Beatlemania is returning to Newcastle. Did it ever leave?
This year, Beatles fans across the world are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous White Album.
Newcastle will be part of the anniversary party, with a concert at Civic Theatre.
The show will feature four top Australian vocalists – Chris Cheney (The Living End), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Tim Rogers (You Am I), and solo artist Josh Pyke.
They’ll be backed by a 17-piece rock orchestra, with guitars, strings, horns and two drummers.
The fab four insist they won’t be trying to imitate John, Paul, George and Ringo. It’s a celebration, not a tribute band, they say.
Ahh, nice try guys, but if it looks like a duck … Anyhow, what’s wrong with a tribute to the Beatles? We’re pretty sure this stays within the bounds of coolness and artistic integrity.
Most of the songs from the White Album were written when the Beatles learned transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.
Having experimented with drugs, the band members were looking for a natural way to find their so-called true selves.
We’re not sure if they found them, but it is true that McCartney still meditates – in between counting his money, that is.
“It was a great gift that Maharishi gave us. It came at a time when we were looking for something to kind of stabilise us toward the end of the crazy ‘60s,” McCartney once said.
McCartney himself recently revealed that the White Album – first released in 1968 – will be reissued this year to mark the big anniversary.
“It’s really nice because we were a great little band, I think we can agree on that,” he said. [Yep, we can agree].
“The album itself is very cool and it sounds like you’re in the room; that’s the great thing about doing remasters. But we’ve also got some demos of the songs, so you get things stripped right back to just John’s voice and a guitar.”
The White Album got its name from its famous plain white cover. It was the band’s ninth studio album, originally self-titled, before the new name stuck.
The songs include Back In The U.S.S.R, Helter Skelter, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, Glass Onion, Birthday and Revolution 1. Each copy of the vinyl album had a serial number stamped on the cover.
The band members had the first four pressings of the album. It was thought that John Lennon had the first copy because McCartney previously said he pushed hardest for it.
Somehow, it ended up in the hands of Ringo Starr. The album, numbered 0000001, sold at auction two years ago for $790,000.
This leaves a number of questions. How did Ringo get the album instead of Lennon? Why did he sell the album? Did he need the money? Was he ditching old albums because he’d switched to digital?
The Newcastle gig will be held on Tuesday at 8pm.
Speaking of rock’n’roll history, a new exhibition at The Lock-Up art space in Newcastle is titled The Ghosts of Nothing – In Memory of Johnny B. Goode.
Johnny B. Goode was the name of a Chuck Berry rock’n’roll song, released in 1958.
The art project merges the character Johnny B. Goode with a tragic clown from the 19th century. If you want to know why, you better check out the exhibition.
Then again, maybe there is no why.