Archive for help!

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

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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

Happy Birthday Ringo

Posted in Ringo Starr with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by fred6368

Peace & Love Tribute to Ringo @ 70

So a drummer who I didn’t really rate at first, because he was part of a song-based band and didn’t show off, went on to become arguably the best rock drummer at supporting the song. Given that he had Lennon and McCartney, then Harrison, to support you have to say that the quality he was given to work with was pretty amazing. But here’s the thing, he improved the songs, rounded them out, supported them, made them work as recorded songs in the studio. Here are 13 Reasons why Ringo is a great drummer, and a good Ringo biography. Lennon called him “the heart of The Beatles” George said that without him it was “like a car with three wheels” and Paul said “he’s just a loveable, interesting intelligent bloke. I say that after a Hard Days Night, Tomorrow Never Knows. Have a great one Ringo (and the burger after the Hard Rock show). Here he is with Paul and George playing something from the fifties; Raunchy;

Rain; What would I put down as I my favourite Ringo track? Several actually and they change from time to time. The first time I noticed Ringo was in the intro to She Loves You; I just love a good drum roll in the intro. And in the great Rain (only a B-side!) he wallops those skins from the off, even louder when remastered. (Warning contains Volume!). Rain; More Ringo Drumming; 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

My Top Ten Beatles YouTube Videos

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2009 by fred6368

Here are the Ten Toppermost of the Poppermost Beatles videos used on this site, with a focus on the videos I discovered whilst writing this. The very first performance of the Beatles I experienced visually was their triumphant 1963 Royal Variety Show Performance which they stole without being top of the bill. I particularly loved the performance of Twist and Shout. Introduced by Lennon with characteristic acerbity it was genuinely shocking at the time as he joked about the Royal Family. However the video I liked best is this Australian outtake of them playing a medley of 5 of their 1963 hits, unfortunately disabled for embedding by YouTube! Anyone know why? So embedded here is my bonus track, the Lego Beatles doing I Saw Her Standing There; 1! 2!! 3!!! 4!!!!  

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Unbutchered

Posted in Unbutchered with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by fred6368

THE BEATLES UNBUTCHERED

The Beatle’s albums are often divided into early period Beatlemania and late period mature artists. Their run of classic albums is universally seen as beginning with Rubber Soul. Difficult for me to disagree with that as Rubber Soul was the first album that I bought and, from Sgt Pepper onwards, each new Beatles Album was BOTH a media event and a musical event, as well as being a coherent artwork. From the perspective of the twenty first century it seems obvious that an album is an album, but at the time Beatles albums were thrown together as they rushed around the world, burning up records. However my own interest in the Beatles is because they created new forms; they imagined new futures. Perhaps they didn’t realise they had invented the rock album until Brian Wilson released Pet Sounds; his response to Rubber Soul. Despite the coherence of Rubber Soul and Revolver my guess is that Sgt Pepper was the first album that they consciously planned as an art work. What we mostly got in the sixties was the “outlier genius” of the Beatles, accidentally creating new possibilities.

As we look back at Rock’s rich tapestry, the Beatles are seen as a corner stone; actually no, they are the foundations, they created its lineaments, one of which is the album as art form. For me their only pre-cursor in popular music is Frank Sinatra’s 1954 (!) “In The Wee Small Hours” a concept album shot through with coherent brilliance. I am going to leave aside that classic quartet of jazz albums recorded in 1959, as jazz’s relationship with the album is different, and argue that Beatles invented the album in it’s modern creative form. And, secondly I am going to argue that they achieved this with Hard Days Night. The reason we didn’t recognise this at the time is that Hard Days Night was (just!) a soundtrack, Beatles for Sale was weak and HELP! was also a soundtrack; leaving Rubber Soul to be revealed as their first stand alone album work of genius.

Now I disagree with George, and others, who see Rubber Soul and Revolver as a dyptich. For me the great divide in Beatles albums is between Rubber Soul and Revolver. Why? Because they went from being great songwriters playing their songs well to being the first great musicians of the recording studio, Pet Sounds notwithstanding. Rubber Soul is both the last album of the glorious Beatles Band and the last of the mid-period Beatles. For me the “mid-period Beatles” released three classic albums.

1) Hard Days Night, a stumble upon multi-media classic

2) Unbutchered; Digg It! The one they put together as their first bite of the Apple

3) Rubber Soul; the delicious flowering up of their genius

And the stone classic five-star album Unbutchered, as we all know, starts with Eight Days a Week. Here’s the cartoon version; Continue reading

Eight Arms To Hold You

Posted in help! with tags , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by fred6368

HELP!

HELP! is a great mid-period Beatles album. The songs hold up well throughout and Anthology reports that they spent time at John’s house in Weybridge working on them together. This sounds like Rubber Soul; the Prequel, and the songs demonstrate a broader range of influences and styles. Lennon didn’t hide his personal problems on the album like he did seven months earlier on Beatles for Sale. This time his cry for HELP! was the single AND the title of the film. This is how the film presented Help! In his own write Lennon knocked off another single overnight. How many classics like this did he knock off when he wasn’t working?

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