‘Double Fantasy – John & Yoko’ Exhibition – Tokyo

There’s a terrific exhibition on at the moment in Tokyo called Double Fantasy – John & Yoko:There are a couple of interesting collectors items that you can purchase from this exhibition. The first is the official exhibition catalogue – a thick book that serves as a comprehensive overview of everything on display:

It’s in Japanese and English, and packed with a wealth of great photos detailing all the displays. It’s available through the gift shop at the exhibition venue (Tokyo’s Sony Music Roppongi Museum), from Amazon Japan, or The Blue Sheep Shop.

We also liked the look of these two Limited Edition, 10-inch clear vinyl records which are only available through the Double Fantasy – John & Yoko museum store:

These contain interviews with John and Yoko. The first is ‘John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Special Interview, January 25, 1971 at the Imperial (Teikoko) Hotel’.

The second is ‘John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Special Interview, September 2, 1971 New York’. They are both on the same label as Ono’s album re-issues for the Secretly Canadian/Chimera label in the US, and the Sony Records International label in Japan – featuring a cut grapefruit instead of an apple.

There’s also this Limited Edition Yoko Ono single on white vinyl, released on November 25. Again this appears to be exclusive to the exhibition store:

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko is a large-scale exhibit which was first mounted in John Lennon’s hometown of Liverpool (at the Liverpool Museum in England) between May, 2018 and November, 2019.

In 2020 that very same exhibition has come to Yoko Ono’s hometown, Tokyo.

There are many connections for the couple with Japan. John, Yoko, and Sean Ono Lennon visited the country every year between 1977 and 1979 and enjoyed numerous family trips to various places as John’s green card (granted to him in 1976) made it possible for them to once again travel outside the United States.

Japan’s NHK TV last week ran a story about the exhibition. It included this insightful interview with Sean who shared his memories of visiting Japan, about growing up as the son of two of the most famous people in the world, and the role his parents played in promoting peace – it’s well worth a look.

Yoko was deeply involved in the curation of Double Fantasy – John & Yoko and it contains a wealth of rare original historic documents, photographs, films, objects, artworks and personal items from key moments in the lives of the two. It apparently takes more than two hours to view everything and get a thorough overview of what is on offer:   One of the treasures is John’s hand-made, teenage satiric magazine (from c.1957) containing his cartoons and drawings called The Daily Howl:

There’s also an original copy of Yoko’s book Grapefruit which she gave to John as a gift. First published in 1964, Grapefruit represents a seminal piece of conceptual art that had a direct influence on the lyrics and concepts behind the song ‘Imagine’:

Also on display are numerous handwritten lyrics by Lennon including ‘Imagine’, ‘In My Life’, ‘Give Peace a Chance’, ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’, and ‘Woman’.

There’s also one of the famous works that Yoko showed at her Unfinished Paintings and Objects exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London in 1966. It’s where John first encountered her art up close:Of course there’s also the previously mentioned Museum Shop offering a wide variety of other merchandise…..

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko opened at Tokyo’s Sony Music Roppongi Museum on October 9, the 80th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth.

It runs until January 11, 2021, and has marked the 40th anniversary of his death by setting up a place for visitors to remember John by leaving messages and floral tributes.

John Lennon/Yoko Ono Wedding Album – Unboxing

Our copy of the John and Yoko Wedding Album arrived today – but if there’s anyone who is entitled to do an unboxing video of the box set contents, it’s this guy:

Great New Beatle-related Movie – “Yesterday”

Imagine you woke up one day and there were no Beatles.

No one you speak to has ever heard of them, and there are no references to the band or their songs online, in music stores, libraries, or anywhere. But….you can remember them clearly, and you know how to play their songs.

That’s the premise of an interesting new comedy movie coming out later this year called Yesterday. It comes from Danny Boyle (who directed Slum Dog Millionaire and Trainspotting), and Richard Curtis (the writer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually).

Jack (played by Himesh Patel) is a struggling singer-songwriter who dreams of making it big, but his career is going nowhere. His biggest supporter is his best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, something mysterious happens. During some sort of global electrical blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus and wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Only thing is, he remembers them clearly, starts to perform their songs, and from there things really start to get interesting….

Yesterday looks like it will be real fun for Beatle fans. It is due in movie theatres on June 28.

Beatles “White Album” 50th Anniversary Turntable

There’s another Beatle-themed turntable out there: 

Turntable manufacturer Pro-Ject Audio Systems, in association with Universal Music, has launched a Beatles White Album model to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of the legendary recording.

Based on a Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB model, the limited White Album version really is all-white, down to the platter, tonearm, switch gear, and even a specially produced white-bodied Ortofon 2M cartridge pre fitted at the factory:The company now has seven Beatle-related record players: the Yellow Submarine model; two Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band models (in Drum and Limited Edition versions); a Beatles 1964 edition; a George Harrison turntable , and now a Ringo Starr “Peace and Love” turntable as well:

PeaceAndLoveTurntable-1-1024x684 2The Beatles White Album turntable is limited to 500 pieces worldwide. It looks to have a limited edition number stamped on it, just like the original LP covers did back in 1968, but it’s not clear if these are individual or not:The Pro-Ject White Album Limited Edition is up at the higher end of Pro-Ject’s turntable offerings and retails for US$1799 (and in Australia for $2699). You can read the official press release here.

Ringo Starr – Vintage LP Finds

For some reason or other our Ringo Starr collection has grown exponentially over the last couple of weeks….

For a long time we’ve had an Australian pressing of his 1976 outing, Ringo’s Rotogravure

Below is the rear cover of the Australian pressing. US readers will note that the track listing for Side Two is five tracks instead of six. That’s because it is missing the short song, ‘Spooky Weirdness’: ‘Spooky Weirdness’ is however listed on the inner bag liner notes:

Like the rest of the world, this album came out housed in a gatefold sleeve. Here’s how it looks:

And here are the Australian labels. Note no ‘Spooky Weirdness’ listed on Side Two here either, and that the record company is different to the US release. The LP was issued Down Under on Polydor:

So anyway, we were picking around the bins at a favourite local second hand store when we randomly came across some variations of this LP.

First up was the aforementioned US pressing. It has the exact same front cover image, but there are few details on the rear cover that differ to the Australian: Note the Atlantic logo bottom left (above); a pink box at the bottom for the record company details/place of manufacture; and ‘Spooky Weirdness’ is listed on the track list for Side Two. The label is the famous green and red Atlantic Records too: Then, further into the bin, we noticed two more distinctly different pressings of this same title. First was a fairly rare budget edition that only ever came out in Australia. It was in really good condition and is on the now defunct Rainbow label. (You can find it listed on page 27 of this document):

The gatefold sleeve inside is printed in a much lighter blue to the original Australian and US releases:Because it’s a budget release there is no inner bag with the lyrics, but it is on a Rainbow Records label:Sitting just behind the Rainbow re-issue was an original New Zealand pressing of Rotogravure. Again, it has the exact same front cover image to the Australian and US pressings. Only the rear is a little different: And the labels (also on Polydor) mention “Made in New Zealand” – its in the small print at top left:

Lastly, a Canadian pressing of Ringo’s Bad Boy LP (from 1978) popped up in the bins as well.

As you can see, it’s a little beat up (writing on the cover; ‘cut out’ hole bottom left; foxing to the rear cover and inner bag from age, etc.), but worth grabbing at $5.00: 

So, not one – but four additions from the Ringo Starr back catalogue end up in our collection.

As usual, click on any of the images above to see larger versions.

More adventures in collecting Beatle records soon.

The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Music of George Martin

Here’s a release to look out for in November – a newly recorded disc of music composed by the late Sir George Martin.

Called The Film Scores and Original Music of George Martin this gathers together a cross-section of works illustrating his musical genius – some for the very first time: The music is performed by The Berlin Music Ensemble, under the baton of US-born producer, composer and arranger, Craig Leon who is the driving force behind the project.

“When I was going through it, I was just struck by the elegance of the composition and how much they fit the era that I grew up in music, and again made me think how much I wouldn’t have even had the life I had if George Martin hadn’t done what he did,” Leon said. “He bridged the gap between an interpretive producer and a creative producer, which was the thing that I wanted to do.”

The recording will be out on November 10 on CD and digital download on the Atlas Realisations label. Then, in January 2018 to celebrate George Martin’s birthday, a 2LP vinyl edition will also be released.

The track listing:

  • 1-5 The Pepperland Suite (Original music written for the film Yellow Submarine)
  • 6-9 Live and Let Die Suite (Original music written for the film Live And Let Die)
  • 10-12 Three American Sketches for Violin & Chamber Orchestra
  • 13 Judy’s Theme
  • 14-16 Under Milk Wood Overture (Incidental music to Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas)
  • 17 Belle Etoile (* First recording)
  • 18 Waltz in D Minor for Flute & Chamber Orchestra
  • 19 Prelude for Strings
  • 20-29 The Mission Chorales (* First recording of the original sketches written for the film The Mission)

And here’s a short background video featuring Craig Leon talking about how the project evolved:

We love the music of George Martin. See also:

Vale Sir George Martin

Produced by George Martin – New DVD/Blu-Ray

Produced by George Martin – Six CD Box Set

Legendary Abbey Road Studio Recording Console to be Auctioned

It is best known as the mixing desk used to record Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but this Abbey Road Studios EMI TG12345 MK IV Recording Console was also used by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr on various solo projects between 1971-1983: 

The TG12345 MK IV, formerly housed in the famous Abbey Road Studio 2, is now up for sale as “Lot 35” in an upcoming Bonhams Auction event featuring a wealth of collectable rock music items. The console comes with letters concerning its provenance, including one from Ken Townsend, Abbey Road Studio manager at the time and future Chairman. Townsend worked with The Beatles as an engineer on numerous albums over the years. There’s a great little film about him here.

The auction will take place in New York on March 27. Click here for more details.

There are Harrison and Beatle Turntables

There was a fair bit of interest last week in the George Harrison Pro-Ject Essential III turntable, announced in conjunction with the big vinyl box set out on 24 February. It will retail for £429.00:harrison-turntable-1harrison-turntable-2-2

However, there was less of a hullaballoo just last December when Pro-Ject also announced a similar Beatle-themed turntable – a decorated Debut Carbon Esprit SB retailing in the USA, only at Best Buy stores, for US$599.00 (that’s about £483.00):beatles-turntable-1beatles-turntable-2-2

The general consensus online is that the Beatle artwork used for this one is fairly drab. It’s meant to commemorate the historic 1964 U.S. tour, with ticket stubs from the legendary tour dotted across the plinth.

By the way, the Pro-Ject Essential III in non-Harrison form sells for a suggested retail price of £279.00, and you can read more about its features here.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB in non-Beatle form sells for around £449.00, and you can read more about its features here.

Eleven Early Yoko Ono Albums to be Reissued

Way back in March, 2014 we flagged that there was a thorough Yoko Ono solo reissue program in the pipeline and it was to include all of her early, long-out-of-print Apple and Zapple Record releases. Since that time it has gone decidedly quiet….

Now comes news that it is finally going to happen – and soon:

Chimera Music and the Secretly Canadian label, have just announced that eleven solo Yoko Ono titles will be coming out in three groups of releases over the next twelve months or so.

The first grouping of three reissues is due out on November 11 – on CD, on vinyl, and as digital downloads. First titles are:

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (originally issued on Apple in 1968):ono-unfinished-1

Bonus track on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Remember Love’.

Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (originally issued on Zapple in 1969):ono-unfinished-2

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Song for John’ and ‘Mulberry’.

Yoko Ono: Plastic Ono Band (originally issued on Apple in 1970):ono-plastic-ono-band

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be: ‘Open Your Box’, ‘Something More Abstract’, ‘The South Wind’, and the never-before-heard ‘Why (Extended Version)’.

The release project overs studio albums issued between 1968 and 1985 and will painstakingly reconstruct the original vinyl packaging, along with never-before-seen photos and ephemera (although from these two “bundle offer” pack shots on the Chimera site it looks like the record labels and CDs will depict grapefruits instead of Apple, and that the vinyl will be white and/or clear):ono-bundle-vinylono-bundle-cd

The audio is re-mastered from the original tapes by Greg Calbi and Sean Lennon. In addition to making the vinyl available for the first time in decades, each album will also be available digitally for the first time. The complete list of titles and release groupings is:

1st group:
Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
(1968)
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With Lions
(1969)
Plastic Ono Band
(1970)

2nd group:
Fly (1971)
Approximately Infinite Universe
(1973)
Feeling the Space
(1973)
A Story
(recorded in 1974, released as part of Ono Box in 1992)

3rd group:
Season of Glass
(1981)
It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)
(1982)
Starpeace
(1985)
Unfinished Music No. 3: Wedding Album
(1969)

Splinter – The Place I Love

One of our favourite places in Sydney to crate dig is Revolve Records and Relics, and it has come up with another Beatle-related treasure for the collection.

Splinter was one of the first bands signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse record label in 1974, and The Place I Love was their debut album:Splinter coverSplinter rear coverThey were a two-man band hailing from the town of South Shields in England. Bill Elliott and Bob Purvis wrote all their own material, were produced by George Harrison, and were joined on this album by Harrison (on guitar, mandolin, bass, harmonium and percussion and using the pseudonyms Hari Georgeson, P. Roducer and Jai Raj Harisein), as well as the likes of Klaus Voormann (bass), Billy Preston (organ), Jim Keltner (drums) and Gary Wright (piano).

The album was recorded at Harrison’s Friar Park home studio.

This is an Australian pressing. The cover is a gatefold, graced with a sepia-toned historic street scene of The London Hotel, taken in the late 1800’s in Splinter’s home town of South Shields.  Splinter gatefold

Here’s the LP’s ever-stylish Dark Horse label:Splinter label

There’s also a single sheet insert with the song lyrics printed on each side:

Splinter insert

And an inner bag made of heavy paper and stamped with the Dark Horse logo to hold the record:Splinter inner

Splinter’s Bill Elliot has another strong Beatle connection. John Lennon had earlier invited him to perform the song ‘God Save Us‘ with The Elastic Oz Band. Released as a 7″ single on Apple Records in the US in 1971. This was a protest song in support of the underground publication Oz magazine, then embroiled in the famous Oz obscenity court case.God Save Us