More ‘Revolver’ Cover Photo Mysteries Solved

With the 2022 remaster and remix of The BeatlesRevolver album due to hit stores next month, there’s renewed interest in solving some of the remaining mysteries of just where cover designer Klaus Voormann sourced all those little images that make up the collage he created for this now-famous cover:

As you know last year we published an article about the latest thinking. There were still at least four images (circled in yellow) that remain mysterious as to their source (click on the image to see a larger version):

Now at least three of those four yellow circles have been solved (to an extent) by German fan and YouTuber, Yaacov (Jack) Edisherashvili.

Jack actually took a trip to visit Klaus Voormann in person and spoke with him about the Revolver cover. While there he asked him about where he’d sourced some of those photos.

You can see that video below. It’s interesting because in this first video Klaus talks about the cover and how it will be explained in the new book that’ll be included in the new 2022 release:

After Jack visited Klaus he wrote to us to say:

The image on the top left corner – the three faces – was never published. This was given privately to Klaus by the band.

The one on far right – the tiny image of Klaus himself – was shot by the late Astrid Kirchherr while Klaus was in his band Paddy, Klaus & Gibson.

The Ringo image – on top right corner – Klaus says was shot on a boat trip.

The John Lennon image with cigarette – I forgot to ask, but looks to me taken from press conference pictures?

So, that’s more information than we’ve had previously. Following his visit to Klaus, Jack has also uploaded this comprehensively researched YouTube with a detailed breakdown of the Revolver cover:

As you can see still a couple of mysteries remain.

If anyone knows the origins of the John Lennon photo with the cigarette – please let us know.

Also, two other outstanding questions are around the origins of the image of Ringo that Klaus used as inspiration for the drawing at the bottom left of the Revolver cover. Where was it published and who’s the photographer? And also the George image on the right – same questions: 

A New Beatle Book – ‘The Beatles’ Liverpool’

Now that international travel is slowly becoming more feasible for many of us again, a visit to Liverpool – the city where it all began for The Beatles – might just be back on your travel “must do” list.

If so, it’d be nice to have a guide to point you in the right direction when you get there.

Liverpool, on the banks of the River Mersey always looms large in any discussion about the formation of the band and their influences. Many of the physical places they lived or frequented have become key parts of the Beatle story. It is of course the city where John, Paul, Ringo and George were born, grew up in, and knew well.

Now a new guide book The Beatles’ Liverpool – just released – takes you there by gathering more than fifty Liverpudlian localities. The fully illustrated guide then explains why those particular places played such a key role in the band’s development and success.

Of course there are the obligatory entries for the childhood homes (Menlove Avenue for John, Arnold Grove for George, Forthlin Road for Paul, and Admiral Grove for Ringo); there’s the background to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields; The Cavern Club; and the well-known St Peter’s Church, Woolton where John first met Paul.

But there are many more obscure listings too. Like Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight; the Neston Institute in Wirral; and 4 Rodney Street, birthplace of Beatle manager Brian Epstein.

There’s also a handy two-page guide map pinpointing the location of all the places mentioned in the guide.

If you’re planning a Liverpool visit, this book would be an essential to take with you – and it won’t cost you any excess luggage fees. At just over 44 pages The Beatles’ Liverpool is compact and light enough to easily slip into a travel bag or backpack to have with you as you walk the streets of the historic city.

Even if you’re still a way off physically getting to Liverpool, you can dive into The Beatles’ Liverpool and pay a visit vicariously. It’s the perfect armchair alternative to actually being there.

Author Mike Haskins was himself born and raised in Merseyside – and he still lives there! He’s worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for TV, radio and the stage, and has published over fifty books.

WIN A COPY OF THE BEATLES’ LIVERPOOL

Courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books in the UK, we’ve have two copies of The Beatles’ Liverpool to give away to two lucky readers.

All you need to do is provide your name, email address and have a go at answering two easy Beatle Liverpool-related questions. Just click on the link below to enter:

https://beatlesblogger.survey.fm/the-beatles-liverpool-giveaway

Good luck!

The first two readers with the correct answers will receive a copy of The Beatles’ Liverpool book. We’ll publish the names of the winners and the answers soon.

Beatles With Records – Part 31

The photos of George Harrison at home we published in Beatles With Records – Part 30 unleashed something of a flood of further images from readers depicting band members with LPs – especially George.

Additional images from what appears to be that same ‘at home’ photo session show him with even more records:

Specifically a well-stocked, three-tiered record rack seen on the right-hand side here (and thanks to our reader Lammert who sent these images through, plus many more across the whole Beatles With Records series):

Here, in the top left compartment you can just make out this 1966 album, Krishna Consciousness by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Indian spiritual teacher and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”:

On the top right is Booker T and the M.G.’s Soul Limbo from 1968:

In the middle row, to the left is Woody Guthrie’s classic, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs (with Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry and Bess Hawes), first released in 1962:

Staying on the middle row – on the right-hand side is one of George’s all-time favourite bands, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. This time with their Greatest Hits Volume 2 LP first issued in 1967:

And of course, in the bottom left compartment of his record holder George has his own Electronic Sound, released on the Zapple label in 1969:

We say Smokey Robinson is one of George’s favourites because when he got a big package of records delivered during the filming of the Let It Be documentary it contained more Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, as these images from the recent Peter Jackson Get Back film clearly show:

These are (in order of appearance) the aforementioned Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Greatest Hits Volume 2, and also the album Make It Happen (from 1967):

Plus there’s copy of Away We A Go Go, from 1966. (You can see the rear cover of this album in the last Get Back photo above):

For another image of George with a different Miracles LP check out Part 18.

Jumping back a few years, we’ve been sent this image by reader and regular contributor Andrey:

The caption reads: ‘EMI House, Manchester Square, London, October 5 1965. According to Beatles Book #28 the group went to the West End headquarters of their record company to collect four Russian-made acoustic guitars and to be photographed playing them for the benefit of the factory where they were made.’

A stack of jazz records just happened to also make it into the image – and we can see a mono pressing of the 1962 Oscar Peterson Trio release The Sound of the Trio clearly in shot:

In this photo the Beatles look a bit tired and jet-lagged. But they’re still carrying records!

Paul has a copy of Frankie Lymon’s Greatest All-Time Oldies from 1963:

And Ringo has a disc we saw him with in The Beatles With Records Part Seventeen – a ‘Best Of’ compilation called The Golden Goodies of 1963 – Volume 18:

Back to George, and a meeting with the secretaries of the Beatle Fan Club to sort through some of the fan mail. He has some more records on his lap, the top one of which is another of his all-time favourites, Chet Atkins:

And to end this installment, a photograph of John Lennon and Paul McCartney holding a picture sleeve EP cover:

What they have with them is this record:

Why? Because it’s a screen shot from The Music of Lennon & McCartney, a British TV special honoring the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. Produced by Granada Television it first went to air on 16 December, 1965.

During the show The Beatles perform originals, and artists from around the world perform cover versions of their songs. The two are just about to introduce French singer Dick Rivers:

Wikepedia says that Hervé Forneri, known professionally as Dick Rivers, was a French singer and actor who began performing in the early 1960s. He was an important figure in introducing rock and roll music in France. He was an admirer of Elvis Presley, who influenced both his singing and looks.

There will be another Beatles With Records soon. We have been sent many more images since our last post on the subject. Check out all the previous installments here.

Beatles With Records – Part 30

It has really been quite some time since we’ve done a Beatles With Records post.

Our Beatles With Records series is exactly that: photographs of the band actually holding those things they sold so many of: records and CDs. These can be Beatle discs, or discs by other artists.

The posts prompted quite a few readers to send in additional photographs, and also to do some amazing detective work on the sometimes mysterious records the Beatles are holding in photos. Sometimes the albums are easy to guess. Then there are others where you can only see a fragment of a cover, or the rear image of a sleeve, making it very difficult to identify – especially when the record is by an unrelated artist.

One recent photo to come to light is definitely in that latter camp. It comes from the recently released book by Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike McCartney (a.k.a. Mike McGear).

His book, published by Genesis Publications, is called Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpool and it contains some never-before-seen early photos of The Beatles, including this gorgeous one of John and Paul (and most probably George too, on the left). It is called Mathew Street, 1962 and hey are no doubt standing outside the famous Cavern Club:

This one had us intrigued. Paul is clearly looking at some 45’s, and John has under his arm what at first appears to be an LP of some kind. Further investigation though reveals it not to be a record but a bag containing a record from Liverpool’s NEMS record store. NEMS of course was owned by the family of their manager, Brian Epstein.

Wouldn’t it be great to know which LP John had purchased? What it is will probably never be known….

A couple of other items of interest have surfaced.

This one shows George Harrison in his kitchen at home at Kinfauns:

Quite interesting to see pinned up on the wall behind him a John Lennon/Yoko Ono album cover:

Here it is again, a different angle from the same photo shoot (click on image for a larger version):

It is Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions, an experimental album on the Zapple label from 1969:

It appears to be an album slick opened out containing the rear cover image as well:

George seemed quite fond of putting up album covers, or elements of album covers, on his walls. If you look at the top left of this photo – taken in what seems to be a hospital ward – you can see two prints of the Linda Eastman photograph of Apple artist Mary Hopkin. That image was used for the front cover of the Hopkin LP Postcard:

(Turns out that George was at London’s University College Hospital, where he got his tonsils removed in February, 1969)

Here’s an image of Paul McCartney with what could be an early rendering of the Klaus Voormann cover for the Beatles Revolver LP. Either that or an attempt by a fan to replicate Voormann’s amazing artwork:

And finally, a still taken from the incredible Peter Jackson/Disney+ 3-part series Get Back on the making of the Let It Be album, this image of John Lennon taking a look at the latest Rolling Stones LP of the day:

See the other instalments of The Beatles With Records here.

Dad Grass – A George Harrison Branded ‘Jazz Cigarette’

We checked the date and it isn’t April 1st. So this must be true, right?

Looks like the Harrison Estate has entered into a licensing agreement with a company that legally sells cannabis called Dad Grass.

The George Harrison connection centres around an advertising campaign and product line featuring the All Things Must Pass album, including spliff-toking gnomes and of course the track, ‘Let It Roll’:

There is a range of products, including (for US$42.00) a Dad Grass x George Harrison All Things Must Grass Dad Stash which can hold five cigarettes and looks just like a double music cassette outer box:

As the copy on the website explains, this allows you to “…hide your grass in plain sight”:

It does a pretty good job, right down to the song titles on the back cover, and is produced by Dad Grass and George Harrison. Rolled in the USA:

Other products include the Special Blend George Harrison Dad Grass Five Pack (crafted from a special blend of Organic CBD and CBG hemp flower), Harrison signature rolling papers, rollings trays and ashtrays.

Dad Grass the company describes itself as “….reviving the mellow sensibility of the casual smoke. Our 100% Organic hemp flower and pre-rolled joints serve up a clean buzz without the fuss. Our special collections of merch and apparel pay tribute to the timeless staples of dad style. Past, present and future. Like your dad’s stash, we keep things easy and dependable, never fancy or complicated.”

And…..

“Classic toke meets classic bloke with our special edition George Harrison Dad Grass pre-rolled joints, smoking paraphernalia and merch.”

We’d be interested in your thoughts on this form of commercialisation of the Harrison legacy and the classic All Things Must Pass LP.

Beatle and solo songs and images have been used in numerous advertising campaigns and associated with many products in the past. Paul McCartney has been doing it for years.

But is this particular product line a step too far? Too tacky? Potentially alienating for some fans?

Or is that just being prudish? Do you think it’s a fair thing?

Let us know in the Leave a Reply section below.

Harrison Estate and Dark Horse Sign Further Publishing and Album Release Deals with BMG

You might recall that back in 2020 the mega music distributor and publisher BMG announced that it had formed a multi-faceted, worldwide distribution partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded record label now led by his son, Dhani Harrison.

Well, there have been some developments.

Last week there was a rather intriguing press release from BMG announcing that they’ve now secured the publishing rights to the entire George Harrison song catalogue, including his Beatle, solo, and Traveling Wilbury compositions.

Plus the company has secured the rights to distribute some existing – and additional – interesting legacy artists on the the Dark Horse record label.

Here’s the official 2-page press release. We’ve highlighted those bits that grabbed our attention:

So, while there’ll be new publishing deals being done by BMG/Dark Horse for George Harrison’s compositions, it also looks like we can expect a range of interesting physical releases on the Dark Horse label.

These will include another EP from Billy Idol, and the new studio album from former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. There’s also likely to be a slew of back-catalogue re-issues from the great Leon Russell.

Interesting times indeed.

See also our articles on the six BMG/Dark Horse Records already released so far: Joe Strummer’s Assembly LP, Billy Idol’s The Roadside EP, the Billy Idol Happy Holidays Christmas album, Ravi Shankar’s Chants of India LP, and Joe Strummer’s two Record Store Day 12″ singles: ‘Junco Partner’ and ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

‘All Things Must Pass: 50th Anniversary Edition’ Wins Grammy

They’ve just been announced – the 64th annual Grammy Awards.

On the Beatle front there wasn’t too much on offer this year.

Paul McCartney was nominated for ‘Find My Way’ in the Best Rock Song category (he lost out to the Foo Fighters and ‘Waiting On A War’). He was also nominated for his album McCartney III in the Best Rock Album category (and once again, pipped at the post by the Foo Fighters with their LP Medicine at Midnight).

However, in the category for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package the winners were Darren Evans, Dhani Harrison and Olivia Harrison for their art direction of last year’s George Harrison All Things Must Pass: 50th Anniversary Edition. This was for the now famous “Uber Box”:

All Things Must Pass won ahead of Soccer Mommy – Color Theory, Steven Wilson – The Future Bites (Limited Edition Box Set), Gang of Four – 77-81 and Mac Miller – Swimming in Circles.

Olivia Harrison has posted this shot of her holding the actual Grammy:

She also gave this post-Grammy ceremony interview about the win:

Well done, and congratulations to the Harrison Estate!

George Harrison’s ‘Let It Be’ Rosewood Fender Available Again

Fender guitars has once again produced a limited edition re-creation of the unique guitar we see George Harrison playing during the sessions for Let It Be – both in the studio and during the famous roof-top concert in 1969.

It is a lovely rosewood Fender Telecaster electric:

It’s not the first time the Fender Custom Shop has done this. Back in 2016 they also released a copy of what originally was a one-off prototype model, gifted to George in 1968 so he could try it out and give the brand some publicity:

Now, hot on the heels of the epic Peter Jackson Get Back documentary on Disney, the company has done it again – with a few additional customised touches:

The principle difference for 2022 is a custom George Harrison ‘Om’ logo neck plate on the rear of the guitar:

The story behind what happened to the original Telecaster is interesting. As we know, Harrison played it during the Let It Be sessions, but he didn’t keep it for long. Later in 1969 he gave it away to Delaney Bramlett, leader of the group Delaney & Bonnie. It was a gift to say ‘thank you’ for letting Harrison join in on a tour with the band – all part of George easing his way out of the Beatles and finding his feet as a solo musician. Bramlett kept the priceless instrument for quite some time and amazingly he modified the guitar quite a bit. The rosewood originally featured a satin finish, but Bramlett had it resprayed with gloss. He also swapped out the original Fender tuning keys for Schaller brand keys, and he even modified the electronics inside.

Thankfully, the guitar has since been returned to the Harrison Estate and the Rosewood Tele has been restored. Here’s a photo of Dhani Harrison in 2012 with the original Fender second guitar from left:

And here he is playing it:

Here’s an example of the reverence in which this guitar is now held – Josh Homme is invited to play the one-off, 1968 original:

Check out the Rosewood replica at Fender.

See also:

The Ole Black Gretsch

The Ole Black Gretsch – An Update

Harrison’s “Rocky” Fender Stratocaster

Buy John Lennon’s Martin Acoustic replica

Record Store Day 2022 – Some Titles for Collectors

Record Store Day is returning to ‘normal’ this year. Well, as much as is possible in these strange times.

It will be on Saturday April 23, but the organisers are proactively trying to avoid disappointment by also designating an ‘RSD Drops’ date on June 18. That date will serve as a safety net for titles that for any number of reasons don’t make it into stores on April 23.

The US Record Store 2022 Day List includes titles that are coming to record stores on Record Store Day in April and those that will be coming in June. As they become aware of issues for any specific title, that title will move to the RSD Drops date – and you’ll see that on the List on the website.

Two titles of most interest to us here are a lovely translucent ice blue vinyl 12″ single from the Dark Horse Records label:

‘I Am Missing You’/’Lust’ by was the first ever single released on Dark Horse in 1974. It is taken from the George Harrison-produced album Shankar Family ૐ Friends, which itself is due for an audiophile vinyl re-press some time later this year. The 12″ single will be limited to 2700 copies.

There are also reports of a Paul McCartney release. This is mentioned on the UK Record Store Day site only so far and is apparently a 12″ single of the song ‘Women and Wives’ from his McCartney III album backed with the same song performed by St Vincent found on the McCartney III Imagined version of the album.

UPDATE (3 March, 2022): It seems this McCartney 12″ is to be crowned Record Store Day’s inaugural Song of the Year. For its 15th birthday, RSD is instituting a new tradition: the Song of the Year Single. ‘Women and Wives’ will get a one-time worldwide run of 3000 numbered copies on June 18:

The other title on the RSD 2022 list is a translucent orange and a translucent blue re-issue of Ringo Starr’s Ringo the 4th LP.

Ringo the 4th will come in a gatefold cover, and both colours will be limited to 1000 copies. (Thanks to The Daily Beatle for the images). This Ringo album has been re-issued previously in the US on red vinyl, and also on gold vinyl, in 2020.

Shankar Family ૐ Friends to get an Audiophile Release

The 1974 Dark Horse Records title Shankar Family ૐ Friends is to get an audiophile vinyl pressing in 2022.

The Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs site has it listed only as “Coming Soon” so far – but it will be on 180 gram vinyl under their Original Master Recording imprint. This will be the first time the record has been re-issued on vinyl since 1974.

An album by Indian master musician Ravi Shankar, Shankar Family ૐ Friends was recorded primarily in Los Angeles during the spring of 1973, but not released until late 1974. It features a host of top-flight Indian players.

The album was produced by George Harrison and also features western musicians like Tom Scott, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins and Jim Keltner. It was last re-issued on CD in 2010 as part of the Collaborations box set. Check out our unboxing here.

What is a little confusing is that on the MoFi website the release is listed as being a 180 gram numbered single LP, while in the Music Direct store catalogue it says it will be a 180 gram, 45rpm 2LP pressing…..