Monday, 27 December 2010

2000 NME Awards

Ten years ago, at the end of 2000, NME published its annual music Awards


Philip Hall On Award: Terris
Live Act Of The Year: Mogwai
Best Live Act: Super Furry Animals
On The Decks Awards For Dance Act Of The Year: Death In Vegas
Carling Premier Best New Artist: Muse
Breezeblack Mix Of 1999: Junior Carter
Best Solo Artist: Beck
Best Album Ever: The Stone Roses - 'The Stone Roses'
Best Single Ever: Nirvana - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
Total Genius Of The Year: Ali G
Greatest Musical Event Ever: Woodstock
Best Radio Show: Radio 1 Evening Session
Carling Premier Best LP: The Flaming Lips - 'The Soft Bulletin'
NME Album Of The Year: The Flaming Lips - 'The Soft Bulletin'
NME Single Of The Year: Aphex Twin - 'Windowlicker'
Best TV Show: 'The Royle Family'
Musical Event Of The Year: Glastonbury
Best Venue: London Brixton Academy
Dickhead Of The Year: Robbie Williams
Best Website: NME.COM
Worst Record Of The Year: The Vengaboys - 'We're Going To Ibiza'
Best Film: 'The Blair Witch Project'
Best DJ: Fatboy Slim
NME.COM Award For Best NME Premier Show Performance: Ooberman
Best Dance Act: The Chemical Brothers
Best Music Video: Blur - 'Coffee + TV'
Best Band: Blur
Best Single: Blur - 'Tender'
Best Band Ever: The Beatles
Godlike Genius Award For Services To Music: Shaun Ryder
Radio 1 Evening Session Session Of The Year: Supergrass
Artist Of The Year: Travis

Friday, 3 December 2010

Alfred Lennon marries Julia Stanley

On 3 December 1938 Alfred Lennon married Julia Stanley at the Mount Pleasant Registry Office (the same place where John Lennon & Cynthia Powell got married 24 years later).

They had not informed their family, only Alf's brother Sydney was invited as a witness. A cinema usherette was Julia's witness.

After the ceremony they all went to Reece's, a restaurant in Clayton Square. The restaurant was demolished when they built the Clayton Shopping Centre.Funnily, this is the same place where John took Cynthia after they got married.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1970 NME Awards - The Beatles win twice

At the end of 1970 New Musical Express (NME) published its annual awards - It was 40 years ago today


World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
World Female Singer: Diana Ross
1970's Best British Single: Mungo Jerry - 'In The Summertime'
World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
Best TV/ Radio Show: 'Top Of The Pops'
World Vocal Group: Creedence Clearwater Revival
British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
British Female Singer: Cilla Black
New Disc Singer: Elton John
Best New Group: McGuiness Flint
Top British Group: The Beatles
Brit. Instrumental Unit: The Shadows
Top Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
1970's Best British LP: The Beatles - 'Let It Be'

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Beatles Manager Brian Epstein

On 19 September 1934 Brian Epstein was born in Rodney Street, Liverpool to Harry and Malka Epstein, a wealthy Jewish family with roots in Russia.

Brian Epstein will always be remembered as the manager of The Beatles, although he also managed Cilla Black, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Cyrkle.

In 1961 Brian was the owner of NEMS (North End Music Stores) and he allegedly first heard about the Beatles when customers were asking for "My Bonnie" with The Beatles as backing group. He decided to check out a lunch performance of the Beatles in the Cavern Club on 9 November 1961 and Brian was immediately struck by their "sense of humour on stage" and later by their "personal charm.

Brian Epstein initially invited them at NEMS to discuss a possible management contract on 3 December 1961 but they didn't sign until 24 January 1962.

Brian Epstein is often credited for bringing routine and common sense into The Beatles chaotic life-style. He made them wear suits, stop eating and drinking on stage, and respect agreements.

On 27 August 1967 Brian Epstein died of an overdosis, and, - according to an interview with John - "that marked the beginning of the end for the Beatles"

Friday, 21 May 2010

Tony Sheridan

Tony Sheridan was born on May 21st 1940 in Norwich (Norfolk), England. This English guitarist and composer is best known for his collaborations with the Beatles.

Tony's real name is Anthony Esmond Sheridan McGinnity and he made his first successes when he toured with Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent in early 1960. By luck or fate he was not on the tour bus on April 17, 1960 when Cochrane was killed and Vincent badly injured.

Between 1960 & 1963 he frequently appeared in the Kaiserkeller and Indra Club in Hamburg, and it is there that he met the Beatles (John, Paul, George, Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe). Together they also recorded an LP (Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers) and it was the single "My Bonnie" that first attracted the attention of Brian Epstein to the Beatles.

Monday, 17 May 2010

1980 NME Awards

It was 30 years ago today (at the end of 1980) that New Musical Express published its annual music awards


Best Group: The Jam
Best New Act: UB40
Best Male Singer: Paul Weller
Best Guitarist: Paul Weller
Best Drummer: Rick Buckler
Best Songwriter: Paul Weller
Best Bassist: Bruce Foxton
Best Keyboardist: Dave Greenfield
Best Other Instrumentalist: Saxa
Best Single: The Jam - 'Going Underground'
Best Album: The Jam - 'Sound Affects'
Best Dressed Sleeve: The Jam - 'Sound Affects'
Best Disc Jockey: John Peel
Best Dressed Person: Adam Ant
Haircut Of The Year: Eugene Reynolds
Most Wonderful Human Being: Paul Weller
Creep Of The Year: Margaret Thatcher
Event Of The Year: Death Of John Lennon
TV Programme: 'Not The Nine O'Clock News'
Movie Of The Year: 'The Elephant Man'

Thursday, 1 April 2010

John Lennon's first record and guitar

According to many historians, John Lennon bought his first record in April or May 1956 at the age of 15. It was "Rock Island Line", a skiffle-hit for Lonnie Donegan. Other records that he bought around that time were "the Ying-tong Song" by comedy group The Goons, and Elvis Presley's Hound Dog.

John was so captivated by the music that he dragged his aunt mimi to the shops to buy him a guitar. When she refused, he bought a mail-order Gallotone Champion which can be seen on the famous picture of The Quarrymen playing at Saint Peter's church (the first time Paul saw John playing and probably the most important day in their lives). According to the magazine (Reveille) it was "guaranteed not to split". John had the guitar delivered at his mum's house whereJulia Lennon thought him a couple of 5-string chords (the reason why John didn't use the sixth string and left it intentionally slack.  It was this guitar that John used in his first band (The Black Jacks) with his friend Pete Shotton. 

There is a really nice story about what happened to the guitar. It broke at some point in 1958 and ended up in Aunt Mimi's house after John moved out. When John was murdered in 1980 Mimi gave it to a family friend who had a disabled son. After the boy died, the guitar ended up with another disabled friend and was sold at an auction by Sotheby.

How do we know the guitar is indeed the real deal? Well, interestingly Sotheby's asked fellow Quarrymen member Rod Davis to identify the guitar. He remembered that there was a spot of blood inside the guitar from where John cut the skin of his finger...and sure, the spot was still there!

Eventually the guitar sold for 250,000 dollar, with part of the proceedings going to a school for Liverpool disabled musicians. And the current owner displayed it at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts during the winter of 2000/2001 for the "Dangerous Curves" exhibition

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sentimental Journey

On 27 March 1970 Ringo Starr released his first solo album that he had already been preparing since 1969, around the same time that Paul McCartney is recording his first solo album (McCartney).

The press was not amused with the record, because it did not contain rock 'n' roll but standards from the 1930's. Ringo had however a lot of help from his friends, notably Paul McCartney, Klaus Voorman, George Martin, Quincy Jones, Elmer Bernstein and Maurice Gibb).

The album didn't do bad in the charts, but mostly because of the association with the Beatles.

Interesting side-note: the album cover shows the Empress pub which is located in front of Madryn street (where Ringo was born) and on the corner of Albert Grove where Ringo lived from the age of 3. If you look carefully you can even see the house on Albert Grove 10.
I included a picture I took in May 2012 which shows the terrible state the Empress is in.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

18 February 1933: Yoko Ono is born

Yoko Ono, artist, author, peace activist and of course widow of John Lennon was born on 18 February 1933 in Tokyo. Her parents come from a line of bankers and she is a descendant of a Japanese Emperor.

According to most musical historians, Yoko Ono first met John Lennon at the Indica Gallery in London, where she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit. John was still married to Cynthia at that time, but while she was on holiday in Greece he invited Yoko to stay with him.

They got married in Gibraltar (for the whole story just listen to "The Ballad of John & Yoko" on 20 March 1969 and spent their honeymoon in the Amsterdam Hilton where the whole world press was invited to grow their hair for peace :)

Yoko Ono has always been treated unfairly by both public and press. She was blamed for the breakup of the Beatles and for influencing John Lennon too much.

the picture is by Marcela Cataldi Cipolla and is published here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Sunday, 3 January 2010

3 January 1926

George Martin, the famous British composer, conductor, musician and of course Beatles procucer was born in Holloway, London on January 3rd 1926. He went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began working for EMI in 1950. At that time he worked with comedy artists like Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, recording novelty records.

On 13 February 1962 George Martin met up with Brian Epstein for the first time to listen to the Decca audition tapes. Martin was not impressed by the recording, but thought John and Paul had promising vocals. On 9 May 1962 George Martin agreed to a recording contract and audition, to take place later on 6 June 1962.

It is often said that George Martin brought the best out of the Beatles (musically) and he arranged and even composed many of their orchestrated songs. Best examples are Yesterday (it was G.M's idea to add the strings), Strawberry Fields and Eleanor Rigby (for which he composed a string arrangement based on Bernard Herrmann's score for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.