Fans of the Beatles show their affection for the legendary band from Liverpool in various ways. Some create websites celebrating the lives and careers of the Fab Four. Others turn a room in their home into a shrine, with album covers, photographs, posters, books, concert and movie DVDs and assorted memorabilia taking centre stage. Others travel to London to visit the famous crosswalk that featured on the cover of the album Abbey Road and the building on whose roof the band last played live in public. From there they journey to Liverpool to see the numerous locations associated with the early lives of Ringo, John, Paul and George. And those with sufficient musical ability of their own form Beatle tribute bands that draw their repertoire from the more than 200 songs penned by Liverpool’s most famous sons.
But a BBFC member based in Zurich, Switzerland, and like-minded musicians based in Vancouver, Canada, have teamed up and gone a bold step further by writing and recording eight songs that describe the experience of being inspired and influenced by the creativity of The Beatles. Under the name Newcastle Road – deliberately referencing John Lennon’s first childhood address and their own northeast roots - they have just released a CD called Blue Suburban Skies that consists of eight songs designed to strike a chord with Beatlemaniacs from Alaska to Zanzibar.
|During Beatle Week 2009 Alan sas able to let Eleanor Rigby listen (on a Sony
to an early demo of “Celebrate The Beatles”.
Eleanor is mentioned a couple of times on songs on Blue Suburban Skies.
The vocal and musical “front man” of Newcastle Road is Tim Readman, a resident of Vancouver since 1987, having relocated to the West Coast of Canada from the North East of England. His career spans more than 30 years and covers every genre of folk and popular music imaginable. In recent years he has been a fixture on the Vancouver folk scene and also acting as the artistic director for the Vancouver Celtic Festival. His band Fear of Drinking made a big splash in the Celtic music world and he has performed widely in North America and the UK.
The lyrical content on Blue Suburban Skies is the work of BBFC member Alan Millen, 61, who has resided in Switzerland since 1987. Alan was born near Newcastle on Tyne, spent his formative and early adult years in Canada before leaving for Switzerland, his wife’s home country, in 1987. He earns his living as a German-to-English translator specialising in the airline industry and subtitling Swiss films into English for film festival screening.
Alan holds a 4-sided vinyl bootleg of the Beatles performance
in Vancouver on August 22, 1964, their first ever appearance in Canada.
Musically, the songs on Blue Suburban Skies all have a distinctive “Beatle-esque” flavour. The lyrical narrative explores experiences readily familiar to Beatle fans: visiting the famous Abbey Road crosswalk, recalling the impact of The Beatles on North American teens with their legendary debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, attending Liverpool’s annual Beatle Week festival – which Alan will do for the 12th time this August - and reminiscing about the thrill of receiving a Beatles album for Christmas while growing up during the Sixties.
The vocal and musical front man of Newcastle Road is Tim Readman, a resident of Vancouver since 1987, having relocated to the West Coast of Canada from the North East of England. His career spans more than 30 years and covers every genre of folk and popular music imaginable. In recent years he has been a fixture on the Vancouver folk scene and also acting as the artistic director for the Vancouver Celtic Festival. His band Fear of Drinking made a big splash in the Celtic music world and he has performed widely in North America and the UK.
Their joint love of Beatle music inspired Tim and Alan to create their own original tribute to the musicians to whom they owe so much. “We wanted to show our appreciation in a way we think the Beatles themselves would have approved of,” says Alan, “namely by creating something completely original but with a clear nod in their direction.” Among Alan’s most prized Beatle-related artefacts include a life-size plywood rendition of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper gear, which was discovered in a Zurich junk store a few years ago, and a copy of Revolver signed by cover designer and Beatles insider Klaus Voormann.
The Sgt Pepper figures are painted on 1/2 inch plywood, and
were found by Alan in a thrift shop in Zurich a few years ago
Sonically, Blue Suburban Skies bears the stamp of renowned Vancouver producer Bill Buckingham, himself a keen Beatles fan. With Alan supplying the lyrics, Tim and Bill hunkered down in the studio to polish the songs and record them to state-of-the-art perfection. The CD will be available from CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify and all leading on-line download sites. It is a little gem of a recording.
The Internet first brought Alan and Tim together back in 2002. In the meantime they have released three CDs of songs covering the history of Newcastle United, the team they have both supported since boyhood. In 2008 they released a CD of original material called All Over The Map, for which they adopted the name The Eventually Brothers in collaboration with Canadian multi-instrumentalist Craig McKerron.
Listen: www.youtube.com/beatlecorner / www.myspace.com/millentrax.
Buy: Available from CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify and all leading on-line download sites via www.timreadman.com