Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Beatles in Twickenham

A new project is calling out for people’s personal memories of the Beatles’ association with Twickenham and the local area.

A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Day Tripper, Hey Jude, Let It Be…. Between 1964 and 1969 many of the Fab Four’s most well-known film and TV appearances were filmed in and around the celebrated Twickenham Studios. Fifty years later, the new community venue, The Exchange is appealing for people to contribute their personal memories of the time ahead of a new exhibition and education project.

The Beatles in Twickenham, is a project developed by The Exchange, St Mary’s University, supported by Richmond Borough Council’s Civic Pride Fund and Twickenham Studios. The project will focus on and celebrate a unique period in the 1960’s when ‘Swinging’ London was at the heart of the pop, film, art and fashion worlds, and the Twickenham area developed a long association with the most famous pop group in the world.

The project is timed to mark the 50th anniversaries of both the historic Hey Jude TV broadcast and the subsequent Let It Be sessions in January 1969, both filmed at Twickenham Studios. Before this The Beatles had already formed a strong connection with the area, making a number of their ground-breaking feature and promotional films in part at least, at the St Margaret’s-based studios. Famous filming locations included a key sequence in Help! filmed on Ailsa Avenue, and Ringo’s famous pub scene in A Hard Day’s Night (filmed in the Turks Head on Winchester Rd).

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Prudence Farrow on the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” from the White Album: “I wished with all my heart John Lennon had never written the song”

The Beatles’ 50th anniversary edition of “The White Album” has reinvigorated the song “Dear Prudence.” Never a single, “Dear Prudence” nonetheless became incredibly popular over the years. Not many people realized John Lennon wrote it on the Beatles’ famed trip to India in 1968. Mia Farrow and her sister, Prudence, joined them. Prudence wound up spending all her time with the Maharishi and was considered anti-social by the Beatles. Just as they were leaving India, Ringo told Prudence John had written a song about her. Prudence forgot all about it until—. This anecdote comes from her memoir, available for free Kindle download on amazon.

“I first heard about the song “Dear Prudence” from a friend who heard it on the radio in August 1968. I had forgotten entirely about George saying they had written the song. I had anxiety about how they might have portrayed me. One by one, I listened as each of the other singles from India, recorded on a self-titled album, came out. Many were very unflattering, such as “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” and “Sexy Sadie.” I remembered John’s ability to peg people and dreaded what he might say about me. I wished with all my heart he had never written the song.

“My mother bought what became widely known as “The White Album” as soon as it was released in the fall of 1968. She introduced it to me in a most odd way. During a family gathering at her apartment, we were playing Killer, a whodunit game. The “killer” kills by winking at you, then you wait fifteen seconds before announcing you have been killed. My mother went around the room, showing the album while playing it on the record player. I listened to “Dear Prudence” with great apprehension. As each line finished, I wiped my brow with relief. As the song ended, I felt immense gratitude that it was not as I had feared. Just then, my mother came over to me, and leaning in, she gently said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” I looked up at her, and she winked.

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Signed Beatles memorabilia kept by the air stewardess who helped deliver the Fab Four’s passports to them in Germany after they left them at home goes on sale for £35,000

A collection of signed Beatles memorabilia amassed by the Fab Four’s favourite air stewardess has emerged for sale for over £35,000.

Olga Fogwill, who worked at London Airport in the 1960s, met the band at the height of their fame as they were flying to Hamburg in Germany.

She came to their aid when John, Paul, George and Ringo, had all forgotten their passports.

But with air travel vastly different from today, she allowed them to board the British Eagle flight without the official documents.

Ms Fogwill then arranged for the passports to be sent to Germany on the next flight, allowing the band to take off as scheduled.

The group never forgot her help and kept in touch with both her and her family in the coming years.

They even provided her daughter, Susan Hall, with free tickets and signed collectibles, some of which have now emerged for sale.

The items, including a signed birthday card and an autographed ‘Help’ programme, are to go under the hammer tomorrow at SAS Auctions of Thatcham, Berkshire.

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The Beatles’ White Album Returns to Top 10 on Billboard 200 Chart

The former No. 1 revisits the top 10 for the first time since 1969, following the album’s 50th anniversary reissue.

The Beatles’ self-titled album, often referred to as the White Album, re-enters the Billboard 200 chart at No. 6 following its 50th anniversary reissue on Nov. 9. The set climbs back onto the tally with 63,000 units earned (up 1,499 percent) in the week ending Nov. 15, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 52,000 were in traditional album sales (up 5,596 percent).

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Nov. 24-dated chart (where the White Album re-enters at No. 6 and Kane Brown’s Experiment debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

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Untold Beatles Stories Emerge As White Album Climbs Charts

more secrets of the recording of the White Album by the Beatles are emerging as it again climbs charts around the world.

Producer Chris Thomas and engineer Ken Scott have been speaking about the double LP, which has the formal eponymous title of The Beatles. The album has already gone platinum 19 times. On the new 50th-anniversary deluxe box sets released on November 9, the album’s 30 tracks are remastered and joined by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most previously unreleased, in a process overseen by Giles Martin, son of the record’s main producer George Martin.

Scott and Thomas recall John Lennon’s surprising choice of favorite songs; why Ringo Starr walked out at one point; how George Harrison came into his own and stood up to George Martin; and how Paul McCartney fell asleep on the mixing desk after a hard day’s night finishing the White Album.

Thomas, now 71, was working as an assistant to George Martin at his independent production company AIR at the time of the White Album. He watched the early sessions from May 1968 then took time off on a short vacation, he said in an interview at the Arts Club in London: “I came back at the beginning of September. There was a little handwritten note from George Martin on my desk saying ‘I hope you had a nice holiday, I am off on mine now. Make yourself available to The Beatles. Neil and Mal know you’re coming down.’” (Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans were both assistants to the band.) “Talk about thrown in the deep end!” says Thomas. In the first session, he nervously interrupted the group a few times to point out various mistakes and won them over with his production skills.

Scott, also 71, says he started at EMI Recording Studios at Abbey Road aged 16 and worked with the Beatles for some years before being promoted to a full engineer when Geoff Emerick left the sessions in mid-July.

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Ringo Starr Talks New Photo Book, Tour and ‘Sensational’ White Album Remaster

In a candid interview, the drummer reveals what keeps him so busy at age 78, and discusses why he’s hearing 50-year-old Beatles songs in a new way

Former Apple Records Exec Ken Mansfield Reflects on His Front Row Seat to the Beatles’ Final Years

The first time Ken Mansfield heard “Hey Jude,” it was in an empty space at Apple Music’s London headquarters alongside Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. “They brought in a big soundsystem into one of the meeting rooms. We didn’t have furniture yet, so we were on the floor on a brand new green carpet.” At the time, Mansfield served as the United States director for the Beatles’ Apple label, then in its infancy. “They were trying to figure out whether to release ‘Revolution’ or ‘Hey Jude’ as their first single under Apple. Paul was a businessman and he was worried stations wouldn’t play it because it was too long.” At the time, radio hits were only about 2-and-half minutes, compared to the massive seven-minute runtime of “Hey Jude.”

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Paul McCartney’s Tribute to Stan Lee

Paul McCartney has written a tribute to Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, who passed away yesterday:

“A fond farewell to Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics. He will be sadly missed.

“I was lucky enough to meet him. He came over to my office and we sat around for a while chatting about comic books and my admiration for his work. Actually he was suggesting making a superhero who would wield a Hofner bass guitar. The guitar would have super powers and we spent some time imaging what those could be. He had a great sense of humour and I must say the idea of becoming a guitar wielding superhero in one of his comic books was very appealing.

“Sending love to his family and friends and always holding happy memories of this great man. Love ya, Stan!” – Paul

The Beatles’ new remixed White Album box set is a marvel

Ever wondered how the Fab Four might have made their White Album with today’s technology? Wait no longer

We live in the golden age of remixed and remastered box sets, with the doyens of classic rock leading the way. In the past few years alone, music lovers have been treated to deluxe editions from such stalwarts as Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. As it happens, the standard-bearers in this evolving cottage industry may just be the Beach Boys, who have all but emptied the vaults in order to quench their fans’ unchecked desires for new content. In 2011, Capitol Records released the Beach Boys’ “Smile Sessions,” which features nearly 400 minutes’ worth of archival material and outtakes. A completist’s wet dream, “The Smile Sessions” include nearly two dozen variations of megahit “Good Vibrations” alone. Talk about getting the excitations, indeed.

But then there is the glaring issue of the Beatles. When it comes to these latter-day forays into lavish repackaging, the Fab Four have been notoriously late to the party. While the Beatles produced one landmark, world-breaking album after another during their 1960s heyday, they have taken a consistently cautious approach when it comes to sharing their blue-chip wares in the digital age. In 1987, the group finally released their original albums on compact disc, belatedly bringing their catalogue to the marketplace some five years after the CD paradigm shift had assaulted the record industry. By the time the Beatles showed up, nearly all of the band’s classic rock peers had made the transformation and reaped the attendant benefits.

Years later, when the industry had shifted yet again, transitioning from physical product to music streaming services like iTunes and Spotify, the Beatles pointedly lagged behind once more, with untold millions of downloads occurring outside of their ken. Finally, in October 2009, the Beatles released remastered editions of their entire back catalogue and made their digital streaming debut on iTunes — some six years after the online music store had opened up shop.

While the Beatles’ tardiness may seem like a blunder of monumental proportions — and there’s little question that significant profits were lost to pirates during the early years of the 21st century — the group’s longstanding restraint has also been the result of a well-honed strategy. By waiting out their competitors, the Beatles have created an event culture in which the chestnuts of their catalogue are reintroduced to the marketplace on a grand scale. With each new format change, Apple Corps is able to ensure that the Beatles enjoy an uncluttered stage in which their masterworks shine brightly, unchallenged by competing artists for their exalted place in the spotlight. If anything, their slow road to the world’s virtual sales floors may have served to heighten their mystique.

And the results speak for themselves: In 1987 and 2009, several of the Beatles’ CDs succeeded in penetrating the upper reaches of the Billboard album charts. In May 2017, when the Beatles released a deluxe edition of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” newly remixed in celebration of the album’s bravura 50th anniversary, they finally joined the box-set revolution. In addition to the remixes, “Sgt. Pepper” was released with an assortment of outtakes and sketches on the road to finished masterpieces. For Beatles fans — long used to scouring bootleg releases for these snapshots of the Fab Four’s creative process — the “Sgt. Pepper” bonanza was literal music to their ears. In short order, the new edition swiftly became an international bestseller.

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