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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Louise Harrison Interview, Part 4 of 4

Midwest Tape marketing specialist Chris Shope recently interviewed Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George Harrison, and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Scott about their new Grammy-nominated album, Fab Fan Memories, as well as their Help Keep Music Alive organization, George Harrison, and the Beatles.

Broken into four parts, below is the fourth and final portion of our interview. Click here for Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

Chris: Louise, I would like to ask you a few questions about your brother George, but before I do I was wondering if you could give us a quick take on the other Beatles. What were they like when you met them? Are there any interesting anecdotes you would like to share?

Louise: When I first met them, it was at the Plaza Hotel on the Friday afternoon when they had just arrived over from Britain to do The Ed Sullivan show. And for me it was just like getting three more brothers. You know I had grown up with three brothers—George, Harry, and Peter—so it was just like having three more brothers. We just reacted that way with each other, you know, it’s just one big family.

They were all so excited because they had just arrived to that tremendous reception at the airport and all through New York, so they were buzzing from room to room in the suite there at the Plaza. They were in the presidential suite, and there were, I think, three different rooms and everything. They all had their TV sets on in their own rooms, and they were running from room to room because all of the different networks were covering the arrival. And they would be saying, “Hey, look what they’re saying about us here.” And then somebody would say, “Hey, look what they’re saying about us here.” And so all of the different coverage of their arrival was there [on TV] and we were running from room to room madly watching what was going on outside and watching the recording of them coming into town.

So, we just all enjoyed each other, and they knew I didn’t have any agenda. I wasn’t a stalker; I wasn’t a fan, or a manipulator, or a predator—which they didn’t even know existed at that point. All of that came later, the manipulators and the predators. But at that time it was just a lot of fun because it was like having three more brothers.

Chris: Was that the instance when you had to show a photograph to get in?

Louise: That’s right, yeah. George had left word at the front desk when I was checking in to come on up to their room. But he didn’t realize there were guards at the end of the corridor stopping everybody and asking them if their name was on the list. So he just told me to come up, and he didn’t know there was such a thing as a list to be on. So, of course, I wasn’t on the list. But as it turned out I had that Polaroid picture of myself and George and my brother Peter. George was holding my daughter in his arms; she was about three years old at the time.

Unfortunately that Polaroid picture, I gave it to the people at Capitol Records and they made copies of it, and I still have a note from Bill Turner from Capitol saying, “I’ll get that picture back to you as soon as possible.” Well, that was written forty years ago and I still haven’t gotten the picture back. And I had somebody from EMI search through all of their archives trying to find it, and they can’t. But somebody’s probably selling it on the Internet.

Chris: It’s possible, but that’s probably the most unique access pass I’ve ever heard of.

Louise: Yeah, that’s right.

Dennis: I’m glad you had that Louise. It would be a very different story otherwise. Were you backstage at The Ed Sullivan Show when that was going on?

Louise: Well, I was in the audience on the Sunday night one. You see they taped one in the afternoon on Sunday, but it was actually shown on the third week. They did the second one from the Deauville in Miami, but the third week they actually aired the one that had been taped on the afternoon of that Sunday.

And it’s funny because on the first and the third show, George still has a temperature of 102 and that really, really bad strep throat, and he looks really ill. But during the second performance from the Deauville he had recovered and he was okay. He was bouncy and his eyes were sparkling. Most people don’t know. I tell them if you watch all three shows, notice on the first and the third one he’s ill, and in the second one he’s not. It is because that third one was actually recorded before that first two. So that’s one thing that isn’t generally known.

Dennis: I’ve watched those clips a number of times and, especially in view of what you just said, I have to give him [George] a lot of credit because. For example, when he does the solo to “Till There Was You,” the camera comes on him and he just beams a smile that goes across the entire screen. It’s so engaging, and he’s not even feeling well. He was a trooper, even in those days.

Louise: Well that’s kind of the way our parents raised us. No matter what’s happening, if you have a job to do, you do it to the very best of your ability. That was very much a part of how he behaved.

Chris: The show must go on. About your brother George, Tom Petty in a September Rolling Stone article said that George was anything but quiet. He said that he was very fun to hang out with.

Louise: Exactly. That was just because he had that strep throat that weekend and the doctor advised him to try to not say very much because his throat was still hurting. That’s why he got dubbed the quiet Beatle, but we’ve always had a joke about that. He’s no quieter than I am!

Chris: That’s fantastic! The same article also said that George was fond of the phrase “create and preserve the image of your choice,” which I find beautiful. What did that phrase mean to George and how did it affect his life?

Louise: Well, you know, he was being, what’s the word, facetious. Because of all of the images that people created about them, and the false ideas that people had about them. For instance, the quiet one and all that. He was just being sarcastic really by saying that.

One of the other things that he used to have a lot of fun with, when people would ask him questions is that he would say “well, I don’t really know. I’m the quiet one. I don’t have much to say. I’m the quiet one.” So he would kind of fall back on that myth in order to get out of having to answer nonsensical questions.

Chris: It seems like a lot of these experiences may have sent George down the road of a more inward journey.

Louise: Oh yeah, yeah. After all that fame and fortune and everything, he realized how hollow a lot of it is. They discovered very early that the money doesn’t make you happy. It just makes you a target, you know. Then there were all of the people that came into their lives just wanting to get a hold of the money. That was kind of sickening for them but you know they had to kind of put up with it. That was all part of the job, I suppose.

Chris: Is that part of what led George to India?

Louise: Oh yes. Because he realized that all the money in the world wasn’t going to make you happy. You have to have inner peace in order to be able to survive in that cauldron that they were in the midst of. They were in like a boiling cauldron of all the promotion all the time, as far as the discomfort level of their lives, and so in order to try and find peace, they had to try to find “what’s it really all about.” You know, “why are we in this crazy position?” And they were able to gradually start to understand that the message that they were delivering was a very, very vital and important thing for the rest of the people on the planet.

Chris: Indeed, they could say things that mattered from their high perch.

Louise: Yeah exactly, and people would listen. They started to realize that they had this responsibility.

Chris: Is that when George became good friends with Ravi Shankar and did the Concert for Bangladesh? Reading back on it, it was a very positive thing to do.

Louise: Exactly. They started quite a trend there. And I mean what we’re going to be doing with Help Keep Music Alive is a continuation of that trend. We’re not in this to glorify ourselves or make ourselves millionaires. We’re in it to help other people and that was very, very much in the spirit of what the Beatles were all about.

Chris: It sounds like the Concert [for Bangladesh] was a progression.

Louise: Oh yes.

Chris: What’s your favourite song that George wrote?

Louise: Oh golly, probably a couple dozen of them. But off the top of my head I would say maybe “Cheer Down.”

Chris: That’s a good one.

Louise: He would kind of take that attitude. To me cheer down is the same thing as curb your enthusiasm. You know, that was kind of how he used to react to me, because I would always be bouncing up and down with enthusiasm, and he’d kind of look at me like “cheer down, Lou. Calm down.” So I’ve always liked that song because I feel like there was a bit of a thought towards my being in that song.

Chris: It sounds like he had a great sense of humour like you do.

Louise: Absolutely. When you live in Liverpool you’ve got to have a sense of humour because the first thing you learn is how to make fun of yourself. You know I can remember doing a TV show—I don’t know whether it was Larry King or one of those others—but they have a dressing room and they have people there that come and put makeup on you. I said, “look the best thing you can do to make me look better is put a bag over my head.”

Chris: Self-deprecation is good humour, I find.

Louise: Oh yeah, that’s what we learned right from the get-go in Liverpool.

Chris: So Dennis, what’s your favourite song that George wrote?

Dennis: I hate to pick just one because I do like so many of them, but I guess I gravitate towards one that is one of his most beloved and popular ones, which is “Here Comes the Sun.” I never get tired of hearing it, and now that Cirque de Soleil came out with the Love show, we’re able to hear some of the other versions of that song. It reintroduced me to that material and I just love it even more. I do like some of his songs that were maybe not single hits, things like "If I Needed Someone," such a great song.

Louise: Yeah, yeah.

Dennis: And "Taxman" is not only a great rocker, but it’s also a pretty insightful song about the economic times and some of the tax injustices.

Louise: Back then, yeah. That’s one thing that tickles me now about this whole thing about “well, we can’t raise taxes on the millionaires.” Well, they’re only paying 35%, when the Beatles were millionaires they were paying 96%. America’s millionaires should take that one and suck it down.

Chris: That’s perspective right there.

Louise: Exactly.

Dennis: Well, what impresses me is when he wrote that he was young, but had a mature and insightful lyric, which he shared with everyone.

Chris: I’m sure that the spotlight aged them all pretty quickly to the ways of the world.

Louise: That’s right, yeah.

Dennis: Especially when they were forced to become businessmen after Brian Epstein died. I’m sure, from what I understand, they didn’t relish the thought of that. They were creative people.

Louise: Well, they still kept on getting ripped off. That was not their primary interest, but when they realized how much they were being ripped off, they started trying to look into it and see if they couldn’t solve a few problems. As a matter of fact, I remember Peter Noone—you know Herman’s Hermits—I remember him telling me that when he first started out, he was only about 16, the Beatles had told him about some of the pitfalls of the business world, and they told him some of the things to watch out for. And he said due to their advice, he was able to actually hold on to a lot more of his income than the Beatles were able to because he was looking into the things that the Beatles had told him about and getting those things taken care of.

Chris: As you said on the album [Fab Fan Memories], “for the Beatles it was all about the music.” All the rest of it was for someone else.

Louise: Exactly.

Chris: That’s what I love about music in general, like with “Here Comes the Sun,” when I hear it I think back to when I was 16. I had a convertible, driving down the road with the wind in my hair. I love music’s power to bring back memories and transport you to places.

Louise: Exactly.

Dennis: That’s very observant. I’m sure Louise and the [Liverpool] Legends experience, as do I with my group the WannaBeatles, the young faces in the audience. These kids, who are five or six or seven years old, know the lyrics to all these songs. I am constantly amazed by that.

Louise: Yeah, yeah. It’s still resonating with the youngsters coming up. There’s no doubt about that.

Chris: You can see in their eyes those kinds of memories being created.

Louise: Yeah, yeah.

Dennis: Exactly.

Chris: It’s a beautiful thing. Well, that’s all of the questions we have for you. This has been an incredible conversation and again we really appreciate it.

Dennis: Thank you Chris.

Louise: Thank you. The more people we can reach, the more people we can help.

Thanks for reading our four-part interview with Louise Harrison and Dennis Scott. To learn more about Louise's organization, Help Keep Music Alive, by visiting their website or Facebook page. You can also shop Fab Fan Memories and Beatles music and DVDs on

>>Read part one now.
>>Read part two now.
>>Read part three now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Louise Harrison Interview, Part 3 of 4

CVS Midwest Tape marketing specialist Chris Shope recently interviewed Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George Harrison, and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Scott about their new Grammy-nominated album, Fab Fan Memories, as well as their Help Keep Music Alive organization, George Harrison, and the Beatles.

Broken into four parts, below is the third portion of our interview. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

Chris: The world is getting smaller. Technology is making Do-It-Yourself so much easier for talented musicians. All these people that wouldn’t have connections otherwise, that wouldn’t be able to be heard. It would have been interesting to see how the Beatles would have come up in a world like today.

Louise: Yeah, well, it would be rather different.

Dennis: I’m sure Louise agrees that it was the coming together of so many different elements that made the Beatles what they were. They were immersed in all these sounds from America that were coming over with the servicemen landing in Liverpool, and they just absorbed it like sponges. And when they put it out, it became their own signature way of making music. The rest is history.

Chris: In my research, I didn’t realize that the Beatles had gotten so immensely popular in Great Britain before anyone had even heard of them in the United States.

Louise: That’s true. They were number one. They had their first album put out, which in England was called Please Please Me, and it was number one. It stayed at number one for about twelve months until their second album [With the Beatles] came out and knocked it down to number two.

So, well that was the thing you know, I lived over here from the beginning of March 1963, and I was running around all the radio stations that I could with the singles that my mum was sending me. I was saying “hey, this is my kid brother’s band, and they’re number one in England, and you should be playing them.” I was really trying like crazy to get them some airplay in this country. And then eventually it happened.

Chris: You laid the groundwork. It must have been wonderful to finally hear every radio station playing it.

Louise: Oh yeah, it was.

Dennis: Louise, was there a lot of resistance at first from the radio stations? Were they ambivalent at first or…?

Louise: Well, I discovered later it wasn’t so much that there was ambivalence, so much as back in those days there was what was called Payola. It was more that the DJs and the Program Directors back then were accustomed to being given across their palms with silver, kind of idea, before they actually accepted something. So this was why I, when I found out all of this stuff was going on, I let Brian [Epstein] know that we needed to have a major record label behind us, somebody that had some clout in order to get anywhere with the radio stations. And of course back then there were about 6,000 independent radio stations, I know there’s more than that now, but of course there’s a different way of distributing now.

Dennis: Those were the days.

Chris: As you may know CVS Midwest Tape is a vendor of media products and services to public libraries. What is your favourite part of your local library?

Louise: When I was a kid in Liverpool, I was six years old when I joined the library. I’d be there two or three times a week getting out all of those Andrew Lang fairy tales, back in those days. You know because I was a little girl, looking for the happily ever after and princes and princesses and everything.

But more recently the kinds of things I’m into are things like quantum physics. I have a tremendous library—in my own bedroom, in fact. I can’t even remember half of the things. Things about the planet, about the environment, again quantum physics and people like Senator Paul Simon. He gave me some of his books. Tom Haden, he gave me one of his books. Actually a lot of the books that I have were given to me by the authors. People like Al Gore, and Joshua Greene who wrote a book about my brother. So I have a very, very varied library at home. I don’t read fiction or spy stories or horror stories or anything like that, it’s mostly I would say non-fiction, and possibly slightly a little intellectual stuff.

Chris: How about you, Dennis? What do you like to read?

Dennis: Well, I’m still going through my Archie comic book collection. Like Louise, it’s very difficult to find time to read, but of course, my leanings are towards music-oriented publications and books. I like the histories and stories about artists I’m impressed by. I have a pretty good collection now of books about the Beatles.

And we have a wonderful public library in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s not that old; it was rebuilt a couple of years ago. And aside from the collections of books, they have a concert series and a courtyard square where I’ve had a chance to play with my tribute band [the WannaBeatles]. And they also have world-class puppet and marionette shows. It’s just a treasure to go there.

Chris: Excellent.

Louise: I too, of course, have all of the books that people have written about the Beatles. They mostly send them to me. I haven’t really read many of them because too many of them are fabricated from my point of view. That’s one of the reasons why I’m writing my own book—to give a little bit of truth to all of the myths that are out there.

Chris: Definitely. You’re in an extremely unique position to tell it the way it is.

Louise: And people have been saying to me for years, “isn’t it about time for you to write a book about the Beatles?” For years I’ve resisted but finally I said okay. Enough is enough with all of the garbage that’s out there. That’s what I was working on when you called me.

Chris: Excellent. Is there any music you are into these days, aside from the Beatles, of course?

Dennis: You mean there’s something else other than the Beatles? (sarcasm)

Chris: Any new favourite bands?

Louise: My favourite bands in the ‘60s were the Moody Blues, the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and that was about it. Those were the ones that I liked.

Dennis: I have to agree with Louise 100 percent— the Beach Boys. Of course, the Beatles and the Beach Boys influenced each other.

Louise: Yes, yeah. That’s one of the stories I’m telling in my book about when I was invited to the memorial for Carl Wilson in California, you know with the Beach Boys.

Dennis: Believe it or not, I stay abreast of children’s recordings because the other hat that I wear is as a producer and writer of children’s material. I’ve worked with Sesame Street and Disney and folks like that, so I really have to keep on top of what’s going out there. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the children’s music is becoming much more sophisticated at an earlier age. While in my heart I wish things would stay a little more sedate, the kids are becoming more attuned to rap and other kinds of music at an earlier age. So I do have to keep on top of contemporary music a little bit.

Chris: We should have another conversation sometime about children’s music because our customers enjoy the children’s content that we provide for them.

Dennis: Definitely. Let’s talk. Check out that Mr. Rogers album, unless you already have. It’s kind of neat because it features artists we all know and love like Roberta Flack and BJ Thomas doing their versions of songs written by Fred Rogers.

Chris: Alright. He was from the Cleveland area.

Dennis: Actually Pittsburgh.

Chris: Pittsburgh, that’s what it was. I used to work with a guy who was family friends with him.

Louise: I can remember when my grandchildren were babies. They’re now 21 and 23, but when they were babies we used to sit and watch that every morning. They really loved Mr. Rogers.

Chris: I did, too. So do you guys watch any movies? Anything you like?

Louise: I tend to watch more what’s going on in the news, and again things like [National] Geographic and stuff like that. That is the kind of thing that would appeal to me. So I’m not really into current movies. I guess I’m kind of a fuddy-duddy when it comes to what’s going on in pop culture.

Chris: That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Dennis: Well I would love to go to movies more often because I have an extreme love affair with buttered popcorn.

Louise: I can’t stand that stuff.

Dennis: I’m a popcorn fan. But I have an eleven year old son who, believe it or not, is not a movie-goer. So we don’t get to go to the movies as often as I would like and when we do go, I think the top of the movie list is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We’ve been to that three times. So, I don’t get to see as many adult movies as I would like, but that’s probably a good thing anyway.

Louise: Watch out when you say adult movies, Dennis. That has a different connotation.

Chris: Yeah, can I quote you on that Dennis?

Louise: That’s not what you mean is it?

Dennis: No that was not what I meant. (laughing)

This has been part three of our four-part interview with Louise Harrison and Dennis Scott. Be sure to visit News & Views Thursday to read the fourth and final part of our interview.

In the meantime, shop Fab Fan Memories and Beatles music and DVDs. You can also learn more about Louise's organization, Help Keep Music Alive, by visiting their website or Facebook page.

>>Read part one now.
>>Read part two now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CVS Midwest Tape marketing specialist Chris Shope recently interviewed Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George Harrison, and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Scott about their new Grammy-nominated album, Fab Fan Memories, as well as their Help Keep Music Alive organization, George Harrison, and the Beatles. Broken into four parts, below is the first portion of our interview.

Broken into four parts, below is the second portion of our interview. Click here for Part 1.

Chris: What are some of your favorite memories on the [Fab Fan Memories] album?

Louise: Well, I don’t know. I can’t be very specific at this time because it’s been a while since I’ve listened to it, and I don’t remember all of the specifics. But I know throughout my life people will come up to me and whisper in my ear little stories about their own personal experience of the Beatlesfar beyond the ones that are actually on the album. I’ve been told thousands of stories by Beatles fans and to me it’s just always very, very inspiring and very gratifying to hear the positive influence that the Beatles have had on people’s lives.

Dennis: Well, I can add to that by saying that in the editing process of putting the album together I did have opportunity to hear those stories over and over again. Some of them had to be edited down because they went on for quite some time. And I do have some of my favorites. I’m just amazed and touched by what some people have gone through to express their love, or to make a connection to the Beatles.

I love the story about the girl who managed to find the hotel room that the Beatles stayed in, and she brought an empty jar and she told the chamber maid "I’m not here to take anything. I just want a jar of air." She took a big jar, scooped it up, and put the cap on it. I mean that was a great story. 

And then there’s a great story that actually intersected a fan’s life with Louise where this girl in Massachusetts, she was a junior reporter, she was still in high school, not even high school, and she and her friend got her editor to get them press passes, and she worked her way into a press conference where the Beatles were I want to say in Boston. And because they were such devoted fans, they knew what Louise looked like and they spotted her and befriended her, and Louise was kind to them. That allowed them to meet the press manager who was there, and they got to go into the interview. I mean the things that people have gone through to get in there is just astounding. I wish I had some of the nerve that they did.

Chris: Sometimes it just takes twenty seconds of crazy courage, and doors open for you.

Dennis: Also, when you don’t know it’s impossible, you’re free to try and do it, I think.

Louise: Absolutely. I know my dad always used to say to me "don’t ever give up." So I’ve always liked that attitude, and when I’ve met people who’ve had that attitude, I’ve been willing to help them.

Dennis: Well, then there’s the story of the girl who was trying to get to the Beatles concert, but she and her family had gone out into the water on Long Island Sound for a sail when they ran out of wind and they couldn’t find their way back. She’s freaking out, saying "I’ve got to get to dry land and get to this concert." 

They ended up banking the boat on the shore, randomly, and she had to run like two miles across the seashells and cut up her feet to get there but she did make it to the concert. That’s devotion isn’t it? 

In fact, here’s what helped prompt the making of this album. In Nashville, as in so many other cities, they have a Beatles meet-up group. And I’ve become a member of that and attended some of the meetings, and usually when there’s a new member, they will get up and introduce themselves and say a little bit of why they are fans of the Beatles. As people were talking and telling their edited down stories, I thought this is just too good to be true. These are all little treasures and I wondered if anyone had done an album of this sort. Upon further research, I found out that nobody had. I said, "well, this is just an album that has to be made."

Chris: It makes for great, great audio.

Louise: Well, everybody I’ve sent it to so far really is enjoying it.

Dennis: It’s just very gratifying because when you start out, at least as a producer, I thought "‘well, I think it’s a good idea, but will everybody think it’s a good idea? Is it just good in my head, or is it really as good as I think it is? Conceptually anyway."

It just really feels good to know we were on the right track. Not only because the fans appreciate it, but I think in some ways it’s a little piece of the historical puzzle that hasn't been told in quite the same way that other documentaries have. 

Chris: You’re continuing the conversation.

Louise: Exactly, the thing that I like about [the album] is that it’s not one of the glitzy things that have been put out. There’s been a lot of glitzy, high profile expensive stuff put out about the Beatles, and this is just something down to earth and real and not Vegas-glitz. This is the more normal stuff, which is far more real.

Chris: Yes, it’s about the people. There are the fans, and the meet-up groups, and both of you work with Beatles cover bands. Louise, you work with the Liverpool Legends over there in Branson. How often do they perform?

Louise: Well, we were doing five nights a week in Branson, but the season is over now, so we’ve started this Help Keep Music Alive program to raise funds for high schools and colleges all across the country, for their music departments. We’ve now just done the fourth show on that program. We’ve done one in Moline, one in Davenport, and now two in Chicago. 

I have a board of directors and have formed a non-profit organization. We’re just getting ready to blast off with this program, and I’m hoping that more people hear about it. We have our website up now, and we will also have a dotcom. We are hoping that people will go to the website. And if they are music directors at a high school or college, and they would like for us to come and perform there and incorporate their music students into our concerts, we hope they let us know. That is what we've been doing. 

We had 172 students at one concert behind the band [the Liverpool Legends] on risers playing all of their instruments, and it’s just absolutely fabulous. There’s a lot of travel involved and everything but it’s worthwhile because the atmosphere in these auditoriums, while they’re doing the shows, is just so magical. One of the kids the other night came up to the guy who plays my brother in the band, he was about 14 or 15, and he said to him "you know this is something I’m going to be able to tell my grandchildren about." Things like that make it so worthwhile. 

Chris: It sounds like this organization has wonderful goals. This is definitely something people need to hear about.

Louise: Let’s face it: the whole thing is networking and getting the word out. We don’t have money to be able to do lots of advertising, and even if we had the money to do advertising, we would rather give it to the schools anyway. The more we can get the word out by word-of-mouth, the better. 

Also, I just had a wonderful, wonderful break because the inspiration for this [Help Keep Music Alive] came from a PSA George had done in conjunction with Mr. Holland’s Opus, the movie. He had done a PSA urging people to help keep music alive in schools, to help fund the music departments, and so Mr. Holland’s Opus' people, who actually own that tape, have just now given me permission to use whatever part of the tape I want on our website. So I’ve got my own brother saying what we’re doing.

Dennis: I’m so glad that you work with libraries, Chris, because it seems like [our album] is such a good fit. It’s odd because the product feels like an Audiobook to me, although there isn't the reading aspect of it. But who knows, maybe that could be created and added on.

Chris: That’s true, it’s possible.

Louise: Well I’m working on my book at the moment, and I intend to make that into an audiobook as well.

Dennis: I know a good recording studio in Nashville, Louise.

Louise: I’m going to need somewhere to do it.

Dennis: Wow, that would be fun.

Chris: Dennis, you have your own recording company in Nashville?

Dennis: I do. I’m originally from New York, but I moved to Nashville about twenty years ago and really enjoy the creative element there. It’s such a community of musicians and artists and producers.

Chris: Researching music here at CVS Midwest Tape, we have seen that Nashville is definitely a hub of activity for the music industry, and not just Country Music either.

Louise: I know a lot of people there in Nashville, musicians. There’s a guy called Gary Nicholson; he writes under the name of Whitey Johnson, I think, and then another friend I just met recently, Harry Stinson, who plays with the Marty Stuart Band. So, I have a lot of good friends there in Nashville.

Chris: Honestly, I’d love to go to Nashville and see the life-size replica of the Parthenon.

Louise: Yeah (laughs).

Dennis: Well, that’s only about fifteen minutes from where I live, we would be glad to have you. I’m lucky that I can do what I do from almost anywhere these days. But Nashville has such a great talent pool so there’s really no reason why I can’t live in a town where you can raise your family, but you can also park your car.

Louise: Yeah, yeah. When I lived in New York I used to have to send my car to New Jersey, to some friends over there, to have a garage for it.

This has been part one of our four-part interview with Louise Harrison and Dennis Scott. Be sure to visit News & Views on Thursday to read part two of our interview.

In the meantime, shop Fab Fan Memories and Beatles music and DVDs. You can also learn more about Louise's organization, Help Keep Music Alive, by visiting their website or Facebook page.

>>Read part one now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Louise Harrison Interview, Part 1 of 4

CVS Midwest Tape marketing specialist Chris Shope recently interviewed Louise Harrison, sister of Beatle George Harrison, and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Scott about their new Grammy-nominated album, Fab Fan Memories, as well as their Help Keep Music Alive organization, George Harrison, and the Beatles. Broken into four parts, below is the first portion of our interview.

Louise: Hello

Chris: Hi Louise, this is Chris Shope at Midwest Tape. How are you today?

Louise: Oh, I’m fine. How are you?

Chris: I’m great, thanks! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

Louise: No problem. I just got back from Chicago. We just did two concerts at the weekend for Help Keep Music Alive. We did two high schools. That was a lot of fun and very, very successful.

Dennis: How did the kids play? Did they do a good job?

Louise: They are incredible. Not every single note out of their mouths is absolutely perfect, but it was such a tremendous atmosphere, all of these kids being so excited to be part of a real concert. It’s just wonderful, wonderful. You stand there and watch the kids, and you have chills all up and down your arms; all the hairs are standing on end. It’s just really, really wonderful.

Chris: I love the passion and joy kids bring to music.

Louise: That’s why it’s so important that we’re doing what we’re doing. With the way things are financially now all across the country, many of kids are deprived of any opportunity to learn music.

Chris: It’s unfortunate.

Louise: I know we can’t do an awful lot to help, but at least we’ll do whatever we can.

Chris: It’s wonderful to hear about someone who’s done so many awesome things giving back to the kids. Well, we here at CVS Midwest Tape work hand-in-hand with libraries to help them achieve many of their goals. I think they’d be really interested to hear your new album, Fan Fab Memories, and what you guys would have to say about it. 

Louise: Well I certainly enjoyed being able to participate in [the album] because for the last 48 years now I’ve been very much the mum of the global family of Beatles people. For me it’s always a great pleasure to be able to interact with all of the fans across the world and to be the mum figure. I’ve really enjoyed being part of it. 

All of the people I’ve sent [the album] to so far have really enjoyed it, including my friend Angie McCartney, the second wife of Paul’s dad. She has a media company and wants to get the word out about it, too. It’s very much a network of people that you meet up with. Some of the people you’ve known in the past because we’re all on the same wavelength and we’re all basically trying to put across the same message of love and peace and harmony and all of that kind of stuff. It’s only natural that we meet up with each other from time to time.

Chris: The energy just pulls people together.

Louise: Exactly.

Chris: Now how did you and Dennis meet?

Louise: Well, we haven’t met yet, have we, Dennis?

Dennis: We haven’t met face-to-face yet but I feel like I’ve known Louise for a while now. She’s so congenial and it’s such an honor to work with her. I never dreamed, before I met her, that she had such a great broadcast background and experience. The moment we started recording together, all I had to do was turn the tape recorder on and let her do her thing. It was brilliant; it was exactly what the album needed. She’s the glue that holds the rest of the album together.

Louise: I’m glad I’ve finally reached my pinnacle; I’ve now become the glue.

Dennis: It’s even better than Elmer’s glue. It’s Louise glue.

Louise: Well, my name is Lou to begin with.

Chris: The Lou glue.

Louise: Yeah.

Chris: So what about the project most appealed to you, Louise?

Louise: Being able to be part of something where the fans get a chance to be heard in a really nice format. If you say anything nice about me it’s because I take after my parents, they expected me to behave. For years and years and years, they were the original mum and dad of the family of Beatles people all over the planet. They answered hundreds of thousands of fan letters over the years, and they encouraged me to always give back the love. 

So, it’s being able to be part of that, and being able to allow the fans themselves to express what they have felt over the years, and how much the Beatles have meant in a positive way in many people’s lives. It’s really great to know that it’s still going on. And at our shows we have kids that are four or five years old, and they’re enjoying the whole positive experience of Beatles music as well. I’m just hopeful that it will keep on going and maybe improve this awful world that we’re getting into these days and make it get to be a little better.

Chris: It’s wonderful that you have embraced that role.

Louise: Absolutely. I didn’t have anything else to do (sarcasm).

Dennis: I’m sure that’s true (sarcasm). She’s always on the go.

Chris: What are the main characteristics that make up the bond that Beatles fans share?

Louise: Well, to me, I’ve found there are definitely two different kinds of people in the world, and you see that in politics, too. The people who are Beatles people have a tendency to be positive people and have hope and vision for the future and have compassion and friendliness and kindness in their hearts. Those are Beatles people. And I’m very fortunate, because of my Beatles relationship, that those are the kind of people that I spend most of my time talking to. I mean I occasionally run into somebody who hates the Beatles but it seems people like that, they hate everything. We’re seeing it in today’s world where there are a whole section of people who just hate everything, and you can’t change them, unfortunately.

Chris: But it’s great that the Beatles sort of gave a voice to all of the positive people.

Louise: Yes, yeah.

Dennis: I’ve only met one person who did not like the Beatles and he’s kind of a sourpuss. He’s a very talented musical arranger but he just didn’t get the Beatles. I’m surprised because I figured the more musical you are, the more you would appreciate their musicality, but there’s one in every crowd. So, let’s just focus on the positive people.

Louise: Yes, the thing to do I think is rallying together all of the people who are part of it. And I see it happening now, too, across the world, because the people who are the real people are the backbone of every country. They’re getting up and saying "hey, notice us, we’re the ones that are making it all happen. Pay a little attention to us and give us a break now and again." 

And I’m just very, very encouraged that apathy seems to have gone out the window and people are taking an interest in what’s happening in their lives and speaking out. I’m going to be going to New York next week and I’ve asked if I can meet some of the people that are out on the streets and say hello to them.

Dennis: Louise, we should give you a tape recorder, and you can do Fab Fan Memories, Volume Two.

Louise: Hey, that’s a thought! I’ll get to be amongst them because I emailed someone this morning who’s setting up all of the media for me in New York. I said,"if you can, get me down there to talk to the people because if John [Lennon] was alive he’d be there leading them in singing 'Imagine.'"

This has been part one of our four-part interview with Louise Harrison and Dennis Scott. Be sure to visit News & Views on Thursday to read part two of our interview. In the meantime, shop Fab Fan Memories and Beatles music and DVDs. You can also learn more about Louise's organization, Help Keep Music Alive, by visiting their website or Facebook page.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3D Still Looking for Breakthrough

Over the past couple of years, the News & Views crew has kept you up-to-date with advances in 3D entertainment, both in the theatre and at home. With the dawn of 2012 just behind us, it’s time for another look at where 3D stands and where it may be headed.

Just a Fad?
One question that has persisted throughout 3D’s rise is whether it really is the “next big thing” or just a passing fad. Several years in, the answer to that question is still not quite clear. One thing that is certain is that moviegoers have not fully embraced it as essential to the theatre experience. When James Cameron’s Avatar blew up box offices in 2009, 80% of viewers ponied up the premium price to see it in 3D; in 2011, just 38% of audiences for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides did the same.1

There are a number of possible explanations for such a precipitous drop in 3D viewership. For one, Avatar was a one-of-a-kind visual experience, whereas Pirates of the Caribbean was the fourth in a series, the first three of which did just fine in two dimensions. In addition, some people (notable film critic Roger Ebert among them) have found they just don’t care for 3D.2 No matter the reason, though, there is no doubt that those in the film industry would prefer 3D box office numbers closer to Avatar’s levels.

3D Movies Are (Probably) Here to Stay
Despite the criticism and slower-than-expected adoption, there’s a lot of money to be made from 3D. That is the number one reason why 3D is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Between studios creating and/or purchasing 3D cameras and conversion processes and theatres investing in the projection equipment necessary to show 3D movies, there are a number of parties with a vested interest in continuing (and expanding) the 3D phenomenon.3

The challenge, then, is for moviemakers to learn how to use 3D in a way that is seen as more than just a novelty. Viewers don’t particularly want to pay premium prices and wear goofy glasses for 3D that doesn’t significantly enhance the whole viewing experience. Movie mogul Steven Spielberg agrees with this assessment: “[3D is] another tool in a very large tool chest…I think 3D should be used when there is something to be achieved from it, not just to be able to slam the 3D brand on a movie ad.”4

The good news is that a number of heavyweights are turning their attention to the 3D medium. Spielberg’s own The Adventures of Tintin reviewed well in 3D.5 Martin Scorsese recently bypassed his usual oeuvre of gritty gangster films to direct Hugo, a 3D family film that has blown viewers away.6 And of course, looming just over the horizon in December of 2012 is Peter Jackson’s return to the world of Tolkien with the first of his two Hobbit films (which sparked a point/counterpoint on the Forbes blog, debating the movie’s possible effect on 3D).

Of course, anything new is an unknown quantity, a gamble. Hollywood is dusting off a couple of big guns and bringing them back to the theatres in 3D in 2012. First up, George Lucas kicks off his project to convert the Star Wars franchise to 3D when Episode I: The Phantom Menace hits theatres on February 10. Then, in April, Avatar creator James Cameron will re-unleash his Titanic juggernaut.7 Those are two of the top-grossing films of all time; something tells me they’ll bring in a few dollars this time around, too.

Home Theatre 3D
There’s a certain thrill in seeing a 3D movie in a theatre; the large screen and dark auditorium create an immersive experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to keep trying, though. Just as with movies in the theatre, there’s money to be made on 3D in the home, with all those blockbusters coming to Blu-ray and consumer electronics companies constantly producing new components to provide better and better video quality.

One of those components, usually, is a pair of 3D glasses for each viewer. That can be a detriment to those looking to adopt 3DTV as purchasing a pair of glasses for each member of the family can get a little pricey. That obstacle may be on its way out, though, as Stream TV Networks is getting ready to unveil its new Ultra-D technology that will provide glasses-free 3D.8 The company’s CEO, Mathu Rajan, anticipates “…a significant shift in the way people view media, comparable to the transition from black and white to color TV.”

Home viewing also allows for a broader array of content than just blockbuster movies. In addition to 3D programming already available from network such as ESPN and Disney, Panasonic and NBC have teamed up to broadcast the upcoming Summer Olympics in 3D.9

What Do You Think?
When you see movies in the theatre, do you opt for 3D or 2D? How about when you watch movies or television at home? Does your library offer 3D Blu-rays, or have you had any patron demand for them? Let us know your thoughts on 3D in the comments section below.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Top 10 Workout Songs For Winter 2011

This past September CVS Midwest Tape began offering Zumba® Fitness’s Exhilarate Ultimate Zumba Fitness DVD Experience. This super popular workout program has been a huge hit in libraries, and with it being the New Year, the DVD Experience is likely to take off even more.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share's top 10 most popular workout songs according to a poll completed by their readers. RunHundred is the web's most heavily-trafficked workout music blog, so they are definitely an authority on what people love to Zumba to.
To find more workout songs—and hear next month's contenders—you and your patrons can check out's free database. You can also browse CVS Midwest Tape's extensive dance and electronic music collections at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Two Titles Cancelled and Changed to Blu-ray/DVD Combos

CVS Midwest Tape recently cancelled two titles due to their respective studios dropping the DVD-only versions.

In the first case, Disney, following a trend they exhibited with African Cats, decided to only distribute The Lady & the Tramp as a DVD + Blu-ray combo. Because the DVD-only version of the film is now unavailable, we had to cancel all DVD-only orders.

In the second case, Sony Pictures decided to only distribute Higher Ground as a Blu-ray + DVD combo. And again, we had to cancel the DVD-only version of the film.

These two cases differ in that The Lady & the Tramp is a DVD version that includes a Blu-ray copy of the film, while Higher Ground is a Blu-ray version that includes a DVD copy. We are noting all instances of these combinations and will continue to share any information on this packaging trend.

If you wish to order either of these combo titles, please visit As always, please contact Customer Service at 866.698.2231 or with any questions or concerns.