Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Video: The Beatles in Brentwood 1964

The Beatles meet the Monkees!

A cross post with our other blog: Pop Culture Safari:

Here's an assortment of photos from occasions when members of the Fab and Pre-Fab Four met up - mostly from the 1960s when both groups were at their height.

When the Beatles started to get a bit weird with drugs, psychedelia and Eastern philosophy in the mid-1960s, the Monkees came along on TV, offering younger kids a "Help!" and "Hard Day's Night" influenced version of a fun and friendly rock'n'roll band to idolize. And they turned out some great music.

Though obviously aware the group originated as a rip-off of their younger selves, the Beatles were publicly friendly and supportive of the band:

“The Monkees are still finding out who they are, and they seem to be improving as performers each time I see them. When they’ve got it all sorted out, they may be the greatest.”- George Harrison. 
“I like their music a lot…and you know, their personalities. I watch their tv show and it is good.”- Paul McCartney. 
“They’re not really just copies of us, now, are they? The Monkees have a fine way of their own, you know?”- Ringo Starr. 
“Monkees? They’ve got their own scene, and I won’t send them down for it. You try a weekly television show and see if you can manage one half as good!”- John Lennon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

50 years ago: Peter Sellers presents Beatles with Grammy Award

The Beatles were still at work filming "Help!" when the 1965 Grammy Awards ceremony was aired on NBC April 28, 1965, so Peter Sellers presented their award via a film clip. The award was for "best performance by a vocal group" for the previous year's "A Hard Day's Night" single.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Artifact: Vintage Apple Records promo crate display

Via Heritage Auctions:

 Apple Records created these crates in 1970 for retail use, as a clever way to promote the label's roster of artists to record buyers. Very few were made, and this is only the second one we've offered. There are colorful Apple Records labels on the ends, evoking actual fruit crates. "APPLE RECORDS LONDON" is embossed on both sides. The crate is in Very Good shape, structurally solid and with some paper loss to the pasted-on label at one end. The case was originally shipped with wooden dividers for Apple artists, which are missing here.

Beatlefan #213!

 I'm proud to have two book reviews in the new issue of Beatlefan out now.

More good stuff:
Sporting a great front cover shot of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr taken by Rob Shanahan and a back-cover Macca shot by Bob Gannon, Beatlefan #213 features Ken Sharp's new interview with The Beatles' drummer in which he talks about such wide-ranging topics as his days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, his evolution as a songwriter, his drumming on "Rain," and recording and writing with members of the All Starr Band. Plus, we hear from Todd Rundgren about writing the title track for "Postcards From Paradise" with Ringo. Also in this issue is Bill King's appraisal of Ringo's new album, Rick Glover's review of the All Starrs in Birmingham, Ala., and a complete wrap-up on Ringo's touring plans and recent media blitz. 

This issue also features Tom Frangione's interview with Gary Wright about his work with George Harrison and Ringo, a full report on Macca's Valentine's Day concert and tour news, Howie Edelson tracing McCartney's creative wanderings in the 1980s, a detailed report on the new Beatles BBC bootleg collection, Bruce Spizer's look back 50 years at the recording and release of "Ticket to Ride," the tale of how a German fan got a box load of autographed items mailed to him by John Lennon in the mid-1970s, and a younger fan's viewpoint on Macca working with Kanye West. Plus, four pages of reviews and all the latest news!

A sample issue costs $8 in the U.S. or $11 abroad. U.S. funds only. If you want the latest issue, be sure to specify #213. For more information, email Send to P.O. Box 33515, Decatur GA 30033. A year's subscription in the U.S. costs $33 for six issues or $37.50 if sent First Class Mail in an envelope. Canadian subscriptions cost $43 per year and for Mexico the cost is $50. International subscriptions to all other countries around the globe are $56 (sent Air Mail) U.S. funds only. CREDIT CARDS AND PAYPAL ACCEPTED ( For credit card orders, you can call 404-713-6432 or e-mail

50 years ago: The Beatles film "Help!" promo film

On April 22, 1965, the Beatles shot a promo clip of the group performing "Help!" It was aired on British TV's "Lucky Stars Anniversary Show" that July and also included in the opening scenes of the "Help!" film. Here's a high-quality snippet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pre-order links for new Lennon vinyl box set and single LPs

These just turned up on Amazon.

 Lennon (8 LP Signature Box Set)

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band


 Some Time In New York City

Mind Games

Walls and Bridges

Rock 'n' Roll

Double Fantasy

Milk and Honey

Paul and Ringo's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame speeches

Here's the text of the speech Paul gave when inducting Ringo into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last weekend:
OK. Ringo Starr was born in Liverpool at a very early age, and he had a hard childhood. Real hard childhood, but he had a beautiful mom, Elsie, and a lovely stepdad Harry. Both of them had real big hearts, beautiful people, and they loved music. So at some point during this difficult childhood, Ringo got a drum. Ringo got a drum! And that was it. He was now a drummer.

Later on he joined a group called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. And we saw these guys when we were out in Hamburg, we were playing out there. And Ringo was like a professional musician. We were just like, slamming around and doing stuff, but he had a beard — that’s professional. He had the suit. Very professional. And he would sit at the bar drinking bourbon and seven. We’d never seen anyone like this. This was like, a grown-up musician.

Anyway, we got friendly with him, and he used to come in late night when we were playing, and he requested a couple of songs, so we got to know him. And one night our drummer then, Pete Best, wasn’t available, so Ringo sat in. And I remember the moment. I mean, Pete was great, and we had a good time with him.

But me, John and George, God bless ’em, were on the front line singing, and now behind us we had this guy we’d never played with before, and I remember the moment when he started to play – I think it was Ray Charles, “What’d I Say,” and most of the drummers couldn’t nail the drum part, it’s a little bit [sings a bit of it]. It was a little difficult to do, but Ringo nailed it. Yeah — Ringo nailed it!

And I remember the moment, standing there and looking at John and then looking at George, and the look on our faces was like, fuck you. What is this? And that was the moment, that was the beginning, really, of the Beatles.

Anyway, then we started this great journey for these four guys from Liverpool who were . . .we just set off on their journey. We did ballrooms and clubs around England, and we got a little work in Europe, and then we eventually came to America. And here we were, we were staying in rooms together. And I wasn’t a sheltered kid, but I just had my mom and dad growing up and my brother. So I was staying in a hotel room with a strange man. This really brought us together.

We lived like in each other’s pockets, virtually. But it was a beautiful thing, a wonderful thing. Eventually we got on The Ed Sullivan Show, and we got really famous. It was just so beautiful. As all the other drummers say, he just is something so special. When he’s playing behind you, you see these other bands, they’re looking around at the drummer, like, is he going to speed up, is he going to slow down? You don’t have to look with Ringo.

It’s a great honor for me to be able to induce him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland tonight!
And here's Ringo's speech:
Thank you. My name is Ringo and I play drums. I want to thank Paul for all the great things he told us. Some of them are true.

You know, it's a great honor to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was doing the press and they're all saying, "Well, why did you wait so long?" It has nothing to do with me. You have to be invited. But anyway, apparently I'm invited and I love it.

I also love that I got lucky that it's actually in Cleveland, and I'll tell you why. When I started playing, I was playing in skiffle bands, sort of house party bands, and we had a guitarist and the first band I was in was really great. I had a snare drum and Roy, the bass player, had a tea-chest bass with a hole in it and strings.

And so we're playing this skiffle music, playing anywhere we could. And then I joined a couple of other bands and I always wanted to play with great players and I kept moving up a little; up to the next band.

Of course, I did end up with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and when I joined them, we were still a bit of a country-folk band, and the guitarists in those days — this is a nice one for all you big-shot guitarists with the big amps — we played the Cavern Club, which was a jazz club in Liverpool. And he brought a radio to plug into so we'd be electric. And we got thrown off. "Get out of here! That's not quite jazz."

Anyway, we started off with a radio; the first amp we had. Things got going a lot better and we ended up playing a lot in Liverpool and around Liverpool. We never really made it anywhere else, but while that was going on, I was working in a factory.

[Responds to Paul McCartney jokingly tapping on his watch] After the things I've sat through tonight. Blah blah blah. I got some stories.

I was working in the factory and playing at night and every Sunday, you know we lived in England, we only had the BBC. There was a small country in Europe called Luxembourg...very small. Population of about six. And for some reason, they had the biggest radio master. And they bought the Alan Freed Rock & Roll show. And for the first time I heard. . .well, I have to backtrack now to '55. . .Bill Haley was my hero. . .he was like the first one. Elvis came in.

But anyway, I'm listening to this guy on a Sunday at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and I hear Little Richard, first time ever. I hear Jerry Lee Lewis. And I heard rock & roll music, because we weren't getting a lot of that stuff in England, and it came from this very small country.

So 4 o'clock every Sunday, Roy and I would go to his house and turn on the radio and Alan Freed would introduce us to so many great rockers. And when I was a teenager, once. . .we played Little Richard, "Shag on Down to the Union Hall." Means nothing to you but to us, it's very meaningful. We couldn't believe we could hear this guy on the radio! Shag on down to the Union Hall! That seems a good place to go!

Also, I came from a port. A lot of sailors came to and from Liverpool, would bring music from New York and all over America. They'd drink all the money; they'd sell all records. Anyway, I started collecting a lot of records, listening to music, and ended up in this rock & roll band.

With Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, we go to Germany, and that's where I met, you know, the Beatles. I met Paul, John (God bless you), George (God bless you).

We came back to Liverpool, and there was a knock on my door. The drummer wasn't well and would I sit in? Sure. Anyway, I was living that life then, I was out of the band, and I didn't have to get up till noon. So, that was good.

So I went and played a lunchtime session with George, John and Paul, and we had a great time. And then I went and showed them some clubs in Liverpool. They're not around now. I'm sort of part of their downfall. And we became friends, we hung out, and then I would go back to Rory and then come back and play with the Beatles because the other drummer couldn't make it.

Then, I got a call. We were playing a holiday in England, three-month gig, couldn't believe how great that was. Like $24 a week. And I got a call from Brian Epstein. . .I got a call to say, this was Wednesday, would I join the Beatles? And I said, "Well, when do you want me to join?" And he said, "Tonight!" And I said, "No, I can't do that. I've got a band here. We've got a job. I'll come Saturday."

Because everybody in Liverpool, we were all playing the same songs so, they picked the drums and he could play. That's when this journey started. It's been an incredible journey for me with these three guys who wrote these songs.

I was talking just the other night. Paul had come in, strummed some song to us, and we played it! We would get it done in an hour and a half. We didn't spend a lot of time. There was a lot of joining. . .the Beatles, you know, they were so big and so famous, but they shared rooms, you know. . .every hotel, when we'd gotten one, or guest houses. But when we'd got to a hotel, we always had two rooms. And it didn't matter who was with who, what would happen is we hung out.

But I'm telling every band in the room, you really have to get to know your other players. And another tip I brought for all bands who are starting out: When you're in a van, and you fart, own up. It'll cause hell if you don't own up because everyone will blame everyone else. Make a pact that you'll own up to it. We did and that's how we get on so well."

I wanna tell ya, it's been a beautiful night, hanging out with a lot of musicians...we're gonna do a few numbers for you next. We gotta follow John Legend and Stevie Wonder for God's sake. Anyway, we're gonna start with a number of. . .1960, I did this number. It was a song sung by the Shirelles and it just took my fancy — and it's called "Boys."

Artifact: Vintage Capitol Records Beatles store display

Via Heritage Auctions:

John Lennon vinyl box out June 8 - video and details

Here's a teaser video and press release for the Lennon boxed vinyl collection out June 8.

John Lennon's eight remastered solo albums are gathered for Lennon, the 8LP boxed collection on heavyweight, 180-gram vinyl with authentically replicated original artwork 

Out on 8th June, Lennon is the first collection of John Lennon's solo albums to be released on vinyl, and the eight LP's will also be available to buy individually from 21st August.

The Music: All eight John Lennon studio albums were remastered in 2010 from the original analogue tapes by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers from Abbey Road Studios in London and Avatar Studios in New York.

Each new Vinyl Master has been cut from the 24-96 HD Digital Masters by Sean Magee at the world renowned Abbey Road Studios.
The LPs are cut on heavyweight 180g audiophile vinyl and manufactured for the world by Optimal Media in Germany.

The Artwork: Each of the LPs within LENNON is an authentic reproduction of its original UK pressing, faithfully replicated to the smallest detail In keeping with the original album artwork:
  • Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner sleeve. Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeves.
  • Walls and Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, an eight-page booklet and inner sleeve.
  • Mind Games, Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey also include faithful reproductions of their original inner sleeves.
All brought together in an exquisite rigid slipcase box.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Artifacts: Beatles US Radio Station Promotional Material, 1964 and 1965

Via Heritage Auctions:
This historically interesting lot includes material from two radio stations and illuminates just how important radio was in connecting the Beatles to their young US fans. There are two items from station WAVZ / New Haven CT dating to February 1964: a mimeographed press release noting the station's activities during the first US visit, and a photocopy of high school newspaper from that month, including a report of how a student met the Beatles (probably at the Plaza Hotel in New York) as an invited representative of WAVZ. A much more glamorous meeting of the group befell a young listener of WRTY / Troy NY - the station sent a contest winner to London where she met the Beatles backstage at their 1964/65 Christmas show held at the Hammersmith Odeon. The station later produced a fantastic photographic archive of the promotion in the form of an oversized 14" x 11", 16-page booklet recounting her trip, entitled "Jill Meets The Beatles".

Paperback of Beatles BBC Archives book out this month

A paperback edition of Kevin Howlett's "The Beatles: The BBC Archives" is list for April 30 release on Amazon.

Here's the blurb:
BBC radio and television played crucial roles during The Beatles' initial breakthrough and subsequent global domination. This book reveals how the relationship between the UK's foremost broadcasting organization and the world's most celebrated pop group developed between 1962 and 1970. This in-depth account of The Beatles' BBC appearances features transcripts of broadcast interviews plus photographs of the group and fascinating documents from the archives. From the unprecedented excitement of Beatlemania to the mature reflection of the last interviews before the group's split, it was all seen and heard on the BBC. You can experience the history of The Beatles the way it really happened.

Journalist Chris Hutchins announces new Beatles book

Chris Hutchins, who reported on the Beatles the New Musical Express during the 1960s, has announced on upcoming book on the band via his Facebook page:
 I became a friend of the Beatles in Hamburg and later travelled with them throughout the world in the heady days of Beatlemania and we spent a lot of time in each other's homes. I set up (and, of course, attended) their meeting with Elvis Presley in 1965. I want to thank all those Beatles fans (you know who you are) who helped jog my memory when it came to writing my new book (May 1) THE BEATLES: Messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo. It features on the cover an interesting postcard John sent me from Genoa on which he had drawn Stuart Sutcliffe into a photograph of the group. I am planning to have this auctioned for charity.
The book is available now via Kindle on Amazon U.S.

Hutchins, who helped organize and was present during the Beatles' meeting with Elvis Presley in 1965, previously published "Elvis Meets the Beatles" in 1994.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Artifacts: Beatles press passes to Plaza Hotel reception Feb. 10, 1964

Via Heritage Auctions:

The day after their historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show saw the Beatles doing numerous interviews and question-and-answer sessions at their New York base of operations, the Plaza Hotel. The activities began at 11 am in the Terrace Room, adjourning to the Baroque Room that afternoon for another round. Later that day, a reception was scheduled in the Baroque Room, and it was here that Capitol Records president Ron Livingston presented them with their first American gold records. This lot includes two passes (printed with numbers 001 and 002) to the reception, as well as an original vintage photo of John from that day.