Who Is This Little Boy With John Lennon?

We received an email from a New Zealand reader named Mike who sent through the photograph below. A Pinterest post says “John Visiting A Long Lost Relative In New Zealand, 1964/5?”:
Mike writes:

“I am trying to find any information on who this little boy is with John in this photo. I have tried the below websites but have come up with nothing. I have asked Lynda Matthews, John’s second cousin living in New Zealand and she sure it’s not anyone on the New Zealand side of the family.”

See https://nz.pinterest.com/pin/301248662548914011/ and http://iheartthebeatles101.tumblr.com/post/95109795256/john-visiting-a-long-lost-relative-in-new-zealand

One response Mark has had said: “This would have been 1964 when The Beatles toured NZ! And it’s potentially in Levin, a small (pretty sleepy) town in NZ.

Do any beatlesblogger.com readers have any further information? If so, please let us know.

We did a little bit of snooping around the Internet and found the same photo on the very interesting and informative Meet the Beatles For Real website. The consensus from those who made comments on the site is that this is not New Zealand at all. Rather, the photograph was taken in Scotland on April 30, 1964. The little boy is not a relative at all, but a boy who was staying at the same hotel as the Beatles and who also happened to be named John Lennon! That would seem to be backed up by this article on the Mersey Memories site (see the Lennon and Lennon section).

Do you have any idea who the child is?

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The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus – An Exhibition

If you’re a Beatle fan and are anywhere near London between March 16th and May 14th this year it would be well worth visiting the Proud Chelsea gallery.

The gallery (at 161 Kings Road, London) is presenting what looks to be a terrific new exhibition called The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus.

The exhibition features many previously unseen photographs and provides a fascinating and deeply candid insight into the band during what would become a landmark occasion at the famous EMI Studio 1 in Abbey Road: The Beatles were about to perform live for the historic Our World program, broadcast to a world-wide television audience of millions.

Photographer David Magnus had a close relationship with the band dating back to 1963 when, at the age of 19, he was invited to photograph a then relatively unknown band during a concert at Stowe School. This early work with the group allowed Magnus unprecedented access throughout their subsequent rise to fame, and he gradually built up a portfolio of many rare and unique images. That, and a friendship with their publicist, Tony Barrow, got him exclusive access to document a pivotal moment in their career 50 years ago. On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of June 1967, The Beatles performed and recorded their song ‘All You Need is Love’ during a live broadcast for the BBC’s Our World program, the world’s first live, international, satellite television production, reaching over 400 million people around the globe.

Magnus documented rare, behind-the-scenes footage of the historical event, including wonderfully frank photographs of the band relaxing backstage away from the recording studio:

George and John grabbing a cup of tea during a break from rehearsals,1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

The Beatles in the EMI Canteen under the watchful eye of one of the EMI commissionaires, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

Speaking of the intensity of the band’s influence during that time, Magnus said, ‘As I came from the EMI canteen, one of the female studio staff stopped me, put a hand on my shoulder and said to me, “I must touch you as you’ve been in the same room as The Beatles.” It was as if I carried an aura from the Beatles. This to me sums up Beatlemania.’

The Beatles wanted the studio to have a real party atmosphere, and the band were all dressed in colourful clothes and were surrounded by flowers, balloons and placards. To further add to the atmosphere The Beatles invited a number of their friends to attend including Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Marianne Faithful, Eric Clapton, Jane Asher, Patti Boyd and Graham Nash – and Beatle manager, Brian Epstein. The images of him in this exhibition are the last ever photographs of Epstein with The Beatles as he died shortly afterwards.One of the last photographs of Brian Epstein with The Beatles before his untimely death just weeks later, 1967. (Image courtesy of Proud Galleries © David Magnus)

This collection is a captivating archive of an event that was not only a first for The Beatles but a first for the era of television, which ignited a social revolution and created the universal anthem of its era.The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus, Proud Chelsea, 16th March – 14th May 2017, www.proud.co.uk

Some Christmas Treasure for the Collection

We here at beatlesblogger received some nice gifts over the holiday season.

First up is Ringo Starr’s new book Photograph. It is a beautiful hardback book, in a larger format, coffee-table style:Ringo1Initially released by Genesis Books in a lavish, strictly limited edition, the book has now been released as a more attainable “open edition” for us mere mortals.

That photo you can see of a young Ringo on the cover image above is actually him looking out of a neat cut-out hole around the camera lens on the book’s dust cover. It is a nice little extra production touch:Ringo3

Inside are some fantastic photos taken by Ringo himself over many years:

Ringo4

When you see images of the early Beatles you sometimes see them carrying their own cameras – and there are lots of pictures out there of the band taking photographs of each other and documenting for themselves what was happening around them. Each Beatle therefore would have hundreds of their own great informal shots tucked away – just like we all do – in albums, in storage boxes, or in closets.

Ringo’s personal photos were thought to be lost forever – until one day he re-discovered them. “We finally found them in a basement in storage” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “I was shocked…..we even found two books of negatives.” So now he’s compiled them in this book, along with over 15,000 words of commentary on where and why each photo was taken. Many of the images have never before been published:Ringo5Ringo6Ringo7Ringo8

Ringo2It is fantastic to flip through. Each page has a new surprise.

We also got a copy of the Barry Miles book The Zapple Diaries – The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label:Zapple1

Miles is a frequent Beatle biographer and author, and he’s something of an insider – having been the manager of Zapple Records when it was first (and only very briefly) established back in 1969. Zapple was one of the many subsidiaries of the original Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. It was a label responsible for releasing the more avant-garde and experimental bands, poets and performers that the Beatles hoped to champion. As label manager, Miles had a ringside seat observing the ructions of the company, and the Beatles themselves in the process of self-destructing. We read of the big plans he had for the label, and how they were bitterly thwarted.

The book is richly illustrated. It tells the story from the perspective of someone very close to the action:Zapple4Zapple5Zapple3

This is probably more one for aficionados of the Apple Records label, its establishment, aims and objectives, and some of the more obscure of its releases, but I’m looking forward to reading this book, cover-to-cover:  Zapple2

Lastly, a great new book of interviews with Paul McCartney by journalist, author and long-time Beatle expert, Paul Du Noyer:Paul 1

As the title suggests, this is a new collection of Conversations with McCartney, over the period 1979 to the present. Du Noyer has spoken with him numerous times over that period – mostly for independently commissioned pieces for some of the best UK music magazines. It should be said however that Du Noyer has also been employed by McCartney’s MPL Communications company to produce content for them (tour magazines, album sleevenotes, etc.), and the book was done with the company’s assistance. Nevertheless, this looks to be a unique insight into what it means to be Paul McCartney and a very interesting work. Paul 2

Complete Set of Beatles Abbey Road Photos to be Auctioned

A complete set of signed outtake photographs, including the final cover shots for the Beatles Abbey Road album, is coming up for auction in November.Reproduction, © Bloomsbury AuctionsReproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The press release from Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions says:

The set of six photographs commissioned from Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan (1938-2006) as possible designs for the album’s front cover – together with the Abbey Road street sign used on the back cover – is of legendary rarity on the art market.

This is believed to be the first time that a complete suite of the signed and numbered photographs has ever been offered at public auction. [Hmmm. Maybe not. See WogBlog’s thoughts on this claim…..Ed.) The collection will be on view to the public in central London from Sunday 16th November, before going under the hammer on Friday 21st November where they are estimated to achieve £50,000 – 70,000.

On 8th August, 1969 Macmillan, a close friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, climbed a ladder in the middle of Abbey Road and in the next ten minutes took six photographs of the Fab Four walking back and forth across a zebra crossing. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles’ last-recorded album and one of pop music’s most famous and recreated images.

In 1989 Iain Macmillan was quoted saying; “That photo’s been called an icon of the 60s. I suppose it is. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It’s a very simple, stylised shot. Also it’s a shot people can relate to. It’s a place where people can still walk.”

With his Hasselblad camera storing the six images, Macmillian set off to photograph a road sign to use as the back cover. To Macmillan’s annoyance, whilst he was photographing the sign on the corner with Alexandra Road, a girl in a blue dress walked through the shot, however it was this image that was later chosen as the back cover.

Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions [pictured below] said; “To see the full collection of photographs together is a rare and fascinating opportunity for fans of the Beatles, Music and Photography. We are delighted to be offering them at auction and anticipate worldwide interest for this famous and timeless suite.”

Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The Photographs & Photobooks sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Friday, November 21. The full catalogue will be available to view and download soon at www.bloomsburyauctions.com

If you are going to bid you’ll need to have very, very deep pockets. As WogBlog has also reported, an original single photograph from the same set sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2012 for £16,000!

Here are the remaining outtakes from that historic shoot:Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

Beatles With Records – Part Ten

Thanks to two very observant readers here are two updates for The Beatles With Records – Part Eight.

In that post there is a great image of the very early Beatles on stage. Behind them is a curtain with lots of record covers pinned to it:

(click image to see a larger version)

We got to identify a fair few of the LP covers that you can see in this picture (in previous posts on this subject – see below for links). However, there was one that I couldn’t quite make out. Have a look at the cover in the picture above between John and Paul. Turns out – and thanks to reader Jorges Morales – that it’s this LP from 1956:

It’s The Modern Jazz Quartet’s “Fontessa” – [SD 1231] on Atlantic Records.

“Fontessa” is a 1956 album. It was the first of the MJQ’s albums released on Atlantic.

The Modern Jazz Quartet would much later briefly become signed to the Beatles’ own Apple record label in the late 1960’s. They had two records released by Apple in 1969 – “”Under the Jasmine Tree” and “Space“:

We’ve been able to identify one other LP cover in a picture on The Beatles With Records – Part Eight. It is from this one below of Ringo at home with his mother and father:

We were able to identify that Ringo was holding the self-titled James Ray LP “James Ray“.

But look closely at the record player/radiogram on their left-hand side. On the floor they’ve got some LP covers lined up against it. On the very far right of the photo just under the radio dial (partly obscured) you can just spot a copy of “James Brown – Live at the Apollo” from 1962:

Thanks so much to Lammert for that info – and if you have any other LP covers you can identify in the “Beatles with Records” series please email me at: beatlesblogger@gmail.com

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 123467 , 89111213141516 and 17.

The Beatles With Records

Despite selling multi, multi-millions of the things, it’s kind of strange that you hardly ever see photographs of the Beatles themselves with, or listening to, records.

Here are a couple I’ve found:

A very early shot of John using an old record player

A much later shot of John listening intently to a range of singles

There is of course the well known launch of “Sgt Pepper”, when lots of photographs were taken inside Brian Epstein’s house with the four holding copies of their latest masterpiece:

A colour shot of the Sgt Pepper launch

The gatefold photograph displayed with pride

Did Linda Eastman (later McCartney) take any of these? She was there….

Given their fame the Beatles would have found it difficult to get out to shop for music like you and me – and this photo clearly shows John and Paul opening a box of LP’s that have been purchased for them. And don’t they look pleased to have some new titles to listen to?

A new box of albums

You can clearly see “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”, and underneath that Ben E. King’s “Don’t Play that Song!” LP:

If you have any other photographs of the Beatles actually listening to, or with singles or LPs, send them to:  beatlesblogger@gmail.com

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 23467 , 89 , 10 , 111213141516 and 17.

Dezo Hoffmann – The Beatles Conquer America

I was in Lismore in New South Wales last week (it’s a small-ish Australian country town in the north of the state). Once I’d completed my work business there I had about 40 minutes to spare before my plane home, so I went for a walk around the town’s CBD. You can probably guess that I can’t resist a second hand/old wares shop when I find one. Especially the one I did find, which was advertising “All Books Half Price”.

Inside this store was a treasure trove. Not only are most walls lined chock-full with old books of all sorts, but there’s antique furniture, old toys, art works, advertising signs, glassware, ornaments and all sorts of collectables.

They had a crate of old records and, while there were some interesting things there from other artists, no Beatles or Beatles-related sadly. “Do you have a music section in the books?”, I asked. “Well, we haven’t got much, but its over there.”, said the sales assistant, pointing to my right.

They actually had four Beatles books.  1. A hardback copy (in pretty good condition) of Peter Brown’s book “The Love You Make – An Insider’s Story of the Beatles” (1983);  2. An original paperback of a book based on the film “Help!” (1965) written by Al Hine (in just reasonable condition);  3. An original paperback called “Love Me Do – The Beatles Progress” (1964) by Michael Braun, similar in vintage and condition to the “Help!” book; and 4. “The Beatles Conquer America”, a book of photographs taken by Dezo Hoffmann.

I already have Peter Brown’s book and, while tempting as they are collectable items, the two old paperbacks were not in the greatest condition. Also, even at half price were reasonably expensive. So, I went for the Dezo Hoffmann book:

Front Cover - The Beatles Conquer America

For a book that came out in 1984 it was in almost mint condition. It contains some absolutely fantastic and rare photographs, and at the half-price cost of just A$7.50, it was a bargain addition to the collection. The black and white photographs were all taken between January 14 and February 22, 1964 when Dezo Hoffmann accompanied the Beatles from London to New York, Washington, Miami, and then back to London. It was their first American tour, and the Beatles as a pop phenomenon was really kicking into gear…

Rear cover - The Beatles Conquer America

The book also contains photos from a short tour to Paris prior to the US visit. Dezo Hoffmann was a Beatles insider – having taken an interest in photographing the band from well before their meteoric rise to fame. As such he got unique access – as seen throughout this book. Dezo also writes a short description of the background to each photograph. Here’s a quick flip through just a couple of the pages:

There is very much a “fly on the wall” feel to these photographs. They capture the Beatles at ease and enjoying themselves away from the fans, enjoying performing, and just soaking up the success that was coming their way.

If you don’t think you’ve ever seen a Dezo Hoffman image of the Beatles before, you might know this one:

Click here for a larger image and some official info on this release. In looking around for additional information on Dezo Hoffmann I found an interesting page about how his original shot outside the BBC was manipulated for this now famous cover.

As well as historic photographs, Dezo Hoffmann also took many informal home movies on location with the Beatles: