Monday, 29 December 2008

Norwegian Wood 115


The new issue of Norwegian Wood, the norwegian Beatles Fan Club Magazine came just in time for Christmas. 86 fun-filled pages, all in norwegian, of course. Norwegian Wood was founded around easter 1980, and today the norwegian fan club is one of the bigger Beatles fan clubs in Europe, with between 500-600 members.
The contents of NW no. 115:
Page 2: Photo: Paul McCartney as The Fireman
Page 3: Contents page
Page 4: Dear Sir or Madam. The editor Ole-Andreas Refsnes sums up Ringo Starr's fall from grace in 2008.
Page 5: From Me To You. President Linda wishes us a Happy Christmas (War Is Over).
Page 6-15: One, Two, Three, Four Our record reviews include Various Artists: The Beatles Jukebox (Chrome Records CDCD 5020), Pete Best Band: Hayman's Green (Lightyear), The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Indie Records), Nitin Sawhney: London Undersound (Positive-ID/Cooking Vinyl), Thenewno2: You Are Here (HOT Records Ltd.)
Page 16-18: Act Naturally Movie reviews of Magical Mystery Tour Memories and All Together Now from The Beatles and Cirque Du Soleil
Page 19-21: The Word reviews the following book: Nancy Lee Andrews: A Dose of Rock'n'Roll (Dalton Watson Fine Books ISBN 978-185443-230-8)
Page 22-23: New member of the editorial staff Joakim Krane Bech is presented
Page 24-33: Norwegian Beatles singles, part 1 Sigbjørn Stabursvik takes a look at the norwegian single releases and tries to second-guess the date of issue. He also looks at the vinyl itself to determine whether a danish or swedish "mother" was used in the pressing process. This part covers the first five releases, from Please Please Me to I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Page 34-47: On Tour with The Beatles: The Helen Shapiro Tour is covered by me, the article summarizes earlier blog posts on this subject.
Page 48-53: My Favourite Record: The Beatles (White Album) Louise Berntsen talks about the white album at 40.
Page 54-57: The 22. of November - A special day. Ståle Kverndokk draws the line from With The Beatles to The Beatles.
Page 58-60: Beatles Festival at Beitostølen Linda Engebråten reports from the third annual Beatles festival up in the mountains of Norway.
Page 61-68: Beatles convention in Karlstad Joakim Krane Bech and Linda Engebråten were also present at the Swedish Beatles convention and reports from the event where the Pete Best Band held the european release of their new album.
Page 69-71: Newly discovered documents from Pete; see earlier blog post.
Page 72-74: George Harrison in The Simpsons Joakim Krane Bech takes a look at the many Beatles references in this episode of The Simpsons
Page 75-81: The news today, oh boy: News from me and the editor
Page 82: Beatles quiz by Joakim: Win a Fireman promo CD!
Page 83: Advert
Page 84: Beatlefans get-together in Oslo in January
Page 85: Name and Address
Page 86: Photo: Pete Best reads NW 114

Thursday, 25 December 2008

'Hey Jude' - 4 screen comparison


Multi view comparison of all 4 different videos. While some of them have the same footage at certain points (i.e. 3 of them all start off with the same clip of Paul singing the first verse, one is different) all 4 clips contain footage that is unique. The Anthology clip is the shortest but the other 3 all have completely different endings. Also, it might sound like the soundtrack has gone out of sync at the end. This is not the case as on one of the clips the audience singing along manage to go out of the sync with The Beatles. Listen out for John's instruction to the audience at 4:13 "LOUDER!"
Thanks to the uploader, "mlucifersam"

In September 1968, The Beatles' camp rang director Michael Lindsay-Hogg up:

"I think it was because I'd just done Jumpin' Jack Flash for the Stones, Although I'd worked with the Beatles in 1966, this was now '68, and McCartney, Lennon and Jagger were all close. And so I think McCartney asked Jagger ‘How did yours turn out?’ and Jagger said it turned out good."

"The idea of Hey Jude was dictated by that four-minute chorus at the end," he said. "So I thought we needed something to shoot other than them singing Hey Jude."

"I had this idea, and Paul and I talked it over, about getting an audience in. And that the audience shouldn't be just the usual kids. There should be a kind of cross-section of life - housewives, postmen, kids, mums and dads, everything like that."

" So we got that audience in, and that worked very well because it wasn't only the kind of teenybopper audience. And that was really the genesis of what became Let It Be, because we did, say, seven or eight takes of Hey Jude."
"Between takes, while we were getting the cameras ready again and seeing what had gone wrong in the previous take, The Beatles had nothing to do except stand there. And then they started to jam for the audience. They'd play old Motown songs and they'd horse around and stuff, and they enjoyed it. It was the first time they'd performed to any kind of audience since they stopped touring in '66."

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Beatles' final UK Concert




May 1st 1966: The Beatles performed their last-ever concert in the UK (not including the roof-top show in 1969), at the NME Poll Winner’s Party at Empire Pool, Wembley. Other groups on the bill included The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, The Walker Brothers, Dusty Springfield and Roy Orbison.




A series of photos of the front row trio.
Although the NME Poll Winners Show was filmed, the cameras were apparantly switched off during The Beatles' performance. Here's what Beatles biographer Barry Miles has to say about the matter: The Beatles played a 15-minute set, for which they had staged a brief rehearsal the previous day, but Brian Epstein would not allow ABC TV to film it because they had not reached an agreement over the terms. They were permitted to film them receiving their Poll Winners Awards. This was The Beatles' last live appearance in the UK. They played I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man, Day Tripper, If I Needed Someone and I’m Down.


A different take on the story is presented in another book:
One of the reporters, Derek Johnson, remembered: "I was waiting for The Beatles at the back door of Wembley Stadium, where the kitchens were, when this big van drew up and four chefs got out, with the proper white hats and aprons, carrying trays of goodies in their hands. As they walked towards me, I realised that it was The Beatles. They frequently adopted disguises to avoid being mobbed by screaming girls. They got in without being spotted and were running across the kitchen when Ringo tripped and his tray of cakes went everywhere, followed by the other three landing in a heap on top of him like a Marx Brothers routine. It was an awful mess, but they were so pleased to have got in with no trouble that they all thought it was hilariously funny."


Derek also recalled an amusing little bust-up backstage between the two biggest bands in the world: "There was a lot of argy-bargy between Andrew Loog Oldham [The Rolling Stones’ manager] and Brian Epstein. It all seemed to be about who closed the show. There was some sort of contractual dispute with ABC-TV who were filming the event – to the effect that the last band to play would not be filmed, and thus would not appear in the TV broadcast."
This meant that the last band on stage would miss out on a stack-load of promotion, which was worth a fortune in record revenues. But the last act on stage would also bag all of the glory – as the best band in Britain. So faced with the choice of either making money or getting the glory… they naturally chose the money! So the two managers were literally fighting over who should come second! Unfortunately for Brian, The Beatles won (or lost), and had to close the show.


But that wasn’t the end of it, because Maurice Kinn recalled: "Halfway through The Stones’ set, the four Beatles arrived at the foot of the stage, with their guitars in hand, and I told them they were 25 minutes early, but Lennon insisted that they were going on. I said they couldn’t and John shouted, ‘Didn’t you hear me the first time? We’re going on now, or we’re not going on at all.’ In a rapidly convened huddle with Brian Epstein, I outlined my dilemma, that I had promised The Stones, in writing, that The Beatles would not follow them immediately onto the stage. I had arranged for the awards presentation to come between the two acts and explained to Brian that if The Beatles did not come on at the previously arranged time, then I would be left with no option but to send MC Jimmy Saville on stage to explain to 10,000 NME readers that The Beatles were in the stadium but they weren’t going to play. I explained to him very clearly what would happen then. There would be a riot! Half of Wembley would be destroyed and Wembley and the NME would both sue Epstein. Brian conveyed this to The Beatles and John absolutely exploded! He gave me abuse like you’ve never heard before in all your life. You could hear him all over the backstage area. He said, ‘We’ll never play for you again!’ But he knew he had no choice. Fifteen minutes later, The Beatles went on stage, collected their awards and played the show."


Johnny Walters said: "We stood on boxes and peered through slats to watch them. The screaming was like a blanket of white noise. The only music I actually remember hearing was the guitar intro to Day Tripper, then it all disappeared into the screaming. When their 20-minute set ended, The Beatles raced off stage with their NME awards in their hands, and ran down the ramps towards the limo that was already revving up, and they literally threw the awards to their assistants (Neil and Mal) who seemed to be waiting there for exactly that purpose. Then they were into the car and it moved off with the doors still flapping."
The text was taken from this book.

Three of the photos presented here recently showed up, courtesy of american fan Nancy Wilkins. Visit this website to see her story and also bigger versions of the photos.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Purple Chick Lives On


The Purple Chick Live Series continued recently with these two releases. Click to view details, including Artwork.

Monday, 15 December 2008

The Beatles and Vietnam

Paul McCartney has recently given an interview to the intellectual journal Prospect, in which he claims that he was the one who told John Lennon about the war in Vietnam.

Sir Paul's critics see his comments as a further attempt to revise the history of the Beatles, casting himself in a better light.

"We sort of stumbled into things," Sir Paul told Prospect magazine.
"For instance, Vietnam. Just when we were getting to be well known, someone said to me: 'Bertrand Russell is living not far from here in Chelsea, why don't you go and see him?' and so I just took a taxi down there and knocked on the door."

Russell, author of the seminal work A History of Western Philosophy, was one of the world’s best known pacifists and had been imprisoned during the first world war for warning British workers about the American army and its role in strike breaking in the United States. He was in his nineties in the 1960's.

He added: "He was fabulous. He told me about the Vietnam war – most of us didn't know about it, it wasn't yet in the papers – and also that it was a very bad war.
"I remember going back to the studio either that evening or the next day and telling the guys, particularly John [Lennon], about this meeting and saying what a bad war this was."

McCartney says the band ignored requests from their publicist not to mention Vietnam when they went to America.
“Of course, we talked about it the whole time and said it was a very bad war. Obviously we backed the peace movement.”

Tariq Ali, who was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement in Britain, disputed Sir Paul's version of events.
He said: "It is not my recollection at all. It is possible McCartney met Bertrand Russell, but certainly I had no contact with Paul."

Hunter Davies, who spent 18 months with the Beatles during 1967-8 before writing their authorised biography, said: “At that stage the Beatles were open to all the smart, intellectual and artistic people trying to get them involved in things.

“It wasn’t just John. Paul was as interested in meeting these people and hearing their stuff.”






Backstage after a Beatles press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, August 19th, 1966, a british reporter gets some answers about how they feel about all the fuzz regarding John's "Jesus" statement and something about the war in Vitnam.

Q: "But do you mind being asked questions, for example in America people keep asking you questions about Vietnam. Does this seem useful?"

PAUL: "I dunno, you know. If you can say that war is no good, and a few people believe you, then it may be good. I don't know. You can't say too much, though. That's the trouble."

JOHN: "It seems a bit silly to be in America and for none of them to mention Vietnam as if nothing was happening."

Q: "But why should they ask you about it? You're successful entertainers."

JOHN: "Because Americans always ask showbiz people what they think, and so do the British. (comically) Showbiz... you know how it is!"

RINGO: (laughs)

JOHN: "But I mean you just gotta... You can't keep quiet about anything that's going on in the world, unless you're a monk. (jokingly, with dramatic arm gestures) Sorry, monks! I didn't mean it! I meant actually...."

(laughter)


Beatles Press Conference: New York City August 22, 1966

Q: "Would any of you care to comment on any aspect of the war in Vietnam?"

JOHN: "We don't like it."

Q: "Could you elaborate any?"

JOHN: "No. I've elaborated enough, you know. We just don't like it. We don't like war."

GEORGE: "It's, you know... It's just war is wrong, and it's obvious it's wrong. And that's all that needs to be said about it."

(applause)

PAUL: "We can elaborate in England."




Q: "One of you, I beleive it was George, said that you couldn't comment on Vietnam in this country but you could in England. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?"

GEORGE: "I didn't say that. Maybe one of us said that, but I didn't."

PAUL: "It was me. I mean, you know about that, anyway, you know. I mean, we could say a thing about... like John's religious thing in England and it wouldn't be taken up and misinterpreted quite as much as it tends to get here. I mean, you know it does. The thing is that, I think you can say things like that in England and people will listen a bit more than they do in America, because in America somebody will take it up and use it completely against you and won't have many scruples about doing that. You know, I'm probably putting my foot in it saying that, but..."

JOHN: "You'll be explaining to the next bunch."

PAUL: "Yeah, I know."

(laughter)

PAUL: (jokingly, in American accent) "Oh well, it's just wonderful here."

(laughter)


Beatles Press Conference: Tokyo, Japan June 30th, 1966

Q: "How much interest do you take in the war that is going on in Vietnam now?"

JOHN: "Well, we think about it everyday, and we don't agree with it and we think it's wrong. That's how much interest we take. That's all we can do about it... and say that we don't like it."


Two years earlier, in Boston Massachusetts, September 12th, 1964, Paul had this to say:

Q: "Would you advocate sending all the young boys your age to Vietnam?"

PAUL: "No... (pause) Not unless they wanted to, you know."



New York City 8/13/65, two days before their famous Shea Stadium concert, the Beatles were interviewed upon arrival from England:

Q: "Any plans for going to Vietnam and entertaining the troops?"

JOHN: "I wouldn't go there, no."


Lennon & McCartney Interview: Newsfront 14th of May, 1968
Q: "The United States has been plagued by the war in Vietnam, and the world has been concerned about it. What are your views about the war?"

JOHN: "It's another piece of insanity. It's all part of the same insane scene that's going on. There's nothing else for it... no reason, just insanity."

PAUL: "You know, whoever's right and whoever's wrong, it's still... the thing that's going on there isn't a good thing."


In 1980, the year he was murdered, John Lennon talked to Playboy magazine about the Beatles songs he composed, here's what he said about "Revolution" (1968):

"We recorded the song twice. The Beatles were getting really tense with one another. I did the slow version and I wanted it out as a single: as a statement of the Beatles' position on Vietnam and the Beatles' position on revolution. For years, on the Beatle tours, Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war. And he wouldn't allow questions about it. But on one tour, I said, 'I am going to answer about the war. We can't ignore it.' I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something. The first take of 'Revolution' ...well, George and Paul were resentful and said it wasn't fast enough. Now, if you go into details of what a hit record is and isn't... maybe. But the Beatles could have afforded to put out the slow, understandable version of 'Revolution' as a single. Whether it was a gold record or a wooden record. But because they were so upset about the Yoko period and the fact that I was again becoming as creative and dominating as I had been in the early days, after lying fallow for a couple of years, it upset the apple cart. I was awake again and they couldn't stand it?"

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A 5 Beatles press conference



This just posted on YouTube: A press conference from Melbourne featuring 5 Beatles: John, Paul, George, Ringo and Jimmy! Description:
"A super rare and unseen Beatles press conference from Melbourne, Australia June 14, 1964. John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Jimmy? Yup. Jimmy Nicol sits in just before departing back to England. This was the first public appearance of Ringo on the '64 World tour after being stricken with tonsillitis 1 day before the tour was to begin. Jimmy Nicol declared bankruptcy just one year later. Off the Ch.11 Melbourne TV station master - enjoy this rare event of seeing 5 Beatles."
YouTube Link

Thursday, 11 December 2008

BBC Radio 2 Celebrates "The Beatles"


So The Beatles and Apple Corps failed to deliver the 40th anniversary new remastered edition of the White album in time. The tie-in promotional items were duly available from the official Beatles store, though (see separate entry). But the BBC delivered. As part of their Album season, they broadcast an hour long radio documentary on the album, where the producers, engineers and technicians who worked on the LP recalled their contributions.
Presented by Guy Garvey from Elbow, and featuring some of the classic tracks from the album, the show included contributions from Chris Thomas, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Donovan, Richard Lush, Ken Scott, Barry Sheffield (of Trident Studios) and Brian Gibson as well as Paul, George and John.
For those of you who had the opportunity to record the programme off the air, I have produced some cover art, should you see it fit to archive the show on CD.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Ringo not first choice to replace Pete?


In an article about the final concert of retiring drummer Bobby Graham (68) in Hertfordshire Mercury, the well known session man gets a couple of his anecdotes retold:

In 1962 he was asked by The Beatles manager Brian Epstein to replace original drummer Pete Best in the pop group, but Bobby had a hit record with his band Joe Brown and The Bruvvers at the time and had doubts about joining a then unknown band. Here's the quote from Bobby himself:
"We were on tour in June I962 and played at Cavern and Litherland Town Hall. After the show we went to a club called the Blue Angel with Brain Epstein. Brian offered me the job with the Beatles. They wanted to get rid of Pete Best, they were having problems with Pete's mother. Brian didn't like her, so he decided to out Pete, and asked me if I was interested in joining the band, I said 'why would want to join a band in Liverpool that nobody's ever heard of?".

A couple of years later, Bobby was approached again to stand in for Ringo Starr, who had tonsillitis, but this time he had too much session work to do.

He said: "I don't think it would have worked anyway. That was very much a Liverpool-based band. I thought they were great though!"

Bobby has been called the most recorded drummer in British '60s pop, and has a biography out, "The Session Man".

Source: Hertfordshire Mercury
Wikipedia on Bobby Graham
Bobby's Official Website

Monday, 8 December 2008

Auction results

Some results from a Bonham's auction we have previously alerted you about:





Lot description:
Lot No: 532
The Beatles
Beatles concert material,
1962,
comprising: a list of Principal Engagements - August/September, together with the original envelope addressed to Pete Best and postmarked 16 AUG 1962*, together with two carbon-copies of a list of bookings for July-August, one sheet annotated by Pete, and a handbill for Joe Brown/The Beatles at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, 27th July.
Bonham's estimate at £750 - £1000 proved that they underestimated the historic value, as these items eventually sold for £3,360.



A lock of Paul's hair sold for £2,640.



The Abergavenny poster sold for £9,600
A pair of skiing gloves worn by Ringo Starr in 'Help!' sold for a mere £540.

Friday, 5 December 2008

More from Sweden 1963


In this clip from a visit to Sweden in 1989, Paul McCartney reminiscs about that first trip to Sweden in 1963. This includes a rarely seen snippet in colour from a Gothenburg concert.

New from Apple


Apple dart boards old (left) and new.
Some Apple products have been announced at the official Beatles Stores. The famous Apple dart board has been recreated and will be made available from December 29th in the UK and December 12th in the USA. Also, the fab four are celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Beatles (aka White album), not with a remastered CD release, unfortunately, but with some related merchandise. How about an expensive fountain pen or a roller ball pen? Or for those with less cash, there'a always the hoodie or the t-shirt...

The Beatles Store (UK)
The Beatles Store (USA)

Paul & Ringo: 2009 Grammies


The Grammy nominations for next years Grammy gala has been published, and Paul and Ringo are among the nominees. Only records released between October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008 are eligible for nomination.
In the category Best male pop vocal performance we find Paul McCartney - That Was Me from the 12" live-EP Amoeba's Secret. From the same EP I Saw Her Standing There has been nominated for Best solo rock vocal performance.
Ringo is nominated in the somewhat narrow category Best Surround Sound Album with Ringo 5.1: The Surround Sound Collection.
The Grammy Awards Gala is slated for February 8th, 2009.
Source: www.grammy.com

Saturday, 22 November 2008

All You Need Is Love - Acetate



Interesting item out on ebay at the moment:

Beatles All You Need is Love original Acetate

Beatles All You Need is Love AcetateThe Beatles A single-sided acetate All You Need is Love, Emidisc white label inscribed in black ball point pen THE BEATLS 45 MD and the length of the recording 6.39. This is the only known acetate of the full-length recording of this famous 1967 Beatles single, which originally ran for 6 minutes 39 seconds (in comparison with the 3 minutes 40 seconds of the release version). This predominantly instrumental take was recorded on the 14 June 1967 at Olympic Studios in Barnes. It features John Lennon on Harpsichord, Paul McCartney on double bass, Ringo Starr on drums and George Harrison on rudimentary violin. John Lennon adds occasional vocals 'all you need is love' as a guide to where the chorus of the song will be. The end of the song becomes a freeform/chaotic structure reminiscent of other 1967 work – in- progress songs such as Only a Northern Song andYou Know My Name (Look Up The Number), with little of the melodic commerciality of the finished record. This acetate documented the state of the recording at the end of the 14th June session, before vocals and more conventional backing were added at their next session on 19th June. All You Need Is Love was subsequently used as Britain's contribution to the first worldwide TV broadcast Our World, on 25th June, 1967.
Link

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Fireman: Electric Arguments


Electric Arguments

Paul McCartney & Youth continue their collaborations as the duo "The Fireman" with their most commercial product yet. You may listen to the whole album over at NPR.
Track listing : Electric Arguments

1. Nothing To Much Just Out Of Sight
2. Two Magpies
3. Sing The Changes
4. Travelling Light
5. Highway
6. Light From Your Light House
7. Sun Is Shining
8. Dance' Til We're High
9. Life Long Passion
10. Is This Love ?
11. Lovers In A Dream
12. Universal Here ,Everlasting Now
13 .Don't Stop Running

Produced By Paul McCartney & Youth
All Tracks written By Paul McCartney
Release Date 24 /11 /2008

On Amazon (UK): A limited edition vinyl album, which also includes a copy of the CD for convenience sake.
Here's the Amazon (US) link.

As ever when there's a new Paul McCartney album out, there are collectible promotional items out. There's not likely to be any commercial single release, but at least two radio promo singles are out. Here's "Sing The Changes":

Here's a promo copy of the album and two promo singles:

I'm sure you know where to look!

Official Fireman site

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Carnival of Light


For Beatles fans across the world it has gained near mythical status. The 14-minute improvised track called 'Carnival of Light' was recorded in 1967 and played just once in public. It was never released because three of the Fab Four thought it too adventurous.

The track, a jumble of shrieks and psychedelic effects, is said to be as far from the melodic ballads that made Sir Paul McCartney famous as it is possible to imagine. But now McCartney has said that the public will have the chance to judge for themselves.

'It does exist,' McCartney says on a BBC Radio 4 arts programme to be broadcast this week. Talking to John Wilson, the presenter of Front Row, the former Beatle confirms that he still has a master tape of the work and says he suspects that 'the time has come for it to get its moment'.

'I like it because it's the Beatles free, going off piste,' he adds.

In the 40 years since 'Carnival of Light' was recorded by McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon in the Abbey Road studios in London, its collection of disparate rhythms has become a kind of holy grail for Beatles obsessives. The track was put together on 5 January 1967, in between working on the vocals for the song 'Penny Lane'.

Once released it should offer proof that the Fab Four, and McCartney in particular, were much more avant-garde in their tastes than many gave them credit for. According to the few who heard the track on the one occasion the recording was played publicly, at a London music festival in 1967, it features the sound of gargled water and strangled shouts from Lennon which vie with church organs and distorted guitar.

'We were set up in the studio and would just go in every day and record,' McCartney tells Wilson. 'I said to the guys, this is a bit indulgent but would you mind giving me 10 minutes? I've been asked to do this thing. All I want you to do is just wander round all of the stuff and bang it, shout, play it. It doesn't need to make any sense. Hit a drum, wander to the piano, hit a few notes ... and then we put a bit of echo on it. It's very free.'

McCartney had been commissioned to create a piece for an electronic music festival at the Roundhouse Theatre in north London by his friend Barry Miles. The event, the Million Volt Light and Sound Rave, was organised by International Times, an underground newspaper. Many in the audience had no idea they were listening to a new Beatles track. Other performers included Delia Derbyshire whose work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop included jointly creating the theme for Doctor Who.

McCartney, who this month releases his third experimental album of new work under the alias the Fireman, regards 'Carnival of Light' as evidence of how musically adventurous he has always been. For the three other Beatles the track was just an oddity. George Harrison dismissed it as too weird. But McCartney is hopeful it can now be released with the agreement of the group's estate.

'It will help reaffirm McCartney's claim to have been the most musically adventurous of all the Beatles,' said Wilson this weekend. 'He told me he would love to release the track. All he needs now is the blessing of Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia.'

The piece was inspired, McCartney says, by the works of composers John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In his book Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, author Mark Lewisohn - who was played the track in 1987 - describes 'distorted, hypnotic drum and organ sounds, a distorted lead guitar, the sound of a church organ, various effects (water gargling was one) and, perhaps most intimidating of all, Lennon and McCartney screaming and bawling random phrases including "Are you all right?" and '"Barcelona!".'

Beatles fans came close to hearing 'Carnival Of Light' in 1996 when it was considered for inclusion in the exhaustive Anthology compilation. 'We were listening to everything we'd every recorded,' McCartney says. 'I said it would be great to put this on because it would show we were working with really avant-garde stuff ... But it was vetoed. The guys didn't like the idea, like "this is rubbish".'

McCartney revealed that George Harrison disparaged sonic experimentation as 'avant-garde a clue'.

Sir George Martin, the Beatles producer who oversaw the track, has described it as 'one of those weird things'. 'It was a kind of uncomposed, free-for-all melange of sound that went on. It was not considered worthy of issuing as a normal piece of Beatles music at the time and was put away.'

Friday, 14 November 2008

Brian's schedules

Some documents that previously belonged to former Beatles' drummer Pete Best have appeared at the upcoming Bonham's auction in London. These are prelimenary booking schedules, presumably from Brian Epstein's office as information for "the boys".
Some dates previously unmentioned by Miles and Lewisohn appear before the June 6th famous "first recording session" at EMI. Not surprisingly, the 3d and 4th of June are spent rehearsing for the imminent recording session - at The Beatles' "home away from home", the Cavern Club.
The whole of the 5th is set aside for the journey to London. A day is also set aside for the journey home, on the 7th.

The booking schedules poignantly end with dates which Pete Best was going to miss. He was fired by Brian earlier in the day and didn't show up for the Riverpark Ballroom gig in Chester on the 16th of August. Filling in for Pete on that date and the next was Johnny "Hutch" Hutchinson, drummer with The Big Three. Ringo made his debut as the new drummer on the 18th at Hulme Hall.
Brian's booking schedule shows that The Beatles were going to play together with Clinton Ford at the Cavern Club on Sunday the 2nd of September, whereas Miles has them sharing the bill with Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes and The Zenith Six Jazz Band.

Lot description:
Lot No: 532
The Beatles
Beatles concert material,
1962,
comprising: a list of Principal Engagements - August/September, together with the original envelope addressed to Pete Best and postmarked 16 AUG 1962*, together with two carbon-copies of a list of bookings for July-August, one sheet annotated by Pete, and a handbill for Joe Brown/The Beatles at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, 27th July.
Estimate: £750 - £1000

*Note: The 16th of August 1962 was the day Brian summoned Pete to his office and fired him.

Link to Bonham's Auction

McCartney's hair


Bonham's is currently planning another of their Pop & Rock memorabilia auctions, this one's to be held on the 25th of November in Knightsbridge, London - and if you're after a lock of young Paul McCartney's undyed hair, now is your chance!
This lock of hair was won by the vendor's mother, who was a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Annandale at the time. The competition was organised by Sydney's 'TV Week' magazine. An article in the issue included in the lot gives the background to the competition, in which readers were asked to '...give the best and most original 25-word reason for possessing it (the hair).' The winning entry stated that she '...would like to win a lock of Paul McCartney's hair to prove to my father that the Beatles really do have their hair cut.' The article continues: 'She is now the only teenager in Australia with a lock of hair cut from Paul McCartney's mop-top during his fantastic stay in Australia...Catherine will keep her souvenir by securing it in a blue bow.'

According to 'The Beatles: A Diary' by Barry Miles (Omnibus Press, London 1998), John, Paul and Ringo had their hair cut on 17th June 1964, prior to them playing the final two of six sets (over three nights) at the Festival Hall, Melbourne. It is possible that 'TV Week' acquired the lock of hair on this occasion.


Other interesting items at the auction are a pair of Ringo's skiing gloves, lots of John&Yoko photographs taken by Luiz Garrido from March to June 1969 (sold with copyrights and most of them previously unpublished), a number of early concert posters, hand bills, tickets and autographed photos.

The auction also includes a number of items from the late Spike (from The Goons) Milligan's collection. He was a friend of The Beatles, so some of his lots are also Beatles-related. The auction is called: Entertainment Memorabilia including "The Private World of Spike Milligan"

Link to auction

Thursday, 13 November 2008

German Let It Be VHS


Beatles Let It Be - German video cassette
While looking through the excellent Beatles Collecting forum, I came across a rare picture of the German 1992 release of Let It Be on VHS. As we know, the German version is the one that presents the picture in the least cropped manner. We also know that the UK company, "VCI", announced plans to issue the movie for the first time in England. They claimed to have a version that was remastered in 1992 and that they would release it in 1997. Could the German VHS on Warner Home Video be from that 1992 restoration?

McCartney buries Eleanor Rigby claim


LONDON (AFP) — Paul McCartney on Wednesday shot down suggestions that his Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" was inspired by a hospital scullery maid after a woman claimed the star had sent her a pay slip signed with that name.

"Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictious character that I made up," McCartney said in a statement released to AFP by his publicists.

"If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me," he said, referring to a forthcoming auction of the document.

His spokeswoman added they had not been able to establish whether McCartney sent the pay slip to Annie Mawson, who is auctioning it off to raise up to 500,000 pounds for a music therapy centre.

The pay slip dates from 1911 and originally came from City Hospital in Liverpool, McCartney's home city.

Mawson, chief executive of the Sunbeams Music Trust charity, said the ex- Beatles' office sent her the document after she wrote to him asking for a donation to help children with special needs.

Explaining how she received the document in 1990, Mawson said: "One day in the post came a brown envelope with a Paul McCartney world tour stamp, nine months after I had written the letter.

"I opened it and inside was this beautiful, ancient document. It was spine-shivering really, partly because he responded in such a personal way."

"Eleanor Rigby" -- McCartney's song about a lonely woman who "died in the church and was buried along with her name/Nobody came" -- appeared on the 1966 Beatles album "Revolver" and was the B-side to the single "Yellow Submarine".

McCartney has previously said the name Eleanor was inspired by actress Eleanor Bron, who starred in the Beatles film "Help!" in 1965 and that Rigby came from the name of a wine merchant.

In the 1980s, a grave was discovered at Saint Peter's Church in Woolton, Liverpool, where McCartney and bandmate John Lennon used to sunbathe as teenagers, bearing the name Eleanor Rigby.


The grave was first mentioned in a book about The Beatles and the Liverpool scene written by former Liverpool band promoter Sam Leach, "Follow The Merseybeat Road" in 1982. Sam wrote to me and told me that he had sent the manuscript to Paul McCartney prior to publication. He got a note back from the then manager of Paul, Steve Shrimpton saying:
"It's a thumbs up from us, but Paul can't quite agree with the Eleanor Rigby piece. We trust the book is selling well."

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ringo's first cymbal for sale

It's Ringo Starrtime with guitar hero Ringo and the Hurricanes

I was browsing through the live auctioneers website, doing an article on the new Eleanor Rigby item (follow this link for that) when I chanced upon a special item with an interesting story. Now just how did Ringo Starr's first cymbal from his time with the Eddie Clayton Skiffle group find it's way to a junk shop in Connecticut?
Here's what the auction site said:
Lot #250 from The Fame Bureau: Ringos Starr's first cymbal - A 14" Krut Special (made in England), that has "Richard Starkey 1958" engraved on the back.
The cymbal was purchased from a junk/ old furniture shop in Connecticut owned by a man whose father was a drummer back in the 40's & 50's, who has since past on, and used to live in England back then occasionally and would visit his mother who lived there.
He got this old cymbal at a music store, used it and then kept in an old smelly trunk with some sticks and drumheads. Krut cymbals were manufactured in the '50's by Premier Drum company, and were a cheap line of cymbals that they pushed. The word "Krut" was a marketing ploy by Premier that is "Turk" spelled backwards, to make the drummer believe it might be somehow be related to the Turkish "Zildjian" cymbals. Unfortunately the marketing plan probably backfired, & "Krut" sounded more like "Krud", a more accurate description of the sound of the cymbals.
Ringo's first cymbal, according to the Beatles Anthology, was an old junker that his step father had given him for Christmas sometime between 1956 & 1958.
This kit consisted of an old bass drum, snare drum, cymbal, and a few other odds & ends. Supposedly in 1958, Ringo (then Richard) borrowed 46 pounds from his Grandfather and bought his 1st legit drum kit, an Ajax with single headed toms at Frank Hussey's music store.
Ringo said his first drums were junk that he could play with anything that was available (including firewood).
This certainly fits the criteria of this cymbal, obviously before the Beatles time (where he later played Premier & Ludwig drums, and Zildjian cymbals. In 1958, Ringo (then Richard) was only 18 years old and just starting to gig with the Eddie Clayton skiffle band and play some odd gigs around town, where drummers would often sometimes share kits with the other bands playing.
According to the Beatles anthology, Richard (not owning a car yet) would travel to gigs on a bus with nothing more than a snare, hihat, and top cymbal. He may have just engraved his name on the back to help identify his stuff, (which makes perfect sense, as he was an apprentice engineer at H. Hunt & Son - two of his fellow band mates were a joiner & a lathe operator there).
If you refer to the "Drum Book" on page 31, Geoff Nichols mentions that Ringo used to play Ajax & Krut cymbals with Rory Storm.
Now, you decide if this is a tall tale or if it could be true.
Link to auction

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Let It Be from BBC

Click for bigger
There's a new DVD transfer of the Let It Be movie "going the rounds" in collectors' circles. It's sourced from a video cassette taped from the last screening of the film on BBC in the UK (BBC2 Saturday 8th May 1982, 3:10-4:27pm), and the tape has not been viewed since it was recorded. Here's a comparison of various versions:

Sourced from the official laser disc (USA)

Sourced from an official VHS (Germany)

Sourced from the BBC 1982 screening

Composite:The bigger picture is the german version, blue frame=laser disc, green frame = BBC.

So far, it looks like the german version is the winner, it keeps the colours and is in the correct 16mm aspect ratio. Too bad it has those german subtitles. The laser disc is from the cinema print, which was blown up to 35 mm (it was filmed with 16 mm movie cameras), resulting in a cropped picture. The BBC version is not bad, it looks good on a big widescreen TV because it has a bigger picture size: 931 x 570 pixels as opposed to the other two, 640 x 480 and 618 x 480, respectively. It's a bit more subdued in the colour department, but looks quite lifelike. The thing with how much of the image we're supposed to see is that we would have to second-guess what director Michael Lindsay-Hogg envisioned for the film.
Visit the excellent Beatles Movies site for more info on The Beatles' movies.

Monday, 10 November 2008

David Fishof Ringo Sale


David Fishof, who started the "All Starr Band" series of concerts have disassociated himself from Ringo, and is selling off a lot of personal items from his relationship with Ringo. Of interest are lots of signed items, including concert posters.
After more than 15 years of working with Ringo Starr and producing 8 of his All-Starr tours, David Fishof accrued a more than interesting library of audio and video material. In the spirit of this auction, Fishof agreed to open his vault and share many of these treasures with Ringo's vast and loyal fans and collectors.
Some of the stuff on sale is very reasonably priced.
Backstage Auctions

Friday, 7 November 2008

Macca gets award


Paul McCartney got an award again last night. It was a "special" award created by the organizers of the MTV European Music Awards, because the event was held in McCartney's native Liverpool this year. The "Ultimate Legend Award" was presented by U2's Bono, who gave the Beatle a rather long drawn out introduction - almost nausiatingly flattering Paul. It reminded us of the far better introduction Ellen DeGeneres gave Paul at the 2006 Grammies: "The next performer needs no introduction!" Then Paul simply entered the stage.
That was the time when McCartney lost the "Album of the year" Grammy for which his "Chaos & Creation in the Backyard" was nominated, to U2's "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb".
So perhaps Bono was just making up for that.
Yesterday, Paul knew there was no way his "thank you" speech was going to be able to surpass Bono's big build-up, so he simply high-fived audience members he was passing, and then went on to thank Liverpool, his parents Jim and Mary, his brother Mike (who was also there), George, Ringo and John, Britain - and the americans for voting for Obama. The ex-Beatle didn't perform at the event.

Bono and Macca first met up at "Live Aid" in 1985


The two also opened the "Live 8" event together in 2005