Thursday, 19 January 2017

Paul sues Sony/ATV

Paul McCartney wants to have his share of the song catalogue back.
Wednesday, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against Sony/ATV to confirm his ownership in his US reversionary copyrights, which are granted to him by US copyright law, in the songs he wrote with John Lennon and recorded with The Beatles. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and bears the case no. 17cv363.

In the 1980s, Michael Jackson bought a publishing company which incorporated the Beatles songs originally published by Northern Songs. Jackson later entered a joint venture with Sony/ATV, and last year, his estate sold the late pop singer's remaining interest to Sony.

Under US copyright law, the rights to the songs will revert back to the original composer 56 years after they were first copyrighted. In the case of the Beatles songs, the return of these rights will be starting in 2018 with "Love Me Do" on October 5.

However, last year UK band Duran Duran unsuccessfully attempted to regain their own rights under the termination protocol outlined by U.S. copyright law. In December, Sony scored a shocking win when an English court ruled that American termination law took a backseat to an interpretation of contracts under English law. The justices determined that Duran Duran's contractual promise to not transfer its interest in copyrights foreclosed its ability to terminate a grant of rights as a transfer of reversionary interest from the song publisher to themselves.

Apparently, that has given Sony hopes of pulling off the same maneuver with respect to Beatles songs, and McCartney is trying to counter this by suing in an American court.

A provision of the Copyright Act allows authors and co-authors to reclaim the copyrights in their works after a set period of time, provided that they serve termination notices on the current rights holder. One aspect of the law gives authors who transferred their interests in their works before Jan. 1, 1978, the ability to reclaim the rights. McCartney began to serve termination notices in October 2008. The terminations begin to be effective in 2018.

Documents filed in this case has another revelation: Sony has made arrangements with respect to John Lennon’s share and will retain its worldwide rights in his share of the compositions for the life of the copyright. So it seems they have made a deal with Yoko Ono.

A spokeswoman for Sony/ATV said, in a statement, "Sony/ATV has the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney with whom we have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with respect to the treasured Lennon & McCartney song catalog. We have collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon’s Estate for decades to protect, preserve, and promote the catalog’s long-term value. We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature."

The Hollywood Reporter has more about this case.

Unofficial "Pepper" documentary

A Sgt Pepper film is in the making, though not an official one
There is an upcoming "Sgt Pepper"-film in post-production at the moment, but it's unofficial and cover band The Bootleg Beatles* are providing the music. There will be talking heads (Beatles biographers Hunter Davies and Philip Norman), a real Beatle (it's Pete Best) and film clips from both mainstream archives and private collectors.

"It Was Fifty Years Ago Today…Sgt Pepper And Beyond", is directed by Alan G. Parker, who also have directed other musically oriented documentaries, like  "Who Killed Nancy?" (Sex Pistols, 2009), "Hello Quo" (Status Quo, 2012) and "Rebel Truce", (The Clash, 2007).

Screen Daily has the story.

*The Bootleg Beatles are involved in a big celebration of the Sgt Pepper album in the UK. They will perform the full album and other 1967 songs with the aid of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on May 31 and June 3, as well as at London's Royal Albert Hall on June 1. The music is arranged by Nigel Osborne and the concerts will be hosted by the legendary Liverpool poet Roger McGough (also of Scaffold and Rutles fame). These three events are already sold out, but there are still tickets to later performances in Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham available.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The George box

Like we posted in November last year, George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection is due for release on 24 February to mark George's 74th birthday - and now it's official. All 12 of George's studio albums plus Live in Japan and two 12" Picture Disc singles in one specially designed box. Limited badge set available exclusively when you order from the official store, while stocks last.

The Harrison family is proud to announce the release of George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection (UMe) box set featuring all of George Harrison’s solo studio albums in one collection for the first time.

GEORGE HARRISON – THE VINYL COLLECTION Vinyl Box Set Includes Thirteen Albums From 1968-2002, plus 12” Picture Discs.

The box set contains:
Wonderwall Music (1968) | 1 LP
Electronic Sound (1969) | 1 LP
All Things Must Pass (1970) | 3 LP *limited edition piece
Living In The Material World (1973) | 1 LP  
Dark Horse (1974) | 1 LP
Extra Texture (1975) | 1 LP
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) | 1LP
George Harrison (1979) | 1 LP
Somewhere in England (1981) | 1 LP
Gone Troppo (1982) | 1 LP
Cloud Nine (1987) | 1 LP
Live In Japan (1992) | 2 LPe
Brainwashed (2002) | 1 LP
12” Picture Disc Singles of ‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Got My Mind Set On You’ (only available as part of the box set)

Set of 3 limited edition badges

I ME MINE – THE EXTENDED EDITION 59 Additional Handwritten Lyrics, Photographs and Memories to be Published in New Extended Edition.

The George Harrison turntable

THE GEORGE HARRISON ESSENTIAL III TURNTABLE Manufactured and designed by Pro-Ject Audio Systems, one of the world’s leading suppliers of record players.

George Harrison official site
Amazon (UK) Boxed set
Amazon (US) Boxed set

Monday, 16 January 2017

Magic Alex

A is for Apple Vol 2

Volume 1 of "A is for Apple" to be reprinted, and vol 2 comes.
Volume 2 of the book series "A is for Apple" is due out in April, and for latecomers, a small run of Vol 1 will also be printed. Volume 2 was supposed to cover all of 1969-1970, however the contributors have sent in so much material, that they have had to limit the book to the first three months of 1969 - and expand the series with further volumes. This volume will cover the filming and recording of the "Let It Be" documentary in January, a world discography of the "Yellow Submarine", "Is This What You Want?" (Jackie Lomax), "Post Card" (Mary Hopkin) and several more albums and singles. You will also read new interviews with Apple people especially for this project. "A is for Apple Vol. 2" will be printed in a limited edition of just 1,000 copies. Along with the book, a vinyl disc will be included, contents are not yet revealed. The same applies to the reprinted Vol 1, where a new vinyl record will accompany it, but not the same disc as the first time around!

Link: A is for Apple

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Vinyl sales doubled in the UK

Oldest in the Top 10: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Illustration: Outtake photo by Michael Cooper.
The British Phonographic Industry just released the figures for the 2016 music sales, and the sale of vinyl LPs have now reached the 1991 level. Here are the top sellers:

1) David Bowie: "Blackstar" (2016)
2) Amy Winehouse: "Back To Black" (2006)
3) Various Artists: "Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix 1 (soundtrack, 2014)
4) Radiohead: "A Moon Shaped Pool" (2016)
5) Fleetwood Mac: "Rumours" (1977)
6) The Stone Roses: "The Stone Roses" (1989)
7) Bob Marley: "Legend" (compilation, 1984)
8) The Beatles: "Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967)
9) Prince: "Purple Rain" (1984)
10) Nirvana: "Nevermind" (1991)

The Official Charts Company reports that the sale of vinyl albums in Great Britain have increased by 53 per cent since the previous year, and in 2016 this was 3,2 million copies. It's the highest figure in Great Britain in 25 years, but vinyl still counts for just 2,6 per cent of the total music sales. Bowie's "Blackstar" sold more than twice as much as last year's vinyl chart topper, Adele's "25". Outside of the Top 10, "Abbey Road" was The Beatles most popular vinyl album seller, at 26.

Sweden 1967

The Flower power year: Paul and George in Sweden.
14th October 1967, George Harrison and Paul McCartney went to Sweden to visit the Maharishi at the hotel where he was staying in Falsterbo, a seaside resort in southern Sweden near Malmö. They made the trip to persuade the Maharishi to stop using The Beatles' name as PR for himself. Swedish Television recently aired "Året var 1967" ("The Year Was 1967"), where they touched upon the subject and showed these photos.

Paul and George with the Maharishi in his hotel room.
A couple of Beatles in town of course caused quite a bit of commotion, fans would gather and Swedish Television sent a camera team to interview the two of them together with the Maharishi.

Interviewed by Swedish Television.
You can find some more photos here, and the TV programme "Året var 1967" is available on web TV. Of course, it's all in Swedish except for the interview with the Englishmen.

In the section about the visit from the Maharishi, a Swedish woman who was a young girl at 22 in 1967 reveals that she fell in love, and became the Maharishi's lover for two years. She accompanied him on his travels, but when she discovered that he also courted other young, sweet western girls, she decided that she didn't want to be part of a harem, and left.

A young female freelance journalist with Paul and George in the Maharishi's hotel room.
The girl depicted above is not the girl in the story. Peter Brown accompanied Paul and George on this trip to Sweden. According to Tony Bramwell's biography, so did Denis O'Dell. A few more photos from the trip can be found on that eventuality. One story from the visit is that George and Paul were refused entry to a restaurant because they weren't wearing ties. Which was great news for the Tunneln Restaurant, which is where they ended up.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Welcome to 2017

Wiping the slate clean for 2017. Illustration: Jeff S. Levy
2016 was a tough year for Beatle people. During the final weeks, we mourned the likes of Sam Leach, Carrie Fisher, George Michael and Allan Williams. These were just the last ones in a line of deaths of prominent people from The Beatles history, which included The Beatles' press agent Tony Barrow and producer Sir George Martin in the past year.

On their way to Hamburg: Allan Williams, his wife Beryl, Lord Woodbine, Stuart Sutcliffe, Paul, George and Pete Best.
John Lennon couldn't be bothered to step out of the car. Photo: Barry Chang.
I met Allan Williams in 1985, at the first Beatles convention here in Norway. He brought some very interesting things, like original photos and contracts from the early days. He also brought along a film about Mersey Beat, which he screened from a movie projector. He kept coming to Norway on an annual basis for a while, always fond of a wee drink and becoming more and more red faced as the evening went on - and the language got juicier. In 1989 and 1992 he brought Pete Best with him. On one of his trips to Norway he was supposed to bring Bob Wooler, but Wooler fell ill before they were going. I met Williams in Liverpool too, on a couple of occasions. He kept going on about some leather trousers of Paul's which he insisted that he had paid for, and Paul still owed him money for them. The last time he came to Norway was in 2003, and he was still a very colourful fella with great stories. Rest in peace.  Allan Kozinn wrote a good obituary of Williams in the New York Times.

Let's hope this trend doesn't continue in 2017, and that we are allowed to keep our Beatle people for a while longer. On the final day of the year, the website announced the first concerts for 2017 in the ongoing One on One tour. These will take place in Japan at the end of April. Before that, Sir Paul will have released the archive edition of his 1989-LP, "Flowers In The Dirt". So a new studio album from Paul is perhaps too much to ask for in between?

Paul himself celebrated the new year by appearing unannounced at a concert in St Barts, where he is having a holiday. Along with The Killers, Paul sang Paul on a version of the old Beatles song, "Helter Skelter". A bit weird to see him perform with just a microphone and no instrument!

Ringo celebrated the new year by making public his support for American football team Alabama after their 24-7 victory over Washington in the Peach Bowl. The old Arsenal supporter seems to have gone all-American.

Ringo celebrating Alabama
Later, Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach tweeted this photo, wishing their followers a happy New Year. We're not sure about why he is holding up an egg, but don't we recognise the shirt from the 1992 All Starr Band tour?

Back to the egg?