The Hollywood Vampires – McCartney Guest Appearance

The Hollywood Vampires album, which contains a guest appearance from Paul McCartney, has been officially released:Hollywood VampiresHere’s the press release:

In 1972, on the Sunset Strip at a club called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through L.A. “To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members,” says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the Vampires. “I would walk in on a typical night” Alice says, “and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon—who would usually be in a costume like a maid or a chauffeur—Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz would be there. The next week might be Bernie Taupin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz.”

Three years ago, Alice and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires should live again (minus the drinking). An environment for great artists to hang, laugh and play together. The Hollywood Vampires live again with the release of the Hollywood Vampires new album. Alice and Johnny were joined by Joe Perry, who is an old friend of both of them, and the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires.

For the next two years, Alice, Joe and Johnny, joined by producer Bob Ezrin and an amazing group of modern day vampires, including Perry Farrell, Dave Grohl, Sir Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Slash, Robbie Krieger, Zak Starkey, Brian Johnson and Kip Winger, recorded tracks by their dead friends and heroes. Also included are two original songs that tell the story of the Vampires, one of which, “Raise The Dead,” has an intro by Sir Christopher Lee, recorded just prior to his death.

The album package, an antique book, was created by noted men’s fashion designer (and rock fan) John Varvatos in his signature vintage style. Alice and Varvatos, both Detroit natives, have been partners in fashion for several years with Alice lending his classic rock style as a brand ambassador.

A sneak peek at the liner notes, penned by original Hollywood Vampire Bernie Taupin, “I’m not here to defend their vices. Over-indulgence of any sort does not ultimately constitute for a healthy mind and body. And while on the periphery of those involved, wives may have come and gone, career choices may have been deemed dubious, and heartbreak in some cases stalked a dark corridor, but in the lair of the Hollywood Vampires only joy and laughter reigned.”

“I’m not completely sure what constituted bad behavior back then, but in this lair it existed in a bubble, a hermetically sealed dome of fun. It may not have been the round table at the Algonquin, but these were witty, intelligent guys who often got raucous and loud, but rest assured there were no bystanders or animals hurt in the making of the Hollywood Vampires.”

All artist proceeds will be donated to MusiCares.  

And here’s the track listing:

1. The Last Vampire (Hollywood Vampires)
2. Raise The Dead (Hollywood Vampires)
3. My Generation (The Who)
4. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
5. I Got A Line (Spirit)
6. Five to One/Break On Through (The Doors)
7. One/Jump Into The Fire (Harry Nilsson)
8. Come And Get It (Badfinger)
9. Jeepster (T.Rex)
10. Cold Turkey (John Lennon)
11. Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
12. Itchycoo Park (Small Faces)
13. School’s Out / Another Brick In The Wall pt.2 (Alice Cooper / Pink Floyd)
14. Dead Drunk Friends (Hollywood Vampires)

As you can see, the band tackle a version of John Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey’. The main McCartney performance is Badfinger’sCome And Get It‘, which of course he wrote and produced for that Apple band – way back in 1969!

Beatles’ First Recording Contract Sells for US$93,750

The Beatles’ first recording contract, part of a just-concluded New York auction of items from the Uwe Blaschke Collection, has sold for an impressive US$93,750. It went to an unknown internet bidder, but fell short of the predicted US$150,000 target.

The 1961 contract, signed by all four members of the group at that time (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best), was for a recording session with the Polydor company in Germany and produced the single ‘My Bonnie’. It was credited on the label to “Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers” because there was a stipulation in the contract allowing Polydor to use a different group name. They felt the name “Beatles” wouldn’t be readily accepted in the German market. Never-the-less, the group was making it’s very first professional recording for commercial release by an actual record label.

While ‘My Bonnie’ achieved only modest success in Germany, back home in Liverpool Beatle fans who knew about the recording began asking for it in record shops, including the store owned and managed by Brian Epstein. When he learned that the requests were for a local group, he paid a visit to the Cavern club to see what the fuss was about, and the rest is history….

Also in this auction was the 45 single ‘P.S. I Love You’ (the B-side to ‘Love Me Do’) – signed by all four Beatles and which we wrote about last month. This was the next most expensive item to go under the hammer yesterday. It fetched a substantial US$25,000 from a bidder in the room at the New York auction. This was well above the expected US$10,000: PS I Love You Signed

The third most expensive item on the day was a framed, signed Beatle fan card photo from 1962. On the back is printed “With Best Wishes from Paul, Pete, John, and George. The Beatles. April 5th 1962”. Around that text are a number of signatures: “für Christa von George Harrison”, “für Christa von Paul McCartney”, “Roy Young” (a British Rock singer and pianist), “für Christa von John Lennon”, “Best Wishes from Pete Best”, and “Best Wishes from Bernard Boyle” (the founder of the Beatles Fan Club). These fan cards were given out at a Cavern Club concert on April 5 honoring the Official Fan Club. This sold for US$12,500: Beatle Fancard Photo 2


A Big Pile of Beatle Sheet Music Rediscovered

We were digging around in a cupboard the other day and came across a long-forgotten stash of Beatle sheet music collected from a variety of places over the years. Thought you might like to see the front covers. Most are printed and published for the Australia/New Zealand market. Some are books with numerous songs, others are single titles. As you’ll see, they’re in far from pristine condition, but interesting none-the-less.

Here they are in (roughly) chronological order:  Hard Days NightMMTApple Song BookBallad of J&YCome TogetherMy Sweet LordIsn't It A PityIt Don't Come EasyAnother DayImagineMull of KintyreColourful Beatles20 Greatest1967-19701962-1966 (1)1967-1970 (1)Past Masters

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.

John Lennon – 8 LP Box Set

Here at Beatlesblogger we have a few items that we are always on the lookout for. When we first heard about the impending box set reissue of eight John Lennon LPs on 180 gram vinyl – we knew we’d have to eventually get a copy….

This is a deluxe box set of Lennon’s solo albums released between 1970 and 1984. The studio albums are remastered from their original analogue masters and have been newly cut to vinyl from 96k digital files with faithfully replicated original album art.

The albums featured in the box are John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970); Imagine (1971); Some Time In New York City – a double album (1972); Mind Games (1973); Walls And Bridges (1974); Rock’n’Roll (1975); Double Fantasy (1980); and Milk And Honey (1984). The albums, which feature the 2010 remasters, will be available separately on August 21st.

It’s taken a little while with this one, but we finally got up the courage to visit Sandy’s Records, a great local independent record shop with an impressive range of CDs and LPs, to invest in a copy (it is a very expensive addition to the collection):

Lennon Box Set 2015

Rather than uploading a swathe of photographs of each LP here, this collector named Jordan has recorded quite a nice unboxing video (unfortunately though he doesn’t show all the actual discs and their authentically reproduced labels):

If you are after more of what is inside this official video promo clip takes comprehensive care of that:

As you can see, in keeping with the authentic UK album artwork for each LP: Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner sleeve; Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeves; Walls And Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, the original eight-page booklet and inner sleeve; Mind Games, Double Fantasy, and Milk And Honey also include faithful reproductions of their original inner sleeves. Nice.

However, the thing that has become really collectable about this box set is that it’s been temporarily withdrawn from sale while Universal Music sort out a BIG mistake with one of the albums in the set. In first pressings Lennon’s Rock’n’Roll LP has a production error. The song “Sweet Little Sixteen” appears twice, and “You Can’t Catch Me” is missing altogether….making it something of an instant collector’s item.

The good news for those who’ve paid out the big $$ for the box is that Universal Music has acknowledged the mistake and set up a website where you can request a replacement copy of that particular album. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase:

Some Local Beatle Pressings From a Visit to Holland

As mentioned in our previous post, a recent holiday trip took us to Europe (including a first ever visit to the Netherlands) and this presented the opportunity to trawl through a few of Amsterdam’s specialty vinyl record shops – and there are quite a few of them!

Collectors will know that pressings from Holland are fairly common because once upon a time EMI had quite a large presence there and pressed a huge amount of discs (both LPs and CDs). These were not only for local consumption, but also for distribution worldwide.

So, as a travel memento, we wanted at least a couple of Beatle or Beatle-related pressings as a physical reminder of our visit to the Netherlands.

The shops we made it to in Amsterdam included Record Friend, in the city’s Niewmarket area (at St Antoniesbreestraat 64); the enormous Concerto Records (at Utrechtsestraat 52-60); and finally City Records, also in Niewmarket (at Geldersekade 100A). There are many more places to find vinyl – but we had only a limited time.

The Record Friend store is situated below street level and it’s pretty big – and a bit overwhelming when you first walk in:

But it was easy to find the Beatles section and we soon found a nice clean Dutch copy of this double LP in its gatefold cover:

R&R front

We already have this LP (in Australian and US pressings), but this one is made in Holland with unusual grey and silver Parlophone labels, so it’s different. And for us it serves as a reminder of a fantastic visit to a fantastic city:R&R rearR&R label

Country of origin detail on the rear cover:

R&R detailNext we called in to Concerto – which is huge. The store (spread over five shops all joined together in one long line – see photo below) offers a wide selection of new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Surprisingly they didn’t have a huge amount of Beatle vinyl.Concerto_Records

So, after a lengthy browse of their many shelves we moved on to City Records.

There, in a small but very neat and clean store (fairly new and with the owner still in the process of setting up), we found three nice collectable items. We’re always on the lookout for different versions of the 1970 Apple LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. We have quite a few – but to now have an original Holland pressing in the collection is a delight:POB FrontPOB rear

This one had the (censored) paper lyric sheet inner:POB inner

POB labelPOB detailAnd a little surprise added bonus – the cheeky postcard insert from Lennon’s Imagine album which was meant as a rebuff to Paul McCartney’s Ram cover. Not sure how it ended up with this LP, but out it fell when we got home:POB extra

Next out of the crates at City Records was a Dutch pressing of George Harrison’s budget compilation LP The Best of George Harrison. We’ve been looking for a vinyl version of this for some time so it’s good to finally have one, pressed in Holland of course:

Best of frontBest of rearBest of LabelBest of detail

And here’s the final Beatle LP we found at City Records. This version of The Beatles Ballads is a really nice find. This release (which is a Beatles “Best Of” style LP also issued in the UK and Australia) is collectable because it has a front and rear cover unique to Holland and is titled De Mooiste Songs (which roughly translates as The Most Beautiful Songs):

Ballads front1Ballads rear1

Ballads detailThe British and Australian covers for this have a blue border on the front cover:Ballads front2

And a predominantly yellow rear cover:

Ballads rear2

Here’s the Dutch label:Ballads Label1

In Australia this came out originally on the orange and black Parlophone label:Ballads Label2

For more on the background to the special painting done for this cover have a look here.

The owner of City Records was very helpful. Realising these albums had to make the very l-o-n-g journey back to Australia, he offered to put the LPs into a sturdy cardboard mailer to help protect them more fully. A kind gesture very much appreciated.

Next time – what happened on our visit to France……


Lennon and Ono in Amsterdam – Cor Jaring Photos

Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton,

Talkin’ in our beds for a week.

The news people said “Say, what you doing’ in bed?”

I said “We’re only tryin’ to get us some peace!”

So wrote John Lennon in “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, released by the Beatles back in 1969. He was talking in the song about one of his famous “bed-in” peace events, staged with Yoko Ono during their honeymoon while on a visit to the city of Amsterdam.Ballad of J&Y Acetate

One of the people there to visually record what happened was Dutch photographer Cor Jaring and the Amsterdam City Archives currently has an exhibition of his photographs on display. They feature some of the shots he took of John and Yoko that day – but you’ll need to be quick if you want to see it. It closes on July 12.

Hi, and welcome back to Beatles Blogger. We’ve been on holiday for a month – so it’s been a bit quite around here for a while. We’ve actually been traveling in Europe and now that we’re back over the coming days will reveal more about what we found there to add to the ever-growing Beatle collection. We managed to pick up a few very nice things….

We didn’t however get to visit the Jaring exhibition as we only picked up this advertising flyer on the very last day we were there and ran out of time:Cor Jaring

If you happen to be anywhere near Amsterdam it looks like it’d be interesting though.