Complete Set of Beatles Abbey Road Photos to be Auctioned

A complete set of signed outtake photographs, including the final cover shots for the Beatles Abbey Road album, is coming up for auction in November.Reproduction, © Bloomsbury AuctionsReproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The press release from Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions says:

The set of six photographs commissioned from Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan (1938-2006) as possible designs for the album’s front cover – together with the Abbey Road street sign used on the back cover – is of legendary rarity on the art market.

This is believed to be the first time that a complete suite of the signed and numbered photographs has ever been offered at public auction. [Hmmm. Maybe not. See WogBlog’s thoughts on this claim…..Ed.) The collection will be on view to the public in central London from Sunday 16th November, before going under the hammer on Friday 21st November where they are estimated to achieve £50,000 – 70,000.

On 8th August, 1969 Macmillan, a close friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, climbed a ladder in the middle of Abbey Road and in the next ten minutes took six photographs of the Fab Four walking back and forth across a zebra crossing. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles’ last-recorded album and one of pop music’s most famous and recreated images.

In 1989 Iain Macmillan was quoted saying; “That photo’s been called an icon of the 60s. I suppose it is. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It’s a very simple, stylised shot. Also it’s a shot people can relate to. It’s a place where people can still walk.”

With his Hasselblad camera storing the six images, Macmillian set off to photograph a road sign to use as the back cover. To Macmillan’s annoyance, whilst he was photographing the sign on the corner with Alexandra Road, a girl in a blue dress walked through the shot, however it was this image that was later chosen as the back cover.

Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions [pictured below] said; “To see the full collection of photographs together is a rare and fascinating opportunity for fans of the Beatles, Music and Photography. We are delighted to be offering them at auction and anticipate worldwide interest for this famous and timeless suite.”

Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The Photographs & Photobooks sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Friday, November 21. The full catalogue will be available to view and download soon at www.bloomsburyauctions.com

If you are going to bid you’ll need to have very, very deep pockets. As WogBlog has also reported, an original single photograph from the same set sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2012 for £16,000!

Here are the remaining outtakes from that historic shoot:Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

“Lennon: Through a Glass Onion” Hits New York

We here at beatlesblogger have just discovered that a fantastic Australian theatrical production about the life and times of John Lennon has just hit New York.Lennon-Glass Onion

John Waters is one of Australia’s most respected and talented actors. He and his musical director Stewart D’Arrietta have been performing and perfecting their stage presentation about John Lennon since the early 1990’s. Over that time it has been rested, revived and revised many times – and at each new outing the show has always been met with great critical and audience acclaim here. Waters and D’Arrietta have been on the road throughout 2014, playing Lennon in cities and towns across Australia – so it’s great to see that the pair have now made it to the Big Apple after all these years. Tickets are reportedly selling well, and the show is getting some good media coverage in the city.

In Australia the show is known as Looking Through a Glass Onion – John Lennon in Word and Music, so it’s interesting to note the slight name change for the US premiere and also that John Waters is billed as John R. Waters for American audiences.

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion is playing now at the Union Square Theatre in New York. It has a good run with performances booked through to February next year.  

For a taste of how Glass Onion works on stage have a look at this YouTube video from 2010:

There’s a dedicated website for the New York Union Square Theatre shows with more details on the production, and there’s also a Facebook presence.

And in news just in: In celebration of John Lennon’s 74th birthday, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion hosted an audience sing along after the show with “Give Peace A Chance”:

Performances take place now through February 28 at Union Square Theatre, 100 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003.

John Lennon – Solo in 20 Songs

To mark John Lennon’s birthday, Yoko Ono and Universal Music have launched a special microsite called John Lennon Solo in 20 Songs:Instant-Karma-single

Universal has also re-issued the Lennon solo catalogue on a variety of streaming platforms:Spotifyrdio logoDeezer_LogoBeats music

Universal is also making every album available for download as high definition audio for the first time. These are available for purchase from hi-res digital audio providers like these:7 DigitalHD tracks logHighRes Audioqobuz

(P.S.  Universal also created a George Harrison Hail a Dark Horse microsite to coincide with the release of The Apple Years 1968-1975. It’s to let fans know there’s a limited re-pressing of the previously sold out 2004 companion box set The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992. However, a quick search on the Amazon US site failed to find it…..The Amazon UK site has this – stating the set is due for a limited release on October 20. If anyone can confirm it is actually being re-issued please let us know.)

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Five

It’s not often we get video of the Beatles with records. We have had only a couple over this course of this series (see: Part 6,  Part 14,  and possibly Part 23….although the jury is still out as to whether John Lennon is actually carrying a record up the steps on his way into the Abbey Road studios). Now comes film from way back in 1964. It was shot at Brian Epstein’s NEMS offices on May 30 that year, with the Beatles just beginning to enjoy their first taste of really big success. The first part of the YouTube clip below is fairly mundane – colour film of the band sitting in the office with various members of the press, fans and hangers-on milling about. Then at about the 2 mins 50 seconds mark a record executive (who looks to be an American) brings over some 45s and LPs for Paul McCartney to peruse. These appear to be US test pressings, and maybe even a gold record that’s yet to be framed…    At approximately 4 minutes into the video we see a copy of this US album flash by – which Paul looks quite pleased with: Meet the Beatles Just after that John Lennon joins Paul and they continue to examine the stack of discs. Quite apart from the records, it’s an interesting series of clips showing the natural, easy charm the band possessed – particularly John, and also Paul. In this photo below, taken during the band’s first “world” tour (which took in Denmark and saw drummer Jimmy Nicol briefly fill in for an ill Ringo Starr), we can see Paul McCartney holding the Danish pressing of the single “Long Tall Sally/I Call Your Name”, released on the Odeon label:long tall sally 1 long tall sally 2Here’s another photograph, this time from the first US tour in 1964. We know from other photographs taken on this tour that the band took the opportunity to pick up some US albums by their favourites. This one is George Harrison with an LP by one of his guitar idols – the great Chet Atkins:Pop Group The Beatles February 1964 George Harrison Beatle George Harrison 21st birthday sorting through the 52 sacks full of gr 2181295 The Beatles were always very generous with the time they gave to their fans, frequently stopping in the street or in their cars to sign autographs. Here’s George again, signing what could be a record – but it could also be some sort of a concert program or booklet: George Beatles with RecordsStaying with George, here he is much later during the Apple Records days with members of one of his signings to the label – the Radha Krsna Temple. They’re holding a copy of their 1971 Apple single called “Govinda”:George with Hare Krsnaradha-krishna-temple-govinda--apple_25-singleHere’s another amazing photograph of George – showing off his impressive guitar collection. It contains a number of mysteries which you might be able to help solve (click on the image below to see a larger version):clapton, badfinger, roger Probably taken at his home at Friar Park, we can see up on the mantle piece (up high and to George’s left) artwork for the cover of The Apple E.P. This was released in 1991 and was a 45 containing four songs, one song each from the first four non-Beatle artists ever to be released on the label. They are Mary Hopkin, Badfinger, Jackie Lomax and Billy Preston. It was a promotional release to mark the first round of Apple re-issues (on vinyl and CD) back in 1991:The Apple E.P. Also high up, and to the right in the photograph of George above is an image of Eric Clapton from around the time of the release of his album 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974). It looks like an album – but it is difficult to identify because it’s partially hidden by a box also on the shelf. There’s lettering across the top left of the photo which says “Eric Clapton”. The image of Clapton is very similar to the on the inside of the gatefold of 461 Ocean Boulevard: eric-clapton-461-ocean-boulevard-insideLower down from the sideboard, still on the right-hand side of the photo, there’s a pile of two or three LPs. On top is what looks like an older style cover. It seems to be by a singer from the 1930’s or 40’s, maybe a famous tenor or baritone? It is hard to make out the name – but it looks like the writing says “Robert….(something)”, with his picture in an oval shape below. Anyone with any information or ideas on what this album might be please let us know!Unknown Then to the far left of the photograph (i.e. to George’s right), on the floor and leaning up against the wall is a large image of his Dark Horse Records logo. It is lying on its side – so all we can see is the horse’s tail:darkhorsesticker1 There is an LP or a box obscuring the full logo, but it is impossible to know what this might be. To finish off this post, a topical one with the soon-to-be-released Archive Series re-issue of Paul McCartney’s Venus and Mars (1975). It’s Wings – sitting with what looks to be a proof sheet for the front cover artwork for the album:vamVenus and Mars frontThe 2014 re-master of Venus and Mars will be released on November 3 (November 4 in the USA).

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here (just go to the links at the bottom of the page).

Second Hand Records on the Central Coast

A recent trip to the Central Coast of New South Wales (about an hour and forty-five minutes drive north of Sydney) unearthed a great dedicated record store we weren’t previously aware of:SOUND EXCHANGE

The Sound Exchange Record Bar, located in Long Jetty, sells new and used LP’s and 45’s, picture discs and coloured vinyl, turntables and accessories, as well as used amplifiers, speakers, etc.

Of course we made a beeline straight to the Beatle section and there was a large choice of good quality second-hand LPs on offer. For some time now we’ve been looking for a copy of the Australian version of Rock’n’Roll Music (Volume 1) on the Axis budget label – the one with the catalogue number AX-1002. Well, The Sound Exchange had a copy – and at a reasonable price. This will now sit alongside the copy of Volume 2 (AX-1003) which we already have and complete the set:Rock'n'Roll Axis FrontRock'n'Roll Axis RearRock'n'Roll Axis Label

In Australia Axis was the equivalent of Music for Pleasure in the UK, or the budget green Capitol label re-issues in the USA. For more info see our post on Budget Beatles releases.

There’s something of a Beatles theme going on in Long Jetty. Just across the road from The Sound Exchange is a groovy art gallery/cafe called The Glass Onion Society, and right next door to it a florist/gift shop called Octopus’s Garden. On the intersection closest to all three stores a street artist has painted this cool image on the roadside box which controls the traffic lights:Lennon Long JettyNice.

 

Microsite Launched for Venus and Mars/At The Speed of Sound

In celebration of the forthcoming Wings reissues, Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound, PaulMcCartney.com has created a new interactive microsite telling the story of Wings; its members, their influences and of course – the music. It’s pretty good! Click here to go there, or just click the the photo: Go Behind Venus and Mars and At The Speed Of Sound_0110_NewsBody The site also contains a new lyric video by artist Thomas Hicks for the Venus and Mars track ‘Call Me Back Again’. To see it, and to read the press release, click on the image below:Call Me Back Again:

More Beatles Vinyl On The Way?

The Wogblog Beatle page is reporting that there are to be four more Beatle vinyl re-issues before Christmas.

These have all previously been seen on vinyl, but as they’re currently out of print there’ll be a re-launch of the following albums:The Beatles-LoveBeatles Number 1 LPThe Beatles-1962_1966The Beatles 1967-1970

Love (original vinyl release – 2007); “1” (original vinyl release – 2000); The Beatles/1962-1966 (original vinyl release 1973); and The Beatles/1967-1970 (original vinyl release also 1973) are due out again in November for the Christmas market, the exact date(s) are still not known.

What with the Mono Box Set, Lennon’s Shaved Fish, McCartney’s forthcoming Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound Archive Series on vinyl, they keep on dreaming up more ways for us to buy titles we already own many times over. But who can resist?

Makes this cartoon we were sent recently even more true!Beatles Cartoon