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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Lost Beatle Albums

The Beatles Sessions album came very close to being released in 1984, but was scrapped at the eleventh hour because of objections by two of the surviving Beatles. McCartney was livid about plans for the album especially as the release would clash with his own, Give My Regards to Broad Street.

 The story of the album started in 1982 when a technician at Abbey Road was given the job of listening to all of the Beatles recordings in the archive with a view to releasing an all new Beatle album later that year. The anniversary came and went though and the project didn't resurface until 1984.

This time things looked certain and a single was also promised which would feature the unheard (out of bootlegs of course) Leave my Kitten Alone which came from the Beatles For Sale sessions on the A- side backed with a previously unused version of Ob La Di Ob La Da.

Leave my Kitten alone was even played on US radio which sent Beatle fans into a frenzy for the new album.

Alas - the Beatles themselves made their objections known, but all of the tracks have since been released as part of the Anthology Project, but fans can see how The Sessions Album would have sounded by making their own playlist.

The tracklisting of the Sessions album was set before the project was scrapped and the album would have looked like this.

All tracks by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, except where noted.
  1. "Come and Get It" (McCartney)
  2. "Leave My Kitten Alone" (John/Turner/McDougal) – An outtake from the Beatles for Sale sessions.
  3. "Not Guilty" (Harrison) – An outtake from The Beatles ("The White Album"), heavily edited.
  4. "I'm Looking Through You" – Alternative version, with hand claps
  5. "What's the New Mary Jane" – An outtake from The Beatles ("The White Album"), heavily remixed.
  6. "How Do You Do It?" (Murray)
  7. "Besame Mucho" (Velázquez/Skylar) – From the Beatles' first EMI session.
  8. "One After 909" – Earlier version recorded 5 March 1963
  9. "If You've Got Trouble" – A Help! outtake, with verses edited into a different order than they were originally recorded.
  10. "That Means a Lot" – A Help! outtake.
  11. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Harrison) – Take 1, with an artificially looped ending.
  12. "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues" (Roberts/Katz/Clayton) – An outtake from the "Get Back"/"Let It Be" sessions, heavily edited.
  13. "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr) – Edited from the 1967 fan club Christmas 
Another Beatle album - not really a lost album - has kept fans busy for years and this is the album the Beatles may have released in 1970 if the split hadn't have happened. The album is made up of tracks from the first solo albums by the Fabs and there are many ideas for track listings floating around. However only this week the Telegraph Newspaper joined in the game and came up with the following track listing.

 

SIDE ONE
Instant Karma
(John Lennon, single, 1970)
  • Technically Lennon was still in the Beatles when he recorded this exuberant, sloppy rocker. With Harrison on guitar and Lennon providing a rip-roaring vocal over a witty, polemical, philosophical lyric, it would make for an ear-catching, agenda-setting opening track.
Band on the Run
(Paul McCartney, title track of Wings’ 3rd album, 1973)
  • An elegant guitar and keyboard figure leads us gently into this shape- and time-shifting, multi-layered mini-epic. There are echoes of the structural daring of McCartney’s Abbey Road medley in a vignette celebrating both the unity and pressure of life in a band.
What Is Life
(George Harrison, 'All Things Must Pass’, 1970)
  • One of Harrison’s most Beatles-esque songs, a melodic, surging rocker with a driving guitar figure, the chorus swollen by an uplifting horn session. The message is simple and universal: “What is my life without your love?” It’s a song with a smile on its face.
Love
(John Lennon, 'Plastic Ono Band’, 1970)
  • Lennon gets down to the essence of the conundrum with one of his most beautiful ballads, singing with aching yearning over a delicate, elegant piano figure.
The Back Seat of My Car
(Paul McCartney, from 'Ram’, 1971)
  • The understated guitar ballad intro picks up quite nicely from Lennon’s introspection, leading us into a song that typically marries the throwaway and the sublime, a rich melody building to a monumental singalong (“Oh, we believe that we can’t be wrong”) and a rocking playout.
Back Off Boogaloo
(Ringo Starr, single from 'Stop and Smell the Roses’, 1972)
  • This is actually my favourite Ringo song, and certainly better than anything he wrote and recorded in the Beatles. A great, shaggy, joyful groove. Produced by Harrison and featuring his distinctive guitar playing.
Mind Games
(John Lennon, title track from his 4th solo album, 1973)
  • To close side one, Lennon on soulful, philosophical form with a big, anthemic classic given an uncharacteristically (for his solo career) lush, Beatley production. “Love is the answer,” he sings. And in this parallel universe, maybe we can still believe it.


SIDE TWO
Gimme Some Truth
(John Lennon, from 'Imagine’, 1971)
  • One of Lennon’s greatest heavy rock mantras, this is driven by a simple climbing and descending guitar figure and overlaid with Lennon on coruscating lyrical form, railing against hypocrisy. Harrison takes the lead.
Let Me Roll It
(Paul McCartney, from 'Band on the Run’, 1973)
  • McCartney sweetly answers Lennon’s paranoia with this fantastic, slow-grooving rocker, which features a very Lennon-style brittle guitar figure. Indeed, Lennon always thought this song was about him, a gentle rebuke for his public antagonism towards his old friend.
Jealous Guy
(John Lennon, from 'Imagine’, 1971)
  • Which brings us neatly to this devastating admission of his own hypocrisies set to a gorgeous melody, which surely ranks among Lennon’s greatest ballads. It actually started life as a Beatles song, demoed for the White Album as Child of Nature.
Maybe I’m Amazed
(Paul McCartney, from 'McCartney’, 1970)
  • Not to be outdone, McCartney comes back with this heartfelt, soulful ballad, a blood brother to Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road, with piano, organ, lilting lead solo and Macca letting rip on a raw-throated, tender vocal.
#9 Dream
(John Lennon, from 'Walls and Bridges’, 1974)
  • Lush and dreamy, Lennon embraces psychedelia on an evocative journey “on a river of sound?/ Thru the mirror go round?/ I thought I could feel?/ Music touching my soul”. Epic, gorgeous and touching.
All Things Must Pass
(George Harrison, title track from his triple album, 1970)
  • Stately paced hymn to the temporariness of everything, love, pain, life. With horns, strings, yearning melody, think of it as an elegiac farewell from the greatest group that walked the earth.
Junk
(Paul McCartney, from 'McCartney’, 1970)
  • Let’s give the last word to McCartney, who most wanted to keep the band together. He plays us out with this lovely acoustic sketch. It’s a poignant trawl through the debris of life, “something old and new, memories for you and me.”

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