Vale George Martin

 

Rest in peace.

 
So saddened to hear that the great Sir George Martin has passed away. He was such a huge part of what made The Beatles so great – his production on each of their tracks is incredible to listen to, and everything he added to their music enhanced so much of their work, often lifting it from ‘great’ to bonafide masterpiece status. I’ll never forget the first time I heard his mono mix of Revolver; ‘A Day In The Life’s apocalyptic orchestra; ‘In My Life’s beautiful (sped-up) piano; ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’; ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’; ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – all greatly affected by his work. He always seemed a true gentleman, too. 

May he rest in peace.

The Rise and Fall of The Beatles’ Apple Boutique

The infamous Apple Boutique mural

The infamous Apple Boutique mural

There are some buildings and businesses in Beatles history which are so infamous and essential to their story, the musical associations and memories of which will long outlive the business or building itself. One of these could be the NEMS shop, the Epsteins’ business in Liverpool. AKA the shop where a “Raymond Jones” requested a copy of Tony Sheridan’s (and The Beatles’) ‘My Bonnie’, thus prompting Brian Epstein to discover The Beatles. Another of these in the infamous Apple Boutique, opened in 1967 around the birth of Apple Corps. The boutique is particularly well-known for a wildly psychedelic mural painted on its exterior. It, however, closed up shop less than a year later.

The Apple Boutique was situated on 94 Baker Street in London, and first opened its doors in December 1967. The concept behind the shop was to have everything in the shop for sale. A place of psychedelia, flower-power, gorgeous clothing and hippy-dom in general, Paul described it as “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things” when it opened. It’s documented that there was other reasoning, too, than just setting up a shop for the sake of it. They were told by Clive Epstein (Brian Epstein’s brother, who managed the band for a short while after Brian died) that if The Beatles didn’t spend a whole heap of money almost immediately, most of it would be lost to the taxman. They decided to open a business to spend the money, and decided that if they were going to do so, they might as well create a business about something they all liked. And hence how the Apple Boutique came about…

An invitation to the opening of the boutique

An invitation to the opening of the boutique

The Apple Boutique opened its doors for the first time on the 5th of December, 1967. There was an official opening party, with invitations like the above sent out to various people. These invitations told the invitee to come at 7:46, and that a fashion show will be at 8:16. Wikipedia points out the irony of these exact times, as the Apple Boutique was not exactly known for its organisational techniques (more on that later…) John and George were the only two Beatles who attended the opening, and since the shop didn’t have an alcohol licence, apple juice was the drink served at the night. The boutique was managed by John’s childhood friend, Pete Shotton, and Pattie Boyd’s sister Jenny.

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The Beatles were digging a Dutch design collective called The Fool, at the time. The Fool had painted John’s and George’s cars,and John’s and Paul’s pianos, and had designed the Sgt Pepper inner-sleeve… So it isn’t surprising that The Beatles decided to employ The Fool to help with the boutique. The design collective were given 100,000 pounds to stock and decorate the boutique.

In my humble opinion, the clothes that The Fool designed for the ill-fated boutique were absolutely exquisite! The shop was opened in the height of psychedelia and consequently, the clothes that were designed consisted of extravagant silks, velvet and vinyl of bright blues, pinks, reds, yellows and oranges, strings of colourful beads, bell-bottomed trousers (and sleeves!), gorgeous patterned textiles, crop tops, mini dresses, maxi skirts, kaftans…

Some designs...

Some designs…

More...

More…

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An original design

However, the tags attached to the clothing were made of silk. And the clothes themselves were also made of expensive threads. Due to this, the garments sold at the Apple Boutique were outrageously expensive. The boutique was often extremely busy, but actual purchases being made was quite rare. Theft, however, was alarming common in comparison. And it wasn’t just customers stealing the clothes — staff did, too. The shop was quickly losing money, probably because the entire business was so disorganised. Much like Apple Corps itself…

The expensive tags...

The expensive tags…

In 1968, a film called Hot Millions featured a scene filmed in the Apple Boutique. This scene provides one of the only ventures into the interior of the boutique, and also shows a couple of the designs:

However, the most famous thing about the Apple boutique is probably the mural painted on its exterior.

The mural.

The mural.

Fool member Barry Finch designed the mural for the leased shop, and got a bunch of art students to paint it on the facade of the building. The mural was inspired by a similar painting in Carnaby Street, though the Apple version was much more colourful. The mural gained the boutique a lot of attention, obviously!

However, the Westminster Council had not given The Beatles permission to paint the mural. Nor had the landlord of the building. Due to a bunch of complaints from other spoilsport shop-owners, they were told to paint over the mural. And when they didn’t, they were threatened with eviction. The mural was sadly painted over in minimalist white. Very much a sign of the generation gap.

After the mural

After the mural

Five months into to boutique venture, The Beatles bought up another ’60s boutique called Dandie Fashions, which had been frequented by themselves, The Stones and The Who in previous years. They renamed it Apple Tailoring. It closed down within a couple of months, with the boutique.

Dandie Fashions...

Dandie Fashions…

...into Apple Tailoring.

…into Apple Tailoring.

But the Apple Boutique wasn’t turning a profit. Theft was still way more common then actual purchases, and the shop venture was quickly sending The Beatles into bankruptcy. And so The Beatles decided to close down the boutique. But to get rid of the stock, they didn’t just have a sale or something of a similar ilk. On the closing day, everything in the shop was infamously to be given away. Apparently each customer was limited to 1 thing, but this wasn’t managed… By the end of the day, the shop was completely stripped.

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The building where the boutique was is now knocked down. In its place is now a Beatles memorabilia shop, and a Sherlock Holmes museum.

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Hope you all had a great week, and I shall post soon! Good day sunshine 🙂

 

The Craziest Beatles-Related Conspiracy Theories…

PLEASE NOTE: I do not believe any of these conspiracy theories. I did not create them. This post isn’t to be taken too seriously…

Conspiracy theories. There’s a lot of them, about every single thing you could imagine. So it will be no surprise to you that there are a whole host of Beatles conspiracies! Sure, nearly every music fan has heard of Paul’s “death” in 1966, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Here are a few of the best theories concerning the Fab Four..

1. The infamous ‘Paul Is Dead’

Apparently proving that Paul was 'replaced' (hmm)...

Apparently proving that Paul was ‘replaced’ (hmm)…

Okay. Probably the most famous Beatles conspiracy. Also the oldest. And the one with the most clues. The ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy first reared its ugly head in 1969, after some slightly delusional college students in the US decided, after listening to Abbey Road, that there were many clues proving that Paul was DEAD. It runs like this: on the 9th of November, 1966, Paul supposedly got into an argument with John, George and Ringo and drove off angrily. He, however, crashed his car and was killed. And, of course, the other Beatles decided that this death needed to be covered up to spare the public the grief of just telling them. Paul was replaced with “William Campbell”, and clues telling of Paul’s death were included within every Beatles release from then on. Some of these were: “Paul”‘s bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road; the number plate on the Volkswagen Beetle on the cover of Abbey Road, LMW-28IF; the line ‘the walrus was Paul’ in ‘Glass Onion’ and his walrus costume in Magical Mystery Tour; the indecipherable speech at the end of ‘I’m So Tired’, supposedly saying ‘Paul is dead, man — miss, miss, miss him’ when played backwards; the various phone numbers that can apparently be made from the stars on the cover of Magical Mystery Tour, that were rumoured to be answered by various funeral parlours if rung in the ’60s; and a patch that Paul is wearing in the gatefold picture of Sgt Pepper that reads ‘O.P.D.’ (an acronym for ‘officially pronounced dead’). You can read more clues here.

William Campbell, or Faul, obviously went on to write some of “Paul”‘s best songs, come up with the entire concept of Sgt Pepper, and after The Beatles broke up, started and disbanded Wings. To this day, he loiters on this Earth, claiming to be the real Paul McCartney… 😉 And you know what? The Beatles weren’t even recording on the 9th of November, 1966. Making the entire conspiracy a piece of rubbish!

2. ‘The Fib Four’

The 'tapes' of the Fib Four

The ‘tapes’ of the Fib Four

In 1971, a guy named Martin Lewis compiled a Beatles bootleg discography, naming not-yet-released tunes for ’70s fans to wonder about. Among these were ‘That Means A Lot’ and ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ (both on Anthology 2), and the infamous ‘Carnival of Light’. Also among these songs were four numbers named ‘Pink Limitus Shirt’, ‘Colliding Circles’, ‘Left Is Right (and Right is Wrong)’ and ‘Deckchair’, all ‘outtakes’ from late 1966. ‘Pink Limitus’ was written by George, ‘Deckchair’ a member of Paul’s ‘granny music’ creations, and both ‘Left Is Right’ and ‘Colliding Circles’ were John’s. These songs were stored in the Abbey Road vaults, in case The Beatles needed some cash, pronto. They were never found, thus leaving devout fans of yesteryear to ponder over.

And there’s good reason why these ‘songs’ have never been found. They never existed in the first place! Turns out that Lewis couldn’t find enough outtakes to fill out the discography, so decided to create a bunch of outtakes to take up some space. These became known as ‘The Fib Four’, when everyone worked out they didn’t actually exist. Lewis later became a well respected Beatles scholar, believe it or not.

3. The Beatles were created by The Illuminati to brainwash the youth

No, John and Paul weren't just being cheeky. Apparently.

No, John and Paul weren’t just being cheeky. Apparently.

According to this theory created by some dude named Dr John Coleman, The Beatles were not an actual band. They were, in fact, formed by The Illuminati. Their songs and actions were written and scripted by their ‘bosses’ with the sole intent of brainwashing the youth. The Coleman dude supposedly “proves” in his book (yes, book) on the conspiracy that The Beatles were a “psychological operation” created by The Tavistock Institute. Their creation apparently advanced the Illuminati’s goal of creating a Brave New World-esque ‘New Age Movement’ which “introduced soft drugs to middle-class American youth” and brainwashed them into rebellion. Clues for this conspiracy include the above pictures involving devil-ish hand-symbols, the band’s shadowed faces on the cover of With The Beatles, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”s supposed references to Lucifer (or Satan!)…

Now, I think this is fairly obviously a load of rubbish. Though I can’t exactly disprove it (nobody has actually come out and responded), so… 😉

4. ‘The Lennon Prophecy’

The conspiracy's book. Yes. Book.

The conspiracy’s book. Yes. Book.

Oh dear. I’d forgotten about this one. Basically, the entire theory resides on this: John, in a desperate attempt to become more famous than Elvis, made a pact with Satan on the 8th of December, 1960. This pact expired in 1980, hence what happened… The clues for this theory include John’s placement on the back cover of Sgt Pepper, the cover of Abbey Road, and many examples of backmasking. And why do these clues all sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s right. They’re all Paul Is Dead clues, too. You can read more about this one here.

I think we can quite safely say that this, again, is a load of rubbish. I mean, if you’re going to create a conspiracy, at least be original about it!

5. ‘The Beatles, as they were presented to us, never existed’

"Proof" for John.

“Proof” for John.

This is my favourite conspiracy of them all… The Beatles never existed! They were, in fact, played by a heap of different clones over the years! And clones, of course, can only be 95% – 99% accurate. Don’t believe the “researchers”? Luckily for you, they’ve compiled a bunch of photo comparisons, showing differences in height and eyebrows. And ears. And eyes. And guess what? They’ve also created a forum, just so you can discuss this — and all the other conspiracy theories which are definitely true! (Not.)

This theory got a lot of publicity late last year (I think it went viral on Reddit). I just went onto the website to find a picture for this post, and the actual website no longer shows proof! The website now only shows a page telling the reader to ‘please conduct your own personal research before believing what anybody says about anything’, and how all the articles written about their theory last year are not true and are ‘hatchet-jobs’. But thankfully, the forum still exists, and all their research will forever be preserved there. (You can find the website and forum here.) Again, I think we can quite safely say this is not true. Clearly the “researchers” have never heard of shoes, differences in posture and the ageing process…

And there we go! Have you heard of a particularly crazy Beatles conspiracy? Don’t forget to tell me in the comments!

I will be able to post a lot more than I have been very soon, so I should get my next post up (the next installment of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’!) here in less than a week! Yay! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂