All posts by Richard Porter

30th March 1967 – The Photo for the Sgt Pepper Album Cover Taken

It was 50 years ago today that the photo for the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was taken. The cover was designed by Peter Blake and his wife, Jan Howarth, and the photo taken by Michael Cooper. It was all put together at the Chelsea Manor Studios in Flood Street, just off the Kings Road, Chelsea.

Hear are some of those involved talking about how it came about  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_5je4nPesc

The Sgt Pepper album cover

RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL STARR BAND ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR FALL 2017

THE LONGEST RUNNING ALL STARR ENSEMBLE FEATURES TODD RUNDGREN, GREGG ROLIE, STEVE LUKATHER, RICHARD PAGE, WARREN HAM AND GREGG BISSONETTE

TOUR KICKS OFF FRIDAY OCTOBER 13 WITH A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT AT PLANET HOLLYWOOD RESORT & CASINO IN LAS VEGAS AND CONCLUDES IN THE NEW YORK AREA INCLUDING SHOW AT BEACON THEATER NOVEMBER 15

Monday, March 27, 2017 – Today Ringo announced new tour dates with his longest running All Starr Band. The All Starrs include Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette. This line-up first came together in 2012 and have been touring together since.
“The dream is still unfolding,” affirmed Ringo. “I love to play, and I love to play with this band. I can’t say that enough, and we’re on the road again.”
The tour kicks off with eight shows at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. From there they head south with stops in Texas, Oklahoma and then east with stops in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, making their way north to New Jersey and New York. A full list of tour dates is below, with a few more to be added soon:

October:
13-14, 17, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
30 Abraham Chavez Theatre, El Paso, TX
31 Moody Theater, Austin TX

November:
2 Smart Sugarland Civic Center, Sugarland, TX
4 Global Events Center at Winstar, Thackerville, OK
7, 8 Parker Playhouse, Ft Lauderdale, FL
11 Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA
12 ODU Pavilion, Norfolk, VA
14 Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ
15 Beacon Theater, New York City, NY
16 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

25 March 1966 – the Beatles ‘Butcher Cover’ Photo Session

March 25th 1966. The Beatles have a photo session with Robert Whitaker  that produces the infamous ‘Butcher Cover’.

In 2004, in this exclusive interview, Robert told me how it came out:

“I wanted to ask about the infamous ‘Butcher Cover’. The picture was your idea, to show they were human….

To show they were flesh and blood – which is what they are. Some people would saw them as saints, which they weren’t. I also found that every time we got off the stage girls would have ripped them to bits, had they got the chance, torn them to pieces – that was something to do with the meat. The dolls are really little girls screaming away. There are a lot of false things there like false teeth, false dolls eyes. It was never meant to be the cover.

What is John’s idea to have it as the cover?

No, the images were snatched as soon as I had finished them and sent to America without asking me how I wanted to see it. The sausages are meant to be an umbilical chord coming out of a woman and the whole thing would be put inside the womb of a woman. All you would have had on the record cover was a breast, nipple and big tummy. Inside the tummy is The Beatles holding the umbilical chord. Around all of that would have been transfers of little people blowing trumpets, as they do in frescos. There is another picture of George banging nails into John’s head – he would have had wood grain put over his head so he would be a piece of wood – George would be banging nails into a piece of wood. Another of Ringo being unpacked from a box. Written on the box is ‘2 million’. He would have been a piece of alabaster plaster. The whole thing would have been falseness, dummies, unreality. The back cover would have been the butcher picture, about 2 inches square and the rest of it would have been gold, like a Russian icon that canonises them. I was thinking of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments and finding people worshiping the golden calves – like people did to The Beatles, treating them like gods, but they are not.

What was your reaction to the furore around the sleeve?

I thought it was not my fault! If they had asked me what the artwork was I don’t think it would have been that frightening. I don’t blame people for being upset about it. But as it turns out it actually released John to say that they were pissed off looking like pretty little boys all the time and that they were human beings. It gave them a release.
There is a lot written about the ‘butcher’ sleeve and very little I’ve said about it. I’ve never written anything by hand. It’s nearly 40 years ago since I did it and it’s hard to recreate the train of thought when I did it.

The Beatles ‘Yesterday and Today’ album cover

Pete Shotton RIP

I’ve just heard of the passing of Pete Shotton, John Lennon’s best friend, and a founder member of the Quarrymen. Pete later was the manager of the Beatles Apple Shop in Baker Street, and John’s personal assistant.

In 1997 Pete took part in a reunion of the Quarrymen, and I was lucky enough to meet him, and the other members of the band, the the 40th anniversary party for the Cavern Club.

Pete had been in ill-health for a while, but it is very sad to hear we’ve lost another very important member of the Beatles family.

RIP Pete

Pete Shotton (in the light coloured shirt) with the Quarrymen, The Cavern Club 1997

The Charts – 50 Years Ago Today.

The charts from 50 years ago this week – with ‘Release Me’ keeping ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ getting to number one. It was weird further down too – with 2 versions of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘This is My Song’ at 3 and 4, ‘Eidelweiss’ at number 5, and ‘Memories are made of this’ by Val Doonican at number 20. This is right before the Summer of Love???

There was some hope in the chart as well though. Note the first chart entry of Pink Floyd, with their first single ‘Arnold Layne’ ‘Al Capone’ by Prince Buster, and ‘Happy Together’ by the Turtles making an appearance.

Strange Days Indeed!

 

Record charts, March 1967

 

Yoko’s ‘Bottoms’ at the Royal Albert Hall!

Yoko Ono’s Film No. 4 (known as ‘Bottoms’) was famously banned by the Royal Albert Hall and UK film censors in 1967. Fifty years later, with Ms. Ono’s permission, the Royal Albert Hall will screen the film in its entirety for the first time, as part of our counterculture season Summer of Love: Revisited. It takes place on May 3rd. Doors open at 7pm.

The screening will be followed by an expert panel discussion on Yoko Ono’s work. (Panel TBC)  It’s not known if Yoko will attend.

To book tickets, go to https://tickets.royalalberthall.com/booking/production/bestavailable/54592

 

The Beatles Pay Tribute to Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry, a true legend of Rock and Roll, has passed away, aged 90.

Chuck influence the Beatles hugely, and Paul and Ringo have given there own tributes:

“Chuck Berry sadly passed away over the weekend. He was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest poets. He will be missed but remembered by everyone who ever loved rock ‘n’ roll.

“From the first minute we heard the great guitar intro to ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ we became fans of the great Chuck Berry. His stories were more like poems than lyrics – the likes of ‘Johnny B Goode’ or ‘Maybellene’. To us he was a magician making music that was exotic yet normal at the same time. We learnt so many things from him which led us into a dream world of rock ‘n’ roll music.

“Chuck was and is forever more one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest legends all over the world. I was privileged to meet him in his home town St Louis when I played there on tour and it’s a memory I will cherish forever. It’s not really possible to sum up what he meant to all us young guys growing up in Liverpool but I can give it a try.” Paul McCartney

Just let me hear some of that rock ‘n’ roll music any old way you use it I am playing I’m talking about you. God bless Chuck Berry Chuck  Ringo Starr on Twitter

RIP Chuck Berry from the Harrison estate. The first song that The Beatles performed at their first concert in the US was Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” with George on lead vocals and lead guitar. George Harrison Estate
“Chuck Berry is one of the all-time great poets, a rock poet you could call him. He was well advanced of his time lyric-wise. In the Fifties, when people were virtually singing about nothing, Chuck Berry was writing social-comment songs, with incredible meter to the lyrics. We all owe a lot to him.”John Lennon, 1970

Chuck Berry with John Lennon 1972