Saturday, 31 May 2014

"Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records" is now available to view on HULU

"Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records" is now available to view on HULU
The extraordinary story of a most extraordinary record label
In 1968, under a haze of publicity, The Beatles opened their collective door to all manner of musicians, writers and artists. Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records is the story of a record label which came to exist under extraordinary circumstances, produced some extraordinary records and was operated under the most extraordinary guidelines.



"Pleasantly surprising in its detail, 'Strange Fruit -- The Beatles' Apple Records' should satisfy the die hard fans of the Beatles, as well as more casual music enthusiasts looking for balanced, informed account of the last throes of the band and their risky, curious venture of running a label." 
-Kevin Jagernauth, INDIEWIRE
"This is an excellent overview of an often overlooked aspect of the Fab Four's legacy. Easily earning a Highly Recommended rating, it's perfect for the purist and novice alike. Today, many artists have their own boutique label. Sadly, few seemed to have learn the lessons taught to them by the biggest band in the history of music - and their own egoinfused folly." 
-Bill Gibron, DVD TALK
"An excellent documentary film which has been well researched and edited. With experts like Apple biographer Stefan Granados, it presents a great insight into Apple Records and will be a fab addition to any fan's library." 

Friday, 30 May 2014


TV and stage actor Andrew Lancel, who is set to play Brian Epstein in Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles, in London’s West End this summer, has been confirmed as one of the celebrity names who will unveil a commemorative Heritage Foundation Blue Plaque at the London offices of Epstein’s company NEMS on Sunday 29 June.

Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street and The Bill) says he is honoured to be asked to be a part of the special unveiling ceremony which will take place at Sutherland House, adjacent to the London Palladium, where NEMS occupied offices in the building from the height of Beatlemania in 1964 until shortly after Brian’s tragic death in 1967.

The plaque for the former Beatles manager comes in a year which would have seen him celebrate his 80th birthday and was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame following a campaign from fans.
David Stark, SongLink International (sponsors of the plaque) and on behalf of The Heritage Foundation said "The Heritage Foundation is delighted that our former Vice President Andrew Lancel is able to join us on an historic day commemorating Brian Epstein's massive contribution to the global music industry and popular culture during his tragically short life.  It's totally appropriate that Andrew helps us pull the cord on the day, and we all wish him well with his upcoming stage role as Epstein." 

It also coincides with the opening of a new play - Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, at London’s Leicester Square Theatre from 30 July - 6 September 2014, written by Andrew Sherlock and directed by Jen Heyes.  The play is a fascinating window into the much speculated private world of the music entrepreneur whose stellar career as Beatles Manager made him a household name yet who’s controversial personal life remained very much in the closet. Brian died of an accidental overdose at the age of 32.
Actor Andrew Lancel said “It is an honour to be playing Brian in London and also a great honour to be involved in this fitting tribute which is so deserving to a man who’s mark is not only present in London, but right across the world, it is going to be a wonderful afternoon.”

The event is expected to be attended by many of his contemporaries, friends, family members and others associated with the man who took The Beatles, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer to worldwide stardom. Following the plaque unveiling there will be a celebratory luncheon at the Regents Park Marriott Hotel from 1.00pm, which will include speeches and tributes from colleagues and friends, as well as live entertainment.

Brian’s work and legacy is still very much alive today nearly 50 years after his untimely death and this plaque marks the contribution of a true icon of 1960’s popular culture – a man who shaped music and style across the world.

Plaque Unveiling Ceremony
Sunday 29th June 2014
Sutherland House, 5/6 Argyll Street, London W1, adjacent to the London Palladium


Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles
Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Place, London, Greater London WC2H 7BX
30 July – 6 September 2014
Preview Performances: 30 July – 2 August
Mon – Sat Evenings: 7.30pm I Thurs mats 3.00pm I Sat early shows 4.00pm
Ticket Prices: £30-£42.50

Book in person at the venue, online at or via telephone on 08448 733433. Booking fees may apply

Writing co-commissioned by Homotopia. 
Supported by Orange Amplification, Arts Council England, Liverpool Vision and Liverpool Echo.
Production partners: The Beatles Story (Liverpool), Hard Day’s Night Hotel (Liverpool), Hard Rock Cafe (London), The Beatles Coffee Shop/Beatles Walks (London)
The official production charity partner is CALM

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ticket to Write Contest - Your chance to preview the short list at Preview Night

A Hollywood TV writer is one of the three authors chosen for this year’s Beatles-themed one-act play contest, Ticket to Write, being staged at Unity Theatre, Liverpool on July 15 and 16.

 Bob Stevens, a life-long Beatle fan who worked for 22 years in Hollywood, will compete against fellow American Trevor Boelter, one of last year’s finalists, and Welsh writer Neil Walden from Caerffili. Bob worked for 22 years as a TV writer in Hollywood on such shows as “Night Court,” “The Wonder Years,” “Murphy Brown” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

 “I begged my parents for a Beatles wig, and they gave me the top of a mop,” he recalled. He lives in Vermont with his wife, his daughter and his beagle. Bob’s entry "Here Today" is his first play. It has John and Paul sparring about their songs and exchanging tender moments from their childhoods.

Neil Walden offers a romantic, if black, tale about Maxwell called “Silver Hammer Man”. In 2010 his one act play 'Lug' won the Drama Association of Wales award for the best play for a youth cast. Neil has had short plays performed by the Sherman theatre in Cardiff and elsewhere and is also the current holder of the Andre de Lorde Award for Excellence in Horror Writing at the London Horror Festival. The last play that he had performed in Liverpool was in the 2011 Write Now Festival. “I’m really pleased to be back,” Neil enthuses.

Trevor’s “And Now It's All This” has Brian Epstein sorting out the storm that followed John's infamous remark about The Beatles being more popular than Jesus. Trevor, a writer/producer living in Los Angeles, came joint-fourth in last year’s contest with another Lennon episode featuring Cynthia called “When I Get Home”. Trevor recently produced his first feature film, “Inverse”, which can be seen around the world at various film festivals. He lives with two other Beatlemaniacs: His wife, Mona, a location scout for the US television show, "CSI: Cyber" and their eighteen-month-old daughter, Mimi. “I do an impression of George Harrison which is not half-bad for a Yankee,” says Trevor.

“We had a great number of excellent scripts and the judge, who was kept in the dark about the authors, went back over several of the top contenders, many from Merseyside, before reaching his final decision,” explains Festival Director, Jamie Gaskin. For more details go to and for tickets etc to

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

"HELP" art by contemporary artist, Steve Thomas - limited edition

Press Release from Dark Hall Mansion

Dark Hall Mansion  is excited to introduce its latest officially licensed limited edition Beatles release: "HELP" by contemporary artist, Steve Thomas. Dark Hall Mansion, working with Apple Corps Ltd and Bravado International, their North American licensing agent, will release their new 4-print Beatles limited edition screen print on May 23, 2014.

Artist Steve Thomas has referenced various iconic 1965 Beatles touchstones for his "HELP" set-the classic ski slope photo stills of the Beatles during the filming of "HELP," some exceedingly rare vintage promotional door panels used in the initial film campaign promoting "HELP's" original release, and of course, the legendary "HELP" album cover itself, all while making the 4-print design and set very much his own.

Rendered in sharp, bold colors, both Standard and Variant editions set their own distinctive tones, each individual print within each set measures 18" x 24" with the yellow Standard edition fully screen printed and the blue artist-signed Variant edition via giclee beautifully capturing Steve's gradient fade background that harkens to those classic Beatles "HELP" stills.

With an extremely limited release of only 200 Standard Edition 4-print sets available for all Beatles fans, worldwide, and an even more limited, artist-signed Variant edition of only 50 4-print sets with all 4 prints individually signed by artist Steve Thomas, it's a Beatles release collectors will not want to miss.

The Standard edition Beatles 4-print "HELP" set will priced at $250 and includes free shipping anywhere in the world. The artist-signed 4-print Variant "HELP" edition, with only 50 sets available worldwide, will price at $350 and also includes free shipping anywhere! From Japan to New York and all stops in between, for Beatles fans near and far, Stop Worrying! "HELP" is on the Way! Both the Standard (yellow) and Variant (blue) editions are attached, unframed, as well as how they might appear framed and may also be viewed directly on Dark Hall Mansion's Blog or on DHM's Facebook page.

All Editions go on sale Friday, May 23, 2014 at Dark Hall Mansion. They go on sale on our dedicated Store page at a random time between 9:30 AM PST and 11:30 AM PST here:

*In fairness to all collectors who wish to purchase our prints to enjoy or gift, not merely ‘flip’ for resale: ALL SALES ARE FINAL. The Beatles limited edition print series is created by Dark Hall Mansion. ‘The Beatles’ is a registered trademark of Apple Corps Limited. Dark Hall Mansion is a labor of love. We are passionate about art, about the work of print and poster artists present and past, here and abroad, we are committed to bringing their skills to the forefront on projects both compelling and exciting, bridging their studios and creations directly with your walls and personal collections. More information can be found on these and other editions available from Dark Hall Mansion at Source Dark Hall Mansion

Friday, 16 May 2014

New BBFC London Scavenger Hunts

The BBFC is pleased to announce something new available in our shop.  Our Scavenger Hunts will take you on a fun walk around London hunting down Beatles sites and learning interesting facts about Beatles history.  And as an added bonus you can win a prize too!

How the Scavenger Hunts work:

  1. Pick which Scavenger Hunt you want to buy ( 1, 2 or 3) - Note that all are located in London
  2. Order that hunt from our shop for £2.00 and include an email address.
  3. We will email you a PDF booklet that you will print on your home printer and a unique ID number that you will need for entering the annual drawing.
  4. Follow the instructions in the booklet to find and photograph all the Beatles' sites in that hunt.
  5. Follow the instructions on the back page to submit your photographs for our online photo album and your unique ID number to enter the annual drawing.

At the end of the year, we will randomly select a winner from all submissions to win a special BBFC prize. Increase your odds of winning by purchasing and completing all the Scavenger Hunts!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Cavern Club Liverpool Takes on the Hard Rock Cafe!

Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club is going to court with Hard Rock in a bid to end a 20-year David and Goliath row...



Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club is going to court in a bid to end a 20-year David and Goliath row over who is entitled to own the rights to its name – ‘the place where it all began’ or a Hard Rock cafe in Boston, Massachusetts, where Brian Epstein didn’t discover The Beatles.

The Liverpool club which is visited by more than 750,000 Beatles pilgrims each year argues that the giant Hard Rock group has no right to claim ownership to the name which it trademarked ‘Cavern Club’ in the US very shortly after The Cavern Club itself indicated that it was aiming to do so.

Trademark battles have raged with the Hard Rock since 1994 but the billion-dollar burger chain which has more than 175 outlets in 55 countries won’t budge on its refusal to accept the whole of music history’s acknowledgement that The Cavern Club is synonymous with the tiny Liverpool basement where The Beatles phenomenon was born – and not with a room in the Boston Hard Rock which is used for music playing and billiards.

Now the owners of the Liverpool club – who include John Lennon’s sister – are to ask a Florida court to throw out the Hard Rock’s undeserved claim to the Cavern Club name.

The lawsuit is being filed in Florida because Orlando is the base of the Hard Rock Corporation. Florida is also the home of the Seminole Tribe of Native Americans who bought the Hard Rock chain in 2007 for $965 Million.

The chairman of the Seminole Tribal Council, James E. Billie, is a highly-respected musician who performs under the name Chief Jim Billie. The Cavern Club is appealing to him as a Grammy-nominated musician to personally intervene, light-heartedly offering ‘if we can work this out we’ll give you a gig where The Beatles played’.

‘We are sure that as a musician Chief Jim Billie will see the history and the right to our claim,’ said Cavern Club director Bill Heckle.

‘This trademark row began long before the Seminole Tribe took ownership of the Hard Rock, so we don’t consider it’s of their making.’

He added, jokingly: ‘If Chief Jim Billie instructs the Hard Rock to try to see it our way not only will right be done but we’ll put him and his band on at The Cavern Club as part of the deal.’

The Hard Rock has registered the US rights to use the Cavern Club name for any room at its outlets in the US and Mexico. The principal outlet currently promoting a ‘Cavern Club’ on the premises is the Hard Rock café in Boston, where the name is used to promote a billiards room that is also used as a live music venue. The Hard Rock also has another ‘Cavern Club’ in Las Vegas.

The walls of the Boston ‘Cavern Club’ are covered with memorabilia of rock bands including Aerosmith, Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, The Grateful Dead and Donna Summer – none of which bands ever played at the real Cavern Club in Liverpool.

‘It is absurd for a billiards room in Boston to be passed off as having anything whatsoever to do with the history and heritage of music’s most famous club in the world,’ said Cavern Club director Dave Jones in Liverpool.

‘The Boston Hard Rock is also selling merchandise not only with the words Cavern Club on it but also bearing an image of the facia of the real Cavern Club in Liverpool and an image of Beatles boots. It’s an outrageous insinuated claim to an association with fame that has nothing whatsoever to do with them.

‘The Cavern in Liverpool is a historic British landmark and, for music, a world heritage site. The Beatles played at The Cavern 292 times, they didn’t play once at a billiards bar in Boston.

‘Paul McCartney made music history and headline news aroundthe world in 1999 by deliberately marking the end of the Millennium with a gig at The Cavern in his hometown of Liverpool. He said at the time ‘I want to end the Millennium by playing where it all began’. He didn’t say ‘I wish I could mark this historic moment by playing at the Boston Hard Rock where beggar-all began’.
 ‘The Cavern Club in Liverpool is not universally known as the most famous club in the world for nothing; The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Elton John and many, many others all played here as they were becoming famous, The Cavern in Liverpool is the birthplace of rock and we own that birthright.

‘We even had Chuck Berry in The Cavern Club because, like the other 750,000 visitors that The Cavern has each year, he wanted to see the birthplace of it all. I was in his car outside the club talking to him about the nostalgia, but at no point did he ask me for directions to the Hard Rock in Boston.

‘In recent years, Jake Bugg, The Wanted and Jessie J have all played the Cavern and Adele launched her second album here. The Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and Travis did gigs here too and all of these bands chose to play here because The Cavern in Liverpool is an acknowledged centre of the rock and roll scene.

‘The Hard Rock does not need the rights to the name of the Cavern Club for its massive business to succeed and we are very much the David in this battle against Goliath, we’re no threat to the Hard Rock.

‘But although no music fan in their right mind would believe now that a Boston burger café has anything to do with the history of The Beatles and the legacy of rock music, what could happen in the future if we do not fight for right and for our rights?

‘If this dispute is not put right, perhaps in some decades’ time kids might be confused into believing that the four lads who actually changed the world from a cellar bar in Liverpool instead started out at a Hard Rock. And that would be a travesty of history and a tragedy for music heritage. The Cavern doesn’t look for a fight, it’s not in our nature, but we owe it to every music lover on the planet to get this put right.’

Special Offer on Preview Tickets for "Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles"!

Starring Andrew Lancel and Will Finlason 

30 July – 6 September 2014 

We have exciting news for our members! As a Partner of Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles we are able to offer our members and readers £5 off all full-priced tickets for all preview performances!

We were delighted when we heard that Epstein: The Man Who Made the Beatles was opening in the West End this summer, and it's our privilege to work as a partner of the play.  It's a truly fabulous show and is not to be missed. To read our review of the play when it was first performed at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, click here

To take advantage of this special offer use the code fabpartner1410 when booking online, by telephone or in person at the Box Office.

The Six Preview Performances are…

Wed 30 July – 7.30pm 
Thu 31 July - 3pm 
Thu 31 July – 7.30pm 
Fri 1 Aug – 7.30pm 
Sat 2 Aug – 4pm 
Sat 2 Aug – 7.30pm 

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is the untold story and window into the private world of the music entrepreneur whose stellar career as Beatles Manager made him a household name yet whose controversial personal life remained very much in the closet. Acclaimed stage and TV star Andrew Lancel (Coronation Street, The Bill) and actor Will Finlason will return to the roles of Brian Epstein and the fictional character ‘This Boy’ respectively, for which they each received rave reviews during the initial run of Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles in Liverpool, where the show premiered in November 2012 as part of the city’s official Beatles 50th Anniversary celebrations at the Epstein Theatre.

This two-hander play imagines the brilliant but troubled man’s drug-fuelled final days whilst looking back upon his illustrious adult life and meteoric career from his drama school days to managing the world’s biggest pop group - a must-see opportunity to discover a previously unexplored story and celebrate a true icon of 1960’s popular culture – a man who shaped music and style across the world. Brian died in 1967 of an accidental overdose at the age of 32.

Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles is brought to you by Bill Elms & Jen Heyes Productions Ltd, written by Andrew Sherlock and directed by Jen Heyes. This multi-media play with live music premiered to critical acclaim in November 2012 as part of the official programme of Liverpool’s 50th Anniversary of the Beatles.


Book in person at the venue, online at or via telephone on 08448 733433. (Booking fees may apply) 
PROMO CODE - £5 OFF ALL PREVIEW PERFORMANCES quote – “fabpartner1410” when booking


“Andrew Lancel as Epstein is terrific... As the boy, Will Finlason gracefully mingles brashness and compassion.”
The Times

“A show of thought-provoking insight and raw emotion… The Beatles Manager superbly portrayed by Andrew Lancel. An experience not to be missed!”
The Stage

“At times comic, at times intensely moving... Epstein is not merely an exercise in nostalgia, it also finds the real man lurking inside an enigma.”
The Arts Desk
“Fab four fan or not you will thoroughly enjoy this EPIC production.”
Liverpool Live
“An evocative and moving history lesson, enlivened with wit – enthralling for those who were there (and still remember it) and for a new generation discovering their musical roots.”
“A show with style and substance and with an electrifying performance from its star... Andrew Lancel as Epstein was simply mesmerising.”
Made Up: On Stage in Liverpool
“Superbly written by Andrew Sherlock and with two absolutely first rate performances by Andrew Lancel and Will Finlason, Epstein captures the very heart and essence of the man.”
Liverpool Sound and Vision

So many things to do!

If you are looking for some Beatles fun, don't forget to check out our What's On page that is chock full of events all over the globe including events like this one below.

Friday, 2 May 2014


The Turk’s Head should need no introduction to Beatles Fans, but to refresh your memory, it is well known for the filming of the scene in “A Hard Day’s Night” where Ringo, dressed as a tramp to escape the fans, attempts to play darts.

In fact the whole area is awash with Beatle film sites, particularly from “Help”, which was filmed in many of the nearby streets and of course, Twickenham film studios, where many interior shots were filmed for “Help” as well as the infamous “Let it Be” sessions in 1969.

The Winchester room in the Turk’s Head played hosts to The Beatles for their party in 1964 after “A Hard day’s Night” had been completed.

Leslie Cavendish
To celebrate the event some 50 years ago (yes 50!), Dan Richards of the Apple Core Beatles organised a day of Beatles tribute bands. The BBFC were there as well as a number of merchants selling Beatles items.

Doors opened at 11am and a steady flow of fans came and went throughout the day.

Although the music started late, there were some great tribute bands covering the whole of the Beatles’ repertoire and more. We were treated to “Beatles Again”, who played songs from 1963, The DB5’s, Sir Paul The Tribute, The Fab Twins, doing a great acoustic set with some help from their friends, The Bittles, Hamburg Beat covering the Hamburg period and performed some songs I had never heard before. Wingsbanned covered the Wings era, The Trembling Wilburys did a superb set of Wilbury/George numbers, and this band gets better all the time. The Starrlites covered the 1968/69 period before the final act of the night, The Dung Beatles who rocked to songs from 1965 and 1966 with a touch of Sgt Pepper added.
Rod Davis with Ernie Sutton
Not officially on the bill but always a treat to see and meet was Rod Davis, an original Quarryman who was replaced by Paul McCartney, who played several songs from that skiffle period.

For me the Trembling Wilburys were superb as were the Dung Beatles, who closed the event, but all the bands who were there deserve a lot of credit for their performances and each and every one played their part in a superb day.

By the time the curtain came down it was 10.40 in the evening and we had seen some wonderful bands and had a great day.

Steve of the Dung Beatles
The Dung Beatles - Danny and Phil
In between there was a Question and Answer hosted by Richard Porter. Richard interviewed Andrew Lancel, the star of “Epstein the man who made the Beatles”, the new Epstein play transferring from Liverpool to London in August. The only let down here was that the mikes weren’t loud enough to cover the entire hall.

Rod Davis
It was a pity that other Beatle celebs who were there weren’t invited to do a Question and Answer session as well. We would have liked to hear from Rod Davis, Leslie Cavendish (The Beatles Hairdresser at Apple), Jeni Crowley (who worked at Apple and for the original fan club). Both Leslie and Jeni appeared in “Magical Mystery Tour” and must have some wonderful memories to share. Others at the event include Gail Renard, who attended the John and Yoko Bed In in 1969 and has written her book “Give Me a Chance”, and Kevin Roach, who has studied the Beatles families and was promoting his new book “That’s The Way God Planned It” focusing on George Harrison’s family. This follows on from his book on the McCartneys- “In the Town Where They Were Born”, reviewed in a previous BBFC magazine.
Sir Paul the Tribute

The event was a huge success and will hopefully be repeated. It was good to see some BBFC members who had made particularly long journeys at the event.

Dan Richards of the Apple Core Beatles tribute band did a superb job to put the entire event together and it was a pity that his band was in the end unable to play at the gig. A huge thanks to Dan and to everyone else involved in organising the event, and to the Turk’s Head for their hospitality on the day.

--  Ernie Sutton (with additional contributions from Terry Bloxham)

All Things Must Pass - Celebrating the Music of George Harrison - May 9

A powerful 10 piece band, recruited by some of the finest and most experienced musicians in South England, plays exclusively songs written by the Ex-Beatle. The programme consists of the obvious hits, he wrote for the Beatles (Something, Here Comes The Sun, Taxman etc.), but also many great songs, he recorded after the Beatlesʼ break up (My Sweet Lord, All Those Years Ago...).

The show is named after his first solo album, which is considered my many music critics as a master piece. 

David Hentschel, who worked as a sound engineer with David Bowie, Elton John, Genesis and George Harrison himself, came to see a concert and had this to say:

"I thoroughly enjoyed Alex Eberhard's "All Things Must Pass" concert. Beyond music from that album, the show was a celebration of all of George Harrison's music, all professionally and faithfully performed with love and respect."

The concept of the show as a celebration of George Harrison’s life & music lifts it above a mere tribute act. There are many Beatles tribute bands, but nothing remotely comparable to this show. George Harrison is still unforgotten and close to many Beatles fans’ hearts, which makes us convinced, that this show will appeal to a wide audience.

The next show will be at The Secombe Theatre in Sutton on 9th May 2014, Start: 8pm, Adults: £15, Children: £13. Tickets available at

They hope to take the show around the UK and beyond in the near future. This is not another Beatles tribute band, but a great live show dedicated to George's great songs.
For more information, pictures and videos please visit: