Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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.

New Beatles Merch Is Headed to Sony Music’s Thread Shop

In connection to the deal, The Thread Shop is bringing on Joe Marziotto as vice president, licensing & marketing.

It’s a “Happy Xmas” for The Beatles fans. Just in time for gifting season, Sony Music Entertainment’s merchandise agency, The Thread Shop, has signed a new deal to produce merch for the iconic rock band in North America.

The Thread Shop’s partnership with the band’s Apple Corps, Ltd. — created in 1968 to oversee their business and creative interests — includes new merchandise, licensing, retail and ecommerce opportunities in North America. The first wave of merch, which includes clothing, toys, turntables and a pinball machine, will be available at a Beatles holiday pop-up store in New York City from Dec. 11 through 22.

“More than a half-century after Beatlemania first broke out in the U.S., The Beatles remain an unmatched cultural force in our society,” said Sony Music Entertainment president, commercial music group, Richard Story. “Their revolutionary achievements continue to inspire artists and thinkers across borders, cultures, and generations. We are tremendously honored that they have entrusted The Thread Shop with their iconic brand, and we look forward to sharing their extraordinary vision with fans.”

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Casbah Club Opened 60 Years ago today

Aug 29th 1959 – the Quarrymen play at the opening night of the Casbah Club, Liverpool. Initially, the club as supposed to be opened by the Les Stewart Quartet, featuring George Harrison and Ken Brown. However, an in group fight just before the gig meant only George and Ken were available. George therefore called up his old friends, Paul McCartney and John Lennon to see if they were interested in playing. Their group, the Quarrymen, had all but broken up, and George had joined another group. However the Quarrymen reformed to play the Casbah with John, Paul, George and Ken.
If it wasn’t for the Casbah, the Quarrymen, and therefore the Beatles, would have ceased to exist.

 

BBC Radio 2 Beatles’ digital radio pop-up station to celebrate Abbey Road’s 50th Anniversary

BBC Radio 2 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album with RADIO 2 BEATLES, a four-day pop-up DAB radio station. It will feature programmes fronted by Gary Barlow, John Bishop, Martin Freeman, Guy Garvey, Dave Grohl, Giles Martin, Cerys Matthews, Paul Merton and many more hosting shows along with Radio 2 presenters including Zoe Ball, Sara Cox and Jo Whiley, and other huge fans of the Fab Four!

Broadcasting from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September from London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios, the station will honour John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, as individual artists, and as songwriters. All the live shows on Radio 2 Beatles will come direct from Abbey Road – with some also simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds – and broadcast alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatles content from the unique BBC archive.

All programmes featured on Radio 2 Beatles will be available to listen to on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 says: “The Beatles are woven into the fabric of UK culture. They inspired and continue to inspire artists of all generations and created some of the world’s most loved music. As their seminal album Abbey Road is 50 years old, I am delighted that Radio 2 is celebrating the Fab Four with a four-day pop-up DAB radio station.”

Programme highlights include We Write The Songs, where Gary Barlow interviews Paul McCartney about the music, where Paul discusses how The Beatles only began writing because other bands were stealing their act, and describing how he’s stayed at the top of the music business for six decades.

In the series My Beatles, Dave Grohl, Jack Savoretti and Tom Odell talk about the influence the Fab Four’s music had on them; across the daily series I Was There, the likes of Tony Blackburn and radio critic Gillian Reynolds talk about what it was really like being part of the swinging Sixties, whilst Martin Freeman presents the story of The White Album across two shows.

6 Music Breakfast and Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne presents Desert Island Beatles, featuring the many guests who’ve selected one of their group or solo records, as a must-have track, plus Liza Tarbuck meets pop-artist and Sgt. Pepper sleeve designer Sir Peter Blake, while Jimmy Tarbuck hosts an hour of novelty versions of hit Beatles songs.

Gary Barlow says: “It was an absolute honour that Paul McCartney, one of my true heroes and a legendary songwriting genius, agreed to talk in depth about his work for my Radio 2 series We Write The Songs. This particular episode really is a masterclass from the master! I am thrilled to launch my first series on the network as part of Radio 2 Beatles, which sounds like it is going to be four days of unmissable radio.”

Simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and broadcasting live from Abbey Road studios on Thursday morning, Radio 2 Beatles will be launched by Ken Bruce whose show will feature a special Beatles themed Tracks Of My Years and PopMaster quiz (9.30am-12pm). Later that day, Jo Whiley will present her Radio 2 evening show live from Abbey Road with live performances and very special guests (7pm-9pm). On the Friday, the day kicks off with The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, with a special Friends Round Friday (6.30am-9.30am) including music from Rick Astley.

Later that day, Sara Cox is joined by the listeners for a Beatles All Request Friday (5pm-7pm), and that evening Friday Night Is Music Night presents The Beatles Orchestrated. Guy Garvey will be hosting, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a guest list of artists, including Cerys Matthews, Katie Melua, Level 42’s Mark King, alongside Guy himself, all performing songs from across the Beatles catalogue (8pm-10pm). On the Saturday morning Dermot O’Leary presents his show live from Abbey Road (8am-10am), followed by an extra hour exclusive to the Pop-Up, where Dermot speaks to writer Richard Curtis about his recent film Yesterday (10am-11am).

Other shows exclusive to Radio 2 Beatles include Grace Dent presenting Hip to the Trip focussing on free love, fashion and The Fab Four, while Nicky Campbell discusses the crucial role played by the band’s producer Sir George Martin, with his son Giles. Actor Himesh Patel, the star of the movie Yesterday, tells the incredible story behind Abbey Road – the band’s last recorded album – in a new two-part special and songwriter Guy Chambers looks at the genius of their lyrics and melody.

Craig Charles uncovers some of the BBC’s incredible archive audio, and Paul Merton takes to the imaginary stage to introduce The Beatles Fantasy Concert, featuring the ultimate collection of live performances recorded by The Beatles as a band and as solo artists. Scott Mills takes us on an alphabetical trip through the Beatles back catalogue, Paul Gambaccini tells the musical story from the other side of the Atlantic, and Tris Penna presents a four-part series charting each of the Fab Four’s individual music careers and most memorable albums.

Radio 2 Beatles has also commissioned a special chart from the Official Charts Company – The Beatles Downloaded: Official UK Top 60, will be revealed across the Saturday and Sunday afternoons (5-7pm) with Janice Long and Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James counting down the most downloaded and streamed Beatles songs in the UK. Plus Steve Wright presents a special Beatles Love Songs, Trevor Nelson playing classic soul Beatles’ covers in Rubber Soul, Radio 1’s Alice Levine explores the Fab Four’s various musical pairings, and Country Covers with Ben Earle, from country band The Shires, features Fab Four tracks covered by country artists.

From the BBC archive Radio 2 Beatles will be broadcasting When John Met Paul with Bob Harris, Radio 4’s Mastertapes with Paul McCartney, and Sgt. Pepper Recreated, recorded in 2007 and featuring performances from Oasis, Bryan Adams, and Kaiser Chiefs.

Radio 2 Beatles follows other successful pop up DAB’s from the station, including Radio 2 Eurovision (2014 and 2015) and Radio 2 Country (2015, 2016 and 2017)

BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most listened-to radio station, with a weekly audience of 14.59 million (RAJAR Q2, 2019), delivering the broadest range of music presented by some of the UK’s best loved entertainers. The network’s presenters include Zoe Ball, Michael Ball, Tony Blackburn, Don Black, OJ Borg, Ken Bruce, Craig Charles, Rylan Clark-Neal, Sara Cox, Jamie Cullum, Gary Davies, Vanessa Feltz, Paul Gambaccini, Bob Harris, Ana Matronic, Cerys Matthews, Huey Morgan, Trevor Nelson, Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady, Dermot O’Leary, Mark Radcliffe, Anneka Rice, Angela Scanlon, Liza Tarbuck, Clare Teal, Jeremy Vine, Johnnie Walker, Jo Whiley, Claudia Winkleman and Steve Wright.

The Beatles’ first contract with Brian Epstein sells for £275k

The Beatles’ first contract with manager Brian Epstein has sold for £275,000 at auction.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and original drummer Pete Best, signed the document on 24 January 1962, before achieving fame.

It gave Epstein responsibility for finding the band work, and managing their schedule and publicity.

The document was the first of two contracts drawn up between Epstein and The Beatles.

Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at Sotheby’s auction house, which was in charge of the auction, said: “Epstein was just blown away by the passion, the energy, the charisma, the raw sexuality on stage.”

“The Beatles had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them,” Mr Heaton added.

“Epstein stopped them eating on stage, made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set.”

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The Bootleg Beatles Announce UK Spring Tour

They will be playing:

18/03 – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
19/03 – Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
20/03 – Malvern, New Theatre
21/03 – Llandudno, Venue Cymru
22/03 – Stoke, Victoria Hall
24/03 – Chatham, Central Theatre
25/03 – Bournemouth, Pavilion
27/03 – Worthing, Worthing Theatre
28/03 – Reading, The Hexagon
29/03 – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
30/03 – Guildford, G-Live
01/04 – York, Barbican
02/04 – Halifax, Victoria Theatre
03/04 – Middlesbrough, Town Hall
04/04 – Buxton, Opera House
05/04 – Ipswich, Regent Theatre
07/04 – St Albans, Alban Arena
08/04 – London, Royal Albert Hall

Tickets go on sale at 10 am on 31st May and will be available from www.bootlegbeatles.com

Blue Plaque Erected to Commemorate the Beatles ‘Rooftop Concert’ at 3 Savile Row

Today, a commemorative Blue Plaque was erected at 3 Savile Row to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Rooftop concert.

Richard Porter, one of the committee to erect the plaque said ‘I have been guiding Beatles tours in London for over 25 years, and visit Savile Row at least 3 days a week. On nearly every tour I am asked why there is no commemoration to the Beatles on the building. I was therefore delighted when I was approached by David Rosen of Pilcher Hershman, a fellow Beatles fan who works in Savile Row, with the idea of forming a committee to put up a Blue Plaque. We got together with fellow Beatles fans,  Mark Baxter of Mono Media Films, and David Stark of Songlink, to make it happen. As 3 Savile Row is a listed building, it took a long time for the plaque to be approved, but finally we were delighted to get the green light from Westminster Council.’

The plaque was erected quietly at 8am on April 5th. Amongst those present was actor Bill Nighy and author Dylan Jones. A big celebration will be held in Savile Row later this month.

Richard Porter said “I am very honoured to be part of the team that has finally commemorated such a famous event in musical and cultural history”

For a video of today’s events, go to https://vimeo.com/328598915?fbclid=IwAR3D1RKWac-KOaGUCkPHo0oa9okoeBrYMnJ0G9sLJA2JgjXXO3H84FLOIPI

Richard Porter’s London Beatles Walks go to Savile Row 3 days a week. For more on Richard’s tours, go to https://beatlesinlondon.com/

The Blue Plaque to the Beatles being erected at 3 Savile Row
The Blue Plaque to the Beatles’ Rooftop concert
3 Savile Row, showing the Blue Plaque in place.

Beatles London Concert Venue to be Revived

£17m restoration of Granada Cinema planned after council buys iconic venue, writes James Cracknell

As Waltham Forest celebrates its year as the first-ever London Borough of Culture, some people have pointed to the irony of this accolade going to the only borough in the capital without a permanent theatre venue. Yet, it does – it’s just not open.

On Hoe Street in Walthamstow stands a building with an impressive history of having been not just a theatre and cinema but a music venue that once hosted The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Granada Cinema, also known as the EMD after its most recent use before closure in 2003, is now 90 years old and is Grade 2* listed by Historic England for its “fine Art Deco and Moorish style interiors”.

But the Granada is also in a state of decay and disrepair after being left to rot during its decade of ownership by a church group that was never able to obtain planning permission to convert it into a place of worship – after being blocked from doing so by both Waltham Forest Council and the government.

Signs of hope for Granada’s restoration appeared in 2014 when Antic London acquired the site, and later reopened the foyer as a gastro pub called Mirth, Marvel and Maud. Live music, comedy and pantomime has even been hosted there in recent years, but the main auditorium itself remains closed off and in need of a multi-million-pound refurbishment.

It was the prohibitive cost of the venue’s repair that prevented Antic from doing anything with the main auditorium for the past five years, despite attempts to find a partner organisation that would want to run it as a theatre. Enter stage right, Waltham Forest Council. Last month it was confirmed the local authority had bought the Granada for £2.8million from Antic – and will also fund its £17m restoration.

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A Very Beatley May Day Holiday Weekend in London

May Day! May Day! A very Beatley holiday weekend for the Mayday Holiday weekend:

Friday 3rd May Beatles ‘Come Together’ Show at the Exchange Theatre, Twickenham
https://exchangetwickenham.co.uk/…/cavern-beatles-present-…/

Saturday 5th May – The Analogues play the ‘White Album’ at the London Palladium

Sunday 6th May – Beatles 1 Day, Turks Head, Twickenham.
https://www.facebook.com/events/349636015600517/

Of course I’ll be doing my London Beatles Walks all weekend too! Full details at http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

It’s turning into London Beatleweek!