Monday, December 21, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Lost" Lennon interview published

The New Statesman features a previously unpublished 1968 interview with John and Yoko.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Download Macca's Meat-Free Mondays song

Paul McCartney has recorded a tune especially for the Meat-Free Monday environmental/vegetatarian campaign. While a donation is appreciated, you can download the song at the organization's official site, here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BBC presents Songs the Beatles Gave Away

BBC 2 is featuring a program focused on songs the Beatles provided to other artists throughout their career. Listen here.


Whilst the Beatles were constantly in the charts, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were also supplying other artists with a number of hits...and the occasional miss! Bob Harris delves into these recordings by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Mary Hopkin, The Foremost, Cilla Black, Jackie Lomax, Doris Troy and others. Along the way he uncovers some forgotten gems, such as the theme tune for a TV series starring Stanley Holloway; music from a Boulting Brothers film called The Family Way; and hears first hand from Sir Paul McCartney about being contacted by Frank Sinatra for a song. Paul also talks at length about his approach to writing in the 1960s; the songs given to Tommy Quickly, Peter and Gordon, Chris Barber and PJ Proby; as well as those written exclusively for Cilla Black.

Amongst other interviews recorded specially for the programme, Mary Hopkin talks about recording with McCartney in the studio; Johnny Gentle (who was backed by The Beatles on his 1960 tour) recalls Lennon's contribution to I've Just Fallen For Someone; Billy Hatton of The Fourmost remembers John and George's version of the group's debut hit Hello Little Girl; and Billy J. Kramer admits to the fatal error of turning down a song that would eventually become one of the most performed works in recorded history.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LA TImes interviews Dhani Harrison

Good feature on George's kid.

From the outside, though, Thenewno2 looks a lot like a band, in which guitarist, singer and songwriter Harrison and guitarist-keyboardist Jonathan Sadoff are joined by guitarist Jeremy Faccone, bassist Nick Fyffe and drummer Frank Zummo.

Harrison notes that Hecks, with whom he wrote most of the songs on the group's debut, "You Are Here," is sitting out this current tour to concentrate on film work. That's one indicator of the new model these creative partners are mapping out. Each has multiple talents and passions, none of which they're willing to set aside to focus full time on playing in a rock band.

"We're all studio nerds -- that's who I've surrounded myself with," Harrison said. "Every single person in the band is also a mix engineer or a soundtrack engineer or a composer or a
filmmaker or some other kind of nerd. I design video games -- that's my nerdy side."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paul helps out on Ringo's new album

A bit more detail on Ringo Starr's upcoming album:

Ringo Starr grabbed a little help from his friends for his new album Y Not, due January 12th, 2010. The Beatles drummer will be joined by his Fab Four bandmate Paul McCartney on a couple of tracks, including first single “Walk With Me,” which finds Macca and Starr sharing vocals. Other guests and songwriters on Y Not, Ringo’s first album since 2008’s Liverpool 8, include Joe Walsh, Joss Stone, Van Dyke Parks, Ben Harper and Richard Marx.

New Ringo album out Jan. 12

Here's the cover for Ringo Starr's new album, Y Not, out Jan. 12 from Hip-O. Not much additional info at the moment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

David Lynch plans film on Beatles' Marharishi


Lynch has announced that his next project will be a film about The Beatles’ meditation guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The India native gained worldwide fame in the 1950s for his Transcendental Meditation technique and work with numerous high-profile. He died just last year in at the age of 90.

“It won’t be a so-called David Lynch film, really; it will be about Maharishi and the knowledge he brought out,” Lynch explained to “It’ll hold a lot of abstractions. We’re on our way to India in December to start the India part of it.”

Lynch went on to add that the film will likely come in the documentary form.

“I don’t think it’ll be a talking heads kind of thing, but we’re going to do a lot of interviews with people. We’ll interview — I hope — in India, a 97-year-old man who was with Maharishi from the beginning and get stories of times that weren’t so well recorded.”

Details on Nowhere Boy soundtrack

Here's cover art and the preliminary tracklisting for the official "Nowhere Boy" soundtrack.

Wild One - Jerry Lee Lewis
Mr Sandman - Dickie Valentine
Rocket 88 - Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
Shake, Rattle & Roll - Elvis Presley
Hard Headed Woman - Wanda Jackson
I Put A Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Maggie May - The Nowhere Boys
That'll Be The Day - The Nowhere Boys
Rockin' Daddy - Eddie Bond & The Stompers
Twenty Flight Rock - Eddie Cochran
That's Alright Mamma - The Nowhere Boys
Movin and Groovin - The Nowhere Boys
Raunchy - The Nowhere Boys
Hound Dog - Big Mama Thornton
Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps
Hello Little Girl - Aaron Johnson
In Spite Of All The Danger - The Nowhere Boys
Mother - John Lennon

Elvis Presley - Baby Let's Play House
The Isley Brothers -Twist & Shout
Duane Eddy - Rebel Rouser
Charlie Rich - She Loved Everybody But Me
Lonnie Donegan - Putting on the Style
Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue
Frankie Vaughan - These Dangerous Years
Dale Hawkins - Susie-Q
Barrett Strong - Money (That's What I Want)
The Del Vikings - Come Go With Me
Bill Haley - Rock Around the Clock
Lloyd Price - Stagger Lee
Little Richard - Rip It Up
Alligator Charles - See You Later
Little Richard - Long Tall Sally
Chan Romero - The Hippy Hippy Shake
Buddy Knox - Party Doll
Shirley & Lee - Let the Good Times Roll
Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame
Everly Brothers - Bye, Bye Love
Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought The Law
Jimmy Lloyd - I Got A Rocket In My Pocket

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Transcendental meditation cuts heart attack risk

Meditation is good for the body as well as the mind, scientists have discovered, as the practice significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack for people with heart disease.

...Transcendental Meditation, practised by the Beatles and based on an ancient tradition of enlightenment in India, involves sitting quietly and concentrating to focus the mind inwards by silently repeating a mantra. The practice is said to induce inner peace by allowing thoughts to flow in and out of the mind.


See a trailer for Beatles: Rock Band Sgt. Pepper

Here it is.

Corps, Ltd., MTV Games and Harmonix, the world’s leading developer of music-based games and a part of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), today released a new gameplay trailer for The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) that will be available in its entirety for purchase and playable as downloadable content in The Beatles™: Rock Band™ Music Store starting November 17, 2009.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rolling Stone streams Sean Lennon's newest LP

Hear Sean's mainly orchestral score to the new indy flick "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Limited edition USB Apple contains stereo Beatles remasters

Giving new meaning to Apple(s) in Stereo:

The exquisitely crafted, apple-shaped USB drive is loaded with the critically acclaimed re-mastered audio for The Beatles’ 14 stereo titles, as well as all of the re-mastered CDs’ visual elements, including 13 mini-documentary films about the studio albums, replicated original UK album art, rare photos and expanded liner notes.

A specially designed Flash interface has been installed, and the 16GB USB’s audio and visual contents will be provided in FLAC 44.1 Khz 24 bit and MP3 320 Kbps formats, fully compatible with PC and Mac.

Order yours at the official Beatles Web site store. (When I posted this, however, there was no listing for the item in the U.S. version of the store, nor any price provided. You'll need to keep checking back there.)

Additional info from the Beatles Examiner:

EMI Music announced Tuesday they will release a limited edition of 30,000 Beatles stereo USB apples on Dec. 7 in most of the world, except North America, where they will be available Dec. 8. A price on the drive was not available.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Beatles vinyl remasters on the way

Oh man, now I'm going to have to buy these too!

The Beatles' back catalogue will be reissued on vinyl, says Jeff Jones, Chief Executive of Apple Corps.

Speaking exclusively to MOJO, Jones revealed that work on the next stage of the Beatles Remastered campaign is currently underway: "We're working on them now," said Jones, "I don't have a release date. To put a release date next to them forces us into a situation where we're releasing something that might not be ready. "

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lennon's "Mother" featured on Nowhere Boy soundtrack

Yoko Ono gave her permission to use John Lennon's song "Mother" on the soundtrack for the new Lennon docu-drama "Nowhere Boy."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nowhere Boy -- early review

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Sam Taylor-Wood's "Nowhere Boy" is a passable look at the early life of John Lennon when he was estranged from his mother and raised by his aunt. Fans hoping to discover more about the source of the prickly Beatle's creativity will not find it here.

Strong performances by Kristin Scott Thomas as the stern Aunt Mimi, who raised the future Beatle from the age of 5, and Anne-Marie Duff as his troubled mother heighten the dramatic appeal of what otherwise is quite a dull film.

Nowhere Man movie trailer

A peek at the upcoming John Lennon docudrama:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beatles New Musical Express summer special cover

McCartney plans European tour, Christmas concert

Details on Paul's upcoming tour plans:

Sir Paul McCartney is to play a one-off Christmas show in London.

The former Beatle will end a seven-date European tour, his first in five years, with a concert at The O2 arena on December 22.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beatles Rave magazine cover

George Marting recovering from surgery

Beatles producer Sir George Martin is recovering from an unspecified "routine surgery," the BBC reports.

He spent one night in hospital and is now back at home," [Martin's manager] Adam Sharp said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beatles Mono and Stero boxes available again soon from Amazon

Those still pining for box sets of the remastered Beatles recordings won't have much longer to wait if ordering from Amazon.

The in-stock date for the Mono Box (mine has been on order for weeks and weeks!) has now been updated to Oct. 22. The Stereo Box is still listed as in-stock for Oct. 31.

Click the links to order yours!

Beatles Teen-Ville magazine cover

Monday, October 19, 2009

KRLA Beat magazine Beatles cover

Sgt. Pepper artist Peter Blake collaborates with Brian Wilson

Artist Peter Blake, famed for creating the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album cover, has produced an exhibition and book of artworks inspired by Brian Wilson's That Lucky Old Sun album.

Download free Rusty Anderson-Paul McCartney tune

Amazon is offering a free download of "Where Would We Go," a song by Paul McCartney and his touring guitarist Rusty Anderson, off Anderson's new album Born on Earth.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Beatles George magazine

McCartney's Good Evening New York City bonus disk material revealed

From Paul's official site:

Paul's deluxe edition of 'Good Evening New York City' will be packed with extra special bonus material, including the video of Paul's traffic stopping performance on the Late Show. In addition there will also be the documentary 'Good Evening People', filmed by the audience at Citi Field sharing their Paul experiences. The final added extra is the full performance of 'I'm Down' from Citi Field.

Track Listing:

Live on the Late Show with David Letterman
1. Get Back
2. Sing The Changes
3. Coming Up
4. Band On The Run
5. Let Me Roll It
6. Helter Skelter
7. Back In The USSR

Good Evening People (Audience Documentary Film)

I’m Down (Full Performance)

Good Evening New York City is released on the 17th November in the US and the 23rd November in the UK.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Liverpool plans Beatles Trail

A trail of Beatles sites through the Fabs' native city is being debated by Liverpool city leaders.

Ideas for the trail – dubbed ‘The Long and Winding Road’ after the Let It Be track – include plotting the fateful route taken from the NEMS record store in Whitechapel to the Cavern on Mathew Street.

Track list for McCartney's new live CD/DVD

Paul McCartney has announced the track list for his upcoming Good Evening New York City:

Paul McCartney’s Historic Citi Field Opening Show

Disc 1 - Audio CD

1. Drive My Car
2. Jet
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It
7. Highway
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. My Love
10. Blackbird
11. Here Today
12. Dance Tonight
13. Calico Skies
14. Mrs Vandebilt
15. Eleanor Rigby
16. Sing The Changes
17. Band On The Run

Disc 2 - Audio CD

1. Back In The USSR
2. I’m Down
3. Something
4. I’ve Got A Feeling
5. Paperback Writer
6. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
7. Let It Be
8. Live And Let Die
9. Hey Jude
10. Day Tripper
11. Lady Madonna
12. I Saw Her Standing There
13. Yesterday
14. Helter Skelter
15. Get Back
16. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

Disc 3 – DVD

1. Drive My Car
2. Jet
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It
7. Highway
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. My Love
10. Blackbird
11. Here Today
12. Dance Tonight
13. Calico Skies
14. Mrs Vandebilt
15. Eleanor Rigby
16. Sing The Changes
17. Band On The Run
18. Back In The USSR
19. I’m Down
20. Something
21. I’ve Got A Feeling
22. Paperback Writer
23. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance
24. Let It Be
25. Live And Let Die
26. Hey Jude
27. Day Tripper
28. Lady Madonna
29. I Saw Her Standing There
30. Yesterday
31. Helter Skelter
32. Get Back
33. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

Vintage Sgt. Pepper ads

Wogblog takes a look at Capitol's ads for various incarnations of the Sgt. Pepper album.

Friday, October 9, 2009

British Library presents rare Beatles artifacts

From Beatlestweets, a look at some of the cool artifacts available for free viewing at the British Library.

Only steps from Euston Station in London is a treasure trove of Beatles artifacts, including some things that you can't find anywhere else in the world. Best of all? Entry to the library is completely free so you can see all these wonderful things without spending any money.

Understandably, the library doesn't allow pictures to be taken (but we snuck a few with our cell 'phone!). The main exhibit case contains original lyrics, some music manuscripts, records and original pictures.

Beatles Rave magazine cover

Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Boyd to open new art center in Armenia

The former wives of John Lennon and George Harrison will make a joint appearance during grand opening ceremonies for the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan.

Lennon and Boyd will share the stage for the first time ever, and lend intimate insight into their husbands' extraordinary lives and music. A book signing of John by Cynthia Lennon and Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd - who was also married to the blues musician Eric ­Clapton - will follow the interview.

"The Beatles were the single most influential cultural phenomenon of the 20th century," Dr. Michael De Marsche, the executive director of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, stated. "Their music was one of the first things to blast through the Iron Curtain, and for many people, especially the generation of the 1960s, the Beatles represent freedom."

The interview will take place in the Center's new Special Events Auditorium. Lennon and Boyd will take the stage and answer questions from Dr. De Marsche. The afternoon will conclude with questions from the audience.

An exhibition of Pattie Boyd's photography, titled, "Pattie Boyd: Yesterday and Today," will open November 8 and will be on view until January 31, 2010. The exhibition lends an intimate view into the lives of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, and Pattie Boyd herself. This unique collection of photographs, representing 40 years of work, has garnered attention from art critics internationally, and has toured two continents.

Remembering John Lennon

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wiki cross-referenced guide to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper cover

Handy link: A guide to all the folks featured on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper cover, with Wikipedia links to each.

Paul McCartney/Mary Hopkin Flip magazine cover

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beatles in Mono box back in stock Nov. 1 at Amazon, stereo box too

Amazon is now listing the Beatles in Mono box set as back in stock Nov. 1--good news for those of us awaiting backordered sets, and for folks who haven't ordered them yet.

Amazon also ran out of the Beatles in Stereo box a while back. That's also listed as back in stock Nov. 1.

Paul McCartney signs record deal with Mercury

Paul's new live album will be released on the Mercury label.

The superstar has shunned major labels since ending his four-decade long deal with Parlophone, choosing instead to release tracks through coffee shop chain Starbucks' label and independent company One Little Indian.

But McCartney has struck a new deal with Universal-owned Mercury Records for the UK release of Good Evening New York, recorded over three nights at New York's Citi Field baseball stadium earlier this year.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

PBS to air "How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin"

Check for this next month on your local PBS station:

NEW YORK- On November 9th, WNET.ORG will air a special one-hour documentary about The Beatles to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin tells the extraordinary and untold story of how the Beatles punctured the Iron Curtain. In a personal journey through Russia by award-winning director Leslie Woodhead, he tells in first-person accounts the story of a secret revolution which contributed to the fall of communism.

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin is a production of WNET.ORG - one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers, in association with Blakeway Productions of London.

On August 1962, director Leslie Woodhead made a two-minute film in Liverpool's Cavern Club with a raw and unrecorded group of unknown rockers- the Beatles. Twenty-five years later, while making a series of films in Russia, Woodhead would learn just how powerful Beatlemania was. Even though they were never to play in the Soviet Union, the Beatles' music and their rebellious style had soaked into the lives of a generation of kids.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the story of how the moptops conquered the world,” said filmmaker Leslie Woodhead. “And since I’ve made a series of documentaries in the former Evil Empire over the past 30 years, I have a special taste for this film. “

This film introduces the world to the Russian Beatles generation and hears personal stories about how the Fab Four changed their lives, gave them hope, and helped to undermine the foundations of the Soviet system. The film showcases archival Soviet-era footage, laced with interviews with Soviet Beatles fans that reflect – and reveal – just how they managed to listen to the outlawed music of the Fab Four.

Art Troitsky, Russia’s leading rock music writer and self-proclaimed “radical young man” during the Beatles era, describes just how important the band was, behind the Iron Curtain. “In the big bad West,” he says, “they’ve had whole huge institutions which spent millions of dollars for undermining the Soviet system. And I’m sure that the impact of all those stupid Cold War institutions has been much, much smaller than the impact of the Beatles.”

"How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin" is a one-hour documentary produced, directed and narrated by Leslie Woodhead, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. The program features interviews with Kolya Vasin, a Beatles “super fan” from St. Petersburg who built a “Temple of Peace and Love” to John Lennon; Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s Deputy Premier, who insisted that he learned English from smuggled Beatles records; rock commentator Artemy Troitsky; and numerous Soviet Beatles cover bands, including bandmates Yury Pelyushonok, Yuri Yakovlev and Anatoly Chernuchevich who reunited for this film, writing and performing a new song called “Kruschev Era Rock.”

To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, WNET.ORG will premiere the documentary on Monday, November 9th at 10:00 p.m. (EST, check local listings) to be shown nationally throughout the PBS network.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

McCartney Citi Field music set for release

Good Evening New York City, a 2-CD/1-DVD set featuring music from Paul McCartney's series of concerts inaugurating New York's Citi Field will be released Nov. 17.

A deluxe edition of the set will feature expanded packaging and a bonus DVD featuring Macca's "Late Show with David Letterman" performance atop the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee from last July.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Boyhood essay by Paul McCartney rediscovered

A prize-winning essay Paul McCartney wrote at age 10 has been rediscovered.

The piece about the Queen’s Coronation was found among records at the Central Library by Mr Roach as he researched a new book.

It had been stored away for over 50 years in the library’s record office.

Mr Roach said: “It’s unique in its own right.

“It shows his handwriting at that age and shows how Paul was thinking at the time.

“His handwriting is well advanced - you would say it was written by someone who was older than 10-years-old, more like 14 or 15.”

The schoolboy compares the happy scenes expected outside the palace to the coronation of William the Conqueror nine centuries earlier, when a massacre of Saxons took place.

Original "Lucy in the Sky" dies

The woman who, as a girl, inspired fellow student Julian Lennon to draw a picture he called "Lucy in the Sky with Diamond," which in turn inspired his dad, John, to write a song of the same name, has died.

The St Thomas' Lupus Trust charity said O'Donnell had died aged 46 after losing a fight against the autoimmune disease lupus.

It said Julian and his mother Cynthia, Lennon's first wife, were "shocked and saddened by the loss of Lucy".

"It's so sad that she had finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long," the Trust's campaign director Angie Davidson said.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beatles remasters sell 2.25 million in five days

Beatlemania redux! The Associated Press reports:

Nearly 40 years after breaking up, The Beatles are still breaking records for album sales.

EMI Group PLC says consumers in North America, Japan and the U.K. bought more than 2.25 million copies of the Fab Four's re-mastered albums in the first five days after their Sept. 9 release.

Most of the records were broken for most simultaneous titles in the top-selling charts by a single artist.

On Billboard magazine's pop catalogue chart, for example, the band had 16 titles in the top 50, including all 14 re-mastered CDs and two box sets.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pop band Goldfrapp to score Lennon bio-pic

British band Goldfrapp will provide the music for "Nowhere Boy," an upcoming bio-pic about John Lennon.

Singer Alison Goldfrapp has announced on her official blog that she'll be a part of the much-anticipated new film, Nowhere Boy.
She writes, "I'm pleased I can now tell you about it (as it is official). we have written the score for a film called Nowhere boy. it's about John Lennon as a boy and stars Aaron Johnson, Kristen Scott-Thomas and Anne Marie Duff. It's Sam Taylor-Wood's first feature film and it's truly amazing that they gave us the opportunity to do this.
"We are all really excited about going to Abbey Road studios soon to record the strings with the full orchestra."

Famed Abbey Road street sign up for auction

An Abbey Road street sign once displayed near the famous street crossing shown on the Beatles' final album is up for auction.

The enamelled steel sign, which was installed near the world-famous St John's Wood zebra crossing six years ago, was removed in 2007 because graffiti messages from Beatles' fans could not be scrubbed off.

...Westminster Council is selling the disused sign on eBay to raise money for transport projects across the city.

It should be noted, however, that the sign is not featured on the cover of the Beatles LP.

See the auction here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lennon autographed magazine fetches $12,713

A copy of 1966 Datebook magazine containing John Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" comments has sold for #12,713 at auction.

An orthopedia surgeon at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center had the winning bid Thursday in a 17-day online auction run by RR Auction of Amherst, N.H.

Lennon signed "John C. Lennon" above his photo in the September 1966 "Datebook," even though his middle initial is W. for Winston.

In the magazine, Lennon said: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beatles remasters dominate charts, rack up big money

From The Los Angeles Times:

The new and improved Beatles CDs sold 235,000 copies during their first two days in stores, and total first-week sales of the individual CDs and two box sets of the group's recordings were projected to be 500,000 to 600,000 copies, possibly higher.

That's welcome news for a beleaguered music industry, whose last significant uptick in sales came in the wake of Michael Jackson's death in June.

Beatles titles occupy nine spots in the Top 10 of Billboard's Pop Catalog Albums chart, which encompasses albums originally released more than 18 months ago (Jackson's "Number Ones," at No. 6, kept the Fab Four from a clean sweep of the Top 10); of the Top 20, 15 are Beatles albums.

Yoko donates big money to John's art school

Yoko Ono is donating £260,000 to Liverpool's John Moores University, where John Lennon studied art.

The artist is using her cash to fund a new John Lennon Imagine Awards scheme for Liverpool John Moores students who have been in care or become estranged from their families.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Proposal to restore Liverpool's historic Albert Docks

The manager of Liverpool's Beatles Story museum wants to ] the city's historic dockyard area.

“The dock is no longer a prime and lively destination but it CAN become one again – it can be turned into a place where people can come to be entertained, to have fun and spend a lot of time with their families."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't panic, don't get gouged: Beatles in Mono box set still available for $229.99 from Amazon--stereo box available too

I continue reading reports of people getting charged $500 or more for the "limited" Beatles in Mono box set. Yet you can still order copies on Amazon for less than half that amount. Plus, the Beatles in Stereo box--the most economical way to get ALL the stereo remasters, plus a bonus DVD with all the making-of documentaries on it--is still available too.

Don't get suckered. Here are links to both sets:

British charts: Dame Vera Lynn fends off Fabs

A 92-year-old British institution is the only thing keeping the remastered Beatles albums from hitting number one on the British charts, Billboard reports.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beatles mini-documentary director speaks

CNN has an interview with "Beatles Anthology" director Bob Smeaton, who directed the mini-documentaries that come with stereo versions of the remastered Beatles CDs.

One very interesting tidbit:

Originally what happened was, the albums were going to be released on iTunes but that deal, you know, fell through for whatever reason. Some sort of political reason. So we actually set about creating a mini-documentary for each of the albums, so that when you bought the albums on iTunes, if you bought the whole album, because on iTunes you can pick like one song, right, if you bought the whole album, as an incentive to buy the whole album rather than just to cherry-pick songs, you would get this mini-documentary.

Beatles remasters top world charts

The Beatles' remastered record catalog is topping the chart pretty much everywhere, the Guardian reports.

In the UK, the Beatles will dominate this week's album charts based on only one day of sales (plus pre-orders). According to the Official Charts Company, Liverpool's finest will have five albums in the top 20 – and 15 in the top 75 – led by Abbey Road and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In their first day on the market, retailers sold more than 6,000 copies of the Beatles stereo box set – helping the expensive package into the UK top 20.

A quick look at Amazon's best-selling CDs shows the Beatles holding the top 9 slots of the top 10. The stereo and mono boxsets are tops, followed by the individual releases of Abbey Road, the "White Album," Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Past Masters and Let it Be in the Top 9 slots, Whitney Houston's comeback album is number 10. The least popular remaster appears to be Yellow Submarine, down at number 22.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Covering the Beatles--a diverse selection

The BBC takes a look, and provides YouTube video links, to some of the more memorable covers of Beatles tunes from the past few decades.

Beatles box sets available on Amazon

Despite a virtual panic that the limited edition box set of Beatles in Mono was going to sell out and be impossible to find, fans can still snag copies via Amazon. The Beatles in Stereo set is also still in stock.

Just how limited is the mono box? The Los Angeles Times reports: "Reportedly only 40,000 copies of the mono box have been manufactured for worldwide distribution, with 13,000 of those allocated to the U.S. market."

Fans recall the Beatles' early days

What was it like to see the Fabs' in their early days in Britain? Fans from that period share their memories.

When the performance finished we walked down the side of the theatre, and found the door open. So we went in — and straight afterwards security locked the door. The Beatles were waiting to make their getaway, but couldn’t get out until the van came round. A lot of girls were banging on the doors, but we were inside — and for an hour so were the Beatles.

They were so friendly and nice, and once they knew we weren’t hysterical they were happy to have us. I don’t think Beatlemania took off until a year later. In some ways, it was a little bit of history lost for ever. They were very ordinary guys, very friendly. Cynthia Lennon was there, standing in the background with a cape on. John kept saying to her “Did you get that?” Nobody realised he was married — he was pretending she was a reporter. You can imagine what it was like the next day in school. My friends were incredibly jealous.

Tracklisting the Beatles' "lost album"

It's a game most of us Beatlemaniacs have played: If the band hadn't broken up, which tracks from the individual members' solo albums would've appeared on Beatles albums. Here, the Daily Telegraph takes a stab at it.

The Beatles ’Alone Together’ would have been an extraordinary album, number one in a parallel universe. We can dream, can’t we?

Beatles set to top records chart again

The Beatles' remastered albums are predicted to rule the record charts in Britain, Reuters reports.

the Fab Four predicted to take five of the top 20 album places, the Official Charts Company said on Thursday. Digitally remastered versions of the band's albums went on sale on Wednesday, and combined with an interactive video game, it led to a brief return to "Beatlemania" with queues at major music stores in London.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lost Lennon interviews presented

Times Online has a new piece by John Lennon/Beatles biographer Ray Connelly, in which he shares some previously unpublished tidbits from his interviews with Lennon.

Deep listening: Hear Beatles recording anomalies

Here's a cool selection of audio tidbits you may've not notice on Beatles records before.

Entertainment Weekly ranks the Beatles albums

Coming in last: The Yellow Submarine.

The Beatles on Record: BBC documentary

Another great new BBC documentary:

The Rise and Fall of Beatlemania BBC documentary

Watch this new BBC documentary on YouTube:

Do today's kids like the Beatles?

Some do, reports Times Online.

“The Beatles are great,” concludes Otto, with the conviction of someone who knows about these things. “The modern songs are a pile of dog c**p.”

Stereo on mono: How do you take your Beatles?

The Washington Post features two remasters reviews: One touting the Beatles in Stereo box as the way to go, the other saying bring back mono.

Me? I say you need both. Some tracks simply sound better in one format or the other. And, if you listen to the Beatles a lot (which, I presume most of us here do), it's fun to, um, mix it up mixwise--sometimes putting on Sgt. Pepper in stereo, sometimes in mono.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Vintage Teen Life magazine cover with Paul McCartney

Beatles: Rock Band review

Here's one from the Chicago Tribune, featuring some details on various treats that can be uncovered whilst playing the game.

Achieve a three-star rating, and you'll unlock photos from the group's early days in the Cavern nightclub to sessions in the Abbey Road studio in later years.

Unlock enough photos, and you'll release a mini-movie, such as the band's first Christmas album for fan club members in 1963.

Many other treats abound. Progress far enough into the game, and you'll find recordings of the bandmates chatting between takes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Entertainment Weekly has Beatles cover feature

Here's the cover and info from the latest, Fabs-fronted issue of Entertainment Weekly:

With The Beatles: Rock Band and reissues of all their albums hitting stores Sept. 9, it’s time for another Beatles revolution. This week’s Entertainment Weekly offers fans our guide to what’s new — as well as the 50 best songs the world’s greatest band ever wrote and a gallery of rare behind-the-scenes photographs.

Do you find yourself occasionally slipping into a Liverpudlian accent? Hankering after a pair of granny glasses? Arguing with your friends about the best Beatles songs of all time? Then you’ve got a condition called Beatlemania, and if you don’t want it to get worse, then stay in bed on Sept. 9: The eyes and ears of the world will once again be on the Beatles — and now their hands and larynxes will be able to join them.

The reissues alone would be huge news, since the band’s albums haven’t been upgraded since their original CD release in the late ’80s. But if you’ve ever fantasized about actually playing with the Beatles, then Rock Band is equally drool-worthy. This installment of the massively popular franchise (more than $1 billion in sales and counting) lets you jam along with 45 tracks from all stages of the group’s career. It also offers previously unseen photos and never-heard audio clips of the quartet talking in the studio. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison were intimately involved in putting it all together.

“It’s very cool,” McCartney enthused to EW earlier this year. Now Rock Band seems set to turn an even younger generation on to the band. “I see people playing it and they look…completely funny,” says McCartney. “But I like the idea that it introduces kids to music.” Maybe Sept. 9, 2009, will soon be known as the day that the biggest band of the 20th century also became the biggest of the 21st.

UK Guardian review: The Beatles in Mono

The Guardian has posted a review of the Beatles in Mono box set of remasters.

The Beatles sound taut, vital and surprisingly brutal. Plenty of 60s British bands covered material by black US artists: they tended to bowdlerise it, but the Beatles made it more visceral. There's something authentically deranged about their covers of Twist and Shout and Money. Smokey Robinson's fabulous You Really Got a Hold On Me has its emotional compass shifted from melancholy to torment, with electrifying results.

Hear engineers discuss the Beatles remasters

Amazon, on its "Beatles Store" page now features interviews with Beatles remasters engineers Allan Rouse and Paul Hicks. Check 'em out here.

Amazon update on availability of Beatles in Mono box set

Amazon has posted this update about the availability of Beatles in Mono remasters box sets:

09/02/09 UPDATE: The manufacturer has informed us that they will be producing additional mono box sets due to high demand. While the mono box set will still remain a limited production item, it will no longer be limited to 10,000 copies for the U.S. market, as originally reported.

We will soon have more mono box sets back in stock. Sign up here to be notified as soon as they are available for order. We will likely have limited quantities, so check back here often for the latest information, or check your email frequently to make sure that you don’t miss out.

New York Times on the Beatles remasters

Fabs expert Allan Kozinn weighs in on the remasters with this piece from The New York Times.

The up side: In most cases this music has dimension and detail that it never had before, and the new packaging reflects each album’s musical and cultural importance. Over all, the new discs sound substantially better than the Beatles’ original CDs, which EMI issued in 1987. The most striking and consistent improvements are a heftier, rounded, three-dimensional bass sound, and drums that now sound like drums, rather than something in the distance being hit. But because each album has its own sonic character, due partly to developments in recording technology during the Beatles’ career, and partly to the growing complexity of their work, some discs are improved more radically than others, and some are hardly improved at all.

Probably the most revelatory of the new transfers is the stereo White Album. From the opening jet engine effects on “Back in the U.S.S.R” to the final orchestral chord on “Good Night,” this album now leaps from the speakers. Gentler songs like “Julia” and “I Will” have a lovely transparency, and hard rockers like “Yer Blues” and “Helter Skelter” — as well as John Lennon’s quirky vision of dystopia, “Revolution 9” — have a power and fullness unheard until now.

Remasters details from the remasterers

The Sydney Morning Herald and AZ Central both have interviews with Allen Rouse, head engineer on the upcoming Beatles remasters, who talks about the delicate balance between improving sound and changing it.

Some key excerpts:

Has A Day in the Life been improved, for example, by removing the squeak of the piano stool that punctuates the ultimate chord of doom? Heaven forbid, Rouse says.

"We agreed at the onset we would only remove things that were technically related. If it had anything to do with the Beatles' performance — breaths, coughs, squeaky bass drums, squeaky chairs — they stayed."

..."The Beatles spent upwards of two or three weeks mixing Sgt Pepper in mono. The stereo was done as an afterthought by George (Martin) and (engineer) Geoff Emerick — regrettably forgetting some of the things they had done on the mono mixes," Rouse says. of the things we did agree that we would be very cautious about is limiting, which is where you make them as loud as you can. That's the common process of most recordings today - make 'em as loud as possible so that they're as loud as the last band. We agreed that we would not do that, because these are 40-year-old recordings and they don't deserve to have the dynamics of their songs destroyed. At the same time, we felt, for the stereo master, that a small amount of limiting that didn't destroy the dynamics would be acceptable, so they are a bit louder.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Beatles Disc cover--drinking Coke

NPR blog listens to (and likes) remastered Sgt. Pepper

Just to get you hankering for those remasters a little more, NPR's "All Songs Considered" blog shares observations on the spruced-up Sgt. Pepper. No sound samples with the story, unfortunately!

("She's Leaving Home")

Robin: You can hear the fingertips on the harp. This is a little like watching HDTV.
Bob: I was thinking that, too. Like plasma TV.
Robin: Listen to the falsetto harmonies. It reminds me a little of HD television in that HD reveals the flaws in people's faces. I feel like it's doing that a bit with this music, particularly in the vocals. It's not that they sound flawed. They just sound so naked. Those harmonies on this song have always sounded perfectly clear to me. But hearing it now, it's so clearly a group of guys singing in falsettos. The voices seem very naked. They sound human for the first time.

New Beatles: Rock Band TV commercial


Monday, August 31, 2009

EMI: More Beatles in Mono box sets on the way

EMI says it plans to manufacture more Beatles in Stereo and Beatles in Mono box sets, even though some online retailers, including Amazon, say they are out of their allotted supplies of both.

So, it sounds like both boxes will be back in stock. The mono box is a limited edition, but there's been no word as to how limited. It seems, though, that if sellers such as Amazon keep getting orders for it, EMI will make enough boxes to fulfill those orders. After all, why give scalpers and bootleggers the profits?

As mentioned before, you can sign up for e-mail notices from Amazon as to if/when more of the boxes are available. Click here to sign up for a notification about the stereo set and here about the mono.

Beatles programming abounds on BBC 2

BBC Radio 2 continues a Beatles Bank Holiday today. You can hear Beatles-related programming throughout the day, as well as hear these programs via the Beeb's iPlayer on-demand feature:

The Beatles at the Beeb
Bill Kenwright presents a two hour journey through the many Beatles songs and interviews recorded at the BBC during the 60s.

The Beatles played on 53 different radio shows between March 1962 and June 1965, giving no less than 275 performances of 88 different songs. Remarkably 36 of those songs were never issued on record while the group was in existence. With the exception of Lennon-McCartney's I'll Be On My Way, these unreleased tracks were cover versions, ranging from familiar rock 'n' roll numbers to some fairly obscure oddities which included a customised version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport with Rolf Harris (Don't ill-treat me pet dingo, Ringo).

Kevin Howlett produced his first documentary about the Beatles' BBC recordings as a young Radio 1 producer in 1982. It made headlines around the world because Kevin tracked down many BBC Beatles sessions not heard since their original broadcasts. Out of the 53 BBC programmes with live Beatles music, just one was in the BBC Archive. Following further investigations, Kevin produced the award-winning The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes in 1988.

And discoveries are still possible: This programme features an interview - unheard since 1965 - in which the Beatles talk about their second movie Help! They chatted live from a radio car at Twickenham Film Studios for the BBC Light Programme show Pop Inn. The 'lost' master tape of The Lennon and McCartney Songbook will also be heard for the first time since its original broadcast on August Bank Holiday Monday in 1966.

This show is a tantalising prospect for Beatles fans as other interviews and music recordings will be featured that have not been broadcast since the 1960s. In addition to the archive Beatles interviews with presenters such as Brian Matthew and Alan Freeman, Brian and Alan (recorded in 1988) will be heard reminiscing about their time with The Beatles at the Beeb.

Bigger than Jesus

On 4 March 1966 the Evening Standard published an interview between Maureen Cleave and John Lennon entitled How Does A Beatle Live? In the course of a description of the Beatle's everyday life in Weybridge, Cleave quoted Lennon as saying: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity."

The interview caused little controversy on publication in England, where it was regarded as just another example of the waning relevance of the church for the younger generation. But when it was reprinted in an American magazine four months later, on the eve of a Beatles tour of the States, it caused outrage and the Beatles' American tour of 1966 took place against a background of death threats and fear.

Although Lennon expressed regret for any offence caused by his remarks at an uneasy press conference in Chicago, he wouldn't withdraw them. The traditionally asinine encounter between press and pop star had been replaced by a crackling confrontation and Lennon was now cast in the role of spokesman for a generation. A new type of journalism would soon emerge that reflected this change: When Rolling Stone first appeared the following year, its cover star was John Lennon.

Paul McGann tells the story of this extraordinary event and its aftermath. It's a story of fame, the mass media, pop music and religion, of two cultures clashing. Illustrated with contemporary sound archive, listeners will hear from those who were in the Beatles' inner circle at the time and from those who protested against them.

Contributors include Maureen Cleave who conducted the original interview with Lennon; the Alabama DJs who burned Beatle records in protest; Cynthia Lennon, who helped Lennon sort the sacks of mail that arrived at their Weybridge home; press officers Tony Bramwell and Tony Barrow; Barry Tashian, whose group The Remains were the support act on the Beatles' stormy tour of North America; Lennon biographer Ray Connolly; and legendary rock 'n' roll PR (and former Lennon publicist) BP Fallon.

First broadcast in December 2005, five days before 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death.

The Day John Met Paul
Featuring an interview with Sir Paul McCartney and the music and memories of John Lennon's group the Quarrymen, this programme recreates the moment when John and Paul met for the first time at a Quarrymen gig at a sunny garden fete in Woolton, Liverpool on 6 July 1957.

Made with the help of Colin Hall, custodian of John Lennon's childhood home 'Mendips', and with the support of the Liverpool music community.

First broadcast in June 2007, The Day John Met Paul marked the 50th anniversary of a day that changed music for ever.

George Harrison: What is Life
Michael Palin presents a tribute to his friend George Harrison, who died in November 2001. It features archive interviews with George, as well as contributions from his wife and son, Bob Geldof, Jim Keltner, Jeff Lynne, Brian May, Gary Moore, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Ravi Shankar and the Beatles' producer George Martin.

The programme highlights George's contribution to the extraordinary and enduring legacy of the Beatles. Although John or Paul would usually sing the lead vocal, George played a vital role in the distinctive harmonies that enhanced the Beatles' records. Guitarist Gary Moore demonstrates the brilliance of George's solos on their records. And Ravi Shankar talks about how George's love for Indian music and culture influenced Beatles records.

After the Beatles split in 1970, all four released solo records but - to the astonishment of many - it was George who initially achieved the most commercial and critical success. His single My Sweet Lord was a worldwide number one in 1971 and returned to the top of the UK chart in 2002. He organised the Concert for Bangladesh and the triple album of the recordings topped charts around the world. This event, and George Harrison's understanding of the power and responsibility that rock musicians could wield in the world, have had a lasting influence.

George's solo career had periods of great productivity and also two phases when his profile dipped below the horizon. He enjoyed a late 1980s 'comeback' with his hit album Cloud Nine, released the number one single Got My Mind Set On You and two albums with his supergroup The Traveling Wilburys (featuring Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty). The year after George died Brainwashed was released, which featured the music he had worked on since his last solo album in 1987. Among them was the beautiful instrumental Marwa Blues, which won a Grammy Award.

The Great Beatles Songbook Vol. 1
Ken Bruce presents The Great Beatles Songbook: Volume 1, a countdown of the Top 30 biggest selling Beatles tracks in the UK as compiled by the Official Charts Company.

The Great Beatles Songbook Vol. 2
Craig Charles shares the Radio 2 listeners' Beatles stories, with choice tracks from the Fab Four's albums and solo projects. I

In the Beginning
Holly Johnson visits Hamburg to explore how marathon sessions in smoky cellars, and friendships with local teenagers, helped create the incredible chemistry that turned a British beat group into the all-conquering Beatles.

The invasion of British bands into the red light district of Hamburg began in 1960 when German promoters realised that British rock 'n' rollers were cheaper to hire than American ones. They were a five piece group when they arrived in the Reeperbahn in the back of manager Allan Williams' van in August 1960. John, Paul and George were accompanied by Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.

From August to October 1960, the Beatles were the house band at the Indra Club where they played four hour sessions every night for 30 marks each and slept in a tiny room above a local cinema. From October to the end of the year, they were promoted to the nearby Kaiserkeller. Not only were the Fab Five improving their sound during these marathon gigs, they were also developing friendships and the identity that would set them apart.

At the time, young people in Hamburg were typically members of one of two distinct tribes: the Rockers and the Exis (Existentialists). They were 'enemies' occupying separate territories - the 'rock caves' and the jazz clubs. When Exi Klaus Voorman was walking through the Grosse Freiheit on night in October 1960, he stopped outside the Kaiserkeller club to listen to the music. Liking what he heard, he went inside to see Rory Storm & The Hurricanes (featuring Richard Starkey on drums) in full flight. After the break, fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles took to the stage. Klaus was so impressed that he turned up for the group's next gig with girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr and best friend Jurgen Vollmer in tow.

The day after first seeing The Beatles at the Kaiserkeller, Astrid arranged a photo session with them at the city fun-fair. These stark candid images, which would be endlessly reprinted, established a distinct style for the group, as would Jurgen Vollmer's photos of the band. A Vollmer picture of John standing in the doorway in the port district would later adorn the cover of Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll album, accompanied by the strap-line: 'You shoulda been there!'

It was an unlikely collision of young people from different cultures that would create a world-beating chemistry. Where The Beatles had the sound, the Exis had the style. Exis always wore black, with white collars or ruffs and their hair was "pilzen kopf" - "mushroom head" in style. "The Beatle haircut was in fact a Jurgen haircut" says Paul McCartney.

Astrid began a relationship with Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and they were engaged by the time The Beatles returned to Liverpool in November. They were back in Hamburg the following spring for 98 performances at the Top Ten Club. And in June, they made their first professional recordings, with fellow British rocker Tony Sheridan. The band recorded Ain't She Sweet, the instrumental Cry For A Shadow (a rare Harrison/ Lennon composition) and backed Sheridan on his version of My Bonnie. Sheridan's single would reach the German Top 30 and would alert Brian Epstein to the existence of The Beatles when he was asked for a copy in his record shop in Liverpool.

Stuart Sutcliffe left the Beatles to stay in Hamburg with Astrid and pursue his career as a painter. The Beatles returned to the city in April 1962 for a final residency at the Star Club only to learn of Sutcliffe's premature death when they met Astrid at Hamburg airport. Love Me Do was just six months later.

The impact of Hamburg on The Beatles and the friendships they made there would endure. Astrid continued to photograph the group after Sutcliffe's death while Klaus Voorman designed the sleeve for Revolver and later became a member of the Plastic Ono Band. Richard Starkey left Rory Storm and The Hurricanes to become Ringo Starr. And as far as John Lennon was concerned, the band were never better than when in the thick of an all night session on the Reeperbahn.

The documentary includes new interviews with, Astrid Kirchherr, Tony Sheridan and Stuart Sutcliffe's sister Pauline.

Sgt. Pepper Recreated
Another chance to hear the special re-recording of Sgt Pepper, broadcast on Radio 2 to mark the 40th anniversary of the classic album.
Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, Stereophonics, Bryan Adams and Jamie Cullum, are among the artists who joined original multi-award winning audio engineer Geoff Emerick in the studio to record their own interpretations of the famous album tracks.
Using the original analogue four-track equipment Geoff demonstrates the innovative techniques employed for the recording at Abbey Road studios back in 1967. The programme also hears from the artists about the importance of Sgt Pepper and listens in on the recording in action to see just how different the experience is for them.
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Bryan Adams
With A Little Help From My Friends - Razorlight
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Athlete
Getting Better - Kaiser Chiefs
Fixing A Hole - The Fray
She's Leaving Home - Magic Numbers
Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite - Jamie Cullum
Within You Without You - Oasis
When I'm Sixty Four - Russell Brand
Lovely Rita - Travis
Good Morning Good Morning - The Zutons
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - Stereophonics
First broadcast in June 2007 (when it was called Sgt Pepper's 40th Anniversary).

Sounds of the 60s
Brian Matthew presents the programme for all fans of the music of the 1960s.

This week Radio 2's Beatles Bank Holiday continues with The A-Z of The Beatles reaching The Long And Winding Road. There is also a unique 4-in-a-row featuring each of Liverpool's finest taking turns on vocals.

The Record Producers
Richard Allinson and Steve Levine profile the man often labelled 'the Fifth Beatle': Sir George Martin. They examine his work as a producer, arranger and technical innovator.

Radio 2 Live
Paul McCartney talks about his songwriting method and also de-constructs many of the Beatles songs. Recorded at Abbey Road's Studio 2, the famous 'Beatles' studio.