Monday, December 5, 2016

Artifacts: John Lennon — Stephen Verona THREE ANIMATION CELS FROM "SHE SAID SO / I FEEL FINE," 1966

Via Sotheby's.

While working as a commercial director in England in 1966, artist and filmmaker Stephen Verona met John Lennon, and suggested pairing a Beatles' song with an animated short film. This resulted in the two-and-a-half minute film "She Said So / I Feel Fine" comprising 240 animation cels. Present here are cels numbered 213, 170, and 87, which state "She's" "So" "Glad" (respectively).
Many consider this collaboration to be the world's first music video. The original print of the film is now part of the archive of the Library of Congress. This endeavor was a milestone in the history of the music video, as well as an important step in the Beatles' use of film as a promotional tool.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Artifact: John Lennon WIRE RIM GLASSES

Via Sotheby's.

Details: Silver wire rim frames (4 1/2 x 1 5/8 in.; 114 x 41 mm). Missing both lenses. Housed in a felt-lined and leather covered case, one strip of leather on the top lacking. Minor wear consistent with use.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Artifact: The Beatles — Michael Cooper photo: SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, 1967

Via Sotheby's:


Pre-retouched Sgt Pepper's album artwork, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the album cover art
Much has been said regarding the history and importance of The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (see lot 75), a "concept album" centered around the idea of an Edwardian-styled band within a band. Paul McCartney was a driving force behind the cover art — in keeping with the lyrics of the title track, Paul’s idea was that the group should be depicted as a band that would play in a park bandstand, a concept promoted by light applause that can be heard throughout the album, and The Beatles’ vivid satin uniforms. This necessitated the construction of an audience.
According to art director Sir Peter Brown, "I asked [The Beatles] to make lists of people they'd most like to have in the audience at this imaginary concert... EMI realized that because many of the people we were depicting were still alive, we might be sued for not seeking their permission. So the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, who was very wary of all the complications in the first place, had his assistant write to everyone." Figures featured in the audience include Mahatma Ghandi, Sonny Liston, Edgar Allan Poe, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Shirley Temple, Bob Dylan, and many more. The actor Leo Gorcey was originally in this collage (as seen in this pre-retouched dye transfer), but was later removed from the negative used to print the final album cover after demanding a fee.
The firm New York firm Arton Associates was engaged to make the necessary adjustments to the artwork, and they in turn engaged Evans-Averdisian to transfer the photograph to a “retouch-ready” medium. At the time the most sophisticated means for such a transfer was the dye-transfer method. Working from the original negative from Cooper’s photo shoot, Evans-Averdisian created 10 dye-transfers reflecting a range of color exposures for the retouching process.
In addition to reflecting the album artwork prior to the elimination of the controversial figures, this dye-transfer reveals the details of the entire, un-cropped Sgt. Pepper’s image and accompanying production. This includes the props and the edge of the backdrop, the wood shelving that was used to support some of the backdrop, the black paper stretched across the set, and the electrical wires for set lights.

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

Billboard looks at the creators of the hit tune "Black Beatles" and the song's Paul McCartney connection.
Mike Will Made-It: You know what’s crazy. When I was first running around with Rae Sremmurd, they came to my DJ set at Coachella. This was my first time at Coachella, this was their first time at Coachella and we went to go see OutKast. The one person that we met backstage was Paul McCartney and we were like, what the f--k? It was crazy ‘cause when he saw us, he knew who I was and I was like, 'This man don’t know who I am' but he was showing love, went out of his way to chop it up with us and dipped out of nowhere. So a couple of years later, I think that’s why Jxmmi felt so comfortable to say “Black Beatles, this man Paul McCartney related.” We just know he was actually like a super cool dude when we met him.

Slim Jxmmi: This was early in our career so I didn't really speak to [Paul] because I was enchanted by his presence. He's a big figure and I couldn't believe I was really seeing Paul McCartney. This was really me being new to the industry so I wasn't used to seeing stuff like that so it was amazing ... He solidified us because I said [on the song] "Black Beatles me and Paul McCartney related." Because you know we is. All of us is just people. I really feel like it's bridging the gap between hip-hop and people having this stigma on hip-hop. I feel like it's a certain way that a rap record has to be and I think we're proving that there's no rules.

Ringo Starr's copy of the White Album, stamped #1, is the world's most valuable vinyl album, according to this tally.


Fifteen years after her brother's death, Louise Harrison tells the Daily Mail she's been cut off from receiving financial help from his estate and that she was kept in the dark about George's cancer.
'I was in Toronto two weeks before he died when I finally heard that he was ill. I drove through New York, so I could try and get a chance to see him.

'As luck would have it, I was able to get in touch with his doctor who gave me the information to go to see him and I was able to see him for a couple hours.

'But the person who was in charge of him did not let his brothers or me know that he was sick.'

Speaking of George, Rolling Stone posted a better-than-most listicle detailed "10 Things You Didn't Know George Harrison Did" feature. Good info about George's many, often under-appreciated accomplishments.


Ringo Starr is among celebrities donating old eyeglasses to a "specs appeal" charity auction to benefit Sightsavers, an organization that provides eye screenings and glasses to those who need them.


A new book recounts John Lennon and Paul McCartney's 1975 near reunion in New Orleans.
"McCartney's premise for his old partner's visit to Sea-Saint was: come down and visit us, and watch us record," White writes. "Having already spent two weeks in the Crescent City, Paul would happily welcome John back into the creative fold. Pang was convinced that if Lennon reached Louisiana, something new could be initiated. She also felt sure that McCartney would do the rest and bring Lennon back into the studio. It's possible that Paul, and John, too, privately anticipated an opportunity to play, write or even record together again."

Al Brodax, producer of the Beatles' animated "Yellow Submarine" film, died Nov. 24 at age 90.
In 2010 and 2012, he appeared at the Westport Arts Center to discuss his Beatles film and the 2004 book he wrote about the experience, “Up Periscope Yellow: The Making of the Beatles Yellow Submarine.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Via Sotheby's:


Following the success of their first feature film, A Hard Day's Night, the Fab Four prepared for a follow-up with director Richard Lester. Working in the same farcical vein, Help! told the story of John, Paul, George, and Ringo as duked it out with an eastern cult, and the various hi-jinx that ensued. Shot in a variety of exotic locations, the black wool jacket displayed here was worn by John Lennon in March of '65 during production in Obertauern — a small ski-village in Austria chosen for its remote quality. The Beatles were on location in Obertauern for about two weeks along with a crew of about 60 people shooting a series of exterior scenes in which the band is chased throughout the Austrian Alps on ski and on foot.

Help! was the band's last full-length scripted theatrical film, owing to a variety of factors including dissatisfaction with the result, and an increasingly busy touring and recording schedule. Years later, Lennon said of the experience, "I realize, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor to the Batman "Pow! Wow!" on TV—that kind of stuff. But [Lester] never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn't spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day's Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period. Nobody could communicate with us, it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world. It's like doing nothing most of the time, but still having to rise at 7 am, so we became bored."

The jacket bears the maker's label of London tailor Dougie Millings who The New York Times eulogized as "The Tailor for the Beatles." The obituary went on to note "Mr. Millings was called Dad by the Beatles, and appeared as a tailor in the movie 'A Hard Day's Night,' wearing a frown of frustration because the band refused to stand still while being measured. In real life, Mr. Millings was the Beatles' house tailor, making everything they were seen in, said his son, Gordon, a tailor who worked with him. He did the outfits for the movie 'Help!,' for the group's royal performances and for the ceremony in which band members received their Member of the British Empire medals at Buckingham Palace."

This jacket was on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio from April 2011 to June 2016 as part of their exhibition on The Beatles.

Yoko Ono promotes "War is Over!" campaign

Kicking off the holiday season, Yoko Ono has posted a new message on a page of the official John Lennon website focused on John and Yoko's "War is Over!" peace campaign.

The page includes a video of vintage interview footage along with downloadable "War is Over!" signs in numerous languages.

Dear Friends,
The WAR IS OVER! campaign was once a tiny seed, which spread and covered the Earth.
John and I believed it helped many people to stop their wars. Since then, every WAR IS OVER! campaign has impacted the world as powerfully as the first one.
Start yours tomorrow, and you will see that it spreads and covers the world very fast and, meanwhile, makes you a Small Pebble Person.
Small Pebble People are people who know that small pebbles, when they’re dropped in the ocean, will immediately affect the ocean of the whole wide world.
Don’t throw a big stone. It scares people and creates repercussions.
Just drop a small pebble.
We’ll keep doing it. Together.
That’s how the world gets changed…by Small Pebble People.
We change, and the world changes.
Happy Holidays.
I love you!

Yoko Ono Lennon
1 December 2016