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Post  misery guts on Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:28 am

The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels - Inside the Crazy World of Apple
Weirdly after watching that other doc on hippies, here was Peter Coyote again, this time narrating the saga of how the Fab Four were advised to use their money instead of losing it to tax, so they got into business and made a mess of it generally. They signed James Taylor (but lost him), they made Magical Mystery Tour (which made little sense), they couldn't get Mary Hopkin a 2nd hit, they missed Badfinger's mammoth Without You & so on. They trusted dodgy friends like Magic Alex, they supported crazy artists like Yoko Ono, they were hit by thefts and their accountant quit. They hired Hells Angels to come in, which really backfired. Allen Klein was brought in by John to make sense of it, but Paul wouldn't sign with him. Klein trimmed the company fat, but found the Beatles splitting up. And so the hippie dream died.
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Post  misery guts on Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:11 am

VH1 RockDocs: The U.S. vs John Lennon
A lengthy effort looking at why particularly Richard Nixon's government took an interest in the revolutionary antics of the Beatle-turned-solo act. His "bigger than Jesus" mistake led to the anthemic Give Peace A Chance, helping at a concert to free John Sinclair, supporting the Black Panthers, and his immigration problems. The quality of the talking heads elevated this, not just activists like Tariq Ali, Dr Angela Davis and Bobby Seale, but journalists like Walter Cronkite, Gore Vidal and Geraldo Rivera, and FBI and Nixon supporters like G. Gordon Liddy. Plus archive of J. Edgar Hoover, Strom Thurmond, and of course John himself. Ultimately, Lennon outlasted Nixon and won his freedom. For a while...
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Post  misery guts on Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:31 am

George Harrison's sitar has been auctioned off:

$62,500
The instrument, purchased from a shop on London's Oxford Street in 1965, was used by Harrison during the recording of the Beatles song Norwegian Wood.
The Indian string instrument, crafted by a well-known music shop in Kolkata, was later gifted to a friend of Harrison's first wife, Patti Boyd.
Beatle-memorabilia continues to be sought after.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:05 am

Festival No 6
A recent event held at Portmeirion in North Wales, featuring Rag n Bone Man, Laura Mvula, Wild Beasts, Mogwai, the Flaming Lips, and a collaboration between the Bootleg Beatles and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper.

Rhymes, Rock & Revolution - The Story of Performance Poetry
As an event 2 years ago that celebrated 50 years of Beat poetry, this show looked back from Allan Ginsberg and Roger McGough, through the likes of Gil Scott-Heron and Patti Smith, to later lights like John Cooper Clarke and Benjamin Zephaniah and Murray Lachlan Young. Also included was John Lennon for his 2 books of poetry which came out in the mid-1960s, and were suitably wild enough to be taken seriously.

Sex, Chips and Poetry: 50 Years of the Mersey Sound
A poetry explosion in Liverpool 8, perhaps helped by the media preoccupation with the city, this was how three poets were seen as the sound of Scouse Beat (perhaps as Mersey Beat had already been taken). Here the book's impact was discussed with the reflection it gave on later poets from Michael Rosen to Craig Charles, and other Scousers like playwright Willy Russell.
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Post  misery guts on Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:24 am

Storyville: How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin
This 2009 doc strangely contrasts with the one I reviewed last week which had a more general scope of Western rock n roll acts. Here film-maker Leslie Woodhead visited a great many Russians who could testify to the impact of the Fab Four, from the guy who opened his own version of the Cavern after perestroika opened things up, to Putin's Deputy PM who claimed to learn his English from their records. The story came full circle when Paul McCartney came to play a concert in which heavy rain put nobody off what was for many almost a religious experience.

Meanwhile in the present day, German police have traced personal items about John Lennon which were stolen 11 years ago:

John Lennon's diaries and belongings recovered 11 years after theft
German police have recovered 86 personal items belonging to John Lennon, after arresting a man in connection with a 2006 theft from the late Beatles singer's wife Yoko Ono.
Police arrested the man in Berlin on Monday suspected of receiving the personal effects, including Lennon's last diary that ended on December 8, 1980, the day he was shot and killed in New York.
So some good news there.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:30 am

Peter Blake - Pop Art Life
How he found his own style, and how he really made his name with the Sergeant Pepper album cover, which led many other acts, Madness, Paul Weller, Oasis and Chris Jagger (!) among others to get him to do album covers for them (often collages too). He also did work for Eric Clapton, The Who and Brian Wilson (not interviewed here, though).
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Post  misery guts on Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:52 am

Tony Calder, a former promoter for the Beatles, who went on to work with Andrew Loog Oldham, has died at the age of 74:
He started his career at Decca Records in the 1960s and went on to work with the Beach Boys, Marianne Faithfull, Black Sabbath and Eddy Grant.
The executive also co-founded his own independent record label, signing acts like Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac.
RIP

Also in the New Year's Honours List, Ringo Starr was awarded a KBE, to match the one that Paul was awarded over 20 years ago.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:24 am

The Beatles - Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years
Ron Howard-directed major new documentary from a year back, covering the time up to around Sergeant Pepper. Besides Paul and Ringo, there was plenty of archive of John and George too. The celebrity talkers varied from Elvis Costello and Richard Lester to Sigourney Weaver and Whoopi Goldberg. Bless. One of the selling points was "restored" live footage, which entertainingly was often lesser hits, which at least made a change. Inevitably, there was an American slant, so the euphoria of their February 1964 arrival bookended the story with the "bigger than Jesus" furore.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:10 am

The complete Concert for George
From the Royal Albert Hall, a lengthy tribute gig held on the 1st anniversary of George Harrison's death. Eric Clapton largely MC'd inbetween singing. The 1st 1/3 centred on his love of "eastern" music with Ravi & Anoushka Shankar in charge. Then after a surprising turn from most of the Monty Python team, it was full steam ahead with the "western" music, as Clapton was joined by Jeff Lynne, Gary Brooker, Billy Preston, Joe Brown, Tom Petty, Andy Fairweather-Low, Albert Lee, and latterly Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. George's son Dhani was also playing on many songs. An emotional show, and a great tribute to a much-loved & -missed musician.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:18 am

Another Beatles auction
More than 350 previously unseen photos of The Beatles at two early US shows have fetched £253,200 at auction.
Mike Mitchell captured the Fab Four arriving at the venues, at pre-show press conferences and on stage in Washington DC and Baltimore in 1964.
A total lot of 413 negatives were sold with copyright for £253,200 by Omega Auctions. Forty-six of those have been seen before when auctioned in 2011.
A black Mercedes AMG George Harrison bought in 1984 sold for £43,200.
Big demand still spells big money.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:56 am

I Me Mine, by George Harrison
This infamous tome from the guitar hero of the band makes a brief gesture towards reminiscence, but perhaps in view that this is pretty well trod ground, most of the book is a look at his lyrics, and snippets long and short about what inspired them. Often it's cross-relevant to other matters in his life, so it provides added biographical touches, but it's nice to see facsimiles of the actual written words, together with a legible version.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:28 am

Liverpool's council are planning a major upgrade to its Beatles Quarter:

All part of a masterplan
The aim was to bring an "enhanced and more co-ordinated Beatles tourism offer" to the area, the council said.
City Mayor Joe Anderson said there was a need to improve the area's 24-hour appeal as the current offer was "not at the level it could and should be".
The plans could involve the redevelopment of derelict and under-used buildings and the creation of a "more defined and useable public open space".
Looks a bit like an excuse for civic action.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:34 am

Pop Goes The Women - The Other Story of Pop Art
As part of a look into why artists of the calibre of Christine Boty, Idelle Weber, Rosalyn Drexler and Marisol are forgotten by historians, presenter Alistair Sooke visited Provo, Utah to meet Jann Howarth, who co-created the famous Sergeant Pepper album cover, but doesn't get even 1% of the credit that Peter Blake does. She was one of the originators of Soft Sculpture (i.e. using cloth rather than bronze).
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Post  misery guts on Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:55 am

The South Bank Show Originals: Peter Blake
The Pop Art master yet again, who's also worked with Paul Weller, Eric Clapton, Ian Dury and Oasis (Noel Gallagher interviewed here, as was Pete Townshend after a fashion), but its always Sergeant Pepper that serves as the calling card. Amongst a collection of works, Blake has the autographs of all the Beatles, as well as Brian Wilson's signature (Damien Hirst has somehow used the Beatles' autographs for an artwork of his own).
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Post  misery guts on Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:41 am

Geoff Emerick, engineer on some of the Beatles landmark albums like Revolver, died of a heart attack at the age of 72:

Obituary
Even if Geoff Emerick, who has died following a heart attack aged 72, had never recorded a note with the Beatles, his list of credits as a recording engineer and producer would be impressive, ranging from Art Garfunkel, Elvis Costello, Supertramp and Ultravox to Big Country, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Jeff Beck. He even engineered the demo tape by Kate Bush (produced by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd) that secured her an EMI recording contract.
But it was his work with the Beatles during their most frantically creative years that made his name. Having worked on numerous Beatles tracks at Abbey Road studios as assistant engineer, he was promoted to first engineer in 1966 at the prompting of their producer, George Martin, and his first job in his new post was to record Tomorrow Never Knows, for what would become the Revolver album.
RIP  Sad
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Post  misery guts on Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:43 am

Imagine - by John + Yoko '71
Quirky film, now restored, with soundtrack from albums by John, and by Yoko, with accompanying footage (the opening title track is most famous for the white piano and the window opening routine). Later skits are less successful (some of which seem designed purely to show off the famous names who have agreed to be part of it (Jack Palace, Dick Cavett, Fred Astaire and George Harrison)).
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Post  misery guts on Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:02 am

John & Yoko - Above Us Only Sky
A new doc looking at the early years of John Lennon's post-Beatles career, his home at Tittenhurst Manor, and the Imagine LP. His son Julian was present and a happy contributor, given it would have been a tricky time in his life. Klaus Voormann was predictably present to talk about helping out musically, and Yoko herself eventually deigned to chip in some points. David Bailey and Tariq Ali were other 60s icons whose orbit brought them into the story. There was some talk about making the above film, which made a shade more sense now. John's musical powers were given credit. The story ended with Yoko persuading John to move to New York, where they left Tittenhurst, and England, behind.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:40 am

Looking For Lennon
A rather ponderous effort from last year, which covered his life up to their recording career. So, friends from school, college & so on. The general tenor was "what a genius he was", although there was a bit of "he was deeply unpleasant, really". His wonky home life (custody battles of his parents etc) probably made him the attention-seeker he remained throughout. Someone charitably suggested his later efforts for charitable causes were compensation for having been such a scumbag when younger.

It's telling that the Quarrymen formed without him, and after he joined and met Paul separately, he worked him in, Paul brought George, then they tacked Pete Best in because they needed a drummer, and once they got Brian Epstein, he swapped Pete for Ringo. Fellow travellers like Stuart were little missed, and even their rocking image in Hamburg in '61-'62 was just an evolution to their final "suited & booted" look.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:24 am

Donovan & The Beatles In India
Folk legend Donovan returns to Rishikesh, 50 years on from his visit with the Beatles (and others) to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It did Don good, he wrote Hurdy-Gurdy Man (film director David Lynch and musician Brix Smith-Start were big fans) and helped John Lennon with a finger-picking style. George Harrison wrote an extra verse for HGM but it was left off the record. Don got into TM, and had been married to his wife Linda for 48 years. The furore that caused Lennon & others to leave happened after Don himself had left (after 5 weeks) so he had nothing to say about it.
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Post  misery guts on Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:00 am

Film director Peter Jackson has announced plans for some kind of Beatles movie:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-47055236
The Oscar-winning director will bring to life the tense recording sessions for the band's final album, Let It Be, using 55 hours of unseen studio footage that was shot in 1969.
Sounds riveting...  Rolling Eyes
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Post  misery guts on Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:00 am

A long lost photo of the band on stage has been unearthed and developed after 55 years apparently. Some negatives in a draw which were going to be thrown out, but were luckily checked first.
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Post  misery guts on Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:49 am

Revolution in the Head, by Ian MacDonald
Major work about the Beatles, looking at each track they recorded, how and when, and how they tell the overall story of the Beatles, and the 1960s. There's a sense of fairness in that all four guys get drubbed a lot of the time, but they do get some credit too. This was an edition from 1994, so before the whole Anthology/Free as a Bird issues, but it serves well enough for its time without too much hindsight.
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Post  misery guts on Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:08 am

Beatles - The Journey
Curious 2-part tale which I suspect was a remash of previous works. It was mainly archive, some obscure and irrelevant, and a couple of very vague chats with newer people. The 2nd part looked at the death of John, the knife attack on George and his later death, before ending with the band doing "Hey Jude". What seems to happen when "that'll do" is the order of the day.

Also another memorabilia auction had mixed results, some items not meeting reserves, but an old school exercise book of Paul's got caught between two bidders and went for several times its estimate.
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Post  misery guts on Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:28 pm

More nostalgia news, as a lost 11 second clip of them on UK show TOTP has recently been rediscovered. Eleven - seconds.

Also police logs from the NYPD from February 1964 have been donated to an appropriate museum, in connection with their Ed Sullivan appearance etc.
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Post  misery guts on Wed May 08, 2019 7:11 am

The Beatles - Made on Merseyside
Seemed cobbled together, but I'm sure some of it would have been new. Some familiar faces from previous similar docs, covering their early years as the Quarrymen, their times in Hamburg, and the sacking of Pete Best. Did he suffer from a lack of clubbability with the other three? Was Lennon jealous of his popularity? etc
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