Beatlemania hits America, 1964.

On 4 November, 1963, at the outset of another marathon British tour, the Beatles were the main attraction at a Royal Command Performance in London.
With the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret looking on, John Lennon famously asked for the crowd’s help: “The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands, and the rest of you, If you’d just rattle your jewelry.” (He’d actually threatened to say, “rattle your f**king jewelry.”)
With that, the band launched into their closing number, a blistering version of “Twist and Shout. “
The next day, British newspapers were beside themselves. The show was broadcast in Britain on November 10, bringing the Beatles to yet another enormous television audience.
In America, the news media took notice. “Thousands of Britons ‘Riot’ – Liverpool Sound Stirs up Frenzy,” headlined the Washington Post.
Time magazine described Beatlemania in vivid detail in an article headlined “The New Madness.” That same week, NBC and CBS dispatched crews to cover the Beatles performing on Saturday 16 November at the Winter Gardens Theater in Bournemouth.
NBC was the first on the air the following Monday with its report by Edwin Newman. CBS aired a story on its morning show later that week (with a script by correspondent Alexander Kendrick that was suspiciously similar to Edwin Newman’s).
It went on: Variety ran a story headlined “Beatle Bug Bites Britain.” The New York Times Magazine weighed in with “Britons Succumb to Beatlemania.” (“Their music is basically rock ‘n’ roll, but less formalized, slightly more inventive.”) Life magazine ran a photo of the Beatles meeting Prince Margaret.
And on 10 December, more than three weeks after NBC, the CBS Evening News ran its Beatles story.
It should be said that all this American news coverage, including NBC’s, took the same bemused, patronizing approach – dismissing the Beatles as a passing fad perpetuated by throngs of hyperactive teenage girls.
The focus was on haircuts, noise and frenzy, while little attention was paid to the music itself. The mainstream media (circa 1963) knew something was happening, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, but it didn’t really know what it was.
It wasn’t until later that most people were able to see this moment clearly as the beginning of a huge generational shift and a sea change in popular culture.
What the news coverage DID do was raise awareness of the Beatles, and that fed the growing appetite for their music among American record-buyers.

Up until then, their hits in Britain had tanked here. But things had changed, and the assassination of President Kennedy, just four days after NBC’s report, left Americans hungry for something to feel good about.
And so the spark of Beatlemania jumped the Atlantic and set fire to a huge American audience.
The Beatles’ next single – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – was promised for American release in January. But demand was so great that it was pushed up to 26 December.
The song exploded onto U.S. airwaves, charting for 15 weeks, including a phenomenal seven weeks at Number One.
On 7 February, 1964, when John, Paul, George and Ringo landed at New York’s newly renamed John F. Kennedy Airport, the Beatles were at the top of the charts – just where they said they would be.
Now read on via A day in the life: The Beatles’ first appearance on American television – The Daily Nightly.

Singin’ in the Rain, 1952.

Produced and Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (USA).
The most beloved of all screen musicals is also the most scholarly – a mock film-historical piece about the travails of a silent cinema star, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), struggling to make the transition into the talkies.
Some of the film’s choicest humour is, a little cruelly, at the expense of lofty diva Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), who is priceless as Don Lockwood’s co-star in the preposterous The Duelling Cavalier, whose aura is destroyed by her Noo Yawk accent (“I cyan’t stan’im!”).
Gene Kelly and director Stanley Donen’s classic, and the film industry crisis it depicted, were paid due homage in Michel Hazanavicius’s brilliantly tricksy silent pastiche The Artist (2011).
via The 10 best films about films | Film | The Guardian

For Nerds Who Love the Blues on 78.


aka The Wisconsin Chair Factory.
In the 2001 movie “Ghost World,” 18-year-old Enid picks up the arm on her turntable, drops the needle in the groove, and plays a song yet another time. She can’t get over the emotional power of bluesman Skip James’ 1931 recording of “Devil Got My Woman.”
If you know anything about 78 records, it only makes sense that a nerdy 40-something 78 collector named Seymour would have introduced her to this tune.
As played by Steve Buscemi, Seymour is an awkward, introverted sadsack based on the film’s director, Terry Zwigoff, who—along with his comic-artist pal, Robert Crumb—is an avid collector of 78s, a medium whose most haunting and rarest tracks are the blues songs recorded in the 1920s and ’30s.
“These guys were collecting the music that resonated with them, and then it became the document of that time, the music that endured.”
Nearly a decade later, music critic and reporter Amanda Petrusich had the same intoxicating experience Enid (Thora Birch) did, listening to very same song, although she got to hear “Devil Got My Woman” played on its original 78, courtesy of a real-­life collector, who owns this prohibitively expensive shellac record pressed by Paramount.
Only three or four copies are known to exist.
The gramophone, a type of phonograph that played 10-inch shellac discs at 78 rpm, was developed in the late 19th century. But it wasn’t until the 1910s and ’20s that the technology became more affordable and less cumbersome so that an average family could have one at home.
The records, which could only play 2 to 3 minutes of sound per side, had their heyday in the ’20s and ’30s. They lost their cachet in the ’40s, when radio became the most popular format for music lovers.
Then in the 1950s and 1960s, 78 records were phased out in favour of long-playing vinyl records.
Read on and Learn via Why Nerdy White Guys Who Love the Blues Are Obsessed With a Wisconsin Chair Factory | Collectors Weekly.

“The Dirty Mac” John Lennon’s Once Only Supergroup, 1968.

b_1_q_0_p_0The Dirty Mac were a one-time English supergroup consisting of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell that Lennon put together for the Rolling Stones’ TV special titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.
Recorded on 11 December 1968, this was the first time since the formation of the Beatles that Lennon, who was still in the group, had performed in public without them.
The Dirty Mac recorded a rendition of the Lennon-penned Beatles track “Yer Blues” and then went on to back up Yoko Ono and violinist Ivry Gitlis on a track called “Whole Lotta Yoko” (essentially an extended blues jam on top of which Ono improvised free-form vocalizations).
The name, thought of by Lennon, was a play on “Fleetwood Mac” who at that time were a very popular band in the United Kingdom.
When asked what type of guitar amp Lennon would like to use for the performance his answer was “One that plays”.
In 1996, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, the album of the event, was issued, concurrently with a home video of the event.
The DVD issue followed in 2004.
Members John Lennon (as “Winston Leg-Thigh”) – vocals, rhythm guitar (from The Beatles) Eric Clapton – lead guitar (from Cream) Mitch Mitchell – drums (from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) Keith Richards – bass (from The Rolling Stones)
Additional musicians Ivry Gitlis – violin,  Yoko Ono – vocals on “Whole Lotta Yoko”

My thanks to The Stolen Biro for this gem of Rock culture.

Source: The Dirty Mac – Wikipedia

John Lennon & Paul McCartney first met in July, 1957.

John Lennon (left) and Paul McCartney, pictured here circa 1960, met as teenagers in July 1957. Image Credit: Keystone/Getty Images
Sixty years ago, two young musicians happened upon each other in Liverpool, England, in a meeting that would change the course of popular music forever.
It was 6 July, 1957. John Lennon, then 16, was playing with his skiffle group The Quarrymen at a church garden party in the midst of a stultifying heat wave. Paul McCartney, 15, was in the crowd, wearing a white sports jacket with a pink carnation.
In the documentary The Beatles Anthology, McCartney remembers the spectacle of Lennon strutting around in a checked shirt, “and sort of blondish kind of hair, little bit curly, [sideburns], looking pretty cool. And he was playing one of these guitars — guaranteed not to crack, not a very good one — but he was making a very good job of it.”
The Quarrymen performed “Come Go With Me” by The Del-Vikings, and though Lennon clearly didn’t know the words, he adapted lyrics from blues songs instead. That ingenuity impressed McCartney, who met Lennon after the set.
Backstage, McCartney played Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” which in turn impressed Lennon — perhaps in part because McCartney actually knew all the lyrics.
Later, Lennon remembered being uncertain about partnering with such a strong musician, who might challenge his leadership in the group.
But that hesitation was short-lived. “I turned around right then on first meeting and said, ‘Do you want to join the group?’ And I think he said yes the next day,” Lennon said, as quoted in The Beatles Anthology.
Source: 60 Years Ago, 2 Boys Met And The Beatles Began : NPR

John Lennon’s Cigar Box Guitar.

What is a cigar box guitar?
Many people have never heard of them, seen them, or heard them being played – but, these instruments are part of the cornerstone of American blues music dating back to the late 1800s.
During the late 1800s, impoverished people (often slaves) wanted instruments, but could not afford a factory-made guitar, so they improvised with an empty cigar box, a stick and some string or wire.
The cigar box guitar was born.


I can’t imagine it would be very comfortable to play.


Stolen Biro

‘Banjo’ Paterson and Waltzing Matilda.


ANDREW BARTON ‘BANJO’ PATERSON was born in Narrambla, New South Wales, on 17 February, 1864.
He lived in the city for most of his life, yet he became wildly famous in the colonies for the poems and stories he wrote about life in the Australian outback.
Just before the turn of the century he composed “Waltzing Matilda”, the much-loved ballad about a swagman who drowned himself in a billabong.
He also wrote The Man from Snowy River, a collection of verses (including the poem by the same name) that sold out of its first edition in a week.
The stories he created about the lives and struggles of bushmen, shearers and drovers in rural farm country struck a chord with Australians.
“This image of Australia, which by the beginning of the 20th century was already one of the most urbanised countries in the world, obviously appealed to a population that liked to present itself as hard-working, laconic, and not wanting to take itself too seriously,” says Dr David McCooey, associate professor of literary studies at Deakin University, Victoria.
“Also, the ‘settler’ generations were dying out, so there was a moment to romanticise those people and their history,” he adds.
Romanticising the outback?
Banjo grew up in the Yass region in southern NSW, but he left the area at age 10 to finish his schooling in Sydney.
In his twenties he found work as a lawyer, then as a journalist.
It was around this time he also started publishing poems under the pseudonym ‘the Banjo’ in the Bulletin and Sydney Mail.
Read more via On this day in history: Banjo Paterson was born – Australian Geographic.

Pipers ‘Blowing it Hard’ on Achill Island.

A Clew Bay Pipe Band Piper blowing hard at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade held on Achill Island, Ireland.
What an absolutely wonderful pic this is. Just look at the effort that young piper is putting in.
Photo Credit: Photograph by National Geographic.

Mick Jagger, the world’s least likely wallflower.

Dafydd Jones’s photograph, taken at Vanity Fair’s 1997 Oscars party shows Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis, Morton’s, Los Angeles,
Dafydd Jones got his break as a photographer by capturing the excesses of the “bright young things” at Oxford in the 1980s – a decadent cast that included Hugh Grant and Nigella Lawson and prime ministers Cameron and Johnson.
As a result, he was hired by Tina Brown as Tatler’s society photographer, with an insider’s eye for the edge between observation and satire.
When Brown moved to New York in 1984 to edit Vanity Fair, Jones moved too, in 1988. Nearly a decade later, in 1997, he was sent to photograph Vanity Fair’s annual Oscars bash by Brown’s successor as editor, Graydon Carter.
He was struggling to find a good image until he noticed Mick Jagger sitting by himself looking bored, the world’s least likely wallflower.
“Madonna crossed the room and sat down next to him,” Jones recalls. “She started talking and he became quite animated. Then Tony Curtis came along and sat down at the same table on the other side and started monopolising Madonna. Jagger was on his own again and looked miserable.”
Source: The big picture: Mick Jagger, the world’s least likely wallflower | Art and design | The Guardian

The Clash. 1981.

The Clash, 1981 “It was an excuse to talk to anybody,” Amy Arbus said. “It was a way for me personally to be involved in a very hip scene, the downtown East Village scene, that I wasn’t initially a part of.”
Image Credit: Photograph by Amy Arbus
via The Village Voice