Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Biography and Discography


The long and winding road of Yellow Submarine, now newly restored

Thirteen years after its first DVD release, The Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine, was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 5. Yellow Submarine captures the heart and spirit of The Beatles and has become a classic animation film. The current restoration of the film allows viewers to see the most vibrant colors intended to evoke the mood of the psychedelic 60s. The film was restored by hand, frame by frame, because of the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork.

Hard to believe that a film which is so beloved by so many had such a rocky road to completion. Back in 1967 before his death, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, convinced The Beatles to go along with the project to fulfill their film contract with United Artists. The Beatles hesitantly agreed even though they were fearful that the film may turn out like The Beatles ABC-TV cartoon series which they were not a fan of.

But as Production Executive John Coates describes in the bonus audio commentary, as the film began to take shape, The Beatles became more and more interested in the project. The Beatles’ suspicions that the filmmakers would “Disney-fy” them were put to rest when they attended advance screenings throughout the production process.

The film was completed under an ultra-tight schedule of 11 months. Designers and animators had to constantly work around the clock to complete the film in time for the July 1968 premiere date in London. Time was so precious that students from London art schools had to be brought in night after night to help with the coloring of the hand-drawn cells. Coates estimates that there were anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 animation cells that were used to create the film.

The film became an instant classic upon its release receiving rave reviews like this one from the Daily News: “Thunderous applause! I doubt that the Beatles themselves can top their ‘Yellow Submarine’!” The film even received a special honor in 1968 from The NY Film Critics Circle Awards.

The new DVD/Blu-ray release includes a 7-minute bonus behind-the-scenes documentary called the “Mod Odyssey” from 1968. Additional bonus features include the film’s original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos.  Both Digipak packages include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet.

Along with the DVD releases, the Yellow Submarine songtrack has also been re-issued, as well as the Yellow Submarine children’s book.

–Trina Yannicos

Editor’s note: Daytrippin’ issue #8 features a special behind-the-scenes look at Yellow Submarine

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Listen to Paul McCartney’s new song, My Valentine, from his new album of standards

On February 7, Paul McCartney will be releasing a brand new album of standards he grew up listening to in his childhood—plus two brand new McCartney compositions.  The album is called ‘Kisses on the Bottom‘ and will be released on Hear Music/Concord Records.

Paul McCartney in the studio; courtesy Hear Music/Concord Records

The album was recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011.  It also features guest musicians Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, respectively, on the original compositions ‘My Valentine’ and ‘Only Our Hearts’.

[You can listen to Paul’s new song, My Valentine, at this link on Soundcloud.com. Paul wrote the song for his new bride, Nancy Shevell, and the song was played for the first dance at their wedding on October 9, 2011].

This is the album McCartney has been thinking about making for more than 20 years – and probably the last thing his fans are expecting. “In the end it was ‘Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,” he says.
In short, Paul believes it is about time “the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on” received the recognition they deserve. Moreover, the record also features a couple of new original McCartney compositions in the spirit of those classics.

“When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them,” Paul explains. “I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys – I just thought the songs were magical.  And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it’s beautiful, the way they made those songs.”

Paul enlisted the help of of Grammy Award-winning producer Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall and her band—who delivered ultra-high quality musicianship and were completely in tune with Paul’s restraint and feel for the music. In the studio, the recording of this album was also a new challenge for Paul who, for the first time ever, performed exclusively in the vocal booth without no instrument – no guitar, no bass, no piano – which led to a vocal performance like no other in his career.

He adds, “It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we’d work with The Beatles. We’d bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we’d say ‘Okay, let’s do a take now’ and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we’d learnt the song. So that’s what we did, we did the take live in the studio.”

“It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people.  I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise.”

[Source: Official Press Release]

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