November 30, 2011


Wenner Media now offers a very cool App ported over from their book, Rolling Stone's Beatles Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide. The book is a 120-page, 60-image deep dive into every Beatles record. Taking full advantage of the new technology, the App will also feature 30-second clip samples of every song listed (with direct links to iTunes). I will be teaching a class next semester about the development of the Fab Four's music and the band's role as agents of social change, and I plan to use the App with my students. When I mentioned this to Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner, he asked that I let him know what we think of it. I hope Spy Vibers will check it out and send us your reviews, as well! If anyone is interested in the bound edition of the guide book, it is still available on news stands.

Rolling Stone, which has been cautious and thoughtful about its movement into digital media, has announced that it will launch a digital edition in 2012. The LA Times reports that Wenner has also signed a partnership with Swedish company Spotify to provide readers with direct links to songs listed in Rolling Stone. The integration will start with the magazine's year-end edition. It's an exciting time to be a music fan! Image: Jann Wenner with Daniel Elk of Spotify at a news conference (LA Times).

November 29, 2011

OSS 117

A great OSS 117 graphic! Find out more about the French series and its modern incarnation at our fellow C.O.B.R.A.S. site, Double O Section.

November 28, 2011


The Video Beat! has extended their holiday discount sale. Check out their line of hard to find DVDs that cover cult and retro genres like Rock n Roll, Jazz, beatniks, bikers, spies, monsters, surf, cars, Mods, fashion, commercials, and more! Here are the deals and sale codes: Buy 2, get 25% off (code: save25), but 3, get 30% off (code: save30), buy 4, get 35% (code: save35), buy 10, get 40% off (code: save40), buy 15, get 45% off (code: save45), buy 20, get 50% off (code: save50). See recent posts for video clips.

November 27, 2011


Sneak Preview: Boy, have I got images to show you! If San Francisco is not in your winter plans, it should be. Also, I have lots of cool holiday treasures to give away to Spy Vibers. Stay tuned!

November 25, 2011


Another gem from the Video Beat catalog, The Music of Lennon and McCartney 1965, opens with a fantastic performance by the George Martin Orchestra staged in modern, corporate architecture (see clip below). Very cool footage! For more info, see our last posts and visit The Video Beat.


Grab your Go Go boots and get the band plugged in! A reminder to Spy Vibers to check the cool listings of rare treasures at Video Beat- a great place to build your library of 1960s Go Go Dancers and performances on shows like Beat Club, Beat Beat Beat, Big Beat '65, Shindig!, Ready Steady Go, Hollywood A Go-Go, The!!!! Beat, Shivaree, and Hullabaloo. Video Beat is offering black Friday sales today, and they also offer discount codes when you sign up. Visit The Video Beat. What do these shows look like? Here's one of my fave scenes from Hollywood A Go Go with Bo Diddley!

November 24, 2011


Two black Friday sales that might be of interest to Spy Vibers: The cult video on-line shop, Video Beat, is offering discounts on orders until midnight Friday. Check out their line of hard to find DVDs that cover cult and retro genres like Rock n Roll, Jazz, beatniks, bikers, spies, monsters, surf, cars, Mods, fashion, commercials, and more! Video Beat website here. Here are the deals and sale codes: Buy 2, get 25% off (code: save25), but 3, get 30% off (code: save30), buy 4, get 35% (code: save35), buy 10, get 40% off (code: save40), buy 15, get 45% off (code: save45), buy 20, get 50% off (code: save50).

I suggest that Miles Davis fans sit down before reading this one. The brilliant box set, The Genius of Miles Davis, will be on sale tomorrow at Pop Market for one hour only from 3:00-4:00 (EDT). Here's what's inside:

The Genius of Miles Davis is the most comprehensive and lavishly packaged collection ever dedicated to a single musical artist. Packaged in a custom-built, limited-edition Martin trumpet case, a replica of the one Miles used during his career, and individually numbered to 1955, the year Miles signed to Columbia Records. The Genius of Miles Davis presents the artist's complete body of work recorded for Columbia Records in eight deluxe box sets (documenting every important phase of Miles' musical life), along with a fine art lithograph of one of Miles paintings, replica "Gustat" Heim 2 mouthpiece (the one Miles used), and exclusive t-shirt by Trunk Ltd. complete the collection.

Full Content List

  • Miles Davis and Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Recording Sessions (6 CDs)
  • Miles Davis Quintet 1965-1968 (6 CDs)
  • The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (4 CDs)
  • Miles Davis and John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings, 1955-1961 (6 CDs)
  • The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions (3 CDs)
  • The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (5 CDs)
  • Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis, 1963-1964 (7 CDs)
  • The Complete on the Corner Sessions (6 CDs)
The set will be on sale for $299.99 (down from $550). Sign up to learn about all of their sales and discount offers. Pop Market website here. List of Friday deals on their blog here.


Happy Thanksgiving from Spy Vibe! Here are The Londonairs singing about our favorite dish, Dearest Emma.

Released April, 1966

Dearest Emma
Darling Mrs. Peel
Dearest Emma
This is how we feel

We love all your kinky clothes
You dress fit to kill
We'd fight for the right to be
The guy with the bill.

Now since you have hit our lives
Our routine seems dull
Just throw us around to get us
Out of this lull

We go pale at the things you do
To red-blooded men
Now that just ain't right for us
But do it again.


We'd give up our Kingdom
To grab us a horse
To challenge this Steed you have
And take him by force.

And our love might be the thing
A good judo hold
We'd rather be rabbit-punched
Than out in the cold.

Though we faint at the things you do
The red-blooded men
Now that just ain't good for us
But do it again.


We'd take all that you can give
And come back for more
You'd find we look great piled up
In heaps on the floor.

The fun you could have with us
Would make laughters ring
We're fighting like angels
With each arm in a sling.

Yeah we'd like just to prove to you
We're red-blooded men
There's one thing that's wrong with that
We couldn't do it again.

Dearest Emma
Darling Mrs. Peel
Dearest Emma
That is how we feel

Dearest Emma
Dearest Emma

Lyrics from the Dead Duck Avengers website here.

November 23, 2011


A new film that is sure to interest design fans opens this December, Eames: the Architect and the Painter. IMDB Synopsis: "The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have risen to iconic status in American culture. 'Eames: The Architect & The Painter' draws from a treasure trove of archival material, as well as new interviews with friends, colleague, and experts to capture the personal story of Charles and Ray while placing them firmly in the context of their fascinating times." Narrated by James Franco. New York Times review here.

If you are in the Bay area, you can see a special screening at the San Rafael Film Center with the filmmakers! More here.

Official film synopsis: "The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work." Connect with the film community on Facebook here.

November 22, 2011


In celebration of the Director's Cut of Quadrophenia by The Who, the new issue of Mojo features articles about the band, the album, 1960s Mod culture and the Mod revival, and a cool CD compilation to get your Mod party moving. Check it out! Mojo is available at newsstands, bookstores, and on their website here.

November 20, 2011


Happy Monday, Spy Vibers! Travel back with us to lunchtime clubs and performances of early 1960s England. Have a coffee and get your feet tapping- what better way to start the week? Today's attraction: The Rolling Stones. Their first number is What a Shame, an original tune recorded in 1964. US fans may remember the track from the 1965 album, Rolling Stones Now!, which collected songs from various UK releases. I love the cool vibe of Brian Jones' slide guitar, which achieved a hybrid of classic blues and mid-60s futuristic sound. Our era of Diva-like histrionics could learn a lot from his economy of notes. Here is a a 2002 remastered stereo mix:

The Rolling Stones continue with a second tune from the same album: Little Red Rooster by Willie Dixon (made famous by Howlin' Wolf). Watch out all you strange cat people!


Gifted songwriter Noel Gallagher (ex-Oasis) is currently meeting with the 007 team to discuss the possibility of writing and performing the title song for the upcoming James Bond film, Skyfall. Nothing is signed or official at this stage and the producers are meeting with other composers as well. Gallagher has been performing a song with his new band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, called Freaky Teeth- a tune with classic Bond elements (see video below). It is possible that he might re-work the song or compose a new piece, but Spy Vibe has great faith in Noel's abilities to deliver the goods. Gallagher is on a world tour to promote his new album. Talking about his interest in the Bond franchise, he remarked to the press with his usual double-punch of wit and wisdom, "It's a bit of a piss-take that the greatest British agent of all time has to be sound-tracked by a bunch of Americans." The Sun's headline for this announcement added equal humor, linking Gallagher's Oasis hit, Wonderwall, with the film series, "And after all, you're my Thunderball." More at NME here. Image from the Guardian here.

November 18, 2011


The rare ITC series, Espionage, is now available through the fab Network on-line shop. Discs are region 2/PAL- and only available through November 2012. Details here.

Unseen for over 40 years, Espionage is one of the rarest and most sought-after ITC series. Produced by George Justin (Twelve Angry Men) and Herbert Hirschman (The Zoo Gang), this anthology series of 24 plays covered everything from the then-current Cold War to 19th century China, from Johnson's London to intrigue in Kenya and Moscow.

Espionage is one of Lew Grade's first successes with a transatlantic production team, featuring both British and American writers and directors (including three plays directed by the Oscar-nominated Michael Powell (The Red Shoes). With one play, The Whistling Shrimp, actually shot in New York, it's no wonder that this series attracted talent of the calibre of Roger Livesey, Stanley Baxter, Anthony Quayle, Sian Phillips, Donald Pleasence, Dennis Hopper, Patrick Troughton, Barry Foster and others.

Script PDFs for Castles in Spain and Snow on Mount Kama
Extensive Image Galleries, including many in colour

November 15, 2011


Author Bruce Spizer has created the ultimate archive of reference books about Beatles record releases. Each of his editions, painstakingly researched over years, are lavishly illustrated with color photographs and rare images. When editions from his library go out of print, they sell for upwards of $500. Spy Vibers interested in the topic should check out his books covering Parlophone, Apple, Capital, Vee-Jay, and Swan releases. Spizer is holding a holiday promotion on some of the few remaining editions he has in stock. Currently, the Swan edition is on sale for $22 (down from $50). Sale also includes free bookmarks and a poster-like end-sheet. It's beautiful, don't miss it! Sale ends November 29th. Details at Bruce Spizer's website here.

The Beatles Swan Song
covers all of the group’s U.S. releases on labels that had the rights to only a limited number of Beatles recordings.
It is the first book to accurately tell the stories behind the Beatles discs released by Swan, United Artists, Decca, MGM, Atco and Polydor. It also has an extensive section on Capitol Records in the 70s & 80s, which details the Capitol theme albums such as Rock ’N’ Roll Music, Love Songs and Reel Music, as well as The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl, Rarities and the unreleased Sessions LP.

Additional sections cover dubious releases such as The Savage Young Beatles and the Star-Club album, the high-end Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab LPs and the record club albums.

There are also sections updating the Vee-Jay, Capitol and Apple books with new and exciting information and images.

280 page. 9″ x 12″
full color-throughout


The wait is over! It Takes a Thief was released yesterday on DVD. So far, Amazon has held the price at $98.99 (50% off). Details here.

November 14, 2011


We're now moving officially into a 50th year anniversary period in Beatles history. The band set major trends for the sights and sounds of the sixties, including a thriving Beat music scene around the world. Here are some of the main Gretsch and Hofner axes that established their early sound in Hamburg and Liverpool- all made fairly recently as re-issues by the manufacturers! Which early Beatles axe are you? Check them out and start your own Beat group. Two great sources for vintage-style instruments are Rock 'n Roll Vintage here and North Coast Music here. To learn more about these and other Fab instruments, see the excellent book, Beatles Gear here. Check out the Vintage Hofner website here for detailed info and images of old and new instruments. *added: by coincidence, the new issue of Guitar World magazine features a very lengthy article about every Beatles recording session and the gear they used. Details here.

Gretsch George Harrison 1957 Duo Jet (custom shop & signature editions)

500/1 Electric Bass ('61, '62, '63, '64, German and Asian models available).

Hofner Club 40 John Lennon model (rare! only 120 produced)

Hofner President 500/5 Stuart Sutcliffe Electric Bass (just released!)
Which early Beatles axe are you?

November 11, 2011


Spy Vibers have waited years for the official release of the last remaining, major cult spy series from the 1960s. With these titles finally hitting the shelves, Amazon is offering low prices to sweeten the feast. The complete Girl From U.N.C.L.E. sets, as well as the Man From U.N.C.L.E. 8 Movies Set, are now $30.49. Amazon has also continued to maintain a 50% sale price for pre-orders of the complete It Takes a Thief series with Robert Wagner. Details below:

Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Release date: November 2nd)
To Trap a Spy (1965) Expanded version of the U.N.C.L.E. pilot (Solo aka The Vulcan Affair), includes the famous "too hot for TV" scenes shot with future Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi.
The Spy With My Face (1965) Expanded version of The Double Affair, in which a fake Solo wreaks havoc on an U.N.C.L.E. secret mission.
One Spy Too Many (1966) Expansion of season two's Alexander the Greater Affair, in which an ambitious industrialist (Rip Torn) sets out to conquer the world. With Yvonne (Batgirl) Craig.
The Spy in the Green Hat (1966) The Concrete Overcoat Affair gets the feature treatment, in which Thrush agent Louis Strago (Jack Palance) attempts to unleash climate change upon the world.
One of Our Spies is Missing (1967) Vera Miles, Yvonne Craig and James Doohan guest as Solo and Kuryakin head to London and Paris to foil a plot hatched by the nefarious fashion industry.
The Karate Killers (1967) The Five Daughters Affair feature version, with heavyweight heavies Telly Savalas and Herbert Lom providing the menace while Joan Crawford, Jill Ireland and Kim Darby make up the distaff side.
The Helicopter Spies (1968) Carol Lynley and Bradford Dillman lend their talent to the film version of The Prince of Darkness Affair.
How to Steal the World (1968) Leslie Nielsen joins Robert Vaughn and David McCallum for the film version of the U.N.C.L.E. series closer, The Seven Wonders of the World Affair.

Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
(Release date: October 19th)
The United Network Command for Law and Enforcement has a new agent in its struggle with THRUSH:
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. The girl is April Dancer (Stefanie Powers) who, assisted by partner Mark Slate (Noel Harrison) and guided by chief Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll), travels the globe on assignments, using her martial-arts and espionage prowess to combat foes. This spoofy 15-Episode Part One of the spy series in a 4-disc set includes a dossier of top-level guest stars. April Dancer (with Mary Ann Mobley playing the role) was first introduced to fans in the Moonglow Affair episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

It Takes a Thief (Release date: November 15th)
International locales, beautiful women, guest stars galore... It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series is now available for the first time ever on DVD featuring all three seasons of the hit show that Cinema Retro called "the coolest espionage series of the late sixties."

Smooth, suave and sophisticated, Alexander Mundy (Robert Wagner) is the world's greatest cat burglar. Now, he's plying his trade as the SIA's most debonair spy - traipsing the globe, seducing beautiful women and embezzling fortunes, all on behalf of Uncle Sam and the U.S. government.

All 66 Episodes Digitally Re-Mastered
Extended Feature-Length Version of the Pilot Episode "Magnificent Thief"
The King of Thieves: Interview with Robert Wagner
A Matter of Larceny: Interview with Glen A. Larson
Limited Edition Senitype (reproduced 35mm film frame)
It Takes a Thief Exclusive 4-Piece Coaster Set
Collectible Booklet with retrospective essay.

November 9, 2011


50 years ago today, on November 9th 1961, NEMS record store manager Brian Epstein went to check out a popular local band at a club just down the street from his shop. Struck by their music and personal charm, he set out on a mission to manage the band to success. This famous meeting between Epstein and The Beatles was not the only time that the number 9 was significant to the band's founder, John Lennon. Lennon was born on Oct 9th (as was his son, Sean). Lennon met Yoko Ono at an Art gallery on November 9th, 1966. The first issue of Rolling Stone was printed with a November 9, 1967 date- Lennon was their first cover image. John Lennon composed the songs One After 909, Revolution No. 9, and #9 Dream (which appeared on his 9th solo LP, Walls and Bridges). When he passed away, it was December 9th in his hometown of Liverpool. When The Beatles catalog was finally digitally remastered, it was released on September 9th, 2009 (09.09.09). Read Mersey Beat founder Bill Harry's letter to the Examiner about Epstein's meeting with The Beatles here.

Below is an interview with Brian Epstein about his first encounter with The Beatles on November 9th, 1961, followed by the band playing One After 909 during the rooftop concert scene in Let It Be (released in 1970, 9 years after Epstein met them at the Cavern Club). The Let It Be film may be scheduled for DVD/Blu-ray release in 2013. It's interesting to see how much the culture, and The Beatles themselves, changed in those nine years.

There is new documentary film in the works about Beatles secretary Freda Kelly. The film reached its initial pledge amount today, November 9th. You can learn about it (and contribute to the project on Kickstarter)
here. John Lennon portrait by Richard Avedon from MOMA here.


Italian movie poster design, available at Movie Goods here.

November 7, 2011


Peter Sellers played a pivotal role in the history of comedy. His work as a character actor in The Goons, a group committed to thinking outside the box of convention, inspired a whole generation of English comedians and writers to shine a light on society and to push the boundaries of class and culture with a satirical edge. Sellers' gift for the surreal naturally linked him with what became a surrealism boom in the 1960s. Sellers' short film, The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960), for surreal/comedy director, Richard Lester, helped to put the director on the Beatles' radar (George Martin produced records by Sellers and The Goons), and landed him the plum assignments, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). Sellers continued to rise through the 1960s, playing lead parts in influential films like Dr. Strangelove (1964), Casino Royale (1967), The Pink Panther (1963), and Woody Allen's first feature script, What's New Pussycat (1965). He joined an all-star cast in 1966 to bring Alice in Wonderland to the BBC's Wednesday Play (which included a soundtrack by Ravi Shankar!).

During the mid-1960s, Peter Sellers explored a number of Beatles songs as spoken comedy records. Spy Vibe spotlights the great Peter Sellers' set of these classic renditions. Move over Shatner and Nimoy! Record 3: She Loves You (Dr. Strangelove version). This video is a wild concoction of Cold War-era imagination (note the Ken Adam war-room set design).

More on 1960s UK Surrealism and satire here. Peter here. To learn more about Sellers, check out the excellent bio-pic, The Life & Death of Peter Sellers (2004), starring Geoffrey Rush.

November 6, 2011


During the mid-1960s, Peter Sellers explored a number of Beatles songs as spoken comedy records. Spy Vibe spotlights the great Peter Sellers' set of these classic renditions. Move over Shatner and Nimoy! Record 2: A Hard Day's Night (Richard III version).

November 5, 2011


During the mid-1960s, Peter Sellers explored a number of Beatles songs as spoken comedy records. Spy Vibe spotlights the great Peter Sellers' set of these classic renditions. Move over Shatner and Nimoy! Record 1: She Loves You (Cockney version).

November 3, 2011


In conjunction with their release of the Quadrophenia Director's Cut CD set, The Who launched a new website today dedicated to the classic album and to the Mod culture that inspired it. Find out more about the Mods, The Who, and enter contests to win a Vespa and to make an official Who video here.

November 2, 2011


Spy Vibers with the MeTV Network now have a chance to see a number of rare and out-of-print 1960s classics, including Honey West, The Rogues, Peter Gunn, and Batman. Check scheduling details here.


Good ol Freda Kelly, secretary to The Beatles 1962-1972, is the subject of a new independent documentary film project. Info at the Examiner here. You can help by contributing on Kickstarter here. Only 9 days left!

November 1, 2011


Spy Vibers interested in the Beat music scene in Hamburg in the early 1960s may be familiar with musician Ulf Kruger. Kruger was a regular at the famous Star Club. He recorded with the king of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan, and he produced CDs for Bear Family and museum exhibits over the last ten years to preserve a unique part of the 1960s cultural landscape. A matter of interest to spy fans, however, is that Kruger also recorded a curious tune called Dr No in the 1980s.

Speaking of the Hamburg scene, a very rare recording was just released by the estate of Stuart Sutcliffe, which claims is the former Beatle singing his signature tune, Love Me Tender. An interesting time capsule, the track is available on iTunes and Amazon and you can read more about it here. Many from the Hamburg scene have since chimed into investigation, shedding doubt on the identity of the singer. There is currently a popular musical playing in the UK about the period called Backbeat, and an official Sutcliffe fan club here.