Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Step inside Abbey Road Studios



Inside Abbey Road makes it possible for anyone around the world to step inside the iconic Abbey Road Studios - the spiritual home of British Music, and follow in the footsteps of musical legends. Explore the rooms, discover stories, historic images and videos, and play with innovative Abbey Road equipment. Click the link at the end of the video, or if you missed it, go here!
Created by Google.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Lennon 8LP boxed set: official word

Unfolding: It's "Walls and Bridges" again
Text found on the UK preorder webpage for the release.

Universal Music are proud to present Lennon, a stunning new 8LP boxed collection featuring John Lennon’s eight solo studio albums on heavyweight, 180-gram audiophile vinyl with faithfully replicated original album art.

John Lennon’s eight solo studio albums were remastered from their original analogue masters in 2010, by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at Abbey Road Studios in London and by George Marino at Avatar Studios in New York. These LP’s have been newly cut to vinyl from those 96k digital files for Lennon, cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios and manufactured for the world by Optimal Media in Germany.

Each of the Lennon collection’s LPs is an authentic reproduction of its U.K. original, in its sound and visual presentation. In keeping with the original album artwork, Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner bag, Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeve, Walls and Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, an eight-page booklet and inner sleeve, and Mind Games, Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey also include reproductions of their original inner sleeves.

The eight studio albums are; John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), Imagine (1971), Some Time In New York City (1972), Mind Games (1973), Walls and Bridges (1974), Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975), Double Fantasy (1980) and Milk and Honey (1984).

So basically, we were right on the money.

Paul McCartney: Secret RSD release

New white label 12" 'secret' release
Paul McCartney has had pressed up a limited number of white label vinyl 12” "Sweet Thrash Mix" of "Hope For The Future". In the grooves you will find two exclusive mixes of "Hope For The Future" not available on standard limited edition 12 inch record. The record is supposed to be a hidden gem for customers to find on Record Store Day. Participating stores have been told to quietly place the record in the Paul McCartney bin before opening their store that day. They are specifically advised not to place it among the other Record Store Day exclusives. When a customer brings it to the register to purchase, the clerk is asked to tell them about the rarity of this release and take their picture. The store is then requested to tag the store in a social media post with the hashtag #RSDMCCARTNEY. We don't know how many of these have been pressed up, rumours are there are only 100 copies.
Nice idea Paul, but wrong song selection. We would have been thrilled if it was "Carnival of Light".

Even though Record Store Day is in three days from now, the record is already starting to appear on ebay at inflated prices.

Happy treasure hunting!

Ringo's Skechers commercial

Ringo has become one of the spokespersons for the shoe brand "Skechers".
The first commercial of Ringo advertising the shoe brand "Skechers" has been released, check it out below.



Ringo has a history of advertising various products. One of the commercials he made in the past was for Pizza Hut. In a recent interview, Ringo revealed that he has never even tasted pizza. And if you take a look at that commercial, you'll notice he doesn't dig in like the others.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Lennon: 8LP boxed set for May

This 8LP boxed set from 1981 sold well.
An LP boxed set containing 8 John Lennon albums is due out May 25 in the UK and 22 May in Germany from Calderstone. The boxed set is also listed on Amazon in other countries, like Japan and Spain.
We don't have any images of the new boxed set, we don't know which albums are to be included, or which mixes will be featured on the vinyl discs, but we are willing to make a guess.
John Lennon's catalogue of studio albums has been redone several times in recent years, and has also been subject to remixing.

The 1981 boxed set depicted above contained the albums "Live Peace In Toronto", "John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band", "Imagine", "Sometime In New York City", "Walls & Bridges", "Mind Games", "Rock 'N' Roll" and "Shaved Fish", each in their original picture sleeves with original inners and inserts, all housed in a in 13" square silver picture box. The none-inclusion of the "Double Fantasy" album was due to the fact that this was an EMI boxed set, whereas the "Double Fantasy" album was controlled by Geffen.

All Lennon albums are now on Universal Music, so if they are going to dwell on the studio albums, we guess that the albums in the new boxed set are likely to be "John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band", "Imagine", "Sometime In New York City", "Walls & Bridges", "Mind Games", "Rock 'N' Roll", "Double Fantasy" and the posthumous "Milk and Honey". 180 gram vinyl seems to be the new industry standard, and likely to be applied to this collection.
After some time of Yoko-commissioned remixes having been favoured, recent rereleases have gone back to Lennon's own original mixes, so we think this is also likely to be the case with the vinyl albums in this new box.

Albums that have fallen by the wayside whereas new editions or repressings are concerned:
- "Menlove Ave."
- "Live in New York City"

All other albums have been re-released extensively, but these two are still only available in their original 1986 incarnations.

"Live in New York City" has undergone some reworkings in recent years, both the concert video and its soundtrack, fans are expecting the results to be released for the 75th anniversary of Lennon's birth October 9, 2015.

For Record Store Day in 2011, a ltd ed boxed set "Imagine" was released.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Ticket To Ride uploaded in full



Yesterday, the full version of the "Ticket To Ride" promotional film (ie music video) was uploaded on YouTube by The Beatles' official channel on the anniversary of the release of the single, sadly only in 480p quality. This is the second time this year they have uploaded a complete music video to celebrate an anniversary, on February 10 they uploaded the full "A Day In The Life" video. After it had been up around a week, they set the video mode to "private", thus disabling it for viewing. Expect the same to happen with "Ticket To Ride".
Is this a new trend? Is it a way of utilizing the promotional clips thay had assembled for the unrealised music video collection of last year?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Elton, Paul and Rod

Rod "the mod" and Paul McCartney shared the stage at the "Party at the Palace" concert in 2002.
Rod shares the microphone with Ozzy Osbourne and Paul with Cliff Richard.
"Artist Direct" and lots of other sources including U.K. tabloid "The Sun" informs us that Elton John, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart will headline a special concert celebrating the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, aka VE Day. The gig will be 1940s-themed and it will commemorate the end of the Second World War in 1945. It will be held at London's Horse Guards Parade on May 9.
No doubt, Paul and Rod will be crooning songs from the fourties from Rod's "The Great American Songbook" album series and Paul's "Kisses on the Bottom" album. Paul and Rod acted as "best men" at Ronnie Wood's wedding in 2012.
The wartime singer Dame Vera Lynn (97) will also appear during the event, which will broadcast live in the U.K.
VE Day will be marked over the course of the three days in May, with parades and shows being held in the streets. The gig will be in between Paul's concert in Seoul, South Korea on May 2 and his concert at London's O2 on May 23.

Source: ArtistDirect.com

Cardboard garden gnome and more

Photo courtesy of Heritage auctions
A cardboard garden gnome from the cover of the Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" will hit the auction block on April 18 as part of Heritage Auctions' entertainment and music memorabilia sale. The prop was signed by all four band members following pop artist and designer Peter Blake's album cover photo shoot.

Consignment director Dean Harmeyer calls the figure "a true rarity and a cornerstone piece of any Beatles collection." On the cover, the cardboard gnome sits just to the right of George Harrison's leg.

The gnome was kept as a momento by an assistant to photographer Michael Cooper when the shoot wrapped on March 30, 1967. The item has a buyers premium of $17,500 and a current online bid of $14,000 (online bidding began March 30 and will culminate in a live auction that will run April 18-19). It is expected to hammer for as much as $25,000.

Photo courtesy of Heritage auctions
A special Beatles selection in the auction includes four exceedingly rare lots of animation art relating to The Beatles Cartoon Series (estimates: from $800+ up to $3,000+), which ran on ABC-TV from 1965 to 1967. Included are original production cels, background art, storyboards, and more, which originally came from the collection of veteran animator Frank Andrina, who gifted them to renowned animation sculptor Kent Melton in the 1990s, who has consigned them to the auction.

The process of animating the shows was highly decentralized and spread across several countries to expedite the process, which has made original material from the Beatles cartoon exceedingly difficult to find and very uncommon at auction. In fact, the mini-archive presented here represents more total material from The Beatles Cartoon Series than Heritage has offered in its total history.

The sixties' version Apple wristwatch.

Other lots in the auction are autographed tour programmes and albums, "butcher" versions of "Yesterday....and Today" in various states, in both mono and stereo, an Apple watch (no, not the current iPhone extension), an Apple crate to house the albums, and various memorabilia, vinyl singles. EPs and albums, as well as acetates and the "Our first four" Apple promotional package.

Link to auction

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Paul McCartney Explains The Beatles White Album Cover



In this radio segment, Paul McCartney talks about the making of the White album cover and poster.


Ringo on Breakfast with The Beatles

Chris Carter with Ringo Starr.
Listen to Chris Carter's Breakfast with the Beatles featuring Ringo Starr as a guest. Click the link below and scroll down on the page to find the show.

Link

Also, Sara has a nice story from the taping of Ringo's interview on her Meet The Beatles For Real blog.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Beatles on Ready Steady Go!

The Beatles, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield,
Eden Kane and Keith Fordyce on the set of RSG!
Ready Steady Go! (or RSG!) was a British rock/pop music television programme every Friday evening from August 1963 until 23 December 1966. It was conceived by Elkan Allan, head of Rediffusion TV. Allans wanted a light entertainment programme different from the "bums and tits" style of light entertainment transmitted by ATV. The programme was produced without scenery or costumes and with a minimum of choreography and make-up. Allan recruited a fellow journalist, Francis Hitching, as producer. Hitching became a major figure in light entertainment in the 1960s. Robert Fleming was the first director, followed by the documentary director Rollo Gamble, then Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Daphne Shadwell and Peter Croft.

The programme was produced by Associated-Rediffusion, the weekday ITV contractor for London, called Rediffusion-London after 1964. The live show was eventually networked nationally.

20 March 1964: John Lennon on Ready Steady Go!
The show gained its highest ratings on 20 March 1964 when it featured the Beatles being interviewed and performing "It Won't Be Long", "You Can't Do That" and "Can't Buy Me Love". That particular show also starred Dusty Springfield, Bobby Vee, The Animals, Alma Cogan and Millicent Martin. With the growing increase in popularity the show was extended and moved to a 50 minute slot starting at 6:08 p.m.

20 March 1964
The Beatles performed on the show on three occasions. Unlike their appearances on other regular UK TV shows "Top of the Pops" and "Thank Your Lucky Stars", all Beatles material from "Ready Steady Go!" has survived. In the eighties, this material was used to produce several archival episodes of "Ready Steady Go!" for TV as well as products for the home video market.

The show went out early on Friday evenings with the line "The weekend starts here!", and was introduced by the Surfaris' "Wipe Out", later by Manfred Mann's "5-4-3-2-1", then Manfred Mann's "Hubble Bubble, Toil and Trouble", then the Stones, lastly, with "Goin Home"). It was more youth-orientated and informal than its BBC rival (from 1964), "Top of the Pops". It was notable for featuring the audience as dancers and for the interaction of artists and audience. Artists appeared on different mini-stages, sometimes on studio gantries and stairs, or on the main floor for solo artists, closely surrounded by the audience. The producers choose the audience in London clubs, picking out the best or the most fashionably dressed dancers. This ensured a hip audience in tune with the artists.
20 March 1964

Initially, RSG! artists mimed but by late 1964 some performed live, and the show switched to all-live performances in April 1965. It was noted for allowing artists to perform the full version of songs rather than short versions demanded by other shows.

The show was recorded at small studios in Rediffusion's headquarters in Kingsway, London. Although the company had bigger facilities at Wembley, it was easier to attract stars and audiences to central London. The best known presenters of the show were Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan, though early shows were introduced by Dusty Springfield.



Paul is being interviewed by Cathy McGowan
Cathy McGowan was recruited as an advisor from 600 applicants, and had been in the fashion department of "Woman's Own". While McGowan had answered an advert for 'a typical teenager' to work as an advisor, she found herself presenting the show. Her strength was that her status as a fan of the artists was evident in her style; stumbling over her lines, losing her cool and apparent inexperience only made her more popular, and by the end she was presenting the show alone. She may have been the inspiration for Susan Campy from the Beatles' 1964 film "A Hard Day's Night", when George Harrison tells the producer of a fictitious teen television show that Campy is "... that posh bird who gets everything wrong", to which the producer played by Kenneth Haigh replies, "She's a trendsetter. It's her profession." McGowan was the same age as the national audience; she wore all the latest trendy shifts and mini-dresses; and she spoke with an earnest, ceaseless barrage of teenage slang, praising whatever was 'fab' or 'smashing', and damning all that was 'square' or 'out'.


Cathy McGowan: "Keith Fordyce, the other presenter on the show, was down to interview John, leaving me with Paul, George and Ringo. Bit of a job, you might think, interviewing three Beatles. That's what I thought. But they could not have been more considerate. They sat down with me over tea to help work out the kind of things we might discuss. During transmission, they seemed to sense when I was having to think hard about the next question, and they just kept on talking till I was ready. They even asked me questions from time to time". From Keith Badman's book: "The Beatles Off The Record".

Friday 4 October, 1963

October 4, 1963: adrift in collarless suits
The Beatles performed three songs during their first of three appearances on Ready, Steady, Go!

Hauled in on a platform
The show was recorded at Television House on London's Kingsway. During the afternoon The Beatles rehearsed for the cameras, and recording took place from 6.15pm onwards.

"A friend was designing sets for Ready, Steady, Go!, and he invited me to their first live TV performance. They were wearing the famous grey, buttoned-up suits, which really stood out at the time. I was the only one at the rehearsal when they played this song. To me it sounded like very good rock 'n' roll. But it wasn't just the music, it was their personalities, the way they looked, the whole thing."  Peter Blake, artist.

The Beatles mimed to "Twist And Shout", "I'll Get You" and "She Loves You", and were interviewed by hosts Dusty Springfield and host Keith Fordyce. Helen Shapiro made an appearance performing the song "Look Who It Is" in a sequence with three of The Beatles. When asked why only three of the four Beatles (facing away from the cameras until she turns them around) she advised "The song had just three verses, so only three of them could appear. They flipped a coin, or something, to see who would be on, and Paul came up short."

During a competition of miming performances, Paul McCartney was the judge, and he chose Melanie Coe as the winner. A few years later, Melanie created news headlines when she ran away from home. The headline inspired McCartney to pen his song "She's Leaving Home", not realising that he had actually met the girl!

The episode was transmitted from 6.15-7pm. The performance of "She Loves You" was repeated on RSG! on 8 November 1963, and the full set was shown again during a special New Year show on 31 December.

Friday, 20 March, 1964

Recording took place at Television House on London's Kingsway. Following a quick rehearsal The Beatles appeared on the show, which was broadcast live from 6.15pm-7pm.

The Beatles mimed to three songs: "It Won't Be Long", "You Can't Do That" and "Can't Buy Me Love".

During the show they also took part in a mock fashion parade and were given an award from US magazine Billboard in recognition of holding the top three singles chart positions simultaneously. They were also interviewed by host Cathy McGowan.

The performance of "Can't Buy Me Love" was broadcast again at 6.10pm on 24 April, during the show Ready, Steady, Go To Montreux!, and again on 15 July 1965 on the programme "Pick Of The Songs".

"In March 1964 The Beatles were appearing and a huge crowd started to form in the morning up Kingsway. When we opened the big glass doors at the front of the building there was mayhem and the doors buckled and nearly smashed. The police had to be called and several avid fans managed to get in through the boiler room. Good for them! Suddenly the meaning of FAME and how big they were hit home." Vicki Wickham, editor of the original Ready Steady Go! series, and also Dusty Springfield’s manager.
Judging a fans' art contest, two of the judges disagreed. 

Monday 23 November 1964

The Beatles recorded their third and final performance for pop music show Ready, Steady, Go!, this time at Wembley Studios in London.

Members of the audience clapped and danced while the group performed. The Beatles mimed to four songs: "I Feel Fine", "She's A Woman", "Baby's In Black" and "Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!". They were also interviewed by presenter Keith Fordyce.

The recording was edited into the 27 November 1964 edition of the show, broadcast from 6.08-7pm on the ITV network.


Friday 16 April 1965

In early 1965 the Musicians' Union threatened to 'black' the show if the lip-synch miming to recorded music wasn't stopped by 31st March, so April 1965 saw a temporary name change to 'Ready Steady Goes Live' to highlight the fact that, for the first time, all the artists were actually singing, and performing to live backing music. After having performed on the show Ready, Steady, Go! on three prior occasions, The Beatles preferred not to do so again. However, in order to promote their "Ticket To Ride" single, John Lennon and George Harrison gave an interview at production company Rediffusion's Wembley Studios.

The Good Friday show was broadcast live from 6.08-7pm. Lennon and Harrison were interviewed by the host Cathy McGowan. The other guests included Adam Faith, Doris Troy, The Kinks and Herman's Hermits.
20 March 1964 rehearsal
In late 1966, when the 'beat boom' was fading, the show was cancelled, despite its popularity. Michael Lindsay-Hogg: "Most of the shows were wiped because tape was so expensive, so stuff like the James Brown special and The Who special are gone forever. I took home £37 a week but, every so often, I'd buy a video tape and preserve it. It cost me £1 a minute, but the only reason any shows survive is because I did that."

According to "LostShows", out of an original total of 178 episodes, 170 episodes are missing and a further 3 are incomplete.

Eighties revival

In December 1981, it was announced that drummer Dave Clark from the Dave Clark Five had bought all footage and copyrights to the surviving recordings from the estate of the original production company and planned to release it worldwide. Lucky for him and us, all the Beatles' appearances on the show had been preserved. Compilations released on VHS as well as Beta video cassettes included a Beatles live special and The Sounds of Motown special edition. A video cassette series titled Volume one, respectively two and three were also compiled from many performances with different groups and artists on the show.

Released by Picture Music International in association with Dave Clark International, the following Beatles performances were included.

Ready Steady Go! Volume 1 released in November 1983, featured The Beatles' performances of "You Can't Do That" and "Can't Buy Me Love" from March 1964.

Ready Steady Go! Volume 2 released in May 1984, featured The Beatles' performances of "Twist and Shout" and "She Loves You" from the 1963 show.

Ready Steady Go! Volume 3 released in November 1984, featured The Beatles' performances of "She's A Woman", "Baby's In Black" and "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey" from November 1964, as well as interviews with the Beatles.

In June 1985, the first of seven TV episodes titled "The Weekend starts here" (catch phrase of the original RSG! series) was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK and during its run, the television series had quite a bit more footage than previously released on video cassettes.

In the USA, the then adult Disney Channel broadcast the series in 1989 and the video cassettes were also released as laserdiscs by Pioneer - Picture Music International.

In Japan and Norway, a special edition of just The Beatles' performances on Ready Steady Go! was released on laserdisc (Japan) and video cassette (Norway).

Japan Laserdisc
The contents of this laserdisc/video cassette was:
  1. Love Me Do (just played over captions)
  2. Twist and Shout
  3. Interview with George
  4. I'll Get You
  5. Interview with John
  6. She Loves You
  7. Interview with John, Paul, George and Ringo
  8. It Won't Be Long
  9. Interview with the group including Billboard award for singles no 1, 2 and 3 in the US chart and an interview with Paul.
  10. You Can't Do That
  11. Interview with George
  12. Can't Buy Me Love
  13. Interview with Ringo
  14. Please Mr Postman (over shots of the group, Ringo dancing) Interview with John about his book
  15. I Feel Fine
  16. This Boy (over shots of the group with fans' painting contest)
  17. She's A Woman
  18. Baby's In Black
  19. Interview with the group
  20. Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!
  21. Interview with the group
  22. Yesterday (footage of Liverpool in the sixties)
  23. Let It Be (music over end captions)
Ready Steady Go! has not been officially released on DVD or Blu-ray, and this of course has given bootleggers a lucrative market for their products.

A list of the mimed performances from RSG! and where they were officially released:

"Twist And Shout" Ready Steady Go! Volume 2 and the Norway/Japan release
"I'll Get You" Ready Steady Go! Volume 2 and the Norway/Japan release
"She Loves You" The Norway/Japan release
"It Won't Be Long" The Norway/Japan release
"You Can't Do That" Ready Steady Go! Volume 1 and the Norway/Japan release
"Can't Buy Me Love" Ready Steady Go! Volume 1 and the Norway/Japan release
"I Feel Fine" The Norway/Japan release
"She's A Woman" Ready Steady Go! Volume 3 and the Norway/Japan release
"Baby's In Black" Ready Steady Go! Volume 3 and the Norway/Japan release
"Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!" Ready Steady Go! Volume 3 and the Norway/Japan release

Advertising poster for the Ready Steady Go! Special Edition
 The Beatles Live release on VHS and Beta.
An April 1985 "Ready Steady Go! Special Edition; The Beatles Live" video release was a different thing entirely. It was not really part of the Ready Steady Go! series, the release consisted of just the Beatles' musical part of the 1964 show, "Around The Beatles". You may remember that in the original 1964 TV show, they also did a humorous take on a scene from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The songs were not really performed live either, the Beatles mimed to pre-recorded audio, especially recorded for the show.

Songs performed, or should I say mimed to: "Twist And Shout", "Roll Over Beethoven", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Long Tall Sally", a unique medley of hits consisting of "Love Me Do", "Please Please Me", "From Me To You", "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand", going straight into full length versions of "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Shout!" (the Lulu hit).





At the time of writing, all existing Beatles footage from the Ready Steady Go! series is available on YouTube, courtesy of various uploaders.

Sources:
Wikipedia
The Beatles Bible

Resources:
RSG! Sixties Episode guide
1980's Episode guide

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A couple of "Top Of The Pops" stories

The Beatles on Top Of The Pops 1966. Photo: Ron Howard.
I was re-editing and translating into Norwegian my 2014 article about The Beatles' appearances on "Top Of The Pops" for the "Norwegian Wood" magazine, when I came across a recent (2015 but no date given) interview of 87 year old photographer Ron Howard. He was key photographer on the set of "Top Of The Pops" from 1964 to 1972, and as such he was present during The Beatles' only live appearance on the show in 1966, performing "Paperback Writer" and "Rain".
Howard used to sell his photos to girl teen magazine "Jackie", who paid him £12 per roll of film. Of the photos he took of The Beatles, he says “I shot three rolls and sent the films straight to Jackie. They paid me £12-a-roll which seemed OK at the time but I can’t imagine how much they would be worth now. I did try getting the negatives back but no one knew where they were.They said they’d been swapped with other magazines. It was just one of those things.”

Ron remembers huge excitement when The Beatles arrived at the studio. “They came in with a whole security team, they even had food-tasters.” People often ask Howard what the Fab Four were really like, but his reply often disappoints. “They were very nice,very pleasant and very professional but I never got a chance to really know them. They were just The Beatles. In all I probably spent about an hour with them.”

The photo that goes with the article is also very interesting, because it captures The Beatles in performance, with a crowd watching. As far as I can remember, all other photos I have seen from the event were taken at the rehearsals, before people were let in.

You can read the full length interview with more photos and Howard also reminiscing about other acts over at Dancing Ledge...

Alec Bray tracking the Mole crane.
I also happened to come across another nice article, which contained an eye-witness report of the filming of The Beatles' first specially prefilmed performance for Top Of The Pops, miming to "Can't Buy Me Love" and "You Can't Do That".  Alec Bray worked in BBC TV Technical Operations, and was operating a crane called "the Mole crane", which housed the TV camera and the camera operator.  Over to Bray:

"On Thursday19th March 1964, we arrived with some expectations. During the day the rumour mill churned – we were going to do an insert for 'Top of the Pops'".

"We set up for the insert. The Mole crane was lined up on its tracking 'ramp' – this was a narrow stage-level extension that ran where the theatre central aisle would have been back under the Dress circle to the back of the theatre: it meant that camera one (on the Mole) could track back to get a nice wide shot of the stage area. I was tracking the Mole."

"At the back of the stage was a large rostrum, on which was placed a full drum kit. In front of this, some feet behind the Proscenium arch were marks for three other members of the group, standing in line across the stage."

"The first shot of the insert was a shot over the head of the drummer on camera one, followed by a fast track back to a full wide shot. We got the Mole in close to the rostrum, and then on cue went full speed backwards down the tracking ramp to the back of the theatre. And then the director said 'Can’t you go any faster?' Thankfully, the senior cameraman replied over studio sound that we were going as fast as we could. (A Mole at full speed down the theatre tracking ramp was quite a sight). Anyway, after rehearsing with stand-ins, in came the performers – John, Paul, George and Ringo. This was to be the Beatles first (ever) appearance on 'Top of the Pops', singing 'Can’t buy Me Love'. Control lever fully back, brake on: 'Cut Camera 1': brake off, rocket back down the theatre. So, if you ever want to see a Mole in full flight, remember the first shot on 'Can’t Buy Me Love'. It must, must be somewhere, as we did it as a film telerecording, not a VT." (Sadly, no surviving copy of this film has ever appeared, not that we're aware of, anyway.)

"After recording 'Can’t buy Me Love', we reset to rehearse and record 'You Can’t Do That'. The Beatles went to the dressing rooms and we did the stagger through and first rehearsals with stand-ins."

"When the Beatles came out for the final rehearsals, John, who was over on the left-hand side of the stage (as viewed from the camera positions), looked down on the floor and noticed the floor marks. 'Is this where I am supposed to stand?' he said. Well, the floor manager(s) hadn’t heard him, or ignored him, so I shouted out from the back of the Mole, 'Yeah, come any forward of those marks and we will hit you!'"

"We had a nice shot to do. It started as a wide shot of all four of the Beatles, and then we were to track in and swing the Mole arm so that the camera pivoted round a medium close up of John and then swing back to reveal a three-shot of John, Paul and George across the stage (the Mole had to do a curved track to achieve this!). On the recording, the coordination between the tracker and the swinger was not quite there, and the swing started slightly too late. The result was that the front of the Mole platform passed just a few inches in front of John’s face. Well, he corpsed. (Yeah, OK, we nearly knocked out a Beatle). So there was a retake."

"On the following Wednesday, 25th March, 'Can’t buy Me Love' and Take 2 of 'You Can’t Do That' were transmitted as part of Top of the Pops. Over the next few weeks, the film telerecording inserts were repeated, but I am convinced that on one occasion, TOTP showed Take 1 of 'You Can’t Do That' with John grinning all over his face."

"As an aside, it was quite difficult to escape from the Theatre that night – there were throngs of screaming girls all round the place. I had to walk some distance to collect my car, and I could hear the girls screaming all the way."

Bray's report was published in 2013 on tech-ops.co.uk

The information in this article has been incorporated into my original article about the Beatles on Top of the Pops.

Cynthia revealed who "the other woman" was

Alma Cogan and The Beatles
In an extraordinary turn of events, the death of Cynthia Lennon has brought about a revelation, as told in yesterday's Daily Mail: Cynthia believed that the other woman in her relationship with John was not Yoko Ono, but Alma Cogan. More than 25 years ago, Cynthia told her would-be biographer Lesley Ann Jones this, and Jones is the writer of the article.

John had an affair with Alma Cogan, a singer eight years older than himself. According to Cynthia, he believed Alma to be the reincarnation of his mother Julia. After Cogan's death of ovarian cancer in 1966, Yoko appeared, just a fortnight into his grief. She was this obsessive fan who’d turn up and follow him around.

"She irritated the life out of John to begin with. But Alma died and something odd happened to John. Things turned. Yoko must have seen her opportunity and seized it. She wore the trousers and would control and dominate John for the rest of his life. Yoko was John’s new Aunt Mimi. She worked out what John needed in a woman, right under my nose, and she reinvented herself," Cynthia told Jones.

Cogan – who was known as ‘the girl with the laugh in her voice’ – was the highest-paid British woman entertainer of the 1950s. She became a household name with the advent of television. Born Alma Angela Cohen to a Russian-Romanian Jewish family in London’s Whitechapel, she had her first hit, Bell Bottom Blues, in April 1954 – four years before the death of John Lennon’s mother.

Cynthia said: "She was this typical East End Jewish glamour girl, with a heart of gold, a beehive and these amazing frocks – not the sort of thing I’d ever have been seen dead in myself. She was a bit passé. Her songs were all 1950s America froth like Dreamboat and Sugartime."

"When John and I were at Liverpool College of Art, Alma Cogan was a big star. John couldn’t stand her, he used to take the mickey out of her all the time. He’d do this wicked impersonation of her. At the time, I would never in a million years have thought that he could have fallen for a woman so much older than him, whose music he couldn’t bear and who he ridiculed mercilessly. But he couldn’t help himself."


When The Beatles became famous and shared a bill with Cogan on TV’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium, it was inevitable that they would join the guest list of Cogan’s legendary parties at her opulent flat in Kensington, West London. "I never got invited, I was kept under wraps,’ said Cynthia."

Lennon and Cogan started a secret relationship, but well-meaning friends told Cynthia that John and Alma were booking into hotels using aliases such as ‘Mr and Mrs Winston’ –  and even sporting disguises.

When Alma died aged 34, John was inconsolable. Crazed with grief, he confessed to Cynthia that Alma was a reincarnation of his late mother. After her death, Cynthia believed that John found his new ‘Aunt Mimi replacement’ in Yoko Ono. Yoko was smart enough to realise what Lennon was looking for in a woman, and reinvented herself accordingly, Cynthia believed. "She wore the trousers and would control and dominate John for the rest of his life."

Read the full story: The Daily Mail

Of course, the fact that John Lennon did have an affair with Alma Cogan is not news in the fan community (see our post from 2013 about the Lennon/Cogan relationship), but we had no idea how serious Cynthia thought the relationship was, and the effect of Cogan's death on the upcoming Ono/Lennon affair.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Ringo Starr cancels Regina concert


Ringo and his All Starr Band had been scheduled to perform in Regina, Saskatchewan, at the Brandt Centre on October 14. However, Evraz Place officials said Thursday the concert has been cancelled due to "scheduling conflicts". Meanwhile, other western Canadian shows planned for around the same time (there are October shows in Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary) are still on.
Source: CBC News

Here are the October dates of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.

Oct 1 The Masonic, San Francisco, CA
Oct 2 Vina Robles Ampitheater, Paso Robles, CA
Oct 3 Field of Dreams, Sonoma, CA
Oct 6 Century Link Arena, Boise, ID
Oct 8 Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Victoria, BC
Oct 9 Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver, BC
Oct 10 South Okanagan Event Ctr, Penticton, BC
Oct 12 Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AL
Oct 13 Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, AL
Oct 14 Brandt Centre, Regina, SA
Oct 16 State Theater, Minneapolis, MN
Oct 17 Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI
Oct 18 Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
Oct 20 Massey Hall Toronto, ON
Oct 21 St Denis Theatre Montreal, QU
Oct 23 Wang Theater, Boston, MA
Oct 24 Foxwood Theater, Mashantucket, CT
Oct 25 State Theater, New Brunswick, NJ
Oct 27 Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 28 Lyric Opera House, Baltimore, MD
Oct 30 Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA
Oct 31 Kings Theater, Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Kanye, Rihanna and Paul in London

The unlikely trio
Kanye West is hosting another surprise performance in London tonight, this time with PaulMcCartney and Rihanna at The Scotch Of St James! Back in 1965, Paul first met young Stevie Wonder in that same nightclub.

1965 at The Scotch of St James


PS: This may well have been an April Fool's Day news item from The Scotch of St James on their Facebook page...