Pictures Of You…

 

PattiSmithHorses

The cover of Horses is a good example of truly great rock photography (taken by Robert Mapplethorpe)

Let’s face it: it is rare to become a fan of a band simply because the music is pretty good. While, of course, the music is a massive catalyst in such a decision, we become invested in our favourite artists for a myriad of reasons – and often, the visual chops of said artist is one of these. Think about it – it is difficult to picture the early Beatles without their Pierre Cardin-designed collarless suits, glam-era David Bowie without glittery, flamboyant catsuits and bright-red platform boots, The Sex Pistols without their Vivienne Westwood designed garb, The Cure’s Robert Smith without his teased hair and copious amounts of eyeliner… But of course, it’s a little difficult to be fascinated by a band’s visual presentation without seeing them first. And unless you’ve been lucky enough to see one of the above in real life, it is at this point that the world of rock photography enters the picture. (Pun intended.)

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Joe Strummer (taken by Pennie Smith)

When I mention ‘rock photography’, I do not mean the kind that consists of the unimaginative awkwardness equal to that of your Grade 5 school photo. I mean the kind that appears to effortlessly capture the spirit of what music is all about – think the cover of Patti Smith’s Horses, the freezeframe of Joe Strummer about to smash his guitar that eventually became the cover of London Calling, that photoshoot of Bowie and his lightning bolt makeup…  So today, I’m going to name and showcase a few of my favourite rock photographers – the masters of capturing the spirit of rock’n’roll – and I’ll say a few words about them, too. Though, as they always say, a picture is worth a thousand words…

Mick Rock

Most famous for photographing: David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Syd Barrett

Contrary to what regular readers may assume, I didn’t discover Mick Rock’s photography via his extensive Bowie work, but through his photoshoot for the cover of Syd Barrett’s debut solo album, The Madcap Laughs. There is something so mysterious and magical about these photos – Syd (wearing smudged kohl and a pair of old velvet flares) sits among his hazy and delightfully cluttered flat, somehow effortlessly capturing the spirit of his work.

But it was his Bowie shots that made him my all-time favourite photographer. The pictures he took of Bowie throughout the early ’70s are glittery, glamorous insights into the heady worlds of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Each shot manages to translate the theatricality, the otherwordliness, the arty intellectuality, the freakish beauty of his work into what are (in my opinion) some of the greatest photos of all time. Of course, Bowie (well aware of the value of utilising both sound and vision) was photographed many times by countless photographers – but very few others managed to instinctively get what he was all about and freeze it within a few frames of film.

But then – then – I discovered that he took pretty much every famous picture of every iconic glam artist, too! His shots of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Brian Eno – alongside the Bowie ones – take the dangerously dark glamour of the movement and turn it into something we can still find infinitely fascinating and a little rebellious today. And apart from this, he also took a myriad of other incredible pictures of every other artist of the time you can think of – Queen, The Stones, Blondie, The Ramones, The Runaways, The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie Sioux… No wonder he is referred to as “the man who shot the ’70s”!

http://www.mickrock.com/

Bob Gruen

Most famous for photographing: New York punk, John & Yoko – but also every other artist you can think of

Even if you don’t know who Bob Gruen is, you most certainly know his work – he was the guy who not only shot that famous image of John Lennon wearing his ‘New York City’ shirt, but who actually gave John said shirt in the first place! Gruen shot almost every other iconic artist of the era as well, seemingly turning up at every show that passed through New York (where he is from). Among his other famous shots include a “multiple image” of Tina Turner and a picture of Sid Vicious with hot dog mustard all over his face, but he’s also photographed everyone from Led Zeppelin to KISS to Dylan to Green Day to the Beastie Boys to Sly Stone to Elvis Costello to [insert first artist off the top of your head here]…

Asides from this, Gruen was a regular at New York’s most iconic venues, CBGB and Max’s Kansas City – so consequently, he also shot a who’s-who of New York underground music throughout the ’70s and ’80s! He photographed native artists like the New York Dolls, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Devo, Plasmatics, Television and Blondie – on top of non-natives, like Nina Hagen, the Pistols and The Clash – performing to their equally-fascinating audiences, juxtaposing their fashions and reactions alongside the artists themselves. In a way, Gruen is to punk what Rock is to glam – he effortlessly captures the sweaty, intimate passion that defined much of the New York scene in a way that few others have mastered. But everything he’s shot has this too. His images never fail to remind you what rock’n’roll is all about…

http://www.bobgruen.com/

David Bailey

Most famous for photographing: The Stones, Lennon & McCartney

It’s probably kind of a stretch to refer to David Bailey as a “rock photographer” when most of his legacy stems around his relationship with models such as Jean Shrimpton and the like. But perhaps it is his background as a fashion photographer that makes his pictures of a few of the biggest stars of ’60s rock so interesting and great.

My favourite of his many photoshoots is the one he did with John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the beginning of 1965. The pair are photographed in the richest tones black-and-white film can produce against a starkly cold, white background – and though the photos are obviously staged, there is a candidness to the pictures, something that seems to transcend whatever a normal photo can capture. But perhaps Bailey was always more famous for picturing The Stones; asides from shooting Mick Jagger a number of times, he also took many of the band’s album covers, including their self-titled sophomore effort, US release The Rolling Stones, Now! and most famously Aftermath. Other musicians he’s shot include Marianne Faithful and Alice Cooper.

http://www.visualartists.com/artist/davidbailey/

Janette Beckman

Most famous for photographing: British punk and new wave

While Bob Gruen was capturing New York punk, Janette Beckman was busy photographing the various circles among the British musical underground at the same time. Like him, she managed to shoot a who’s-who of her scene, her work encompassing artists like Siouxsie Sioux (the subject of her first photoshoot), Public Image Ltd, The Jam, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Undertones – even The Who! She also captured a number of American artists who passed through town, too, such as Lydia Lunch, The Cramps and Debbie Harry. Beckman also shot a number of images of young people in Britain at the time, illustrating the assorted tribes – punk, mod, ska, and so on – that found themselves scattered around the country at the time, and later went on to shoot a bunch of hip hop groups in the ’80s.

In contrast to Gruen and Rock, her images rarely show her subjects performing onstage – instead opting for staged shoots and backstage candids – but this doesn’t stop her from capturing the spirit and ethos of the movements around her. Her shots capture the passion and philosophies of the artists in fascinatingly inventive ways – the way she captures the feeling of the music is perhaps only precedented by Mick Rock. Her work is quirky and endlessly interesting, an incredible document of much of the greatest music of the time.

http://janettebeckman.com/

Brad Elterman

Most famous for photographing: candid shots of a who’s-who of ’70s rock’n’roll

Unlike the other photographers in this list, Brad Elterman did not become an official photographer until a few years into his career. This is illustrated by my favourite story about him – of how, in 1976, he was denied a photopass into Bowie’s recording studio during the making of Station to Station, so instead opted to wait outside the studio and ambush Bowie and his crew as they left that night. Despite this, though, he still managed to photograph a heap of major faces in ’70s rock’n’roll, and in a way that many of his official counterparts would be incapable of.

Elterman’s shots are candid and compelling in a way that more professional photoshoots are not. He so easily shows the emotions and lives of his subjects – his pictures are relaxed and fun, and they capture a certain realism about the whole thing. He’s photographed everyone from Joan Jett to Bowie, Dylan to John and Yoko, Michael Jackson to Joni Mitchell, and there is just something so special about each! There is no-one who has shot the rock’n’roll world with his unbelievably unique eye before or since, and it is this that makes his work so great…

http://www.bradelterman.com/

And so, who are your favourite rock photographers? What are your favourite pictures of rock music? Be sure to tell me in the comments!

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A Guide To Unused Beatles Album Covers

It goes without saying that the covers of The Beatles’ albums are iconic. It seems like an obligatory tourist thing when one is in London to stop by the Abbey Road crossing and recreate the cover of the album of the same name. And whenever someone makes a list of the ‘best album covers’, The Beatles feature pretty prominently in them. And not to mention the millions of artists that have recreated the images for their own albums: among them Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and, oh, The Rutles.

But like a lot of iconic things, The Beatles’ album covers went through a few changes before settling on the iconic images we all know and love. You may have seen a picture of The Beatles walking the opposite way across Abbey Road, or maybe the uncropped and unstretched Rubber Soul cover. (Or any of the following shots, too.) After seeing a few of of these different images, I decided to try and find an unused photo for each album. Each of these are either pictures that are a little different to the final image, or a discarded piece of cover art, or a draft for the cover — or maybe even all three! So here goes…

Please Please Me

The original cover:

beatles please please me

The unused images:

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alternative-please-please-me_03

alternative-please-please-me_04

The story:

The cover of Please Please Me was shot in around February or March, 1963. ‘Cos George Martin was an “honorary fellow” of the Zoological Society of London, the original plan was to shoot the cover in front of the Insect House at the London Zoo. The Zoo, however, didn’t consent, so the cover was famously taken on the stairwell at EMI headquarters by a guy called Angus McBean. Since it was a session, it’s no surprise that there’s a number of outtakes. The three above are probably just a few!

With The Beatles

The original cover:

with the beatles

The unused images:

with-the-beatles-outtake_01

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The story:

In the Summer of 1963, The Beatles were touring England and were staying in Bournemouth. Photographer Robert Freeman was hanging with the band, and they needed an album cover. So The Beatles and Freeman set up a makeshift studio in their hotel. The “shadow” technique was suggested by the band, from when their German friend Astrid Kirchherr would take similar shots of them in their time in Hamburg. When they received the shots, EMI were originally unhappy with the sultry expressions of The Beatles, and wanted something a little cheerier. But The Beatles won, and hence the creation of a very iconic album cover!

A Hard Day’s Night

The original cover:

a hard day's night

The unused images:

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ahdn outtakes

ahdn_richy

The story:

The cover of A Hard Day’s Night was again shot by Robert Freeman. Apparently the idea for the shots was to make it look like a roll of film, and each Beatle does a different facial expression with every frame. Although only 16 were used on the actual album, many photos were taken so there are heaps of outtakes! The above are only a few… Many of the photos were also used over the credits of the same name.

Beatles For Sale

The original cover:

beatles for sale

The unused images:

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alternative-beatles-for-sale_01

The story:

The Beatles For Sale cover was shot by Robert Freeman, too! The pictures were shot at the end of 1964 in London’s Hyde Park. Apparently, it was 7 PM (and getting dark!), so the pictures were taken within half an hour. The coloured spots on each image are leaves, which an assistant held in front of the camera. The cover shows The Beatles looking serious, showing how they were quickly becoming disillusioned with their fame…

Help!

The original cover:

beatles-help-uk-cover-art

The unused image:

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The story:

And Help! is again Robert Freeman’s work. The cover was inspired by The Beatles’ snow scene in the film of the same name, and Freeman recreated the scene in his London studio. Their poses were supposed to read ‘HELP’ in semaphore spelling, but that didn’t work, so they spell ‘NUJV’ instead. It was kind of hard to find outtakes for Help! — maybe there aren’t any, or maybe they’ve just not been released. But I found a picture of John and Ringo in slightly different poses to the cover, so that’ll do.

Rubber Soul

The original cover:

rubber soul

The unused image:

rubber-soul-uncropped

The story: 

Rubber Soul was just the last Robert Freeman-taken cover. It was shot in the gardens around John’s house. The famous distortion of the photo happened when Freeman was projecting the picture onto cardboard to show The Beatles, and the cardboard wasn’t straight. The Beatles really liked the way it looked, hence the cover… However, an uncropped and unstretched version resurfaced a couple of years ago, and that’s the outtake for here. There’s still debate over whether it’s legitimate, but I like to think it is…

Revolver

The original cover:

Revolver

The unused images:

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The story:

Revolver was when The Beatles’ covers went very arty! The cover was drawn and collaged by Klaus Voorman, a friend of the band going back to Hamburg days. The second picture was his draft of what he was going to do. (Which he then turned into the iconic cover!) Brian Epstein in particular adored the picture, though The Beatles loved it, too. However, the very first design (the first image) was designed by Robert Freeman. When the image is spun, the faces supposedly merge into one. But it wasn’t to be. Klaus finished the cover long before the album was named, funnily enough.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The original cover:

Sgt Peppercomp

The alternative covers:

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pepperwrongdrum

MC-0012-08comp

MC-0013-08comp

The story:

The inspiration for the cover of Sgt Pepper was inspired by a picture of the jazz band that Paul’s dad was in, believe it or not! Paul and art gallery-owner Robert Fraser devised the idea, and then enlisted the help of acclaimed pop-artist Peter Blake. The Beatles then designed the cover along with Blake, which included choosing the people famously behind The Beatles on the picture. A guy called Michael Cooper shot the photos, and there are plenty of different poses. Picture 2 shows a different drumhead, too. However, the original cover was very different! Picture 1 was designed by Dutch design collective The Fool, who would go on to help The Beatles with the Apple Boutique. Though they did end up designing the inner sleeve, I think their cover wasn’t considered for long…

The Beatles (or The White Album)

The original cover:

the white album

 

The alternative covers:

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images (6)

The story:

The other covers considered for The White Album couldn’t be more different to the famously-minimalist design they went with. Paul wanted a cover that was the absolute opposite to Pepper, and he ended up with the first picture; a detailed ink drawing. Another image that was also considered was Picture 2, which was illustrated by a guy called John Byrne. (This would later be used for a Beatles compilation called The Beatles’ Ballads.)

Abbey Road

The original cover:

Beatles_-_Abbey_Road

The alternative covers:

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A-116-02comp

A-116-03comp_0

A-116-04comp

The story:

Definitely The Beatles’ most iconic cover — if not the most iconic of all time — the design for Abbey Road was created by Paul in an untidy sketch. Photographer and friend of John and Yoko’s Iain Macmillam was enlisted to take the cover art, and the session took place on the crossing outside EMI’s Abbey Road Studios on August 8, 1969. But there were plenty of different positions that were tried before settling on the final product. So many outtakes have resurfaced over the years, and the above are just a few. They show The Beatles walking in a different direction, or with George instead of Paul out of step. But Paul still has bare feet. 😉

Let It Be

The original cover:

LetItBe

The alternative covers:

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getbackearly

The story:

At the beginning of 1969, The Beatles were working on The Get Back Project. (This would later become Let It Be.) They were working on new songs in Twickenham Film Studios and in the basement of Apple HQ, and George quit the band, briefly. Not to mention The Rooftop Concert. But in between all of this work, The Beatles found time to shoot the cover for the album that would result. They decided to go for a parody of their first album cover, and it — like Please Please Me — was shot on the stairwell at EMI headquarters. You can see the result (+ an outtake) above. But this idea was vetoed along with The Get Back Project, and was forgotten when it was released a year later. As far as I can see, there are no known outtakes of the used cover.

What’s your favourite unused Beatles album cover? Have you seen another image that I haven’t got here? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Happy Summer, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere! And stay warm, fellow Southerners… Good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂

I went to see Courtney Barnett!

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Courtney Barnett

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to see one of my favourite artists live; Courtney Barnett! She was playing a venue called The Gov, which is a bit famous in Adelaide. My parents bought me a ticket just under a day before the show, so thank you so much!

Me before the show

Me before the show

Courtney Barnett is an Australian indie singer, songwriter + guitarist. Her lyrics are marvelously witty and honest and funny, and she sings with her Australian accent. A lot of her songs are a little bit grungy, but a lot of them are softer, too. She and her partner Jen Cloher run an indie record label called Milk! Records. Courtney designs all her album art, too. She released her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit in March this year.

The Gov opened its doors at 7:30 and Mum + I arrived not long after. But as we were waiting, somebody walks past us and into the beer garden. And that somebody was Courtney! So after a few minutes, I plucked up my courage and went up to her. I introduced myself and told her that I’m a huge fan. She introduced me to her drummer, Dave, shook my hand, and asked if I was from Adelaide. Dave then took a picture of Courtney and me! They both said they hoped I would enjoy the show. Both Courtney and Dave were really nice, and it was amazing to meet someone I really look up to as an aspiring musician! A memorable start to a memorable night! Courtney actually watched the supports in the audience, which I thought was cool.

Courtney and me!

Courtney and me!

Soon after, the first support band started. They were called The Yabbies, and they were okay, but I thought the second support band were really good! They were called Teeth and Tongue, and played a certain style of half-synth-y, half-guitar-y indie pop which is just pleasing to the ears. Their frontwoman — Jessica Cornelius — also had great stage presence, which is always a plus. I loved dancing to their beats, and got some good photos of them, too.

Teeth and Tongue

Teeth and Tongue

Finally, at around 9:45, Courtney and her band came on! She launched into ‘Elevator Operator’, the first song on her new album, and sung the words in her signature Aussie voice. Everyone stood up, and I took prime position on top of a booth seat so I could see!

Courtney

Courtney!

Courtney and her band then played ‘Lance Jr’, a song from her first EP. ‘Lance Jr’ was in fact the first song of hers that I heard. Courtney then talked to the audience for a bit and played a few more songs from her latest album, like ‘Aqua Profunda!’, ‘Dead Fox’, ‘Small Poppies’ and ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’.

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A lot of people who go and see Courtney live comment on how her live performances are a bit heavier than the studio versions of her songs. And they’re right. Courtney, Dave and her bassist (a dude called Bones!) absolutely rocked The Gov! The walls and floors were quite literally vibrating! Her voice was a little bit sweeter live than it is on her studio songs — but then, she almost screamed a few of the songs live, too. There was such an air of excitement and energy buzzing throughout The Gov that night…

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Courtney then played a few more songs. One of these was the B-side of her latest single, ‘Depreston’, which is all about house-hunting in a suburb in Melbourne called Preston. (Courtney, who lives in Melbourne, often references the city in her songs.) She also played a song called ‘Kim’s Caravan’, which is about the decline of the Great Barrier Reef and climate change in general. ‘Kim’s Caravan’ is one of the softer songs on Sometimes I Sit…, but it certainly wasn’t live. Courtney’s guitar was feeding like mad during the outro, and it sounded awesome! After a bit over an hour, Courtney, Dave and Bones finished the set with the gritty A-side of her latest single, ‘Pedestrian at Best’, left the stage…

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…And then came back! Courtney announced that she would play a cover of The Lemonheads’ ‘Bein’ Around’. She then dedicated a song to her Adelaide audience — one called ‘Pickles From The Jar’! The song mentions Adelaide a few times, hence the dedication… Finally, Courtney and her band finished off the encore with a heavy version of ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ by The Easybeats. And so she and her band finished her show a little bit after 11:00.

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I really, really enjoyed seeing Courtney Barnett live! Though I couldn’t see very well, and my ears rang for a while, I had an awesome night! Courtney really is amazing live, and is definitely a must-see. (And meeting her and Dave was a huge plus!) You can listen to Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit here, and you can buy it here.

I didn't take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!

I didn’t take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!

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.

fool22

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 🙂

 

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 8 – ‘The Beatles’ (aka The White Album)

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn't get to see it (I don't think it came to my city), but it looked really cool...

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn’t get to see it (I don’t think it came to my city), but it looked really cool…

For Part 8 of this series of posts, it is only fitting that the Beatles album released in 1968 is the focus. That album being, of course, a very famous double album. It’s called The Beatles. But most call it the White Album! The White Album is one of The Beatles’ most well-known releases, and is famous for its unconventional, inconsistent musical style and its nearly-all-white cover. It made number 10 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’,and number 4 on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums last year. (If I redid the ranking, though, it would probably make number 2 now!)

Apart from arguably being the weirdest album in the history of music (in the absolute best way possible!), The White Album is famous for a few other things. The sessions for the double album marked the first time that the relationship between The Beatles became particularly strained. John, Paul and George would often inhabit three separate studios in Abbey Road, each doing their own separate overdubs for their own separate songs… Ringo quit the band for a few of the early sessions, but was convinced to return by the other three. A few songs on The White Album also “inspired” Charles Manson and his “family” to commit the despicable things that they did… (But that was by no means The Beatles’ fault. It is truly horrible that the wonderful songs that Manson chose to associate himself with will forever be stained by his actions.) Oh, and it includes ‘Revolution 9’. However, the album was one of the earliest rock double albums. It also contains some of the (arguably) greatest songs ever, like the proto-metal of ‘Helter Skelter’, the tender and beautiful ‘Julia’, ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Blackbird’, the Eric Clapton solos of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the satire of ‘Piggies’ and ‘Glass Onion’, the first Ringo-penned tune (‘Don’t Pass Me By’), and the all-round awesomeness of wonderful songs like ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Yer Blues’, ‘I’m So Tired’… Not a bad piece of work, boys!

The White Album is also famous for its packaging. The cover is almost completely white, with the band’s embossed name being the only graphic on the front cover. That is, unless, one has a first-edition White Album. Then one would also have a number on the front, telling them what number White Album they own. Numbered WAs are particularly coveted by collectors… Original pressings also included four head-shots of each band member, and a poster with a collage of Beatles pictures on one side and the lyrics for every song. These posters were originally censored, as pictures of John and Paul naked are included on the uncensored version…

My White Album is my only other first-edition Australian vinyl (along with Revolver). In my opinion, two wonderful pleasures in life are listening to those albums on first-ed vinyl… But anyway, here is my White Album!

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Okay. Perhaps my White Album should really be called the White-with-a-coffee-stain Album. Its previous owner/s clearly mistook it for a coaster… Much like my Revolver, the cover is particularly tattered. Not that I care, though. If you look closely, you can see the embossed ‘The BEATLES’ logo. And if you look even closer…

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YES! I have a numbered White Album! I have the the 26,357th Australian White Album made. In Australia, the very early White Albums were numbered with the prefix ‘A’. Numbering went up to about the 3,000,000th WA, too. So I have a relatively low number! Due to the bad condition of the cover, it only cost me $30 AUD. And all the other numbered White Albums I have seen around here have been over 1,000,000 numbers higher. So tangerinetrees99 is a very, very lucky girl!

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This is the top of the back cover. The back cover is completely white, except for that little ‘STEREO’ stamp in the top right-hand corner. Australian stereo White Albums were made in the US, so it is slightly less rare than the UK-made Aussie mono pressings (which apparently only sold around 5,000 units). But I really don’t care!

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This is the gatefold of my album. As you can see, the spine is falling apart, sadly. On the left-hand side of the gatefold, the track-listing is written down in grey text. And on the other side, the head-shots that would have originally come with the album are pictured in black-and-white. My White Album would have originally come with the poster and headshots, but these have been lost somewhere before it reached me… Oh well!

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(The track-listing. What is your favourite song on the White Album? Tell me in the comments!)

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(The headshots!)

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These are the inner sleeves of the two discs. Again, I’m a very lucky girl, as they are the original inner sleeves! As you can see, the sleeves were originally black, probably as some kind of ironic joke! They are falling apart, but I don’t care! They still do a good job of keeping the vinyl protected…

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These are the discs, themselves. The White Album was the first proper Apple Corps release in Australia, as the ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ single was released on both Apple and Parlophone, here.

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And a close-up of Side 1. As you may be able to see, the discs are severely scratched. But they play surprisingly beautifully! Really. Beautifully. The scratches are light enough so that the needle doesn’t skip, and though it crackles a bit, our record player crackles a lot, full stop. There is nothing quite like listening to The White Album on first edition vinyl. It really is an album that needs to be played loud through a good sound system, on an originally-pressed vinyl. Just the way The Beatles intended…

And there is my copy of my second-favourite Beatles album! Next month, I will return with one of the very last studio albums in the series…

Hope you all have a great Easter break! Tomorrow, I’m going to a music festival, which should be heaps of fun… And I’m now on school holidays! Yay! You should be seeing me a little more ’round here than usual. But ’till next post, 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 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 7 — ‘Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits’

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles' brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles’ brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

And so it is the 1st of March… Happy Autumn (or Spring, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere)! In Adelaide, the month of March (or really, mid February ’till the end of March) is Festival Season. We have lots of music and arts festivals at this time of year, and it is a really awesome place to be! Tonight, I’m going to see a stage production of The Who’s Tommy (as a part of the Adelaide Festival), and next weekend I will be spending three days at WOMADelaide (a world music festival, with the best food, iced tea and shops, too!)! And in unrelated news, we are playing a Beatles medley in my school concert band! Yay! But onto the post…

‘My Beatles Record Collection’ is back — late… Sorry about that. But alas, this month I will be focusing on a The Beatles’ studio album which never really was a proper studio album — Magical Mystery TourMagical Mystery Tour was released (ironically) on December 8th, 1967, as the soundtrack to the ill-fated “film” of the same name (which I have only watched once. I didn’t hate it, but it was a bit odd…) In countries on which The Beatles were released on Parlophone, it was released as a double EP, complete with a fancy booklet and fancy packaging. But in the land of good ol’ Captiol Records (America), it was released as a full length LP along with the Beatles’ singles from ’67, because EPs were apparently “useless” at that point in time. But anyway, due to its different release methods, it is often debated between Beatles fans as to whether it should be included in the core discography or not. Ever since the ’87 remixes, EMI has included along with the core selection as a studio album as the material was never available on an actual studio album. But I am in the latter camp. Magical Mystery Tour, to me, is a Captiol compilation of a similar ilk to pretty much any Beatles album released in America before Sgt. Pepper. But oh well. As an album, some of the tracks include ‘Flying’, ‘Blue Jay Way’ (my favourite song on the album!), ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and the famous ‘I Am The Walrus’ (goo goo g’joob). I’d say it is just as mad and psychedelic as Pepper, and I love mad psychedelia! 🙂

America was not the only place to have a Magical Mystery Tour LP, however. In 1970, the same album was released in Australia, under a slightly different title of Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits. But it was not released on Apple, or Parlophone. It was released on a label named World Record Club (exclusively in Australia, according to the back!), which was a mail-order catalogue type thing. I obtained my copy in a cool record shop in Melbourne back in July, and apparently they are quite rare!

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This is the front cover. Note how it is so different to the US/official cover which we all know so well! The picture is a still from the ‘I Am The Walrus’ scene of the film. The font of the title is different, too. But then, the actual title itself is different too, so…

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This is the back cover (obviously!). I actually like the back cover, as it makes it clear to the listener which songs are from the film, and which ones are “other selections”. I find it interesting how some quirky pieces of text which are synonymous with the original EP/LP — like the “‘No, you’re not!’ said Little Nicola” bit underneath ‘I Am The Walrus’, and the production being credited to ‘Big George Martin’ — are included on the back of this version, too! Oh, and that little star in the top right-hand corner says ‘STEREO’, by the way. By the time that MMT was released in Australia as an LP, mono had long been not used for albums. The Beatles were in fact the first popular band to utilise stereo, as far back as Please Please Me. Funny to think how all The Beatles’ albums were packed in between 1963 – 1970. Amazing…

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This is the vinyl itself! The inner sleeve is quite interesting, as it is made of quite thick, translucent plastic — as opposed to the paper or flimsier, transparent plastic inner sleeves of the Parlophone/Apple releases. You can see the WRC record label here, too. According to Wikipedia, WRC was actually owned by EMI from 1965 onwards — which would explain why the inclusion of a Beatles album in one of those mail order catalogues (they usually weren’t included).

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A close-up of the label. The actual text isn’t that different to what one would discover on a regular Beatles release label, though of course the label itself is. Apparently WRC felt a need to point out that it should spin at 33 1/3 RPM…

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And a close-up of the vinyl! It’s in really, really good condition — near mint, actually! The vinyl is still very shiny — to the point where I had to have a few goes to try and not get my iPad reflected on the vinyl! And for a record made in 1970, the vinyl is quite heavyweight. (A lot heavier than the flimsy ‘orange label’ reissues of the same time, anyway…) It plays really well, so I am pleased!

And there we go…done for another month. I am especially looking forward to doing this month’s ‘MBRC’, as it is time for a very special double album. And I am lucky enough to have an equally special pressing of this album…

Oh, and yesterday (February 28th) would have been the 73rd birthday of my favourite Stone, Brian Jones! Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading on Brian (and The Stones). Amongst other things, Brian was a huge influence on The Stones in the early days, and he was an amazing multi-instrumentalist who made many good Stones songs great. I shall write a proper post about him at some point in the future, but for now, I shall post a few pictures of him below. Happy birthday, Brian!

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I’ll go back to my normal blogging schedule next week, I think. I have a great Beatley idea which has been in the works for a very good while, and it shall see the light of day next week! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY GEORGE HARRISON!!!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

[PLEASE NOTE: I did start writing this post on the 25th, and I meant to publish it then. But I had a Science assignment to finish. Sorry George. But I managed to finish and get the post up today!]

The 25th was a great day for all Beatles fans, for it would have been the 72nd birthday of the great George Harrison! I listened to All Things Must Pass to celebrate, and I might even get around to listening to some of my George vinyl, too! Happy birthday, Georgie!

As most Beatles fans know, there is considerable doubt over whether George’s birthday is on the 24th or 25th of February. George himself supposedly found out in later life – after being told that he was born on the 25th – that his “real” birthday was on the 24th. But his birth certificate says that it is the 25th. (And apparently George’s mother rang a friend almost immediately after George was born.) So I think the jury’s still out on which day he was actually born, but anyway…

I said a lot about George on the 29th of November, but I still have heaps to say about the “Dark Horse” – so here goes!

I cannot emphasise how much I think George is underrated when it comes to songwriting. Though virtually everyone who knows a little about The Beatles knows that George wrote ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a whole chunk of people forget that he wrote so many other great songs, too! It’s such a pity (not to mention totally unfair) that John and Paul and George Martin underestimated — and undermined — George so much, as well. Especially since people such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton (who had been working with George during the break between the White Album and Get Back/Let It Be) had nothing but the utmost respect for him. (Though it did make for one of the greatest albums of all time – All Things Must Pass…)

(‘Think For Yourself’) This gem off Rubber Soul was one of the very first Beatles songs I heard, and it made such an imprint on me. I thought it was a Lennon/McCartney song for ages. It was only a number of months later that — spurred to look it up on Wikipedia — that I discovered that George wrote it! George said that he probably wrote it about the government. Still so relevant today…

(‘What Is Life’) This was my favourite George song for ages and ages. It is still one of my favourites (though not my top favourite). It just brings such a giant grin to my face, whenever I hear it, and I can’t help but dance to that rockin’ guitar riff and sing along at the top of my lungs. Oh, and the single of this song was the first solo Beatles vinyl I bought.

(‘Long Long Long’) I know I talk about this song all the time, but it is definitely one of my top four (if not less) songs on the ‘White Album’. And definitely, definitely one of my favourite songs written by George. It is so underrated, and it is so gorgeous — everything about it is perfect from George’s gently weeping strummed acoustic guitar, to his equally gentle and beautiful vocals, to the mad ending.

(‘Wah Wah’) Now — THIS is my all-time favourite George Harrison song! (Though I will admit I haven’t listened to all of his solo albums…) All Things Must Pass is such an amazing album, full stop! I just love the vocals, the brass, the guitars, just everything! George quitting The Beatles for that short period during the Get Back sessions sure made for a very good song…

(‘Don’t Bother Me’) This was the first song that George ever wrote (excluding ‘Cry For A Shadow’), and though he always hated it, I think it’s wonderful! Very danceable — like most of the early Beatles’ music — and very, very fun! It’s also one of the very first Beatles songs to go a bit experimental when it came to instruments…

(‘Isn’t It A Pity’) One of the most beautiful songs ever written. Ever. The lyrics are just so touching and exquisite, George sings it wonderfully and those slide licks are the sweet icing on top of a gorgeous cake. I love both versions, but Version 1 is the one above.

(‘Savoy Truffle’) Plenty of people love to hate this song. But I love it so much! Those groovy keyboards, the saxes, not to even mention that Clapton-esque guitar… This time last year, I used to YouTube The White Album just so I could listen to this song.

(‘Awaiting On You All’) This song makes me smile so much! It’s wonderful! I love how it is used so much in George Harrison: Living In The Material World, ‘cos it sure deserves it!

And George was also a really, really good musician. That crazy bassline in ‘Old Brown Shoe’ is probably my favourite bass line ever. And let me tell you now, it is not Paul is playing it.

 

And though many of my favourite George lead guitar lines stem from his slide work from his solo career, the solo — and licks — on the album version of ‘Let It Be’ (by far my favourite version, by the way) are amazing! People always say that The Beatles never had a rock god moment in their career. They should listen to this.

 

And that’s not even mentioning his sitar work! The first in rock music, I might add… I love all his sitar-y songs, but I’ll embed ‘Love You To’ ‘cos it was my favourite for ages…

 

George always seemed like such a lovely guy, too. There are so many stories of him being really, really nice to fans (he was the Beatle that wrote ‘Apple Scruffs’!), and of course there is that story about George mortgaging Friar Park to fund Monty Python’s Life of Brian! I really love listening to George speak about various things, too. I was lucky enough to get a box-set of the Anthology documentaries for Christmas, and George’s insights are definitely the most interesting. He also had some really interesting (and realistic) things to say, as well. A very interesting — and intriguing — man.

George also had a wonderful sense of humour! What would A Hard Day’s Night be like without the ‘grotty shirts’ scene? (George was the first to use the word ‘grotty’, by the way…) And that clip of George launching into ‘My Sweet Lord’ turn ‘The Lumberjack  Pirate Song’ (and doing other related skits) with Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television is just about the funniest thing ever!

 

But to finish, happy birthday Georgie! Though John may be my favourite Beatle, you are a close second and you are a great inspiration to me. You were a great musician, and a great person. We will never forget you. tangerinetrees99 🙂

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A Mad Day Out!

In The Beatles' fandom, we don't have 'Where's Wally'. We have 'Where are The Beatles'.

In The Beatles’ fandom, we don’t have ‘Where’s Wally’. We have ‘Where are The Beatles’.

Sorry for not posting in over a week! I’ve been holidaying in Melbourne (involving lots of shopping, more additions to my Beatles t-shirt/vinyl collection and a Jacqui Lambie sighting!) since Saturday, and got back a couple of nights ago, but I’ve found some time to post today. And by the way, welcome to 2015 on ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’! I’ve got a feeling the next 12 months are going to be really awesome for this blog, with heaps of Beatle-y posts as usual, plus some stuff on a few of their contemporaries & some stuff on the 21st-century indie music scene. Not to mention the month-long first birthday party for this blog to be held in June… 🙂 But alas, here is a post I started a few weeks ago and decided to finish today!

Whilst there are a heap of instantly recognisable photos taken of The Beatles pre-Sgt. Pepper/White Album (most of which are taken by an insanely talented man who was the band’s official photographer from 1964-1966 & lived in Melbourne where he hung out with the likes of Germaine Greer, Mirka Mora, John and Sunday Reed and Barry Humphries/Dame Edna/Les Patterson for a few years before that, Bob Whitaker), arguably the most iconic behind the Abbey Road photoshoot (and perhaps the Sgt. Pepper one, too) is one of the band on July 28th, 1968. John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the midst of the White Album Sessions. They weren’t getting on so well. But they clearly got on well on this particular day… The day of the Mad Day Out photoshoot! Below are some of my favourite images from that day (and some not-so-serious captions… 😉 ) — enjoy!

John is wearing his Apple Rooftop coat! (Well, it was actually Yoko's...) And their poses create a groovy effect...

Gorgeous coats, John and George. Where can I purchase garments of such a variety? (“Well, you would need a time machine, for one… Or more money than you’ll probably accumulate in your entire life…”)

Hiding in the hollyhock...

Hiding in the hollyhock…

Boy, you've been a naughty boy(s)...

Boy, you’ve been a naughty boy(s) / you let your face grow long You sat on the grass when you have clearly read a sign telling you to do the exact opposite…

Whistling and Martha (perhaps John is whistling 'Martha My Dear'? Oh wait -- the song didn't exactly exist at that point in time, and John didn't exactly play on the song either, so...)

Whistling and Martha (perhaps John is whistling ‘Martha My Dear’? Oh wait — the song didn’t exactly exist at that point in time, and John didn’t exactly play on the song either, so…)

Iconic image! See -- I told you so... ;-)

Don McCullin (the photographer): “Y’know, boys, this picture I’ve just taken. I’ve got a feeling that this’ll become one of the most iconic images taken of you.” The Beatles then shake their heads: “Nah, Don. We’ve still got that picture of us walking across that zebra crossing to be taken in a year.”

'GET OUT!'

‘GET OUT! WE DON’T WANT NO CAMERAS!’

'This is a very rare parrot of the...um...er...well...SQUAWKING variety,' say the two leading parrot experts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

‘This is a very rare parrot of the…um…er…well…SQUAWKING variety,’ say the two leading parrot experts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Aww! And...

Aww! And…

Aww, again! Anyone who thinks that The Beatles hated each other need to take a look at these pictures...

Aww, again! Anyone who thinks that The Beatles hated each other need to take a look at these pictures — they were clearly very close.

Yo we's is da Beatle gansters! (Or perhaps how The Beatles would introduce themselves if they really were gangsters...)

“Yo. We’s is da Beatle gansters!” (Perhaps how The Beatles would introduce themselves if they really were gangsters…)

The man in the above picture has now started an exclusive internet forum dedicated to those who involved themselves in The Beatles without knowing. Notable people who've refused to join include the man on the cover of 'Abbey Road', a masterpiece recorded by (according to him) 'four kooks'.

“The man in the above picture has now started an exclusive internet forum dedicated to those who involved themselves in The Beatles without knowing. Notable people who’ve refused to join include the man on the cover of ‘Abbey Road’, a masterpiece recorded by (according to him) ‘four kooks’,” reports the deadly serious blogger, tangerinetrees99.

No, you four. I don't think it's possible to swim through concrete...

No, you four. I don’t think it’s possible to swim through concrete…

And finally, my favourite picture from 'Mad Day Out'! Peeping out from behind that hollyhock...

And finally, my favourite picture from ‘Mad Day Out’! Peeping out from behind that hollyhock…

And there we have it! Got any more Mad Day Out pictures/funny captions you want to add? Feel free to put them in the comments below… I’ll get back to doing more musically-orientated posts next time, but today I felt like showcasing one of the most famous photo sessions arguably of all time. And by the way, this is tangerinetrees99’s 50th post! Woo hoo! Until next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

P.S. And thank you to Quirky T for mentioning ‘AYNITB’ in their latest post! You can check out their awesome blog — all about music! — at https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/!

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 5 – ‘Rubber Soul’

John is wearing his suede 'Rubber Soul' jacket! And I wonder what is making George smile so widely...

John is wearing his suede ‘Rubber Soul’ jacket! And I wonder what is making George smile so widely…

‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, and welcome to this month’s edition of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’! This particular series even has a ‘suggested search entry’ on our laptop’s Google Chrome, now! But anyway, I shall start the post…

This post, the featured album is…Rubber Soul! This album is often recognised as the album that splits the early Beatles from the late-era Beatles (though I prefer the three-levels version. Or should that be seven? Google ‘seven levels paul mccartney’ if you have no idea what I’m joking about…) and has been named ‘the biggest leap in The Beatles’ career’ by various people of note. Whilst the band’s growing maturity and concern with lyrics is demonstrated on Help!, it is on Rubber Soul that these leaps are first demonstrated in full flow. And that’s not to mention the musical leaps that this album also made: its inclusion of the French/Greek guitar lines in ‘Michelle’/’Girl’ (respectively), the use of many genres including folk, psych rock, R&B and pop/rock, and the use of sitar on ‘Norwegian Wood’ (the first use of the instrument in rock music) are what makes the album one of the most influential in the history of rock music. Rubber Soul influenced many musicians to begin focusing on the album as a piece of art, and is particularly notable for inspiring Brian Wilson to create The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. It reached Number Five on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’, and Number Two on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums earlier this year. (Though I’m not too sure this blog is quite as important is Rolling Stone… 😉 )

My copy of Rubber Soul is probably the most expensive LP in my collection. I would have paid $100AUD for it full price, but the nice guy at the fab record shop I buy from gave me a discount, leaving the price at 70 bucks! Those of you who’ve been within the ‘AYNITB’ community for a while might remember it from this post. But anyway, here’s a picture (and yes, it’s from that post):

rubber soul lp one

Some of you might know that Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to not feature the name of the band on the front cover (a practice which was very uncommon at the time). This would later be repeated with RevolverAbbey Road and Let It Be. But look closely at the picture; just below the ‘Rubber Soul’ text and between John’s and Ringo’s heads are the words ‘THE BEATLES’. Gasp! What naughty record company violated this first?! (And for once, it’s not the cover butcherers also known as EMI Australia…) Yes, my precious pressing is an import. And you’ll soon find out what country it is from…

rubber soul 1

Here’s the back of the album. (I love the photos on the back!) The LP appears to be enclosed in the plastic bag behind it, but it is in fact encased in a plastic sleeve. (As were all the pressing of Rubber Soul from this particular country…) Whether the record is in mono or stereo isn’t indicated, but listening to the album tells the audiophile to whom the album belongs that it is in mono! Yay! There are no backflaps but nothing online suggests that it is anything but a first edition. Though there is barely any information online concerning this country’s version of this album… If any of you know a bit about this record, your information would be greatly appreciated!

Take a look at the bottom left-hand corner. As will probably know, The Beatles at this stage were released mainly on either Parlophone or Capitol. But this Rubber Soul was released on Odeon Records, record company that released The Beatles in (among other places)…

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…URUGUAY! Yes, that’s right — Uruguay. A little country in the south-east of South America, that is in the same hemisphere as my own country (Australia). The Beatles truly were here, there and everywhere… But anyway, I find it very cool that I have a Uruguayan vinyl in my collection. I wonder how much of a rarity it is (or not)…

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The record sleeve with the cover. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have the original paper sleeve! It’s in absolutely impeccable condition… The cover itself also appears to be in mint condition, as it has been protected by the plastic protector found on each Uruguayan Beatles album.

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The label of the LP. The image showing the back cover is clearly written in English, but the label is written in Spanish with an English translation in brackets. (I went to Spain with my parents, once, when I was about six. I got tonsillitis in Barcelona…) And check out the label itself! Not black and gold, not orange… But blue! That is because my record is not on Parlophone — it is on Odeon.

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And Side Two of the album. It appears very scratched (and it is). But thankfully, the scratches aren’t very deep and are easily filled in with the record cleaner we use in our house. If I remember rightly, the album plays like a dream! The vinyl is nice and thick and pressed in mono, which helps. Interestingly, mono LPs always play better on our record player. Probably ‘cos it’s old enough to most likely have at least had one Beatles record spun as a brand new release… 🙂

And that’s ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ finished for another month! It’ll be back in the New Year, with the album that just turns out to by my favourite recording of all time…

Oh, and congratulations to George (Harrison) who’s receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award (what The Beatles received earlier this year) at the Grammys next year, in particular for All Things Must Pass and the Concert for Bangladesh! Congratulations, Georgie. You deserve it, and it’s sad that you can’t be here to accept it yourself.

And a happy belated (as the Americans would say) half-birthday to ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’, which turned six months old on the fifth of this month! I’ve loved writing this blog over the past six (that many already?!) months, and hope it continues to bring me the joy it does now for many more months/years to come! It also helps that I have a really awesome group of followers, so thank you for liking/commenting/sharing/just generally making the ‘AYNITB’ community a really fab place on the net! I really appreciate it.

Hope you have a groovy day/afternoon/evening/whenever, and good day sunshine! 🙂