‘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.

A very Merry Christmas – from us to you

Wishing all our readers and followers the very best at this special time of year. Across 2020 we’ve shared our interest in collecting the Number 1 band in the world.

Despite these being very bleak times this has given us a lot of joy along the way.

To you and yours, stay safe. We wish you much happiness.

Here’s to a much brighter 2021!

Sneak Peek – ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ Movie

In the vacuum of the year-long delay surrounding Peter Jackson’s film The Beatles: Get Back, the director has given us something of a holiday treat by releasing this terrific sneak peek teaser:

The sound, colour and clarity are fantastic, as is the mood of joy depicted.

Now, Jackson is at pains to say that this is neither a trailer nor a completed sequence from the film, but rather something to give us a flavour of what to expect.

It’ll therefore be interesting to see how the finished product comes up, because anyone with enough footage (and Jackson has more than 56 hours of it!) can edit together just the fun moments and make it look like everything with the band was hunky dory. We know this was not the case and that they were getting on each other’s nerves for quite a lot of the time as well.

However, this teaser is such fun to watch. It’s great to see The Beatles clowning around and enjoying themselves. We just hope there’s not too much history being revised.

From the web: “Acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson has released an exclusive sneak peek of his upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back for fans everywhere to enjoy. The 5-minute special look is available to fans worldwide on TheBeatles.com and streaming on Disney+.

Jackson said, “We wanted to give the fans of The Beatles all over the world a holiday treat, so we put together this five-minute sneak peek at our upcoming theatrical film The Beatles: Get Back. We hope it will bring a smile to everyone’s faces and some much-needed joy at this difficult time.”

The feature-length film is set to open in theatres on August 27, 2021.

Can’t wait!

New Dylan Features George Harrison

More good news on the Beatle-related release front today. From the Super Deluxe Edition site:

“On 4 December this year, Sony ‘released’ 50th Anniversary Collection: 1970, a Bob Dylan collection that included all the out-takes from the New Morning and Self Portrait sessions that were not already available on The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait along with a legendary session with George Harrison.

This was put out in extremely limited quantities (in Europe only) and these kind of releases have happened for the last eight years and have become known as the ‘Copyright Collection’ series. Due to fan demand this 1970 set is now being made available in February for a full commercial release (albeit it’s still limited to some degree).

These are all the unreleased recordings from 1970, effectively. There are 74 tracks in total and nine of those feature George Harrison. In fact this commercial version includes two extra tracks that were “inadvertently left off the original release.

This three-CD set will be an eight-panel digi-pak and features notes by Michael Simmons. This is being released physically and for download only. It won’t be available via streaming.”

Bob Dylan: 1970 will be released on 26 February, 2021.

McCartney and Rick Rubin

Now this actually looks interesting.

Paul McCartney can be difficult to interview and get new and deeper insights from. He’s been interviewed and the subject of so many on-screen studies of his craft that he almost automatically falls back on a tried-and-true set of reactions and answers – and we (the audience) end up learning nothing new.

But chuck in a personality like veteran producer Rick Rubin – in what looks to be an in-depth, six-part examination of some of the greatest songs that McCartney has ever been involved with – and we might just have a classic on our hands.

McCartney has just teased on his website and YouTube channel “Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A Forthcoming Documentary Event. Coming Soon”

And it looks good:

The pairing of the two has been known about for some time, but there are scant other details as yet – not even where or when it will be shown. Rumour is it’ll be either Netflix or Apple TV+. Hence the interest in this 1’36 clip.

Deadline says the project is still untitled but it’s a six-parter, and that it marks “….the first time ever that the original masters have left Abbey Road”.

That claim is a little questionable as in 1982 the original master tapes of all 14 Beatle studio stereo albums left the EMI vaults at the Abbey Road Studios and were couriered to the Mobile Fidelity offices in California to produce this box set:

Suffice it to say, if that’s what’s happened again for this new doco, the original master tapes leaving the building nowadays is a very, VERY rare thing. A more likely scenario is that they’re using a digital copy.

Either way, it certainly looks from the footage released that Rubin and McCartney are listening to original recordings, isolating various tracks on the mixing desk, and discussing in detail the making of classics like ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. This will be fascinating because the legendary producer knows his stuff and will hopefully push for detail and stories that haven’t ever been told before. Fingers crossed.

McCartney III – There’ll be a Cassette

Had to happen I guess. Paul McCartney can be fond of anachronistic formats.

It’s just been announced that there’ll be a cassette edition of his forthcoming McCartney III solo album. It’s due, along with the nine (and counting) coloured vinyl editions, plus two CD versions, on December 11:He did this for his last studio release, Egypt Station, and for a Record Store Day rarity ‘demos’ cassette at the time of the Flowers in the Dirt Archive Collection release.

 

McCartney III – And Here’s Another Clue for You All

Seems Capitol Records is mailing this little promotional item out to random fans:

This didn’t come to us but to one of our Instagram followers who lives in the United States. They say they’re just a regular fan and have no idea why they were sent this promotional item. Interesting!

Like us they’ve been reading the speculation that an announcement is due anytime, that there’ll be a teaser track released to go with the announcement, and that the likely release date for McCartney III is Friday, 11 December.

Added to this is the previously dormant ‘holder’ webpage for the as-yet un-announced McCartney III. It is slowly springing to life, playing once again on the pervasive dice motif.

If you go to dice.mccartneyiii.com you’ll land on a page that takes you through to a VR dice image you can manipulate and have fun with – if you have an iPhone or iPad. There’ll no doubt be more on this unique site shortly.

Meeting The Beatles In India – Film Release

Meeting The Beatles In India, the film we told you was in production way back in 2018, is finally set for its world premiere next month.

Meeting The Beatles In India is a documentary about The Beatles‘ historic 1968 trip to study Transcendental Meditation (TM) at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram retreat in Rishikesh. It was here the band immersed themselves further in the Maharishi’s teachings, and where they wrote so many of the songs that would appear on their next LP, The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album).

The film tells the story of a young man named Paul Saltzman, an American photographer on his own journey toward spiritual enlightenment who just happened to arrive at the ashram at the very same time as The Beatles.

Saltzman interacted with the band, watched as they composed, and took many of the now-famous photos from the time, including this iconic image featuring the band, their wives and girlfriends, Beach Boy Mike Love, Donovan, Mia Farrow, her sister Prudence, and others:

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Meeting The Beatles In India features more than 40 previously unseen photos from Saltzman’s stay in India. There are interviews with others who were at the retreat too, including Pattie Boyd (former wife of George Harrison), her sister Jenny Boyd, and the man about whom John Lennon wrote the song ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill’.

The movie also sees Saltzman discussing Transcendental Meditation with Twin Peaks director David Lynch (a huge advocate for TM), and footage of Saltzman paying a present-day visit to the now-abandoned ashram. He’s accompanied by the highly respected  Beatle historian Mark Lewisohn.

Meeting The Beatles In India has its virtual world premiere online on September 9 via the Gathr Films website.

The Famous Q Magazine Comes to an End

It was sad to read last week that after 34 years the influential and very readable Q magazine has shut up shop for good. Here’s the cover of the last-ever edition:. Editor Ted Kessler said in a tweet: “The pandemic did for us, and there was nothing more to it than that.” In an editor’s letter in the final issue he writes: “We’ve been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head above water in an extremely challenging print market. Covid-19 wiped all that out. I must apologise profusely for my failure to keep Q afloat.”

The magazine’s circulation had fallen to 28,000 per month from a peak of 200,000 in 2001.

Q was founded in 1986 by Smash Hits writers Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. It arrived at the same time as the CD revolution took off – and its glossy, aspirational format chimed perfectly with the times.

Over those 34 years Q, like many other music magazines, has had its fair share of Beatles on the cover. They are, and remain, a way to sell more copies – just take the latest edition of British GQ magazine that has Paul McCartney front and centre – including an extensive new interview:

In a trip down memory lane, here are a few favourite Q magazine Beatle-inspired covers from over the years. Turns out McCartney graced the very first Q :

He became a fairly frequent visitor:

As was John Lennon on many an occasion: As they did above, sometimes Q would produce multiple versions of a cover to make a particular commemorative edition more collectable – like this series for Lennon’s 70th birthdate:

The Beatles as a band were not all that frequently seen, though certainly written about often:

This image of John and Paul is memorable:

As are these two of Paul, firstly with his Hofner bass: And then as a mystery man:
So, fare-thee-well Q mag. You’ll be missed. It’s been mighty real over the last 34 years. Sad to see yet another casualty of COVID-19. The shockwaves of this thing continue to ripple outwards.

McCartney Flaming Pie – Rare Tracks For Download [UPDATE]

As he’s done a number of times in the past Paul McCartney, in the lead-up to the deluxe Archive Collection box set re-issues of Flaming Pie next week, has begun to release a few ‘teaser’ rare tracks.

These are tracks that won’t be included in the forthcoming box sets. The only way to get them is to sign up and download them from his official site.

Today sees the release of three free songs on the download site: ‘Somedays [Without Orchestra]’, ‘Beautiful Night [1986]’ – which is in its original 1986 mix version, and ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’.

‘Beautiful Night [1986]’ will be on the Deluxe Box Set and the Collector’s Edition of Flaming Pie, but it will be embedded in a longer track called ‘Oobu Joobu – Part 5’. (‘Oobu Joobu’ is a series of short radio-like shows made in 1997 to promote Flaming Pie. These were included on maxi CD’s that came out featuring singles from the record). All six episodes of ‘Oobu Joobu’ are included on the bigger box sets, but on the McCartney site you can now download all 6 minutes and 10 seconds of ‘Beautiful Night [1986]’ as a stand-alone track.

The download-only version of ‘Somedays’ is minus the beautiful 14-piece string ensemble orchestration by Sir George Martin but it’s great to hear it in this more embryonic form. This version won’t be included on any of the forthcoming box sets.

Nor will ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’, which is an alternative acoustic version of ‘Calico Skies’, part of which is featured during the In The World Tonight documentary.

Moving away from the official McCartney download site, if you visit Rolling Stone magazine they’ve been given an exclusive instrumental version of a song from the Flaming Pie sessions called ‘Broomstick’. The original with vocal (also a rarity) was previously only available on the B-side to the ‘Young Boy’ single. This one, which does not appear in the new box set, is an all-acoustic instrumental backing track jam that features just McCartney and Steve Miller, who plays guitar. This instrumental version also lacks the sound effects that closed out the vocal version.

Finally, according to those who have received their Flaming Pie Deluxe Box sets (ours is still to arrive so we can’t confirm), there are at least two “Easter Eggs” or hidden tracks on a couple of the discs.

On CD 2 – the Home Recordings disc – after the final track ‘Great Day’ make sure you don’t stop your CD player. Let it keep playing and an additional 30-second instrumental of the song will play.

Likewise, on CD 3 – the In The Studio disc – after the “rude cassette” version of ‘Heaven On a Sunday’ there’s a period of silence followed by about a minute and a half of Paul and Ringo vamping on the track ‘Beautiful Night’.