The Apple Years – New George Harrison Box Coming

On Tuesday (July 22) this week Dhani Harrison posted this photo on his band’s Facebook page:Apple Years Hint Original

The note attached said: “Back to work .. Happy Monday to all the twos out there. If you look closely you may spot something PH and I have been working on for the past few months.”

PH is Beatle remaster expert Paul Hicks – and that “something” in the photo is most likely the packaging for a new George Harrison box set to be called The Apple Years:Apple Years Hint Photo

It’s a box on the top left of the mixing console – sitting alongside a copy of The Dark Horse Years box set, a previous Harrison collection (on the right). There’s also some sort of test pressing leaning up against the cartoon George Harrison character in the photo. Dhani Harrison later confirmed that indeed he has been working on re-issues of the first seven Apple Records solo albums by his father – something he described as “a lot of work…”.

There’s now debate and speculation about exactly what this might mean. Will it include Electronic Sound (which technically wasn’t on Apple but on the Zapple label)?electronicsounduspressinga

Most well-informed talk out there amongst Beatle and Harrison fans is firming around these seven titles:

1. Wonderwall Music;  2. Electronic Sound;  3. All Things Must Pass;  4. The Concert for Bangladesh;  5. Living in the Material World;  6. Dark Horse;  and 7. Extra Texture (Read All About It).

The AllMusic site has listed the set and has a September 22 release date pencilled in, which puts it in direct competition with The Beatles In Mono vinyl box set announced by Apple last month……

No other details – but the site does mention a DVD is part of the set as well.

 

 

Four Second-hand Beatle Books

There’s nothing like poking around second-hand book and record fairs for an hour or two looking for Beatle treasure – especially if the monies raised are for a good cause.

Every year the Lifeline organisation holds a huge used book sale at Knox Grammar, a posh private school on Sydney’s upper north shore. It is BIG. A very large hall in the school grounds is filled to bursting with books – and usually a wide selection of CD’s too.

This year we were lucky enough to get there late on Day One of the sale before everything had been picked over too much. Here’s what we found:Winding Road frontWinding Road rearNeville Stannard’s The Long and Winding Road – A History of the Beatles on Record was first published in 1982. Back then (and you have to remember this was pre-Internet!) it gathered together for the first time knowledge about every Beatle record and song – for both the UK and US markets: who wrote each song, why, how and when; how, when and where each was recorded; how many copies sold; chart positions; cover images and other artwork. That sort of info was available – but never gathered together in the one place. In this sense Stannard’s book was a trail-blazer and remains a valuable reference work. The book we have here is the second edition (published a year later in 1983) and as such has many corrections and revisions to the original. Really good to have in the collection.

Next find was A Day in the Life – The Music and Artistry of the Beatles by Mark Hertsgaard.Day in the Life frontDay in the Life rear

Got to admit we don’t know much about this hardback. Mark Hertsgaard is a journalist and author better known for his writing on climate change and so this work on the Beatles looks to be born from a personal love and knowledge of the band and its music. It was published in 1995 and reviews posted online look good. Looking forward to reading it and learning more!

Mark Hayward, the author of The Beatles – On Camera, Off Guard (2009) is also responsible for this earlier Beatles work:Beatles Unseen

Hayward is an avid collector of Beatle images and over thirty years has built up one of the largest collections of Beatle photographs in private hands. The Beatles Unseen (2005) is a large, hardback book where the best and most interesting private photographs are curated and presented. Mostly informal, un-posed images, they shine an insiders light on the band – a “behind-the-scenes” look at their home and work life. It is a book you can flip through and dip into at random – sort of like a family album. Typical is this sequence. It shows the 1968 wedding of Paul McCartney’s brother Michael McCartney (a.k.a. Mike McGear) to Angela Fishwick in the village of Carrog in North Wales. Paul is with then girlfriend Jane Asher:Beatles Unseen1Beatles Unseen2Beatles Unseen3Beatles Unseen4“Unseen” family photographs are also the theme of the final book we walked out of the Lifeline second-hand book fair with:Lennon Family Album fronyLennon Family Album rear

Nishi Saimaru began working with the Lennon family in 1976 and served as their personal assistant and photographer until 1979. As a companion to the Lennons during their travels both in the US and in Asia he was able to capture family members in private moments while on the move – on holiday and at play. This sequence, taken in 1978, shows John, Yoko and son Sean with friends and neighbours at a birthday party held in Central Park, New York for both John and Sean (they share the same birth date). John was thirty-eight and Sean was three:Lennon Family Album1Lennon Family Album2Lennon Family Album3Lennon Family Album4Lennon Family Album5The John Lennon Family Album is a soft back book published in Australia in 1990. It was originally published in 1982 in Japan, and again in Japan in 1990. We believe there were also US and UK editions of this book.

 

Australian A Hard Day’s Night – BluRay and DVD

Finally got hold of an Australian, two-disc, BluRay/DVD edition of the 50th anniversary release of A Hard Day’s Night.

Not much to show really. We here in “Region B” get a low-cost, very basic set in a standard BluRay blue plastic box….not even a booklet or insert inside:

AHDN frontAHDN rearAHDN BluRay1AHDN DVD1The BluRay special features are The Beatles: The Road to A Hard Day’s Night - An Interview with author Mark Lewisohn; In their Own Voices - The Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night; Anotomy of a Style - a piece on Richard Lester’s methods; Picturwise - A featurette on Richard Lester; Audio Commentary – by the cast and crew; and a new trailer for the film.

The DVD adds: You Can’t Do That! - the making of AHDN; The Running Jumping Standing Still Film - Richard Lester’s 1960 short film; Things They Said Today – a 2002 documentary; Audio Commentary – by the cast and crew; and the new trailer for the film.

In Australia the film is distributed by Umbrella Entertainment.

Ron Howard to Direct New Beatles Film – Just Announced

The Beatles official site has just announced that the highly respected US film director Ron Howard has been chosen to direct the new film about the Beatles touring years. They have linked to the micro-site set up to collect material for the project called thebeatlesliveproject.

The call out to fans who where there and have still images, film or audio from Beatle concerts and events is continuing. If you or someone you know has visual or audio materials documenting your personal experience of the Beatles live tours, Apple wants to hear from you. They are looking for rare or unusual footage, photographs, and audio recordings, particularly those that highlight the fan experience – what it was like to be a part of the frenzy.Beatles Live Project

The film will be a new, Apple-authorised Beatles documentary feature about the band’s touring years. It has the full co-operation of Paul McCartney, Ringo StarrYoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.

Read all about it.

 

Imagine – The Story of a Song

Charles J. Shields is a respected biographer and author. His literary studies of Kurt Vonnegut (And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life – 2011) and Harper Lee (Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee – 2006) have been widely recognised as significant works on these two authors.

Now he’s turned his attention to one song. And a significant song at that: John Lennon’s “Imagine”.imaginecover

“Twenty-two lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith in the power of a world to repair and change itself,” said Rolling Stone. Only 183 seconds long, the simple melody and poetry captured the wounded hopefulness of its moment–and transcended its time to inspire generations that followed.”

In Imagine: The Story of a Song Shields traces the song’s origins. Interestingly, he begins with the fire-bombing of Tokyo during Yoko Ono’s youth, and the violent death of Lennon’s mother during his adolescence. From there he moves through Lennon’s post-Ed Sullivan skepticism to John and Yoko’s “Bed-In” events of 1969 and unearths the secrets of this one song’s lasting import. If music can change the world, “Imagine” came as close as any song might. This short Kindle book (37 pages) is its story.

Imagine: The Story of a Song is available as an Amazon Kindle for US$4.99. You can even have a brief “look inside” before you buy.

Shields is also the author of this brief thought piece on John Lennon entitled “5 Surprising Ways John Lennon Changed the World“.  Worth a look.

Great New Beatles Book – “Beatles 101″

Beatles 101 – The Need-to-Know Guide by Richard Buskin is an impressive new Beatles book for anyone just starting out on the Beatle knowledege journey, or for die-hard fans who want to know more. It is a genuine one-stop-shop containing all the vital facts about the band:Beatles 101 frontBeatles 101 rear

There is so much information and research in here. There are individual chapters which could have been whole books, for example the eight-page chapter on The Beatles Anthology. It’s a great example of Buskin succinctly summarising every aspect of this significant Beatle project. Everything in the rest of the book is similarly very nicely distilled and concise. It is also very easy to read.

Beatles 101 is not presented as a purely chronological walk-through of the career. Topics are tackled more by categories of interest. That means you can easily dip in at various points and read very well-written and well-informed articles across a wide range of different aspects detailing the life and works of the Beatles. At the back of the book, for example, are a series of great, original interviews with some of the key people who worked with the band in the studio. There’s George Martin of course, but also the likes of Norman “Hurricane” Smith, Ken Scott, Glyn Johns, Alan Parsons and Eddie Kramer. We guarantee that even the most knowledgable fan will find something they didn’t know here.

This book also has some great photos – many not previously seen (especially of people and places) which all help to illustrate the wealth of information the book contains. This includes one very early shot of author Buskin standing beside another mad Beatle fan – who just happens to be a young Mark Lewisohn. The two didn’t know each other at the time – it is just a co-incidental snap of two fans, taken outside the gates of Strawberry Fields in Liverpool….

But perhaps the greatest and most unique visual element to Beatles 101 is the many colour plates depicting original artworks by Eric Cash:Beatles_TheIntroductionBeatles_HeyJude

These are terrific. We should also say that the company which produced the book is marketing a range of iPad, iPad Mini and iPhone covers featuring some of the best Beatle images painted by Cash and used in this book. They look great and you can order them online at Eric’s site, or through Amazon:Eric Cash2Eric Cash1

As well as being an author, Richard Buskin co-hosts (with Robert Rodriguez) a great new Beatles podcast called Something About the Beatles. This, in our humble opinion, is one of the best podcasts going around.

Beatles 101 – The Need-to-Know Guide is published by Parading Press.

If you’d like to hear an informative and fun interview with Richard Buskin about Beatles 101, have a listen to the podcast Fab4Free4All. Download Episode 94 in which the guys spend a good hour with Buskin discussing the book. It’s well worth a listen.

Beatles Japan Box – Translation of Insert

Our box set of the Beatles’ Japan Box came with this postcard insert:Japan Box insert

On the other side there are spaces to fill out your name and address details, attach a postage stamp. We thought it looks like an offer to send it off to receive an additional CD single.

We wanted to confirm this and so we sent a photo of the card to a Japanese friend who has kindly had a look. While not offering a complete translation he writes: “The text reads that you can enter a draw to win a special, one-song promo CD (not for sale) of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – complete with the original Japanese 7-inch cover reproduced for the CD sleeve. The deadline is postmarked 9 July (in Japan) though….”

Sadly, the CD Japan site also says that this special offer/application postcard is valid only for purchases in Japan….

So, it looks like only a few lucky Japanese Beatle fans will be getting what undoubtably will become a collectors item to add to their Japan Box box sets. IWTHYH Japan