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 The News: Lost Beatles Song to See "Light" of Day?

ArtBy Ray Lemire, streamingoldies.com

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Paul McCartney has revealed he is trying to release a Beatles song that some swore didn’t exist. Carnival of Light is a 14-minute improvised psychedelic jam the band recorded in 1967 and was left off of the Anthology releases because it was "too adventurous."

"The time has come for its moment," said McCartney, who is looking into getting approval from Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison to release the track. "I like it because it’s like the Beatles free." ...




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For Beatles fans across the world it has gained near mythical status. The track was recorded in 1967 and played just once in public. It was never released because three of the Fab Four thought it too adventurous.

The track, a jumble of shrieks and psychedelic effects, is said to be as far from the melodic ballads that made Sir Paul famous as it is possible to imagine. But now McCartney has said that the public will have the chance to judge for themselves.

In the 41 years since Carnival of Light was recorded by McCartney, Starr, Harrison and Lennon in the Abbey Road studios in London, its collection of disparate rhythms has become a kind of holy grail for Beatles obsessives.

McCartney had been commissioned to create a piece for an electronic music festival at the Roundhouse Theatre in north London by his friend Barry Miles. The event, the Million Volt Light and Sound Rave, was organized by International Times, an underground newspaper.

"We were set up in the studio and would just go in every day and record," McCartney says. "I said to the guys, this is a bit indulgent but would you mind giving me 10 minutes? I've been asked to do this thing. All I want you to do is just wander round all of the stuff and bang it, shout, play it. It doesn't need to make any sense. Hit a drum, wander to the piano, hit a few notes ... and then we put a bit of echo on it. It's very free."

McCartney regards Carnival Of Light as evidence of how musically adventurous he has always been. For the three other Beatles, the track was just an oddity. George Harrison dismissed it as too weird. Beatles fans came close to hearing Carnival Of Light in 1996 when it was considered for inclusion in the exhaustive Anthology compilation.

"We were listening to everything we'd every recorded," McCartney says. "I said it would be great to put this on because it would show we were working with really avant-garde stuff. But it was vetoed. The guys didn't like the idea, like 'this is rubbish.'"

Sir George Martin, the Beatles producer who oversaw the track, has described it as "one of those weird things. It was a kind of uncomposed, free-for-all melange of sound that went on. It was not considered worthy of issuing as a normal piece of Beatles music at the time and was put away."

McCartney didn’t provide a time frame for the song’s release or whether it would be included on a compilation or exist as a stand-alone song.



[17 November 2008]





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