Saturday, September 27, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Did George Harrison steal credit for "Electronic Sound"?

This week marks the release of George Harrison's Apple Years, a box set collecting all the studio albums he issued on the Beatles' own record label.

Inside are the classic All Things Must Pass and strong Living in the Material World, along with the less beloved Dark Horse and Extra Texture, and two downright oddballs: Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound.

These last two are Harrison's first releases under his own name, but neither is the conventional solo album you might expect. Instead of Harrison singing pop songs, both albums are mainly instrumental.

Wonderwall is the soundtrack to a surreal 1968 film and features a mix of Indian classical music and instrumental rock from Liverpool's Remo Four and various others, including Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr.

George Harrison with Moog synthesizer
Electronic Sound, meanwhile, is two sides of noodling around on the then-groundbreaking Moog synthesizer. Only the most devoted Harrison fan could love it, and few of them do. Mainly because there's the major sticking point of whether it's even George's music at all.

The consensus, years after the fact, is that it's at least half not.

Electronic Sound, from 1969, only has two "tunes" on it, one on each side of the LP. And electronic music pioneer Bernie Krause insists that side 2, "No Time Or Space" is all him, and that it's not a finished composition at all, just a recording of Krause and an associate demonstrating the Moog to Harrison during a recording session for Apple artist Jackie Lomax.

George and Ringo toying with Moog.

In a lawsuit filed after the album's release, Krause claimed this demonstration was recorded without his knowledge and issued without his permission.

Here is how Krause recalls things in his memoir, "Into a Wild Sanctuary: A Life in Music and Natural Sound":
[Harrison] said, "I want to play something for you that I did on synthesizer. Apple will release it in the next few months. It's the first electronic piece that I did with a little help from my cats." He hit the "play" button on the tape recorder.

At first I didn't recognize the material. However, little by little I became increasingly uncomfortable, knowing that I had heard this performance before.

After a few more minutes I realized that the recording was taken from the Lomax demo session I had played for Harrison only a few months earlier. A bit flustered, I finally rallied the courage to say "George, this is my music – the same stuff I played while demonstrating the Moog at the Lomax session in LA. Why is it on this tape and why are you representing it as yours?" "Don't worry," he responded with assurance, "I've edited it and if it sells, I'll send you a couple of quid."

"Wait a minute, George, you never asked me if you could use this material. It belongs to Paul Beaver and me and we need to talk about it." At which point he got red in the face, veins began to stand out along his neck, and he got pissed. Even Beatles don’t like to get caught. Beatles are not used to being told “No.”

"You're coming on like you're Jimi Hendrix," he responded, his voice rising in pitch and volume. "When Ravi Shankar comes to my house, he's humble." Then, as if not to be undone and seeing that I wasn’t impressed with his defense, he screamed his most famous line, "Trust me, I'm a Beatle!"

...The album, "Electronic Music," by George Harrison, was released some months later. But not before I had it recalled and ordered my name taken off the cover. I didn't have the money or juice to sue him.

...Rather then reprinting the album cover, Apple simply had my name silvered over. If you can find one of the old issues of the album, hold it in the right light and you can still faintly see my name – spelled incorrectly, of course. Although I did get credit on the inside jacket, along with his cats, I never did receive a single 'quid.' Also, the son-of-a-bitch never did invite me back to his house so I could show him my "I'm-as-humble-as-Ravi-Shankar" routine that I've been practicing ever since.


The new edition of the album, available separately and in the Apple Years box, provides this credit for side 2: "Recorded in California; with the assistance of Bernie Krause – November 1968."

Harrison reportedly did perform the album's first side, "Under the Mersey Wall," and painted the album's colorful cover, which features the credit "produced by George Harrison."

George with the Electronic Sound LP
For his part, George pretty much disowned the album, dismissing it as "rubbish" and not saying much more about it.

Yet, it's know been reissued a couple of times on CD, now, and is being presented as part of his body of work.

It's unfortunate that Harrison's apparent appropriation of Krause's work has given it such an unpleasant air. Not that it's much fun to listen to, anyway.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autographed chunk of Beatles' "Ed Sullivan" stage set up for auction

A piece of the stage backdrop featured during the Beatles Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show" is up for auction during next month's Fest for Beatles Fans in Los Angeles.

Details:
This 16" x 48" plastic piece of a moveable wall was signed just before the Beatles went onstage for their second set, at the request of a stage hand named Jerry Gort. At the end of the TV season, just before the wall was to be sent to the dump, this piece was cut out and sent to a handicapped Beatles fan named Lofton Sproles. In the mid-80s he sold it to Rodney Cary, the owner of the Southdowns Lounge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the wall was displayed for several years. In 2002 Rodney sold it to a dealer who then sold it to a Los Angeles collector, for whom we are now selling it.
Here's a pic:


Video: Paul Simon performs "Here Comes the Sun"

Continuing "George Harrison Week" on Conan O'Brien's show, here's Paul Simon singing "Here Comes the Sun."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Free Beatles comp on iTunes features solo songs

The official Beatles Twitter feed today linked to "4" - a free iTunes EP featuring a song each from John, Paul, George and Ringo's solo catalogs.

It's a pretty random assortment:
  1. "Love" by John Lennon.
  2. "Call Me Back Again" by Wings.
  3. "Let it Down" by George Harrison.
  4. "Walk With You" by Ringo Starr.
Makes you wonder why.

Video: Beck performs George Harrison's "Wah Wah"

Conan O'Brien is hosting a "George Harrison" week on his show with various folks performing Harrisongs. First up, Beck:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Paul McCartney releases Meat-free Monday song

Here's a lyric video for a new Macca song promoting his Meat-free Monday campaign.

Record engineers answer fan questions about the Beatles mono LPs

The excellent Super Deluxe site has a nice Q&A session with engineers Sean Magee and Steve Berkowitz, who oversaw the new Beatles in Mono vinyl reissues.
4. From Uldis Lavrinovics: Would you please confirm the signal all the way from master tapes to vinyl press form remained analog?
> Steve Berkowitz: “The signal from the original tapes through to the new pressings remained analog throughout – these are completely analog albums.”
> Sean Magee: “Yes.”

Video: Beatles interviewed in NEMS office May 30, 1964

Video: 1966 Beatles concert featuring in German police training film

Video peak of Ringo's Surrey estate - now up for sale

I could live there...

New George Harrison box set $99.99 at Pop Market

There's a fairly good deal on the new George Harrison Apple Years box set at Pop Market today: $99.99, including postage. I've had no problems with Pop Market in the past, so it may be worth a go.

She put eyeliner on the Beatles

Here's a nice story about veteran CBS-TV makup artist Riccie Johnson, who made-up the Beatles for their first "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance.

She still works on "60 Minutes."
"They were quiet," Johnson recalls. "They were anxious. A little nervous, I want to say."

Decades later, Johnson happened to run into Paul McCartney in the halls of CBS. To her surprise, he remembered her. McCartney said to her, "You used pancake makeup and eyeliner, and when we asked you about the eyeliner, you said, 'It'll be fine.'"

The Fab Four seemed unsure of her decision to apply eyeliner, but Johnson knew it was best for a performance on black and white television screens.

"I thought, 'It's black and white. How can we show their features best? Their eyes.'"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Video: Beatles Interview "Move Over,Dad" Nov. 13, 1963

Video: Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers panel on Influence of the Beatles

Background:

It was a half-century ago when the Beatles performed at Convention Hall which was part of the old Civic Center. The date was Wednesday, September 2, 1964. The concert was sponsored by WIBBAGE, Radio 99 and was broadcast live by them. Broadcast Pioneers Hy Lit and Bill Wright was there on behalf of the station.

The station ran a contest during the month before the concert. Several people were selected to meet with the Beatles. One was them was then 11 years old. Her name is Karen Cinelli. She was with us and said a few words. Making introductory remarks was Broadcast Pioneers member Tim Kastner, Digital Media Manager from the Philadelphia Orchestra.It was all about the "Fab Four." The Beatles were in Philadelphia for a WIBG concert fifty years ago this September. That was our topic: The Beatles and their influence, both in music and our culture.

Our MC for the afternoon was Bob Charger, host of "Brunch with the Beatles" heard every Sunday morning on WOGL, 98.1 from 10 am to 12 noon. (Bob also does 7 to 12 midnight daily on WOGL).

Our panel included (in alphabetical order): Frank X. Feller, former WIBG Good Guy & Program Director at WYSP Ryan Fleur, Executive Vice-President of the Philadelphia Orchestra Charlie Gracie, super star rock and roll artist, just back from Europe T. Morgan, veteran rock air personality, currently heard on WMGK Michael Tearson, iconic rock broadcaster, former WMMR Music Director Bill Wright, Sr., legendary WIBG and WPEN air personality extraordinaire


Video: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr promote Sept. 21 Day of Peace

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hunter Davies on his new Beatles lyrics book

Hunter Davies, who penned the only authorized biography of the Beatles way back in 1967, has a new book out collecting, and analyzing, the original manuscripts of Beatles lyrics.

You can read some excerpts from the book in today's Independent.
Help!

Pete Shotton, [John Lennon's] boyhood friend, who in 1965 spent many weekends with John at his home, and later became his PA and worked for Apple, says that the line about “appreciate you being round” referred to him – which could be true, as he rekindled memories of the laughs and pranks and daft times they’d had together as boys.

The manuscript of “Help!”, which John gave me, is in bold, large handwriting, with quite a few changes. “Would appreciate” became “do appreciate”, as it did in the final version. The first line of the verse has been crossed out. It’s hard to read, but it appears to be a first attempt at the next line, “When I was younger”. He has also written the first three lines of the recorded song at the end, as the last three lines of this version.

Eleanor Rigby sculpture created from 1 million pound notes

A Liverpool artist has created a life-size version of Beatles' song character "Eleanor Rigby" from 1 million pound notes.
Leonard J Brown said it was "to show people that money isn't the only way to make you happy".

He said his inspiration was seeing an old lady carrying a large number of bags in Hull, where he now lives.

The sculpture took six months to complete and the process began with the artist first having to negotiate with the Bank of England to get the used notes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Inside story of Beatles "dropped T" logo

Here's a quick look at how Ivor Arbiter, owner of London's Drum City in the 1960s, created the Beatles' famed logo.
“I had a phone call from the shop to say that someone called Brian Epstein was there with a drummer.  Here was this drummer, Ringo, Schmingo, whatever his name was.  At that time I certainly hadn’t heard of The Beatles.  Every band was going to be big in those days!"
Epstein requested that the band’s name appear on the bass drum so Arbiter sketched the “drop-T” logo on a scrap of paper with the capital B and dropped T to emphasize the word ‘beat’.  Drum City was paid £5 for the design and it was hand painted by local sign writer, Eddie Stokes, who painted bass-drum heads for the store during his lunch hour.

Video teaser for reissue of "All Things Must Pass"

Video: Beatles on "Big Night Out"




Video: Paul McCartney performs "Good Night, Tonight"

Beatles mono LP box: How's it selling?

The Wall Street Journal reports 2,300 people have purchased the Beatles in Mono vinyl LP box since it's release Sept. 9. That's not exactly gangbusters, but does indicate interest in this expensive specialty item.

The Journal adds:
The LPs are also being sold individually, leading four Beatles albums to hit the Billboard 200 albums chart this week with sales of more than 2,000 copies each for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the White Album, “Revolver,” and “Rubber Soul.”
...Audiophiles aren’t the only ones who will hear differences between the mono and stereo versions. The mono “Helter Skelter,” for example, is almost a minute shorter than the stereo mix and omits Ringo Starr’s yelp about the blisters on his fingers.

Cynics, of course, will see “The Beatles In Mono” as just another ploy to get fans to re-purchase music that they already own.
To that, Berkowitz says, “No one says you have to buy it.”


Monday, September 15, 2014

Is Preludin the "drug that made the Beatles"?

The St. Louis Riverfront Times takes a fairly thorough look at the tiny diet pill that helped fuel the early Beatles' marathon performances in Hamburg nightclubs.
Officially known as phenmetrazine and sold under the name Predulin, the drug was popular in Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Prellies were especially easy to obtain in Hamburg's red light district, St. Pauli. Sold as a diet pill, prellies became the drug of choice for the Beatles and other bands looking to stay sharp and awake. Tony Sheridan -- whose "My Bonnie" features the Beatles as a backing band, the group's first recording -- helped introduce the Beatles to the drug in 1961, during their second trip to Hamburg. "Here's something to keep you awake," he reportedly told the group.

Old speed freaks wax nostalgic about prellies like they do every drug that's no longer around. It's "said by many old, old, incredibly old school speed freaks that phenmetrazine was a far superior drug to benzedrine or dexedrine," writes a user on drug discussion forum Bluelight (I cleaned up his spelling). A drug that metabolizes into phenmetrazine, phendimetrazine, is still available on the market. As a Schedule III drug, it can be prescribed in the United States -- but it rarely is. As you can tell by the lack of a clever slang nickname for phendimetrazine, it's not very popular on the recreational market.

Video: Beatles press conference Cleveland Sept. 15, 1964

Friday, September 12, 2014

McCartney confirms release of "Hope" from Destiny video game as next single

From Paul's official site:

Taken from the biggest entertainment release of the year ‘Destiny’ - Paul McCartney’s ‘Hope’ is confirmed for release after online leak

He has written countless hit singles, orchestral scores, released electronica albums, film theme songs and changed the world with his music. Listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All Time, Paul McCartney has now added another first to his impressive list. No stranger to being involved with hotly anticipated releases, Paul has now entered a new genre all together.

This week saw the release of the most expensive and highly anticipated video game of all time – Destiny. Ten years in the making Destiny is the biggest entertainment property of 2014. Earlier this week fans were queuing through the night to get their first glimpse. Stores across the world opened early in order to meet the demand. Made by Bungie and Activision, the team behind Halo and Call of Duty, Destiny is expected to change the gaming industry. The hype surrounding this release demonstrates how the gaming industry has overtaken Hollywood.

The continuing success of this market and the scale of Destiny is further underlined by the fact Paul McCartney has written the game’s end title theme song 'Hope', as well as working on the soundtrack. Throughout his career Paul has always looked at ways to reach new audiences with his music and has never been afraid to try out new ideas or platforms. This is the first time that Paul has ever written for a computer game and he has likely started yet another trend for the world of popular music. Paul teased fans with a tweet in 2012 confirming that he was working on a project with Bungie but this week following the games release the wait was over for fans when 'Hope' started to appear on the Internet.
Produced by Giles Martin, 'Hope' is as epic as the game itself. Following the positive response and reaction to the leaked track it is confirmed today that the track will get an official release later in the year with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Here's the tune:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Paul McCartney theme from "Destiny" video game

Paul contributed a "theme song" and other music to "Destiny," a video game released this week. The tune reportedly will be released as a single soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New video promotes George Harrison "Electronic Sound" re-release

Diverse roster of stars pays tribute to the "Art of Paul McCartney" on double album

Paul's solo and Beatles music is the focus of a lavish, multi-star tribute package out Nov. 17.

The set will be available on CD, vinyl and in a limited edition box set.

Tracks and performers include:

1. Maybe I’m Amazed - Billy Joel
2. Things We Said Today - Bob Dylan
3. Band On The Run - Heart
4. Junior’s Farm - Steve Miller
5. The Long and Winding Road - Yusuf / Cat Stevens
6. My Love - Harry Connick, Jr.
7. Wanderlust - Brian Wilson
8. Bluebird - Corinne Bailey Rae
9. Yesterday – Willie Nelson
10. Junk – Jeff Lynne
11. When I’m 64 – Barry Gibb
12. Every Night – Jamie Cullum
13. Venus and Mars/ Rock Show – KISS
14. Let Me Roll It – Paul Rodgers
15. Helter Skelter – Roger Daltrey
16. Helen Wheels – Def Leppard
17. Hello Goodbye – The Cure ft James McCartney
18. Live And Let Die – Billy Joel
19. Let It Be – Chrissie Hynde
20. Jet - Robin Zander & Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick
21. Hi Hi Hi - Joe Elliott
22. Letting Go - Heart
23. Hey Jude - Steve Miller
24. Listen To What The Man Said - Owl City
25. Got To Get You Into My Life - Perry Farrell
26. Drive My Car - Dion
27. Lady Madonna - Allen Toussaint
28. Let ‘Em In - Dr. John
29. So Bad - Smokey Robinson
30. No More Lonely Nights - The Airborne Toxic Event
31. Eleanor Rigby - Alice Cooper
32. Come And Get It - Toots Hibbert with Sly & Robbie
33. On The Way - B. B. King
34. Birthday - Sammy Hagar

The limited edition vinyl boxset and deluxe CD boxset features the following eight extra tracks:

1. C Moon - Robert Smith
2. Can’t Buy Me Love - Booker T. Jones
3. P.S. I Love You - Ronnie Spector
4. All My Loving - Darlene Love
5. For No One - Ian McCulloch
6. Put It There - Peter, Bjorn & John
7. Run Devil Run - Wanda Jackson
8. Smile Away - Alice Cooper


Here's the press release:

The Art Of McCartney is a long awaited and very special project celebrating one of the most universally acclaimed songwriters of all time, Sir Paul McCartney. With backing provided by McCartney’s long time band, classic tracks such as Maybe I’m Amazed, My Love, The Long And Winding Road, When I’m 64, Let It Be, Helter Skelter, Eleanor Rigby, Live And Let Die have been recorded by some of the world’s greatest artists.

The calibre of artists showing their respect to Paul’s songwriting genius is truly staggering. Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, The Cure, The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Brian Wilson, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Dr John, Yusuf, Barry Gibb, Jamie Cullum, KISS, Chrissie Hynde, ELO legend Jeff Lynne, and many more have recorded McCartney songs exclusively for this album.

The Art Of McCartney is the brainchild of Los Angeles producer, Beatles and McCartney fanatic, Ralph Sall, who has driven this project from conception to delivery. Sall met and worked alongside Paul in 2003 when they revived a song from the 1971 Ram sessions for a movie soundtrack. Ralph then asked Paul and his publishing company if they would support his making this album to honour him. They came back with Paul’s own blessing and thumbs aloft for the project to go ahead.

Ralph became a man on a mission, first recruiting McCartney’s gifted backing guitarists, Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, keyboard player Paul “Wix” Wickens, plus the larger than life drummer, Abe Laboriel, Jr. They know Paul’s extensive back catalogue intimately and this is the first time they have recorded his songs with anyone else since they first started working together with Paul over 12 years ago.

Ralph then set about approaching the world’s greatest performers to invite them to step forward and make their mark. This has been a labour of love, not only for Ralph but also for the artists who gave their time to be part of it. All have spoken of the importance of McCartney and his songwriting in their own careers and wanted to show their appreciation.

A key strength of The Art Of McCartney is the way these world class artists have got to grips with the sheer range and quality of Paul’s work. From his groundbreaking recordings with The Beatles, through to key moments with Wings and his solo compositions, they are all featured on the album.

Legendary Beach Boy, Brian Wilson, was the first to take up the challenge.
Undoubtedly he set the bar very high with his rendition of Wanderlust from the underrated 1982 album Tug Of War.

There are very few artists whose own work rivals The Beatles. So when producer Ralph Sall approached Bob Dylan to take part, he knew it was ambitious.

Dylan’s choice was Things We Said Today – a track from The Beatles’ soundtrack A Hard Days Night – and audiences will be captivated as he growls his way through his remarkable version.

There are so many great interpretations here but look out for Willie Nelson’s heartfelt Yesterday, Roger Daltrey’s frenzied version of Helter Skelter, B.B. King’s atmospheric On The Way and The Cure’s Hello Goodbye. Also Smokey Robinson who makes his version of So Bad from Paul’s Pipes of Peace album his own, his tender vocals taking the song in a new direction.

All aspects of Paul’s peerless back catalogue have been explored from The Beatles to his experimental early solo work, to Wings and his latter solo output.

Lesser-known hidden classics such as Junk and Every Night are given a fresh outing and interpretation.

The lead off track from the album is The Cure’s take on The Beatles classic ‘Hello Goodbye’ which is the band’s first release in 6 years and also features Sir

Paul’s son James on keyboards. The track is available for download now for those who pre-order The Art Of McCartney.

Whether it is The Cure’s Robert Smith, Corinne Bailey Rae, Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel or KISS, they each bring their own special talent to Paul’s much-loved songs. In so doing, they have created versions that are both new and classic at the same time.

The Art of McCartney is the very definition of the universal appeal and timeless magic of Sir Paul McCartney’s songs and songwriting.

The Art Of McCartney is an audiophile’s dream. It is available in five beautifully packaged formats for the McCartney fan in your life:

The Art Of McCartney is available to pre-order now via The Art of McCartney Online Store, iTunes and Amazon.
 Here's a video of the Cure doing "Hello, Goodbye."


 

Monday, September 8, 2014

London flat rented by Ringo and George up for sale

A Knightsbridge apartment that once housed Ringo Starr and George Harrison is up for sale.
A three-bedroom flat shared by George Harrison and Ringo Starr at the height of Beatlemania is to go on the market for £2.5million.
The musicians moved into the apartment in Knightsbridge in 1964 - the year of their first world tour. The pair - who shared with Harrison's then girlfriend, model Pattie Boyd - also briefly lived in two other flats in the central London apartment building.

...Harrison and Starr moved to the London flat at the recommendation of their manager Brian Epstein, who lived upstairs on the fifth floor from December 1963 until 1965.
Epstein hosted a number of parties in his top-floor flat including a legendary gathering in August 1964, which all four Beatles, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Judy Garland, among others, are believed to have attended. The celebrations spread to the roof of the building where a temporary ballroom - complete with red carpet was set up in a marquee.


Beatles launch site to promote mono box set

The Beatles have launched a new site to promote the release of the band's mono LP box set out this week.

Visit here to learn more to preview tracks and learn more about the release.


Video: Ringo Starr accepts GQ Humanitarian of the Year Award

Friday, September 5, 2014

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Video: Behind-the-scenes jamming on Paul McCartney's "Early Days" video shoot

New promo for George Harrison Apple box teases Wonderwall music

Yellow Submarine animator recalls experiences on film, Beatles toon show

Ron Campbell was 24 when he started working on the Beatles animated TV series, and later worked on the "Yellow Submarine."

He still creates Fab art in the op-art style popularized by the film and in the style of the earlier TV series.

Read an interview from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.
The film's graphic designer Heinz Edelman took inspiration from Milton Glaser, the New York artist who had created the famous psychedelic Bob Dylan poster in 1966.

"It wasn't that unique to me," Mr. Campbell says of the design. "It was certainly unique for a feature film. The look had been around since the mid '50s. Milton Glaser, who designed the 'I Love New York' logo, started doing that look in advertising in the mid- to late-'50s -- the psychedelic look that hippies adopted. And working for Milton Glaser was a young guy coming out of China, an American Peter Max. He adopted the look himself and went off and became a fabulous graphic designer and artist, creating in that look."

Journalist Ivor Davis recalls touring with the Beatles, ghostwriting for George Harrison

The Los Angeles Daily News today has a lengthy feature on former Daily Express journalist Ivor Davis who's published a memoir about his days covering the Beatles.

The Hollywood correspondent for the Express, Davis accompanied the band on its 1964 American tour and ghostwrote a column for the newspaper for George Harrison.

I hope to nab a copy of the book, "The Beatles and Me On Tour," to review, as it looks as if Davis provides some interesting fly-on-the-wall detail, some of which runs counter to accepted history.
As for the famous incident when Bob Dylan met the Beatles in New York and introduced them to marijuana, Davis disputes accounts that it happened during the rock icons’ first meet-and-greet in the city’s Hotel Delmonico. Rather, he says, they were turned on at a much less fancy — and less police-garrisoned — motor inn by the airport the night before the Beatles returned to England.

“That night, a scruffy-looking guy came onto our floor and marched straight into their room,” he says. “We were in the adjoining room; they stuck wet towels in the cracks under the door. When they came out, Ringo was on his knees, absolutely wasted. They said Bob gave him a joint, and instead of doing the procedure, taking two puffs and passing it around, he smoked the whole damn thing! He didn’t know.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ringo calls BS, literally, on terrorists using Beatles nickname

Via the Evening Standard:
Ringo Starr today told of his disgust over British jihadis being given nicknames based on The Beatles.

...“It’s bullshit. What they are doing out there is against everything The Beatles stood for.”
... “If we stood for anything we never stood for that. The four of us absolutely stood for peace and love. But we are not in control.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

New editions of Spencer Leigh's Pete Best and Cavern Club books on the way

Spencer Leigh's books are always worth a look by anyone interested in Beatles history. As a Liverpudlian, he offers a great perspective on the band's hometown and early years.

New editions of two books, just listed on Amazon, explore the legacy of the Cavern Club and the firing of Pete Best as the Beatles' drummer.

Details:

Best of the Beatles: The Sacking of Pete Best
This intriguing book examines the greatest Beatles' mystery, which has caused endless speculation over the years—why was Pete Best sacked just as the Beatles stood on the threshold of stardom? This book is the ultimate response to this question written by a leading expert on the history of the Beatles.
220 pages, out April 7, 2015.

The Cavern Club: The Rise of the Beatles and Merseybeat
From the early days as a jazz club, through the Beatles years and the dramatic openings and closings, every page of this book about the Cavern Club abounds with wit and insight. The author is an acknowledged authority on the Beatles and Sir Paul McCartney has written a foreword.
220 pages, out April 7, 2015.

McCartney: Don't give Scotland back to the Scottish

Paul McCartney is among British celebrities who signed a letter urging Scottish citizens to vote down a referendum that would make the country independent from the United Kingdom.
Addressed to the voters of Scotland, the letter reads: "The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone.

"Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom.

"We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them.

"What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together."

"We are absolutely delighted to be able to have Sir Paul's support for Let's Stay Together, as he is not only a national treasure but somebody who loves Scotland for what it is: a beautiful and inspiring country, and one that we are proud to count as part of the United Kingdom," a post on the Let's Stay Together blog said.

McCartney, who owns a farm in Scotland, co-wrote the hit song "Mull of Kintyre" there in 1977 with his band Wings, formed after the Beatles split.
Others signing include Mick Jagger,  Stephen Hawking, Dame Judi Dench and Simon Cowell.

Book review: Beatleness - How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World

If you grew up in Britain or the United States during the 1960s, the Beatles were part of the fabric of life - their presence and influence inescapable.

And, if you were a fan of the group, this presence and influence was magnified a hundredfold.

First-generation Beatles fans - those who watched the group on "Ed Sullivan" and other TV shows, bought the records as they came out, heard the latest singles on the radio, and watched the Beatles' films in their local movie theaters - developed a deeply intimate relationship with the band.

The four Beatles were like big brothers they never had, or teasing young uncles. As the 1960s wore on, for some fans, the Beatles were teachers and spiritual leaders, more influential than parents, schoolteachers or pastors.

American sociologist Candy Leonard, herself a first-generation fan, calls this state of envelopment in all things Fab "Beatleness."

Her book of the same name captures a time when,  as one fan she interviews puts it, "you brushed your teeth, you went to the bathroom, you went to school, you listened to the Beatles."

Leonard uses interviews with hundreds of first-generation fans - by her definition, those born between 1945 and 1961 - to describe what it was like growing up during the 1960s with the Beatles as a big part of your life. Thankfully, though, it's not just page after page of fond nostalgia and fawning.

Leonard explores aspects of Beatles fandom that are often overlooked. She understands that fans had (and still have) a relationship with the group. And relationships aren't always rosy.

After the warm glow of early Beatlemania, "Ed Sullivan," and "A Hard Day's Night," the Beatles started the change and mature. From Rubber Soul on, the music became more varied and challenging, the lyrics more serious and cryptic. Some younger fans decided they'd rather listen to the Monkees. With Sgt. Pepper and, particularly, the "White Album," the Beatles, in the eyes of some of their followers, started to get "weird" and "dark."

The band's public acknowledgements of drug use, their political and social stances, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's antics, including posing nude on the cover of their Two Virgin LP, put some fans off and left them missing the days when the Beatles seemed innocent and embraced pure fun.

Leonard makes it clear that being a fan didn't necessarily mean you liked everything the group did. This point is sometimes easy to forget from our vantage point of 50 years later, when we tend to look back on it all fondly, even L.S.D. and Yoko's screams, and forget how the Beatles frequently alienated and disappointed segments of their audience.

The book even mentions how many fans were disappointed by the U.S. soundtrack albums of "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" because they were half full of "boring" orchestral music.

Other fans, of course, surfed along with all the Beatles changes, which seemed to reflect the transitions they also were going through. The Beatles taught these kids to challenge assumptions and question authority, and inspired them to live more authentically individual lives.

It's interesting to hear the stories of fans who made career choices, became politically active and were otherwise influenced and inspired by the Beatles' music and actions.

Leonard describes all the Beatles activities and changes against a backdrop of Sixties touchstones -- JFK, Civil Rights, Vietnam, hippies, the moon landing, Woodstock and Women's Lib -- and, on occasion the book can take on the tone of an historical survey.

Leonard doesn't dig deeply into the significance of any of these trends or events, and sometimes stretches to link the Beatles to them. But the quotes from fans provide a human perspective to it all and liven things up when the narrative threatens to get dull.

The writing is nice and clear, and Leonard packs a lot of detail and history into under 300 pages. On a few occasions, however, she summarizes a bit too much, which can leave those not intimately familiar with Beatles' history in the dark.

For example, she references the "Paul is Dead" rumors and the "clue" provided by the VW Beetle on the cover of Abbey Road. But she doesn't tell us why the VW was viewed as a clue. (ANSWER: the car's license plate reads "28-IF," Paul's age if he were still alive.)

She also mentions, late in the book, the Beatles having made statements about segregation. But she doesn't tell use what these comments were or in what context they were made.

Leonard also doesn't delve into why some kids became "fans" while others were just as happy listening to the Herman's Hermits or the Rolling Stones.

Nearly anyone who listened to pop music in the 1960s liked the Beatles to some degree. But what's the dividing line between "fandom" and casual appreciation? The question likely has the makings or a longer, and maybe separate, book. But it seems at least worth touching on.

It should also be noted that the book's focus is squarely on the United States. Readers curious about how Beatles fandom played out in Britain or elsewhere will need to read another book.

Still, the book explores a vital, yet overlooked aspect of the Beatles' phenomenon, and the many quotes from fans provide invaluable perspective on the band's impact on U.S. teens during the Sixties.

First-generation fans, of course, will eat it up. The pictures included of fans unwrapping Beatles LPs at Christmas, dressing up as the group, and going to Beatles concerts evoke the times and their giddy spirit.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Beatles book from George Harrison's sister

Louise Harrison, brother of George, has published a new book about her relationship with the Beatles, including her efforts - as an expat Brit living in Illinois - to help secure radio airplay her brother's group when they were still unknown in the U.S.

Details:

As a record 73 million viewers watched the Beatles American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show a half-century ago, the audience was largely unaware of the behind-the scenes efforts in the preceding weeks and months that made the historic Feb. 9, 1964 performance a reality.

Those efforts were spearheaded by Louise Harrison—sister of guitarist George Harrison—from her home in a small town in southern Illinois. In My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles  Louise describes her tireless efforts to help promote the Beatles—who were already household names in England—and their records on this side of the Atlantic.

My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles is the never-before-told story of the author’s crucial behind-the-scenes work as an American resident to guide Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin and assist them in the effort to spread Beatlemania from Britain to the U.S. In the book, Louise Harrison describes and documents her efforts to establish nationwide contacts and help Epstein secure distribution agreements with Capitol Records and assist him in securing a meeting with CBS’s Ed Sullivan.

The book also describes her experiences in traveling with the Beatles on their first American tours in the summer of ’64, ’65 and ’66, including many untold episodes of the ever-present hysteria faced by brother George and band mates Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr and how they coped with Beatlemania.

In My Kid Brother’s Band a.k.a. The Beatles, Louise tells of the Harrisons’ Liverpool home becoming a regular hangout for the group, and how her parents provided a nurturing environment for George and the other Beatles.

The family principles, Louise says, helped to guide Harrison and the band through their unprecedented success during the ‘60s and through George’s solo career. “It’s important for you to know more about our parents and our upbringing, ”writes Louise, “so you can better understand how (George) became the man you love and admire.”

The book contains dozens of photos of George and the Beatles, as well as images of correspondence documenting her communication with Epstein and with radio and recording industry executives as she worked to give the group exposure in the months leading up to the landmark Sullivan appearance.
You can order the book from publisher Acclaim Press here.

Teaser video: George Harrison Apple Years box


Details on George Harrison Apple Years set and remastered LPs

Amazon is now listing the George Harrison Apple Years box set, along with the individual remasters of all the albums included in the box. All are set for release Sept. 23.

Below are details from Amazon, including track listings. Note, there is no info yet provided for Dark Horse. You can click the links to pre-order any of the releases.


The Apple Years

In November 1968, George Harrison released 'Wonderwall Music'. A soundtrack to an art film called 'Wonderwall' this predominantly Indian music collection was the first solo album to be released by a Beatle and also the first album on the newly formed Apple Records. George would continue to release albums on Apple (and EMI) through to 1975's soul-influenced 'Extra Texture (Read All About It)' touching on experimentalism with 'Electronic Sound', the magnificent triple album 'All Things Must Pass', the chart-topping 'Living In The Material World' and the, perhaps, less well-known 'Dark Horse'.

This box brings all these eclectic albums together in one set that mirrors 2004's 'Dark Horse Years' box set and will contain a perfect bound book with a DVD. All albums have been remastered by Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks and all will be packaged in high-quality card packs and all albums, apart from 'All Things Must Pass' and 'Living In The Material World' contain newly written notes by Kevin Howlett.

The DVD contains a brand new, never before seen video which has been painstakingly overseen by Olivia Harrison and all packages contain new photos many never seen before.


Wonderwall Music
Released in November 1968, George Harrison's Wonderwall Music was the first solo album released by a member of The Beatles and the first LP to be released by Apple Records. The soundtrack music for director Joe Massot's debut feature-length film, Wonderwall, the predominantly instrumental album is an intricate, vibrant tapestry of Western rock music and compositions in an Indian classical style. In 1992, George recalled, 'I decided to do it as a mini-anthology of Indian music, because I wanted to help turn the public on to Indian music.' Three bonus tracks have been added to the remastered album: 'In The First Place' by Liverpool group The Remo Four, who played the rock elements of the recording sessions, a previously unreleased alternate take of 'The Inner Light,' and the previously unreleased 'Almost Shankara,' a raga that was not used in the film or for the soundtrack LP. The booklet also includes a new essay of appreciation by the acclaimed musician, producer and composer Nitin Sawney and newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.

Tracks:

1. Microbes
2. Red Lady Too
3. Tabla and Pakavaj
4. In The Park
5. Drilling A Home
6. Guru Vandana
7. Greasy Legs
8. Ski-ing
9. Gat Kirwani
10. Dream Scene
11. Party Seacombe
12. Love Scene
13. Crying
14. Cowboy Music
15. Fantasy Sequins
16. On The Bed
17. Glass Box
18. Wonderwall To Be Here
19. Singing Om
20. In The First Place (By The Remo Four)
21. Almost Shankara
22. The Inner Light (Alternative Take - Instrumental)


Electronic Sound

As a direct result of The Beatles' keen curiosity about experimental music and other avant-garde artistic expression, Apple Records launched its short-lived Zapple subsidiary in February 1969 as a forum for unfettered sonic exploration, or, as announced at the time, 'more freaky sounds.' George's Electronic Sound and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions, both released in May 1969, were Zapple's only releases before it was closed down. Electronic Sound's cover art, painted by George, depicts his Moog IIIP (which was later used on four tracks by The Beatles on their album Abbey Road) with the four modules from which the sound was synthesized. Each side of the Electronic Sound LP featured one exploratory long-form work. However, the American version of the album placed the pieces on opposite sides to the UK record, but with the same titles retained on the labels. Consequently, there has been confusion about which track is which. Research for the out-of-print album's new release revealed that the UK LP was correct with 'Under The Mersey Wall' on Side 1 and 'No Time Or Space' on Side 2. The CD booklet includes new essays by The Chemical Brothers' Tom Rowlands and Dhani Harrison, as well as newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.

Tracks:

 1. Under The Mersey Wall
 2. No Time or Space


All Things Must Pass


All Things Must Pass was released by Apple Records in November 1970. Co-produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, many musicians contributed to the album, including Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Pete Drake, Gary Wright, Klaus Voormann, members of Badfinger, players from Delaney and Bonnie band, and John Barham. The triple-LP topped charts around the world and earned universal acclaim as a rock masterpiece. George became the first Beatle to have a solo number one single in both the UK and America with the album's lead single, My Sweet Lord, which introduced his signature slide guitar playing. George co-wrote the album's opening track, 'I'd Have You Anytime' with his friend Bob Dylan, who also wrote another song on the landmark album, 'If Not For You.' The new package includes the five additional tracks added to the album's 2001 reissue: 'I Live For You' (outtake), 'Beware Of Darkness' (demo), 'Let It Down' (alternative version), 'What Is Life' (backing track), and 'My Sweet Lord (2000).'

Tracks:
Disc 1
1. I'd Have You Anytime
2. My Sweet Lord
3. Wah-Wah
4. Isn't It A Pity (Version One)
5. What Is Life
6. If Not For You
7. Behind That Locked Door
8. Let It Down
9. Run of the Mill
10. I Live For You (Bonus Track)
11. Beware of Darkness (Acoustic Demo)
12. Let It Down (Alternate Version)
13. What Is Life (Backing Track/Alternate Mix)
14. My Sweet Lord (2000)
 Disc 2
1. Beware of Darkness
2. Apple Scruffs
3. Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. Awaiting On You All
5. All Things Must Pass
6. I Dig Love
7. Art of Dying
8. Isn't It A Pity (Version Two)
9. Hear Me Lord
10. It's Johnny's Birthday (Apple Jam)
11. Plug Me In (Apple Jam)
12. I Remember Jeep (Apple Jam)
13. Thanks For The Pepperoni (Apple Jam)
14. Out Of The Blue (Apple Jam)


Living In The Material World

In May 1973 came the release of George's second studio album of new songs, Living In The Material World. He was joined in the studio by several musician friends who had also played on All Things Must Pass and others like Jim Keltner, with whom he had worked during The Concert for Bangladesh concerts in 1971. The album and its lead single, 'Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)' both reached number one in America and on charts around the world. The spiritual nature of Living In The Material World, described by Rolling Stone as 'miraculous in its radiance,' is also reflected in the inclusion of an illustration from the Bhagavad-Gita in the artwork. The new release adds a remix of the single version of 'Bangla Desh,' which has previously been available only on The Best Of George Harrison (1976), as well as two B-sides included on the album's 2006 reissue, 'Deep Blue' and 'Miss O'Dell.'

Tracks:

1. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
2. Sue Me, Sue You Blues
3. The Light That Has Lighted The World
4. Don't Let Me Wait Too Long
5. Who Can See It
6. Living In The Material World
7. The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord)
8. Be Here Now
9. Try Some, Buy Some
10. The Day The World Gets 'Round
11. That Is All
12. Deep Blue
13. Miss O'Dell
14. Bangla Desh (Single Version) 


Dark Horse 

Released in December 1974, Dark Horse capped a prolific year for George, during which he had established his own Dark Horse record label, built a recording studio in his Friar Park home in England, and completed an ambitious tour of North America.  Throughout the year, Harrison produced albums for several artists while also recording his own. The songs on the LP document both George’s fallibility, in “Simply Shady,” and his spirituality, in “It Is ‘He’ (Jai Sri Krishna).”  Dark Horse reached the top five in America, sounding a high note at the end of Harrison’s rather frenetic year. The new release adds “I Don’t Care Anymore,” a sought after B-side making its CD debut, and a previously unreleased early, acoustic take of “Dark Horse.” The CD booklet includes newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.


Extra Texture

In late 1974, George returned to California to record his next album, the soul-tinged Extra Texture (Read All About It), his final album to be released through Apple Records. Leon Russell played piano on 'Tired Of Midnight Blue,' and for some of the sessions, Harrison was joined by guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, plus Jim Keltner, Paul Stallworth, and David Foster from new band Attitudes, who were later signed by George's newly formed Dark Horse label. Two of the LP's songs date from 1974 sessions for Dark Horse at George's home studio: the soulful love song 'Can't Stop Thinking About You' and the backing track of 'His Name Is 'Legs (Ladies & Gentlemen).' The new release adds 'This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying),' a song Harrison rerecorded in 1992 as a demo for Dave Stewart, who plays electric guitar on it. More than ten years later, the track received overdubs by Ringo Starr on drums, Dhani Harrison on guitar, and vocalist Kara DioGuardi. The CD booklet includes newly written historical notes by Kevin Howlett.

1. You
2. The Answer's At The End
3. This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying)
4. Ooh Baby (You Know That I Love You)
5. World of Stone
6. A Bit More of You
7. Can't Stop Thinking About You
8. Tired of Midnight Blue
9. Grey Cloudy Lies
10. His Name Is 'Legs' (Ladies and Gentlemen)
11. This Guitar Can't Keep From Crying (Platinum Weird Version)