Saturday, 15 November 2014

GET LENNON-RELATED NOVEL TWO RUBBER SOULS FREE

My 2011 debut novel Two Rubber Souls, a coming-of-age story about a teenage John Lennon fan, is available to download for FREE all weekend from Amazon in the USA, United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Just click here.

 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cover of John Lennon's Real Love Spearheads John Lewis Xmas Campaign



Tom Odell's version of Real Love, unveiled as the soundtrack to the official John Lewis Xmas advertising campaign, has already attracted a great deal of derision from Lennon fans here in the UK. Personally, although I prefer the original demo version, if Odell's version encourages people to seek out Lennon's music for the first time then that can only be a good thing.

Interestingly enough, the festive period also sees Paul McCartney's We All Stand Together used to advertise the Debenham's Xmas marketing campaign.

It will be interesting to see which tune wins out in the music charts.

 
 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lennon-related Fiction By Lost Lennon Tapes Website Author Paul Dixon

Visitors to this website may be interested to know that I have published two novels in the last three years. My debut 'Two Rubber Souls' is a must read for Beatles/Lennon fans. Set in England in the mid-1980s, it is a coming-of-age story about teenager Pete Davies. At a low ebb in his life, Pete prays to his idol John Lennon to help him with his troubles - with unexpected results!

Two Rubber Souls is available worldwide at Amazon USA in Kindle format for only $3.03.

It is available at Amazon UK in paperback for £3.99 and in Kindle format for £1.80.
READER COMMENTS
 "Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your book. I read it in record time as I could not put it down!! You had me on the edge of my seat...It was fantastically written and very heart warming and I sobbed at the end. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity of buying and reading it and I am looking forward to your next book."
Sandra, Humberside, England

Two Rubber Souls "immersed me in my childhood, I could remember the school disco, the evenings spent in the local park, for me this was a unique journey back in time. I asked my wife to read it...She loved the book just as much as me. The book is well written, has a sweet storyline and is suitable for anyone from teenagers upwards. I hope the author writes a follow up book, a brilliant first novel."
Lee, Co Durham, England

"This book brought back the whole feel and atmosphere of a childhood growing up in the 80s for me.....The characters were nicely developed and well-rounded and it was easy to identify with them.....Genuinely I felt a tingle of shock at the twist toward the end of the book.....The final ending is both gentle and uplifting and strangely quietly moving.....it left me wanting more which is, they say, the sign of a good read! "
Coffee Tokenism, Amazon reviewer

"Enjoyed reading your book - even though it was really sad in places. Really impressed with your writing skills and look forward to your next novel."
Marjorie, Sunderland, England

"I think your book, especially for a debut, is a brilliant read"
Alexander, West Midlands, England by email

"The book is well written, and I was disappointed to reach the end so soon! I will be looking forward to reading another book from the author."
Nicaboo2, Amazon reviewer

"A thoroughly enjoyable read that really took me back. As a teenager in the 80's myself I was transported back to a world of school disco's, worrying about the opposite sex, trying not to be too geeky that I got bullied but trying not to fall into the wrong group just to save face.
Pete Davies goes through all these emotions and more in one school year. This is a well written book and reminiscent of something Sue Townsend would have presented her readers with."
Mrs Jenner, Amazon reviewer
 
 

A SOLID BOND IN YOUR HEART



 
A Solid Bond In Your Heart is available in paperback for $14.90 and Kindle format for $3.09 at Amazon USA. Barnes and Noble also have it for sale. In the UK it can be bought from Amazon UK.
 
‘If something is calling you, an urge that overrides everything else, then you have to go with your heart, otherwise you might just spend the rest of your days wondering “what if ? ” Remember what I’ve always said to you, son: follow your dreams.’

It is the summer of 1982 in a small County Durham town. Eighteen year old Dom Blackburn, inspired by the melodies of contemporary British New Wave bands and the words of his dying grandfather, unexpectedly turns his back on a career in the navy to pursue his ambition of becoming a pop singer. As he begins his journey, Dom finds the road to fame and fortune to be a rocky one littered with countless obstacles: a disapproving father, rival bands, the negative influence of a local gangster, and warring bandmates all prove problematic and threaten to derail his dream.

A Solid Bond In Your Heart, with its themes of love, friendship, loyalty, hope and desire is an emotional rollercoaster ride packed with laughter, drama, humour and pathos.
 
READER COMMENTS
"Author Paul Dixon was born in Washington, Tyne and Wear and now lives in County Durham where his second novel is set. It’s the early 1980s and young Dom Blackburn is all set to join the Navy. His dying grandfather, however, has previously given him some advice along the lines of 'follow your dreams' and Dom’s dreams don’t run to the high seas ('I wouldn’t last a week, and what if there’s another war?'). Instead he chooses a career path that his shipyard-working father is never going to be happy about: a pop star. So, he does what any aspiring pop star of the time would do and that’s take himself off to the local shop to buy a copy of Sounds magazine and scan the advertisements in the window: Local band requires singer ASAP. Influences The Jam, Kinks, Small Faces. New Romantics need NOT apply. With that Dom’s off, and we’re with him all the way through rehearsals, gigs, rows with mates, rivalries with other local bands, and the malign influence of the odd local gangster. Good stuff and it rattles along with pace of an early Who single."
 
June 2014 issue The Crack, Newcastle-based cultural and arts magazine
 
"Great book, loved it from start to finish! Really wanted the best for all the characters, felt really connected to them. I'll be recommending this to friends."

MJ, Amazon reviewer

"Twists and turns that lead to heartbreak then hope, keeps you reading to the end."
Amazon customer

 "Just finished reading A Solid Bond In Your Heart by - absolutely loved it, a great book."
@ActualStoutboy, Twitter

"I've just finished A Solid Bond In Your Heart, absolutely brilliant read, I was saving the book for my hols in 2 weeks time, but 2 nights ago I gave in and started reading it. Its probably the quickest I've ever read a book, I couldn't put it down. If anyone loved the 80's, and wants to be reminded of how life was less complicated then go and buy this book."
Facebook reader

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Coming Soon - Review of Shows 9 and 10

Thank you to everyone who has been checking out the website recently. I can promise you that new reviews of shows 9 and 10 of The Lost Lennon Tapes, broadcast in March 1988, will be put online very soon so please keep checking back or favourite it to ensure you will receive news if all updates.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review Of The Beatles All These Years - Tune In

840 pages for most biographies is more than enough space to cover a subject's birth, death and everything remotely interesting that has occurred in-between. But when the topic is The Beatles and the biographer in question is Mark Lewisohn, the universally acknowledged authority on the Fab Four, then 840 pages is only enough to constitute the first in a planned trilogy of books.

Tune In takes us up to the end of 1962 where The Beatles, having enjoyed initial chart success with the slow burning Love Me Do in the final quarter of the year, are poised to blow the world's minds and kick-start the Sixties with the recorded and soon to be released Please Please Me. Everything that precedes it in this methodically researched book builds up to this point: childhoods and schooldays, the tangle of friendships, and the dawning of a new style of music - rock and roll - that changes the lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo forever.

Having myself read dozens of Beatle-related books over the years, I was worried that reading Tune In was going to feel as if I was re-treading over familiar territory. However, my mind was soon reassured that I was in for an enjoyable read once it became apparent that the author had dug deeper than any biographer has to date in order to present previously unearthed reliable facts and stories from people 'who were there' at the time, in the process sorting out once and for all some of the unanswered questions about The Beatles that had acquired almost mythical status over the years, such as 'Who did buy John's first guitar?' and 'Why was Pete Best sacked from the band?' to name but two.

I am now looking forward to reading Volume 2 when it is released with a longing and enthusiasm I had not expected to feel when commencing Tune In.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Show 8 - March 14th 1988

RINGO RECORDS 'I'M THE GREATEST' AND 'GOODNIGHT VIENNA'

The first section of Show 8 describes the story of how Ringo came to record and release two of John's unreleased songs in the 1970s. First up for discussion is I'm The Greatest, the track that features on the 1973 'Ringo' album, and, significantly, marked the moment when three of the former Beatles recorded together for the first time since Abbey Road in 1969. John was on piano, George on guitar, and Ringo on drums and vocals.
 
To demonstrate the song's evolution, a rough demo is first played. Recorded by John at his home in Ascot in late 1970, we hear him accompany himself on piano. A moment later, the listener is transported to 1971 and a more polished studio demo version, featuring John's vocals, piano and drums. Musically, it is not too far away from the finished product but lyrically still obviously a work in transit as many of the lyrics featured failed to make the Ringo version.

An interview with May Pang then tells the story of how John came to give a second song - Goodnight Vienna - to his former bandmate. During 1974, while recording Walls and Bridges, John met up with Ringo in LA while the drummer was recording his 4th solo album, a visit that culminated in Ringo recording the Lennon penned track. This part of the show ends with John singing Goodnight Vienna.


ABBEY ROAD DISCUSSED
 
Part two of Show 8 features the opinions of several key Beatle insiders to side two of the monumental Abbey Road. Surprisingly, they are diverse. Kicking off with an excerpt of a demo of Sun King, Ringo reveals in a 1974 interview that side two of Abbey Road is his favourite Beatle record. We then hear John in his Jann Wenner interview from the early 70s describe the same songs as junk, merely bits of songs put together. He much preferred side one. Fast forwarding to the 1980 David Sheff interview, we find that John's opinion had not wavered in the intervening years, describing it as a 'montage of bits and pieces.'
 
A demo of Mean Mr Mustard is followed by an excerpt of the Sheff interview in which John reveals the origins behind Polythene Pam. While with a friend in Jersey, 'Roy Something', who John labels as being England's answer to Beatnik poet Allen Ginsbourg, John describes how he was introduced to a female called Polythene Pam.
 
MIND GAMES
 
Promising the listener that Abbey Road will be returned to before the end of the show, the next section of the show focuses upon the song Mind Games. We first hear a late 1970 vocal and piano demo titled 'Make Love Not War'. A second demo from the same time, 'I Promise', follows. A work in progress, it and 'Make Love Not War' would later evolve into Mind Games, the finished track that in 1973 provided the title of his new album and became the lead single. To round off the story of Mind Games, the released version plays.
 
 
 
IN MY LIFE
 

John tells David Sheff in 1980 how In My Life came to represent the first song he wrote that was directly about himself, as opposed to a made-up love situation song ala Everley Brothers and Buddy Holly where the words were almost irrelevant. The inspiration for this, John reveals, was a TV journalist called Kenneth Allsop who asked him why he didn't put some of his childhood in to his songs. John goes on to discuss how the original words to In My Life started off as a bus journey from his home in Menlove Avenue into Liverpool City Centre, mentioning the places he passed on the way - Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and tram sheds.
 
John also mentions Paul McCartney's contribution to this landmark song. With the lyrics already written, Paul helped with the melody in the middle 8.
 
This look at In My Life ends, naturally, with an airing of the studio version of the Rubber Soul track.
 
MORE ABBEY ROAD
 
The last part of Show 8 returns to Abbey Road, and the song Come Together. We learn how Timothy Leary partly inspired its inception. In 1969, Leary was preparing to run for governor of California when John offered to compose a campaign song for him. As Leary states in an interview excerpt, the slogan of his campaign was 'Come Together - Join The Party.'
 
A Lennon interview excerpt highlights a second inspiration behind the composition of Come Together besides Leary - Chuck Berry's You Can't Catch Me. In this clip, John reveals a little of his songwriting technique, describing how he began strumming the rhythm of You Can't Catch Me before adding the slogan 'Come Together' over the top.
 
The show ends with a segment of Chuck Berry's track, followed by the Lennon cover from the Rock and Roll album.
 

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT TODAY'S SHOW
 
It was interesting to learn that Lennon's opinion about the last half of Abbey Road, what many consider the pinnacle of The Beatles' career, remained unchanged until his death. Also, I was left wondering if In My Life would have been written if  he had not been offered the advice of a certain Kenneth Allsop, a name that does not feature highly in The Beatles story.


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.