George Harrison’s Historic House “Friar Park” – New Book

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had an interest in the homes of the Beatles. Not a snooping, voyeuristic interest – but more of an architectural one because they (especially John and George) have lived in some very interesting buildings over the years.

That’s why our interest was sparked when we got a press release this week from a company called The Campfire Network advertising a new book. In coordination with “Ye Friends of Friar Park,” Campfire has just announced the publication of the second book in a series which celebrates the history and architecture of residences which at some point were homes of one or more of the Beatles. (Their first book in the series was The Dakota Scrapbook, published last year).

Now comes Friar Park: A Pictorial History, a collection of vintage, rare, and original photographs and illustrations telling the story of George Harrison’s spectacular and unusual home – Friar Park – from the time Sir Frank Crisp began purchasing land in the medieval town of Henley-on-Thames in the late 1800s, all the way to the time it was purchased by Harrison.Friar_Park

Carefully selected images offer a rare and unique glimpse of the property’s extraordinary gardens, mansion home, lodges, and assorted structures, lakes, and secret underground caves, as well as other architectural and horticultural treasures and wonders on the grounds of Friar Park. Here are some of the pages and images from the book:Friar Park. A Pictorial History Pages_3Friar Park. A Pictorial History Pages_4Friar Park. A Pictorial History Pages_6Friar Park. A Pictorial History Pages_7

Campfire’s Marketing Director Kelly Cardinal says: “Beatles fans, architects, historians, and anyone interested in grand homes and beautiful gardens have long-admired Friar Park from afar, with little more than the occasional description or photos that have appeared here and there. Now, for the first time, is a publication that includes the largest collection of photos and information about Friar Park that has ever been gathered together in one place before. It has generated quite a bit of excitement.”

The pictures and information in the book were found during the development of a forthcoming film documentary about the home.

Friar Park: A Pictorial History is now available from Amazon, as is a companion volume called Friar Park: 1919 Estate Auction Cataloguea recreation of the official auction catalogue for the house when it was sold following the passing of original owner Sir Frank Crisp. Upon his death his family instructed auctioneers to sell the entire estate, including all the grounds, the boathouse on Henley-on-Thames, and three grand residential sites. The sale took place on Saturday, August 9th, 1919 and this book is a scholastic and educational study of an architecturally and historically significant English country house.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, “The Story of Tittenhurst Park” – the English stately home owned by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, will be released in 2015.

And the same company has also published The Dakota Apartments: Vintage Articles.

(Each of the links above are to Amazon pages with a “Look Inside” function so that you can have a bit more of a sticky beak at these very interesting books).

McCartney on Writing Songs with Lennon

Don’t know if there’s anything particularly new here – but Paul McCartney is in good form, open and relaxed in a video uploaded this week to YouTube.

He was appearing at a small gathering in London, answering questions and being interviewed by British model, actor and activist Lily Cole for a global campaign called impossible:

The video appears to have been uploaded as a teaser for further sections of the conversation event which will show Cole asking Sir Paul specifically about his song ‘Hope For the Future’, part of the soundtrack to the new video game Destiny.

paulmaccartney.com called for musicians to submit their wishes to Cole’s impossible website in order to win seats to the strictly limited-entry event – held earlier this week. There are more photos and info here.

McCartney’s website also says: “Paul’s new single ‘Hope For The Future’ will be released in the coming weeks. Please keep checking back to paulmccartney.com for full details….”

What is impossible? It’s described as a global community who help each other out. People share their time, skills and objects. Everything is always given or loaned for free.

For more on Cole see Lily Cole: From Vogue to the impossible

Cole is one of the many celebrity cameo’s in Paul’s ‘Queenie Eye’ video (you can see here and Johnny Depp pictured below):Lily Cole Queenie Eye

Some Beatles Car Boot Sale Booty

There was a big car boot sale just around the corner from us this last weekend, and we were able to find quite a few nice additions to the collection. One vendor just had boxes and boxes of CD’s, 7″ vinyl 45’s and 12″ LP’s on their stall – and so quite a bit of our Saturday morning was spent trawling….

It was time well spent though as it turned up a few gems.

First up was a Australian vinyl single taken from the John Lennon and Yoko Ono album Double Fantasy. ‘Watching the Wheels’ was the third single from this LP (the first two were ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ and ‘Woman’). We didn’t have a copy of ‘Watching the Wheels” so this was a good find.Beatles books_0010

Next was another 7″ single we didn’t have - Badfinger’s ‘Come and Get It’ on the Apple label. It dates from 1969 and is a Paul McCartney composition written for the band, and it makes an appearance on the soundtrack for the film The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. This is an Australian pressing. There’s a lot of writing on the label – but still…..Beatles books_0014

Further hunting through the boxes revealed another Apple single – this time from George Harrison. It’s an Australian copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’ b/w ‘Isn’t It A Pity’. In Australia this was a double A side as both titles have green Apple labels:Beatles books_0016Beatles books_0015

Our good luck continued in the multiple boxes at this car boot sale. Next out were two singles – a US copy of McCartney’s ‘Coming Up’, and ‘Say Say Say’ with Michael Jackson – both on the Columbia label, then a division of CBS. In the late 70’s/early 80’s McCartney was briefly (six years) on the Columbia label for his releases in America. He’d temporarily turned his back on Capitol Records, enticed by one of the most lucrative recording contracts around at the time, a deal which included as a sweetener the ownership of Frank Music, a CBS owned publishing company consisting (amongst other things) of Frank Loesser’s songs (think of the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, etc.). Frank Music is now of course folded into McCartney’s highly successful MPL Music Publishing business.

The two singles we found came out on the Parlophone label in Australia, so it’s good to have these US versions:Beatles books_0012Beatles books_0011

The final 45 we discovered was Billy J. Kramer’s ‘From a Window’ – which sadly is kind of beat up, but worth having because it is a song from 1964 written specifically for Kramer (and his band the Dakotas) by John Lennon and Paul McCartneyBeatles books_0013

The last purchase of the day was a bit of a find. It’s Jools Holland’s 2001 CD Small World Big Band, which is an important one to have in the collection because it contains George Harrison singing and playing on his last ever recordingGeorge passed away just two months after this recording. He does a song called ‘Horse to the Water’, co-composed with his son Dhani.

Holland’s CD is sub-titled “….his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and friends”, that’s because for each track he invites various stars to join him for a track each. These include the likes of Sting; Paul Weller; Dr John; Mark Knopfler; Van Morrison; Steve Winwood; and Eric Clapton, amongst many others.Beatles books_0017Beatles books_0020 To quote two of the poignant reviewers on Amazon:

“For me, the big reason to buy this CD was the George Harrison contribution, ‘Horse to the Water’. It is a GREAT song, and a brilliant Harrison song at that. George sounds weak, and I am not sure if Clapton has stepped in on some of the guitar parts, but what a brilliant and fun piece of music, worthy to be held in the highest esteem among its author’s ouvre. IT is reason enough to buy the CD.”

And this one:

“I purchased this CD for one reason. I had seen the DVD Concert for George and loved it. Among the best offerings on the DVD was the Sam Brown/Jools Holland rendition of ‘Horse to the Water’ by George. Except for the words, I would never have guessed that it was a Harrison song. It was too R&B. So I was curious to see how he handled it. Well, he does not have the powerhouse voice of Sam Brown, but I was in fact really surprised at how well he did, helped greatly by the superb backup band. I would not have recognised his voice. I am sure his throat cancer was behind that.”

There’s a small picture of George in the booklet:

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Three New Beatle Books for the Collection

We love it when you’re browsing a bookshop and discover some Beatle titles you weren’t previously aware of – and that they are at hugely discounted prices….

That’s what happened this week when we found two new Beatle books. We also took delivery (via The Book Depository online store) of a brand new Beatle book – but more on that one later.

The first book we found at the bargain basement store was The Unreleased Beatles by Richie Unterberger. This book dates back to 2009, and it contains a wealth of material about the band and the many sought-after rarities and non-official gems which remain in the Beatle vaults. Unterberger has documented the incredible breadth of music the band recorded but didn’t release, as well as film footage of the group that hasn’t been made commercially available. He examines a huge array of material, including unreleased studio outtakes, BBC radio recordings from 1962-1965, live concert performances, home demo recordings, fan club Christmas recordings, and other informal demos done outside of EMI’s studios. The unreleased gems encompass the Beatles entire career, from a recording the Quarrymen made on July 6, 1957, right up to outtakes from the final sessions of Let It Be in 1970:Beatles booksBeatles books_0001

The Unreleased Beatles includes a general overview of Beatle bootlegs, their songs recorded by other artists in the 1960s, never-recorded material, and contains more than 100 photos.

Beatles Examiner conducted a Q&A session with Richie Unterberger about the book when it was first released, and Amazon has a “Look Inside” feature if you’d like to see more.

Also – Glass Onion reports that an updated and fully revised Kindle version of this book has just been released. Worth checking out if you like electronic books.

The second bargain book find was Give Peace A Chance, a hardback book dedicated to the eight-day long bed-in for peace mounted by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreal, Canada in May/June of 1969:Beatles books_0002Beatles books_0003

Compiled by journalist Joan Athey, and based around a fantastic series of photographs taken by Gerry Deiter during the course of the bed-in, Give Peace a Chance presents as a wonderful chronicle of just what happened in their suite on the 17th floor of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Photographer Deiter was on assignment for Life magazine and had extraordinary access because Lennon and Ono asked him to stay by their bedside for the  duration of the event. As it turned out his photographs were never actually published in Life. He tucked away the negatives soon after John and Yoko vacated the famous Room 1742 – the place where the song ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was recorded – and so they are being seen in all their glory, many for the first time here.

There really are some amazing photos and recollections from all sorts of people in this book. It is well worth the A$4.99 we paid for it!Beatles books_0004One page amongst many which caught our attention was the one below – taken at the very end of the eight days with hotel employees cleaning up the suite after the John and Yoko entourage had moved on:Beatles books_0005I really like this book. It captures an historic moment in time in a remarkable way.

For a couple of further unique insights into the Montreal John and Yoko peace bed-ins see also I Met the Walrus by Jerry Levitan, and Give Me A Chance by Gail Renard.

The final book added to the collection this week is a 2014 publication called Meet the Beatles from Souvenir Press in the UK.Beatles books_0006

And here’s the rear cover:Beatles books_0007

The Wogblog first alerted us to this one. In this the 50th anniversary year of the the Beatles, Meet the Beatles is a hardback publication which faithfully reproduces a magazine originally issued in the hey-day of the Beatles first flush of success in 1963. No need for us to go into too much detail here as Wogblog has covered it pretty well in his post.

Yoko Ono – Infinite Universe at Dawn

Genesis Publications have just released Yoko Ono – Infinite Universe at Dawn, a book celebrating “….Yoko Ono’s seminal art and activism across eight decades”.collector-bookslipcase-1280px

As the title suggests, it’s a boxed, leather-bound, richly-illustrated retrospective, and in typical Genesis style is an expensive but absolutely beautifully produced work of art in itself.

There are only 1500 signed copies available at £325.00 each (US$521.00 or AU$594.00). Mere mortals like us will have to wait to see if it is ever released in non-limited edition form!

It does look good though. Ono has written about and posted some great photos of what is inside on her Imagine Peace website. p176-177-1280pxacorn-event-1968-614px-v3p184-185-1280px

See the Genesis Publications video about Yoko Ono Infinite Universe at Dawn.

Genesis have had a long association with limited edition books by or about the Beatles and artists and projects associated with them, including Concert for George; I Me Mine by George Harrison; Ringo Starr’s Postcards From the Boys and Photograph ;  and Summer of Love by George Martin, amongst many others.

How Much is That Beatle Autograph Worth?

We don’t collect Beatle memorabilia like autographs, signed photos, tickets, posters, toys and such – but many people do.

If you have an authentic Beatle photograph which is autographed by one or more of the band you might be wondering what it’s worth. And is it increasing in value as the years go by?Signed Beatles PostcardBeatles_Autograhs

Well, it turns out that signed Beatle photographs appear to be a pretty good investment.

That’s according to the PFC40 Autograph Index, compiled by Paul Fraser Collectibles. Their list tracks the values of 40 of the world’s most sought-after autographs since the year 2000. The prices given are an evaluation of the market value for a fully authenticated, best quality signed photo, based on close monitoring of dealer and auction sales. (A “best quality” example will feature a photograph in superb condition, depicting the subject in their most famous era, with a sharp, clear signature acquired during that period).

On the latest PFC40 Autograph Index Summary the Beatles feature prominently:

The most valuable autograph: £27,500 for a signed photo of The Beatles. (That’s US$44,220, or AU$50,333 at today’s exchange rate!)

In 2013-2014 one of the top performing autographs was Paul McCartney’s, with an increase in value for the year of +25%.

Over the ten year period 2000-2014 the top performing autograph was George Harrison’s with a staggering +1,694.9% increase over that period.

The Beatles as a group appear twice in the Top 40 list for 2000-2014, as do all four individual Beatles – John Lennon (+900% over 15 years), Paul McCartney (+1328.6% over 15 years), George Harrison (see above), and Ringo Starr (+541% over 15 years).

Ringo AutographLennon_Autograph

So, hang on to those autographs – especially if they are on photographs or album covers.

Also check out this article “Baby You’re A Rich Man. Should You Invest in the Beatles?

Special Discount Code Offer for “Lennon: Through a Glass Onion”

We posted recently about a unique stage show currently running in New York City on the life and times of John Lennon called Lennon: Through a Glass Onion.

We want to let you know about a special, limited time offer for the readers of beatlesblogger which is currently running for the show.

Using code GO39, tickets for Lennon: Through a Glass Onion are available for only $39. This special price applies to any seat in the theatre. The offer is available for the Monday, October 27 performance only. The performance is at 8pm at the Union Square Theatre.

To order your tickets go to http://lennononstage.com/ and use the special code.
(Limit is six tickets per order. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Price includes $1 facility fee. Phone and internet sales are subject to applicable fees. No refunds or exchanges – all sales are final).

This is a great show, getting excellent reviews. The New York Times says: “Beatle fanatics sure to see this show will want to savor every minute”LENNON-master675