Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Lennon related novel Two Rubber Souls

Lennon-related novel 'Two Rubber Souls'
I am a lifelong John Lennon fan who has just released a novel called Two Rubber Souls. Set in 1984-85, it is a bitter-sweet coming of age story about a 14 yr old English boy who idolises John so much that, in a low point in his life, prays to the former Beatle to intervene and help out with his problems. Something amazing and unexpected then happens.

To find out what, please check out the book website for further info at http://www.pauldixonauthor.co.uk

Peace and Love,
Paul

Friday, 22 October 2010

Show 7 - March 7th 1988

Show 7 is, as ever, an interesting mix of music and episodes from the career of John Lennon.

Elliot Mintz sets the scene for the first part of the show today - the political side of Lennon that was heavily on display when he first entered the USA on a 6 month non-renewable visa in the fall of 1971. Based in the St. Regis hotel in New York, Lennon became immersed in political and social causes.

As Power To The People plays, Mintz describes how the songs written in this period would end up on 1972's Sometime In New York City LP, reflecting the Lennons' concerns on racism, sexism, criminal penalties for possession of drugs, the rights of prisoners, and the Northern Ireland situation. Two of those songs - Sunday Bloody Sunday (not the U2 version), and The Luck Of The Irish were written about the latter. Takes 1 and 2 of the demo of TLOTI, from the Dakota archives, are played. The recording was made on 12th November 1971, and recorded in the studio in March 1972.

The second part of show 7 considers perhaps the most controversial incident of The Beatles career - Lennon's 'more popular than Jesus' comment. Mintz states how the original interview with this quote was published on 4th March 1966 in the London Standard. Maureen Cleave was the journalist involved.  It has been well-documented how the statement was not picked up on until the interview was reprinted in an American publication - Datebook - in July of that year.

This was two weeks before The Beatles commenced their third US tour, and it created bedlam even before they arrived. A 'Beatles Boycott' originated in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by two local DJs, it culminated with a 'Beatle bonfire' on 19th August. The Beatles arrived in Chicago 11th August, and by this time the protests against Lennon and The Beatles had spread across the country, mainly in the southern states.

Mintz airs a rare Brian Epstein interview from March 1967, with Murray the K. In the clip we hear the pair recalling the previous year's controversy. Mintz then describes how Maureen Cleave was astonished at how the quote had been taken out of context.

The next 10 minute segment is devoted entirely to a clip of the Chicago press conference that the group gave to the gathered press for the 1966 tour. It revolves, unsurprisingly, around Lennon being quizzed on what he meant by his 'bigger than Jesus' remark, as well as the repercussions unfolding. A quick clip from the Sheff 1980 interview finds Lennon discussing the remark.

From 1966 we jump forwards to 1980. During the Double Fantasy period, Lennon planned to mark his affection and respect for Yoko and her work as an artist by creating an album of other artists covering her songs.  It was to be a unique present for her 50th birthday on 18th February 1983. It was known at the time as The Birthday Album.

Deciding to complete the project in her husband's absence, it was released in 1984 as Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him. As well as Lennon opening the album with the title track, it also featured Elvis Costello, Roberta Flack, and Harry Nilsson. A real gem airs next - the title track in its unreleased form from 1980, featuring both Lennons on vocals.
Yoko describes how the pair were planning a musical titled The Ballad Of John and Yoko, and that the line from EMHAW 'Why do I roam when I know you're one' was inspired by Yoko being apart from Lennon in Paris in 68 (Lennon was in India).

I'm Moving On, on the 1984 album, was covered by Eddie Money, and a clip of the song follows Yoko describing how Money came to be involved.

The finale of today's show returns to the EMHAW project, but first it jumps back to 1966, and to the track Lennon wrote for Revolver - She Said She Said. Mintz mentions how drug use was influencing Lennon's songwriting at this period. Lennon, in the Sheff interview, describes the song's origin while on a break in Hollywood in August 1965.  The actor Peter Fonda, then relatively unknown, was with the band while on acid. Lennon recollects how he kept whispering 'I know what it's like to be dead' in his ear.  Two demos of the track now air. The first, from lennon's archives, is a real gem - an early version featuring Lennon on guitar. The second version is a near complete song, with Lennon singing the line 'making me feel like my trousers are torn.'  Finally, the recorded version is played, completing this mini look at its evolution.

Returning to Yoko discussing the EMHAW release, she describes how Harry Nilsson came to record three of the twelve tracks. One of these, Dream Love, is played.

The final album track features a seven year old Sean Lennon loosely rapping It's Alright, and it is played. To conclude Show 7 the audience is treated to the original raw demo of Grow Old With Me, followed briefly by Yoko touchingly describing how she still feels her husband's spirit around. 


WHAT I LIKED ABOUT TODAY'S SHOW

It is always nice after so many years of being a fan to hear something fresh. Although the quality was not crystal clear, it was interesting to hear a perspective from Lennon, at the Chicago press conference, about the 1966 controversy that has not, to my knowledge, been used in any official documentaries.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Show 6 - 29th February 1988

Show 6 of The Lost Lennon Tapes, from 29th February 1988, features several rare demos, the usual blend of recorded Beatles and solo material, as well as an interesting, informative  radio interview featuring a relaxed, good natured Lennon from 1974.

To kick off we hear what is described as the rock demo version of Revolution. For those of you unfamiliar with Lennon's dilemma with Revolution's lyrics, about whether to be counted 'out' or 'in' when it came to advocating destructive behaviour, Elliot Mintz notes that for this demo Lennon sings 'out.'

A large section of today's show features a fantastic appearance on Dennis Elsis's WNEW-FM New York radio show. Primarily there to promote his LP Walls and Bridges, it finds Lennon on top form and sounding happy and contented with life.

Elsis, in 1988, tells Mintz the background story behind how Lennon actually came to be a guest. Having met him just a few days prior, Elsis had told Lennon's people that John was welcome to go onto the show and talk about the new set of songs. With nothing confirmed, Elsis recounts how Lennon turned up unannounced at the radio station on 28th September 1974. Elsis, in the middle of his show, himself dashed down to the reception area, having first put on a long running track that would allow him time to go downstairs and return.

The scene set, the show now cuts into the original 1974 appearance. Lennon announcing himself with the line 'Surprise surprise, it's Dr Winston O'Boogie at your service.'  The recorded version of Whatever Gets You Through The Night follows.

A full discussion of Walls and Bridges between Elsis and Lennon ensued. Lennon describes how the track No 9 Dream was originally titled Walls and Bridges, but became the album's title as it didn't seem to fit any of the songs. As Lennon says 'some of them (the album tracks) had 20 titles.'  Elsis and Lennon run through the significance of the number 9 in his life to date.  Lennon then gives a humourous weather forecast for the New York area, followed by an airing of the track No 9 Dream.

Mintz draws this first section of the show to a close, promising more of the 1974 interview later in the show. The second part opens with a demo track that was recorded upon Lennon's return home from India in May 1968, which had failed to be included on the White Album. The acoustic track Child Of Nature plays, and the listener instantly recognises it as the melody to what would become Jealous Guy.  To compare the differences, Jealous Guy follows from the Imagine album 1971 release.

The remainder of today's show returns to the Lennon-Elsis 1974 radio show. Lennon reads out the station's radio adverts in his own unique style. This is followed by the Ritchie Barrett song Some Other Guy, recognisable as a tune The Beatles would cover in their Cavern days. Lennon points out the similarity between the intro to SOG and his own song Instant Karma. The relationship between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones is discussed. Lennon describes their first meeting at the Crawdaddy club in Richmond, England. From this they became friends, and he goes on to say how himself and Paul finished writing the song I Wanna Be Your Man in front of them. The Stones needed a quick follow up to Come On, and were given this as their next release. Both bands' finished versions are then played for comparison.

Lennon talks about how he still sees Mick, the last time being at the Grammys in Los Angeles. He also mentions how when both bands were riding high in the 60s they would frequent the Ad Lib club in London, where they would dance, get stoned and drunk. A song that was popular in the club at this time was Daddy Rolling Stone by Derek Martin.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT TODAY'S SHOW 

 It is interesting to hear Lennon's appearance with Dennis Ellis, not something I had previously heard. With all of the interviews he gave in his life that have been used on the Beatles Anthology, and other documentaries, I can't recollect any of the clips from this show being used, so they sounded refreshingly new.

 I enjoyed discovering the little facts I was unaware of, such as how he relinquished control over the artwork and packaging for the Walls and Bridges release for the first time in a long while, as he didn't have the time to do it himself.

As always the demos. I had previously heard Child Of Nature some 8 years or so ago, but if I had been listening to this show originally in 1988 I would have been doing cartwheels at hearing a new song. As a historical piece it is of interest, but I found myself thankful that it did fail to be recorded and released in 68, as the world may have been denied the classic Jealous Guy.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Show 5 - 22nd February 1988

Without out a doubt this is the best show to date, primarily because there are so many previously unheard home demos, taken out of Lennon's personal collection. Heavily featured today are the Thanksgiving Night 1974 Elton John concert at Madison Square Gardens, featuring a cameo appearance by Mr L, as well as key events between January and June 1969 as the John and Yoko relationship became offical in Gibraltor.

Today the show launches straight into a brief rare clip of Whatever Gets You Through The Night, from the July 1974 rehearsal sessions for the Walls and Bridges album. As it plays in the background May Pang describes how she was present when Lennon came up with the line and idea for the song. Elliot Mintz interjects, describing how Elton John and John Lennon had featured heavily in each others careers by August 1974. Lennon sang backing vocals on Elton's version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, reaching number 1 in early 1975. Lennon's track from Mind Games, 'One Day At A Time' was covered by EJ on the B-side.

Retrospective interview clips from the 1980 Peebles interview, and a separate Elton John interview, allow the story to unfold of how Lennon came to make a guest appearance with Elton John at his Thanksgiving Night Madison Square Garden concert in November 1974. Following this, WGYTTN from the gig airs, with the sound of 20,000 fans going crazy in the background. Both Elton and Lennon then note the positive, slightly unexpected reaction of the crowds to Lennon. The opening segment of today's show is completed with the second song featuring the duo from the concert, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

From a triumphant 1974 Thanksgiving, the listener is transported to the first half of 1969. Mintz describes this period of John and Yoko's life and career as being a rollercoaster. First there was the troubled Get Back recording sessions. 20th January saw Nixon inaugurated as US President as the Vietnam war continued to rage on. Early February saw further troubles within the Beatles over the controversial appointment of Allen Klein as their manager. 20th March saw the controversial couple married in Gibraltar, and honeymoon in Amsterdam. On 22nd March the newlyweds checked into the Presidential Suite of the Amsterdam Hilton to begin their first bed-in for peace. Their reasoning for this was seen as the best way to protest against the Vietnam war. The Lennon's invited the world's media into their room for 10-12 hours a day to talk about peace.

On the Peeble's interview, Lennon describes this period, and how the media fought initially to get into their room on day one. A debate between Donald Zek of the Daily Mirror newspaper and Lennon over the reasons and affect of the bed-in is played.

31st March saw John and Yoko in Vienna, at a press conference for peace and to promote their film Rape. The pair speak to press reporters from inside a bag. a clip from this is broadcast. Lennon labels it bagism, being their attempt to inject some peaceful humour into their peace protests as the establishment struggled to handle this type of protest. A clip of The Ballad Of John and Yoko plays.

We hear how New York was to be the second city to feature a bed-in, but this was diverted to the Queen Elizabeth hotel in Toronto after the US govt denied them entry. Lennon talks about this second bed-in. On the 7th day on 1st June 1969 a portable 8 track recording machine allowed the Lennon's, accompanied by a whole host of guests including Tommy Smothers and Timothy Leary, to record Give Peace A Chance. The finished recording is played.

Lennon's version of Rip It Up opens the next section of today's show. Mintz discusses how the skiffle craze hit Britain in the 1950s. A clip of Lonnie Donegan's Rock Island Line airs. This song was the prompt for Lennon to form his group The Quarrymen in May 1957. A rare 1970s home recording from Lennon's personal collection airs now, his version of Rock Island Line. The track finds Lennon in good humoured form, clearly relishing running through one of his boyhood favourites.

Hot on the back of this rare track is another. This time it is a home recording of the piano led John Henry.

And then a third great Lennon rare demo plays - an acoustic guitar driven Surprise Surprise Sweet Bird Of Paradox.

We jump back to Thanksgiving 1974 now. Apart from marking Lennon's triumphant return to live performance (sadly to be the last time he ever performed in public), it was also notable as it marked the getting back together of the estranged pair. Yoko Ono tells Andy Peebles in 1980 the lonely figure she observed on stage as she sat in the audience, unbeknown to Lennon. The third and final song Elton and Lennon duetted on now airs - I Saw Her Standing There. 

To top off another show of fantastic rare recordings, show 5 finishes with a track called Tennessee. Lennon wrote this in the mid 1970s, inspired by the work of Tennessee Williams. Mintz recalls Lennon playing it to him on a visit to the Dakota. The listeners get to hear how the song evolves between Takes 1 and 4. This song goes on to become Memories, but time has run out today, so the story of Memories will be continued in a later edition of The Lost Lennon Tapes. 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Show 4 - 15th February 1988

This weeks show from mid-February 1988 again has so much packed into it. Up for discussion are the meeting of John and Yoko and the publics reaction to their getting together, the Rishikesh experience, and John's literary career in the early years of The Beatles. In the process the viewer is treated to various archive interviews, including for the first time the David Sheff 1980 interviews. Musically, the tracks played on the show are from John's Beatles phase, including some previously unheard, unreleased gems.

Elliot sets the scene in 1980, with John coming out of his five year musical exile. His first major interview, in September 1980, is his first since 1976, and is conducted with David Sheff of Playboy magazine. Elliot informs us that The Lost Lennon Tapes has been allowed access to the complete 20 plus hours of recorded interviews from this time. We are informed that Sheff finds John at his most contented, having come full circle with his relationship with the public.

Following a short clip of Norwegian Wood, we pick up the interview where the very first meeting between John and Yoko is under discussion. This took place on 9th November 1966 at the Indica Gallery. Through Mick Jagger, John met John Dunbar, the gallery owner. Dunbar invited him to a preview of a Japanese artist's exhibition. John describes how he was chauffeur driven in his mini to the gallery, with the idea that 'arsty fartsy orgies' would be taking place. He describes instead how he finds a £200 apple, and a set of nails. Immediately, he tells Sheff, he saw the humour.

John continues to describe how Dunbar introduced him to Yoko, who hands him a card with the word BREATHE on it. What sealed it for John was the word written on the ceiling, which he had to read by climbing a ladder and holding a spyglass to it. It was YES. John finds this positive, unlike all the other avant-garde art at the time. This positive affirmation makes him stay. They really click, says John, after he asks to hammer in a nail on one of Yoko's exhibit pieces. Eventually she agrees if he gives her 5 shillings. John then counters by saying he will give Yoko an imaginary 5 shillings if he can hammer in an imaginary nail. The Beatles track Girl now plays. When it ends, Elliot closes this first section of the show by describing how John would remain intrigued with Yoko until May 1968 when they eventually became lovers.

Elliot introduces the next section by setting the scene for the telling of the India experience.

24th August 1967 finds the Beatles at the Hilton hotel, attending a lecture by the Maharishi on transendental meditation. John and the others are intrigued enough to head to Bangor next day to attend a seminar held by the Maharishi.

30th September 1967 - John and Paul appear on The David Frost Show with the Indian guru.

16th February 1968 - John, Cynthia, George and Patti Harrison fly to Rishikesh, India to start a two and a half month residence (Paul and Ringo were also in attendance).

Guesting with Tom Donaghue on his radio show in 1974 on San Francisco's KSAFM, John talks about the Rishikesh period. He describes it as being like ' a recluse holiday camp...baboons stealing breakfast....quite a trip.' This last point was in relation to the hours spent in their chalets meditating. It all went sour on 12th April 1968 when, after rumours of attempted indiscretions towards one of the female guests, an entourage led by John confronted the Maharishi. A clip of John talking to Jann Wenner in 1970 picks up the story. John describes how Maharishi appears puzzled at the groups intention to leave the camp, and asks why. John answered with the now legendary line 'If you're so cosmic, you'll know.'

Yer Blues from The White Album airs next. Elliot describes how Rishikesh proved to be a period of creativity for John, and some of the fruits are broadcast - the released versions of I'm so Tired and Sexy Sadie.

In the April 1973 interview with Elliot, a clip finds John reflecting on the lesson learnt from his 1968 Maharishi experience, surmising it led him to the 'God Is a Concept' belief. A previously unheard acoustic guitar demo closes this section, with John singing Happy Rishiskesh Song.

Paperback Writer introduces a review of John's literary career. Elliot describes how John's surreal writing style could be traced back to his schooldays. The book In His Own Write had its origins from Beatles tours, when John would take along a typewriter and write poetry. The literati are described as being shocked that John came from working-class Liverpool. A hilarious clip airs from Swedish TV. John is being asked by a very straight-and-narrow type presenter about his book. Alongside him are the other members of the group, who all proceed to make mild fun of the interview. John introduces the others as 'George Parasol, Ringo Stone, and Paul McChortley.' Posed with the question did they help John with his writing, John replies that they typed it out! Two readings of his poems follow: Good Dog Nigel, and I Sat Belonely.

1965 saw John's second book published. Entitled A Spaniard In The Works, John reads one of its entries, The National Health Cow.

The show closes today back where it started, with the David Sheff interviews. The impact of Yoko on the rest of the Beatles is discussed. Elliot describes how this was the first time in the history of the group that a wife/partner was allowed to enter the recording sessions. Going even further, Yoko sang on Bungalow Bill during the White album sessions in 1968.

On 18th June 1968 John and Yoko attended the play based on his poetry, at the Old Vic theatre. This met with a great deal of media and public hostility. Sheff asks John to comment on any possible public conception that Yoko controlled him. John rubbishes this idea, declaring the wool wasn't being pulled over his eyes by anybody. The recorded version of I Want You, from Abbey Road, plays.

The topic of John and Yoko on today's show ends with John stating that anyone who claims to have an interest in him has misunderstood anything he has ever said if they don't understand why he is with Yoko.

A December 1966 recording from Abbey Road ends today's show. It is a fascinating clip of John working on the early arrangement of his demo for Strawberry Fields.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Show 3 - 8th February 1988

Show 3 of The Lost Lennon Tapes continues with a really strong line-up of songs and interesting interviews that focus on this week in Lennon history. 4NKC9ZCTKCQR

Please Please Me is the opening track, and it is the early period in the career of The Beatles that is concentrated on first. Elliot informs us that the song Please Please Me entered the Top 10 British singles chart this week in 1963. February 11th finds the group at Abbey Wood recording studios with George Martin to record songs for what would become their debut album. Twelve hours later the songs are in the can, ready for national release in late March. Elliot rounds off this first point of interest in today's show by pointing out that Beatlemania was heralded in Britain when Please Please Me reached the top of the singles charts. A rare live clip of the track, aired originally on the BBC, ends our look at February 1963.

The show jumps forward a year to focus on The Beatles first TV appearance in America on the Ed Sullivan Show. Elliot was one of the 73 million viewers who tuned in to witness this new phenomenon. The now legendary introduction of Sullivan's is played, followed by the first two tracks they played live on the show - All My Loving and She Loves You.

The track Cry For A Shadow, a Shadows-esque instrumental introduces the next segment. This was just one of the numbers to feature on an album that was released on the MGM record label in America in 1964. Titled 'The Beatles with Tony Sheridan and Their Friends' it was an attempt to cash in on the band's burgeoning success stateside. Recorded in Hamburg in May 1961, it included Pete Best on drums. Cry For A Shadow was the only know song collaboration between George Harrison and John.  The theme of the Hamburg years continues with a clip of John from part two of the Jann Wenner interview (published in February 1971 by Rolling Stone magazine). We join him discussing how the group killed themselves to play straight rock. Twist and Shout follows, recorded in the Star Club on New Years Eve 1962. This was their final ever gig in Germany as relative unknowns, and ended their fifth German visit.

We are taken to New York of December 1975 next, with a charming recording of John playfully asking the then infant Sean a number of questions. This leads nicely to Elliot's December 1975 interview with Sean. Having been asked whether he recalls being looked after by his father during the househusband years, Sean replies that he would watch Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the Muppet show with John. This would be followed by a playful wrestle before bedtime. Appropriately, an early demo of Beautiful Boy follows, featuring John on acoustic guitar, with an automated drum machine keeping rhythm. This version was recorded in Bermuda in mid-1980. Sean reveals how he considers this song to have a dual meaning: being directed to him, as well as being for all fathers in the world for their children too. Sean chats a little about his memories of Bermuda at this time. He recalls his father spending time alone in his room working on new songs, while being taken care of by his babysitter Helen.

Another demo track is played in its entirety. It is Girls and Boys, what would later go on to become Real Love when the remaining Beatles reformed in 1996. At this early form it is a charming track, featuring John with his acoustic guitar.

The Rock and Roll album is featured next. The section kicks off with Rock and Roll Music, the Beatles version of Chuck Berry's song from the 1950s. Elliot mentions the original artists like Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis who were strongly influential on John. Following the release of the Mind Games album, John decided to record a covers album. The opening track from the finished album - Be Bop a Lula - plays at this point. A clip of John explains how he eventually persuaded Phil Spector to produce it.  May Pang offers an insight into the actual recording process for this album, describing how on one occasion there were 27 musicians present in the studio !! John's interpretation of The Ronettes classic Be My Baby follows.

John next explains how the sessions collapsed into mania and broke down. Spector vanished with the master tapes and it took John eight months to retrieve them. By this time it was well into 1974, and he had already recorded Walls and Bridges. John explains how he recorded another set of covers in New York at this point, and what was finally officially released was a combination of the best tracks from both sessions. Rock and Roll was to be his final release until Double Fantasy five years later.

The final part of today's show reveals more of Elliot's interview with Sean, who recalls the family trip to Japan in the latter half of 1977, and lightheartedly tells how his father would tell him off for not using a knife and fork correctly. When asked what his favourite Beatles track is, he explains how he likes them all. A  home recording from 1979 has Sean singing A Little Help From My Friends. John momentarily forgets the songs title, and explains to Sean it is Ringo who can be heard singing, but himself and Paul also sing on it.

Sean reveals Woman to be his favourite post-Beatle track.  One of the earliest demos of the song airs, again featuring John on acoustic guitar and a drum machine accompanying him. This version was found in John's personal tape collection at the Dakota.

Elliot asks about Sean's relationship with Julian. They are really close, explains Sean, someone who he looks up to. Sean says his favourite Julian track is Sitting On A Pillow. Its official name is Valotte, and the released version of this tune closes today's show.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's Getting Better (Can't Get Much Worse !)

As you may have noticed this blog is continually being tweaked and updated !!

I hope this doesn't spoil your enjoyment, and hopefully it will settle into a more permanent style and appearance as it expands. I am working really hard to add reviews of more shows so keep checking back, or become a friend. That would be cool. 

If you have any ideas for the blog, or any comments please do get in touch.

This blog is a real labour of love and it is so rewarding to listen to all of the amazing back catalogue of John Lennon's in this way.