For playing host to a musical happening that became a cultural byword for the entire 1960s the venue for Woodstock is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in the Hudson Valley town of Bethel has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cuomo says the festival that drew nearly half a million people to Max Yasgur’s dairy farm was a “pivotal moment in both New York and American history,” and the recognition will preserve the landmark for future generations.
The venue is, of course, no longer a farm turned giant mud pit populated by hippies. NPR explains that it is now more of an arts complex: Bethel Woods, which was a farm when half a million people trekked to upstate New York for the festival that created its legend, includes an 800-acre “campus” with a museum, a 15,000-seat amphitheater, a smaller gallery space and arts conservatory.
February, 1967 saw the release of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, John Lennon’s ode to his childhood haven Liverpool’s Strawberry Field children’s home and its grounds held special memories for John Lennon.
It inspired one of his greatest achievements, an effects-laden paean to his childhood haven drenched in hallucinogenic overdubs and owing much to the genius of George Martin.
Originally cited for inclusion on Sgt Pepper but instead released as a double A-side single along with Paul McCartney’s equally brilliant and nostalgic “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever” was pop music presented as art, a quantum leap in the group’s development, and a record that set the standard and style for the year to come.
Beatles records are collectible for two principal reasons.
First, we’re talking about the Beatles, and anything associated with the Fab Four tends to become collectible before too long. Second, though short-lived compared to, say, the Rolling Stones and other acts from the 1960s, the Beatles were extremely prolific, which means there’s a lot of their stuff to collect.
This is especially true with Beatles records, which were released at various times in the U.S. and U.K. under numerous labels.
There were dozens of LPs, scores of 45s, and even a healthy smattering of EPs.
The first U.K. Beatles single was “Love Me Do,” which was released on October 5, 1962 by Parlophone.
It charted at number 17 in England (two years later, it would hit number one when released in the States).
The first versions of the 45 had a red label on the disc, with blue, yellow, purple, and red horizontal stripes on the sleeve.
This is the version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo Starr on drums. A black-labeled version of the single was released shortly thereafter with Ringo on tambourine and session musician Andy White on drums.
Other U.K. singles that are fun to collect are the songs (four each) from A Hard Day’s Night and Help! As for the last Beatles single to be released in England when the band was still together? That would be “Let It Be” on March 6, 1970.
In the United States, before Capitol Records signed the band just before their 1964 appearance on Ed Sullivan, Vee-Jay Records was responsible for the release of Beatles music on vinyl, including singles.
By all accounts, they did a poor job.
One famous typo was on the 1963 45 of “Please Please Me,” which included an extra “t” in the band’s name on some of the earliest pressings.
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.
The genius of Brian Jones propelled the early Rolling Stones into the higher echelons of the pop charts all over the world.
He was a complete one off and there was much to admire about him. Jones was one of the ultimate sixties pop stars with a creative cutting edge, compounded with an out-there fashion sense, who remains a style icon to this day.
It seems strange to think that he has almost been air-brushed out of the Rolling Stones history.
Juggling his duties as a musician with heavy drink and drug use, he died in suspicious circumstances one summer’s night at his rock star mansion in Sussex. He was twenty seven years old.
Brian was not exactly a child prodigy but he showed early signs that he was certainly gifted. During the mid to late 1950’s, the skiffle craze was sweeping across Great Britain and the teenagers were going wild.
Brian Lewis Hopkins Jones was besotted. He could play the piano and the clarinet proficiently and it would not long before he joined his first skiffle group. He bought a saxophone and formed a band, Thunder Odin’s Big Secret, and began playing venues and parties across London.
He admired Blues musician Alexis Korner and met him after a gig in Cheltenham, where they exchanged phone numbers.
He was introduced to the music of Elmore James by Korner, it was Brian’s most important musical discovery and he was so enamoured by Elmore’s work, that he went under the name of Elmore Lewis and began his career as a full time musician.
In 1962 he formed the Stones, who built up a reputation as a tight live act almost immediately.
Brian was the leader and responsible for the music they played, how they looked and where the band was going.
He would soon suffer his first blow, losing control of the group to another young upstart.
“Singing, Ringing Tree,” played by the wind in Lancashire (photograph by Mark Tighe)
Other than the ubiquitous wind-chimes sounding on your balcony, there are a variety of instruments that are played only by the wind, ranging from those small enough to sit on your windowsill to massive pieces of modern art and poorly-designed skyscrapers.
While known in ancient Greece, India, and China, the Aeolian harp (“Aeolian” from the ancient Greek god and “keeper of the winds,” Aeolus) was “rediscovered” in Europe during the 1650s, by Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit priest, and went on to become a popular feature in Romantic-era households.
The idea is simple: a number of strings (usually an even number) are strung over a sound chamber, and the instrument is then left somewhere with a strong breeze.
The wind does the rest.
Oodena Celebration Circle (photograph by AJ Batac)
The Forks is a community meeting place in Winnipeg, and the impressive-looking Forks mark the autumnal equinox and the summer and winter solstices. The location is believed to date back 6,000 years as a place of gathering.