Friday, 30 June 2017

McCartney and Sony/ATV settle

"I travel on this train regularly, twice a week - so I suppose I've some rights!"
McCartney was recently photographed by a fellow passenger en route from London to East Sussex.
A dispute arose between Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV in January, regarding the returning of rights back to McCartney of his co-compositions with John Lennon during the Beatles era has now been settled out of court.
Awaiting the outcome of a similar case with the 1980's group Duran Duran, Sony/ATV was not willing to give McCartney assurance that the rights would be referred back to him, starting Oct 5 2018 with the rights to "Love Me Do". McCartney went to court with this, and in March the parties were reported to await the ruling of the Duran Duran case.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that McCartney and Sony/ATV have resolved this issue themselves.

"The parties have resolved this matter by entering into a confidential settlement agreement and jointly request that the Court enter the enclosed proposed order dismissing the above-referenced action without prejudice," writes McCartney attorney Michael Jacobs in a Thursday letter to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.

The details of the deal are unclear, but the order specifies that the New York federal court will "enforce the terms of the parties’ Settlement Agreement, should a dispute arise."

Attorneys for both parties declined further comment on the settlement.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

See our earlier blog post from January about the issue.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Rajbun's Story on YouTube

The elusive "The Bunbury Tails" CD from 1992
One of the rarest of George Harrison's songs is "Ride Rajbun" from the 1992 CD (and cassette) "The Bunbury Tails". Harrison co-wrote the song's lyrics with Bunbury Tails creator David English. The eponymous Rajbun was a character in the animated television series, one of a team of cricket-playing rabbits – in this case, from Bangalore in India. Late last year, the series was uploaded on YouTube, something we just discovered. The episode entitled "Rajbun's Story", featuring the song can be found here. The song is only briefly heard in the background a couple of times.
The composition is in the style of a nursery rhyme or children's song, while the all-Indian instrumentation on the recording recalls some of Harrison's compositions for the Beatles during 1966–68.

Cassette edition
Harrison recorded "Ride Rajbun" in March 1988, between the release of his successful comeback album, Cloud Nine, and his formation of the Traveling Wilburys. Harrison's nine-year-old son Dhani and English accompanied him on the recording, as fellow vocalists, and Indian musician and composer Ravi Shankar provided the opening sitar part.

Having previously been averse to most team sports, George Harrison came to appreciate cricket while recording his 1987 comeback album, Cloud Nine, with fellow musicians Jeff Lynne and Elton John, both fans of the game. Author Ian Inglis suggests that Harrison's involvement in The Bunbury Tails – a children's animated TV series about a group of heroic, sports-playing rabbits – partly resulted from his friendship with Eric Clapton, another cricket fan and an occasional player for the Bunbury Cricket Club. The latter was a charity-fundraising team founded in 1986 by writer David English, whose Bunbury Tails cartoon books inspired the TV show. According to English, he suggested to Harrison that he contribute a song to the series while they were playing cricket in the grounds of Friar Park, Harrison's home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. English says he likened the "Bunburys" to Harrison's idea for a semi-fictional band, the Traveling Wilburys, which Harrison would soon form with Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.

Financed by the Bee Gees, production on The Bunburys Tails began in early 1988, although it would not air on British television until 1992. The series was directed by Bob Godfrey, who had worked on the Beatles' 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. Harrison's participation followed his work on various film soundtracks, particularly for releases by his company HandMade Films, during the five years preceding his return with Cloud Nine.

Harrison wrote the song "Ride Rajbun" about one of the show's characters, Rajbun, a rabbit who originated from the Indian city of Bangalore. In English's recollection, the night after he had made the request, Harrison called him at home in London and played the tune down the phone. The pair met the next day and co-wrote the song's lyrics.

Composition
Musically, "Ride Rajbun" is in the style of what author Alan Clayson calls "George's Indo-pop productions" for the Beatles, "Love You To" and "The Inner Light", released in 1966 and 1968 respectively. The lyrics take the form of a traditional children's song, author Simon Leng writes, with its refrain sung in rounds, similar to "London's Burning".

In the chorus, Harrison urges Rajbun to ride on his elephant Ellie, away from his home in India and embrace his destiny:

Ride Rajbun, ride Rajbun
Seek your fame and speak your fortune
Go on, Rajbun, ride your Ellie
Cross the mountains, through the valleys.


Recording
Harrison recorded "Ride Rajbun" in late March 1988, at his Friar Park studio, FPSHOT, and at an unnamed studio in London. The song was his first to feature only Indian instrumentation since "The Inner Light", recorded in Bombay in January 1968. The sitar introduction to "Ride Rabjan" – or alap, in the Indian classical tradition – was performed by Ravi Shankar. It has been said that Harrison visited Shankar at the London hotel where the sitarist was staying and taped Shankar's intro in his hotel room. Harrison otherwise played all the sitar parts on the song. As with Harrison's appearance on "Friar Park", a track on Shankar's album Tana Mana (1987), "Ride Rajbun" marked a rare collaboration between the two musicians in the years since their joint North American tour at the end of 1974.

Harrison sang the choruses with his son Dhani, and English (in the role of Katman) provided what Leng calls a "cameo vocal" part. According to author Bill Harry, Ray Cooper played percussion on the track; in English's description, all the other contributors were "top Indian musicians", none of whom are credited by name. Besides sitar, the Indian instruments on the recording include tabla, shehnai and bansuri (flute). From writing the song to the finished recording, work on "Ride Rajbun" lasted for four days. Harrison then left for Los Angeles, a trip that resulted in the formation of the Traveling Wilburys.

After the television show was broadcast in 1992, on Britain's Channel 4 network, Polydor Records included the song on its soundtrack album from the series. The UK-only album was released on 5 October that year, on the same day that Harrison joined guitarist Gary Moore on stage at London's Royal Albert Hall. While Harrison made a number of concert appearances throughout 1992, this period marked the end of his successful return to full-time music-making, after Cloud Nine and two albums with the Traveling Wilburys. Although he would continue to record privately as a solo artist, "Ride Rajbun" was the last new Harrison song to be commercially released until "Horse to the Water" in 2001.

VHS Video cassette
The "Rajbun's Story" episode was included on the home video of the series. With the Bunbury Tails album and video only available in the UK for a short time, "Ride Rajbun" has become one of Harrison's rarest recordings. At the time of writing, a copy of the original 1992 CD is available on ebay, at a "buy-it-now" price of US $279.50.


Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Magic Christian Blu-ray

Blu-ray edition of The Magic Christian
Yesterday, "The Magic Christian" was released for the first time on blu-ray in the U.K. by Fabulous Films. The 1969 film starrs Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. John Cleese also appears in a cameo, as do many other famous people, including John and Yoko. The film has been out many times over the years on video cassettes and DVD, but this is the first time on blu-ray in Europe. In the USA, "The Magic Christian" was released on Blu-ray in 2013 by Olive Films.

Amazon's description: This zany British comedy finds a homeless hobo (Ringo Starr) being adopted by the world s richest man, Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers). Setting sail on the luxury liner The Magic Christian, Sir Grand sets out to test the limit of human avarice. Wilfred Hyde White plays the drunken captain, Yul Brynner a chanteuse transvestite along with notable star appearances from John Cleese as the director of Sotheby's, Raquel Welch, Roman Polanski and Richard Attenborough.

Directed by Joseph McGrath from a Terry Southern script, the film clocks in at 88 minutes. This is a PAL release for region B/2 blu-ray players.

While were asleep at the wheel, Ringo's first non-Beatles film, "Candy" was released on Blu-ray in the USA last May, in a brand new 2K HD restoration.
"Candy", filmed in 1967 and released in 1968 - out on Blu-ray in 2016.
Candy Christian (Swedish actress Ewa Aulin) is an innocent yet luscious high school student and when fate sends her on a far-out journey of sexual discovery - Candy on her trippy travels, encounters lust and lunacy at the hands of a drunken poet (Richard Burton), a Mexican gardener (Ringo Starr), a patriotic general (Walter Matthau), a mad surgeon (James Coburn), and a mystic guru (Marlon Brando). Can the world's most stalwart members get their own sweet piece of Candy? Or will a final freaky twist swallow her whole forever? John Astin, Charles Aznavour, John Huston, Elsa Martinelli, Florinda Bolkan, Anita Pallenberg, Enrico Maria Salerno and boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson co-star in this notoriously sexy '60s satire, featuring music by The Byrds and Steppenwolf and based on the novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. Screenplay by Buck Henry and directed by actor Christian Marquand.

It's funny how film-collecting Beatles fans will still have to collect some films from one country and some from another to keep their collections up-to-date. Not to mention, having to own several blu-ray players or both PAL and NTSC compatible television sets. And no, these aren't films that will be on Netflix or HBO etc anytime soon, we think.

Paul McCartney talks about the White Album tracks

Published June 25, 2017 on Youtube, here is a 1968 interview with Paul McCartney, where he comments on the tracks on the then new, self-titled Beatles double album release. The interview was done by an Australian radio announcer, Tony MacArthur, who had a regular Beatles Show on Radio 4BC in Brisbane during the late sixties and early seventies.
Although mainly covering his own compositions (after mentioning that it was for Lennon to comment on his own songs), Paul did mention Lennon's "Happiness is a warm gun" and "Good night" (sung by Ringo).

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Starr and McCartney reunion on DVD

Finally, a DVD from the Changes Begin Within benefit concert featuring Paul and Ringo.
On September 1, 2017, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the CHANGES BEGIN WITHIN Concert on DVD in the USA[MSRP $15.98]. Featuring sets from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, with each performing some of their best-known classics from The Beatles to Wings and beyond, and reuniting onstage for the finale, this incredible charity show also featured many other world-famous musicians. Previously released in Japan in May, several copies of this DVD (and Blu-ray) have shifted on channels such as ebay, lately.
The concert was first broadcast on TV by channel Thirteen in 2012, three years after the show, but bootlegs of audience films started circulating right after the concert had taken place. This is what's on the new DVD:

Natural Blues - Moby, Betty LaVette, TM Choir
Rise - Eddie Vedder
Under Pressure - Eddie Vedder & Ben Harper
My Sweet Lord - Sheryl Crow
Hurdy Gurdy - Donovan & Jim James
Isle of Islay - Donovan and Paul Horn
It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr
Boys - Ringo Starr
Yellow Submarine - Ringo Starr
Baby You Can Drive My Car - Paul McCartney
Jet - Paul McCartney
Got To Get You Into My Life - Paul McCartney
Let It Be - Paul McCartney
Here Today - Paul McCartney
Band On The Run - Paul McCartney
With A Little Help From My Friends - Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
Cosmically Conscious - All members
I Saw Her Standing There - All members


This was the first of several concerts reunions of Paul and Ringo for seven years, several more were to follow in the years that has gone by after this show - but none of these available commercially for home cinema users. Before this, Paul and Ringo had briefly participated in a Hey Jude singalong at the Hollywood Bowl on Earth Day in 1993, and then they were both on stage at the Concert For George in 2002.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Ringo 2017

Looks like Ringo's new CD is finished.
Yesterday, Richard Marx tweeted this photo of Ringo Starr holding what seems to be his upcoming new studio album. Looking, closer, it appears to bear the title "Ringo 2017". We recall that one of Ringo's earlier albums was "Ringo 2012". What happened to all those catchy titles and snappy remarks from old Richy? "Goodnight Vienna" and "Ringo's Rotogravure" were far more intriguing album titles. Anyway, as usual, Ringo gets by with a little help from his friends, and one of his friends, Paul McCartney, has contributed on this record. No release date announced as of yet.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush: Recording Sgt Pepper


Geoff Emerick talks to the ABC’s 7.30 program about working with The Beatles and the 50th anniversary of the landmark Sgt Pepper’s album.


Richard Lush talks to reporter Andrew Probyn about working with The Beatles and the 50th anniversary of the landmark Sgt Pepper’s album. Read more here.

Sgt Pepper's release date

June 1 or May 26?
On 1 June 2017, most people around the UK will be celebrating the 50th anniversary since the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s a little-known fact however, that the release date was actually brought forward by EMI to the 26 May, 1967.

The iconic album was originally scheduled for release on 1 June in the UK, but on the 26 May 1967, Sgt. Pepper was given a rushed release. The US release followed on 2 June.

Leading Beatles authority Mark Lewisohn confirms: "The UK release of Sgt Pepper was brought forward from June 1 to May 26 1967, and I know that copies were in some shops in London the day before this, May 25".

Confirming the rush-release is this news item from NME on June 3, 1967.

Of course, this gives the Jimi Hendrix Experience plenty of time to rehearse the title track for their June 4 performance.
Published in NME June 3,1967 but compiled from data with a Tuesday May 30 deadline.
In 2017, according to a mid week update from The British Chart Company, Sgt Pepper (24,385 sales as of yesterday) is currently at No.1 in the albums chart, ahead of Ed Sheeran’s ÷, which is at No.2 on 16,952 sales. Rag’N’Bone Man’s Human is at No.3 on 11,702 sales, with The Charlatans Different Days a new entry at No.4 on 10,190 sales. Harry Styles’ self-titled debut is at No.5 having sold 6,977 copies so far this week. These figures were all published yesterday.

Still haunting the Fabs: Engelbert Humperdinck
Over at Amazon.com, the four constellations of the Sgt Pepper album are all in the top 10 best selling CD and vinyl albums list, with the super deluxe at #1.

Sgt. Pepper's Musical Revolution - clip

Howard Goodall has written and presents the programme.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles on 1 June 1967, the BBC will celebrate with programmes across radio and TV. The centrepiece is BBC Two’s, Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, a new documentary from Huge Films, directed by Francis Hanly, which will present the album as you have never heard it before.
Considered by critics and music lovers to be one of the greatest records ever made and a major cultural moment not only for this country but globally, the album features classic songs including, A Day In The Life, With A Little Help From My Friends, She’s Leaving Home and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Whatever your music tastes, if it was written after 1 June 1967 then more likely than not it will have been influenced, one way or another, by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The record’s sheer ambition in its conception, composition, arrangements and ground-breaking recording techniques sets it apart from others of the time, making it a landmark in 20th century music.


The programme-makers have been given unprecedented access to The Beatles’ own archive, photographs and multi-track studio tapes. It will include extracts from material never before accessible outside of Abbey Road, studio chats between the band, out-takes, isolated instrumental and vocal tracks as well as passages from alternative takes of these world-famous songs.


The programme is written and presented by one of Britain’s leading composers and most admired music broadcasters, Howard Goodall. He will be getting to grips with the album’s musical nuts and bolts and will be able to give an insider’s view into the making of this landmark album and reveal his own insights into why it was so revolutionary. Using visually-striking set dressing, projections and props the film will be conjuring up the multi-coloured, phantasmagorical world of Sgt. Pepper. Following on chronologically from the 2016 documentary Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years, Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution will show what happened when the studio took over from the stage and the screams.

"Sgt. Pepper's Musical Revolution" was produced by Apple Corps Ltd.
To help assess the phenomenon of Sgt. Pepper the programme will find out why the album came to be made. It will rediscover The Beatles at a pivotal moment in their career - both as a band and as four individuals, each with his own musical tastes, and ambitions. Having given up touring, they poured their energies into the studio: Sgt. Pepper, as Paul McCartney remarked, would be the performance.Sgt. Pepper's Musical Revolution features material previously unaccessible outside of Abbey Road Studios, including recordings of studio chatter and isolated instrumental and vocal tracks. The documentary also traces the evolution of other key tracks on the LP, along with the band members' personal stories and biographical connections to the music.

UK: BBC 2 on 3 June at 9pm to 10pm
USA: PBS June 3, 2017 at 8/7c. (Check local listings)