All posts by Richard Porter

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

‘The Teacher’ the Tony Sheridan Story

I’m just reading a very good book called ‘The Teacher’ The Tony Sheridan Story. Author Alan Mann came on my London Rock Walk, and kindly sent me a copy of the book.

It is a very interesting read, and taught me a lot about Tony I didn’t know. For instance, did you know Tony spent a lot of time in Vietnam in the late 60s, entertaining the US troups?

Tony came on my London Beatles Walk a few years ago, he was certainly a character, and talked very warmly about his days with the Beatles.

The book is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Teacher-Tony-Sheridan-Story-Alan-Mann/0957528507/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500628649&sr=1-1&keywords=The+teacher%2C+tony+sheridan

13th July 1954 – the Recording Session that changed British Music History

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

July 13th 1954 – one of the most important recording sessions in British rock and pop history – by a Jazz Band!

The Chris Barber Jazz Band record an album for Decca at their studios in West Hampstead. The album is called New Orleans Joys.

Part way through the recording, the band realise they don’t have enough songs to make a full album, so they retire to the Railway Hotel pub next door to discuss what to do. They decide to record some songs they do live as a ‘Breakdown Group’ – this was a part of their concerts when they would allow the brass section a break and play some paired down music, bringing the guitar player to the front (it was seen as a percussion instrument before this) and have double bass (or improvised tea chest bass) and washboard, which would be played using thimbles.

Chris Barber decided he would play bass, and Lonnie Donegan would play guitar. Washboard player Beryl Bryden was called up and summoned to come to the studio from her home in nearby Maida Vale.

One of the songs they recorded was ‘Rock Island Line’ which had been popularised by Huddy Leadbetter, better known as ‘Lead Belly’. It was sang by Lonnie Donegan

The album went on to sell a few thousand copies, not bad for a jazz album, and ‘Rock Island Line’ just seen as an album track. Things changed though, nearly 2 years later. Bill Haley had a UK number one hit with Rock Around the Clock and record companies tried to find a similar record which would have the same impact. Decca then remembered about ‘Rock Island Line’ and released it as a single, credited to The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group. It became a huge hit record in the UK, and also ironically, in the US. More importantly, ‘Rock Island Line’ and other ‘skiffle’ songs, inspired thousands of British teenagers to start their own skiffle bands. The bands only need one cheap guitar, and the rest of the instruments could be adapted from household implements. Each song only had 3 or 4 chords to learn, so it was easy to play too. Guitar sales went up from about 2000 a year to 200,000 a year.

Amongst those who played in skiffle bands included: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Dave Davies etc etc etc.

Skiffle itself died out. Lonnie Donegan went on record novelty songs, but others went onto other things :>)

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7col8uqIQQ

Lon, Paul, George and Ringo?  3 Beatles with  Lonnie Donegan – at Eric and Pattie Clapton’s wedding reception, 1979.

P.S. Elvis Presley’s version of ‘That’s Alright’ was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis on July 5th 1954 – just 8 days before this session :>)

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

John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce returns to Britain

John Lennon’s psychedelic Summer of Love Rolls-Royce Phantom V is heading back to Britain to celebrate the marque and the 50th anniversary of Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

It is one of seven historic Rolls-Royce Phantoms belonging to influential figures – including dance legend Fred Astair, speed record breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell and war hero Field Marshal ‘Monty’ Montgomery – being brought together to celebrate the launch of the new eighth generation Phantom.

The launch will occur in London’s Mayfair on Thursday next week and the brightly painted John Lennon is on loan from current owner the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada.

Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-4689536/John-Lennon-s-psychedelic-Rolls-Royce-returns-Britain.html#ixzz4mh177VlH

‘The Beatles: Yellow Submarine’ Coming to Comics in 2018

The Blue Meanies are about to invade comic book stores.In time for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ beloved animated movie Yellow Submarine, Titan Comics will release an all-new comic book adaptation of the feature.

The movie, originally released in July 1968, saw animated versions of Paul, John, George and Ringo led to Pepperland by Captain Fred in an attempt to rescue it from the menace of the music-hating Blue Meanies. A mix of psychedelia and straight-forward animation that featured unreleased Beatles tracks and a cameo from the live-action band themselves, Yellow Submarine went on to become both critically acclaimed — it received a New York Film Critics Circle Special Award in 1968 — and warmly embraced by fans.

One of those fans is responsible for next year’s comics edition. Bill Morrison, the longtime Bongo Comics creator and newly announced incoming editor of MAD Magazine, will write and illustrate the special edition, fulfilling a decades-held dream in the process.

For more info, see: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/beatles-yellow-submarine-coming-comics-2018-1019507

A preview of the Yellow Submarine comic

#PeaceAndLove to Ringo Starr in Studio One at Abbey Road Studios Today!

Just back from wishing Ringo ‘Peace and Love’ on his birthday in Studio One at Abbey Road.

We were allowed in at around 11.45am – around the studio were many keyboard instruments used by the Beatles on their records in the studios. Behind the stage were placards with ‘All You Need is Love’ on – similar to those used on the ‘All You Need is Love’ ‘Our World’ TV broadcast -that was broadcast from this very room 50 years ago last month.

Giles Martin (an unexpected bonus!) introduced the event, and told how important Abbey Road was to him, not the least because his mother and father first met there! We were then given a nice speech by Mirek Styles of Abbey Road, of the history of Studio One.

Jonathan Clyde of Apple then introduced a recording of Ringo giving a countdown to 12 noon, when everyone said ‘Peace and Love’ and did the peace sign. Jonathan then played the video of the Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ broadcast. It was very emotional seeing and hearing this in the very room it was filmed in.

Thanks to Irina PorterBarbara Simpson and Paul Endacott for sharing the event with me – and to Cathy Hawkes from Apple for inviting me along.

Here is Giles Martin’s welcoming speech https://www.facebook.com/richard.porter.5815/videos/10212031128066875/

Mirek Styles of Abbey Road Studios, telling the story of Studio One https://www.facebook.com/richard.porter.5815/videos/10212031456235079/

Jonathan Clyde of Apple, introducing Ringo’s ‘Peace and Love’ to the world at 12 Noon

Jonathan Clyde from Apple introducing Ringo's 'Peace and Love' to the world at 12 noon #PeaceAndLove

Posted by Richard Porter on Friday, 7 July 2017

 

 

Mirek Styles of Abbey Road Studios, telling the history of the Studio in Studio One at the Ringo Peace and Love event today. #PeaceAndLove

Posted by Richard Porter on Friday, 7 July 2017

Giles Martin Introducing the Peace and Love event to Ringo Starr in Studio One, Abbey Road Studios
Blogger Richard Porter and wife Irina, on the steps of Abbey Road Studios Today
The cakes to celebrate Ringo’s 77th birthday in Studio One at Abbey Road today
Inside Studio One for the Peace and Love for Ringo on his birthday event today