Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Flashback: Tenerife 1963 and Astrid Kirchherr

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Paul and Astrid Kirchherr. All photos are credited to Astrid Kirchherr.

Paul McCartney and Astrid Kirchherr in Tenerife, 1963. Astrid, born 20 May 1938, was a German photographer who was a photographer from 1960 to around 1967. She left the scene permanently in 1967, which entirely coincidentally was around the time that Linda McCartney came along. But, that's an entirely different story and, no, Linda did not "replace" Astrid or anything like that.

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Astrid met Stuart Sutcliffe in a Hamburg bar, the Kaiserkeller, in 1960. Stuart just so happened to be playing bass with a British group of young lads from Liverpool (apparently already called the Beatles at that point, which would place the incident after mid-August). Astrid met Stuart's mates - Paul, John, George, and Pete Best - and got along with them. She was a fetching young woman, so what's not to like?

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Astrid obviously flirted with the Beatles, as these photos prove, and hung around them after Stuart's untimely death in 1962. She later took up with Klaus Voormann, another musician. In fact, Voormann was the one who first noticed the Beatles and induced Astrid to go see them. Astrid Kirchherr may, in fact, have been the Beatles' first groupie, because she became enamored with them and would sit in the front row at all of their performances in Hamburg. Sutcliffe noticed Astrid, Voormann, and Jurgen Vollmer, their friend, sitting by the stage every night and introduced himself. At that point, Astrid's professional photography skills came into play, and the group was flattered that a pro photographer wanted to snap them.

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Kirchherr apparently also introduced the Beatles to drugs, though that's a difficult case to prove. Astrid's mother was friends with a chemist who gave her as much Preludin as she wanted, and Astrid gave the drugs to the Beatles. After the Beatles returned to England, Astrid would visit the Beatles on holidays - John and Cynthia Powell (his then-girlfriend) in Paris, and, as shown here, Paul and George in Tenerife. Everyone stayed friends through the 1960s and they visited from time to time. There is a well-worn story that Astrid played some role in choosing the Beatles' mop-top haircuts and unique sense of clothing style, but Astrid downplays her role. But, Kirchherr undoubtedly had a role in exposing the Beatles to influences that did lead to those changes.

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After getting frustrated about her lack of success as a photographer, Astrid married English drummer Gibson Kemp in 1967. Kemp, strangely enough, had replaced Ringo Starr in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes when Ringo joined the Beatles. She later married a German businessman. Astrid now lives in Hamburg and sometimes gets involved with Beatles projects, but basically stays to herself.

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Anyway, this is just a flashback and a chance to talk about the Beatles early days. Paul has changed. And yet, he hasn't. 1963.

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2018

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Meat Free Monday" from Paul

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Paul in the video.



Paul gives us a simple ditty which actually quite catchy about one of his pet causes, meat-free Mondays. Paul's simple anthem-like driving tunes like this are often his most compelling compositions, though they aren't taken seriously by most people.

The song actually dates back to 2009, when Paul co-founded the meat-free effort with his daughters Mary and Stella.

The video features people from all over the world holding up signs with the song's lyrics, including Paul friends like Woody Harrelson, Twiggy and actress Joanna Lumley. McCartney himself makes a wide-smiled appearance at the end. You have to pay attention to spot them.

It's easy to be critical about this sort of thing, but Paul is simply making a suggestion. He's probably ahead of his time - maybe 100 years ahead of his time for all I know - but that's his thing, it makes him happy, and that's AOK with me, Hondo.

From the youtube page:

http://www.meatfreemondays.com/

"A lyric video to celebrate the Meat Free Monday campaign’s fifth anniversary.

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos!

Video created by Sarah Randell"


2018

Wings' "Call Me Back Again" - New Video

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Call Me Back Again



"Call Me Back Again" is from the 1975 Wings album "Venus and Mars." It is a fine album track, with Beatlesesque harmonies that weren't really appreciated at the time.

Paul is re-releasing the old Wings catalog, and "Venus and Mars" is getting the deluxe treatment. So, this album track, which featured heavily on mid-70s Wings set lists and was on Wings Over America, the classic Wings live album set, gets a brand new music video to accompany the release.

Incidentally, if you watch the video, you may wonder what the numbers mean - and rest assured, they always mean something. MPL is not chary about letting that information out for us plebians to understand, so let's have at it, shall we:
  • GAR 6922 was the McCartney family phone number when Paul was growing up at Forthlin Road [MPL];
  • The "Venus and Mars" release date was May 27, 1975, thus the number 270575.
Please don't call the numbers - Paul doesn't live there anymore.

This is just a fascinating continuing project. Imagine, if you will, a world in which Shakespeare could come back and illustrate a portfolio of his plays for us, or Caruso could return and re-record his best operas. They could say, "Why are you overlooking this one? It has a deeper meaning than any of the others, and here's why. But you've overlooked it!"

That is roughly what is going on here, and you can take that analogy any which way that you want to in your head. This continuing retrospective can't last forever, so enjoying this while it lasts is the key.

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The Venus and Mars album cover was a ubiquitous sight in the mid-1970s. The two balls - pool balls - are meant to represent... Venus and Mars.

The video heralds the deluxe treatments that the former Beatle is giving both "Venus and Mars," and the following year's "Wings at the Speed of Sound." The former featured the hit single "Listen to What the Man Said," while the latter contained fan favorites "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In."

The two-disc deluxe versions, which both came out on 4 November 2014, have been expanded to include demos and previously unreleased tracks, as well as a remastered copy of the original album. The three-disc configuration contains a hardback book with previously unpublished photos, interviews with McCartney, track-by-track info and a bonus DVD with footage from around the time each record was released.

2018

Friday, September 26, 2014

Some Paul McCartney GIFs

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Paul is just having a bit of fun below.

Just a bunch of Paul McCartney and Beatles GIFs for really no reason at all. Most of them are from "A Hard Day's Night" because there are just a lot of awesome moments from that film, but there is something from each of the Beatles' films. I don't think there is anything post-Beatles, actually, so that will have to be a project for another day.

Even if Paul McCartney is not the sole focus of each GIF, he is at least in them somewhere along with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon. Jane Asher even gets into one, as does George Martin. The Beatles in every sense were an ensemble, playing off each other as much as playing along with each other, and these GIFs hopefully bring that out.

Sometimes it's better to see these types of things out of context. They show different sides of the artist without reference to the project he is promoting or working on. It's just... Paul. Who knows, maybe there are a few you haven't seen before.

If you ask why... I ask, why not?


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2018