, since there isn't enough variety of songs in the Beatles live after to fill up three CD sides. They also did shorter songs. But instead the concept of trying to cherry for both quality and historical value the "best" version of various songs performed live. That's sort of what they did with Anthology with the live songs anyway - 23 different songs, none repeated twice. They hit all of the 13 songs on the Hollywood Bowl set with the exception of Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Can't Buy Me Love and Things We Said Today. That's now 26 song titles that have been released. It probably wouldn't be too tough to find another 4 tracks from the vaults/collections to make a 30 song cycle. And of course toss in some Rooftop edits to round it out.

Anyway... that's a digression. Live tracks off the primary set.


John
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tdcheetah



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Struggling to make it a 3 CD box set just doesn't make good sense. The very simplest reason for doing 4 discs here is that the 2-CD set is morally equivalent to the double-album set. And for some of the reasons you are mentioning, I think trying to enforce a very strict "chronology" is going to be difficult.

So let's continue to market them as 2 2-CD items, as Red 1-2 and Blue 1-2. :) [Or, you could use Yellow/Green or Orange/Purple, if you want to avoid "confusion" with the original retrospectives. :P]

jdw wrote:
So I think four disks is it. Even cutting Revolver tighter than most (including myself) might like, it's going to need four disks and 280 minutes to cut down to size.


Modern recording tech has pushed CD content to closer to 75-80 minutes a side, so you could have up to 320 minutes to play with there. 40 more minutes! Hey, "Octopus' Garden" could make it on yet! ;)

I'll be interested to see what you do pull from White Album, given how much you hate some of those cuts ;), and where exactly you end up placing the long-playing Abbey Road work. I agree it really is their later-career shining moment of going beyond "hit singles" or even "songs" to produce something bigger and more intriguing (not to mention utterly hummable -- I can recall the transitions into and out of "Polythene Pam" far more easily than half the pop music of the last 20 years).


Questions or comments:

(1) Are you going with UK or US album versions for chronology/issuance? I know you prefer UK as more authentic, but there are those many of us who didn't have that level of access in our childhood or teens...

(2) No BBC or Anthology cuts: does that include Past Masters 1 & 2 then?

(3) No live/covers -- hmm, ok, I can certainly see the point on no covers, mostly... but I'd seriously like to argue for 1 cut from Hollywood Bowl to make it on, possibly as the end of Red 1 or even as the epilogue/coda for Blue 2, to indicate just how screamingly popular they were. My preference from the Hollywood Bowl performances would be "Long Tall Sally" -- which is of course also a cover :P -- but I'd be willing to take the live version of "She Loves You" instead.

Alas, I don't find Revolver's stuff quite as compelling as you do, and as for Rubber Soul, I suspect I feel about "Norwegian Wood" the same way you do about Lady Madonna. Also my brain consistently continues to try to file Abbey Road *between* Sgt. Pepper's and White Album, and ignore Yellow Submarine entirely. ;)


Lee
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tdcheetah wrote:
Struggling to make it a 3 CD box set just doesn't make good sense. The very simplest reason for doing 4 discs here is that the 2-CD set is morally equivalent to the double-album set.


Yeah... once I started "booking it backwards", I knew it was pretty clear that 3-discs wasn't possible.


Quote:
And for some of the reasons you are mentioning, I think trying to enforce a very strict "chronology" is going to be difficult.


I leave that open to whoever is doing their own set. Johnny Cash has had:

* the old three-disc "Essential" set that covered 1955-83 in pretty straight chron.

It's an exceptional collection 75 song collection that does a very nice job of giving an overview to his career up to that point, with both the hits and also some of the album tracks like John Henry that became standards in his concert sets.

* the "Love, God, Murder" set that had three 16 songs discs, one each that hits those themes. There's been an added "4th" disc called "Life".

Some love this set, others are so-so about it. Lots of good songs, and the themes are interesting. But there's also the thought that some of the themes are stretched out a little too long at 16 songs.

My thought - I'm in the "stretched" crowd. This almost would be a better concept for a triple vinyl album where there were six themes cut tigher across six sides of the LPs. I like plenty of Johnny's gospel songs, but stretched to 16 over a full disk... it's not just that it's a bit much, but also that the songs and performances are stretched a bit thin. Dittos the other themes. On the other hand, it is a very challenging set, which isn't a bad thing.

* the newer "The Legend" four-disc set. That's broken into a Hits disc, a Favorites disc, a traditional set, and a collaborations set.

This is sort of a cross between the first two ways of doing it. The Hits and Favorites discs are pretty chron. The traditional is pretty much storytelling.

I like the set.

My personal fave, though, is the Essential set. If I were to do a Johnny four or five- to go deeper on the original set and to bring it up to date to cover the Mercury, American and Highwaymen material, I'd probably follow that same format. I like to here stuff in chron order on a Best Of to get a feel for the context and growth of an artist.

So...

It's up to whoever does it. My own one will be in *largely* straight chron. By that I mean balancing out Recording Date, Release Date and Album Order. Where one goes from there is a bit of a judgement call.

Abbey Road was recorded after Let It Be/Get Back. The Get Back Sessions were an utter mess, and the music that came out of it was largely a mess. They then regrouped and recorded a classic and released it while leaving the Get Back material largely on the shelf (other than one single).

To me, Abbey Road comes "last" (with the exception of what to do with the two 90s singles), while the Get Back/Let It Be material (along with The Ballad of John and Yoko) gets handled before it. From a recording standpoint it's "right". As a "close" to a set doing the overview of their career, there as no more fitting close than the Abbey Road Suite.

That seems natural in a chron order.

Other things that pop up are the Lady Madona sessions in early 1968. The single was record along with it's b-side The Inner Light, and John's Hey Bulldog and Across The Universe. The single went out March 1968. Bulldog didn't go out until being put on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack in January 1969, while two versions of Across The Universe were released in December 1969 (Wildlife version) and May 1970 (Let It Be version).

When I look at those songs, any that I include will be after the Hello Goodbye/Magical Mystery Tour songs and before the White Album Session songs (including Hey Jude/Revolution).

Nothing of note was done to the version of Hey Bulldog that was recorded on 02/11/68 before it's release on Yellow Sub. So it's proper placement is back there with Lady Madona. It really was worthy of being the B-side of the single, but they threw George the bone.

Both versions of Across The Universe are based one the same take of the song. Martin did minor producing of the version released on the Wildlife benefit album added the birds at the begining and speeding up the song slightly. Spector did minor producing for the version on Let It Be, removing the two female backing vocalists and adding strings. Personally, I prefer the Wildlife version a great deal and will use it (though I like the unreleased take from Anthology 3 every bit as much). Given how little was done to it by Martin, and that nothing was done by the band, it strikes me as an early 1968 song.

Frankly, the song is so good that they should have released Lady Madona with Hey Bulldog as the March 1968 single and then come back with Across The Universe backed with The Inner Light in May/June to take the pressure off of record the White Album. Hey Jude/Revolution came out on August 30, so it would have given them a string of 1968 hits.

So that give some idea of where I'm headed. When I think of singles that were recorded with albums that they weren't on such as Hey Jude/Revolution with the White Album, I Feel Fine/She's A Woman with Beatles For Sale, Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out with Rubber Soul, Paperback Writer/Rain with Revolver... I think of those song being placed right *before* those albums in the ordering of the set rather than worry about the recording date.

When I look at albums, I tend to think there's a reason The Beatles put the songs in a certain order. So I'm not likely to open the Sgt. Peppers section with Day In The Life. :)

So what I have is a rather large spreadsheet that includes the recording dates, release dates, albums they were on, chart info, etc.


Quote:
So let's continue to market them as 2 2-CD items, as Red 1-2 and Blue 1-2. :) [Or, you could use Yellow/Green or Orange/Purple, if you want to avoid "confusion" with the original retrospectives. :P]


:P

That is one of the tricky things in trying to find breaks. I was intially thinking of:

* Beatlemania

Please Please Me + With The Beatles + A Hard Day's Night with the singles from that era.

Obviously Beatlemania didn't end with A Hard Day's Night, but this run is really the birth and height of Beatlemania.

* Post-Beatlemania

Beatles For Sale + Help! + Rubber Soul along with the singles

Thematically they're moving away from just love songs and happy songs.

* Studio Experimentation

Revolver + Sgt. Pepper's + Magical Mystery Tour and the singles

Revolver is a huge leap forward from Rubber Soul, and Pepper pushes that even further. MMT is almost a burn out of this direction.


* The End

The White Album + Get It Back Sessions + Abbey Road along with the Lady Madona sessions and the various singles.

My problem is that when you work backward from the two 90s singles, Side 2 of Abbey Road, the double A single from Abbey Road, the Ballad of John & Yoko, and the stuff I like from the Get Back Sessions (Get Back, Don't Let Me Down, The Long And Winding Road, Two of Us, Let It Be)... that's close to 60 minutes of material. That doesn't leave enough room on a 4th disc for the White Album Sessions and the Lady Madona Sessions.

That means that there aren't going to be nice clean break between discs.


Quote:
Modern recording tech has pushed CD content to closer to 75-80 minutes a side, so you could have up to 320 minutes to play with there. 40 more minutes! Hey, "Octopus' Garden" could make it on yet! ;)


:P

I know it's in the 78 or so range. The reason I tend to shoot for 70 as a mental base is that it gives you margin for time between songs and also if there's one or two song that you really need to get on, you have room. Just sort of a blocking out thing I do rather than leaving no room. :)

(cont.)
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'll be interested to see what you do pull from White Album, given how much you hate some of those cuts ;),


I will cut the White Album Sessions might tighter here than on my CD that reduced it (and Hey Jude/Revolution) down to one disc. I had 16 songs on that CD. On a box set, I don't think I can go more than 8 songs from the album and the 2 songs from the single. Frankly, that would be extremely generous, and I haven't even figured out how much of the set that would eat up.


Quote:
and where exactly you end up placing the long-playing Abbey Road work. I agree it really is their later-career shining moment of going beyond "hit singles" or even "songs" to produce something bigger and more intriguing (not to mention utterly hummable -- I can recall the transitions into and out of "Polythene Pam" far more easily than half the pop music of the last 20 years).


I think the end of the set would be:

* Come Together
* Something
* Here Comes The Sun
* Because
* Abbey Road Suite
* Free as a Bird
* Real Love

Free As A Bird went to #2 in the UK and #6 in the US, while Real Love went to #4 in the UK and #11 in the US. They also are, when you step away from all the hype, solid songs. I treat them a bit like they were on the Anthology sets - a nice little bonus.


Quote:
Questions or comments:

(1) Are you going with UK or US album versions for chronology/issuance? I know you prefer UK as more authentic, but there are those many of us who didn't have that level of access in our childhood or teens...


UK release order is a guiding light for my generally chron ordering. One hits the problem right at the start - in a US Chron fashion, Love Me Do doesn't open the set. Please Please Me would, followed by From Me To You, then you get to the songs from the Please Please Me album.

Wait... you don't think it would actually start with I Want To Hold You Hand, do you? :) Vee Jay and Swan were releasing Beatles singles and an album the year before, they just weren't charting to any note. I Want To Hold Your Hand broke the dam.

I don't know about anyone else, but a Beatles Box *has to* start with Love Me Do. It's their first single. It instantly captured that Beatles feel. And perfectly sets up the next step of Please Please Me.


Quote:
(2) No BBC or Anthology cuts: does that include Past Masters 1 & 2 then?


Past Masters collects the singles that didn't make albums, so it's a MUST that a lot of those songs end up on the set. Those were studio tracks that were released while the group was together, so they're up for grabs.


Quote:
(3) No live/covers -- hmm, ok, I can certainly see the point on no covers, mostly... but I'd seriously like to argue for 1 cut from Hollywood Bowl to make it on, possibly as the end of Red 1 or even as the epilogue/coda for Blue 2, to indicate just how screamingly popular they were. My preference from the Hollywood Bowl performances would be "Long Tall Sally" -- which is of course also a cover :P -- but I'd be willing to take the live version of "She Loves You" instead.


They didn't release an live cuts in their career. I'd rather save that stuff for a "live album" collection.

Like mentioned above, Anthology has 23 live tracks from the 1963-66 period. Hollywood Bowl has 13 tracks, three of which aren't songs duplicated on Anthology. That's an extremely good selection of songs from their touring era. In addition to those tracks there are others other there for EMI/the Beatles to cull from. Since their typical concerts typically went about 12 songs and 30 minute longs, you could easily double that to 24 songs, possibly up to 30.

Five songs were played on the rooftop in the Get Back Sessions, several of them multiple times. Let It Be had three of them - Dig A Pony, I've Got A Feeling and One After 909. Let It Be Naked has those three, though I've Got A Feeling a feeling is a composite of two takes. They also add Don't Let Me Down that is a composite because John flubbed some lines. Anthology has the third and final take of Get Back, while the Let Back movie has a rather strong composite edit of the first two takes (one of which was a warm up). So in a sense, all five of the songs are out there in some form. I don't mind them doing a composite on some of these songs because it is very Beatle-ish - it's how Strawberry Fields came into form for it's released version. That wasn't the only time the flew in bits from various takes to create the final version of a song.

All in all, they could slap together a nice and chunky one disc live set that did a very good overview of their touring days, with the rooftop as a "bonus".


Quote:
Alas, I don't find Revolver's stuff quite as compelling as you do,


I suspect that I'm less high on the album than the people who voted it The Greatest Album of All-Time. On the other hand...

Paperback Writer/Rain is a terrific single. Paul was at perhaps his peak in this recording sessions both as a writer and on the bass. Paperback Writer is largely his. I think it's great single A-side, fun lyrics, and musically magic including. I love Paul's base lines on Rain, and lyrically is one of John's better trippy songs. The two back-to-back mesh nicely.

Eleanor Rigby, Got To Get You Into My Life, For No One, Here There And Everywhere, Good Day Sunshine... seriously Paul is bringing an A-Game like he never did before or after *in his career*. Those five songs would have been top 10 hits if they had been released as the a-side in the place of either Paperback Writer or Yellow Sub from the two singles that came out of the sessions.

Yellow Sub, which was largely Paul writing a goofy song and the second single out of these sessions, is one of the great novelty songs of all time, musically adventourous for rock-n-roll over the era, and ended up fitting Ringo better than most anything the group ever did. How can one *not* have a song that went #1 in the UK and #2 here in the US on the set? While it's overplayed as all hell through the years, it really is a masterfully crafted novelty song.

That's seven songs of Paul's from this session that to me are all keepers. Everyone knows that I'm *not* a Paul fan. So when I say this may be his peak in terms of the depth of strong songs that he brought to a recoding session, trust me. :) Seriously... all seven of these songs could have been major hits.

I love Rain as a personal fave, so it probably is a keeper.

I'm less fond of George's trio of songs from the sessions - Taxman, Love You To and I Want To Tell You. I'm much, much, much less of a fan of Taxman than most. If I were doing the set just for me rather than trying to make a deeper replacement for 62-66/67-70, I'd pitch it right overboard. But... it's George's most famous song prior to the White Album (While My Guitar Gently Weeps)... so it might be hard to pitch overboard. The other two are goners for me.

Then you get to John's songs...

And Your Bird Can Sing and Dr. Robert are utter throwaways by him. I like them a great deal as fun trippy throwaways. Musically I like them a hell of a lot. The backing track of And Your Bird Can Sing is the type of thing where if they match their 1964-65 style lyrics to it they would have had a monster hit with it. Instead, it was just them backing John's throwaway fun lyrics with a wicked job of playing. Dr. Robert isn't far from it.

I could live without those songs on a box set, but I do know a lot of Beatles fans love them, and you even get quirky (and I think nutty) comments where people list And Your Bird Can Sing as one of the 3-4 "essential" songs off the album. I like the song a lot, but I ain't that goofy. :)

I'm Only Sleeping is another song that's a throwaway, but it's a really wonderful moody throwaway with inventive studio work with both the music and the vocals. In the context of Revolver, I really love it following Taxman as the second track of the album. You've got George ranting about money (as he often did), with John following being so bored that he's half asleep... and the music and vocals conveying it perfectly. It's almost an inside pop at George. :)

She Said She Said is a song that works strongly in the context of the album - John closing side one with another trippy song, setting the table for his trippiness on the second side (And Your Bird Can Sing, Dr. Robert and the closer). I like it a lot in the context of the album. I understand people who don't care for it since it's an odd trippy song.

Which brings us to the trippest song of the bunch - Tomorrow Never Knows. Again, I've got no problem with folks who don't like it. This is one trippy mofo that doesn't exactly have engaging lyrics. On the other hand, it's an amazing musical track for the era really pushing the limits. Alan Pollack does a good job of walking through how the album almost builds to it musically, and it really couldn't go anywhere but the closer spot. It also strongly lays the table to studio tricks they'd be up to in the coming year.

I could easily pitch all of John's album tracks from Revolver overboard (keeping just the b-side Rain) as not being among the more popular songs of the canon from a radio play stand point. There isn't a one of them that's as strong of a "complete" song as Paul's from this recording sessions with the possible exception of his goofy Yellow Sub. On the other hand, they do show the direction the group will be heading musically post-touring more strongly than much of the rest of the album. I almost feel like something from it needs to be on there as a representative song.

So... it's a hard cut down. I think Paul's seven contributions are keepers if one of the points it to go deeper into album cuts. I'm not a fan of Taxman, but it's a bit of a bone to throw to George (or his estate). :P Rain and possibly one other song is representative of John in here.

(cont.)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
and as for Rubber Soul, I suspect I feel about "Norwegian Wood" the same way you do about Lady Madonna.


Norwegian Wood is a clear keeper. The Rubber Soul sessions have a nice collection of songs to contribute. :)


Quote:
Also my brain consistently continues to try to file Abbey Road *between* Sgt. Pepper's and White Album, and ignore Yellow Submarine entirely. ;)


Abbey Road = to the last album recorded.

There's about a long modern album's worth of material between Pepp and the White Album - the six songs for the Magical Mystery Tour EP, two songs that ended up on the Yellow Sub soundtrack, the All You Need Is Love (backed with Baby You're a Rich Man) single, the Hello Goodbye single, and the four songs from the Lady Madonna sessions. Three UK #1's along with the EP going #1 on the singles chart, while in the US it was two #1's, a #4 and MMT stretched out to an album (side 2 loaded up with the tracks from the three singles released in 1967) that went #1 on the album charts. For a lot of bands not named The Beatles, that would be a career high point. :)

It's actually one of the trickier periods to deal with as well. You've got those three hit singles. The Fool On The Hill is a solid song. Baby You're a Rich Man is as well. I Am the Walrus is more than a bit famous among the non-hit tracks. Across the Universe is a great song. Magical Mystery Tour made the 67-70 set... though it's not a favorite of mine. I dig Hey Bulldog... frankly more than Lady Madonna. :)

That's part of the fun of this - finding the balance between favorites with what would be "proper" for such a set. :P


John, who will find a spot for...

-----------------

Any time at all, any time at all, any time at all,
All you've gotta do is call and I'll be there.

If you need somebody to love, just look into my eyes,
I'll be there to make you feel right.
If you're feeling sorry and sad, I'd really sympathize.
Don't you be sad, just call me tonight.

Any time at all, any time at all, any time at all,
All you've gotta do is call and I'll be there.

If the sun has faded away, I'll try to make it shine,
There's nothing I won't do.
If you need a shoulder to cry on, I hope it will be mine.
Call me tonight, and I'll come to you.

Any time at all, any time at all, any time at all,
All you've gotta do is call and I'll be there.
Any time at all, all you've gotta do is call and I'll be there.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank_Jewett wrote:
I'm waiting for that Beatles thread to wrap up so that I can make myself one of those sets.


It's a long process when there are 200+ songs, and so many of them good and/or hits. I'm trying to bang away through them, but am also looking for suggestions along the way. Such as...


Quote:
My three disc cut was too harsh, particularly on the Abbey Road Suite, and I love the Abbey Road Suite.


Exactly. I recall your fondness of it from the prior Beatles discussion. Like I said above, in trying to figure out how many discs would be reasonable, I started the process by "booking backwards". That meant Abbey Road as the intended to be the chronological closer due its recording date. And the tail end of the tail end is the Suite... and almost instantly a brick wall if you're trying to do a 3 disk set. The Suite... then back to Because which everyone in the band was extremely fond of as a favorite from the album... then back to Here Comes The Sun... then the Double-A single from the first side. That's a lot of stuff. :)

But having other folks tend to think the Suite is pretty important to close with helps me think that I'm not hitting the bong on that one. So comments are welcome even as I'm farting around.


Quote:
What is the best CD to get to replace Spector's "Let it Be?" Obvious question perhaps, but I've avoided "new" Beatles CDs like the plague, so I'm not aware of which one I should get.


There really isn't a specific one.

I think there are only five songs of merit from the Gets Back Sessions that worth keeping:

* Get Back

* Don't Let Me Down

* Let It Be

* Two Of Us

* The Long And Winding Road

Across The Universe isn't from the Get Back Sessions, and instead was from the February 1968 Lady Madona Sessions. I also think the best versions of it are from non-Get Back related albums: (a) the Wildlife Version that's available on Past Masters 2, and (b) the alternate Take 2 on Anthology 3. I'll hit which one I use when I get to that point in the list.

On the other songs... it's all over the place as far as which one I'd use:

* Get Back
* Don't Let Me Down
* Let It Be

Frankly, I'd just as soon use the "singles" versions of these songs. They were all produced and mixed for release by the Beatles and their production team (Martin and/or Johns) in advance of Spector getting involved. Get Back and Let It Be were hit singles in that form anyway. I also tend to like the singles versions of those songs the best, but that's a personal preference.


* Two Of Us

I don't have a problem with the version on the original album. It's not one that Spector did anything of note to. I'd have to check, but I think the version on Let It Be Naked is the same take with no real differences other than being re-mastered. The sound quality on it might end up being better, so I might use it instead of the one from the original album.

* The Long And Winding Road

This one is the biggest pain in the ass. There's the Spectored Up version from the original album, which was a #1 hit in the US. There's the non-Spector version of that same take of the song that's on Anthology. Then there's a different take used on Let It Be Naked.

Paul hates the Spectorization of the one on the original album.

Most everyone *other than* Paul happens to point out that John's bass work on the non-Spector version is pretty shitty. Some think John didn't like the song, generally was pissed off at Paul in the sessions (as were Ringo and George), and that he was "sabotaging" the song with his play. Who knows. That's possible, as both Paul and John thought the other was trying to play shitty on version of their songs at that point. On the other hand, John's lead guitar lines on Get Back wonderful... so the truth tends to lay somewhere inbetween with the two.

There are some who think that the Spector version not only covers that up, but actually enhances what is an over-the-top ballad by Paul with over the top ballady orchestral work by Spector.

I've always thought the original album version was a bit over the top, but it was a big hit in the US... and there are times when it hits the right spot with me. I also think that Paul hurt his own case about hating the spector version of it by how he use to do it live - with horns sort of in the strings role, not exactly very "naked" on the part of Paul. I tend to think the two non-Spector versions are worth listening to as a hardcore, but they also seem to be missing something as I long ago got over my markdom of wanting to hear them non-Spector (thanks to an old boot in the 80s).

So... I... don't know.

If one were booking that as a release that the Beatles would actually now approve of, you sort of throw Paul the bone by including the version on Naked. It's the one he claims to feel should be the "official" version.

My own preference is the version on the original album as the hit and as actually fitting of the song that Paul wrote. :)

Anyway... as far as "replacing" the original version, I probably wouldn't bother. If you have Past Masters 2, then you have the singles versions of Get Back, Don't Let Me Down and Let It Be... along with the Wildlife version of Across The Universe. The original album has a good studio release of Two of Us. And the original album has the hit single version of Long And Winding Road. If you've liked that version over the years, there you go. If you don't like the song... I don't think making the Spectorization going away is going to make you love it.


John
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