Friday, 30 August 2013

Mark Lewisohn - hot off the press!

Mark Lewisohn holds a freshly printed copy of his book, "Tune in". Photo: © 2013 Anita Epstein

Pictured at the printer's, Mark Lewisohn holds a freshly printed copy of his Beatles biography, Tune In, due out in shops October 10th in the UK.
It's a trilogy, and the next volume is likely to be published around 2020, with the final one probably coming around 2027.(Update: Most of the research for these years are finished, just the writing part is left. Lewisohn's more recent estimates have been 2016 for "Volume 2" and 2020 for the final part.)

The book will be made in three different editions, two for the UK and one for USA. In the UK, there's going to be an abridged version of Lewisohn's original manuscript, meant for public consumption and due out 10 Oct 2013, and then a deluxe edition containing the manuscript in full will follow on 14 Nov 2013.

In the USA, the book is due out October 29, 2013, and will contain 1248 pages, whereas the UK editions will be 960 pages and a whopping 1856 pages.

The main difference between the regular UK edition and the USA edition is said to be that the USA edition will have the references pages added, in the UK, these will only be printed in the deluxe edition.

There may be translations to other languages, German and Spanish is plausable, but these have yet to be negotiated.

The books are published in the UK by Little, Brown and in the USA by Crown Archetype. Given the sheer weight of the book, you may opt for a Kindle edition.

Review copies are already out there, and we hear good things so far.

If you want to catch Lewisohn live, he will be appearing at the Essar Chester Literature Festival on October 13th, discussing his book.

     

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Second BBC Volume news go main street

First, The Guardian picked up ny news item about a second set of BBC recordings, quoting me, and then Rolling Stone repeated the story, quoting The Guardian.
What bugs me about new, quick journalism is that what is hinted at, and presented as speculation in one story, is presented as set in stone and a fact in the next. Here's an example: "As WogBlog points out, the forthcoming Live compilation may be the result of the 2012 Listeners' Archive campaign, in which BBC officials asked the public to donate home-recorded radio and television shows" in the Guardian becomes "The new anthology comes as a result of the 2012 Listener's Archive campaign" in Rolling Stone.
Now that we know Paul McCartney has released a new single, it's understandable that Apple/Universal Music didn't want to disturb his PR campaign by announcing or confirming the rumors of a new Beatles album. McCartney's "New" album is due out October 14th, hence the delay from October to November for the Beatles releases.
Anyway, if you came here from The Guardian, NME or somewhere else who linked to my blog, welcome! And do feel free to explore my other blog posts, there are a thousand to choose from...

NEW from McCartney


From today, Paul McCartney's new album "New" may be pre-ordered from iTunes and Amazon.  Track 6 is the title track and may be listened to today.

Album cover?
Genres: Rock, Music
Expected Release: 14 October 2013
℗ 2013 Copyright owned by MPL Communications Inc/Ltd under exclusive license to Concord Music Group, Inc.
Pre-order contents may change without notice. You'll be charged and receive items from this pre-order as they become available.

Soundcloud link for sneak preview, or here:



Sounds quite a bit Pennylanish, I think, and good!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Post no. 1000!


It's been a busy August here at the WogBlog headquarters, mainly due to the fact that I'm currently out of a job. My final day at work was at the end of June, I spent most of July on holiday in California and Nevada, and since then I've been filling in job applications.

I've been busy in the Beatles department, though. Currently I'm getting everything ready for the annual Beatles Festival in the Norwegian mountains, and I was also brought on board as a "Beatles consultant" for a series of concerts which will be running annually from 2013 to 2019!

That may be something of a world record, since the series will be presenting all the Beatles songs from a particular year. This year's concerts will concentrate on the 1963 releases, with "Please Please Me", "With The Beatles" and the singles.
The basis will be an instrumental "Beatles group" with the standard configuration, with well known Norwegian singers up front.

The concerts will all be held at Oslo's Concert House, and may also be touring somewhat. The 2013 concerts will be held on the 23d and 24th of November, and a pre-premiere will occur at our Beatles Festival, October 19th.
So there's going to be a bit of a media blitz about these concerts in the upcoming weeks, I've already been on the air at a couple of radio stations, promoting the gigs.

© Photo: 2013 Fredrikstad Blad, Magnus Nygren Syversen

Here's a photo of me (with the peace sign) and some of the other participants in the concert series, taken outside Oslo's Concert House.

Then of course, there's the autumn issue of the Norwegian Wood magazine, with a deadline fast approaching, and I need to write a bit for that.

So, sorry to be rambling on about myself and my life at the moment, but it's my blog so I do what I want with it, as they say. And being blog post no. 1000 I felt like doing just that.

Anyway, back to our normal programming...

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Vollmer exhibition - last few days!

© Copyright: Jürgen Vollmer
If you're in Hamburg or planning to go there, you may want to go and see the current exhibition of Jürgen Vollmer's photos.

The address is East Hotel, Simon-Von-Utrecht-Strasse 31, 20359 Hamburg and the exhibition is open from 10 in the morning 'till 11 at night. But you have to hurry, September 5th is the last day.
This will be Vollmer's first and last exhibition, he says.
Paul McCartney has recorded a special video message for the exhibition. Vollmer is also the subject of a short film, "Romy, Ich bin Krank" (Romy, I'm sick).
Film website
Exhibition Website

The BBC Volume 2 photo

Guildford Street, walking towards Russell Square

Whether the photo we revealed yesterday really is the cover chosen for the new November Beatles album, "On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2" or not, let's examine the colourised photo and see if they got it right. The colourised version already showed up on YouTube, along with footage of four people recreating the scene. Above is the original black and white version of the cover, as shot by the late Dezo Hoffmann. Hoffmann took quite a few early Beatles photos, and he was also part of the Beatles entourage when they first came to the USA in February 1964. The photographer also filmed the Beatles on 8mm colour films, and in the early eighties he appeared on TV to show some of the footage from those films.
In 1963 and 1964, Hoffmann's Beatles photos were printed in magazines all over the world. As far as I know, Hoffman only published one retrospective photo book of his Beatles photos, and that was "With The Beatles - The historic photopraphs of Dezo Hoffmann" in 1982. As he mainly shot his photos in black and white, even if some of his photos were colourised back in the sixties, the book is also in black and white. Out of print, the book is well worth seeking out, and long overdue for a reprint.

The possible debut of the photo was in this magazine, from 1963

In 1967, a film school student made a small documentary about Hoffmann, you can find it on YouTube.
The photo we are examining was part of a series of photos in the first "Meet The Beatles" magazine in 1963 and the series was headlined "A Day In The Life Of The Beatles". The photo is captioned "A somewhat delayed Beatles day can begin. The boys takes a brisk walk down towards the centre of London. In ten minutes, they're due for a call at their tailor." (Translated by me from Norwegian, as I only have a Norwegian copy of this magazine.)
 
The photo session was shot on July 2, 1963 and the photos were taken at these locations: 1) Room 114, Hotel President; 2) Reception area, Hotel President; 3) Guildford Street, walking towards Russell Square; 4) Russell Square Gardens; 5) Rupert Street (buying bananas at a stall on the corner at 5-7 Brewer Street); 6) Dougie A. Millings and Son, tailors; 7) Delicatessen Shop; 8) Shirtmaker Mr A Maknyick's shop; 9) Rupert Court; 10) Buying ice cream at Kontact cafe; 11) 27 Wardour Street, in front of the Garner's restaurant; 12) Dezo Hoffmann's studio (to take portraits of John and George).Some of the photos were shot in colour, and we'll take a look at this one, from Russell Square Gardens. You may recognize it from old chewing gum collector's cards or as the front cover of the Italian LP "I Favolosi Beatles" (the equivalent of "With The Beatles"):

Photo: © 2013 Apple Corps Ltd.
Here it is presented in it's real colours, the Italian LP featured a recolourised black and white representation of the photo. The "BBC Volume 2" photo was taken in Guildford Street, where their hotel, The President was. As the list of locations showed, the next destination was Russell Square Gardens. Comparing it with the Guildford Street photo shows that the colour research has been spot on - and that George removed his coat in Russell Square.

Photo: © 2013 Apple Corps Ltd.
If you compare it to the black and white photo, some pedestrians in the background are nowhere to be found in the colour version. Also, "Nowhere-man-in-e" from the Steve Hoffman Music forum wrote to us and told us that he had observed that George's tie is longer in the new photo. Guess they wanted the tie to match Ringo's and John's. "I don't like your tie, for a start" comes to mind! Incidentally, the original black and white photo is available as a poster from Amazon.

 

Monday, 26 August 2013

On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2 cover photo

The cover photo - click for bigger version

Upon researching the internet for possible leaks about the upcoming new album release of The Beatles' BBC recordings, I discovered three things:
- The full album title will be "On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2"
- This is very likely the album cover
- The release will be in November

What I discovered, was that MCA Music (which is the Universal Music company in the Philippines) announced these three facts on their facebook site on August 8th. The cover photo is a familiar old black and white photo by Dezo Hoffman, which has been colourised. Further examination of the cover photo here.

More about the history of Beatles BBC recordings on this page.

Beatles with an A

© Otava

"Beatles with an A", subtitled "Birth of a band" is not a comic book, but it's more adult equivalent, a graphic novel. Using the comic book format and language, the Beatles' early history is told with a humorous twist. The book takes us from the birth of Ringo Starr to the recording of the song "Please Please Me" in 77 fun-filled pages, full of authentic references and a few speculations.
Amazingly historically correct, the story explores phenomenoms like the "thingy", The Beatles' Hamburg days pet, created with George Harrison's vomit as it's core ingredient. People like Dot Rhone is brought to life, and the characters throughout the story do bear striking resemplances to their real life counterparts.

© Otava

The story has been lovingly told and illustrated by Finnish author of children's book, Mauri Kunnas, and was first published as "Piitles" in Finland last year. Now it's available in English from the book's own website, BeatlesWithAnA.com. You can also sample a few pages from the book at the website.
Being both an avid comic book reader as well as a Beatles fan, I heartily recommend this book. The draing style seems to have both underground (Crumb) and overground (Aragones) influences, but is genuinely Mauri Kunnas. His wife and daughter have colourised the drawings. To my delight, the Beatles suits at the Indra club are close to the colours I used back when I first colourised a black and white photo from that time.

George's parents were very tolerant. © Otava

The only thing I would have left out are the "cherubs" Mick and Keith who show up here and there, citing some Rolling Stones lyric. To me, the Beatles were the Beatles, and everyone else was below them. The Rolling Stones was just another British band, a little bit better than the Who but not as good as the Kinks. And of all the other bands who emerged from Great Britain in the sixties, the Pink Floyd tops the list.

Hardcover Comic: 80 pages
Publisher: Otava Publishing Company Ltd
Language: English
Translation: Will Moore
ISBN-10: 9511273957
ISBN-13: 978-9511273950
Product Dimensions: 290mm x 247mm x 10 mm
Weight: 610 grams
Price: 19.70 EUR | £16.90 | $26.20 plus delivery

The book is also due out in Danish, Dutch and Estonian, so far...

Friday, 23 August 2013

Some Other Guy - single camera


This in from Alejandro Barranco, an unedited single camera version of Some Other Guy from the Cavern Club, and as a bonus, the rest of the known footage edited to the recent find of Kansas City.


The crude, grainy footage features John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing the song's melody in unison on Wednesday 22nd August 1962. This is also the first film of Ringo Starr as the Beatles drummer, Pete Best having been discharged the week before.
McCartney stated: "Some Other Guy" is a great song...It really got us started because that's one of the earliest bits of film of The Beatles. It was the song we sang when Granada Television came to The Cavern. It was also a bit of a muso song..."

For more on this, you should go and visit Beatlesource.com

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Beatles BBC Show online

Looks like our post yesterday about an upcoming "Vol. 2" of the Beatles Live at The BBC spread like wildfire over the Beatles internet sites (apart from the official ones, of course). Speculations are ripe, but we should offer a word of advice: hold your hopes low, it may just be an interview disc, with no music. Then again, it may also contain hitherto unheard Beatles music (like an alternate Lucille), we just have to wait and see. Anyway, let's examine the history of the Beatles' BBC recordings!

HISTORY

The Beatles performed for 52 BBC Radio programmes, beginning with an appearance on the series Teenager's Turn—Here We Go, recorded on 7 March 1962, and ending with the special The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride, recorded on 26 May 1965. 47 of their BBC appearances occurred in 1963 and 1964, including 10 on Saturday Club, and 15 on their own weekly series Pop Go The Beatles which began in June 1963. As The Beatles had not accumulated many original songs by this time, the majority of their BBC performances consisted of cover versions, drawing on the repertoire that they had developed for their early stage act. In total, 275 performances of 88 different songs were broadcast, of which 36 songs never appeared on their studio albums.

BBC ARCHIVES

The BBC didn't keep their tapes. Once the programme was broadcast, tapes were probably wiped to make room for new recordings. They did however, press vinyl records of some shows for broadcast on other BBC affiliates around the world, and the BBC transcription departement distributed these.
And people were taping radio shows off-air at home.

BOOTLEGS

In the early seventies, bootlegs started appearing with songs from home made tapes of the shows, starting with the LP "Yellow Matter Custard". The record contained these songs: "I Got A Woman, "Glad All Over", "I Just Don't Understand", "Slow Down", "Don't Ever Change", "A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues", "Sure To Fall (In Love With You)", "Nothin' Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Trees)", "Lonesome Tears In My Eyes", "So How Come (No One Loves Me)", "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)", "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", "To Know Her Is To Love Her" and "The Honeymoon Song"



NEW RADIO SHOWS

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their first BBC appearance, the BBC aired the two-hour radio special "The Beatles at the Beeb" in 1982, featuring a mix of BBC performances and interviews. The show was expanded to three hours when syndicated to other countries. The show's producer Kevin Howlett also released a book, "The Beatles at the Beeb, '62-'65: The story of their radio career" on the subject.
The more comprehensive series "The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes" was broadcast by BBC Radio 1 in 1988 as 14 half-hour episodes. When gathering material for that series, only a small number of original tapes were located, but the BBC transcription records provided them with more material.
Bootleggers mined the radio shows for a 13 LP series, The Beatles at the Beeb, which were also padded out with home made off-air recordings from collectors.

The Beatles At The Beeb Vol. 1
The covers were lovely parodies of non-UK Beatles LP covers, and the series also made it on to CD after a couple of years.

BOXED SETS

Then in 1993 came a boxed set from the Italian company Great Dane, which had all the songs from the "Beatles at the Beeb" series and then some, all chronologically arranged over 9 CD's, and with a colourful booklet which chronicled the BBC radio shows and the previous bootlegs.

The Beatles at the BBC Great Dane Records

They soon had to release a single disc with some material which appeared after the box had been released.

Legend has it that the Great Dane boxed set was actually a legal release in Italy, because Italian copyright laws meant that the copyright on these recordings had expired there. The Beatles had to take action, and as they had now settled their lawsuit with Capitol/EMI, they were free to start releasing new material from the archives, and the official 2CD, 2LP "The Beatles Live At The BBC" became a reality.

OFFICIAL RELEASE

An official Beatles BBC album was being planned as early as 1989, and it was reported that "EMI was preparing an album" of the BBC material by late 1991.
To supplement the archive he had partially rebuilt for The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes, BBC Radio producer Kevin Howlett sought out additional sources, such as tapes kept by people involved in the original sessions; others had contacted him after the series aired to inform him of their own home recordings of additional broadcasts. Remaining gaps were filled by recordings taken from available bootlegs.


From the available recordings, the tracks for Live at the BBC were selected by longtime Beatles producer George Martin. Martin's selection criteria included both the quality of the sound and of The Beatles' performance. Of particular interest were the 36 songs that The Beatles never performed on their official releases, of which 30 were selected for the album.

In all, 56 songs were chosen for the album, along with some banter among the group and the hosts. Three additional songs were released on the "Baby It's You" 4-track single. Abbey Road engineer Peter Mew used audio manipulation software to reduce noise, repair minor dropouts, and equalise to a more consistent sound from one track to the next. The resulting sound quality was considered generally better than the best equivalent bootlegged versions available at the time, although a small number of tracks were noted as exceptions.

CHART ACTION

Live at the BBC peaked at number 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and reached number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. The album sold an estimated 8 million copies worldwide during its first year of release.

MORE BOOTLEGS

But the fans needed more. This was in their eyes, merely a "best of". And as the Great Dane boxed set was due for an upgrade, and in 2003, in came notorious bootleg label "Yellow Dog" with a 12 CD boxed set, also titled "The Beatles At The Beeb". And after the boxed set, they issued a disc 13 "repair disc", featuring tracks that had appeared since the boxed set was released.



The homebrew label Purple Chick had discovered that part of the material on the Yellow Dog set was sonically inferior to other versions available on other bootlegs, and released their own version of the boxed set as internet downloads, free of charge in 2004.



This was deemed the most complete set for collectors of the Beatles radio appearances, until 2009.

On August 31st 2009, BBC radio 2 broadcast another radio programme with material from the sixties shows, again produced by (now independent producer) Kevin Howlett. Some, if not all of this material was sonically superior to the versions on Purple Chick's set. This spurred another fan made compilation, "Unsurpassed Broadcasts", where the original material was sonically tweaked, utilizing the latest developments in audio repairing. One technique used was if one recording was high on treble and another (obviously the same take) had a boomy bass, the two were spliced together, thus digitally restoring both the highs and lows of the song in question.


Since the appearance of "Unsurpassed Broadcasts" and it's follow up "second edition", old recordings thought lost have seen the light of day, old recordings have appeared in better quality, old tapes have been re-transferred to the digital domain, new audio enhancement techniques have become cheaper and available to amateur sound engineers and now it looks like we're up for a second volume of the official album. So take our word for it: There's a new "Beatles at the BBC Complete" just waiting to be made.

BBC SHOW ONLINE

While you're waiting for the official announcement of "Vol. 2", the Beeb itself offers a chance to reminisc.

From BBC Radio 6: The Beatles at the Beeb (Click this link to listen)
Duration: 21:14
Andy Peebles introduces some of the many interviews and live session recordings The Beatles made for the BBC.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Live at the BBC Vol 2

The "Baby It's You" EP from the "Live at the BBC" project in 1994.
In an internal list of upcoming releases, Universal Music recently revealed plans to re-release The Beatles' "Live At The BBC" along with a new release, "Live At The BBC Vol. 2" on October 4th, 2013. The date is tentative and may be subject to change. "Volume 2" will be BBC recordings of The Beatles not available on the previous volume. "Live at The BBC" was released in 1994, a forerunner of a landslide of new material from the Beatles' archives.

The BBC had a habit of reusing their tapes, which means that most of the Beatles radio shows from the sixties were wiped, however quite a few have later been rescued, courtesy of listeners taping the shows at home and BBC transcription records, which were sent to radio stations abroad. In 2012, the BBC had a campaign, asking their listeners to bring the home taped shows to the BBC for review. Hopefully, some more (or better quality) Beatles shows will have appeared in the wake of this.



Along with the "Live at the BBC" album, a four track EP was released, containing tracks not on the album: "Baby It's You", "I'll Follow The Sun", "Devil In Her Heart" and "Boys". Hopefully, the EP will now be integrated into one of the announced volumes.

Here's the track list for the 1994 release:

CD 1
1 Beatle Greetings 00:12
2 From Us To You 00:27
3 Riding On A Bus 00:53
4 I Got A Woman 02:48
5 Too Much Monkey Business 02:05
6 Keep Your Hands Off My Baby 02:30
7 I'll Be On My Way 01:57
8 Young Blood 01:56
9 A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues 02:14
10 Sure To Fall (In Love With You) 02:07
11 Some Other Guy 02:00
12 Thank You Girl 02:01
13 Sha La La La La 00:27
14 Baby It's You 02:43
15 That's All Right 02:53
16 Carol 02:34
17 Soldier Of Love 01:59
18 A Little Rhyme 00:25
19 Clarabella 02:39
20 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) 02:01
21 Crying, Waiting, Hoping 02:09
22 Dear Whack! 00:42
23 You Really Got A Hold On Me 02:37
24 To Know Her Is To Love Her 02:49
25 A Taste Of Honey 01:57 26 Long Tall Sally 01:52
27 I Saw Her Standing There 02:31
28 The Honeymoon Song 01:39
29 Johnny B Goode 02:51
30 Memphis Tennessee 02:12
31 Lucille 01:49
32 Can't Buy Me Love 02:06
33 From Fluff To You 00:28
34 Till There Was You 02:12

CD 2
1 Crinsk Dee Night 01:03
2 A Hard Day's Night 02:24
3 Have A Banana 00:21
4 I Wanna Be Your Man 02:09
5 Just A Rumour 00:20
6 Roll Over Beethoven 02:15
7 All My Loving 02:03
8 Things We Said Today 02:18
9 She's A Woman 03:14
10 Sweet Little Sixteen 02:20
11 1822! 00:10
12 Lonesome Tears In My Ears 02:36
13 Nothin' Shakin' 02:59
14 The Hippy Hippy Shake 01:49
15 Glad All Over 01:51
16 I Just Don't Understand 02:46
17 So How Comes (No One Loves Me) 01:53
18 I Feel Fine 02:12
19 I'm A Loser 02:32
20 Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby 02:20
21 Rock And Roll Music 02:00
22 Ticket To Ride 02:56
23 Dizzy Miss Lizzy 02:42
24 Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey 02:36
25 Set Fire To That Lot 00:27
26 Matchbox 01:57
27 I Forgot To Remember To Forget 02:08
28 Love Those Goon Shows 00:26
29 I Got To Find My Baby 01:55
30 Ooh My Soul 01:36
31 Ooh My Arms 00:35
32 Don't Ever Change 02:02
33 Slow Down 02:36
34 Honey Don't 02:11
35 Love Me Do 02:29
We'll be back with the track list of "Vol. 2" as soon as we have that.

If Universal Music carries on the EMI tradition, the re-release and the new release will also be available on vinyl, and as digital downloads on iTunes. And with the new merchandising deal, presumably some related products will be made available via the Beatles Official Stores.

(Updated story here)

A book about the Beatles BBC recordings is also scheduled for October in the UK and November in the USA. BBC insider Kevin Howlett is the expert in this field and author of the previous standard books on the subject: "The Beatles At The Beeb 1962-1965" and "The Beatles At The BBC". His new book is entitled "The Beatles:The BBC Archives".

   

Friday, 16 August 2013

Paul McCartney: Going Underground...


Here's the trailer to an upcoming movie, available soon on DVD: "Going Underground: Paul McCartney, The Beatles And The UK Counter-culture".
Description: In the mid-1960s the often rigid and colourless British way of life was irrevocably transformed by the emergence of a cultural underground movement.
Led by a loose collective of young radicals, they introduced new social, sexual and aesthetic perspectives. Operating out of the heart of London, their various activities, from 'The International Times' - a bi-weekly journal that no hipster could be seen without - to the psychedelic nightclub UFO, promoted alternative lifestyles and values, and sparked a social revolution.
This film not only traces the history of this underground scene, but also explores its impact on the pre-eminent British group of the era, The Beatles. Although they were well established by the time the movement emerged, Paul McCartney in particular, was closely linked with several of its key players, and through his exposure to cutting edge concepts brought ideas directly from the avant-garde into the mainstream.
Featuring many new interviews with key players from the time including; IT editor and long term friend of Paul McCartney, Barry Miles; founder of IT and UFO club organiser, John 'Hoppy' Hopkins; founder of UFO and Pink Floyd producer , Joe Boyd; Soft Machine drummer, Robert Wyatt; drummer from experimental improvisational collective AMM, Eddie Prevost; proprietor of Indica, the counter-cultural gallery, John Dunbar; Underground scenester, vocalist with The Deviants and IT journalist, Mick Farren; plus author of 'Days in the Life: Voices from the English Underground 1961 -- 1971', Jonathon Greene; Beatles expert, Chris Ingham and Mojo jounalist Mark Paytress.
Also includes rare archive footage, photographs from private collections and music from The Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Soft Machine, AMM and others.


MVD Entertainment Group has announced an October 1, 2013 release date. The DVD is playable in all regions and lasts a whopping 153 minutes.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Wrong head

What's wrong with this picture?

In 1964 the Beatles had their World Tour, which brought them to Holland, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia. In the Netherlands they played two concerts in the small town of Blokker, which the town chose to commemorate by a monument back in 1999. The monument is a fictional album cover and a record player. The cover depicts the four Beatles as pen drawings and the song titles of the songs they played at the concert.

However, something has been wrong with this monument since opening day. The drawings are showing John, Paul, George and Ringo, but as we Beatles fans know, Ringo fell ill and had to be replaced by another drummer, Jimmy Nicol for this part of the tour.

The mistake was corrected in June 2013, and a new version of the monument unveiled. Ringo's head and name has been replaced by Jimmy's name and facial features. Here's a photo from the proceedings, the man in the photo is Jimmy's son Howie, who was present. He has not heard from his father in ten years, and doesn't know the whereabouts of the old drummer.


Howie Nicol is a sound engineer, among his work is The Beatles' "Anthology", for which he won a BAFTA award.

Film from the day.
I Saw Her Standing There from the Blokker concert

Good Ol' Freda


If you're a fan of the Beatles you will have seen it. It's everywhere you look. What I'm talking about is the advertising campaign for the independent film Good Ol' Freda. You can't surf the internet without it popping up everywhere. I've resisted writing about it much, but I'm giving in. The reason? I just watched the trailer. It looks really, really good and worth your time.

The film premiered at the prestigious SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas and then toured a plethora of other film festivals, and then it was shown at the recent fest for Beatles fans in Chicago.

Here's the blurb:
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in the Beatles from the beginning, and the Beatles had faith in her. History notes that the Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band's circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles' devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution—advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges—of the greatest band in history.
The film has been funded by donations from Beatles fans who wanted to see it.
The film will be on VOD and iTunes starting September 6th, and the DVD will be released in early December.

The film includes the following songs:

Arthur Alexander - Anna
The Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There
Ketty Lester - Love Letters
The Isley Brothers – Twist and Shout
The Beatles - Love Me Do
Fats Domino - I'm Ready
Buddy Holly - Words of Love
The Drifters - Some Kind of Wonderful
The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman
The Beatles - I Feel Fine
The Shirelles – Boys
The Cookies – Chains
Carl Perkins - Honey Don't
Little Richard - Long Tall Sally
The Beatles - I Will

Puzzling though, all upcoming cinema screenings are confined to Northern America and the film is not yet scheduled for any screenings in other countries, not even in England. Not even at the upcoming international Beatle Week in Liverpool, which brings together not only Americans but Beatles fans from all over the civilized world. Why? You should probably ask marketing at Magnolia films.

Trailer:

Facebook
Website

Monday, 12 August 2013

McCartney Tour Update


Paul McCartney's "Out There" tour, now nearing completion of it's North American leg, has been a success, just like most of his tours. But even if we're used to stories about shows selling out all the tickets within minutes, this isn't always the case. Traditionally, Paul and Ringo stage most of their concerts in South and North America, since selling tickets in Europe is harder. In North America, speculants are buying up tickets, reselling them at inflated prices through various internet sites and near the venue on concert day.

Not so with today's McCartney concert in Winnipeg, Canada, according to this news item. Potential black marketeers have realised that tickets for the concert still are available from the official outlet, Ticketmaster, so they have dumped the prices. From the reseller's internet site stubhub, tickets are priced from $17 for the cheap ones to $40 for the expensive, while Ticketmaster wants $35 - $250 for similar seats.
The day after tomorrow, August 14. will see the final concert for a while, until the tour continues with dates in Japan in November. In September and Oktober, workaholic McCartney is likely to oversee the completion and launch of his new solo album.

In conjunction with the Japan concerts, rumours abound about an Australian concert. After all, McCartney owes the Australians after cancelling a planned 2002 Melbourne concert, siting the Bali bombings as the reason.

Poster for the cancelled 2002 Melbourne concert

There are also rumours about December concerts in Europe (perhaps London and Liverpool again?), so we hope that he remembers that he cancelled Horsens, Denmark last year.

Yesterday, a few highlights from McCartney's concert at the San Francisco Outside Lands festival were streamed from the festival's internet site, but many experienced internet hickups. Meanwhile, I've composed a play list of good quality footage from YouTube for your enjoyment. "San Francisco Bay Blues" received a rare non-soundcheck outing, and McCartney was accompanied by real strings during "Yesterday".


Friday, 9 August 2013

The Beatles and Me


Yesterday, The Daily Mail had an article that previewed the new book "The Beatles and Me", where they also published a photo of your's truly with a rather puzzling copyright.

The book is about fans who have had Beatle encounters. So really, it's much like what you will find on Sara's excellent Meet The Beatles For Real blog.

Link to article in the Daily Mail
Order book

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Fake "rare" photos withdrawn from auction

The Daily Mail recently became the laughing stock of Beatles fans when they printed this story about someone auctioning what the paper described as "a treasure trove of hitherto unseen Beatles photos". But the story spread elsewhere all over the internet, and no one had bothered to do any proper research.
According to the story in the Daily Mail, the photos "were taken by Derek Cooper over a 13 year period and feature the Fab Four in their days starting out at Liverpool's Cavern Club up to their acrimonious break up in 1970."
Ridiculous.

Of course, as any follower of the Beatles can see, the photos from the developed film only shows that someone has used a roll of black and white film to capture other, some rather famous, photos of the Beatles, taken by people like Robert Whitaker, Dezo Hoffman and others. It seems these phony prints have been around for a while, too.

The only "rare" thing about these photos is that some of the ones we are used to see in colour, are reproduced in black and white. This also includes the four individual portraits of John, Paul, George and Ringo that were given away with "the White album" back in 1968 and in all further editions of the album.

Sadly however, the trend of "cut-and-paste-journalism" spread the rubbish story all over the world like gospel.

Anyway, the story took another twist yesterday, when the collection was withdrawn from the auction, according to amateurphotographer.co.uk.
We hope it was because someone has alerted the auction house about the true identity of these photos.

Monday, 5 August 2013

The green series

Booklet included with boxed set 

On the 6th of February 1976 the 9 year contract The Beatles had signed with EMI back in 1967 came to an end. However, EMI retained the right to reissue anything it wanted from the old catalogue, and they weren't slow in seizing this opportunity. One month and two days later, on the 8th of March 1976, EMI re-released the 22 original Beatles' UK singles in new picture sleeves. All 22 singles had the same design for the front sleeve but four different photographs on the rear.


The first edition of “The Singles Collection 1962 - 1970” came with all the 22 singles in a green box, and added a new single, "Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better (R 6013)". These were the singles:

01. Love Me Do/PS I Love You
02. Please Please Me/Ask Me Why
03. From Me To You/Thank You Girl
04. She Loves You/I'll Get You
05. I Want To Hold Your Hand/This Boy
06. Can't Buy Me Love/You Can't Do That
07. A Hard Day's Night/Things We Said Today
08. I Feel Fine/She's A Woman
09. Ticket To Ride/Yes It Is
10. Help/I'm Down
11. We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper
12. Paperback Writer/Rain
13. Yellow Submarine/Elenor Rigby
14. Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane
15. All You Need Is Love/Baby, You're A Rich Man
16. Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus
17. Lady Madonna/The Inner Light
18. Hey Jude / Revolution
19. Get Back/Don't Let Me Down
all in mono. And in stereo:
20. Ballad Of John & Yoko/Old Brown Shoe
21. Something/Come Together
22. Let It Be/You Know My Name (the B-side in mono)
and the newcomer:
23. Yesterday/I Should Have Known Better

This was the first time "Yesterday" became available as a single in the UK, and it charted. In fact, all the singles did. All 23 again made the Top 100 (at one point ALL simultaneously) with 6 of them reaching the top 50 and therefore being mentioned again in The Guinness Book of Hit Singles. Here are the Beatles chart positions for Sunday April 4th 1976:

10 Yesterday
45 Hey Jude
46 Paperback Writer
53 Strawberry Fields Forever
55 Get Back
59 She Loves You
61 Help!
62 Love Me Do
63 Eleanor Rigby
64 Let It Be
66 A Hard Days Night
68 Can't Buy Me Love
69 I Want To Hold Your Hand
71 All You Need Is Love
72 From Me To You
74 Hello Goodbye
75 Please Please Me
76 Lady Madonna
79 Day Tripper
81 I Feel Fine
83 Ticket To Ride
84 Something
88 The Ballad of John and Yoko

So, EMI quickly realised that the Beatles was a money cow they could still milk. Further releases followed swiftly, with albums like "Love Songs", "Beatles Ballads", "Reel Music" etc, but we are concentrating on the green singles series in this blog post.

A little later EMI released the collection in a newly designed box (2nd Edition)


This collection was only for sale through EMI's mail order division, World Records Ltd. As this sold out, it was reissued with 24 singles, adding "Back In The U.S.S.R. / Twist And Shout (R 6016)", promoting the new "Rock and Roll Music" album.




From the booklet
The 3rd Edition of The Singles Collection was issued in 1978. EMI again added a new single, "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With A Little Help From My Friends/A Day In The Life (R 6022)", to cash in on the new RSO motion picture, "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" - starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

Updated booklet

The Sgt Pepper single had a totally different design than the other green series singles, but was nonetheless included.

Sore thumb

“The Singles Collection 1962 - 1970” was heavily advertised in the British press. In addition, a mailer was sent to World Records’ regular customers, containing an informational booklet and a promotional flexi-disc containing mono excerpts of songs from the collection. As with all flexi discs this is very much a promotional item and not produced for top sound quality.


In 1982, the single covers were completely redesigned with a more individual look to each single and were released in a new, blue Beatles singles box, which ended the brief but profitable era of the green series singles.

The green series sold in droves and are not rare at all. And since ebay arrived, it's fairly easy to pick up the box and the paper material as well.
The promotional flexi-disc is just a little bit harder to come by, but not extremely rare.

Inspired by the UK green series, EMI in other countries released similar Beatles singles collections.

The Dutch series was like the UK green series, only in orange. 

Here's the Spanish one:


As you can see from the back cover, the Spanish just included the singles which were specific to their country:


Here's an example from the Italian singles collection, entitled "The Greatest Story":


Again, a look at the rear gives you the Italian discography:


The French released their singles in the "Oldies But Goldies" series, featuring 36 different ones, including this:


26 singles from the French singles collection were also pressed and released in Brazil.

Friday, 2 August 2013

News from the uninformed


The above pictured photo has been a "news" item for a couple of days, and today it showed up over at BBC News.
The reality is, this and many more photos were from a film roll in Yoko Ono's camera, which was stolen in 1969. They have been published many places on the internet and in Beatles fanzines, and a number of them were published in a British tabloid newspaper back in the nineties.
Don't believe the "Ballad of John & Yoko" theory over at BBC News, the photos are from the recording of Abbey Road, after Lennon had brought a bed to the studio. The above photo is taken from Yoko's point of view in the bed.
In the summer of 1969, John and Yoko had been in a car accident while in Scotland, and the doctor had ordered Yoko to stay in bed for some time. The others could not believe their own eyes when, on July 9, John and Yoko turned up in the studio with a big bed for Yoko to rest in.
For the next several weeks, Yoko practically lived in that bed. John even requested a microphone to be set up for her so that he could hear her through the headphones.
One day, Yoko Ono had gained some strength and jumped out of her "sick bed" to nick one of George Harrison's biscuits from a packet he had put on his guitar amplifier.  Harrison made it clear that Yoko had crossed the line, to put it mildly, and an argument broke out between him and Lennon. Fortunately it died out pretty quickly.
Other photos show Yoko, Pattie Harrison and Linda McCartney in the same bed, and there are also some photos of the Beatles in a movie theatre, enjoying a preview of an early cut of the "Let It Be" film. The two most controversial photos from this film roll were nude photos of John Lennon. Here's how one of these were depicted in the British tabloid Daily Mirror:


A number of the photos were published in the Beatle Photo Blog in February this year, which we also reported here. Ever since 1969, the photos have circulated among the girls who were nicknamed "Apple scruffs".

Another, sad and misinformed story was over at the Daily Mail, who thought that someone had found a treasure trove of hitherto unseen Beatles photos.