Saturday, 29 December 2012

This is your life, George Martin

Nothing like watching "an oldie" this time of year. This was originally broadcast Wednesday, January 30, 1980. All four Beatles were alive, and Paul McCartney was just released from imprisonment in Japan.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Full Christmas tree photo

Last year, a black and white version of Robert Whitaker's famous Christmas tree photo of the Beatles adorned the month of December in the Beatles calendar I had. The photo is likely to have been taken some time in the autumn, 1964 at 23 West Smithfield, formerly the London address of Farringdon Studio. The Beatles posed for several seasonally flavoured photos, including the New Year's toasting with champagne photos you probably have seen.
I was wondering why this photo was reproduced in black and white in my calendar, because it was obviously shot in colour. When you search for it on the internet, the sizes you will find are usually very small, but at least they'll be in colour.
Today I came across the version you see depicted here, which shows the full photo before it was trimmed. As you can see, the Beatles are standing on a roll of red wallpaper for this particular shot. You'll usually see the photo trimmed like this:

There's another, similar shot where George is holding his hand to his face, leaning on it. That one was used for a Bravo cover, but they seem to have gotten a black and white version only, because they have clearly coloured it themselves:
Of course, this has also originally been shot in colour, as evidenced by this version, courtesy of another, older calendar:

There's only one other shot of the full tree I've seen, although it's only available in less-than-mediocre quality:
The rest of the photos from the session has all the Beatles sitting in front of the tree, opening presents.
All photos: Robert Whitaker

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cut Me Some Slack - McCartney/Nirvana

McCartney fronts Nirvana
McCartney's set list from the 121212 concert at Madison Square Garden last night.

1.Helter Skelter - Paul McCartney & band
2.Let Me Roll It - Paul McCartney & band
3.Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five - Paul McCartney & band
4. My Valentine - Paul McCartney & Diana Krall
5. Blackbird - Paul McCartney
6. Cut Me Some Slack (new song) - Paul McCartney & Nirvana
7. I’ve Got A Feeling - Paul McCartney & band
8. Live And Let Die - Paul McCartney & band

Sunday, 9 December 2012

John Lennon and Yoko interview from Dec 1980

I know it's short notice, but they are airing a six hour version of John & Yoko's December 6, 1980 interview with plenty of music again this year in about 40 minutes from now. The station's quality has been upgraded since we last featured this program. So get over there!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Christmas song - two versions

There appears to be two different versions of Paul McCartney's rendition of the old standard, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)". One is with strings (on the digital album Complete Kisses) and one is without (on the Hear Music compilation Holidays Rule, as well as on the new Christmas single from Paul). In addition, the Christmas single includes Paul's own "Wonderful Christmastime" in a remastered version. And if that wasn't enough, the single (a 45 rpm vinyl disc) is available in two different vinyl colours, red and green. Also, the single is plastic wrapped, so you won't know which colour you get until you take the wrapping off.
It was previously believed that the version of "Wonderful Christmastime" on the new single would be by the band "The Shins", as this was the version included on the Hear Music comp, but now that the single has materialised, it turned out to be Paul's original recording. The single is a limited edition release, and has already turned up at inflated prices on ebay.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hillsborough music video


Here's the music video for the Hillsborough charity single: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by the Justice Collective. Kenny Dalglish, Paul McCartney, Alan Hansen, Robbie Williams, Gerry Marsden, Melanie C, Paloma Faith and Shane MacGowan are among the cast of stars in the collective. Their aim is to have the no.1 hit Christmas single, to raise vital cash for the families continuing to fight for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the 1989. Paul McCartney and Gerry Marsden were also participant singers in the first Hillsborough charity single, "Ferry Cross The Mersey" back in 1989. On the new single, McCartney contributes some vocals and guitar parts.


If the video is temporarily unavailable, you can try this link. The track will be released on December 17th.

Sold! The incomplete 1982 Decca Tapes needledrop

The Telegraph reports today that the legal mumbo jumbo between Apple/EMI and The Fame Bureau regarding the sale of a tape containing ten of the 15 tracks The Beatles recorded at their Decca Audition on New Year's Day 1962 has been resolved, and the tape sold to the highest bidder. The newspaper reports that EMI withdrew their legal challenge and the tape was sold to a Japanese collector at the weekend for £35,000
Our guess is that EMI realised that this tape was just a dub off an old vinyl bootleg from the seventies, and not a copy of the historic tape from 1962. This may be the highest price anyone has ever paid for a needledrop of a bootleg.
The tape has been called "a safety master" by the auction house, but documentation included with the tape shows that the tape is just the origin of a 1982 "grey market" release from Back Stage Records
The tape box is marked with BSR 1111 A and BSR 1111 B. Back Stage Records released a record with catalogue number BSR 1111 in 1982 with these songs in the same order and with the same timing as this tape has. Their source is likely to have been a tape made from the original Decca Tapes bootleg on Circuit Records depicted above.
The Telegraph

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Beatle who vanished

He played with the most famous rock group in the world for 13 days…and then Jimmie Nicol walked out of his London flat and disappeared without a trace. In his new book, The Beatle Who Vanished, coming soon, Jim Berkenstadt uncovers the twisting trail of intrigue that has followed Jimmie Nicol since his disappearance in the late Sixties.

Originally a collector of The Beatles' bootleg recordings, Berkenstadt collaborated with Scott Belmer in publishing Black Market Beatles: The Story Behind the Lost Recordings , a guide to the underground market. Talking to Citypages, Berkenstadt said "Somebody had been to Apple Corps to meet with Neil Aspinall. They saw a copy of our book on his desk. A chapter in the book highlights the most significant black-market Beatle releases. The Beatles Anthology box set, released later, aligned closely with our recommended recordings. I think they had a reference there. When they hired me in the late 1990s, it proved to be true."
The Beatles' Apple Corps company hired Mr Rock'n'Roll detective Jim Berkenstadt to dig up audio, video and other artifacts for projects including LOVE, the Las Vegas Cirque de Soleil show, and the box set George Harrison: The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992. Among other things he was able to supply George and Giles Martin with 10 or 15 hours of spoken-word Beatles audio to be peppered into the audio mix for the Cirque du Soleil Love show in Vegas.
The website for his new book can be found here. Be sure to pay his blog a visit too, you won't regret it!

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Beatles Come To Town


A very wide screen movie from Manchester 1963, here courtesy of Pathe News and the Guardian.

Unsold Decca tapes

Remember we informed you about this tape a week ago? According to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-posten, the owner of The Fame Bureau, Ted Owen told them that "the Beatles management" through EMI's lawyers managed to ban the tape from being sold. This, he claims, proves that the tape must be genuine. Yeah, right.
Source: Jyllands-posten

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Paul's Christmas single

Paul McCartney's Christmas single for 2012
Paul McCartney is going to release a new 7" Christmas single on green and red vinyl. A couple of copies have already been sold over at ebay, although the release date is December 3d (4th in the USA). The song is of course the old chestnut "The Christmas Song", which is on side A of the single. The song on the flipside is McCartney's 1979 Christmas hit single "Wonderful Christmastime", as interpreted by the band "The Shins". Both tracks have been taken from the new Hear Music Christmas album Holidays Rule . The new single is released by Universal and has the catalogue number 7234232.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Decca tape from 1983

You may have read a news item regarding a Beatles Decca audition tape which is up for sale at the Fame Bureau auction in London's Mayfair on November 27. The main stream media has picked up on this (as examplified here by The Telegraph). You may have noticed that only ten of the 15 tracks from the original Decca audition are listed on the tape. That's probably because this is just the master tape for the 1983 albums from Backstage Records.
As with all publicly circulating versions of the Decca audition recordings, these are also derived from the old Joe Pope Deccagone singles of the seventies, or from the same tape.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Hamburg Beatles Museum sale

Part of the exhibitions from Hamburg's Beatles Museum are now offered for sale as "Buy it now" items on the German ebay site. A replica Beatles drum set as well as Sgt Pepper's costumes are among the items. The museum closed it's doors for business in June this year. ebay link.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Beatles Live Project

A planned feature film about The Beatles’ concert tours is in the works. OVOW Productions Inc is working on the project, with the support of The Beatles’ company Apple Corps Ltd. The Beatles Live! Project is a collaborative global quest to find and reveal hidden films, sound recordings, stories, photographs, and other media artifacts that were captured during The Beatles' concert tours. OVOW Productions has assembled a global team of archivists, collectors, information specialists, artists, social media strategists, amateur media groups, The Beatles fan clubs, writers, academics, and film restoration experts to support the activities in the field. The research will be active through December of 2012. The project will cover concerts from From October 16, 1963, when the term “Beatlemania” was coined, until their final concert on August 28, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. If you attended one of the concerts and have media or a story to tell, they would like you to contribute your media or memories in the Contribution section of their website. Official website: http://thebeatlesliveproject.com

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tomorrow Never Knows promo vinyl LP

It exists. But only as a very limited edition promotional giveaway. It's on Apple. It opens at the top, like the first edition of the UK White album, not at the side like regular LP's. Happy hunting!
When the album was released as a digital download in July, a spokeswoman said that Tomorrow Never Knows would not be released on CD or vinyl. So far, only a couple of these have appeared on ebay. There's one there at the moment, but with a starting price of $599.99, there are no bidders.
The back cover
detail
Accompanying letter
Also, a free download

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

At last: The bubblegum book

At long last, Mark "Mr Beatle card guy" Swearingen has made available this book for people enamoured by those good old Beatles bubblegum cards. Get a signed copy from his website or get a mint copy from Amazon . If you're keen to look at some cards right now, here's a page I created a long time ago: Collector's cards.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Elton John shares Lennon footage

The amateur footage of John Lennon guesting Elton John's consert in Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving 1974, which we had a hand in rediscovering back in March last year, will now be shown publicly during Elton's concerts, according to the Beatles Examiner. The fan who shot the footage, Mary Ann Summers told WogBlog back then:

"I was 18 when I took it, and had bought the Super 8 camera specifically for the concert. Yoko was in the 11th row, just across the aisle from us, and seeing her take her seat confirmed the rumor Lennon would be there was for real. When Lennon came on stage, we were standing on our chairs, so the footage of him is fairly shaky, and maybe a minute in length, if that. And it was taken from the 12th row orchestra, so there were various heads I was shooting over while trying not to fall off my seat. I clearly remember my friend yelling at me "the floor is shaking" during the Lennon set."

The footage was posted on YouTube by Mary Ann, but has since been removed. Now it has been worked on and improved by Elton John's people and can only be seen at the singer's Million Dollar Piano show at Caesars Palace during the performance of "Empty Garden (Hey hey Johnny)", which Elton and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin wrote after Lennon's tragic death. 

Beatles On Sale in Italy

Italian newspaper La Repubblica has currently started distribution of the remastered Beatles CD collection with their paper. The CD's retail for €9.99 Euros each, and the double CD for €12.90. An exclusive cubic box to hold the set is also available.

Source: La Repubblica 
A book about the Beatles were distributed on October 3d:

Monday, 15 October 2012

New Beatles documentary

In an unforeseen future, the background became the interesting part of the photo.
A new Beatles documentary premiered on Swedish television this weekend."Becoming The Beatles", produced by Formative Productions in 2012, focused on the early days of the group, ending with the breakthrough in USA on the Ed Sullivan show.
Among the talking heads were the two Tony B's (Bramwell and Barrow), Phil Collins, Steve Harley, Norman Smith, Colin Hanton, Sam Leach, Ken Dodd, Freda Kelly, Sylvie Vartan and those true veterans of Beatles documentaries, Allan Williams and Gerry Marsden. By chance I happened to watch that old 1981 documentary "The Compleat Beatles" today, and it was fun to see those two guys there in their much younger incarnations.
Independently made, "Becoming The Beatles" doesn't feature original Beatles studio recordings, although they snuck in some of that infamous Hamburg Star Club tape in the background. Leaning very much on old black and white still photos and some of Klaus Voorman's Hamburg Days paintings, the film was augmented by some interesting colour footage of Liverpool in the sixties and a couple of gems in the form of that earliest "Valentines Day" colour film (Leach says he remembers the guy who asked to shoot the footage) and colour home movie footage from Paris Olympia Theatre, January 1964. John Lennon also popped in now and again, speaking from an interview with French TV in the mid-seventies.
The bulk of this material also appeared in a 2007 DVD from the same company, entitled "Rare and Unseen", so I guess this new documentary is more or less just recycling footage and interviews they already had. It's likely to be broadcast in your country too, just wait and see!
For your pleasure, here's that Paris footage set to a soundtrack from those same concerts, something Formative Productions were unable to deliver.
 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Vinyl Remasters Price Cuts

One of the spreads from the book that accompanies the deluxe box set of Beatles' vinyl album remasters
The Beatles vinyl remasters are at the time of writing this available from Amazon (US) for $341.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. In the UK, Amazon's current preorder price is £299.99 and also eligible for free delivery within the UK. Details page.

Friday, 12 October 2012

John Lennon 1980 interview


Well, actually it's more fly-on-the wall while John Lennon is having a normal conversation. He speaks very fondly of the "Magical Mystery Tour" film, among other subjects.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

MMT Official movie website

The boys (and girls) at the Paul Raymond Revue
As is their custom (remember www.yellowsubmarine.com?), The Beatles/Apple has launched a standalone website for their latest revived movie. You'll find it over at www.magicalmysterytour.com. We are curious, so we snooped around the internet a bit and looked up who owned various other domain names. Long story short: letitbethemovie.com turned out to be registered by none other than our own Apple Corps Ltd. Gives us hope, don't you think?

Remastered Beatles movies for DVD:
1964: A Hard Day's Night (film rights not owned by The Beatles) 2000 (DVD) 2009/11 (Blu-ray in Canada/Mexico)
1965: Help! 2007 (DVD)
1967: Magical Mystery Tour (2012 DVD & Blu-ray)
1968: Yellow Submarine 1999 (DVD), further restored/remastered 2012 (DVD/Blu-ray)
1970: Let It Be never released on DVD, only on VHS/Laserdisk in 1981

Vinyl remasters - the book

We were keen to find out if the text in the new book that accompanies The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set was the same text that Kevin Howlett used for the CD booklets, or whether it was expanded upon. So we asked Kevin. Here's his reply:

There is a chapter on each of the albums. I've expanded the original notes a great deal. I've also written an Introduction, which includes quotes from interviewees featured in my 2009 radio series The Beatles: Here, There And Everywhere. There are also chapters about the remastering process and how the vinyl cuts were made. It's beautifully illustrated. 

So there you have it. Another reason to get the full boxed set.
 You can check out some more spreads from the book over at superdeluxeedition.

Mister Kite - poster recreated

For years, I wanted to own a reproduction of the famed circus poster that John Lennon bought in an antiques shop in Sevenoaks, Kent, which gave him nearly all the lyrics to his song "Being For The Benefit of Mister Kite" on the "Sgt Pepper"-album. I have even been to Sevenoaks and poked around in their antiques shops to no avail, back in the nineties. I finally bought a reproduction of this poster in 2006, I found it for sale in the Hamburg museum while I was there for their "The Hamburg Sound - Beatles, Beat und Große Freiheit" exhibition. I had it framed and it's now up on my "Sgt Pepper" wall. Here's a photo of it from an exhibition I staged in 2009.



Now, Peter Dean was not satisfied with the quality of the reproduced posters, so he set about recreating it from scratch. He is now offering the public at large to get their own limited edition (1967 prints are available) print from this website. It's a marvellous work of art, but at the price they are charging, it looks like I'm going to have to stick with my cheapo edition.

Monday, 8 October 2012

All My Loving from Sweden

Yesterday was the debut of a new radio series on Swedish Radio P4. The veteran Beatles fan and collector Staffan Olander (who wrote sleeve notes for Ringo Starr's solo CD's and collaborated with George Martin on his retrospective boxed set) premiered a new gem: All My Loving from one of the four concerts The Beatles gave at Johanneshovs Isstadion on the 28th and 29th of July, 1964. And in smashing audio quality! You can listen to the entire programme (most of which is in Swedish, but also plentiful of music and Beatles related interviews) or this link will take you straight to the intro of All My Loving. Paul thanks the audience in Swedish ("Tack! Tack så mycket!") before launching the song. George Harrison's vocal mike is not audible, so you'll be able to hear Paul McCartney's harmony vocal unaccompanied the second time the verse comes around.
At the start of the programme you can hear a telephone interview with Raymond Jones, the first customer to enquire about the "My Bonnie" single from NEMS.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

1963 live tape of Beatles concert surfaces

Back in 1963, four men in their twenties called The Beatles, who were making their way in the music business, paid a visit to Carlisle.
They played a gig at the ABC – later renamed the Lonsdale – on Warwick Road on November 21.
And one man in the crowd that evening made sure he would be able to remember the event.
John Wilson, of Dalston Street, Denton Holme, went along with one of his trusted companions – his tape recorder. And his recording was played on the radio on October 5th as part of a special day of BBC broadcasting to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do. They played a portion of this on BBC Radio Cumbria at 5 October, just before 9am.
Almost half a century on he still has the reel-to-reel product of his amateur session with the band. It features a version of Love Me Do, which came out 50 years ago yesterday.
At that time the venue had 2,000 seats, all of which were sold out for the show, many to the group’s many female fans.
This fact had a significant effect on the recording.
“There is an awful lot of screaming girls,” joked John. “It sounds as though The Beatles are playing in the background.”
This concert was the second time that the Fab Four had appeared in Carlisle.
Previously they had played the ABC supporting then teenage star Helen Shapiro.
On this occasion they were famously thrown out of the Crown and Mitre Hotel for their appearance.
None of this seemed to deter John, 74, though who described himself as a “big fan” of the group.
His favourite singles are Love Me Do and Hey Jude.
John also has a very wide musical taste which ranges from The Beatles to country and western to classical.
Andre Rieu is a current favourite. He was also passionate about making tape recordings and regularly took his machines out with him. His collection includes two tapes of concerts from another of the biggest names in British pop, Cliff Richard.

And that's the story so far, as retold by Cumbrian newspaper, News & Star.

Further investigations reveal that the concert date probably is wrong. If "Love Me Do" was indeed played, this must be their first Carlisle gig on the 8 February 63 Shapiro concert, because the group had stopped playing "Love Me Do" by November. Anyway, it certainly is a remarkable story, and this is a tape we would very much like to hear in full.

UPDATE
Having listened to bits of the broadcast, it's evident that the song in question is From Me To You and not Love Me Do, so they have their date right. Also in evidence is a lot of Beatlemania and The Beatles struggling to be heard. A lot of historical value but the music is barely audible.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Happy birthday, R4949!

Yes, it was fifty years ago today! And as you can see from the sheet music (above), the composers started out as McCartney and Lennon. And soon after the release of the Love Me Do single, EMI went ahead and lost the master tape!
Today is also the release date (at least here in Norway) of the new edition of "Magical Mystery Tour" TV-movie. And this brings us for the first time in a long while a previously unheard composition from these fine song writers. What a great birthday present! So, happy birthday, Love Me Do!
P.S. I Love You.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Shirley's Wild Accordion is out!

Shirley's Wild Accordion (Lennon - McCartney): Recording made 12 October 1967 by Shirley Evans, Reg Wale, Paul and Ringo for the "Magical Mystery Tour" film, but not used in it.
Until now, it's in the bonus material on the new DVD/Blu-ray of the film. And if you've seen the fish'n'chips shop footage, you've already heard it...
12. October, 1967: Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: John Lennon
Engineer: Ken Scott
Shirley's Wild Accordion was a Lennon-McCartney composition, although it wasn't officially a Beatles recording. It featured Shirley Evans on accordion, accompanied by her musical partner and then husband Reg Wale on percussion. Paul McCartney played maracas and yelled "Go on, Shirl!", while Ringo Starr played drums. The track was recorded under the working title of Accordion (Wild), and was cut from the final edit of the film. It was recorded in eight basic takes, with Evans playing from a score written by Mike Leander from ideas by Lennon and McCartney. Two reduction mixes were then made, numbered nine and 10, followed by overdubs. The recording was completed with five additional takes, numbered takes 11-15. Three mono mixes Shirley's Wild Accordion were then made, numbered 1-3, from takes 10, 7 and 14 respectively. The second was subtitled Waltz, and the third was known as Freaky Rock. The session ended at 2am on the morning of 13 October 1967.

Beatles Calendars 2013

Yep, it's time to plan ahead. Here's the Danilo Beatles Calendar of 2013. And these are the monthly black and whites:
So to start January 2013 with the proud car owner Paul McCartney or something else, here are the links to the Beatles 2013 calendars USA and UK.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Love Me Do anniversary mix-up

Word is that EMI have recalled all the stock of the 50th anniversary edition of the Love Me Do 7" vinyl single , because the version on the single is incorrect. Under strict instructions from Apple the stock is to be destroyed.
The single version as you probably know featured Ringo, and the album version featured Andy White with Ringo on the tambourine. The mistake is that they have supposedly put the album version on the new 7 inch.
At the moment EMI have no plans to replace it with the correct version.
This information came from one of the retailers who had already shipped their pre-orders, so there will be a number of lucky owners of this rarity when the post arrives tomorrow....
Meanwhile, we are wondering that perhaps Ringo may have had something to do about this, due to his own faulty memory. Whenever Ringo tells the story of Love Me Do he always has it backwards, that it was the version with Andy White on the drums which became the single, whereas the Ringo version was on the album. So perhaps it is the Ringo version on the new 7-inch and Ringo through Apple may have withdrawn it because he thinks it should have been the Andy White version...