Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Album cover redesign winner wins with Abbey Road

Abbey Road Album Cover Redesign by Rex Argent

Rex Argent says design is a, “lifelong passion” as he picks up first prize in Redesignyl competition

Seventy-eight year old retired Art Director Rex Argent has scooped first prize in a competition to redesign one of 16 iconic album covers from the past 50 years.

The Suffolk-born veteran, Rex Argent, who now lives in Rainham, Essex and is 78, selected The Beatles, Abbey Road as his album of choice from the shortlist, wowing the judges with his youthful and vibrant interpretation.

The competition was run by Alamy, and stipulated that entrants could chose only three images from their stock image library to complete the challenge. The competition garnered interest from more than 500 people all keen to submit their designs and take the top spot which Mr Argent subsequently won.

The man behind the winning cover was born in 1937 and says;

“Entering the competition was a natural choice with my years of experience and background in the field. Art and design has always fascinated me. It is a lifelong passion”.

Following four years of study at the London School of Print and Graphic Art Rex landed a job at a local print studio and began his career. This was interrupted when he was called for National Service with the Royal Air Force where he took the role as teleprinter operator.

On returning to civilian life his career took off and the intervening years saw him work for a series of major ad agencies including the prestigious Saatchi & Saatchi.

“I have been so very fortunate to work in such a constantly changing industry and travel the globe. I have worked with and learned from some of the best artists, writers, film directors and photographers in the world.”

Although the competition was advertised online, Rex heard about it via an email sent to subscribers of the Alamy service. He decided to come out of retirement, put the golf aside for a week, and take his chances.

“The brief for Redesignal brought back memories of agency life. It was natural for me to research the library and find an image; One that said how much The Beatles were, and still are, loved by the public. As a massive John Lennon fan, as well as the music of that era, the image I chose simply summed it all up for me. With a little help from Photoshop I felt my re-design was good to go”.

So how does the granddaddy of design feel about advancing technology and the speed at which it moves?

“I do try to keep up and I have seen so much change in my lifetime obviously - but it gets harder every day. Technology seems to leap forward faster and faster. I still learn every day – from all angles, even YouTube! I find it the fun part that is full of exciting surprises for the artist in me! And after all – they do say, Knowledge is Power and I hope to harness that power for a while yet!”

Second prize went to Ralph Tittley for Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division and third to Adrian Robinson for Doolittle by Pixies.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Ultimate Beatles Tour - Pack your bags!

We've just learned of a tour that is happening later this year that seems to be a Beatles fan dream come true.  Below is a high level description of the tour with a link to the full itinerary and details.  The base tour includes Liverpool, Hamburg and London but there is an add-on option to add a leg to go to Rishikesh, India as well.
"Pool of Life Tours, in conjunction with award winning Myriad Travel, have designed the Ultimate Beatles Tour taking in Liverpool, Hamburg and London. All tours will be taken with an expert guide and all entrance fees are included - we can guarantee admission into John and Paul's childhood homes.

So, if you have dreamed of standing at the gates of Strawberry Field, walking down the Reeperbhan and strolling across Abbey Road, this is the tour for you.

Pool of life Tours have been running Beatles tours in Liverpool for the past 8 years and we are considered to be one of the finest and most in depth companies in the city (we work with the Cavern).
Tour commences on 27th August in Liverpool - Transport, accommodation, tours and admission fees included." 

Get all the details here

Monday, 25 January 2016

Participate! Be part of the People's History of Pop

The BBC are currently putting together a documentary about the people's history of pop music. You can contribute to this. Just click here to upload your memories and memorabilia at the People's History of Pop website and you could be a part of the BBC4  documentary to be shown in April.

It's not just about The Beatles but all music. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

BBFC Tribute to DAVID BOWIE 1947-2016

David with Yoko and John

Whilst this is a Beatles Fan Club site, we cannot let the passing of rock legend David Bowie without putting a tribute to him on our site.

Bowie, as most Beatle fans know, befriended John Lennon in January 1975 in New York and jammed together. This jam session eventually produced the track "Fame", co-written by Bowie and Lennon. Lennon also sang backing vocals and played guitar. This became his first U.S. number one single. The pair then went to work on John's "Across the Universe". Both tracks appeared on the "Young Americans" album.

Yoko Ono has said how David was like family and like a second father to Sean after John was sadly murdered in December 1980. He would take Sean to museums and they would hang out together in Switzerland where Sean was at boarding school.

Our thoughts are with David's family and those close to him, including Yoko and Sean, at this time.

From a personal point of view, I have always been a Beatles fan, and during the early 1970's the LP was a treasured item to own. Being just into secondary school, only a very small number of my friends owned any kind of LP. I was just starting my Beatles album collection, and a friend introduced me to the solo albums "All Things Must Pass" and "Imagine". Some of my friends were lucky enough to save enough to buy an LP from the local record shop called Spin a Disc.

Looking back there were four albums that were the must have albums of the time. We weren't into the glam rock scene that was happening at that time. Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story" featuring the hit single "Maggie May", Elton John's "Don't Shoot Me. I'm Only The Piano Player", "Nilsson Schmilsson", by Harry Nilsson and "Ziggy Stardust" by Bowie. We would talk about these 4 albums in particular during school breaks. Many of my friends preferred Bowie. They knew he was different.

It's interesting in hindsight that John Lennon went on to work with three of these four artists in the next few years. John had good taste.

I never really got Bowie at the time, but as time progresses it is easier to look back and see the influences he has had and still has even today. I only started to look at his work after his collaboration with Lennon.

Probably one of the few artists without a genre, he moved with the times, like The Beatles, but was his own man and could drop a persona and create a new one at the drop of a hat. That was the excitement. You never knew what his next album or persona would be.

His performance at Live Aid in 1985 is a stand out moment for me.

Indeed, I was very excited at a new album this year and pre-ordered his final album "Blackstar". I received it on Friday, Bowie's birthday, played it and thought it was amazing. The lyrics became more poignant a couple of days later.

Like many reading this, I and all of us at BBFC, were shocked and sad to hear of his passing. He died with dignity, and has left us a huge catalogue of great music. 

I feel that these words are not enough to do justice to the great man. 

Thank you David. Rest in Peace.

In the words of Lennon and Bowie, "Imagine all the world, living life in peace, we can be heroes, just for one day".

Peace and Love
~ Ernie Sutton