Monday, December 29, 2014

Video: Friar Park - A Pictorial History

Teaser for a new book about the extravagant and eccentric home eventually purchased by George Harrison. I will have a review of it here soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

George Harrison honored with Grammy lifetime achievement award

George Harrison will be honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at a non-televised ceremony Feb. 7.

The Bee Gees, jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter and blues guitarist Buddy Guy also will be awarded.

Video: Paul McCartney interviews excerpts from "The Tonight Show"

Videos snippets from Paul's interview with Jimmy Fallon last night:

Beatles albums on SHM-CD out in Japan - best price

The Beatles catalog is being released in Japan-only on SHM-CD, an audiophile CD format popular in that country.

I have only a couple of SHM-CDs in my collection - Japanese reissues of jazz LPs - and they sound very good and lifelike. I don't know how these Beatles CDs will compare to the versions on conventional CDs. The sound on them is from the 2009 remasters of the Beatles' albums.

While Amazon is listing the limited editing SHM-CDs about around $48 a pop, you can get them via CDJapan for $23.58 each, $31.60 for the "White Album" and "Red" and "Blue" compilations.

I've ordered from CDJapan and they are trustworthy, though shipping is expensive if you want your purchases quick. If you're willing to wait several weeks for the "slow boat," it's much more economical.

Paul and Ringo-signed piano up for benefit auction

A Beatles-themed piano autographed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will be auctioned off in a benefit for Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana.
Starr's signature came relatively easily. Several Habitat representatives drove the piano to Biloxi, MS, where he was performing, and got pictures with him signing and playing the piano. They tried to have McCartney sign it in New Orleans when his tour stopped there, but it did not work out. Instead, they were asked to meet him in Louisville, KY.

Because of trouble with bad gasoline, what should have been a 10-hour drive ended up being a 29-hour fiasco, but the group arrived on time for his sound check.

"Then, about 10 minutes before the sound check was over, [his assistant] came and got us and went and took us where they had unloaded the piano," Crouch said. "And we're just standing there, and then all of a sudden, around the corner came Paul McCartney, and it was like we were 12 again! Luckily, he stopped to talk to some people and we had time to compose ourselves. And he came over and shook our hand; was very, very pleasant, was funny. But both Beatles were very, very nice."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Smokey Robinson fondly recalls George Harrison's tribute to his songrwiting

George Harrison paid tribute to Smokey Robinson with the tune "Pure Smokey" on his 1976 Extra Texture album and the great Motown singer-songwriter has fond memories of it:
“The Beatles were a very unique group, as we all know,” Smokey Robinson tells Hazy Rock.

“I had the pleasure of meeting the Beatles, you know. And George, I had the pleasure of spending more time with him than any of the other guys. I just met the other guys briefly. George, for a time, was living in Los Angeles, and I had the pleasure of being in his company a few times. We got to know each other kind of well.”

“Pure Smokey” was the centerpiece of side two on Harrison’s Thirty Three and 1/3, released 38 years ago this past November.
“Ooh Baby (You Know That I Love You),” from 1975’s Extra Texture, also traced back to Smokey Robinson’s influence. “That was a wonderful, flattering thing for him to feel like that, and to write about it,” Robinson adds, “so that the world could know that he felt like that. It was wonderful to me, and I’m very flattered by that.”

Liverpool parents fight plan to "super-size" John Lennon's school

Parents of students in Liverpool's Dovedale Junior School, once attended by John Lennon, don't like a plan to expand the building to accomodate more students.
They have sent a letter to Mayor Joe Anderson pleading with him to say no to the proposed expansion of the school, saying 210 more children will lead to a traffic nightmare and overcrowding that will be a tipping point for the effectiveness of the school.

...Dovedale Junior School, off Penny Lane, has remained virtually unchanged since the former Beatle was a pupil in the late 1940s and early 1950s, sharing inkwells with George Harrison, Peter Sissons and Jimmy Tarbuck.

Video: Beatles "True Roundup" interview 1964

Video: Paul McCartney "Daily Show" interview

Paul was on the "Daily Show" talking with Jon Stewart last night. He'll be on "Jimmy Fallon" tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame adds Ringo - interview

Rolling Stone interviews Ringo, who's just been announced as a 2015 addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. High time, since his fellow Beatles had all been added individually.

Are you going to perform?Not that I know of. I told Paul that I'm not putting a band together. If he puts a band together, I'll do "With A Little Help From My Friends."

I can't think of a better song for the all-star jam at the end of the night.That part of it I'm leaving to my producer, Paul [laughs].

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas with the Beatles

This is a cross post with our Pop Culture Safari blog:

Christmas was always a big time for Beatles fans. The group released several of its albums during the holiday season, capitalizing on the holiday rush.

In the early 1960s, they also produced an annual Christmas show, a live package including music and skits and performances by other musical artists.

And, foremost, throughout the 1960s, the group released an annual Christmas record for members of its offical Fan Club. These were not musical per se, but included chat, comedy skits and musical noodling around. These were not commercially released elsewhere. In 1970, after the band's breakup, the Fan Club compiled all the previous Christmas records - 1963-69 - and released them on a compilation LP, which also went only to members of the club.

Below are some Christmas images featuring the band.

Hear the Beatles' Christmas Fan Club records

First Beatles Christmas Fan Club record 1963

Christmas greetings from music papers and Beatles Book Monthly

Photos and program from Beatles Christmas Show

Beatles 1964 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1965 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1966 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1967 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1968 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1969 Christmas fan club record

Beatles 1970 compilation album of fan club Christmas records

More Christmas with the Beatles!