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The Beatles play for 18 people in Aldershot, 1961
09.08.2014
01:27 pm

Topics:
Amusing
History
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Aldershot


 
Photos of the 18 damned lucky buggers who got to see The Beatles play at the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, on December 9th, 1961. The Beatles’ then agent, Sam Leach, effed-up and didn’t advertise the show properly—hence the lousy turnout of less than two dozen people in attendance. Sam Leach was replaced by Brian Epstein as their manager after the Aldershot disaster.

However, according to Beatles’ Source, Sam Leach didn’t screw up, but, “The local newspaper, Aldershot News, neglected to feature Sam Leach’s advertisement for the show.” If this is to be believed, you really can’t blame Leach.

Truth be told, they all look like they’re having a good time regardless of the poor turnout.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Marxist Minstrels: The Beatles want to sexually hypnotize you into Communism!
08.19.2014
12:15 pm

Topics:
Kooks

Tags:
The Beatles
communism
David A. Noebel

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles
 
If you’re like me, you can’t resist a good piece of moral panic red-baiting propaganda, especially when it’s directed at a social phenomenon that seems so chaste by today’s standards. As luck might have it, I recently came across the 1974 opus, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, by the good Reverend David A. Noebel.

Evangelical tracts denouncing rock ‘n’ roll, especially as related to either homosexuality or “race mixing,” aren’t hard to find if you scour antique shops in middle America, but as something of a connoisseur of the genre, I have yet to find a piece of literature that so succinctly combines the collective fears of old, white, crazy Christian dudes. David Noebel, ordained in 1961, started his illustrious career with the above pamphlet, Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles. He saw the rise of Beatlemania as the result of Communist indoctrination via hypnosis (yup, just like the title), a thesis he developed more thoroughly in his 1964 book, Rhythm, Riots, and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, the Communist Master Music Plan. The book transitioned from The Beatles to folk artists, focusing on Bob Dylan, his colleagues, and their earlier influences. This is at least slightly more understandable, when one considers the political leanings of the folk movement, frequently with explicit anti-racist, pro-labor lyrics.

The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music however, synthesizes all of his previous work, citing children’s records, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll as being part and parcel to some elaborate integrationist, free-love, Communist conspiracy. As a rock ‘n’ roll propaganda collector, I’m used to trudging through a lot of this stuff, and the majority of it is incoherent ramblings—the sort of thing you’d read in a madman’s personal manifesto. Noebel is compelling because he’s intelligent, coherent, and well-researched, despite being absolutely paranoid and utterly mad. Aside from some minor comma abuse, he has a clear, if discursive thesis: rock ‘n’ roll is turning kids into gay, Communist miscegenators.

Some of his “evidence” is fascinating. For example, Alan Freed’s “payola scandal”—who was paying him to play all those rock ‘n’ roll records to unsuspecting teenagers? Communist record companies invade the airwaves by bribery, infecting the youth with music that is ““un-Christian, mentally unsettling, revolutionary and a medium for promiscuity.” He cites psychological studies, sociological statistics, numerology, etc. to scientifically “prove” the moral degradation incited by popular music, causing everything from sky-rocketing “illegitimate” birth rates to sexual rioting. Lots of sexual rioting. The appendices are incredibly dense and well-cited.

What follows his strange assessment of rock ‘n’ roll is an (actually, semi-accurate) account of the American Left, including some background of the American Communist Party and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Then of course, Noebel posits that folk artists were inspiring the youth to instigate a race war. He believed acoustic musicians like Malvina Reynolds (her “Little Boxes” is the theme music to Weeds) and Pete Seeger were instructing white students to join with “radical groups of Negro racists” so that they might revolt and achieve racial dominance in America. The weirdest part of all this is that by 1974, integration was (at least, on paper) complete. The folk artists who were most explicitly leftist or Communist weren’t a particular focus of pop culture, The Beatles had already long been broken up, and he never quite explains how these two very distinct fanbases are somehow connected (except that they’re obviously both very Communist). One can only imagine the lovely psychosis that The MC5 would have brought him.

Noebel is still living today, and I recommend checking out his extensive collection of YouTube videos and blog, if you’re looking for a laugh. These days, he’s much more on the “Obama’s a Socialist” train and decrying “Warmism” (Noebel’s evocative name for climate change) than he is into denouncing rock ‘n’ roll. Hell, even Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. Still, his older words bring an odd comfort, when we read his treatise on rock ‘n’ roll, comparing it to a children’s record that supposedly contained subliminal messages only audible when the record is played in reverse; “the noise that many of our youth call music is analogous to the story tape played backwards. It is invigorating, vulgarizing, and orgiastic. It is destroying our youth’s ability to relax, reflect, study, pray, and meditate, and is in fact preparing them for riot, civil disobedience, and revolution.” Dear god, I hope so.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Electric Würms are ‘Fixing a Hole’: Exclusive premiere from upcoming Flaming Lips album


 
Electric Würms will be making an appearance on the upcoming Flaming Lips album With a Little Help from My Fwends, their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band tribute. In the guise of their Electric Würms alter egos, Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd cover “Fixing a Hole” on the album, which comes out on October 28 on Warner Bros. Records. Other participants include MGMT, members of Wilco, Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket, Tegan and Sara, Dinosaur, Jr.‘s J Mascis and Maynard James Keenan of Tool.

Some of the proceeds from the album are being donated to the Oklahoma City-based Bella Foundation which helps low-income, elderly or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of their vet bills, because at some point we all might need a little help from our fwends.
 

Posted by Electric Würms | Leave a comment
You gotta have ‘Fwends’: Flaming Lips talk Fab Four
08.15.2014
11:15 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Flaming Lips
Electric Würms


 
In which Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd discuss The Beatles’ profound inspiration on the way they work and With a Little Help from My Fwends, their upcoming song-for-song tribute album covering Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Heavy “fwends” who’ll collaborate with the Lips include Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket, Tegan and Sara, Dinosaur, Jr.‘s J Mascis and Tool singer Maynard James Keenan. As their Electric Würms alter egos, Coyne and Drozd themselves cover “Fixing a Hole” on the collection.

With a Little Help from My Fwends will be released on Oct. 28 with some of the proceeds from the album getting donated to the Oklahoma City-based Bella Foundation which helps low-income, elderly or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of their vet bills.
 

Posted by Electric Würms | Leave a comment
Blank slate: Hundreds of ‘White Albums’ take up residence in LIverpool art gallery
08.15.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
White Album
Rutherford Chang


 
Dismissing claims by critics that the Beatles’ sole LP from 1968 would have worked better had the songs been curated into a tighter, single-disc release, Paul McCartney commented: “It was great. It sold. It’s the bloody Beatles’ White Album. Shut up!”

Amen to that. I’m a “late Beatles” guy, and, for me anyway, The White Album is utterly central to the Beatles’ allure. Artist Rutherford Chang appears to be a “late Beatles” guy too, and he’s making a decent bid to be regarded as the world’s number-one fan of The White Album and its decidedly minimalist cover by Richard Hamilton. He’s been buying up as many first pressings of the album as he can (the first pressing numbered more than three million). He now owns more than 1,000 first pressings of it, which he exhibits in spaces that are set up to resemble record shops: you can flip through the “inventory” just like at any record shop, and you are permitted to play any of the albums there on the provided record player. Unlike a record shop, however, the relation of consumer to establishment is reversed: You cannot buy anything there, but you can sell a first pressing of The White Album if you have one. The show is called “We Buy White Albums.”
 

 
Chang has exhibited the always-growing collection of albums for the last couple of years. “We Buy White Albums” has appeared in several locations in the United States as well as Shanghai, Denmark, and Ireland.
 

 
Last year, from January to March,  “We Buy White Albums” was exhibited at Recess, 41 Grand Street, New York. I was a resident of New York City during that time, but unfortunately I was out of town the entire period this show was on. I wish I’d been able to see it. Eilon Paz of Dust and Grooves interviewed Chang during that show, and it richly merits its status as the essential Rutherford Chang/White Album interview. Here are a few excerpts:
 

Q: Are you a vinyl collector?

A: Yes, I collect White Albums.

Q: Do you collect anything other than that?

A: I own some vinyl and occasionally buy other albums, but nothing in multiples like the White Album.

Q: Why just White Album? why not Abbey road? or Rubber Soul?

A: The White Album has the best cover. I have a few copies of Abbey Road and Rubber Soul, but I keep those in my “junk bin”.

Q: Why do you find it so great? It’s a white, blank cover. Are you a minimalist?

A: I’m most interested in the albums as objects and observing how they have aged. So for me, a Beatles album with an all white cover is perfect.

Q: Do you care about the album’s condition?

A: I collect numbered copies of the White Album in any condition. In fact I often find the “poorer” condition albums more interesting.

-snip-

Q: Are you collecting as an artist or as a music fan?

A: I’m collecting them as cultural artifacts.

Q: Do you listen to vinyl records on regular basis?

A: I listen to the White Album every day.

-snip-

Q: I’m trying to figure out if you’re a vinyl collector, or a music aficionado or an artist making an art piece with an object that happens to be a Beatles White album? Can you expand on that?

A: I’m making an art piece using White Albums as material. But the process also very much involves collecting vinyl and listening to music.

Q: Do you buy records other than the White Album for your art project?

A: I occasionally buy other records, but I don’t consider these part of my collection. I “collect” only White Albums.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of collecting first edition white albums? and why just first editions?

A: I got into collecting multiple White Albums because every copy tells a story. Each one has aged uniquely over the course of the last half-decade. The pressings from 1968 were numbered, implying that it is a limited edition, although one running in excess of 3 million.

 

 
Today, August 15, 2014, the show opens in England for the first time. Fittingly, the location is the birthplace of all four Beatles, Liverpool: “Presented by FACT and Liverpool International Music Festival, We Buy White Albums will take over FACT’s loading bay space on Wood Street from 15 August – 16 September.” On August 28, at 6pm, Chang will be on hand for a Q&A with FACT director Mike Stubbs.

The true subject of “We Buy White Albums,” it seems to me, is entropy, albeit entropy in the highly pressurized environment of the mass music marketplace. Issue more than three million albums with an almost completely white cover by the world’s favorite rock and roll band and see what happens. Things will happen to them, they will inevitably diverge from one another. The records will get scratched and warp, the covers will get water-damaged, the creamy, inviting white cover will become the home for doodles and graffiti. Chang revels in the strange forms the White Album can take, more than 45 years after its release. Anyone who’s spent any time plundering LP bargain bins can surely relate.

In that vein, Chang has also released a track in which 100 of his White Albums are played simultaneously (side 1 only, alas). The music starts off pretty much in sync; you can hear “Back in the USSR” just fine but the divergence soon sets in with a vengeance. As Allan Kozinn writes:
 

The albums, as it turns out, have also aged with some variety. Some played cleanly, others had scratches, noise from embedded dirt, or vinyl wear. And though the recordings are identical, variations in the pressings, and natural fluctuations in the speed of Mr. Chang’s analogue turntable, meant that the 100 recordings slowly moved out of sync, in the manner of an early Steve Reich piece: the opening of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” is entirely unified, but at the start of “Dear Prudence,” you hear the first line echoing several times, and by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” the track is a nearly unrecognizeable roar.

 
For me, the high point—by far—is “Wild Honey Pie.” Enjoy.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The time John, Paul, George and Ringo took a ‘trip’ to buy a (fascist) fantasy island
08.15.2014
06:38 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Magic Alex

gree67beat.jpg
 
The Summer of Love 1967: John Lennon was tired of Britian, tired of living a life in public, tired of the relentless clamor of fans, and the dreary British weather.

The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 and were now focusing their energies on being a studio band. Lennon wanted some peace and quiet—somewhere he could have a life of privacy.

At a meeting The Beatles held to discuss plans for their next film The Magical Mystery Tour in July 1967, Lennon raised the suggestion of the band buying a Greek island for them all to live on. As Lennon said at the time:

We’re all going to live there, perhaps forever, just coming home for visits. Or it might just be six months a year. It’ll be fantastic, all on our own on this island. There some little houses which we’ll do up and knock together and live communally.

They would build four villas on the island to provide accommodation for The Beatles and their families. An entertainment complex and a recording studio would be built in the middle, and there would also be homes for staff and friends.
 
beatles67.jpg
 
Amusingly, the idea may have been inspired by Gerry Anderson’s kids puppet series Thunderbirds, where the fictional Tracy family lived on a specially altered island from which they operated. The Beatles had lived together before when learning their trade in Hamburg, and of course, memorably on screen in Help!, where they shared a home in four connected houses.

According to Beatles publicist Derek Talyor in his autobiography 20 Years Adrift:

The four Beatles would have their network at the centre of the compound: a dome of glass and iron tracery not unlike the old Crystal Palace over the mutual creative/play area, from which arbours and avenues would lead off like spokes from a wheel to four vast and incredibly beautiful separate living units. In the outer grounds, the houses of the inner clique: Neil (Aspinall), Mal (Evans), Terry (Doran) and Derek, complete with partners, families and friends…

Lennon may also have been talked into it by Yanni Alexis Mardas, better known as Magic Alex, the Greek electronics whizzkid who impressed Lennon with his Kinetic Light Sculptures at the Indica Gallery. As Paul McCartney later said in a biography by Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now:

Alex invited John on a boat holiday in Greece, and we were all then invited. There was some story of buying a Greek island or something. It was all so sort of abstract but the first thing we had to do is go to Greece and see if we even liked it out there. The idea was get an island where you can just do what you want, a sort of hippie commune where nobody’d interfere with your lifestyle.

I suppose the main motivation for that would probably be that no one could stop you smoking. Drugs was probably the main reason for getting some island, and then all the other community things that were around then… it was drug-induced ambition, we’d just be sitting around: “Wouldn’t it be great? The lapping water, sunshine, we’d be playing. We’d get a studio there. Well, its possible these days with mobiles and…” We had lots of ideas like that. The whole Apple enterprise was the result of those ideas.

The plan was serious enough for Alex to strike a deal with Greek government giving The Beatles diplomatic immunity—this allowed the band to carry drugs into the country. As part of the deal to obtain diplomatic immunity, the Fab Four had to pose for pictures for the Ministry of Tourism, this was arranged without the band’s knowledge.
 
greecearrivaljpjj1.jpg
 
greecebeatlesrgjp.jpg
 

 
H/T Beatles Bible & All Things Beatles
 
More fantasy island and Beatles holiday snaps, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The fabulous album cover art of playwright John ‘Patrick’ Byrne
05.29.2014
07:47 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
The Beatles
Gerry Rafferty
John Byrne

jpatb99.jpg
 
You may not know the name John Byrne, but you will have certainly seen his art work on the covers of albums by artists as diverse as The Beatles, The Humblebums, Stealer’s Wheel, Donovan, Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly.

Byrne is a Scottish artist and playwright, born in Paisley in 1940. He is the author of the multi-award wining TV series Tutti Frutti, which starred Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson, and Your Cheatin’ Heart, starring Tilda Swinton (to whom he is married).

For the theater, Byrne is best known for The Slab Boys which originally starred Coltrane, and later Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Val Kilmer in the 1983 Broadway production, Cuttin’ a Rug and Still Life. But Byrne is not just a writer and director for TV and theater, he is also a respected and successful artist, whose portraits of Coltrane, Swinton and Billy Connolly hang in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

When Byrne first started as an artist in the 1960s, he found it difficult to have his work exhibited in London’s galleries. He therefore released a series of faux-naïf paintings under the name “Patrick” claiming the work to been made by his untrained father. “Patrick” became a star and was feted by London’s chattering classes, even having The Beatles commission “Patrick” to paint a cover for their 1968 White Album (it was later used on their Ballads compilation in 1980). When Byrne eventually revealed himself as creator of “Patrick’s” work, not everyone was entirely happy with his ruse, however by then, Byrne had established himself as a highly talented and successful painter.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Byrne produced a series of album covers for his friends Gerry Rafferty, Billy Connolly and Donovan. Byrne’s style is instantly recognizable, and as can be seen from this small selection of covers, book and DVD illustrations, utterly fabulous.
 
jpatb22.jpg
 
jpatb1212.jpg
 
jpatb55.jpg
 
jpatb1010.jpg
 
More from John Byrne, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘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


 
Scroll down for a chance to win The Beatles in Mono box set or the Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition from our sponsor, POPMarket

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 | Leave a comment
The last known recording of Lennon & McCartney: ‘A Toot and a Snore in ‘74’

 

“You wanna snort, Steve? A toot? It’s goin’ round.”

With the recent reunion of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney on the Grammy Awards, I was reminded of A Toot and a Snore in ‘74 a bootleg album of the sole recording session that John Lennon and Paul McCartney participated in after the break-up of The Beatles.

Lennon, who was in his “lost weekend” phase of drinking and drugging—and living with May Pang in Los Angeles—was producing Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats album at Burbank Studios. On the first night of the sessions, March 28, 1974, Paul and Linda McCartney showed up. Also present were Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Jesse Ed Davis, May Pang, saxophonist Bobby Keys and record producer Ed Freeman (who had been working with Don McLean in the next door studio).

There was a bit of a “convivial” scene going on, as one might gather from the bootleg’s title. McCartney later remarked that the “session was hazy… for a number of reasons.”

In his 2006 biography, McCartney, Christopher Sandford described the situation:

“The room froze when McCartney walked in, and remained perfectly silent until Lennon said, ‘Valiant Paul McCartney, I presume?’ McCartney responded: ‘Sir Jasper Lennon, I presume?’ (Valiant Paul and Sir Jasper were characters played by the two, in a televised Christmas play early in the Beatles’s career). McCartney extended a hand, Lennon shook it, and the mood was pleasant but subdued, cordial but not especially warm, at least initially.”

May Pang’s 1983 book, Loving John offered more detail:

Our first session was scheduled for the day after we moved in and it went beautifully- so beautifully that it only took four hours to lay down the basic rhythm track and vocal to “Subterranean Homesick Blues”.  When the tracks were finished, the musicians did not want to go home, so they hung out, jamming with each other or practicing their own licks. At midnight, however Keith [Moon] and Ringo left. It was time for them to hit the town.

The jam continued for another half hour, then visitors arrived. The visitors were Paul and Linda McCartney.

Paul headed straight for John. “Hello John,” he said eagerly.

John however was a study in casualness.

“How are you Paul?” he replied softly.

“Fine, how about you?”

“Okay.”

“Hi duckie,” Linda said to John, kissing him on the cheek.

“Hello Linda.”

John and Paul made small talk as if they had been speaking on the phone two or three times a day and had spoken a few hours earlier. It was one of the most casual conversations I had ever heard. They couldn’t be the two men who not only had been trading vicious attacks with each other in public but also had squadrons of lawyers poised in battle against each other while they carved up their multimillion-dollar empire. They looked like any old pair of friends having a pleasant low-key reunion.

The small talk continued; then Paul, like a man possessed, suddenly bounced up and headed straight for Ringo’s drum kit and began to bash the drums.

“Let’s play!” he exclaimed. Linda immediately headed for the organ. “Let’s play.” She echoed. They couldn’t be stopped.

John strapped on his guitar and began to play “Midnight Special,” one of the numbers the Beatles used to jam on when they first began to record together. So did Jesse Ed Davis and Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, while Harry sang along.

Then we had another visitor, Stevie Wonder, who was also recording at the Record Plant.

“Stevie, Paul is here, and we’re going to jam,” John called out.

“Okay,” said Stevie. He went to the electric piano.

“Let’s record it,” said John.

“Yeah,” Paul agreed. John suddenly became very enthusiastic.

“We need a bass player,” he told the startled producer in the control booth of the studio next to ours. “Paul and I are jammin’ together.”

“I play bass!” the producer exclaimed. He dashed from his session to join ours.

“Fung Yee, I want you to play,” John told me. “Grab a tambourine.” I got up and joined the musicians

“Let it rip,” said John

That was the first time John and Paul had played together since Abbey Road in 1969, and it sounded wonderful. The team of Lennon and McCartney had been reunited with amazing ease. After they’d run down the song, John turned to Paul and said “Could you please tell your organist [Linda] to turn down the volume? I can’t hear Mr. Wonder”

John and Paul played it again, and it sounded even better. They made joyous music together that night. That was the only time John and Paul backed by Stevie Wonder and Harry Nilsson played together after the break- up.

I’m supposing that May Pang wrote the above from memory, because what’s on the actual tapes is not quite the stellar music a line-up such as this one might be expected to produce: It’s basically just a drunk, coked-up jam session, yet still a drunk, coked-up jam session of great historical significance.

You can read a transcript at Bootleg Zone. To be perfectly honest, it’s easier than listening to it!
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Animation cels from ‘Yellow Submarine’ to be auctioned off soon
11.08.2013
09:31 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Movies
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
'Yellow Submarine'


 
On November 20 & 24, Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills will be holding a huge event, the Animation Art Signature Auction. The sale features a ton of truly amazing items—there are animation cels from classic Disney films (plus some Disneyland concept art paintings), Mr. Magoo, Dr. Seuss, Peanuts and many more. The public can walk through the items starting on the 19th. All in all, there will be 126,980 lots for sale.

But what is of special interest are the 80 pieces from The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film, which are expected to collectively sell for over $125,000. Still, at this point, with the auction two weeks away, some of the Yellow Submarine cels are pretty cheap. Some haven’t even been bid on, while others are ranging from $20 to a few thousand dollars.
 

 

 

 
More cels after the jump…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The glorious heyday of FAKE Beatlemania
11.07.2013
10:26 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Beatles

Do the Beetle
 
By now it’s an article of faith that the Beatles are great, the Beatles were the best band that ever was, the Beatles changed the world, and the Beatles wrote and recorded the best ten thousand songs that ever were. Naturally the scale of the Beatles’ success, especially in the first 2-3 years after they broke, is a big part of the story. The near-universal love for the Beatles on the part of teenage listeners everywhere caused a massive disruption to the entertainment market—in the mythology of the Beatles, it was what World War I was to modernism.
 
The Beetle Beat
 
The Beatles remain as big as ever, but the weird detritus that accompanied their rise, well, that tends to fade. So we kind of ... forget that for a time there, dozens and dozens of acts copied, mimicked, “were inspired by” the Beatles, and not all of them were especially scrupulous about the consumer understanding whether their LPs were really from the Beatles or really from ... BJ Brock and the Sultans, or the Manchesters or The Original or the Blue Beats or on and on. Actually I think these albums were mostly directed at the teens’ parents who wouldn’t have the ability to remember just what moptop band young Gidget kept babbling about at the breakfast table this morning. You can just envision the heated conversation a day later: “Daaaaaaaaaaad, this isn’t the right one! I wanted the Beatles!!” “How was I supposed to know!? It says ‘Beatlemania’ right there!”

I ran across this video several years ago, and it never fails to amuse and inform. In keeping with the mock-academic trappings of the informal “Adult Education” lecture series held at Park Slope’s Union Hall, its title is “Yeah Yeah ... Uh, No: Exploring the Audiovisual Phenomenon of Beatles-Lookalike Long-Playing Albums,” but it’s really a vastly entertaining slide show, a comprehensive look at the year or two in which the marketplace saw a glut of albums masquerading as Beatles product. Few people know this terrain better than WFMU DJ Gaylord Fields, and it’s a pleasure to behold his geeky wonder (and corny jokes) at the naked greed and deception on display here. Misleading text and pictures, outright lies, all in the name of conning people into thinking that some band’s bassist just might be George Harrison if you squinted just so. It’s a parable for our times, a parable ... of America.
 
The Bearcuts
 
Really this is a lesson about capitalism first and foremost. You can’t have a mass phenomenon without a mass market, and, as Fields rightly emphasizes, the real start of the story isn’t so much the Beatles themselves but rather the reaction of countless record executives waking up the morning after the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show determined to sell a Beatles album come hell or high water, whether the Beatles were involved or not. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and popularity inspires copycats.
 
The Beatle Buddies
 
Beatlerama
 


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Kinks vs. The Beatles: Ray Davies thought ‘Revolver’ was garbage
10.20.2013
01:18 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
Ray Davies

skinkseltaeb.jpg
 
In the August 1966, The Kinks’ Ray Davies reviewed The Beatles’ latest album, Revolver, for Disc and Music Echo Magazine. He didn’t like it. In fact he thought it was garbage, or “rubbish” as we Brits say, and that was even after listening to each track three or four times.

BEATLES and Brian Epstein were so delighted with “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine”, two of the tracks on the new “Revolver” LP out next Friday (August 5), that they’re also being issued a single for the same date.

But if that celebrated songwriter Ray Davies is a reliable judge, the Beatles have made a big mistake. Ray thinks Miss Rigby was definitely dedicated to John and Paul’s music teacher back in primary school; while “Submarine” should sink into a dustbin. “It’s a load of rubbish, really”, remarks Ray.

Disc and Music Echo decided to turn over the task of reviewing the Revolver album - and the Kink certainly spoke his mind.

Here’s the album, track by track, with Ray’s inter-round summaries:

Side One:

“Taxman” - “It sounds like a cross between the Who and Batman. It’s a bit limited, but the Beatles get over this by the sexy double-tracking. It’s surprising how sexy double-tracking makes a voice sound.”

“Eleanor Rigby” - “I bought a Haydn LP the other day and this sounds just like it. It’s all sort of quartet stuff and it sounds like they’re out to please music teachers in primary schools. I can imagine John saying: ‘I’m going to write this for my old schoolmistress’. Still it’s very commercial.”

“I’m Only Sleeping” - “It’s a most beautiful song, much prettier than “Eleanor Rigby”. A jolly old thing, really, and definitely the best track on the album.

“Love You Too” - “George wrote this - he must have quite a big influence on the group now. This sort of song I was doing two years ago - now I’m doing what the Beatles were doing two years ago. It’s not a bad song - it’s well performed which is always true of a Beatles track.”

“Here There and Everywhere” - “This proves that the Beatles have got good memories, because there are a lot of busy chords in it. It’s nice - like one instrument with the voice and the guitar merging. Third best track on the album.”

“Yellow Submarine” - “This is a load of rubbish, really. I take the mickey out of myself on the piano and play stuff like this. I think they know it’s not that good.”

“She Said She Said” - “This song is in to restore confidence in old Beatles sound. That’s all.”

Side Two:

“Good Day Sunshine” - “This’ll be a giant. It doesn’t force itself on you, but it stands out like “I’m Only Sleeping”. This is back to the real old Beatles. I just don’t like the electronic stuff. The Beatles were supposed to be like the boy next door only better.”

“And Your Bird Can Sing” - “Don’t like this. The song’s too predictable. It’s not a Beatles song at all.”

“Dr. Robert” - “It’s good - there’s a 12-bar beat and bits in it that are clever. Not my sort of thing, though.”

“I Want To Tell You” - “This helps the LP through though it’s not up to the Beatles standard.”

“Got To Get You Into My Life” - “Jazz backing - and it just goes to prove that Britain’s jazz musicians can’t swing. Paul’s sings better jazz than the musicians are playing which makes nonsense of people saying jazz and pop are very different. Paul sounds like Little Richard. Really, it’s the most vintage Beatles track on the LP.”

“Tomorrow Never Knows” - “Listen to all those crazy sounds! It’ll be popular in discotheques. I can imagine they had George Martin tied to a totem pole when they did this.”

So, after listening to each track three or four times, the Ray Davies verdict:

“This is the first Beatles LP I’ve really listened to in it’s entirety but I must say there are better songs on Rubber Soul. Still, “I’m Only Sleeping” is a standout. “Good Day Sunshine” is second best and I also like “Here, There and Everywhere.” But I don’t want to be harsh about the others. The balance and recording technique are as good as ever.”

There you have it…
 
seivadyarsknikseltaeb.jpg
 

The Beatles—‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (Take One) Semi-Acappela.
 

The Beatles—‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ Isoalted Guitar Solo—not backwards.
 

The Beatles—‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ Partial backing tape—Isolated Drums and Bass.
 

The Beatles—‘Tomorrow Never Knows’—Tape Loops.
 

The Beatles—‘Tomorrow Never Knows’—Drums and Vocals.
 
H/T ‘The Classic Rockers Network

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
After The Beatles, comedy king Ken Dodd was the second biggest UK act of the 1960s
10.05.2013
10:57 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Beatles
Ken Dodd

ddodnekcimoc.jpg
 
Forget The Beatles. Forget The Mersey Sound. Liverpool’s biggest star during the 1960s was the comedian Ken Dodd. Oh, yes!. So great was Doddy’s fame that his only rival was The Beatles.

Dodd was a box-office smash at clubs and theaters across the country, had hit TV shows (including the brilliant kids series Ken Dodd and The Diddymen, and had a recording career that saw him out-selling most pop bands, achieving nineteen hit singles, with his hit track “Tears” becoming the biggest-selling single in the U.K. for 1965. Indeed, after The Beatles, Dodd is Britain’s biggest-selling pop star for the 1960s.

Ken Dodd was born in the Liverpool district of Knotty Ash in November 1927. He started his career (rather nervously) as a Music Hall comedian in 1954. By the early sixties, Dodd was the biggest comic in the country. With his electric-shock hairstyle, buck teeth and tickling sticks, having Doddy on any bill guaranteed a truly “tattifelarius” evening, which would leave the audience “absolutely discumknockerated.”

In 1964, Dodd had an unprecedented and record-breaking 42-week sell-out season at the London Palladium. It was also during the Swinging Sixties that Doddy earned his place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest ever joke-telling session, where he told 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours (which works out at 7.14 jokes per minute), at a performance in Liverpool.

While The Beatles split, and the pop world went Punk, Disco, Acid and Grunge, Doddy continued his exuberant comic career, with sell-out tours, and long summer seasons at the seaside resort of Blackpool.

Now, incredibly, 86-years-of-age, Doddy still tours with his comedy shows (Happiness Shows), which can still last up to five hours.

In 1976, Ken Dodd gave presenter Michael Barratt a personal tour of his hometown Liverpool for the magazine programme Nationwide. It’s a delightful snapshot of one of the U.K. most loved comedians.
 

 
Bonus clip of Ken Dodd and The Beatles, plus a selection of his record covers, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Famous friends of Mick Jagger thought he should play the lead in ‘A Clockwork Orange’


 
In early 1968, Hollywood producer Si Litvinoff was trying to find a director for Terry Southern’s screenplay adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novella, A Clockwork Orange. He sent the script around to the likes of John Boorman, Roman Polanski, Tinto Brass, Ken Russell, Nicolas Roeg and John Schlesinger with cover letters suggesting that The Beatles were interested in doing the soundtrack and that Mick Jagger or David Hemmings would be good for the lead Droog “Alex,” the role that went to Malcolm McDowell in Stanley Kubrick’s film.

At one point Jagger actually owned the rights to the Burgess novella—he bought them for about $500 at time when Anthony Burgess was apparently flat broke—and then later sold them at a nice profit to Litvinoff.

When the news reached the Stones camp that Hemmings was the favorite for the role, not Mick, Marianne Faithfull, all of The Beatles, Candy director Christian Marquand, artist Peter Blake and several others sent a note to Terry Southern:

DEAR MR SOUTHERN, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DO HEREBY PROTEST WITH EXTREME VEHEMENCE AS WELL AS SHATTERED ILLUSIONS (IN YOU) THE PREFERENCE OF DAVID HEMMINGS ABOVE ****** MICK JAGGER ****** IN THE ROLE OF ALEX IN ‘THE CLOCKWORK ORANGE’...

Read the entire story at Letters of Note.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Roll over, Shakespeare!’ The Beatles take on the Bard, 1964
09.16.2013
11:04 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
The Beatles
William Shakespeare

The Beatles do Shakespeare
 
In 1964 Great Britain celebrated the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare. In 1964 one subject on everybody’s mind was The Beatles, who had become a nationwide sensation the previous year. It was obvious: Why not combine the two?

That’s exactly what happened on a show called Around The Beatles, which seems to have been a variety show with many musical segments. For the Shakespeare bit, the concept was to peform the rude mechanicals’ performance of the “play within a play” about Pyramus and Thisbe from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul plays Bottom/Pyramus, John plays Flute/Thisbe, George plays Starveling/Moonshine, and Ringo plays Snug/the Lion. The show was taped and aired the same week as Shakespeare’s birthday—and, as it happens, his death day (they’re the same: April 23).
 
Mad Magazine makes fun of the Beatles
Mad Magazine uses Shakespeare to twit the Beatles, 1965

The following comes from Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume One, 1957-1965, by John C. Winn:

April 28, 1964

Following days of rehearsal, Around the Beatles (at least, the portions requiring the Beatles’ presence) was apparently filmed in just over an hour this evening.

-snip-

[Then comes] the Beatles’ Shakespearean debut, performing the “play within a play” from act V, scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul and John take the roles of doomed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, hamming up their parts enjoyably. Ringo plays the fierce lion, while George is Moonshine, complete with “lanthorn,” thorn-bush, and dog.

They stick to the general outline of the Bard’s text, altering the dialogue when necessary. ‘Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am/A lion-fell, nor else no lion’s dam; For, if I should as lion come in strife/Into this place, ‘twere pity on my life” becomes “Then know that I, one Ringo the drummer, am; For, if I was really a lion, I wouldn’t be making all the money I am today, would I?” Members of [the backing band] Sounds Incorporated fill in for Theseus, Demetrius, and Hipployta, interrupting the “play” with heckling comments, such as “Roll over, Shakespeare!” and “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Eventually, their constant interruptions ad the scereams of the audience become distracting, but seeing a golden-wigged and deep-voiced John tell Paul “My love thou art, I think” makes it all worhwhile. The “lovers” conclude with “Thus Thisbe ends: Adieu, adieu, adieu,” segueing into “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside.”

 
Paul does a very serviceable job as Pyramus; the same is true of George as “the Moon”—and the atmosphere in the room could hardly be better, with tons of playful, even collegiate call and response between the performers and the audience, who seem to be in a very intimate space. John, as Thisbe, wore a ridiculous blond wig and had blackened out one of his front teeth. Ringo as the lion is simply hilarious.

According to Barry Miles’ The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years, Paul later named his cat Thisbe. The Around The Beatles TV special also marked the first UK television appearance of P.J. Proby.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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