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.

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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)

Capitol 75 and the Elusive 2017 Reissue Series

Late last year Capitol Records announced an ambitious range of projects to take place across 2017 in celebration of it’s 75th anniversary producing, releaseing and distributing music.

Principle among the plans was the release on vinyl of 75 titles from their vast catalogue that best represented the wealth of talent signed to, or associated with Capitol over the last 75 years.

The label convened an advisory board to decide on the final list of albums, and of course amongst them are a number of titles of interest to Beatle and solo-Beatle record collectors and readers of beatlesblogger.com.

Despite the fact that the year is just about done, it seems that there have not been any/many of the five Beatle titles on the list released as yet – at least from what we can tell. Nor has the John Lennon Imagine album, George Harrison’s All Thing Must Pass, or Wings Band on the Run shown up anywhere identified as part of the celebrations.

According to the press release the US store Crate and Barrel is the main outlet and you can see a swag of titles that have already been issued here (some with a “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo on their front covers, some without). There are seventeen titles on that page – still far away from the seventy-five total.

However, Amazon in October listed a 2017 re-issue of James Taylor’s eponymous 1968 Apple Records release, James Taylor and this one of the titles on the Capitol 75 list too:The front cover image Amazon shows doesn’t have any “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo or sticker, but the rear clearly shows it to be an Apple/Capitol/Universal Music release. Look below the barcode:

(Double click the image for a larger version)

Just by the way, according to The Daily Beatle site there is a problem with the pressing of this record. Side Two should have a song called ‘Brighten Your Night With My Day’. It is listed on the label, but is not present when you play the LP! Maybe that’s why when we ordered a copy for our collection, Amazon is saying they cannot give an exact delivery date. Maybe all copies have been withdrawn and corrected pressings are being prepared?

Meanwhile, still over at Amazon, a pre-order listing has appeared for Ringo Starr’s Ringo LP. This album is on the Capitol 75 list too, and the image below seems to have a Capitol 75th Anniversary identifier on the front cover (though we are not sure if this is genuine or has been photoshopped in by someone else):Amazon says that Ringo will be released on January 19, 2018.

Curiously, Amazon is listing Goodnight Vienna for a January 19 release as well, but this title does not appear on the Capitol 75 list……not sure what is going on there.We’ve contacted Crate and Barrel directly and asked for some more background on the Capitol 75th Anniversary releases – especially around Beatle and Beatle-related titles. We’ll update you when they get back to us – or feel free to share any info you have by using the “Comments” section.

UPDATE:  On 8 December we had an email back from Crate and Barrel customer service saying: “We have double checked our stock of the 75th Anniversary re-issue vinyls. Unfortunately, we either never carried some of those vinyls you mentioned [Beatle or Beatle-related], or we no longer have them in stock. At this time, it does not look like we are getting in any new shipments of the anniversary vinyls. Our website is updated often, so feel free to check in to see if anything will get added to our current collection of the 75th Anniversary Records collection. Currently, we only have 12 records that are listed under the anniversary collection. If you have any further questions, feel free to call our customer service at 800-237-5672.”

Paul McCartney Kicks Off His Tour Down Under

Last night saw Paul McCartney and his band take to the stage in Australia for the first time since 1993. He played Perth’s nib Stadium, the first of six dates across the country before he ventures over to New Zealand, as part of the continuing One On One Tour.

Reviews of the Perth gig are beginning to come in, and you’d have to say they are positive, bordering on gushing! This one, from The Music.com.au, gives you a good feel for what went down, and the site has posted some concert images as well: (Photo credit: Linda Dunjey  themusic.com.au)

In the lead-up to the Perth concert, Paul invited 20 fans to an intimate Q&A session, the best part of which was a question from nine-year-old Harrison Haines. You can view and read about that here, courtesy of ABC TV News. The session ended with a live, three-song set which included ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Junior’s Farm’ and ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’. Meanwhile…..the tour rocked on through to Sydney. Here is a review of that concert by one of Australia’s best music writers, Bernard Zuel.

McCartney – ‘Man On The Run’ Book

While in Sydney city to pick up the RSD Black Friday McCartney releases we called in to one of those pop-up discount bookshops – and found a hardback copy of Tom Doyle’s 2013 study called Man On The Run – Paul McCartney in the 1970s:

Haven’t read it yet, but it looks to be interesting. There’s a decent review of the book here from the Washington Post. If you’d like to have a sneak read here’s one of those “Look Inside” widgets.

There are some very good photos contained in a pictures section in the middle of the book, some “behind-the-scenes” shots we’ve not seen before:

If anyone has read this work and has some thoughts, let us know. Here’s the rear cover:

(click on images to see larger versions)

Paul McCartney Cover Story on ‘The Big Issue’

The Big Issue is a fortnightly, independent magazine that is sold on the streets of Australian capital cities by homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people. It is very good reading and contains some high-quality journalism. The idea is you give them $7 bucks, they give you a great magazine, and they get to keep $3.50. Everybody wins.

This month, on the eve of his Australian tour, their cover story features Paul McCartney

Issue 550 of The Big Issue contains a very personal ‘Letter to My Younger Self’ where Paul reflects on his teenage years, the music, the girls and an amazing dream he shared with John Lennon.

The magazine also invites three Beatle tragics – Yon from the band Tripod, Davey Lane from You Am I, and former Big Issue editor, Alan Attwood – to write about the Paul McCartney song that most inspired and impacted them.

So, if you are out and about and spy one of the sellers on the streets, why not grab yourself a copy.