Monthly Archives: July 2018

August 8th 2018 Cross Abbey Road 49 Years to the Minute Since the Beatles!

The Beatles crossed Abbey Road at 11:30am on August 8th 1969 for the photo shoot for their new album cover. Since then, millions of other people have done the same. Join us to cross Abbey Road exactly 49 years to the minute since the Beatles, at 11:30am from August 8th 2018. The cast of the Beatles musical,  ‘Let it Be’ will be there – dressed as the Beatles were on that historic day. The cast will be there from 11am.

Not long to the 50th anniversary!!

We will also be crossing Abbey Road later that day on my London Beatles Walk – full details at http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

A rather famous album cover :>)

July 31st 1968 – The Beatles Record Hey Jude at Trident Studios, Soho, London

The Beatles recorded ‘Hey Jude’ at Trident Studios, St Anne’s Court, Soho, London, on July 31st 1968. It was one of the very few times that the Beatles recorded away from EMI Studios at Abbey Road.

Trident Studios was set up by brothers Barry and Norman Sheffield in 1967. Its laid back atmosphere was an antidote to traditional studios, like Abbey Road, where the engineers walked around in white coats. Also, Trident was the engineering pioneer of its day – they were the first in the UK to use Dolby and install an 8-track recording system. The conservative Abbey Road engineers would spend months on testing new equipment before it was used for recording, but at Trident it was straight in use as soon as they could plug it in!

The first major hit recorded here was My Name’s Jack by Manfred Mann in March 1968, and it was that which launched them as a professional studio.

Peter Hughes, a prevous owner of Trident Studios, gives an interesting insight in the recording of Hey Jude:
“A few versions of Hey Jude were done at Abbey Road, but then the Beatles decided to come to Trident, as they heard that it had the only 8 track recording machine in the country at that time. They spent 4 sessions there recording Hey Jude, with George Martin in toe, as usual, but not using their own engineer – this job was done by Barry Sheffield, one of the owners of Trident.” Because Trident Studios were not owned by EMI, their usual engineers from EMI Studios couldn’t work there.

Norman Sheffield remembers how he heard that the Beatles were coming to record in his studio: ” I was sitting in my office upstairs at the studio when the phone rang. I recognised the voice on the other end of the line immediately; it was Peter Asher, the head of A and R at Apple Records in London. ‘Norman, all hell’s broken loose over in Abbey Road. So the boys are going to come over to you for a few days’ he said. ‘We’ll be there tomorrow afternoon. Keep it under your hat will you?’ he said. ‘Don’t want screaming hordes outside’. ”

Talk about the telephone call from heaven! Trident has only been open a few months, and now the most famous recording act in the world wanted to come to record there!

The Beatles had a somewhat love-hate relationship with EMI Studio, and things came to a head when they started rehearsing ‘Hey Jude’ there on July 30th. They were being filmed for a TV special called ‘Music!’ and the TV crew were getting right in the Beatles’ faces. This was the last straw, so they decide to leave EMI for a while and come to Trident. The Beatles knew Trident as they had used it for various recordings on their new Apple record label. James Taylor recorded his first album here, and just a few days before the Beatles came, Paul McCartney produced Mary Hopkin’s first single ‘Those Were the Days’

Peter Hughes says: “George Martin thought that Trident Studios was a bit cowboy – the reason being that Trident had the first 8 track machine which was manufactured in America and ran on American voltage. It ran fast, so when the tapes were run on other equipment, they played back slow and caused problems. George Martin handles that and Hey Jude came out.”

The recording studio layout at the time (it has changed since then) was similar to Abbey Road’s Studio Two – it was a high ceiling space about 40 feet long. The control room looked down onto the studio.

Paul McCartney remembered an amusing incident during the recording of ‘Hey Jude’  “Ringo walked out to go to the toilet and I hadn’t noticed. The toilet was only a few yards from his drum booth, but he’d gone past my back and I still thought he was in his drum booth. I started what was the actual take, and ‘Hey Jude’ goes on for hours before the drums come in and while I was doing it I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums. And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable. So I think when those things happen, you have a little laugh and a light bulb goes off in your head and you think, This is the take! and you put a little more into it. You think, oh, fuck! This has got to be the take, what just happened was so magic! So we did that and we made a pretty good record.”

‘Hey Jude’ was the longest record ever to reach number one in the UK, which caused something of a problem. Engineer Ken Scott remembers that to fit all the grooves on a seven inch single, it had to be recorded at low volume. People would turn the volume of record players up to listen to Hey Jude. They would then turn the record over and play the B Side, ‘Revolution’, with the volume still turned up, and nearly blow their ears off with the loud distorted guitar at the start of the song. Ken insists that was a deliberate prank.

The Beatles used Trident for some tracks from the ‘White Album’, but ultimately went back to EMI Studios. They did use Trident for various solo projects, like George’s  ‘All Things Must Pass’ album, and Ringo’s single ‘It Don’t Come Easy’.

After the Beatles gave it kudos, Trident became one of the most popular studios in London. David Bowie recorded ‘Space Oddity’ and the entire ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ there; Elton John recorded ‘Your Song’ and ‘Candle in the Wind’; Queen did their early albums there too.

Trident is now owned by a film company, who use it for spoken word recordings, not for music.

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

The Beatles recording Martha My Dear in Trident Studios

Strawberry Field ‘Gets by with a Little Help from our Friends’

Julia Baird – John Lennon’s sister – and Lady Martin OBE – the wife of the 5th Beatle the late Sir George Martin – break ground for summer opening 2019.

Today The Salvation Army will break ground as their vision for Strawberry Field becomes a reality and return the iconic red gates to the site.

The world-famous red gates will open to the public for the very first time in summer 2019 giving visitors the chance to walk through the grounds where Lennon played as a child. A visitor attraction will tell the story of Lennon’s childhood connection with Strawberry Field and sit alongside ‘Steps to Work’, a vocational training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities – unique and innovative projects in one ground breaking venture that aligns community, business and tourism in the City of Liverpool.

To mark the start of construction of the new facilities, 51 years since the original release of the 1967 classic Beatles song (Strawberry Fields Forever), a time capsule box was laid at the heart of the buildings footprint. The roll call of diggers includes; Major Roger Batt of The Salvation Army, Julia Baird John Lennon’s sister and Honorary President of the Strawberry Field project, Lady Martin OBE, Cliff Cooper Founder and CEO Orange Music Electronic.co and young adults who are amongst the first group of trainees to pass through the Steps to Work placement hub.

Major Roger Batt, Divisional Leader for The Salvation Army, North West, said: “Breaking ground at Strawberry Field today marks a significant milestone in the heritage of this iconic site. It’s part of our mission at The Salvation Army to be present where there is a need and, whilst the needs around Strawberry Field have changed over the years, we’re proud to still be part of this legacy. As custodians of the site for the people of Liverpool and Beatles fans the world over, we want to transform Strawberry Field and re-open it for the good of young people in the North West who would benefit from access to support as well as encourage more similar projects across the UK.”

As a child, Lennon famously used to jump over the wall into the Strawberry Field grounds, where he would play with the children who lived there and listen to The Salvation Army band. He grew up just a stone’s throw away from the site in Woolton, Liverpool, which has lain unused for 12 years.

Lady Judy Martin OBE said, “The plans to open Strawberry Field to the public for the first time – so people can see a unique exhibition about the home, how and why the song was written by John, and allow visitors to explore the grounds as John did as a child – is very exciting.”

John Lennon remained a supporter of The Salvation Army, with a particular interest in Strawberry Field throughout his life, donating to the charity after the song’s release.

Major Roger continued, “It is our firm intention that Strawberry Field will also be a place for spiritual reflection with an opportunity to explore the grounds and create new memories for each and every person who comes to visit.”

“We are so grateful to the many donations we have received so far that has enabled this vision to become a reality, we still have a final million pounds to raise and we plan to do this over the next 12 months towards opening.”

Beatles fans, supporters of Strawberry Field and the vision for young adults with learning disabilities can back the redevelopment by visiting www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com . The website includes information on how to donate to the project, as well as exclusive Strawberry Field merchandise including limited edition bricks from the original Salvation Army children’s home as well as t-shirts, mugs and much more for Beatles and Strawberry Field fans.

Wonderful Macca at the Cavern memories by James Ward.

In the first part of a series – James Ward tells of how he saw Paul McCartney’s amazing concert at the Cavern Club

I listened to Paul being interviewed by Jarvis Cocker at LIPA on the Wednesday afternoon, Paul had pretty much signed off by saying he’d be doing a ‘secret gig’ in Liverpool the following day. I had an immediate mixture of excitement and dread. What if I got in? What if I didn’t? Well, there was only one way to find out, and luckily I had a day off work on the Thursday. I live in County Durham around three and a half hours from Liverpool. I decided to wake up, get out of bed (I didn’t drag a comb across my head though) at 0400 and get straight on the road! I’ve had Wingspan CD 1 on in the car now for as long as I can remember, so I belted out Wings classic hit after classic hit all the way down to my destination. I found a car park near the Adelphi Hotel just before 0730, I paid the fee and started sprinting down towards The Cavern, which was about half a mile or so away. As I reached Mathew Street, I noticed a lot of people milling about for that time in the morning and I immediately joined the queue outside The Cavern Club. I’d say there were around 50 people in the queue then, maybe a little more. I noticed straight away that there were German accents, French accents and American accents amongst the clearly excited throng of people, all singing Beatles songs or exchanging stories about past Paul concerts etc. I wondered to myself if they’d travelled overnight because they didn’t have much notice! Proper fans! A man from the Liverpool Echo approached me after I’d been in the queue for a few minutes and asked where I’d came from, and at what time. I told him and he said he’d like to take my photograph because I was wearing a MCCARTNEY t-shirt and it would be great for his website. I was apprehensive because I didn’t want to lose my place in the queue but everybody assured me they’d let me back in, so I obliged. Not long after that, a representative for The Cavern Club came outside and said something to the people nearer the front of the queue, I couldn’t quite make it out. What he’d said was that the tickets weren’t going to be available from The Cavern and we’d have to make our way down to the Echo Arena on the docks if we wanted to try and get tickets. That prompted a scene straight from 60’s Beatlemania. Everybody in the queue started sprinting in the general direction of the docks. Some people hailed taxis, some people frantically started doing Google Maps searches on their phones and some people (me included) just decided to keep sprinting. It’s a good job I’m quite a seasoned runner because that came in really, really handy. It’s about a mile or so from The Cavern to the Echo Arena and I must’ve beaten my personal best over that distance! I reached the arena sweaty, short of breath but ultimately triumphant. I was handed a pre-ticket ticket and I was let inside the arena after I produced my photo ID for security checks. Then I realised, I was actually inside the arena. I’d done it! All that previous sense of dread evaporated into thin air and it became 100% excitement, I could not believe my luck! Only about 100 people were let inside the arena, and then security made everybody else wait outside. Hundreds of people outside. And that crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger because Paul had announced the gig on his social media networks then. We must’ve been given a slight heads up by the wonderful man at The Cavern Club. We had to wait until 1000 for the official on-sale time for the tickets (not strictly on ‘on-sale’ time because they were free, but you catch my drift) then we were very carefully placed into five rows at the box office and given a personalised ticket with our name on it, and an Egypt Station wristband. You could not enter the gig without both ticket and wristband together with photo ID confirming your name on the ticket. This was brilliant, because I have no idea how much touts could’ve asked for for those tickets. I made it outside into the blazing sunshine, still a little dazed from the chain of events, but I was so happy! I didn’t honestly think I would be lucky enough! Upon leaving the arena I bumped into popular band Blossoms who’d tried for tickets and failed and they all wished me the best and that I would enjoy the concert! I rang my Dad and my partner telling them of the fab news and then thought ‘right, well I may as well just go straight up and queue at The Cavern again!’ This turned out to be another lucky idea because when I joined the queue that was only 19 people long at that time, we were told by officials that because we were within the first people to queue, we’d all recieve a hand stamp and that would ensure that whatever happened we’d be the first people to enter The Cavern guaranteeing us an amazing spot at the front for the gig. I could not believe my luck again. Could this day get any better? Well, yes, because I hadn’t seen the gig yet! After we’d been given our hand stamps (which was a number written in sharpie pen and signed by staff) we could go and wait around the corner to see Paul arriving. Lo and behold, just as we’d walked around the corner, there he was! Nonchalantly driving himself to the gig, thumbs up out of the driver’s side window, as only Paul could to a gig of this magnitude! We all cheered and waved and he drove down the back street and hopped out the car and was whisked into the legendary venue! I grabbed some water and made my way back to the queue, this was it! Interviwers from all different newspapers and radio/TV programmes were milling about asking excited fans about their thoughts. Then the time came. We (the first lucky few) were escorted into the venue, security checks done, reminded that we were to switch our phones off (there were numerous signs telling us to switch them off too) and down the stairs we went! I caught a glimpse of Chris Sharrock (ex-Robbie Williams/Beady Eye/current Noel Gallagher drummer), Jamie Carragher and Giles Martin who needs no introduction. We quickly made our way into the Live Lounge (where Paul had played last in 1999) and took our places at the front, I was front and centre right in line with Paul’s microphone! I thought back to getting out of bed at 0400, and I shook my head in disbelief! What a fantastic day so far! The souvenir tickets we exchanged our original tickets for stated that the concert would start at 1400, and at only a few minutes after 2pm, on walks a very relaxed and smiling band led out by Paul! The whole place went absolutely crazy! For only about 200 lucky fans the noise sounded like a football stadium! ‘Liverpool! Cavern!’ Paul exclaimed into the mic, ‘two words that go very well together!’ They launched into a bluesy jam to start with to get the sound levels right and to ease themselves into the gig. But after that it was the song Paul impressed John with over 60 years ago, ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ that had everybody dancing and bopping, straight into a rocking ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ with Paul in very good voice and then the whole crowd was jumping together for a raucous ‘Jet’! I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, I could see the whites of the great man’s eyes, I could see what shoes he was wearing, he was at arms length away, a complete dream come true! ‘All My Loving’ was next and I could study his right hand as it sped around the fretboard as he sung, simply incredible moments! He told the crowd about how The Beatles would be told off for playing rock ‘n’ roll in the Cavern in the early days as it was a blues club. He launched into ‘Letting Go’ after this and it was one of my highlights of the night. The band were so tight and rocking with Rusty and Brian trading tasty licks, the band smiled at each other and rightly so (quite a few times throughout the gig) because they knew they were smoking hot. More to come… 🙂

James Ward outside the Cavern Club
Paul McCartney at the Cavern Club

Get Back! Paul McCartney’s stunning return to Liverpool’s Cavern Club – the full review

The Beatles legend took it back to where it all started for a free gig for the world’s luckiest fans

“Do you wanna get back?” Paul McCartney asked the crowd, towards the end of one of the smallest, longest, sweatiest shows he’s played since, well, probably last time he was here at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club. “Cos I do.”

McCartney’s been getting back a lot lately; on Monday he played a show in Studio Two of London’s Abbey Road, where The Beatles recorded much of their catalogue, with an audience including Johnny Depp, his daughter Stella McCartney, Liv Tyler, Stormzy, Maya Jama, Orlando Bloom and Nile Rodgers.

Yesterday, he was at LIPA, the performing arts academy he founded in the former home of his old school, the Liverpool Institute High School For Boys, where he spoke to students and performed an acoustic set. Earlier this year he swung by old homes and old haunts with James Corden, and played a show at Liverpool pub The Philharmonic, where he and John used to drink.

And today, he was back at the place where the Beatles legend was cemented: The Cavern Club, completing his Magical Mystery Tour with a gig announced at 9am this morning and done and dusted by 4pm.

Fans had already twigged. There were hundreds of the outside The Cavern at the crack of dawn, and they’d come from near and far. Thomas O’Keeffe, who was there at 6am, described the scene. “Everyone was queuing outside The Cavern when this fella comes out and says the tickets aren’t there. I’d heard a rumour that they were going to be at The Echo Arena instead, so I just started running all the way over there, and all these people started running too. I was sweating, panting, nearly dying. It was like the start of A Hard Day’s Night.” But it was worth it? “Oh my god, yeah, it was worth it.” Two Argentine fans had heard the rumour and headed straight up on the coach from their holiday in London; a Californian fan got a plane over from LA.

And McCartney, who’s been in his home for city for two days, took to the stage shortly after 2pm.

For more click here

Paul McCartney review – secret tour down memory lane in Liverpool

Cavern, Liverpool
Classic Beatles songs come along like buses during this jolly surprise gig at the club synonymous with Beatlemania

Although Paul McCartney became, in 1964, the last Beatle to move away from his home town, lately he doesn’t seem to be able to keep away from the place. Last month he played an impromptu gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub on Hope Street, where he entertained disbelieving drinkers with Fab Four and Wings classics. Then – for a special edition of the Late Late Show With James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke – he nipped to his teenage home on 20 Forthlin Road, where he wrote songs with John Lennon – and bashed out When I’m Sixty-Four. Now, here is he again, with a secret gig at the Cavern.

This isn’t – quite – the building that triggered the start of Beatlemania, and thus effectively the birthplace of the most famous rock’n’roll quartet in history. The original Cavern was flattened to make a car park before being rebuilt in the 1980s. But nobody here is splitting hairs. Beatle Paul is back on Mathew Street and the 300 people crammed into this sweltering little club are almost close enough to touch a living Beatle.

“Liverpool! Cavern! Two words that go together,” he begins, although some things have changed. He’s halfway through Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock (the song with which he auditioned for John Lennon in 1957) when he stops it to admonish people filming on mobile phones. “It’s purrin’ me off,” he says, sounding more Cilla than Macca, but moments later, a storming version of Magical Mystery Tour – with the crowd on impromptu backing vocals – offers the first taste of what they came for.

For more click here

Paul McCartney at the Cavern Club – Setlist

Jam
20 Flight Rock
Magical Mystery
Jet
All My Loving
Letting Go
Come On To Me
Let Me Roll It
I Got A Feeling
My Valentine
Queenie Eye
1985
Lady Madonna
In Spite Of All The Danger
Things We Said Today
Confidante
Love Me Do
Who Cares
Birthday
I Wanna Be Your Man
Fuh You
Get Back
Ob La Di
Band On The Run
Hi Hi Hi
Saw Her Standing There
Sgt Peppers
Helter Skelter

July 26th 1989 – Paul McCartney Live at the Playhouse Theatre, London

Wouldn’t you just know it :>) You wait years to see a ‘live’ Beatle – then you see 2 in 2 days! The day after seeing George Harrison at the premiere of ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’, Paul McCartney gives a special ‘Rehearsal Concert’ at the Playhouse Theatre in London. It was his first full live show in 10 years.

It was not the first time that Paul had played at the Playhouse. In the 60s it was used by the BBC and the Beatles did many of their BBC broadcasts from there.

The theatre only holds around 300 people, and tickets we allocated through the Paul McCartney Fan Club. I wasn’t lucky in the draw, but decided to go up to the theatre anyway and try my luck. There was as tube strike in London that day, and getting there was very hard, which actually worked in my favour, as some people who were allocated tickets couldn’t make it, so I managed to get one! Not only that, I was in the second row from the front!

Paul was rehearsing with his new band for his upcoming World Tour. He decided to test the band in front of a live audience at 2 intimate shows, as well as giving a press conference to announce the world tour. It wasn’t a full show (well it lasted about 1.5 hours, so good enough!) but absolutely brilliant. Paul sang ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for the first time since the Beatles! There was a small gap between the seats and the stage, and many of us got up to dance.

The show comprised mainly of songs from the newly released ‘Flowers in the Dirt’ album, but also some oldies, including George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ – McCartney sings Gershwin! It was a very apt song to sing too – as it was one of the hottest days of the year outside, and no air conditioning inside.

You can see the setlist here https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/paul-mccartney/1989/playhouse-theatre-london-england-5bc9a7d4.html

After the show, many fans gathered at the stage door, to be great by a very happy looking Paul and Linda, who signed many autographs.

A great day!

My ticket to the Playhouse gig
Paul McCartney outside the Playhouse Theatre
Paul and Linda outside the Playhouse