Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary in London

Things are really gearing up for the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released on June 1st 1967.

2 concerts are now planned for the anniversary day: The Bootleg Beatles will be playing the whole album live at the Royal Albert Hall ( which is of course mentioned in ‘A Day in the Life’ on the album) backed by the Liverpool philharmonic Orchestra. Also that day, a special concert will take place at the Jazz Cafe in Camden (St Pepper – Jazz?) with an ‘all star band’ playing the album live, followed by guest DJs playing Beatles records until 1am. So, you could go to the Albert Hall show, and also catch the end of the Jazz Cafe show! For more info on the Jazz Cafe show see http://thejazzcafelondon.com/event/the-beatles-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band-50th-anniversary-celebration-01-06-17

Also due around that time is the film ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today, Sgt Pepper and Beyond’ – directed by Alan G Parker. plus many books.

All this, plus many books. Sgt Pepper is going to be very busy come June!

Tomorrow Never Knows! A Hard Day’s Night for the Beatles

It’s been A Hard Day’s Night! On 21st February 1964, the Beatles flew from Miami to New York, where they transferred to a plane for London, at the end of their amazing first American trip. They arrived at London Heathrow Airport on the overnight flight to a rapturous welcome home from thousands of Beatles fans, and event even covered live by the TV sports programme Grandstand!  They are interviewed by Grandstand’s host, David Coleman. Coleman asks Ringo about the incident when someone cut off some of his hair at a ball at the British Embassy in Washington. Ringo replies ‘Well what can you do, tomorrow never knows!’ A classic ‘Ringoism’ that of courser became the title of a song from ‘Revolver’.
You might have thought the Beatles would have then had a well earned break. Not a bit of it! The day after they appeared on the National ITV show ‘Big Night Out’. Then they were allowed one day off (lucky them!) before starting work on the songs for their new film at EMI Studios.
“Didn’t they give everything on God’s earth for ten years?” John Lennon on the Beatles.

Here is Grandstand’s coverage – Tomorrow Never Knows at around 9:43

Inside an Abbey Road Studios Recording Session

A few years ago,  I spent an incredible afternoon INSIDE Studio 2 at Abbey Road, watching the great Brazilian band ‘All You Need is Love’ record loads of Beatles songs.

I did a day tour for them the day before, and they kindly invited me to their recording session.

I was with them for three hours, and in that time they recorded 10 songs! And I thought the Beatles worked hard for the Please Please Please LP! Nearly every song was done in 3 takes or less.

They let me take photos – and I’m going to post some here.

The band are still going, but are now called ‘Hey Jude’

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time London Beatles tour guide. For more info on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

Brazilian band 'All You Need is Love' recording inside Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios
Brazilian band ‘All You Need is Love’ recording inside Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios – picture taken through the window of the control room.
Inside Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios
Inside Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios
Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. The Hammond organ was used on Beatles records
Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios. The Hammond organ was used on Beatles records

Alan Aldridge

The Beatles world lost another personality this week, when it was announced that Alan Aldridge had passed away. Aldridge is best known to Beatles fans as the author of the book ‘The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics’ – which is in the collection of many thousands of Beatles fans. What isn’t so well known, though, is that Aldridge also did the lettering for the Beatles ‘Apple’ record label. The Apple design itself was by Gene Mahon.

Aldridge also designed the cover of ‘The Who’ album ‘A Quick One’.

RIP Alan Aldridge.

CIS:S.3615-1995
CIS:S.3615-1995

Please Please Me! February 11th 1963

On February 11th 1963, the Beatles recorded their debut album Please Please Me in one day! (Their second album took even longer :>)

In an amazing recording session that lasted just shy of 10 hours, the Beatles recorded 10 tracks. The Beatles weren’t in tip top condition either – the winter of 1962/63 was one of the coldest on record, and John Lennon was suffering from a particularly bad cold, that was affecting his voice. He got through the session sucking on Zubes throat sweets. Paradoxically, right by the jar of Zubes was a huge jar of cigarettes, that the Beatles smoked constantly through the day.

Only 2 songs were recorded in the morning session, ‘There’s a Place’ and ‘Seventeen’ (the working title of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’) At lunchtime, the engineers went to the the local pub, the Heroes of Alma, but the Beatles stayed in the studio to rehearse.

After lunch, they recorded ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’ and ‘Misery’. Then at the 7:30pm evening session, things really started to pick up pace. They first recorded their own song ‘Hold Me Tight’ – but it didn’t really work, and the song was re-recorded for the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’.

The Beatles then recorded four cover versions, ‘Anna (go to him)’ ‘Chains’ ‘Boys’ and ‘Baby It’s You’. By the time the Beatles recorded ‘Baby It’s You’, John Lennon’s voice was really rasping, and he and the other Beatles were glad that they thought the day was over, and retired to the canteen. But it wasn’t, because ‘Hold me Tight’ hadn’t worked out, another song was needed. After a short debate, it was decided that it should be ‘Twist and Shout’ – a real fan favourite at their gigs. John’s voice had nearly gone by then, so, according to some accounts, he took his shirt off and ripped into ‘Twist and Shout’ in his most raucous voice possible on the first take. A second take was attempted, but wasn’t needed, as John had nailed it with the first take, and also totally ruined his voice in doing it! What an end to an amazing day.

Even though Please Please Me only took one day to record, it stayed at number one in the UK album chart for 30 weeks, only to replaces by the Beatles second album ‘With the Beatles’!

Please Please Me
Please Please Me

 

The Beatles Fan Film: Here There And Everywhere

News from  pledgemusic.com/projects/the-beatles-herethereandeverywhere

Be part of the first global fan film collaboration, telling the story of The Beatles and celebrating the fans from all around the world, who keep the legend of the band alive.

The film is being produced by Simon Weitzman, from 8 Arms To Hold You, All You Need Is Love and Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out, David L Simon, formerly of Disney, Dreamworks and Fox TV, and Pete Nash, BBFC magazine editor and journalist, plus a number of fan friends.

The film is scheduled for release in the summer of 2018 and production starts now!

You can be part of the production by pledging for a digital download, the DVD, the deluxe DVD, plus DVD T shirt bundles, and other products.

Each pledge includes your name in the final film credits, so you will be immortalised in the film, plus DVD pledgers also get the digital download as part of their pledge. In addition, pledgers will receive free animated phone screen savers and computer screen savers.

Just to confirm, the DVDs will play in all regions, so PAL, NTSC and SECAM.

The first 250 DVDs pledged for are also signed and numbered by the film’s producers.

The digital downloads will be available at both 720p and 1080p, depending on the capability of your devices.

Remember you are pledging now but your funds will not be taken for your pledge until we reach our target.

You can also be part of the film as this is a film about the fans, made with the fans. So we will be posting an update early next week outlining the ways to get in touch with stories, images, moving images and other possible contributions to include in the film. We are also looking for musical talent, as the film will feature a number of acts as well. In the meantime you can contact me, Simon, through the Pledge site.

So, come and be part of the biggest collective fan film ever attempted!

pledgemusic.com/projects/the-beatles-herethereandeverywhere

February 10th 1967 – A Day in the Life

February 10th 1967. The Beatles are in Studio One at EMI Studios at Abbey Road, recording the orchestral build-up for A Day in the Life. The orchestra are asked to start at their lowest note possible on their instruments, and go up to their highest.
The Beatles turn the session into a big party, with many friends in attendance, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Donovan, and Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. Even though the orchestra were asked to wear evening dress for the occasion, one of them also wore a red clown nose, and the leader of the violins wore a gorilla paw on his bowing arm!

After the orchestra had left, the Beatles,and friends who stayed behind, got around a microphone and did a big hummmmmm. This was going to be the coda for the song, and the album. However, a few days later, this was replaced by the long piano chord.
The session is almost exactly 4 years to the day since the Beatles recorded the entire Please Please Me Album (February 11th 1963) – a quantum leap in 4 years!

This unique recording session was filmed for posterity. Tony Bramwell of NEMS was in charge of the shooting, gave out cameras to many of the participants to help. The resulting film was supposed to be part of a TV special about making the ‘Sgt Pepper’ album, but it was never completed, and the film made that day wasn’t broadcast for several years, as the song was banned due to supposed drug references.

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles Tour Guide in London. For more details of his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

 

All You Need is Love Photo Exhibition Coming to London

A new exhibition of photos taken at the recording session for the Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ is opening in Chelsea in March.

It was be at the Proud Chelsea Gallery at  161 King’s Road which, fittingly, used to be the Beatles’ ‘Apple Tailoring and Theatrical’ 

Proud Chelsea will showcase a rare and remarkable collection of this unique photographic session of The Beatles by David Magnus, revealing the close bond between photographer and subject. Magnus’s extensive archive from this inimitable occasion highlights the band’s domineering presence and influence within the music industry whilst reflecting the recognition, admiration and excitement that sparked the world-over across the last five decades.

For more info, and to see some of the photos, go to https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

February 9th – from the Cavern to Ed Sullivan in Three Years!

February 9th was very much ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Beatles! On February 9th 1961, the Beatles first appeared at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Quarrymen had played at the Cavern a few times in the late 1950s, when still mainly a skiffle group. However, they also did a few rock and roll songs, and club owner Alan Sytner, a jazz lover, told them to “Cut out the bloody rock!”

Finally, now called ‘The Beatles’ they got back into the Cavern through their great supporter, Bob Wooler. He managed to get them a fee of £5 for the gig. However there was a doubt whether Paul McCartney would be able to get to the gig. He had a full time job at Massey and Coggins, and although the gig was at lunchtime, there was no way Paul could get to the gig and back during his lunch hour. However, Paul just bunked over the wall and played the gig.

The Beatles went onto play at the Cavern nearly 300 times in the next 2.5 years…

John Lennon at the Cavern Club - February 9th 1961.
John Lennon at the Cavern Club – February 9th 1961.

Exactly three years later, the Beatles made there first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in front of a TV audience of 73 million people. Quite a leap in three years!!

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964
The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964

 

 

It was 50 Years Ago Today – a great new film on Sgt Pepper!

It was 50 Years Ago Today… Ltd
In conjunction with
A Geezer & A Blonde Productions Ltd presents:
It Was 50 Years Ago Today….
: The Beatles, Sgt Pepper & Beyond

A Film by Alan G Parker

On Thursday June 1st 1967 The Beatles released what can arguably be called the greatest album in the history of the world! ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’. It was the first album by a musical artist to be discussed in terms of art, it featured the most expensive sleeve design in record distribution history, the first gatefold sleeve ever, the first time the lyrics ever appeared on a record cover and a host of celebrities, both past and present, looking back at the listener.

It topped the charts all around the world within days of it’s release, went multi-platinum in a matter of hours, and stayed in the UK chart list for 27 consecutive weeks. Additionally it topped the US charts for a staggering 15 weeks. Time Out magazine declared it “a historic departure in the progress of music”, while The New Statesman praised its elevation of pop to the level of fine art. It won 4 Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album Of The Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

On June 1st 2017 (ironically also a Thursday) a staggering 50 years after it’s original release A Geezer & A Blonde Productions Ltd are proud to present ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today… The Colour Of Dreams’ a new film from EMMY nominated Director Alan G Parker (Monty Python: Almost The Truth/Hello Quo!/KISS: You Wanted The Best/Who Killed Nancy) which traces the history of The Beatles from the end of their touring days in August 1966, through various solo projects to the release of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane’ on a journey that includes; The Summer Of Love, flower power, John Lennon meeting Yoko Ono, LSD, Meditation, Jimi Hendrix, the death of Brian Epstein, hippie happenings, Abbey Road Studios, a Magical Mystery Tour, the birth of Apple, Paul McCartney meeting Linda Eastman and the release of the biggest selling album in the history of recorded music.

‘Sgt Pepper’ is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album, that advanced the use of extended form in popular music while continuing the artistic maturation seen on The Beatles’ preceding releases. It has been described as one of the first art rock LPs, aiding the development of progressive rock, and credited with marking the beginning of the Album Era. An important work of British Psychedelia, the album incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including; vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western along with Indian Classical music.

In 2003, the Library Of Congress placed Sgt. Pepper in the National Recording Registry, honouring the work as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. That same year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 1 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. As of 2011, it has sold more than 38 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums ever. Professor Kevin J. Dettmar, writing in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, described it as “the most important and influential rock n’ roll album ever recorded”
Assembled from hours of newly shot interviews including; Pete Best (Beatle), Freda Kelly (The Beatles Fan Club), Tony Bramwell (friend/Tour Manager), Hunter Davies (Official Biographer), Philip Norman (Biographer), Bill Harry (Merseybeat Editor), Ray Connolly (Sixties Music Writer), Steve Turner (Author of ‘Beatles 66’), The Bootleg Beatles (Andre & Neil), Tony Crane & Billy Kinsley (The Merseybeats), Steve Diggle (Buzzcocks), Andy Peebles (the last man to interview John Lennon), Barbara Connolly (Apple Secretary) and Julia Baird (John Lennon’s Sister).

Along side the best collection of archive footage and still photographs ever assembled on this subject and it’s era… The projects archivist is none other than, BAFTA nominated, Keith Badman (The Beatles Anthology/Queen: Days Of Our Lives).

“The Beatles aren’t a rock n’ roll band, they are a force of nature, and they’ve been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember! – I’ve wanted to make this film since I was 9 years old!!!” – Alan G Parker (Director)

 

The poster for the new film
The poster for the new film