‘Around The Beatles’: Little-known 1964 TV special made concurrently with ‘A Hard Day’s Night’
04.08.2014
08:03 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
The Beatles
PJ Proby


 
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Although it was made during the first flush of Beatlemania and broadcast on television on both sides of the Atlantic (and internationally) in 1964, “Around The Beatles,” a one-off TV special produced concurrently while A Hard Day’s Night was being shot, is a comparatively “buried” Beatles treasure. It had once been released as a bootleg by Media Home Entertainment (who bootlegged tons of Beatles material in the early days of VHS and Betamax) but most people have never heard of it. A bit of it was used in The Beatles Anthology TV mini-series, and the Shakespeare bit has made the rounds, but YouTube doesn’t even have a complete version currently. Thankfully, there’s a high quality file on Dailymotion, embedded below for your listening and viewing pleasure.

“Around the Beatles” refers to the set, a theater in the round. Fading up from black, John, Paul and George, dressed in Renaissance garb, raise their horns. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is seen and Ringo raises a flag with the show’s title before firing off a cannon with disastrous results (and cartoon sound effects). The opening comedy skit is a shambolic performance of Pyramus and Thisbe (complete with hecklers) with Paul McCartney as Pyramus and John Lennon in bad drag as his beloved Thisbe.

The special was directed by Jack Good, the TV producer and manager who gave the world Shindig!, Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and others of Britain’s first wave of rock and roll stars (he’s also the guy who convinced Gene Vincent to don that Richard III garb—see a pattern here?). Featured on the program along with the Fab Four were Cilla Black, Long John Baldry, PJ Proby, the Vernons Girls, Jamaican teenage ska sensation Millie “My Boy Lollipop” Small, The Jets and Sounds Incorporated, an instrumental group who were Cilla Black’s backing group as well as the opening act when the Beatles toured. (Both Black and Sounds Incorporated were represented by Brian Epstein’s management company, NEMS. PJ Proby was Jack Good’s charge.)

The Beatles lip sync along to “Twist And Shout,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and a medley “Love Me Do” / “Please Please Me” / “From Me To You” / “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” They also cover The Isley Brothers’ “Shout” and the Fab Four are seen providing (literally) offstage back vocals for some of the other acts.

Of particular interest here is PJ Proby’s wild performance of “Cumberland Gap.” Introduced by Paul McCartney, he brings the house down! On the night this aired in Britain (May 6, 1964, to be exact), PJ Proby—who had been recording for years in Los Angeles without success—became an instant sensation. In the wake of his appearance on “Around the Beatles”, “Hold Me,” his first single released under this name (formerly he’d been “Jett Powers” a name probably familiar to Cramps fans for “Go Girl Go”) was rushed released to the screaming teenagers clamoring for it. (In fact the record was so rushed that they didn’t even finish mixing it, leaving stray vocals after the fadeout on the initial pressing of 45s.) Soon after the special aired “Hold Me” would rise to the #3 spot on the English pop charts, making Proby (who I think is one of the single most talented yet fascinating flawed figures of this era) a star for a short moment.
 

 
This post was sponsored by POPMarket.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘too lewd to be shown’ music video for ‘Relax’
04.08.2014
07:53 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood

111gthnme.jpg
 
In 1983, a band of five young lads from Liverpool appeared on hip British music show The Tube. The band was called Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who apparently took their name from a tabloid headline about Frank Sinatra, and consisted of Holly Johnson (lead singer), Paul Rutherford (vocals, keyboards), Peter Gill (drums), Mark O’Toole (bass), Brian Nash (guitar). They had a fine selection of songs including “Relax,” and “Two Tribes,” and rather original fashion sense, incorporating boxing and bondage gear. Even so, they were making little headway as were still unsigned to any record label.

They did, however, have management, who financed a demo video to hawk around record companies in hope of a deal, as Holly Johnson later recalled in his autobiography, A Bone in My Flute:

Bob and Sharon Johnson, who had recently become our London-based managers, arranged for us to make a video demo of two songs. Bob had a friend at Arista Records (Simon Potts) who invested six hundred pounds. We recorded ‘Two Tribes’ and ‘Relax’ in a sixteen-track studio in Clapham [London]. A while later Bob hired a video camera, which was operated by a photographer friend of his. We used the basement of the Hope and Anchor to record our performance. During the recording, the manager of the venue drew Bob aside and accused him of using the premises to make a porn video.

We had really gone to town on the bondage look. I wore a pair of leather knickers and an old Seditioneries cropped T-shirt, with unzipped nipple holes and bike tyre pieces on the shoulders. that I had inherited from [Dead or Alive singer] Pete Burns. Paul purloined a pair of leather thigh guards that strapped at the back, which left his arse completely bare. He also waved around a fake Luger. We dressed the boys in denim shorts with the odd bit of leather. Mark wore a black ‘Lone Ranger’ mask and denim shorts. The Leather Pets [backing dancers] were there in studed leather mini dresses and suspenders holding up laddered stockings; we chained them to the scaffolding.

The video was, by Johnson’s own admission, “very seedy and tacky” and included a sequence of “simulated sodomy” that Holly performed on Paul.

For any era this video was outrageous. Unfortunately it didn’t have the desired effect. Bob Johnson hawked the video around several record companies, to no avail. The younger A and R men seemed keen but didn’t think they could persuade their older bosses. Island’s Chris Blackwell supposedly sent a telex saying something like ‘Not on my lifetime’. Simon Draper at Virgin allegedly said ‘We’ve already got one old Queen we can’t sell, why do I need another one.’

However, the performance promo did attract interest from Channel 4’s music show The Tube. The show’s proudcers thought the video was “too lewd to be shown” at teatime on a Friday, but were keen to have Frankie Goes To Hollywood interviewed and perform “Relax.” As it turned out, this was the toned-down performance (though still in bondage gear) that won Frankie and record contract and launched their careers, as Holly explains:

...so they came to Liverpool and filmed us at the newly opened State Ballroom, Liverpool’s glitziest disco. We had the use of the laser lighting, which was the latest thing, and the camera men loved doing soft focus crutch [sic] shots of The Leather Pets.

It was a resounding success when it was shown later in the year. The camera somehow liked me.

A member of Yes, who was recording ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ with Trevor Horn, brought the clip to Trevor’s attention. Trevor claimed he could make a number one hit out of that song [“Relax”], then promptly forgot all about us.

Horn didn’t quite forget about Frankie Goes To Hollywood, as he did go on to produce their single “Relax” (which did go to number one) and their excellent debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome, which all helped FGTH dominate the charts across most of the world in 1984.

This is Frankie’s debut appearance on The Tube, where they performed an early version of “Relax” and were interviewed by Jools Holland.
 

 
More Frankie Goes to Hollywood after the jump, including bits from the “lewd” video deemed too extreme for early 80s British telly…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘We Are Family’: Nina Hagen’s German reality TV show—yes, really
04.08.2014
06:01 am

Topics:
Music
Superstar
Television

Tags:
Nina Hagen

Nina Hagen
 
This show is SO fucking good, I really wish more of our readership could understand what they’re saying. In 2007 Nina Hagen did this reality TV show called We are Family! So lebt Deutschland (The second part translates as “This is how Germany lives”). It seems it was on the ProSieben cable network. I don’t know “how Germany lives” when the focus is on other subjects, but in Nina’s case it meant sending a camera crew out to LA and following her around for a while. They were able to generate three solid hours of programming, and it’s all up there on YouTube for all to see.

When this was filmed, Nina was 52 and her son Otis, then 16, was living with her. The announcer explains that Otis was raised in France and a few other places, and didn’t live with his mom until a few years ago. They’ve been in LA for four years. In the show, Nina takes Otis to take his driver’s exam, they go shopping, and they visit a nice house for sale with a realtor (Nina doesn’t think much of the house, apparently). The entire thing’s in German, and well, obviously Nina is a force of nature who transcends any attempt to boil her personality down to the weird confines of ANY reality show. She says whatever she wants, whenever she wants, often cackling with mischievous glee. She clearly so does not give a shit, it’s extremely refreshing. Obviously she is wearing the most garishly colorful outfit she can put together without making it seem like she gave it any thought whatsoever. In America the trend is to show “normal folks” or somewhat marginalized (i.e. desperate) C-list celebrities—it’s so awesome to see a reality show with someone who’s pretty intelligent, worldly, discerning, and so forth.

There’s a seven-minute “teaser” that just corresponds to the first seven minutes of the entire thing, which runs three hours. If you speak German or just can’t get enough of Nina no matter how little you understand—believe me, I get it—then you can enjoy both of those. Note that the long-form version has a small but irritating watermark in the middle of the frame, but you can still see everything just fine.
 
Nina Hagen
Nina inhaling deeply the alluring scent of cabbage
 
Otis seems like just about the most normal 16-year-old guy ever, which isn’t a dis; you just wouldn’t automatically assume that he was the son of the extravagantly extroverted genius who conceived and recorded Nunsexmonkrock. Otis is trilingual, it seems—his German is perfectly OK, but he does speak with an accent, it’s clearly not his go-to language. Most of what he says in the teaser is pretty innocuous, like Nina’s a great mom and they get along great, stuff like that. He doesn’t like those environmentally friendly detergents because they make his clothes smell weird.

For the shorter video, well, I’m far too lazy to translate the stupid announcer’s patter or Otis’ utterances (even if he seems very nice), so I reckon what people really want to see is what Nina says. So here is that, everything she says, in chronological order. I missed a couple things here and there, but that’s okay, and it’s loosely translated, like I gave a pretty close idea if not perfect. If you read this while watching the video it should sync up pretty sensibly. (Hint: the part where she talks about how amazing the cabbages smell, she says that when she’s smelling the cabbages.)
 

When you’re 18 years old you can destroy the environment as much as you want!

We’re like an old married couple, aren’t we? Ha!

How can you POSSIBLY live without an auto?!?

Why are they showing us this? I’ve lived in several heavenly places, I know what that looks like, more or less.

Right, left, straight ahead. Where are you, my little boy?

I love LA, here is where I feel the best, in California I can recharge my batteries, here I can make my ideas a reality the best, so I can bring them back to my home country. I belong here. I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t belong here. Hey, my colleagues at the German embassy are also here in Los Angeles. Ask them why they’re here and not in Paris. Because our karma, our destiny, positioned itself here.

Goodness, cabbage! Look Otis, have you ever seen anything like this? It makes my mouth water. You have to get me away from this container (slurps) because it smells so delicious! Cabbage! My god. (smells) [something about how sour it is] It’s delicious, what do you put it in?

Careful, careful, a sauerkraut-bomb.

God, the poor kid must be ashamed of his mom—because she’s so loud.

My son Otis is an absolutely honest guy, he’s up for anything. He knows what friendship means. And he’s still living with his mom—thank God.

My daughter somehow got away from her mother and brother very early, but we still have a very friendly and familial relationship, we talk on the phone every day, we’re always happy when she returns to LA, it’s always a great pleasure when she turns up in LA, and the two of them have a totally wonderful and special relationship, the two siblings. In spirit she is always here with us.

Why did you get Clorox? That isn’t one of the “green” ones.

He doesn’t give a shit! He wants to buy this detergent, I say it’s totally poisonous for the environment, the other supermarket has totally healthy ones.

So for a 16-year-old French-German-American young man, he’s not so interested…..

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Attention German ‘Knight Rider’ fanboys: David Hasselhoff is auctioning off KITT!
04.07.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Knight Rider


 

I am the Knight Industries Three Thousand. You may call me “K.I.T.T.”

Knight Rider. Hasselhoff. Michael Knight. KITT. All you have to do is read those six words, and you probably have a certain catchy electronic theme song resonating in your heads right now. If you are reading this in Germany, it’s even more likely.

I can remember living in Vienna in 1990, and you could flip the channels (some of them German) from hour to hour and catch Knight Rider on multiple channels (this was pre-cable, or at least in my grandfather’s apartment it was pre-cable)—one channel would show it at 3pm, then another one would show it at 4pm, and so on…. you could make it all the way to dinnertime no problemo, and since there were only about six channels to begin with, it was often the best thing on. The Germans sure do love their Knight Rider.....

David Hasselhoff is auctioning off KITT, it’s actually true. The starting price is $15,000, and after 8 bids the current price is $27,500 (as of late Sunday night).

From the Julien’s Live website:
 

Americans have had a long-running love affair with the automobile, and in 1982, David Hasselhoff drove into our hearts as Michael Knight in an artificially intelligent, indestructible supercar fashioned out of a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am named KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). Fans created this KITT car and gifted it to Hasselhoff. This is not your standard 1986 Firebird. Inside and out she is fashioned after the beloved icon, including KITT’s distinct exterior lighting and scissor doors. Her custom interior features w-style yoke steering wheel and an elaborate digital dash and console. She is rear wheel drive and powered by a 5.0 liter V-8 engine with automatic transmission. She is programmed to speak with over 4,000 sound bites from the classic television show Knight Rider. The car was made by Jennifer Catano.

 
The provenance of the vehicle is “From the Collection of David Hasselhoff,” so that’s verified. Then there’s this bit: “This item is on display at the Museum of Style Icons in Ireland until April 27, 2014.  The winning bidder is responsible for all costs associated with moving and shipping this item.” Well shit, if it’s already in Ireland, then it’s almost certain to go to a German, it’s cheaper to get it there than the U.S., right?
 
KITT
 
KITT
 
KITT
 
KITT
 
KITT
 
If you’re looking for a coffee table, look no further than this creepy gem. It’s listed as “David Hasselhoff Oversized Lifeguard Figure”—there’s a bid in at $10,000, so act fast:
 
David Hasselhoff
 
Honestly, I prefer not knowing what purpose that was intended for.
 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
The first screen James Bond was NOT Sean Connery, it was an American actor named Barry Nelson!


Barry Nelson, the “original” James Bond, seated at left

Although this will probably not come as too much of a surprise to fanatical James Bond fanboys, the very first time 007 was portrayed onscreen it was by an American actor named Barry Nelson! Yep, a Yank James Bond, as seen on a live 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale that was part of a CBS adventure series called Climax!

For the live CBS broadcast, Ian Fleming was paid just $1000 for the rights to his novel. Co-starring with Nelson as the villainous “Le Chiffre” was none other than Peter Lorre, whose typically weasley malevolence is the real reason to watch this (as always, Peter Lorre is great in this role). There’s a “Felix Leiter” character, but he’s the British agent and he’s called “Clarence.”

To add to this topsy-turvy Anglo-American sacrilege, Nelson’s not-so-suave Bond (he’s just terrible and horribly miscast) is referred to as “Jimmy” several times! Jimmy!    (When Casino Royale was made into the 1967 spy movie spoof, Woody Allen’s character, the wimpy nephew of David Niven’s Sir James Bond, was also called “Jimmy Bond.”)

This production was presumed to have been lost since its original 1954 live telecast, until an incomplete version on a kinescope was uncovered by film historian Jim Schoenberger in 1981 and aired as part of a TBS James Bond marathon. Eventually the entire show was located (minus a few seconds of credits) and MGM included it as a DVD extra on their release of the 1967 Casino Royale.

An urban legend persisted for years that following his death scene, Peter Lorre got up an walked to his dressing room, unaware that he was still in the shot, but this was debunked by Snopes.com. (The story had more than a grain of truth in it, this DID actually happen, but it was on a different live televised episode of Climax!)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘An evening of total fabulosity’: 25-year-old Jon Hamm on a TV dating game show
04.04.2014
09:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Jon Hamm


 
Perhaps the most most 90s thing you’ll see today, here’s a 25-year-old Jon Hamm on The Big Date TV game show explaining how to make Mary—the female contestant—feel oh so very special on a first date.

TIL Jon Hamm might have a foot fetish.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Barbarian metal is for the children: Manowar on Nickelodeon
04.04.2014
06:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Television

Tags:
Manowar
Livewire
Nickelodeon


 
Last week, DM brought you grindcore pioneers Napalm Death on children’s TV in the UK. Today, we bring you the kid-vid appearance of the utterly ridiculous Manowar, the single most over-the-top expression of every tacky masculinity-mythologizing hard rock cliché, kitchen-sinked into one band that does its best to always appear as though they’d just stepped out of a Frank Frazetta painting. They gave a performance and interview on Nickelodeon’s often admirably daring Livewire in 1983. (Nickelodeon really needs to offer a home-video compilation of all the musical guests on that show. I would buy that in a second.)
 

 
So here’s the thing: yes, Manowar are massively boneheaded. The whole berserker/Conan/I-kill-what-I-eat-and-I-eat-it-raw sartorial vibe stinks of trying too hard, and their musical output is merely B-minus power metal when they’re at their absolute best—if this is the sort of music you’re feeling, Dio’s Holy Diver does the job way, WAY better, so why settle? But dammit, I have a huuuuuge soft spot for wishfully grandiose heavy metal lyrics about how magnificent heavy metal is and how being a heavy metal fan is a man’s noblest calling. Seriously, what other genre outside of metal and hip-hop ever indulges in that level of self-glorification? Try to imagine an elderly Mississippi tenant farmer in 1931 signing about how it was super awesome to have the blues and live in soul-crushing poverty, and how anyone who didn’t was just a puny little half-man. That never happened. Here are some of the lyrics to “Gloves of Metal” from Manowar’s second album Into Glory Ride.

Hear the pounding army of the night
The call of metal summons us tonight.
And gather we on this site
To behold the power and the might.
We wear leather, we wear spikes, we rule the night.

Off with the lights, hear the screams
See the banging heads awaken to their dreams.
The sound of metal so loud it cracks the beams
Played by warriors called the Metal Kings.

A hero’s welcome for those who heed the call.
We are together, we are all.
With hands high fists fill the air
Against the world we stand.
Hands high forever we’ll be there.
Gloves of Metal rule tonight.

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

FUCK YEAH, GLOVES OF METAL RULE TONIGHT!
 

 
Livewire previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ramones drop some truth on a little know-it-all (a young Marilyn Manson?) on Nickelodeon, 1981

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Boy George and Jerry Falwell talk androgyny on ‘Face the Nation,’ 1984


 
In the early ‘80s, the USA had a minor collective shitfit about blurred gender divisions. The subject emerged into the mass consciousness almost out of nowhere—all of a sudden, three mainstream movies had cross dressing as their central themes, and Michael Jackson and other androgyny-friendly musicians were experiencing huge pop chart success. Obviously, genderfuck had been a part of rock culture for a long time—it was a decade earlier that David Bowie and Lou Reed made career moves of conspicuous bisexual posturing, and then of course there were the New York Dolls—but MTV pumping Duran Duran, Haysi Fantayzee, and the Belle Stars into millions of Midwestern living rooms newly wired for cable was an altogether different level of cultural penetration.

The appearance of artists like Annie Lennox, Dee Snider and Pete Burns definitely startled a lot of normals, but the figure who, all by himself, racked up by far the high score of shat Middle-American underpants was Boy George of Culture Club. He was such a harmless and goofy figure, but 30 years ago, a lot of people found him genuinely threatening. DM’s Martin Schneider recently made a well-deserved poke at the Midwestern response to Culture Club’s Colour By Numbers tour. As I was a teenaged Clevelander at the time, I can personally vouch for the truth of that piece. A lot of “grownups” fully lost their shit about Boy George.
 

I still don’t get what the big deal was.

Of course, the national news media had to explore the issue for baffled masses in grave danger of seeing the totally artificial social construct to which they were accustomed fall slightly apart on a superficial level. Leslie Stahl, for one, explored “The Feminization of America” on Face the Nation in 1984.
 

 
I love how “the feminizing of society” is illustrated with clips of men doing laundry and caring for infants. Who, WHO I ASK YOU, will save this degenerate civilization from the horror of fathers acting like parents? But as the segment continued, I found myself astonished that the discussion was civil, adult, and not completely trivializing. Megatrends author John Naisbitt offers some perfectly sensible if perhaps simplified insights, and then JERRY FALWELL of all people is genial, respectful, and, though obviously faaaaaaaar from progressive in his views, he’s not totally insane and hateful. The way he was towards the end of his life, I honestly expected him to do some bonkers shit like blame a tornado on Yentl. Imagine a similar conversation as it would happen on Hannity, McLaughlin, or The Five today, and weep for what we’ve lost in just 30 years.
 

 
Apologies, by the way, for the huge glitch in the middle of Falwell’s comments. Not that it’s likely they were illuminating or anything, but I did try to locate an alternate video, and turned up nothing. It’s probably not that great of a loss—in part three, Falwell predictably, and in scripturally unconvincing terms, goes on to defend the American post-WWII gender status quo as God’s eternal and ineffable will, and is called out on his blatant cultural and class biases by co-panelist/actual smartest person in the room Benjamin DeMott. But the most intelligent and moving comments in the whole segment come from Boy George himself. The insights he proffers in his one-on-one interview with Stahl remain relevant today, and fully make up for my disappointment that he and Falwell weren’t on the live panel together. I generally dislike the Internet’s abuse of the adjective “epic,” but god damn, THAT would have been a valid use.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Animated ‘Breaking Bad’/‘Street Fighter’ mashup is weirdly satisfying
04.01.2014
07:38 am

Topics:
Games
Television

Tags:
Breaking Bad
Street Fighter

Street Fighter Walter White
 
This video is only a minute long, and there’s really not that much to it, but—I don’t know, it just works. UK-based animator Junior Jessman wanted to pay homage to a favorite video game and TV series, both of which happen to have a purchase on a distinct style of badassery, and the result is this slapdash Ryu-vs.-Jesse Pinkman masterpiece. All the characters look somewhat like Playmobil figurines or possibly Mr. Potato Head, but the love still flows through, what with the use of well-chosen audio samples and video effects. I love the cacti wearing cowboy hats to give the battle a solid sense of place.
 
Street Fighter Jesse Pinkman
Jesse uses his special “magnet power” move to subdue his foes
 
Jesse’s power move derives from his most famous utterance on Breaking Bad—“Yeah, bitch! Magnets!” from the Season 5 premiere. But when Ryu gets Jesse in a tight spot, who saves him but Walter “Heisenberg” White swooping in like a never-to-be-fucked-with Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China.
 

 
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
If you like ‘Breaking Bad’ you’re gonna love ‘Break So Bad’


 
This is one of those things I clearly missed the boat on. Okay, let’s just call for what is… I missed the damned yacht! (This is some 2013 shit right here!) If you, like me, haven’t seen the Chinese bootleg of Break So Bad you’re in for an eyeful treat.

With the cancerous concern lonely man must use chemistry skill in making most potent of drugs methamphetamine. Danger and serious threat comes to man’s family to bring his to life to serious impact.

According to what I’ve read online about the glorious bootleg cover art is that it was done on purpose to avoid legality issues. Whether or not this is true, I simply don’t know? Could it be the work of an evil genius photoshopper? Perhaps. Perhaps.

Update: It was done by these folks back in 2012. 
 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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