As I go round and round in circles

magicalmystery2511DEVIN McKINNEY  •  This seems terribly solipsistic of me—and it is—but Mike asked about this a long time ago and commenter Craig asked about it lately and I got curious for a look back and here it is and it might entertain a couple of you and for the rest at least provide one answer to the question, “What did Mike Gerber mean when he subtitled this blog ‘People Who Think About the Beatles Maybe a Little Too Much’?”

A-way back in the Clinton years, I was writing a book about the Beatles and began idly compiling the track list for an accompanying soundtrack. At first it comprised only those songs with special importance to the narrative, starting with “In Spite of All the Danger”; an early rehearsal excerpt; two or three Hamburg highlights; thence to studio outtakes and live performances, and even a Beatles fake or two. Simple, 14 or 16 tracks. 20. Say 22. 25 at the outside.

It was fun, of course, and while a craven diversion from the real work of writing, it at least felt like a constructive one. So it kept growing. Since Beatletalk was important to the book, I began stuffing the cracks between songs with snippets of interview, news montage, press conference (including the “two queers” thing posted here not too long ago), and odd encounter (the Lennon-Dylan trip). Okay, second edition in the can. Fine. Done.

But my imagination has tumorous tendencies. New pieces of boot kept appearing and seeming indispensable, from more or less full songs (Take 11 of “What You’re Doing”) to brief snatches (the “Blue Moon of Kentucky” busk, the historic “Puttin’ on the Style” snatch). This was the late 1990s into the 2000s by now, peak hour for Vigotone, Yellow Dog, and other high-quality bootleggers, and manna was pouring forth, from the previously unheard to the newly upgraded.

The Beatles are without end and so was this project. My imaginary soundtrack had grown from a modest ranch-style house in my mind to a full-fledged castle complex with turrets, a moat, and troughs for the hogs. It continued to grow until finally the book was finished and the toys had to go away for a while. So I took one more grand swing, deciding this would be my final Beatles anthology, reprogramming it to include not just bootleg material but EVERYTHING, all of my favorite songs, both major and minor—preferably as obscure mono versions, Capitol slop-mixes ripped from vinyl, or familiar tracks with unusual add-ons (“All My Loving” with hi-hat intro; “Penny Lane” with trumpet coda). I spent hours doing primitive audio mixes on CD Spin Doctor and iMovie, cross-fading a song’s demo or rehearsal with its final take, frequently having to slow or hasten one component to match the pitch of the other (a la “Strawberry Fields”). With the varied interview clips and homemade sound montages, the final product had the feel of a surreal documentary done by an alternate-universe BBC.

When everything was done and burned I had nine discs. I designed labels for them and then filed them away. I’d been tit-deep in the magic circle for five years or so and looked forward to breathing nice square air again.

DISC 1
1. Real Love (homemade skeleton mix)
2. Montage: Introduction (Houston Coliseum [8-19-1965, intro by Russ “Weird Beard” Knight]; I’m So Tired [backing track]; 1963 Christmas greetings montage; From Us to You)
3. Puttin’ on the Style
4. In Spite of All the Danger
5. Cayenne
6. I’ll Always Be In Love with You
7. My Bonnie (with German intro)
8. Cry for a Shadow
9. Hello Little Girl
10. Take Good Care of My Baby
11. Love of the Loved
12. Sure to Fall
13. Like Dreamers Do
14. September in the Rain
15. Paul plays DJ (radio message, 1964)
16. Besame Mucho (EMI version)
17. Love Me Do (alternate take)
18. How Do You Do It? (mono, without repetition)
19. Please Please Me (vinyl)
20. Catswalk
21. Where Have You Been All My Life?
22. A Taste of Honey
23. I Remember You
24. To Know Her is to Love Her
25. Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
26. Montage: Please Please Me (studio outtakes)
27. Thank You Girl (vinyl)
28. Do You Want to Know a Secret?
29. Ask Me Why
30. A Taste of Honey
31. I’ll Be On My Way
32. I Got to Find My Baby
33. Soldier of Love
34. “Rattle your jewelry”
35. Twist and Shout

DISC 2
1. “The Neville Club”
2. I Got a Woman
3. Montage: Happy Birthday, Saturday Club; Crimble Medley
4. P.S. I Love You (BBC version)
5. Money (That’s What I Want) (vinyl)
6. Devil in Her Heart (vinyl)
7. All I’ve Got to Do
8. All My Loving (with hi-hat)
9. Till There Was You
10. Please Mister Postman (vinyl)
11. Montage: With the Beatles (studio outtakes)
12. This Boy (alternate take)
13. I’m in Love
14. She Loves You (vinyl)
15. Marsha Albert introduction
16. I Want to Hold Your Hand (alternate take)
17. Ed Sullivan intro; All My Loving (live Ed Sullivan 2-9-1964)
18. I Want to Hold Your Hand (live Ed Sullivan 2-9-1964)
19. Shout
20. I Forgot to Remember to Forget
21. A Hard Day’s Night (Takes 2-3 into LP version)
22. Montage: A Hard Day’s Night (studio outtakes)
23. And I Love Her (alternate take)
24. Tell Me Why
25. If I Fell
26. Things We Said Today
27. And I Love Her
28. I’ll Be Back
29. I Feel Fine (vinyl)
30. She’s a Woman (vinyl)
31. Vancouver Press Conference (8-22-1964)
32. I’ll Follow the Sun (BBC version)
33. “I Sat Belonely”
34. Leave My Kitten Alone
35. Eight Days a Week (false starts)
36. Eight Days a Week (alternate take)

DISC 3
1. What You’re Doing
2. Baby’s in Black
3. I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party
4. No Reply
5. Rock and Roll Music
6. Montage: Beatles for Sale (studio outtakes)
7. What You’re Doing (alternate take)
8. Kansas City—Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! (alternate take)
9. Montage: Beatles Radio (KLIF Dallas [Summer 1964]; “We got stoned” [2-22-1965]; backstage at the Hollywood Bowl [8-30-1965]; Rome press conference [6-30-1965]; KSWB jingle [1964])
10. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (alternate take)
11. Yes it Is
12. You’re Going to Lose That Girl
13. The Night Before (BBC version)
14. Another Girl
15. That Means a Lot (Take 1)
16. Montage: Help! (studio outtakes)
17. It’s Only Love (alternate take)
18. Ticket to Ride
19. “Yesterday” (1965 Christmas record)
20. Norwegian Wood (alternate take)
21. We Can Work it Out (demo)
22. I’m Looking Through You (alternate take)
23. You Won’t See Me
24. Nowhere Man
25. Day Tripper
26. Girl
27. Montage: Rubber Soul (studio outtakes)
28. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
29. Drive My Car
30. Beatle Speech
31. Tomorrow Never Knows (alternate take)

DISC 4
1. She Said She Said (demo series)
2. She Said She Said
3. Eleanor Rigby (strings only)
4. And Your Bird Can Sing (alternate take)
5. Paperback Writer
6. Got to Get You Into My Life (alternate take)
7. The Trip (Lennon & Dylan, 5-27-1966)
8. Tokyo
9. If I Needed Someone (live Tokyo 6-30-1966)
10. I’m Down (live Tokyo 7-1-1966)
11. Manila
12. I’m Only Sleeping (rehearsal)
13. Montage: Jesus Christ
14. I’m Only Sleeping (alternate take)
15. Cleveland
16. I’m Only Sleeping (mono)
17. Boston
18. Love You To
19. Memphis
20. Here, There and Everywhere (Takes 7 & 13 composite)
21. New York
22. Rain
23. Hollywood
24. Day Tripper (live San Francisco 8-29-1966)
25. Long Tall Sally (live San Francisco 8-29-1966)
26. For No One (Take 10-14 monitor mix into LP version)
27. And Your Bird Can Sing
28. Got to Get You into My Life
29. Tomorrow Never Knows

DISC 5
1. Orowainya (Corsican Choir and Small Choir)
2. It’s Not Too Bad (demo)
3. A Rare Cheese (Two Elderly Scotsmen)
4. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1)
5. The Feast; The Loyal Toast
6. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7)
7. Podgy the Bear and Jasper
8. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take ??)
9. Felpin Mansions (Parts One and Two)
10. Strawberry Fields Forever (German mono)
11. Penny Lane (with trumpet coda)
12. Sound effect: Audience
13. A Day in the Life (alternate take, with count-in from Take 1)
14. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (with Jeremy Boob intro)
15. She’s Leaving Home (mono)
16. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (intro talk from Take 1 into LP version)
17. Paul talks about LSD (7-1967)
18. Fixing a Hole (mono)
19. Getting Better (mono)
20. Lovely Rita (mono)
21. Sound effect: Animals / Good Morning, Good Morning (alternate take)
22. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (alternate take)
23. Sound effect: Applause
24. It’s All Too Much (soundtrack version)
25. Only a Northern Song (soundtrack version)
26. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (complete composite version)
27. The Candle Burns
28. All You Need is Love (outtakes, “Our World” introduction into final take)

DISC 6
1. Mellotron Nightscape (homemade montage)
2. Baby You’re a Rich Man (soundtrack version)
3. namrepus a ekil uoy kcuf ll’eW
4. Your Mother Should Know (alternate take)
5. Flying (alternate mix)
6. Christmas Time is Here Again (early fade)
7. Magical Mystery Tour
8. Hello Goodbye
9. I Am the Walrus (with six intro beats)
10. 1967 Christmas Record (excerpt)
11. She Can Talk to Me
12. Hey Bulldog (soundtrack version)
13. Lady Madonna (alternate mix with studio talk)
14. Child of Nature
15. The Happy Rishikesh Song
16. The Maharishi Song
17. Cottonfields
18. Circles
19. Junk
20. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (demo)
21. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (alternate take)
22. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (alternate take)
23. Back in the USSR (mono rough mix)
24. Glass Onion (alternate take)
25. Mother Nature’s Son
26. Happiness is a Warm Gun (demo)
27. Happiness is a Warm Gun (backing tracks)
28. Happiness is a Warm Gun (alternate mix)
29. I’m So Tired (alternate take)
30. Hey Jude (alternate take)

DISC 7
1. Good Night (rehearsal studio talk)
2. Wild Honey Pie (slightly longer fade)
3. Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (rough mono mix with studio talk)
4. Winston and Michael / Yer Blues (Rock and Roll Circus)
5. Step Inside Love
6. Los Paranoias
7. The Way You Look Tonight
8. I Will (alternate take)
9. By George! It’s David Frost’s Theme
10. Hey Jude (live on video)
11. Revolution (live on video)
12. Not Guilty
13. Martha My Dear
14. John Lennon meets John Wizardo
15. What’s the New Mary Jane (Take 4)
16. Studio chat / Helter Skelter (demo)
17. Helter Skelter (alternate take)
18. Helter Skelter (with count-in)
19. “I’ve got blisters on my fingers”
20. Cry Baby Cry (alternate take)
21. Sexy Sadie
22. Long, Long, Long
23. Montage: The Beatles (studio outtakes)
24. Can You Take Me Back
25. enin rebmuN
26. Revolution 9 (mono mix)
27. Good Night

DISC 8
1. A Beginning
2. Everyone Had a Hard Year
3. Heather
4. Don’t Let Me Down (demo)
5. Goodbye
6. 1968 Christmas Record (excerpt)
7. Adagio for Strings
8. The Third Man Theme
9. Get Back (alternate version)
10. Medley: Kansas City/Miss Ann/Lawdy Miss Clawdy
11. I Lost My Little Girl
12. Don’t Let Me Down (alternate version)
13. I’ve Got a Feeling (alternate version)
14. George quits/Angry Yoko Jam
15. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues
16. John talks about Boy Scouts and masturbation
17. Hot as Sun
18. Maggie May (alternate)
19. John suggests Eric Clapton replace George
20. Medley: On a Sunny Island/Brazil/I Got Stung/Groovin’
21. Blue Suede Shoes/Good Rocking Tonight
22. Forty Days
23. Dig a Pony (unedited rooftop version)
24. Get Back (rooftop version)
25. Get Back (reprise)
26. All Things Must Pass (demo)
27. Come and Get It
28. Old Brown Shoe
29. Don’t Let Me Down

DISC 9
1. Something (Take 37 into jam, with George lead-in from 1-3-1970)
2. Have You Heard the Word
3. Window, Window
4. Two of Us
5. 1969 Christmas record
6. The Ballad of John and Yoko
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Ain’t She Sweet
9. Oh! Darling (vocal monitor mix into LP version)
10. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
“A Huge Melody” (original running order):
11. You Never Give Me Your Money
12. Sun King
13. Mean Mr. Mustard
14. Her Majesty
15. Polythene Pam
16. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
17. Golden Slumbers
18. The End
19. John (1969 interview clip)
20. Because (alternate mix)
21. Paul (1969 interview clip)
22. Let it Be (alternate take)
23. George (1969 interview clip)
24. I Me Mine (without repetition)
25. Ringo (1973 interview clip)
26. Free as a Bird (skeleton mix)
27. Real Love (demo into early mix)
28. Blue Moon of Kentucky
29. The End (remix)
30. Montage: Run-out groove

My original notes were lost to the crash and burn of an iMac a few years ago; the preceding tracklist was drawn up by hand in the last day or two. Once upon a time everything was documented as to take and remix numbers, stereo or mono, dates, sources. For instance, the “Strawberry Fields” I used was a unique mono mix that didn’t appear until a 1971 German pressing of the Magical Mystery Tour LP. Or something like that. Such details will need to be reconstructed someday.

To listen to this thing start to finish would take someone about 12 hours.

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6 Comments

  1. Avatar Nancy wrote:

    Wow. I would love to spend 12 hours listening to this, especially the “Mellotron Nightscape” and the other homemade tracks. And “Capitol slop-mixes ripped from vinyl” just makes me laugh, because I share the attraction to them.

    Maybe someday I’ll write a post about the freakish number of Beatles books I possess.

    So here’s my question: what makes the Beatles so inexhaustible, so (to some of us) worth thinking about maybe a little too much? I know there are other bands people think and feel deeply about, but I don’t think there are any others that have sustained this kind of attention for so long, for so many people.

    At one level this seems simple: it’s the music, stupid. But I’d love to hear some other thoughts about this.

  2. Mike had the idea a while back, which I thought was both a no-brainer and evidence of braininess, of compiling a “Hey Dullblog” library — a critical inventory of Beatles books. Everyone adds their personal lists to a master list, and anyone who has read a particular title can append a few sentences of opinionated commentary. Nancy, you should compile your “freakish number” and we can start from there.

  3. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    Ummm…..Awesome! is pretty much my reaction to this post. Thanks, Devin. That is a very impressive list, and I love all the hard work you put into its creation. Though, if you’re like me, I’ll bet it didn’t really feel like work at all.

    Do you still have these discs somewhere? Is there anyway you could/would trade or sell a copy? I’d be VERY interested. However, if this is special to you, and you alone, I understand. But if not, I wanna take a listen!

    Nancy: I would also be interested in your book proposal. I love the idea of having many of the Beatle books listed on this site and the ability for all of us to add our own comments. Let’s do it! Let me know if I can help.

    As to your question: It is something I have often thought about. ‘Why the hell am I so obsessed with not only listening to the music nonstop, but constantly thinking, reading and analyzing THE BEATLES!?’ Ok, it’s the music. It all starts with the music, we know that. If they had not created the most beautiful sounds ever known to the human ear, we would not be here. But there’s so much more. Liverpool, the 1960’s, the group relationships, the surrounding characters, the fame/celebrity, the impact, John’s murder, their continuing success… But all of that is on the surface. I’m not intelligent enough to put my obsession into words. Perhaps because the reason is indescribable. Maybe we all have different reasons. Who knows? Anyways, that’s my quick attempt at answering your question. Your use of the word ‘inexhaustible’ is perfect. That perfectly describes my thirst for Beatle knowledge. I can’t get enough!

    -Craig

  4. Dullbloggers, I’ve created a page for our library. Go to Pages and check it out. Add any you want, and give a one or two sentence review. If you disagree with somebody’s review, say so. What I’m thinking is something like Wilson and Alroy’s reviews. I can’t take the lead on this at the moment because Downturn needs to be drafted, but I’ll chime in later.

    Readers can nominate books for the list in the comments.

  5. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    Sounds good, mike, thanks for setting it up. I have no idea where ‘Pages’ is or what it is however.

    I’ve been thinking more and more about the Goldman book recently. I really can’t find big problems with it. His main themes are: 1. John was a bisexual man who had affairs with men, most notably Brian Epstein. 2. John had limited musical ability. 3. And that John was a junkie who spent most of his adulthood hooked on various drugs. 4. Oh, and also that Yoko is a devil woman.

    1. I believe there is high probability of this. John made various comments alluding to his Spanish affair with Brian. Pete Shotton recorded in his book that John told him they did fool around. Why would Pete, johns best friend, with seemingly no axe to grind, lie about this?

    2. Now, most of you are better music critics than me, but I believe this as well. Paul was the master instrumentalist: the best bass player, guitar player and drummer in the group IMO. John could strum the guitar and get something out of it. Obviously, his strength was words, wordplay, images, conveying his inner thoughts, confessional/honest song writing.

    3. When John started taking preLudin in hamburg, he was on drugs for the rest of his life. He told us as much, except for never admitting to drug use in the later Dakota days? We know now he did a lot of coke during the double fantasy sessions.

    4. Ehh, I’m not gonna bother.

    Now did Goldman go too far sometimes? Absolutely. For example, when he presumes John trolled Thailand and the streets of new York for young boys. Did Goldman slant much of his writing to portray John as a loser? Yes, and for this I can’t understand why. The research in this book is fantastic but he sullies it sometimes with his biased writing. I very much recommend this book. Gave me some really good insight into johns life in then ’70s and Yoko. I think the backlash was two fold: No one wanted to hear that John might have been gay/bi. And perhaps it was too soon after his death to publish this book. I think if it had come out today, it would be better received. Much of Goldmans research has been corroborated in subsequent bios.

    All that said: my opinion of John hasn’t changed one iota. I just understand what he went through better now.

    -Craig

  6. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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