Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – Part 4

We’ve run an occasional series on Beatle album covers that have possibly been, well, borrowed as inspiration by others…..(see here, here, and here).

The Melbourne-based band The Paper Kites have just released their latest. It’s called Twelve Four:pk tf2

Remind you of anything?paul-mccartney-new

That’s not to say Paul McCartney was entirely original either, using as his inspiration for the cover of New the works of American artist Dan Flavin.

For more in-depth information about Flavin and his neon art visit the artsy.net website.

Beatle Books, Books and More Books….

Quite a few new Beatle or Beatle-related books have just been announced or recently released, and so we thought we’d mention a few worthies. Here’s a round-up:

The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies was released as a hardback book last year. It’s now slated for a paperback release this October:Beatles Lyrics

The book features analysis of the Beatles song catalog and images of the Beatles’ hand-written song lyrics. If that is actually the new cover (above) we reckon it looks cool. For any record collector or Beatle fan it definitely says”Pick me up and look inside”. If you, do we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. We got the hardback edition last Christmas and have been dipping in and out of it all year.

Here’s one we stumbled across on the web. We haven’t read it yet but there’s a great review on The Daily Beast about a new book called Allen Klein – The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll. Yes, it’s a very long title, but also a fascinating re-think by author Fred Goodman of the impact and influence of one of the music industry’s bad boys of management – the late Allen Klein. Klein was brought in to run the Beatles’ Apple company and very soon became the lightening rod that split the band, with Paul McCartney on one side and John, George and Ringo siding with Klein on the other. This is very much a business book with lots of financial details, but Goodman makes the nuts and bolts really interesting, linking them to the seismic shift in music-industry economics that Klein instigated. This book is out now and there’s a “Look Inside” on Amazon if you are interested to read more:Alan_Klein

Klein and Harrison Klein Lennon and OnoHere’s another that we don’t own and haven’t read yet. We were just walking through a large bookshop the other day and accidentally spotted this one on the shelf:

See Hear Yoko

The inside cover says See Hear Yoko was conceived expressly for Yoko Ono as a gift between friends on the occasion of her eightieth birthday. It’s a visual portrait of her as an artist, activist, wife and mother, from her days with John Lennon through to the present. Legendary rock and roll photographer Bob Gruen was welcomed into the lives of John and Yoko during their years in New York City, when Gruen served as their personal photographer. He continues to document Yoko today. Approached by his friend Jody Denberg, who had logged twenty-five years of interviews with Yoko, Gruen collaborated with him to create an extraordinary birthday gift. Gruen selected more than three hundred classic color and black-and-white photographs—accompanied by text by Denberg—to illuminate the story of Yoko Ono. Again, Amazon has a “Look Inside“. There are some truly great images here.

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label. This one should be very interesting. Due for release on September 28 in the UK (but not until March 1, 2016 in the US) this book is written by Beatle insider Barry Miles and, as the publishing blurb says, it’s the first full-length illustrated examination of the Zapple label—an Apple Records off-shoot and Beatle experimental label:Zapple DiariesOn Zapple the Beatles hoped to release a range of spoken word and avant garde recordings – all part of their “…ambition to be leading members of the counterculture movement”. As it turned out Zapple was short-lived, surviving for just six months or so in 1969, and only had two official releases (Lennon and Ono’s Unfinished Music No.2: Life With the Lions, and George Harrison’s Electronic Sound). Author Barry Miles ran Zapple, so this should be an interesting insight – especially on the closing down of the label by one Allen Klein (see above). The Amazon UK and Amazon US sites both have a bit more info, and you can pre-order the book there too.

Finally, a new children’s picture book from Macmillan that introduces the next generation of fans to the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Focusing on the early years, Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles shows how four boys from Liverpool became the bestselling band in history:Fab Four Friends

Written by award-winning children’s author Susanna Reich with fantastic illustrations by Adam Gustavson, this book traces the Beatles’ roots through each boy’s childhood and teen years. Evocative language and richly-detailed paintings tell the story of the band from its earliest days as a skiffle group to its explosion onto the world stage. Amazon has a “Look Inside” for more. This is out now. We think you (and your kids!) will love it.Fab Four Friends Rear

McCartney’s “Take It Away [Single Edit] (2015 Remaster)” Free Download

Just as they did prior to the release of the Archive Collection editions of Venus and Mars and Wings At The Speed of Sound last year, Paul McCartney’s website has begun to issue some promotional free download tracks which won’t be on the forthcoming reissues of Tug of War and Pipes of Peace.

The first is an exclusive free download of Paul’s ‘Take It Away [Single Edit] (2015 Reissue)’. The track does not feature on the remastered Tug of War reissue and is only available as a download through PaulMcCartney.com (you’ll need to register on the site and give your email address to get access).

In Australia this single edit was originally released (in 1982) through EMI on the Parlophone label:Take It Away Parlophone

And this reminded us that the Tug of War album came out during McCartney’s brief but somewhat ill-fated career with CBS Records in the US. ‘Take It Away’ therefore came out on the Columbia label:  Take It Away Columbia

The B-side to the single, ‘I’ll Give You a Ring’, will be included as part of the re-issued Tug of War – which is due out in early October.

If you don’t want to sign up to the Mccartney site and just want to hear the track, it’s available as a Soundcloud file at rollingstone.com

Uncut magazine is also saying they have the Soundcloud file to listen to, but we can’t see it on their page anywhere…..maybe they’ll rectify that soon.

Signed Original “Love Me Do” Up For Auction

If you are into Beatle autographs – and you have very deep pockets – Heritage Auctions in the US has an original copy of the single ‘Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You’ coming up as part of their Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Signature Auction in September.

The Heritage website says this is a genuine UK first pressing 45, and one of the first-ever signed Beatle records.

The Beatles’ first single for EMI was released on October 5, 1962. The very next day they traveled the short distance from Liverpool to Widnes in Lancashire for a 4:00 official autograph signing appearance (the first of only three in their career) at Dawson’s Music Shop. For thirty minutes, the Beatles signed copies of their brand new single for fans. This is one of the records signed that day, on the “B” side (P.S. I Love You) in black ballpoint. PS I Love You Signed

(click on the image to see a clearer version)

The record comes mounted alongside a vintage black and white glossy photograph of the group taken during a January,1963 appearance at Brian Epstein’s NEMS record store in Liverpool, with three young ladies offering up singles for autographs (although what these are is not clear as ‘From Me To You’ was the first Beatle 7″ single released using the plain green Parlophone paper sleeves they are holding – see The Beatles With Records Part Fifteen):

Girls Asking For Autographs

According to Bruce Spizer and Frank Daniel’s reference book Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records the autographed disc for auction is one of the “few thousand” pressed for the October 5, 1962 release with the very first version of the record label. The main indication is that “the initial labels have the Ardmore & Beechwood publishing credit left-aligned and slightly indented so that the ‘B’ is above the ‘XC’ in the matrix number prefix 7XCE.” All the other “tells” match including the tax code pressed into the trail off area, being “ZT”.

Bidding kicks of at US$5,000, and the disc is expected to fetch somewhere closer to US$10,000.

The record is just a small part of what is on offer – Heritage have gathered together roughly 300 lots from one of the biggest and most important Beatle memorabilia collections in the world – the Uwe Blaschke Collection.

You can seen more about other items to be offered – including the Beatles’ very first signed contract (expected to fetch a stunning US$150,000) here:

Looking Through You – A New and Very Special Beatle Book

An exciting new Beatles book Looking Through You (just out through Omnibus Press in the UK, and soon to be published in the US) has hit our desk – and it is a treat:LOOKING THROUGH YOU BOOK COVER

Looking Through You – Rare & Unseen Photographs From The Beatles Monthly Archive presents a selection of over 300 images taken from the pages of the precious The Beatles Book Monthly magazine photo archive. The Beatles Book Monthly was, as it’s name suggests, a monthly instalment detailing what the Beatles were up to. It started in August, 1663 and continued for six years:johnbbm66 paul.bb.Nov1966a George Harrison 001 ringo.bb.Dec1966a

The magazine, through the lens of photographer, Leslie Bryce, had unrivalled access to the group throughout the 1960s. Bryce captured the band at work and at play in public but also behind the scenes in un-rehearsed situations resulting in what are unique and candid images.

With a selection of photos from the magazine (all taken between 1963 and 1968), many of the photos gathered for the book are previously unpublished or unseen, often un-cropped and in their original form. The quality of the images is great too because they all are printed from the original negatives:

Beatles in the Mirror

One thing which strikes you as you flip through each of the carefully chosen and captioned images is that this new book will be a treasure trove for those interested in the band’s instruments and equipment. Take this photograph below of George Harrison for example. How many shots have we seen of the group using their customary Vox amplifiers – but here, in this rear view (taken at the Hammersmith Odeon Theatre in December, 1964), you can pick up some great additional details. You can almost read the amps actual model and serial numbers:

George and his Vox Amps

There are numerous shots like this – close-ups of the band’s instruments while on stage as well as a huge number of them at work in the studio, like this one taken at Abbey Road in November, 1965:

Beatles at Abbey Road

Looking Through You has only just come out in the UK and will see a US release soon. The UK edition comes as a cased and numbered 208-page limited edition of 3,000, designed by Lora Findlay with text by Andy Neill. Also in the package is a replica of a rare Beatles artefact associated with the magazine: the 1964 Beatles Book calendar, containing a further 12 photographs from the Beatles Monthly archive.

John and his Gretch Guitar

The book’s Facebook site is here.

FYI there is also a Beatles Book Photo Library available online with low-res, watermarked photographs available to view. There is a process for approaching the Archive about accessing high quality images.

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Eight

Quite a few more photos of the Beatles holding or working with records have come in so it is time for a further instalment of our series The Beatles With Records.

The Liverpool Echo news site is reporting that the stereo radiogram shown in this picture of Ringo Starr and wife Maureen is up for auction:ringo_starr_montagu_square_flat_hendrix_lennonMaureen is shown sitting on the custom-built record player and radio which was built for the couple when they lived at 34 Montagu Square, London in 1965. It was a quality piece for the time with a Garrard turntable, a British Leak valve amplifier, and an Armstrong tuner with twin speakers. Also in the photo are at least four Beatle gold records, plus a shelf stacked with LPs of various kinds.

According to the Echo, Ringo gave the radiogram to his Auntie Everley and Uncle Jim at 59 Madrin Street, Liverpool, which was Ringo`s Grandad`s house. It has been in his Aunt’s possession since 1966 and has just surfaced after almost 50 years:photo-35JPGThe radiogram is just one of the lots in the Liverpool Beatles memorabilia Auction to be held in the Paul McCartney Auditorium there on August 29. We first featured the photo of Ringo and Maureen at home back in The Beatles With Records – Part Two.

Speaking of Liverpool, here is a cool photograph taken outside Brian Epstein’s NEMS Music Store:NEMS

Lots of records in the front window – and the arrow points to one record cover that may give a hint as to the date. It is Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, which came out in January, 1964:NEMS DYLAN

Lots of other LPs and EPS there in the window. Anyone else recognise anything? (The image was kindly sent through by Billy Shears at the SgtPepperChannel on YouTube).

Back in The Beatles With Records Part Twenty Five we showed a photograph of George Harrison with the Radha Krsna Temple and an Apple single they’d released (and he produced) called ‘Govinda’.

Here they are together again – this time in 1970 – and one member is holding another single of their Apple singles, ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’:George-Harrison-and-Hare-Krishna-Devotees-in-1970George Harrison Radha KrsnaGeorge Harrison Hare Krishna Mantra

(Again, thanks to Billy Shears for sending through those images).

The topic of George Harrison brings us to model Patti Boyd, who later became his wife. Before they were married she featured in a number of photo shoots with Beatle records. Here’s another. This time Patti is holding a UK mono copy of With The Beatles, from 1963:

Patti BoydPatti Boyd2with_the_beatles

And we’ve just had the anniversary (on August 11) of John Lennon apologising to the American people for his “the Beatles are bigger than Jesus” comment. It led to some very odd and sad scenes of LPs and singles being publicly destroyed, these ones below live on air on radio….Beatles Albums Destroyedbeatles-us-albums-hard-days-630-80 (1)Beatles Something new

Jumping ahead in time, here’s Lennon at home with what looks like an acetate or test pressing in front of him (on the bed, lower right). Impossible to tell what it might be though: lennon with acetateAnd John Lennon again, this time in what looks like a U.S. radio station studio with DJ Scott Muni:

lennon with dj

This image looks very much like another photo from the same day, taken at the radio station WNEW-FM in New York. John was on the publicity trail for his album Rock’n’Roll. The two men are wearing the same clothing (Lennon a tee-shirt, and Muni a shirt and light coloured knitted sweater). You can see this photo in The Beatles With Records – Part Three:wnew-fmlennon_rockbAnd to finish a video of Paul McCartney, performing live at the famous Amoeba Music record store in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Here Paul is literally surrounded by vinyl and CD’s in the hundreds and thousands:Paul Amoeba 2Paul Amoeba

Just two obvious cover shots from the posters on the wall behind him…..You will no doubt spot a lot more:BowieHendrix

And here is the full video:

Check out all the posts in this series here.

Vale Cilla Black

News is just coming in that Cilla Black has died at the age of 72.

Cilla was a great mate of the Beatles and was a central part of their manager Brian Epstein’s bevy of talented Liverpool artists. Because of those close relationships Cilla Black was the recipient of unique songs composed by Lennon and McCartney (for example her debut single ‘Love of the Loved’, as well as ‘It’s For You’ and ‘Step Inside Love’ – which became the theme song for one of her TV shows).

And of course she was signed to the Parlophone label. Her many hits were produced by the great George Martin.

Cilla Black leaves behind a fifty-year career in the entertainment business. Following her singing successes of the 1960s Cilla entered the world of British television and became a household name and much-loved icon.

Last year there was a terrific 3-part television docu-drama simply called Cilla (starring Sheridan Smith) covering her life in Liverpool, early career, and rise to fame. Well worth seeing.Cilla - Best Of