Cryptic Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary Re-issue Hints?

The official Beatles website has today begun some sort of a mystery teaser campaign by publishing a cryptic, four-colour image on its front page:

While many are asking what it means, others are saying the image symbolises the colours of the uniforms the four Beatles wore on the front cover their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – which in June is about to celebrate its 50th Anniversary:

If this is true it’s very much like what the site did for the “1” and “1+” video, CD and vinyl project back in September, 2015. Back then it began a teaser campaign by publishing a mysterious countdown video with red numbers on a bright yellow background. There was little or no other explanation offered at the time::

And so, we await further instalments!

Tweets and retweets from each of the individual Beatles have also surfaced:

Ringo’s specifically says “Coming soon…..”, while John’s Tweet below confirms that the colour of his Pepper uniform is the key to unpicking the coded message: 

And then there’s this on the official Beatles YouTube Channel:

And Amazon US is saying that on May 26 there’ll be Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Editions released as a 2LP seta 1CD set; a 2CD Deluxe Edition set; and a 6 Disc Super Deluxe Edition set! No images available yet.

Then, a further teaser video….

The Beatles “Help” – 50th Anniversary Podcast

As we mentioned in December last year, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is hosting an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary of each British Beatle LP.

As each album marks its anniversary presenter Rod Quinn speaks to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is the author of the extraordinary and ambitious nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest instalment in her series is Volume 3: She Loves You.

Last weekend the pair began a two-part series on the Beatles fifth studio album Help!.

You can find Part One (examining Side One of the LP) here.Help Label 1

And you can find Part Two (examining Side Two of the LP) here.

Help Label 2Previous broadcasts have covered Please Please Me; With the BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night, and Beatles For Sale. Each is well worth a listen.

Great New Beatle Podcast Series on Australian Radio

We happened upon a new series of Australian radio programs featuring the Beatles last night. A popular presenter called Rod Quinn hosts a national overnight radio show on the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

As each Beatle album marks its 50th anniversary Quinn has been speaking to US Lennon biographer (and Beatle expert) Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is author of the extraordinary and ambitious nine-volume John Lennon series – a narrative biography she is presently writing. The latest instalment in her series is Volume 3: She Loves You.

Well, last night here in Australia the pair looked at the band’s fourth studio album Beatles For Sale, released on December 4, 1964: BeatlesForSale As you’ll hear in the podcast, Jude Sutherland Kessler brings unique insights to this famous fourth Beatle album by examining its song selections, running order, lyrics – and even the way the Beatles are portrayed in the LP’s UK cover images. You can click on the links in this post to hear a podcast of the original ABC Radio broadcast.

Previous broadcasts have covered Please Please Me; With the Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night, each also well worth a listen.

Incidentally, the album looked quite different here in Australia having a cover unique to this market, but with the same LP inside:Beatles_For_Sale_Australia

Beatles 1984 Capitol Records Promo Video

In this the Beatles 50 Years celebrations of first making it big on the US charts, it’s interesting to watch how in 1984 Capitol Records visually marked what was then the band’s 20th anniversary….

See also the British 20th Anniversary singles.

Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part Three

In anticipation – this coming week – of the 50th anniversary the Beatles first set foot in Australia, the local press has begun publishing a number of articles today.

The Sydney Morning Herald is carrying two pieces – this one about the fans:SMH Beatles-1SMH Beatles2

And this feature piece (which also appears in the Melbourne Age newspaper) about the continuing influence of the Beatles on some of the leading Australian musicians of today:SMH and Age Beatles3

Meanwhile, The Australian newspaper has a comprehensive review of the ABC TV special which goes to air at 8.30pm (Australian Eastern Time) next Tuesday, June 10:The Australian BeatlesSee also Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part One and Part Two.

Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up

Here in Australia the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles one-and-only tour Down Under are beginning to get exciting.

The Beatles arrived in Sydney on June 11, 1964 and EMI Australia has today posted a great Australian tour highlights video on its official YouTube site:

The site publicises Australia’s contribution to the 50th anniversary – a 2 CD set called Then & Now – Australia Salutes The Beatles. It’s a compilation of some of Australia’s finest artists covering classic Beatle songs:Then-Now-Australia-Salutes-The-Beatles

Details about the release can be found here.

It has to be said it is a bit underwhelming with the news that this was actually EMI Australia’s second choice as a way to mark the historic visit. Initially the company was working on a unique two-disc set which was to have included a DVD of the complete Melbourne concert (which was filmed live and broadcast nationally at the time), with extra songs and partial songs included. This was to be partnered with a CD containing the studio recordings of those particular songs from the concert. It could have been a nice double-disc package, complete with a booklet – a real collectors item, unique to Australia. By comparison the double CD’s of Aussie cover versions is a real let-down.

EMI Australia was apparently told by Apple head office that as they are working on a live project of their own the local project could not possibly proceed…..

There’ll be more news on other Australian celebrations to mark the anniversary across June – including a major television documentary produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and a “pop-up” digital radio station which will run for a week and play ’64 Beatles tour music as well as rare audio from the archives. This will also be streamed live around the world – so more on these broadcasts soon in future posts.

Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America

We were recently able to do a big Beatles crate dig while visiting the city of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. It yielded a few treasures.

Ah, Newcastle. A former steel city now more focussed on tourism, education, health services and coal exports, it must also be second-hand central when it comes to the large number of shops it has selling vintage books, records and CDs. We got around to some (but not all) the outlets due to time constraints. But those we did get to were worth it.

Found this great book in a second-hand bookshop called Indigo Books on Hunter Street:Beatles '64 frontWith this year being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles invasion of the USA, who could resist a book with the title Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America….

Yes, it has a small rip in the dust jacket, but this book is a fantastic memento and really worth having.

First released in 1989 to mark the 25th anniversary, Beatles ’64 has extensive text by journalist A.J.S. Rayl. But perhaps its most striking feature is one hundred and fifty (then) never-before-seen photographs of the band taken by freelance photographer Curt Gunther who accompanied them on that first historic US tour: Beatles '64 rear

Gunther’s photographic career spanned over four decades. He met the Beatles in 1964 and a friendship was formed. Asked to pay his own way on the tour he offset his expenses with winnings from nightly poker sessions with the band! Find out more about Curt Gunther here, and see more of his Beatle images.

As the Amazon Books review says of his work: “….[as you flip through the book] every so often a picture jumps out by capturing the essence of both the premiere British pop invaders and the tenor of the time.” Here are couple of those images from Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America:Beatles '64 insideBeatles '64 band

I liked this one of their guitars backstage:Beatles '64 guitars

And this one of Paul driving (and smoking) in the US:Beatles '64 Paul

Finally – the look on the face of the young lady who pulled up alongside the Beatles in their limo says it all:Beatles '64 fan

It’s a book really worth having in the collection – especially in this the 50th anniversary year. Here’s an interesting review which also contains a couple more of the Curt Gunther images.

We’ll definitely be heading back to Newcastle again soon as there is certainly more Beatles treasure to discover there. In coming posts we’ll feature a couple of other nice things we found.

Apple Introduces a Beatles Channel App on Apple TV

Many of the the Mac watch sites are reporting that Apple has launched a new channel dedicated to the Beatles:Beatles-apple-tv-50th-2014-02-10-verge-1020_large_verge_medium_landscape beatles_atv-800x482

Linked in with the commemorations on the weekend for the 50th anniversary of the band’s debut on American TV screens, if you have an Apple TV device you can watch the first Ed Sullivan Show performances of “All My Loving,” “‘Til There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the big screen. The complete performance clocks in at just over 14 minutes. The Ed Sullivan recordings will be available for a limited time, according to the information on the channel.

There are also links to The Beatles U.S. Albums, available for purchase from the iTunes Store (of course!).

A New Beatles Box Set in 2014 (and a new logo)

Plans for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles conquering the US and the world are starting to gather pace.

Looks like there’s now an official logo for the 2014 celebrations:beatles50_logo

The big news though is that Capitol Records and Apple Corps have just officially announced the release of The U.S. Albums, a new 13 CD Beatles collection spanning from 1964’s Meet The Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude.

The box set (as well as individual CDs “for a limited time”) will be released in the UK on January 20, on January 21 in North America, and on January 17 in Australia:USBoxset_Packshot

Great to see The Beatles’ Story included in there. And if you check the photo above (and promo video below) you can see that Yesterday and Today comes with what looks like a peel-off Butcher Cover!

Here’s the EMI Australia press release with the details:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BEATLES!

Celebrate 50 Years of Globe-Sweeping “Beatlemania” The U.S. Box Set out January 17, 2014

On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, greeted by scores of screaming, swooning fans who rushed the gate to catch a glimpse of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they took their first steps on American soil. Two nights later, on Sunday, February 9, 74 million viewers in the U.S. and millions more in Canada tuned in to CBS to watch The Beatles make their American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” In this cultural watershed moment in American history and one of the world’s top-viewed television events of all time, The Beatles performed five songs on the live broadcast. “Beatlemania,” already in full, feverish bloom in The Beatles’ native U.K., was unleashed with blissful fervor across America and around the world. The British Invasion had begun.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these history-making events, The U.S. Albums, a new 13CD Beatles collection spanning 1964’s Meet The Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude, will be released January 17 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol. The Beatles’ U.S. albums differed from the band’s U.K. albums in a variety of ways, including different track lists, song mixes, album titles, and art.

The albums are presented in mono and stereo, with the exception of The Beatles’ Story and Hey Jude, which are in stereo only. Collected in a boxed set with faithfully replicated original LP artwork, including the albums’ inner sleeves, the 13 CDs are accompanied by a 64-page booklet with Beatles photos and promotional art from the time, as well as a new essay by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. For a limited time, all of the albums (with the exception of The Beatles’ Story, an audio documentary album) will also be available for individual CD purchase. A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude, and the U.S. version of Revolver make their CD debuts with these releases.

By the end of 1963, before The Beatles’ American arrival, “Beatlemania” had already sprung forth across the Atlantic to take root in the U.S. In early December, The New York Times published a Sunday magazine feature and “CBS Evening News” aired an in-depth report about the unprecedented frenzy over the young band from Liverpool. Radio stations across the U.S. began to play The Beatles’ latest U.K. singles in almost non-stop rotation, trying to meet an insatiable listener demand. Capitol Records rushed out the American single for “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (with B-side “This Boy”) on December 26, three weeks ahead of schedule and one month after the single’s U.K. release. More than one million copies of the U.S. single were sold within 10 days.

On January 3, 1964 Capitol released “Please Please Me” (with B-side “From Me To You”), and The Beatles’ first Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, followed on January 20. After achieving the No. 1 chart position for five consecutive weeks in the U.K., “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on February 1, holding the No. 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, and within two months, more than 3.5 million copies of Meet The Beatles! were sold in the U.S.

[Note: The paragraph above is not correct. The online press release correctly states: In early January 1964, Vee-Jay reissued “Please Please Me” (with B-side “From Me To You”), and Swan reissued “She Loves You.” The Beatles’ first Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, followed on January 20. After achieving the No. 1 chart position for five consecutive weeks in the U.K., “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on February 1, holding the No. 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, and within two months, more than 3.5 million copies of Meet The Beatles! were sold in the U.S.]

The excitement of The Beatles’ February 7 arrival in New York, where they were met by an estimated 3,000 ecstatic fans at the airport, was documented by the world’s leading media outlets, beamed around the world in a blitz of news bulletins and photos. Every move The Beatles made, and seemingly every word they uttered, was captured – melting hearts of young fans everywhere who simply could not get enough of these charming, witty and stylish British boys and their electrifying new songs. America’s biggest star of the day, Elvis Presley, sent The Beatles a telegram wishing them well for their national television debut.

Ed Sullivan spoke of the unprecedented frenzy in his memorable first introduction of The Beatles, saying, “Now, yesterday and today our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that this city never has witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles.”

After captivating North America with their Ed Sullivan debut, The Beatles traveled to Washington, DC, performing their first Stateside concert on February 11 at the Washington Coliseum to 8,000 fans in the round. The Beatles then returned to New York for two sold-out Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12. On February 16, they made their second appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in a live broadcast from The Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Viewership for the episode was nearly as strong as for their debut one week prior, with an estimated 70 million people — 40% of the American population — tuned in to watch their performances of six songs. On February 22, The Beatles returned to England in triumph, welcomed home upon their 7am landing at London’s Heathrow Airport by an estimated 10,000 fans.

The Beatles were now firmly in place as the world’s favorite and most famous band. Their third “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, a three-song performance taped prior to the band’s live debut on the program, was broadcast on February 23. Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart for April 5, 1964 was graced by 12 Beatles songs, including the chart’s Top 5 positions, a sweep of the chart’s summit that has not been achieved by any other artist since. The band’s meteoric rise to unparalleled fame continued as “Beatlemania” swept the globe, a singular and boundless cultural marvel. The Beatles now belonged to the People, as they have ever since, with their universally-loved music and unflagging respect for humankind, advocating peace and love for all people around the world. (ends.)

And here’s the YouTube clip:

For more visit the Beatles Official site, and the Beatles Official Shop.