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.

McCartney III – Coloured Vinyl Chart Update

For those of you still keeping score, we’ve updated our McCartney III chart detailing all the many variations over the past 18 months.

With the release last week of the McCartney I/ II/ III limited edition box set, which collects McCartney (on clear vinyl), McCartney II (on white vinyl), and McCartney III (on creamy white vinyl), there are now no fewer than 14 different vinyl colour releases of this LP available:

Just click on the image above to go full screen………

To get the creamy white version you have to purchase the McCartney I/ II/ III box. It’s is being described as a ‘Limited Edition’. We’re not sure of the exact numbers though. If anyone does know please comment in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.

McCartney I/ II/ III is also available in a standard black vinyl edition.

More Beatle/Peter Jackson Projects + McCartney’s ‘Get Back’ to be Re-issued

Looks like New Zealand film director Peter Jackson could have at least two other Beatle projects brewing.

He’s told the online magazine Deadline that he is cooking up another film – or films plural – with involvement from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Jackson revealed that one of the new projects is taking a different approach.

“I’m talking to The Beatles about another project, something very, very different than Get Back,” Jackson said. “We’re seeing what the possibilities are, but it’s another project with them. It’s not really a documentary … and that’s all I can really say. We are never in a position where we have to do anything, but we’ve got a few things percolating.”

Jackson said there is also a big narrative film on the cards, and like his Middle-Earth films, his ambitions will test existing technology. Which means part of his task is to develop the tools to make his vision a reality.

“One of them could be big scale, but it’s so technically complicated I’m trying to work how exactly I’ll do it,” he said. “It’s a live-action movie, but it needs technology that doesn’t quite exist at the moment, so we’re in the middle of developing the technology to allow it to happen. I’m trying to anticipate what I might be able to do, before it even exists. They’re not fantasy epics, but they’re pretty interesting.”

Jackson was tight-lipped about any further details, but fans have already started the guessing game and speculation is rife over the possibility of McCartney and Starr’s direct involvement. 

Meanwhile, long-time Beatle collaborator Richard Lester (he directed them in the movies A Hard Day’s Night and Help!) will have a film he made of Paul McCartney’s 1989/1990 Get Back world tour re-issued on Blu-ray and DVD next month:

Apparently Lester came out of retirement to document that Get Back tour, and his film features highlights from concerts across the globe. The band is Paul, Linda McCartney, Hamish Stewart, Robbie McIntosh, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens and Chris Whitten.

It’s not really clear just why this is being re-issued now. Perhaps it’s because of the success of the whole Peter Jackson Get Back documentary? Or maybe it is trying to ride on the coat tails of Paul’s current Got Back tour…..?

Reviews of the film when it was first released back in 1991 weren’t kind: “Under the best of circumstances, Get Back will never be a very good concert film. The movie fails to offer a clear and compelling rendition of Paul McCartney’s live shows as it features too much extraneous material. The performances of the songs themselves are fairly solid but they lack much life, and McCartney’s weak vocals don’t help. Add to that a high level of visual gimmickry imposed by the filmmakers and you have a flawed representation of the concert experience.”

ViaVison Entertainment says Paul McCartney’s Get Back will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 17.

To give you taste here’s an advertisement from when it was originally released back in 1991:

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.

Mary Hopkin ‘Post Card’ – A Hong Kong/Malaysia Pressing

A recent trip to the New South Wales south coast town of Berry turned up an opportunity for a little crate digging.

It was a nice feeling. Since the advent of COVID-19 the chances to get out and about and hunt for records in the wild have really been few and far between.

On the first Sunday of every month the town puts on a big market at the local Showgrounds. There are all sorts of stalls set up with people selling home made goods like candles, local produce, handcrafted items, food and second-hand goods – including a couple of stalls selling records! This allowed us to get back to what this blog is all about: adventures in collecting Beatles music.

One thing we’re always on the lookout for are Apple Records artists – and we found an interesting variation of the Mary Hopkin LP Post Card, produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one was different because it was manufactured by EMI in South East Asia for the Hong Kong and Malaysian markets:

There are a couple of things to note here about the differences between this and the US and Australian pressings of this release.

First is that it follows the original UK vinyl track listing. Notice that there is no ‘Those Were The Days’ – which was hit single for Hopkin in 1968 – included on this edition.

Second is the printing in blue at the bottom of the rear cover (which by the way has a very nice glossy finish on both sides):

This South East Asian edition also comes with an original black paper inner sleeve:

To compare the differences, here’s the US release:

Notice that the title of the LP is at the bottom of the front cover photo – whereas on the Hong Kong/Malaysia and UK pressings the title is at the top of the photo of Mary.

Also, as already mentioned, that Side 2, Track 4 has ‘Those Were The Days’ in place of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ which is found on the UK and and South East Asian pressings. Here are the US labels:

Just by way of interest, we also have an Australian pressing of Post Card issued by the World Record Club. It has completely different artwork for the front and rear covers, and labels:

This Aussie World Record Club release also follows the US track listing, with ‘Those Were The Days’ as Track 4, Side 2.

(As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions).

For an exhaustive look at the differences between the UK and US editions, check out BeatleDave’s Beatle Channel.

McCartney 1, 2, 3.

We all knew it was going to happen some time. And now it has been officially announced.

There will be a box set that gathers together the albums McCartney, McCartney II, and McCartney III. It is to be released on August 5.

The McCartney I II III  box set will be available in three different formats: a Limited Edition colour vinyl, a black vinyl edition, and on CD. Each will include three special photo prints with notes from Paul McCartney about each album. The newly created box set cover art and typography for the slipcase are by Ed Ruscha the US artist who created the design for all of the myriad McCartney III and McCartney III Imagined releases.

The slipcase style box comes in three variations:

Limited Edition Colour Vinyl ⁠(see above): Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney – clear, McCartney II –white, and McCartney III – creamy white vinyl), ⁠three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.

Limited Edition Black Vinyl Edition (see below): ⁠Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney, McCartney II and McCartney III), three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.

And there’ll be a CD. Again, described as a Limited Edition, three-disc set ⁠with the three photo prints with introductions from Paul. Looks like they’re in card sleeves and that McCartney II and McCartney III come with booklets.

Interestingly, the promo images and the YouTube unboxing video below show that McCartney II is on the original black and silver Parlophone labels. Previous reissues have been on the plain black label used for the McCartney Archive Series releases. Nice too to see McCartney back on the Apple label once again.

Hamburg Wishes Paul Happy Birthday

On the eve of Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday on June 18 – it’s quite a milestone – we received an interesting press release from the City of Hamburg in Germany.

Given the city’s early association with the birth of The Beatles they’ve commissioned a song to give back in tribute to the great man.

Here’s the press release about the track:

To Whom It May Concern:
The City of Hamburg celebrates Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th anniversary with the ‘thank you’-anthem ‘Song For Paul’ – press release June 15th, 2022

It is common knowledge: The remarkable international career of The Beatles first took off in Hamburg, when the legendary band first performed at Indra Club in August of 1960. The rest is, as they say, history.

Still today, all across Hamburg and the St. Pauli-district especially, The Beatles are a prominent phenomenon. They are part of the city’s DNA.

With Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday coming up this Saturday, June 18th, the City of Hamburg decided it was time to finally give back a song to Paul, after he gifted so many unforgettable songs and memories to all of us.

Salamanda, a band from Flensburg, not far from Hamburg, were the right guys for the job: They wrote and recorded “Song For Paul”, a 5-minute love letter to Paul McCartney. The song was mixed at the renowned Abbey Road Studios.

With “Song For Paul”, the City of Hamburg is starting the #SongForPaul social media campaign. Fans from Hamburg and all over the world are asked to say their thanks to Paul on Saturday, June 18th and share the songs written just for him.

“Song For Paul” is released Friday, June 17th, accompanied by a music video shot on many locations with Beatles-history, such as the before mentioned Indra Club, the famous Reeperbahn and a grande finale at the “Beatles Platz” (Beatles Place), where over 300 fans joined the band for the flash mob video shoot.

The goal of the campaign is to reach McCartney personally, and let him know how thankful the citizens of Hamburg are for his life’s work. The campaign is initiated by the band Salamanda, the City of Hamburg, BID Reeperbahn+ and several cultural associations.

#HamburgSagtDanke #SongForPaul

Russian Fans Celebrated in Major New Book About Beatlemania in the Soviet Union

The people of Russia and the former Soviet Union have long had their access to Western art, culture and information suppressed and curated by the State. Just look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Consequently it’s always been hard to be a Beatle fan, especially when bans on Western popular music were actively policed and the consequences for flouting the laws could be devastating. Just take a look at this post from earlier this year. As we said then: there was a time when you had to be tough and take risks as an individual to be a fan in public. The KGB (a.k.a. the Soviet secret service and other authorities) came down very hard on anyone who dared to say they “….loved Lennon more than Lenin”.

Witness also the lengths that Beatle fans went to in order to listen to their favourite band’s music, right down to covertly cutting tracks onto old x-ray film. This became known as “music on bones” and you can check out our article on that here.

Subsequent to the fall of the Soviet Union things have become a little easier but it’s still been a relatively rocky road for Russian fans compared to those of us in the West.

Now comes a book that tries to sum up what it was like to be a Beatle fan across those years and into the solo Beatle years as well. It’s not about the Beatles themselves, but about how they were loved in the USSR. The English translation of the book’s title says it all really: How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR.

By the way, the author Dmitry Karasyuk is a totally blind man.

You should know that How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is in Russian, and at 760 pages it is quite some undertaking. It contains many memoirs (funny and tragic) of both famous and very ordinary people. There are also many personal memories, and many, many photographs from fan archives. Almost every page has images or memorabilia related to the times. Here are just two random samples:

At the end of the book there is a short description in English. This is worth reading as its an excellent overview of the sort of information this book contains and what it is trying to achieve (click on image to see a larger version):

We mentioned how tough it was being a Beatle fan in the USSR. Here’s just one story from the book to help illustrate that – a story with a real twist in the tail:

In the early 1970s a young man buying Beatle records was detained at a flea market and taken to the local police station. There one of the police officers (police in the USSR were called militsiya) had an “educational conversation” with him (i.e. he gave him a slap on the wrist) saying that it was not good for a young builder of communism to listen to such enemy capitalist music. Later the young man happened to meet that same militsiya on the street. And the policeman asked: “If I give you a tape could you please record some Beatles music on it for me?”

Another very interesting section of How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR contains chapters about the Melodiya and Antrop companies which eventually released Beatle and solo records in the USSR – both officially, and not so officially.

The author spoke with former employees of Melodiya. They talk about how Beatle tracks finally came to appear on records in the 1970s, how Beatle and solo records were officially released in the 1980s, and where the sources for these releases came from.

The author also found Andrey Tropillo, the founder of Antrop Records, and in a long interview with him Tropillo tells how he created/launched the company, how and where he pressed vinyl, how they made alternative sleeves, and much more. And how, in the end, Antrop turned into Santa.

It’s not known whether the publisher will eventually translate the entire book into English. This, we’re told, is quite a challenge because there’s a lot of original Soviet youth slang which can’t be translated into other languages “in all its beauty”.

This love of all things Beatles endures. This young woman (whose name is Jane Enenko) is in the book. She hails from remote Siberia, and was invited on stage during a 2015 Paul McCartney tour:

We realise How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is aimed at a very special market. The fact that it is written in Russian dictates that. But it is such a labour of love, and so comprehensive in it’s scope, we thought it very worthy of a mention here.

Russian-speaking fans of The Beatles living outside of Russia can buy the book from the German online store Esterum: Russian books worldwide, which is located in Frankfurt. It is also available from this online book store in the EU – in Riga, Latvia.

FYI here’s the rear cover. (Click on the link to see a larger version and to read the text – if you understand Russian!)

McCartney’s ‘The Lyrics’ Wins British Book Award

Paul McCartney, no stranger to the odd prestigious award, has just won another.

His book The Lyrics:1956 to the Present has taken out the award for Best Non-Fiction Lifestyle book in the 2022 British Book Awards (otherwise known as The Nibbies):

Strangely Sir Paul’s acceptance speech (pre-recorded and played to the audience at the awards ceremony) could not be included in the YouTube clip.

Here’s some more info on the other books that were on the shortlist.

The judges wrote that The Lyrics was: “A work of art”; “a unique piece of publishing”; and a book that “belongs in a museum, not just our bookshelves.” They praised the two-volume set as a “fantastic visual diary”, singling out the original hand-written lyrics.

The book was supported by a free exhibition at the British Library and McCartney in Conversation at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall.

Publishers Allen Lane coordinated a global launch, simultaneously in 11 languages, attaining extensive broadsheet and radio coverage. Plus the book was released in multiple translations.

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.