Why Yoko Ono (Still) Matters

On the eve of a major new retrospective exhibition of her art, Vogue magazine has published an interesting article about the importance of Yoko Ono as an artist in the 1960’s.

Beginning today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is an exhibition entitled “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971″.Yoko_Ono_MOMA2Yoko_Ono_MOMA1

Of course any discussion about Ono inevitably comes around to her relationship with John Lennon and the Beatles. As Vogue says about this exhibition: “….even though John Lennon is visible and mentioned, it is gently done. On these gallery walls, we see him less as a Beatle and more as a fellow artist.”

And: “If you grew up with the Beatles, it can be difficult to like Yoko Ono. People like to accuse her of turning Lennon into a humorless hippie, the two of them tweaked out on too much acid, calling for peace. They like to point out that he stopped making music to be a dad, while Ono pursued her career as an artist. Lennon loved her—their chemistry is unmistakable—but this alone didn’t get his fans to love her, too. We like our idols unattached, even if they’re unavailable.”

See also Vogue’s article In Praise of Yoko Ono’s Inimitable Style

You’ll notice that the Illy coffee company is a sponsor of the MOMA exhibition. As part of that Yoko Ono has produced seven, limited edition espresso coffee cups as part of the company’s Art Collection series by famous artists. You can learn more about these hereYoko Ono illy Art Cup

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Seven

Well, it’s been quite a while since we had a Beatles With Records post. In between time quite a number of new photographs have been found and submitted by keen Beatles Blog readers – especially Billy Shears, Lammert, and Andrey.

It’s going to be a reasonably big one. So, where to begin? Probably roughly chronologically would be best, starting with Dick Rowe, the Decca A&R man credited (wrongly as it turns out) with rejecting the Beatles at their audition for Decca Records in January, 1962:Dick Rowe

Some of the albums on his wall include A Taste of Tijuana by The Mexicans:

Tijuana2

Lulu’s Something to Shout About:Lulu Something

The Fortunes:The-Fortunes-The-Fortunes-351396

And Marianne Faithful’s North Country Maid:Marianne-Faithfull-North-Country-Mai-451002

But here’s the band that Decca missed out on:

rec teen5

It is a very youthful looking group on the front cover of the pop magazine Teen Screen. Notice the big “scoop”: WHY THE BEATLES ARE BREAKING UP!…..

There’s a bunch of records on the wall behind them, but they’re holding up with pride a copy of their then-new LP Please Please Me:PleasePleaseMe_1

You can see a slightly larger and clearer image of that front cover photo in The Beatles with Records Part Two.

And here is the band out promoting that same album:Beatles-17460-1024x768The Beatles were soon to star in their first full-length movie A Hard Day’s Night, and from that film comes these screenshots of one of their co-stars, Wilfrid Bramble. Bramble played Paul McCartney’s grandfather, “a clean old man” who none-the-less is taking a rather keen interest in this very sexy record cover:

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.34Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.25Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.47.07White SatinGeorge Shearing’s White Satin LP came out in 1960….

In previous posts we’ve had photographs of various members of the band actually playing records. Here’s another, this time George with an unidentified stack of 45’s:rec g2

The Beatles were big in France, and there were unique covers produced in that country for their LPs, EPs and singles. Here they are stuck in a lift and signing a copy of the French EP Eight Days a Week:

22-06-1965france_les_beatles_1965_epThe Eight Days a Week EP (from 1965) above also featured in The Beatles With Records Part Five.

Onto the Beatles solo now and another interesting photo. This one was taken at John and Yoko’s historic “Bed-In For Peace” in Amsterdam on 30 March, 1969. The weird thing in the photograph is that you can see the image that later (in May, 1969) will become the cover of Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions:Life with the Lions 1Life-with-the-lions-front-cover1

Sticking with John Lennon and his album Rock ‘n’ Roll from 1975. It has a brilliant cover image taken way back in the Beatles Hamburg days by this man, photographer Jürgen Vollmer:

Jurgen VollmerRock n Roll LennonJumping ahead now to the year 1990, and a charity album called Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. This compilation contained two Beatle-related tracks. One is by the Traveling Wilburys (“Nobody’s Child”), and the other a duet by Paul Simon and George Harrison of the Simon composition “Homeward Bound”. It was recorded during a performance on Saturday Night Live in 1976. George and his wife Olivia got behind publicising the release and here are two different photographs of them holding copies of the vinyl edition: Nobody's child LP37Nobodys_Child_Romanian_Angel_Appeal_cover

Next a 1992 launch party for Ringo Starr’s Time Takes Time CD. Ringo does’t look all that pleased about the lady thrusting a Russian pressing of the Beatles LP Help! into his hands for him to sign….

1992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349471992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168843241992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168814671992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349731992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 116885246Russian HelpRussian Help2(Turns out that lady is the famous TV sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Quite a few readers have contacted us and identified her – so thanks).

You can read all about the many variations for the Russia-only LP Dr Ruth has here.

And lastly here’s Paul McCartney holding a copy of the CD booklet for his 2006 classical music release, Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart) [see also The Beatles With Records Part Seventeen]:

11080899_838241276248646_2732204973016383007_npaul-mccartney-ecce-cor-meum

If you are interested in seeing more of the Beatles With Records check out the past twenty six instalments.  More soon!

Ringo Starr – Postcards From Paradise

Our CD copy of Ringo’s Postcards From Paradise has finally arrived. Apparently Australia Post has recently installed new automated machines which sort packages – and they are not going well…..

It has cost A$500 million to install the new system, but since then over 20% of parcels are being delivered to the wrong address! I’m blaming this on the length of time it took this little CD to get from Canada to my front door…..Ringo Postcards 1Ringo Postcards 2Ringo Postcards 3

It’s actually a pretty good listen with some really catchy hooks, clever lyrics and musical ideas. Here’s Ringo himself with a YouTube update:

Here’s the link to that cover story in Rolling Stone magazine that he mentions. And here Ringo is interviewed about the recording of the album:

And finally an album review from the April edition of Rolling Stone which gives Postcards three stars:

It’s been more than 50 years since Ringo Starr declared himself a fan of Beethoven — “especially his poems.” But all that time, he’s reigned as one of rock & roll’s most beloved sages. Postcards From Paradise, his 18th solo effort, is a masterful summary of Ringo-ness: his cheer, his cheek, his wisdom. He gets a little help from old friends like Joe Walsh and Todd Rundgren — no Kanye or Rihanna on this track list — and builds the title tune out of Beat-les quips: “It’s like I said the night before/I’ll love you when I’m 64.” Best of all is “Rory and the Hurricanes,” celebrating his pre-Beatles band — the one that made Ringo a star in Liverpool when the other three Fabs were nobodies.  ♦♦♦

And you can read an interview with Postcards From Paradise recording engineer Bruce Sugar at Beatles Examiner.

Warman’s “Beatles Field Guide” Book

We found a cute little Beatle book the other day. It’s called Warman’s Beatles Field Guide. Published in 2005 it is a small (but thick at 512 pages), pocket-sized book listing prices and descriptions for a wide range of Beatle collectables.  Beatle Guide 1

Inside you’ll find articles on “Why the Beatles Still Matter” and “Ranking the Beatles” as well as commentary and information on their post-break-up and solo careers.

But the biggest and most interesting chapters are the sections on “Memorabilia” – which is a comprehensively illustrated price guide (in 2005 US$ of course!):Beatle Guide 3

The “Singles” (again lavishly illustrated and with indicative prices):Beatle Guide 5

And then a lengthy section detailing each of the “Albums”: Beatle Guide 4

These sections are all based around the US releases only – but it’s a great ‘ready-reference’ style book with a huge number of photos, background information and examples for each of the entries. A really worthwhile little book to have.Beatle Guide 2

New John Lennon Vinyl Box Set Coming

Whenever new Beatle or Beatle-related vinyl is mentioned we get interested.

Yes, like most collectors we have these albums already (in some cases many times over….) but the completist in us has to have the latest. And the latest announcement is that a new box set of eight John Lennon LPs is due for release on June 8. For all the details go to johnlennonmusic.com – but in a nutshell these will be faithful reproductions on 180-gram vinyl of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in New York City; Mind Games; Walls and Bridges; Rock ‘n’ Roll; Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey:Lennon_Box

All artwork, including inner bags, posters, postcards and original labels will be reproduced:plastic_labels 2plastic_labels 3mind_games_labels 2mind_games_labels 3double_fantasy_label 2double_fantasy_label 3

Looks like the LPs come in a white box with the same design cues as the John Lennon Signature Box from back in October, 2011:

John-Lennon-Signature-Box---S-536618

That set contains the same titles – only on CD – plus it has two bonus discs of non-album tracks, studio outtakes and home recordings:

Signature-box-insert

Of course there’s been a previous incarnation of a John Lennon , 8 LP vinyl box set.

The Beatles “Help” – 50th Anniversary Podcast

As we mentioned in December last year, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is hosting an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary of each British Beatle LP.

As each album marks its anniversary presenter Rod Quinn speaks to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is the author of the extraordinary and ambitious nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest instalment in her series is Volume 3: She Loves You.

Last weekend the pair began a two-part series on the Beatles fifth studio album Help!.

You can find Part One (examining Side One of the LP) here.Help Label 1

And you can find Part Two (examining Side Two of the LP) here.

Help Label 2Previous broadcasts have covered Please Please Me; With the BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night, and Beatles For Sale. Each is well worth a listen.