Friday, 22 March 2019

The Beatles - Made on Merseyside


Next Friday, 29 March 2019, BBC Four will be broadcasting a special TV programme, "The Beatles - Made on Merseyside".

They defined music and popular culture like no other band ever will. But how did The Beatles make the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars in the 1960s? The Beatles: Made on Merseyside recounts how American rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues dragged post-war Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever with the Mersey Sound.

Featuring unique archive and revealing interviews from those involved in the early years of The Beatles in Liverpool and Hamburg, we discover the story of The Beatles’ previous band formations and why it took so long for them to achieve success. From school bands to colleges, Hamburg to The Cavern Club, The Beatles moved from skiffle to rock ‘n’ roll before creating their unique sound.

The programme will last for 1 hour and 22 minutes and will be available on the internet after it has been on the air. Sadly, the net edition will only be available in the U.K.

Link

I will also like to take this opportunity to apologise for the lack of posts lately. It's just that I haven't been inspired to write anything worthwhile. This situation is likely to continue, at least for the time being. I am still editor-in-chief of the Norwegian Wood Beatles fanzine in Norwegian, and we have just published another 100 page issue. I also still blog in Norwegian on www.norwegianwood.org. The Daily Beatle also still has a presence on Facebook, where I mainly post links to news items about the Beatles and Paul, Ringo, etc.

I should also inform you that due to changes in Google, comments on blog posts made by people who were logged in with their Google+ user accounts will suddenly disappear. Google does what Google wants, I guess.

Friday, 8 March 2019

One double super album

The best selling Beatles album in the U.S.A.

The late Sir George Martin wanted to have the Beatles' "White album" as "one super single album" by weeding out the songs he felt were surplus and below par. Now the ultimate proof of how wrong he was is delivered by RIAA who, based on sales, February 21, 2019 have certified that the album is the most successful of all Beatles albums, at least in USA.

The "White album", probably helped by last year's 50th anniversary editions has been certified as to have achieved Diamond status 24 times over. Only three more albums in the RIAA history has achieved 24 x Diamond, the other ones being Eagles "Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975" 38 x Diamond, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at 33 x Diamond and then Eagles again, with "Hotel California" at 26 x Diamond.

The Beatles already hold top honours as the highest certified band in Gold and Diamond Award history, with 178 million certifications across a wide range of titles, including the iconic "White Album." Other albums by The Beatles that have surpassed Diamond certification include "The Beatles 1967-1970" ("Blue album") at 17 X Diamond, "The Beatles 1962-1966" ("Red album") at 15 X Diamond, "Abbey Road" at 12 X Diamond, "1" at 11 X Diamond, and "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" at 11 X Diamond.

"The Beatles are undoubtedly one of the most influential bands of all time, with music that stands the test of time,” said Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “The magic of John, Paul, George, and Ringo continues to be experienced by new fans across the country and we are honoured to present them with this milestone achievement. Diamond status is already a rare feat – for an album to go 24X Platinum it has truly become part of America’s cultural fabric. Congratulations to the band and their families, Apple Corps, Capitol and UMe, and all who helped create this album and bring it to the world."

Now why they are calling it 24 x Platinum when all other sources say 24 x Diamond and the press release shows the album with a "24 x Diamond" badge, we have no idea. Maybe RIAA are rattling their jewellery.

Sources:
RIAA Press release
RIAA Top sellers

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Liverpool Weekend

Lots of people wanted to have their photo taken with the Beatles statues.
Just back from a family weekend in Liverpool, where I finally got the chance to see the Double Fantasy John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool just by the ferry terminal and Roag Best's new Magical History Museum smack in the middle of Mathew Street.

The Double Fantasy exhibition was at first supposed to run only to April, which is why this trip was booked, but after having secured the flights and hotel rooms, the exhibition was extended to run until November 3d, 2019. The museum is nearby the Beatles statues and the museum also hosts three other exhibitions related to the city of Liverpool. Entrance is free of charge.

The Double Fantasy exhibition runs chronologically, and after a brief introduction to John and Yoko from their births through to adulthood, we start at 1966, the year when the two first met. We are treated to recreations of some of Yoko's art objects from their first meeting, like the "yes" painting, painting to hammer a nail in and the apple. Overall the exhibition has a number of real items from John and Yoko's lives, as lent by Yoko. The exhibition has a circular course, so the end and exit is parallell to the entrance. Of course, you may start at the end and work your way to the entrance.

The original "Mr Kite poster".

One of the items we were most eager to see, was the original Mr Kite poster, which has never been on display before. And I have to admit, it was a lot smaller than I had imagined, and the recreation poster I purchased in Hamburg many years ago. You can appreciate the size compared to the Sgt Pepper album which was sitting next to it. Also, there's the handwritten lyrics next to the album.

There were two film rooms in the exhibition, one was showing the full "Imagine" film over and over again, the other had a John & Yoko film festival going. The festival consisted of experimental films with some relief brought by inserted music videos:

1. Erection (1971) 18 minutes
This time lapse film of the construction of a hotel was inspired by John’s interest in new architechture.
2. Love music video (1970) 3:20 minutes
3. Free Time (1970) 11 minutes
Concept art pieces performed by Yoko, John, and filmmaker and poet, Jonas Mekas.
4. Give Peace A Chance music video (1969) 5:30 minutes
5. Walking On Thin Ice (1981) 6 minutes
6. Freedom Film 2 (1970) 1 minute
John scratched the word FREEDOM directly onto the film.
7. Apotheosis 2 (1969) 18 minutes
This film follows the couple, as they take a hot-air balloon ride over snow-covered countryside.
8. Sisters, O Sisters music video (1971) 3:10 minutes
Recorded live at the Apollo, New York.
9. Woman music video (1981) 3:35 minutes
10. Live At The Fillmore East (1971) 24 minutes
Live recording from the 6 June concert, when John and Yoko joined Frank Zappa on stage.
11. Power To The People music video (1971)
12. Mr and Mrs Lennon’s Honeymoon (1969) 79 minutes
A documentary about John and Yoko’s Amsterdam Bed-In for Peace.
13. Mind Games music video (1973) 4:15 minutes
14. Joseijoi Banzai music video (1973) 3 minutes
15. Film No. 5 (Smile) 1968 51 minutes
A slow motion film capturing John’s smile. «Imagine a painting that smiles just once in a billion years».
16. Happy Xmas (War is over) (1971) 10 minutes
Documentary footage of John and Yoko talking about World Peace, includes their music video.
17. Borrowed Time music video (1984) 4:45 minutes
18. Imagine (1971) 70 minutes
This documentary style film was created to accompany the album Imagine.
19. Freedom Film 1 (1970) 1 minute
The film focuses on the undoing of a bra clasp. It is a metaphor for the liberation of female identity.


When I was there, the Apotheosis 2 film was shown. There was also a listening room, where headphones brought you John & Yoko music, and there were cushions all over the floor to relax on. The couple's albums were decorating the walls, up to the John Lennon Live in New York album.

Not sure Menlove Avenue was included.
Here are some of the photos I took, I mainly concentrated on items that had belonged to John Lennon.
John's military shirt
This was one item of clothing you may remember from a Dick Cavett talk show and other occasions. When viewing John's clothes, I am always struck by how small and slim he was. One other item, this time from Lennon's "lost" 18 month "weekend" was the famous New York City t-shirt, which he was given by Bob Gruen.
John ripped off the sleeves of the tee for the famous photo.
The famous photo was taken on the balcony of the apartment John was renting with his then girlfriend, May Pang. The "lost weekend" did actually have a section in the exhibition, and John was depicted with some people from his LA crowd: Anne Murray, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper and Micky Dolenz. The narrative focused on the drunkenness and substance abuse surrounding the "Rock'n'Roll" sessions, and avoided mentioning that these 18 months was John's most prolific time in his solo career, if you look at all the recordings and collaborations that took place. But then we didn't expect that here.

A few instruments were also on display, like the acoustic guitar used on "Give Peace A Chance" and the Sardonyx 800 D II from the Double Fantasy sessions.

A display box with a bed spread and guitar from Montreal.

The last guitar associated with John Lennon was this still futuristic looking Sardonyx.
Outside the exhibition was a merchandise stall with related stuff, but we didn't swing by so I can't give you details about what they had for sale.



All in all, it was a great experience and if I lived in this city, I would go and see this several times over, and check out all the films.

Link:
Official Website

The Magical History Museum
The next day we paid a visit to Roag Best's Magical History Museum, which is located in Mathew Street, just next to The Grapes pub, which was undergoing refurbishing when we were there. Someone told me that the pub will open again this Friday.

Admission for adults at the new museum was £15 in the summer, but just £9 when we were there in the winter season. As we were paying, Roag himself stuck his head out from the office to inform us that the coloured lights in the display boxes in second floor were out, but the items inside could still be clearly seen.

The museum consists of items from Roag Best's personal collection. He is the brother of Pete Best, who was the drummer in the Beatles for two years, from August 1960 to August 1962. Roag is also the son of Neil Aspinall, who was the Beatles driver and then assistant, before becoming one of the directors of the Beatles' company Apple, ending up running the company for them when they went solo. Many of the items in Roag's collection was given to him by either his mother Mona, who was championing the group when Pete was in it, by Pete and by his father. In addition to this, Roag has been collecting on his own as well. Taking photos was not allowed, so I have illustrated with photos Roag himself has published on Facebook.

The museum consists of three floors, each dedicated to the main Beatles years. The first floor, the black and white one, is about 1959 to 1962, so it coincides with his brother's time with the group. The whole journey starts with a huge, floor to ceiling photo of young Mona Best, who was a stunning beauty in her day. Beside the photo, a wall tells us the story of how she pawned all her jewellery to bet the money on a horse called "Never Say Die" and used the money from the win to buy a big house. The radio where she listened to the race was also part of that particular wall. Of course, she then cleaned out the basement and made it into a youth club, the Casbah Club, for her boys, Rory and Pete and their friends. George Harrison was booked to play on that first night with his group, but the group folded and George recruited old Quarrymen mates John Lennon and Paul McCartney alongside Ken Brown for the gig. The soon-to-be-Beatles even helped getting the cellar ready for opening night, decorating the place. Much thanks to Mona and her club, the Beatles were then back on track after a lull, having broken up as the Quarrymen when drummer Colin Hanton had quit after a row earlier in 1959.

The floor had several personal items belonging to Pete, and I was most fascinated by two items related to this photo.

John, Paul and George on a rooftop in Hamburg in 1961.
Although some leather pants were on display as well, I was most pleased to find a pair of boots in the same fashion as on this photo, as well as one of the pink caps they were wearing. Pete Best was not in this photo, but it was his boots and cap. Every boot had a different pattern, but his was similar to that style, and his cap identical to the others. They had found the cap squeezed behind a refrigerator in the Casbah Club and brought it to the exhibition. Thanks to it not having gotten very much sunlight over the years, the cap probably hadn't faded like it would have, otherwise. It was made of fabric, so it was not a leather cap, and the Beatles probably bought them to wear when they were performing alongside Gene Vincent, who they met during this stint at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg. Gene's backing band were the Blue caps and were equipped accordingly.
Another interesting thing was the camera who took the photos that were taken at the Indra Club in August 1960. I had no idea that those pictures were taken with Pete Best's camera, as I was sure they were taken on request by their boss, Bruno Koshmieder - for display outside the club where they were playing. At least one of the photos were also a made into a postcard.

Composite made from two versions of the same photo.
The above photo was one of the ones accompanying the camera in the exhibition, except that it was a complete photo and not pieced together from two photos like my version of it (above). Still, the one in the exhibition was not of the same high quality as the part with Paul, John and George in the above photo, it was a bit more mediocre.

The earliest colour film of the Beatles was bought by the Bests and some of the footage used in their DVD "Best of The Beatles" years ago. The film was also put to use in the museum, but the daylight and blown up picture didn't help the quality much, and I also believe the proportions were distorted. There was more of the film here than published, but the extra footage was not of much interest, since it didn't feature the group. Sadly, the film only captured John, Paul and George, so Pete, although present, was never in the frame of the filmmaker.
A couple of Pete's drum cases were placed alongside two not identified guitars, and George's first Futurama guitar, strings missing was also on display. George and Rory Best had bought identical Futurama guitars, and when George's broke, he borrowed Rory's in trade for guitar lessons that never happened. So the Futurama in the museum is the one you have heard George play on the Tony Sheridan recordings. It has previously been lent to the Beatles Story museum.

Back from hamburg and into the spider room.
You may recall the photo of the Beatles in the spider room of the Casbah, Paul singing into a microphone while playing his Rosetti Solid 7 guitar restrung with three piano wires into a makeshift bass guitar. That microphone was Paul's and he later sold it to Mona, and now it's in this museum.

Entering the next floor, which focused on 1963 to 1966, we realised that we were going to be alone during our visit. That was a good thing for us, but never a good thing for a museum who stays open due to the income generated by the admission fees. With the sad demise of the Beatles museum in Hamburg in mind, I sure hope they are busier at other times.

The memorabilia years
A Beatles Christmas single was on display for each of the rest of the years, and quite a few items from the memorabilia years, or merchandise years if you wish, added colour to the 1963 and 1964 sections of this floor.


The Irish linen towel, the Dutch dress etc were on display, as well as one of the boxes for a 1963 NEMS Beatles puzzle, with the framed puzzle hanging elsewhere on this floor.

Beatles dress, Photo from someone's private collection.
A canister holding an undeveloped film with photos of John Lennon taken by Neil Aspinall was there, teasing us that it would some day be developed and the photos added to the exhibition. Another section focused on John's acting experience in "How I Won The War", with the actual helmet he wore as Private Gripweed as the centre piece.

"How I Won The War" section.
A few of John's prescription glasses were also here and there in the exhibition, which was also true for the Double Fantasy exhibition, he must have had many pairs of glasses throughout the years.

John's leather cap alongside memorabilia from "Help!"
Wherever The Beatles travelled, they were presented with gifts from fans, other celebrities, official persons etc and a number of these must have fallen into the hands of Neil Aspinall through the years, because a few of these items had found their way to the exhibition. One of the more interesting ones was a gift from Elvis of a model horse and carriage.

Model horse and carriage next to the Elvis photo on the right, Shea seats below the star spangled banner.
A recent addition to the exhibition were two seats from Shea Stadium, presumably dismantled before the stadium was demolished a few years ago. I think that makes this a dedicated museum, as the Beatles Story only had anonymous flight seats to symbolise the Beatles' first U.S. trip.

Some garden furniture from John and Cynthia's home Kenwood in Weybridge were on display, and there was clearly more personal Lennon belongings than stuff from George, Paul and certainly Ringo, who was underrepresented throughout.

The final floor was of course dedicated to 1967 to 1970 and started with a photo copy of the "Mister Kite" poster which we had viewed the original of, just the day before. Mind you, a few of the overblown posters in this exhibition were a bit too blurry and had clearly been taken from printed matter and not from original photos or negatives. This cheapened the exhibition unnecessarily, as there are so many real items here to see - no need to add second rate material. Such real items as for instance the medals Mona had lent the Beatles to adorn their Sgt Pepper uniforms with, for the cover of that album. The OPP patch was also here.

There was a wall of tribute to Roag's father, Neil Aspinall and the museum itself was as much a tribute to Mona, Pete and Neill as it was to The Beatles. Still, these people are interwoven with the history of the Beatles, so it wasn't disturbing in any way. At least not for people in the know. I can only recommend this museum and its exhibition to all Beatles fans, newbies as well as seasoned aficionados.

Music was played throughout our trip to the museum, but it was not Beatles music. Too expensive, I wager.



Links:
Official Website
Official Facebook page
Tripadvisor

Thursday, 14 February 2019

A limited edition Egypt Station

Egypt Station - Traveller's Edition.
Paul McCartney just announced the release of another strictly limited (3000 copies for worldwide distribution) boxed set, this time it's the "Traveller's edition" of Egypt Station, his 2018 studio album.

Egypt Station - Traveller’s Edition audio and video content:

• Limited Edition Concertina Tri-Fold Deluxe 180G Vinyl Double Black Disc Pressing of Egypt Station

• Exclusive Limited Edition Bonus 180G Vinyl Pressing of Egypt Station II in "Night Scene” blue, featuring three previously unreleased tracks — ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party,’ ‘Sixty Second Street’ and extended cut of Egypt Station single ‘Who Cares’ — as well as four live performances of Egypt Station tracks taken from Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern Club, LIPA, and Paul’s iconic performance at Grand Central Station

• Limited Edition Egypt Station Concertina CD

• Exclusive Limited Edition collector’s Egypt Station Blue Cassette

• HD Audio of all tracks upon shipment

• Additional rare performances footage hidden inside 

Special Features:


• Luxury vintage-style embossed Egypt Station artwork suitcase

• An exclusive copy of a handwritten note from Paul

• Fold out, vintage-style Egypt Station illustrated map suitable for framing

• Travel memorabilia including "travel itinerary", postcards, baggage tickets and first class ticket

• Egypt Station luggage stickers

• Travel journal featuring copies of Paul’s handwritten lyrics

• Two Egypt Station lithographs of Paul’s paintings

• 500+ piece jigsaw puzzle

• Egypt Station playing cards

• And additional hidden surprises and rarities

The suitcase is lined with red velvet inside.
Rumoured price is 350 Euros and around the same amount in USD. On the 17th of May, the audio content will be released in a cheaper package, without all the goodies.

New old Beatles photo

The Beatles visited the ABC Theatre in Great Yarmouth twice. This poster is from their final appearance there.
A 17 year old photographer's assistant saved one of the negatives his boss was about to throw away. It was one of several publicity photos the photographer had taken of the Beatles, who played in a theatre above the photo studio.

The assistant took the negative home with him, but never got around to make a print of it in the 55 years that passed. Last week he gave the negative to his son, who recently had taken a course in black and white photography. The son printed and published this never-before-seen photo on February 5, 2019.

The Beatles on stage at the ABC in Great Yarmouth July 28, 1963.

The Beatles played the ABC theatre in Great Yarmouth only twice. First on June 30th, 1963, the day before they recorded "She Loves You" and again on this day, July 28, a couple of days before they recorded "All My Loving".

Peter Harrison, 75, had salvaged the negative while working in Fisher’s photography studio under the ABC Cinema in the summer of 1963, when the Fab Four played in the town. Also on the bill were The Kestrels, The Trebletones, Freddie Starr and The Midnighters, Barry Barnett and Glenda Collins. The compere was comedian Alan Field.

The Beatles had already toured the UK three times in 1963 with a fourth tour to take place at the end of the year. That night The Beatles played two sets, at 6pm and 8.15pm, and tickets were priced at four shillings and sixpence, and nine shillings and sixpence.

Mr Harrison said that his manager, the photographer Mr Fisher, had taken some publicity shots of the band and was about to dump the negatives but instead the young apprentice took one home. "I could do my own black and white prints at home but I never got around to it," he said. Mr Harrison, who now lives in Leeds, said he had heard of the Beatles but did not go to the concert that night.

"I was too busy working," he said.

So for 55 years the negative had sat in one of Mr Harrison’s drawers until earlier this month his son completed a black and white photography course. "I said ‘I’ve got a negative you might be interested in’ so I sent it to him," Mr Harrison said. His son, Richard, 43, then developed the negative and printed the photo.

The ABC Cinema was demolished in 1989 to make way for the Market Gates shopping district.

This story was first printed in The Great Yarmouth Mercury.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

On the radio: George Harrison and Michael Jackson

George Harrison and Michael Jackson in a recently rediscovered radio chat.
Thanks to one of our readers, Richard M White, a BBC radio 1 radio programme with George Harrison and Michael Jackson as guests in the studio is to be aired anew. Wiped by the radio station, a home recording supplied by our reader is the centre of a new presentation, to air this Saturday.

The occasion is 40 years since the programme was first aired, February 9, 1979. The programme in question was an edition of BBC Radio 1’s Roundtable, hosted by David ‘Kid’ Jensen where the famous guests reviewed the latest releases of the week and chatted in a very rare informal style about life and their experiences in the music industry.

The recording has been remastered for this one hour presentation, which also will include new interviews with Kid Jensen and others who were present that day. The aptly titled "When George met Michael" is presented by Paul Gambaccini and can be heard on BBC Radio Solent on Saturday 9th February at 11am. The programme will also be available on the BBC Sounds website for 30 days afterwards.

Read more here.

There's a lo-fi quality audio of the original programme available on YouTube:



And speaking of BBC Radio, you can still listen to their half hour version of a programme about the Beatles' rooftop concert broadcast for the 50th anniversary on BBC World Service. This is similar but shorter than their 40th anniversary broadcast, and possibly also of their 30th anniversary broadcast of same. You can listen to the programme here.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The new Let It Be film

A new edit of "Let It Be" directed by Peter Jackson has been announced today.
The Beatles today announced a new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. The film will be accompanied by a restored version of the original "Let It Be" film, as directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. 

London – January 30, 2019 - Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd. are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song. The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up.

The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special, but organically turned into something completely different, climaxing with The Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple's Savile Row London office — which took place exactly 50 years ago today.

Peter Jackson said, "The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about - it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s - in concerts, interviews and movies - this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio.

The Let It Be album and movie, having been released in the months following The Beatles’ breakup, have often been viewed in the context of the struggle the band was going through at that time.

"I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth," continues Jackson, "After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama - but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating - it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate". 

"I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage - making the movie will be a sheer joy.”

Jackson will be working with his They Shall Not Grow Old partners, Producer Clare Olssen and Editor Jabez Olssen. The footage will be restored by Park Road Post of Wellington, New Zealand, to a pristine standard, using techniques developed for the WW1 documentary film which has been nominated for a BAFTA for best documentary.

The untitled film is currently in production and the release date will be announced in due course. This film is being made with the full co-operation of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.

The Executive Producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.

Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be made available.

TIMELINE: LET IT BE (movie)

1969: 16mm footage of the Beatles filmed in January for proposed TV Special and album, "Get Back".
1969: Film and album shelved for now, new album Abbey Road recorded and released.
1969-70: Footage reworked for movie screening, to fulfill 3 film contract with United Artists.
1970: Theatrical release. Film has been blown up to 35mm, sound is in mono, retitled "Let It Be".

UK premiere at the London Pavilion
1970s: Televised in several markets globally, occasionally shows up in cinemas.
1975: BBC2 shows Let It Be for the first time on December 26. Mono.
1976: BBC1 shows Let It Be on August 24. Mono.
1978: The first screening on HBO in USA, July 29. Ran another six times the following month.
1979: BBC2 shows all Beatles films during Christmas season, again Let It Be on Dec 26.
1980: John Lennon is killed.
1980: As a tribute to John Lennon, Australian Channel 10 shows Let It Be. Simulcast. The film may also have been shown elsewhere in the world at this traumatic time, but the Australian screening is the one we know about.
1981: Home Video release (USA) of 35mm film pan-and-scan: VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc and Videodisc by 20th Century Fox/Magnetic Video Corporation. Mono. Betamax may have been even earlier.
1981: Aired in USA on "The Movie Channel" in November and on "Cinemax" in December.
1982: BBC2 shows Let It Be for the fourth and last time on May 8. 16mm version, mono.
1983: Südwest III local TV screening (south-west part of West Germany) on Dec 26. 16mm, mono. Subtitled in German.
1984: Home Video Release (Holland) by Warner Home Video. 16mm, mono.
1984: Home Video Release (West Germany) of 16mm version: VHS, Betamax by Warner Home Video. Mono. Subtitled in German.
1985: Another Channel 10 TV screening in Australia, Sunday 14 July at midday, after the Live Aid concert finished.
1992: Original 16mm film restored by Ron Furmanek, remastered sound, stereo when available.
1995: Restored footage from film and outtakes shown on The Beatles Anthology TV series.
1997: VCI (UK) announces plans to release the 1992 restoration of the film on VHS. It doesn't happen.
2001: George Harrison succumbs to cancer. Before he dies, he agrees to several upcoming projects, including reworking the Let It Be album to "Let It Be...Naked" and a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, "Love".
2002: Paul McCartney says there are plans for a DVD release of the film alongside the upcoming new album, "Let It Be...Naked".
2003: Original 16mm film plus outtakes restored by Bob Smeaton.
2003: "Let It Be...Naked" is released. Newly restored outtakes footage used to promote the album. No DVD.
2003: Movie director Lindsay-Hogg says 2 DVDs with the film and outtakes ready for 2004.
2004: A review of a 3 disc version appears online.
2005: "The Toronto Sun" features interview with Bob Smeaton who says a DVD will come out that year.
2006: In a US radio show, Bob Smeaton gives three possible release dates in 2006 for the DVD.
2007: Apple Corps Ltd register the domain name letitbemovie.com.
2007: Neil Aspinall says the film is still too controversial for release.
2008: Yoko Ono says the DVD will not be released yet.
2008: "The Daily Express" (UK) says DVD was cancelled by Paul and Ringo.
2009: Unidentified "insider" claims Yoko Ono is the one blocking the release.
2009: Theatrical screening at a film club in Philadelphia, PA. Good print, poor mono sound.
2010: BBC radio show says DVD is still considered for release at a future date.
2011: Original film and outtakes re-transferred again in higher resolution for future release.
2012: Film due out for 50th anniversary of "Love Me Do", but plans are again scrapped.
2012: Richard Porter learns from insider that the film may be released in 2014 or 2015.
2012: Ringo says: "One day that will come out, but we're not thinking about it right now".
2013: "Help!", "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Yellow Submarine" released on Blu-ray.
2014: "A Hard Day's Night" released on Blu-ray.
2015: Ringo confirms that it will eventually be released, just not this year.
2015: The last 34 minutes of Furmanek's unpublished 1992 restoration uploaded on YouTube
2015: Apple releases a collection of The Beatles' promotional films on Blu-ray and DVD. The material from "Let It Be" looks unrestored. This triggers speculation that Apple saves the restored version for a later stand-alone release.
2016: Bootleg company HMC releases the 1992 restoration of the film on a DVD+CD package in NTSC and an aspect ratio of 4:3. The lower part of the picture is cropped.
2016: Paul tells Rolling Stone that he keeps promoting a release of the film internally.
2016: "Don't Let Me Down" (partial) and "I've Got A Feeling" (partial) from the rooftop concert included in the "Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years" film. The latter song is edited differently with other camera angles than in the "Let It Be" film.
2017: Cinematographer Tony Richmond reveals in an interview that the official DVD release is held up by Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison.
2018: Paul McCartney said in an interview with a Canadian radio station that a re-edited version of the film may come out "in a year or two".
2019: On January 30th, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the rooftop concert, The Beatles announced that a new film will be made, culled from the 55 hours of Get Back film footage available. The new film will be directed by Sir Peter Jackson. A release date is not announced, but a restored original "Let It Be" film will also be made available in conjunction with the new film. Let's hope it's not just a theatrical release, like Shea Stadium was.

The only mention of a release date in the press release, is that it will be announced "in due course". There's speculation that the film will be released on the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original "Let It Be" film, which will make it May, 2020. The film premiered on May 13 in the USA and May 20 in the UK.

There's a slight discrepancy in the press release regarding when the Beatles broke up. Early on it says: "The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up" but later, Sir Peter Jackson says that "After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, ...". So did they brake up 18 months after filming "Let It Be" or several months earlier?

The rooftop concert: Fiftieth anniversary

It was 50 years ago today: The Beatles' final concert.
"One after 909" - the rooftop performance was used as a music video by the Beatles several years ago, aired very sparingly on television and then forgotten about. But someone managed to save it before it disappeared:



This was one of four "new" songs the Beatles performed January 30, 1969 - fifty years ago today - on the roof of their Apple Records headquarters, in what turned out to be their final public performance. It was meant to be the triumphant conclusion of a film which documented the Beatles at work in the studio creating the album that was at first going to be called "Get Back" but ended up shelved for a year and then retitled "Let it Be". Upon release, the Beatles had effectively broken up and were pursuing their separate solo careers.

An audience with The Beatles: Some of the lucky people who were on the rooftop that day.
But "One after 909" wasn't really a new song - it was just never before released by the group, although they had made several attempts to record it as far back as 1963. The song's origin goes even further back, rumour has it that Paul and John wrote it together the year they met, in 1957.

It was actually quite crowded on the rooftop during the concert.
Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg: "One day after lunch, (...) — Paul, Ringo, myself and a few camera guys went up and looked at the roof. That was the embryonic idea on the Saturday before we filmed (the rooftop concert).

Inspecting the roof the Saturday before. Photo: © Apple Corps Ltd.
In a 42-minute set (cut down to half that size in the movie), the Beatles played nine takes of five songs, before they were interrupted by the Metropolitan police and had to finish playing. By then, they had played three takes of "Get Back", two takes each of "Don't Let Me Down" and "I've Got a Feeling" and one take each of "One After 909" and "Dig a Pony." The set was performed in the following order:
  1. "Get Back" (take one)
  2. "Get Back" (take two)
  3. "Don't Let Me Down" (take one)
  4. "I've Got a Feeling" (take one)
  5. "One After 909"
  6. "Dig a Pony"
  7. "I've Got a Feeling" (take two)
  8. "Don't Let Me Down" (take two)
  9. "Get Back" (take three)
A short impromptu "God Save The Queen" was briefly heard while the tape operator was changing tapes.


Rooftop versions on official records
From the rooftop gig, the first performance of "I've Got a Feeling" and the recordings of "One After 909" and "Dig a Pony" were later used on the album "Let It Be". Also, dialogue from the rooftop was used between tracks to create a live atmosphere on the album, and John Lennon's famous "I hope we passed the audition" speech was tacked on to a studio version of the song "Get Back".
In 1996, a live version of "Get Back" from the rooftop was included on the album "Anthology 3".
Then in 2003, an edit of the two takes of "Don't Let Me Down" from the rooftop concert was included on the revisionist album "Let It Be... Naked".

Yesterday, Fab Four Archivist uploaded part 1 of a 2-part special about the rooftop concert. Here's part 1:


I'm sure part 2 is imminent. Meanwhile:

The New York Post has a new interview with the director of "Let It Be", Michael Lindsay-Hogg on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the rooftop concert.

Also, a big announcement is expected later today. Stay tuned in!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Update from Ringo

Monday, January 28, 2019  – Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band today revealed additional tour dates for this year.  2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of Ringo and his All Starr Band, who played their first show on July 23, 1989 at the Park Central Ampitheatre in Dallas, Texas. The first leg of 2019 tour dates will begin with one US show at Harrah’s Resort Southern California on March 21st before the band head to Japan. The Japanese tour will launch in Fukuoka on March 27th and wrap up April 11th in Osaka.
 
Then on August 1, 2019 the band resume at Harrahs in Windsor and they will conclude September 1st at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California, nearly 30 years to the day when the inaugural All Starrs completed their first tour on September 3, 1989.

The 2019 All Starr Band feature Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Gregg Rolie, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette and the return of All Starr alum Hamish Stuart.
 
“My dream has always been, and still is, to play great music with great musicians - and I’ve been blessed to have so many incredible ones in my All Starr Bands,” Ringo reflected.  “We can’t wait to get out there and share the joy with you – every show is always such a wonderful Peace & Love fest between us and our audiences.” 
 
The current itinerary for their 2019 30th Anniversary celebratory tour is listed below, with additional dates to be announced soon:  
 
Ringo and His All Starr Band Tour -- Japan 2019 Tour Dates:
 
March 27 Sun Palace Hall, Fukuoka, Japan 
March 29 Uenogakuen, Hiroshima, Japan
April 1 Tokyo Electron Hall Miyagi Sendai Japan
April 2 Shimin Center, Koriyama, Japan
April 3 Hitomi Kinen Kodo, Tokyo, Japan
April 5 Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan
April 9 Zepp, Nagoya, Japan
April 10 Archaic Hall, Japan, Osaka
April 11 Orix Theatre, Osaka, Japan
 
North American 2019 Tour Dates:
 
August 1 The Colosseum at Caesars, Windsor, Ontario
August 3 & 4 Ravinia, Highland Park, IL
August 6 DPAC, Durham, NC
August 7 & 8 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
August 10 & 11 Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA
August 13 Berglund Center Coliseum, Roanoke, VA
August 14 The Met Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
August 20 State Farm Center, Champaign, IL
August 22 Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake, MN
August 23 Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino, Council Bluffs, IA
August 25 Santa Fe Opera House, Santa Fe, NM
August 26 Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
August 28 Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
August 30 Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA
August 31 Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles, CA
September 1 The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
 
This July 7, 2019 Ringo will return to Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles for his annual Peace & Love Birthday Celebration, where he joins gathered fans and invites anyone anywhere around the world to think, say or post #peaceandlove at Noon their local time. This creates a wave of Peace & Love across the planet, starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii. Ringo began these in 2008 at the Hard Rock Café Chicago and last year he celebrated the 10th Anniversary at the Hard Rock Café Nice. In the ensuing years it has grown enormously and in 2018 there were Peace & Love events in over 60 countries. Details for the 2019 event will be announced in the coming months.
 
Shipping now is Ringo's signed, limited edition book, Another Day In The Life. The third in Ringo's series of books with Genesis Publications, following the sell-out success of Postcards From The Boys (2003) and Photograph (2013), Another Day In The Life presents a previously unpublished collection of his photographs, captioned with his own thoughts and anecdotes.
 
Reflecting his love of music, travel and nature, Another Day In The Life shows us the world as seen through Ringo's eyes. From Los Angeles to Tokyo and everywhere in between, many of Ringo's observational images celebrate the quirkiness of life. Other photographs are taken behind the scenes during historic events, such as Ringo's acceptance of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his return to New York's Plaza Hotel, 50 years after The Beatles first visited the USA. Joined by Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh and a host of All-Starr friends, in Another Day In The Life Ringo Starr shares personal moments from a legendary life in music, and offers a unique and inspiring look at the world around us. Proceeds from the sale will go to Ringo's Lotus Foundation charity. For more information go to www.ringobook.com.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Vaginal Apple label

The offending B-side label from Apple Records.
A recent story in the Daily Mail reveals that there were some doubt among executives at Capitol Records as they were about to distribute the first records bearing the newly designed Apple label. In a letter from Capitol Record's President Stan Gortikov to Ron Kass of Apple, Stan writes that one of their "rack jabbers" has noted that he felt the new Apple label was completely pornographic and actually depicted a vagina. He stated that the graphic similarity was immediately noticed by all of his key employees.

"Graphic" parts not on display in USA. 
In Australia, however....

As the letter was written a couple of days after the launch of bort "Hey Jude" and "Those Were The Days" in the USA, there was nothing to do about it, although since both of these records were 45's with big centre holes, the offending bits weren't on display. And of course, later when albums started to appear - we never heard people making this connection at all.

Letter - page 1

Letter - part 2, with post script.
Still, Stan seems to have gotten a chuckle from this, as he added a handwritten message to Kass, which was probably for his eyes only - at the time.

Source: the Daily Mail

Friday, 18 January 2019

Backbeat Blu-ray extras

Finally on Blu-ray (USA A1 region coded)
Shout Factory has detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of Iain Softley's film Backbeat (1994). The release will be available for purchase on February 19.

Synopsis: From the director of K-PAX, Hackers, and Skeleton Key, and starring Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks), Stephen Dorff (Blade, Cold Creek Manor), and Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) BACKBEAT is an energetic musical drama chronicling the pre-fame Beatles as they head to Hamburg in search of success. As they gain popularity, the "fifth Beatle," bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff), falls in love and ultimately must choose between his best friend John Lennon (Ian Hart), his new love Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee) – and the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world.

 Winner of the London Film Critics Circle's British Newcomer of the Year Award and a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Film Music, the 1993 film features a soundtrack that includes music from Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), David Pirner (Soul Asylum) and Mike Mills (R.E.M.).

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • A Conversation with Astrid Kirchherr
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interviews with Iain Softley and actor Ian Hart
  • Iain Softley interview for the Sundance Channel
  • Audio commentary with Iain Softley, Ian Hart, and Stephen Dorff
  • TV Featurette
  • Casting Session
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature
Source: Blu-ray.com
Amazon.com

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Pete takes a year off

Pete Best and the rest of the Beatles at the Iron Door, Liverpool, 1961. Colourised.
Roag Best, Pete Best's brother announced earlier today that Pete is taking the year off from rock'n'roll and the Beatles. This means that he will give no interviews, no personal appearances, no audience, and no concerts. The latter has one excepttion and that's the annual Best Fest. This year's do will be the 11th such event. So, if you want to see Pete Best this year it's Best Fest 11 or nothing.

Best Fest 11 details and tickets available at www.petebest.com.

Beatles lyrics, mapped

The people at Vanity Fair have published a video which are using Google maps to take the viewer on a Beatles voyage without leaving their couch. On the 20th of December last year, they published "Every Place in Beatles Lyrics, Mapped" on YouTube. While this is a bit of an exaggeration, it's still an enjoyable 12+ minutes long film which will take you to several spots around the globe.

"Take yourself on a tour of lyric locations in The Beatles songs. From Eleanor Rigby's gravestone in Liverpool to Abbey Road in North London, see the locations behind The Beatles lyrics throughout England, France, Russia, India, the United States, and more countries, covering 25,510 miles around the world."

Of course, there are several mistakes in the video, which you will notice if you're well versed in Beatles history. For instance, the video claims that Paul McCartney was inspired by Eleanor Rigby's tombstone when he wrote that song, whereas he has never acknowledged this himself, attributing "Eleanor" to actress Eleanor Bron from the "Help!" film. "Rigby" supposedly comes from a shop, "Rigby's" in Bristol which McCartney happened to drive by while trying to come up with a name for the song. Still, "Eleanor Rigby" from the tombstone may have lurked in his subconsciousness and made the two names click in his mind.



No "Norwegian woods" in this video, though!

The Bruce McMouse Show gets website

Bruce McMouse gets big screen debut. © Copyright MPL
The Bruce McMouse Show now has it's own website! Shelved in 1977, this "Wings Over Europe 1972" tour film mixes a story about animated mice with a selection of complete songs from Paul McCartney & Wings. The film will now get limited screenings in Australia, Canada, U.K. and USA, starting January 21. It's also available on Blu-ray/DVD in the Super DeLuxe edition of "Red Rose Speedway", which was released in December 2018.

When the film was finally completed in 1977, there was another film in the works, "Rockshow" from Wings' 1976 tour of the USA. And even that film got outdated when Joe English and Jimmy McCullough departed from the group in 1977.

Paul has the mouse in the palm of his hand © Copyright MPL
The Bruce McMouse Show was directed by Barry Chattington and produced by Roger Cherrill with the live elements taken from four shows in Holland and Germany in 1972. As often is with Paul McCartney's concert films, each song features footage from several shows with Paul wearing different outfits. The songs have also been sweetened for the soundtrack, all the guitars and vocals are in tune and all instruments are audible. Scenes of Paul and the band interacting with the mice on stage were shot without the audiences.



Prior to the European tour Paul had the idea of a family of mice and sketched the characters. Picking up the idea, Eric Wylam took Paul’s sketches and created the final McMouse family. This storyline was incorporated and used as a linking theme within the concert footage. The voice-overs for the animated mice took place at the end of 1973, recorded by Paul and Linda McCartney, Deryck Guyler, Pat Coombs and Derek Nimmo.

Production stretched from 1972 through to 1977 when the film was complete, however with changes in the band’s line-up and music scene, the project was shelved. The Bruce McMouse Show has been fully restored in 2018 at Final Frame Post alongside a brand-new audio mix (stereo and 5.1) created at AIR Studios where it was also mastered.

Website: www.brucemcmouse.com

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Quarrymen concert poster discovered

An original Quarrymen concert poster from 1959 has been discovered
An original Quarrymen concert poster from 1959 has been discovered by Pete Howard at Postercentral.com. The poster was recently acknowledged by Roag Best as genuine. The poster is for Saturday appearances of the band at the Casbah Club, which opened in 1959. The group had by then shed all of John Lennon's gang of childhood friends from his neighbourhood and was now made up by the core of what was to become the Beatles - John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, with additional member Ken Brown.

Pete Howard was the publisher of ICE magazine from 1987 to 2006 and was a contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine, 1988-1995.

Here's Howard's video blog with his recent discovery:


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Surprise song from McCartney

Get Enough - a new song from Paul
As we entered the New Year, Paul McCartney surprised us by releasing a new song on various streaming services, including Spotify and YouTube Music.
It has been receiving mixed feelings from fans, but it still grown on you the more you hear it. Much of the controversy stems from McCartney employing the "Cher effect", which is extreme use of the auto-tune tool, as pioneered by Cher in her 1998 song "Believe". McCartney starts singing without the effect, but it is used more and more as the song progresses. The song then takes a new, orchestral direction before it ends.

The song comes from the recording sessions for "Egypt Station" and is co-composed with Ryan Tedder, who also acted as co-producer together with Zach Skelton and Paul himself.
It's possibly slated for the DeLuxe boxed set of "Egypt Station" which was originally going to be available in October 2018, but which has been postponed. Here is the song, from YouTube Music:



℗ Capitol Records; ℗ 2019 MPL Communications Ltd, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

Released on: 2019-01-01

Producer, Associated  Performer, Programming, Background  Vocalist: Ryan Tedder
Producer, Studio  Personnel, Editor, Associated  Performer, Programming: Zach Skelton
Producer, Co- Producer, Associated  Performer, Vocals, Bass  Guitar, Piano, Acoustic  Guitar, Harpsichord, Synthesizer, Synth  Bass: Paul McCartney
Studio  Personnel, Engineer: Steve Orchard
Studio  Personnel, Engineer: Rich Rich
Studio  Personnel, Asst.  Recording  Engineer: Keith Smith
Studio  Personnel, Asst.  Recording  Engineer: Jamie Kirkham
Studio  Personnel, Mixer: Mark Stent
Studio  Personnel, Assistant  Mixer: Michael Freeman
Studio  Personnel, Mastering  Engineer: Randy Merrill
Composer  Lyricist: Paul McCartney
Composer  Lyricist: Ryan Tedder