Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Something new by the Beatles coming - but what is it?

Hints are surfacing at a new release announcement by the Beatles - maybe as soon as tomorrow.

The Daily Beatle (formerly WogBlog) says:

Two different Beatles releases (and a total of three physical new releases to purchase and one HD Digital audio release) available on the same day, one is a LIMITED EDITION BOX SET. Official announcement expected soon... Nov 1.

But what are they? Two different releases. That seems to mean two different products. A film and an album? Two albums? A compilation album and a catalog album?

Could we be getting a 50th anniversary Magical Mystery Tour remaster squeezed into the tail-end of 2017? The TV film came out on DVD and Blu-ray only a few short years ago, but an audio-video package featuring a remixed MMT album could be a possibility. The film and music, plus movie and audio outtakes, could make a nice box set and the stand-alone album and/or video would likely be released concurrently. Perhaps the MMT album is also the HD Digital audio release, or maybe it's the newly remixed version of Sgt. Pepper.

How does this sound:

  • Magical Mystery Tour limited edition box set with LP and film.
  • MMT remixed album on CD.
  • MMT remixed album on vinyl.
  • MMT remixed (or Sgt. Pepper?) album in HD Digital audio.

I doubt we'll get the rumored "White Album" remix during the same calendar year as the big Sgt. Pepper anniversary package. Maybe they're announcing it early. But I figure we'll be waiting on it until sometime in 2018.

Also too early, I figure, is any sort of a audio-video "Let it Be" release. Same with "Abbey Road." Now that the Beatles have discovered anniversaries, I think those will roll out sequentially, after "The White Album" package.

Another possibility is some sort of Shea Stadium release, but I don't know how that fits the configurations hinted at. A DVD, Blu-Ray and some sort of a commemorative box? And the HD Audio release is Pepper?

But then there's this image shared today by Richard Porter of London Beatles Walks:

Very festive. The Christmas decorations make me wonder if this is the long-awaited mass release of The Beatles' collected Christmas recordings. But those are also Sgt. Pepper colors on the bows attached to the Christmas "apples." So, the Christmas records and Pepper?

Additionally, these decidedly pre-psychedelia images, shared on the Daily Beatle Facebook page, are supposedly from the booklet to one of these new releases. That makes me want to rule out any sort of MMT release, but they also could be part of a Shea Stadium release.

Still, I kinda think the Christmas records may be in the offing.

For background, if you need it, the Beatles' sent out a Christmas message on flexi-disks to members of the group's fan club each year between 1963 and 1969. In 1970s, all of the messages were compiled onto a vinyl LP, titled The Beatles' Christmas Album.

So, maybe I'm wrong, but here's my guess at what we might be getting:

  • The Beatles Christmas Album on CD.
  • The Beatles Christmas Album on vinyl.
  • A limited edition featuring the Christmas messages on individual flexi-disks (or 45 rpm records) with facsimile cover art. The box may also include the CD and/or vinyl mentioned above.
  • A HD Digital Audio Release of the 2017 Sgt. Pepper remix.

Any thoughts?


This is a pretty impressive forgery if it's not the real deal, leaked early:


From discussion on the Steve Hoffman Forum, it looks like we're most likely getting:

  • Sgt. Pepper 2017 remix on a single LP (who cares?)
  • Sgt. Pepper 2017 remix on single picture disk LP (who cares even more?)
  • Sgt. Pepper HD Audio (this is actually cool, though I'm still of mixed feelings about the format. I like the audio quality available, but with there was an easier/better way to play them. You have to buy an expensive player, hook up a computer to your sound system, or listen through headphones).

And, as the video (which may no longer be active) seems to confirm, there's boxed set of the Christmas recordings on 7-inch records. Which is pretty nifty, but also sort of a novelty. It's a Record Store Day-style manufactured collectible. I'd rather have the messages compiled onto a CD and/or vinyl LP.

Vintage Beatles pic

Thursday, October 26, 2017

John Lennon's butcher cover up for auction

John Lennon's personal, signed copy of the Beatles' "butcher cover" of the U.S. Yesterday and Today LP is up for bid via Heritage Auctions.

Lennon traded the record with a collector for a tape copy of the early Beatles' bootleg Yellow Matter Custard, which featured a batch of the band's BBC recordings. I'd say John lost in the exchange!

Here's the listing:

Beatles - John Lennon's Personal Stereo "Butcher Cover" Prototype with His Original Artwork on the Blank Back and Signatures of Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr on the Front. The Rarest Beatle Record in the World. The term "world class" is probably a bit over-used in describing collectibles. Labeling this unique, rare, and desirable Beatles item as "World Class" is not hyperbole. If anything, it does not do it justice. Offered here is the Yesterday And Today Stereo Prototype "Butcher Cover" that was owned by John Lennon and even displayed on the wall of his Dakota apartment until the point where he had an assistant take it down and deliver it to the Record Plant where he signed it in blue ink: "To Dave from/ John Lennon/ Dec 7th 71". The recipient was Dave Morrell, a Beatles fan and bootleg collector who was in the studio showing John some of his memorabilia and bootleg material. The Butcher was given in essentially a trade for a reel-to-reel tape of the Yellow Matter Custard bootleg that Lennon desired. Lennon filled the blank back of the cover with an original piece of art in black ink. It fills the cover and depicts a man with a shovel and his dog, both posed in front of a setting sun. Interestingly, he incorporated various tears, stains, and flaws into the picture.

So far, we have a rare album cover owned and displayed by Beatle John Lennon with his autograph on the front and a piece of his original art on the back. That is enough to make it "world class." Agreed? Well, the original owner Dave Morrell managed to obtain later two additional Beatle autographs: a bold black felt tip signature "Ringo Starr" and a blue ink signature "Paul McCartney", each across their respective images. "Icing on the cake" to coin a phrase. Included with this lot is a signed Letter of Authenticity from noted Beatle autograph expert Frank Caiazzo (text below). Also includes letters of authenticity from both Gary Hein and Perry Cox (see online description at HA.com for full letters). In Gary Hein's words: ""There is no Beatles album in the world that compares with this one, in my professional opinion, in terms of both Rarity and Value." We don't feel the need to emphasize further the importance of this piece to the Beatle collector, or the Art collector, or the Pop Culture collector, or the Record collector. Don't let this one pass you by! The rarest Beatle record in the world. From the Stan Panenka Beatles Vinyl Collection.

Text of Letter of Authenticity from Frank Caiazzo dated July 18, 2005:

"To Whom It May Concern,

"The purpose of this letter is to serve as authentication of the signature and artwork of John Lennon, as well as the signatures of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. This is contained on an exceptionally rare blank back stereo 'butcher cover' for The Beatles 1966 LP release 'Yesterday And Today,' which was John Lennon's personal copy. All three have signed very nicely on the front cover. The blank back cover contains an amazing piece of art work, done entirely by Lennon, in which he incorporates tears, holes and stains into the actual art itself. This item was originally obtained in late 1971 by Dave Morrell, a bootleg collector who wound up befriending John and giving him a bootleg record. To show his appreciation, John gave Mr. Morrell his personal butcher and signed with a bubble coming out of his mouth, 'To Dave' and also dated December 7, 1971. The signatures of McCartney and Starr were obtained at later dates, in person by Dave Morrell himself. Needless to say, this is an amazing signed Beatles item, and the extra Lennon artwork and the fact that this was his personal LP cover, combine to make this a world class Beatles collectible.

"I hereby guarantee the authenticity of the aforementioned Beatles 'Yesterday And Today' album cover which has been signed and drawn on by John Lennon, and additionally signed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. This guarantee is without time limit."

Rare pics of John Lennon surface at Beatles Memorabilia Day

Negatives featuring 26 never-published photos of John Lennon surfaced at the Beatles Story's annual Memorial Day event this week in Liverpool.

Darren Julien, President/CEO of Julien’s Auctions estimated that the collection could sell for over £10,000 at auction. He said: “It’s not often when you find images of John Lennon that have never before been seen by the public. These 26 images/negatives of John Lennon are a rare find”.

The owner of the negatives, who wishes to remain anonymous, told experts that the collection had been stored away in the family’s junk draw for around 34 years, and were presumed to have no value.

... The negatives, [a] John Lennon letter and many of the other items are to be consigned into an auction taking place at The Beatles Story next year, in October 2018. This will be the first Beatles auction to take place at the award-winning Liverpool attraction and will see around 100 Beatles and music-related items go under the hammer.

Paul remembers Beatles' inspiration Fats Domino

Paul McCartney issued the following statement following news of Fats Domino's death yesterday:

"Rest in peace Fats Domino, the great rock ’n’ roll pianist and singer who thrilled us in our early days in Liverpool. His hit records like ‘Ain’t That A Shame’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘I’m In Love Again’ and many others introduced us to the sounds of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll. We were excited to meet Fats once in his home town of New Orleans. He was wearing a huge star spangled diamond encrusted watch which was our first encounter with bling! His voice, piano playing and musical style was a huge influence on us and his appearance in the film ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ was truly magnificent. As one of my favourite rock ‘n’ roll singers, I will remember him fondly and always think of him with that twinkle in his eye. I read that he had eight children. He himself was named Antoine. His kids were named Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. Now that is pure Fats!"

Vintage Beatles postcard

Vintage Beatles pic: Paul

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Report: The Beatles’ popularity is plunging online

Beatles-related searches on Google and views of Beatles-related videos on YouTube are plunging, according to this report.

A quick look at Google Trends shows a fairly dramatic erosion in search traffic on both mainline search and YouTube, with drops reaching 70% in some cases.

I can't say the downward trends are that surprising. The Beatles broke up nearly 50 years ago and web traffic is focused on the "new" - current events, popular songs, fresh gossip and the latest scandals. Most of the time, there's not much reason to Google the Beatles. Anyone interested already knows who they are and what they did

The article doesn't mention whether searches for views spike when there's a "new" Beatles release, such as the Sgt. Pepper box or the "Eight Days a Week" film. I'd imagine that they must, at least slightly, as both of these releases performed very well in the marketplace. And those sales, along with the steady stream of new books and documentaries about the band, indicate to me that interest in the band may wax and wane, but that we'll be talking and thinking about the Beatles for a long time to come.

Ringo makes the Flower Scene

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I'm in the new Beatlefan!

The new issue of Beatlefan, America's longest running Beatles fan publication, includes an epic article by yours truly looking at "essential" Beatles books. I hope you'll check it out.

Beatlefan #228 features a new interview with Ringo Starr, conducted by Ken Sharp on the eve of the Las Vegas kickoff for his fall tour. Plus, we have more on Ringo and his new album, including Tom Frangione’s guide to the live recordings of Ringo’s All Starr Band and Walter J Podrazik on Ringo the singer. Also in the new issue, John Firehammer offers tips on building the essential Beatles library, Al Sussman pays tribute to Beatle pal Tom Petty, Ricky Glover recounts Paul McCartney’s New York Takeover (check out the fantastic back cover photo of Paul and Bruce Springsteen by Robert Gannon), Kit O'Toole chats with George Martin biographer Ken Womack, Bruce Spizer plays the Beatles “What If” game and Rip Rense makes the case for releasing more Beatles rarities. And, we have all the latest news and reviews. A sample issue costs $8 in the U.S. or $12 abroad. U.S. funds only. If you want the latest issue, be sure to specify #228. For more information, email goodypress@gmail.com.

Miscellaneous Beatles covers: Disc and Music Echo