Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Beatles' Number One Fan...

The stuff of legend: Forty-six years ago today (October 28, 1961), an 18 year-old man by the name of Raymond Jones entered NEMS record store in Whitechapel, Liverpool, to place an order for a local band's German-only 45 of "My Bonnie." NEMS manager Brian Epstein, who prided himself in having a copy of every record available, had never heard of this single nor the band who recorded it: Liverpool's own Beatles. The next day, two girls stopped by NEMS and asked for the same record. Epstein inquired further about this group and made a plan to visit the Cavern to watch them perform...

Over the years, many people have tried to refute the existence of Raymond Jones, citing that Epstein invented the character in his mind. Sam Leach and Alistair Taylor have both claimed to be the "Raymond Jones" who ordered "My Bonnie." However, Merseybeat expert Spencer Leigh was able to track down the real Raymond Jones and interview him for Mojo magazine. The article can be found in the fantastic book, The Beatles: Ten Years that Shook the World. According to Jones: "I never wanted to do anything to make money out of the Beatles because they have given me so much pleasure. I saw them every dinner-time at the Cavern, and they were fantastic. I never heard anything like them...I used to go to NEMS every Saturday to buy records by Carl Perkins and Fats Domino because I heard the Beatles playing their songs....Brian Epstein said to me, 'Who are they?' and I said, 'They are the most fantastic group you will ever hear.' No one will take away from me that it was me who spoke to Brian Epstein and then he went to the Cavern to see them for himself. I didn't make them famous, Brian Epstein made them famous, but things might have been different without me" (p. 21). Jones produced a letter from Brian's staff, thanking him for the tip concerning the Beatles.

In this post, I've included a picture of the real Raymond Jones; a Cavern flyer; pictures of George and Ringo outside the Cavern; pictures of the Cavern's interior; and a wonderful picture of a drunk Mike McCartney with Pete Best and new buddy Brian Epstein, taken sometime in 1961!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

George's Guitar Collection

My good friend Jeff (of whom I have written before, and I'm sure I will write again) sent me a treasure trove of original clippings from the solo years of each former Beatle. I will be sharing some of these with you over time.

I love guitars. I believe I've established that fact. So, naturally, I was thrilled to find a copy of the famous interview George gave to Guitar Player in 1987 among the articles Jeff sent. I think it's one of my favorite interviews because George seems so excited to talk about his gear--he's like a school boy again, like when he drew sketches of guitars in his notebooks instead of doing his school assignments. The best part of the article is the gallery of photos George took himself. Because the interview was taking place in L.A. George took some snap shots of interesting guitars from his collection so he could share them with other guitar lovers. I love reading the stories behind the guitars. It's great seeing the Zemanitis custom made guitar with the heart-shaped soundhole--the same one Dhani plays in the Concert for George. The other Zemaitis guitar can be seen in the promo for "Ding-Dong, Ding-Dong"--George is playing it in the buff, save for some wild furry boots.

I have been searching all day for a photo of George playing his Coral electric sitar, then it hit me--check out the best Harrison-photo collection on the web: Simply Shady Hari. If there is any photo of George you're looking for, this fan will have it, I assure you. I found what I was looking for and more. Check out the great photo of George on that Gibson J200....

I've also included a picture of George at Friar Park with his guitar collection; It looks like the photo could be from about 1974 or so. I've had this photo in my collection for years, so I am unsure as to where I found it. (As usual, click on the photos to enlarge.)

I hope to be back updating this blog regularly. I've been extremely busy with other projects, and I was lacking in inspiration, honestly. My love for all things Fab did not wane in the least, but in attempting to keep the material here fresh and interesting, I seemed to hit a bit of a snag. Hopefully my muse will return. Please post a comment if you have any requests!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Life - The Legend - The Legacy

I didn't scan these photos myself--they are from the collection I've amassed from various websites over the past 12 years or so. Some are from the Fiz collection that is no longer on line. Others are from Beatlepics, and others I have no idea! (Like always, click to enlarge.)

Happy birthday, John! We're celebrating you today.
Imagine Peace

Monday, October 08, 2007

Imagine Peace

In order to honor John on what would have been in 67th birthday, please take some time today to send your peace wishes to the Imagine Peace effort. If you can, watch the unveiling of the light tower in your time zone (3:45 EST). This is a truly spectacular undertaking and a beautiful piece of conceptual art. I hope the rumors that Paul, Ringo and Olivia are attending turn out to be true. What an amazing way to honor a man we all love.

I sent this message to be placed there:

I sincerely wish for the world to experience peace -
as John Lennon once said, peace in our hearts,
peace in our homes,
peace in the world.
If everyone found inner peace, it would project outward.
There would be no hunger, no hatred, no war.
I will do my part to help bring peace into the world -
I will never stop believing and imagining
a world filled with love
and hope.
I will extend love to my neighbors, open my heart and my mind
to their needs and their voices.
I will contribute to efforts promoting peace.
I will vote accordingly as well.

I wish for every human to experience true peace within.

Thank you, John Lennon, for everything you are to the world. Thank you for your music, your lyrics, your art, and your activism. I will always love you.

Thank you, Yoko Ono, for never faltering, for standing up for peace, for keeping John's spirit with us. Thank you for your art, your music, and your dedication. You and Sean remain the keepers of the wishing well.

Love and peace to all of you involved in the Imagine Peace effort!

Happy birthday, John! You are loved and missed.

As I was working on this post, I was unable to upload any pictures due to problems with Blogger. I will attempt to post some of my favorite pictures of John later this evening.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Step Right This Way!

As promised, a large collection of Magical Mystery Tour behind the scenes photos for your pleasure! I scanned all of these except for the first two--I found the first one on Tammy's Beatle Photo Blog, and the second was posted on Beatlepics.

The psychedelic experience MMT illustrates flew straight over the heads of the general public when it first aired on Boxing Day in 1967. It didn't help matters that it was shown in black & white as well! Initially slammed by critics, the film has undergone a re-assessment in recent years. The music sequences are brilliant, and the individual sketches are quite comical. At times it's lethargic, as if illustrating a dream (or a sense of being high). The unusual happenings appear normal to the cast of characters, who are happy to be along for the meandering ride.