Thursday, 29 September 2016

Swedish EP inspired Pepper?

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Was the famous cover photo of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" inspired by a Swedish EP-cover?

Swedish record store owner Jörgen Johansson developed this theory when he came across an EP from 1964 with the student band Mercblecket, by a group from the Stockholm School of Economics. The EP contains parodies of four Beatles songs. Just like on the Sgt-Pepper albumet, the cover photo depicts members of the band grouped around a bass drum, holding similar instruments as in The Beatles' photo. In the spring of 1963, Mercblecket acquired a large number of operatic fancy dress jackets, dolmans, from the Oscars Theatre. They are wearing these uniforms on the cover photo.

Mercblecket - Beats The Beatles
What further lends credibility to the theory, is Paul had the record. Mercblecket showed up at the airport to entertain The Beatles as they arrived in Stockholm in late July 1964 to give concerts at the Johanneshovs Isstadion, and a representative of Mercblecket, English exchange student Roger Wallis handed Paul McCartney a copy of the EP. In the news film below, the uniformed Roger Wallis walks up to McCartney on his way out of the plane at Arlanda airport, around the 27 second mark. After this, Mercblecket starts to play"I Want to Hold Your Hand", and McCartney joins in on the fun, pretending to conduct the band.



There's even an interview in existence, from the hotel at Lidingö, where they resided, and they are listening to the EP, with McCartney commenting: "I really like this one, they really got the beat. It’s really great!"

Earlier theories around the inspiration for the album cover of "Sgt. Pepper" have brought forth this photo of  Jim Mac's band, the jazz band of McCartney's father, Jim.

Jim Mac's Band
So if you're a die hard record collector, here's an EP to hunt for! Roger Wallis, Mercblecket's conductor and arranger at the time, had made five or six arrangements of the most famous Beatles songs, four of which ended up on the EP: "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "This Boy", "All My Loving" and "I Saw Her Standing There" - with new lyrics. After having met The Beatles and given them their EP, Mercblecket made "A Hard Day's Night" their signature melody for years to come.

"Mercblecket Beats The Beatles" [EP] 1964 Philips 433 445 PE
Listen to Mercblecket's rendition of All My Loving.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Film review: Eight Days A Week and Shea

EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS

Concerts and tour stops for The Beatles, 1963-1966
Here's a map of the Beatles tours as assembled by the pre-production crew of the film. Why not animate it and use it? It would have told more of a story than what this film managed to do.

"The Beatles Live Project" looked promising. They were going to assemble amateur footage shot by the audience at Beatles concerts and use that to tell the story of The Beatles touring years 1962 to 1966. The definitive story. The first drafts of the film went something like this: Four complete live songs by the Beatles, then a bit of storytelling, another four live songs, and another bit of storytelling – and so on for a cut of the film which lasted two hours and twenty minutes.

But then they brought in Hollywood director Ron Howard and everything changed. What did we get? We got sort of an "extra disc" to the Anthology DVD series. Short clips and celebrity talking heads. Okay, perhaps this is a more entertaining film for a broader audience, at the cost of alienating us Beatles fans. Plus, you're no longer telling the story about the touring years. What the story in the film is, is this: The Beatles are touring North America, and the mania forces them to end touring and concentrate on their record career instead. The concerts the Beatles gave in other countries is just added as a sprinkle of spice to the story. We also get an insight into what the Beatles did in the recording studio, and we leave them in January 1969, when they once again and for the last time gave a live concert.

Live at the NME Poll Winners Concert in London, 1964.
The final song, "Can't Buy Me Love" was partially used in the film, colourised.
The scope of the film changed, and with that we are left with a half hearted summing up of sorts of the Beatles as a live touring band. If you are going to really tell the story of the Beatles tours, you need to tell them about the time that Jimmy Nicol on the brink of a world tour had to replace a hospitalised Ringo Starr for the first part of that tour. If you leave Jimmy out, you are not really telling the story of The Beatles on tour. You can spot him briefly in the film on a canal boat in Amsterdam, but his presence is never explained. And a lot of other people are missing, too. There's not even a brief mention of Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe. Hamburg is barely touched upon. The years 1962 and 1963 are all but non-existant in this film. Yes, we do get wonderful colour film from Manchester, courtesy of the Pathé film "The Beatles Come To Town" and outtake footage from that film, but the soundtrack of the two songs there, "Twist and Shout" and "She Loves You" is from Hollywood Bowl 1964! But what about the December 1963 Liverpool Empire songs? What about the Royal Variety show? Most importantly, what about their dry run tour of Sweden? Now that was their first ever tour of a foreign country, their first taste of Beatlemania outside the U.K. and the girls of Sweden – who had already formed a Swedish Beatles Fan Club. We get about two seconds from the television programme they participated in while in Sweden, "Drop In". And don't forget, the Beatles arrived back in London from their tour of Sweden at the exact same moment that Ed Sullivan was leaving London for USA, and he took notice of the commotion at the airport where hundreds of fans were waiting for The Beatles to arrive! How about that hard winter tour of the UK in 1963 in their van, Mal Evans behind the wheel? See their "Words Of Love" promo for a glimse of that. Mal, their one man road crew should have been profiled, and he wasn't. Instead, an American roadie who helped out Mal and Neil at the 1966 tour is interviewed.

A lot of footage originally filmed in black and white had been colourised for this film: the Washington DC concert film, the press conference at the airport in New York, Lennon's apology at the press conference in Chicago, "Help!" from the Blackpool 1965 concert and "Can't Buy Me Love" from the NME Poll Winners Concert. The colorised footage was a hit and miss sort of thing which mainly missed, with orange skin tones, orange tongues and black and white between the hair and the ears. I would rather have them spend this money on getting more rare footage!

And when it came to the concerts, audio producer Giles Martin used the same tactic that he employed for his soundtrack to the "A Hard Day's Night"-film, he recorded and overdubbed the sound of individually screaming girls of today to the images. This was done every time the film zoomed in on a smaller group of girls, and also onto the Shea Stadium film, which we saw after the main feature.

Some fakery which should have been edited out: The fake Shea Stadium poster, and a black and white shot of the current front door sign of Abbey Road Studios. It wasn't even named Abbey Road Studios at the time, and later in the film we see the real sixties EMI Studios door sign, so why keep in that latter day one?
Fake Shea Stadium poster.
Paul and Ringo are rehashing stories that they misremember, like McCartney still maintaining that they held out playing in the USA until they got a hit single. Come on, the Ed Sullivan Show was booked way before they ever knew that they were going to get a hit record over there.

I first saw this film last Tuesday at a press showing, and again two days later on Thursday 22 September along with an audience. In fact it was a full house here in Oslo at the biggest theatre in the cinema complex. And it seemed the audience loved it. I knew I was in good company when the Apple logo appearing on the screen in the beginning of the film got a round of applause! People were genuinely entertained and laughter and applause followed a lot of the scenes. As for the Shea film, this had first generationers singing along, as if they were attending a karaoke film or - indeed, a concert. Most of the audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves (the handful of people who left before Shea were probably the disappointed ones) and the film was favourably reviewed on Facebook by the people I knew in the audience - most of them members of Norwegian Wood, the Beatles fan club of Norway.
You Can't Do That in Melbourne.
And I was entertained too, I'm not ashamed of admitting that. But still, I think Ron Howard went and ruined the film – it would have been better without him. Because what did he bring to the table? Well, for one thing – he removed most of the concert footage and brought in the talking heads. And then he emphasized the North American tours at the cost of all the other concerts the Beatles gave in the rest of the world. That's no documentary, that's revisionism! The one person who had anything interesting to come up with, was Larry Kane – because he was actually there with them. The rest of the talking heads just took up space which could have been used to show The Beatles. They had spent money on interviewing even more celebrities for the film, but these were later cut out, and I do believe on the insistence of Ringo - who saw a version with all the talking heads and didn't approve.

One thing Howard accomplished, was to bring new light to the fact that The Beatles refused to play to segregated audiences. This is a well known fact for us Beatle buffs, but it hasn't been very publicly known, or rather, it has been forgotten about. It's a fact which certainly has historical significance and plays a part in the liberation of the black communities of USA. And this aspect of the film was used to promote the film before it was even released. Great, well done!

I had really high hopes for this film, but the result is at best a forgery. The best way to see this film is to start with no expectations or knowledge whatsoever. Because then it is actually quite entertaining. It is better the second time you view it than the first, because then you're prepared for its limitations. We didn't need the Beatles in the studio or filming "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!". And as much as we love to see footage from the Apple rooftop concert in 1969 (and here we did get previously unseen footage from "I've Got A Feeling"), it falls outside the scope of the theme of the film. And it's not because there's any lack of material from live performances between 1963 and 1966 which could have been shown instead. On the contrary, The Beatles as a performing band during their touring years is vastly undercommunicated here – because of all the concert footage that exists but isn't used! We miss Holland, we miss Germany 1966, we miss Australia! There's way too little from Japan and the Philippines story is grossly underplayed. Manila was as much a nail in the coffin for The Beatles' touring career as the Ku Klux Klan and Beatle record bonfires. Thank goodness for that 2014 documentary, "When The Beatles Drove Us Wild" and other, unofficial documentaries who tell us more of the true story. Lacking as they may be in the music departement, they give us more footage of The Beatles on tour, as well as insightful interviews with people in the Beatles' entourage.

Munich, 1966.
Eight Days A Week is an entertaining film for a broad audience and once we had abandoned the idea that this was a film about The Beatles on tour, it was enjoyable. And of course, they brought us snippets of things we hadn't seen before, "Roll Over Beethoven" filmed in colour in Stockholm 1964 especially comes to mind. But this means that the definitive film about The Beatles on Tour can still be made. And it should be a TV series with 8 hour long episodes. One about 1960-1963, three episodes covering 1964, two about 1965 and two about 1966. They have gathered enough material for this, material which didn't make it to the final cut of Eight Days A Week. And a home video edition with bonus material in the form of complete or near complete concerts. That would have been satisfactory for Beatle fans, and possibly overkill for the man on the street. Historically though, that's the kind of approach The Beatles are worthy of – and not this fragment.

When the film premiered in Liverpool, it was prefaced by two short films: An introduction by Paul, Ringo and Ron Howard especially addressing the Liverpool audience (and Howard openly admitting that he had never been to Liverpool but really wanted to visit some time), and an 11 minutes long film where people from Liverpool were interviewed. Only there did you hear from people like Allan Williams, Joe Flannery, Beryl Marsden, Freda Kelly, and siblings Beryl Williams and Barry Chang who went along to Hamburg with the Beatles. And in Japan, more footage from The Beatles' visit to Tokyo was shown. The latter two films will be included as bonus features on the home cinema release, deluxe edition.

The audience audibly present

SHEA STADIUM

It was very nice to see and hear The Beatles at Shea Stadium on the big screen and with good sound – although the volume was a little low during the screenings I attended. With a monumental stadium like Shea, you really want to have really loud audio to convey the atmosphere of being there. The audio was not only remixed but also substituted by Giles Martin and was a mishmash of this and that. "Twist And Shout" is mostly the studio version with added audience noise, "Act Naturally" is from the concert, but with the guitar solos added from the studio version, "Baby's In Black" is again a mix of the concert and the studio version, "Help!" is the 1966-version they recorded at CTS especially for the Shea film soundtrack, and "She's A Woman" is from the Hollywood Bowl! The sound is very narrow stereo or even mono, with a stereo effect on the audience. The picture quality is probably as good as it gets, it was filmed in 35mm but I do believe that the film was sometimes zoomed in to focus on the lead singers and that meant a drop in quality during those scenes only. Again, this was already present in the original version and there seems to be no outtake footage available, so it is what it is. Seemed to me the film wasn't very much edited at all, from the 1966 TV version, which means that outtakes of George with his Gretsch guitar from the missing "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" appears in "A Hard Day's Night" in between him playing the Rickenbacker. Fan edits of the Shea Stadium film has rectified this, but it's kept in here. It was really nice to hear Ringo sing "Act Naturally" live (with his hi-hat work leaking into the vocals), he did a good enough job of it so it was never really needed to have the original film featuring the record as a soundtrack back in 1966.

I do hope that Apple elects to release The Beatles At Shea Stadium in full at some point in the future, and with an option to hear the real concert soundtrack instead of this mashup Martin version, for those of us who prefer historical accuracy.

There's a very good two hours long podcast discussing Howard's film and the Shea film, which includes important interviews with insiders working with the production crew, Chuck Gunderson and Erik Taros. It's hosted by Robert Rodriguez and Richard Buskin. You can find it here.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

New song from Ringo

21. september was the International Day of Peace and Ringo contributed with a new song.
"I worked on this record with Peace & Love,” said Ringo. “It was a joy to be part of this project."

LOS ANGELES, CA – September 21, 2016 – Today legendary musician, Ringo Starr, in partnership with the United Nations debuted “Now The Time Has Come”, a moving anthem to commemorate the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, recognized annually on September 21. Co-written with producer Bruce Sugar, “Now The Time Has Come”, with verses sung by Ringo, Richard Page, Colin Hay and Billy Valentine, the record also features backing vocals from social media superstars Christian Collins, Maddi Jane, Casey McPherson, James Maslow and Wesley Stromberg.

The song is part of the massive social media campaign #HugForPeace, a combination call-to-action and hashtag that promotes 24-hours of non-violence on the International Day of Peace through a simple act: a hug. The campaign was launched at the annual Ringing of the Peace Bell ceremony hosted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 16 by UN Assistant Secretary-General Ray Chambers.

To ensure that young people play a leading role in the campaign, Chambers has enlisted the support of top social media stars including Christian Collins, Crawford Collins, Melvin Gregg, Maddi Jane, Chloe Lukasiak, James Maslow and Wesley Stromberg – all lending their voices in support of #HugForPeace. Partners include Facebook, Influential Network, Sprinklr, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Princess House and Religions for Peace, among others.

"Each and every one of us has an important role to play in championing peace within our communities," said Ray Chambers, UN Assistant Secretary-General. "I am so grateful to Ringo Starr for lending his talent to unite people through the gift of song. I hope people across the world from Colombia to Syria will heed this call for peace—now."

In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly designated September 21st as the International Day of Peace, devoted to strengthening the ideals for peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The day was also established as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. The Secretary-General has asked partners to lend their voices to this call for a laying down of arms, in order to bring about a 24-hour cease fire on September 21st.


Monday, 19 September 2016

New blog


Our friend in London, Richard Porter has just started his own blog. It starts with a presentation of him (found here), and he has an interview with legendary radio DJ Kenny Everett here. Best of luck with your blog, Richard!

Friday, 16 September 2016

8 Days a week on DVD and Bluray

As advertised by Amazon in the UK
Bluray DeLuxe edition
21. November sees the release of the new Beatles documentary in the UK, according to listings on Amazon. The film will be available on a single disc or double disc deluxe DVD, and similarly a regular or deluxe Blu-ray.

Links:
Single Disc DVD (UK) / (USA)
Deluxe Double Disc DVD (UK) / (USA)
Regular Blu-ray (UK) / (USA)
Deluxe 2 disc Blu-ray (UK) / (USA)

Update: Now also listed at Amazon in the USA for November 18.

2-disc Deluxe Collector’s Edition (DVD/BD) includes:
1 x BD/DVD feature disc
+ 1 Bonus Disc (containing approx. 100 minutes of extras, highlighted below)
64 page booklet with an introduction from director Ron Howard, essay by music journalist and author
Jon Savage and rare photos from The Beatles’ private archive.

Generally speaking, the bonus disc material is similar to the film. Pretty general. The Cavern/Hamburg section is more developed, but not much. There's a section about fans who saw them. A longer bit with Richard Lester about "A Hard Days Night". There's also more about the studio work and songwriting during the period. All of it is very similar to the style of the final film but just didn't fit for story and/or time constraints. So, here's the breakdown of the bonus disc (with our comments in italics):

Words & Music (24 mins)
John, Paul, George & Ringo reflect on songwriting and the influence of music from their parents’ generation, Lennon/McCartney writing for other artists, The Beatles as individual musicians, and the band as innovators. Also featuring Howard Goodall, Peter Asher, Simon Schama and Elvis Costello. The interviews with Paul and Ringo are previously unseen.

Early Clues To A New Direction (18 mins)
A special feature touching on The Beatles as a collective, the importance of humor, the impact of women on their early lives and songwriting, and the band as a musical movement. Featuring John, Paul, George & Ringo, along with Paul Greengrass, Stephen Stark, Peter Asher, Malcolm Gladwell, Sigourney Weaver, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Curtis, Elvis Costello and Simon Schama. Again the interviews with Paul and Ringo are previously unseen.

Liverpool (11 mins)
The early days in Liverpool of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s are brought vividly to life by those who worked closely with them at that time including fan club secretary Freda Kelly, Allan Williams an early manager, and Leslie Woodhead multi-award winning documentary film director. Probably Bill Harry too. Ron Howard wanted the film to focus on when the fabs were already a phenomenon, so the Liverpool/Hamburg/Europe section was heavily scissored off.

The Beatles in Concert (12 mins)
Five great but rarely seen full length performances of The Beatles live in concert - Twist and Shout, She Loves You (both manchester '63), Can’t Buy Me Love (NME Poll Winners '64), You Can’t Do That and Help! (Blackpool, colourised). These are just the full versions of songs already in the final film.

Three Beatles' FansInterviews with three women from the USA who saw the Beatles. One met them and has a picture. It's sweet.

Ronnie Spector and The BeatlesRonnie talks about knowing them, Phil not wanting her to be around John, and generally places herself in the story. Standard extra.

Shooting A Hard Day’s NightMore detail from the Richard Lester section, about working with them at the height of Beatlemania.

The Beatles in AustraliaLonger than in the film. This was cut for narrative/time issues. More fan footage. Cool but short.

Recollections of Shea Stadium - no idea, fans? Paul and Ringo?

The Beatles in Japan - Likely the extra footage used in the Japan edition of the film.

An alternative opening for the film - no idea, probably exactly that.

Film premiere - live broadcast and amateur footage

Ringo og Paul på filmpremieren.
Here are a few clips from the movie premiere of "Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years" in London yesterday.

It was a blue carpet event.
Ringo and Paul interviewed by the BBC at the premiere.
Live-broadcast from the premiere.

It appears Paul McCartney was wearing the same jacket as he wore at the "A Hard Day's Night" premiere.

Paul at the A Hard Day's Night premiere in 1964.

Richard Porter reports that the remastered, re-edited and remixed "Shea Stadium" film was not shown at the gala premiere of the film. It was shown elsewhere, though.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Premiere night

Paul and Ringo in studio 2 at Abbey Road. Screen capture.
Tonight is the London premiere of the "Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years", and Paul and Ringo will both be in attendance. The event will be transmitted live to participating premiere cinemas in Europe.
Yesterday, the two of them used Abbey Road Studios as a base from which they were interviewed, together with director Ron Howard. First they were answering questions from their Facebook fans, next they were on Simon Mayos "Drivetime" show on the radio, and finally they were filmed for The One Show on TV.

Facebook Q & A.


On the radio.


The One Show.


London News: Ron Howard interviewed on his own.


Photo: MPL Communications/Charlie Gray

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Intertel promo collection from HMC

Upcoming: TMOQ Gazette #26
Just posted over at CollectorsMusicReviews.com is news about an upcoming release from those naughty bootleggers, HMC. It's a new issue in their popular TMOQ Gazette series, this time focusing on the Beatles' promotional films involving the video production company Intertel.

Collectors Music Reviews' description: "A collection of the videos that were recorded between 1965 / 1966 to promote the Beatles as they reached new audiences (And wound down their touring!) This is a collection of various versions of the films and recording footage for ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘Day Tripper, ‘We Can Work It Out, ‘Help’, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’, all from the best footage that the label can find with ‘native’ audio and remastered audio".

The back of the folder, holding the discs.
In side-by-side comparisons, it has recently come to light that the versions of the Chiswick House videos used on the official "1" and "1+" collection have been subject to edits we didn't notice the first time around. For "Paperback Writer" some footage is missing, whereas "Rain" adds a shot of some clouds, and a quick shot of George leaning over a branch. On this collection, these videos should be as they were, and a non-circulating take of "Paperback Writer" is also included.
We also hear that all the promos are from new sources, and some of the slates on these are much longer (for all those slate lovers out there).

As with most HMC releases, they pay collectors for the material, so they need to recoup costs and have money left over to produce the next DVD.

Shea Stadium film in trouble?

Still from the Shea Stadium film

According to a news item from Reuters, Apple Corps Ltd was accused in a lawsuit on Monday of infringing copyrights of a company claiming to own a master recording of the group's 1965 concert in New York's Shea Stadium. Sid Bernstein Presents LLC sued before this week's scheduled release in theaters and on Hulu of "Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years," which is supported in cinemas by a reedited, remastered and remixed version of the 1966 TV-film "The Beatles at Shea Stadium", an edit which focuses on just the Beatles concert itself. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Here's a link to the Reuters report.

To us, it looks like the heirs of Sid Bernstein are looking to try and make some bucks off the Shea Stadium film. It was Subafilms (The Beatles' and Brian Epstein's company) with Ed Sullivan Productions who filmed the concert, and I'm sure their paperwork is in order. The Beatles at Shea Stadium was televised in 1966 in the U.K. and in 1967 in U.S.A. Since then, it has been reprised and shown in other countries as well. It was last televised in the U.K. by BBC in 1979.

Bernstein himself was a popular man among Beatles fans, and he used to attend Beatles conventions. He seemed to be proud of the concerts he helped arrange, and never sought any legal action, as far as we know. Sid Bernstein died in 2013. The plaintiff, Sid Bernstein Presents LLC claims to have been assigned Bernstein's rights, and in their statement they say that Brian Epstein took custody of the so-called "Master Tapes" and began using them without seeking consent.

The company Sid Bernstein Presents LLC said it sued after the U.S. Copyright Office refused to register its copyright claim, and after learning that Apple planned to release a remastered version of the Beatles' performance with the "Eight Days a Week" documentary.

As far as this blog knows, the re-edited Shea Stadium concert film is only to be used in cinemas, it will not be screened as part of the Hulu deal, and there are no plans of issuing the film as bonus material when "Eight Days A Week The Touring Years" is being released on home video in November. We hope that it isn't legal obstacles who is in the way of releasing the Shea Stadium film for a wider audience, but rather that Apple Corps Ltd aren't interested in sharing profits of the film with the other production companies involved with Howard's film.

In other news, Ron Howard told British newspaper The Times that he was so taken with the subject he'd love to make another film about the history of the Fab Four. "I found this (making Eight Days A Week) to be so fascinating that I'd be very open to that," Howard said.

Facebook ad for the Q & A session.
Tomorrow Wednesday, Paul and Ringo are due to hold a Q&A session together with Ron Howard at Abbey Road Studios in London. The three are answering questions submitted by fans. A bit of posing on the zebra crossing wouldn't hurt!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Beatlemania for Boys!



Okay, so the new Beatles documentary is promoted by one of its by-products. Even though I have ordered the Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD from Amazon, I just couldn't resist going to a record store on Friday to get a copy of the CD on release date. The Amazon package is still in shipment.

I played through the CD twice on my blu-ray player. That and the dvd players are usually what people these days are equipped with to play CD's. I enjoyed the album, it was familiar - thanks to it being sequenced just like its predecessor, the 1977 album - and with a nice selection of bonus tracks tacked onto the end. In side-by-side comparisons with the 1977 offering, it is clearer on vocals and instruments - but seems to have a bit more reverb.

On the day of release, the Beatles started a 5 episode podcast series on Soundcloud. Episode 1 is accessible here.

Now, here's a nice story: Take a look at the promotional clip above to the song "Boys". I am told that this clip is just extracted from the film as it is. At the 1.20 mark you can see a clip of an ice cream vendor working at a Beatles concert.

Ice cream vendor. Still from film.

A few years ago, I was in touch with the pre-production crew about assisting in finding film and other materials to be used in the documentary.  I've no idea whether or not I was of any help to them, but I did send them a few clips and point them in a few directions. But a fellow fan and collector of Beatles photos seem to have gotten through to them with one of his ideas. Here's his story:

I'm a male fan of The Beatles. The production team contacted me a couple of years ago about helping them find some photos of the Hollywood Bowl (concert), which I was able to do. I built up a nice rapport with the production assistant I was dealing with. For years I've loved a film clip of a guy crying at a Beatles concert. The full clip shows he's selling ice cream, but he's so close to the stage he's in the shadow of Ringo's drums. You can see it dawn of him, he stops in his tracks, he falls in love, and is overwhelmed and cries. THAT is the Beatles story right there, how we fell in love with them.

- This guy conveys what so many of my fellow male Beatle fans feel. It's not a sexual thing, it's a deep, passionate, overwhelming love for 'Them', the band, the music, like they're our family. I totally understand the love of the female fans is every bit as deep, but in footage of the Beatles, the cameras always mostly focus on females crying, or licking their lips, I was really hoping they could put in the clip of the guy wearing his heart on his sleeve.

- I took screen caps, explained as I did above, and sent the footage. They said they would see what they could do, and it seems they did!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Photographic celebration

The Beatles ©Curt Gunther
In Celebration of the Film Premiere of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years by Ron Howard, Morrison Hotel Gallery Presents "Eight Days A Week: The Beatles in Photographs 1962-1966", September 12th – 19th

By noted photographers: Lynn Goldsmith, Curt Gunther, Emilio Lari, Terry O’Neill, Ken Regan, Rowland Scherman, Charles Trainor, Robert Whitaker and renowned archivist and collector Vincent Vigil.

Here is the press release:

Without a doubt, the Beatles are one of the most iconic bands in rock and roll history. Over the years, much has been said and written about them, and the mythology behind their legendary status inspired director Ron Howard to begin work on The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years, a film that focuses on the Beatles’ touring years from 1962 - 1966.

Following them from their time as fledglings performing in the Cavern Club all the way through their final, monumental concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years gives Fab Four fans a peek behind the scenes, as well as a front row seat to their most memorable shows. The film will premier in theaters on September 15th before being released on the streaming service Hulu on September 17th.

Morrison Hotel Gallery will celebrate the film release with Eight Days A Week: The Beatles in Photographs, an exhibit and sale of images September 12th thru the 20th featuring photographers who worked closely with the Beatles over the touring years. Many of these images are also included in the film. At Morrison Hotel Gallery locations in SoHo and West Hollywood, fans can experience these photographs in person, providing a look at the Beatles in the middle of electric performances in packed arenas to images of them happily goofing off in front of the camera or relaxing at the hotel.

To celebrate the film’s release, Morrison Hotel Gallery buyers and email subscribers will be
treated to eight days of Beatles photographs from September 12th thru the 20th.  To join this email list, subscribe at: www.morrisonhotelgallery.com

 All images are available for purchase at each gallery and through the Morrison Hotel Gallery website, click on “catalog” to see all photographs.

The legendary photographers featured in this exhibit are:

Lynn Goldsmith’s multi-award winning work has appeared between the covers of Life, Newsweek, Time, Rolling Stone, Interview and People magazines among others. She has released numerous books and her iconic images have graced hundreds of album covers. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries worldwide. Goldsmith first photographed the Beatles two days after her 16th birthday when they arrived at the Deauville Hotel in Miami on February 13th, 1964, to perform on the Ed Sullivan show.

Curt Gunther first met the Beatles while they were touring in Europe and was invited to accompany them to the US as their official tour photographer. During this time, he traveled with them, lived with them, and was able to document their lives in the glare and frenzy of the spotlights and screams, as well as in candid moments behind the scenes.

Emilio Lari specializes in set photography, which is what led the Italian photographer to work with American director Richard Lester on the set of the Beatles’ film Help! He has shot over 140 films.

Terry O'Neill has had his work displayed in galleries throughout the world and has photographed political icons such as presidents and prime ministers, as well as pop culture legends. He photographed the Beatles before their meteoric rise to stardom. O’Neill’s work has been featured on movie posters, as well as album covers and fashion plates for top designers.

Ken Regan was born in New York City and used the city as backdrop and subject as he honed his skills as a photojournalist. He shot the Beatles during their very first trip to NYC. Regan’s work has appeared in a long list of publications, among them Time, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Newsweek.

Rowland Scherman has made photography his life’s work for over fifty years. Traveling the world, he was the first photographer for the Peace Corps starting in 1961. He photographed the Beatles on their first US tour in 1964. Over the years, his work has been published in Life, Time, National Geographic and Playboy, among other noteworthy magazines. He received a Grammy Award in 1968 for Best Album Cover for Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. That same year, he also won the Washington DC Art Director’s Award for Photographer of the Year.

Charles Trainor worked in Miami during the 1950’s and on through the 1970’s. He photographed icons such as John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, and the Beatles. His photographs became iconic in and of themselves, and his work has been published in Life and Look, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone.

Robert Whitaker happened to meet the Beatles on their 1964 Australian tour when he accompanied one of his journalist friends to an interview with the band’s manager, Brian Epstein. The photo he took during that meeting resulted in Epstein offering him the position of staff photographer at NEMS, where he worked with all of the artists. During his time working with the Beatles, Whitaker became extremely close with the band, photographing them onstage, as well as in quiet moments at home.

In addition, this exhibition and sale includes photographs from renowned photographer collector and Beatles photographic archive specialist, Vincent Vigil. Among his incredible collection of Beatles photography are two signed prints from Linda McCartney, which started his immense collection, as well as 30 transparencies from the film, Help! Many modern prints, taken from their original source, now reside in the permanent collection of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. These images have also appeared in several books, magazine articles and exhibits.

About Morrison Hotel® Gallery

Morrison Hotel® Gallery was founded in 2001 by former record company executive Peter Blachley, music retail industry professional Richard Horowitz, and legendary music photographer Henry Diltz. In 2012, author, director and photographer Timothy White joined the team, launching an additional West Coast gallery at The Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood. The partners just launched a new location at Mick Fleetwood’s General Store in Maui, Hawaii.

Morrison Hotel Gallery is the world's leading brand in fine art music photography representing over 100 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives. The vast catalog of photography encompasses jazz, blues, and rock imagery spanning several generations through to today’s contemporary music artists and now includes iconic photographs in the world of sports as well. Morrison Hotel Gallery has a robust online presence, featuring over 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert.

Morrison Hotel Gallery116 Prince Street || New York, NY

Morrison Hotel GallerySunset Marquis1200 Alta Loma Road || West Hollywood, CA

Morrison Hotel Gallery, Fleetwood’s General Store744 Front Street || Lahaina, Hawaii

Richard Porter's review of Eight Days A Week


SPOILER ALERT!

These are Richard Porter's reflections on The Beatles - Eight Day's A Week - The Touring Years. Richard is operating London's Beatles Walks, owns a Beatles themed coffee and souvenir shop near Abbey Road, is the author of the Guide to the Beatles' London and holder of the title "Beatles Brain of Britain" (1991 and 1992).

"We saw the film at Picturehouse Central in London, which is right next to the London Pavilion, where A Hard Day's Night, Help! Yellow Submarine and Let it Be all had their London premieres, so a very suitable location. It was a very big screen and great sound".

"There was quite a bit of footage I had never seen before - the best being a press conference where George is seen using John's hair as an ashtray while smoking a cigarette! There were also snatches of fan shot 'home movies' of gigs, including brief footage from Hammersmith Odeon in 1965.



Another great moment was when Paul talked about Ringo playing with the Beatles for the first time, and the others just looking at each other and thinking 'Wow - this really works'! He got really emotional when he said this, too".

"As well as newly filmed interviews with Paul and Ringo, there is also footage of interviews with George and John, so like the Anthology, we get the views of all four".

"I enjoyed the film. Well, watching the fabs for 2 hours can't be anything but! However, I thought it could have been better. I was rather surprised at the poor quality of some of the film footage, and I didn't like that some of it had been colourised. In my opinion, if something was shot in black and white, that's how it should stay, especially as the colourisation looked very artificial at times.
I didn't really learn that much that I didn't know before, but as it says in the production notes "first and foremost, it is a film for those who were “not there”, especially the millennials."

"I also thought it was certainly made for an American audience, who believe the Beatles first ever performance was the Ed Sullivan Show. Well, actually they'd done thousands of gigs before this, and I thought this part of the Beatles career was covered much too quickly".

"I also noticed that the likes of Bill Harry, Sam Leach, Tony Bramwell, Freda Kelly, and Allan Williams get credit for their assistance in the film, but are not seen in it. Hopefully, their interviews will be included as extras on the DVD".



"For me the best bits of he film was the footage from 'Beatles Come to Town' in Manchester in 1963, Shea Stadium 1965 and 'Don't Let me Down' and 'I've Got a Feeling' from the Apple Rooftop in 1969. Of course, one could say that the rooftop concert shouldn't have been included, as it wasn't from the 'touring years' - but the sound and picture quality were amazing, so I will let them off! Don't Let Me Down seemed to be the same footage as seen on the Beatles 1 DVD, but 'I've Got a Feeling' had lots of different camera angles not seen before. (Note to Apple - your next Film/DVD release must be Let it Be!!)"



"Eight Day's A Week - The Touring Years is a great way to introduce the Beatles to new fans. I would certainly recommend all fans to see it, but if you are a big fan like me, don't expect to learn too much".

"Footnote - don't leave the cinema before the end of the credits, because over them we are treated to sections of the Beatles 1963 Christmas message! (Another 'potential' release, please, Apple!)"

"Also it was a very nice touch that the film was dedicated to the memory of Sir George Martin, and also to Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans and Brian Epstein".

Monday, 5 September 2016

Shea Stadium pre-screening in London

The Beatles on stage at Shea Stadium, August 1965.
We have a report from our friend, Richard Porter about today's preview screening of the newly remastered and re-edited "The Beatles Live at Shea Stadium" concert film in London:

Just back from the screening of The Beatles Live at Shea Stadium. It was held at a private cinema in the basement of the Soho Hotel, literally around the corner from Trident Studios, where the Beatles recorded Hey Jude, and 2 minutes from MPL in Soho Square.

The film was introduced by Jonathan Clyde of Apple, who told us that when 'Eight Day's a Week' was being planned, that it was decided to add something extra to the cinema released, and Shea seemed to perfectly fit the bill. It was shot in 35mm and therefore ideal to be shown in cinemas. The original showing in the UK was on TV, in black and white, which didn't really show it at it's best advantage.

Giles Martin produced the audio, and reduced the screams using the same software as he used for the Hollywood Bowl CD.

The film itself was just of the Beatles 30 minute performance, so didn't include the support acts. The picture and sound quality was amazing and brilliant to see on a big screen, as the shear immensity of Shea Stadium, and the occasion, really come across.

The highlight is certainly "I'm Down", with John going totally mad at the keyboards. It's also great seeing John and Paul singing eyeball to eyeball on "Ticket to Ride". John is his usual rebel self, being the only one to have his jacket unbuttoned. I also love the scene with Brian Epstein watching 'his boys'.

"She's a Woman" was the audio over the closing titles - "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" wasn't included.

I'm really glad Shea is being shown at the cinema - go see it!

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, along with The Beatles at Shea Stadium, is being shown in UK cinemas from September 15. Book tickets now: scnl.co/TheBeatlesTickets

Richard Porter is a London Beatles tour guide http://www.beatlesinlondon.com

Eight Days A Week - Special edition for Japan

On stage at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, 1966.
Long time Beatles fan Yosi Noz wrote to us and told us that it has been announced that the Japanese edition of the "Eight Days A Week - The touring years" film has been specially edited for the screening in Japan. It will have a longer edit of the band's visit to Japan in 1966, as well as footage from their concerts at the Budokan Hall. We don't know how much footage from Japan there is in the international cut of the film, and we have no knowledge about other country-specific editions of the film. One could imagine that for instance the Australian version of the film could include more footage from the Beatles' visit there.


Yesterday, The Beatles released the clip "Boys", which features unseen colour footage from the 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert performance synched to the Hollywood Bowl version of the song. Just 29 seconds of the clip, which is taken from the upcoming documentary, is on preview. To see the clip in full, you'll need to sign up for Apple Music, or you may purchase it from iTunes. A complete performance is not filmed, so this clip also features unrelated footage from The Beatles on tour.

The Hollywood Bowl booklet reveals that the film will be out in home cinema formats in November.

Thursday, 1 September 2016