Reference Library: The History of Beatles Bootlegs
From: email@example.com (DinsdaleP)
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles.moderated, rec.music.beatles
Subject: A History of Beatles Bootlegs
Date: 19 May 1998 17:36:07 GMT
Whenever I try and explain my chief passion in life (collecting
Beatles' recordings) to somebody who has limited knowledge of the music
business, I always get stuck in the same spot: explaining how bootlegs come to
be. "You mean you have songs that were never sold to the public? How did you
tapes if they weren't released?" Actually, this is a great question and one
that is relatively unexamined compared with more pointless questions like "Did
Paul really die in 1966?" or "Did Yoko break up The Beatles?" (No and no, in
case you hadn't heard.)
So just how did these bootleggers get their hands on all those wonderful
tapes? They must have incredible contacts! Well, yes and no. As we'll see,
there has only been one major leak of material directly from EMI/Abbey Road
itself; the rest of the hundreds of hours of booted material comes from sources
available to most members of the public - provided they were in the right place
at the right time, occasionally armed with a tape recorder or enough cash.
My decision to present a vaguely chronological history of these famed
recordings was made with the full knowledge that much of it will be sheer
guesswork; after all, TMOQ and Wizardo do not have archives of release dates
nor did they think to hand out press releases to Billboard back in the 1970's.
In other words, the timeline here will be flexible with a margin of error of a
couple years either way.
This history deals only with widely available tapes; i.e. those pressed
LP and later CD - keep in mind that tapers may have circulated these recordings
at earlier dates in much smaller circles.
Even before they had broken up and ceased issuing official material, the first
Beatles bootleg appeared on the market. KUM BACK offered a full album's worth
of rough stereo mixes of never-before heard songs, plus two takes of "Get Back"
and an alternate take of "Don't Let Me Down". Not bad for a debut bootleg, but
then again The Beatles excelled in just about every field!
The tapes themselves come from an acetate prepared by Glyn Johns on March 10,
1969 which somehow made its way to the northeastern USA by late that summer.
One long-standing rumor has John himself bringing either his copy or a tape
thereof with him to Canada on 13 Sep. Within a week, by whatever means, tapes
of this were wending their way slowly south and west. The entire acetate
aired on WKBW in Buffalo, NY; a WBCN Boston broadcast followed suit on 22 Sep,
and by fall every underground station and its brother had a copy. Reviews began
appearing in college papers and music publications such as "Rolling Stone".
By year's end, a limited run of KUM BACKs were pressed - the song order was
changed from the acetate itself and the quality left a bit to be desired
did the packaging). Nonetheless, the release created quite a buzz and the first
knock-off was also available by December.
A more polished line-up, compiled by Glyn on 28 May 69, also escaped and was
broadcast in the fall. It offered the additional "One After 909", "Dig It",
"Maggie Mae", and a jam of "I'm Ready/Save The Last Dance For Me" while
dropping "The Walk". A different take of "Let It Be" was used, and the material
was edited and rearranged somewhat. Bootlegs offering a mix of songs from both
lineups appeared late this year and on into the next.
In the temporary absence of new material, bootleggers repackaged the "Get
Back" acetates dozens of ways throughout the year. Popular additions to the
material were uncollected singles ("I'm Down", "The Inner Light", "You Know My
Name", "The Ballad Of John And Yoko"), the WWF version of "Across The
Universe", and various fan-club Christmas recordings. But none of this
unreleased, just uncommon.
All issues prior to May, 1970 had to invent titles for the songs which hadn't
been officially issued yet. Some were closer to the mark than others; a couple
were even the songs' actual working titles; thus, we were presented tunes such
"All I Want Is You" ("Dig A Pony")
"When You Walk" ("The Walk")
"On Our Way Home" ("Two Of Us")
"Sunshine And Love Girl" ("For You Blue")
"Everything You Are" ("Dig A Pony")
"Sweet And Lovely Girl" ("For You Blue")
"Move Over Honey" ("One After 909")
"Can It Walk" ("The Walk")
"Teddy Don't Worry" ("Teddy Boy")
"Don't Keep Me Waiting" ("The Long And Winding Road")
...and, of course, the Beatles classic:
"Who Knows?" ("Dig A Pony")
One label took this notion to extremes by issuing a whole album full of
mis-titled tracks pirated from singles, called JUDY (a precursor to Capitol's
own HEY JUDE album).
A popular variation of the material, GET BACK SESSIONS, was followed up
sequel, MORE GET BACK SESSIONS, consisting of excerpts from the soundtrack of
the film "Let It Be" taped during a screening with the resulting poor sound
More interesting material surfaced this year with the discovery of two
complete Beatles concerts from their 1964 US tour. Neither were correctly
identified by bootleggers as far as their sources but both were intriguing and
of surprisingly good sound quality.
The first was their Hollywood Bowl concert, copied directly from an acetate of
Capitol Records' master mixdown in Los Angeles. The first rash of titles called
this the Shea Stadium concert, and it appeared as SHEA, THE GOOD OLD DAYS and
THE ONLY LIVE RECORDING.
But it clearly wasn't the only live recording, for soon a copy of their
Philadelphia show (with the same setlist) appeared. Only this time, rather than
claiming this to be a concert from a different city, the bewildered bootlegger
made up a location - Whiskey Flats (said to be in Georgia, maybe near, say,
Atlanta?). Thus titles such as LIVE CONCERT AT WHISKEY FLATS and ALIVE AT LAST
IN ATLANTA popped up. Not to be outdone, one issue called this LIVE IN
HOLLYWOOD! The source was actually a reel-to-reel recording from a local
station's simulcast of the show way back in 1964.
The soundtrack to the "Shea Stadium" TV special came out late in 1971 or early
1972. Since the Hollywood Bowl boots all claimed to be Shea, the bootleggers
decided to mess with things a bit more and call the real Shea boots LAST
SHOW (which would actually be Candlestick Park 66). This may originate from the
initial 66 UK or 67 USA telecasts or perhaps a more recent repeat. In any case,
it was clearly taped directly from a speaker and lacked fidelity.
The final important batch of recordings to surface this year covered yet
another aspect of their career - sessions for BBC Radio. Yet again, they
advertised by those who didn't know better (and likely a few who did) as being
studio outtakes. The first and best-known was YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD (aka
SWEET AS YOU ARE), a compilation of 14 songs, only one of which ("Slow
was previously issued by The Beatles. Once it was established these were
outtakes, they were thought to be from a single Nov 62 BBC broadcast for
while. But if we reverse sides A and B, we find the songs to be chronological
highlights from the "Pop Go The Beatles" series from July-Sep 63 in poor
quality. This tape probably comes from a British fan who only taped the songs
not available on record ("Slow Down" didn't come out until 64) with a home
Otherwise, the material released this year was familiar - GET BACK TO TORONTO
coupled the Mar 69 acetate with a John and Yoko "Peace Message" from
Dec 69 -
and of course LIVE AT SHEA 1964 (a 2 EP set) turned out to be the Hollywood
The first actual EMI studio outtake finally debuted this year - possibly
thanks to John Lennon trading away his copy to somebody while in New York City.
"What's The New Mary Jane" was initially available in a muddy mono mix on the
LP MARY JANE, shortened to just under 3 minutes.
TMOQ made their first big impression on the Beatles boot market this year by
offering some new material. COMPLETE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION was probably a copy
of FROM THEN TO YOU rather than the individual fan-club flexis, but either way
it was nice to have them all in one place.
More intriguing was yet another Beatles 1964 show, again from a local radio
station's broadcast tapes. VANCOUVER 1964 was a double-LP padded out with the
Vancouver press conference, interviews with locals, and a strange and unique
play-by-play of the concert itself by two DJ's. The prize here though was the
clean tape of the whole show during which John and Paul were in a great mood
despite several interruptions due to the unruly crowd.
Later that year two whole LP's of BBC material arrived from TMOQ. Of course,
they were sold as being EMI recordings (common titles were STUDIO SESSIONS 1
and 2 or OUTTAKES) or even Decca auditions, but we all learned otherwise. The
24 songs - almost all of them unheard - were a fairly strict chronological
record of the Summer 63 "Pop Go The Beatles" BBC Radio series. What it lacked
in sonic brilliance (obviously somebody's collection of home recordings taped
directly off a speaker) it made up in charm and historical importance and made
a nice companion to the YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD title.
Altogether more repulsive was RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS which consisted of various
tunes from the classic "Ed Sullivan" appearances of Feb 64 chopped up and
overdubbed with screaming to fool buyers into thinking this was a lost concert
of some sort. The sequel RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS VOLUME TWO offered another
exciting lineup of "Get Back" acetates and pirated singles. From there the
series went from useless to pointless as Volumes 3 and 4 were nothing but
pirated group and solo tracks.
THE NEVER RELEASED MARY JANE offered some further brand-new BBC Radio
recordings: three songs originally recorded for "Top Gear" in Jul 64, plus chat
with Brian Matthew. However, the source tape here was a rebroadcast on the show
"Top Of The Pops" which offered the best quality BBC material yet. Filling out
the LP was a version of "Shout!" from the May 64 TV show "Around The Beatles"
as well as the by-now standard selection of B-sides and out-fakes.
The final new source of material this year was BBC Radio's 13-part documentary
"The Beatles' Story". Unfortunately, the BBC were just as inept as bootleggers
when it came to identifying the sources of these tracks.
The "Beatles' Story" material first widely appeared early in 1973 on HAVE YOU
HEARD THE WORD - side A of which offered the title song (no Beatles
involvement) plus 15 minutes of "Let It Be" soundtrack. Side B had the
following, all taken from the BBC documentary:
- "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (excerpt of 1 May 64 BBC)
which the narration said was sung by Paul, rather than
- "Twist And Shout" (24 Oct 63 Swedish radio)
which the narration claimed was from the Indra Club,
- "Roll Over Beethoven" (24 Oct 63)
which the bootleggers claimed was from The Kaiserkeller,
- "Long Tall Sally" (commercial release with overdubbed screaming)
which the bootleggers claimed to be from the Top Ten Club,
london, August, 1963.
- "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (excerpt of 26 May 65 BBC)
no source given in the series, but people assumed it was
a studio outtake.
- "Lucille" (excerpt of 7 Sep 63 BBC)
which the narration said was sung by John, rather than
And so with several albums worth of unreleased material to choose from in just
over three years, Beatles fans had no idea what 90% of it really was, let alone
where it came from.
The year 1973 saw a major resurgence of interest in Beatles recordings, thanks
largely to the "1962-1970" double sets issued by Apple and solo hits such as
"Give Me Love", "Photograph", "Mind Games", and "My Love". This carried over
into the bootleg market which saw three times as many releases as the previous
year; many reissues, but loads of newly unearthed material.
First up was L.S. BUMBLEBEE, a grab-bag collection ranging from the common
("Let It Be" soundtrack material) to the more obscure (several cuts from USA TV
broadcasts - "Yesterday" from "Ed Sullivan", "Hey Jude" from "Experiment In
Television", and "All You Need Is Love" from "Our World") to the ludicrous (the
title track, a Peter Cook-Dudley Moore sendup of psychedelic music which had no
Beatle involvement). But the one gem here was a version of "Love Of The Loved"
which fans only knew as a Cilla Black tune. Most people assumed it was a demo
or BBC cut, but it was in fact the first excerpt ever released from the tape of
The Beatles' failed Decca audition. How this tape came into bootleggers' hands
is a mystery to this day.
ABBEY ROAD REVISITED was another compilation of interesting new material,
common reissues, and out-fakes. Side A compiles most of the terrible
RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS album. Side B has more bits of the BBC "Beatles' Story",
including a pointless edit of "You Really Got A Hold On Me" (1/2 Swedish radio,
1/2 commercial version). In the non-Beatles category, we have "Bye Bye Bye",
"Have You Heard The Word", and Kenny Everett doing a "Mean Mr. Mustard" jingle.
The only really new stuff was:
- A horrible quality tape of Paul's demo for "Step Inside Love",
from a radio broadcast
- A brief McCartney jingle from BBC Radio's "Where It's At" called
"All Together On The Wireless Machine"
- John busking through "Don't Let Me Down" and "Those Were The
Days" (and as usual, unable to recall any words), probably
also from the radio during a bed-in
- and a bit of "Cottonfields" from the 6 Jun 68 Kenny Everett
Though none of this material could remotely be called true Beatles outtakes,
it was the closest thing available back then and was subsequently reissued to
death throughout the decade.
Further BBC material, again from a recent rebroadcast rather than original
tapes, was issued on MARY JANE (aka SPICY BEATLES SONGS) - three songs from the
Feb 64 session for "From Us To You" as well as chat with Alan Freeman.
For true obscurity, nothing could top a rare one-sided single pressed late in
1973 which included "I'll Be On My Way" as taped off the air from BBC Radio's
"Side By Side". This song, however, made its way onto LP by early 1974 and soon
made the usual rounds.
This year also saw the first issue of soundtrack outtakes from the Jan 69 "Let
It Be" filming. An excellent quality 90-minute tape (almost entirely from
Twickenham sessions) was stretched out to fill TWO double-LP sets called SWEET
APPLE TRAX, VOL. 1 & 2. Despite the obvious rip-off factor, the clear sound and
unique performances ensured that these albums sold well - and inspired dozens
of reissues, copies and re-packagings for the remainder of the 70's.
Concert recordings were well-represented, too. Albums such as DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA and FIRST UNITED STATES PERFORMANCE included most of the 11 Feb 64
Washington Coliseum concert, taken from the closed-circuit film of the event.
A 24 Jun 66 TV broadcast of six songs from the Munich concert was issued on
LIVE GERMAN CONCERT AND US TELECASTS - the US telecasts being "Hey Jude" and
"Revolution" from "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" plus three songs from
"Shindig" first aired in Oct 64.
And the Jun 65 Paris evening concert (likely taped from the TV broadcast)
appeared in above-average quality as LIVE PARIS OLYMPIA. The afternoon
performance, from a radio airing, was available on PARIS SPORTS PALAIS.
A compilation album entitled SUPERTRACKS proved not to be so super, as the
supposed Beatles outtake "Peace Of Mind" (allegedly recorded Jun 67 and found
in a garbage can in 1970!) turned out to be merely some stoned bootleggers with
a tape recorder and too much time on their hands. When the inevitable PEACE OF
MIND album came out, it at least offered up two new songs from the amazing 16
Jul 63 "Pop Go The Beatles" - "Lend Me Your Comb" and "Carol" - in abysmal
For some reason, despite all the new material available, some bootleggers
began pairing Beatles and Rolling Stones material together on single LP's. And
so we got BATTLE - which pitted early Stones outtakes against The Beatles' Aug
65 "Ed Sullivan" broadcast. Not to be outdone, BEATLES AND THE ROLLING STONES
LIVE featured not a dream concert bill but three new BBC Radio cuts from "Pop
Go The Beatles" coupled with Hollywood Bowl material.
Last and definitely least was the first volume in a continuing series called
CINELOGUE which simply pressed poor-quality dubs of complete Beatles movie
soundtracks. The first issued, "Let It Be", made some sense as it contained
unreleased performances. But the series got rather silly with the issues of
"Yellow Submarine" and Paul's 1973 TV special!
Not unexpectedly, with all the great recordings unearthed over the past year,
things began to slow down and focus shifted somewhat to bootlegs of solo
material from Paul and George's tours and John's various TV and concert
appearances. Also inevitable were the seemingly endless re-pressings,
compilations and outright pirated rip-offs of the more popular titles, often
disguised to make them seem like new material.
Several new things did turn up - SOLDIER OF LOVE was important for the title
track alone, a terrible quality recording, but pure gold for collectors. A
segment of "I Got A Woman" also from "Pop Go The Beatles" appeared here, as did
the first LP pressing of "I'll Be On My Way". These three excellent tracks
helped make up for the rest of the album - side B was simply a copy of Murray
The "K"'s 1964 EP (mostly interviews, and part of the song "Shout!").
One relatively obscure release this year somehow managed to avoid the slew of
reissues most other boots received, probably due to its mediocre sound quality.
Still, STOCKHOLM did offer new material which remained relatively rare over the
next 15 years or so. Yet another BBC session - the first live one - offered 3
of the 4 songs from the 17 Jul 63 "Easy Beat" taped directly from the original
AM broadcast, with the expected poor fidelity. Following this was an excellent
performance by The Beatles from the Swedish TV show "Drop In" taped 30 Oct 63.
Another, more lacklustre TV appearance filled up side B - all 6 songs from
"Blackpool Night Out" of 1 Aug 65.
Another handful of BBC songs, this time from "Saturday Club" (funny how BBC
songs appeared in batches), were released on titles like RARE BEATLES and HAPPY
BIRTHDAY. All poor quality, they included "Johnny B. Goode" (incomplete and
with an annoying glitch of static), "Memphis" and "Happy Birthday Saturday
Club". By now it was obvious that private collectors had far greater foresight
than the BBC itself and had preserved a multitude of off-air Beatles radio
recordings. Just how many would not be fully realized for a few more years;
until then collectors settled for the grainy treasures which leaked out in bits
Thanks to threatened crackdowns from the RIAA and a drying-up of new material,
1975 was a year of change in the Beatles bootleg world. Previous giants like
TMOQ and CBM packed up and moved shop, occasionally changing names, and leaving
newer labels like Wizardo, Melvin, and TAKRL to feed off their crumbs and
repackage the "best of the unreleased Beatles" for the still-ravenous fans.
Luckily, a major new release brightened things up - FIVE NIGHTS IN A JUDO
ARENA set a new standard in Beatles bootlegs with a deluxe color cover,
accurate song listings, and best of all, a great-sounding concert from Tokyo in
1966, direct from Japanese TV. Too bad The Beatles didn't co-operate, turning
in one of their lamest performances ever.
The inverse to this release was LIVE IN MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA which offered a
high-energy radio concert from 17 Jun 64 in shockingly poor sound quality.
"False advertising" would be a good term to describe the EMI OUTTAKES
album, which did begin with the only available EMI outtake at the time,
"What's The New Mary Jane" (making its stereo debut!), but quickly ran out of
steam with common alternate mixes and gave up all together on side B (a rehash
of the "Around The Beatles" TV show).
A special place in hell is also reserved for the makers of FOREST HILLS
TENNIS STADIUM. Certainly The Beatles played there in 1964 but this LP would
believe they played songs they hadn't yet written and broadcast the whole mess
on WBOX radio in New York. In actuality the "concert" consists of 5 songs from
the "Shea Stadium" documentary recorded from the next county over, plus a BBC
recording of "Lucille" layered with a tape of screaming fans.
A newcomer to the scene, Melvin Records, made an undistinguished debut with
THEIR GREATEST UNRELEASED, a hack job if there ever was one, assembled from BBC
cuts, the "Let It Be" soundtrack, and various poor-quality tracks with two
out-fakes thrown in for bad effect. Their second LP, entitled 21, bore a
slightly different line-up to their first album and offered nothing new or
A second wave of Beatles nostalgia swept over fans in 1976 - even bigger
the one three years previous. Numerous factors contributed to this resurgence,
led by EMI's ability (now that The Beatles' last contract with them had
expired) to begin repackaging and promoting their back catalogue. Releases of
the ROCK 'N' ROLL MUSIC double-LP and a reissue of the entire collection of
Beatle singles (followed soon by the STAR-CLUB, HOLLYWOOD BOWL, and LOVE SONGS
albums) along with Paul's first tour of North America ensured that the group
were in the public eye more often than at any time since they disbanded.
Bootleggers kept up with this public demand with several gimmicks - chiefly
re-releasing the same tired material but in attractive covers, often pressed in
"limited editions" (as if ALL bootlegs weren't limited) or on colored vinyl.
Another new trend was the issue of several 45-RPM discs - both singles and EP's
- in greater numbers than before or since, often distributed through fan clubs
The chief example of this marketing ploy was a series of 7" records
distributed through Joe Pope's magazine "Strawberry Fields Forever". These
singles, sold throughout 1976-1977, were quite a double-edged sword: while they
offered important new material in good sound quality, they were expensive (all
the material would have fit on a single LP and sold for less money), released
as a series rather than simultaneously, and worst of all, pressed in colored
vinyl which is ALWAYS inferior in fidelity.
First up was a single which coupled "How Do You Do It" with "Revolution"
(the "Smothers Brothers" version in best sound quality yet). "How Do You Do It"
the first Beatles' studio outtake to surface in a few years, and the tape
originated in a syndicated RKO Radio broadcast.
Just as exciting were the series of singles which gradually (two songs
time) gave the world some idea of why Decca Records turned The Beatles down
back in 1962. Eventually, 14 of the 15 Decca audition songs were issued as
singles, but to hear the 15th track, one had to wait until 1978 when the entire
tape was released on LP. By which time, most collectors had blown a good deal
of money on the 7 singles. Apparently, Joe Pope attended some Capitol Records
marketing seminars or something.
The final disc in the SFF series was the least essential - an EP (colored
vinyl, again) of the 4 Nov 63 Royal Variety Show, taped from a TV speaker and
incomplete (fading in halfway through "From Me To You").
Otherwise, 1976 was a fairly dreary year for new material - labels such
ZAP/SODD, Mushroom, Shalom, Berkeley, and Wizardo served up leftovers both
plain and goulash (ugly compilations slapped together from the bootleggers'
collections of OTHER labels' LPs).
Occasional new items turned up amidst the garbage, though none of it was
interesting. ABC MANCHESTER (aka FOUR YOUNG NOVICES) included the soundtrack of
a Pathe) newsreel, "The Beatles Come To Town", which featured two live Beatles
songs filmed in Manchester, 20 Nov 63.
A new, but horrible-quality audience tape of the 4 Jun 64 Copenhagen concert
(released on JOHN PAUL GEORGE AND JIMMY) was the first chance we had to hear
Jimmy Nicol filling in for Ringo. And a second 1966 Tokyo show, also from
videotape and identically uninspiring, made its debut on THE BEATLES TOUR: THE
Finally, it just wouldn't be a Beatleg year without some head-scratchingly
bizarre and just plain dumb releases: AWAY WITH WORDS was somebody's idea of
torture - 3 LP's of the soundtrack to a Beatles slide-show taped on a cheap
home recorder. Apparently not part of the show were a jumble of BBC interviews
(mostly with Kenny Everett) thrown in on Side 6 to fill up the package.
DR. ROBERT had the worst of both worlds: pirates of alternate mixes (mostly
from EMI OUTTAKES) coupled with
atles" classics like "Peace Of Mind", "L.S. Bumblebee" and "Have You
Heard The Word".
Two dreadful compilation series also began: THE VERY BEST OF THE BEATLES
RAREST VOLUME ONE (up through SEVEN) simply proved the equation, well known to
film students: long in title = short in quality. And a strange series on ZAP
(subtitled "1st AMENDMENT", "2nd AMENDMENT", etc.) overlooked the obvious
title A WASTE OF VINYL in calling its first volume NO OBVIOUS TITLE.
With EMI finally able to fight back at bootleggers by releasing THE BEATLES
LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL (including tracks from the two 1965 shows never
bootlegged), some of the wind was taken out of the underground market's sails.
1977 was basically another year of killing time with reissues and repackaging.
Radio was once again an important source for new material as two new outtakes
appeared from a recent Radio Luxembourg broadcast of two 1967 acetates.
Unfortunately, the songs ("I Am The Walrus" and "The Fool On The Hill") were
each spliced together with the regular releases, so we only got half a new
version in both cases. Still, half a song is better than none, and they have
since turned up complete from direct tape sources. Coming from a French radio
broadcast was the first new "Get Back" material in four years - "Watching
Rainbows", "Mean Mr. Mustard", and "Madman", all from 14 Jan 69. More of this
tape would soon appear. Finally, a US radio broadcast of a Summer 76 Beach Boys
documentary (narrated by Wolfman Jack no less!) offered "Spiritual
Regeneration" and "Happy Birthday Mike Love" from Rishikesh, India. (This had
previously appeared on the "Strawberry Fields Forever" fanzine's 1976 Xmas
So anxious was somebody to release all the new material that they threw
together an album called INDIAN ROPE TRICK. Aptly named, for like that famed
fakir's stunt, it was not all what it seemed. (Note: some of this album may
have originated on a very obscure fan-club LP, APPLE SLICES, which may have
also debuted the 17 Jul 64 BBC session tape - see FROM US TO YOU for further
details.) Besides the aforementioned stuff, we got the following bunch of
- one channel of the stereo mixes for "Savoy Truffle" and "Hey
Bulldog" (called "outtakes")
- one channel of the stereo mix for "It's Only Love" (called an
- a song by The Fourmost, "I Love You Too" (called "Paul singing
with The Fourmost")
- "Frenzy And Distortion" from Apple's RAGA LP, by Ravi Shankar
(called "Not Guilty"(!))
- "My Bonnie" with English and German intros (only problem is,
underneath the German intro you can hear the English one
again at about half the maximum volume)
- Ron Nasty (Neil Innes) doing "Cheese And Onions" on "Saturday
- Linda McCartney doing "Oriental Nightfish" from the film of the
Not exactly good value for money, but there was also a Jan 69 "All Things Must
Pass" rehearsal to make up for it. More of THAT tape would turn up soon, as
well, leaving the Rishikesh segment as the only bit of this LP still useful
TWICKENHAM JAMS, in EP form, offered more from the 8 Jan 69 session (which
produced "All Things Must Pass") in so-so quality. The LP called TWICKENHAM
JAMS simply compiled the EP on side A and offered over six minutes of the 6 Jun
68 Kenny Everett interview (from a rare Italian Apple promo) on side B.
Tobe Milo, a label started the previous year, dominated 1977 with a series of
"collectors'" EP's with well-designed packaging and mediocre material. Still,
they had something to offend all tastes - for John fans, you got LIFE WITH THE
LENNON'S (sic), outtakes of his and Yoko's second album. And Paul fans could
groove to fifteen (count 'em) versions of "Now Hear This Song Of Mine" on BRUNG
TO EWE BY.
Picking up where we left off, Tobe Milo finally turned up interesting original
material in their second full (and final) year of operation. Ironically, the
first new tape was teased in brief extracts on the album THE BEST OF TOBE MILO
PRODUCTIONS (ironic since their best was yet to come). Somehow they had
acquired soundboard master tapes of BOTH Beatles Houston concerts from 1965.
After the previews here and on a further single, the entire shows finally
appeared on LIVE FROM THE SAM HOUSTON COLOSSEUM, a double-LP, and IN PERSON SAM
HOUSTON COLISEUM (evening show only).
LIVE IN ITALY, an EP released by Tobe Milo incognito, included the first few
minutes of the 24 Jun 65 Milan show (from an audience tape) coupled with an
Italian TV interview. And MAN OF THE DECADE, a one-sided LP, concluded with
several mysterious new minutes from the "Get Back" sessions of 3 Jan 69. Again,
this proved to be only a sample from a longer tape which turned up later.
Melvin Records also began to salvage their reputation, slowly but surely, with
a string of releases. First came WHEN IT SAYS BEATLES BEATLES BEATLES ON THE
LABEL LABEL LABEL YOU WILL LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT ON YOUR TURNTABLE TURNTABLE
TURNTABLE. Well, unless it also says Melvin. At any rate, most of this sounded
as if it had been taped from various screenings at fan conventions on a really
cheap cassette. Relatively exclusive was a radio broadcast of 30 seconds of
"Red Hot", a Dec 62 Star-Club outtake.
Their next release was actually worthwhile - ED'S REALLY BIG BEATLES BLASTS
compiled listenable versions of all three classic 1964 "Ed Sullivan"
appearances - unedited and untampered with. But it was back to the bottom of
the barrel with THE NEW 21 (21 BIG ONES) which were basically the old 21.
The single most important album of the year was an amazing collection of
great-quality ABBEY ROAD alternates called NO. 3 ABBEY ROAD N.W. 8. Highlights
were longer versions of "You Never Give Me Your Money", "Something", and
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer". Even "Her Majesty" had the final chord intact!
Nearly as good was the album's other side, 20 minutes of Paul and Donovan
informally crooning acoustic favorites from 1968. (Again, some of these tracks
had actually debuted on the "Strawberry Fields Forever" 1977 Xmas Flexi, but
this was their first wide distribution).
Albums such as 20X4 instantly pounced upon this new material and served it up
re-heated with a side of out-fakes ("Peace Of Mind", "Penny O'Dell", an
"unplugged" "Every Little Thing") and solo flotsam and jetsam.
WATCHING RAINBOWS offered some of the ABBEY ROAD tape plus a slew of new "Get
Back" material from the EP of the same name, plus a bit from 10 Jan 69 (after
George had walked out). It was becoming clear that SOMEBODY was sitting on
several hours of "Let It Be" soundtrack reel outtakes and only releasing them a
bit at a time. This practice would continue unabated for the next ten years at
least before some full reels finally began to turn up.
On other fronts, YOUNGBLOOD contained a complete and previously-unheard Dec 63
TV show, "It's The Beatles", along with some further new (or more complete) BBC
Radio material. More exciting was the full tape of the recording session for a
17 Jul 64 "From Us To You" BBC recording date. This appeared on a 10" EP called
FROM US TO YOU: A PARLOPHONE REHEARSAL SESSION (ah, truth in advertising!) and
included such goodies as a flubbed take of the title tune and a false start of
"I Should Have Known Better" plus basic tracks for the latter and for "I'm
Happy Just To Dance With You".
Finally, the previously-mentioned DECCA TAPES album finally appeared, 16 years
after it was recorded, collecting all 15 songs in one place at long last. Now
it just remained for another 16 years to pass before the tape was pressed at
the correct speed!
Melvin Records unearthed some new material with their most eccentric bootleg
yet (which is saying something, given the nature of their releases). Entitled
THE BEATLES VS. DON HO, the sleeve was a clever parody of Vee-Jay's THE BEATLES
VS. THE FOUR SEASONS; the disc itself opened with a tape of the bootlegger
legitimately attempting (and failing) to give away a free copy of the LP over
the phone. Closing side one was a bit of "Strawberry Fields Forever" with
somebody mumbling "I buried Joel" - a dig at "Paul-is-dead" theorist Joel
Glazier. And of course, Don Ho himself makes an appearance at the end of Side
2, singing "Tiny Bubbles".
Oh yes - there was some Beatles material on the LP, notably a version of "I'm
Down" (Hollywood Bowl 1965) from a radio broadcast which has pretty much turned
up nowhere else. Also new were a rehearsal take of "Give Peace A Chance" from
the Montreal bed-in, and a version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" from 7 Jan 69.
Other than that, the 1979 market was largely solo material, picture discs of
older titles, and compilations. It seemed the sources of good Beatles material
had dried up, but this was merely the calm before the storm. Just around the
corner were some incredible releases during what was probably THE golden decade
of Beatles bootlegs - the 1980's.
» Return to The Recordings Reference Library