Wednesday, 21 March 2018

John&Yoko exhibition in Liverpool

John and Yoko exhibition opens in May in Liverpool.
Announced on March 20, the 49th wedding anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon, from May 2018, the Museum of Liverpool will show a ground-breaking exhibition, exploring the personal and creative chemistry of this iconic couple and their ongoing Imagine Peace campaign.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko, at Museum of Liverpool from May 18, 2018 to April 22, 2019, is a free exhibition, celebrating the meeting of two of the world’s most creative artists who expressed their deep and powerful love for one another through their art, music and film. They used their fame and influence to campaign for peace and human rights across the world, transforming not only their own lives, but art, music and activism forever.

Featuring personal objects alongside art, music and film produced by John and Yoko, the exhibition is drawn from Yoko’s own private collection, some of which has never been displayed.

Yoko Ono Lennon said: "I am so happy and grateful that we are having our Double Fantasy -John & Yoko show in Liverpool. This is where John was born and I know John would be very happy too. We were a very simple couple just loving each other every day and I just wanted to show the simple truth of us. 
In our personal life we were pretty simple people, and we made all sorts of things with love for each other. Everything was made out of love. We found that we were both very strongly interested in world peace. I feel John and I are still working together. I always feel his warmth next to me."

Taking a chronological journey, the exhibition starts with two unique individuals – a leading figure in the avant-garde art world and a global rock ‘n’ roll star. From a tender first meeting at Indica Gallery in London, it was 18 months later that the album, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins was issued. What followed was breathtaking in its rapidity and productivity until John’s tragic and untimely death on 8 Dec 1980.

Through interviews, quotes and lyrics, the story of their personal and creative relationship along with their political activism and peace campaigning, will be told in their own words for the very first time.

John Lennon gets his "green card" which grants him permanent residency in U.S.A.

From the intimate to the iconic, the exhibition brings together unmissable objects and artworks including:

– Hand-written lyrics by John Lennon, including "In My Life", "Give Peace a Chance", "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" and "Woman".

– "Grapefruit" –Yoko’s artist book, which she gave to John as a gift in 1966. Published in 1964, the book represents a seminal piece of conceptual art and was a direct influence on the lyrics and ideas behind "Imagine".

– Original artwork by both, including Yoko’s "Ceiling Painting/Yes Painting", "Painting to Hammer A Nail" and "Apple", as well as "The Daily Howl", a hand-made book by John from his childhood and numerous examples of his distinctive line drawings. The exhibition also features conceptual work the couple produced together, such as War is Over, Plastic Ono Band, and elements of their first collaboration "Acorn Peace".

– Many personal items, such as John’s wire-rimmed glasses, Yoko’s large Porsche sunglasses, iconic items of clothing, such as John’s New York City t-shirt, and items from their wedding outfits.
An extremely rare Sardonyx guitar used by John on the album, Double Fantasy, and the acoustic Gibson guitar, illustrated on by John, from their 1969 Bed-Ins.

– John’s hard-won Green Card.

– Items from the couple’s famous 1969 'Bed-Ins' in Amsterdam and Montreal.

– A rolling programme of the films that John and Yoko created, and music videos made under Yoko’s supervision. A music room, overlooking the Mersey with the couple’s albums played for visitors will feature album cover art.

– A recreation of the Imagine mosaic circle in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York. An intimate and contemplative space, it will also reflect on the global impact of John’s death.

John Lennon's "green card" will be on display.
Sharon Granville, Director of the Exhibition for National Museums Liverpool said: “We have worked closely with Yoko and her team for several years to tell an intimate story of the couple’s relationship and work, using her and John’s words wherever it was possible. Setting this against a backdrop of the volatile late 1960s – Vietnam War, civil rights protests and social unrest and revolution across Europe and the USA – reveals just how creatively and bravely the couple harnessed their fame and influence to express their radical ideas, challenge preconceptions of the role of artists in society and promote universal themes of peace, love and equality, which continue to have strong resonance and importance today.”

Liverpool remained with John throughout his life. Testament to this is Yoko’s own longstanding connection to the city and her decision to have this incredibly personal exhibition celebrating their life and work at the Museum of Liverpool.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a major part of Liverpool’s celebration of its 10th anniversary as European Capital of Culture.

This exhibition has been made possible with the kind permission of Yoko Ono Lennon.

Website: Museum of Liverpool/Double Fantasy

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Sir Richard Starkey

It was such a special occasion that Ringo decided to wear a hat!
Yesterday, Richard Porter reported that Ringo Starr was about to be knighted at Buckingham Palace today. And the Daily Mail had photographers posted, snapping several photos of Ringo with his wife Barbara Bach, prior to the ceremony. Their article mistakenly reported that Starr was about to receive an OBE, which is one rank above his previous MBE but still no knighthood.

The Daily Mail before they realised their mistake.

Later, they realised their mistake (probably alerted by Beatles fans) and amended their article.
At the ceremony, it was The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William who performed the ritual with placing the sword on Ringo's shoulder.
After the event, Ringo tweeted this image from the ceremony.

Interviewed by the BBC afterwards, Ringo quipped that he was going to wear the medal he received "for breakfast". A film of the interview can be found on this page.

The Daily Mail

Monday, 5 March 2018

New source for "It's The Beatles"

Imaginary CD cover for an imaginary CD.
Last week, someone uploaded to Soundcloud his own audio tape recording of the televised concert "It's the Beatles", which was filmed at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool December 7, 1963.

The Beatles Bible: The performance took place in front of 2,500 members of The Beatles' Northern Area Fan Club, between 3.45 and 4.30pm. It was filmed in its entirety by the BBC, and 30 minutes were broadcast that evening from 8.10pm to 8.40pm during a special programme entitled It's The Beatles.

The group played a short version of From Me To You, followed by I Saw Her Standing There, All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven, Boys, Till There Was You, She Loves You, This Boy, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money (That's What I Want), Twist And Shout, and another version of From Me To You.
Technical problems and lack of rehearsal times meant the sound balance for the concert recording was sub-standard. Both The Beatles and senior figures at the BBC later expressed concern at the often embarrassing nature of the footage, which included the absence of Ringo vocals during Boys and the director focusing on the wrong members of the group during key moments.

As we know, this particular video tape was later used by the BBC to train video editors in the technique of cutting and splicing, resulting in only four songs having survived.
Still, the (mostly) complete audio has survived, so far three sources have been known, but the new upload has proven to be the fourth and best of the crop, so far.

The uploader recorded the audio from the TV by wiring a tape recorder to the TV speaker. This is very dangerous. TVs had what was called a "hot chassis" in 1963, so poking around inside a TV set gave you about a 50-50 chance of electrocution.

Upon learning that bootleggers would probably use the recording for profit, the uploader deleted his Soundcloud file, but fortunately for Beatles historians and collectors, it was up there long enough for it to make it to some of these collectors.

The 70s vinyl boot "December 1963" featured the debut appearance of this concert - in terrible quality! Recorded six feet away from the tv set by a guy holding a mic. It came with bonus sounds of the family having dinner in the background.

The Amazing Kornyfone label released this offline recording as a vinyl bootleg in the seventies.

Then nothing happened until the mid 2000s and someone uploaded a version to YouTube. It was a line recording, but was plagued by speed problems, phasing and loud clicks and YouTube's at the time terrible audio quality. This was later released on the bootleg label Unicorn.

A few years later another line recording was unearthed, this one better quality but incomplete and missing all the verbal introductions plus three songs. It was released on bootleg called "The Beatles BBC Archives: BBC Beatles Night", which was freely shared on the internet.

Now we have this version, which is far and away the best one so far. It's a line recording, and is complete from start to finish, including the announcer continuity at the end!

Like I said, the recording was downloaded before it was deleted, and enthusiasts in the Beatles audio recordings community have been able to clean it up. This process has included speed correction (using the surviving video as reference), stereo playback head azimuth digitally corrected and recording then folded down to mono (recording was originally mono but played back on a stereo machine), mains hum removed, equalised for sharpening a somewhat dull sound, and bursts of static interference replaced with previous version of the same concert.

The result has been shared on a few internet Beatles forums for free, and not - as the original taper and uploader feared - for profit. But as you probably suspect already, somewhere down the line, some bootlegger will find this and release it for profit, no doubt.

Unfortunately, the BBC are not paying any finder's fees for unearthing recordings they used to have but which they have deleted in the past. And if you should have or find rare Beatles recordings and donate them to Apple or the BBC or whatever, you can never be sure if they are ever going to use or release them in some form. This means that if you really want other Beatles fans to hear or see what you have, it's best to share it on the internet - even if this means that some bugger is going to press discs and make money from it.

The surviving footage from the televised concert.