Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Beatles & Bournemouth Exhibition

The Beatles & Bournemouth
Beacon Hotel, Bournemouth
Opens 15 August

To mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first shows in Bournemouth, on 19 August 1963 when they opened a six-day residency at the Gaumont (now the Odeon) cinema on Westover Road, a new exhibition celebrating their many connections to the town is to open.
The Beatles played more shows at the Gaumont than in any other UK theatre outside London, notching up no less than 16 shows between August 1963 and their final visit on 2 October 1964.
The exhibition, at the Beacon Hotel on Priory Road, Bournemouth, includes dozens of photos of The Beatles in Bournemouth, as well as posters, handbills, reviews and programmes from the group’s four visits to the town. There are various other photos from Robert Freeman’s photo shoot of the boys at the Palace Court Hotel on Westover Road that produced the iconic half-shadow sleeve shot for their second album, With The Beatles. Also at the Beacon Hotel you can find the main venue sign, a section of stage and some seats from the historic Winter Gardens theatre where The Beatles played on 16 November 1963 and were filmed for US television – the first footage America was to see of the Fab Four.
Much interest is bound to fall on the remarkable photo of John Lennon with his young son Julian and his Aunt Mimi at Sandbanks Ferry, just yards from the harbourside bungalow he bought for Mimi in 1965 and where he visited her many times before he left these shores for good in 1971.
The exhibition tells an incredible story of how a small resort on the south coast of England came to play a significant part in the history of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll group of them all.
In conjunction with the exhibition there is a new restaurant opening at the Beacon Hotel in August.
The Bournemouth Rock Cafe uses Harry Taylor’s iconic ‘Stick of Rock’ photo as part of its logo and will be serving gourmet burgers and a full menu in rooms that are adorned with Bournemouth music memorabilia from all eras and genres.

For more information please contact Dave Robinson at the Beacon Hotel on 01202 553319; or Nick Churchill, author of the book Yeah Yeah Yeah; The Beatles & Bournemouth on 01929 472621.
Useful links

Half a chocolate bar started the Beatles

Paul McCartney reveals to Bono the real story behind the Lennon - McCartney partnership.

"Here's a story. Matt Damon told it. But it's not about Matt Damon. It's about Bono. But it's not really about Bono, either; it's about Paul McCartney. But Damon heard it from Bono. One day, Bono flew into Liverpool. Paul was supposed to pick him up at the airport, and Bono was shocked when Paul picked him up at the airport alone, behind the wheel of his car. "Would you like to go on a little tour?" Paul said. Sure, Bono said, because Bono, you see, is a fan of Paul's, in the same way that Damon is a fan of Bono's. "Bono's obsessed with the Beatles," Damon said at the table in the lobby of the gated hotel in the little town in Germany.
"He's, like, a student of the Beatles. He's read every book on the Beatles. He's seen every bit of film. There's nothing he doesn't know. So when Paul stops and says 'That's where it happened,' Bono's like, 'That's where what happened?' because he thinks he knows everything. And Paul says, 'That's where the Beatles started. That's where John gave me half his chocolate bar.' And now Bono's like, 'What chocolate bar? I've never heard of any chocolate bar.' And Paul says, 'John had a chocolate bar, and he shared it with me. And he didn't give me some of his chocolate bar. He didn't give me a square of his chocolate bar. He didn't give me a quarter of his chocolate bar. He gave me half of his chocolate bar. And that's why the Beatles started right there.' Isn't that fantastic? It's the most important story about the Beatles, and it's in none of the books! And Paul tells it to Bono. Because he knows how much Bono loves the Beatles."

Excerpted from an interview with actor Matt Damon in Esquire. I wonder if this story will appear in the new Mark Lewisohn book?
UPDATE: In an email to us, Lewisohn confirms that this alternative meeting is detailed in his book, but that he didn't know about the chocolate. More will be revealed in October when the book comes!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Weston Special Edition Newspaper

A special edition of the newspaper Weston Mercury celebrating The Beatles’ visit to Weston in 1963 is now on sale, with exclusive photos and stories of the Fab Four. So if you're near Weston...the special is still on sale until tomorrow (Weds).
One incident which occurred during the Beatles’ stay at Weston-Super-Mare was the murder of 16-year-old Liverpudlian Barbara Herron at Wolvershill near Banwell. The Beatles actually visited the murdered girl’s friend Joan McNulty in hospital, according to a local eyewitness, Ian McEachran.

The Weston Mercury

Monday, 29 July 2013

A Magical History Tour - Beatling around LA

The Gillymobile
This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting California for the first time. Although it was a family vacation with my girlfriend and her daughter, I did find the time to do a little bit of "Beatling about". Most of this was concentrated in the one day I spent with Gillian Lomax. Gillian is a Merseyside gal who has lived most of her adult life in the USA, following a hitch-hiking trip many years ago. A Beatles fan by heart, Gillian realised that Los Angeles was a city full of Beatles history, but without a Beatles tour. So she created one.

There are a few cities in the world with organized Beatles tours, Liverpool of course, London of course, Hamburg, New York and Los Angeles. In 2005 I had the pleasure of attending a New York Beatles walking tour, guided by Trina Yannicos, and I have attended Richard Porter's London Beatlewalks several times. Liverpool and Hamburg I have mainly explored on my own. You can explore a few Beatles sights in Los Angeles by walking, but most sights are far apart, so the best option is to do a tour by car.

As I was the only participant on Gillian's Beatles tour that day, I had the privilege of being driven around in her own trusty Toyota Camry, having her undivided attention. She started off by asking me about my level of Beatles knowledge, which was a good way both to start to get to know each other, and also helped her with her presentation of the sights she was going to show me. Gillian is a down to earth kinda gal (as you'd expect from a Merseysider), and also works as a Beatles news reporter for 97.1 KLSX and 95.5 KLOS Breakfast with the Beatles, among others.

If you've ever been on a Beatles tour or if you have travelled to see a Beatles sight, you'll know that seeing the places you've previously just read about, transforms your inner vision from the mythical to the down-to-earth. And no, seeing a place on TV doesn't accomplish this.

The Capitol Tower is a building you will have come across quite a few times if you're a Beatles fan. The last Beatles related use of this location was when Paul McCartney finally got his "Hollywood Walk Of Fame" star just outside the building last February, and he also gave a invitation only concert in the building's own studio the same day. In the above video you'll see Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson make use of the rooftop of the building for the music video of "Only You" back in 1974. Ringo revisited the very same rooftop in 2007 to hoist the "Help!" flag (see video). If you want to see a bit more of it, here's a film from 1958. When I finally came around to see the Capitol Tower for myself, I was amazed over how small it really was.

Please, no "that's a nice hat" remarks!
Just outside the reception of the building, they have gathered together the four individual Beatle "walk of fame" stars. George, Ringo and Paul had their stars fairly recently, John was the first one of them to get an individual star. The various stars were scattered around earlier, but are now collected one after another. Only Ringo and Paul were around to appreciate this token when they were both alive, the other two are posthumous stars.

The order is John, George, Ringo, Paul.
Another nice building to visit is the former A&M recording studios where Phil Spector produced the sessions for John Lennon's "Rock'n'Roll" album. Currently, the building houses the Jim Henson (of Muppets fame) studios. It also used to be Charlie Chaplin's studios way back. A&M converted two of the old sound stages and Chaplin's swimming pool into a recording studio.

The view from a car, notice the statue of Kermit. Of course, Kermit the frog was as wild about the Beatles as we are.

Of course, George also recorded at this studio, which is located at 1416 North La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. The Police filmed their "Every Breath You Take" video here, and in 1985, the USA for Africa hit single and video "We Are the World" was recorded there.


The Beatles played several concerts at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965, as commemorated on an official LP and cassette release in 1977. When I visited the hills overlooking Hollywood, I realised that the recording equipment from Capitol records didn't have a long way to travel in order to capture these concerts on tape.

You'll notice the Capitol Records tower in the upper left corner and the Hollywood Bowl at the bottom right.

Of course, I couldn't visit Hollywood without seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl, so we booked tickets for a Grease singalong at the venue, the day before my Beatles tour with Gillian. Here's a photo taken at that occasion, I took the liberty of replacing the view of the Grease scene on stage with a more appropriate scene for this blog.

During what looked like a bathroom break and a time for something to eat or drink, Gillian stopped at the Farmer's market. Ah, but it was no coincidence, because she showed me a photocopy of a thank you note from the Beatles at a stall which sold freshly made peanut butter:

Although the dubious look of the signatures (Neil Aspinall's, perhaps?) seems to rule out that they signed in person, I'm sure they still meant to thank for the peanut butter. Gillian speculated that this Elvis Presley favourite had yet to make it to British shops back in the day, so this may have been the fabs first encounter with the spread. I've always enjoyed peanut butter myself, and have since the sixties, so it was certainly available here in Norway.

During our trip, Gillian was playing mix tapes (yes, they were actually cassette tapes!) while we were driving, and every time we approached a new sight, miraculously an appropriate song would start to play. She must have spent acres of time accomplishing just the right mix! But this meant that when I heard "Blue Jay Way" on the stereo (not a favourite of Gillian's), I knew what was around the corner.

Her detective work had also provided us with the exact location of the house where George wrote the song, but she made me promise not to bring it further. After all, it's her business secret. There was no fog upon LA that day, but the city certainly presented itself in a haze from this particular point of view.

Another house Gillian showed me, was the very house where the one and only meeting between the Beatles and Elvis Presley took place. And, funnily enough, over at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Elvis' and the Beatles' stars are placed right next to each other. I doubt that Elvis is very pleased with this, after all, he thought they corrupted the youth, if we should believe these tales.

I won't go into more detail about the tour, suffice to say that we started at 10 am and finished just before 5 pm, so yes - there are certainly a lot of Beatles sights to be seen and this tour is worth every cent. The tour I got was quite extended, regular Beatles tours last 3,5 - 4 hours. If you are planning to visit LA or even if you're an LA resident, you'll want to tag along. Gillian has met a number of Beatles people during her time and also as a news reporter for several radio stations, and she'll share her anecdotes with you. Here are some of the people she's met: Paul & Linda McCartney, all the McCartney children, Ringo Starr, Neil Aspinall, Dhani Harrison, Denny Laine, Henry McCullouch, Laurence Juber, Peter & Gordon, Joey Molland, Barbara Bach, Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono ... and lots more.

The tours are currently not scheduled regularly, you'll have to book in advance. You can get in touch with Gillian through her website or give her a call at 310-582-1120. Email:

The highlight for me? After Hollywood Bowl, probably this pool.

Links to other Beatles tours:
London (Richard Porter)
New York City (Susan Ryan)
Liverpool (Jackie Spencer)
Hamburg (Peter Paetzold)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

John Kosh Interview

From Paul McCartney's recreation of the Abbey Road cover, 1993
Friends of this blog will have noticed that we are very fond of the Abbey Road cover photo session. Today I'd like to direct you to a new interview with John Kosh, who designed the cover. Here's a highlight, regarding the "Paul-is-dead" nonsense and Derek Taylor's response: "And Derek, who was brilliant as a promotional artist, said: 'Let it roll. Don’t deny it!' It (the rumour?) sold 26 million albums." Another quote: "I decided not to put the name 'the Beatles' on the cover — or 'Abbey Road.' Because I thought, 'Well, this is the biggest band in the world — why would you need to do that?'".

Rock Cellar Magazine

Friday, 26 July 2013

Birthday film

Most of the streets in LA were decorated with this Ringo poster during my stay there

You may have noticed my absense the first three weeks of July. The reason for this was that I spent three weeks vacationing in the USA, mostly in Los Angeles. While there, I visited the Grammy museum to check out their ongoing Ringo exhibition. It was truly wonderful to be able to study some of the historical artifacts up close, like the Abbey Road/Let It Be drum kit, the Sgt Pepper suit and the black and green 1966 stage suit. The museum also had a film theatre where they were showing a 17 minutes long film about Ringo. The ending of that film was a professionally filmed and recorded version of "Birthday", performed by Paul McCartney at Ringo's 70th birthday bash at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. As far as I knew, this was the first time I've seen this film, earlier I had only seen fan films from this event. However, a YouTube search resulted in me finding this video, uploaded on March 5th this year:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Amazing discovery

This is "Kansas City" from an acetate recorded at the Cavern Club in 1962. Little survives from the Beatles' days at the Cavern apart from photos and paper memorabilia, so far we have only had the recording and film of "Some Other Guy", and a short excerpt of "Kansas City" with voices talking over it on the Anthology DVD-box, so to be able to finally hear the entire Kansas City is sensational! But here it is, from Dailymotion:

The Beatles at The Cavern Club 1962 - Kansas City

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Paul teams up with Nirvana again

Paul McCartney made rock history on Friday night when he brought out Nirvana's surviving members during the encore of his show at Seattle's Safeco Field. It was only the second time that drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic (plus touring guitarist Pat Smear) have performed together in Nirvana's hometown since Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, and the first time they've played there in more than 15 years.
The Nirvana bandmates backed McCartney on "Cut Me Some Slack" – the original song they recorded for Grohl's Sound City documentary last year – as well as joining McCartney's band on a handful of Beatles classics, including "Get Back," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," "Helter Skelter" and "The End."
More here: Rolling Stone

More video:
Cut Me Some Slack
Get Back
Helter Skelter