The great rock and roll swindle
Posted by Roger Stormo
Friday, July 03, 2015
The Beatles in Madrid (the photos, that is)
Okay, we fell for it, hook, line and sinker. It was after all, a good story with a beautiful bonus at the end - a chance to hear a professionally recorded stereophonic representation of a full Beatles concert from 1965, with not too much screaming going on.
Efe Eme book
José Luis Alvarez set the trap with an exclusive feature at the Spanish music site Efe Eme in May 2015. How he had made an agreement with The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein to record The Beatles' only concert in Madrid, July 2, 1965, and that it was now finally going to be made available for fans of the group for the fiftieth anniversary of the concert, July 2, 2015. A photo of the tape was also featured on the website alongside the interview.
In the interview with Efe Eme, Alvarez also claimed that in a chance meeting with Epstein in April 1965, he himself had persuaded the manager to include Spain in the upcoming European tour. Epstein had been worried about the lack of Beatles record sales in Spain, but Alvarez had convinced him that this was only due to the country's shortage of record players, and that there were plenty of Beatles fans. Epstein relented, and Spain was included in the tour.
There's just one big flaw in this story:
Contract from Brian Epstein about the concerts in Spain, dated February 5, 1965
A letter from Brian Epstein confirming the concerts in Madrid on July 2 and Barcelona the next day still exists, and is dated 5 February, 1965 - a couple of months before Alvarez' presumably fictious meeting with Epstein took place. As the meeting was not taped and photographs not taken, we now have to conclude that Alvarez invented the story. One of the other things Alvarez recounted from this meeting, was that Epstein had been following his music magazine Fonorama since issue 1 in 1963.
Alvarez was at the time of the concert, editor of the magazine called Fonorama. No doubt, Alvarez and other members of his staff would have been able to meet Epstein and The Beatles during the press conference in Madrid prior to the concert, and they featured this and an account of the concert in their magazine at the time.
Fonorama 15/16, 1965
What they probably didn't do, was record the concert. And in the unlikely event that it really did happen, something must have gone wrong. The tape may have been unplayable, or they may just have lost it. Because the vinyl and CD record released by Alvarez' independent record label Cocodrilo Records on July 2, 2015 does not contain the Madrid concert. It's not even in stereo. What the record does contain, is a hodgepodge of recordings, mainly from two Paris concerts. And this is not the first time Alvarez has been selling this fake, it's only a bigger event this time around, with the online music store Fnac reporting that it's currently their biggest seller! And Alvarez has been touring Spanish radio and TV channels with this record for the past couple of days.
An earlier, less successful outing of the tape creation.
Apparently, the fake was created as early as 1992. The following elements were used in the "recreation" of the Madrid concert:
From the June 20, 1965 Paris afternoon concert:
"Twist & Shout", "She’s a Woman", "I’m a loser", "Can´t Buy Me Love", "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "A Hard Day´s Night"
From the June 20, 1965 Paris evening concert:
"Everybody´s Trying To Be My Baby", "Ticket To Ride" and "Long Tall Sally"
From the June 30, 1966 Tokyo concert:
"Baby´s In Black", "Rock And Roll Music" and "I Feel Fine".
From Paul McCartney's 2 November, 1989 Madrid concert:
Song introduction in Spanish.
The one thing on this album that could be authentic, is the opening announcement from Torrebruno, introducing the Beatles on stage. Judging from the nature of the rest of the material, this was probably recreated by Torrebruno himself, back in 1992 - with added audience noise.
So we've all been duped. The Spanish señorita was a Frenchman in drag. The Beatles' concerts in Paris were great, but are better enjoyed in their natural surroundings, like on this bootleg:
A great bootleg of the Beatles in Paris, come 2016 it will even be legal in Europe.
If you have been lead astray by our enthusiastic first reports about the Madrid concert recording here on WogBlog, our sincerest apology. If it's any consolation, you're not alone. As we are typing this, there's a copy on it's way to us, too. And one other thing: at least you will have a photo booklet and a nice record sleeve with a great story behind it: how we all were fooled by José Luis Alvarez. Print this blog post and stick it in the record sleeve. It will reveal the true story behind the record. Show the record to your friends and let them in on the story. Give it enough time, and you'll laugh at it, too.