Forty years on, McCartney wants the world to hear 'lost' Beatles epic - Guardian U.K.
According to The Guardian: It does exist,' McCartney says on a BBC Radio 4 arts programme to be broadcast this week. Talking to John Wilson, the presenter of Front Row, the former Beatle confirms that he still has a master tape of the work and says he suspects that 'the time has come for it to get its moment'.
This is fantastic news for any Beatles fans interested in the Beatles Mystery. In fact, if I were planning to release this legendary piece of avant-garde music from the biggest pop group of all time, I would probably start a viral campaign on YouTube a couple of years before the issue.
According to "The Complete Beatles Chronicle" by Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles compiled an effects tape the evening of January 5, 1967, just after he had done a vocal overdub on "Penny Lane." The resulting track, which was credited to "Paul McCartney and Delta Music Plus," was played on both January 28 and February 4 at the Roundhouse in London. The track clocked in at 13 minutes 48 seconds. Lewisohn describes it as a "combination of a one-take basic track plus numerous overdubs, so that by its end it included distorted, hypnotic drum and organ sounds, a distorted lead guitar, the sound of a church organ, various effects (water-gargling was one) and, perhaps most intimidating of all, John and Paul screaming dementedly and bawling aloud random phrases like "Are you alright?" and "Barcelona!" No one ever explained the identity of "Delta Music Plus."
Paul didn't say too much about the piece in "Many Years From Now" other than it preceded "Revolution 9" by about eighteen months. Miles described it this way: "The tape has no rhythm, though a beat is sometimes established for a few bars by the percussion or a rhythmic pounding on the piano. There is no melody, though snatches of a tune sometimes threaten to break through. The Beatles make literally random sounds, although they sometimes respond to each other; for instance, a burst of organ notes answered by a rattle of percussion. The basic track was recorded slow so that some of the drums and organ were very deep and sonorous, like the bass notes of a cathedral organ. Much of it is echoed and it is often hard to tell if you are listening to a slowed-down cymbal or a tubular bell. John and Paul yell with massive amounts of reverb on their voices, there are Indian war cries, whistling, close-miked gasping, genuine coughing and fragments of studio conversation, ending with Paul asking, with echo, 'Can we hear it back now?'"
Apollo C. Vermouth mentioned "Carnival of Light" in a post to TKIN about the importance of getting permission to include Karlheinz Stockhausen's picture on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Apollo wrote:
If Lewis Carrol influenced Lennon's writing style, Stockhausen opened new doors for John's musical ideas.
Stockhausen's "Hymnen" was the total inspiration for John's "Revolution #9", and influenced Paul's "Carnival of Light" as well.
The Beatles were frantic in getting Stockhausen"s permission to include him on the "Sgt. Pepper" cover. Having sent a telegram on the first day of May that went unanswered, Epstein sent yet another urgent telegram on the 8th to get him on the cover to assure the projected release date.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Some people may believe that they have heard part of "Carnival of Light," but they are most likely mistaken. There was a brief track that went around trading circles in the year 2000, which was supposedly a fragment from "Carnival of Light." Wikipedia reported that it was actually just a "phony bootleg." Not surprisingly, a snippet of the phony track appeared in Rotten Apple 28.
Somebody even went as far as to create a phony record label for the never heard track.
We were also teased about this very possibility in October of last year when Paul McCartney played his gig at the Roundhouse in London, site of the original rave. Let us hope that we soon get to hear this missing link in Beatles history.