December 30, 2015

Beatles Perform Live For You For The New Year

The Beatles Live Cut
Live, television: It's The Beatles, 
3.45pm, Saturday December 7,1963






I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand
Live on Drop-In TV Show, Stockholm, Sweden. October 30, 1963




Can't Buy Me Love
NME Poll Winners' Concert, April 26, 1964, Empire Pool, Wembley, London




You Can't Do That Melbourne Australia 1964, recorded by local TV station GTV9






Hello Goodbye






Revolution








Don't Let Me Down


Apple Corps Rooftop, 3 Savile Row, London, January 30, 1969


Beatles Catalog Goes on Streaming Services



Happy holidays from the Beatles: As of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24, the band’s music will finally be available on streaming services worldwide.

The group announced the news in a 35-second video featuring a medley of its biggest hits that kicks off to the sound of the 1963 single “She Loves You.” An accompanying news release simply said: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”

However, the surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Universal Music Group, which controls the band’s recorded music, made no statements other than the fact that the Beatles’ catalog — 13 original albums and four compilations — will now be playable on nine subscription streaming music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal, Deezer, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody and Slacker Radio.




Known as singular holdouts in the digital era, the Beatles, the best-selling group of all time, resisted offering its songs on iTunes for more than seven years before coming to an agreement with Apple in 2010. “It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around,” Mr. McCartney said at the time. The band sold 450,000 albums and two million individual songs in its first week on the service, according to Apple.

Now, streaming is the industry sea change too big to ignore. This month, Warner Music Group, one of the so-called big three label groups, said streaming revenue exceeded download revenue for the year. And other classic rock resisters have come around recently: AC/DC started streaming its music this summer, following Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd in 2013. (The Beatles were already available on Pandora, the Internet radio service, since it does not offer on-demand songs; a court decision recently raised the royalty rate for labels and performers on those services, known as pureplays. The band members’ solo material is also widely available.)

Modern artists, however, have started to resist streaming in certain rarefied cases. Taylor Swift, who helped persuade Apple Music to pay royalties during its free-trial period when she protested publicly, has not made her albums available on streaming services with a free tier, like Spotify, while Adele has so far kept her blockbuster “25” off streaming services altogether. The Beatles’ music will be available on the free and premium versions of services that have both.

Souce: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/arts/music/beatles-fans-start-your-streaming-playlists.html

December 27, 2015

New Beatles Let It Be Movie on Blu-ray

Complete Collection Featuring Fullscreen And Widescreen Edition With Subtitle Plus Original Movie Edtion And Get Back Sessions, Japanese TV Broadcast. HQ scans below.



SGT released in the definitive edition DVD set as the movie became a document of the Beatles last “Collector’s Edition of the ultimate” to “Let It Be”. Blu-ray edition of the long-awaited finally than Label! Widescreen, including 5.1 surround and full-screen editions of the highest quality COMPLETE FULLSCREEN AND WIDESCREEN WITH 5.1 SURROUND PLUS ORIGINAL MOVIE EDITION, GET BACK SESSIONS, in JAPANESE TV BROADCAST SGT.



BLU-RAY DISC SV-2014BD-1/2 main movie Extra video and a number of main movie of the original standard, version of the TV broadcast in Japan in ’84 with valuable additional time video and Get Back sessions including movie unreleased footage in chronological order also included further editions. Achieve the viewing of the highest quality to exist in the original Japanese with subtitles even on a large screen monitor by up-converted to high-definition image quality HD DVD picture quality when the original Blu-ray of this time. Were summarized in VOLUME quality and record up to related video and Get Back sessions over 40 minutes for a further 3 hours total of four patterns recorded movie “Let It Be” main two Blu-ray a “Collector’s Edition of the ultimate” I will deliver in pairs!
Included on the first full-screen edition with remastered stereo sound and picture quality of the highest quality in the current situation in the main movie [Blu-ray edition details] disk 1. We can say this version was recorded in 9 wide is the definitive movie main at the moment: 16 amount of information increases left and right becomes wider to 3 Standard 4: screen both ends are trimmed. Documentary that follows is a must-see video that has been recorded in high-quality precious scene of the movie other than this title. And 16 widescreen edition: there is a top and bottom trimmed with 9 wide screen display full version but it is displayed on the full screen on a wide standard TV size of the current. The 5.1 surround sound also included in the select. You can enjoy a sound etc. steric footsteps of the movie beginning to move from the back to the front when you play in a surround environment. Subtitle is ON / OFF can be selected course in the original Japanese with subtitles also Izure. The recorded movies in the main 3 Standard: 4 that had been put on the market in the LD and video once the disk 2. There are original Japanese subtitles switching also here. Recorded together followed by a naked-related such as video editing and another version in “Let It Be Extra”. It is a content not miss this. Included on time series, including a valuable document images of unreleased movie is over 40 minutes about 3 hours to “Get Back Sessions”. It would be a must-see as making collections of movie exactly. The complete recording from the video that has been recorded at the time the version “Japanese TV broadcast” that is TV broadcasting in Japan in ’84 it was not recorded in the DVD set last. It is a rare footage inferior to other versions but have now become as the TV version with subtitles in its own image quality. SGT capped very popular as a definitive edition of the movie “Let It Be”. Is a 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray becomes “containing all” ultimate exactly Do not miss this time adding video and full-screen DVD and subsequent DVD4 Disc label.



BLU-RAY DISC ONE
“LET IT BE” COMPLETE FULLSCREEN EDITION
01. Introduction 02. Piano Improvisation 03. Don’t Let Me Down 04. Let’s Sing The Corny One 05. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer 06. Shocktric Shocks 07. Two Of Us 08. I’ve Got A Feeling 09. Coming Down To The Faster 10. I’ve Got A Feeling 11. Oh! Darling 12. One After 909 13. Boogie Woogie Piano 14. Two Of Us 15. Across The Universe 16. Dig A Pony 17. Suzy Parker 18. I Me Mine 19. For You Blue 20. I Dig A Pygmy 21. Besame Mucho 22. Octpus’s Garden 23. Jamming With Heather 24. You Really Got A Hold On Me 25. The Long And Winding Road 26. Rip It Up / Shake Rattle And Roll 27. Kansas City / Miss Ann / Lawdy Miss Clawdy 28. Dig It 29. Talk About The Movie 30. Two Of Us 31. Let It Be 32. The Long And Winding Road 33. Rooftop Concert 34. Get Back 35. Don’t Let Me Down 36. I’ve Got A Feeling 37. One After 909 38. Dig A Pony 39. Get Back 40. The End NTSC Color 16:9 FULL SCREEN with Japanese Subtitle LPCM Stereo New Remaster / Original Movie Mono Soundtrack time approx. 80min. “LET IT BE” DOCUMENTARY NTSC Color 16:9 (4:3) with Japanese Subtitle LPCM Stereo time approx. 22min. “LET IT BE” WIDESCREEN&REMASTER EDITION 01 – 40. Movie Chapter (Same as Fullscreen Edition) NTSC Color 16:9 WIDE SCREEN with Japanese Subtitle LPCM Stereo Remaster / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound time approx. 80min.
BLU-RAY DISC TWO
“LET IT BE” ORIGINAL STANDARD MOVIE EDITION
01 – 40. Movie Chapter (Same As All Movie Edition) LET IT BE EXTRA ALTERNATE VIDEO 41. Don’t Let Me Down – Movie Remaster 42. Dig A Pony – Movie Remaster 43. Don’t Let Me Down – Imagine Rough Cut 1988 44. Don’t Let Me Down – Imagine 1988 45. Don’t Let Me Down – Anthology Director’s Cut 1993 46. Don’t Let Me Down – Let It Be Naked 1999 47. Get Back – 1969 release remastered 48. Get Back – Anthology 1995 LET IT BE…NAKED 49. Get Back 1999 (Promo Video) 50. Trailer One 51. Trailer Two 52. Trailer Three 53. Long Trailer with captions 54. Long Trailer without captions 55. 30 second spots 56. Two Of Us 1999 (Promo Video) 57. Japan AD 58. Sony TV Special 59. Target AD NTSC Color 16:9 (4:3) with Japanese Subtitle Dolby Digital Stereo (Original Movie Mono Soundtrack) time approx. 144min. GET BACK SESSIONS 1. JANUARY 2ND 1969 (THURSDAY)Setup / Tuning – Dialog / Don’t Let Me Down/ Dialogue / I’ve Got A Feeling / Two Of Us 2. JANUARY 3RD 1969 (FRIDAY)Adios For Strings / Don’t Let Me Down/ All Things Must Pass Rehearsals / Feedback/ All Things Must Pass / Maxwell’s Silver Hamm 3. JANUARY 6, 1969 (MONDAY)Oh! Darling / Dialogue / Don’t Let Me Down Rehearsals/ Dialogue / Don’t Let Me Down / Dialogue – The Fight / Two Of Us 4. JANUARY 7, 1969 (TUESDAY)Get Back / Dialogue / Maxwell’s Silver Hammer/ Across The Universe / Dig A Pony 5. JANUARY 8, 1969 (WEDNESDAY)I Me Mine / Two Of Us / I’ve Got A Feeling/ All Things Must Pass Rehearsals / I Me Mine / Goodbyes 6. JANUARY 9, 1969 (THURSDAY)Two Of Us / Suzy Parker / I’ve Got A Feeling / One After 909/ Get Back / Tennessee / House Of The Rising Sun / Commonwealth/ Goodnight 7. JANUARY 10, 1969 (FRIDAY)Get Back / I’m Talking About You – George Quits / Jamming With Yoko 8. JANUARY 13, 1969 (MONDAY)Dialogue on filming 9. JANUARY 14, 1969 (TUESDAY) Piano Boogie / John and Yoko Interview for the CBC/ Peter Sellers Visits / Mal Tears Down Equipment 10. JANUARY 21, 1969 (TUESDAY) John Films Rock’n’Roll Circus Introduction/ My Baby Left Me / Dig A Pony Playback / Dig A Pony / Dialogue / Don’t Let Me Down 11. JANUARY 22, 1969 (WEDNESDAY)Dig A Pony / Dialogue / Billy Preston Arrives 12. JANUARY 23, 1969 (THURSDAY)Beatles Arrive at Apple / Billy Preston Arrives / Jamming with Yoko/ Billy’s Original / Get Back Rehearsal 13. Get Back Rehearsals I’ll Get You / Get Back / I’ve Got A Feeling / Help! / Please Please Me / Help! 14. Get Back Playbacks 15. JANUARY 24, 1969 (FRIDAY)Dialogue – Jamming / Get Back Playbacks / Dialogue 16. JANUARY 25, 1969 (SATURDAY) Two Of Us Rehearsals / For You Blue Rehearsals / Playbacks / For You Blue / For You Blue Rehearsal / Let It Be Rehearsals / Playback 17. JANUARY 26, 1969 (SUNDAY) Octopus’s Garden / Let It Be Rehearsals / Dig It / Shake Rattle And Roll / Miss Ann / Kansas City / You Really Got A Hold On Me / Jamming/ The Long And Winding Road 18. JANUARY 27, 1969 (MONDAY)Dig It Playback / Dialogue / Let It Be Rehearsals / Jamming / Break for Lunch/ Get Back – single recording / I’ve Got a Feeling 19. Januaray 28, 1969 (TUESDAY)For You Blue Playback / Get Back Playback / Jamming/ I’ve Got a Feeling / Every Day Is Like a Week / I Want You 20. JANUARY 29, 1969 (WEDNESDAY)Dialogue / All Things Must Pass / Besame Mucho 21. JANUARY 30, 1969 (THURSDAY)Discussion Before Rooftop ROOFTOP CONCERT – JANUARY 30, 1969 (THURSDAY)22. Rooftop Entrance / Rehearsal 23. Get Back 24. Don’t Let Me Down 25. I’ve Got A Feeling 26. One After 909 27. Dig A Pony 28. God Save The Queen 29. I’ve Got A Feeling 30. Don’t Let Me Down 31. Get Back 32. JANUARY 31, 1969 (FRIDAY) Two Of Us / The Long And Winding Road / Let It Be 33. Let It Be – with Movie Trailer 1970 NTSC 16:9 (4:3) Dolby Digital Stereo / Mono time approx. 220min. “LET IT BE” MOVIE JAPANESE TV BROADCAST 01. Japanese TV Opening and CM 02.-27. Movie Chapter 28. Intermission 29.-42. Movie Chapter 43. Japanese TV Ending Credit and CM
Movie Chapter (Same as Fullscreen Edition) NTSC Color 16:9 (4:3) inc.Japanese Subtitle Dolby Digital Stereo (Original Movie Mono Soundtrack) time approx. 88min


Here is "Don't Let Me Down" from the Rooftop Concert:






Here is the entire 23 minute rooftop concert to enjoy:




https://vimeo.com/95681569



Here are some outtakes and chatter from the Let It Be movie as a bonus:



November 29, 2015

Beatles Christmas Messages Recordings

As a special treat for Christmas, I've posted the Beatles Christmas Messages recordings. 
Below are details on each of the recordings and their audio to enjoy. These bring back fond memories.



Each year from 1963 through 1969, the Beatles recorded a special Christmas greeting for their fans. The Official Beatles Fan Club in England sent flexi-discs containing the Christmas messages to its members each holiday season.The American fan club, Beatles (U.S.A.) Ltd., was established in 1964, and for their first Christmas, the American fan club sent fans the 1963 Christmas message on a soundcard, which is like a flexi-disc, but is "printed" on the post card that is mailed. No message was sent to the American fans in 1965 because the tape was not received on time.[Read more →] The Beatles Christmas flexis are very rare, and sell, in excellent condition, anywhere from $200 to $500.


These recordings offer a unique time-capsule glimpse into the personalities and evolution of the Beatles from 1963 through 1969. In the early years, like their appearances in A Hard Day’s Night, even though these messages were scripted by “somebody’s bad hand-wroter” (their Press Agent Tony Barrow), the Beatle’s geniune wit and humor shines through, for example, in 1963, when as John mentions taking part in the Royal Variety show, the boys extemporaneously launch into a whistling version of God Save The Queen, or in 1964, when Paul mentions that they don’t really know where they’d be without the fans, John says, off-handedly, “In the Army, perhaps…”


For older Beatles fans who remember hearing these messages over the years, “these little bits of plastic” are a fond holiday tradition, while for younger Beatles fans they offer a whole new insight into a pop music phenomenon which might never be repeated.


We present the Beatles Christmas Records here as a Christmas present to you from the Internet Beatles Album. Happy Crimble!

1963-uk-cover.jpg 


1963
The Beatles Christmas Record
Released December 6, 1963
Recorded October 17, 1963
EMI Abbey Road Studio 2
Engineer: Norman Smith
Recorded after a session for I Want To Hold Your Hand and This Boy.
About 30,000 total copies were manufactured.
This recording was sent to US Fan Club members in 1964.









1964
Another Beatles Christmas Record
Released December 18, 1964
Recorded October 26, 1964
EMI Abbey Road Studio 2
Engineer: Norman Smith
The only Beatles Fan Club Christmas record that played at 45 RPM instead of 33 1/3 RPM.
Recorded on the same day that they recorded Honey Don’t for Beatles For Sale.
US Fan Club members received the 1963 Christmas message this year.








1965
The Beatles Third Christmas Record
Released December 17, 1965
Recorded November 8, 1965
EMI Abbey Road Studio 2
Engineer: Norman Smith
Recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions, on the same day they recorded Think For Yourself. Cover photo taken on November 1 during the taping of Granada-TV’s ‘The Music of Lennon and McCartney’.









1966
Pantomime (Everywhere It’s Christmas)
Released December 16, 1966
Recorded November 25, 1966
Recorded in the basement studio of Dick James Music in London
Mixed at Abbey Road, December 2, 1966. Produced by George Martin.
Cover designed by Paul.




Some of the historical info on this page is from the books The Beatles: A Day In The Life by Tom Schultheiss, The Beatles Day By Day by Mark Lewisohn and The Price Guide for the Beatles American Records by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels As the 60’s evolve, so do the Beatles, and so do their Christmas records.


The previous year, the Christmas message changed from scripted messages talking directly to the fans, to sketch comedy, mostly Paul’s idea, but enthusiastically joined in by the other three. 1967 brings a similar production, but as the members of the group start desiring to go their separate ways, this is also reflected in the Christmas records, as the final two years bring messages recorded in bits and pieces recorded separately by each Beatle and assembled together later.







1967
Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
Released December 15, 1967
Recorded November 28, 1967
EMI Abbey Road Studio 2
Produced by George Martin
Special guest: Victor Spinetti

The script was written earlier in the day by the band. Last Christmas record the Beatles recorded together as a group. Cover designed on November 29 by John and Ringo.

The song Christmas Time (Is Here Again) was later released on the Real Love single in 1995.







1968
Happy Christmas
Released December 20, 1968
Recorded in November, 1968 at John’s home in London, Paul’s home in London, in the back of Ringo’s van in Surrey, with George in America and at George’s house in Esher during rehearsals for the White Album.
Special guest: Tiny Tim.

Created by Radio 1 disc jockey Kenny Everett who edited together separately-recorded messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo, and inter-cut random fragments from the White Album.









1969
Happy Christmas 1969
Released December 19, 1969
Recorded in fall of 1969 at John and Yoko’s home in Ascot, Ringo’s home in Weybridge, Paul’s home in London, and the London offices of Apple.
Edited by Maurice Cole (Kenny Everett’s original name)
Cover designed by Ringo








Because the Beatles officially broke up in 1970, no Christmas message was prepared for that holiday season.


In early 1971, fan club members were sent an album on the Apple label containing all seven of the Christmas messages.
Pictured is the American version of the LP. The British LP entitled From Then To You included a reproduction of the cover of the 1963 Christmas record.


Along with Let It Be and Introducing The Beatles, this is one of the notoriously most heavily counterfeited of Beatles albums. Counterfeits can be identified by blurry cover photos and an indentation ring much larger than 1 1/2″.

Some of the historical info on this page is from the books The Beatles: A Day In The Life by Tom Schultheiss, The Beatles Day By Day by Mark Lewisohn and The Price Guide for the Beatles American Records by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels.


You can listen to them all here:
http://www.beatlesagain.com/beatles-christmas-records.html


Below is my previous post of scans of the covers:
http://jfnmusicmemories.blogspot.com/2009/07/christmas-messages-covers.html

You can get the recordings here:
http://teenagedogsintrouble.blogspot.com/2009/12/very-merry-beatles-christmas.html




Source :
http://www.ringofstars.ru/across/?p=2767

October 15, 2015

The Beatles: Unplugged Collects Acoustic Demos of White Album Songs (1968)

I am a child of Beatles fans; we owned nearly every album in original mono vinyl pressings. But somehow there was a hole in our collection—a whale-sized hole, it turned out—because we didn’t have a copy of the White Album. I was introduced to it later by a friend, who shared its secrets with me like one would share the favorite work of a favorite poet—reverently. We delved into the history and learned that recording sessions were notoriously fractious—with Ringo stepping away for a while and Paul stepping in on the drums, and with the others recording solo, sometimes with session players, rarely in the same room together— a situation reflected in the tracking of the record, which feels like a compilation of songs by each Beatle (but Ringo), rather than the usual smooth affair of Lennon/McCartney, and occasional Harrison productions.


That ranginess is what makes the White Album special: it’s feels so familiar, and yet it’s not like anything they’d done before and presages the genius to come in their solo careers. So imagine my surprised delight at stumbling across a bootleg that die-hard completists have surely known about for ages (though it only saw release in 2002): The Beatles: Unplugged is a recording of acoustic songs, most of which would appear on the the White Album, played and sung by John, Paul, and George at George’s house in Esher—hence the bootleg’s subtitle, the Kinfauns-Sessions (Kinfauns was the name of George’s home). Here are the close vocal harmonies that seemed to mark a group of musicians in near-perfect harmony with each other (but without Ringo, again). And here are some of the Beatles’ most poignant, pointed, and vaudevillian songs live and direct, without any studio tricks whatsoever.
Of course these were recorded as demos, and not meant for release of any kind, but even so, they’re fairly high-quality, in a lo-fi kind of way. Listening to the songs in this form makes me think of the folk/psych revivalism of the so-called New Weird America that hearkened back to so much sixties’ trippy playfulness, but mostly eschewed the major label studio sound of sixties’ records and welcomed prominent tape hiss and single-track, bedroom takes. Given the rapid pop-culture recycling that is the hallmark of the early 21st century, The Beatles: Unplugged sounds strangely modern.



The Unplugged session includes a wonderfully airy rendition of “Dear Prudence,” which like so many of these songs, was written during The Beatles’ sojourn in India, about Mia Farrow’s sister (a complete tracklist is here). The compilers of the release have tacked on three additional songs: “Spiritual Regeneration India” (also a birthday tribute to The Beach Boy’s Mike Love), an oddly upbeat studio run-through of “Helter Skelter,” and a free-form acoustic medley of traditional songs called “Rishikesh No. 9” (also called “Spiritual Christmas”). In addition to the slew of White Album songs, the recording session also features McCartney’s “Junk,” which later appeared on his 1970 solo album McCartney and John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” (here called “Child of Nature”), which surfaced on 1971’s Imagine. As Allmusic’s Bruce Eder writes, Unplugged is a bootleg so good, “the folks at Apple and EMI ought to be kicking themselves for not thinking of it first.”


Related Content
Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Track From the Classic Beatles Song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968)
Hear the 1962 Beatles Demo that Decca Rejected: “Guitar Groups are on Their Way Out, Mr. Epstein”
How Bertrand Russell Turned The Beatles Against the Vietnam War
Peter Sellers Reads The Beatles’ “She Loves You” in Four Voices
Josh Jones is a writer and musician. He recently finished a dissertation on land, landscape, and labor.

Source: http://www.openculture.com/2013/01/ithe_beatles_unpluggedi_collects_acoustic_demos_of_iwhite_albumi_songs_1968.html

August 18, 2015

Beatles' first recording contract to be auctioned next month

NEW YORK—The Beatles' first recording contract was signed in Hamburg, Germany, where the band honed its craft playing gigs in the city's boisterous nightclub district.

The 1961 recording session produced the single "My Bonnie." It was released on the Polydor label in Germany only and never hit the top charts. But the tune led directly to the Beatles' discovery back home, a contract with EMI the following year and their first hit, "Love Me Do."



Heritage Auctions will auction the six-page contract in New York on September 19 for an estimated $150,000. It's the centerpiece of a Beatles collection spanning the band's entire career. It's being sold by the estate of Uwe Blaschke, a German graphic designer and noted Beatles historian who died in 2010.
This undated photo provided by Heritage Auctions from an upcoming Beatles collection sale shows the Beatles’ first recording contract, which was signed in Hamburg, Germany, where the band honed its craft performing in the city’s nightclub district.
This undated photo provided by Heritage Auctions from an upcoming Beatles collection sale shows the Beatles’ first recording contract, which was signed in Hamburg, Germany, where the band honed its craft performing in the city’s nightclub district.


"Not many people know that the Beatles started their careers in Germany," said Beatles expert Ulf Kruger. "The Beatles had their longest stint in a club in Hamburg at the Top Ten Club. They played there three months in a row, every night. The style they invented in Liverpool, they cultivated in Hamburg."



"Without this contract all of the pieces wouldn't have fallen into place," added Dean Harmeyer, Heritage's consignment director for music memorabilia, who said the band was "a ramshackle, amateur band" when they first went to Germany.

"They were probably a C class in the pantheon of Liverpool bands," he said.

But their stints in Hamburg between 1960 and 1962 changed that.

"It really is where they honed their musical skills to become the Beatles," he said. "They set about learning new material, they worked on their instrumental abilities."

But it was "crazy luck" that got them to Hamburg, he said.

This undated photo provided by Heritage Auctions from an upcoming Beatles collection sale shows a set of four psychedelic posters by Richard Avedon commissioned by the German magazine Stern in 1966, which will be auctioned in New York on Sept. 19.
This undated photo provided by Heritage Auctions from an upcoming Beatles collection sale shows a set of four psychedelic posters by Richard Avedon commissioned by the German magazine Stern in 1966, which will be auctioned in New York on Sept. 19.

Their booking agent fortuitously ran into a club owner looking for rock `n' roll bands to perform in his Hamburg nightclub. The Beatles were not the agent's first choice and wound up going only after other bands declined.

When the Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and original drummer Pete Best — were later hired to be the backup band for British singer/guitarist Tony Sheridan at the Top Ten Club, German record producer Bert Kaempfert signed them and Sheridan to record a rock `n' roll version of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."

"My Bonnie" netted the Beatles about $80. It was credited to "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys" because Kaempfert felt the name "Beatles" would not cut it with Germans.

"The Beatles didn't care what they were signing as long as it was for a recording contract," said Kruger.

The only copies that made it out of Germany initially were the ones sent to the Beatles back home in Liverpool, England. After a local club disc jockey got his hands on one and started playing it, music fans began asking for it. That got the attention of Liverpool record shop owner Brian Epstein, who decided to hear them perform at the Cavern Club.

"He immediately sees their potential. He tells them 'I want to manage you and I'll make you successful' — and he did, going on to secure them a record contract with EMI," Harmeyer said.

"Every great collector wants their collection to be illuminative of the subject, and Blaschke's collection does this so well largely because it also covers the German period," he said. "It covers everything else. He's got stuff from `Sgt. Pepper' and `Abbey Road' and the later things ... but he's got this great trove of things that are specific to Hamburg. That's really where the story started ... it's where they really become the Beatles."

Other highlights and their pre-sale estimates include:

— A 1962 autographed copy of "Love Me Do," the first single recorded with Ringo. $10,000.

— A 1960 postcard Ringo sent from Hamburg to his grandmother. $4,000.

— A Swiss restaurant menu card signed by the Beatles while they were filming "HELP" in 1965. $12,000.

— A set of four psychedelic posters by Richard Avedon commissioned by the German magazine Stern in 1966. Estimate: $5,000.

The auction comes on the 55th anniversary of the Beatles' first trip to Hamburg and 50 years after the Fab Four's record-breaking performance at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/content/beatles-first-recording-contract-to-be-auctioned-next-month/2922480.html

May 17, 2015

The Beatles Live Project Film



Los Angeles, July 16, 2014 – Apple Corps Ltd., White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have announced they will produce a new authorized documentary for Apple, based on the first part of The Beatles’ career -- the touring years. The film will be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard and will be produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. White Horse’s Grammy Award-winning Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci and Academy Award winner and multiple nominee Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment will produce with Howard. Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East will serve as executive producers.

Howard said, "I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964. Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated."

This film will focus on The Beatles’ journey from the early days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool and engagements in Hamburg to their last public concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, in 1966.

The Beatles began touring Europe in late 1963, after an extraordinary arrival on the British scene in 1961 and ‘62. However, it was their much-heralded Ed Sullivan appearance on February 9, 1964 that caused The Beatles’ popularity to explode. By June, the band had commenced their first world tour, and continued on a relentless schedule for two subsequent years. By the time the band stopped touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities around the world. The cultural phenomenon their touring helped create, known as "Beatlemania," was something the world had never seen before and laid the foundation for the globalization of culture.

Beatlemania was not just a phenomenon. It was the catalyst for a cultural shift that would alter the way people around the world viewed and consumed popular culture. This film will seek to explain what it was about that particular moment in time that allowed this cultural pivot point to occur. It will examine the social and political context of the time, and reveal the unique conditions that caused technology and mass communication to collide. The film will also explore the incomparable electricity between performer and audience that turned the music into a movement – a common experience into something sublime.

Founded in London in 1968, Apple Corps Ltd. represents The Beatles. Under the direction of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison, the company administers The Beatles’ business interests, and it also develops new creative projects, making a significant contribution to the staging and safekeeping of The Beatles’ musical and cultural legacies. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde will act as executive producers for Apple Corps.

Over the course of a near 30-year partnership, Howard and Grazer have produced a long list of successful and critically acclaimed films, including Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, A Beautiful Mind – for which Howard won an Academy Award for Best Director and Grazer and Howard won Best Picture – and, most recently, Rush, and music-driven films like 8 Mile. This will be the second documentary for Howard -- the first being 2013's Made in America.

Sinclair’s long association with documentaries has resulted in a string of award-winning films, including Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA, and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, for which Sinclair won a Grammy Award, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, The Last Play At Shea, 1, and both the Academy Award-winning Undefeated and the Grammy Award-winning Foo Fighters: Back and Forth.

Pascucci, Managing Director of Concord Music Group and former head of Warner’s Rhino Entertainment, was an executive producer on George Harrison, and has recently been associated with Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival: 2013 and Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’.

This project was originally brought to Apple Corps by One Voice One World, which has conducted extensive research around the globe, including inviting Beatles fans to send in clips of home movies and photos that they acquired during this extraordinary period. OVOW’s Matthew White, Stuart Samuels, and Bruce Higham will form part of the production team as co-producers.

Acclaimed and award winning editor Paul Crowder will serve as editor. Crowder directed and edited the Grammy-nominated Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, The Last Play at Shea and the Formula One documentary, 1. Crowder’s long-time collaborator, Mark Monroe, will serve as writer. In addition to the aforementioned films, Monroe’s credits include Sound City, Chasing Ice, and the Academy Award-winning, The Cove. Marc Ambrose (Bhutto) will serve as supervising producer.

Nicholas Ferrall will be the executive in charge of production for White Horse Pictures, assisted by executives Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann. The Beatles documentary is one of the first projects under Nigel Sinclair’s new White Horse Pictures banner, which he founded in 2014 with long-time business partner Guy East.

Sinclair said, "The way The Beatles burst onto the scene in Britain was an overwhelming social, cultural and musical phenomenon, but was even then eclipsed by that extraordinary explosion on the American scene and then the world. I was lucky enough to see The Beatles perform in Glasgow in 1964, shortly after their Ed Sullivan appearance. It is an honor to work on this project for The Beatles, and to be collaborating again with the extraordinary Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and my good friend Scott Pascucci."

Source: http://www.thebeatlesliveproject.com/#project_synopsis



February 07, 2015

Book Review: "The Beatles: The BBC Archives" by Kevin Howlett

Book Review: "The Beatles: The BBC Archives" by Kevin Howlett



It comes in a box


In this multi-platform, multi-device, thousand-channel age we live in, it must seem almost unbelievable to imagine an era when a national broadcasting system consisted of just three radio channels and two TV stations. But that was the set-up in Britain in 1962, when The Beatles made their first appearance on BBC Radio. By 1946 the British Broadcasting Corporation (the "Beeb") had reconfigured its radio operations into three nationwide stations: the Home Service (set up in 1939 as the channel focused on news, information, talk programmes, drama, and educational programmes for schools); the Light Programme (established in 1945 as the home for popular music and light entertainment); and the Third Programme (set up in 1946 as the purveyor of classical music and "high-brow" culture). 

  
BBC Radio recording studio at Paris Theatre in Lower Regent Street


The BBC - a non-commercial public broadcaster - had been granted total control of the radio airwaves in Britain by a Royal Charter on January 1st., 1927. Its mandate - according to the first managing director, John Reith - was to "inform, educate and entertain". Up until the late fifties, popular music on the radio (the "wireless" as it was called back then) was dominated by crooners and dance-bands. Most of this middle-of-the-road pop music was heard on the Light Programme. Rock 'n' Roll music was almost completely absent from the airwaves. Part of the problem was "needle time" - an agreement between the BBC and both the Musicians' Union and Phonographic Performance Limited (a performance-rights organization and music-licensing company set up in the UK by EMI and Decca in 1934). The agreement struck between them stipulated that the BBC could only play up to five hours of commercial gramophone records during each broadcast day. This meant that a lot of popular songs and pieces that had been released on records were heard on the BBC not in their original form, but interpreted by one of several in-house orchestras and bands - like the BBC Radio Orchestra and the Northern Dance Orchestra, based in Manchester. Middle-of-the-roads-ville!


The BBC Northern Dance Orchestra (based in Manchester) - rock 'n' roll it ain't!


So it was hard to get access to rock 'n' roll music back then. You might get to listen to new records at friends' houses; or people would bring their collection to a party; or you could listen to discs in the "browseries" at record shops - like Brian Epstein's NEMS record shop in Liverpool; or listen to them on a coffee shop jukebox; or blasting from a tinny loudspeaker at a seaside fairground.
It wasn't until the late fifties that the national broadcaster began to consider the kind of pop music that excited the kids. On weekdays in 1962 there was just one thirty-minute radio programme devoted to the rock 'n' roll sounds the teenagers were desperate to hear. These programmes - broadcast at 5 p.m. (soon after the kids were home from school) - were known collectively as Teenagers Turn. Each day's programme had a different title: the Thursday edition, for example, was known as Here We Go - recorded at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester, under the production of Peter Pilbeam. It was on this programme that The Beatles made their radio debut on March 8th., 1962.


Lee Peters hosting Pop Go The Beatles - summer of 1963

The only ways for The Beatles to develop their popularity across the nation then - they still hadn't secured a recording contract - were through live stage performances and appearances on radio and television. The media work began slowly in 1962 - they did four radio shows that year - but by the time they had released their second hit single, in early 1963, they were in constant demand. And by the end of that year that had made almost 50 appearances on BBC radio. Once they hit their peak of this early fame - which the press soon dubbed Beatlemania - they were given their own radio series. Through the summer of 1963 they hosted Pop Go The Beatles, a fifteen-week run of thirty-minute programmes for which they would have to provide six songs per show. Of the 56 different songs they performed on Pop Go The Beatles, 26 of them were never released during their career. And so it went throughout their time on "the wireless". Between March 1962 and June 1965 they played 88 different songs on 53 radio programmes - a total of 275 musical performances. 36 of those songs were never released on record. But they are of tremendous interest, because many of them were staples of their live performances - cover versions which reveal some of the main influences on their style and repertoire. 


Chuck Berry was their favourite. They did nine of his songs. And - except for "Roll Over Beethoven", which featured George - John took lead vocals on all of them. They did six covers of Carl Perkins on Pop Go The Beatles. Perkins was one of George's favourites. They did four each of Elvis and Little Richard - interesting, because they recorded all of those Little Richard songs, but never covered Elvis on disc. They loved his early phase, but seemed to have become disenchanted with the post-army Elvis.



The legacy that The Beatles left to the BBC only really began to get its due in 1982. To honour the twentieth anniversary of the band's first radio broadcast (March 8, 1962), BBC producers Jeff Griffin and Kevin Howlett put together a special programme called The Beatles at the Beeb. They managed to dig up from various different sources tapes and records (from BBC Transcription recordings released to radio stations around the World) that included songs and voice-only interludes featuring the Fab Four in playful conversation with various well-known BBC "comperes" (hosts) of the period. The response to this one-off special was so favourable that Howlett returned to the source material in 1988 - by then a lot more material was unearthed - and produced a series of 14 half-hour shows called The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes. And then in November 1994 a double-CD collection titled "The Beatles - Live at the BBC" was released. It contained 56 of the BBC sessions from the 60s, and sold five million copies in just six weeks.

Howlett's first book about the Fab Four at the BBC (radio only)

After the success of the first radio special - The Beatles at the Beeb - Kevin Howlett prepared a modest book to accompany the programme. Published by the BBC in 1982, the book - also called The Beatles at the Beeb - tells "the story of their radio career 1962-65". The first section of the book describes their radio work at the BBC during those four frenetic years. The second section provides information and commentaries about the 88 songs they performed on radio - the most important part of the book for serious fans. And the final part charts the dates and details of the individual programmes. I picked up a copy of The Beatles at the Beeb when it was first released. It's a small, 128-page paperback, but packed with precious and little-known - at that time - details about a very important element of the band's career.

 From 1982 we flash forward to November, 2013 - a second double-CD of Beatles radio recordings was released, called On Air - Live at the BBC, Volume Two. But more importantly, the CD release was coordinated with the publication of a new book by Kevin Howlett. This one is titled The Beatles: The BBC Archives 1962-1970, a lavishly-illustrated, 336-page hardcover published by Harper Design. In addition to fleshing out the material covered in his first book, in this volume Howlett documents their performances on BBC-TV and the non-performing appearances - mostly interviews - on both radio and TV in the late 60s. It's a comprehensive and detailed account - clearly the definitive treatment of the subject.

The Beatles with BBC Radio producer Bernie Andrews


Any fan of The Beatles who grew up through the 1960s listening to BBC Radio, and recognizes the names of programmes like Saturday Club625 SpecialTop of the Pops, and recalls the names of hosts like Brian Matthew, Alan Freeman, Rodney Burke, Lee Peters, and David Jacobs will get a lot of pleasure out of this book. Newcomers to this aspect of the Fab Four's career might also find this day-by-day, week-by-week story of their work on BBC  Radio and TV of interest. 


The main body of the text consists of nine chapters - one for each year running between 1962 and 1970. Each chapter begins with an introductory essay that summarizes the main social and political events of the year; that's followed by a full account of how The Beatles and the Beeb interacted that year; and the chapter concludes with precise details about each radio or TV programme they appeared on (date of recording, date and time of broadcast and rebroadcast, and channel of transmission). It's a complete inventory.

BBC Radio audition in Manchester (Stuart Sutcliffe on bass; Pete Best on drums)


How did it all begin? The Beatles travelled to Manchester for their first audition with BBC Radio on February 12, 1962. They performed McCartney's "Like Dreamers Do", Lennon's "Hello Little Girl", and covers of "Memphis, Tennessee" and "'Til There Was You". Producer Peter Pilbeam wrote this astute comment about the band on the official BBC audition form: "an unusual group, not as "Rocky" as most, more C&W, with a tendency to play music." About the relative merits of the prime vocalists, he wrote: "John Lennon - Yes; Paul McCartney - No."


Having passed that formal appraisal from Mr. Pilbeam, The Beatles returned to Manchester on March 7th., 1962 and were recorded live in front of a studio audience at the Playhouse Theatre. They wore their new suits for the first time. John did "Memphis, Tennessee" again, and The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman"; Paul did Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby". The performance went well and was broadcast the next day. Pilbeam booked them for two more shows in 1962 - broadcast on June 15th. and October 26th. By the time of that last appearance in Manchester, they had a new single to promote ("Love Me Do") and a new drummer, replacing Pete Best.


"Some Other Guy" - The Beatles filmed by Granada TV at The Cavern


The Beatles' first performance in front of TV cameras happened at The Cavern in Liverpool on August 22nd., 1962. But it wasn't filmed by the Beeb. Granada Television, the regional station in north-west England that was affiliated with ITV (Independent Television - a commercial alternative to the BBC), recorded the lunchtime show on Mathew Street. The footage showed the band doing one of their standout songs - "Some Other Guy", with John and Paul doing a dual lead-vocal throughout. The performance was good, but the quality of the picture was not. Granada decided not to broadcast it at the time, but they unearthed the footage much later, after the band had made it very big - airing it first on November 6th., 1963. 
  


The Beatles did their first audition with BBC-TV on November 23rd., 1962. They passed the audition with no problem, but they were so busy now, and the options for performances on BBC-TV were less numerous and more competitive than for the radio, that the band had already done 11 shows for ITV before they put in their first BBC appearance on the 625 Special on April 16, 1963. This discrepancy between the two TV systems continued throughout 1963: only 9 of their 36 TV appearances that year were on the Beeb's television channel.


Weekly guide to BBC Radio and TV


The Beatles started to make regular appearances in BBC's RadioTimes - the Beeb's weekly programming guide - on the cover and inside. The cover of one edition in December, 1963, promoted their appearance on the TV programme Juke Box Jury. It was their most significant TV gig for BBC-TV that year. Juke Box Jury was a very popular staple of Saturday-evening viewing. By 1963 it averaged about 10 million viewers per episode. Each week a new panel of four celebrities - usually from the world of entertainment - would hear excerpts from brand new 45 rpm records ("singles"). Each would then be asked to make a brief comment and vote on whether they thought the disc would be a "Hit" or a "Miss". Lennon had actually been on the programme before - without his bandmates - on June 29th. The jury was usually an eclectic mix of personalities; so it was a groundbreaking event to have all four members of the same pop group serving at the same time.



Posing as Juke Box Jury with host David Jacobs (7 December 1963)

Juke Box Jury was normally recorded in London at the BBC-TV Theatre in Shepherd's Bush Green, hosted by David Jacobs. For the special Beatles edition on December 7th., 1963, the programme was filmed at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool in front of an invited audience - members of The Beatles' Northern Area Fan Club. The show was a huge success - drawing an incredible viewership of 23 million - including me (11 yrs old)! Incredibly, in the early to mid-60s, the bulk of TV programmes filmed by the BBC, and most of the audio recordings done for the "wireless" were not saved. The film and tape were reused. The Beatles appearance on Juke Box Jury is gone - just a memory for people like me, who tuned in between 6:05 and 6:35 that early December evening.


"All You Need is Love" - and satellite transmission (25 June 1967)
Another memorable Beatles' event on BBC-TV was their appearance on the special "One World" telecast. It was the first TV programme to link five continents live via satellite. The two-hour programme was to contain short features from 14 contributing countries around the globe. The BBC wrote to Brian Epstein in February, 1967 explaining an idea that they had come up with for the British feature: "We would like to offer from Britain the subject of The Beatles at work ... in a recording studio making a disc." The band agreed. An remote broadcast was organised from EMI's Abbey Road - Studio One. Lennon wrote (or finished, perhaps) a song just for the occasion - "All You Need Is Love". The band prepared a basic rhythm track; for the broadcast Lennon sang the lead vocal live (nonchalantly chewing gum at the same time) to the pre-recorded track, and the group was accompanied by a symphony orchestra. The historic broadcast took place on June 25th., 1967 - at the height of the "summer of love". An estimated global audience of 500 million people watched this first significant use of satellite broadcasting.


The Beatles with ubiquitous BBC Radio host Brian Matthew


By 1964 BBC Radio was being hard-pressed by the "pirate stations" - commercial radio enterprises that were set up on boats in the North Sea and English Channel, just beyond the territorial limits and the control of the British government. Radio Caroline was the first, but lots more floating stations followed. BBC executives realized that they had to respond to the demographic shift. They could not continue to limit "pop groups" (rock 'n' roll bands) to a few brief radio programmes, and the occasional spin of a hit record on Childrens' Favourites (with Uncle Mac), Housewives' Choice, and Two-Way Family Favourites. Bernie Andrews, one of the Beeb's more forward-thinking radio producers of pop music programming, had been pushing for a late-night pop show. He was finally recruited to establish such a show. It was called Top Gearand it would be hosted by the affable and ubiquitous Brian Matthew. The programme featured straight rock music, not a bland middle-of-the-road mixture of "light entertainment". The Beatles appeared on the very first edition of Top Gear on July 16th., 1964. They engaged in some typical repartee with the host. One of the topics of discussion was the band's songwriting. And it came up that Ringo was now attempting to pen a song - at which point Paul breaks into the opening lyric of "Don't Pass Me By", a country-flavoured ditty not recorded by the band until four years later for the "White Album". Another interesting titbit from Top Gear (this from November, 1964) reveals a never-to-be broken policy of the band to keep singles and albums as separate entities. Brian Matthew muses about the group releasing tracks from an album as singles. John quickly corrects him: "You can't release singles off an LP after the LP has been out." Brian responds: "A lot of people do." But not The Beatles. It did become de rigueur in the 70s, however, to exploit a hugely successful album by releasing three or four of the tracks later as singles.


A vinyl LP from the BBC Transcription Service
 Amongst the many radio and TV interviews transcribed for this book, there are four that Matthew did for the BBC Transcription Service. This division of the Corporation was set up in the mid-1930s in order to distribute British culture to the Empire and, later, the Commonwealth. BBC offices were set up in countries all around the World. Radio stations in those countries could buy the rights to broadcast BBC Radio programmes (music, comedy, current affairs, drama, etc.) twice within a limited period. These programmes were shipped to the interested stations on discs - shellac 78s in the early days, and then vinyl LPs. In the mid-60s Brian Matthew began interviewing rock stars for the Transcription Service. They were given the old-fashioned name of Pop Profiles. He talked to John and George in November, 1965, and then did the same with Paul and Ringo in May, 1966. These interviews have recently been released in their entirety on the double-CD BBC release On Air - Live at the BBC, Volume Two.

One interesting, and amusing, feature that runs through this book are samples provided of detailed Audience Research Reports. After most significant programmes - on both the Radio and TV services - a department at the Beeb would do comprehensive research about the audience's reaction. This research was not restricted to the demographic that one might expect that programme to be aimed at. Media back then were not "narrow-casting"; they were doing true broadcasting. All sorts of age-groups and many different social types would be listening to what the BBC was offering.


Here's a choice example. The Beatles made their 53rd. and final musical broadcast for BBC Radio on May 26th., 1965. It was heard later on June 7th., Whit Monday - a Bank Holiday - on a show called The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride. Did everyone by now just love the Fab Four? About 25% of the audience were characterized as negatively disposed to the entertainment on offer. They described pop music, in general, as "ghastly", "insane", and "jungle music". The Beatles tracks, in particular, were dismissed as "monotonous bangings". As one listener expostulated: "Oh, the deadly monotony of this kind of music!"

The affable Brian Matthew again - host of Easy BeatSaturday ClubTop Gear


The interviews - both individual and group - featured in this book show a steady change in tone and content. In the early days the band were playful, cheeky, and irreverent. The between-song banter with the radio hosts was full of laughs and send-ups. This was new, at the time, and very refreshing. Most of the interview snippets heard on the two double-CD sets of BBC radio performances are of this type (except thePop Profiles material I mentioned earlier). But as time went on, especially after the band stopped touring and stopped performing live on radio and TV, the interviews (more often done as solo conversations with individual Beatles) became more thoughtful, decidedly serious - and sometimes, even, a bit weary. Two interesting examples of this tendency stand out for me in this book.


Victor Spinetti discussing The Lennon Play:In His Own Write
There is a fascinating dual interview done by Peter Lewis with John Lennon and Victor Spinetti for the BBC2 TV programme Release. Spinetti has the distinction of appearing as an actor in all three Beatles' films - A Hard Day's NightHelp! andMagical Mystery Tour. Amazing, really! He was also involved with a 1968 National Theatre production called The Lennon Play: In His Own Write, a dramatized version of material from Lennon's two books of surreal and absurdist writings called In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. The interview revolves around John's fascination with how well the dramatization catches the mood and meaning of his acerbic work. With his typical lack of restraint, Lennon declares at one point: "I think our society is run by insane people for insane objectives."


And then there are excerpts from a BBC Radio 1 programme called Scene and Heard, hosted by David Wigg. Ten of its editions in 1969 featured Wigg in conversations with each of the individual Beatles. The talk is relaxed and each of the soon-to-be-ex-Beatles is candid about their current opinions, and the state of their relationships with each other. The best of this material was released on vinyl in 1976 by Polydor Records as The Beatles Tapes - a double album sporting an all-black cover with sparse white lettering. It could be called "The Black Album"! Of course, I bought it back then, as soon as it came out - adding it to my quickly-expanding Beatles collection of recordings, movies and books.

They were even on Grandstand!

Here are a few other things covered in the book that I found of interest. When The Beatles made their historic first visit to the U.S. - primarily to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show - Brian Matthew phoned them soon after their arrival in New York City on February 8th., 1964.. The interview - done via the trans-Atlantic telephone cable - was aired on Saturday Club.  The band returned to the U.K. on February 22nd. It happened to be early on a Saturday morning. For BBC-TV, Saturday afternoons were devoted to sports programming; from 1:00 - 5:15 they would broadcast Grandstand, hosted by the versatile David Coleman. On that particular Saturday, Coleman had been dispatched to Heathrow airport at 7:00 a.m., in order to greet the band and interview them exclusively for BBC-TV. So there they were, at the beginning of that week's Grandstand broadcast talking to a sports journalist about their triumphant visit to The States. In the midst of this exuberant interview, Coleman asked the lads if they supported Liverpool Football Club (what about Everton, David?). Paul - on behalf of "plastic fans" everywhere - declared: "We support whoever's winning all the time." Speaking of sports, The Beatles concert at Shea Stadium, in Queens, New York City, on August 15th., 1965, was eventually broadcast on BBC-TV 1 on March 1st., 1966. The production team cheated with the sound - bringing in the band to CTS Studios in London, in order to do some post-production overdubs.

First and last appearance on Top of the Pops - miming to "Paperback Writer" and "Rain"
BBC-TV's flagship pop-music programme was the weekly Top of the Pops. It had been running every Thursday evening since January 1st., 1964. The Beatles had never appeared live on the show - for their most-recent singles they had supplied the programme with filmed performances. But finally they did do the show - miming to both sides on their new "Paperback Writer / Rain" single. Coincidentally, it was not only their first live appearance, it was also their last; in fact, it turned out to be their last "performance" on a TV pop programme.


"I Am the Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles ran afoul of the BBC censors twice during their career. The first time was when the track "A Day in the Life" (from Sgt. Pepper) was banned from airplay because of the refrain "I'd love to turn you on." There was an interesting exchange of letters between the "brass" at the Beeb and Sir Joseph Lockwood, the Chairman of EMI Records - the company that owned Parlophone, The Beatles recording label. [The only other track banned outright during the 60s was "We Love the Pirates" by The Roaring 60s. It was a single released in 1966 as a protest against government plans to outlaw pirate radio stations broadcasting into Britain from outside its territorial waters. It was the popularity of the pirate stations, by the way, which led to the establishment in September, 1967 of BBC Radio 1 - a channel devoted, unlike the Light Programme, almost entirely to pop music]  The ban against "A Day in the Life" continued into the early 70s. The other Beatles track banned by the BBC Controller was "I Am the Walrus". He thought that the line "Boy, you been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down" was unacceptable. The song was recorded for The Beatles self-produced film Magical Mystery Tour in late-1967. Interestingly enough, it was that same BBC Controller who negotiated with Paul McCartney (in the absence of the late-Brian Epstein) the rights to broadcast the film on BBC-TV 1 on Boxing Day, 1967. Despite some good music featured in it, the rather experimental and surrealistic film did not meet the "light entertainment" expectation for early-evening Boxing Day viewing.  The programme got a critical drubbing - probably the worst reception ever given to a major project undertaken by the band. The fact that the psychedelically-charged film was shown on BBC 1 in black-and-white probably didn't help. It was rebroadcast on BBC 2 in colour ten days later - not that that did much to improve the majority opinion. The Beeb's Audience Research Report said that 75% of people had a negative reaction. A typical quote from the report: "It was a complete jumble, with no shape or meaning."


In addition to the main text, The Beatles: The BBC Archives (1962-1970) is appended with a 10-page detailed section of broadcast information and commentaries on all the songs performed by The Beatles on BBC Radio or TV. This section includes five pages of pictures of LP and single covers by the artists who did the original recordings.

Detailed info in the book about all the songs the band performed on BBC Radio and TV
There is also a brief, but important, essay at the back of the book which outlines how the producers and engineers recorded The Beatles for radio broadcast - and how their methods differed from the way things were done at EMI's Abbey Road studios. When The Beatles were recording for the BBC, for example, they didn't have a lot of time. EMI gave them three hours to do two songs. At the BBC it was six songs in as little as ninety minutes. There was no multi-tracking at the BBC, which used mono tape recorders. They could do occasional overdubs - or "cut in" an instrumental solo that was impossible to do live (George Martin's keyboard solo in "A Hard Day's Night", for example). And they often spliced together the best sections of different takes - so a song might be made up of three different takes of a  song. This sort of editing was a specialty of Bernie Andrews. Most recordings, though, were done live - direct to tape. And, occasionally, the band was forced to perform live to air - which never seemed to bother them. 

Bernie Andrews manipulating tape in the BBC Radio production studio




A lot of experimenting was done with microphone placement. The drums were recorded with ribbon mics. Sometimes the ribbons would break when the sounds got excessively loud. They put a 4033 mic - dubbed the "gin bottle" - right inside the bass drum. To get vocals from Ringo they had to suspend a cylindrical, silver-coloured C12 microphone (12" long, 2" in diameter) from elastic strings - they didn't have the modern steel booms to hold mics suspended over large distances. For vocals and guitars they generally used condenser mics, in order to get a fresh, bright sound. Guitar amps had microphones dangled in front of the speaker cabinets - attached from the amps' handles! They experimented with reverb, and were able to exploit the natural echo generated inside the cavernous Paris Theatre in Lower Regent Street. Whatever it took to improve the sound, and obtain some interesting effects - Bernie Andrews was willing to give it a try.


The complete package: book, glossy photo and facsimile documents






 The Beatles: The BBC Archives (1962-1970) by Kevin Howlett is published by Harper Design (2013). It contains 32 years of history into the BBC Beatles' broadcasts. The 336-page, hardcover book comes in a box cover shaped like a film canister. The pages have a 10" x 10" design. The book is lavishly illustrated with wonderful photographs of the band at the Beeb with the likes of Brian Matthew, Bernie Andrews, Alan Freeman, and David Jacobs. Included in the box, with the book, is a beautiful 9" x 9" glossy black-and-white photograph of the band, suitable for framing. There are also facsimiles of key documents related to the band's BBC career:

·        a 4-page audition report for BBC Manchester by Peter Pilbeam
·        a two-page Audience Research Report from 1964
·        It's The Beatles! programme sheet
·     a note from John about hearsay he had heard that the TV show Release, featuring interviews with him and Victor Spinetti, had been cut
·    the letter to Sir Joseph Lockwood at EMI from BBC brass about their decision to ban "A Day in the Life" because of the drug reference
·        a two-page Audience Research Report from December, 1967 about Magical Mystery Tour


The Beatles: The BBC Archives (1962-1970) is a unique and definitive work. Much of the material found here has been released before in other formats - but this project collects all of this related stuff together in a well-organized and beautifully-illustrated book. It fills a particular niche - probably of more real interest to Beatles' fans who grew up during the 60s in the grip of the Beeb and all her multifarious works. It would be a fascinating eye-opener, though, for those new to the scene, who would like to explore what it's like to live in a more closed and conservative society - in which the media are limited, very tightly controlled, and, therefore, of enormous influence. The Beatles not only took advantage of this narrow and concentrated scene to advance their career; they also helped to loosen its rigid and autocratic grip.  




In the BBC Radio studio - pointing at the BBC logo

Source: http://clive-w.blogspot.com/2014/10/book-review-beatles-bbc-archives-by.html