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By Posted on 0 16

The story of the band’s business venture Apple Corps is told in Ben Lewis’s entertaining and revealing new film ‘The Beatles, Hippies And Hell’s Angels’

It was when the hungry and belligerent Hell’s Angel Pete Knell threatened to smash his fist into John Lennon’s face at the office Christmas Party that it finally became apparent that the beautiful dream of Apple Corps wasn’t sustainable. Knell had already knocked out one of the other partygoers, a well-spoken English who had tried to tell him it wasn’t “cool” to be hungry. Actor and author Peter Coyote, a close friend of Knell’s, intervened, telling Lennon (who was dressed as Santa Claus) to sit down before the Hell’s Angel could strike again.
This incident took place in the Georgian building in Savile Row, Mayfair, that served as Apple Corps’s offices. Apple Corps was the venture set up by the Beatles in 1968. It was somewhere between a conventional entertainment business and a hippy nirvana. The story of the early years of the company is told in Ben Lewis’s entertaining and surprising new film, The Beatles, Hippies And Hell’s Angels. This is a Beatles documentary with a difference. There are no screaming teenagers or scenes of John, Paul, Ringo, George singing “Love Me Do”.
This isn’t an official documentary. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the remaining living Beatles, aren’t involved. Lewis, though, has tracked down the secretaries, journalists, DJs, sound engineers, musicians, accountants, hairdressers and freeloaders who lived, worked and hung out at Apple Corps. He tells a story at once comical and very sad. If you want to know why the Beatles split up, you will find out

This is one of the few rock docs in which the accountant’s voice features as strongly as that of his music biz clients. As Steven Maltz, the account at Apple, explains on camera, he had been going through the group’s papers in 1966 and was shocked to discover “nothing had been done”. The Beatles hadn’t filled in their tax returns. They were then probably the most successful band in the world and yet they were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Maltz told the musicians that they should start businesses and invest in them to save themselves from having to give all their money to the taxman.
The staff working at Apple Corps enjoyed themselves. A typical day for the secretaries might start with a sherry and a cigarette. This would be followed by a long lunch. “You never quite knew who was going to be coming into the office,” one former secretary recalls.
Visitors like journalist Ray Connolly might drop by for a drink. It wasn’t unusual for strange gifts to be delivered (among them, once, a donkey).

Apple Corps had opened its own fashion boutique. The company invested heavily in new technology, especially electronics, under their hippy boffin “Magic Alex” (Yanni Alexis Mardas).
Lewis – director of such other docs as Google and the World Brain and The Great Contemporary Art Bubble – reflects on the Apple Corps story. “I thought it was a story that was almost Chaucerian in a way. It was a yarn about something which was quite trivial involving really famous people. It revealed them to be really, really human. I liked all the contradictions. On the one hand, you thought that the Beatles were being really silly and self-indulgent because they had lost of money. On the other, you really identified with them. The Beatles were pretty nice people, clever people, sane people. Given the level of fame John, Paul, Ringo and George had gone through, they had emerged relatively unscathed.”
Now, they wanted to run a business and live by hippy values but money kept on getting in the way.
The latter part of the documentary looks at the power struggle that eventually tore the band apart. The Beatles realised they needed a strong and savvy figure to sort out the mess that was Apple Corps. McCartney favoured his father-in-law, New York attorney Lee Eastman. John Lennon and the others were keener on Allen Klein, the famously abrasive business manager of the Rolling Stones.


By Posted on 0 4

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the double album The Beatles — commonly referred to as The White Album, because of its cover. And Monmouth University in West Long Branch will host an academic symposium on the album, Nov. 8-11.

Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn will be the keynote speaker, and the symposium will have the theme of “Producing an Enigma for the Ages.”
Information is also available a Potential subjects suggested on the university’s website include “The Beatles and 1960s History,” “The Beatles and Politics,” “The Beatles and the Music Business,” “The Beatles’ Musical Influences” and “The Beatles’ Musical Legacy.”

Released on Nov. 22, 1968, The Beatles was the band’s longest and most musically eclectic album, ranging from the gentle ballads “Julia” and “I Will” to the wildly experimental “Revolution 9.” Some of its best known songs include “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Blackbird,” “Dear Prudence,” “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and “Birthday.”


By Posted on 0 , 4

“As designers, we wondered what it would look like to visualize The Beatles and chart their story–the evolution of their music, style and characters–through a series of graphics,” write John Pring and Rob Thomas, lifelong friends and authors of Visualizing The Beatles, coming May 1 in the U.S. from Dey Street Books. (The book was released in the U.K. in 2016 by Orphans Publishing.) And so they have, with their magical “history” tour of the Beatles career, arranged chronologically beginning with the band’s pre-Beatles days through to Abbey Road and Let It Be.

The book also takes welcome detours with pages devoted to such topics as “Press Conference Humor,” “Style Through the Years,” “Fab Four Memorabilia Sales,” “Hairstyles Over the Years,” and so on.
Simply put, with Visualizing The Beatles -UK Pre order here), authors Pring and Thomas use data and infographics to present a new way of looking at the Fab Four’s career. (In 2010, the pair started a U.K.-based content development agency, Designbysoap, Ltd., that specializes in this area.)

Subtitled A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band, the stunning, colorful (obviously!), 276-page book allows the reader, as the announcement notes, “to spot, in an instant, the patterns, anomalies and changes in the band’s lyrics, instruments, songwriting and performances.” (USA Pre-order here.)
In the section, “Turn Me On, Dead Man,” the book playfully recounts the “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory with the so-called “clues” in the group’s music and album covers.
A timeline appears throughout the book as a helpful guide to what was happening elsewhere around the world coinciding with each Beatles album. Did you know, for instance, that LSD was made illegal in the U.S. on Oct. 6, 1966, not long after Revolver was released? Or that the famous “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode of TV’s Star Trek aired the same month as The White Album‘s debut?
A two-page spread plots 13 locations in Los Angeles that the Beatles have visited or lived in since 1964, including the private home at 1567 Blue Jay Way that George Harrison rented (and was famously inspired to write a song about) and 7655 Curson Terrace, where the band stayed during their 1966 tour.
As the authors note, Visualizing The Beatles is “an attempt to present the facts in a way you haven’t seen them before, so you can spot… the patterns, anomalies and changes.”




By Posted on 0 3

The Beatles Story and Julien’s Auctions will bring Beatles and Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘Discovery Day’ to Hard Rock Café New York on Thursday 17th May 2018.

The event, which is being held at Hard Rock International—home to the world’s largest collection of music memorabilia—will give members of the public, fans and collectors the chance to have their Beatles and Rock ‘n’ Roll memorabilia appraised for free by experts.

Following the success of previous events held in Liverpool and London, where a steady stream of visitors brought an eclectic array of artifacts for valuation, both Julien’s and The Beatles Story anticipate a high level of interest. Fans based in the U.S. are being urged to check their attics and garages for any hidden gems.

Darren Julien, Founder & CEO of Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘We are excited to bring our Discovery Day to Hard Rock Cafe New York. ‘John Lennon spent a lot of time in New York during his solo years and we are convinced there will be some valuable and fascinating historical items just waiting to be discovered.’

Among the items from earlier events was a collection of 26 negatives containing rare never-before-seen photographs of John Lennon. The images, which appear to depict intimate portraits of the former Beatle, were taken in February 1970.

Another unique find, a letter written by John Lennon to the Queen, explaining the singer’s reasons for returning his MBE, was valued by Julien’s Auctions at around £60,000. The letter’s owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, discovered the item tucked away inside the sleeve of a record that was part of a collection picked up for £10 about 20 years ago. Internationally renowned Julien’s Auctions has broken world records with the sale of Beatles memorabilia including John Lennon’s acoustic guitar recently sold for a record $2.4 million, Ringo Starr’s Ludwig drum kit sold for a record $2.2 million, The Ludwig Beatles Ed Sullivan Show drumhead sold for a record price of $2.1 million and The Beatles White Album owned by Ringo Starr sold for $790,000.

The ‘Discovery Day’ will take place at Hard Rock Cafe New York on Thursday 17th May 2018, from 3pm until 8pm.



By Posted on 0 14

Dr. Kit O’Toole knows a little something about Dr. Winston O’Boogie, and Paul, George and Ringo, too. Kit is the author of The Songs we were singing, the lesser known tracks of the lads. She’s a woman who also has given us Michael Jackson FAQ. Kit may be found as a regular speaker at the Fest for Beatle Fans in New York, or Chicago. Among her other accomplishments, is her ‘Deep Beatles’ column for Something Else Reviews.
Beatles Magazine caught up with Kit, and she was kind enough to respond to some of our Beatle related queries. As usual, she offers insights, little known facts, and a fresh take on all of the Fab tracks.
BM:When was the first time that you saw or heard the Beatles, and what memories do you have associated with that event?

Dr. Kit O’Toole : This is a complicated question, as I actually had two early encounters with the Beatles. My father plays several instruments, and used to lead the guitar Mass at our church. Because of this, I was extremely fortunate to grow up listening to a wide variety of music. He used to play “Let It Be” in church, but at home would play “Norwegian Wood” and “Michelle,” two of his favorite Beatles tracks. I was in grade school at the time, so I had no appreciation for the Beatles at this point. Fast forward to my eighth grade chorus class—on Fridays we were allowed to bring in our own tapes to play for the group, and someone brought in the Beatles’ 20 Greatest Hits cassette. At the time I was steeped in 80s music (Duran Duran, Wham), so when I heard “Eight Days a Week,” it sounded very new to me. From then on, I was hooked—I bought every Beatles album (American releases, of course) on cassette.

BM: You did some fine work on Beatles covering some other artist’s work. Which ones are your favorites, and what about them stands out?

Dr. Kit O’Toole :I’m particularly a fan of their R&B covers, as they exposed American audiences to artists in their own country! Arthur Alexander and Larry Williams would have fallen into complete obscurity if not for the Beatles’ covers of their songs. Both artists were incredible songwriters; in Alexander’s case, he penned “Anna,” “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues,” and “Solider of Love.” Williams wrote “Bad Boy” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” two songs that have become beloved Beatles classics. Listening to the Beatles’ versions inspired me to delve deeper into the singers’ catalogs, and I discovered some true gems featuring stellar lyrics. It’s truly sad that these two artists did not receive the fame they deserved, but at least the Beatles helped to keep their memories alive.

BM: Tell us about the book you’ve written on Michael Jackson. What insights do you have regarding his work with Paul McCartney, and buying the Beatles publishing rights?

Dr. Kit O’Toole : Michael Jackson FAQ explores his art—how he developed as a singer, dancer, and songwriter. I decided not to explore his personal life because there are already so many books written about that aspect (their accuracy is debatable, but that’s for another day!), so I wanted to focus on the impact he had on music and performance. I do cover the duets Paul and Michael did together, along with their one collaborative music video: “Say Say Say.” They definitely had chemistry, as their voices blended perfectly. Just listen to “The Man”—while it may not be the best song they did together, it highlights just how well they harmonized together. Younger people have asked me why “The Girl Is Mine” was such a huge hit, as many feel it hasn’t aged particularly well. The answer? Having two superstars on one song was a HUGE deal in 1982, particularly two people representing different generations. It was an event even more than a single.

As for the saga concerning Michael purchasing the rights to the Beatles catalog, it’s complicated. What I can say is that there are two sides to that story, and that Paul did have the opportunity to purchase the catalog back in the 1980s but did not want to pay the listed price. Reportedly Michael’s attorney contacted Paul’s people, and they informed him Paul was not going to put in a bid; he then called Yoko Ono (a friend of Michael’s at the time) to ask about her plans. She informed him that she too was not putting in a bid, and gave Michael her blessing to purchase the catalog. So there are clearly different stories here, and the fact is that the whole episode is now ancient history. Michael’s estate sold its stake in the catalog back to Sony/ATV, so it will be interesting to see what happens next.

BM: Some of the Beatles ‘lesser known’ songs are rock solid. (I love ‘I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party). Tout some of the highlights from your fab book, “Songs We Were Singing”.

Dr. Kit O’Toole :I too like the lesser-known songs, and my book Songs We Were Singing (along with my Something Else Reviews column “Deep Beatles”) addresses the tracks that receive undeservedly less attention.  B-sides, covers, album tracks, very modest hits—all songs are fair game in my book. I explore why they should considered as important as the major hits, and how they fit into the Beatles’ overall creative development.  These songs often reveal the group’s musical influences. For example, 1964’s “I Call Your Name” has an unusual middle eight that long intrigued me. Why is there a sudden change in rhythm pattern? I soon learned that their instrumental section reflected bluebeat, a genre predating ska and reggae that found success in the UK.  In the early 1960s, Jamaican R&B artists had some their material released by the UK record label Blue Beat Records; the genre subsequently became popular in England and even reached the US through tracks such as “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small. That break in “I Call Your Name” represents the Beatles’ attempt at replicating bluebeat.  The Beatles absorbed so many musical styles, and all of those genres played a part in their original sound. My book explores that fact and even expands into solo rarities.

BM: If you had to narrow it down to a favorite Beatle, which one would be yours.  Tell us a little of what draws you to them?
Dr. Kit O’Toole :That’s a tough question, because I alternate between John, George, and Paul.  I guess I would choose Paul because I got into his music first before the Beatles and, subsequently, the others’ solo careers.  His versatility continually impresses me—he can range from classical to rock to soul to even a bit of country. He is equally impressive at writing ballads and hard rockers.  I always get irritated at the “John is the rocker, Paul the balladeer” oversimplification. In addition, Paul possesses a gift for writing memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics.  He continues to grow as an artist as well—for example, “Riding to Vanity Fair” from Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) contains lyrics as personal and biting as he had written even with the Beatles.  He also explores dance and trance music, and even formed his own side project (the Fireman) to record more experimental material.  Paul may not hit the bullseye every time, but I applaud his willingness to try new sounds and genres.

BM: Well we covered your favorite Beatle. so now we move onto albums.  What is your favorite Beatle album, and why?
Dr. Kit O’Toole :At this point I would say Revolver is my favorite because of its groundbreaking qualities.  “Tomorrow Never Knows” is an avant garde masterpiece that still holds up today with its sampling and looping techniques.  The album ranges from Motown (“Got to Get You into My Life”) to psychedelic (“She Said She Said”) to Indian music (“Love You To”) to children’s songs (“Yellow Submarine”).  George really came into his own on this album, with not one but three strong compositions—“Taxman,” “Love You To,” and “I Want to Tell You.” John and Paul continued to develop as songwriters and performers as well.  “Eleanor Rigby” is sheer poetry, and one of the most unlikely hits that ever appeared on the charts, in my opinion. Revolver stands as a symbol of experimentation, sophistication, and the dawn of a new era: rock as an art form.

BM: The Beatles released wonderful solo music after they parted.  Which would be your favorite solo album, and why does it stand out to you?
Dr. Kit O’Toole : All Things Must Pass continues to impact me the most because of its sweeping themes of love and spirituality.  The timelessness of the songs really struck me recently during a Fest for Beatles Fans convention. Guest Neil Innes performed “Isn’t It a Pity,” and I teared up at the words.  They mean even more today than they did back in 1971. As a whole, the album is such a sweeping work and so inspirational. George Harrison was such an underrated talent during the Beatles years, and All Things Must Pass was his statement to the world that a unique artistic voice had emerged.

BM: Which Beatles have you seen on tour?  Please tell us about your fondest memories of these shows.

Dr. Kit O’Toole :I have seen Paul several times and Ringo once (and I hope to see the latter again this fall when he comes to Chicago).  Ringo came to Highland Park, Illinois’ Ravinia Festival back in 1995, and it was I believe the third iteration of the All Starr Band.  How lucky I was to see this concert—along with Ringo, the band featured the great Billy Preston, John Entwistle, Mark Rivera, Mark Farner, Felix Cavaliere, Randy Bachman, and Ringo’s son Zak.  What a lineup!
As for Paul, two shows stand out, and both occurred during the 1989-1990 world tour.  It was the first time I’d ever seen Paul live, so I was beyond excited. The first show occurred in December 1989, and I remember standing up during the entire show!  The second was in 1990 at Chicago’s Soldier Field; it was the last show of the tour, so they even brought out fireworks to close out the show. The moment I’ll never forget is “Hey Jude”—I was seated on the field, and when I turned around and saw the enormous crowd holding up cigarette lighters (obviously it was during the pre-cell phone era), swaying in time to the rhythm, it was a moving moment.

BM: Paul has really done a lot to play the Beatles songs before a multitude of audiences.  When it comes to the studio records which the Beatles did not tour to support, which songs stand out that Paul has done live for the first time?
Dr. Kit O’Toole: I love hearing Sgt. Pepper tracks, because back in 1967 there was no way to reproduce those songs for the stage.  “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “A Day in the Life,” the title track, “Getting Better, “Fixing a Whole,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Lovely Rita,” and of course the reprise all sound even better live (although I do wish he would add horn and string players to his touring band).  During Paul’s 2017 tour, I enjoyed hearing him perform “In Spite of All the Danger”—seeing him recreate history right in front of the audience (who sang along with every word) is a moment filled with significance.

BM:At this point, would you like to see Paul and Ringo do anything together live, or in the studio?

Dr. Kit O’Toole: All these years later, Paul and Ringo still have electrifying chemistry.  When they performed “With a Little Help from My Friends” during the Grammy Salute to the Beatles a few years ago, the theater exploded with energy and happiness.  They have continued to work together occasionally, appearing on each other’s albums and showing up for various Beatles-related events. However, they have resisted touring together or collaborating on an entire album, and I don’t blame them.  Anything they produce would be compared to the Beatles, and how can they possibly top that? Occasionally reuniting as friends is great, but trying to somehow recreate any semblance of the Beatles is probably a mistake.

Being for the benefit of looking for more of Kit, be sure to go to the following points of interest:

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper, and the Summer of Love (For the Record: Lexington Studies in Rock and Popular Music)

Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles’ Lesser-Known Tracks

Amazon author page

By Bob Wilson


By Posted on 0 24

Titan Comics has announced that it is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ classic animated film Yellow Submarine with the release of a fully authorised graphic novel adaptation from writer and artist ill Morrison – artist on The Simpsons comics and current editor of the famous Mad magazine.

The music-loving, underwater paradise of Pepperland has been overrun by the music-hating Blue Meanies and their leader, Chief Blue Meanie.

They turn the people of Pepperland into living statues by dropping apples on them and imprison the Pepperland’s guardians, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band inside a soundproof blue glass globe, before confiscating all the music instruments in the land. Pepperland’s mayor sends aging sailor, Young Fred out in the fabled Yellow Submarine to find help.

He travels to our world where he stumbles across the Beatles and begs them to help him free his world. They agree and head back to Pepperland, teaming up with Jeremy The Nowhere Man along the way to help overthrow the evil Blue Meanies through the power of music and love


The Beatles Yellow Submarine will go on sale on August 7th 2018…