McCartney wants to release Beatles' "Carnival of Light"

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.

5 thoughts on “McCartney wants to release Beatles' "Carnival of Light"”

  1. It can’t be easy to live in John’s intellectual shadow all these years, but it does smack of desperation sometimes.

    Paul should just point the haters to “Helter Skelter” and tell them to eat it.

  2. How exactly does Paul manage to “live in John’s intellectual shadow“? You mean because Paul wote silly love songs and Lennon wrote such deep, thought provoking statements as “Give Peace a Chance” and that bottomless well of philosophical wisdom known as “Imagine”? Give me a break.

    Fact: they were all suburban dads (Lennon, Ringo) and homebodies (George) when Paul was out and about experiencing swinging ’60s London in all of its manifestations. If I were Paul, I too would be miffed by the continuing propagation of the one dimensional caricature/stereotype he’s been saddled with for the last 40+ years.

    Then again, I would also be the richest and greatest pop songwriter in history, so…

  3. Lennon was famous for being an awesome, involved suburban dad. Just ask Julian and Cynthia!

    But you hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. Why is Paul so insecure about his avant-garde credibility? What the fuck does he care whether housewives in America think he’s clever or just cute? Avant-garde, as John famously quipped, is “French for bullshit” after all…

  4. Kiko, I’m not saying whether it’s deserved or not but I think there’s little argument about who is widely considered the “intellectual” Beatle.

    Relax, man, I am no Paul hater.

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