While the world is going mental over Space Invader’s distant cousin, GTA V, the original bestselling entertainment franchise, The Beatles, is still going strong.
It’s fair to say that from now until the end of existence the Beatles legacy will continue to be harvested regularly year upon year for new ways to release, re-release, re-master and re-discover. I’m sure I even read on some obscure Beatles blog that for the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt Pepper, Apple are already planning a fully interactive 3D hologram projection of John Lennon’s socks and pants drawer! But hey, I’m a fully fledged fab four fanatic so I will continue to lap up the continuous flow of nostalgic nuggets which emerge from the bottomless Beatle vaults.
This time round it is the BBC’s turn to dust off some old master tapes, someone found lying around, make them sound all shiny and sparkly and get someone who was there at the time to write some accompanying liner notes to make you feel this is the most important Beatles artefact you will ever own. But cynicism aside, I am actually very excited about this particular release, On the Air: Live at the BBC, Vol. 2.
It will contain 63 tracks on 2 CDs or 180 gram vinyl, none of which will overlap with the 1994 release Live at the BBC, and some of which have never even been released before by EMI. The tracks are obviously all live, so the excitement and pure unadulterated energy that The Beatles were so famous for during the earlier half of their career will be in abundant supply. This energy is particularly evident on several RnB and Rock n Roll covers that probably helped make up their set during those epic preludin fuelled Hamburg shows and later at The Cavern.
The most exciting aspect of this release is the inclusion of several recordings of between song banter. This is the magic ingredient that made the mammoth Anthology collection so special. The wit, charm and comedy timing between the boys is what made them so endearing to Brian Epstein in the first place and then continued to win over every sentient being on this planet after that. Apart from the timeless tunes these moments of insight into the chemistry between The Beatles are what fans still gravitate towards. It’s as if we are all scientists working at Area 51 trying to reverse engineer a flying saucer and work out how The Beatles defied gravity? How did these four lads write so many amazing songs, perform them so flawlessly and talk as if they had the best comedy scriptwriters money could buy on hand 24 hours a day.
When you lose yourself in these songs and you hear the not so pitch perfect harmonies, the rasp of Lennon’s voice during his beloved Rock n Roll numbers, the whoops and yelps and the “take it away George” before the guitar solos, you won’t care how the Beatles defied gravity. Like everyone who experienced them back then and like everyone who is still discovering them for the first time through releases such as this, you will just be glad that they did.
On the Air: Live at the BBC, Vol. 2 is due for release November 11th.