Friday, March 25, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

The so-called "Holy Grail" Beatles record - a 78-r.p.m. acetate Brian Epstein had made of some of the band's Decca recordings - sold for £77,500 at auction this week.

Brian Epstein's visit to the HMV record store in London to have this disk made was pivotal to the Beatles' history.

The engineer there who transferred the Decca recordings to disk, Jim Foy, liked what he heard and was impressed that the songs were Lennon-McCartney originals. That led to Epstein meeting representatives from EMI's music publishing arm and, ultimately, George Martin - who gave the band a recording contract after they'd been rejected by nearly every label in Britain.

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In a considerably better bargain, a Colorado man bought a "butcher cover" version of the Yesterday ... And Today album for $5. This was one of the copies where the offending picture was pasted over with the photo of the Beatles posing amidst luggage.

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Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick discusses his role as adviser for "The Sessions," a live touring show that allows audiences to witness recreated recording sessions by the Fab Four, with songs performed by a tribute band.
Although the music is fully licensed, The Beatles do not endorse any tributes. Having Emerick on board as adviser brings an imprimatur of legitimacy to this production. “For all that has been written about it, there was really only a handful of people in the room,” Emerick points out. “George Martin always kept control. There was a sense of calm on his sessions, and a lot of humour. When it’s not fun, that’s when problems start. George was a great enabler and facilitator. But when it comes to genius, if you want to use that word, it came from the band themselves. The Beatles were the originators.”
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French animation studio Superpod is working on a TV adaptation of Ringo Starr's song "Octopus' Garden."
SUPERPROD secured the rights in a deal with Simon & Schuster, Universal Music Publishing and Startling Music. The book Octopus’s Garden features Starr’s lyrics illustrated by Ben Cort, the artist behind Aliens Love Underpants. Superights will represent the international rights for the animated program.
Clément Calvet, the president of SUPERPROD, and Jeremie Fajner, the managing director at SUPERPROD, commented: “We are particularly proud and happy to work on this great book and music. The evergreen song by Ringo Starr and the superb drawings by Ben Cort are a wonderful setting for telling our animated stories. We are thrilled to team up with such great talents and major partners in the music and book publishing industries.”
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Martin Guitars has released a John Lennon model D-28. It'll set you back $5K+.

The new D-28 John Lennon makes its debut at Musikmesse 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany April 7-10 and features John Lennon’s famous self-portrait illustration on the rosewood headplate, along with a beautiful mother-of-pearl, John Lennon themed design inlaid on the ebony fingerboard.


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A provision in U.S. copyright law may help Paul McCartney finally regain some rights over his Beatles songs.
When Michael Jackson passed away, his estate retained the rights to the catalog, but recently the estate sold those rights to Sony/ATV for $750 million. The US Copyright Act of 1976, however, allows songwriters to reclaim the rights to their songs 56 years after they were written. This gives McCartney the chance to recapture his share. 
As Billboard reports, McCartney has already made moves to claim his portion of the Lennon-McCartney collection, filing a termination notice for 32 songs written between 1962 and 1964 with the U.S. Copyright Office on December 15, 2015.

"Only the McCartney half of the Lennon/McCartney songs are eligible for termination, and only for the US," a source told Billboard. "Sony/ATV still owns [those] Beatles songs in the rest of the world."

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