Friday, 22 August 2014

The Beatles' first USA concert tour


Tour programme

19 August Cow Palace, San Francisco
20 August Convention Hall, Las Vegas
21 August Coliseum, Seattle
22 August Empire Stadium, Vancouver
23 August Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
26 August Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver
27 August The Gardens, Cincinnati
28-29 August Forest Hills Stadium, New York
30 August Convention Hall, Atlantic City
2 September Convention Hall, Philadelphia
3 September State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis
4 September Auditorium, Milwaukee
5 September International Amphitheatre, Chicago
6 September Olympia Stadium, Detroit
7 September Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
8 September Forum, Montreal
11 September Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
12 September Boston Gardens, Boston
13 September Civic Centre, Baltimore
14 September Civic Arena, Pittsburgh
15 September Public Auditorium, Cleveland
16 September City Park Stadium, New Orleans
17 September Municipal Stadium, Kansas City
18 September Memorial Coliseum, Dallas
20 September Paramount Theatre, New York

America is celebrating the Beatles' first proper North American tour these days, and in every city they played some sort of commemorative stuff is going on, either in the local papers, tribute concerts, photo exhibitions. local TV news etc.
Above is the tour itinerary, and it's linked to actual footage of each concert, with a few exceptions.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

George Harrison Apple Years update

Amazon Germany screen shots
Thanks to Dirk Bock, for alerting us to the fact that the new George Harrison remasters have shown up on Amazon's German affiliate, as imports. So now we have the album titles confirmed. As you can see they are:

- Wonderwall Music
- Electronic Sound
- All Things Must Pass (2 CD)
- Living In The Material World
- Dark Horse
- Extra Texture

Seven discs in all, just like Dhani Harrison implied.

Release date is given as 19 September 2014, but we heard 23 September for USA and 22. September for Europe (the Germans always release titles a little earlier than the rest of Europe).
From "insiders", here are some more details, including a list of the bonus tracks.
"George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-75" will be the full title of the boxed set. All the albums are remastered again in 2014, ignoring the previous remasterings of "All Things Must Pass" and "Living In The Material World".

There is no separate CD of bonus audio. All bonus tracks will be on their respective albums. The boxed set will contain a bonus DVD and a beautiful book full of never-before-seen photos. The CD labels will be virtually identical to the original LP releases, even including a Zapple label for Electronic Sound. Copyright info on the discs is listed as G.H. Estate Limited under exclusive license to Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group).

- The Platinum Weird version of "This Guitar" will be the sole bonus track on "Extra Texture".
- The studio version of "Bangladesh" is a bonus track on "Material World", along with "Deep Blue" and "Miss O'Dell".
- For Wonderwall Music, the bonus tracks are "In The First Place", "Almost Shankara" and "The Inner Light" (Alternative Take Instrumental).

The cover of "All Things Must Pass" is black and white on this release. In addition to some never-before-published pictures, the booklets to the albums, as well as the book accompanying the boxed set, show really nice pictures of master tape boxes from Abbey Road Studios, Apple Studios, A&M Records and FPSHOT, plus there's a funny picture of George's original handwritten and colored label idea for "Ding Ding, Ding Dong", which is listed as being by "G. Plan & The Wigtappers."

The separately released CDs will be in the same digipak style as The Beatles remasters.

The remastering was not done at Abbey Road but at Lurssen Mastering.

A placeholder listing of the boxed set at Amazon (UK) says "Label: Apple Corps Ltd".

Unboxing The Beatles in Mono vinyl box

Pete Nash from The Beatles Fan Club Magazine unboxes The Beatles Mono Vinyl box set.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

TV biopic of Cilla Black

Here's the trailer for an upcoming TV dramatisation of the Cilla Black story, produced by ITV. Look out for cameos by "the Beatles"!

Cilla is played by award winning actress Sheridan Smith. Just in case you were wondering, that's actually her singing too!
Acclaimed writer Jeff Pope has penned Cilla, a three-part drama for ITV, starring Sheridan Smith as the famous Liverpudlian songbird.
Sheridan will be joined in the cast by Aneurin Barnard as Cilla’s husband Bobby, Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, John Henshaw as Cilla’s father, John White and Melanie Hill is Cilla’s mother.
‘Cilla’ tells of her rocky rise to fame and will capture the essence of 1960s Liverpool, the atmosphere of promise and excitement as the Merseybeat music scene was on the verge of exploding in a blaze of tight-fitting skirts, stiletto heels, and beehives.
A young, unknown Cilla works in the austere environs of the typists’ pool at a local company, dreaming of stardom. The drama looks at how she met the two men who came to love her and ultimately fought over her - future husband Bobby Willis and legendary manager Brian Epstein, the tragic young businessman who also guided the career of The Beatles.
We learn how Cilla’s burgeoning friendship with John, Paul, George and Ringo - the four young men who went on to conquer the music world - shaped her career. The names of the actors playing the parts of John, Paul, George and Ringo are still unknown. It was family friend Ritchie Starkey (Ringo), the teddy-boy with a greasy quiff, who help her to cross paths with Brian Epstein and producer George Martin - who were to launch her career with recording sessions at the world famous Abbey Road Studios.
The ITV Studios production will recount the dark days of her early career, her on-off relationship with Bobby, a baker at Woolworth’s with the gift of the gab, who struggled to accept Cilla’s iron determination to succeed and become a star at the expense of practically every other area of her life.
The ITV drama Cilla will be released in late 2014.

Abbey Road - September 1969

Abbey Road, September 25, 1969. Photo: Dr. Ronald Kunze  

Thanks to Thorsten Knublauch who alerted us to this photo. Taken by Dr. Ronald Kunze in September 1969, it shows the crossing, Abbey Road studios and that VW Beetle, now parked on the other side of the road than when the Beatles had photos taken for the album the previous month. It was taken the day before the album release. The photo appeared on the German Wikipedia entry for Abbey Road.

Abbey Road studios entrance, September 25, 1969. Photo: Dr. Ronald Kunze  
A second photo shows the entrance to the studios, at the time the studios were still named "EMI Recording Studios". They changed the name to "Abbey Road Studios" in the early seventies following the success of the Beatles' album. Ever since, they have never been content with the sign above the door...
The sign above the door has been subject to change many times after the studios were renamed.

Your's truly on the steps of Abbey Road Studios a few years back.
Of course, the page has also published a black and white photo, said to have been taken the morning of the day when the Beatles crossed the road.

Empty crossing, 1969.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Beatles CD's on their way?

Vol 3 in the new "Historic Live Recordings" series
We're more than a little puzzled by the fact that OxTango Music got away with re-releasing the Beatles' Star Club tapes on CD, seemingly without any legal action taking place. And what's more,  a couple of days ago they revealed plans for further Beatles CDs in a series called "Historic Live Recordings" (3 double CD sets) as well as a "Get Back Nagra Tape Remasters" (a 3 CD set). The company is also releasing new CDs by Bob Dylan as well as the Rolling Stones.

Is there an amnesty for bootleggers regarding CD releases these days? What's happening? A cunning plan from Apple Corps Ltd to sneak out Beatles recordings for hard core fans?

Track listings and artwork on the company's website:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ringo & John's Icon albums

As we posted earlier, a couple of Ringo Starr and John Lennon compilations are hitting the CD market in the shape of two releases in Universal's "Icon" series.

John Lennon: Icon
(Just Like) Starting Over
Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
Stand By Me
Watching The Wheels
Mind Games
Jealous Guy
Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Give Peace A Chance

Ringo Starr: Icon
It Don't Come Easy
You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful and You're Mine)
Oh My My
Only You (And You Alone)
King of Broken Hearts
No No Song
Back Off Boogaloo
Walk With You
(It's All Down To) Goodnight Vienna
Yellow Submarine (live)

Nice to see two of his newer songs (King of Broken Hearts, Walk With You) mixed in with this mainly seventies collection. "Yellow Submarine" may have been taken from a previous release by the All Starr Band. Or perhaps not?
Badfinger's album "Timeless" was also an Icon release, and sported a full Apple label. Maybe these will, too?
Release date is 9 September.

"Train song" mystery solved?

A Hard Day's Night
In a great article about the restoration of "A Hard Day's Night" (picture and sound), Matt Hurwitz seems to have solved the "train song" mystery.
One of the session musicians who worked on George Martin sessions for incidental music for the film says he's playing on the clip, not Ringo.
"That's definitely me," drummer Clem Cattini (at that point, fresh from The Tornadoes) told Hurwitz for a lengthy StudioDaily piece on the film's restoration. "The guitars, I think, were ‘Big Jim’ Sullivan and Jimmy Page. They did a lot of the rock stuff together in those days, particularly on these kinds of sessions.”

Read the full piece at You won't regret it.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Beatles at Johanneshov

The Beatles at Johanneshov
A recording from one of The Beatles' performances at Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stockholm, Sweden suddenly materialised out of nowhere the other day, and started circulating among collectors. The Beatles played four concerts at the venue, two on July 28th, 1964 and two the day after. The recording could be from any of these concerts. The concert was professionally recorded in stereo, however, over the years, one channel of the stereo image has been wiped. The result is that you can hear Paul McCartney's vocal microphone loud and clear, but not John Lennon's. Of course, when George Harrison sings into McCartney's microphone you can hear him, but not when he is using John's. The bass, drums and George's guitar are heard, but not so much Lennon's rhythm guitar. You can hear John's voice being picked up some times by Paul's microphone, but distant. Still, it's an entertaining recording, and the missing side of the stereo image lets you focus in on some backup singing.
From this recording, "All My Loving" has previously been aired on Swedish Radio by Staffan Olander in 2012, like we told you about at the time.

Songs heard:
I Saw Her Standing There (the beginning is missing)
You Can't Do That (Paul thanks the audience in Swedish, John is audible when he's speaking)
She Loves You (Paul tries to sing it with a Swedish accent occasionally)
All My Loving
Roll Over Beethoven (George is using Paul's microphone, so we can hear him sing)
Can't Buy Me Love
I Wanna Be Your Man (Ringo's vocals almost inaudible, but Paul and John share Paul's microphone and are strongly present)

And the recording comes to a halt. You can listen to the recording in the player below.

It's strange that this recording should appear at its 50th anniversary. Perhaps something to do with the EU copyright legislation?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Beatles calendars 2015

Is it an album? No, it's a calendar!
It's that time of year again - the time when various calendars for next year is released. Actually, Trends International is jumping the gun here a bit, they are unleashing a sleuth of Beatles calendars tomorrow, but Danilo (who are the makers of the "official" Beatles calendars) are waiting until the 15th of August to release theirs.
First off, here are the Danilo calendars, two variations:

The official Beatles calendar by Danilo
And here's a look at the back, to see all the images used inside:

All 12 months.
Next up is Danilo's Beatles Collectors Edition 2015 Calendar. Not very special, it sells for the same price as the other one. It includes a Record Sleeve gift cover. This 2015 Beatles calendar celebrates the fab foursome with amazing photos throughout and large format monthly calendar grids give ample room for your own appointments and reminders to keep you organised throughout the year, it says here.

Danilo's Collector's Edition Beatles Calendar.
And here it is with a sample page
Over to Trends International. Here is their 2015 range of Beatles calendars:

This is their oversized calendar, where each page is poster sized.
A sampling of pages reveal concert posters inside
Next up is their premium wall calendar.

Premium wall calendar, 16 months
If you're short on wall space, here's their solution: The mini calendar!

7" calendar, 16 months
If you're totally out of wall space, but can clear a bit from your desktop, here's the standee:

Same posture every month, but nice!
Then there's the premium Art calendar:

Beatles Premium Art calendar
Premium Art calendar - back
Oh, and since we started with the American albums calendar, here's a second look:

Trends International's Collector's Edition Beatles calendar 2015
The prize for best front cover of all these calendars goes to (drum roll)...

Pyramid's Official John Lennon Calendar (12" x 12")

You can buy these calendars from here: Apple Records Amazon Astore (USA) and some of them are available at our humble UK Amazon Astore.

Braverman's Condensed Cream of the Beatles

Still from the film
In 1971-1972, Charles "Chuck" Braverman made a 14,5 minute film about the history of the Beatles called "Braverman's Condensed Cream of the Beatles", first seen on Geraldo Rivera's "Good Night America" television show for ABC. The film used mostly animated graphics, but also features quite a few short live action clips, including a cameo by Rivera interviewing John Lennon about his American citizenship troubles.

Script for the film

A number of sites on the internet refers to the film as having been nominated for an Academy Award, or even having won one. However, in researching this, I only found that the film was nominated for a "Gold Hugo" award at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1973. One of Braverman's other shorts was eventually nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject, that was in 2000, and the documentary, "Curtain Call" didn't win.

"Braverman's Condensed Cream of the Beatles" was distributed in 16mm by Santa Monica based Pyramid Films in the 1970s, but so far has never been officially released for the home video market.

Back in the early eighties when "Beatlefest" used to show actual videos that you couldn't see anywhere else, they would show "Braverman's Condensed Cream of the Beatles" as an annual tradition.

My own encounter with the film was also in the early eighties, when I used to trade video tapes of the Beatles with other collectors. On the video cassette I got, the film had an added monicker, it was called "Time Capsule: Braverman's Condensed Cream of the Beatles". I found it a quirky little film, containing images in sub par quality. Most of the footage used I had in better quality on other tapes. But I guess by then standards were higher than in the early seventies when it was made, and higher quality footage had appeared. The film had a lot of stills, some animation and snippets of films like "A Hard Day's Night", the trailer for "Help!", some Ed Sullivan Show performances and an interview with a bespectacled Sullivan, "The Beatles at Shea Stadium" concert documentary, the promos for "Revolution" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", etcetera, all in far worse shape than the footage I was used to at the time. The most recent footage used in the film was from Harrison's  "The Concert for Bangladesh" and Lennon's "One To One" concert, both held at the Madison Square Garden.

Still from a "A Hard Day's Night" clip used in Braverman's film.
When the film was first released and distributed on a 16mm reel, it was shown in schools across the USA, and for many pupils it was to be their first encounter with film of the Beatles, which for a number of them triggered a lifelong fascination with the band. The situation was much like with "The Compleat Beatles" video cassette later on, and "The Beatles Anthology" TV series for yet another generation.

A full version of the film existed on YouTube, however it has been removed by the powers that be. These days, you can still find the first half of it there, though. The full film has been included on several bootleg DVDs, most notably "Introducing The Beatles" on the (fake) Capitol label and Fab Productions' 2008 release "The Long and Winding Road".

Geraldo Rivera also made liberal use of the film in his various Beatles-related reports in the seventies as well as in his appearance on ABC's Nightline in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 1980.

There was a "Paul is dead" sequence in this film that got much attention by the conspiration theory people. Here's a discussion about that aspect.

The film pops up occasionally, and is shown at film clubs and 16mm film festivals. For instance, an internet search reveals that it was shown at a 16mm film festival in San Francisco in November, 2010. Some film libraries still have the title. As it is with these old 16mm films, age takes its toll on them, and the colours often get a red hue which gets worse and worse over the years. You can see this on the stills from the film in this very article.

Here's a review of the film from a 1973 edition of The English Journal. The review is of course for the 16mm film, and is likely to have influenced teachers across the USA to screen the then current film in their classrooms.

Pyramid Films. 17 minutes, color. Rental: $20 Sale: $250.

Pyramid Films Braverman's newest film, Condensed Cream of Beatles, is a kaleidoscope of flashing images, music and ideas of the rock group who powerfully influenced the youth culture of the sixties. Braverman traces the Beatles' history from their first nervous American appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, through the next ten years of albums, movies, concerts and personal dilemmas. As a short film, Cream of Beatles is visually more sophisticated than Braverman's Televisionland or The Sixties. While he still uses live television cuts and his "kinestasis" tech-nique in filmmaking, there are a lot of montages created especially to accompany clips from famous songs. There are excerpts from the films A Hard Day's NightYellow Submarine, and The Concert For Bangladesh that provide a sense of the philosophical direction of the group. The sense of America's "Beatlemania" infects the viewer in scenes from their famous concert at Shea Stadium. Surprise is registered at that shortlived surge by some to ban the Beatles for their charismatic effect on American youth. Braverman has tied all this together with cuts from songs like "She Loves You" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." There are titles from the Beatle period of political statement—"Revolution," "Song For Bangladesh," (sic) and "We All Shine On." (sic) With every second of film totally infused with speed, color, flashes, zooms and cuts, Braverman has barraged his audience totally with the spirit of the Beatles. Viewing the film is especially individual, for though the Beatles were universally heard, the memories they stir are uniquely one's own. Cream of Beatles has a special meaning for the 20-30 age group who grew up with the Beatles. It is a fascinating return to an important part of one's life. Over a dozen English classes at Masconomet Regional High, representing all types of high school students, have viewed the film. It has evidenced a special success in arousing curiosity among kids about the sixties. Sam Winslow, a 16-year-old student at the high school, has voluntarily seen the film fourteen times. I asked Sam what he would like to say about Cream of Beatles to an audience of high school teachers:

"Many people, like me, only see the Beatles on album covers, or maybe on posters. The Beatles were such an influence on young people, and this movie brings in every aspect that affected the kids. It brings back so many memories of the sixties and early seventies. Charles Braverman is a genius."

Whether or not one can call Braverman a genius, his film does work in the classroom. It can be seriously used as introduction to culture of the sixties, the study of rock music, discussion of the Vietnam War and the Protest Movement. It illustrates the concept of montage in creative writing, and demonstrates both technique and idea in filmmaking. It can be combined with song lyrics printed as poetry, with Braverman's film The Sixties for a study of the recent past, or with other films on Rock and Roll. Unique in conception and style, Cream of Beatles will succeed in the classroom as well as provide genuine entertainment.

Rebecca Fulginiti
Masconomet Regional High School
Topsfield, Massachusetts

It seems to me that Geraldo Rivera commissioned this film from Braverman. To this end, he got in touch with Dave Morrell, who recently (1972) had been in the New York media as a Beatles collector, something unheard of in those days, so soon after the group had broken up.

Morrell and Furmanek had this card printed
Rivera wanted Morrell to supply records and memorabilia from their collection to be used in the film. Morrell enlisted help from his young fellow Beatles collector friend, Ron Furmanek. Furmanek proceeded to make an inventory list of what they had, and supplied this to the filmmakers.

Inventory list

The items they wanted to be in the film was packaged and sent to Hollywood.

Some of the paper memorabilia that was sent to Braverman.

Most of the items they supplied were used near the end of the film, accompanied by the song "The Long and Winding Road". When the film was aired on July 30, 1973, Morrell was thanked by Rivera on the air, but Furmanek got no mention and the two are not thanked in the credits of the film. Furthermore, when their memorabilia was shipped back to them, the two friends discovered that some of the items had tape stains etc and were in a worse shape than it was when it had left them.

The return envelope

These days, the film is a "relic from a different age", but older fans remember it fondly.

Dave Morrell went on to work in the public relations dept at Warner Bros Records and eventually got to meet all four members of the Beatles, who he has described as "some of the nicest people I have ever met". At 60, he lives in LA and is currently working on a series of easy-to-read books about his life in the music business. The first book, Horse-Doggin', was released in March, and the next installment is due out in September. Morrell supplied us with photos from his archives for this article. You can order his books from his Amazon page here.

Ron Furmanek went on to become an expert on restoring audio and video archives, his work on the Beatles films and promotional videos are evident throughout The Beatles Anthology series. Ironically, a lot of the footage seen in Braverman's film was later restored by Furmanek for Apple Corps Ltd. For more details, see our article on Furmanek's work for the Beatles here.

Charles "Chuck" Braverman continues to make films, and works as an independent producer of television features for many TV companies. His website is here.

Geraldo Rivera hosts the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large and appears regularly on Fox News Channel. His website is here.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Venus & Speed - vinyl albums

Venus and Mars - double album
Pictures have been released of the vinyl editions of the upcoming vinyl editions of "Venus & Mars" and "At The Speed of Sound". Apart from being a double album this time around, "Venus & Mars looks like its old self, gatefold sleeve, two posters and a couple of stickers were also included with the original 1975 single album release.
Wings At The Speed of Sound - double album
"At the Speed of Sound" has kept it's original "no frills" look, apart from that, necessarily, it now sports a gatefold sleeve.

The albums are currently priced at £20.99 each, over at the Universal Music Store, and $34.98 in the USA Amazon listings.

The Beatles in Mono CD-box re-release

"The Beatles in Mono"
Word is out that Universal Music Group is about to re-release the 2009 "The Beatles in Mono" CD boxed set. Originally released by Apple/EMI in 2009, the CDs feature the group's original monophonic Beatles albums, together with an odds and ends 2 CD set, called "Mono Masters". Also included were the 1965 stereo mixes of "Help!" and "Rubber Soul", the stereo version of the CDs featuring a 1987 George Martin remix of these albums.

The release comes probably because of the imminent release of the mono albums on vinyl. Unlike the all-analogue vinyl versions of the mono albums, the CD boxed set has a digital recreation of the master tapes, and this will still be the case with the re-release.

"The Beatles in Mono" was an expensive limited edition release, and was heavily pirated. Not just copying the official release, the pirate copies were done from scratch and included spelling mistakes of the titles. One we heard about, was a White album which referenced the titles as 'Whil My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Revolution A'.

We don't know if the re-release will mimic the original 2009 release, regarding the look of the box, CDs and booklet. Back when the Traveling Wilburys limited edition boxed set went into it's second printing, they changed the colour of the box.

Wings photos

UK newspaper The Guardian has launched an online gallery of Wings photos, these are taken from the upcoming Venus & Mars/Speed Of Sound books from the deluxe editions of the albums.
Check out the photos here.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Icon Lennon and Starr releases

John Lennon and Ringo Starr
Universal Music Enterprises are releasing an album each by Ringo Starr and John Lennon in their Icon budget series for Amazon on September 9, 2014.
Priced at $7.97, the tracks are still unknown, but it's likely to be their best known songs.
Amazon (USA) listings:
Ringo Starr
John Lennon