Wait, this Nicol guy played with the SPOTNICKS? Oh, and that other little outfit from Liverpool, who were they again?
July 27, 2008 2:56 AM   Subscribe

These Beatles clips from a 1965 NME show are straight off the mixing desk, so the voices are way up front. Man, those vocals are so loud you can hardly hear Ringo! But let's back it up just a year, to Holland in 1964, and catch one of the rare performances without Ringo. Aside from his brief stint as a Beatle, session drummer Jimmy Nicol also played with zany Swedish instrumental surf rock band The Spotnicks. So, there you have it: Jimmy Nicol, a lucky fella who got to play with two of the greatest bands in the world! [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions]

The Spotnicks also had a few vocal numbers in their repertoire, such as Please Say Yes, complete with awkward lyrics typical of non-native speakers. Then there was their curiously unexpected version of Ol' Man River.
Here's the Spotnicks playing just last year, and sounding great.

But, whaddaya say, a little more Beatles? These clips from a 1964 Melbourne, Australia show (Ringo had recovered from illness and rejoined the band after their first few Oz gigs with Nicol) also feature some pretty up-front vocals, and they're a bit more hi-fi, as well. Must be those Sennheiser mics. You Can't Do That, Twist and Shout, She Loves You and Long Tall Sally.

And finally, it should be noted that the Spotnicks were mentioned here previously. The Beatles, on the other hand, have never until now been featured on MetaFilter, and I'm just pleased as punch to have the opportunity to introduce them to everyone here.
posted by flapjax at midnite (22 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Guitar groups are going out of style.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:48 AM on July 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

The Spotnicks have a (really bad) web site.
posted by three blind mice at 4:22 AM on July 27, 2008

Great stuff. Reminds me of that great Beatles bootleg "Ultra Rare Trax." The version of "She's a Woman" on Vol. 1 is not to be missed.
posted by caddis at 4:43 AM on July 27, 2008

Hey dig the mosh pit in the Dutch performance with Nicol, and remember that these kids are now grandparents.
posted by caddis at 4:48 AM on July 27, 2008

The version of "She's a Woman" on Vol. 1 is not to be missed.

Yeah, Beatles bootlegs are lots of fun. And it's important to keep in mind that on these gigs like the linked NME clips, and virtually any other gig the Beatles ever did, there was essentially no monitoring, as we know it today (the British call it "foldback", I believe). That makes it triply impressive that they were singing as well as they often were. And so many of those early Beatles tunes had insane intervallic leaps, that they would nail night after night with stunning power and accuracy. For example, from "She's a Woman", that big leap that happens 3 times each verse: "My love" ... "I know". Damn.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 AM on July 27, 2008

When you have a stadium full of people to sing over you, it creates its very own monitoring. :)
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2008

God, I love She's a Woman. Nice post!
posted by Kwine at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2008

The NME clips are from right around when I saw them. I can tell you, the music was barely audible over the screams. The big rush was knowing that it was them, the Beatles, right there in front of you. Why the screaming? It's like what Roland Barthes says about going to the zoo: We go to the zoo not only because we want to see the animals, we want them to see us. So it was, that we not only wanted to hear the Beatles, we wanted them to hear US. It was making something transactional out of what was designed as a passive experience. (In the first NME clip, John Lennon is chewing gum as he first approaches the mike. Then the gum seems to disappear. Does he swallow it in the opening bars of "I Feel Fine?")
posted by Faze at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2008

This clip has some Jimmy Nichol press coverage in Holland; Wikipedia links to this article.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:07 AM on July 27, 2008

three blind mice: "The Spotnicks have a (really bad) web site."

Apparently not as bad as their dental plan. Yikes, poor Jimmy could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence with those chompers.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:27 AM on July 27, 2008

this is weird: the "She Loves You" Australia clip shows a drum kit with no drummer: I'm assuming there were two kits on stage (one for the opening band maybe?), and that Ringo and his kit never make it into the camera? Check it out.
posted by ornate insect at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2008

ok just watched again and you see Ringo's silhouette briefly. I think that unused drum kit behind the band is the previous band's (whoever they may have been).
posted by ornate insect at 1:11 PM on July 27, 2008

RE the '65 NME clips: I just love watching Ringo drum. For all the naysayers about his ability, he has technique out the ass that you can really best appreciate when you watch him swing a stick. That Ticket To Ride clip could have been just the RingoCam 100%.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2008

For all the naysayers about his ability...

Anyone who naysays Ringo at this point is just dumb and stuck in a mental trap. Ringo was a fine drummer with a great feel.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:52 PM on July 27, 2008

Ringo was excellent for them technically as well as socially. We were blessed with a perfect storm of musicians.
posted by Senator at 5:24 PM on July 27, 2008

I love how they come out, tune their guitars, plug in, adjust their amps and mics, just like any garage band - no fancy modern guitar techs, monitors or nuthin. And the rest of the '65 NME winners concert is equally killer - Kinks, Animals, Stones. Good gig.
posted by jetsetsc at 6:38 PM on July 27, 2008

jetsetsc - remember that their road crew consisted of no more than Neil and Mal - Aspinall, who handled the brains of the operation (and who died within the last year) and Evans, who handled the brawn. (Mal was killed accidentally in 1976 by a policeman.) The Beatles operation was the very definition of bare bones compared to today's standards.

Mal's is the voice you hear in "A Day in the Life" counting down to the bridge...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:43 PM on July 27, 2008

Hey, f_o_f, nice to see ya! I know you're a Beatles lover, so I was wondering if you were gonna pop in here. What I wanna know though, is this: as a guitarist, how do you rate the Spotnicks? And, on the subject, are you a Ventures fan?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:48 PM on July 27, 2008

And yes, those Beatles were quite, um, adept at what they did...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:48 PM on July 27, 2008

Great clips. The mixes in those first clips are crazy. Man, Paul sounds really impressive in all of those. John ranges from decent to good, but Paul, damn.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:06 PM on July 27, 2008

I was all set to slag off the Spotnicks on account of my snobbery, but then I heard "Galloping Guitars" - what a cool song! How could you know like it?

As a *guitarist*, I found myself listening to the purity of the tone - nothing but an early 60s Stratocaster, no effects or nuthin'. It sounded great, and as someone who spent a lot of time listening to instrumental guitar music I found myself appreciating this as extremely unpretentious and very musical. They were definitely thinking about SONGS, not about guitar-playing flash. Props for that!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 6:45 AM on July 28, 2008

er, how could you not like that...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 6:53 AM on July 28, 2008

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