Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

You are viewing THE BEATLES


By Posted on 0 No tags 30

A letter from The Beatles‘ manager is up for auction.

Brian Epstein signed up Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best – the band’s first drummer – in January 1962 after seeing a gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.But he fired Best some months later and replaced him with Ringo Starr.The letter was sent to Joe Flannery, a key figure in the Fab Four’s rise to fame.

Mr Flannery, who died last year aged 87, was the band’s booking manager between 1962 and 1963.
On 8 September 1962, Epstein wrote to tell him he had released Best from his contract. He had told the drummer three weeks earlier he had to leave the band.

Epstein wrote: “I read from the Mersey Beat [a Liverpool music publication] Pete Best has now joined The All Stars. I have sent, today, to him a certificate of release from his obligations under contract to myself.”
Epstein added that he sent “our sincere wishes for Pete’s and the group’s continued success”.

The letter was kept by Mr Flannery’s family and is now being sold by his nephew.
Best has previously spoken of how Epstein had told him at a meeting he was being sacked and replaced: “I went in happy as Larry. The last thing on my mind was that I was going to get kicked out of the Beatles,” he told a BBC documentary.
“He (Epstein) said ‘Pete, I don’t know how to tell you this – the boys want you out … It’s already been arranged that Ringo will join the band on Saturday.’
“That was the bombshell. To me, it was like disbelief … I’ll wake up in the morning and this will be all gone.”

The collection, going on sale at Omega Auctions on 27 October, also includes notes from Paul McCartney to Mr Flannery after the band broke up.

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “From 1959 onwards, Joe was a close friend and associate of The Beatles and played a major part in guiding them to their meteoric rise to success in 1963.
“It is on record that they all felt bad when Pete was ousted so I am sure it was pleasing for them to see he had joined a new band.”
After playing in a number of groups, Best left the music industry to work as a civil servant for 20 years, before starting the Pete Best Band.

In 1995, he received a substantial payout from sales after The Beatles released Anthology 1, which featured early tracks with Best as drummer, including songs from their record label auditions.

A letter from Paul McCartney to Joe Flannery, part of a collection that will go under the hammer later this month.


By Posted on 0 26

A “VERY RARE” 1960s guitar used by The Beatles has sold for £190,000 at auction.

The prototype fretless guitar featured in an episode of the Antiques Roadshow earlier this year, which was filmed at Battle Abbey.

On the show it was valued between £300,000 and £400,000 and estimated to be one of the most valuable items to ever feature in the programme.

Made in the 1960s by Bartell of California in Riverside, California, the guitar was described as “unique” as the company did not produce many prototypes – but one of the other fretless models was given to Jimi Hendrix.

The guitar was played by John Lennon and George Harrison and experts believe it may have been used in the band’s recording of the White Album, released in 1968.

George Harrison gave the guitar to session musician Ray Russell in 1984. At the time Mr Russell was recording music for a film made by George Harrison’s production company, Handmade Films.

Speaking on the Battle episode of the Antiques Roadshow, Mr Russell said: “I played a few notes and he said ‘Yeah you’re definitely getting more out of it than I am. Why don’t you have it?’“It’s a a strange old thing to play.”
Mr Russell added that he had continued to regularly play the guitar, and “did not realise it was worth that much money”.



By Posted on 0 24

While The Beatles and Rolling Stones usually shrugged off talk of a “rivalry,” the bands certainly kept track of what each other was doing. That came out in their choice of material. From 1964 on, the two bands never recorded the same song — not even a Chuck Berry cover.
With such prolific songwriters in both bands, neither had trouble coming up with material, so covers weren’t a major issue. By ’64, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in the sort of groove that few songwriters have matched. (On A Hard Day’s Night, every track was a Lennon-McCartney.)
The Stones’ team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wasn’t far behind. After scoring their second Billboard top-20 hit with “Heart of Stone,” the Jagger-Richards alliance really got on a roll with “Satisfaction,” the band’s first U.S. No. 1.

From that point on, the Beatles and Stones were world famous, and they filled their records with original compositions. That meant two 1963 recordings were the only times both bands released versions of the same songs.

The Beatles and Rolling Stones both covered ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’
In 1959, Barrett Strong recorded the Berry Gordy song “Money (That’s What I Want)” for the Tamla label, and the following year it became Motown’s first hit record. All four Beatles were fans of the track, and they recorded a version for the group’s second U.K. album.

The session took place in July ’63, and Lennon delivered a powerhouse vocal that nearly matched his “Twist and Shout” performance from the first album. A few months later (Nov. ’63), the LP hit record stores in the U.K.

By that point, the Stones had recorded the same song for their debut EP. While that record never reached the U.S., listeners in the U.K. found “Money (That’s What I Want)” on side 1 when it hit record stores in Jan. ’64.
If you compare the two versions, you can’t help noting the studio polish of the Beatles’ version. It’s much cleaner, and Lennon seemed to invest a good deal more in his vocal than Jagger. But the Stones were only getting started.

The Rolling Stones and Beatles both recorded ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’
During that summer of ’63, The Beatles established themselves as one of England’s biggest bands, and the Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham wanted to know if Lennon and McCartney had a track for his band to record.
As Lennon recalled it in an interview with Dennis Elsas, he and McCartney taught the Stones “I Wanna Be Your Man” on the spot one day. In fact, Lennon said they “virtually finished [the song] off in front of” the Stones.
The Stones recorded it shortly after that meeting and released it as a single on the first of November. As for The Beatles, Lennon and McCartney gave the track to Ringo.(John never thought much of the track.)
The Stones scored a No. 12 U.K. hit with “I Wanna Be Your Man.” That was it for songs recorded by both groups.


By Posted on 0 21

The Beatles played Worcester’s Gaumont Theatre in 1963.
Terry Phillips, a fan said: “I was fortunate in that I was able to go backstage between the shows.I spent best part of an hour with the Beatles chatting, smoking Embassy and drinking Coke.They were four quite different characters.John was ‘in your face’ doing all sorts of crazy things, George a serious talker with a somewhat dry sense of humour, Paul very outgoing and gregarious and Ringo spent the entire time playing his drumsticks on a an occasional table. It was a memorable encounter!”.

The Beatles played in Worcester twice, both in 1963: on May 28 and September 4.
Kathleen Gardner ,fan, was there on both occasions: “I saw them twice at the Gaumont. Once with Roy Orbison and once with the Rolling Stones.The Stones, who were a new group, were much better than the Beatles. I was never a Beatles fan but did love John Lennon’s later music away from the Beatles.”
Shane Phelps said: “My dad was there. He said they were just one of many that played the same night and so each band only did about four songs.Also there was Freddy and the Dreamers. The people would make a lot of noise when the acts were on, but he said that when Roy Orbison started,the sound of his voice,the power and awe made everyone listen in complete silence.”
David Banks and Maureen Coley were among other to have enjoyed seeing the Fab Four in the flesh.

When they first played the city, they were four, fresh-faced young musicians from Liverpool – international stardom was still to come.
The May setlist comprised seven songs: Some Other Guy (a cover of a Richard Barrett song),Do You Want to Know a Secret, Love Me Do, From Me to You, Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, and Twist and Shout.
The September concert, was the first of four consecutive concerts promoted by John Smith. Brian Epstein granted them as a result of the cancellation of several Mersey Beat Showcase nights earlier in 1963. The Beatles earned £250 for each of the concerts.



By Posted on 0 10

Actress Margaret Nolan, who appeared onscreen alongside James Bond and the Beatles, died Oct. 5. She was 76.
The English performer was best known for playing Bond’s masseuse Dink in Goldfinger and for appearing as the gold-painted model in the 1964 film’s title sequence. That same year, she appeared in the Beatles’ musical comedy film A Hard Day’s Night. She was also in a number of movies from the Carry On franchise, the long-running British comedy film series. While most of her acting work was between the 1960s and 1980s, Nolan returned to the screen for 2011’s The Power of Three as Dame Margaret.

Edgar Wright, who cast Nolan in his upcoming film Last Night in Soho, wrote a tribute to the actress on Twitter today.

“It’s my sad duty to report that actress and artist, the magnificent Margaret Nolan has passed away,” Wright tweeted on Sunday. “She was the middle of Venn diagram of everything cool in the 60’s; having appeared with the Beatles, been beyond iconic in Bond and been part of the Carry On cast too.

She was so funny, sharp and, as you might imagine, full of the most amazing stories. I’m so glad I got to know her. My heart goes out to her family and all that loved her. She will be much missed.”




By Posted on 0 , 4

“Something” was issued as a double A-side single with “Come Together” during the early fall of 1969. It was the only George composition to be issued as an A side.

The single reached number one on the Billboard magazine Pop Singles Chart for one week. “Come Together” was named the number one song in the United States and “Something” peaked at number three.
George Harrison was an exceptional songwriter, “Something” is now recognized as not only a classic Beatles song but as one of the memorable songs in rock history.  It has been covered by close to 200 artists. George said his favorite version was the one by James Brown.

“Something” is described as a love song to Pattie Boyd, George’s first wife, although Harrison offered alternative sources of inspiration in later interviews. Due to the difficulty he faced in getting more than two of his compositions onto each Beatles album, Harrison first offered the song to Joe Cocker. As recorded by the Beatles, the track features a guitar solo that several music critics identify among Harrison’s finest playing. The song also drew praise from the other Beatles and their producer, George Martin, with Lennon stating that it was the best song on Abbey Road.The promotional film for the single combined footage of each of the Beatles with his respective wife, reflecting the estrangement in the band during the months preceding their break-up in April 1970. George subsequently performed the song at his Concert for Bangladesh shows in 1971 and throughout the two tours he made as a solo artist.

George Harrison began writing “Something” in September 1968, during a session for the Beatles’ self-titled double album, also known as “the White Album”.

George  first introduced “Something” at a Beatles session on 19 September 1968, when he played it to George Martin’s stand-in as producer of The Beatles, Chris Thomas, while the latter was working out the harpsichord part for Harrison’s track “Piggies”. Despite Thomas’s enthusiasm for the new composition, Harrison chose to focus on “Piggies”. He told Thomas that he intended to offer “Something” to singer Jackie Lomax, whose debut album Harrison was producing for Apple Records. “Something” was not among the tracks released on Lomax’s album, however,much of which was recorded in Los Angeles following the completion of the White Album.

The group recorded “Something” on 16 April before Harrison decided to redo the song, a new basic track for which was then completed at Abbey Road on 2 May. The line-up was Harrison on Leslie-effected rhythm guitar, Lennon on piano, McCartney on bass, Ringo Starr on drums, and guest musician Billy Preston playing Hammond organ. On 5 May, at Olympic Sound Studios, McCartney re-recorded his bass part and Harrison added lead guitar.[51] At this point, the song ran to eight minutes, due to the inclusion of an extended, jam-like coda led by Lennon’s piano.

After taking a break from recording, the band returned to “Something” on 11 July, when George overdubbed what would turn out to be a temporary vocal. With the resulting reduction mix, much of the coda, along with almost all of Lennon’s playing on the main part of the song, was cut from the recording. The piano can be heard only in the middle eight, specifically during the descending run that follows each pair of “I don’t know” vocal lines. On 16 July, George recorded a new vocal, with McCartney overdubbing his harmony vocal over the middle eight and Starr adding both a second hi-hat part and a cymbal.

Following another reduction mix, at which point the remainder of the coda was excised from the track, Martin-arranged string orchestration was overdubbed on 15 August, as George, working in the adjacent studio at Abbey Road, re-recorded his lead guitar part live.
John considered “Something” to be the best song on the album. Having ensured that “Old Brown Shoe” was chosen as the B-side for the Beatles’ single “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, according to his later recollection, John now pushed Allen Klein to release “Something” as a single from Abbey Road. Coupled with “Come Together”, the single was issued on 6 October in America (as Apple 2654) and 31 October in Britain (as Apple R5814).

The release marked the first time that a George composition had been afforded A-side treatment on a Beatles single, as well as the only time during their career that a single was issued in the UK featuring tracks already available on an album. Following the Beatles’ break-up in April 1970, George Harrison’s ascendancy as a songwriter would continue with his triple album All Things Must Pass, building on the promise of White Album tracks such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and his two contributions to Abbey Road.