Friday 28 April 2023

Fab Four Tops Backdrop sketches by Paul McCartney unveiled at Liverpool Beatles Museum

Liverpool Beatles Museum
Mathew Street

Thursday 27 April 2023 

Some of the invited guests waiting for today's big reveal at the Liverpool Beatles Museum

Monday 10 April 2023

Walking The Beatles' London - October 2022 (part eight): Chiswick House

Day 2 - Part 2

Chiswick House and Gardens,
Burlington Lane,
Chiswick, W4

Despite some strong competition from St Pancras Old Church and the area around Soho, our penultimate location on this trip was quite possibly the best location of the entire weekend.

The Beatles came here on 20 May 1966 with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg to film promotional films for both sides of their new 'Paperback Writer' / 'Rain' single. 

They had spent the previous day being filmed at EMI studios by Lindsay-Hogg - with whom they would later  make both the ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Revolution’ promo clips in 1968 and the ‘Let It Be’ film in 1969 - giving straight to camera mimed performances of both sides of the single.  Multiple black and white takes of the both 'Paperback Writer' and 'Rain' were filmed (in black and white) in addition to a colour clip for each, the latter intended for broadcast on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’, with Ringo explaining in the specially taped introduction that they were too busy with the washing and the cooking (and recording 'Revolver') to fly over to New York and appear on the show in person.

Those clips were shot on video tape, and have visually dated. For the following day’s filming at Chiswick House, Lindsay-Hogg decided to use colour 35mm film, resulting in images that despite being 56 years old still look as crisp and sharp today as they did when they were recorded.  Arguably the Beatles' two greatest promotional films, they are now considered to be the precursors for today's ubiquitous music videos.      

'The idea was that we'd use them in America as well as the UK, because we thought, we can't go everywhere. We're stopping touring and we'll send these films out to promote the record... These days obviously everybody does that - it's part of the promotion for a single - so I suppose in a way we invented MTV' (George Harrison)

Sunday 9 April 2023

Walking The Beatles' London - October 2022 (part seven)

A recap: On Saturday 8 October 2022, I went down to London with my fellow Beatles historian Steve Bradley to attend Evolver 62, Mark Lewisohn’s one-man show at the Bloomsbury Theatre. 

The show didn’t start until 7.30pm so we agreed in advance that it would be too late to travel home afterwards and decided to make a weekend of it. Armed with The Beatles London, the indispensable guide to the 467 Beatles’ sites in the capital, Steve drew up an itinerary and we decided to try and visit as many as we could. 

Of course, we didn't get anywhere near the magic 467, but we managed to see quite a lot of them before we had to be at the Bloomsbury.

Sunday 9 October -  coincidentally what would have been John Lennon's 82nd birthday - was slightly more relaxed, but we still managed to visit two major Beatles' sites in London, and a couple of curios en-route, before our final destination, which will be familiar to anyone who has watched their second feature film.

And so, without ferda adoo, as we say in Liverpool, here's day two  - part one: 

We stayed at the Premier Inn Clapham (spotlessly clean and a magnificent all you can eat cooked breakfast), on Lavender Hill which co-incidentally - or probably not given Steve's meticulous planning - is actually a Beatles' location, appearing in the opening scenes of Magical Mystery Tour.

On the morning of Sunday 29 October 1967, Richard B. Starkey (Ringo) and his 'Aunt'  (Jessie Robbins) were filmed on Lavender Hill and some of the adjacent side-streets. To establish precisely which, we needed to go beyond my well thumbed copy of the Beatles' London (now with added Mark Lewisohn autograph).

Theatre Street, SW11

They are first seen huffing and puffing their way up a steep street of terraced houses towards the camera. The Beatles' London says this was filmed on Acanthus Road. In fact, it was filmed a few streets further up Lavender Hill on Theatre Street.

Ringo and Jessie at the bottom of Theatre Street, and the same view today.

They are then seen in profile arguing as they pass 19 Theatre Street, which rather wonderfully still appears to have its original front door today.

Lavender Hill, SW11

This is where it starts to get a little confusing.  Ringo and Jessie are then seen from behind as they reach the top of the hill and turn right onto Lavender Hill where the bus is parked. Here they are greeted by 'Jolly Jimmy Johnson, the Courier'. 

You would assume that this is the top of Theatre Street but no.  The bus was parked outside an estate agents called Woodruffs, and Ringo and Jessie are seen turning out of Acanthus Road. 

Walking The Beatles' London - October 2022 (part six)

Evolver '62