Archived Beatles news, page 3  (January 2004 - October 2004)

October 23
Brian Wilson's Smile - the reply to Beatles' Sgt. Pepper?

"Four decades is long time to wait for anything, but in this case, it was worth every minute." -- Newsweek

When I first listened to Brian Wilson's Smile, two things immediately struck me about it: Smile is one complete abstract pop album from beginning to end; and the other is that the songs presented on Smile are divided into three movements which ends up sounding like the Great American Trilogy. This writer wasn't alone in that assessment. Peter Blake, cover designer for the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album made comparable conclusions: "The breadth of Brian's reference points is similar to the Beatles," said Blake. "They wrote about England and growing up in Liverpool, while he sings about 20th century Americana. They are songs of such pathos and must be among the most beautiful ever written." Those feelings are not only conveyed through Brian Wilson's use of  fundamental rock structures, but also in his usage of classical, jazz and choral arrangements which creates a sense of surrealism found on Smile...and Brian has recorded it all in a very fun-filled way.

Even Mojo, the highly respected pop magazine gives Smile plenty of praise: "There is a remarkable consistency about Smile's complex tapestry of delights. Wilson can rest secure in the knowledge of that he's finally delivered the masterpiece that's surely the long playing equal of that still awe inspiring 'Good Vibrations'. Genius? You bet. Brilliant." Smile debuted at No. 13 on Billboard and has so far sold 130,000 copies in the United States.

But is Smile Brian Wilson's reply to Sgt. Pepper? Hardly. The original Smile recordings were slated for a January 1967 release, several months before Pepper. In truth, the songs being crafted at the time by Brian was an attempt to outdo his own album Pet Sounds and the Beatles' Revolver. But Smile, whose working title for the album was Dumb Angel, saw Wilson out of control in the recording studio during 1966 as he imbibed hashish, LSD, marijuana and amphetamines called Desbutol. The substance abuses definitely interfered with Brian's creative processes causing him to eventually abort the project. Even today, Brian admits it was one of two factors that prevented Smile from being  realized at the time:  "There are two reasons why we junked it," Wilson told Steve Uhler for XL Entertainment, "The first reason was we were on bad drugs. LSD, marijuana and amphetamines, and it goofed our heads up. Then we got so far into the music that we finally said, 'Oh my God, we're way ahead of our time here.' We felt we were too avant-garde and advanced for people."

Brian might be right: had pop critics compared Smile and Pepper together during the Summer of Love, the write-ups would likely have been grossly unfair back in 1967. It would be like trying to compare the work between Strauss and Beethoven -- how can you compare the two? It just can't be done. One classical composer used a more vibrant approach in creating music by adding rich colorful textures from his palette than did the other, yet we acknowledge both Strauss and Beethoven as musical geniuses. Their compositions must be judged separately on its own merit. If we take that premise, then Brian Wilson's new Smile exceeds expectations in the pop music world. Pepper is brilliant, but so to is Smile a masterpiece in its own unique and special way.

Surf's Up! Brian Wilson is back! We give Brian a Smile rating of ****/5 stars.

- Report by John Whelan


October 17
George Harrison's theatric dream finally comes to fruition: Cirque du Soleul to do unprecedented live theatre production in 2006!

By and large, it had been the vision and leadership of the late George Harrison who first realized what the enormous possibilities the Cirque du Soleul could bring to the Beatle legacy, not to say the least their pocketbooks. The deal originally began in Montréal, June 2001, when Harrison met up with the Cirque during a Grand Prix racing event he had attended. At the time, leasing arrangements were discussed regarding Beatles music to be used in a theatric performance based on the Yellow Submarine movie. When George died, so too did the idea about doing a live acrobatic presentation of the Yellow Submarine movie, but negotiations continued on with the Cirque. It was finally agreed that the theatric troupe will do a more modern themed presentation at The Mirage hotel-casino in Las Vegas in 2006.

"George and Guy shared the same vision," said Olivia Harrison. "They planned to utilize the extraordinary creativity of the Beatles and Cirque du Soleil to produce an uplifting moment in time. We are all very happy to see this project come to fruition."

"This show is about living The Beatles experience," said Cirque du Soleu founder, Guy Laliberte. "We want to bring the magic of Cirque du Soleil together with the spirit and passion behind the most beloved rock band of all time to create a single, simple statement of delight."

The musical elements of the show will be overseen by Beatles producer Sir George Martin. "After spending more than 40 years of my life working with The Beatles and their wonderful music, I am thrilled to be working with them once again on this exciting project with the Cirque du Soleil," said Martin. "The show will be a unique and magical experience."

Yoko Ono, who also threw in her support for the project along with Paul, Ringo and Olivia, said: "The Beatles and Cirque. I think it's a great combination: The Beatles' agile mind and the Cirque's agile body."

The show will cost $100 million (£55m). A new theatre is currently being built with a 2,000 seating arrangement offering 360-degree seating. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!


October 13
New Beatles Box Set: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1

Capitol Records yesterday issued their official press release confirming a four CD boxed set entitled: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 will be heading into the marketplace. The boxed set will contain the first four American albums that were released in the heyday of Beatlemania: Meet the Beatles; The Beatles Second Album; Something New; and Beatles '65. Both "mono" and "stereo"  LP versions will be presented and in the cases where fake stereo was used, i.e. "duophonic" (I Feel Fine, She's A Woman, etc.) will sound exactly the way USA producer Dave Dexter presented them back then. The full announcement can be read by clicking on this link: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1.


October 11
Quick News Picks

Last week it was reported by South Manchester that Yoko Ono is in the process of writing a new book about John Lennon. Apparently the book will be called: Memories of John.

On the eve of John Lennon's 64th birthday, the BBC had reported that computer scientists at the University of St. Andrews used computer "aging" software on a John Lennon photograph which shows what the pop icon would have looked like had he lived.

The song Yesterday, which was written by Paul McCartney during the Beatles era, has been played 8 million times on radio which averages out to be 45.7 years of airplay. The report was filed on October 6 by The Sun. Congratulations to Paul on reaching another milestone in his career.

Speaking of milestones, the Ottawa Beatles Site has achieved one as well: On this date, the Beatles Timeline has now had 100,000 visitors! For an e-publication that was posted only 4 years ago, that figure is simply amazing. What it means is that the Beatles Timeline has averaged about 25,000 hits per year and judging from those figures it appears that the average is substantively up from its first year of e-publication which only had about 13,500 visitors. Hopefully the mean average to will continue to grow as word gets out around the internet about this historical Beatles Timeline.


October 5
Beat Brother Roy Young performs at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival

This past summer, Roy Young performed with the Reverb Rockers at the Thunder Bay Blues Festival. The festival, which attracted 17,000 people, was organized by event president Barry Streib and ran three days from July 9-11. It was the third consecutive blues festival to be held in that area.

"The first time I walked on stage with the Reverb Rockers I had a feeling we were totally in command of the next two hours of entertainment," said Roy Young. "When I was sharing the stage with them, I realize the professionalism and class of an outstanding band. This does not go unnoticed by the audience," lamented Young. "Each player is so humble and down to earth, a great characteristic to have."

The Reverb Rockers is comprised of James McInnis (guitar, bass, harmonica, vocals); Kevin Peterson (guitar, bass, drums, vocals) and Glenn Brandt (drums, vocals) and hail from Windsor, Ontario.

"Genuine, always smiling, ever approachable and a terrific entertainer, Young related a story during the course of the weekend about his dear friend, the late great George Harrison," wrote Ken Wright of the Thunder Bay Blues Society, "and three words of support and encouragement that he left behind. "Never give up."" It was this tribute song to George, Never Give Up, amongst many others that Roy Young delighted the audience with.

The Thunder Bay Blues Festival showcased a variety of acts at this event, some of them pretty big names in the music industry: Edgar Winter; Canned Heat; Professor Louie & the Crowmatixs with Tom "Bones" Malone; Woodstock veterans Ten Years After; and John Lee Hooker Jr. While Roy Young was already recruited for the Sunday afternoon performance, Roy saw himself doing double duty work when a last minute cancellation from Eric Burdon and the New Animals caused Barry Streib to have Young fill in for the 9:45 p.m. Friday time slot on opening day.

A couple of objectives were set for this event: behind all these great performers and their music, the blues festival was held to raise money for the United Way of Thunder Bay and the Northern Cancer Research Foundation with proceeds split evenly between them. The other objective was to illustrate to the world that Thunder Bay is fast becoming a world-class blues festival. Judging by the artists that came and the large audience turnout of this past summer, it would appear that Barry Streib has already achieved many of his goals.

Related link: Thunder Bay Blues Festival

Photo of Roy Young: © by Greg Malo, 2004.


October 3
CBS interviews Ringo Starr: Postcards from the Beatles

Ringo Starr provides a lovely interview with CBS's Bill Lagattuta about his new book, Postcard from the Boys. The write-up reports that Ringo is currently working on a new CD with some help from Chrissy Hynde of the Pretenders which is hopefully to be released this coming spring. Click here for the interview: Postcards from the Beatles.


October 2
The University of Ottawa to publish article on John & Yoko's June 1969 visit to their campus!

Linda Scales, editor of the University of Ottawa's bi-annual Tabaret magazine, will feature a special article on John Lennon and Yoko Ono's June 1969 visit to their campus. "We go to print next Friday and are targeting October 20 as our drop date", said Linda Scales in an e-mail to the Ottawa Beatles Site.

Breaking news of John and Yoko feature was learned by the Ottawa Beatles Site on August 8th of this year in an e-mail correspondence from Luc Brazeau, archivist at the National Archives of Quebec. Luc revealed that he "Just had a request from Ottawa University; they saw the photos of John & Yoko on your web site ( and they asked for the permission to reproduce four items (photos 1, 4, 5 & 14) of Champlain Marcil's photos for an article on John Lennon's visit to Ottawa in their magazine The Tabaret. Thought you might be interested."

After receiving Luc's notice, a follow-up was done with Tabaret editor Linda Scales. She confirmed that the article had been written subject to final editorial approval and that they discovered the John and Yoko photographs at The Ballad of John and Yoko in Ottawa web page. The editor also revealed that Hugh Segal, a member on the student union executive in 1969, was interviewed in preparing the report.

It will be interesting to see what Hugh Segal recalls from the event after all these years. However, the Ottawa Beatles Site recently did a little research at the local library on Segal concerning his recollections about his early years at the campus and the John and Yoko visit. Here is what we found:

Hugh Segal recalls being elected on the student union executive and the meeting they had arranged to bring John and Yoko to the campus. In his book, No Surrender - Reflections of a Happy Warrior in the Tory Crusade, Segal writes: "In my first year on campus, students began talking about how many of the people in the student government were consumed with left-wing ideology. They regularly read literature coming out of Cuba and engaged in every kind of anti-imperialist activity. But meanwhile, the student government wasn't doing much with the students' money that was actually for the students. So in spring of 1969, a group of independents ran for student government to offer a clear alternative. A Liberal law student, Allan Rock, who had been a "Youth for Hellyer" activist in 1968 was active on campus in the Law Society, ran for president."

In his next paragraph, Segal writes in his book that the student union executive had always traditionally comprised of an even split of half  francophone and a half anglophone -- a true representation of the unique cultural diversity found on the campus back then and even today! But when the elections took place, on this occasion the split didn't happen because Segal ran a very strong campaign on "deadly serious academic issues." Thus he found himself on the student union executive with Allan Rock.

Soon enough, with John and Yoko's "Give Peace A Chance" activities peaking in the first few days of June '69 in Montreal, both Hugh Segal and Allan Rock began to concoct an idea of bringing the two "peaceniks" to the University of Ottawa: "We set to work redressing the distorted priorities of the previous council, focusing intently on student needs, with the odd nod to the cultural imperatives of the day. During our time in office, Allan went down to Montreal to coax John Lennon out of his "peace" bed with Yoko Ono and dragooned him into coming to the campus to impart his wisdom to the students. In the spring of 1970, Allan chose not to run again, and I became student council president after a close two-way race."

Well, those are his recollections. And it is lovely to see the Tabaret magazine presenting a feature article on John and Yoko's historic visit to their campus. The publication, no doubt, will only serve as reminder to all their students to "Give Peace A Chance". This publication makes it apparent that the University of Ottawa are still very proud to hold a candle to the flame regarding these two famous "peaceniks" even some 35 years later -- Now Imagine that!

Biliography: Hugh Segal: No Surrender - Reflections of a Happy Warrior in the Tory Crusade, pages 16-17, published by Harpercollins, 1996 (ISBN 0-00-255321-X).

- Report filed by John Whelan.


October 1
Legendary photographer, Richard Avedon, dead at 81

“We’ve lost one of the great visual imaginations of the last half century,” - David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.

American photographer Richard Avedon, famous for taking this 1967 photograph of the Beatles, has passed away at the age of 81. He died this morning at the Methodist Hospital in Texas from complications of a brain hemorrhage he recently suffered.

Born in New York in 1923, Richard was son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant.  He studied philosophy at Columbia University and later studied photography at the New School after serving as a Merchant Marine during World War II where he took personnel identification photos.

Considered to be one of the top ten photographers (and quite possibly the richest) in the world, Richard once described his approach to taking pictures: "The way I see is comparable to the way musicians hear, something extra sensory. Not judgmental. I don’t differentiate between an idea of what is beautiful and what is not. What I see is a reaffirmation of the many things I need to feel. It has to do with obsessive qualities, not explainable. I am a natural photographer. It is my language, I speak through my photographs more intricately, more deeply than with words."

His work has been acknowledged for redefining photography and elevating fashion: Richard Avedon is responsible for starting up the bikini craze in 1959 after doing a photo shoot with Suzy Parker. "He's the most wonderful man in the business because he realizes that models are not just coat hangers," famed model Suzy Parker once said.

Avedon's first break occurred in 1944 when he was discovered by Harper's Bazaar art director, Alexey Brodovitch.  He stayed with Harper's Bazaar up until 1966 and then moved on to Vogue as a staff photographer until 1990. In 1992, he became the first staff photographer for New Yorker magazine and stayed with the company until his untimely death.

Apart from photographing the Beatles, some of his other subjects included Andy Warhol, Brigitte Bardot, Charlie Chaplin, Jimmy Durante, Malcom X, Marilyn Monroe, Louis Armstrong and Dwight Eisenhower. He is also a published author of several books: Observations (1959), Nothing Personal (1964), Portraits (1976), Avedon Photographs, 1947-1977 (1978), In the American West (1985), An Autobiography (1993), Evidence: 1944-1994 (1994), The Sixties (1999), Made in France (2001).

Some of Richard's awards are The International Center of Photography Master of Photography Award in 1993 and a National Arts Award for lifetime achievement in 2003. His work has appeared in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Related links: Avedon's colorful psychedelic pop art photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo.


September 25
Sir George Martin to appear at IdeaFestival 2004

Event IdeaFestival 2004 will be featuring Sir George Martin today at the Lexington Convention Center in Kentucky. Martin, who is 78, will be speaking to an audience about the musical approach taken in creating the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

"The main creators were John and Paul," Martin said. "And George, to a lesser extent. Paul was quite articulate about what he wanted. He would ask me about bassoons and trumpets and what ranges they had. With John, we didn't sit down. We didn't talk things through. He just said, 'You know what to do.'"

In 1998, Sir George Martin produced his last album entitled In My Life comprising mostly of Beatle tunes (Pepperland Suite and Friends and Lovers were his own compositions) and in 1997 he produced his 13th number one hit single, Candle In the Wind, with Elton-John in memory of the late Princes Diana. Candle in the Wind sold 8 million copies. Since that time, Martin has had time to reflect on the Beatles legacy: "I didn't honestly think I'd still be talking about them 30 or 40 years later," he said. "I thought interest would gradually peter out. But it does seem -- and I've gotten quite used to this -- each generation, as it comes along, finds Beatles music out for themselves. And I'm grateful for that. If anything, it was the epitome of British music in the last century."

Full story: He Helped Create the Beatles (from the Lexington Herald-Leader)


September 24
Billy Preston to perform in Ray Charles tribute

Gifted keyboardist Billy Preston who performed on the Let It Be sessions with the Beatles, will be making an appearance on the CBS television special entitled Genius: A Night For Ray Charles. The event which is being filmed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on October 8 will also feature BB King, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Reba McEntire, Denzel Washington, Quincy Jones, Samuel Jackson, film maker Spike Lee and comedian Bill Cosby. Hosting the show will be Jamie Foxx.  No air date has been established as of yet by CBS but this should happen sometime soon.

Ray Charles musical career has a pretty astonishing history: Ray played 10,000 concerts, earned 12 Grammy awards and made 250 recordings. He is considered to be the pioneer of soul music. A Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College is being established through a $700,000 donation from David Geffen, founder of Aslyum and Geffen record labels.

Billy Preston -- who incidentally was sidelined from attending Ray Charles funeral due to a bacterial infection in his kidney -- performed together on the Ed Sullivan Show on December 3, 1967, with Double-O-Soul which opened the program. Shortly after that both of them toured together in Britain where Billy eventually met up with George Harrison and was signed onto the Apple label. Preston also appears on the Ray Charles Sings for America album which was released in September 3, 2002.

Related link: Billy Preston's official web site where his biography section acknowledges the musical influence that Ray Charles had on him.


September 20
Yoko Ono donates $17,000 for abused children

The Sunrise Fund charitable trust of Liverpool has received a $17,000 donation from Yoko Ono.  The trust will be used for the Barnardo's Keeping Children Safe project for young people experiencing depression, family breakups or sexual abuse.  Said Yoko Ono: "Helping children and families is such an important thing that I would like to put my own money into it.

"Barnardo's is a really important charity and needs all our support.

"They must be brought up in an environment of safety and security, that is their basic right."

The Sunrise Fund charitable trust was just one of many functions that Yoko is attending in Liverpool. The other saw her launch the Liverpool Biennial arts festival.

Link: Yoko gives £10,000 to Echo fund (from the Liverpool Echo).

The Adopt-a-Mindfield Auction

The Adopt-A-Minefield Charity Auction has been launched today by Paul and Heather McCartney.  The auction will run from September 21-30 and will feature personal artifacts from Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, B.B. King, Shania Twain, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and John Travolta to name but a few.  People wishing to bid on an artifact can do so at Charity Folks web site which is hosting the auction. All proceeds from the sale of items will go directly back into the Adopt-A-Minefield/UNA-USA Organization.

More details: Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney Launch the Adopt-A-Minefield Auction (from PRNnewswire).


September 19
Ringo Starr in the spotlight!

According to a review provided by John Everson, Ringo Starr appears on a new Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra CD entitled, Friends 3. Everson states that "Ringo Starr reprises his Beatles recording of Boys with a furious swing orchestra arrangement" which is a departure from Ringo's usual straight-forward rock'n'roll treatment of the song, penned by Dixon-Farell-Saka. I haven't listened to the CD but if Everson's overall impressions are correct, Jools Holland may one day find himself dubbed as the contemporary master of the rhythm and blues swing. Friends 3 is being released through Radar/Warner/Rhino.

In a few days, also expect a new Ringo Starr DVD to come out entitled Tour 2003 which was recorded at the Casino Rama not far from Toronto. It features Colin Hay, John Waite, Paul Carrack and the incredible Shelia E.  While the DVD lists the usual hits from Ringo, like our good buddy Archer from 99.5 Mountain Breakfast with the Beatles in Colorado mentioned on his web site the absence of Never Without You, a tribute song to George that he performed on the tour, is sadly missing here. So too, is a rendition of Here Comes the Sun that they treated the audience on that tour.

However, that said, two back-to-back concerts with Ringo were actually filmed at the Casino Rama. Of the two concerts, the opener had a "buffoon in the crowd who shouted out something in the middle of Starr's introduction to his emotional George Harrison tribute song," wrote Jane Stevenson for the Toronto Sun. She then added that Ringo yelled back to the buffoon by saying: "If you've got a bus to just ruined the moment." While this probably answers the question as to why the first night of concert filming wasn't used for this particular number, we are still left wondering if the second night of filming was good enough to merit a placement on the new DVD? And we still don't know why a concert performance of Here Comes the Sun was omitted (only a rehearsal performance take is presented here.)  Both live performances would have been a welcomed inclusion on this DVD from Ringo.


September 16
Yoko Ono awards $50,000 peace grants!

The Lennon Ono Grant for Peace biennial program created two years ago by Yoko Ono, has awarded two peace prizes totaling $50,000 each to Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu and to New Yorker magazine journalist Seymour Hersh.

Yoko Ono, in a written statement announced by her publicist Elliot Mintz, described the 2004 honorees as "people who have spoken out for the benefit of the human race by overcoming extreme personal difficulties and, in doing so, have allowed the truth to prevail.

"My hope is that the awards will not only honor the two recipients for their incredible courage but ask others to follow their example to take a stand for truth," said Yoko.

The award is being presented to Mordechai Vanunu for releasing secret information about Israel's nuclear program. For his actions, Vanunu was imprisoned for 18 years and has only recently been released.

Journalist Seymour Hersh is receiving the award for publishing "a series of investigative articles about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, compiled in a book, Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib," writes the Associated Press in a report filed on

Ceremonies and a private dinner for the two honorees will occur on October 7 at the United Nation's Delegate Room.

Related links: Yoko hopes Vanunu peace award will keep him safe (from eircom net Entertainment), and Ono Launches Peace Prize (from the BBC).


September 13
A&E in Concert: Paul McCartney in Red Square picks up an Emmy award!

Some early results are now being made public concerning the Emmy awards and apparently film director Mark Haefeli and Paul McCartney will get at least one Emmy for "Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special: A&E in Concert: Paul McCartney in Red Square," A&E.  News of the award was filed by The Louisville (WLKY 32). The awards will be aired on ABC Television on September 19th.

The historical information presented in the special by Mark Haefeli was derived from several sources, one of them being a copy of the book "Strings for a Beatle Bass - The Beatles Generation in the U.S.S.R." which was passed along to the director courtesy of Ottawa resident, Yury Pelyushonok, a Russian who lived under the communist regime and who witnessed first-hand the reforms of perestroika before coming to Canada. 

Congratulations to both Mark and Paul.

How "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" was recorded by Paul McCartney

"Rhythm tracks for Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey were cut in Studio B at CBS Studios on East 52nd Street in Manhattan, with CBS staff engineer Tim Geelan at the desk", writes Gary Eskow in an August 1, 2004, article for Mix. The report also has commentary from Hugh McCracken, one of the musicians who worked on the project. We also learn that Paul's song Another Day was the first single issued from the Ram sessions, the album that the former Beatle was recording at the time. To read the detailed article from Mix, click here.


September 12
The Mail on Sunday reports that Geoff Baker, Paul's publicist has quit

Geoff Baker has apparently quit his position as Paul McCartney's publicist. In the Mail on Sunday newspaper edition, states that Baker quit his position because of tension between himself and Paul's wife, Heather, over his smoking cannabis. Heather  felt that it has a bad influence on Paul and has negative connotations on her public image as a campaigner for charities which she is heavily involved with.

A second reason thrown into the mix stems from the fact that Geoff Baker was not used as publicist on the last European tour. Said Baker: "I lost interest in the day-to-day process of PR, which is not as exciting as working on a world tour." Instead, The Outside Organization was used to handle the publicity for McCartney on that tour.

If his departure holds true, Baker has a backup plan to keep him busy: he intends to write a novel on fatherhood.

More info from the BBC: Ex-Beatle McCartney fires PR guru.


September 10
Cirque du Soleil gets the nod for theatric Beatles show

In our January 28, 2004 news entry, our source Robert Tremblay reported that George Harrison had been in Montréal to negotiate a leasing agreement with the Cirque du Soleil. This meeting occurred sometime during June of 2001. A Las Vegas Sun story released today confirms our earlier report that not only was George Harrison in Montréal at the time, but that Apple has finally signed off on a contract giving the Cirque usage rights to Beatles songs.

The Cirque production -- which was originally to be based on the Yellow Submarine movie -- was viewed by Apple to be too '60s-themed and therefore a more modern theme will be used instead. The theatric troupe is slated to open their Beatle musical at the MGM Mirage sometime in early 2006.  For details from the Las Vegas Sun, please click here.

Tonight: Global Television News will feature "Give Peace A Chance" from Amnesty International   

From Robert Harrison, Amnesty International:

Hi John!

I've been telling everyone about the website in Israel; people are very impressed.  Thanks again for spreading the word about our "Give Peace a Chance" project.

We just did an interview for Global TV News.  It is supposed to run TONIGHT at 6 and 11 o'clock, in Montreal.  They will put the story into the "national feed", so it might get picked up in other cities across Canada also.  They will be showing part of the music video also.

Keep in touch,

Rob Harrison


September 9
The Annie Leibovitz photography of John & Yoko 

The famous nude photograph of John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono taken on December 8, 1980, by Annie Leibovitz, was used on the commemorative front cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Both the photographer and Yoko Ono recall how the famous photography session unfolded in this Rolling Stone article.


September 8
Canada's Neil Young to share spotlight with Paul McCartney

Canadian pop star Neil Young, founder of the Rock Bridge School benefit, will feature a traditional acoustic set of popular music to be held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre just outside San Francisco on October 23-24. The benefit, now in its 18th season, will include Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tony Bennett along with a variety of other musical acts. For more details, click here.

When the Beatles became citizens of Kingston, Ontario

Former Kingston mayor William Mills recalls how he presented a plaque to the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on September 7, 1964, which proclaimed: “His Worship Mayor W. T. Mills, mayor of the Corporation of the City of Kingston, hereby proclaims The Beatles to be honourary citizens of our community.”  To read the article, please click here.

September 7
1964: The Beatles' first Toronto visit

Michele Finney, a 14-year-old girl in 1964, recalls what it was like during the first Beatle invasion into Toronto to Sun reporter, Bill Brioux. For the article, click here.


September 6
Paul McCartney interview (audio!)

The late Barbara Frum of the CBC interviews Paul McCartney in New York, October, 19, 1984. This very interesting interview with Paul runs about 10 minutes! Click here to link to the interview.


September 5


A Tribute To The Beatles

Four loveable lads from Liverpool walked off an airplane at New York’s JFK airport in February 1964 and the world was never the same. Forty years after The Beatles sparked the British music invasion, a celebration of the achievements of one of pop music’s most iconic music groups comes to fruition.

Bullseye Records of Canada has released a 50 song, 2CD compilation of Beatle songs performed by the world’s pop community to pay homage to the heroes of an entire musical generation. “It Was 40 Years Ago Today: A Tribute To The Beatles” is an overview of the Beatles’ musical output from 1962 through 1970 as done by artists who owe a debt of musical gratitude to John, Paul, George & Ringo.

Assembled over three years by Bullseye Records execs Jaimie Vernon and Jim Hoeck with co-production by Greg Godovitz (Goddo, Fludd, Carpet Frogs) and Terry Draper of Klaatu (who were once thought to be the actual Beatles reunited), the 50 songs span interpretations in every musical style from 48 artists including world-renowned performers Al Kooper (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Andrew Gold (“Thank You For Being A Friend”), Bill Lloyd (Foster & Lloyd, POCO), The Kings (“Switchin’ To Glide”), Jeff Jones (Red Rider), Tom Hooper (Grapes Of Wrath), Dee Long (Klaatu), Paul Myers (author of “Public Stunts, Private Stories”), The Spongetones (featuring Jamie Hoover), Eight Seconds (who reunited specifically for this project), Frank Soda, Goddo, Bob Segarini, Eytan Mirsky (“Tao Of Steve” soundtrack), Brian Gagnon (The Hunt), Michael White (from Zeppelin tribute act The White), Dave “Rave” DesRoches (Teenage Head, The Shakers), and Australia’s Michael Carpenter.

The project has also opened the doors for independent artists across North America whose current projects are gaining notoriety – The First Time, Cadence, The Lolas, Cats & Dogs, The Lackloves, Popdudes, Phil Vincent, Jeremy, The Oohs, Geoff Gibbons, and Steve Barton.

Liner notes by Craig Cross, author of “Beatles Discography: Minute-By-Minute, Hour-By-Hour, Day-By-Day”.

Capitol Records tentatively to release new John Lennon album: "John Lennon - Acoustic"

If all goes planned, acoustic demo versions of Lennon's work as approved by Yoko Ono will soon be available for Lennon fans. The Acoustic release date is tentatively slated for November 2, 2004.

        1. Working Class Hero
        2. Love
        3. Well Well Well
        4. Look At Me
        5. God
        6. My Mummy's Dead
        7. Cold Turkey
        8. The Luck Of The Irish
9. John Sinclair
10. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World
11. What You Got
12. Watching The Wheels
13. Dear Yoko
14. Real Love
15. Imagine "LIVE"
16. It's Real on a forthcoming Lennon re-issue with bonus tracks!

This is a special limited collector's edition 2 CD set which contains all of the tracks from Milk and Honey and Double Fantasy from John Lennon and Yoko Ono. There will be six new bonus tracks:

Every Man Has A Woman That Loves Him; Stepping Out; I'm Moving On; Interview with John & Yoko; Walking On Thin Ice; and Help Me To Help Myself.

The release date is slated for October 1, 2004, in Germany.


September 4
1964 Backstage Pass - The Beatles Behind the Scenes

Ottawa residents are in for a real treat! There is an excellent Beatle report in this September's free tabloid edition of Forever Young which is written by Ivor Davis who in 1964, was the correspondent for the London Daily Express.  When you begin reading this lovely report, it turns out that Ivor Davis was part of the tiny press corps who travelled with the Beatles during their first North American tour that covered some 23,000 miles and 32 concerts! Ivor's own personal recollections in this article are as every bit as interesting similar to the ones that Larry Kane described in his book, Ticket to Ride, which makes this worth picking up at your local grocery store (the front cover on Forever Young has a very large photograph of Ed Sullivan and the Beatles' together.)

Best quote from the article comes from Derek Taylor when describing the Beatlemania phenomenon: "I always saw The Beatles in certain circumstances as a bit like Tom Thumb, who in Victorian times was wheeled around like a freak -- a cute freak nonetheless," he observed. "The Beatles were seen as like that, as novelties or freaks, like a panda with five legs." However, Ivor Davis differed and concluded his article by saying that "Pop history, of course, proved the Fab Four were just a bit more than that."


September 2
How Elvis survived the faddish years, and why the Beatles may go on forever

In 1964, Wendy Michener wrote a very lively report on the Beatles' first motion picture, A Hard Day's Night, for Maclean's magazine. She did a bit of clever juxta positioning in her analysis when examining Elvis Presley's latest movie, Viva Las Vegas and the Beatles', A Hard Day's Night, which we are certain you'll enjoy reading. You can click here to read Wendy's article. You will also find it listed under our Articles of Historical Interest (see September 19th, 1964 entry.)

About Wendy Michener: Wendy majored in English and graduated from Trinity University. Her career as a young writer was  shortened by the fact that she passed away in January, 1969. In her honor, a Wendy Michener Symposium is held each year at the York University's Faculty of Arts in Toronto. She was married at the time to Les Lawrence who currently works at Mediaskills International in Toronto.


September 1
Canadian singer Hal Bruce upstaged by Liverpool police

Seems as though those Blue Meanies were lurking about during the recent Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool. Hal Bruce, a Canadian from Nova Scotia, was told to stop performing Beatle music because he did not have the proper permit to do so. When he stopped, he was in the middle performance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. It was his 120th Beatle song in a row before being interrupted by police.  For details, click here.


August 29
Mystery nurse in Penny Lane identified!

"Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout/The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray/And tho' she feels as if she's in a play/She is anyway..." - lyrics to Penny Lane

Paul McCartney described the creation of Penny Lane derived from real childhood memories: "It was all childhood reminiscences: there is a bus stop called Penny Lane. There is a barber shop called Bioletti's...It was based on real things; there was a bank...(and) there's a fire station about half a mile down the road, not actually in Penny Lane, but we needed a third verse....John and I would often meet in Penny Lane.  That was where someone would stand and sell you poppies each year on British Legion poppy day; where John and I would put a shilling in the can and get ourselves a poppy. That was a memory."

His memories are confirmed by Stan Williams who grew up in Liverpool and went to school with John Lennon. Stan claims the mystery nurse in the song is none other than Beth Davidson (who later married Pete Shotton, a dear and close friend to Lennon). He recalled the story this way: "I have a vivid memory of being on Penny Lane, for a haircut or something, and Lennon came up with his pals to talk to Beth and I.  Beth was a nurse cadet and she would only have been about 12 or 13 at the time. We were all laughing and joking. She was carrying a tray, like they sold ice creams in old fashioned cinemas from, with poppies for Armistice Day." When the song was released, it took Stan by surprise: "I remember the first time I heard Penny Lane. As soon as I heard the lyrics I thought 'Oh God, that's Beth'. I was, and am, absolutely certain it was her they were singing about."

Apart from the unique lyrical imagery of Penny Lane, the song is also best remember for the use of a piccolo trumpet played by David Mason from the London Symphony Orchestra. Said George Martin: "As we came to each little section where we wanted the sound, Paul would think up the notes he wanted, and I would write them down for David. The result was unique, something that had never been done in rock music before, and it gave 'Penny Lane' a very distinct character."

On March 18, 1967, Penny Lane peaked at the #1 spot on the Billboard charts in the USA.

Complete story at ICLiverpool: Beatles' riddle solved


August 26
Historical Flashback -- Beatles in Vancouver!

Respected columnist Allan Fotheringham wrote an interesting article in the September 19, 1964 edition of Maclean's magazine which we are pleased to present as:

THE LIMELIGHT - The Beatle menace: how to preserve public safety when four kids from Liverpool visit Canada 

Mr. Fotheringham's report will be filed also under our "Articles of Historical Interest."


August 24
TV Alert: Amnesty International to show "Give Peace A Chance" video on CTV's "Canada AM"

In a message sent today from Robert Harrison, V.P., Amnesty International, Québec branch, that the June 1, 2004, video that they recorded in their re-recording of "Give Peace A Chance" will hit the Canadian television air waves:

"Donald Tarlton and I will be going "live" on Canada AM on September 2nd, to hype the song and show the music video.


Those wishing to download the song for $0.99 can do so by clicking: "Give Peace A Chance". All proceeds from the sale will go back directly to Amnesty International. By the way, Paul McCartney is also a supporter of Amnesty International...please click: Paul McCartney Charities.


August 21
Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft: "World Contact Day 2005 Konvention" and talk of a new Klaatu deluxe boxed set!

Official souvenir badge from a Klaatu concert at Barrymore's Music Hall in Ottawa shortly after their 4th album release entitled:  Endangered Species. 

Long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...three musicians banded together and created some of the most amazing tunes ever to grace the celestial heavens. Their identities kept secret for a while, they were simply known at the time as "Klaatu." The band's first album 3:47 EST reverberated across the universe and caused a crack in the cosmic egg as their music sounded undeniably "Beatleseque." Beatle fans began their own magical mystery tour of sorts looking for clues in Klaatu's music and album covers if only to prove that both Klaatu and Beatles were the same musicians.  But alas, over time it was eventually revealed to them that the "Beatleseque" group consisted of three very talented Canadian musicians by the names of John Woloschuk, Terry Draper and Dee Long. 

With the release of 3:47 EST, Klaatu recorded four more albums: Hope (exemplifying "classical rock" at its very best in terms of concept albums); Sir Army Suit (showcasing a variety of tunes comparable to the Beatles' White Album); Endangered Species; and finally, Magentalane. Klaatu's music garnered legendary status in the music industry which was backed by a cult following known as Klaatusians! The demand for Klaatu product has been so strong in the past that two greatest hits compilations were released: Klaasic Klaatu and  Peaks. As the band's legacy and cult following continued, so too did the demand for the re-mastering of all Klaatu albums. Enter now Jaimie Vernon, President of Bullseye Records who responded to the call by re-mastering and re-issuing the first four albums (including their greatest hits album Peaks.) Not only are those albums currently available, Jaimie is now planning two more major projects for Klaatu: The first one being a Klaatu reunion for fans to meet with the actual band members to take place on May 7, 2005 in Toronto. The second project is a soon-to-be released Klaatu boxed set (it will be presented on both vinyl and CD format) containing early demos and alternate recording takes that Klaatu recorded for their catalogue. The boxed set will feature new album cover artwork by Ted Jones. Ted, by the way, did the art work for four out five Klaatu album covers: "He did not do 'Sir Army Suit', much to my chagrin," said band member Terry Draper. The boxed set will include posters, postcards, and other memorabilia.

These announcements will prove to be a busy schedule for Bullseye Records. But the Klaatu boxed set, when released, will be a welcomed joy for Klaatusians! The release could cause the planet Earth to stop spinning on its axis for a brief moment to take note which may best be described as: "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Please read Jaimie Vernon's official announcement e-mailed on August 21, 2004:

"We're proud to announce that all three members of Klaatu - John, Terry and Dee - will be attending the Klaatu - World Contact Day 2005 Konvention. Contracts are being signed this week so attendance is guaranteed.

By request of the band the date has been officially set as May 7th in Toronto at the International Plaza Hotel.

Ticket information, prices, and schedules for the events (along with additional guests as they're confirmed) will be posted the third week of September on three separate websites:

This will occur shortly after a meeting with all three band members around September 13th (when Dee comes into town). We'll be setting out the schedule of events and going over the final details of the boxed set.

A final list of songs for the boxed set has been established, but format still seems to be fluctuating. I have introduced the idea of going to a 3-CD set to accommodate all the material that John seems to think is necessary for the set -- Terry is reluctantly coming around. That leaves the DVD as a separate component yet to be decided.

The vinyl release song list still needs to be finalized....with a release definitely set for this year as promised. I've seen the final version of Ted's new painting and everyone has signed off on it. The painting will be photographed and digitized this week for use on the boxed set, posters, websites, promotional brochures, etc.

Stay Klaatuned!

Jaimie Vernon,
President, Bullseye Records
Author, Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia


August 17
Amnesty International releases new re-recording of "Give Peace A Chance"

NOTE: People wishing to support Amnesty International (a non-profit organization) for their social causes can order a copy of the new re-recording of "Give Peace A Chance" with the link that Robert Harrison has provided below:

Hello John and Tony,

The new "Give Peace a Chance" recording was officially released today (click on "English" in upper right-hand corner of screen).

The verses are sung, in order, by Nanette Workman (former back-up singer for John Lennon and Rolling Stones), David Usher (lead singer of group Moist), Justin Trudeau (son of late P.M. Pierre Trudeau) and Bruno Pelletier (top-selling pop singer in Québec and France).  Some 80 artists sing on the chorus.  The video is incredible, intercutting recent war footage from Amnesty's work overseas with shots of the musicians in Hotel Room 1742.

The new song's producer, Donald K Tarlton (a.k.a. "Donald K Donald"), was one of the organizers of the original 1969 bed-in, and staged the first Plastic Ono Band concert in Toronto.


Robert Harrison
Vice President
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - French-speaking Canada

P.S. Thanks for those Beatles links, by the way.  I received a number of very positive responses.


August 15
George Harrison DVD to be released by Capitol Records of Canada

According to Capitol Records of Canada website, George Harrison's DVD - "The Dark Horse Years 1976- 1992"  - will be released in Canada on September 28, 2004.


August 13
Converse to sell Lennon peace shoe

On this date, the following announcement appeared on Business via the Boston Globe:

"Converse plans to introduce its newest addition to the Chuck Taylor All Star lineup today: the John Lennon All Star Peace Chuck. The $60 sneaker features a self-portrait of the late musician and former Beatle perched on top of the world. Embossed on the shoe's toe cap are the words "Imagine all the People Living Life in Peace." The Andover sneaker company, a division of Nike Inc., said the Lennon sneaker is part of a new collection intended to promote world peace. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations working to foster peace. The company said it will issue a new artist-designed Peace Chuck every year till peace arrives."


August 12
Twist and Shout!

BBC musicologist Spencer Leigh has written another book based on the Cavern years in Liverpool entitled "Twist and Shout!"  According to Philip Key of the Daily Post, "Twist and Shout! features hundreds of interviews, most of them on tape and conducted for Leigh's Radio Merseyside programmes. The well-organised Leigh transcribes all his taped interviews so they are easier to access." The book also combines some of the original material from Spencer Leigh's first effort on this subject when in 1984 he published "Let's Go Down the Cavern".

To read Philip Key's article about Spencer Leigh's new book, please click: Writer gives Cavern legends twist in tale legends


August 4
Climb aboard with the Yellow Submarine Book!

Apple is delighted to present its first picture-book version of the classic animated film. This fantasy-adventure overflows with the spirit of peace, love, hope - and, of course, music.

Join John, Paul, George and Ringo in the Yellow Submarine as they set off on a magical adventure to defeat the Blue Meanies and bring music and harmony back to Pepperland.

The timelessly appealing tale is published as a fabulously-illustrated picture book in September through a new partnership of Walker Books (UK) and Apple Corps.  The Yellow Submarine picture book will be printed in eight languages - English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian and Portuguese. Featuring the wit and wizardry of the Sixties script alongside original artwork from the movie that has charmed both children and adults through four generations, this is a book to delight everyone.

To celebrate the launch of the new Yellow Submarine book, The Beatles have created a website featuring a collection of downloadable puzzles and games. Print them off, cut them out, colour them in and join them up!

But remember, you have to Zap the Meanies to get to the treasure…

Submerge yourself in the new Yellow Submarine site at:

Book publication dates:

UK: 6th September 2004
USA: 2nd August 2004
Germany: 1st September 2004
Netherlands: 9th September 2004
Norway: September 2004
Japan: 14th June 2004
Brazil: 4th July 2004
Italy: 6th October 2004
France: 25th August 2004


July 30
Amnesty International announces release date for re-recording of "Give Peace A Chance"

The following e-mail was sent to us yesterday from Robert Harrison, V.P. of Amnesty International:

Dear John and Tony,

I am Vice-President of Amnesty International for French-speaking Canada, and I would like first to thank you for posting a newspaper article about our "Give Peace a Chance" re-recording on your website. I am the person quoted at the end of the article.

Here is an update. The record launch will take place in Montreal on August 17th. After that time, the new CD single will be available in record stores and via download on various websites. I can send you the details in a few weeks, once the web connections are up and running. In the meantime, please take a look at our worldwide "Imagine" website which has a nice blurb and photo about the June 1st event: (scroll down to "Canada")

International interest in this event was quite substantial, with interviews on radio stations in Germany and Brazil.  Searching the internet I found one other Beatles fansite which reported our event, based in Sweden:

Perhaps you would like to provide a link on your website for the song download, when the time comes?  Please let me know.

Kindest regards,

Robert P. Harrison
Vice President
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - French-speaking Canada
6250 boul Monk
Montréal, QC H4E 3H7

Editorial: The Ottawa Beatles Site firmly supports the many excellent initiatives of Amnesty International. They are actually one of the few bright spots at the moment in a world that is currently gripped in fear. We will provide a link for the song download as soon as we're notified from Robert.

And hear Yoko Ono in a special video feature presentation giving her explicit support for the noble causes that Amnesty International represents. We have linked back to the Amnesty International web page from where this video originates from. Please click here to view the special feature (requires Real Player).


July 26
It Was 40 Years Ago Today

In an exclusive report filed to this web site, long-time Beatle fan Jane Conroy recalls her chance meeting with John Lennon and Yoko Ono as well as her sister's trek to a Beatle concert in 1964!  To read Jane's lovely write-up, please click here.


July 23
Yoko Ono Interview!

"Life is how we dance, not how we march." - Yoko Ono

Ron Slomowicz of Dance Music brings us up-to-date with the latest perspectives from Yoko Ono in an article simply billed as: Yoko Ono Interview.


July 21
Chronicle to issue Paul and Ringo books this fall 

USA Today reports the following:

"Each One Believing: On Stage, Off Stage and Backstage by Paul McCartney (Chronicle, $35): Another memoir, this one focusing on McCartney, his wife, Heather, and his crew in the days and months after 9/11 when he wrote Freedom. November.

"Postcards From the Boys (Chronicle, $24.95): Beatle Ringo Starr loved postcards, and he asked his bandmates and friends to send him one whenever they traveled. More than 50 of those postcards are reproduced — writing, doodles and all. October."


July 16
"Paul McCartney in Red Square" special nominated for 5 Emmy awards

Both film director Mark Haefeli and Paul McCartney must be very pleased that their "Paul McCartney in Red Square" television special is up for 5 Emmy nominations. The announcement was made yesterday morning by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. We most certainly hope that both Mark and Paul win in all categories. The results will be televised from the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium on Sunday, September 19, on the ABC Television Network.

The 5 categories are: 1) Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; 2) Lighting Direction (Electronic, Multi-Camera) for a VMC Programming; 3) Variety, Music or Comedy Special; 4) Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or Special; 5) Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.  A complete list of all Emmy nominations is available either as a "Nominations (Word)" doc or "Nominations (PDF)" file from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences web site.

The Paul McCartney in Red Square special was produced by MPL Tours, Ltd. in association with A&E (the Arts and Entertainment Network). The program illustrated how Beatles music had impacted on the downfall of communism (just one of several factors at work) as well as Paul performing in front of 100,000 fans and highlights from his 3-day tour in Russia during May, 2003.


July 15
Update: Beatles' Lost Holy Grail Tapes turns out to be a sham!

The Abbeyrd Beatles Page reports that two different Beatle fan club representatives from England, Pete Nash (from the and Richard Porter (from the ) have confirmed that the tapes in question that were discovered in Australia, have turned out to be material already bootlegged on an LP entitled "Arrive Without Aging" and from other bootleg sources. For details, click here.


July 13
The Beatles' Lost Holy Grail Found?

Seems as though the press has been eager to jump on a recent discovery touted as being possibly (but not likely) Mal Evans' long-lost suitcase containing alternate versions of "We Can Work It Out" and "Cry Baby Cry".  The 4-hour recording tapes which were marked as "Abbey Road...not for release" also contained studio banter between Lennon and McCartney trying out songs that were never completed. The suitcase had a mass of "400 photographs, vinyl records, concert programmes" which were discovered by Mr. Fraser Claughton in a flea market in Lara, a town near Melbourne, Australia. He paid $50.00 for the suitcase.

However, speculation remains concerning the authenticity of the discovery as it may turn out to be merely bootlegged material that has already been in circulation in one form or another. Noted Beatle scholar Mark Lewisohn who works for the Apple Record label, had listened to the tapes over the phone and downplayed the discovery: "From my point of view there isn't anything lost here," said Mr. Lewisohn.

As usual, one of the big auctioning firms have shown some interest in the discovery. A spokesperson for Christie's in London said: "We haven't seen it and we won't be able to say anything more until we have."

Further reading: The Case of the Missing Beatles Songs + Long and Winding road to Beatles' holy grail


July 9
Pop star Neil Diamond slams Beatles' LSD talk as harmful

With the recent interview from Paul McCartney in UNCUT magazine, Paul admitted that during the recording of Sgt. Pepper he took "coke for about a year around that time. Coke and maybe some grass to balance it out. I was never completely crazy with cocaine." He also admitted that some of the Beatle songs were about drugs: "On the earlier albums, we'd have been using those drugs socially so, in that sense, the drugs informed what we did. A song like "Got To Get You Into My Life", that's directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time. "Day Tripper", that's one about acid. "Lucy In The Sky", that's pretty obvious. There's others like that make subtle hints about drugs on The Beatles' music."

But not all in the pop industry agreed back then with the position that the Beatles were taking on drugs. Certainly Paul McCartney himself made a public admission on June 19, 1967, that he had taken LSD four times. "Something ought to be done about the Beatles' publicly talking about using LSD," said singer/songwriter Neil Diamond in a 1967 interview. "It was very stupid on their part." Diamond, who admitted to trying both marijuana and LSD at least once, had this to say about the experiences: "I once tried marijuana. It was a very disappointing experience. The effect was no more than that of a screwdriver.

"When I used LSD - just once - I stopped being aware of myself. Then it became a nightmare in color -- colors that weren't there. I wasn't rational. It didn't wear off for a couple of days and its effect continued for much longer.

"I know of a musician who used LSD and wound up in a home for the insane.

"Most users, I think, are losers. They think they're turning themselves on -- but actually they're turning themselves off -- trying to escape from the world.

"The musician who took LSD -- he could have avoided his 'trip' and accomplished the same thing by taking rat poison!"

Neil Diamond's interview was conducted by Earl Wilson and appeared in The Ottawa Journal on September 20, 1967 (see: "Singer Says Beatles' LSD Talk Harmful").


July 2
Bill Eppridge photography: The Beatles Backstage and Behind the Scenes

The Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto is showcasing 84 rarely-seen photographs of the Beatles that were taken by Bill Eppridge of LIFE magazine. The collection, which is on display from July 26 to August 27, includes photos from the CBS archives highlighting the Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.

The Allen Lambert Galleria is located on 181 Bay St.  For more details, phone: (416) 364-4693.


June 24
The making of Yellow Submarine

A new book tells the story of the making of the brilliant animated movie. One of the four writers of the film, Al Brodax, has published Up Periscope which tells the full story.


June 22
Former Beatle Pete Best to perform in Ottawa at Barrymore's Music Hall, July 6!

Show time for the Pete Best and his band begins 8:00 p.m. with advance tickets costing $20.00 and possibly $25.00 at the door on opening day. According to the manager at Barrymore's, the opening act is "Moonlight Graham". Some tickets are available through Ticketmaster at: (613) 755-1111.


June 20
Paul is Back In the U.S.S.R.

A crowd of 60,000 Russian Beatle fans watched Paul McCartney perform in the opulent Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. This was Paul's first performance in that city and his 3,000 concert gig. The show which was sold out was delayed for one-and-a-half hours partly because of security measures as concertgoers were screened through three security checks. As a result, traffic was paralyzed around the central square.

For McCartney, it was his second appearance in Russia, a country were they once banned Beatles music as being a corruptive influence from the West. Under communism, fans would secretly listen and hide their Beatles music in fear of reprisal from Soviet authorities. One such Russian, Malsky, told the Associated Press that he recalled a school friend being punished for listening to the Beatles.

In spite of the crackdown, Beatles music had a very positive and liberating effect on Russians. Said Kolya Vasin: "Like many of my compatriots, who lived in the oppressive Soviet atmosphere, I was kind of a scared person with many complexes," he said. "I never had friends.

"The Beatles knocked all that out of me.

"Their music taught me to enjoy life. And they brought many friends into my life."

Over time, the Beatles music would eventually become one of several different factors leading up to the downfall of communism.


June 9
Russian has devoted 40 years to the Beatles

“I already know what I will wear,” Kolya Vasin said, planning his campaign to meet the rock legend. “A T-shirt that says Paul, Welcome Home.”

McCartney is to perform on Sunday before an estimated 50,000 fans in St Petersburg’s Palace Square, in front of the Hermitage Museum.

The concert, McCartney’s first in St Petersburg, will mark the peak of the northern city’s famous White Nights, when the sun barely dips beyond the horizon before starting its upward climb again.

Vasin, who has invited McCartney to visit him while he is in St Petersburg, has dedicated the last four decades of his life to honouring the Beatles. (See also: St. Petersburg Times; The Scotsman).

Former Apple General Manager, Alistair Taylor, passes away  

Just a few weeks shy of his 69th birthday, on this date, James Alistair Taylor has passed away in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.   He is survived by his widow Lesley Gillibrand (the couple did not have any children). It is reported that he died from "a short bronchial illness". An obituary on Alistair has been published by BBC music historian, Spencer Leigh. For details, please click here. Beatle historian Martin Lewis has also paid a tribute to Alistair Taylor. For his report, click here. See also the report in Matlock Today.


June 6
Historical Flashback: Sexy Sadie turns Beatles on to Mind-Bending Kick

The now defunct Toronto Telegram wrote an article on October 7, 1967 concerning the Beatles meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi during the month of August of that year. When it was written, it occurred roughly around same the time when John and George were seen on the David Frost show on September 29, 1967, chatting about drugs and meditation. Folk singer Donovan Leitch -- who was present for the second retreated with the Beatles in February of 1968 -- describes the  Maharishi as a "man who's going to tell us something." Leitch went on to say: "McCartney said the same thing and I think Lennon said the same thing -- 'We're going to go over and he's going to tell us how to really lay this peace on earth because we know this man is advanced.' We were looking for this guy to tell us something. The main thing with the Maharishi for me was that he laughed. We realized that we were also turning the Maharishi on. It was two ways. The press were outside. The Beatles, one Beach Boy, me, and Paul Horn, we were inside. The Maharishi taught us how to meditate." 

John Lennon would later profess that the song, Sexy Sadie, was all about the yogi: "That was inspired by Maharishi," he told David Sheff for Playboy. "I wrote it when we had are bags packed and we were leaving. It was the last piece I wrote before I left India. I just called him 'Sexy Sadie.'  I was leaving the Maharishi with a bad taste."  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and Lennon certainly did not see through the Maharishi during their first retreat based on a report that was filed by the Toronto Telegram entitled: Foursome Plan to Become 'Spiritual Guides' -- Beatles Now on a Mind-Bending Kick.


June 5
How Ringo Starr chose the black oyster pearl drum kit from Ludwig

The drumbeat of success for Ludwig could not have been better timed when on February 1964, the drum kit that Ringo was using on the Ed Sullivan show was beamed by CBS television into American homes thereby giving the manufacturer instant recognition. What happened next was the enormous commercial demand for that very lovely black oyster pearl drum kit. A very interesting article which chronicles that history is available by clicking: The Night That Changed The Music World.


June 1, 2004
Peace gets another chance
See May 17 item below....


May 27
CBC Arts News: "Photo exhibit celebrates John and Yoko's Bed-in for Peace"

A news article from the CBC is highlighting the photography of Gerry Deiter. Mr. Deiter, who at the time was taking pictures for "Life" magazine, was present throughout the John and Yoko peace campaign in Montreal. The article, "Photo exhibit celebrates John and Yoko's Bed-in for Peace" contains an external link to the Elliot Gallery which is currently displaying some of Mr. Deiter's rare photography of John and Yoko's bed-in .


May 17
Québec artists to re-create "Give Peace A Chance" at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance", on June 1 a group of Québec artists will go to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in room 1742 to re-record Lennon's classic peace anthem. Donald Tarlton, the brainchild behind the idea, was actually present when Lennon and Ono recorded the original hit song. To this very day he still remembers what Lennon said before introducing the new peace song to the participants in the room: "He had such clear focus and such clarity of thought," said Tarlton. "He said, 'From the United Nations to all the power the power brokers in the world, there are 10 million reasons why  things can't be done -- but it boils down to a simple message: Give Peace A Chance.' As he said it, he started to sort of hum it and sing it."

Rock group La Chicane will accompany the various Québec artists to re-record the song which will be issued by BoomBox,  either available over the internet or over the counters at music stores. All proceeds from the sale of the song will be donated to Amnesty International which has been approved by Yoko Ono.

Interestingly, CBC director Paul McGrath is currently preparing a television documentary on 35th anniversary of the recording of "Give Peace A Chance."  McGrath has gone to great lengths in recruiting as many of the original participants who sung along with John Lennon and Yoko Ono when they recorded their peace anthem on June 1, 1969. Donald Tarlton was interviewed by McGrath and is expected to make an appearance in the show. And in an email correspondence dated March 3, 2004, to John Whelan of the Ottawa Beatles Site, McGrath describes some of the celebrities lined up for the CBC program:  "We will interview Andre Perry when he comes to Montreal between April 12 and 23. I interviewed Tom Smothers in San Diego last week, and his yarns are likely to provide the funniest moments in  the doc. He tells the story of John correcting his guitar playing, and tells it with a twinkle in his eye and fabulous timing. Most people in the room for the recording say Petula was not there at that point (Smothers insists she wasn't) but it's likely she heard John working on or rehearsing the song beforehand, and that's good enough for inclusion in our doc. We'll be talking to her in Atlantic City between April 5 and 12."

The working title of the CBC television special, "Give Peace A Song," is expected to be aired sometime in the winter of 2005. For further details about this documentary, please visit the CBC website:


May 14
Remembering Brian:
And They Called Him 'Mister Epstein'

The Ottawa Beatle Site proudly presents a retrospective on the man who made the Beatles millionaires in a 1967 report by Sandy Gardiner of The Ottawa Journal, entitled: And They Called Him 'Mister Epstein'.  Sandy Gardiner, in case you didn't know, was the first journalist who made use of the phrase "Beatlemania" into a North American newspaper report. His article is also listed here at the Ottawa Beatles Site.


May 5
Beatles Contract Sold At Christie's

The original revised management agreement between the Beatles and Brian Epstein was sold at Christie's auction house for $220,306. The document is dated October 1, 1962, was estimated to fetch between $44,832 and $62,765 but tripled in value when it was sold to a private collector. Interestingly, a questionnaire for the Record Mirror that was filled out by the Beatles was also sold at the auction house. It had revealed some very flattering remarks about Brian Epstein: "Without Brian none of us would have had some of the wonderful chances which his management has opened for us," wrote Ringo Starr while Paul McCartney described Epstein as a "good manager: astute, sympathetic, good lad, dad!"  The questionnaire which also contained comments from George, was sold for $25,644.

Other Beatle items auctioned at Christie's: Lennon's leather collar that he wore in 1967-1968 sold for $247,000; a colored felt pen drawing by Lennon sold for $24,700; Lennon's pen-and-ink drawing ("Happy Fish"), sold for $23,465; a letter signed by Lennon sold for $13,585; and a 1966 custom-made Vox Kensington guitar, used by both John and George, fetched $240,000. The guitar had been previously owned Alex Mardas as a gift from John Lennon.


May 1, 2004
"THE BEATLES with Tony Sheridan - The Beginnings in Hamburg - A Documentary"

An excellent DVD exploring the early years with Tony Sheridian and the Beatles has been released by Universal Music. The DVD, entitled "THE BEATLES with Tony Sheridan - The Beginnings in Hamburg - A Documentary", runs 2 hrs 17min, features interviews from Tony Sheridan, Roy Young, Klaus Voormann, Astrid Kirchherr, Horst Fascher and the Beatles first manager, Allan Williams along with a host of other contemporaries from that period.

Tony Sheridan, the central figure in the documentary, provides insight to the origins of the song selection for the tracks that he and the Beatles recorded for Polydor. While the Beatles only recorded 7 tracks with Sheridan, featured here are 16 of those tracks done by the pop star. As each song is played, still photography is introduced linking the viewer back to the days of the Kaiserkeller, the Reeperbahn, the Top Ten Club and the Star-Club adding historical value to the documentary. While some photos will be familiar to fans, there are enough interesting "never-before-seen" photography of the locales in Hamburg along with group photos of the Beatles and Tony Sheridan. Also included in the still photography segments are rare and unique photographs of Stuart Sutcliffe, presumably taken by Astrid Kirchherr, Stu's girlfriend at the time.

The interviews are informative with the best contributions coming from Tony Sheridan, Allan Williams and Roy Young. Tony Sheridan tells his stories with much candor and at times enthusiasm while the Beatles first manager, Allan Williams, lives up to expectations in the similar elk that he wrote in his first book, "The Man Who Gave Away The Beatles". In the documentary, Beat Brother Roy Young remains true during the interviews and his answers are similar to an interview that he gave to the Ottawa Beatles Site a few years ago (see: A Roy Young Interview). But the only drawback found in this documentary happens to be the interviews of the German participants: they present their answers in German with English subtitles appearing at the bottom of the screen. This includes invaluable comments from Klaus Voormann, Astrid Kirchheer, Jurgan Kramer, Sound Assistant for the Sheridan/Beatles recordings and Horst Fascher, Sheridan's manager and a few band members from The Rattles and others which sometimes takes away from the entertainment value (it might have been better if the producer had used "English voiceovers" rather than using English subtitles for the spoken German responses.) That said, the historical value of this DVD gets a close "topermost of the popermost" rating for exploring the early beginnings of The Beatles and Tony Sheridan --definitely a must-have in your Beatles collection.

Historical value:  **** / 5 stars

Entertainment value:  *** / 5 stars


April 29, 2004
"Lennon" Musical Heading for Broadway

Both the and Playbill news services are reporting that a musical play on the life and times of John Lennon will make its debut at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco on February 1st before heading on to Broadway in 2005.  The idea for the play was conceived by Don Scardino. The musical is setting out to illustrate that John Lennon was more than just a musician. Said Scardino in an interview with Playbill: "He always seemed to be ahead of the curve. Or, by example, the curve followed him. He was such a leader for a certain generation, particularly, that he's emblematic of the times he came through."

There are thirty songs scheduled for the play (approved by Yoko Ono) which include: "Imagine," "Instant Karma," "Give Peace a Chance," "Mind Games", "Gimme Some Truth" "Working Class Hero," and "Whatever Gets You Through the Night". Ten actors will be used to depict the various stages of John Lennon's life from Merseyside to New York where the pop star resided.

The play, which has been three years in the making, has Scardino teamed up with Allan McKeown (producer of Jerry Springer - The Opera). It is expected that both the casting and creative team will be announced at a later date.


April 28, 2004
New Book: "THE Ringo Starr Enclyclopedia" by Bill Harry

Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat magazine, has written a 170,000-word book recognizing the humour, talent and courage of Ringo Starr.  Entitled "THE Ringo Starr Enclyclopedia" the book will be published by Virgin Books on May 4, at £12.99 (or about $30.00 Canadian and $22.00 American.)  Dave Charters of Liverpool Daily Post, highlights this new book along with an interview from Bill Harry in an article entitled: "Starr Is Brought to Book".


April 19, 2004
Last known sketch by John Lennon up for sale

What is believed to be the last known sketch with John Lennon's signature on it, is on sale  for $325,000 at Moments in Time web site.

Rabiah Yazzie Seminole, the original owner of the valuable note had been working as a switchboard operator at the Record Plant in Manhattan on December 8, 1980.  In a sworn affidavit, Seminole states that "as John Lennon and Yoko Ono were leaving Record Plant they gave me a drawing done by John Lennon and signed by him and Yoko Ono." Rabiah recalls receiving the sketch at about 10:25 p.m. that night.  A very short time later that night, just before 11:00 p.m., Lennon was tragically gunned down by a deranged fan outside the Dakota.

For years the sketch had been on Seminole's bedroom wall and not many knew about its existence.  She has decided to put the famous last note by Lennon up for sale in order to raise money for her horse sanctuary, "The Blue Horse Mukwa Equine Retirement and Rescue Center", a non-profit organization which she runs in Chesapeake, Virginia. Her horse sanctuary takes in  horses who have been either neglected or abused, some with broken legs or gunshot wounds. The sanctuary was damaged last year by a hurricane causing a financial hardship to keep it running. Said Rabiah: "I didn't want to capitalize on John's death, but I think he would have wanted to help the horses."


April 2, 2004
Cultural reform activist, John Sinclair, declares today's music as "sappy and lame"

Cultural reform activist John Sinclair has denounced most of today's music scene as being "sappy and lame" -- devoid of any content that reflects reforms or protests concerning today's social injustices. His comments appeared on The State News - Michigan University Independent Voice web page. Said Sinclair: "It's been a negative example. I think they've used the music by making it sappy and lame for the past 30 years since The Eagles and Lindsey Buckingham. They started to sap the progressive content of the music that was developing at the time, and now it's made by machines. They eliminate the possibility of originality and intelligence. You can do it, but you won't be rewarded. I always say, 'If you take the pledge of poverty, you can do whatever you want with art in America, because they don't care. It's rough.'"

Sinclair, a vanguard of the 1960's cultural radicalism, was arrested and jailed in 1969 for possession of two joints of marijuana. He spent 29 months of his ten-year sentence before his name became elevated into the international spotlight by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The couple held a "Free John Now" concert in 1971, at Ann Arbor's Crisler Arena. "John was terrified going onstage," recalled Stu Werbin. "He was following Stevie Wonder, with a make-shift band, trying out new material. He worried that people might start yelling for 'Hey Jude'."  Lennon opened the set with "John Sinclair" which was followed up with "Sisters, O'Sisters" by Yoko Ono and then "Attica State".  But it was the lyrical lines in "John Sinclair" that became the most revealing of all in terms of just how unfair Sinclair's lengthy jail time was. "The lyrics referred to recent revelations that the CIA was involved in heroin trafficking in Southeast Asia on a massive scale while Sinclair rotted in jail for selling two joints", wrote Jon Wiener in his book "Come Together John Lennon In His Time". The concert and music worked...three days later Sinclair's sentence was overturned. Wiener also revealed that Sinclair recalled Lennon with great fondness: "Lennon was very groovy - if that term means anything today. A real sweet, warm, nice, outgoing type of guy."

Today, John Sinclair still holds the same viewpoints as he did back then concerning the laws on drugs. "I don't want to reform them; I want them thrown out," he told Michigan State News reporter A.P. Kryza. "I want the Dutch model, only more. America has built a huge industry for the right-wing law enforcement who have benefited from this more than anyone admits....We're as close to a police state as you have in a democracy."

Sinclair is still active in music and poetry. He will be making an appearance at the Creole Gallery, April 2, at 8:00 p.m. in Lansing backed with the Blues Scholars and will be performing with Glow on April 3, at 4:20 p.m. at the Hash Bash hullabaloo in Ann Arbor.


March 27, 2004
Historical Flashback: The Beatles were shut out at Expo 67

You would think that the Beatles after having received their prestigious M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) awards in 1965, that Britain would logically have honored the group in their pictorial gallery at British pavilion during Canada's centennial, Expo 67. Apparently they did not! In a report filed by Richard Jackson of the Ottawa Journal on April 29, 1967, the COI (Central Office of Information) in London did at one point consider using a photographic portrait of the Beatles at Expo but were instead passed over for the bad boys of rock and roll, the Rolling Stones! The Stones image was displayed along with other historical notables such as "Shakespeare, Christopher Wren, Drake, Wellington, Disraeli, Victoria the great and all the illustrious hundreds of others" wrote Jackson. While the honor at the time might well have pleased Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones and their fans, staff members at the British pavilion reacted negatively. Wrote Jackson: "The COI just better watch it. For there are 30 glorious English girls serving as hostesses in the pavilion and they're blazing mad, and waiting for the publicists of the information office to just dare show up. 'If the Beatles haven't earned a place of honor, who has?' asks the head hostess Dorothy Rogers, 28, from Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire."

Meanwhile, the American pavilion had given the nod to their own pop icon, Elvis Presley, along with photographic images of  Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and Marilyn Monroe and whole slew of other famous notables.


March 23, 2004
Lennon art trial secrets revealed

"A prosecution over John Lennon's "erotic" drawings may have failed because of implications for major art collections" writes the BBC news services. For details, click here.


March 12, 2004
Professor M.L. Liebler of Wayne State University to visit Ottawa!

* "Liebler is a tremendous source of poetry energy in The Motor City and beyond." - John Sinclair 

Professor M.L. Liebler who teaches a Beatle course at Wayne State University in Detroit, will be making an appearance here in Ottawa on Sunday, May 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Royal Oak II located at 161 Laurier Avenue across from the University of Ottawa. This will be Liebler's first visit to Ottawa promoting his book "The Moon a Box: Poems of this World" with a new CD scheduled for release this April. His poetry readings will be a combination of "beat poetry/slam poetry music" featuring his Magic Poetry Band with Alex Lumelsky (guitars) and Faruq Z. Bey (sax).

However, this will not be the professor's first visit to Canada. Said Liebler, "I have read quite a bit in Canada: Windsor, Toronto, London, Guelph and elsewhere." At the moment, Professor Liebler is on tour in Russia giving a Beatle course and poetry readings in St. Petersburg (March 11-13), Moscow's "Russia The Amerikan Poetry Center" (March 14) and the YMCA at Novosibirisk, Siberia (March 17-19).

An accomplished and respected poet/writer, Liebler has also released several musical CD's and has performed with such internationally known musicians such as Al Kooper, Country Joe McDonald, Mike Watt of The Minuetemen, Jorma Kaukonen of the Jefferson Airplane and Prof. Louie (The Rick Danko Band and producer of the final three The Band cds). He has written several books of poetry and one publication in particular, "Stripping the Adult Century Bare", contains two personal tributes to the late John Lennon: "Beatles Forever (The Day John Lennon Died)" and "John Lennon Comes Back to New York City to Pay Homage to Bob Dylan". 

Some of M.L.Liebler's literary awards are:

AWARDED Wayne State County Council for Arts & Humanities Arts Award, 2002;
FINALIST American Book Award 2002 and Great Lakes Book Award 2002; Awarded Art 2002;
AWARDED ArtServe/MCACA Writer in the School for Michigan status for 2001-2004;
AWARDED Wayne State University's Board of Governors Book Award, 2001;
FINALIST Paterson Literary Book Award, 2001.

Professor Liebler's visit to Ottawa is being orchestrated by both the Ottawa Beatles Site and by the Ottawa Sasquatch Reading Literary and Arts group. Liebler will also be meeting with Dr. Yury Pelyushonok and members of the Ottawa Beatles web site team to discuss a possible "limited edition" publication of "Strings for a Beatle Bass -- The Beatles Generation in the U.S.S.R." in the Detroit area.

For more on Professor M.L. Liebler and his literary work and accomplishments, please visit his home web page:


March 11, 2004
Alfred George Bicknell, Beatles chauffeur, died

On March 9, Alfred Bicknell, the Beatles chauffeur from 1964 to 1966, died at Bandbury, Oxfordshire. He was 75.

Brief "bio" on Alfred George Bicknell:  Alf was born in Haslemere, Surrey, on October 28, 1928, and was educated locally. His early jobs included working as an "apprentice butcher and as a circus clown" wrote the Telegraph and he also "did three years' National Service in the Army". During the 1950's, Bicknell became a chauffeur to a number of foreign embassies in England. By 1964, he was highly recommended to and hired by Beatles manager, Brian Epstein. Alf drove and worked with the Beatles on their tours and in August of 1965, both he and the band met Elvis Presley at the pop-stars Bel-Air home. On another occasion, both Alf and the Beatles met up with legendary American folk singer, Bob Dylan. However, one of the low-points during touring occurred on July 1966 when the band was roughed up in the Philippines. George Harrison once said: "Alf Bicknell lived moment to moment with the Beatles through those years....Anyone who was beaten up by Imelda Marco's bully squad is a friend of mine." With regards to Beatles recordings, Bicknell made a proud appearance on "Yellow Submarine". Said Alf: "I did some of the sound effects and sang in the chorus. You can hear the anchor going down just be a voice says, "Full steam ahead, Mr. Bo'sun." That was me with an old tin bath and a piece of chain."  When touring stopped in 1966, so too did Bicknell's employment with the Beatles. He continued being a chauffeur but this time with the New Christy Minstrels in America. For three years, Bicknell also chauffeured Lord McAlpine. He also gained employment at the Tilbury Construction. Bicknell would later share his Beatle memories with fans by attending various Beatle conventions and through various publications: In 1989, Bicknell released "Baby, You Can Drive My Car!" that was co-written with Beatles expert Garry Marsh. In 1995, saw the release of "Alf Bicknell's Beatles Diary" which was in the form of a book and video package and in 1999, he co-wrote with Alasdaire Ferguson, "Ticket to Ride: the ultimate Beatles tour diary!" Alf Bicknell is survived by his wife Jean and their son.


March 06, 2004
Baby, You're A Rich Man

Yesterday, Reuters reported on the web that Paul McCartney fortune "is bigger than the combined wealth of Elton John, Mick Jagger and Madonna, according to a new rich list." McCartney's wealth is now listed at 725 million pounds -- or to put this into a North American perspective, that would be $1,761,871,422.35 (Canadian) or $1,336,175,000.00 (American) based on the exchange rates taken on this date from the Universal Currency Converter.


March 05, 2004
Beatles "1" still a top Billboard seller

After 172 weeks on the charts, for the week ending March 13, 2004, Billboard is reporting that Beatles "1" is No. 2  in terms of popular pop catalog albums being sold in the marketplace. Last week "1" was also in this same position on Billboard. Since the album's November release in 2000, Beatles "1" has sold over 25 million copies world-wide. Meanwhile, "Let It Be Naked", which was Paul McCartney's idea to release the upgraded version of the Beatles 1970 "Let It Be" album, continued to slide down the charts. It was at No. 130 on Billboard's top 200 album chart as of February 6, 2004. 


February 28, 2004
Were You There for the Recording of "Give Peace A Chance?"  If so, C.B.C. television is looking for you!

The C.B.C. television is working on a new documentary that will focus on the recording of "Give Peace A Chance". The documentary will air sometime in the Winter of 2005. But in order to make this a reality, the C.B.C. needs to find the people who participated in the recording. This includes "the unidentified Krishna devotees playing hand drums and finger cymbols on the song," said the C.B.C. "Chances are they have all told their stories to many, many people - who wouldn’t?" If you were one of the lucky ones there for the recording of "Give Peace A Chance", please click on the following link and make contact with the C.B.C.:


February 27, 2004
Parlophone announces McCartney to do EUR-"O4 SUMMER" Tour

“Touring really has been a lot of fun for us and the audiences have been great,” said McCartney. “So why stop now? I’m looking forward to playing and to visiting some new places.”


•  Tuesday, May 25th - Gijon -Estadio El Molinon
•  Friday, May 28th - Lisbon - Parque Bela Vista  (1st time ever concert performance)
•  Sunday, May 30th - Madrid - Estadio de Madrid
•  Wednesday, June 2nd - Zurich - Letzigrund Stadium
•  Friday, June 4th - Leipzig - Leipzig Zentralstadion (1st time ever concert performance)
•  Sunday, June 6th - Prague - T-Mobile Park  (1st time ever concert performance)
•  Tuesday, June 8th - Horsens Forum - Horsens Stadium (1st time ever concert performance)
•  Saturday, June 12th - Gothenburg - Ullevi Stadium
•  Monday, June 14th - Oslo - Valle Hovin Stadion
•  Thurday, June 17th - Helsinki - Olympiastadion
•  Sunday, June 20th - St. Petersburg - Palace Square
•  Thursday, June 24th - Paris - Stade de France
•  Saturday, June 26th - Glastonbury - Worthy Farm Pilton


February 25, 2004
John Trust of The Mersey Cats shares his memories of the Cavern

The Mersey Cats comprised of various Mersey Beat musicians from the 1960's British pop scene that had  performed at various charity events in Britain.

Trust writes the following...


The web site is absolutely brilliantly put together and is a credit to your time and effort.

I am a member of The Mersey Cats and we had a couple of events which brought a lot of us old timers together.

Ray from the Dennisons is now the man from the Prudential (insurance) and happily married with 2 daughters.

Clive (Dennisons drummer) is now a soap opera star (he only ever wanted to be an actor).

Our old rhythm player Stan Alexander played with 3 bands (Cy Tucker, Foremost and can't remember 3rd.) at Merseycats first party.

My old neighbour and mate Snowy Fleet (he was a rhythm guitarist in Liverpool before emigrating to Australia mid 60's) also flew in from Perth -- he is best remembered for his part in an Aussie band (The Easybeats) with a hit called Friday On My Mind (he played drums then).

I lived in Perth WA in the 1980's and Snowy and I both did a couple of radio shows dedicated to Liverpool sound. (Snowy is a fairly affluent house builder in Perth, but some years ago the band played a sellout tour around Australia -- after the lead singer had been released from prison where he was doing time for drug offences).

My comments about the Beatles are based upon the general feeling of a lot of people at the time -- I had known them for a few years before their fame.

Brian Epstein made The Beatles (it was business) they were the first real manufactured band -- Lennon's prolific song writing put them at the top (and lets face it some of those songs will still be classics in 50 years time (my favourites did not achieve single's status, but were tracks on some of the first albums).

The Beatles last show on the cave after fame found them was an Easter Bank holiday weekend -- all the bands (and we were among them) had a big card school running in the dressing room and it was a fantastic weekend.

The Stones played Liverpool when The Beatles were in town and my band was playing the Blue Angel (Alan is another club manager with a memory of convenience -- he only remembers his input into the big bands) imagine our surprise when John and Paul arrived (John brought his psychedelic Rolls Royce) and they were followed by The Stones -- they all dashed out to view John's new Roller.

Most people can't imagine what it was like to play at the cave, even before it was world famous it was pretty intimidating --trying to get the sound right with all those vaulted arches and pillars (hot steamy and jam packed almost every night).

The front row harridans (the cave's official veto crew of some not very pretty females) stared at the bands and decided if you would come back.

If you had a gig somewhere else before your cave spot you had to fight your way through the packed crowd with amps and instruments -- interfering with Cavern Stompers (the official dance due to lack of space for free movement of limbs).

Epstein opened a nightclub in a Liverpool backstreet (it was very posh inside and a drink cost £1.00 a pint -- normal pubs you could buy 6 pints for that amount of money -- my band The Dions was the first act to play there and we played there a number of times (Epstein and Lennon came a couple of times together and we thought hello what's all this then? -- Eppy offered to sign us up, but my dad said no, so eppy recommended another agent (I quit the band shortly after that -- the new agent had wandering hands).

Cilla used to work at the cave and got her chance through eppy on Lennon's referral, I loved her first hit and backed numerous artists at clubs singing that song over the next 10 years.

We could enter into a working relationship, with me passing snippets of memories etc -- especially when I meet up with a lot of the other lads.

The Liverpool bands would have continued to play and enjoy themselves -- most of us did it for the personal pleasure -- as we made little money and had expensive equipment -- The Coasters could not turn pro with Billy (Billy J) as all the rest of the group were actually serving apprenticeships in various trades, my band had a guy studying chemistry another accountancy and so on -- some of the bands found fame after Beatlemania, but most of us just enjoyed playing (I played in a pipe band as well as groups and did 2 stints in the percussion section of Liverpool philharmonic youth orchestra -- I also occasionally played with big dance bands and jazz bands).

Joe Morrello (Dave Bruebeck five drummer) came to Liverpool and gave a 1 night drum clinic -- nearly 300 drummers attended and only a couple of big heads worked for many different groups around the city that night -- most clubs actually closed due to shortage of drummers -- I don't think any of the guys at the drum clinic ever turned pro and none really wanted to.

I've had the honour to appear on the same bill (spot before) as Buddy Rich and his band (I nearly retired after that show --haven't played drums in public since though).


John Trust


February 24, 2004
George Harrison "Dark Horse Years 1976 - 1992" deluxe box-set is released!

The long awaited deluxe-box set containing the solo work that George Harrison did on his Dark Horse label, has been released by Capitol records. It comes with a booklet that contains press clippings, unseen photographs and illustrations. A 75-minute DVD containing 7 music videos (fully restored) is also included in the box-set.

"George had lots of work lined up in 1999, but his priority was to reissue his entire catalog," said Olivia Harrison. "He began that process by the remastering of All Things Must Pass in 2000. The Dark Horse Years were to follow. These songs are especially dear to me because they chronicle events in our life together. If you want to know what George was doing those years just listen to his music."
On March 15, 2004, George will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will be later broadcasted on VH1 on March 21 between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.


February 20, 2004
Possible forthcoming book on the '60s from artist Simon Posthuma ("The Fool") 

Good evening John,

I just past by at your beautiful website on The Beatles, which I found through a link on Beatle City. Actually I was looking for works of the Dutch Simon Posthuma who painted John's Rolls in the Sixties. At present Simon Posthuma presents parts of his work in Zaandam, a viallage just north of Amersterdam / the Netherlands. With his girlfriend Marijke, he left the Netherlands 50 years ago to tour around and finally ended in London where he met The Beatles and (where) he started to work for their Apple Corp.

During this week our national Radio 2, broadcasted the "Week of the Sixties", with lots of good music on The Beatles, Stones and many, many others, 24 hours a day during 5 days.

During an interview which was aired last Thursday afternoon, I suddenly heard Simon Posthuma talking about his years in England, while working with and for The Beatles and so I learned that he returned to his native village Zaandam. He also announced that he would soon present a 350 pages new book on the Sixties.

Best wishes,

Cor van Breukelen
Puch 66, Puch and Tomos club
The Netherlands


February 19, 2004
Free public celebration of George Harrison Day in L.A.

The City of Los Angeles has declared Sunday 22 February 2004 GEORGE HARRISON DAY. A plaque will be unveiled at the base of the George Harrison Tree in Griffith Park at 3.00pm and there will be a live musical performance by Keith Chagall and 'The Fab Four' tribute band. Special guests Billy Preston and Jackie Lomax will also be in attendance. Jackie intends playing a song he has written as a tribute to George, "Friend Of Mine."


February 16, 2004
Soul singer Doris Troy passes away

On this date, former Apple Records recording star, Doris Troy who lived in Las Vegas, dies in hospital from emphysema. She was 67.

Originally born as Doris Higgensen on January 6, 1937, in Bronx, New York, she was the daughter of a Baptist preacher where early on she was exposed to gospel music.  Doris later abandoned gospel music in favor of the jazz group, the Halos. While honing her songwriting abilities, Doris Troy concentrated on background singing for artists such as Soloman Burke; Chuck Jackson; and The Drifters. By 1963, she co-penned "Just One Look" with her friend Gregory Carroll. While the song was only recorded by Doris in demo form, Juggy Murray of Sue Records who was presented with a copy of the song, failed to move on it. Determined to get "Just One Look" into the marketplace, she then approached Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records who decided to release the song exactly in its demo ended being a major Top Ten hit in the USA. The song was then covered by the Hollies in 1964 and charted a the No. 2 spot turning "Just One Look" into a smash hit once again. (Incidentally, the composition has also been covered by Linda Ronstadt, Harry Nilsson and Bryan Ferry.)

Doris Troy's soul career spanned 40 years. She moved to London in 1969 where she was soon signed on by Apple Records. In an earlier interview, Troy recalls how that came about: "I got a call from Madeline Bell inviting me down to a recording session that Billy Preston was doing for Apple. George Harrison was producing "That's the Way God Planned It" and Billy and I agreed to write some songs together for his Apple album. That's when George asked me about my own ability to record. As it turned out, I wasn't signed to anyone. Within days, we had three agreements: one for me as an artist, one as a writer and one as a producer." Her debut album on Apple was simply entitled Doris Troy, was released in Nov. 9, 1970, in the USA featuring some big name performers in the rock music industry: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Bobby Keys; Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr to name just a few. While under contract with Apple, two singles were also released: Ain't That Cute and Jacob's Ladders.  She was also backup singer for the following rock artists: Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"; Carly Simon's "You're So Vain"; George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and Dusty Springfield's "In the Middle of Nowhere".

In March, 1983, a musical play based on Doris Troy's life entitled Mama, I Want To Sing, opened at the Heckscher Theatre in Harlem. The play was written by her sister Vy Higgensen and brother-in-law producer Ken Wydro. By 1984, Time magazine proclaimed the musical as one of New York's 10 best stage shows to be presented in the city. The non-Broadway musical, which  saw Doris Troy casted in the role of her mother "Geraldine", was successful enough to take on the road across the USA between 1984 to 1998. In that time frame the musical also made appearances in London and Japan.  The New York Times indicates that the "show is to begin a 20th-annivesary run at Williams C.M.E. Church in Harlem" on February 21, 2004.


February 12, 2004
Couple recall meeting not-so-fab Beatles

In a February 8th, e-mail correspondence to the Ottawa Beatle Site, Barbara Kaufman writes:

"I met the Beatles in approximately 1959 (the late 50's) in the Cavern Club. My husband played there frequently with a traditional (dixieland) jazz band called "The Saints" and the Beatles were one of the intermission bands, along with other local Liverpool bands i.e., Billy J. Kramer, Gerry and the Pacemakers etc., who were trying to make a name for themselves. In fact, I feel sure I spoke to them on their first gig at the Cavern."

Both Barbara and her husband Merton Kaufman were published by the London Free Press here in Canada. There are two articles on the same page: The first one deals with the 40th anniversary of the Beatles where the couple recall their fond memories on how the Beatles presented themselves during the Cavern days. The second article is a tribute to George Harrison which was published shortly after his passing.  

It was Barbara and Merton's wish to have these articles published at the Ottawa Beatles Site and they hope you will enjoy reading them. We have archived their reports under "Articles of Historical Interest".


February 7, 2004
"Beatles U.S. arrival anniversary"

Neena Chowdhury of the Canadian Press, interviews Ottawa Beatle Site proprietor, Tony Copple, on the 40th anniversary of "Beatlemania". Neena also interviews Bhesham Sharma, a music professor at the University of Western Ontario.


January 31, 2004

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of "Beatlemania" and the Beatles invasion into the United States, on this date the Beatles Timeline has received 75,000 visitors! Thanks to one and all who have visited this Beatles time capsule.

The Beatles Timeline was launched in January, 2000.


January 28, 2004
Cirque du Soleil to play in Las Vegas?

Reuters is reporting that the MGM Mirage Casino in Las Vegas has shown interest in having the Cirque du Soleil perform a theatrical version of "Yellow Submarine" that would replace illusionist Roy Horn who was critically injured last October after being mauled by a tiger.

Alan Feldman, spokesperson for the MGM Mirage, claims that its "fairly likely" that the theatre troupe would perform at the Casino but the Cirque du Soleil has denied any deal with the Mirage casino concerning a Beatles show. The renewed interest from the Mirage goes back to 2001 when, according to Reuters, the "Beatles' company, Apple Corp. Inc., confirmed in 2001 that a Cirque show in London was under consideration, but Beatle George Harrison, who was friends with Cirque Chief Executive Guy Laliberte, died shortly after that announcement and the show never materialized." 

The Ottawa Beatle Site supports the Reuters position that George Harrison had a keen interest in seeing a theatrical play based on "Yellow Submarine" be performed by the Cirque du Soleil. According to local musician Robert Tremblay, who is a very big fan of George Harrison, had this to say in an e-mail to Ottawa Beatle Site proprietor, Tony Copple, dated 04/03/2003: "I was wondering if you were aware of the fact that George Harrison came to Montreal during the Grand Prix racing car, in June 2001. He was also there to negotiate the leasing of the copyright of Yellow Submarine to Le Cirque du Soleil. He attended a party at Guy Latraverse's house (well known Montreal producer), where he played guitar with professional musicians of the Montreal scene. He also met Robert Marchand, CEO of Musique Plus (music video channel). I hold this information from an interview given at Radio Canada on behalf G.H. death in November 2001."

Some time has now passed since George Harrison's death and it would be a nice tribute to George if Apple records were to provide some renewed interest and leadership in making this project become a reality.  The Cirque du Soleil has showcased some very entertaining theatrical productions even to a point where they have been captured on film and released on DVD: Journey of Man; Saltimbanco; Dralion; La Nouba; Quidam; O; Verakai and Mystere. If a theatrical version of "Yellow Submarine" were done by the Cirque, one ponders what financial rewards might come if it were later released on a DVD? Certainly this idea of a theatrical production and the contracts that George Harrison was preparing at the time with the Cirque is worth looking into once again.


January 24, 2004
Give Peace A Dance interview with Yoko Ono

We're pleased to see that the Ottawa Beatles Site isn't the only publisher that feels that John Lennon and Yoko Ono's peace activities from 1969 became just one of several factors that led to the eventual ending of the Vietnam War. This months publication of Rhythm magazine has a report filed by Jeff Tamarkin who makes a similar claim: "John and Yoko...campaigned for peace together. Just how effective their efforts may have ultimately been in turning the tide against the Vietnam War we might never really know. But make no mistake: they did have an impact." Tamarkin goes on stating that by John and Yoko's peace bed-in's at Amsterdam and Montreal where they ended up recording and releasing the timeless peace anthem, Give Peace A Chance, the couple had become, in effect, "masters of the staged media event." 

The feature article for the magazine provides a very basic but excellent overview of the life and times of Yoko Ono. It also includes a small interview with Ms. Ono along with some very touching photography work of the avant-garde artist done by Jeffrey Apoian.


January 16, 2004
Dr. Gilbert Lederman and Harrison family settle guitar dispute

Only 10 days after the Harrison family had filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Dr. Gilbert Lederman of having coerced George Harrison in his last remaining days to sign an autograph on his son's guitar, the doctor has now agreed through his attorney that the signed guitar "will be disposed of privately," writes Reuters press. 

The suit had alleged that Lederman held Harrison's hand as the musician wrote his name on the guitar "with great effort and much obvious discomfort" even though the failing rock star had initially resisted such a request.  Harrison was also forced to  sign his name on two cards for two of Lederman's daughters but the settlement now reached will include also include having the doctor dispose of them privately.

The settlement, announced in a Brooklyn courtroom before U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, acknowledges that the medical treatment by Lederman was not an issue in this particular claim.  The agreement also cites that the Harrison family, in return, will give a new guitar to Ariel Lederman as a replacement. Ariel, the 14-year-old son of the doctor, was the owner of the guitar that has Harrison's signature on it.

Beatle photo exhibit now in Smithsonian Museum

A photo presentation entitled: "The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes" will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum at the institutions "National Museum of American History". There are 81 black and white photos on display were culled from the CBS archives along with the photography work of Bill Eppridge from LIFE magazine. The event covers the Beatles first invasion into the United States including photos from their first Ed Sullivan broadcast.

The display at the Smithsonian Museum is from January 16 - July 5, 2004. It has been organized Vickie Rehberg, president of ArtVision Exhibitions of Baca Ration, Florida.

The photo collection was previously viewed at the Provincial Museum of Alberta in Edmonton and there are ideas that Italy might be the next stop for this photo display.


January 14, 2004
Another Grammy award for the Beatles

On this date, the Recording Academy announces that the hit song, Let It Be, will be inducted into the "Grammy Hall of Fame."


January 12, 2004
Early book sales of: "The Beatles: The Investigation of a Myth (1960 - 1962)" by Eric Krasker exceeds author's expectations!

Hi John!

First, I would like to wish you and Tony Copple a happy new year 2004, full of "new" Beatle material.

The book is a real success in France where it already sold a few thousand (I've heard something like 6-8000 copies, and it's only a beginning). It's a good thing when you know that the Beatles are really not a priority in French culture!

Warmest Regards,


Pretty impressive sales figures for the first three months, Eric! Especially in light of the fact that France is the only country where this book is being published at this time. Hopefully, Eric, you'll soon find an American publisher...certainly these sales figures can only help advance your cause in getting your excellent Beatle book out into the North American marketplace. Fans wishing to know what topics Eric covered in his book, we refer you to our November 10, 2003 news item on this page. You can also immediately jump to some of the highlights from Eric's new book by clicking the following two links:

The Star-Club Tapes: The Set That Never Existed

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

And if you wish to order a French copy of Eric's book, you can do so through Eric's publisher, Atlantica-Séguier:
The Beatles: Investigation of a Myth (1960 - 1962) 


January 8, 2004
Mick Dalla-Vee, bass guitarist from Randy Bachman's Band salutes the Ottawa Beatle Site!

When I posted my own personal tribute to Randy Bachman's message board, I truly wasn't expecting any comment from any band member at all, but Mick Dalla-Vee, bass guitarist for Randy Bachman's Band, sent out a personal e-mail to me on this date which reads as follows...

Hey Fellow Beatlie Nut

Hi John,

Very impressive! I play bass with Randy Bachman's Band and happened by your post. Lot's of great work on your site. A friend of mine who hasn't played since the early sixties (he's a property developer now) played at the Cavern at the same time as the big boys. His band was called "The Karacters" and they have a prestigious spot on the wall in the new cavern. He has told me that he wants to regroup his old band while they're all still alive and rehearse to play a couple of the old venues (including the fabled Cavern - which I've yet to visit), and he wants me to play drums (the drummer's too weak these days). The fact that I haven't played drums in over twenty years still makes me fairly up to snuff in his

I played with a Beatles Show called Revolver for a bit, and on two occasions we were escorted to the stage in THE Rolls Royce....quite a buzz!!!

I also have a picture that I found in a book, of my wife at a very young age in Maple Leaf Gardens sitting directly behind the Beatles Stage - where her 'front row' tickets were. Broke her heart at the time apparently, until I dug up the photo and had it blown up framed for her.

Keep on doing it - it's great to have a passion isn't it?



Thank you Mick, for your kind words and for also sharing with us some of your own Beatle recollections...the Cavern gig sounds definitely like a great idea! Give us an update if you decide to go over and we'll post it here for fans to read.

To learn more about Mick Dalla-Vee's musical background, please visit his excellent website at: and for information on Randy Bachman of B.T.O. (Bachman-Turner-Overdrive) and Guess Who fame, please visit Randy Bachman's personal web site at: Be sure to check out Randy's new CD "Every Song Tells A Story" where he provides both a narrative and musical journey on how he wrote some of his most legendary songs ever written as a member of B.T.O. and the Guess Who. And those amazing bass guitar riffs that you hear on "Every Song Tells A Story" album is none other than Mick Dalla-Vee himself!

By the way, if you don't yet already know, Randy Bachman played with Ringo Starr during the 1995 All-Starr band tour.


January 3, 2004
Six-week chart activity for "Let it Be...Naked"

Canada: 8 - 19 - 25 - 28 - 29 - 34

USA (Billboard): 5 - 17 - 16 - 20 - 17 - 26

Britain: 7 - 23 - 31 - 41 - 42 - ?

Source: AbbeyRd Beatles pages + Billboard Album Charts