Friday, 23 September 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 113 (Intro)
Hello again my friendly and faithful AAA hordes. As music followers we’re very used to heavy u-turns from our favourite artists, seeing them head down completely unexpected directions and surprise us with just how different they can sound after an unexpected success (see our top five, below)... But even by musical standards our Coalition cabinet’s a bit of a joke isn’t it? You won’t have heard much about it on the news because they keep quiet about that sort of thing but their hideous schemes for the benefits system is back on despite outcries from everyone with a brain that they will cause poverty and homelessness and will actually cost more money. Under new plans (well, old plans rehashed) those on jobseeker’s allowance may yet be forced to work on community projects for more hours and less money than prisoners sentenced to do the same and those on incapacity benefit will have to ask for every little bit of moeny for every little bill, listing what they need and why (what about birthday and xmas presents? Little things like stamps and TV guides and newspapers, food, bills, CDs?!?!?) Who the heck does Cameron think he is? Just because the deal won’t affect anyone he knows he thinks it’s acceptable to ruin the few things our countries’ got right so far. Well, we’re not going to stand for it, so here at the AAA we implore you to keep your eyes peeled to what’s really going on. There’ll be more of that in our next issue. Rant over, we now return you to your usual music-driven newsletter....
♫ Beatles News: Two bits of Beatle-related news for you this week. ‘Living In The Material World’ is the final title for the Martin Scorcese biopic of George Harrison we told you about some time ago in these pages and the release date is set for October 10th. The two-disc set, coming straight to DVD, has been produced in collaboration with George’s widow Olivia and features lots of pictures of home footage and memorabilia unseen outside George’s close circle of friends till now. The film is set to premiere in Liverpool sometime at the beginning of next month. There’s also a tie-in book with the same title being produced for October 4th with text by Olivia.
In other news, Paul McCartney’s ballet ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’ is due out sometime in October – not next year as originally posted by new record company Decca (see last week’s newsletter for why the choice of record company is a complete disguise). Macca’s first album release in two years, this is believe it or not the longest gap between projects since ‘Press To Play’ and ‘Flowers In The Dirt’ in 1986-89! In other Macca news, our favourite bassist recently posted his wedding ‘banns’ at the same London registry office where he married wife Linda in 1969. This means that he’s now free to marry new missus Nancy Shivell at short notice – presumably to avoid the media frenzy that was the Heather Mills fiasco. Good luck Macca – and if it happens suddenly before our next issue (unlikely but possible) our very best wishes to you both.
Look out too for a rare documentary on ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ being broadcast on the ‘Yesterday’ channel (formerly The History Channel) half a dozen times over the coming week in various time slots. Promising interviews with most of the remaining cast (barring The Beatles themselves of course) it will also look at how locations used in the TV-movie have changed over the years and just how badly the special was received on broadcast in black and white on Boxing Day 1967 (contrary to popular belief it was a ratings smash when repeated on January 1st 1968 in colour!) The Yesterday channel has taken a break from programmes about Hitler and Mussolini for a week to show lots of great 1960s programmes, including music compilations Sounds Of The Sixties and Pop Goes The Sixties – and a documentary about The Monkees (see below!) and is, for next week only, our new favourite channel. More of the same, please!
The Beatles also made the news for two other reasons this week. Firstly, an old document by Brian Epstein to concert venues in South America demanding that the Beatles would only play for mixed audiences (segregation was still rife in The Beatles’ early days of touring) came up for auction. Most of the media seemed surprised about the decision, but its actually well known that The Beatles were always heavily against segregation, as Lennon in particular made clear in interviews of the time. Also, a re-mastered version of The Beatles ‘1’ compilation (released in 1999 but now re-mastered using the same technology as on the ‘mono’ and ‘stereo’ boxes released last year made the charts, putting The Bearles at #8. Alas they seem to have dropped out of the charts altogether this week and so our top 10 album chart now looks like a maths exam (what with albums titled ‘19’ ‘21’ and this week’s number #1 ‘+’).
♫ Monkees News: A second Yesterday documentary is the 2007 Monkees doc ‘Hey Hey We Are The Monkees’, repeated on the Yesterday Channel various times across Monday, September 19th. Slightly disappointing and far too brief, this doc did at least feature several great interviews with the band and some fascinating rare footage, so make sure you watch it if you haven’t seen it already!
♫ Oasis/BeadyEye/Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds News: A rare appearance by an AAA group in the singles chart this week, when Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ debut single ‘Aka What A Life’ made it all the way to #20 (outscoring the first posthumous Amy Winehouse track no less!) Cheeky Oasis fans might take note that the single performed all three by brother Liam’s outfit Beady Eye earlier this year! Wow two chart entries for our groups in the same week – that hasn’t happened for years!
♫ Pink Floyd News: I may have had my problems with BBC4 in the past but when it’s good it’s very very good. Their recent Pink Floyd night could have been a disaster – it was designed to cash-in on the recent Floyd re-issue bonanza and had no new material; to spare. But what they had they packaged very well indeed: the so-so ‘Which One’s Pink?’ documentary from 2008, the sterling ‘Live At Pompeii’ in 1972 (the band at the peak of their powers – please see one of the repeats if you have a pair of ears and don’t already know it – you will thank me for life) and best of all a compilation of all those rare music clips fans like me have been scouring YouTube for because we can’t get them officially anywhere else. The sweet early promo for ‘Arnold Layne’ (with tailor’s dummy), the rare-asrocking-horse-droppings promo for ‘Point Me At The Sky’, ‘Cymbalene’ and ‘Grantchester Meadows’ from an American ‘In Concert’ special in 1970, ‘The Fletcher Memorial Home’ from the ‘Final Cut’ Video EP, two weird promos for ‘Learning To Fly’ (it won an award for best video concept? How?!?) and ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’ from the band’s Live 8 reunion (plus the usual promos for ‘One Of These Days’ ‘Time’ and ‘Another Brick In The Wall’). A veritable feast for Floyd fanatics, done with taste and care (the tributes to Syd and Rick at the end was a lovely touch) and not the cash-in it first appeared. Well done BBC4 and more of this please! In sadder news, a load of red tape means that David Gilmour faces prosecution if he fails to take down his new bicycle shed by October 1st. Apparently one of his neighbours reported it as an eyesore (yeah right, like the rest of London isn’t?!)
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday candles ahoy for AAA members born between September 20th and 26th: Linda McCartney (Wings and various McCartney solo projects 1970-97) who would have been 70 on September 24th and Craig Chaquico (guitarist with Jefferson Starship/Starship 1973-88) who turns 57 on September 26th. Anniversaries of events include: Paul McCartney is arrested for drug possession for the second time in his career after a passing sniffer dog uncovers cannabis plants in his Mull Of Kintyre greenhouse (September 20th 1972), the Rolling Stones score their last non-compilation number one with AAA review no 58 ‘Goats Head Soup’ (September 21st 1973), the Stones also become one of the first rock and roll groups ever to play at the Albert Hall (September 22nd 1966), John Lennon signs an ill-fated contract with new label Geffen Records just three months before his death (September 22nd 1980 – his ‘replacement’ Neil Young has a horrid time trying to live up to being Geffen’s ‘big star name’ and ends up being sued by his former manager David Geffen), Paul McCartney is dead – or so a writer for the Illinois University declares for the first time on September 23rd 1969 (the rumours continue to this day - you can see a three-hour documentary about it on Youtube!), 10cc chart for the first time (under that name, anyway) with the release of debut single ‘Donna’ (September 23rd 1972), ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ finally makes number one 29 years after its original release, giving The Hollies the then-record of biggest gap between number one UK records (September 24th 1988; their only other #1 is ‘I’m Alive’ in 1965); Wings get the European leg of their world tour off to a good start by playing a forgotten charity gig for the restoration of water-damaged art treasures in Venice, raising $50,000 along the way (September 25th 1976) and finally, it’s now 42 years since the last Beatles LP ‘Abbey Road’ (September 26th 1969).