Friday, May 29, 2015

Beatles bits weekly news roundup May 29, 2015

Dave Grohl joined Paul McCartney to sing "I Saw Her Standing There" during Macca's show at London's O2 Arena last week.

Paul also performed his solo tune "Temporary Secretary" for the first time live.

A collection of 24 previously unpublished photos of the Beatles performing in 1963 at the ABC Cinema in Ardwick, England, sold for  £5,200 at auction.


Paul McCartney has reportedly purchased a Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment in New York City for $15.5 million.
While the building is not iconic, the penthouse, with its wraparound balconies, boasts glamorous Central Park views.

It was owned by developer Manny Duell, who made his name buying rental buildings and converting them to co-ops. ­Duell, who died in 1977, created the duplex for his wife, Irene, who lived there until her death last summer at 92.

If the casting director of "Friends" had her way, Paul McCartney might've been Ross' father-in-law.
As you recall, in Season 4, Ross was set to marry Emily Waltham. Everyone (minus a very pregnant Phoebe) flew to London for the wedding and though Ross ended up saying Rachel's name at the altar, he and Emily still got married. Paul McCartney was almost the one trying to extort the Gellers into paying for a wine cellar and a new lawn.
Casting director Leslie Litt tried to convince McCartney to play the role of Emily's father, but the former Beatle turned her down.
"He thanked me for my interest and said how flattered he was, but it was a very busy time for him," Litt said.

The music licensing firm PRS has presented Paul with a special award on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the recording of the Beatles' "Yesterday."
The song is one of the most covered of all time, having been recorded at least 2,200 times, and was voted best song of the 20th century in BBC Radio 2 poll in 1999. 

Paul's iconic Hofner bass guitar evidently flies first class when he travels.
He told The Sun newspaper: "My guy [assistant John Hammel] looks after it like his own child and he won't let anyone take it.
"He is very particular about it - more than I am. Sometimes it gets its own little seat and seatbelt."


You've heard about the Cavern. Here's a rundown of other Liverpool locales that once hosted the Fab Four.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Video: Sir Paul McCartney – In Conversation at LIPA - May 2015

LIPA’s Lead Patron, Sir Paul McCartney, returned to LIPA on Tuesday 26 May to share his unrivalled breadth of experience with students in an hour-long question and answer session.

New book: Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971

Out now.


Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 examines the beginnings of Ono's career, demonstrating her pioneering role in visual art, performance and music during the 1960s and early 1970s. It begins in New York in December 1960, where Ono initiated a performance series with La Monte Young in her Chambers Street loft. Over the course of the decade, Ono earned international recognition, staging "Cut Piece" in Kyoto and Tokyo in 1964, exhibiting at the Indica Gallery in London in 1966, and launching with John Lennon her global "War Is Over!" campaign in 1969. Ono returned to New York in the early 1970s and organized an unsanctioned "one woman show" at MoMA. Over 40 years after Ono's unofficial MoMA debut, the Museum presents its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the artist's work. The accompanying publication features three newly commissioned essays that evaluate the cultural context of Ono's early years, and five sections reflecting her geographic locations during this period and the corresponding evolution of her artistic practice. Each chapter includes an introduction by a guest scholar, artwork descriptions, primary documents culled from newspapers, magazines and journals, and a selection by the artist of her texts and drawings.

Born in Tokyo in 1933, Yoko Ono moved to New York in the mid-1950s and became a critical link between the American and Japanese avant-gardes. Ono's groundbreaking work greatly influenced the international development of Conceptual art, performance art and experimental film and music. In celebration of Ono's eightieth birthday in 2013, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt organized a major traveling retrospective.

Remembering the Beatles in Birmingham

On the occasion of Paul McCartney's performance in there this week, the Birmingham Mail has posted a gallery of photos depicting the Beatles' various visits to the city during the 1960s.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New book: The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help!

Out Sept. 8, 2015. Details:

An extraordinary collection of unseen photographs of the Beatles during the making of Help!. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ second motion picture, Help!, this almost entirely unpublished collection of photographs marks a pivotal turning point in the band’s history, as they evolved from much-loved musicians into the most important group of all time.

The Beatles’ first movie filmed in color, Help! is a madcap adventure featuring cinematography and film sequences widely considered to be hugely influential to the modern performance-style music videos of today. Specialist set photographer Emilio Lari was invited by director Richard Lester to shoot stills of the production at Twickenham Studios and document behind-the-scenes larking about as the band relaxed in their hotel between takes. With an introduction by Lester and intimate, never-before-seen images, The Beatles: Help! provides new and fascinating insights into the band that changed the history of music and the world.

Beatles scuttled plan to record at Stax, Harrison letter reveals

A George Harrison letter now up for auction reveals the Beatles hoped to record at Stax Records in Memphis in the mid-1960s but abandoned the plan due to money issues.

Harrison wrote the letter to Atlanta deejay Paul Drew in May 1966 during the midst of the group's recording sessions for the Revolver album.

The Beatles were big fans of the Stax soul sound made famous by Booker T. and the MGs, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and other stars, but apparently business issues got in the way of them recording at the famed studio:
"We would all like it a lot," Harrison wrote, "but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles,' and so it fell through!"
Here's the letter:


Sunday, May 24, 2015

50 years ago: Merv Griffin interviews John Lennon at the Cannes Film Festival

On May 24, 1965, American TV show host interviewed John Lennon at Cannes, who was attended the film festival along with director Dick Lester, whose "The Knack" was being presented. Lester also directed "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!"

The complete video apparently isn't on YouTube, but here's audio presented with photos of John with Griffin.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Beatle bits: Weekly news roundup May 22, 2015

You can get "Stawberry Fields Forever" and "Yellow Submarine" in the cafe at the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool.


Simon Cowell will co-produce a film based on well-regarded graphic novel based on the life of Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

50 years ago: The Beatles (almost) meet Doctor Who

On May 22, 1965, the Beatles - via a short video clip - appeared on an episode of "Doctor Who." It could've been a lot more, but it's still pretty cool.

Read my article about this historical near-meeting right now on Something Else Reviews!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Two videos about John Lennon's artworks

These recently turned up on YouTube:

George Harrison's Maton guitar sells for $485,000

A guitar briefly used by George Harrison in 1963 while his beloved Gretsch Country Gentleman was being repaired has sold at auction for $485,000.

According to the auction house:
The Maton Mastersound MS500 electric guitar was used by Harrison in the summer of 1963 while he had it on loan from Barratts music store.

According to Andy Babiuk, Harrison's Country Gent was experiencing problems and brought to Barratts in Manchester to be repaired.

The Maton was given to Neil Aspinall for Harrison to use while repairs were made. The Country Gent was returned the same day, but Harrison retained the Maton and played it in concert at Margate (July 8-13), in Liverpool (August 2), at a photocall at the Cavern (August 3) and when the Beatles played Guernsey, Channel Islands (August 6-10).

The Maton was returned to Barratts and was purchased by Roy Barber, guitarist with Dave Berry and the Cruisers. Barber was told that the guitar was the Maton used by Harrison. Barber used the guitar for several years until he retired it to storage where it stayed for 20 years until 2002, when Barber's widow auctioned the guitar at Sotheby's.

The Australian solid-body guitar has a flame maple natural finish top, dark sides, a sunburst back, mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays, two pickups, a three-way pickup selector switch, two volume knobs and two-tone knobs with an input jack mounted on a black pickguard, fitted with a Bigsby vibrato and Bigsby bridge.

Lost cache of 1965 Beatles' photos re-discovered

Photos of the Beatles taken in December 1965 by Britain's TV Times magazine have resurfacted.

The images were shot at Granada film studios during the taping of "The Music of Lennon and McCartney" TV special. Eleven rolls of film were shot, but only one image was published at the time.

Here's a look at some of the photos. More here.

Artifact: Uncut Beatles "Help!" movie pressbook

Via Heritage Auctions:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Update of Turner's "A Hard Day's Write" to include full lyrics

Author Steve Turner's excellent "A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song" will be out in a new format, and under a new name, this fall.

Out Oct. 8, "The Complete Beatles Songs" will include Turner's behind-the-song details, along the lyrics of each piece.

Details from Amazon:

Who was "just seventeen" and made Paul's heart go "boom"? Who was "Lady Madonna"? Was there really an Eleanor Rigby? What inspired "Happiness is a Warm Gun"? Why was Paul the "walrus" and what inspired the lyrics to Ringo's "Octopus's Garden"? In The Complete Beatles Songs, Steve Turner shatters many well-worn myths and adds a new dimension to the Fab Four's rich legacy by investigating the events immortalized in The Beatles' music and now occupying a special niche in popular culture's collective imagination. This beautifully packaged 2015 edition has been fully revised and updated with a complete set of printed lyrics to accompany each song, used with exclusive permission from the band's music publishers, and includes new information on many songs.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Beatles singles sleeves from around the world featured in new line of official lithographs

From the official Beatles site:
We are proud to announce the launch of The Beatles Single Sleeve Lithograph program, a curated collection of single sleeves from around the world. Commencing on May 11, 2015, we will begin releasing a series of high quality, hand numbered limited edition prints of the bands timeless single sleeves available only at Limited to a worldwide edition size of only 400 per print, each print will measure 20” x 20” with a print area of 16.75” x 16.75”. They will be printed on 100# Royal Sundance Felt Cover - Warm White featuring Hi-Fidelity Offset Litho/Lithography printing technology and feature an official embossed Apple Corps logo and hand numbering. Each print will feature one of the band’s classic single sleeves drawn from the many international versions, some of which have not been seen since their original release in the ’60’s. Each new print will be released to coincide with the original UK release date of that particular single. The inaugural print in the series will be the Japanese version of “The Long and Winding Road”.

Video: Wings performs "London Town"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The vocal stylings of John Lennon's dad, Freddie

A cross post with Pop Culture Safari!

Freddie (also often called Alf) Lennon re-entered his son's life in an unpleasant fashion at the height of Beatlemania in 1964.

If you've read a lot about the Beatles, you've heard the different accounts. In a nutshell, the senior Lennon vanished from John's life when the future Beatle was age 5.

There was a dispute between Alf and John's mother Julia over his custody. It's tangled, but John was living with Julia's sister, Mimi, at the time. Alf made an attempt to take custody and Julia turned up to stop him.

John went back to living with Mimi and didn't see his dad again until he turned up in London looking for him. Alf, a former merchant seaman, was working in a hotel kitchen at the time and a co-worker pointed out he had the same surname, and looked like, one of the Beatles.

Alf either exploited this link, or it was exploited for him (probably a bit of both) and he ended up selling his account to the tabloids and making the 45 rpm single featured below.

John and Alf had a tense relationship that gradually settled, for the most part, into civility as the 1960s went on. John also provided his dad with a regular allowance, which helped prevent him from talking too much to the press, or doing more things like this:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Barry Miles book traces history of Beatles' Zapple label

Zapple was a spoken word off-shoot of the Beatles' Apple Records label, operated by Paul McCartney's friend and biographer Barry Miles. The title is set for release in March 2016.

This is the first full-length illustrated look at the Zapple label—the Beatles’ experimental label and the most ambitious expression of the Beatles’ determination to be leading members of the counterculture movement

Created by Zapple label manager, Barry Miles, the acclaimed author who set up and planned the “list” in cooperation with the Beatles, and written in an engaging “diary” style, this book lets the reader gains unique insights into the lives and working methods of leading literary and counterculture figures of the era—Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, the “City Lights” poets, Ken Weaver, Frank Zappa, and many more.
Included are self-contained feature spreads on topics of particular interest to add background detail, and to introduce a change of pace for the reader—for example, on the Chelsea Hotel and its artistic inhabitants, and a feature summarizing Miles’s relentless traveling schedule.
As the author travels to and from the US and Apple HQ in London, the reader learns about the developing tensions within Apple Corps, the developing sourness between the Beatles over the appointment of Allen Klein as Apple Corps’ Business Manager—and the eventual closure of Zapple, and the breakup of the Beatles. The records issued by Zapple reveal the aims and passions of John Lennon and George Harrison as they begin to forge new identities as solo artists.
Packed with great stories—from the Hell’s Angels’ notorious visit to Apple HQ to the goings-on at New York City’s Chelsea Hotel, which became Miles’s main base when traveling to and from the US—this book also features many previously unpublished photos made by the author, plus memorabilia from the author’s archive, now held at the British Library.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

50 years ago: The Beatles film "I Need You" on Salisbury Plain

On a chilly May 3, 1965, the Beatles convened on Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge to film  a performance of "I Need You" for the "Help!" film. Here's a look.