Tuesday, 1 December 2015

1965 NME Awards

At the end of 1965 NME published its annual Awards


World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
British R & B Group: The Rolling Stones
Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
World Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
World Vocal Group: Beatles
British Vocal Group: Beatles
British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
British Vocal Personality: John Lennon
British Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
New Disc Or TV Singer: Donovan
British Instrumental Unit: Shadows
Best New Group: Seekers
Most Popular Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
Best TV or Radio Show: Top Of The Pops
Best New Disc Of The Year: The Rolling Stones 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction'

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Beatles referenced in the Simpsons

The first episode of the fifth season of The Simpsons was called "Homer's Barbershop Quartet". It tells the story of Homer's succesful barbershop quartet the Be Sharps, and closely follows the storyline of the Beatles' rise to fame.

Interestingly, there are two big cameos by George Harrison and David Crosby.

Some of the references to The Beatles:

- The first LP is called "Meet the Be Sharps"
- Moe's Tavern is called Moe's Cavern
- Chief Wiggum is thrown out, like Pete Best was
- The second album is called "Bigger than Jesus"
- The Be Sharps walk over Abbey Road
- On the album cover, Homer turns his back
- Barney has a Japanese conceptual artist as a partner
- There is a song called "number 8"
- A rooftop concert on top of Moe's Tavern

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Where is the Magical Mystery Tour Bus now?

The Beatles directed The Magical Mystery Tour TV special in 1967. Following a (largely improvised) script that took them to the south of England, we see The Beatles board a bus.

If you ever wondered where the bus is now, I have good news: it has not been scraped, but was bought by Hard Rock Café. Until recently it could be seen at the largest HRC at the Universal Studios in Orlando.

The current location is back at The Warehouse at the Memorabilia HQ of the Hard Rock Café.

The Hard Rock Cafe acquired the actual Magical Mystery Tour bus in 1988 and it is the single biggest piece of rock n’ roll memorabilia they own. It took four months, 2,000 man-hours and a cost of $100,000 for HRC to completely refurbish the bus using vintage parts to replicate the original designs and details. The bus is stored in the Hard Rock Cafe warehouse and is put on display for special occasions.


The bus is a Plaxton bodied 1959 Bedford Val Panorama Elite bus with the license plate URO 913E. This bus was new to coach company Fox of Hayes when leased by The Beatles for the film in 1967

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Cilla Black dies, aged 72

Sad news reaches us from Spain, where Priscilla White, better known under her stage name Cilla Black, died aged 72.

Cilla Black's biography reads like a huge Beatles-related novel, and her story cannot be seen without that of the Fab Four from Liverpool.

Just like the Beatles, she came from Liverpool. Her first run-into with the Beatles probably dates back from the Cavern Club days, when she was a part-time cloakroom attendant at that famous music venue.

Cilla Black soon became a guest-singer for groups like Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes, and The Big Three.

She was soon signed on by Brian Epstein (the only female singer in his portfolio) and her first record was the Lennon-McCartney composition Love of the Loved. later in life she would go on recording many other Beatles songs, including Yesterday, The Long and Winding road, For No One and Across the Universe. Paul McCartney wrote "Step Inside Love" and George Harrison I'll Still Love You and The Light that has Lighted the World.

Other notorious occassions when she joined The Beatles was during the Cannes festival with Ringo Starr and George Harrison, and holidaying on a yacht. Picture: Cilla Black in Amsterdam, CC BY-SA 3.0, Nationaal Archief

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Beatles wanted to record "Revolver" in Memphis, Tennessee

Impressive news reached us today. At an auction (organized by Recordmecca) a letter written by George Harrison was sold for 18.000 euro.

The interesting part is the end of the letter (written in 1966 by George at Kinfauns): there he reveals that The Beatles had been seriously considering recording "Revolver" at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee with Jim Stewart.

Imagine how that would have sounded!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The story behind I'm So Tired

On Flemish Radio 1, during the Monschau programme they were looking for songs that criticise smoking. Surprisingly, they only managed to find one.

But looking closer at "I'm So Tired" by The Beatles, I noticed the following sentence:

" I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
Although I'm so tired, I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid git"

Now Sir Walter Raleigh is the guy who is credited with introducing tobacco to Britain from America in the 16th century, and thus for indirectly getting John Lennon hooked on cigarettes.

And a "git" is an insult, so clearly Lennon seems angry :)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Hey Jude is number 5 in a Flemish radio poll

Radio 2, a Flemish radio station that caters to a mainstream audience, published a reader's poll with the "best songs from the 1960's".

The Beatles feature twice, once with Hey Jude at nr. 5 and a second time with "Yesterday" at number 34. Joe Cocker also scores with his version of "With a little help...".

Top 10

1. "Eloise" - Barry Ryan
2. "Eenzaam zonder jou" - Will Tura
3. "(I can't get no) satisfaction" - The Rolling Stones
4. "Suspicious minds" - Elvis Presley
5. "Hey Jude" - The Beatles
6. "Seven horses in the sky" - The Pebbles
7. "Suzanne" - Leonard Cohen
8. "With a little help from my friends" - Joe Cocker
9. "Daydream" - The Wallace Collection
10. "Bad moon rising" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

34. "Yesterday" - The Beatles

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ben E. King dies, aged 76

Sad news from America. Benjamin Earl King, better known as Ben E. King died today.

He will always be remembered by Beatle fans as the author (together with Leiber and Stoller) of Stand By Me, the soul classic that was covered by John Lennon on his Rock 'n Roll cover album.

The single released by John Lennon reached No. 20 on Billboard and remained 9 weeks in the charts

picture: Ben E. King performing at the 2006 Summerfest, Manhattan, New York. June 2006 - CC BY-SA 2.0 - by Flickr user J&R Music World

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ticket to Ride released in the USA

Exactly 50 years ago today, The Beatles released their 9th Capitol single on the US market. On the A-side was Ticket to Ride (one of my favourites with a great guitar riff) and on the B-side Yes it is, a complex song with great three-part harmonies and some wonderful guitar playing by George Harrison).

A fine anecdote is that on the label it says "From the upcoming United Artists movie Eight Arms to Hold You", which was the working title for their movie "HELP!". Surely a collector's Item

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Stand By Me released in the UK

Almost a month after the US release of Stand By Me, Apple also released the single from Rock 'n Roll in the UK.

Written by Ben E. King, the song was only a minor hit for John Lennon, reaching No. 27 of the charts and only remaining 2 weeks in the Top 30.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Record Store Day 2015 re-release: The Family Way

Tomorrow it is Record Store Day.

This year there are not many Beatle-related exclusives available, but one item worth checking out is the re-release of The Family Way, a soundtrack from 1967 and the unofficial first Beatle solo effort by Paul McCartney (although for some reason George Harrison gets the official credit for first solo-record when he released Wonderwall a year later).

Here is what Record Store Day has to say about the record:

This 1967 soundtrack composed by Paul McCartney is one of the most elusive Beatles souvenirs. The original vinyl album has been long out of print, and it is commanding sky-high prices on the collector's circuit.

It is released in 5,700 copies.

And the movie, you may ask? Well, The Family Way is a 1966 British comedy-drama lmovie based on Bill Naughton's play All in Good Time (1963). Some people may remember it was reworked as a television play, Honeymoon Postponed. The film was produced and directed by John and Roy Boulting, respectively, and starred father and daughter John Mills and Hayley Mills.

The soundtrack was composed by Paul McCartney and released on an album in January 1967.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

RIP Cynthia Lennon

Sad news arrived today, April 1st 2015 when Cynthia Lennon died of cancer in her home on Mallorca, aged 75.

Cynthia will be remembered as the first wife of John Lennon and mother of Julian Lennon.

Photo: Cynthia and Julian Lennon at the unveiling of the John Lennon Peace Monument in Chavasse Park, Liverpool on 9th October 2010 with the Liverpool Signing Choir in the background. Celebrating peace and the loving memory of John Lennon on what would have been Lennon's 70th Birthday. - Public Domain

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Stand By Me single released by John Lennon

Exactly 40 years ago, John Lennon released his last single before his comeback. On March 10, 1975, the first and only single from his new cover album "Rock 'n Roll" was released in America (the rest of the world would have to wait until April 18).

Stand Be Me (Move over Mrs. L was on the flip side) reached No. 20 on the Billboard charts and was in the top 100 for 9 weeks.

Monday, 9 February 2015

George Harrison Underrated Guitarist

CC BY-SA 2.0 by Steve Mathieson

Whenever there is a list of greatest guitarists, it is always the usual suspects who top the bill: Jimi Hendrix, Slash, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards. But one guitarist that is often forgotten, is in my humble opinion George Harrison.

He is the proof that you do not need to be the fastest to be the best. Listen to the guitar work in 'And Your Bird Can Sing', 'It's All Too Much', the lead war between John, Paul and George in 'The End', 'Something' and the backwards guitar in 'Tomorrow Never Knows', no other guitarist could've thought those guitar parts up. Pure genius.

His riffs in "Here Comes the Sun", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and the hundreds of other Beatles songs he plays in are absolutely golden, thanks to his hybrid picking, and numerous other guitar skills. His mastery of the instrument really is incomparable with other artists, in my opinion.