Yellow Submarine - Songtrack

The Beatles
 
Yellow Submarine - Front cover Yellow Submarine - Rear Cover
Yellow Submarine Songtrack - Rear Cover ! Yellow Submarine Songtrack - Front Cover !
Label Apple
Catalogue No. 521 4811 - L.P.
521 4812 - C.D.
421 4812 - DVD.
Release date 13th September 1999
Total time 45:40
U.K. Album Chart Detail :
Entry Date :25th September 1999
Highest Position :8
Weeks in Chart :5
   
   
Detail : Once upon a time ... or maybe twice ...

When "Yellow Submarine" the album first came out in 1969 it only featured six musical tracks by the Beatles, and only four of them were new. Five of the six had not appeared on L.P. before and coupled with the title track, these were all featured on side 1.
The second side was devoted to George Martin's fantastic musical score for the film.

More than 30 years after the original film was released, it was decided to renovate the original print of the film, and digitise the soundtrack to create a whole new cinematic experience. "Songtrack" is a spin-off from the remastering for Cinema and DVD of the release of "Yellow Submarine".
"Yellow Submarine" as an album has never before existed in the configuration found here. "Songtrack" omits the orchestral music and augments the original release with tracks from "Rubber Soul", "Revolver", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", and "Magical Mystery Tour" which appeared on the film soundtrack. It collects together (nearly) ALL of the Beatles songs, just omitting "A Day In The Life". This one track was left off as EMI did not want to put together too many songs off of the "Sgt.Pepper" album.

The most exciting aspect of this new collection was that ALL of the included songs were subject to new mixes. The film project sanctioned new "Dolby Digital 5.1 surroundsound" mixes to tie in with the film and DVD release, and it is these that now appear on C.D. after having been subject to a further mix down to conventional stereo. The music re-mixing was undertaken by Peter Cobbin.

Right then, what you need now is a history lesson on the recording techniques of the 60's ....
The Beatles had access only to four-track tape machines. So they would record four parts, then if they wanted to add a further instrument or an effect, they would combine those four parts onto one of the tracks of another four-track tape master, and could begin again adding three more parts. This technique was known as "bouncing down". They might even repeat the process again, combining a further three parts onto the newly vacant tracks and bounce down again .. etc, etc.
This technique made it impossible to change the relationships between the instruments on the earlier tracks. And although George Martin and Abbey Road engineers such as Geoff Emerrick did an amazing job at the time, this process also resulted in some parts not being heard very well, or parts originally recorded in stereo coming out in mono.
This accounts for some of the quirkiness of the Beatles recordings.

When the Beatles recordings were first officially remixed for release on CD in the 1980s, George Martin oversaw the project with the goal of preserving the original sound as much as possible. But with Sir George now retired from producing, a younger engineer named Peter Cobbin was brought in for this "Yellow Submarine" remix.

In this day and age, 24, 32 or 48-track tape machines are routinely used allowing up to that many parts to be recorded individually, and then mixed together into the final stereo recording.
The original 4-track recordings of the Beatles material for Yellow Submarine which was made on 1-inch tape, had fortunately remained in excellent condition, and Cobbin went back to those tapes to create these new mixes. The technology now exists to separate all those individual parts, something which could not be done all those years ago. So it would no longer be necessary to use those semi-mono mixes. Cobbin used an interesting combination of some of the original vintage equipment used by the Beatles to create some of effects, together with the latest 24-bit digital audio technology and computer techniques to create these new mixes.

So, in potentially what was going to be the biggest sacrilege of all to Beatle purists, Cobbin did NOT try to re-create the original mixes exactly. Some tracks are quite close to the originals, while others are significantly altered.
Perhaps the most obvious difference to the casual listener, is that Cobbin dispensed with the quirky stereo panning of the 60's that had some of the vocals on one side only. On almost all the new mixes, the vocals are placed squarely in the middle. And now the instrumentation is more spread out, surrounding the vocals. Going back to the those original recordings, and hearing these new mixes, one gains an appreciation of the care and sonic excellence that went into those original sessions, especially when compared to some brand new recordings that can sound vastly inferior.

So should you re-invest in these "new" recordings on C.D. ?
In almost all cases, the result is a great improvement in the clarity, detail and the so-called "warmth" of the mixes, although you may miss some of the stereo placement eccentricities of the originals. The big benefit of these new mixes is that you get to hear clearly some of the subtle parts that were hard to discern in the originals.

Differences will be discussed below, in the tracklisting's recording information.

Obviously, the DVD and film mixes are technically EVEN better quality as these have SIX aural channels to feature sound, the Dolby Digital 5.1 surroundsound separates :
1 : Front Left
2 : Front Right
3 : Centre
4 : Sub-woofer
5 : Surround Left
6 : Surround Right ! .... if you are VERY clever it is even possible to get these down to CD-R ... and would you believe ... there is a bootleg available featuring 5 mixes of each track showing the 5.1 separation ! ... see after the cast list for a track listing of the bootleg and scans of the cover.


Side 1

Track Composer Recording Information Time
Yellow Submarine Lennon-McCartney See Yellow Submarine.
Ringo is in the middle of the stereo placement, and the sound effects and drums are more spread out. Listen out for Ringo's tom-toms in the last verse, they thump with newfound clarity. Overall the main improvement is in the warmer, brighter sound.
2:38
Hey Bulldog Lennon-McCartney See Yellow Submarine.
This mix transforms 'Hey Bulldog' from a great rocking tune, to a true classic. The jigsaw nature of the piano, guitar, and bass parts comprising the song's first verse are presented in jewel-like foil. Paul's spectacular bass line stands out with awesome presence, proving Paul to be an inspired bass player.
3:11
Eleanor Rigby Lennon-McCartney See Revolver.
For the first time, we hear the famous double string quartet in great stereo, while Paul's vocals come out of the middle, with the background vocals surrounding him. Compared to the original both the vocals and the strings have greatly improved clarity, the difference is not subtle ... it is awesome.
2:04
Love You To Harrison See Revolver.
George's vocal is moved foward in this new mix, but yet sounds warmer than the original. In fact the song as a whole has a richer feel. The Indian instruments are placed in different positions across the soundstage. They are less entangled, individual lines are heard. The musicians sound tighter, creating a more coherent sound.
2:57
All Together Now Lennon-McCartney See Yellow Submarine.
In the old version Paul's vocal was hard right, John's centered. In the new, Paul's and John's vocals are both centered - and how about those handclaps! The song now has a surprising textural complexity, thanks to percussion overlays that are only barely audible in the original mix, and now have presence without seeming overpowering.
2:09
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Lennon-McCartney See Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Peter Cobbin's mix is rather similar to the original, with a few changes in stereo placement. But once again you will hear a generally more pleasing sound.
3:27
Think For Yourself Harrison See Rubber Soul.
The new mix deconstructs the simple brilliance of George Martin's approach to the band's basic sound, isolating guitar, vocals and rhythm more pleasingly to the ear.
2:17
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Lennon-McCartney See Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The Sgt. Peppers sequence into With a Little Help from My Friends gets a bigger alteration. The original's stereo placement of the vocals was a oddity of the times. The new version puts both Paul and Ringo doing their respective vocals down the middle and not moving about. And like others of the new mixes one can hear more of the subtleties of the accompaniment.
2:00
With A Little Help From My Friends Lennon-McCartney See Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In truth, Cobbin did not go overboard on the Pepper tracks, but there is a greater sense of instrumental profiles. The guitar and piano were mixed together on the original. Newly seperated, one can hear each of the lines more clearly. 2:44

Side 2

Track Composer Recording Information Time
Baby You're A Rich Man Lennon-McCartney See Magical Mystery Tour the album.
This track on previous "stereo" releases was in so-called "fake" stereo, with the lows on one side and the highs on the other. This "Songtrack" mix has a very nice full stereo mix of the piece that is a huge improvement. It casts the song, often considered one of the Fab Four's relative throwaways, in a new light.
2:59
Only A Northern Song Lennon-McCartney See Yellow Submarine.
This track was previously available only in a muddy mono mix, but is now dazzlingly clear in full stereo. It is now revealed to have layers of surrealistic sound.
3:23
All You Need Is Love Lennon-McCartney See Yellow Submarine.
The most dramatic improvement comes on All You Need Is Love. The original was partly recorded during an early transatlantic satellite broadcast ("Our World"), and was never very well mixed. This new version sounds better in almost every way, from the detail of the horn and string parts to a much better sound on Paul's bass. The result is new perspective on an already great song.
3:46
When I'm Sixty-Four Lennon-McCartney See Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
This was one of the best-recorded tracks on the original Sgt. Peppers LP and does not really show too much benefit on this remix, which again centres up Paul's vocal, but one can pick out the woodwinds which are wonderfully full-figured.
2:38
Nowhere Man Lennon-McCartney See Rubber Soul.
Nowhere Man is one of those earlier Beatle recordings on which Cobbin had fewer separate tracks to work with, and consequently does not show much dramatic improvement.
2:41
It's All Too Much Harrison See Yellow Submarine.
Songtrack ends with this anthemic powerhouse, with it's handclap rhythm track and a magnificent extended guitar solo pitched against a honking bass figure. The coda features heraldic trumpets, overlaid guitar lines, and multiple vocals all sharply clearer than the original.
This is a superb illustration of the slogan "Too much ain't enough !"
6:24

The Film

The film was premiered on 17th July 1968 at the Pavilion, in London, which is where I saw it.
At 87 minutes the length of film was 7,830 feet !

Cast List

John Lennon Beatle.
Paul McCartney Beatle.
George Harrison Beatle.
Ringo Starr Beatle.
John Clive Voice of John.
Geoffrey Hughes Voice of Paul.
Peter Batten Voice of George.
Paul Angelis Voice of Ringo,
Voice of Chief Blue Meanie.
Lance Percival Voice of Old Fred.
Dick Emery Voice of Lord Mayor,
Voice of Boob.
George Dunning Director.
Al Brodax Producer and Writer.
Heinz Edelmann Design.
Erich Segal,
Lee Minoff,
Jack Mendelsohn,
and uncredited ...
Roger McGough
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John Coates Producer.
Musical Score George Martin.
Peter Cobbin Remix Engineer of the new mixes.


5.1 Degrees Of Separation - Bootleg

All the information below, including the scans, was sent by Australian correspondent Chris Jarvis. Who I would like to thank.
I have not seen this bootleg myself ... yet !

This bootleg is on "Blue Meanie Records" (what else ?)

5.1 Separation - Front cover 5.1 Separation - Rear Cover
5.1 Degrees Of Separation - Front Cover 5.1 Degrees Of Separation - Rear Cover

C.D. 1

Yellow Submarine
     1. backing vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, drums 2:37
2. backing vocals, acoustic guitars, sound effects 2:37
3. backing vocals, sound effects 2:38
4. backing vocals, sound effects, brass 2:38
5. lead vocal, backing vocals 2:40
Eleanor Rigby
6. cello, viola, violin 2:07
7. viola, violin 2:07
8. lead vocal, cello, viola,violin 2:06
9. lead vocal, backing vocal, viola, violin 2:07
10. lead vocal, violin 2:08
All Together Now
11. backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, drums, percussion 2:09
12. backing vocals, acoustic guitars, harmonica, percussion 2:09
13. backing vocals, harmonica, percussion 2:09
14. lead vocal, backing vocals, bass, percussion 2:09
15. backing vocals, percussion 2:09
When I'm 64
16. woodwinds, drums 2:40
17. backing vocals, piano, bass 2:40
18. backing vocals, chimes 2:41
19. backing vocals, chimes 2:42
20. lead vocals, backing vocals, bass, drums 2:42
Only A Northern Song
21. bass, horns, drums, percusion 2:41
22. bass, organ, drums, percussion 2:43
23. horns, drums, percussion 2:41
24. horns, drums, percussion 2:40
25. lead vocals, bass, horns, drums, talking and shouting 2:41
Nowhere Man
26. lead vocal, backing vocals, lead guitar 2:42
27. lead vocal, backing vocals, rhythm guitar, bass, drums 2:42
28. lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, drums 2:41
29. lead vocal, backing vocals 2:41
30. rhythm guitar, bass, drums 2:34

C.D. 2

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
     1. electric guitar, bass, drums 3:08
2. lead vocals, organs, bass, drums, tamboura 3:09
3. lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, tamboura 3:08
4. lead vocals, organ, tamboura 3:07
5. lead vocals, electric guitar, bass, drums 3:00
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
6. lead vocals, guitars, bass, drums, sound effects 2:18
7. lead vocals, guitars, bass, drums, sound effects, brass 2:17
8. lead guitar, sound effects 2:18
9. lead guitar, sound effects 2:18
10. lead vocal, backing vocals, guitars, bass, drums, sound effects 2:17
All You Need Is Love
11. backing vocals, guitar, bass, drums, strings, brass 2:46
12. lead vocal, backing vocals, guitar, bass, percussion 2:46
13. backing vocals, harpsichord, strings, brass 2:46
14. lead vocal, backing vocals, harpsichord, strings, brass 2:46
15. lead vocal, bass, drums, strings, brass 2:48
Hey Bulldog
16. vocals, guitar, bass, drums, talking and shouting 3:12
17. vocals, piano, drums, percussion 3:11
18. vocals 3:00
19. vocals 2:59
20. vocals, piano, guitar, bass, drums 3:13
It's All Too Much
21. vocals, guitar, bass, drums 2:34
22. vocals, guitar, bass, drums, organ, percussion 2:34
23. guitar, brass, percussion 2:33
24. guitar, brass, percussion 2:33
25. vocals, guitar, bass, drums, organ, percusion 2:36



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