Hi David et al:
Further on this. I pulled out my copy of Beatles Anthology video last night and watched the Shea
Stadium content, which is at the beginning of Episode 5. I stand by what I've said, that no audio
elements were ever found in the 90's beyond maybe a master mono mix (and I tend to doubt that, I
think the base of the audio used was optical sound from a final release print). This backs up what I
know for a fact about the parts involving my family and also what I was told by someone directly
related to a key participant in the search. Sorry to be vague but that's enough detail for a public
Anyway, what I heard and saw was a clearly well-restored picture, probably digitized and
enhanced/de-noised, along with a mono soundtrack that could be the original optical soundtrack with
some good Abbey Road audio restoration on it or could be a second-generation magnetic dub. It was
definitely NOT a remix of original elements, unless this particular remix was inferior to all others
in the series. It was definitely a mono audio track. To my ears, as in the case of the VHS tape of
the un-restored film that I viewed in the 90's, you can tell when re-recorded content was mixed in
with live-recorded content, and the overall effect very much enhances the audibility and quality of
the program. So I conclude that it's a Good Thing if some print containing just the live concert
sound is lost forever. It's a pity that the magnetic elements from the re-recording are lost also,
and I am pretty confident that they are.
In any case, the content included in "Anthology" was awesome -- the film-making was excellent at
showing just what was going on with the crowd AND the performance. The Beatles sounded great because
they had been able to re-record over flubs and also get a mix that highlighted the excitement of
their playing. The on-site audio recording was good enough to pick up the various comments and
asides and the camera crew got some great shots showing just how the Beatles worked as a live
ensemble in that noise environment (Paul was clearly the "music general" and harmony vocalists stood
right next to each other and looked at each other to stay in tune and time; Ringo was following
Paul's rhythm, which was set by moving the bass on downbeats and also foot-tapping at times; John
and George would stand next to each other and look at each other when they were doing intertwined
guitar runs). In the age of autotune and distracting stage shows designed to draw attention away
from thin and amateurish musicianship, it's quite amazing to see "a club band from Liverpool" play
so well under such conditions. To my ears, most of the rhythm and vocals hitting on-key and on-time
happened in real time and any re-recordings were to augment poor pickups. Harmony vocals were
probably another matter, and there are clearly some guitar runs where the new audio doesn't match
the picture so one can assume the new audio is covering a flub. Ringo's drums were also clearly
re-recorded in spots, the sound is out of beat with his actions on the screen.
If the whole film was restored to this level of quality, it's a crying shame it's not been released
on DVD. Let it stand out there on its own, it's a fine representation of a very exciting night.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Crosthwait" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:39 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Beatles At Shea Stadium...Sound Mixer--Bob Fine?
Your father is mentioned in this article about Shea towards the end.
Ron Furmanek Biography by Dennis Diken
If your name happens to be Ron Furmanek, you take stock of the important sound recordings of the
ages and darn well see to it that they are made available to music fans of the
world at large. And in so doing, you make sure that the best existing source tapes are located and
the greatest of care is employed in the preparation and presentation of this music.
“Back in the fifties , my Dad had the first tape recorder on the block, before anyone knew what they
were. He shot home movies of my brothers and myself and synced up simultaneous
sound recordings of us with the film, This was a big inspiration to me.”
It was in Clifton, New Jersey in 1962 that six year-old Furmanek received his first 45, a copy of
“Return To Sender” by Elvis Presley. By 1980 he was rubbing elbows with Colonel
Tom Parker, consulting on “This Is Elvis,” the first feature film documentary on the life of “The
The name Ron Furmanek is among the most ubiquitous in the world of musical archival restoration. He
is one of the pioneers of compact disc compilations and re-issues,
having produced over 200 CD titles since 1988.
He gave birth to several celebrated CD compilation programs, most notably NIPPER’S GREATEST HITS for
RCA, THE CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES and THE EMI
LEGENDARY MASTERS SERIES. His LES PAUL-THE LEGEND AND THE LEGACY has been nominated for the Grammy.
FRANK SINATRA-THE CAPITOL YEARS is one
of the most definitive and downright classy of all box sets to emerge in this golden age of
re-issues in which we live. He helped to initiate the re-launching of the
Apple catalog after a 20 year interment. We’re scratching the surface here, folks. His work with
film restoration is worthy of another essay, but let’s not get sidetracked.
Furmanek is one of those guys who will not take “no” for an answer. When tape librarians tell him
that a certain master tape does not exist, that is when
Ron gets out the miners’ searchlight hard hat and dig he must.
“Sometimes, all it takes to strike gold is to put on some old work clothes and crawl through some
wrecked, old, dirty tape vaults and not be afraid to get your
hands a little dirty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve popped the tape off of a reel that hasn’t
been played in 35 years.” He has unearthed any number of gems,
including first-time stereo versions of songs (Perry Como’s "Catch a Falling Star",to name one early
artifact) to major artists’ recordings by that were never even rumored to have existed.
The FRANK SINATRA- THE CAPITOL YEARS box (which went gold) offers one particular selection that not
even the staunchest of Sinatra collectors recognized. “We went
through literally thousands of reels of tape and we found a busting Billy May arrangement from 1958
called “Here Goes.” It wasn’t cataloged, it wasn’t indexed. The writer
and publisher are unknown.” Discovering this track was a crowning achievement. Furmanek also
presented a fittingly “saloony” piano/vocal studio “test” version
of “One For My Baby” that would have been erased had the reel been rewound to the top before the
next days’ proper session for the song began.
When Furmanek works on a British artist, he will search tape vaults in Great Britain. “I’m happy to
say that for every album I’ve done, a better tape has not been
found since.” He vies for the stereo mix, whenever possible. But only if it’s good stereo. “I don’t
like that hard left and right separation. If it was recorded that way
to make a mono master later, it really should never be released in it’s raw form.” His main goal
with regards to stereo remixing is to approximate the picture
and punch of the original mono single. If it is possible to improve an existing stereo mix, he will
For the most part, the pratfalls inherent in working with old magnetic analog tape have seemed to
escape Ron in his quest for perfection. “Of all the tapes that I’ve
worked with in all studios across the world, I’ve had trouble with maybe one tape and we had to
resort to baking.” “Baking” requires taking the tired analog source
and exposing it to high temperatures to restructure the oxide onto the compound/backing, usually
allowing only one or two successful playbacks before deterioration
reoccurs. “My work entails sources primarily from the late 40’s through the 60’s. If it was
professionally recorded, chances are the tapes are going to sound great.
There were a few times where I found tape that was completely warped and I had to hold cotton balls
against the tape guides or rig up some cheap device in order to get it to play.”
Working on the Les Paul box set presented Ron with some of his most rewarding moments of his career
thus far. “We fired up Les’ eight track machine, the first one in
existence, and put up some multi-tracks that hadn’t been played in forty years or more, We were
mixing off the master tapes on the same machine and in the same
room they were recorded in! Same console, same EQ. I did all the transfers at his house in Mahwah,
N.J. and then mastered everything at Capitol in LA. I sent him a
DAT and he went nuts. He said he never heard his stuff sound so good. He was blown away.” Here is a
compliment not to be taken lightly, considering it
hailed from the father of modern recording.
Record collectors are notoriously a finicky bunch, They, as well as plain ol’ music fans have heaped
praise on the Furmanek body of work. It has been noted by many
such listeners that the CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES and the EMI LEGENDARY MASTERS SERIES have set
sonic and packaging standards for the CD re-issue world.
“Back in ’87 I went to Ron McCarrell at Capitol and proposed a series to replace the shoddy ten or
fifteen track compilations they were issuing when compact discs were a new thing.
The idea was to do definitive artist retrospectives with 20 or more tracks each, quality liner notes
and layouts with ample archival visuals including utilizing correct
period label designs printed on the face (of the disc) and sell them at a bargain price. We did
“Best Ofs” on some artists that never had such releases on vinyl (these
include the Outsiders, Esquerita, Jack Scott, the Honeys, the Journeymen and others). Altogether, we
did about 50 titles. About half of them are still in print.”
In particular the Dean Martin Collectors Series, a Gold record, remains a very popular seller.
Furmanek likes to keep his comps lively and fun. “I like to offer people something special on every
CD I do, be it studio chatter, radio commercials, hidden tracks,
interviews, unreleased songs, first-time stereo, countoffs, longer fades, instrumental tracks, label
artwork. I don’t rush these things out. I try to do them right.”
Ron Furmanek has been long regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the Beatles’ recorded and
film and video history. His first “official” gig regarding to the group
dates back to research and consulting work for Capitol’s vinyl-only releases THE BEATLES RARITIES
of 1980 (an album that won in-print praise from John Lennon) and
1982’s REEL MUSIC. Recognizing the scope of Ron’s insight, Apple called on him to restore the
Beatles’ film archive. Since 1987 he has color corrected the visuals and
remixed the audio (when applicable) on all of the Fabs’ promotional films, THE BEATLES LIVE AT THE
WASHINGTON COLISEUM, THE BEATLES AT
SHEA STADIUM, LET IT BE, and MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.
With all of the “Anthology” hubbub and interest in the group’s recording history spurned by Mark
Lewisohn’s exhaustive tome THE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS,
it sometimes gets overlooked that three songs were completely remixed from the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
soundtrack. These versions may only be found on the video
edition of the Beatles’ “home movie” of 1967. The remix session, held at Abbey Road Studios in
London in 1988 was presided over by George Martin - and Ron Furmanek.
Martin’s recollection of all the strange phasing and psychedelic trappings of the production of one
song in particular, proved to be a bit murky. “There we were, we just
painstakingly synced up three four tracks of “Blue Jay Way” so I could create a nice stereo mix for
the video. George set up a mix, but it really wasn’t what I wanted,
basically, he turned the chair over to me. The film version of the song was the mono version that
was on the record. Now you have the mono film version re-created
with all the detail exactly in stereo.” The other remixed tracks for the movie are the title song
and “Your Mother Should Know”
THE BEATLES AT SHEA STADIUM, the television special of a live concert filmed at the New York Mets
ballpark in August 1965 posed some challenges for Furmanek.
“It took some searching, but ultimately we located the gentleman who worked for Bob Fine, the
original on-site recording engineer for the concert. His assistant was
the guy who left SHEA with the tapes that night and took them home after the project was completed.
They were in his basement for 20 years. Fortunately, he lived
in South Jersey!” Despite the overwhelming scream factor on the tapes, a true stereo mix of the
nights’ entire performance was made and will be featured on the
soundtrack when it is unleashed to the world (some of the restored SHEA footage appears in the
BEATLES ANTHOLOGY video - the entire Special rests solidly in the
can along with LET IT BE, awaiting release). In the process, Ron found two audio-only out-takes from
SHEA. When he remixed the show, he also tackled the newfound
numbers, “She’s A Woman” and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” figuring they might come in handy
at a future date. The latter of the two wound up on THE
BEATLES ANTHOLOGY VOLUME TWO compact disc. For some reason, the master was squashed to mono, “That
wasn’t my call,” says Furmanek.
The Beatles legendary APPLE RECORDS catalog had been out of print for nearly 20 years until 1992
when Furmanek oversaw the CD debut of albums by Badfinger
(including BEST OF BADFINGER, the first “new” release on the label since the time of its demise),
Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston, James Taylor, The Radha Krishna
Temple, Doris Troy and others, as well as several Beatles’ solo efforts. More activity is planned,
including the issuing of a BEST OF APPLE and a various artist RARITIES package.
We can recognize the mark of a producer of compilations and re-issues when one of his works becomes
reissued! Several deleted Furmanek-produced titles
have been already licensed as a complete entity to other labels!
For some, hearing the actual session for a favorite record might help to dispel the youthful myth
that their revered magical musical moments spontaneously
combusted as the Gods sprinkled fairy dust through the heavens to lowly mortals on this bitter
earth. For Ron Furmanek, the revelation only heightens the enjoyment.
“I didn’t know what a multi-track tape was when I was eight years old. I’m honored to be working
with this great stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that
you’re actually holding a tape in your hand and you can say “I bought this record when it came out.”
On May 30, 2012, at 6:24 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
> Hi Rod:
> That was indeed my dad. Can you tell me what release of the concert you viewed? Is it out on DVD?
> How was the sound? I ask because there was a search for sound elements in the 90s and we came
> tantalizingly close to something but it turned out to have been bulk-erased. I admit never seeing
> anything but a poor-quality VHS circulated as a re-issue was being undertaken in the 90's.
> Here's a little history, told to me when I was a kid just discovering the Beatles so I might not
> be 100% accurate in my memory.
> The concert was indeed filmed on-site with the PA system unable to bust through that wall of sound
> of the fans! The resultant sound recording was a mess, no mic was directional enough not to be
> overwhelmed by the crowd noise. My father re-recorded the Beatles lip-syncing and re-playing their
> instruments over the film and then mixed that with the live sound.
> Alas, the studio magnetic films were lost as of when a search was underway in the 90's. It's great
> if any elements were eventually found. Masters of everything were turned over to the client at the
> time, as needed for further processing and preparation for broadcast. As of the 90's, the only
> elements intact were mono master mixes, maybe only optical prints. Not to beat a dead horse, but
> those re-recordings were done on magnetic film and, I was told, the base elements were 3-channel
> and could have been remixed to something approaching "stereo" or "surround."
> It's not clear to me where the recordings took place. Bob Eberenz specifically remembered my
> father going over to England to do it, but my mother specifically remembered it taking place at
> Fine Recording in Manhattan. I don't know if someone has dug into the Beatles' date books or
> travel calendars to know the exact details of this. If it was done at Fine Recording, it's highly
> likely that my father would have worked in 3-track because the studio was set up for that and you
> could lock things up easiest that way. Probably the field recording would be dubbed onto one track
> as the Beatles' new performances were recorded onto the other two, probably vocals on one track
> and music on the other to allow for easy final mixing. Remember that film recorders of that era
> didn't have "overdub" capabilities, although you could just use separate dubbers to build tracks
> as you liked. You'd be using sprocketed media so as to lock up to the picture, which is what the
> Beatles would be using as their reference. I doubt any consideration would have gone to an end
> result other than mono, since this was a TV special. I might be wrong, but I think Ed Sullivan's
> company was behind the whole thing.
> My father got the Beatles to sign autographs for my two older brothers, but I wasn't a twinkle in
> his eye yet, so I missed out. He said the Beatles were very professional and pulled off the
> lip-syncing quickly and well, and were able to laser-focus despite what you can imagine was
> swirling around them at the time. Enough of a connection was made between him and the Beatles'
> people that he later worked on the multi-channel mix for George Harrison's "Concert for
> Bangladesh" movie and also the John Lennon concert at Madison Square Garden that was filmed either
> for TV or movie release in the early 70's. One of my older brothers remembers briefly meeting
> George Harrison at Reeves Cinetel during the mixing of Concert For Bangladesh. By the time I
> discovered the Beatles in the late 70s, this was in the past, but my father did specifically
> praise them as creative and skilled musicians and said they were easy to work with, and called
> them "true professionals." When I brought home "The Beatles At the Hollywood Bowl" right when it
> came out, he took one listen and gave me a "been there done that" look.
> For those not alive when the Beatles hit America, myself included, it's hard to imagine the
> excitement and cultural impact on the youth. I suppose Michael Jackson was a huge thing when I was
> a teen, but his star power was confined to the worlds of radio play and MTV. The Beatles were
> everywhere at once and I don't recall girls of my generation going nuts and screaming over
> anything like 1964-65 teenage girls did with just a look at the Beatles. There might be a certain
> age of white girls who went that nuts over Britaney Spears and then Hannah Montanna, but that was
> only a segment of the teen population.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "rod smear" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:27 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Beatles At Shea Stadium...Sound Mixer--Bob Fine?
>> Hi. I've just recently viewed The Beatles At Shea Stadium concert again, and have noticed that
>> the Sound Mixer credit goes to Bob Fine. Could this be any relation to our own Tom Fine? Just
>> wondering. I'm guessing that this is the first ever rock concert to be held in a sports stadium
>> with 50,000 + screaming fans? Quite an undertaking I would assume.
>> Rod Smear