Sunday, 31 August 2008

Beatles-Platz opens in Hamburg

On September 11th, at 1 p.m. the First Mayor of Hamburg Ole von Beust will open the world's first Beatles-Platz. At 2 p.m. the Platz will be opened to the public. The monument for the world's most famous band is being build on Reeperbahn at the corner to Große Freiheit. For initiators Stephan Heller of Hamburg's radio station Oldie 95, Uriz von Oertzen and Frank Otto, both Hamburg businessmen, a dream is becoming true. After seven years of planning the City of Hamburg finally will receive a point of cultural and historical attraction which will no doubt become a new tourist highlight.

Thanks to donations of the people of Hamburg as well as the fans of the Beatles throughout the world, the financing of the project became possible. Moreover, major Hamburg companies, builders and contractors contributed large amounts of money. In addition to this, the Hamburg Ministry of Urban Development and Environment, the District Authority and the District Assembly of Hamburg-Mitte agreed to pay for half the costs. In total, costs of the Beatles-Platz amounted to 550,000 EUROs.

The draft of the Beatles-Platz has been made by Hamburg architects Franzis Stich and Carsten Dohse. The monument is showing an oversized turntable with a diameter of 29 meters. The concrete pavement of the Platz is covered with a luxurious and long lasting layer of black granite. The Platz has a stroboscope rim, with more than 100 high-tech square lights which are inserted into the ground. Furthermore, high-quality steel plates in which 70 tracks of the Beatles are engraved have been put into the grooves of the record. Life-size sculptures of the famous musicians made of stainless steel are the eye-catcher on the square. Thus, visitors can act as if they are posing with the Beatles.

Auction tape not sold

A tape of the Beatles performing in 1966 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada, estimated to sell for as much as $30,000 only reached a high bid of $16,000. The listing on their website says "reserve not yet met". Auction.

Friday, 29 August 2008

A Picture

Here's the italian single Rock And Roll Music/I'll Follow The Sun. Italy is reknown throughout the world of Beatles vinyl collectors for having some beautiful picture sleeves. They do seem to have reversed this picture, here's what it should have looked like:
The same picture, albeit cropped a bit, was used for the portuguese I Feel Fine single, another country who has some beautiful picture sleeves.
The germans obviously thought that this picture was very messy, so they removed everything surrounding the boys and used this sleeve for several of their single releases.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Wings Rockshow

Rockshow LaserdiscLaserdisc edition of Rockshow

One of my favourite concert movies, Rockshow was only shown briefly in movie theaters, and the closest to me was in Stockholm. But when it was released for home video in 1981, I finally got to see it. It had to be rented (in the early days video cassettes were rented, not sold), but after a couple of years I was also able to buy it. A missing title from DVD release plans, it's very popular among bootleg DVD's but sadly it's incomplete in most instances. Most bootleg DVD's are video cassette rips, and a select few are from the laserdisc. But both of these are incomplete, missing 7 songs from the theatrical version: "Call Me Back Again," "Lady Madonna," "The Long And Winding Road," "Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)," "Richard Cory," "You Gave Me The Answer" and "My Love". That's a video cassette rip. The laserdisc rip may be missing only six of these, as "Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)" is present on that disc.
Rockshow VHS
VHS cassette edition of Rockshow

In 1998, the american music TV station VH1 showed Rockshow as part of their McCartney week. That version was also incomplete, as it was missing the two songs "Spirits Of Ancient Egypt" & "Magneto and Titanium Man", but it did feature the previously missing seven songs.
The official "Wingspan" DVD had two songs from Rockshow as bonus material: "Jet" and "Let 'Em In".
The official "McCartney Years" DVD also had a few songs from Rockshow, including the previously missing "Lady Madonna", but sadly that was a cropped version as the "McCartney Years" DVD was produced with a fake widescreen look, accomplished by panning and scanning the original film.
The ideal DVD bootleg of Rockshow can be created by merging the laserdisc rip with the missing songs from VH1, substituting the laserdisc versions of "Jet" and "Let 'Em In" with their "Wingspan" counterparts, and utilising the soundtrack of the "McCartney Years" songs of the songs "Venus and Mars/Rock Show," "Jet," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Lady Madonna," "Listen to What the Man Said" and "Bluebird".
Rockshow DVDMeanwhile, the best looking version available seems to be this 2007 DVD, remastered by "Presence".

Friday, 22 August 2008

Ringo in Norway

Ringo Starr in Norway, 1971.
Ringo visited Norway back in 1971, to shoot some snow-filled footage for a TV show together with Cilla Black. When he was here, he was asked to participate in an insert for the 1971 Norwegian Telethon, an annual TV-based fundraising event. Money from the 1971 event was to go to refugees. Ringo was supposed to say that year's slogan: "Think... and give!" This was when Ringo was still drinking quite a lot, so much to the despair of the TV people, he slightly changed his line to "Drink! ...and give!".

Drink - and give!
Newspaper clipping.
While in Norway, Ringo also filmed a different promo for his song "It Don't Come Easy":

Filming Cilla's TV show:

The Snowman Song from the Cilla Black Show:

Eventually, Ringo returned to perform a concert in Norway, but not until 40 years later, in 2011.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Wings Over Norway

Items related to the first solo Beatle concert in Norway, when Wings played Njårdhallen in Oslo, Wednesday August 9th, 1972.
The first ad in a newspaper, complete with spelling mistakes.

The ticket, notice "The" Wings

© 1972 Espen Bratlie
Two photos by Espen Bratlie
© 1972 Åsmund Tynning
This photo was taken by Åsmund Tynning earlier in the concert, before Paul's jacket came off. Åsmund is guest at this year's Beatles Festival here in Norway, and will display many colour and black and white photos from the concert. He also shot some silent colour movie footage during the gig, which will be shown at the festival.

Rune Holtet was able to shoot some 8mm footage of the Wings bus arriving at the gig.

Link to the Beatles Festival

Monday, 18 August 2008

McCartney in Quebec

Finally, there's a dual layer DVD version of this concert available on the black market.

Shea at last

The Beatles had started an European tour which had opened in Paris on June 20th. After that, the tour had taken the band to Lyon and Nice, France, and to Italy and Spain. The third Beatles' US tour started on August 13rd when the band took off from Heathrow and landed at JFK. On that same day, the US version of Help! was released by Capitol. The US Tour would last until the end of the month and would lead the boys to New York, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. On the next day, August 14th, The Beatles went to the CBS studios for some rehearsals before taping performance for The Ed Sullivan Show in the evening.
The US tour really opened on August 15th with a concert organized by Sid Bernstein in New York at the Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets baseball team. This was the first time in the history of music that a stadium was used for a rock concert ! Seen by 55,600 fans, it created a new world record for a pop concert in terms of attendance and gross revenue. The Beatles' share of the $304,000 box-office takings was also a record - $160,000.
This concert had to be popularized through the media and no less than a dozen of cameramen staffs were ready to follow the Beatles' travel from their hotel to the stadium. A planned spectacular entry into the stadium by helicopter, landing on the baseball playing area, was first decided by the authorities of New York.
Instead, the group travelled both by car and by helicopter to reach the stadium. The police feared that fans would jam the tunnels in and out of Manhattan so the group was first escorted by limousine to the Manhattan East River Heliport and from there they flew over New York City to the roof of the World's Fair building in Queens. There they transferred from the helicopter to a Wells Fargo armoured van where they were each given a Wells Fargo agent badge.
As usual for those days, there was a full bill, and the 55,600 fans sat through the King Curtis Band, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, The Young Rascals and Sounds Incorporated before Ed Sullivan finally walked on stage to announce The Beatles:
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, honoured by their country, decorated by their Queen, loved here in America, here are The Beatles!"

Rushing out from the Wells Fargo van which had driven them into the stadium, The Beatles finally sprinted through a tunnel, out into a deafening wall of screams and onto the stage positioned at second base. The band did their standard 30-minute set of a dozen numbers and then, jumped straight back into the Wells Fargo van to escape the stadium. The set list was decided in the dressing room before the show and included twelve songs:

Twist And Shout
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

What a show ! The intense excitement of this record-breaking concert, mixed with a high degree of fan hysteria, resulted in a fantastic and unbelievable atmosphere ! The two thousand policemen, in charge of the security in the stadium, were driven mad by the shouting and stirring crowd. Vox had made some new and big special amplifiers devoted to the Beatles' tour. The usual power for such amplifiers was 30 W; now they were able to deliver a huge 100 W ! But that was still insufficient, the crowd screaming was stronger.

Fans were screaming all along the show and could hear almost nothing from the Beatles' performance...and it didn't matter, they wanted to see The Beatles, nothing more...
But this was a problem for the Fabulous Four who could neither hear what they played ! They had to look at each other to check whether they were still synchronised, unable to rely on Ringo's beat or on anyone else playing.
This was particularly hard for Ringo who stood behind the three others and who couldn't neither see them, nor hear them. When Paul started to perform I'm Down, John suddenly decided to react againt the crazy hysteria. He stopped playing seriously and went himself into a mad and funny performance, playing on the harmonium using his elbows - a la Jerry Lee Lewis. This funny sequence resulted in disturbing George who began to laugh and was soon unable to go on playing correctly, but who cared ?

In the audience that day were two girls who were desined to become future Beatle wives, Linda Eastman and Barbara Bach.

Together with the helicopter ride and backstage sequences, the show was filmed by Sullivan Productions (Ed Sullivan's company) in association with NEMS Enterprises (Brian Epstein's), and Subafilms Ltd (The Beatles' film company), utilizing twelve cameras and edited together as a documentary film called The Beatles At Shea Stadium. Its world premiere occured on Tuesday 1 March 1966 (BBC1) and was first broadcast in the United States on ABC on January 10, 1967. Not all of the Beatles' Shea set is in the film - She's A Woman and Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby are both omitted - and what is included was subjected to audio sweetening back in London. Additionally, throughout the film, the Beatles are heard via voice-overs, recorded by the US broadcaster Larry Kane.
Just as it would be naive to believe that the sound on live-concert rock music albums is ever truly live and undoctored, so the same is true for live-concert films. In the case of the Beatles' momentous 15 August 1965 Shea Stadium concert, the audio tapes specifically revealed not only musical flaws on the Beatles' part but also technical imperfections caused by the sheer size of the venue, the high-decibel screaming and the less than state-of-the-art mobile recording equipment around in 1965. To have screened unaltered such a high-profile film on peak-time television would have done the group a disservice.
So it was that, amid some secrecy, the Beatles came to CTS Studios in central London on 5 January 1966, to "sweeten" the soundtrack, by whatever means necessary, of their in-production television film The Beatles At Shea Stadium.
The session began with Paul only, overdubbing new bass tracks onto Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Can't Buy Me Love, Baby's In Black and I'm Down. Onto this latter song John also overdubbed a new organ track. More drastic repair work was then effected by the group as a whole, with entirely new recordings completed for two songs: I Feel Fine (done at George Martin's specific request) and Help! The Beatles strove to re-create a live-concert sound with these recordings rather than their more typical EMI studio feel, and they also had to match carefully their singing and playing with the on-screen images, hence the use of CTS, the premier audio-to-film dubbing studio in London. (CTS is an abbreviation for Cine Tele Sound.)
To fix Act Naturally the Beatles did nothing: the film's post-production team merely replaced the Shea recording with the Beatles' disc version (recorded 17 June 1965), syncing it to the picture by means of audience cutaways and even, in places, cuts in the music. (Intentionally or otherwise, one moment - where Ringo's vocal is evident but his mouth is closed - was left in the film uncorrected.)
Documentation also suggests that John wished to record a new version of Ticket To Ride, and that it was done during this CTS session, but close study of the film indicates that the original Shea version was used (although perhaps a little instrumental overdubbing was effected).
Additionally, George Martin desired a new recording of Twist And Shout, but there wasn't time to do this. Instead, the post-production team used the unreleased 30 August 1965 Hollywood Bowl concert recording to bolster the sound, causing - in one place - John's live vocal to be double - tracked. In fact, the Bowl recording was used extensively during the film's post-production processes for recordings of the screaming audience, especially on the two all-new London recordings.
No doctoring appears to have been done to either She's A Woman or Everybody's Trying To Be Baby, suggesting that, by this time, they had already been excluded from the film. They were, however, included in an early print which Epstein received from Sullivan Productions around 5 November 1965, which then ran to 54 minutes. By January, as it would be for the transmission, the film's duration had been cut to just under 48 minutes.

After it's premiere on the BBC1 in UK in 1966, it was shown a second and last time at Christmas 1979. That screening, along with screenings on other TV stations in other countries made it to the underground bootleg market and was widespread on video cassettes among Beatles video collectors in the 1980's.
When DVD's appeared, the earlier VHS and Betamax cassette versions started appearing on DVD records. In 2007, a 1967 ABC Master made it's debut on a DVD from Darthdisc, making it the best DVD version available at that time. Still, the heavily edited clips from The official Beatles Anthology DVD's and the clip of Dizzy Miss Lizzie shown on VH-1 to promote the Capitol Albums CD box showed that Apple has an even better transfer of the original film.
In 2006, a recording of the entire show sourced from the actual inline stadium public address system surfaced, and was sold via an internet auction by It's Only Rock'n'Roll. The recording offers a fascinating minute by minute document of the complete concert, including opening sets from King Curtis, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway and Sounds Incorporated. More importantly for fans, it offers the actual Beatles performance unaltered by overdubs and sweetening. By 2007, the recording was made available by bootleggers. Once the original sound was out among fans, people started making their own version of the Shea Stadium film, by replacing the original doctored sound with the actual sound of the concert. Several new DVD's appeared on the market, allowing fans to see and hear what the concert was actually like. Currently, a DVD produced by the anonymous company "MC" can be found in overground DVD shops as well as on legitimate DVD shops on the internet. And Apple Corps is again losing out on what would have been a lucrative product.

Thanks to "Maccafan" for most of the text on this piece, and to Mark Lewisohn for the quotes about the "doctoring" of the sound.
Maccafan's Shea Stadium site

The remastered Dizzy Miss Lizzie
A portion of Help! from the auctioned raw recording has muffled sound in the middle of the song, as evidenced here.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Setlist 1960

This list of songs was on display at the recent Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans. It's in Stu Sutcliffe's handwriting, and was compiled by Stu shortly after he joined The Beatles in early 1960 as their bass player. It is part of Jeff Augsburger's collection, and a great document showing which songs the band used to play back then.
1 Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry)
2 Gone Gone Gone (Jack Johnson)
3 Ain't She Sweet (Yellen - Ager)
4 Hallelujah, I Love Her So (Ray Charles)
5 Carol (Chuck Berry)
6 Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry)
7 Milk Cow Blues (Kokomo Arnold)
8 Move Over (Move It On Over by Hank Williams?)
9 True Love (Cole Porter) but probably Your True Love (Carl Perkins)
10 Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
11 Honey Don't (Carl Perkins)
12 Lend Me Your Comb (Kay Twomey, Fred Wise, Ben Weisman)
13 Dance In The Street (Gene Vincent)
14 Up A Lazy River (Hoagy Carmichael)
15 Somebody Like Me (Eddy Arnold)
16 Home (Lennon - McCartney?)
17 Winston's walk (Lennon - McCartney)
18 Cat's walk (McCartney) later retitled Cat Call
19 Roc-A-Chicka (Warner Mack)
20 Be Bop A Lula (Gene Vincent)
21 What'd I Say (Ray Charles)
22 Move On Down The Line (Roy Orbison)
23 I Don't Care (If The Sun Don't Shine) (Mack David)
24 Whole Lotta Shakin' (Williams - Hall)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

PC Live 3 and 4

Click for siteMy site chronicling underground Beatles releases by Purple Chick has been updated with the artwork for the current two releases from the prolific chick: Conquering America and Adelaide Reaction. Both are 2-disc albums from the very best sources available as usual.
Click for site

Monday, 11 August 2008

Tour programmes

Beatles tour programmes, 1963
The Beatles were keeping tour programme collectors busy in 1963, keeping up both with their tours and the collectable programmes. Note the three variations of one of these programmes, in white, silver and gold. Also, the Shapiro tour programme came in two different front covers and the Orbison programme supposedly exists with Roy listed first. I've also seen it with both acts in red letters.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

McCartney at l'Olympia

Paul McCartney at Paris Olympia, 2007.
Last October I entered a radio contest here in Norway and was lucky enough to win a flight to Paris for two, with concert tickets to go see Paul McCartney play at the Olympia. Naturally, I brought my girlfriend and we had a lovely time in Paris, my first visit to the city of lights for more than twenty years and her first ever visit to Paris as well as her first McCartney concert.

McCartney did a wonderful performance, and the audience was great, too. Last time he played the Olympia was with Wings back in 1972, the same tour that brought him to Oslo for the first time. He did one of the songs from that gig this time around, too: "C Moon". He was going to play the Olympia in 1991 on his short Unplugged summer tour (aka "The Secret Gigs tour"), but the concert was cancelled when Linda McCartney's father died. The 2007 show was to make up for that lost concert.

After having returned home, we knew that French TV was going to broadcast the entire concert, so I needed to locate someone in France who could record it for me. A couple of postings on a French message board for Beatles fans later, I did a trade - and was sent a DVD-R with the show. A great souvenir to re-live the experience.

The next thing that happened, was that the American TV network A&E was going to broadcast a one-hour special of the concert. I didn't think much about it, because I had a complete show, and the American version would cut out several songs.

But the other night I happened upon an ebay listing with an official version of the A&E special. Although this concert video is not available to the general public, apparently A&E are making presentation DVDs of the shows that they are sending to members of the EMMY awards jury. The one I found on ebay had both the McCartney special as well as an episode of "Dog The Bounty Hunter", but the accompanying cover concentrated on McCartney. I don't know how many of these packs A&E makes, but it proves to be a good alternative to buying underground releases.

  • Blackbird

  • Dance Tonight

  • Only Mama Knows

  • Flaming Pie

  • Got To Get You Into My Life

  • C Moon

  • The Long And Winding Road

  • I’ll Follow The Sun

  • That Was Me

  • Here Today

  • Calico Skies

  • Eleanor Rigby

  • Michelle

  • Band On The Run

  • Back In The USSR

  • House Of Wax

  • I’ve Got A Feeling

  • Live and Let Die

  • Hey Jude

  • Let It Be

  • Lady Madonna

  • I Saw Her Standing There

  • Get Back
Still, this is not for completists, as the US special only presented 11 of the 23 songs that was aired on French TV. The songs in italics were omitted from the A&E Special, and are not present on this DVD.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Stage suits

The Beatles stage suits from the Helen Shapiro Tour 1963

These are the suits worn by The Beatles during the Shapiro tour and also for the cover of the Please Please Me album, The No.1 EP and The Beatles Hits EP.
The suits were sold by liveauctioneers last year. The estimated value was $150.000-$175.000. I don't know how much they sold for. The suits are described like this: "The four suits have three buttons down the front, black velvet collar and cuffs, and red/crimson lining. Each inside jacket pocket inscribed with each Beatles full name and year". Funny thing is that they look more brownish in colour on the record covers than the recent photos of the same suits from the auctioneers website. Angus McBean took the 1963 photos, maybe he used a coloured lense or something?
Lennon's suit photographed in 1999
John Lennon's suit was displayed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Arts back in 1999, on loan from Gotta Have It! Collectibles Inc. and the museum described it as "Brown wool with black velvet collar".
Please Please Me - lightened a bit

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

New auction tape

It was the summer of 1966, and the Beatles were making what was to be their last North American tour. As the "Fab Four" made their way across the United States, they took a quick detour north into Canada—Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens to be exact—for a concert on August 17. Among the 16,000 or so fans in attendance that day was a corporate attorney from Ontario, who packed his family and a battery operated, UHER 4000 REPORT-L reel-to-reel tape machine to watch … and record … the last appearance of John, Paul, George, and Ringo in Canada.
Offered is an amateur recording—a previously unknown audio example of the Toronto show—that amounts to a 2 hour and 20 minute documentary detailing one family's experience at the final concert appearance of the Beatles in Canada. And "detail" is the name of the game here, as the tape begins with its narrator introducing his family to an unseen audience as they drive to the venue. The family spent the first few minutes discussing what they think the concert will be like, with succinct and sometimes prophetic observations offered, as well as checks on the time, weather conditions, and the overall pre-concert atmosphere. The sound of the crowd, traffic, program vendors … it's all here. The original owner can be heard later in the tape spending his time interviewing anxious fans anticipating the appearance of the Beatles.
The opening acts are here: The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkie, The Ronettes (including "Be My Baby"). After a false alarm (a stagehand came onstage to adjust the drum set causing some young fans to faint), the stadium announcer utters the words everyone had been waiting to hear: " … the BEATLES!"
The immediate response from thousands of screaming, ecstatic fans is overwhelming. After some fine-tuning of their instruments by Lennon and Harrison, the band can be heard launching into "Rock and Roll Music". Every note of the Beatles' ten-song concert was captured on a 1/4"-tape, with the lead song followed by "She's A Woman," "If I Needed Someone," "Day Tripper," "Baby's in Black," "I Feel Fine," "Yesterday," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Nowhere Man," and "Paperback Writer."
After the show, the would-be newsman leaves the stadium and, along the way, inquires of the hoarse fans why they came to the show and what they thought of the concert. With this running commentary, he makes his way outside in the hope of catching the Beatles on their way out. But alas, the Beatles had already left the building.
Too often, perhaps, the phrase "one of a kind" is used when referring to collectibles. Without hesitation, Mastro Auctions proudly affixes that title to this lot. Although the original audiotape is the true gem here (in its box with a vintage label affixed to the spool reads "Beatles #112 / Aug 66 / Maple Leafs Toronto"), this remarkable find also includes the original reel-to-reel tape machine (with its case) used to give a blow-by-blow account of the concert. A CD-R with samples of the original recording accompanies. The tape player has not been used in a number of years, though its very existence, and that of the original recording, is a true piece of Rock & Roll history.
Accompanying as provenance is a typed letter from the son of the original owner, the original sales receipt from the day his son sold it to a private collector, and a typed, detailed description of the tape's content.

Paul and George in action at Maple Leaf Gardens, 1966.

Top Gear tape sold

An early Beatles tape which captures John Lennon and Paul McCartney cracking jokes in a recording studio sold at auction in Britain for 9,800 pounds (12,400 euros, 19,000 dollars) on Tuesday, with some dealers at the auction casting doubt on its authenticity.
The recording, which was found in an attic and dates from 1964.
At one point, the tape captures Lennon telling McCartney: "I'm not looking at you" and McCartney replying: "You were." Lennon then says: "It's just going to get funnier and funnier as the evening goes on," and "It's 11 o'clock, you know." McCartney adds: "Let's just try this once more and if it's the last one, that's hard lines."
The seller wished to remain anonymous. He was the son of a man who had worked in the music industry and found the tape when he was clearing his father's attic. Auctioneers Cameo in Midgham, Berkshire, southern England said the buyer, who bid over the Internet, also requested anonymity.
A new look of what's actually on this tape:
Side 1
1 Don't Put Me Down Like This (Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers)
2 I Feel Fine (from radio show "Top Gear")
3 She's A Woman (from radio show "Top Gear")
4 Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby (from radio show "Top Gear")
5 Honey Don't (from radio show "Top Gear")
6 I'll Follow The Sun (incomplete) (recording session for "Top Gear")
Side 2
1 I'll Follow The Sun (incomplete) (recording session for "Top Gear")
2 I'm A Loser (from radio show "Top Gear")
3 I'll Follow The Sun (complete) (recording session for "Top Gear")
4 Too Much Monkey Business (The Hollies)
5 Nitty Gritty (The Hollies)
6 Somethings Gotta Hold Of Me (The Hollies)
7 I Shall Not Be Moved (The Hollies)
The auction house was unable to identify the contents correctly (apart from the song titles), and the buyer may have been unaware that the tape was not exclusively a Beatles recording.
Auctioneer John King, of Cameo Auctioneers speculated that The Beatles played all tracks, which lead to him stating to the Liverpool Echo last week: "Among the numbers they cover on the tape is a recording of ‘Don’t Put Me Down Like This’. Our research shows that there is no other known recording of the Beatles playing that number."
And there still isn't. They probably never covered that song. The recording of the song on this tape is by noted sixties group Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. And the final four tracks on side 2 is by another sixties group, The Hollies. An expert on The Hollies believes that the end of this tape likely contains tracks recorded for the Saturday Swings BBC radio programme, recorded 11 Nov 1964 and broadcast 28 Nov 1964. This particular show is not in the BBC radio archives and does not circulate among collectors of The Hollies radio recordings.
The Beatles tracks were recorded on a BBC session on 17 November 1964 for transmission on the Top Gear radio programme (a pop music programme, not to be confused with the current motor sports TV show). Most of it circulates among collectors of Beatles radio recordings, but the three takes of "I'll Follow The Sun" and the in-between chat seems to be previously unbroadcast.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

The Sunday Movie: MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (1967)

The Magical Mystery Tour movie
Unlike the Let It Be movie, Magical Mystery Tour was released full scale in many countries and many editions on video cassettes and laser disc. The DVD however, was only released in the USA (and let me tell you one thing, Apple: releasing a Beatles film in just one country makes the rest of us think that The Beatles feel that we are second-rate Beatles fans). Apple and MPI released the film in 1997, unfortunately one of the restored prints for the 1988 video cassette was overlooked when releasing the DVD and they used an inferior version of the film. The MPI/Apple DVD has been out of print for a number of years, and the Amazon links above are for an Australian imported release (presumably a bootleg) of the film, on the Avenue One label. The MPI/Apple version is also listed on Amazon (USA) and you can occasionally find used copies of it here, from Amazon's associates.
Magical Mystery Tour is on the list of current Apple restoration projects, but no word about when a restored DVD will be available in shops.

Watch it online.

UK VHS video cassette

Saturday, 2 August 2008

The Apple Boutique


The Apple boutique was opened 40 years ago, an event celebrated by BBC TV Newsnight's current series remembering the 40th anniversaries of 1968. It was a landmark in hippy history - pioneering but a financially disastrous experiment in "designer" retailing set up by the Beatles.
Newsnight is marking the Apple Boutique's 40th anniversary with a light projection on Baker Street. The programme has recreated the vast and controversial artwork that dominated the four-storey building in Baker Street, London. The light projection shows the original psychedelic mural. This is not a new idea, Paul McCartney thought of the same idea when neighbours protested about the building's decoration in 1968. Other local businesses objected to the psychedelically-painted wall, and petitioned for it to be changed or wiped out altogether. Ultimately, the local businesses won on, with the mural removed by civic order. It was painted plain white.
For a moment The Beatles considered projecting the original psychedelic mural onto the white surface, from a projector in a building opposite the boutique, but it wasn't to be. Wouldn't have been very visible in daylight either, probably. On 31 July 2008, the Apple Boutique mural was projected onto the building by the BBC. A worthy celebration! Too bad the building now wasn't white anymore, but natural brick-coloured. But a very cool idea, and it looks good on the photo we've seen,too!


Friday, 1 August 2008

The Helen Shapiro Tour 9

The front page of the Helen Shapiro Tour programme
I've been looking all over the internet and through a number of books for photos of The Beatles from the Helen Shapiro Tour. I came up empty handed. There are lots of photos of them from that month, but only ones taken during the break in the tour. So far all I've come up with was someone from a (now defunct) forum who claimed they had taken some photos during one of these concerts. So I'm asking you, my readers: Do you have any photos from this tour? Get in touch.
Meanwhile, here's one of Helen and a bobby from February 9th.

Let It Be again

The Beatles playing on the Apple rooftop on January 30th 1969, from the Let It Be movie

The guys over at Abbeyrd's Beatles Page contacted Apple and a spokesperson confirmed that they DO have plans to release Let It Be in the future. They should get themselves a press officer again. Geoff Baker is looking for work, I hear. The "Ringo and Paul are blocking Let It Be" news item is spreading like wildfire in the media all over the world and only Beatles-buffs are reading Abbeyrd's pages... Well now it's also in my blog!

Here's the story that's been going the rounds, courtesy of the Daily Express:

Beatles legends Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have reportedly blocked the re-release of the notorious Let It Be film. The documentary, originally intended to show the Fab Four at work in the studio, instead illustrated the extreme tensions between the musicians as the band was on the verge of breaking up. It famously included scenes of McCartney and George Harrison bickering over the latter's guitar-playing, and footage of an apparently disinterested John Lennon with his wife Yoko Ono. Although the film was shown in cinemas in the early 1970s, and released on VHS in the 1980s, it has been out of circulation for more than 20 years. And now the two surviving Beatles have allegedly blocked plans for a DVD release. A source tells U.K. newspaper the Daily Express, "There has been talk of Let It Be finally being released but now there has been a change of heart. The Beatles are still a massive global brand and it's felt it won't be helped if the public sees the darker side of the story. Neither Paul nor Ringo would feel comfortable publicising a film showing The Beatles getting on each other's nerves."

I guess the Daily Express can now stop paying attention to that source for further news from the Apple camp.