Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vintage Teen World magazine cover

Instruments added to official Beatle: Rock Band site

You can now see guitars and Ringo's drums added to the "Ed Sullivan Show set" on the teaser site for Beatles: Rock Band.

Dylan and McCartney to collaborate for reals?

Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney are reportedly following up on that wished-for collaboration Dylan has mentioned in recent interviews.

“Paul has a home in California not too far from Bob’s so the idea is for the two to meet when Paul is in California over the summer,” says a well-placed mole.

“They’ll obviously want to work in privacy and it’s felt one of their homes will be the best bet.”

UPDATE: The Dylan and McCartney camps are now denying there are any such plans in the works. Not too surprising.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Video: Beatles on Doctor Who May 22, 1965

Vintage Muziek Express magazine cover

McCartney removes house from Google maps

Paul has evidently managed to get pictures of his London home removed from Google Maps.

The former BEATLE’s security team, who monitor access to the house 24 hours a day, complained to the web giant.

A source said: “He was unsettled when he heard Google users could get a 360-degree view of the property.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vintage Motion Picture magazine cover

George Harrison exhibition set for Liverpool

Reportedly the "world's largest" collection of George Harrison memorabilia will go on display at Liverpool's St. George’s Hall Aug. 1. The opening will also include a benefit concert.

The exhibition will be in seven different parts, because seven was George’s lucky number.

Each section will explore a different part of his personality, from the Beatle and car maniac to the producer and the gardener.

The display comes mainly from private collectors and much of it has never been seen before.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Video: Beatles Rain promo, May 20, 1966

Vintage Beat Instrumental magazine cover

Beatles: Rock Band to include Ed Sullivan stage

This famed stage set from one of the Beatles' Ed Sullivan appearances will be featured in the upcoming Beatles: Rock Band video game. Check out the game's official site here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vintage Beatles Movie magazine cover: 007!

Lynch Foundation posts official Paul and Ringo concert footage

The David Lynch Foundation has posted video highlights of Paul and Ringo's appearance at the organization's recent benefit concert. Check it out here.

Video: Liverpool Cathedral bells play "Imagine"

From last week:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mmmm... Pattie Boyd

In the Life of... The Beatles posts a batch of pics of the lovely former Mrs. Harrison.

Video: Beatles perform "Yesterday" live in Japan 1966

Video: Beatles perform "Act Naturally" on the Ed Sullivan Show 1965

George: It's all fun until someone gets a jelly baby in the eye

The Times has a great story today, recounting the Fabs' fears of getting injured by jelly baby-hurling fans back in their touring heyday.

Tom Jones is pelted with ladies' underwear. Punk rockers The Sex Pistols and The Clash had to dodge gobs of phlegm. But in the innocent days of 1963, the Beatles, the world’s first supergroup, were worried about flying jelly babies.

The Beatles’ fear of being injured by the “dangerous” sweets that were lobbed at them by adoring fans has been revealed for the first time in a letter which has spent the last 46 years in a shoebox.

It was written by George Harrison in response to Lynn Smith, a devoted Beatles fan, then a 15-year-old schoolgirl, who wrote to him with a list of questions. As a postscript, Harrison, who died in 2001, begged her and her friends not to bombard the band with sweets, claiming he had been struck in the eye during a concert and “it’s not funny”.

Bass lesson with Paul!

From Hard Dies Night, how about a bass lesson from Paul McCartney?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Video: Beatles live in Munchen June 1966

Beatles: Rock Band Hofner bass revealed

Here's a look at the Hofner bass replica that will be included in the limited edition bundle of the upcoming Beatles: Rock Band game.

NYC Lennon exhibit includes clothes he was murdered in

The BBC has more info on the John Lennon exhibit now on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York, including the details that the clothes Lennon was wearing when he was killed are included, although they are still wrapped in a sealed paper bag. Quite morbid, and I don't really understand their inclusion.

His widow Yoko Ono, who has created the display, said the clothes were "hard to include" and she feared she "might be criticised as well" for including them.

The Liverpool Daily Post offers a little more context to Yoko's decision:

But ultimately, Ono said she thought it was important to let people see the effects of gun violence.

Dylan visits Lennon's boyhood home

Bob Dylan has been quite the Beatlemanic lately. First, he mentions that he'd like to collaborate with Paul, now he's visiting Liverpool tourist attractions--namely John Lennon's boyhood home, "Mendips," in the leafy suburb of Woolton. Apparently, nobody else on the tour noticed him.

A National Trust spokeswoman said Dylan "appeared to enjoy himself".

Visitors are free to wander around the property while asking questions of the curator.

But as tourists prepared to drive out to the house to get an insight into one musical icon, they did not recognise another one sitting next to them.

"He took one of our general minibus tours. People on the minibus did not recognise him apparently," the spokeswoman said.

"He could have booked a private tour but he was happy to go on the bus with everyone else," she added.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Video: Beatles on Shindig October 1964

Old Beatles CDs get new stickers

EMI/Capitol is helpfully alerting unaware Beatles CD buyers that the albums will be available in much better sound soon by placing these stickers on currently available CDs.

New York Times visits Lennon display

The New York Times checks out the new display of John Lennon memorabilia at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex, accompanied by Yoko Ono.

Nearly everything in the exhibition belongs to Ms. Ono and draws on material she has lent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s main museum in Cleveland and to the John Lennon Museum in Tokyo. Also featured are items that have never been on public display before, among them a collage that Lennon made for George Harrison during a visit to Tokyo in the late ’70s, that, spookily, includes the surgeon general’s warning about the dangers of smoking. (Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001.)

Liverpool Cathedral bells chime for Lennon

The chimes of Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral will ring out John's "Imagine" this Saturday as part of the city's annual arts festival.

A spokesperson for the cathedral said that the song's lyrics - which include "Imagine there's no heaven" - had been carefully considered before allowing the stunt to go ahead.

"Allowing 'Imagine' to be pealed on our bells does not mean we agree with the song lyric," the spokesperson said. "But we recognise its power to make us think. As a cathedral we do not shrink from debate. We recognise the existence of other world views."

Yoko Ono said that the idea was "so beautiful, it made me choke up", reports BBC News.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Video: Rare John Lennon video clip

George Harrison "mystery lyrics" on display

From the official Beatles site:

A previously unseen George Harrison lyric, found by author and collector Hunter Davies, goes on display at the British Library today (8 May). Written in early 1967 when George was aged 23 or 24, the untitled song was penned at a time when The Beatles had stopped touring to spend more time in the studio to work on what would arguably become their most famous record, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles are still one of the world's greatest bands, almost 40 years after their split.

Hunter Davies found the lyric during his research for a new edition of The Beatles official biography, which has just been re released more than 40 years after its original publication. In its introduction, Hunter recalls how he collected Beatles lyrics discarded as scrap paper from the floor of Abbey Road studio and kept them as souvenirs. It's almost certain that they would have been thrown out by the cleaners if he hadn't picked them up.

Written in George's handwriting, which all true Beatles fans will recognize, it's not a song that he ever recorded, or perhaps even put music to, as far as we can tell. The girl George was dreaming about remains a mystery although it could have been his then wife Pattie Boyd. The lyric [sic] is eight lines long and reads a bit like teenage angst:

Im happy to say that its only a dream
when I come across people like you,
its only a dream and you make it obscene
with the things that you think and you do.
your so unaware of the pain that I bear
and jealous for what you cant do.
There's times when I feel that you haven't a hope
but I also know that isn't true.

On the reverse side of George's lyric are instructions on how to reach The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein's country house in Sussex, written in Brian's hand. This means that George must have written the lyric before August 1967 when Brian was found dead at his London home following an accidental sleeping pill overdose. Significantly, John Lennon would later claim that this signalled the beginning of the end for the Beatles.

Hunter Davies, The Beatles official biographer, said: "I can't believe I'd kept George's lyric all these years but had forgotten about it until now! Although George is no longer around to tell us what the inspiration was for the song, I'm glad the lyric will be on display at the British Library for generations of Beatles fans to enjoy."

Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library, said: "George's words are all that is left of the song - we can only guess what it would have sounded like so it is an invaluable and hugely interesting piece of Beatles memorabilia. The nation loves The Beatles so it's great to see George's lyric reunited with those of his band mates in the British Library next to John Lennon's 'Help' and Paul McCartney's 'Yesterday'."

Although Beatles compositions were credited to 'Lennon/McCartney', in reality most of the songs were ninety percent Lennon or ninety percent McCartney, rather than being simple fifty/fifty splits. The handwriting of each lyric on display at the British Library illustrates this, for example, 'Help' is one of Lennon's so it's in his handwriting. 'Yesterday' and 'Michelle' are by McCartney so it's in his handwriting. This makes George's lyric all the more rare.

Most of the British Library's Beatles collection is on loan by kind permission of Hunter Davies, who plans to donate it to the Library after his death. The collection features a wide range of memorabilia that ranges from a fan club membership card to the lyrics of 'A Hard Day's Night', written by John Lennon on the back of a birthday card to his son Julian.

Also on display are concert tickets, a printed Christmas fanzine letter, a 45rpm single for A Hard Day's Night, an untitled verse written by John Lennon, the first issue of the Beatles magazine and an early photo of the band.

George's lyric which has never been seen before, joins other Treasures of the British Library - such as Magna Carta and Shakespeare's First Folio - in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery, which is free and open to the public.

Beatles remastered CDs on sale now!

Amazon is listing many of the remastered Beatles CD for pre-order now. Check out this list. I can't find listings for the two box sets, yet, but will provide that information as soon as I have it.

Please Please Me
With the Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles for Sale
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
Yellow Submarine
The Beatles (White Album)
Let it Be
Abbey Road
Past Masters Vol. 1 and 2

See official details about the remasters.

Yoko-curated John Lennon exhibit set for NYC Hard Rock Cafe

If you're in New York:

Beatles biographer Hunter Davies discusses his year with the Fabs

Hunter Davies penned the only authorized biographies of the group and it's been reprinted in a number of editions over the years. In fact, a 40th anniversary edition is on the way. It's a great book, which traces the band's beginnings up through mid 1968 or so, with lots of great first-hand recollections from John, Paul, George and Ringo. Naturally, there was some material the Fabs forbade Davies from using at the time, and some topics that were kept off limits. But in the later editions, Davies has remedied this somewhat by addressing them in in introductions. The book captures the band at the height of their fame and is penned by a writer who had unprecedented access. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the band.

Here's a new interview with Davies:

“It was exciting to meet them,” he recalls. “But I worried that I’d be asking them the same boring questions they’d been asked a million times. So I decided to spend the first six months interviewing their friends and relations, building up background before seeing The Beatles again.”

He hoped that bringing them news and gossip from back home in Liverpool would increase their interest.

“Unless, of course, they were now so fame-drunk and success-sodden that they had ceased to have any interest in where they had come from.”

They still cared, or so they said, about those they left behind. Davies detailed the families who had to abandon their homes, such as Ringo Starr’s mother and stepfather who moved out when they could no longer live with fans turning up at all hours, stealing their letterbox and chipping bits off their front door. John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi moved away as well, and sent buttons from John’s old clothes to fans all over the world.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dylan interested in teamup with Macca

Nothing usually comes of such stories and, usually, they only come about when somebody wants to sell a record. In this case it's Dylan. He's got a new album out so he's doing interviews and he mentions that collaborating with Paul might be fun. Naturally, it's something the press can turn into a news angle. Even if it's just an offhand comment or something the artist says halfheartedly, it generates lots of headlines and maybe sells a few more records.

Nevertheless after Bob this in Rolling Stone:

"That would be exciting – to do something with Paul. But, you know, your paths have to cross for something like that to make sense."

Paul's people say this in the UK Independent:

"We heard the offer this morning and we're trying to let Paul know about it. I should think he would be very interested in hearing about it. As you can imagine, it would be a pretty major thing if it went ahead."

Don't hold your breath. And, if it happens, prepare to plug your nose. Anyone out there ever hear the never-officially-released Bob Dylan-Brian Wilson collaboration, "The Spirit Of Rock And Roll"? It's terrible!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

REAL Beatles guitars

After the news about those plastic Beatles: Rock Band guitars, how about a look at some real Beatles guitars?

While the Fabs used others instruments throughout their recording/performing career, here's a look at some of their most iconic instruments.

The most iconic Beatles instrument--next to Ringo's Beatle-logoed bass drum, that is--is no doubt Paul's violin-shaped Hofner 500 bass. He still plays these basses during live performances today.

Early on with the Beatles, George played a Gretsch Duo Jet, one of the models being replicated for Beatles: Rock Band.

During the height of Beatlemania, however, George's go-to live guitar was a Gretsch Country Gentleman, a model also favored by the great Chet Atkins.

John, meanwhile, was more closely associated by Rickenbacker's during the early years--mainly a 325.

From the mid-60s on, however, John's most frequently-used electric guitar was an Epiphone Casino. In fact, George and Paul also owned and recorded with Casinos. Around the "White Album," John had the finish sanded off of his, which he claimed improved the sound.

Here's Paul playing his Casino.

And let's not forget that a huge part of the Beatles' sound was the band's blending of acoustic rhythm guitars with electric parts. Those parts were most often strummed on a Gibson J10E. Both John and George owned and played them.

For more on Beatle guitars check here and here. And for the definitive look at Beatles-related instruments, read this:

Beatles: Rock Band guitar pictures

Here are pics of the aforementioned guitars for the upcoming Beatles: Rock Band game:

Details on Beatles: Rock Band instruments

Not only will people be able to play along with the Beatles once the new Fabs-based Rock Band game is released, they'll be able to do so on replicas of the band's instruments.

According to various sources, items available will be replicas of John Lennon's Rickebacker 325, George Harrison's Gretsch Duo Jet for $99 each. These fake instruments won't be included in the "special edition" of the game, which comes with a replicas of Paul McCartney's iconic violin-shaped Hofner bass and Ringo Starr's bass drum with Beatles logo.

And, according to Kotaku, the game will feature the ability to attach up to three microphones so players can take a stab at replicating the Fabs' harmonies.

Y'know what, though, why not learn to play a real guitar? For the price of the game and assorted extra plastic guitars, you could buy an Epiphone Casino, the guitar John, George and Paul owned from the late 1960s on and used on the sessions from everything from "Rubber Soul" through "Abbey Road."

You will never be cool playing a toy guitar, man.

Official track list revealed for George Harrison Let it Roll collection

Here's the official press release, with final track list, for the new George Harrison compilation Let it Roll, out June 16.

Capitol/EMI confirms the tracklist for George Harrison's first-ever career-spanning solo hits collection, Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. To be released June 16 (June 15 internationally), the CD's special packaging includes a 28-page booklet featuring previously unseen and rare photos, and newly-written liner notes by Warren Zanes. The collection's 19 tracks have been digitally remastered by Giles Martin at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, and will be available in CD and digital formats.

"Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison is a gathering of material that takes us far into the territory that was ultimately a place unique to George Harrison," writes Warren Zanes in his liner notes essay for the new collection.

This collection is the first to span Harrison's entire solo recording career, including the #1 Billboard Pop singles "My Sweet Lord," "Isn't It A Pity," "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)," and "Got My Mind Set On You." Let It Roll also features live recordings of three timeless Harrison-penned Beatles songs, "Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Here Comes The Sun," from his 1971 all-star Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden.

"The keyhole into the world of George Harrison is the music itself. Yet his songs and the accomplishments for which he's remembered are inextricably bound - and those accomplishments are, without question, eclectic in scope," Zanes writes.

George Harrison is a twice-inducted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles, and an 11-time Grammy Award winner for his recordings with The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, and as a solo artist. On April 14, Harrison was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison (CD, digital)

1. Got My Mind Set On You
2. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
3. The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. My Sweet Lord
5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
6. All Things Must Pass
7. Any Road
8. This Is Love
9. All Those Years Ago
10. Marwa Blues
11. What Is Life
12. Rising Sun
13. When We Was Fab
14. Something [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
15. Blow Away
16. Cheer Down
17. Here Comes The Sun [Live] - Concert For Bangladesh
18. I Don't Want To Do It
19. Isn't It A Pity