Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Beatles in Great Yarmouth


The Beatles tours in England in 1963 have spurred several British local newspapers to bring 50th anniversary reports about when the Fabs visited their town. As an example, here's a report from EDP24:

It was 50 years ago this weekend that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr stepped onto the stage at the ABC Cinema in Great Yarmouth.
The Beatles were riding high in the charts at the time, their third single From Me To You/Thank You Girl, had only just dropped off the number one spot after spending seven weeks there. Their album Please Please Me had been at the top of the album charts for seven weeks. It would remain there for another 23 weeks.
The Fab Four had already toured the UK a total of three times in 1963 with a fourth tour to take place at the end of the year. Their third tour was supposed to end in Blackburn on June 9 but there was no stopping Britain’s best loved rock group and their manager Brian Epstein kept the boys busy.
Without taking a break, the Beatles began playing a series of one-off concerts across the country, in Liverpool, London, Newcastle and Leeds among others.
June 29 was a big day for Beatle fans, that day the group appeared on the BBC Light Programme’s Saturday Club and ABC TV’s Summer Spin Mersey Beat Special, while John Lennon appeared on BBC TV’s Juke Box Jury.
The next day, June 30 1963, their roadie Mal Evans packed their equipment into the van and they drove 136 miles from London to Great Yarmouth to begin a ten-week series of seaside concerts. During that summer the Beatles would play at a handful of seaside towns and their first was at the ABC Cinema on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth.

The Beatles shared the bill with four other acts: The Brook Brothers, The Terry Young Combo, Erkey Grant, Tommy Wallis and Beryl and the compere was Ted Rogers.
Two of the acts: The Terry Young Combo and Erkey Grant had been on the Beatles’ latest UK tour. Tickets for the show, depending were you sat, would cost between 4s/6d (around £2.89 today) and 9s/6d (£6.11). The first of the two houses began at 6pm with The Terry Young Combo taking to the stage before Terry Young had his own solo spot. Next on stage was comedian Ted Rogers who introduced the next act, The Brook Brothers who closed the first half.
After an interval The Terry Young Combo returned to kick start the second half. They were followed by the musical novelty act Tommy Wallis and Beryl. Ted Rogers took to the stage one last time to introduce The Beatles who closed the show.

Concert programme middle pages
Once the Beatles stepped onto the stage the screams began and they didn’t end until after the group had left.
None of the other performers on the show that night had the same problem, their audience sat quietly and listened to the music, applauding politely at the end of each song.
With the beatles on stage, Ted Rogers’ attempts to calm the crowd down were all in vain. The fans rushed to the front of the stage, jumped up and down - some fainted, but everyone was screaming. And it was so loud the fans in the front row couldn’t hear the group.
If they had heard, they would have been listening to the Beatles playing an 11-song set including over half of their album and both sides of their latest single. They began with a cover of Some Other Guy by Richie Barrett. The Beatles never released a version of the song but it had been part of their live repertoire since 1962. They continued the show with the flipside of their latest single ‘Thank You Girl’ before rocking through ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, ‘Misery’, ‘A Taste of Honey’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘From Me To You’, ‘Baby It’s You’ and ‘Please Please Me’ before bringing the house down with ‘Twist and Shout’.

In-between the two sets the Fab Four were interviewed in their dressing room for Italian TV station RAI. The reporter, Gianni Bisiach, asks the group if it was true they are the most popular singers in England which makes them embarrassed with John saying “Well, I don’t know really”.
They then give their names and ages before being asked how their style began, the boys joke around saying they don’t know before Paul says, “It is just one of those things that happened you know, Gianni, in the far-off distant lands” with John adding “It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!” They were also asked about fan mail and the style of their jackets.
The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein was also interviewed but that footage has since been lost.
The interview was originally aired on Italian TV in December 1963 and was given an Italian dubbing however the original audio tape still exists and fans have since overdubbed the original footage with the original sound.
During the second house, which started at 8.15pm the team from RAI took to the balcony and filmed The Beatles performing Twist and Shout but unfortunately the film doesn’t have the original audio.
After the show The Beatles drove back to London and the next day they recorded their fourth single She Loves You/I’ll Get You at Abbey Road studios. The Beatles returned to Great Yarmouth for the second and final time a month later when again they performed at the ABC Cinema on 28 July.
Again, they played to two houses at 6pm and 8.15pm with tickets costing between 4s/6d and 9s/6d. That night they shared the bill with The Kestrels, The Trebletones, Freddie Starr and the Midnighters, Barry Barnett and Glenda Collins. The compere was comedian Alan Field.
After that night’s concert the Fab Four drove back to London and the next day saw them recording tracks for their second album at Abbey Road as well as recording two shows for BBC Light Programme’s Saturday Club and an interview for Pop Chat.
The ABC Cinema was opended on New Year’s Day 1934 as the Regal Cinema. It was renamed the ABC Cinema in 1961 after being taken over by new owners. Sadly, it was demolished in 1989 to make way for the Market Gate Shopping Precient.
WATCH THE BEATLES ON ITALIAN RECORDING The Beatles interview recorded backstage at the ABC Cinema on 30 June 1963 is available here:

The concert footage from the same day with overdubbed sound recorded at a later date can be found here:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Maori Finale

This story begins with a challenge that Arno Guzek, our Danish friend posted on Facebook: "Who is the lady who rubs noses with Ringo in this picture?"


There was no fixed answer, you had to use all the sources you may have access to in order to come up with the right answer. Johnny Skrøder found a title and a date "The Hongi", the photographer’s name was Morrie Hill and the picture is from The Beatles arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on June 21st 1964. In addition, he found that the lady in question was part of a group called "Te Pataka Concert Party".



More pictures from the same occasion appeared. Michael Theet reported that the group had released an album, "Memories Of Maori Land" and the group's name in this connection was "Te Pataka Maori Entertainers". This album they had also brought with them and donated to the Beatles. Very quickly it was established that this is a 10” LP released in 1961.


Theet also believed to be able to make an educated guess that this was the leader of the group, Miria Hiroti. So then we had a name. Later she married Clark, thus her full name became Miria Hiroti Clark. Finally a newspaper clipping from 1962 with her appeared, where she was also named. Case closed.

But after that I came to think that the final piece in "Hello Goodbye" actually has a name, it's called "Maori Finale". You know, the part of the song that begins with something that sounds like "hela, hebe helloah, hela, hebe helloah".

On Wikipedia it says that this was improvised in the studio, but other sources claim it was already present as early as on the demo stage of the song. There was nothing unusual in that the Beatles were inspired by everyday events, things that had happened to them, newspaper articles and records with other artists. There are three music videos made in Saville Theatre for this song, and for the "Maori finale" thinly clad dancing girls appear.


Johnny Skrøder supplemented this, from the Maori language:
"Kushi hela" = "glad"
"Purna Heba" = "a desire fulfilled"
"Dukh, sukha Helu" = "discussing many things, good and bad"

So after these reports the question arises: Is the "Maori finale" from "Hello Goodbye" inspired by the album The Beatles received that day in 1964 when they visited New Zealand? Unfortunately we do not have this album in our collection, so the theory has not been tested. But the album exists, and some of you may be eager enough to track it down and figure it out?
John Lennon was the no great fan of the song "Hello Goodbye", but from the interviews we know that he had a taste for the ending.
"Hello Goodbye" was released as a single, coupled with "I Am The Walrus" in November 1967 and topped the charts in U.S., UK, France and my country, Norway.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

New BBC book from Howlett

The Beatles:The BBC Archives is an upcoming book from Kevin Howlett. No novice to the game, Howlett is a producer for BBC radio and has written what is the standard book on the subject of the Beatles at the Beeb, "The Beatles At The Beeb" and also wrote the text in the official book that accompanied the Beatles vinyl remasters last year.
1st edition, 1982

2nd Revised edition edition, 1996

Published by BBC Books, here's the desciption of this new release:

The Beatles exploded into British popular culture in the 1960s and changed the face of music for ever. Central to this success were the BBC radio and television programmes that brought them from the clubs of Hamburg and Liverpool into the living rooms of an adoring public. The Beatles performed on countless BBC programmes, performing both their hit songs and rare cover versions of the music that inspired them.

In this landmark book, BBC producer and Beatles expert Kevin Howlett delves deep into the BBC archives to reveal hundreds of rare photographs and long-forgotten interviews that document the early rise, steady evolution and eventual split of the group. Uncovering additional archive documents such as early audition reports, audience feedback forms and internal memos from startled BBC executives, the files give a fascinating insight into the biggest band of all time.

Beautifully packaged and extensively researched, The Beatles: The BBC Archives is a definitive guide to a unique relationship between two cultural icons.


Reportedly, the main body of the book contains the surviving transcripts of the Beatles' appearances on BBC Radio and Television from 1962 to 1970. Each interview transcript will be set in its historical context, with accompanying commentary by Kevin Howlett. Howlett's commentary will be supplemented by rare photos of the Fab Four at the BBC's studios, both onstage and off. The book will also feature memorabilia-album art; concert posters, flyers, and tickets, all from the BBC.

The book is due out in October, and will happily coexist with the planned repackaging of the 1994 Beatles album, "The Beatles Live At The BBC", also due out in the autumn. Talking of which, I hope they plan on upgrading the album with better recordings of the same material that has been uncovered since the initial release of the album back in the pre-anthology era (just).

   

Help! Press release





STOP WORRYING... HELP! IS ON THE WAY ON BLU-RAY!


“Absurd, delightful and exuberantly messy, Help! is a pure pleasure to watch.”
The New York Times


London – May 15, 2013 – The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965’s Help!, is on the way on Blu-ray.  On June 24 (June 25 in North America), Help! makes its eagerly awaited Blu-ray debut in a single-disc package pairing the digitally restored film and 5.1 soundtrack with an hour of extra features, including a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film, memories of the cast and crew, an in-depth look at the restoration process, an outtake scene, and original theatrical trailers and radio spots. An introduction by the film’s director, Richard Lester, and an appreciation by Martin Scorsese are included in the Blu-ray’s booklet.

Help!’s Blu-ray edition follows the 2012 release of The Beatles’ digitally restored Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour feature films on Blu-ray, DVD and iTunes with extensive extras.  Help!’s restoration for its 2007 DVD debut wowed viewers, earning five-times platinum sales in the U.S. and praise from a broad range of top media outlets around the world, including USA Today heralding the DVD as “a grand re-release,” The Guardian’s appreciation of the film’s director, Richard Lester, saying “Lester matches The Beatles’ ‘star’ power with smart, colourful visuals and casual surrealism,” The Los Angeles Times’ restoration rave:  “With dynamic compression that was standard in the 1960s lifted for the digital age, the full range of the group’s musicality comes through – it’s like several coats of dust have been cleaned off an old master’s painting,” and four-star reviews from Rolling Stone and MOJO with the latter saying, “They really don't make them like this anymore.”

Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the band’s debut feature film, 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night, Help! follows The Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo's possession of a sacrificial ring, which he cannot remove from his finger. As a result, he and his bandmates John, Paul and George are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police.

In addition to starring The Beatles, Help! boasts a witty script, a great cast of British character actors, and classic Beatles songs “Help!,” “You're Going To Lose That Girl,” “You've Got To Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket To Ride,” “I Need You,” “The Night Before,” and “Another Girl.”







Help!’s Blu-ray package pairs the digitally restored original film with these extra features:   
• “The Beatles in Help!” – a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles on-set.
• “A Missing Scene” – a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard
• “The Restoration of Help!” – an in-depth look at the restoration process
• “Memories of Help!” – the cast and crew reminisce
• 1965 Theatrical Trailers – two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer
• 1965 U.S. Radio Spots (hidden in disc menus)


CAST
The Beatles:
John………..………………………………………………………...John Lennon
Paul………………………………………………………………Paul McCartney
George……….…………………………………………………George Harrison
Ringo……….…………………………………………………………...Ringo Starr
Clang………………………………………………………………….Leo McKern
Ahme…………………………………………………………………Eleanor Bron
Foot…………….........................................................................Victor Spinetti
Algernon…………........................................................................Roy Kinnear
Superintendent........................................................................Patrick Cargill
Bhuta………………......................................................................John Bluthal
Jeweller……………………………………………………………...Peter Copley
Doorman…………………………………………………………………Alfie Bass
Abdul…………………………………………………………..…Warren Mitchell
Lawnmower………………………………………………………...Bruce Lacey
Cross channel swimmer……………………………………………...Mal Evans
Women in street……………………Dandy Nichols and Gretchen Franklin

PRODUCTION
Director ……………………………………………………………Richard Lester
Producer ………………………………………………………...Walter Shenson
Screenplay…………………………………..Marc Behm and Charles Wood
Story by………………………………………………………………..Marc Behm
Director of Photography…………………………………………David Watkin
Production Manager……………………………………………….John Pellatt
Art Director………………………………………………………Raymond Simm
Colour Consultant and Titles………………………………...Robert Freeman
Costume Designer…………………………………………………….Julie Harris
Musical Director………………………………………………………Ken Thorne
Songs composed by…………………..John Lennon and Paul McCartney
                                                                                 and by George Harrison
Songs performed by………………………………………………...The Beatles
Songs produced by……………………………………………..George Martin

 

Ringo's press conference


Ringo Starr talks about his career. Classic Drummer Magazine gets the final question. The Classic Drummer Hall of Fame says thanks on behalf of our readers.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Abbey Road Film

A lyrical portrait of one of London’s most peculiar tourist attractions - a humble pedestrian crossing in 
St John’s Wood. But this isn’t any ordinary piece of street furniture, a 10 minute photo session back in the 
summer of 1969 saw to that. A couple of weeks after Neil Armstrong took his giant leap, the Beatles took 
a few short steps across Abbey Road and the rest is history.
Roughly timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first recording session at Abbey Road Studios, this quirky short film explores a tiny part of London that is, in the words of narrator Roger McGough, suffused with a sort of magic.
Wogblog had a small part in the making of this film, I'm proud to say.

See the film on Vimeo.

Beatles album named by fan

In 1963, Margaret Gordon won a competition to name the next Beatles LP. Her winning suggestion of "Beatles For Sale" earned her a meeting with the group in Carlisle in November 1963. She brought with her some Beatles albums from a couple of friends who wanted them signed. Her best friend, Christine Gatenby gave Mrs Gordon her "Please Please Me" Beatles LP to be signed by the foursome, and Christine's sister Jackie Marsden sent along the "With The Beatles" album. Mrs Marsden, of South Bents, Sunderland was then aged 12. She said: “Christine was supposed to accompany Margaret to Carlisle, but my mother thought she was too young to go. We gave Margaret our LPs and she had them signed. It was a big thrill and I have kept it for 50 years. We had all their records.” Mrs Marsden's fully autographed "With The Beatles" LP was sold at a South Tyneside auction house for £11,500.
In 1963, "With the Beatles" had advance orders of 500,000 and sold another half million by September 1965, making it the second album to sell a million copies in the UK, after the soundtrack to the 1958 film "South Pacific".
It remained at the top of the charts for 21 weeks, displacing "Please Please Me", meaning the group occupied the top spot for 51 consecutive weeks. The follow up to "With The Beatles" was the "A Hard Day's Night" album, with one LP side containing the songs from the film and the other side held other new Lennon and McCartney titles. So it wasn't until December 1964 that "Beatles for Sale", the album Margaret Gordon named, was released for the Christmas market. The album went to No1 and stayed there for 11 of the 46 weeks that it spent in the Top 20.

Source: The Shields Gazette

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Paul's soundcheck, Brooklyn

Almost 23 minutes of Paul McCartney's soundcheck on the 8th of June, 2013.

Another new book from Ringo

Based on the lyrics of the world famous Beatles song "Octopus's Garden", this glorious picture book follows five children on a magical journey through the Octopus's garden. The playful Octopus takes them on a wondrous underwater adventure - riding on the backs of turtles, playing pirates in a sunken city and sheltering from a storm in the octopus's cave. The book comes with an accompanying CD which includes an exclusive reading by Ringo Starr and a never-before-heard version of the song. The book will be out in October in the UK and January 2014 in USA.

 

Meanwhile, here's a vid from last night's opening of the Ringo exhibition at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Flash Harry on CD

What became Harry Nilsson's last album had all the stuff we know and love: sleeve notes by Derek Taylor, a Ringo collaboration ("How Long Can Diso On?"), guest musicians like Ringo Starr, Van Dyke Parks, Klaus Voorman, Dr. John, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon and Lowell George, Fred Tackett and Bill Payne of Little Feat.
I bought it here in Norway at the time (1980), where the UK pressing was sold in our music stores. Turns out it was only ever pressed in the UK and Japan, but never even released in the USA!
This will finally be rectified this August, when "Flash Harry" gets a limited edition vinyl release in the USA, along with a regular CD version. The CD will also include a few bonus tracks: "Old Dirt Road" (alternative version), "Feet", "Leave The Rest To Molly" and "She Drifted Away". This release ties in nicely with the the remastered boxed set of Nilsson's RCA albums coming out this summer.

Harry Nilsson made his last concert appearance September 1, 1992, when he joined Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band on stage at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to sing "Without You" with Todd Rundgren handling the high notes. He passed away in January 1994 after a heart failure which followed a 1993 massive heart attack.