Giles Martin has done an outstanding job with engineering the recent re-issues of the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, and Sgt. Pepper. Capitol Records had technical problems when recording of the first half of the 1964 show at the Hollywood Bowl, which was unforgivable, considering the venue is within walking distance of the Capitol tower. They did a better job a year later. Here is the original, unedited audio of the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in ’65, so you can hear exactly what the source material was that Giles had to work with.
In 1987 it seemed like it had taken forever until the first “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” CD was released, only four years after the Compact Disc was introduced in America, and 20 years after the original album came out. The remixed stereo CD of Pepper is now out, and it definitely sounds remixed, not just remastered as with the 2009 sets, which also included the original mono mixes. I like most of the changes in the new Pepper, but some will take a little getting used to.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what was going on exactly 30 years ago, with a bit of Johnny Carson’s opening monologue from May 21, when the Alzheimer’s Disease affecting Ronald Reagan was already starting to show.
A few years ago, a retired A&R man (artists and repertoire) named Chris Peers contacted me, requesting help putting him in touch with Prue, which of course I was glad to do. Peers was involved with Chris Blackwell and Island Records at the beginning, before branching out on his own. One of the acts he worked with was the Spencer Davis Group, with Stevie Winwood, as he explains in this video. Peers told me that he had a heck of a time pitching the band in America, before finally landing a deal with United Artists.
And this, of course, was the song that broke the top 10 for the Spencer Davis Group in America.
Another post about a turntable? This one is exclusively at Best Buy. It’s a Pro-Ject Carbon Esprit SB, which is considered to be an excellent table. The list price is normally $600, but this one costs an extra fifty bucks because it’s a Beatles Edition.
A competitor of Pro-Ject, called Rega, had a Queen special limited edition turntable that originally went for the same price, but it was eventually offered at a discount. I’m not in the market for a new turntable myself, having just replaced the broken RCA plugs on my 30-year-old Thorens turntable, but I’ll be interested in seeing how well the Beatles table sells.
I haven’t yet seen Ron Howard’s documentary, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years,” but I have the Blu-ray on pre-order from Amazon. I was intrigued upon hearing there’s a shot in the movie of teenager Sigourney Weaver attending one of the Hollywood Bowl concerts.
Boston’s WBUR “On Point” talk show has an hour on George Martin. I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet, but engineer Geoff Emerick joins the discussion.