SPECIAL ISSUE CELEBRATING BEATLES WEEK
AUGUST 27, 2009
BRITAIN’S LEADING BEAT PAPER
THE BEATLES SEPTEMBER DIGITAL RELEASES
©Apple Corps Ltd
VOORMANN HAMP McGANN John&yoko
© Bill Harry 2009
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Now You can play With The Beatles
RELEASED on September 9, to coincide with the issue of the Beatles digital catalogue is ‘Rock Band: Beatles’, developed by Harmonix, the premier music video game company who created the best-selling ‘Rock Band’ and ‘Guitar Hero’ video games. The Beatles game is the first time that Apple Corps, together with EMI Music, Harrisongs Ltd and Sony/ATV Music Publishing has agreed to present Beatles music in an interactive video game and is published by MTV Games. There was creative input in the game from Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. Giles Martin, co-producer of the Beatles ‘Love’ project, also served as Music Producer for the game. Sir Paul was to comment: “The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out,” while Ringo says: “It gives me great pleasure to be part of The Beatles / Apple and Harmonix / Rock Band partnership. The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time and how wonderful that the Beatles’ legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we live in. Let the games commence.” Every song in the game comes directly from Abbey Road master
THE VIDEO GAME ‘ROCK BAND: BEATLES’ IS RELEASED ON SEPTEMBER 9, TO COINCIDE WITH THE ISSUE OF THE BEATLES DIGITAL CATALOGUE
©Apple Corps Ltd tapes and covers the length of the Beatles career. Among the songs are: ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Taxman’, ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Back In The U.S.S.R.’,
‘Octopus’s Garden’, ‘Here Comes The Son’ and ‘Get Back.’ The instruments include John Lennon’s Rickenbacker 325 guitar, Sir Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, George Harrison’s Gretsch Duo Jet
Guitar and Ringo Starr’s drums with classic black oyster pearl finish and Ludwig-branded Beatles kick drum head. The venues on the video game include the Cavern, the Ed Sullivan Theatre, Shea Stadium, Budokan, Abbey Road and the rooftop of the Apple building in Savile Row. This month, USAopoly issues Trivial Pursuit: The Beatles, which features 2,592 questions across six categories: history, songs, albums and singles, movies, America and solo. They will be evenly split over three difficulty levels. An especially-designed game board features photography of the group, and a unique die features The Beatles' logo and other icons. The game board will have four special zones: (1) Come Together Zone: should a player land on a wedge area, anyone also in this area can enter a showdown with the player. The first person to answer correctly wins the wedge. (2) Get Back Zone: a player can
move another to any other space on the board to hinder their progress. (3) All You Need Is Love Zone: should a player land here, he or she can choose an easy-grade question no matter what the die gives them. (4) Ticket To Ride Zone: players can take a free wedge of their choosing. Last year USAopoly issued Beatles Monopoly: The Collector’s Edition, the first official Beatles board game as a limited edition. They told us: “The Beatles Collector’s Edition of MONOPOLY celebrates the music that revolutionized rock-n-roll in the 20th century. This completely customized game features Apple and Abbey Road Studios along with every album released by the Beatles allowing fans to create their own private music anthology. Enjoy and sing along to the timeless music that has transcended generations as you collect the White Album, Revolver, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and more.”
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
Liverpool – Bigger Than The Beatles EDITORIAL By The Founder Of Mersey Beat . . . BILL HARRY THIS month Trinity Mirror has published my book ‘Liverpool – Bigger Than the Beatles’, which charts the popular music odyssey of Merseyside from the Fifties to current times. The title relates to the situation where the media seems to relate Merseyside’s magical music landscape only to The Beatles, virtually ignoring the immense musical riches that have poured from the city and its environs for decades. Frankly, if The Beatles were the only artists to have emerged from Liverpool, then the city would never have been named ‘the World City of Pop’ by the Guinness Book of Records in 2001 or named ‘the UK’s Most Musical City’ by the Arts Council in 2008. In fact, there has been so much musical activity in the world’s premier rock city that the research will have to spill over and result in a second book. But in the meantime, ‘Liverpool – Bigger Than The Beatles’ seeks to redress the balance and let the media know the story of the groundbreaking music created in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. We know of the great groups who appeared in the early Sixties. Apart from Gerry & the Pacemakers, the Searchers, the Swinging Bluejeans, the Merseybeats, the Mojos and other hit bands, there were groups such as Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes, the Big Three, Faron’s Flamingos and the Undertakers – a match for bands anywhere in the world at the time. But it didn’t end there, there has been a constant stream of talent, be it Liverpool Express, the LA’s, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, OMD, the Christians, Coral, Half Man Half Biscuit, Hot Club de Paris, the Wombats and the Zutons. Yet, that only covers the group scene. Liverpool’s unique melting pot of talent is what I explore in the book. For instance, the city was called ‘The Nashville of the North’, because it had the biggest country music scene in Europe. Liverpool band the
Christian band of the era happened to be Bootle band the Crossbeats, whose records from the Sixties are now eagerly sought after by collectors. We weren’t thin on the ground when it came to providing the leading disc jockeys in the country either, namely John Peel and Kenny Everett both, sadly, no longer with us. Another Liverpool plus was the amount of comedians who came from the city – Ted Ray, Tommy Handley, Jimmy Tarbuck, Arthur Askey, Norman Vaughan, Freddie Starr – with Ken Dodd behind the biggest selling British record of 1965 – ‘Tears.’ As far as female artists are concerned, if you can only think of Cilla Black, think again. I have mentioned more than 100 female artists in the book with, arguably, the world’s first female rock ‘n’ roll band the Liverbirds and singers ranging from Lita Roza to Laura Critchley.
GERRY MARSDEN FROM GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS Hillsiders ended up performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and recorded albums with some of America’s top country artists. Today we have Liverpool musicians such as Chris Huston (the Undertakers) and Mike Snow (Lee Castle & the Barons), who now live and perform in Nashville … and we mustn’t forget the legendary Charlie Landsborough.
I also explore the much underrated black music scene in the city in a chapter ‘It Happened In Toxteth.’ This follows the fortunes of artists such as the Chants and Sugar Deen and current performers such as Alvin Christie. Fortunately, Liverpool’s black music scene proved a chart topper when the Real Thing recorded ‘You To Me Are Everything.’ Liverpool was also to make its mark in the Sixties by launching a fervent new interest in poetry throughout the country when the Mersey poets emerged with the
best-selling book ‘The Mersey Sound.’ The injection given to poetry by Adrian Henri, Brian Patton and Roger McGough inspired a new generation of poets – and the city continued to make its poetic stamp on the world with wordsmiths such as Jim Bennett. Who do you think ruled the folk music scene in Britain for almost three decades – none other than that other fab four, the Spinners! It’s appropriate that the leading folk outfit in the country originated in the area that inspired so many sea shanties. These, days, Christian music is an international movement, but before it’s boom, the major area for Christian music was Merseyside, with numerous bands playing in scores of venues, ranging from the Philharmonic Hall to concerts on ferries to the Isle of Man. Appropriately enough, Britain’s top
HEIDI RANGE OF THE SUGABABES
From this area we can also recall Melanie Chisholm of the Spice Girls, Jacqui Abbott of the Beautiful South, Heidi Range of Sugababes, Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud, Carol Decker of T’pau and Kym Ryder – plus that trio of triple No. 1’s, Atomic Kitten. What an eclectic mix – rock groups, country groups, Christian groups, girl groups, black groups, comedians, disc jockeys, although the book is not solely confined to the musicians as I explore the promoters and the venues (from the Cavern and Eric’s to Cream) that helped to make Liverpool ‘the Rocking City’ (a term I coined for Liverpool in 1961). One chapter, in particular, ‘the North and South Divide’, explains how London helped to crush the burgeoning Merseyside music scene after the rise of the Beatles and the Mersey Sound. One of the major reasons concerned the media, which regarded Liverpool as non persona grata by 1965. This particular aversion to Merseyside by the media still exists. I constantly study newspapers, television, radio and am still amazed by the lack of enthusiasm the media
shows to Merseyside music, even during the City of Culture year. I contacted numerous media outlets during 2008 year with positive stories of Merseyside music, but there was a noticeable lack of interest. On the other hand, there is a definite and positive outlook towards Manchester’s music in the media in general – and I say, good luck to them, because the powers that be go out of their way to promote that city’s musical heritage. Only this month I noticed the listings on BBC TV of August 14: 10.00: ‘They Came From Manchester – the Story of Mancunian Pop.’ 11.00: ‘Factory – Manchester From Joy Division To Happy Mondays’. 12.20: ‘The Stone Roses Live.’ 1.15: ‘They Came From Manchester – the Story of Mancunian Pop.’ Five hours and 15 minutes devoted to Manchester pop music which was repeated only a few days later on August 16. There is also a satellite channel ‘I Love Manchester,’ constantly promoting Manchester music. It was Liverpool, not London or Manchester, who placed British music at the centre of the international scene with its explosion of talent following in the wake of The Beatles – yet the city never receives the musical credit from the media it deserves. To end on the current scene – the Mathew Street Festival is the biggest open air music festival in Europe, but it’ll receive scant attention in the media (which will be swamped with coverage of the Notting Hill Carnival) and Liverpool plays host to more musical festivals than any other city in the world. This includes: Liverpool Sound City; Summer Pops; Creamfields; Liverpool Music Week; Liverpool Irish Festival; Africa Oye; Chinese New Year Festival; the Milapfest; the HIVE Festival; the Hub Festival; the Liverpool Jazz Festival; the Hope Street Festival; Liverpool Now; Homotopia; the Knowsley Hall Music Festival. So I say to the media – once again, take a look at Liverpool, or read ‘Liverpool – Bigger Than The Beatles’, to discover the amazing story of the world’s greatest musical city.
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
What Johnnie told John
JOHNNIE HAMP WITH HIS DAUGHTER MERRY AT LONDON AIRPORT IN 1972
BILLHARRY JOHNNIE Hamp was an important figure in the early career of the Beatles. He was the one who provided the group with their first television appearances. During Beatles Week, Fab Four enthusiasts will be pleased to have the opportunity of listening to his memories, viewing excerpts from his productions and fielding his questions. He tells me: “I've been asked to be special guest speaker in the Adelphi
Johnnie Hamp, Special Guest at the Adelphi Convention, recalls his association with The Beatles Ballroom on the main stage at 12.45pm on Sunday August 30. I will be interviewed by Spencer Leigh of BBC Radio Merseyside and will show clips from my productions including Beatles songs, my interview with Pete Best, Peter Sellers performing ‘A Hard Days Night’, the interview with
the Beatles and Ken Dodd, together with backstage footage.” I asked Johnnie about the time he booked Pete Best for ‘Scene At 6.30’, just after Pete had been sacked from the Beatles. He said: “At the end of ‘Some Other Guy’ (on the first ever Beatles performance on film at the
AnnualBeatles Convention THE International Beatles convention at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in Ranelagh Place will be a 14-hour event on Sunday, August 30. There will be guest speakers throughout the afternoon, numerous stalls offering Beatles memorabilia for sale, an eight-hour programme of films and videos and music from some of the 30 Beatles tribute bands performing from noon until midnight.
PAUL McCARTNEY AND JOHN LENNON DURING A RECORDING SESSION FOR THE BBC RADIO PROGRAMME "EASY BEAT" Cavern) punters are heard shouting "We want Pete...we want Pete..." “After the group’s rise to stardom I wondered how Pete Best felt about being replaced by Ringo and missing out on all the success, financial rewards etc, so I asked him in for an interview. His mother came too – and answered most of my questions! – And Pete could hardly get a word in sideways. I hadn't really realised how funny it was until I played the clip at a later Beatles Convention in Liverpool, and the audience howled with laughter.” One incident that sticks in Johnnie’s mind concerned John Lennon. “It was late 1965, The Beatles were world class superstars. John and Paul were due to arrive at the studio to start work on 'The Music of Lennon and McCartney' on the first day of recording, but they obviously came up to Manchester a day earlier and I was asleep in bed at home after having a few drinks during the evening. “The phone rang in the early hours, my wife Vee answered and told me it was John Lennon. “Are you coming out to play?" he asked me. I told John I was in no state to drive into Manchester. "What are we going to do then, where's a good place to see a bit of action?" I told him that the best disco was The Phonograph - and then, Vee told me later, I came out with the words that still make me cringe when I think about it now: "If you have any trouble with the bouncers on the door – just mention my name!!!" At the time The Beatles released their first British single 'Love Me Do' Johnnie was a producer at Manchester-based Granada
Television, the station which at that time transmitted over a large area including Lancashire, Yorkshire, as far south as the Potteries and including the Lake District to the north. The Beatles first appeared on the magazine programme "People and Places" on December 17, 1962, then Johnnie used them regularly on ‘Scene at 6.30’ the series which replaced ‘People and Places’ from January 1963. A few years later he was to comment: “I first saw the Beatles in a club in Hamburg. They were very scruffy characters but they had a beat in their music which I liked.”
Wealth Coincidentally, it was on December 17 (1965 this time) that Johnny produced his most ambitious Beatles enterprise, a major TV special called ‘The Music of Lennon & McCartney.’ In 1982, when he was Granada’s Head of Light Entertainment, he intended to produce a show to tie in with the 20th anniversary of the ‘Love Me Do’ release. He found such a wealth of interesting material in the archives that the programme wasn’t finished until 1983 and, under the title ‘The Early Beatles’, was first broadcast on January 1, 1984. In addition to the Beatles, Johnnie was associated with many famous names and his recent autobiography ‘It Beats Working For A Living’ (Trafford Publishing) recounts why Frank Sinatra got the hump, why he gagged Bernard Manning, how he conned Woody Allen, hustled Peter Sellers and shot Larry Hagman!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
Peace At Last! JOHN AND YOKO’S BED-IN IMAGES MAKE THEIR LIVERPOOL DEBUT TO celebrate the 40th anniversary of John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace in Montreal, Liverpool’s famous Beatles Story is currently hosting the European premier of a unique photo exhibition: ‘Give Peace A Chance: John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-in For Peace’. The exhibition will present over 40 stories and memorable images of John and Yoko’s sojourn in Suite 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal between May 26 and June 2, 1969. Photojournalist Gerry Deiter was the only person to document the entire eight days of the Bed-in and was originally on an assignment for Life magazine. Sadly, Gerry died of a heart attack on December 9, 2005, but I was able to obtain the background story of the images from Joan Athey, the Curator/Manager of Peaceworks Now Productions. I asked her why Gerry never exhibited the photographs during his lifetime. She told me: “In 1969, on assignment for Life magazine he showed up at the suite. Gerry felt right at home as he had known Yoko from his days as a photographer in New York. He was born in Brooklyn and had shot the Fluxus group, the performance art collective Yoko was a member of. “He knew something special was happening in Montreal and asked to stay, becoming the only photographer to document the entire eight days. “Gerry had moved up from New York City in 1968, unable to reconcile the militarism and civil rights problems he was living with in the U.S. He needed a break, so he headed for the New York of Canada – Montreal.” As he was on an assignment for Life I asked if the photographs were the property of the magazine or the photographer. Joan explained, “Life decided not to run the story or the photos. As far as Gerry was told, the story was bumped up to make room for some new development in the Vietnam War
BILLHARRY that Life was covering intently. The negatives and slides were returned to him. As a freelancer, the copyright was his. John and Yoko were in a public setting in which they invited the world to drop in. Anyone could take a photo. “In retrospect, Life may have been responding to corporate pressure not to publicise anti-war activities, especially by a Beatle with all that fame behind them. Look what they did for India and the Maharishi. The Beatles were still officially together at the time, although it was not long before they disbanded officially. “The experience of being with John and Yoko and being in the presence of their concentrated effort from 10am to whenever the last person left – to live peace and talk peace changed his course. He left the crazy world of fashion photography and packed the negatives away.”
Collection I asked Joan how the current exhibition had come about. She told me: “I had been so moved by the photos when I first saw a small selection of them in 2003 that I volunteered to help Gerry bring them into the public eye. “I am a marketing and promotion specialist and was working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation when Gerry died. I purchased the collection and the rights from his son, largely because I knew I was the only person with the qualifications and heart to carry on to fulfil Gerry’s unfinished legacy. “Google is God, as it turns out. I was looking for a way to get in touch with Paul McCartney and came
across his brother Michael’s photographic work at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Museum. The exhibition was managed by Vickie Rehberg of Artvision Exhibitions. I sent her an e-mail and about ten minutes after I hit ‘sent’ the phone rang and it was Vickie. “Visit www.artvision exhibitions. com for your own interest. She acts as a matchmaker between collections of historic photographs and museums. She already had the CBS Beatles collection under her wing and has turned out to be a glorious instrument of fate. Without her there would be no exhibition, either in Liverpool or (on at the same time) at Bethel, NY, the Woodstock site. “She is an artist, a businesswoman, a visionary and a true friend to museums in need of unique exhibitions for their communities.” Joan then told me why Liverpool had been chosen for the exhibition: “As far as I am concerned, there was never any other place to debut the images. Beatles Story director Jerry Goldman and Louise, his chief assistant at the time, were so open and available. I don’t know how they do it – such a small staff with such big hearts. “Liverpool is the home of the Lennon story. I wanted to give something special to such a vibrant group of people. In my book, Yoko’s exclusive essay says ‘Did anybody think that a man from Liverpool and a woman from Tokyo would do something crazy like that to save the world’. That sounds rather Liverpudlian to me!” I finally asked whether she had further information which might be interesting to fans attending Beatles Week in Liverpool. “I simply invite any person with an interest in John Lennon and a sense of our shared humanity to see the exhibition at the Beatles Story and take a flip through my book. The eye witness stories about the recording are very interesting and, of course, the many, many wonderful images
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PICTURES FROM JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO’S BED-IN FOR PEACE AT A MONTREAL HOTEL ARE ON SHOW AT THE BEATLES STORY are full of beauty and power. “People will come away with a renewed understanding of the love between them. Yoko loved John unconditionally from the start and in the later years when he returned to pick up his marriage with her, which was what it was all about. He was not an easy man to live with from all reports, but he worked out his life on an open stage which has benefited us all in the form of his music.
“If the photos had run in Life magazine in 1969 they would be isolated, forgotten, left in some vault, or lost or just shown individually once every decade.
“Because Gerry loved them so much he couldn’t bear the notion of letting them out of his life until 2001 (9/11 when he couldn’t believe that people were still doing outrageous harm to each other). Hiding them away meant that they are released today as a powerful collection, just when the world needs them the most. “The Bed-in was the longest, most successful work of performance art – and like all performance art, was a collaboration of the artists – John and Yoko – and the collective participants.” Joan’s exclusive souvenir book ‘Give Peace A Chance: John and Yoko’s Bed-In For Peace’ accompanies the exhibition and is available to purchase from the Fab4Store and the Beatles Story online shop.
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
SCHOOL’S IN . . .
THE ROCK SCHOOL AT THE CAVERN CLUB, ABOVE AND RIGHT IF you’ve seen Jack Black in ‘Rock School’, you’ll know how much fun it is to learn to become a member of a rock group …. and what better place to make that a reality than in Liverpool, where you can also take an academic course in Beatleology! This year even sees the launch of an actual Rock School, based at the legendary Cavern Club. The ten week course is open to aspiring musicians of all ages who wish to learn guitar, drums, bass, vocals, keyboards or sound engineering. The full course costs £300 and the first takes place from September 19 – November 22, 2009. Other courses in 2010 take place from January 16 – March 21; May 1 – July 11 and September 18 – November 21. There will be an hour’s tuition per week on the pupil’s chosen instrument and in the sixth week the musician will become part of a Rock
Mastering The Beatles LIVERPOOL Hope University is to offer the world’s first Master’s Degree in ‘The Beatles’. The one-year MA in ‘The Beatles, Popular Music and Society’ will commence in September 2009 and will include the study of the Beatles songs, their stardom, Liverpool itself and the cultural impact of the Beatles during four 12-week courses and a dissertation. Dr Mike Brocken, Head of Popular Music at Hope University, tells me: “I am capping entry to the course at 20 (part time and full time). I don't want numbers to exceed this and really want very serious students. This cap might or might not be necessary; I have rejected a lot of applications and have accepted 19 so far, but three are for 2010.” Mike hopes to engage a number of people who knew and worked with The Beatles to contribute to the course as guest lecturers.
BILLHARRY School band and begin two 2 ½ hour rehearsal sessions with a multi-instrumental tutor. They will be rehearsing their Cavern set, which will include one original number penned by the musician – and the coup de grace, an appearance on the Cavern stage itself, to an audience who will no doubt include family and friends, in addition to a club audience. Jon Keats, the man in charge of the project, tells me “I am a Liverpool born and bred actor/musician, with strong links to the Beatle industry. My first stage role after drama college was playing Lennon in the musical play ‘Imagine’ at Southport Arts Centre in 1990. From this I formed a Lennon tribute show Instant Karma, which I toured on and off with for about 12 years throughout the UK and Europe. “It was through this I met Bill Heckle and Dave Jones at the Cavern, having been one of the main bands at Liverpool Beatle week for 18 years. Instant Karma was a regular headline act at the first 14 Mathew Street Festivals up until 2007. The band has pretty much stopped playing together, although I do still do Beatle week as a solo act, and was inducted into the Beatle Week Hall of Fame in 2008! I am one of the Cavern’s resident acts now, playing the Club and the Cavern Pub four nights a week. I have just joined Cavern City Tours as freelance Marketing Manager, promoting all their activities including Beatle Week, the Cavern Club and Pub, the Magical Mystery Tour Bus and now the Rock School, for which I am the co-ordinator. “The Cavern Rock School was born out of a long standing idea of Bill Heckle’s to take a Beatle/Cavern related project into schools. We decided to pursue a teaching angle, but keep it true to the spirit of the Cavern with a Rock School based at the world famous club, giving the next batch of musicians the chance to experience the venue that not only
AsfarasRockmusicis concerned,Liverpoolis whereyoucanlearnit andloveit... launched and nurtured the Beatles career, but also has been a major feature in the music industry over the last 50 years. “The aim of the course is that musicians improve their skills and techniques and experience playing a live gig with a band. We will do this in a practical, hands-on way, and get musicians playing with other musicians and nurture the new talent as well as encouraging older musicians to get on to a real stage and
enjoy making music. “The main Rock School is a ten week course with the final showcase gig at the Cavern. In October we launch the Corporate Rock School, and next year we are looking to take the concept into schools, and also run Summer Rock Schools. The summer schools will be aimed not only at children in the school holidays, but also older, possibly overseas musicians looking for the “Cavern Experience”.
THE two new September ventures aren’t the only exciting academic outlets for rock music in Liverpool, one of the world’s premier cities for the study of popular music. Whether the Jack Black ‘Rock School’ inspired the Cavern’s new ‘Rock School’ or not, it was the musical ‘Fame’ which definitely inspired the internationally famous Liverpool Institute of Popular Music. That was the story of a New York High School For the Performing Arts which became both a film and a TV series.
A GIANT L.I.P.A. OF FAITH. The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts is now in its second decade, having originally been founded in 1996 by Sir Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. It was Mark who had originally been inspired by the 1980 film ‘Fame’. Coincidentally, Paul had been seeking a way to save the building of his old school, the Liverpool Institute for Boys. He commented: “When I discovered the 1825 building which had once been my old school was derelict, saving the building became urgent.”
PAUL McCARTNEY AND GEORGE MARTIN AT THE OPENING OF LIVERPOOL INSTITUTE OF PERFORMING ARTS IN 1996
It was Sir George Martin, the Beatles producer, who introduced Mark to Paul and the foundation of this remarkable school of talent was laid. It took several years of hard work and planning and support from many individuals and institutions, but eventually the building was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on the June 7, 1996. Among the many current courses are nine full-time, three year BA (Hons) degree programmes; Four full-time, one-year Foundation Diploma programmes; Performing arts classes for four to 19 year olds, which run at weekends and short courses for adults, which usually run once a year starting in April There are numerous events and performances organised by L.I.P.A. Also, each year, the Beatles Shop organises a Beatles auction which this year will take place on Saturday, August 29, in the Paul McCartney Auditorium. As Zoe Nicol, one of the students, comments: “Liverpool is the place to be for gaining all the contacts you need. It’s a vibrant city with tonnes of places to perform. You’re surrounded by people from all over the world with the same interests and ambitions.”
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
We Love You Beatles… THIS year, the annual Mathew Street Festival, the biggest free music festival in Europe, will see bands from as far as the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Finland, Poland, Turkey and Scotland perform on five outdoor stages, two at the Pier Head and three more around the city. There will be an eclectic mix of music covering various genres including Brit Pop, Country & Western, Soul and Diva – plus Beatles tribute bands. The rise of the Beatles tribute groups is an interesting phenomenon which really began in the 1980s. These days, no convention or Beatles event would be without one – or two, or three! There are certainly several hundred, perhaps more, performing in almost every country in the world. The Bootleg Beatles, who celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, are a prime example of a tribute band that can fill the Albert Hall. It was the musical ‘Beatlemania’ at London’s Astoria Theatre that gave birth to the Bootleg Beatles and when the show ended in 1980, the copycat band began to perform in their own right. They were even booked by Oasis to open for them at the Knebworth Festival and now regularly tour Britain.
Theriseandriseofthetributebands "Close your eyes - it's the Beatles! Their vocals are uncanny - the only thing this can be attributed to is that they are all Liverpool lads!" Another Liverpool tribute band has named themselves after my original section of Mersey Beat: The Mersey Beatles. They are resident at the Cavern Club each Thursday where, by 8 January 2009, they had appeared 225 times and they also have a residency at the Vines in Lime Street on Sundays. The group originally formed in 1999 and comprise Steven Howard (Paul), David Howard (George), Brian Ambrose (Ringo), Mike Bloor (John). Stephen tells me that the band will be at the Adelphi on Friday August 28 at 4pm and again for the Beatles convention on Sunday at 6pm. They’ll also be next door at the Vines pub on Lime Street on the Sunday night. Another local tribute band who will be performing during the week is The Beatles Experience. Group member Simon Ramsden tells me: “The Beatles Experience started life
as Birthday in 1999 which was a mixture of both 60s and Beatles music. After several of the members of the band had been continually told of their likeness to members of the Beatles they decided to concentrate solely on Beatles music. I joined three years ago. All of us are huge Beatles fans and have studied the music and mannerisms in great detail and pride ourselves in getting as close as possible to capturing the excitement of a Beatles concert. “We have played the Liverpool convention before and continue to play the Cavern for both public and private functions. The reason why we have decided not to play the convention is that we feel that our approach is too obvious for the hard core fans who tend to tire of the wig and suit brigade and therefore prefer bands who put their own interpretation on the music.” What is the appeal of the tribute band? What makes a good tribute band? Drummer Rusty Yardum from Long Island leads his band Daytrippers. Some years ago I
Soon after the Bootleg Beatles found success, literally hundreds of Beatles tribute bands began to appear – the Paperback Beatles, the Cavern Beatles, the Bandit Beatles, the Ludwig Beatles, the Moondog Beatles, the Other Beatles and numerous others. Oasis themselves, fairly new kids on the block, almost immediately inspired several tribute bands, including Oasisn’t and No Way Sis. Merseyside itself has spawned a number of tribute bands including one featuring a group of original Mersey Beatsters who decided to concentrate on performing Beatles numbers, changed their name to the Bootles and became particularly successful in Europe, leading one Swedish newspaper to comment:
THE MERSEY BEATLES AT THE CAVERN
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arranged for Rusty and a tribute band he had at the time, to appear at the Cavern. Answering my question, he says: “The most important thing in a Beatles Tribute band is the vocals. It is very hard to find three guys that can sing in three-part harmony. No copy band has ever matched the original Fab Four in this area, though some are very good. Next is the musicianship, and professional attitude. I have worked with many great musicians, but musicians have enlarged egos that sometimes get in the way of the music.”
One Beatles tribute band appearing during Beatle week is Canadian outfit Apple Jam, who formed in 2005. They are teaming up with Alan White of Yes. The group members are Rick Lovrovich (bass), Jon Bolton (drums), Mike Mattingly (guitar), Johnny Jones (keyboard) and Kurtis Denglar (guitar). The group have just released a CD 'Off The Beatles Track', which contains 15 songs composed, but never recorded, by the Beatles. The tribute band is a phenomenon which seems to have mushroomed in the 1990s. In this age of mass marketing, copycat bands and artists seem to be coming off the production line in ever-increasing numbers. Arguably, their origins lie in Australia, where many of the big names did not tour because of its geographical ‘remoteness.’ The Aussies simply decided to create their own versions and the term ‘tribute band’ was born. Abba had been popular in Australia and a tribute band called Bjorn Again contacted British promoter Robert Reed in1991. He booked them for the university circuit and on their first tour they grossed £120,000. Other Abba copycats included Abbacadabra and Voulez Vous. Further acts such as the Australian Doors were to follow. What is quite amazing is the rapidity with which some of the tribute bands are formed. When the Spice Girls rose to fame in 1996,
within months there were six tribute bands on the road – some of them earning £2,000 for each performance. They included Nice ‘n’ Spicy, the Wannabe Spice Girls, All Spice, the Spiced Girls, the Spicy Girls and the Spiceish Girls. Such bands vary, with some specialising in a lookalike appeal while others concentrate on sounding like their idols. Some camp it up, others take a more serious view of their performances. By 1997 the British show business newspaper Stage contained details of 160 separate tribute bands, which included Sgt Pepper’s Magical Mystery Tour, Blurasis, Re-Genesis, Fake Us Quo, the Rolling Clones, Fabba and the Pretend Pretenders. There are a number of tribute bands appearing at the Mathew Street Festival on Monday, August 31, performing at the Tunnel Stage, being presented by Radio City disc jockeys and beginning with Mercy, a Duffy tribute at 11am, followed by the Kaiser Thiefs at noon, then the Fillers, a Killers tribute at 1pm, the Antarctic Monkeys at 2pm, Razorlike, a Razorlight tribute at 3pm, Amy Wynehouse at 4pm and Kins of Leon at 5. Also of interest is a further trend – that of new bands who specialise in the music of the original Mersey scene. They include the Fore and Cavern. Other events during the festival include ‘Liverpool Entertains’ on Friday afternoon followed by a Friday Night Party at the Adelphi Hotel; a Blue Angel and Jacaranda Party takes place on Saturday afternoon with ‘In My Life’, a musical tribute in the evening and a late night Paul, George and Ringo party; Sunday sees an all-day convention at the Adelphi Hotel and an all-nighter at the Cavern; Monday features a ‘Word Is Love’ concert in the evening with songs the Beatles gave away and a late night Big Three VIP party at the Adelphi Hotel while Tuesday sees the Searchers performing at the Cavern in the afternoon and evening. Meanwhile, the Liverpool Working Man's Music Festival is at the Picket, September 13-16.
Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
HIGHLIGHTS AT THE PHIL DURING BEATLES WEEK
ACTOR MARK McGANN IS A CONVINCING JOHN LENNON (SEE FAR RIGHT) AND PRESENTS A PERFORMANCE OF JOHN LENNON’S ‘IN MY LIFE’ AT THE PHILHARMONIC THE Philharmonic Hall highlight for Beatles Week is the Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30, performance of John Lennon’s ‘In My Life’, starring Mark McGann. Mark tells me: “The shows at the Phil are more like straight concerts with narration interspersed where the focus is far more on the music than the drama, like in a play. This should mean that the musicianship will be of a higher standard than in the musical shows. I am performing with Pepperland and have been to Sweden recently to run through the show ideas with them. Bob Eaton has written the narration so it should all feel reasonably familiar. “I am doing it because I never tire of the subject and love the music, and if I was to choose a way of supplementing a pension, this would have to be it! “Incidentally, Bob Eaton was the writer and director of ‘Lennon’, the show which first appeared at the Everyman in September 1981 and subsequently performed at the Crucible Sheffield in1982 and again in 1985 before transferring via a short provincial tour in Nottingham and Norwich to the Astoria Theatre, St Martins Lane, London, where it played successfully for 10 months. “Bob was the director at the Everyman in 1981 to 83 and gave me my equity card. He has a lot to answer for ... but I remain eternally grateful
Making his Mark as Lennon
BILLHARRY for the opportunities his faith has given me. As a big Lennon fan himself, he has been only too pleased to revisit the subject when the opportunity has arisen, working closely with Yoko on a version of ‘Lennon’ in New York a few years back and providing the narration/direction for ‘The John Lennon Songbook’ concerts at the Philharmonic last year.
Faith “It was the fantastically warm audience response as well as the wonderfully supportive welcome given us by the Phil staff last year, which has mainly influenced my decision to appear there again this summer. Perhaps I am getting nostalgic in my old age, but it felt like a most poignant homecoming, perhaps as it is where I first performed as a 10 year old singing Mozart's Laudate Dominum in a duet with my brother Paul, backed by a 300 strong international choir and orchestra; was presented with my
GCSE certificate as a 16 year old; met the Queen (disarmingly short but with a vice-like grip!) following a classical concert I narrated in 1992, and played a concert with The McGanns in 1999, so you can see 'it looms large in my legend!'. “No, but seriously, it is a beautiful place to work at anytime and where better to attempt to further celebrate the flawed genius that was John than in Liddypool itself !! I just hope that I can do him justice one more time ...” Mark, who was a former member of the group Mojo Filter, has portrayed John on a number of occasions. His very first role was at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool when he appeared as John in the original version of the musical ‘Lennon’, and it was the beginning of his full-time acting career. He also appeared in the show when it toured the provinces and remained with the musical when it opened at the Astoria Theatre in London. Mark auditioned for the 3-hour American made-for-TV movie ‘John and Yoko: A Love Story’, and recalls “I never auditioned originally for ‘John & Yoko’ because I was technically unavailable due to previously being contracted to perform ‘Lennon’ at the Astoria at the same time as the film shoot. However, when they discovered that actor Mark Lindsay's real name was indeed Mark Chapman, they moved the shoot dates
Lee – The King
ON Friday August 28, the Philharmonic Hall in Hope Street presents Lee ‘Memphis’ King, the most successful British Elvis impersonator who was a finalist in ‘The World’s Greatest Elvis’ competition. He appears with his band and singers recreating the ‘68 Comeback Special and the Las Vegas performance. This is the second time Lee has appeared at the Philharmonic. He has also appeared three times at the Empire and, being a big Beatles fan, tells us he was excited and honoured to be in the Beatles dressing room at the theatre and to perform on the same stage as they’d appeared on. He said, ‘the whole point of my act is to be as authentic as I can and perform a show depicting Elvis at his peak – I don’t go for the stereotypical fat guy in a suit image, my motivation is to be as authentic as possible.” In his two and a half hour show, Lee is backed by an 11-piece band of exceptional musicians and singers. It’s appropriate that there is an Elvis presence during Beatles week as the legendary singer was a major influence on the Beatles. John Lennon once said: “Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn’t been Elvis, there would not have been The Beatles.” When the Quarrymen (the group who evolved into the Beatles) formed, they began to introduce Elvis numbers into their repertoire, performed by either John or Paul. George Harrison was to comment: “I remember at school there was this entire thing about Elvis. When a record came along like ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ it was so amazing. We know Elvis is great.” Paul McCartney was to say: “Every time I felt low, I just put on an Elvis record and I’d feel great, beautiful.”
to accommodate me. Lucky me!” He says: "I wept when I got the role. It's almost spiritual the way John Lennon has become intertwined in my life. I broke into the business playing John, and I grew up in Liverpool just a few miles from where he was born. Like John, I was a real rebel at school, and I taught myself to play guitar." He was 24-years-old at the time although Californian actress Kim Miyori who co-starred as Yoko, was 11 years his senior. Kim had previously been a regular on the TV series ‘St Elsewhere’. Mark commented, "They didn't want a lookalike or a copycat. I think if you choose a double, the whole image can disintegrate the moment you open your mouth." He acknowledged that he had a lot of help and advice from people in Liverpool, including Lennon's Uncle Charlie and disc jockey Bob Wooler. During the final stages of shooting the film, Mark visited Yoko at the Dakota in September 1985. Yoko told the American tabloid, the Star: "When (Sean) heard Mark's voice, it sounded so much like his dad that he freaked out."
Glasses Sean added, "He looks like dad with his glasses on and sounds like him." McGann was also to say, “I grew up to really like John Lennon. I think he was the most human of the geniuses. I mean, people could associate with John because he washed his linen in public so often and he made so many obvious mistakes. But he was a genius.” A real-life romance was sparked off between Mark and Kim during the filming although, despite rumours, the two were never married. Mark is happily married to his wife Caroline. Continuing his thoughts regarding his portrayal, he was to say: “I decided to show Lennon, warts and all. He was a man capable of snapping at any moment into an aggressive mood but also a man of great
compassion. It was only in his later years that he learnt humility – that was when he finally found happiness. “Lennon never made any excuses but was always suffering great emotional pain. He was not a born leader but thought his grabbing a leadership role would give him the attention he desperately needed.” Prior to Mark’s Lennon tribute, the Phil is presenting a tribute to one of John Lennon’s heroes, Elvis Presley:
Billy … And the Blues! A TRIBUTE show to Liverpool’s legendary solo star Billy Fury is featured at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool. August 23 was the tenth anniversary of the show which features Colin Gold as Billy, backed by the Tornadoes. Colin was spotted on the TV show ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ in 1996 and two weeks after the appearance was approached to play Billy in the theatrical production ‘Halfway To Paradise – The Billy Fury Show.’ A major stage adaptation of the cult musical ‘Quadrophenia takes place at the Empire until August 29. ‘Quadrophenia’, originally an album by the Who, with music, lyric and concept by Pete Townshend, was turned into a major British musical movie in 1979 and has now become a stage show. The stage adaptation by Jeff Young, John O’ Hara and Tom Critchley recreates a coming-of-age story during the Mod era of the Sixties. August 30 sees the Empire host ‘Jake & Elwood - The Best Blues Brothers Show in the World...EVER!!!’, a show based on the hit film ‘The Blues Brothers’ and featuring numbers such as ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, ‘Gimme Some Lovin’, ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and many more.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
BEATLE BEST Former Beatle Pete Best will be making his only British appearance this year at the Casbah Club, Hayman’s Green, West Derby, on Saturday August 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club where John, Paul and George had their first residency as the Quarrymen. The bill for the afternoon show features the Roaring Fourties, Karl Terry & the Cruisers, the Hideaways with Frankie Connor, the Mersey Legends, the Undertakers and the Pete Best Band. The evening show, which has already sold out, features Tempest with Earl Preston, Mike Byrne & the Sun Rockers and the Pete Best Band.
BEATLES PLAQUES Fred O’Brien, former Students Union President of Liverpool College of Art, has designed and placed a number of plaques on Merseyside in tribute to the Beatles. They include one for the former Iron Door Club (sadly, it no longer exists), one outside John Lennon’s former Oxford Street Maternity Hospital birthplace and one in Ye Cracke pub for the Dissenters. He feels there should be many more at various venues such as the Jacaranda club – and even in Renshaw Street outside the former Mersey Beat office. The main difficulty is in finding sponsors to fund the bronze plaques.
RINGO IS A STARR TONY BRAMWELL, BILLY KINSLEY, WALLY SHEPARD AND MIKE BYRNE TAKE A WALK DOWN MATHEW STREET TO CELEBRATE THE MERSEYCATS 20 SUCCESSFUL YEARS OF FUNDRAISING FOR CHILDREN’S CHARITIES THE acclaimed American DVD company ‘Reelin’ In The Years Productions’ which created the definitive Motown DVDs, including the Temptations DVD which has gone double platinum, are issuing their Gerry & the Pacemakers documentary in September 2009 and the world premier took place in the Zygmant Suite at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel yesterday. Gerry Marsden attended and introduced the DVD in the suite, which seats 120 people. ‘Reelin’ In The Years’ inform me that the most important point is that all of the performances on the DVD are complete performances and not snippets, like you find in most documentaries and that all of the performances are from the time the songs were hits. They point out that they go back to the original master tape or film and whenever there is a lip sync performance they have used the original audio to replace the poor audio from the lip sync performance. During the filming, Gerry made a return appearance at the Cavern.
voted second only to the Beatles in the Mersey Beat poll and was the first British artist ever to top the charts with his first three releases. Ken Dodd appeared with the Beatles at the Albany Theatre, Maghull, booked them for his radio show, appeared with them on Granada TV and topped the charts himself with ‘Tears.’ Colin Hanton was the original drummer with John Lennon’s skiffle band the Quarrymen and Tony Barrow was the Beatles press officer, while Tony
Bramwell is at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel Liverpool on Sunday 30 August promoting his book ‘Magical Mystery Tours – My Life With The Beatles.’ Other Wienerworld DVD releases include ‘John Lennon – Live In Toronto ‘69’, ‘The Beatles – Destination Hamburg’ and ‘The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour Memories.’
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RARE BEATLES On August 23, to coincide with Beatles Week, Wienerworld issued a 90 minute DVD ‘Rare & Unseen: The Beatles’ which includes the earliest known footage of the Beatles on stage in Liverpool during February 1962 and the only existing film of their tour of Scotland taken at the Caird Hall, Dundee. Among the interviewees on the DVD are Gerry Marsden, Ken Dodd, Colin Hanton, Tony Bramwell and Tony Barrow. Gerry, of course, was
Ringo is to get his Starr on the Hollywood Hall of Fame next year. The Beatles as a group and John Lennon and George Harrison all have their stars on the famous walk, theirs is situated at 1759 Vince Street. No sign yet of when Sir Paul will be getting his star. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce comment: “Sir Paul was selected and approved years ago and we are just waiting for his people to give us a date when he would like to do it.”
Monday 31st August
BATTLE OF THE BANDS FINAL
12 up and coming new bands battle it out for cash prizes.
Food available on both days Blundell Street, Liverpool L1 OAJ EX-BEATLES DRUMMER PETE BEST & HIS BAND IN THE CELLAR OF THE CASBAH IN WEST DERBY
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Thursday September 3, is ‘Come Together’, a collection of 162 paintings and sculptures with the theme of: The Beatles, their lives, philosophy and songs. Over 70 artists, most of them local, have contributed to the exhibition.
A HARD NIGHT FOR THE MERSEYCATS The Merseycats, members of the original Mersey groups from the Sixties, now have regular concerts at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel. Their biggest promotion to date takes place at the hotel on Sunday, August 30, from 13.00 to 22.15 with an astonishing array of artists. Merseycat Dave Ferguson points out that the main show will take place in the Zygmant Suite, named after the famous New York photographer. There will also be music in the Beatles themed Hari’s bar and in the Hard Days Night Suite where fans fan listen to a number of acoustic sets from the artists of the era. The confirmed bill features, in order of appearance: the Jaywalkers, Boogiemen, Kirkby Skifflers, Chris Rimmer Band, the Bumblies, Del Renas, Rickie Gleason & the Topspots, Searchin’, Karl Terry & the Cruisers, the Cryin’ Shames, the Shakers, the Claytons, Beat Club, Mike Byrne & the Sun Rockers, the Undertakers, Tempest with guest singer Earl Preston. The musicians include original Undertakers Geoff Nugent and Brian Jones, together with Jackie Lomax. Earl Preston will be making a special comeback appearance in the finale with Wally Shepard (Chairman of Merseycats), the original bassist from the TTs. Ricky Gleason is back together with his original band line up from 1964. Other originals include Dave Williams from the Jaywalkers, Dave Ferguson and Charlie Gallagher from the Bumblies. The Merseycats was founded by original members of Mersey 60s groups following a show in 1989 held for John Banks, former drummer of the Merseybeats, who had died the previous year. The charity has raised over £300,000 for disadvantaged children in and around Merseyside in addition to the support for numerous other charities such as Alder Hey, Claire House and K.I.N.D. The Merseycats perform every Thursday at the Old Roan British Legion club in Aintree and most nights you can see as many as 15 bands for just £1.50.
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Mersey Beat Special
Thursday, August 27, 2009
AFTER 40 YEARS, HAMBURG PAYS ITS
Oh no, The Beatles are Square . . . THE BEATLES-PLATZ IN HAMBURG A NEW museum called Beatlemania opened on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, close to the newly named Beatles-Platz (Beatles Square) on May 29, 2009. The former museum of erotic art covers five floors, with the top floor devoted to the group’s days in Hamburg. There is also a fish and chip shop on the site named ‘John and Paul’s’!
Hybrid September 11, 2008 saw the establishment of a Beatles Square in the heart of the St Pauli district – the Beatles-Platz, situated at the crossroads of the Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit, which is shaped like a giant vinyl record with a diameter of 29 metres. When illuminated it looks like a spinning turntable. There are five metal statues surrounding it, placed in an arc and facing the Grosse Freiheit. They represent John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe, George Harrison and a hybrid of Pete Best and Ringo Starr. As both Pete Best and Ringo Starr appeared with the Beatles in
Hamburg, the designers of the memorial commemorated both of them with the drums placed not at the right or left, but in front of the statue of the drummer. The city donated 350,000 euros to the building of the square and a further 200,000 euros was raised by sponsors and donors. At the inauguration ceremony, Hamburg’s Mayor Ole von Beust commented: “It’s about time that Hamburg commemorated this great band.” Also, when answering critics who complained about the length of time it took to honour the Beatles in Hamburg, he said: “Better now than never.” I always felt that Liverpool and Hamburg should have been twinned. The city is on the same latitude as Liverpool – 53 degrees north and like Liverpool was a major seaport. During the Sixties, the two cities thrived on the music of the Mersey groups causing John Lennon to comment that the best years of the Beatles took place in Liverpool and Hamburg. There was even a Cavern trip to Hamburg in which 36 members of the
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club flew to the German city to see the Kubas and Ricky Gleason & the Top Spots from Liverpool. Cavern owner Ray McFall was to forge a friendship with his counterpart at the Star Club, Manfred Weissleder. He also carried a letter from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool to the Burgomeister of Hamburg which read: “I have heard with interest that during the last few years groups of young Liverpool rock ‘n’ roll musicians have visited Hamburg. I feel confident that these visits will result in the formation of friendships amongst members of the younger generation, a happy augury for the future,” The museum exhibition curator is Ulf Kruger, who comments: "My idea was always, sometime having a place like this to remind the world that Hamburg was one half of the birthplaces of the Beatles and I hope we are going to succeed."
JOHN LENNON SINGING IN HAMBURG WITH THE BEATLES WITH STUART SUTCLIFFE IN THE BACKGROUND
Touring with the experts PETER Paetzold and David Hanowski have begun the first authentic Beatles-tour in Hamburg in co-operation with Horst Fascher. They will present special guests such as Kingsize Taylor and other musicians who performed in Hamburg in the early sixties. Peter tells me: “I grew up in the late fifties and early sixties in the same vicinity as the Bambi Cinema which is where The Beatles lived during their first time in Hamburg. During that time, I had a few contacts with the band at the bakery opposite the cinema. “I started collecting autographs and the first was from a band called Joey Dee and the Starliters in 1963. Over the next few years I spent more time around the Star-Club and the Top Ten Club than I did in school. “Through early friendships and working as go-fer for the club owners, the porters and waiters, they often let me in to the clubs to see the bands even though I was underage. “I saw The Beatles on their last tour and had a last accidental meeting with John Lennon on the Reeperbahn when he was making the movie "How I Won The War" near Hamburg in the Autumn of 1966.” He also reveals: “I actually started doing Beatles tours of Hamburg in March of 1967 when I was approached by the legendary Jimi Hendrix asking ‘can you show me where The Beatles played in the early sixties’? But I didn’t start the professional version of Hamburg Beatles-Tour until April 2009 with a Canadian partner and friend David Hanowski.”
Star-Club TV is live music winner THE Star-Club was the Hamburg equivalent of the Cavern and the most famous rock club in Germany. Beatles friend Horst Fascher has been associated with the venue since its origin in 1962. He has now teamed up with Garrelt Danker who produces films, DVDs and CDs of original performers at the Star Club, in a venture called Star club TV. Gary tells me: “Horst and me want to bring the Star-Club feeling into today’s media. “Star-Club TV is a mix of
interview, short film/ documentary and, of course a lot of 100 % live music, mostly featuring the original Star-Club bands, showing that they can still play fantastic TODAY and they have a lot to say! “Horst leads through the films as a historic moderator. “We feature important musicians of the 50s - 60s and 70s as well as good new artists.” Their next DVD film will be of Gerry & the Pacemakers.
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BILL HARRY, VIRGINIA, MANFRED WEISLEDER AND SHIRLEY AND RAY McFALL OUTSIDE THE STAR-CLUB IN HAMBURG IN THE 1960s
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Mersey Beat Special
SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES The Return of Mr Bassman Klaus Voormann Returns to Liverpool TO celebrate ‘Beatles Week’, Klaus Voormann and his wife Christina will arrive in Liverpool from Hamburg to unveil a special painting at A Hard Days Night Hotel of personalities from the original Mersey music scene of the early Sixties. I believe it is done in the style of his Grammy award-winning ‘Revolver’ album cover. Jonathan Davies of AHDN tells me: “Klaus is due to unveil the painting at the hotel on Friday, August 28. Klaus has basically been commissioned by the hotel to paint a piece to be displayed in the main Lounge area.” Klaus is a legendary figure in the Beatles story. Inspired to take up bass guitar by Stuart Sutcliffe he joined Liverpool outfit Paddy, Klaus & Gibson in 1964. When the trio disbanded he joined Manfred Man from 1966 to 1969 and was then invited by John Lennon to become a member of the Plastic Ono Band. Apart from recording on solo projects with John, George, Paul and Ringo, he appeared on the ‘Concert for Bangla Desh’, which brought him his second Grammy, the John Lennon ‘Imagine’ sessions and over the years has recorded with a host of other major artists. He is also a renowned graphic artist winning a Grammy award for his design of the Beatles ‘Revolver’ album; he also designed the Beatles ‘Anthology’ covers and has a remarkable body of art work depicting early areas of the Beatles life in Hamburg.
A YOUNG KLAUS VOORMANN, ARTIST AND MUSICIAN
which formed the events which changed his life with filming and recording in London, Los Angeles, Hamburg and Munich. Importantly, it is the music which speaks, which is obvious in the enjoyment and fun he took in It was John Lennon who phoned performing new versions of the him and gave him a free hand to original music he participated in. design the cover of the Beatles’ He also recorded in East Sussex, seventh album. which might not sound as glamorous Klaus recalls: “John called me as LA or London, but it was one of while they were in the studio the most important parts of the working on the album and asked if I project because it saw birth of part of had any ideas that I might want to the song he recorded with Paul and use for the cover. I did a few rough Ringo. The number was a Fats sketches and went to them with the Domino composition called ‘I’m In scribbles and showed it to them.” Love Again’, which Paul had He also designed the cover for originally covered on his CHOBA B George Harrison’s ‘Wonderwall’ CCCP album. album and for an LP by Liverpool Klaus tells me that the reason he singer Jackie Lomax. chose the number was because: “For me it was the first song I ever played bass guitar on”. This occurred when he made his debut as a bass guitarist at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg. He recalls: “Stuart stuck his Hofner 333 bass in Klaus, who celebrated his 70th my hand and said ‘You play now’ and birthday last year, has completed a I played together with the Beatles.” unique record in music and visuals This version of the Domino song covering his musical journey of the was recorded at Paul’s own studio in past 45 years. The venture which was Sussex on June 19 2008. The versatile originally conceived by Klaus’ wife Paul handled all the other Christina in October 2007 is called instruments – piano, organ, ‘Klaus Voormann & Friends: A harmonica and guitars. Paul even Sideman’s Journey.’ played the drums but insisted that Christina’s idea led him on an his attempt was going to be replaced exciting revisiting of his career by Ringo and Ringo recorded his when, from April 2008, he began drum part in Los Angeles. visiting many friends and Apart from Paul and Ringo, a wide colleagues, travelling to locations range of Klaus’s friends recorded and chatted with him in the venture, including Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens), the Manfreds, Bonnie Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie fame, Dr. John, Van Dyke Parks, Jim Keltner, Don Nix, Max Buskohl, Albert Lee, Joe Walsh, Don Preston and others. KLAUS This extra-special incredible VOORMANN concept, produced by Christina and WITH PAUL Klaus, is now available from McCARTNEY Universal Music Germany in a IN SUSSEX, limited edition containing a CD, a AND KLAUS’S DVD documentary, a 60 page hardcover book and a hand-signed DESIGN FOR THE REVOLVER art-print.
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The story of the Fab Four THE Beatles Story is Liverpool’s leading Beatles-themed visitor attraction, transporting you on an enlightening journey into the life, times, culture and music of the Beatles. The main exhibition in Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock explores how four young lads from Liverpool were propelled to the dizzy heights of worldwide fame, becoming the greatest band of all time. An ambitious expansion plan throughout 2008 saw the Beatles Story triple in size, including even more fun and interactive features. These include ‘Going Solo’ – intimate rooms which celebrate the solo careers of the Beatles, a Beatles-themed Starbucks Coffeehouse, a fantastic Discovery Zone and the award winning Fab4Store – selling one of the largest collections of Beatles merchandise in the world. The venue is a great value day
out for all the family. Once you’ve experienced the magic of the Beatles at the Albert Dock, head over to the Beatles Story Pier Head, housed in the new £10.5m Mersey Ferries terminal building on Liverpool’s World Heritage waterfront. Jerry Goldman, Managing Director of the Beatles Story, says: “The Beatles Story’s expansion in 2008 was incredibly beneficial, both to the business and to Liverpool and we were determined to continue this growth with significant investment in our second site at Pier Head.” The Pier Head site includes the exciting Fab4D experience – a groundbreaking, four-dimensional animation – a stunning special exhibition space overlooking the River Mersey and a second Fab4Store. Hop on the C4 shuttle bus between the sites to experience a fun packed family day out all for one great value ticket price.
lar ‘4D’ THE Beatles Story unveils spectacu will experience: Beatles Story visitors this music really feel part of the Fab Four’s of a summer, following the installation experience state-of-the-art four dimensional e at the hom nd seco y’s Stor tles Bea in the Pier Head. ‘Fab4D’ takes you on an excitingthe music multi-sensory 4D journey through a stunning of the Beatles. You’ll experience n atio anim d rate gene r 3D compute ension, combined with a dramatic 4th dim es. Using stimulating and teasing your sensspecial the latest 3D technology and 4D visitors by effects, the 40-seat theatre thrills ld which immersing you in a new virtual wor explores the music of the Beatles. great “Fab4D is truly world class. It hasrise or surp a and hics grap astic fant music, member two,” says Cllr Gary Millar, Cabinetrpool City for Enterprise and Tourism at Live 4D is fun Council. “Hitting all the senses, Fabrves a dese ly nite defi and ily fam the for all d as Disney second visit. In my view it’s as goot here in righ it’s still, or Vegas and, better ning World Liverpool in the heart of our stun ’ ont. erfr wat e Heritag
White Feather: John ● Lennon’s spirit returns to Liverpool: The Beatles Story
Pier Head plays host to exclusive world-class special exhibitions. White feather: the Spirit of Lennon is on display currently – an emotive and moving family story, illustrated with previously unshared personal possessions. Throughout the exhibition Julian and Cynthia (pictured) recollect the memories, experiences and emotions of their lives with John. The story is brought to you through personal interviews, family photos and the Lennons’
unseen collection of memorabilia. Julian Lennon says: ‘‘John Lennon is an idol to millions of people who grew up loving his music and ideals, but to me he is the father I loved and lost. I hope this exhibition lets people see another aspect of his life and our time together as a family. This collection represents something of great importance to us as it is part of our history. We hope you find it a fitting tribute to a great talent and a remarkable man.’’ White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon is included in Beatles Story admission.
The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock and also at the Pier Head is the place to go for the ultimate Fab Four experience
Discovery Zone: In August 2009 the Beatles Story’s interactive ● Discovery Zone celebrates its first birthday. The Discovery Zone offers an array of exciting
activities to really get young (and old) Beatles fans involved. In its first year the new area at the Beatles Story has welcomed over 6,000 school children from all over the UK, so book your visit now for next year. Using the latest, groundbreaking technology, the interactive Discovery Zone allows you to learn about the Beatles' music, the times they lived in and their influential legacy. You’ll have the opportunity to create your very own Mersey Beat newspaper, get grooving in the replica NEMS music store, create your own Beatles inspired artwork and play a Beatles tune on a giant piano. So, whether it’s a visit to the main exhibition, a trip to the special exhibitions, fun in the Discovery Zone, or a Fab4D experience – across two sites there’s plenty to keep family and friends entertained.
16-page homage to Liverpool's legendary magazine, includes a guide to the 2009 Mathew Street Festival