Martin Scorsese Exhibition – George Harrison Documentary

Scorsese Sign2The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia is currently hosting a massive exhibit featuring the work of legendary film director Martin Scorsese.

Scorsese of course was responsible for George Harrison: Living in the Material World, the 2011 landmark documentary on the life and work of George Harrison.george-harrison

In the exhibition, which we visited last week, there’s a section on Scorsese’s love of music and the numerous documentaries he’s made over time including The Last Waltz (from 1978 detailing The Band’s last ever concert); No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (his 2005 documentary on Dylan’s early years); and Shine A Light (a 2008 concert film featuring the Rolling Stones live at the Beacon Theatre in New York).

Playing on a large screen within the exhibition are extracts from George Harrison: Living in the Material WorldScorsese Screen Shot2 Scorsese Scree Shot1

The Scorsese exhibition runs at ACMI until September 18. It’s well worth a look.Scorsese Sign (1)

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 2

OK. In Part One I detailed the four main record stores I was able to visit while in San Fran.

Now some detail on what I found and brought home to join the collection. Firstly, the vinyl.

At Rasputin Music on Powell (near Union Square) I found a very clean copy of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World. It was a US pressing I didn’t have – a budget re-issue on the green Capitol label:LITMW1LITMW2LITMW3As you can see, it’s a nice clean copy and the vinyl is mint.

Also at Rasputin there were two Ringo Starr LP’s I liked the look of and they were both very reasonably priced. I have Australian pressings of both of these, but good US copies like these were a welcome addition to the collection. They are both on the Apple label and original throughout. This gatefold copy of Ringo (1973) was complete with its book of lyrics and wonderful line drawings by Klaus Voormann (who also played bass on the album):  Ringo 1Ringo 2Ringo 3

The Fab 4 Free 4 All Beatle podcast recently reviewed the Ringo album and raved about it (see episode 60, “Ringo” – Analysis and Review). Also at Rasputin was a copy of Ringo’s Blast From Your Past which came with the original inner sleeve of photos on one side and lyrics on the other:Blast 1Blast 2Blast 3

Later in the week I got over to the Haight-Ashbury district were there were three stores in close proximity (Recycled, Rasputin and Amoeba – all on Haight Street).

The first I visited was Recycled Records. They had some vintage Beatles LP’s, but to be honest they were fairly expensive….and so I concentrated on the Beatles as solo artists. I’ve always been keen on collecting variations of Paul McCartney’s “Russian” album called Choba B CCCP. Well, Recycled was a bit of a treasure trove as they have numerous copies in their bins and tucked away underneath on shelves. There were thirty to forty copies in all, and so I set about identifying some versions I didn’t have. There are so many variations of this particular record because it came out firstly as an 11-track album, followed later by a 13-track version. And they were pressed in about six different Russian pressing plants, each with its own label styles and variations (sometimes subtle) within those labels. I turned up four distinct copies I wanted, and they were all very reasonably priced (between US$6.00-$10.00 each). There was one 11-track version (from the Aprelevka pressing plant), two 13-track versions (Tbilisi plant and Riga plant), and one “hybrid” that had an 11-track cover but a 13-track LP inside (which I didn’t realise until I got home). Both the cover and LP are from the same factory (the Riga plant) so I’m not sure if this is legit or just a mistake….

CHOBA B CCCP 1

The rear cover of the 11-track version is identified by its yellow colour:

CHOBA B CCCP 2

However, this one has a 13-track LP inside – on a plain white Melodyia Records label, made at the Riga pressing plant where the cover was made too:CHOBA B CCCP 3

So. A mystery there. If anyone knows if any other copies like this exist let me know. These are the labels from the other copies of Choba B CCCP purchased at Recycled:

CHOBA B CCCP 5

CHOBA B CCCP 7CHOBA B CCCP 9Of course for the full detail on all Russian Beatle and Beatle-related vinyl releases you need to visit this one, fantastic central repository.

Further down Haight Street is another Rasputin Music store and so I ducked in for a look. No vintage Beatles here, but lots of copies of the latest remastered vinyl at good prices. I did find an interesting re-issue copy of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace in Toronto LP however, complete with a reproduction of the 1970 calendar which was included with original copies. It is brand new, still sealed, looked like a good buy and so I got it:

Plastic Ono 1Plastic Ono 2I think this re-issue was released in 2012 through a company called Hi Horse Records (which is a subsidiary of City Hall Records). It’s on the original Apple label and has the same SW 3362 catalogue number. If anyone has any other info on this one it would be very welcome. Please drop us a line.

Then it was on to Amoeba Music’s Haight Street store – which is an enormous warehouse of a building with thousands of LP’s, CD’s and books…however, not a lot of vintage Beatles on display here either, but two very good vinyl buys none-the-less. The first was Paul McCartney’s first solo LP simply called McCartney. It is a US copy, a re-issue in very good condition and on the black Capitol label:McCartney 1McCartney 2

And last but not least a really nice copy – practically mint throughout – of George Harrison’s The Concert for Bangladesh. I already have an Australian and an unusual South African pressing of this, but have been on the lookout for a good UK copy, and of course a US example as well, which is what we have here. Amoeba had this priced at just US$14.99, which for a triple album set in such excellent condition was an absolute bargain. It came with a mint copy of the original 64-page book, and all the LPs were housed in their original brown paper inner sleeves:Bangladesh 1Bangladesh 2Bangladesh 3Bangladesh 4

So, that was a quick summary of the vinyl found in four San Francisco record stores during a short visit there last week. Next time a look at the CD’s and DVD’s I found and added to the collection.

George Harrison and Hamilton Island

Apologies for the long delay in posting anything on Beatlesblogger but I’m on vacation.

As it happens I’m on a resort island off the coast of Australia – and funnily enough there is actually a Beatles connection to this place.

I’m sitting on beautiful Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island off the Queensland coast and it occurs to me (dredged from somewhere deep in the back of my mind) that George and Olivia Harrison once had a luxury holiday home on this very island….and here it is:

Harrison House 1

Harrison House 2A quick search on Google confirmed that vague memory and led me to this comprehensive article in Architectural Digest outlining the full story of how George ended up owning a little piece of Australia. The article is penned by writer and Harrison family friend Paul Theroux – who contributed the Introduction to the book “Living in the Material World“, and whose work also appears in the very limited (and expensive) Genesis Publications anniversary book about the “Concert for George“. George and Olivia2The Harrison home was sold in 2008, apparently for $8 million – setting a new sales record for the island at that time. I just wish George was still around to enjoy this very beautiful part of the world….

You can see a Google Map satellite image of the house here.

George Harrison “Living in the Material World” – Winners Announced

We have two winners for the recent “Living in the Material World” competition.

The question was: “Olivia Harrison gave Martin Scorsese complete access to the Harrison family archives, including pictures, home videos, etc.  Martin Scorsese was on location filming another project when a security guard flew in from London with George Harrison’s diaries for him to view. In which city was he in, and which film was Scorsese making at the time?”

The correct answer:  He was in Boston, Massachusetts directing his 2010 film “Shutter Island“.

And our winners are Zachary Whitbeck from San Antonio, Texas (who will receive a copy of the “Living in the Material World” 2-disc DVD, and Ian Gray from Durham City, England (who gets a copy of the CD “Early Takes – Volume 1).  Congratulations!

Here’s what Zach and Ian will soon be opening in the post:

Thank you to everyone who entered. And thanks again to Universal Music Enterprises and Sneak Attack Media for providing the prizes.

“Living in the Material World” – Win a DVD or CD

The DVD, BluRay and a Deluxe box set edition of Martin Scorsese’s “Living in the Material World”, which have been previously released in the UK and other parts of the world, have only just come onto the market in the United States. Here’s Martin Scorsese talking about his film:

Also out on May 1st was a new CD, Vinyl (and Digital download) of previously unreleased George Harrison out-takes and studio demos featured in “Living In The Material World”.  It’s called “Early Takes – Volume 1“:

Now – here’s your chance to win either a DVD of “Living in the Material World” or the new CD “Early Takes – Volume 1”.  To be in the running to win all you have to do is be the first person to email me at beatlesblogger.gmail.com with the correct answer to this question:

Olivia Harrison gave Martin Scorsese complete access to the Harrison family archives, including pictures (like the ones above and below), home videos, etc.  Scorsese was on location filming another project when a security guard flew in from London with George Harrison’s diaries for him to view. In which city was he in, and which film was Scorsese making at the time?

Its a little bit tricky – but the answer is not far away.

The first two correct entries sent to my email address above will win. One person will get the new DVD, the next correct answer will win the new CD.

Thank you to Universal Music Enterprises and Sneak Attack Media for providing the prizes.

George Harrison “Living in the Material World” Multi-Touch book

Not one but two press releases out today (one from The Beatles official site, the other from the George Harrison official site) about a new “multi-touch” e-book edition of “Living in the Material World”.

There’s even a fancy trailer to look at:

This all comes hot on the heals of the release in the United States on DVD, BluRay and a Deluxe box set edition (which have all been out in the UK and other parts of the world since October last year) of the Martin Scorsese documentary film of the same name, plus a CD, Vinyl and Digital release of George Harrison previously un-released out-takes called “Early Takes – Volume 1“.

Another screenshot from the “multi-touch” edition.

Very soon I’ll have a copy of the DVD and a copy of the CD to give away to two lucky readers. 

Harrison – Early Takes Vol. 1

As reported on the Beatles Examiner, Wogblog and The Second Disc sites, Martin Scorsese’s spectacular documentary “Living in the Material World” (on the life and times of George Harrison) is about to be released on BluRay and DVD for the first time in the USA:

While that’s of course worthy of note (the film has been available in other markets since October last year), the BIGGER news is that the limited edition music CD only previously available if you purchased the expensive Deluxe Box Set of “Living the Material World”, is soon to be released as a single, stand-alone CD:

Not only that, for us mad vinyl collectors it will also be released in vinyl:

Both the CD and vinyl are to be released on the Hip-O Records label, part of the Universal Music stable. They’re the company that released Ringo Starr’s latest CD’s. The Harrison discs will contain previously unavailable demos and, as the title suggests, “early takes” of these ten songs:

  1. My Sweet Lord (demo) 3:33
  2. Run Of The Mill (demo) 1:56
  3. I’d Have You Any Time (early take) 3:06
  4. Mama You’ve Been On My Mind (demo) 3:04
  5. Let It Be Me (demo) 2:56
  6. Woman Don’t You Cry For Me (early take) 2:44
  7. Awaiting On You All (early take) 2:40
  8. Behind That Locked Door (demo) 3:29
  9. All Things Must Pass (demo) 4:38
  10. The Light That Has Lighted The World (demo) 2:23

The other good thing is that the disc is sub-titled “Volume 1” – which suggests that there may just be others in the series……

A New Beatles Documentary in the works?

Will 2012 be the year that renowned Indian-born filmmaker Mira Nair’s documentary film about the Beatles time at Rishikesh finally gets a release?

It’s certainly a great idea for a documentary, and if anyone could pull it off it is Nair.

Known primarily for her popular and successful feature films (Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Vanity Fair, The Namesake), she has for the past thirty years also been forging a parallel career making short films, both fiction (Migration, How Can It Be?, The Day the Mercedes Became a Hat) and documentaries (So Far from India, India Cabaret, The Laughing Club of India).

Nair has been talking about making a documentary on the connection between the Beatles and her country India since about 2006. But so far it’s failed to see the light of day. Here’s a response to a question she got about it back in 2009:

Have you ever wanted to make a documentary feature?  Yes, a feature documentary on the Beatles in India. The Beatles wrote twenty-three songs when they went to the Maharishi’s ashram in 1968. And I think the impact of India on the Beatles and vice versa would make for a very cool film. I went to the ashram myself and photographed it—it’s all abandoned. I made a very evocative photo portrait of what is there now. So I mixed that with archival footage and made a twenty-minute piece, to let the producers preview it. The producers couldn’t get the rights to the songs, but we have to keep trying. One day I really hope to do it.  (from The Criterion Collection)

Things have been a bit quiet since, but could the recent focus on George Harrison and his spiritual journey be a new catalyst? The Martin Scorsese documentary “Living In The Material World” certainly has the influence of India on George as a central theme….

I got an email from fellow blogger Beatlindia quoting another 2009 article which appeared in the Sunday Pioneer newspaper in New Delhi. That article has since been republished elsewhere on the web, prompting speculation that Mira Nair’s film may be closer than we think:

Renowned film director Mira Nair is making a film on The Beatles and their inspirational stay at Rishikesh to learn transcendental meditation. The 90-minute “docu-feature” will capture the band’s experiences at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, which led many celebrities and youngsters to travel to the East in search of peace.

Rishikesh lies in the Doon Valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, some 200 kilometres from the Indian capital of New Delhi. It’s just near the city of Dehradun, which is the subject of a song written by George Harrison and recorded by the Beatles – but never released. Sharad Kukreti, a Doon Valley-based IT professional, produced a short video film using the song as the soundtrack to various sights and scenes of the city:

The article continues:

For the Beatles, their stay in India was said to be their most creative period. When they were in Rishikesh (for several weeks in February, March and April of 1968), they wrote many songs, most of which were included in their White Album, one of their best known. “Dehra Dun” missed getting included in the album. This song is seen now as a rare gem of the Beatles. With their iconic long hair and necklaces of marigolds, The Beatles came to the ashram when they were at the height of their fame. They were looking for an escape from the pressures that came along with the fame. “It was through one of my neighbours that I could get this rare song,” says Kukreti. The video made by Kukreti matches the words of the songs and captures the beauty and tranquility of the valley. However, it is this beauty and calm that the city is fast losing and one wonders whether the Beatles could have been inspired to write a song had they visited it in this day and age. “The song captures the past simplicity of the valley and is very special for Doon’ites, especially those who have seen the days when the Beatles came here,” Kukreti says. He has placed the clip on the net and has received a lot of appreciation for it. “The nostalgia in this song and the fact that it was sung by Harrison makes it unique and I feel it should be highlighted more,” he says.

I hope Mira Nair keeps plugging away at her film project.

The Beatles with Records – Part Six

Some further photographs of the Beatles being photographed with records have been sent in – and so it’s time to add a Part Six to the series.

These photographs are all great and they come from Claude Defer, co-author of a recent book about all the French Beatles record releases. Claude’s first pic is of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine in the back of a limo and for some reason they have with them a copy of John and Yoko’s rather controversial 1968 release Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins. Paul might simply be re-acquainting himself with the quote he provided for the cover of the album: “When two great saints meet it is a humbling experience. The long battles to prove he was a Saint“….

As you can see below, John also quotes Genesis 2: 21-25:

Of course there are lots of photos available of the Beatles being presented with gold records in honour of their huge sales – but in this one for his work on Band on the Run with his new band Wings, Paul looks particularly pleased:

In this series on the Beatles with records we’ve had a lot of hastily-taken fan photographs sent in. These have been when the band members have stopped to talk and to autograph copies of their LPs and singles for waiting fans. This is another one of those, this time with John Lennon signing a copy of the single ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’:

In the recent Martin Scorsese documentary on the life and times of George Harrison (called Living in the Material World) there’s a fantastic photograph featured of George holding up a copy of All Things Must Pass, his 1970 triple-LP box set. I remember sitting in the cinema watching the film and thinking “Hmmm. Must get that photograph and upload it to the Beatles with Records series!”

Well, Claude Defer found it and sent it in:

Finally, a fairly early publicity photograph of the Beatles in front of a display of some of their  releases, including A Hard Days Night, Please Please Me and With the Beatles:

If you have any other photographs you’d like to share please send them to: beatlesblogger@gmail.com

Oh, and I almost forgot…..of course there’s also this video of John and Yoko putting their Plastic Ono Band Live Peace in Toronto 1969 onto the turntable and playing it. It’s only the very first couple of seconds of this YouTube video I originally posted here – but it’s worth it:

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 123478910111213141516 and 17.

Here Comes the Sun – New Guitar Solo

There is a great little video from the deluxe materials included with the “Living in the Material World” DVD and BluRay sets. It features George Martin, Giles Martin and Dhani Harrison (George and Olivia’s son) filmed at the mixing desk listening back to the Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” – complete with a previously unheard guitar solo from the song which never made the final mix. Nice.