August 31, 2013


Ahoy Mateys! Raise your periscopes and set sail for a new season of Beatles magic. The artists within the Beatles circle were prolific in the 1960s, and by nature they continue to follow their Muse with new creations each year. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono are rolling out some cool projects this season. And with such dynamic output over the years, researchers around the world continue to explore the Fabs with often fascinating results. For Spy Vibers trying to keep track, here is a checklist of some of the current performances, books, albums, and films. I will update as additional information is announced. You can see my award-winning re-mix and experimental film for Yoko Ono here (free) and here ($1.99).

Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol 1: The first volume of Mark Lewisohn's epic Beatles biography will be released in a standard edition (960 pages) as a hardcover and eBook in the UK on Oct 10th. A US version with a different cover and "Americanized" text will follow on Oct 29th. An extended version (1,728 pages) will be published as a boxed two-volume set and eBook in the UK on Nov 14th. A US release is tentatively set for Feb.

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970: Lewisohn's historic reference book about every Beatles recording session was made possible when he was granted access to the original studio tapes. Coveted by collectors and researchers for years, the book will be re-released on Oct 1st. From Amazon: "After years out of print, a new edition of this hotly sought-after classic is available again! Mark Lewisohn's definitive guide covers every recording session done by the Beatles at EMI's famed Abbey Road recording studio. It includes the number of takes for each song; who contributed what; previously unpublished studio documents and interviews with many of the key recording personnel; and facsimile reproductions of Abbey Road recording sheets, tape boxes, album sleeve roughs, memos, contracts, press releases and more. Lavishly illustrated with over 350 photographs (rare images by Linda McCartney among them), this must-have volume also features an exclusive introductory interview with Paul McCartney." Due Oct 1st. 

The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970: From Amazon: "A carefully curated collection of the surviving transcripts of the Beatles’ appearances on BBC Radio and Television from 1962 to 1970, featuring commentary from author and Beatles expert Kevin Howlett and rare photographs and memorabilia from the BBC." Oct 29th. There is much speculation that a new volume of unreleased Beatles BBC recordings will appear soon, but there has been no official confirmation yet.

Beatles Solo: The Illustrated Chronicles of John, Paul, George and Ringo After the Beatles: By Mojo journalist Mat Snow, "This stunning gift set contains four beautifully illustrated books –one for each Beatle – covering their lives since they broke up in 1969. Jam-packed with nearly 400 pages, 200 photos, quotes, lyrics, and memorabilia all packaged in an elegant slipcase, this is a must-have gift item for the Beatle-lover in your life." Due out on Oct 13th. 

When They Were Boys by Larry Kane: "This is the real story of the Beatles’ harrowing rise to fame: focusing on that 7-year stretch from the time the boys met as teenagers in the 50’s to early 1964, when the Fab Four prepared to invade America. From the boys’ humble beginnings in Liverpool, to the cellars of Hamburg, When They Were Boys includes stories never before told, including heartbreaks, lucky breaks, and the dramatic twists of timing, fate, loyalty, and betrayal. Included are an eyewitness account of that first meeting between Lennon and McCartney, the inside story of how Ringo replaced Pete Best, an exploration of the brilliant but troubled soul of manager Brian Epstein, the real scoop on their disastrous first visit to Germany and the death of Stu Sutcliffe. With an eye for life in Liverpool during the 50’s and 60’s, and with the help of his own conversations with the Beatles in the early years, Larry Kane brings to life the evolution of the group that changed music forever." Published on July 30th.

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story: "The Fifth Beatle is the untold true story of Brian Epstein, the visionary manager who discovered and guided the Beatles - from their gigs in a tiny cellar in Liverpool to unprecedented international stardom. Yet more than merely the story of "The Man Who Made the Beatles," The Fifth Beatle is an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian himself died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, having helped the Beatles prove through "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" that pop music could be an inspirational art form. He was homosexual when it was a felony to be so in the United Kingdom, Jewish at a time of anti-Semitism, and from Liverpool when it was considered just a dingy port town." Graphic novel. Due Nov 19th.

The John Lennon Letters: "This collection of nearly 300 letters and postcards has been edited and annotated by Hunter Davies, whose authorized biography The Beatles (McGraw-Hill, 1968) was published to great acclaim. With unparalleled knowledge of Lennon and his contemporaries, Davies reads between the lines of the artist's words, contextualizing them and using them to reveal the man himself." Paperback edition, Oct 29th. 

The Beatles Collected by Brian Southall (Beatles Memorabilia w Julian Lennon): "2013 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles' major arrival in America. This book is the first serious book about Beatles collectibles. Beautifully photographed and designed, it includes a range of Beatles merchandise from guitars, plastic models, clothes, wigs, bubblegum cards, and even Beatles mothballs." 224 pages. Due Oct 15th.

The Beatles in 100 Objects by Brian Southall (Beatles Memorabilia w Julian Lennon): "2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania, with their first number one, and their first album. From the time they were formed in 1962, through to their break-up eight years later, the Beatles were associated with a multitude of items, places and people. This illustrated collection focuses on 100 of the most important of those 'objects' - which heralded landmark moments, career changing achievements or curious episodes in the life of a Beatle. From tickets to records, instruments to memorabilia, clothes and the stories and histories behind them - including the drum kit Ringo purchased in 1960 and a copy of 'My Bonnie' (the band's first professional recording) and a ticket for Candlestick Park (the Fab Four's last concert); here are 100 amazing objects that tell the story of the Beatles as never before." Oct 10th. 

The Beatles in America: "Early in 1964, with Beatlemania raging in the UK, the Beatles topped the US charts with "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and became a sensation on American TV with The Ed Sullivan Show - on which they appeared no fewer than three occasions, on consecutive Sundays in February, 1964. In April 1964, they held all Top Five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 and were playing such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and Shea Stadium. With exclusive interviews with fellow musicians, promoters, and audience members, together with rare photographs and memorabilia, The Beatles In America is the definitive, fully illustrated account of their concerts, the controversies, and of how the country dominated their lives in so many ways - written by one of the acknowledged experts on the Fab Four, Liverpool's own Spencer Leigh." Oct 14th.

Acorn by Yoko Ono: "The first solo book in fifty years by renowned artist, musician, and political activist Yoko Ono, Acorn offers enchanting and thought-provoking exercises that open our eyes—and all of our senses—to more creative and mindful ways of relating to ourselves, each other, and the planet we cohabit. Throughout the book are 100 black-and-white line drawings by Yoko. Like this legendary woman herself, the book is wildly original, stimulating, and hard to label: Call it purposeful play, call it brain poetry, call it guided motivation, call it Zen-like incantations, call it whatever you want. But read it. Acorn may change the way you experience the world." Hardcover, Nov 19th. A limited edition signed hardcover is available through the UK publisher here

NEW: The new Rock album by Paul McCartney will be released in CD, deluxe CD, and vinyl editions on Oct 15th. 

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: "Imagine a world where Beatlemania was against the law-recordings scratched onto medical X-rays, merchant sailors bringing home contraband LPs, spotty broadcasts taped from western AM radio late in the night. This was no fantasy world populated by Blue Meanies but the USSR, where a vast nation of music fans risked repression to hear the defining band of the British Invasion." Written by a former spy and journalist (who filmed The Beatles at the Cavern singing Some Other Guy!), this fascinating book came out on April 23rd, 2013. Paperback due April 2014.

Take Me to the Land of Hell: New album by Yoko Ono with Sean Lennon, Lenny Kravitz, and others will be released on CD Oct 17th (new date). I believe that Yoko's back catalog is set for re-release, but no details have been announced yet. 

Greenfield Morning: Limited edition vinyl by Yoko Ono and Rza, due out on Sept 3rd. 

Chimera Music Release 15: Limited edition vinyl EP by Iggy Pop and Yoko Ono, released Aug 13th.

Photograph: New archival project by Genesis Publications is an intimate look through Ringo Starr's personal collection of family photos and his Beatles years. Due out around Christmas, an inexpensive eBook was released through Genesis and iTunes during the early summer. 

Infinite Universe At Dawn: This limited edition project by Genesis Publications covering Yoko Ono's work in various media will be release in celebration of the artist's 80th birthday in 2013. 

The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay: From Bruce Spizer's series of must-have reference books, this volume has been long out of print and fetches upwards of $500 on the collector's market. Spizer has just released an updated digital edition. The new eBook offers useful features such as a search engine, annotation capabilities, and image-zoom.

The Beatles Mono: A box set of Mono LPs was planned for a fall 2013 release. After many concerns re: the pressing quality of the Stereo LPs in the US last year, fans are hoping for a premium hi-fidelity Mono set. More details will be added as updates are announced. 

In His Own Words: Audiogo has released two volumes of archival BBC interviews on CD with Paul McCartney and John Lennon. These fascinating interviews span from the early 1960s to later solo years. The Lennon interviews cover his literary projects, albums, and some poignant conversations about New York in 1980. Spy Vibers may also be interested in others in the series, Alfred Hitchcock and Roald Dahl. 

Paul McCartney Going Underground:  "In the mid-1960s the often rigid and colourless British way of life was irrevocably transformed by the emergence of a cultural underground movement. Led by a loose collective of young radicals, they introduced new social, sexual and aesthetic perspectives. Operating out of the heart of London, their various activities, from 'The International Times' - a bi-weekly journal that no hipster could be seen without - to the psychedelic nightclub UFO, promoted alternative lifestyles and values, and sparked a social revolution. This film not only traces the history of this underground scene, but also explores its impact on the pre-eminent British group of the era, The Beatles. Although they were well established by the time the movement emerged, Paul McCartney in particular, was closely linked with several of its key players, and through his exposure to cutting edge concepts brought ideas directly from the avant-garde into the mainstream. Featuring many new interviews with key players from the time. Also includes rare archive footage, photographs from private collections and music from The Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Soft Machine, AMM and others." Oct 1st.  

Lennon Bermuda: Tribute album includes tracks by Yoko Ono, Bryan Ferry, my high school pal Heather Nova, and many others. Sept 17th. 

Octopus's Garden: Children's book based on the tune, includes CD with unreleased version of the song. Feb 4th. 

The RCA Albums Collection: Limited edition 14-album anthology by Harry Nilsson. Released July 30th.

Man On the Run: From music journalist Tom Doyle: "The most famous living rock musician on the planet, Paul McCartney is now regarded as a slightly cozy figure, an (inter)national treasure. Back in the 1970s, however, McCartney cut a very different figure. He was, literally, a man on the run. Desperately trying to escape the shadow of the Beatles, he became an outlaw hippy millionaire, hiding out on his Scottish farmhouse in Kintyre before travelling the world with makeshift bands and barefoot children. It was a time of numerous drug busts and brilliant, banned and occasionally baffling records. For McCartney, it was an edgy, liberating and sometimes frightening period of his life that has largely been forgotten. 'Man on the Run' paints an illuminating picture: from McCartney's personal crisis following the Beatles split through his apparent victimization by the authorities to the rude awakening of his imprisonment for marijuana possession in Japan in 1980 and the shocking wake-up call of John Lennon's murder. Ultimately, it poses the question: if you were one quarter of the Beatles, could you really outrun your past?" UK only. Sept 6th. 

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Due April 30th, 2014.

Good Ol' Freda: I helped finance this doc film about the Beatles fan club secretary. Look for theatrical release in September. Details here

Peter Asher will be performing his audio/visual memoir show this fall. Dates include Sept 18th at Yoshi's in Oakland (not listed on his website), Oct 5th in San Diego, and Oct 12th at the Grammy Museum in LA. Asher's website here.

Paul McCartney has four concert dates planned in Japan for November. Details here. Ringo Starr has two concerts planned in November in Las Vegas. Details here. Ringo will also be performing this fall in South America. Dates listed here

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon will be performing with others in a rare NYC show on Sept 15th. Details here

Ringo Starr Exhibit: Don't miss the major retrospective of Ringo's artifacts from his Rory Storm, Beatles, and solo years. Up until March 2014 at the Grammy Museum in LA. Spy Vibe post here

Get ready to meet MIKI ZERO, Japanese fashion model and spy! Jason Whiton, creator of Spy Vibe, has written a sixties thriller inspired by his love of Ian Fleming and based on newly declassified intel from the Cold War. More info at his website here. Recent Spy Vibe posts: A Hard Days Night cinematographer dies, Magic Christian on Blu-ray, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute, Ian Fleming memorial, Emma Peel Megaset returns.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Erno GoldfingerIan Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book coversIan Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address.

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