Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Beatles and fashion

These days it seems, the only aspect of The Beatles that remains in focus, is their music. We tend to forget that the Beatles influenced a lot of other areas in their time. Art, fashion, politics, writing, philosophy, you name it. I don't know if this is a true story, but a remark by John Lennon in an interview about wishing that girls' skirts and dresses was shorter, supposedly started the miniskirt craze...
Anyway, Paolo Hewitt examines the Beatles' inluence on fashion in the upcoming book Fab Gear: The Beatles and Fashion. Here's the blurb: The Beatles' incomparable fashion sense takes center stage in this unique look at how the world's most popular band influenced the fashion of the times. The Beatles knew how much image mattered in the 1960s, and whether it was Nehru jackets, skinny ties, granny glasses, or the Cuban heel boot--if John, Paul, George, or Ringo wore it, the rest of their millions of fans followed. Renowned music and fashion author Paolo Hewitt takes readers on a fashion tour of the Beatles' career and the trends they co-opted. From their Hamburg debut in sunglasses, leather, and black sweaters to the conservative suits they were ordered to wear by their manager Brian Epstein; from their infatuation with Pierre Cardin's collarless jackets to their more casual corduroy; from their Mod madness to psychedelic spaciness to faux-military attire to hippy-chic--each style is revealed as a reflection of the music they made and the world views they embraced. 
Filled with fabulous photographs and with an appealing retro feel, the book features numerous images, many of which have never been published before. It offers insights into how the band's meteoric rise and enduring success shaped their fashion choices. 
There's even a chapter devoted to their hairstyles. 
Fans of all ages, as well as anyone interested in fashion, will be enthralled with this first ever Beatles stylebook that proves the Fab Four were as timely as they were timeless.

In an interview with Liverpool Echo, author Hewitt says that he enjoyed finding another angle to writing a Beatles book, and that he spent an enjoyable week in Liverpool as part of the research.
"They had the same ideas with their clothes as with their music," says Paolo. "As soon as another bands started to copy their look, they’d move on and wear something else. they were innovators, and they hated following the pack."

The book will be released on October 24th.

Monday, 29 August 2011

How many roads...?

I wonder how many of these there are? This photo was sent me by one of my readers. Evidently it had been posted on a Beatles photo forum yesterday, and it's now "making the rounds". Click to see the bigger version. As you'll have noticed, two familiar bystanders are evident, the "mystery man" (Paul Cole, a now deceased Florida resident,  claimed to be that man) and the lady in a violet dress from a similar but more up-close photo. But there are two more bystanders, one hidden behind the aforementioned lady and another lady (a fan?) who seems to be taking photos! I wonder if her photos will appear some day... Also, there's someone sitting behind the Beatles...
We will continue to update our page "The Road Goes On Forever" with the Abbey Road cover shot images that mysteriously emerge as time goes by.

Updated September 2nd with a higher resolution version of the image, care of Miss Tammy's site. The uploader also revealed the source of the photo, it was hidden away in the Beatles RockBand game.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Blokker clip

HIWAX has posted the longest version of the "Blokker" clip so far on YouTube.

The sound + video sorcerer has also just made a new DVD, which pairs together news footage of The Beatles in concert with appropriate sound clips synched to the moving images. Here's what's on the new DVD of his:

THE BEATLES : Re-Constructions

01.1963/11/01 Cheltenham
02.1963/11/13 Plymouth
03.1963/11/16 Bournemouth
04.1963/11/20 Manchester
05.1963/12/07 Liverpool
06.1963/12/14 Wimbledon
07.1964/01/15 Versailles
08.1964/01/16 Paris
09.1964/02/11 Washington D.C.
10.1964/02/11 Washington D.C.
11,1964/06/18 Sydney
12,1964/08/19 San Francisco
13.1964/08/23 Los Angeles
14.1964/08/23 Los Angeles
15.1964/09/02 Philadelphia
16.1965/06/25 Genova
17.1965/07/02 Madrid
18.1965/07/03 Barcelona
19.1965/08/17 Toronto
20.1965/08/29 Los Angeles
21.1966/06/24 Munich
22.1966/06/24 Munich
23.1966/06/24 Munich
24.1966/06/25 Essen
25.1966/06/26 Hamburg
26.1966/06/30 Tokyo
27.1966/07/01 Tokyo
28.1966/08/12 Chicago
29.1966/08/28 Los Angeles
30.1966 U.S. Tour Collage - Rock'n'roll Music
31.1966 U.S. Tour Collage - She's A Woman

And there's some rare footage included as bonus tracks.
It's currently being torrented and will probably show up soon as a regular download.
Want a sample? Here's Cheltenham!

McCartney on Decca Records since 1967

Today's no-story in the less-than-acquainted-with-Beatles-facts part of the press is the fact that Paul McCartney's music for the new ballet Ocean's Kingdom will be released by Decca Records. Here's Reuter's take on it:
LONDON (Reuters) - Decca has teamed up with Paul McCartney to release his upcoming ballet nearly 50 years after the record label famously rejected taking on the Beatles in what has been called one of the music industry's biggest blunders.

The ballet, "Ocean's Kingdom," is the former Beatle's first foray into the world of dance, and has its world premiere at the New York City Ballet on September 22. There will be four additional performances in September and five more in January.

The Decca recording hits shelves in Britain on October 3.

Decca famously snubbed the Fab Four early in 1962, reportedly saying at the time that "guitar groups are on the way out" and "the Beatles have no future in showbusiness."

The quartet from Liverpool went on to sign with EMI label Parlophone and became arguably the most successful and influential pop band in history.

"Ocean's Kingdom," commissioned by the New York City Ballet, is conducted by John Wilson and performed by the London Classical Orchestra.

When he decided to write a ballet, McCartney visited the Royal Opera House in London and saw "Giselle," meeting the dancers of the Royal Ballet afterward to discuss the work.

McCartney's ballet tells of a love story set in an underwater world where people are threatened by humans. The score lasts an hour and is divided into four movements -- Ocean's Kingdom, Hall of Dance, Imprisonment and Moonrise.

In a statement, the 69-year-old singer/songwriter said he was "trying to write something that expressed an emotion -- so you have fear, love, anger, sadness to play with, and I found that exciting and challenging."

McCartney has written classical music before, including the award-winning choral work "Ecce Cor Meum."

Of course, everyone has (conveniently?) forgotten that Paul McCartney's very first soundtrack album, "The Family Way" from 1967 (re-released on CD in July this year) was released on Decca Records in the UK and Australia.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dutch Let It Be video cassette

Click to enlarge

Remember the 1983 German  official Let It Be release on Warner Home Video as a VHS video cassette? Well, it seems there was also a 1984 Dutch release. I found this scan while browsing the internet. This is the Betamax release, but I assume there was also a VHS one. The two formats were competing for world domination back in the day, and VHS won, being the inferior format with more cash to spend on advertising. I wonder how many countries LET IT BE was released in?
The US laserdisc release is the most well-known official home video release of Let It Be

As I've noted before, I've seen a copy of Let It Be in a Norwegian video rental shop back in the early days of video rental (around 1981), but I have no recollection of what it looked like. If you have any information about Let It Be home video releases (apart from the confirmed ones from USA, Germany and now Holland), I'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Beatles in Bournemouth

You'd be surprised to know that there are many surprising Beatles - Bournemouth connections - not least the first footage of The Beatles that was shown on US TV (now showing on YouTube) was shot in Bournemouth and the sheer number of shows they played in the town in such a short period.
Other connections include:
- A tape of a full Beatles concert recorded during their first visit to Bournemouth is the earliest known example of their theatre show. Despite the excellent quality of the recording it remains unreleased.
- The iconic cover photograph for the With The Beatles and Meet The Beatles albums was taken in Bournemouth.
- Howie Casey, who played with Wings in the 1970s and has lived in Bournemouth since 1978, has links with The Beatles that go back to their very earliest days. With his band The Seniors, Howie was at the same audition in 1960 when John, Paul and George first performed as the Silver Beatles.
- George Harrison’s first Beatles song, Don’t Bother Me was written while staying in Bournemouth.
- John Lennon bought his Aunt Mimi a home just outside Bournemouth and until he left the UK in 1971 was a regular visitor to the area.

The book also has many rare and previously unseen photos.

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is published on 22 September 2011 by Natula Publications, ISBN 9781897887899

The book's website
A blog

Saturday, 6 August 2011

2012 Beatles Calendars

Officially licensed 2012 calendar.
2012 sees the 50th anniversary of Love Me Do, the calendar features 12 images of the Beatles from 1962. Measures 30.5cm x 30.5cm (12 inches x 12 inches). Available September.
Other Beatles Calendars:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Scorsese's film about George Harrison - Special features

Deluxe  Edition of George Harrison - Living In The Material World
Here's the bonus material on this film:
George plays the Uke*
Here Comes The Sun
Dispute and Violence
Deep Blue*
Paul McCartney interview
Jeff Lynne interview
Damon Hill interview
Growing Up in Liverpool interview*
Neil Aspinall interview*
The Inner Light interview*
Gordon Murray interview*

* Exclusive to the Deluxe Edition.

Extra in the box (Deluxe edition only):
- Audio CD featuring never-before-heard tracks available exclusively within this package
- 96-page book - featuring never-before-seen photographs, illustrations and reminiscences from friends, including a Foreword by Martin Scorsese and an Introduction by Paul Theroux
- 2 x Exclusive Lithographs
- Integrated easel back for photo display
- Beautiful Collectable Picture Frame Packaging

Directed by Martin Scorsese, George Harrison – Living in the Material World is a stunning double-feature-length film tribute to one of music’s greatest icons. Containing a wealth of previously unreleased material, this Deluxe Edition contains 2 DVDs, a Blu-ray, a CD of never-before-heard tracks (available exclusively in this edition) and a 96-page book to accompany the film--all beautifully packaged within a collectable picture-frame box.

In Living in the Material World, Scorsese uses never-before-seen footage from George Harrison’s childhood, throughout his years with The Beatles, through the ups and downs of his solo career, and through the joys and pain of his private life, to trace the arc of George’s journey from his birth in 1943 to his passing in 2001. Living in the Material World features private home videos, photos and never before heard tracks to chronicle the incredible story of the extraordinary man.

Despite its epic reach, the film is deeply personal. Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, among many others, talk openly about George’s many gifts and contradictions and reveal the lives they shared together. In every aspect of his professional, personal and spiritual life, until his final hours, George blazed his own path.

As his friend John Lennon once said: "George himself is no mystery. But the mystery inside George is immense. It’s watching him uncover it all little by little that’s so damn interesting."

The BBC will show the documentary on TV in the UK in November.
In the USA, HBO has acquired the North American broadcast rights to the documentary, which will debut in two parts — on October 5 and October 6, 2011 — exclusively on HBO.