Richard here once more. Unfortunately, Michele has returned from her latest cruise with a nasty chest infection and has asked me to write a quick newsletter for you whilst she recovers
Not an enormous amount to say apart from the fabulous news that we have clocked up 3.9 MILLION views on our YouTube channel this year – This is not just videos but also songs from Matt’s catalogue.
In total, more than 1.7 million hours of music (196 years worth!) were watched or listened to from January until now. What great news to hear on Matt’s birthday.
I’ve left up the news from last month with information about the new download/streaming releases that came out on 1st December, but i’ll leave you with the newly discovered unreleased early take of On Days Like These.
No news in January, but all being well Michele will be back in February.
Hoping you have a great Christmas
Richard here as Michele is away
It’s a bumper month for news!
Firstly – The One Show!
Broadcast November 1st (and available on iPlayer – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001s14w)
This is a Beatles special celebrating the release of Now and Then – the final Beatles recording.
We are honoured that the BBC have chosen Matt as a subject of his recordings of Beatles songs, concentrating particularly on the story of the recording of Michelle.
This has been something of a whirlwind experience for Michele. Typically, the call from the BBC came the day after she had left the country! They were determined that it was Matt’s story they wanted to cover, so it was hastily arranged that the One Show’s researcher and interviewer, Phil Holmes would fly out to meet Michele somewhere en route. This ended up being Gibraltar. However, it was impossible for the filming to take place on the ship, as the cruise line wouldn’t give permission, so more hasty arrangements were made by local producer Jordan Lopez to find a venue to film in, which ended up being John Mackintosh Hall
In the meantime, the BBC had a list of things they would like to have for possible use. Audio clips, videos, photos, documents, a programme from Matt’s Grosvenor tribute etc. Plus (as you’ll hear about in the story) an original score for Michele signed by George Martin at the launch of Michele’s paperback of The Singer’s Singer in 2012.
The archive material was down to me – Thankfully I keep duplicates of all of the estate’s audio/visual archives and we keep the digitised photo archive in the cloud. Luckily, I also had a copy of the Grosvenor programme.
The big problem was George’s score. This was framed and on the wall of Michele’s office. More frantic phone calls, this time to Michele’s good friend Mike who came to the rescue, as he looks after Michele’s house whilst she is away. He was able to get the film crew into the house so they could access the manuscript. Of course, we haven’t seen the final film ourselves yet. It could be that they don’t even use anything I sent or the manuscript yet. (I once filmed a long interview for a programme I was involved in – they didn’t use one second!) They do like to have more than they will actually use.
We have to say that Phil Holmes was marvellous and the whole filming process went swimmingly. he was very much a one-man band, not only did he interview Michele, he was also the sound man and cameraman (a BBC budget doesn’t go very far you know!). Here are a few photos from the filming session. I’m sure Michele will have more to say about this next month.
Back in the mists of time – I suspect this was early 2020, whilst putting together “Stranger in Paradise” – the suggestion came through that I should look at remastering the whole of Matt’s Capitol catalogue. This had not been treated well before I started working with the estate. 3rd generation mono masters were often used. Sometimes they mixed mono and stereo versions of different tracks from the same album on one set (I’m looking at you Hollywood and Broadway). I of course jumped at the chance.
The first 8 albums from Matt’s catalogue were issued on Streaming and Download sites on 8th April 2022. (Stranger in Paradise was, of course, already available) and I’ve covered those sets in previous news bulletins.
However, that was not the end of the story. There is still one full album, plus all of the singles, out-takes etc that we have not yet issued from my new masters. Why has it taken so long? I wish I knew. The wheels of Universal USA’s licensing department seem to run extremely slowly these days. Despite me spending a large amount of time sorting out exactly which of Matt’s recordings belong to Warner and Universal respectively, and them agreeing that this was 100% correct, they still seem to have to double check this every time we release things!
The good news is that everything is finally sorted! The remaining albums will now appear on all good streaming/download services (plus some of the bad ones) on Matt’s Birthday – 1st December 2023. As you would expect when I’m involved, there is the odd new stereo mix along the way and one very special previously lost version of one of Matt’s most popular songs.
Let’s have a look at these FOUR new sets.
Firstly we have the missing album “We’re Gonna Change the World” – a set that has never been issued digitally before. A similar album was issued in the USA as “Close To You” with the same cover photo. The USA version omitted 3 tracks from the UK version and added a new track, (which Matt didn’t really care for, but is included for completeness). This edition combines both versions, adding the US only track as a bonus. Some recordings have been taken from 1st generation mixdown masters for the first time, whereas the album master featured 2nd generation copies.
We’re Gonna Change The World – (From 1st Generation UK Mixdown Master)
He Aint Heavy, He’s My Brother
For Once In My Life
Leaving On A Jet Plane
If There Ever Is A Next Time
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
(They Long To Be) Close To You – (From 1st Generation US Mixdown Master)
If I Were A Carpenter
Everybody’s Talkin (2019 remix)
Hava Nagila – (From 1st Generation UK Mixdown Master)
Bonus Track from US Edition “Close To You”
Why Can’t I Touch You – (From 1st Generation US Mixdown Master)
Recorded in UK except tracks 7 & 13 which were recorded in Hollywood.
Note: The 2019 remix of Everybody’s Talkin (First issued on Stranger in Paradise) is used here as it fixes a fault with the piano track from all previous issues. The mix is otherwise as faithful as possible to the original.
Next, we have The Capitol Singles Collection. This set brings together all of the songs not featured on Matt’s LP’s from 1966 to 1970. This set gave me the opportunity to fix a few things plus make sure all tracks were issued in Stereo (bar one, Yours Alone, where no session tapes survive, so currently locked in Mono). Some are receiving stereo mixes for the first time. Except where noted these are the 2010 Complete Singles Collection remasters.
Other People (New Remaster)
Don’t Answer Me
Fourth Blue Monday
When You Become A Man
Where In The World
The Lady Smiles (New Remaster from correct 1st generation tape)
Try To Remember
Only The Night Wind Knows (New Remix)
Pretty Polly (2019 Remix)
You’re Closer To Me (New Remix)
One Day Soon (First Time Stereo Mix)
The Music Played (2019 Remix)
All That Remains (New Remaster)
The Southern Star – UK Single Version (First time Stereo Mix)
That’s The Way It Goes (New Remaster)
On Days Like These
Love Song – Single edit
All Of A Sudden
Picking Up The Pieces
Just A Heartbreak Ago
We’re Gonna Change The World – US Single Edit. (New Remaster)
The new remasters of various songs were undertaken due to new hi resolution transfers of the tapes being available. For The Lady Smiles, the tape dub sent for the 2010 remaster had a tape silp during the introduction, and which was thought to be the mixdown master. I fixed this using a section from the mono tape. However a better tape – the real 1st generation mixdown master – has since been identified and does not contain the slip.
The remixes took place for various reasons. One Day Soon has never been issued in stereo. The session reel no longer exists, however a stereo mix of the backing track was made to be used when recording the Spanish version. For this mix the vocal has been digitally extracted from the mono mix and added to the stereo backing. It is a similar story for The Southern Star, however in this case the 4-track session reel does survive. Unfortunately, during the making of the French version of the song, part of Matt’s vocal was erased. The missing section has now been restored using the same method as One Day Soon.
Only the Night Wind Knows and You’re Close to Me both originate from three track session tapes. Whilst there have been stereo mixes before, these were based around mock stereo versions of the backing tracks with mono vocals. The 3 track tapes show why. The rhythm track is on track 1, the strings and or brass are on track 2, with Matt on track 3. These don’t make very satisfactory mixes especially Only the Night Wind, which starts with just Matt and the Rhythm section, the strings only joining part way through the song. Modern audio separation software has allowed me to split the Bass & Drums from the rest of the rhythm and create a far more pleasing mix. This technique was previously used on the 2019 mix of Pretty Polly from the same session
The final track is the infamous US edit of We’re Gonna Change the World, (it cuts out a verse and has extra overdubs). Matt hated what they had done, and got the mix withdrawn, however it’s issued here for completeness (and to show what a mess Capitol made of it!)
The third set featured is the Spanish Rarities collection. Although we cheat a little and add one French track at the end.
Cuando Miro En Tus Ojos (When I Look Into Your Eyes)
De Repente Un Dia (One Day Soon)
No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos De Ti (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
A Mi Manera (My Way)
Por Primera Vez (For Once In My Life)
Todo El Mundo Habla (Everybody’s Talking)
Gotas De Lluvia Que Caen (Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head)
Jamás Volveré A Enamorarme (I’ll Never Fall In Love Again) (New Mix)
No Me Dejes (If You Go Away) (Alternate Version)
L’Étoile Du Sud (The Southern Star) – First time Stereo Mix
The tracks come from various singles or collections such as The Rare Monro, Matt Uncovered and The Singer’s Singer. Tracks 7 – 10 have only previously been available on obscure South American compilations. No stereo master could be found for Jamás Volveré A Enamorarme, so a new mix was prepared from the multitrack session tape. Apart from Maria and A Mi Manera, all tracks are new remasters.
The fourth and final set is The Capitol Rarities. This contains all the songs issued on various collections over the years but weren’t included on Matt’s LP’s or singles, including film versions.
A Lot Of Living (To Do) (New Remaster)
It’s A Wonderful World (New Remaster)
The World I Used To Know
Miss Brown To You
Hey (For Me)
Lover’s Caravan (New Remaster)
The Sweetest Sounds (New Remaster)
When I Look In Your Eyes
Maria – Alternate Take (New Remaster)
Nothing To Lose (New Remaster)
The Southern Star – US Single/Album Version (New Remaster)
Love Song (Unedited Version)
If You Go
Lovin’ you Again
If You Go Away
Two People (2020 Remaster)
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (New Remaster)
I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
Let Me Choose Life (New Remaster)
Pretty Polly – Film Version
Two People – Film Version
On Days Like These – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED Early Version.
A Place in Paris