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ON THIS DAY: APPEARANCE ON THE ‘ROYAL COMMAND (VARIETY) PERFORMANCE’

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This was the night of The Beatles’ famous appearance at the Royal Command Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, in the presence of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

They had gained notoriety in the UK, but were still months away from their iconic appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in the States, and the British foursome was invited to play the Queen’s annual Royal Variety Performance.
Little did George, Paul, and Ringo know that near the end of their four-song set, John Lennon would utter a phrase that would go down in the annals of pop history.

Queen Elizabeth II, a lifetime patron of the Royal Variety Charity, couldn’t attend the concert as she was pregnant with Prince Edward, but in her place, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret would represent the monarchy. From the beginning, there was concern over the newly cleaned up mop tops playing for the royal family.
“People were talking about the fact that the Beatles had Liverpool accents, and that they would be performing for the Queen Mother,” says rock and roll historian Anthony DeCurtis, “The class system, which is still a significant thing in England, was a far more significant thing back then. There’s this whole idea of the King’s English, and the Beatles spoke a dialect.”

Right before the show, a broadcaster even asked the band, “Are you going to lose some of your Liverpool dialect for the Royal show?” Paul McCartney teasingly retorted, “No, but you know we don’t all speak like BBC.”
When asked by another interviewer if they planned to clean up their language, Lennon, too, mocked the question, first in the King’s English and then in an exaggerated Liverpool scouse.
Clearly, the band wasn’t going to change their accents for anyone, not even the Queen Mother.

The Beatles were the seventh act out of 19—other notables that year included Marlene Dietrich and Dickie Henderson—and clad in their now-signature suits, the foursome opened their set with “From Me to You.” McCartney appears somewhat anxious or perhaps just overly excited, almost tripping over his microphone as he introduces their second number, “She Loves You,” before they slow it down with a cover of “‘Til There Was You” from The Music Man.

What happened next became legendary. “For our last number, I’d like to ask your help,” Lennon says, as he licks his lips. “The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewelry.”

Twist and Shout

The audience roared with laughter and applause. With a cheeky grin, he gave them a quick bow and thumbs up before uttering “Twist and Shout’s” opening “Yeah!” Some broadcasts cut to the Queen Mother, who appeared to enjoy the joke. Princess Margaret reportedly leaned in, “clapping on the off beat.”
Rumor had it that Lennon had originally planned to say the somewhat harsher. Perhaps nerves got the best of him. “I was fantastically nervous, but I wanted to say something to rebel a bit,” he would later admit. “That was the best I could do.”
The concert—and Lennon’s now-iconic comment—won rave reviews in the U.K, and garnered the band its first bit of U.S press, a Time magazine mention on November 15, titled “Singers: The New Madness.”

Just a few days later on November 22, Beatlemania got its first American television mention, a five-minute segment on CBS News featuring footage from a show in Bournemouth, England. “And though musicologists say it is no different than any other rock and roll, except maybe louder, it has carried the Beatles to the top of the heap. In fact they have met royalty, and royalty is appreciative and impressed,” said London correspondent Alexander Kendrick.

Indeed, the Queen Mother reportedly loved the Royal Variety performance. “It’s one of the best shows I’ve seen,” she reportedly said. “The Beatles are most intriguing.”
Nineteen sixty three represents something of a tipping point, not only for the Beatles, but also for British culture. At the time, George Harrison spoke kindly of the Royal Variety show. “It was great. It was very good,” he said. “The audience was much better than we expected.”
The feeling was apparently mutual. In October of 1965, the Queen made each of the four men Members of the Honorable Order of the British Empire, an award given for their international success, and their contribution to the British arts.
Despite being invited back to play the Royal Variety Performance again, the Beatles never returned.

UNSEEN SGT PEPPER LP ARTWORK TO SELL AT SOTHEBY’S

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A psychedelic painting created as the original album artwork for The Beatles classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is up for sale at Sotheby’s.
The unused artwork, by Dutch art collective The Fool, is expected to sell for more than $100,000 during an online auction which begins this week.
The sleeve for the 1967 album is amongst the most famous in music history – but it could originally have looked very different.
The iconic cover, filled with cardboard cut-outs of historical and famous figures, was created by artist Sir Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, using an original concept sketch by Paul McCartney.
The album was also the first rock record to feature the lyrics to every song on the reverse of the sleeve.
But the band decided to release the album with a gatefold sleeve, giving them twice the space of a conventional LP, and commissioned a Dutch art collective known as ‘The Fool’ to create the central artwork.
The fantasy landscape painting is now expected to sell at Sotheby’s for $77,500 – $116,500

“…The Beatles’ roadie, Mal Evans, brought John and Paul to our studio in St Stephen’s Gardens,” said Marijke Koger, one of the founding members of the group.beatles
“They had seen my Saville Theatre programme cover for Hendrix and The Who and were intrigued by the artwork. They blew their minds over the ‘Wonderwall’ Simon [Posthuma] and I had painted in 1966 on an armoire in polychrome psychedelic imagery, as well as others paintings and artwork.”

‘The Fool’ created a vivid dreamscape filled with flowing water, towering mountains, green foliage and colourful birds such as parrots and peacocks, all surrounding a blazing sunset.
However, the style of the artwork didn’t sit well with Blake’s cover, or the faux-Edwardian imagery McCartney had originally envisioned, and in the end the band rejected the painting.


WATCH TRAILER FOR THE BEATLES’ NEW ‘HERE COMES THE SUN’ VIDEO

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The trailer for a brand new official music video has been launched for The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes The Sun.’ Abbey Road album is released in a series of 50th anniversary deluxe editions on Friday (27).

On Thursday (26), the 50th anniversary of the first release of the Abbey Road album in 1969 will be marked by a global premiere event for the full video, hosted across the official YouTube channels for The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

TRAILER … HERE or HERE:

 

Abbey Road presented with new mixes in stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos; expanded with previously unreleased session recordings and demos. Super deluxe 4 disc set, 3 LP deluxe vinyl, 2 CD deluxe, limited edition picture disc, CD, LP, digital and streaming. Available everywhere 27th September 2019.



CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO FUND NEW STATUE TO HONOUR BRIAN EPSTEIN

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We supported this project along time ago. BEATLES MAGAZINE was invited to the Press Conference and here we tell you all.

The Brian Epstein Statue Project was officially launched today (Thursday 19 September) – which would have also marked Brian Epstein’s 85th Birthday.

The special announcement was made at the Epstein Theatre, located on Hanover Street in Liverpool city centre, to an audience of Press and special guests, including Merseybeat singer Beryl Marsden, Peter Hooton from Liverpool band The Farm, and the Lord Mayor Of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery.

The Beatles’ former manager, Liverpool-born Brian Epstein, is credited with catapulting the Fab Four to global success. Yet there is no lasting tribute to recognise and celebrate the vital role he played in the band’s history, nor how he changed the face and sound of popular music. Brian Epstein made history.

However, a small group of dedicated campaigners are working tirelessly to redress the balance and create a world first with a statue of Brian Epstein funded by a five-week Crowdfunder campaign – a minimum target of £60,000 has been set.

The location for the statue has not yet been confirmed, however the committee welcomes suggestions from interested parties via social media as to where they would like to see the statue sited.

Brian Epstein owned NEMS record shop in Whitechapel. It was a lunchtime visit to The Cavern Club in the heart of Liverpool to watch a four-piece rock and roll band on 9 November 1961 which would change the course of history. Music and life in Liverpool would never be the same again. That band was The Beatles – who Brian would go on to manage.

In addition to managing The Beatles, Brain Epstein is credited to creating and developing the Merseybeat movement. He also signed a number of other performers including Cilla Black, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer And The Dakotas, and The Moody Blues. Messages of support from Brian’s Epstein family, and the Willis family representing the late Cilla Black, were also read out at the launch.

The Epstein family said: “Brian was a modest and reserved man, but as a family we are in no doubt that he, his brother Clive, and his parents Queenie and Harry, would have been immensely touched by the consistent efforts to pay tribute to his contribution to The Beatles and the city of Liverpool.” The Willis family added: “Cilla had one true love, her Bobby – but Brian came a close second. He moulded and shaped her career, which helped her become one of the UK’s biggest entertainers. Throughout her life, Cilla kept a picture of Brian on her desk and never forgot his commitment to her.”

The Brian Epstein Statue Project committee have wealth of experience and expertise across public art, publishing, theatre production, and the local Beatles industry. Collectively they have a strong desire to ensure the project is successful and are passionate that a lasting tribute to Brian and all he achieved in the history of popular music should be created in Liverpool to celebrate his role in history.

The committee includes cultural campaigner and activist Tom Calderbank; Beatles’ fan Marie Darwin who was part of a group who campaigned for a plaque to be placed on the birthplace of Brian Epstein; Beatles’ historians, researchers and authors Kevin and Julie Roach, and son Robert; Larry Sidorczuk was the personal assistant to the late Joe Flannery, Brian Epstein’s original business partner and bookings manager; and Bill Elms, a producer of the smash hit play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, which was staged in Liverpool and London’s West End.

Author Kevin Roach recently published his latest book, Brian Epstein And The Beatles 1964: The Year That Changed The World – proceeds of which will be donated to The Brian Epstein Statue Project.

Tom Calderbank is leading the project, he explained: “We’re thrilled and very excited to unveil plans for a long overdue statue of the ‘Fifth Beatle’ Brian Epstein in his hometown of Liverpool. We aim to create a unique, beautiful and lasting sculptural tribute to Brian – a world first for one of the world’s great creative individuals.“Brian changed the music world in an extraordinary way. He was instrumental in the development of Liverpool’s music scene, most notably with the Fab Four. His legacy is also largely unseen, even though his impact on popular culture is incalculable – Brain needs this memorial, he needs to stay amongst us and really does deserve this recognition. By raising the funds together, we will celebrate Brian together.”

Sculptor Andy Edwards has already been commissioned. Andy is best known for his iconic sculpture of The Beatles located at Pier Head Liverpool, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Andy sculpted The Truce, which can be found in the grounds of St Luke’s Church, depicting the historic moment on Christmas Day 1914 during the First World War ceasefire when a game of football spontaneously broke out between British and German soldiers. He also co-sculpted the statue of Cilla Black on Mathew Street.

Andy has produced a clay bust and maquette to show how the 7ft sculpture of Brian will look. Visitors to the recent International Beatleweek in Liverpool were given a sneak preview.

Sculptor Andy Edwards commented: “After spending a lot of time staring at Brian Epstein’s face, I see before anything else, the charm and feeling in his eyes. I see a smile born of trust. A smile that elicits a smile back, an exchange of confidence and encouragement in what might happen. This is what I want to capture in Brian’s sculpture to share with everyone who will see it.

“At the unveiling of the statues of The Beatles, I made a silent dedication in my mind. This is for all those who love The Beatles – and for all those who don’t. The work gives a gateway to the city, just as Cilla does to The Cavern. An added statue of Brian gives the third dimension to that straight line. No longer signposts of where to go, but a feeling of mapping out in the mind and following in their footsteps. The striding visual link to the Waterfront creates more than a tribute but takes you into the bigger story of what has been achieved. We will be creating something equally as special and fitting for Brian.”

The project also has the support of Liverpool-born actor Andrew Lancel, who has appeared in The Bill and Coronation Street. He appears in a short video supporting the statue project, which was played at the launch.

Andrew portrayed Brian in the smash hit play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles on stage in Liverpool and London’s West End to critical acclaim. He later played Brian again in the recent tour of Cilla The Musical – and is a huge advocate of recognising all Brian achieved. Andrew Lancel added: “Brian left us far too soon, he was 32-years-old. His contribution to the music industry, The Beatles, Liverpool and the world really was incomparable. And I can think of few people more worthy of a sculptural tribute, a statue in his home city. By making a donation to the Crowdfunding project, you have the chance to share the story of Brian and The Beatles. You can be a part of it by saying, I had a hand in making it. “Brian’s legacy continues, he’s been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. There has been movies, plays and musicals about him. But this lasts forever. It’s very special and beautiful. I’m so proud to have played Brian, and I’m very proud to support this project. To quote a line from the play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles – Brian is, was, and always will be, one of us.”



FORTEAN TIMES – THE BEATLES AND THE RISE OF POP MUSIC CONSPIRACY THEORIES – ISSUE 384 (SEPT 2019)

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Fortean Times is a British monthly magazine devoted to the anomalous phenomena popularised by Charles Fort, published by Dennis Publishing Ltd.

In This Issue Of Fortean Times (September, 2019) :

Paul is Dead – The Beatles and the rise of pop music conspiracy theories

UK ORDER …H E R E .

 




GEORGE HARRISON – THE FIRST BEATLE ON AMERICAN SOIL

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In the summer of 1963 the Beatles had some time off and while the other three members of the band went on holiday to Europe, George Harrison became the first Beatle to visit America, when, on 16 September 1963, along with his brother Peter, he went to Benton, Illinois – population, 7,000 – to visit their older sister, Louise.

According to George, “I went to New York and St Louis in 1963, to look around, and to the countryside in Illinois, where my sister was living at the time. I went to record stores. I bought Booker T and the MGs’ first album, Green Onions, and I bought some Bobby Bland, all kind of things.” George also bought James Ray’s single ‘Got My Mind Set On You’ that he later covered in 1987.

When the Harrisons arrived in Benton, George and Louise hitchhiked to radio station WFRX-AM in West Frankfort, Illinois taking a copy of ‘She Loves You’ which had been released 3 weeks earlier in Britain and on the day of George’s arrival in America. ‘She Loves You’ got a positive review in Billboard but very little radio play, although WFRX did play it. According to DJ Marcia Raubach “He was unusual looking, he dressed differently than the guys here. He was very soft-spoken and polite.”

It’s often claimed that in June 1963 Louise took a British copy of ‘From Me To You’ to WFRX that she had been sent by her mother and that Raubach played it. This is probably true but the claim that this was the first time The Beatles’ music was broadcast in America is not. ‘From Me To You’ was released in Britain in late April and then topped the British singles’ chart for seven weeks’. With the Beatles at No.1 in Britain Vee Jay records released their single of ‘From Me To You’ / ‘Thank You Girl’ as VJ 522 on 27 May 1963. The single was made ‘Pick Of the Week’ by Cash Box magazine, but was not a success.

With the Beatles success in Britain in early 1963 Parlophone were anxious to take advantage of their new asset and so contacted their sister label in America, Capitol Records that was owned by EMI. Capitol was underwhelmed by the Beatles records and so decided against releasing any of their records. Instead Parlophone turned to a small US label called Vee Jay, a company started by a husband and wife in Gary, Indiana that specialised in black R & B music.

It was an irony probably not lost on the Beatles who loved and had been influenced by exactly that kind of music. In February 1963, two days after ‘Please Please Me’ made No.1 in Britain, Vee Jay released it as a single in the US. VJ 498 did get some airplay from the major Chicago top 40 radio station WLS and it even made their own chart for a couple of weeks, but nothing happened nationally on the Billboard charts. Not helping the band was the fact that Vee Jay managed to miss-spell the bands name on the record as “Beattles”.

So it was that when George stayed at his sister and brother in law’s house in Benton he really was an unknown in America; Louise’s husband Gordon was a Scottish mining engineer who had emigrated to work in Illinois’s coal mines. George did play with a local band, The Four Vests and later members of the band took him to a Mt Vernon, Illinois music shop where George bought a red Rickenbacker 420 guitar. George wanted it to be re-finished in black, which the store-owner did for him. The guitar was first seen in public on 4 October on TV’s Ready Steady Go, the day after George and his brother returned to London.

Back in Britain, Beatlemania proper was about to begin. On 1 November they began their first tour as undisputed headliners. The venue was the Odeon Cinema, Cheltenham, and the sedate town in the West of England had never seen anything like it – so much so that one newspaperman coined the phrase ‘Beatlemania’ in an attempt to describe it. Three days later Beatlemania met royalty when the band appeared at the Royal Command Performance at a prestigious London theatre. John Lennon famously quipped that the people on the cheap seats can clap; those in the expensive ones can simple rattle their jewellery.

On 7 February 1964, The Beatles left London’s Heathrow Airport on-board a Pan Am Boeing 707 for New York’s JFK Airport where, upon arrival, they held a press conference. The American press unsure what to make of the four boys from Liverpool tried everything from sarcasm to open mouthed incredulity. The following day, after a press-call in a cold and snowy Central Park the band rehearsed for their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Ironically, they were without George for the press call or the rehearsal as he was feeling unwell. Fortunately by the following day George was better and at 8 pm the band appeared before an audience of 73 million people – exactly a year earlier they had been playing to a few thousand at a cinema in Sunderland in the north of England as a lowly support act to Helen Shapiro.