Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Beatlefan #252 out now!

Pieces by yours truly and more in the new issue. Check it out!

Details:
Beatlefan #252 has Bruce Spizer and Brad Hundt evaluating the new “Let It Be” box set, while Al Sussman traces the long and winding history of releases from the sessions that wound up producing the album, and Ken Sharp talks with Giles Martin, producer of the new set and its new remix, and Glyn Johns, who assembled the original unissued “Get Back” album. 
We also look back 50 years to the beginnings of Paul McCartney’s Wings, with Bruce Spizer tracing the “Wild Life” sessions and John Firehammer looking at how the debut LP from Paul’s new band was received. And, we finish off Al Sussman's look at the music of 1976 and Ken Sharp's chats with some of the people involved in making George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.” Plus, of course, we have the latest news (including Ringo’s “Change the World” media blitz), and reviews of new recordings and books.
For more information on how you can get this issue, or subscribe to Beatlefan, email goodypress@gmail.com or go to the relaunched beatlefan.com.

Vintage Yoko Ono ad for "Approximately Infinite Universe" LP

Monday, October 25, 2021

Beatles' "Let it Be" is back on the charts 51 years later


Billboard reports strong sales (by today's standards) of the Beatles "Let it Be" reissues.

The Beatles’ Let It Be surges back onto the Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Oct. 30), re-entering at No. 5 following its deluxe special edition reissue on Oct. 15. The set was first released in 1970 as the final studio effort from the band, and also doubled as the soundtrack to the documentary film of the same name. The album spent four weeks atop the Billboard 200 (June 13 – July 4, 1970-dated charts) and is one of a record 19 No. 1 albums for the group.

...Let It Be earned 55,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 21 (up 3,899%), according to MRC Data. Of that sum, album sales comprise 48,000 (up 11,570%; making it the top-selling album of the week), SEA units comprise 6,000 (up 589%; equaling 8.34 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 1,000 (up 1,180%).

...The Let It Be reissue also makes waves on other Billboard album charts. It re-enters at No. 1 on Top Album Sales, Catalog Albums, Soundtracks and Tastemaker Albums – marking its first week atop all four charts.

Paul McCartney says he's stopping signing autographs

Paul McCartney in Reader's Digest says he's stopped signing autographs and isn't keen on selfies, either.

"It always struck me as a bit strange - 'here, can I write your name down on the back of this till receipt please?' Why? We both know who I am."

....The 'Let it Be' hitmaker also doesn't understand why anyone would want a poor-quality selfie with the 79-year-old icon and insisted he would rather have a nice chat with his fans.

He added: "What you've usually got is a ropey photo with a poor backdrop and me looking a bit miserable. Let's chat, let's exchange stories." 

Richard Avedon Beatles' prints sell for $1 million

Details from Christie's:

On Friday, the 15th of October, Christie’s sold set of dye transfer prints of the Beatles by photographer Richard Avedon (from an edition of 6 + 3 APs) for a total of $1,015,000 USD.

This is the 3rd highest Avedon price achieved at a public auction, and the 2nd highest in the past year, following the record-shattering price established by Christie’s for Dovima with Elephants at $1.8M.

RICHARD AVEDON (1923-2004)

The Beatles, London, August 11, 1967

each signed and numbered ‘AP 1/3’ in ink (in the margins); each signed and numbered ‘AP 1/3’ in pencil with copyright credit reproduction limitation, title, date and medium stamped; each with respective negative numbers ‘494′ ‘120A’ ‘295’ and ‘383’ in pencil (on the reverse)

dye transfer prints, in four parts

each image: 21 ½ x 17 ½in. (54.6 x 44.4cm.)

each sheet: 26 x 21 5/8in. (66 x 54.9cm.)

Photographed in 1967 and printed in 1990, this portfolio is artist’s proof number one from an edition of six, plus three artist’s proofs

Vintage Beatles pic

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Listen: New Paul McCartney interview on BBC Radio's "This Cultural Life"

Listen here.

Details:

Paul McCartney talks to John Wilson about his key influences and inspirations. In a candid conversation, in which he discusses his relationship with John Lennon, the break-up of The Beatles and his six decade career, he reveals some of his most formative artistic experiences and his creative process.

Vintage Beatles pic

Friday, October 22, 2021

Photographer Ethan Russell recalls shooting the "Let it Be" book

Ethan Russell's  photos of the Beatles were included in a booklet included with early pressings of the Let it Be album in England, and also are prominently displayed in the album's new reissue package, along with the companion book to director Peter Jackson's "The Beatles: Get Back" documentary coming to Disney+ this Thanksgiving.

He discusses his work with the Beatles and other stars in a new interview with the California News Times.

One day I was talking about a previous photo of John and Yoko. I said I was going to the studio. They told me they didn’t need me, but I got off anyway.Neil when I got down there [Aspinall, an Apple executive] He appeared and said, “We have decided to take you down.” So I went and got a camera. No one told me what to do.

Neil said, “You can come all day.” And I said, “I will not do it for three days.” I don’t understand why these things come out of my mouth. After that, I showed the photo to press agent Derek Taylor. [Apple executive] Peter Brown’s office. I used to project pictures on the walls, they looked good and it was hell as a place to take pictures. I used it well and took big wide shots.

Suddenly Paul McCartney came in and John came with Yoko and George Harrison. They hired me for a longer period after they saw the pictures. Then someone said, “I should do a book,” and I went to balance the shoot.

New Ringo video for "Rock Around the Clock"

Ringo sings the Bill Haley hit on his new EP, Change the World.

First pic of actor Jacob Fortune-Loyd as Brian Epstein in "Midas Man"

Jacob Fortune-Loyd ("The Queen's Gambit") strikes a pose as Beatles manager Brian Epstein in the upcoming biopic, "Midas Man." Actress Rosie Day ("Outlander") will play singer Cilla Black, Variety announced.

“One of the reasons we loved Jacob for this role is that Brian Epstein was the personification of dapper, quintessential charisma, and Jacob felt like the man to bring that to life,” said the film’s producer Kevin Procter in a statement. “The fact that he’s been able to do just that to such electrifying effect in one image shows that we have the right guy.”

Fortune-Lloyd added: “It has been inspiring to learn about Brian’s life and his achievements, and it is an enormous honour to represent him on screen. His style is a key ingredient to my understanding of his character. It reveals his flair, creativity, sensitivity and good taste. And his fastidious elegance was also a kind of armour against a challenging, sometimes dangerous world.”

More here

Vintage Beatles pic: George

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Japanese "Let it Be" Super Deluxe Edition features different take of "For You Blue"

Hang on to your bootlegs... Chip Madinger and Mark Easter, authors of the excellent Lennonlogy reference, report that a Japanese edition of the new "Let it Be" box contains a different take of George Harrison's "For You Blue."

Here's their post:

For nearly 40 years, nearly since the advent of the CD, The Beatles and Apple have managed to keep the digital contents of the group and solo catalogs strictly consistent around the world. There have been a few exceptions, such as the run of Canadian Help! and Rubber Soul CDs that featured the original 1965 mixes and not George Martin's 1987 remixes, or the initial US pressing of The Capitol Albums Vol. Two which included “folddown” mono mixes rather than the true mono mixes. However, not since the original UK-manufactured CD of Paul McCartney’s Press To Play, with the 10" mix of 'Press', has a single anomaly slipped out to market. Until now.

While listening to the streaming version of Glyn Johns' May 1969 mix of the Get Back album, from the new Let It Be Super Deluxe Edition, keen-eared collector Yosi Noz noted that 'For You Blue' was actually Johns' 1970 mix, which contained a new lead vocal recorded in January of that year. It was once he played his physical copy of the Japanese SHM-CD Let It Be SDE, that he noted the correct "1969 Mix" of 'For You Blue' was in place, rather than the 1970 mix he had heard in the ether.

It has now been verified that the true 1969 mix of 'For You Blue' appears exclusively on the Japanese SHM-CD Let It Be SDE (Disc 4, Track 7). All other digital platforms, including the universal SDE and its hi-res counterpart, include the 1970 Glyn Johns mix (prefaced by the complete introduction with two false starts) which is erroneously labeled "1969 Mix."

Who knows what, if any, corrective action will be taken. It's unknown specifically which of the two mixes Apple intended to put on the package. It is unlikely that more SDEs will be manufactured, so substitution on future editions is unlikely. The most likely course of action would be to make corrected copies of the disc available for exchange. But with profit margins so thin, it is possible that this anomaly will remain buried on the Japanese SDE.

On a side note, in his overview of the SDE's contents, which has appeared in several online outlets, including the Steve Hoffman music forum and The Daily Beatle website, Mike Carrera's assertion that the universal SDE used a copy of Dr. Ebbetts’ fan-released disc Get Back - Glyn John's Mix #1 as its source, for this and other tracks, is unfounded. Other black-market releases of Get Back have used an edited reconstruction of the introduction (specifically Vigotone's 1999 release, Get Back - The Glyn Johns Final Compilation), not to mention that both the 1969 and 1970 editions of the Dr. Ebbetts Get Back discs run at a different speed with the channels reversed and the phase inverted when compared to the new commercial release. That's not to say that Apple didn't construct their own introduction, just that they used a source superior to any of the well-known bootleg releases.

In the end, what is exciting for collectors is that a genuine alternate version, the genuine 1969 Glyn Johns mix of 'For You Blue' has appeared exclusively on the Japanese SHM-CD SDE. It is an expensive proposition to spend an additional $200 on less than three minutes of music, but it is likely that this will remain a bona fide rarity and that copies will dry up quickly.

Chip Madinger & Mark Easter, with special thanks to Yosi Noz. www.lennonology.com 

Vintage Beatles automatic calendar

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Paul McCartney: "How I wrote 'Eleanor Rigby'"

The New Yorker publishes an excerpt from Paul's upcoming "Lyrics" book. 

Growing up, I knew a lot of old ladies—partly through what was called Bob-a-Job Week, when Scouts did chores for a shilling. You’d get a shilling for cleaning out a shed or mowing a lawn. I wanted to write a song that would sum them up. Eleanor Rigby is based on an old lady that I got on with very well. I don’t even know how I first met “Eleanor Rigby,” but I would go around to her house, and not just once or twice. I found out that she lived on her own, so I would go around there and just chat, which is sort of crazy if you think about me being some young Liverpool guy. Later, I would offer to go and get her shopping. She’d give me a list and I’d bring the stuff back, and we’d sit in her kitchen. I still vividly remember the kitchen, because she had a little crystal-radio set. That’s not a brand name; it actually had a crystal inside it. Crystal radios were quite popular in the nineteen-twenties and thirties. So I would visit, and just hearing her stories enriched my soul and influenced the songs I would later write.

More here

Vintage Beatles Apple Boutique mug

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Vintage Beatles "Let it Be" lobby cards, Germany

Beatle Quotes: Guitarist Julian Lage on George

"George Harrison was one of the great arrangers, orchestrators and composers with his solos."
                                                                                                   - Jazz guitarist Julian Lage

Monday, October 11, 2021

Paul talks about "Get Back," "Lyrics" and finishing Lennon's "Now and Then" in new interview

The New Yorker has a lengthy interview with Paul this week focused on "The Beatles: Get Back" film, his "Lyrics" book, and more. Many repeated tales, of course, but there is this nugget:

After Lennon died, Ono gave the surviving members demos that he’d recorded at home. McCartney, Starr, and Harrison worked on three, but added tracks only to “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.” Now McCartney wants to fill out the last of them, “Now and Then,” even though Harrison had declared the song “fucking rubbish.” McCartney also wants to go back on the road, a life that he finds invigorating. “I’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said. “So another me takes over: Professional Performing Paul—the triple ‘P’!” If the question is “Why do you keep at it?,” the answer is plain: “I plan to continue living. That’s the central idea.”

 

Vintage Beatles pic

Sunday, October 10, 2021

John split up the Beatles, Paul says in new interview

John Lennon initiated the Beatles' split, Paul McCartney emphasizes in an upcoming BBC interview.

"I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said I am leaving the Beatles. Is that instigating the split, or not?,” Paul tells John Wilson on This Cultural Life,  which airs later this month on Radio 4.

According to an advance look at the show published in The Guardian:

Confusion about who caused the break-up arose because the group’s new manager, Allen Klein, told them to keep quiet about the split while he concluded some business deals. “So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney tells Wilson. “It was weird because we all knew it was the end of the Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away.” Eventually, McCartney became unhappy with the subterfuge and “let the cat out of the bag” because “I was fed up of hiding it.”

Remembering the unpleasant atmosphere at the time and the “dodgy” influence of Klein, McCartney said: “Around about that time we were having little meetings and it was horrible. It was the opposite of what we were. We were musicians not meeting people,” he said. The split became inevitable, he believes, because John “wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. And you couldn’t argue with that.” Yet he does not hold Yoko responsible, he adds. “They were a great couple. There was huge strength there.”

The lawyers, he claims, were brought in to protect the Beatles legacy: “I had to fight and the only way I could fight was in suing the other Beatles, because they were going with Klein. And they thanked me for it years later. But I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny coming in one day and saying ‘I’m leaving the group’.”

Vintage Beatles Yellow Submarine Gift Book