Monthly Archives: April 2017


To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles on June 1st 1967, the BBC will celebrate with programmes across radio and TV. Considered by critics and music lovers to be one of the greatest records ever made and a major cultural moment not only for this country but globally, the album features classic songs including , ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’ and ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. The range of programmes will explore the stories around the recording, release and subsequent life of this seminal album.

In early June, BBC Two presents Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, a new documentary from Huge Films directed by Francis Hanly, which will present Sgt. Pepper as you have never heard it before – literally.  The film will include extracts from material never before accessible outside of Abbey Road: studio chat between the band; out-takes; isolated instrumental and vocal tracks as well as passages from alternative takes of these world-famous songs.

The programme will be written and presented by one of Britain’s leading composers and most admired music broadcasters, Howard Goodall. He will be getting to grips with the album’s musical nuts and bolts.

Howard Goodall says: “Whatever music you like to listen to, if it was written after June 1st, 1967 then more likely than not it will have been influenced, one way or another, bySgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The record’s sheer ambition in its conception, composition, arrangements and ground-breaking recording techniques sets it apart from others of the time. It’s a landmark in twentieth century music, and I’ve hugely enjoyed exploring the story behind the music.”

Producer Martin R. Smith says: “This will be Sgt. Pepper as you’ve never heard it before. We’ve been granted unprecedented access to The Beatles’ own archive, photographs and multi-track studio tapes so we’ll be able to give an insider’s view into the making of this landmark album and through Howard Goodall’s insight just why it was so revolutionary.”

Using visually-striking set dressing, projections and props the film will be conjuring up the multi-coloured, phantasmagorical world of Sgt. Pepper. Chronologically following on directly from the highly-acclaimed documentary cinema feature, Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution will show what happened when the studio took over from the stage and the screams.

To help assess the phenomenon of Sgt. Pepper we’ll be finding out why the album came to be made. We’ll rediscover The Beatles at a pivotal moment in their career: both as a band and as four individuals, each with his own musical tastes, and ambitions. Having given up touring, they poured their energies into the studio: Sgt. Pepper, as Paul McCartney remarked, would be the performance.

BBC Radio will also commemorate the anniversary across Radio 2, Radio 4 Extra and 6 Music.

BBC Radio 2 will present two documentary series – Sgt. Pepper Forever and Paul Merton On The Beatles.

Over two programmes, broadcast on 24th and 31st May, Martin Freeman presents Sgt. Pepper Forever which will reveal the revolutionary studio techniques used during the remarkable sessions dating from November 1966 to April 1967 and also examine the album’s huge impact on the history of music. They will feature ‘work-in-progress’ versions of Sgt. Pepper tracks – and the songs on the double A-side single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’, which were also recorded during the sessions – to illustrate the pioneering techniques used by The Beatles and George Martin.

This two-part documentary special, written and produced by Kevin Howlett of Howlett Media Productions, features interviews with Paul, George, Ringo and George Martin and in a new interview, composer Howard Goodall talks about – and illustrates on piano – the musical innovations of the album’s songs.

Having worked with the original four-track tapes to create a new stereo mix of Sgt. Pepper for its 50th anniversary, producer Giles Martin (son of Sir George Martin) describes the innovative recording techniques used at the time and how he approached making his new version.

There will also be interview material with the album cover’s co-designer Peter Blake, Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, Tony King (George Martin’s assistant in 1967), Mike Leander (the arranger of ‘She’s Leaving Home’), poet Adrian Mitchell, DJ John Peel and some of the producers and musicians who were influenced by the achievements of the album, including T Bone Burnett, Dave Grohl, Tom Petty, Jimmy Webb and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.

Martin Freeman says: “Sgt. Pepper is the most celebrated album by my favourite band. These documentaries will shed light on how The Beatles, with George Martin, created a piece of work that marked a watershed for what a long playing record could be. It’s my absolute pleasure to help tell you about it.”

Paul Merton on The Beatles is a four-part series, produced by Radio 2’s Mark Hagen, which airs weekly from Monday 29th May.

The four programmes allow Paul to take a quirkily individual look at The Beatles’ career and legacy – in his world, The Beatles didn’t break up at the end of the 60s but instead went on creating albums and returning to the concert stage and these four programmes all attempt to answer the “What if?” question.

In the opening show, remembering the covers that the band performed on their early albums, Paul looks at the way this trend continued in their individual solo careers, with John, Paul George and Ringo playing songs originally recorded by the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins and more.

The second and third programmes imagine the band’s return to live performance with two idealised concerts including songs like ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, ‘What Goes On’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’.

And in a special final show Paul Merton attempts to answer that most beloved Beatle fanatic question: what album would the band have made after ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Abbey Road’ if they hadn’t broken up?

Paul Merton says: “I’ve had great fun selecting tracks from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s solo careers to firstly create a magical live ‘Beatles’ concert, and secondly a new ‘Beatles’ double album. I am immensely looking forward to sharing my choices with the Radio 2 listeners.”

BBC Radio 4 Extra will delve deep in to the iconic album artwork to bring listeners a special day of programmes from 9am-10pm inspired by the famous faces that are featured on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.

On Saturday 3rd June, Samira Ahmed will introduce a diverse 13 hour mix of documentaries, dramas and comedies that all focus on this celebrated crowd, from Marlene Dietrich to Albert Einstein, Marlon Brando to Oscar Wilde. Programmes will include Alan Bennett reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, Joan Bakewell interviewing Jonny Weissmuller for Start The Week in 1975, a drama about the classic comedy duo ‘Laurel & Hardy’ starring John Sessions and Robbie Coltrane, and a look at the life of William Burroughs from the musician Laurie Anderson.

In between, brand new interviews will reveal more about the members of this Lonely Hearts Club Band, discover why these people were chosen for the cover, and explore what it was like to be there on the actual day this art work was created.

Produced by Luke Doran for the BBC, across one day let BBC Radio 4 Extra bring the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to life in this unique and imaginative celebration.

On BBC Radio 6 Music, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie will be broadcasting their show on Thursday 15th June (1-4pm) from Liverpool, celebrating the music of the city from Sgt. Pepper to the present day.

Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution was commissioned and executive produced for BBC Two by Jan Younghusband, Head of Commissioning, Music TV. It is made by Huge Films, director is Francis Hanly and the producers are Martin R. Smith and Jonathan Clyde.
Paul Merton on The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper Forever were commissioned by Robert Gallacher, Editor, Commissioning and Scheduling, Radio 2.

Radcliffe and Maconie is a Smooth Operations production for BBC Radio 6 Music.


26th April 1982 – Paul McCartney Releases ‘Tug of War’

It was 35 years ago today – the release of Paul McCartney’s ‘Tug of War’ Album. I bought it on the day at Virgin in Oxford Street. On coming out I saw a blue Mercedes car passing me – and realised it was Paul’s car! He was on the way to nearby AIR Studios. Luckily there was a lot of traffic that day and I ran like hell and managed to get to AIR before Paul. On seeing me he said ‘Training for the Olympics are we!’ We had a short chat and he signed my album.
Great memories.

My Tug of War album, signed by Paul McCartney on the day of its release.

Get Back to the 60s with a Tour of the Royal Albert Hall, and on a 60s Bus!

Take a trip back in time to experience a flavour of the sights and sounds of the 60s – hop aboard the Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus before enjoying taking lunch and experiencing the Sixties at the Hall Tour at the Royal Albert Hall.

This unique and immersive experience will introduce you to some of the 60s most iconic venues and locations. Aboard the Swinging 60s Bus Tour you’ll pass by the Chelsea Drug Store, as immortalised by The Rolling Stones and Granny Takes a Trip, London’s first psychedelic boutique whose clientele included the likes of Hendrix, The Beatles and Rod Stewart to name but a few.

After stopping for a two course lunch, shoot back once again into the 60s with a guided Sixties at the Hall Tour. Explore the Royal Albert Hall’s role in this fascinating era of London’s cultural history – from welcoming The Beatles and The Stones on the same night, to witnessing Bob Dylan’s electric transition and even a Pink Floyd comedy night – there’s an entire world of 60s musical history to discover.

For more details, and to book, see

Guide to the Beatles London Book now Available!

Ringo Starr Throws Birthday Brunch for Charity July 7th

Ringo Starr is offering fans the chance of a lifetime — brunch with him on his 77th birthday. Those hoping to share a meal with the former Beatles member can enter for their chance to win through a minimum $10 donation to the David Lynch Foundation through Omaze.

The winner and a guest will be flown to Los Angeles on July 7 where they’ll join Starr and his friends at brunch, say “peace and love” alongside VIP guests in front of Capitol Records at noon local time and stay at a four-star hotel. Starr is encouraging all fans to take part in spreading “peace and love” everywhere on July 7 at noon local time.

For more info, and to enter see

Here is Ringo announcing the competition.


More Macca Tour Dates in the US…

Paul McCartney will be performing at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 26, 2017. McCartney returns to the Coliseum for the first time since his 2002 Driving USA Tour. Tickets are on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday, May 5.

Here is the list we know so far:

7/5 AA Arena, Miami FL

7/10 Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

7/13 Infinite Energy Arena, Atlanta

7/15 CenturyLink Center – Bossier City.

7/19 Witchita –  Intrust Bank Arena

7/21 Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

7/23 CenturyLink Center – Omaha NE

7/25 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Chicago

9/11 Prudential Center Newark, NJ
9/15 Madison Square Garden New York, NY
9/16 Barclays Center Brooklyn, NY
9/26 NYCB LIVE, Home of The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Uniondale, NY
10/1 Little Caesars Arena Detroit, MI

Here is the official announcement of all the dates :

IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY! – UK Cinema Tour Dates announced

The new film’ It was 50 Years Ago Today THE BEATLES: SGT PEPPER & BEYOND will have a directors Q and A cinema tour in the UK from 26th May. More dates will be added soon.

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

It will visit these places:

Central Picturehouse – London
Friday May 26th

Cine City – Norwich
Saturday May 27th

Arts – Cambridge
Monday May 29th

Hyde Park – Leeds
Tuesday May 30th

Cameo – Edinburgh
Wednesday May 31st

FACT – Liverpool
Thursday June 1st

CDL Showcase – Liverpool
Thursday June 1st

HOME – Manchester
Friday June 2nd


Paul McCartney Starts Short Tour of Japan

Paul McCartney has opened his short tour of Japan at the Budokan in Tokyo. This is of course the historic venue the Beatles played in 1966.

The setlist was similar to recent shows, but started with ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and did not include ‘Band on the Run’, which has been a staple of Paul’s gigs for decades.

The Full Set list was:

01. A Hard Day’s Night
02. Jet
03. Drive My Car
04. Junior’s Farm
05. Let Me Roll It
06. I’ve Got a Feeling
07. My Valentine
08. 1985
09. Maybe I’m Amazed
10. We Can Work It Out
11. Every Night
12. In Spite of All the Danger
13. Love Me Do
14. BlackBird
15. Here Today
16. Queen Eye
17. Lady Madonna
18. I Wanna Be Your Man
19. Magical Mystery Tour
20. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
21. Obla Di Obla Da
22. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
23. Back In The U.S.S.R.
24. Let It Be
25. Live And Let Die
26. Hey Jude
27. Yesterday
28. Hi Hi Hi
29. Golden Slumbers
30. Carry That Weight
31. The End

24th April – The Beatles In Pubs!

24th April throughout the years sees the Beatles in various pubs!

1960 – John Lennon and Paul McCartney appear together in the Fox and Hounds pub in Caversham, Berkshire. The pub was run by Mike and Bett Robbins, Paul’s cousin. John and Paul hitched from Liverpool, and were asked to play a few songs as a duet. They chose the name ‘The Nerk Twins’ for the occasion – the only time just the two of them performed live.

1964. The Beatles attend the ‘wrap party’ for the completion of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ The party is held in Winchester Hall, the function room of the Turks Head pub, which was used in the film as the location where Ringo interrupts all the pub games. It is thought the Beatles sang a few songs at the party, but this has not been confirmed.

1965. The Beatles film a scene for ‘Help!’ at the City Barge pub at Strand on the Green, Chiswick.  In this scene the Beatles are seen emerging through Post Office Alley – a very attractive walkway down to the River Thames. On the riverside they are confronted by men dressed up as Scotsmen, who are actually from the dreaded Kahili, the sect that are trying to kill Ringo. The Beatles run into the City Barge to escape, but Ringo falls through a trap door into the basement to be confronted by a tiger. The Beatles have to leave the pub by throwing themselves through a plate glass window! Visitors to the pub do not have these problems today – the interior scenes were shot in the film studio, and the pub does not even have a basement. Even without the Beatles connection, this is a great pub in a wonderful location.

The City Barge Pub, Strand on the Green, Chiswick