Sunday, 1 January 2017

SAM LEACH (1935-2016) & ALLAN WILLIAMS (1930-2016)


BBFC Membership Secretary Terry Bloxham with Sam Leach
The year 2016 has sadly seen a number of Beatle connections leave us, starting in January with George Martin, and ending in December with the sad news that Sam Leach and Allan Williams had both passed away within a few days of each other.

Sam was born in Liverpool and like many teenagers in Liverpool loved the rock ‘n’ roll music coming into the city from sailors returning from the USA. He started promoting shows in the Norris Green area of the city and eventually moved to the city centre, promoting shows at the legendary Iron Door in 1961.

In 1961 Sam saw The Beatles for the first time and started working with them. He was responsible for arranging their first appearance in the south of England in Aldershot in the December of that year. Overall he promoted them for over 40 shows between 1961 and 1962.

He promoted many shows at the New Brighton Tower Ballroom

In 1980 he was responsible for organizing the memorial service at St George’s Hall following John Lennon’s assassination.

He would subsequently appear at many Beatles festivals and conventions and for the past few years had a stall at the Adelphi on convention day just a couple away from the BBFC stall.

He was always polite and would oblige fans with photographs and autographs.

Sam’s role in the history of The Beatles is an extremely important one.


Cover of Allan Williams' CD
Allan Williams was born in Bootle on 17th March 1930, with his family roots in Wales.

As a teenager, Allan left home and began singing with Joe Loss.

With the Liverpool music scene starting to emerge in the late 1950’s he leased a shop on Slater Street, turning it into the Jacaranda Coffee Bar, which opened in September that year. John, Paul and Stuart Sutcliffe were regular customers and asked if they could play there. However, he commissioned John and Stu to decorate the venue, which eventually led to them playing there on occasions.

Allan was sending groups to Germany and had a good relationship with Horst Fascher and Brno Koschmider. When asked for another group, he was ready to send The Beatles in August 1960 with their new drummer Pete Best. Howie Casey (who would later play with Paul and Wings during their world tour of 1976), and at the time was playing in Hamburg, was not best pleased and felt if The Beatles went to Hamburg, it would be the end of the groups playing there.

With The Beatles having virtually no money, Allen drove them himself to Hamburg on this their first visit. Hamburg made The Beatles, playing 8 hours a night. They became a tight unit. Not just in playing, but as friends as well. Without Hamburg, The Beatles would not have been the phenomenon they became, and us Beatles fans have Allan to thank for that.

Allan was their manager until a disagreement over his commission saw him quit as manager in 1961. Brian Epstein appeared on the scene, and the rest as they say is history.

After The Beatles made it, Allan eventually released his book “The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away” in 1975 and was also responsible for recovering the tapes that eventually became the “Live at the Star Club” album released two years later.

He would later make an interview CD telling in his own words his story in 2000, on Bandline records.

He went on to write an even better book in 2003 called “The Fool on the Hill”, with a selection of Liverpool images and is a great reflection of Liverpool.

He was a regular at The Grapes on Mathew Street and frequently appeared at conventions, like Sam. Allan again would happily sign autographs and pose for pictures. Je also appears on the bonus disc of the “Eight Day’s A Week” dvd.

Without Allan and Sam, The Beatles history would be so different, and for that we thank them both.

We at the BBFC were extremely sad to hear of their passing and send our love and condolences to their families.


~ Ernie Sutton

Friday, 23 December 2016

Special Offer just for our members!

Recently we reviewed a fab new book called "Visualising The Beatles" and now the publisher has partnered with us to offer our members something special.

Click here to find out how you can get a copy of the book signed by the authors with a personal message written by them. have the personal message addressed to yourself or someone else if you are buying it as a gift.  You will also receive as a free gift a full set of set of VISUALISING THE BEATLES bookmarks: Paul, John, Ringo and George.

We think this book is outstanding and we hope our members can use this opportunity to get a signed copy.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Review: We All Want a Yellow Submarine!


Lego recently released a new Beatles Yellow Submarine set and asked the British Beatles Fan Club if we wanted to help them get the word out.  In exchange we were given a dedicated link for our members to use when they order that benefits our club.  They also sent us one to review.

Yesterday it arrived and I am wowed!  The set includes over 500 pieces packed into 5 numbered packets along with a diagram book that walks you through the construction piece by piece.  I have never had a Lego set like this before but even with my lack of experience, I had no issues following the diagrams and in 2 and a half hours I had assembled the entire project.  It was fantastic fun and I'm impressed with the finished product as it is full of detail.

On the outside there are moving propellers, periscopes, colorful artwork and designs as well as a stand to display the finished product, but the inside is just as detailed.  The middle can lift off to expose the inner workings which has a pilot seat, steering wheel, and controls and dials.

Behind the pilot seat is room for the remaining 3 Beatles to sit as well.

Each of the four Beatles figures also have to be assembled and each has something to hold when standing.  Those items need to be stored when they are sitting and another part of the submarine, a sort of submarine boot, also opens to store those item.

Additionally there is a Jeremy figure who has place to stand on the display base.


The quality of this set is high.  All decorations are stamped on - no stickers to fall off over time - and the pieces all fit together nicely.

This set is sure to make a bit hit this holiday season and would be a fun project for a family assemble together while listening to Beatles music.

If you do decide to get this for someone special on your shopping list, please consider using this British Beatles Fan Club link.  The club will benefit and that will help us to keep your membership fees from going up.



Friday, 25 November 2016

The Cavern Club 60th Birthday Show

CHARITY CELEBRATION SHOW TO MARK 60th ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD FAMOUS CAVERN CLUB
 
Concert will raise funds for Cash For Kids and Children In Need
A special show is being staged in January 2017 to start a year of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the world’s most famous club – The Cavern in Liverpool.
 
The History of The Cavern: Celebrating 60 Years of the Greatest Club in the World will feature The Overtures, the UK’s premier 60s tribute band and favourite of the stars. The Overtures will also be joined by special guests.
 
The History of The Cavern is the first event taking place in 2017 to mark the iconic venue’s landmark anniversary. The show will take place on Sunday 15 January and Monday 16 January at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
 
The show on the Monday marks the club’s milestone birthday – making it exactly 60 years since The Cavern Club first threw its doors open to the music hungry youngsters of Liverpool back on 16 January 1957.
 
Over the past 60 years, The Cavern has played host some of the music industry’s biggest names including Stevie Wonder, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Queen – as well as Liverpool’s very own Cilla Black and The Beatles.
Local artist Tony Booth has been commissioned to design the 60th anniversary commemorative concert poster. It was also 60 years ago when Tony was also invited to design the now famous poster for The Cavern Club’s opening night for 16 January 1957. The anniversary has also proved to be a trip down memory lane for Tony, as the 2017 poster was even drawn on his original 60-year-old paper.
 
To make the shows even more nostalgic, performances will start at 19:57pm and ticket prices range from £19.57. Tickets are on sale now.
 
Radio City and Radio Merseyside are supporting The Cavern’s 60th anniversary celebration. To mark this special occasion, all profits from the two shows will be split between their official charities, Cash For Kids and Children In Need, respectively.
Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister and a Director of The Cavern, explained: “The Cavern is, of course, synonymous with The Beatles since they performed here 292 times in their early career between 1961 and 1963. This show will include The Beatles, but will also pay homage to the plethora of other great artists to come out of The Cavern during its 60 years. We are delighted to have both Radio City and Radio Merseyside on board to make this a real Liverpool celebration.”
 
The concept of the show has been designed by The Cavern, and will take audiences on a musical journey through the six decades since the club opened in 1957 – while showcasing how Merseyside’s most famous music venue has stood the test of time and has been at the forefront of musical movements throughout its life.
 
Jon Keats, The Cavern’s Director of Music and Events, added: “The challenge will be to give music from each decade the respect it deserves. Performing songs by huge artists from the likes of The Beatles, Cilla Black, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Queen and Bo Diddley to Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Elbow – all of whom are very different. If anyone can do it The Overtures can.”
The Overtures are widely regarded as the UK’s ultimate 60s band, and are no stranger to big shows having performed privately for the likes of Sir Elton John and alongside Lionel Richie, Robin Gibb and Peter Noone.
 
Den Pugsley, a founder member of The Overtures, commented: “It’s impossible to fit The Cavern’s whole 60-year history into a 2-hour show but we’re going to give it a good go! There will be some unseen footage and great audio visual production to compliment the music, which will put into context what was happening in Liverpool and at The Cavern through the decades. We’re looking forward to welcoming some special guests on stage to bring this show together.”
 
Den added: It’s a privilege to be asked to perform this show representing a place that is integral to Liverpool’s history, heritage and musical culture. Liverpool is always a great crowd to perform to.”
 
There are plans for further special events during 2017 to mark The Cavern’s 60th birthday year, including a limited edition anniversary book; a docu-film’ and a 3 CD compilation album release, plus lots more plans which are being kept under wraps.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Tom Donald explains George Martin's arrangements on BBC Newsnight

Our membership secretary has an uncanny ability to run into people with Beatle connections and stories in the most unlikely places such as train stations and piano classes.

Below is her latest find.  Tom Donald, a teacher at the London Contemporary School of Piano, has a video on YouTube in which he explains George Martin's fabulous arrangements to Evan Davis on BBC Newsnight.

Tom says
"To me George Martin was the "mastermind" behind the great success of the Beatles, and I say that with full upmost respect to the raw talent of the Fab Four. Having said that, 'raw talent' is simply not enough. Proper detailed and analytical study of music, combined with a hunger for creativity is the key ingredients for musical greatness. George had his finger on the pulse, he had the vision to look well beyond the songs that Lennon/McCartney and Harrison composed.

When the BBC asked me to talk about George Martin's contribution to the Beatles, I really felt that words could not describe to the general listening public the influence Martin had on the Beatles through his innovations as a producer. So I asked the BBC Newsnight team if they could bring a grand piano onto the set. Because they mainly 'do politics' on Newsnight, this was no easy request, but there has to be a first for everything!"


Check out this school website for free downloadable lessons

London Beatles Day – Saturday 10th December 2016

Hot off the presses, here is a message from the folks at London Beatles Day!
 
Attention all BEATLES fans! - it’s not long now until the next London Beatles Day in Ealing (London W5 2XA)  

We will be very pleased to welcome you to the Christmas London Beatles Day which will take place on SATURDAY 10th December 2016 at The Christ Saviour 
Church Hall In the heart of Ealing in West London on New Broadway (which runs into the Uxbridge Road) London, W5 2XA, remember the event is FREE 
ADMISSION to all

The event will feature the usual great selection of EVERYTHING Beatles, Records, books, CDs, DVDs & books, posters and much more! – Lots of Beatles vinyl 
at great prices and in great condition, forget the London shops get down to the BEATLES DAY you will not be disappointed...

There will also be a good selection of Non Beatles items for sale, CDs, vinyl, books etc... The perfect place to find your music related Christmas gifts under one 
roof!

The venue is situated on the main road served by plenty of buses & only a 5-minute walk from Ealing Broadway Station (Central & District lines tube & main line 
station) plenty of food & drink options in the area. The event will be open from 10am to 4.30pm. The Beatles Day will be in the Church Hall which is situated 
behind the main church... cheap car parking is close by.

Please Note...
There are building works going on in front of the hall, which does not affect the event, the hall is situated behind the blue boards just walk to the church entrance 
and turn left and follow our signs…


Remember on a Saturday there is NO congestion charge in London (the venue is not in the C Charge area).

We look forward to seeing new & existing collectors & fans - don't forget its FREE to come in...

Please Note: this event is on a SATURDAY!

More details will be posted on : www.beatlesdays.com

Review: Visualising the Beatles - It's a winner!





VISUALISING THE BEATLES.
By John Pring & Rob Thomas
Orphans Publishing; ISBN 9 781903 360163

With every new Beatles book these days, my first thought is always - is there anything new or different about this one?

Well here we have a new book, bringing The Beatles into the 21st century with a book that tells their story via the 14 studio albums from “Please Please Me” to “Let it Be”.

The book is filled with wonderful infographics and gives key information about each album such as who wrote which song, the chart positions of the album in various countries across the world, how many lead vocals each Beatle had, and which key each song is played in to name but a few.

Once you work out how the book works, it becomes an easy reference book for any Beatles fan.
Combined with a timeline of what was happening in the world when each album was released, this makes for an interesting read.

The book includes a small piece of the Greek islands The Beatles were planning to buy in 1967 as well as a list of albums made by each solo Beatle and a list (in very small print as there are so many) of stars who have covered Beatles songs, which is probably already out of date as I write this as someone somewhere is probably recording one right now!

For those Beatle fans who know the story inside out, there is still something to learn from the book.
However, I feel this book will have great appeal to any new generation Beatle fan as it tells their story simply and includes these wonderful infographics and data which would appeal to certainly the younger generation of today, and even some of us oldies.

At 250 pages this is well written and researched and I’m sure will be a smash hit with Beatle fans both young and old.

~ Ernie Sutton