Beatles Stuff We Found on a Visit to France – Part Three

Just back from a holiday in Europe where we picked up some nice Beatle treasure for the collection. This is the fourth and final instalment…

Ever since it was released way back in 2011 we’ve been on the lookout for a reasonably priced copy of the book Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs, published by the creative and interesting Taschen book company.

This book actually came out in four versions: a standard edition; a larger-format standard edition; a collectors edition (limited to 750 copies); and two art editions (of 125 copies each with a photographic print provided). The collector and art editions were always going to be way out of our price range (at £1,750 for the collectors edition, and £3,500 for an art edition!). But because we’ve always liked Linda McCartney’s photography a standard edition presenting some of her best images would be nice….

Turns out in Paris there’s a dedicated Taschen store. It’s in the trendy St Germain des Prez area, at 2 rue de Buci:

Taschen Store ParisOn the day we accidentally stumbled across this very groovy-looking bookshop they just happened to be having a big clearance. All stock was drastically reduced, and on the shelf was a sample copy of the of Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs (the standard edition). True, it’d been in the store a while and was a little shop-soiled – but not badly. It was on sale for €14.99 (that’s about $22.00 Australian, or US$16.00): Linda McCartney Photographs front

The striking cover image of Paul McCartney was taken in Los Angeles by Linda McCartney in 1968.

Inside the book traces Linda’s photographic career, beginning around 1966 and up to 1997, with images selected from her archive of over 200,000 photographs. It is edited by Alison Castle and produced in close collaboration with Paul McCartney and their children. Included are forewords by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney. There are also two appreciations of Linda’s work, one by the celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz, and the other by art historian Martin Harrison.

Linda McCartney was one of the leading artists documenting the mid-to-late 1960s music scene:Linda McCartney Photographs HendrixThe book contains great photos of the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Hendrix, B.B. King, Neil Young and Pete Townsend – to name just a few. There are of course some great Beatle shots, still-life, movie stars and landscapes. But the bulk are of Paul McCartney and the couple’s family – all beautifully composed and interesting in their own right:Linda McCartney Photographs Paul & Mary

Really like this one below of Paul working with John in 1968  one of the happier times during the recording of the White Album no doubt:Linda McCartney Photographs John & Paul

For some reason this shot from 1970 of Paul writing amidst a domestically crowded table in Scotland reminds us of something:Linda McCartney Photographs Table

Could it have been at least part inspiration for Linda’s work three years later for the rear cover of Band on the Run?

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And we also like this one of Paul, with artist Willem de Kooning, taken in East Hampton, New York in 1983:Linda McCartney Photograhs Paul and Willem Here’s the rear cover – the sticker says €29.99, but we got it for less than that….Linda McCartney Photographs rear

See also: Beatles Stuff We Found on a Visit to France – Part One and Part Two, plus Some Local Beatle Pressings From a Visit to Holland

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

Fab Gear – The Beatles and Fashion

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Earlier this week we scored a pristine copy of this Beatle book from one of our favourite discount bookstores – Basement Books in central Sydney. In fact it was still sealed in heat-shrink and so it is absolutely a mint copy.

The title of this large, coffee-table style book says exactly what its content is all about: Fab Gear – The Beatles and Fashion, and author Paolo Hewitt (his blog is here) focusses on that topic exclusively. DSC03487

This book contains a wealth of photographs, like the one above, which are included because they show the variety of fashion over the years, the fine cut, or the design details of what the group were wearing at particular times. Look at those jackets John and Paul are wearing. This photo was taken at the London Palladium in February, 1965. John’s is a particularly stylish, four-button cut, while with Paul it’s the detail of the doubled-up buttons and cuffs, and the buttoned down shirt with no tie which are interesting.

As you browse through Fab Gear Hewitt gives information about where the Beatles purchased their clothing (or where they had it made), and who they knew and followed in the industry. It becomes clear that the Beatles indeed were style gurus very interested in clothing, fashion, and the design of what they wore – both as a group and as individuals. In the photos below Ringo is dressed very much in a Mod style, with his three button suit and button-down polka-dot shirt. John sports a look that Van Morrison would appropriate years later. The pair’s stylish but casual look is in contrast to the smaller, earlier picture where the band is dressed far more formally:DSC03486From the earliest stages of being a band the Beatles had a keen sense of themselves as being more than just musicians. They were a force for change and what they wore was another way of pushing the boundaries. Hewitt’s book is divided up into five main themes to examine this thesis: the early years and influences from the late1950s in Liverpool and Hamburg; the early 1960s in London and Brian Epstein’s influence on their look and style; the mid-to-late1960s and Swinging London; the Beatles and their affect on hairstyles; and a chapter dedicated to the Beatles’ venture into creating and selling their own fashion designs at the Apple clothing boutique:

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In fact this book has one of the best chapters we’ve seen on the ill-fated Apple shop set up to sell Apple clothing and which the Beatles opened on December 7, 1967 at 94 Baker Street in London. It closed its doors just seven months later. Not only do we get the back-story to it’s inception and speedy downfall, we get images of hand-drawn designs, fabric samples and prices:DSC03483

This clip, from the movie Hot Millions, provides one of the few filmed glimpses inside the Apple shop:

There was also a separate Apple Tailoring shop (at 161 King’s Road) which included an Apple Hair salon in the basement! It is at Apple Tailoring we discover an Australian connection in the form one John Crittle. Crittle was a fashion innovator whose designs the Beatles had been taken with since the Sgt Pepper days. When they wanted to start their own tailoring company they turned to him. He’s pictured below – and if you don’t think you know his work, think again. Crittle designed the suits worn by three of the band (John, Ringo and Paul) as they walked across that famous pedestrian crossing outside the EMI studios on Abbey Road:DSC03481We are very much enjoying dipping into Fab Gear. There are so many interesting stories and you’ll never look at a Beatle album cover, publicity shot, promotional film, or magazine/newspaper image the same way again. For a quick spin through the history and influence the band had on fashion (and that fashion had on them) it’s an indispensable book. We guarantee you’ll learn something you didn’t know about the Beatles:DSC03485DSC03490DSC03488DSC03491DSC03480

Two Beatle-related Second-hand Finds

A couple of weeks back we got the chance to re-visit the harbour city of Newcastle in New South Wales. We’ve previously scored some Beatle goodness there (click here, and here) and this time was no different.

The first item came from Rices Bookshop on Hunter Street:DSC03469DSC03470

The Long and Winding Road – An Intimate Guide to the Beatles is a soft cover book (124 pages) by Ted Greenwald*. Published in 1995 in the USA, it details the history of the band from different perspectives. There are biographies, discographies, details of major stage appearances, films, significant books, as well as details about Beatle family and friends. As you can see, the layout inside is rudimentary, but there is a lot of information here:DSC03471

The book is mostly chronological and there are lots of Beatle photographs, record cover images, and examples of memorabilia inside: DSC03472 DSC03473 DSC03474

Just up the road from Rices is the Indigo Bookshop. They usually only sell second-hand books, but this visit they also had some boxes of used LP’s on display which we’d not seen before. In one box we found this little Beatle-related rarity:DSC03475DSC03476

As you can see this example has some water damage to the cover (which looks worse in the photo than in reality), but the vinyl itself is in mint condition. Denny Laine of course was a long-time McCartney collaborator and member of Wings. It’s no surprise then that Paul and Linda McCartney feature on a number of tracks of this 1984 solo album by Laine. Also represented are fellow ex-Wings members Steve Holly, Denny Seiwell, Lawrence Juber and Henry McCullough.

The song ‘Send Me the Heart’ was co-written by Laine and McCartney in 1974 and has Paul on bass. It was recorded during the same Nashville Wings sessions for ‘Junior’s Farm’.

‘I Would Only Smile’ was made at the same time as the sessions for the McCartney/Wings release Red Rose Speedway (1972). Similarly ‘Weep for Love’ was an out-take from the recording sessions for the Wings 1979 LP Back to the Egg. It features backing vocals by Paul and LindaDSC03478DSC03477

So, once again the second-hand stores of Newcastle come up trumps!

* Ted Greenwald is also the author of The Beatles Companion – The Fab Four in Film, Performance, Recording and Print, published in 1992:Beatles Companion 2

Double Fantasy – Lennon & Ono in Vanity Fair Magazine

For those of us not well-heeled enough to shell out A$870 (for the standard edition), or A$1933 (for the deluxe art edition), perhaps this Vanity Fair magazine slideshow of images from a new book by photographer Kishin Shinoyama will just have to do….Double_Fantasy_1Double_Fantasy_2

Double Fantasy: John Lennon and Yoko Ono is published by Taschen Books:Double Fantasy 3

The Taschen site has some additional images in a slideshow, too.

Shinoyama’s 800 images were captured in just two days in 1980 – during the period John Lennon and Yoko Ono were in recording sessions for their album Double Fantasy. It was Shinoyama’s images that were used for the record and CD cover, front and rear:Double Fantasy 4Double Fantasy 5

And also for 1884’s Milk and Honey:Milk and Honey 1Milk and Honey 2

Eight Arms to Hold You – A Book Celebrating the Beatles “Help”

Crowdsourcing (or kick-starting) has been defined as “…the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers…” and it’s become all the rage as a way to get new projects of all sorts off the ground.

For example a friend just crowdsourced A$10,000 in funds from fans and well-wishers to help pay for studio time to record her new album. Heck, Neil Young even used it to back the multi-million dollar development of Pono, a new high-definition digital playback system.

Now comes an idea for a crowdsourced Beatle book called Eight Arms to Hold You – The Forgotten Archives:8Arms3It’s called Eight Arms to Hold You because that was the working title of the 1965 Beatle film now better known as Help!.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release.

Cue the specialist archival restoration publishing company, Archivum which has launched an ambitious plan to produce a limited edition, high-quality book detailing the making of that historic film – using as its centrepiece a huge cache of rare and previously unseen photographs taken during the making of the film. But to pull it off they need the help of Beatles fans around the world to pre-order the book in a variety of forms. Collectors and keen Beatle fans can help contribute to the creation of a unique, limited fan edition, with every pledger who pre-orders the first edition being immortalised with their name in the credits.

Through direct-to-fan site, Pledge Music there’s also the opportunity to directly play a part in the content, with the best stories, memorabilia and fans photographs being included. In addition, pledgers also gain the chance to attend book launches at the legendary Cavern Club and other famous Beatles venues. Alongside the collector memorabilia contributions will be great, previously unseen photos like these lavishly sprinkled throughout:8Arms18Arms2

The book will have over 250 photographic pages, featuring fully restored colour and black and white photographs. Find out the full details at pledge music.com

Lennon – “In His Own Write” and “A Spaniard in the Works” 50th Anniversary Editions

The final instalment in the Christmas/birthday gift series* features three books.

We were alerted to the impending publication of the first two last year by Wogblog. These are two faithfully reproduced replicas – re-published to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the release of John Lennon’s two literary works. The first is In His Own Write (from 1964):

Own Write coverOwn Write rear

The back cover (above) contains a short biography penned by Lennon, done in the quirky word-play style of the whole book: I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who only had one). Anyway they didn’t get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn’t pass-much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my and (P, G, and R’s) records might seem funnier to some than this book, but as far as I’m conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I’ve ever ready. God help and breed you all.

In His Own Write was John’s debut as an author, a book of stories, drawings and poems that was received with great critical acclaim and became a phenomenon – selling over 600,000 copies in the UK alone and revealing a hitherto unseen side to Lennon’s artistic output and talent.

Then, in 1965, came the follow-up A Spaniard in the Works, which continued on in a similar vein:Spaniard coverSpaniard rear

Published by Canongate Books in the UK, these are both very nicely made little hardbacks and while we haven’t ever seen or owned a copy of an original release, they look to have recreated the originals well. They’re both very reasonably priced, and form a nice addition to the collection.

Here are two typical pages from inside In His Own Write:Own Write pages

And a typical couple of pages from A Spaniard in the WorksSpaniard pages

While looking around the web to track down these two books we came across a third publication by John Lennon – this one is a similar collection of stories, drawings and poems, but this time published after his death:

Skywriting cover

Skywriting by Word of Mouth is sub-titled And Other Writings, Including “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. It was first released in 1986 and includes an afterword by Yoko Ono. Like the two other works detailed here, this book contains miscellaneous writings and cartoons. It was written during the five years that Lennon took off as a holiday from the music business and he always intended to have it published.

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” section kicks off the book and it is not the same as the famous song. It ranges over 23 pages and details his life with Yoko, and talks about the Beatles’ break-up: “When I finally had the guts to tell the other three that I, quote, wanted a divorce, unquote, they knew it was for real….I felt guilty….I had Yoko – they only had each other….”, and “I started the band. I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that”. Lennon says that he has no hard feelings against his former bandmates: “In retrospect, the Beatles were no more an important part of my life than any other (and less than some)”.

Lennon mentioned the manuscript in a 1980 Playboy interview: “At one point… I wrote about two hundred pages of mad stuff”. The manuscript was stolen from the Lennons’ apartment in 1982, and later recovered in 1986, when Ono had it published. Here’s a typical couple of pages:Skywriting pages

So, three books under the Christmas tree to complete our collection of John Lennon solo literary works.

P.S. Both In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works were gathered together in one volume in 1966 by Penguin Books in a book called The Penguin John Lennon. We found a second-hand copy in a bookstore in 2010. It has been re-published with different covers many times since. Quite by chance the Chained and Perfumed blog also posted an image of one of them just a couple of days ago….

* See also here, and here for more 2014 Christmas/birthday posts.