tue 27/06/2017

Beatles

CD: Django Bates - Saluting Sgt. Pepper

Sgt. Pepper is a popular choice for a tribute but also a dangerous one. How to say anything meaningful about a work widely agreed to be the most influential in rock history? How to approach a work that is already a multi-layered pastiche, in places...

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Summer of Love: How Hippies Changed the World review - the weird and wonderful roots of the Sixties counterculture

As the accompanying music reminded us, it's the time of the season for looking back in languor at the psychedelic daze that descended on America's West Coast in 1967. It was an era when one was enjoined, if going to San Francisco, to "be sure to...

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Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution, BBC Two review - how the Fab Four changed pop music forever

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the triumphant vindication of the Beatles' decision to quit touring and instead exploit the possibilities of the...

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Billy Bragg: Roots, Radicals and Rockers review - riffing on skiffle, and more besides

Wow! An unconventional opening for a book review maybe, but ‘“wow!” nonetheless. Subtitled "How Skiffle Changed the World", this is an impressive work of popular scholarship by the singer, songwriter and social activist whose 40-year (and counting)...

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It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! review - without a little help from their friends

This is the most frustrating film. It’s probably no fault of the makers, but it’s rare to have to assess a documentary for what it doesn’t have. Over nearly two hours of celebrating the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Beatles period – late...

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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

It could be a book, film, TV or radio piece, essay or exhibition. If it’s about or based on The Beatles, the question is always the same: how on earth can anything new be said? In the case of Ron Howard’s Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years,...

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'Paul said he would like orchestral instruments. John couldn’t be bothered'

A decade ago I was sent to interview George Martin and his son Giles about Love, the remarkable remix of the Beatles catalogue which they created for Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show in Las Vegas. After the interview proper, in which both talked...

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George Martin (1926-2016), record producer and 'fifth Beatle'

For many pop-pickers, the presiding image of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee will be Brian May (he – yes, of course – of Queen) grinding out the national anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace. For me, there was a much more meaningful moment later the...

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Arena: Night and Day, BBC Four

Arena is the longest-running arts documentary programme for television at the BBC, and perhaps the world: as the BBC itself phrases it, this compendium celebration presented 24 hours in 90 minutes for 40 years, marking the show's latest anniversary...

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Dominic Sandbrook: Let Us Entertain You, BBC Two

Critic and popular historian Dominic Sandbook understands the power of the soundbite, so he supplied one of his own to sum up his new series: "We do still make one thing better than anybody else – we make stories."This is a companion piece to...

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They say it's John's birthday

Not just a mere rock star but spiritual guru, peace campaigner, political icon, thorn in the flesh of Richard Nixon and the CIA, and ultimately martyr. John Lennon, who would have been 75 today (9 October), has proved an impossible act to follow....

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DVD: Danny Collins

Though packaged as a tale of an ageing rock star, Danny Collins is really an autumnal comedy-drama about regret, redemption and trying to seize life's second chances. As the title character, a cheesy AOR veteran pitched somewhere between Neil...

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