Carnival Of Light 1

Lost Beatle Track Unearthed!
By Mark Ellen

Deep-end Beatles obsessives like myself have lost a fair amount of sleep over the years fantasing about the possible existence of Carnival Of Light, the highly legendary "lost" Fabs outtake. Although no-one has ever heard it - it remains intruigingly unbootlegged - the song merits a fairly substantial footnote in Ian Macdonald's stupendous "Revolution In The Head" and was even logged in the Abbey Road session notes as having been taped in Studio 2 on January 5 1967, smack in the middle of several attempts to nail down Penny Lane. But no Beatle, to my knowledge, has ever gone on record to offer any official insight. Until now!

I was interviewing McCartney this week in his London office - where the album collection, incidentally, includes "The Vocal Selections Of Fats Domino" and the musical "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" - and was at that point of the encounter where you're almost being physically dragged out of the door as there's another interviewer waiting in the wings, and I decided to pop the all-important question. And managed to solicit the following for Rocking Vicar who, I rather suspect, are the sole community of individuals on God's earth who might be genuinely interested. Here follows what may well be the first parish world exclusive!

RockingVicar: Just one last question - "Carnival Of Light," does it actually exist?

Paul McCartney: It does exist, yeah. We recorded it in about fifteen minutes. It's very avant garde - as George would say 'avant garde a clue' - and George did not like it 'cos he doesn't like avant garde music .

RV: Who wrote it?

PM: It's officially me. I instigated it. No there's no lyrics, it's avant garde music. You would class it as ... well you wouldn't class it actually, but it would come in the Stockhausen/John Cage bracket ... John Cage would be the nearest . It's very free-form. Yeah man, it's the coolest piece of music since sliced bread!

RV: This is early '67?

PM: I was asked about '67 to do it by Barry Miles - you know, who did my book Many Years From Now - and he asked me to do it for this event at The Roundhouse called Carnival Of Light, so that's how it got its title. And he asked me to write a fifteen to twenty minute piece, and I was into that kind of thing, not on record with The Beatles, but just for that. I went into the studio and said to the guys, Look we've got half an hour before the session officially starts, would you mind terribly if I did this thing?

RV: So this is with the other Beatles?

PM: With the other Beatles. This is a Beatle record. And they all just fell in with the spirit of it and I just said, Would you go on that and would you stay on that and would you be on that and we'll just take twenty minutes to do it in real time? And they all just got into it.

RV: Why don't you release it?

PM: I actually have a project I would like ... I'm involved ... One of the many things I did, I did a thing called The Grateful Dead Photo Film, using Linda's snapshots and making them move, dissolving between them and making them into a film, a short art film, which I showed at festivals and things. And I'm actually in the process - although everything else and its uncle is holding it up - but I've got a Beatles photo film on the go and I would love to use it as part of the soundtrack of that.

RV: There was a rumour it was going to come out on Anthology. What happened with that?

PM: It was up for consideration on The Anthology and George vetoed it. He didn't like it. Maybe its time hadn't come.

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