Well this took us by surprise. A couple of days ago a guy posted his recording of the Liverpool Empire concert as televised on the BBC on December 22nd 1963.
As you probably know, the full video no longer exists, and what does of it I uploaded at Christmas in full quality. But here we have the best audio recording of the broadcast thus far. And there have been many!
- The 70s vinyl boot "December 1963" featured the debut appearance of this concert - in terrible quality! Recorded six feet away from the tv set by a guy holding a mic. It came with bonus sounds of the family having dinner in the background.
- Fast forward to the mid 2000s and someone uploaded a version to youtube. It was a line recording, but was plagued by speed problems, phasing and loud clicks and youtube's terrible audio quality at that time. Later released on Unicorn.
- A few years later another line recording was unearthed, this one better quality but incomplete and missing all the verbal introductions plus three songs. I cobbled together parts of this and the Unicorn version for The Beatles BBC Archives: BBC Beatles Night.
Now we have this version, which is far and away the best one so far. It's a line recording, and is complete from start to finish, including the announcer continuity at the end! Not that it doesn't have some problems, but these I have been able to address:
- Tape runs too slow. Well, that is easy to fix using the video as a reference.
- Stereo playback head azimuth not right. This is easy to fix too with digital technology. I then folded down to mono.
- Mains hum. Easy to remove with a notch in the spectrum.
- Dull sound. I applied some EQ to make it sound the same as the video, which it does to some extent but with a little less treble and bass and more hiss.
- Bursts of static. TV audio in 1963 Britain was amplitude modulation and like AM radios was highly succeptible to interference. Where these occur I replaced the audio briefly with the previous version. Hopefully you won't notice.
I've divided it up into tracks that correspond to what I did on the BBC Beatles Night cd, so you can either leave them as they are or retag them and port them over to that cd.
Cover art is by smallfaces. Thankyou Jeem.
Thanks to Jeremy Hoare for unknowingly risking his life to bring us this recording. TVs had what was called a "hot chassis" in 1963, so poking around inside a tv set gave you about a 50-50 chance of electrocution. As many ambitious but now deceased budding home recordists would attest.
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