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Beatles on Ukulele Project Comes to L.A. for Benefit Concert

Posted by Billy Gil, April 9, 2013 04:10pm | Post a Comment

Record producer and musician Roger Greenawalt is going to play 50 Beatles songs in condensed format on the ukulele at Los Globos in Silver Lake Thursday night as part of a benefit for J/P Haitian Relief Organization.

The April 11 concert will be a smaller, three-hour version of the project by Greenawalt, who has worked in the past with such artists as Iggy Pop, Rufus Wainwright and Nellie McKay. Greenawalt will be joined by guests as a backing band and as vocalists, including members of Queens of the Stone Age, Circle Jerks and more.

Greenawalt’s complete Beatles on Ukulele show is a New York City and SXSW institution, as he performs 185 Beatles songs in 24 hours. Find out more about Greenawalt’s performances here. Find out more about Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which is dedicated to saving lives and bringing sustainable programs to the Haitian people, here.

Check out the event on Facebook, and watch a video of “I Saw Her Standing There” performed at last year’s SXSW. The show is $15, starts at 8 p.m. Get tickets here.

John Lennon: Love Songs

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2013 10:20am | Post a Comment

John Lennon "Oh My Love"

When you think about it nearly every pop song is about love in some form or another. Most songs on the topic are either about celebrating being in love or alternately mourning falling out of love and wanting to get back there. Of the literally millions of songs on love I think John Lennon wrote and recorded some of the most touching and poignant ones - two of which I have included here on this Valentine's Day. Above is "Oh My Love" with Lennon on piano and George Harrison joining him on guitar. The song was written by John Lennon with Yoko Ono and first appeared in 1971 on Lennon's album Imagine on which George Harrison contributed to several songs in addition to this one. "Oh My Love" can also be found on Wonsaponatime: Selections from Lennon Anthology 

Then below is the simple but powerful Lennon song "Love" (with lyrics in the video) that was first released on the 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. As anyone who has that album knows the piano part at the beginning (and end) is really quiet but builds in volume. So you will notice that the version below is the later remix of the song with the sound levels more equalized on these two parts. The posthumous version of "Love" below appeared a dozen years after the initial release on the 1982 compilation The John Lennon Collection, and later appeared on such other collections as the John Lennon Anthology box set.

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Jimmy O'Neill - LA Radio DJ & Host of Shingdig! - Dies

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2013 08:29am | Post a Comment

Jimmy O'Neill hosted short-lived 60's TV show Shingdig!

As reported by the LA Times Jimmy O'Neill, one time top rated Los Angeles radio deejay and famed host of early days rock'n'roll TV show Shindig!, died on Friday last at his West Hollywood home following medical issues that included diabetes and heart problems. He was 73 years of age.  When KRLA AM switched from country and western to rock formats in 1959 the first DJ heard on their airwaves was Jimmy O'Neill. Still in his late teens he was also the youngest DJ at the station. The phenomenally successful rock radio station helped propel O'Neill into television as host of the 1960's rock'N'roll show TV show Shindig!. Although it only ran for one year and three months on ABC TV it included in its relatively short lifespan such performing guests as The Beatles (see video below in which the Hollywood show based producers traveled to the UK to record), the Rolling Stones, Jackie WilsonBobby ShermanSonny & Cher (see video above), and the Righteous Brothers, to name but a sprinkling of its many impressive musical guests. Read the full report by the LA Times' Elaine Woo here.

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Happy (belated) birthday, Joe Orton

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 2, 2013 05:14pm | Post a Comment

Yesterday, had he not died in 1967, would've been the 79th birthday of my favorite, English, comic playwright, Joe Orton (provided he didn't pass away for some other reason in the intermediate years).


Saffron Lane council estate being built in 1927

John Kingsley "Joe" Orton was born 1 January in Leicester to William A Orton and Elsie M Orton (nėe Bentley). Joe's father worked as a gardener for the Leicester County Borough Council whilst his mom was in footwear until tuberculosis (and the subsequent removal of a lung) led to an early retirement. When Joe was two his family moved from Clarendon Park to the Saffron Lane council estate where the family was soon rounded out by the addition of Douglas, Marilyn, and Leonie.

After several serious bouts of asthma, Orton left school and took a position as a junior clerk making £3 a week in 1947. Over the next couple of years he developed an interest in improving his physical state and in theater. In pursuit of the former he took up body building, in pursuit of the former he joined several dramatic societies and local, amateur productions. He also wished to continue his education and began attending Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London on scholarship in 1951.

At school Orton met a well-off aspiring writer, Kenneth Halliwell. The two fell in love and moved in together, sharing a flat in West Hampstead flat with two other students. After graduation, Orton worked for a stint as an assistant stage manager in Ipswich whilst Halliwell's work to him to Llandudno, Wales. When they both returned to London, they collaborated on several novels in imitation of Ronald Firbank. In 1957, when their last collaboration, The last days of Sodom was just as unpublished as their previous works, they decided to work solo. Orton wrote his first play, He wrote his first play, Fred and Madge, and his last novel, The vision of Gombold Proval, in 1959.



The couple lived off Halliwell's shrinking inheritance, unemployment and occasionally worked proper jobs to afford a small flat in Islington (N1, Noel Road, 25). During this period they also borrowed books from the local library and altered the dust jacket art and blurbs on more than 70. They were caught in 1962 and the incident was reported in the Daily Mirror in an article titled, hilariously, "Gorilla in the roses." Their sentence was a fine of £262 and a six month stint in prison. Ironically, today some of the book covers (some of which are very much in the vein of subversive surrealist collage) are exhibited in the Islington Museum



Orton's was wit was darkened and honed by his harsh treatment for his and Halliwell's prank and when he was released his writing had an increased sense of urgency. In 1963, the BBC paid him for The ruffian on the stair, which was broadcast the following August. By then, Entertaining Mr. Sloane had premiered to a mixture of rave reviews and moral outrage -- some of which was fanned by Orton, who would sometimes write letters to publications under the guise of the easily-scandalized alter egos, including Edna Welthorpe.

His next play, Loot, was rushed into production to capitalize on Orton's growing fame and received mixed reviews (and re-workings). What the butler saw followed, along with other plays, and even a screenplay for a Beatles film, titled Up against it. Some works, such as The good and faithful servant and Funeral games aired as teleplays on ITV.

As Orton was celebrated for and propelled by his success, Halliwell plunged into deep depression, which was likely exacerbated by his glaring and total lack thereof. There was also word that Orton had found a new boyfriend and was planning on leaving Halliwell. On August 1967, Kenneth Halliwell beat Orton to death with nine hammer blows to the head before fatally overdosing on 22 pentobarbital tablets washed down with the syrupy juice of canned grapefruit. Halliwell left a note that his actions would be explained by reading Orton's diary. Their bodies were discovered by a chauffeur, who'd come around to take Orton to a meeting with Richard Lester, director of The Beatles' films. Orton was cremated and at the service, the great Harold Pinter read the eulogy and a recording of "A day in the life" played.




In 1978, John Lahr wrote a biography of Joe Orton titled Prick up your ears. In 1987 it was adapted into a great Stephen Frears-directed film starring Gary Oldman as Orton and Alfred Molina as Halliwell. The phrase, "prick up your ears," had originally been conceived by Orton as "prick up your erse" as an unpublishable title. In the Adam & the Ants song, "The Magnificent Five," Ant sang "Long ago in London town/A man called Ant sat deeply sighing/He was wondering/Which side of the fence he was on/Prick up your ears." In the 1990s, someone once remarked that Pulp's Jarvis Cocker was a mix of Joe Orton and Alan Bennett.



Great film, mildly unpleasant trailer for the US release on VHS

Although Orton's humor is sometimes compared to that of Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, the two authors' tones are recognizably different enough to warrant the existence of both "Wildean" and "Ortonesque" as non-interchangeable terms.  


Orton Square, Leicester with the Curve Theatre and Athena (source: Steve Cadman)

In Leicester, a former industrial area has been redeveloped as a cultural quarter. The pedestrian concourse in front of the Curve Theatre opened as "Orton Square" in 2008.


Orton and Halliwell's former residence, marked by a circular plaque between the windows


*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

Remastered Beatles Catalog Releasing on Vinyl Nov. 13

Posted by Billy Gil, November 7, 2012 04:40pm | Post a Comment

The BeatlesAll 14 albums by The Beatles will be released in remastered stereo on vinyl Tuesday, November 13, following their previous release on CD (remember Beatles Day 9/9/09?) and digitally.

The 12 original UK albums, plus Magical Mystery Tour and B-sides collection Past Masters Volumes One & Two, will be released on vinyl and will include such goodies as a reproduction of the White Album poster. Additionally, a limited-edition box set includes every album and a hardbound book by radio producer Kevin Howlett, with a chapter on each album’s creation and remastering, as well as photographs from across the band’s career.

These vinyl releases mark the first time that The Beatles’ first four albums will be available in stereo on vinyl in North America. Watch for the mono vinyl releases coming in 2013. Each record is available for $22.98, except for Past Masters, The White Album and the box set. Links to preorder each of the releases are below:

 

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Beatles for Sale

With the Beatles

Abbey Road

Let it Be

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