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.

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

Help! – Coming on BluRay in June

Help!, will be the next Beatle film to be released on Blu-ray. It will join last year’s releases of digitally restored copies of the Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour feature films on Blu-ray, DVD and on iTunes. Presumably, as this is a Blu-ray only release, the 2007 DVD release of Help! remains current.

The group’s second feature film makes its June 24 Blu-ray debut as a single-disc package, pairing the digitally restored film and 5.1 soundtrack with an hour of extra features including an introduction by the film’s director, Richard Lester, and an appreciation written by Martin Scorsese to be included in the booklet.

The Beatles official site has the full press release with details.

Pre-order details will be published shortly.

Three French Beatles LP’s

This post continues on from the one previous detailing some Beatles items found on a recent visit to Paris. As well as bookstores, I was also on the lookout for new or second-hand Beatles records and CDs. With only limited time (and limited knowledge of the geography of the city) I could only scout around nearby where I was staying and so I really only got to visit four record shops in all.

The best of them was definitely Crocodisc, which is at 40 rue des Ecoles, Paris which is smack bang in the middle of the Sorbonne university district and just down from the Pantheon. (Here‘s a link to their English translation site).

Crocodisc was a pretty good find:

As you can see it is crammed full, floor-to-ceiling, with LP’s, 45’s, CD’s and DVDs. Not only that, as well as the main store there is another whole shop-full of records right next door specialising in jazz and metal, etc. Pretty incredible.

They had a fairly large Beatles section – some new, mostly second-hand. I was looking out for actual French pressings to add to the collection and to serve as a happy reminder of my time in Paris – which is definitely one of the world’s great cities. I also couldn’t buy a massive amount – partly because I’d have to say that Beatles items in the store were commanding top prices, but also anything I purchased had to be carried safely back to far-away Australia as part of my luggage.

After much deliberation (and checking out the quality of the covers and discs inside) I settled on three choices. None of these is especially rare or unusual, but each is distinctly different and come from different phases of the Beatles career.

The first was a French pressing of the soundtrack album “Help!”, or as the cover says, “Les Beatles chanson du film Help!”:

I have multiple copies of “Help!” (see here, and here for more) but not a French pressing with this unique cover and released on the Odeon label.

Next is a French Apple pressing of the 1970 Beatle compilation release, “The Beatles Again” (or in some markets known as “Hey Jude”). The rear cover and labels for this one are unique to France with their prominent references to the disc manufacturer Pathe Marconi:

 

Finally, a French vinyl copy of “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl”, a budget Beatles record from 1977 and so far never (so far) officially released on CD:

This is on the Parlophone/Pathe Marconi/EMI label and has a great inner sleeve featuring some of the other Beatles titles available in France at the time:

So, that was my Paris Beatles records experience. Nothing earth-shatteringly special about the purchases, but some great reminders of a trip to Paris. The Crocodisc shop was definitely a fun visit, too. You could easily spend a couple of hours in there…

Click here for a comprehensive list of record stores – not only in Paris but right across France (it’s big).

Latest Addition to the Collection – The Beatles “Help!” US LP

After many a year I’ve finally got myself a copy of the US vinyl version of the Beatles “Help!”.

Last week I visited a newly-opened record store called Pacific Records. It’s located in the Sydney suburb of Mona Vale and sells new and used LPs, singles, CDs, music books, posters and t-shirts. The guy running it also has an Ebay store.

I’ve already got a few different versions of “Help!”, but have never had an LP copy of the US Capitol Records pressing – which varies in a number of ways to the LP released in Australia and elsewhere. The one I got last week is on the orange Capitol label:

The LP is of interest because the US edition has seven songs from the film interspersed with instrumentals, a different running order, and a very different cover to that issued in places like the UK, Europe and Australia:

Also, it has a really cool gatefold with lots of additional photos inside (whereas in other countries “Help!” comes in just a single LP sleeve):

In Australia (and in the UK) we’re used to this “Help!” LP cover image:

As I said there are some songs in common, but the running order is different and Bruce Spizer explains why in his liner notes for the booklet that comes with “The Beatles Capitol Albums, Vol. 2″:

“In England, Parlophone repeated its practice of issuing an album with songs from the film on one side and additional new recordings by the group on side two. (Three of those songs had previously appeared [in the US] on “Beatles VI”.) Capitol issued an album with the seven Beatles songs from the film augmented with “Exclusive Instrumental Music From the Picture’s Soundtrack.” Ken Thorne’s score for the film consisted of a mix of Thorne originals, classical music and orchestrated Beatles tunes, often with an Indian flavour. Capitol’s “Help!” LP was issued with a deluxe gatefold cover on August 13, 1965″.

The copy I got also has a nice original paper inner sleeve, with advertisements for other Capitol LPs, including a couple by the Beatles:

Next time a post on some “Help!” label variations from around the world.

George Harrison Photo for Scorsese Film and Book

The photograph of George Harrison chosen for the publicity posters (and for the front cover of the accompanying book) of “Living In The Material World“, the forthcoming Scorsese-directed film, CD and DVD is impressive:

It is simple and arresting. Quite peaceful really, and it got me wondering about where it was taken, and why. After a bit of online research I think I can confirm that it was taken during the filming for the Beatles movie “Help!”, released in 1965.

In the film there’s a very brief scene – shot at New Providence in the Bahamas – where the Beatles, after being chased by the bad guys, end up in the swimming pool of a resort hotel with all the guests looking on as they emerge wet, bedraggled and fully-clothed from the pool. You can see it here – scroll in to about 4 minutes 15 seconds:

If you blink you’ll miss it but it’s a scene that, as film-making often does, clearly took a lot of time and effort to set up and shoot. Here’s the page in the “Help!” script with the scene:

So, I think the Scorsese poster and book cover photo was from filming on this day, February 23, 1965 at the Nassau Beach Hotel. Here’s some more photographic proof:

Interestingly, in 2007 Martin Scorsese wrote a short appreciation of the film “Help!” for the book that comes with both the standard and the deluxe DVD box set re-issue of the film. Perhaps that’s where he came across the striking image of George for his latest project?