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Category Archives: #askNat

#askNat – concerning why John Lennon’s “India, India” was not used in the Anthology project

This week on #askNat we are hearing from Matt Doran of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Here is what Matt has to say:

Hey Happy Nat,

When the remaining Beatles got the demos for the Anthology, why didn’t they use “India , India?” To me that demo was complete, with no visible noise and John’s voice is so clear. I have heard other peoples’ mixes on the Internet and they have added instruments and vocals onto it. Any insight as to why they might have overlooked this tune.


An interesting question you have here, Matt. I’ll start with what I know about “India, India.” It was written and recorded in demo form sometime in 1980 by John Lennon. No accounts of this recording by John have surfaced other than this home-taped demo made at his Dakota apartment. The first time it was heard by the general public was in a 2005 musical called Lennon that was a Yoko Ono-sanctioned stage show about John’s life. It was directed by Don Scardino.

“India, India,” along with a few other demos, was first released officially as bonus material on the Home Tapes collection packaged with the John Lennon Signature Box set released in October 2010.


John Lennon in 1980

John Lennon in 1980


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15 people think this is FAB!

#askNat – concerning the ‘train music’ heard in A Hard Day’s Night

I have been getting lots of mail lately about A Hard Day’s Night; I guess due mainly to the popularity of the new reissue of it that just hit the stores last month. One of the questions that keeps popping up concerns the untitled track that springs forth from Ringo Starr’s transistor radio in the scene near the beginning of the movie when they are on the train and a stuffy “regular commuter” snaps at Ringo before switching it off. I’m sure most reading have seen the movie (at least once) and know exactly what scene I’m referring to. The specific questions that are coming up are 1) Who is this music by – is it, in fact The Beatles themselves? and 2) Do you have the complete version of the song? So for #askNat this week I’m going to address this very issue.


On the train in A Hard Day's Night (L-R): Paul McCartney, the man on the train (played by Richard Vernon) and John Lennon

On the train in A Hard Day’s Night (L-R): Paul McCartney, the man on the train (played by Richard Vernon) and John Lennon


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42 people think this is FAB!

#askNat – concerning Paul McCartney’s sheepdog Martha

For #askNat this week I have another message from Roger Tomlin in Augusta, Georgia who is after some info about a former pet owned by Paul McCartney. Take a look at what Roger has sent in:

Hi Nat,

At the risk of getting a little too deep into Beatles lore, I’ve always wondered about Paul McCartney’s famous 1960′s sheepdog, Martha. As most probably know, she was the namesake for Paul’s great “Martha My Dear” on the White Album. Where did Paul get her? What were the circumstances surrounding her passing? Where is she buried? And, I seem to have heard somewhere that Paul had a second sheepdog later on. Maybe not a premier #askNat question but you got to admit… it’s rare!  

Thanks Nat

Hello Roger! Nothing is getting “too deep into Beatles lore” for The Beatles Rarity. In 1965 Paul McCartney bought his new St. John’s Wood home at 7 Cavendish Avenue, but did not move in right away since several renovations were necessary. In March of 1966 he moved in with girlfriend Jane Asher and at some point in between, he bought an Old English Sheepdog as a puppy and named her “Martha.”


Paul McCartney & his pet sheepdog Martha

Paul McCartney & his pet sheepdog Martha


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15 people think this is FAB!

#askNat – concerning drumhead designs used by The Beatles

This week on #askNat we are hearing from Drew Daubenspeck of The Woodlands, Texas. Here is what Drew has on his mind:

How many different drumhead designs did The Beatles actually use? We all are familiar with the Drop ‘T’ design, and the psychedelic design that shows up much later. Recently I saw on page 353 of “Recording The Beatles,” a design that must have preceded the “Drop-T” design. Were there others?

That’s a great question Drew. The drumhead design that most people think of associated with The Beatles is the “Drop-T” logo and I covered the history of that one in an earlier #askNat back in 2012 (see here). The one you are referring to that precedes it was used prior to May 1963 and is one I fittingly call the “bug” design. Ringo used it on his Premier kit at the time and I have a photo of it below.


The Beatles

The Beatles “bug” logo appeared on their drumhead design in 1963 prior to the more well-known Drop-T logo.


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17 people think this is FAB!

#askNat – concerning a man who turned down Brian Epstein’s offer to join The Beatles

This week on #askNat I’m addressing a question sent in from George Gangi of New Jersey. Here is what George has to say:


Much has been written about the “other” Beatles – Pete Best and Stu Sutcliff – and less about temporary members like Andy White and Jimmie Nichol. But I remember reading a story about a piano player who sat in with The Beatles in Hamburg and was said to have been offered the fifth Beatles slot. Can you shed any light on this footnote to Beatles history?

Sure thing George and thanks for writing in. The man you refer to is none other than the legendary Roy Young who is still an active musician today. Roy learned to play boogie-woogie piano as a child and in 1958 began appearing on British television shows such as Oh Boy! and Drumbeat. He secured a recording contract with Fontana Records in 1959 where his debut single was “Just Keep It Up” b/w “Big Fat Mama.” He had several more single releases over the next couple of years and in 1960 began playing the club circuit in Hamburg, Germany.


The Beatles on stage at the Star Club in Hamburg with Roy Young on the piano, April 1962

The Beatles on stage at the Star Club in Hamburg with Roy Young on the piano, April 1962


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24 people think this is FAB!

#askNat – concerning studio modifications to “This Boy”

This time around on #askNat, I have a message from Rich Upton from Austin, Texas who says:

Reading about the poor edit on the 8-track tape version of the “Sgt. Pepper” reprise got me to thinking about another poor edit in one of my favorite Beatles cuts, “This Boy.”  It’s right after the bridge, just before starting the final verse. I have read that was simply a way to use the best parts of two takes, but I have also read that there was originally a guitar solo in the middle eight (presumably by George Harrison) which George Martin ultimately decided against using in the final version. Since the Beatles performed this song live, we know the edit wasn’t necessary in order to simply sing the song, so I’m wondering if there’s anything to this guitar solo thing.  And if it existed, is it now lost to the ages? Additionally, I’ve read that the Beatles recorded this song with a fully-realized cold ending. Do you know, then, why the decision was made to fade out?

Some interesting musings here, Rich. By the way, the account of the 8-track tape edit Rich is referring to can be found here.


The Beatles perform This Boy on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 16th, 1964

The Beatles perform This Boy on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 16th, 1964


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18 people think this is FAB!