Friday, September 18, 2015

Interview: Paul McCartney on David Frost At The Phonograph, 1966

Video spotlights auction of Beatles' first contract, other items

Michael Jackson "didn't eat much" during first visit with Macca

In a new BBC 2 interview, Paul McCartney recounts his work on the Pipes of Peace and Tug War -- both soon to be reissued -- and notes that Michael Jackson "didn't eat much" during his first visit with the star.
"He came over to England and he hung out with me and the family," Sir Paul said, "We had him to dinner, he didn't eat much."

 "I said 'Michael come on eat ya supper', but it was always a laugh. It was always a laugh. It was really nice actually because the guy that was with him who was not his minder, not his bodyguard, not his manager - he was just sort of like his companion, an older black guy - Billy - he took me aside and said 'you know this is really good for Michael'. I think it was the family life and Michael could just hang."

Macca launches "microsite" to promote Tug of War and Pipes of Peace reissues

Paul McCartney has launched a new "micro-site" to promote the upcoming reissues of hit Tug of War and Pipes of Peace albums.

The site invites visitor to explore each album, offering up a selection of photos, trivia, streaming tracks and track listings on the all the various configurations of the reissued LPs.

You can see it here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Upcoming book "The Smith Tapes" includes transcripts of George Harrison, John and Yoko interviews

On the heels of a CD release of these interviews: 

The Smith Tapes: Lost Interviews with Rock Stars & Icons 1969-1972
Out Nov. 3, 2015

The 1960s were a period of radical cultural, social, and political upheaval in the United States and around the globe; yet in just three years, between 1969 and 1972, Village Voice "Scenes" columnist, WPLJ FM radio host, and cult figure Howard Smith got to the heart of it all by talking it out—both on and—off the record. As famous as those who passed through the airwaves, Smith encapsulated the end of an era through personal conversations and hard-hitting interviews with Mick Jagger, Frank Zappa, Andy Warhol, Buckminster Fuller, leaders of the feminist movement and the Gay Liberation Front, a NARC agent, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and scores of other iconic and influential personalities, including musicians, artists, filmmakers, actors, writers, politicians, and social activists, from countercultural luminaries to everyday revolutionaries and everyone in between.

The Smith Tapes transcribes, for the first time ever, sixty-one of those recorded sessions, from an archive of more than one hundred fifty reels unearthed after more than forty years. Edited by documentary film writer and director/producer Ezra Bookstein, this book reveals the time capsule that Smith ingeniously captured, and contains raw and unscripted talks that take you right into the midst of a transformative cultural and musical explosion.

Paul pleased about upcoming Beatles video collection

Uncut has a new interview with Paul McCartney, in which he enthuses about the upcoming Beatles 1+ greatest hits and video collection.
“We’ve got all visuals associated with the hits on the album, 1,” he tells us. “All the music videos, and where there isn’t a music video – they’ve made some up! Which is brilliant. They’ve found footage.”

“‘Hey, Bulldog’ is to die for, as my wife would say,” McCartney continues. “It’s great, because there happened to be a camera crew there filming The Beatles at EMI while we were doing ‘Lady Madonna’. They were going to film a little bit of that, but they stayed and we got onto ‘Hey, Bulldog’. It’s great, and it all fits with the record because they filmed the take we used.”
The new set pairs the 2-CD Beatles 1 compilation with high-quality restorations of the promo films the Beatles made in the 1960s along with additional video content. More detail in our earlier post.

Promotor of "Paul is Dead" myth plays bass in Riders in the Sky cowboy group

The Detroit News has a new interview with Fred LaBour, who helped launch the "Paul is Dead" hoax back in the late 1960s.

Back then he was editor of the University of Michigan newspaper. Today he sings and plays bass in cowboy hokum band Riders in the Sky.

From the article:
Driving to Jackson one mid-October afternoon, he tuned into WKNR-FM and heard disc jockey Russ Gibb taking calls from listeners about McCartney’s rumored demise.
The clues were both numerous and, to LaBour, preposterous. So in the context of a review of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” he wrote a long story spread across two pages beneath the headline, “McCartney dead; new evidence brought to life.”
The badge on McCartney’s shoulder on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” LaBour wrote, reads “OPD,” for “officially pronounced dead” — the alleged British version of DOA.
The word “walrus,” he noted, used in a Beatles song title and lyric, is Greek for “corpse."
Never mind that the badge really reads OPP, that “walrus” isn’t Greek for anything, that most of the story is even less credible, and that the first paragraph inelegantly declared McCartney to be “deader than a doornail.”
The multitudes were determined to believe, so that’s what they did. Newspapers began repeating LaBour’s alleged facts, and then so did newscasts and national magazines
Because anything worth forgetting can be found on the Internet, websites still trumpet them. LaBour just shrugs and plucks his double bass.

Ringo recounts first hearing The Band

I don't recall hearing this tidbit before, from a new interview with Ringo on the Relix site:

You mention Levon and Rick. Can you talk a little bit about The Band and what they meant to you?
I remember George and I were in New York, and we found out that Jimi Hendrix was in the same hotel. Then George said, “Eric Clapton’s coming over.” He brought an acetate of [Music from] Big Pink—it wasn’t even a record, and said, “You’ve got to listen to this.” We played it, and we were just blown away. The whole cohesion of The Band—it had such a great feel and a swing to it. And then we went upstairs to see Jimi Hendrix, who was being Jimi, up in his suite.

Researchers locate war grave of George Harrison's grandfather

In Hunter Davies' authorized biography of the Beatles, George Harrison recounts how his grandfather, Henry Harrison, died in the World War I Battle of Mons in France.

However, researchers now claim to have found a grave for Pvt. Harrison at the site of a different, the Battle of Loos. It's believed that Harrison died on the first day of fighting, on Sept. 25, 1915.

The 2,000 men who died in the battle were buried at Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery, north of Lens in the Pas de Calais. Only 218 of those killed are in named graves, including Harrison.

The Beatles hit #1 in America: Ringo's pic in new book captures the moment

Paul McCartney always recounts how, when the Beatles learned "I Want to Hold Your Hand" had hit the top of the American charts, he leaped on roadie Mal Evans' back for a celebratory piggyback ride.

Based on this pic from Ringo's new "Photograph" book, that's true!

Ringo shot the photo in Paris, where the Beatles were performing at the time. Less than a month later, they would be in New York for their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Visit NME to see a few more pics from the book.

Photographer Bob Gruen discusses his iconic John Lennon pics

New video teaser for Macca's Pipes of Peace reissue

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Details! New Beatles "1" audio-video collections

After that mysterious countdown video, the Beatles' official site has posted details about the expected new release: New editions of The Beatles' 1 album with videos of all the songs, including restored versions of the promo films the group made in the 1960s.

Just to keep you confused, there are several different editions and formats available. All are out Nov. 6.

The variations include a:

Straight, 2-CD, remastered/remixed audio version of the album.

DVD collecting the 27 videos.

Blu-ray collecting the videos.

2-CD and DVD set or 2-CD and Blu-ray set.

A deluxe set including the 2-CD audio album, the DVD featuring 27 videos of the songs, plus an added bonus DVD featuring 23 additional videos, plus a 125-page book OR a deluxe set including the 2-CD audio albums and the above to video disks and book, but with the videos on Blu-ray instead of DVD.

Here's the full press release:


All-New Editions of The Beatles 1 Pair Beautifully Restored Promotional Films and Videos with Brand New Stereo and Surround Audio Mixes Beatles 1+ Deluxe Edition Celebrates the Sight & Sound of The Beatles in 50 Films & Videos

London – September 15, 2015 After The Beatles stopped touring, and because traveling around the globe to promote new releases was impossible, the band increasingly made what could be described as “mini movies”.

These pioneering promotional films and videos helped to define the way we have come to watch music, not least because The Beatles approached filming with the same ease and innovative spirit they brought to the recording studio, exploring new creative possibilities with infectious delight.

Showcasing the band’s filmed work to accompany their 27 No.1, U.K. and U.S. singles, The Beatles 1 is newly restored and expanded in multiple configurations for global release on November 6 by Apple Corps Ltd/UMG.

The 27-track CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray pairs beautifully restored videos for each song with new stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS HD surround audio mixes.

The brand new Beatles 1+ celebrates their career in over 200 minutes through 50 promotional films and videos. This includes the 27 No.1s, with the restored videos, along with a second disc of 23 videos, including alternate versions, as well as rarely seen and newly restored films and videos; all include new audio mixes in deluxe CD/2-DVD and CD/2-Blu-ray packages. The 27-track audio CD is also being made available with new stereo mixes.

A 2 LP, 180-gram vinyl package will follow.

The new editions of The Beatles 1 have been made possible following extensive research, and restoration of the original promo films, classic television appearances and other carefully selected videos spanning the band’s history. Apple Corps dug deep into The Beatles’ vaults to select a broad range of films and videos for their rarity, historical significance and quality of performance.

An 18-person team of film and video technicians and restoration artists was assembled by Apple Corps to undertake painstaking frame-by-frame cleaning, colour-grading, digital enhancement and new edits that took months of dedicated, ‘round-the-clock work to accomplish.

The result is a visual rundown of The Beatles’ number one records, as well as the additional tracks on the bonus disc of Beatles 1+ that show the band in previously unseen standards of clarity and quality; many of the films and videos have never before been commercially released, in whole or in part.

Beatles 1 and Beatles 1+ offers the restored films, including 35mm negatives scanned in 4K and digitally restored with new stereo and 5.1 surround audio remixes, produced from the original analogue tapes by the GRAMMY winning team of Giles Martin with Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios.

For four of the videos, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have provided exclusive audio commentary and filmed introductions, respectively.

The 1+ Deluxe Edition, presented in an expanded 124-page illustrated hardcover book includes ‘an appreciation’ of The Beatles’ ground-breaking films and videos by music journalist and author Mark Ellen and extensive, detailed track/video annotation by music historian and author Richard Havers.

“These videos and films are spectacular reminders of the era we lived in. They also rock!” Paul McCartney

“I think it’s really interesting to see the videos we made, some of them incredible and some of them really incredible. How else would we have got to sit on a horse?” Ringo Starr 

Between 1962 and 1970, The Beatles released 27 No.1 hit singles in the U.S. and the U.K.  In 2000, these timeless songs were collected for The Beatles 1, which topped the charts in 35 countries and became that decade’s bestselling album worldwide. 15 years later, 1 is revisited for this entirely new, visually-inspired presentation. It’s The Beatles, as you’ve never seen them before.

  1. Love Me Do
  2. From Me To You
  3. She Loves You
  4. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  5. Can’t Buy Me Love
  6. A Hard Day’s Night
  7. I Feel Fine
  8. Eight Days a Week
  9. Ticket To Ride 
  10. Help!
  11. Yesterday
  12. Day Tripper
  13. We Can Work It Out
  14. Paperback Writer
  15. Yellow Submarine
  16. Eleanor Rigby
  17. Penny Lane
  18. All You Need Is Love
  19. Hello, Goodbye 
  20. Lady Madonna 
  21. Hey Jude 
  22. Get Back 
  23. The Ballad of John and Yoko 
  24. Something
  25. Come Together
  26. Let It Be
  27. The Long and Winding Road 

1. LOVE ME DO Newly edited clip, featuring material from BBC TV’s The Mersey Sound, with performance footage filmed on 27 August 1963 at the Little Theatre, Southport.

2. FROM ME TO YOU A live performance at the 1963 Royal Variety Show, filmed at The Prince Of Wales Theatre, London, on 4 November 1963.

3. SHE LOVES YOU A live performance from the Swedish Television show Drop In, recorded on 30 October 1963 during a short Scandinavian tour.

4. I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND From the Granada TV programme Late Scene Extra filmed on 25 November 1963.

5. CAN’T BUY ME LOVE First broadcast in the TV show Around The Beatles, filmed on 28 April 1964 and broadcast the following month. It features a different audio track to that of hit single, recorded by The Beatles on 19 April 1964.

6. A HARD DAY’S NIGHT Live performance at the Palais des Sports, Paris on 20 June 1965, while on a short European tour.

7. I FEEL FINE Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965. One of ten films shot that day to satisfy global TV demand for broadcast material to accompany The Beatles’ hit records.

8. EIGHT DAYS A WEEK A brand new clip edited from material filmed at the Shea Stadium concert in New York City on 15 August 1965, during which the band performed twelve songs, but ‘Eight Days A Week’ was not among them. The clip says so much about the band’s frenetic lifestyle in 1965, at the height of Beatlemania.

9. TICKET TO RIDE Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965.

10. HELP! The less frequently seen clip of those filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965.

11. YESTERDAY Paul performing on The Ed Sullivan Show, videotaped in New York City on 14 August 1965 and broadcast the following month, the day before the single was released in America.

12. DAY TRIPPER Three versions of this clip were filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965. This is version 2, in which all of the group are wearing polo neck sweaters, except for Paul, who wears a black shirt.

13. WE CAN WORK IT OUT There were three versions of the ‘We Can Work It Out’ video filmed atat Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965. This is version 2 in which all four Beatles are wearing black polo neck sweaters.

14. PAPERBACK WRITER Filmed in 35mm, and in colour, in Chiswick Park, West London, by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

15. YELLOW SUBMARINE This clip is newly created from original Yellow Submarine footage.

16. ELEANOR RIGBY This clip is taken directly from the Yellow Submarine movie.

17. PENNY LANE A ground-breaking clip by Swedish director Peter Goldmann that captures The Beatles in Stratford, London, and at Knole Park in Kent, with additional material shot in Liverpool.

18. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE Filmed in Studio One at Abbey Road, on 25 June 1967, and beamed around the globe as a part of the TV programme Our World. This colourised version was created for The Beatles Anthology TV programme in 1995.

19. HELLO, GOODBYE London’s Saville Theatre was the location for this promo film, shot on 10 November 1967; The Beatles wear their Sgt. Pepper outfits.

20. LADY MADONNA Just prior to leaving for India, The Beatles met up in Studio Three at Abbey Road, on 11 February 1968. They were filmed while recording ‘Hey Bulldog’.

21. HEY JUDE Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 4 September, for broadcast on David Frost’s TV show, Frost On Sunday. The introduction by David Frost is different from that on disc 2.

22. GET BACK The promo clip made available at the time of the original release of the single featured performances from the Apple rooftop synched to the record. This new clip has been rebuilt to replicate the original but with improved picture quality.

23. THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO This original promo clip features outtakes from the Let It Be movie, with other private footage shot in Amsterdam, London, Paris and Vienna.

24. SOMETHING The video features George and Pattie, John and Yoko, Paul and Linda, and Ringo and Maureen. and was filmed at locations in Berkshire, Surrey, and the Mull of Kintyre.

25. COME TOGETHER The clip was created in 2000 by Melon Dezign for the launch of and the original Beatles 1 album.

26. LET IT BE A 1970 promo clip was made available to support the release of the single and it was different to the one featured in the Let It Be movie; this clip has been rebuilt from the original footage.

27. THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD This clip is taken straight from the Let It Be movie.

EXTRAS Paul McCartney audio commentary Penny Lane Hello, Goodbye Hey Jude Ringo Starr filmed introductions Penny Lane Hello, Goodbye Hey Jude Get Back 


1. TWIST AND SHOUT From the Granada Television programme Scene At 6.30, which was videotaped on 14 August 1963.

2. BABY IT’S YOU One of two clips used to promote the single taken from the 1995 Live At The BBC album. The clip is enhanced by the inclusion of unique colour footage of The Beatles filmed outside the BBC’s Paris Studio on Lower Regent Street, London.

3. WORDS OF LOVE When On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 was released in 2013, it included ‘Words Of Love’, a Buddy Holly composition that the band recorded for radio. This new clip is a mix of existing footage and innovative animation.

4. PLEASE PLEASE ME A live performance videotaped on 9 February for The Ed Sullivan Show, which was screened on 23 February 1964.

5. I FEEL FINE Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965, this clip shows The Beatles eating fish and chips during their lunch break.

6. DAY TRIPPER From the TV special The Music Of Lennon & McCartney that first broadcast in mid-December 1965.

7. DAY TRIPPER Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965, with the group wearing their Shea Stadium Jackets with the ‘Nehru’ collars.

8. WE CAN WORK IT OUT Filmed at Twickenham Film Studios on 23 November 1965 – showing The Beatles wearing the Shea Stadium jackets.

9. PAPERBACK WRITER Shot on videotape at Abbey Road, on 19 May 1966, this studio version is prefaced by a short introduction by Ringo. It was broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show in America.

10. RAIN ‘Rain’, the B-side of ‘Paperback Writer’, was filmed in colour at Chiswick House, West London, on 20 May 1966.

11. RAIN This black and white clip is a new edit from several takes of ‘Rain’ videotaped at Abbey Road on 19 May 1966.

12. STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER Directed by Peter Goldmann and with newly restored footage, this was filmed at Knole Park, Kent on 30 and 31 January 1967.

13. WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU/TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS The merging of these two tracks, one from Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the other from Revolver, was created for The Beatles Love show by Cirque du Soleil, which opened in June 2006 in Las Vegas. This video was created to promote the Love album released later that year.

14. A DAY IN THE LIFE Filmed in Studio One at Abbey Road on 10 February 1967, this includes classical musicians, who were asked to wear evening dress, fake noses and funny hats for the recording session.

15. HELLO, GOODBYE This clip is another shot at London’s Saville Theatre on 10 November 1967; The Beatles wear their ‘street clothes’.

16. HELLO, GOODBYE This third version was also shot at London’s Saville Theatre on 10 November 1967; it includes elements from the first two films but with additional footage unique to this edit.

17. HEY BULLDOG The original footage from a 1968 shoot for the ‘Lady Madonna’ promo film was unearthed in the mid-1990s. It was revealed that The Beatles were recording ‘Hey Bulldog’ and is an edit done to promote the reissue of the Yellow Submarine movie in 1999.

18. HEY JUDE This is an edit of the two other takes filmed on 4 September 1968 for the Frost On Sunday TV show. This has a different David Frost intro to the clip on disc 1.

19. REVOLUTION One of two versions, this was shot the same day as ‘Hey Jude’. John’s lead vocal is completely live, as are most of Paul and George’s backing vocals. The instrumentation, including Nicky Hopkins’ electric piano, is from the master tape.

20. GET BACK This clip was assembled in 2003 to support the release of the album Let It Be…Naked and utilises studio footage from the famous Get Back/Let It Be sessions.

21. DON’T LET ME DOWN This was the B-side of ‘Get Back’ and this clip is a composite of two live performances from the Apple rooftop in 1969. It was made available to support the release of Let It Be…Naked in 2003.

22. FREE AS A BIRD The 1995 video is a work of art by director Joe Pytka, who used the concept of a bird’s-eye view to pay homage to many Beatles songs and images.

 23. REAL LOVE Directed by Geoff Wonfor and ex-10cc and leading pop promo-maker Kevin Godley, this video was made in 1996 to support the release of the single. About The Trailer The Blu-ray/DVD The Restoration Pre-Order Restored. Rare. Remixed. The Beatles As You've Never Seen Them Before.

EXTRA Paul McCartney audio commentary Strawberry Fields Forever * alternate version

Video previews for The Beatles No. 1's DVD - remastered Beatles 1 album and restored Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane promo videos

Full track listing coming soon, here is a teaser and a couple of restored 1960s promo films from the Beatles' upcoming No. 1's audio/video Blu-ray set:

Monday, September 14, 2015

New book: "The Beatles and Bubble Gum" looks at fab trading cards of the 1960s

Out now.

Over 2,300 Bubble Gum Card images of The Beatles from 1959 to 1970. Over 20 sets of trading cards with images on the fronts and backs. It even includes many "Bootleg" sets with very rare images. There are even several sets from foreign countries rarely seen in the US. Live "Beatlemania" through these images and invaluable information on the backs; Bios, stats, quotes and thoughts by the "Fab Four". This is a hefty book with over 400 pages IN COLOR! 81/2" x 11". A great "Coffee Table" book or a gift for that fan or fan to be!

Artifacts: Beatles "Let it Be" lobby cards

Via Heritage Auctions.

"White Album #1" and Beatles drum kit among items in upcoming Ringo auction

Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach are auctioning off more than 800 personal items in an upcoming auction.

Pieces in the auction include the Ludwig drum kit Ringo used on many of the Beatles' albums (and which Paul McCartney used on his first solo record) and the very first stamped copy of the Beatles' White Album. When the record was first issued, each copy was individually stamped, like an art print. It turns out Ringo had #1 in his personal collection.
“Beside the dinner services and glasses, I thought I will make it very special… I’m also putting in ‘The White Album No. 1′ which I had in a bank vault for the last 35 years,” and several guitars, including a Gretsch that was a gift from George Harrison and the Lennon Rickenbacker, he said.
Other items include:
  • Starr’s first Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl drum kit used to record some of The Beatles biggest early hits and used by Paul McCartney on his album McCartney.
  • The custom-built Jumbo Silver Sparkle kit used in the “Hello, Goodbye” film from 1967. 
  • The Ludwig Silver Sparkle kit used on Starr’s inaugural Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band tour.
  • A Gibson Les Paul from Marc Bolan. 
  • A Peter Blake “Love Me Do” screen print of The Beatles.
  • A print by David Hockney, and also original artwork by Ringo Starr himself. 
  • The tuxedo worn by Ringo when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of The Beatles.
Here are video highlights from the auction, which will be held Dec. 4 and 5 in Beverly Hills.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beatles teasing ... something ... on YouTube

This showed up on the Beatles' official channel today. The 1 album in a new format? High-def? DVD collection of promo films? "Let it Be"? Ron Howard's live concert documentary? Something else?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ringo shares his old photos - encourages Paul, Olivia and Yoko to do the same

Now that he's published a collection of photos from his Beatles days, Ringo Starr is encouraging Paul McCartney, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono to do the same.

“The other boys had cameras too, so the next plan is I want to get the rest of my pictures, Paul’s pictures, Yoko will have John’s pictures, Olivia George’s ... it would make a great book. I’ll be in a lot more photos.”

Speaking at a photo exhibition promoting his book Photograph, Ringo said:
...he discovered thousands of old negatives in boxes he hadn’t looked in for nearly 30 years. “I had a lot of stuff in storage and we had to move everything and I started finding books of negatives, a lot of them I didn’t know I still had.”

He said he had always been a keen photographer but was a late starter. “Growing up, we didn’t have cameras. I’ve got like six or seven photos from being christened until I was 18. Then I got into the cameras and now there is a lot of photos.”

Starr managed to get pictures of his bandmates looking relaxed and unguarded. “These are shots that no one else could have taken.” he said. “Together, they chart the story of four lads from Liverpool trying to live normal lives amidst the frenzy that surrounded them.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My reviews in the new Beatlefan mag: Ringo bio and the Beatles and JFK

Issue #215 of Beatlefan is out now and includes my review of the new biography "Ringo: A Little Help," by Michael Seth Starr and "From the Shadow of JFK: The Rise of Beatlemania in America" by Adam Krerowicz.

Lots of other good stuff, too, including a detailed look back at the release of "Help!"

Details on subscribing/order are here.

Video: Ringo Starr Japanese soft drink commercial