All posts by Richard Porter

More on ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’

The screening took place in a very nice screening room at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. Those present included the director, Alan G Parker, and the co- producer Reynold D’Silva ( who also owned Ringo’s old flat in Montagu Square) and archivist Keith Badman. The film is produced by  Alexa Morris.

Alan gave brief speech before the film, telling us how the idea first came to him when he met Keith Badman at the Liverpool Beatles Convention in 1982.

The film begins with a recollections from the Beatles 1966 tours, focusing on the controversy surrounding John’s ‘bigger than Jesus’ comments, and they they decided they wouldn’t tour any more. During this section. there was a fascinating interview with Brian Epstein, filmed in late 1966, talking about the Beatles future plans, and really dodging the question about future tours.

The film then goes into the making of Sgt Pepper itself, and how the songs came about. There was a nice section on Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, showing childhood photos of Julian Lennon together with Lucy O’Donnell, who was the inspiration behind Julian’s painting, that inspired John to write the song.

After talking about Sgt Pepper, the film covers the story of the Beatles meeting the Maharishi, and the death of Brian Epstein. I thought the section on Brian was done very well, and a very nice tribute.

Hunter Davies told a great story of how he went to Bangor with the Beatles to see the Maharishi. On the first night he took them to a Chinese restaurant, but realised he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. The Beatles didn’t carry money with them, and the waiters in the restaurant didn’t recognise the Beatles, and were getting aggressive, thinking they wouldn’t be paid. George Harrison saved the day by asking for a knife, and slit open his shoe. From the shoe, he pulled out a £20 note, which he kept there ‘In case of emergency’

Views on the Maharishi are very mixed among the interviewees. Some really like him, but author and journalist Ray Connelly called him a con man.

Although most of the people in the film were known to me, one highlight was the interview with Barbara O’Donnell, who was a secretary at NEMS and Apple, and worked with Ringo until 1982.

The film ends with the release of the ‘White Album’.

The film was highly enjoyable, with enough new material and stories to keep the interest of even the die-hard Beatles fan that has seen nearly everything (yes, including me!) New fans would find it fascinating too!

At present, there are plans for premieres in Liverpool and London, around June 1st. I will give full details here when known.

The film poster for ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’.

 

 

 

It was 50 Years Ago Today! – a Review

Just back from a screening of the new film ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today – The Beatles, Sgt Pepper & Beyond. 

The film very much starts where ‘Eight Day’s a Week’ ends – but for me was much more enjoyable. Where I found Eight Day’s a Week slightly disappointing, ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’ was far better than my expectations.

The film is expertly written and directed by Alan G Parker, who shows much love and dedication to his subject throughout the film. A brilliant cast of interviewees included Hunter Davies, who was present during most of the recording of Sgt Pepper; Philip Norman, who has written great books on the Fabs, and John and Paul; and Jennie Boyd (Pattie’s Sister). Also giving their insights were Tony Bramwell, Freda Kelly, and surprisingly, Pete Best, who talked about his families role in the making of Sgt Pepper. Although, because the film wasn’t sanctioned by Apple, there is no Beatles music, there is plenty of footage of the Fabs, much I hadn’t seen before, as collected by Keith Badman, Beatles archivist extraordinaire.

Altogether, the film is a great tribute to a great album. Highly recommended :>)

(More recollections tomorrow, after I get some sleep – it’s been a Hard Day’s Night!

It was 50 Years Ago Today.

George and Ringo’s old Flat up for Rent

The flat that George and Ringo shared during the ‘Beatlemania’ years is up for rent.

The flat, in Whaddon House, Williams Mews, is very close to Harrods, the most famous department store in London.

Brian Epstein lived in the same block – and it was his dream for all the Beatles to live together. However, Paul moved in with the family of his girlfriend Jane Asher, and John, Cynthia and Julian Lennon lived in Emperor’s Gate, Kensington.

For more on the flat see http://m.zoopla.co.uk/discover/property-news/former-beatles-home-up-for-rent/#YU5iuUQI6CoXSBxy.97 or from blogger Richard Porter’s book ‘Guide to the Beatles London’ which is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Beatles-London-Richard-Porter-ebook/dp/B00DVQ4P6U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489435318&sr=8-3&keywords=guide+to+the+beatles+London

 

Whaddon House as it looks today.

Paul McCartney to Release Cassette on Record Store Day!

Paul McCartney has announced a Record Store Day April 22 offering that won’t be in the usual vinyl format. In a press release March 13, he said he will put out a limited-edition cassette of three demos from his “Flowers in the Dirt” recording sessions done with Elvis Costello. The cassette will be available at participating Record Store Day outlets.

The songs – “I Don’t Want to Confess,” “Shallow Grave” and “Mistress and Maid” – are the same versions being released digitally as part of the deluxe version of the “Flowers in the Dirt” CD-DVD reissue on March 24, but here they’ll be returning to their original format on cassette.

For more on this story, see https://www.axs.com/paul-mccartney-bucks-tradition-offers-cassette-of-flowers-in-the-dirt–115979 and https://youtu.be/4jFfgo2fUrg

 

The track listing of the cassette

March 12th 1969 – Paul McCartney Marries Linda Eastman.

March 12th 1969 – Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office, London.

The press are out in force, as are lots of Paul McCartney fans, crying their eyes out as Paul has got married.

BTW Linda was NOT part of Eastman Kodak. Her family fled from Russia to escape the progrom against the Jews, and changed their name when they arrived in the US. The original family name was ….Epstein!

Here is colour footage of Paul and Linda’s wedding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tBX6_98QVg

Paul and Linda McCartney, with Linda’s daughter Heather, after their wedding at Marylebone Register Office

On the same day, Sgt Norman Pilcher of the drugs squad raids Kinfauns, the home of George and Pattie Harrison. Pattie is at home and George is at Apple in Savile Row. George tells Patti to show the police where the drugs are, before they smash the place up. However, before she has the chance, the police ‘discover’ a huge stash of pot, which wasn’t George and Pattie’s! They’d brought their own, to be on the safe side…

On June 11th 2003, blogger Richard Porter married Irina Dyomkina at Marylebone Register Office (no coincidence!)

Blogger Richard Porter with Irina, and her daughter, Ilona, at their wedding at Marylebone Register Office

We go to Marylebone Register Office on my Beatles In My Life walk http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

March 11th 1966 – John Lennon Talks to the NME

In March 1966 John Lennon gave an interview to the music paper the ‘New Musical Express’ – known to everyone as the ‘NME’

The chat took place at ‘a nice little caff in Soho,’ and was published in the March 11th 1966 edition of NME with the teaser ‘LENNON TALKS!’ on the front page. Asking the questions was Chris Hutchins.

To read a transcript of the interview see http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0311.beatles.html

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

From the Archives – A Nice Article about my London Beatles Walks

From http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-travel/the-beatles-magical-mystery-tour-in-london/news-story/a6e17362786caab504a1c4a1b618248b (click to read the whole article)

RICHARD Porter is the smartest man in Britain – at least when it comes to The Beatles.  In reality, considering the Sixties pop scene was a hotbed of sex and psychedelic drugs, he probably knows more about The Beatles than the remaining members of the Fab Four can remember themselves.

Porter is a fan. But he’s also so much more than that. In 1991 and 1992 he won the Beatles Brain of Britain title at the Liverpool Convention Centre.

These days you will find him eight days a week conducting walking tours around London following the long and winding road that always seems to lead to Abbey Road.

March 10th 1964 – Ringo Goes Walkabout (In A Hard Day’s Night)

Turks Head Pub, Winchester Road, St Margaret’s

On March 10th 1964, Ringo Starr filmed his solo ‘walkabout scene for a A Hard Day’s Night. He is goaded by Paul’s grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) that he should go out and enjoy life.  Ringo enters the pub through the side entrance (actually in St Margaret’s Grove). He orders a sandwich, which looks extremely stale. He complains about it and interrupts the pub games. This scene was filmed at the Turks Head Pub in Winchester Road, St. Margaret’s, just a few yards away from the film studio. The pub is still there to this day, and makes Beatles fans very welcome. If you ask nicely they will show A Hard Day’s Night on the pub’s big screen, so you can watch it in one the places the film was shot!

The pub is only about 400 metres from Twickenham Film Studios, where most of the interior scenes of A Hard Day’s Night were shot.

Although she was not involved in this scene, Ringo was accompanied to the pub by Pattie Boyd, who played a schoolgirl in the film. She married George Harrison two years later.  On 24th April  all four Beatles came to Winchester Hall,  the pub’s function room, for a ‘wrap party’, to celebrate the completion of the shooting of the film.

In October 2001, members of the original cast and crew came to the Turks Head to film for the bonus DVD of A Hard Day’s Night.

Ringo in the Turks Head Pub, March 10th 1964
Ringo outside the Turks Head Pub, March 10th 1964

 

The side entrance of the Turks Head.
Ringo and Pattie Boyd in the Turks Head