“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

Two More Apple Vinyl Re-Issues for the Collection

In our last post we featured a new series of books being prepared called A is for Apple, a history of the Beatles’ Apple Corps company. Volume 1 in the series will be released in the first half of next year.

Apple Corps was established not only to release the Beatles own records but also to promote new talent – to build a stable of newer and undiscovered artists. In the late 1960s and early 1970s they signed and released a series of albums and singles by a wide range of performers.

In 2010 Apple re-issued a selection of those artists on CD.

But well before that (between 1991 and 1996) they had a similar re-issue program under way – releasing on CD and vinyl a selection of the artists signed to Apple. There were 23 titles in all, re-issued in five main phases over the course of five years.

We’ve slowly been collecting examples of these re-issues on vinyl – the reason being that most of them (but not all) came with unique, additional discs on the Apple label containing bonus material, previously unreleased tracks, etc.

You can see some examples of these here (e.g. Jackie Lomax’s Is This What You Want?; The Ivey’s Maybe Tomorrow; Badfinger’s No Dice and Straight Up; and Billy Preston’s Encouraging Words), and also here (Badfinger’s Magic Christian Music). 

We’ve just added two more to the collection. They are John Tavener’s The Whale, and Billy Preston’s That’s the Way God Planned It.

The Whale frontThe Whale rear

The Whale was re-issued on vinyl in June, 1992. Like the original 1970 release it comes in a beautiful gatefold cover which opens to reveal a fantastic painting (click image to see a larger version):The Whale gatefoldThe Whale does not come with any bonus material and so it is a single LP disc. The labels look like this:

The Whale Label AThe Whale label B

Unlike the original release though this 1992 re-issue comes with an inner sleeve containing an article about the recording and how a modern classical composer like Tavener came to be signed to Apple. It is by Andy Davis (from Record Collector magazine). On the other side is some detail about the re-issue:

The Whale inner aThe Whale inner b

Our other recent find was a copy of Billy Preston’s That’s The Way God Planned It, which was reissued on vinyl in 1991: Preston God coverPreston God rear

Unlike the original 1969 release this one comes in a gatefold cover. That’s so that the cover can hold a second vinyl record with the three bonus tracks (click image to see a larger version of the gatefold image below). As you can see, That’s The Way God Planned It was produced by George HarrisonPreston God gatefoldPreston God Side 1

Preston God Side 2Preston God Bonus APreston God Bonus B

Note that while the bonus tracks come on a 12″ disc, it plays at 45 rpm.

The hunt for other vinyl examples in this 1990s Apple re-issue series continues!