All posts by Richard Porter

November 9th 1961 – Brian Epstein Meets the Beatles at the Cavern Club

On November 9th 1961, Brian Epstein went to the Cavern Club to see the Beatles, initially to ask about where to obtain the record they had made in Hamburg with Tony Sheridan. Accompanying Brian was Alistair Taylor, his personal assistant. In this exclusive interview with the London Beatles Fanclub magazine, conducted in 1995, Alistair told me about that day:

“We had imported the record by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers (really the Beatles) and it sold like crazy. One day Brian came in and said, “Do you remember that record we sold by the Beatles?” I said ‘Yes, of course’, and he said, ‘Well, they are playing at the Cavern, today, at lunchtime, let’s go to lunch and call in at the Cavern’.

So we went to the Cavern. Ghastly place. We went in suits, like I’m wearing today, and there were these four ghastly youths up on stage, wearing black leather jeans, black jackets, smoking and drinking, and so loud. Brian and I sat at the back, we only heard about four or five numbers and they were just so charismatic and so exciting. What really struck us was the final number, which Paul announced they had written. It was ‘Hello Little Girl’. It was a damned good number. We didn’t like pop music, we just sold records for a living. I was a jazz and classics fan.

We went to lunch, and Brian asked me what I thought of them, and I said, ‘They were bloody awful, but absolutely incredible!’ We talked a bit more, and Brian said ‘I’m thinking of managing them!’. I said, ‘My god, you’re kidding’ – I thought it was great. He said ‘If I do manage them, would you come with me. Who do you work for, me or NEMS?’ I said ‘I work for you’ So he said, ‘If you come with me, I’ll give you 2.5% of the Beatles earnings. I replied, ‘I couldn’t accept that Brian’ I had no money to put up and I knew it would be very expensive. I said all I wanted was a better salary, that’s all.”

So Alistair turned down the chance of getting a very nice share in the Beatles, but remained a big part of their entourage, at NEMS with Brian, and later as general manager of Apple, until he was fired by Allen Klein.

Alistair passed away in June 2004.

Blogger Richard Porter, guiding a Beatles tour of London with Alistair Taylor

Paul McCartney and Family Launch Short Film Documentary

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) next week, the McCartney family has released a Meat Free Monday documentary short called ‘One Day a Week’ about the huge contributor to climate change that is often left out of conference discussions – animal agriculture.

Featuring Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, ‘One Day a Week’ uses breathtaking aerial photography and hard-hitting facts to highlight the damaging environmental impact of animal agriculture and encourage people to help.

“There’s a simple but significant way to help protect the planet and all its inhabitants,” says Paul McCartney to camera. “And it starts with just one day a week. One day without eating animal products can have a huge impact in helping maintain that delicate balance that sustains us all.”

Watch ‘One Day a Week’ by clicking HERE!

Inspirational choir records Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever at Abbey Road

2nd November, 2017

· Inspirational choir records Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever at Abbey Road to launch campaign to tackle unemployment and isolation among young people with special needs
· Of one million people with learning difficulties in the UK, 93% are unemployed and 31% have no contact with family or friends
· The Salvation Army tackles issues within the learning-disabled community by re-opening former children’s home in Lennon’s Strawberry Field as a new training hub

LIVERPOOL, Thursday 2nd November – The Salvation Army today launches a public fundraising campaign to transform Strawberry Field – the former children’s home which inspired John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields Forever – into a training and work placement hub to support young people with learning disabilities.

The Church and Charity needs £2m funding to make this happen.

Over a million people in the UK have a learning disability* and only 7% of that number have a job. 31% have no contact with family or friends, according to research uncovered by the Church and Charity.

To mark the launch of the new campaign, 50 years since the original release of the 1967 classic Beatles song, a choir formed of young people with learning disabilities – all of whom could potentially benefit from the Army’s inspiring plans – gathered at the world-famous Abbey Road studios to create a special version of the iconic song, released online today. The choir was made up from a mix of students from The City of Liverpool College and young people who The Salvation Army work with.

Major Drew McCombe, Divisional Leader for The Salvation Army, North West, said: “Lennon grew up close to Strawberry Field, and gave generously to the home as soon as he got his first pay cheque. He also had a vision for it, expressed in the song, as a place where anybody, whatever their personal background and difficulties, could realise their dreams.

“Strawberry Field has the potential to bring that vision to life; changing the lives of young people with learning disabilities, who find it difficult to find gainful employment, as well as encourage more projects similar across the UK. I hope our choir will not only raise awareness of these issues, but inspire people to take action to help create a better future for those affected.”

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.

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

Paul O’Grady, supporter of The Salvation Army, said: “It is truly shocking to know the disadvantage that young people with learning disabilities face.

“I’m sure John Lennon would be smiling down on this project. As the song lyrics say, ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’ – hopefully this campaign will open people’s eyes so they see the many individuals living alongside us that aren’t being given the support they need to thrive and flourish.”

The Salvation Army is now calling on anyone interested in making a difference to the lives of these young people to help revive the iconic location through a £2m public fundraising campaign, which will allow Strawberry Field to open its doors to the public for the first time ever.

The inspirational choir was joined at Abbey Road by special guest photographer Mike McCartney, former front man of pop band The Scaffold and younger brother of Beatle Paul. He has been involved in the Strawberry Field project from its early days.

Mike said, “I wanted to capture the choir coming off the bus and walking across the famous zebra crossing, but they were on a mission – I almost missed them! They couldn’t wait to get to the studio and get in there. There was some apprehension in their faces, but it was special watching them grow in confidence throughout the day. In the end, they delivered the goods. It was a joyous day.”

Funds raised will create a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities; a new, visitor experience on the place, the song and Lennon’s early life around Strawberry Field; and the development of a haven for spiritual exploration.

Please find below links to video content to support the campaign:

· Make it Matter (1:08 mins)
Hear from our choir as to why Strawberry Field matters to them
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT96cp5NvOQ&index=2&list=PL7L42bBlNtlOPQ…

· The Story Behind the Song (3:49 mins)
Follow our choir as they journey to London to rehearse and record Strawberry Fields Forever at Abbey Road Studios
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t3genXp2RY&index=1&list=PL7L42bBlNtlOPQ…

· The Song (2:16 mins)
Listen to the song in its entirety
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1tHR3ovteM&index=3&list=PL7L42bBlNtlOPQ…

· Jordan’s Story (2:36 mins)
Due to his dyspraxia, Jordan left school a shy and isolated teenager with a very unclear future. Since then, not only has he gone on to gain qualifications, he now has two jobs with big ambitions for the future. Beyond that, he’s become a treasured, conscientious member of his community and relishes in the fact that he’s able to give back. Jordan is true inspiration and testament to what young people with learning disabilities can achieve – a real success story of this project
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugcmXSTuXCg&index=4&list=PL7L42bBlNtlOPQ…

Further campaign information including hi-res images of the choir at Abbey Road Studios can be found here.

Other important information about Strawberry Field – its history and future vision

· Strawberry Field was gifted to the Salvation Army in 1934. The organisation opened its doors in 1936 and for nearly 70 years the site supported some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children until it closed in 2005. Central to the site’s new vision is a ‘Steps to Work’ programme which combines two days of education with two days of work placement per week.

· The structured education programme has a strong emphasis on building practical skills and self-esteem; it includes basic elements like literacy, numeracy and IT, plus life skills such as teamwork, communication and taking responsibility. Trainees will also study for recognised vocational qualifications that employers know and value.

· Students at the hub will train in vocational areas such as catering, retail, visitor experience, and horticulture. Importantly, they will receive opportunities for work placements to build skills and confidence that will lead to meaningful volunteering and sustainable employment opportunities.

· Strawberry Field’s visitor experience will include an exhibition area, café and shop. The gardens and grounds of Strawberry Field will be redeveloped and offer a magical experience to visitors who can follow in the footsteps of the young John Lennon.

· The very latest technologies will be adopted to create an exhibition where visitors will enter a space where “nothing is real” as they experience the wondrous, intertwined histories of the house, John Lennon, and the writing and recording of the iconic song. The gardens will be filled with messages of peace and love that will inspire visitors as Lennon himself was inspired.

New Beatles Christmas Releases – Official Announcement

“HAPPY CHRISTMAS, BEATLE PEOPLE!”

THE BEATLES RING IN THE HOLIDAYS WITH ‘THE CHRISTMAS RECORDS’ LIMITED EDITION SEVEN-INCH VINYL BOX SET TO BE RELEASED DECEMBER 15 

The Beatles’ Festive Fan Club Holiday Recordings Presented Together on Seven Colored Vinyl Singles with Original Artwork

Acclaimed ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Expanded Deluxe Anniversary Edition to be Released in HD Digital Audio

‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ 2017 Stereo Mix to be Released on 180-Gram Vinyl LP and Limited Edition Picture Disc Vinyl LP

PBS Premieres Ron Howard’s Emmy® and GRAMMY®-Winning Film, ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years,’ Saturday, November 25

London – November 2, 2017 – Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe are wrapping up new, global Beatles releases for the holiday season, and a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

The Beatles’ annual holiday tradition of recording jolly Christmas messages for fan club members was an important part of the band’s relationship with their most ardent supporters, affectionately referred to by them as “Beatle People.” Spanning 1963 to 1969, The Beatles’ holiday recordings were originally pressed on flexi discs and mailed to fan club members each December. Never released beyond the fan club until now, The Beatles’ seven holiday messages have been newly pressed on a rainbow of seven-inch colored vinyl singles for The Christmas Records box set, to be released worldwide on December 15. The limited edition collection presents each vinyl single with its original flexi disc sleeve artwork, accompanied by a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members with the holiday flexi discs.

Preorder The Beatles’ limited edition The Christmas Records box set:  http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/ChristmasRecords

Watch / embed a brief video for The Beatles’ The Christmas Records box set:  https://TheBeatles.lnk.to/ChristmasRecordsTrailer

Also on December 15, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition of The Beatles’ 1967 masterwork, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will debut worldwide in high definition digital audio (96kHz/24bit). The Deluxe Anniversary Edition features the album’s acclaimed 2017 stereo mix, plus 18 additional tracks, including complete alternate takes for the groundbreaking album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo. The expanded edition also features the 2017 stereo mix and an instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two complete alternate takes for “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

On the same date, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s 2017 stereo mix will be released in two distinct 1-LP vinyl editions: a 180-gram black vinyl LP and a limited, collectible picture disc vinyl LP. Produced by Giles Martin for this year’s universally heralded ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition releases, the album’s new stereo mix was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by Giles’ father, George Martin. Praised by fans and music critics around the world, The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition is 2017’s most celebrated historical music release and an ideal gift for Beatle People here, there, and everywhere.

Preorder Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 180-gram black vinyl LP:  http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversary1LP

Preorder Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band limited edition picture disc vinyl LP:  http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversaryPictureDisc

Purchase Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition:  http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversary

Watch / embed a brief video for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition:  https://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversaryTrailer

On Saturday, November 25, PBS presents the U.S. television broadcast premiere of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, Ron Howard’s Emmy® Award and GRAMMY Award®-winning documentary film about The Beatles’ phenomenal early career. The premiere broadcast, from 8:00-10:30 pm ET, will be followed by PBS’ encore broadcast of Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution(10:30-Midnight ET), which continues the story beyond The Beatles’ touring years, during the months the band spent creating Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years is available in a Deluxe Collector’s Edition with exclusive bonus features:

Deluxe Collector’s Edition (2-DVD):  http://EightDaysAWeek.lnk.to/Deluxe_DVD

Deluxe Collector’s Edition (2-Blu-ray):  http://EightDaysAWeek.lnk.to/Deluxe_BluRay

Watch / embed the trailer for The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years:  www.thebeatleseightdaysaweek.com

The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM will also present special programming. “The Fab Fourum,” hosted by Dennis Elsas and Bill Flanagan, will air a special ‘Eight Days A Week’ episode on Wednesday, November 15 at 9:00-11:00 pm ET, ahead of the film’s PBS broadcast premiere. For more information, visit www.siriusxm.com/thebeatles.

 

Details of New Beatles Christmas Records Release

More from our friend at The Daily Beatle – Details of the new Beatles Christmas records box set:

The Christmas Records [limited edition box set: seven 7” colored vinyl singles]
1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” (one-sided, 5:00 TRT)
Recorded: 17 October 1963 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” (one-sided, 3:58 TRT) Recorded: 26 October 1964 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:20 TRT) Recorded: 8 November 1965 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:36 TRT)
Recorded: 25 November 1966 – Dick James Music, New Oxford Street, London
1967: “Christmas Time (Is Here Again): The Beatles’ Fifth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:06 TRT)
Recorded: 28 November 1967 – Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1968: “The Beatles’ Sixth Christmas Record” (two-sided, 7:48 TRT) Recorded: 1968, various locations
1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” (two-sided, 7:39 TRT) Recorded: 1969, various locations