The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! The Beatles’ “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2” Rocks November

with 15 comments

Beatles - On AirThe worst-kept secret of this fall’s upcoming release schedule is finally out – and we’re shouting, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” After weeks of speculation, Capitol Records has finally confirmed the November 11 arrival of The Beatles’ On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 Its 63 tracks – encompassing 40 musical performances (37 of which are previously unreleased) and 23 selections of on-air, in-studio repartee – were all recorded for the Fab Four’s 1963-1964 BBC radio performances on shows such as Pop Go the Beatles and Saturday Club.

This new collection, available in 2 CD and 180-gram vinyl formats, is the eagerly-awaited sequel to 1994’s Live at the BBC, a U.K. No. 1/U.S. No. 3 release. [That title, too, arrives on November 11 in a newly-remastered edition.]  None of the tracks here overlap with those released on that original anthology. A full ten of the songs on On Air were not recorded by The Beatles for EMI in the 1960s, and two of these songs make their debuts here: Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” As The Fabs frequently revisited repertoire at the BBC, six songs heard on the 1994 set are reprised here in different performances: Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” and two tracks the band learned from Carl Perkins’ records, “Glad All Over” and “Sure to Fall.”

All told, no fewer than 275 unique performances by John, Paul, George and Ringo were broadcast over the Beeb’s airwaves between March 1962 and June 1965.  88 distinct songs were played, meaning that some songs were performed numerous times and others just once.  On Air takes listeners back to the period when the BBC primarily broadcast live music only; George Harrison once recalled that “we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”

Still on the ascendant, the group recorded songs for 39 shows in 1963 alone.  One marathon day that year – July 16 – yielded 18 songs for three Pop Goes the Beatles shows, recorded in less than seven hours!  Saturday Club was another BBC favorite.  One particular rarity here is The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday Dear Saturday Club.”  In 1980, John Lennon remembered, “We did a lot of tracks that were never on record for Saturday Club – they were well recorded, too.”  Paul McCartney concurred.  “We’d been raised on the BBC radio programs. One of the big things in our week was Saturday Club – this great show was playing the kind of music we loved, so that was something we really aspired to.”

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order links!

You’ll hear The Beatles talking to DJs Brian Matthew and Alan Freeman and Pop Go the Beatles hosts Lee Peters and Rodney Burke. On Air also includes the candid interviews recorded for the Pop Profile series in November 1965 and May 1966.  Of the more familiar songs, On Air features never-before-released versions of “And I Love Her,” “Please, Please Me,” “If I Fell,” “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” and the Music Man favorite “Till There Was You.”

Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley have followed in the footsteps of Sir George Martin, producer of the 1994 BBC collection, in assembling On Air.  Guy Massey and Alex Wharton have remastered all tracks at Abbey Road Studios (where else?), and Howlett provides copious notes in the 48-page booklet.  Beatlefans take note that Howlett’s hardcover tome for Harper Design, The Beatles: The BBC Archives, arrives in stores on October 29, not long before the release of On Air.   The book’s 336 pages chronicle the band’s recordings for the BBC – on both radio and television – in truly definitive fashion.

Ringo Starr commented in 1994, “You tend to forget that we were a working band. It’s that mono sound. There were usually no overdubs. We were in at the count-in and that was it. I get excited listening to them.”  Chances are you will, too.  Look for The Beatles’ On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 from UMe’s Capitol Records label on November 11.  You can pre-order below!

The Beatles, On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Capitol, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. And Here We Are Again (Speech)
  2. Words of Love
  3. How About It, Gorgeous? (Speech)
  4. Do You Want to Know a Secret
  5. Lucille
  6. Hey, Paul… (Speech)
  7. Anna (Go to Him)
  8. Hello! (Speech)
  9. Please Please Me
  10. Misery
  11. I’m Talking About You
  12. A Real Treat (Speech)
  13. Boys
  14. Absolutely Fab (Speech)
  15. Chains
  16. Ask Me Why
  17. Till There Was You
  18. Lend Me Your Comb
  19. Lower 5E (Speech)
  20. The Hippy Hippy Shake
  21. Roll Over Beethoven
  22. There’s a Place
  23. Bumper Bundle (Speech)
  24. P.S. I Love You
  25. Please Mister Postman
  26. Beautiful Dreamer
  27. Devil in Her Heart
  28. The 49 Weeks (Speech)
  29. Sure to Fall (In Love with You)
  30. Never Mind, Eh? (Speech)
  31. Twist and Shout
  32. Bye, Bye (speech)
  33. John – Pop Profile (Speech)
  34. George – Pop Profile (Speech)

CD 2

  1. I Saw Her Standing There
  2. Glad All Over
  3. Lift Lid Again (Speech)
  4. I’ll Get You
  5. She Loves You
  6. Memphis, Tennessee
  7. Happy Birthday, Dear Saturday Club
  8. Now Hush, Hush (Speech)
  9. From Me to You
  10. Money (That’s What I Want)
  11. I Want to Hold Your Hand
  12. Brian Bathtubes (Speech)
  13. This Boy
  14. If I Wasn’t In America (Speech)
  15. I Got a Woman
  16. Long Tall Sally
  17. If I Fell
  18. A Hard Job Writing Them (Speech)
  19. And I Love Her
  20. Oh, Can’t We? Yes We Can (Speech)
  21. You Can’t Do That
  22. Honey Don’t
  23. I’ll Follow the Sun
  24. Green With Black Shutters (Speech)
  25. Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!
  26. That’s What We’re Here For (Speech)
  27. I Feel Fine (Studio Outtake)
  28. Paul – Pop Profile (Speech)
  29. Ringo – Pop Profile (Speech)

Written by Joe Marchese

September 12, 2013 at 11:57

15 Responses

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  1. Should be interesting !! Wonder if some of these tracks will be significant upgrades from what’s been out for years on bootlegs ?

    Rich Dudas

    September 12, 2013 at 12:15

    • Most likely since the tracks on the first set were upgrades of the versions on bootlegs.


      September 12, 2013 at 20:07

  2. As for the remastered edition of the 1994 “Live At The BBC”, will it merely be a remastering from the 1994 digital compilation master, or have some new and improved source tapes been discovered? In other words, is there any reason for people who have already purchased the 1994 CD edition to buy “Live at The BBC” again? Perhaps “The Second Disc” could provide an answer to that question.

    Philip Cohen

    September 12, 2013 at 13:46

    • They have been newly remastered most likely by the same crew that did the 09 remasters. The original set has always been low volume.


      September 12, 2013 at 20:05

  3. Disappointing track listing. There were 6 songs the Beatles didn’t record for their own that were left off the last volume, and just two — “Lend Me Your Comb” which was also on Anthology, and “Beautiful Dreamer” — here. Where are “Besame Mucho,” “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream),” “A Picture Of You” and “I’m Talking About You”?

    Brian from Canada

    September 12, 2013 at 13:51

    • Brian – Just a shot in the dark but I’m guessing that EMI didn’t have “releasable” versions of those tracks. I can’t remember if the versions of these tracks I have on various bootlegs were in “top notch” quality.


      Rich Dudas

      September 12, 2013 at 13:53

      • None of the versions on Volume 2 are the same as the versions on Volume 1. The songs mentioned above are poor quality except for “I’m Talking About You”.


        September 12, 2013 at 20:03

    • Just FYI: “I’m Talking About You” *is* included here as Track 11 on CD 1.

      Joe Marchese

      September 12, 2013 at 14:05

  4. As usual, both volumes 1 and 2 are cheaper from UK than US…


    September 12, 2013 at 14:12

    • Why would it be cheaper to order from the U.K. instead of the U.S. of A. if I may ask?


      September 12, 2013 at 21:05

      • By the time you pay the shipping to the U.S. it’s not all that much cheaper.


        September 13, 2013 at 05:57

  5. Excited about this news, awesome!

    Bradley James

    September 13, 2013 at 10:54

    • Like Christmas in November! It was the same way in November of 1968 when the White Album was released.


      September 13, 2013 at 12:23

  6. Besame Mucho and Dream Baby survive only in VERY poor, off the air recordings, as bootlegged. I’ve never heard of A Picture Of You.

    mark schlesinger

    September 15, 2013 at 00:11

    • Sad but true. “A Picture Of You” is better quality but not by much.


      September 15, 2013 at 00:19

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