Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine is a 1968 animated feature film based on the music of The Beatles. It is also the title for the soundtrack album to the feature film, released as part of the Beatles' music catalogue. The film was directed by animation producer George Dunning, and produced by United Artists (UA) and King Features Syndicate. The real Beatles participated only in the closing scene of the film, with the fictional counterparts of the Beatles voiced by other actors.

Plot summary

At the beginning of the story, Pepperland is introduced by a narrator as a cheerful music-loving paradise under the sea, protected by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which falls under a surprise attack by the music-hating Blue Meanies, who seal the band inside a music-proof bubble, turn the Pepperlanders into statues, and drain the countryside of colour.

In the last minute before his own capture, Pepperland's elderly Lord Mayor sends Old Fred, a sailor, (whom the mayor calls "Young Fred") off in the Yellow Submarine to get help. Old Fred travels to Liverpool, where he follows the depressed and aimless Ringo and persuades him to return to Pepperland with him. Ringo collects his "mates" John, George and finally Paul. The five journey back to Pepperland in the yellow submarine, passing through several episodes:

* Sea of Time – where time flows both forwards and backwards to the tune of "When I'm Sixty-Four",
* Sea of Science – where they sing "Only a Northern Song",
* Sea of Monsters – where a monstrous "vacuum cleaner beast" sucks up the entire landscape and then itself, freeing them.
* Sea of Nothing – where they meet a rather helpful "nowhere man" named Jeremy Hilary Boob Ph.D, and sing the song "Nowhere Man" in reference to him. As they leave however Jeremy starts crying and Ringo takes pity on Jeremy and lets him join them aboard the submarine.
* Foothills of the Headlands (or Sea of Heads) – where they are separated from the submarine and John sings "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds",
* Finally, the Sea of Holes – where Jeremy is kidnapped by one of the Blue Meanies patrolling the outskirts of Pepperland. When Ringo jumps on to a green hole (which turns into the Sea of Green and is actually a hidden temporospatial portal), they arrive in Pepperland.

Reunited with Old Fred and the submarine, they imitate Sgt. Pepper's band, and "rally the land to rebellion". Jeremy is rescued, colour and flowers rebloom, the original Sgt. Pepper's band is released (thanks to a hole carried in Ringo's pocket from the Sea of Holes), and Pepperland is restored. The Blue Meanies are forced to retreat, but John extends an offer of friendship, and the Chief Blue Meanie has a change of heart (partly due to some "transformation magic" performed by Jeremy), and accepts. An enormous party ensues, with everyone living happily ever after.

At the end, the real Beatles, having returned home, playfully show off their souvenirs, whereof George has the submarine's motor, Paul has "a little LOVE", and Ringo still has half a hole in his pocket (having supposedly given the other half to Jeremy). John sees "newer and bluer Meanies being sighted within the vicinity of this theater" and announces that there is only one way to go out: "Singing!". The quartet obliges with a reprise of "All Together Now" which ends with various translations of the song's title appearing in sequence on the screen.


Released in the midst of the psychedelic pop culture of the 1960s, the movie Yellow Submarine was a box-office hit, drawing in crowds both for its lush, wildly creative images, and its soundtrack of Beatles songs. The original story was written by Lee Minoff, based on the song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and the screenplay penned by four collaborators including Erich Segal. The recurring line "It's all in the mind" is taken from The Goon Show.

As with many motion picture musicals, the music takes precedence over the actual plot, and most of the story is a series of set-pieces designed to present Beatles music set to various images, in a form reminiscent of Walt Disney's Fantasia (and foreshadowing the rise of music videos and MTV fifteen years later). Nonetheless, the movie still presents a modern-day fairy tale that caters to the ideals of the "love generation".

The dialogue is littered with puns, double entendres, and Beatles in-jokes, many scripted by poet Roger McGough.

The imagery, character names, and vocalisations include numerous in-jokes, such as the character Max being blue and having a German accent, possibly being a reference to the 1966 movie "The Blue Max", who also refers to escaping to Argentina, as some Nazis had done.

In the DVD commentary track, production supervisor John Coates adds an additional perspective, stating that "blue" was a play on "Jew", not as a reflection of any anti-Semitism on the part of the filmmakers, but rather as a commentary on the stereotypical casting of Jews as villains. There is also a scene where a Blue Meanie questions some disguised Beatles, asking, "Are you Bluish? You don't look Bluish..." However, Millicent McMillan recalls that the Blue Meanies were originally supposed to be red, or even purple, but when Heinz Edelmann's assistant accidentally changed the colours, the film's characters took on a different meaning.

The Beatles' animated personas were based on their appearance in the promotional film for the song "Strawberry Fields Forever", with the exception of Paul being without his moustache. The film also includes several references to songs not included in the soundtrack, including "A Day in the Life" where the lyrics are referenced in the "Sea of Holes" scene, as well as the orchestral breaks earlier in the movie, also from "A Day in the Life".


National and foreign animators were assembled by TVC. Bob Balser and Jack Stokes were animation directors. Charlie Jenkins, one of the film's key creative directors, was responsible for the entire Eleanor Rigby sequence, as well as the submarine travel from Liverpool, through London, to splashdown. Jenkins also was responsible for "Only a Northern Song" in the Sea of Science, plus much of the multi-image sequences. Australian Anne Joliffe was a key animator. The background work was executed by artists under the direction of Alison De Vere and Millicent McMillan who were both Background Supervisors. Ted Lewis and Chris Miles were responsible for Animation Clean Up.

George Dunning, who also worked on the Beatles cartoon series, was the overall director for the film, supervising over 200 artists for 11 months. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was George Dunning's idea, which he turned over to Bill Sewell, who delivered more than thirty minutes of rotoscoped images. By that time, George Dunning was not available, and Bob Balser, with the help of Arne Gustafson, edited the material to its sequence length in the film.

The animation of Yellow Submarine has sometimes falsely been attributed to the famous psychedelic pop art artist of the era, Peter Max; but the film's art director was Heinz Edelmann. Edelmann, along with his contemporary Milton Glaser, pioneered the psychedelic style for which Max would later become famous, but according to Edelmann and producer Al Brodax, as quoted in the book Inside the Yellow Submarine by Hieronimus and Cortner, Max had nothing to do with the production of Yellow Submarine.

The movie's style, created by creative director Heinz Edelmann, contrasts greatly with the efforts of Disney Feature Animation and other animated films previously released by Hollywood up until the time. The film uses a style of limited animation. It also paved the way for Terry Gilliam's animations for Do Not Adjust Your Set and Monty Python.


In addition to the existing title song "Yellow Submarine", five new songs were commissioned for the movie: "All Together Now", (a football-crowd favourite); "It's All Too Much", (a George Harrison composition); "Baby, You're a Rich Man" (the first song recorded specifically for this film, but which made its first appearance as the B-side to the "All You Need Is Love" single); "Only a Northern Song", a Harrison song originally recorded during sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (the partial inspiration for this film); and "Hey Bulldog", a John Lennon piano romp echoing of "Lady Madonna", which was recorded at the same time (this song was originally included only in the European theatrical release, but restored for the U.S. theatrical reissue in 1999).

The film's instrumental music was an orchestral score composed and arranged by George Martin. One of the film's cues, heard after the main title credits, was originally recorded during sessions for "Good Night" (an album track for The Beatles, aka the "White Album") and would have been used as the introduction to Ringo's composition "Don't Pass Me By", also on the "White Album"; it was later released as "A Beginning" on the Anthology 3 album.

Beatles' participation

The Beatles were not enthusiastic about participating in a motion picture. They were displeased with their second feature film Help!, and were discouraged by the disastrous reception of their self-produced TV special Magical Mystery Tour. They did, however, see an animated film as a favourable way to complete their commitment to United Artists for a third film. (Ultimately, due to their relatively small roles and the fact it was animated, United Artists still considered them to owe another movie; Let It Be would be the third film to complete their contract with the studio.)

The Beatles were impressed after seeing a draft of the film, and agreed to make a live-action cameo appearance in the final scene, which was filmed in early February 1968 upon the band's return from India. The cameo was originally intended to feature a post-production psychedelic background and effects; but due to time and budget constraints, a blank, black background remained in the final film. While Starr and McCartney still looked the same as their animated counterparts, Lennon and Harrison's physical appearances had changed by the time the cameo was shot. Both were clean-shaven, and Lennon had begun to grow his hair longer with accompanying lamb chop sideburns.

In The Beatles Anthology video, the surviving Beatles (including Harrison) all admitted that they truly liked the film. Ringo also revealed that for years he was approached by children and asked "Why did you press the button?", referring to when his character curiously pressed the panic button ejecting him from the submarine into the sea of monsters. Lennon also implied that his son Sean first realized his father had been a Beatle because of the film. After seeing Yellow Submarine at a friend's house, Sean came home asking why his father was a cartoon.


* John Clive – John (speaking voice)
* Geoffrey Hughes – Paul (speaking voice)
* Peter Batten – George (speaking voice) (Batten was arrested during voice recording because he had deserted the British army, so Paul Angelis finished recording his part.)
* Paul Angelis – Ringo (speaking voice), Chief Blue Meanie, George (speaking voice)
* Dick Emery – Lord Mayor, Nowhere Man (Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D), Max
* Lance Percival – Young/Old Fred (Lance Percival also provided the voices of Paul and Ringo for the ABC TV Beatles cartoon.)
* John Lennon – John (singing voice)
* Paul McCartney – Paul (singing voice)
* George Harrison – George (singing voice)
* Ringo Starr – Ringo (singing voice)

Songs in Yellow Submarine

All tracks written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except where noted.

* "Yellow Submarine"
* "Eleanor Rigby"
* "Love You To" (George Harrison) (excerpt, played during George's entrance)
* "A Day In The Life" (excerpt, orchestral swell played as the Sub takes off)
* "All Together Now"
* "When I'm Sixty-Four"
* "Only a Northern Song" (Harrison)
* "Nowhere Man"
* "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
* "Think For Yourself" (Harrison) (short excerpt, a line is sung a cappella to revive the Lord Mayor)
* "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
* "With a Little Help from My Friends"
* "All You Need Is Love"
* "Baby, You're a Rich Man" (excerpt, played as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are, due to Ringo's "hole in his pocket", set free from the anti-music missile that the Blue Meanies set upon them)
* "Hey Bulldog"
* "It's All Too Much" (Harrison)
* "All Together Now"

The original soundtrack album consisted of Beatles tracks and some orchestral pieces by George Martin on the second side:

1. "Yellow Submarine"
2. "Only a Northern Song" (Harrison)
3. "All Together Now"
4. "Hey Bulldog"
5. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison)
6. "All You Need Is Love"
7. "Pepperland" (George Martin)
8. "Sea of Time" (Martin)
9. "Sea of Holes" (Martin)
10. "Sea of Monsters" (Martin)
11. "March of the Meanies" (Martin)
12. "Pepperland Laid Waste" (Martin)
13. "Yellow Submarine in Pepperland" (Lennon/McCartney, arranged by Martin)

The orchestral pieces were also used in the short NASA Apollo 9 mission film, which NASA made for every mission.

Another soundtrack, the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, was released in 1999, which contained all of The Beatles' songs from the film except "A Day In The Life":

1. "Yellow Submarine"
2. "Hey Bulldog"
3. "Eleanor Rigby"
4. "Love You To" (Harrison)
5. "All Together Now"
6. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
7. "Think for Yourself" (Harrison)
8. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
9. "With a Little Help from My Friends"
10. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
11. "Only a Northern Song" (Harrison)
12. "All You Need Is Love"
13. "When I'm Sixty-Four"
14. "Nowhere Man"
15. "It's All Too Much" (Harrison)

Release history

Original theatrical release

The movie was distributed worldwide by United Artists in two versions. The version shown in Europe included an extra musical number, "Hey Bulldog", heard in the final third of the movie. For the U.S. version, the number was replaced with alternate animation due to time constraints. It was felt that at the time, American audiences would grow tired from the length of the movie. Of all the Beatles films released by UA, this is the only one UA retained the rights to, leading up to its purchase by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1981. In 2005, Sony Pictures Entertainment led a consortium that purchased MGM and UA, thus SPE now handles theatrical distribution for MGM, while 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is responsible for home video distribution, although the most recent home video release is now out of print.

Initial home video releases

With the dawn of the home video era came an opportunity to release Yellow Submarine on VHS and LaserDisc. However, it was held up for some years due to music rights issues that UA had to clear in order for the film to be issued on video by what was then MGM/UA Home Video in 1987. This was presented in its U.S. theatrical release (without the "Hey Bulldog" scene), with a simulated stereo mix of the film's original mono soundtrack. After a couple of years, the video was pulled from release, and for many years mint copies of the initial home video pressing were considered collectibles.

1999 film and soundtrack re-release

In 1999, United Artists and Apple Records digitally restored the audio of the film for theatrical and home video re-release. Though the visuals were not digitally restored, a new transfer was done after cleaning the original film negative and rejuvenating the colour. A soundtrack album for this version was also released, which featured the first extensive digital stereo remixes of Beatles material.

The film was also re-edited to its original European theatrical release version, with the "Hey Bulldog" number restored, and some of the additional animation removed. This included a very short "closure" shot of Old Fred and the Lord Mayor dancing in celebration.

The DVD that was released also featured a "soundtrack only" version, in which the dialogue is removed, leaving only the music and the songs. The DVD is currently out of print and it is up to UA and Fox to decide when it will be released again, pending new licensing fee issues.

At the 2010 Golden Globe awards, McCartney said that the film is "about to resurface."


Variety reported in August 2009 that Disney and director Robert Zemeckis were negotiating to produce a 3D computer animated remake of the film. Performance capture would be used, as with Zemeckis's previous animated films The Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. According to the story, Disney hopes to release the film in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Disney and Apple Corps Ltd. officially announced the remake at the inaugural D23 Expo on 11 September 2009.

Comedian Peter Serafinowicz was cast to voice Paul McCartney, Dean Lennox Kelly as John Lennon, Cary Elwes as George Harrison and Adam Campbell as Ringo Starr.

California-based Beatles tribute band, The Fab Four was cast to do the motion-capture performance for the animated Beatles.


* Art Director, Production design, Major Character Design: Heinz Edelmann
* Supplemental Character designers (Pepperland): Jon Cramer, Dick Sawyer
* Screen story by Lee Minoff
* Screenplay by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, and Erich Segal
* Animation directors: Robert Balser, Jack Stokes
* Animators: Alan Ball, John Challis, Hester Coblentz, Geoff Collins, Rich Cox, Duane Crowther, Tony Cuthbert, Malcolm Draper, Paul Driessen, Cam Ford, Norman Drew, Tom Halley, Dick Horne, Arthur Humberstone, Dennis Hunt, Diane Jackson, Anne Jolliffe, Dave Livesey, Reg Lodge, Geoff Loynes, Lawrence Moorcroft, Ted Percival, Mike Pocock, Gerald Potterton, Jack Stokes
* Effects animator: Chris Caunter
* Layout: Ray Aragon, Peter Arthy, Jack Daniels, Alan Grey, Gordon Harrison, Ted Pettingal, Gill Potter
* Colour stylists: Alison DeVere, Millicent McMillan
* Backgrounds: Jenny Aldridge, Arthur Button, Malcolm Dakin, David Elvin, Paul Francis, Ian Gordon, Caird Green, Clare Greenford, Muriel Jennings, Martina Selway
* Clean-up animation directors: Ted Lewis Chris Miles
* Key assistant animators: Ian Cowan, Richard Dakin, Norman Drew, Ray Newman
* Ink and paint managers: Jenny Brisbane, Susan Brown, Margaret Geddes, Susan Gibbons, Janet Hosie, Helen Jones, Corona Maher
* Animation camera: John Williams (Department Head), Alan Foster, Tony Hanes, Ian Letts, Malcolm Livesey, Rex Neville, Graham Orrin, Bev Roberts, Richard Wodyinski
* Film editor: Brian J. Bishop
* Assistant editor: Torquil Stewart
* Sound editors: Donald Cohen, Ken Rolls
* Re-recording mixer: Hugh Strain
* Co-produced by Mary Ellen Stewart
* Production executive: John Coates
* Production coordinator: Abe Goodman
* Production assistant: Sally Hyman
* Production administrators: Peter Franklin, Norman Kauffman
* Special sequences: Charles Jenkins
* Live action director: Dennis Abey
* Assistant director: Edrich Radage
* Music supervised by George Martin
* Produced by Al Brodax
* Directed by George Dunning


* 1970 Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special (nominated)
* 1969 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (nominated)
* 1968 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Special Award


Friday, May 28, 2010

Dhani Harrison

Dhani Harrison (born 1 August 1978) is an English musician and the son of Olivia Trinidad Arias and George Harrison of The Beatles. Harrison debuted as a professional musician when completing his father's final album Brainwashed after George Harrison's death in November 2001. Harrison formed his own band, thenewno2, in 2006.

Harrison's first name is pronounced similarly to the name Danny but with an aspirated 'd.' He is named after two notes of the Indian music scale, 'dha' and 'ni.' Harrison's name traditionally is pronounced, "Dhaa-Knee."

Early life

Harrison's mother is Olivia Trinidad Arias. He grew up with his parents in Henley-on-Thames, in Friar Park, the estate on which George Harrison had lived since 1970.

One of Harrison's earliest memories, from the age of six, is receiving a drumming lesson from his father's friend and band mate, "Uncle" Ringo Starr. He recalled that before the lesson, he had been an avid drummer. However, when Starr began to play, the loud noise frightened him so terribly that he ran out of the room screaming and never used his drum kit again.

Like his father, Dhani Harrison showed a keen interest in Formula One auto racing. He accompanied George to Grand Prix races around the world.


Harrison attended Badgemore Primary school in Henley-on-Thames, then Dolphin School near Twyford, a Montessori school. He later attended Shiplake College, also near Henley, where he showed a keen interest in rowing. Harrison is an alumnus of Brown University, where he studied physics and industrial design.

After graduating from university, Harrison pursued a career as an aerodynamicist. However, this career turned out not to suit him as well as he had hoped, and he is following in his father's footsteps as a professional musician.

Musical career

After George Harrison's death on 29 November 2001, Dhani Harrison, in collaboration with Jeff Lynne, completed George's final album, Brainwashed, which was released in 2002. He participated in the Concert for George on the first anniversary of George's death. The concert was organized by Eric Clapton and featured some of George's friends and collaborators, including Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Joe Brown (singer) and Paul McCartney. Dhani Harrison played backup acoustic guitar for most of the concert. Before the finale, McCartney relayed to the audience, "Olivia said that with Dhani up on stage, it looks like George stayed young and we all got old."

In March 2006, Harrison made a guest appearance on Liam Lynch's Podcast Video Variety Show, Lynchland. They performed a duet that will appear on a Lynch album. He collaborated with Jakob Dylan on the John Lennon song "Gimme Some Truth" for the Lennon tribute album "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur", which was released on 12 June 2007. Dhani is credited on two unreleased Traveling Wilburys tracks under the pseudonym Ayrton Wilbury, a tribute to Ayrton Senna.

In April 2006, it was announced that Harrison's band, thenewno2 had begun recording. The band released a music video, "Choose What You're Watching", on its website. thenewno2 features Harrison on lead guitar, synthesizer and vocals and Oli Hecks on drums and synths. He also contributed to the 2007 EP by Heather Porcaro & the Heartstring Symphony, Rooney's 2007 CD Calling the World. He was involved in a re-working of the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" entitled "The Heart Gently Weeps", which was the first single on the Wu-Tang Clan's album, 8 Diagrams, released in December 2007.

thenewno2's debut album, You Are Here was released online on 11 August 2008 and in stores on 31 March 2009. The song "Yomp" was featured as a downloadable song for the Rock Band series, and "Crazy Tuesday" was featured as one of the 20 free songs that were downloadable with the purchase of Rock Band 2.

On 14 April 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce posthumously awarded George Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame. After Olivia Harrison gave a short speech about her late husband, Dhani Harrison uttered the "Hare Krishna" mantra.

Video games

It was announced in 2009 that Harrison was collaborating in the development of The Beatles: Rock Band, a music video game released on 9 September 2009 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii gaming platforms. Dhani Harrison was instrumental to the creation of the game and urged McCartney and Starr to participate. When asked about the game production Dhani stated, "I took the project to Apple and sort of convinced everybody to have a presentation. My job description is... being enthusiastic. We've been working on it for the past two years. This is the first one that is going to be totally, historically accurate. It's been a real headache, but it's been the most enjoyable work I've done in my life."

To promote the game's release, he appeared on the The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on 8 September 2009 and at the end of the show they played "Birthday" with Dhani on drums, Conan on bass, and Aaron Bleyaert and Mark Pender on guitar.

Harrison told the Chicago Tribune in an interview that he is "working on 'Rock Band 3' and making the controllers more real so people can actually learn how to play music while playing the game."


Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Hello Little Girl"

"Hello Little Girl" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1957 and was used as one of the songs at The Beatles unsuccessful Decca audition in 1962. It is the first song ever written by John Lennon.

In 1963 the English Merseybeat band The Fourmost made a recording of the song in the Abbey Road Studios (produced by George Martin) and released it as their debut single. Two weeks later Gerry & The Pacemakers also recorded a version of the song, but the version by The Fourmost was selected for the issue and reached number 9 in the United Kingdom.

The Beatles' version of the song can be found on Anthology 1 with John Lennon as the lead singer.

Single by The Fourmost
B-side: "Just In Case" (Boudleaux-Bryant)
Released: 30 August 1963
Format: 7" single
Recorded: 3 July 1963, Abbey Road
Genre: Merseybeat
Label: Parlophone R5056
Writer(s): McCartney-Lennon
Producer: George Martin


Why Did the Beatles Fire Pete Best?

From the perspective of the Pete Best camp, the story of his firing is usually told as a tale of jealousy, of three Beatles envious of Best's good looks, talent and female fan base -- turfing him at an opportune moment just before they made it big. The reality may have been different, but regardless it long remained a mystery to Best himself, as he was never properly provided with a reason for his sudden axing from the group.

A key decision maker for the group at the time (1962) was John Lennon, whose leadership continued to carry over from the Beatles' Quarry Men origins ("John is in fact the leader of the group," Paul McCartney said in a radio interview two months after Best's departure). In 1972, John was asked point blank why Best was fired during a radio call-in show (to John's amazement, ten years after the fact, two of the questions from callers that afternoon dealt with the subject of Pete Best). John replied succinctly that Best's poor drumming skills were the reason behind his removal. The full explanation, however, requires going back to a time in the Beatles' career where their future in the music business was anything but certain.

After being rejected countless times by record companies, including EMI and Decca, the Beatles auditioned for Parlophone Records and the time came for the group to record their debut single, "Love Me Do," after being given the somewhat reluctant go-ahead from producer George Martin. As evidenced by the demo heard on Anthology 1, Pete's drumming was anything but skillful or solid. Martin informed the Beatles in no uncertain terms that they could do as they wished for their live concerts, but he would be bringing in a professional drummer to fill-in on their recording sessions.

This became the pivotal moment that sunk Best's career as a Beatle. Here was a group member chosen for expediency's sake in 1960 in advance of an important series of gigs in Hamburg, Germany. He was someone that never completely gelled personality-wise with the other Beatles: he preferred being on his own to hanging out with the others, he did not share their sense of humor, he refused to adopt their soon-to-be-famous haircut style, and so on. This criticism from their new producer, seemingly endangering their all-important recording career, provided the Beatles with a perfect opportunity to bring in a drummer they actually wanted into the group, perhaps for the first time. Previously, they had selected drummers mostly for the simple fact that they owned a drum kit; "they were usually idiots," lamented John. Within days, Pete was out, and Ringo Starr, drummer for Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, was in.

George Martin for his part was surprised, not having intended to change the group's lineup or lose the member whom he thought was "the best looking of the bunch." Despite the change in personnel, Martin refused to back down on the use of a studio drummer for the next session. "I don't even know who you are," Martin said to Starr, who was given maracas to play instead, while Andy White handled the main percussion duties. This was, of course, quickly resolved as Ringo became the Beatles' live and studio drummer, who would later tease George Martin with an indignant, "You didn't let me play, did you?!"

As for their former drummer, the Beatles never looked back, quite literally: they handed off the firing job to manager Brian Epstein and they assiduously avoided contact with Best when sharing a concert bill months later. The whole affair left Best stunned, as expressed in the interview recorded with his mother Mona, below. The Beatles went on to become the biggest rock group in history and they never so much as spoke to Pete Best again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beatles Covers: Mary Hopkin - In My Life

John Lennon on "Good Morning Good Morning"

"'Good Morning Good Morning' was fairly straight rock and roll except for some strange beats on it. Sounds Incorporated playing their saxes and all that."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pattie Boyd's "Letter from London"


Wow -- have I got mail from you! You really will have to believe that I love hearing from you and appreciate your kind wishes. Forgive me for not being able to answer each letter individually -- but each of you is invited to share the answers I write in this column.

I've been working hard lately, sometimes up to seven and eight at night. I have also started looking for a new home. Mary Bee and I would like to get something bigger -- and it is very hard to find an apartment in London, so we're at it night and day.

Let my tired feet be a warning to you, Tina Cuscianna of New Jersey, and to your friends, when you come to England. From what I've seen, I can't imagine that you will be able to find a cottage (which usually has, at most, only two bedrooms and one small sitting room) that will be big enough to hold all 12 of you! If you do find a house or an apartment large enough for all of you, it will cost you about $180 per month furnished. It will cost much more for a place near the center of London. I think you will have to split up into groups and try to find places near each other.

Nora Smith of Racine, Wisc., who wants to know what a month's holiday in London might cost, has sent me a poser. It depends on where you live and how you spend your time. London is expensive unless you really know your way around. You might get by, if you were very economical, on about $50 per week. Yes, Norma, we do have snow in London in winter, but not very much. Spring is delightful here, summers are hot and the fall is warm and golden.

One of the first things I want to do once I get settled in a new place is to buy my first car. I recently passed my driving test and I can't wait to get behind my own wheel. In England, you have to be 17 to get a driver's license -- in answer to a question by Jane Woodson Mallary of Marietta, Ga. Our test here is very stiff. John Lennon has been trying hard and only just got his now. When I get my own car, I'll tell you all about it.

My birthday, Pat Heidenfelder of St. Louis, Mo., was on March 17th, and I was 21 -- or, as we say here, I "got a key to the door." It took me almost a year to grow my hair to its present length, but some girls can do it in a much shorter time.

And talking of hair, what a lucky girl you are Kathy Haddock of Lockyhart, Tex., to have lovely curly auburn hair. Don't dare have it straightened, whatever you do, for curls and wavy hair are definitely on the way in over here! The girls are fairly rushing to get perms, especially the new type -- which is done as simply as a shampoo. It costs only one pound and lasts for eight weeks. I am considering getting one myself -- so when the other girls are in a long line for a curl, you, Kathy, will be the one who is laughing!

Pat Murphy of Appleton, Wisc., who writes me that since she lightened her brown hair to blonde, many of her friends don't seem to like her any more -- she should be happy. Dear Pat, you have such a loving family and so many other devoted chums, you don't need the kind of fair-weather "friends" who'd write you off because of the color of your hair. I don't think you're missing much.

I'm sorry to have to confess to you, Rae Ellen Itiecsorek of Rochester, N.Y., that I can't play the guitar or any other musical instrument, and now I am too busy to learn.

Marlena Visconti of Trenton, N.J., you want to know how to prevent your nails from curling down when they grow out long. Simple, honey -- cut them. You're letting them grow too long, which is neither practical nor attractive. I think medium-length nails, with light polish on them, are the neatest.

I am most interested to hear of your dressmaking, Glenda Haley of Evansville, Ind. I'm especially pleased that you have a Mary Quant pattern. Her clothes and designs are still tops here. I hope the dress you are making will turn out super. Hem-lines, by the way, are still rising and are now about one inch above the knee.

Good luck to you with your modeling career, Susan Daniel of Northride, Calif. The magazines you want to write to are The Queen, 52 Fetter Lane, London, E.C.4, England; Honey, Fleetway House, Farringdon St., London, E.C.4, England; and Elle, Paris, France.

No, Rita Kumm of Blytheville, Ark., I can't draw at all. Thank you so much for the sketch you did of me. I am sure that when I was your age, 11, I couldn't have done nearly so well. Keep drawing, and you may grow up to be a great artist.

Well, dollies, I must sign off now, but before I do -- thank you again for all the wonderful letters. For those of you who wrote my sister, Paula -- don't count on an answer. She just isn't the letter-writing type! Write to me in care of Sally Sutherland, 21 Agar Grove, London N.W.1, England.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beatle People: Paul Wickens

Paul "Wix" Wickens (b. March 27, 1956 in Essex, UK) is a keyboardist and composer from Essex, United Kingdom. Wickens has worked with musicians such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Bon Jovi and many other artists. Wickens has been a member of McCartney's touring band since 1989.


Wickens recorded on albums by Tommy Shaw of the American rock group Styx, The Damned, Tim Finn, Paul Carrack, Jim Diamond, Boy George, and David Gilmour, and was the co-producer of the first Savage Progress album. He also was the keyboardist and programmer for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians album, "Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars" - which was where he first met Chris Whitten. Paul was also instrumental in making the BANDAGED album the success it was, in aid of BBC Children in Need.

He was a friend of the writer Douglas Adams, and performed at his memorial service in 2001. Recently he has composed the music for radio productions of Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He has also recorded a version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Paul McCartney

Wickens began touring with Paul McCartney in 1989. As of then, he has appeared on many of McCartney's albums and DVDs, and has become the manager for many of McCartney's tours.

Selected Discography

Year Album Artist
1986 Desire For Freedom Jim Diamond
1992 Sleeping Satellite Tasmin Archer
1992 Great Expectations Tasmin Archer
1993 In Your Care Tasmin Archer
1996 Big White Room Melanie Garside
1996 She Knows Melanie Garside

Year Album Artist
1978 Dynamite Daze Kevin Coyne
1979 Babble Kevin Coyne And Dagmar Krause
1983 All I See Is You Eddie & Sunshine
1983 Do What You Wanna Do / Movin' On Chris Thompson
1983 Perfect Strangers Eddie & Sunshine
1983 The Golden Section John Foxx
1987 To Be Reborn Boy George
1988 What Up, Dog? Was (Not Was)
1988 From Langley Park to Memphis Prefab Sprout
1989 Gatecrashing Living In A Box
1990 Tripping The Live Fantastic Paul McCartney
1991 A Contraluz Luz
1993 Off the Ground Paul McCartney
1993 Paul Is Live Paul McCartney
1996 Big White Room Melanie Garside
1996 Desire For Freedom Jim Diamond
1997 So Help Me Girl Gary Barlow
2003 Seven Years - Ten Weeks David Sneddon
2007 Memory Almost Full Paul McCartney


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Len Garry on the John Lennon / Paul McCartney Rivalry

"As I say, there was a fear that he [McCartney] could oust Lennon. I mean, that was the fear to start with. Of course, it didn't work out like that. They gelled, didn't they?"