Friday, 8 April 2011

Artifacts I: The Early Years (1958-1963)

Hello guys, I recently discovered this great series of bootleg recordings called Artifacts. It is a three part series, with 5 CDs in each. Artifacts I and II both contains songs from The Beatles era, while Artifacts III contains bootleg recordings from the solo years of our heroes from Liverpool.
So, these Artifacts CDs will be the context of my next couple of blogs. Today we'll start from the beginning; Artifacts I: The Early Years.

01 - That'll Be The Day (As The Quarry Men)
02 - The One After 909 - Live Hamburg
03 - I'll Follow The Sun - Live Hamburg
04 - Matchbox - Live Hamburg
05 - Thinking Of Linking - Live Hamburg
06 - The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise - Live
07 - Catswalk - Caver Club Rehearsals
08 - The One After 909 - Cavern Club Rehearsals
09 - I Saw Her Standing There - Cavern Club Rehear
10 - Like Dreamers Do - Decca Demo
11 - Hello Little Girl - Decca Demo
12 - Some Other Guy - Live Cavern Club
13 - How Do You Do It
14 - A Taste Of Honey - Granada TV
15 - I Saw Her Standing There - Take 2
16 - There's A Place - Takes 3 & 4
17 - Misery - Takes 1 Thru 6
18 - From Me To You - Takes 1 & 2
19 - Please Please Me - BBC Saturdays Club
20 - Long Tall Sally - BBC Saturdays Club
21 - Money - BBC Pop Goes The Beatles
22 - I'll Be On My Way - BBC Side By Side
23 - I'm In Love - Lennon Demo
24 - Bad To Me - Lennon Demo
25 - Hold Me Tight - Takes 25 & 26
26 - Don't Bother Me - Take 10
27 - Roll Over Beethoven She Loves You - Live
28 - Twist And Shout - Live Royal Variety Show
29 - On Moonlight Bay - Morecambe And Wise Show

I'll just dot down a few lines about the tracks, which I find to be the most interesting.
Our first is That'll Be The Day, a Buddy Holly song. This song was recorded while they still played under the name of The Quarry Men. The name comes from Quarry Bank High School, the school which Lennon and most of the other group members attended. It wasn't until August 1960 they setteled for The Beatles. 
We have two performances of One After 909, a Cavern Club rehearsal session and one from a Hamburg gig. One After 909 is one of the earlier Lennon/McCartney songs, but it wasn't recorded until the Let It Be Sessions of 1969, for the Let It Be album, because they found the lyrics too simple (I read somewhere that they had a couple of takes on it for their second album With The Beatles)
We move on to How Do You Do It. A song written by English songwriter Mitch Murray was turned down by The Beatles in in favour for Please Please Me. George Martin then gave the song to Gerry & the Pacemakers, another band he was manager for at the time, whose career was lunched to number 1 on the UK single charts with this song.
The second-last track, Twist And Shout, contains the famous Lennon quote: "For those of you in the cheap seats I'd like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewellery!"

We also find a couple of takes from the Please Please Me session, the single-day session in which their first album was recorded. Here we find I Saw Her Standing There, Misery and There's a Place.
The Decca demos has been covered in a previous post, so check that out if you feel like it.

Download link:

This album is essentially a short lesson in the early history of The Beatles and their rise to fame: We see the band starting off as The Quarry men recording the That'll be the day demo, play a lot of live shows in Hamburg and Liverpool's Cavern Club, eventually getting their record deal (after the failed Decca Audition), becoming increasingly popular by going on the radio and TV, and obviously keep the touring up.

This rise to fame leads naturally into the content of the upcoming post, which includes
The Beatles pretty much at the height of their popularity during the fan-frenzy of Beatlemania.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for all the comments you guys post every time I post something, great to have your support :)

Monday, 21 March 2011

50 Years Anniversary For The Beatles "First" Cavern Club Gig

Today is March 21, a date which marks The Beatles' first real concert at the Cavern Club. Now you might wonder why the italic on real, well it's a bit complicated and a bit about how one define a concert. If you do a Google search for "The Beatles first cavern club concert", March 21 isn't your first result.

                                                       The Beatles at the Cavern                                                        

Let's jump a couple of hours back, to this morning, when my old man comes rushing into my room and tells me how he "just heard on the radio that this day marks the 50 years anniversary for The Beatles preforming on The Cavern. And how come he hear this kind of stuff on national radio first, and not on my blog?"

Well I obviously can't have this one hanging on me, national radio better than my blog? No thanks, so
when I get home from work I start my little research on the topic, by checking a couple of Beatles books. Here's the references for the date, of the first Cavern Club concert, I found:
"something [entering the stage] the Beatles would do 275 times between 9 February 1961 and their final performance there on 3 August 1963"
-Barry Miles' Paul McCartney - Many Years From Now (1997) (p 80)
Another source that supports the February 9 is the time-line in Ian MacDonald's Revolution In The Head (1994).
Checking a third Beatles book, Cynthia Lennon's John (2005), is finnally giving me the date I've been looking for: March 21! But now there are two against one on the whole first concert date thing. Now if you are like me you'll check Wikipedia for this kind of stuff, and I did, but Wikipedia claims that the first Beatles Cavern concert was on February 21.
At this point I'm thinking that February 9 is the right date, because I also found a couple of articles that celebrated this as the 50 year anniversary, this is when I stumble on this article, which in one paragraph explains everything:
Jon Keats, of the Cavern, says: “The appearance on February 9 was an unadvertised session, and their first advertised lunchtime appearance was on February 21. Their first evening show was March 21.

Setting a few bullets to clear it up once for all:
  • February 9 was the first time they played on the Cavern, from what I understand the Cavern had some kind of lunch hour concert and on Februrary 9 1961 The Beatles played in that lunch hour gig, but "the gig wasn't publicised", to quote the article again.
  • The February 21 gig was another of these lunch hour gigs, and as far as I understand it was publicised who would play, unlike the Feb 9 one.
  •  The March 21 gig was the first evening concert, quoting Wikipedia here: "Tuesday has become "Bluegenes guest night", and tonight's event features Dale Walker & the Jay Walkers, the Remo Four and the Beatles"
For those who don't know, in early 1961 the Cavern was a jazz club, so rock and roll bands were only allowed in lunch hour and apparently Bluesgenes guest night.
So today is the 50 year anniversary for the first evening concert, but I would still point towards February 9 as the first Cavern Club gig, even if it was unofficial.

Hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed learning and sharing this knowledge, which was something new to me.