Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The relocation of the Abbey Road zebra crossing


Or the relocation that never happened. According to this BBC news report from December 2010, "The original zebra crossing, where the photograph was taken, was moved several metres for traffic management reasons more than 30 years ago, and no original features remain." 
"A spokesman for Westminster City Council said: "The detail of exactly when and why the crossing was moved from its original location have been lost in the annals of time." 
"But by comparing photographs with the Ordnance Survey maps, we believe that the crossing might have been further north nearer 3 Abbey Road, which was the front house of the EMI Studios, because the steps of Neville Court appear to the right of the crossing in original photographs of the crossing, whereas the present crossing is near the junction of Abbey Road and Grove End Road." 

I beg to differ.
Click on the photo for a closer view

The famous Abbey Road zebra crossing was never relocated. I talked about it with Richard Porter on location a few months ago, and he showed me a mark in the pavement which was also clearly present in one of the original photos which he had brought along. Richard is famous for Beatles fans visiting London, having conducted his guided Beatles walks in the city since the eighties. Here's Richard depicted with a remaining old style Abbey Road wall sign.




So it's clearly just a remark from a non-obsessive person who has seen too few photos from the day misinterpreting the differences in perspective.
Anyway, it's a good opportunity for me to post a few more Abbey Road photos! And you can see that the various perspectives can fool the non-obsessive eye...

The Beatles' point of view
2000ish: With a blue beetle but strangely without those annoying zig zag lines
The black streetlight pole has been moved closer to the corner
Back then it was grey, thicker and closer to the crossing.
Margaret Thatcher, 1990
Paul McCartney, 1993

McCartney's Montevideo video

The final hour of McCartney's concert in Montevideo was shown on TV, and only in the cities of Rivera and Maldonado.
Here's that final hour, as upped on YouTube, but © 2012 Paul McCartney.

 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Our World complete

Our World complete, upped by Alexandra Palace Television Society. Previously unbooted Beatles rehearsal at 5:20, the performance of "All You Need Is Love" starts at 1:17:30.
 
Our World was the first live, international, satellite television production, which was broadcast on 25 June 1967. Creative artists, including opera singer Maria Callas, The Beatles and painter Pablo Picasso, representing nineteen different nations were invited to perform or appear in separate segments featuring their respective countries. The two-and-half-hour event had the largest television audience ever up to that date: an estimated 400 million people around the globe watched the broadcast. Today, it is most famous for the segment from the United Kingdom starring The Beatles. They sang their specially composed song "All You Need Is Love". In the documentary series "Beatles Anthology", the three then surviving members of the band and their producer George Martin couldn't agree between themselves whether the song was composed especially for the occasion or if it was one they had lying around. However, contemporary inside reports from 1967 indicate that there was a competition between Paul McCartney and John Lennon about who would come up with an appropriate song for the event, and John won. Paul's attempt was supposedly  "Hello Goodbye".
For the broadcast, The Beatles were (except for Ringo) seated on stools, accompanied by a small studio orchestra. They were surrounded by friends and acquaintances seated on the floor, many of whom were among the leading stars of the British pop scene, who sang with the refrain during the fade-out. The performance was not completely live: The Beatles, the orchestra, and guests were overdubbing onto a pre-recorded rhythm track mainly consisting of piano, harpsichord, drums, and backing vocals. The full Our World segment opens with the band and company listening to the raw backing track, as commentator Steve Race explained the process in voiceover. The live overdubs seem to include not only lead vocals, orchestra, and the improvised call-and-response, but also bass guitar, Harrison's guitar solo, and a second drum track — which seems to go out of time with the original track during the first few bars. At the beginning of the song, under "La Marseillaise," a tambourine is shaken, but this was mixed out and replaced with a drum roll before the single was released. Lennon, affecting indifference, was said to be nervous about the broadcast, given the potential size of the international TV audience. Dissatisfied with his singing, he re-recorded the solo verses for use on the single. Starr also overdubbed drums before the single was released, fixing the aforementioned timing problems and adding the drum roll. In the orchestral ending, you can hear pieces of both "Greensleeves," a Bach two-part invention (by George Martin) and Glen Miller's "In The Mood." Glen Miller's estate had to sue the Beatles over the use of "In the Mood", for backdated royalties. The song had never been cleared and properly credited.


Broadcast and also filmed in black and white only, the clip of the Beatles performing "All You Need Is Love" was expertly colourised from photos taken at the event, like the one at the top of this story. The production company kept the colourisation secret from the Beatles, and when George Harrison was shown the clip he didn't notice anything different about it. In his mind it had probably always been in colour. One, probably deliberate mistake, was made during the colourisation process: the Abbey Road studio chairs, used by the orchestra, had always, and still are, red. In the clip they were coloured blue.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Another Day - Norwegian cover

This was the cover used to advertise yesterday's release of "Another Day"/"Oh Woman Oh Why?" for Record Store Day. In Norway, this was hard to believe, because this is actually the Norwegian cover design of this single. We waited to see. Unfortunately, the single wasn't available in the participating record store here in Oslo, so we had to wait until it showed up on ebay to see if it was for real. I mean, they could have used a design from another country, like these:

"Another Day" from France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

The photo most countries used for this cover design
But when I looked at ebay today, I found that they had indeed opted for the Norwegian cover design! Imagine that!
The back cover is different than the one on the original 1971 Norwegian back cover, but obviously inspired by it:
 
New backside design

Here's the original Norwegian 1971 back cover design:

Photo of Ram deluxe

Courtesy of SuperDeluxeedition.com (more photos there).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bogota on TV

Paul McCartney's concert in Bogota, Colombia last night was broadcast both on TV and on the radio in the country. And the song we mentioned a few blog posts ago, "Hope of Deliverance", was now added to the set list. Expect excellent CD and DVD bootlegs to show up pretty soon.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Beatles do Washington - again


A documentary film entitled "The Beatles The Lost Concert" about the birth of Beatlemania in the USA is making a limited engagement in US Cinemas May 17 and 22.
 The film includes the full Washington DC concert from 1964 (complete and remastered) and interviews with various people including some Beatles relatives.
It doesn't seem to be sanctioned by Apple or The Beatles though, so our guess is the company behind it has bought the old movie theatre contract from 1964 (see flyer above) and is using is as a legal document to be able to screen the film.

A month after the Beatles' Washington concert, in mid-March 1964, the CBS filming of the Beatles’ live D.C. show – together with separate footage of performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore – was shown in selected U.S. movie theaters as a closed-circuit concert. Billed in advertising as - "The Beatles: Direct From Their First American Concert",the complete 90-minute film was transmitted over telephone lines to selected U.S. and Canadian theaters in four separate shows - two each day over the weekend of March 14th and 15th, 1964. This was recreated in 2011 as a one night only event. In 2010, iTunes made use of the Washington DC concert film to advertise the Beatles becoming available for digital downloading. Speculations that the film would then be made available to the general public via an official DVD release have not been fulfilled yet.
The source for all these new editions of the Washington DC Concert film may or may not have been a master tape of the film that was auctioned off by "It’s Only Rock and Roll" in 2005 to an unnamed bidder for an unspecified price.
Official website for the new film: http://www.lostbeatlesconcert.com/

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hope of Deliverance

Last year, the Russian Beatles community tried again to vote for a new song to be included on Paul McCartney's set list for Russia. The first time they did this was before the 2008 Kiev, Ukraine concert, and the song then was "Mrs Vandebilt". To the fans delight, Paul included the song in his set...and it has become a mainstay ever since. In 2011, the song that won the most votes was, after some new rules, "Monkberry Moon Delight", with "Hope of Deliverance" as runner-up.
Unfortunately, the news of the new vote never seemed to reach Mr McCartney, and the song was not included. Surprisingly though, at last nights rehearsal before the South American spring stint of Macca's tour, the distinct strumming from the start of "Hope of Deliverance" was previewed by his band. Too bad it was too late for the russians, he played there in December 2011, but good news for the South Americans!
After a long string of hits, "Hope of Deliverance" seemed to be Paul's final biggie when it was released in 1993. Although it didn't do much in the UK (peaking at #18) and USA (peaking at #83), it charted well in several European countries (#3 in Germany, #4 here in Norway) and South America, and was big on the radio for a while. As this clip from the rehearsal shows, McCartney makes use of his new "My Valentine" videos. Instead of showing the third version with both Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp, he shows the ones with only one of them, but side by side on the big screen behind the band.


In the end, "Hope of Deliverance" was not performed at the concert in Montevideo, but it may appear further on down the road, when properly rehearsed.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

McCartney directs Depp

Following this morning's global leak of an enigmatic silent clip revealed to be Johnny Depp signing the lyrics to Paul McCartney's "My Valentine," it's been confirmed that the footage is from the video for the track--which Paul directed himself and will unveil tonight at a Los Angeles location to be announced.

Paul has directed a total of three videos for "My Valentine," one featuring Depp, one with Natalie Portman as principal, and the primary version featuring both actors--all shot on 35mm film with the aid of Academy Award winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight, Inception), editor Paul Martinez and producer Susanne Preissler.

 "My Valentine" was directed by Paul McCartney based on an original idea inspired by Stella McCartney.
 All photos: MJ Kim
Johnny Depp played his guitar live, and the sound was then mixed in to the original track for the video. Here's Johnny!:
Finally, here's the Natalie Portman video only:

Friday, 13 April 2012

Yellow Submarine in Theatres

So, Yellow Submarine will also be made available again in movie theatres stateside. Hopefully, it will also make it to other corners of the globe. I remember it was a stunning experience to see it on the big screen back in 1999, complete with newly remixed surround sound from state-of-the-art speakers. "Nowhere Man" especially took my breath away.

Beatles Social Network

A new Beatles social network has just started - it is basically Facebook for Beatles fans. The content is strictly Beatles only. There's already around 500 "Beatle people" there, and more to come. Just like Facebook, only here, everything is Beatlesrelated. BeatleSocialNetwork.com is the address.The network has been established by Dave Bedford, author of the book "Liddypool". Joining is free, once in you can invite your friends, add photos, video and music. You can create groups, join in discussions, as well as read and comment on the internal blogs, which will feature news from authors, journalists and Beatles experts. There is the latest Beatles news, a diary of events and forums to talk about the Fab Four and more at length! Bedford also says there will be members-only special events.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Magical History Tour - Newquay, Cornwall to West Malling, Kent

This nostalgic fun-packed commemorative trip celebrates 45 years since the making of The Beatles' third and most controversial film. This is an opportunity for people to see the very distinctive Magical Mystery Tour bus back on the road, and it will no doubt evoke memories along the way.
It is a near 300 mile journey, taking - we estimate about 7 hours, so we'll be seen by many during the trip. For the people at our destination for instance, it will be the first time they'll have seen the MMT colours since the goup were there filming in their bus all those years ago!
This venture commences on Friday 20th April, leaving Newquay Bus Station at 9am and heading for the south east where the folks of West Malling are already gearing up for our arrival. We spend two nights in that historic market town, also visiting Knole Park in nearby Severnoaks, and our MMT replica bus is the main attraction at the popular monthly 'Farmers Market' in the centre of West Malling on Sunday 22nd April just prior to our return to Cornwall.
This tour is brimming with Beatle and 60's nostalgia. The spacious and beautiful Knole Park is where the Fab Four filmed the promo films for Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. Newquay and West Malling respectively, are the two eventual destinatiions used by The Beatles in September '67 for their location filming, predictably causing great excitement in both places.
It is a 3 day package that costs £170 pp inclusive of B&B accommodation and the trip to Severnoaks, we also have a social evening on the Saturday night with the fans of the West Malling area. We are now filling seats on the bus for the trip, first come first serve, and it is already creating interest with Beatles and 60's fans.
www.newquaybeatles.co.uk
Tel. 07897 333 356

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Magical Mystery Tour DVD confirmed

This from Beatles walk tour guide Richard Porter in London: News learnt at the recent McCartney gig at the Royal Albert Hall from a VERY reliable source - Magical Mystery Tour is coming out on DVD in November - with Let It Be following in 2014 (or possibly 2015, according to another source).
Also, a massive reunion of the extras in MMT (not just the three surviving coach passengers) is planned this month at West Malling Air field in Kent. The setup includes a Magical Mystery Tour coach (same model bus, painted a la the original), and the event is to be filmed by ITV for an October special about the film.

Of course, like the upcoming new edition "Yellow Submarine", we're hoping that Magical Mystery Tour will also be debuting on Blu-Ray for the collectors with high definition TV's.

Last year, "Let It Be" director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who was making the rounds to promote his autobiography "Luck and Circumstance," spoke about the film in an interview with radio station WNYC-FM. "We have been been working on it pretty much every year for the last couple of years. And the plan is, at the moment, to have it come out, I think, in 2013," Lindsay-Hogg said. So now it looks like 2014 or 2015.
   

Ramming excerpt

Here's an excerpt of the "Ramming" film, a documentary of the making of "Ram" by Paul and Linda McCartney. The full film will be included on the bonus DVD in the DeLuxe edition of Ram.