BBFC Book & Music Review Archives 2007 © 2011 British Beatles Fan Club Throughout the year, members of the British Beatles Fan Club write and publish reviews of new releases of books and music related to the Beatles and the solo Beatles. This document compiles all the reviews from 2007.
Contents BBFC Book & Music Review Archives - 2007 ...................................................................................... 1 20th Century Greats ‐ Lennon & McCartney ‐ a review ........................................................................... 2 Paul at Camden Town ‐ a review .............................................................................................................. 4
20th Century Greats ‐ Lennon & McCartney ‐ a review Reviewed by – Ernie Sutton
As part of Channel 4's 25th anniversary celebrations in November, a selection of the best of Channel 4’s shows was shown at the Barbican, London during September. A special screening of the 2004 documentary on Lennon and McCartney was shown on 7th September 2007. Ernie Sutton was there and brings us this report. Howard Goodall presented the programme as one of 4 in the series, which also featured Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and Bernard Hermann. He was the special guest at the event. This programme was different from other Beatles productions in that it highlighted their musical influence rather than just being a standard biography of the band. The show opens with a performance of From Me To You, then moves on to Strawberry Fields, showing the massive swing in creativity from loveable mop-tops to artists in the short space of 4 years. This was likened to the progress of a modern day Mozart. The show highlighted the basic building block of music from melody to rhythm and harmony. Whilst The Beatles were building their trade in Hamburg, playing anything from rock'n'roll to standards, film music and anything contemporary, the 20th century classical composers were dispensing with the standard note pattern system that had served them so well, even resorting to the rubbing of sandpaper as a form of music. Popular music, however, stayed with the standard scale pattern and the difference between pop music and classical grew further apart as a result. A clear example is the track I Saw Her Standing There, which consisted of just 4 chords. To highlight The Beatles' development, the track I am the Walrus used 16 chords, including 8 in the intro alone. The standard note patterns, however, are still relevant in both tracks. Modulation, illustrated in the film by the changing of rooms, for example from one colour to another, is compared to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. A great example of this is the track Penny Lane, where modulation occurs by stealth and the track is clearly written by a composer who knows what he is doing (a 24 year old Paul McCartney). The programme then highlights how Paul can compose a song with such brilliance without musical training and highlights the long hours in Hamburg which have been documented above, where both Lennon and McCartney must have drawn influence from their visits to local churches, where many hymns were written in pre-renaissance Dorian keys, which made their songs different from anything else at the time. Eleanor Rigby was not written in a conventional key, not using major and minor keys, as a result becomes a classic example of use of pre- renaissance Dorian keys. 2
George Harrison was influenced greatly by Indian music and was introduced to the sitar by Ravi Shankar. The sitar first appeared on a Beatles record, Norwegian Wood in late 1965, but Indian music was to also have an effect on John, who wrote a song called Child of Nature whilst in India, which later materialised as Jealous Guy on his 1971 Imagine album. This piece clear based on the pentatonic scale (a scale that can be played on just the black keys of a piano), which was prevalent in Indian music. After The Beatles stopped touring in the summer of 1966, they spent more time in the studio and one track in particular had a huge impact on listeners the way music would develop. Tomorrow Never Knows, used avant garde techiniques and was an attempt by John Lennon to capture an LSD experience in musical form -- influence drawn from Timothy Leary's Tibetan Book of the Dead. The programme compares Lennon and McCartney to the modern day Bach, and gives a fascinating insight to how they wrote their music; whether both John and Paul knew this at the time we shall never know. The interview which followed was just as fascinating. Howard stated that there is not a musician around today who has not been affected by Lennon and McCartney in some way. Due to their popularity, for example in Calcutta, they have affected people all over the world. Stravinsky was popular, but not in places as far afield as Calcutta -- The Beatles reached everyone. He just asks you to listen to the music and doesn't give any signposts as the direction to take. Penny Lane and certainly Eleanor Rigby made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up after seeing this wonderful documentary. The show won a RTS Educational Television Award in June 2005.
Paul at Camden Town ‐ a review Reviewed by – Richard Porter
Paul McCartney put on a secret gig on the night of Thursday 7th June 2007 at the Electric Ballroom in Camden to celebrate the release of his new album, Memory Almost Full. Richard Porter was lucky enough to be there and brings us a review of the evening. People that came on my London Beatles tour on Thursday 7th June were in for a surprise -- they got to see Paul McCartney play live - for nothing! Paul's 'secret gig' at the Electric Ballroom, Camden Town, was only announced at about 3 pm the previous day. When I read the report on the official Paul McCartney website my reaction turned from excitement to despair in a few seconds. They were giving out armbands for the concert at 12.30 pm -when I would be in the middle of my Beatles tour! I wouldn't be able to get to Camden until about 2 pm. Would I miss out on seeing Paul McCartney because I was doing a Beatles tour? How ironic. Link to video from the Electric Ballroom soundcheck: http://youtu.be/sFtEZGE26gU
Due to the short notice there was no way I could get another guide to do the tour -- and I thought that 'taking a sickie' to get tickets for Paul McCartney would have been a bit too obvious. I spent a sleepless night wondering how on earth I could be in two places at the same time. I decided to go down to the Electric Ballroom early the next morning to see what the situation was. I arrived at about 8 am and was amazed there were only 14 people in the queue! I was fully expecting there to be several hundred by then. When Paul did the signing for Ecce Cor Meum in December, scores of people slept outside Virgin for the night. It seemed the late announcement of the concert has prevented many people from coming. I asked the security guys when the bands were to be given out and he said between 12 and 12.30. I still had a problem. However, I stayed in the queue for a couple of hours and by 10 am only another 6 people arrived. Then I had a brainwave. I was sure that everyone who arrived for the tour that day would like to see Paul live. Tottenham Court Road is only about 10 minutes on the underground from Camden. I could go down to the start point of the tour, bring them to Camden in good time for the handing out of bands at 12.30 and do the tour in the afternoon. Luckily London Walks agreed with my plan. My spirits were improving. Then just as I was about to leave Camden I got a call from Paulmcartney.com to say I had won tickets to the concert in their draw. Things were certainly looking up! About 25 people turned up for the tour and I told them the plans. Most were really excited but one or two had theatre tickets and couldn't go to see Paul. We got back to Camden at 11.30 am and there were still only about 30 people in the queue. It seemed everyone on the tour would get in. We did the tour in the afternoon and had some free time before the show. I recognised many old friends in queue, some I hadn't seen for years. 4
I was wondering whether there would be any merchandise available and was amazed to be given a FREE Memory Almost Full T Shirt as I walked into the ballroom. The Electric is a large ballroom with a large downstairs area with a bar in the midde and also a small upstairs balcony. It holds around 1000 people. Even though it was standing only and I'm only 5 ft 5 inches tall I still I managed to get a good view of the stage. Amongst the celebs present were Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Beck, Dave Gilmour, Kate Moss and McKenzie Crook. Video of rehearsals for the secret gig:
Paul came on at about 8.40 pm and launched into Drive My Car. Not a bad start! The crowd went wild. Paul was in great voice and great spirits. He seems to love playing these smaller gigs and throughout was interacting with the audience. The set list was as follows:
Drive My Car Only Mama Knows Dance Tonight C Moon The Long And Winding Road I'll Follow The Sun Calico Skies That Was Me Blackbird Here Today Back In The USSR Nod Your Head House Of Wax I've Got A Feeling Matchbox Get Back Hey Jude Let It Be Lady Madonna I Saw Her Standing There
The songs from the new album sounded really good -- especially Only Mama Knows which was better live than on the CD. It deserves to be in any Macca set list for years to come. House of Wax was also really good. The crowd was raucous from the start. Inevitably the Beatles songs got the most reaction but the new songs were greeted well too. Throughout the show Paul joked about the founder of Camden "Camp Den - who was very good with his hands". Was he talking about Denny Laine? He also made fun of someone shouting at him by replying "There's always someone shouting something unintelligible" and then did a neanderthal man impersonation!
By far the most emotional moment of the concert was when Paul sang Here Today and dedicated it to John, George and Linda. I think it's the first time he's included Linda in the dedication for this song and he was clearly very emotional when he sang it. He said at the end "That's always a dangerous song to sing". Highlights for me were Back In the USSR, I've Got a Feeling and storming version of Carl Perkins's Matchbox. Paul left the stage after singing Hey Jude but the crowd kept on singing it, and after a few minutes Paul and the band came back on and continued to play it. After a wonderful encore of Beatles classics the concert was finally over. I suppose one surprise was that he didn't sing Yesterday -- barring the short Cavern Club gig I think it's the first concert Paul's done since 1973 when he hasn't sung it. In all the concert lasted about 1.5 hours. It was totally superb -especially as it didn't cost a penny to get in! Many people that had come on my tour came to thank me. I guess I made a few new friends! Richard Porter guides five Beatles walks a week for London Walks and is also the owner of the Beatles Coffee Shop. Please go to www.beatlesinlondon.com or www.walks.com for more information.
Were you there on the 7th? Drop the webmaster a line via our contact form and let us know what you thought of Paul's secret gig. We may publish some of your thoughts and pictures here.