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The Beatles – Northern Lights (Unicorn Records UC-148)

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Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
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Rating: 3.1/5 (4 votes cast)

Northern Lights (Unicorn Records UC-148)

(73:51):  Please Please Me (Roy Orbison tour 5/24/1963), Some Other Guy (Roy Orbison tour 5/24/1963), I Want To Hold Your Hand (Adelaide ’64 upgrade), I’m Happy Just To Dance With You (Glasgow ’64), If I Needed Someone (Entomology different mix), That Means Alot (stereo reverb edit mix), Eleanor Rigby (Entomology demo), Penny Lane (overdub sessions January 1967), Sound Of The Stars (flexi commercial ad), Tonight Show (John & Paul May 14th, 1968), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (multi tracks), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (bass track), let It Be (RS 1 FS + RE2 stereo).  Bonus track:  Band On The Run (8″ Capitol acetate March 25th, 1974)

Northern Lights is another stellar collection of Beatles rarities on Unicorn with some material pressed on disc for the very first time beginning right with the first two tracks. 

“Please Please Me” and “Some Other Guy” are from a recently discovered 15 minute 3″ reel-to-reel tape, recorded on May 23rd 1963 at the Odeon Cinema in Nottingham with Roy Orbison, Gerry and The Pacemakers and others.  Both tracks are fair quality and each lasts only thirty-two seconds. 

The complete tape is said to contain Roy Orbison “Runnin’ Scared”, “In Dreams,” and The Beatles “Some Other Guy”, “Thank You Girl”, “Please Please Me”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, “From Me To You.”  (“Thank You Girl” was a rare song to have heard in concert, because it was only featured a few times.)  The owner of the tape is trying to sell the tape, so it’s unclear when or if we’ll hear the whole thing.

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” is an upgraded source From The 1989 Beatles Down Under documentary and lasts a full three and a half minutes.  It is followed by a ninety second except from “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” from Glasgow 1964 from a poor sounding recording. 

“Eleanor Rigby” is an eighteen second fragment of the band singing the chorus accompanied by acoustic guitar alone.  “That Means Alot” is a long version mix with Sessions style reverb.  Track eight is a fourteen minute amateur recording of the band recording overdubs on piano and guitar.

The nineth track is a ninety second Disc & Music Echo flexi ad.  It’s followed by an appearance of John and Paul on “The Tonight Show” on May 14th, 1968.  NBC unfortunately didn’t save the video tape, so professional footage doesn’t exist.  Some 8mm fan footage exists as does the complete twenty minute audio interview taped off of the television by a fan.  John and Paul were interviewed by Joe Garagiola about Apple Records and other topics.  A full transcript of the interview can be found on The Beatles Ultimate Experience.

After The Tonight Show are two tracks, totaling almost nineteen minutes, of a multi-track separation of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.  It’s interesting to hear the individual tracks that go into the song And the final two tracks on the disc are stereo remixes of “Let It Be” and the Wings track “Band On The Run.”

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The Beatles - Northern Lights (Unicorn Records UC-148), 3.1 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

1 Comment

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  1. Profile photo of moptop
    moptop says
    April 17, 2012, 3:14 am

    A real hodge podge of material , that you will probably only play once or twice even if you down load the rarer tracks for free, which is what I think Mr Unicorn has done.

    The ‘Roy Orbison Tour’ is listed as 24 May which would make it Walthamstow and not Nottingham. These two very limited samples are considered to be genuine. SOG definitely doesn’t match anything that we already have.

    The Glasgow excerpt is a FAKE , with the audience being on a loop.

    Adelaide circulates as an upgrade by HIWAX.

    Neither Eleanor Rigby or If I Needed Someone appeared on the infamous Entomolgy fan release.

    Hopefully the Walthomstow has been purchased by a label and it will appear later this year.

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