Tag Archives: John Lennon

2016 ➤ On film: two electrifying hours of The Beatles as they’ve never been seen and heard

The Beatles, Eight Days a Week, Ron Howard, documentary, film, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Swinging Sixties, live concert, vintage, pop music, Shea Stadium, touring,

Pristine footage: The Beatles play Shea Stadium in August 1965. (Image: SubaFilms)

LAST NIGHT AT A LONDON CINEMA I saw the most exciting live pop concert since the same band played live in the Swinging Sixties. Ron Howard’s new Beatles documentary, Eight Days A Week about the touring years 1963-66, is a sensational feast of long-lost performance footage that confronts us with the Fab Four’s raw onstage energy and pounding tempo – the audio as gorgeously restored as the images. This two-hour celebration of Beatle genius goes behind the clichés of hysteria to give us Access All Areas. It delivers one revelation after another, from Paul’s “Oh-my-God” moment when Ringo joined the band, to the jaw-dropping recording of a top-ten single in 90 minutes of studio time, to their 1964 triumph for civil rights when the band refused to tour in the US until audience segregation was abandoned at their venues.

New interviews from Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney keep dropping gems of insight about this the most commercially successful group in pop history, while vintage footage does as much justice to lippy John Lennon and “quiet” George Harrison who are no longer with us.

Throughout this joyous moptops-into-men odyssey we’re wide-eyed at the sheer cheek of these multimedia superstars, aged between 19 and 22, who created their own interview style by pinging back witty ad-libs to questions from the world’s media. The downside was mass hysteria from teenaged babyboom fans laying siege to hotels and airports where they repeatedly overwhelmed police and security on an often scarifying scale.

Beatle albums sat at No 1 in the charts for 20 to 30 weeks at a time – more No 1 albums than any other musical act. Their 20 No 1 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart remain unchallenged.

The Beatles, Eight Days a Week, Ron Howard, documentary, film, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Swinging Sixties, live concert, vintage, pop music, Shea Stadium, touring,

Ron Howard with Paul and Ringo this week: “I love this photo that was taken yesterday at Abbey Road Studios in historic Studio 2 while we were promoting The Beatles: Eight Days a Week”

Everything The Beatles did was without precedent. Among their innovations they launched arena rock and at Shea Stadium Howard’s doc ensures that we hear George’s guitar chords above the screaming audience of 55,000 fans. As a shock reminder of Sixties technology, Vox had built three new amps for the Beatles, each souped up to 100 watts (!!!) specially for touring America, their output being relayed via microphones to feed the stadium’s tinny loudspeaker system!!!

It is a breath-taking source of inspiration to know that during The Beatles’ far from meteoric early years, this Liverpudlian band of brothers had played at least 456 live gigs before signing their recording contract with EMI. Yes, 456 !!! With that amount of practice, it should be no surprise to find that their legacy amounts to 237 original compositions – songs which most people on the planet can hum, while the most radical among them personify the Sixties counterculture. As the best-selling band in history, the Fabs revolutionised all of music for ever.

Howard’s previous reality epics include the wonderful Apollo 13 and the gripping joust, Frost/Nixon. This week he told The Guardian: “I began to think of the Beatles story as like Das Boot: they’re in it together, they have each other, they know what their objective is, but, y’know, it’s a dangerous world out there.”

WHAT THE PRESS ARE SAYING

➢ Ron Howard trashes the idea that there’s nothing new to say about the Beatles – The Guardian:
This is about the Beatles as live phenomenon, and the fact that their music was all the more remarkable because it had to be heard above the scream – that ambient sound of sex, excitement and modernity, mixed in with a thin chirrup of press envy. The scream was an important part of it. . . an almost unbroken four-year, semi-improvised multimedia performance for which there was no pre-existing template – not simply the music but the giant public spectacle and public scrutiny.

➢ 10 Things we learned from Eight Days a Week
– Rolling Stone:

In February 1964, the band and their entourage occupied nearly the entire 12th floor of the Plaza NYC, including the 10-room presidential suite. But despite the space, the four friends retired to smaller quarters. “The four of us ended up in the bathroom just to get a break from the incredible pressure,” Starr says.

➢ “We were force-grown, like rhubarb,” says John Lennon
– Daily Telegraph:

The film shrewdly draws a line between the Beatles’ mischievous sense of humour and their long-time producer George Martin’s earlier life recording alternative comedy. Martin had worked with the Goons, an enormous influence on the band’s growing lyrical eccentricity in that period, as well as their off-the-cuff ribbing of strait-laced reporters.

REMASTERED UK FOOTAGE, MANCHESTER 1963

Previously at Shapers of the 80s:

➢ No wonder The Beatles changed the shape of music after 456 sessions practising in public

➢ 1963, With The Beatles the day Kennedy was shot: “The second house was distinctly more subdued”

➢ 1966, More popular than Jesus: the fascinating Lennon interview in full

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1963 ➤ With The Beatles the day Kennedy was shot

Beatles, UK tour, 1963, Globe theatre, Stockton-on-Tees,  Beatlemania, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, CBS News, video, JFK, assassination, President Kennedy, Nov 22,

Beatles live onstage in Stockton, Nov 22, 1963: George Harrison at the microphone on the night Kennedy was shot

❚ WHERE? LIVE, ONSTAGE IN STOCKTON-ON-TEES. Count the simple Vox amps behind the band and note how one is perched on a chair! This picture was taken on Friday Nov 22 1963 at the 2,400-seat Globe theatre when the Beatles played the art-deco venue on their first nationwide tour. The band’s half-hour set during twice-nightly performances at 6.15 and 8.30 was supported by seven other acts with tickets priced from 6 shillings to 10s 6d, when a workman’s weekly wage might be £7.

Beatles, UK tour, 1963, Globe theatre, Stockton-on-Tees,During the first house in Stockton, England, the assassin’s bullets killed John Kennedy in Dallas, USA. At 43 he was the youngest man elected to the US Presidency and during the cold war era as the Soviet Union threatened world peace the hopes of the West rested on his shoulders. In Britain TV programmes were interrupted to break the dramatic news just after 7pm.

In those days we’d seen nothing as electrifying as the Beatles and while their audience at the 18th date on their first serious tour were discovering the power of The Scream, these fans remained respectfully seated throughout the show. Even so, personal accounts say the second house in Stockton was distinctly more subdued. Shocked by the news about JFK, Lynda Richardson, a fan travelling back to Redcar by coach, said: “No one spoke a word all the way home.”

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Also on this day the Fab Four’s second album With The Beatles was released on Parlophone eight months after their chart-topping debut LP and it immediately broke sales records. Lennon’s raw vocals barked fresh life and sexual danger into the Motown covers Please Mr Postman, Money and You Really Got a Hold on Me. With its eight original compositions, this was the album that moved William Mann, classical music critic of The Times, to write that Lennon and McCartney were “the outstanding English composers of 1963”.

 With The Beatles , album ,vinylEarlier in the year three Beatles singles had gone to No 2 and to No 1 twice in the UK chart and now another with advance sales of a million copies – I Want To Hold Your Hand – was racing up the chart to become the Christmas No 1.

This November, too, the Daily Mirror coined the word Beatlemania to describe the tour’s first gig, a phenomenon really triggered with the release of the single She Loves You in August. During the tour, The Beatles had also stopped the Royal Variety Performance – playing four numbers and watched by half the nation in a TV show of recorded highlights – when John Lennon famously quipped: “Will those in the cheaper seats clap your hands. The rest of you can just rattle your jewellery.” The group guest-starred on BBC TV’s flagship Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show, while their own Beatles’ Christmas Show was to run at London’s Astoria Finsbury Park for 30 performances (100,000 seats) featuring the Fab Four in comic “skits” with six pop acts in support including Cilla. By this stage the Fabs could go nowhere without a personal police escort. [See, How does a Beatle live? – at Shapersofthe80s]

Globe theatre, Stockton-on-Tees,

The Globe, Stockton, 2009: a glorious interior in art deco style

Today the Globe in Stockton, a small market town in County Durham, is a disused shell which is Grade II-listed. Built in 1935, its facade is enlivened with fluted plaster and the interior retains riotously colourful art deco features typical of the period. As a “super-theatre” the Globe hosted opera, ballet and an annual pantomime, together with touring variety, musicals, and pop concerts by Tommy Steele, the Rolling Stones, Searchers, Seekers, Billy J Kramer, Herman’s Hermits, Animals and Swinging Blue Jeans. It closed as a theatre in 1975, eked out the role of bingo hall until 1996 and then closed its doors.

The Theatres Trust describes the Globe as “an excellent example of its kind” and it is one of 68 buildings on its At-risk register. In 2009, Stockton-based Jomast Developments Ltd announced plans to restore the Globe and recruited theatre expert David Wilmore to the task. He called the Globe “a real Sleeping Beauty”. Finally last month Jomast reported that the Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked £4m towards an £8m project to transform the Globe into a live entertainment venue for music, comedy and other events, with a capacity of 2,500 and the potential to create 64 jobs. The new venue is likely to open in 2016.

THE DAY AMERICA’S CAMELOT FELL

❏ View The Beatles on CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace on November 22, 1963 (despite the erroneous date on the video), the day JFK was shot … In old-school TV style Alexander Kendrick reports grudgingly on Britain’s energetic threat to The American Way under the title, The Beatles, New Phenomena In Britain. Asked about the band’s future Paul McCartney says: “We could have quite a run.”

ANOTHER LEGEND IN THE MAKING

➢ At the Northern Echo in 1963 its young editor was Harold Evans, who went on to build the international reputation of The Sunday Times. On Nov 22, after putting the Echo to bed, he was being driven to Stockton for the annual press ball when news of JFK’s assassination came over the car radio. He immediately returned to his Darlington office and produced an entirely new paper. Evans decided The Beatles were worth a few downpage column inches squeezed into the Teesside edition only.

PHOTO UPDATES

➢ Ringo Starr’s lost Beatles photo album, Nov 2013 – “All anyone could talk about when we came to America was our hair. The boots were famous. The jackets were famous. The pop songs were famous, but they came in about third. The hair was first.”

➢ Fab finds: Never-before-seen Beatles photos, Nov 2013

➢ Five wild JFK conspiracy theories still troubling Oliver Stone

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➤ Record numbers visit Shapersofthe80s for the best Blitz Kid photos and eye-witness memories

Planets club in Piccadilly, 1981: George O’Dowd before he became Boy, his sidekick and future singer Marilyn, and fashion goddess Kim Bowen. Photographed by Shapersofthe80s

❚ 2011 WAS A BUMPER YEAR for Shapersofthe80s. Visits to this website have doubled year on year, to a total of 174,658 page views during 2011. Also during the past six months, views increased by 40% over the previous six months — driven substantially by our exclusive pictures of Steve Norman’s wedding, and by exploring the heritage which informs We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith’s definitive new photobook about 80s clubbing.

Of all topic areas, inevitably Blitz Kids and New Romantics have attracted most visits — about 16,000 views in total. Nightclubbing in the 80s came third with 11,000. Discover why, inside at Why them? Why then?

Most popular popstars viewed here in 2011 …

Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, NYC,Axiom,fashion

Lexington Avenue 1981: A fashion shoot features Martin Kemp wearing Demob and Steve Norman wearing Pallium, along with local girls. Photographed © by David Spahn

1 — Spandau Ballet — Total page views include Tony Hadley’s international tour with John Keeble, Steve Norman’s wedding, Martin Kemp’s cinematic triumphs and Gary Kemp as cultural pundit, as each of the band members has been pursuing his own interests since their farewell performance in July 2010.

2 — Boy George whose rise and fall seems Greek in its tragedic possibilities.

3 — Duran Duran who have patiently rebuilt their credibility over the past year. (Of their total page views here, almost half came in one day, yesterday*)

4 — Paradise Point — Britain’s brightest new pop musicians who mysteriously vanished from the stage almost as soon as they had published one of the most seductive videos of the year [see below].

5 — Sade whose long-awaited world tour slaked her fans’ thirst and gave her a No 1 album on both sides of the Atlantic.

6 — George Michael — another 80s survivor whose vulnerability almost renders him indestructible.

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Steady attractions at Shapersofthe80s are the post about John Rutter’s royal wedding anthem, and historically important interviews with the painter David Hockney (1983) and with Beatle John Lennon (1966).

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* It is an astonishing statistical exception that yesterday proved our busiest day of the year thanks entirely to Duran Duran sharing on Facebook the link to our choice of the 10 most creative tribute videos celebrating their comeback. So, despite our having followed Duran’s world tour since their newest album was launched in 2010, almost as many fans visited in a single day as during the entire year to date.
❏ iPAD, TABLET & MOBILE USERS PLEASE NOTE — You may see only a tiny selection of items from this wide-ranging website about the 1980s, not chosen by the author. To access fuller background features and site index either click on “Standard view” or visit Shapersofthe80s.com on a desktop computer. ➢ Click here to visit a different random item every time you click

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➤ Index of posts for December 2010

Duran Duran, 80s, pop

The early Duran Duran: discovered by invitation in 1980

➢ 80s shapers win 2010 New Year Honours for fashion, music and walking in space

➢ 1980 secrets revealed about the SAS, arming Afghanistan and death of the tanner

➢ 1980, As Spandau play in Heaven, all around we can hear the new sounds of 1981

➢ 1980s, So many shapers shaped the decade that people think was all down to Margaret Thatcher — key books of the year

John Lennon death, Daily Mirror, people magazine, 30th anniversary
➢ What larks! Festive fun and games and British ways to make merry

➢ A jolly festive tree by Andrew Logan

➢ 2010, Duran no turkey: here’s the Bacofoil video and two new tracks premiered at East Village Radio

➢ 1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

➢ A feast of Bowie-ana served in waffeur-thin slices

➢ Whatta they like? Essex reality stars shake their vajazzles in the face of Hollywood

➢ 1980, The Lennon we knew: unfulfilled talent with a genius for making friends the world over

Adam & The Ants, David Bowie, Swinging 80s,Top Of The Pops
➢ 1980, The week the Swinging 80s clicked into gear

➢ Live online now, mad hatter Stephen Jones

➢ This £5m iPhone has to be a spoof! Yes, that’s $7.8m or €6m or 52m Chinese Yuan or 245m Russian Rubles

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2010 ➤ Index of posts for December

Duran Duran, 80s, pop

The early Duran Duran: discovered by invitation in 1980

➢ 80s shapers win 2010 New Year Honours for fashion, music and walking in space

➢ 1980 secrets revealed about the SAS, arming Afghanistan and death of the tanner

➢ 1980, As Spandau play in Heaven, all around we can hear the new sounds of 1981

➢ 1980s, So many shapers shaped the decade that people think was all down to Margaret Thatcher — key books of the year

John Lennon death, Daily Mirror, people magazine, 30th anniversary
➢ What larks! Festive fun and games and British ways to make merry

➢ A jolly festive tree by Andrew Logan

➢ 2010, Duran no turkey: here’s the Bacofoil video and two new tracks premiered at East Village Radio

➢ 1980, How Duran Duran’s road to stardom began in the Studio 54 of Birmingham

➢ A feast of Bowie-ana served in waffeur-thin slices

➢ Whatta they like? Essex reality stars shake their vajazzles in the face of Hollywood

➢ 1980, The Lennon we knew: unfulfilled talent with a genius for making friends the world over

Adam & The Ants, David Bowie, Swinging 80s,Top Of The Pops
➢ 1980, The week the Swinging 80s clicked into gear

➢ Live online now, mad hatter Stephen Jones

➢ This £5m iPhone has to be a spoof! Yes, that’s $7.8m or €6m or 52m Chinese Yuan or 245m Russian Rubles

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