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
Starr made his directorial debut with 'Born To Boogie', filmed between March
and April 1972. It was an Apple Films production and the 90-minute colour
film was made entirely on location in London, mainly at a T.Rex concert
at the Empire Pool, Wembley. Filming began on Saturday 18th March 1972 at
the Marc Bolan / T.Rex concert where Ringo filmed both evening concerts
from his position in the photographer's pit below the stage. These were
the only live T.Rex concerts filmed on 16mm.
On Tuesday 21st March Ringo, Marc Bolan and T.Rex were at Tittenhurst Park filming further scenes for the movie. They settled in John Lennon's Ascot Sound Studio (ASS) and had a jam session with T.Rex, Elton John and Ringo, which was filmed. The numbers were 'Tutti Frutti', 'Children Of The Revolution' and 'The Slider', although only the first two numbers appeared in the movie. Then, on Wednesday 22nd March, still at Tittenhurst Park, they filmed the 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' sequence for the film.
In 1972 pop superstar Marc Bolan was a friend of the then 32-year-old Ringo. The former Beatle had been impressed by scenes of T.Rextasy that had accompanied Bolan's concerts and decided to record the atmosphere on film. Ringo also acted as a cameraman, along with Nick Knowland, Mike Dodds, Mike Davis, Jeremy Stavenhagen and Richard Stanley.
Marc Bolan summarised the movie, saying, "The film was made purely as a piece of rock and roll entertainment. I feel it documents the phenomenon that has been T.Rex through the past year - and that was the purpose of the film, initially. But as Ringo and I became more involved in the making of 'Born To Boogie' we decided to add several more scenes - bringing in 'accident' humour and also to shoot from recorded music - actually 'live' without dubbing. By doing so we were endeavouring to get a spontaneity which does not come naturally from some films. In some of the scenes outside of the concert we let our imaginations take their courses and, with the aid of props and a dwarf, let whichever happened, happen. We made the film strictly for a teenage audience who demand youthful excitement in the cinema - as well as on television and in the theatre. I think the film does that - no more, no less".
John, Keith Moon and Ringo himself made cameo appearances and the numbers
performed on stage by T.Rex included 'Jeepster', 'Hot Love', 'Get It On',
'The Slider', 'Union Hall Poem' and 'Chariot Choogle'.
At the press screening of the film on Wednesday December 13th 1972 at the Oscar One cinema, London, Ringo held a brief press conference:
Q: "How did you come to be filming Marc Bolan?" Ringo: "I telephoned him one day and said, 'Come and see me. I've got this idea. See what you think, yes or no, and on that particular thing it was 'no'. But through that meeting we got to know each other and became friendly. Then I heard he was going to be filmed at his Wembley show. Well, Apple has a film company so I said, 'Why don't you let me do it? I'm your pal' and he said, 'Okay. We'll do it together'. After the show we looked at the footage we had got and decided to add to it. You see, my theory about filming concerts is that you cannot create the atmosphere that was in the hall. So I needed to do more. We got him to write a few things and set up a couple more days shooting".
Q: "What about the 'Some people like to rock. Some people like to roll' sequence?" Ringo. "Oh yes! It was so messy that it had to be included!"
Q: "Was the Wembley show in any way a nostalgic experience for you?" Ringo: "Very much so. They were screaming and shouting and I love that".
Q: "So you enjoy the screams then?" Ringo. "Oh, yeah. If they had been quiet when I played I would have died. I wouldn't have known what to do".
Melly, writing in the Observer newspaper, commented, "The film is directed
and, in part, filmed by Ringo Starr. The incidental humour is drawn from
the nursery surrealist world of 'The Magical Mystery Tour', but lacks that
famous disaster's pretensions. Nuns, one bearded, take tea, a dwarf gnaws
ravenously at a car's offside mirror. Simple oral-fixation, but the music
goes like the clappers".
The Morning Star newspaper reviewer wrote, "Made by Apple films and directed (?) by Ringo, this is the best teeny-bopper entertainment since The Beatles succumbed to insecticide".
Fergus Cashin noted in the Sun newspaper, "'Born To Boogie' will open at boxer Billy Walker's cinema, Oscar, with a 'U'. It's the nearest it will ever get to an Oscar".
In 2006 the film was issued on DVD with additional features introduced by Marc's son, Rolan. A company called Wizard (Bahamas) approached Apple regarding 'Born To Boogie' as contemporary interviews with Marc had him stating that 50 hours of film were produced during the making of the movie. Following the Apple negotiations, 272 cans of film were found in a West London warehouse. Much of the film was degraded, but there was such an amount of footage that a two DVD set was eventually released to tie in with the numerous events to coincide with the anniversary of Bolan's death.
The soundtrack album, now on a double CD, contains:
Disc 1: 1. Apple Films Intro 2. Jeepster 3. Baby Strange 4. 'Electric Wind' (poem) 5. Tutti Frutti (Elton, Ringo & T.Rex) 6. Children Of The Revolution (Elton, Ringo & T.Rex) 7. 'Look To The Left' (Marc & Ringo - 30 secs) 8. Spaceball Ricochet 9. Some People Like To Rock' (Marc & Ringo - 30 secs) 10. Telegram Sam 11. 'Some People Like To Rock' (Mark & Ringo - 30 secs) 12. Cosmic Dancer 13. 'They've Come, 'tis Said' 14. Tea Party Medley (Marc (on acoustic) & String Quartet): (a) Jeepster (b) Hot Love (c) Get It On (d) The Slider 15. 'Union Hall' (poem) 16. Hot Love 17. Get It On 18. Children Of The Revolution - Reprise 19. Interview with Marc Bolan and Tony Norman (Interviewer), recorded in Marc's flat. From late 1971 (10 mins approx)
Disc 2: 1. 'The Almighty T.Rex' - Emperor Rosko (Live 18.03.1972) 2. Cadilac (Live 18.03.1972) 3. Jeepster (Live 18.03.1972) 4. Baby Strange (Live 18.03.1972) 5. Spaceball Ricochet (Live 18.03.1972) 6. Girl (Live 18.03.1972) 7. Cosmic Dancer (Live 18.03.1972) 8. Telegram Sam (Live 18.03.1972) 9. Hot Love (Live 18.03.1972) 10. Get It On (Live 18.03.1972) 11. Just One More?' - Emperor Rosko (Live 18.03.1972) 12. Summertime Blues (Live 18.03.1972)
|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.|
Article Bill Harry 2017 Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017