Archive for the Beatles History Category

The Beatles and Jimmy Saville

Posted in Beatles History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by fred6368

Top of The Pops 

Top of the Pops was the premiere pop music show on British television during the sixties and seventies. It wasn’t as cool as Ready Steady Go, it wasn’t as prescient as Oh Boy, or as early as 6.5 Special. What gave it the premiere position was that it was on BBC TV at 7pm on a Thursday evening. If you were a fun-seeking popster, or teen, or adolescent, you no longer had to catch bands on odd programmes, like Crackerjack. Suddenly pop music was all bundled up in one place just as we started buying televisions as a nation. Most importantly of all it created passionate conversations in the school playground on a Friday morning and drove us to buy records right away!

Jimmy Saville, who has just passed away,  and is lying in state in a gold coffin, was a nutter from Leeds & the first DJ on the first BBC Top of The Pops on January 1st 1964.  It was broadcast from a converted church in Manchester (Rusholme) and, planned to last for 6 shows, ran for 40 years. Jimmy Saville was the King of Bling in the early sixties, arguably the first Brit DJ and just the shock jock to make Top of the Pops, based on his Teen & Twenty Disc Show on Radio Luxembourg a hit.  The BBC weren’t very committed to it, as Jimmy put it; “The BBC had a studio in Manchester [on Dickenson Road] which was a disused church and, anything they didn’t want to do in London, they slung up into this old church.” Even so the irrepressible Saville introduced the opening track to us ‘guys and gals’ and created a broadcasting phenomenon. Written by The Beatles, but played by the Rolling Stones, ironically the first ever song played on Top of The Pops was I Wanna Be Your Man; 

The Beatles and Top of the Pops; Continue reading

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The Beatles Let It Be 1969

Posted in Abbey Road, Beatles History, Let It Be with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity (6) And In The End

In 1968 The Beatles peaked again recording their longest, most diverse and biggest selling White Album, and their longest and most successful single Hey Jude. The Beatles created great work when they had time to prepare, had a break and worked closely with collaborative Fifth Beatles. Starting the Get Back Sessions 6 busy weeks later as ‘lets make an album without prep because we are such geniuses’, was as pre-destined to fail as the Magical Mystery Tour. Both were saved as albums because The Beatles knew how to write and record songs and meet a deadline. Thanks to Rishikesh and Kinfauns the White Album had been their best prepared album, so missing recording to deal with Apple Business didn’t affect that plan. However as Ringo said in 1969 ‘now it is all he, where it used to be all we.” McCartney had visited the Harlem Apollo whilst living in Greenwich Village with Linda & Heather, George had recorded Indian music & jammed with The Band, Ringo was an actor and Lennon wanted to be with Yoko. Arriving at a film studio cold and early on January 2nd 1969 to create spontaneously doesn’t work for musical historians and cultural editors.

Of all the writing on Let It Be only Kenneth Womack picks up on the inordinate amount of fifties songs The Beatles played whilst ‘creating’ on the Twickenham Studios Sound Stage, and identifies it with some of the regression they displayed on the White Album, such as McCartney turning into his Dad on Honey Pie. The Beatles had completed their cycle of learning about musical creativity, applied what they knew to Apple but failed to re-imagine themselves as a musical collective. To move on they wanted to get back to where they once belonged. Some of the tension, creativity and jamming is captured in this 14 5 minute outtake from the film Let It Be;   Continue reading

John Lennon RIP

Posted in Beatles History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by fred6368

It was 30 years ago today

I was living in the States on December 8th 1980 and came out of a brilliant Pat Metheny concert, featuring the magisterial Charlie Haden on bass, at 10pm and strolled across from the Concert Hall at CU Boulder to the Pizza Hut so I could share my joy with my friends. We walked in as the news opened with the devastating line ‘John Lennon has been shot in New York.’ Continue reading

The Beatles Apple 1968

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning, White Album with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2010 by fred6368

The Beatles Creativity (5) ‘you say you want a Revolution?’

1968 is The Beatles’ most fascinating year, they had transformed music in terms of singles and albums but in 1968 they were aiming to transform the music industry by making their company Apple into a musical collective. Singles were no longer formulaic, melodic sing-a-longs designed to make to make money for the songwriters, producers, managers and record companies rather than the artists. Albums were no longer the accidental re-packaging of singles or merely fan souvenirs of live shows, as they had been when The Beatles started and remained throughout the sixties. In terms of this analysis of their creativity they had completed the three main stages of development; being guided, working collaboratively and breaking the rules by 1967. So what came next? 1968.  The magisterial Walter Everett said “the year of 1968 was a time of simultaneous rejuvenation and the dissolution of The Beatles.”

In We Are The Beatles I described the Beatles’ style as evolving from the musical creativity of their psychedelic period 1966-67 to a loose Atelier style, unconsciously aping the studio organisational form of Renaissance artists. By this I mean that they had learnt their craft and now, forced to run their own business, decided to try to create with Apple Corps the company they would liked to have signed for, and so began working with many other artists. Paul completed Step Inside Love with Cilla, George recorded the Inner Light with local musicians in India whilst recording his ‘Wonderwall‘ soundtrack John woke up one morning with the words of his ‘most perfect lyric’ flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup. It’s Across The Universe;   Continue reading

Beatles Psychedelia 1966-67

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity (4) All You Need is Heutagogy

Being settled in London The Beatles had fed their creativity in 1964 & 65 with a series of collaborations with their musical peers. They were now rooted in London’s social life with Ringo’s legendary flat at 34 Montagu Square their main hangout outside of Abbey Road studio 2. London in the early sixties was exploding with the energy of new post-war ideas that revolted out of art schools into style, fashion and design. This was exemplified by Mary Quant, miniskirts, Bazaar, photography, magazines, beatniks, Viper skiffle, rock n roll, clubs, Coke, uppers, music and working-class cool. For the very first time, in the country that had invented trade unions, the working class were being celebrated for their cool rather than their militancy. Terence Stamp, Michael Caine, Duffy, Donovan and Bailey along with Twiggy and others were democratising the cultural industries. The Beatles took the next step which was to re-invent their own cultural industry, music, through the love they made with their creative use of their studio craft, collaborations (Martin’s arrangements & Geoff’s engineering), Paul’s music hall melodies, John’s performance art decision-making, Ringo’s rhythmic support, George’s ego-less experiments and new songs; psychedelia. Starting with a “song” so iconic even Dan Draper (Mad Men) listens to it. Tomorrow Never Knows  of course! There is a continuous YouTube Playlist of this post here. Continue reading

Beatles Albums 1964-65

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity Phase Three; Album Artists

By the summer of 1964 The Beatles had used up all that their ears had taught them as an audience-responsive live band and recycled it back creatively as a pop singles machine. They had answered demands for a UK number one, an American number one, a movie theme tune, a classic rock n roll EP and had accidentally invented the modern rock album when they delivered the Hard Days Night soundtrack album with extra tracks, all written by Lennon and McCartney. The studious Beatles however were bored and Lennon entered his ‘fat Elvis’ period doubting the value of fame and “writing every day.”  And then Bob Dylan turned up. Bob Dylan had been blown away by the endless stream of Beatles hit records on the radio when he was driving across Colorado in the Spring of 1964 and their driving rock was to influence him and the rise of folk-rock. But the influence was mutual. George had bought Dylan’s second album Freewheelin’, played it constantly and persuaded Paul and John of its value. They met him at New York’s Delmonico’s on August 28th 1964 and Paul discovered the seven levels. Dylan’s immediate impact can be heard in John’s lyrics, tone and harmonica I’m A Loser; Continue reading

Beatles Singles 1962-64

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity Phase Two; Singles Men

Trevor Horn, who in November 1963 was inspired to become a producer when he noticed the difference between the Beatles error-strewn live performance on the Royal Variety Show compared to the exuberant polish of their studio songs, observed that there is always one weak member of a group when it comes to recording; which is why he says he never recorded U2.  George Martin thought the same with Pete Best and, sadly, I think that Pete was a live rock n roll drummer and not cut out for the studio work supporting the song that Ringo delivered at Abbey Road; here are The Beatles trying to find their recording feet whilst auditioning with Pete Best on Love Me Do;   Continue reading