Sunday, 22 March 2020

Another "Let It Be" book

Upcoming book on Let It Be
Of course, Bruce Spizer isn't going to let the opportunity slip by, he has announced an upcoming book on "Let It Be".

This time, he has only compiled the book, which has been written by not only himself but also contains contributions from Bill King, Al Sussman, Frank Daniels, Piers hemmingsen and others. In fact, one of the others could be YOU!

To tell the story from the fans’ point of view, Bruce is looking for memories from fans throughout the world to include in his new book.

These memories can be from fans who bought the album and/or saw the film when it came out, as well as younger fans who experienced the album and/or film for the first time years or decades after their release. 200 word maximum

If you have pictures from 1970 of yourself with the album or going to the film, please send them.

Deadline for submission: April 30, 2020

Check out THIS PAGE for how to enter.

Friday, 20 March 2020

The story of Ready Steady Go!

Subject of a new radio documentary
Tonight BBC Four will broadcast a documentary that showcases Britain’s iconic 1960s music show, Ready Steady Go!, which revolutionised television 'for the kids' and introduced emerging talent from the era.

The story of Britain’s iconic 1960s music show, Ready Steady Go! The programme revolutionised television ‘for the kids’ and coincided with the tremendous explosion of British pop talent that took the world by storm. It championed emerging talent like The Beatles, The Who, Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black, Otis Redding and The Rolling Stones.

This definitive documentary covers every aspect of a pioneering show. Its style rewrote the rulebook for music programmes, with its intoxicating blend of performance, celebrity interviews and items on fashion. It often featured cameras in shot, live mishaps and the young audience interacting with their pop star heroes.

We go behind the scenes and speak to the people who made it all happen, including original producer Vicki Wickham and the programme’s pioneering director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Plus further contributions from Annie Nightingale, Eric Burdon, Chris Farlowe, Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves, Paul Jones, Gerry Marsden and Jools Holland.

Length: 59 minutes
You'll need a British TV licence and to be logged in to watch online.

BBC Four - The story of Ready Steady Go!
The Daily Beatle: The Beatles on Ready Steady Go!

Friday, 13 March 2020

Record Store Day rescheduled

Karma strikes! Record Store Day 2020 rescheduled due to the corona virus.

Record Store Day, which was going to be April 18, has been postponed. The new date is June 20th, 2020. This will probably affect the releases of three solo-Beatles endeavours: The vinyl edition (2LP) of Ravi Shankar and George Harrison's project "Chants of India", the half speed mastered "McCartney" and the "Ultimate mix" of Lennon's "Instant Karma!"

For a song that was supposed to be so instant, it took them quite some time to produce the ultimate mix of it, more than 50 years!

Record Store Day has this to say on their website:
"We’ve decided that the best of all possible moves is to change the date of Record Store Day this year to Saturday, June 20."

"We think this gives stores around the world the best chance to have a profitable, successful Record Store Day, while taking into consideration the recommendations of doctors, scientists, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the need to be good citizens of both local and worldwide communities."

"We’re working with all of our partners and our stores to make this change as smooth as possible for everyone who participates in Record Store Day: customers, record stores, artists, labels and more.  Record Store Day is everywhere and we want to hold our party when everyone can gather around safely to celebrate life, art, music and the culture of the indie record store."

Thursday, 12 March 2020

What about Let It Be?

The Beatles in the studio - soon the picture will be clearer.
Okay, so now part of the cat is out of the bag - but most of it is still in. The Beatles:Get Back is the new Peter Jackson film, it will be out on theatrical release in USA on September 4th, and we are lead to believe the full 42 minutes of the rooftop concert will be in it. Great.

So what about Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia & Oceania and the rest of the world? The Beatles are catering very much to the U.S.A. market these days, and the rest of us are left behind.

Also, how can we get hold of Get Back, except for seeing it in a cinema? Surely, there should be a home video edition at some point, perhaps television showings, streaming video and what not.

Ah, but here's another clue for you all: One other thing the press release fails to mention is the accompanying book for the film, currently listed on Amazon in several countries, The Beatles:Get Back. Due to be published on October 6, 2020 - this may be a hint as to when we can expect the televised documentary, or perhaps a home video release.

So just how will Michael Lindsay-Hogg's restored 1970 "Let It Be" film be made available? A lot of fans are worried that a further delay ultimately will just kill off the release completely.

What about the album? Will we see a 50th anniversary remixed boxed set of the "Let It Be" album, and when?

Roger Friedman wrote on Feb 28 that no work has been done yet on the mixing, remixing and so on of the original album, the original movie’s soundtrack, or the Peter Jackson documentary. Those mixing sessions are set for this July.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Disney secures Get Back rights

Photo: © 1969 Paul McCartney / Photographer: Linda McCartney


New film features extensive, never-before-seen footage of the legendary band’s “Let It Be” recording sessions along with the entire iconic rooftop concert, fully restored

BURBANK, Calif. (March 11, 2020)—The Walt Disney Studios has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s previously announced Beatles documentary. The film will showcase the warmth, camaraderie and humor of the making of the legendary band’s studio album, “Let It Be,” and their final live concert as a group, the iconic rooftop performance on London’s Savile Row. “The Beatles: Get Back” will be released by The Walt Disney Studios in the United States and Canada on September 4, 2020, with additional details and dates for the film’s global release to follow. The announcement was made earlier today by Robert A. Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company, at Disney’s annual meeting of shareholders.

“No band has had the kind of impact on the world that The Beatles have had, and ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ is a front-row seat to the inner workings of these genius creators at a seminal moment in music history, with spectacularly restored footage that looks like it was shot yesterday,” says Iger of the announcement. “I’m a huge fan myself, so I could not be happier that Disney is able to share Peter Jackson’s stunning documentary with global audiences in September.”

“The Beatles: Get Back,” presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., is an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles, the most influential band of all time, and three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy). Compiled from over 55 hours of unseen footage, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, and 140 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings from the “Let It Be” album sessions, “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Jackson and produced by Jackson, Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde, with Ken Kamins and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones serving as executive producers.

The footage has been brilliantly restored by Park Road Post Production of Wellington, New Zealand, and is being edited by Jabez Olssen, who collaborated with Jackson on 2018’s “They

Shall Not Grow Old,” the groundbreaking film which featured restored and colorized World War I archival footage. The music in the film will be mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in London. With this pristine restoration behind it, “The Beatles: Get Back” will create a vivid, joyful and immersive experience for audiences.

Peter Jackson says, “Working on this project has been a joyous discovery. I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces. I’m thrilled that Disney have stepped up as our distributor. There’s no one better to have our movie seen by the greatest number of people.”

Paul McCartney says, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”

Ringo Starr says, “I’m really looking forward to this film. Peter is great and it was so cool looking at all this footage. There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”

“The Beatles: Get Back” is also being made with the enthusiastic support of Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Although the original “Let It Be” film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and the accompanying album were filmed and recorded in January 1969, they were not released until May 1970, three weeks after The Beatles had officially broken up. The response to the film at the time by audiences and critics alike was strongly associated with that announcement. During the 15-month gap between the filming of “Let It Be” and its launch, The Beatles recorded and released their final studio album, “Abbey Road,” which came out in September 1969.

Shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, the 80-minute “Let It Be” movie was built around the three weeks of filming, including an edited version of the rooftop concert. The GRAMMY®-winning “Let It Be” album topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.

The new documentary brings to light much more of the band’s intimate recording sessions for “Let It Be” and their entire 42-minute performance on the rooftop of Apple’s Savile Row London office. While there is no shortage of material of The Beatles’ extensive touring earlier in their careers, “The Beatles: Get Back” features the only notable footage of the band at work in the studio, capturing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they create their now-classic songs from scratch, laughing, bantering and playing to the camera.

Shot on January 30, 1969, The Beatles’ surprise rooftop concert marked the band’s first live performance in over two years and their final live set together. The footage captures interactions between the band members, reactions from fans and employees from nearby businesses, and comical attempts to stop the concert by two young London policemen responding to noise complaints.

A fully restored version of the original “Let It Be” film will be made available at a later date.

About The Walt Disney Studios:

For over 95 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today it brings quality movies, episodic storytelling, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. The Walt Disney Studios encompasses a collection of respected film studios, including Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Disneynature, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Blue Sky Studios. It is also home to Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, and Disney Theatrical Productions, producer of world-class stage shows.

About Apple Corps Ltd.:

Apple Corps Ltd. was founded by The Beatles in 1968 to oversee the band’s own creative and business interests. As part of its management of The Beatles’ entire intellectual property canon, the London-based company administers the legendary band’s recorded catalogue along with film, theatrical, and book publishing rights.

About WingNut Films Ltd.:

WingNut Films is based in Wellington, New Zealand and was founded by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. WingNut Films has produced all of Peter Jackson’s films, including “Heavenly Creatures,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit Trilogies,” “King Kong,” “The Lovely Bones” and most recently the acclaimed First World War documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old.” WingNut has also produced “The Adventures of Tin Tin,” directed by Stephen Spielberg, “District 9,” directed by Neill Blomkamp, “West of Memphis,” directed by Amy Berg and “Mortal Engines,” directed by Christian Rivers.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Dark Horse Tour documentary?

Embed from Getty Images

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Olivia Harrison and her son Dhani both talked about George Harrison's 1974 tour, and spoke about plans for possible new Dark Horse Records releases.

Dhani says he is asked on a regular basis about his father’s controversial 1974 tour more than any of Harrison’s other undertakings. Dhani says he’s listened back to tapes of all the shows and agrees that his father wasn’t in the best of voice, but still feels the shows revealed another aspect of George’s music. “His voice is pretty tired, but in my opinion, it sounds great,” he says. “It’s raspy, and it has grit to it. You can hear the fragility in all the songs. It’s a different take on a lot of his music.” Olivia says several of the shows were also filmed, onstage and offstage, and the material has the makings of a documentary. “I think it would make a great tour movie,” she says. “The backstage footage is amazing and hysterical. Things went on backstage that don’t happen now. Now everything is so cut and dried, the opposite of spontaneous.”

The mother and son team also hinted at forthcoming 50th anniversary editions of George's "All Things Must Pass" and "Living In The Material World" albums: The company’s archival research has also turned up a trove of unissued George Harrison material. “We have people digging through mountains of tapes, and they keep coming,” says Dhani. “Boxes and boxes of them.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of All Things Must Pass, and Dhani and his archivists have unearthed hours of unreleased material and unheard songs from those sessions. “A lot of it has been bootlegged, but we have better versions,” says Olivia. “We have all the 24-tracks of All Things Must Pass, and we found lots of different takes and talking in the studio.”

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh, followed in 2023 by the five-decade mark of Living in the Material World. Each of those projects could be accorded expanded editions, although the specifics aren’t worked out.

Source: Rolling Stone

Friday, 6 March 2020

Chants of India out on vinyl for RSD

To celebrate Ravi Shankar’s Centennial, Dark Horse Records will release the George Harrison produced 1997 album ‘Chants of India’ on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day 2020.
The album will be available on 2 x 12” LP 180-Gram Red Vinyl and include an exclusive 12”x12” photo print.

Originally released on CD in 1997 on Angel Records and produced by his friend and sometime collaborator George Harrison, the album consists of Vedic and other Hindu sacred prayers set to music, marking a departure from Shankar's more familiar work in the field of Hindustani classical music. The lyrical themes of the recorded chants are peace and harmony among nature and all creatures. Sessions for the album took place in the Indian city of Madras and at Harrison's home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, following his work on The Beatles' Anthology (1995). Anoushka Shankar, John Barham, Bikram Ghosh, Tarun Bhatacharaya and Ronu Majumdar are among the many musicians who contributed to the recording.

In 2010, the album was reissued as part of the Dark Horse Records box set Collaborations, which combined various projects undertaken by the two artists.

As well as producing the album, George also participates on vocals, acoustic guitar, autoharp, bass, vibraphone, marimba and glockenspiel.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Half speed McCartney

Paul McCartney’s Classic Solo Debut McCartney

 Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Limited Edition Vinyl Release for Record Store Day 2020

On April 18, 2020 one of the greatest solo debuts in rock history, Paul McCartney's McCartney, will receive a special 50th anniversary release in a limited-edition half-speed mastered vinyl pressing for Record Store Day.

Originally released in April 1970, one month before The Beatles’ swansong Let It Be, McCartney saw Paul getting back to basics. Writing every song and playing every instrument (with backing vocals from Linda McCartney), the eponymous album represented a creative rebirth, bursting with new ideas, experiments, playfulness and freedom. Sonically, McCartney's bare-bones home recording aesthetic imbued the album with an authentic lo-fi spirit, a much sought after sound that continues to retain a contemporary edge 50 years on.

In contrast to the professional difficulties that came with the demise of the world's most iconic band, Paul was personally enjoying the contentment of family life as a newly married father. In a Q&A released at the time, Paul described the theme and feel of the album as, “Home, family, love.” This is obvious from the opening notes of Lovely Linda throughout the album, with tracks like Every Night and Man We Was Lonely musing on how much Paul’s life had improved—and nowhere more poignantly than on the tour de force Maybe I’m Amazed. Paul’s timeless tribute to Linda would be recognized as one of contemporary music’s great love songs, and remains a staple of Paul’s live set to this day, never failing to inspire tears of joy with its refrain of “Maybe I’m a man in the middle of something that he doesn’t really understand. Maybe I’m a man. Maybe you’re the only woman who can ever help me. Baby won’t you help me understand”.

Linda’s presence is also felt in the album's iconic artwork: the front cover's bowl of cherries photographed by her on holiday in Antigua, and the back cover’s portrait of Paul with daughter Mary as a baby, photographed on the family's farm in Scotland where some of the album was also written.

50 years and counting, McCartney offers an incredible insight into the mind of one of the world's greatest ever songwriters. The homespun spirit of the album and Paul's taste for experimentation capture a unique moment in time: The very first steps of an unparalleled solo career that has seen Paul McCartney release decades worth of critically acclaimed commercial blockbuster albums including RAM, Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Tug of War, Pipes of Peace, Flowers in the Dirt, Flaming Pie, Memory Almost Full, NEW and most recently 2018’s #1-charting Egypt Station.

The 50th anniversary Record Store Day limited edition of McCartney was pressed from a master cut by Miles Showell at half speed using the original 1970 master tapes at Abbey Road Studios. It was made as a vinyl specific transfer in high resolution and without digital peak limiting for the best possible reproduction.

McCartney Tracklisting

Side one:

The Lovely Linda
That Would Be Something
Valentine Day
Every Night
Hot as Sun/Glasses
Man We Was Lonely

Side two:

Oo You
Momma Miss America
Teddy Boy
Singalong Junk
Maybe I'm Amazed

Hamburg festival cancelled

Because of the outburst of the corona virus, the Come Together Experience team in Hamburg has decided to postpone the upcoming festival, which was planned for March 27-29. They do not know when new dates can be set. This is what they write:

The developments of the past days and weeks have led to intensive discussions among our team regarding the feasibility of the “Come Together Experience Festival”, to which we will welcome several thousand visitors from various countries.

According to the renowned Robert Koch Institute, a rapid spread of the “corona virus” is to be expected in Germany, the extent of which cannot be estimated right now. The virus has been active in Germany for a few weeks now, as well as in several countries from which we expect visitors. The number of infected people is still increasing, and it is not foreseeable when a point will be reached when we will be forced to cancel the festival.

It would be grossly negligent to ignore the danger of a possible pandemic. All statements by scientists on the subject are very clear: the virus will continue to spread. Health authorities are keeping all their options open as to how they will react to the possible scenarios. These options could include official requirements we as organisers cannot possibly implement. We believe it better to take action today.

We make every effort to find a new date for the festival as soon as possible. We would like to ask all ticket holders, who have been looking forward to this festival as much as we do, to bear with us and remain patient. We definitely want to announce a catch-up date as soon as possible, but it won’t be an easy task to reschedule all locations and artists. Still, we will do our very best to make the festival possible, and we ask you to support us.

Warmest regards

Your Come Together Experience team

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The end of Star-Club

Grosse Freiheit in 1970
The very famous Star-Club in Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg closed its doors on December 31, 1969. 50 years later, one of the last club operators - Achim Reichel - tells the story about the end of an era.
The documentary features very rarely seen archive footage from a 1970 ZDF programme in colour, with rare pictures and interviews.

In the 1970 footage, we see the club is being redecorated and the main floor converted. The old stage piano, whose ivories has been tickled by rockers like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles and no doubt Paul McCartney, has been left on the floor on its way to the junk yard. The new owner, flanked by a couple of his women, brags about how sex is going to bring him millions on the premises.

Pete Best, 1970.
The team from ZDF also travelled to Liverpool in 1970, for a short interview with Pete Best, at the time finally sporting somewhat of a Beatle haircut. Drums stowed away, Pete had a normal job by then, and this was his first public interview since the first part of the sixties.

The documentary is best suited for those of you who understand German, but the 1970 footage makes it worthwhile for anyone who is fond of this era.

Swedish Beatles author Hans Olof Gottfridsson and collaborator Richard Moore wrote a two part article for Record Collector about The Beatles' Star-Club recordings. These have now been made available from Richard’s company website Mint Audio Restoration. The articles are based on exclusive access to the original tape, and was written in close cooperation with the producer of the official Star-club records in 1977, Larry Grossberg. PDFs: Part 1 - Part 2.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Lennon's thread

The original uncropped photo by Robert Freeman
In 2012, the uncropped original photo which adorned the Beatles' album "Rubber Soul" album cover found its way to the internet. It was taken by the recently deceased Robert Freeman, and as legend has it: When projected on a square LP-sized white cardboard which accidentally bent, the fab four wanted to take advantage of the warped image and used that as the front cover.
The uncropped original has been enhanced using various computer techniques and started popping up on social media in 2019:

Artist Clayton Hickman used machine learning and Photoshop to give us an approximation of the uncropped image with much greater fidelity. Taken from Hickman’s Twitter account.
One thing that's evident from the original photo, enhanced or not, is that there is a loose thread on John Lennon's shoulder - not present on the U.K. or U.S.A. pressings of the album. In fact, it has been airbrushed away in most countries pressings of the LP.

But in some countries, the thread was not airbrushed out. So far, we are aware of Argentinian and Mexican copies of the album where John's jacket is unashamedly displaying it's shortcomings.

Mexican pressing of Rubber Soul
It's also used on a Mexican EP cover.
Michelle EP - Mexico

Detail from an Argentinian Rubber Soul where their faces seems to have been softened somewhat.

So what did happen to John's brown suede jacket? Made by D.A. Millings but not part of a Beatles uniform, John Lennon first donned this jacket in public during their 1964 U.S. tour.

Pretty soon, the right shoulder epaulette went missing, with only the loose thread to show for it. We have no idea what happened to it. Torn off by a fan?
John with the jacket, left epaulette still in place.
After a while, Lennon gave the jacket away to his housekeeper, Dorothy «Dot» Jarlett. She later auctioned off the garment, and it was bought by Hard Rock Café. It's now in circulation at their restaurants.
Now at Hard Rock Cafe somewhere.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Lewisohn about the Star-Club tapes

Mark Lewisohn discussed this album on the I Am The Eggpod podcast.
I am the Eggpod is a Beatles podcast with Chris Shaw and guests, each episode discusses a Beatles- or solo album. On New Year's eve, an episode with Mark Lewisohn as guest discussed an album which was available legally between 1977 and 1998, after which it was deemed to be property of Apple Corps Ltd.

The album in question is of course The Beatles Live At The Star-Club, Hamburg, Germany; 1962. It consisted of various recordings from the stage at this German club, in late December, 1962.

Since it had just been announced that Neil Innes had passed, Lewisohn and host Chris Shaw started with remembering Innes, who also himself had guested the podcast in May 2019.

Lewisohn shares thoughts about the Beatles' time in Hamburg and these recordings, giving examples of John Lennon's audible humorous antics on stage, and reveals that it is Paul himself who has come up with the English lyrics to the song "Falling in love again", which is performed. You may listen to the podcast below.

Lewisohn had actually himself contributed to the plethora of records exploiting these tapes, by submitting liner notes to a three volume LP series on the small record company Breakaway Records in 1983. The series was called "The Hamburg Tapes".

Lewisohn wrote the liner notes for these three volumes, and also for another LP from the same company,
consisting of songs from the Decca audition tape.
During the podcast, Lewisohn also talks about the High Court hearing in 1998, where it was decided that the recordings were protected by copyright, and should never have been released in the first place. George Harrison testified on behalf of The Beatles, and the man responsible for taping the concerts, Ted "Kingsize" Taylor, was also present.

May 6, 1998: George Harrison testifies in the High Court in London.
More episodes in this podcast series to be found here.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Peter Jackson film in October?

The original Get Back book from 1970 was printed before the project was renamed Let It Be
On Amazon in both the UK and USA, a book with the title The Beatles Get Back was announced for release on 15 October 2020. John Bezzini noticed the listing on Amazon and contacted the publisher and received this info: "The Beatles Get Back" is the authorized story of the making of the "Let it Be" album and the Beatles’ break-up, told through exclusive photographs, transcripts of the recording sessions, and an essay by Hanif Kureishi. The book will be the companion to the film directed by Peter Jackson, both released next fall (exact date to be announced). 

Links to pre-order the book:
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (USA)

Flaming Pie for July

Due out in July, Flaming Pie
This just in: according to an internal Universal Music catalogue of upcoming releases, Paul McCartney’s 1997 album «Flaming Pie» is next up to get the archive treatment. Release date is July 24th, and the ltd ed deluxe edition will consist of 5CDs and 2/DVDs.

Upon its initial release, there was a special offer from Best Buy in the U.S.A. where you got an extra CD containing an episode of McCartney’s radio show, «Oobujoobu». There was a video cassette available about the making of the album, «In the world tonight», which was later made available as a DVD. Several music videos were produced for the singles «Young boy», «Beautiful Night» and «The world tonight», but these were only excerpted in the home video release. Another music video for the Maureen Starkey tribute «Little Willow» was only shown once, on Oprah.

There was a version of the «Beautiful Night» video (also featuring Ringo), which had partial nudity and hasn’t been seen since it was shown a few times on MTV Europe. Several constellations of the singles were released, including vinyl picture discs.