A new Aussie Beatle Connection – Vintage Abbey Road Studio Mixing Console

It’s not often we get to bring you news relating to The Beatles directly from here (down under in Australia) – but there is some today.

It’s been announced that an original REDD.17 mixing console, used to record and mix music at the famous Abbey Road Studios studios in London, is now the centrepiece of a brand new new recording studio at the amazing Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) located just outside Hobart, Tasmania.

The vintage console, one of only four ever built, was one of those used to mix several Beatle albums. It is now part of Frying Pan Studios on the grounds of the museum, and has become the first working recording studio housed by a museum in Australia.

The console was purchased back in 2014 by Australian businessman David Roper. He started discussions with MONA’s artistic director of music (and Violent Femmes bassist) Brian Ritchie about the studio-in-a-museum idea. They took it to flamboyant MONA founder David Walsh who liked the concept and funded the creation of Frying Pan Studios, so named because it sits opposite Frying Pan Island right next to the museum and the beautiful Derwent River.

Frying Pan is a working studio and so it’s bookable facility. You can find more details here. Maybe you’d like to record your own album using the very same mixing desk that John, Paul, George and Ringo used!

You can also visit the studio as part of your ticketed entry into MONA and, if you time it right, actually see musicians at work. It does look like an incredible place to work and create:

Frying Pan Studios have built a great interactive website that gives you more on the history, the facilities, and the amazing location.

You can also check out this article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for more.

A Hard Day’s Night – On the Big Screen Across Australia

An image of The Beatles forms the centrepiece for all this year’s advertising for the 2014 British Film Festival. The festival will be held in Australia between November 5 – 26.

That’s because the film A Hard Day’s Night is to be shown at big screen cinemas right across the country as part of the festival activities:

The long rich history of British cinema is represented in the festival’s ‘Six From The 60s’ retrospective, with six standout films from the era including a digitally restored, 50th anniversary print of Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night – a day in the life of The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania.

Check out the location and time listings for when AHDN is coming to a big screen near you.

Australian A Hard Day’s Night – BluRay and DVD

Finally got hold of an Australian, two-disc, BluRay/DVD edition of the 50th anniversary release of A Hard Day’s Night.

Not much to show really. We here in “Region B” get a low-cost, very basic set in a standard BluRay blue plastic box….not even a booklet or insert inside:

AHDN frontAHDN rearAHDN BluRay1AHDN DVD1The BluRay special features are The Beatles: The Road to A Hard Day’s Night – An Interview with author Mark Lewisohn; In their Own Voices – The Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night; Anotomy of a Style – a piece on Richard Lester’s methods; Picturwise – A featurette on Richard Lester; Audio Commentary – by the cast and crew; and a new trailer for the film.

The DVD adds: You Can’t Do That! – the making of AHDN; The Running Jumping Standing Still Film – Richard Lester’s 1960 short film; Things They Said Today – a 2002 documentary; Audio Commentary – by the cast and crew; and the new trailer for the film.

In Australia the film is distributed by Umbrella Entertainment.

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

The latest instalment in the Australian Beatles celebrations this month is the creation of a week-long “pop-up” digital radio station called The Beatles in Australia on ABC Extra.

Run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the special Beatles station goes to air from 8.00am (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Tuesday, June 17. It will run 24/7 until midnight on Tuesday, June 24.

Here’s a radio promo for the station:

You can listen in three ways. If you live in an Australian capital city and have a digital radio go the the ABC Extra channel. If you don’t have a digital radio, don’t worry – the station will be streamed live online (from next Tuesday) on the ABC Extra site. And the special programs can be accessed on your mobile device using the ABC Radio app. You can get that app here.

And here’s the official press release:

The Beatles arrive at Sydney airport in torrential rain on June 11, 1964. With them is stand-in drummer Jimmie Nicol.

The Beatles arrive at Sydney airport in torrential rain on June 11, 1964. With them is stand-in drummer Jimmie Nicol. (Image: ABC)


13 June 2014

ABC Radio is set to launch a pop-up radio station celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles concert tour of Australia in June 1964. The Beatles in Australia on ABC Extra will run from 8:00AM on Tuesday 17 June for one week. It will be available via mobile on the ABC Radio App, online and on digital radio.

The station will feature a series of specially made programs, programs from the ABC Radio archive and the music from 1964, including:

  • Hindsight from RN: This program charts the story of the Beatles down-under, with contributions from some of the people who helped to orchestrate the visit, as well as social historians, fans and detractors of the Beatlemania phenomenon which swept Australia. The version of the Beatles that Australia saw in 1964, with their mop top haircuts, and neat black suits, marked the arrival of the manufactured boy band. But did they also spark the beginning of an overdue generational and social shift in this country?
  • The Beatles In Australia Exhibition: Rod Quinn from ABC Local Radio visits the exhibition curated by Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum (currently on display at the Melbourne Arts Centre).
  • The Importance of The Ed Sullivan Show: Rod Quinn from ABC Local Radio interviews Beatles historian, Ken Womack about why the appearance by The Beatles on the popular American variety show helped feed into the high expectations surrounding the arrival of the Beatles in Australia in June 1964.
  • The Story of Jimmie Nicol: Ringo Starr became ill just prior to the Australian tour of 1964 and was replaced by Jimmie Nicol. What effect did those 13 days and ten live shows (four of them in Australia) have on him? And what happened to Jimmie Nicol as a result? That’s the subject of a new book by author and Beatle historian Jim Berkenstadt.
  • The Beatles Story: An official Capitol Records documentary from 1964 on the rise of the Beatles.
  • The music: Their one and only concert tour of Australia was characterised by thirty-minute concerts comprising only 10 songs: I Saw Her Standing There, I Want To Hold Your Hand, All My Loving, She Loves You, Till There Was You, Roll Over Beethoven, Can’t Buy me Love, This Boy, Twist and Shout and Long Tall Sally. Hear all these, plus many more.

 Broadcast time:

  • 8:00AM, Tuesday 17 June to 8:00PM, Tuesday 24 June


For more information please visit the ABC Extra homepage.

See also: The Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

And for an earlier post on the the subject see: The Beatles in Australia

Previously Unheard Beatle Interview Published In Full for the First Time

Beatles fans are today able to hear, for the first time ever, the unedited version of an interview that John, George and Ringo gave to Melbourne radio personality Binny Lum ahead of their Australian tour in April, 1964.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has just published the 16-minute conversation to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Australian tour on 11 June. Edited versions have been broadcast and included on special discs over the years, but the interview in full has never previously been released.Binny Lum with the Beatles

NFSA Radio curator Maryanne Doyle said: ‘The Beatles were at the height of their popularity and it was a real coup that an Australian radio personality, unknown in the UK, had managed to secure an interview with the English rock band, the hottest property in show business. The fact that this occurred says as much for Lum’s tenacity as her well connected network of contacts.’

The interview and a full transcript is now available on the NFSA’s SoundCloud channel.

You can read the NFSA’s official press release here.

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

This is interesting and well worth a listen. During the the Beatles 1964 tour, radio journalist Ian Nicholls interviewed John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Jimmie Nicol when they visited Melbourne:Beatles and Ian Nicholls

See also The Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

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 – Part Two

Two more significant documentaries are due to go to air here in Australia as part of the celebrations to mark the first and only tour of the Beatles to this country 50 years ago. They arrived in Australia on June 11, 1964.

This Sunday the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will air a newly produced radio documentary called The Band That Fell to Oz: The Beatles Tour of 1964.

The Band that Fell to Oz

While it doesn’t officially go to air on radio until Sunday, you can hear The Band That Fell to Oz now as the program team have already made it available on their site to listen or to download.

Then, on Tuesday evening (June 10) ABC TV is showing a new television documentary about the 1964 visit called When The Beatles Drove Us Wild:

When The Beatles Drove Us Wild goes to air at 8.30pm, Tuesday June 10 (Australian Eastern Time).

See the official ABC TV Press Release here: When the Beatles Drove Us Wild Release

See also Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part One

There’ll be more news on the Australian celebrations soon, including a unique 24/7 digital radio station dedicated to the Beatles.

Beatles In Australia Exhibition

Back in January we posted on a big new Beatles In Australia exhibition that was destined for Sydney and Melbourne. Well, now it has officially opened in Sydney (at the Powerhouse Museum) and there’s a fair bit of excitement around celebrating 50 years since the Beatles first touched down in this country. Here’s the cover of the free Powerhouse Museum guide brochure:Beatles in Australia

1964 was the band’s first world tour. They were in Australia for just 13 days but in that time played 20 concerts – to a nation which had taken them to into its heart.

The Powerhouse has produced a comprehensive website in support of the exhibition and for any Beatles fan it is well worth a look.  Beatles in Australia Web-tiff

The Beatles in Australia

This post comes about for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it was prompted when last week Neville, a beatlesblog.com reader, sent in a scan of an original ticket stub from one of the concerts given by the Beatles in 1964 in Sydney, Australia at a venue called The Stadium….

beatles ticket

Neville wrote:  “This is not a particularly fancy ticket and is definitely used. They tore off the end of it at the door as you went in. This is 1964. Sending you this is giving away my age, I was 19 at the time….I can recall the concert fairly well although some details are a little bit sketchy now. Suffice to say that the Beatles performance was much shorter than today’s concerts, only about 45 mins max perhaps and about 15 songs only I think. And despite the claims about the deafening screams, you could still actually hear the songs (just). However that might have been because we knew them all at the time. It was mostly from “Please Please Me” and a few of the singles. It really was a very exciting performance and you got carried away by the crowd reaction!”

“There were a couple of support acts as well. The one I remember the most was Johnny Devlin who was then a fairly wild rocker and wore skin-tight black leather pants which the girls seemed to like…”

“The remarkable thing about the Stadium was that is was built as a boxing venue and the audience surrounded the stage (ring) which was in the middle of the building. For concerts they had a revolving platform on the stage so that no matter where you sat, at some stage the performers would be facing you. This must have been a bit disconcerting for the acts. The acoustics weren’t that great, neither were the seats, just being wooden benches. Anyway, concerts there just seemed to have an atmosphere all their own.”

Thanks for the scan. Neville got talking to a friend recently who’d also been at a Sydney Stadium Beatles concert (at a different performance though – the band played three shows there on 18, 19 and 20 June), and he confirmed that the performance of the Beatles was short – only about 30 to 45 minutes. He also reminded Neville that another act was Sounds Incorporated, who performed instrumental material only. Also on the bill were Alan Field, Johnny Chester, and a band called The Phantoms.

This was part of the Beatles’ very first world tour, June 1964. Ringo Starr missed the first leg of the Australian concerts due to severe tonsilitis (the band went first to Adelaide in South Australia, then to Melbourne in Victoria before the  Sydney shows, then to New Zealand, and back to Australia for two shows in Brisbane in Queensland before jetting back to England). Ringo re-joined the group in Melbourne and Neville says he was definitely on stage for the Sydney concerts. Until then his place was taken by the then little-known drummer Johnny Nicol.

2014 of course will be the 50th anniversary of the tour and two museums here are teaming up for a large exhibition. The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and the Melbourne Arts Centre will next year launch a “Beatles Down Under” exhibit featuring collectables, documents, memorabilia, photographs and sounds from the time. It centres around the personal archives of the Australian tour promotor at the time, Ken Brodziak, and will be on show at the Powerhouse in 2013, and then move to the Arts Centre Melbourne in 2014.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC Radio) broadcast a lengthy interview with Peter Cox (curator at the Powerhouse) and rock historian Glenn A. Baker (author of the book “The Beatles Down Under”). Here’s a short extract. The interviewer is Rod Quinn:

You can click here to listen to the entire interview.

The final reason for this post is the book simply called “The Beatles in Australia”. It was originally released in 2005, but seems to be still available as it remains on the New Holland book publishers website.

beatles in australia[1]-page-001

As you can see from the cover image above this book features many unique images, mostly taken during the Adelaide leg of the Beatles Australian tour where drummer Jimmy Nicol was standing in for an ill Ringo Starr.  Most of the images in the book had never been published previously. They were taken by Brian Cooter and Rosemary Blackwell and were purchased by the author, Mark Hayward through Christie’s and Sothebys.

Below is part of a transcript, included in the book, from the Beatles first press conference in Australia held on Thursday, 11 June 1964 in Kings Cross, Sydney:

Interviewer: Have you written any songs with Australian themes?

John: We never write any themes about anything. We just write the same rubbish all the time.

Interviewer: Do you play the kind of music you want to play or music people want to hear?

John: No, we’ve been playing the same music for five or six years, just rock n roll, we just happen to write it

Interviewer: Well what do you think made the difference that suddenly pushed you above all the other groups?

George: We got a record contract.

It is evidence of typical Beatle banter – clever, unassuming, disarming. There are some really great photos in this book, including the arrival of the band in Adelaide where they were greeted by a crowd estimated to be 350,000 people. If you know Adelaide (even today) that is a huge turnout of fans:

beatles in australia[1]-page-002

George with the local press and media:

beatles in australia[1]-page-005

And at the concerts:

beatles in australia[1]-page-006 beatles in australia[1]-page-008

I’m still trying to track down the exact exhibition dates for the Sydney Powerhouse and Melbourne Arts Centre. More soon.