Friday, 4 September 2015

Tug of War remixes

Paul McCartney has now released a sample of the new 2015 remix of Tug of War. 
And here's the remastered single edit of "Take It Away".

Thursday, 3 September 2015

McCartney featured on new single

Cover art
Paul McCartney is one of a heap of artists featured on a new single due out September 4th on iTunes, called "Love Song To The Earth". The global release is scheduled for September 11.
With only a few months until world leaders gather in Paris to draft and sign meaningful legislation to fight climate change, a handful of music legends and celebrities have come together to record a new single aimed at building awareness and support.

When the U.N. asked me to write a song about climate change, I felt honored and inspired," singer/songwriter Toby Gad shared in a statement. "So, my friends and I wrote ‘Love Song To The Earth,’ focusing on a positive message about how precious our only planet is."

The piece, called "Love Song to the Earth," is collaborative effort from Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis, Sean Paul, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, Angelique Kidjo (a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), Kelsea Ballerini, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Grimmie, Victoria Justice and Q’Orianka Kilcher.

What if the Beatles never broke up?

Peter Lee has maintained a blog called Hooks and Harmony since 2008, dedicated to pop music and 80s music. Now he is coming out with a new novel, titled "The Death and Life of Mal Evans."

The book speculates what would have happened if the Beatles had stayed together during the 1970s, as seen through the eyes of Beatles assistant and roadie Mal Evans. Evans, near death from a gunshot wound in 1976, gets a chance to relive a crucial moment when the Beatles began to break up in 1969, and change musical history.

In the alternate reality Evans creates, these Beatle albums do get created, but not without some difficulty. John and Paul are constantly arguing, George is second guessing his work, and Ringo has trouble living up to the Beatle name. And during this time, Evans is constantly running from Death, which is trying to ruin his dream.

The book is available from

Behind the Lens with Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd with George Harrison.
Meet Pattie Boyd! "Behind the Lens Featuring Henry Diltz and Pattie Boyd" is a Morrison Hotel Gallery production, which is doing a September tour in USA.

Henry Diltz is a music photographer with over 400,000 images in his archive and 400 album covers to his name.  He has now teamed up with Pattie Boyd, and together their photos should be of interest to rock and roll fans. Pattie's photos are intimate portraits of George Harrison, the Beatles and Eric Clapton, among others.

In this show, the artists will be present to share their amazing stories and iconic images, and it's a multimedia presentation.

September 10, 2015: Los Angeles, CA - Largo (sold out)
September 13, 2015: Nashville, TN - City Winery
September 16, 2015: Chicago,IL - City Winery
September 21, 2015: New York, NY - City Winery
September 23, 2015: Fall River, MA - Narrows Center For The Arts

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Mark Lewisohn about the upcoming volumes

The paperback edition of "Tune In" is published September 3, 2015.
Renowned Beatles author Mark Lewisohn was a guest at BeatleWeek in Liverpool this year, and had a session called "Ask Mark", a revival of his BeatleWeek sessions in the eighties. Here, he discussed not only volume one, "Tune in" of his Beatles biographic trilogy in the making, but also revealed a bit about the two upcoming volumes.

As a matter of fact, the first question posed was "How's book two coming along?". Lewisohn is still thinking that volume two will come out in 2020. He is still researching, and writing hasn't started. There is already enough material to write a substantial volume two, which he could start writing right away, but he hasn't yet turned every stone, and wants to be absolutely correct before he starts the writing process.  And he says that he is discovering something new almost on a daily basis, so it does indeed look as if there are still a lot of unturned stones. Volume two will be completely different from what he first imagined it would be, and he still has no title of volumes two and three. And no, they will not be called "Turn on" and "Drop out".

One of the interesting questions put to Lewisohn at the very end of the Q&A session was why the Beatles took such a long break exactly 50 years ago. Returning from their American tour on September 1st, 1965, collectively The Beatles did nothing for six weeks, which did make the creative process of writing and recording "Rubber Soul" in time for the Christmas market a difficult and rushed one. Lewisohn had no firm answer to this, but let it be known that the times when they went out of the public eye were as interesting as the rest of their story. This is one of the reasons why further research is needed before the writing of volume two can commence.

New material, stories and people from the period covered in volume one, "Tune In" has turned up after it's publication, but will not be included in the upcoming paperback edition of that book. Lewisohn says that it will be used in some way, but is still not sure how and when.

The people whose lives we have been following in "Tune in" will also be featured in the upcoming volumes. We are talking about the people who were left behind, people like Allan Williams, Bob Wooler, Rory Storm, Pete and Mona Best etc. As their lives were still influenced by the Beatles and their success, we will get to see what happened to them along the way.

Fortunately, someone recorded the Q&A session and put it up on YouTube:

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

BBC radio drama Elvis meets the Beatles

Elvis meets the Beatles
Yesterday, BBC Radio 2 sent a radio dramatisation of the meeting between The Beatles and Elvis Presley. It is now available for online listening from this webpage.

BBC Radio 2 marks the 50th anniversary of a momentous meeting between Elvis Presley and the young pretenders of pop The Beatles.

Starring Tom Hughes as John Lennon, this drama is inspired by a secret meeting that took place in Elvis's Bel Air mansion on August 27 1965. That night is probably the most seismic meeting in music. No cameras, no recording equipment - and only those who were there really know what happened. When Elvis Met The Beatles recreates that evening, bringing alive the story when they met exactly 50 years ago, inviting listeners to be a fly on the wall.

Written by Jeff Young, the drama puts music at the heart of their meeting. Listeners will hear how music broke the ice between the two parties, discover what songs were played on Elvis' Jukebox and who sang what in a mythical jam session. This wasn't just the meeting of the two biggest music names in history - it was passing of the baton from the King of Rock 'n' Roll to the upstarts from Liverpool.

Tom Hughes, star of recently acclaimed BBC Two drama The Game, plays John Lennon, alongside Kevin Mains as Elvis Presley (he previously played Paul McCartney in ITV's Cilla and Elvis in the West End production of Million Dollar Quartet).

Tom says: "It's said that you shouldn't meet your heroes, I'm not sure that's true. John Lennon is a hero of mine. I'll never have the chance to meet him, so playing him is the next best thing. I was delighted to be asked and I just hope that in some way I've done this great man justice."

Other cast include Tom Dunlea as Ringo (All Is By My Side, and he played the same Beatle in Cilla), Shaun Mason (Luther, Good Cop) as Paul McCartney, Michael Hawkins as George Harrison (a role he also played in Cilla), Daniel Lapaine (Zero Dark Thirty, Muriel's Wedding) as Brian Epstein, and Colin Stinton (The Bourne Ultimatum, Foyle's War) playing Colonel Tom Parker. Music is from leading Elvis tribute act, Pete Storm, and members of Imagine The Beatles, with Paul McCartney sung by Rob Simpson, John Lennon by Geoff Raggett and George Harrison by Adj Buffone.

The drama is by Liverpool-based screenwriter and playwright, Jeff Young, one of the BBC's most experienced radio dramatists with over 25 radio plays broadcast in the last 20 years, plus a major stage adaptation of The Who's Quadrophenia which toured the UK in 2009.

Jeff Young says: "I was a big Beatles fan when I was younger, but for this project, initially, I knew very little about the Elvis and Beatles meeting. Then as I began researching the story, the strangeness of the meeting and the psychological dimensions, the dramatic opportunities became obvious. The larger than life characters involved, including Brian Epstein and Colonel Tom Parker, all set against a backdrop of corrupt American politics and the disastrous war in Vietnam, made for a strange and compelling narrative".

"The piece that has emerged is a kind of fake documentary. Elvis's life was an American Tragedy and the seeds of it are sown here in this meeting between the King and the pretenders to the throne. The Beatles were so young, bewildered and overwhelmed by their rapid rise to fame. In writing this drama I went back my old Beatles records and I became a Beatles fan, all over again.".

Monday, 31 August 2015

121 new Beatles photos

The Beatles on stage in Copenhagen. Photo: Johan Brun. From Digitalt Museum.
The Beatles never came to Norway, but photographer Johan Brun from the Norwegian newspaper "Dagbladet" was sent to Copenhagen when the Fab Three plus Jimmy Nicol had their concerts there on 4. June 1964. Now the 121 stunning black and white photos are available online at the Norwegian Digital Museum, most of them probably for the first time ever. As well as the concerts, the photos also cover the Beatles arrival at the airport, a press conference and their departure. Rather a large number of photos focus on the mania and the audience, but there are also quite a few wonderful photos of the Beatles themselves.

The fab three. Photo Johan Brun. From Digitalt Museum.
You can view all the photos spread across six pages on the website of the Digital Museum.

Monday, 24 August 2015

McCartney: Take it Away edit released

Paul is the cover boy, in this 1982 incarnation.
The new "Uncut" magazine is out tomorrow in Britain, and features an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney. They visit Sir Paul at his studio in Sussex where he talks openly about working with and without John Lennon – and discusses extensively the relationship that revolutionised music.

“When I think of John, I think of us writing together,” says McCartney. “‘A Day In The Life‘… stuff like that.”

Uncut has also gotten an audio exclusive, in the form of a 4:05 single edit of the track "Take It Away". The version is available via SoundCloud, but only accessible from the Uncut page. The single edit has previously available on the original vinyl single, as well as on the Wingspan album. It is also featured on a Rolling Stone webpage, and you can even download an mp3 from the download section of Paul McCartney's website (requires that you have registered your email address with the website). This version of the song is not scheduled to appear on the upcoming archival edition of the "Tug of War" album. The edit has been remastered in 2015 for promotional purposes only.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Lennon and McCartney in October

Rehearsals for the One to One concerts
Yesterday, the official John Lennon accounts on Facebook and Instagram published the above photo from the One to One rehearsal. The caption went:
Which one would you like to have heard?
On this day 20 Aug 1972 - At the Fillmore East at 105 2nd Ave & E6th St, NYC, John & Yoko and Elephants Memory rehearsed a series of songs for the upcoming ONE TO ONE Concert at Madison Square Garden:

Cold Turkey
Give Peace A Chance
Come Together
Well Well Well
New York City
Instant Karma
It's So Hard
O Sisters O Sisters
Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
Don't Worry Kyoko
It's Only Make Believe
Open Your Box
We're All Water
Move On Fast
Roll Over Beethoven
Unchained Melody
New York City
Long Tall Sally
Hound Dog
Mind Train
Back Off Boogaloo
Bunny Hop

The posting has further boosted the rumour mill about an upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of the recently revised film and audio recordings from these concert. At the request of Yoko, Jack Douglas has been working on these recording for some time now, as technology has finally caught up with how poorly this was recorded. Footage earlier deemed unusable for the 1985 video cassette/laser disc releases has now been improved enough by new techniques to be slated for inclusion.

If the photo really is a teaser for an upcoming release, it's likely that the release date will be on or around October 9, when Lennon would have celebrated his 75th birthday.

Live Peace in Toronto 2015
And just a few hours ago, Paul McCartney's website and Facebook account announced the first published date of Sir Paul's autumn tour, with a date in Toronto, Canada - October 17th.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Beatles concert to air on the radio

Celebrating fifty years since The Beatles played their one and only Minnesota concert, at the (Old) Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, local radio station WDGY has produced an hour-long retrospective on the show, including the Beatles' entire 35-minute performance and audio of the press conference they held beforehand. The show will air at 5 p.m. Friday on 740 AM and 107.2 FM HD. The broadcast will also be available at
Although The Beatles toured America three times between 1964 and 1966 they performed one time only in Minnesota, in the middle of their 1965 US tour and played to an estimated audience of 25,000 fans, on August 21, 1965. That was the only concert of the tour that was not sold out, the capacity of the stadium was 45,000.
Some of the empty seats at the stadium.
Arriving at the airport, The Beatles were attacked by 3-4,000 crazed fans when they got off their chartered plane at 4:15 pm. Ringo was the first off the plane and a fan pushed through the cyclone fence and yanked at him.  Paul may have been accosted as well. Plans for picture taking were abandoned and they barely got into their car before the mob escaped the 60 Bloomington policemen.

Before the concert, the Fab Four held a press conference in the Minnesota Room of the stadium. Facing them were 12 microphones, 5 TV cameras, 150 reporters, and a few teenage "observers" who had won a contest.  Most of the questions were silly but then so were most of the answers. Also at the press conference, a Rickenbacker 360-12 electric 12-string guitar in a Fireglo red sunburst finish was presented to George Harrison on behalf of the musicians of Minnesota.

George gets a new guitar.
At the concert, "Twist and Shout" was reportedly not performed because John had throat problems. They performed 11 songs in 35 minutes:

She's A Woman
I Feel Fine
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Ticket To Ride
Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
Can't Buy Me Love
Baby's In Black
I Wanna Be Your Man
A Hard Day's Night
I'm Down

The Beatles on stage at the stadium.
During the concert, a helicopter hired by one of the competing radio stations came hovering over the stadium at one point, prompting Lennon to fire at it with his guitar mimicking a rifle.

An amateur recording of the concert started to appear around 2002, sourced from a cassette copy of another cassette which had been transferred from an original reel to reel tape in the seventies. The audio files had been processed in Cool Edit by the uploader to enhance them. The resulting 128/44 mono MP3's were available for download in the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.beatles newsgroup. These mp3-files were later used by one of the downloaders to make a bootleg compact disc. Here's the story of the original reel-to-reel tape recording, as recounted in 2004 by the person who taped it:

"I'm the person who originally taped the Beatle concert at Met Stadium. I had no clue that my recording might be the only existing copy of the Met Stadium concert. I haven't paid much attention to the bootleg concert market or any of that. In August of 65, I was a nerdy kid with a cheap Sears tape recorder. I went to the concert with a friend. As I recall, we sat about 8-10 rows from the field, just a bit beyond what would be first base at a ball game."

"I didn't tape any of the opening acts because I wanted to save my batteries. I waited until the Beatles were playing to start the recorder, but I did not miss any songs. The Beatles did not play 'Twist and Shout'. The first song, 'She's a Woman' does have a short missing part. The reason for this is, in my stupid excitement, I was pressing down on the lid of my Sears special and I had stopped the reels. I could see this through a little window in the recorder's tin lid. In the first part of the tape my friend and I were goofing around, making silly noises and watching the little VU meter bounce. It's embarrassing to think that there are all sorts of people listening to this nonsense (and cursing it for spoiling the Beatle noise). But please, cut us a break. We were just kids and had no clue."

"I'm sure others have written about the concert itself. I remember the radio DJ's of the day telling everyone that the Beatles wanted everyone to have a good time, but asked that people save the screaming for the times between songs. That seemed to have a great effect. In spite of the poor sound on the tape, my memory is that I heard the music very well. When the songs ended though, it was deafening. My parents were in the parking lot during the concert and they said the same thing. I wonder if I would have gotten a better recording if I had just left the tape machine with them."
"Another thing I remember about the concert is that &*@#! helicopter. Didn't people realize that they were witnessing history? :-)"

"So here we are, many years later. I recently acquired a working reel-to-reel and have gone through my old tapes. I've located an early copy of the recording, but I'm not sure if it's the original. Unfortunately, it's an old acetate tape in bad condition. The best copy of the recording I have is a cassette version that was made in the early seventies. The MP3's that are circulating are from that copy."

So, perhaps the original tape has been found, cleaned up and used to produce the concert portion of tomorrow's radio broadcast? Let's hope so!

The day will also be celebrated by an earlier two hour live radio broadcast from the Hard Rock Cafe, where invited guests will reminisc about the concert. A photo exhibition from the Bob Bonis collection will also take place at the Mall of America, which stands on the site of the old Metropolitan Stadium, where The Beatles played.

More about the events of the day:
More about The Beatles' visit to Bloomington: Instamatic Memories (PDF)

UPDATE: The wording on the radio station's web page sounds like they are not airing the concert at all, but recreating the set list by playing records. Here's what they are saying: "WDGY and Dennis Mitchell, the host of Breakfast with the Beatles produced a special one hour show with story’s (sic), insight and the original concert set list."

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hamburg Beatles collection on the market

George Harrison at the Beatles' living quarters in the cinema building across the street from the Indra Club.
German Beatles expert, fan, historian and collector Uwe Blaschke died in 2010, leaving a vast collection of memorabilia from The Beatles' Hamburg days behind. He used to display his collection on the website The collection has now been divided into lots, and is for sale via Heritage Auctions. Among the amazing things there are several signed items, including unique one-of-a-kind items like letters and postcards, but also the original recording contract with Polydor for the Tony Sheridan sessions, which has been getting attention by the media at large. There are items from clubs the Beatles played in Hamburg, the Indra Club, Kaiserkeller, Top Ten Club and the Star Club. I want the pig-shaped tip jar from the Star Club ;-)
The auction also features lots from later on in The Beatles' career.

Here's a promotional video for the auction, which is held September 19-20.

You can take a closer look at the auction lots here.

Update: Indra photo found

The five Beatles at the Indra Club, Hamburg, August 1960.
Having just arrived at the Indra Club in Hamburg, fifty-five years ago, five piece band The Beatles was photographed inside the club, wearing their lilac stage costumes. At least one of the stage photos was used to promote the band at the club and was made into a postcard. Others, like the one above, showed them in a more casual pose, standing by the Indra bar.
The above photo includes the missing piece we requested in our last blog post. Clearly scanned from some magazine or newspaper, our reader Guus Limberger found the photo at the now defunct "The Gilly" Beatles photo blog. That blog was famous among the fans for posting images of the Beatles which had remained unseen for ages, due to the keeper of the blog constantly scanning images from vintage publications.
Many of the photos distributed to magazines in the sixties were used once and then either filed away, becoming victims of later fires, or binned after the photo had been published. Unfortunately, some of the photographers sold their negatives - and these photos are now only available in scans of old magazines, newspapers, books or library microfilms of the original publications. Hanne, keeper of The Gilly blog used all these sources for her blog posts.
In the case of this particular photo, we know that at least one uncropped vintage print still exists in Pete Best's collection, due to it's partial inclusion in his Best of The Beatles DVD.

This image is usually shown in a cropped version, where bass guitar player Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best have both been removed, like this:

The common version of this photo.
As you can see, this image is in a much better quality than the vintage scan, and it also has a little more bottom and slightly more top - so there's still room for improvements. Here's a composite I made from the two versions of the photo:

The two images, one on top of the other.
Pete seemed to carry his drumsticks with him. We also have a lot more of the Indra wall behind Pete, compared to this earlier composite made by Chazz Avery, which had Stu and Pete inserted from a video still.

An earlier restoration, still with a bit missing.
Anyway, thanks to Guus Limberger for sending us the complete photo from "The Gilly", and hopefully some day we will see a good quality version of the complete photo. This is rather a historic photo session, since it was The Beatles' very first engagement as professional musicians, their first concerts in a foreign country, and the first step on a road that took them everywhere.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The missing piece

Paul, John and George at the bar, Indra Club, Hamburg, August 1960.
Fifty-five years ago today, The Beatles started their professional career as musicians. Leaving jobs, school and parents behind, they had left Liverpool to start their residency as a bar band in Hamburg's Indra Club, near the Reeperbahn. A series of photos were taken while they were there, not many - just a handful. The photo depicted above of Paul, John and George at the Indra bar is one of them.

This is how the photo is usually presented to us, but something is missing. The full photo shows the full band, with Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best standing next to them. Pete Best has the complete photo, and a part of it was shown on his Best Of The Beatles DVD.
For his excellent website of photos of the early Beatles, Chazz Avery has matched a still from the DVD with the one we all knew, resulting in this image.

Stu and Pete restored back in, from a partly shown image in a DVD film.
I've tried to get in touch with Roag and Rory Best to ask them publish the complete photo, but haven't gotten any answer back.

When the Beatles museum in Hamburg was in operation, all the images of The Beatles at the Indra club were on display, but this particular photo was taken from Avery's website and cleverly positioned behind one of the other photos to disguise the fact that it was, in fact, incomplete.

Can you help? If you have a complete version of this photo, get in touch. Or if you know Pete, Rory or Roag, show them this blog post.

The Shea Vox continental organ

Playing with his elbow, John Lennon at Shea Stadium, 1965.
The Vox Continental Portable Organ used by John Lennon at the historic August 15, 1965, Shea Stadium concert, as well as the Beatles' August 13, 1965 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and on the studio recording of "I'm Down" didn't last long.

The actual organ used at Shea Stadium in 1965.
In front of a crowd of 55 600, Lennon closed out the most famous concert in history with a frenzied rendition of "I'm Down", in which he wildly pounded on the offered keyboard, resulting in the organ not working properly for the next show in Toronto on August 17.
The next day in Atlanta, the organ was traded in for a functioning Vox Continental organ from the Thomas Organ Center - The Vox Shoppe, the exchange being completed by a local Atlanta policeman. At the concert in Atlanta they had a rare opportunity to hear the organ in concert, as the stage was equipped with something of a rarity for the Beatles in those days, monitor speakers!

It was done especially for The Beatles. FB 'Duke' Mewborn, the boss of Atlanta hi-fi store Baker Audio, decided to give the group something that had never been done before: monitor speakers on the stage, pointing towards the group, to allow them to hear their voices and instruments.
"It was adequate. We got over it, we were on top of it. You could hear them amidst the screaming," commented Mewborn.
It wasn't just on stage that the sound was different. The state-of-the-art setup on the field included four Altec 1570 amplifiers, each giving 175 watts of sound, which in turn powered two stacks of Altec A7 speakers. Although unremarkable today, in 1965 it was an unheard of amount of power for a pop concert. The difference was noted from the stage, with Paul McCartney exclaiming after "She's A Woman": "It's loud, isn't it? Great!"
Being able to hear themselves enabled The Beatles to play tighter than usual, and they were delighted with the results. Afterwards, Brian Epstein suggested that Mewborn deal with the sound for their other shows, but the offer was turned down.

The organ remained in the possession of the owner of The Vox Shoppe in Atlanta for nearly four decades.
The organ itself is distinguished by a non-standard Vox Continental logo adhered to the front of the case, which is clearly visible in pictures and film from the event and from the set of The Ed Sullivan Show two days prior.
Before auctioning away the organ in 2008 at Christies's Punk/Rock auction at New York's Rockefeller Plaza for $182,500, the original organ was repaired, keeping all the original parts (which were in pristine condition) and was fully functional at the time of the auction.

The organ features a four octave keyboard, wood weighted black and white keys (reversed), detachable Z-shaped chrome frame stand, orange top and accompanying cases.

Prior to the auction, the organ was featured in exhibitions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, Ohio, The Beatles Story in Liverpool and "John Lennon Unfinished Music" at Cite de la Musique in Paris.

I'm Down
"I'm Down" was specifically composed by McCartney to serve as the show closer, a studio version was recorded at the same day as "Yesterday" and released as the B-side of the "Help!" single and elsewhere. The Beatles had previously closed their shows with Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally", but wanted to be able to use one of their own songs as the closing rocker for their shows. Having tried for a while to write such a song, McCartney finally came up with "I'm Down". "That’s Paul…with a little help from me, I think," said John Lennon in 1980. Paul is quoted as saying, "I’m not sure if John had any input on it, in fact I don’t think he did.  But not wishing to be churlish, with most of these I’ll always credit him with 10 per cent just in case he fixed a word or offered a suggestion.  But at least 90 per cent of that would be mine."

"Long Tall Sally" was still used for their European tour in June/July, but starting with the fan club concert in Blackpool, August 1st, it was replaced by "I'm Down", just nine days after it had been released as the B-side to the "Help!" single in Britain. As we know, the song was the show closer for the USA tour in August. This was continued on the UK tour in December, and all in all "I'm Down" was performed at 34 concerts in 1965.

The song continued to be the set list closer in 1966, the first concert being the NME Poll Winners concert at Wembley Empire Pool, London, England on May 1, 1966. "I'm Down" was kept during the Bravo Beatles Blitztournee of Germany, as well as on their Far East tour of Manila and Tokyo.

Then came that final tour, the USA tour of 1966. Now The Beatles started to alternate between playing "I'm Down" and "Long Tall Sally". When the tour started at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, IL, on August 12, 1966 "I'm Down" was played at the afternoon concert at 3 pm, but substituted by "Long Tall Sally" for the evening's show at 7.30pm. This practice continued, whenever they played two concerts in a row somewhere, they would play "I'm Down" at one show and "Long Tall Sally" at the other. This rule is confirmed by the one exception, at both August 19 shows at the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN, "Long Tall Sally" was the featured closer. In the cities where they gave only one concert, "Long Tall Sally" was favoured, and was the closer of their last ever concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA on August 29. Their last performance of "I'm Down" was at one of their Seattle Center Coliseum concerts in Seattle, WA, on August 25, 1966.

As Paul McCartney was the principal singer of both songs, one would think that he would favour his own "I'm Down" when he started touring again, after The Beatles. However, it was "Long Tall Sally" that he chose to close the concerts on the Wings tour of 1972. In fact, he never sang "I'm Down" again, until the Concert For New York City at Madison Square Garden, New York, on October 20, 2001, where he opened with it. At the time, McCartney was criticised for opening with such an "unknown" Beatles song.

Another eight years went by, until he started playing the song regularly on his 2009 tour of USA. He performed it nine times in the middle of the set list during that tour, before again abandoning it. The performance of the song at Citi Field in New York City was released on a live CD & DVD album from the tour, "Good Evening New York City". In the concert film, "I'm Down" switches back and forth between McCartney's 2009 performance and The Beatles' 1965 performance at Shea Stadium. On the bonus DVD, the complete McCartney performance is shown.

If you want to know more about "I'm Down" you must be a Beatlemaniac, but here it is.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Meryl Streep at the Shea Stadium concert - the truth

Meryl Streep with dark hair and a cap at a Beatles concert at Shea Stadium.
One recently much publicised myth is that actress Meryl Streep was at the famous Beatles concert at Shea Stadium in August 1965, when she was a kid. Yes, Meryl was at a Beatles concert, yes it was at Shea Stadium. It just wasn't the famous 1965 concert but the largely forgotten 1966 concert at the same venue. Famously, the three surviving Beatles didn't even remember having played Shea Stadium twice when they were interviewed for the "Beatles Anthology" TV-series. Here's one of those YouTube clips who are pretending it's the 1965 concert:

In the clip, the TV reporter's line of questioning reflects the disappointing ticket sales, which makes him ask if the Beatles' popularity is on the decline.
Whereas the 1965 tour of the USA was a triumph with sold out venues everywhere, this was not the case with the 1966 tour, which came after a controversial statement from John Lennon about the Beatles' popularity versus that of Jesus Christ. The disappointing 1966 tour of USA ended with the Beatles giving up touring altogether.
Here's an older and longer version of the newsclip footage, which doesn't try to pass this off as the 1965 concert, but correctly identifies it as the 1966 Shea Stadium concert.

Born June 22, 1949, Meryl Streep was 17 at the time of the 1966 Shea Stadium concert in August. In 1990, she presented a Grammy lifetime achievement to Paul McCartney, and in 2013 she made an appearance in McCartney's music video to "Queenie Eye", filmed at Abbey Road studios in London.

The posting of this fact was spurred by the many claims that Streep was at the 1965 Shea Stadium Beatles concert. Unfortunately, this corrective will be a feeble attempt to set the record straight, as popularly believed myths usually triumph over the truth.