Archive for BBC

White Album 2018

Posted in White Album with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by fred6368
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Side 1 All round to Rishikesh

Back in the USSR   first crossfade from EMI Jet Sound Effects into Pauls four-square drumming on his rocking, ironic Beach Boys tribute, now a 21st century live staple; Ukraine Girls!  Read the full review 

Dear Prudence  one of the most beautiful guitar sounds ever recorded, jewel-like; Endlessly circling!    Read the full review 

Glass Onion  a large, hand-blown, sensually-shaped glass bottle used aboard sailing ships to hold wine or brandy, with string arrangements similar to Strawberry Fields;  listen to me!  Read the full review 

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da  the open nostalgia of the Rishikesh songs celebrate past times, like when the Silver Beetles followed Lord Woodbine around learning Calypso; Play it Like This!! Read the full review
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Revolution Live

Posted in White Album with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2018 by fred6368

<-Hey Jude           Back In The USSR->

When I first met Jack he asked what my favourite Beatles track was. Well that changes between about 6 tracks but currently it is Revolution. So I said “Revolution!” As there are 6 versions in the public domain (see below) he asked me “which version?” To which I replied, “the live version.”

Not everyone knows about the “live” version especially in the UK as it was recorded for the Smothers Brothers show in the USA and, unlike Hey Jude on the David Frost show, it was never shown on TV here in the UK at the time. Vevo finally made it available online in 2015. But why Revolution and not Please Please Me, Hard Days Night, I Feel Fine, Drive My Car, Taxman, Strawberry Fields, A Day in the Life, I Am the Walrus or I’ve Got A Feeling? Is it because it is the greatest B-side of all time?


Or is it because it is a part of John’s amazing run of B-sides? Or is it because the Beatles made me a revolutionary by enabling me to “act on my own recognisance” (not believing in outside authorities). Or is it because 50 years later it still sounds like a great slapdash piece of art work in progress? Or is it because it hints at its own back story comprising elements of rock, melody, country, harmony and musique concrete?


Revolution Live has 3 unique qualities; it has Lennon’s first explicitly political lyrics and he is definitely “out” and “in” on this version; it is a ferocious rock performance which was massively appreciated by the waifs and strays rounded up to be its studio audience and it is also a terrific live Beatles performance (my friend Deni says they were the best live band she ever saw, and she saw them a lot in 1963) containing all the Merseybeat and experimental elements that informed the recording of the White Album. No wonder Marmalade Skies say that they were “the greatest group in the world at the height of their powers” at this time…

Lennon has one of the great rock voices, aggressive, arrogant, tender and confused. Just perfect for a song that is aggressive, arrogant and confused with a tender “shoo be-doo-wop” chorus; which is what elevates the live version above the official B-side. Almost uniquely, and despite himself, Lennon’s id (his deepest feelings) keeps outing itself through the immediacy of his “newspaper” lyrics. In Liverpool he was neither at one end of the golf course or the other and this liminal confusion about identity keeps surfacing. I want a better world (for meeee!) but I’m not gonna kill anyone (I’ve suffered from loss too much). And Yoko was in his head for the first time on a recording with Revolution. Take 20 of Revolution was both the B-side and an Outro which became the first draft of his Revolution #9 dream. Lennon was King of the B’s for the Beatles because his id keep revealing his deeper, darker feelings, whilst his superego kept reeling in the fears. On Revolution Live his dark and light side were forced to fight it out in public as he delivered the lyrics with both a snarl and his neutral, but don’t mess with me I’m in charge, face. The lying bastard was forcing himself to be honest. It was the sound of John Lennon singing himself into being and not hiding behind group artifice… Awesome.

This “live” rock performance was pre-recorded in line with Musicians Union policies and the customary way of bypassing them. So the backing track is a live recording to which they mimed for the video (listen to the last few seconds of the video to catch the actual live guitars kicking back in). The greatest rock guitarist of all time Jimi Hendrix loved Lennon’s guitar playing, preferring him to Clapton, and you can hear why here. As a guitarist he served the song, just as Ringo, as a drummer, served the song. But the intense overdriven guitar sound was produced by “golden ears” wunderkid engineer Geoff Emerick who said he “would have sacked himself if he had been the studio manager” for putting the sound so into the red. Their live performances on Revolution and Hey Jude were so good and the audience reaction in the studio so positive that it persuaded them that they should play live again, birthing the Get Back (Let It Be) project. Foolishly they had read and believed the critical reviews of Magical Mystery Tour and, fools on the hill that they were, also believed that the British public no longer loved them. Well Hey Jude and Revolution (the second best single of all time) are enough to persuade anyone that “love makes sweet music” (as we say in Canterbury) or in this case bitter-sweet music makes love.

At the height of their powers, as The Beatles are here, they have become crafty artists who have evolved into working in an atelier called The Beatles, where the studio is just a rooftop over their diverse talents. They have become the Rembrandts of popular music. They have evolved from the early poppermost “where is Beatles Band?” so beloved of the NME and also from the experimental psychedelicists who are within us but are without us. They were always at their best on albums where they had time to prep. For the White album they had both been up in Rishikesh writing and also all round to Georges at Kinfauns on 28/29 May demoing the Unplugged version of the album. Now they were in the “studio” of their artistic ambitions playing around with different “takes” on how the music might finally “look.” Revolution Live is one take and, in this case, the best as all four are contributing something slightly different to last time; and the next time.

For me, with the Beatles, you can always hear the music for its visceral immediacy, but there is always a fascinating back story to unravel and be inspired by. And 50 years later there is also the history you, they and the music have been through…

The Six Revolutions (plus #20) Continue reading

George Harrison on the BBC

Posted in George Harrison with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by fred6368

Living in the Material World

Martin Scorsese’s marvellous 2-part documentary on George Harrison, Living In The Material World, aired on the BBC in the Arena Arts documentary series. Part One, up until 1969, was on Saturday November 12th at 9.45 on BBC2. If you like The Beatles this is as good a documentary on their career as any film made so far, even Anthology, lasts for 95 minutes, and George is still a Beatle at the end of it.  

Living in the Material World Pt2; Showed on Sunday November 13th at 9.00pm because it is 2 hours and 5 minutes long and covers all of George’s solo career. I saw the show at FACT in Liverpool and was really impressed by Scorsese’s work in presenting old material afresh, getting original interviews and finding out-takes that had been missed or ignored. I reviewed it positively here, Continue reading

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