Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Go Karts (part 2)

Even though I think I know everything about what the Beatles did on every day of the band's existence, even I learn something new.   Long time pal of this blog, Bruno sent me this information regarding the Paul McCartney Go-Kart photo that I posted last night.    After the Beatles concert in Nice, France on June 30, 1965 the Fab guys did some nighttime Go-Kart racing at villeneuve -loubet.  Bruno even emailed along some newspaper clippings.       Great information! 

Signs signs everywhere signs

One of my favorite parts of a Paul McCartney concert is when Paul reads aloud the signs that he sees in the audience.   Of course Paul has had a long time of reading signs, as seen in this 1966 farewell at an airport.   It seems like "sexy" is the key word on the signs that time. 

Blankets and Beards

I love looking at the people in the background of Beatles photos.   And I can't help but wonder what those people back there are thinking as they see two Beatles wrapped in blankets at the Isle of Wight (not Wright as I incorrectly thought for 30 years) concert in 1969.  

Who are those guys?

On ebay for the next several hours is this photo.    The story told is that a woman was vacationing in Miami in February 1964 and saw these four guys getting their photo and saw a crowd around them and figured they must be famous and took her own photograph of them.    Then later discovered that she took a photo of the Beatles.    I am not sure how much I actually buy this story.   If she didn't know who they were, why did she get so close and get such a perfect shot?    Regardless, it is neat seeing this more candid version of a photo that was taken during a well-known photo shoot.   And for $350 this photo can be yours!

Wearing Dad's sweater

John and Yoko in the Hit Factory in 1980
Sean Lennon in December 1991.  Photo by Michael Mondi  Copyright held by Sara Schmidt

I might have mentioned that I won several lots from Backstage Auction for Beatles photos a few months ago.  Some of them include copyright (yep....I can post photos on my blog that I own without asking anyone).   One of them is this one of Sean from 1991 wearing a red sweater.   The first thing I thought was that he was wearing his Father sweater.   I am not sure if it is the exact same sweater, but it sure does look similar!

Speed on

News article from Issue # 65 (January 1988) of the Harrison Alliance

George went to court in Brentford, England July 30, 1988 to contest the ticket he received last January 28 for driving between 90 and 100 MPH on the M4 near Heston in England.  George told the judge that his maximum speed was 84MPH.  The constable that issued the ticket said George was clocked for three quarters of a mile and that during that time George was driving a minimum of 90, a maximum of 100 MPH.  the judge ruled that since the actual speed was in doubt, George should receive the benefit of the doubt and the court would accept the speed to which George pleased guilty.  The judge then fined George £50 and points against his drivers license. 

Grapefruit (the book not the band)

Yoko Ono's book, Grapefruit was first published in 1964.   Of course back then, Beatle fans had no reason to be interested in the book.   But in 1970, her book was re-released with a new introduction written by her new husband, John Lennon and suddenly the book was a big seller.    In July 1971, the couple did a mini media blitz to promote the book.   They appeared on television and did several interviews about it.  But the most interesting thing was the two appearances for book signings in London.   John hadn't been to a formal autograph event such as this since the Magical Mystery Tour Fan Club secretary party in 1967.   This was the last time British fans remember seeing John in person because he left for the United States a month later and never returned to England.   So unless the fan traveled to New York, the book signing was the last time he/she ever saw John. 

There were two separate book signing. I have mentioned before on this blog that people seem to only think there was one.   The first was on July 15, 1971 and it took place at Selfridges department store in London.  The second one was a day later, July 16, 1971.  I am unsure of the location, in Carol Bedford's book it says that it was at a "large bookstore on Oxford Street."    Although that seems a bit odd since Selfridge's Department store was also located on Oxford Street.    John wore the same jacket during both signing, but for the first one he is wearing a "Grapefruit" t-shirt underneath and for the second one he is wearing a dark shirt.   For the first signing, Yoko is wearing a flowery outfit (the type of outfit she wore a lot in 1971) and for the second one she has one a white jacket.  

A lot of fans attended these and wanted a chance to get John and Yoko's autograph.   This was the days before arm bands and the security and organization that you see today at this type of thing.   Just think of all the hoops Paul fans jump through to get an autograph during one of his signings.   I know for a fact that several fans went through the line more than once to see John and Yoko.     Since there were so many fans there, it isn't a surprise that autographed Grapefruit books come up on auctions frequently.    But lately I have seen many fakes.   How do I know they are fakes?   I am not an expert at all, and I don't even own a John autograph myself.   But I do know that they signed these quickly, and the signatures looked rushed.   There is never an inscription.   Yoko signed on top at a slant and John signed towards the bottom of the front empty page that has no other marks on it.   

Here are some photos from the events. 
John and Yoko on July 15 walking into the store.

Notice all of the fans crowded around to meet them?   No wrist bands back then...just a mob!

Notice that they were signing the books at the same time. 
This is a great example of one of the autographs from that day.   It looks very rushed, doesn't it?

From July 16.  Scanned from Carol Bedford's book

Scanned from Carol Bedford's book

in hospital

Here we have two fans from the Netherlands in 1965 who are stuck in the hospital.   And what have their put around their room to cheer them up?   Yep...Beatles photos.   They are playing a James Bond board game to pass the time.   If I was in the hospital, I would hang up Beatles photos too.

Ringo in a tie

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Go Karts

Here is Paul on a go-kart.   Can anyone tell me more about this photo?   It does not look like the traditional Beatles Go-kart photos from 1963 taken by Dezo Hoffman.  When was this?  Where was it? 

Ring in the new

Beautiful photo of George at Friar Park (notice the jukebox in the background) standing by a Christmas tree.   But who are the two ladies in the photo?

Wanna see more Christmas/Winter themed Beatles photos?   Then go to the the "Meet the Beatles for Real" facebook page!

War is Over

The Sunset Strip in 1970

Times Square in 1978

New York City in 1969

I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful day and if you spent your day Celebrating Christmas, I hope that you were able to spend quality time with your family and friends.   I hope that you had meaningful conversations, laughed, reminisced and ate delicious food.   While all of the Beatles things we enjoy doing is great fun and a wonderful hobby, nothing is better than spending time with those you love.  

I was blessed to spend the day with my ailing Grandmother (who is 89 years old!) and parents.  I made a special scrapbook for my mom of all of our Beatles adventures over the past 20 years.   I am very fortunate that I have such a great mom who loves the Beatles!   She isn't geeky strange like I am over them (in that she doesn't know all of the trivia and such), but she still is a pretty big fan who still remembers in great detail seeing them on Ed Sullivan in 1964.   And if Ringo Starr is reading this blog, please know that my mom is one of your biggest fans.  She buys every single one of your albums and listens to them on a daily basis.  I think we listened to "I wanna be Santa Claus twice today!"  

All of you readers of "Meet the Beatles...for Real" are friends of mine (well with the exception of the one German fellow who is very rude to me).   I thank you for your friendship and willingness to share your photos and stories and just your support to me as I continue on this adventure.    I started this blog in 2009 to help me cope with the aftermath of divorce.   I thought it would be something to keep  me occupied.  I honestly thought maybe a few people would visit, but not too many.  I had no idea that as a result of this blog, I would communicate with so many Beatle fans from around the world!   My idea of bringing a Beatles fanzine into the 21st century has really gone farther than I had imagined.  So I thank you all for everything you do, even if you are someone who just reads and lurks.  I know you are out there, because I see the number of hits and the countries.

As I have mentioned time and time again, I love the idea of "War is over (if you want it)."   I think it is a message that I personally need to hear right now more than ever before.   I want 2013 to be a year that I commit to spreading peace to others.   I want to stop the silly arguing that happens too much and be more peaceful and loving towards those online and in my day to day life.  Who is with me?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snowy Day

Where is your cap Paul?   You are the misfit Beatle in this photo.

I want to tell you

Here is a series of short stories of Beatles encounters from David Stark, who is a musician who lived in London and was a teenager during the height of Beatlemania.  He has a lot of great stories that he shares, and I was fortunate to hear him tell them in person at the Beatles convention this past August.   These were written for the British Beatles Fan Club Magazine and were published in Issue #36 (From April 2010). 

David and Paul in 2006

Yet another time David and Paul were togther

David at the Fest for Beatle Fans in Chicago giving a slide show presentation.

I want to tell you
By David Stark

My parents took me and my brother to “Another Beatles Christmas Show” at the Hammersmith Odeon on Monday 4th January 1965 as a special treat.  My dad knew Dick James’ accountant, which is how I think he got the tickets.  We had a great view, but all I remember is the non-stop screaming was totally deafening.  We could hardly hear the band, which isn’t surprising as Vox AC30 amps and a 100-watt PA system don’t carry too far in big venues.

My first encounter with any of the group on a personal basis took place the following year outside EMI Studios in Abbey Road. This was around the time they were recording “Paperback Writer” and “Revolver” in April 1966, which coincided with the Easter holidays, I went to school in Elstree and had a classmate who lived on Abbey Road just a couple of block away from the studios.  He was often telling me how he’d seen the Beatles arriving, and also got his copy of the “Help” album signed by them, which of course I was rather envious of.  So although I lived some miles away in Stanmore, I cycled all the way to St. John’s Wood on day to meet up with my pal and wait outside the studios for any Beatles to arrive.  An expectant crowd, mainly female, was already gathering and it looked as if we might be in luck.  I rested my bicycle against the left-hand studio gate without thinking any more of it, and waited for something to happen.

A short while later a bizarre sight on wheels approached the studios from the direction of Lords cricket ground.  It was a black Rolls Royce with a loudspeaker mounted on the roof, while someone inside was loudly delivering a gibberish commentary to all and sundry.  It was none other than John Lennon MBE, and as his limo got close to the studio entrance  I suddenly heard him say the immortal words, “and get that fucking bike out the way!” over his personal tannoy system.  Naturally I obliged as quickly as I  could, as the car slowly drove past us into the studio courtyard.  Lennon waltzed out and signed a few autographs before heading up the studio steps and that was that.  I’d got off lightly for obstructing a Beatle, but had to wait a couple of years to meet him properly.  

One Saturday night in the autumn of 1970 or 1971, I was out with my pal Vince trying to think of something to do for a laugh.  We didn’t have much dosh, were dressed in smell Afghan coats and jeans and didn’t fancy joining the usual crowd at the Wimpy Bar by Edgeware Station.  Vince had recently got his first car, a Ford Anglia, s I came up with the idea of driving to Hampstead to find where Ringo lived and asked him out for a pint.  Yes, a ridiculous thing to even think of, but that’s what made it more of a challenge.  I happened to know the name of Ringo’s street, but not the number of which home.

As it happened, Compton Avenue is a small private road opposite Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath, so we parked up and promptly rang the bell of the first house on the left.  Who should come to the door but none other than Lulu with then-hubby Maurice Gibb in tow.  They were obviously wondering why these two young scruffs were intruding on them, but couldn’t have been nicer when I fibbed that we’d been invited to Ringo’s gaff but weren’t too sure which hosue it was.  “Ooh, he’s just down the endo f the road on the right,” said Lulu, sweet as pie, ‘You can’t miss it,” added Maurice, “it’s got a big double drive.”  Success!  Could you imagine anyone, famous or not, giving that kind of information to two total strangers these days?  We duly thanked them and headed a few yards down the road, where it was apparent that if it was Ringo’s house (actually called Round Hill), then he was having some kind of party, judging from the  number of cars parked n and around the drive. 

Anyway we mustered up some courage, took a deep breath and rang the bell.  And who should come to the door this time but Ringo himself.  “How can I help you lads?” he asked.  “We were just wondering if you’d like t come out for a quick drink with us.”  I volunteered, feeling somewhat stupid but at least sticking to the plan.  “Er, thanks for asking but I’m afraid we’ve got a few friends in tonight.”  Ringo replied, looking somewhat puzzled by the two young cavaliers on his doorstep.  “Thanks for the offer though. Another time maybe.”  As he was saying all this, I suddenly saw Eric Clapton walking past the back of the hallway.  We then quickly said our goodbyes and Ringo closed the door, as we headed back to the car laughing our heads off.


George spots the photographer


I knew that there was a gigantic crowd outside the hotel to see the Beatles when they were in Australia, but it isn't until you see a photo from this view, with the Beatles themselves circled, do you really see the magnitude of people!  Wow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Great time

It is such a great time right now to be a Beatles fan.  I am just so happy to be a fan at this moment.  One thing that I am excited about is the footage that people are sending into the Beatles live project.  I admit that I was a bit skeptical on if people would really be willing to send their treasured Beatles film footage.   I have learned from running this blog that not everyone is willing to share their personal Beatles photos.  They would rather it sit unseen than to share it with the public.   However, from what I can tell several previously unknown and unseen footage of Beatles concerts is being collected and that is so exciting!

One of the things the project shared on their facebook page is that photo of Paul with a fan in 1976.  Obviously they cannot use this photo in their project, but heck I sure can use it!  

Lenny in Miami

Remember Michael who sent the awesome photos of him with Julian Lennon?    Well he also sent this unseen photo of a friend of a friend's Dad named Lenny posing with half of the band on the set d of the Miami version of the Ed Sullivan show.  Very cool!!


Christine meets the Beatles part 4: 1986

Yes, I have found yet another installment of the series of Christine meets the Beatles.   This one comes from the 1995 issue 12 of Tokyo Beatles Fan club magazine.  The year is 1986 and Christine and Sylvia have became regulars outside of the MPL offices, so much so that Paul and Linda now recognize them.   

Christine asked for all of her photos and stories to be removed.  7/5/13

What a disappointment.  I was really enjoying her stories and had purchased more magazines. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ringo: The man in black

Check out that kid!

See the kid on the steps going up while the Beatles are going down?  I bet that guy still talks about the one time he saw John Lennon in 1967. 

Sipping Cider through a straw

Just in case you were wondering, "Sipping Cider through a straw" was a song I sang as a kid at camp.  And that popped in my head when I saw this photo, because it was taken at the Cinnamon Cider and Ringo is sipping something through a straw.   I thought it was the most clever title I have ever came up with and then realized that most of you never heard of that silly children's song. 

Giving Peace a Chance with Julian Lennon

A new blog reader named Michael was kind enough to send in these photos of him meeting Julian Lennon at Art Basel in Miami on December 8th of this year.   I love the fact that Julian is acknowledging Michael's John Lennon t-shirt!   Very awesome!!!!   I love it when readers send it stuff like this.   Anyone else????

Stop and Smell the Carrot-Coloured Roses

This story comes from issue #12 (from 1995) of the Tokyo Beatles Fan Club Magazine.  When Ringo and the All Starr Band toured Japan in June of that year, the HMV Record Shop help a contest called "Meet! Ringo!"   To enter the contest you had to purchase a Ringo Cd from the HMV shop.  There were three prizes.  The "A" prize was an invitation to go backstage to meet Ringo before the concert on the 24th, 26th and 27th of June (there was one winner and a guest allowed per concert), the "B" prize was tickets to one of the concerts, and the "C" prize was an autographed program.  This story was written by Hirofumi Sasaki who won the "A" prize!   Well actually his sister won the prize, but he put her name on the ticket and both of them went backstage.   It must have been difficult meeting Ringo with the help of an interpreter, but it sounds like Hirofumi had a memorable meeting!

Stop and Smell the Carrot-coloured roses!
The Backstage Report, 24th June 1995
By Hirofumi Sasaki

One of my friends told me on the phone about HMV’s campaign so I applied for the drawing with my sister’s name.  They informed us on 18th of June that we had won the A prize, it was about only a week before the day.  On that day, the 18th, I went all through the way from Saitama to Osaka to see Ringo’s show and I came back to my home at midnight.  When I returned home, there was a message from my sister saying that we got the A prize!  My heart was jumping.  A long time dream had come true, but I couldn’t imagine what to do.  Then the weeks passed by swiftly.
We were told to come to the hall buy 5:30pm, It was one and a half hours earlier than the opening time.  We went there with a bunch of roses, which my sister bought, she got them because she likes the “Stop and Smell the roses” album.  While we were waiting, we could hear an interesting story from a man in charge.  He said that the article in the paper which said, “Ringo is enthusiastic about eating carrots for health reasons” was true and that on that day there were 5 or 6 carrots piled up in Ringo’s room.  It is said that Ringo takes them as juice, salad or sometimes eats them raw.

Then came the time to go in.  When we were lead behind the door, I almost cried, “wow!  He’s John Entwistle!  Mark Farner is there!”  I was keyed up.   The place was the area for the performers to stand by.  I found three dressing rooms at the opposite side; the right room was for non-smokers (Max and Randy used it), the middle for was smokers (John and Zak used it) and the left room was for Ringo.  There was a piece of paper on the door which said, “Mr. Ringo Starr.”  They made us sit and wait in front of Ringo’s room for a while.  Then a big man came out of the room and said something to us but I didn’t understand what he said.  When I saw the direction he gesticulated, I found Ringo standing there!

We stood up surprisingly.  Ringo said gently, ‘how do you do?  Hi!” and stretched his hand.  My sister said, “Nice to meet you” or something like that.  All I could say was, “Ah, Domo (Well, hi).  Ringo wore a white shirt, black jeans and a red cap with a logo of “Ichiban (the first, or the greatest).”  My first impression was that he was of small stature.  Usually Japanese people are shorter than European people and I am a short man in comparison to other Japanese people.  But Ringo was as short as I am.  When I shook hands with him I thought his hand might be smaller than mine.  But his head was so small.  I think that is why he looks so great on stage.  After shaking hands, he spoke something that we couldn’t understand; it was kind of “congratulations on winning the HMV contest” according to an interpreter.  Then he asked, “Feeling good?”  of course I could understand it.  When I answered, “Yes, I’m feeling very good.  But I am not good at speaking English so I don’t know what to say.”  He said, “Me too, I wish I could speak Japanese!”  When I said that we had been fans for 20 years, he said, “Oh you’re not even 20 yet!”  I told him that my sister has a child.  Then Ringo said, “I think she is 16 or 17.”  I thought this was a big compliment but my sister was simply pleased to hear it and Ringo watched this and laughed.  When she complimented too, saying “You are very young too,” he answered, “But I have many children.”

Then we passed a bunch of flowers to him saying, “We wanted carrot cakes but we couldn’t ‘find them.” He said, “In Japan they don’t make much carrot cake.  But they are beautiful.  Thank you.”  She then said without delay, “We looked for carrot coloured roses instead” which made him laugh.  And when I said “Happy birthday,” he said “Thank you, Domo (thanks in Japanese).
Then I gave Ring copies of the Tokyo Beatles Fan Club Magazine, the 5th and 10th issues.  These were presents from TBFC staff.  When I showed him an article on his last tour in the 5th issue, he received them with a surprised look.

Then he said, “I must go now.  Enjoy the show, okay?”  It seemed that time was running out so I asked him to give some autographs and produced 2 LP’s.  Ringo signed on them slowly, saying “Oh, this is a good record.”  When I said that I had been to his previous concerts, he said, “Oh wow, so you know exactly what we do.  Which song did you like?”  and I answered, “Photograph.”  Then he stepped with that familiar pose leaning forward and sang a bit of “Photograph” for us!  We asked permission to take a photo, he replied yes.   Ringo said, “Peace and love, ha ha ha…” with a peace sign.  After that he shook hand with us again saying, “Thank you.  Domo.” And was back again with a bunch of roses and copies of the TBFC magazine to his dressing room.

After we saw Ringo, we met Billy Preston who was sitting on a bench.  What I said that I had seen the previous shows, he clapped his hands for joy with an exaggerated gesture.  We took a photo with him too but the flash bulb didn’t explode.  Billy said in a loud voice, “No flaaaaash!”  I tried once again but it didn’t go off.  He said with a bewildered look, “Maybe it’s okay.”  We thanked him and left.

The concert began one hour after our encounter.  Ringo was singing with a microphone in his hand and Billy was playing as always.  When I watched them, I had a strange feeling and I had to ask myself if the encounter was real.  It was not an ordinary experience, it felt unreal but when I looked at the photo and the autograph they reminded me of the encounter.  
I thank all the staff who were always so kind to us, Billy an