Yellow Submarine – 50th Anniversary Celebration Ideas Taking Shape

This year, being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine LP and animated film, we’ll see some official Apple-backed activities to mark the occasion.

There’s to be a new graphic novel adaptation of the film story from comic-book artist, writer and editor Bill Morrison. This will be released on August 7 and is available for pre-order now from Amazon US and Amazon UK. See more on the background to the book hereAlso, The Beatles official site today also announced that, in the UK and Ireland at least, Yellow Submarine will be making a return to cinemas for one day only. It’s planned to show the film in multiple locations on July 8. Tickets go on sale from April 17. More details about this here – and you can keep up with the event on a new Yellow Submarine Film Facebook page.

And at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Pro-Ject turntable company leaked information about their latest collaboration with Apple – a Yellow Submarine themed turntable:

The company has already issued two Sgt. Pepper turntables (in Drum and Limited Edition versions); a Beatles 1964-themed player; plus a George Harrison commemorative model. No further details about availability or pricing are available yet.

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Label Variations Part Eleven – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A Christmas theme for the next installment in our occasional Label Variations segment.

This time it’s John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with the Harlem Community Choir  and the 1971/1972 song ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Early versions (and some re-issues) were on green vinyl to suit the season.

The US Bell Sound test pressing:

Other US variations:

Some of the UK releases:

And Australia/New Zealand:

Here are some European releases. First Spain ‘Feliz Navidad’:

The Netherlands:

Italy:

France:

Greece:

Sweden:

An EU-made CD single from 2003:

Back to vinyl, this one is from Yugoslavia:

And a couple of South American countries, including Venuzuela ‘Felices Pascuas (Se Acabo La Guerra)’:

Brazil:

Mexico ‘Feliz Navidad (La guerra termino)’:

Here’s one from Japan ‘ハッピークリスマス戦争は終わった’:

Later on, when John Lennon was signed briefly to Geffen Records, that label released ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ too:

(As usual, click on most images to see larger versions)

Please note that not all these are from our collection! Check out this link to a ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ 40th Anniversary page. Catch some others in the Label Variations series here. And visit the Imagine Peace (War is Over!) site.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

Some Sgt. Pepper’s Holiday Listening

With the holidays upon us, and to celebrate the release of the 2017 remix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (on 180 gram vinyl) in single LP form – plus the Sgt. Pepper vinyl picture disc, here are a couple of Pepper-related items for your listening pleasure.

They all come from the Australian Radio National program, The Music Show – hosted by Andrew Ford.

For the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper earlier this year The Music Show spoke to singer Barb Junger (whom you’ll hear has a record of Beatle covers out) and writer Joyce Morgan about their memories of first hearing the album back when it was first released in the Summer of Love:

The Music Show also spoke to Beatle biographer extraordinaire, Mark Lewisohn:

The program’s final Pepper installment came from Joanne Petersen, Brian Epstein’s personal assistant. Petersen, who now lives in Australia, recalls the time she heard a test pressing of Sgt. Pepper’s; details some of the launch activities (including John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls Royce); and George Harrison refusng to cuddle British DJ Kenny Everett:

Their Pepper special also came with a special bonus. It’s a link to a fantastic mini documentary on the background to the people (and horses!) mentioned in the poster John Lennon used to inspire his song, ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’. And, believe it or not, there’s another Australian connection:

All audio is ex ABC Radio National. Visit The Music Show website for more of their great programs.

 

McCartney Musical Memory for endthesilence.com

“When a baby in an orphanage cries nobody comes to comfort them. As a result, they learn not to cry; internalising their pain, causing lifelong mental and physical damage. Deprived of love, deprived of life. Left to grow up without laughter, without music, without hope. Left there, children will never experience the love and protection only a family can offer. Together we can End the Silence.”

So begins the explanation of what the charity End the Silence is about. It is asking everyone to share a musical memory, and to donate, so that 8 million children confined to orphanages around the world might have their silence ended.

Lots of music personalities have got behind the push to raise money by sharing their own musical memories, including Paul McCartney:

Get cracking. Every pound donated to the End the Silence campaign before the 27th December will be doubled by the UK Government. Every child should grow up surrounded by love, family and music.

John Lennon – 2018 US Postal Service Stamp

Looks like the US Postal Service is to honour John Lennon in 2018.

The newest stamp in its Music Icons series will honor singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), “….a rock ’n’ roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist.”

If the photograph for the stamp looks familiar, it was most recently used on the cover of Philip Norman’s book John Lennon – The Life, which came out in 2008. The image is by legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen who knew Lennon well and has taken many iconic images of him. The photograph comes from a photo shoot for the cover of his 1978 album Walls and Bridges:  

The Postal Service has previously honoured The Beatles as a group on a 1999 postage stamp as part of its Celebrate the Century series. That issue depicted the Yellow Submarine from the animated movie and soundtrack Yellow Submarine. The upcoming Lennon release will be the first to feature an actual likeness of one of the Beatles on a U.S. stamp.

In 2007 Britain’s Royal Mail issued ten different stamps celebrating the importance of The Beatles to Britain and the world. These depicted album covers (With The Beatles; Help!; Revolver; Sgt. Pepper; Let It Be; and Abbey Road, plus the single ‘Love Me Do’), along with images of Beatle memorabilia. For more detail on those releases click here.

Detailed information and the issue date for the Lennon US Postal Service stamp will be revealed later. The stamp design is preliminary and subject to change until issuance dates.

Paul McCartney – ‘Take 5’ on triple j

Seems like this blog has become more paulmccartneyblogger.com than beatlesblogger.com lately…

Only natural I guess as Paul McCartney is in Australia at the moment, and that’s where we are too. There has been a lot more media as a result.

Just wanted to let you know that a lengthy radio interview has just been broadcast nationally on the country’s leading youth music station, triple j.

Presenter Zan Rowe each week sits down with a musician and talks about their craft. It’s called ‘Take 5’ and is based around five back-catalogue tracks chosen by the artist. This week they scored a big one – an extensive conversation with Paul McCartney.

The radio station has kindly uploaded the episode as a podcast – so you can have a listen to it here as well.

(Photo: MPL Communications/MJ Kim)

triple j has also published a few different angles on the content. Here are a couple of pages that will be of interest:

Paul McCartney On The Unheard Stories Behind His Songs

A Different Cut of ‘Take 5’ – Without Zan Rowe’s Intro Plus More Text and Song Links

And don’t miss his one and only Australian TV interview here.

Paul McCartney’s Only Australian TV Interview – And It’s A Good One

Australian television presenter and journalist Leigh Sales is highly respected. She’s the host of a nightly national current affairs TV program called 7.30 and well-known for her political interviews. Sales is often feared by those sitting across the desk from her because a) she does her homework, b) is not afraid to ask the difficult questions, and c) is fearless in calling decision-makers to task.

But Sales is equally at home speaking to writers and musicians. She clealry has a love of the arts, and what drives creative people to produce the work they do.

That’s why it was fascinating to watch her last night getting ready to meet and interview one Paul McCartney.

The 7.30 program had scored an exclusive: the only television interview that McCartney would conduct while on the Australian leg of his One On One tour.

You’d think that would be pressure enough, but the fact that Leigh Sales is also a huge long-time fan allowed us to see the usually composed interrogator in a very different light.

She has written a great article about the experience – you can read that here, and you can also view the piece that went to air on the same page. There’s also rehearsal footage of the band running through ‘Day Tripper’ before the Perth concert.

Turns out Paul McCartney was generous and charming, plus we get to go backstage and learn that the guitar he used in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show to play ‘Yesterday’ is still in active service in 2017. And that Sales gets to play one of his Magical Mystery Tour stage pianos!

As she says: “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

(Photos: 7.30 and ABC News)