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#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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Beatles Rarity of The Week – “Heart On My Sleeve” (Ringo Starr live television performance, 1978)

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity of the Week. I’m not really sure when you’ll be reading this but at the time it posts it will be Ringo Starr’s 74th birthday, so the focus will naturally be on this kind and famous soul who was not only The Beatles’ drummer but an essential ingredient in their legend.


Ringo Starr performs on his 1978 television special Ringo

Ringo Starr performs on his 1978 television special Ringo


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18 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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44 people think this is FAB!

Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Tell Me Why” (original U.S. duophonic soundtrack mix)

Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. I want to do something this week in keeping with A Hard Day’s Night turning 50 years old – not to mention the new remastered Blu-Ray DVD set. Fifty years old! Can you believe it! But first I want to bring up how back in January 2014, The Beatles U.S. Albums box set caused quite a stir among Beatles fans. Several of the mixes used on the original Capitol albums in America differed from their U.K. counterparts in one way or another and while some of these unique mixes were included in the set, others were not. In many cases, the U.S. unique mixes were substituted by the mixes on the U.K. releases which are the same mixes found on the 2009 remasters that most fan already had. While many of the U.K. mixes were superior from a technical standpoint, many fans felt like this was not the point – the point was the U.S. mixes are not all released digitally or to CD yet, so why re-release what is already out there in place of them and ‘revise history’ with different versions of the songs that were on the original vinyl from the sixties? I give an album-by-album account of the substitutions made for the new box set here.


The Beatles perform Tell Me Why during filming of A Hard Day's Night

The Beatles perform Tell Me Why during filming of A Hard Day’s Night


In the case of the stereo editions of the A Hard Day’s Night LP, there were major differences between the U.S. and U.K. albums. Get the whole story »

27 people think this is FAB!

A few notes concerning the new 2014 Criterion Collection edition of A Hard Day’s Night

In celebration of it’s 50th Anniversary, the new Criterion Collection re-issue of The Beatles first movie A Hard Day’s Night has now been issued on Blu-Ray and DVD. Released on June 24, 2014 the deluxe edition includes an 80 page book with plenty of photo stills from the film and others from the shooting. Unlike the actual film, some of the photos are in color including the ‘bit in the field’ (baseball diamond sequence used with “Can’t Buy Me Love”). The book also includes a long account on the making of the film by it’s director, Richard Lester, as well as an opening discussion about the film by Film Comment contributor Howard Hampton.

I realize most reading have seen the movie already but for those that haven’t let me just say it’s a zany ninety-minute account of a day in the life of The Beatles in 1964 – with chase scenes from screaming teenage girls, studio performances, press conferences, a mini-concert and even a train ride where, while en route to a show, The Beatles have to care for Paul McCartney’s “mixer” grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) who nearly succeeds in influencing Ringo Starr to leave the group. It’s a lot of fun and, of course, the music is great (including the film’s title song, “I Should Have Known Better,” “If I Fell,” “And I Love Her,” “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “Tell Me Why” and a few more selections).


A Hard Day's Night Criterion Collection 2014 edition

A Hard Day’s Night Criterion Collection 2014 edition


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#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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16 people think this is FAB!