Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quarrymen banjo up for sale

A banjo played by Liverpool musician during his Quarrymen days alongside John Lennon is up for auction.
The Windsor Whirle Victor Supremus banjo is still very much in its original state. Rod Davis joined the Quarrymen in late 1956.
The banjo was used by Rod at all the group's early gigs and also at the historic Woolton Village Fete concert, 6th July 1957, the day that Paul McCartney was introduced to John Lennon.
The instrument was also played by John Lennon, Rod recalls, "If he broke a string mid-song John would quickly turn to me and he would take my banjo and continue the number. He had no problem with it as it was, of course, tuned to banjo tuning and the chords he had learnt from his mother worked perfectly, better in fact because the banjo had only four strings. It was then my job to replace the string on John's Gallotone as quickly as possible, so that we could swap instruments again before we started the next song. So not only John has played this banjo, but it has also been used by his mother Julia."


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Invade America and Hollywood

Harvey Kubernik is a veteran Los Angeles music writer, a contributor to Variety, Rolling Stone, Goldmine, Record Collector and the Melody Maker, as well as the author of several books about the Hollywood scene.

Over his career, he's interviewed many key figures and, naturally, the influence and impact of the Beatles has regularly come up in the course of  those conversations. In this book, Kubernik has assembled some of those reminiscences in tribute book timed for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America.


The text is largely made up of quotes from a diverse cast of characters ranging from Brian Wilson, Ravi Shankar, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Andrew Loog Oldham to lesser-known scenesters and even fans. Much of the focus is on Los Angeles and the Beatles' impact on and visits to the West Coast.But the Beatles' arrival in New York for the "Ed Sullivan Show"is discussed, along with, interestingly, the band's impact on Canada.

Toronto fan/historian Gary "Pig" Gold discusses how those north of the border heard the Beatles months ahead of the rest of the continent, thanks to the nation's still-close ties to its mother country. "Love Me Do" was aired in December 1962 on a radio program titled "Calling All Britons," while "Please Please Me" hit the Alberta Top 50 in April 1963.

There are interesting nuggets like this scattered throughout the book - along with all the usual talk about what a big deal the Beatles were when they arrived, and their lasting impact.

Kubernik mentions how when he interviewed Dick Clark he found the legendary TV producer's Burbank office decorated with rare Beatles memorabilia, including paintings by the group's original bassist, Stu Sutcliffe. The book recalls how, before the 1960 payola scandal forced him out of the record business, Clark was a partner in Swan Records, which, along with Vee-Jay, distributed the Beatles' music in the U.S. before Capitol got in the game, and he discusses the early, mixed, reaction the band's records received from kids on "American Bandstand."

In another interview, sixties teen Bill Mumy mentions how he missed out on a chance to see the Fabs at the Hollywood Bowl alongside his fellow "Lost in Space" co-star Angela Cartwright. But Kubernik interviews another fan who managed to meet the band in person. In early 1964, 16-year-old Charlene Nowak struck up a correspondence with George Harrison's mother, who arranged for Charlene to meet George and the rest of the band while they were staying in Bel-Air during their first American tour.

Singer and musicologist Ian Whitcomb, who hit the charts in 1965 with "You Turn Me On," offers some interesting observations on Lennon and McCartney's songwriting, suggesting that the duo wasn't the first of a new generation of songwriters, but the last of an older one - one that understood the structure and craft of Tin Pan Alley songwriting, all of which became a lost art as the 60s generation shifted from pop to the self-indulgent blues-based jamming of "rock."

Disk jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, meanwhile, recalls hosting George Harrison during the guitarist's 1967 California visit, including the L.A. shopping trip in which George bought the distinctive heart-shaped sunglasses he was later photographed wearing while visiting hippies in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury.

We also hear from John Densmore, who mentions how he and the other members of the Doors (minus Jim Morrison), were students in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's second-ever Los Angeles course on Transcendental Meditation, held in 1965 - two full years before the Beatles ever got involved in the practice. The Maharishi's first batch of L.A. students reportedly included Clint Eastwood and new age music pioneer Paul Horn.

There's also some good detail on the Beatles' February 1964 Washington, D.C., concert, which was taped and shown later that summer in theaters alongside separately recorded performances by Leslie Gore and the Beach Boys. These screenings, held in more than 100 movie theaters nationwide, don't get discussed much these days. But, at the time, they provided thousands of fans with their second big dose of the Beatles after "Ed Sullivan."

Kubernik misses opportunities to delve into some of the more interesting L.A.-based events regarding the Beatles - their visits with Elvis, the Byrds, Jayne Mansfield and the acid-tripping Peter Fonda, for exampe --and the book can get a bit rambling due to the way it was assembled. However, it takes in some fascinating territory. Nostalgic fans should get a kick out of it, and Beatles-heads will read a few stories they haven't read before.

You can order the book from the publisher, Otherworld Industries, here. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pre-orders up for Wings at the Speed of Sound, Venus and Mars reissues

Good news for U.S. fans, you no longer have to pay $71.99 for an import copy of Paul McCartney's upcoming reissues.

Amazon is now listing the albums at a far more reasonable $19.98 for the double-CD versions. The two-LP sets on vinyl are $34.98 and include a digital download card. And the deluxe box sets, which include books and DVDs, are $79.98. All will be released Sept. 23.

Here's a breakdown of the various formats:

Standard Edition: Starting with a 2-disc (2 CD) Standard Edition, the first CD will feature the original remastered album and the second CD will include bonus audio made up of material including demos and unreleased tracks.

Deluxe Edition: The 3-disc (2CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition will be housed in a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul’s archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD will be comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before.

Vinyl: The albums will also be available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card).

Digital: Digitally Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound will be made available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.

And here are the tracklists:

Venus & Mars
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Venus and Mars              
2. Rock Show                    
3. Love In Song                  
4. You Gave Me The Answer          
5. Magneto and Titanium Man      
6. Letting Go                  
7. Venus and Mars – Reprise          
8. Spirits Of Ancient Egypt          
9. Medicine Jar                  
10. Call Me Back Again              
11. Listen To What The Man Said          
12. Treat Her Gently – Lonely Old People      
13. Crossroads                
CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Junior’s Farm                                    
2. Sally G                                                
3. Walking In The Park With Eloise              
4. Bridge On The River Suite                                              
5. My Carnival                                                         
6. Going To New Orleans (My Carnival)              
7. Hey Diddle [Ernie Winfrey Mix]               
8.  Let’s Love                                       
9. Soily [from One Hand Clapping]                         
10. Baby Face [from One Hand Clapping]                                                    
11. Lunch Box/Odd Sox                       
12. 4th Of July                                     
13. Rock Show [Old Version]       
14. Letting Go [Single Edit]                  
DVD – Bonus Film
1. Recording My Carnival                      
2. Bon Voyageur          
3. Wings At Elstree                              
4. Venus and Mars TV Ad          

At The Speed Of Sound
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Let 'Em In                   
2. The Note You Never Wrote          
3. She’s My Baby                  
4. Beware My Love              
5. Wino Junko                  
6. Silly Love Songs              
7. Cook Of The House              
8. Time To Hide              
9. Must Do Something About It  
10. San Ferry Anne              
11. Warm And Beautiful                          
CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Silly Love Songs [Demo]                  
2. She’s My Baby [Demo]                                    
3. Message To Joe                      
4. Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]          
5. Must Do Something About It [Paul’s Version]          
6. Let ‘Em In [Demo]                                         
7. Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]                           
DVD – Bonus Film
1. Silly Love Songs Music Video                  
2. Wings Over Wembley          
3. Wings In Venice

You can order the albums via these links:


Monday, July 28, 2014

Paul McCartney featured on "Mood Indigo" movie soundtrack

Director Michel Gondrey says Paul McCartney played bass - unbilled - on the the soundtrack of his new film, "Mood Indigo."

The movie, which stars Audrey Tatou of "Amelie" fame, is a fantasy/romantic comedy released in France last year. It's showing in select U.S. and U.K. theaters now.
Gondry: And there is this one thing that no one ever knows, is that Paul McCartney plays on the soundtrack. He plays a bass in the score, in half of the tracks.
Gondry directed the video for Paul's "Dance Tonight" video in 2007.

Track listings for "Wings at the Speed of Sound" and "Venus and Mars" remasters

From Paul's site:

Venus & Mars
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Venus and Mars
2. Rock Show
3. Love In Song
4. You Gave Me The Answer
5. Magneto and Titanium Man
6. Letting Go
7. Venus and Mars – Reprise
8. Spirits Of Ancient Egypt
9. Medicine Jar
10. Call Me Back Again
11. Listen To What The Man Said
12. Treat Her Gently – Lonely Old People
13. Crossroads

CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Junior’s Farm
2. Sally G
3. Walking In The Park With Eloise
4. Bridge On The River Suite
5. My Carnival
6. Going To New Orleans (My Carnival)
7. Hey Diddle [Ernie Winfrey Mix]
8. Let’s Love
9. Soily [from One Hand Clapping]
10. Baby Face [from One Hand Clapping]
11. Lunch Box/Odd Sox
12. 4th Of July
13. Rock Show [Old Version]
14. Letting Go [Single Edit]

DVD – Bonus Film
1. Recording My Carnival
2. Bon Voyageur
3. Wings At Elstree
4. Venus and Mars TV Ad


Wings at the Speed of Sound
CD 1 – Remastered Album
1. Let 'Em In
2. The Note You Never Wrote
3. She’s My Baby
4. Beware My Love
5. Wino Junko
6. Silly Love Songs
7. Cook Of The House
8. Time To Hide
9. Must Do Something About It
10. San Ferry Anne
11. Warm And Beautiful

CD 2 – Bonus Audio
1. Silly Love Songs [Demo]
2. She’s My Baby [Demo]
3. Message To Joe
4. Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]
5. Must Do Something About It [Paul’s Version]
6. Let ‘Em In [Demo]
7. Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]

DVD – Bonus Film
1. Silly Love Songs Music Video
2. Wings Over Wembley
3. Wings In Venice

The GRAMMY Award-winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection Announce next release
Wings to reissue classic albums Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound

Formats to include previously unreleased material
UK Release: 22nd September
US Release: 23rd September


MPL and Concord Music Group confirmed plans today to reissue Wings albums Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound as the next releases in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection on September 22nd (UK), and September 23rd (US), 2014.

Both albums will be available in a variety of physical and digital formats:

Standard Edition: Starting with a 2-disc (2 CD) Standard Edition, the first CD will feature the original remastered album and the second CD will include bonus audio made up of material including demos and unreleased tracks.

Deluxe Edition: The 3-disc (2CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition will be housed in a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul’s archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD will be comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before.

Vinyl: The albums will also be available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card).

Digital: Digitally Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound will be made available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.

Wings are one of the most successful acts the UK has ever produced, achieving no less than 14 US Top 10 hits and 12 Top 10 hits in the UK. Following 1973’s Band on the Run the mid ‘70s were a commercial heyday for Wings. Venus and Mars, the band’s fourth studio album was released in May 1975 ahead of the legendary 'Wings Over The World' tour. Preceded by the US Number One single 'Listen To What The Man Said', Venus and Mars hit the Number One spot in the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic and went on to sell over 4 million copies worldwide to date. At The Speed Of Sound was recorded in the midst of the same tour and released in March 1976. In the US it enjoyed the same chart success as its predecessor. Including the international smash hit single 'Silly Love Songs', the album went on to become Paul’s most successful American chart album spending seven consecutive weeks at Number One. In the UK it charted at Number Two, narrowly missing out on the top spot. Sales to date exceed 3.5 million worldwide.

As with all the Archive Collection, Paul has personally supervised all aspects of the reissues.  The remastering work was done at Abbey Road by the same team who have worked on all the reissues as well as The Beatles’ catalogue.

Since launching the Paul McCartney Archive Collection in 2010 Paul has received two GRAMMY Awards for the releases.  In 2012 he picked up 'Best Historical Album' for Band on the Run and this year Wings over America picked up an award ('Best Boxed or Special Edition Package') on the same night that Paul set a personal best by picking up five awards in just one night. In 2013 RAM was nominated for 'Best Historical Album'.

Other titles released to date in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection are Band on the Run, McCartney, McCartney II, RAM and Wings over America.




Official promo video for McCartney "Venus and Mars" remaster

And here's the other one:

Official promo video for Wings at the Speed of Sound" remaster

Y'know those McCartney remasters I just mentioned?


New McCartney remasters "Venus and Mars" and "Wings at the Speed of Sound" out Sept. 24

UPDATE: CLICK HERE!

Amazon is listing - as imports - the next albums in the Paul McCartney remasters series: Wings at the Speed of Sound and Venus and Mars. No track listings, yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Expect these to be available in a variety of formats, as were the previous albums in the series, including expanded editions and vinyl. Most interesting will be which rarities are included as bonus tracks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Computer model charts musical evolution of the Beatles

Computer scientists have developed an algorithm that correctly accounts for the Beatles' growing musical sophistication, and is able to correctly determine in what order the band recorded its works.
It demonstrates scientifically how the structure of the Beatles music changes progressively from one album to the next.

...It starts with the Beatles' first album, "Please, Please Me", and followed by the subsequent early albums, "With the Beatles", "Beatles for Sale" and "A Hard Day's Night".

"Let It Be" was the last album released by the Beatles, but the algorithm correctly identified those songs as having been recorded earlier than the songs on "Abbey Road".

"People who are not Beatles fans normally can't tell that 'Help' was recorded before 'Rubber Soul', but the algorithm can," Shamir said.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Allen Klein biography coming from music historian Fred Goodman

Author of the well-received music biz history, "The Mansion on the Hill," Fred Goodman is coming out with a biography focused on notorious former Beatles and Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein.

Titled, "Allen Klein: The Man Who Broke Up the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll," the book is listed on Amazon with a release day of June 23, 2015.

Here's a short description:
An account of the heyday of rock & roll through the lens of Allen Klein, the business manager, producer, and gadfly who "broke up the Beatles" and showed the Rolling Stones how to become the pre-eminent dynasty in popular music.

Profiling Beatles archivist Ron Furmanek

WogBlog has an excellent post today detailing the many contributions Beatles fan and official archivist has made to the band's post-breakup projects: From the Rarities compilation, through the First U.S. Visit documentary, Anthology and much more.

Furmanek also helped roundup footage for the great 1974 short film "Braverman's Condensed Beatles." I saw it in a social studies class in school once and was entranced. It's like watching the Anthology series in seven minutes. You really see how much the band changed in seven years.

The Beatles perform "I'm Down" on Blackpool Night Out, 1965

Video: The Beatles at the Liverpool Empire, December 1963

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

George Harrison "Apple Years" reissue project reportedly in the works

Dhani Harrison recently posted this picture on his Facebook site, with the message:



One poster guessed: "The remasters of Dark Horse and Extra Texture?!"

To which, Dhani replied:  "Well Done  ... not only that but it is the test pressing of the whole apple years box set. The first 7 albums. A lot of work.."

Today in irony: Memorial tree planted for George Harrison killed by beetles

A memorial tree planted in Los Angeles in honor of George Harrison has been killed by... beetles.
A new tree will be planted at a date yet to be decided.

A small plaque at the base of the tree read: "In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener."

It also quotes the guitarist and singer-songwriter himself: "For the forests to be green, each tree must be green."

Video: The Beatles perform at the 1965 NME Pollwinners concert

Thursday, July 17, 2014

McCartney discusses forced vacation and "early days" in new Rolling Stone Q&A

Rolling Stone has the first extensive interview with Paul following his recent illness and the cancellation of several tour dates.

Macca says the break was actually a good thing, though he's happy to be back on the road in the U.S. in a slate of shows garnering good reviews.
"People say to me, 'Aw, that must have been terrible for you.' Well, no, actually," the former Beatle, 72, tells Rolling Stone. "No one ever tells me to rest! It was like summer holidays in school or something. I thought, 'Yeah, I can get into that.'" Macca says the break was actually a good thing, though he's happy to be back on the road in the U.S. in a slate of shows garnering good reviews.

McCartney says the time off from the road let him catch up on all kinds of pursuits that his heavy touring schedule might have otherwise made difficult.
"I just took it really easy at home in England," he says. "My son-in-law had a film script – plenty of time to read that. I started jogging a bit. The weather was great, so that was cool. And then I went into my recording studio and did some music that I didn't have to do, some experimental stuff. That was a really nice musical awakening, and it made me feel better."
 There's also some nice discussion of his song "Early Days" and its commentary of Beatles histories:
You just released a music video for your song "Early Days," where the chorus goes, "They can't take it from me if they tried/I lived through those early days." What are you singing about there?

Revisionism. It's about revisionism, really. I know my memory has got chips in it that still can go exactly back to two guys sitting in a room trying to write "I Saw Her Standing There" or "One After 909." I can see that very clearly still, and I can see every minute of John and I writing together, playing together, recording together. I still have very vivid memories of all of that. It's not like it fades. Since John died so tragically, there's been a lot of revisionism, and it's very difficult to go against it, because you can't say, "Well, no, wait a minute, man. I did that." Because then people go, "Oh, yeah, well, that's really nice. That's walking on a dead man's grave." You get a bit sensitive to that, and you just think, "You know what? Forget it. I know what I did. A lot of people know what I did. John knows what I did. Maybe I should just leave it, not worry about it." It took a little while to get to that.

I know that I have every memory still intact, and they don't, as I say in the last verse, 'cause they weren't there. I think you'll find this in most bands, but in the Beatles' case, it's got to be worse than any case. For instance, I was on holiday once, and there was this little girl on the beach, little American kid. She says, "Hi, there. I've just been doing a Beatles appreciation class in school." I said, "Wow, that's great." I think, "I know, I'll be really cool here. I'll tell her a little inside story." So I go on about how something happened, and it was a fun story – and she looks at me, she says, "No, that's not true. We covered that in the Beatles appreciation class." I'm going, "Oh, fuck." There's no way out, man! They're teaching this stuff now.

When Sam Taylor did her film [Nowhere Boy], she brought the script round and we chatted about it. She's a very good friend. And I said, "Well, Sam, that's not really true. John didn't really ride on the top of the double-decker bus." She said, "No, but it's a great scene." I mean, the character of Mimi, John's aunt, I said to her, "She really wasn't how she's written in the script. She's written as a very vitriolic, mean old bitch, and she wasn't at all." She was just some woman who was given charge of the responsibility of bringing up John Lennon, and it was not an easy job, you know? She was trying her best. She was kind of strict, but it was with a twinkle in her eye. I said, "I used to go around there and write with John, and she was okay. You've got to change that." Some of the things she did change, but in the end we agreed that this is not a documentary, this is a film, and so she made inferences that weren't there. Like, this whole idea of the first song we recorded, "In Spite of All the Danger," being John's ode to his mother. That's not true, but in a film, it works better. I remember the session, and I remember all the circumstances around that – and we wrote it together. It did not appear to be an angst-ridden ode. We were copying American stuff that we were listening to. American songs were about danger, that's why we put it in. But, for Sam, it worked much better in the film as an angst-ridden ballad.

To get back to my original point, that's the kind of thing that happens in films, but these books that are written about the meaning of songs, like Revolution in the Head – I read through that. It's a kind of toilet book, a good book to just dip into. And I'll come across, "McCartney wrote that in answer to Lennon's acerbic this," and I go, "Well, that's not true." But it's going down as history. That is already known as a very highly respected tome, and I say, "Yeah, well, okay." This is a fact of my life. These facts are going down as some sort of musical history about the Beatles. There are millions of them, and I know for a fact that a lot of them are incorrect.

McCartney brings 58-year-old guitar out of retirement for new video

Paul McCartney's is shown playing his first-ever guitar, a cheap Zenith 17 acoustic archtop, in his new video for "Early Days," below.

As reported by the Daily Mail, McCartney traded a trumpet for the instrument when he was just 14, and it was his main instrument in the Quarrymen and early days of the Beatles.


More info on the instrument - and other Beatles tools - here. Also check out, if you haven't, the wonderful book, "Beatles Gear," by Andy Babiuk, which features photos and tremendous detail about the various instruments the Fabs used to create their music.

Video: The Beatles perform Everybody's Trying to be My Baby in Paris, 1965

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Video: The Beatles perform I Want To Hold Your Hand on Thank Your Lucky Stars

Video: The Beatles in St Louis 1966

Lost Beatles pics featured in "Hidden Gallery"

Liverpool's Beatles Story museum is displaying a series of 38 photos unseen for nearly 50 years, which were shot by Paul Berriff in 1963-64 when Berriff was a 16-year-old editorial assistant at the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The Beatles Story also is selling prints of the photos in its gift shop.



Ron Howard to direct documentary on Beatles touring years - teaser video

This project - incorporating crowd-sourced vintage footage of the Beatles in concert - was announced quite a while back. Sounds as if it's gathering steam. Here's the official press release from Apple followed by a short video teaser for the project.

Los Angeles, July 16, 2014 – Apple Corps Ltd., White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have announced they will produce a new authorized documentary for Apple, based on the first part of The Beatles’ career -- the touring years. The film will be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard and will be produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. White Horse’s Grammy Award-winning Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci and Academy Award winner and multiple nominee Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment will produce with Howard. Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East will serve as executive producers.

Howard said, "I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964. Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated."

This film will focus on The Beatles’ journey from the early days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool and engagements in Hamburg to their last public concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in 1966.

The Beatles began touring Europe in late 1963, after an extraordinary arrival on the British scene in 1961 and ‘62. However, it was their much-heralded Ed Sullivan appearance on February 9, 1964 that caused The Beatles’ popularity to explode. By June, the band had commenced their first world tour, and continued on a relentless schedule for two subsequent years. By the time the band stopped touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. The cultural phenomenon their touring helped create, known as "Beatlemania," was something the world had never seen before and laid the foundation for the globalization of culture.

Beatlemania was not just a phenomenon. It was the catalyst for a cultural shift that would alter the way people around the world viewed and consumed popular culture. This film will seek to explain what it was about that particular moment in time that allowed this cultural pivot point to occur. It will examine the social and political context of the time, and reveal the unique conditions that caused technology and mass communication to collide. The film will also explore the incomparable electricity between performer and audience that turned the music into a movement – a common experience into something sublime.

Founded in London in 1968, Apple Corps Ltd. represents The Beatles. Under the direction of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, the company administers The Beatles’ business interests, and it also develops new creative projects, making a significant contribution to the staging and safekeeping of The Beatles’ musical and cultural legacies. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde will act as executive producers for Apple Corps.

Over the course of a near 30-year partnership, Howard and Grazer have produced a long list of successful and critically acclaimed films, including Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, A Beautiful Mind – for which Howard won an Academy Award for Best Director and Grazer and Howard won Best Picture – and, most recently, Rush, and music-driven films like 8 Mile. This will be the second documentary for Howard -- the first being 2013's Made in America.

Sinclair’s long association with documentaries has resulted in a string of award-winning films, including Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA, and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, for which Sinclair won a Grammy Award, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, The Last Play At Shea, 1, and both the Academy Award-winning Undefeated and the Grammy Award-winning Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.

Pascucci, Managing Director of Concord Music Group and former head of Warner’s Rhino Entertainment, was an executive producer on George Harrison, and has recently been associated with Eric Clapton’sCrossroads Guitar Festival: 2013 and Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’.

This project was originally brought to Apple Corps by One Voice One World, which has conducted extensive research around the globe, including inviting Beatles fans to send in clips of home movies and photos that they acquired during this extraordinary period. OVOW’s Matthew White, Stuart Samuels, and Bruce Higham will form part of the production team as co-producers.

Acclaimed and award winning editor Paul Crowder will serve as editor. Crowder directed and edited the Grammy-nominated Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, The Last Play at Shea and the Formula One documentary,1. Crowder’s long-time collaborator, Mark Monroe, will serve as writer. In addition to the aforementioned films, Monroe’s credits include Sound City, Chasing Ice, and the Academy Award-winning, The Cove. Marc Ambrose (Bhutto) will serve as supervising producer.

Nicholas Ferrall will be the executive in charge of production for White Horse Pictures, assisted by executives Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann. The Beatles documentary is one of the first projects under Nigel Sinclair’s new White Horse Pictures banner, which he founded in 2014 with long-time business partner Guy East.

Sinclair said, "The way The Beatles burst onto the scene in Britain was an overwhelming social, cultural and musical phenomenon, but was even then eclipsed by that extraordinary explosion on the American scene and then the world. I was lucky enough to see The Beatles perform in Glasgow in 1964, shortly after their Ed Sullivan appearance. It is an honor to work on this project for The Beatles, and to be collaborating again with the extraordinary Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and my good friend Scott Pascucci."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Video: Beatles U.S. interview 1965

Study: Beatles lyrical vocabulary "thin" compared to many pop acts

The Liverpool Echo today features a survey of lyrics by various pop bands - no information as to who did the study or why.

In any event, the results show the Beatles at the extreme low end of the chart when it comes to lyrical verbosity. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing!
The Fab Four used just 688 words in their first three albums compared to 1890 used by Elvis Costello and 1748 by David Bowie.

'Love' really is all they needed though, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney using the word 151 times - the most for any artists in the poll.

The poll showed bands in Wales had the biggest vocabulary, using an average of 1316 different words across their first three albums with The Manic Street Preachers displaying the greatest lyrical prowess by using 2056 unique words, the largest number for any band in the poll.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

BBC radio interview with Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn

With the peerless first volume of his three-part opus, Lewisohn is at work on the most-detailed, most-accurate Beatles bio ever.  Some good stories and details in this 17-minute interview:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Video: Paul McCartney South Bank Show interview 1978

Help! soundtrack composer Ken Thorne dies

Ken Thorne, who wrote the incidental music for the Beatles' 1965 film "Help!" has passed away at age 90.
Thorne won an Oscar for scoring the 1966 musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and earned a Grammy nomination for writing the incidental score to the 1965 Beatles film Help! He went on to receive an Emmy nomination for the 1995 CBS TV movie A Season Of Hope.

Thorne was born in England and lived in West Hills, California. He began playing piano at age five and was a professional musician by 15. His other credits include Superman II, Superman III and The Monkees' comedy Head.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Video: Ringo and friends "Peace Rocks" ad

Ringo and other famous drummers are featured in this video promoting a new campaign that helps raise money for Ringo's Peace and Love Fund.

Info:
 The Ringo Starr Peace & Love Fund was established to support the non-profit David Lynch Foundation which provides Transcendental Meditation to at-risk students in under served schools, women who are survivors of domestic violence, and veterans with post-traumatic stress. The fund was inaugurated on David Lynch's birthday at the Ringo Starr: A Lifetime of Peace & Love concert on January 20, 2014, in Los Angeles, honoring Ringo's tireless commitment to spreading peace and love throughout the world.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mystery "train music" in "A Hard Day's Night" - Ringo doesn't have a clue

The subject of much online debate in Beatles circles over the past week or two has been the identity of the group heard performing over Ringo's transistor radio early on in the "A Hard Day's Night" film.

As you recall, Ringo switches on his radio and starts grooving, much to the annoyance of the uptight establishment gentleman the band ends up sharing a cabin with.

The music is fairly generic, by-the-numbers instrumental rock and it's been debated for years whether it's performed by the Beatles -- making this an otherwise unreleased rarity -- or some other group.

As recounted by Beatles Examiner, Chris Carter, the host of Breakfast with the Beatles radio show, recently aired the full version of the track and is of the mind that it's the Fabs:
“I think it's 'them' for the following reasons: It sounds like them. The tape box said 'The Beatles.' If it was another group, that other group would have claimed it was them sometime in the last 50 years! It was found along with other music not used in the film by George Martin.”
Others aren't so sure. Including, it turns out, Ringo himself. Asked about the song this week, he said:

“I'm afraid I have to help keep it a mystery. I don't remember.”
You can hear the music in the video below, about four minutes in:

New Zealand woman recounts breaking school rules to see the Beatles 50 years ago

Fun story in the Dominion Post, Wellington, New Zealand, in which a woman recounts flouting a school rule that required students to have permission from their headmistress in order to see the Beatles concert in that city 50 years ago.

Then 14-year-old Joanna Leighton Jones was called on the carpet after school officials saw her picture in the newspaper the following day:
"We all liked a different Beatle . . . I was determined I was going to marry Paul McCartney." The Town Hall crowd went absolutely crazy at being in the same room as the musicians. "It was extraordinary. The screaming - it really drowned out any of their music." But then the next day's Evening Post came out - and Leighton Jones noticed familiar faces staring out of her fellow commuters' afternoon papers.

"I was looking down the bus at all these photos of me and the other three.

"All across the back page - which was the equivalent of the front page now - were these dramatic photos of us."

School staff also spotted the pictures - and all four girls were summoned to the headmistress's office. "We were put on the mat for not asking permission."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Offfical "Early Days" video by Paul McCartney


 

“The idea was inspired by the chance meeting in 1957 that would change Paul, John, George, and Ringo's lives forever,” explains L.A. director Vincent Haycock. The proposal Vincent wrote for ‘Early Days’ simply begins, “This film is a poetic homage to the legendary beginnings of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s relationship.”

Shot between L.A., Natchez, Mississippi and Faraday, Louisiana, Vincent spent almost a month in total working on the video.

Paul recorded his parts in L.A. over two days and the story unfolds around an intimate performance with just him and an acoustic guitar. By the end of the video Paul is playing with a group of blues guitarists, including his friend Johnny Depp. Johnny, no stranger to a McCartney video and an accomplished guitar player too, stopped by on the day for a jam.

Video: The Beatles perform "Act Naturally" 1965

Video: Couple gets engaged at 7/5/14 Paul McCartney concert

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Princeton study debunks "10,000-hour rule" supposedly key to Beatles' success

A study by Princeton University shows there no truth to the theory that 10,000-plus hours of on-stage performance was key to the Beatles' taking the world by storm.

The 10,000 hour theory is central to author Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling book, "Outliers," which suggested that thousands of hours of "deliberate practice" can make the practitioner world-class in his or her chosen field.

Gladwell used the example of the Beatles, and all those marathon performances in Hamburg nightclubs, of the rule in action.

But the new study says that's not how it works:
In a meta-analysis of 88 studies on deliberate practice, the researchers found that practice accounted for just a 12% difference in performance in various domains.

What's really surprising is how much it depends on the domain:
• In games, practice made for a 26% difference
• In music, it was a 21% difference
• In sports, an 18% difference
• In education, a 4% difference
• In professions, just a 1% difference
The Business Insider article linked above also notes:
Then there's a band like the Sex Pistols, who took the world by storm even though Sid Vicious could barely play his bass.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Video: Ringo Starr on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" 1972

George Harrison's childhood home for sale

The second home George Harrison lived in while growing up is on the market in Liverpool.

The home at 25 Upton Green was a sometimes Beatles hangout during the early days of the band, reports the Liverpool Echo.
George was born on February 25, 1943 at his family’s previous home on Arnold Grove, a two-up, two-down terrace in Wavertree.

But in 1949 his mum and dad, Harold and Louise, were offered a brand new council house and moved to Speke.

Enquiries have already been made to view the property – but only serious bidders will be allowed to see it.