Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The diaries of Mal Evans

Mal Evans with the Beatles in Sweden, 1963.
Malcolm Frederick "Mal" Evans (27 May 1935 – 5 January 1976) was best known as the road manager, assistant, and a friend of the Beatles.

In the early 1960s, Evans was employed as a telephone engineer, and also worked part-time as a bouncer at the Cavern Club. The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, later hired Evans as the group's assistant road manager, in tandem with Neil Aspinall. Peter Brown (one of Epstein's staff) later wrote that Evans was "a kindly, but menacing-looking young man". Evans contributed to recordings, and appeared in some of the films the group made. After The Beatles stopped touring in 1966, Evans carried on assisting them until their break-up in 1970. From 1969, Evans also found work as a record producer (most notably with Badfinger's top 10 hit "No Matter What").

Evans remained at Apple until Allen Klein fired him in 1970, although he was later reinstated at the behest of McCartney, Harrison and Starr. He separated from his wife Lily in 1973, and moved to Los Angeles, where he lived with a girlfriend, Fran Hughes. There he worked on his memoirs, Living The Beatles Legend, which he was to have delivered to his publishers on 12 January 1976.

On the night of 5 January, Evans became despondent at his rented apartment at 8122 W 4th Street. Worried by his behaviour, Hughes called his collaborator on the book, John Hoernie. During a conversation with Hoernie, Evans picked up a gun, brandishing it in a threatening manner. The weapon has variously been reported as an air rifle or an unloaded .30-30 rifle.

Fran Hughes called the LAPD, telling him Evans was confused, had taken Valium, and had a gun. Four policemen arrived shortly afterwards. Two of them, David D Krempa and Robert E Brannon, went in the upstairs room to talk to Evans. He was told to drop the gun but refused. The police fired six shots at Evans, four of which hit him. He died instantly. Mal Evans was cremated in Los Angeles on 7 January 1976. His ashes were lost in the post on their journey to England, but were later recovered. Upon learning of the lost remains, John Lennon joked: "They should look in the dead letter file". None of the former Beatles attended his funeral, but Harry Nilsson and other friends did. Harrison arranged for Evans' family to receive £5,000, as Evans had not maintained his life insurance premiums, and was not entitled to a pension.

Mal Evans began the 1960s as a Post Office engineer in Liverpool. By the end of the decade, he'd appeared in three out of five Beatles films and was an occasional musician on their albums. It was Mal playing the organ on Rubber Soul, Mal who sounded the alarm clock in A Day in the Life. On Abbey Road, it was Mal, not Maxwell, who banged the Silver Hammer.

Part of the Beatles' small but exceptionally protective inner sanctum, Mal was one of just two witnesses at Paul McCartney's first wedding. Among the hundreds of claimants to that threadbare title "fifth Beatle", he was arguably the most deserving. Wherever the Beatles went, Mal would never be far behind.

In the 10 years he spent as their road manager, Mal was blessed with a greater insight than most into the group's spectacular rise, their domination of pop in the middle years, and their painful implosion in a welter of recriminations. Throughout the decade, he kept a series of diaries and wrote an unpublished autobiography; all of this has until now remained unseen, part of an archive that went missing when Mal himself died in bizarre circumstances in 1976.

10 years after Mal's death, Yoko Ono was told about a trunk full of his effects that had been found by a temp clearing out files in the basement of a New York publisher; she arranged for them to be shipped back to his family in London. Among those effects were the diaries, which his widow, Lily, kept for years in an attic at her home.  In 1992, Lennon's original pages of lyrics to "A Day in the Life" were sold by the Evans estate for £56,600 at Sotheby's, in London, to an unknown collector. Other lyrics collected by Evans have been subject to legal action over the years: In 1996, McCartney went to the High Court in England and prevented the sale of the original lyrics to "With a Little Help from My Friends" that Evans' widow Lily had tried to sell, by claiming that the lyrics were collected by Evans as a part of his duties and belonged to the individual Beatles.
A notebook in which McCartney wrote the lyrics for "Hey Jude" was sold in 1998 at an auction for £111,500. The notebook also contains lyrics for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "All You Need Is Love". It also contains lyrics, notes, drawings and poems by Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, as well as by Evans.

A suitcase that Evans was carrying at the time of his death, which was supposed to contain unreleased recordings, photos and other memorabilia, was lost by the police during the investigation and became known as the lost "Mal Evans Archive". It was reported in June 2004 that an English tourist, Frasier Claughton, bought the suitcase for $36 at a flea market just outside of Melbourne, Australia; unaware of its contents. By August 2004, experts had determined that the documents within the suitcase were photocopies made in the 1990s, and declared the supposed archive a fake.

In 2005, extracts from Mal Evans' diaries were published in the Times. Together with some photographs, most of them taken by Mal himself, they amount to a fascinating collection: the unwitting historic recollections of a Forrest Gump of a man, who by sheer good fortune ended up in the right place at the right time. Here are these extracts.

The story, inevitably, begins in Liverpool. A keen rock'n'roll fan, Mal would while away what he called his "extended lunchtimes" at the Cavern Club before putting in a brief appearance at the Post Office and then heading off to his house in Hillside Road, Mossley Hill.

In 1961 he had married a local girl, Lily, whom he had met at the funfair at New Brighton. Their first child, Gary, was born in the same year. Mal's life was settled, mundane and ordinary; nobody could have predicted that the bizarre twists and turns of his life in the next 15 years would lead to a premature and avoidable death at the hands of the police in California.

At the Cavern, Mal was soon noticed by the Beatles, who had a lunchtime residency at the club. George Harrison felt that Mal, at 6ft 3in, would make an ideal bouncer. He was also of an exceptionally gentle disposition, and Harrison was canny enough to realise that this too would be useful in the years ahead.

In the first few pages of his 1963 Post Office Engineering Union-issue diary, which includes information about Ohm's law and Post Office pay rates, he reflects upon his good fortune. Looking back on the previous year, he writes: "1962 a wonderful year... Could I wish for more beautiful wife, Gary, house, car... guess I was born with a silver canteen of cutlery in my mouth. Wanted a part time job for long time — now bouncing... Lost a tooth in 1962."

With this, Mal sets the tone. We soon find he is more Pooter than Pepys. As the Beatles' road manager — and trusted implicitly by all four — he is presented with an "access all areas" ticket to one of the best parties of the century. Yet somehow he never quite realises it.

The year 1963 is crucial for the Beatles, ergo for Mal. At the start of the year it is becoming clear that working with them, particularly on tour, is a more engaging diversion for him than family life in Mossley Hill. The band, now managed by Brian Epstein, are beginning to realise their potential. Mal drives them to London for one of their early BBC appearances, and later they make the most of the capital.

January 21, 1963: "Lads went shopping. Paul and George bought slacks. George a shirt in Regent St. This was before the Sat Club recording and we lost them for a while. Back to Lower Regent Studios for recording talent spot. Met Patsy Ann Noble, Rog Whittaker, Gary Marshall, a really good show. Also on the bill was a Birkenhead singer. At about 8.15 the boys went to Brians room in the Mayfair for a Daily Mail interview. I parked the gear and joined them later... We left London at about 10 o'clock, stopping at 'Fortes' on M1 for large dinner — bought by the Beatles — and so homeward bound. Met a lot of fog... suddenly after leaving M1 short time windscreen cracked with a terrible bang. Had to break hole in windscreen to see... Stopped for tea at transport cafe... and arrived home at about five o'clock. I was up at 7.45 but lads laid in till about five that night. Lucky devils. They were on that night at Cavern as fresh as ever with no after effects. The Beatles have certainly gone up in my estimation. They are all great blokes with a sense of humour and giving one the feeling they are a real team."

For much of the early 1960s, touring became Mal's life. Against the wishes of Lily, left at home with Gary, Mal gave up his job at the Post Office in order to be at the Beatles' beck and call full time, clocking up industrial levels of mileage driving from Liverpool to London. He was also expected to attend to almost every personal whim.

John Lennon, who had a predilection for enigmatic silences, would punctuate these with murmured requests such as "Socks, Mal" — at which point Mal would scoot off to Marks & Spencer to fetch six pairs in navy cotton.

By the spring of that year, Beatlemania was under way; Mal and Neil Aspinall, another old friend from Liverpool, accompanied the Beatles on all of their tours, making up what was an astonishingly pared-down entourage. Aspinall still runs the Beatles' Apple organisation.

The Beatles' first European tour began in Paris in January 1964. The ever-loyal Mal was on hand, this time accompanied by Lily and their young son. Mal writes about a "big punch-up" with photographers in Paris. In the manuscript of his unpublished book he recalls that this was "the only fight I got involved in on behalf of the Beatles" — although he was terrified when he and the band were nearly beaten up by Ferdinand Marcos's thugs in Manila in 1966.

To mark the news in 1964 that the Beatles had reached No 1 in the US for the first time, Mal writes that Epstein threw a party at the hotel. Some journalists then hired prostitutes to provide a lesbian show for the Beatles in the room next to Epstein's. "It was a little unnerving to have these ladies performing before our eyes with each other in one room, with Brian, George Martin and his wife and the rather more staid members of the press in the adjoining living room. I guess celebration caters to everybody's different tastes."

With Beatlemania in full swing, Mal seems strangely oblivious: there is no sense in any of the diaries that he is working for the most famous, most successful pop stars of the time. But odd, intimate little moments are recorded:

March 18, 1964: "Had plastic cups in top pocket — milk poured in by George. John says after sarnies: Mal you are my favourite animal."

After two further exhausting years on the road, the Beatles were ready to give up touring: the whole tiresome process had ceased to be of interest to the group. The Beatles, and Mal, for that matter, were just about worn out.

But there was now a larger role for Mal as a studio "fixer": as the music became more complicated, he was dealing with an increasingly outlandish inventory of instruments and equipment, and he sometimes contributed as a musician. More than any other year so far, 1967 presented Mal and the Beatles with undreamt-of possibilities: it was the year of satin tunics, Carnaby Street and Sgt Pepper; the band was at its creative, cohesive peak. On a more mundane level, Paul found himself without a housekeeper at his house in St John's Wood — so Mal moved in with him. Mal writes of this time fondly, but complains of Paul's dog, Martha, fouling the beds.

Within a few months, Mal had moved his family — his second child, Julie, had been born in 1966 — from Liverpool to Sunbury-on-Thames, about equidistant from Paul's house and the homes of the other three in the Surrey stockbroker belt — another indication of how he'd let the band take over his life. Mal was also beginning to enjoy some of the more illicit aspects of the mid-1960s rock'n'roll lifestyle.

January 1, 1967: "Well diary — hope it will be a great 1967. Have not slept... Friday night's recording session and journey to Liverpool. Late afternoon went over to the McCartneys in Wirral, and had dinner with them. Paul and Jane [Asher, McCartney's then girlfriend] had travelled up for the New Year — also Martha. Fan belt broke."

January 19 and 20: "Ended up smashed in Bag O' Nails with Paul and Neil. Quite a number of people attached themselves, oh that it would happen to me... freak out time baby for Mal.

"Eventually I spewed but this because of omelette I reckon. I was just nowhere floating around. Slept till 5pm. Flowers arrived for George for his anniversary tomorrow. Made up yesterday with new number for I'm counting on it and ringing alarm [he is referring to A Day in the Life, Sgt Pepper's closing opus]. So George came back to flat for tea tonight that is before we went home. He was in bedroom reading International Times. I was asleep on bed, very bad mannered. Left for home with Neil driving... On M6, starter jammed. 10/- to free it. Hertz van still no comfort... I spent some time in rest room."

Mal's diary describes the recording of the Sgt Pepper album in some detail, referring to the song Fixing a Hole as "where the rain comes in". But there are soon signs that he is beginning to feel a little hard done by.

The rest of 1967 was as busy for Mal as it was for the Beatles: the overblown, complicated Sgt Pepper was time-consuming. As soon as it was completed, Mal flew with Paul to LA to see Jane Asher, who was touring with the Old Vic company. The three took a trip to the Rockies and returned to LA by private jet. Mal took up the story:

"We left Denver in Frank Sinatra's Lear Jet, which he very kindly loaned us. A beautiful job with dark black leather upholstery and, to our delight, a well-stocked bar."

When they arrived, they went to Michelle and John Phillips's [of the Mamas and the Papas] house and Brian Wilson [of the Beach Boys] came round. Mal writes of joining in on a guitar for a rendition of On Top of Old Smokey with Paul and Wilson. Mal, however, was not impressed by Wilson's avant-garde tendencies; at the time he was putting together the Smile album. "Brian then put a damper on the spontaneity of the whole affair by walking in with a tray of water-filled glasses, trying to arrange it into some sort of session." Mal wasn't keen on glass harmonicas — he would have preferred Elvis.

When they returned in April 1967, the Beatles began work on what was to become the ill-fated Magical Mystery Tour project. The band, with Paul taking an increasingly dominant role, was showing signs of stress. Mal wrote:

"I would get requests from the four of them to do six different things at one time and it was always a case of relying on instinct and experience in awarding priorities. They used to be right sods for the first few days until they realised that everything was going to go smoothly and they could get into the routine of recording... Then I would find time between numerous cups of tea and salad sandwiches and baked beans on toast to listen to the recording in the control room."

Once they'd completed the recording, Mal, Neil and their families were whisked to Greece by the Beatles at George Harrison's expense. They spent a month under sunny skies on a wooden yacht in the Aegean. By their return, however, darker clouds were forming on the horizon. Before the summer was out, Epstein was dead after an overdose. Without his guiding hand, the Beatles plunged further into the chaotic Magical Mystery Tour project. As ever, Mal was a crucial element, organising the coach tour that formed the centrepiece of the film, recruiting actors and extras, then flying to Nice with Paul to film the Fool on the Hill sequence.

According to Mal, this trip, as did many, took place on an impulse; without luggage or papers. Paul sailed through immigration with no passport, but they were refused entry to the hotel restaurant because they didn't look the part. They headed off to a nightclub. "We had dinner in my room... The only money we had between us had been spent on clothes, on the understanding that money was to be forwarded from England by the Beatles office. After the first round of drinks... we arranged with the manager for us to get credit."

The next day, Mal and Paul returned to the club. "We took advantage of our credit standing, as money had still not arrived from England. News about Paul's visit to the club the previous night had spread, and the place was jammed. Now Paul, being a generous sort of person, had built up quite a bar bill, when the real manager of the club arrived demanding that we pay immediately. On explaining who Paul was and what had happened, he answered, 'You either pay the bill, or I call the police.' It certainly looked like we were going to get thrown in jail. It was ironical, sitting in a club with a millionaire, unable to pay the bill." Eventually the hotel manager agreed to cover the money.Paul and Mal returned to London, where Paul was to edit the film. But it was panned by the critics when televised that Christmas.

The year 1968 saw the genesis of Apple, the group's trip to Rishikesh in the Himalayas at the invitation of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi — and increasing tensions.

By the time the band arrives in India, Mal is already there, having carried out a recce a few days earlier. Ringo demands a doctor as soon as he gets off the plane. From Mal's memoir from February: "'Mal, my arm's killing me, please take me to a doctor right away.' So off we go looking for one, our driver leaving us to a dead end in the middle of a field, soon to be filled with press cars as they blindly follow us; so we explain to them that it's only Ringo's inoculation giving him trouble. When we arrived at the local hospital, I tried to get immediate treatment for him, to be told curtly by the Indian doctor, 'He is not a special case and will have to wait his turn.' So off we go to pay a private doctor ten rupees for the privilege of hearing him say it will be all right."

The Beatles, accompanied by an entourage that included Mia Farrow, Donovan and the Beach Boy Mike Love, write half a dozen songs in India, most of which are to end up on the White Album they release later that year. Mal's diary comments favourably on the sense of karma that seemed to have settled upon them. "It is hard to believe that a week has already passed. I suppose the peace of mind and the serenity one achieves through meditation makes the time fly." He even enjoyed the food, unlike Ringo, who famously turned up with a case of baked beans.

But the tranquillity does not last. "Suddenly... excitement... Ringo wants to leave... Maureen can't stand the flies any longer." Mal himself spent a month in India, before returning to London to help out with the White Album sessions.

Later in the year, Mal travels to New York with George. They go to visit Bob Dylan and the Band, who are rehearsing at Big Pink, the Band's upstate retreat.

November 28: "Up at 10.30 into Woodstock... To Bob [Dylan] for Thanksgiving. Meet Levon [Helm] of the band, he is drummer plays great guitar. Around the table after turkey, cranberry sauce etc. & also Pecan pie. Bob, George, Rich, Happy, Levon... around the guitars while many children play; Sarah [Dylan] great — turkey sandwich & beer. To Richard [Manuel] & Garths [Hudson] home for farm sessions — home to bed."

At this point, Mal's 1968 diary comes to an end; it has been an action-packed year with two hit singles and a sprawling double album — but the Beatles are no longer a cohesive unit.

In the midst of a miserably cold winter, the band and Mal set off for Twickenham Studios, where they are to start work on the project that is to become Let It Be, a filmed record of the Beatles at work. Already there is discord within the group, and in front of the cameras they begin to disintegrate; from Mal we also get the first murmurings of real discontent.

January 13, 1969: "Paul is really cutting down on the Apple staff members. I was elevated to office boy [Mal had briefly been made MD of Apple] and I feel very hurt and sad inside — only big boys don't cry. Why I should feel hurt and reason for writing this is ego... I thought I was different from other people in my relationship with the Beatles and being loved by them and treated so nice, I felt like one of the family. Seems I fetch and carry. I find it difficult to live on the £38 I take home each week and would love to be like their other friends who buy fantastic homes and have all the alterations done by them, and are still going to ask for a rise. I always tell myself — look, everybody wants to take from, be satisfied, try to give and you will receive. After all this time I have about £70 to my name, but was content and happy. Loving them as I do, nothing is too much trouble, because I want to serve them. "Feel a bit better now — EGO?"

The Let It Be film is to feature the Beatles in what is to become their last public performance, on the rooftop of the Apple office building in London's Savile Row. Squabbles put to one side, the band, accompanied by Billy Preston on keyboards, are clearly enjoying themselves. Mal is unusually perky too.

January 24, 1969: "Skiffling 'Maggie May'; Beatles really playing together. Atmosphere is lovely in the studio — everyone seems so much happier than of recent times."

January 27: "Today we had the engineer to look at the roof of No. 3. 5lbs sq. in is all it will take weight wise. Needs scaffolding to make platform. Getting helicopter for shot of roof. Should get good shot of crowds in street, who knows police might try to stop us. Asked Alistair [Taylor, Apple office manager] to get toasted sandwich machine."

January 29: "Show on the roof of Apple. 4 policemen kept at bay for 40 minutes while the show goes on."

With the Beatles in free fall, Mal busies himself with jobs for other Apple artists and fetching and carrying for individual Beatles. Throughout the 1960s he and Paul had an affinity, and in March 1969, Mal was one of just two witnesses at Paul's wedding to Linda Eastman in London. The same day, George Harrison's home is raided for drugs.

March 13: "Big drama, last night about 7.30pm Pattie rang the office from home for George to say '8 or 10 policeman including Sergeant Pilcher had arrived with search warrants looking for cannabis'. George went home with Derek and lawyer, and was released on £200 bail each."

Mal, meanwhile, has financial worries.

April 24: "Had to tell George — 'I'm broke'. Really miserable and down because I'm in the red, and the bills are coming in, poor old Lil suffers as I don't want to get a rise. Not really true don't want to ask for a rise, fellows are having a pretty tough time as it is."

The Beatles record their last album, Abbey Road, in the summer of that year. Mal's diaries note that four alternative titles were mooted before the band settled on a title that celebrated the home of EMI studios. "Titles suggested: Four in the Bar; All Good Children Go to Heaven; Turn Ups; Inclinations." Mal helps with John's Instant Karma, but he is finding Paul distant.

The next year, 1970, sees the Beatles continuing with their solo projects. The band is no longer recording together.

January 27: "Seem to be losing Paul — really got the stick from him today."

February 4: "To bed at 4.30am to rise at 7.45 to help get the children dressed... Lil had a driving lesson at 8am, then driving test at 9am which she passed. Bed after a couple of hours. Feel a cold coming on again. Walk into office late afternoon to meet Ringo go to shake he says 'Give us a cuddle then' its worth a million pounds that is and feel really recharged. George & Steve bass & guitar. Nanette. Ringo Drums."

February 5: "Bed this morning late. Up at 1 to phone. Conversation with Paul, something like this: 'Malcolm Evans' 'Yeah Paul' 'I've got the EMI [Abbey Road studio] over this weekend — I would like you to pick up some gear from the house' 'Great man, that's lovely. Session at EMI?' 'Yes but I don't want any one there to make me tea, I have the family, wife and kids there.'"

Mal clearly took Paul's distance to heart. There was now no group to look after. Mal continued to work with John, Ringo and George on their solo efforts and with the small stable of Apple musicians he had helped to build up. But for him, the adventure was pretty much over. When the Beatles broke up, there was a very strong chance that he would too.

Mal remained an employee of Apple until 1974, when he moved to LA, ostensibly to work as a record producer. He left Lily and the children the same year, moving in with Fran Hughes, whom he had met at the Record Plant studio in Los Angeles. The split from Lily had depressed Mal, and it was clear that he continued to miss the family, long after he walked out on them. Neither his family nor the Beatles, his second family, were now close. "The times I had with him were brilliant. He was an extraordinary person," says his son, Gary. "But from the moment he met the Beatles to the moment he died, he wanted to live two parallel lives. He would have lived six months in the States and six months here if he'd been able to get away with it."

On the morning of January 5, 1976, exactly two years after Mal had walked out, Lily took a call from Neil Aspinall. He told her that Mal had been shot in LA. "I immediately thought he'd been shot in a bank," says Lily. "I had to wake up the kids and tell them. I didn't know he was low. He must have been missing the kids, depressed."

Mal had been killed by an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department, who had been called to a disturbance at his home in LA after it had been reported that he had been brandishing a weapon, which may or may not have been an air rifle. Fran had called the police. Gary believes he was drinking heavily and may have been on cocaine at the time: "It was all part of the rock'n'roll, '70s lifestyle." Gary added that he thinks his father may have been behaving like that in the knowledge that even if he was unwilling to end his own life, the LA police would show no such hesitance.

George arranged for Mal's family to receive £5,000 on his death; he had no pension and he had not kept up his life-assurance premiums. Lily and Gary have met Paul twice to discuss the ownership of some Beatles lyrics Mal had tidied up, which she wanted to sell. Paul appears to have reached generous out-of-court settlements with her. Over the years, the Mal Evans archive has dwindled as Lily has been forced to sell other parts of it piecemeal.

As she looks back on the 1960s, Lily regrets the amount of time Mal gave up for the Beatles, but has fond memories: she and the children adored the huge firework parties that Ringo organised at his homes in Weybridge and Ascot. For Gary, who was 14 when his father died, memories of the 1960s are also bittersweet. "The Greek holiday was wonderful... There were good times interspersed among the 'Where is he's?'"

"I'd go to school on the Monday, and the teacher would say, "What did you do at the weekend?' I'd say, 'I went round to John Lennon's house.' I thought that was normal. Sometimes I found it all a bit too much. I'd be picked up from school by my dad in Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce, He'd be wearing a cowboy hat, surrounded by kids. I thought, 'I don't need this.'"

Ultimately, Gary remains disappointed about the fact that the Beatles did not make proper provision for his father or his family. When Mal left, Lily had to return to work to pay the mortgage and keep the children going. "It was very tight," Gary recalls. "We were on free school meals. It's very galling when you look back at what my dad's input was into that band and we ended up like that." We asked Sir Paul McCartney to comment, but a spokesperson said he was "unavailable".

It's difficult to properly evaluate Mal's contribution to the Beatles, but for a long period he was regarded as indispensable. He was trusted, universally liked and desperately loyal: his diaries give away no indiscretions, though he would certainly have been party to them. Even Lily acknowledges that "he would have had a few flings". But none of that bothered her: she always seemed more concerned that he was "too nice for his own good" and that the band would treat him "like a dishcloth".

If he had followed her advice and remained a Post Office engineer in Mossley Hill, he would have missed out on Sgt Pepper, the Beatles in India and his meetings with Elvis, his hero. And his passing, too, in the sprawling suburbs of Los Angeles, might also have turned out to be just a little less rock'n'roll.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Concierto en Madrid

Booklet front
We've come across an advert for the recently reported upcoming release of the Beatles' concert in Madrid. It is presented in two editions, either a limited edition 220 gram vinyl LP (which also includes a CD, price: 24,55 €), or just the CD (Price: 12,27 €) on its own. A 30 pages book with 65 unedited photos of the Beatles in concert and in their hotel, by the photographer Francisco Barahona is included, at least with the vinyl edition - as far as we understand. The website says that this will be released 23 June, but may be in error as the release date was said to be the same as the fiftieth anniversary of the concert, July 2. By then, it will also be made available for listening online, free of charge.

CD edition
LP edition

This is a recording of The Beatles' only concert in Madrid, Spain from 2 July 1965 at Plaza de toros Las Ventas. The concert was officially recorded with Brian Epstein's permission (a signed contract still exists) on a Grundig reel-to-reel on 2 channels with four AKG microphones, and mixed live. The concert consists of these songs:
  1. Twist and Shout (Medley-Russell)
  2. She’s a Woman (Lennon-McCartney)
  3. I’m a Loser (Lennon-McCartney)
  4. Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon-McCartney)
  5. Baby’s in Black (Lennon-McCartney)
  6. I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney)
  7. A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon-McCartney)
  8. Everybody’s Tryin’ to Be My Baby (Perkins)
  9. Rock and Roll Music (Berry)
  10. I Feel Fine (Lennon-McCartney)
  11. Ticket to Ride (Lennon-McCartney)
  12. Long Tall Sally (Johnson-Penniman-Blackwell)
The concert was recorded by José Luis Alvarez, and is described to be in great quality.

Alvarez was editor of the Spanish music magazine "Fonorama", and had met up with Brian Epstein in April 1965 on one of Epstein's frequent visit to Spain, a country he was very fond of. To Alvarez' surprise, Epstein was aware of Fonorama, which had started publication in 1963. Alvarez wanted to know if The Beatles would perform concerts in Spain that year, to which Epstein replied "No." Brian Epstein was a numbers man and had thought that since The Beatles sold so little records in Spain that they weren't very popular there. The Beatles had sold only around 3 800 records in Spain, according to Epstein, whereas their records were selling in hundreds of thousands or millions in other countries. Alvarez then told him that under the current Franco regime, the number of gramophone players in the country was just around 2 000, but these players were put to good use. Putting up speakers in windows, owners of record players would put on records and street parties would form. Alvarez was able to convince Epstein that each copy sold in Spain would be enjoyed by a large audience due to these street parties. Long story short, Epstein relented and The Beatles added Spain to their European tour.

Fonorama, the magazine Alvarez edited. This is #6 from April, 1964.
When in Madrid, Alvarez hooked up with The Beatles, and they gave an interview which was published in Fonorama. Whereas the other newspaper men in Spain asked the Beatles about their hair, how they liked Spain and the national dish, "paella", Alvarez and his journalist Roberto Sanchez-Miranda to The Beatles' delight asked them more serious, music related questions.

After the interview, Alvarez told Epstein that he wanted to record the concert. He had yet to set up his independent Cocodrilo Records label, but thought that other companies might be interested in releasing the recording. Unusually, Epstein agreed to this, and the pair borrowed the hotel's Olivetti typewriter and drew up a contract with only six lines. Since then, the taped performance has been gathering dust in Alvarez' archives. After the death of John Lennon, Alvarez had talks with then president of EMI records in Spain, Manolo Diaz about releasing the recording, but the two lost touch after Diaz went to Miami and then went on to live in USA.

Interview album from Cicadelic Records.
In the early 1980s Alvarez offered the tape to Cicadelic Records for $10,000. The company had already released nine albums of Beatles interviews. However, Cicadelic thought the asking price was much too high, or may have concluded that the copyright belonged to the artist, which was true at the time.

Alvarez has also written a book about The Beatles' visit to Spain.
In the 90s Alvarez planned writing a book about the Beatles in Spain and sought permission from Apple Records' Neil Aspinall to include a CD of the concert with his book. He was denied such permission. The book was finally released in 2009. A second edition was released in late 2013.

Life then got in the way, but the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the concert sparked renewed interest and the project looks like it's finally coming to fruition. And with the current copyright situation in Europe still untested (recordings unreleased after fifty years are entering the public domain), the independent release may prove difficult to stop (see our earlier article about Peacock Records).

Since the recording was semi-professionally made, in stereo, using four microphones and with a relatively small audience (who was described by the Madrid press at the time to have been "sober and serious"), this recording may prove to be an important historical document. Depending on the actual performance by the band, it may actually be an improvement over the 1965 "Hollywood Bowl" numbers that were officially released in 1977.

Source: EfeEme.com

Zu Laut! - revised edition

Revised editions now available
As predicted, the new information in Record Collector about the correct running order of the songs in the Star Club sets have inspired Beatlefans to compile a revised album.
It's the makers of the April "Zu Laut!" set who have rosen to the occasion, and presented two new editions of the album, one in mono and one in stereo.
In the inner page of the CD booklet, they have also included information about the missing songs, as described in Grossberg's notes and Gottfridsson's article. After the publication of the article, further listening has revealed that the four notes at the start of "I Remember You" on the Lingasong set actually turns out to be the start of "Glad All Over"!
This now constitutes the first ever Star Club Beatles compilation, unofficial or official, that presents the tracks (at least within each section/set) in their correct running order.
Some of the songs that were tape damaged or had missing notes have had these reconstructed, however the originals are also included for historical accuracy in an extra folder.
The layout of the new 2CD sets (the DVD is not included this time) is as follows:

CD 1
Set one (A)
Unknown song (fragment)
Paul tries to get Horst to sing.
01. Be-Bop-A-Lula (with Fred Fascher on vocals)
02. Link
03. I Saw Her Standing There
04. Link
05. Hallelujah, I Love Her So (with Horst Fascher on vocals)
06. Link
07. Red Hot (with John on organ/final 23 seconds recontructed)
Set two (B)
08. Sheila (first four bars reconstructed)
09. Link
10. Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey
11. Link
12. Shimmy Like Kate
13. Link
14. Reminiscing
15. Link
16. Red Sails In The Sunset
17. Link
18. Sweet Little Sixteen
19. Link
20. Roll Over Beethoven
21. Link
22. A Taste Of Honey (final 40 seconds reconstructed)

Set three (C) (Christmas)
23. Nothin' Shakin' But The Leaves On The Trees
24. Link
25. I Saw Her Standing There
26. Link
27. To Know Her Is To Love Her
28. Link
29. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
30. Link
31. Till There Was You
32. Link
33. Where Have You Been All My Life?
34. Link
35. Lend Me Your Comb
36. Link
37. Your Feet's Too Big
38. I'm Talking About You
39. Link
40. A Taste Of Honey

Set four (F) (probably same night as set three)
A Taste of Honey (fragment)
41. Link
42. Matchbox
43. Link
44. Little Queenie
45. Link
46. Roll Over Beethoven
47. Goodnight

CD 2:
Set five (E)
01. Preamble
02. Road Runner (soundcheck)
03. The Hippy Hippy Shake
04. Link
I'm Talking About You (partial)
Reminiscing (partial)
05. Link
06. A Taste Of Honey  (with Tony Sheridan on backing vocals?)

Set six (H) (some announcements missing)
07. I Remember You (some looping still present)
08. Ask Me Why
09.Besame Mucho
10. Mr. Moonlight
11. Falling In Love Again
12. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) (final 2 seconds reconstructed)
To Know Her Is To Love Her (partial)

Set seven (I)
Shazam (soundcheck)
The Hippy Hippy Shake
13. I'm Talking About You
Glad All Over (fragment) (a further 42 seconds exist)

Set eight (K)
14. Long Tall Sally

Set nine (unknown section)
15. Twist and Shout

Set ten (I)
A Taste of Honey (7 min prior to New Year's Eve)

16. Money (That's What I Want)
17. Sparkling Brown Eyes
18. Lovesick Blues
19. First Taste Of Love
20. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
21. Do You Believe
22. Ooh Poo Pah Shimmy
23. Twist And Shout

24. Big River

25. Hully Gully

Sets are not necessarily in chronological order.
Recorded December 18 – 31, 1962.
Letters refers to Record Collector article May-June 2015.
Tracks in red are not currently available.

The new sets, like the previous effort, has been made public at the bootlegzone forum - and are free-for-all downloads. If you'e a late arrival to this page, they may be gone. All things must pass.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Ringo's birthday

From Ringo Starr's press office:

Join Ringo Starr on his birthday for worldwide #PeaceAndLove celebration at noon on July 7th! 

Hollywood event open to the public - all are welcome

Los Angeles, CA, June 17, 2015 — RINGO STARR will celebrate his birthday Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Los Angeles. Ringo and his wife Barbara will join family, friends and fans in front of the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood and share a “Peace & Love” salute at Noon. The now traditional Peace & Love celebration is open to the public and Ringo invites everyone everywhere to think or say Peace & Love or share #PeaceandLove, at Noon their local time, on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

This idea was born in 2005 when Ringo was asked what he would like for his birthday, and his reply was "more Peace & Love." Ever since, he has invited the public to join him wherever he is on his birthday and extends the ask to "everyone everywhere to think, say or do #PeaceandLove at Noon their local time." So the Peace & Love moment moves over the planet starting at Noon in New Zealand to Noon in Hawaii and everywhere in between.

We encourage fans to participate and share their "peace & love" celebration with Ringo by sending #peaceandlove messages, photos and videos:

Friday, 19 June 2015

Another "Help!" photo book

Coming September 8, 2015: Another "Help!" book.
We have previously told you about "Eight Arms To Hold You", a crowd funded photo book concentrating on restored photos from the set of the "Help!" film, published to coincide with the film's fiftieth anniversary. Looks like they weren't the only ones with that idea. Specialist set photographer Emilio Lari was invited by director Richard Lester to shoot stills of the production at Twickenham Studios and document behind-the-scenes larking about as the band relaxed in their hotel between takes. This is a collection of some of his photos, and most of the photos in this collection is said to be previously unpublished. The 144 pages book is called "The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help!" and has an introduction by Richard Lester.
Due to the fact that the "Help!" film was recently restored (oh all right, 2007) and rereleased on DVD and even more recently (2013) released on Blu-ray for the first time, there isn't going to be much in the way of 50th anniversary celebrations coming from the Beatles/Apple - hence these books are coming to the rescue for anniversary buffs.

Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Rizzoli (September 8, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0789329468
ISBN-13: 978-0789329462

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Lost TOTP appearance emerges!

Film of The Beatles' first ever "Top Of The Pops" appearance has been uploaded to YouTube. Taped 19 March 1964 for insertion into the 25 March edition, a good portion of "Can't Buy Me Love" and a snippet (at the very end) "You Can't Do That" (version 2) are on the film. However, this is not the original film, or a video tape from the BBC. This is home film footage that someone has made by pointing their silent 8mm movie camera at the TV screen.

Still, this is all we have from this performance, so it's of historical significance. The Beatles were filmed at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, then called BBC's Television Theatre. They were filmed using film stock, not video - and it appears the film is projected on to a big canvas behind the live dancers on the show, six days later when the programme aired. Who would have thought we would actually see this?

Found at a flea market in England, the reel containing the performance. 

A big thank you goes to John C. Winn for identifying the footage. The "Can't Buy Me Love" clip was also shown on the 8 and 15 April editions of TOTP and on at least one of these occasions, the film was screened as is - without cutting to dancers in the studio. The first of the two filmed "You Can't Do That" performances was also shown at some point, according to a tech op who was present at the filming, and therefore able to distinguish between the two versions. That could have been April 1, 1964, where it is listed as a repeat showing.
The uploader's son is doing a college media course and has taken an interest in 8mm film. While he was at a boot fair on June 7, he found this film, along with a projector and lots of other old films from the 1960's. His mother filmed part of The Beatles' footage with her mobile phone and uploaded it to YouTube.

New Ringo Starr biography

So far, I only have one Ringo biography in my Beatles library, Alan Clayson's "Ringo Starr: Straight man or joker?" from 1991, so I guess it's about time we had another! Also, it's out in time for Ringo's 75th birthday this summer.

By the appropriately named Michael Seth Starr, a veteran celebrity biographer who's also the TV editor of the New York Post, "Ringo:With a Little Help" is the title of the new book, published by Backbeat Books in a hardcover.

Michael Seth Starr: "Ringo:With A Little Help"
It's already been out since June 1, so we've been really slow to catch on here! Anyway, here's the blurb:
Ringo: With a Little Help is the first in-depth biography of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon over fifty years since the Beatles took the world by storm. With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo's remarkable life and career, from his sickly childhood to his life as The World's Most Famous drummer to his triumphs, addictions, and emotional battles following the breakup of the Beatles as he comes to terms with his legacy.

Born in 1940 as Richard Starkey in the Dingle, one of Liverpool's most gritty, rough-and-tumble neighborhoods, he rose from a hardscrabble childhood – marked by serious illnesses, long hospital stays, and little schooling – to emerge, against all odds, as a locally renowned drummer. Taking the stage name Ringo Starr, his big break with the Beatles rocketed him to the pinnacle of worldwide acclaim in a remarkably short time. He was the last member of the Beatles to join the group but also the most vulnerable, and his post-Beatles career was marked by chart-topping successes, a jet-setting life of excess and alcohol abuse, and, ultimately, his rebirth as one of rock's revered elder statesman.

ISBN: 9781617131202
UPC: 884088661649
Width: 6.0"
Length: 9.0"
442 pages

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Star Club tape running order

The 2-part series appeared in these issues of Record Collector.
The original Star-Club tape, including almost 300 minutes of The Beatles and other groups live at the club was recorded 53 years ago. In 1977 these recordings were partly released on record by Lingasong, much of the material was however not made available or presented in its original form.
The songs were separated and put together in a different order, and some songs were dismissed because they appeared twice or they had endings or beginnings missing.

Since then both bootleggers and researchers, with more or less success have tried to reconstruct the flow of the original tape, based on atmosphere and various other criteria. It appears no-one has managed to guess 100% correctly. Finally after half a decade, Hans Olof Gottfridsson together with Richard Moore have been allowed to use the notes of Larry Grossberg, producer and director of the initial Lingasong 1977 releases, and are able to present the complete running order of the original tape.

As published in the July 2015 issue of Record Collector, here is now what they believe is the correct running order of the songs. Of course, this was a four track tape, where each track held one recording in mono, and you will just have to guess in which order these four tracks were recorded. Gottfridsson has divided the four tracks into sections, each section effectively a "recording session" where the tape has clearly been started and stopped.

Track 1 (96 minute running time)

1. Short intro
2. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (Fred Fascher: vocals)
3. "I Saw Her Standing There" (Version 1)
4. "Hallelujah I Love Her So" (Horst Fascher: vocals)
5. "My Girl Is Red Hot"
Abrupt tape ending

1. "Sheila"
2. "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey"
3. "Shimmy Like Kate"
4. "Reminiscing" (Version 1)
5. "Red Sails In The Sunset"
6. "Sweet Little Sixteen"
7. "Roll Over Beethoven"
8. "A Taste Of Honey" (Version 1)
Abrupt stop.

Abrupt start
1. "Nothin' Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Trees)"
2. "I Saw Her Standing There" (Version 2)
3. "To Know Her Is To Love Her" (Version 1)
4. "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby"
5. "Till There Was You"
6. "Where Have You Been All My Life"
7. "Lend Me Your Comb"
8. "Your Feet's Too Big"
9. "I'm Talking About You" (Version 1)
10. "A Taste Of Honey" (Version 2)
Abrupt stop.

1. Beatles chatter
2. "A Taste Of Honey" (Version 3) Has not been released, even on bootlegs!
3. Announcement (Es ist genau...)
Four songs by Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes follow, ending in yet another abrupt stop.

Track 2 (running time ca 65 minutes, due to it starting half way into the tape)

Abrupt start
Five songs by Carol Elvin & The Star Combo

1. Announcement (Die Beadles aus Liverpool)
2. False start – "Road Runner" (soundcheck/warm up)
3. Announcement (Und weiter gehts..)
4. "Hippy Hippy Shake" (Version 1)
5. "I'm Talking About You" (Version 2)
Abrupt loss of sound
6. "Reminiscing" (Version 2) just the final 40 seconds and never released, even on bootlegs.
7. "A Taste Of Honey" (Version 4)

1. "A Taste Of Honey" (Version 5) – snippet only
2. "Matchbox"
3. "Little Queenie"
4. "Roll Over Beethoven" (Version 2) false start
5. Announcement (Das waren Die Beadles aus...)
Abrupt cut off.

Track 3 – ca 90 minutes running time

16 songs by Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes
Abrupt stop.

1. "I Remember You"
2. "Ask Me Why"
3. "Besame Mucho"
4. "Mr Moonlight"
5. "Falling In Love Again (Can't Help It)"
6. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)"
Abrupt cut off

7. "To Know Her Is To Love Her" (Version 2) Incomplete and not released on bootlegs.
8. Beatles chatter...END

5 songs by Carol Elvin & The Star Combo

1. "Shazam" (warm up/soundcheck)
2. Announcement (weiter mit die spitzen band)
3. "Hippy Hippy Shake" (Version 2) Unreleased, even on bootlegs
4. "I'm Talking About You" (Version 3) Unreleased, even on bootlegs
5. "Glad All Over" Unreleased, even on bootlegs
Abrupt end.

Track 4 starts in the middle of the tape and ends before the tape is over, ca 45 minutes running time.

Abrupt start
8 songs by Tony Sheridan & The Star Combo/Carol Elvin
Abrupt end.

1. Beatles chatter and riffs
2. "Long Tall Sally"
Cut off
10 songs by Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers
Abrupt cut off

And that's that. Curiously, the track "Twist and Shout", as found on the original releases, is not accounted for. Of course if you want details about each song, we must refer you to the magazine. It has just reached the subscribers, but will be on the newsstands shortly. You may also purchase it online, at RecordCollectormag.com, where it's also available in the Ipad format.

For listening purposes, Gottfridsson recommends Purple Chick and Darthdisc's collaboration "Beatles Live 01 - Star Club" and the unlabeled "Starry Night" as the best sounding versions of the Star Club material, both these releases were non-profit projects assembled by amateur audio wizards and fans and were shared freely on the internet.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Unseen Milan photos

Posing on the terraces of the Duomo, Milan. From the Farabola archives.
On June 24, 1965, the Fab Four held their two unique concerts in Milan - one in the afternoon and one in the evening at the Vigorelli. They then continued their short Italian tour with the cities Genoa and Rome. At the time they were photographed by the Farabola agency, and so far only a dozen of photographs taken that day had been put into circulation - those which Farabola had selected, printed and distributed to newspapers.

John Lennon on stage in Milan. From the Farabola archives.

"For nearly 50 years it was believed that these were the only existing photographs of the Beatles in Milan" - say the archivists at Farabola. Now there's an exhibition, "The Beatles Live!", held at the Feltrinelli book store at the Piazza Duomo in Milan. It was music journalist and author of several Beatles books, Franco Zanetti who was able to unearth new photos. After he had been insisting for a long time, the photo agency were eventually persuaded to let him look through their archives. After looking through roughly 100 unused negatives, Zanetti selected 25 photos for display at the exhibition.

The Beatles on stage in Milan. From the Farabola archives.

The exhibition is open until July 4 and tells the story in unpublished shots from the archives of Farabola. The Beatles are seen posing on the terraces of the Duomo, at a press conference, live on the stage at the Vigorelli velodrome, exiting from the hotel and escaping from the fans smitten with Beatlemania.

Paul McCartney on stage in Milan. From the Farabola archives.
You will find a preview of a selection of these new images in La Repubblica Milano.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Outtakes from the "Hello Goodbye" video

Scenes recorded for the music video for "Hello Goodbye" have been made public on YouTube by Revolver Records. We see Tony Bramwell with the clapper board and then John, Paul and George are fooling around while Ringo is on drums in the background. This is raw footage that hasn't previously circulated! The Beatles are on stage at Saville Theatre, Paul acted as director for this video and the day was 10 November, 1967. At the time the theatre was still leased by NEMS Enterprises, despite the recent death of Brian Epstein.

"I directed the promo film we made for Hello, Goodbye. Directing a film is something that everyone always wants to get into. It was something I'd always been interested in, until I actually tried it. Then I realised it was too much like hard work. Someone summed it up when they said: 'There's always someone arriving saying: "Do you want the gold pistols or the silver pistols?"' Then you think: 'Um, um...' There was so much of that going on - so many decisions to be made - that I ended up hating it.
I didn't really direct the film - all we needed was a couple of cameras, some good cameramen, a bit of sound and some dancing girls. I thought, 'We'll just hire a theatre and show up there one afternoon.' And that was what we did: we took our Sgt Pepper suits along and filmed at the Saville Theatre in the West End."

Paul McCartney

We have a sneaking suspicion that this outtake, along with others, will eventually appear on a future underground DVD release, without the "Revolver TV" watermark.

Ringo Starr and Father McKenzie

Latest edition of the bimonthly Swedish "Rock'n'Roll Magazine"
The current issue of Sweden's "Rock'n'Roll Magazine" features a recent phone interview with Ringo Starr, made by long time Swedish Beatles fan Staffan Olander, who also penned sleeve notes for some of the CD reissues of Ringo's albums.
On the phone from Los Angeles during the Easter holiday, Ringo said that he felt that he replaced Pete Best in The Beatles because he was a much better drummer, but also because of his personality. "I was also the mediator in the group whenever there were problems, and we would meet up at my place several times to solve situations".
Ringo also reveals that he was the one who wrote the line "Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no-one will hear, no-one comes near..." in the song Eleanor Rigby. "John and Paul must have been in a particularly good mood when they gave me credit for What Goes On, and not when I contributed on other occasions".
The rest of the article is mainly summing up Ringo's career, and finishes up with him talking about the new album, his upcoming tour and the then upcoming induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Drum App Guru has posted a "Drummer's Tribute to Ringo" video on Facebook, here's a link to that - and here's a YouTube version for you non-Facebookers.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Lennon's Jumbo Gibson - more details

July 1, 1963, outside the EMI Studios in Abbey Road
Our original posting about John Lennon's stolen "Jumbo" 1962 Gibson J160e is attracting lots of comments, and the consensus among commentators is that it should be returned to the Lennon estate. However, more and more information is coming to light. In the San Diego ReaderMarc Intravaia says that the owner of the guitar, John McCaw "bought it in 1969 from a friend and never knew what he had until he brought it to me last August."

The article goes on to provide more details: McCaw bought the mildly beat-up Gibson acoustic from a friend for $175, in a transaction at Blue Guitar shop, then located in Old Town (in San Diego). After spotting a magazine article in 2014 with a photo of George Harrison holding a similar guitar, McCaw noted Harrison’s guitar was only four serial numbers away from his Gibson, and concluded they were probably made on the same day in 1962.

“He had read that at some point between September 1962 and December 1963, they (George and John) swapped instruments for reasons unknown,” says Intravaia, “and that John’s guitar went missing after a series of December 1963 Christmas shows in London at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park.” 

John McCaw's request on a Gibson forum a few years ago proves he didn't know what he had.
Intravaia and McCaw found video of Lennon playing the guitar and noted several remarkable similarities to McCaw’s guitar, too numerous and detailed to list here but including specific scratches, wear marks, and – most telling – wood grain patterns. Local video archive licensors Reelin’ in the Years provided a high-def tape with freeze-frame close-ups of Lennon’s guitar, and pairing it with footage of McCaw’s (as seen in a new YouTube video) led to Intravaia contacting the official Beatles gear expert Andy Babiuk.

Comparison photo
Other sources claim that the current owner has indeed been in touch with the Lennon estate, and it has been implied that they are okay with the auction, under the condition that a percentage of proceeds of the sale will go to Spirit Foundations, Inc., the non-profit organization founded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The guitar legally belongs to the seller anyway, because under UK law, an item must be reported to the police as either lost or stolen, for the owner to be able to claim ownership. In later years, it must be reported lost or stolen within ten years of going missing, and the theft or loss of this guitar was never reported to the police in the first place.

The serial numbers on the guitars are 73161 (Lennon's originally, now owned by Dhani Harrison) and 73157 (George's originally, now soon to be auctioned).

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Beatles on Scene at 6:30

The current company ITV Granada (originally Granada Television or Granada TV) is the Channel 3 regional service for North West England. Granada Television was founded by Sidney Bernstein and based at Granada Studios on Quay Street in Manchester, a city close to Liverpool. The channel started commercial broadcasting in May 1956. Their programming was marked by a distinctive northern identity, including their famous stylised letter "G" logo forming an arrow pointing north, often with the tagline "Granada: from the north". Granada Television made TV programmes in the north west; for northerners, reflecting northern culture and attitudes.  "People and Places" was a Granada TV regional news programme for the north, later the name of the programme was changed to "Scene At 6.30".

Producer of the "People and Places" programme was Johnnie Hamp, a man who had actually seen The Beatles perform in Hamburg. When the Beatles landed a recording contract with EMI and released "Love Me Do", Hamp booked the band for his "People and Places" programme on Wednesday 17 October 1962, and after this used the group regularly.

Iris Caldwell: "When they did Granada TV’s Scene at 6.30, as soon as they’d finished it, every single time, George would phone up my mum and say, ‘What was that like?’
And she’d say ‘Oh, it was all right but none of you have got any personality. If you don’t smile you’re not going to get anywhere’. So the next time he said ‘I smiled this time, was it all right?’ She said ‘It was better but you still need to smile more’. She was giving them honest advice."

All in all, The Beatles were featured eleven times on "People and Places" or "Scene at 6.30", including the live performance from the Cavern Club and performances filmed at the Granada TV studios in Manchester. Some of these performances must have been live, whereas others are mimed. Apart from those eleven exclusive performances, they have also been featured at least once that we know of, probably more times, by way of their music videos.

Musical appearances by The Beatles on "People and Places"/"Scene at 6.30":

Wednesday 17 October 1962: "Some Other Guy" and "Love Me Do". Missing.
No less than the TV debut of The Beatles, and it was for a local programme, familiar to them, because they lived in the region, "People And Places".
The Beatles travelled to Granada's TV Centre in Manchester and rehearsed before cameras from 3 - 4pm, and again from 4.15 - 6pm. The show was broadcast live from 6.35 - 7pm, and the group sang two songs: "Some Other Guy" and their new single "Love Me Do". This performance was sandwiched between two engagements the same day at the Cavern Club. Brian Epstein recalled that ‘the boys’ regarded their first studio appearance on local television as "better than nothing". The fact it was local TV rather than national brought had brought this response. They were now feeling more confident having seen their names in the Hit Parade and itched for the big time. However, "People and Places" as a local magazine programme was a decent start. The presenter was Gay Byrne who John thanked after they performed "Love Me Do". John recalled how ‘great Mr Byrne’ had made them feel relaxed, persuading them that there was nothing to be frightened of when those dirty great cameras came looming up.
As a result of their appearance on TV, the sales of "Love Me Do" picked up in the North West.
The Beatles TV debut did not quite go to plan as they were fooling about at the end of the performance. They felt that just standing there during the fadeout was "too square" for them, so they started jumping about, yelling things like "Hello Mum!". As this performance went out live on TV, it wasn't taped at all - home video recorders still decades away, no one captured it. As Mark Lewisohn said in his "Tune in" book, the performance wasn't so much lost as never had at all. Since "Some Other Guy" was never properly recorded by the Beatles in a recording studio, it's very likely that this was a live performance and not a mimed one, as were the next few appearances on the show as well.

Monday 29 October 1962: "Love Me Do" and "A Taste of Honey". Missing.
Twelve days after their debut television appearance on the "People And Places" show, The Beatles returned to Granada TV Centre in Manchester to film a second performance.
The appearance was rehearsed and recorded in studio four from 11am to 1pm. The Beatles once again plugged their single, "Love Me Do" and then they performed "A Taste Of Honey". New to their set list, "A Taste of Honey" was first released to vinyl by Lenny Welch on 17 September 1962. Its inclusion here is under dispute, since it wasn't recorded by The Beatles until their album recording session on 11 February 1963, so how could they have mimed to a song that they hadn't yet recorded? Well, the answer is that The Beatles may actually have performed it live for the TV cameras this time. A snippet of audio of a performance of the song exists, but experts are arguing among themselves whether it is from this show or from a contemporary radio performance.
The stage setting was unusual for The Beatles. During "Love Me Do", John Lennon sang, seated, as if he were a solo performer fronting a band - an experiment that wouldn't get repeated. The others in the group all stood. During the second song all members played their instruments, although wearing waistcoats rather than their suit jackets. A couple of photos of a TV screen may be from this broadcast.
Unlike their first appearance on "People And Places", this time it was not broadcast live. It was shown in the north and north-west of England from 6.30 - 7pm on 2 November, by which time The Beatles were in Hamburg, playing at the Star Club.
Back from the Star Club on 15 November, The Beatles were again available for television engagements, and 23 November the boys auditioned in London for Ronnie Lane, the Light Entertainment auditioner for BBC TV. They played a ten-minute set for him, and four days later Brian Epstein received a rejection letter. On 3 December, the group appeared on Discs-a-Go-Go, live from Bristol's TWW (Television Wales and West) studio. The next day, The Beatles sang "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You" and "Twist And Shout" live on "Tuesday Rendezvous", a children's show presented by Gary Marshall, transmitted live from Associated-Rediffusion's Kingsway Studio, London.

17. December 1962: "Love Me Do" and "Twist And Shout". Missing.
Just before they were about to return to Hamburg, they were booked again for "People and Places". Following rehearsals held from 3 - 4pm, the show was broadcast live from 6.35 - 7pm from studio four at Granada TV Centre in Manchester. The Beatles performed two songs live: "Love Me Do" and "Twist And Shout". Yes, once again, a song that has yet to be recorded is played, so we have to conclude that this was a live performance.
The next day they returned to Hamburg to open their third and final residency at the Star Club. The Beatles were reluctant to fulfil this contractual obligation, as their profile in Britain was rapidly ascending. Back home they were enjoying burgeoning chart success, more prestigious live shows, plus television and radio appearances. Despite the enduring fondness they felt towards Hamburg and its residents, there was little the city could do for their career now.

Wednesday 16 January 1963: "Ask Me Why" and "Please Please Me". Missing.
Another live broadcast. The Beatles appeared on two programmes in Manchester on this day. The first was for "People And Places".

The Beatles rehearse on "People And Places", 16 January 1963.

At 3pm they began their rehearsal for the show in the now familiar studio four of the Granada complex. They spent an hour there before leaving for a second rehearsal at the city's Playhouse Theatre, where they later recorded four songs ("Chains", "Please Please Me", "Three Cool Cats" and "Ask Me Why") for BBC's "Here We Go" radio programme.
They returned to Granada at 6.35 for the live broadcast of "People And Places", miming to both sides of their new single, "Ask Me Why" and "Please Please Me", before leaving at 7pm to return once more to the Playhouse. This was the first mimed performance, as the earlier appearances on the show had been real live performances.

Tuesday 16 April 1963: "From Me To You". Missing.
Keeping themselves busy with more concerts, two tours, recording their first album "Please Please Me", a birth (Julian Lennon) and appearing on radio and TV, The Beatles' appearances for Granada are less frequent now. But in April another single is out, and a week after the release The Beatles are back in Granada Television Centre's studio four. The programme has now been rechristened "Scene at 6.30". Rehearsals for the show took place from 3 - 4pm and 4.15 - 6pm. "Scene At 6.30" was broadcast from 6.30 - 7pm, clashing with The Beatles' first national TV appearance for BBC television, on The 625 Show, which was aired at the same time. Now you could see the Beatles on TV even if you switched channels. Two days later, The Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular meet Jane Asher for the first time.

Wednesday 14 August 1963: "Twist and Shout".
The lone survivor of the "Scene At 6.30" footage. The recording again took place in studio four. The Beatles wore black polo-necks and jeans - a departure from their normally suited attire, but similar to what they are wearing on the cover photo of "With The Beatles"/"Meet The Beatles", which was photographed by Robert Freeman eight days later. Two songs were performed. The first, "Twist And Shout", was broadcast that evening, while the second, "She Loves You", was shown the following Monday. The reason why "Twist and Shout" was chosen may have been because the song fronted a British EP, released one month earlier.
After the filming was complete The Beatles drove back to Llandudno, where they were in the middle of a six-night residency at the Odeon Cinema.

"Twist and Shout" 14 August 1963.
Possibly the first time we learned that this clip still existed, was when it was used in Tony Palmer's groundbreaking "All You Need Is Love - The Story of Popular Music" TV series from 1976.

Monday 19 August 1963: "She Loves You". Missing.
Sadly, the black polo-necks version of "She Loves You" is missing from the Granada TV archives. This would have been the first time the viewers heard this song, since the single wasn't released until four days later.

Friday 18 October 1963: "She Loves You". Missing.
The day after having recorded both sides of their next single - "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy", The Beatles return to Manchester to do another mimed performance of "She Loves You", which was to become their first pan-European hit single. Filming took place in the early afternoon, and the programme was broadcast from 6.30 - 7pm that evening.

Wednesday 6 November 1963: "Some Other Guy".
An edit of "Some Other Guy", performed at the Cavern Club on Wednesday 22. August 1962 was finally shown, now as part of the "Scene at 6.30" programme. This had been the first time that television cameras filmed The Beatles performing, however it was not shown on TV until now, more than a year later.
After receiving a number of letters from fans about The Beatles, a crew from Granada Television had decided to investigate the growing phenomenon. Producers from Granada first saw the group perform at Cambridge Hall in Southport on 26 July 1962, and Granada's Dick Fontaine visited the Cavern on 1 August to check the lighting conditions before the film crew attended on this date.
The Granada crew filmed The Beatles performing "Some Other Guy" for the "Know The North" programme. The filming took place less than a week after Pete Best had been sacked from the group, and one male fan was captured shouting "We want Pete!" at the end of Some Other Guy.

George Harrison: "I remember Granada TV cameras coming to The Cavern. It was really hot and we we're asked to dress up properly. We had shirts, and ties and little black pullovers. So we looked quite smart. It was our first television appearance. It was big-time, a TV company coming to film us and John was into it!"

On 5 September 1962, Granada sent an audio recording crew back to The Cavern to re-record The Beatles' night time performance with the intent to dub the recording onto the film from 22 August. At the August session only one microphone was used. At the September session, three microphones were used. Apparently, the entire September session was recorded by Granada sound engineer Gordon J. Butler but the full tape no longer exists. Only two songs, "Some Other Guy" and "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey" survive in the form of acetates, and a good quality original reel to reel tape of the former also exists. As for video, both the full performance of "Some Other Guy" (actually two different performances) as well as several minutes worth of aside shots of the audience and short snippets of The Beatles performing other songs survive. A tape of the audio recording of "Some Other Guy" will go under the hammer at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Liverpool later this year on November 4.

Friday 20. December 1963: "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy"
In November 1963, a "sister programme" to "Scene at 6:30" started up, it was a similar format to "Scene at 6:30", but transmitted at 10:25pm and named "Late Scene". The only edition of "Late Scene" that survives is the 27 November 1963 edition called "Late Scene Extra", where the Beatles mimes to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy", and also enjoy a chat with Liverpool comedian and singer Ken Dodd. Recorded two days earlier, "Late Scene Extra" was broadcast from 11.45pm to midnight on 27 November, and the Beatles footage was reprised on "Scene at 6:30" on 20 December, hence its inclusion in this article.

"Late Scene Extra". later reprised on "Scene at 6.30".
Wednesday 14 October 1964: "I Should Have Known Better". Missing.
It had been a long time, nearly a year since The Beatles last appeared on the show, but now they were back for one final booking. Prior to their evening concerts at the ABC Cinema in Manchester, The Beatles took the opportunity to record an appearance for "Scene At 6.30". Their interview and mimed performance of "I Should Have Known Better" was shown on Friday 16 October at 6.30pm. Even though the programme itself is missing in the archives, gallery footage of the boys miming to the song exists.

14 October 1964: "I Should Have Known Better".
The performance was to be The Beatles' final exclusive appearance on "Scene at 6.30".

Monday 13 Jun 1966: "Paperback Writer". Missing.
It's not very important that this programme is missing, not for Beatles fans anyway, as the Beatles did not appear live - only by way of a promo film. The "Paperback Writer" Intertel music video shown still exists on its own.

Other videos from the Beatles may have been shown on "Scene at 6.30", but The Beatles themselves never again made the trip to Granada's studio four to perform exclusively for the show. In late 1965 they did return to Granada to record "The Music Of Lennon And McCartney" TV special, though.

In 1968, the fifth anniversary of "Scene at 6.30" was celebrated by an article in the Northern edition of the TV Times (Jan 13- Jan 19 1968). In the article, producer Johnnie Hamp remembered how the early days of the programme coincided with the sudden popularity of the Beatles. He made the following comments:

"Overnight the Mersey Sound became internationally famous. We sold thousands of feet of film of the new pop idols to TV stations around the world."
"American executives, visiting Manchester with their families, rang Granada for tickets for the Cavern on behalf of their daughters, when really they wanted to see the new pop scene for themselves."

Hamp's comments are the words Beatles television fans cling to, hoping that some of the clips missing from Granada's own archives may some day turn up from these international sources.

In 1982 Johnnie Hamp, then head of Granada’s Light Entertainment, intended to produce a show to tie in with the Beatles 20th anniversary of the "Love Me Do" release; however he found such a wealth of interesting material in the archives that the programme wasn’t completed until 1983, and finally broadcast on New Year's Day 1984. A December 1983 press report said that "all of the precious archive material in the 50-minute programme has been carefully and expensively reprocessed at a film laboratory to give the maximum quality, so it should certainly make for fascinating viewing". Upon reviewing the footage now, it appears that the archival footage was converted from the old 405 line format to the more modern 625 line standard using the 'optical' method - which involves pointing a 625 line camera at a vintage 405 line tv monitor. Johnnie commented that "The Early Beatles" would probably become the most video-pirated programme of that holiday season – and he was probably right. He added: "Putting together this archive material was more a labour of love than work. We decided we didn’t need any commentary – the film speaks for itself!"

As I started collecting and trading video cassettes with Beatles material in the early eighties, I remember being very excited when I got hold of a VHS cassette with "The Early Beatles" special in 1984. As well as drawing from the surviving "Scene at 6.30" footage ("Twist and Shout", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "This Boy" and the Ken Dodd interview), clips were also included from the Granada commissioned film of the Beatles' first U.S. visit by the Maysles brothers, several interviews and the "Music by Lennon & McCartney" special. The documentary really needed no narration, as the clips truly spoke for themselves.

The first 15 minutes of "The Early Beatles" TV Special.

Mersey Beat: The Early Beatles
Missing Episodes
The Beatles Bible
The Beatles in Manchester

This posting is part of a series of articles about The Beatles' appearances on British TV shows. Also in this series: "The Beatles on Ready Steady Go!", "The Beatles on Top Of The Pops" and "The Beatles on Thank Your Lucky Stars".