All posts by Richard Porter

Remembering the moment Paul McCartney joined Allen Ginsberg to perform ‘Ballad of the Skeletons’

Two performers so synonymous with the word ‘Beat’ that we promise it is the last time we will make the reference, joined forces on the 16th October in 1995 when Paul McCartney joined forces with iconic poet Allen Ginsberg to give a rousing performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Beat poet was joined by The Beatles man to perform a musical adaptation of Ginsberg’s poem ‘Ballad Of The Skeletons’. The clip below shows the pair enjoy their driving performance and send the audience home with a piece of cultural history.

As a member of the Beat poetry movement that raged through America during the ’40s and ’50s, Allen Ginsberg was a huge influence on the rock and roll acts that followed. His creative fury and passion was a notion that may have influenced a young Paul McCartney. With Ginsberg and compatriots, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, et al, filling the roles of rock stars for the age, their influence on the swinging sixties was hard to ignore.

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Singing With The Beatles: An Interview with Lizzie Bravo

Let’s step into a time machine and travel back to February 1968…

Imagine standing outside Abbey Road Studios with a group of devoted Beatle fans. You’re hoping for a fleeting glimpse of the source of your fandom. Seeing any version of John, Paul, George, and Ringo will suffice as a sacred imprint in your memory. A photograph of a Beatle sprinting urgently into the recording studio is even better. An acknowledgment of your faithful presence from The Fab Four is akin to discovering the Holy Grail.

Related: “The Beatles’ ‘Help!’: Breaking Down the Vocal Tricks”

How about we raise the ante on the possibilities of an encounter with The Beatles? What if you were invited to participate in a recording session with them?  Visiting London in 1968, Lizzie Bravo, a sixteen-year-old native of Brazil, can be heard providing background vocals on the original version of “Across the Universe.” Bravo’s voice is distinctly heard on the track along with another lucky fan, Gayleen Pease.

Recently, Lizzie Bravo was able to share her incredible experience via an e-mail interview.

What originally brought you to London in February 1967?

When The Beatles stopped touring at the end of 1966, my friend Denise and I realized we would never see them. She convinced her parents AND mine to send us to London as a gift for our 15th birthdays, which had happened in May and June. The sole purpose of the trip was to see the Beatles. She went a few weeks ahead of me since my father was abroad, and he needed to sign for me to travel alone. I saw the four Beatles, Brian Epstein, and Mal Evans the same day I arrived, leaving EMI Studios at night. They were recording Sgt. Pepper.

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George and Ringo’s handwritten lyrics to The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ are for sale

(CNN)“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a legendary song off The Beatles‘ ninth album. And now, a piece of it could be yours.

The song’s handwritten lyrics are up for sale. Asking price: $195,000.
The lyrics are scrawled on the back of a studio recording sheet, used to account for the time and cost of a recording session.
George Harrison’s handwriting bookends the lyrics, writing in a blue pen at the top of the paper, “I Look at You all see the love there thats sleeping — While my guitar gently weeps.”
At the bottom, Harrison wrote, “While my Guitar Gently Weeps as I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging still my guitar G W.”
The rest of the lyrics are penned in Ringo Starr’s hand, complete with misspellings. Accompanying the lyrics is a letter authenticating Harrison and Starr’s handwriting by Frank Caiazzo, the owner of Beatles Autographs, a business that sells memorabilia signed by the band.

The Beatles’ Abbey Road Was the Best-Selling Vinyl LP of the 2010s

According to Nielsen Music’s report recapping music sales in the U.S. across the 2010s, the Beatles’ Abbey Road was the No. 1 best selling vinyl album of the decade. The 10 biggest vinyl albums of the past 10 years are almost entirely older iconic albums by artists like Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, and Fleetwood Mac. Only two albums actually released in the 2010s appear on the list: the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (which is entirely comprised of songs released in the ’60s and ’70s) and Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die. Find the full list below.

Nielsen’s decade recap notes that Drake had the biggest decade for overall streaming, Adele’s 21 had the biggest decade in album sales, and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk!” topped the 2010s’ single sales chart.

Abbey Road, which got a massive box set reissue last year, also topped vinyl sales for 2019 in the U.S. The second-biggest vinyl seller for the year was also the only 2019 album to appear on last year’s vinyl sales chart: Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?.

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Cavern City Tours Directors and Cavern Club owners, Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, who established Beatles tourism in the city, bought and reinvigorated The Cavern Club, created the Mathew Street Music Festival, came up with the concept for the Hard Days Night Hotel and commissioned hugely popular statue of The Beatles on the Pier Head are being recommended to receive Citizen of Honour awards.

The nominations will be considered at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the council on Wednesday 15 January, and if approved will be followed by individual ceremonies during the year.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said, “Our tourism industry would not be as strong and successful as it is now if Bill Heckle and Dave Jones would not have had the vision to recognise the potential of the city’s unrivalled musical heritage in attracting visitors to our city.”

Dave Jones said: “When Bill Heckle and I first started working together in1983 our aims and objectives were simply based on our belief and passion in Liverpool. We set out to promote the city’s unique music heritage and introduce, the media, the tourism industry and visitors to the spirit of Liverpool, enhance their experience and give them something no other city in the world could.

“Our success over the past 35 years has been driven by vision and taking every opportunity we have been given to develop Liverpool’s Beatles industry

“We never set out to receive awards and accolades. To be nominated for Citizen of Honour awards is amazing. We feel a huge sense of pride and emotion that our work has received this level of recognition.”

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The Beatles: John Lennon early years were a ‘TRAGEDY’, Paul McCartney on ‘very tough life’

The Fab Four grew up in Liverpool together but had drastically different family lives. In an interview with The Penguin Podcast last month, Paul McCartney spoke of his comfortable upbringing compared to John Lennon’s. The Beatles star admitted: “I was very lucky. I had a very lovely family in Liverpool.”

The 77-year-old added: “And I can’t remember any aggro. I mean how lucky is that?

“I thought everyone had that kind of a family.”

However, it was when he met John Lennon that he discovered his future bandmate had a much harder time.

The young musician had lost his mother, while his father had left at a very early age.

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‘Get Back’ Project due in October?

It seems that the new ‘Get Back’ project is due in October. As reported here in January, 60 hours of film footage still survives from the Beatles sessions at Twickenham Film Studios and Apple Studios in January 1969. The original title was ‘Get Back’ but as the film came out after the Beatles broke up, it was re-titles ‘Let it Be’. It has been said the the original ‘Let it Be;’ film was cut to show the group breaking up. George Harrison once called it ‘The film of divorce’.

‘Let it Be;’ was released in cinemas in May 1970, and had  very brief VHS release later. However it has never come out on DVD. I was told that a release was planned around the time ‘Let it Be Naked’ came out, but was pulled over arguments over what to include in the ‘bonus’ material. It seems these arguments are to be overcome by releasing a new film. All the footage has been give to Peter Jackson, who directed the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, who is in charge of directing the new film, which is going to be called ‘Get Back’. A source close to the production told me a while ago that a book and new CD will be released too, which has been proven by the listing on Amazon, of a new book called ‘Get Back: The Beatles’ which is due for release on October 17th. To pre-order the book click here

My source also told me that he new CD release will be the original Glyn Johns ‘Get Back’ album – which has been widely bootlegged, but never officially released.

It seems that, at some point, the original ‘Let it Be’ film will be released on DVD, but it seems unclear whether it will be part of the ‘Get Back’ package, or as a separate release.

Keep on coming back here for more info when we get it!

First Beatles single ever played on the radio to sell at Omega Auctions

The first Beatles single ever played on the radio could sell for more than $25,000 when it goes up for auction in the U.K this month.

The ‘demonstration’ copy of the band’s debut single Love Me Do was played first on Radio Luxembourg on October 5, 1962, the same day it was released.

Now, 58 years after it first hit the airwaves, the 7″ record will now be offered for sale at Omega Auctions with an estimated value of £15,000 – £20,000 ($19,700 – $26,250).

Just 250 demonstration copies of the single were pressed up and sent out to promoters, the music press, DJs and radio stations by manager Brian Epstein.

This copy remained part of the Radio Luxembourg record archive for three decades, before being inherited by DJ Tony Prince when the station closed down in 1992.

The 7″ record is also signed by Paul McCartney on the A-side, and comes with a message from him to Prince confirming its authenticity as a significant piece of Beatles history.

The fax dating from 1994 reads “Dear Tony, I’m happy to confirm that I first heard ‘Love Me Do’ (our first release) on Radio Luxembourg. Did I ever thank you for playing it? If not, I do now. Cheers, All the very best”.

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John Lennon: The Beatles REUNION that never was – ‘PLAN’ with Paul McCartney revealed

JOHN LENNON and Paul McCartney had “plans” to reunite The Beatles before his tragic, untimely death, his former lover May Pang revealed in a newly unearthed interview.

John Lennon’s departure from The Beatles split the band and rocked fans all around the world in 1970. The break-up came shortly after the Imagine hitmaker tied the knot with Yoko Ono, with the avant-garde artist bearing the brunt of the blame from The Beatles’ fanbase. The band dissolved following the release of their final album, Let It Be, and Abbey Road, having cemented their place in rock ’n’ roll history.

Later, however, they reconciled and reignited their firm friendship, which dated back to their schooldays.

Many whispers about a potential reunion circulated over the years, particularly in the latter half of the ‘70s, but it never transpired.

However, ideas about getting The Beatles back together were apparently more concrete than fans might have realised, according to Lennon’s ex-lover May Pang.

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Neil Innes – Chief Rutle passes away :>(

I’m absolute ‘Shocked and stunned’ to hear of the passing of Neil Innes – one of the best writers and performers of comedic songs ever – and a truly wonderful human being.
I was first aware of Neil as a member of the ‘Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’ on the children’s TV show ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set’ which was a favourite of mine when I was about 6 years old. Their songs were very silly – and made my laugh a lot. Also on the show were Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin – and Eric has acknowledged the huge debt that Monty Python owe to the Bonzos.
Many rock stars loved the Bonzos too – not least The Beatles – who asked them to be on their film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. Paul McCartney produced their single ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman’ which was a big hit for them.
Neil later became a member of GRIMMS – which was basically a combination of members of the Bonzos and Scaffold – including Mike McGear – Paul McCartney’s brother.
It was through the Rutles though that Neil will be best remembered – the brilliant, affectionate spoof of the Beatles, that Neil wrote all the songs for. ‘I Must Be I Love’ is still one of my favourite songs of all time – and it supposed to be a spoof!
I will be watching The Rutles tonight :>)
I was fortunate to meet Neil on many occasions. When I was running the London Beatles Fanclub magazine I spent a wonderful hour or so interviewing Neil, John Halsey,, and Rikky Faatar on the release of the Rutles ‘Archeology’ album. Neil was on great form that day – and told me some lovely stories of how heavily involved his great friend George Harrison was involved in the Rutles TV show.
My best memory of Neil is from 2001 – when I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest to the New York area ‘Fest for Beatles Fans’. Neil was one of the star guests, and I spent a long time in his company. My wife, Esther, had died a few weeks before, and Neil was gracious enough to give me time to tell him stories about her – she was a great fan too. In return, Neil told me stories to make me laugh – something I really needed at the time! I’ll always remember his incredible kindness and generosity he show me over that weekend.
Since then, our paths have crossed on many occasions, and I loved seeing his Rutles shows with ‘Barry Wom’ – but also his solo shows. His non Rutles songs have been strangely overlooked by most – but not by Noel Gallagher – or Whatever (in joke!)
I last saw Neil just a few weeks ago, when he compared the Bootleg Beatles show at the Royal Albert Hall – and was at his usual funny best. It was such a shock to hear of his passing.
It is very noticeable that people are treating his passing like that of a close relative – but Neil was a part of all our families.
So farewell brave Sir Neil – you will be much missed.