Archived Beatles news, page 2  (July 2003 - December 2003)

December 26, 2003
Historic Beatles bar -- "The Grapes" -- damaged by blaze reports that The Grapes, a favorite bar that the Beatles used to hang out, has "suffered smoke and property damage" from a Friday morning fire on Mathew Street in Liverpool. While the damage was extensive, most affected by the fire was Lennon's Bar which is right next to The Grapes. And in a report filed the following day by The Age in Australia, apparently rubbish in the street had caught fire at around 1.00am that led to the damage. It remains unclear at this time to the Merseyside police force as to whether the fire was started deliberately or caused by a discarded cigarette that was lit at the time. The Age reports that Merseyside fire department responded to "the blaze at 1.56am." 


December 26, 2003
An OBS exclusive! An American recalls the inside story about the Paul is Dead Hoax .


December 14, 2003
Red Square concert to broadcast in Britain

The Guardian has confirmed that "Paul McCartney  in Red Square" concert will be aired on ITV1, Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 10.40 p.m. The Guardian is also reporting that Paul McCartney is preparing a picture book that highlights the Red Square concert with lots of written commentary from Paul.


December 12, 2003
Yoko Ono writes a message on John Lennon Wall in Prague

"The Australian" reports that Yoko Ono wrote a special dedication using a black felt marker on the Lennon Wall in Prague which read: "Our hearts are one. John, I love you too, YO".  The Lennon Wall "became an unofficial symbol of freedom at a time of communist conformism", wrote The Australian.  After the passing of John Lennon in 1980, fans continued to draw portraits of the pop star that included either text of his songs, messages, or short maximums from literary classics. One short maximum that appeared on the John Lennon Wall in Prague was the Chinese philosopher Confucius: "It is better to light a candle than to curse in the darkness." In order to rid the "subversive decoration", communist authorities ordered the wall to be painted over but each time authorities did that, days later a new painting of John Lennon with messages would emerge.

The purpose of Yoko's visit to the Czechoslovakian country was to officially opened her "Women's Room" exhibition (Yoko's collection of works that she created in the 1960s) at Prague's Kampa Museum not far from the Lennon Wall. Her exhibit also includes footage from legendary "Cut Piece" from 1964 where she once asked an audience to cut her clothing off using a pair of scissors all in the name of world peace.

To view some very touching photos of Yoko Ono writing a message to her late husband, please click here.


December 9, 2003
George Harrison Dark Horse Catalogue Reissues (with release date!)

"" reports that the material recorded by George Harrison for his "Dark Horse label" will be issued early next year. "Live in Japan", George's last major concert is to be released on February 24, 2004 and a deluxe box set containing all of the albums from the Dark Horse label that will include a bonus DVD.

The bonus tracks (listed in the brackets) for each LP are as follows: "Thirty-Three & 1/3" (Tears of the World); "George Harrison" (Here Comes the Moon - demo version); "Somewhere In England" (Save the World - alternate version); "Gone Troppo" (Mystical One - demo version); "Cloud Nine" (Shanghai Surprise and Zig Zag).


December 5, 2003
George Harrison nominated for 3 Grammy Awards!

The Toronto Sun reports that George Harrison has been nominated for three Grammy Awards. The categories are: "Best Pop Vocal Album"; "Best Pop Instrumental Performance" (Marwa Blues) and "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance".

February 8, 2004 update: George Harrison wins a Grammy for Marwa Blues, best pop instrumental performance.


December 2, 2003
Blabby Beatle Doc

Dr. Gil Lederman, the man who violated confidentiality rules by reporting to the press the condition of George Harrison's battle with cancer before he died, has now been disciplined. According to an exclusive to the New York Post, "Dr. Gil Lederman, the director of radiation oncology at Staten Island University Hospital, was censured, reprimanded and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for what the department deemed a violation of patient confidentiality when the Beatle died two years ago." Both Lederman and his lawyer, Anthony Scher, refused comment yesterday to the New York Post.  Please read "Blabby Beatle Doc" for the complete report. 


November 22, 2003
"Ticket to Ride" by Larry Kane
(a quick book review by John Whelan)

In 1964 and in 1965, Larry Kane was the only American journalist to travel with the Beatles at every concert stop during the North American tours. "Ticket To Ride" by Kane does an exemplary job on giving the reader the inside view of what it was like for the band (and their fans) being subjected to the reaction of "Beatlemania".  The author also tracks down some of the original fans who were at the concerts and he allows them to provide their own commentary on what those concerts meant to them. Kane also interviews the Beatles PR man Tony Barrow along with a host of radio announcers to keep the book objective as possible. His writing has a you-are-there style. The book also features a bonus CD containing many radio interviews that he did with John, Paul, George and Ringo. "Ticket to Ride" is a welcome addition for your Beatle collection!


November 20, 2003
George Harrison inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Suzan Evans, Executive Director of the Foundation, has announced that George Harrison will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. George is being recognized not only as a terrific solo recording artist but also as an outstanding "humanitarian on the world stage", i.e., the benefit concert for "Bangla Desh" that he did on August 1, 1971, in New York is but one example that quickly comes to mind.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can only issue the award after a 25-year waiting period upon the first official release of an artist's recording.  The ceremony where the late-Beatle will be inducted takes place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on March 15.

While this award for George is indeed good news, we seriously ponder if Suzan Evans and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will ever get around to inducting Brain Epstein, the Beatles' manager, into the "Non-Performers" category. Quite frankly the award must be given to Brian Epstein and it is long overdue - on this point, a complete embarrassment for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The man deserves better! One person who has been spearheading a campaign to get Brian Epstein inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is Beatle historian, Martin Lewis. Martin who is producer for the "Hard Day's Night" and "Ed Sullivan Featuring the Beatles" DVD's, wrote an interesting article the next day about this very subject...

Originally posted November 21, 2003:

"Bravo to the Hall Of Fame for this belated recognition of George Harrison's solo career. The Hall now honors the Beatles as a group, John, Paul and George as soloists and Sir George Martin for his invaluable contributions. But Brian Epstein - the man whose vision, passion and persistence was an essential ingredient of their success - is a forgotten man.

There is a section in the Hall of Fame specifically for "Non-Performers" - and Brian is NOT in it. He has been ignored every year since he was eligible. Make no mistake - it was the Beatles that had the talent. But without Brian's skills and tireless endeavors - for all their stunning talent - the Beatles would never have made it outside of Liverpool. Not in the Britain of the early 60's. And that's the absolute conviction of George Martin, Derek Taylor, Klaus Voorman, Alistair Taylor, Sid Bernstein, Robert Freeman, Walter Shenson, Billy J. Kramer, Ray Coleman and everyone else in a position to really know.

Please join George Martin and over 20,000 other admirers - by signing the petition to respectfully urge the Hall Of Fame to correct this oversight. And please encourage every Beatles fan you know to do the same.

For more information please visit

Thank you."


November 18, 2003
Let It Be...Naked is released

On this date, "Let It Be...Naked" is officially released with noticeable sonic improvements throughout the album albeit minus Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound".

"Let It Be...Naked" was produced by: Paul Hicks, Guy Massey and Allan Rouse.

We later did a critical examination of what the producers did to the tracks on Let It Be...Naked and how well the album faired in the marketplace.


November 11, 2003
Hungarian Ambassador: Rock music brought down communism

Associated Press writes: [Ambassador] "Simonyi was a devoted fan of the Beatles, Cream, Traffic and Jimi Hendrix when Western popular music was not officially permitted in Hungary. Records and tapes sometimes were smuggled in or recorded from foreign radio broadcasts". For further details, please read: Ambassador Links Rock, Freedom.

November 10, 2003
Scoop! New Beatles book sets the record straight on "Swanee River"

The Beatles: The Investigation of a Myth (1960 - 1962)
by Eric Krasker

With 18 previously unpublished Polydor documents!

In 1961-1962, the Beatles recorded several titles for Polydor with the singer Tony Sheridan in Hamburg. More than 40 years after, the blur remains on their exact number, the circumstances in which these pieces were recorded and marketed, so that the most insane speculations continue to circulate. The emergence of the whole of Polydor documentation allows all finally today to reveal and denounce the recent myth surrounding the song Swanee River, which makes it possible this most complete book ever to be published on the subject. Eliminating the old generally accepted ideas, the work of Eric Krasker examines with rigour and clearness these delicate questions and brings precise answers, so that it is addressed to the beginners as well, as with the collectors and the fans of Beatles of long date.  

Eric Krasker book also explores explores and debunks different myths in his book: Did Stuart Sutcliffe die as result of a kick from John Lennon or was it simply a natural death? Was Pete Best sacked because he attracted too many females glances or was it because he was a poor drummer? And who exactly was "Raymond Jones" who ordered "My Bonnie" in Brian Epstein's store? Did he ever exist in the first place?

"The Beatles: The Investigation of a Myth (1960 - 1962)" was published two weeks ago in French language but according to an e-mail correspondence to the Ottawa Beatles Site, Eric states that he is currently "dealing with different foreign publishers for having it published in English as soon as possible."

About the author: Eric Krasker has written for Record Collector; Guitarist Magazine; Rock Mixer; Beatles Unlmited; Discoveries; Best; The 910 Newsletter; Belmo' S Beatleg and Beatlefan. He is also solicited by France Information, France Blue, RTL, RTL2, RMC, Europe 1, Nostalgie, radio operation Fun, BFM, Oui FM, etc.

You can read excerpts from his book as submitted by Eric to the Ottawa Beatles Site a little while back:

The Star-Club Tapes: The Set That Never Existed

The Bear Family Polydor Box Set: Is It Really The Final Word?

To order Eric Krasker's excellent book, please click: The Beatles: Investigation of a Myth (1960 - 1962)


November 8, 2003
The Four Complete Historic Ed Sullivan Shows featuring The Beatles

Now available at popular music stores in Ottawa!

Here they are! For the first time ever -- four of the most beloved shows in television history! It all begins on February 9, 1964. The Beatles step onto Ed Sullivan's New York stage to make their American TV debut. 73 million Americans tune in to CBS that magical Sunday night and Beatlemania is born! These are the four historic Ed Sullivan shows that featured The Beatles' unforgettable live appearances -- 20 timeless songs, 7 of them Number 1 hits! These are the four complete one-hour Ed Sullivan shows as they aired in February and September 1965.

You will marvel at many other legendary performers from the world's of music, comedy, novelty and Broadway -- and the original commercials that were part of these historic broadcasts. These are the Ed Sullivan Shows that launched the "British Invasion." So kick back on your sofa, push play and float downstream.

Beatle Tracks, February 9, 1964: All My Loving; Till There Was You; She Loves You; I Saw Her Standing There; I  Want To Hold Your Hand.

Beatle Tracks, February 16, 1964: She Loves You; This Boy; All My Loving; I Saw Her Standing There; From Me To You; I Want To Hold Your Hand

Beatle Tracks, February 23, 1964: Twist and Shout; Please Please Me; I Want To Hold Your Hand

Beatle Tracks, September 12, 1965: I Feel Fine, I'm Down, Act Naturally, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday, Help!

For a technical breakdown of the DVD, please read Colin Jacobson's report in DVD Movie Guide.


November 5, 2003
Castro Attends Peace Concert in Cuba's Lennon Park

On this date, President Fidel Castro attends in person, a Peace Concert held in Lennon Park in Cuba. Yoko Ono's sister Setsuko also makes an appearances and provides the crowd with a speech for the occasion. Cuban singer/song-writer Silvio Rodriguez's was part of the bill where he presented his heartfelt thoughts about the 9/11 tragedy which occurred a few years ago in New York city. Click here for complete details from Reuters news services.


October 30, 2003
A Harvard University "Grad Paper" on:

You Say You Want a Velvet Revolution?
John Lennon and the Fall of the Soviet Union

Dave LaFontana of Harvard University recently submitted a "Grad Paper entitled: "You Say You Want a Velvet Revolution?" which explores the cultural impact the Beatles had on the Soviet Union including censorship problems the government imposed on its society during the communist era.

When I asked Dave in an e-mail correspondence as to what inspired him to choose this subject for his "Grad Paper", he responded with: "I've been a Beatle fan since I was a little kid. I decided to do this paper because I was taking a class on the Cold War last semenster and, as a musician (I play bass guitar) and Political science student, I wanted to find a topic that included music AND politics."

Thanks for allowing us to publish your paper, Dave. It truly is well researched and well worth the read from beginning to end! Click here for Dave LaFontana's:  "You Say You Want a Velvet Revolution - John Lennon and the Fall of the Soviet Union."

- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site


October 26, 2003
Let It Be...Naked

EMI in Japan has revealed what the the complete track listing (including the bonus songs) that are to appear on the "Let It Be...Naked" album.

Track listing, Disc 1: Get Back, Dig A Pony, For You Blue, The Long And Winding Road, Two Of Us, I've Got A Feeling, One After 909, Don't Let Me Down, I Me Mine, Across The Universe, Let It Be.

Bonus disc 2: Sun King, Don't Let Me Down, One After 909, Because I Know You Love Me So, Don't Pass Me By, Taking a Trip to Carlolina, John's Piano Piece, Child of Nature, Back In the U.S.S.R., Every Little Thing, Don't Let Me Down, All Things Must Pass, She Came In Through the Bathroom Window, Paul's Piano Piece, Get Back, Maggie Mae, Fancy My Chances With You, Can You Dig It? Get Back.

October 11, 2003
Beat Brother Roy Young releases new album on Grand Avenue Records!

Roy Young who once performed and recorded with the Beatles and Tony Sheridan, has released a new pop album entitled "Still Young". With the exception of one track, all of the songs are written by Dennis Morgan with the help of various other writers. The recordings were done in Nashville. The track listing is as follows: 1) Light My Fire Again 2) Step Back, I Feel A Heartache Comin' 3) Shame Shame 4) Doctor Of Your Soul  5) I Know You Were Waiting (For Me) 6) Still Young 7) Oh How My Heart Beats Slow 8) Wrong Time, Right Track 9) Fast Train 10) Can't Get Enough Of You 11) Last Call For Rock and Roll 12) Strawberry Fields Forever 13) Still Young (Reprise).

Roy has also recorded "Never Give Up" -- an excellent tribute song to the late George Harrison. The Ottawa Beatle Site was recently privileged in receiving an advanced copy of this song from Roy Young. The CD also contains "Beautiful Man" which the artist performed in memory of John Lennon along with other tracks he has previously recorded. We're not sure yet
what Roy's intentions are but if he decides to release this as a special EP CD, the track listing might resemble the ones from this demo: "Never Give Up", "Beautiful Man", "Slow Down", "Nowhere Man", "She's A Woman", "Money", and "Seventeen" (I Saw Her Standing There). According to the Roy Young web site (which is currently going under a major renovation of sorts), "Still Young" will be available to collectors courtesy of Grand Avenue Records once his web site is completed.

Also available at his web site for the very first time will be Roy's excellent "Now and Then" album which he recorded in Toronto a few years ago.


October 2, 2003
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents "Global Village: the 60s"

Stéphane Aquin, Curator of Contemporary Art for The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has informed me that they will be showcasing a special 1960's theme entitled the "Global Village: the 60s". The presentation will focus on a variety of pop culture including Beatles memorabilia and a Janis- Joplin Hippy-era Porche. Visitors can view the event from October 2/03 to March 7/04. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is located at 1379 Sherbooke St West, Montreal. Hours are Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 5pm and Wednesday, 11am - 9pm. Should you need to ask questions about the display, you can reach the museum by phone: (514) 285-1600 or (514) 285-2000.

- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site


October 1, 2003
Scoop!  Bruce Spizer, renowned Beatle author is writing a new Beatles' book!

Bruce Spizer, author of "Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles Records on Vee-Jay"  (highly recommended reading!), is preparing his lastest book project to be entitled "The Beatles Are Coming! The Beatlemania in America." The book will be highlighting the Beatle visits to America and will cover off an American Beatles discography from 1962 to 1964. The book will become available by the end of the year.


September 11, 2003
More info on: Paul McCartney in Red Square

"The important thing is how significant this film is. It's probably the last great Beatles story. It's a story that's never been told before. It couldn't be told until now. It was only now that Paul was allowed to come to Russia." -- Mark Haefeli, film director for "Paul McCartney in Red Square". [1]

Why were the Beatles music banned in Russia during communistic times? How was Beatle music distributed throughout the Soviet union under those repressive times? And why did it take so long for Paul McCartney to finally perform a simple rock concert in the Red Square?  These are some of these questions that just might be answered on the "Paul McCartney in Red Square" concert which airs on Thursday, September 18, 9:00 - 11:00 p.m. (EST) on the A&E network.

"This is the story that is being told by the people who lived the story, who lived through communism, the deprivation of cultural awareness, and came out the other side to tell their story." said Haefeli. "It's not a story that is being told by journalists or the pop culture theorists." [2]         

The last sentence by Haefeli really hits the mark. We agree that not much information has ever been reported via by the press or by the pop culture theorists concerning the Beatles music and how it impacted on the Soviet culture. This is mainly due to the fact that communism had suppressed the people's free will and their press over the longest period of time imaginable thereby causing a lack of information to be disseminated into the European and Western media. But the Beatles music did make an enormous impact on Soviet culture. Geoff Baker, who is Paul McCartney's spokesman, is absolutely correct when he said: "It seems strange today but when it was the Soviet Union you could not even discuss the Beatles, let alone play their music, because they were considered the epitome of degeneracy."[3] Both journalists and fans from the Western free thinking democracies are only now discovering how the Beatles music made its way through the Soviet black market. Here is an example that was reported by Maurice Chittenden of the Sunday Times:  'The few Beatles albums that were smuggled into the country were copied onto discarded x-ray sheets and distributed on the black market where they were dubbed "music on bones."'[4]  The smuggled records had an enormous price tag and any young Soviet adult who wanted to buy a Beatle record on the black market would usually cost them their monthly wage. But no matter what the cost, somehow Beatle records continued to make their way to other fans in the Soviet Union done albeit in a very "covert" fashion - and that's how they experienced "Beatlemania!" For that reason alone, the Beatles music may have meant more to the kids in Russia than to the kids in the West.

We also agree with Haefeli's other comment stating that this is probably the last great Beatle story to be told. The Beatles having conquered the West with their rock 'n' roll in the 1960's, is a story that has been written and re-written many times over by musicologists and journalists. Fortunately that part of the Beatles legacy has been adequately preserved for future fans to read and explore. But what's left for any of the ex-Beatles to conquer? What new horizons to explore? Ah, the East where their music was once banned by the authorities!!

Paul McCartney was not the first Beatle to perform in Russia. In fact, Ringo Starr was the first Beatle to set foot in Russia in 1998. He gave two concerts: one at the Concert Hall Russia near Moscow and the other at St. Petersburg with band members Gary Brooker, Peter Frampton, Simon Kirke, Mark Rivera and Jack Bruce. But the underlying difference - and it's a major one - when comparing Ringo's concerts to that of Paul's recent "Red Square" performance, is that Paul was able to tap into and present to the media during his visit to Russia, how the Beatles music was viewed back then by the communist authorities as an ideological threat to their system of control. It's a story that must be told and the historical significance must certainly not be lost which is why we applaud Paul McCartney and the Arts and Entertainment network for producing and broadcasting the new up-coming television special. To those of you who are really big Beatle fans (and you know who you are!) we strongly encourage you to have your VCR's set and ready to record as we're certain that this is one Paul McCartney program you won't want to miss out on.

- The Ottawa Beatles Site

[1],[2]: "Paul McCartney in Red Square: Back in the U.S.S.R....or rather, Russia", by Mary Anne Christiano, The Montclair Times, Sept. 11, 2003.
[3],[4]: "McCartney fills Red Square with Back in the USSR", by Maurice Chittenden, Sunday Times (London), May 25, 2003.


September 4, 2003
Beatles first manager rushed to hospital!

Allan Williams, the Beatles first manager, has suffered a serious fracture and bleeding of the skull. Williams was rushed to Royal Liverpool hospital on September 1 after stumbling from the top of the stairs at the Cavern located on Mathew Street. He was sent to the intensive care unit at the hospital but has since moved into a "normal ward where he is now recovering", reports the Liverpool Echo. Williams, who is 73, was not only the Beatles first manager, but also the first to have made a recording of the Beatles in Hamburg. He has recently been promoting his new biography entitled "The Fool on the  Hill", by Lew Baxter.


August 24, 2003
Beatle material unearthed after 40 years

Recordings made for the Ed Sullivan Show found: DVD to be issued Oct 28, 2003, the 40th anniversary of the first meeting between Ed Sullivan and the Beatles in London.


August 21, 2003
Stuart Sutcliffe artifacts go on display at the Museum of Liverpool Life

The following is an excerpt from a press release that we sent to local and national press in Liverpool and England, I am sending some of it to you as I believe that you may want to bring it to the attention of some of your site's visitors. Photographs of some of the exhibition are at the url below.

Thanks for your time,
William Fallows,
National Museums Liverpool

A fascinating collection of personal effects relating to Stuart Sutcliffe and the Beatles, go on display at the Museum of Liverpool Life from 21 August 2003, in time for the popular Mathew Street Festival - the city's annual celebration of the Beatles.

The key exhibits; recently purchased from Stuart's sister Pauline, include his first guitar, his Hamburg identity card, a charcoal self-portrait, five letters, and a report from his art teacher Eduardo Paolozzi. There's also a cheque book, which reveals that Stuart was paying hire purchase installments for a guitar bought by his close friend John Lennon.

Also on display for the first time, will be the four stage suits from 1963, possibly designed by Sutcliffe.  Each suit is slightly different, three are collarless, one has a velvet collar, three are grey and George's is beige, they were all made by London tailor Douglas Millings, and were never worn.

Stuart was just 21 when he died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962. It is widely believed he would have been one of the leading painters of his generation if he had lived.   He won the Walker's John Moores prize for painting in the early 1960s and his pictures including a self-portrait are already held in National Museums Liverpool collections.

Museum of Liverpool Life, Pier Head, Liverpool    
Open Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
Admission FREE


August 19, 2003
Former Health Minister, John Munro, passes away

John Munro, the former Health Minister responsible for initiating the "Le Dain Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs" and for having met John Lennon and Yoko Ono for 90 minutes on December 23, 1969, has passed away at the age of 72 from a heart attack. Munro, who was a veteran of federal politics for 22 years, was recently scoped out by the Ottawa Citizen for his "John and Yoko" memories which are presented in an article entitled: "Lennon on Drugs Revealed: the Beatles secret testimony on marijuana in Canada." The former Health Minister also held the Indian and Labour Affairs portfolio. He was praised by Heritage Minister Sheila Copps as a politician who "was extremely innovative in all of the areas that he worked on. He was well-loved in the aboriginal community and he was a great Hamilton person". Prime Minister Jean Chretien described Munro as "a very good member of Parliament and he was a very good minister. He was a...grassroots politician, very socially oriented and very effective minister."


August 8, 2003
Confesssions of a Soviet moptop

The Guardian in England, who only three years ago had "pooh-poohed" the very idea that the Beatles had brought down communism in their article entitled: "For Lenin, read Lennon", now seems to be coming around to the very notion that the Beatles did in fact bring down communism after all. In a recent publication from the Guardian entitled  "Confessions of a Soviet moptop" by Mikhail Safonov, who happens to be a senior researcher at the Institute of Russian History in St. Petersburg, confirmed what Yury Pelyushonok, author of  "Strings for a Beatle Bass" and guest-star in the ABC television special "The Beatles Revolution" had been saying all along. Said Mikhail Safonov: "The communists felt that the Beatles were a concealed and potent threat to their regime....The more they persecuted something the world had already fallen in love with, the more exposed the falsehood and hypocrisy of Soviet ideology." He also declared that "Beatlemania washed away the foundations of Soviet could argue that the Beatles did more for the destruction of totalitarianism than the Nobel prizewinners Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov."

Please the Mikhail Safonov's excellent article which appeared in the Guardian: "Confessions of a Soviet moptop"


July 31, 2003
"The Concert for George" scheduled for November, 2003, release!

Olivia Harrison has announced that "The Concert for George", which was performed and taped late last year, is slated for release this coming November. "The Concert for George...was an indescribable evening and was captured beautifully on film," said Olivia Harrison. "The 2-disk DVD will be available at the end of November." Olivia mentioned that Disc 1 will contain the concert tribute to George with appearances from Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Ravi Shankar, and Tom and the Heartbreakers. Disc 2 will contain a "theatrical version with interviews and additional mini-features of the rehearsals, etc. and an extended version of the concert brochure", said Olivia. The theatrical release will be in U.S. theatres on October 3.

There is also good news about the re-issuing of George's musical works from the "Dark Horse" label. Said Olivia: "We are also finishing up the re-mastering of George's Dark Horse Catalogue (which he was working on in 2001). They will be available (individually and in a special box set) early next year with previously unreleased material". For more details on these announcements, please visit:



July 24, 2003
Ringo Starr Rocks Once Again at Casino Rama, in Orillia, Ontario!

Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr is on another summer tour again with an all new All-Starr line-up consisting of John Wait, Colin Hay (from "Men at Work"), Paul Carrack (from "Squeeze"), and the dynamic Sheila E. (from "Prince") and Mark Rivera (from "Billy Joel"). The tour opened once again Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario, for two shows on July 24 and 25th.

The tour coincides with Starr's new album, Ringo Rama, which contains some of the best drumming ever performed by the ex-Beatle. Tracks such as Eye to Eye, I Think Therefore I Rock N Roll and Instant Amnesia will bear this out for the listener. But for the concert, Ringo has included two songs from his new album: the delightful Memphis In Your Mind and Never Without You, his special tribute song to the late George Harrison.

Photo credit: CP/Frank Gunn

When asked if his new album was named after the Casino Rama, Ringo responded: "I didn't call it Ringo Rama because of this incredible place and this great land. I called Ringo Rama because it just read really well. It was this close to being called 'Ringoland.'"  However, that said, Starr intends to film the two opening concerts which will be released both as a DVD and CD entitled as: Live at Casino Rama. Both DVD and CD will go on sale during the tour in about two weeks time.

Ringo and his new All-Starr Band continues on at  Darien Center, NY, on the 26th of July and concludes at Humphrey's in San Diego, on September 7th.


July 9, 2003
McCartney Russian Concert to Air on A&E this fall

On September 18th (9:00 - 11:00 p.m. EST), A&E television will broadcast Paul McCartney's first concert that he recently did in Russia's Red Square. Billed as: "Paul McCartney: The Journey to Red Square", the program format will comprise of two part concert and one part documentary and will feature classic Beatle songs from Paul such as "Hey Jude" and "Back in the U.S.S.R."  The program will also highlight an appearance from Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Paul McCartney receiving his honorary doctorate from the Russian Conservatoire in St. Petersburg.

I suspect the show will likely touch upon the significance of Beatles and Wings music behind the iron curtain and how the music was banned during the communist era. If so, it should be quite interesting to watch if part of that history is drawn into the documentary segment (the show, incidentally, lists Paul McCartney as "executive producer"). To learn more about the Beatles / Wings influences on Russia, please click on the following links:

Moscow Awaits Sir Paul's Russian Debut - by Sergey Chernov, the Moscow Times
He Loves Them, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah - by Bruce Deachman, the Ottawa Citizen
Beatles Brought Down Communists - by the BBC
Strings for a Beatle Bass - by Yury Pelyushonok