Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years That Shook the World

Got the chance on the weekend to visit Melbourne Museum and the second-to-last day of a significant exhibition (mounted in conjunction with The Victoria and Albert Museum in London) called Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years That Shook the World.

This extensive collection explores five explosive years between 1966–1970, focussing on the immense cultural shifts being experienced around the world by a liberated, post-war generation coming of age. It’s the 60s we’ve heard about brought to life with a massive amount of memorabilia, fashion, books, art, posters and music.

And of course, The Beatles are scattered liberally throughout.

The project highlights many of the key subject areas that shaped the late 60s: revolution, fashion, drugs, sub-cultures, human rights, feminism, war, protests, consumerism, festivals… all the while set against an awesome rock & roll soundtrack of the time.

On display are some iconic Beatle items, including original posters advertising their albums:

Beside this poster for the album Revolver (above – eye reflections are in the glass) is another one called ‘A is For Apple’, designed by the Dutch artists The Fool whose psychedelic and colourful work was highly influential on The Beatles. This poster promoted the band’s short-lived Apple Boutique on Baker Street in London:

Also on display were John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’:

And the brocade frock coat he wore while filming the historic 1967 Our World broadcast of the Beatles song ‘All You Need Is Love’:

Of course Lennon’s original  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band uniform drew a big crowd:

There were also two original, hand-lettered Hair Peace and Bed Peace signs from 1969 and the ‘Bed-In For Peace’ events held by John Lennon and his newly-married bride Yoko Ono. The one in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada was where they recorded ‘Give Peace a Chance’ with Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and others. These two come from the collection of Yoko Ono:

Another item from her collection is this notepad sheet from the The New York Hilton containing hand-written lyrics to Lennon’s ‘Imagine’:

And just across from it, the jacket that John wore when filming the song at the white piano in the couple’s lounge room in their Tittenhurst Park estate:

All images from Revolutions: Records + Rebels – Five Years that Shook the World. The exhibition at the Melbourne Musum in Victoria, Australia was extended by popular demand from its original closing date of Sunday, August 25 to Sunday, October 6.

“Come Together” TV Campaign for the City of Brisbane

Oh dear.

I’m getting onto this story a little late because it came to light last month, but the Australian state of Queensland is running an advertising campaign using a cover version of the Beatles “Come Together” to win tourist visitors back to their flood-ravaged capital city of Brisbane.

In January Brisbane, along with most of Queensland, suffered through devastating floods and has seen a real downturn in tourist visitors as a result. The state and the city need to get back on their feet. But really – why spoil “Come Together”? I don’t know about you, but I really hate to hear Beatles songs used in this way. In fact I hate hearing any song I really like bastardised by advertising agencies to sell any product.

Another Australian example from a couple of years ago that really grated (and I suspect this was used globally) was the use of the classic Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to sell Cadbury chocolate. It just belittled this song for everyone for evermore:

Thanks for nothing, Cadbury. You spoiled a really great song.

The Brisbane version of “Come Together” was recorded by two local bands Hungry Kids of Hungary and Ball Park Music. Its not the first time Beatles music has been used in advertising. Probably the most celebrated example was from back in 1987 when Nike used the actual track (not a cover version) of “Revolution“. When it got to court Apple and the Beatles’ attorneys argued that “…the Beatles position is that they don’t sing jingles to peddle sneakers, beer, pantyhose or anything else. Their position is that they wrote and recorded these songs as artists and not as pitchmen for any product.”

I’d be interested to hear what you think. Does the use of Beatle tracks (or any great popular music for that matter) to sell or promote product get on your nerves?

Let me know.