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#askNat – concerning The Beatles Christmas Shows of 1963-64

For this time around on #askNat I’ve pulled up another email message from Phil Boylett in the U.K. who has this to say:

Hi Nat. Many thanks for answering my question about Billy Preston’s involvement in the Abbey Road album a little while ago. My new questions concerns the special Christmas shows that The Beatles were made to take part in by Brian Epstein in December 1963 and 1964. Are there any known recordings or film footage of either of these shows available? Virtually everything by The Beatles has been recorded by someone and as there were numerous performances, I can’t believe there isn’t anything from these shows available on bootleg? Can you give me any help with this? Many thanks Nat.

Hello Phil and thanks for writing in again. The Beatles Christmas Show was a stage production that was conceived entirely by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.


The Beatles in a comedy skit for The Beatles Christmas Show in December 1963.

The Beatles in a comedy skit for The Beatles Christmas Show in December 1963.


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Next in line for Paul McCartney’s Archive Collection – Venus and Mars & Wings At The Speed Of Sound

On June 17th, 2014 the next two installments in the remaster series The Paul McCartney Archive Collection will be arriving. Continuing with the Wings period in the seventies, Concord Music Group will issue both the 1975 album Venus And Mars (click here for original track listing) and the 1976 album Wings At The Speed Of Sound (click here for original track listing). As before, there will be special and deluxe packaging editions of the sets available in both vinyl, CD and digital formats. In the seventies these were both single-disc LPs that preceded the triple-LP set Wings Over America that was the last to receive the Archive Collection treatment back in May 2013.


Venus And Mars

Venus And Mars cover art (click to enlarge)

Wings At The Speed Of Sound

Wings At The Speed Of Sound cover art (click to enlarge)


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Jonathan Meine discusses OxTango Music’s Star Club Remasters


OxTango Music is releasing a newly-remastered 2-CD set of The Beatles recordings made at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany in December, 1962. The sound of what was originally low-fidelity recordings made while testing the PA system at the venue is improved to a point that I personally never thought possible. I spoke on the phone with Jonathan Meine of OxTango for about 20 minutes about the details of the project and the releases of the Star Club recordings in general over the years. I decided some background info may be helpful before hearing our talk but if you’re already familiar with the Hamburg recordings, feel free to skip this and scroll down the page to play our discussion right away.

Back to Hamburg

The recordings of The Beatles made at Hamburg Germany’s Star Club in December 1962 have a long and convoluted history. Having made four previous trips to Hamburg’s club circuit over the previous two years, The Beatles now had a recording contract with EMI, a top twenty hit single back in the U.K. called “Love Me Do,” and had even recorded a follow-up single that they were very excited about called “Please Please Me.” They had good reason to be excited because their producer George Martin had predicted it would top the charts. It was scheduled for release in only a couple of weeks so, needless to say, The Beatles were more focused on getting back to London and beginning a professional recording career than having to “mach shau” in German clubs. Nevertheless, the recordings made in Hamburg at this time are a highly significant piece of their history since this was the last time to catch the Beatles before they reached the status of national stars and the only account of any of their pre-fame stints from the Reeperbahn’s “red light” district.


2014 OxTango 2-CD collection of 34 newly remastered Star Club recordings by The Beatles including complete version of Red Hot

2014 OxTango 2-CD collection of 34 newly remastered Star Club recordings by The Beatles including complete version of Red Hot


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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “On The Wings Of A Nightingale” (demo)

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity of the Week. On January 3, 2014, Phil Everly of Everly Brothers fame died of complications with emphysema and bronchitis just before turning 75 years old. The Everly Brothers, consisting of Phil and his brother Don got their big break as musicians during the same year that a 16-year old John Lennon met 15-year old Paul McCartney. It was 1957 when The Everlys’ recording of “Bye Bye Love” went top 10 in the U.K. (#6 in Record Retailer) and the U.S (#2 in Billboard). By the time their follow up single “Wake Up Little Susie” topped the U.S charts and made it to #2 in the U.K., Paul had joined John’s band, The Quarrymen and as the two began to collaborate, both were taken in by the steel-string guitar playing and close harmony vocals of this new American country-influenced rock ‘n’ roll duo.


Phil Everly (left) and Paul McCartney

Phil Everly (left) and Paul McCartney


Shortly after the death of Phil, Paul McCartney wrote this on his website:

Phil Everly was one of my great heroes. With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don. Years later when I finally met Phil, I was completely starstruck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul. I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life.

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Please join me, Happy Nat, on Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles this weekend

Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast With The Beatles

Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles

Dear Beatle-people,

I’m hoping you can join me this weekend on Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles. If you haven’t caught Dennis’ show before then I definitely encourage you to check it out. It’s an award-winning weekly radio show that’s been around since 1991 and currently heard on dozens of stations in North America, the U.K., Germany, Sweden and New Zealand. If you truly love The Beatles, you’ll love his show.

I’m having a little listening party with Dennis this upcoming weekend (March 22-23, 2014) for a celebration of the 51st birthday of The Beatles’ first LP Please Please Me. I’ll round up a few rare mixes from that groundbreaking debut and of course we’ll discuss a bit about each track along the way. Dennis also plans to play a part of his most recent interview with comedian David Brenner who passed away last weekend. It promises to be an informative show and lots of fun so I’m hoping you can be there.

One easy way to tune in is from the Fab4Radio player in the lower part of the right sidebar here on TheBeatlesRarity.com (just look to your right and scroll down below the SHOUTcast logo). Click the play button at 10am ET/7am PT on Saturday morning (Mar. 22, 2014) or at 10am ET/7am PT on Sunday morning (Mar. 23, 2014). You can also hear it directly from Fab4Radio.com at the same times. If that’s too early, it also comes on on Beatlesarama.com at 2pm ET/11am PT on Saturday (Mar. 22, 2014). For more on Dennis’ show check out the Breakfast With The Beatles website at www.beatlesradioshow.com. There are also more alternate listening times, a listing of many other stations to catch the show and even instructions on how to listen to it via podcast at a time convenient for you.

I’ve been a fan of Breakfast With The Beatles for a few years now and can’t tell you how happy I am to be Dennis’ guest again this weekend. The show is two hours long though some stations only play the first hour. Back in September 2010, shortly after his monumental 1000th show, I interviewed Dennis via phone on TheBeatlesRarity.com. You can catch a recording of that interview here if you like.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Nat
For those of us who like our Beatles rare…

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#askNat – concerning Sir George Martin’s career in the music industry

For this week on #askNat we are hearing from Jacob Kemp in Santa Barbara, CA who has sent in this message:

I was wondering about George Martin and his producing career post-Beatles. Who else did he work with? Any solo Beatles work? How involved was he in the Anthology and 2009 remaster releases? Didn’t he re-negotiate his contract with EMI during his time with the Beatles? Didn’t he also help the Beatles re-negotiate their contract with EMI? Did he have a contract with Apple Records? I’m curious to learn more about the (5th Beatle) Maestro.

Cheers Nat!

A good topic indeed Jacob. George Martin worked with EMI, over a decade before even meeting The Beatles, having started in 1950 at the young age of 24 working as an assistant to Oscar Preuss. Oscar was the head of the EMI subsidiary label Parlophone. When Preuss retired in 1955, George took over as the head of Parlophone, which continued to specialize in classical, jazz, comedy and middle-of-the-road music.


(L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Martin, 1967

(L-R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Martin in the studio, 1967


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