Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ground breaks on new visitors center at Strawberry Field

Via the Daily Mirror:

[John Lennon's step-sister] Julia Baird helped to bury a time capsule as development work began on the site of the Strawberry Field children's home in Woolton, Liverpool, which was the inspiration for The Beatles ' 1967 song Strawberry Fields Forever. 

The Salvation Army is planning to open the site's famous red gates to the public next summer to give people a chance to walk through the grounds like Lennon did as a boy and learn about his connection with the home.

The charity is also planning to build a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities on the site, which has remained empty since the children's home closed in 2005.

Judy Martin, wife of the late Beatle producer, George, also was present at the event.

1963 Beatles concert program

Monday, July 30, 2018

Harvard study shows Paul didn't write melody to "In My Life"

Findings from a new computer-modeling study indicate Paul McCartney didn't write the melody to the Beatles' "In My Life," no matter what Paul says.

Paul has often taken credit for the tune, telling broadcaster Paul Gambaccini: "Those were the words John wrote, and I wrote the tune to it. That was a great one."

John, however, insisted only the ‘middle-eight’ and harmonies were Sir Paul's work.

But a computer analysis of nearly 149 different musical hallmarks present in various Lennon and McCartney songs give credit for both words and music to John.

According to the Daily Telegraph:

“We wondered whether you could use data analysis techniques to try to figure out what was going on in the song to distinguish whether it was by one or the other," said Dr Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University.

“The basic idea is to convert a song into a set of different data structures that are amenable for establishing a signature of a song using a quantitative approach. Think of decomposing a colour into its constituent components of red, green and blue with different weights attached.

“The probability that 'In My Life' was written by McCartney is .018. Which basically means it's pretty convincingly a Lennon song. McCartney misremembers.”

... [The researchers] found a major distinction. While the pitch of Sir Paul’s songs was complex and varied, Lennon’s did not change much at all.

"Consider the Lennon song, 'Help!'" added Dr Glickman. "It basically goes, 'When I was younger, so much younger than today,' where the pitch doesn't change very much.

“It stays at the same note repeatedly, and only changes in short steps. Whereas with Paul McCartney, you take a song like 'Michelle.’' In terms of pitch, it's all over the place."

Video: Beatles rehearsing, recording "Hey Jude," July 30, 1968

Saturday, July 28, 2018

History: Paul says "I'd love to produce an album for Elvis," 1968

Interesting comments from Paul in Melody Maker, Sept. 14, 1968.

Talking about the San Francisco music scene, he notes:

I saw the Jefferson Airplane in San Francisco. They are nice people.

But really, I'd rather see Elvis. I've never seen him and that would be nice. I saw a great TV show he did, with lots of rock things in it. You know what I'd love to do? I'd love to produce an album for Elvis. His albums haven't been produced very well and, as I am a fan of his, I think I'd be able to produce him very well. I'd try to get the same feel as the first couple of his albums had. It would be great!

"Help!" world premiere items, 1965

Thursday, July 26, 2018

New edition of essential reference "Eight Arms to Hold You" out soon

Chip Madinger and Mark Easter will release an updated, digital version of their essential Beatles solo years reference, "Eight Arms to Hold You," on Aug. 1. The cost for the download is $19.99.

Here are the details:

Mark and I are very pleased to announce that a "remastered" edition of Eight Arms To Hold You will be available via digital download on August 1st, 2018. There have been countless requests for a revised edition and used copies sell for inflated amounts on the secondhand market (as many of you may have experienced). With that in mind, Mark and I thought that the time was right - after all, it has been nearly 18 years. Knowing that, we’ve decided to make the original available again digitally since there is still a demand for it, and feel it is important to have our work “out there” in the brave new world of book distribution, at a fair price. 

Here is where it gets exciting. What began as a cleaned up version - fixing a few big mistakes, misspellings and punctuation errors has turned into 20,000 or so new words - however, to keep the indexing in order, we removed roughly the same amount of old and incorrect words! "Eight Arms" still only covers up through 2000, but we've applied another 18 years of research to the existing manuscript - a true case of "If we knew then, what we know now." 

So welcome back to the year 2000 - the year before the world changed in many ways. A new millennium: the world is relieved that computers still operated on January 1st, one can still travel through an airport with relatively few headaches, the St. Louis Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV, and the Beatles issue 1, a collection of their thirty-plus-year-old US and UK #1 singles which would end up becoming the best-selling album of the coming decade.  

For the purposes of Eight Arms To Hold You, the book we issue in October of that year, it means George Harrison is still with us, Paul McCartney hasn’t yet married Heather Mills, Ringo still maintains a revolving door for members of his All-Starr Band, CDs are still king of the music industry, not everyone has a recording studio on their computer... among several other soon-to-change facts. 

2000 is exactly where we leave Eight Arms in its newfangled digital form. We’re obviously aware that much has occurred in the world of the solo Beatles since its original publication. We have not added entries for things that have been released since the book was first published in 2000, and we're sure that several of the existing mistakes are still lurking. What's new is a more focused and detailed description for the original entries in the book and a lot of exciting new facts. 

While revisiting Eight Arms To Hold You for the first time in nearly 20 years after writing and publication, we found a book that, while flawed and almost 20 years out of date, still holds up extremely well - as it examines the four solo Beatles from 1966 through 2000, the most artistically and commercially significant periods of their careers. We hope those who already own a copy of the physical book and those who are reading this for the first time on a favorite electronic device also find it as engaging a read as we tried to make it way back in the olden days when reading required arm strength, turning pages and using bookmarks. Enjoy! 

You may order your own digital copy of Eight Arms To Hold You here. Copies will be distributed as a secured .pdf file on August 1st, 2018. 

Chip Madinger and Mark Easter
Older, but wiser in 2018

Watch: Paul McCartney in "Casual Conversation" with Jarvis Cocker, plus Cavern show today

Recorded yesterday at the Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts. Paul and band are also playing an intimate show at Liverpool's Cavern Club today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Listen to "Warzone," first track from Yoko Ono's forthcoming album

Below, hear "Warzone," the title track of Yoko Ono's album of the same name, which is out Oct. 19.


Following 20 albums over 50 years, Yoko Ono's Warzone is a strikingly different record from those she has previously made.

Revisiting and reimagining 13 songs from her past work, spanning 1970-2009, the lyrics and messages are still pertinent perhaps even more pertinent-in 2018. 

Recent U.S. presidents and many of our world leaders have never served in the military, yet they continually nourish and serve the corporate-infused military industrial complex, keeping the world in a perpetual warfare. Warzone further builds the legacy of an artist unparalleled in her unique and singular vision. With it's stripped down recordings and arrangements, and a particular emphasis on Yoko's voice and lyrics, the content of her message rings clear and unencumbered, with wisdom and fortitude her power has intensified with time and life experience. 

“The world is so messed up. Things are very difficult for everybody. It’s a warzone that we are living in…” says Ono. “I like to create things in a new way. Every day things change.” 

The recordings and arrangements on Warzone are very stripped down, with a particular emphasis on Yoko’s voice and lyrics. Here in this minimalist landscape the content of her message rings clear and unencumbered; sometimes somber warnings, sometimes uplifting encouragement, but her wisdom and fortitude are unflinchingly strong, her power having intensified with time and life experience. She ends the ominous questions of “Now Or Never” (1971) with one of her most famous and inspiring lines: “[a] Dream you dream alone is only a dream, but dream we dream together is reality.”

Warzone will be in stores on October 19 on Chimera Music, the label run by Sean Ono Lennon.  Leading up to the release date, Yoko will releasing a new song each Tuesday on her website ImaginePeace.com and on streaming services.

The album includes a new version of "Imagine," for which Yoko was awarded co-writing credit in 2017.

Here's the album's complete track listing:

1. Warzone
  2. Hell In Paradise
  3. Now or Never
  4. Where Do We Go From Here
  5. Woman Power
  6. It's Gonna Rain
  7. Why
  8. Children Power
  9. I Love All of Me
  10. Teddy Bear
  11. I'm Alive
  12. I Love You
  13. Earth
  14. Imagine

Monday, July 23, 2018

Paul plays invite-only gig in Abbey Road

Paul McCartney today performed before a small, invited group of fans in Abbey Road Studios. A short clip of Paul on the famed traffic crosswalk near the studio appeared on his Instagram acount

According to the NME:

Inside the studio, the icon performed a set of Beatles deep cuts and classics for a small audience. Fans were invited to enter for a chance to be at the gig last week by recording a video and telling McCartney why they should be chosen to attend.

UPDATE: The gig's setlist, via Steve Marinucci's Twitter feed:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Details on new, Yoko-curated "Imagine" book

The book is out Oct. 9 (John Lennon's birthday). Pre-order now.

Details from Amazon:

Personally compiled and curated by Yoko Ono, Imagine John Yoko is the definitive inside story-told in revelatory detail-of the making of the legendary album and all that surrounded it: the locations, the creative team, the artworks and the films, in the words of John & Yoko and the people who were there.

Features 80% exclusive, hitherto-unpublished archive photos and footage sequences of all the key players in situ, together with lyric sheets, Yoko's art installations, and exclusive new insights and personal testimonies from Yoko and over forty of the musicians, engineers, staff, celebrities, artists and photographers who were there-including Julian Lennon, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Jim Keltner, David Bailey, Dick Cavett and Sir Michael Parkinson.

"A lot has been written about the creation of the song, the album and the film of Imagine, mainly by people who weren't there, so I'm very pleased and grateful that now, for the first time, so many of the participants have kindly given their time to 'gimme some truth' in their own words and pictures" -Yoko Ono Lennon, 2018

In 1971, John Lennon & Yoko Ono conceived and recorded the critically acclaimed album Imagine at their Georgian country home, Tittenhurst Park, in Berkshire, England, in the state-of-the-art studio they built in the grounds, and at the Record Plant in New York. The lyrics of the title track were inspired by Yoko Ono's "event scores" in her 1964 book Grapefruit, and she was officially co-credited as writer in June 2017.

Imagine John Yoko tells the story of John & Yoko's life, work and relationship during this intensely creative period. It transports readers to home and working environments showcasing Yoko's closely guarded archive of photos and artifacts, using artfully compiled narrative film stills, and featuring digitally rendered maps, floorplans and panoramas that recreate the interiors in evocative detail. John & Yoko introduce each chapter and song; Yoko also provides invaluable additional commentary and a preface.

All the minutiae is examined: the locations, the key players, the music and lyrics, the production techniques and the artworks-including the creative process behind the double exposure polaroids used on the album cover.

With a message as universal and pertinent today as it was when the album was created, this landmark publication is a fitting tribute to John & Yoko and their place in cultural history. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Amazon Prime snags streaming rights to "The Yellow Submarine" - watch NOW!

Amazon is now streaming The Beatles' "The Yellow Submarine" film, which is also currently screening in many theaters in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

According to Variety:

Amazon negotiated an exclusive streaming window on the movie for those territories under a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. The companies declined to disclose the length of the Amazon’s exclusive rights.

In addition, Prime members can now stream the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack on Prime Music for the first time ever in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain. (It’s also currently available on Spotify and Apple Music.)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Signed menu from Beatles' "stoned" flight to Bahamas up for auction

An airline menu autographed by all four Beatles and a few of their "Help!" co-stars is up for bid this month.

The item was signed on the group's charter flight to Nassau in the Bahamas on Feb. 22, 1965, to shoot scenes for the film. On the way down, they killed time by smoking a stash of marijuana provided by child star Brandon De Wilde (the kid in "Shane), who was along for the ride.

Autographs from co-stars in the Beatles' film, Eleanor Bron, Roy Kinnear appear on the menu, too, along with one from Billy Wyatt - not sure who that is. Anyone know?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How John Lennon named The Cyrkle

The Cyrkle, best-known for their 1966 hits "Red Rubber Ball" and "Turn Down Day," were Pennsylvania group managed by Nat Weiss, an attorney who assisted Beatles manager Brian Epstein with business dealing in the U.S.

Originally called the Rhondells (What's a Rhondell? Some sort of bastard mix of a Ronette and a Shondell?), they were renamed at the suggestion of Epstein and John Lennon.

As original member Don Dannemann recently recounted:

“During one of the sessions, Brian, who was in town, came up and says, ‘Oh Don, by the way, here,’ and he hands me his business card. I’m looking at the card, and I see it says Brain Epstein on one side, and he turns it over and on the other side, scribbled, I see writing.”

Dannemann couldn’t quite make out the writing until Epstein said that it read, “The Cyrkle.” 

Dannemann explained that when The Beatles heard the band’s name was The Rhondells and that they were looking to change the name, John came up with “The Cyrkle,” with the unique spelling, and wrote it on the card for Epstein to present to them.

Thus, The Cyrkle was named by John Lennon, himself.

The band also toured with the Beatles (and the Ronettes!) in 1966.

Photos: George and Ringo pose with Blue Meanies for "The Yellow Submarine"

Exhibition on tap at Beatles' "first recording studio"

The Percy Phillips studio, where the fledgling Beatles cut two tracks, will be the focus of an exhibition Aug. 26 as part of Liverpool's annual Beatles Week, Independent.IE reports.

The pre-Beatles Quarrymen, featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison with pianist John Lowe and drummer Colin Hanton, recorded a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day" and the McCartney-Harrison composition, "In Spite of All the Danger" in the studio on July 12, 1958.

Both recordings are included on the Beatles' Anthology 1 compilation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Taylor Swift interviews Pattie (Harrison) Boyd

Via Harper's Bazaar:

TS:  For me, one of the most heartbreaking moments in the book is when, years later, you and Eric get married, and George and his new wife, Olivia, come to the wedding party, Paul comes, Ringo comes, but John couldn’t go. He said later that he would have loved to come. That night there was a huge jam session, and had he been there it would have been the last time the Beatles played together.
PB: Can you imagine? I was heartbroken.

Monday, July 9, 2018

New "With a Little Help from My Friends" cover celebrates Britain's National Health Service

Via the Express and Star:

Other stars who helped with the recording were Blue, The Saturdays’ Una Healy and Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh. 

Joining them were Myleene Klass, Tony Hadley, Coleen Nolan, Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Marina and the Diamonds and JLS’s Aston Merrygold. 

Members of South London’s Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir then assisted in recording the song, after Sir Paul McCartney gave permission for the track to be re-released.

Its aim is to soar straight to number one, with any proceeds to go to NHS Charities Together - an organisation which raises funds for ­medical equipment and research the health ­service cannot afford. 

How "The Yellow Submarine" influenced religion

Fascinating. Via Capital Public Radio:

Not long after the British-made film landed in the United States, "submarine churches" attracted urban, young people. They adopted the outline of a yellow submarine with a small cross on its periscope as their symbol and displayed it alongside peace signs, flowers and other popular emblems of the 1960s.

There were enough of the churches a year after the film's release that they operated The Submarine Church Press, which published a national directory of 40 such churches, most with mainline Protestant or Catholic roots, and held a three-day "rap session," or conference, in Kansas City, Mo. Attendees came from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis and Akron, Ohio.

"In the Beatles' movie, the submarine was the place where they loved each other in a groovy way and got strength to do battle with the Blue Meanies," Rev. Tony Nugent, a former co-pastor of a submarine church in Berkeley, Calif., told The New York Times in 1970. "It also shows that a church has to have flexibility and maneuverability."

... "The Beatles viewed love and peace as the highest values in living a good life," said Hector Avalos, a professor of religious studies at Iowa State University who has written about the Beatles and religion. "Living a good life was not about salvation or following the Bible. That emphasis on love erased all the 'isms' that Lennon specifically hated." 

Vintage "Meet the Beatles" moving heads display

Friday, July 6, 2018

Listen: "Yellow Sub Sandwich" - official podcast for 50th anniversary of the film

UPDATE: The Beatles YouTube channel just uploaded this:

Now streaming on the Beatles' SoundCloud account is "Yellow Sub Sandwich," an 50th celebration of the animated film, which is showing this month in special screenings in the U.S. and Britain.


Presented by music and movies expert Edith Bowman and movie critic Robbie Collin, this is a podcast with a difference; it comes in two parts: “before” and “after” - a bit to listen to before you see the movie and a bit for after.

With great stories about the making of the movie and fresh insight into what makes it so iconic and influential, The Yellow Sub Sandwich features all you need to know about the movie and why you should go and see it, where it was intended to be experienced, back on the big screen.
Edith and Robbie are joined in the studio by one of the original animators of the movie Malcolm 

Draper and Beatles music expert Ed Potton, and the podcast also features new interviews with:

- Chris Shepherd - award-winning Liverpudlian animator.
- Edgar Wright – movie director (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Baby Driver).
- Josh Weinstein – Show Runner of the Simpsons and Futurama.
- Peter Lord – co founder of Aardman Animation (Chicken Run, Flushed Away, Arthur Christmas, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!)
- Sam Carter – the frontman of leading metal band, Architects.

The podcast also features archive audio of:

David Livesey – animator on Yellow Submarine.
Paul Angelis – actor and the voice of Ringo and the Chief Blue Meanie.

George Harrison.
Paul McCartney.
Ringo Starr.

Listen here.

Program: The Beatles with Little Richard at the Liverpool Empire, 1962

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Paul's Freshen Up tour adds British dates - promises new material

Along with the Canadian dates announced earlier this week, Paul McCartney's Fresh Up tour will include three shows in Britain, reports the Daily Express:

The tour will take the Beatles legend to Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Wednesday, December 12; Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Friday, December 14; and London’s The O2 on Sunday, December 16.

He said in a statement: “There’s nothing like performing in front of your home crowd, especially when it’s been a while.

“I can’t wait to finish the year on such a high by partying in Liverpool, Glasgow and London.

“We’ve freshened up the show since our last time round and we are excited to get to play some of our new songs along side some of the favourites.”

It will be interesting to see how different the set lists for this tour differs from the largely unchanging sets of other recent tours by Paul and his band, and how many newer tunes he'll perform.

Vintage Capitol Records "Beatles Headquarters" poster

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Producer Greg Kurstin details Macca's "Egypt Station"

Rolling Stone has a lengthy interview with Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Foo Fighters) who produced most of Paul McCartney's upcoming album, Egypt Station, which is out Sept. 7.

From the looks of it, much of the album was recorded Chaos and Creation-style, with Paul overdubbing multiple instruments with occasional help from others. It also sounds like there are several tracks featuring unusual instruments along with recording techniques that stretch back to Paul's Beatles days, such as tape loops. You can read the entire piece here.

I see that the album begins with “Station I” and ends with “Station II.” What can you tell me about those tracks?That started with a choir piece that Paul had worked out on the keyboard. Then we brought in David Campbell to help arrange the choir. We went into a cathedral to record that, which was really cool. It started with us in the studio. Paul had worked out some chords that he wanted the voices to do. Then we started creating different ambient noises, some of which came from tape loops. He had a little portable reel-to-reel player, the one they used on Revolver for “Tomorrow Never Knows.” That was done on this little Brenell tape machine. We created some of the sounds on that, like slowing down guitars.

Vintage Apple Boutique jacket

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Paul McCartney announces "Freshen Up" tour dates

Paul McCartney is launching a new tour, with the announcement of four September dates in Canada.


Paul will make his eagerly anticipated return to the road with his new #FreshenUpTour. Four confirmed dates were announced this morning, marking Paul’s first series of live dates since the 'One On One' tour that played to some two million fans over the course of 2016 and 2017. 

The 'Freshen Up' tour will also be Paul’s first outing following the release of his brand new studio album, Egypt Station, out September 7th on Capitol Records. 
'Freshen Up' will begin September 17th at the Videotron Centre in Québec, Paul’s first show in the Canadian capital since his 2013 stop at the Plains of Abraham on the 'Out There' tour. From there, Paul will visit Montreal for the first time since the 'On The Run' tour in 2011 to play the Bell Centre on September 20th, before returning to Winnipeg September 28th to play Bell MTS Place, his first performance in the capital of Manitoba since 2013. 'Freshen Up's' Canadian itinerary will conclude with a visit to a final Canadian capital city, Edmonton, Alberta, for a September 30th show at Rogers Place—Paul’s first appearance in the city since 2012. 

As previously announced, Paul will follow 'Freshen Up’s' Canadian run with headline sets at the17th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. The historic bill includes Paul’s debut ACL Fest performance and only North American festival appearance of 2018, topping a lineup featuring Metallica, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott, The National, Hozier, St. Vincent, Janelle Monáe and more than 100 other artists playing Zilker Park, October 5 - 7 and October 12 - 14.  

Here are the first dates:

September 17: Quebec City, QC - the Videotron Centre
September 20: Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
September 28 – Winnipeg, MB - Bell MTS Place
September 30 – Edmonton, AB - Rogers Place

John Lennon hand-drawn birthday card to Pattie Harrison up for auction

Via the Daily Express:

A RARE quirky hand-drawn birthday card John Lennon made for George Harrison's wife is tipped to sell for £12,000. The Beatle drew the card, which shows five naked figures of Lennon sitting cross-legged, for model and photographer Pattie Boyd's 24th birthday in 1968. 

...The card has been kept by Boyd but she has now chosen to sell it at auction.

Stephen Maycock, from London auctioneers Bonhams, said: "John Lennon gave this to Pattie Boyd on her birthday on March 17, 1968 when they were in India.

"The Beatles were there in February and March. We know that Lennon did at least two cards because another one he made for Mike Love of the Beach Boys who was also there, previously sold at auction in the 1980s.


Vintage Apple Boutique jacket

Monday, July 2, 2018

New TMOQ video features Paul McCartney collaborations

Collectors Music Reviews posted details about a new video compilation from the HMC TMOQ label featuring 40 Paul McCartney performances alongside other artists, including U2, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Ringo and more.

Here's the cover art:

New "Yellow Submarine" theatrical release features "bouncing ball" sing-along lyrics

I've confirmed via a publicist for Abramorama Films that the restored version of "The Yellow Submarine" in theaters this month is a "sing-along version" featuring "bouncing ball" lyrics.

A recent article on Deadline took a snide view of this, stating:

Is it too much to imagine that most people would remember the lyrics to such Beatles classics featured in the movie from the title song to Eleanor Rigby, When I’m Sixty-Four, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, and All You Need Is Love?

But I have a hard time viewing this as a big deal, especially in light of the fact that the original, 1968, "Yellow Submarine" included lyrics on "All Together Now."

Encouraging audiences to sing along during a screen seems celebratory to me, and provides a too-seldom-these-days opportunity to enjoy community with others. The Beatles were always good at providing such experiences.