The Record Store Day 2023 release list has just come out and come April 23 there’ll be at least three titles of interest to Beatle collectors.
Probably the most interesting and hard-to-get will be a re-imagining of John Lennon’sGimme Some Truth best-of compilation which is being re-issued as a boxset containing 9 x 10” white vinyl EPs. Each EP will feature four tracks. Only 500 copies of this will be produced, hence the ‘hard-to-get’ moniker….
Next is the highly speculated 50th anniversary release of Paul McCartney’sRed Rose Speedway in limited edition, Half Speed Master vinyl form:
According to the RSD list there will be 5,000 pressed so this should be much easier to secure. It follows similar Half Speed Master editions of McCartney, Wings Wild Life and RAM.
Then there’s a re-issue of the 1981 Ringo Starr title Stop and Smell the Roses. This is being re-issued on vinyl as a 2LP with six bonus tracks for the first time. It will come in a gatefold with printed inner sleeves, original record labels and specialty color vinyl described as lava lamp effect clear red/white for LP1 and lava lamp effect clear red/pink for LP2. There are 2,500 copies being pressed.
Stop and Smell the Roses will also be issued on RSD as a CD (500 copies).
But wait, there is a George connection too. Dark Horse, the record label he started up (now run by son Dhani Harrison) is releasing not one but two LPs.
The first is by Stairsteps, a band originally signed to the label back in 1975. For Record Store Day 2023 we’ll see their 1976 album 2nd Resurrection re-issued on black vinyl. Billy Preston played synthesizer and served as co-producer alongside Robert Margouleff.
Dark Horse will also have a 20th Anniversary edition of the Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros album Streetcore as a limited edition pressing on white vinyl for RSD:
We’ve had readers doing a lot more detective work and research into the photographs that Klaus Voormann used for his collage and line drawings for the famous Revolver cover.
In case you’ve missed it the story on our blog started here and here when we stumbled across a terrific montage detailing all the then known images used for the cover.
Turns out the author of that montage was Ukrainian Beatle fan Sergey, one of our readers! He wrote to us letting us know he’d first created it (way back in 2012!) for a Russian Beatles discussion forum called beatles.ru.
Sergey has since tracked down the source of the image of Ringo used as inspiration for the line drawing of him Klaus placed at the bottom left of the Revolver cover – the one where he is looking skywards.
We’re still not sure of the photographer, but it was published in a German booklet Das sind die Beatles which features a series of black-and-white photographs and short comments about each. It was produced by Bravo magazine for the 1966 Bravo Blitztournee tour, under the auspices of Beat Publication Ltd. The photographer details are not indicated, but Sergey sent us these photographs of the actual publication:
We then published what we feel is another piece in the mystery – the photograph of John Lennon that was very likely the inspiration for Klaus’s line drawing of John at the top right-hand side of Revolver. You can read about that here.
That prompted two other readers – Tom and burnham42 – to offer up even more clues. These revolve around the source images for the three small Beatle faces (and two hands) on this part of the cover:
I think the one of the three small photos top left is in The Beatles Anthology book page 70 (in my French edition). You can also find it on pinterest. The photo was taken on the way to Hamburg. There is John, Paul, George and Gerry and the Pacemakers in the photo. The man on the floor (George?) is pulling a face and you even have the hands that Klaus also used.
Well, drag out your English edition of The Beatles Anthology book too if you have one because the image is also on page 70 there as well:
The Anthology Book says the photo is from George Harrison’s private collection. The caption in the book reads: In a lay-by on the road to Hamburg and the Ost See. Me, Paul and John with Gerry and the Pacemakers.
We have George and Paul, who are standing on the left, and John sitting on the ground pulling a funny face.
Voormann has cut out three sections of this image. Paul has been placed to the left, his raised arm now just below George’s face. And he’s cropped John’s face to make it appear he has a Beatles hair-cut, and tilted it so that it is more upright. His hand from the image is also used, but also at a different angle.
So, one more mystery solved!
Following all this, Sergey has been back in touch and has offered up a revised, updated version of his original Revolver cover “sources” montage. Here it is:
Please click on the image to see a larger version.
Could this be another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the famous Revolver cover montage by Klaus Voormann?
In this explainer collage below there’s a question mark about the origins of the photograph Voormann used as inspiration for his drawing of John Lennon:
(Click on the image to see a larger version)
It is the drawing on the top right-hand side:
Could it have been this image?
The eyes, mouth and hair all look very similar.
We don’t think this has been identified in other Revolver photo research info before. See our previous posts on this here and here.
We’re still looking to confirm who might have taken the photo (more on this soon) but beatlesblogger.com reader naturalkatsup, who kindly sent it in, says it was taken at Reed Pigman’s “Pigman Ranch” in Missouri on September 19th, 1964. They say it seems to be taken by a photographer named Curt Gunther? We’re not sure if the image was published in a magazine that Klaus had access to, but naturalkatsup has found other photos from the same day on the web. Here’s the full photo:
And here are a couple of other shots from the same photo shoot:
What do you think? Could this be the source for Klaus Voormann’sRevolver drawing of John?
If you definitely know who the photographer is please get in touch.
We can now confirm that this image was in fact taken by photographer Curt Gunther:
Thanks to the info supplied by naturalketsup, we checked our own Beatle library, and found this book:
It was published in 1989 and chronicles the Beatles’ 1964 tour of the U.S. and Canada in great detail. It includes 150 never-before-seen photographs at the time by freelance photographer, Curt Gunther.
Although Beatle manager Brian Epstein had ordered that no photographers accompany The Beatles on the tour, Derek Taylor, their Press Officer and friend, had persuaded Epstein to allow Gunther to tag along with the touring party. And he captured some amazing images. They were issued in 2000 in an expensive Genesis Publications book called Mania Days.
The book has the details a day the band had off in their hectic schedule and their visit to Reed Pigman’s “Pigman Ranch” in Missouri on September 19th, 1964, including a very scary night flight from Arkansas in a small plane to get there. George Harrison feared they’d perish, just like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had in a small plane crash in 1959:
With the 2022 remaster and remix of The Beatles‘ Revolver 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 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:
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.
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who entered. And congratulations to the two readers who were first in with the correct answers!
They are Fred, from Ontario, Canada; and Diane from New York, USA. They will receive a copy of The Beatles’ Liverpool book, courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books.
The correct answers to our questions were:
In their early career band members purchased many of their instruments from which famous Liverpool music store? Hessy’s Music Centre
Ringo’s family hails from Liverpool’s Dingle area. His Mum worked at pub called The Empress there. In what way did Ringo put that building on the map? It’s on the front cover of his Sentimental Journey LP
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!
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:
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.
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 Liverpooland 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 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 BeatlesRevolver 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.
NFT’s, or digital artworks, have become all the rage. And it looks like John Lennon’s son Julian is using them to sell one-off digital representations of some of the Beatle treasures from his personal collection: five gifts he received from his father, and one from Paul McCartney.
NFT stands for Non-fungible token. “Non-fungible” means that it is something unique and can’t be replaced with something else. NFT’s can be anything digital (such as drawings or music), but a lot of the current excitement is around using the tech to sell digital art. Oh, and you pay for them in Ethereum – a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or dogecoin.
The Lennon NFTs are being sold through YellowHeart, an online site specialising in the NFT space, and also through Julien’s Auctions – a more traditional auction house. As you can see on the Julien’s site all current bids have already either met or exceeded the estimated selling prices. The auction closes on February 7.
The pieces for sale are three of John Lennon’s Gibson Les Paul guitars, his Afghan jacket from Magical Mystery Tour, the hooded cape worn for the movie Help!, and Paul McCartney’shand written notes for an arrangement of the song he wrote for Julian called ‘Hey Jude’ (it was originally called ‘Hey Jules’). Each NFT is animated and includes brief audio of Julian discussing the item with that voice-over being incorporated as a part of the NFT.
It should be noted that a portion of the proceeds from this auction will go to Julian’s White Feather Foundation which is active globally on issues relating to education, good health, the preservation of indigenous cultures, the environment and clean water.