All posts by Richard Porter

NMPA Honors John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ with Centennial Song Award

John Lennon’s “Imagine” was awarded the National Music Publishers Association Centennial Song Award Wednesday (June 14) and Yoko One was given a long overdue credit as co-writer of the iconic song.

The ceremony took place in New York during the NMPA’s Centennial Annual Meeting and was attended by Ono and her son Sean.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7833025/nmpa-john-lennons-imagine-centennial-song-award-yoko-ono

14th June 1965 – Paul McCartney’s Day!

On 14th June 1965, the Beatles recorded 3 songs in a day dominated by Paul McCartney.

Between 2:30 and 5:30 they recorded Paul’s country influenced song, ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’, followed by the out and out rocker ‘I’m Down’, which was inspired by Little Richard.

Then, in the evening session, Paul recorded his vocals on ‘Yesterday’

Three amazingly different songs recorded on the same day.

‘Kenwood’, John Lennon’s ‘stockbroker belt’ Residence

John Lennon bought ‘Kenwood’, a large house on the exclusive St. George’s Hill Estate, for £20,000 on 15 July 1964, on the advice of The Beatles’ accountants, Dr Walter Strach and James Isherwood. Lennon was resident with wife Cynthia, and son Julian, from the summer of 1964, until the late spring of 1968.  Although John only paid £20,000 to buy it, he spent another £40,000 renovating it. The renovations went on for the first nine months the Lennons lived here, and in the end they were forced to occupy the staff flat at the top of the house. During this time it seemed like hundreds of workmen were forever in and out of the house, and John and Cyn were presented with designs for the house which were very beautiful but a long way from reality.

John admitted to biographer, Ray Coleman, that he never liked living at Kenwood – he felt hemmed in by its ‘bourgeois’ atmosphere. Also he probably felt envious that Paul McCartney was living in Central London as a bachelor, while John was stuck in the ‘stockbroker belt’ with a wife and young son.

Marilyn Demmen with John Lennon, outside ‘Kenwood’ in 1968

At first the fans didn’t know where the Lennon’s had moved to, but it didn’t take long for the fans to find out and descend on this normally quiet private estate. However, the atmosphere at Kenwood was very laid back. Kenny Everett remembers visiting Kenwood – by accident. “We were leaving a club in London, the Speakeasy. John was there, and we went outside after we’d finished clubbing and he said ‘Do you want a lift?’ and I said ‘Yeah, I live in Lower Sloane Street’ and he said ‘Oh great, we’ll drop you off’.

“So I jumped into the back of this gigantic car. It was John’s friend Terry Doran driving, with one arm out of the window and one finger on the wheel – he was a maniac! When we got to Lower Sloane Street he went straight past my house and I thought ‘I’d rather be in this car than in my house. So I kept quiet in the back and before we knew it, we were in Weybridge at his house and I stayed a couple of days. It was rather fun. It was a gigantic, stockbrokery sort of place, mock Tudor monster and yards of lawn.”

“There was an occasion in the house, when there was a girl spotted at the door. She’d somehow climbed over the wall. And someone said ‘Oh John, there’s a fan at the door.’ John walked all the way down the path and chatted to her for a while and then just gently led her out and said goodbye. And I thought that was very pleasant, he could have had her shot or unleashed the odd dog. But he went out to speak to her, that was rather sweet.”

There were a steady stream of fans visiting Kenwood, and John would often go out to see them, to post for pictures or give autographs. On some occasions, he would invite fans into the house and give them food and drink. One such fan was Marilyn Demmen, who visited Kenwood on many occasions. One day she was invited in, and saw that John had a bookshelf full of his own books ‘In His Own Write’ and ‘A Spaniard in the Works’. Marilyn laughed about it, and in response, John got a book from the shelf, signed it, and gave it to Marilyn.

While living at Kenwood, John’s father Freddie re-entered his life. John had not seen his father since he was five, when his mother and father split up, and Freddie had gone to sea. By 1965 Freddie was working in Hampton Court washing dishes when he met someone that had driven the Beatles for a hire car firm and remarked to Freddie that he knew where his son was living. Freddie decided to turn up unannounced and perplexed poor Cynthia, who was home alone. Cynthia told Ray Coleman, “There was no way I could have shut the door on him. He looked like a tramp, but he was John’s dad. I had no alternative but to ask him to wait for John to return.” When John did return, he was not overjoyed to see his father, as it became obvious he was looking for a handout – but, through persuasion by Cynthia, Freddie stayed for a few nights. The reconciliation was not a success; John later told journalist Maureen Cleeve, “It was only the second time in my life I’d seen him – I showed him the door. I wasn’t having him in the house.” Despite this obviously uneasy meeting John did buy Freddie a house and had a distant relationship with his father until Freddie died in the 1970’s.When Beatles biographer Hunter Davies visited Kenwood in 1967, John would often be sitting with his face just inches from a TV screen (he was so short-sighted, it was the only way he could see it!) or would be sitting alone by the swimming pool, lost in a world of his own.

John Lennon outside ‘Kenwood’

In May 1968 John invited Yoko Ono to visit him here. They made some tapes together that they eventually released as the Unfinished Music Volume One LP (better known as Two Virgins). Then they made love. A few hours later, Cynthia came home unexpectedly early from holiday, and found John and Yoko together. John and Yoko then moved to Ringo’s flat in London. Kenwood was sold when John and Cynthia divorced.

This article is adapted from ‘Guide to the Beatles London’ by Richard Porter. For more on the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.beatlescoffeeshop.com/shop/product.php/2/guide_to_the_beatles_london__guide_book_by_richard_porter

 

The Beatles documentary: Inside Apple Corps with the staff who worked there

The story of the early years of the band’s business venture Apple Corps is told in Ben Lewis’s entertaining and revealing new film ‘The Beatles, Hippies And Hell’s Angels’

The film will be broadcast on 17 June, 9pm, Sky Arts and catch-up.

Fore more on Apple in the 1960s, see http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-beatles-apple-corps-fab-four-the-beatles-hippies-and-hell-s-angels-ben-lewis-a7787951.html

More Screenings announced for ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today’

More screenings have been announced for the great film IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY! THE BEATLES: SGT PEPPER & BEYOND. Each will include a Q and A with the director, Alan G Parker.

London – Sunday June 18th ( yes, 3 in a day, a real ‘Mad Day Out!’)

Everyman – Muswell Hill – 11am

Everyman – Kings Cross – 1.30pm
Everyman – Baker Street – 6.30pm (next door to the former Apple Boutique)

For tickets, go to https://www.everymancinema.com

Friday July 7th

Milton Keynes – MORE DETAILS SOON

Liverpool – Sunday August 27th

BEATLES INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

The Beatles Skiffle Roots Concert with Rod Davis

The Beatles Skiffle Roots” concert is on Sunday 2 July at The Oaks Theatre, Knole Academy, Sevenoaks, TN13 3LE at 3pm. The theatre is next to Knole Park – where the Beatles shot the videos of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’

 Quarryman Rod Davis be talking about the origins of Skiffle and the Quarrymen, with musical illustrations with guitar, washboard and tea-chest bass, plus digital slides, followed by a full-on set from The Lonnigans.

This is all in aid of The Ridge View Special Needs School in Tonbridge. The event forms part of the Sevenoaks Summer Festival.
Tickets – Adults £16, under 16s £6 – are available from the Festival Box Office, 01732 450175 orhttp://www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk/whats-on/02-Jul-2017/

6th June 1962 – the Beatles First Recording Session at Abbey Road Studios

June 6th 1962 – the Beatles record ‘Love Me Do’ at their first session at EMI Studios, Abbey Road. They also recorded versions of ‘Besame Mucho’, ‘PS I Love You’ and ‘Ask Me Why’

Earlier in the day, they had rehearsed many songs, and decided to record four of them later.

Things didn’t go smoothly:

“The Beatles didn’t make a very good impression, apart from visually. I mean, we heard nothing of John and Paul’s songwriting ability. They had tiny little Vox amplifiers and speakers, which didn’t create much of a sound at source. Of course, every sound engineer wants some kind of sound at source that he can then embellish and improve, but I got nothing out of The Beatles’ equipment except for a load of noise, hum and goodness-knows-what. Paul’s was about the worst — in those days we had echo chambers to add onto the reverberation, and I had to raid the Studio Two echo chamber in order to fix him up with a sound so that we could get something down on tape.” – Norman Smith

Most documentation for the session has long been destroyed, but we know it was produced by George Martin with assistant Ron Richards, and was The Beatles’ only EMI session to feature Pete Best on drums; when the band returned to Abbey Road on 4 September, Ringo Starr was the group’s new drummer.

Ron Richards was initially in charge of the session – George Martin was only brought in when balance engineer Norman Smith was struck by the quality of Love Me Do. Smith instructed tape operator Chris Neal to fetch Martin, who took over the rest of the session. It was unusual for a producer to be present for an artist test. However, on this day Martin stayed for most of the session.

“The control room door opened and in walked George Martin himself. And I thought to myself, ‘This must be some kind of special artist test for him to show up.’ Because producers didn’t normally attend artists test. It was always their assistants. And, of course, up to that time, George was not involved at all with any guitar groups. He did a lot of comedy records, like Peter Sellers and stuff like that.”
Norman Smith

Afterwards George Martin invited the Beatles to the control room to talk and listen to the playback.

We gave them a long lecture about their equipment and what would have to be done about it if they were to become recording artists. They didn’t say a word hack, not a word, they didn’t even nod their heads in agreement. When he finished, George said ‘Look, I’ve laid into you for quite a time, you haven’t responded. Is there anything you don’t like?’ I remember they all looked at each other for a long while, shuffling their feet, then George Harrison took a long look at George and said ‘Yeah, I don’t like your tie!’ That cracked the ice for us and for the next 15-20 minutes they were pure entertainment. When they left to go home George and I just sat there saying ‘Phew! What do you think of that lot then?’ I had tears running down my face.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1mgIZrlLSE

We go to Abbey Road on my London Beatles Walks http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

GEORGE HARRISON – I ME MINE – LYRICS & WRITINGS Pop Up Exhibition

## FREE POP UP EXHIBITION ##

A very rare opportunity to see George Harrison’s handwritten lyrics on display

Friday 16th June – Sunday 18th June 2017

Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, 1-3-5 Flitcroft Street, London, WC2H 8DH

Genesis Publications hosts a free exhibition celebrating the U.K. launch of the book, I ME MINE – The Extended Edition by George Harrison.

Visitors to the pop-up exhibition will have a rare chance to see reproductions of Harrison’s handwritten lyrics as well as personal photographs and commentary taken from the new book. The closest to an autobiography of George Harrison that has been published, I ME MINE – The Extended Edition covers -for the first time- the full span of his life and work, with his handwritten lyrics to 141 songs, observations by Harrison himself and photographs from the family albums.

Originally published in 1980, The Extended Edition includes lyrics and photographs discovered recently by his wife Olivia, including a collection of lyrics found in a piano bench at Harrison’s home studio. One such song was ‘Hey Ringo’, thought to be from 1970/1971, and previously unseen – including by Ringo Starr himself who first saw the lyrics at the recent Los Angeles exhibition of the book.

Rare limited edition books also on display will include: I Me Mine (original 1980 edition), Songs by George Harrison 1 and 2, Concert for George, Fifty Years Adrift and Live in Japan. Visitors will also enjoy a preview of the recently announced Revolver 50 Collage series by Klaus Voormann, Love That Burns – A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac by Mick Fleetwood, Transformer by Lou Reed & Mick Rock, and the Genesis 100 special box set celebrating 100 editions since 1974.

Also on show will be the full range of Genesis Publications’ limited edition, signed books and prints.   Publications and prints by artists such as Jimmy Page, Ronnie Wood, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Paul Weller and Jeff Beck will be displayed alongside those featuring the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Traveling Wilburys, The Who as well as the recent Vogue – Voice Of A Century anthology.

For more info see

i-me-mine-exhibition.com

 

INTERNATIONAL BEATLEWEEK IS SET TO GET BACK LIVE OUTDOOR MUSIC!

27TH AUGUST 2017, 10:00AM – 28TH AUGUST 2017, 10:00PM

The ‘Beatle Week-Ender’ is coming to Liverpool’s Pier Head Village on Sunday and Monday during the International Beatleweek festival. This amazing event will feature LIVE OUTDOOR MUSIC from many of our festival artists. 

Sunday, August 27th marks 50 years to the day we sadly lost Brian Epstein and all day we will be paying tribute to the man who helped The Beatles reach the ‘toppermost of the poppermost’.

Monday, August 28th we will be celebrating 50 years of The Beatles album, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and Cavern resident band, The Cavern Club Beatles, will be performing a special set featuring the album in its entirety. 

THIS IS A FREE EVENT AND YOU DO NOT NEED TICKETS OR WRISTBANDS TO ATTEND.

Beatles Weekender Coming to Liverpool