Sunday, September 22, 2013
The Beatles: On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2, Coming November 11th, Plus the Newly Remastered 1994 Release, Live At The BBC
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2
The Beatles' recording career spanned six short but prolific years, from their first single sides in 1963, to their final sessions in 1969 for Abbey Road (even though Let It Be was their last released album, it was recorded before Abbey Road). Their output possessed a unique combination of musical excellence, artistic vision, and worldwide mass appeal that resulted in a body of work so accomplished, so loved, and so iconic that it will very likely never be equalled.
Books have been written about the Beatles' music, so for this discussion I'm only going to point out that unlike a lot of hits from the sixties, the music of the Beatles still sounds fresh, even as it approaches fifty years old; the musical excellence speaks for itself. Their artistic vision manifested itself in the way they never stayed in one place (musically) for long. Their music constantly evolved, year-to-year and sometimes album-to-album. And it wasn't just the songwriting that evolved. Working with producer George Martin, they pushed the envelope in terms of instrumentation, production, and recording techniques, pioneering things that had never been done on pop records.
At some point in time, an extraordinary artist might conceivably match the Beatles' achievements musically, but it is highly unlikely that any musical artist will ever reach a global mass audience like the Beatles did. In the 1960s if you listened to popular music there was only one place to hear new music, AM radio. The stations played singles (45 rpm vinyl records), all kinds of music: rock, soul, pop, country, folk and everything else, all coexisting on the same radio station. It gave the people of that era something that has been lost for a very long time, shared experience.
With all of the phenomenal array of sources that we have on the internet, the listening audience has become so fragmented, everyone listening to different flavors of music, that a mass audience like the Beatles had, no longer exists. Never mind that the Beatles' music spearheaded a social and cultural revolution that was unique to their time.
Over the last 40+ years since the Beatles broke up, the vaults have been carefully combed for unreleased material. Alternate takes and demos have been well documented on the three double CD Beatles Anthology releases, as well as the Lost Lennon Tapes syndicated radio program. The alternate takes and demos are fascinating for their historical value and for the window they provide into the Beatles' creative process, but there's not much new there.
A few concert recordings have surfaced, but beyond historical value, they have little to offer because the audience screamed the entire time. The Beatles often couldn't hear each other play, and all they could do was to run through their hits. By late 1966 they stopped playing concerts altogether.
There was one place where they liked to play live and they went there quite often and played brilliantly. I'm talking about the BBC. The Beatles appeared on BBC radio programs 52 times between 1962 and 1965, including ten times on the Saturday Club program and fifteen times on their own show, Pop Go The Beatles. In all, the BBC broadcast 275 musical performances by the Beatles.
They played 80 different songs; some got played many times, some songs were played only once. They played their own hits to be sure, but during these broadcasts they played plenty of cover songs that did not appear on any of their albums. When they appeared on these shows their banter with the BBC hosts was always sharp, witty, and utterly charming. The first release of recordings from the BBC vault, Live At The BBC, came in 1994.
Live At The BBC (Remastered) Original Cover
Live At The BBC consists of 69 tracks: 13 tracks of dialog and 56 live songs, 30 of which The Beatles performed on air but never released on record in the 1960s. The tracks were selected by George Martin. This album has been newly remastered for better sound. The remaster sports a revised cover and it comes out November 11th. Here are a few selections. "From Us To You" is a twist on their (released) song "From Me To You". "I Got A Woman" is a cover of the Ray Charles composition, previously unreleased. "I'll Be On My Way" is a Lennon-McCartney original, previously unreleased, and "Young Blood" is a cover of the Coasters hit, written by Doc Pomus with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Listen to Beatle Greetings/"From Us To You"/Riding On A Bus/"I Got A Woman"
Listen to "I'll Be On My Way"/"Young Blood"
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2
Last week it was announced that that on November 11th, a second collection of BBC recordings will be released, entitled On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2. It will be available as double CD or 180-gram vinyl packages, both with a 48-page booklet. No tracks are repeated from the first volume, but six of the same songs that were on the first one are included here, from different performances.
On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 consists of 63 tracks: 23 tracks of dialog and 40 live songs, 10 of which The Beatles performed on air but never released on record in the 1960s, including two songs that are making their debut on this release. Read the tracklisting below; this is a phenomenal collection, essential for any fan of the Beatles. Upon hearing these recordings, Paul McCartney said, “There’s a lot of energy and spirit. We are going for it, not holding back at all, trying to put in the best performance of our lifetimes.” On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 is released November 11th.
Watch the trailer for On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2
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Here is the complete press release including full tracklisting:
‘ON AIR - LIVE AT THE BBC VOLUME 2’
JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE AND RINGO SHAKE UP THE AIRWAVES
New 2CD and Vinyl LP Collections Feature 40 Performances from
The Beatles’ 1963-1964 BBC Radio Broadcasts
London – September 12, 2013 - In 1994, The Beatles’ Live at the BBC was released to worldwide acclaim - hitting number one in the U.K., number three in the U.S. and selling more than five million copies within six weeks. A new companion to The Beatles’ first BBC collection, On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2, will be released Monday, November 11 in 2CD and 180-gram vinyl packages with a 48-page booklet. On Air’s 63 tracks, none of which overlaps with The Beatles’ first BBC release, include 37 previously unreleased performances and 23 previously unreleased recordings of in-studio banter and conversation between the band’s members and their BBC radio hosts.
In the studios of the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Beatles performed music for a variety of radio shows. On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2 presents the sound of The Beatles seizing their moment to play for the nation. Thrilled to hear these exciting recordings again, Paul McCartney said, “There’s a lot of energy and spirit. We are going for it, not holding back at all, trying to put in the best performance of our lifetimes.”
You can pre-order from the official Beatles stores:
UK Store: http://gnikn.us/1g4QHEe
USA Store: http://gnikn.us/1g4QPDy
Japan Store: http://bit.ly/KyZ0ea
Brazil Store: http://gnikn.us/15mXLuC
Or from your local retailer: http://po.st/BeatlesLiveBBC2
Ten of On Air’s songs were never recorded by the group for EMI in the 1960s, including two making their debuts with the new release: The Beatles’ direct-to-air performance of Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and a rocking cover of the standard “Beautiful Dreamer.” On Air also includes different versions of six rarities heard on the 1994 BBC collection: Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” and two songs they learned from records by Carl Perkins, “Glad All Over” and “Sure To Fall.”
The Beatles’ tribute to the BBC’s most important pop show of the early ’60s – “Happy Birthday, Dear Saturday Club” – is another surprise. As John Lennon recalled in 1980, “We did a lot of tracks that were never on record for Saturday Club – they were well recorded, too.” Paul remembers, “We’d been raised on the BBC radio programs. One of the big things in our week was Saturday Club – this great show was playing the kind of music we loved, so that was something we really aspired to.”
Between March 1962 and June 1965, no fewer than 275 unique musical performances by The Beatles were broadcast by the BBC in the U.K. The group played songs on 39 radio shows in 1963 alone. Ringo Starr said in 1994, “You tend to forget that we were a working band. It’s that mono sound. There were usually no overdubs. We were in at the count-in and that was it. I get excited listening to them.” On their busiest BBC day, July 16, 1963, The Beatles recorded 18 songs for three editions of their Pop Go The Beatles series in fewer than seven hours.
The group played 88 distinct songs in their BBC sessions – some were recorded many times; others performed just once. At the time, three national BBC stations provided all daytime radio broadcasting in the U.K. Only the Light Programme network might occasionally play a record. Most broadcast music was live music. Consequently, to promote their releases, The Beatles had to play live at the BBC. “Everything was done instantly,” remembered George Harrison, “But before that, we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”
On Air also features BBC recordings of 30 well-loved songs from The Beatles’ catalogue, including five number on¬es and other favorites such as: “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Twist And Shout,” “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” “Boys,” “Please Mister Postman,” “Money,” “And I Love Her,” and “If I Fell.”
Like its critically acclaimed predecessor, On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2 includes audio of The Beatles talking to DJs Brian Matthew and Alan Freeman and Pop Go The Beatles hosts Lee Peters and Rodney Burke. When first broadcast, pop fans were amazed to hear such witty irreverence on the rather formal BBC and it is great fun to hear these extracts now. In addition, On Air releases, for the first time, the group’s candid interviews for the Pop Profile series recorded in November 1965 and May 1966.
Newly remastered for reissue on November 11, The Beatles’ first Live at the BBC album sounds and looks better than ever. This collection of the group’s BBC sessions mixed versions of their hits with a treasure trove of 30 songs The Beatles performed on air but never released on record in the 1960s. The compelling track list ranged from a rare performance of the little known Lennon-McCartney original “I’ll Be On My Way” to covers of classic rock ’n’ roll and contemporary rhythm and blues songs. At the time of its release, Live at the BBC was hailed by Rolling Stone as “an exhilarating portrait of a band in the process of shaping its own voice and vision.” It earned a GRAMMY® Award nomination for Best Historical Album.
Live at the BBC was assembled by George Martin in 1994 and On Air - Live at the BBC Volume Two was compiled and researched by producers Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley. Both albums have been meticulously mastered by engineers Guy Massey and Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios. The booklets for both collections include Kevin Howlett’s essays on the history of The Beatles’ BBC radio sessions and his detailed commentaries on all of the tracks.
The Beatles: On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2
1. And Here We Are Again (Speech)
2. WORDS OF LOVE
3. How About It, Gorgeous? (Speech)
4. DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET
6. Hey, Paul… (Speech)
7. ANNA (GO TO HIM)
8. Hello! (Speech)
9. PLEASE PLEASE ME
11. I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU
12. A Real Treat (Speech)
14. Absolutely Fab (Speech)
16. ASK ME WHY
17. TILL THERE WAS YOU
18. LEND ME YOUR COMB
19. Lower 5E (Speech)
20. THE HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE
21. ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN
22. THERE’S A PLACE
23. Bumper Bundle (Speech)
24. P.S. I LOVE YOU
25. PLEASE MISTER POSTMAN
26. BEAUTIFUL DREAMER
27. DEVIL IN HER HEART
28. The 49 Weeks (Speech)
29. SURE TO FALL (IN LOVE WITH YOU)
30. Never Mind, Eh? (Speech)
31. TWIST AND SHOUT
32. Bye, Bye (speech)
33. John - Pop Profile (Speech)
34. George - Pop Profile (Speech)
1. I SAW HER STANDING THERE
2. GLAD ALL OVER
3. Lift Lid Again (Speech)
4. I’LL GET YOU
5. SHE LOVES YOU
6. MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SATURDAY CLUB
8. Now Hush, Hush (Speech)
9. FROM ME TO YOU
10. MONEY (THAT’S WHAT I WANT)
11. I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
12. Brian Bathtubes (Speech)
13. THIS BOY
14. If I Wasn’t In America (Speech)
15. I GOT A WOMAN
16. LONG TALL SALLY
17. IF I FELL
18. A Hard Job Writing Them (Speech)
19. AND I LOVE HER
20. Oh, Can’t We? Yes We Can (Speech)
21. YOU CAN’T DO THAT
22. HONEY DON’T
23. I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN
24. Green With Black Shutters (Speech)
25. KANSAS CITY/HEY-HEY-HEY-HEY!
26. That’s What We’re Here For (Speech)
27. I FEEL FINE (STUDIO OUTTAKE)
28. Paul - Pop Profile (Speech)
29. Ringo - Pop Profile (Speech)