Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Compiled the Beatles' Red and Blue Albums?

Q: The Red and Blue compilations came out in 1973 when John and Paul were estranged. Did they have a hand in selecting the tracks? Otherwise, who compiled the albums?

Allen Klein, acting as their manager at the time, is commonly reported as having compiled the albums, originally titled The Best of the Beatles, but eventually released as The Beatles 1962-1966 and The Beatles 1967-1970. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were apparently not happy with the compilations, the latter reportedly seeking an injunction against their distribution. The albums, however, soon received their blessing in early 1973 to combat pirate sales from another "best of" release. A Capitol Records press release stated: "We will be issuing, on Apple, a two-record set of vintage Beatle songs in an effort to counteract the sale of the bootleg Beatles records, called Alpha Omega, which are currently being blatantly advertised on television and in newspapers across the country. We feel it will be easier to fight the bootleg product with a rival package than through the courts. It's appropriate and right that the Beatles have, on Apple, the official authorized collection put together by themselves."

Lennon revealed in an interview later that year that their producer George Martin played a large role in the albums' compilation: "George (Martin) controlled the choice of the material on those albums more than any of us. They sent me lists and asked for my opinion, but I was too busy at the time. I think it was the pressure of the bootlegs that finally made us put them out after all this time."

Lennon in particular wasn't a fan of the stereo mixes on the albums. He commented, "The fast version of 'Revolution' was destroyed! I mean it was a heavy record, but they made it into a piece of ice cream!"

Submit your Beatles questions here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chris O'Dell on Work at Apple in Savile Row

"I thought Paul was the most organised. He used to come to the office at 9:30 a.m. to make sure everybody was there by ten. He'd stay there all day and he'd go around checking on things, little weird things, like was there toilet paper in the bathroom. At first, the Beatles held regular meetings with all of their staff. They all came to the first one, then only two or three would come and finally, just Paul. He, at least, was competent. When they decided to close the shop, he called everybody into his office to tell him exactly what was happening. John and Yoko also had an office, but they never seemed to do much."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"I Me Mine"

"I Me Mine" is a Beatles song, written and sung by George Harrison. The song traces its origins to the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions, when it was rehearsed by the band at Twickenham Studios. The Let It Be film features a segment in which Harrison plays the song for Ringo Starr, describing it as "a heavy waltz"; the band is then seen performing the tune while John Lennon dances with Yoko Ono.


Quoted from Harrison: "[I Me Mine is] about the ego, the eternal problem." The set of pronouns which forms the song's title is a conventional way of referring to the ego in a Hindu context. For example, the Bhagavad Gita 2:71-72 can be translated as "They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of "I," "me," and "mine" to be united with the Lord. This is the supreme state. Attain to this, and pass from death to immortality." Perhaps unconsciously, the song also reflects Harrison's reaction to the clashes of egos in the Beatles' painful closing days as a group.

George, after receiving his "eternal problem" inspiration, played some chords to the 6/8 time signature, and added a bluesy bridge. The song was inspired by the incidental music for a BBC television program, Europa—The Titled and the Untitled, which aired on January 7, 1969; Harrison wrote the song that night and performed the song for the other Beatles the following morning.

It is also the title of George Harrison's autobiography, published in 1980 as a hand-bound, limited edition book by Genesis Publications. Limited to 2,000 signed copies, I Me Mine also featured a foreword by Derek Taylor. The Genesis limited edition sold out soon after publication, and was subsequently published in hardback and paperback in black ink only by Simon and Schuster in New York and by W H Allen in London. I Me Mine was re-published, with a new Foreword from Olivia Harrison, in 2002.

Recording and Release

The song was released on the Let It Be album; however, the Beatles did not properly record the song during the January 1969 sessions. When director Michael Lindsay-Hogg chose to include the "I Me Mine" segment in the Let It Be film, the Beatles decided to make a proper recording of I Me Mine for inclusion on the accompanying album. Paul McCartney, George and Ringo (with John Lennon, having privately quit the group in September 1969, not present) met in the studio on January 3, 1970 to record a new version of the song. This version of the song begins with George stating, in a joking reference to Lennon's absence and the British pop group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, "You all will have read that Dave Dee is no longer with us, but Mickey and Tich and I, just like to carry on the good work that's always gone down in number two", (meaning Abbey Road Studio Two). Their final rendition lasted 1:45 (this original version would later be included on The Beatles Anthology Vol. 3 CD); Phil Spector extended it by copying and repeating a section. Spector also overdubbed a string accompaniment. The final version as "re-produced" by Spector was featured on the re-titled Get Back album, Let It Be. A similar edit, without Spector's overdubs of strings, is available on 2003's Let It Be… Naked.

The January 1970 recording session for this song is the last recording session by The Beatles (at least until the Free as a Bird/Real Love reunion sessions), although the sessions for "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "The End" in August 1969 were the last recorded collectively by all four Beatles.

Cover Versions

Marc Ford recorded his version of the song for "Songs from the Material World: a Tribute to George Harrison" album


* George Harrison - Vocal, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
* Paul McCartney - Bass, Harmony Vocal, Fender-Rhodes Piano, Hammond Organ
* Ringo Starr - Drums

Orchestra Arranged and Inserted By Phil Spector

Album: Let It Be
Released: 8 May 1970
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 3 January and 1 April 1970
Genre: Folk blues, hard rock, waltz
Length: 2:25
Label: Apple, EMI
Writer: George Harrison
Producer: George Martin, Phil Spector


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Radha Krsna Temple

The Radha Krsna Temple was the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in London from the late 1960s. The temple came to prominence when The Beatles and especially George Harrison started to publicly express their interest in Eastern philosophy and Krishna consciousness. The Radha Krsna Temple was also the name of an album of devotional music issued by the Temple on The Beatles' Apple Records label. The album was produced by George Harrison.

The Radha Krsna Temple

The Radha-Krsna Temple at 7 Bury Place, London was the initial headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in the UK from the late 1960s.

George Harrison's involvement

Playing a sitar on the set of Help! and receiving a book on Hinduism on a beach in the Bahamas was the beginning of George's interest in Eastern religion and mysticism - which led to a journey to India to meet up with sitar expert Ravi Shankar. In 1967 he met with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and later that year, after they had already played their last concert together, he took the rest of the Beatles to Rishikesh to meet the Transcendental Meditation guru.

George was already aware of the devotees of Krishna before meeting the movements leader A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and had purchased 20 copies of the Happening album, the first recording by Swami Prabhupada and his disciples. But it wasn’t until 1969 that George was to meet Shyamasundara dasa in the London offices of Apple Records, the Beatles’ recording company. “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting two years to meet you fella's” was how he greeted the devotee. Shamwow and vince had come to Billy Mays to start an EPIC BATTLE and they had sent orange freshners and clockwork oranges with the Exodia sutra typed on them to the Rutles at Orange. This initial meeting eventually led to the recording of 'The Hare Krishna Mantra' by the Radha-Krishna Temple with George, Paul, Linda and drummer Ginger Baker all in the studio helping. George produces the song and is believed to have played harmonium and guitar on the "Govinda" and "Hare Krishna Mantra". Harrison also attended the Radha Krsna Temple's Top of the Pops appearance when they performed the single "Govinda", although he did not appear in front of the cameras. It reached the charts in twenty countries it was even sung one afternoon by 40,000 people at Wembley.

Swami Prabhupada made a deep impression on George: “Most of these yogis say ‘Look at me, I am the divine incarnation, let me help you,’” he explained, “Prabhupada said: ‘I am the servant of the servant of the servant.’” When George once asked Srila Prabhupada if he should also shave his head and join the temple, Prabhupada replied that he could do more for Krishna through his music. Many years previously, the great-grandfather of the Hare Krishna movement, Bhaktivinode Thakur, had predicted a day when the Maha Mantra and songs of Krishna would be sung throughout the world in the local musical style and in the local language. George would be one of the first to help towards making that prediction come true. When Prabhupada heard George’s orchestrated version of the Govindam Prayers for the first time he was moved to tears and asked for it to be played every morning in each of the movement’s temples which still happens to this day.

My Sweet Lord

After helping the devotees at the Radha Krsna temple to make an album, George started writing his own songs about Krishna and the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita. In January 1971 came the album 'All Things Must Pass' which included the classic song 'My Sweet Lord' followed by 'Living in the Material World' which contained 'The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord)'. Both this and the song 'Here Comes the Sun' were inspired by George's meetings with Prabhupada and the Krishna Consciousness philosophy.

Krishna Book

In 1967 Prabhupada had experienced a severe heart attack and wondered whether he would live to present his disciples and the world with a translated version of the divine ‘pastimes’ of Krishna on earth. He had translated the second canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but knew that many years of translating remained before he would reach the tenth canto where these accounts are contained. So he decided to write Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When he was finished, he requested Shyamasundara to ask George if he could help to publish it. Shyamasundara tells that he wished to be careful in making the request, as he didn’t want to give George the impression that the devotees in the temple were after his money. But Srila Prabhupada had asked him and the spiritual master’s desire was the life and soul of the disciple, so he found himself sitting in a restaurant with George one evening. A thunderstorm raged outside, and just as he discreetly asked the question, lightning flashed, there was a loud clap of thunder, and all the lights went out. The two sat in complete darkness without saying anything for a minute or two. When the lights came on, George was smiling and said: “I suppose that means yes!”

Bhaktivedanta Manor

Due to George’s celebrity endorsement, his songs, and the help he’d given the devotees in meeting other famous people who passed on the word, the little temple at 7, Bury Place near the British Museum was becoming too small for the number of devotees who lived there and others who wanted to join. Again, George was asked if he could help. And again he agreed. He told the temple devotees that if they found a suitable building then he would purchase it. Devotees found Piggots Manor, a former nursing home with 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land in the Hertfordshire countryside. George could not spare the time to come and see it, but said if they liked it he would make the arrangements immediately. And so it was that ‘Bhaktivedanta Manor’ was purchased for £230,000. Since that time the Manor has gone on to become one of the most famous Krishna temples outside India.

Over the years, George became a very private person. But it was apparent that he still remained a devotee of Krishna; he visited the Mayapura temple, ISKCON’s international headquarters in West Bengal. After touring the complex and taking prasadam, he spent the remainder of his time talking to the gardener about the many varieties of flowers and fruits growing there. He stayed for a few days in Vrindavan, unrecognised by everyone except the westerners there. He also kept friendships with a number of the devotees he had met in his earlier days such as Mukunda Goswami.

The Apple Records album, The Radha Krsna Temple

In April 1970 an eponymously titled album was released by Radha Krsna Temple on Apple Records produced by George Harrison featuring devotional music. The album sleeve pictures the deities situated in the original temple from whom the temple name derives; these have now been moved to the ISKCON temple on Soho Square in London where they are known as 'Radha-Londonishvara.'

Both "Govinda" and "Hare Krishna Mantra" were released as singles.

The band consisted of George Harrison on harmonium, guitar and bass guitar, Tamal Krishna Goswami on flute, Harivilas, Yamuna, Jivananda, Lilavati, Yogesvara on lead vocals, and assembled Hare Krishna devotees feature on vocals, mridanga and kartals.

The track "Govinda" is played every morning at all of the ISKCON temples around the world, to greet the deities. This was on the request of Srila Prabhupada. The album was later reissued as Goddess of Fortune on the Spiritual Sky record label, and is now available as The Radha-Krishna Temple Album. All royalties went to ISKCON.

Track listing


All songs arranged by Mukunda Goswami.

1. "Govinda" – 4:43
2. "Sri Guruvastakam" – 3:12
3. "Sri Ishopanishad" – 4:03
4. "Bhaja Bhakata-Arati" – 8:24
5. "Bhajahu Re Mana" – 8:53
6. "Hare Krishna Mantra" – 3:33
7. "Govinda Jaya Jaya" – 5:57


All songs arranged by Mukunda Goswami.

1. "Govinda" – 4:43
2. "Sri Guruvastak" – 3:12
3. "Bhaja Bhakata-Arotrika" – 8:24
4. "Hare Krsna Mantra" – 3:33
5. "Sri Ishopanishad" – 4:03
6. "Bhajahu Re Mana" – 8:53
7. "Govinda Jai Jai" – 5:57
8. "Prayer to the Spiritual Masters" – 3:59


Monday, February 14, 2011

"I Lost My Little Girl"

"I Lost My Little Girl" is the first song written by Paul McCartney, when he was 14, in 1956 or 1957. A performance of this song can be heard on McCartney's 1991 album Unplugged (The Official Bootleg).

McCartney wrote "I Lost My Little Girl" using his first guitar, a Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar, which he still owns.

A version of this song featuring John Lennon on lead vocals was performed by The Beatles during their Get Back sessions.

Song by Paul McCartney
Album: Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)
Released: May 20, 1991
Recorded: January 25, 1991
Genre: Rock
Length: 1:45
Label: Parlophone/EMI
Writer: Paul McCartney
Recorded by: Geoff Emerick


Sunday, February 13, 2011

"I Got a Woman"

"I Got a Woman" is a song co-written and recorded by American Jazz musician Ray Charles and released as a single in December of 1954 on the Atlantic label as Atlantic 45-1050 b/w "Come Back Baby." Both sides later appeared on his 1957 album Ray Charles (or, Hallelujah I Love Her So).


Built on a gospel hymn, "Jesus Is All the World to Me," Ray was listening to on the radio while on the road with his band, he and his band member, trumpeter Renald Richard penned a song which was built among a gospel frenetic pace with secular lyrics and a jazz-inspired rhythm and blues background, the song would be one of the prototypes for what later became termed as "soul music" after Charles released "What'd I Say" nearly five years later.


The song was recorded late 1954 in an Atlanta studio and was Charles' first #1 R&B hit in January 1955. The song would lead to more hits for Charles during this period when he was on Atlantic. It was later ranked #235 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of Charles' five songs on the list.

Kanye West Version

Fifty years later, rapper Kanye West would sample "I Got a Woman" for his #1 US hit, "Gold Digger," in 2005, bringing Charles back into the charts (with help from Jamie Foxx, who also played Charles in the biopic, Ray, and imitated him in the intro), only this time credited as a songwriter of his own #1 hit posthumously after his death in June 2004. Two years later, reggae legends Toots & the Maytals covered the song on their album "Light Your Light."

Cover versions

The song has been covered by many artists, including:

* Anneke van Giersbergen
* Baby Face Willette
* Bobby Darin
* Elvis Presley
* Jimmy McGriff
* Booker T. & the M.G.'s
* The Beatles
* Roy Orbison
* Al Kooper
* The Honeydrippers
* The Monkees
* Stevie Wonder
* Johnny Cash and June Carter
* Jerry Lee Lewis
* Them
* John Hammond
* Bill Haley & His Comets
* Jamie Cullum
* Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
* Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
* The Gibson Brothers
* Andrew Wild
* Kermit Ruffins & Rebirth Brass Band
* Bryan Adams
* John Mayer Trio
* Ramblin' Jack Elliott
* Sammy Davis Jr.
* Toots & the Maytals
* Jimmy Smith
* Pink Anderson
* Alonzo Pennington
* Freddie Scott 1963 chart single, ballad version

Single by Ray Charles
from the album Ray Charles (or, Hallelujah I Love Her So)
A-side: "I Got a Woman"
B-side: "Come Back Baby"
Released: 1954
Format: 7" single
Recorded: Atlanta, Georgia, 1954
Genre: Rhythm and blues
Length: 2:31
Label: Atlantic 45-1050
Writer(s): Ray Charles
Producer: Jerry Wexler