Three New Beatle Books

A couple of new Beatles book titles have come into the collection. Two were from a visit to the very well-known Berkelouw Book Barn in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (in Australia). Berkelouw’s offer a huge selection and sell both new, second-hand and rare books. The two titles we found there recently are both “pre-loved”. First up was John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me – The Real Beatles Story by Tony Barrow:Tony Barrow front

This book is the paperback version and was released in 2006 by Andre Deutsch publishers. Barrow of course was a Beatle insider who served as their Press Officer throughout the height of their fame. As such he brings a unique view of the band, from the birth of Bealtemania through to the establishment of the Apple Records company. As with many others, Apple meant that Barrow and the Beatles parted ways. Google has one of those look inside pages if you would like to see more on this book.Tony Barrow rear

If the name Tony Barrow sounds familiar it’s probably because you know it from the back covers of many of the Beatles British releases. He wrote the sleeve notes (popular in the day) for the LP’s Please Please Me; With the Beatles; and A Hard Day’s Night, as well as for the EP’s The Beatles’ Hits; Twist and Shout; The Beatles (No.1); All My Loving; A Hard Day’s Night (Extracts from the Film); (Extracts from the Album) A Hard Day’s Night; and Beatles For Sale: The+Beatles+-+A+Hard+Day's+Night+No.+1+EP+-+1st+-+7%22+RECORD-500878500878b  Next book up was a biography of Paul McCartney which we hadn’t seen before:

McCartney frontLike the Barrow book this hard back also came out in 2006. It is published by Century Press (a division of Random House) and this is the Australian edition. Christopher Sandford is a prolific music writer and biographer, having also penned books on The Rolling Stones, Bowie, Clapton, Jagger, Sting, Springsteen and Kurt Cobain. I haven’t delved into the book yet, but some initial research using the web on this book doesn’t auger well. It is clearly not that well-liked by the fans….

FYI here’s another of those Google links so you can have a look inside Sandford’s McCartney if you wish to check it out more for yourself.

We also recently ordered online a copy of Jude Southerland Kessler’s latest instalment in her ongoing John Lennon project and it arrived safely in the post a couple of weeks back. She Loves You is Volume 3 in Jude’s ambitious nine-volume series on the life of John Lennon. It has only just been released and the timing is perfect because this book takes us right up to the Beatles US invasion – now being celebrated across this 50th anniversary year:She Loves You frontShe Loves You rear

Southerland researches exhaustively and writes biography in the style of a novel, telling Lennon’s life story like an unfolding drama. She tries to get beyond merely what happened when and into the complexity of his character, relationships and career. Like the previous two volumes, She Loves You is a very thick and weighty paperback. It is published by On The Rock Books. When you put the three volumes produced so far side-by-side they are impressive:She Loves You group

Each book has taken two to three years to complete. By the time we get to Volume 9 in the series we’ll need a very sturdy bookshelf to display them! Jude’s Facebook page is here.

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Two

It has been a while since we’ve had a Beatles with records post. This is where we look for photographs of the Beatles actually holding those things they sold so many of – LP records, 45′s and CDs. And we try to do the detective work to identify the records they holding. Some are easier than others….

Our friend Lammert in France just sent through a set of John Lennon photos that were taken the same day as this photograph, which we published last time in The Beatles With Records Part 21lennon-epic-records

John seems to be holding either a big reel-to-reel tape box, or some sort of record box from the Epic Records company. You can clearly see the company logo on the front. In the 1960s EMI, the Beatles’ record company, had a distribution deal with Epic to release their titles in the UK – so maybe it was a box of sample records from them for him to listen to? Lammert has turned up a few more taken the same day which provide a few more clues:awardtumblr_m0uevr0B8s1qdvsg8o1_500

John has the same Epic box – and a Gold Record award award – in his lap in the photos above. Notice the photo of the band in the newspaper that is on the coffee table, just near his right boot! There is also a bag from Columbia Records on the lounge:tumblr_m54iagwPK51qdvsg8o1_500

We still can’t really see what’s in that Epic Records box, nor in the package from Columbia either. Here, Ringo lights up a cigarette while John takes a peak inside:tumblr_mg1742ccAA1qdvsg8o1_500

Lammert points out that these black and white photographs were taken the same day as this colour shot of John and Paul with LPs (which was included in our very first Beatles with Records post):


The photo above definitely confirms that the Epic box was in fact full of records. You can still see a couple still inside, and John and Paul are holding more. And this photograph below of George, counting his money and wearing a Beatles cap (from the Beatles with Records – Part Eighteen), was also taken that same day in the same room. Is that also the Epic Records box opened up in front of him?:


By the way, the framed gold record John has was for the US Capitol pressing of “I Want to Hold You Hand”. This is an original presentation white matte gold award. The single had sold over a million copies and was certified gold on February 3, 1964, just days before the band was to appear in New York at the start of their 1964 US tour. By March 28th Capitol Records reported sales in excess of 3.4 million copies. This and the following two singles are the extremely rare variety with the RIAA logo attached to the presentation plaque with glue. Only awards prepared before approximately September of 1964 use this format. Beginning in late 1964 the RIAA logo was etched into the presentation plaque. The plaque reads: Presented To The Beatles To Commemorate The Sale Of More Than One Million Copies Of The Capitol Records Pop Single Record “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. (Thanks to the whocollection site for the information):


Here they are in the same suits they are wearing in the hotel room in the photos above accepting the gold record from Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records at the Hotel Plaza:Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records presents the

Thanks to Lammert for sending through those additional photos.

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,17,18,19, 20 and 21.


Yoko Ono Albums To Be Reissued

Flipping through a recent copy of Mojo magazine we noticed this small article:mojo

Being interested in anything Beatles and Apple Records related we decided to do a bit more research.

Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band site has this small promo tile (complete with a grapefruit) – but no links when you click on it:reissue_yopob

Same for her Imagine Peace site. Again, there’s the same promo tile on the page but no other information or links, although there is a tiny bit more info as the tile at least lists two record company names:Reissue_Imaginepeace

Chimera Music is Ono’s (and son Sean Lennon’s) record label. A search revealed no further information on their site though. Not sure what Secretly Canadian has to do with the releases (it’s an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana) because there’s no reference to Yoko Ono or Plastic Ono Band on their site either….

Of course these titles have been released previously. The details of that 1997 reissue project are in this MTV article:

“….beginning on May 20th, the label (Rykodisc) will present 11 different Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band albums, all of which are being remixed and remastered as needed by Ono herself…..The first wave of releases will be unleashed on May 20 with the four titles, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins, an album or tape manipulation and random noises reportedly made the night before Ono and John Lennon made love for the first time; its sequel, Unfinished Music #2: Life With the Lions, which deals with Ono’s subsequent miscarriage and also contains a “song” called “Radio Play,” 12 minutes of random radio dial-turning; the collaborative The Wedding Album, whose second song is a 22 minute drone consisting of the couple calling each other’s name and, finally, the first Plastic Ono Band album, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.

The next set of four releases (June 10) contains what many considered to be the first post-punk record (ironic, since it pre-dated punk), the noisy, experimental Fly, credited to Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Also released on that day are two other Plastic Ono Band Yoko titles, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Also included will be Ono’s cathartic, personal album, Season of Glass. July 1st will bring the last set of three releases,It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)Star Peace and A Story, a previously unreleased album that was included in the box set. Ono is currently searching for some appropriate bonus tracks for the releases…”

Rykodisc were also involved with this 1992 6-CD set, Onobox:Ono BoxYoko Ono herself writes about the contents of this box set extensively here. Onobox is a kind of a “best of” compilation, with tracks from across her own (and John Lennon’s) output from 1968 to 1985.

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 project brings….

The Beatles Arrive in New York, 7 February, 1964

It begins….

The Beatles U.S. Albums

Time Magazine      Life Magazine

Rolling Stone       Mojo Magazine

The Beatles in the United States

And not one, but two articles from the lovely and very knowledgable Beatles expert, Jude Southerland Kessler, author of the John Lennon series. Jude is writing an ambitious nine-volume expanded biography of John Lennon and she has just published volume three. Here’s an excerpt from the new book, She Loves You:

February 1964: The Beatles Arrive in America!

The Love You Give: Ten Life Lessons from The Beatles

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty One

When we started way back with Part One of the Beatles With Records series it was based on the premise that (quote): “Despite selling multi, multi-millions of the things, it’s kind of strange that you hardly ever see photographs of the Beatles themselves with, or listening to, records”.

Well, through lots of help from Beatles Blog readers we’ve actually amassed quite a lot of photographs to disprove that theory.

And here are some more….

Back in that first post we showed this great photo of John Lennon surrounded by guitars, amplifiers, speakers and 45 singles, listening intently to music:john-with-singles

Here is another angle from that same day:Aug 2013 15248

John is a bit of a running theme throughout this post. In this next photograph he seems to be holding either a big reel-to-reel tape box, or some sort of record box from the classic Epic Records company:Lennon Epic Records

You can clearly see the company’s old logo on the front. In the 1960s EMI, the Beatles’ record company, had a distribution deal with Epic to release their titles in the UK – so maybe it was a box of sample records from them for him to listen to?epic-records-older-logoEpic is still going strong of course. Here’s another of John seeking out a track to play on a great-looking jukebox. It’d be interesting to know which song he chose to listen to….
Aug 2013 853389

There are no recognisable discs in this next one of John and Yoko rehearsing, but there’s a shelf full of records behind them none-the-less:Aug 2013 1989920

This next photograph shows the couple on the promotion trail for Imagine:Aug 2013 2041046imagine

Not sure which LP John is listening to here:Aug 2013 1784786

Back in Part 5 we showed this photo of Beatle manager Brian Epstein holding a UK copy of Help!:


Another photo has come in which gives the close-up shot above a great deal more context. Brian was actually studying the cover of Help! amidst the hubbub of the Beatles getting ready to make some sort of an appearance, or about to go on stage:  Aug 2013 970032beatles-helpThis next one is associated with the same Beatle film-related project. It’s pretty easy to guess that the band is at a press conference in the United States, only this time associated with the US version of the LP from the film Help!  It came with a different cover:Aug 2013 - 1965 29 Aug 1786515-3help_us_version_capitol_records_semaphore_NVUJ

Here’s another photograph of Brian Epstein, this time with a much earlier album, Please Please Me:Uncut Beatles 2aThe Beatles - Please Please Me

Meanwhile, back to John Lennon, and two photograph taken around the time of the release of Double Fantasy. Check what looks to be a sample image of the cover stuck on the noticeboard:Aug 2013 2035709And, in the same office, signing the back covers of promotional copies of Double Fantasy to go out to reviewers at radio stations, magazines and newspapers:Aug 2013 1971789double-fantasyDouble fantasy rear

We’ve previously featured Paul McCartney besieged by fans when trying to move between a building and his car. The fans are thrusting out albums to be signed. You can see a couple of good examples in the Beatles With Records Part Twenty, and also in Part Fourteen. Sometimes, from the look on his face, you get the feeling that Paul must be thinking “Will this ever stop?”Aug 2013 2023012Aug 2013 2061267Most times though he seems very willing to smile and help fans out where he can:Aug 2013 2057180Aug 2013 2057183And to finish, a couple of earlier Paul photos with records from his Beatle days:Aug 2013 909287

And from the Wings days:Aug 2013 2062430You can see the entire Beatles With Records series here: 12345678910111213141516,17,18,19 and 20.

John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes

Yoko Ono has launched a WhyHunger fund-raising iPhone/iPad app called John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes.Lennon Bermuda Tapes 5

The app documents the 1980 sailing trip undertaken by Lennon to the island of Bermuda – a journey which re-ignited his creative spark and led to the writing of the songs that formed the albums Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey. Integrating excerpts of demo tapes recorded in Bermuda alongside game play and documentary storytelling, John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes takes users down two paths:LEnnon Bermuda Tapes

One is called “Play” which immerses users into the eventful boat journey itself; and one is called “Listen” which contains intimate demo tapes of several Lennon songs written while he was in Bermuda including “Woman”, “I’m Losing You”, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Nobody Told Me”, “Dear Yoko” and a previously unreleased demo version of “Stepping Out.”Lennon Bermuda Tapes2Lennon Bermuda Tapes 3Lennon Bermuda Tapes 4

To find out more you can read the full press release here and there’s also an official online site dedicated to the app. We’ve downloaded the app and it is very detailed and interactive. The graphics and they way they tell the story are creative. It’s very involving and you certainly learn a lot of things about John Lennon that maybe you didn’t know before. Well worth the money – and it goes to a good cause as well.

Net proceeds from the sale of the app go to benefit the not-for-profit WhyHunger organisation and its global Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign, in partnership with Hard Rock International and Yoko Ono.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – Part 3

A couple of posts ago we featured some of the album covers which blatantly copied or where perhaps inspired by the Beatles Let It Be. That followed this fairly similar copy from back in 2010 of the cover for their compilation The Beatles Number 1. 

Now it’s time for the White Album.

Released in 1968, its cover was a simple and stark contrast to the visual complexity of the Sgt Pepper LP which (at least in Britain) immediately preceded it:TheBeatles68LP

Since that austere, one-colour look with absolutely minimal text there has been more than a few followers to have worked the same theme. Here, in no particular order, are just some of the many:

Brian Eno - Music For Films -Talking HeadsLive at Leeds

Of course, good old plain black has been very popular over the years:Metallica_-_Metallica_coverSpinal+Tap+-+This+Is+Spinal+Tap+-+LP+RECORD-441227The_Roots_-_OrganixDire Straights making_moviesarctic_monkeys_suck_it_and_see_2011_retail_cd-front1gangof4The+Undertones+-+Positive+Touch+-+LP+RECORD-129174The FieldBeggarsBanquetLPOf course, John Lennon’s own Live Peace in Toronto probably qualifies too: john-lennon-live-peace-in-toronto

So too does McCartney’s side project The Fireman with his 1993 release Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest:Fireman_Strawberries_Oceans_Ships_ForestKnow of any more? Let us know.

See also Part 1 and Part 2.

The Beatles With Records – Part Twenty

OK, to kick off Part 20 in our series a couple of photographs of the Beatles with records which are going to be tough to solve.

Here Paul is standing in front of a display. The thing is these record covers are all not immediately recognisable as they seem to be from other countries. They would all be from the 1960s. Does anyone have any idea what these discs might be?beatles with records13-tiff

And this one below of John – is that an LP to his left (our right)? This appears to be a photograph taken while the artists known as The Fool give one of John’s pianos a very special paint job. Amongst other things The Fool designed the original inner sleeve for Sgt Pepper, and they did the huge mural which adorned the outside of the Apple Boutique clothing shop in London.

Back to the photo. Is this an LP record cover? You can clearly make out what looks to be the word “Velvet…..”. Or could it be a poster?

beatles with records11-tiff

Let us know if you have any further info on this one.

Now onto some easier-to-solve Beatles With Records photos. Firstly to Paul and Linda with a copy of Press to Play, his sixth solo studio album, released August 1986.beatles with records14-tiffpaul-mccartney-press-to-play

I really don’t know what the occasion is below – Yoko is photographed with a group of young men, one of whom is in a Beatle jacket, and another who is holding up a copy of John’s “legal obligation” disc called John Lennon Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits (which later, and with much better sound, appeared on Apple Records as Rock ‘n’ Roll):July-2013-1842817rootsYou can read the full story about how this album came into being here. It’s a long and complicated tale….

These next photographs are very similar (but taken at a different event) to those photos you may have seen in Part 14 where Paul McCartney is swamped by waiting fans eager for him to sign LP covers.

Beatles with records8-tiff beatles with records10-tiffIn the two photos above I can make out at least ten albums, beginning at the top:McCartney 1Beatles-RevolverAnthology1coverwhite-album_coverbeatles_loveFireman_Strawberries_Oceans_Ships_Forestbeatles-helpBand on the Run Archives bookWorkingClassicalCoverTug of War

If you can see any others let us know.

And yet again, another flock of fans hoping for a signature but this time at a different location:McCartney with Records1McCartney with Records3

I can make out these titles: pepper-rearrubber_soulBeatles_-_Abbey_RoadBeatles-RevolverMAgical Mystery Tour Rear CoverBeatles19621966At_the_hollywood_bowlFigure of Eight

Signings for their fans have always been something the Beatles as a band (and as solo artists) have always embraced. Here’s another of Paul – this time autographing a copy of Wings at the Speed of Sound from 1976:July-2013-1858535WATSOSCoverThis one of George Harrison doesn’t have any records in view (except for the indistinguishable 45 actually on the turntable) – but it has a cool little record player though….and it’s a great shot of GeorgeBeatles With Records GeorgeOne final photo to finish off this installment….obviously taken at the quality control room at the EMI plant in 1965:Beatles With Records-tiff

A big thank you to Andrey in Russia for most of these images. You can see the other parts in The Beatles with Records series here:  12345678910111213141516,17,18 and 19.

Garage Sale Beatles 45′s

It’s not often you see 7-inch, 45rpm Beatles vinyl for sale at garage sales anymore. There are occasionally one or two, but they are now getting few and far between.

That’s why I was surprised this week when I asked after records at a local garage sale and the guy went into his house and brought out crate after crate of the small, vinyl gems. He had literally hundreds of 45′s – all pop and rock artists ranging from the 60s, 70′s and 80′s.
It took me quite a while to look through them all but the task produced a couple of nice items. Some I already owned, but others I didn’t have in my collection – so it was very worthwhile.

Here’s what came out of crates (in release date chronological order). First up, an Extended Play – four songs – from A Hard Day’s Night (1964):

AHDN frontAHDN rearA Hard Day's Night 1964

Then came a copy of the Beatles Rock and Roll Music single (1965):Rock and Roll Music 1965

These next few have the release date displayed on the label:Happy Xmas 1971Give Me Love 1973Letting Go 1975Mull of Kintyre 1977Coming Up 1980

This next one, Yoko Ono’s Walking on Thin Ice (1981) comes in a picture cover:

Walking FrontWalking rearWalking 1981

Ebony and Ivory 1982Say Say Say 1983All the above are Australian pressings (except the John and Yoko Happy Xmas which is British). There was though one odd item in the crates. It was just the sleeve (no record inside unfortunately) of a French EP from 1964 with four songs:Les Beatles 1964Les Beatles rear

I’ll keep it – in the hope of finding the correct record to go inside it one day….

At John Lennon’s House – A New e-Book Translation

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a Spanish publishing company called Hércules de Ediciones. They’ve just released an e-Book called At John Lennon’s House, by a woman named Rosaura López Lorenzo.

Rosaura was born in Spain but became the Lennon’s housekeeper at the Dakota Building in New York – a job she did for just on four years.

It should be said up-front that in writing this book financial profit was the last thing on Rosaura’s mind. She says on more than one occasion that she’s not doing it for any ulterior motives. After all, Rosaura kept her unique story quiet for nearly 25 years. It was only following a chance meeting with the journalist who helped her write down her story that she finally agreed to share her experiences with the rest of the world.

John Lennon's House-tiffJohn and Julian-tiff

When Rosaura first began work in Apartment 72 in the Dakota building she was completely unaware of the real significance and impact of Beatlemania. As a result she writes in a totally unaffected manner, and genuinely from the heart. She also says that she had Yoko Ono’s blessing to tell her story, and you have to believe her – such is her honesty in recounting what she experienced working in the Lennon’s Dakota apartments. Yes, that’s plural. One of the things we learn is that they owned and occupied at least four separate dwellings in the building. Here’s a photograph of Rosaura standing outside the Dakota:


Many people would know about John’s time in the US in the late 70s. He’d retreated from public life. He’d all but retired from the music business. He was living happily and quietly in New York, bringing up his new baby son Sean, baking bread, and living the simple life. And we learn that it was Rosaura who taught him how to bake. Born and raised in the Spanish town of Pontevedra in Galicia, she grew up in a  bakery and really knew what she was doing. She recalls John saying that making bread to the ancient European tradition made him feel calm and peaceful. It’s simple observations like these which make this book so intriguing and endearing.

At the back of the book are many pages filled with photographs of Rosaura Lopez and her family. There are postcards and Christmas cards sent to her over the years by the Lennon’s.  And there are many photographs of her interacting with John, Yoko, Sean, and Julian Lennon, too. Rosaurasean400

Rosaura left the employ of John and Yoko abruptly, shortly before John’s murder in 1980. She says she was sacked by Yoko after a vicious spate of rumours spread about her by another nanny keen to get her own relatives employed in the house. Rosaura didn’t get the chance to explain or defend herself for eight years. It was a chance meeting on the streets of New York which brought her face-to-face once again with Yoko. That meeting opened the opportunity for a rapprochement. Later that day the two got to talk for hours and to finally make good a wrongful dismissal. This part of the story is told in full in the book.

Rosaura’s memoir has been available since 2005, but only in Spanish (as En Casa de John Lennon):En Casa de John LennonThis new English e-Book translation will bring her story to many new readers. In the hundreds of thousands of words written about John Lennon here is a genuinely new and different examination from someone on the very inside of the Lennon household.

I have been browsing through the book and enjoying it a lot. It’s a very interesting and sweet little book and not at all voyeuristic. Rosaura has achieved an honest and open account of a unique period in her life – working for one of the most famous families in the world. She does it with integrity. It is well worth a read.

You can download At the House of John Lennon in English at iTunes here.