Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy 2011

There are many Christmas songs but not so many New Year songs. Fortunately for us, George Harrison once made one. In this video clip for the song, Harrison is seen wearing some of his Beatles outfits, including his Sgt Pepper's uniform. He later wore it for one more music video, "When We Was Fab". I wish my blog readers a happy new year, it wil be the tenth since we lost George.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Paul honored in USA again

December 5th, President Obama honored 5 people, Oprah Winfrey, Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Bill T. Jones and Paul McCartney as the 2010 recipients of one of Americas greatest awards for the performing arts, the Kennedy Center Awards. Attendees of the star studded gala and tribute concert included Hilary Clinton, both Obamas, James Taylor, various governors, and more. The awards were musical, but also about charity work and morals of these performing artists. The Kennedy Center Awards Gala was broadcast in full with the concert yesterday on CBS. At McCartney's request, Steven Tyler performed the Abbey Road medley at the gala. "I got called up by Paul McCartney and he asked me to sing the last four songs of 'Abbey Road' so I said 'Umm OK.' (I'm) doing it," Tyler told American radio station 95.9 WATD-FM earlier. Here's the result, as broadcast by CBS yesterday.
The 41-year-old singer Gwen Stefani and "No Doubt" performed the Beatles songs "Hello Goodbye" and "Penny Lane" for Sir Paul, Dave Grohl and Norah Jones performed Sir Paul's solo track "Maybe I'm Amazed", while singer-songwriter James Taylor and gospel vocalist Mavis Staples closed the show with "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude", bringing Sir Paul and President Obama to their feet.

I believe the inclusion of "Maybe I'm Amazed" in this concert is what prompted Sir Paul to start performing this song at his own concerts again, starting with the gig at the Apollo Theatre in New York City nine days later. The song was a mainstay in McCartney's live repertoire ever since the first Wings concerts in 1972, but was dropped around five years ago.

Let it snow

With all the reports about heavy snowfall around Europe and New York, I thought you might enjoy watching John Lennon have a bit of fun with the snow.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Best of 2010

The Beatles in Washington DC 1964
For the remaining Beatles, it was a year which started with Ringo performing some small gigs and ended with Paul doing the same. The two also released respective albums and toured. Perhaps the single most treasured moment for those who were there will have been when the two Beatles members came together for Ringo's birthday concert in New York City. For us fans, there were endless releases, official and unofficial, and then there were the Lennon celebrations.

Band On The Run Remaster, Lennon Remasters, Apple Remasters, All Things Must Pass Remaster, Ringo Live CD/DVD, Ringo's Y Not, Red & Blue Remasters, The Beatles on iTunes, the Washington DC 1964 concert film, the Unsurpassed Broadcasts CD series, Paul McCartney's Up and Coming Tour, Ringo's birthday concert, Ringo's All Starr Band Tour, George/Ravi boxed set, the Raga film on DVD, various "50 years of the Beatles" celebrations, including Bambi Kino at the Indra Club, various Lennon 70th birthday celebrations, including the Plastic Ono Band concert in Reykjavik, LennoNYC documentary, Lennon Naked TV-film, Nowhere Boy - film, Paul McCartney's surprise December concerts, Wings leaks, RockBand Multitracks, yes we're trying to sum up 2010. What was your favourite release or event?

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Washington goes big screen

Apple/iTunes' exclusive deal with Apple Corps for use of the Washington DC concert ends in February, after which a DVD release seems likely. February 11th 2011, the full March 1964 concert film, including Lesley Gore and the Beach Boys will also be shown theatrically. Possibly as PR for an upcoming official DVD.
A month after the Beatles' Washington concert, in mid-March 1964, the CBS filming of the Beatles’ live D.C. show – together with separate footage of performances by the Beach Boys and Lesley Gore – was shown in selected U.S. movie theaters as a closed-circuit concert. Billed in advertising as — “The Beatles: Direct From Their First American Concert” — the complete 90-minute film was transmitted over telephone lines to selected U.S. and Canadian theaters in four separate shows — two each day — over the weekend of March 14th and 15th, 1964.

The first round of closed-circuit concerts occurred on Saturday, March 14, 1964, and among the receiving theater locations on that day, for example, were: the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Hippodrome Theater in Cleveland, Ohio; the El Monte Legion Stadium in El Monte, California; the Public Auditorium in Portland, Oregon, and many others. The following day, on Sunday, March 15, 1964, the show went out again to a number of locations, including: the Norva Theater in Norfolk, Virginia; Lake Theater in Oak Park, Illinois; Fox Theater in San Jose, California; and the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C. The Lyric Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana also received the show on March 14th and March 15th, as did a big screen theater at the State Fair Coliseum in Dallas, Texas.
The total audience for the special closed-circuit broad- casts of the Beatles’ concert film was expected to exceed 500,000. The shows were seen in more than 100 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. The promoters – identified in advertising as the National General Corporation, or their subisidiary, Theater Color Vision — made millions. One 1964 estimate placed the take at some $4 million, or roughly $30 million in today’s money. This Beatles’ concert showing was apprarently the first use of closed-circuit broadcasting for a rock concert, as previously this closed-circuit theater network had been used only for championship boxing matches.
 A master tape of the CBS film of the Beatles’ D.C. concert was auctioned off by “It’s Only Rock and Roll” in 2005 to an unnamed bidder for an unspecified price. Here's their description: "A variety of poor quality kinescopes trans- ferred to video versions of the concert have circulated on bootlegs, imports and, most recently, as a commercially released DVD. These versions are missing the on-stage announcements and footage of the Beatles running through the audience en route to the stage. In addition, these inferior copies end abruptly midway through ‘Twist & Shout,’ and are totally missing the finale of ‘Long Tall Sally’ and footage of the Beatles leaving the stage. Even the footage seen by millions on the Beatles Anthology series was far removed in picture and sound quality from what fans saw in their local theaters in March 1964."
"We can unequivocally say that there exists no other videotaped Beatles concert that remotely approaches the quality of this performance by the Beatles at Washington Coliseum."

It now seems likely that the anonymous bidder may have been Apple Corps, and that this master is the source for the recent iTunes download and the forthcoming cinema release.
The information about these closed circuit concerts is excerpted from an article in the Pop History Dig, available here, where you'll also find information about the Lesley Gore and Beach Boys footage.

Buenos Aires Beatles Museum

January third sees the opening of America's first Beatles museum. Guinness record holding Beatles collector Rodolfo Vazquez puts part of his 8500 items collection on permanent display in the museum. The museum will be located in the cultural complex The Plaza, in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. A nearby movie theatre will be renamed to the John Lennon cinema, and the complex also houses a replica Cavern Club, also owned by Vazquez. Among the items Vazquez has been collecting are photos and records, clothing, checks signed by members of the Beatles and even a box of condoms with the image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas gifts 2010

Here's a self-indulgent post from me: What Beatles related gifts I got for Christmas this year! For starters, here's the Yellow Submarine Bar Ware gift box.
Pretty nice, eh? I'm currently freezing these cubes. I have a bar in my basement, so that was a thoughtful gift.
Another wonderful present was this:
Yes, it's one of their Christmas singles! I'm a cheapskate collector, so I didn't have any of these beforehand. Trouble is, being a completeist, this means I now have to try and get the other six! Oh well, everything comes to he who waits. Last of the Beatles' gifts is this:
I don't know if I'm ever going to start puzzling this one together, but it was a great gift. On a related note, I got this piece of machinery:
It's a record player with USB out, which means I can record from vinyl to my hard disk drive. I've already set it up and tried it with Audacity, and it works perfectly! Merry Christmas to my readers!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

"Last Play At Shea" DVD

For the final performance at New York's doomed Shea Stadium in July 2008, Sir Paul McCartney joined Billy Joel on stage for a duet on "I Saw Her Standing There". McCartney then performed "Let It Be". A fitting goodbye to the stadium, who's era as a concert arena was started by the Beatles in 1965.As we know, the concert was filmed for a future documentary. We wrote about that documentary, entitled "Last Play at Shea", back in May while it still lacked distribution. The news is that it will be released on DVD on February 8th, 2011. Get it from Amazon.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Early Beatles

I was looking for some info on the internet about the 1984 Granada TV special "The Early Beatles", which I got on a video cassette from a trader in the UK shortly after it was broadcast. All of the precious archive material from Granada TV in the 50-minute programme was carefully and expensively reprocessed at a film laboratory to give the maximum quality. The special was shown on TV January 1st, 1984. Unlike narrated documentaries which become dated, this programme started with the legend “Much has been written, even more has been said. This compilation speaks for itself.”, thus gaining somewhat of a timeless quality. Anyway, while looking for info (which you'll find over at Bill Harry's place here), I came across another site; The Beatles in Manchester. Take a look at it if you haven't already. Oh and by the way, a cleaned-up version of "The Early Beatles", coupled together with "The Music of Lennon & McCartney" is currently being made available on a friendly green download torrent site.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Film clips from the 100 Club gig

Courtesy of Associated Press and some of the lucky fans who had tickets, I've put together a bunch of film clips from YouTube to watch for those who weren't there and perhaps also those who were. Tomorrow Paul plays in Liverpool, and there are rumours about an unannounced gig at a "hidden venue", could be a lunchtime session at the Cavern Club? Or how about the Casbah!

Friday, 17 December 2010

McCartney setlist from today

According to the various reports, this was the full setlist from Paul McCartney's lunchtime concert at the 100 Club in London Town:

Magical Mystery Tour
Drive My Car
All My Loving
One After 909
Honey Hush
Let Me Roll It
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (ending with "Band On The Run" coda!)
Let It Snow (brief version)
Maybe I'm Amazed
Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Calico Skies
I'm Looking Through You
And I Love Her
Dance Tonight
Eleanor Rigby
Hitch Hike
Band On The Run
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Let It Be
Hey Jude

Get Back
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End

Clips are starting to surface on YouTube:

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

McCartney's lunchtime gig tickets

Paul McCartney announced yesterday that he was going to play a lunchtime gig at the 100Club in London Friday. The tickets go on sale at 10 GMT at ticketmaster UK or you can call the tickets hotline: 08442 48 50 77
The tickets are £66.00 (£60.00 Ticket + £6.00 Fees) and are limited to two per person. This is a Paperless Ticket event. Tickets will NOT be mailed out in advance. You MUST bring the original credit/debit card used to purchase the tickets, along with valid state issued photo ID to the venue on the day of the event. The cardholder must be present - no exceptions. Your payment card will be swiped as you enter The 100 Club and your identification must be confirmed to allow entry. The cardholder and his/her guest must enter the venue at the same time. Good luck!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Maybe I'm Amazed

Maybe I'm amazed by the fact that Paul McCartney chose to perform this song again at his Apollo concert in Harlem? But I was definitely amazed when I came home from London on Thursday to find a mail from one of my readers who used foul language to tell me that I shouldn't have posted a Paul McCartney news item on the 30th anniversary of the day John Lennon was murdered.
I wasn't going to dignify that mail with an answer, but as a service to other readers who may have been curious, I thought it best to explain myself.
I've never understood the reason why some Lennon fans feel like they have to completely dismiss McCartney's qualities as a singer, musician and songwriter in order to be real Lennonites. There may be McCartney fans who treat Lennon likewise, but I've not come across it on the same scale.
I'm glad I don't have to choose. Even though I'm a Wings fan who became a Beatles fan, I love John Lennon's songs, both from the Beatles era and later on.  And as an 18 year old Beatles fan at the time, I was saddened by the murder on Lennon. I did cry that day.
But over the years, I have tried not to remind myself of that day or of his killer. Sometimes it can't be helped. I'm watching a Lennon documentary and there, at the end, is that story again. Lennon's life had a tragic and senseless ending, so I'm much happier celebrating his life than focusing on that last day. Whenever there's a documentary about his killer or about the murder, I don't watch it. The jerk of all jerks doesn't need that kind of attention. I avoid writing his name.
So I don't commemorate neither December 8th nor the 9th (which is what the date was here in Europe when it happened).
Furthermore, it's my blog and I write what I want to! Here's One After 909.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Misterclaudel Shea

Misterclaudel restored "She's A Woman" from Shea stadium, using NME Poll Winners footage mixed with Shea footage. The soundtrack is from Shea. This is one of two missing songs from the Beatles' set in the Shea Stadium concert film. The other one was "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby", which hasn't been restored on this new Misterclaudel release.
I've been viewing this DVD (MCDVD-24), and it contains two versions of the Beatles' most famous concert. One from the new source, and one with mixed in footage from Anthology. Neither version has the documentary footage, they are just the concert. Colourwise, this is an upgrade to the Darthdisc-based versions, which all has a reddish hue. Picturewise, the new Misterclaudel version may be a little bit less clear than the Darthdisc version, and there are video tape artifacts here and there. The drop-outs on the audio tape has been fixed by using the muffled concert soundtrack for the appropriate part. The version with mixed in footage from Anthology is a nice try, but there are some mistakes made during the video editing process which should have been removed before release. Still, I'd call it an upgrade - but one which will no doubt soon be outdone again.

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Story of Apple Records

Tickets for McCartney in London and Liverpool

If you didn't get any tickets for Paul McCartney's upcoming concerts in London or Liverpool, you could always try Worldtickets, if you are prepared to pay some money to go see Paul! Currently, they are offering tickets for both concert dates, but they're priced from about £ 250 ...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Paul McCartney: Surprise Concerts in England

Yesterday it was announced that Paul McCartney will give two concerts in England just before Christmas: December 18th at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo London and December 20th O2 Academy Liverpool. Ticket information.
Following a year of massive international-headline-grabbing sell out stadium shows, Paul McCartney today announces he will bring 2010 to a close with two very special intimate and personal homecoming shows.
Paul and his band are planning two spectacular nights of celebrating and rock n roll, the first of which will see Paul return to Londons HMV Hammersmith Apollo for his first full solo show there in 35 years, his last appearance being with Wings in September 1975; Paul first appeared there with The Beatles on December 24th, 1964 for The Beatles Christmas Show.
The second concert will be in Liverpool at the O2 Academy.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

In My Life: John Lennon Remembered

Right now, BBC6 is running "In My Life: John Lennon Remembered" a multi-part series originally broadcast in 1990 which is as much about The Beatles as Lennon.
The BBC radio shows are archived online for seven days so that people can listen when they choose to. Unlike BBC TV, BBC Radio programming can be heard anywhere in the world. The series started on November 28, so hurry up if you want to hear it all. Here's a link to help.

Also, there was a book released in 1990 as a tie-in with the series: In My Life: Lennon Remembered by Kevin Howlett and Mark Lewisohn(BBC Books)
Thanks to John Chuhran for reminding us about this radio series!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Sample from Unsurpassed Promos

Here's a great sample from the current bootleg DVD series "Unsurpassed Promos", which I've discussed in earlier blog posts:

Best viewed in HQ and full frame.
Most of my updates seem to be in the form of YouTube-clips lately. Sorry for that, but I've been keeping busy with other projects, including a very different work situation. Monday I'm travelling to London, so don't expect updates until late next week.

Friday, 3 December 2010

New tape source for Decca Audition

Here's a promo film that heralds the emergence of a hitherto uncirculated tape containing The Beatles' audition for Decca Records, January 1st, 1962. It's due out as a download before Christmas, we are promised. It's not the same tapes that were used by Joe Pope and Circuit Records in the 70's, and as such - there could be surprises... Not new songs, but perhaps more chat or better quality.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The McCartney Christmas Album

Back in 1965, Paul McCartney ended a very busy Beatles year by recording an album of his own, and releasing it as a Christmas present to John, George and Ringo. The album was only pressed in four copies, he kept one for himself. The album is probably made up of experiments in sound which Paul had conducted at home. The bootleg company "His Master´s Choice" has now announced the following titles for release in January 2011:
HMC 011 - Unforgettable - The McCartney Christmas Album (LP + CD)
HMC 012 - The Beatles: Christmas Album (LP + CD with 26 minutes of new Christmas outtakes)
HMC 013 - The Beatles: Get Back Continued (LP + CD with unreleased studio outtakes)
It's tempting to speculate that the first of these titles could be the elusive 1965 LP, but from where could that one have leaked? Perhaps the "Lost Lennon Tapes" archives? Or maybe someone involved in the ongoing "Paul McCartney Archive" series? We're looking forward to the new year...