Yesterday, I happened to be in Barnes & Noble.
I was searching for Doctor Who Magazine #429, which I’d ordered at work, only for whatever reason I never received it. They didn’t have DWM, unfortunately, and so I browsed. I found Dayton Ward’s Paths of Disharmony, his new Star Trek novel, and then I found, on a table of Christmas clearance items, something most intriguing.
Forty dollars, regular price. Marked down seventy-five percent.
Ten dollars for a Trivial Pursuit game! Score!
Except, as I commented on Twitter this afternoon, I don’t have anyone to play Trivial Pursuit with, Beatles or otherwise. Much like the two editions of The Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit that I have (one with a DVD hosted by Gollum!). Or The Lord of the Rings Risk. Or Python-Opoly (which is, basically, Monty Python & the Holy Grail Monopoly).
As I walked to Border’s today on my lunch break, again in search of DWM #429 (and this time, I proved successful), I began pondering, as I am wont to do.
I have one great issue with the Beatles remasters that came out in 2009 (and we released on iTunes in November).
I feel that they are incomplete.
I love “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” the two reunion singles from 1995 and 1996. I know that many commentators do not; Ian MacDonald, for example, is unmerciful with the two songs in the third (and final) edition of Revolution in the Head, a book I consider to be perhaps the most essential Beatles reference book.
I have long felt that “FAAB” and “Real Love” are treated by fans as curiosities or ephemera, rather than as parts of the canon. I was greatly disappointed that LOVE did not, in some way, incorporate these two songs into its tapestry of Beatles mash-ups. And I think that the reason why it is so easy to treat the two reunion songs as something other is because they really stand alone, as part of a collection of outtakes and live tracks where these two songs don’t really belong.
Imagine, however, if these two songs had been appended to Past Masters in the Beatles remasters. Listeners could segue from “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” into the worlds of “FAAB” and “Real Love,” and the two songs would have a place.
Or… maybe not.
What about the other Beatles single? The one that has never appeared on compact disc?
Which single, you ask?
“The Beatles’ Movie Medley.”
This is the first Beatles mash-up, taking pieces of “Magical Mystery Tour,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “I Should Have Known Better”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Ticket to Ride” and “Get Back.” It was created in 1982 as a single to tie in with the release of Reel Music, a compilation album of tracks from the Beatles’ movies.
It has never been released on CD. It probably never will; the Beatles had no control over their catalog at that point in time, and it was unavailable in the UK because it was considered “tacky.” And yet! It’s a strangely effective “song.”
Imagine if this, too, were immortalized forever on Past Masters. Imagine if it were given a good cleaning-up, perhaps even reassembled from scratch by Giles Martin, slotted into Past Masters between “You Know My Name” and “Free As a Bird.”
I could resequence tracks on my computer, I suppose, but I shouldn’t have to. 😉
I suppose that “The Beatles’ Movie Medley” will remain forever the Beatle equivalent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “How Watson Learned the Trick” or Star Trek: Voyager‘s “Threshold” — something that escaped into the wild, but that no one counts or really even talks about.
I can wish that Past Masters and the Beatles remasters were more complete. Bringing “FAAB” and “Real Love” into the canon would be appreciated, acknowledging “Movie Medley” (or at least, archiving it) would be fun. But Past Masters isn’t complete, and that’s how it shall be.