Thursday, August 14, 2008
Probably my favorite aspect of the Beatles' 1 project was the UK double LP set, which included a large poster of the various picture sleeves that graced the inner pages of the CD booklet. The LP dust jackets also contained photos of these unique sleeves from various countries. Of course, the large individual reprints of the psychedelic Richard Avedon photos also add value to the LP release. (I have never been pleased with the cover art of 1, however--abysmal. The psychedelic photos would have been better on the cover.)
Here are some large scans of the 45 RPM single sleeves that were pictured on the LP dust jackets. (Click to enlarge.) Note the cute picture of the Fabs in their newsboy caps gracing the "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" sleeve...(!) I also love the photo from the Budokan on the Japanese single for "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby"--George is shown waving, an act to elicit more screams from the reserved Japanese audience to cover up the mistakes the band were making on stage!
There is a possibility that I may take some time off from blog postings, as things are quite hectic at the moment. Thanks to all who visit, comment, and email!
"From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
When the dawn begins to crack.
Its all part of my autumn almanac."
Sunday, August 03, 2008
In May of 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney ventured across the Atlantic to promote the formation of their idealistic new company simply named "Apple," hoping for a "grand launch" in New York City. It was a haphazard adventure from the outset, as Paul was plagued by what could have been a drug-induced paranoia, or perhaps a very real fear that the Beatles were moving into territory far beyond their depth. Apple was a beautiful and noble dream--a "Western Communism" as John had termed it--where artists, filmmakers, musicians and other creative persons could retain artistic freedom within a business model. Everyone would have a chance to be heard, no "crawling on their knees in someone's office," or finding their work had been tossed into the rubbish bin without even a slight perusal. It was to be generous, honest, and filled with integrity. Sadly, the Beatles were ill-prepared for a project of this magnitude; therefore, the mounting pressures of running such a business contributed to their eventual demise as a group. (Allen Klein, money woes, artistic differences...)
The first set of photos were taken as John, Paul, and their entourage (which consisted of Magic Alex, Neil Aspinall, Apple Records' executive Ron Kass, plus others) "sailed round and round the Statue of Liberty on a Chinese junk, trying to figure out what we were going to do with Apple," as Neil recalled during the Anthology project.
The second group of screen captures are from the wonderfully weird and delightful interview conducted by journalist and old friend Larry Kane at the St. Regis hotel on the 13th. John was at the top of his game during this interview, responding with his trademark quips and obtuse wit. Paul seems a bit out of it, honestly! Kane asks questions about politics, current events, and their stay in India. (John responds, "The journey was terrible, but the trip was alright" as Paul giggles quietly.) Another hilarious moment occurs when Kane questions Paul about LSD, saying, "It seems you endorsed it, then condemned it," to which John quickly replies, "We were manufacturing it at the time...." If you'd like to see this interview in its complete form, pick up Larry Kane's book, Lennon Revealed--the DVD is included as a bonus. The screen captures are from that particular DVD, plus clips aired in Imagine: John Lennon and the Anthology. (If you look closely, you'll see the band-aid under John's chin...)
The last set of screen captures and the August 1968 Hullabaloo article concern the press conference at the Americana Hotel on the 14th. The entire conference is transcribed in the Hullabaloo article, which was graciously given to me by my friend Jeff. (Just click on each page to enlarge it.) The screen captures illustrate the part where John points out the bus prefect's pin he was wearing on his lapel. Also of note, John's talisman necklace vividly stands out against his white shirt. (Speaking of which, I recently acquired a striking replica of this necklace--if I can't have the real thing, at least it's possible to have the next best thing!)
Later in the evening on the 14th, John and Paul also filmed appearances on Newsfront and the Tonight Show--an infamous and bizarre appearance, hosted by Joe Garagiola and spiced up by the presence of an equally quick witted Ms. Tallulah Bankhead! Unfortunately the tape of the show no longer exists, but someone had the forethought to use their 8mm camera to film the television! It's in poor quality, but interesting nonetheless. The audio from the interview circulates in its entirety.