New Klaus Voormann Book – Revolver 50

Klaus Voormann has a new book due for release in the first week of August called Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50.

It celebrates the background story to his now classic front cover design for the Beatles Revolver LP, released on the 5th of August, 1966.

His book, done in a graphic novel style, tells the story from his perspective as a musician and artist who was called by upon by the Beatles, then nearing the height of their fame, to come up with something special, something new, different and lasting.To say he was put under pressure is something of an understatement.Rev 50 Cover Resize

It looks like it’d be a really interesting read.

Pre-orders for The Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50, which will be hand-signed by Klaus Voormann, 
have a pre-sale price 46 Euro (+ shipping & handling costs).

“…it is good for me to see the other side of a story I know so well and to realize aspects like the sheer panic that Klaus must have felt at being asked to do our album cover. In the end, the Revolver cover was a classic and this book is another.”  Sir Paul McCartney

“…your Revolver book – it brought back such great memories – even farther back than Revolver…I hope it sells a million copies!…the Revolver cover was incredible and perfect for that album.” – Ringo StarrRev 50 Page 2 ResizeRev 50 Page 5 ResizeRevolver

The Beatles: A 5 Minute Drum Chronology

This is worth checking out. The drummer is Kye Smith:

It’s filmed on a rooftop in Newcastle, Australia. Most probably the roof of The Great Northern Hotel on the corner of Scott and Watt Streets.

It illustrates that Kye is a talented drummer, but also (as one person points out in the comments section) that Ringo Starr created memorable, catchy, inventive drum fills and riffs for almost every song he recorded. It’s not so much about style as about musicality, rather than simply providing a backbeat.

We also like the nice touch of the record sleeve images to illustrate the origins of each song.

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

Ringo’s “Octopus’s Garden” Children’s Book

Seems to be a steadily rising number of Beatle children’s books about. If you have young ones or you just appreciate the child-like qualities of kids books, they’re nice to have.

The latest is a picture book illustrating Ringo Starr’s song ‘Octopus’s Garden’:

Octopus's Garden Book

Octopus’s Garden is published by Simon and Schuster and beautifully illustrated by British children’s book illustrator Ben Cort. It’s a large-format, hardback book with really nice pictures to accompany the printed lyrics to the song:octopus-garden-interior-1024x593

There’s also a CD included with four tracks. Track 1 is a short spoken endorsement from Ringo; Track 2 is a new recording of ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (with Ringo providing the vocal); Track 3 has Ringo reading the story (without music); and finally an instrumental version for you or your child to sing along with:octopus's garden 2Here’s a little promo video with more of a taste of what you get:

See also Real Love: The Drawings for Sean from 1999.

A Big Pile of Beatle Sheet Music Rediscovered

We were digging around in a cupboard the other day and came across a long-forgotten stash of Beatle sheet music collected from a variety of places over the years. Thought you might like to see the front covers. Most are printed and published for the Australia/New Zealand market. Some are books with numerous songs, others are single titles. As you’ll see, they’re in far from pristine condition, but interesting none-the-less.

Here they are in (roughly) chronological order:  Hard Days NightMMTApple Song BookBallad of J&YCome TogetherMy Sweet LordIsn't It A PityIt Don't Come EasyAnother DayImagineMull of KintyreColourful Beatles20 Greatest1967-19701962-1966 (1)1967-1970 (1)Past Masters

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Eight

Quite a few more photos of the Beatles holding or working with records have come in so it is time for a further instalment of our series The Beatles With Records.

The Liverpool Echo news site is reporting that the stereo radiogram shown in this picture of Ringo Starr and wife Maureen is up for auction:ringo_starr_montagu_square_flat_hendrix_lennonMaureen is shown sitting on the custom-built record player and radio which was built for the couple when they lived at 34 Montagu Square, London in 1965. It was a quality piece for the time with a Garrard turntable, a British Leak valve amplifier, and an Armstrong tuner with twin speakers. Also in the photo are at least four Beatle gold records, plus a shelf stacked with LPs of various kinds.

According to the Echo, Ringo gave the radiogram to his Auntie Everley and Uncle Jim at 59 Madrin Street, Liverpool, which was Ringo`s Grandad`s house. It has been in his Aunt’s possession since 1966 and has just surfaced after almost 50 years:photo-35JPGThe radiogram is just one of the lots in the Liverpool Beatles memorabilia Auction to be held in the Paul McCartney Auditorium there on August 29. We first featured the photo of Ringo and Maureen at home back in The Beatles With Records – Part Two.

Speaking of Liverpool, here is a cool photograph taken outside Brian Epstein’s NEMS Music Store:NEMS

Lots of records in the front window – and the arrow points to one record cover that may give a hint as to the date. It is Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, which came out in January, 1964:NEMS DYLAN

Lots of other LPs and EPS there in the window. Anyone else recognise anything? (The image was kindly sent through by Billy Shears at the SgtPepperChannel on YouTube).

Back in The Beatles With Records Part Twenty Five we showed a photograph of George Harrison with the Radha Krsna Temple and an Apple single they’d released (and he produced) called ‘Govinda’.

Here they are together again – this time in 1970 – and one member is holding another single of their Apple singles, ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’:George-Harrison-and-Hare-Krishna-Devotees-in-1970George Harrison Radha KrsnaGeorge Harrison Hare Krishna Mantra

(Again, thanks to Billy Shears for sending through those images).

The topic of George Harrison brings us to model Patti Boyd, who later became his wife. Before they were married she featured in a number of photo shoots with Beatle records. Here’s another. This time Patti is holding a UK mono copy of With The Beatles, from 1963:

Patti BoydPatti Boyd2with_the_beatles

And we’ve just had the anniversary (on August 11) of John Lennon apologising to the American people for his “the Beatles are bigger than Jesus” comment. It led to some very odd and sad scenes of LPs and singles being publicly destroyed, these ones below live on air on radio….Beatles Albums Destroyedbeatles-us-albums-hard-days-630-80 (1)Beatles Something new

Jumping ahead in time, here’s Lennon at home with what looks like an acetate or test pressing in front of him (on the bed, lower right). Impossible to tell what it might be though: lennon with acetateAnd John Lennon again, this time in what looks like a U.S. radio station studio with DJ Scott Muni:

lennon with dj

This image looks very much like another photo from the same day, taken at the radio station WNEW-FM in New York. John was on the publicity trail for his album Rock’n’Roll. The two men are wearing the same clothing (Lennon a tee-shirt, and Muni a shirt and light coloured knitted sweater). You can see this photo in The Beatles With Records – Part Three:wnew-fmlennon_rockbAnd to finish a video of Paul McCartney, performing live at the famous Amoeba Music record store in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Here Paul is literally surrounded by vinyl and CD’s in the hundreds and thousands:Paul Amoeba 2Paul Amoeba

Just two obvious cover shots from the posters on the wall behind him…..You will no doubt spot a lot more:BowieHendrix

And here is the full video:

Check out all the posts in this series here.

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Seven

Well, it’s been quite a while since we had a Beatles With Records post. In between time quite a number of new photographs have been found and submitted by keen Beatles Blog readers – especially Billy Shears, Lammert, and Andrey.

It’s going to be a reasonably big one. So, where to begin? Probably roughly chronologically would be best, starting with Dick Rowe, the Decca A&R man credited (wrongly as it turns out) with rejecting the Beatles at their audition for Decca Records in January, 1962:Dick Rowe

Some of the albums on his wall include A Taste of Tijuana by The Mexicans:

Tijuana2

Lulu’s Something to Shout About:Lulu Something

The Fortunes:The-Fortunes-The-Fortunes-351396

And Marianne Faithful’s North Country Maid:Marianne-Faithfull-North-Country-Mai-451002

But here’s the band that Decca missed out on:

rec teen5

It is a very youthful looking group on the front cover of the pop magazine Teen Screen. Notice the big “scoop”: WHY THE BEATLES ARE BREAKING UP!…..

There’s a bunch of records on the wall behind them, but they’re holding up with pride a copy of their then-new LP Please Please Me:PleasePleaseMe_1

You can see a slightly larger and clearer image of that front cover photo in The Beatles with Records Part Two.

And here is the band out promoting that same album:Beatles-17460-1024x768The Beatles were soon to star in their first full-length movie A Hard Day’s Night, and from that film comes these screenshots of one of their co-stars, Wilfrid Bramble. Bramble played Paul McCartney’s grandfather, “a clean old man” who none-the-less is taking a rather keen interest in this very sexy record cover:

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.34Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.25Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.47.07White SatinGeorge Shearing’s White Satin LP came out in 1960….

In previous posts we’ve had photographs of various members of the band actually playing records. Here’s another, this time George with an unidentified stack of 45’s:rec g2

The Beatles were big in France, and there were unique covers produced in that country for their LPs, EPs and singles. Here they are stuck in a lift and signing a copy of the French EP Eight Days a Week:

22-06-1965france_les_beatles_1965_epThe Eight Days a Week EP (from 1965) above also featured in The Beatles With Records Part Five.

Onto the Beatles solo now and another interesting photo. These two were taken at John and Yoko’s historic “Bed-In For Peace” in Amsterdam on 30 March, 1969. Clearly the album on the bed is an early pressing of Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions, which was to be released just two months later in May, 1969:

beatles with records LennonLife with the Lions 1Life-with-the-lions-front-cover1

Sticking with John Lennon and his album Rock ‘n’ Roll from 1975. It has a brilliant cover image taken way back in the Beatles Hamburg days by this man, photographer Jürgen Vollmer:

Jurgen VollmerRock n Roll LennonJumping ahead now to the year 1990, and a charity album called Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. This compilation contained two Beatle-related tracks. One is by the Traveling Wilburys (“Nobody’s Child”), and the other a duet by Paul Simon and George Harrison of the Simon composition “Homeward Bound”. It was recorded during a performance on Saturday Night Live in 1976. George and his wife Olivia got behind publicising the release and here are two different photographs of them holding copies of the vinyl edition: Nobody's child LP37Nobodys_Child_Romanian_Angel_Appeal_cover

Next a 1992 launch party for Ringo Starr’s Time Takes Time CD. Ringo does’t look all that pleased about the lady thrusting a Russian pressing of the Beatles LP Help! into his hands for him to sign….

1992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349471992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168843241992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168814671992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349731992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 116885246Russian HelpRussian Help2(Turns out that lady is the famous TV sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Quite a few readers have contacted us and identified her – so thanks).

You can read all about the many variations for the Russia-only LP Dr Ruth has here.

And lastly here’s Paul McCartney holding a copy of the CD booklet for his 2006 classical music release, Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart) [see also The Beatles With Records Part Seventeen]:

11080899_838241276248646_2732204973016383007_npaul-mccartney-ecce-cor-meum

If you are interested in seeing more of the Beatles With Records check out the past twenty six instalments.  More soon!

Ringo Starr – Postcards From Paradise

Our CD copy of Ringo’s Postcards From Paradise has finally arrived. Apparently Australia Post has recently installed new automated machines which sort packages – and they are not going well…..

It has cost A$500 million to install the new system, but since then over 20% of parcels are being delivered to the wrong address! I’m blaming this on the length of time it took this little CD to get from Canada to my front door…..Ringo Postcards 1Ringo Postcards 2Ringo Postcards 3

It’s actually a pretty good listen with some really catchy hooks, clever lyrics and musical ideas. Here’s Ringo himself with a YouTube update:

Here’s the link to that cover story in Rolling Stone magazine that he mentions. And here Ringo is interviewed about the recording of the album:

And finally an album review from the April edition of Rolling Stone which gives Postcards three stars:

It’s been more than 50 years since Ringo Starr declared himself a fan of Beethoven — “especially his poems.” But all that time, he’s reigned as one of rock & roll’s most beloved sages. Postcards From Paradise, his 18th solo effort, is a masterful summary of Ringo-ness: his cheer, his cheek, his wisdom. He gets a little help from old friends like Joe Walsh and Todd Rundgren — no Kanye or Rihanna on this track list — and builds the title tune out of Beat-les quips: “It’s like I said the night before/I’ll love you when I’m 64.” Best of all is “Rory and the Hurricanes,” celebrating his pre-Beatles band — the one that made Ringo a star in Liverpool when the other three Fabs were nobodies.  ♦♦♦

And you can read an interview with Postcards From Paradise recording engineer Bruce Sugar at Beatles Examiner.