♫ Beatles News: As if to make up for the Liverpool digs on his latest album (‘Y Not?’, out now along with a duet with Paul McCartney), Ringo has finally explained just what caused that anti-fan rant a couple of years ago (so beloved of youtube posters!) Ringo says that he got sick of signing autographs for supposed fans and finding them on ebay the next day. He kind of has a point I suppose, although it seems a bit cruel to cut off all fans (including many youngsters who’ve never had the chance to get a Beatle autograph before) just because of a naughty few. And if Ringo signed more autographs then surely there’d be so many they wouldn’t be worth much on ebay anyway?
♫ HOLLIES NEWS: Yet another Hollies compilation has made its way onto our shelves – we wondered how long it would be seeing as EMI need the money now! ‘The Midas Touch’ is a 2 CD comp containing various singles and album tracks from all 47 years of Hollies history – many heard in true stereo for the first time. It’s still not the B-sides compilation we keep asking for or even Rarities Vol 2 or a collection of The Hollies’ radio sessions but considering its yet another attempt to dress up old friends in new costumes this set’s actually not too bad and a fair summat6ion of all aspects of the band’s sound for the new collector. Watch out too for the otherwise unreleased live version of ‘The Baby’ from the Mickael Rickfors line-up of the band in 1973 and a handful of new tracks from last year by the current line-up of the band (these are, presumably, the recordings intended for the follow-up for ‘Staying Power’ which was reported in one of our earliest News and Views-letters before interest in the project dried up. Full marks for including the exquisite ‘Rain On My Window’, but why on earth does this set stretch itself to including outtakes like ‘Schoolgirl’ and ‘Horses Through A rainstorm’ (classics as they are, are these two tracks really the cream of the band’s 60s and 70s outputs? And why are there so many Dylan and Buddy Holly cover versions yet again?) Oh and The Hollies are now official members of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame as reported a couple of issues back – only, owing to tour commitments, current members Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott couldn’t attend, leaving Allan Clarke and Graham Nash to take the honours – the first time they’ve been seen together in public since 1983!
♫ PINK FLOYD NEWS: More bad news for EMI as their second biggest cash-cow after The Beatles rears up and bites them. Owing to their financial difficulties EMI have been squeezing the band dry, marketing individual tracks for download rather than keeping albums complete and neglecting their responsibilities for helping the sales and reputation of the band, according to the surviving members at least. More news if and when...
♫ ANNIVERSARIES: Many happy returns of the AAA to the following musicians (March 28th-April 3rd): Graeme Edge (drummer with The Moody Blues 1965-present) turns 68 on March 30th; Ronnie Lane (bassist with The Small Faces 1965-68) would have been 64 on April 1st and Simon Cowe (guitarist with Lindisfarne 1970-94) turns 62 on April 1st. Anniversaries of events include: Pink Floyd’s debut single ‘Arnold Layne’ charts (March 30th 1967); the same band’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ also starts its ridiculous two decade run on the charts (March 31st 1973); Brian Wilson won’t want to be reminded now he’s back with them, but April 1st 1969 was the date The Beach Boys sued Capitol Records for $2 million in unpaid royalties, putting and end to one of the most prolific runs of the 1960s; The Who set a record by selling out all 80,000 seats at Madison Square Gardens (April 1st 1974); There’s so much demand for tickets to the 1976 Rolling Stones tour that, for the first time, attendance is decided by ballot (April 1st 1976); Things get even more complicated for The Beach Boys and record company after signing for Caribour Records on April 1st 1977 despite still owing second company Reprise another album; The two most famous Beatles compilations (officially named ‘1963-66 and 1967-70’ but better known as the ‘red’ and ‘blue’ sets) are released (April 3rd 1973) and finally, Beatlemania is in full swing in the States where The Beatles are at no 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 44, 49, 69, 79, 84 and 88 in the singles charts in a single week! (that’s every Beatles single released by April 3rd 1964 including ‘My Bonnie’ backing Tony Sheridan!)
And moving on (April 4th-10th): happy birthdays to Allan Clarke (singer with The Hollies 1963-2000) who turns 68 on April 5th; Spencer Dryden (drummer with Jefferson Airplane 1966-69) who would have been 72 on April 7th and Gene Parsons (drummer with The Byrds 1968-72) who turns 66 on April 9th. Anniversaries of events include: Paul McCartney celebrates his fiancé Jane Asher’s 21st birthday by proposing to her – the engagement ring is lost soon afterwards (April 5th 1967); The Beach Boys are officially banned from taking part in America’s Independence Day celebrations due to their ‘undesirable reputations’ (Ronald Reagan overturns the decision a week later– April 5th 1983); Please Please Me (the album) charts for the first time – the Beatles are going to be missing from the album charts for barely a few months in total for the next seven years (April 6th 1963); Syd Barrett officially leaves Pink Floyd, although he’d been pretty absent at gigs during most of the past 12 months whether he’d been on stage or not! (April 6th 1968); on the same day The Beatles’ fruitful organisation Apple opens for business at their offices in Wigmore Street, London; Pete Quaife becomes the first member of The Kinks to leave, albeit for the second time in two years (April 6th 1969); The Rolling Stones form their ill-fated eponymous record label – only half a dozen non-band releases are ever made (April 6th 1971); Kit Lambert – manager of The Who and Pete Townshend’s mentor dies (April 7th 1981); two young blues-loving kids see a guy named Elmo Lewis play his heart out at London’s Ealing Club and pledge to form their own group – little do the teenage Mick Jagger and Keith Richards know that the blues player actually has a rather more ordinary given name of Brian Jones and that this meeting will change the lives of everyone involved (April 8th 1962); Neil Young’s first film ‘Journey Through The Past makes its premiere at the UK Film Festival in Dallas (eh? Neil’s Canadian!) (April 8th 1973); The Rolling Stones appear on TV for the first time and no surprise that it’s on Ready Steady Go! (on the surprisingly late date of April 9th 1964); Fifth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe dies of a brain haemorrhage months after leaving the band to become an art student in Hamburg and only six months before ‘Love Me Do’. His death will haunt the band, particularly close friend Lennon, for some time (April 10th 1962); and at last the meeting of minds people have waited to see for so long – Paul McCartney calls in on a Brian Wilson session and chomps his way through some celery for the song ‘Vega-tables’ (Macca says he can’t remember doing it but its too good a story to leave out!)
And finally, April 11-18th: Happy birthday to you if your name is Jack Casady (bassist with Jefferson Airplane 1965-72) who turns 66 on April 13th and Bill Kreutzmann (drummer with the Grateful Dead 1965-95) who turns 64 on April 17th. Anniversaries of events for this week include: a classic NME pollwinners concert in 1965 featuring performances by no less than four AAA members: The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks and The Moody Blues (April 11th 1965); Macca first comes up with the idea for TV special Magical Mystery Tour, jotting down his ideas on the back of an envelope en route from a stay in America (April 11th 1967); That’ll Be The Day – Ringo’s most prestigious acting gig outside The Beatles – premieres at ABC’s Shaftesbury Avenue (April 12th 1973); The Rolling Stones become the first ‘pop’ group to play behind the iron curtain with a riotous gig at Warsaw (April 13th 1967); Roger Daltrey becomes the first member of The Who to release a solo album (the memorably titled ‘Daltrey’, April 13th 1973); Denny Laine releases his first – and arguably best – solo single ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ (April 14th 1967); Pink Floyd show off their ‘azimuth coordinator’ – an early version of quadraphonic – during a show at the Royal Festival Hall (April 14th 1968); John and Paul record The Ballad Of John And Yoko Without George And Ringo (err, possibly not the real title! April 14th 1969); Pete Townshend plays his first solo gig at The Roundhouse – he’s still playing there now (April 14th 1974); The Rolling Stones release landmark album Aftermath (the Beatles joke about naming their forthcoming LP ‘After Geography’ in retaliation – April 15th 1966); The Hollies tour in America for the first time (April 16th 1965); The truly truly weird TV special James Paul McCartney – which Macca got roped into making to settle a court case about wife Linda sharing writing credits – is screened on April 16th 1973); The Rolling Stones release their first, self-titled album (April 17th 1964); ‘McCartney’ – Paul’s first solo album – is released, complete with an I’ll-never-work-with-the-Beatles-again memo included inside (April 17th 1970); Janis Joplin’s posthumous album Pearl is released – it will go on to become her best-selling but is arguably her weakest album of all (ha ha that’ll get me rude letters! April 17th 1971); All four Beatles are in the top 10 for the first time since the split, with Power To The People, Another Day, My Sweet Lord and It Don’t Come Easy from John, Paul, George and Ringo respectively (April 17th 1971) and finally, sad news as the Cavern Club goes into receivership (April 18th 1966).