Wednesday, 24 April 2019

George Harrison's Futurama up for sale

Image: Bonhams
For the very first time, George Harrison's guitar from The Beatles’ early days in Hamburg - a Resonet Futurama - is heading for auction at Bonhams later this year. The vintage guitar will hit the auction block in London on June 12, with an estimate of £200,000 – £300,000.

Manufactured for a very short period in the late 1950s, the Resonet Grazioso guitar was made by the Drevokov company in Czechoslovakia. Strongly inspired by the Fender Stratocaster, it featured some advanced designs like its complex tremolo unit and individual pick-up selector switches.

Because the embargo in place on American made goods, the Selmer Company in London decided to import the Grazioso and renamed it the Futurama: it was certainly the best and most futuristic electric guitar available in the UK at the time. It became the first solid body guitar of many young English rock’n’rollers, among them Albert Lee, Jimmy Page and of course George Harrison.

"If I’d had my way, the Strat would have been my first guitar. I’d seen Buddy Holly’s Strat… on the Chirping Crickets album cover, and tried to find one. But in Liverpool in those days the only thing I could find resembling a Strat was a Futurama. It was very difficult to play, [the strings were] about half-an-inch off the fingerboard… but nevertheless it did look kind of futuristic." - George Harrison, quoted in Beatles Gear.

Playing the guitar.
George Harrison originally bought the guitar at Hessy’s music shop in Liverpool in November 1959, and recalled the moment in the Beatles ‘Anthology’ book:

“Paul came with me when I bought the Futurama.  It was on the wall with all the other guitars, and Paul plugged it into the amp but he couldn’t get any sound out of it, so he turned the sound right up.  The guitar had three rocker switches, and I just hit one and there was an almighty boom through the amplifier, and all the other guitars fell off the wall.”

As Harrison was still only 16 at the time, his mother had to sign the purchase agreement for him, and records show the account was later paid off by Brian Epstein when he became the band’s manager. George played the guitar at the Larry Parnes audition and during their tour of Scotland with Johnny Gentle.

In August 1960, Harrison took the Futurama with him to Hamburg, Germany, where The Beatles first played at the Indra Club, and later at the Kaiserkeller, as well as a few stints jamming with Tony Sheridan at the Top Ten Club.

However, when The Beatles came back from Hamburg, the neck of George's guitar was damaged, and therefore he struck a deal with Pete Best's brother Rory. While George's Futurama was sent away for repair, he suggested a swap. Mona Best had bought Rory an identical Futurama to George's, but his was in pristine condition, due to the fact that Rory had yet to master the instrument. So George traded his own guitar for Rory's and promised to give Rory guitar lessons, something he never came around to.

Rory Best: "George had a problem with the neck of his guitar. Futuramas were made in Yugoslavia (sic) and it had to be sent there to be repaired. He asked if he could borrow mine and I said, 'Only if you teach me guitar.' So he borrowed it for a year, I think. He never did teach me. And what was an absolute pristine guitar came back somewhat the worse for wear, shall we say." 

So the photos from the Beatles' second trip to Hamburg depict George with Rory's Resonet Futurama. George used Rory's guitar in Liverpool and Hamburg, and it's actually Rory's guitar you can hear on the Polydor recordings from June 1961, like "Cry For A Shadow". After having purchased a used 1957 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet later in 1961, George gave the Resonet Futurama back to Rory, who in turn later gave it to his little brother, Roag. That guitar has previously been displayed at the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool. When Roag opened up his own Magical History Museum in Liverpool last year, the guitar is now on display there.

The story of this guitar swap seems to be unknown for Bonhams, and is not mentioned in their press release.


The guitar in the guitar case. Image: Beatles Gear.
Harrison's own guitar is the one which is being auctioned off in June. In 1964, George gave the guitar to Beat Instrumental Magazine to offer as a competition prize.

However, the winner of the competition, AJ Thompson of Saltdean, Sussex, chose to receive a cash prize rather than the guitar, and it remained in the collection of the magazine’s publisher Sean O’Mahoney (aka Johnny Dean), who also published the official Beatles Monthly fan magazine.

O’Mahoney: "I asked the winner if he played guitar. He didn’t. So I said, ‘Would you rather have the money?’ and he said yes, so I have him some money. He didn’t want the guitar, he wanted the money - which I was very pleased about. I still have the guitar today. There are some Hamburg stickers on the case." (From Beatles Gear)

The guitar has now been consigned by one of O’Mahoney’s relatives and is completely fresh to the market.

Image:Bonhams
Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia specialist, Claire Tole-Moir, said, "It is both rare and exciting to see a Beatles' guitar of this nature come onto the market. George Harrison is one of the biggest names in Rock and Roll history, and we are privileged to be handling such a special guitar that dates from an early period in the Beatles' history, when the band were learning their craft and developing their sound that was soon to sweep the world. It has been treasured for so many years and comes to auction for the very first time. I anticipate huge interest from collectors."

Links:
Bonhams press release for the guitar
Magical History Museum

Party on Savile Row

The blue plaque adorning the wall at 3, Savile Row in London.
Celebration for the Blue Plaque at 3 Savile Row – 28th April.
There will be an informal gathering outside 3 Savile Row on Sunday 28th April to celebrate the new Blue Plaque which marks The Beatles’ rooftop concert in January 1969.

Richard Porter, one of the committee to erect the plaque said "I have been guiding Beatles tours in London for over 25 years, and visit Savile Row at least 3 days a week. On nearly every tour I am asked why there is no commemoration to the Beatles on the building. I was therefore delighted when I was approached by David Rosen of Pilcher Hershman, a fellow Beatles fan who works in Savile Row, with the idea of forming a committee to put up a Blue Plaque. We got together with fellow Beatles fans,  Mark Baxter of Mono Media Films, and David Stark of Songlink, to make it happen. As 3 Savile Row is a listed building, it took a long time for the plaque to be approved, but finally we were delighted to get the green light from Westminster Council."

Amongst the guests who are expected to attend the celebration include Kevin Harrington, a former employee of Apple, who famously held up the lyrics of ‘Dig a Pony’ for John Lennon, who couldn’t remember the lyrics of his own song! Another special guest will be Barry Miles, who was head of ‘Zapple’ and now a respected author.

The original ‘Apple Scruffs’ will take their place on the steps of 3 Savile Row, just as they did 50 years ago!

The event will start at 11am at 3 Savile Row and continue later at a nearby pub.

The team responsible for the blue plaque.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Lindsay-Hogg about Let It Be


A few blog posts ago, we linked to an interview Ken Sharp had with movie director Michael Lindsay-Hogg about The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. At the end of that interview, Lindsay-Hogg replied to a few questions about the upcoming documentary based on the Let It Be footage and the re-release of his own Let It Be film. Here is that part of the interview:

Rock Cellar: (...) As the director of The Beatles’ Let It Be film, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask to gauge your thought about the Peter Jackson Beatles “Let it Be” sessions film and the long overdue accompanying reissue of your original?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: What happened was Let It Be came out, it had a theatrical release and it won an Oscar for the soundtrack. But unfortunately by the time it came out in England and certainly by the time it came out in America, The Beatles had broken up.

So as Peter Jackson called it, the film had become a little orphan ‘cause there was no one really looking after it. They didn’t care anymore, they were off fighting amongst themselves and doing what they were doing.

And it also represented to them, as Paul said, a kind of sad time too with The Beatles, as we learned, were breaking up. Then for many years Apple, with an archivist, were working on a documentary about Let It Be. I used to see cuts once a year and would go over and look at them. I was interviewed for it too about what my memories were working on the film and the rooftop performance. I kept advocating for Let It Be to be re-released in some form because I knew it was very good.



So then when I was over in London in October of last year, I had a meeting at Apple and they said, “We have a new plan which is Peter Jackson is gonna have a whack at the material.” And I said, “fantastic!” because I would not have wanted to go in a time capsule back 50 years and do it again.

The reason Let It Be is as it was 50 years ago is The Beatles were the producers as well as the stars, so there was certain amount of stuff they didn’t want in the picture because they thought they’d stay together at the time when we were editing. I did do some slightly self-censored editing of footage but I did manage to get in some things, which were telling about the relationship between them, which was sometimes good and sometimes not so good.

Rock Cellar: For example, the argument between Paul and George takes on a life its own captured in posterity on the film and  that has colored The Beatles’ own perception of that period.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Yes, you’re right. That argument was a small thing but it suggested there was certain amount of tension between them at this time in their life and indeed, why wouldn’t there be tension? They’re musicians and artists and they’ve known each other since they were teenagers and so they got married very young.

Rock Cellar: After viewing hours and hours of footage, Peter Jackson has asserted there are some very positive moments that negate the perception that the “Let It Be” sessions were miserable.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Oh yeah. That’s what attracted Peter to the project. We only had an hour and a half of screen time so we could only put in certain things in the original film.  Some stuff was cut out for political reasons, internal reasons and length reasons. I think what Peter has been finding as he started to look at the footage is a lot of more fun stuff between them, which was a part of the the original cut of the film but we had to get rid of it because of time and some contractual obligations stuff like that. We had a cut, which was half an hour longer than what was released. There was a lot of good stuff, but for 15 different kinds of various reasons we had to cut it out. So I’m really thrilled and fascinated with what someone of Peter’s talent, who also loves The Beatles, is gonna come up with.

Rock Cellar: Apple is also going to finally release the original version of Let It Be too, right?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Yes. That’s what makes me the happiest. They’ve restored it and it looks great. We’ve been working on both sound and picture. It’s very good. So that’s ready to go and that makes me thrilled because people will get a chance to see the film again and then you’ll have the one Peter comes out with, which will have a lot of the footage of what it was like at the time.

That’s what we tried to do in Let It Be. The Beatles had never had any extensive filming done of them rehearsing and recording in the studio ever so this was really it. There’s plenty of wonderful material and Peter will dig that out, Let It Be will come out again, and we’ll all be happy.

A version of the interview is also available in the current issue of Beatlefan.

Beatlefan #237
Beatlefan Issue #237 spotlights John Lennon. In this issue, Ken Sharp talks with Klaus Voormann, Jim Keltner and Joey Molland of Badfinger about working in the studio with Lennon, while Jeff Slate chats with Yoko Ono and engineer Rob Stevens about the “Imagine: The Ultimate Collection” reissue. Also in this issue, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg talks about his work with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Bruce Spizer looks back 50 years at the making of The Beatles’ “Get Back” single, Kathy Urbanic recounts how tough it was to get news of The Beatles back in the ‘60s, Dave Hinchberger reports on the ongoing “Double Fantasy” exhibition in Liverpool, Rip Rense explains his mixed feelings about the recent White Album remix, and Marcelo Olguin reports from Paul McCartney’s South American tour. And, of course, we have the latest news, and reviews of recent recordings, books and video. For more information on how you can get this issue, or subscribe to Beatlefan, email goodypress@gmail.com.

Egypt Station - Explorer's Edition cover revealed

Egypt Station - Explorer's Edition

Due out May 17 is the Explorer’s Edition of Egypt Station, bringing you all the music from the Traveller’s Edition suitcase without all the stash. 2CDs or 3LPs, alternatively 3 coloured LPs (blue and orange, we keep hearing).

PAUL McCARTNEY EGYPT STATION
EXPLORER’S EDITION
2 CDs/ 3 LPs/ 3 LPs on coloured vinyl

CD 1
1. Opening Station
2. I Don’t Know
3. Come On To Me
4. Happy With You
5. Who Cares
6. Fuh You
7. Confidante
8. People Want Peace
9. Hand In Hand
10. Dominoes
11. Back In Brazil
12. Do It Now
13. Caesar Rock
14. Despite Repeated Warnings
15. Station II
16. Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link

CD 2
1. Get Started (previously released on the "green band" edition)
2. Nothing For Free (previously released on the "green band" edition)
3. Frank Sinatra’s Party
4. Sixty Second Street
5. Who Cares (full length version)
6. Get Enough (previously released online on New Year's Day)
7. Come On To Me (Live At Abbey Road Studios)
8. Fuh You (Live At The Cavern Club)
9. Confidante (Live At LIPA)
10. Who Cares (Live At Grand Central Station)

Thursday, 18 April 2019

McGear tracklist

"McGear" due out 28 June.
Details about the upcoming new edition of «McGear», Paul McCartney’s brother Mike «McGear» McCartney’s 1974 album. Out 28 June, 2019 as 2CD+DVD or single LP or digital download/streaming or numbered vinyl edition including a signed postcard and stuff.

• A newly re-mastered 2 CD & 1 DVD (NTSC/region free) expanded clamshell boxed set edition of this classic album.
• Produced by Paul McCartney
• Featuring songs written by paul McCartney & featuring Wings, Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains) & Vivian Stanshall
• Featuring 21 bonus tracks including 13 previously unreleased out-takes & unreleased tracks & 4 singles
• Re-mastered from the original master tapes
• With illustrated booklet with a new essay and a poster

Disc 1: CD
McGear: Remastered
1. Sea Breezes
2. What Do We Really Know?
3. Norton
4. Leave It
5. Have You Got Problems
6. The Casket
7. Rainbow Lady
8. Simply Love You
9. Givin’ Grease A Ride
10. The Man Who Found God On The Moon
Bonus Tracks
11. Sweet Baby
12. Dance The Do

Disc 2: CD
McGear: Out-Takes & Extras
1. Sea Breezes (Without orchestra)
2. Leave It (Extended version)
3. Dance The Do (Rough 1st mix)
4. What Do We Really Know? (Monitor mix)
5. Paddy Pipes 1
6. Do Nothing All Day
7. A To Z
8. Girls On The Avenue
9. Paddy Pipes 2
10. All The Whales In The Ocean
11. Blowin’ In The Bay
12. Keep Cool (Version 1)
13. Keep Cool (Version 2)
14. I Just Want What You Got – Money!
15. Paddy Pipes 3
16. Viv Stanshall Sings
17. Let’s Turn The Radio On
18. Dance The Do Radio Ad 1
19. Dance The Do Radio Ad 2

Disc 3: DVD
DVD
1. Mike (McGear) McCartney Reminisces At The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts
2. Mike (McGear) McCartney Interview At The Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
3. “LEAVE It” Promotional film 1974
NTSC – Region 0

Esoteric Recordings is pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered 180 Gram gatefold vinyl LP edition the album, “McGear” by MIKE McGEAR. Originally released in 1974, “McGear” was the second solo album by Mike McGear (McCartney) and was a more “serious” record than his work with the Liverpool satirical trio Scaffold, or his work with Roger McGough on the “McGough & McGear” album.

Recorded at Strawberry studios in Stockport, (the musical home of the band 10cc), the album was produced by PAUL McCARTNEY (who also played on the album and co-wrote most of the material with Mike) and featured LINDA McCARTNEY and members of WINGS, along with guests such as PADDY (“Pipes”) MOLONEY of The Chieftains. The album featured a selection of tremendous songs such as ‘Rainbow Lady’, ‘Simply Love You’, ‘Givin’ Grease a Ride’ and ‘The Man Who Found God on the Moon’. McGear also featured an inspired cover of the Roxy Music song ‘Sea Breezes’, the evocative ‘The Casket’ and the hit single ‘Leave It’. McGear was charming, eccentric and unique in equal measure and was one of the great unsung albums of its time. The sessions also spawned a non-album single; ‘Dance the Do’ (which featured Vivian Stanshall).

Now acclaimed, but unavailable in any form for over twenty years, this long awaited vinyl reissue of “McGear” has been prepared with the full involvement of Mike (McGear) McCartney and has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and has been cut at the famous Abbey Road Studios. It includes a new poster and is a fine tribute to the eccentric genius of McGEAR.

Unavailable on CD for over twenty years, a long awaited expanded three disc edition reissue of “McGear” has been compiled with the full involvement of Mike (McGear) McCartney and has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes. It has an additional 21 bonus tracks, including 13 previously unreleased out-takes and tracks alongside singles appearing on CD for the first time. The set also includes a DVD featuring Mike (McGear) McCartney reminiscing at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, an interview with Mike at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and the 1974 promotional film for the single ‘Leave It’. The set also includes an illustrated booklet with new essay and a poster.

Cherry Red Records LP
Cherry Red Records 2CD+DVD
Amazon UK

Monday, 15 April 2019

Rock and Roll Circus 2CD track list


An updated track list for the new edition "Rock and Roll Circus" came our way, so we thought we'd share:

Disc 1
  1. Mick Jagger’s Introduction Of Rock And Roll Circus – Mick Jagger
  2. Entry Of The Gladiators – Circus Band
  3. Mick Jagger’s Introduction Of Jethro Tull – Mick Jagger
  4. Song For Jeffrey – Jethro Tull
  5. Keith Richards’ Introduction Of The Who – Keith Richards
  6. A Quick One While He’s Away – The Who
  7. Over The Waves – Circus Band
  8. Ain’t That A Lot Of Love – Taj Mahal
  9. Charlie Watts’ Introduction Of Marianne Faithfull – Charlie Watts
  10. Something Better – Marianne Faithfull
  11. Mick Jagger’s and John Lennon’s Introduction Of The Dirty Mac – Mick Jagger & John Lennon
  12. Yer Blues – The Dirty Mac
  13. Whole Lotta Yoko – Yoko Ono & Ivry Gitlis with The Dirty Mac
  14. John Lennon’s Introduction Of The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
  15. Parachute Woman – The Rolling Stones
  16. No Expectations – The Rolling Stones
  17. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
  18. Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
  19. Salt Of The Earth – The Rolling Stones

Disc 2 CD
  1. Checkin’ Up On My Baby – Taj Mahal
  2. Leaving Trunk – Taj Mahal
  3. Corinna – Taj Mahal
  4. Revolution (rehearsal) – The Dirty Mac
  5. Warmup Jam – The Dirty Mac
  6. Yer Blues (take 2) – The Dirty Mac
  7. Brian Jones’ Introduction of Julius Katchen – Brian Jones
  8. de Falla: Ritual Fire Dance – Julius Katchen
  9. Mozart: Sonata In C Major-1st Movement – Julius Katchen
May 3, 2019 seems to be the release date and the following editions are due out:
  • 2 CD + DVD +BLU-RAY
  • 2 CD
  • BLU-RAY
  • DVD
  • 3 LP


Also, check out Ken Sharp's interview with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg about the TV Special.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

"Hutch" is dead

Larry Parnes audition, with Hutch behind the drums.
Johnny «Hutch» Hutchinson from Liverpool group The Big Three passed away yesterday, he was 80.
Hutch filled in on drums when The Beatles’ regular drummer Tommy Moore was late for their audition for Larry Parnes in 1960 (depicted) and again in the transition between Pete Best and Ringo Starr in 1962 after Pete had been fired and Ringo was still fulfilling his commitment to Rory Storm and the Hurricanes until they got a new drummer. In 2015, "Hutch" opened up to a UK newspaper about how Brian Epstein wanted him as Pete Best's successor in the Beatles:

Johnny Hutchinson, the drummer who turned down The Beatles before they became the biggest band in history, insists he would not trade places with Ringo Starr if he had his time again.

The quietly spoken musician says: “It was a big call but I have no regrets. I couldn’t carry it on. It was too much for me, playing with my group and playing with The Beatles.”
While Johnny’s name may not be familiar, the 76-year-old played three gigs with the fledgling rock ’n’ rollers in August 1962 but returned to his own band, The Big Three, despite an offer from Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
Johnny believes the offer, once thought to have been made weeks before Ringo was asked to join, may have come the same day incumbent drummer Pete Best was sacked.

Today, in a world exclusive, he recalls the day — August 16, 1962 — Epstein headhunted him.
He says: “I was 23 and playing with The Beatles in Chester. Brian was there and kept looking at me strange. I got off stage after the gig and had to zoom off. Brian said, ‘I was looking at you to see how you’d fit with The Beatles’. “I joked, ‘I don’t really.’ He said, ‘You do, I want you to join The Beatles.’” Johnny then remembers telling a shocked Brian: “I don’t want to play for The Beatles, Brian — I’ve got my own group. “I would not join The Beatles for a gold clock. “There’s only one group as far as I’m concerned and that’s The Big Three. “The Beatles can’t make a better sound than that and Pete (Best) is a very good friend of mine.”

In 1963, The Big Three released an EP on Decca Records.
Johnny adds: “They were lucky to be playing with me. I used to walk around Liverpool and think, ‘I own this city.’ Paul McCartney wouldn’t come near me. I told Brian I couldn’t do the dirty on Pete but he said, ‘John, The Big Three is limited but for The Beatles the world is their oyster.’ I’ll never forget him saying that. He was a very clever man.”
Johnny had already seen enough of his fellow Liverpudlians to decide he would not fit in. He reckons John Lennon was eager for him to join, but Johnny didn’t like the frontman’s drinking.
He says: “Me and John were different people. I used to pick him up when he was drunk face down in his meal. I didn’t drink. I go up to Liverpool airport now and see the sign ‘John Lennon Airport’ and I think, ‘Jesus Christ, if only they knew’.” But Johnny says the pair remained pals, adding: “John made up with me — he always used to say, ‘Johnny Hutch can sing better than you’ to Paul. He wanted me to join.”

So convinced was Johnny that The Beatles would never amount to anything, when he ended up with a self-portrait of John he let his dad use it to fix a broken door.
He recalls: “John owed me ten bob — 50p. So I went to his flat and said, ‘Hey, where’s my money?’ None of us had any money, we were all bums, we played music to get by, they were all lazy bastards. So I said, ‘Where’s my money?’ and he says, ‘I don’t have any’ and I said, ‘I want my money now or I’m taking something.’ There was a portrait of him on the floor in a red waistcoat and a white shirt — so I took that. He had painted it of himself. My ma put it at the fireplace but in the end my dad nailed the back door up with it. We had no timber and the door was bust, so he looked around and saw the portrait of John. How much do you reckon that would be worth now? £100,000? It must be.”

Of all The Beatles, Johnny was closest to George Harrison, who was “my favourite Beatle — a proper mate”. As for Ringo, Johnny takes the credit for urging Brian to recruit him. The two drummers knew each other well. Ringo bought his first car, a Standard Vanguard, from Johnny for £75.

Canny operator Brian apparently decided to keep Johnny in the dark about the talks the band already had with Ringo.

Johnny Hutchinson depicted in 2015.
Johnny says: “Ringo was with Rory Storm And The Hurricanes at the time. I told Brian to get him.

“Pete Best couldn’t play the drums — I could play the drums better than Pete Best with a stick stuck up my a**e. Honest. And Ringo? I gave Ringo the job. I wouldn’t let Ringo play my drums. I just wouldn’t. I didn’t trust him with my drums, just like nobody would get to drive my van.”

After the Chester gig, Johnny played two more the day after.

Ringo came on board at a show one night later, with news of Pete’s sacking leading to protests on the streets of Liverpool and at the city’s famous Cavern Club. The rest is history. Beatlemania swept the globe, while The Big Three parted ways after moderate success. But Johnny insists that, unlike Pete, his world never imploded and he never thought twice about the decision which might have cost him £180million — Ringo’s current worth on The Sunday Times rich list.

But being a rock star is now a distant memory to Johnny, who no longer keeps a drum kit in his house. His focus now is on his 12-strong property empire — although, last week, he took part in a reunion of Sixties Merseybeat legends at the Cavern, where they remembered old pal Cilla Black, who was buried in Liverpool on Thursday.

He says: “It was a great time and I loved it but to me it was just a game. Other bands were after fame and that’s all they cared about. They were all ‘would-bes if they could-bes’ and snotty-nosed kids really. Some bands, as soon as they made it, they p***ed off to London, and I hated London.”

Ringo celebrated his 75th birthday last month with an autograph session at LA’s Capital Records Tower, where The Beatles recorded. Since the Fab Four split in 1970, he has recorded 18 solo albums and been inducted into Music’s Hall Of Fame.
But Johnny, far from being bitter, only has fondness for the man who replaced him and recalls: “Ringo once said, ‘There’s only two drummers that have come out of Liverpool — me and Johnny Hutchinson.’
“He puts me second.”

Rest in peace, Hutch!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Early version of "Something" promo recovered

Footage from the early edit of The Beatles' "Something" promotional film.
In the wake of the newly found 11 second fragment of The Beatles' 1966 "Top Of The Pops" appearance, Kaleidoscope reports that another gem from the show has been recovered. Apple sent an early version of the promotional film (which is what music videos were called back in the day) for "Something" to the BBC for use on the Nov. 13, 1969 edition of popular music chart show Top Of The Pops. A researcher found a tape of the film buried deep within an Austrian TV archive. BBC must have licensed some Top Of The Pops to them, so there's a few songs from the November 13, 1969 episode, including this. The other songs he found on the tape were by Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac and Nancy Sinatra. "When I first saw it I skimmed through it since I thought it was just a black & white copy of the promo we know," says the researcher who found it. But as a long time collector of Beatles film footage, he soon realised that there was something odd about the black and white video. The footage filmed by McCartney and sent to Apple for use in the film has not yet been included, so instead there's a bit of McCartney footage from the "Fool On The Hill" sequence from "Magical Mystery Tour". A little clip of Linda appears to come from the "Let It Be" sessions.

Footage of Linda from "Let It Be" made do for this early edit of the film.
Some outtakes from the other Beatles' sections of the promo is also there, in lieu of the missing McCartney scenes. Kaleidoscope believes that this version of "Something" has remained unseen since its original BBC transmission.

The early edit of "Something" will be shown at an event on the 20th of April in London. The event is called "Music Believed Wiped", a music-themed special of the hugely popular "Missing Believed Wiped" programme which the Kaleidoscope group curates in partnership with the British Film Institute. On the programme this evening is newly found clips of not only The Beatles, but also
Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, T.Rex, Slade and Cilla Black, among others.

Kaleidoscope is a voluntary, non profit-making group devoted to the appreciation and research of vintage television in all its forms. They publish research books and memoirs from radio, film and TV personnel. They also restore old format VCR recordings and store over 50,000 items of television, including videotapes, photos and memorabilia. If you have anything at home which you may think could be of interest, even audio tapes of UK broadcasts, you can get in touch with Kaleidoscope at contact@kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk.

Here's the final edit of the "Something" promo, as published by The Beatles.


Monday, 8 April 2019

BBC releases "found" Beatles clip


The BBC has just released this little film clip, which is what we wrote about earlier in our blog post Lost Top of the Pops footage found?

An interview with (Aunt) Jessie Robins

Jessie Robins with Ivor Cutler and John Lennon in a scene from Magical Mystery Tour
An old interview with the actress who played Ringo's Aunt Jessie in Magical Mystery Tour, Jessie Robins recently reappeared in a Facebook group, courtesy of John Bezzini. It was an interesting read, so I thought I'd share it with you. It seems to have been originally published in printing, in London Magazine in 1989, and then it was transcribed and published online in rec.music.beatles in 2007. Jessie Robins passed away in 1991.

Q: What are you doing nowadays?
A: Nothing much, mostly staying at home with me dogs and oil painting. I find painting very comforting and also me little puppies. I take 'em for walks each day around me garden and it's wonderful. I don't suppose I sound very exciting. (laughs)

Q: How did you react when you got that phone call from Bernard [Knowles] to play Ringo's aunt?
A: I was stunned. It was as if the queen of England was calling to ask if I could join her for tea. IT was that momentous to me personally. I mean I'm going to act with The Beatles. I loved it and I told that Bernard that I'd do it at the drop of a hat. That poor chap jumped the gun a bit when I agreed to do it. (laughs) He said 'Well, can you come down now? I mean right now?' (laughs)

Q: What were The Beatles like?
A: Ohh...they were interesting lads especially that Lennon fellow. (Laughs) When we were shooting that scene where I'm singing some godawful song in that bus we were in, Lennon turns around and says 'Show 'em yer panties! Lift 'em up, mama!' (Laughs) I just lifted up me dress halfway. I'm no exhibitionist.

Q: What was your co-star Ringo like? Was he fun to work with?
A: Ringo was such a sweetheart. I enjoyed him and I felt we had great onscreen chemistry. Whenever he'd forget his lines he'd mutter something under his breath or make a joke. He had an interesting sense of humor, which was beyond me at times.

Q: What do you mean by interesting?
A: Well (pauses) if I could think now. (pauses) In that bus scene when I'm holding two bottles of beer and singing to that accordion, he remarked, "Honey, I've never seen a woman with two bottles in 'er
hand" or something like that. It just struck me as being funny in a raw kind of way- deadpanish, you know.

Q: Did they do any drugs on the set?
A: Mostly pot. I can't think of any other drugs they did except for that. It had a rather god-awful smell, and I can't imagine why they did it; but they did do it and I tried to ignore it.

Q: Were they good directors?
A: They didn't direct the whole picture- only some scenes. Bernard did the majority of the work and I imagined that The Beatles together wrote the script. I think Paul at times was the most capable director. (Laughs) The others were more interested in producing, I think. I could see that they were sometimes on each others case about things, and I felt that they were falling apart. (sighs) They had terrible rows sometimes.

Q: Do you remember any of the quarrels they had?
A: (pauses) I don't want to repeat what they said. It was just awful, some of the things they said to each other.

Q: Favourite song that they did in the movie?
A: Your mother should know, that was real nice (Sings) It was a hit before your mother was born. She was born a long, long time before. (Laughs) I can't remember the words now. (Laughs)

Q: (Laughs) You should've bought the record!
A: (Laughs) I know, I know.

Q: What was your fondest memory of Magical Mystery Tour?
A: I think Ringo kissing me on the lips! It was during that scene where we were fighting and he grabs me, you know. (she demonstrates) Well before I said my line, he up and kisses me on the lips. (Laughs) That was probably my fondest memory.

Q: What did he do after that?
A: We all laughed, so we had to do that scene all over again. We originally had trouble with it because Ringo and I kept laughing. If you watch the movie and go to that bit where Ringo's grabbing me just before I say 'Don't Get Historical', you can see him stifle a laugh. I loved it.

Q: What was your least fondest memory of Magical Mystery Tour?
A: The quarreling amongst the four of them and their excessive pot smoking. I didn't like it and neither did Bernard. I once had a chat with him about it, and he said that he was having trouble with John and George. They couldn't concentrate and it was beginning to show in the movie. I'm not going to go into particulars, but it was still a bad vibe.

Q: What did you think of George?
A: I didn't get a chance to talk with him much, but he I could tell he could be very sarcastic and moody. He wasn't like Ringo or Paul.


Jessie Robins (June 5, 1905 – August 10, 1991) was an English actress whose career lasted from 1958 to 1969. She had various roles in Benny Hill Show in 1958, and appeared in an episode of The Saint in 1963, but she is best known as Ringo's Aunt Jessie in Magical Mystery Tour from 1967. In 1968, she appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a pastry cook.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Beatles on TV and video: New book

Jorg Piper and Volker Path's groundbreaking volume on The Beatles on TV and Film.
The subject of The Beatles' TV appearances was covered by the 448 pages book The Beatles - Film and TV Chronicle, 1961 - 1970 by Jörg Pieper and Volker Path in 2005. However, Premium Publishing haven't kept the book in stock or printed new editions, and since it's the only resource in the subject matter, it will cost you a lot of money these days.

Pieper followed up with a companion volume, the self-published The Solo Beatles Film & TV Chronicle 1971-1980, which had 330 pages and was published in 2009. It updated some information from the first book, and also featured solo appearances. The book is sold on a print-after-order basis and is re-structured and constantly updated by the author, as new information becomes available.

But here's a new book catering for Beatles video collectors and fans, as Peter Checksfield has made available his "THE BEATLES – TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE (The Ultimate Guide to John, Paul, George & Ringo on TV and Video)".

A new book by Peter Checksfield chronicles the Beatles TV and video appearances.


Press Release:

‘From The Beatles’ performance of ‘Some Other Guy’ at The Cavern in August 1962, to Paul McCartney’s video for ‘Who Cares’ in December 2018, this book lists every known TV performance, promotional video and live concert telecast by The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Aimed at both casual fans and fanatical collectors, this very readable book also includes chart positions, band line-ups, anecdotes and more, as well as featuring spin-off groups like The Plastic Ono Band, Wings, The Traveling Wilburys and The All-Starr Band.

The author of the acclaimed ‘Channelling The Beat! (The Ultimate Guide to UK ‘60s Pop on TV)’ and ‘Look Wot They Dun! (The Ultimate Guide to UK Glam Rock on TV in The ‘70s)’, Peter Checksfield has been collecting and researching music TV footage for nearly 40 years. He now puts that knowledge and experience into ‘The Beatles – Tell Me What You See’, which really is The Ultimate Guide to John, Paul, George & Ringo on TV and Video!’

This new book only chronicled full length, professionally filmed performances and videos - no news reports, interviews, audience footage or documentaries (unless they feature full length, exclusive, performances). The print edition of the book has 286 pages, paperback.
Here’s the books on Amazon (links are to the kindle version, the paperback should be available within 24 hours):

Amazon UK (Kindle edition)
Amazon USA (Kindle edition)

Friday, 5 April 2019

Blue plaque for 3 Savile Row

The Beatles - 3 Savile Row - Blue Plaque from MONO MEDIA FILMS on Vimeo.

A blue plaque, commemorating the Beatles' final live performance slightly more than fifty years ago was today mounted on the brick wall of Savile Row 3, the former Apple headquarters where the performance took place. Celebrations will be held later this month, enthuses Richard Porter, London Beatles Tour Guide and fan.

Richard Porter: 'I have been guiding Beatles tours in London for over 25 years, and visit Savile Row at least 3 days a week. On nearly every tour I am asked why there is no commemoration to the Beatles on the building. I was therefore delighted when I was approached by David Rosen of Pilcher Hershman, a fellow Beatles fan who works in Savile Row, with the idea of forming a committee to put up a Blue Plaque. We got together with fellow Beatles fans, Max Baxter of Mono Media Films, and David Stark of Songlink, to make it happen. As 3 Savile Row is a listed building, it took a long time for the plaque to be approved, but finally we were delighted to get the green light from Westminster Council.'

The plaque was erected quietly at 8am on April 5th. Amongst those present was actor Bill Nighy and author Dylan Jones. A big celebration will be held in Savile Row later this month.

Richard Porter said "I am very honoured to be part of the team that has finally commemorated such a famous event in musical and cultural history"

Some ten years ago, a request from the City of Westminster to decorate the fasade of the building with a green plaque on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the performance was turned down by the company who owned the building then.

The new owners, Abercrombie Kids are more sympathetically acknowledging the building's famous previous occupants, and have Beatles memorabilia available in the foyer.

The wording on the plaque:
The Beatles
played their last
live performance
on the roof
of this building.
30th January
1969

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

New old George pics on Instagram

George revisits Cliveden House in 1981. Home of the Profumo affair and the palace scenes in "Help!"
Olivia Harrison has taken over George Harrison's Instagram account for a while, and is using it to publish some of the photos she took of George over the years.


The same photos are also posted on the official George Harrison Facebook page. Speaking of Instagram, remember when The Avedon Foundation posted the original photos of Paul and George on Instagram in May and June last year? In October, they also posted John's photo:


So now we're eagerly awaiting Ringo's.

Ringo by Avedon. Still waiting for the unprocessed original image.
Links:
George Harrison's Instagram account
Olivia Harrison's Instagram account

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Rare Lennon film footage rediscovered

Film crews from all over the world were there: the Bed-in for peace by John and Yoko. The famous images went all over the world. You would say we have seen them all. But 50 years later, a unique insight of that moment has come to light again.


The above is a film about the discovery. The full original film is 30 minutes long, and has only been shown once before - at the Edinburgh Film Festival the same year - before disappearing into the archives of Dutch broadcaster KRO.

Read more: Digital Journal