Saturday, June 28, 2008

Beatle News

Ascot Acres

Within the next ten weeks John and Yoko will move house to take up residence in what John describes as "a functional country pad" close to Ascot.

He bought their new Tittenhurst Park Georgian mansion early last month for a tidy figure approaching £150,000!

For this sum he gets seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, three main reception rooms, a lodge, a pair of staff apartments, four terraced cottages, a Tudor-style tea pavilion, a heated swimming pool and just over 70 acres of very splendid garden and park land surrounding the actual "functional country pad".

Unlike the previous Tittenhurst Park residents, John and Yoko will not be opening their lovely grounds to the public. Their next door neighbour will be dress designer Norman Hartnell.

Wedding Album

Recorded in Amsterdam, John And Yoko's Wedding LP album is to be issued by Apple in August as a limited edition of about 15,000 copies in a special presentation box. Apart from the LP record there will be a jig-saw puzzle, wedding and honeymoon photographs and poems by John to Yoko.

First two from Zapple

Apple's just-launched second label, Zapple, has got off to a fascinating start with special albums by John and Yoko (Life With The Lions; Unfinished Music No. 2: Zapple 01) and George's Electronic Sounds (Zapple 02).

John spent plenty of time actively promoting the new label with a series of radio and TV interviews which included How Late It Is, Scene And Heard and John Peel's programme plus a set of voice tapes for Radio Luxembourg.

George's Electronic Sounds was recorded partly in Los Angeles and partly at George's own home. It has no singing and is not divided into tracks. It features George, coaxing from his fantastic music-making machine, a Moog Synthesiser, an incredible range of sounds. George painted both front and back of the LP sleeve himself.

Paul writes Mortimer Single

Paul's specially penned new number On Our Way Home is to be on the top deck of a single to launch Apple's American teenage trio Mortimer. The three New York boys--Guy Masson, Tony Van Benschoten and Tom Smith--play acoustic guitars and conga drums. Their Apple single will be issued at the end of this month or early in July. It is being delayed so that it goes into the shops just before the Beatles' next LP album--which will also carry the Beatles' own version of On Our Way Home.

Ringo in New York

Beatles man Peter Brown and Apple press officer Derek Taylor spent the second week of May in New York preparing for Ringo's Stateside stay during location filming for "The Magic Christian". A luxury apartment was rented so that Ringo could relax with Maureen after each day's 13-hour stint in front of the cameras.

Ringo and Maureen chose to sail rather than fly, leaving Britain aboard the QE2 with their children Zak and Jason on May 16.

John and Yoko went along with them "just for company"!

Beatles' New L.P.: Latest

At press-time Apple Records' executive Tony Bramwell was hopeful that everything would be ready in time to set a mid-July release date, although this cannot be confirmed until all four Beatles have expressed full satisfaction with the re-mixed tapes.

Stop Press

John has produced a special TV film clip to promote the Beatles May 30 single release The Ballad Of John And Yoko . . . Paul and Linda spent the last few days of May in the South of France and are now vacationing in Greece.

Friday, June 27, 2008

John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story

by Tony Barrow
Press Officer to the Fab Four

A career-long professional writer and PR consultant, Tony Barrow was The Beatles' Press Officer between 1962 when they issued their first single, 'Love Me Do', and 1968 when they set up their own management company, Apple Corps, in the wake of manager Brian Epstein's death.

Barrow coined The Beatles' nickname of the Fab Four, wrote the sleeve notes for a number of the group's album covers, set up their huge international press conferences, selected their media interviews and fixed up their photo shoots at home and abroad during the touring years, and finally collaborated with Paul McCartney in 1967 to compile the strip-cartoon story booklet that came with The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour recordings. He is one of a tiny handful of surviving eyewitnesses able to write a first-hand account of life within The Beatles' close-knit entourage and the only remaining professional writer from that circle.

Few were closer to The Beatles than Tony Barrow, and this is not merely a biography of the Fab Four, but a unique and vividly personal memoir by a Liverpool-born author who knew John, Paul, George and Ringo as friends throughout the height of their fame.


John Lennon's first words to me were: "If you're not queer and you're not Jewish, why are you coming to work with Brian Epstein?" This was not said confidentially or quietly but in loud and strident tones that rang out around the bar of the Devonshire Arms pub and turned heads at adjacent tables. I replied, weakly, that I hadn't yet agreed to join Epstein's management firm, NEMS Enterprises, which was true but totally avoided the issue of answering Lennon's original question. For the record, I was not queer, not Jewish. I was pro-actively heterosexual and passively Church of England.

This was in November 1962. The Beatles had released their first single, 'Love Me Do', on EMI's Parlophone label a month earlier and I was here in this small central London pub, just off Manchester Square, W1 -- where EMI Records had their head office -- to meet the Liverpool group that Epstein wanted me to come and work with as their PR man. Behind his invitation to meet John, along with Paul, George and the band's recently signed new drummer, Ringo Starr, was the thought that an evening with them in a social setting and plenty of booze would surely give the group an opportunity to decide if they could work with me. I think the fact that all of us came from Liverpool and shared the typical Merseysider's distinctively dry and cynical sense of humour helped to melt the ice. Liverpudlians in exile tend to stick together. Like Masons, it's a survival thing. We also shared a mutual interest in music although, having left Liverpool to live in London several years earlier, I was out of touch with the latest news on the so-called Mersey Beat scene. Our version of first-date small-talk centred on The Beatles telling me what was happening back home at the Cavern, the city's most famous music venue, and about their adventures in Hamburg's clubland where they had spent several seasons, while I talked about life in the London record industry and which acts I had seen recently in concert.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beatles Now!

By contrast, this page is all about The Beatles of today and tomorrow. Far too many headlines have been concentrating upon the financial complexities of company business rather than the 1969 music-making of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Behind all the bids and counterbids, the stories of Northern Songs, ATV, Howard & Wyndham, Triumph Investment Trust, Apple, EMI and NEMS, there's a Business As Usual sign in operation round at Apple's Savile-row HQ.

John has grown another beard, Paul has lost his. Geoffrey Emerick, the brilliant young recording engineer who got a Grammy Award from America for his Sgt. Pepper backroom boy activity, has become Apple's main man behind the studio control panel in the Savile-row basement. Mal Evans had taken his first stab at record production, working alongside Jackie Lomax to help put on disc that artist's own composition New Day which Apple issued a weeks ago.


While George was abroad and Ringo was filming with Peter Sellers, John and Paul completed a new single planned to follow up very closely upon the rush-release of Get Back. Entitled The Ballad Of John And Yoko it is what John describes as "a nice, simple oldie-type ballad about Yoko and I", about the couple's marriage, their trip to Paris, their Amsterdam lie-in and other recent displays of togetherness.

The Ballad Of John And Yoko will be put out on the top deck of a single just as soon as Get Back has dropped away from the best-sellers here and around the world.

Yoko's Debut

At the same time there's news of Yoko's own projected disc debut--John is recording her singing a song he wrote about her just a few weeks ago. "It's something we messed about together with the first intention of writing a song I would sing ABOUT Yoko" explains John "All the words are really about HER but John and Yoko are the same thing in so many ways that it'll be nice if we change bits here and there so that's a song SHE sings ABOUT ME!"

Meanwhile Mal Evans reports from the Apple basement that all is progressing well on the final sessions for The Beatles' next LP. With luck the last recordings will have been completed by the time you read this page and we can expect a July release from Apple for The Beatles' first 1969 album.

From the style of the latest recordings for that LP you would imagine The Beatles had taken their cue from the title Get Back: They are returning to simpler stuff, getting back beyond the electronic mazes of Revolution No. 9 to the styles of their yesteryears.

Instead of taking weeks or even months to perfect each recording, The Beatles are taking a much more ad-lib attitude to their new music-making. They record as soon as they've written each item. Often with just the four of them around the studio microphones instead of importing vast orchestras for additional backing. Often with just one three-hour session to complete the finished product. So there's less planning and a greater sense of free improvisation abounding in their work. It'll show when you hear the album, show in catchy, commercial songs presented without fuss. And it'll prove to those who thought The Beatles' studio ingenuity was getting TOO clever that John, Paul, George and Ringo are still more than capable of turning out material EVERYONE can UNDERSTAND as well as enjoy.

While all the City newsmen were arguing about The Beatles' money and guessing who'd grab what and how, The Beatles were busy being creative at the most important of all their levels--the musical one. As John put it: "Music is what we really want to know about. Not millions of dollars. Whatever the outcome of all the money thing, we'll go on making Beatles records."

Well I'll drink to that . . . . won't you?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The McCartney Years

Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated figures in contemporary music and popular culture. Since he first rose to fame as Beatle Paul in the early '60s, his career has also encompassed long runs with Wings and as a solo artist. In all, McCartney has written or co-written more than fifty Top Ten hits. Rhino's new 3-DVD set, in association with MPL, turns the spotlight on Sir Paul's extraordinarily diverse post-Beatles body of work with over 40 music videos of his classic songs as well as more than two hours of live concert performances and other assorted rarities spanning four decades. New commentary from the man himself, recorded exclusively for this release, enhances the content throughout all three discs of THE MCCARTNEY YEARS.

All elements comprising this unprecedented collection have been meticulously restored, with every film having been polished, re-graded and given a new lease on life in a Widescreen format with remastered audio. Original sound recordings have also been remixed into 5.1 Surround Sound for the first time.

On Disc 1 and Disc 2, the collection's wealth of videos reaches as far back as “Maybe I'm Amazed” from his 1970 solo debut album, on which the now-legendary artist - previously known usually just as “Paul” - won huge acclaim for the LP simply bearing his surname, McCartney. The most recent clip is his 2005 hit “Fine Line” from his GRAMMY®-nominated album Chaos And Creation In The Backyard. In between, highlights include “Heart Of The Country,” “Mamunia,” “Ebony & Ivory,” “Wonderful Christmastime,” “Pipes Of Peace” and “Say Say Say.”

Bonus rarities on these two discs include a Wings promo film for “Band On The Run” and Creating Chaos At Abbey Road, a documentary on the making of Chaos And Creation In The Backyard. Clips and films can be viewed either in chronological order or via suggested custom playlists.

Disc three showcases classic live performances including portions of Rockshow, filmed on the 1976 Wings tour. Also featured are a new edit of McCartney's 1991 appearance on MTV's Unplugged, eleven songs from his 2004 headlining set at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival plus two bonus extras: “Let It Be” from 1985's Live Aid concert and footage from his performance at Super Bowl XXIV.

Paul McCartney has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two times - in 1988 with the Beatles, and in 1999 individually. On their web page overviewing his '99 induction, they wrote:

“With and without Wings, McCartney has been extremely prolific, averaging an album a year since the appearance of McCartney. Moreover, he's been eclectic as well, not only recording pop and rock but also dabbling in various classical forms and ambient dance music. In the post-Beatles era McCartney has cracked the Top Forty 35 times. When combined with the Beatles' 49 Top Forty U.S. singles, it is a matter of statistical fact that Paul McCartney is the most successful pop-music composer ever and the second greatest hitmaker, behind Elvis Presley. Without question he is one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.”

In October 2007, Sir Paul McCartney was honored as the “Q Icon” at the Q Awards 2007, the prestigious annual awards ceremony for leading U.K. contemporary music magazine Q Magazine. His most recent solo album (his 21st), 2007's Memory Almost Full, won widespread praise - Entertainment Weekly graded it A- and wrote, “his best record since 1989's Flowers In The Dirt.” Also in '07, McCartney's choral oratorio Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart) was named album of the year at the annual Classical Brit Awards, the U.K.'s most highly regarded honors for classical music.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon a Time

by Astrid Kirchherr & Max Scheler

Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon A Time documents the Beatles and the city of their birth during the making of their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, in 1964. It captures the rhythm and texture of the tough English port city where the smell of cigarettes and seawater mingled and the strains of pop music were transformed by an early 1960s music scene that gave birth to the Mersey Beat and the greatest band of all time.

Before they achieved world fame, the Beatles perfected their craft in another port of call, the northern German city of Hamburg. There they met Astrid Kirchherr, a budding photographer who became close friends with the band and later was engaged to the Beatles’ original bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe. Some four years later—by which time the Beatles had conquered the world—Kirchherr with Max Scheler visited the band and took the photographs that appear in this book. Kirchherr and Scheler focused on the Beatles in private and public moments, during the filming, and also on the city itself, on the streets, the music scene, the people, evoking for us today the gritty humor and passion of 1960s Liverpudlians.

This book offers a moving testament to the inspirational effect of the Beatles’ success on their hometown as well as an important chapter of the Beatles’ almost-mythic story.

"The first time I met the Beatles was through my former boyfriend... who saw them one night when he was wandering around Hamburg, and then he heard this beautiful sound of rock and roll music and he went down into a quite dark, filthy cellar where these boys were standing on a very, very tiny stage and [performing] in such a way that he was absolutely--let's call it knocked out--by their music, and by their looks, and everything around it. So he told me about it.... I just said, alright, I'll come with you. So we went there, and when I went down the stairs and looked at the stage, I was just amazed at how beautiful these boys looked. It was a photographer's dream.... Then, when I heard the music, it was even more fantastic for me.... After that first night, I went nearly every night to see them and that's how it started.... I asked them if they were willing that I take their pictures, and they [jumped] up and down with joy."

Astrid Kirchherr is a German photographer and artist. She has exhibited her work in Hamburg, London, New York, Tokyo, and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. She was a close friend of the Beatles in the years preceding their international fame.

Max Scheler was a photojournalist for Stern magazine in Hamburg and an associate of the photographer Herbert List.

The Long and Winding Road from Blake to the Beatles

This book traces the musical and cultural achievements of this contemporary musical phenomenon to its origin in the Romantic revolution of the 1790’s in England when traditional concepts of literature, politics, education and social relationships were challenged as they were in the 1960’s.

Why the Beatles?
The Transatlantic Genesis of Rock Romanticism
The Nowhere Man and Mother Nature's Son: Coleridge/Lennon-Wordsworth/ McCartney and the Productivity of Resentment
George Harrison and Byronic In-Between-ness
Ringo Starr and the Anxiety of Romantic Childhood
“What matters is the system!”: The Disappearance of God and the Rise of Conspiratorial Theorizing
A New British Empire

MATTHEW SCHNEIDER is Professor of English at Chapman University, California, USA.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beatles on Film: Analysis of Movies, Documentaries, Spoofs and Cartoons

by Roland Reiter

This book provides the production history and a contextual interpretation of The Beatles' movies (A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, Let It Be) and describes their ability to project the group's image at different stages in their career. It also includes a discussion of all of The Beatles' promotional films and videos, as well as their television cartoon series and the self-produced television special Magical Mystery Tour. Along with The Beatles' feature movies and promos, this analysis also contains documentaries, such as The Compleat Beatles and Anthology, as well as dramatizations of the band's history, such as Backbeat, The Hours and Times, and Two of Us.

Roland Reiter (Dr. phil.) works at the Center for the Study of the Americas at the University of Graz, Austria. His research interests include various social and aesthetic aspects of popular culture.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Epoch Moments and Secrets: John Lennon and the Beatles at the Mirror of Man's Destiny

by Richard Warren Lipack


While all the other BEATLES books TALK about the parties, TALK about the drugs and TALK about life backstage and on the road, Richard Warren Lipack's THE LAST CONCERTS, the first installment in THE BEATLES' TRILOGY - SHOWS IT - with no holds barred!

EPOCH MOMENTS AND SECRETS is drawn from the single most important extant photograph collection on the Beatles in the world. Many of the incredible photographs in this book are reproduced for the first time ever. There are well over 150 photos alone -- all BEHIND-THE-SCENES -- of THE BEATLES during the last days of their live performing career -- up to the moment that they retired from the concert stage, in August of 1966.

The Trilogy work makes the reader witness to the odyssey of a major pivotal event in history as it actually unfolds. This is done through the painstaking state-of-the-art digitally enhanced reproduction of action photographs arranged in sequential order according to the sequence of the negative film frames -- all as they had been clicked-off by the roving camera -- over the tour period. The methods employed to reproduce these images include the rare and lost art of maintaining the halftone dot in the shadow area comprised within the black and white photographs found in EPOCH MOMENTS AND SECRETS. As well, a special Quadtone Process is used to make black and white images into those of striking colors and hues.

The text to THE LAST CONCERTS segment has been researched and executed over a span of nineteen years. And with this, no stone has been left unturned. Here for the first time, the reader and devotee of THE BEATLES can begin to understand their effect on modern society.

Richard Warren Lipack has been producing and gathering definitive documentation on the band THE BEATLES since 1969. Born in 1954, at the age of 23, author Lipack by happenstance stumbled upon the genesis to what has become EPOCH MOMENTS AND SECRETS, and the beginning of THE BEATLES TRILOGY.

In April of 1978, the author began working with the estate of the late Beatles' manager -- Brian Epstein. In September of 1979, the Epsteins arranged for the author to be flown to England, where he stayed with the family in Liverpool. The topic of an extensive book publishing project was discussed, with prime intentions of drawing upon the author's exhaustive document and photograph collection.

Richard Warren Lipack is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, New York City. He currently makes his home in Atlanta. The author is a photographer, writer and international historical document, art and antiques dealer -- with this latter interest embodying a specialty in the realm of technological artifacts and photographic art.

EPOCH MOMENTS AND SECRETS - JOHN LENNON AND THE BEATLES AT THE MIRROR OF MAN'S DESTINY, with the help of the author, will take you on a journey THEN [The Sixties], NOW, and into the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.

THE BEATLES have affected mankind. The total Trilogy work will expose the real story - the life and times [THEN and NOW] of THE BEATLES' legacy, and of their history - and how this is all woven into the fabric of what is being reported by media, newsgroups, government, universities, internet and discussed by world citizens.