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This year marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ initial trip to our side of the pond and their first ever North American tour. If you didn’t know this, you must have been in hibernation back in February. The 1964 summer tour would eventually include an unlikely stop in Philadelphia on September 2 that almost didn’t happen. Thanks to a relentless Philly rock n’ roll radio personality and some tricky planning, it did. Continue reading →
Before taking the TLA stage last week, Josh Benus and Matt Kass of Philly’s own Modern Inventors stopped by the XPN studio for our weekly Like A Version segment. The guys’ chat with host Eric Schuman inevitably led into a conversation about The Beatles, and Josh and Matt launched into a rousing take on “All You Need Is Love.” Listen especially for Matt’s cowboy-eqsue guitar twang on the final chord.
OhBree, the arty Philadelphia band with a love of brass, have released possibly the most punk version of “I am the Walrus” to date. While the cover retains the same lyrics and beat, the background music has been imbued with a new sense of energy and urgency. In part, this is due to the raw delivery of the original lyrics. Listen to the cover below.
Previously, OhBree released an album of covers which include Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”. While these covers slow down the original song, the cover of “I am The Walrus” is sped up. In April, the band released their latest album, Death by Broomstick. They also played at Milkboy with Thee Idea Men earlier this week, and headline Kung Fu Necktie on Friday night June 6th. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion with a special Beatles exhibit that focuses on the publishing angle of the band’s legacy. Curated by the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles in Text and Image will display paperback books, magazines, postcards and other non-musical objects from February 24th through August 11th. It’s an interesting point of view to take of the band that went on from that first week in America to become a major influence in music, fashion and film, as Kislak Center director David McKnight explains:
Since it’s very unusual to see Beatles exhibitions that don’t revolve around memorabilia, nostalgia, or non-printed materials, I thought this exhibition could be an interesting opportunity to illustrate how The Beatles have become a part of print culture.
Penn Libraries has also organized a symposium to supplement the exhibit, which will open on February 27th with the book launch for Jude Southerland Kessler‘s John Lennon bio-novel She Loves You, and continue through March 1st with presentations by Larry Kane (Beatles expert and author), Al Sussman (editor of Beatlefan Magazine) and Anthony DeCurtis (editor at Rolling Stone).
More information on the exhibit, symposium and other Beatles-related events taking place this year can be found on the Penn Libraries website.
Beatles Reimagined is a great new compilation out today via Community Music Group, and it features imaginative reworkings of Fab Four classicas, from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros doing their jangly Godspell thing with “I Saw Her Standing There” (listen to that one here via Rolling Stone), to a delicate folk take on “All My Loving” by The Well Pennies, to Philadelphia’s own Night Panther turning “I Wanna Be Your Man.” By setting the chords and lyrics to sleek beats and disco-funk instrumentation, the Panther crew not only show off their own skill as interpreters, but also the versatility of the Beatles songwriting. These are bones of songs that can sound like just about anything, as the comp demonstrates. Get more information and order your copy of Beatles Reimagined here.
With the announcement of his brand new song called “New” and a forthcoming album of the same name, Sir Paul McCartney called WXPN today for an interview with mid-day show host Helen Leicht; you can listen to an archive of the entire interview below.
Their conversation began by talking about New, which will see a U.S. release on Concord Records on Tuesday, October 15th.
McCartney recorded the new album with a team of heavy-hitting producers: Paul Epworth (known for his work with pop sensation Adele), Ethan Johns (he’s recorded Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne and Kings of Leon), Mark Ronson (popular for his work with Amy Winehouse as well as his solo albums) and Giles Martin (who staged The Beatles‘ Love show). As McCartney explained in the interview:
“The idea was to go do one track for each one and decide who would be the best for the album. I ended up falling for them all. We had such a good time in different ways. Ethan would be a little more acoustically leaning, Mark would be a little more R&B. They each had a different approach, so I ended up working with them all.”
Conversation turned to songwriting in general, and what keeps him at it. McCartney called it “an eternal fascination.”
“It really is just down to the fact that I love it. … If you said to me now that, okay, this afternoon, you’re just going to sit down and write a song. That wouldn’t depress me or frighten me, that would really excite me. I’d go ‘Oh, yeah, great great great.’And then taking it into a recording studio…and eventually you take it out on the road, and you play it for real people. That is the ultimate excitement. If you look at that whole line of stuff, it’s pretty cool.”
On revisiting his Beatles-era music when performing live, McCartney likened it to being somebody else reviewing a young man’s work. “I’m listening to myself as a 24 year old. As I’m singing the songs, I’m reviewing the lyrics and thinking ‘This kid wasn’t bad!’” Some moments, like “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” are downright challenging (“It’s contrapuntal, man!”). When Leicht pointed out that today is the anniversary of The Beatles’ final show in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, McCartney began to reminisce, but with a footing in the present.
“It is great to look at the old newsreels. You go, oh my God, is that really me? Obviously it was another time, and yes, we were younger. It was very exciting in its own way. The 60s were very exciting times, and I meet a lot of younger people who say ‘Wow, I wish I’d been there.’ I say ‘Well, no, don’t wish that, just be here now and enjoy this one, because there’s plenty of cool stuff going on now.’”
Listen to Leicht’s interview with Paul McCartney in its entirety in the player below. To hear his new single “New,” go here.
The newly restored Yellow Submarine is being shown at International House Philadelphia on Friday, June 15th and Saturday, June 16th. Go here for tickets and more information. Long out of print, Yellow Submarine was originally released in 1968. Rather than using conputers in the process, the film was restored frame-by-frame and includes footage that was not in the original release. Watch the trailer below.
Down The Abbey Road, a “symphonic celebration of The Beatles’ masterwork commissioned by The Mann,” will take place on June 30th at the outdoor Fairmount Park venue. The show is an edition of PECO Pops, a concert series presented by the energy company. The evening will feature The Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as Joan Osborne, Rodney Crowell, and James Nash and the Nashvillains.
A “re-imagining of The Beatles,” the Thursday night show will highlight the talents from multiple generations. Performing a version of the final recording by the group who inevitably influenced the music they’ve created, contemporary artists such as 7-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne and Grammy-award winner Rodney Crowell will be present on stage, as will Americana outfit James Nash and the Nashvillains. This is not to forget featured performers The Philadelphia Orchestra, who will be conducted by Lucas Richman.
Tickets for Down The Abbey Road are $19.50 (lawn seating), $34.50, and $49.50. When purchased online or by phone, a service charge of at least $7.50 per ticket applies. Tickets are available at TicketPhiladelphia.org, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 745-3000. Doors to the concert open at 6pm, show time is 8pm, and it is all-ages. For all other information, visit the Mann Center’s page for the event. —Claire Fishkow