Friday, January 20, 2017

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

Paul McCartney is pursuing a new legal angle in his continuing efforts to recover his ownership of songs he wrote while in the Beatles.
Mr. McCartney’s suit is over what is known as copyright termination: the right of authors — or any creators — to reclaim ownership of their works from publishers after a specific length of time has passed. It was part of the 1976 copyright act and in recent years has become a potent force in the music industry as performers and songwriters have used the law to regain control of their work.
In Mr. McCartney’s suit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, lawyers for the singer detailed the steps they have taken over the last nine years to reclaim Mr. McCartney’s piece of the copyrights in dozens of Beatles songs he wrote with John Lennon, including “Love Me Do,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “All You Need Is Love.” That process involved filing numerous legal notices, which, the suit says, should be enough to guarantee that Sony/ATV would return the rights to Mr. McCartney, starting in October 2018.
Here's the full complete, if you're into that sort of thing.

As mentioned last week, Beatles associate "Magic Alex" Mardas died Jan. 13 at age 74. Since then, a number of media outlets have published articles about this controversial figure, including Billboard, Rolling Stone and  Huffington Post.

Mardas was director of Apple Corps' Electronic Division and is described in most accounts as a self-proclaimed "electronics wizard" who promised all sorts of inventions he never delivered on, yet Mardas disputed this characterization. His Wikipedia entry details some of these:
The Independent newspaper apologised on 21 August 2006, writing that on 14 June 2006, the paper had wrongly reported Mardas' involvement with Apple Electronics Ltd. They corrected the earlier piece by writing that Mardas had not been a company employee, but a director and shareholder of Apple Electronics, and was not sacked, but resigned his directorship in May 1971, while still retaining his shareholding, until giving it to Apple Corps some years later. The paper accepted that Mardas “did not claim to have invented electric paint, a flying saucer or a recording studio with a ‘sonic force field’ or cause his employers to waste money on such ideas. We apologise to Mr. Mardas for these errors".[60]
In 2008, Mardas won the right to sue The New York Times in England, in relation to an online article which said he was a charlatan. In a story about the Maharishi, Allan Kozinn had written: "Alexis Mardas, a supposed inventor and charlatan who had become a Beatles’ insider".[63][64]
After an appeal, Mardas won the right to continue his case of defamation against The New York Times in 2009.[65][66][67] After The New York Times produced a witness, Sir Harold Evans, who gave evidence supporting the journalistic responsibility of the paper, Mardas said he would not pursue the case further, on condition that the paper would publicly explain that by labelling him as a charlatan, it did not mean to imply that he was a con man.[68]
On 4 March 2010, The New York Times published an editor's update to the 2008 article, saying: "While expressing skepticism about his work as an inventor during that period, the article did not accuse Mr. Mardas of engaging in fraudulent dealings or criminality... The Times’s reporting on those events was attributed to Paul McCartney and based on widely published accounts from books and magazines".[42]
You can read a statement Mardas made in 2010 after suing the Times here. While it's from Mardas' own side of things, there's some interesting reading here about Apple, the Maharish and more.


More on Magic Alex: Yoko made this tweet following his passing. I didn't see anything from Paul, Ringo or other "Beatles Family" members.


The Liverpool Echo posted a new video interview with Quarryman Rod Davis.


A Mercedes-Benz 230SL Roadster owned and barely driven by John Lennon is up for auction.


Artist Peter Blake has created another artwork based his Sgt. Pepper LP cover. This time its a giant collage adorning Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel in London.
The star-studded line-up will include the likes of Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley.


Meet the Beatles For Real posted a couple of fun issues from Ringo's days as a model for Japan's Simple Life clothing line. Dreamy!

And, from the same blog, further proof that the Beatles started everything: George's man bun:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ringo issues free download for U.S. Inauguration Day

Ringo Starr will release a free download of his U.N. International Day of Peace song "Now the Time Has Come" to coincide with Inauguration Day in the United States. We'll post a link to the download when available.

Here's the video for the song, which was originally posted last Sept. 21, the UN's Day of Peace. Along with vocals by Ringo, the song includes verses sung by Richard Page, Colin Hay and Billy Valentine. It was co-written with producer Bruce Sugar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

History: Beatles Book Monthly January 1967

The January issue of the Beatles' official fan magazine insists the band is still intact, despite each member going his own way during the latter half of 1966 and the absence of an expected new LP for the Christmas season.

There are also details about the recently mailed-out fan club Christmas message from the boys:

A new feature series on the Beatles' home begins with a tour of George's Esher bungalow.

The band also addresses break-up rumors in the letters column.

In his column, Mal Evans recounts his "Beatles Break" trip to Africa with Paul.

While the news roundup includes mention of the band's new recording sessions and facial hair.

There are also a couple of shots of John, from his guest appearance on "Not Only, But Also."

Plus, the usual assortment of pics.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

George Harrison Vinyl Collection, turntable, book out Feb. 24

The Harrison family is marking what would be George Harrison's 74th birthday Feb. 24 with the release of a vinyl box set collecting all his albums, a Harrison-branded turntable and a new, expanded version of a his memoir/lyrics collection, "I Me Mine."

All three items are available for pre-order from the official George Harrison site.


The vinyl box set includes all twelve of George’s studio albums with exact replicas of the original release track listing and artwork. Also included in the box set are George’s classic live album Live In Japan (2LP), and two 12” single picture discs of ‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Got My Mind Set On You’. All the discs are 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box. The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout. The individual albums from the collection will also be available separately, with All Things Must Pass as a limited edition title.
George Harrison – The Vinyl Collection vinyl LP box set contains:
Wonderwall Music (1968) | 1 LP
Electronic Sound (1969) | 1 LP
All Things Must Pass (1970) | 3 LP *limited edition piece
Living In The Material World (1973) | 1 LP  
Dark Horse (1974) | 1 LP
Extra Texture (1975) | 1 LP
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) | 1LP
George Harrison (1979) | 1 LP
Somewhere in England (1981) | 1 LP
Gone Troppo (1982) | 1 LP
Cloud Nine (1987) | 1 LP
Live In Japan (1992) | 2 LPe
Brainwashed (2002) | 1 LP
12” Picture Disc Singles of ‘When We Was Fab’ and ‘Got My Mind Set On You’ (only available as part of the box set)

Also available, the perfect companion for the vinyl set is the George Harrison Essential III turntable. This elegant piece is manufactured and designed by Pro-Ject Audio Systems, one of the world’s leading suppliers of record players. The artwork was designed by Studio Number One based on an exclusive 2014 art-print lithograph designed for the Harrisons by Shepard Fairey. This turntable is limited to 2500 worldwide.

George Harrison’s I Me Mine was originally published by the specialist book publisher, Genesis Publications in 1980. It became the first of many collaborations between George and Genesis founder, Brian Roylance. In conversation with his friend and former Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, and in a first-person commentary that accompanies his songs, Harrison’s own words recount everything from his upbringing in Liverpool, to early Beatlemania, his spirituality and philosophy.  This new extended version of the book now spans the complete length of Harrison’s career in music, told in his words and through 141 songs with hand written lyric sheets faithfully reproduced in full color. Now stretching to 632 pages it features lyrics to more than 50 songs not previously included, as well as new photographs, many unpublished until now.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Beatles' Pepsi radios

The Pepsi-machine-shaped transistor radio is familiar to anyone who's seen Albert and David Maysles' great documentary about the Beatles first visit to the U.S.

In the film, there are various scenes of the band, particularly of Paul McCartney, listening to American radio for the first time via a radio shaped like a Pepsi vending machine.

The story is that there were four of these radios awaiting the Beatles when they checked into their hotel suite. The band can be seen in the Maysles' film listening to one of them while traveling around New York via limousine. The band all gets a kick out of hearing their own music - and the antic announcements of New York's over-the-top DJs - over the air.

Here's what one of the radios looks like up close.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Beatles associate "Magic Alex" Mardas reported dead

According to news reports, Alex "Magic Alex" Mardas, who worked as an in-house electronics wizard at the Beatles' Apple Corps during the 1960s, was found dead in his home in Athens, Greece, on Friday. He was 74.

Police reportedly found the body after relatives told authorities they hadn't seen Mardas for several days. Mardas was reported ill and natural causes are suspected, although details are still sketchy.

Mardas  worked on numerous projects while with Apple, including a planned 72-track recording studio that turned out to be a notorious failure. The Beatles had to rent equipment from EMI while recording the Let it Be album at Apple because none of Mardas' functioned as intended.

Mardas was particularly close to John Lennon. He appeared briefly in the "Magical Mystery Tour" TV film and joined the Beatles when they went to India to study Transcendental Meditation.