On September 8th 1962 – just four days after recording their first single, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘The Beatles Dance Band’ (!!) play at the Birkenhead YMCA for £30!
“Until this point, it was always John, Paul, George… and a drummer!”
NEIL ASPINALL. Former Apple CEO.
Everyone knows the Beatles: John, Paul, George and Norman!
Or was it Andy or Alan, or Johnny, or Ronnie the Ted? The answer is: they’re all true!
Amazingly, the Fab Three worked their way through an astonishing 18 drummers, from 1957 to 1970 but sadly, some are rarely mentioned in the Beatle story. The truth has been quietly forgotten. Shocked? You will be! Now, put everything you know about the Beatles to one side and read on…
FINDING THE FOURTH BEATLE
A FEATURE FILM DOCUMENTARY BASED ON TRUE EVENTS
For more on the film, and to help crowdfund it, see https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/finding-the-fourth-beatle-film-documentary-music-band#/
Walkers on my London Beatles tour had a nice surprise today when we saw Tommy Steele go into the London Palladium. Showbiz legend Steele has appeared the the famous theatre more than anyone else, and was being filmed by ITV for a documentary on this iconic venue. They also filmed part of my talk – so I hope that’s included too!
At the end of the tour, we saw James McCartney in St John’s Wood.
For more details on my London Beatles walk, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com
Ringo Starr has given an extensive interview to the LA Times about his new album ‘Give More Love’. In it, he tells about working with Paul McCartney again, and reoworking some old songs, including ‘Back Off Boogaloo’
Read the full interview – also with a nice video clip, at http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-ringo-starr-give-more-love-album-20170710-story.html
Django Bates doesn’t play other people’s music often, but when he does, resemblances to the originals can be opaque. The unruly fiftysomething jazz composer has battered New York, New York into a free-jazz thrash, for instance, and interpreted Billie Holiday’s classic Solitude on a pub piano with two spoons and a bunch of keys hanging under the lid. But remaking the quixotic 1967 Beatles classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has turned him almost respectful, to judge by his Saluting Sgt Pepper album, and the first of 12 shows he and a crack German band are performing at Ronnie Scott’s this week.
For the full review see https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/05/django-bates-saluting-sgt-pepper-review-beatles-ronnie-scotts
At Ronnie Scott’s, London, until 9 September. Box office: 020-7439 0747.
An unreleased track by Beatles guitarist George Harrison is to be auctioned along with a series of unseen images of the band.
The Indian-influenced, 1968 song Hello Miss Mary Bee was written for Harrison’s good friend Mary Bee around the same time as his first solo album Wonderwall Music was released.
It comes on a reel-to-reel tape with several alternative recordings of Beatles hits and several letters written to Bee while Harrison was in India with his wife Pattie Boyd.
A series of images inspired by The Beatles seminal album ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Reverberation’ is a new and unique body of work created by legendary Photographer-Director Dean Chalkley and Creative Director Ciaran O’Shea from studio Discordo.
Many of the subjects contained within ‘Reverberation’ being friends and associates of Chalkley and O’Shea. This dynamic and exciting exhibition has developed ‘with a little help from their friends’.
Chalkley and O’Shea have created a collection of work that does not stop at a safe or retrospective interpretation. Instead the show is a progressive, and at times abstract, reflection of the album, exploring the thirteen celebrated album tracks from a renewed and personal perspective, from ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ to ‘She’s Leaving Home’.
The work employs a range of different approaches; whether in colour or monochrome, pure photography, amalgamations of print, text, painting or collage, these adroit and unexpected routes to image-making reveal the dexterity of the show.
at The Book Club
Price: Free entry – for tickets go to https://thebookclub.eventcube.io/events/8412/reverberation-exhibition-launch
After the success of the reissue of Sgt Pepper, Ringo has said he would like to see the same treatment given to the ‘White Album’. He said “I think Giles should redo that. I don’t know why not. And ‘Abbey Road.’
For the full interview, see http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-ringo-starr-beatles-sgt-pepper-remix-white-album-20170831-story.html
Day four for us opened with a visit to the British Music Experience. We went to this while it was at the O2 in London, and I was sad when it closed there, so it was great to visit it at it’s new home at the Cunard Building in Liverpool. We especially had great fun in the music room, with me playing drums, and Lilia guitar. If you go to Liverpool, it’s well worth a visit.
We then went to the Pier Head, where Cavern City Tours has a great outdoor stage, right in front of the Liver Building. There we saw the great Nube 9, Rocks Off, a great Stones tribute band, and Back From the USSR, featuring the wonderful singer, Alyona Yarushina. Her version of Here There and Everywhere is the best I’ve ever heard (and that includes the Beatles!)
The weather at the Pier Head as very warm and sunny, very unusual for an August Bank Holiday in Liverpool!
It was then time to say goodbye to all our friends, and catch the train back to London. But we will see you all again next year!
A Visit to the Grave of Brian Epstein
On our day three of Beatleweek, we visited the grave of Brian Epstein, on the 50th anniversary of his passing. Normally, the cemetery isn’t open to the public, but special permission was given by the guardians of it to visit on this day.
Brian is buried in the small Long Lane Jewish cemetery, near Everton and Liverpool football grounds. It is next to the bigger Everton cemetery. It was very moving seeing his grave on the anniversary of his passing. If it wasn’t for Brian Epstein, the Beatles wouldn’t have got out of Liverpool, let alone become become the group that attracted thousands of people from all over the world to Beatleweek.
As is the Jewish custom, we places stones on Brian’s grave, to show that we visited.
Close to Brian are the graves of his mother and father, Queenie and Harry, and also his brother, Clive.
The guardian of the cemetery told us that it had been vandalised recently. It’s very sad anti-semitism is still rife in 2017.
The Beatles Convention
After the visit to Brian’s grave, we went straight to the Adelphi Hotel for the annual Beatles convention. I have been going pretty much every year since 1981, but there was much speculation that this year would be the last Beatleweek, and much attention was given to an interview with Bill Heckle of Cavern City Tours, the main organiser. He told us that numbers at Beatleweek had been going down, and the work to put it on, in relation to the profits received, made it difficult for it to continue. Also Bill had been organising it for over 30 years, and it was time for him to step down. Originally, the plan was that his year’s Beatleweek was to be the last, but it was then decided to carry on, with a reduced format. From now on, the official events would run from Friday to Monday, rather than the Thursday to Tuesday of previous years. Also, there would be only 2 theatre shows, rather than the 3 at present. There was much relief in the packed hall when the announcement was made. I, for my part, would find it hard to conceive of an August Bank Holiday without a trip to Liverpool for Beatleweek.
Among the guest speakers were Ken Scott and Geoff Baker. Both were interviewed by Mark Lewisohn, but rather than have it as a long interview, each was broken up by the house band playing songs mentioned in the interviews. Well, that was the plan, but Geoff Baker ruined the plan by getting things completely out of the agreed order. He was very entertaining though, especially in his stories about Paul McCartney playing in Red Square, Moscow. Geoff said that as President Putin was due to make an appearance, there was very heavy security for the gig, with armed secret service men on roofs all away around Red Square. During the soundcheck, Geoff walked towards the stage when Paul’s main security man, Mark Hamilton said ‘You’ve had it now!’ Geoff looked down at himself, to see he had loads of red dots all over his body. The secret service men all had their guns pointing at him! Luckily, no-one opened fire!
During the convention, we took time off to join a gathering to remember our old friend Pete Leckie, who had been coming to Beatleweek for decades, but had sadly passed away a few weeks ago.
It was great to see so many old friends at the convention, and great to know it will continue next year.