Monday, 30 January 2012

A conversation with Ringo Starr


Ringo's new album "Ringo 2012" hits the shops and the download markets these days. I've been playing the CD in my car over the weekend. It's well played, but a bit on the slim side, materialwise.
There's a couple of cover versions (Buddy Holly's "Think It Over", already out last year on a Holly tribute album and "Rock Island Line", popularised in the UK by skiffle pioneer Lonnie Donegan), then he covers himself a couple of times ("Wings" from Ringo the 4th in 1977 and "Step Lightly" from the Ringo album, released in 1973). There's a new chapter in his Liverpool saga, "In Liverpool" and four other songs, I think of them as "fillers". All in all nine songs, and less than half an hour of new Ringo music. I like the new version of "Wings", it's far better than the original. "Step Lightly", on the other hand, isn't. The Buddy Holly song is a good one and Ringo delivers a refreshing steel drums driven version of it. On the other hand, "Rock Island Line" does the song no favours. If he had played it in a skiffle environment, it would have been a far better move. I'm all in favour of the new Liverpool song, you can hear he has his heart in that one. The rest is pleasent enough (unless you get rashes from hearing Ringo sing, like my girlfriend gets), but forgettable. This week, Ringo is in promotion modus and hits the media stateside.  He's also come up with a new stunt, he is inviting amateur filmmakers to make a music video for the song "Wings".


Ringo will personally choose the winner, which will be serviced to media as the official promo video for Wings. ‎"I've partnered with @Genero to give you the chance to make the official video for my new single, Wings from RINGO 2012. I'm leaving it open for you to interpret so let your creative juices flow! I'm picking the winner and you'll get $3000. Entries close Mar 7." All the details are at Genero TV.

Friday, 27 January 2012

"Kisses on the bottom" EPK

Paul McCartney and producer Tommy LiPuma discuss the story behind the album 'Kisses On The Bottom' with journalist Robert Hilburn at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles. This EPK from MPL is just over 15 minute in length. EPK = Electronic Press Kit. Usually a promo film distributed to TV companies as a way to promote a new release. They used to be on VHS cassettes, the earliest one I own was the EPK for McCartney's 1986 album "Press To Play". The film contained an interview with Paul by Paul Gambaccini and some film footage and stills from the making of the album cover, as I recall. I found it in EMI Norway's trash can when they moved to their new address.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Those Were The Days re-recording

 
Mary Hopkin recording a foreign "Those Were The Days" vocal. To establish Mary Hopkin as an international star, Apple had Mary re-record her debut in four languages.

French "Les Temps des Fleurs" (FO 131)
"An Jenem Tag" in German (0 23910)
"Quelli Erano Giorni" in Italian (Apple 2)
"Que Tiempo Tan Feliz" in Spanish (H 397)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

More Lennon as Superman pics

More outtakes from the photo session for "The Penguin John Lennon" book have come to light. And as a Superman fan, I'm always delighted when my two main hobbies come together like this. More about Beatles/Superman connections in my previous blog post here.
Thanks to Mark for alerting me to these new photos, all photos are by Alan Aldridge. The finished book cover featured an altered S-logo, but from the outtakes we can see that it was the real deal.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

"Kisses on the bottom" deluxe bonus tracks

News item from Paul McCartney today: the Deluxe CD Album will feature two bonus tracks plus access to a download of an exclusive live show (available from Tuesday 14th February via paulmccartney.com), plus longer liner notes and expanded packaging featuring three postcards)
These are the bonus tracks:

15. Baby’s Request (03:30)
16. My One And Only Love (03:50)

As you probably know, "Baby's Request" is a Paul McCartney composition, which was first heard on the Wings album "Back To The Egg" back in 1979. It's one of McCartney's pastiches of old time songs and neatly fits in with a row of songs like "When I'm Sixty-Four", "Your Mother Should Know", "Honey Pie", "You Gave Me The Answer" etc.
We certainly hope that this track has been re-recorded for this album, because we already have the "Back To The Egg Album"..
"My One and Only Love" is a popular song with music written by Guy Wood and lyrics by Robert Mellin. The song was published in 1952. It was recorded by Frank Sinatra on May 2, 1953 and released on Capitol 2505 as a 4-track EP, both on 45 rpm and 78 rpm. It's available on the Sinatra compilation "Nice 'n' Easy" and the song has also been covered by Sting.
The album artwork concept was conceived by Jonathan Schofield (Visual Director at Stella McCartney) and designed by Matthew Cooper (who has worked with artists such as Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand). Paul was photographed by his daughter Mary McCartney for the album sleeve.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Visit Abbey Road - 2nd day added

A second opportunity to go and visit Abbey Road studio number two has been given latecomers. Tickets are now available for Sunday the 11th of March. Abbey Road Studios have been accessible for recording artists only, the only two previous occasions they've been open to the general public having been the "Beatles At Abbey Road" presentation in Studio Two from 18. July to 11. September, 1983 and the "Abbey Road film festival" which was from 19. March to 3. April, 2005.
Meanwhile, in other news, The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album is the best selling vinyl album of 2011 in the USA, just like it was in 2010 and 2009.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Kisses on the bottom vinyl edition


Well. It's only fourteen tracks, but it's a double LP. "This double vinyl version comes in a gatefold sleeve and a digital download card." - says Amazon

By the way, I love the title. It's cheeky, which is very appropriate and contradicts the theme of the album. To me, it's the equivalent of "Her Majesty" taking the seriousness out of the pompous "and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make" it follows.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Kisses on the bottom in the UK

Amazon in the UK has finally listed Paul McCartney's new album, "Kisses on the bottom", but has a release date of June 12th. Probably an error.
Their pre-order page for the Deluxe edition mentions possible Extra tracks, but we have a hunch they just didn't know anything, so they're only assuming. As far as we've been told, the DeLuxe edition should have no extra tracks, but more elaborate covers and a card which allows you to obtain a live performance download.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Visit Abbey Road Studios!

Abbey Road Studio Two - note the old style Beatles logo on the bass drum

Abbey Road Studios announce an exclusive presentation in Studio Two, open to the public on 10th March 2012. There will be two houses, one at 10 AM and one at 3 PM. 

Visit Abbey Road Studios legendary Studio Two - home to iconic recordings by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush

Fascinating talks on Abbey Road Studios from the authors of acclaimed book `Recording The Beatles'

Rare and unseen photographs, films, and recordings from the archives of EMI and Abbey Road Studios

Exhibition of vintage photos and priceless recording artefacts - see up-close the very instruments, microphones, and studio equipment used to create classic recordings

As part of their 80th Anniversary celebrations, on 10th March Abbey Road Studios will be opening its doors to the public for a unique experience.

Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan - authors of the critically-acclaimed, definitive book `Recording The Beatles' will give an insightful and highly-enjoyable presentation, specifically for the anniversary event.

'Recording The Beatles' has won huge praise from Abbey Road alumni including Alan Parsons, Norman Smith, Ken Townsend and John Kurlander, whose engineering/production CVs count The Beatles, The Hollies, Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy between them.

Kehew and Ryan's `80 Years of Recording at Abbey Road Studios' talk will explore the studio's decades of landmark recordings, celebrating the technology and sonic creativity that lead to epoch defining music from feted artists.

With over 20 years of research into EMI history, Ryan and Kehew have uncovered many secrets of the studios and have worked with Abbey Road Studios to preserve and illuminate the studios' immense history.

Much more than a mere talk, the presentation will cover the history of Abbey Road Studios with rare archive photos, film and audio from the various decades, showing changes to the studio and equipment. It will illustrate Abbey Road's long progression through all kinds of music, from classical to rock, and the methods used to record in each style/period.

Recordings covered will include Sir Edward Elgar, The Shadows, Peter Sellers, Helen Shapiro, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Hollies, The Zombies, the Swingin' Blue Jeans and Kate Bush. The magical film scores captured over the years including `Star Wars', `Harry Potter', `Lord of the Rings' and `The King's Speech' will also be explored.

Also on display will be original vintage equipment from Abbey Road's own history - unique items from the studios and archives, including the very instruments, microphones, and studio hardware used to create classic tracks. Visitors will be allowed early entrance with time to explore and take photographs in the famous Studio Two, where seminal acts like The Beatles, Oasis, The Hollies, The Shadows, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush recorded epoch-defining music. More recently, Elbow recorded their theme for the 2012 Olympics there and amazing artists like Ryan Adams, Laura Marling and Feist laid down performances for the worldwide `Live From Abbey Road' television show.

Brian Kehew, co-author of 'Recording The Beatles', is a record producer, engineer and musician. He has worked with The Who, Fiona Apple, Air, Rod Stewart, Talking Heads, Aretha Franklin, and Black Sabbath.

Kevin Ryan, co-author of `Recording the Beatles' is a Houston-based producer, arranger and composer. He is also a talented graphic designer and video/film artist.
Tickets are 75 GBP + booking fees and go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday 04 Jan 2012 at 9:00AM (UK time) from Seetickets.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Star Club 50th Anniversary

The Star-Club in Hamburg is no more. Closed in 1969 and destroyed by a fire in 1987, the club is gone. But some of the people associated with Star-Club have decided to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary nevertheless.

INFORMATION
One of the most important epochs of the pop history began with the opening of the Star-Club on the 13th of April, 1962 at the Hamburg Reeperbahn / Germany. It is hardly conceivable from today's view, but for a few years the concert temple in the Große Freiheit was the most famous music-club of the world. In the course of the years many legendary musicians performed there,like the Beatles, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, Brenda Lee and many more.
However, the Star-Club was even more than just a music-club: It was full of magic. It was a pop-cultural manifesto. A departure in a new age. The Star-Club had shaken off the fug and muff of the postwar years and released a rebellion of the youth!
The men who made this possible were the Hamburg businessman and owner of the club Manfred Weissleder and the music promoter and Star-Club manager Horst Fascher.
Now, on the occasion of the 50th birthday of the club, Horst Fascher has invited a few good old friends. 
The Star-Club was closed in 1969. However, in the hearts of his countless visitors he lives on until this day. Horst Fascher: "In April, 2012 I will be 76 years old. The 50th Anniversary of the Star-Club will be my last, big event. The last time I would like to celebrate with my friends the most important and best place of my life. Of course in the Große Freiheit 36 / Kaiserkeller where the venerable and world-renowned star of the Star-Club shines on every night in the facade."

Confirmed bands and artists so far:
The Quarrymen (Liverpool)
supported by Charles Glenn (Little Richard´s Band) and Uli Salm (Rudolf Rock)
The Pete Best Band (with ex-Beatle Pete Best)
Mike Pender´s Searchers (Liverpool)
The Mojos (Liverpool)
The Undertakers (Liverpool)
Lee Curtis with Bonds + Mr. Piggi
Jimmy & The Rackets (England)
Rockhouse Brothers (Hannover – SAT.1 Breakfast TV)
"Star Club All-Star-Band" with
  • Brain Griffiths (Ex Big Three)
  • Jackie Lomax (The Undertakers)
  • Bobby Thompson (Dominoes)
  • Joe Fagin (Leadsinger Strangers)
  • Ian´s Zodiacs (Köln)
Ticket to Ride (Hamburg)

"The 50th Anniversary of one of the most important events in the cultural history of the world“ - Bill Harry (Mersey Beat Magazine / Liverpool).
Paul McCartney: "The best memories? Oh, getting crazy on stage in the Star-Club (…)"
Website
Tickets