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Finding the Fourth Beatle: John, Paul, George and their 18 drummers

by David Bedford and Garry Popper

 

fourthbeatle-bookThe Beatles phenomenon is one amazing story that John Lennon tried to sum up by stating: “I met Paul and said, ‘Do you want to join me band?’ and then George joined, and then Ringo joined. We were just a band who made it very, very big.”

That is one of the biggest understatements ever, because it was so much more complicated than that, and the story involves 18 drummers.

Neil Aspinall once said that “the story of the Beatles always seemed to be about John, Paul, George and a drummer.”

When examined closely, that is exactly what happened, yet nobody has concentrated on the story of those drummers, and the crises in the evolution of The Beatles that always seemed to be around losing, or gaining, a drummer.

How many drummers can you count that played with the Fab Three between 1956 and 1970? We have found 18!

In a new book, and forthcoming documentary film, Finding the Fourth Beatle tells the story of The Beatles from 1956-1970 through the 18 drummers, including Colin Hanton, Pete Best and Jimmie Nicol, and some you will not have heard of before. The book and film explore the Beatles’ crises, changes of musical direction, getting a record deal, and finding the drummer who would put the beat into The Beatles: Ringo Starr, the Fourth Beatle.

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Top 10 Beatle Musical Moments: An analysis of their recording accomplishments

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By Ken Womack

Why do the Fab Four endure when so many others fade quietly into popular music’s often unforgiving sunset? Beyond the glossy packaging and the culture (indeed, the counter-culture) of Beatlemania, what are the sonic nuances that made the Beatles a musical phenomenon for all time?

As John Lennon reminded us during one of his last interviews in 1980, the answer is nestled somewhere amongst their rich array of albums: “With the Beatles, the music is the point,” Lennon remarked, and “you have all this great music.”

To explain in more detail, one must address the significant recording accomplishments of the Fab Four. In other words, how did they progress musically, and which recordings represent the first-time achievement of a specific technique in their career?

As a result, here in my opinion, is a listing (in order of their original release date) of the Top 10 Musical Moments achieved by the Beatles in the recording studio:

 

1) “I Saw Her Standing There” (1963)

As the first track on the Beatles’ inaugural album Please Please Me (1963), “I Saw Her Standing There” explodes with a sense of urgency and abandon equaled only by the opening strains of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the song that would prefigure the group’s triumphant first visit to North America in February 1964.

Lyrically, “I Saw Her Standing There” bespeaks the same teenage amalgam of hopeful romance and ready acceptance that marks the band’s other works of this era:

“Well, she was just 17
You know what I mean
And the way she looked
Was way beyond compare”

McCartney and Lennon composed the song in the McCartney’s living room (on Forthlin Road) while playing hooky during John’s art school days. Lennon later observed that “we were just writing songs, like the Everly Brothers, like Buddy Holly, pop songs with no more thought to them than that – to create a sound. And the words were almost irrelevant.”

Although the lyrics devolve into a kind of innocuous optimism, the guitar work on “I Saw Her Standing There” fuels the track’s driving spirit. Based on a series of blues riffs, the song’s musical terrain includes a scattering of guitar embellishments that culminate in Harrison’s electrifying solo.

When an audibly excited McCartney counts off the tempo at the beginning of “I Saw Her Standing There,” the Beatles began ushering in a new sound that would erase and subsequently reconfigure the face of popular music.

 

2) The “middle-eight” on “And I Love Her” (1964)

The Beatles’ early work presages their later accomplishments in terms of its sheer variety. With a knack for crafting “middle-eights” – musical lingo for the eight-bar refrains that characterize their songwriting in the early 1960s – the Beatles were already searching for new musical vistas as early as A Hard Day’s Night (1964).

With “And I Love Her,” the band easily assumes a stirring Latin beat. Ornamented with Harrison and McCartney’s flamenco-like guitar arpeggios, “And I Love Her” swells with the rhythmic intensity of Ringo Starr’s bongos and Harrison’s intermittent claves.

For McCartney, “And I Love Her” is nothing short of a watershed moment. “With one stroke,” Tim Riley writes in Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary (1988), McCartney “gains the status of standard balladeer composer.”

McCartney’s enormous catalogue of romantic melodies and ballads finds its origins in “And I Love Her” and the discerning fan can draw a line from its composition to the emergence of such classic tunes as “I’ll Follow the Sun,” “Yesterday,” “Michelle,” “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road.”

 

3) The sitar accompaniment on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” (1965)

One of the Beatles’ most remarkable sonic features concerns the vast musical sweep of their career itself. The utterly mesmerizing instrumental and lyrical leap from Please Please Me through Rubber Soul (1965) is matched only by the artistic heights that the band would later reach on Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles [a.k.a. The White Album] (1968), and Abbey Road (1969).

On Rubber Soul, the Beatles effectively signaled the expansion of their musical horizons via Harrison’s well-known experimentation with sitar music – the exotic, microtonal flavor of which would adorn such Beatles tunes as the classic “Norwegian Wood” and “Within You, Without You” from Sgt. Pepper.

In “Norwegian Wood,” Harrison’s sitar lines accent the flourishes of Lennon’s haunting acoustic guitar. But they also provide a curious palette for Lennon’s confessional lyrics about an extramarital affair.

As with “I’ll Be Back” and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” from Beatles for Sale (1964), “Norwegian Wood” represents a significant departure from the silly love songs that accounted for the band’s initial parcel of hits.

The lyrics themselves – far from underscoring love’s everlasting possibilities – hint at something far more fleeting, even unromantic:

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair

Compare the words of “Norwegian Wood” with such earlier phraseology as

I ain’t got nothing but love, babe
Eight days a week

And the Beatles’ intellectual development becomes resoundingly clear.

 

4) “A Day in the Life” (1967)

Fans and critics alike often refer to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as popular music’s first “concept” album. In truth, though, the Beatles’ notion of a fictitious ensemble peters out after “With a Little Help from My Friends,” the album’s second track.

The concept “doesn’t go anywhere,” Lennon later remarked. “But it works ‘cause we said it works.”

Perhaps even more significantly, Sgt. Pepper saw the Beatles erasing the boundaries that they had been challenging since Rubber Soul and Revolver.

“Until this album, we’d never thought of taking the freedom to do something like Sgt. Pepper,” McCartney observed. “We started to realize there weren’t as many barriers as we’d thought, we could break though with things like album covers, or invent another persona for the band.”

With “A Day in the Life” – the album’s dramatic climax – the Beatles virtually reimagined themselves as recording artists. Filled with variegated sonic hues and other assorted sound effects, the song contrasts Lennon’s impassive stories of disillusion and regret with McCartney’s deceptively buoyant interlude about the numbing effects of the workaday world.

The song’s luminous, open-ended refrain: “I’d love to turn you on” promises a sense of interpersonal salvation on a universal scale.

Yet Lennon and McCartney’s detached lyrics seem to suggest, via their nuances of resignation and unacknowledged guilt, that such a form of emotional release will always remain an unrealized dream.

As the music of the Beatles and a studio orchestra spirals out of control and into oblivion, a massive piano chord punctuates the song’s melancholic ambiance.

“In the end,” the Beatles’ legendary producer George Martin writes in All You Need Is Ears (1994), “the microphones were so live that you could hear the air conditioning. It took 45 seconds to do, and we did it three or four times, building up a massive sound of piano after piano after piano, all doing the same thing.”

As the zenith of the Beatles’ musical vitality, the chord that concludes “A Day in the Life” will surely reverberate for the ages.

 

5) “I Am the Walrus” (1967)

Written at the apex of the Summer of Love, Lennon’s self-consciously psychedelic “I Am the Walrus” functions – at least on a lyrical level – as a brilliant tirade against the ills of enforced institutionalism. Adorned with stunning wordplay and linguistic imagery, “I Am the Walrus” pits Lennon’s bitter vocals against a surrealistic musical tableau comprised of McCartney’s hypnotic bass, Harrison and Starr’s playful percussion, and Martin’s exhilarating string arrangements.

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” “I Am the Walrus” opens with Lennon’s Mellotronin-toned phrasing designed to replicate the monotonous cry of a police siren.

As the song’s spectacular lyrics unfold:“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are altogether.” Starr’s wayward snare interrupts the proceedings and sets Lennon’s intentionally absurdist catalogue of images into motion.

While an assortment of cryptic voices and diabolical laughter weave in and out of the mix, Lennon’s pungent lyrics encounter an array of ridiculous characters – from a “crab locker fishwife” and a “pornographic priestess” to the “expert texpert choking smokers” and that madman of literary effrontery himself, Edgar Allan Poe.

When “I Am the Walrus” finally recedes amongst its ubiquitous mantra of “Goo Goo Goo Joob,” the song dissolves into a scene from a BBC radio production of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Described by Ian MacDonald as “the most idiosyncratic protest song ever written,” “I Am the Walrus” features Lennon’s most inspired verbal textures, as well as the Beatles’ greatest moment of musical diaphora: in one sense, “I Am the Walrus” seems utterly devoid of meaning, yet at the same time its songwriter’s rants about prevailing social structures absolutely beg for interpretation.

 

 

6) Side Two of the White Album (1968)

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Quite obviously, we hardly speak of albums in terms of “sides” in the compact-disc era. But yes, kiddies, there was a time when you could saunter into any record store and purchase long-playing records. We called them LPs, but they are now referred to, rather stylishly, as “vinyl.”

Side two of the White Album witnesses the Beatles in full swagger. With their dizzying array of musical styles, the nine tracks from “Martha My Dear” through “Julia” loom as masterworks of artistic virtuosity. They also illustrate the White Album’s stunning eclecticism – the true measure of the album’s resilience.

McCartney’s baroque-sounding “Martha My Dear,” with its crisp brass accompaniment, introduces the sequence, which meanders, rather lazily, into Lennon’s bluesy “I’m So Tired.” Lennon later recalled the song as “one of my favorite tracks. I just like the sound of it, and I sing it well.”

Written during the Beatles’ famous visit to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat at Rishikesh during the spring of 1968, McCartney’s folksy “Blackbird” imagines a contemplative metaphor for the United States’ civil rights struggles during the 1960s.

The sound of a chirping blackbird eventually segues into Harrison’ edgy political satire, “Piggies.” Interestingly, the songwriter’s mother, Louise Harrison, composed the tune’s signature lyric – a punishment suitable for misanthropic politicians everywhere: “What they need’s a damned good whacking!”

The White Album’s song cycle continues with McCartney’s countrified “Rocky Raccoon,” a track that shifts, rather astonishingly, from the disquieting universe of cowboys, gunplay and saloons into a gentle paean about nostalgia and loss.

Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By,” with its barrelhouse piano chorus, steers the sequence abruptly into the sudsy world of the beer hall. Originally entitled “Some Kind of Friendly,” the song became a number-one hit, rather fittingly in Scandinavia.

One of McCartney’s finest blues effusions, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” explodes from the embers of “Don’t Pass Me By” and brilliantly sets the stage for the side’s final two numbers, “I Will” and “Julia.”

A soothing melody about the tenuous interplay between romance and commitment, “I Will” remains one of McCartney’s most memorable experiments in brash sentimentality.

Arguably his most powerful ballad, Lennon’s “Julia” memorializes the songwriter’s late mother while simultaneously addressing his spiritual deliverance at the hands of his newfound soul mate, the ”ocean child” Yoko Ono.

 

7) The guitar lick at the end of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” and the piano melody on “Sexy Sadie” (1968)

Unfortunately, the Beatles’ considerable impact upon popular culture often seems to obscure the minute particulars of their musicianship. Two instances from the White Album especially underscore their dexterity as musical craftsmen, as well as their phenomenal aural leaps from, say, “Can’t Buy Me Love” through their finest artistic accomplishments during the late 1960s.

A moment of pure excitement and adrenaline, the guitar riff at the conclusion of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” accentuates an otherwise peculiar song about social politics with the bruising panache of rock and roll. A rhythmic burst of high-octane modulation, the guitar phrasings at the end of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” exemplify the breadth of the band’s extraordinary musical prowess.

 

 

As Lennon’s acidic lullaby to the Beatles’ experiences under the Maharishi’s dubious tutelage, “Sexy Sadie” bears mention for its salacious lyrical contents alone:

We gave you everything we owned just to sit at your table
Just a smile would lighten everything

In terms of sheer artistry, though, the song reveals the band in full aesthetic throttle. As McCartney’s tinkling piano phrases spar with Harrison’s bristling guitar, “Sexy Sadie” maneuvers effortlessly through chord changes and one harmonic shift after another.

When the song finally ascends to its closing musical interchange, the Beatles’ instrumentation and Lennon’s spellbinding vocal coalesce in a breathtaking instance of blissful resolution.

 

8) Harrison’s guitar solo on “Something” (1969)

Harrison comes into his own, of course, on Abbey Road, the Beatles’ magnificent swan song. The unbridled optimism of Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” is matched – indeed, surpassed – only by “Something,” his crowning achievement and the classic tune that Frank Sinatra would famously dub “the greatest love song of the past 50 years.”

For much of the song, Harrison’s soaring guitar, his musical trademark, dances in delectable counterpoint with McCartney’s jazzy, melodic bass. Instrumentally, the fusion of their guitar work produces an exquisite musical tapestry as “Something” meanders toward Harrison’s most unforgettable of guitar solos, the tune’s greatest lyrical feature – even more lyrical, interestingly enough, than the lyrics themselves.

A masterpiece of utter simplicity, Harrison’s solo reaches toward the sublime, wrestles with it in a bouquet of downward syncopation, and hoists it yet again in a moment of supreme grace.

 

9) The Abbey Road medley (1969)

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There is little question that, even during its production, the Beatles regarded Abbey Road as their final studio album. Their growing interpersonal and financial tensions were exacting a seemingly immutable toll on their artistic relationship.

As the workmanlike Beatles went about the business of recording their musical finale, McCartney and Martin began assembling the medley that would conclude the album.

“I wanted to do something bigger, a kind of operatic moment,” McCartney remembered.

In contrast with the pop operas of that era by The Who and The Small Faces, The Beatles’ medley essentially consists of an assortment of unfinished songs. Yet McCartney and Martin’s inspired post-production efforts ensured that the medley enjoyed a cohesiveness from which we can draw larger musical and lyrical motifs.

While the medley features the Beatles’ penchant for balladry in such literary characters as Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, and the eccentric female protagonist who meanders in and out of the narrative of “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” the sequence reaches its most profound instances during such classic numbers as “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Golden Slumbers,” and “Carry that Weight.”

In “You Never Give Me Your Money,” McCartney’s plaintive piano strains give way to Lennon and Harrison’s dueling rhythm guitars. As Harrison later observed, the song “does two verses of one tune, and then the bridge is almost like a different song altogether, so it’s quite melodic.”

The lyrics bespeak the tragedies of misspent youth and runaway fame:

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go

As “You Never Give Me Your Money” comes to a close, the song’s bluesy guitar riffs segue into the chorus of a children’s nursery rhyme:

One, two , three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to heaven

Later in “Golden Slumbers,” McCartney resumes the medley’s earlier themes with a deft reworking of Thomas Dekker’s 400-year-old poem of the same name. As the medley progresses toward its symphonic conclusion, the song’s bitter nostalgia – “Once there was a way to get back homeward / Once there was a way to get back home” – yields itself to a larger realization, in “Carry That Weight,” that we inevitably shoulder the past’s frequently irredeemable burden for the balance of our lives.

In “Carry That Weight,” McCartney acknowledges his own culpability in the Beatles’ dissolution, yet his rather humbling, self-conscious lyrics extend an olive branch to his increasingly distant chums:

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down

In its highly polished final form, the Abbey Road medley encounters the Beatles at the height of their decidedly literary faculties. In many ways, the medley functions as McCartney’s clever reconfiguration of Shakespeare’s “seven ages of man” in As You Like It.

From “You Never Give Me Your Money” through “The End,” his lyrics impinge upon the inherent difficulties that come with growing up and growing older. Only the power of memory, it seems, can placate our inevitable feelings of nostalgia and regret – not only for our youthful days, but for how we lived them.

Appropriately, McCartney concludes the medley with a quasi-Shakespearean couplet – “A cosmic, philosophical line,” in Lennon’s words: “And in the end the love you take / Is equal to the love you make.”

In The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology (1999), Walter Everett astutely reads the medley as “a very personal final gift from Paul McCartney to his mates, as well as from the Beatles to the world.”

As the moving coda to a brilliant career, the Abbey Road medley – perhaps more than any other moment in the Beatles’ unprecedented musical catalogue – witnesses the band’s creative powers in full bloom.

 

10) “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (1970)

Granted, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” hardly begins to rank among the Beatles’ finest songs. Originally released as the B-side of “Let It Be” – the group’s penultimate number-one hit – this whimsical tune never fails to arouse even the most jaded listener’s nostalgia for the Fab Four’s inherent sense of fun.

Recorded by the band in 1967 and completed by Lennon, McCartney and the Beatles’ faithful roadie Mal Evans in 1969, “You Know My Name” is a uniquely comic moment in the group’s discography.

“We had these endless , crazy fun sessions,” McCartney fondly observes in his introduction to Mark Lewisohn’s quintessential The Beatles Recording Sessions (1988).

A pastiche of lounge-style vocal stylings and Monty Python-esque humor, the song features the late Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones on saxophone, Lennon playing the maracas, and Harrison on the xylophone.

From its soul-pounding blues introduction to the song’s swanky samba refrain, “You Know My Name” is propelled – in unforgettably comic fashion – by Lennon’s hilarious falsetto vocals and the dappled chorus of grunts and mumbles that mark the tune’s sizzling conclusion. Although it could never hope to challenge the likes of such classics as “Hey Jude,” “Come Together” or Revolution,” You Know My Name” clearly occupies a distinctive niche in the storied history of Beatlemania.

 

Any list of great Beatles songs is inherently flawed, of course, and can never really begin to account for the totality of their artistic achievement. If nothing else, though, this roster of distinguished Beatles moments illustrates the essence of their timelessness. It is worth nothing that a significant portion of their greatness can be attributed to the simple fact that they never wore out their welcome. And, in the well-trodden words of Lennon and McCartney, you know that can’t be bad.

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georgemartin-bkKen Womack is the author of many books including The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four and his most recent, Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer, George Martin, The Early Years, 1926-1966. The second volume, Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Later Years: 1966-2016), is forthcoming in 2018. Ken serves as Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University.

 

[This article was originally printed in the Fall 2002 issue of Daytrippin’ Magazine (No. 20) and is also featured in the Daytrippin’ Anthology.]

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The Beatles Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary edition offers over 30 unreleased outtakes

It was 50 years ago on June 1, 1967 when The Beatles surprised the world ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the groundbreaking masterpiece that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. To salute the occasion, The Beatles will release special CD and Vinyl packages of the Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary Edition on May 26. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including 34 previously unreleased recordings.

“It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the Sgt. Pepper Anniversary Edition.

Sgt. Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book.

This is the first time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for Sgt. Pepper, producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversaryRingo Starr has expressed his delight at the new remastered Sgt. Pepper recordings. According to Keith Allison, former Paul Revere and the Raiders bassist, who was recently hanging out with Ringo: “He thought it was great! Why? Because it originally was recorded on a 4-track with a lot of overdubs, which buried the drums. Now, the drums have been lifted and come through as they should. He was pleased.”

Fans have been waiting for a new stereo remix of Sgt. Pepper since the original stereo release was rushed out with no input from The Beatles. The mono version was what The Beatles and George Martin had poured their heart and soul into back in 1967.

“No matter how well you know the album, this remix is full of nuances any fan will notice, especially the bottom end —Ringo’s kick drum really reveals new dimensions,” explains Rolling Stone writer, Rob Sheffield.

 

“The alternate takes are full of discoveries; hours of new Beatle music that gives a taste of how many treasures remain in the vault. It’s not just historic value — it’s an astounding listening experience,” says Sheffield, who got an exclusive first listen to the Sgt. Pepper outtakes.

The Super Deluxe set includes a 144-page hardcover book featuring new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context.

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50 deluxe

The Super Deluxe edition also includes a DVD and Blu-ray featuring the previously unreleased documentary film The Making of Sgt. Pepper (broadcast in 1992), with insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.

For Record Store Day on April 22, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” among the first songs recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, which began in November 1966. 

(Source: Includes excerpts from official press release)

 

Quick Order Links:

Super Deluxe edition (4 CD/DVD/Blu-ray combo)

2 CD Deluxe set

1 CD

2 Vinyl LP

See the FULL Track listings of each CD package by clicking here

 

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The Beatles ‘Eight Days A Week’ documentary coming to DVD in November

On November 18, the new documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years directed by Ron Howard will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray, plus a 2-Disc special edition.

UMe Polygram Entertainment The Beatles Eight Days A Week

Photo: Polygram Entertainment and Capitol/UMe.

The film was released last week in theaters for a one-day to one-week run which varied across different cities. After the film, the 30-minute Shea Stadium concert film from 1965 was also shown. This footage from the concert is not listed as being included on the DVD.

As a Beatles fan and journalist who saw the film in theaters, the title ‘The Touring Years’ seemed a bit misleading to me. Instead of focusing mostly on the shows that The Beatles performed, the film provided an overall look at their career during the years they were touring and spent lots of time on The Beatles’ efforts in the recording studio.

While there is not much new information offered in the documentary, the high points of the film are the rare photographs and video clips that were included to illustrate the story of The Beatles’ touring years. For example, in February 1964 during an interview in Washington DC, John tells a reporter his name is “Eric.” The uninformed reporter believes him and introduces Lennon convincingly on camera as “Eric” so that John has to enlighten him and tell him it was just a joke.

Another rare clip is an interview with The Beatles in Sweden circa 1963/64 where George is standing behind John who is seated. George keeps flicking ashes from his cigarette on the top of John’s head and John doesn’t necessarily notice.

There are also insightful interview clips from Paul and Ringo in the present day, as well as other celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg and Elvis Costello.

Another highlight is an interview with Dr. Kitty Oliver, an African-American journalist and author who went to The Beatles’ concert in Jacksonville, Florida as a teenager. The Beatles refused to play to a segregated audience at the Gator Bowl. They had it written into their contract, so the venue agreed to integrate the crowd.

“Here was a band I loved and music I was such a fan of, that seeing The Beatles overrode the idea of walking in to this all-white environment that I had never been in,” Oliver recalls.

Historians believe that this strong stand that The Beatles took in Jacksonville in September 1964 led to an end of segregation in most of the big stadiums in the South. – Trina Yannicos

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Below is a description of content included on the DVD release as stated in the official press release:

Featuring a wealth of specially created supplementary material totaling 100 minutes of extras, the deluxe home entertainment editions contain exclusively-created featurettes for fans to delve even deeper into the band’s world.  Accompanying these are stunning, fully restored full length performances of some of the band’s most iconic tracks including “Twist and Shout” and “She Loves You” recorded at the ABC Theatre, Manchester in 1963 and “Can’t Buy Me Love” at the NME Awards, 1964, in London, bringing the experience of seeing The Beatles in concert fully to life for all fans. A full breakdown follows:

2-disc Special Collector’s Edition (DVD and Blu-Ray) includes:
1 x DVD/Blu-Ray 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

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 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 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.

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, Can’t Buy Me Love, You Can’t Do That and Help!

Additional features are:

  • Three Beatles’ Fans
  • Ronnie Spector and The Beatles
  • Shooting A Hard Day’s Night
  • The Beatles in Australia
  • Recollections of Shea Stadium
  • The Beatles in Japan
  • An alternative opening for the film

 

Pre-order: Deluxe Collector’s Edition (2-DVD)

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Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, director Ron Howard attend 10th anniversary of The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas

On July 14, 2016, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and many more celebrities gathered in Las Vegas to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Beatles LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil. The audio and visual experience of the show has been revamped and enhanced to give the production a fresh look.

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Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Joe Walsh, Marjorie Bach; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

Giles Martin, who serves as audio producer of the show, said that 10 years ago, “we used a lot of cutting-edge technologies to put The Beatles music into a 2,000-seat space, 7,000 speakers in the room. But the technology now has moved on so much and the actual sound bit of the show we can improve.”
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The updated version of LOVE, which features a cast of 70 performers, includes advanced projection technology, new acrobatic acts, a remixed soundtrack with a new song (“Twist and Shout”), colorful costumes, brand new speakers and state-of-the-art video panels featuring The Beatles’ images.

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Paul and Ringo with the cast of The Beatles LOVE; July 14, 2016; Photo by MJ Kim

This is the fourth time in 10 years that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have publicly attended the show together. The first time was when the show opened in 2006, the second time was for the 1st anniversary in 2007, the third time was for the 5th anniversary in 2011, and now in 2016 for the 10th anniversary. Sadly, two members of the Beatles’ family who attended past celebrations have since passed away: George Martin and Cynthia Lennon. (see photos from the LOVE premiere in 2006)

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Paul McCartney and wife, Nancy; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

Also in attendance was Ron Howard, director of the upcoming documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, and he shared some insights on the making of his film which opens in September. He said he has interviewed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr twice for the movie which documents The Beatles’ years on the road.

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Yoko Ono; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

“It’s kind of an adventure/survival story in a way,” Ron Howard explained in an exclusive interview on the red carpet. “I really wanted to take the audience inside the experience a little bit. It’s not something that’s just ‘here’s where they went’, it’s how and why things worked the way they did. I hope the added value of letting audiences understand really how intense the pressures were from the outside while they were going through all of this AND continuing to grow as artists in this remarkable way.”
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Giles Martin (left) and director Ron Howard at The Beatles LOVE 10th anniversary celebration; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

 

When asked if he has always been a Beatles fan, Howard remarked:
“Always a fan, not encyclopedic, not a fanatic. So in a way I’m sort of speaking for that group of people who kind of thinks they know the story, and now I can turn to that crowd, maybe the millennials in particular, and say you know the music, you know the name The Beatles, and you know they were big, but you just have no idea really what the story was and the intensity of that journey – what it meant to culture and what it meant for these guys to live through it.”

Paul and Ringo posted their own photo together on Instagram celebrating the LOVE show’s 10th anniversary:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BH30Qc7AWEX/?taken-by=paulmccartney
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Historical Beatle gems hidden among vast display at GRAMMY Museum’s new fab exhibit

by Trina Yannicos
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Originally launched in 2014 in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to the U.S., the “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” exhibit has finally made its way to the West Coast. The GRAMMY Museum, which curated the exhibit along with the avid memorabilia collectors of Fab Four Exhibits, opened the exhibit in Los Angeles on July 1, and it will be on display through September 5, 2016.

The exhibit focuses on the years 1964 to 1966 and The Beatles’ influence on America. Along with countless big and small memorabilia items are interactive displays, audio interviews, concert video clips and a short film shown in the Clive Davis Theater featuring musicians, including Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, Petula Clark and Ozzy Osbourne, talking about the impact of The Beatles.

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The big ticket items in this exhibit include Ringo’s Abbey Road jacket, Paul McCartney’s Shea Stadium jacket, Ringo’s black suit from A Hard Day’s Night, and the Beatles’ drumhead which was given to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London in April 1964 when wax figures of The Beatles were made.
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While we’ve come to expect most rock and roll exhibits to display original instruments and clothing used by the musicians, it’s the little things that make this exhibit shine and showcase its sincerity and authenticity. For example, an original program from the Beatles’ Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12, 1964 lists Paul McCartney’s name incorrectly as “John McCartney.”

Another unique item is the official proclamation when The City of New Orleans declared “Beatles Day in New Orleans” on September 16, 1964, which coincided with The Beatles’ concert there that same day. All four Beatles signed the proclamation.
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The exhibit also includes memorabilia from The Beatles’ early days in Liverpool and Hamburg. A personal letter written by George Harrison in 1962 when The Beatles were in Hamburg showcases the wit and humor of the “quiet” Beatle:
“Thank you for the. We are all still very in Hamburg as the. I started a letter to you on Thursday but it seemed to get a bit ‘you know’, so I have decided to write another.”

Other items of note include the first pair of “granny” glasses that John Lennon ever wore and a lock of John Lennon’s hair given to a fan at a concert in August 1963. John Lennon signed his autograph: “Love from ‘Bald’ John Lennon.”

The exhibit also features a large display of Beatles merchandising products including Beatles coloring books, coin purses and more from 1964 in their original packaging.
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There is much to see at this exhibit. Reserve at least two hours to take it all in. And, on your way out, make sure to get your photo while crossing Abbey Road in London with the help of a virtual scenic backdrop – luckily this photo op doesn’t require dodging the traffic!
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New Beatles statue in Liverpool

It’s hard to believe that there has never been a traditional permanent statue of The Beatles erected – until now! The new statue of The Fab Four was unveiled on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Liverpool’s Pier Head.

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The bronze statue depicting all four Beatles in suits, topcoats and Beatle boots, circa 1963 reminiscent of their Live at the BBC album cover photo, was unveiled by John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and Liverpool Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne. According to The Liverpool Echo, the statue weighs approximately 1.3 tons and was sculpted by artist Andrew Edwards.

The faces look extremely lifelike and the statues are a few feet taller than the real thing, causing most people to reach only the shoulder height of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr for photo purposes. John and Paul are placed slightly ahead of George and Ringo as they appear to be walking down the street together. The statue was presented to the city by the Merseybeat venue the Beatles helped to make famous, The Cavern Club.

The statue unveiling marks 50 years since The Beatles final show in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre on December 5, 1965. Sculptor Andy Edwards told the BBC that he hopes his statue will become “a place of ritual” for people to come together.

“The statue stands in loving memory of the best band in the world – the band that leapt from The Cavern stage to worldwide recognition,” Julia Baird said.

See a slideshow of the new Beatles statue from every angle

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Other articles you might have missed:

Why Elvis Presley dissed The Beatles to President Nixon

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