Saturday, 28 April 2018

Roy Young

Roy Young performs with The Beatles at the Star Club, Hamburg, Germany, 1962.
We were saddened to hear about the passing of Roy Young, at the age of 81. Roy was a British rock and roll singer, pianist and keyboard player, well known for his boogie woogie piano style. He first recorded in the late 1950s before performing in Hamburg with the Beatles.

After a stint with Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, he released several albums with his own band as well as recording with Chuck Berry and David Bowie, among others.

Early career
In 1958, the 21 year old Roy Young auditioned successfully for Jack Good's TV show "Oh Boy!", singing and playing piano in the style of Little Richard, and performed regularly on other British TV pop music shows including "Drumbeat", where he was backed by the John Barry Seven, and "Boy Meets Girls". Billed as Roy "Rock 'em" Young, he recorded his first single, "Just Keep It Up" / "Big Fat Mama" in 1959 for Fontana Records. He released several more singles on the Fontana and Ember labels over the next two years, but they were not commercial successes. Young performed at the 2i's Coffee Bar in Soho, and toured the UK and Ireland with Cliff Richard and the Shadows, among others.

Almost a Beatle
In 1961, he began working at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, arriving just as the Beatles were leaving. There he played with Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, who briefly included Ringo Starr, and recorded with Sheridan. He then won a contract to play at the rival Star-Club, where he met the Beatles again, and began performing with them in the spring of 1962. According to Young, Brian Epstein offered him a place in the Beatles once they had returned to England and signed a record contract, but Young turned down the offer because he had a contract with the Star-Club.

Young returned to England in 1964 and joined Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers – also managed by Epstein – as their keyboard player and second vocalist, regularly duetting with Bennett on covers of Sam and Dave songs, including "I Take What I Want" and "Hold On, I'm Comin'". The group toured with the Beatles in 1966, and Young featured on their hit version of the Beatles' "Got To Get You Into My Life", produced by Paul McCartney. He continued with the Rebel Rousers until they split up in 1969.

After the sixties
In the seventies, he formed the Roy Young Band, who released two albums, The Roy Young Band (1971) and Mr. Funky (1972); band members included Dennis Elliott, later of Foreigner and Onnie McIntyre, later of the Average White Band. The band backed Chuck Berry on tour.

In 1971, under his own name, Young recorded the song "Baby, You're Good For Me," written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, for the Albert Finney film, Gumshoe.

In 1976, Young recorded with David Bowie for the Young Americans album, and the following year played on Bowie's album Low.

He continued to perform with the Roy Young Band in Canada and the US,and also worked with, and managed, Long John Baldry in the 1970s. He toured the US in the 1980s with Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson, and also performed at Star-Club reunion concerts with Tony Sheridan, Howie Casey, Johnny Gustafson and Jimi Magnole.

He released an album, Still Young, in 2006, featuring songs written by Dennis Morgan. In recent years, Roy guested the Casbah Club in 2012, and in 2013 he played at the Cavern Club. Roy passed away in a Oxfordshire nursing home, Friday 27 April.

Rest in peace.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Beatles and Hitler

John Lennon as Adolf Hitler.
A few days ago, this self-portrait by John Lennon which depicts himself as Adolf Hitler was sold at an auction for $54,000.

The sketch was created while Lennon was attending the Liverpool College of Art in the late 1950s, and shows Lennon on a podium with his hand raised in a Nazi salute and the words "Heil John" repeated several times, with the implication they are being chanted by a crowd.

There are several known self-portraits taken from Lennon’s personal sketchbook which appear to depict the musician with an appearance imitating Hitler’s and accompanied by Nazi iconography.

Another page from John Lennon's sketch book.
"He drew these when he was a college student, and the fact that he even thought of depicting himself as Hitler is weird," Gary Zimet of Moments in Time told Page Six, which was arranging the sale. "Original Lennon drawings are very desirable and they are ultra rare." The drawings were first sold by Lennon’s first wife Cynthia back in 1991.

Of course, John Lennon's fascination with Hitler didn't end there.  When the Beatles were playing in Hamburg, at the Indra Club and the Kaiserkeller in 1960, the Top Ten Club in 1961 and at the Star Club in 1962, Lennon entertained the audience, sometimes with nazi references - usually mocking them. Of course, one must remember that in 1960, World War 2 was just 15 years behind them, and all adults in Europe vividly remembered the war years. For young kids like John Lennon and his friends, who were all born during the war, not much was remembered. Still, the horrors of the war was in the collective mind of everyone, and often spoken about and referenced. Lennon and his generation grew up in a badly damaged Liverpool, where the bomb sites were used as children's playgrounds. Everywhere there were people with missing limbs, survivors of the horrors of war.

For Lennon, as for most of us, it's hard to fathom that so many people let themselves be lead by such a terrible person as Adolf Hitler, and that they had it in them to commit all those crimes against other people, and humanity. And I believe that it's there the fascination lies.

In John's first book of absurd writings, "In His Own Write", he starts his introduction "About the awful" with: "I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madolf Heatlump (who only had one)."

When the Beatles came to Australia, they were greeted by public receptions unlike any of the other places they visited. Of course, the sight of such a massive audience brought their minds to their only previous recollection of huge crowds like this, Hitler's rallies, which they no doubt had seen in documentary films about World War 2. Their response was just a gut reaction.

Reacting to the crowd in Melbourne, 1964.

Newspaper clipping.
Hitler rally in Dortmund, Germany,1933

The Melbourne public reception, 1964.

The next reference Lennon made to Adolf Hitler was when he jotted down the name as someone he wanted to include on the cover of The Beatles' album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1967.
Hitler just behind the drum. Had he remained in place, he would have been covered by the Beatles.
A cardboard cut out was made and arranged in the set up for the cover shoot, but it was a small figure which, had it remained in place, wouldn't have been seen anyway - because the Beatles would stand just in front of him, wearing their "Sgt. Pepper" uniforms. However, even before the shoot, Hitler was nixed and removed from the setup. In photos taken after the Beatles had put on their uniforms, Hitler is placed behind the white door you can see in the photo above.

Hitler behind the door.

In 2007, Sir Peter Blake – who co-created the cover - told The Independent that Hitler did actually make the final line-up, but is simply obscured by the Beatles themselves. "Yes he is on there – you just can’t see him," Blake insisted. He added: "If you look at photographs of the out-takes, you can see the Hitler image in the studio. With the crowd behind there was an element of chance about who you can and cannot see, and we weren’t quite sure who would be covered in the final shot. Hitler was in fact covered up behind the band." As you can see from the photos above, Blake had it wrong, and Hitler was removed from the lineup after The Beatles had changed into their costumes.

And I do believe that this is the end of the story, as far as John Lennon's Hitler fascination is concerned. But in 1990, a biography about George Harrison painted the ex-Beatle as a devotee of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Extracts from the book was published in the British tabloid "The Sun" and in the U.S.A. in the supermarket tabloid The Globe.

George sued for damage, wanting to clear his name. "George is very much in favor of the lawsuit. He deplores everything Hitler stood for and can't imagine anything worse they could have said about him than to say he was a Nazi sympathizer," his lawyer Bert Fields said.

The book in question was Geoffrey Giuliano's "Dark Horse" from 1990. Here's an extract:
"Perhaps one of the most bizarre aspects of George's personality is the fascination he shares with friends Derek Taylor and "Legs" Larry Smith regarding Adolf Hitler. Harrison and his pals are not Nazi sympathizers, but they still find something undeniably fascinating about the Fuhrer. "It's just that they appreciate the unparalleled degree of his absolute madness," says a friend."

"Such tidy rationalizations fall short of explaining why Harrison keeps so many photos of Hitler around his house. Allegedly, he even displays a huge German swastika at times. Although Hitler borrowed the symbol of eternal life from Harrison's beloved Hindus, it is still difficult to imagine just how the normally peace-loving ex-Beatle justifies his attraction to such evil.​"

Giuliano then goes on to pin the origins of George's "sick fantasy" on Derek Taylor and Larry Smith. And perhaps he is right, because George himself wrote about Derek's Hitler fascination in his foreword to Taylor's autobiographic "Fifty Years Adrift": "Thanks to him, I do now know a lot more about the Royal Family and Hitler".

George Harrison's foreword to Derek taylor's "Fifty years adrift" book.

In Graeme Thomson's George Harrison biography, "Behind The Locked Door", the author mentions that there used to be swastikas all over Friar Park, but they were mostly taken down after the war. Apparently you could still see remnants of some of them afterwards.

In December, 1992, it was announced that the Globe had agreed to pay George a settlement for libel. The tabloid had published an article in 1991, titled "Beatle George is a Big Nazi Fan." It was reported that The Globe had misinterpreted Geoffrey Giuliano's "Dark Horse," which said that George collected Nazi memorabilia while pointing out that George hates Hitler.

Giuliano testified on George's behalf during the trial. After the case was settled, the Globe sued Geoffrey Giuliano for $400,000 and won.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Rare photo from filming "Penny Lane"

Filming the horse riding scenes for "Penny Lane".
As you may know, some of the scenes of the Beatles horse riding in the Penny Lane music video was filmed in Stratford, London - around a street called Angel Lane, February 5, 1967.

When they weren't filming, they used the nearby pub, The Salway Arms as HQ, the pub was located at 31, Angel Lane. Here's a photo you might not have seen before, of the Beatles with the landlord and his family. We apologise for the poor quality of the photo, as it is a still from a YouTube video of Mark Lewisohn holding a lecture in Iceland in November 2015.

The Beatles at Salway Arms. 
Even though the video was uploaded in December 2015, no one seemed to have gone to the trouble of capturing the image of this photo until March this year. After that, you may have seen it on Facebook, on Twitter or over at our neighbourhood blog, Meet The Beatles For Real. Expect to see a better version of the photo when the next volume of Lewisohn's Beatles biography is published (Oh, glorious day!).

There were two pubs in the area, and the other pub was called "Two Puddings". Outside the Two Puddings was a sign which read "The greatest pub in the world". After The Beatles had visited the Salway Arms, the landlord there put a big notice up saying "We might not be the greatest pub in the world, but we had the greatest (pop) group in the world drinking in here!" Part of Angel Lane was demolished ca 1970 and the Salway Arms was in that part. Stratford Shopping Centre now occupies some of the area.

The authenticity of the photo has been questioned, some have said it looks like a photoshopped image, and someone seems to have misidentified the location as a hotel the Beatles stayed in while filming in Sevenoaks. This is not so, the image is as bad as it is because it's just a YouTube capture, and "the Beatles never stayed in Sevenoaks, only me at Brights Hotel," says Tony Bramwell - who produced both the music video for "Penny Lane" as well as the one for "Strawberry Fields Forever".


Links:

Friday, 20 April 2018

Ringo's birthday plans


Yesterday, Ringo Starr announced the plans for his annual official birthday celebration, which will be taking place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nice, France this time around. Ringo and his All Starr Band are touring Europe this summer, and the birthday will be held, as usual, on July 7th at noon. In connection with the announcement, Ringo also uploaded the music video for "Give More Love". Directed by Brent Carpenter, the video includes photos from fans depicting peace, love and kindness, selected from those submitted in a contest.


For the past four years, Ringo's official birthday celebrations have all taken place outside the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, but now it returns to a Hard Rock Cafe venue. In addition to the Nice celebration, a specially recorded video message from Ringo will be played in all Hard Rock Cafe's around the globe, at noon the 7th of July.

For those wanting to gather together, locations of all participating Hard Rock Cafes will be announced soon, check Ringo's Facebook Event page for updates and details.

The co-founder of Hard Rock Café, Isaac Tigrett married Ringo's ex-wife Maureen in 1989, they started dating in 1976. So the relatationship between Ringo and Hard Rock Cafe is a deep one.

Another sponsor for this year's celebration will be The David Lynch Foundation, who help spread the word about transcendental meditation (TM).

As usual, you don't have to go anywhere to participate, you just need to say "Peace and Love" around noon that day.

Link: Birthday announcement (ringostarr.com)

Monday, 16 April 2018

If The Beatles never existed

What if the Beatles and their songs never existed?.
Richard Curtis, who has delivered scripts to movies like "Four weddings and a funeral", "Love Actually" and "Notting Hill" is working on a new movie, tentatively titled "All You Need is Love".

The movie is about a struggling musician in a world where the Beatles and their music never existed. One day he wakes up, remembering them all - but he is the only one.

Popular British pop star Ed Sheeran has been in talks about writing some of the music in the movie, and also having a cameo. Of course, the Beatles' music will also be used.

Director is Danny Boyle, previously famous for "Slumdog Millionaire".

Source: The Daily Mail

Of course, the notion that The Beatles never really existed is a premise for a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theorists have alleged the Fab Four group were formed of "multiples" and "body doubles", not the four individual men from Liverpool we have been led to believe.

"Proving" that John is not John takes the same route as the "Paul is dead" conspiracy lunatics.
And they claim there's visible proof that photos of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr differ throughout Beatlemania – making it “impossible” for them to have been the same people.

A website called The Beatles Never Existed has been dedicated to this theory since 2011, but is now closed, citing "other more current and pressing worldwide issues confronting humanity". For more info about this, we therefore refer you to The Daily Star.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Chema Ríos from La Coruña

Chema Ríos from La Coruña
This is an old photo of Chema Ríos from La Coruña, Spain when he was in his teens. He is a fan of the Beatles, amateur musician and has been working as a gynecologist.

For some reason or other, the internet thinks that this is a photo of John Lennon aged 13, in Liverpool, England. Why do they all think it is? And where did it start? Somewhere on the internet, this photo of Chema was posted with a caption indicating that it's a young John Lennon. And someone believed it and spread it. It's now all over the internet, especially on Pinterest but also elsewhere with the wrong caption. I’m just afraid that In 20 years time it will be the gospel, because more people have repeated it. Just try an image search yourself: Click the photo, then right-click it and choose Google's image search.

John Lennon still had no guitar at age 13, he would not have known the chord seen in the photo and he did not have a Beatles haircut.

John Lennon with his group The Quarry Men in Liverpool, July 6, 1957. John's age: 16. 
Here is a photo from an event with Chema's group: Chema Ríos, Carlos Otero, Ramón Sánchez & Miguel Ríos. (between 11 & 13 years old) at Colegio La Salle Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


And here is a latter day photo of Chema Ríos, taken in 2018. He also has a Facebook page.

Chema Ríos in 2018

Now, why am I posting this? Because now, every time you come across a photo of young Chema Ríos on the internet wrongly captioned as John Lennon, you can post a link to this very blog post to inform the uninformed.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The "lost" Cavern Club tape

Live at the Cavern Club, 1962.
In mid-1962, "a fan in the audience" at the Cavern Club in Liverpool recorded a Beatles' performance, more-or-less in full. It's the only full-length recording of them live known to exist prior the Star Club tapes from late December 1962.

On August 29th 1985, the tape was auctioned and sold at Sotheby's in London. Sotheby's said it was recorded in February or March of 1962, but this can't be accurate, as one of the covers they play wasn't released until May and didn't reach British charts until June. Most say the show was recorded in June or July of 1962. It's definitely Pete Best on drums. Sotheby's sold it that day for £2,310. Who bought it? Paul McCartney of course!

Nobody knows anything about the sound quality. The setlist (as recorded anyway) is:
- Words of Love
- What's Your Name
- Roll Over Beethoven
- Ask Me Why (listed as 'Tell My Why' by Sotheby's, but that's almost surely an error)
- The Hippy Hippy Shake
- Til There Was You
- Hey! Baby
- If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody
- Please Mister Postman
- Sharing You
- Your Feet's Too Big
- Dizzy Miss Lizzy
- I Forgot to Remember to Forget
- Matchbox
- I Wish I Could Shimmy Like my Sister Kate (aka: Shimmy Like Kate; aka: Shimmy Shimmy)
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Young Blood
- Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)

McCartney has neglected to release the tape to the public. This blog post was prompted when someone asked me what I would ask Paul McCartney about, if I just had one question. My question would be: Why, oh why haven't you released this tape to the fans? You had the opportunity around The Beatles' Anthology! If the three others voted no, give me the tape and I'll get it to bootleggers who would leap at the opportunity to release this! What are you saying, it sounds just as bad as the Hamburg Star Club recordings? We LOVE the Hamburg Star Club tapes! We promise you, we will still remain Beatles fans even if the tape sounds crappy, we won't deflect to the Rolling Stones or anything! Please, please us - some of us don't have long to live and we would die happy if we could just have one listen to this. Pretty please with sugar on?

Monday, 9 April 2018

New footage from Candlestick Park

The Beatles live at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1966.
Recently some hitherto not publicly available colour amateur film footage from The Beatles' final concert was uploaded to YouTube. As you probably know, that final concert took place on the field of San Francisco's Candlestick Park, which was demolished a few years ago.
You can find the new video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldxFc4xl0J00

Now one of our esteemed readers has taken it upon himself to stabilize the image in this footage:


Still silent, it's a well known fact that at the last minute, Paul McCartney asked their publicist Tony Barrow to record the performance on a little cassette recorder. The tape ran out during their final song, "Long Tall Sally". Barrow's recording can be found here. The concert was held on August 30, 1966.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ed Sullivan Shows - enhanced

New edition of the four Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Beatles.

New edition of the Beatles' Ed Sullivan Shows to be released on May 25, - but still only on DVD, and not Blu-ray. Still, the image is digitally upgraded (so, no new transfer, just digital enhancement?) from standard definition to high definition video.
This looks like a US release only, so far.

More here: udiscover Music
Amazon preorder link

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Yellow Submarine heads for U.S. Theaters


Back in January, we told you about 50th anniversary screenings of the "Yellow Submarine" film in the UK, and now U.S. theaters are also going to show the restored film. Above is the theatrical trailer for the U.S.

NEW YORK / LONDON / LOS ANGELES – APRIL 03, 2018 – Abramorama announced today a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. and Universal Music Group (UMG) to theatrically release The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, across North America this July in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Abramorama, Apple Corps Ltd. and UMG have teamed to give Beatles fans of all ages the opportunity to come together and share in this visually stunning movie and soundtrack.  Abramorama originally partnered with Apple Corps, Imagine Entertainment, White Horse Pictures, StudioCanal and UMG’s Polygram Entertainment on the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles:  Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Abramorama has a proven track record in the music-driven film space, partnering numerous times with Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Green Day and now once again with Apple Corps Ltd.

Yellow Submarine was restored in 4K digital resolution by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc.  The film’s songs and score were remixed in 5.1 stereo surround sound at UMG’s Abbey Road Studios by music mix engineer Peter Cobbin. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements.  This was all done by hand, frame by frame.

Richard Abramowitz, CEO of Abramorama said, “We’re thrilled to have the privilege of bringing Yellow Submarine back to the big screen so that 3 generations of happy Beatles fans can enjoy the ground-breaking animation and classic tunes and that have long been part of our collective cultural DNA.”

Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature. 

Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.”  When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognized as a landmark achievement, revolutionizing a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.

Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.

Information on local screenings can be found here:  http://www.yellowsubmarine.film/

© Subafilms Ltd 1968

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

From Sweden

Paul, George, Lill-Babs and John
News have reached us that Swedish singer Lill-Babs (real name Barbro Svensson), here depicted with the Beatles during their appearance on the Swedish TV-show, «Drop In» in 1963, passed away April 3, at the age of 80. During the show, Lill-Babs performed her Swedish language version of Lesley Gore's hit, "It's My Party" as "Leva Livet". The Beatles recognised Lill-Babs as a celebrity, because she also had a career and was a well known star in Germany. Interviewed by the Swedish press, she claimed that the Beatles asked for her autograph, but she didn’t ask for theirs. They certainly posed for a few photos with her.
This photo is usually cropped a bit closer elsewhere on the net.
The Beatles may have tried to flirt with her (especially George, it seems), but she thought they were a bit young. After all she was two years older then the older Beatles, Ringo and John. Interviewed by the press, she said that she was intrigued by the length of their hair and that she taught them to dance the Twist.
George tries his luck
Lill-Babs kept busy as a singer and entertainer with performances, and she was also a popular visitor to Norway. In fact, I happened to pass her on the street just a couple of years ago, when she was booked to perform in my home town.  She continued to perform until just weeks before she was hospitalised with a heart condition. An aggressive cancer was then detected, eventually causing her death. Rest in peace.

Swedish singer Jerry Williams.


This was announced just a week after the death of another Swede associated with the Beatles, Jerry Williams. Born Sven Erik Fernström, Jerry performed at the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962, at the same time as the Beatles, who he met there for the first time. Not very impressed with their stage act and performance of mostly cover versions, Williams thought they had improved a lot when he was booked to open for them during their tour of Sweden in October 1963. At the time, Jerry was handling the vocals for The Violents but was billed separately, as he was a big name on the poster. Jerry Williams continued in show business (his version of Lennon's Working Class Hero is available on YouTube), until his farewell tour in 2013. Born April 15, 1942, Jerry passed away from cancer on March 25th, 2018. Rest in peace.