Friday, September 30, 2016

New video: "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" from Shea Stadium

Newly posted on the Beatles' official YouTube channel, here's the band peforming "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" from the restored Shea Stadium film


Beatles Bits

Winners of an Airbnb contest will have the chance to stay overnight in Abbey Road Studios next month.
After being greeted with Champagne by London-based musician and producer Mark Ronson, who will act as a host, guests will be given a tour and full access to all areas of the studio.
This will include a chance to play on The Beatles’ piano (with cigarette burns that date back to the recordings of "The White Album"), to mix a track on the world’s largest mixing board, and to even record a song with the help of Ronson.


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City leaders in Sacramento, Calif., voted in a resolution observing "Meatless Mondays" in the city in honor of Paul McCartney. Macca is playing the first gig ever at the city's new Golden 1 Center next week.

The meatless measure has no legal weight, however, since it's not an ordinance. But, even so, not everybody is crazy about it
“That would obviously negatively impact my business. I'm in Sacramento, from Sacramento, paying taxes in Sacramento,” Burgers and Brew Owner Derar Zawaydeh said. “Again, with all due respect to Paul McCartney, he's in here doing a concert, and then he's out of here. Whatever he leaves behind, he leaves behind -- and we're here forever.”
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For some reason, Paul McCartney has interviewed One Direction star Harry Styles for a British magazine out soon.

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The highly recommended Something About the Beatles podcast hosted by Richard Buskin and Robert Rodriquez features some great behind-the-scenes detail regarding production the "Eight Days a Week" film via an interview with Beatles film collector, Erik Taros, who served as a consultant on the project.

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Meanwhile, the also highly recommended Things We Said Today podcast features interviews with "Eight Days a Week" producer Nigel Sinclair and editor Paul Crowder.

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Titan Entertainment is expanding its range of Yellow Submarine-inspired products to include 6.5-inch figures of John, Paul, George and Ringo.


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"Images of a Woman," the collaborative paining the Beatles created while cooped up in their Tokyo hotel room while on tour in 1966 has inspired a new fundraising endeavor.

Working to raise money for Children & the Arts and Youth Music in the UK, the Art in the Corner project has engaged Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello and others to create new paintings, which will be sold at auction.

You can learn more and order art prints here. Below is the Beatles' original painting.




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly September 1966


The September issue of the Beatles' official fan magazine appeared following the release of the band's Revolver LP and includes response to the exciting, innovative and unusual new sounds of the album.

The opening editorial also weighs in on the emerging controversy regarding John's "bigger than Jesus" comment:



And, more benign matters:






Meanwhile, a flashback series recounting the group's first stint in Hamburg skirts around the reasons for the Beatles' deportation from the country:


The cover feature, meanwhile, is a short interview with John, who voices his opinions on a variety of matters ...






Band members also respond to questions and comments about the new LP in the letters section:




Neil Aspinall, in his column, also provides some details behind the strange new sounds on the album:




The news section, meanwhile, makes a fairly non-committal promise that the group will be touring Britain soon, yet the band never toured the country again - nor anywhere else - after its Aug. 29, 1966, performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.


There's also a bit of news about John's film project:


And more great pics!


Friday, September 23, 2016

Beatles Bits

The new Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl album debuted at Number 7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, making it the group's 32nd Top 10 release.

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Singer Ed Sheeran was among the talking heads who didn't make the final cut in "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years."
"Ed had recorded a segment for the film,” a source told The Sun. “But it failed to make the final cut along with a load of other talking heads by Ron who wanted to make more time for The Beatles themselves.
"Ron had to be ruthless, but Ed will be gutted. He’s crazy about The Beatles and has grown really close to Paul over the past couple of years, even introducing him to his dad.”
Speaking about the various talking heads being cut from the film, Ringo said: "When we saw the first cut there were a lot of other people doing a lot of talking, which I believe he’s cut out now and it’s mainly me and Paul talking and it’s better.”
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Paul McCartney says he liked Ron Howard as Ritchie on "Happy Days."

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Artificial intelligence technology was used to compose this tune, supposedly in the style of the Beatles:


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Artifact: Signed Beatles promotional postcard

Up for bid here.



Video: Paul, Ringo and Ron Q&A from Abbey Road Studios


Review: Beatles' "Eight Days a Week" full of fun, missed opportunities


I don't recall ever coming out of a movie theater with my ears ringing, but it happened last night. There's a lot of high-pitched screaming in "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years." Imagine what it must've been like to be in the band?

That's essentially the experience the movie provides, putting us in the eye of the hurricane that was Beatlemania. It's loud, exciting, fun and scary. There are so many screams and so many faces: smiling, crying, laughing, contorted.

Better than any documentary I've seen, including "The Beatles Anthology," Ron Howard's documentary captures the liberating hysteria of Beatlemania and the band's hectic touring days.  There's scene after scene of screaming, stampeding fans and the Beatles traveling around the world, boarding and de-boarding airplanes.

There are hilarious fan interviews, as with the young girl who insistently tells a reporter that "George has sexy eyelashes," and stunning scenes, such as a gigantic  crowd of Anfield Football Club fans in Liverpool patriotically singing "She Loves You." In a talking head interview, actress Sigourney Weaver talks about going to go see the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and then, amazingly, we see her as a teen, smiling in the crowd.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr also provide new interviews and we hear a good amount via archive interviews from John Lennon and George Harrison. Howard captures the band's humor and camaraderie. Their appeal then, and now, is clear: These guys are funny, friendly, supremely confident and super-talented.

It's all exhilarating, to the point of being too much. The montages of screams and travel eventually get redundant and I started to long for more of what I came for -- extended live performance footage from the band.

When first announced, the intention of "Eight Days a Week" was to create the missing Beatles concert film, to collect performances -- both fan-shot and professional -- and present the band playing its music. But, somewhere along the line, the mission got muddied and we now have a mix of a Beatles biography and, still, a live-performance showcase.

Don't get me wrong. There's some jaw-dropping performance footage here, and several songs are played in full. I'm thankful for every one of them. Yet, I kept wishing for more and thinking about performances that weren't, and should've been, included.

For example, songs played before live TV audiences get short shrift. There's very little footage from the band's excellent "Drop In" appearance in Sweden in 1963 and none at all of Paul singing "Yesterday," even though excellent renditions exist from both "Blackpool Night Out" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."

I wish Howard/Apple had dropped some of the biography and chronology and included more songs. Yet, I also want to have it both ways: I was very moved by the film's section on the band's refusal to play segregated concerts in the U.S. South and by historian Kitty Oliver's comments about how much it meant to her, as a teen in Jacksonville, to see the band play and stand among fans both black and white.

Certainly, a film focused on the Beatles and their cultural impact is worthy, but so is one focusing on their songs and performances. And so, for that matter, is one about their growth as artists in the recording studio. There are a few sections in "Eight Days a Week" that focus on this, contrasting the Beatles' ability to experiment and innovate in the confines of Abbey Road versus being creatively stifled by too much touring and too much screaming.

When we finally reach the end of the touring years -- after Jesus, Imelda Marcos and the Budokan -- the film is like a student trying to finish a term paper 10 minutes before class. Everything from Sgt. Pepper through Abbey Road becomes a blurred montage, with an on-screen caption telling us that, after they left the road, the band happened to record some of the best music of the 20th Century. Then we go out with a couple of songs -- in tantalizing quality -- from the "Let it Be" rooftop gig. It's all a case of trying to do too much in too little time.

Given that, it was a relief in the theater to sit through the credits and then watch the 1965 Shea Stadium film. Finally, after all those rapidly changing scenes, we could relax and see the band play several complete songs in a row. The picture and sound quality was excellent and the scenes of John losing a grip while playing organ on "I'm Down" never cease to make me crack up and laugh out loud. If only more of Howard's film could've been like this.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Details on Blu-ray, DVD release of "Eight Days a Week" - No Shea!

Below are the Blu-ray and DVD specs for "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years," which is now playing in theaters (I'm going tonight!) and streaming on Hulu starting tomorrow.

The details come from Amazon UK, which is listing two-disk and single-disk DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film.

A quick look tells us the restored 1965 Shea Stadium footage, which screens in theaters this week but not on Hulu, won't be included.

This takes a lot of excitement out of these home video packages for me. Sure, there is bonus material but nothing that seems terribly exciting. Plus, I subscribe to Hulu, so I can stream the movie any time there. So, maybe we'll see as a standalone package at some future date, possibly grouped with other decently filmed concerts. But not now.

Count on Apple to always leave fans craving more. Or complaining. Take your pick.




Details:

Two-disk special edition DVD and Blu-ray:

"IN 1962 FOUR YOUNG MEN JOHN LENNON, PAUL McCARTNEY, GEORGE HARRISON AND RINGO STARR CAME TOGETHER TO FORM THE 20TH CENTURY MUSICAL PHENOMENON KNOWN AS, “THE BEATLES.”

The band stormed Europe in 1963, and, in 1964, they conquered America. Their groundbreaking world tours changed global youth culture forever and, arguably, invented mass entertainment as we know it today. All the while, the group were composing and recording a series of extraordinarily successful singles and albums. However the relentless pressure of such unprecedented fame, that in 1966 became uncontrollable turmoil, led to the decision to stop touring. In the ensuing years The Beatles were then free to focus on a series of albums that changed the face of recorded music.

Master storyteller and Oscar winner, Ron Howard, explores this incredible journey in his own unique way: How did The Beatles do this? How did they cope with all the fame and pressure? How did they not only survive, but go on to revolutionise popular music? With original interviews, footage, staggering live performances, and the intimate study of character that Ron Howard is known for, he puts us right inside this extraordinary adventure, answering the question everyone always wants to know: What was it like to be there?!!

Featuring a wealth of specially created supplementary material totalling 100 minutes of extras, the deluxe home entertainment editions contain exclusively created featurettes for fans to delve even deeper into the band’s world. Accompanying these are stunning, fully restored full length performances of some of the band’s most iconic tracks including “Twist and Shout” and “She Loves You” recorded at the ABC Theatre, Manchester in 1963 and “Can’t Buy Me Love” at the NME Awards, 1964, in London, bringing the experience of seeing The Beatles in concert fully to life for all fans. A full breakdown is included below.

2-disc Deluxe Collector’s Edition (DVD/BD) includes:
  • 1 x BD/DVD feature disc
  • + 1 Bonus Disc (containing approx. 100 minutes of extras, highlighted below)
  • 64 page booklet with an introduction from director Ron Howard, essay by music journalist and author
  • Jon Savage and rare photos from The Beatles’ private archive
  • Words & Music (24 mins)
  • John, Paul, George & Ringo reflect on songwriting and the influence of music from their parents’ generation, Lennon/McCartney writing for other artists, The Beatles as individual musicians, and the band as innovators. Also featuring Howard Goodall, Peter Asher, Simon Schama and Elvis Costello. The interviews with Paul and Ringo are unseen.
  • Early Clues To A New Direction (18 mins)
  • A special feature touching on The Beatles as a collective, the importance of humour, the impact of women on their early lives and songwriting, and the band as a musical movement. Featuring John, Paul, George & Ringo, along with Paul Greengrass, Stephen Stark, Peter Asher, Malcolm Gladwell, Sigourney Weaver, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Curtis, Elvis Costello and Simon Schama. Again the interviews with Paul and Ringo are unseen.
  • Liverpool (11 mins)
  • The early days in Liverpool of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s are brought vividly to life by those who worked closely with them at that time including fan club secretary Freda Kelly, Allan Williams an early manager, and Leslie Woodhead multi-award winning documentary film director.
  • The Beatles in Concert (12 mins)
  • Five great but rarely seen full length performances of The Beatles live in concert - Twist and Shout, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, You Can’t Do That and Help!
Additional features are:
  • Three Beatles' Fans
  • Ronnie Spector and The Beatles
  • Shooting A Hard Day’s Night
  • The Beatles in Australia
  • Recollections of Shea Stadium
  • The Beatles in Japan
  • An alternative opening for the film

Artifact: John Lennon's fridge

From John's Kenwood estate. Up for bid here.


Beatles Bits

This lovely pic of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr made the social media rounds in advance of "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years" premiere this week.


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The New York Fair could've scooped Ed Sullivan by bringing the Beatles to America several months  ahead of their February 1964 U.S. television debut, a former disk jockey claims.
Phil Schwartz said he was on the air at York’s WSBA-AM radio station in the late 1970s when the station’s news reporter Robert Markham read him an interesting article that came through the wire service.

“Anxious to book a popular band for the 1963 Great York Fair, several Fair board members stood around a phonograph listening to an obscure British rock group,” the article said. “After a few songs, the consensus among the board members was clear. This band will never sell out the grandstand. And so, the York Fair refused to book the Beatles.”

The article then quoted former York Fair board member George Hartenstein, who said, “When (the Beatles) played on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ several months later, the board realized they made a mistake.”
 The fair, however, did include performances by Anita Bryant, Guy Lombardo and accordionist Myron Floren.

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Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono are among celebrities lending support to We Are Not Afraid, "a global campaign aimed at raising funds for the refugee crisis and victims of religious and political violence."

According to Rolling Stone, the campaign:

... centers around the song "We Are Not Afraid" by Nigerian singer Majek Fashek.
On September 29th, a video for the track, directed by Kevin Godley, will features images of the 175 artists involved in the campaign holding signs declaring they are "Not Afraid."
All proceeds generated by the project will be donated to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).


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The combined sound of the Beatles and their screaming audience at the 1965 Shea Stadium crowd was really loud, new research shows.
Just how loud was the concert? Research conducted by James Dyble from Global Sound Group, which provides audio mixing and mastering services, and shared with Newsweek finds that at 131.35 decibels, the sound within the stadium would have been 28 decibels louder than a jumbo jet flying at 100 feet and 11 decibels louder than a crash of thunder.
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EMI wasn't happy about the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" being used in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off,"  the film's music supervisor recalls.
We paid EMI a huge sum of money at the time --- I think it was $100,000. But [EMI execs] weren't happy, because the song was fucked with: Brass was added in the editing room because there was a brass band [in the film]. When you saw the band playing and you're hearing 'Twist and Shout,' it would've been weird if you didn't hear any brass, so they added it in. I don't know if the Beatles weren't happy, or if EMI wasn't happy, but somebody wasn't happy: You're not supposed to fuck with the music.
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A judge has ordered Sean Lennon to remove a 70-year-old tree in his front yard because it's leaning over the front stoop of his neighbors, the parents of actress Marisa Tomei.
The Greenwich Village soap opera on West 13th St. has been broiling for years as the tree — leaning toward the sun to the west — has slowly twisted and dislodged the wrought iron handrail on the stoop of the Tomei townhouse.

Unable for years to communicate directly with Lennon, who bought his townhouse in 2008 but only recently started to renovate, Gary Tomei, the actress' father, sued Lennon last year for $10 million.
The judge on the case quoted the Beatles in her ruling:
"No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low, Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney)," James wrote.
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The Daily Mail has a gossipy (surprise!) story about the children of George Martin's first marriage saying they were short-changed in the late producer's will. Unpleasant, but it does share some little covered historical background on Martin and his career.
On one side of the settlement there is his first family, who one old friend described as Martin’s ‘Cinderella’ offspring. On the other, his second — Lady Martin and her children, who have been reaping the rewards of Martin’s success for years.
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Stella McCartney went for a spin in George Harrison's old psychedelic mini.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pics: Red carpet arrivals at "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" London premiere

It's a blue carpet, but filled with lots of celebrities.


Ringo and Paul

Alan Williams

Olivia Harrison

Giles Martin

Stella McCartney

Ron Howard, Yoko Ono, Brian Grazer

Madonna

Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin

Artifact: Beatles "White Album" promo poster

Did they really promote the LP with this? Up for bid here.


Yoko Ono reissues up for pre-order

The first entries in a new reissue campaign of Yoko Ono's recordings are now available for pre-order via Amazon.

Issued by the Secretly Canadian, the albums include Two Virgins: Unfinished Music Vol. 1, Life with the Lions: Unfinished Music Vol. 2 and Plastic Ono Band (the Yoko version). Release is set for Nov. 11.

Click via the following links:

New "Eight Days a Week" clip: "The Beatles Fresh Off the Plane"


Listen: BBC Radio 6 interview with Paul, Ringo and Ron

Listen here to a new BBC Radio interview with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Ron Howard about the new "Eight Days a Week" film.



"Eight Days a Week" premiere will be first time seeing film for Paul and Ringo

In a promotional Facebook chat this week Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr noted they hadn't seen the Apple-produced, Ron Howard-directed "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - the Touring Years." Today's premiere will be the first time.
McCartney said:”In the cinema, we’re actually going to hear ourselves for the first time. We couldn’t hear ourselves when we were live, as there was so much screaming going on.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Another clip from "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" - George's sexy eyelashes


Artifact: Apple Records watch

Up for bid here. Never seen one with the box before.



Facebook Q&A with Paul, Ringo and Ron tomorrow


Go to the Beatles' official Facebook page.

"The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" headed to classrooms courtesy of Little Steven

A special screening of "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years" this Thursday will raise money for an educational program that will put the film and related materials in U.S. classroom.

Deadline Hollywood reports:
The NYC premiere will serve as a fundraiser to help support the RRFF’s educational efforts. Van Zandt and Paul Shaffer will co-host the event that will include celebrity guests, teachers, students and donors.

Two days later, in conjunction with Scholastic Inc. as partner and with the support of Apple Corps, the classroom materials will be available at teachrock.org, joining more than 70 pre-existing multimedia lesson plans on the free site.

Apple Corps sued over Shea Stadium film rights - UPDATE

Apple Corps is being sued over rights to the Beatles Shea Stadium concert film just as it is set to accompany screenings of Ron Howard's new documentary about the group's touring years.

Sid Bernstein Presents LLC, a company representing the interests of the late promoter who organized the 1965 Shea concert depicted in the film, claims it, not Apple, has rights to the footage. 

Reuters reports:

Sid Bernstein, who died in 2013, was a promoter who helped bring the Beatles to the United States from their native Britain.

The complaint said he also helped stage the group's Aug. 15, 1965, performance at Shea, and arranged for TV variety show host Ed Sullivan's production company to film it.

But the plaintiff, which said it was assigned Bernstein's rights, said the group's manager, Brian Epstein, took custody of the "Master Tapes" and began using them without seeking consent.

UPDATE: Apple has responded in a Bloomberg Tech story:
The suit is entirely frivolous, Apple Corps’ New York lawyer Paul Licalsi said in an interview. Bernstein’s agreement with the Beatles at the time explicitly barred him from any filming rights and a copy of the deal will prove it easily, he said.
"Mr. Bernstein never made any claim for the film for nearly 50 years until he died," Licalsi said.
No word, yet, on any change in plans to screen the film, which is set to accompany screenings of Howard's "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years" in theaters this week before it beings streaming on Hulu Sept. 17.

Review: "The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label"


A slim book covering a slim chapter of Beatles history, Barry Miles' latest Sixties-focused book details the ill-fated Zapple label, an avant garde spin-off of the band's larger, self-run Apple Records imprint.

Miles, a friend to the Beatles, particularly to Paul McCartney, was in the late 1960s a book seller and, in his own words, "a purveyor of anything hip" the Beatles thought they should know about. He provided them with books about philosophy, art and politics and turned Paul onto electronic music and free jazz.

Also a fan and friend to members of America's Beat Generation such as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Miles operated the Indica Bookshop and Gallery in London with Peter Asher and John Dunbar. Paul helped paint the shop's interior and even designed its wrapping paper. And it was where John Lennon met Yoko Ono.

All of this made Miles the perfect candidate to manage Zapple, which in the Beatles' view would issue records outside the pop mainstream, such as John and Yoko's experimental sounds and music and George Harrison's album of Moog synthesizer recordings. Miles himself scheduled in a series of recorded "paperbacks" featuring readings and interviews with his literary friends: Ginsberg, Richard Brautigan, Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure and Charles Olson.

It was an ambitious and intriguing plan that connected to the Beatles to the Beats and Apple to the underground. In the end, however, Zapple issued only two recordings: John and Yoko's Life with the Lions and George's Electronic Sound. While Miles was in the United States recording his authors, Allen Klein had arrived in London and set about firing people. Zapple was dead and the Beatles wouldn't be around much longer, either.

Miles' book details the demise of Apple and the Beatles from his perspective as a friend and employee, balancing those details with descriptions of his meetings and recording sessions with the various Zapple authors. It's a quick read and engagingly written. How much you enjoy it depends on how far beyond the scope of just-the-Beatles you want to go. The band members aren't central characters in the story, but Miles does include quotes from John, Paul and George dating from interviews he recorded in the late 1960s. And he includes more recent interview material from Paul, from their collaboration on the excellent 1997 McCartney biography, "Many Years from Now."

All this is supplemented with a chronology, rare photos and a bibiography/discography of various writers recorded for Zapple. Many of the sessions Miles recorded were later issued on other labels, ensuring that the Beatles' idea for Zapple and his work wasn't completely lost.

Zapple usually only gets a sentence or two in most Beatles books, so it's nice to get the full story here.