And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day!

image

Today is Christmas Eve, and in the All You Need Is The Beatles universe, that means one thing – that it’s time for the annual AYNITB Christmas post!

Longtime readers might recall that last year, I wrote of how I wished for a “cold and calm” Christmas, a slight contrast to what I’m used to. I must have been ‘nice’ over the past twelve months, then, because said wish has been well and truly granted! I’ve spent the past couple of weeks on holiday, travelling around the UK – an incredible experience that I’ll detail in a proper post once I’m home – and consequently, I’m feeling more Christmassy right now than I have since I was a little kid! The temperatures have been pleasingly chilly, and the malls have, surprisingly, been decidedly less hectic than those back home (a pleasant surprise indeed!). It’s also been simultaneously both weird and fascinating to see that all the decidedly Northern-Hemishere-orientated Christmas iconography (the ugly jumpers, the ice-skating, the genuine possibilty of snow) that seem like nothing more than urban myths to me are actually real – I even saw some squirrels and robins while wandering around Hyde Park one frosty morning! – and that the traditions that, as much as we love them, we have inexplicably inherited from this side of the world (the large amounts of hot food, the fur-lined Santa costumes, the use of Wintry plants as decorations) feel a little more appropriate in the context of the cooler climes… My UK Christmas has even been an improvement on Australia from a musical perspective, with most of the shopping complexes I’ve visited seemingly opting for playlists of the Slade/Pogues/John Lennon route, as opposed to the “Kenny G Plays The Hits of Christmas” one of back home! It’s just like the movies!

And so, to celebrate my newfound investment in The Christmas Spirit – and AYNITB tradition – here are a few of the Christmas tracks I’ve been enjoying most this year. Be sure to let me know what yours have been this year, too!

‘Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth’ – David Bowie/Bing Crosby

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n9kfdEyV3RQ
‘Jesus Christ’ – Big Star
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KIO3KvvgCqA
‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ – Slade

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0A8KT365wlA
‘Fairytale of New York’ – the Pogues and Kristy McColl

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8
‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ – Wizzard

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r89CjMZDQpQ
‘Christmas Bop’ – T.Rex

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IOpNUK1EHYA
‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)’ – Ramones

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tN2NNwZ1op8
‘Father Christmas’ – Kinks

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni04_SF-HRQ
‘White Christmas’ – Iggy Pop

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox66JIqDdbM
‘Winter Wonderland’ – Cocteau Twins

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0UQMZ3DddgM
‘Christmas Wrapping’ – The Waitresses

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2SzjDOk_u9I
‘Just Like Christmas’ – Low

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IippcraBPKA
‘(It’s Gonna Be) A Punk Rock Christmas’ – The Ravers

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec0TMObz2zM
‘Frosty The Snowman’ – The Ronettes

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=76sh1BWCQSc
‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ – John + Yoko, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Vfp48laS8
And for the 26th: ‘Boxing Day Blues Revisited’ – Courtney Barnett

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bvs-lM4F7E
And so, wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you for reading, ‘liking’ and especially for leaving your comments (always a joy to read!) on here over the course of this past year – here’s to a new year of blogging in 2017!

And so, to sign off on another year, here’s Bowie giving a Christmas message while impersonating Elvis on This Is Radio Clash in 2013. Merry Christmas!!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o5TC_HYaVMk

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.)

london calling.jpg

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!

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.

You Know You’re A Beatlemaniac When…

John wearing 'glasses' for the 'A Hard Day's Night' photoshoot - today marks 50 years since its release!

John wearing ‘glasses’ for the ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ photoshoot – yesterday marked 50 years since its release!

Hi all,

I was splitting up between doing a ‘My Favourite Scenes In A Hard Day’s Night‘ (to mark 50 years since its release, which was the other day), or this post. I’ll do the former one on July 6 (the 50th anniversary since its Liverpool premiere), if I can get access to WiFi, as we are going to Melbourne again for five nights! We will be there for Ringo’s birthday on the 7th, too, so I will bring/buy a t-shirt to wear for him. (On with it, tangerinetrees99 – no more tangents!)

Well, how could I not resist starting a ‘You Know You’re A Beatlemaniac When…’ list?! There are a heap of these around on the internet with an assortment of names, ranging from the one above, to ‘You Know You’re A Hardcore Beatles Fan’, to even ‘101 Ways You Know You’re Too Obsessed With The Beatles’ (but that’s not possible!!)! Well, here’s mine – some of it may be specific to Australia, or Lennon Lovers, or me, etc., etc., but please enjoy! Oh, and the points in italics are the ones that do not apply to me (and trust me, there will not be many of them…)

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A BEATLEMANIAC/LENNON LOVER WHEN…

  • You live in Adelaide, Australia – your favourite thing about which is that your city is credited with giving The Fab Four their biggest reception ever.
  • You think that the following could be the basis of a giant philosophical debate: who was the walrus?
  • You always cry during the duration of anything to do with John Lennon – even if it is unrelated with his death.

Don’t ask – I cried in Nowhere Boy when John found out that Julia died, so that was my basis for this argument.

  • You converted your mother – who was alive in the ’60s – to Beatles fandom.

I know you’re reading this, Mum – I hope you agree with me on this one…

  • Words cannot explain how much you utterly hate Mark David Chapman.

DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON THAT MAN – I’m not even going to mention what he did, as then he’d be getting what he wanted.

  • You prefer the guitar skills of [John/Paul/George – choose one] to those of [Jimi Hendrix/Carlos Santana/Eric Clapton/some other rock god – choose one].
  • You go to Melbourne to see a Beatles exhibition which you’ve seen before in Sydney.

I’m referring to the ‘Beatles In Australia’ exhibition, in case you’re wondering – yes, and I did see it twice. Sadly, when we go to Melbourne this time, it will be all packed up 😦 .

  • You think John’s ‘Hair For Peace’ look is still attractive.

Well, John was a very attractive man, and he could pull it off well (feel free to disagree…).

  • A little part of you really wants glasses…
  • This reflects you:

You have a fringe that resembles John’s on the below picture (his side-swept look, if you like):

yesterday and today steam trunk

Your dress-sense looks an awful lot like what George is wearing in the below picture:

image

You have a coat that resembles those below (mine looks most like John’s – in fact, he looks a little like me in that picture, full stop):

This is from the booklet that came with my 'A Hard Day's Night' CD.

This is from the booklet that came with my ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ CD.

So yeah, The Beatles (and the ’60s in general) have a large influence on my fashion sense.

  • You disliked ‘Backbeat’, as you felt it was a) portraying John as a nasty idiot, and b) historically incorrect.
  • Your favourite Winter sport is curling, because of a certain fiendish thingy…
  • A tiny part of you thought that John really did go down the drain in the bath scene in A Hard Day’s Night.
  • That same part of you thought that John was actually in danger in the ‘All You Need Is Love’ sequence in Yellow Submarine.

Really, tangerinetrees99? Really? Where did that famous logic go (Help! reference)?

  • You are fairly sure that 99 % of the pocket money you have received this year has been splashed on something related to The Beatles.
  • You are certain that you know at least a verse off by heart to every Beatles song in existence.
  • Your guitars are called John Lennon and George Harrison.

My semi-acoustic steel-stringed Sigma model is John, and my smaller Spanish is George. I actually sent John into the guitar shop yesterday to get a new set of strings and a strap pin – they had a Revolver strap for sale, and I’m getting it!!

  • It took you a really, really long time to accept that The Beatles took drugs and had groupies.
  • You thought that ‘LSD’ stood for ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.

That’s in italics, so it doesn’t apply to me. And Dad –  ‘Lucy’ is not a drug song, end of story!

  • The percentage of Beatle-y images on your iPad/iPod/iPhone/iMac/iWhatever’s camera roll is frighteningly large.
  • You often think, ‘How dare the police even think about letting Mark David Chapman get parole?!’
  • Your dad makes up long-winded conspiracy theories about Paul kidnapping Alvin and the Chipmunks, and the Chipmunks being the real Lennon/McCartney to annoy you.
  • You get really, really, really annoyed with any of the following statements.

“Aren’t they all dead?”

“Who’s John Lemon?” (Someone actually asked me that, the other day – God, were they in for it!)

“[Insert artist/band formed some time after 1964] would still exist without The Beatles!”

“Who are the beetles?”

“Well, that Paul guy is dead, so he doesn’t matter.”

I won’t go on – I’ve heard it all…

  • You always cross zebra crossings Abbey Road style.
  • You have frequent email conversations with your mother that involve you sending her pictures of Paul dressed as a cat (don’t ask…)
  • You have an account on their official website.
  • A large part of your vocabulary is made up of Beatles lyrics/quotes/words/song titles/etc./etc.
  • Your major goal for the next few years is to purchase all of The Beatles’ studio albums on first-edition original vinyl.

I collect Beatles LPs/EPs/singles – I’ll do a post on them at some point.

  • You scream like, well, a Beatlemaniac when they’re mentioned on TV/in class (I got a lot of odd looks)/on the radio/in the top 100 (that was the best!)/other random public places.
  • Your dream holiday would be a tour of Liverpool, London, Hamburg and New York. Ahh – wouldn’t that be nice?
  • Y0u have a large number of Beatles posters plastered all over your room.
  • You consider getting a Let It Be bootleg, as you feel it is important to own every single Beatle film.

I haven’t actually seen LIB, but you can watch the entire thing on Vimeo, so I will do so sometime in the next three weeks.

  • You dream about The Beatles each night.
  • Someone says they like The Beatles = instant respect from you.
  • Your dream car is a psychedelically-painted Mini (like George’s), considering you can’t afford a Rolls Royce.

I can’t actually drive, nor do I plan on learning (even when I am 16) anytime soon. I do like the idea of a Mini, though.

  • You really, really want to call your family’s next dog Martha.
  • Your accent is slightly quite British, ’cause you’ve been listening to those Fabs too much!
  • You know lots of really obscure facts about each Beatle that could probably get you classified as a stalker.
  • In Home Economics, you try making a mini batwing coat like the one John wore in Help!

My attempt at this, however, was a complete and utter disaster.

  • You have a reputation as ‘that Beatles person’ basically everywhere.
  • You dream about having your friends around for a Beatles-themed sleepover. Reality dawns on you, though, when you realise that the majority of your friends would straight-out refuse to do anything Beatles-related at all.
  • You have a special page in your Maths book filled with Beatles-related doodles.
  • The first song you ever played on guitar was a Beatles song.

Mine was ‘All Together Now’ – it only has three chords, and it is really simple.

  • A small part of you enjoys reading cheesy Beatles fan-fictions.
  • You have in-depth ‘conversations’ with your Beatles posters.
  • All of your internet tabs are, somehow, Beatles-related.
  • You often make A Hard Day’s Night-themed jokes, the likes of which nobody gets.
  • Most of your schoolwork is Beatles-related.
  • You kind-of believe John’s ‘Jesus’ comment.
  • You often get into deep conversations over the band with questions with people over forty years older than you (and you don’t mind…).
  • You really want to put ‘Beatlemaniac’ as your religion on the next census.
  • Two words: lame puns…

Well, I should probably leave some ideas for Part Two, so I’ll leave off there. A lot of this is silly enjoyment on my part that makes fun at myself, so please don’t take it too seriously and think, “God – isn’t she a weirdo?” (even though I kind of am… 🙂 ). But anyway, have a lovely rest of your day, and good day sunshine 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to All You Need Is The Beatles!

Hi, and welcome to my blog, All You Need Is The Beatles! Excuse my lame pun, by the way – I am the queen of Beatles-related wordplay! I am a girl, who, atypically for my age, is an obsessive Beatlemaniac (just ask my family and friends), a prolific writer and a musician, who has been wanting to set up a blog for over a year. All You Need Is The Beatles is going to be majorly about John, Paul, George and Ringo, but I will dedicate a little time to publishing some of my own poems/stories/songs and other random things that come to mind. But anyway, hope you enjoy my blog, and LONG LIVE THE BEATLES! My Beatle-y favourites are listed below:

Favourite Beatle: John Winston Lennon, MBE (later John Ono Lennon)

Favourite Beatle Album: Revolver (1966) – followed by Help! (1965) and Beatles For Sale (1964)

Favourite Beatle Song: Never ask a Beatlemaniac that question, unless you want to be stuck listening to him/her reciting The Beatles’ entire discography for the rest of your life. NEVER.

Favourite Beatle Film: Help!, though the gorgeous A Hard Day’s Night is currently fighting with the former for first place!

Favourite Solo Beatle Album: Imagine (1971) by John Lennon

Favourite Solo Beatle Song: ‘Jealous Guy’ (Imagine, 1971) by John Lennon – followed by ‘Oh My Love’ (also Imagine), ‘Hold On’ (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band) and ‘Oh! Yoko’ (Imagine, again!). As for the other Beatles’ solo careers, ‘What Is Life’ by George Harrison (All Things Must Pass, 1970) would also make this list!

Favourite Beatle Period: 1964-1966, though I’ve been getting into The Fabs’ later material, recently.

So, as I said before, enjoy my blog, and enjoy the below picture from the Beatles For Sale photoshoot in ’64; bye for now!