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Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

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AMERICA'S DEWEY BUNNELL INTERVIEWED (2007): Upstarts up the charts

AMERICA'S DEWEY BUNNELL INTERVIEWED (2007): Upstarts up the charts

Among people whose musical credentials you wouldn’t question would be the Beatles’ producer George Martin. Or if you want a more contemporary reference maybe alt.country rocker Ryan Adams, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, or guys from the indie bands My Morning Jacket and Nada Surf. And the link -- possibly the only one -- between...

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

In a recent interview in advance of his Auckland concert next February, I put a quote to this guitar legend whose career started back in the mid-Sixties when he took over from Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds: that of all the guitar heroes his career had been the most slippery to follow. He laughed and agreed -- then I told him that quote came...

The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)

The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)

While there are any number of Beatle albums which are essential, there is a case to be made that Rubber Soul -- which marked their transition from an increasingly banal and almost irrelevant pop band into a group which became adult, confident and inventive -- is currently the most ignored in their catalogue. But before making the case for...

THE BEATLES' ABBEY ROAD IN 2009: A classic from the cover on in

THE BEATLES' ABBEY ROAD IN 2009: A classic from the cover on in

Four decades ago the Beatles released Abbey Road, the album that marked the end of their career even though the inferior Let It Be would appear later, a sad coda to decade which they defined. Producer George Martin loved Abbey Road and considered it “Sgt Pepper, Mark II . . . it was innovatory but in a controlled way, unlike The...

THE BEATLES REMASTERED, 2009 (EMI): Here, there and everywhere

THE BEATLES REMASTERED, 2009 (EMI): Here, there and everywhere

The story behind the extensive and long overdue remastering of the most important music catalogue in pop has been well canvassed. Indeed, I have written this, a Listener article, Getting Better based on my experience of listening through to a large sampling of tracks while in Abbey Road in June. What that article doesn't address is the...

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

Mostly when I travel I don’t much care about the room I stay in other than hoping for a decent bed and a functioning shower. If you are doing your travel right, you never spend any time in the room anyway. But in Liverpool I set some kind of world record for transience. I’d barely been in the room a minute when the phone...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

Paul McCartney once commented that his solo career since the Beatles -- now stretching to four decades -- was largely undiscovered territory. That’s true. Can anyone name anything from his ‘79 album Back to the Egg? And more to the point, why would they want to? But this is also the man once known as Mr Thumbs Aloft who...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 2, 1980-90: Adrift in the Eighties

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 2, 1980-90: Adrift in the Eighties

Paul McCartney closed the Seventies much as he had started it: with the low-key self-titled album McCartney II which deliberately tried to downplay expectation and evoke the charm of his debut solo album McCartney in 1970. Quite where he might have gone after that was an open book, but the decade had been one of diminishing musical returns...

THE BEATLES AFTER THE REMASTERS (2009): And in the end . . .

THE BEATLES AFTER THE REMASTERS (2009): And in the end . . .

So are the remastered Beatle albums released on 09/09/09 ("number nine, number nine, number") the full-stop on a career which ended almost four decades ago? Maybe not. While at Abbey Road in June listening to the playback of some of these tracks (about which I wrote this article in the New Zealand Listener), it seemed natural...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 3, 1990-2000: Classical, pop and what else ya got?

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 3, 1990-2000: Classical, pop and what else ya got?

If McCartney closed his Eighties on a real high -- a massively successful world tour which won critical accolades and pulled in huge gate-takings -- it would seem he was back in top, rocking form. Not bad for someone who was perilously close to 50. By 1990 he had been two decades out of the Beatles and had behind him more than a dozen solo...

THE BEATLES ROCK BAND 2009: One, two, a-one-two-three-faaa

THE BEATLES ROCK BAND 2009: One, two, a-one-two-three-faaa

It is one of the many ironies of the Beatles Remastered project (which I have noted in this Listener article) is that these albums might not have even come out at this time were it not for the Beatles Rock Band interactive game. The remasters were finished some years ago and have been sitting around waiting for . . .? Some kind of...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 4,  2000 - 2010: Here, there and everywhere

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 4, 2000 - 2010: Here, there and everywhere

For a man pronounced dead by radio DJs back in the late Sixties, Paul McCartney (or his doppelganger) has has a long and productive life. And musically diverse, as the Nineties proved: classical, pop-rock, balls-out rock'n'roll, acoustic sets, experimental electronica . . . Not a bad track record late in a long career. And in the new...

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY ON DVD (2003): And the songs remain the same?

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY ON DVD (2003): And the songs remain the same?

For a record company it was the cross-marketing opportunity of a lifetime. Well, maybe a lunchtime. But it seemed an uncanny coincidence that Neil Innes -- aka Ron Nasty of the Beatles-parody band the Rutles -- was in Auckland last week just days before the Beatles' remastered, digitally enhanced, but-wait-there's-more Anthology series...

Various Artists: The Lennon and McCartney Songbook (EMI)

Various Artists: The Lennon and McCartney Songbook (EMI)

While there have been quite a number of such compilations in the past interest alights on this one in particular because it has been pulled together by EMI New Zealands in-house memoryman Bruce Ward who does a fine job on such collections -- and here writes the intelligent liner essay. The Lennon and McCartney team were giving away hits in...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009  The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

Much as it is possible to love every crackle and piece of surface noise on the original vinyl albums which some still have or have inherited, the remastering brought out an energy and vitality in the Beatles catalogue which was undeniable. The music (and the Beatles Rock Band game) was much essayed at Elsewhere on release (I heard the...

The Beatles; You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

The Beatles; You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

The 2009 remastering of the Beatles' catalogue allowed listeners not only the chance to reassess their sound, but also the breadth of their musical reach. Here was a band which created great pop, beautiful ballads, economic psychedalia (Strawberry Fields, Walrus, Lucy in the Sky and others barely broke the 4.00 mark), raga pop and had a sense of...

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

This is the music from the film which traces the life of John Lennon from a child to . . . Well, to where the film Backbeat picks up actually. And as with the soundtrack to Backbeat which featured The Backbeat Band (Greg Dulli, Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and others playing rock'n'roll of the era) so too this album has material...

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman Smith was an unlikely chart-topper when he knocked Elton John off the top of the US charts with this, his second single: he was 49 at the time and prior to that his career had been firmly on the other side of the microphone as an engineer and a producer. But what a career he had enjoyed. In his late 30s he'd been taken on as a...

LENNON AND HARRISON; GUITARS GENTLY WEEP (DV1/Southbound DVD)

LENNON AND HARRISON; GUITARS GENTLY WEEP (DV1/Southbound DVD)

Although this DVD and CD set is beautifully packaged -- classic cover photos by Astrid Kirchherr, thick and lavishly presented biography book -- it fails to live up to its claim of exploring the (often tetchy) relationship between these two men. The 55 minute DVD notes that the relationship between Lennon and McCartney has been much...

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOURS by TONY BRAMWELL: Not only a northern song

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOURS by TONY BRAMWELL: Not only a northern song

Tony Bramwell -- who sounds like great man to have a martini with -- has had an extrordinary life, and not just because he was a childhood friend of the Beatles, became their manager Brian Epstein's off-sider, and -- as their road manager and CEO of Apple Records and Films -- was one of a small inner sanctum around the band until they went their...

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

It was a curious thing, but in '95 the Beatles released a new single, Baby It’s You, which came on seven-inch vinyl with extra tracks (an EP no less!) and there was an accompanying video. The Beatles in ’95'? What could they teach us 30 years after the event? Quite a lot, actually. While it was easy to be cynical...

THE RUTLES. RON NASTY and NEIL INNES INTERVIEWED: I have always thought in the back of my mind . . .

THE RUTLES. RON NASTY and NEIL INNES INTERVIEWED: I have always thought in the back of my mind . . .

In the Sixties they changed the world -- in 1970 they changed their mind and broke up. They were the Rutles, lovable legends from Liverpool who launched their career with innocent hits such as Hold My Hand. Within two years the cynical Ron Nasty and cheery Dirk McQuickly had penned dozens of enduring classics. As they matured through...

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

At a first glance this lavishly illustrated and beautifully presented book -- with dozens of relevant, interesting and never before seen photos of the bands, and of period-piece memorabilia, movie posters and the like -- looks fairly lightweight. But fun. A quick read and you've got it: the two authors posit a rivalry between these two...

THE BEATLES' LET IT BE NAKED REVIEWED (2003): Get back . . . at Phil

THE BEATLES' LET IT BE NAKED REVIEWED (2003): Get back . . . at Phil

The story behind the making of the Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be is well known, but to recap: The "White Album" of 68 was aural proof each was going his own way; however, late in the year, McCartney suggested they do a back-to-basics recording, ostensibly for an album to be called Get Back -- and get a film crew to make a doco to go...

BEATLES FOR SALE, AGAIN: The release of Anthology 1 (London, 1995)

BEATLES FOR SALE, AGAIN: The release of Anthology 1 (London, 1995)

The release of any Beatles album was always an occasion, so 25 years after the band broke up, the plush ambience of the Lancaster Room in the Savoy Hotel doesn’t seem inappropriate for the launch of The Beatles' Anthology 1, a collection of out-takes and unreleased material, the first of a series of three double CDs that effectively mops...

BRIAN EPSTEIN: Behind the music (2002)

BRIAN EPSTEIN: Behind the music (2002)

When Brian Epstein died in August 1967 at the age of 32, he was one of the most famous men in Britain. His death by an accidental overdose of prescription drugs made the front page of newspapers at home and abroad. Yet a mere five years earlier Epstein was known only to a few close friends and family in his native Liverpool where he managed...

PAUL McCARTNEY GOES CLASSICAL (1993): An oratorio for everyman

PAUL McCARTNEY GOES CLASSICAL (1993): An oratorio for everyman

Around the time of his 50th birthday in June last year, Paul McCartney could have -- if he so chose -- picked up a couple of mainstream British newspapers and read editorials and think pieces suggesting that this former Beatle be made a knight of the realm. And why not? James Paul McCartney is undeniably Britain’s most popular...

THE BEATLES' LOVE ALBUM REVIEWED (2007): Remake and remodel

THE BEATLES' LOVE ALBUM REVIEWED (2007): Remake and remodel

The Beatles are back, and in this collage of classic sounds sounding more trippy than even during the Summer of Love. Beatles’ music has always been reinterpreted. Even in the mid 60s when Lennon/McCartney were churning out chirpy chart-toppers their songs were being performed by Arthur Fielder and his Boston Pops orchestra,...

SIR GEORGE MARTIN INTERVIEWED (1998): The retiring knight of the round vinyl

SIR GEORGE MARTIN INTERVIEWED (1998): The retiring knight of the round vinyl

Of all the knights of pop -- Sir Cliff, Sir Paul, Sir Elton -- it is Sir George Martin, famously known a the Beatles’ producer, who seems the most deserving of the accolade. It was November '95 when I met him in London at the launch of the Beatles’ Anthology albums. He was self-effacing, courteous and well-spoken. (At age 16...

PAUL MCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

PAUL MCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

Paul McCartney is the Beatle old fans love to hate: his sins are manifest in Silly Love Songs, a Linda and not a Yoko, the permanent Mr Thumbs Aloft attitude, the knighthood which his old colleague John Lennon would doubtless have declined …. But there is worse. This past decade, by quiet incremental steps, we have witnessed the...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE LENNON ANTHOLOGY BOX SET (2003): And Lennon's on sale again. . .

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE LENNON ANTHOLOGY BOX SET (2003): And Lennon's on sale again. . .

For reasons which withstand no scrutiny at all, there’s an expectation Yoko Ono will be miserable in interviews. After all, here is the Famous Rock Widow whose husband was gunned down before her eyes leaving her with a much beloved five-year old son, the legacy of the Lennon name and fortune, and the still prevalent perception of her as...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

For anyone who has only experienced her singing -- which slews wildly between a visceral scream of anguish and an orgasmic howl -- Yoko Ono’s remarkably quiet speaking voice, barely above a whisper, comes as a surprise. And this week as she talks about art and music from her home in New York it is aggravated by a cold and initially reduced...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED 1992: The yin and yang of Yoko

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED 1992: The yin and yang of Yoko

Few people could claim to have been as publicly reviled, ridiculed, misunderstood and misrepresented as Yoko Ono. As her husband of 12 years John Lennon once remarked, she was “the most famous unknown artist in the world. Everyone knows who she is, but nobody knows what she does.“ And the little that people did know during...

PAUL McCARTNEY LIVE IN SYDNEY (1993): Younger Than Yesterday

PAUL McCARTNEY LIVE IN SYDNEY (1993): Younger Than Yesterday

Among the tickets touts barking at the crowd outside the Sydney Entertainment Centre before the Paul McCartney concert, the scalper with the XXOS beer gut wrapped in a small-men’s T-shirt stood out. While others on this raw edge of the market economy were offering $130-a-ticket, the swollen T-shirt was nasally hawking...

The Beatles: On Air - Live at the BBC Vol 2 (Universal)

The Beatles: On Air - Live at the BBC Vol 2 (Universal)

Just as the Beatles enjoyed that long and rare association with producer George Martin and EMI's Abbey Road studios, so too they had a mutually beneficial relationship with the BBC. The "Beeb" as it is affectionately knows may have been the conservative face of British broadcasting, but it was also aware of its mandate to represent...

The Beatles: Love (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

The Beatles: Love (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

You've probably read about this one already (maybe even by me in the Herald where I wrote an extended review) so all it needs is for you to hear these musical collages pulled together by the former Beatles' producer George Martin and his son Giles. It is impressive listening and the assimilation of one musical idea into a completely different...

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