Monday, 29 December 2008

Norwegian Wood 115

The new issue of Norwegian Wood, the norwegian Beatles Fan Club Magazine came just in time for Christmas. 86 fun-filled pages, all in norwegian, of course. Norwegian Wood was founded around easter 1980, and today the norwegian fan club is one of the bigger Beatles fan clubs in Europe, with between 500-600 members.
The contents of NW no. 115:
Page 2: Photo: Paul McCartney as The Fireman
Page 3: Contents page
Page 4: Dear Sir or Madam. The editor Ole-Andreas Refsnes sums up Ringo Starr's fall from grace in 2008.
Page 5: From Me To You. President Linda wishes us a Happy Christmas (War Is Over).
Page 6-15: One, Two, Three, Four Our record reviews include Various Artists: The Beatles Jukebox (Chrome Records CDCD 5020), Pete Best Band: Hayman's Green (Lightyear), The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Indie Records), Nitin Sawhney: London Undersound (Positive-ID/Cooking Vinyl), Thenewno2: You Are Here (HOT Records Ltd.)
Page 16-18: Act Naturally Movie reviews of Magical Mystery Tour Memories and All Together Now from The Beatles and Cirque Du Soleil
Page 19-21: The Word reviews the following book: Nancy Lee Andrews: A Dose of Rock'n'Roll (Dalton Watson Fine Books ISBN 978-185443-230-8)
Page 22-23: New member of the editorial staff Joakim Krane Bech is presented
Page 24-33: Norwegian Beatles singles, part 1 Sigbjørn Stabursvik takes a look at the norwegian single releases and tries to second-guess the date of issue. He also looks at the vinyl itself to determine whether a danish or swedish "mother" was used in the pressing process. This part covers the first five releases, from Please Please Me to I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Page 34-47: On Tour with The Beatles: The Helen Shapiro Tour is covered by me, the article summarizes earlier blog posts on this subject.
Page 48-53: My Favourite Record: The Beatles (White Album) Louise Berntsen talks about the white album at 40.
Page 54-57: The 22. of November - A special day. Ståle Kverndokk draws the line from With The Beatles to The Beatles.
Page 58-60: Beatles Festival at Beitostølen Linda Engebråten reports from the third annual Beatles festival up in the mountains of Norway.
Page 61-68: Beatles convention in Karlstad Joakim Krane Bech and Linda Engebråten were also present at the Swedish Beatles convention and reports from the event where the Pete Best Band held the european release of their new album.
Page 69-71: Newly discovered documents from Pete; see earlier blog post.
Page 72-74: George Harrison in The Simpsons Joakim Krane Bech takes a look at the many Beatles references in this episode of The Simpsons
Page 75-81: The news today, oh boy: News from me and the editor
Page 82: Beatles quiz by Joakim: Win a Fireman promo CD!
Page 83: Advert
Page 84: Beatlefans get-together in Oslo in January
Page 85: Name and Address
Page 86: Photo: Pete Best reads NW 114

Thursday, 25 December 2008

'Hey Jude' - 4 screen comparison

Multi view comparison of all 4 different videos. While some of them have the same footage at certain points (i.e. 3 of them all start off with the same clip of Paul singing the first verse, one is different) all 4 clips contain footage that is unique. The Anthology clip is the shortest but the other 3 all have completely different endings. Also, it might sound like the soundtrack has gone out of sync at the end. This is not the case as on one of the clips the audience singing along manage to go out of the sync with The Beatles. Listen out for John's instruction to the audience at 4:13 "LOUDER!"
Thanks to the uploader, "mlucifersam"

In September 1968, The Beatles' camp rang director Michael Lindsay-Hogg up:

"I think it was because I'd just done Jumpin' Jack Flash for the Stones, Although I'd worked with the Beatles in 1966, this was now '68, and McCartney, Lennon and Jagger were all close. And so I think McCartney asked Jagger ‘How did yours turn out?’ and Jagger said it turned out good."

"The idea of Hey Jude was dictated by that four-minute chorus at the end," he said. "So I thought we needed something to shoot other than them singing Hey Jude."

"I had this idea, and Paul and I talked it over, about getting an audience in. And that the audience shouldn't be just the usual kids. There should be a kind of cross-section of life - housewives, postmen, kids, mums and dads, everything like that."

" So we got that audience in, and that worked very well because it wasn't only the kind of teenybopper audience. And that was really the genesis of what became Let It Be, because we did, say, seven or eight takes of Hey Jude."
"Between takes, while we were getting the cameras ready again and seeing what had gone wrong in the previous take, The Beatles had nothing to do except stand there. And then they started to jam for the audience. They'd play old Motown songs and they'd horse around and stuff, and they enjoyed it. It was the first time they'd performed to any kind of audience since they stopped touring in '66."

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Beatles' final UK Concert

May 1st 1966: The Beatles performed their last-ever concert in the UK (not including the roof-top show in 1969), at the NME Poll Winner’s Party at Empire Pool, Wembley. Other groups on the bill included The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, The Walker Brothers, Dusty Springfield and Roy Orbison.

A series of photos of the front row trio.
Although the NME Poll Winners Show was filmed, the cameras were apparantly switched off during The Beatles' performance. Here's what Beatles biographer Barry Miles has to say about the matter: The Beatles played a 15-minute set, for which they had staged a brief rehearsal the previous day, but Brian Epstein would not allow ABC TV to film it because they had not reached an agreement over the terms. They were permitted to film them receiving their Poll Winners Awards. This was The Beatles' last live appearance in the UK. They played I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man, Day Tripper, If I Needed Someone and I’m Down.

A different take on the story is presented in another book:
One of the reporters, Derek Johnson, remembered: "I was waiting for The Beatles at the back door of Wembley Stadium, where the kitchens were, when this big van drew up and four chefs got out, with the proper white hats and aprons, carrying trays of goodies in their hands. As they walked towards me, I realised that it was The Beatles. They frequently adopted disguises to avoid being mobbed by screaming girls. They got in without being spotted and were running across the kitchen when Ringo tripped and his tray of cakes went everywhere, followed by the other three landing in a heap on top of him like a Marx Brothers routine. It was an awful mess, but they were so pleased to have got in with no trouble that they all thought it was hilariously funny."

Derek also recalled an amusing little bust-up backstage between the two biggest bands in the world: "There was a lot of argy-bargy between Andrew Loog Oldham [The Rolling Stones’ manager] and Brian Epstein. It all seemed to be about who closed the show. There was some sort of contractual dispute with ABC-TV who were filming the event – to the effect that the last band to play would not be filmed, and thus would not appear in the TV broadcast."
This meant that the last band on stage would miss out on a stack-load of promotion, which was worth a fortune in record revenues. But the last act on stage would also bag all of the glory – as the best band in Britain. So faced with the choice of either making money or getting the glory… they naturally chose the money! So the two managers were literally fighting over who should come second! Unfortunately for Brian, The Beatles won (or lost), and had to close the show.

But that wasn’t the end of it, because Maurice Kinn recalled: "Halfway through The Stones’ set, the four Beatles arrived at the foot of the stage, with their guitars in hand, and I told them they were 25 minutes early, but Lennon insisted that they were going on. I said they couldn’t and John shouted, ‘Didn’t you hear me the first time? We’re going on now, or we’re not going on at all.’ In a rapidly convened huddle with Brian Epstein, I outlined my dilemma, that I had promised The Stones, in writing, that The Beatles would not follow them immediately onto the stage. I had arranged for the awards presentation to come between the two acts and explained to Brian that if The Beatles did not come on at the previously arranged time, then I would be left with no option but to send MC Jimmy Saville on stage to explain to 10,000 NME readers that The Beatles were in the stadium but they weren’t going to play. I explained to him very clearly what would happen then. There would be a riot! Half of Wembley would be destroyed and Wembley and the NME would both sue Epstein. Brian conveyed this to The Beatles and John absolutely exploded! He gave me abuse like you’ve never heard before in all your life. You could hear him all over the backstage area. He said, ‘We’ll never play for you again!’ But he knew he had no choice. Fifteen minutes later, The Beatles went on stage, collected their awards and played the show."

Johnny Walters said: "We stood on boxes and peered through slats to watch them. The screaming was like a blanket of white noise. The only music I actually remember hearing was the guitar intro to Day Tripper, then it all disappeared into the screaming. When their 20-minute set ended, The Beatles raced off stage with their NME awards in their hands, and ran down the ramps towards the limo that was already revving up, and they literally threw the awards to their assistants (Neil and Mal) who seemed to be waiting there for exactly that purpose. Then they were into the car and it moved off with the doors still flapping."
The text was taken from this book.

Three of the photos presented here recently showed up, courtesy of american fan Nancy Wilkins. Visit this website to see her story and also bigger versions of the photos.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Purple Chick Lives On

The Purple Chick Live Series continued recently with these two releases. Click to view details, including Artwork.

Monday, 15 December 2008

The Beatles and Vietnam

Paul McCartney has recently given an interview to the intellectual journal Prospect, in which he claims that he was the one who told John Lennon about the war in Vietnam.

Sir Paul's critics see his comments as a further attempt to revise the history of the Beatles, casting himself in a better light.

"We sort of stumbled into things," Sir Paul told Prospect magazine.
"For instance, Vietnam. Just when we were getting to be well known, someone said to me: 'Bertrand Russell is living not far from here in Chelsea, why don't you go and see him?' and so I just took a taxi down there and knocked on the door."

Russell, author of the seminal work A History of Western Philosophy, was one of the world’s best known pacifists and had been imprisoned during the first world war for warning British workers about the American army and its role in strike breaking in the United States. He was in his nineties in the 1960's.

He added: "He was fabulous. He told me about the Vietnam war – most of us didn't know about it, it wasn't yet in the papers – and also that it was a very bad war.
"I remember going back to the studio either that evening or the next day and telling the guys, particularly John [Lennon], about this meeting and saying what a bad war this was."

McCartney says the band ignored requests from their publicist not to mention Vietnam when they went to America.
“Of course, we talked about it the whole time and said it was a very bad war. Obviously we backed the peace movement.”

Tariq Ali, who was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement in Britain, disputed Sir Paul's version of events.
He said: "It is not my recollection at all. It is possible McCartney met Bertrand Russell, but certainly I had no contact with Paul."

Hunter Davies, who spent 18 months with the Beatles during 1967-8 before writing their authorised biography, said: “At that stage the Beatles were open to all the smart, intellectual and artistic people trying to get them involved in things.

“It wasn’t just John. Paul was as interested in meeting these people and hearing their stuff.”

Backstage after a Beatles press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, August 19th, 1966, a british reporter gets some answers about how they feel about all the fuzz regarding John's "Jesus" statement and something about the war in Vitnam.

Q: "But do you mind being asked questions, for example in America people keep asking you questions about Vietnam. Does this seem useful?"

PAUL: "I dunno, you know. If you can say that war is no good, and a few people believe you, then it may be good. I don't know. You can't say too much, though. That's the trouble."

JOHN: "It seems a bit silly to be in America and for none of them to mention Vietnam as if nothing was happening."

Q: "But why should they ask you about it? You're successful entertainers."

JOHN: "Because Americans always ask showbiz people what they think, and so do the British. (comically) Showbiz... you know how it is!"

RINGO: (laughs)

JOHN: "But I mean you just gotta... You can't keep quiet about anything that's going on in the world, unless you're a monk. (jokingly, with dramatic arm gestures) Sorry, monks! I didn't mean it! I meant actually...."


Beatles Press Conference: New York City August 22, 1966

Q: "Would any of you care to comment on any aspect of the war in Vietnam?"

JOHN: "We don't like it."

Q: "Could you elaborate any?"

JOHN: "No. I've elaborated enough, you know. We just don't like it. We don't like war."

GEORGE: "It's, you know... It's just war is wrong, and it's obvious it's wrong. And that's all that needs to be said about it."


PAUL: "We can elaborate in England."

Q: "One of you, I beleive it was George, said that you couldn't comment on Vietnam in this country but you could in England. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?"

GEORGE: "I didn't say that. Maybe one of us said that, but I didn't."

PAUL: "It was me. I mean, you know about that, anyway, you know. I mean, we could say a thing about... like John's religious thing in England and it wouldn't be taken up and misinterpreted quite as much as it tends to get here. I mean, you know it does. The thing is that, I think you can say things like that in England and people will listen a bit more than they do in America, because in America somebody will take it up and use it completely against you and won't have many scruples about doing that. You know, I'm probably putting my foot in it saying that, but..."

JOHN: "You'll be explaining to the next bunch."

PAUL: "Yeah, I know."


PAUL: (jokingly, in American accent) "Oh well, it's just wonderful here."


Beatles Press Conference: Tokyo, Japan June 30th, 1966

Q: "How much interest do you take in the war that is going on in Vietnam now?"

JOHN: "Well, we think about it everyday, and we don't agree with it and we think it's wrong. That's how much interest we take. That's all we can do about it... and say that we don't like it."

Two years earlier, in Boston Massachusetts, September 12th, 1964, Paul had this to say:

Q: "Would you advocate sending all the young boys your age to Vietnam?"

PAUL: "No... (pause) Not unless they wanted to, you know."

New York City 8/13/65, two days before their famous Shea Stadium concert, the Beatles were interviewed upon arrival from England:

Q: "Any plans for going to Vietnam and entertaining the troops?"

JOHN: "I wouldn't go there, no."

Lennon & McCartney Interview: Newsfront 14th of May, 1968
Q: "The United States has been plagued by the war in Vietnam, and the world has been concerned about it. What are your views about the war?"

JOHN: "It's another piece of insanity. It's all part of the same insane scene that's going on. There's nothing else for it... no reason, just insanity."

PAUL: "You know, whoever's right and whoever's wrong, it's still... the thing that's going on there isn't a good thing."

In 1980, the year he was murdered, John Lennon talked to Playboy magazine about the Beatles songs he composed, here's what he said about "Revolution" (1968):

"We recorded the song twice. The Beatles were getting really tense with one another. I did the slow version and I wanted it out as a single: as a statement of the Beatles' position on Vietnam and the Beatles' position on revolution. For years, on the Beatle tours, Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war. And he wouldn't allow questions about it. But on one tour, I said, 'I am going to answer about the war. We can't ignore it.' I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something. The first take of 'Revolution' ...well, George and Paul were resentful and said it wasn't fast enough. Now, if you go into details of what a hit record is and isn't... maybe. But the Beatles could have afforded to put out the slow, understandable version of 'Revolution' as a single. Whether it was a gold record or a wooden record. But because they were so upset about the Yoko period and the fact that I was again becoming as creative and dominating as I had been in the early days, after lying fallow for a couple of years, it upset the apple cart. I was awake again and they couldn't stand it?"

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A 5 Beatles press conference

This just posted on YouTube: A press conference from Melbourne featuring 5 Beatles: John, Paul, George, Ringo and Jimmy! Description:
"A super rare and unseen Beatles press conference from Melbourne, Australia June 14, 1964. John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Jimmy? Yup. Jimmy Nicol sits in just before departing back to England. This was the first public appearance of Ringo on the '64 World tour after being stricken with tonsillitis 1 day before the tour was to begin. Jimmy Nicol declared bankruptcy just one year later. Off the Ch.11 Melbourne TV station master - enjoy this rare event of seeing 5 Beatles."
YouTube Link

Thursday, 11 December 2008

BBC Radio 2 Celebrates "The Beatles"

So The Beatles and Apple Corps failed to deliver the 40th anniversary new remastered edition of the White album in time. The tie-in promotional items were duly available from the official Beatles store, though (see separate entry). But the BBC delivered. As part of their Album season, they broadcast an hour long radio documentary on the album, where the producers, engineers and technicians who worked on the LP recalled their contributions.
Presented by Guy Garvey from Elbow, and featuring some of the classic tracks from the album, the show included contributions from Chris Thomas, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Donovan, Richard Lush, Ken Scott, Barry Sheffield (of Trident Studios) and Brian Gibson as well as Paul, George and John.
For those of you who had the opportunity to record the programme off the air, I have produced some cover art, should you see it fit to archive the show on CD.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Ringo not first choice to replace Pete?

In an article about the final concert of retiring drummer Bobby Graham (68) in Hertfordshire Mercury, the well known session man gets a couple of his anecdotes retold:

In 1962 he was asked by The Beatles manager Brian Epstein to replace original drummer Pete Best in the pop group, but Bobby had a hit record with his band Joe Brown and The Bruvvers at the time and had doubts about joining a then unknown band. Here's the quote from Bobby himself:
"We were on tour in June I962 and played at Cavern and Litherland Town Hall. After the show we went to a club called the Blue Angel with Brain Epstein. Brian offered me the job with the Beatles. They wanted to get rid of Pete Best, they were having problems with Pete's mother. Brian didn't like her, so he decided to out Pete, and asked me if I was interested in joining the band, I said 'why would want to join a band in Liverpool that nobody's ever heard of?".

A couple of years later, Bobby was approached again to stand in for Ringo Starr, who had tonsillitis, but this time he had too much session work to do.

He said: "I don't think it would have worked anyway. That was very much a Liverpool-based band. I thought they were great though!"

Bobby has been called the most recorded drummer in British '60s pop, and has a biography out, "The Session Man".

Source: Hertfordshire Mercury
Wikipedia on Bobby Graham
Bobby's Official Website

Monday, 8 December 2008

Auction results

Some results from a Bonham's auction we have previously alerted you about:

Lot description:
Lot No: 532
The Beatles
Beatles concert material,
comprising: a list of Principal Engagements - August/September, together with the original envelope addressed to Pete Best and postmarked 16 AUG 1962*, together with two carbon-copies of a list of bookings for July-August, one sheet annotated by Pete, and a handbill for Joe Brown/The Beatles at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, 27th July.
Bonham's estimate at £750 - £1000 proved that they underestimated the historic value, as these items eventually sold for £3,360.

A lock of Paul's hair sold for £2,640.

The Abergavenny poster sold for £9,600
A pair of skiing gloves worn by Ringo Starr in 'Help!' sold for a mere £540.

Friday, 5 December 2008

More from Sweden 1963

In this clip from a visit to Sweden in 1989, Paul McCartney reminiscs about that first trip to Sweden in 1963. This includes a rarely seen snippet in colour from a Gothenburg concert.

New from Apple

Apple dart boards old (left) and new.
Some Apple products have been announced at the official Beatles Stores. The famous Apple dart board has been recreated and will be made available from December 29th in the UK and December 12th in the USA. Also, the fab four are celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Beatles (aka White album), not with a remastered CD release, unfortunately, but with some related merchandise. How about an expensive fountain pen or a roller ball pen? Or for those with less cash, there'a always the hoodie or the t-shirt...

The Beatles Store (UK)
The Beatles Store (USA)

Paul & Ringo: 2009 Grammies

The Grammy nominations for next years Grammy gala has been published, and Paul and Ringo are among the nominees. Only records released between October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008 are eligible for nomination.
In the category Best male pop vocal performance we find Paul McCartney - That Was Me from the 12" live-EP Amoeba's Secret. From the same EP I Saw Her Standing There has been nominated for Best solo rock vocal performance.
Ringo is nominated in the somewhat narrow category Best Surround Sound Album with Ringo 5.1: The Surround Sound Collection.
The Grammy Awards Gala is slated for February 8th, 2009.