Monday, 2 March 2015

Spoof interview confuses fans

The fake news item
The World News Daily Report used George Harrison's birthday, 25 February this year to publish an "interview" with Ringo Starr, where Starr was to have claimed that the real Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike. Of course, long time Beatles fans realised that this was just a retelling of the 1969 "Paul is dead" rumour. By putting the myth into the mouth of Ringo Starr, the spoof news page was taken seriously by some, and fuelled the "Paul is dead" cult, which still blossoms on the internet, courtesy of people who are prone to conspiracy theories. In the article, writer Barbara Johnson claimed that Ringo came up with the story in an interview with the Hollywood Inquirer in his LA home "this morning".
In reality, Ringo is currently touring, and on 24. February he was giving a concert in Sarasota, Florida, and while "the interview" was supposedly done in his home in LA the next morning, Ringo was really en route to Brazil, where he played in Sao Paolo on the night of the 26. February.

While not ‘satire,’ per se, World News Daily Report follows the old-school Tabloid-styled faux-journalism of its predecessors, such as the Weekly World News. As such, you will find disclaimers neither revealing its satirical nature nor reveling in its journalistic integrity. It’s just for entertainment purposes, so they rely on the sheer audacity of the topics covered to be its built-in disclaimer.

To be blunt, World News Daily Report is one of the sites on the internet who just publishes fake sensational stories in order to earn money from people clicking on their advertisements.

This is the second time in a short while that a fake news story has been confusing Beatles fans, last week a story of a 2015 remake of Abbey Road, featuring Kanye West as John Lennon caused similar controversy.

Source: World News Daily Report
The "Paul is dead" rumour on Wikipedia

Carol Tyler's Fab 4 mania

Carol Tyler's illustration of Beatles '65
Carol Tyler (born 1951) is an American painter, educator, comedian, and Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist known for her autobiographical stories. She is also a huge fan of the Beatles. In 1965 she saw the Beatles in Chicago and kept a journal of the events in the week leading up to it. So now, 50 years later, she is channelling her inner 13 year old self to set the stage in the months prior, so that the 'week of' journal is more meaningful.

Her blog can be found here:

The blog is written in 50 years ago real time, and will lead up to August 20, which is the concert date. After that, it becomes a book.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

George and me

Poster for "When We Was Fab".
Back in 2001, I was taking a course in how to become a webmaster and make websites. As an exercise, I made a Beatles website. It was part of the course - and the website was to demonstrate various techniques we had learned.  It was offline, just available on the school server and could only be accessed from within the school. At the same time, I was also responsible for the real life website of the Norwegian Beatles fan club, Norwegian Wood.

On that school Beatles website, I wrote a little bit about the members of the Beatles and what they were up to at the time. In George's entry, I commented that all Beatles fans were very concerned about George's health. At the time, I knew that he was troubled.

Near the end of November, I was lucky to attend an intimate concert with one of my favourite Norwegian performers, a very popular and talented singer, songwriter, guitar player and comedian - it was truly a great night out. The next day, I woke up to the news that George Harrison had died.

I didn't show up for school that day, I stayed in and wrote updates on the Norwegian Beatles fan club website, I wrote about George and put up photos of him, as well as making a protocol where fans could write a few words to share their sorrow.

One regret I'll always have, is that I never got to see George, not is concert and not in person. Just like Paul McCartney's appearance on the Prince's Trust concert in 1986, George's appearance at the 1987 gig was a secret before the show. Had I known, I probably would have been there - I used to go to London at least once a year throughout the eighties.

I wanted to go and see his concerts in Japan in December 1991, but it was too far away and far too expensive. I traded videos with people, and had quite a few amateur recordings of the shows, recorded by Japanese fans with camcorders.

Shortly before George was to play his Royal Albert Hall concert in 1992, I read about it in a Norwegian newspaper and contemplated going over to see the show, but decided against it. I reckoned that the Japan tour must have made him enjoy doing concerts again, and I was hoping that he would tour elsewhere as well, possibly even coming to Norway. I also figured that the concert at the Royal Albert Hall would probably sell out quickly, so I thought my chances of getting tickets were slim.

Sadly, that concert was to be his final full concert and he never toured again. And when I read that the concert hadn't sold out after all, I deeply regretted not dropping everything and flying over to England.

My one "near George" experience happened a few years earlier, when I went to see Bob Dylan in London in 1984, as he was playing a concert at Wembley Stadium. Van Morrison, Eric Clapton and Chrissie Hynde joined him on stage, I later learned that George had been there too, but he was just standing in the wings of the stage and didn't step forward to play alongside the others. Six songs from the concert I attended were released on an LP later that year, as "Real Live".

I also happened to be in London in 1988 when George was due to appear on the popular chat show "Wogan", which was being broadcast live from BBC Television Theatre in Shepherd's Bush. I bought an empty VHS cassette and asked the receptionist at my hotel if she could tape the show for me and then I went over to the theatre. I was not the only one, several other Beatles and George fans were there, waiting for George to arrive at the scene. A large poster for "When We Was Fab" was promoting his current single on a nearby wall. Sadly, the night was a waste, as we never saw George arrive or leave. When I finally got the chance to view the taped show after having arrived home in Norway, I understood why: yes, George appeared live on the show, but via satellite from Hollywood.

The year after George's death, I got word about the "Concert For George", which was going to take place in Royal Albert Hall. The day the ticket sale started, I engaged all my fellow students at the school to try and get me tickets via the internet, while I was on the phone, trying to get tickets that way. Our efforts were fruitless, the tickets were soon sold out. Still, I didn't let that stop me, and I managed to score a ticket from my friend in Liverpool, Jean Catharell. I went over to London a few days before the concert, and there I managed to buy some more tickets, which enabled me to phone friends in Norway and have them come over for the show.

It was a beautiful concert and a fitting tribute. The best part was of course when Paul and Ringo were on the stage at the same time, exchanging nods and looks during their performances. This was the first time the song "Photograph" took on a whole new meaning, and you can actually spot me in the background on that song during the chronological version of the concert film. We all felt close to George that night.

Congratulations, George Harrison

On the occasion of what would have been George Harrison's 72 birthday, a hitherto unseen video of him singing the Traveling Wilburys song "Congratulations" has been published. The video was filmed at the same time as footage for the "All Things Must Pass" EPK on the lawn at Friar Park in 2000.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl revisited

The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl.
Still not out on iTunes or CD, and, perhaps more importantly: not out on Universal Music.
Rumour has it that the audio in the films below of The Beatles playing live at the Hollywood Bowl has been cleaned up by a renowned producer and Beatles fan, surpassing the efforts made in 1977 by George Martin. Of course, technology has improved immensely since then, Martin cleaned it up as good as he could for the 1977 LP and cassette release of the combined Hollywood Bowl 1964 and 1965 concerts.

Initially, Capitol Records considered recording The Beatles' February 1964 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York, but it could not obtain the necessary approval from the AFM to record the performance. Six months later, Bob Eubanks booked The Beatles' 23 August 1964 performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles where Capitol recorded their performance with the intent of releasing a live album in America.

The recordings were no secret, as this cutting from the New Musical Express from two days before the concert shows.

It's funny that the album was only considered for the American market, due to the fact that "it will consist primarily of their standard material", as the NME put it. Clearly, the mere fact that it was a real live concert performance wasn't enough to impress the British particularly. Although the news item mentions that George Martin had flown over to supervise the recordings, the de facto producer was Capitol's Voyle Gilmore, and Martin was a foreigner who didn't have any influence over how the recordings were done, miked or mixed.

The sound quality of the tapes proved to be inadequate for commercial release, and when The Beatles returned to the Hollywood Bowl a year later during their 1965 American tour, Capitol recorded two performances by the group at the same venue. The sound quality of the 1965 recordings was equally disappointing. Capitol did, however, utilise a 48-second excerpt of "Twist and Shout" from the 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert on the 1964 documentary album, "The Beatles' Story".
In 1971, the Hollywood Bowl tapes were given to Phil Spector to see if he could fashion an album out of the material. Either Spector did not complete the job or his production was unsatisfactory, and the tapes continued to sit unreleased for another six years.

Probably as a reaction to the imminent independent release of the infamous 1962 "Star Club tapes" from Hamburg in 1977, Capitol felt that they had to release something on their own. When George Martin was asked by Capitol Records' president, Bhaskar Menon to listen to the tapes again with an album in mind, he was impressed with the performances, but disappointed with the sound quality, and the fact that vocals and guitars were interlocked on a single track. In working on the three-track Hollywood Bowl concert tapes, Martin discovered quite a challenge. The first difficulty was finding a working three-track machine with which to play back the master tapes. Once he found one, he discovered that the machine overheated when it was running, melting the magnetic tape. Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick came up with the solution of blowing cold air from a vacuum cleaner to keep the tape deck cool whilst the recordings were transferred to 16-track tapes (some sources say 24-track tapes, Martin's sleeve notes just uses the phrase multitrack tapes) for filtering, equalisation, editing, and mixing. The album cover mistakenly showed the 29 August recordings as the second date used, but Martin had found the 29 August 1965 recording lacking, as a technical fault left Paul McCartney's vocals and introductions inaudible during the first four songs, and just two songs, "Ticket to Ride" and "Help" from that concert was in fact used. A third song, "Dizzy Miss  Lizzy" is a composite using parts from both nights in 1965. Otherwise, the album compiled by Martin consisted entirely of songs recorded on 23 August 1964 and 30 August 1965.

Hollywood Bowl 1964
Voyle Gilmore, who was the American producer during the original recordings of both the 1964 and 1965 concerts downplayed Martin's problems with cleaning up the tapes in 1977:

"George Martin made such a speech. It sounds like he changed it but I doubt it. There's not much he could do. It was recorded on three-track machines with half-inch tapes. The Hollywood Bowl has a pretty good stereo sound system so we plugged our mikes right in there. I didn't do an awful lot. There wasn't much we could do. They just played their usual show and we recorded it. It wasn't that bad. I kept thinking, 'Maybe we'll get permission to release the tapes.' So I took them back to the studio and worked on it a while. I worked on the applause, edited it down, made it play and EQd it quite a bit. The Beatles heard it and they all wanted tape copies. I had five or six copies made and sent over. That's where the bootlegs must have come from. We had a system at Capitol and we knew where all our copies were. The Beatles said they liked the tapes, that it sounded pretty good, that they were surprised but they still didn't want to release it. I thought the first concert was a little better than the second. I don't know if I would have put them together like they did because doing it that way they have sacrificed an album. They really could have made two albums."

Martin counteracted that "We recorded it on three-track tape, which was standard US format then. You would record the band in stereo on two tracks and keep the voice separated on the third, so that you could bring it up or down in the mix. But at the Hollywood Bowl they didn't use three-track in quite the right way. I didn't have too much say in things because I was a foreigner, but they did some very bizarre mixing. In 1977, when I was asked to make an album from the tapes, I found guitars and voices mixed on the same track. And the recording seemed to concentrate more on the wild screaming of 18,700 kids than on the Beatles on stage."
Martin's comment is from Mark Lewisohn's book, "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions".

Hollywood Bowl 1965

Hollywood Bowl 1965
Because "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" included songs from two tours recorded a year apart, a number of songs performed were not included on the album. Songs from the 1964 show not included on the album are:
"Twist and Shout", "You Can't Do That", "Can't Buy Me Love", "If I Fell", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "A Hard Day's Night".
Songs from the 1965 show not included on the album are:
"I Feel Fine", "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby", "Baby's in Black", "I Wanna Be Your Man", and "I'm Down".

They still had to get approval from the four Beatles in order to release the album. Paul seems to have approved it without hearing it, John was given a tape from George Martin and was delighted, Ringo and George were more lukewarm to it, George likening it to a bootleg, albeit an official one.

The album was released in May 1977, in the middle of the punk rock and disco era, but still sold over a million copies worldwide, topping the NME chart in the UK, and stopping at the no. 2 spot on the Billboard chart in the USA.

1984 re-release.
In the UK, the album was re-released in September 1984 on the budget "Music For Pleasure" label owned by EMI, but still only on vinyl and cassette and not on the new CD format. In comparison, Paul McCartney's album that same year, "Give My Regards to Broad Street" was released on LP, cassette and CD, with the cassette and CD utilizing the extra space available to include longer versions of the tracks, and the CD even included a bonus track not available in the two other formats. In my mind, this proves that Paul was still a groundbreaker, whereas the collective Beatles had become quite conservative.

"Baby's in Black" from the 1965 Hollywood Bowl concert was finally issued as the B-Side of the 1996 "Real Love" single, splicing together John's spoken introduction from the 29th of August followed by the performance of the song from the 30th.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" from the 1964 concert was mixed into the studio version of the song for the 2006 Love album.

With "The Beatles Live Project" due out later this year (rumours have it that it will be realised for the Christmas market), an offspring of the project could well be a remastered, remixed and improved "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl". Certainly the stereo audio from these professionally recorded concerts would be of good use in the Ron Howard produced documentary.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fake "remake of Abbey Road" article upsetting fans

Cashing in on the recent negative comments from Beatles fans on Paul McCartney's collaborations with Kanye West, National Report featured a satirical article which implied that West was to "take John Lennon's place" in a remake of the Abbey Road album.
The unfunny article has confused a lot of fans, who thought it was true, and is being spread like wildfire through various social media channels, and has showed up as gospel on other sites, too.

Comedy writer and Beatles fan Howard Fox put it best when he said that the difference between good and bad satire is that you'll can recognise good satire as satire by it being funny.

As far as we know, the offending article hasn't been commented on by official sources, but Tony Bramwell, close friend of Paul McCartney, released a statement on his facebook page: "All this gossip about a Kanye West and a remake of Abbey Road is total Bullshine! I just thought I'd let you know!"

Fans disgust at the very idea and the failure to read the article as satire also comes quite clear in the commentaries section of the article page.

National Report: Kanye West Replaces John Lennon On 2015 Remake Of Abbey Road
Something New - The Beatlefan blog

Yellow Submarine print from comic book artist

Alex Ross, working on his "Yellow Submarine" painting.
Dark Hall Mansion, a company that specializes in officially licensed posters and prints, is about to release a limited edition "Yellow Submarine" print from renowned comic book artist Alex Ross.

In regards to the project, Ross explained, "For as long as I can remember hearing music, I have loved the Beatles. Not only do I believe they are the greatest musical group of all time, but also one of the greatest things to have happened in human history. 'Yellow Submarine' has also been one of my favorite films since I was six years old. The opportunity to work with the Beatles' likenesses in the very inspired context of the 'Yellow Submarine' film is an absolute dream come true. There is so much I love about these men, their legacy, and this film."

The full size painting
Ross cited surrealist Salvador Dali and Heinz Edelmann's original "Yellow Submarine" film as inspirations for this print. Beyond his work in comics, Ross' resume includes work for Hollywood studios and a print for the Academy Awards.

Closeup of The Beatles in the painting.
Coming in at a full 72 inches, the print will be distributed on paper and canvas in exact scale to the original painting. Only 295 paper editions will be available for $375 each; the canvas edition will have 125 copies available at $550 per poster.

Ross' "Yellow Submarine" poster is available for order from Dark Hall Mansion on Thursday, February 26.

Alex Ross is best known for his realistic looking renderings of super heroes, like the "Justice League of America" painting below.

Alex Ross, “JLA: The Original Seven”, 2000, © Alex Ross™ & © DC Comics.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Star Club tapes for sale again (yawn)

Pete, George, John, Paul and Stuart in Hamburg, 1960 - two years before the Star Club days. Colourised.
Looks like the Star Club tapes with the Beatles and others have appeared for sale once more, as reported by The Guardian and echoed by Rolling Stone, who are inferring that the famous rock'n'roll venue was a strip club... So much for rock and roll journalism.

The original tape recorders and another tape appeared for sale by Heritage Auctions in December without attracting any buyers.

The current tape offered up for sale is supposedly a seven-inch reel safety master of the original unedited Beatles mono tape that ran during the performances, often when John, Paul, George and Ringo were not playing. It has previously been up for sale over at American Memorabilia, where it has been around for years without anyone bothering to buy it. Now that it has attracted the attention of the mainstream media, maybe they'll find a buyer, who knows?

Auction house Ted Owen & Co. will offer up the tape with a reserve price of £100,000. Registration and bidding commences from the 27th of February with the online auction to start on March 26th 2015 6pm (GMT) 10am (PST).

Now Again! The Beatles

Now Again!
South Korea is a country which has produced a number of Beatles albums unique to the country, and also with some rare picture sleeves. Several albums have also been manufactured in the U.K. for export to South Korea. However, one particular album stands out. Essentially, it's a radio promo album  from around 1975. It bills The Beatles as the artist, but it features only solo material.
As far as we know, it is the only album from anywhere in the world ever authorized by EMI that contained solo songs by all four Beatles. Manufactured under license in South Korea by Oasis Record Co., it contained such solo classics as "Stand By Me", "Band On the Run", "No No Song", and "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" (See complete track listing below).

The back cover owes a lot to "Revolver".

The disc was manufactured in Great Britain, on the EMI label, making this an extremely rare U.K. export album. In addition, under the catalog number (OL 107) on the label are the words "For Broadcast Only", and some copies sold have a paper insert. On the label is a South Korean import tax sticker. On the back cover, a separate catalog number is shown for each of the songs, indicating their release as singles in South Korea.

With the paper insert. Also note the tax sticker on the label.
The song selection is probably based on their popularity in South Korea, a country which is known for favouring other songs than the ones which were popular in the rest of the world. One of the best known Beatles hits in South Korea is "I Will". Featuring just one song from Paul, three each from George and Ringo, and four by John may be an indication on the popularity of the various solo carreers as well.

Side One:
  1. #9 Dream (John Lennon) 4:45 (OLE 1762)
  2. Old Dirt Road (John Lennon) 4:10 (OLE 1758)
  3. Stand By Me (John Lennon) 3:29 (OLE 2006)
  4. Love (John Lennon) 3:15 (OLE 1681)
  5. Band On The Run (Paul McCartney) 5:07 (OLE 1637)

Side Two
  1. Only You (Ringo Starr) 2:29 (OLE 1752)
  2. No No Song (Ringo Starr) 2:29 (OLE 1752)
  3. Photograph (Ringo Starr) 2:27 (OLE 227)
  4. Ding Dong, Ding Dong (George Harrison) 3:38 (OLE 1977)
  5. Dark Horse (George Harrison) 3:52 (OLE 1978)
  6. Bye Bye Love (George Harrison) 4:02 (OLE 1975)

The front cover.
Popsike indicates that this album has been sold only seven times on ebay since 2004, once that year, once in 2005, once in 2007, twice in 2009, once in 2012 and once in 2013. People don't seem to know what to charge for it, the selling prices have ranged from just $49 to $518. One seller said in the description that he has come across five of these albums through the years. The site knows only about two copies of the album, one of them unopened.

The two Koreas
North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a single-party communist state, now centred on Kim Il-sung's Juche ideology, with a centrally planned industrial economy.

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a multi-party state with a capitalist market economy. The two states have greatly diverged both culturally and economically since their partition, though they still share a common traditional culture and pre-Cold War history.

What with Paul McCartney visiting South Korea for his first ever concert there in May, perhaps we will see an autographed copy of the album next?

Monday, 16 February 2015

French box

The French box
We have previously mentioned that a series of Beatles CDs and DVDs currently is being released on a weekly basis in France. At the time, a box to hold the collection was not planned for, but it has later been made available together with the "White album", see the illustration above. A Special Edition of the magazine "Le Monde Magazine" has also hit the news stands in France:

It was during this photo session that Ringo fell ill and was rushed to a hospital, forcing him to have a stand in for the opening concerts of the upcoming tour with the Beatles.
The French releases can be ordered from this site.

Ringo's set list

Ringo has been touring with the same All Starr Band since 2012: Gregg Bissonette, Richard Page, Todd Rundgren, Ringo Starr, Steve Lukather, Warren Ham and Gregg Rolie.
Ringo and his All Starr Band started their American tour this weekend, Friday they played in Louisiana, Saturday in Texas and Sunday in Alabama. Here is the set list from the opening show:
  1. Matchbox
  2. It Don't Come Easy
  3. Wings
  4. I Saw the Light (Todd Rundgren)
  5. Evil Ways (Willie Bobo)
  6. Rosanna (Toto)
  7. Kyrie (Mr. Mister)
  8. Bang the Drum All Day (Todd Rundgren)
  9. Boys
  10. Don't Pass Me By
  11. Yellow Submarine
  12. Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen (Santana)
  13. Honey Don't
  14. Anthem
  15. You Are Mine (Richard Page)
  16. Africa (Toto)
  17. Oye como va (Tito Puente)
  18. Love Is the Answer (Utopia / Todd Rundgren)
  19. I Wanna Be Your Man
  20. Broken Wings (Mr. Mister)
  21. Hold the Line (Toto)
  22. Photograph
  23. Act Naturally
  24. With a Little Help from My Friends
  25. Give Peace a Chance
As you can see, "Matchbox" from Carl Perkins opens the ball, funny coincidence that Paul McCartney also elected to play that song on Saturday in New York City.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

McCartney's Valentine's Day concert

The concert poster was handed out to people as they left the venue.
Paul McCartney's setlist from last night's intimate surprise concert at New York City's Irving Plaza:

Eight Days A Week
Save Us
All My Loving
One After 909
Matchbox (finally ready for prime time)
Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady
My Valentine
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen A Face
It's So Easy (and not in Lubbock!)
Every Night
Another Day
We Can Work It Out
And I Love Her
Lady Madonna
Drive My Car
Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da
Back In The USSR
Let It Be
Hey Jude
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End

Despite rumours of special guest appearances on stage, nothing came of it, but there were plenty of celebrities in the audience, like Chevy Chase, Bruce Springsteen, Peyton Manning, Eddie Murphy, Emma Stone, Tom Hanks, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Jim Carrey, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Q-Tip, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, David Spade, Andy Cohen, Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep, Lorne Michaels, Fred Armisen, Steve Buscemi, Steve van Zandt and Chris Rock. It was an abbreviated concert which lasted around an hour and a half, usually McCartney's concerts are closer to three hours. The audience was showered with confetti and rose petals during "My Valentine", during which a disco ball appeared! A wonderful time was had by all.

It's So Easy. Photo Mitchell Axelrod

Read Mitchell Axelrod's account and check out his photos!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Paul plays Irving Plaza for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day
Paul McCartney will be playing an unannounced show tonight, Valentine's Day, at Irving Plaza.
Macca will be in New York City this weekend for the taping of the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special, and the 1,025-person venue has been booked for an intimate concert from the superstar.
SNL 40 will air on NBC this Sunday, from 8-11 PM. The live special will feature a whole slew of past and present cast members and musical guests. The Irving Plaza gig may be an event exclusively held for the cast, crew and friends of Saturday Night Live. Jimmy Fallon reportedly gave away two tickets to members of his TV audience yesterday night.
Ringo Starr held an intimate concert at the venue back in 2005, backed by the Roundheads.

Meanwhile, the rumour mill is talking about an upcoming concert by McCartney to take place in Paris, France in June - a rumour which has rekindled hope for a European tour among McCartney's fans there.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Paddy, Klaus & Gibson

Paddy, Klaus & Gibson

From Thorsten Knublauch:

In the autumn of 1963, Klaus Voormann moved from Hamburg to London, where he stayed with The Beatles in their Green Street 57 apartment. The Beatles actually lived together here from circa September 1963. Paul and John moved out shortly afterwards, but George and Ringo remained there until well into the spring of 1964.
Klaus then moved along with Ringo to Whaddon House in William Mews, where George also briefly lived in another apartment. Shortly after, Klaus found a job in the advertising agency Smith & Warden and moved into his own apartment. It did not take long before he got a call from his friend Gibson Kemp from Hamburg, asking if Klaus would join his band The Eyes. Bass player Lewis Collins, today knows as an actor from the TV series “The Professionals”, had left, and they needed his successor. Gibson previously had been the direct replacement for Ringo in the Hurricanes and in 1963 went with Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes to Hamburg's Star Club after which he remained in Hamburg as a partner, and later husband of Astrid Kirchherr. Klaus grabbed Stuart Sutcliffe's Höfner bass, which he had bought from him in 1961 and went along as a bass player in the band alongside Gibson (drums), Paddy Chambers (guitar) and John Frankland (vocals, guitar). Frankland had also previously been with the Dominoes, Chambers had been in the Big Three.
One of the first gigs the band played with Voormann was an appearance in the Star-Club in Bielefeld, alternating with Pete Best in October 1964. Apart from that, they played in a number of other small clubs. With "The Eyes", Klaus released a total of four songs. For the now incredibly rare Star Club single "She"/"Peanut Butter" (Star-Club 148519) Klaus even painted the group's picture for the back cover. The Eyes' titles "Baby Baby" and "Another Saturday Night" only appeared on a sampler in the Sixties. At the end of 1964, they also backed Tony Sheridan in the Star-Club in Hamburg.

Reduced to a trio, in 1965 they went under the new name "Paddy, Klaus & Gibson" to England and quickly got in touch with the local scene. In the group's bio, Klaus was made five years younger than he actually was, during his Paddy, Klaus & Gibson days. Even today one finds the wrong year of birth 1943 in biographies of Manfred Mann.
Klaus was probably made much younger to suit the other band members, as Gibson Kemp was born in 1945. Brian Epstein became the band's manager. According to a report by the Bravo Magazine, Epstein bought out the band for DM 56,000 from their previous management by Tony Stratton-Smith. But Brian was not able to help the band – or perhaps he would not. Chambers recalls: "We got £50 a week from NEMS as a retainer whether we worked or not. And that's all we ever got because we never worked. It was a joke as far as the business was concerned."

They released three singles, but only in England: "I Wanna Know"/"I Tried" (Pye 7N 15906) was released in 1965 and "No Good Without You Baby"/"Rejected" (Pye 7N 17060) and "Teresa/Quick Before They Catch Us" (Pye 7N 17112) followed in 1966.

Unfortunately, the records were not very successful and today they are hard to find. However, the song "Quick Before They Catch Us" became the theme for a British television series and can be found today on the various soundtrack collections. Paddy, Klaus and Gibson appeared in the show “Thank Your Lucky Stars” on British television. The band broke up shortly after a tour with the Everly Brothers and Cilla Black in 1966. The disbanding was announced to the press on June 13, 1966. Paddy went to join The Escorts, he passed away in 2000.

Klaus played for a very short time with the Hollies. Since they wanted him only as a session musician and didn't consider him as a full member, he was quickly gone. In the meantime, he designed the cover for "Revolver".

Klaus then got an offer from Manfred Mann to join his band as the successor to Jack Bruce who had left to start the band "Cream" with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. In his biography, Klaus said that he thought Paddy, Klaus & Gibson was the inspiration for Clapton to form a trio. In contemporary reports it is noted that Klaus was released on July 15, 1966 from his contract with Epstein, in order for him to join Manfred Mann. In retrospect Klaus said in an email to me about Paddy, Klaus & Gibson: "The band was a good live band, but had no good songwriter. It lacked many things that you need to be a successful band. Just playing well is not enough!”

Paddy, Klaus & Gibson - limited edition 10" release.
Paddy, Klaus & Gibson – limited edition 10 inch release! 

The orthopedist and Beatles fan Dr. Dieter Hoffmann gave himself a labour of love when he produced a 10 inch EP with all the six tracks released by Paddy, Klaus and Gibson. This is an official,  limited to 300 copies edition (in 3 vinyl colours), and with the permission of Klaus Voormann and Gibson Kemp.  The cover has the original Klaus Voormann drawing from the rare "She"/"Peanut Butter" back cover, retouched by John Frankland. The record can be ordered for € 27 including shipping, only from Dr. Hoffmann himself, by sending a mail to

The well sounding EP is a great momento of this chapter of Klaus' life and is recommended to all - but hurry before it is sold out!

Full cover art

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Come Together - A Beatles Tribute

International Beatleweek takes over Liverpool in late August every year, attracting thousands of tribute bands and over 300,000 Beatlefans from all over the world. A new documentary, titled Come Together - A Beatles Tribute, takes fans inside the festival by following a handful of the world's estimated 8,000 Beatles tribute bands as they pay homage to the most influential band of all time. The film, which was released digitally on February 3rd, takes place in a variety of Beatle-friendly haunts, including the famed Cavern Club.

Julia Baird, John Lennon's sister narrates the film.

You may buy or rent the film from various outlets, including Vimeo, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

Here's the trailer:

Billboard recently interviewed Julia Baird about the documentary and her Beatles experiences.