YouTube link added 02.09.09
11:11 PM, Sunday, February 15th, 2004:
The internet rules. Sharing ideas is the backbone of our society and the internet (and computers in general) allows you to do it so well and so fast that it has turned into another form of entertainment unto itself. Mind-boggling what the future will hold because of it.
So last year Jay-Z releases his supposedly final album "The Black Album" 35 years after my favorite album of all time, The Beatles White Album. He also released versions of every song a capella allowing DJ's to remix their own beats and whatnot to his vocals. So a certain "DJ - Danger Mouse" took The White Album, remixed it with The Black of course make The Grey Album. It's some gotta be the most creative (and illegal) use of The Beatles Music I've ever heard.
He pressed 3,000 copies of it for promotional use only and it got quite a bit of press. I first heard a clip of it on MTV News and went searching for it in vain through various search engines. Apparently Capitol Records had no problem as they found them and immediately issued the old cease and desist. As I talk about cease and desist orders fairly often in my entries, I thought I'd let you see what they actually look like. This is what DJ - Danger Mouse received from EMI a few days ago:
Jeff Lowenberg
Vice President Operations/Designated Agent
Everyone's Internet
2600 Southwest Freeway, Suite 500
Houston, TX 77098
Re: Unauthorized Use of Sound Recordings Performed by the Beatles
Dear Mr. Lowenberg:
It has come to our attention that Andrew Baio is currently exploiting sound recordings that are owned and/or controlled by Capitol Records, Inc. ("Capitol"). In particular, it appears that Mr. Baio is using, without authorization, on his website,, (the "Website"), copies of sound recordings embodying performances of the Beatles, including but not limited to recordings of "Long, Long, Long," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Glass Onion," "Savoy Truffle," "Mother Nature's Son," "Helter Skelter," "Julia," "Happiness is Warm Gun," "Piggies," "Dear Prudence," "Rocky Raccoon," "Revolution 1," "Revolution 9," "I'm So Tired," and "Cry Baby Cry" (the "Capitol Recordings").
Andrew Baio's unauthorized exploitation of the Capitol Recordings constitutes copyright infringement, and renders Andrew Baio, and any other company engaged in the unauthorized exploitation of the Capitol Recordings with Andrew Baio, liable for all of the remedies provided by the relevant laws occasioned by Andrew Baio's unfair competition and dilution of our valuable property.
I am the agent authorized to act on behalf of Capitol, the complaining party. It is our understanding that Everyone's Internet, Inc. is the Internet Service Provider for Andrew Baio and the Website, and as such, you are the authorized agent for service of this notice in accord with The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, 17 U.S.C. ? 512 et seq. (the "DMCA Notice") for Everyone's Internet, Inc.
We request that following your investigation of this matter you provide us full remedy under the DMCA Notice requirement, including but not limited to, expeditiously removing or disabling access to our copyrighted material. Unless we receive full and immediate compliance with this demand within a reasonable amount of time, we will be forced to consider pursuing our other remedies at law and in equity.
This letter is written without prejudice to any of our rights or remedies, all of which are expressly reserved herein.
By placing my signature herein, I state under penalty of perjury that the information contained in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right of the Copyright alleged to be infringed.
/S/: Jonathan Campbell
This electronic signature is made and adopted with the intent to authenticate this written agreement.
Jonathan H. Campbell
Legal and Business Affairs
EMI Recorded Music, North America
150 Fifth Avenue
11th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Basically saying if you produce one more of these discs we will summon the ghosts of John and George and go medievel on your ass. Because only 3,000 discs were made, that's about as far as this will go assuming they don't press anymore copies. You obey this order by all means. Of course since this is the internet age those 3,000 copies will reach millions...
...and Friday afternoon, Mr. Darrick Jordan (of Watterson Highschool Football fame), gave me a link to a site that was putting the songs up for the weekend and then taking them down for fear of repercussions. It was was the fastest connection. In 10 minutes I had downloaded all 12 songs, burned them to CD and was playin' em in my living room. It was a rush.
The result? Hit and miss. The remixes are almost all pretty creative but I'm not the biggest fan of Jay-Z's lyrical stylings. His productions are usually pretty good, but of course here that doesn't come into play. He just doesn't seem to have the perfectionist drive in writing that of course Eminem has. I swear people will never know how good Eminem is.
The most amazing thing about the songs is every single musical sound is from The White Album. It sounds like they put modern beats over parts of the songs, but in fact Danger Mouse sampleD actual snares and kicks from The White Album and put it ALL together. It becomes a totally different feel YET with familiar emotions attached to songs we've loved for years. Track #3 is called Encore and the opening part is to Lennon's "Oh Yeah" from Glass Onion looped. It creates a feel you can't imagine. You've never heard Glass Onion the way this DJ has. What I'd love to hear is true original lyrics put to these beats, because many of these songs just don't fit. Meaning had Jay-Z heard these backgrounds in his cans when he was performing it he would've attacked it differently.
The one great exception is Track #4, "Mother Nature's Son" which is on the second half of the video I made.  It's a song Jay-Z wrote for his mom and the background is just brilliantly matched to it. Tracks 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8 stood out the most for those of you who have the songs too (and I'm sure as hell not posting them). The end of the last track is cool because he mixes Savoy Truffle and "Can you take me back" (an uncredited song that Paul started singing a verse from during the session) together and it matches perfectly but Jay-Z just keeps talking over the whole damn thing. Sucks.
It's wild because I used the "Can you take me back" melody in a song that I never released called "Ordinary Day" for the "Hearing My Thoughts" CD. Crazy huh?
Lotsa Beatles fans are spammin' message boards with all this hate for DJ - Danger Mouse who has defiled the good name of The Beatles...whatever people. He ain't sellin' NIKE SHOES. He's just messin' around and being creative. I would love it if there was a project that remixed whole Beatles albums in this style without the rapping. So many people look at the whole sampling/remixing thing as the talentless stealing from the talented. In some cases, ahem puffy, that may be true - but it's also a way of honoring music that moves you. This guy heard all these rhythms and movements in the song that The Beatles never dreamed of and he re-mixed it into an art piece. It's a joy to express yourself that way as an artist, just as it's a joy to experience it as a spectator. I wish people could just pay their royalties, give The Beatles a cut and release this stuff. Unfortunately that will never, ever happen with The Beatles. They are an institution and will be for thousands of years. Those voices, those chords, those recordings will never be sanctioned by their estates to be "re-done" in this way and that's too bad. No one would ever mistake this as something The Beatles did, so I'm not sure what it truly tarnishes.
It's amazing now that I think of it. Re-mixing is illegal. You can't just pay royalties, you have to get permission from the artist. That's almost saying the person creating the "new art" is completely talentless. Now in the art world, that's not the case. If someone took apart a Rubik's cube, glued it to a fire hydrant wrapped in Hershey Bar wrappers and called it Scrotum you could sell that. You wouldn't get sued by Hershey. That's art! But remix and re-layer a song, or even make an artsy cut of a film and try and sell that it's completely illegal. I wonder why. Maybe because the Rubik's Cube is being used for something other than it's intended use? That makes it ok? You're still re-selling it though. Interesting.
Anyway (man my tangents are weird), the internet has changed the world. Someone can make "The Grey Album" and at least touch a few people. Someone can take Jar-Jar Binks out of Episode 1 and give everyone a few laughs. It's like renegade art. You have to sneak around the lawyers while you basically draw a mustache on a picture of the president. Ever see that picture of Mona Lisa where when you hit the spacebar her boobs pop-out? I mean would Da Vinci REALLY have wanted compensation for the destruction of his good name? Makes you wonder. He'd probably just be pissed you knew the big secret of "the smile"...
Anyway, enjoy the video. If you really want the 12 songs, they're easily found on most filesharing programs. Let me know what you think.