Tag Archives: George Harrison

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

The Beatles - 1961 w/Pete Best on Drums

On this day, 1957, The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool and became the most famous live music venue in the U.K., and the home of The Beatles.

In its heyday The Cavern hosted some of the biggest acts of the generation  including The Rolling StonesThe YardbirdsThe KinksElton John,QueenThe Who and John Lee Hooker.

The club closed in March 1973, and was filled in during construction work on the underground rail loop. Jan Akkerman with Dutch group Focus were the last to play The Cavern a few days before the club was shut down in May 1973.

In April 1984 what remained of the club was taken over by footballer Tommy Smith in association with Royal Life. It was re-built with many of the same bricks that had been used in the original club. In 1989 the club failed under massive financial pressures and closed for 18 months.)

In 1991, The Cavern reopened and has become a world-famous tourist spot. The club functions primarily as a live music venue. The music policy varies from ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s classic pop music to indie, rock and modern chart music.

On 14 December 1999, former Beatle Paul McCartney returned to the New Cavern Club stage to play his last gig of 1999 publicising his new album, Run Devil Run. The Cavern Club is still open as one of the UK’s most famous venues. It has around 40 live bands performing every week; both tribute and original bands, although the majority perform their own material. The back room of the Cavern is the most frequently used location for live bands and this mainly plays host to young up-and-coming groups playing original material.

The Cavern Club

Source: Wikipedia

Rock and Roll Saturday – “The White Album”

Week three on a trip through my album collection.

This retrospective had to include “The Beatles”, widely known simply as the white album.

The first time I heard The White Album (WA) I was blown away by the subtle mastery the Fab Four pulled off. From the simple white sleeve to the collection found on the enclosed double album set, this was as close to musical nirvana I’d ever been.

“On this album we rid ourselves of the self-conscious bit. We were doing what we were doing earlier on, but with a better knowledge and technique of recording. Quite a few of the tracks are just straight takes of us playing. “Yer Blues” was recorded in a smaller room just for a change from the big studio, we just did it. And “I will”, “Julia”, and all them, it’s just us singing like that. But the technique makes it a bit better than one of us just singing in the early days. It’s just we know the technique of recording better.

“If we did the first album again, with “Twist and Shout” and all those things on, it would be the same, you know. But we sound more like we sounded then, on this record, than we do on the first record. You know, people who heard us in Liverpool and Hamburg, before we turned into a mass scream — that’s how we played, just heavy rock. But when it was put down on the early records, there was never enough bass in it, the guitar solo never came through, and generally we just didn’t know about recording then. So now we know how to record a bit.”

— Maurice Hindle‘s 1968 interview with John Lennon

The White Album released in November 1968 to extreme accolade. It was their first album in over 18 months and the Beatle hungry public was quickly whipped into a frothy Beatle frenzy. WA shot up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Considering the meteoric success of their previous album,  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, expectations were high. The WA debuted at #1 in the U.K on December 1, 1968 and held the top spot for a total of eight weeks. WA spent 24 weeks on the UK charts, far less than the more than 200 weeks for Sgt. Pepper.

On the America side of the ocean, WA debuted at 11, climbed to #2 and finally #1 in the third week, staying there for a total of nine. In all WA spent 155 weeks on the Billboard 200The WA is The Beatles’ best-selling album at 19-times platinum and the tenth-best-selling album of all time in the U.S. (Each sale is counted as two sales, because The Beatles is a double record set.)

The trademark all white sleeve with the simple embossing and serial number might be one of the more brilliant album designs in history. Considering the success of Sgt. Peppers with it’s iconic cover, the designer,  notable pop artist Richard Hamilton, chose the all white for it’s simplicity rather than to try to one-up the flair of Sgt. Peppers.

The white sleeve was not the original plan. A painting of the band by “Patrick” (John Byrne) was under consideration to be used as the album’s cover. The piece was later used for the sleeve of the compilation album The Beatles’ Ballads, released in 1980.

“If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest songwriters since Schubert, then … [the album The Beatles] … should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making…”

Tony Palmer, in The Observer

WA sits at #10 on the Rolling Stones top 500 albums of all time. (Rubber Soul sits in #5, Revolver #3, and Sgt. Peppers claims the #1 spot.)

Side one
# Title Lead vocals 
1. Back in the U.S.S.R. McCartney 2:43
2. Dear Prudence Lennon 3:56
3. Glass Onion Lennon 2:17
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da McCartney 3:08
5. Wild Honey Pie McCartney 0:52
6. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill     Lennon 3:14
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps Harrison 4:45
8. Happiness Is a Warm Gun Lennon 2:43
Side two
Title Lead vocals
1. Martha My Dear McCartney 2:28
2. I’m So Tired Lennon 2:03
3. Blackbird McCartney 2:18
4. Piggies” (Harrison) Harrison 2:04
5. Rocky Raccoon McCartney 3:33
6. Don’t Pass Me By  (Richard Starkey) Starr 3:51
7. Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? McCartney 1:41
8. I Will McCartney 1:46
9. Julia Lennon 2:54
Side three
Title Lead vocals
1. Birthday McCartney/Lennon 2:42
2. Yer Blues Lennon 4:01
3. Mother Nature’s Son McCartney 2:48
4. Everybody’s Got Something to
Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Lennon 2:24
5. Sexy Sadie Lennon 3:15
6. Helter Skelter McCartney 4:29
7. Long, Long, Long (Harrison) Harrison 3:04
Side four
Title Lead vocals
1. Revolution 1 Lennon 4:15
2. Honey Pie McCartney 2:41
3. Savoy Truffle (George Harrison)   Harrison 2:54
4. Cry Baby Cry Lennon/McCartney 3:02
5. Revolution 9 Speaking – Lennon,
Harrison & Yoko Ono
6. Good Night Starr 3:11