Friday, July 20, 2007

I Found Out

Thanks to my good friend Jeff, I now have the above picture of John singing and playing a gorgeous Gibson J-200 flat top jumbo, just like the one George began using during the White Album sessions. Like the Gibson Hummingbird, this model, with its flower designs on the pick guard, is the stuff of legend. Country bumpkin Bob Dylan can be seen proudly holding what is rumored to be George's own J-200 on the cover of Nashville Skyline.

(Jeff kindly gave me his copy of the 1978 edition of The Beatles: An Illustrated Record by Roy Carr and Tony Tyler--a respected and sought-after book--and this is where I found the above photo.)

Earlier I watched a fascinating documentary on the history of Gibson guitars, so I felt inspired to scan this rare photo of John for the archives. (What John in wearing here shows where Sean received his fashion sense--I've seen recent photos of Sean in the same attire!) I have also been listening to the No-NR CD version of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band while scanning and reflecting on the events of the past two days. I don't think this photo of John, with his newly shorn hair, is actually from the POB sessions, however. He cut his hair in February of '70, and the POB sessions didn't begin until September. This could be around the time of "Instant Karma!" though, so just ignore the filename I gave the photo!

This blog is also a personal one; I'm usually inspired to write my entries and reveal a bit of myself through my musings on the Beatles, Lennon, or music in general. Currently, I am very disappointed in someone I once held in high regard--a person I felt a real connection with, someone I thought would always be a friend. I feel very betrayed and (actually) shocked that this person would hurt me in such a fashion. We all experience deception in our lives, so this is nothing new, and it could have been much worse. Things have a way of working out, and I realize finding out now instead of further down the line is really a positive thing.

"I'm moving on, moving on you're getting phony." Y.O.

Anyway, I'm also making icons for message boards, Live Journal, etc. using Adobe Photoshop. Subjects include Syd Barrett, the Sonics, the Smoke (UK), the Pretty Things, the Move, Soft Machine/Kevin Ayers, Small Faces, Spirit, Skip Bifferty, the Rolling Stones, Kaleidoscope (UK), the Kinks, John Coltrane, etc. Let me know if you're interested by posting a comment here.

Thank you, and good night...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sitting in an English Garden

Here is a series of interesting photographs, apparently taken outside at John's Weybridge home in the summer of 1967 (I say this because the mock tudor home appears in the background). The fisheye lens, yellow-tinted photographs are especially unusual and appropriate for the slanted perspective of the psychedelic experience. It's exceptionally heart warming to see everyone together, enjoying the warm sunny weather. There's Brian Epstein in perhaps one of his last photographs, smiling, looking at what appears to be film negatives and chatting with Pattie Boyd. Neil Aspinal can be glimpsed over John's shoulder, reading as John plays a small banjo. Paul and Martha are occupied--Paul appears to be holding a sheet of paper with his feet as he figures out some chords for a new composition. As Paul noodles around on the guitar, John lounges, reading quietly. Everyone seems relaxed and contented; I would have loved to be there just to observe and drink in the sun with them.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Special Thank You To Ivan Vaughan

In the minds of Beatles fans everywhere, the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney stands as the historic occasion, truly the most important event in Beatles' (and perhaps all of popular music) history. This is where it all began. All of the significant anniversaries we've been commemorating would have never happened without this meeting of two geniuses whose differences complimented each other in such a way that it can be described as nothing short of magic. Today we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woolton Garden Fete, July 6, 1957. If it hadn't been for mutual friend Ivan Vaughan (who shared the exact same birth date as Paul), John and Paul may have never had this meeting, and Paul may have never had the opportunity to show off his skills ("Twenty Flight Rock," tuning by ear, remembering lyrics) to John. As Quarry Men member and friend Pete Shotton relates in his book John Lennon In My Life: "We were joined in the deserted hall by Ivan Vaughan and a chubby, baby-faced classmate of his. I had thought John might be interested in meeting this guitar-toting friend, who not only was one of the Liverpool Institutes's biggest Presley and Little Richard fans, but also knew how to tune his instrument. The kid's name, it turned out, was Paul McCartney " (p. 53). You'll see some pictures of Pete (with his blond locks) with Ivan and band mate Len Garry in pictures above.

Shotton reflects upon the fateful meeting in virtually the same way as Paul in his beautiful song for John, "Here Today": They were "playing hard to get." "In their initial encounter, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney acted--at first--almost standoffish. John (as I already knew) was notoriously wary of strangers, while Paul, in his polite way, impressed me with his cool reserve. But shy he wasn't, and the awkward silence was finally broken when he got out his guitar and began to play. John was immediately impressed by what he heard and saw" (p. 55). After some lengthy consideration, John consulted with Pete about asking Paul to join the Quarry Men. Some time later, Pete saw Paul cycling through the neighborhood, and asked him to join.

Amazingly, audio from the Woolton Fete Quarry Men's performance exists, though in very poor sound quality. Part of "Puttin' On The Style" has been in circulation for quite some time; however, the BBC recently aired previously unheard snippets of the aforementioned song and also "Baby Let's Play House." I scanned the reproductions of the Garden Fete program and the Quarry Men's business card that accompanied the Lennon Legend book compiled by James Henke to post today.

Unfortunately, Ivan Vaughan passed away in 1993; lifelong friend Paul McCartney wrote a special poem in his honor, which appears in Paul's Blackbird Singing book. A most sincere "thank you" goes out to you today, Ivan.