Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat
BBC documentary was issued on DVD for the first time on 18th September 2007
to celebrate the 40th anniversary of what was a most unique insight into
the British rock music world of 1967. Originally screened by BBC1 in their
‘Omnibus’ series on 3rd November 1968, it features the British debut appearance
of Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Frank Zappa and led to Paul McCartney
sending a telegram to director Tony Palmer: “This is just great: absolutely
what we meant".
In addition to the 52 minute film, the DVD extra features a forty minute interview with Tony Palmer in which he discusses the origins and making of the documentary. Palmer first met John Lennon in 1963 when, as a student at Cambridge University, he covered a Beatles press conference for ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and didn’t ask any questions, which came to the attention of John, who asked him why and he replied, “because this is silly stuff". John admired his cheeky reply and a friendship was born. John gave him his home number and suggested he call him when he finished University.
Several years later, Lennon was frustrated that so many of rock’s greatest talents couldn’t get on British television. “He twisted my arm to do something about it” says Palmer. “He gave me a list of groups and said, ‘I’ll make the introductions, you make the film". He added, "It was John Lennon's idea - the film. He said to me: 'you've got to do something to get these guys exposure on television. They're hammering at the door, except that the guys on the inside are deaf, and probably dumb and blind as well’. So I did, and ‘All My Loving’ was the result.
Even using the title was his suggestion. It caused a hell of a stir, but then I suspect he knew it would. Working so closely with Hendrix, Cream, The Who and Frank Zappa, all of whom had been denied an airing on television until I came along, was a revelation - first for me, but more importantly for the mass television public for whom 'pop music' was just bubblegum and not to be taken seriously. Suddenly, the mass public was forced to rethink its prejudices, because here was a group of musicians whose musical skill was undeniable, and whose 'message' simply could not be ignored".
of the attitude of TV moguls to rock music is one Tony recalls: “My previous
film had been on the Bell Telephone Hour, which was on NBC. They received
a copy of this film and a letter came back saying, ‘We see that Hendrix
is very interesting, but can you take out all that stuff with the guitar?'.
Juxtaposed among some of the images were scenes of burning Buddhists, napalmed
Japanese soldiers and executed Viet Cong, which some critics found quite
gratuitous when screened to the sounds of pop music. The opening scene features
Eric Clapton leading Cream through a blistering version of ‘I’m So Glad’
and this is interspersed with shots of a man engulfed in flames and scenes
from a White Power rally. Other similar messages set the tone, with police
clashing with Hippies in the streets and Pete Townshend destroying his guitar
during a performance of ‘My Generation'.
The documentary was narrated by Patrick Allen and included interviews with, and/or performances by, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Burdon, Anthony Burgess, Eric Clapton, Cream, Terry Dene, Donovan, Pink Floyd, Grapefruit, Tony Hall, George Harrison, Louise Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Dan Ingram, Mick Jagger, Kit Lambert, John Lennon, Lulu, Manfred Mann, George Martin, Paul McCartney, The Moody Blues, Kenward S. Oliphant, Eddie Rogers, Ringo Starr, Derek Taylor, Pete Townshend, Jim West, The Who, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Frank Zappa.
The music on the soundtrack was:
‘I’m So Glad’ written by Skip James, performed by Cream; ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ written by Lennon & McCartney, performed by The Beatles; ‘Yellow Submarine’ written by Lennon & McCartney, performed by The Beatles; ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ written by Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy, performed by The Beatles; ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ written by Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd; ‘Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand’ written by Pete Townshend, performed by The Who; ‘I Can see For Miles’ written by Pete Townshend, performed by The Who; ‘My Generation’ written by Pete Townshend, performed by The Who; ‘The Lullaby of Spring’ written and performed by Donovan; ‘Wild Thing’ written by Chop Taylor, performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience; ‘Pictures At An Exhibition’ written by Modest Mussorgsky, (excerpt); ‘Good Times’ written by Eric Burdon, John Weider, Vic Briggs, Danny McCulloch and Barry Jenkins, performed by Eric Burdon & The Animals; ‘When I Was Young’ written by Danny McCullough, Eric Burdon and John Weider, performed by Eric Burdon & The Animals; ‘We’re Going Wrong’ written by Jack Bruce, performed by Cream; ‘(Be In) Hare Kirshna’ from the musical ‘Hair'.
|Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.|
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