Saturday, December 04, 2010

John Lennon, Pattie Boyd, and Lulu

On December 21, 1967, the Beatles held a party for Magical Mystery Tour at the Westbourne Suite at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

Pete Shotton: "I had originally planned to turn up as a Musketeer, but at the last minute, John suddenly exclaimed, 'Let's go as Teddy Boys, and dress the way we always wished we could when we were at school. Let's do it properly this time.' We both made a terrific impression at the party, but were nonetheless eclipsed by such inspired impersonations as Peter Brown's periwigged King Louis XIV of France, and Apple press officer Derek Taylor's Nazi-uniformed Hitler. Cilla Black and her husband, Bobby Willis came as, respectively, a Cockney labourer, and a nun. However, Freddie Lennon, who appeared as a trash collector, achieved the most realistic impression of all."

"By the time we were seated for the screening, John had, in best Teddy Boy style, got himself smashed on good old-fashioned booze! An unpleasant scene developed towards the end of the party, when the band, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, took the stage and most of the guests paired off to dance. Totally ignoring Cynthia, who was decked out for the occasion as a fairy princess, John instead lavished all his attentions on Pattie Harrison, with whom he actually went so far as to dance, probably for the first time in about five years."

Cynthia Lennon: "John made a bee-line for Pattie, who was looking incredibly sexy in an eastern dancer's seven-veils-and-not-much-else outfit. John hogged Pattie for quite a time and I was left sitting primly and stiffly, very much out in the cold."

Pete Shotton: "Though Pattie had, undeniably, made herself especially desirable as a scantily clad belly dancer, neither Cyn nor George were the least bit amused by John's open flirtation with her. In the end, however, it was Cyn's close friend, the diminutive pop singer Lulu, impersonating Shirley Temple, complete with an over-sized lollipop, who elected herself to give the inebriated Beatle cum Teddy Boy a good talking to."

Cynthia Lennon: "It was such a lovely sight, Lulu cornering John and giving him what for. John was much taken aback by Shirley Temple's serious lecture on how to treat his wife."

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Beatles Anthology - Episode Five

All songs are written by Lennon/McCartney and performed by The Beatles, unless otherwise noted.

Episode Five (August '65 to July '66) - 1:11:47

"We were all expanding in all areas in our life; opening up to a lot of different attitudes." - Ringo Starr

1. Shea Stadium Concert – 15 August 1965 [15:37]
* Help! - Title song played at the beginning of each episode.
* Ed Sullivan welcomes The Beatles to the concert at Shea Stadium, New York, 15 August 1965 – “Ladies and gentlemen, honored by their country, decorated by their Queen and loved here in America … Here are the Beatles!”
o Twist and Shout (Russel-Medley) [Live]
o I Feel Fine [Live]
o Baby's in Black [Live]
o I'm Down [Live]
o Help! [Live]
2. Meeting Elvis Presley [5:04]
* Mohair Sam (Frazier) - Performed by Charlie Rich
* Hound Dog (Leiber-Stoller) - Last notes of the song, performed by Elvis Presley
3. More Tour Pressure [2:31]
* Run for Your Life
4. New Musical Directions – “Rubber Soul” And “Revolver” [8:20]
* In My Life [Overdub on 22nd October, 1965 – Take 3] – Played in the background over footage showing the band talking about the new musical directions.
o George Martin: “… They were finding new frontiers all the time.”
o Ringo: “… Our whole attitude was changing. … I think grass was really influential in a lot of our changes.”
o Paul: “The direction was changing away from poppy stuff. … We branched out into songs that are a bit more surreal, more entertaining. … Dylan was starting to influence us quite heavily at that point.”
o John: “When it got sort of contemporary as it were, a contemporary influence … I think Rubber Soul was about when it started happening.”
* Drive My Car [Recorded on 13 October 1965 – Take 4) – Nowhere Man [Remake recorded on 22nd October, 1965 - Take 4] – A musical collage played over footage of still photographs showing different moments of the band in studio during recording of Rubber Soul.
* Rāga Charu Kishi – Footage showing snippets of a Sitar Recital of the Rāga by Ravi Shankar; George discussing the context of using sitar in Norwegian Wood.
* Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (12 October 1965 - Take 1) – Played over footage of still photographs showing different moments of the band recording the song.
* Nowhere Man [Remake recorded on 22nd October, 1965 - Take 4] – Played in the background over Paul discussing the stretched photo on the cover of the album Rubber Soul; the photo being the result of backward falling of the album-sized piece of cardboard on which photographer Bob Freeman was projecting photos at Lennon's house.
5. “Yellow Submarine” [3:40]
* Yellow Submarine[Recorded 26 May, 1966 – Take 5] - Footage from the film Yellow Submarine.
* Taxman (Harrison) [Overdub on 22nd April 1966 – Take 12] - Played over footage of still photographs showing different moments of the band recording the song; and George discussing the social context of the song – “… In those days we paid 19s.6d. out of every £1. … That was with super-tax, surtax and tax-tax and stuff.”
6. “Tomorrow Never Knows” [1:27]
* Tomorrow Never Knows — “That's me in my Tibetan Book of the Dead period ... ...” - John
7. Technical Limitations in the Studio [2:56]
* Nowhere Man – Footage of the Beatles’ live performance of the song at Circus Crone, Munich.
8. LSD (3:15)
* “We were just insane. We all thought there was a fire in the lift. Just a little red light and we were all screaming, all hysterical.” - John
9. “Day Tripper” [3:15]
* Day Tripper [Recorded on 16 October, 1965 – Take 3) - Taped TV promotional film of the song. — “Day Tripper – that was a drug song, I just liked the word.” - John
10. “We Can Work It Out” [2:47]
* We Can Work It Out (Overdub on 29 October, 1965 – Take 2) - Taped TV promotional film of the song.
11. Taped TV Promotional Films [1:34]
* “Going to the TV studios to promote our records was too much of a hassle. We’ll just make our own little films and we’ll put them out.” – George
12. “Paperback Writer” [2:55]
* Paperback Writer [Overdub on 14 April, 1966 onto recording of 13 April, 1966 - Take 2] - Footage of promotional film of the song.
o “... ... we can’t go everywhere. We’ll send these things out to promote the record. These days, everybody does that. It's just part of your promotion for a single, so I suppose in a way we invented MTV.” - George
13. “Rain” [3:02]
* Rain [Overdub on 16 April, 1966 onto recording of 14 April, 2006 - Take 7] - Footage of promotional film of the song. — “That's the first record with backwards music on it.” - John
14. World Tour 1966 [15:24]
* Got to Get You into My Life – Played over footage showing the Beatles arriving at the Haneda Airport, Tokyo on 30 June, 1966.
* Footage of the Beatles’ live performance at the Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo on 30 June, 1966:
o Rock and Roll Music (Berry)
o Paperback Writer
o Yesterday
* The Word – Played over footage of still photographs and video recordings of “trouble in the Philippines”.
* And Your Bird Can Sing (Take 2) - Played while showing the Credits.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Little Eva - The Loco-Motion (Live on Shindig, 1965)

An early favorite of John Lennon's, this is Little Eva performing "The Loco-Motion" live on the U.S. TV program Shindig, March 3, 1965, nearly three years after its original release:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

John Lennon on "Across the Universe"

"This was one of my favourite songs, but it's been issued in so many forms that it's missed it as a record. I gave it at first to the World Wild Life Fund, but they didn't do much with it, and then we put it on the Let It Be album."

Ringo Starr's Mother and Stepfather in an Interview

Monday, November 29, 2010

Billy Preston - That's The Way God Planned It

Promo video from The Concert for Bangladesh:

Questionable Obscenity Ruling

February 25, 1969

The recent ban of a record album of Beatle John Lennon by a New Jersey court raises a new and threatening aspect of standards in our obscenity laws.

That the picture on the album cover depicts Lennon and a young woman naked cannot be disputed. What can be disputed is the basis for ruling the cover obscene.

Judge Nelson K. Mintz said the contents of the picture are "suggestive of sexual activity."

Mintz said such displays are "offensive to community standards and are aggravated when known celebrities engage in this suggestive naked spectacle."

It is apparent that a basis for the decision was not one of content or standards, but on the relative notoriety of the individuals depicted. Nowhere in U.S. laws or in major court decisions have such grounds been established.

Recent rulings have shown that sales to youngsters can be judged with obscenity guidelines which are stricter than those pertaining to adults. Prosecutors pointed out that the album had been sold to minors. The picture was also charged with being pornographic by community standards. The decision could have been reached on the basis of these two arguments.

But to rule an album cover obscene on the basis of who is depicted is an extremely dangerous and pompous judgement.

First, the subjects' consent to the picture is obvious. Second, few persons today would judge Michelangelo's works or the Naked Maja on this basis and expect to be on sound legal ground.

If a subject is to be deemed obscene and therefore banned, it should be judged within the framework of the constitution and the numerous supreme court decisions to date. In this particular case, the court is tampering with the First Amendment.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Aunt Mimi Smith on John Lennon's Music

"He used to drive me mad with his guitar playing, and I'll always remember telling him, 'The guitar's all right for a hobby, John, but it won't earn you any money.'"