In November a 6CD/Blu-ray box will be released on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the release of "The Beatles", commonly known as the White Album. As with the 50th Anniversary Edition of "Sgt. Pepper", the son of Beatles producer George Martin sat at the controls. Giles Martin not only gave the White Album a new sound, but also digged deep into the archives. We talked to the mastermind behind the Beatles-Reissues about his work on the mammoth project.
At the centre of the "White Album" box are the legendary "Esher Demos", a kind of unplugged version of the record, which have been circulating for years as lousy sounding bootlegs and now for the first time shine in real splendour. But also officially unreleased songs like "Circles" or "Child Of Nature" can be found in the box. Giles Martin (49), an uncomplicated, sometimes sympathetically talked-about contemporary, is happy to provide information about this new treasure on the phone.
eclipsed: How did the project come about?
Giles Martin: We did the remix and the box for the anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper" in 2017. I was very nervous but it was very well received and the fans understood why we did it. Then it was the White Album's birthday. Although we had started working on the project a long time ago, we did not confirm this for a long time. We wanted to see if anything substantial came out of it first. Suddenly we came across the "Esher Demos" and noticed that we were holding something really interesting in our hands. Only then did we decide to publish the whole thing. We don't do anything just to hook it up.
eclipsed: The "Esher Demos" sound like an unplugged version of the White Album.
Martin: In the case of the "Esher Demos" it was like everyone around me was talking about it, but as always I had no idea what they meant. (laughs) So they sent me these terribly bad recordings, and I just said, "They sound terrible. I got the answer: Well, it's bootlegs.
eclipsed: Still, you went to work.
Martin: I knew that I had heard these tapes somewhere before in much better quality than I had done "Living In The Material World" with Olivia Harrison, the documentary about George. She let me rummage through his archives at the time, so I knew the recordings were there, they were just not called "Esher Demos", but "Beatles 1", "Beatles 2" and so on. So I called Olivia and asked if we could have her. To tell the story of the White Album, they're just great.
eclipsed: Does that mean that there is more unreleased Beatles material that isn't stored at Abbey Road Studios?
Martin: Sometimes it's a coincidence to discover something, but of course all the studio session tapes are in Abbey Road. So I don't have to drive around the country asking people for tapes. But since these demos were not recorded there, they were not stored there either. Things that weren't recorded on Abbey Road are getting harder to find.