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MEETING THE BEATLES – IVOR DAVIS INTERVIEW

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Meeting the Beatles scored an interview Ivor Davis, who followed the Lads along on tour in 1964 for London’s Daily Express.  Davis wasn’t on the outside of the fishbowl peering in, but given an insider’s perch for every step along the way.  Ivor was also there firsthand for the Beatles meetings with Bob Dylan, and then Elvis Presley.  Ivor was kind enough to allow Bob Wilson pick his brain for Beatles Magazine and allow us to read it in the news today. Oh boy!

Beatles Magazine: London’s Daily Express chose you to follow the Beatles on tour in 1964. As you hit the road, how close were you on a daily basis with them?

Ivor Davis: After 24 hours of “getting to know you,” (which started slowly because the Beatles were totally jet-lagged by their 6,000 mile trip from London to San Francisco) we became very close. I had next door hotel rooms, to their suite, and as the l964 first American tour continued, we hung out together in the hotel—where they were virtual prisoners. I traveled on their private jet, which skipped around the country landing at sometimes remote sections of airports in the middle of the night. They were in limo number one, I in limo number two as we raced –often with screaming police escorts—from airport to hotel to venue. Because they had very little contact with the public, I and some of the DJ”s that came and went on the tour, became their companions. A bit like family.

BM: As you saw the shows, the crowds, the hotels, and Beatlemania, what things stand out in your mind about the experience?

Ivor:I never knew what to expect because I had never been to a Beatles show. I saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show in Feb 1964, along with 70 million plus viewers. But in the flesh, so to speak, I was completely bowled over that first night at San Francisco’s Cow Palace in August l964. About 17,000 screaming fans packed the place.  And from the second they stepped out on stage the screaming began—and never ended until they finished their gig. And frankly, sitting in the front row at every concert, because of the unending shrieking, I could barely hear their songs or words. And that was the way it played out during the entire trip. I learned to live with it by arming myself with  ear plugs! One thing to remember: Sound systems were lousy—and oh, so primitive.

BM: As someone who was there, please tell us about the legendary meeting of the Beatles and Elvis Presley? Was there any sort of a jam session?

Ivor: That took place in August l965—at Elvis pad in Beverly Hills. The Beatles wanted to meet him, particularly John, but in l964 Elvis was working on his endless movies, and the Beatles were scampering all over the place. Finally Brian Epstein and Tom Parker got their act together—but said, “no press…no cameras…no tape recorders.” So I was the fly on the wall watching at first the awkwardness of Elvis, who was never comfortable with strangers—that’s why he hung out with his Memphis Mafia. Finally I watched as nothing happened—and then Elvis, looking slightly peeved, with sideburns that reminded me of shag carpeting–, jumped up and said “I’m going to bed—unless you guys came to jam.” That broke the ice. They plugged in guitars, Ringo went to play pool/billiards in the other room, and for about 20 minutes they jammed. No Beatle songs. Elvis stuff and other blues.

BM: You also were there when Bob Dylan brought a certain substance to meet the Beatles. How did they all get along, and was there really weed in the garden?

Ivor: Not sure there was weed in the back garden—but I saw Dylan, wearing a backpack, and looking scruffy, with wispy face hair, and like someone whose picture you might see on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, show up at their hotel near the airport. I did not partake of the shared ciggies—but sat in the next door room. They put wet towels on the floor between the doors and the area I was sitting in. Brian had put on a farewell party at the hotel—so we waited—free drinks courtesy of Brian– while Dylan and the lads got together in the next room. About80 minutes later, the doors opened. I saw Ringo rolling on the floor, laughing. Dylan was on the way out. The rest of the group looked a little worse for wear, and I was told that Ringo’s condition came about because he had been given a fat marijuana cigarette. Not knowing the Protocol, he thought the ciggie was for him—and him alone– and he had imbibed heavily before Dylan realized that he wasn’t going to share it—and removed what was left of it—and passed it around. Although I was not at the time an afficianado of pot, I realized that the high quality “fat” joint, that Dylan had kindly provided, was to be shared. By all!

BM: The concerts seem to have been events filled with female hysteria and inferior sound systems being drowned out. What did you make of the shows?

Ivor: Partly answered above. Female hysteria was rampant. The Beatles often could not hear themselves, and the sound systems were pathetically weak. Also the Beatles never deviated from their concerts. About ten or so songs—done at breakneck speed and usually finished in well under thirty minutes! The Beatles delighted in trying to break their record. No between song chit-chat, maybe a line “this is from our new film…..” And they launched into a Hard Day’s Night. Only in Kansas City they threw in Kansas City. Otherwise it was songs by rote.

BM: Each Beatle was dubbed as cute, quiet, acerbic, or sort of lovable goofy. Were these traits accurate, or overdone?

Ivor: They all had a brilliant Liverpudlian sense of humor—and they used it to ward off the craziness of the tour, and the endless press conferences, with the same questions. Ten minutes on the ground in Toronto, and someone would ask “What do you think of our Canadian women!!!!” Plus endless a questions about their hair. Those of us who were regulars on the tour, might get a wave from Derek Taylor to ask a question which signaled “let’s go boys” It was, “When do you think the Beatles bubble will burst…”

The entire Beatles tour entourage in 1964 in Chicago, including correspondent Ivor Davis (back left, just to the right of man with camera)

BM: Which Beatle did you feel the most affinity with, and how did they treat you?

Ivor: I liked John best. He was outrageous, full of black wit, off the wall and the most provocative. He liked to provoke you with outrageous questions. He had a lighting mind—a bit like Robin Williams who I also got to know. (Williams, of course was NOT on the Beatles tour—only his brain, like John’s, was razor sharp.) Paul was a grand Shmoozer. He served me gin and tonics on the plane and was a charmer. George was surly at first—difficult for me because I was supposed to ghost his newspaper column for my newspaper which was the London Daily Express—“four million readers a day!”. But for the first ten days I couldn’t get him to tell me what he thought about the trip. So I made up his column—until he sat next to me on the jet and complained, “My family in Liverpool say my column is a load of old shite.” Stung by this—it was true of course, because I played it safe by writing trite rubbish—I suggested that he take time out and give me some genuine input. Things improved between us. Ringo: Strangely he was fairly shy to start with. I think he was being a bit careful, because he realized that Beatle drummers were expendable! But after a week or so he blossomed—and was one of the funniest, particularly when the Beatles had to do their mandatory press conferences for local media on the tour. As the Beatles left I saw lots of signs at the airport, “Ringo for President.”

BM: What was Brian Epstein like, as you interacted with him? Often he is not given too much mention in the expansive Beatles coverage.

Ivor: Brian tried to keep himself aloof from the craziness. He always showed up in shirt and tie. A bit overdressed for the occasion. He lurked on the edges of press conferences but left the details to Derek Taylor. I saw him telling John off for smoking, and if one of the Beatles used bad language in public, or a swear word, he would tell them off—quietly in the corner. I got to know him better halfway through the tour: We had both been forced to do National Service in the British military—and we were both Jewish. On Yom Kippur—the holiest day of the Jewish calendar—Brian wanted to go to the synagogue. And I was asked to get a ticket for him. I did. But on the appointed day Brian had left town—and Derek apologized saying “he had to go to New York.” Brian felt he was the guardian of the Beatles image—and took that role very seriously.

BM: Will you please tell us about, ‘The Beatles and Me On Tour’?

Ivor: Long after I traveled with the Beatles—I used to tell people about my adventures. Finally nearly half a century later I decided to write a book about my adventures with the Fab Four. As a foreign correspondent, I covered many major stories in America: Assassinations, murders, presidential campaigns– And the Beatles were a footnote. Finally I sat down and wrote about the insane but memorable historical journey with John Paul George and Ringo—and I had great fun telling all. The good, the bad and sometimes the ugly! But mostly the Good.

BM: What is your viewpoint of the Beatles animated film, “Yellow Submarine’?

Ivor: I loved it when I saw it—and looking at it today it’s an incredible treat. And it is rich with their songs. Also, it is so so perfect for the psychedelic period. And kids adore it. But let me put things in perspective with a little “ancient” history. The Beatles first movie for United Artists was a smash hit: “A Hard Day’s Night.” The second film in their contract was a bit of a mess “Help.” But most people didn’t realize that the Beatles were contracted to do “three movies” for UA. And they cleverly decided to sort of get out of their contractual obligations by doing the animated film: To start with their voices are not the Beatles but done by actors: And the Beatles snickered and said they now had fully fulfilled their Hollywood obligations—because in the final scene they actually appear. They didn’t realize it would become so popular.

BM: What have you cooked up with Brooke Halpin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Yellow Submarine?

Ivor: We will give them all the fascinating behind the scenes facts about the making of the movie—and tell them that thanks to the phenomenal technological improvements in the movie world, it has been immaculately digitized so today’s film is 100 times better than the original. And there’s the legendary Beatles music.

BM: How can your fans keep up to date on what you are up to?

Ivor: My new book out this Summer is for kids: It’s called “Ladies and Gentlemen—the Penguins” It’s a fanciful fable about a famous Penguin rock group from the remote British Falkland Islands who grow up to become one of the most successful pop groups in the world. Even bigger—well almost—than the Beatles.

WWW.ivordavisbooks.com

Written by Bob Wilson

 

Ivor Davis & Brooke Halpin Host Yellow Submarine

We’re delighted to announce that Malibu Screening Room has just been approved to join the global celebration of the 50th anniversary of YELLOW SUBMARINE! On Sunday, July 8th, theaters the world over will be showing a stunningly restored digital presentation of the original Beatles classic.Every individual frame of the 1968 film has been painstakingly retouched by hand, with the original soundtrack remixed at the famed Abbey Road Studios for 5.1 surround sound playback. It all starts when doors open at 7:30PM for the free wine reception at the Malibu Screening Room. Joining us for the event: two world-renowned Beatles experts, Brooke Halpin (who hosts the internationally distributed radio show, “Come Together with the Beatles”) and Ivor Davis, the journalist assigned to travel with the Beatles during their very first U.S. tour. Ivor and Brooke will be signing copies of their latest books before introducing the film around 8PM.

 

ICONIC BEATLES ZEBRA CROSSING ON ABBEY ROAD IS RESURFACED

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Zebra crossing on Abbey Road, today.Abbey Road Crossing being restored now.

Iconic zebra crossing on Abbey Road that was made famous by the Beatles’ album cover is being resurfaced
It means tourists hoping to photograph themselves walking in the steps of their heroes could be disappointed.

Abbey Road is a shrine to fans who flock from all over the world.Fans flock to the crossing from all over the world to recreate the Beatles’ album cover.

City of Westminster Council are currently resurfacing the road — including the famous pedestrian crossing that features on the legendary group’s 1969 album.

It means tourists hoping to take pictures of the themselves walking over the crossing will have to contend with diggers and trucks spoiling the scene.

The crossing – just outside the renowned Abbey Road studios, where the Beatles recorded much of their output – was given Grade II listing in 2010 by heritage minister John Penrose. It was the first such listing of its kind – such status is normally afforded only to buildings – and follows advice from English Heritage .

source:dailymail

THE BEATLES ARE NO LONGER WALKING ALONG MAIN STREET.. BUT THEY WILL SOON RETURN

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The Beatles are no longer walking along Main Street, but they will soon return.

The mural painted by artist Gregg Payne, which depicted Fab Four as they were on the “Abbey Road” album cover photograph by Iain Mcmillan, has finally come down after adorning a wall on the 100 block of Main Street for more than 20 years. Workers painted over the mural early last month as part of renovations for an incoming restaurant, but that job went mostly unnoticed as the area was covered by fences at the time.

Metal artwork is seen of the famous Beatles album cover Abbey Road beside the building that an Abbey Road mural has been painted over along Main Street in Chico, Calif.

The decision to remove the mural was a difficult one, building owner David Halimi said, adding that it was part of a compromise with his new tenant and the artwork will be repainted nearby. The new tenant, Will Brady, owner of B-Street Public House and The Banshee, is opening a restaurant in that space.

The new tenant didn’t feel that it went with the theme of his business, Halimi said, and with the building undergoing work to restore it to its original look and add lofts and studios, the art no longer matched the direction in which the building is going.

“I am definitely a big fan and supporter of arts and music in Chico,” Halimi said. “I think it’s what makes our small town different than other places because the presence of so much culture, so it definitely was a hard decision.”

Halimi had long advocated for the mural, even including in a lease with former occupant Lyon’s Books that it not be painted over, but in this case decided to compromise and allow it to be removed and repainted, he said.

The Beatles mural by Gregg Payne from the photo by Iain Macmillan on their album “Abbey Road” has adorned the concrete wall at 135 Main Street in Chico, California, for more than 20 years. The mural remains intact Wednesday, June 8, 2016, but a new business at the location could mean the mural will be repainted on another part of the building.

The Beatles will head to Second and Main streets just outside Pluto’s on the wall of another building owned by Halimi. The plan is to have Payne, who now lives in Arizona, or another local artist repaint the mural in the next six to nine months.

Halimi and the new tenant will share the costs associated with repainting the mural, he said.

source:chicoer

 

THE BEATLES IN EVANSTON: A RARE LOOK AT NORTHWESTERN’S BEATLES MANUSCRIPTS

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As a touring band, the Beatles visited Chicago three times in the 1960s to play at two South Side venues that no longer exist: the International Amphitheatre (1964 and 1966) and Comiskey Park (1965).

But in a way, the Fab Four have been in the Chicago area for decades. That’s because John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s personal handiwork are residing at Northwestern University’s music library in Evanston.The library refers to the collection as the Beatles Manuscripts – they comprise handwritten lyric sheets for seven songs the Beatles released in 1965 and 1966. Specifically, the library holds the original lyric sheets for six songs from the 1966 album “Revolver”: “Eleanor Rigby,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “For No One” as well as the lyrics for “The Word” from 1965’s “Rubber Soul.”

Northwestern is one of only two libraries in the world to hold handwritten Beatles lyrics – the other is the British Library, the United Kingdom’s official library.
“There are a lot of lyric sheets like this out there, but they’re held in private hands,” said Greg MacAyeal, the music library’s curator.

Northwestern was gifted the manuscripts in 1973 by American composer John Cage, who obtained them from Yoko Ono in the mid-1960s for a project amassing hundreds of manuscripts of 20th century composers.
The lyric sheets include factoids some Beatles fans may not already know. For example, McCartney originally titled his “For No One” composition as “Why Did It Die?” when he scrawled its lyrics onto a manila folder; and the Lennon-penned tune “And Your Bird Can Sing” was first known by a different name: “You Don’t Get Me.”

Beatles historian and author Robert Rodriguez said the manuscripts illustrate how the Beatles songs evolved while the band itself was transforming from a touring act of pop stars to sophisticated songwriters in the studio.
“They have a lot of significance in that they do offer a little bit of insight into the creative process that they were working with at that time. The period of late 1965 through 1966, that’s when you really see the Beatles start thinking of themselves beyond being this touring band going out and playing hits on the road. Come ‘Revolver’ in April of ’66, which is where most of these songs are from, they basically are throwing away the rulebook on everything they know about how to make records” added.
The Beatles Manuscripts rarely leave the secured, locked and guarded location they’re kept in, but Northwestern’s music library does have a permanent exhibit of high-quality facsimiles for the public to view.

MacAyeal estimated the Beatles Manuscripts are altogether worth between $7 million and $15 million based on previous auction sales.

source:chicagotonight.wttw

MARITIME CHARITY FED THE BEATLES

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A maritime welfare charity that helped The Beatles when they fell on hard times has released a new book, which includes how it fed George Harrison horsemeat in Hamburg.

Whenever they played Hamburg, the band visited Sailors’ Society’s seafarers’ center. John and George both had fathers who were seafarers and recognized the charity’s name from its center in Liverpool. Sailors’ Society works with seafarers and their families around the world providing practical and emotional support. It also runs centers where seafarers can take time away from busy ports.

The charity’s CEO, Stuart Rivers, said: “When we started gathering stories together for the book, we didn’t know exactly how we’d supported The Beatles. “There were rumors they composed songs on the center’s piano, but to find out we fed them horsemeat at Christmas was a bit of a surprise!”

The band, which at the time consisted of John, Paul, George, Stu (Sutcliffe) and Pete (Best), first visited the center in August 1960, two years before Love Me Do hit the U.K. charts. The center manager at the time, Jim Hawke, said they were never any trouble, were well behaved and didn’t even smoke. He remembered years later: “They never seemed to have any money – you could see them carefully counting out the coins, and they always had the cheapest food.”

Ringo Starr also stayed at the center while playing with Mersey-beat outfit Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, but it was George Harrison who possibly had the most memorable experience. He’d visited the center with another Liverpool band, The Dominoes, whose guitarist John Frankland later remembered: “When they brought out the soup the minister attached to the mission asked: ‘Would anyone like to say grace?’ And George in his wonderful deadpan way said: ‘Yes, thank Christ for the soup.’ The minister said: ‘Any more of that and you’re out.’ We ate steaks, and we found out later they were horse steaks. We’d eaten a horse for Christmas!”

Sailors’ Society has produced 200 Stories from the Sea to commemorate its bicentenary, and all profits made will go to its work. The book features 200 maritime tales from the charity’s archives.

source:maritime-executive

LEGENDARY BEATLES PUB THE GRAPES HAS CLOSED

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The owners of the iconic boozer have confirmed it has shut its doors

Paul, Pete Best, George and John in The Grapes pub in Mathew Street

Legendary Beatles pub The Grapes, in Mathew Street, has closed – its owners have confirmed.

A spokesman for Star Pubs and Bars – which owns and leases the iconic boozer – has told that it has shut its doors.But he was unable to shed any light on the reason for the closure and whether it is a permanent measure.
Questions have been asked about the pub, famed for being a preferred watering hole of the Fab Four in the past, after regulars noticed that its doors have been shut over the past few days.
Known locally as The Beatles pub, back in the early 1960s, it was the only pub in Mathew Street when it was surrounded by warehouses.

The Grapes has changed in tone and emphasis over the years – it underwent a major refurbishment in 1998 – but it remains a favourite traditional city centre boozer for many, which has always been proud of its Beatles connections.

The pub is owned by Star Pubs and Bars.The pub has closed – but a spokesman for the group, which is the leased pub arm of Heineken UK, was unable to say why it was closed and whether it was permanent.
The Grapes, while owned by Star Pubs and Bars, is leased to independent operators.
A spokesman for the company said: “The Grapes is a leased pub, run by independent operators, who are responsible for the day-to-day running and operations including supply of utilities. We hope all issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.”
The comment about utilities came after sources in Mathew Street suggested that the electricity supply to the pub may have been turned off – although this has not been confirmed.
Back in 2014, the pub closed briefly after its electricity supply was cut off – but it opened days later.
The pub is most well-known for its Beatles connections – and pictures and memorabilia adorn the walls inside.

source:liverpoolecho/photo:Matt Writtle