♫ Hello and welcome to another News and Views, full of all the latest theories, queries and everything else we feature in this series. There’s a lot more news items than usual this issue, so hurrah to the AAA groups for finally giving me something to write about – oh and while we’re at it a big boo for the search engine that wasted an hour of my time last week filling in a ‘free’ submission form before telling me the only way to stop it being rejected was to pay for it. I hope you feel well and truly snubbed once this site becomes world famous (we’re meant to be no 19 by the year 2109 according to our April 1st issue). Till the next time, happy reading!
♫ Beatles News: The first of two surprise reunions on our website this week. Paul McCartney was the special guest at a Ringo Starr All Starr concert last week, celebrating Ringo’s 70th birthday with a surprise reading of, suitably, ‘Birthday’ from the Beatles’ White Album. This was the first the two have performed in public since the Concert for George in 2002 (although Macca did guest on Ringo’s album ‘Y Not?’ earlier this year) and the first time the pair have played on that track together since the album sessions 42 years ago!
And in other news, listen out for a BBC6 repeat of the classic 1980s ‘At The Beeb’ series, featuring two full hours of Beatles re-recordings and links (only a small portion of which is available officially on the ‘Beatles at the BBC’ set). The show is on next Saturday and Sunday (July 31st/August 1st) and follows several others in the series including AAA favourites The Rolling Stones...
♫ Pink Floyd News: The second surprise reunion is David Gilmour guesting at a Roger Waters charity, some five years after the last big Floyd reunion at Live 8. The news comes as quite a shock to fans as Gilmour has been denying rumours of a full-scale Floyd get-together for some time – especially after the sad death of Rick Wright in 2008. More news if and when we hear it.
♫ Rolling Stones News: As mentioned above, BBC6 are repeating many of their classic ‘BBC Sessions’ programmes from the 1980s and include The Rolling Stones on Thursday (July 29th). Now, unusually, I’ve never heard this programme but it’s meant to be good. Let’s hope BBC6 keeps repeating classic documentaries like these and then it might get so many listeners its future will never be in doubt. Well, either that or they can go back to repeating 1970s heavy metal rubbish and watch their audience fall to zero again.
♫ Small Faces News: A DVD we meant to tell you about last month before DellBoy went wrong, ‘All Or Nothing 1965-68’ is a fantastic new documentary-come-rare footage set from production team ‘Reelin’ In The Years’ (famous for their jazz and motown stuff). The show features the absolutely fantastic footage from ‘Beat Beat Beat’ in 1966 (we’ve mentioned it a few times on this site already – never has rock and roll been rawer or more exciting!), the complete ‘Odgen’s ‘ episode of ‘Colour Me Pop’ featuring Stanley Unwin’s unfathomamothabilitusis narration and various promo videos. The footage is linked by narration from the archives of Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane (from his last interview in the 1980s) and new interviews with Ian Mclagan and Kenney Jones although – in one of the best moves by a DVD company ever – you can choose to watch just the footage without the modern bits in the middle (even if one or two tracks seem to be missing when you do this). This first batch of the series, labelled ‘The British Invasion’, also features sets by Gerry and The Pacemakers, Herman’s Hermits and Dusty Springfield. Let’s hope for some releases by The Who, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Stones et al in batch two!!
♫ Cat Stevens News: A new biography simply titled ‘Cat Stevens’ is due out in August. The set, which is being advertised on Amazon for around £10 at the time of asking, is part of the ‘Biography Channel’ season (they did one on the Grateful Dead we mentioned a while back, although we still haven’t got round to buying it yet) and is only the third Cat Stevens DVD we know about (along with ‘Cafe Sessions’ and ‘Majikat’).
ANNIVERSARIES (July 19-25th): Happy birthdays to the following AAA musicians: two sadly missed members of the AAA fraternity on July 19th – Clarence White (guitarist with The Byrds 1968-72) who would have been 66 and Keith Godchaux (keyboardist with The Grateful Dead 1973-79) who would have been 62; also John Lodge (bassist with The Moody Blues 1967-present) who turns 67 on July 20th and Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam who turns 63 on July 21st. Anniversaries of events include: One of Otis Reddings’ last projects, with Carla Thomas, ‘Tramp’ reaches the charts (July 19th 1967); Simon and Garfunkel begin their first reunion tour, which will break down in recriminations a few months later (July 19th 1983); Jane Asher shocks the music press by announcing her six-month long engagement to Paul McCartney is off, after the couple have spent nearly five years together (July 20th 1968); 4000 fans unable to get tickets to a Beatles show in Blackpool rush the arena and the Beatles have to get flown in by helicopter (July 21st 1963); The Beatles’ first American album ‘Introducing...’ is released on the small label Vee Jay Records. It becomes the only Beatles LP to miss the charts in America (July 22nd 1963); The Dire Straits’ first eponymously titled record hits the LP charts (July 22nd 1978); Four days after his 31st birthday Grateful Dead keyboardist dies in a car crash (July 23rd 1979); Jefferson Airplane receive their only gold disc for ridiculously high sales of their second album ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ (July 24th 1967); Brian Jones’ last ever Stones concert – and the last any of the band did for three years – takes place in San Francisco (July 25th 1966); A year later The Beatles publish their infamous advert in The Times calling for the legalisation of marijuana (how the band ever got Brian Epstein to sign too I’ll never know...) (July 25th 1967); Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin release their second, last and best loved album ‘Cheap Thrills’ (July 25th 1968); Neil Young’s first performance with CSN, barely a week after the trio’s debut album came out (July 25th 1969) and finally, The Beach Boys return to their old hit making ways – briefly – with well received LP ‘Surf’s Up’ (July 25th 1971).