Friday, 18 December 2015

BBFC Magazine Issue 57 - Out Now!


Issue 57 has been mailed to all members and is now available for sale in the website shop. The issue is packed with great news and reviews:
  • The Beatles - A Day In The Life
  • Media Watch
  • Coming Up - Forthcoming Events
  • Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band Tour Review
  • Ringo & Barbara Property Auction Round-Up
  • Meet The Beatles
  • Paperback Writers
  • Try Some, Buy Some - New Releases
  • BBFC Offers & Merchandise
  • As I Write This Letter
  • Crap Photo of the Month
To get the magazine, join the BBFC today or visit our shop to buy just this issue.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

EXCLUSIVE TRAILER FOR 'THE SESSIONS: A LIVE RE-STAGING OF THE BEATLES AT ABBEY ROAD

Blockbuster stage show and spectacular access-all-areas musical documentary ‘The Sessions: A Live Re-Staging Of The Beatles At Abbey Road’ is set in a state-of-the-art reproduction of the iconic Abbey Road Studio 2. The show will stage breath-taking live renditions of the timeless albums recorded there by The Beatles, to take you on a thrilling and historically authentic voyage through the events that shaped popular music history.

WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE TRAILER HERE
Executive Producer Stig Edgren said: “This video is a small window into what we’re trying to achieve, and the passion and expertise in which we'll do it. With the world class team we’ve assembled, the clarity of our vision and the amazing venues we’ll be touring, we have an incredibly exciting opportunity to create the biggest, most spectacular, most musically authentic Beatles show ever. We wanted to give people a taste of the process by which we will bring THE SESSIONS to life, and hope they see our commitment to delivering the finest Beatle production ever."
 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

BackBEAT - 50's/60's New Years Eve Party

What: BackBEAT 50's/60's New Years Eve Party

When: Saturday December 31 from 8pm

Where: The Hare & Hounds, 278 Lea Bridge Rd, London E10 7LD Phone:020 8558 8282

What: Be transported to the hot, sweaty, smokey, and ELECTRIC early days of British rock & roll with the The BackBEAT Band! Playing all the rock & roll and rhythm & blues belters that were in the The Beatles and Rolling Stones very first sets - when circle skirts, bobby socks and pony tails, DA's, drainpipes and winkle pickers, and jiving like your life depended on it, were the order of the day!

Playing fantastic numbers by the likes of Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson and The Isley Brothers, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly plus plenty of toe-tappers from the Fab Four to take you into the new year, get yourselves a shot of rhythm and blues with The BackBEAT Band and get ready for BackBEATmania!!!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Special Members only deal on this fab new book



Special Offer for BBFC Members only: Get the pre-sale prices below AND free UK shipping using the special BBFC members only code.  To get the code, email membership@britishbeatlesfanclub.co.uk and ask for the Norman Parkinson Book code.  If you a current member, we will respond with the code for you to use.


About the book:
Norman Parkinson with the Beatles features more than 500 largely unpublished photographs showing the Beatles recording their second album inside Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios, September 12th 1963 as well as images taken earlier in the day at the President Hotel in Russell Square. The photographs featured in the book have been reproduced and carefully restored from the original negatives kept safely in the Parkinson Archive. While a small selection of these images were originally published in 1964 in a magazine aimed at the American market, the vast majority of these photographs will be seen for the first time in over half a century. The images have been carefully arranged to match and identify the songs being recorded, including “I Wanna be Your Man, Little Child and Don’t Bother Me” and a narrative has been written by Mojo Magazines Pat Gilbert. As well as working on the album the band have been captured relaxing between takes.

Working with Norman that day was his son Simon, seen in the unique picture above. Simon has written the introduction to the book and will be signing every copy of the limited edition leather version. This is a part of his recollection: "Fifty years on and one’s teenage memories dim… so that night at Abbey Road, witnessing the Beatles recording with George Martin, now seems a blur, for want of a better word. My father earlier in the day had let it slip that he was ‘snapping’ the Beatles but I had no idea that I might actually be invited to the recording studio. The shock that I got from his phone call later that evening -- “You want to come and meet the Beatles?” – still reverberates. The ‘Sixties’, that is the rejuvenation (literally) of England, had started and guess who was largely responsible for this metamorphosis? Do I want to meet the Beatles? Whaaat! So up to Abbey road, into the studio and “Ullo, Simon”." 

This exquisitely produced book, printed and bound in the United Kingdom, promises to appeal to both Beatles collectors as well as Parkinson aficionados and is certain to become a genuine collectors’ keepsake.

Versions:
 
Norman Parkinson Deluxe Edition. Pre-Sale Price £100 (reverts to £130 after release date). £10 UK Delivery.  (See special members only offer at top of page)
288 page, 300mm square hardback book, numbered and bound with dark blue wibalin buckram. 170gsm art paper. 1000 copies worldwide.

Norman Parkinson Leather Slipcase Edition. Pre-Sale Price £250 (reverts to £275 after release date). £10 UK Delivery.  (See special members only offer at top of page)
288 page, 300mm square hardback book, numbered and bound with recycled blue leather. 170gsm art paper. Presented in a clamshell box with a limited edition Norman parkinson silver gelatin print.
Each copy is signed by Simon Parkinson who took some of the shots with his father on the day. 350 copies worldwide.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Tickets on Sale: LENNON: THROUGH A GLASS ONION

GlassOnion_640x350 logo and image
Off Broadway Show Heads To Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre in April 2016
________________________________________________________
 
A play about Beatles legend John Lennon which opened in Australia, has played Off Broadway New York, and wowed audience at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is heading to Liverpool for two weeks in April 2016.
 
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion will open at The Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, on Monday 18 April, running through to Friday 29 April. There will be 14 performances across the two weeks, including four matinees.
 
Written by John Waters and produced by Harley Medcalf, the show is part concert, part biography and celebrates the genius, music and phenomenon of John Lennon. It features 31 iconic hits of Lennon and Lennon/McCartney including Imagine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Revolution, Woman, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Working Class Hero, and Jealous Guy.
 
Writer John Waters is one of Australia’s most recognised, respected and critically acclaimed actors and singers. Born in Britain, he has built and retained a fan base across four decades of theatre, musicals, TV, film and music.
 
Producer Harley Medcalf’s career spans 40 years. He has produced shows in over 300 cities worldwide and worked with artists including Elton John, Michael Crawford, Michael Flatley, Shirley Bassey and Meat Loaf.
 
The show was first performed on a small stage at the Tilbury Hotel in Sydney in 1992 – 12 years after John Lennon’s untimely death. The show struck a chord with audiences and was an instant success. In the years that followed, Waters and accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta toured the show and sold out venues including The Sydney Opera House. It then headed to London’s West End for three months.
 
It recently played a 16-week season in New York. And in Summer 2015, it entertained audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for three weeks. The play is currently back on tour in Australia.
 
Harley commented: “The play has received a really warm welcome in venues across Australia, Off Broadway in New York; and by audiences at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So it’s a real honour and truly humbling to be bringing to show to Lennon’s Liverpool birthplace. This is going to be a very special run and we invite the people of Liverpool to come along and hear about John’s life from a brand new perspective.
 
“For the audience this is either an emotional trip down memory lane or a wonderful introduction to the life and times of one of the most fascinating icons of our time. And where better to do just that than in the birthplace of The Beatles.”
 
Lennon: Through A Glass Onion features Liverpool actor Daniel Taylor in the lead role, who will reveal the true essence of the life of a true icon, whose astonishing talent is still treasured the world over. Daniel has won critical acclaim as the lead role in The Tommy Cooper Show. Daniel will be joined by accompanist Stewart D’Arrietta.
 
Stewart D’Arrietta recently enjoyed a nine-month New York run of his Tom Waits show, Belly of a Drunken Piano. Earlier this year, he was the musical director for The White Album Concert by The Beatles, performing on stage at the world famous Sydney Opera House.
 
‘A deeply felt reflection of the man, savour every minute’ – New York Times
‘Lennon’s spirit shines through’ – New York Post
‘Surprisingly compelling’ – Rolling Stone
‘Brilliant’ – The Spectator
 
Website:             www.Lennononstage.com
Facebook:           Lennon – Through A Glass Onion
Twitter:                @LennonOnStage
 
 
LISTING INFORMATION
 
LENNON: THROUGH A GLASS ONION
Monday 18 April – Friday 29 April 2016
Evening shows: 7.30pm
Matinee shows: 1.30pm Thursday 21 April / Saturday 23 April / Thursday 28 April / Friday 29 April
Tickets: £15 - £25
 
THE EPSTEIN THEATRE
85 Hanover Street
Liverpool
L1 3DZ
 
HOW TO BOOK
Call 0844 888 4411, visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk or book in person at The Epstein Theatre box office open 2pm-6pm Monday-Thursday, 12pm-6pm Friday-Saturday).
 
Tickets on sale Friday 27th November at 10am.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

TREMBLING WILBURYS 'XMAS XTRAVAGANZA' AT DINGWALLS

The Trembling Wilburys are hosting their 3rd annual Xmas Xtravaganza at Dingwalls in Camden, London on Wednesday 16th December. This is the one Christmas party gig you don't want to miss and one of BBFC's favourite events - last year's show was a fantastic night, acclaimed as one of the best shows of the year with a great turnout.

The Trembling Wilburys are the must-see tribute to legendary supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, featuring classic songs like "Handle With Care", "End OF The Line" and "Last Night" plus an array of solo hits by George Harrison/Beatles, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne/ELO.  The band features Glen Knowler as the living double of George Harrison ("I thought I'd seen a ghost!" - Joe Brown), and Dave Collison who perfectly reproduces the Big O's unique vocal style, along with a superb band of top musicians. These include drummer & occasional BBFC magazine contributor Dave Stark (of SongLink fame), who not only was made a LIPA Companion by Paul McCartney in 2006 but is also the official deputy drummer for The Quarrymen, having stood in for Colin Hanton in London back in 2012.  If you haven't seen the Wilburys yet, this your big chance!

Tickets £12.00, book here: 

Also check out the band's Facebook page:

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Life With the Beatles - moves to London - don't miss it

A life with the Beatles was very successful at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in Scotland, but if you missed it, you are in luck.  The show is going to be in London from the 23rd to 28th of november as part of a festival for new writings.

Click here for information about the show, the venue and to buy tickets.

The Beatles sat here!

A unique tribute to the Beatles' bums is being installed in Plymouth commemorating the spot where the Beatles once sat while in Plymouth for the filming of Magical Mystery Tour!

Read about the art project here.
Read the "Here comes the bums" newspaper article about it here.
Get tickets to the celebration concert on November 27th here.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Jingle Bell ROCK coming December 5

Go back to the Sixties this Christmas with a fabulous event on 5th December - Jingle Bell ROCK! 

Five bands are in the line up and will be playing the varieties of the 1960s - including Beatleweek favourites the Starclubbers and Johnny and the Moondogs, as well as London's favourite Beatles tribute band "The Beatles with an A". Also on the bill are The Mersey legends (1st managed by The Beatles first manger Alan Williams in the 1960's) playing all the Merseybeat classics, along with a fantastic Kinks tribute band.  

The event is being held at The legendary Gunnersbury Tavern (Chiswick High Road, opposite Gunnersbury Station), tickets are £10 in advance (via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jingle-bell-rock-tickets-18174580660?aff=efbevent ) or £12 on the door. 

For more information go to the event Facebook page at http://facebook.com/jinglebellrockevent 

Find this event and more on our What's On page and if you are a tribute band and want to be added to the calendar, just email us your schedule. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

MERSEYSIDE WRITER WINS BEATLES PLAY CONTEST



Winner: Patrick Maguire
A Young Merseyside writer has beaten two seasoned dramatists to win £150 in the Ticket to Write international Beatles-themed play festival.

Patrick Maguire from Litherland’s play You Are Lennon took the honours against Stalking The Beatles by Maureen Brady Johnson from Oberlin, Ohio and Face in a Jar entered by Rob Taylor from London.

The three one-act plays, staged at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 October, were judged by theatre professionals Ian Kellgren and Clare Dow with the audience from both nights making a third judge.

“It was just really great to see the play staged,” said a delighted Patrick after the result was announced on Saturday.

Patrick graduated from The Young Writers Course hosted by The Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in June 2014 and was  a semi-finalist of Ticket to Write’s maiden festival.

“All the plays were warmly applauded by the audience and I’m always humbled by the effort put in by the teams,” said producer Jamie Gaskin from Southport, who devised the event.

Over its four years the Ticket to Write Festival has attracted nearly 80 plays about Liverpool’s favourite sons. 

More details about the event and the people involved at  www.acedrama.co.uk

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A Life with The Beatles - Now playing London


For the first time in London, after the great success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, A Life With the Beatles is playing at The Kings Head Theatre from November 23rd through November 28th. 
 
The show is an amazing Magical Mystery Tour of the Beatles’ history, focused on the night of the recording of A Day in the Life, the song that closes their most famous album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

This incredible story is told from Neil Aspinall’s perspective, the Beatles’ road manager since the early days in Liverpool, the only one who was always at their side, behind the scenes and away from limelight, from 1961 to the 1970 break-up, and who later became the CEO of Apple Corps. 
 
Groups can call the box office on 02072268561 and for every ten tickets booked you get one free and the booking fee will be waived For more information on ‪#‎Festival45‬ or to book online, please visit our website:https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873541426/events


The King's Head Theatre is a Registered Charity 1161483

Friday, 9 October 2015

DEAR JOHN… 
 
Cube and Band 1

BLURRED VISION SALUTE JOHN LENNON
 
 Canadian trio unite stars and fans for 75th anniversary video and song
Released: October 9th 2015
 
 
 
Rock band Blurred Vision have brought together music stars and fans from around the world to wish Beatle legend John Lennon a happy 75th birthday.

The new video for the band's single "Dear John" is released on October 9th and includes appearances by both fans and stars . (Further details to follow.)  They can be seen in the unique lyric video holding signs with the words of the track and of Lennon's iconic "Imagine".

Pictures and videos were sent in from four different continents including countries as far away as Iran, Thailand and Uganda.

"Our intention behind the video was to bring together the millions of fans around the world to celebrate John's 75th, and also to show how his music and legacy for peace has gone on to inspire people of different generations, race, religion, and nationality" say the band. "We wanted to sing about peace and write about peace at a time in our world when we need it most and we called upon a little help from our friends to make it happen."

The London based Canadian trio released their acclaimed debut album "Organized Insanity" earlier this year and "Dear John" was written in dedication to Lennon. Celebrated producer Terry Brown was at the helm.

The group recently became official ambassadors of NYC based charity WhyHunger, and will donate 100% of net income from online sales of the song to the organisation, a leading charity to end hunger and poverty around the world.  http://blurredvisionmusic.com
 
 

Birthday tribute to John from a fan

Today John Lennon would have celebrated his 75th birthday. People all over the world are marking the day in their own special way. We are sharing with you a song written and produced by one of our members and a frequent contributor to our Fan Art Page. We hope you enjoy this video tribute to John from club member Alan Millen and the band Newcastle Road.

Beatles Story Cake for John's 75th to help fight food poverty

COME TOGETHER OVER AN INCREDIBLE THEMED CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR JOHN LENNON’S 75TH BIRTHDAY
*****
A chocolate cake to celebrate John Lennon’s 75th birthday will be unveiled at a special event at the Beatles Story, Albert Dock, as his sister Julia Baird launches a campaign to fight against food poverty.
 
The design of the cake is being kept top secret until October 9th – John’s birthday – when it will be shown in public for the first time at The Beatles Story.
 
Garston-based cookery studio Can Cook have created the cake which is made out of chocolate because that was John Lennon’s favourite.
 
Julia said: “When John was young, it was war time and food was scarce so our family used to save up our chocolate rations so that when John’s birthday was coming up we could make him his favourite cake.
 
“He loved chocolate cake and this year as it would have been John’s 75th birthday I wanted to tell the story and tie it in with fighting food poverty in his hometown of Liverpool today.”
 
The chocolate cake will be unveiled at a press conference at the Beatles Story at Albert Dock in Liverpool at 11am on Friday 9th October.
 
The cake will be auctioned with all proceeds going to Can Cook to support the ‘Imagine No Food Poverty’ campaign.
 
The ‘Imagine No Food Poverty’ campaign is being launched with a video featuring John’s sister, Julia, his schoolboy friend Tim Holmes and Robbie Davison, Director from Can Cook.
 
The video highlights the problem of food poverty in Liverpool and across Britain, encouraging people to cook using healthy ingredients to make nourishing meals, even on a tight budget.
 
Robbie said: “Food poverty in the UK means over a million families with children are going hungry.
 
“Our solution is to provide fresh food to everyone who is hungry. By joining the ‘Imagine No Food Poverty’ campaign you will help feed good fresh food to people when they most need it.
 
"As part of the launch of this campaign, we will also be retailing a special chocolate brownie that will be sold in the Beatles Story's shops, caf├ęs and through the other Beatles partners in Liverpool. For every brownie sold, we will make a donation towards a meal for someone suffering from food poverty."
 
As part of the celebrations, Beatles fans from Liverpool and around the world are being encouraged to send birthday messages on social media to mark John’s 75th birthday.
 
Fans are encouraged to get involved with John’s birthday celebrations via the Beatles Story’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts by sending their well wishes and using the #JL75 hashtag.
 
Martin King, of the Beatles Story, said: “John Lennon is a global musical icon and as this year would have been his 75th, we would like to see people across the world celebrating too by sharing their messages on social media using the #JL75.
 
“Let’s create a viral multimedia conversation for one of the greatest musicians the world has enjoyed.”
 
Also to mark John’s birthday the Beatles Story recently unveiled new memorabilia – the last piano John ever played – alongside an exhibition of never before seen pictures of John Lennon taken by American photographer, Bob Gruen.
 
Bob served as John’s personal photographer during his time in New York in the 1970s and is credited with taking some of the most famous pictures of John Lennon in his post-Beatles career.
 
Other Liverpool Beatles partners, the Cavern Club and Hard Day’s Night Hotel, are also marking this occasion with special activities taking place all week.
 
The Beatles Story is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and is credited as the world’s largest permanent exhibition solely dedicated to the lives and times of The Beatles.
 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Competition winners announced!

Our latest competition to win tickets to see Let it Be on October 14th in Liverpool is over and we are happy to congratulate the following winners:


Marie Mouat - Rachel Clynch David Stansfield  - Lucy Barrett  - Hazel James 
 
We have emailed all winners to notify them.  Thank you to all who entered.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review: Dung Beatles in Aylesbury

Aylesbury Canal Society September 19th 2015.

The Aylesbury Canal Society celebrated a move to a new home and the 200th anniversary of the Aylesbury Arm.

The Dung Beatles, Steve, Phil, Danny and Mike, performed here for a private dinner for members and invited guests.

Their two sets ran to over 50 songs, many of which came from the earlier catalogue and especially selected for the audience.

The first set began with "Please Please Me"and progressed through well known songs from 1963, including "Thank You Girl" featuring a great harmonica from Danny. 

After switching to acoustic guitars, a number featuring Mike on vocals for the first time was "Act Naturally". Unfortunately the microphone failed here, but Phil stepped in quickly after realising what had happened. It was a pity for Mike, on his first vocal for the band. The professionalism showed through though duly covering the failing microphone.

The band ventured into 1964 and "I'm a Loser was well received, but had no harmonica part as the original did. I'm sure Danny, after the superb "Thank You Girl" could eventually cover the harmonica on "Im a Loser" just as well.

Songs from 1965 followed including a debut for "Michelle", not previously performed by the band, and beautifully sung by Danny, including the part in French.

A mixture of numbers followed from various years plus a solo McCartney number "Every Night", where the three piece harmonies of Phil, Steve and Danny were superb.

"Can't Buy me Love", however, started with distorted vocals, and the first set came to a close with a great rendition of "The Ballad of John and Yoko".

After a 20 minute break, the band returned and started with "She Loves You". Hit after hit followed including excellent covers of "Drive my Car" and "Day Tripper", both in vocals and musicianship.

"Paperback Writer" followed where the harmonies need some tweaking to improve.

They were now venturing into the later period and "Sgt Pepper" had the dance floor full. Things were building to a great finale. "Lucy in the Sky", "Back in the USSR", had the place rocking.

"Come Together" saw Danny Improvise a superb guitar solo when it seemed the song was going to restart, again superb ad libbing and professionalism shown.

With rockers to finish,  which included a superb drum solo by Mike on "Roll Over Beethoven", "A Hard Days Night" closed the show, but the audience wanted more and the band obliged with "Twist and Shout" and "Hey Jude".

Danny was superb on lead guitar and occasionally switching with Steve. Mikes drumming was excellent, and Phil gave a solid performance on bass.

Another great gig, despite a few hiccups, but with over 50 songs in the set list, the band can be excused the odd mistake.

The crowd loved it. Here's to the next one. Go see this band, if you can, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

We should also mention that the day was not just about the gig, but a superb day was organised by the Aylesbury Canal Society, including stalls, dancers, open boats and food. Brian Barnes from the society deserves a special mention for all his efforts.

Set list;
Please Please Me/From Me to You/Thank You Girl/It Won't be Long/All My Loving/Act Naturally/Love Me Do/This Boy/I'll be Back/Eight Days a Week/Things we Said Today/I'm a Loser/No Reply/I've Just Seen a Face/Norwegian Wood/Michelle/Good Day Sunshine/Every Night/We Can Work it Out/Here Comes the Sun/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/Help!/You're Gonna Lose That Girl/I Feel Fine/Can't Buy Me Love/The Ballad of John and Yoko.

Second set;
She Loves You/I Want to Hold Your Hand/any Time at All/Ticket to Ride/Drive my Car/Day Tripper/Paperback Writer/Taxman/Dr Robert/Sgt Pepper/With a Little Help From my Friends"/Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds/Magical Mystery Tour/Back in the USSR/Ob La Di Ob La Da/Come Together/Something/Get Back/I Saw Her Standing There/One After 909/Roll Over Beethoven/You Can't Do That/A Hard Days Night/Twist and Shout/Hey Jude.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Lennon Radio Play on BBC Radio 2

Stephen Kennedy with John's statue on Mathew Street in Liverpool
Stephen Kennedy, director of the Dublin Beatles Festival, is a man of many talents including playwright. 

Last February we posted about his play Lennon being invited to Berlin and now those of us who were not lucky enough to travel to Berlin, have the opportunity to listen to the play on BBC 2 radio.

On October 9th, John would have been 75 and one day before that anniversary, Stephen's play will be aired on BBC 2 Radio at 10pm.  You can read more about it here.  It sounds like a wonderful way to start celebrating John's birthday.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Dublin Beatles Festival tickets on sale

Freda Kelly with Paul McCartney
The Dublin Beatles Festival is just around the corner and tickets are on sale.  This year's festival is  between November 6th-8th, at various venues in Dublin city centre.
 
The festival will have Beatle gigs, film, theatre, free events, table quiz, public interview, art, memorabilia and merchandise.  

Festival director Stephen Kennedy describes some of the highlights of the festival below.  It does sound like fun.  If any of our members plan to attend, please send us your photos and reviews!

THE ROCKITS (a Cavern Club resident band) are coming over from England – and they are going to play two sets at their show in the Workman’s Club on Saturday, November 7th.  The first set will be the ‘Hits of the 1960s’ (The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces, Elvis Presley) and their second set will focus exclusively on the music of The Beatles.  It’s going to be one big party.

And FREDA KELLY is coming over from Liverpool for a public interview with Tom Dunne at the Grand Social on Sunday, November 8th.  Freda worked for The Beatles for 11 years and is the subject of the award-winning documentary Good Ol’ Freda.  As George Harrison pointed out – “Freda was there at the very beginning and she stayed until the very end.”  This lady is wonderful.  Pure and simple.  The Beatles were lucky to have her. 

We also have a wide range of brilliant Irish acts performing at the festival too – including The Newspaper Taxi Men, Vyvienne Long, Biggles Flys Again, Jonathan Ward, Enda Reilly, Duncan Maitland, Pearse McGloughlin, Keith Grogan, The Sex Beasts, and more!

There will also be the ever popular BEATLES TABLE QUIZ – plus FREE EVENTS such as Lennon v McCartney (short film) and Pete Best of The Beatles (stage play performed by Padraic McGinley).  You can also meet renowned Beatle artist Georgina Flood – and browse rare Beatle merchandise from England’s Beatle Days.       

Tickets have just gone on sale right here:

And the mini-programme for the Festival can be downloaded from here:
    
Here are some of the other key links:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

SOUTHPORT PREVIEW FOR PLAYS IN FUNDRAISING FUN NIGHT

Don't miss your chance to see previews of this year's plays in the Ticket to Write festival at this fun fundraiser event.

Trailers of the one-act plays being performed at Liverpool's Unity Theatre in October are  just part of the fun.  The fundraiser also features musical numbers, a prize quiz, a raffle and a supper all for just £10. And you can bring your own wine or other drinks.

The Fund-raising event is at St George's Church Hall, Lord Street, Southport, PR9 0NP on Thursday 24th September. Doors open 7.30pm.


For advance tickets and more info contact Jamie Gaskin through tickettowrite@acedrama.co.uk

Sunday, 13 September 2015

John's Gypsy Caravan restoration project

In 2012 John's Gypsy Caravan that he bought for his son Julian was rediscovered, but it was in desperate need of restoration to bring it back to its former glory.

The Delight Makers charity is striving to complete this work in the next 18 months while also making a documentary about the caravan with the hopes to have it all ready to coincide with the the 50th anniversary of the release of the Sgt Pepper Album. Fans can contribute to the project and the goal is that the caravan and documentary will raise funds to help promote peace and healing.

Click here to learn more

Saturday, 12 September 2015

BBC Four is asking for help from fans

Beatles fans, here is an opportunity for you to share your memories.  We received the following message from Rebecca Stewart from BBC Four. 
 
"I am working for a production company that is making a new documentary called The People's History of Pop for BBC Four, due to air in 2016. 

We are currently crowdsourcing photos and audio/video of people's cherished music memorabilia - ticket stubs, diary entries, teen band recordings, wrist bands, rare footage and more - to tell the stories of British rock and pop music from the fifties to the noughties through the memories of fans that were there. 

I'm currently trying to find some memorabilia of all things Merseybeat (including the Beatles) and I wondered if you would be willing to share this on your website to see if your online fan community would want to get involved. 
 
Everything sent in to www.phop.co.uk will be part of an incredible online archive and will culminate with a television series for BBC FOUR, featuring the best of what's been uploaded to the site."

Friday, 11 September 2015

Beatle Week Spotlight: May Pang interviewed by Mark Lewisohn

30 August 2015 Mark Lewisohn interviewing May Pang Adelphi Ballroom

In 1969 May Pang was working for Alan Klein of ABKCO. She was a gofer. Because of Alan’s involvement with Apple, May was able to meet the Beatles. The first Beatle she met was Ringo Starr who was her favourite.

In December 1970 John and Yoko Lennon were filming ‘Up Your Legs’ and ‘Fly’ and they needed some assistance. They approached Klein who then asked if May wanted to help them out – yes!

May would stay with them in Tittenhurst where she was involved in the making of the film ‘Imagine’. She stressed that the scene in which John is playing ‘Imagine’ on the white piano in the white room with Yoko slowing opening the windows was shot MANY times. At one point John asked her how she liked Tittenhurst. May really didn’t know how to answer the question so John told her: ‘Well, it is 80 acres, you know.’ May also recalls the photo shoot in which John is parodying Paul holding a ram on his ‘Ram’ album. It was very difficult for John to hold on to the pig.

May moved to New York City in 1971 with them and recalled that John became particularly fond of Burger King and milkshakes. Initially they stayed at the St Regis Hotel in Midtown Manhattan on the east side. This is where they filmed the video for ‘Happy Christmas’. The images on the record label in which John’s face morphs into that of Yoko’s were hand done by the photographer Ian Macmillan who had previously shot the Abbey Road album cover.

George Harrison visited them in the St Regis Hotel. Jack Lemmon was a resident and often his calls would be accidentally put through to the Lennon’s room because of the similarity in the names.

John and George were getting along fine in the first few years of the 1970s but there was a confrontation between the two in 1974 when George was in the United States on his Dark Horse tour. The two met and George demanded that John take off his tinted spectacles so he could see his eyes. George told John: ‘You weren’t there for me’ and John replied: ‘I couldn’t but I am here now.’ May is not sure exactly what they were referring to – they could have been referring to their time in the Beatles or to more recent concerns such as Alan Klein and the dissolution of the band. It was around this time that George once turned to May and said: ‘I’m pleased you are with him.’
Photo by Terry Bloxham

John and Ringo Starr were always close throughout the 1970s.

In 1973 May Pang helped the Lennon's move into their new flat in the Dakota building, 1 West 72nd Street in New York City. At this time May was assisting Yoko on the creation of Yoko’s album ‘Feeling the Space’. May contacted Jim Keltner to put a band together to record the album. Shortly after, John told May that he wanted to go back into the studio and asked her to arrange one in two weeks time – this would result in the album ‘Mind Games’.

At this time, May claimed that everyone could see that John and Yoko were drifting apart. Yoko came into May’s office at 9:30 one morning and announced that she and John were not getting along and were going to see other people. Yoko looked at May and said: ‘I know you don’t have a boyfriend.’ May was shocked and told her that she wasn’t interested, and she wasn’t at the time. Yoko insisted that she would be ‘good for John’ and left, later telling John that she had fixed things with May and he could go out with her. John approached May a few weeks later. John’s lawyer, Harold, was visiting from Los Angeles and John asked him when he was returning. On being told that he was leaving that night, John told May to pack his and her things and they left that night for a life together in LA. It was then that John went after May and she slowly fell in love with him.

Photo by Terry Bloxham
Mark asked about this ‘long weekend’. May Pang replied that John really was not a drinker but that was the thing to do in Los Angeles. Harry Nillson certainly led him astray but their time there was not all about drinking.

May arranged for Julian to come out and visit. Cynthia accompanied him and when Julian saw John he ran into his arms. May still sees Julian once a year.

During the recording of Harry Nillson’s album ‘Pussy Cats’ Paul and Linda McCartney visited. This led to the ‘Toot and Snore’ bootleg recording – Mal Evans was on it, May played the tambourine and Paul was on the drums – John and Paul were having a fine time.

In December 1974 the Beatles were in the process of signing the final documents which would dissolve the group. John was holding back, stating that ‘the stars weren’t right’. George was in the United States on his Dark Horse tour and would ring John screaming at him over the phone. May heard George scream: ‘I started this tour without you and will finish without you.’ John finally signed the documents in their room when they were on holiday in Disney World in Florida.

May told us he exciting news that she still has the tapes of the ‘Too Many Cooks’ session John recorded with Mick Jagger. It was clear from her tone of voice that she had no intention of releasing it at this time.

May told the story of how John met David Bowie through the actress Elizabeth Taylor. It was at Dean Martin’s son’s, Ricky, birthday party in Los Angeles. They met again at Electric Lady Studio in New York as Bowie was recording ‘Across the Universe’. She also recounted the story of how John agreed to sing on his collaboration ‘Whatever Gets you Through the Night’ with Elton John if it made it to number one, never thinking it would!

Mark Lewisohn asked May how she thought her relationship with John Lennon ended. May said that they were about to buy a house in the Hamptons, in New York state. They had picked out a Scottish-style house. Yoko was always ringing John. On one occasion Yoko thought John sounded breathless on the phone from too much smoking. She said she had a remedy. John wanted to go and see Yoko about this remedy. He then told May that he was moving back in with Yoko purely to make his immigration process more possible and that they would still see each other. May says that they did continue to see each other. The last time they spoke was in May 1980 when John was in Cape Town in South Africa.

May told of how she was the inspiration for the song ‘Surprise Surprise’ on the ‘Walls and Bridges’ album and that it was her voice on the song ‘No 9 Dream’.

All throughout the interview, May Pang was lively, happy to chat but reticent about speaking on controversial subjects like her relationship with Yoko Ono.

~ Report by Terry Bloxham 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review: Eel Pie Island Museum - Stunning museum for music fans

1960's music fans will be familiar with the name "Eel Pie Island." This Island in the Thames river in Twickenham, only accessible via footbridge or boat, was an unlikely candidate as a site that would change the face of music, but despite this isolation it became famous as a major music venue in the 1960s that launched many successful music careers.

A group of fans representing the British Beatles fan club had an outing in the area last weekend, and we were delighted to discover that there is a wonderful museum in Twickenham dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of Eel Pie Island.

As soon as we heard about it, we made a beeline for the museum to check it out. We were not disappointed! The museum is exceptionally put together. The story of the island comes alive as you explore its history and learn how it played a part in the British Blues scene of the 1960's and of the early beginnings of stars such as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton. You'll be fascinated to learn how the island has also influenced other genres from jazz through heavy metal. The collection of photos, timelines and memorabilia is interesting and engaging and includes instruments you are not only allowed to touch, but can actually pick up and play.

The curator, Michele Whitby, has created something really special. The museum is currently located on first floor of the Twickenham library on Garfield Road in Twickenham but they are actively seeking a permanent home. There is no fee, but a donation of £2.00 is appreciated to help the museum both continue and find its new home. Together a visit to the Eel Pie Island Museum coupled with a ride on the Swinging 60's Shuttle Bus (see review) makes a perfect day out for music fans.

Review: Swinging 60s Shuttle Bus - Immerse yourself in rock and roll history

Rock and Roll fans pay attention: Next time you are in the London area, be sure to add an outing to Richmond to your itinerary.  Richmond and Twickenham  are well known as areas rich with Rock and Roll history that includes the Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Manfred Mann, The Who, David Bowie, The Animals, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Genesis and many more. Even the Beatles, have some history here. However, the new Swinging Sixties Shuttle Bus makes learning and exploring this history easy, informative and most of all fun!

A group of fans representing the British Beatles Fan Club gave it a try last weekend and we were impressed. We opted for one round-trip ride on the bus that took us from the Waitrose bus stop in Richmond to Teddington and back. The original 1960’s double-decker bus is equipped with a music system playing music of the groups who got their start in the area, a fun and knowledgeable conductor (we had Paul) and a fab atmosphere.

The round trip ride takes about an hour and during the ride, the conductor with immerse you into the 60’s music scene with stories about the legendary artists who got their feet on the path to stardom from local venues. There is no better way to take it all in and learn more about the unique breeding ground that launched so many music careers.

The shuttle bus is the first creation of the Music Heritage London (MHL) which plans to expand in future with more ways to share this rich Rock and Roll heritage area with fans. To learn more about the Swinging 60’s Shuttle Bus including updated prices and schedule, visit their website and like them on Facebook

Paul our conductor also let us know about the Eel Pie Island Museum in town which we immediately added to our outing. Our next post will be a review of that fab museum.