Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Biography and Discography


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Paul McCartney’s remastered Band on the Run delivers great bonus material

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing — but we Beatles fans are up to our ears in the recent releases of remastered CDs — John Lennon’s entire solo catalog, the Beatles Red and Blue albums, the Apple Records Box Set, not to mention last year’s Beatles remasters in stereo and mono. And today, November 2, marks the release of Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run remastered CD coming in three different packages.

It seems like just yesterday when the 25th Anniversary Edition of Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run was released. In actuality, that version came out 11 years ago in 1999. While it may not seem like enough time has passed to warrant another Band on the Run release, the first release from the ‘Paul McCartney Archive Collection’ knows how to lure in its fan base — great bonus material, of course!

If you don’t have a CD copy of Band on the Run, getting this remastered version is a no-brainer. But for those of us who may already have previous versions of the album and/or the CD, it always helps when the powers that be add a few extras that most loyal Beatles/McCartney fans won’t be able to pass up.
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Case in point – the previously unreleased documentary, One Hand Clapping, filmed in Autumn 1974 at Abbey Road Studios in London. This (approx.) 45-minute film is a gem because it shows a rarely seen side of Paul McCartney behind-the-scenes and relaxed in a studio environment surrounded by his Wings’ bandmates including his late wife, Linda McCartney.
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The best moment in the film is during the performance of “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” when Paul sings while holding a microphone and stands in front of the camera without an instrument — a rarity indeed. We even see Paul dancing and bopping along to the song!
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The history behind Band on the Run is fascinating in itself and explained in the liner notes by Paul Gambaccini, who interviewed Paul on behalf of Rolling Stone back when Band on the Run was originally released. [Gambaccini would go on to publish the books “Paul McCartney: In His Own Words” and “The McCartney Interviews: After the Breakup.”]
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Gambaccini reveals some interesting trivia like the fact that at the time Paul and Linda had a black labrador puppy named “Jet,” and the song “Helen Wheels” is only on the bonus audio CD because it was originally released as a single and not included on the original Band on the Run album in the UK.
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Another fascinating piece of Band on the Run history can be seen in the short bonus video footage documenting the Band on the Run album cover photo shoot at Osterley Park. Paul recruited six celebrities to appear with Linda, Denny Laine and himself in the classic renegade/prison break shot. In this bonus footage you see Paul interacting with actor James Coburn, boxing champion John Conteh, Clement Freud (grandson of Sigmund), actor Christopher Lee, singer Kenny Lynch and popular British TV host, Michael Parkinson.
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The Band on the Run ‘Special Edition’ includes the remastered album, the bonus DVD described above and a bonus audio CD featuring several live performances from One Hand Clapping. While most of the tracks are live versions of the original Band on the Run songs, it would have been nice if a few of the songs on the bonus CD were the lesser known songs featured in One Hand Clapping like ‘Soily’ and ‘All of You’.
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For the true collector, the 4-disc deluxe edition offers even more bonus material including an extra CD featuring an audio documentary (originally included in the 25th Anniversary edition) and a 120-page book “containing many previously unpublished images by Linda McCartney and Clive Arrowsmith, album and single artwork, and a full history of the album, complete with a new interview with Paul” as stated on McCartney’s official website.
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If the 4-disc deluxe edition is not in your budget, the Band on the Run special edition 3-disc set is affordable and worth the price compared with purchasing just the standard edition. (Find it on sale at Amazon.com)

–Trina Yannicos

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Book Review: A Date with A Beatle by Judith Kristen

Review by Susan Fischer
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In 1963 Judy was 15 years old. She’d had a rough year. But in late 1963 she caught a glimpse of four lads from across the pond that would change her life forever. There was one lad in particular that really caught her eye.
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In A Date With A Beatle, Judith Kristen tells the true story of how, with grit and determination, she made the dream of meeting George Harrison a reality.
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A Date With A Beatle follows the adventures of Judy and her reluctant (at times) friend Shelly who do all in their power to meet their idols, the Beatles. Judy was a George fan. Shelly, a Ringo fan. They would be ‘Judy Harrison’ and ‘Shelly Starr’, respectively. The only things in their way were the police and the thousands of other screaming girls who dreamed the same dream. But, those other girls didn’t have Judy’s tenacity!
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The story takes place in the Philadelphia area and chronicles how these two young women go from location to location to see the Beatles in concert and then find out where the group was staying, make reservations at the same hotel, and try to fulfill their goal.
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There are obstacles along the way — the police being the main one. But with Judy’s charming irreverent wit, she was able to get pretty close to her George a few times, all things considered. Judy was a very determined girl!
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A Date With A Beatle is a really great read. You’ll be able to read it in one easy sitting. Judith tells her story with such great humor that really illustrates this young woman’s tenacity and boldness to achieve her goals. It is a very entertaining tale that allows first generation fans to relive that excitement again and for the second and third generation fans to see what it was like in the height of Beatlemania and to be green with envy.


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Beatles Game Review: The Beatles Trivial Pursuit

by Trina Yannicos
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I remember playing Trivial Pursuit years ago and enjoying it, so I was very excited when I obtained a copy of the new Beatles Trivial Pursuit game. However, playing the game was slightly disappointing to this lifelong Beatlemaniac. While any Beatles fan would welcome a chance to answer trivia questions on the Beatles, the official rules of the new Beatles Trivial Pursuit make things a little more complicated.
The whole emphasis of any Trivial Pursuit game should be on the questions. However, all the tedious guidelines for moving your pie piece as well as the bonus “twist” gamepiece around the board were frustrating and seemed to take away from the heart of the game — the questions. It took a group of five Beatlemaniacs at least an hour just to figure out how to move our gamepieces around the board (and there’s still uncertainty whether we were following the rules correctly). Frankly there are just too many rules to follow for moving your gamepiece – you may just want to make up your own rules for that, so you can get back to the trivia questions!
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As for the questions which were created by Beatles author and expert, Bruce Spizer, they range from easy to medium to hard. However, the consensus with our group was that many of the easy questions were way too easy and many of the hard questions were way too hard. There seemed to be a lack of “medium” level questions. For example, a level 3 question (considered medium-level) under The Beatles in America category is: “The May 24, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show ran a clip of The Beatles performing what song at the Scala Theatre?” Huh??? That should be a level 6 for the hardest. (The answer is “You Can’t Do That” in case you were wondering)
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Bruce Spizer has written several books on the Beatles focusing on their US record releases and also their invasion of America. Hence, the six categories of questions include: Beatles History, Beatles Albums and Singles, The Beatles in America, Beatles Movies, Beatles Songs, and On Their Own. Many of the questions were obviously inspired by the research that Spizer did for his books.
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While I commend Spizer for the hard work he put into the game, some questions were downright frustrating for this lifelong second-generation Beatles fan — like a series of questions on the Beatles Washington DC press conference. First of all, I bet most fans are unaware that the Beatles ever did a press conference in Washington DC before their first US concert in 1964. I wonder if there is any footage of the press conference since I don’t recall seeing it anywhere. The New York/JFK airport press conference in 1964 is a much more well known press conference with widely viewed video footage.
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Another pet peeve is the category “Beatles Movies”. Is it really fair to ask extremely detailed questions about the Beatles movie “Let It Be” when the Beatles have still not officially released this movie for public consumption? The only way you will be able to answer Let It Be questions is if you have a bootleg copy of the movie. Maybe as a bonus The Beatles should have released “Let It Be” as a companion to this game!
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My feeling about the original Trivial Pursuit was that even if you were not an expert on the subject, you would still be able to participate in the game by using some common sense, and as a result, you wouldn’t feel left out of the whole experience. My feeling for the Beatles Trivial Pursuit is that only lifelong Beatles fans will enjoy playing this game. The casual fan or general music lover will be lost. While I applaud Bruce Spizer for his encyclopedic knowledge of The Beatles, I just wish the game was tested out on some regular Beatles fans first.


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Beatles Book Review: The Cambridge Companion to The Beatles

by Susan Fischer
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The Cambridge Companion to The Beatles (to be released December 31) is not your typical Beatles book. The book is a collection of essays written by professors, critics and Beatles experts alike. Its description touts the book as a tool for university courses as well as an essential part of the Beatles fan collection.
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The book is comprised of three parts: Background, Works and History and Influence. The Background tells of the boys’ childhoods and also talks about the historical influences of the time and how that played a role in their upbringing. We learn a bit about what went on in society during the time, not just what went on in the Beatles family lives. We also learn about their recording life. How primitive recording was when they recorded their first song to the advances made through to the end. It tells of some techniques and tricks used to make their sound as rich as they could get it.
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The second part, the Works, talks about recording. It analyzes each album, almost song by song. We learn about how the times changed the Lennon/McCartney writing styles — the influence of drugs and psychedelia to how they returned to their rock roots at the end.
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Concepts and influences are looked at in great detail. Almost too much detail. As I was reading this part of the book, the pulling apart of the lyrics, I thought to myself, “Wow, John and George (probably Paul and Ringo too) would get a kick out of this.”
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Lyrics that the Beatles claim to be nothing more than nonsense are given a breath of life that was unintended. It was almost laughable. In this reviewer’s opinion, “Norwegian Wood” was just a song, not intended for such in-depth analysis.
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The Works also goes into the Beatles as solo artists. It goes through some of their actions and albums released after the break-up. The Works ends with a look into the music of the Beatles examining their rhythm and phrases and patterns. Perfect for the music theory enthusiasts.
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The last section is History and Influence. This part looks back at the impact the Beatles had on music and culture. It also shows how powerful the Beatles are by examining the resurgence of the Beatles through the post break-up years. From the release of CD’s to the Beatles LOVE show, the Beatles still live on!
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All in all, this book is very informative, but I don’t think the avid Beatles bio reader will get much new information from this book. It’s well written and will be great for college classes. Just remember folks — a lot of the Beatles writings and actions weren’t meant for such serious contemplation. Nevertheless, The Beatles were a band of ordinary guys who managed to do extraordinary things and anything that highlights that is OK by me.


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The Beatles Rock Band and other Beatles Holilday Gift Ideas

The Beatles Rock Band Game Review
by Susan Fischer
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On 9/9/09, The Beatles Rock Band made its debut. The game is available for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii gaming consoles. The deluxe set comes with a set of drums adorned with a marble look on the sides to mimic Ringo’s Ludwig set and a bass drum head with the Beatles familiar logo. The set also includes a microphone with stand and Paul’s Hofner bass guitar. It’s almost too pretty to play, but you get over that pretty quickly. You can also purchase a less fancy version with just plain instruments for less. Or, if you have a previous version of Rock Band, all you’ll need is the gaming software.
The game itself features 45 Beatles songs ranging from the beginning of their career all the way through to the end. The story of the game plays out at various venues throughout the Beatles career. As the songs change, the characters of the game change their look. By completing each story, the player can then move on to the next story, as the whole of the Beatles career unfolds before your eyes. As an added bonus, with each level you complete, you can unlock a various number of goodies from pictures, to video clips. The better you do, the more you unlock. I find that to be one of the best parts of the game!
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Another really great thing is that periodically, Rock Band is releasing entire albums to go with your song list! So far they’ve released Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They are really really neat and will leave you looking forward to more!
The actual play has different levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. You can choose your difficulty level before play. You can also play just one instrument or the whole lot. Speaking of instruments, sold separately are John’s Rickenbacker 325 and George’s Gretsch Duo Jet. But at $100 a pop, its a matter of affordability! This reviewer does just fine taking turns with the instruments she has.
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Now, this game is not for all Beatles fans. You do have to have a sense of rhythm and general knowledge of gaming. The graphics are really awesome (you almost feel like you’re there watching a concert!) and that might be enough to draw some. I wouldn’t recommend those who don’t even have a game system to run out and buy one just for this game. They may then find themselves a few months down the line not even playing. So think it over carefully. For me, it really wasn’t a question, I knew I would get it! With a $250 price tag for the complete set, it is definitely something to think about and be sure it is something you and your family will enjoy.
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Other Beatles Gift ideas for this holiday season:
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