The Beatles – Revolver (Epic 2017 #019)

The Epic 2017 Project #019: 170119

The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

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On a business trip to Liverpool early last summer, a good friend of mine took me to Shirley Street to show me the Eleanor Rigby statue, designed and made by the English entertainer Tommy Steele.

It’s a haunting tribute to the song from “Revolver’ and, although the character (originally known as Miss Daisy Hawkins) is fictitious, the idea of a lonely lady feeding the pigeons from a park bench is captured so lovingly here that you feel obliged to sit alongside her for a while when you visit.

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We’re fortunate to possess an original vinyl pressing of the album in mono from 1966, courtesy of my wife’s elder sisters who were ardent Beatles fans back in the day.

The Beatles – Please please me (Leaping Ahead #89)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #89: 160329

[A song from 1963]

Released on 11 January 1963, this was the second Beatles single in the UK and the first in the US. It did so well in the UK that Parlophone rush-released the album of the same name on 22 March 1963, primarily to capitalise on its success. It didn’t do so well stateside but, on its re-release in January 1964 with ‘From me to you’ on the B-side, leapt to No.3 in the Billboard 100.

Joe Cocker – With a little help from my friends (Leaping Ahead #68)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #68: 160308

[A song by someone lost in 2014]

This wonderful cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968 and it propelled Cocker to international fame after his performance of it at Woodstock in 1969. Thirty-three years later, he repeated it at the Party at the Palace concert for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

In 1993 Cocker was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male, in 2007 was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown and in 2008 he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list.

Upon hearing about Cocker’s death in 2014, Paul McCartney said this about Cocker’s version of the Beatles 1967 song:

He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover “With a Little Help from My Friends” and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Saville Row and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that.

Joe Cocker OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014). Rest in Peace.

The Beatles – top rock albums

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Issue 91 of ‘Classic Rock’ magazine – published in April 2006 – featured the 100 Greatest British Rock Albums ever. As I am fortunate enough to have 60 of these in my collection, this is day 35 in a mini-series for Jemtunes – sample tracks from each of the albums I own from 100 through to 1

Day 35: Number 33/100: The Beatles – Taxman (from Revolver – 1966)

Extended-play (The EP)

Although the ‘extended play’ concept had been around for years – it originated on a 78 in 1919 – the 1960’s were its heyday. EPs were usually compilations of singles or album samplers and were typically played at 45 rpm on seven-inch discs with two songs on each side.

The Beatles ‘No 1’ is a good example…

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Unfortunately vinyl and cover have become separated over the years – probably ended up on a bedroom wall sometime around Christmas 1963! However, I still have the vinyl.

No.1 was the Beatles’ third British EP released in November 1963. A side – “I saw her standing there” and ‘Misery” B side – “Anna (go to him)” and ‘Chains”.

Other than those published by RCA, EPs were relatively uncommon in the United States and Canada, but they were widely sold in the United Kingdom, and in some other European countries. Record Retailer printed the first EP chart in 1960. The New Musical Express (NME), Melody Maker, Disc and Music Echo and the Record Mirror continued to list EPs on their respective singles charts. The Beatles’ Twist and Shout outsold most singles for some weeks in 1963. When the BBC and Record Retailer commissioned the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) to compile a chart it was restricted to singles and EPs disappeared from the listings.

25 songs in 25 days #22

One song per day along with an explanation of why you picked it. Day 22 – a song that someone has sung to you

That would have to be…

Golden Slumbers – The Beatles (1969)

Over the years we’ve had our own family, this song (and our own variations on it) has been sung repeatedly – by us to children, by our children to us, by my wife to me and by me to my dogs (and once to a rabbit).

Artful Albums #2: Peter Blake – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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This is my original 1967 version of Sgt Peppers. Hardly mint but highly treasured, still playable, complete with original cutouts insert and one of the surviving pressings with the rude John Lennon slogan about doing something like Superman which you can only hear by playing the run-off groove backwards on side 2.

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The Sgt Pepper’s cover was conceived by pop artist Peter Blake and his designer wife, Jann Haworth. With the fab four taking centre stage and surrounded by 80 life-size full colour cardboard cutouts and 4 life-size wax dummies borrowed from Madame Tussauds, the set was then photographed by Michael Cooper. It’s arguably the most famous album sleeve of all time.

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The cardboard cutouts insert, signed by Peter Blake & Jann Haworth includes a moustache, a picture card, stripes, badges and a stand-up Beatles motif.

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Of the 88 figures used for the album’s front cover, some remain unknown. However, here are the 61 I know about. I’m reasonably confident that the numbers relate to the above outlines, but don’t hold me to it!

  1. Sri Yukteswar – a well known yogi of the era
  2. Aleister Crowley – Black magician (died 1947)
  3. Mae West – Actress & film star (died 1980)
  4. Lenny Bruce – American comedian  (died 1966)
  5. Karlheinz Stockhausen – German composer & theorist (died 2007)
  6. W C Fields – American music hall and film comedian (died 1946)
  7. Carl Gustav Jung – Swiss psychologist (died 1961)
  8. Edgar Allan Poe – American poet (1809-1849)
  9. Fred Astaire – dancer (died 1987)
  10. Richard M Merkin – Artist (died 2009)
  11. Binnie Barnes – British film actress (died 1998)
  12. Huntz Hall – American film star (died 1999)
  13. Simon Rodia – Folk artist (died 1965)
  14. Bob Dylan (born 1941)
  15. Aubrey Beardsley – British artist (died 1898)
  16. Sir Robert Peel – British prime minister in 1834 & 1841 (died 1850)
  17. Aldous Huxley – British novelist (died 1963)
  18. Terry Southern – American author (died 1995)
  19. Tony Curtis – American actor (died 2010)
  20. Wallace Borman – Los Angeles artist (died 1976)
  21. Tommy Handley – British radio comedian (died 1949)
  22. Marilyn Monroe – actress (died 1962)
  23. William Burroughs – American novelist (died 1997)
  24. Unknown
  25. Richard Lindler – New York artist (died 1978)
  26. Oliver Hardy – American comedian (died 1957)
  27. Karl Marx – German founder of communism  (died 1883)
  28. H G Wells – British author (died 1946)
  29. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda – a yogi (died 1952)
  30. Unknown
  31. Stuart Sutcliffe – original member of the Beatles (died 1962)
  32. Unknown
  33. Dylan Thomas – Welsh poet (died 1953)
  34. Dion Di Mucci – American pop singer who formed the Belmonts in 1958 (born 1939)
  35. Dr David Livingstone – explorer (died 1873)
  36. Stan Laurel – comedian (died 1965)
  37. G B Shaw – Irish playwright (died 1965)
  38. Julie Adams – American actress (born 1926)
  39. Max Miller – British music hall star (died 1963)
  40. Unknown
  41. Marlon Brando – American actor (died 2004)
  42. Tom Mix – film star (died 1940)
  43. Oscar Wilde – Irish dramatist (died 1900)
  44. Tyrone Power – American film star (died 1958)
  45. Larry Bell – British painter (born 1939)
  46. Jonny Weissmuller – American actor (died 1984)
  47. Stephen Crane – American novelist (died 1900)
  48. Issy Bonn – Comedian (died 1977)
  49. Albert Stubbins – ex-Liverpool footballer (died 2002)
  50. Unknown
  51. Albert Einstein – German/American physicist (died 1955)
  52. Lewis Carroll – creator of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ (died 1898)
  53. T E Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) (died 1935)
  54. Sonny Liston – world heavyweight boxing champion (died 1971)
  55. George Harrison in wax
  56. John Lennon in wax
  57. Ringo Starr in wax
  58. Paul McCartney in wax
  59. Unknown
  60. John Lennon (died 1980)
  61. Ringo Starr (born 1940)
  62. Paul McCartney (born 1942)
  63. George Harrison (died 2001)
  64. Bobby Breen – British dance band singer (died 1972)
  65. Marlene Dietrich – film star (died 1992)
  66. Unknown
  67. Diana Dors – film star and 1950s sex symbol (died 1984)
  68. Shirley Temple – actress (died 2014)