All posts by Richard Porter

February 9th – from the Cavern to Ed Sullivan in Three Years!

February 9th was very much ‘A Day in the Life’ of the Beatles! On February 9th 1961, the Beatles first appeared at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The Quarrymen had played at the Cavern a few times in the late 1950s, when still mainly a skiffle group. However, they also did a few rock and roll songs, and club owner Alan Sytner, a jazz lover, told them to “Cut out the bloody rock!”

Finally, now called ‘The Beatles’ they got back into the Cavern through their great supporter, Bob Wooler. He managed to get them a fee of £5 for the gig. However there was a doubt whether Paul McCartney would be able to get to the gig. He had a full time job at Massey and Coggins, and although the gig was at lunchtime, there was no way Paul could get to the gig and back during his lunch hour. However, Paul just bunked over the wall and played the gig.

The Beatles went onto play at the Cavern nearly 300 times in the next 2.5 years…

John Lennon at the Cavern Club - February 9th 1961.
John Lennon at the Cavern Club – February 9th 1961.

Exactly three years later, the Beatles made there first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, in front of a TV audience of 73 million people. Quite a leap in three years!!

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964
The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 9th February 1964

 

 

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

Macca – The Music of Paul McCartney

Last night I went to the brilliant show Macca: Celebrating the Music of Paul McCartney. It starred Emanuele Angeletti as Paul – who also played Paul in the great Beatles show ‘Let it Be’.
This show is not a Beatles show though, it was mainly Paul songs after the Beatles. The first part was similar to a ‘Wings Over America’ gig and the second part lots of songs from the 80s and beyond, with a few Beatles songs too. Emanuele sang many songs that Paul McCartney has never done live, like Say Say Say (a brilliant duet with a female singer – which I thought worked much better than Paul with Michael Jackson) No More Lonely Nights (a real highlight here) and Pipes of Peace.
The whole show was a delight from beginning to end. Emanuleles vocals were spot on, and the musicianship immense. I especially loved the brass section – really going back to the Wings days!
The show is touring throughout the the UK – and is a must see! For more on the show, and to book tickets, go to http://www.maccathepaulmccartneystory.com/

 

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.

January 30th 1969 Up on the Roof – The Beatles Last Live Performance

The Beatles last ever live performance took place on the roof of 3 Savile Row, the Beatles’ ‘Apple’ HQ, on January 30th 1969. However, things could have been very different, and almost didn’t take place at all!

The Beatles were in the middle of a project initially called ‘Get Back’. Paul McCartney wanted the Beatles to do a huge live performance of their new album, which would be heard for the first time at the gig. The Beatles were to film the rehearsal for the concert, the took place at Twickenham Film Studios. That location was chosen as the head of Apple Films, Dennis O’Dell, was about the start work there on the film ‘Magic Christian with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

However, things went badly from the start when the Beatles convened at Twickenham on January 2nd 1969. Twickenham was a large, very cold film studio, and not great for playing music. The main problem, however, was the tension in the Beatles, which got worse as time went on. There was no agreement on where to do the big concert. One suggestion was a Roman Ampitheatre in the middle of the desert in Tunisia. So many bizarre suggestions were made, that John Lennon was heard to mutter, ‘I think we should do it in a lunatic asylum’,

Finally the tension got too much for George Harrison. Over lunch on January 10th, he walked out of the session and said to the others ‘See you ’round the clubs!’

Finally, after days of negotiations, George agreed to return to the Beatles, but only if the sessions ended at Twickenham, and instead continued at their own Apple Studio at Savile Row.

The recording sessions certainly went better than at Twickenham, even though the film crew still followed their every move. However, the film didn’t have a climax, and Paul McCartney was determined to play live somewhere. It was decided to play a few songs on the roof of their own building – this took place on 30th January 1969.

An hour before the session technicians were testing the mikes and having real problems, as the strong wind was making a horrendous noise. Therefore Alan Parsons was sent around to a local branch of Marks and Spencers to buy some stockings to put over the mikes to stop the wind getting in. As Alan remembers, “It was very strange walking into the lingerie department and the assistant asking ‘what size?’ – and me answering ‘doesn’t matter’, ‘what colour?’ ‘doesn’t matter’ – they thought I was really odd.”

Even though they couldn’t be seen from the street, the Beatles could be heard for miles around and lots of people started gathering in the street below. Of course, the Beatles knew this was going to happen, so they had cameras placed all around and many passers-by were interviewed about their reactions. Beatles fans loved it – the group hadn’t played live in the UK for nearly 3 years. However, the local tailors were not amused by their business being disrupted by the concert. They called the police to get the Beatles to stop.

The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row, January 30th 1969
The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row, January 30th 1969

The nearest police station, West End Central, is only 150 yards from 3 Savile Row, at the other end of the street. However, the first policemen that arrived actually came from a police box in Piccadilly Circus, about three times the distance to 3 Savile Row than the police station! Ken Wharfe, then a young police officer, got a call on his radio saying that the Beatles were making too much noise and to tell them to turn it down. Ken and his colleague were huge Beatles fans and couldn’t believe their luck when they arrived on the roof and saw the Beatles playing live. They had no intention of stopping them.

This was a disappointment to the Beatles as they actually wanted to be arrested as it would have been a great climax for the film. They were allowed to finish the last song they were playing – which was ironically Get Back. The ‘rooftop session’ ended when John came to the microphone and said, “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.” It was to be the Beatles’ last ever live performance.

The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row - looking down from above
The Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row – looking down from above

 

On the 40th anniversary of the rooftop concert, I managed to get my Beatles tour group up on the roof for the first and only time. The event was covered by CNN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfvy1gQnkuM

Blogger Richard Porter on the roof of 3 Savile Row - 30th January 2009
Blogger Richard Porter on the roof of 3 Savile Row – 30th January 2009

 

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles Tour guide in London. For more details on his tours, see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

USA Today….

King of the Street Walkers

When it comes to possessing a thorough knowledge of the movements of the Beatles, there are few who can surpass Richard Porter. Dubbed the “Beatles Brain of Britain,” his personal kinship with John, Paul, George and Ringo makes the London tours he conducts for London Walks some of the most popular in the city. After more than 20 years and guiding around 150,000 visitors, Richard’s lead is the one to heed. His personal knowledge adds an element of credibility that is unavailable elsewhere. – USA Today

For more on my London Beatles Walks – see http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

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