Thursday, 28 July 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 107 (Intro)
Dear readers, welcome to a slightly less grumpy issue of News, Views and Music. Things seem to be back to normal now - well as normal as they can be with the Coalition still in charge - and my computer is marginally less irritating than it was last week. Oh, that’s normal apart from one thing by the way. I had a facebook request from somebody asking if I was actor Robert Pattinson writing under a pseudonym – erm, sorry to disappoint you all but no (I don’t think he’s a fellow anorak on 1960s music is he?) Before you start thinking that she obviously must have gathered that from my wonderful picture then I’d better confide in you that my present facebook picture is one of Mr Tickle wearing sunglasses and a sombrero! (I’d never noticed how alike the two were before). So no, it isn’t me under a pseudonym, well not unless somebody invents a time machine in my ‘twilight’ years so I can go back into the past and I get to have second career (and a lot of plastic surgery anyway. What I can do is promise lots more newsing, viewsing and musiccing (is that a word?) So, it’s on with the news...
♫ Beatles News: In a week that’s been dominated by the Murdoch phone-hacking scandals (foam pie? Most people would have hit him with, well, something more solid and less circusy) we learnt that Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were among those whose phones were tapped for news stories. Although just a minor part of a story that seems to have tentacles around most walks of life at the moment, it is just worth reflecting that the tensions between the two about the other ‘courting’ the media with details about their relationship the other didn’t want revealed takes on a whole new light now, because chances are most of the juicy titbits in the tabloid papers didn’t come from either party but from private conversations. Will this lead to a better understanding between Mills and Macca? And were any other AAA members’ phones tapped? Only time will tell.
In other Beatle news, an unseen series of photographs of the fab four during their Washington performance (which was out on a semi-legal video about 10 years back and can be seen in part on Anthology) smashed their reserve price to sell for $22,000. The Beatles market had begun to steady off recently after a couple of decades of huge rises, but this latest sale suggests we’re in for another steep rise for Beatle collectors. One question though – why buy photographs of something you can own as moving footage?
In other news, rumours abound that Paul and Ringo are going to reunite for the London Olympics in 2012, giving a performance in between events on opening day a bit like Neil Young’s set closing the Canadian Olympics seven years ago. Yoko has already performed at the Turin Olympics of course, but this would be the first time any of the Beatles themselves have taken part. More news if and when we hear it...
♫ We recently learnt the sad news that songwriter Jerry Ragavoy died at the age of 80. Those of you who read our review of Janis Joplin’s ‘Pearl’ album a few issues back will know what an integral part of Janis’ life he was towards the end, becoming her favourite composer at the time of her death. Ragavoy’s best known song for her, though, was actually recorded at the start of her career when Big Brother and the Holding Company scored big in 1968 with ‘Piece of My Heart’. Other AAA artists to have covered Ragavoy songs include Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones. Jerry - who also penned songss under the pseudonym Norman Meade - passed away at the age of 80, following complications from a stroke at a hospital near his New York home. He will be sadly missed.
ANNIVERSARIES: It’s that time of year again for AAA musicians born between July 25th and 31st: Mick Jagger (singer with The Rolling Stones 1962-present) turns 68 on July 26th and Rick Wright (keyboardist with Pink Floyd 1967-80 and 1987-94) would have been 66 on July 28th. Anniversaries of events include: 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); The Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggars Banquet’ becomes the first AAA album to be cancelled because of a cover dispute – Decca object to the band’s idea, a toilet wall with the album tracks scrawled on as graffiti (July 26th 1968); George Harrison holds the press conference that heralds the ‘Bangladesh’ benefit concerts (July 27th 1971); meanwhile his sometime colleague John Lennon finally gets his ‘green card’ allowing him to stay in the States after four years of fighting (July 27th 1976); The film Ned Kelly starring Mick Jagger receives its premiere (and weirdly I only bought my copy of it the day before writing this!) (July 28th 1970); the world record for concert attendance – 600,000 – takes place at a little heralded concert at New York’s Watkins Glen arena, starring the Grateful Dead (July 28th 1973); The Beatles’ film ‘Help!’ receives its premiere at the London Pavilion (July 29th 1965); The Beatles close their ‘Apple Boutique’ shop, giving away their stock to delighted customers for free (July 30th 1968) and finally, The Rolling Stones play their shortest ever concert (12 minutes) after the stage gets invaded by rioters in Belfast (July 31st 1964).