Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Beatles - The Get Back Chronicles 1969 Volume Two

The Beatles - The Get Back Chronicles 1969 Volume TwoLabel: A Fab! Production

1. January 23 1969
Get Back Playbacks

2. January 24 1969
Get Back

3. January 25 1969
Two Of Us (rehearsals)
4. For You Blue (rehearsals)
5. For You Blue (rehearsals)
6. Playbacks / For You Blue
7. For You Blue (rehearsals)
8. Let It Be (rehearsals / Playback

9. January 26 1969
Octopus's Garden
Let It Be (rehearsals)
10. Dig it
11. Shake Rattle & Roll / Miss Ann / Kansas City / You Really Got A Hold On Me
12. Jamming
13. The Long And Winding Road

14. January 27 1969
Dig It playback
Let It Be rehearsals
Break For Lunch
15. Get Back - single recording
I've Got A Feeling

16. Januaray 28 1969
For You Blue playback
Get Back playback
I've Got A Feeling
Every Day Is Like A Week
I Want You

John speaking

"HELLO listeners everywhere and welcome to John Lennon In His Own Speak. I am writing these pages with the human voice which is quite different to speaking them with a fountain pen so don't expect any of that Liddypool and Eric Hearble stuff. In any case that stuff's worth nine and a tanner a bookful so it's far too precious to go chucking around.

Eee Bah Goom It's Good To Be Back 'Ome, Like, And That. Nothing wrong with America, of course, as long as you like living in boxes. I suppose all that police security must have seemed necessary to the police but we felt terrible about being herded into our hotel rooms like scared cattle. Wherever we went from city to city there were thousands of kids waiting to welcome us but the police convoys whisked us away and we'd have welcomed more opportunities of saying 'Hello' to American Beatle People. Still, it was a fabulous trip. Even more exciting than our first visit. By the way--did you know there were two George Harrisons on the tour? One with a guitar and a lot of hair and another one with a typewriter and much less hair. The second one was George Harrison of the Liverpool Echo.

Questions All The Way

ALMOST every day throughout the tour we had a big press conference with deejays and journalists all firing different questions at us at the same time. 'Is it true you're leaving to write a musical, John?' 'Is it true you're writing another book, John?' 'Is it true you're writing a film script, John?' No, I'm not leaving The Beatles. Yes, I'd love to have a bash at doing a musical with Paul, but goodness knows when we'll find some free time to work on it. Yes I want to write another book and I've already got quite a bit of material hanging around in my head for it but I've no idea when there'll be enough to take along to the publishers. Yes, the idea of writing a complete screenplay appeals to me but I'm not sure I could manage it. No, I don't think I'll write the script for our next film. Yes, we will be making another film early next year. No, it hasn't got a title yet. 'Have you ever written a whole song all on your own?' No, the room is usually crowded.

Now We're Home

WHAT next then, now that we're home? Before the British concert tour begins we'll have to spend a few days with George Martin in the recording studios. There's the next single to be made (perhaps we'll have recorded it by the time you see this issue) and we'll need to do some work on our next LP. Want to have a good long chat with Peter Yolland before very long. He produced our Christmas Show last year at Finsbury Park. This year he's going to split himself in half and do our Christmas show at Hammersmith and Gerry's production, 'Gerry's Christmas Cracker', up in Liverpool, Leeds and Glasgow. He's trying to work out whether to split himself downwards or across. How will poor Peter spend Christmas Day? Will his head and left arm be on Merseyside and his right foot in Hammersmith?

What can I tell you about myself which you have not already found out from those who do not lie? Being born on 9 October 1940 I wasn't the first Beatle to happen. Ringo, being born on 7 July 1940, was. Although he didn't happen as a Beatle until much later than the rest of us having played with his beard at Butlins and things before realising where his awful destiny lay. I am married ('There you are. I told you he was. Now he's let the cat out of the bag. What a lovely secret to tell everyone. What do you mean they already know?'). I wear glasses. ('What a terrible thing, poor John, having to do that. I know my brother has to wear them but . . . '). I am half of a song-writing team. ('I believe them. I'm sure they really write all their own songs. But I wonder who writes the music and who writes the words'). I get very mad at thick people who say daft things, it says in a magazine I read. Is this true, please tell me, as I want to know, yours etc.

John Lennon--This Is Your Life. Do you recognise that voice? It is Paul saying 'Let us write a song'. And that one? That is Paul saying 'Let us decide to form a group and in some years time we can begin to call it The Beatles if we can think up such a funny name in time'. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible and in the meantime you are missing a Kennomeat commercial on the other channel.

Old Days

'WHAT was it like in the old days, John?' ask the Beatle People I meet, 'What was it like before Brian Epstein became your manager?'. It was just the same really only less people wanted to know. We had more time and would sit around in the Blue Angel or the Jacaranda or the Cavern asking each other 'When are we going to get our big break?'. When nobody could supply an answer we would get in another round of cokes and sit there worrying. They were great times really because it does you good to have a lot of things to worry about. ('Yes, he's being serious now. You can tell when he's being serious. I think').

Paul has said that if one Beatle left the group we'd be back where we started seriously considering the idea of packing it all in. I know exactly how he feels. We four have become more than just a group. For well over two years the four of us have lived and worked closer to one another than brothers.

There are a couple of other members in this gang too. Brian is one and Neil is another. But the gang's all here so let's keep on rolling out the barrel.

In conclusion, Gentlemen. Unaccustomed as I am to making public speeches I now declare this bizarre open. There will now be a short intermission. Our sales assistants will visit all parts of the magazine selling frozen copies of John Lennon In His Own Wit on a stick."

Friday, May 16, 2008

The 'Paperback Writer' Session

Paul McCartney during a recording session for Paperback Writer, April 14, 1966As we walked down the corridor towards E.M.I.'s No. 2 studio (where else would one go when sitting-in on a Beatles' recording session), the commissionaire pointed out to us that the boys were in No. 3 instead. So we made our way back to the front of the building and as we approached the studio door, the red light went on--which meant that they were recording. So we waited for them to finish. Three minutes later we walked in.

On entering the studio, we found John and Paul surrounded by a mass of equipment--most significant of all, were their new massive amplifiers. Paul was clad in his distinctive casual recording gear of black trousers, black moccasion-type shoes, white shirt with fawn stripes, a black sleeveless pullover and to top it all--orange-tinted specs. John sported green velvet trousers, a blue buttoned up wool vest and black suede boots.

The basic track of "Paperback Writer" had been recorded the previous day, and now John and Paul were working out a detailed backing. Paul was perched on a stool thumbing away at a red and white Rickenbacker guitar, (moving with the music as he does on stage) whilst the lyrics boomed through the studio speakers--so we were very honoured at being the first to hear their new single besides George Martin and of course, the Beatles.

We then spotted Ringo's head behind the screen in the far corner--he was playing chess with Neil. So we walked over, "Who's winning?", I asked. "Neil's the expert", Ringo replied, and went back to the chess board to concentrate on how to get his king out of danger from an attack by Neil's bishop and castle.

The music stopped. George Martin came into the studio from the control room to have a tete-a-tete with Paul as to what they could do to improve the backing.

"What are you trying to do with this one?", I asked Paul. "Have you heard the lyrics?", came the reply. "Yes, I think it's very unusual". "The trouble is", said Paul, "That we've done everything we can with four people, so it's always a problem to ring the changes and make it sound different. That's why we have got all these guitars and equipment here." That must have been the understatement of the year, because the studio was littered with pianos, grand pianos, amplifiers, guitars, percussion instruments, and other odd bits and pieces which were strewn over the studio floor.

The studio was sectioned-off with brown canvas screens and what seemed like thousands of black cables running from the amps and other electrical equipment to the control room over the heavily marked wooden floor. To stop the echo, E.M.I. have covered some of the floor with old carpets.

The big heavy sound-proof door which stops any of the noise of the outside world seeping into the studio, burst open, and in strolled George looking very elegant in his Mongolian lamb fur coat with black cap and oblong metal specs.

He was obviously on top of the world and bubbling over with enthusiasm, ready to record a dozen numbers. He threw his coat along side Paul's fur jacket and got down to work out the backing with John and Paul.

John, George and George Martin huddled round Paul, who was seated at the piano trying to work out a bass bit, before asking George Martin to play it. John leaned on the piano while he listened to Paul's ideas for a while. Then he picked up his orange Gretsch guitar and proceeded to pick away at it. At the same time Paul transferred to a Vox organ.

Although John and Paul were both working on the song together, it was originally Paul's idea. He asked the engineer to play it back at half speed so that John and George could do some vocal bits.

They were now all set to go. George Martin gave the O.K. The recording light went on and the basic sound track was played back through the "cans" they each had clamped over their heads. They did several takes. John and George hit some very high notes, but their voices kept cracking. "I don't think I can make it", said George, "unless I have a cup of tea. Where's Mal?".

Right on cue at the end of the fourth take Mal emerged into the studio laden with tea, biscuits and something very special--toast and strawberry jam. Everything was immediately dropped and a sudden swoop was made on the toast and jam. Ringo, who was still in the corner trying to work out his next move, only got one piece of toast, so Mal offered to make another batch as it had proved so popular.

Meanwhile Beatles Book photographer Leslie Bryce was clicking away.

After the toast and jam had been devoured it was back to work. Paul suddenly got an inspiration--he dived across to the piano and started playing bits of "Frere Jacques", he was highly delighted at the thought of having it in the new single.

"O.K. let's try it", said George Martin. So John and George gathered round the mike and off they went. But it was a false start, Paul's head appeared over the top of the piano and he queried "Did you come in at the right place?". "We can't hear it properly", said John, "anyway I thought that was the end of it". George promptly told him it was the beginning!

After they had finished taping these bits, the tracks were played back into the studio while everyone listened in silence. George Martin was the first to speak--"I think that the best thing we've added are the 'Frere Jacques' bits". Ringo who had finally beaten Neil at a game of chess by check-mating him in several brilliant moves involving a queen, a bishop and a castle, said that he thought John and Paul sounded as though they were singing through water! Highly uncomplimentary, so Paul then made for the organ once again and started to work out a sound which resembled that of Scottish bag pipes.

John then came swooping across the studio and shouted out--"You've got it. You've got it". Paul then started dum-dee-dumming away at everyone else--it was just like a scene from "My Fair Lady"!

George Martin appeared over John's shoulder and said "I see what you mean". Paul announced that someone else should play it--meaning George Martin. John and George then went back to their mikes and added the vocals over the top.

After the first track Paul looked over the top of the piano and asked John and George if they were singing it right.

George turned round, lowered his glasses to the tip of his nose and looked down at Paul in a typical school-masterish fashion and said "To the best of our ability Paul!"

And so the boys went on--getting the sound that you will hear on "Paperback Writer".

It was a long session. It took something like ten hours to record because the Beatles insisted on sticking at it until they were completely satisfied that they can do no more.

When you listen to "Paperback Writer" bear in mind what went on beforehand to achieve this really great sound, and I'm sure you'll appreciate it all the more.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Beatles - The Ultimate Sing for Shell

The Beatles in AustraliaLabel: No Label No Numbered Records

Part 1
Complete and "enhanced" concert at The Festival Hall, Melbourne, 06/17/1964.
I Saw Her Standing There (composite) / You Can't Do That / All My Loving / She Loves You / Till There Was You (composite)/ Roll Over Beethoven (composite)/ Can't Buy Me Love / This Boy (composite) / Twist And Shout / Long Tall Sally

Part 2
"The Beatles Sing For Shell" uncut broadcast version including Sounds Incorporated, Johnny Devlin, Johnny Chester and the original commercials.

Part 3
Raw footage from the Channel 9 Master
Sounds Incorporated on stage
Johnny Devlin on stage
Johnny Chester on stage
The Beatles on stage
- I Saw Her Standing There (incomp.) / You Can't Do That / All My Loving / She Loves You / Till There Was You (incomp.) / Roll Over Beethoven (incomp.) / Can't Buy Me Love / Twist And Shout / Long Tall Sally

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Beatles - Star Club: Hamburg, Germany - December 1962

Label: Purple Chick, PC-157/158

In Association With DARTHDISC


25(?) December, 1962, Star Club, Hamburg, Germany

1: Be-Bop A-Lula vocal: Fred Fascher (Teichiku + unbooted)
2: I Saw Her Standing There (unbooted)
3: Hallelujah I Love Her So - vocal: Horst Fascher (Teichiku + unbooted)
4: Red Hot - incomplete (unbooted)
5: Sheila (unbooted)
6: Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey (unbooted)
7: Shimmy Like Kate (unbooted)
8: Reminiscing (unbooted)
9: Red Sails In The Sunset (unbooted)
10: Sweet Little Sixteen (unbooted)
11: Roll Over Beethoven (unbooted)
12: A Taste Of Honey - incomplete (unbooted)

13: Ask Me Why (Road Runner + Teichiku)
14: Long Tall Sally (Teichiku)
15: Besame Mucho (Teichiku)
16: I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) - incomplete (Teichiku)
17: Twist And Shout - incomplete (Lingasong + Sony + Batz)
18: Mr. Moonlight (Teichiku + Lingasong)
19: Falling In Love Again (Lingasong + Teichiku + unbooted + Batz + Teichiku)
20: I’m Talking About You (Teichiku + Sony + Teichiku)
21: I Remember You (Teichiku + Batz)


28(?) December, 1962, Star Club, Hamburg, Germany

1: Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees) - incomplete (Teichiku + unbooted)
2: I Saw Her Standing There (unbooted)
3: To Know Her Is To Love Her (unbooted)
4: Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (unbooted)
5: Till There Was You (Third Reich source tape)
6: Where Have You Been All My Life? (Third Reich + Teichiku + Third Reich + unbooted)
7: Lend Me Your Comb (unbooted)
8: Your Feet’s Too Big (unbooted)
9: I’m Talking About You (unbooted)
10: A Taste Of Honey (unbooted)
11: Matchbox (unbooted + Third Reich source tape + Teichiku)
12: Little Queenie (Teichiku + Third Reich source tape)
13: Roll Over Beethoven (Third Reich source tape)

31(?) December, 1962, Star Club, Hamburg, Germany

14: Road Runner (Road Runner + Teichiku + Road Runner + unbooted)
15: Hippy Hippy Shake (Teichiku)
16: A Taste Of Honey - fragment ( + Road Runner)
17: Money - vocal: Bobby Thompson (poss.) (or Tony Sheridan?) (Road Runner)

Bonus tracks:
King Size Taylor and the Dominos and *Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers
31(?) December, 1962 Star Club, Hamburg, Germany

18: Sparkling Brown Eyes - vocal: Keith Hardie (Road Runner)
19: Lovesick Blues - vocal: John Frankland (Road Runner)
20: First Taste Of Love - vocal: Bobby Thompson (Road Runner)
21: Dizzy Miss Lizzy - vocal: Kingsize Taylor (Road Runner)
22 : Hully Gully* - vocal: Cliff Bennett (Teichiku)

This release clears up a lot of speculation about the Beatles’ Star Club tapes, thanks to an unedited and unprocessed source tape (for which we cannot thank DarthDisc and the Darthelves enough). Although the recording dates are still guesses, we now know the correct order for about 2/3 of the songs. Even so, the second half of disc one is sequenced based more on smooth transitions than solid setlist information.

We tried to make sure every Star Club sound was accounted for, but not repeated: auditioning many “Live At The Star Club” CDs and LPS on a number of labels. Even so, we used Darthdisc’s unprocessed tape wherever possible. As well as offering upgrades and previously unheard chat “Red Hot,” though still incomplete, is twice as long as before. “Red Sails…” now has an extra verse compared with the released version, while “I Saw Her Standing There” on disc two has an extra guitar solo. Conversely, we removed looped portions of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down…”, “Twist And Shout” and “I Remember You.”

It’s by no means perfect, but it’s the best we have at the moment. And it’s the first time we’ve listened to the Star Club tapes in years. Hopefully you’ll gain a new appreciation for these historic recordings as well.

All tracks mono, at the correct speed, and eq’d for the most coherent listening experience. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl Deluxe

Label: Purple Chick, PC-155/156


The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl - The Album

1: Twist And Shout
2: She’s A Woman
3: Dizzy Miss Lizzy
4: Ticket To Ride
5: Can’t Buy Me Love
6: Things We Said Today
7: Roll Over Beethoven

8: Baby’s In Black (bonus track)
9: Boys
10: A Hard Day’s Night
11: Help!
12: All My Loving
13: She Loves You
14: Long Tall Sally

Track 8 is a 1996 mix edited into place. It appeared on the Real Love single.

Outtakes and alternate mixes:
15: Twist And Shout (stereo - DESS: The Beatles’ Story)
16: All My Loving (Anthology DVD)
17: Twist And Shout (mono - DESS: The Beatles’ Story)

18 August, 1964, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA - time

DISC TWO - The Edits

(all from Hollywood Bowl Complete, YD)
18 August, 1964 1964 mono edit
1: Twist And Shout
2: You Can’t Do That
3: All My Loving
4: She Loves You
5: Things We Said Today
6: Roll Over Beethoven
7: Can’t Buy Me Love
8: If I Fell
9: I Want To Hold Your Hand
10: Boys
11: A Hard Day’s Night
12: Long Tall Sally

30 August, 1965
13: Twist And Shout
14: She’s A Woman
15: I Feel Fine
16: Dizzy Miss Lizzy
17: Ticket To Ride
18: Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby
19: Can’t Buy Me Love
20: Baby’s In Black
21: I Wanna Be Your Man
22: A Hard Day’s Night
23: Help!
24: I’m Down

A Tale of Four Beatles - Part II

The Beatles at the Indra, Hamburg, Germany - August 17, 1960by Billy Shepherd

And so the Quarrymen, featuring John, Paul and George worked on until the end of 1958. Around November, they disbanded. The skiffle boom was slowing down--fast! And dates getting harder to find. Lots of groups that had suddenly sprung into existence during the boom period began to disappear as fast as they had come.

Says John: "There was no point in rehearsing for non-existent dates. But we went on playing together just for kicks. Usually in each other's homes. We kept the record-player going a lot of the time playing the latest American hits. We'd try and get the same effects and sounds with the equipment that we had.

But something did get the boys out of their private musical sessions and into the public eye again. A Carroll Levis "Discoveries" audition. George says: "For this we dreamed up a new name--'Johnny and the Moondogs'. There were just the three of us. And I remember we were on a Buddy Holly and the Crickets kick at the time. So, of course we sang "Think It Over" and "It's So Easy".

Carroll Levis looked the boys over when he met them and asked: "What's a Moondog." The boys didn't have the foggiest idea so they murmured something about it being a Red Indian, who sat around banging on tin cans.

They did NOT win the contest. In fact they gained almost nothing from entering. True, they wom through to the finals, but lost out to the Gladiators. They remember there was another young Liverpudlian who also failed to get anywhere . . . and his name now is Billy Fury!

Says John: "Those contests seemed to go on for months. You'd do an audition, then hear nothing more for months. Just when you had begun to forget all about it you'd get a letter saying the next heat was going to be held."

George reckons that the Gladiators deserved to win. "They had all the real gear; drums, a bass and amplifiers," he recalls. "You were real gear in those days if you had all the equipment. We only had one amplifier with me and Paul both plugged into it. Also we borrowed some corduroy jackets . . . and they looked as if they'd been borrowed, too."

It was another slice of experience, though.

For a while, the trio thought of calling themselves the Rainbows, mainly because they all had different coloured shirts. Already they were specialising in their distinctly-different line of dress that marks them out today. But the Rainbows' idea fell through. John, Paul and George seemed to be up against a brick wall, career-wise, once again.

None of them realised that they were near the first important step to stardom. The formation of the original Beatles' group.

In Liverpool, the Cavern was ticking over nicely on the trad craze. A jazz haunt, and, like lots of other clubs, attracting big crowds of followers.

John, Paul and George thought "Why not try all over again?" But they realised they needed a bass player. Which is where Stu Sutcliffe, a fellow student at art school with John Lennon, comes into the story. He wanted to join the boys but the trouble was he didn't really play anything.

Stu was a darned good artist, though. One of his paintings was sold at the John Moore Exhibition in Liverpool for around 65 guineas. He said nothing at first about what he'd do with the money. But one day he returned to his flat, where John was waiting . . . and he clutched a bass guitar.

"He wanted me to teach him how to play," recalls John. "But I really didn't have enough patience to go far with it. However, slowly but surely, he fitted into the scheme."

The boys liked the idea of calling themselves the Beatles. Not everybody was similarly enthusiastic. Especially Cass, of Cass and the Casanovas, then the "guv'nor" group in Liverpool.

He thought it was ridiculous. He suggested they should be "Long John and The Silver Men". But the boys wouldn't have that.

Says Paul: "In those days, we had a succession of drummers. None of them were very good and it's hard to remember all their names." But those drummers were specially useful in that they'd often leave parts of their equipment behind after a one-shot appearance--and gradually we got near building a full kit.

Stemming from those early days, all the boys in the Beatles now can acquit themselves reasonably well on drums. All of them like banging around from time to time. It could prove useful when the group make changes in their stage presentation . . .

But the first big job for the Beatles was an audition for Larry Parnes for a tour in Scotland. He wanted some outfit to back Johnny Gentle, who recorded first under that name and is now Darren Young. The boys, on the posters as the Silver Beatles, landed the tour engagement but could hardly be said to have set the fans alight. It was a backing job, purely and simply.

However, it meant they were starting to work together . . . and edging towards the professional field. Around this time, Stu and John were at college, nearing the end of their stay; George was working at Blacker's electrical firm in Liverpool; Paul was in the process of leaving school.

And if that art school had, indirectly, helped Stu get his start as a musician by providing him with funds, it also helped the group sound better. For John had persuaded the Art Committee to lash out money to buy what he called "public address equipment"--to be used for the college dances. In fact, it was an amplifier and was to prove very useful to the Beatles.

A short tour, a fair number of Liverpool "dates" . . . things looked better for the Beatles, who were often mis-spelled as "The Beetles" on club posters.

But something else happened which was to mean a lot to the boys . . . though they hadn't the foggiest idea of that at the time.

They were in the cellar of a Liverpool club--Stu with his bass guitar, the others just strumming and fooling around. Not a serious rehearsal but simply a gathering of mates knocking out a few of the tunes of the day.

And in came Rory Storme, then leader of the Texans, now front-man for the Hurricanes. With him was his drummer. Dark-brown hair, smaller than the others in the cellar. He collected some bongoes and starting beating out a gentle rhythm. Richard Starkey was his name then, now, of course, he's Ringo Starr.

Recalls George: "We didn't know his name at that time. He didn't know ours. But it was the first time we'd ever met up with him. Nothing much happened. Nothing was said. It's only since, when we've had hours of travelling and plenty of time for chat, that we've realised he was there on that evening. Funny how things have worked out . . ."

Now, in tracing the careers of John, Paul, George, and Stu, Ringo has been out of the picture. Let's fill in the details of which way his career had gone since his school days at Liverpool Secondary Modern and Riversdale Technical College.

"It was Christmas in 1959 and I got my first drum kit. I was eighteen-and-a-half at the time. My parents bought it as a present and they'd given ₤10 for it. It was a funny mixture of a lot of different parts but I loved it. Even when I was at school, I used to crash around on tin cans and biscuit tins and everything.

"Nobody taught me anything about it. I used to experiment for myself, trying to keep time with the records and the radio. To be honest, I couldn't make a lot of noise because we lived in a four-roomed house and there were neighbours to think about.

"I'd been working for H. Hunt and Sons as an apprentice engineer and didn't really have any thoughts about taking up drumming as a career.

"I remember my mum saying a neighbour was in a band and why didn't I have a go. I thought it was a jazz group--I was mad on jazz. When it turned out to be a silver band, playing in a park and sticking to the marches and all that, I chucked it in. I lasted just the one night."

But another neighbour, a lad named Eddie Miles, had a guitar. And there was a mate, Roy Trafford, who had a tea chest bass. They became the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. Just the three of them. At one place, a man approached them, saying: "You're all right but you want to build yourselves up." He meant instrumentally--not referring to the smallness of Ringo. They did build up . . . to include three guitars, drums, washboard, and bass.

First date was at the Labour Club, Peel Street, Liverpool. Says Ringo: "I think the organizer got a bit drunk. Anyway, we weren't paid." But the Skiffle Group pressed on, coping with day time jobs between them--and, as the jobs weren't all that regular, Ringo used to sit in with other groups.

Including Rory Storme and the Texans, once Eddie Miles had left the skifflers and got married. Rory sang. Another group he was involved with was The Darktown, who cashed in on the last of the skiffle craze, then changed over to the Cadillacs when rock 'n' roll became the craze.

Said Ringo: "I went on playing with two groups most of the time--they didn't get many dates. One night, I remember, both those groups were on stage in the same hall on the same engagement. And a third group had a drummer who'd gone sick, so I sat in for him. I meant I didn't leave the stage at all . . . just sat up there changing jackets to fit the uniforms of all three outfits.

"Travelling the drums was the hard bit in those days. I used to take just snare drums and cymbals, 'cos we had to go by bus. Couldn't afford taxis--and few of the groups then had vans."

While Ringo continued on his separate way, working more and more regularly, with seasons at Butlin's holiday camps starting in 1960 and going on to 1962, the Beatles were approaching a break even bigger than the one which had taken them on tour in Scotland.

Germany. Hamburg. A Continental place so beat-happy that British groups were very much in demand there. However, their first visit there, in August, 1960, was NOT because the German promoters were mad-keen on having the Beatles. They were "deputies" for Cass and the Casanovas--who now provide the basis of recording hit-makers, The Big Three, with Cass leading his own group, the Engineers.

The Casanovas couldn't make it. The Beatles filled in and crossed to Hamburg with only two amplifiers. And they crossed, in their Minibus from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, with last-minute panic still fresh in their minds, because they didn't have a drummer until the very night before they left.

Enter, then, Pete Best. He'd played around the Liverpool groups previously and was called in to meet John, Paul, George and Stu and asked to go through his paces. He fitted. The panic was over and, just for a while, it looked as if the boys had solved their drumming problem on a long-term basis.

The Indra Club was the booking. A small club among many small clubs. Just along the road were Howie Casey and the Seniors. It was a veritable barrage of beat from morning to night and back to morning again. The boys had to work ridiculously long hours, all five of them.

Line-up problems were solved by Paul McCartney doing "fill-in" spots. He'd dance round the stage, play a little piano, do anything useful. Stu Sutcliffe was, of course, on bass.

"The wild ones went best in Germany", says John. They dug deep into their repertoire of Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, and the Everly Brothers.

"And that's where we really started on the sort of material we do today", said George. "Lots of stamping, lots of noise--that's what the German fans wanted. But for some reason or other, it seemed we were even noisier than the others in the area. At any rate, the police picked on the Indra Club to close down. Couldn't understand it at the time, because there was so much noise everywhere else."

Said John: "Oh, apparently a neighbour decided that he'd like to get some sleep every so often! Anyway, we had to transfer to the Kaiserkellar."

They were there for four-and-a-half months. One Beatle didn't last that long, though, for he was performing illegally. George Harrison. He was too young to work in Germany and didn't have a work permit. It took the police a long, long time to catch up with him but when they did he was sent back to England, to Liverpool.

With the five cut down to four, and with little time to do anything about it, the Beatles were in trouble. Said John: "George stayed up the night before he had to go home, trying to teach me the stuff he had been playing. Actually, we left the Kaiserkellar the night after George left Germany. And we went to the Top Ten Club not far away."

But while George was getting himself home, fed up and feeling out of things, there were more troubles in Germany. It can be put down to the popularity the Beatles enjoyed over there . . .

That was because the customers went from the Kaiserkellar along to the Top Ten Club. At the Kaiserkellar, the boys were tops. They created a brand of beat-raising enthusiasm that had the fans hollering for more.

Says George now: "This Liverpool sound . . . well, we tend to think it's a lot of rubbish, really. What happened at the Kaiserkellar was that Pete wasn't really all that good then, technically, as a drummer, and he'd joined us just before leaving so he didn't know our little ways. We'd often turn round and stamp on the stage to keep the tempo going right.

"We kept up that big heavy four-in-a-bar beat going all night long. We kicked up so much hammering that we just about ruined the stage. The floor boards had been bouncing up and down anyway and as we'd got a new amplifier going, we asked for a new stage. The boss refused. So we hammered away even more . . ."

But the overall effect of the stamping was popular. And the Kaiserkellar management was furious when the customers left. More complaints were put--"by persons unknown"--to the police. Result was that, eventually, Paul and Pete were ordered back to Britain. The Beatles were disintegrating fast!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Various Artists - The Songs The Beatles Gave Away Deluxe

Label: Purple Chick, PC-154

1: I’m The Greatest - Ringo Starr
2: One And One Is Two - The Strangers with Mike Shannon
3: From A Window - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
4: Nobody I Know - Peter and Gordon
5: Like Dreamers Do - The Applejacks
6: I'll Keep You Satisfied - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
7: Love Of The Loved - Cilla Black
8: Woman - Peter and Gordon
9: Tip Of My Tongue - Tommy Quickly
10: I'm In Love - The Fourmost
11: Hello Little Girl - The Fourmost
12: That Means A Lot - P.J. Proby
13: It's For You - Cilla Black
14: Penina - Carlos Mendes
15: Step Inside Love - Cilla Black
16: World Without Love - Peter and Gordon
17: Bad To Me - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
18: I Don't Want To See You Again - Peter and Gordon
19: I'll Be On My Way - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
20: Catcall - The Chris Barber Band

More Songs The Beatles Gave Away

21: Sour Milk Sea - Jackie Lomax
22: Thingumybob - John Foster & Son Ltd. Black Dyke Mills Band
23: Goodbye - Mary Hopkin
24: Come And Get It - Badfinger
25: Badge - Cream
26: My Dark Hour - Steve Miller Band

Songs The Beatles Couldn’t Give Away

27: I'm In Love - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
28: Hello Little Girl - Gerry and the Pacemakers
29: Penina - Jotta Herre
30: Step Inside Love (demo) - Cilla Black
31: Thingumybob - George Martin Orchestra

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Beatles - From Then to You Deluxe

Label: Purple Chick, PC-152

"From Then To You"
The Beatles Christmas Record, 1970
1: The Beatles Christmas Record
2: Another Beatles Christmas Record
3: The Beatles Third Christmas Record
4: Pantomime: “Everywhere It's Christmas”
The Beatles Fourth Christmas Record
5: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
The Beatles Fifth Christmas Record
6: Happy Christmas 1968
The Beatles Sixth Christmas Record
7: Happy Christmas 1969
The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record

26 October, 1964
8: Hello Dolly
9: Speech (take 1)
10: Speech (take 2)
11: Speech (take 3)
12: Speech (take 4)
13: Speech (take 5)

19 October, 1965
14: The Lost Christmas Message
15: The Lost Christmas Message II

6 December, 1966
16: Messages for Radio London and
Radio Caroline

November, 1968
17: Jock And Yono
18: Once Upon A Pool Table

single edit
19: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)

bonus tracks
20: ITV News Interview
21: A Saturday Club Christmas
22: Newsreel Interview
23: Christmas Show Interview

We chose not to include the so-called ‘alternate edit’ of the 1964 Christmas message as it’s not really official. Bits were cut out of the take for use in the Abbey Road Video Show. They were reinserted in the wrong spot. Instead, we edited the take announcement, together with the slightly longer beginning and end on to the released version. We figure those who care enough to have the two different versions already have them.

You can find more versions of Christmas Time (Is Here Again) on our Magical Mystery Year Deluxe Edition.