Archive for Brian Epstein

All You Need is Heutagogy

Posted in Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity

I’ve just summarised the 6 blog posts on Beatles Creativity as a graphical slideshare called All You Need is Heutagogy

I think the Beatles Career went through 6 phases;

1. Live 1957-1963 From That’ll Be The Day;

Until Love Me Do

2. Singles 1963-1964 From Please Please Me;

to Hard Days Night Continue reading

Act Naturally & Celluloid Beatles

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50, Hard Day's Night with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (3)

Act Naturally? In the main they didn’t. The black leather boys from Hamburg were stuck in suits by Epstein, discovered in Transylvania for their cartoon identity, and peppered up in military Edwardiana for their day-glo re-invention as submarine alter-ego’s. And don’t even mention the milk-float Bondage of HELP! even though it did give us Act Naturally, the legendary B-side of the all our Yesterday single. They’re going to put The Beatles in the Movies

In the beginning, however, there was Hard Days Night. The kind of quick exploitation movie that sneaks out under the creative radar then transcends the sordid commercial origins in which it was brewed up, in this case by United Artists. As Stephen Denny put it “a low-budget exploitation movie to milk the latest brief musical craze for all it was worth.” UA wanted a quick exploitation picture starring The Beatles in order to get their hands on a Beatles soundtrack which they estimated would make them £1m. They offered a budget of £100k, later upgraded to £200k,and duly gave UA their soundtrack album and, fatally, the rights to 2 more Beatles movies. Although UA originally thought “our record division wants to get the soundtrack album to distribute in the States, and what we lose on the film we’ll get back on this disc” the film ending up taking $11m worldwide becoming tagged “the Citizen Kane of Jukebox movies” In 2013 Mojo rated it 8th out the top 100 music films of all time, with a song written specifically as an overture for the film – Hard Day’s Night

Ringo joined The Beatles  on August 14th 1962 on August 22nd they were filmed for the first time performing Some Other Guy in the Cavern in Liverpool by Leslie Whitehead, later to write the incredible How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin. It’s an oft-bootlegged bit of film as it iconic, filmed the moment before the first Parlophone single but in the heart of their fanland; one of whom shouts “bring back Pete” at the end. Significantly Continue reading

Please Please Me & MerseyBeat

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (1)

It was fifty years ago today that The Beatles released their first smash hit, the second official release on George Martin’s Parlophone label, Please Please Me. beatlesnumber1

In this series of blog posts, in honor of many Beatles 50th anniversaries throughout 2013, I will be writing a history of The Beatles in 12 songs. Through this I hope to capture and reflect all that they gave us musically and culturally.

Merry Crimble; In The Beatles first Christmas record for their fan club in 1963 John Lennon is asked what most pleased him about the year 1963 and he replies (50 secs in),  “it was a gear year for us, and it all happened really when Please Please Me became a number one hit”: .

In the UK the breakthrough single for the Beatles was Please Please Me, which, to my ears, was the first recording that captured a British Merseybeat sound. (More on Mersey Beat here) Originally an attempt by John to write a Roy Orbison song (the biggest selling artist in the UK in 1962)  it was considered by George Martin to be too slow. The Beatles speeded it up and finally offered George Martin a version in the exuberant tempo that we now expect to hear. Martin re-arranged it and so created both the version we love, along with the template for recording other Merseybeat artists, it certainly pleased George. “Gentlemen you have your first number one record” 

So how did The Beatles become so good at writing smash hit singles Continue reading

Beatles – Love Me Dr

Posted in history with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by fred6368

No! Do; The Beatles 50th

It was 50 years ago today, October 5th 1962, when the two biggest British popular culture phenomena of the last century first made their public appearances; initially to quite different levels of acclaim. James Bond in Dr No came out as a full-colour cinematic experience, letting us know that in the post-Imperial Cold War Britain would need alpha-males engaging in dubious shenanigans, whilst the girl-group inspired The Beatles were still resolutely in black and white. Neither of them had quite worked out the formulae by which they would go mega. The Beatles and James Bond would both reach their mature forms in 1964 but, compared to what else was on offer, they represented massive potential. Here’s the confused and wonky Bond opening sequence then, welcoming us to Dr No with an interesting musical melange, starting with a nod to the Sputnik-inspired space-age classic Telstar (Number 1 on October 5th) and ending up with a Jamaican calypso, with some nascent Bond orchestration in between;

Love Me Do with Pete Best; was also a confused and wonky production when they first tried it out for a Decca recording audition. Mike Smith at Decca (not Dick Rowe) was ultimately to reject The Beatles in favour of Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, as Dick Rowe would only let him sign one of them because, in 1962, “guitar groups are on the way out”. Mike Smith picked the Tremeloes who, ironically would only score their first hit record for Decca with a cover of The Beatles version of Twist & Shout. Meanwhile The Beatles at least had a recording to tout around of Love Me Do;  

Songwriters for Ardmore and Beechwood; The failed audition tapes were taken by The Beatles manager Brian Epstein to HMV on Oxford Street (yep the same one) where you could cut masters back in the day. The chap cutting the master heard that The Beatles had promise and suggested that they sign as songwriters with Ardmore & Beechwood with whom he had a contact.  They did so registering Love Me Do, written in 1958 at Paul’s house in Forthlin Road, which gained them a referral to Parlophone Records, where George Martin hung out mostly with a bunch of comedians, releasing 10″ novelty records like The Best of Sellers and hitting the pop charts with tracks like Right Said Fred

This wasnt the great meeting of minds Continue reading

Beatle George

Posted in George Harrison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by fred6368

Here Comes George Harrison

The Group Genius known as TheBeatles means John, Paul, George & Ringo acting together in harmony to create and record great music. They became recording artists of distinction when, with the support of George Martin, they got their group songwriting, arranging and recording right with Please, Please Me; with the help of their friends. George Martin was moved to say, “gentlemen you have just recorded your first number 1.’ Curiously they had most of these elements in place, including three part harmonies, five years earlier when George Harrison passed the audition with Lennon on a bus back in 1957 by playing Raunchy. I first heard him in 1963 when a friend played me the Beatles first album Please Please Me and George sang Do You Want to Know a Secret?  

Back then we knew George as the lead guitarist in the breakthrough MerseyBeat group the Beatles; so we looked to what he was interested in as a guitarist. But George was unusual as a lead guitarist, he didnt play lead guitar lines, like Hank Marvin in the Shadows or, his later best friend, Eric Clapton in Cream. He played lead guitar in songs and helped amplify the quality of Lennon and McCartney compositions. And, just like John and Paul, he spent the fifties in love with Rock and Roll and, like them, helped overturn the classics. There is a playlist of this post on YouTube and this video has great pix of George; based on a live recording at the BBC with an interview by Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman. George can Roll Over Beethoven;   Continue reading

Paul’s Bass

Posted in Paul McCartney with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by fred6368

Best Remasters (2)

The one single thing that most impressed me about the Remasters was Paul’s bass playing; it really was phenomenal stuff. Every song sounds richer than I remember even though I’d heard every Beatles song when they came out since Please Please Me. Fifty years ago this week The Beatles began their informal residency at the Cavern Club on Mathew Street in Liverpool. Whilst their breakthrough gig was at the Litherland Hall in December 1960 what characterised their early live sound was Pete Best’s bass drum booming out across the Cavern with Paul’s Bass. Here is their booming bass sound at the Star Club Hamburg with I Saw Her Standing There;

However I hadn’t really noticed the bass at all because of the poor sound equipment available in the sixties; tinny transistor radios and mono Dansettes. In fact the first time I became aware of Paul’s bass playing (videos on YouTube Playlist) was when Barry Gibb picked Paperback Writer as his favourite Beatles song because of the bass; Paperback Writer;

In researching this article I found a great discussion of the evolution of Paul’s Bass playing by Denis Alstrand. He picks up on Paul’s bass playing on their first recording 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