Review: The Philly Pops plays The Carole King Songbook…(huh?!)

WP_20160208_001[1] I know what you’re thinking…you’re wondering what the hell I’m thinking reviewing a show about Carole King in my Beatles blog! If you bare with me for a couple minutes, I’ll get there…and baby, you’ll be amazed!

My husband and I are season ticket holder for The Philly Pops.  So far, we’ve seen their tribute to Frank Sinatra and just last night, their tribute to the music of Carole King.  The conductor made it a point to mention, that Carole King was responsible for more than just the songs on her solo albums.  She played a huge part in the British Invasion.

Believe it or not, the hit single “I’m into Something Good” was originally composed by  Carole King and her then husband Gerry Goffin.  The song was first recorded by Earl-Jean of the The Cookies in 1964, but later that year, Herman’s Hermits recorded the same song as their debut single and it peaked in the U.S. Charts at #13, making their British Invasion story not so British after all!

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Chains” was another song composed by husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.  It was originally recorded (but not released) by The Everly Brothers, but in 1962 it was a hit for Little Eva’s backup singers, The Cookies reaching #17 on the U.S. Pop chars and #7 on the R&B charts.  It also
became a very popular song to cover for bands in
Liverpool including The Beatles.  And how could any good Beatle freak not know that the Fab Four recorded their version of Chains for their first album, “Please Please Me“.

 

So folks, here she is…the little Jewish girl from NYC who is the greatest British Invasion artist of the 1960’s, Carole King performing her song “Chains”!

The show was fantastic as always.  And The Beatles connection made it even better!  And for that reason,

I rate this show 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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DVD Review: “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac”


About 2.5 years ago, I reviewed the book  “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac!” A true story of a fan who broke all the rules to MEET THE BEATLES! by Dee Elias after meeting her at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans.  And about a year later, I posted that Dee was having a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a short film based on her book.

For those of us that were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor by contributing to her highly successful campaign, and requested a copy of the DVD as our reward, we got the goods about 2 weeks ago.  I couldn’t wait to pop this movie into my DVD player!

This 20 minute short starts with an animated title page that is just too cute.  Hint: It’s a play on the book cover.   Then the fun starts, as Dee and her friends reminisce about the fab time that had trying to meet the Beatles when they were just young innocent girls.  Flash backs will take you back to 60’s with Dee and company sneaking and conniving their way to actually get up close and personal with the Fab Four.  This movie is delightful…

But Dee’s adventures didn’t end in the 60’s.  Dee and her movie crew have decided to enter this movie as a Short Film in several movie festivals this year.  For the rest of her adoring fans, it’s scheduled to be released to the public in 2017!

For those that haven’t read her delightful true story of meeting the Beatles, you can purchase her book on her website or on Amazon.  It’ll help pass the time while we all wait for the movie to be released to the public!

Good luck at the film festivals, Dee!

 

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Event Review: Broadcast Pioneers Luncheon – The British Music Invasion

 

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I had the great pleasure of attending this month’s meeting of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  It was recommended to me by T. Morgan after I read and reviewed his book in November 2015.  The meeting was opened to the public and was held at the lovely Bala Golf Club in Bala Cynwyd, PA.  There was a small cost of $28 for non-members to cover the cost of the luncheon.

The topic of this month’s luncheon was The British Music Invasion!

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MC for the afternoon is Tom Lamaine and the panel was made up of:

Gary Hendler, radio host on WWDB and former record promotion person
Don Hurley, radio personality & host and classic rock expert at the Jersey Shore
Ed Hurst, radio & television personality for three quarters of a century
Tommy McCarthy, current music director for 98.1, WOGL, Philadelphia
Michael Tearson, well-known Philadelphia FM Radio air personality
Bill Wright, Sr., famed WIBG (Radio 99) and WPEN Radio air personality

Prior to the panel discussion, I had the good fortune of sitting down to lunch at table with Tommy McCarthy and Michael Tearson.  Tommy is the program director for Oldies 98 (WOGL) in Philadelphia and Michael Tearson is a well-known long-time on-air personality in Philadelphia.  Just sitting and listening to these gentlemen talk was amazing.  And when they both joined the panel discussion, their knowledge of music and the industry was beyond compare.  In fact, the entire panel was something to behold.  Just when you thought you knew all the Beatles experts…along comes the Broadcast Pioneers!

I would highly recommend that anyone in the Philly area that is interested in the history of music, whether it’s pop, rock or oldies, sign up for the Broadcast Pioneers mailing list and try to make it out to one of their luncheons.  It’s well worth your time and cost to get in.

Here are the dates for their monthly meetings (topics to be announced): Monthly Luncheons

You can also sign up for their mailing list to keep on top if the meetings and happenings here.  (they don’t Spam you!)

…and for that reason,

I give this event, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book review: “Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll”, by Fred Goodman

(This is a Guest Review by David Thomas.  He’s a retired music teacher and huge Beatles fan that I met a year ago at the Fest for Beatles Fans in New York.  If you love his review, leave a note for him in the comment section and maybe we can make him a regular guest. Enjoy!)


And now for something completely (well, partially) different; a guest review!  I was so pleased to be asked to fill in for Jennifer on her review this week as she tends to very pressing writing matters of a different kind. 
 
Yes – Allan Klein, the man we Beatles fans love to hate!  For a very long time, I’ve had an idea in my mind of what Klein was like.  Unfortunately, it was based solely upon not very flattering anecdotes, and the knowledge that he had caused trouble between the Beatles.  Besides, Paul McCartney, didn’t like him, so that was good enough for me!  But deep down, I knew there had to be more to this man than the stereotypical caricature I had in my mind, so I sought out this book.
 
The book itself is well written, albeit a bit tough to follow in spots where they are discussing the details of Klein’s financial and legal deals.  These spots are numerous but short, and they are really quite integral to the story, because Klein was extremely creative for his time in the way he structured deals for his artists (and himself).  Many of the things he did are commonplace (or in some cases, illegal) today, but back then, they were considered revolutionary and brilliant. 
 
Klein, as you may suspect, was far from a one-dimensional stereotype; in fact, he was a man of many contradictions.  One minute he seems to be the most despicable figure EVER in the entertainment business, and the next there is something about him that evokes your sympathy. He was greedy with some, yet generous with others; he was a fierce negotiator, yet full of insecurities about himself and his abilities.  He worked tirelessly to get a better deal for his clients, while simultaneously almost always getting an even better deal for himself.
 
The book gives an excellent history of Klein the man, and gives the insight I was looking for into what made the man “tick”.  We find out why he spent a good deal of his childhood in an orphanage, and over the course of time, how he transformed an early talent for numbers into a remarkable career….through a combination of hard work, perseverance, luck, and a little (okay, maybe more than a little) deceit thrown in along the way.  

As the title suggests, his dealings with the Beatles are only a part of what is discussed in the book, although from long before his first meeting with John Lennon, Klein made it his ultimate goal to work with them; an achievement which would say to the world, and more importantly to himself, that he had finally succeeded.
Guest Reviewer
 
A great read about a key figure in Beatle history.  I give this book 4 Beetles!
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Book Review: “Bumping into Geniuses” by Danny Goldberg


Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business by Danny Goldberg is another book I had taking up room on my shelf and collecting dust.  It was time to do or die…either it was going to stay or go.

Danny Goldberg has done just about every possible job in the music industry possible…from reviewer to president of a major record label.  He’s another man that die-hard rock fans would just love to hate.  And for the first 60 pages of this book, I hated him so extensively that I thought I’d never be able to finish this book as he went on and on about all the people he knew, met, partied with and their inner circle.  Using one of my husband’s favorite words, this book appeared to be nothing more than a ‘masturbatory’ autobiography!  But then things take a turn…

His stories become real after page 60.  Not that they weren’t real before, but when he became the publicist for Led Zeppelin, Mr. Goldberg starts to admit to his shortcomings and doubts about his abilities to bring the very much deserved attention to an amazing band that shied away from interviews and wasn’t yet recognized for their talents.  It wasn’t until he compared one of their concerts to the Beatles at Shea Stadium that he was able to get them front page status.  And his behind the scene stories of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are a great insiders look at the workings of how these guys ended up being Rock Gods.

But Goldberg doesn’t stop there.  He tells about representing Stevie Nicks, Warren Zevon, Nirvana and so many other rock legends.  You’ll learn what these stars are/were like off stage as well as on in this book.  I actually could not put this book down after page 61.  And for that reason,

I rate this book, 4 out 4 Beetles!

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You can order a hardcover copy of this book on Half.com for about $0.75.

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The winner of a $10 Amazon gift card at Beatles Freak Reviews is…

I almost forgot to announce the winner of the first of two $10 Amazon gift cards.

The winner is stuartmarz1@yahoo.com!  Send an email to beatles.freak.reviews@gmail.com with your mailing address and I’ll send out your card ASAP. And thank you for reading my blog.

My next card giveaway will be drawn on February 1st…so stay tuned everyone!

Happy 2016!

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Review: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Finally…I made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.  I’ve been talking about doing this for years.  And I’m happy to report, that it is the last thing I did in 2015 when I paid my respects on December 31st.  Anyone who remembers several decades ago when the powers that be were trying to decide where to build the hall, the final two possible cities came down to Cleveland, OH and Philadelphia, PA.  Seeing as how I live just outside Philly, I’ve been torn  about whether this place even deserves my attention, let alone a 7 hour drive to get there.  Still, I took the plunge.

RnR HoF From the moment you walk through the doors, you are greeted with rock memorabilia.  It’s even hanging from the ceiling!  There are cases and cases of guitars that belong to rock n roll royalty, but (according to my husband), they are lacking on drum kits.  The only three kits they had were Ringo Starr‘s famous kit, an Alex Van Halen kit and a semi-melted kit that belonged to GreenDay that they had set ablaze at a festival.  Drum heads were at a premium, though.  As was memorabilia from Joan Jett who was inducted in 2015.  And Ringo Starr‘s blue star outfit from the cover of Goodnight Vienna is also on display in it’s own little case along a wall with the recent inductees.

But enough about all that…let’s get on to the Beatles display!

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The Beatles display takes up an entire wall in one room.  The display case is filled with a lot of very powerful and amazing things, such as John Lennon‘s leather jacket that he is often photographed in during the Hamburg days.  Ringo’s drum kit is also displayed in a case in the middle of the room, but there is one problem.  On the opposite wall in this same room is a much larger display dedicated to The Rolling Stones!  WTF, Hall of Fame?!  There is even a Stones’ photo that covers a space that is almost the size of the entire Beatles collection case and there is an image of the Stones wrapped around a pillar in the room!  It’s enough to anger any good Fab Four fan.  I feel the need to write a letter of complaint.WP_20151231_011[1]

All in all though, we spent a good 6 hours walking, reading, interacting, discovering and learning about the roots of rock n roll.  There is something for everyone here, but I will warn you that a lot of the museum is filled with interactive kiosks that are just plain silly for the die-hard music fans.  If you do get to the museum soon though, the Herb Ritts photo exhibit on the top floor is amazing and even includes the contact sheet and photos Herb took of Paul McCartney.

This review is one of the toughest I’ve had to write because of the enormity of the museum.  I could go on and on, but it really must be seen in person, so add it to your bucket list.  A few things I feel I must mention before closing…try to visit in the Spring or Summer as the hall is located on Lake Erie (the view is spectacular) making it windy and cold in the winter months…also, there is a small cafè in the hall to grab a bite to eat.  And, if you’re traveling from out of town, some of the local hotels offer packages that include tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I rate this museum 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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