Yes, it’s finally here! Wahoo! The day of days we thought would never come! There’s going to be street parties and flags and everything, as neighbours turn to their neighbours and say ‘have you heard the news, isn’t it utterly fantastic!’ A chance to get patriotic again, to celebrate what we have and how far we’ve come since the last one. Yes it’s been several decades since the last time it was in the news, but there it actually is in my diary: the date that The Beach Boys’ original ‘Smile’ might be released at last, 20 years after some of the sessions first appeared on the band’s ’30 Years Of Good Vibrations’ box set! (What did you think I meant?!) To celebrate, we’ll be looking at another great and till recently ‘lost’ Beach Boys album by Dennis Wilson and a special extended top 10 featuring the best AAA albums that never quite came out as planned. Oh and in some other news, some posh bird we don’t know is marrying some posh bloke we don’t want to know, as part of an anachronism in this country that somehow seems to have survived the 20th century for no good reason. Anyway, on with the news...
Before we start our news section proper I just had to make a note of something. Good gracious – after 20 years of waiting for a biopic of the world’s greatest classical composer and the one with the most interesting life to boot (Holst if you didn’t know – and if not why weren’t you reading our top five a couple of issues back?!) Sunday night saw the very first on TV ever – even though Holst died 77 years ago! - and the programme ran for nearly two and a half hours! Hurrah! Holst is even composer of the week on radio 3 this week and very overdue it is too (even if they used all the really good performances up five years ago when they did him the first time!) Wow – and so soon after mentioning him here on this newsletter too. Now then, what else can I mention here and hope to get a programme about soon? Hmm, how about Belle and Sebastian? There hasn’t ever been a prog on them either...
♫ Beach Boys News: Smile sessions: Talking of unexpectedly world-shattering news, get this – The Beach Boys have announced that finally, after 45 years, they are ready to release the ‘Smile’ sessions to the world! Van Dyke Parks was talking about it in Mojo this month and says that even Mike Love has agreed to it’s release (albeit he agreed to the Pet Sounds box set – and then had it cancelled, postponed and re-worked twice!) Details are sketchy as yet, but it looks likely to be released in the summer, will include the album track listing as featured on Brian Wilson’s solo re-recording of 2004 (Classic album no 101 on our list) and various ‘alternate takes’. There is also due to be some extra downloadable-only content and a nice lot of extra packaging. Hurrah again!
♫ Beatles News: A few bits of Beatle news for you this week! First up, there’s a new Arena programme dedicated to Beatles producer George Martin this Easter Monday (April 25th), together with a repeat of the fab fab four film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. Arena programmes about the Beatles have been a bit mixed over the years – the Linda McCartney special was generally excellent, but their Brian Epstein tribute came with an awful lot of errors and misunderstandings, so let’s hope this programme - featuring contributions from the producer alongside Paul and Ringo – is closer to the first. Oh and when are we going to get a programme about Ron Richards (not just The Hollies’ long term producer but the man who auditioned The Beatles at EMI and told George Martin they might be ‘worth his while’ to look at).
Secondly, there’s two glossy new Beatles books out this month, each with a rather hefty price tag. ‘Linda McCartney: A Life In Photographs’ features 150 large-size pics taken from all of Linda’s previous books (‘Linda’s Pictures’ being the best, featuring early shots of the Dead, the Stones, the Airplane, Janis Joplin and a ridiculously young CSN as well as lots of Beatles), compiled by Macca and Annie Leibovitz (co-author of Astrid Kircherr’s excellent photo collection last year). Alas a price of £45 puts it out of the reach of most fans at the moment.
Talking of photos, there’s another new book – ‘The Lost Beatles Photographs’ – out this week at the slightly more reasonable price of £20, featuring lots of previously unseen pics of The Beatles during their three American tours from 1964 to 1966. The shots were taken by the band’s US tour manager Bob Bonis and are reprinted with his memories and with text from Larry Marion (most of which is about being beaten by various Beatles at monopoly, we understand!) There’s also some intriguing facsimiles, too, including a pound note signed by the band (with Lennon quoting his initials as ‘LSD’!), Bonin’s travel pass and long forgotten newspaper clippings (including George Harrison getting into trouble for accidentally knocking a drink over a leading actress of the day).
Finally, a reminder for the rare Wings radio documentary this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) on BBC6 in the middle of the night. But one question – why the hell have BBC6 tried to rope it in on the back of the ridiculous non-event of a fiasco of a ‘Royal Wedding’ (because it features a ‘couple in the spotlight’!) The following two night’s Johnny Cash documentary has an even more tenuous link (June Carter isn’t in the doc, which is called ‘An American’ – ie nothing to do with the supposedly-British-but-really-German Royals and were they really in the spotlight for the same reasons as Wills and Kate? We think not! And while I’m on the subject for a rant, what’s with the gingerbread Royal pair in our local bakery window? They’ve been a bit generous to Kate there – or is Prince William really marrying Katie Price? (I wouldn’t put it past Prince Harry!) OK, rant over now, I promise.
♫ Pink Floyd News: The good news for Floyd fans – Syd Barrett’s estate have finally agreed to the most lavish book about the troubled Floyd founder yet, full of unreleased drawings, photographs, letters to and from three early admirers/girlfriends and even some early Syd poems, a staggeringly extensive collection that reveals more about Syd in a single sitting since the release of his second and final solo LP in 1970! There’s even a ‘terrapin’ on the front cover! Aaaah! The bad news, though, is that this lavish two-part book comes with a hefty £70 price tag – or in other words the price of seven whole Floyd albums on CD at current prices (or, in my usual terminology, a staggering 140 sausage rolls from Greggs The Bakers!) Let’s hope there’s a cheaper paperback version sometime soon - I can’t see this appearing in a charity shop anytime soon!
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday greetings to AAA members born between April 30th and May 6th: Amazingly two CSN girlfriends have their birthdays on May 1st, Judy Collins (who turns 72 this year) and Rita Cootlidge (who turns 67) and birthday greetings also to Jo Callis (synthesiser with The Human League 1981-85) who turns 56 on May 2nd. Anniversaries of events include: The Kinks, supported by The Yardbirds, headline their first UK tour (when they actually get it together enough to turn up – cancelled Kinks shows are legendary among fans, April 30th 1965); Roger Daltrey’s film ‘McVicar’ about the escaped and reformed convict premieres in London – the other members of The Who get a credit for ‘musical supervision’ (April 30th 1980); A sad day for collectors as The Beach Boys officially scrap ‘Smile’ (May 2nd 1967); On the same day in 1979 The Who’s film ‘Quadrophenia’ premieres – a mere six years after the double album of the same name came out – and The Who Two debut in concert, with Small Faces drummer Kenny Jones taking over from Keith Moon a year after the latter drummer’s death (May 2nd); Pink Floyd’s single ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ is famously banned in South America after children take it up as a rallying cry against the poor education and services on offer there (May 2nd 1980); Happy birthday recorded music! Yes it was this week in 1886 (May 4th to be exact!) that a patent was awarded to Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter for their invention of the gramophone; and Happy 45th Birthday Moody Blues, who were formed a mere 78 years after the gramophone on May 4th 1964; the Buffalo Springfield disband on May 5th 1968 after four glorious but frustrated years with a final show at Long Beach, California (please release the soundtrack of this show, Atlantic!); Mick Jagger and Keith Richards buy a new fuzz-box for their guitar and, duly inspired, end up writing their key song ‘Satisfaction’ the same day (May 6th 1965) and finally, Paul Simon sets out on his first solo tour three years after the break-up of Simon and Garfunkel (May 6th 1973).