Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Smiles Film by Yoko Ono

"My ultimate goal in film-making is to make a film which includes a smiling face snap of every single human being in the world. Of course, I cannot go around the world and take the shots myself. I need cooperation from something like the post offices of the world. if everybody would drop a snapshot of themselves and their families to the post office of their town, or allow themselves to be photographed by the nearest photographic studio, this would be soon accomplished." -Yoko Ono 1967
In 1967 Yoko Ono had been inspired to get a smiling picture of every human being on the planet,  a worldwide project that is now, decades later being fulfilled. With help from today's technology she is able to get picture sent from all the world by using websites like Instagram and Twitter

Yoko Ono and David Frost 1967
"And when you are born, you will know that if you wanted to, you will have in your life time to communicate with the whole world. That is more than most of us could ask for." -Yoko Ono 1967


To participate in her project you can:
  • Take or upload a picture to Instagram or Twitter to @SmilesFilm
  • When adding the picture hashtag #smilesfilm
  • Add you location to appear on the map at Smiles Film's website
#SmilesFilm has already been showing since June 21 in London's Serpentine Gallery as part of Yoko's show To The Light, it will be running until this coming September 9.

Yoko Ono first talking about her project can be found here

 "Very soon, the age may come where we would not need photographs to communicate, like ESP, etc. It will happen soon, but that will be "After The Film Age." -Yoko Ono 1967

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Beatles Coming to America

"We knew that America would make us or break us as world stars. In fact, she made us."- Brian Epstein
February 7,1964
 In 1964 The Beatles had already released their first LP "Please Please Me" to the United States and a number #1 Single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" over in the states. The Beatles left from Heathrow Airport and boarded Boeing 707, Pan Am flight 101 early morning and had left their home in England to head for New York, where they would later land at JFK Airport and 1:20pm EST. Cynthia Lennon (John's Wife at the time) recalls the experience,
 "At Heathrow there was pandemonium. Thousands of fans had arrived from all over Britain and any ordinary passengers hoping to travel that day had to give up. Screaming, sobbing girls held up 'We Love You, Beatles' banners and hordes of police, linking arms in long chains, held them back. We were ushered into a massive press conference, where journalists, spotting me at the side of the room, demanded a picture of John and me together. To my surpirse John agreed. He was usually careful to keep Julian and me away from publicity, but this time, carried along by the momentum of the whole thing, he agreed."

"It was so exciting. On the plane, flying in to the airport, I felt as though there was a big octopus with tentacles that were grabbing the plane and dragging us down into New York. America was the best. It was a dream, coming from Liverpool."Ringo says about his experience heading to America for the first time.
They were greeted by about 5000 fan, mostly girls screaming with banners at JFK Airport. Paul McCartney recalls it as,
"There were millions of kids at the airport, which nobody had expected. We heard about it in mid-air. There were journalists on the plane, and the pilot had rang ahead and said, 'Tell the boys there's a big crowd waiting for them.' We thought, 'Wow! God, we have really made it.'"
On top of all of the Beatlesmaniacs there were another 200 or so photographers and reporters to capture the arrival.  There at JFK Airport The Beatles were given their first press conference with questions like;
Q: Are you a little embarrassed by the lunacy you cause?
John Lennon: No, it's great.
Paul McCartney: No.
Ringo Starr: Marvelous.
George Harrison: We love it.
John: We like lunatics.

Q: You're in favor of lunacy?
The Beatles: Yeah.
John: It's healthy.
Q: Are those English accents?
George: It's not English. It's Liverpudlian, you see.
Paul: The Liverpool accent - so, the way you say some of the words. You know, you say GRASS instead of GRAHHSS, and that sounds a bit American. So there ya go.
Q: Liverpool is the...
Ringo: It's the capital of Ireland.
Paul: Anyway, we wrote half of your folk songs in Liverpool.
Ringo: Yeah, don't forget!
Q: In Detroit Michigan, there handing out car stickers saying, 'Stamp Out The Beatles.'
Paul: Yeah well... first of all, we're bringing out a 'Stamp Out Detroit' campaign.
Q: What about the Stamp Out The Beatles campaign?
John: What about it?
Ringo: How big are they?
Q: Would you tell Murray the K to cut that crap out?
The Beatles: Cut that crap out!
Paul: Hey, Murray!

Q: A psychiatrist recently said you're nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys.
John: He must be blind.
Ringo (shaking like Elvis): It's not true! It's not true!
Q: Would you please sing something?
The Beatles: No!
Ringo: Sorry.
Q: There's some doubt that you can sing.
John: No, we need money first.

It was Murray the K, a DJ at the 1010 WINS radio station, that announced when The Beatles first landed and the details containing the flight number, which was later repeated on rival stations, Beatlemania had just begun.

Neil Aspiniall, road manager, friend of Paul's school friend, and future Apple Corps manager says,
The Beatles with Neil
"It has since been reported that their American record company had promised that every person who turned up at the airport would be given a dollar bill and a t-shirt. What really happened was that the receptionists at Capitol Records would answer the phone, 'Capitol Records - The Beatles are coming.' There was a lot of mention on the radio, too: 'The Beatles are coming!' It was the people handling the Beatles merchandise at the time who were offering the free t-shirt. I had no idea about that at the time, and it was nothing to do with the record company. "
More questions where ask at JFK like,
Q: What do you expect to take out of this country?
John Lennon: About half a crown.
Ringo Starr: Ten dollars.
Q: Does all that hair help you sing?
Paul McCartney
: What?
Q: Does all that hair help you sing?
John: Definitely. Yeah.
Q: You feel like Sampson? If you lost your hair, you'd lose what you have? 'It'?
John: Don't know. I don't know.
Paul: Don't know.
Q: How many of you are bald, that you have to wear those wigs?
Ringo: All of us.
Paul: I'm bald.
Q: You're bald?
John: Oh, we're all bald, yeah.
Paul: Don't tell anyone, please.
John: I'm deaf and dumb, too.
Q: Do you know American slang? Are you for real?
Paul: For real.
John: Come and have a feel.
Q: Aren't you afraid of what the American Barbers' Association is going to think of you?
Ringo: Well, we run quicker than the English ones, we'll have a go here, you know.
Q: Listen, I got a question here. Are you going to get a haircut at all while you're here?
The Beatles: No!
Ringo: Nope.
Paul: No, thanks.
George Harrison: I had one yesterday.
Ringo: And that's no lie, it's the truth.
Paul: It's the truth.
Q: You know, I think he missed.
John: Nope.
George: No, he didn't. No.
Ringo: You should have seen him the day before.
Q: What do you think your music does for these people?
Paul: Er...
John: Hmm, well...
Ringo: I don't know. It pleases them, I think. Well, it must do, 'cause they're buying it.
Q: Why does it excite them so much?
Paul: We don't know, really.
John: If we knew, we'd form another group and be managers.
Q: What about all this talk that you represent some kind of social rebellion?
John: It's a dirty lie. It's a dirty lie.
Q: What do you think of Beethoven?
Ringo: Great, especially his poems. (Muttering to the others) I'm sick of that one.
Q: Have you decided when you're going to retire?
John: Next week.
Paul: No.
John: No, we don't know.
Ringo: We're going to keep going as long as we can.
George: When we get fed up with it, you know. We're still enjoying it.
Ringo: Any minute now.
Q: After you make so much money, and then...
The Beatles: No.
George: No, as long as we enjoy it, we'll do it. 'Cause we enjoyed it before we made any money.
The Beatles and Brian Matthew

From there The Beatles stayed at the Plaza hotel in New York City and later gave a telephone interview which would later be on the Radio the next day, Saturday Club. The interview was given by BBC presenter Brian Matthew. From there on The Beatles would go on to preform 3 Ed Sullivan shows on the 9th, 16th, and 23rd and would previously come back in September of 1965.

 " I remember, for instance, the great moment of getting into the limo and putting on the radio, and hearing a running commentary on us: 'They have just left the airport and are coming towards New York City...' It was like a dream. The greatest fantasy ever."

 “So this is America. They must be out of their minds." 

"America has everything, why should they want us"

 "It was just out of the dark. That's the truth, it was so out of the dark, we were knocked out."

Check Out The Beatles arrival here

Monday, July 22, 2013

John Lennon's Guitars

Although Lennon was a man of many different musical talents with harmonica, banjo, various piano, keyboards,(...) he was known for his rhythm guitar with The Beatles and his solo career.
John used various guitars including  Rickenbacker, Epiphone Casino, and various Gibson and Fender models.

Rickenbacker 325 (four models):
Rickenbacker 325
  • "Hamburg" was the nickname he gave his modified with Bigsby vibrato and nonstandard control knobs of his original 1958 model.
  • He also had a 1964 -six-string model named "Miami". Serial number DB122
  • He had a twelve-string guitar similar to "Miami" that he only used a few times in the studio. It's main purpose was songwriting when he was home
  • After John's second Rickenbacker had suffered from some damages, a Rose, Morris model 1966 Rickenbacker's Fireglo finish, with a standard sound f hole. He also used this guitar for home studio and song writing and later gave it to Ringo.

Epiphone Casino

 Epiphone Casino:
  • In 1968 John had a sunburst Epiphone Casino he removed the pickguard and changed the tuning machines to gold grovers and had it's paint stripped. Most known for The Beatles famous Rooftop concert

Framus Hotenanny

 Framus Hootenanny Acoustic:
  • A 12-string used during Help! and Rubber Soul sessions, also used in the recording of Polythene Pam. 

 Gibson Les Paul Jr. 
  •  was modified with the addition of a Charlie Christian pickup
Gibson J-160E
  Gibson J-160E Acoustic
  • Which was purchased September 10,1962. 
  • Matching to George's, who plays his Gibson J-160E in "I Need You" in the film Help!

Fender Stratocaster:
  • 1962 model
  • finish in Sonic Blue 
  • John used in 1966-1968 and was later stolen in 1968
Fender Telecaster

Höfner Senator:
  • Bought in 1960 according to George Harrison
  • Used for song writing purposes
  • Later given to The Beatles roadie, Mal Evans 
Guild Starfire XII:
  • Given to him by Guild in August 1966
  • Never used in studios.
  •  Most likely used for his home studio
  • Somehow got to Yoko Ono's first husband Tony Cox. 
  • Currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Gretsch 6120
Gretsch 6120:
  • Used in Revolver Sessions and for songwriting purposes in his home studio
  • Since 1967 has been in the possenion of Lennon's cousin, David Birch
  • Currently on display in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
Martin D-28 :
  • bought in early 1967 and taken to India in February 1968
  • 1965 model
An Ovation Acoustic 

Yamaha Acoustic :
  • Custom made
  • Given to him by wife Yoko Ono
Höfner Club:
  • used after his Gallotone Champion 
  • suffered some damage.
Gibson Les Paul:
  •  25/50
  • Given to Julian for Christmas 1974
Fender Bass VI

Fender Jazz Bass

Vox Guitorgan:
  •   received it for an advertisement but somehow the deal never came back to get it
  •  John eventually gave the guitar along with his Höfner Senator to road manager and good friend Mal Evans.

Please Please Me

Released in March of 1963, "Please Please Me" was The Beatles first album released, starting recording sessions in September 11, 1962 and continued to two more sessions on November 26, 1962 and  February 11, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England). It was mixed on George Harrison's 20th Birthday, February 25, 1963. The Album opened new door ways to musicians around the world, although it wasn't their most successful album, far from it actually, it was The Beatles first of many LP's released.

The album includes the following Tracks:
Side 1:
  1. I Saw Her Standing There -(Lennon-McCartney)
  2. Misery -(Lennon-McCartney)
  3. Anna (Go With Him) -(Lennon-McCartney)
  4. Chains -(Goffin-King)
  5. Boys -(Dixon-Farrell)
  6. Ask Me Why -(Lennon-McCartney)
  7. Please Please Me -(Lennon-McCartney) 
Side 2:
  1. Love Me Do -(Lennon-McCartney)
  2. P.S I Love You -(Lennon-McCartney)
  3. Baby It's You -(Bacharach-David)
  4. Do You Want To Know A Secret -(Lennon-McCartney)
  5. A Taste Of Honey -(Marlow-Scott)
  6. There's A Place (Lennon-McCartney) 
  7. Twist and Shout (Medley-Russell) 
The band has worked hard years in Liverpool and Hamburg, playing hungry nights at The Casbah Club,Hamburg, The Cavern Club to make a name for themselves but found that they were feeling '“stale and cramped” as John said, they just wanted to “get out of Liverpool and break new ground.”. The Beatles released a single "Love Me Do" and reached #17 in the charts with it, but all thanks to their manager Brian Epstein who bought 10,000 copies of it for his record store. The Beatles then recorded a potential second single "Please Please Me" on November 26, 1962, where McCartney and Lennon both agree was written by John “That’s me completely…I remember the day I wrote it.  I remember the pink eyelet down over the bed sitting in one of the bedrooms in my house on Menlove Avenue, my auntie’s place." Lennon says, "“It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song, would you believe it?...I heard Roy Orbison doing ‘Only The Lonely’ on the radio.” John also found inspiration for the song from Bing Crosby's "Please", "“Also, I was always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went: ‘Please lend a little ear to my pleas…’  I was intrigued by the double use of the word ‘please.’  So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby.”

The iconic cover was shot on March 5,1963 by Angus McBean. It was taken in the stairwell of London's EMI offices, they later posed there for their Red and Blue albums ( "The Beatles 1962-1966" and "The Beatles 1967-1970")

The budget for the album was 400 pounds (about 800 American dollars), with each Beatle receiving a union scale pay of 29 pounds.

Please Please Me Fun Facts:
  • The actual title on the cover of this album is Please Please Me with Love Me Do and 12 other songs.
  • This is the  only Beatles album on which the original songs are credited to "McCartney-Lennon"; after wards they would be credited as the more familiar "Lennon-McCartney."
  • The gold and black Parlophone label of the album's initial pressing is one of the more valuable Beatles albums, due to the fact that the label in question was never used again for any other Parlophone albums.

What's your favorite "Please Please Me" Track?