The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus – An Exhibition

If you’re a Beatle fan and are anywhere near London between March 16th and May 14th this year it would be well worth visiting the Proud Chelsea gallery.

The gallery (at 161 Kings Road, London) is presenting what looks to be a terrific new exhibition called The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus.

The exhibition features many previously unseen photographs and provides a fascinating and deeply candid insight into the band during what would become a landmark occasion at the famous EMI Studio 1 in Abbey Road: The Beatles were about to perform live for the historic Our World program, broadcast to a world-wide television audience of millions.

Photographer David Magnus had a close relationship with the band dating back to 1963 when, at the age of 19, he was invited to photograph a then relatively unknown band during a concert at Stowe School. This early work with the group allowed Magnus unprecedented access throughout their subsequent rise to fame, and he gradually built up a portfolio of many rare and unique images. That, and a friendship with their publicist, Tony Barrow, got him exclusive access to document a pivotal moment in their career 50 years ago. On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of June 1967, The Beatles performed and recorded their song ‘All You Need is Love’ during a live broadcast for the BBC’s Our World program, the world’s first live, international, satellite television production, reaching over 400 million people around the globe.

Magnus documented rare, behind-the-scenes footage of the historical event, including wonderfully frank photographs of the band relaxing backstage away from the recording studio:

George and John grabbing a cup of tea during a break from rehearsals,1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

The Beatles in the EMI Canteen under the watchful eye of one of the EMI commissionaires, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

Speaking of the intensity of the band’s influence during that time, Magnus said, ‘As I came from the EMI canteen, one of the female studio staff stopped me, put a hand on my shoulder and said to me, “I must touch you as you’ve been in the same room as The Beatles.” It was as if I carried an aura from the Beatles. This to me sums up Beatlemania.’

The Beatles wanted the studio to have a real party atmosphere, and the band were all dressed in colourful clothes and were surrounded by flowers, balloons and placards. To further add to the atmosphere The Beatles invited a number of their friends to attend including Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Marianne Faithful, Eric Clapton, Jane Asher, Patti Boyd and Graham Nash – and Beatle manager, Brian Epstein. The images of him in this exhibition are the last ever photographs of Epstein with The Beatles as he died shortly afterwards.One of the last photographs of Brian Epstein with The Beatles before his untimely death just weeks later, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

This collection is a captivating archive of an event that was not only a first for The Beatles but a first for the era of television, which ignited a social revolution and created the universal anthem of its era.The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus, Proud Chelsea, 16th March – 14th May 2017, www.proud.co.uk

McCartney Announces RSD Limited Edition….Cassette?

In the lead-up to Record Store Day 2017 (which falls on 22 April), Paul McCartney has just announced he’ll issue a limited edition, three-song cassette that will be distributed to some participating stores. The cassette will contain three of the “download only” demos he made for the album with Elvis Costello that will form part of his forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt box set deluxe edition. Here’s the official press release:

PAUL McCARTNEY

FLOWERS IN THE DIRT — THE CASSETTE DEMOS WITH ELVIS COSTELLO

RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE 3-TRACK CASSETTE-ONLY RELEASE

With the Flowers In The Dirt Archive Collection edition’s March 24th release date via MPL/Capitol/UMe fast approaching, Paul McCartney has confirmed a very special Record Store Day exclusive.

To commemorate Record Store Day this April 22nd, a limited edition three-song cassette of Paul and Elvis Costello’s Flowers In The Dirt demos will be made available at participating RSD stores.

The limited edition cassette-only release will be the first time these recordings – ‘I Don’t Want To Confess’, ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Mistress And Maid’- will be made available in the same form as when Paul and Elvis first cut them directly to tape.

Speaking about these tracks Paul said: “The demos are red hot off the skillet and that’s why we wanted to include them on this boxed set. What’s great about these songs is that they’ve just been written. So there’s nothing more hot off the skillet as I say. So that was the kind of great instant thing about them. I hadn’t listened to them in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out. We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment’s finally arrived.”

The demos will be made available digitally only as part of the Deluxe Edition when Flowers In The Dirt is released as the 10th installment in the multiple-GRAMMY-winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection.

The Paul McCartney Archive Collection release of Flowers In The Dirt was, as always, personally curated and overseen by Paul himself. (ENDS)

As Paul Sinclair says on his influential Super Deluxe Edition website “…it is ironic that they are coming out on tape when they were denied a release on CD partly because Paul wants to stay ‘modern’ and embrace/drive people to streaming!”

You can read his report on the cassette here, and the saga of the “download only” decision here.

Legendary Abbey Road Studio Recording Console to be Auctioned

It is best known as the mixing desk used to record Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but this Abbey Road Studios EMI TG12345 MK IV Recording Console was also used by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr on various solo projects between 1971-1983: 

The TG12345 MK IV, formerly housed in the famous Abbey Road Studio 2, is now up for sale as “Lot 35” in an upcoming Bonhams Auction event featuring a wealth of collectable rock music items. The console comes with letters concerning its provenance, including one from Ken Townsend, Abbey Road Studio manager at the time and future Chairman. Townsend worked with The Beatles as an engineer on numerous albums over the years. There’s a great little film about him here.

The auction will take place in New York on March 27. Click here for more details.

Beatle Vinyl Via Mail Order and in Newsagents – More

Since our post on Monday about the UK and Italy DeAgostini Beatle re-issues, this additional video featuring historian and broadcaster Kevin Howlett has emerged. Also highlighted is the work of Sean Magee, the Abbey Road Studios engineer who worked on the project cutting the masters and overseeing pressing quality control:

Beatle Vinyl Via Mail Order and in Newsagents – in Italy and the UK

If you live in the UK (and in Italy – see below) you can now sign up to receive a series of 23 Beatle LP’s in the post every four weeks. Or you could pop down to your local newsagents every two weeks to pick them up in person.

International partwork publishing company De Agostini has signed a deal with Apple and Universal Music to manufacture and issue the 180gram pressings. While all the content and cover art will be the same as the 2012 stereo LP remasters for the core catalogue titles, the small-print on the rear of each of the LP covers (and on the labels) will indicate that these pressings are licensed to be published by De Agostini, making them collectable for those completists out there. In addition to the core studio albums and Past Masters, the De Agostini titles will include the three Anthology LPs, Love, the two Live at the BBC sets, as well as the 1963-1956 and 1966-1970 double albums, plus the Beatles 1.

Also, each album will be accompanied by a colour magazine written by well-known Beatle author, Kevin Howlett detailing the background to the recording.

Here’s the official UK press release:

NEW COLLECTION OF THE BEATLES’ ALBUMS ON 180g VINYL LPS LAUNCHED IN THE UK

On 1 March 2017, global partwork publisher DeAgostini is launching, in association with Apple Corps and Universal Music Group, The Beatles Vinyl Collection. Featuring 23 albums, it will be available to purchase online and in newsagents all across the UK.

Issue by issue, The Beatles Vinyl Collection of single, double and triple albums builds into a comprehensive library of the momentous music made by The Beatles. Presented in exact replicas of the original sleeves, the specially pressed 180-gram vinyl LPs ensure the music will be heard in the best quality sound. Remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, The Beatles’ reissued LPs have been universally acclaimed by sound experts and the group’s fans. Produced by George Martin in the 1960s, the albums contain some of the most celebrated recordings ever made.

The Beatles Vinyl Collection includes such groundbreaking albums as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, Revolver and Rubber Soul, as well as intriguing compilations like the three volumes of The Beatles Anthology and two Live At The BBC collections.

Amanda Honeybun, Marketing Director at DeAgostini, said: “We are so excited to launch The Beatles Vinyl Collection, which will give people of all ages the opportunity to collect on vinyl the greatest albums in the history of music. Our Beatles Vinyl Collection makes it possible to buy these wonderful records from the comfort of your own home or at your local newsagent. Then all you have to do is put the needle on the record to enjoy the best recordings ever made by the best group of all-time!”

Each album also includes an illustrated magazine containing the stories behind the group’s renowned recordings. Written by Beatles historian and award-winning radio producer Kevin Howlett, each issue reveals details about the creation of an album and an assessment of its significance within not only The Beatles’ legacy, but also the history of music.

Kevin Howlett said: “It was such a privilege to write about this joyous music. The Beatles have inspired generation after generation of music fans, songwriters, artists and producers. I’m also delighted that there is a resurgence of interest in collecting records. For music lovers, nothing can beat the look of a stylish LP cover and the authentic experience of listening to a classic album on vinyl.”

The global vinyl market is booming. Sales of records in 2016 reached a 25-year high as music buyers embraced this attractive physical format. More than 3.2m LPs were sold in 2016, an annual rise of 53% and the ninth consecutive year of growth.

The Beatles Vinyl Collection is DeAgostini’s fourth vinyl collection. The company’s previous collections of Jazz, Blues and Classical Music proved very popular. This new collection establishes DeAgostini Publishing as one of the leading vinyl album market producers and distributers.

The Beatles Vinyl Collection is a 23-part series. Issue one will be priced at £9.99 for a limited time only, with subsequent single album copies retailing at £16.99; double and triple albums will sell for £24.99. Issues are available fortnightly in shops, with subscribers receiving two issues in one delivery every four weeks. Subscriptions can be purchased online at www.deagostini.co.uk/beatlesvinyl  (ends).

The release is accompanied by a TV campaign in Britain:

And this one in Italy:

The first issue contains a binder for the 23 magazines, a poster representing the 23 original album covers of the collection, and some pamphlets and other information about the product. “Premium” subscribers will receive two quality storage boxes to hold all 23 albums, plus a range of free gifts.

The collection includes the following albums – and this appears to be the release order as well:

Abbey  Road
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Help!
The Beatles (or ‘The White Album’)
Rubber Soul
Magical Mystery Tour
Yellow Submarine
Beatles For Sale
Love
A Hard Day’s Night
1962 – 1966
With The Beatles
Anthology 1
Revolver
Anthology 2
Live At The BBC
Please Please Me
On Air – Live At The BBC Vol. 2
Let It Be
1
Anthology 3
1967 – 1970
Past Masters

This chap has purchased the first UK instalment – which is Abbey Road. His video is quite a drawn out reveal, but stick with it – it contains some good information. He gets there eventually….!

As mentioned, DeAgostini (which is headquartered in Italy) has also released the same series in that country. There the re-issue program began in January. If your Italian is good it’s worth a look at these videos:

And this one (in English):

Paul McCartney Limited Edition Microphones – For Sale and Auction

US microphone manufacturer Shure has joined forces with Paul McCartney to produce a limited edition run of 300 numbered and custom-painted 50th Anniversary SM58 microphones.

The SM58 is a legendary workhorse. If you’ve seen a vocalist live on stage any time over the last 50 years, chances are they were singing into an SM58.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Shure has produced a limited run of 300 mics that feature a photo portrait of Paul taken by his daughter, Mary McCartney. The image was used originally for the front cover and other associated releases associated with his 2012 project, Kisses on the Bottom.paul-mccartney-kisses-on-the-bottom-2012-front-cover-66534shure-mccartney-mic

The rare microphones are being made available for sale and auction – with all proceeds donated to the McCartney family charity, Meat Free Monday. Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week.

Each of the SM58 microphones is numbered at its base as a limited edition:shure-mccartney-mic-closeupNumbers 300 to 011 went on sale on March 1. These are at a set Ebay “Buy It Now” price of US$350.00.

The last ten microphones, 010 to 001, feature McCartney’s signature as well as the image and these will be available by auction only, starting from March 13 and ending on March 23.

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four – A Review

One of the most impressive compendiums of concise Beatle information comes in the form of a book called The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, by Kenneth Womack.

Womack’s book has been out for a number of years now as a comprehensive, two-volume set. That set is very desirable, but prohibitively expensive for some.

Now comes a brand new, 2017 edition which is completely up to date – but in a condensed, single-volume version that is far more easy on the wallet. This latest edition is designed more for the general reader (and for the many students who now study the Beatles as part of their curriculum at secondary, post-secondary, and more advanced study levels). However, it’s a book that will more than satisfy the avid Beatlemaniac too:

beatles-encyclopedia-frontbeatles-encyclopedia-rear

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four is just that. It focusses entirely on the band and its output across the ten or so years in the 1960s when musically and creatively they were at their absolute peak. It features a host of biographical information about each band member, as well as their immediate family and the key personal relationships they had – for example there’s biographical material associated with the many creative and business partners among the Beatles’ circle. Womack goes into real detail on every every album and key songs. In order to provide an expansive portrait of the group’s life and times, attention is also devoted to the numerous locations associated with the band’s career, as well as to important concerts, venues and events pertinent to their amazing story.

This condensed version of The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four offers some other helpful additional features, including an alphabetic list of all the entries included in the book; a timeline chronology of the Beatles, detailing the milestones in their lives, performances, and recordings; a thorough discography of the band’s official UK and US singles and album releases from the early 1960s through the present; and a bibliography of recommended resources with both print and online resources. There is also included something I always appreciate greatly in books of this nature: a comprehensive general index. This makes locating specific information on a topic or subject so much easier.

Across its 650-odd pages Womack covers off some 360 topics, ranging from Abbey Road to Zapple Records – and these are all arranged alphabetically by entry.

Entries on songs and albums have a specific structure designed to give as much detail as possible. For example, each song entry will include: authorship and background; inspiration; recording dates and places; who played what – including specific reference to the instrument makes and models used. There are track listings for each album; details on the cover artwork; chart performance for both the United States and the UK; and comments and observations around the legacy and influence of each as a work of art.

This a key reference book to have at your side. It is a comprehensive work containing a wealth of information – all at your fingertips. I’d say it’s a must for students of the Beatles and for die-hard fans alike.

Now for a little on the author, Kenneth Womack. This is worth mentioning as he is so very well-credentialed not only as a Beatle scholar, but also as an author and literary critic:

womack-bw1

Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014). He’s also the author of three award-winning novels, and serves as an academic editor and critic for a number of literary institutions.

If you are curious and/or would like to order this new, condensed 2017 edition of Everything Fab Four you can have a “look inside” at Amazon.

Or, you may like to go the whole hog and get the expanded, 2014 edition in two volumes, also available at Amazon.