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Lennon Legend

Before a conspiracy of hate ended the life of Beatles great John Lennon he was able to make an indelible mark on 20th Century music. That Lennon legacy is revisited once again on a new DVD overseen and released through the auspices of his wife Yoko Ono Lennon. Through the marvels of digital video wizardry, Ono and her crack crew have assembled twenty video performances—including fifteen new videos with previously unseen and magically altered footage—of Lennon’s greatest and most impressionistic songs. While many of the videos actually serve as futuristic scrapbook images of Lennon’s short time on earth, there are some startling revelations for fans of Lennon the musical innovator including an amazing “Cold Turkey”(newly overdubbed footage from John & Yoko’s One To One concert from 1971), a rousing live performance video of “Instant Karma!”, (in fine fettle with band mates Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White) and, from the special features bonus section, a video of Lennon (his last live performance?) with band performing “Imagine” live before a jewelry-rattling crowd on April 18, 1975. John Lennon loved New York City and many of the videos feature footage of John and Yoko romping through the streets of Manhattan—haunting video clips taken just a few short years before it all ended way too soon. Twenty brilliantly conceived videos and a bunch of special feature extras—including a hilarious selection of animated John Lennon line drawings that surely would’ve brought a smile to the master’s face—makes the Lennon Legend - The Very Best Of John Lennon DVD collection a definitive dimension of irreplaceable memories.

Concert For George

Recorded live at the Albert Hall on November 29, 2002, Concert For George is a noteworthy tribute concert honoring the music and spirit of Beatles legend George Harrison. On November 18, 2003, Warner Strategic Marketing released a double DVD set of the entire concert, as well as a double CD set, featuring all the music from that memorable night. A true keepsake of a spiritual musical night, the double DVD set features one DVD of the entire two and a half hour concert exactly as it happened with a second two and half hour DVD containing the theatrical version of the concert which combines concert highlights, interviews with the performers, rehearsals and behind the scenes footage. The Concert For George DVD—as well as the companion CD version of the complete concert—features superbly detailed booklets filled with stunning artwork, remembrances and pictures of the concert event. A congregation featuring some of George’s best known buddies—including music director Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Gary Brooker, Jim Capaldi, Jools Holland, Tom Scott, Indian music master Ravi Shankar, Ravi's daughter Anoushka Shankar and George’s son Dhani Harrison—beautifully pool their talents and put on a truly remarkable performance. Just watching Paul McCartney’s transcendent version of “All Things Must Pass” and Clapton summoning up his famous guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is worth the price of admission. Certainly the most prominent George Harrison tribute concert to take place since his passing on November 29, 2001, The Concert For George was expertly filmed by David Leland, the director who worked with George back in the ‘80s on the Traveling Wilburys video, “Handle With Care”. Perhaps the significance of the Concert For George is best summed up by George’s wife and concert organizer Olivia Harrison, who adds “The Concert For George was all I hoped it would be. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band play with so much emotion and respect.”


Let It Be... Naked

In a way cool move, Apple and Capitol dusts off the Beatles 1969 album classic soundtrack Let It Be. According to the press behind the late 2003 release of this wonderfully remixed alternative version, Let It Be... Naked was “de-mixed and remixed, undubbed of orchestration, choirs and effects and stripped back to the raw to reveal The Beatles simply as what they were best at being - just a great band”. The eleven track CD features a number of rarities like a startling un-Phil Spector-ized version of “The Long And Winding Road” and an unreleased version of “Don’t Let Me Down”. You’d think it was a bootleg but the incredible sound quality compares favorably to even the best Beatles CD boot. Most fans already have the Phil Spector mix of the official Let It Be Lp and Cd, but even the staunchest Beatles fan will be in for a pleasant surprise at the new soundstage mix of Let It Be... Naked. Some of the craziness and spontaneity taken off this new Naked version is included on a second bonus CD entitled Fly On The Wall, which captures twenty minutes of The Fab Four talking, rehearsing and reminiscing about the good old days in the studio in early ‘69...all in superb, uncanny “Fly On The Wall” hi-fi.

Live At The Royal Albert Hall
(Geffen / Chronicles)

Even with the passing of founding member / bass great John Entwistle in June 2002, the legend of The Who still shines brightly. A fitting testimony to one of rock’s greatest bands, Live At The Royal Albert Hall features the classic post-Keith Moon lineup of Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Pete Townshend, John “Rabbit” Bundrick and Zak Starkey performing at Royal Albert Hall on November 27, 2000. A benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust fund, the concert—first released on DVD a couple years back—features 2000 versions of favorites from Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia along with live versions of the band’s great mid ‘60s singles. The 25 track double CD set also features guest appearances from Paul Weller, Eddie Vedder, Bryan Adams, Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher and more. Also included here is a bonus third CD consisting of four tracks recorded live on February 8, 2002—also at London’s Royal Albert Hall—marking Entwistle’s last live recordings with The Who. With the spotlight on Daltrey still effortlessly interpreting Townshend’s ever brilliant songwriting catalog, Live At The Royal Albert Hall is a mature snapshot of The Who with their musical powers very much intact.
Tommy—the Who’s masterpiece rock opera from 1969—was reissued again on CD in 2003 on the Geffen / Universal Chronicles imprint. Coming after the label’s critically acclaimed CD reissue of the band’s 1965 masterpiece My Generation, this new double ‘deluxe edition’ of Tommy features the complete double Lp we all know and love, this time presented in stereo, SACD stereo and remixed 5.1 surround sound. In a twist of fate, this CD was remastered from the original, quarter inch tape masters for the very first time. Long presumed lost, these original tapes, incredibly turned up at the MCA vaults in L.A. With the original Tommy album fitting neatly on disc one, the second CD of the double deluxe set adds to the festivities with 17 outtakes, demos and alternate tracks. With rare photos from the Tommy sessions and extensive liner notes from Matt Kent, this CD set is a most impressive overview of a rock masterpiece. / /


The Four Complete Historic Ed Sullivan Shows
Featuring The Beatles


A quintessential piece of American culture is brought back to life on a double DVD set released in November 2003 entitled, The Four Historic Ed Sullivan Shows Featuring The Beatles. In the wake of the post-JFK assassination exactly forty years ago, the martyred President was all but forgotten by the country upon the arrival of The Beatles, who, by the time of their first Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964 had completely overtaken American radio, TV and record shops. As the double DVD brilliantly recaptures for posterity, The Beatles performed live on four different Sunday nite Sullivan TV shows—two in NYC and one in Miami during the month of February, 1964 and also on the nite of September 12, 1965, the last Ed show demonstrating just how advanced they had become in the wake of 1964 and Beatlemania. For anyone unfamiliar with the impact of this pop culture turning point, just be aware that the Sunday night Sullivan variety hour was a sacred right back then and the Beatles' music and overall god-like glow provided the perfect fodder for the masses to celebrate life again during that cold wintry month in early ‘64. Overall, the double DVD looks fantastic and in addition to the 20 Beatles tracks here, these four complete Sullivan shows also features some of the greatest variety musicians, comedians and vaudeville artists from the ‘60s—including favorites like impressionist Frank Gorshin, heavyweight champs Sonny Liston and Joe Louis, comedian Myron Cohen, the great Cab Calloway, Cilla Black, Acker Bilk and Soupy Sales with loads more, including all those wild and crazy TV commercials. Four TV shows that signaled the end of the innocence, The Ed Sullivan Show Featuring The Beatles reigns as the ‘60s pop culture DVD of 2003.

(Angel Air)

One of the greatest producers / songwriters to emerge from England during the ‘60s, Mike Hurst made his mark during the mid ‘60s working with The Move, Marc Bolan, Spencer Davis Group and most notably, Cat Stevens on his mid ‘60s Deram recordings. Over the years Hurst has worked with everybody—for instance his 1964 band, The Methods featured both Jimmy Page and Albert Lee on guitars and Tony Ashton on keyboards. Over in England, Angel Air Records have been helping to set the Hurst story straight. Most notably, their reissue of Hurst’s 1969 album, Drivetime, with the Mike Hurst Orchestra, is a must for aficionados of orchestral pop in the spirit of great U.K. orchestraters like George Martin and Shadows’ producer Norrie Paramor. Back in 1969 Hurst began laying the groundwork for the 12 track Dreamtime, which was strangely commissioned and targeted at the American market. Unfortunately, the album was never released, until now. And what a fine effort it is / was! Featuring the finest U.K. pop session musicians of the ‘60s—and members of the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra—this orchestral pop masterpiece features symph-pop renditions of ‘60s smashes like “Good Vibrations”, “Sounds Of Silence”, “MacArthur Park” and “Theme From The Wild Ones”. A fascinating artifact from the heyday of ‘60s U.K. pop, Drivetime is packed with classic retro artwork and liner notes that provides further proof of Hurst’s pop production genius. Angel Air also have a number of other Hurst-related CD reissues on the market including Mike Hurst: Producers Archives Volume 1 - featuring 16 classic Hurst pop productions of Paul & Barry Ryan (1966), The Alan Bown (1969), The Four Tops (the classic Motown group with a 1977 cover of “For Your Love”), Colin Blunstone, Hardin & York, Samantha Fox and many more. Other Hurst reissues on Angel Air includes Home / In My Time (a 21 track two on one CD reissue of his two early ‘70s album featuring Mary Hopkin on vocals, Rod Argent, pedal steel wiz B.J. Cole and more) and a 13 track reissue of his early ‘80s work with Mary Hopkin and the group Sundance. Fascinating CD retrospectives all, Angel Air should be applauded for their in depth look back at the career of Mike Hurst.

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