“Sam Leach, The Beatles’ then agent, and wanting to become their manager, attempted to introduce the group to London agents by promoting a gig at The Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, on 9th December 1961. The show was not advertised properly and, as a result, only 18 people attended.”
It will probably come as no surprise then that a few weeks later Leach was given the boot in favour of Brian Epstein.
Here’s another of the band on stage. If only the two women in the picture knew what exactly they were witnessing…
Over the past year or so there has been a significant trend of full albums showing up on YouTube. There is invariably no video content – just a still of the artist and the music.
The interesting part is that there are now many classic albums on YouTube a good chunk of which aren’t available on Spotify or other streaming services. So for example if you fancy a bit of Pink Floyd you can hear Dark Side Of The Moon on YouTube from one of many different sources. You won’t find it on Spotify though.
Uploading someone else’s music to YouTube is of course totally illegal (as it is with music videos). However it seems that under YouTube regulations the emphasis is on the copyright holder to take action to pull the music down. And it seems that some record labels (coughs, EMI) are turning a bit of a blind eye.
They may even be on some occasions using YouTube’s ContentID system and its revenue opportunities to enable them to collect a little cash from the adverts that precede the music.
Some companies are playing even stranger games. You can for example listen to Oasis’s The Masterplan on YouTube on your laptop, but it won’t play back on your mobile or iPad.
So why do record companies do this? Maybe they figure that if you are listening to an album on YouTube you may at some point think I’ll go and buy it.
As for newer artists, well YouTube is a huge community and it can help to break an artist. There is a bit of analogy with radio here. Record labels are very keen to get their band’s singles on say BBC 6 Music, but there is a way bigger audience on YouTube.
With Spotify subscribers can take music offline and listen to it on their smartphones etc with YouTube if you want the music to travel with you then you run the risk of running up huge data costs. So you might as well go and buy it.
Some companies are more aggressive than others at taking content down. I was delighted to see The Velvet Underground’s controversial final album Squeeze on YouTube as it is not available digitally anywhere and the record itself is hard to find. However it got taken down after a while. I guess because the only people who might have bought that album would have been trawling used record stores for it and the record company wouldn’t make any money from it.
Anyhow here are ten classic albums that are all available on YouTube, and the last time I looked were not on Spotify. Happy listening. I wonder if they will all be still up in three months time?
Finally one quick footnote. I listened to John Lennon’s Imagine album on YouTube and 1, It really is a great album, much better than I remember it. 2, It is like listening to a vinyl record. There’s no easy fast forwarding or skipping tracks and you know what, I kind of like it.
1 Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of the Moon
2 The Beatles – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band
Like everyone I am sad to hear of the death of Ravi Shankar this morning. The Indian sitar player, who was arguably the first World Music (as we understand it now) star, wowed them at the Woodstock Festival, was chummy with The Beatles and much of pop’s aristocracy, and did much to popularise Indian arts and music at a time when few Western ears ears and eyes had experienced it.
From a pop fan’s perspective though it wasn’t so much Ravi’s own music that changed the world, but the way in which the young turks who heard him and tried to emulate him had a seismic influence on the development of contemporary pop. The key moment in the history of the sitar was when The Byrds’ guitar player Roger McGuinn introduced the George Harrison to Shankar’s sitar music at a party in in 1965. As legend has it both men were tripping on LSD at the time and McGuinn believes the experience inspired Harrison to travel to India where they met Shankar and took sitar lessons from him.
Harrison first played the sitar on Norwegian Wood on The Beatles Rubber Soul album. After that it was open season on the instrument with every young guitarist in both the US or UK either aspiring to play the sitar or more likely using Vox wah wah pedals to make their guitar sound like a sitar.
Here then are five great pop moments that wouldn’t exist had it not been for Ravi Shankar
1 The Byrds – Eight Miles High
Allegedly inspired by a jaunt to London, but quite often held up as an LSD trip set to music, Eight Miles High was an attempt to marry the Shankar sound (using guitars) with the free 60s jazz of John Coltrane, all wrapped up in a killer pop song. There is a pretty strong case that this was first psychedelic single ever coming as it did in late 1965 a good six months their rivals began to experiment with the new musical sound.
2 Traffic – Paper Sun
One of the best ever psychedelic singles – this was debut from the super group of sorts Traffic which featured a very young Stevie Winwood on vocals. Few would ever manage to combine soul-esque beats with a sitar driven psych tune in quite the same way.
3 The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black
Never slow to copy from The Beatles the Stones added a sitar to this classic 1966 single, which was perhaps their first and best brush with psychedelia (though Citadel on Their Satanic Majesties album and Jumping Jack Flash’s B side Child Of The Moon run it close). Brian Jones was a huge fan of the sitar and it lead to him explore the unique sounds of many other eastern instruments.
4 Genesis – I Know What I Like
Genesis were one of the few bands to use the sitar in the 70os. Here it is used to very good effect on their classic 1973 single I Know What I Like – a kind of psych song that was recorded five years too late
5 Lord Sitar – I Can see For Miles
During 1967 many record companies issued cash in albums featuring sitar versions of the day’s hits. Many were terrible. The album from Lord Sitar though was inspired and this sitar-driven, dance floor friendly version of The Who’s I Can See For Miles was a big indie club staple in the 1990.
We can’t wait for the new comprehensive pictorial book of lost photographs of Britain’s greatest music export, The Beatles, to come out. Written by Larry Marion with the help of The Beatles’ US Tour manager Bob Bonis, the book features everything from on stage performances to rehearsals and light-hearted behind the scene moments.
The book is being published by Harper Collins.
If you’re into being ironic – and who isn’t?
- then you’ll love this ‘Oh
Yoko’ tee by Just Another Rich Kid. It’s perfect for people who want to
reference the beatles via the medium of t-shirt, which is officially the
smartest method of communication.
Yoko Ono isn’t the first choice for t-shirt
and her name isn’t seen on one unless it’s followed by ‘ruined the Beatles’.
Despite this, the shirt looks great and would be good for any Yoko Ono fans
(which are as easy to find as the Loch Ness Monster and people who watch
Emmerdale). It costs £48.99 and is available from Elements.