Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beatles fan collects every little thing

The Kansas City Star

You’re not putting the porno in the paper are you?”

The comment, by the collector’s wife, pipes into the basement from upstairs. She’s joking, kind of.

Her husband has amassed one of the most comprehensive privately owned collections of Beatles paraphernalia. He keeps it in the basement of their Kansas City-area home. The ever-expanding bounty is an ongoing source of jovial consternation.

“The porno” is a reference to a prized item among his thousands — a framed line drawing by John Lennon.

Lennon, who was murdered 28 years ago today, produced a collection of intimate portraits of himself and wife, Yoko Ono, in the 1960s. They were confiscated by Scotland Yard (because of the sexual content).

The piece the collector owns is tucked into a corner of the basement, an attempt to hide it from their two children (though neither husband nor wife thinks they’ve been successful).

Because the memorabilia is valuable — priceless to Beatles fans — the location of this stash and the collector’s identity must remain secret. And you would never guess by driving by their split-level suburban home.

Along one basement wall are shelves with hundreds of albums, including the recalled “Yesterday and Today” album. The original cover depicted the Beatles in butcher smocks with raw meat and headless baby dolls. There is a complete set of the U.S.-issued sleeves for all the albums, the ones with pictures.

There is a framed tin template from which the highly recognizable Apple Records labels were stamped. Uncut Apple labels, unstamped Apple labels. Pictures, jigsaw puzzles, books, toys and lots of Beatles dolls — solid plastic, hollow and of cloth.

One-inch-square swatches of bed sheets, each slept on by a Beatle. Colgate-Palmolive soap dispensers of Ringo and Paul. George and John didn’t get one.

The artist’s original line drawings from the “Yellow Submarine” movie, bought from a London-based art dealer.

“Here’s something you haven’t seen.” Now he is rummaging through one of the many plastic tubs in the room.

This time, he’s digging out something not from a Beatle, but from the man who made the Beatles a household name in the U.S., Ed Sullivan. It’s a first-class menu from a 1964 Pan Am flight. A note inside, to the stewardess, was written and autographed by Sullivan.

The collection began with a gift from his mother, a 45 record of “Hey Jude.” He was 4. His mother had lived in London and liked the Beatles’ music.

“I was the easiest person to shop for after that,” he says.

Layered into the many scrapbooks are 1970s newspaper ads. On each, he checked off which albums he already had, which ones he desired as gifts.

By the time he was about 10, he had amassed quite a collection. Then one fateful day, he entered Caper’s Corner record store and spotted the imports section, releases from overseas with completely different covers and labels. A new world of Beatles items had just been marked.

“Now it makes me crazy when I see something in a book or a magazine that I don’t have,” he says.

“Crazy, that’s a good word, like obsessive,” his wife says with a smile.

But asking why someone would like the Beatles this much is throwing a red flag to your inability to comprehend such loyalty.

“It’s almost irritating to be asked,” he says.

My bad.

Ditto for asking “why?” to his favorite Beatle and song — “George Harrison” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Some items he dislikes. Like the plastic, 2-foot-tall doll of Lennon looking a little too groovy.

Same for the Lennon baby clothes and the Converse sneakers with Lennon’s drawings stamped on them. “All of that commercialism doesn’t set well with me,” he says.

This is a clue, beyond simply loving the music, to what draws him to the Beatles.

He retells the story of Paul McCartney being arrested in Japan on pot possession charges and of Sen. Strom Thurmond’s attempt to deport the anti-war Lennon.

“The Republicans hated them,” he says. “They had all the right enemies.”

Occasionally, he attends Beatles conventions.

“It’s kind of nice to be around a bunch of adults who enjoy collecting,” he said. “But then you see the 50- and 60-year-olds trying to dress like the Beatles and use affected British accents and you know they are really from a Des Moines suburb. It’s kind of alarming, even for me.”

His wife is laughing, grateful that he draws the line somewhere.

SOURCE: http://www.kansascity.com

Elder Artists are Receiving a Fresh Coat of Wax

By theimmovableforce

Capitol/EMI part of major record companies reissuing classics on vinyl and to major retailers

Nostalgia and discovery. That’s the simple answer for Capitol/EMI Record’s “From the Capitol Vaults” series that began just a few months ago.

A&R and Creative Vice President Jane Ventom says it’s an answer to a resurgence brought on by two separate generations.

“There are the Baby Boomers who are revisiting for nostalgia purposes,” she says, “And it’s the iPod generation discovering it.”

“From the Capitol Vault” is a series of repressed vinyl records. There are older re-issues by bands like The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix, and contemporary pressings by bands like Radiohead and Coldplay.

In a market that is fleeting in CD sales, and consistently rising in digital sales, vinyl would seem like the least likely medium for a a major label to invest in.

Ventom says it’s not just the consumers’ demand, but the major distributors that are wanting to stock the units, not to mention an increase in record player sales.

When walking into Barnes and Noble and Best Buy locations, there’s a greater possibility now of a consumer finding a twelve-inch piece of wax along side a silver disc, less than half its older brother’s size.


In the past ten years, one would think the old medium of twelve-inch grooved wax would become obsolete to an electronic box that holds up to a 100,000 songs, and can be taken anywhere - but the numbers don’t lie.

In 2006, the Year to Date (YTD) sales of vinyl, according to Neilsen Soundscan, was 640,000 and in 2007, as of November, peaked to 782,000.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s 2007 Year End Shipment Statistics, vinyl sales increased by 36.6 percent from the previous year, as opposed to a 11.7 percent drop in CD sales.

Virgil Dickerson is also seeing a good year with his company Vinyl Collective, an online store that distributes vinyl and presses original prints through Dickerson’s label Suburban Home Records.

Vinyl Collective is also carrying older reissues with their contemporary pressings.

“With the resurgence of vinyl, there is going to be a demand for other classic records that have been out of print for awhile,” he says.

He says carrying some of the reissues have been great, and many of the Web site’s customers have been pleased with the new pressings.

Dickerson cites price and the number of reissues a significant crack in nostalgia’s road though. While some records are harder to find then others, some reissues are cheaper out of a used bin.

“Take for example a Dire Straights album,” he says. “The reissue may be priced around $20 to $25 dollars. You have fans saying, ‘I saw that in the used bin for $2, why would I pay $25 for it?’”

Dickerson says he doesn’t think it’s collectors looking for used copies, but the retail price being much higher than a record’s worth.

He also says some reissues are getting extreme in number to collect. He cites the many different colored repressings of Alkaline Trio’s back catalog his site has carried this year. “It’s harder for collectors to keep up with it based on the price [of collecting all of them.]“


Flea markets are a copious, outside shopping center containing novelty items for low prices and plenty of bargains. Some flea markets attract consumers looking for deals on collectable items such as comic books, baseball cards and general vintage items.

John Hill has been selling used movies and CDs for five years from a flea market in Prairieville, Louisiana. But in the past five years, a younger generation has been stopping at his table to sift through the six milk crates of old vinyl as well.

Though most of the records Hill has are original pressings, there is one hidden in one of the crates, new, wrapped in cellophane. It is a repressing of Jimi Hendrix’s live record Band of Gypsys, put out by the “From the Capitol Vault” series.

Six crates sit in a flea market in Prairieville, La. every weekend. Hill says his customers have been younger over the past five years.

Hill says he used to be a part of vinyl record conventions, much like baseball card conventions, but those slowly fizzled in the 90’s. For the past five years, he’s been doing fine with selling and trading from the flea market every weekend.

Finding the original copy, opposed to the newer pressings is something, Hill says, is adamant to many of his shoppers who ask for mostly the same bands: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and of course, The Beatles.

Ventom says this is just a small niche market compared to the newer pressing sales.

“These repressings are appealing to those buying for the first time,” Ventom says. “There’s also those consumers buying because their originals aren’t in great condition anymore.”


Reasoning for the medium’s new demand may be both a backlash and brotherly bond with the rise of music’s new contender - digital.

“I think a lot of people who have gravitated back to the vinyl format, have gravitated to the aspects that vinyl have to offer,” Dickerson says. “If you get an iPod and fill it up with 1,000 song, it makes music almost feel valueless.”

Dickerson also says vinyl has brought back the intention of an album as a whole, as opposed to picking and choosing songs through digital singles. “When you buy a record, you sit through it the way the artist intended you to listen to it.”

While there’s an embrace of the old medium being more tangible than the contemporary compact disc (bigger artwork and more liner notes), Dickerson says the record companies that are packaging vinyl with digital download cards are satisfying two wants: the physical, intimate enjoyment of music when listening to a record, and the ability to take the music and listen to it anywhere.

“If you see a CD for $15 and a vinyl with a digital coupon for the same price, to me, it’s no contest,” he says.

While Vinyl Collective has seen great business in the past year, Ventom says Capitol/EMI has gotten a very positive response from both consumers and distributors. “All around people are happy with the quality of the record and the quality of the artwork.”

SOURCE: http://theimmovableforce.wordpress.com

Dennis Yost of the Classics IV Passes Away at 65

Dennis Yost, the lead singer of the 60's hit makers the Classics IV, passed away Sunday at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio from respiratory failure. He had been hospitalized for over two year after suffering a brain injury in a fall. Yost was 65.

The Classics IV grew out of a Jacksonville, Florida cover band called Leroy and the Moments who were able to mimic most of the top forty hits of the day. They originally signed with Capitol in 1966 where they released a Four Seasons sound alike record call Pollyanna (written by Joe South) which did no better than number 103.

After a couple of more flops, they left Capitol and signed with Imperial. Group members James Cobb and Buddy Buie heard an instrumental called Spooky, wrote words and a new arrangement and the hit period for the group was born. Yost, who had been both vocalist and drummer, found that they needed a fulltime frontman and left the drumming to others.

The group ran into some problems early on because their sound was extremely diverse. While Spooky reached number three, the follow up, Soul Train, barely charted. It wasn't until almost a year later that Imperial released the song Stormy off of the group's second album that they once again reached the top ten, peaking at number five. The follow-up, Traces, did even better, topping out at number two.

In early-1970, the name of the group was changed to Dennis Yost and the Classics IV and they continued to have success; however, it was more on the easy listening charts than rock. Everyday with You Girl went to 19 (12 on easy listening) while What Am I Crying For? went only to 39 on the pop chart but 7 on adult contemporary.

By the time the group broke up in 1975, there were few of the original members left. Many had left to start the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Yost began touring on the oldies circuit, continued to write and did some producing. He continued to tour under the group name up until the time of his accident.

Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na commented on Yost's passing. "He was a tremendous talent who did an enormous amount of the work for that group. Paradoxically, I came to know Dennis better in the later years, in which he was involved in a massive struggle to retain his own musical identity, which was one of the saddest and most difficult cases of someone losing the name of their own group, when he had pretty much been the group."

SOURCE: http://winkscollectibles.blogspot.com

Traces Classics IV Dennis Yost

Music News & Notes

Black Lips Make New Album

All kazillion thousand gazillion of The Black Lips' fans should be happy to hear it: The band has a new album on the way.

The band taps the world of imaginary numbers for 200 Million Thousand, which is slated to arrive in stores Feb. 24 from Vice. It follows up Good Bad Not Evil, and will be supported by a lot of tour dates, though probably not 200 million thousand of them.


Blur Reuniting, Unveils London Show Plans

Andre Paine, London

U.K. rock act Blur will reform for an open-air show in London's Hyde Park next summer. The band has been on hiatus following the campaign for its album "Think Tank" (Parlophone).

The Hyde Park show takes place on July 3 and is promoted by Live Nation and Metropolis Music, in association with CMO management and booking agent X-Ray Touring.

Guitarist Graham Coxon, who quit the band for a solo career in 2002, has signed up to the reunion, which features the full original lineup of frontman Damon Albarn, drummer Dave Rowntree and bassist Alex James.

There has also been speculation in U.K tabloid the Sun that Blur will headline the Glastonbury festival in June, but there has been no official confirmation.

Coxon last performed with Blur in 2000 at London's Royal Festival Hall. While he has focused on solo albums, Albarn has worked on several projects outside Blur, including the animated group Gorillaz and the Mandarin language opera, "Monkey: Journey To The West."

The band, which formed 20 years ago, released seven studio albums, five of them reaching No. 1 in the U.K.

SOURCE: http://www.billboard.com

Classic Rock Videos

The Animals House of The Rising Sun

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at Gigwise.com's list of the top 50 dirtiest and sexiest album cover art, this time #14 (Gigwise comments in quotes):

14. Kid Loco: 'Jesus Life For Children Under 12 Inches' - "Monsieur Jean Yves Prieur, aka French electronic producer Kid Loco, has produced some outstanding critical acclaim over the years, yet it's this remix album that he's infamous for. We wonder why?!"

Remix albums are always a hit & miss bunch, because the songs require you to like the original artists' work and the reinterpretations by the mixer. Well hey, this is no different, with equal amounts of inspired pieces, take it or leave it tunes, and scramble for the skip button music. With Kid Loco, you get his hazy slow beats meets natural percussion sound (think instrumental hip hop for the prairie) on twelve different artists.

Let's take the first track by The Pastels, "The Viaduct," for example; no amount of swirls, effects, and smooth drums can overcome the fact that this is the worst singer I've ever heard. You have a family or friend with a better voice than this. Skipping to track two you get a fine if somewhat bland instrumental by Uriel, then a stronger performance on "4-35 in the Morning," with St. Etienne's sweet-not cloying vocals met with Loco's downbeat Western backing.

Highpoints are tracks by Talvin Singh and Badmarsh+Shri, their Eastern influences melding nicely with Kid Loco's style. Curious filler pops up in the French narrative "La Chambre" by Kat Onoma, but at least its listenable; Pulp's track is not. The CD ends with a series of instrumentals that would have been better off interspersed between the vocal tracks.

Those looking to try Kid Loco's work should stick with his DJ Kicks album. Otherwise, get this if you don't mind a portion of tracks disagreeing with you. It's still better than most pop drek out there. Finally, be aware that the America n album release has a different cover; those buyers wanting nude women should look for the French import, with a layout that pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. (Amazon.com review)

This Date In Music History-December 9


Donny Osmond is 51.

Rick Danko (The Band) 1943

Songwriter Joan Armatrading (1950)

Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) 1969

'Tre Cool', drums, Green Day (1972)

Sam Strain (Little Anthony & the Imperials & The O'Jays) has a birthday today (1940)

They Are Missed:

The late Shirley Brickley (Orlons) was born in 1944.

Freddie Marsden of Gerry & the Pacemakers passed away in 2006.

Georgia Gibbs died of complications of leukemia in 2006.

Sonny Til of the Orioles died of a heart attack in 1981.

Born on this day in 1932, Junior Wells, US blues singer, harmonica player, toured with The Rolling Stones in 1970. He died in 1998.

The late William Powell (O'Jays) was born in Canton, Ohio in 1941.


The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" topped the Cashbox Magazine Best Sellers Chart in 1961, for the first of a four week run.

Even though they had disbanded 25 years earlier, The Beatles had the #1 album in the US in 1995 when "Anthology" hit the top for the first of three weeks. It would go on to sell over 4 million copies and included rare Beatle recordings in the form of demos, alternate takes, live versions and previously unreleased material.

"Tommy" was performed at London's Rainbow Theatre in 1972. The recording of the event was released the next year.

In 1995, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead officially disbanded the group following Jerry Garcia's death in August.

Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" was released in 1972. It would become his fourth US Top Ten hit and first #1 single.

In 1974, George Harrison released his first album on his Dark Horse label, appropriately entitled "Dark Horse."

In 1978, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd released their version of Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" under the name The Blues Brothers. They would reach #14 in the US, while the original had topped out at #2.

According to a poll released in the US in 1988, the music of Neil Diamond was favored as the best background music during sex. Beethoven was the second choice and Luther Vandross was voted third. What, no Barry White? (I guess that is for foreplay).

Bill Wyman retired from the Rolling Stones in 1992.

Jim Morrison was arrested onstage in New Haven, Connecticut in 1967. Before the gig, Morrison got into an argument with a policeman, who responded by macing the singer. During the concert, while singing "Back Door Man", Morrison told the audience about the incident, which prompted police to turn on the house lights and arrest Morrison for breach of peace and resisting arrest.

The first Supremes album, "Meet The Supremes" was released in 1963.

In 1962, future Beatles producer George Martin was taken to the Liverpool Cavern Club by the group's manager Brian Epstein to see the band perform live.

The #1 single in the United States today in 1972 was Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman." It's the first Capitol release to reach the top spot since Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe" in 1967. The #1 album was the Moody Blues' with "Seventh Sojourn." The Moody Blues celebrate their first chart-topper by taking a five-year hiatus from working together.

The Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" tops the British singles charts in 1967.

The Supremes' and the Temptations' "TCB (Takin' Care Of Business)" special aired on NBC-TV in 1968.