Monday, May 27, 2013

The Horse That Birthed the Beatles

Not a date related post, but this is too good not to share.  It just demonstrates so beautifully how the entire Beatles story is an incredible series of unlikely events that led to one place - the finest music our ears will ever hear.

The Horse That Birthed the Beatles

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pop Go the Beatles

May 24, 1963

The Beatles are hot and the entertainment powers that were are finding it impossible not to notice.

Today, the Beatles record material for their own youth oriented BBC radio program, called "Pop Go the Beatles".  The first order of business is to gin up a Beatlized version of that old favorite "Pop Goes the Weasel".  I love how the new theme song sounds like it was done with a minimum of fuss.

Between 2:00 and 6:00 pm, the Beatles and their guest stars (Lorne Gibson Trio) record for broadcast on June 4th.  The Beatles perform numbers from their live set including "From Me to You", "Do You Want to Know a Secret" and motown hit "You've Really Got a Hold On Me".

You've really got to hand it to the BBC for recognizing the pot of gold that was right on their doorstep.  The band was not immediately and universally loved, though.  It takes time for a sound so new and different to really sink in.  The BBC commits to at least four half hour shows in the coming weeks.

After recording the show, the Beatles turn in two more evening performances with the Orbison Tour.  And on the 26th, the tour swings by the Empire Theatre in Liverpool.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Roy Orbison

May 18, 1963

The Beatles start another national package tour, this one headlined by Roy Orbison.  It doesn't take long before they are upstaging even him.  Orbison, always a gentleman, takes it in stride.  I wonder if he thought back to these days when he hooked up with George and the rest of the Traveling Wilburys 25 years hence.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A New Logo

May 12, 1963

Late in April, date unknown, Ivor Arbiter of Drum City in London sketches up a design for Ringo Starr's bass drum, the famous Drop-T logo.  The design highlights the root  word "Beat" in the name of the band.  Today, the new drum kit is delivered to Ringo Starr at a Birmingham TV studio just in time for taping an appearance on "Thank  Your Lucky Stars".   That's the last piece of the puzzle.  Now, at long last, they look "just like the Beatles".

Video recordings made for the BBC back on April 1 will go out over the BBC tomorrow and that gives me a chance to highlight one of my favorite Beatle resources.  Happy Nat's The Beatles Rarity.  He has a simply astounding collection of rare recordings which he parcels out to us Beatle fans in a weekly blog which I never miss.

Recently he posted a recording with some Beatle banter in front of it of "Thank You, Girl", a recently minted Lennon and McCartney tune that was originally broadcast 50 years ago tomorrow.

And here they are...THE BEATLES!!!

Note the absent harmonica and the lyric "That's the kind of love that seems to good to be true", instead of the more familiar "...that is to good to be true."  To a huge Beatle fan, the world turns on such minutiae.

Thanks, Nat.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

We're Number ONE!

May 11, 1963

The "Please Please Me" album reaches number one in England's Record Retailer magazine chart,  where it will stay for almost the rest of 1963.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


May 1963

One of the most notorious episodes in Beatle history is taking place this week.  Paul, George, and Ringo have taken a flight to the Canary Islands for a well earned bit of R & R.  But John Lennon and Brian Epstein have decided to take their vacation together in Barcelona, Spain.

It can be pretty certainly stated that John Lennon agreed to the co-vacation because of the opportunity it provided him to get closer to the "boss", to further solidify his own credentials as the leader of the group.  Likewise, it simply can't be denied that Epstein is hoping for fulfillment of a long time fantasy of a physical relationship with the magnetic Lennon.

It can also be pretty confidently claimed that homosexuality was front and center during the holiday.  John himself told of sitting with Brian outside a cafe and discussing with him the attractiveness of this or that boy passing by.  John, admitting to a pretty intense relationship, describes how he felt, "I was rather enjoying the experience, thinking like a writer all the time."  At times later, John admitted to episodes of sexual touching or kissing, that he later retracted, probably being designed to shock or impress the listener with his worldliness and sophistication.

Paul McCartney put it down to John's need to control his environment, and that does ring true to me.

For my money, it's all of  a piece - the sexual, political and personal aspects of the vacation merging in the  mind of the most psychologically complex Beatle.