Monday, 15 December 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 16 (Intro)

Ho! Ho! Ho! Welcome to the first of our two Christmas special newsletters which have been carried to you by virtual reindeer sitting on a virtual sleigh, pulled by the members of Slade as penance for that Xmas single that seems to be everywhere again this year. Well, there’s not much news to tell you about again this week - except that Christmas is coming and the Spice Girls’ wallets are getting fat. Again. Still there’s enough material here to fill a Pink Floyd concept double album, so if you’re still in search of some CDs to fill some stockings stay tuned for our handy guide to the best AAA releases of 2008!

Beatles news: Firstly, though, a small addition to last week’s article about the Beatles I-tunes downloads saga. Paul Gambacini was debating the issue on his radio two programme on Saturday night and guest Pete Waterman had some unusually interesting comments (alongside the usual plugs for Kylie and Jason Donovan). He said that if the Beatles do issue all their material in one go as planned then we could well see the first ever top 20 or even top 50 chart filled by a single artist, possibly for weeks on end if enough Beatle fans have converted to using MP3s and suchlike. It would be interesting to see which Beatles track comes top too as fans and newcomers should have the whole of the fab four’s 1960s catalogue to choose from (we reckon it’ll be #1 Hey Jude, #2 Yesterday and #3 A Day In The Life). Alas, though, the EMI/ Apple dispute is still going on, making this whole paragraph redundant for the time being the EMI/ Apple cry seems to be ‘don’t let me down’(load)! (Why haven’t the BBC used that joke yet? Do they not know any Beatles B-sides for goodness sake?!)

CSN news: Crosby, Stills and Nash will be touring in America next year, but with a very interesting difference. Like the Rolling Stones before hand they are inviting fans to nominate their favourite songs now for inclusion in their set lists next year – only this time it won’t just be one song that’s chosen from a handful of selections but a more or less complete gig. I know we Brits won’t get to see them perform on their American tour but a) this site might make it to a worldwide search engine over the Winter without me realising and b) chances are the trio will follow it up with a British/ European tour, hopefully following the same idea. So get your nominations in now and visit            . Personally, I’d love to see the band revive Crosby’s ‘Laughing’ (not performed regularly since Crosby-Nash’s concerts in the early 70s), Stills’ ‘Word Game’ (which was last a setlist regular in 1976 and – to the best of my knowledge – only performed on Stephen’s solo tours) and Nash’s ‘Another Sleep Song’ (which was most likely only performed once, for Graham’s solo appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974). What other CSN songs would readers like to see them do? And is anyone lucky enough to get tickets?

Hollies news: Sorry for the late mention, but guitarist Tony Hicks made a rare radio appearance as Suzi Quatro’s guest on Radio Two last Saturday. Speaking about his influences, Tony chose the music that had inspired him, including the Mamas and the Papas’ ‘Monday Monday’ (he and Graham Nash attended the recording session apparently – I’d not heard that story before!), Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Don’t Run And Hide - a Hollies cover from the rare Everly Brothers album ‘Two Yanks In England’ (on which the duo are backed by the Hollies, along with guitarist Jimmy Page) and, err, a meandering song by Foreigner. We in Britain haven’t heard Tony talk at this length about his music for ages (though he used to be on German radio a lot not long ago I believe) so this was a welcome early Christmas present from Radio Two (I think its still available from the BBC’s online I-player for a couple of weeks if anyone missed it).    

It wasn’t mentioned on the above programme, but Tony Hicks (Hollies guitarist 1963-present) is also celebrating his birthday this week (he turns 65 on December 16th), along with Keith Richards (Rolling Stones guitarist 1963-present, although if you needed me to tell you what group he was in you’re probably looking at the wrong site!) who also turns 65 on December 18th (who would have thought looking at them that baby-faced Tony Hicks was the elder of the two?!) and Carl Wilson, who would have been celebrating his 62nd birthday on December 21st. Anniversaries of events this week include: George Harrison’s deportation from Hamburg after being found playing with the Beatles in a Hamburg club while under-age, an event which effectively splits the group up for a couple of months (December 16th 1960); The Who call it a day – for the next seven years at least – after playing a ‘farewell’ gig in Toronto on December 17th 1982 and the Beatles begin their first and only stage show, ‘The Beatles Christmas Show’, with a performance at Bradford Gaumont on December 21st 1963. Forget the lukewarm reviews of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ on telly at Boxing Day – this forgotten segment in the fab four’s history was actually the first poorly received Beatle enterprise in the general public eye and it too has a Xmassy link. , Alas, though, us post-60s fans will never know for sure – unlike the godawful Take That and Girls Aloud concerts on over Christmas this year no one thought to record it for posterity!

Last Minute Yoko Ono News: Mrs Lennon is celebrating 50 years of being an artist with an exhibition of many of her works in London (Gateshead I think, but my shorthand let me down taking down this news item this morning!) Lots of the displays will be well known to Beatle fans, including an ‘Imagine Peace’ banner, a video of the JohnandYoko Amsterdam bed-in for peace and, most movingly, a step-ladder leading up to the word ‘yes’ written on a ceiling (the art piece that brought the pair together at a similar back in 1968). Sadly, there has been no mention of the Yoko trademark ‘grapefruit’ on any of the news reports – get that book reprinted Yoko! Whether your avent grateful or avent garde a clue (joke copyright George Harrison 1969) it might be worth a trip if you’re a fellow Beatlesnut.

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