History

Beatles Sessions

I'm not keen on the way the official Beatles posts are amalgamating sessions sounds nowadays. I prefer to listen to the original session tapes beatlegs without false interjections from other recordings, like the Think For Yourself sessions. There's nothing wrong with this, in fact I like to hear it, but it is a false representation of what happened at the time and I just prefer to hear it without being tampered with.

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Robert Stigwood and The Beatles

On hearing today of the death of Robert Stigwood, I went to Wikipedia to refresh my memory on the Beatles connection:

"Merger with NEMS

On 13 January 1967 Stigwood signed a deal with his friend and colleague Brian Epstein to merge their two companies. The Beatles were by now no longer touring, and Epstein was tiring of the demands of his ever-expanding business. He was keen to reduce his involvement in NEMS Enterprises, the company he had founded in 1963, so he decided to strike a deal with Stigwood.

Why Epstein decided to merge with Stigwood is uncertain. There had been numerous other offers made for NEMS over the previous couple of years and Epstein is reported to have turned down more than one multimillion-dollar offer from American interests, so it is unlikely that he chose to become a partner with Stigwood simply for financial reasons.

According to author George Gunby, Epstein told The Beatles' publicist Alistair Taylor that Stigwood had originally offered to buy NEMS, but the deal eventually became a merger, in which Stigwood would have to put all his company assets into NEMS; in return he would received a reciprocal shareholding in NEMS, plus a salary, an executive position as co-managing director, and access to all of NEMS now-considerable financial and other resources.

It was a beneficial arrangement for Stigwood, and it effectively placed him at the pinnacle of the British pop industry in one step, but Epstein seems to have been about the only person in NEMS who was keen on the idea. Alastair Taylor is reported to have exclaimed "You must be joking!" when Epstein told him of the merger. Epstein was also considering handing over his role as manager of The Beatles, but when the Fab Four learned of this they were outraged. They evidently disliked Stigwood intensely. Interviewed in 2000 by Greil Marcus, Paul McCartney recalled the group's angry reaction:

"We said, 'In fact, if you do, if you somehow manage to pull this off, we can promise you one thing. We will record God Save the Queen for every single record we make from now on and we'll sing it out of tune. That's a promise. So if this guy buys us, that's what he's buying.'"

Consequently, Epstein stayed on as manager of The Beatles but he handed responsibility for most of his other acts to Stigwood.

The NEMS' staff were also reportedly unhappy about the deal. The company had expanded rapidly growing from fifteen staff in 1964 to eighty in 1966. Epstein had taken over the Vic Lewis agency in 1965, (bringing in Donovan, Petula Clark and Matt Monro) and Lewis became a NEMS director, but many staff members found Lewis' abrasive manner difficult to handle. According to Gunby: "...(they) could see the same problems arising, multiplied tenfold, when Stigwood moved in. His autocratic style would be a time bomb ticking beneath people who had stuck by Epstein through thick and thin."

Gunby says that Epstein told Derek Taylor that the merger with Stigwood would bring new talent into the fold and would strengthen the operation. Taylor remained unconvinced—Stigwood, he said, had "a ruthless reputation, a cavalier style that upset more people than it pleased." Epstein himself soon found himself at odds with his new partner—he was reportedly unhappy about Stigwood's spending, was upset by Stigwood renting a yacht for The Bee Gees, and was also angered by Stigwood's unilateral decision to send Alastair Taylor to America on a business trip, a plan Epstein overruled. It is claimed that Epstein subsequently decided that he didn't want Stigwood in the company."

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The Sun Goes Down - Thin Lizzy

I recorded this great live Thin Lizzy performance onto VHS video tape at the time too. The Tube studios look quite large on this clip but in real life they were quite small - it's where I met Paul and Linda McCartney - spoke with them both and got Paul's autograph. Every Friday evening the national focus was on Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and the music at The Tube at Tyne Tees Television. I've temporarily removed the 'Rewind The Tube' programme from the Watch page but it will eventually return.

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Beatles Cash?

I read somewhere recently a story about how someone was sent out before a Beatles concert to sell programmes to the fans and the cash was placed in briefcases or suitcases and handed to the Beatles. I reckon this was a regular practice; no wonder George was smiling on this photo. Happy

Beatles Money
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The Beatles - Revolution

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Liverpool

'I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madolf Heatlump (who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me.'

Be sure to watch Blitz Cities: Liverpool on the
Watch page.

Liverpool

Watching this programme I noticed the Liverpudlian pronunciation of Natzis 'Nat-zis' whereas I've always pronounced it 'Nar-tzis'. When I first heard John Lennon's 'Nobody Told Me' - "There's Natzis in the bathroom just below the stairs' - I thought he was singing 'matches' so was very puzzled.
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Bletchley Park: Gordon Welchman

This made me laugh today whilst watching 'Bletchley Park: Code-breaking's Forgotten Genius'…

A German Enigma user used to communicate 'Lone aircraft approaching' - so Hut 6 at Bletchley used to send a plane out there to him - to help with cracking enigma's fresh daily code. So clever! Laugh

I'll keep the file of the telly programme when I've finished watching and put it up on the Watch page.

I'm fascinated about the goings-on at Bletchley! Happy
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Cilla Black Interview

Cilla Black talks to Whispering Bob Harris

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No Milk Today

The glass milk-bottle holder for the milkman complete with a choice of messages - including ‘No Milk To-day’....
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‘Two up two down’ - two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs - terraced house.....
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Colossus At 70

This TNMOC recording is from just a short while before Jerry’s death earlier this year.
Bletchley Park audio podcast continues to provide fascinating eye-witness interviews.


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Klaus Voormann's Last Visit With George

Voormann_Book
From Klaus Voormann’s book "Warum spielst du Imagine nicht auf dem weissen Klavier, John?" (not available in English).

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[Klaus talks about the last photo he took of George and how sad it makes him to look at it…]

“After our little expedition [around the garden] we sat around together for a long time and he wanted to know how my family was doing. He always asked about them, it was important to him to know if everything was really alright. “What’s Christina doing, does she still have her help organization with the Sioux?”

George knew about the problems of the Native Americans in the USA. Olivia’s brother worked as a teacher with the Navajos and both knew about the catastrophic conditions in the Indian reservations.

“Yes, it seems to be something like a destiny in her life.” George nodded. “Yes, that happens to some people, they can’t do anything else then. Actually, every one of us has a role to fulfill on this planet, but only a few people know that. Most think that we’re only here to get a lot of money very quickly and to walk on the sunny side of the street. What Christina is doing surely isn’t easy but it’s admirable. Where does the money for the project work come from?” I was always amazed how deeply George delved into a subject when he was interested in it. I told him about the momentary problems in getting enough money, and that Christina wanted to go the reservations in four weeks with a team of experts to build another building for the youth. I told him that the Indians grow hash. George chuckled. “You don’t mean the kind you smoke, do you?”

He knew exactly that I meant that kind. We talked about how much one can make with this environmentally friendly material: clothing, building materials, paper. When I told him the story about how the FBI had mowed down the fields a few days prior to the harvest the summer before, he couldn’t believe it. “That’s impossible. I thought the reservations were not connected to them. The DEA and the FBI shouldn’t be mowing anything down?” Unfair things could drive him crazy. “Yes, and that’s why she wants to insulate this youth building with hash. In Germany, near Karlsruhe, there is a company that makes finished hash mats. They would donate all the material, but the organization is lacking money for the transport.” “How much?” asked George. “We have an offer from a moving company. Around five thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money, but it has a symbolic value to the Indians, to show what would be possible if the fields were left to them.” “Call Christina. She should fax me the offer. I have some good contacts to English moving companies. Maybe I can help you and get a better offer.” I called Christina right away and she was of course elated. Any cheaper offer would be more than welcome.

When I arrived home, Christina already greeted me with a huge smile on her face. What had happened? Christina had, as discussed, faxed the offer to George. Two hours later, his assistant called with the request to be sent to bank account number of Christina’s organization Lakota Village Fund. “George wants to pay for the shipping costs.” “But he only wanted to find a cheaper moving service for us?” Christina was speechless. “I don’t know anything about that. He told me to send over the money for the shipping right away. Good luck, Christina.”

Well, that was George. And not just him, that’s how all the four members of the Beatles have always been. They help and support things which the public doesn’t even know about.

Only a few weeks later, George called again. He was in Going, but this time not in a hotel, but at the house of his friend Gerhard Berger. I had been very worried, because there had been many reports about his poor health in the press. I knew he was in Switzerland a lot, at a specialist, but no one could really tell me what my friend was going through. His call relieved me, because it was the same old voice, filled with his typical dry, humorous comments.

So I drove to Austria again, but this time with a strange feeling in my stomach. What could I expect? In Going there was a relatively long stretch up a small mountain road, until I reached a typical house in the pseudo-Alpine style. I was brought into the house by an employee. Olivia was working on the computer. When she saw me, she came toward me. She seemed sad and asked me to follow her out onto the terrace. It was a wonderful sunny and warm day, and we had a beautiful view of the massive “Wilder Kaiser” [mountain] right in front of our eyes. Olivia tried to prepare me for everything gently. We waited for more than an hour for George.

He came out of the house and had a hat on his head. His face and body looked puffed up. The result of all the therapies. His laughter and shining eyes didn’t make you think of a very ill man. He sat down next to me and I avoided the usual silly “how are you”. It wasn’t necessary to ask him. He started talking about his health without any prompting.

“It’s half as bad, Klaus. I’m okay. The doctors got everything and it’s going uphill again. Believe me. Except I think I should change hairdressers.” Laughing, he took off his hat and displayed his head, which was only covered with a few chunks of hair of different lengths. “What kind of camera is that you’ve got there, I think I have the same one. Let me see.” As if he hadn’t even noticed my speechlessness, George kept talking and took the digital camera out of my hand, which I had bought a few weeks earlier in London. We talked about that for a while and George showed me a few tricks as to what one could do with it.

George wasn’t just an excellent driver, he was also devoted to car racing. He had a lot of friends in the scene. But he couldn’t stand Michael Schumacher. He always complained at the television when Schumacher drove in a race. On this day as well, as we watched a live show of a Formula 1 race in Gerhard Berger’s house. “Kick him off the road!” he would yell every time Schumacher passed one of his colleagues. I was always amused at that. George, usually quiet and peaceful, with Formula one and especially Schumacher, he became enraged. Nothing could move him away from the television screen. He barely looked up when I accidentally knocked over a huge flower vase and flooded Gerhard Berger’s living room.

The longer I spent with George that afternoon, the more he convinced me that he was on his way to getting better. He had big plans, wanted to make some necessary changes at Apple. “It annoys me to see that the whole world makes money with our heads, and we can’t manage to get a decent merchandising concept together.”

I knew what he meant. The subject merchandising has been a problem since Brian Epstein. He underestimated it back then. After a few hours, we both felt like taking a leisurely walk. We walked over the fields of the smooth mountains, but George could only walk slowly. We had to stop several times. His strained breathing gave away that he was actually too weak for this, but we wanted to keep going. Or did he just pretend to be the energy-laden man? His invitation was his secret goodbye to me. He wanted to have some nice hours with me, laugh, plan and give me advice for the future.

“When are you going to finally write your own book? You experienced so much. Every idiot who only shook our hands feels the need to write a book about us. Why not you, Klaus?”

“Because every idiot does it. It would like a betrayal to me. Everyone would say: Of course, now here comes Voormann too.”

George looked at me in disbelief. “Don’t talk bullshit, Klaus. You don’t have to write about how big my dick is. Anyway, what do you think we do? Or all the people at Apple? Neil for example. There are so many people that make money off of the Beatles myth. That’s why it bothers me that we can’t finally organize our merchandising concept.”

George was breathing like a locomotive, and we had to sit down in the field again, so he could recuperate again. We were both laying in the grass looking at the sky. “You know, death isn’t really that special, not nice or bad. It’s just a vehicle to get us to the next step or level.”

He spoke about death the way others speak of food and drink. “I’ve been here long enough. What more do I want. I’ve lead a privileged life. I’ve pretty much experienced everything one can experience. If I get called away now, then the time’s right. Believe me, I’m not scared.” And while he talked about this, we both looked at the clouds moving past us in the blue sky. The mood was peaceful and also a bit happy.

We walked back slowly, and he told me about his newly bought house in Switzerland and the little studio in which he could work. Back at the house, we both looked forward to a cup of “good old English”. “Come”, he said after a while, “I’ll show you my newest video production.”

He put a tape in the video recorder and grinned cheekily. It was unbelievable. George had filmed himself. Cross-eyed, bald and with a missing tooth, he sang into the camera. “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people.” We laughed until we cried.

We listened to George Formby songs until late into the night, and when were hungry later that night, we went into the kitchen, where he made cheese sandwiches and each of us a cup of Horlix. If I had know that this would be the last times with George, I would not have gone to bed, but would have stayed up all night by his side.

But George didn’t want me to know. He let me drive off believing that he was healed and that there were great things in store for us.

In October, one heard through the media that he had been admitted into a clinic, that the doctors didn’t have much hope and so on.

I didn’t want to believe it and told every caller that George was doing well, since I had just seen him a few weeks before in a good condition. I talked about all of his many ideas and that he wanted to record a new LP. Today I know that I talked myself into that. I wanted to prevent, with all my strength, that my dear friend was dying.

Beginning of November, I tried to reach Olivia and sent an e-mail. Her answer confirmed that George was in a special clinic. He was very weak, but they were not giving up hope. Suddenly the phone was always ringing. Editors and journalists wanted to secure interviews with me in case George died. That everyone believed it was plain to see. I felt horrible and couldn’t understand this attitude. My little George was dying and they were trying to get the suitable people for his eulogies. I didn’t answer the phone anymore and hide away in the basement to play piano for hours. Christina successfully kept everyone away.

On November 29, it happened. A ZDF editor called us after he had received the news over the ticker. For me if was one of the worst moments in my life. John’s death hit me very hard, but George? The news of his death shocked me. I didn’t want to speak to any journalist about it, not on the phone, not in any TV show. For days I was bombarded with phone calls, but I couldn’t say anything. Only a very minimal amount respected my feelings and understood. Some were tactless, that hurt. Not because of me, because of George.

In mid December, a package arrived from California. The return address was Olivia’s office. It was the last Christmas present and the last Christmas card from George and Olivia. Even that he had organized before his death. It showed an angel with a lotus in its hand and the words Love and Peace.

The first summer after George’s death, Dhani and Olivia invited close friends to a little ceremony for George. It was a very emotional event, very positive and very delicate, completely without the press and all the usual attention. There it met, the small “gang”, that pulls itself through George’s life noticeably: Eric, Paul, George Martin, his first wife Pattie, Astrid, brother Harry, Neil Aspinall and the loyal Joan, who already worked at Friar Park before George bought it. And again the fascination of this park was felt. The weather permitted the event to take place in the garden. Small burning candles floated in the pond, and at the end, Dhani played a piece of the tape with George’s last guitar sounds, his planned new LP. It was an instrumental piece, George’s voice was missing and he was still there. While George’s typical guitar playing wafted through the park quietly, the visitors walked around almost meditatively. Everyone was saying goodbye in their own way, nobody spoke and many let their tears flow freely. Me too. Oh George, I miss you so much!”
The book (in German) is available from the
Klaus Voorman Shop.

Posted by
Roger Stormo at Monday, February 18, 2013

Source
Book Available Here




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Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

JLMrKite
MrHposter

Source



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Blue Peter Presenters

Mine were Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and John Noakes - “Get Down Shep” - who were yours?







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Henia

My brother-in-law’s Polish mother survived a Nazi concentration camp.
A very moving story of another person’s survival has been added to the watch page:

Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer - 43:33

Henia

The German invasion of Poland in 1939 marked the beginning of the Second World War and the escalation of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. It also was the beginning of one of the war's truly inspiring and remarkable stories.

Prisoner A26188 tells the story of a young Polish girl Henia. Born into a middle class Jewish family, she lost her father, brother and sister during the German occupation, survived four concentration camps, and went on to bear witness to the creation of Israel in 1948.

Now in her eighties, Henia's harrowing personal testimony starts with her family's removal from their home in Radom, Poland, to the ghetto, then Plaszow concentration camp, made famous by Schindler's list, onto Majdanek then Auschwitz and finally Bergen-Belsen. Henia describes with calm and dignity the terrors of the camps, the cruelty of the SS, the Death March and how, through a combination of her own resourcefulness and luck, she survived. In this extraordinary testament Henia explains, how after being reunited with her mother and brother, she makes her way to Palestine, sees in the birth of Israel, falls in love with a young South African and moves to Africa to start a new life.

Filmed by her niece, this is her story of survival, and a legacy to her family and other survivors of genocide.




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First Passenger Railway In The World!

I liked what I did with the home page so much that, as the home page is to be ever changing, I decided to keep a copy on the diary here. Happy
Watch ‘Locomotion’
I live in Stockton which ran the first passenger railway in the world!
Locomotion2
Click on images to enlarge
BirthplaceRailways

Here are some old photographs of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway Ticket Office and St John’s Crossing in Stockton-on-Tees
SDRailwayBookingOfficeStJohnsCrossingS-DTicketOffice2S-DTicketOffice

And here’s great photos by Bolckow of the world’s first railway ticket office in my home town of Stockton.
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Rewind The 60s

I think this piece from my You Tube deserves a place here. It features interesting scenes from The Casbah.






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