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Tag Archives THE BEATLES

HAMBURG CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF THE BEATLES

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The city honors The Fab Four with a live stream from their first performance venue

Business travelers know that the city of Hamburg is a mecca for meetings, but they may not know that it was also the site of the very first appearance of John, George, Paul and Pete Best as The Beatles. It was 60 years ago in August of 1960 when the Fab Four played their first venue, The Indra Club.

It was also in Hamburg where Ringo Starr first performed with the group as their drummer.

While fans make regular Beatles pilgrimages to Liverpool, Hamburg has also been the site of numerous tours and tributes pre-COVID-19.

Although American Beatles fans or business travelers can’t currently travel to Hamburg to celebrate the 60thanniversary of the Beatles first appearance, Hamburg will be traveling to them via a live streaming event.

On August 17, the anniversary of their first public appearance as The Beatles, Hamburg is celebrating with “Stream and Shout,” a live-stream event at 9 PM CET. The event can also be streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Hamburg’s Beatles expert, Stefanie Hempel, will host the event from the Indra in St Pauli. Together with her band, she will be presenting a recreated original Beatles set from August 1960, as well as some of the Beatles’ greatest hits and legendary songs. Performing fellow musicians at the Indra will include the Kaiser Quartett, Cäthe, Bernd Begemann, Jessy Martens, Billy King, Jimmy Cornett, and Michèl von Wussow.

The event will showcase Beatles classics and new interpretations alongside stories and anecdotes from the young Beatles’ years in Hamburg. “We really grew up in Hamburg,” John Lennon has said of the early days in Hamburg.

Presentations include a musical discovery tour through Hamburg’s legendary St Pauli district and a reunion of contemporary witnesses, former companions as well as fans and friends of The Beatles. Among them the Cavern Club in Liverpool, the US band Bambi Kino and Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn.

Hamburg’s landmark, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, will live-stream from the Grand Hall prior to the “Stream & Shout” show. Starting at 8 PM (CET), a premiere performance honoring The Beatles arranged by jazz pianist Julia Hülsmann will be streamed especially for the occasion.

Hamburg’s Convention Bureau has just updated its website with virtual tours of some of the city’s best known and biggest meetings venues here. The site’s city guides include information on some of the dockside areas that would have been familiar to The Beatles when they first arrived there 60 years ag

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“AND IN THE END: THE LAST DAYS OF THE BEATLES” WILL BE RELEASED ON AUGUST 18

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Ken McNab’s in-depth look at The Beatles’ acrimonious final year is a detailed account of the breakup featuring the perspectives of all four band members and their roles. A must to add to the collection of Beatles fans, And In the End is full of fascinating information available for the first time.

McNab reconstructs for the first time the seismic events of 1969, when The Beatles reached new highs of creativity and new lows of the internal strife that would destroy them. Between the pressure of being filmed during rehearsals and writing sessions for the documentary Get Back, their company Apple Corps facing bankruptcy, Lennon’s heroin use, and musical disagreements, the group was arguing more than ever before and their formerly close friendship began to disintegrate.

In the midst of this rancour, however, emerged the disharmony of Let It Be and the ragged genius of Abbey Road, their incredible farewell love letter to the world.


“GOODNIGHT” THE SONG GIVEN TO RINGO STARR

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“Goodnight” the White Album track would prove to be so tender, so emotionally charged and so delicate that Lennon decided he was not the right man to bring the song home and instead gave the song’s lead vocal over to Ringo Starr.

Talking about The White Album, John made it clear how he saw things. He wanted the new record to “get on with rocking because rockers is what we really are”. Lennon made no secret of his desire to be more authentic, adding: “You can give me a guitar, stand me up in front of a few people. Even in the studio, if I’m getting into it, I’m just doing my old bit… not quite doing Elvis Legs but doing my equivalent. It’s just natural.

“Everybody says we must do this and that but our thing is just rocking. You know, the usual gig. That’s what this new record is about. Definitely rocking.”

That didn’t mean that the album was without tenderness, however, and one such track which saw Lennon open himself up was ‘Good Night’, a song he wrote for his son Julian. Lennon told David Sheff in 1980: “‘Good Night’ was written for Julian, the way ‘Beautiful Boy’ was written for Sean… but given to Ringo and possibly overlush.”

 

Speaking in 1968, Ringo Starr noted that it was such a diversion from Lennon’s usual sound that most people thought it was McCartney who had written the song. “Everybody thinks Paul wrote ‘Goodnight’ for me to sing, but it was John who wrote it for me. He’s got a lot of soul, John has.”

It was a sentiment that McCartney himself reflected at the time, “John wrote it, mainly. It’s his tune, uhh, which is surprising for John— ‘cuz he doesn’t normally write this kind of tune. It’s a very sweet tune, and Ringo sings it great, I think,” he continued, a departure for Lennon meant the song had a “very sort of lush, sweet arrangement.”

‘Good night’ is one of the more touching moments on The White Album as Ringo sings out the beautiful lyrics which reflect on fatherhood and offer up sweet dreams to all those who hear it.
“I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it, but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great,” said Paul remembering one of the early sessions of the track back in 1994. “We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly.

John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that’s what has remained with me— those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person.

“I always cite that song as an example of the John beneath the surface that we only saw occasionally… I don’t think John’s version was ever recorded.”

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THE BEATLES SONG JOHN LENNON AND PAUL MCCARTNEY RECORDED IN JUST ONE DAY

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The duo Lennon-McCartney began their career being able to write pop tunes with a flick of the wrist. Later, as they matured, Lennon-McCartney delivered texturally rich and lyrically deep songs that beguile and delight the audiences. What’s more, they were capable of writing them pretty damn quickly too.

One song that got some speedy treatment was ‘The Ballad of John & Yoko’ which saw Lennon-McCartney finish writing and recording the song in just one day. “It doesn’t mean anything. It just so happened that there were only two of us there,” said John in 1969.

“George was abroad and Ringo was on the film and he couldn’t come that night. Because of that, it was a choice of either re-mixing or doing a new song — and you always go for doing a new one instead of fiddling about with an old one. So we did and it turned out well.”

With EMI owning Abbey Road studios, it allowed the band to block out the studio for weeks at a time, leaving the opportunity for spontaneous sessions glaring for any Beatle who wanted it. It meant the duo were able to get all the tracks down for the song, with Macca taking on drum duties as well as his usual bass.

Ringo remembered in the Beatles’ Anthology, “‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’ only had Paul — of the other Beatles — on it but that was OK. ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’ was just Paul and me, and it went out as a Beatle track too. We had no problems with that. There’s good drums on ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’, too.”

“It’s something I wrote, and it’s like an old-time ballad,” said John in the same 1969 interview. “It’s the story of us going along getting married, going to Paris, going to Amsterdam, all that. It’s ‘Johnny B. Paperback Writer.’”

The track goes on to provide a key insight into the life of John, “I wrote that in Paris on our honeymoon,” said Lennon speaking with David Sheff in 1980. “It’s a piece of journalism. It’s a folk song. That’s why I called it, ‘The Ballad Of…”

The chorus to sing “Christ, you know it ain’t easy, you know how hard it can be. The way things are going, they’re gonna crucify me.” It was a deliberately provocative angle, “John came to me and said, ‘I’ve got this song about our wedding and it’s called The Ballad Of John And Yoko, Christ They’re Gonna Crucify Me,” remembers Paul back in 1988. “I said ‘Jesus Christ, you’re kidding, aren’t you? Someone really is going to get upset about it.’ “He said, ‘Yeah, but let’s do it.’ I was a little worried for him because of the lyric but he was going through alot of terrible things.”

Lennon was clearly aware of the offence it could cause and sent a memo to Apple Records’ plugged, Tony Bramwell saying: “Tony – No pre-publicity on Ballad Of John & Yoko especially the ‘Christ’ bit – so don’t play it round too much or you’ll frighten people – get it pressed first.” Still, the song was duly banned by some radio stations in the US and the UK, with some just opting to bleep out the word “Christ”.

It’s clear that John was trying to spread a message about his own life, trying to express his own frustrations and the foreshadowing he saw. It’s a powerful piece and one that works within the duality of life. It also allowed one of the final times Lennon and McCartney truly collaborated on a song.