Friday, 30 October 2009

Sneak peek

I've Got A Feeling from the upcoming Good Evening New York City CD. Courtesy of CBS FM - New York Greatest Hits Station.

Nowhere Boy

Nowhere Boy, the new bio-pic on John Lennon's childhood has premiered at a film festival in England, but will not be available to see for the general public until December 25th. The film got a favourable review in The Guardian. The movie is partly based on Julia Baird's book about her half-brother. Here's the trailer for it.

Book review: The Beatles on Television

When I ordered this book, I mistakenly took it as an account of the Beatles television appearances. I got it in the mail the other day and discovered it was actually a photo book. Filled with photos of the Beatles in TV studios, the book was a delight to look through, but it did concentrate on a few of their TV appearances and totally ignoring most. Oh well, these are probably the ones they had most photos from. There are lots of photos from the Fab Four's appearance on Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium from October 13th, 1963. And that's cool, because the photos are the only surviving documentation of that telecast. The tape has long gone. But here it is, in colour and in black and white, on stage and off stage.

Even the blurry ones that were dismissed at the time are now being published.

Here's a nice one from the rehearsals for "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in 1965.

Rehearsals and recording the Morecambe and Wise Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Ready Steady Go, Around The Beatles, De Beatles in Nederland with Jimmy Nicol, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Blackpool Night Out, Circus Krone-Bau in Munich, Our World (the press call and TV Show), Magical Mystery Tour (mainly in b/w), and it finishes with a couple of b/w shots from John and Paul's appearance on the Tonight Show, May 14th, 1968. All in all 178 pages, and most of the photos are rather large.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Magazine alert: Norwegian Wood 118

The new issue of Norway's own Beatles magazine, Norwegian Wood has been issued. A record-breaking 112 pages of pure Beatlemania, which brings you this:
Page 2: Photo: b/w Close up of Henry McCullough
Page 3: Contents and Credits
Page 4-5: Svein Sivertsen in memoriam by Dagfinn Jarp
Page 6: Editorial by Ole-Andreas Refsnes
Page 7-8: The President speaks by Linda Engebråten
Page 9-63: Record reviews: "The Beatles Remastered", The Fireman-Electric Arguments (deLuxe edition), Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band:Don't Stop Me!(EP). The remasters were reviewed by a team from past and present members of our staff: Roger Stormo, Ole-Andreas, Linda, Erlend Fredholm, Joakim Krane Bech, Tore Waskaas, Christian Sundh, Martin Aaasen Wright, Marius H. Johannessen and Jon Vidar Bergan. Ole-Andreas reviewed the Fireman and Yoko Ono.
Page 64-65: Act Naturally - John, Paul, Tom & Ringo:The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder DVD reviewed by Linda
Page 66-73: The Word: Book reviews of The Beatles in Scotland and The Beatles and Ireland by Roger
Page 74-78: The Beatles:RockBand game review by Linda & Joakim
Page 79-81: Bootleg: The Beatles:RockBand - The Songs reviewed by Roger
Page 82-88: What do you need besides the Remasters? by Roger
Page 89: Beatles listening party at the EMI by Linda
Page 90-91: On tour with the Beatles: Mini tour of Scotland, 1963 by Ole-Andreas
Page 92-98: Henry McCullough "Just for the craic" Poor man's tour, Norway 2009 by Tom H. Kristensen
Page 99: Yoko Ono at the Stenersen museum by Marius
Page 100-103: From Las Vegas with Love, travel log from Audun Molde
Page 104-108: The news today, oh boy edited by Martin
Page 109: Beatles quiz
Page 110: Names and Addresses
Page 111: Inner back cover photo: The Beatles:RockBand
Page 112: Back Cover: Paul and Ringo with the Remasters and RockBand
Norwegian Wood is published in Norwegian only.

Friday, 23 October 2009

All set for London!

I got my tickets for Paul McCartney's concert in London's O2 today! It was a pre-sale for his fan club, and it's now sold out. However, fresh tickets will be available from Monday at 9 GMT.
If you didn't get any, you could always try Worldtickets, if you are prepared to pay some money to go see Paul! Currently, they are offering tickets for all his dates on the Good Evevning Europe Tour.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sing the Changes

Updated info for Paul McCartney's Good Evening Europe Tour: The London tickets go on sale TOMORROW, not Monday as first announced, but just for some lucky people. The remainder of the tickets will still go on sale to the general public on Monday the 26th. Germany and The Netherlands start selling tickets this Saturday, while Dublin go on sale Monday. Still no news about the Paris tickets.
Ticketmaster for the London concert
Tickets for all the McCartney European dates can be found at
Paul said on BBC radio 2 this evening that they're only doing 8-9 gigs. Since only 7 have been announced, he may hint to the possibility of a couple of extra concerts.

Good Evening Europe!

Paul McCartney's European December Tour was officially announced today! Here are the dates:
2nd December - Hamburg, Color Line Arena
3rd December - Berlin, O2 World
9th December - Arnhem, Gelredome
10th December - Paris, Bercy
16th December - Cologne, Koln Arena
20th December - Dublin, The O2
22nd December - London,The O2 Arena

London ticket details:
Tickets available from Friday 23d October at 9:
Box Office: 0844 856 0202
24hr Credit Card Hotline: 0871 230 1103
Tickets for all the McCartney European dates can be found at
Here's the full press release:
New European Tour Announced Including Paul's Only UK Date In 2009

Following a massive tour of the US this summer, Paul McCartney today announces his first European Tour since 2004. This December will see Macca play seven special arena shows across Europe, culminating with his first ever public performance at London's O2 Arena, which will be his only UK date of this year. Other firsts on this tour will include shows at Berlin’s O2 World venue and Dublin’s The O2. Paul's legendary live performances are a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience. The audience gets to re-live some of the greatest moments in music from the last 50 years, many of which have become the soundtrack to living.

Paul commences his tour in Hamburg – a city he is very familiar with. Incredibly, it's now 49 years since The Beatles historic visit, which created rock folklore and put Hamburg on the map as a musical Mecca for hundreds and thousands of music pilgrims over the years. This will be Paul’s first time back in Hamburg (as well as Arnhem, Cologne and Dublin) since his 2003 "Back In The World" tour. Meanwhile, the people of Berlin will get their first Paul McCartney concert in 16 years, since 1993's "New World Tour"! December will take Paul back to Paris for the first time since he played an intimate club show at the Olympia in 2007.

London's O2 Arena will host Paul's final show of 2009 where he will bring the year to an end on a high. This will be his ONLY live show in the UK this year! Paul’s last UK show was a massive sellout concert at Anfield Stadium in 2008. At the time the Liverpool Echo wrote, "If Anfield had a roof, Macca would have blown it off." The O2 Arena does have a roof so it’s set to be a massive night of excitement and rock n' roll Macca style! Although this is Paul's first public performance at the O2 Arena he is very familiar with the venue. In 2004, before the O2 Arena was up and running as the world’s greatest music venue, Paul used the Millennium Dome (as it was known then) for rehearsals for his massive stadium "04 Summer Tour" which ended with Paul headlining the Glastonbury Festival which has gone down in rock history as the greatest festival moment ever. Although his rehearsals at the Millennium Dome were meant to be top secret, he was soon rumbled when a near by resident complained about the rock n’ roll noise upsetting his cat!

Speaking about the tour, Paul said: "This is my chance to bring our current show home to where it all began. Starting in Hamburg, ending in London and rocking everywhere in between. I'm very much looking forward to ending the year on a high."

What a year 2009 has been for Paul. He kicked it off by teaming up with Dave Grohl to perform "I Saw Her Standing There" at the Grammys, where he was also nominated for two awards. In April, Paul performed in New York at the David Lynch Foundation's benefit concert, "Change Begins Within". He was joined on stage with Ringo Starr for a special finale. Paul also headlined the Coachella Festival (his first US festival appearance) and performed a show to mark the opening of The New Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a gig which sold out in seven seconds, setting a new sales record with tickets selling at a rate of 600 a second. July 11th took Paul to Halifax, Nova Scotia for his first ever concert there, which took place on the Halifax Commons. The mayor of Halifax described the show as the largest and most exciting concert in its 260-year history.

Following Halifax, Paul embarked on a five-week tour of the US; 'Summer Live '09'. The tour commenced with the inaugural run of shows at New York's Citi Field Stadium, which was the site of the former Shea Stadium where The Beatles made history in 1965 when they played a concert that set the precedent for the modern day stadium rock show. Critics hailed the Citi Field performances, seen by over 120,000 people, as the concert experience of a lifetime. The tour concluded in Dallas on the 19th of August.


So, perhaps he'll go and see the new Beatles museum in Hamburg when he's there?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

My Sgt. Pepper exhibition

My regular readers will have noticed that I've concentrated a bit on the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band photo session and artwork lately. This was all due to the fact that I was planning and staging an exhibition at this years Beatles festival here in Norway with that as a theme. I'm happy to tell you that the exhibition had good attendance at the festival. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a camera when the event was happening, so I had to get a few quick snaps just before the exhibition was to be taken down.

The good news is that the exhibition or parts of it will be used again at a Beatles culture week at a school in my district later in October, and again in November at the technical museum in Oslo.

If you're into the Sgt Pepper album, why not buy an art print?

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Home movie releases

Over the years, some of the home movies that were shot of the Beatles have found their way to official releases. 8mm and super 8mm home movie cameras were the rage in the sixties, and it was that era's equivalent of today's video cameras. I believe Dezo Hoffman was the man who introduced the home movie camera to the Beatles, and they all bought their own. Some of their films were used in the Beatles Anthology TV series, and later in the DVD version of the series.
The illustration above depicts commercial releases of home movies over the years. Two of those are DVD's and two are VHS releases. Mal Evans' home movies, stuff from the Magical Mystery Tour trip and stuff from the filming of Help! in Austria and the Bahamas.
Silent, but often in colour, the home movie cameras captured stuff that otherwise would have not been documented on film, like the Beatles' last concert at Candlestick park, the "Mad Day Out" or the Beatles final photo session at Tittenhurst park.
Sometimes, different people have filmed and recorded something, which makes a new interesting hobby for video editing amateurs, merging a bootleg recording with a newly found old home movie from the same event. Unfortunately, this was not predicted by the filmers, so they just filmed bits and pieces of a song, not knowing that some time in the future, song and film could be combined.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Rare Beatles footage emerges etc

BBC News report that pop memorabilia collector Mark Hayward came across rare footage of the Beatles at an auction in the late 1990s. It shows the band performing in Blackpool in August 1963 as Beatlemania began to kick in.

Now Mark Hayward is releasing the footage to the public for the first time, as part of his forthcoming book and DVD, "The Beatles, On Camera, Off Guard 1963-1969".

You can find out more about this story on Inside Out South East, tonight at 7.30pm on BBC1 or on BBC iPlayer.
Watch some of the footage on BBC's site.


Meanwhile, you can be part of the ballot to get tickets for Paul McCartney's concert (he's only one of many acts) in Royal Albert Hall on November 12th if you click here (offer open only until tomorrow at 12 standard British time, limited to two tickets per household, and it's going to cost you between £50-£100 a ticket if you win.) The performance will also be televised.


And if you're in Philadelphia, make sure you go and see "Let It Be" Friday, October 23 at 8:00 pm over at the Moore College of Art & Design at 20th & Race Streets.
Presented by Secret Cinema, admission is only $7.00, and as their slogan is "all secret cinema presentations are shown in 16mm film on a giant screen (not video...not ever!)", you should get a good experience. At their web site, they claim that what they are showing is "archival, dye-transfer Technicolor print" and "projected from real film on the big screen". You can read all about the Let It Be movie in this post.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Advertising Sgt Pepper

Capitol's poster ads for the Sgt Pepper album from three decades. The first one is from 1967, the year the album was released.

The second one is from 1977, the tenth anniversary of the album.

And the final one is from 1987, when the first CD release of the album was advertised.

The Sgt Pepper TV

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Here's a tidbit I discovered, which is not going to be part of this week-end's Sgt Pepper exhibition, but which I wanted to share. Remember the tiny portable TV on the Sgt Pepper cover?
It's a Sony. It was John's nine inch portable TV, which he brought to the photo session from his home in Weybridge. Sony enthusiasts have identified it as a Sony portable TV9-306UB, which was pretty advanced for the 1960’s. Lennon was a bit of a gadget freak, although unfortunately this didn't manifest itself in his home studio equipment.
Sony TV9-306UB
The TV was later sold, along with lots of other stuff from Lennon's house in Weybridge, and it ended up on a shelf in the "Hard Rock Café" warehouse. It was discovered there by a couple of Beatles fans, and Hard Rock Café had only labeled it as a TV that had once belonged to John Lennon, they were unaware that it was, in fact, part of the most famous LP cover in history.
One other thing I discovered, was that Oxford Dictionary of National Biography had made this wonderful web page, where you can hold your mouse-pointer over each of the elements on the Pepper cover to identify what's under. And if you click the mouse-button, you get the story behind. Clever!

Monday, 12 October 2009

May 1967

Just to remind you that I'm still putting together a Sgt Pepper exhibition for this week-end, here's an interesting photo with capes. This was before Paul shaved off his mustach.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

McCartney concerts in Europe?

At the beginning of this week, Paul McCartney was present at the Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2010 women's collection during Paris Fashion Week on October 5, 2009. Backstage, he was interviewed by a journalist form the Guardian and he said that some european dates are under scrutiny and may be announced.
Tickets for all the McCartney European dates can be found at
Cities mentioned in subsequent rumours are London, Dublin, Manchester, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. Nothing official has been announced, but some papers have spoken about the Berlin Show at Checkpoint Charlie and the Daily Mirror has reported that the Dublin concert will be held at the O2 Arena on December, 20th 2009
Meanwhile, the track listing for the upcoming live release "Good Evening, New York City" has been made public.

1. Drive My Car 2:32
2. Jet 4:16
3. Only Mama Knows 3:35
4. Flaming Pie 2:23
5. Got To Get You Into My Life 2:46
6. Let Me Roll It 5:48
7. Highway 3:52
8. The Long And Winding Road 3:35
9. My Love 3:54
10. Blackbird 2:36
11. Here Today 2:27
12. Dance Tonight 2:56
13. Calico Skies 2:33
14. Mrs. Vandebilt 4:34
15. Eleanor Rigby 2:21
16. Sing The Changes 4:09
17. Band On The Run 5:27


1. Back In The USSR 3:09
2. I’m Down 2:20
3. Something 3:59
4. I’ve Got A Feeling 5:45
5. Paperback Writer 3:25
6. A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance 5:40
7. Let It Be 3:50
8. Live And Let Die 3:08
9. Hey Jude 7:25
10. Day Tripper 3:08
11. Lady Madonna 2:27
12. I Saw Her Standing There 3:11
13. Yesterday 2:12
14. Helter Skelter 3:50
15. Get Back 4:00
16. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End 4:46


1. Drive My Car
2. Jet
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It
7. Highway
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. My Love
10. Blackbird
11. Here Today
12. Dance Tonight
13. Calico Skies
14. Mrs Vandebilt
15. Eleanor Rigby
16. Sing The Changes
17. Band On The Run
18. Back In The USSR
19. I’m Down
20. Something
21. I’ve Got A Feeling
22. Paperback Writer
23. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
24. Let It Be
25. Live And Let Die
26. Hey Jude
27. Day Tripper
28. Lady Madonna
29. I Saw Her Standing There
30. Yesterday
31. Helter Skelter
32. Get Back
33. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

DISC FOUR – DVD (only on the deluxe edition)
Live at the Ed Sullivan Theatre Marquee July 15th, 2009

1. Get Back
2. Sing The Changes
3. Coming Up
4. Band On The Run
5. Let Me Roll It
6. Helter Skelter
7. Back In The USSR

Good Evening People (Audience Documentary Film)

I’m Down (Full Performance)

Paul McCartney's historic three-night musical christening of New York's Citi Field, witnessed by 120,000-plus attendees and universally hailed as a concert experience for the ages, will be immortalized November 17 (November 23d in Europe) when Hear Music/Concord Music Group (Mercury Music in Europe) releases Good Evening New York City. This momentous musical experience will be available in two formats: a 3-disc (2 CD + 1 DVD) standard edition and a 4-disc (2 CD + 2 DVD) deluxe version featuring expanded packaging and a bonus DVD including McCartney's traffic-stopping, headline-making July 15 performance on the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee (including bonus numbers not aired on the Late Show with David Letterman broadcast).

The set will also be made available in high quality vinyl. In any configuration, the 30+ songs and nearly 3 hours of music comprising Good Evening New York City are a must-have for attendees wishing to relive the July 17, 18 & 21 shows, those who couldn't get tickets and/or anyone interested in an audiovisual document of a living legend. The standard version of Good Evening New York City will be available at participating Starbucks company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada and wherever music is sold.

The concert footage featured on Good Evening New York City standard edition features concert footage directed by Paul Becher, who has overseen live visuals for McCartney for some 200 performances and counting. The 33-song 2 hour 40 minute performances were shot in High Definition using 15 cameras and digital footage incorporated from 75 Flipcams handed out to fans over the course of the three night stand. The audio mix, in both stereo and 5.1, was handled by longtime McCartney engineer Paul Hicks.

The deluxe edition bonus DVD will feature footage of McCartney's July 15 performance on the outdoor marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater, previously available only as a webcast on the Late Show with David Letterman website. We're very suspicious about the feature called "I'm Down (Full performance)". So the version on the other DVD (disc 3) may be just a clip? And how many other songs will only be snippets?

So far, Amazon has not been listing the DeLuxe version, but HMV in the UK are pricing it at £26.99. They say it includes an expanded hardback book as well as the extra DVD.

Friday, 9 October 2009

What happened to the Sgt Pepper suits?

So far we've examined all the outtake photos from the Pepper photo session, and gone through all the various people on the collage. So what became of the Beatles famous Sgt Pepper costumes, designed by M. Berman Ltd.?
Well, they wore them one last time as a group when, on November 10th, 1967, they were for filming the "Hello Goodbye" music video. At least three promotional videos were filmed for "Hello Goodbye", but not aired by the BBC due to the Musicians Union's strict rules on miming. Paul McCartney directed the footage, which was filmed at the Saville Theatre in London, formerly owned by The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein.

The next appearances of the individual suits were also in music videos. In 1974, George Harrison filmed a music video for his New Year's song, "Ding Dong Ding Dong".

Some time after this, George seems to have given away his suit, but he was to re-obtain it again and again it was to put to use in a music video. This time it was the Beatles retrospective "When We Was Fab". The song appears as the sixth track on Harrison's 1987 album Cloud Nine and was later released as the second single from that album in January 1988.

The single was also available as a limited edition box, including a poster and a Sgt Pepper-like cut-out of George in his Pepper suit.

George's suit is now owned by his estate.

The next suit to appear in public was Paul McCartney's and again it was in a music video. The song in question was "My Brave Face", the first single from the "Flowers In The Dirt" Album in 1989.

So McCartney still has his suit.
John Lennon's Sgt Pepper's suit is owned my his widow, Yoko Ono, who sometimes lends it out for display at museums.

Ringo Starr's Pepper costume is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

How to make your own Sgt Pepper outfits

It's Johnny's Birthday

John Lennon would have been 69 today. Here he is with May Pang and some very interesting people in the background :-)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sgt Pepper: Who is who?

Click the image for a bigger version.

Here's something which I hope will be a good resource for Beatles scholars and students for years to come. This is a guide to who all the people on the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cover photo are. Every name is linked to the person's own wikipedia entry, so this page will stay current forever. All the links will open in a new window. You can have acres of fun with this post for a long time. Enjoy!

3. MAE WEST 1893-1980
4. LENNY BRUCE 1925-1966
6. W.C. FIELDS 1880-1946
7. CARL GUSTAV JUNG 1875-1961
8. EDGAR ALLEN POE 1809-1849
9. FRED ASTAIRE 1899-1987
10. RICHARD MERKIN 1938-2009
12. LEO GORCEY 1917-1969
13. HUNTZ HALL 1919-1999
14. SIMON RODIA 1879-1965
15. BOB DYLAN 1941-
16. AUBREY BEARDSLEY 1872-1898
17. SIR ROBERT PEEL 1788-1850
18. ALDOUS HUXLEY 1894-1963
19. DYLAN THOMAS 1914-1953
20. TERRY SOUTHERN 1924-1995
21. DION 1939-
22. TONY CURTIS 1925 - 2010
23. WALLACE BERMAN 1926-1976
24. TOMMY HANDLEY 1892-1949
25. MARILYN MONROE 1926-1962
26. WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS 1914-1997
28. STAN LAUREL 1890-1965
29. RICHARD LINDNER 1901-1978
30. OLIVER HARDY 1892-1957
31. KARL MARX 1818-1883
32. H.G. WELLS 1866-1946
35. STUART SUTCLIFFE 1940-1962
37. MAX MILLER 1894-1963
38. THE PETTY GIRL. painting of his wife, Anna Mae Clift, by GEORGE PETTY 1894-1975
39. MARLON BRANDO 1924.-2004
40. TOM MIX 1880-1940
41. OSCAR WILDE 1854-1900
42. TYRONE POWER 1914-1958
43. LARRY BELL 1939 -
46. STEPHEN CRANE 1871-1900
47. ISSY BONN 1893-1977
49. H.C. WESTERMANN 1922-1981
50. ALBERT STUBBINS 1920-2002
52. LEWIS CARROLL 1832-1898
53. T.E. LAWRENCE¨1888-1935
54. SONNY LISTON 1928-1970
56. GEORGE HARRISON 1943-2001
57. JOHN LENNON 1940-1980
59. RINGO STARR 1940-
60. PAUL McCARTNEY 1942-
61. ALBERT EINSTEIN 1879-1955
62. JOHN LENNON. Again.
63. RINGO STARR. Again.
64. PAUL McCARTNEY. Again.
66. BOBBY BREEN 1927-
67. MARLENE DIETRICH 1901-1992
68. MAHATMA GANDHI 1869-1948
70. DIANA DORS 1931-1984

No. 12, Leo Gorcy was on the cover, but he was painted out before publication due to his manager requesting a fee of $400 for his participation.
No. 68, Mahatma Gandhi was also painted over, by request of EMI.
Here's a recreation of how "the stage" looked like before the Beatles and their wax models entered.

Recreation of the set up before the wax models arrived
As you can see, more people are revealed.

Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni
Hidden behind the wax models of The Beatles, you would have seen this image of Sophia Loren (1934- )and Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996).

Adolf Hitler and Peter Blake
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was also one of the full figure cut-outs, but contrary to what Peter Blake later claimed, he was not hidden behind The Beatles, but stood in the wings when the Beatles entered the picture.
Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I
Hidden behind George in his Pepper suit is this image of Bette Davis (1908-1989) in her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603).
Also, an image of Timothy Carey (1929-1994) from Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" shows up behind George.
Shirley Temple in a still from the movie "Bright Eyes"
Rejects from the cover included:
RENE MARGRITTE (1898-1967)
ALFRED JARRY (1873-1907)
MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814)
LORD BUCKLEY (1906-1960)
DICK BARTON (fictional)
JAMES JOYCE 1882-1941 (a cut-out of his head was made and they tried to fit it in somewhere, but gave up. At one point his head was where Lawrence of Arabia went.

Finishing off, what you see depicted above is a poster from the Pepper photo session. It is pretty close to the one that was used on the album, but you'll notice small, slight differences like John holding his instrument a bit higher.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Sgt Pepper slideshow

I'm putting together a Sgt Pepper's exhibition for the fourth annual Beatles festival here in Norway ( at Beitostølen, and I was in the process of putting together a slideshow to accompany the exhibition when I stumbled upon this well laid out slideshow on YouTube.

Make sure you also visit the website of the creator of the slideshow for more "peppered" fun!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Abbey Road photo session

In celebration of Abbey Road's 40th birthday (it was released on October 1st, 1969 in the USA), here are the six photos that Iain MacMillan shot of the fabs crossing Abbey Road on the morning of Friday, August 8th, 1969. They start by walking across from the Abbey Road Studios side of the street over to the other side, Paul is still wearing sandals. The beetle is there all the way through the session, but the police van is nowhere to be seen yet.

The same photo, a bit brighter and more close-up.

Photo 2

Paul keeps the flip flops on as they return, but he leaves them on the sidewalk for the remainder of the photo session.

Again they cross the street. One of several London buses and a taxi appears.

Another bus is waiting for The Beatles to cross over the street. Here's the photographer, Iain MacMillan pictured with this photo:

The iconic cover photo, where they are walking in step. There's that police van.

And the van is still there in the final photo.

In february 2008, news was that Florida resident Paul Cole, the man beside the police van had died, aged 93. But was he really that man? I don't think so, and here's why.

According to an interview he gave in 2004, Paul Cole was on the pavement while he was waiting for his wife, who was visiting a museum in Abbey Road. He was starting a conversation with the driver of the police van, and a bit later he realized that the police was there for a special occasion. When he looked over at the Beatles, he only recognized them as "A bunch of kooks, I called them, because they were rather radical-looking at that time. You didn't walk around in London barefoot."

I think he was telling tales, his story seems to prove that he has only seen the one photo that most people have seen, the actual Abbey Road cover. There's no museum in that part of Abbey Road. The police van was a late arrival to the photo session, as evidenced by the previous photos, so Paul Cole can't have had such a conversation with the driver. He was just a man who knew three things about the cover:
1. There's a police van there.
2. Next to the police van there's a man standing.
3. One Beatles was not wearing shoes and socks.

So, he invented a story, putting himself in the picture. Well at least he got a laugh when news media all over the world reported about it. It's even in the Wikipedia entry of the album.

Here's a close-up from photo #2 of what appears to be the same man. So, where was he in the mean time?

This is a reenactment from the recent The Beatles:RockBand commercial, the scene seen from that man's point of view.

Earlier references
Over the ages there are several people who have claimed to be the man on the Abbey Road cover. I have heard stories about people claiming to be or to know "the man on the cover" for as long as I have been a Beatles fan. One of them supposedly was a gay man who died in the seventies. Here's another, earlier claim: Jo Poole: "At 21, I was a dedicated Beatles fan, and bought the 'Abbey Road' album the moment it was released. As soon as I saw the cover, I shouted, 'That's my brother, Tony.' He was 33, and was very distinctive at six feet four inches tall. Tony Staples was his name and he lived in Scott Ellis Gardens, near Abbey Road, and regularly saw the occasional Beatle, though catching a glimpse of all four Beatles together was rare, even in Abbey Road. He was on his way to work as an administrative secretary for the National Farmers Union on the Friday morning when that photo was taken. I used to travel regularly from my home in Gloucestershire to visit Tony in St. John's Wood, and I remember him pointing out Paul McCartney's house."

Of course, since Paul Cole managed to get in the news, and because he was referred to as "the man on the Abbey Road cover" in an obituary that was widespread all over the internet, it's become almost impossible to google and find all those other, previous claims about the identity of the man.

The gang of three directly over McCartney's head seems to have been identified, too:
Mrs N. C. Seagrove: "It wasn't until years after the 'Abbey Road' LP was produced that my husband discovered he is on the album cover. Derek was 31, and working for the decorating firm Fassnidge, Son & Morris, based in Uxbridge, when the picture was taken. He's the one on the right of the three men in white overalls on the left-hand pavement. The other two are his work-mates, Alan Flanagan and Steve Millwood. They were doing a decorating job in Abbey Road studios and were coming back after a lunch break when the picture was taken. They hung around just to be nosey. Derek thought if it was used, he and his mates would be edited out."
You can see more Abbey Road photos in this post.