Friday, 28 February 2014

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Movie (1978)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a 1978 American jukebox musical film. Its soundtrack, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, features new versions of songs originally written and performed by The Beatles. The film draws primarily from two of their albums, 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and 1969's Abbey Road. The film covers all of the songs from the Sgt. Pepper album with the exceptions of "Within You, Without You" and "Lovely Rita", and also includes nearly all of Abbey Road.
The production is somewhat adapted from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road, a 1974 off-Broadway production directed by Tom O'Horgan. It tells the loosely-constructed story of a band as they wrangle with the music industry and battle evil forces bent on stealing their instruments and corrupting their home town of Heartland. The film is presented in a form similar to that of a rock opera with the Beatles' songs providing "dialogue" to carry the story, with only George Burns having spoken lines that act to clarify the plot and provide further narration.
The film was produced by Robert Stigwood, founder of RSO Records, who had earlier produced Saturday Night Fever. RSO Records also released the soundtrack to the film Grease in 1978, which had Barry Gibb producing and Peter Frampton playing lead guitar on the title track. In 1976, the Bee Gees had recorded three Beatles cover songs "Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" and "Sun King" for the musical documentary All This and World War II.
The Beatles producer George Martin served as musical director, conductor, arranger and producer of the Sgt. Pepper film soundtrack album.
The cast also featured British comedian Frankie Howerd as Mean Mr. Mustard (his only major U.S. film appearance; he later quipped about the film "It was like Saturday Night Fever, but without the fever"), Paul Nicholas as Dougie Shears, George Burns as Mr. Kite, Donald Pleasence as B.D., referred to in Burns' narrative voice-over as B.D. Hoffler, but officially known in the film's credits, publicity materials, and in-film posters as B.D. Brockhurst, Sandy Farina as Strawberry Fields, Dianne Steinberg as Lucy, Aerosmith as Future Villain Band (FVB), Earth, Wind & Fire, who appear as themselves, Billy Preston as the magical Sgt. Pepper golden weather vane come to life, Alice Cooper as Father Sun, and Stargard as the Diamonds.
Special guests
Additionally, the movie becomes a time capsule of late 1970s pop culture with the last scene in which the cast is joined by " Guests at Heartland" to sing the reprise of the title track while standing in a formation imitating the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album cover. The scene was filmed at MGM Studios on December 16, 1977; indeed, according to co-star Carel Struycken (Mustard's henchman, "Brute"), Sgt. Pepper was the last film to be made at MGM under that studio's then existing management.
The "guests" were:
Peter Allen, Curtis Mayfield, Keith Allison, Cousin Bruce Morrow (Cousin Brucie), George Benson, Peter Noone, Elvin Bishop, Alan O'Day, Stephen Bishop, Lee Oskar, Jack Bruce, The Paley Brothers, Keith Carradine, Robert Palmer, Carol Channing, Wilson Pickett, "Charlotte, Sharon, and Ula", Anita Pointer, Jim Dandy, Bonnie Raitt, Sarah Dash, Helen Reddy, Rick Derringer, Minnie Riperton, Barbara Dickson, Chita Rivera, Donovan, Johnny Rivers, Randy Edelman, Monte Rock III, Yvonne Elliman, Danielle Rowe, Jose Feliciano, Sha-Na-Na, Leif Garrett, Del Shannon, Geraldine Granger, Joe Simon, Adrian Gurvitz, Seals & Crofts, Billy Harper, Connie Stevens, Eddie Harris, Al Stewart, Heart, John Stewart, Nona Hendryx, Tina Turner, Barry Humphries, Frankie Valli, Etta James, Gwen Verdon, Dr. John, Diane Vincent, Bruce Johnston, Grover Washington, Jr., Joe Lala, Hank Williams, Jr., D.C. LaRue, Johnny Winter, Jo Leb, Wolfman Jack, Marcy Levy, Bobby Womack, Mark Lindsay, Alan White, Nils Lofgren, Lenny White, Jackie Lomax, Margaret Whiting, John Mayall, and Gary Wright.
The film began as a 1974 live Broadway show called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road, which was produced by The Robert Stigwood Organization. Stigwood had purchased the rights to use 29 Beatles songs for the play and was determined to do something with them, so he brought the songs to Henry Edwards to write a script. Edwards had never written a script for a film, but had impressed Stigwood with musical analysis he'd written for The New York Times. "I spread the songs out on my apartment floor and went to work," said Edwards. "Mr Stigwood wanted a concept. I told him I'd like to do a big MGM-like musical. We'd synthesize forms and end up with an MGM musical but with the music of today."
With a script in place, the cast was assembled. In the spring of 1977, Peter Frampton, The Bee Gees, and George Martin met to begin work on the soundtrack.

The movie received extremely negative reviews from most critics and barely broke even at the box office. The movie currently holds a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is not loved by fans of the Beatles, either.

24 hours : The world of John & Yoko 1969

A half hour 'special' from 1969 which is 'rarely seen' , ...this was shown following the John Lennon section of the 'Great Britons' series, in which there was a public vote to decide just who WAS the greatest Briton from our colourful and historical past.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beatlemania hits Miami Beach

Paul McCartney VH1 Flaming Pie Press Kit - 1997

  • Behind The Scenes music montage to "The World Tonight."
  • Clips of VH1's Live Town Hall broadcast, with interview by John Fugelsang.
  • Clips of Internet web chat.
From a VHS that was sent to the media as an EPK - Electronic Press Kit to promote Paul McCartney's album, "Flaming Pie". EPK's were the order of the day in the video cassette era. I believe the first Paul McCartney EPK that was compiled and sent to the media (primarily TV stations) was the one for "Press To Play" in 1986. Here's a bit more "Flaming Pie" promotion.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Beatles in Concert: Indiana State Fair

Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis. Afternoon Show 6.21pm, Thursday 3 September 1964.
  1. 00:00 Introduction
  2. 01:20 Twist & Shout
  3. 02:44 You Can't Do That
  4. 05:57 All My Loving
  5. 08:13 She Loves You
  6. 10:54 Things We Said Today
  7. 13:12 Roll Over Beethoven
  8. 16:24 Can't Buy Me Love
  9. 19:05 If I Fell
  10. 21:23 I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  11. 24:33 Boys
  12. 27:01 A Hard Day's Night
  13. 30:07 Long Tall Sally (incomplete)

Admittedly, this is not a video, but it is a Beatles concert in good audio quality, courtesy of a radio broadcast. For more details about the Beatles' visit to Indianapolis and the "Our Fair Beatles" TV Special, see Wogblog.

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Ed Sullivan Marquee

The marquee outside the CBS Ed Sullivan Theater, which normally displays 'The Late Show with David Letterman' was altered to look like the display when the Beatles played there in February 1964.

The Mad Life Of Phil Spector

Phillip Harvey "Phil" Spector (born Harvey Phillip Spector, December 26, 1939) is an American record producer, songwriter, and the originator of the "Wall of Sound" production method. In later years, he gained infamy as the subject of a murder conviction.
Spector was a pioneer of the 1960s girl-group sound, and produced more than twenty-five Top 40 hits from 1960 to 1965, at the height of his career, writing or co-writing many of them. Among his famous girl groups were the Ronettes and the Crystals. Spector later worked with artists including Ike and Tina Turner, John Lennon and the Ramones with similar acclaim. He produced the Beatles' album Let It Be, and the Grammy Award-winning Concert for Bangladesh by former Beatle George Harrison.
For his contributions to the music industry, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as a nonperformer. In 1997, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #63 on their list of the "Greatest Artists of All Time". The 1965 song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", produced and co-written by Spector for the Righteous Brothers, is listed by BMI as the song with the most U.S. airplay in the 20th century.
In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California home. He is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Lennon in Ottawa

Seminar On World Peace with the students and media, June 3, 1969 Ottawa, Canada.

Big Night Out

The complete show with other guests being dancers from Lionel Blair and singer Jackie Trent. From the Beatles Bible: February 23d, 1964: Despite having returned to England just the day before from their first US trip, The Beatles continued work with an appearance on the ABC Television show Big Night Out.
They arrived at Teddington Studios in the morning for rehearsals. This was the group's second appearance on the show; the first took place on 1 September 1963.
The programme was filmed before a studio audience in the evening. The Beatles took part in comedy sketches with hosts Mike and Bernie Winters, and mimed to six songs: All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man, Till There Was You, Please Mister Postman, Money (That's What I Want) and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
This edition of Big Night Out was first broadcast on most of the ITV network on Saturday 29 February from 6.35-7.25pm. All The Beatles' songs except for Money were included. The other guests on the show were Billy Dainty, Jackie Trent and Lionel Blair.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Beatles Welcome Home

Selected Originals - BEATLES WELCOME HOME

Click on the still photo to see this original Pathé Newsreel from the Beatles' homecoming. This is a ten minute plus version of the film, but it is silent.


Click on this image for a 5:45 minutes version of the film, with sound.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Lennon: The Way It Is June 1969

Montreal wasn't their first choice.
In fact it wasn't even their second.
When John Lennon and Yoko Ono checked in to Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel at midnight on May 26, 1969, it was, in part, due to heat and marijuana.
John and Yoko's Bed-in was originally conceived in Holland two months earlier.
The newlyweds hosted a honeymoon "bed-in" for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton, wanting to use their celebrity for good.
The gesture was part honeymoon, part performance art, interlaced with a protest against the Vietnam War. Spurred by the momentum of the first bed-in, they were keen to do another.
The notorious duo originally headed for the Bahamas, but Lennon found the island too hot to stay in bed for a week. They wanted to go to New York but the U.S. authorities axed that plan, repeatedly denying the ex-Beatle a visa because of a previous marijuana arrest.
So Montreal became the chosen city for their second bed-in. Throughout the week the couple, along with Ono's five-year-old daughter Kyoko, entertained guests including U.S. black civil rights advocate Dick Gregory, Quebec separatist Jacques Larue-Langlois and American cartoonist Al Capp.
In this footage, Capp gets in a shouting match with the "famous freaks." The self-described "dreadful, Neanderthal fascist" essentially summed up the bed-in as a publicity stunt and a gimmick.
The end of the bed-in was capped by a spontaneous recording of Give Peace a Chance.
Sometime between eight at night and three the next morning, alongside a roomful of people including Timothy Leary, Toronto Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, musician Petula Clark, and members of the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple, the anthem for peace was recorded.
Give Peace a Chance reached No. 14 on Billboard's chart -- and would inspire an entire generation to sing a song of peace.
John and Yoko's Montreal bed-in
• Lennon and Ono settled in at the corner suite rooms 1738-1740-1742 at the stately Queen Elizabeth Hotel. The hotel currently offers a John & Yoko Getaway Package which includes accommodations in the John Lennon suite and breakfast for two. (In 2007, it cost $600 per night plus tax.)
• Every year on Dec. 8, the day John Lennon was murdered, two dozen roses, half red and half white, are left anonymously by the door of the suite.
• John Lennon and Yoko Ono tied the knot on March 20, 1969, in Gibraltar.
• The first bed-in for peace took place in room 902, the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton.
• Lennon's The Ballad of John and Yoko chronicled the Amsterdam bed-in.
John and Yoko's Montreal bed-in
Medium: Television
Program: The Way It Is
Broadcast Date: June 8, 1969
Guest(s): Al Capp, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Derek Taylor
Host: Patrick Watson
Duration: 11:46

CBS Sunday Morning

The evolving Strawberry Fields Forever

This video takes us through the evolvement of the song that eventually became "Strawberry Fields Forever". It all starts with the Beatles' first U.S. visit...

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Casbah Club

The Beatles: The club that started it all
CNN's Jim Boulden visits The Casbah Club in West Derby, Liverpool, the true starting spot for The Beatles. Roag Best gives us the story.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Ringo's February Update

A long February update from Ringo, who recorded his narration at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Also included is a bit of his rehearsal for the Grammy Tribute with Paul, jamming on "Whole lotta shakin' going on".

Top 50 Moments

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Queenie Eye rehearsal

Paul and Ringo rehearse "Queenie Eye" with Paul's band before their Grammy performance.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Monday, 3 February 2014

Beatlemania Turns 50

The original "A Hard Day's Night" trailer with some record numbers added by the Daily Beast.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Beatles: 50 Years Later

February 7, 2014 marks 50 years since The Beatles' U.S. invasion. Their arrival gave American a much-needed boost in spirit following JFK’s assassination – so what do Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr remember most about that time?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

"All My Loving" (1968 Pop Music Documentary)

All My Loving is the 1968 BBC documentary directed by Tony Palmer that combines the music and news of the day in a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes disturbing manner. Tony Palmer is one of the leading music documentary directors, whose past efforts include CREAM Farewell Concert (1968), 200 Motels -- Frank Zappa (1971) and Ginger Baker in Africa (1971).
All My Loving was created when John Lennon and Paul McCartney challenged Palmer, then a classical music documentarian, to make a film that encompassed the 1968 music world in one hour of screen time. The film includes clips and interviews with the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Pink Floyd -who had just lost Syd Barrett -- Cream, Donavan, Frank Zappa, and Eric Burdon.
The film explores music with the idea that everyone demands heroes, and these heroes were going to change the world through the power of their music. This was the time of student demonstrations against the war in Viet Nam. The music describes this movement with a bitterness too deep for words alone. The music becomes an escape from the troubles of the day.
This is an important film, but not one to be watched with young children in the room, nor for the faint of heart. Tony Palmer's innovation in making this film is that he intertwines the music of the time, the aftermath of the Summer of Love, and the beginning of the peace movement with the violence that is going on in the world.
When you see the scene of the Viet Cong guerrilla on the streets of Saigon and then the gun comes up to his head and is fired, while in the background Pink Floyd is playing "Set the Controls to the Heart of the Sun," and you watch blood spewing from the open wound, it is not something that you will soon forget!
The movie continues in this vein with savage newsreel clips of Buddhist monks burning to death tied into rock music which is tied to the musicians talking about their world compared to the violence of these events. At times it flows smoothly, and at times it is choppy, but it is always on the edge.
All My Loving is not a film for everyone; certainly not for the very young and not for those who can't take the raw violence. It is for those who want to get a feel for the era; for the moment and for what made the change from the Summer of Love to the violence that shook 1968 all the way to the Chicago Democratic National Convention.