Another year and no Beatles under the Christmas tree.

We all hope that Santa Claus brought you several Beatle goodies under the Christmas tree this year, and you all were able to ring in the New Year with a loved one.  The end of this year was a bit odd.  As of late, Beatle fans have had a few items to put on their Christmas wish-list.  This year was a bit unique.  We were treated to a new, and stellar, McCartney album, a Beatles monopoly game, a White Album puzzle, and the All Together Now DVD.  But really, there was no truly HUGE gift worthy item under the tree that really got us going.

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There wasn’t a new album that was released as a Christmas item, there really was no big item officially from the Fabs to make us reorganize our Christmas lists. We do hope that Santa was good to you this year, and that you had a wonderful New Year, and that 2009 is a truly good one for you and yours.  We have a lot to look forward to as Beatle fans as we face a new year.  We still have the possibility of  the remastered back catalog being released and you all know how much that gets us speculating and drooling.

  • Let us know all of those goodies that Santa left under your tree. We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Here’s what we’ve read.

If you still believe in Santa Claus, you might also have expected to wake up on Christmas morning and find an iPod stocked with the long-promised reissues of all the Beatles albums. But if you know the shocking truth about Santa, you probably know that the vaunted Beatles reissues don’t exist either, outside the vaults of EMI, the group’s record label, and Apple, the company the band set up in 1967 to oversee its interests.

Other long-anticipated Apple projects, such as DVD versions of the Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert and the Let It Be film, also failed to turn up for the holidays. If you put any faith in Paul McCartney’s passing mention, in November, that the 1967 avant-garde track “Carnival of Light” might be released, don’t hold your breath: This track has been dangled before (about 10 years ago, when McCartney used it as the soundtrack of an unreleased “photofilm,” made from photographs of the Beatles taken by his first wife, Linda).

Indeed, whenever McCartney releases a new album (as he did the week “Carnival of Light” was mentioned), reports of “long-lost” Beatles tracks that “might be released” suddenly surface, but the recordings themselves do not.

Even the most believable of reports, floated by EMI insiders, proved fruitless last year. During the summer EMI was said to be preparing a deluxe remastered edition of the The Beatles (popularly known as The White Album) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release. The anniversary came and went, with no sign of the reissue.

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Sir Paul McCartney: sort out Beatles iTunes deal

The advent of a new year is always a time to reflect on the year(s) past, but it’s also a time to look forward as well.  As Beatle fans we have a lot to look forward to as we wait hopefully for the remastered Beatle catalog.  Fans have specculated for years.  Fans have made their own deluxe compilations, often rivaling the officially released products (ahem-Purple Chick collective).  Rumors about the fabled release of the Beatles back catalog have been around for decades now.

The time is now to release them.  Put them out on iTunes, put them out on CD, heck put them out on Blue Ray I don’t care.  Just put them out.  As the world continues to turn, The Beatles are missing the boat.  At this point the boat has come back and sailed off twice over.

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With such a good set of recent releases from Paul and Ringo this past year the fire is hot.  Just put those puppies out.  I have a feeling that 2009 will bring fans a treasure of remastered material.  We’ll have to stay tuned.

Ahh the joys of being a Beatle fan.  I guess part of the pleasure is in the waiting. Happy New Year folks!

Here’s what we’ve read.

SIR Paul McCartney has called for an end to the deadlock stopping Beatles fans being able to download their back catalogue.

The Fab Four’s work is not available online due to legal wrangling between two companies – Apple Inc and Apple Corps.

The former is the firm behind iTunes and the iPod, while the latter was set up by Sir Paul with the rest of The Beatles in 1968 to look after their affairs and recordings.

He said: “I hope it happens.

“It is out of our hands, really. It is a business thing and there is some gridlock somewhere.

“It is the usual thing – when it is a Beatles deal, it is a big deal. It is not like we are just some new act.

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The White Album: 40 Years Later

As the year draws to a close many of us spend time reflecting on the year, and our own past(s). As 2008 draws to a close it is a time to look back and celebrate a year, and usher in a new beginning.  Many times we are caught looking back to a time of yesteryear.  For some, it’s a way to relish a past that we were not able to experience first-hand.

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In this way we are able to celebrate a collected past and come together.  This year, we celebrate the storied and varied anniversary of the Beatles’ White Album.  While I, personally, was not around to experience it first-hand this essay allows me to relive the magic once again.

As we look towards the time of year where the white stuff is flying in the air for some, we look back at the panorama of rock and roll that is The Beatles’ White Album.

Special thanks to John Kays for sending me the link to his wonderful article.

Here’s what we’ve read.

1968 was a year of dramatic change. A few of those pivotal events were: the Tet Offensive, the Paris war protests in May, the killing of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, as well as a blossoming partnership between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I will link a helpful timeline of 1968 for you, so that you can gain a working knowledge of events for that turbulent year. The Beatles` White Album, which turned forty a few weeks ago, was a quintessential reflection of that era; I still remember that day (11/25/`68) clearly as if it was yesterday. This double album contains, by way of kinetic expression in pop song, much of the energy of 1968.

Now rewind the fragile reel tape back to the day. Just a week before a comment from a colleague at Jesuit Prep piqued my interest, “Did you hear John, that a new Beatles` album is set for release next week?” I got in gear and did some yard work to earn ‘record money’ and also rolled some quarters, dimes, and nickels in anticipation of B-Day. I was fidgety for several days, and invented ways in my mind that the new songs might possibly sound. I reviewed all of the older records so that I would be well oiled to make accurate assessments for the new release. This was a Standard Operating Procedure of that day.

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12 Days of Beatle Christmas: First Day – Beatles Monopoly

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Christmastime is here again my friends!  We all have wish lists for Santa Claus, and for most that wish list is topped by Beatle memorabilia galore.  This is the time of year that it’s always easy to shop for a Beatle-maniac.  There is a bevy of items that any Fab Four fanatic would love to own.  Some of these items are collectible, and some will become collectibles in the near future.  Others still are fun things that any Beatle fan can score for a loved one and not break the bank at all.

On the first day of X-mas my true love gave to me…a copy of Beatles monopoly.


Not since the 1960’s, with the Flip Your Wig Game, have Beatle fans had the opportunity to participate in family game night together.  Most parents in the 1960’s wouldn’t hold any interest in Flipping their Wigs, but the folks at USAopoly have combined two cultural instituions into one game that’s fun for Beatle and monopoly fans alike.

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We were most impressed with the way the gane incorporated the look and feel of the songs and albums of The Beatles without spoiling the fun of playing monopoly at the same time.  We had “tested” out the game by playing with hardcore Beatle fans and people that just loved board games.  The novelty of playing a Beatles game was a delight.  It was a joy to delve back into the Beatles catalog by collecting albums at the same time with game pieces that felt like memorabilia itself.  Several folks laughed every time their turn came up and someone asked “who’s the walrus?”

The game is a great way to crack out family game night and put a rock and roll feel to it.  We have now hosted a family game night, but never before had a listening party, as the game’s “houses” are so aptly named.  Each time a monopoly was made we switched the ipod to a Beatles song from that album.  It was a great way to listen to the back catalog as we played along to the game.  We were able to stay away from the “Taxman” until late in the game, and even watched concert videos on youtube each time a concert ticket was landed on.  The game really allowed us new avenues to celebrate all things Beatle.  The references aren’t that obscure either.  Most everyone playing, Beatle fan or not, got the references.

Like most of the collector’s editions of the Monopoly games, the Fab Four edition is nothing short of fun.  The game presents its own sense of style with beautiful artwork, song-related pewter pieces, and Beatles-related artwork galore.  If you are looking for that gift for the Beatles’ fan that has it all, then this is a nice place to start.  In the Christmas card with this gift, though, promise to play a game or two with them as a condition of buying them the game.  It’s loads of fun for the entire family.  Unless of course, you’re one of those fans that likes to keep their copy of the game sealed.  We’ve bought two copies in our household, just in case it becomes a rarity in the near future.

You can purchase your copy of the Beatles monopoly game at the Beatles official website, amazon, and at your local retailer in the games section.  For a modest $39.99 it a fine addition for family game night in any household.

Here’s what we’ve read.

The Beatles Collector’s Edition of Monopoly celebrates the music that revolutionized rock-n-roll in the 20th century. This Completely customized game features Apple and Abbey Road Studios along with every album released by the Beatles allowing fans to create their own private music anthology. Enjoy and sing along to the timeless music that has transcended generations as you collect the White Album, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and more.

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12 Days of Beatles Christmas begins tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen it’s a good time to be a fan of the Fab Four.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy the treasure trove of Beatles-related products.  Yes, it’s a bit money grubbing, and capitalistic of the Beatle-clan to be hawking goods that most of us do not need at all, but that’s always been part of the fun of being a Beatle fan.

Admit it to yourself, you collect the goods.  Yes, some of this stuff may cost an arm and a leg sometimes. Yes, you have bought the same albums over and over, but there’s something alluring about having to collect it all.

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Over the course of the next few days leading up to Christmas we will post our own reviews of the latest Beatle products to fill your xmas stockings.  I wish we were able to report on new remastered releases, but that will have to wait for next year.  We are a few days short of 12, so we will have more than one item on a few different days, so stay tuned.

For now though, these latest Beatle goods will have to suffice for our next Beatle fixes.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the first in our series of the 12 Days of Beatle Christmas.

Here’s what we’ve read.

You’re not putting the porno in the paper are you?”

The comment, by the collector’s wife, pipes into the basement from upstairs. She’s joking, kind of.

Her husband has amassed one of the most comprehensive privately owned collections of Beatles paraphernalia. He keeps it in the basement of their Kansas City-area home. The ever-expanding bounty is an ongoing source of jovial consternation.

“The porno” is a reference to a prized item among his thousands — a framed line drawing by John Lennon.

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Paste magazine releases weekly column of Beatles’ overlooked gems.

I imagine that Paste Magazine will be adding to this list, but everyone ahs their favorite non-radio friendly Beatle songs.  The first ones that come to my mind are: Hey Bulldog, Girl, and Bluejay Way

The Paste list is a nice little start to kick things off though. 

  • What are your favorite overlooked Beatle songs?  We’d love to know yours.  Please let us know in the comments below.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Today’s list begins a series that will recur every Friday for the next few weeks, in which I’ll highlight my favorite lesser-known Beatles tracks. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr wrote and recorded such consistently amazing songs that, even if you ignore all their #1 hits and everything on their famous Red and Blue best-of compilations (which I’ll be doing for these more obscure Beatles lists), there are still dozens and dozens of amazing songs, some of which you might’ve missed along the way-even if The Beatles are the biggest, most influential band in rock history.

As you get familiar with these songs, I think some of them might even surpass your old, more-overplayed favorites.

Cry For A Shadow
Never mind that it has no words, this jinglin’ and janglin’ Lennon/McCartney surf instrumental-originally released on 1963 EP My Bonnie-is one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. I first discovered it when I bought a cassette copy of The Beatles Anthology while I was in high school, and proceeded to play it non-stop for about a week.

Act Naturally
This fun cover of Bakersfield country legend Buck Owens-sung pretty darn solidly by Ringo Starr-first appeared on the soundtrack to The Beatles 1965 film Help! I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Help! is even better than more lauded Beatles flick A Hard Day’s Night. I love the stoned shenanigans, muted colors and wide-open cinematography of Help!, and the music is way better, too. (After seeing a few of these lists, you’ll notice that I have a soft-spot for the more folk-rocky trinity of “middle period” Beatles albums: Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul.)

I’ve Just Seen a Face
This gorgeous, unadorned acoustic number-also from the Help! soundtrack-is my all-time favorite Beatles song. It genuinely captures the kind of happiness you can know only after experiencing deep longing and sadness. Every time I listen to it, the purity of Paul McCartney’s vocal and the simple poetry of his lyrics wash over me, transporting me to a romanticized time nearly two decades before I was born; a more innocent time, when life was as wholesome, uncluttered and satisfying as the 12-string-guitar plucks George Harrison scatters atop all those Beatles-pretty chords. Of course, I know this time never really existed (watching a few episodes of Mad Men will cure you pretty damn quickly of any naivete about the early ’60s). Still, that place of innocence does exist, if only inside of McCartney’s song. I remember being baffled when I learned that he’d written the tune when he was just 16. How could a 16-year-old write something so affecting, so perfect, so… optimistic? The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

I’m Only Sleeping
From the chime of the opening strum, this song perfectly embodies its subject matter; I don’t think there’s a better example of a piece of music sounding and feeling exactly like what it’s about. It’s as if you could take the lyrics away and just have John Lennon lazily mumble indecipherable phrases in the same cadence and pitch, and everyone would still get the transmission, straight through their third eye.

Rain
This song was originally released as the B-side to 1966 single “Paperback Writer.” Both were recorded during the Revolver sessions but left off the album. The two tracks, taken together, are all the proof you’ll ever need of Paul McCartney’s mind-boggling bass chops and distinct, if erratic, style. “Rain” also features some of Ringo Starr’s most inventive drumming, a purposefully draggy feel, ringing guitars, classic three-part Beatles harmonies and a chorus so monumental it seems to sharply bend the space-time continuum (an interesting contrast, considering Lennon’s admission that the song was merely about how people are always bitching about the weather). You can almost feel the lysergic acid dripping off of this one, especially with the trippy backward vocals during the last verse. “Rain” is one of the first tracks to ever use this now-common technique. And many consider the short film below-which The Beatles debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show-to be the very first music video, planting the seeds for the MTV generation.

Source: Paste magazine

BOOK REVIEW: Beatles for Sale by John Blaney

It so interesting to hear the financial story of the biggest rock group in the world.  We all know of the failed auditions, notoriously poor finances, and the story of the Apple Records finances.  It’s amazing to think that The Beatles have made as much money as they have with the finances being what they are.

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/BeatlesForSaleBookj_4.jpgImagine if the Fab Four had a lucrative record deal behind them in place when they were in their hey day?  It’s boggling to think what those numbers would have looked like if they had a fair deal initially with all the royalties going accordingly.  I’m not a numbers guy or one to find finances fascinating, but this book was quite intriguing in and of itself.  This is not surprising as every book I’ve read from John Blaney has been unique, thorough, and an entertaining ride.

For the Beatles’ fan who thinks they have read it all this is the book for them.  It would make a fine stocking stuffer.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Another Beatles book? Doesn’t the world already know everything it possibly can about the Fab Four, from the nickname of their favorite Hamburg pill dealer to the mustache style of the cab driver who took George through the streets of Rishikesh?

Well… no. And as long as interest in the band continues to flower – and pass along to new generations – Ye Olde Beatles Bookshelf will continue to groan under the accumulated weight of its tomes. Beatles for Sale, though, is the first one to make a comprehensive study of the group through the prism of its finances. Publishing, record contracts, Apple, Inc., merchandising, management, movies and even their fan club are studied with an accountant’s eye.

The result is actually not dry and pretty fascinating – mostly how the biggest group in the world, before or since, made blunders that even today’s MySpace minions wouldn’t fall for. You never give me your money? Not unless it’s in the contract, baby.

Rocks Off spoke with Beatles for Sale author and all-around Fabs expert John Blaney (Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone – A Critical Discography of Their Solo Work) about a wide range of money matters that would make a Liverpool taxman orgasm with delight.

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Rocks Off: With so many hundreds of books already written about the Beatles, what made you decide to concentrate on their financial life?

John Blaney: It’s a fascinating aspect of The Beatles’ story that’s never been covered in-depth. Money is like sex. None of us think we are getting enough, and when a group like the Beatles comes along, we all want to know how much they’re getting and what they do with it.

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