Category Archives: News

All You Need is Love Photo Exhibition Coming to London

A new exhibition of photos taken at the recording session for the Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ is opening in Chelsea in March.

It was be at the Proud Chelsea Gallery at  161 King’s Road which, fittingly, used to be the Beatles’ ‘Apple Tailoring and Theatrical’ 

Proud Chelsea will showcase a rare and remarkable collection of this unique photographic session of The Beatles by David Magnus, revealing the close bond between photographer and subject. Magnus’s extensive archive from this inimitable occasion highlights the band’s domineering presence and influence within the music industry whilst reflecting the recognition, admiration and excitement that sparked the world-over across the last five decades.

For more info, and to see some of the photos, go to https://www.proudonline.co.uk/exhibitions

It was 50 Years Ago Today – a great new film on Sgt Pepper!

It was 50 Years Ago Today… Ltd
In conjunction with
A Geezer & A Blonde Productions Ltd presents:
It Was 50 Years Ago Today….
: The Beatles, Sgt Pepper & Beyond

A Film by Alan G Parker

On Thursday June 1st 1967 The Beatles released what can arguably be called the greatest album in the history of the world! ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’. It was the first album by a musical artist to be discussed in terms of art, it featured the most expensive sleeve design in record distribution history, the first gatefold sleeve ever, the first time the lyrics ever appeared on a record cover and a host of celebrities, both past and present, looking back at the listener.

It topped the charts all around the world within days of it’s release, went multi-platinum in a matter of hours, and stayed in the UK chart list for 27 consecutive weeks. Additionally it topped the US charts for a staggering 15 weeks. Time Out magazine declared it “a historic departure in the progress of music”, while The New Statesman praised its elevation of pop to the level of fine art. It won 4 Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album Of The Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour.

On June 1st 2017 (ironically also a Thursday) a staggering 50 years after it’s original release A Geezer & A Blonde Productions Ltd are proud to present ‘It Was 50 Years Ago Today… The Colour Of Dreams’ a new film from EMMY nominated Director Alan G Parker (Monty Python: Almost The Truth/Hello Quo!/KISS: You Wanted The Best/Who Killed Nancy) which traces the history of The Beatles from the end of their touring days in August 1966, through various solo projects to the release of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane’ on a journey that includes; The Summer Of Love, flower power, John Lennon meeting Yoko Ono, LSD, Meditation, Jimi Hendrix, the death of Brian Epstein, hippie happenings, Abbey Road Studios, a Magical Mystery Tour, the birth of Apple, Paul McCartney meeting Linda Eastman and the release of the biggest selling album in the history of recorded music.

‘Sgt Pepper’ is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album, that advanced the use of extended form in popular music while continuing the artistic maturation seen on The Beatles’ preceding releases. It has been described as one of the first art rock LPs, aiding the development of progressive rock, and credited with marking the beginning of the Album Era. An important work of British Psychedelia, the album incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including; vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western along with Indian Classical music.

In 2003, the Library Of Congress placed Sgt. Pepper in the National Recording Registry, honouring the work as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. That same year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 1 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. As of 2011, it has sold more than 38 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums ever. Professor Kevin J. Dettmar, writing in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature, described it as “the most important and influential rock n’ roll album ever recorded”
Assembled from hours of newly shot interviews including; Pete Best (Beatle), Freda Kelly (The Beatles Fan Club), Tony Bramwell (friend/Tour Manager), Hunter Davies (Official Biographer), Philip Norman (Biographer), Bill Harry (Merseybeat Editor), Ray Connolly (Sixties Music Writer), Steve Turner (Author of ‘Beatles 66’), The Bootleg Beatles (Andre & Neil), Tony Crane & Billy Kinsley (The Merseybeats), Steve Diggle (Buzzcocks), Andy Peebles (the last man to interview John Lennon), Barbara Connolly (Apple Secretary) and Julia Baird (John Lennon’s Sister).

Along side the best collection of archive footage and still photographs ever assembled on this subject and it’s era… The projects archivist is none other than, BAFTA nominated, Keith Badman (The Beatles Anthology/Queen: Days Of Our Lives).

“The Beatles aren’t a rock n’ roll band, they are a force of nature, and they’ve been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember! – I’ve wanted to make this film since I was 9 years old!!!” – Alan G Parker (Director)

 

The poster for the new film
The poster for the new film

The Day John Met Paul – 60th Anniversary Celebrations

THE DAY JOHN MET PAUL

THIS EVENT WILL TAKE PLACE AT ST. PETER’S CHURCH CHURCH RD, LIVERPOOL L25 5JF

On 6 July 1957, 60 years ago this summer, John Lennon and his band The Quarrymen followed a marching band through the streets of Woolton to play at the annual St. Peter’s Garden Fete.  That afternoon he met Paul McCartney and together they went on to change the face of music forever.

This year, on 6 July 2017, 60 years to the day, we will be celebrating the anniversary of The Quarrymen’s performance at the Fete, and the day John met Paul.  We will step back in time to replicate the Fete and the Grand Dance at the Church Hall.  This will be a community collaboration with the Church and Bishop Martin School where the original Fete took place.

All the elements of a typically English garden fete will be celebrated, including the children’s fancy dress party, the Crowning of the Rose Queen and the procession of The Quarrymen on a flat back lorry through the village.  Amongst the many attractions will be games, cake sales, refreshments, and much more and, of course, dancing to the music of The Quarrymen and other artists.

10 years into the future, the 1967 Summer of Love, another marching band was born.  2017 also celebrates the 50thanniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It’s safe to say that The Beatles may not have happened if it had not been for the 6 July 1957 – the Day John Met Paul.

Please bring your friends along and help us celebrate this historic day, and dress in 1950s style if you want to, be as authentic as you dare!  Entry to the event will be by purchase of a programme on the day.  You can just walk up and pay; no ticketing in advance is required.  Tickets for the Grand Dance in the evening will go on sale, online, sometime in early June, so watch this space.  It will be a fabulous day for everyone with Satisfaction is guaranteed!!!

For further information contact jean@thecavernliverpool.com

 

The Quarrymen at St Peter's Church Fete - 6th July 1957
The Quarrymen at St Peter’s Church Fete – 6th July 1957

New Beatles Fan Film being made

HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE, THE BEATLES FAN FILM
GOES INTO PRODUCTION!
Production starts later this month on ‘Here There &
Everywhere’ [HTAE], a landmark documentary film project, supported
by The Cavern Club, The Beatles Story Museum, The Hard
Days Night Hotel, The Fest For Fans, Abbey Road on the River and
The British Beatles Fan Club, and many others.
The film, shooting throughout this year and released in the summer
of 2018, is an 80-minute ‘love letter’ spanning the band’s history as
seen through the eyes, felt through the hearts and as told through
the memories of the fans . . . from those who organise the fan
festivals and tribute concerts . . the Club and event runners who
keep the fans together, the memorabilia collectors who amaze and
delight with their rare and unseen photographs and films. . . to the
authors who continue to breathe fresh life into the never-ending
magical mystery tour.
HTAE pays homage to the global family, showcasing their
contributions towards fuelling The Beatles eternal flame. HTAE is
The Beatles story as told by the fans and an important part of The
Beatles future archive legacy!
As part of the ongoing production the producers will also encourage
artists and animators around the world to include their Beatles-inspired
interludes in the film. But perhaps most importantly, if fans
have a story to tell, then they can get in touch and the producers
will look to include contributors and their stories in the film.
Many artists and bands will pack HTAE with performances. And
special licensed recordings will also be produced, featuring
musicians and vocalists from around the world, creating a global
Beatles soundtrack. The film will also feature a “surprise” finale, to
be announced over the months ahead.
The film will be launched at a number of iconic venues after
release, with a TV broadcast release at the conclusion of the
project.
The team behind the film
Simon Weitzman is the film’s director and the publisher, producer
and author on three recent Beatles books. Simon also has 18 years
experience as a network TV director, working for BBC, ITV,
Channels 4 & 5, Sky, HBO and Disney International Television
Productions.
David L Simon is one of the two executive producers. He launched
and managed Disney International Television Productions, was
head of DreamWorks Television Animation under Steven Spielberg,
and was vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations.
David is also a lifelong Beatles fan
The second executive producer The British Beatles Fan Clubs very
own Pete Nash, Chairman and magazine Editor of the legendary
Club magazine.
Contributors to the PledgeMusic campaign will receive a signed
DVD of the movie before the launch. Those who pledge for the DVD
offerings will also see their name on the film’s credits, if they pledge
during the campaign.There is also a more extensive Deluxe collector
package available, plus preview, edit suite and launch cinema
tickets.
To reserve your DVD copy and see your name in the credits go to
http://www.pledgemusic.com/…/the-beatles-herethereandeveryw…
to be part of the family making this film. The campaign
starts February 9!

Here There and Everywhere
Here There and Everywhere

The End of Beatleweek in Liverpool?

The big shock news from Liverpool is that this year’s ‘International Beatleweek’ will be the last in its current form, and will be scaled back in future years!

I’ve been hearing rumours about this for a while, but the news still comes at quite a shock. I’ve been going to the Liverpool Beatles Conventions since 1981! It’s nearly always been over the August Bank Holiday weeked and has been the first thing in my diary every year.

What happens in futures years has yet to be decided – but this years will be the last of its kind. So book now while you can!

Here is what Cavern City Tours have said about Beatleweek on their website: https://www.internationalbeatleweek.com/

Last International Beatleweek 2017 as we know it!

What is happening to International Beatleweek?

This will be the last International Beatleweek Festival as we know it. In future years it will be scaled down.

What changes will you be making to the festival?

You can rest assured there will still be lots of live music from bands around the world. This will now mainly take place at the Cavern Club and the Cavern Pub. Unfortunately we don’t know yet what other changes we will be making.

Will you still have a convention day and late night parties at the Adelphi Hotel?

Unfortunately this is yet to be decided. As soon as we have more information on this and a decision has been made we will be sure to pass this on to you.

When can we expect more information?

Discussions are currently taking place with the council and various other organisations about what we can do with the festival. Decisions regarding accommodation packages, late-night parties, theatre shows, the convention and outdoor events have not been made yet. As soon as we have a plan together for future years we will pass it along to you.

Beatles Coffee Shop

After 10 years of ownership, Irina and I are selling the Beatles Coffee Shop. Our last day will be February 5th. I will be making a formal announcement about the new owners when we have signed the sales contract, but I’m glad to say I will be a consultant on Beatles related matters for the new owners.
We have really enjoyed our time as owners of the shop, but changing circumstances in the area mean it’s time for us to pass on the baton, and go to on to pastures new. Of course, I will still be doing the London Beatles Walks…. http://www.beatlesinlondon.com
In the meantime, we have a massive sale on Beatles Merchandise in the shop, with T Shirts costing no more than £12 (half the price in the Abbey Road Studios shop) so come in and grab a bargain while you can!
Many thanks to all our customers, past and present, for a great 10 years.

The Beatles Coffee Shop
The Beatles Coffee Shop

RIP ‘Magic Alex’ the Beatles Electronics ‘Guru’

We’ve lost yet another important person in the Beatles story – Yanni Alexis Mardas, or as he was nicknamed by John Lennon, ‘Magic Alex’.

It is fair to say that the reaction on social media to his passing has been rather mixed – with many calling him a ‘charlatan’ and even one calling him a ‘c**t’! Certainly, he was a character, and very much part of the Beatles ‘inner circle’ for around 2 years – until he was dumped.

Mardas first came to England, from his home country of Greece, in 1965. It has been said his first job in the UK was as a TV repair man. However, he quickly starting mixing with people in the art and music scenes. Mardas befriended John Dunbar, one of the co-owners of the Indica Art Gallery, where John Lennon met Yoko Ono. It was either Dunbar, or Rolling Stone Brian Jones, who introduced Mardas to John Lennon. Lennon was immediately taken with Mardas’s electronic inventions, including a ‘nothing box’ and christened him ‘Magic Alex’. Lennon introduced Mardas to the other Beatles as ‘my guru’.

On 15th June 1967, a meeting was held was held by Clive Epstein (Brian’s brother) and the Beatles’ accountant, Stephen Maltz, with Mardas, to see whether he could work in some capacity for the Beatles new company ‘Apple’. ‘Magic Alex’ was put in charge of what became ‘Apple Electronics’

Before this though, Mardas had the idea that the Beatles should buy a Greek Island and relocate to it. At the time the Beatles were paying 95% tax, and that buying the island would save them lots of money. In July 1967, the Beatles and their entourage, including Mardas, went to Greece to track down a suitable island. However, Alistair Taylor, the general manager of NEMS (Brian Epstein’s company) said that everywhere the Beatles went, the press were there too, and put the blame firmly onto Mardas for tipping them off. Eventually, the Greek Island idea was dropped.

However, Mardas’s influence with the Beatles was growing ever stronger. He was involved in the setting up of the Beatles ‘Apple’ shop on Baker Street, and also was on the Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ coach, during which, he took part in a singalong, which was featured as an extra on the MMT DVD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE93Xwf85Rg

It was around this time that building was bought at 34 Boston Place, by the side of Marylebone Station, to be converted to be the headquarters of ‘Apple Electronics’  – that Mardas would run. He was given a salary of £40 per week, and a share of any profits his inventions would make. Ironically, the Beatles ran past the building during the opening scenes of A Hard Day’s Night, some four years earlier. Mardas was seen in his new lab for Apple Electronics in a promotional film for Apple, part of which was seen in the Beatles Anthology. Although much money was spent to develop Mardas’s inventions, no, or little money was ever made on them. It has been said by many that ‘Magic Alex’ wasn’t so magic after all. It’s interesting that during an outtake of ‘Hey Jude’ (included on the Beatles Anthology), Paul McCartney says ‘I was a robber in Boston Place!’ – was this a reference to ‘Magic Alex’ and the money being spent by him?

Mardas also got involved in the Beatles personal relationships. In May 1968, he was told to stop work at Apple, and join the Beatles in  Rishikesh, India, where they were studying meditation with the Maharish. It was alleged that Mardas made suggestions to the Beatles that the Maharishi was making unwanted advances to a member of entourage, and the Beatles left immediately.

Soon after their return to the UK, Mardas went on holiday to Green with Cynthia Lennon, Jenny Boyd and Donovan. On return to the Lennon’s family home, Kenwood, on May 22nd 1968, Mardas and Cynthia Lennon discovered John Lennon with Yoko Ono, and promptly left. It has been said the Mardas slept with Cynthia around this time.

In January 1969, the Beatles began work on what was originally called ‘Get Back’ at Twickenham Film Studios, but work was abandoned there after a few days, when George Harrison walked out. It was therefore decided to leave Twickenham and instead record in the Beatles new Apple Studio at 3 Savile Row, that ‘Magic Alex’ had built for them. Alex has alleged since that the Studio wasn’t finished, and was still being worked on in Boston Place, but was taken, without his permission, to be used in Savile Row. Whatever the case, the studio didn’t work, and equipment has to be hired from EMI at Abbey Road Studios, for the Beatles to use their own studio space.

It was around the time of the recording of ‘Get Back’ that John Lennon met Allen Klein about saving Apple, as it was haemorrhaging money at an alarming rate. Klein immediately shut down Apple Electronics and fired Mardas.

After the Beatles episode, Mardas became a security consultant, and even worked with many royal families around the world. He was again in the press when he was said to be having a relationship with Joan Collins in the 1980s. He had first met her when Collins was married to Ron Kass, head of Apple Records.

In 2004, Mardas sold many of his Beatles souvenirs at Christies Auction House in London. Probably the most interesting piece was the leather Hindu charm that John Lennon had worn non stop for a year or more in 1967-68. He was even wearing it on the ‘Two Virgins’ album cover.

Mardas had said many times that this days with the Beatles had been misrepresented, and sued many publications to put his side of the story. In 2010, he wrote a long document to the New York Times, in reply to allegations made by journalist Allan Kozinn. You can read it at http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/arts/Mardas.pdf  Unfortunately, Mardas’s memory had rather dimmed by then, and many errors were made in his account.

RIP ‘Magic Alex’ – certainly an interesting character in the Beatles story.

 

'Magic Alex' at Apple Electronics
‘Magic Alex’ at Apple Electronics

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

 

 

The Beatles meet Bob Dylan in London

In his new autobiography, Robbie Robertson has revealed how Bob Dylan nearly drowned in his bath when the Beatles visited him at the Mayfair Hotel in London, during his 1966 UK tour.

Dylan was “practically unconscious” when the Beatles came to visit, so to freshen him up, Robertson put him in the bath. Dylan was high on drugs that Robertson “ hurried back into the bathroom, only to find that Bob had sunk down into the water and was starting to bubble.” “My heart stopped for a moment. Damn, I thought, he could really drown here. I pulled him back up in the tub,” Robertson wrote.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/music/bob-dylan-nearly-drowned-bath-beatles-visited-london-hotel/

It was also during that visit that Dylan and John Lennon shared a car back to the Mayfair hotel, filmed by DA Pennebaker, for his film on Dylan ‘Eat the Document’. Dylan was extremely stoned, and Lennon plays the ‘straight man’, during a rambling conversation, which getting very entertaining when they talk about Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas. To see the film go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5YLdHG83U0

John and George both attended Dylan’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 27th May 1966, at which Dylan was booed by the folk purists, who objected to Dylan going electric with the Band.

Letter from John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney Goes up for Sale

A letter from John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney has gone up for auction. The letter, believed to be written circa 1971, seems to be in reply to a letter from Linda. It was around the time that relations between the Lennon’s and McCartney’s were at their lowest.

It begins: “I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it, I resisted looking at the last page to find out—I kept thinking who is it—Queenie? Stuart’s mother?—Clive Epstein’s wife?—Alan Williams?—What the hell—it’s Linda!”

John seems especially bitter about saying to the others he was leaving the Beatles in late 1969 – but asked by the others to keep quiet about it, only for Paul to announce he was leaving. In the letter he says

“PAUL and Klein both spent the day persuading me it was better not to say anything—asking me not to say anything because it would ‘hurt the Beatles’—and ‘let’s just let it petre out’—remember? So get that into your petty little perversion of a mind, Mrs. McCartney,”In another part, John lays into Paul for making out that the Beatles are bigger cultural icons than they really are (I must say I’m with Paul on this one!)John says: “Do you really think most of today’s art came about because of the Beatles?—I don’t believe you’re that insane—Paul—do you believe that? When you stop believing it you might wake up! Didn’t we always say we were part of the movement—not all of it?—Of course, we changed the world—but try and follow it through—GET OFF YOUR GOLD DISC AND FLY!”

Yes, things were pretty bad between John and Paul at the time, and really came to a head with John’s song ‘How Do You Sleep’. However, years later, relations thawed, and they hung out together a few times in the mid 70s.

For more on the letter, and to bid, see http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=7015