Tag Archives: British Invasion

“EIGHT DAYS A WEEK”; Impressions of Ron Howard’s Beatles Film

I just saw the new Beatles film, “Eight Days a Week” and these are some of my impressions. I didn’t think I would actually like it that much. The Beatlemania years, frankly, don’t interest me as much as their more interesting Liverpool and Hamburg beginnings or their more creative period in the studio. The usual story is that, most of the time, they were just going through the motions, unable to hear themselves play, with all the screaming fans’ madness (especially near the end of their “Touring Years”, as the movie’s subtitle is called).

I thought director Ron (“Happy Days”) Howard might only cover the nice parts of Beatlemania. He does in the first half of the film and captures the pure energy of their early performances. He has assembled some not usually-seen footage and photos of their early concerts and appearances in Liverpool and Europe. These sometimes black and white images give it an almost old newsreel and historical feel. The film does seem primarily aimed at the North American market though.  There were only a couple Liverpool interviewees included in the theatre version, except for some trusted Beatles-insiders like roadie and later Apple director, Neil Aspinall (although I understand the later-to-be-released Deluxe 2 DVD version will  include more of these and lots more).

Howard also puts the Beatles Invasion into context with the tumultuous events the U.S.A. was going through in the mid-60’s with the Vietman War, Civil Rights demonstrations, and the assassination of JFK, which had only happened a few months before. The American people, especially its teenagers, were certainly ready for something to lift them out of their depression.  Along come these 4 English lads with the funny Liverpool accents and humor and it’s just the right medicine.  The Fab Four did so with its own version of the, ironically, America’s export, rock and roll, and the simple but catchy words and rhythms of their early original songs.  But what struck me again, upon seeing the film, is just how young and mainly female so many of their fans were.  For by this time, The Beatles themselves were already grown men in their early 20’s, playing to some only half their age.  Some of the most interesting and humorous moments for the movie audience, I was with anyway, was seeing again the complete hysteria they created in their fans (remember early attendees to their performances in the Cavern and Hamburg, evidently, didn’t originally scream).

But by ’66 and for most of the rest of the film, the whole atmosphere begins to change around The Beatles and they themselves could do little to contain it. Of course, there was the infamous “we’re more popular than Jesus” Lennon remark and the reaction it caused.  But it wasn’t only in America that they began to feel a backlash; there were death threats in Japan and, in the Philippines, they barely escaped when its First Lady Imelda Marcos felt snubbed. Howard has said in interviews promoting the film, that he didn’t want to go intodark corners.  But I have to give him credit for also not shying away from this part of their story too. For it seemed the once innocent teen hysteria had indeed turned into a far more dangerous form of madness. Howard includes excerpts from John and George’s recorded comments and also present day interviews with Paul and Ringo on both, the good and bad, aspects of this period.

The pall of these later more disturbing times toward the end of their touring years, which somewhat descends on the last half of the movie, is fortunately broken by his choice to also include their famous last public appearance on their Apple company’s rooftop in 1969.  What this reveals once again, is that even to the end (which they would also demonstrate on their last recorded album, Abbey Road) these were first and foremost musicians and original songwriters. Once they decided to finally get off the road because of the mounting pressures they were feeling, it would also allow them more time to spend in the studio and become more and more creative artists and not just entertainers.

Also shown in the movie theater after, was a half-hour film of their ’65 Shea Stadium concert. With improved color footage and remixed sound for this project by George Martin’s son, Gilles (although some in the particular theater I was in, said the sound wasn’t that good-but it may be fine in the movie and DVD itself), it shows just how good of performers they could be, even in often chaotic conditions. Ringo says that they really did try to always give their best-all four of them.  You can tell by their on-stage jokes that they are still having fun-most of the time. In the Shae Stadium show, Paul does one of his best, but perhaps underrated  rockers, “I’m Down”, with which they often ended their concerts, but for some reason was never released on a regular Beatles album(it was the B-side of the “Help” single).  John seems to be his old self, mugging and delivering gobbledigook asides and Paul is always the consummate showman. George is the musician, making sure he doesn’t miss a single guitar note and Ringo is driving the beat and shaking his hair. They alone were in the eye of the hurricane, but the film does seem to capture what it must have been like.  Howard’s title for his film is appropriate, for it really was “8 Days a Week.” As I said, the DVD will be released later this fall with some interesting extras.  But I would recommend, if you can, going to see this film still in the movie theater, and getting that feeling of enjoying it with other fans, which is what the best of Beatlemania was all about.



By  Alan Chrisman

Bob Dylan made his commercial electric breakthrough with his song,  “Like A Rolling Stone”, which  was released on  July 20, ’65.  Dylan finally had his first  Top Ten  hit with “Like A Rolling Stone”. Despite its 6 minute length , the song became Dylan’s most commercially successful release, remaining in the US charts for 12 weeks, where it reached number 2 behind The Beatles Help ( although he had recorded his previous album, Bring It Back Home, as half acoustic and half electric just  a few months before).  “Subterranean Homesick Blues, also electric, from the Back Home album had just barely made the Top 40 Billboard Chart peaking at number 39.  Dylan had been popular on college campuses with his acoustic folk-protest songs, but he craved the  mainstream acceptance that the Beatles had and they craved the more artistic respect that  he had. “I just kept it to myself that I really dug them,” Dylan told biographer Anthony Scaduto (per Rolling Stone). “Everybody else thought they were just for the teeny boppers . Upon hearing, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, Dylan said later, “They were doing things nobody was doing,” “Their chords were outrageous. It was obvious to me they had staying power. I knew they were pointing the direction that music had to go. It seemed to me a definite line was being drawn. This was something that never happened before. ” So they both directly influenced each other and reached out to each others’ audiences.   The Beatles started paying more attention to their lyrics after hearing Dylan’s songs.  John Lennon’s writing, especially with songs such as “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “I’m a Loser”, started becoming more reflective and personal.  The Beatles also would soon release their folk-rock influenced album, Rubber Soul,

Bob Dylan would be booed for going electric at the Newport Festival on July25, '65

Bob Dylan would be booed for going electric at The Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965

by the end of ’65, with songs like “Norwegian Wood” and “Nowhere Man”.  Meanwhile, Dylan had been affected by them, “In my head, the Beatles were it.” His next album, Highway 61 Revisited also released in’65, would be all electric.
Five days, after releasing the single, “Like a Rolling Stone”, Dylan would play the Newport Festival on July 25, and half the audience, the folk purists, would boo him for going electric and leaving behind his political folk-protest past. Dylan and the electric The Band was still booed by some folk-purists in '66 at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Dylan would continue to be booed by some folk- purists in ’66 when he played with the electric mainly Canadian, The Band, at the Royal Albert Hall, London

And even almost a year later, when Dylan toured England in ’66 with the electric, The Band, he was still being booed for playing rock-influenced music. A heckler at Manchester Free Trade Hall shouted “Judas” at Bob Dylan for having the audacity to play an electric set . Dylan replied, “I don’t believe you . . . You’re a liar,” then told his band to “Play it f***in’ loud” as they launched into Like a Rolling Stone.  And like the Beatles, it had changed the direction of music.

In 1974, I saw Dylan and The Band (who are mainly Canadian) perform “ Rolling Stone” In Montreal, as everyone got up and sang along.  Rolling Stone Magazine ranks, “ Like a Rolling Stone” as the greatest song of all time.

From Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home, Like A Rolling Stone”:


The Quarry men, July6, 1957: the day john Lennon met Paul McCartney



By Alan Chrisman

Paul McCartney met John Lennon for the 1st time on July 6, 1957. Lennon and his teenage skiffle band, The Quarrymen, were playing a Liverpool church social. After Paul’s friend introduced him to the band. The 15-year old McCartney was able to show John guitar chords (John had only learned banjo chords from his mother.) Later, the band discussed if they should let this new kid join. But it wasn’t until two weeks later when Pete Shotten, John’s best friend, and Quarryman, ran into McCartney on his bike and approached him. The way Len Garry (another original Quarryman who was at their original meeting and I met) described it to me: Paul replied, ”Well, all right”, and then just nonchalantly rode away. Neither John nor Paul wanted to admit to the other directly, they liked and needed each other. And that was the beginning of one of the most fruitful songwriting and musical partnerships in history and would go on to change popular music and  the whole culture.

The Quarrymen on truck in parade the fateful day John met Paul

The Quarrymen on truck in parade on fateful day John Met Paul

Paul MccArtney would later join and perform with John's teenage band, The Quarrymen

Paul McCartney would soon join and perform with John’s teenage band, The Quarrymen

Below:John & Paul both describe that day they met:

Klaus Voorman played on many Beatles' albums and designed some of their iconic album covers


KLAUS VOORMAN:  ANOTHER 5TH BEATLE- (All Articles ARE written BY ALAN CHRISMAN), copyright 2012-2015.( a Praveen Patel has tried to hack them and claim them,)

There are several people who could be called the 5th Beatle: George Martin, Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall, Pete Best, etc. and I’ve written about some of these. But Klaus Voorman was also there at their beginnings and throughout their whole Beatles period and later played bass on several of their solo albums and as well as designed some of their iconic album covers.

Klaus Voorman drew the iconic Beatles' Revolver album

Klaus Voorman drew the Beatles’ Revolver album cover

Klaus Voorman also designed Ringo's 1973 album cover

Klaus Voorman also designed Ringo’s 1973 album cover

It was Klaus who first discovered the band in a tough Hamburg bar and told his roommate, Astrid Kirchherr, about them and she would create their whole look, which would soon conquer the world. It was Klaus who drew the distinctive Revolver cover.  It was Klaus Voorman who was part of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band when they played Live Peace in Toronto in 1969.  It was Klaus who played on and designed the cover for Ringo’s solo album of the same name.  He played on “Instant Karma”, and Lennon’s Imagine and Walls and Bridges, and Rock ‘n’ Roll albums, and was on George’s All Things, Material World, Bangladesh, and Dark Horse albums.

He was in Manfred Mann from’66-‘69 and played bass and flute on their hit,”The Mighty Quinn.” He was also a session musician for James Taylor, Carly Simon, Lou Reed, and Harry Nilsson and others. In 1979, he produced the German band, Trio, who had a hit with “Da Da Da.” And full-circle, he was asked by the remaining Beatles to design the covers for the 3 Beatles’ Anthologies covers in the mid-90’s. He also designed Bee Gees and others’ album covers as well.

Klaus Voorman also created THe Beatles' Anthologies covers

Klaus Voorman also created The Beatles’ Anthologies covers

In 2009, Voorman released his own solo album, A Sideman’s Journey with guests, Paul, Ringo, Cat Stevens, Joe Walsh,  Dr. John, Van Dyke Parks, The Manfreds, etc. In 2010, a documentary on him was made, All You Need Is Klaus.

This very talented, but unassuming musician and graphic artist too, was always a loyal Beatles’ sideman and lifelong friend.  As George said at The Bangladesh Concert, “ There’s somebody on bass who many people have probably heard about, but they’ve never actually seen him- Klaus Voorman.” A true 5th but unspoken Beatle too.

Klaus Voorman recording with Paul & Ringo, 2008:


The Making of Klaus “Voormann & Friends”:  Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yusuf aka Cat Stevens, Dr. John, The Manfreds (members of Manfred Mann), Bonnie Bramlett, Jim Keltner, Max Buskohl, Van Dyke Parks, Albert Lee, Joe Walsh, Don Nix and many others, 2009:


RINGO STARR is now the 4th Beatle to be inducted into the R'n'R Hall of Fame



By Alan Chrisman (All Articles ARE written BY ALAN CHRISMAN), copyright 2012-2015.( a Praveen Patel has tried to hack them and claim them.)

Ringo was inducted into The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney on April 18, 2015.   He was the fourth Beatle to be recognized there as his own solo artist, besides the Beatles as a group.

Ringo always was portrayed as the “everyman” in the group, often overshadowed by the giant song writing talents of John and Paul and later, George Harrison. Lennon-McCartney tailored certain songs just for Ringo to sing on Beatles’ albums like “Help from My Friends” and “Yellow Submarine.” Otherwise, he mainly sang covers of his favorite country heroes like “Act Naturally.”

But Ringo was the consistent drummer on all their albums.  Ringo had replaced Pete Best just after they had gotten their record deal in 1962.  Producer George Martin, as was common in those days, hired a session drummer to fill in for Ringo on the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do.” Ringo had actually been in a more popular Liverpool group than The Beatles at the time, Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, but he had sometimes played together with the Beatles when they were both in Hamburg.   But Ringo was always much more than just a drummer while in The Beatles, for he was an integral part of that mysterious chemistry that made the Beatles, uniquely, The Beatles. And he had that same kind of off-the-wall humor.  Someone said once they were like a four-way marriage with all their personalities and talents plugged into each other. And Ringo always seemed to be the “grounder.” He not only kept the beat grounded, but sometimes the members’ egos too.

When the Beatles split in 1970, many wondered about his solo future. He had only written a couple Beatles’ songs, “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’ Garden.” So it was to everyone’s surprise when he was to have one of the most successful ex-Beatles’ solo’s albums with his Ringo album in 1973, with several big hits including the George Harrison co-written song ,“Photograph.” He would go on to have seven Top Ten hits like, “It Don’t Come Easy”, “Back Off Boogaloo “, “ You’re Sixteen”, “Only You’, etc.  Even when the other ex- Beatles sometimes were still not talking with each other much , they would still continue to appear on his albums and he theirs.

Then in the 80’s & 90’s, he put together his own of several All-Starr Bands with well-known musicians who hit the road playing their hits and his.  Ringo has continued to release albums over the years.  And he has actually turned into a pretty good co-writer and songwriter himself.  Particularly with albums like his 2008, album, Liverpool 8, it was noticeable his growing skill in that area too.  Also with that album and song, he has been writing songs looking back at his Liverpool beginnings.  Ringo has continued this on his new recently released album, Postcards from Paradise, with a song called “Rory & the Hurricanes.” It is Ringo’s 18th album.

He also has appeared in several films as well: Magic Christian Music, Candy, Caveman (where on set, he met his current wife, Barbara Bach, in 1981).  I think his best role is in That’ll Be the Day, where he plays a working-class carny at a holiday camp (similar to the ones Ringo’s band, Rory Storm, would have actually played). It perfectly captures early 60’s England just before The Beatles hit.  He is also an accomplished photographer and shot the covers for his friend, Marc Bolan’s T-Rex albums and directed a film on him.  Quite a career and life for a sickly, poor, relatively-uneducated lad named “Richie” Starkey, who only picked up drumming banging on biscuit tins with sticks in the beginning!  Ringo said he had just hoped to make enough as a Beatle to maybe open a hair dressing shop.

Like has also been leveled at Pete Best (Cynthia Lennon told me, shy Pete didn’t have the ego to compete with John and Paul’s), over the years, some have even accused Ringo of not being the best drummer.   Ringo himself has never claimed to be a trained drummer. But several other respected drummers have disagreed, crediting him with developing a whole “Ringo” sound, which many have copied.  At one point during the making of The White Album, Ringo felt left-out and walked away from the sessions, but came back when the other Beatles sent him a postcard which said “You Are the Greatest Drummer in the World- Really.” Others have said he was just lucky to have been there at the right time.  Paul McCartney has said they wouldn’t have stayed with Ringo, if they didn’t believe he was a good drummer.  It’s hard, indeed, to imagine those Beatles’ songs without his distinctive back-beat rhythms.

POstcard from the other Beatles asking Ringo to come back when he momentarily left in 1968

Postcard from the other Beatles asking Ringo to come back to the band, when he momentarily left in 1968

Ringo's famous drumset

Ringo’s famous drum set, now art R ‘n’ R Hall of Fame

Below Beatles’ postcard to Ringo asking him to return to The Beatles & Ringo’s iconic drum set on display at the R’n’R Hall Of Fame:

John Lennon said: “Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met.  Ringo was a professional drummer who sang and performed and was in one of the top groups in Britain, but especially in Liverpool.  So Ringo’s talent would have come out one way or the other … whatever that spark is, in Ringo, we all know it but can’t put our finger on it. Whether it’s acting, drumming, or singing, I don’t know. There’s something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced as an individual … Ringo is a damn good drummer.

The Beatles were more than just the sum of their parts. Ringo was and is much more than just a drummer, who happened to play in the best band in the world. He has his own personality and persona and talents and loyal following.  Ringo still seems to be that same down-to-earth star that’s such a rarity these days, especially, with whom we can all still relate.

When McCartney and rock royalty induct Ringo into the Hall of Fame, it will be time and well-deserved.  Paul and he are now receiving all kinds of accolades and still carrying on their great legacy and still performing.

Ringo has announced another tour starting in October with his All-Starr band line-up of the last 12 years to support his new album, Postcards from Paradise.  I met his 1995 All-Starr band including Billy Preston, Randy Bachman (The Guess Who and BTO), and Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals).  I’m very happy I was able to get tickets for his new show in October in Montreal, where I also saw Paul in ‘89 and George in ’74.  I also saw Paul in Ottawa in 2013. We should still see these living legends while we still can, as they continue to put on great shows.  Some things which are good, never change.  And Ringo, as I said, is like that, or as he would say, like “Peace & Love” too. The Hall of Fame ceremony will be broadcast on HBO May 30.



Ringo doing his rocker, “Rory & the Hurricanes” about his beginnings, from his new album, Postcards from Paradise:


Ringo on his new album and tour:


George Harrison's little-known visit to America in 1963



By Alan Chrisman, copyright.

A (Partially) True Story

I was a young girl who had been working as a librarian in a small southern Illinois town when he walked into my library one day.  He was cute and seemed nice, but in a quiet sort of way.  He said he was looking for some books on guitar music and I helped him find the right section.  He said he was only in town for a few days, but that he liked to read especially about music and musicians.

He joked and it made me giggle.  After chatting for a bit, he said he was in town visiting his sister.  He had a British accent which was pretty unusual around where I lived and although I was shy myself, he intrigued me. So it surprised me when he mentioned that his sister was taking him to see a local band play on Saturday night.  He said if I’d like to attend he was going to be there too and maybe he’d love to see me there. It sounded like an invitation.

I knew the place he mentioned where they had regular Saturday dances, but I really didn’t go out much and still lived at home with my parents.  I wasn’t much into pop culture or music.  I preferred Broadway musicals.  But still there was certainly something fascinating about him, so it got me curious.

Enough, that by the time Saturday came around, I couldn’t think of anything else, but learning more about this mysterious stranger. I didn’t know what to wear, but I dressed up in my nicest clothes.  I arrived at the small Legion Hall early and there was a line-up there, but I got in with no problem.  I saw him sitting at a front table near the front and when he recognized me, he invited me over and introduced me to his sister and family there.  Soon the local band came on stage and began to play.  He even asked me to get up and dance with him and he was a good dancer.

The band mainly played country tunes.  And I was as surprised as he was, when the band asked him to come up on stage and join them.  Finally, with much encouragement from his sister, he couldn’t resist and got up and borrowed one of the member’s guitars.  After conferring with the band for a few minutes, they agreed on some Carl Perkin’s songs they both knew.  At these regular dances, most people were drinking and really didn’t pay much attention to the local band. But soon as this stranger started playing the guitar, the audience stopped talking and were quiet.  It seemed not only was this foreigner cute, but he could actually play quite well and the band asked him to continue playing with them that night. After the show, the tiny make-shift dressing room behind the stage was filled with all kinds of people, and everyone was drinking and talking and joking.

I was about to turn and go away, feeling totally out of place, when he noticed and came over to ask me how I enjoyed the show.  I was sort of taken back with all that was going on and the conflicting emotions within myself.  As I say, this was way out of my experience. But when he asked me if I would like to meet him the next day for lunch, I found myself shyly answering, “Yes.”

I, of course, couldn’t sleep the whole night, wondering what I had got myself into.  But right at noon, there was a knock at my door and it was him.  We had a great time over lunch at the local fast-food drive-in.  He said he especially enjoyed that as they didn’t have anything like it back in England.  He made me laugh a lot, something I hadn’t done enough, unfortunately, in my life before.

He said he was in this band back in England, and they were actually becoming popular in Europe, but I hadn’t heard of them.  He said they had already recorded an album and a couple Ep’s. They had had some songs released on a couple small independent U.S labels (including one out of Chicago), but they hadn’t gotten much radio airplay or reaction over here and the big U.S. record companies had turned down distributing them.  But he seemed hopeful that they would eventually be recognized in America.

We spent the rest of the day together and then he even kissed me goodbye.  He said he was leaving the next morning to go back to England, but he would try to keep in touch with me by sending me a card. This was in 1963.

I didn’t hear from him for several months and missed him, but figured he must have gotten busy and met many other girls, of course.

But one day, in early Feb. ’64, after “just another day” at the library, when I got home, there was a card in my mailbox. And it was from him.  It was an early Valentine’s Day card.  In it, he said that they had even gotten a record deal with a major U.S. label and they had become popular enough to come to America. In fact, they were to be on The Ed Sullivan TV Show that coming Sunday.  Sure enough, as I and millions of others watched that evening, there he was with his band playing  in matching suits their own songs, as all these girls screamed.  There was that friend, I had met that one day a few months before.  He had said his name was George.  And soon everyone would know the name of his band.

George Harrison, still unknown in America in 1963, makes visit to his sister, Louise , in Illinois in 1963.

George Harrison, little -known visit to a small Illinois town in 1963

Louise Harrison, George's Sister, guest, 2nd. Ottawa  Beatles Convention

2nd. Ottawa Beatles Convention’96: Guest Louise Harrison; J. Lennon’s Psychedelic Rolls Royce

The above fictional story was inspired by a true story told to this writer by George’s older sister, Louise, at my 2nd. Beatles’ Convention I organized.  She told there of a little-known visit by George and his brother, Peter, to her in a small town in Illinois in September, 1963.  He was persuaded by a local band to get up and play with them. The band played with George, some old rock ‘n’ roll including, “Roll Over Beethoven” , “Johnny B. Goode”, “Matchbox”, and “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.  After, one of the audience members said to him, “You’re not a bad guitar player. If you keep at it, you might even get somewhere.”

Louise had previously been sent  copies of some Beatles singles  by her mother,.  She had  sent some to a local radio station. This was in June, 1963. Six months before most people had even heard of the Beatles.  Later in September,when George arrived to visit her, the two hitch hiked  to the station and brought along “She Loves You” , which had been released in England the month before and the station also played it.  Two members of the local band, The Four Vests, took George to a music store in Vernon, Ill. where George purchased a red Rickenbacker guitar for $400, which he had painted black to match John Lennon’s.  The Rickenbacker 420 was first played in public on the British TV show, Ready Steady Go, on Oct.4, 1963. They also visited a local record store where George bought several singles including “Got My Mind Set on You” by James Ray, but written by mailman, Rudy Clark. George would later  have his own hit with it in 1987. On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles played on The Ed Sullivan Show. Louise would be the only Beatles relative to accompany them on the train to Washington, D.C.  And the rest is history, as they say.

Below George and his band doing, “If I Needed Someone”:



!963-'69, The Beatles created special funny messages for only their fan Club members



By Alan Chrisman, copyright. 

(Part of Xmas music series)

The Beatles recorded short Xmas messages especially for their Fan Club members. They were originally only available on flexi-discs and only in the U.K.  They were a mixture of skits, fractured holiday songs, and a few brief snippets of some original compositions.  Their statements were usually written by their press officer, Tony Barrow, but the boys would often make fun of the written script, and just mess around for their loyal fans, with the Beatles’ characteristic off-the-wall humour.

The first one was recorded in 1963 and the last one was in ’69.  They also used them to plug their latest single or album or film, but did so in a self-deprecating way, sometimes singing little parts of their latest songs, as well as made-up Xmas tunes.  In the 1965 message, they sing an off-key, “Yesterday” and in ’66, they sing a short original, “Everywhere It’s Christmas” and perform a Beatles’ pantomime skit. Tiny Tim sings “Nowhere Man” with a ukulele in 1968.  But by the final one in ‘69, with The Beatles basically falling apart, it was mainly John & Yoko, with Ringo promoting his Magic Christian film.  Most of the earlier years’ recordings weren’t available in the U.S., even to U.S. Fan Club members.

THe Beattles' early Xmas Fan Club messages were only released on flexi-discs

The original Beatles early ‘Xmas messages were only released on a flexi-disc to U.K. Fan Club members only

Finally in 1970, all the individual years’ messages were compiled on one vinyl record (From Then to You in the U.K. and called The Beatles’ Xmas Album in the U.S.) and other fans could finally get their own copy.  There were only a couple semi-completed original songs, such as “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” and “ Everywhere It’s Xmas”, from the 1966 and ‘67 messages, and “Christmas Time” was later added to the other side of the “Free as a Bird” single and was on The Beatles’ Anthology in ’95.  They were really just The Beatles having fun and using inventive word play and making up things in the studio, but well worth listening to, if you haven’t heard them, especially for the holidays.

THe Beatles Offical Fan ClubXmas messages finally released on LP in 1970

Finally, in 1970, The Beatles’ Fan Club in the U.K. compiled all the messages and released them all together on a regular vinyl LP

The Beatles doing, “Christmas Time (Is Here Again”), from Beatles’ Xmas message, 1967:



The Beatles doing, “Everywhere It’s Xmas”, from the 1966 message:


The Zombies had haunting 60's hits: Season of the Wich", She's Not There", Tell Her No"



By Alan Chrisman, copyright.

THE ZOMBIES were a British group who had several hits during The British Invasion of the ‘60’s:  “Time of the Season”, “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No”. They had a very haunting organ/keyboard sound, played by leader and songwriter, Rod Argent, with breathy

THe Zombies' classic 1968 album, Odyssey & Oracle

The Zombies’ 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, was underappreciated at the time, now considered a classic.

vocals by Colin Blunstone, a kind of more jazzy feel more than traditional British rock. They had their first hit, “She’s Not There”, in 1964 and followed up with “Tell Her No” in ’65. Their first British album, Begin Here, contained those, plus some R&B covers.

But it wasn’t until they recorded their 2nd album, Odessy and Oracle, that they finally had another big hit with “Time of the Season”.  Actually, the album wasn’t popular at first, until Al Kooper (keyboard player on Dylan’s Hiway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, founder of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and session player on many other albums), put pressure on their record company, Columbia, that it was finally released in the States in ’69 and the song became a #3 hit.  The Zombies had recorded Odessey and Oracle at Abbey Road studio and had used a Studor four-track recorder, similar to the one used on The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers, and like them, had used a Mellotron and cello.  As I say, the album didn’t sell well, but it’s now considered one of the best albums released in the 60’s with its psychedelic production (it’s ranked # 100 out of the top 500 albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine).

By but by this time, The Zombies had broken up.   Leader, Rod Argent, would go on to co-write songs with former Zombies bassist, Chris White, with vocals by Russ Ballard, in his new band, Argent, again with that strong keyboard sound on a Hammond B3 organ and have a big hit, “ Hold Your Head Up” on their album, All Together Now, in 1972.  The song would also be a hit for the band, 20/Twenty in 1987.

So the Zombies were an interesting band with their haunting, jazz-tinged minor key organ backing and captivating vocals and songs. Their underappreciated 2nd album, Odessey and Oracle, is now considered a classic; they can “Hold Their Head Up”.

See The Zombies’ “Time of the Season”, Jimmy Fallon Show, 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjf8F3v18DY