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May 21, 2020

New book to be published October 29, 2020: "John Lennon 1980 - The Last Days In The Life" by Kenneth Womack

by Best Classic Bands


  The upcoming book release by Kenneth Womack will be available through

John Lennon’s final year, one initially of hope and renewal, yet ultimately of tragedy, is the subject of an upcoming book, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life. The new title, from noted Beatles historian Kenneth Womack, arrives October 29, via Omnibus Press.


The book’s publication date falls a few weeks after what would have been Lennon’s 80th birthday, and roughly six weeks before the 40th anniversary of his death.


From the book’s announcement: “Lennon’s final pivotal year would climax in unforgettable moments of creative triumph as he rediscovered his artistic self in dramatic fashion. With the bravura release of the Double Fantasy album with wife Yoko Ono, Lennon was poised and ready for an even brighter future, only to be wrenched from the world by an assassin’s bullets.


“Drawing on new interviews, the book is an informative, engaging and often deeply moving portrayal of the final chapter in Lennon’s remarkable life.”


Womack did a Q&A with Best Classic Bands, in advance of the title’s release.


Is there a lighthearted moment you can share about John in NYC that year? Perhaps a humorous encounter with someone in Central Park?


There are so many wonderful moments to recount about John’s life in New York City during the last few years of his life. He loved walking the streets of his neighborhood and around the park, of course, but he also wanted to preserve his privacy and sense of anonymity. These stories would often take on the same parameters: a smiling Lennon enjoying a stroll in the city, only to be spotted by a particular fan or passerby. John would catch their eye, their glint of recognition at having seen an actual Beatle in the wild. In such tales, John would invariably lift his index finger up to his lips, as if to say, “This is our little secret.” In such moments, the storyteller was happy to see John happily go on his way, unmolested in his adopted hometown.


It’s known that John was recording in secret with Jack Douglas but without a record deal. Can you talk about the reaction from the major labels once word got out that the album was available? (David Geffen was making a big splash with his new label, having just signed Donna Summer and Elton John as well.)


There was definitely a sense of industry buzz around Double Fantasy and the Lennons’ contract status. As Yoko has documented, there was clearly a sense of animosity, with some labels, around the fact that the LP was planned to be a true collaboration, as opposed to a John-only project. Geffen quickly outpaced the herd by cementing his understanding that the record would be a collaboration. Indeed, it was a masterstroke on his part. In retrospect, of course, it was a strange time in the record industry, which was catering to a host of competing genres, including disco, new wave, punk, rock (soon to be known as classic rock), pop, and country crossover. In short order, there was a sort of identity crisis at play during that era, which may explain why they weren’t receiving lucrative, multimillion dollar offers in spite of the public curiosity about John’s bravura return to public life.


We didn’t recall this, but we understand John and Yoko were planning an extensive tour. Do you have any info on that?


John had begun to come around to the notion of a tour during the latter weeks of his life. At one point he remarked, “Sure, I’d like to get up on stage with Yoko and a good band and play these songs and really do ’em, because the band’s hot as shit. They’ve just come off the album and they were all good – we’ve got the good feeling among ourselves. So it would be great. I’m just a little nervous about all that goes on around it. But I think we can probably handle it a bit better this time.” The tour was to be called “One World, One People,” and was slated to include an elaborate stage show, along with performances of early Beatles tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”


Where were you when you heard that Lennon had been shot and what impact did that have on you?


Like so many folks, I have vivid memories of that time. I was 14 years old when it happened. I remember my father coming upstairs, presumably to tell me the news after having heard it on Monday Night Football. I had gone to bed early that night. My father pushed the door open, but I feigned sleep, as teenagers become well-practiced at doing, because I must not have wanted to be bothered at the time. The next morning, I woke up to see the Houston Post and the awful news splayed out across the front page.


In 2019, Womack published the best-selling Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ album. He is the author or editor of more than 35 books including a two-part series on the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin.



May 19, 2020

Understanding "Hey Bulldog"




May 15, 2020

Astrid Kirchherr, photographer of the Beatles, dead at 81

by Hillel Italie, Ap National Writer


NEW YORK (AP) — Astrid Kirchherr, the German photographer who shot some of the earliest and most striking images of the Beatles and helped shape their trend-setting visual style, has died at age 81.


She died Tuesday in her native Hamburg, days before her 82nd birthday, her friend Kai-Uwe Franz told The Associated Press. Her death was first announced by Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, who tweeted Friday that Kirchherr made an “immeasurable” contribution to the group and was “intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, beautiful, smart, loving and uplifting.” According to the German publication Die Zeit, she died of a “short, serious illness.”


“God bless Astrid a beautiful human being,” Ringo Starr tweeted. George Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, tweeted that Kirchherr was “so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture the soul.”



Kirchherr was a photographer's assistant in Hamburg and part of the local art scene in 1960 when her then-boyfriend Klaus Voormann dropped in at a seedy club, the Kaiserkeller, and found himself mesmerized by a young British rock group: The five raw musicians from Liverpool had recently named themselves the Beatles. As she later recalled, Voormann then spent the next few days convincing Kirchherr to join him, a decision which profoundly changed her.


“It was like a merry-go-round in my head, they looked absolutely astonishing," Kirchherr later told Beatles biographer Bob Spitz. "My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them.”


Kirchherr had dreamed of photographing “charismatic” men and found her ideal subjects in the Beatles, especially their bassist at the time, Stuart Sutcliffe, a gifted painter. They quickly fell in love, even though she spoke little English and he knew little German.


“Stuart was a very special person and he was miles ahead of everybody,” she told NPR in 2010. “You know as far as intelligent and artistic feelings are concerned, he was miles ahead. So I learned a lot from him and because in the ’60s we had a very strange attitude towards being young, towards sex, towards everything.”


The Beatles in the early 1960s were nothing like the smiling superstars the world would soon know, and they seemed to have little in common with Kirchherr and her friends, young existentialists dubbed “Exies” by John Lennon. The rock group favored black leather and greased back hair and gave wild, marathon performances. The James Dean lookalike Pete Best was the Beatles’ drummer, and Paul McCartney was playing guitar, along with Lennon and George Harrison. (Best was replaced in 1962 by Ringo Starr, and McCartney moved over to bass when Sutcliffe left and became engaged to Kirchherr).


Kirchherr was liked and trusted by all of them, and her photographs captured a group still more interested in looking cool and “tough” than in being lovable. She took indelible black and white portraits, including John, Paul and George in leather and cowboy boots on a rooftop; all five with their instruments on an abandoned truck; and a moody closeup of John in an open fairground with Sutcliffe looming like a ghost in back. Self-portraits captured Kirchherr's own distinctive looks — her high cheekbones and closely cut blonde hair.


“Absolutely stunned to hear the news of Astrid passing,” Best tweeted Friday. “God bless you love. We shared some wonderful memories and the most amazing fun times.”


Kirchherr had an indirect influence on the Beatles' transformation. The collarless jackets the Beatles favored in the early days of Beatlemania were inspired by Kirchherr's wardrobe; Sutcliffe, who was around the same height as she, had begun wearing her collarless tops. Meanwhile, Voormann had been so self-conscious about his large ears that he grew his hair longer to cover them. Kirchherr loved his new style, what became the Beatles “mop top” — hair brushed forward, without gel, a look favored by other young German artists — and Sutcliffe soon wore his hair that way. The others, after some resistance, followed along.


Her love affair with Sutcliffe was tragically brief. Sutcliffe collapsed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage in April 1962, at age 21. Kirchherr later married twice, including to the British drummer Gibson Kemp. Both marriages ended in divorce, and she would long say that she never got over Sutcliffe's death.


“He was, and still is, the love of my life," she told NPR in 2010. "I never, ever — and I was married a couple of times — met another man who was so fascinating, so beautiful, and so soft and well-mannered. You name it and that he was, and such a gifted artist.”


Over the decades following Sutcliffe's death, Kirchherr worked as a freelance photographer and an interior designer among other jobs, and in recent years helped run a photography shop in Hamburg. She and Voormann remained close to the other Beatles. Voormann designed the cover of their “Revolver” album and played bass on many of their solo projects. Kirchherr's Beatles photographs have been exhibited around the world, including at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. In the 1994 movie “Backbeat,” for which she served as a consultant, Kirchherr was played by Sheryl Lee and Sutcliffe by Stephen Dorff.


“Stephen is so much like Stuart it’s spooky,” she told The Washington Post in 1994. “Stephen has the same intensity when he talks to people. And he’s a very, very intelligent, very charming, very sexy boy. All the things I remembered Stuart had, Stephen has as well.”



May 9, 10, 12, 2020

Little Richard, Flamboyant Wild Man of Rock ’n’ Roll, Dies at 87  

by Tim Weiner of the New York Times


Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, who combined the sacred shouts of the black church and the profane sounds of the blues to create some of the world’s first and most influential rock ’n’ roll records, died on Saturday in Tullahoma, Tenn. He was 87.


His lawyer, Bill Sobel, said the cause was bone cancer.


Little Richard did not invent rock ’n’ roll. Other musicians had already been mining a similar vein by the time he recorded his first hit, “Tutti Frutti” — a raucous song about sex, its lyrics cleaned up but its meaning hard to miss — in a New Orleans recording studio in September 1955. Chuck Berry and Fats Domino had reached the pop Top 10, Bo Diddley had topped the rhythm-and-blues charts, and Elvis Presley had been making records for a year.


But Little Richard, delving deeply into the wellsprings of gospel music and the blues, pounding the piano furiously and screaming as if for his very life, raised the energy level several notches and created something not quite like any music that had been heard before — something new, thrilling and more than a little dangerous. As the rock historian Richie Unterberger put it, “He was crucial in upping the voltage from high-powered R&B into the similar, yet different, guise of rock ’n’ roll.”


Art Rupe of Specialty Records, the label for which he recorded his biggest hits, called Little Richard “dynamic, completely uninhibited, unpredictable, wild.”


“Tutti Frutti” rocketed up the charts and was quickly followed by “Long Tall Sally” and other records now acknowledged as classics. His live performances were electrifying.


“He’d just burst onto the stage from anywhere, and you wouldn’t be able to hear anything but the roar of the audience,” the record producer and arranger H.B. Barnum, who played saxophone with Little Richard early in his career, recalled in “The Life and Times of Little Richard” (1984), an authorized biography by Charles White. “He’d be on the stage, he’d be off the stage, he’d be jumping and yelling, screaming, whipping the audience on.”


Click here for the full report with an early photo of Little Richard on stage surrounded by his fans.



Official reaction from Paul and Ringo on their Facebook pages:


'From 'Tutti Frutti' to 'Long Tall Sally' to 'Good Golly, Miss Molly' to 'Lucille', Little Richard came screaming into my life when I was a teenager. I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style; and he knew it. He would say, "I taught Paul everything he knows". I had to admit he was right.


'In the early days of The Beatles we played with Richard in Hamburg and got to know him. He would let us hang out in his dressing room and we were witness to his pre-show rituals, with his head under a towel over a bowl of steaming hot water he would suddenly lift his head up to the mirror and say, "I can’t help it cos I’m so beautiful". And he was.


'A great man with a lovely sense of humour and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more. I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend. Goodbye Richard and a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.'


- Paul McCartney


'God bless little Richard one of my all-time musical heroes. Peace and love to all his family.'


- Ringo Starr


Some recollections from John Lennon and Little Richard:


John: Little Richard was one of the all-time greats. The first time I heard him a friend of mine had been to Holland and brought back a 78 with ‘Long Tall Sally’ on one side, and ‘Slippin’ And Slidin’’ on the other. It blew our heads – we’d never heard anybody sing like that in our lives, and all those saxes playing like crazy. The most exciting thing about early Little Richard was when he screamed just before the solo. It used to make your hair stand on end when he did that long, long scream into the solo.


We used to stand backstage at Hamburg’s Star Club and watch Little Richard play. He used to read from the Bible backstage and just to hear him talk, we’d sit round and listen. It was Brian Epstein that brought him to Hamburg. I still love him and he’s one of the greatest.


Little Richard: They'd come to my dressing room and eat there every night. They hadn't any money so I paid for their food. I used to buy steaks for John. Paul would come in, sit down and just look at me. He wouldn't move his eyes. And he'd say 'Oh Richard! You're my idol. Just let me touch you.' He wanted to learn my little holler, so we sat at the piano going, 'Oooh!' until he got it.


John: When we arrived in the U.S. in 1964, we had a total of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard as musical idols. There is not one white group on earth that hasn't got their music in them. And that's all I ever listened to. The only white I ever listened to was Presley on his early music records and he was doing black music. ⁣

People have been trying to stamp out rock’n’roll since it started. It was mainly parents who were against rock’n’roll. The words had a lot of double entendre in the early days. They cleaned it up for the white audience, a lot of it. That black stuff was very sexual. They made Little Richard re-record ‘Tutti Frutti’. Whatever was going on, they had to clean up a lot of words.⁣




May 7, 2020

Let It Be 50th Anniversary  

A 50-year look back with Ken Mansfield


Elmore writer Bob Girouard had a chat with music executive, producer and author Ken Mansfield about the legendary “rooftop concert,” the Beatles’ unannounced and final performance, held a half century ago. Here’s his report:


During the 1960s, no town swung harder than London, England. The City of Light and The Big Apple don’t sound exciting, but the UK’s capital earned the nickname “Swinging London” for good reason, and became the epicenter of everything cultural, political, artistic and fashionable. From a musical standpoint, four mavericks from Liverpool calling themselves The Beatles were at the core of it all.


No pop phenomenon has ever captured the hearts and minds of the public to such a degree, before or since. Whether it be “Love Me Do,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” Nehru jackets, Beatle boots, Beatle haircuts, Transcendental Meditation, or “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band,” every song they sang, everything they said, and every move they made was considered a trend, and the world surrounding them was deliriously happy to follow. In music, they spearheaded a pivotal movement dubbed “the British invasion.”


Toward the end of the decade, at the height of their popularity, the band grew restless and endeavored to pursue individual interests. Enter Apple Corps. An umbrella experiment long on free-form philosophy but short on operating capital, it ended up a dismal failure. With John, Paul, George and Ringo’s differences now aired publicly, a young 27-year old American executive named Ken Mansfield was brought over to the UK (by the parent company, Capitol Records) from Los Angeles as Apple’s U.S. Manager of Operations. Unfortunately, the band’s wounds were too deep to mend, and after a final performance on the rooftop of the Apple Building on January 30, 1969, a decision was made to say “So long” with a project encompassing both a recording and feature film called Let it Be. The following is Mansfield’s recollection of the projects between May 8th and 13th, 1970.


“If there was a catalyst to the Let It Be project it was Paul McCartney. It seemed to me, at the time no matter what I was involved with it was something that Paul had instigated or communicated. In a way, some people considered John Lennon the leader because of the way he contributed, but Paul was the hands-on guy; like someone who comes to the office every day and rolls his sleeves up, ready to work. It was a really confusing time. Beginning with the White Album, George Harrison had told me that the band had taken on way more than they could handle. I remember that very shortly after re-mixing the White Album they started Let It Be, which was part of a trilogy (first the White Album, Let It Be, then followed by Abbey Road). The Let it Be album kept having different versions before it became officially released. Engineer Glen Johns’ initial mix didn’t fly, then he did another version which led to some bootlegs coming out, followed by Phil Spector’s (in my estimation) over-produced version. There was so much going on it was just crazy.


“In my opinion, Yoko Ono didn’t break up the Beatles. She may have complicated things, but at that time and after so much success they were all going in different directions. It was time, and was the natural evolution of what a band does. The film was released just a few days after. When they started filming, they were at Twickenham Studios, and while they were recording at Abbey Road, film cameras were running the whole time. With the advent of re-releasing Let It Be, the movie, I feel that producer/director Peter Jackson is the right guy to capture the band’s full scope. Michael-Lindsay Hogg’s original was creative but also very dark. Jackson’s approach is supposedly lighter, and given new technology I think the public will get a fresh view of the Fab Four and see them in a whole new light.


“In hindsight, when I was at Apple, I never saw the bad times, the supposed fights and bickering, etc. Some thirty years later, I was having dinner with Ringo and said to him: “I always felt like you guys were trying impress me because of my position.” To which he replied (tongue ‘n cheek): “Yeah Ken, in ’68 we didn’t have anything to do…we would just sit around and think of ways to impress you!”


—Bob Girouard


The LP was released May 8, 1970, the motion picture on May 13, 1970


Ken Mansfield is the former U.S. Manager of Apple Records, a ranking executive for several record labels, the author of seven books, including The Roof (The Beatles final concert), songwriter and a Grammy- and Dove Award-winning album producer.



May 4, 2020

Macca and Ringo: Unheard demo by former Beatles up for auction

By Paul Glynn for the BBC News


An unheard track by former Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr is to be sold at auction.


Angel In Disguise is one of only a couple of songs co-written exclusively by the remaining members of the Fab Four.


The pair recorded the demo for Sir Ringo's 1992 solo album Time Takes Time, but it did not make the LP.


The cassette is now being sold by former Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince and is expected to fetch up to £20,000.


A quarter of the profits will be donated to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, while the rest will go to Prince's United DJs radio station project.



Two versions of the track appear on the tape; a rough demo with Sir Paul singing, and a more fleshed out take with the drummer on lead vocals, with additional instruments and backing vocals.


The sheet music, which appears to only credit McCartney as the writer, shows the lyrics include: "My name is Ritchie / Let me look into your eyes / Don't be afraid I'm just an angel in disguise".


A demo of another Sir Ringo track, called Everyone Wins, also appears on the cassette, which will go under the hammer at Omega Auctions' online sale on 19 May, alongside other memorabilia.

Click here to read the full unabridged article by Paul Glynn for the BBC news.



May 1, 2020

Retro flashback: Paul McCartney performing 'The Night Before' at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012




April 26, 2020

Mick Jagger Offered His Take on the Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones Debate

As reported by Gabrielle Bruney for Esquire


When Paul McCartney weighed in on the eternal debate over whether the Beatles or the Rolling Stones are the superior band, you knew it was only a matter of time before Mick Jagger or Keith Richards fielded the exact same question. And now, in an interview with Zane Lowe, Jagger weighed in on the classic rock debate.


Jagger called McCartney a "sweetheart," and declared that "there's there’s obviously no competition" between the bands. Still, he was willing to share his thoughts on the differences between the two acts.


"The big difference, though, is, and sort of slightly seriously, is that the Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas, when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, or Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system," said Jagger. "They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real."


McCartney sparked the friendly and just slightly shady beef during an interview with Howard Stern last week, during which he gave a pretty unsurprising answer when asked whether the Beatles or the Stones were the better band. "They are rooted in the blues. When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues," said McCartney. "We had a little more influences… There’s a lot of differences and I love the Stones, but I’m with you. The Beatles were better."


"We started to notice that whatever we did, the Stones sort of did it shortly thereafter," he added.


But to Jagger, the Stones' legacy as an arena act is what separates the two groups. "That business started in 1969, and the Beatles never experienced that," he told Lowe. "That's the real big difference between these two bands. One band is, unbelievably luckily, still playing in stadiums, and then the other band doesn't exist."



April 25, 2020

The Beatles streamed 'Yellow Submarine' and hosted a sing-a-long watch party, and people loved it

As reported by Alaa Elassar, CNN


Even during a global pandemic, the Beatles found a way for people to come together.


The legendary British band streamed their animated 1968 movie "The Beatles: Yellow Submarine" on Saturday and hosted a sing-along watch party on their official YouTube channel.


More than 70,000 people from all over the world tuned in for the "celebration of love and music," a one-time-only special event that couldn't have come at a better time.


Fans from all walks of life joined in the fun, including some health care workers.

"Watching from work! Definitely singing under this," a nurse tweeted along with a photo of her in a face mask.


One lucky child got the "Yellow Submarine" birthday party of his dreams.


"He's requested a Yellow Submarine themed birthday this weekend, so today's #YellowSubLive couldn't have come at a better time," Jordan Beck said on Twitter.


The event was a sing-a-long in the truest sense, with fans belting out the tunes.


"We didn't get lost with my children," a family in Chile tweeted with a video of them singing. "#YellowSubLive it was great."


Fans were encouraged to dress for the occasion and many obliged.


"Dressed as Paul for the #YellowSubLive," Twitter user Thais tweeted, including a photo of her best Paul McCartney attire.


"Wearing these socks and nothing else...," another person said on Twitter, along with "Yellow Submarine" socks.



April 24, 2020

Did litigation kill the Beatles?


"As the most successful band in history, the Beatles generated not only a record number of music hits but probably more legal disputes than any other music group before or since. As the first international rock band brand in a still nascent music business – and guided by a neophyte personal manager – the Beatles became entangled in a distracting series of legal problems nearly from the start of their career," writes entertainment lawyer Stan Soocher for ABAJournal.



Click on the above collage photo to read Stan Soocher's excellent in-depth report.



April 22, 2020

 ‘Stay one Beatles apart’: Tips to measure proper social distance


Natsuki Edogawa for The Asahi Shimbun writes:


"Pandaid, a website that provides information and tips on surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, has made several illustrative PDFs available for download on how to measure the safe distance.


"One of them is titled, “Let’s stay one Beatles apart,” featuring the front cover of the British band’s Abbey Road.


"The cover shows John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison walking on a London zebra crossing. The Pandaid graphic notes that the distance from Lennon to Harrison is about 2 meters."


Paul McCartney performs "Lady Madonna" during One World: Together At Home on April 18


"A lineup of stars participated in Saturday’s One World: Together at Home, a live, global televised and streamed special in support of the heroic efforts of health workers in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic," writes the Best Classic Bands website. "The list was led by such legends as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, as well as pop stars Taylor Swift, Lizzo and Jennifer Lopez. Television networks in the U.S. and around the world aired the special on Saturday, April 18 (8-10 p.m., ET)."




April 21, 2020

Ringo Starr Promises ‘A Big Surprise’ of Some Sort on the Beatles’ YouTube Page This Weekend 4/25

As reported by Rock Cellar Magazine


If you find yourself on the internet this coming Saturday morning (April 25), you might want to tune in to the official Beatles channel on YouTube. We’re not sure why, exactly, but Ringo Starr said something intriguing (and about a billion colorful emojis) in an Instagram post on Tuesday:


"Peace and love I am just giving you all a heads up if you tune in to the Beatles YouTube channel on Saturday the 25th at 9 AM Pacific 12 noon Eastern you are in for a big surprise and fun and peace and love."



April 16, 2020

Groovy flashback: John Lennon sings and performs his beautiful "Hold On"



From Wikipedia:


"Hold On" is a song from the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon. It features only vocals, tremolo guitar, drums, and bass guitar, typical of the sparse arrangements Lennon favoured at the time. On the 2000 reissue of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, "Hold On" features a slightly longer introduction. The original version was restored on the 2010 reissue.


Described as "the most upbeat song on [Plastic Ono Band]", the song's theme is emotional fragility, as the lyrics state that when you're alone in the world you just have to "hold on." Lennon tries to assure himself that he and wife Yoko Ono have the strength to overcome their challenges, and if he holds on, "it's gonna be all right" and "we're gonna win the fight." Lennon explicitly namechecks himself and Yoko Ono, but author Andrew Jackson does not believe that this detracts from the universality of the message. Indeed, towards the end of the song Lennon expands the subject to encompass the whole world, singing that peace will be achievable when everyone will "see the light" and realize that we are all "one."


Musically, Lennon plays his guitar gently, applying tremolo, in an effect that Jackson states matches "the soothing reassurance of the lyrics." Recorded at EMI Studios on 30 September 1970, Lennon took 32 takes experimenting with different approaches before hitting on this one. However, music critics Wilfrid Mellers and Johnny Rogan state that other elements of the music create some tension with the reassuring message. These elements include Ringo Starr's "jittery" drumming, with many silences, and the fragmented vocal melody, which break up the sentences of the lyrics. In the middle of the song, Lennon mutters the word "cookie", imitating the Cookie Monster from the US children's television show Sesame Street.


Lennon has explained the song as follows:


I'm saying 'hold on John' because I don't want to die ... I don't want to be hurt and please don't hit me ... Hold on now, we might have a cup of tea, we might get a moment's happiness any minute now. So that's what it's about, just moment by moment. That's how we're living now, but really living like that and cherishing each day, and dreading it too. It might be your last.


Jeff Beck, Johnny Depp Release Cover of John Lennon Track “Isolation”

Official Press Release


Legendary guitarist and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck, one of the great collaborators in music history, has once-again found an unexpected co-conspirator in Johnny Depp. The musical soulmates have been working behind-the-scenes for the past few several years on new music and have released their first single as a duo today, a re-imagining of John Lennon’s classic track “Isolation,” which is available now on all streaming and digital download services from Atco/Rhino Records.


“Isolation” finds Beck in classic form on guitar with Depp on vocals, joined by long-time Beck collaborators Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Rhonda Smith on bass.  The band first performed the track live at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival last September in Texas.


“Johnny and I have been working on music together for a while now and we recorded this track during our time in the studio last year. We weren’t expecting to release it so soon but given all the hard days and true ‘isolation’ that people are going through in these challenging times, we decided now might be the right time to let you all hear it,” says Beck. “You’ll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while but until then we hope you find some comfort and solidarity in our take on this Lennon classic.”


Johnny Depp adds, “Jeff Beck and I recorded this song Isolation last year, as our take on a beautiful John Lennon tune.  Lennon’s poetry – ‘We’re afraid of everyone. Afraid of the Sun!’ – seemed to Jeff and me especially profound right now, this song about isolation, fear, and existential risks to our world. So we wanted to give it to you, and hope it helps you make sense of the moment or just helps you pass the time as we endure isolation together.”


Beck is universally acknowledged as one of the most talented and significant guitarists in the world and has played alongside some of the greatest artists of rock, blues, and jazz. Over the course of his distinguished 50+ music career, he has earned an incredible eight Grammy Awards, been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – once as a member of the Yardbirds and again as a solo artist. In the summer of 2016, the guitar virtuoso celebrated his five decades of music with an extraordinary concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl. 


Depp has amassed quite the musical resume of his own, playing in the Hollywood Vampires supergroup with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry for the last five years. He’s also collaborated with a wide variety of musical artists over the last several decades from Oasis to Marilyn Manson to Stone Temple Pilots, just to name a few. 


Paul McCartney's "Hey Jude" manuscript sold at auction for £731,000 ($910,000)



The handwritten lyrics of "Hey Jude" by Paul McCartney sold at Julien's Auctions for £731,000 ($910,000). "The anonymous buyer purchased the item for almost six times more than the £128,000 estimate," writes BBC news.


"McCartney used the lyrics during the recording at Trident Studios, London, in July 1968 and later gifted them to a studio engineer," writes Julien's Auctions. It went on to say that: "The non-album single was The Beatles’ first release on their Apple record label and a highly successful debut. It went on to be nominated for the GRAMMY Awards of 1969 in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.  Accompanied by the sheet music for the song."



April 4, 2020

George Harrison's "The Material World Foundation" donates $500,000 to the MusicCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, Save the Children, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charities


Performer: Mick Fleetwood


The Material World Foundation, created by George Harrison in 1973, is donating $500,000 to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, Save the Children, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charities, which are providing much needed aid and care during this COVID-19 pandemic.


“Without going out of my door, I can know all things on earth.

Without looking out of my window, I can know the ways of heaven.”


Olivia Harrison said, "These lyrics sung by George are a positive reminder to all of us who are isolating, in quarantine or respecting the request to shelter in place. Let’s get and stay connected at this difficult time.  There are things we can do to help and we invite you to share your Inner Light.”




Material World Foundation will donate another $1 (up to $100,000) for every one of you who shares their own "Inner Light" moment on social media using the hashtag #innerlight2020


This can be a verse, a chorus or a line from the song. Sing it, play it, hum it, strum it, paint it, knit it, chant it, plant it, pray or meditate and post it to social media. 


Remember to hashtag #innerlight2020


Performer: Anoushka Shankar


The Inner Light - by George Harrison


Without going out of my door
I can know all things on earth
Without looking out of my window
I can know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows


Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You can know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows


Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing





April 1, 2020

Ringo Starr reschedules 2020 North American tour dates

by Jon Stickler for


Photo credit: Scott Robert Ritchie


The Beatles legend has postponed his spring shows until May and June 2021, citing health and safety concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Confirming the news, he said in a statement: "This is very difficult for me, in 30 years I think I've only missed two or three gigs never mind a whole tour. But this is how things are for all of us now, I have to stay in just like you have to stay in, and we all know it’s the peace and loving thing we do for each other. 


"So we have moved the spring tour to 2021. My fans know I love them, and I love to play for them and I can’t wait to see you all as soon as possible. In the meantime stay safe. Peace and Love to you all."


The line up for Starr's accompanying All Starr Band remains intact for the rearranged dates, with Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Gregg Rolie, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette and Hamish Stuart all set to back the drummer. Tickets purchased for the original shows will be honored at the 2021 gigs.


TBA – Rama, ON @ Casino Rama

TBA – Rama, ON @ Casino Rama

June 1, 2021 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Paramount Theatre

June 3, 2021 – Boston, MA @ Boch Center Wang Theatre

June 5, 2021 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of NH Pavilion

June 7, 2021 – Easton, PA @ State Theatre

June 8, 2021 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theater

June 9, 2021 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theater

June 11, 2021 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theater

June 12, 2021 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre

June 13, 2021 – Providence, RI @ Providence Performing Arts Center

June 15, 2021 – Baltimore, MD @ Modell Lyric Theatre

June 16, 2021 – Baltimore, MD @ Modell Lyric Theatre

June 18, 2021 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena

June 19, 2021 – Lenox, MA @ Tanglewood

June 20, 2021 – Philadelphia, PA @ Metropolitan Opera House

June 22, 2021 – Atlanta, GA @ Cobb Energy Centre

June 23, 2021 – Atlanta, GA @ Cobb Energy Centre

June 25, 2021 – St. Augustine, FL @ St Augustine Amphitheatre

June 26, 2021 – Hollywood, FL @ Hard Rock Casino

June 27, 2021 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall


OBS footnote: Ringo's new tour dates were culled directly from



March 26, 2020

Flashback: Levon Helm Sings ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ With Ringo’s All Starr Band

In 1989, Ringo Starr toured with two members of the Band, two members of the E Street Band, Joe Walsh, and several other icons

by Andy Greene for Rolling Stone magazine



A 2019 video of Robbie Robertson playing “The Weight” with Ringo Starr and musicians from all over the world went viral again this week for reasons that aren’t quite clear, but maybe people isolated in their homes just needed something uplifting to watch. “This started circulating on Twitter again a couple days ago,” Robertson wrote on Facebook on Monday. “Hopefully it can bring the FB community a bit of joy in these difficult times. Blessings to all.”


It wasn’t the first time that Ringo had performed a Band classic with a surviving member of the group. That happened in the summer of 1989 when he hit the road with the first edition of his All Starr Band. It was an amazing lineup of musicians that included Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Clarence Clemons, Dr. John, Billy Preston, Joe Walsh, and Nils Lofgren.


They had a huge arsenal of hits between them all, and one of the nightly highlights came midway through show when Levon Helm led them all through “Up on Cripple Creek.” Here’s video from one of the shows that summer where they were joined by the Band’s Garth Hudson on accordion. If you’re keeping track, that’s three-fifths of the Band playing with two-sixths of the E Street Band, and individual members of the Beatles and the Eagles along with two of the great piano players in rock history.


Sadly, the vast majority of that All Starr Band is no longer among the living. That became quite clear last summer when Ringo invited all of the All Starr alumni to a 30th-anniversary show and Lofgren and Walsh were the only ones left.


Presuming the tour isn’t postponed by the coronavirus, Ringo and his current iteration of the All Starr Band are hitting the road in June. There are no Eagles or E Streeters or members of the Band this time, but they do have Toto’s Steve Lukather, Santana’s Gregg Rolie, Men at Work’s Colin Hay, and Hamish Stewart of the Average White Band. That means you get to hear “Africa” and “Down Under” in the same show along with “Black Magic Woman,” “Pick Up the Pieces,” and “Yellow Submarine.” That may not be quite as impressive a show as it was back in 1989, but it’s still a ton of fun.



March 25, 2020


Stay in bed! Grow your hair!

#StaySafeStayHome #BedPeace #CoronavirusLockdown

John Lennon & Yoko Ono at the Amsterdam Bed-In
Hilton Hotel, Amsterdam #onthisday 25 March 1969




March 17, 2020

Listen to The Beatles distorted isolated guitar on John Lennon's 'Revolution'

by Jack Whatley for Far Out Magazine


The Beatles sound is so intrinsically linked with pop music it can be easy to forget that they were capable of turning it up to eleven if they needed to. While songs like ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ are full of guts, nothing rang the rock and roll bell just like ‘Revolution’.


The B-side to Paul McCartney’s ‘Hey Jude’, it was a John Lennon number that put the band at the fulcrum of rock once more and tore through the airwaves at parties all over the country. Here, we’re taking a look at the guitar that turns the song into a fuzz-filled spike of rock and roll steel.


The song remains a notable fuzzy mark on an otherwise glistening CV of expertly crafted studio songs. It sees The Beatles take on a brand new sound and kick the distortion up a few notches for the Lennon-penned track.


At the time of the recording, distortion was being heartedly used across studios to provide a blistering edge to rock and roll records—but when The Beatles grab a hold of the idea for this song, they add a few spices to the heady concoction.


Geoff Emerick told Guitar World that Lennon had been attempting to create distortion by cranking up his amp during sessions for the slower version of the song known as ‘Revolution 1.’ That cut was recorded in May and June with Emerick achieving the sound by overloading the preamp on Lennon’s guitar mic. It was not enough, “No, no, I want that guitar to sound dirtier!” Lennon told the engineer.


Emerick was keen to get it right and by July he had set up a way of moving Harrison and Lennon’s guitar directly into the mixing console. Using direct boxes to do meant overloading the input preamp causing the sound to distort even further. “I remember walking into the control room when they were cutting that,” recalls Abbey Road engineer Ken Scott to GW “and there was John, Paul and George, all in the control room, all plugged in—just playing straight through the board. All of the guitar distortion was gotten just by overloading the mic amps in the desk.”


As Emerick says in his 2006 memoir Here, There and Everywhere, it was a move that put studio equipment in jeopardy: “I couldn’t help but think: If I was the studio manager and saw this going on, I’d fire myself.” It was also a move that would again mark The Beatles as one of the most progressive bands in the business.


While George Harrison’s lead guitar duties have always been well received by those in the know, John Lennon’s rhythm guitar takes centre stage on this track. Fuzzed up and ready to roll, the powerful riff is untethered and let loose upon the audience.


Below you can listen to the barbed distortion of Lennon and Harrison’s guitar on The Beatles ‘Revolution’ as they deliver one of their standout guitar sounds.




March 11, 2020

Official Disney Press Release:

The Walt Disney Studios to Release Documentary 'The Beatles: Get Back' from Acclaimed Filmmaker Peter Jackson on September 4, 2020


Photography: Linda McCartney via the Paul McCartney archives.


Today, during The Walt Disney Company’s annual meeting of shareholders, Executive Chairman Bob Iger announced that The Walt Disney Studios has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson’s previously announced Beatles documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. The film will showcase the warmth, camaraderie and humor of the making of the legendary band’s studio album, Let It Be, and their final live concert as a group, the iconic rooftop performance on London’s Savile Row. The Beatles: Get Back will be released by The Walt Disney Studios in the United States and Canada on September 4, 2020, with additional details and dates for the film’s global release to follow.


“No band has had the kind of impact on the world that The Beatles have had, and The Beatles: Get Back is a front-row seat to the inner workings of these genius creators at a seminal moment in music history, with spectacularly restored footage that looks like it was shot yesterday,” says Iger of the announcement. “I’m a huge fan myself, so I could not be happier that Disney is able to share Peter Jackson’s stunning documentary with global audiences in September.”


The footage has been brilliantly restored by Park Road Post Production of Wellington, New Zealand, and is being edited by Jabez Olssen, who collaborated with Jackson on 2018’s They Shall Not Grow Old, the groundbreaking film which featured restored and colorized World War I archival footage. The music in the film will be mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in London. With this pristine restoration behind it, The Beatles: Get Back will create a vivid, joyful and immersive experience for audiences.


Peter Jackson says, “Working on this project has been a joyous discovery. I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces. I’m thrilled that Disney have stepped up as our distributor. There’s no one better to have our movie seen by the greatest number of people.”


Paul McCartney says, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”


Ringo Starr says, “I’m really looking forward to this film. Peter is great and it was so cool looking at all this footage. There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”


The Beatles: Get Back is also being made with the enthusiastic support of Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.


Although the original Let It Be film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and the accompanying album were filmed and recorded in January 1969, they were not released until May 1970, three weeks after The Beatles had officially broken up. The response to the film at the time by audiences and critics alike was strongly associated with that announcement. During the 15-month gap between the filming of Let It Be and its launch, The Beatles recorded and released their final studio album, Abbey Road, which came out in September 1969.


Shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, the 80-minute Let It Be movie was built around the three weeks of filming, including an edited version of the rooftop concert. The GRAMMY®-winning Let It Be album topped the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.


The new documentary brings to light much more of the band’s intimate recording sessions for Let It Be and their entire 42-minute performance on the rooftop of Apple’s Savile Row London office. While there is no shortage of material of The Beatles’ extensive touring earlier in their careers, The Beatles: Get Back features the only notable footage of the band at work in the studio, capturing John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they create their now-classic songs from scratch, laughing, bantering and playing to the camera.


Shot on January 30, 1969, The Beatles’ surprise rooftop concert marked the band’s first live performance in over two years and their final live set together. The footage captures interactions between the band members, reactions from fans and employees from nearby businesses, and comical attempts to stop the concert by two young London policemen responding to noise complaints.


A fully restored version of the original Let It Be film will be made available at a later date.


Related news links:


A quote from Variety: "Variety viewed a top-secret trailer of “Get Back” earlier this year, and it’s practically a different world: It’s brighter both visually and spiritually, with many, many shots of the Beatles joking around, making fun of each other, singing in silly accents and generally indulging in vintage Moptop hijinks. It also includes additional footage from the group’s legendary 42-minute “rooftop performance” that caps the “Let It Be” film, which was their last live performance."


Video From Sirius XM:




March 6, 2020

50 Years Ago: Beatles Release One of Many Versions of "Let It Be"

by Nick Deriso for Ultimate Classic Rock



The Beatles didn't seem capable of letting one of their final singles be.


They recorded multiple versions of "Let It Be" in late January 1969 at Twickenham Studios for use in a documentary film also called Let It Be. They then re-recorded Paul McCartney's song on Jan. 31 at Apple Studios in an attempt to get a final take.


George Harrison added a guitar solo, recorded through a rotating Leslie speaker, on April 30, 1969, and that version ended up pressed for release as a George Martin-produced single on March 6 – of the following year. By 1970, McCartney had returned to add still more elements to the song (while also recording over an original turn on bass by John Lennon), and Harrison added an entirely different solo.

Really, the whole project took a long and winding road. Engineer Glyn Johns produced a pair of Let It Be album acetates with different sequencing for the Beatles to decide upon. Both were rejected. By early 1970, Lennon had given the tapes to second producer Phil Spector, who'd recently produced Lennon's "Instant Karma" single. That was just weeks before the accompanying Let It Be film was set to premiere.


The title track included on the Let It Be album ended up with still more contributions from Spector. "About 18 months later, after the band had split up, John decided he was going to take the tapes and give them to Phil Spector and make an album for the tapes that I had recorded – which was basically all rehearsal tapes," Johns later told Yahoo! "Phil Spector turned it into this sugary, syrupy piece of shit with strings and choirs all over it."

Johns admitted to Rolling Stone that he preferred his own more bare-bones mix of the song, before "Spector puked all over it." In the end, Spector seemed to know what he was up against: "If it's shitty, I'm going to get blamed for it," he noted. "If it's a success, it's the Beatles."


Appropriately enough, "Let It Be" was the last track recorded for the project. Inspired by Aretha Franklin, McCartney began writing the song at the end of the album sessions. Late into January 1969, he still lacked a third verse. The full-group version of "Let It Be" taped on Jan. 31 was the last take on the last day of sessions at Apple. By then, the Beatles had ran through more than 300 different songs – not including unformed jams.


"Let It Be" was also the final song released by the Beatles before their dissolution was made official. The next single from their final-released album, "The Long and Winding Road," arrived two months later.

From the first, "Let It Be" was misunderstood as a religious statement, given McCartney's early reference to "Mother Mary." But he was alluding to his own mom rather than the virgin mother of Christian tradition. Mary McCartney died when Paul was just a teen, and he would often sense her comforting presence during moments of crisis.

These painful childhood memories led McCartney to focus more intently on music; they also provided a foundation for his friendship with Lennon, who lost his own mother in a traffic accident. "That became a very big bond between John and me," McCartney said in the Beatles' Anthology documentary. "We both had this emotional turmoil which we had to deal with, and, being teenagers, we had to deal with it very quickly."


With everything else that was going on, McCartney admitted to leaning on drugs as an emotional crutch.


"I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968," McCartney recalled in Marlo Thomas' book The Right Words at the Right Time. "It was late in the Beatles' career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the White Album. As a group, we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living and playing hard."


At this point, McCartney's mother, a victim of breast cancer, had been dead for 10 years.


"It was so great to see her because that's a wonderful thing about dreams: You actually are reunited with that person for a second," McCartney told Barry Miles in Many Years From Now. "There they are and you appear to both be physically together again. It was so wonderful for me, and she was very reassuring. In the dream she said, 'It'll be all right.' I’m not sure if she used the words 'let it be,' but that was the gist of her advice. It was, 'Don’t worry too much, it will turn out okay.' ... So, that got me writing the song 'Let It Be.' I literally started off 'Mother Mary,' which was her name, 'when I find myself in times of trouble,' which I certainly found myself in."

This was undoubtedly one of those moments, with McCartney's band falling apart.


"I think people were overdoing the use of substances - we certainly were," McCartney told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2011. "It was kind of common. It was the fashion – and anyone who remembers that time will know that. And I think I was getting, like, a little bit over the top with the whole thing – getting pretty tired and pretty wasted. And I went to bed one night and had a kind of restless night."


"Let It Be" became a double-platinum selling U.S. chart topper, helping its parent album to the No. 1 spot both in the U.S. and the U.K. McCartney eventually came to terms with the song's pious interpretations, despite its deeply personal meaning.


"Mother Mary makes it a quasi-religious thing, so you can take it that way, I don’t mind," McCartney told Miles. "I'm quite happy if people want to use it to shore up their faith. I have no problem with that. I think it's a great thing to have faith of any sort, particularly in the world we live in."

The single version of "Let It Be" also included the only known contributions by Linda McCartney in a Beatles song; she sang backing vocals. McCartney later formed Wings, his post-Beatles band, with Linda and Denny Laine from the Moody Blues.


February 26, 2020

Al Di Meola on The Beatles: "It's surprising that they had the guts to play those kind of chords"

by Joshua Miller for Guitar World


The jazz-fusion great talks Across the Universe, his latest tribute to the Fab Four



When it comes to The Beatles, melody reigns supreme. Al Di Meola credits The Beatles for inspiring him to become a guitarist and admires the group’s penchant for melodies. It’s why he decided to record a second tribute album titled Across The Universe.


Di Meola feels too many of his jazz-fusion peers have gotten further away from melody and are too focused on elaborate solos than the actual composition. He feels melody-driven songs, such as those by The Beatles, have a greater impact and are more universally relatable. It’s why he feels he’s become more of a composer.


“I feel they've just forgotten how you get to the heart of people,” he says. “It's just something that gets you. It's something in the simplicity. It holds more power.”


The songs on Across the Universe have more oomph compared to 2013’s All Your Life thanks to increased production. Over the course of 14 Beatles tunes, the album offers a mix of electric guitar orchestrations, acoustic arrangements as well as exotic compositions featuring jazz fusion and world music stylings.


“I wanted to make one with a lot of production and just basically pick a lot of the other songs that I wish I had done on the first one and then do them with the more elaborate kind of presentation,” Di Meola says.


Compared with All Your Life, Across the Universe’s melodies are less abstract. “On the first one I think the chord melody factor was kind of adventurous,” he says.


One of the most challenging songs for him to play was Mother Nature's Son. “It was one of the more difficult pieces because it's sort of a chord melody and it's not meant to sound hard; it just is hard,” he says.


In creating his own versions of the songs, such as Till There Was You, Di Meola grew even more fond of the originals.


“When you're looking at it and listening to it, it's one thing. But then when you're playing it you realize, ‘Oh, this song, it's got a lot of meat. It has a lot of harmonic ingenious, genius movements to it,’” he says.


“It's surprising at their age, playing in front of 50 million people, that they had the guts to play those kind of chords. But you don't think about that until you analyze the piece.”  


Al Di Meola new album "Across The Universe" will be released on March 13, 2020.



February 16, 2020

The Ottawa Beatles Site and Sandy Gardiner of the Ottawa Journal are quoted in Cosmic Observation


For the full report by Chris Thomas, please read I Want To Hold Your Hand.



February 3, 2020

Just How Important was George Martin to The Beatles?


Six Legendary Producers, Mark Ronson, Jimmy Jam, Joe Henry, Alan Parsons, Peter Asher & Judith Sherman, Discuss The Impact of "the Fifth Beatle." - article by Paul Zollo for American Songwriter.



January 20, 2020

Surprise appearance on The View by Billy Porter gives spectacular performance of John Lennon's "Imagine"


On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, choirs from the Cardinal Shehan School Community and Krieger Schechter Day School pay tribute to the civil rights leader by singing "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand" and "Imagine."


"Prior to the performance, host Whoopie Goldberg spoke with Harrison Fribush, a seventh-grader at Krieger Schechter Day School, a Jewish school in Baltimore," writes Christian Long for He added that: "Fribush initially reached out to the private catholic school, Cardinal Shehan School, to collaborate on a project together, with The View being their national TV debut."


Kenyatta Hardison, Cardinal Shehan's choir director, commended the project. "It's amazing how we're different and so much alike, in so many ways. We're different in our culture or the way we do things. ... [But] we all love music, sing the same words, move with the same music. The world would be such a better place if we could all do this. Start with two schools at a time to work together. The evil things going on in this world would diminish."


Related link: Harrison Fribush 




January 12, 2020

Saxophonist Howie Casey performs "Maybe I'm Amazed" and recalls his days working with Paul McCartney and Wings at recordings, live concerts and his early associations with the Beatles




January 11, 2020

CNN reports George and Ringo's handwritten lyrics to The Beatles' 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is for sale


"Moments in Time" is selling the item for $195,000. 




January 8, 2020

First Beatles single ever played on the radio to sell at Omega Auctions

by Simon Lindley for "Just Collecting News"



The first Beatles single ever played on the radio could sell for more than $25,000 when it goes up for auction in the U.K this month.


The ‘demonstration’ copy of the band’s debut single Love Me Do was played first on Radio Luxembourg on October 5, 1962, the same day it was released.


Now, 58 years after it first hit the airwaves, the 7″ record will now be offered for sale at Omega Auctions with an estimated value of £15,000 – £20,000 ($19,700 – $26,250).



Just 250 demonstration copies of the single were pressed up and sent out to promoters, the music press, DJs and radio stations by manager Brian Epstein.


This copy remained part of the Radio Luxembourg record archive for three decades, before being inherited by DJ Tony Prince when the station closed down in 1992.


The 7″ record is also signed by Paul McCartney on the A-side, and comes with a message from him to Prince confirming its authenticity as a significant piece of Beatles history.


The fax dating from 1994 reads “Dear Tony, I’m happy to confirm that I first heard ‘Love Me Do’ (our first release) on Radio Luxembourg. Did I ever thank you for playing it? If not, I do now. Cheers, All the very best”.



Three days after their debut record was played for the first time, The Beatles were interviewed on the station as part of The Friday Spectacular, a show recorded by EMI to promote their own artists.


Radio Luxembourg was one of the earliest commercial radio stations which broadcasted to the U.K, using (at the time) the world’s most powerful
privately-owned radio transmitter.


British laws prevented radio stations from advertising products until 1973, but Radio Luxembourg circumvented these restrictions by transmitting from mainland Europe.


Throughout the 1950s and 60s it offered many British teenagers the chance to hear rock and roll records on the radio for the first time.


Copies of the rare Love Me Do demonstration single are rare and highly collectible in their own right, and can be identified by the misspelling of “McArtney” in the song’s credits.


This particular copy of the record last sold at Bonhams back in 2003 for £13,500 – and could now fetch a considerably higher sum, due to the significant role it played in the Beatles’ story.



January 4, 2020

Paul McCartney with Nihal Arthanayake - The Penguin Podcast  


Paul talks about John Lennon, Bob Dylan, the holiday season and of course his new book "Hey Grandude."



50th Anniversary: Giving Peace A Chance



The BBC World Service published "Giving Peace A Chance" podcast on December 3, 2019. The interview features Francine Jones who in 1969 was the Assistant Public Relations Officer for the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal; Gilles Gougeon who back then interviewed John and Yoko for Radio-Quebec. Also Allan Rock who was then a student at the University of Ottawa who invited John and Yoko for a Seminar on World Peace which they attended at the campus on June 3, 1969; songstress Petula Clark; André Perry who recorded the song. A few other people who connect up with the story appear on this broadcast. Click on the above image to listen to the interview to gain historical perspectives of John and Yoko's important peace message from 1969.


Rutles' leader Neil Innes, dead at 75, goes deep in one of his final interviews: 'Mortality is real'



On December 29, 2019, British comedian singer-songwriter Neil Innes passed away of a heart-attack. "Innes was a regular musical contributor to the English comedy troupe Monty Python and he teamed with Python mainstay Eric Idle to create The Rutles and their classic film rockumentary, "All You Need is Cash," writes the George Varga for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


The article went on to say that: "In 1967, as a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Innes appeared in the Beatles's movie "Magical Mystery Tour." (In 1997, the song he and the Bonzos performed in "Magical Mystery Tour," a jaunty, Elvis Presley-ish ditty entitled "Death Cab for Cutie," inspired the name of the still-active alternative-rock band.)"


Is a new Beatles film on its way for an October release?


"Beatles fan blog The Daily Beatle found a listing on Amazon for a book titled Get Back: The Beatles, ant it's slated for release on October 15, 2020," writes KKLZ Music. It added: "The site also reports that the book will act as companion material with Jackson's film, which will draw from 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2-31, 1969. This footage came from the original filming of Michael Lindsay-Hogg's documentary Let It Be, which ended with the famous rooftop concert."



December 16, 2019

Ottawa's Fairmont Chateau Laurier "Give Peace A Chance" Christmas Tree with John and Yoko


Each year the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa showcases a Christmas tree presentations in their main lobby. The theme for this year was music and so each tree in the main lobby is dressed up with musical instruments and such. They are the "Trees of Hope for Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario." And so and Royal LePage (one of several corporate tree sponsors) thought it would be a fun idea to do a tribute to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Give Peace A Chance" bed-in the couple did at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal in 1969.


On December 23, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono would meet with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to talk about their world peace initiative. Fifty years have passed and John and Yoko's idealism is an inspiration to keep pushing on with the struggle for peace.


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019



Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019 


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo by John Whelan, December 2019


Photo taken December 2019 by a Chateau Laurier clerk with sincere thanks.


"On behalf of The Ottawa Beatles Site and Santa Claus, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." - John Whelan


P.S. On a more serious note, here is John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" hit song (now age restricted by Youtube.)




December 11, 2019

The late Tony Sheridan's fascinating story about his days in Hamburg and The Beatles




December 10, 2019

Tony Sheridan, Roy Young and Howie Casey rock out with "Money" and "Johnny B. Goode"


The following tracks "Money" and "Johnny B. Goode" were culled from my own personal music library. They are a united musical performance from Howie Casey, the late Tony Sheridan and the late Roy Young. I have remastered the digital recordings to bring out the best in audio quality. It is a process that requires patience and time on average 5 to 6 hours work using filters, echo, adding more bass and more thump to make it sound better than the original. In the end, this was achieved and now these two songs by these performers been added to the Youtube archive. 


While doing a little research for this project, I came across what likely was Roy Young's last interview with the media, that of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). So many years had passed on since the Ottawa Beatles Site's interview with Roy and what is evident in the BBC interview is that Roy is still passionate about his contribution to the music industry and his association with the Beatles, David Bowie and other rock stars. You can listen to his 17 minute interview with BBC Radio Oxford Special by clicking: PHOP -boogie woogie pianist Roy Young.



Netflix, Gaumont team on animation adaptation of Paul of Paul McCartney's "High In The Clouds"


Paul McCartney's first children's book "High In The Clouds" (co-written by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Geoff Dunbar) is being produced as a animation movie.


Paul has written and produced original music for the movie that allows him to be involved in the creative process. "I've always loved animated films and this is a hugely important passion project for me. I can't wait for the world to see it."


Screendaily writes that the storyline "will revolve around an imaginative teenage squirrel who finds himself pulled into a ramshackle gang of teenage rebels who live in the clouds after he accidentally antagonises Gretsch, a tyrannical owl and wonderful singer who steals the voice of anyone who upstages her."


The producers of the animation are: "Bob Shaye, the late Michael Lynne, McCartney and Sidonie Dumas, Christophe Raindee, Nicolas Atlan and Terry Kalagian at Gaumont" writes Screendaily.



November 28, 2019

Retro "Back To The Egg" with Paul McCartney and Wings with "Getting Closer"


There is a very interesting interview by Bill Kopp for Rock and Roll Globe with former Wings band member Denny Laine entitled: Spin It On: Denny Laine on Wings' 'Back to the Egg' at 40.




November 23, 2019

Billboard interviews Paul McCartney and Paul releases two new audio tracks that were recorded during the "Egypt Station" sessions


Click on the Billboard cover for Paul's interview.



November 17, 2019

Terry O'Neill, Swinging '60s Photographer, Dead at 81


Terry O'Neill, who photographed The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie died Saturday in his London home after a long battle with cancer. "In the early 1960s he photographed the Beatles during the recording of their first hit single, and he captured the image of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill clutching a cigar as he was carried to an ambulance after a 1962 hospital stay," writes the Associated Press. Some of the other famous people that he photographed are: Elton John, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Liza Minelli, Amy Winehouse, Audrey Hepburn, Nelson Mandela, the Royal Family and the Queen.


When he became a photographer for Fleetstreet, he recalled how he got the assignment to photograph the Beatles right at the beginning of their recording career: "I was asked to go down to Abbey Road Studios and take a few portraits of this new band. I didn't know how to work with the group — but because I was a musician myself and the youngest on-staff by a decade — I was always the one they'd ask. I took the four young lads outside for better light. That portrait ran in the papers the next day and the paper sold out. That band became the biggest band in the world; The Beatles."


O'Neill is survived by his three children and wife Laraine Ashton.




November 8, 2019

Robert Freeman, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 82


Robert Freeman, Beatles photographer who did the album covers for "With The Beatles"; "A Hard Day's Night"; "Beatles For Sale"; "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" has passed away. The cause of death was not included in the official announcement. Paul McCartney paid tribute to the late photographer at his website with the following comments:

Dear Robert Freeman has passed away. He was one of our favourite photographers during the Beatles years who came up with some of our most iconic album covers. Besides being a great professional he was imaginative and a true original thinker. People often think that the cover shot for Meet The Beatles of our foreheads in half shadow was a carefully arranged studio shot. In fact it was taken quite quickly by Robert in the corridor of a hotel we were staying in where natural light came from the windows at the end of the corridor. I think it took no more than half an hour to accomplish.


Bob also took the Rubber Soul cover; his normal practice was to use a slide projector and project the photos he'd taken onto a piece of white cardboard which was exactly album sized, thus giving us an accurate idea of how the finished product would look. During his viewing session the card which had been propped up on a small table fell backwards giving the photograph a 'stretched' look. Instead of simply putting the card upright again we became excited at the idea of this new version of his photograph. He assured us that it was possible to print it this way and because the album was titled Rubber Soul we felt that the image fitted perfectly.


I will miss this wonderful man but will always cherish the fond memories I have of him.


Thanks Bob,

Love Paul




November 6, 2019

Howard Smith of "Village Voice" in New York City interviews John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Montreal Bed-In, May 29, 1969


Of all of the interviews that John and Yoko gave at their Montreal Bed-In, this one has to be the best. And I have heard a lot of interviews from my personal CD collection, mostly done by the Canadian media.


 "During the 1960s and 1970s, mustachioed reporter Howard Smith worked at two New York media outlets then at their glorious prime," writes Variety. It went on to say that: "He hosted an overnight weekend show on album-oriented FM rock station WPLJ and wrote a regular column for the alternative newsweekly The Village Voice. Smith was thus perhaps the preeminent reporter of the counterculture during the height of its hairy and somewhat hazy reign. As such he conducted extensive interviews for print and broadcast media with many of the most notable, entertaining, and outlandish political and musical figures of the era."


For 40 years Howard Smith's interview with John and Yoko were "buried in a crate in the back of his New York City loft"  

writes Kickstarter. Other interviews include:


● December 17, 1969, John and Yoko at Ronnie Hawkin's Ranch outside of Toronto; 

● December 12, 1970, the Regis Hotel, New York City. The interview included their time in Janov therapy and whether the Beatles will ever get back together;

● September 9, 1971, St. Regis Hotel, NYC, Smith interviews John and Yoko on the day that the "Imagine" album is released;

● January 23, 1972, the Lennons' Bank St. apartment. Smith interviews John and Yoko on the day that WPLJ Beatles marathon is aired discussing Lennon's life as a Beatle.




November 1, 2019

Rolling Stone's in-depth interview with Ringo Starr and Dave Grohl


Ringo Starr talks about the early days of Skiffle music, his drumming techniques and style and his emotional revelations when John Lennon and George Harrison passed away. Dave Grohl, for his part, interacts with Ringo during the interview and how the Beatles music inspired him to become a musician for the Foo Fighters and drummer for Nirvana.


To read the excellent interview by Hank Shteamer for Rolling Stone, please read: "Two drummers turned frontmen go deep on their craft, losing John Lennon and Kurt Cobain and finding life after their legendary bands."


George Harrison's fun-loving pop retro music video "Got My Mind Set On You"


Excerpt from Wikipedia...


"Of Harrison's three number-one singles in the US, it was both the only song not written or composed by Harrison himself and the only one without religious overtones. Not only was it the last US No. 1 hit by Harrison, but, as of 2019, the last from any of the ex-Beatles in the US. When the song hit No. 1, it broke a three-way tie between Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr, all of whom had two No. 1 hit singles as solo artists (discounting Paul McCartney's work with Wings). It also happened to be the No. 1 single in the US the week immediately preceding the induction of The Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making Harrison one of the few inductees to have an active single on the US record charts at the time of induction. Billboard ranked the song as No. 3 for 1988.


"The single's B-side is "Lay His Head", a remixed version of the unreleased song from Harrison's originally intended "Somewhere in England" album. The 12-inch version of the single also adds an extended version of "Got My Mind Set on You".


"In the UK, the single spent four weeks at number two. It was kept off the number 1 spot by T'Pau_(band) "China In Your Hand."


"The song was included in the Harrison compilation albums "Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989" (1989) and "Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison" (2009).


"A live version was recorded for his "Live in Japan" (1992) album. In 2010, AOL radio listeners chose "Got My Mind Set on You" as one of the 10 Best George Harrison Songs, appearing at number 4 on the list."




October 28, 2019

How the rebooted Abbey Road editions are being ranked by the media


I bought the Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition. It came with three CD's, a Blu-ray Disc of the entire album and a 100 page hard cover book which examines the studio mixing and outtakes that were involved in creating the songs. John Lennon is quoted extensively in the book relying heavily on Tony McArthur of Radio Luxembourg interview of September 1969. The book also has comments from Paul, George and Ringo throwing light on their contributions in creating the best pop rock album of all time. The book is a beautiful accompaniment with lots of photographs that have never been seen before. Once again the Beatles give full value to their fans in this product release by Apple. You are getting your money's worth and more. 


The book reveals that the album cover was Paul McCartney's idea and what Iain Macmillan (the Scottish photographer) had in mind when he took the photo of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. His capture of the Beatles has become one of the most iconic album covers in rock music and many people from around the world have flocked to that road crossing in front of Abbey Road to duplicate what the Beatles did that day.


Producer Giles Martin and audio engineer Sam Okell made a "new stereo album mix, sourced from the original eight-track session tapes. Giles Martin used the original mix by his father George Martin as his guide," writes uDiscovermusic. When listening to this release made me feel like I was being transported back to my youth when I was fifteen years of age. I remember buying the album in October 1969 and I specifically remember looking at the track listing noting that the last song was called "The End" and I thought to myself: Are the Beatles indicating that this is the end of their recording career as a band? It was an unusual title for a band that previously came up with so many catchy titles for their songs, i.e. "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" or "Magical Mystery Tour." It turned out that "Abbey Road" would be the last recorded album by the Beatles. In a purest sense of the word, their last recorded hit song was George Harrison's "Something." With that single record release and the album selling millions of copies world-wide proved that the Beatles would be Forever Fab. And they are.  -- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site  




October 25, 2019

The Beatles, the Irish aristocrat and the psychedelic sports car


Brendan Farrell of Irish Central reports on "The story behind Paul McCartney's "Magic Piano", following the swinging King's Road, and the tragic death of the Right Honourable Tara Browne."


Click here to read the article.



October 24, 2019

Paul McCartney has released a new animated video for his 1993 protest song “Looking for Changes”


The following article is retrieved from UCR and is written by Martin Kielty:


“I'm looking for changes that will continue the momentum of getting animals out of laboratories," McCartney – a longtime supporter of animal rights – said in a statement. "Experiments on animals are unethical – they're a colossal failure and a waste of time and money. We can and must do better."

“McCartney wants you to know that experiments on animals are cruel and pointless,” PETA said. “The biggest funder of them in the world, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spends more than $18 billion for this purpose every year, even though they rarely lead to treatments that can be used to help humans. Approximately 90 percent of experiments on animals don’t lead to treatments for humans, and 95 percent of new drugs that test safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.”

The statement noted that "the world’s most forward-thinking scientists have moved on to develop methods for studying diseases and testing products that replace animal experiments and are actually relevant to human health. … PETA is working to make testing on animals a thing of the past, and some encouraging progress has been made toward this end.”

Last month, as a result of continued work with PETA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it was phasing out toxicity tests on mammals. 



The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' - Still Speaking To New Generation of Fans


"The Beatles will always be synonymous with Liverpool, but as the iconic cover for Abbey Road proves, London plays a significant role in their history too. Yet, when all’s said and done, The Beatles belonged to everyone," writes Tim Peacock for uDiscover Music. "They were truly a global phenomenon and their music continues to touch the hearts of music fans all over the world."


He went on to say that: "uDiscover Music spoke with young fans at Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival, they revealed why The Beatles’ music continues to resonate. Watch the video in full, below, and scroll down for some of the key thoughts expressed on the day."


Click here for the full Tim Peacock report.



October 21, 2019

When The Beatles Walked Off Stage: Fifty Years of "Abbey Road"


"Now, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, "Abbey Road" has been expertly remixed by Giles Martin, George Martin's son and protégé, and reissued in a super-deluxe edition that comes with an archive of studio outtakes and a hundred-page book of essays and liner notes that chronicle how the recordings were made. "The Beatles are good even though everybody already knows that they're good," the classical composer Ned Rorem observed in 1968, alluding to how the band's immense popularity confounded the usual notions of discriminating tasted. If anyone needs to be reminded of this, this new edition of "Abbey Road" should do the trick." - Jonathan Gould for the New Yorker.


To read the full article, click here.



October 16, 2019

The Beatles: Singles Collection (Limited Edition)


From the Beatles on Facebook: "We are proud to announce the release of this collectible box set presenting 46 tracks on 23 7-inch vinyl singles, in faithfully reproduced international picture sleeves, accompanied by a 40-page booklet with photos, ephemera, and detailed essays by Beatles historin Keven Howlett.


"These singles, plus an exclusive new double A-side single for the mid-1990s-issued tracks "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love," are newly remastered from their original multi-track tapes and cut for vinyl at Abbey Road Studios for a new limited edition boxed set.


"The Singles Collection will be released worldwide on November 22, by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe."




October 11, 2019

Grow Old With Me" lyric video is released


Nicely done Ringo! This John Lennon song reminds me of it being in the same style of "Good Night" from the Beatles White Album, very tender and gentle. And that's why John Lennon was thinking of you when he composed it.




October 10, 2019

WKNR Russ Gibb's real reason for stoking the flames for so long with the Paul Is Dead hoax


You think that only the Beatles benefited in album sales of their new album "Abbey Road" back in the fall of 1969 regarding the Paul Is Dead rumors that swept through the United States and around the world, well think again. Tom Zarski, who actually phoned in live to DJ Russ Gibb provided him with "Paul Is Dead" clues on WKNR in Detroit, recently corresponded with the Ottawa Beatles Site and revealed the reason why Gibb went full throttle on the Paul Is Dead hoax:



   Russ Gibb died in May. He was not only a media arts teacher at Dearborn High School and wknr-fm DJ, but he also was the owner of the Grande (grand-e) Ballroom in Detroit. He booked acts there, at Michigan high schools, colleges, teen venues, and old theatre venues that he rented. He booked rock acts all over Michigan and beyond. His radio show additionally served to promote those performances. That helped numerous rock groups get their start. Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, Ted Nugent, Meatloaf, Alice Cooper and many more.

   If anyone could help explain those preposterous record album clues claiming that Paul McCartney had died and how he was secretly replaced, I was sure it would have been our "Uncle Russ". Instead, he later admitted in his own words, that he "milked" the story for publicity, and allowed it to spread as a rumor that McCartney was really dead. (rumour ca.)

   btw- During my senior year, Russ first booked the Who at local Southfield High School.
ps- He put my call on hold while he phoned his personal friend Eric Clapton in England and woke him up to ask him what he knew about the rumor."

Tom Zarski's 1969 phone call to Russ Gibb at WKNR can actually be heard on a rebroadcast of that show in 1978 by Dave Marsden and CFNY-FM radio at the Ottawa Beatles Site.   

How the Rumour Got Started - by Alex Boese, Museum of Hoaxes, San Diego, California

"On January 7, 1967 McCartney's Mini Cooper really did crash, and as a result a few newspapers did report he had died. However, McCartney wasn't in the car when it crashed. He was safe at a party in Sussex. The man driving the car (who didn't die either) was Mohammed Hadjij, who allegedly was using the car to transport drugs up to the partyers in Sussex. After this incident, a few scattered rumors of Paul's death and replacement by a double were reportedly over heard at London parties.

"But it was two years later, in the American midwest, that the rumor really took hold. Researcher Andru Reeve has traced this midwest origin of the rumor to a song titled "Saint Paul" that received heavy airplay in the midwest in May 1969. The song, penned by Detroit-based Terry Knight*, spoke of Paul being in heaven. Knight must have been speaking metaphorically about the imminent breakup of the Beatles, but the lyrics have suggested the idea of McCartney's death to some fans. Whatever the case, the idea was planted, and the rumor began to spread around college campuses.

"The first appearance of the rumor in print occurred on September 17, 1969, in Tim Harper's article for the Drake Times-Delphic (the student newspaper of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa) title "Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?" But this article didn't receive much attention at the time. Instead, the real beginning of the Paul-Is-Dead rumor, as a pop-culture phenomenon, dates to October 12, the day Detroit DJ Russ Gibb took a call on-air from Eastern Michigan University student Tom Zarski. Zarski laid out the rumor for Gibb and, as proof of its truth, urged him to play "Revolution Number Nine" from the Beatles' White Album backwards. Gibb obliged and, much to his surprise, could distinctly hear the words "Turn me on, dead man" being spoken repeatedly. Gibb was astounded by what he heard. This was the spark that ignited the fire. 

"Fred LaBour, a student journalist at the University of Michigan, heard Gibb's broadcast and wrote up an article for the Michigan Daily outlining the theory and detailing many of the most sensational clues. The article electrified readers, and was soon reprinted in numerous university papers throughout the country. LaBour's article, more than anything else, spread the rumor to a national audience.

"The rest was history. The mainstream media, now fully aware of the rumor, latched onto it with a fervor. Planeloads of journalists were dispatched to England to find Paul. For three weeks the musician's supposed death was one of the main topics of conversation in America. It wasn't until LIFE printed the picture of McCartney on the cover of its November 7 issue that the excitement began to die down." 

* Ottawa Beatles Site footnote: Terry Knight's record was initially released under "Storybook Music" on Capitol records. But the record company received a cease and desist order from Maclen music, the Beatles publishing company. A deal was worked out and "Saint Paul" was reissued  under Maclen Music. Also, Terry Knight's music career later included manager-producer for "Grandfunk Railroad" and producer for "Bloodrock," their early 1971 hit song "D.O.A. Dead On Arrival."

And from Wikipedia regarding Roby Yonge of WABC radio

Yonge moved to Miami's WQAM, where his on-air nickname was "The Big Kahuna".

In December 1967, Yonge moved to New York and WABC. Five-minute snippets of Yonge, each spotlighting a fact in rock history, aired on other ABC radio stations as well, such as WLS-AM, on weekday evenings during early 1969. Originally hired for the 1-3 PM shift, Yonge was moved into the overnight shift in August 1969 when Charlie Greer left the station. He was told by WABC program director Rick Sklar, in the early fall of that year, that his contract would not be renewed. He subsequently went on the air with the Paul McCartney "death" rumor on October 21, 1969, having heard the rumor from kids calling in from a college in Indiana. Stating that his contract was up in two weeks and would not be renewed, and that at 12.39 AM, he would not be "cut" because there was nobody around, Yonge began to speculate on rumors circulating about the possible death of McCartney. He never said that Paul was dead, but rather enumerated various "clues" in album cover art and within certain songs, some played backwards with clues like "Paul is dead" and "I buried Paul" which he said had been catalogued by thirty Indiana University Bloomington students. Callers lit up the station switchboard. Since all the phone lines were jammed with thousands of calls, Rick Sklar could not get through to the station and it was an hour and a half before Program Director Sklar arrived at the station in his bath robe. He got Les Marshak the newsman on duty in the adjacent studio to relieve Yonge and Sklar told Roby, "When you come in tomorrow to do your show, I don't want you talk any more about this McCartney might be dead rumor".

Roby then told Sklar, "I won't be in anymore but you'll be famous in the morning". The next day, many newspapers nationwide carried the story about the "is Paul dead" rumor and Roby Yonge. In an interview with his friend John Paul Roberts ("JPR"), former WQAM DJ, Roby said this about the Paul McCartney rumor, "I never said the guy is dead, and I don't say it now, but there's reason to believe something is going on". You can hear a 90 minute JPR interview with Roby Yonge, where he talks in detail about the Paul is dead rumor and also how he got hired at WABC. This interview is at

Marshak continued to do Yonge's show on WABC until a replacement was hired.   



October 3, 2019

From ET Canada: Ringo Starr on reuniting with Paul McCartney


"Sitting down with Canadian broadcaster Alan Cross, Ringo Starr reveals how he stays healthy at nearly 80 years old and discusses his reunion with Paul McCartney to record a cover version of an unfinished song written by John Lennon. The song also features strings by the late George Harrison and is included on his 20th solo album 'What's My Name'." - quoted from ET Canada.




September 28, 2019

The GreyTones rock the Rainbow Bistro with a salute to the 50th Anniversary of "Abbey Road"


Ottawa Beatle fans got a chance to rock the night away as the GreyTones performed every single track from "Abbey Road" album. There were many highlights from the show including their amazingly spot-on-job of John Lennon's "I Want You (She's So Heavy.)" The Rainbow Bistro was capacity packed to a standing room audience.



Photography by John Whelan


Photography by John Whelan



September 27, 2019

The Beatles "Abbey Road" 50th anniversary edition is officially released!



Here are some excellent reviews and a new video from The Beatles:


From Variety: Beatles Remixer and Curator Giles Martin on the Art of Re-Crossing 'Abbey Road'

From Rolling Stone: A Deluxe Edition of 'Abbey Road' Lets Us Rediscover the Beatles' Joyous Final Masterpiece

From Daily Mail (with lots of photographs): Paul McCartney, 77, enjoys a Beatles reunion with Ringo Starr, 79,

as they arrive with their glamorous wives at famous Abbey Road studios for album's 50th Anniversary bash

From Ultimate Classic Rock: Why the Beatles recorded the 'Abbey Road' Medley

From Billboard: 10 Must-Hear Moments From The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' 50th Anniversary Edition

From Billboard: The Beatles' 'Abbey Road': Alan Parsons & Giles Martin on the Classic Turning 50

From Time: 50 Years After Abbey Road, Here's How the Beatles Went From Symbols of the Generation Gap to a Band for

All Ages

From the New York Post: Inside the story of the 'Abbey Road' album cover

From Sky News: Abbey Road: How The Beatles shocked themselves into delivering their greatest album




September 26, 2019

Ringo Starr, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots Sing "Yellow Submarine" (Classroom Instruments)


From The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. An excerpt of this video was highlighted on Ottawa's CJOH news where the reporters were delighted to see Ringo in action and having fun with this classic Beatles song.




September 25, 2019

Beatle historian Martin Lewis organizes "HandMade Films" festival from October 10-20 at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, California


Martin Lewis presents "George Harrison's post-Beatles career as a film producer, composer and occasional actor will be celebrated over the course of a 10-day film festival next month in Beverly Hills," writes Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times.


Randy Lewis went on to report that: "The festival coincides roughly with the 50th anniversary of the creation of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," the 40th anniversary of both "Monty Python's Life of Brian" and HandMade Films, and the 20th anniversary of the Mods & Rockers Film Festival, a recurring event focusing on films of British origin or highlighting British culture. The HandMade Films festival is being presented under the Mods and Rockers aegis."


For complete details: "George Harrison's movie career inspires the (Other) HandMade's Tale film festival."


Remembering George Harrison...




September 24, 2019

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert presents Paul McCartney







September 22, 2019

The Beatles "Come Together" from their forth coming new audio mix release of the "Abbey Road" album due out on September 27th!


Paul McCartney: "John came in with an up-tempo song that sounded exactly like Chuck Berry's 'You Can't Catch Me', even down to the 'flat-top' lyric. I said, 'Let's slow it down with a swampy bass-and-drums vibe.' I came up with the bass line and it all flowed from there. Great record." - quoted from The Beatles Anthology book.




September 13, 2019

"Hey Grandude" is a children's book by Paul McCartney that will "Zing, bang, sizzle" when you read it to your kids at bedtime


From the man who wrote the catchy tune "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles, Paul McCartney now takes us on a different voyage in his second children's book called "Hey Grandude." Grandude has four grandchildren called "Chillers" who go on fun adventures. For those wanting a hint of the storyline the back cover "Postcard" states: "See the compass needle spin, let the magic fun begin!" 


The book is illustrated by Kathryn Durst, a Canadian whose works include animation and children book publishers. Said Kathryn: "I am thrilled to be able to create the illustrations for "Hey Grandude" because I just love adventure stories with a touch of magic! This story especially resonated with me because I have wonderful childhood memories of my dad taking my siblings and me on exciting adventures, just like Grandude does in the book," she told Tim Peacock for uDiscoverMusic.


This is a beautiful book by Paul. It is one book I wish was around when I was reading bedtime stories to my own daughter (kids and bedtime stories are priceless!). "Hey Grandude" is published by Random House. His first children's book is called "High In The Clouds" in collaboration from Geoff Dunbar and Philip Ardagh that was published in 2005.


- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site


Photography by John Whelan


Ringo Starr to release a new album called "What's My Name" on October 25, 2019


Ringo Starr will feature the Lennon-penned song "Grow Old With Me" featuring Paul McCartney on it. "Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me...It's not a publicity stunt," states Ringo. "This is just what I wanted. And the strings that Jack [Douglas] arranged for this track, if you really listen, they do one line from (George Harrison song) Here Comes The Sun, so in a way, it's just the four of us."


There will be a total of ten songs on the album that will feature cameo appearances from Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter and Dave Stewart. Track listing:


1. "Gotta Get Up to Get Down"

2. "It's Not Love That You Want"

3. "Grow Old With Me"

4. "Magic"

5. "Money (That's What I Want)"

6. "Better Days"

7. "Life Is Good"

8. "Thank God for Music"

9. "Send Love Spread Peace"

10. "What's My Name"


1. "Gotta Get Up to Get Down"
2. "Its Not Love That You Want"
3. "Grow Old With Me"
4. "Magic"
5. "Money (That’s What I Want)"
6. "Better Days"
7. "Life Is Good"
8. "Thank God for Music"
9. "Send Love Spread Peace"
10. "What’s My Name"

Read More: Ringo Starr's New Album Features a Very Special Beatles Moment |


From RollingStone: Ringo Starr's New Album Features Paul McCartney, John Lennon-Penned Song "Grow Old With Me."



September 11, 2019 September 11, 2019

Mark Lewisohn discovers new audio: Beatles tinkered with idea of recording a new album and single after they finished "Abbey Road"


Richard Williams of The Guardian writes: "What they talk about is the plan to make another album - and perhaps a single release in time for Christmas, a commercial strategy going back to the earliest days of Beatlemania. "It's a revelation," Lewisohn says. "The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no - they're discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn't. Doesn't that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?"


"Lewisohn turns the tape back on, and we hear John suggesting that each of them should bring in songs as candidates for the single. He also proposes a new formula for assembling their next album: four songs apiece from Paul, George and himself, and two from Ringo - "If he wants them." John refers to "the Lennon-and-McCartney myth", clearly indicating that the authorship of their songs, hitherto presented to the public as a sacrosanct partnership, should at last be individually credited."


For the complete article, please click: "This Tape Rewrites Everything We Knew About The Beatles



September 10, 2019

Remembering "Abbey Road" 50 years ago with John Lennon


Today we take a look back through John Lennon's recollections of The Beatles "Abbey Road" album. Lennon was interviewed by Tony McArthur of Radio Luxembourg during September 1969 and does a track-by-track analysis of the album. It is an honest accounting from Lennon along with some banter talk about the Plastic Ono Band, hot off the heals of the "Rock and Roll Revival" concert that he did in Toronto. 


To commemorate further the 50th Anniversary Release, Apple has released the new audio mix of the Beatles "Oh! Darling."





September 4, 2019

Ottawa band to perform songs from the 50th anniversary release of Abbey Road 


For the past 5 years, The GreyTones from Ottawa have been performing concerts at various local venues that coincided with the release date of the newly remastered Beatle albums. It has been Paul's way along with his fellow musicians to pay tribute to the greatest rock and roll act in pop music: THE BEATLES.

The GreyTones plan to do one final concert performance from that series. Said Paul Johanis: "Hello Tony and John. I wanted to let you know that we will be putting on our final 50th anniversary album concert, this one for Abbey Road, on September 28. It will be at the Rainbow Bistro, where it all started."

Paul plans on doing a short video documentary from the various concerts they performed that includes some videos that I took early on in the project. We will present that here when it becomes available. becomes available.

In the meantime, treat yourself to a night out on the town by attending this concert at the Rainbow Bistro - it's one pop gig that you will long remember in years to come.

- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site


September 1, 2019

"John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky" DVD on the making of the "Imagine" album will be released on September 13th



The following article is written by Best Classic Bands


The John Lennon and Yoko Ono feature length documentary, Above Us Only Sky, is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The widely acclaimed film, which premiered earlier this year in the U.S. on the A&E Network, arrives for home release on September 13. The film "traces the untold story of the making of John Lennon's 1971 album Imagine, and recounts a story of hope for a world divided yet still desperately in need of peace, justice, empathy and love. The album, and its iconic title track, exemplify the extraordinary genius behind the music that defined a movement and marked an era."


"John said: 'Is it any good?'


"I said it's a #1 record. 'He said: 'Are you really sure?"


Utilizing never-before-seen footage of Lennon and Ono from their private archive, the special, says the announcement, "delves into the depth of the creative collaboration between the couple and explores how the art, politics and music of the pair are intrinsically entwined. Ultimately, the documentary draws parallels from the past to the present using the couple's underlying message of radical engagement."


From the July 30 announcement: The film includes a new and exclusive interview with Yoko Ono, plus new interviews with those closest to the couple at the time, including John Lennon's son Julian, photographer David Bailey who famously captured the couple in a 1971 photograph that graced the cover of Vogue, gallerist John Dunbar who set up Yoko's first London art show and introduced the couple, Dan Richter, a neighbor of Yoko's who became their personal assistant, pioneering studio designer Eddie Veale who built Ascot Sound Studios at their home in Tittenhurst Park, as well as Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Jim Keltner - musicians who all played on the Imagine album. 


These influential figures provide open and unprecedented insight to the Imagine narrative, alongside previously-unseen footage, photographs and audio recordings.


John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky was directed by Michael Epstein and produced in association with A&E Network by Eagle Rock Films with Peter Worsley as producer and Geoff Kempin and Terry Shand serving as executive producers.



Aug 22, 2019

Sneak Preview: Beatles 'Abbey Road' 50th Anniversary Edition Features Dazzling Sound, Unreleased Outtakes 

- The following text is an excerpt review by Variety:



"Abbey Road" is arguably the most cleanly produced and arranged Beatles album, and the new remix places it in dramatic relief: The vocals on "Because" and the sweeping strings on "Something" (the latter of which were played in isolation during this session) have never sounded so full and pristine.



Far-right photo by Yoko Ono of Paul & John at Abbey Road studios.



Aug 16, 2019

On this day in 1969..."Birthday" by the Underground Sunshine remains on the top of the charts at #1 in Ottawa




Ringo Starr on his love of touring, what New York means to him and the 50th anniversary of 'Abbey Road'

"Starr is in the midst of a year of milestones ─ it's also the 50th birthday of the beloved Beatles album "Abbey Road" on Sept. 26," writes Peter quot; writes Peter Sblendorio for the New York Daily News.


Said Ringo Starr: "I just love Side Two. ...'Bathroom Window' and 'Polythene Pam' are all like short bits because they hadn't finished the songs, really. The other thing I'm really always proud of is there was a bit of tension. Not all the time, not as much as people like to think, but if you counted it in, everybody gave their all. Nobody said, 'Oh, well, not my song.' Nobody held back. You did your best every take."



Aug 9, 2019

What the Beatles did after the Abbey Road cover shoot

- article by Martin Kielty for UCR


The diary of Beatles roadie Mal Evans reveals what the band members did when they found themselves with three hours to spare after shooting the cover for Abbey Road.



The iconic image was one of only six frames shot by photographer Iain Macmillan while a police officer held up traffic on the London street on Aug. 8, 1969. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were joined by just a handful of assistants - "No managers, no stylists," as Beatles Podcast presented Jason Carty tweeted. "They were finished so quickly they had 2-3 hours to kill before their recording session started."


Carty followed that with a picture of the page from "roadie/fixer/pal" Evans' diary entry to the day that reads, "Up at 8.30AM arriving at 9.45AM. Ringo first at 10:13 with the others arriving just after 11. Policeman gets quite excited at a few people, and Ian missed the picture. George ... and I go to Regents Park Zoo and meditate in the sun. To Krishna Temple for lunch and studio for 3PM"

Added in capital letters was the line, "Yoko [Ono], John and Ringo went to Paul and Linda's for lunch it was very nice". There was also a pen sketch of the Abbey Road scene.

"The original working title for Abbey Road was Everest, and the legendary cover was never in the plan at all," an anniversary post on the Abbey Road website explained. "Engineer Geoff Emerick was smoking Everest cigarettes in the studio, and the band eventually took a liking to the stark image of their silhouettes against a white mountain. Everest became the working title of their then-unnamed 11th album. ... Once the group decided that Nepal was out of the question, Paul McCartney then came up with the idea to take a photograph outside of EMI Studios on a break from recording."

The article added that the image "satisfied the Beatles' desire for the world to see them walking away from the studios they had spent so much of the last seven years inside."


Aug 8, 2019

The Beatles 50th Anniversary Abbey Road Editions to be released on September 27, 2019 writes: "Abbey Road Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos.....[T]he album's 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo."


"The Beatles recording journey had gone through many twists and turns, learning curves and thrilling rides. Here we were ─ still wondering at the magic of it all," McCartney recalls in his written foreword for Abbey Road's anniversary edition packages.


"The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments, the blend of The Beatles' voices, the beauty of the arrangements," Giles Martin explains in his written introduction for the new edition. "Our quest is simply to ensure everything sounds as fresh and hits you as hard as it would have on the day it was recorded."


For complete details about this anniversary release, please click: Oh Yeah, Alright! Abbey Road Anniversary Editions to be Released






Aug 2, 2019

Ringo and his All-Starrs shine bright at Caesars Windsor


"Thirty years and 15 All-Starr Band lineups later, Ringo Starr is still getting by with a little help from his friends. And still doing it in fine fashion," writes Gary Graff for the Royal Oak Tribune.


"The Beatles drummer and his latest crew of All-Starrs kicked off the latest North American leg of his 30th anniversary celebration Thursday night, Aug. 1, at the Colosseum in Caesars Windsor, doing exactly what Starr and his pals have done the past three decades -- delivering a flesh-and-blood jukebox of classic rock hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s, and having as much fun doing it on stage as the audience was having in the seats," noted Graff.


The report went on to say: "This All-Starr Band planted its flag in both the present and the recent past, with longtime members Steve Lukather (Toto) and Greg Rolie (Santana, Journey), each with seven year's service, joined by Men At Work's Colin Hay, who signed on last year, and Average White Band and Paul McCartney alumnus Hamish Stuart, returning for the first time since 2008. They surrounded Starr's own combination of Beatles and solo favorites with their own during the 24-song, show, making sure the night never went too long without something the crowd knew and loved."


Click here for the full Royal Oak Tribune article by Gary Graff.


Paul McCartney Contributes To Henry McCullough Tribute Single


Paul McCartney has contributed to a new Henry McCullough tribute single.


The highly experienced Irish musician passed away in 2016, following a lengthy career that included a vital contribution to Wings.


A tribute single has been arranged to salute his memory, and it features an all-star cast of musicians.


Co-written by Henry himself alongside Don Mescall, "Live Long Rock 'n' Roll" was pieced together by a cast that includes Procal Harum's Gary Brooker, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, legendary guitarist Albert Lee, and more.


Given his Wings association, the team working on the single reached out to Paul McCartney for a bass line - and he happily obliged.


Don Mescall told Hot Press magazine: "Everyone told me I was crazy and I'd never get him. But a week or two later, word got back to m from Macca that he loved the song and he really wanted to play on it."


"There are still sometimes when I'm on my own in the studio when I'll listen to Paul McCartney's bass on the track and think, 'If anyone brought magic to this track - it was Sir Paul McCartney.' I have to hand it to him. This wasn't a rushed job. He put heart and soul into the bass line on the track. It's absolutely incredible."


'Live Long Rock 'n' Roll' will be released on August 16th.


The above article is written by Robin Murray for Clash.



July 30, 2019

"Punk Opera Che Lennon" by The Oz from Russia (the full CD version)



Long before Russian President Vladimir Putin blocked the internet to the outside world from the Russians, The Oz made contact with the Ottawa Beatles Site. I did a CD review for the band in July 2008. They would later connect and perform in Leslie Woodhead's film documentary called "How the Beatles Rocked The Kremlin." In spite of attempts of censorship from Putin to the outside world, I am presenting here for the first time on the internet "Punk Opera Che Lennon" (the full CD version) as performed by The Oz. The songs are cover versions of John Lennon's solo material. Hopefully, one day, the band will resurface again but under new Russian leadership and moves Russia away from a totalitarian regime to a more open and democratic society.


For individual track source referencing, click on the link to the Youtube video.


Long live The Oz.


- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site



July 26, 2019

Beatle Fan Club secretary Freda Kelly to guest speak at Calgary's National Music Centre



"To countless music fans around the world, John, Paul, George and Ringo are The Beatles or the Fab Four, but for Freda Kelly, they will always simply be the lads," writes Louis Hobson for the Calgary Herald.


Hobson noted: "Contacted at her home in Liverpool where she still works three days a week as a legal secretary, Kelly is amused that almost 50 years after the Beatles disbanded people still want to hear her stories."


"The lads were something different and something special and those of us who returned afternoon after afternoon or night after night to the Cavern Club knew they were going to be big one day. We just didn't know how big. No one could have known," says Kelly, who estimates she saw close to 200 of the band's 294 appearance at the Cavern Club."


Beatle fans in Calgary will have the opportunity to hear Freda Kelly reminisce about her close association to John, Paul, George and Ringo at the National Music Centre on July 31 at 5:30 p.m.


For the Calgary Herald article, click here.


See also: Beatles Official Fan Club Memorabilia



July 25, 2019

Paul McCartney Talks Hits And History With Al Roker for the TODAY Show




July 24, 2019

Paul McCartney hints that a new album release of outtakes may be on the way


"Sir Paul McCartney has hinted that he may release an album of outtakes in the future after amassing "millions" of them during studio recordings," writes Elizabeth Aubrey for New Music Express.


"Describing the outtakes as a "treasure trove" in an interview on his website, the 77-year-old said the material comes from various ab-libbed sound checks and rehearsals," states Aubrey.


Said McCartney: "Thankfully our stuff is captured because these days you can record just about anything that moves! It's a little treasure trove...And one day we will have to put together an album, or something, with a selection of these songs that we've gathered. Because they are from all around the world!"


Elders react to the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album




July 16, 2019

A statue of John Lennon is heading to St George's Hall this summer to encourage peace


The following article with images originates from the Liverpool Echo and is reported by Elle May Rice:



A bronze statue of John Lennon is heading to Liverpool this summer all in the name of peace.


St George's Hall will welcome the John Lennon Peace Statue on August 1 until the end of September following its time at Glastonbury Festival.


The artwork, which is 180cm high, was created by Laura Lian and cast by the Castle Foundry.


Laura said: "I made the statue to help inspire a new generation to reinforce John and Yoko's message of Peace.


"We are really excited to have the statue at this beautiful historical Hall in Liverpool."


Alan Smith, general manager of St George's Hall, said: "We're delighted to host this statue showcasing one of Liverpool's most-loved sons.


"In the month of August and September the city celebrates International Beatle Week and it's fitting that we welcome this new addition.


"It's sure to be a hit and will become a must-visit selfie and Instagram spot".


Along with the statue, the Postcard Exhibition also heads to St George's Hall this summer, which invites the public to donate postcard-sized designs depicting the theme of peace.


The postcards will be displayed at the throughout August before being put up for silent auctions in September ahead of International Peace Day.


The statue was previously on show at Glastonbury Festival.



July 14, 2019

Ringo Starr joins Paul McCartney on stage during the last concert performance of Paul's "Freshen Up" world tour in Los Angeles



"We've got a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone: Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Ringo Starr," McCartney said emphatically as his former bandmate strutted out on stage.


The duo hugged and exchanged a brief "I love you, man" as Ringo made his way to the drums. Together, they performed two Beatles classics: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and the White Album cut "Helter Skelter."


- The above excerpt is from Rob Arcand's article from Spin entitled: "Watch Paul McCartney Bring Out Ringo Starr to Play Beatles Classics in L.A."



July 7, 2019

What a class act Sir Paul McCartney is!

Eskasoni teen gets shout out from Paul McCartney at Vancouver concert


VANCOUVER, B.C. ─ VANCOUVER – Emma Stevens' viral hit version of Paul McCartney's song Blackbird prompted the award-winning musician to invite her to his concert in Vancouver on July 6. As his guest, Stevens met McCartney backstage and received a shout out praising her for her version which is sung in Mi'kmaq.


"I told her, her version is so beautiful, I hope I can sing it as well," he told the crowd of cheering fans.


Stevens' Mi'kmaq version of Blackbird was recorded and filmed at Allison Bernard Memorial High School, for International Year of Indigenous Languages (a United Nations observance for 2019 which focuses on raising awareness about Native languages).


Video of McCartney's shout out to Stevens is from Allison Bernard Memorial High School's Youtube channel and was filmed by Adam Chiasson.


The above article is from the Cape Breton Post, July 7, 2019



Bonus feature: Emma Stevens sings "My Unama'ki (My Cape Breton)"



Happy Birthday Ringo!


Ringo turns 79! For details please read CBS news Almanac: Ringo Starr's Birthday which includes a video.



July 3, 2019

What makes the Beatles the most influential band of all time?


"Sir Paul McCartney plays B.C. Place this week and the legacy of his former band — as well as his solo career — lives on well past most of his original musical peers," writes Stuart Derdeyn for the Vancouver Sun. "What it is that makes the man and his music matter more than most is the subject of countless books, papers and bottomless barroom banter. How four teenagers from the Northwest of England turned rock 'n' roll on its head is now contemporary cultural history played out in song." Click here to read the full report.



July 2, 2019

Taking a look at George Harrison's Rosewood Telecaster Guitar


"Fifty years back, on January 30, 1969, George Harrison stepped on to the roof of his group's Apple headquarters in London and plugged in a Fender Telecaster," writes Tony Bacon for Gear History. "Famously, it would be The Beatles' last ever public performance. Not quite so famously, his guitar was an unusual model, a new Rosewood Telecaster that he's recently received from Fender." To learn more on the history of this guitar, please read: "The Story Behind George Harrison's Rosewood Telecaster."




July 1, 2019

The Ottawa Beatles website receives an honorable mention in a new Beatle book 


"And In The End: The Last Days of The Beatles" by Ken McNab is a meticulously researched and a well balanced accounting of how the Beatles were defining their own individual identities and how they were no longer the closely knit band they once were in the early days of their music career.

The book is divided into twelve chapters, each one representing a certain month during 1969. Throughout each of those chapters, McNab interviewed people who have crossed their paths either before or during their halcyon days of success. Because of this, there is never a dull moment as it cohesively pulls the book together.

Ken McNab explores the confluence of factors that led to the bands demise: from business dealings with manager Allen Klein; Sir Joseph Lockwood, chairman of EMI. Then there was Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman who became wives to each of their respective husbands. The Apple empire, largely Paul McCartney's brainchild, was spinning into financial chaos and near bankruptcy. Drugs played another factor in the demise and in particular John Lennon's heroin addiction is closely examined and how it affected his musical creativity and on his relationship with Paul.

In making sure that every aspect of history is documented the way it unfolded, the author examines John Lennon's three trips to Canada which included a special visit with Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in December. Also documented in the book in the same month was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's testimony to "Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs." It is at this point in the book where the Ottawa Beatles Site and researcher receives a special acknowledgement for unearthing the testimony that laid in government archives for many decades.

Let me say by concluding this: Sure, while there may be lots of Beatle books out there, "The End: The Last Days of the Beatles" reveals new historical bits of information that was never known before. McNab's book ranks high on a scholarly level to that of Mark Lewisohn's research.

The book is not available yet in North America but Beatle fans can obtain a copy through Ken McNab's first book publication on the Beatles is called "The Beatles In Scottland" and was published on both sides of the Atlantic in 2008.


- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site



June 29, 2019

Sir Paul McCartney on his late wife Linda's photography ahead of Glasgow exhibition  


Lots of rekindled memories as Paul McCartney talks about the Mull of Kintyre that Linda and he had spent together which became part of the healing process from the Beatles breakup. In the same interview, Paul discusses Linda's passion for photography and what her pictures meant to him. This excellent interview and lengthy report is done by Susan Swarbrick, Columnist and Senior Features Writer for The Herald Magazine. Click here for her report.




June 23, 2019

Blackbird songstress Emma Stevens performs live at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival and Competition Pow Wow


An Ottawa Beatles Site exclusive: a live performance of Paul McCartney's classic song "Blackbird" by Emma Stevens. We also have a very short interview in the video from Emma, so Paul, if you are watching, this one is for you. It is my way of giving you thanks for your great contribution to music and to humanity around the world. Know that fans love and appreciate what you have done musically throughout your entire lifetime.


This is my fifth consecutive attendance at the Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. Each festival I have enjoyed, I have learned something new about the Indigenous culture, but having Emma Stevens perform on Saturday, June 22, was something extra special this year. I had fallen in love with Emma's original YouTube cover version of "Blackbird" which is also available on this news page.


The photos below are of Emma Stevens and her music teacher Carter Chiasson. Emma states the song was translated in a few days by Katani Julian and Katani's father Albert "Golydada" Julian. A few months later it was recorded at Allison Bernard High School in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, that just took one hour to make.



One final note: this very talented Indigenous young woman is from the Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia. The video also features an original song about "Cape Breton" that is sung by Emma.



- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site



Photography by John Whelan


Photography by John Whelan


Photography by John Whelan


Photography by John Whelan



June 20, 2019

Ringo Starr talks with NBC's Al Roker




June 16, 2019

A groovy flashback: Paul McCartney performs on "My Dark Hour" by The Steve Miller Band


Wikipedia writes: The track "My Dark Hour" featured Paul McCartney (credited as "Paul Ramon") on backing vocals, drums, guitar and bass guitar, and he performed additional backing vocals on "Celebration Song". "My Dark Hour" was recorded in a late-night session on May 9, 1969 after an acrimonious argument between McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr over signing a contract appointing Allen Klein as The Beatles' financial manager. Lennon, Harrison and Starr walked out, while McCartney remained at Olympic Studios. Miller was the only member of the band to attend the session, and the song emerged from him and McCartney jamming.




June 14, 2019

Sotherby to auction off Management Contract between Brian Epstein and The Beatles


"The agreement with their manager was signed on January 24, 1962, a date that airs 14 months before The Beatles released their debut album, Please Please Me," writes Far Out Magazine. It went on to say that: "With the signing taking place in the kitchen of Best's home, auctioneers are expecting to fetch in excess of £300,000 at sales." [or $377,343 USA dollars, or $506,132 Canadian dollars.]




June 5, 2019

Mi'kmaq singer covers "Blackbird" and receives a big shoutout from Paul McCartney


Cape Breton teenager Emma Stevens received special acknowledgement from Paul McCartney during his concert in Lexington Kentucky, for her cover version of Blackbird. "There's an incredible version done by a Canadian girl. You see it on YouTube. It's in her native language," said Paul. "It's really cool, check it out."


The 16-year-old stated she and her music teacher found out about the shoutout from McCartney while they were in Nairobi as guests of the United Nations for the inaugural UN-Habitat Assembly: "I didn't want to believe until I saw it with my own eyes," she told CBC radio "q."


"Then, when I realized it was actually real, I got so excited that it almost made me cry. I grew up listening to the Beatles everyday, my dad is a super fan. To have someone like Paul recognize what we did, and why, is a true honour. This is every special for all of us."


The students of Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, were led by their music teacher Carter Chiasson when they recorded it. The recording of the song had two underpinnings: It is to promote "widespread awareness of preserving indigenous language and culture, and the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages movement," said Carter Chiasson in a CBC report.


High praise didn't just come from the composer Paul McCartney, but also Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada responded to Emma Stevens cover: "Have you heard a version of this song in Mi'kmaq? Listen to her."



Photography by John Whelan, June 2, 2019, National Arts Centre of Canada.

Here are the Mi'kmaq Blackbird lyrics in full:

Pu'tliskiej – Kime'sk 

Pu'tliskiej wapinintoq 
Kina'masi telayja'timk 
tel pitawsin 

eskimatimu'sipnek nike' mnja'sin 

Pu'tliskiej wapinintoq 
Ewlapin nike' nmiteke 
tel pkitawsin 

eskimatimu'sipnek nike' seya'sin 

ta'n wasatek poqnitpa'qiktuk 

ta'n wasatek poqnitpa'qiktuk 

Pu'tliskiej wapinintoq 
Kina'masi telayja'timk 
tel pitawsin 

eskimatimu'sipnek nike' mnja'sin 
eskimatimu'sipnek nike' mnja'sin 
eskimatimu'sipnek nike' mnja'sin

Boo-dull-ees-kee-edge wobbin-in-toq 
Kee-na-ma-see dell-I-jaw-dimk 
ess-gum-mud-dum-oo-sup-neg nike' mn-jaw-sin 

Boo-dull-ees-kee-edge wobbin-in-toq 
ew-la-bin nike' num-mid-deh-geh 
ess-gum-mud-dum-oo-sup-neg say-ya-sin 

Boo-dull-ees-kee-edge, lie-jaw-see 
don wassa-deg poq-nit-ba'q-ik-tuk 

Boo-dull-ees-kee-edge, lie-jaw-see 
don wassa-deg poq-nit-ba'q-ik-tuk

Boo-dull-ees-kee-edge wobbin-in-toq 
Kee-na-ma-see dell-I-jaw-dimk 

ess-gum-mud-dum-oo-sup-neg nike' mn-jaw-sin 
ess-gum-mud-dum-oo-sup-neg nike' mn-jaw-sin 
ess-gum-mud-dum-oo-sup-neg nike' mn-jaw-sin





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