According to an interview on BBC Radio 4, Paul McCartney wants world to hear ‘lost’ Beatles epic, “Carnival of Light,” a 13-minute, 48-second track recorded on January 5, 1967:
The piece was inspired, McCartney says, by the works of composers John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In his book Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, author Mark Lewisohn – who was played the track in 1987 – describes ‘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, Lennon and McCartney screaming and bawling random phrases including “Are you all right?” and ‘”Barcelona!”.’
Beatles fans came close to hearing ‘Carnival Of Light’ in 1996 when it was considered for inclusion in the exhaustive Anthology compilation. ‘We were listening to everything we’d every recorded,’ McCartney says. ‘I said it would be great to put this on because it would show we were working with really avant-garde stuff … But it was vetoed. The guys didn’t like the idea, like “this is rubbish”.’
More info. Could be interesting, but it’s funny that George and Ringo blew it off as rubbish. And isn’t it kind of sad that Paul McCartney has to try so hard to prove that he was all arty too? Yeah yeah yeah, Paul, we know: you were into Magritte before the rest of the guys. Whatever. You’ll always be the Cute One. Deal with it.
Million Volt Light and Sound Rave flyer:
Image courtesy of Delia Derbyshire.