How’s it rolling? This is your conductor here with you on this episode of Out of Order where we cover Carnival of Light. For some needed context, this was an unreleased track produced by none other then the Beatles. Ever since it’s performance it has been lost and, in a sense, covered up by the band. However, their fans have remained fascinated with this mysterious piece and its whereabouts. As we cover the complete history and mystery of Carnival of Light, I suggest sit back and feel open to join in with your own thoughts on this recording. Let’s get this show on the road!
The conspiracy began in December 1966, and the Beatles had recently made headlines with their delve into more of a pop style with the album Revolver that had been released earlier that year. Designer David Vaughn of the artist crew Binder, Edwards,and Vaughn finished work on a psychedelic design for Paul McCarthy’s piano. They asked him if the Beatles could perhaps produce a individual work to be featured at the “Million Volt Light and Sound Rave” , and much to their own astonishment Paul agreed. In January, the four members of the Beatles had recorded a cacophony of sounds that was assumed to be around 14 minutes in length, and became Carnival of Light.
To describe the myriad of tones and rings and dings that are present in the piece itself would prove confusing to be sure, but I’ll do my best. The song wasn’t written, it was more initiated by Paul. The opening focused mainly on a drum track, and later on a discord of Native American war cries, genuine coughs, background conversation, whistling and more. In the additional words of Barry Miles, a biologist friend of Paul:
The Tape has no rhythm, though a best is sometimes established by a few bars for 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… The basic track was recorded slow that some of the drums and organ were very deep… John (Lennon) and Paul (McCarthy) help with massive amounts of reverb on their voices… It most resembles ‘The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet ‘Barry Miles, era 1997
We’ll return with Carnival of Light after these quick messages…
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This is where things get strange. The Carnival of Light track premiered at the Roundhouse theater in London, although none of the Beatles actually attended. From the few that were there, some downright despised the piece, while others didn’t find it very memorable. But the fellow who started the campaign, Paul McCartney, was still proud of the work. He has, for many years from then on, attempted on various occasions to publicize Carnival of Light. The first known attempt was for it to be included as a bonus feature on the Anthology 2 album. In the end, the remaining trio of Beatles voted against its inclusion. Paul didn’t give up hopes though, and wanted to make it the main theme for a Beatles photo collage film he had been working on that was similar to the Grateful Dead slideshow he also did. Ultimately, the film was from my knowledge shelved.
Beatles fans were losing faith in the sought-out track ever being released. Many of them resorted to taking prior information on the song and recreating it. Some claim to be the original, but you could easily call this bluff by arguing if it was the actual tape Beatles lawyers and such would have already taken the uploads down. In 2016, these people had found a light in the cavern regarding the release of a deluxe 50th anniversary edition of the band’s staple album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. According to Giles Martin, who was overseeing the new Sgt. Peppers remix:
It wasn’t part of the Sgt. Peppers recording. It’s a very different thing. I hope we can do something interesting with that at some point… But it wasn’t really part of the Sgt. Peppers album.Giles Martin, era 2017
This all comes to a dead end as of the current year of this episode’s release. Paul himself claims to have the full, original tape of Carnival of Light, although something leaves me to conclude that he’s just waiting for a good time. As said above, Martin is additionally down for releasing the track. The issue here for them is that Carnival of Light is just so obscure and sticks out from all of the band’s other music that they don’t know what to do with it. The perfect opportunity hasn’t come to them yet, but let’s hope soon it will. Until then, make sure to wash your hands, eat healthier, and stay cool. Close me out, Carnival of Light recreation!
~ Transmission Disconnected ~
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Thank you for tuning in!
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5 thoughts on “CARNIVAL OF LIGHT: The Unreleased Beatles Experiment Album | (Out of Order) Lost Media File”
I don’t know why the others fight Paul on this one. It was the sixties…people were experimenting with different things. It’s not a great piece of work I’m sure but so what? I look at it as a time capsule of the time. I wish they would just release it in some form.
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I agree. Couldn’t find any sources saying why the other Beatles didn’t want it released. Bummer.
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Interesting read, Gavin! ☺ Keep on keepin’ on. My commenting skills are off today, sorry. 😀 My mind is blank and shot, but your posts are definitely interesting to read. You eat healthy and stay cool too.
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It would be great if Paul was waiting for the right time. Even better if the time was near:) Great work Gavin!
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Yeah, just gotta cross our fingers and dream! Thank you for stopping by, Mark 😁
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