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Tag Archives THE BEATLES


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

At the German Echo Music Awards in Berlin on Thursday, Klaus Voormann received the lifetime achievement award.

For the eighth consecutive year, the most prestigious award of the evening went to a Universal Music artist: bass player, producer and graphic designer Klaus Voormann, who received the lifetime achievement award. The two-time GRAMMY winner and so called “fifth” Beatle shaped the course of rock and pop music at various moments in time. Voormann played with Manfred Mann, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, John Lennon (e.g. on “Imagine”), and Eric Clapton. He was a founding member of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and designed artworks for an array of artists, including The Beatles (Grammy for “Revolver”) and the Bee Gees. He was a part of George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh” and produced records for acts such as Trio (“Da Da Da”) and Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

“The contribution [Voorman] has made to so many seminal projects worldwide and in so many different ways over the past decades is absolutely outstanding,” said Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon.

NOTE: Echo prize winners return awards amid controversy
The controversy over the awarding of an Echo, the German music industry’s most important prize, to a rap duo singing anti-Semitic lyrics has continued to grow, with musicians returning their own honors in protest.
Still, the controversy has not cooled as musicians continue to return their own awards in protest.
Klaus Voorman, renowned internationally for the artwork he designed for legendary bands such as the Beatles and the Bee Gees, had received an award for his life’s work at the ceremony. “What had felt like a gift to me on the occasion of my 80th birthday has revealed itself to be a big disappointment,” said the artist who will be turning 80 by the end of April.
“Provocation is allowed and sometimes even necessary in order to provide food for thought.” But, Voormann added in his statement on Monday, the line has to be drawn when it comes to violent, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist declarations.
Following Voormann’s statement, Christian Höppner, President of Germany’s Culture Commission resigned from the music prizes’ seven-member board. In his resignation, he said, that the format of the Echo prizes was “no longer tolerable in our society.” Referring to the music by Kollegah and Farid Bang, he said it was “not for him. I find the text repugnant.” He likewise said he had noticed an escalation in hate, racism and violence in music over the years.