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The Beatles get wild on untamed (and unreleased) outtake of ‘She’s a Woman,’ 1964
09.12.2014
11:14 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles

Beatles picture sleeve
 
By October 1964, the Beatles were already veterans of the recording studio. When they entered Abbey Road to cut “She’s a Woman” they had released three albums and numerous singles. They had been working at a furious pace and dealing with incredible fame. Surely the Beatles were looking to cut loose.

Written primarily by Paul McCartney (years later, John Lennon remembered writing some of the words—maybe), “She’s a Woman” was recorded on October 8th, 1964. Take six of the song would be deemed best and came out in late November 1964 as the b-side to “I Feel Fine” in the UK, but in the US the sides were flipped, with “She’s a Woman” reaching #4 on the charts in the states.

Take seven was their last stab at the song. Possibly sensing this attempt wasn’t up to snuff, they might have looked at each other and figured: “Why not get crazy?” Maybe they were finally comfortable enough in the studio to goof around and blow off some much needed steam. Or were the Beatles just giddy over writing their first drug reference? Here’s John Lennon referring to the line “Turn me on when I get lonely” in a 1980 interview:

We were so excited to say ‘turn me on.’—you know, about marijuana and all that, using it as an expression.

Ten days later the band recorded “I Feel Fine,” with a happy accident leading to the use of guitar feedback as the song’s intro—widely regarded as the beginning of the Beatles experimenting in the studio. Perhaps the hair-raising joy heard at the conclusion of the final “She’s a Woman” is the moment when they gained the confidence to take a shared step into the abyss.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
‘Mission: Impossible’ vs ‘Norwegian Wood:’ the world’s first mashup, 1968


 
There was a time I would have gone to the mat in defense of the idea that the first ever mashup release was 1996’s “Whipped Cream Mixes” single by Columbus, OH’s Evolution Control Committee, a marvelous collision of Public Enemy a cappella tracks with music beds by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. If you don’t know them, my God, take a few minutes out of your life to properly dig some awesomeness:
 

 

 
Though that single is an acknowledged influence on the UK bootleg scene, I was mistaken in my Ohio-proud belief that the ECC invented the now-standard “Band vs Band” form. But I was educated. By the graces of Regretsy creator April Winchell’s amazing MP3 share page, I was alerted to the existence of composer/arranger Alan Copeland’s 1968 work “Mission: Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood,” whereon Copeland’s chorus sang the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” over an orchestral performance of Lalo Schifrin’s indelible theme music from the secret agent TV series.
 

 
Copeland was already known for his work in The Modernaires, and on television with Your Hit Parade and The Red Skelton Show when ABC records released his weird hybrid as a single. That single won a Grammy award in the Best Contemporary Pop Performance, Chorus category. According to several sources I’ve found, The Alan Copeland Singers actually performed “Norwegian Wood” on the Skelton show, but frustratingly, I can find no indication of whether it was performed with the “Mission: Impossible” music, nor can I find any video of the appearance online. Frankly, for a Grammy-winning major label single, the tune is an elusive motherfucker. The 7” photo above is of my copy—can you make out the 98¢ price sticker? The idea of finding it that cheaply nowadays is, um, wishful. (To be clear, I paid way, WAY less than the eBay seller at that link is asking—no 7” is worth a shopping cart full of groceries.)

The song resurfaced in 1997 on a compilation from Rhino Records (naturally!) called Golden Throats 4: Celebrities Butcher the Beatles, a comp that is itself out of print and rare now. I managed to find it on Grooveshark, but that site’s embeds evidently don’t work on mobile devices, so for readers who browse DM on a phone or tablet, I’ve also included a YouTube link to a faithful cover version, by an Australian vocal group called the Unisounds. Somehow, you will hear this song, dammit.

Per IMDB, Alan Copeland is still living, and teaching choir in Berkeley, CA.
 

Mission Impossible Theme Norwegian Wood by Alan Copeland Singers on Grooveshark

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Led Zeppelin vs Beatles: ‘Whole Lotta Helter Skelter’
Mashup: Donna Summer and Booker T & the MGs: ‘I Feel Love’ / ‘Green Onions’
Beck on the butcher block: Illegal Art’s ‘Deconstructing Beck’
Bunnymen vs White Stripes, Bee Gees vs Killing Joke and more: new mashups from Go Home Productions

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Beatle wigs—seriously, what the hell?
08.14.2014
06:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Beatles


Alfred Hitchcock does his best Ringo impression

Beatle wigs were surely the biggest game-changer in the celebrity merchandise racket until the introduction of screenprinted t-shirts. While actors and singers had launched sartorial fads since the advent of the star system (and is selling crap to the rubes not half the point of said system?), I’m not aware of, nor has more digging than I really wanted to do turned up, for example, a trademarked line of bobby socks emblazoned with Frank Sinatra’s smilin’ mug, or a clothier who marketed a specifically Elvis-branded shirt-jac. But the way the Beatles seismic popularity completely blew up western culture? Cuban-heeled ankle boots were ubiquitously rebranded as “Beatle” boots, and collarless Edwardian suits were sold as “Beatle” suits. But those were garments that already existed. The wigs? I suspect the widespread desire of fans to purchase crappy wigs to emulate their heroes’ hair may have been novel. There’s maybe an arguable precedent in the Fess Parker-inspired fad for raccoon fur caps in the ‘50s, but a hat doesn’t mean the same thing as a wig does it? The semiotic is a different one.

I almost kind of even get why it happened. In the U.S., where the Beatles’ hair inspired the most scandalous media attention, crew-cuts were the ubiquitous men’s haircut, so growing one’s hair out to the newly trendy length could take a year. If you rocked a duck’s ass, you could just forego your pomade and trim your bangs to achieve the style, but DAs were for greasers who probably hated the Beatles anyway, not clean teens who stayed home on Sunday night to watch Ed Sullivan’s “really big shoe.”
 

Ed Sullivan.

“Necessity” being the mother of invention, the Beatle wig was born. Never mind that actually wearing one made you look less like Paul McCartney than a forgotten Howard brother who got kicked out of the Three Stooges for lurking around playgrounds, the damn things really caught on. Can you imagine if this had stayed a thing? Suppose gazillions of kids bought Quiet Riot wigs—don’t let mom throw out your ultra-collectible Kevin DuBrow pre-hairplugs model!—Vanilla Ice wigs, Jonas Brothers wigs. THE HORROR!
 

NOT A COPY—THE REAL THING? Um, unless they scalped Ringo, this is pretty much the definition of a copy.

And of course today, as with all things Beatles, original wigs now cost a fortune. (A friend of mine once quipped, on observing original press Beatles records at a collectors convention which were fetching car-payment prices despite looking like they were the victims of a piss-deluge and a vigorous flaying, that one could probably just write the word “Beatles” in jelly on a piece of white toast and some bug-eyed, bowl-mulletted dipshit would give you money for it.) Some of the molded plastic ones, which amusingly foreshadow DEVO’s New Traditionalists-era plastic pompadours, can go for an astonishing $600. But even the ghastly cash-in-quick cheapos that were hastily stitched together from fun-fur can fetch some serious bucks.
 

Nifty.

Here’s a fun newsreel doc from the terrific British Pathé discussing the fad, and even showing the details of the wigs’ manufacture.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The strange, but true, story behind the Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’
07.24.2014
11:29 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 

John and I wrote “She’s Leaving Home together.” It was my inspiration. We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our song-writing we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.

While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents. Then there’s the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in “Yellow Submarine”, they weren’t real people.

—Paul McCartney to Barry Miles in 1997

The Daily Mirror story that inspired “She’s Leaving Home” was about Melanie Coe, then aged 17. “Wild child” Coe snuck out of her parents’ comfortable North London home in February of 1967. She was pregnant and afraid of what her mother might do, but had not run off with the father of her unborn child—or “a man from the motor trade,” for that matter—but rather with a croupier she’d just met. They shacked up for ten days before her parents found her. She returned home and had an abortion.

But here’s the weird part: three years earlier Coe had actually met Paul McCartney when he was the judge of a miming contest that Coe won on Ready, Steady, Go! Coe mimed to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump The Broomstick” and Macca gave her the award. Winning the contest meant Coe would be a dancer on the show for an entire year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Classic album covers minus deceased band members


 
Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.
 

 
The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.
 

New York Dolls, s/t
 

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers
 

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter
 

The Who, Odds & Sods
 

Johnny Thunders, So Alone
 

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
 

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit
 

Jeff Buckley, Grace
 

The Doors, Morrison Hotel
 

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy
 

The Clash, s/t
 

Elvis Presley, s/t
 

 
Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Watch ‘Moon Rock,’ a 1970 psychedelic sci-fi cartoon from ‘Yellow Submarine’ animator George Dunning
05.06.2014
11:23 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
Beatles
Yellow Submarine
George Dunning


 
While the style is certainly recognizable, the tone of George Dunning’s 1970 cartoon “Moon Rock” is a vastly different from its predecessor, Yellow Submarine. After a countdown and blast-off, our faceless astronaut lands on what appears to be the Moon, where a series of psychedelic characters are there to greet him, including a Blue Meanie-reminiscent slug-thing requesting chocolate and jelly. Interspersed with real video footage, the surreal subjects and austere setting make “Moon Rock” a product of its time without being dated. The trippy ambient music is from Ron Geesin, who also co-composed the “Atom Heart Mother” suite with Pink Floyd.

Apparently Dunning based the narrative on the notion of “lateral thinking,” a creative problem-solving concept from New Agey self-help consultant, Edward de Bono. For some frame of reference on de Bono, in 2000 he recommended sending Marmite to Israel and Palestine because he believed an unleavened bread-related zinc deficiency was exacerbating aggression in the region. Crazy? Sure, but it makes for darn good animation!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Yellow Submarine Vans


“In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea, and he told us of his life, with his Yellow Submarine Vans…”

As a lifelong wearer of Vans, I’m not entirely sure I’d wear these psychedelic puppies. I can appreciate them, though, as a novelty item and Vans fan.

Perhaps if one of the classic styles showcased the Blue Meanies, then I might seriously have to reconsider…

The Yellow Submarine-themed shoes are around $65 + shipping at the Vans website.


 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Mick Jagger makes his TV debut with some sensible shoes

Nick Cave and David Bowie hi-top All Stars sneakers

Footwear with bite: Fancy shoes with teeth soles

Foot Fetish: Freaky faces in old, discarded shoes

h/t Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Disco-tastic Italian Beatles medley from 1978 will melt your brain!
02.19.2014
08:15 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Beatles
Raffaella Carrà

Beatles medley
 
Sure, you can have your Joe Walsh, your Peter Frampton, your Katy Perry (and be sure to check out that preposterous headline in that link, there). When it comes to Beatles tributes, I’m very comfortable going with the delirious disco version that Italian dancer Raffaella Carrà headed up on Italian TV in 1978. She truly captured the essence of the Beatles.

Carrà was kind of a big deal in her native Italy as well as Albania, Greece, Latin America, and elsewhere. According to Wikipedia, “She was the first television figure to show her belly button on camera. This was met with heavy criticism from the Vatican.” I’m pretty sure they mean “in Italy,” there.
 
Beatles medley
 
The video features at least a dozen dancers working their asses off—working hard. The medley gallops through eight Beatles classics in fewer than eight minutes, and each song gets its own stage set (there’s a lot of green screen)—naturalmente Carrà gets a different stunning outfit for each set/song. They seem to be obsessed with the Beatles’ Britishness—lots of Union Jack and bowlers throughout. I’d describe more but you really have to see it to believe it.

How is it possible that fewer than a thousand people have witnessed this glorious video on YouTube?? It boggles the mind! Press play and behold the tacky genius.
 

 
Thanks to Rachel Jensen!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Beatle George Harrison’s brief journey into experimental electronics
01.06.2014
06:20 am

Topics:
Music
Superstar

Tags:
Beatles
George Harrison

george harrison moog portrait
 
In May of 1969—a full eleven years before Paul McCartney baffled his fans with the goofy electronic experiment “Temporary Secretary”—George Harrison released his second solo album, Electronic Sound, consisting of two side-length explorations composed on a modular Moog synth, “Under the Mersey Wall” and “No Time or Space.”
 
electronic sound
 
Unsurprisingly, the album barely charted in the U.S. and failed altogether in the U.K.—even in a period as indulgent as the late ’60s, a novice knob-twiddler’s pair of lengthy beepscapes wasn’t going to fly with the masses—and has only been reissued once, in 1996. But as it was one of the first albums ever to feature a Moog exclusively, and because let’s face it, it was made by a Beatle, it remains an item of interest among historically bent electronic music obsessives and Beatles completists. You can hear the entire album below. For whatever it’s worth, I’m a little more partial to side two (a composition that was the subject of a minor controversy), which starts at about 18:44.
 

 
The LP was the second release on Apple Records’ “Zapple” imprint. Zapple was intended to be Apple’s avant-garde subsidiary, but it only existed for a few months in 1969 and only released two albums, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s also very rare Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions being the first. The label was folded by Beatles manager Allen Klein only a month after Electronic Sound’s release—evidently enough was already enough. Harrison himself had much to say about the difficulty of curating a record label in this rare contemporary interview.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Beatle Barkers: ‘Dogs’ cover Lennon and McCartney
12.15.2013
08:21 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 
Lennon and McCartney are the most covered songwriters of all time (“Yesterday” is supposed to be the #1 most covered song in history). I used to make a sport of finding great Beatle covers to make mixed tapes with, and let me tell you, there are some really good ones and then again there are some really crappy ones, too.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Shirley Bassey all do boffo versions of George Harrison’s “Something,” but for my money, Desmond Dekker’s take on “Come Together” is the best one of all. I’m also partial to Moog Beatles covers,

But when it comes to the bad Beatle covers—and there are a ton of ‘em—none are so awful as the numbers found on the absolutely shit Beatle Barkers novelty album, where the songs of the Beatles are… uh, barked (and it doesn’t even include “Hey Bulldog!” What gives?).

It’s painful to listen to, as you might imagine, but there is a certain level of “so wrong it’s right” to the proceedings as well. It’s not even real dogs barking, it’s human beings imitating dogs! You can listen to the entire thing at the WFMU blog... if you, uh, really want to…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bee Gee Maurice Gibb’s drunken John Lennon impression fooled even Yoko (and many Beatles fans, too)
09.10.2013
10:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles
Maurice Gibb
Bee Gees


 
“Have You Heard The Word” used to appear—frequently—on Beatles bootlegs as a ‘long lost’ Beatles recording. It’s not, but it’s easy to see why the bootleggers thought that it was. In fact the song was recorded by Maurice Gibb, who showed up at a recording session for an Aussie band he was working with called Tin Tin, the story goes, totally fucked up on painkillers after he’d broken his arm falling down the stairs of the mansion he shared with his then-wife, Lulu.

Taking advantage of some booze around the studio, the well-lubricated Bee Gee, his brother-in-law Billy Laurie and the two members of Tin Tin, Steve Kipner and Steve Groves, crowded around the mics and did, apparently, a single take of “Have You Heard The Word” with Gibb very deliberately doing his absolutely spot-on John Lennon impression.

It was a bunch of drunk guys clowning around, too drunk to sing properly, just having a good time. Never intended for release, nevertheless the song appeared on a 45 in 1970 on the Beacon record label in the UK credited to “The Fut” with an (unrelated) instrumental on the b-side. How it got released remains mysterious to this day and although the initial release should surely be considered a bootleg, the single was sold in regular record stores at the time.

As would later happen with an album release by the Canadian prog rock group Klaatu, the single was rumored to be a “clandestine” Beatles number. Again, it’s fairly easy to see why folks might have thought this.

In 1975, “Have You Heard The Word” was released AS an unreleased Beatles number on a bootleg of the same name and then it kept appearing on subsequent Beatles boots.

In 1985, Yoko Ono tried to register a US trademark on “Have You Heard The Word” as a John Lennon composition, but the request was refused due to a 1974 US copyright that had already been granted to the composers, Kipner and Groves. Even when certain Beatlemaniacs would know, for sure, that it wasn’t the actual Fab Four on the track, they still had no idea who was behind this rather convincing Beatles pissed-take and it wasn’t until the Internet era that the real story was sorted out.

Steve Kipner went on to write and produce Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” hit and write “Genie in a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera. He’s also worked with acts like Heart, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Laura Branigan,The Temptations, America, Cheap Trick, LFO, Westlife, Huey Lewis & the News, Joe Cocker, Al Jarreau, Wilson Phillips and Rod Stewart.

Now here’s the odd part, found on a newsgroup:

On Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:22:24 PM UTC-7, Steve Worek wrote:

I was just flipping through “Tales From The Brothers Gibb”, that several hundred page massive official biography of the Bee Gees, and something caught my eye - on page 265, Maurice Gibb, despite stories to the otherwise, actually ADMITS that John and Paul were on “Have You Heard The Word”! He tells a story about how they showed up to the session drunk, and with Maurice and the members of Tin Tin had a little jam session… which is what came out on the record.

The exact quote: “It was me, Steve Kipner, and Steve Groves, Tin Tin guys.. [John and Paul] turned up and we were having drinks. We were just jamming, everyone just started jamming, and the tapes were going. John was smashed as usual, and everyone was pissed.” He then goes on to mention that while John denied his involvement in the record, Paul didn’t! (Bizarrely, the book goes on to COMPLETELY contradict this on the very next page, by claiming that the vocals were simply Maurice doing a Lennon impression.)

Stranger and stranger… that book also claims that the word “fuck” pops up in that song too, but being that it’s total gibberish, who could tell?!

Let’s take Steve Kipner’s word for it, shall we? What’s really odd about this is why did Maurice Gibb feel the need to embellish the story to say that Lennon and McCartney were present???
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Acappella Abbey Road: Sixteen glorious minutes of isolated Beatles vocal tracks
09.04.2013
01:54 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles


 
This will help you get over your summer has ended blues: the isolated vocal tracks from the side two medley from Abbey Road. Holy shit.

Not completely sans instrumentation, nevertheless the vocals are the important bits here. It’s a (slight) pity that some of the gaps weren’t cleaned up a little bit better for ease of listening, but this is still pretty amazing and revelatory. Even as the group was breaking up, their voices could still blend so beautifully.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Battle of the bad Beatle hair: Couples edition
01.31.2013
07:33 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
Beatles
hair don'ts

Paul and Linda
 
I honestly thought Paul and Linda’s matching mullets were the be all and end all of bad hair, but George Harrison and Pattie Boyd’s matching perms totally give them a run for their money.

What say you? Which couple chose the most unfortunate coordinated coif?
 
George and Pattie
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Iconic album covers re-imagined with superheroes
11.06.2012
10:54 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
David Bowie
Beatles
Grace Jones
Yardbirds


Bowie’s Aladdin Sane cover artwork with X-Man Cyclops.
 
German artist Ewe de Witt re-imagines iconic albums with superheroes.

I think the Grace Jones cover with Luke Cage is my favorite.

Check out more of Ewe de Witt‘s superhero album covers at his Cover Parodies section on DeviantART.
 

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon cover artwork with Dr. Strange.
 

Grace Jones’ Living My Life cover artwork with Luke Cage.
 
More photos after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Cartoon Beatles performing Dead Kennedys’ ‘California Über Alles’
07.30.2012
04:22 pm

Topics:
Animation
Kooks
Music
Punk

Tags:
Beatles
Dead Kennedys


 
I posted this video here a few years back of cartoon Beatles singing Dead Kennedys’ California Über Alles. Almost as soon as I did, it was promptly yanked from YouTube for unknown reasons.

Well, here it is again in all of its wacky glory. Enjoy!

Animation by Kota Ezawa.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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