John has grown another beard, Paul has lost his. Geoffrey Emerick, the brilliant young recording engineer who got a Grammy Award from America for his Sgt. Pepper backroom boy activity, has become Apple's main man behind the studio control panel in the Savile-row basement. Mal Evans had taken his first stab at record production, working alongside Jackie Lomax to help put on disc that artist's own composition New Day which Apple issued a weeks ago.
IN A LITTLE OVER SEVEN MONTHS APPLE RECORDS HAVE NOTCHED UP WORLDWIDE DISC SALES OF OVER 17 MILLIONS--THE MAJORITY BEING HIT RECORDS BY THE BEATLES AND MARY HOPKIN. AND WITHIN THE LAST FORTNIGHT PAUL HAS STARTED WORK ON MARY'S SECOND LP ALBUM, SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE LATER THIS SUMMER.
While George was abroad and Ringo was filming with Peter Sellers, John and Paul completed a new single planned to follow up very closely upon the rush-release of Get Back. Entitled The Ballad Of John And Yoko it is what John describes as "a nice, simple oldie-type ballad about Yoko and I", about the couple's marriage, their trip to Paris, their Amsterdam lie-in and other recent displays of togetherness.
The Ballad Of John And Yoko will be put out on the top deck of a single just as soon as Get Back has dropped away from the best-sellers here and around the world.
Yoko's DebutAt the same time there's news of Yoko's own projected disc debut--John is recording her singing a song he wrote about her just a few weeks ago. "It's something we messed about together with the first intention of writing a song I would sing ABOUT Yoko" explains John "All the words are really about HER but John and Yoko are the same thing in so many ways that it'll be nice if we change bits here and there so that's a song SHE sings ABOUT ME!"
Meanwhile Mal Evans reports from the Apple basement that all is progressing well on the final sessions for The Beatles' next LP. With luck the last recordings will have been completed by the time you read this page and we can expect a July release from Apple for The Beatles' first 1969 album.
From the style of the latest recordings for that LP you would imagine The Beatles had taken their cue from the title Get Back: They are returning to simpler stuff, getting back beyond the electronic mazes of Revolution No. 9 to the styles of their yesteryears.
Instead of taking weeks or even months to perfect each recording, The Beatles are taking a much more ad-lib attitude to their new music-making. They record as soon as they've written each item. Often with just the four of them around the studio microphones instead of importing vast orchestras for additional backing. Often with just one three-hour session to complete the finished product. So there's less planning and a greater sense of free improvisation abounding in their work. It'll show when you hear the album, show in catchy, commercial songs presented without fuss. And it'll prove to those who thought The Beatles' studio ingenuity was getting TOO clever that John, Paul, George and Ringo are still more than capable of turning out material EVERYONE can UNDERSTAND as well as enjoy.
While all the City newsmen were arguing about The Beatles' money and guessing who'd grab what and how, The Beatles were busy being creative at the most important of all their levels--the musical one. As John put it: "Music is what we really want to know about. Not millions of dollars. Whatever the outcome of all the money thing, we'll go on making Beatles records."
Well I'll drink to that . . . . won't you?