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.


Michael McCartney Book – “Remember”

Got the chance to go to a CD and book fair recently and picked up what is really a very nice second-hand book of photographs and memories by Michael McCartney (or Mike McGear as he is sometimes known).

Beatles books are dime a dozen – but this one is special because it’s an historic and unique window into the behind-the-scenes life not only of Paul McCartney and the Beatles, but the whole Liverpool scene which spawned the band.

The book is called Remember: Recollections and Photographs of the Beatles, and it was released in 1992 by Friedman Books:Remember - Recollections and Photograhs

Michael McCartney is the younger brother of Paul, and with camera in hand he had a backstage pass to record the evolution of the Beatles. His book is filled with amazing photographs from the very earliest days of his and Paul’s lives – from intimate family photos, right through to the onset of Beatlemania and the contrast of crowds everywhere.

McCartney’s photographs have been frequently used by his older brother, notably scattered throughout this film clip for the Wings song “Let ‘Em In” from 1976 (which also name-checks “brother Michael”):

Many of those images in the promo film clip appear in this book. Paul McCartney also used a Michael McCartney image for the CD single “No Other Baby”, a song taken from his 1999 album Run Devil Run:


Michael McCartney writes that the photograph (above) is of their cousin Bett Robbins (right), her son Ted (left)- with Paul sitting in the middle sitting in Ted’s pushchair. “By this time Paul was so obsessed with the guitar that he took it everywhere – the bogs, the bus, and even the beach….”. The photo was taken on the same day as this one below. It is the same group, but this time with Paul and Michael’s dad Jim McCartney included:Paul at the Beach

Michael’s work was used for the front cover of Paul’s 2005 solo release Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:Chaos and Creation

That photo appears on page 26 of Remember: Recollections and Photographs of the Beatles. On the opposite page is this image – a striking one – again of Paul with his guitar: Paul McCartney in the Backyard

There are of course many photographs of Paul, but also some wonderfully unique images of the other Beatles as young men:

George Harrison and Ford carRingo and George

In this year of looking back on 50 years of the Beatles, Remember: Recollections and Photographs of the Beatles is well worth looking out for to add to your collection. It came out in 1992 so you will have to hunt around for it, but it’s a unique insight into the early days of the band. You can find out more about Michael McCartney in these two interesting articles: Part One and Part TwoPaul McCartney

A New Paul McCartney Recording Sessions Book

In something of a first in the publishing world comes a new book detailing the background to every Paul McCartney song, from McCartney (1969), to New (2013).

“Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013). A Journey Through Paul
McCartney’s Songs After The Beatles” is written by Italian author, researcher and collector  Luca Perasi. It details the stories behind each of McCartney’s 383 compositions in their chronological order of recording. There are recording dates, studios and who played what on each song.

The book includes 70 exclusive interviews with the musicians, arrangers, producers and collaborators who worked with McCartney through the years, including Denny Seiwell, Laurence Juber, Carl Davis, Neil Dorfsman, Jerry Marotta, and Steve Holly…to name just a few. The foreword is by long-time Abbey Road Studios recording engineer Tony Clark.Cover_singola_ENGRetro_singola_ENG

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.

The Bloody Beetroots and Paul McCartney – Vinyl Single

Remember this post about Paul McCartney and Youth teaming up with Italian dance punk performer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo (a.k.a. The Bloody Beetroots)?

Well, our limited edition and numbered copy of the vinyl single “Out of Sight” has just arrived:McCartney BB frontMcCartney BB rearMcCartney BB Side AMcCartney BB Side B

Things to note on the rear cover are the song and recording credits…..McCartney BB credits

….the Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo (SBCR) logo and the McCartney signature…..McCartney BB signature

……and the hand-written limited edition number:

McCartney BB ltd edThe single is taken from the Bloody Beetroot CD Hide, released in SeptemberBloody Beetroots Hide

“Wonderful Christmastime” with Straight No Chaser

Paul McCartney’s company MPL Music Publishing has announced that he’s teamed up with a cappella group Straight No Chaser for a new version of his 1979 Christmas single, “Wonderful Christmastime”. Listen to it here.

The song is featured on Straight No Chaser’s new EP, Under The Influence: Holiday Edition.
Straight No Chaser

The 8-song EP will be available digitally and on CD this week (from October 29), and includes appearances by Paul McCartney, Colbie Caillat, CeeLo Green, and Otis Redding. For more details about Straight No Chaser go to the group’s website.

For Christmas last year the song appeared, in a version by The Shins, on the Holidays Rule/Christmas Rules compilations.


The Story Behind the Cover Art for McCartney’s “New”

Speaking of inspirations for album cover artwork, the small print in the credits for Paul McCartney’s latest recording turns up some interesting background information on where he looked for the stylised image of the word NEW depicted on the cover.

Here’s the cover for the standard edition CD [and vinyl]:paul-mccartney-new-album

…and the different coloured “deluxe” CD variation, which contains two bonus tracks:New - Deluxe Edition

Inside, along with who played and produced what, there’s this:

Artwork information:
NEW album cover inspired by Dan Flavin with special thanks to Stephen Flavin
Logo and cover concept: Rebecca and Mike
Consultancy and design: YES
Cover Image: Ben Ib

Dan Flavin was an American minimalist sculptor who specialised in using coloured neon and fluorescent tubes. As an example, here’s Flavin’s 1987 work Untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) at the Tate Liverpool gallery in 2009 (photograph: Colin McPherson):Dan-Flavin-Unititled-to-D-007

Or this (Site specific installation 1996 – Menil Collection, Houston Texas): Flavin 2

You can easily see where the New cover is coming from. The reference to Stephen Flavin is to Dan Flavin’s son, who has overseen the activities of his father’s estate since 1997. (For an in-depth and scholarly review of a retrospective exhibition of Dan Flavin works held in London in 2006 try this).

So much for the inspiration for the New cover.

Turns out though that the image used wasn’t actually made of fluorescent lights. See that reference to Ben Ib? Well, he’s a music video director who has worked extensively with Paul McCartney in the past. On his website Ib says he made the piece using a computer rendering program (with a logo and concept by Rebecca and Mike, and consultancy and design by YES). He also says the cover is “…my first foray into print work…It was a great team to work with under Paul’s guidance. I’ve also created the deluxe edition (gatefold) image.”

Ben Ib has done heaps of video work for McCartney. He created visual content for the “On the Run” and “Out There” tours, and the visuals for the song “Sing the Changes” which featured Barack Obama and which Sir Paul used for his headlining set at the Coachella festival. You can see a short extract of that here.

Ib’s talents were also utilised in June 2008 when Paul McCartney came home to Liverpool to give a performance (the first in his home town in five years) for the Liverpool Sound 2008 event. Ib built a huge, beautiful 20-minute long visual collage to serve as a backdrop to the show. It charts Paul’s story – from the early Cavern club days to the present, with footage and memorabilia from Paul and Linda’s personal archives.

And Ben Ib did this short biographical documentary film featured on the deluxe CD re-issue edition of Ram. If you haven’t seen it here’s an extract:

Meanwhile….back to the cover of New and Paul McCartney has provided the following piece of advice:

“If you buy ‘NEW’ on CD, please be careful when removing the booklet and take it out through the front cover gap, rather than the inside gap; If you do it could rip the cover. I only know this because I did it three times before I realised the booklet had to come out of the front gap! I hope you enjoy the music!! And please pass this message on.”

To help illustrate his point the news page on his official site shows these two photographs. First the correct way to remove the booklet:Correct_Image

…and this is the incorrect way:Incorrect_Image

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.