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October 30, 2020

Maya Hawke to star in ‘Revolver’ with Ethan Hawke as a teen on mission to bed George Harrison

by Charlotte Krol for the New Music Express


Maya Hawke and George Harrison


Ethan and Maya Hawke will both star in a film in which Maya will portray a teen who’s determined to lose her virginity to George Harrison.


Revolver, which is being helmed by Finding Nemo co-director Andrew Stanton, will see Ethan and Maya portray father and daughter in the ’60s-set romantic comedy.


Variety reports that Maya will play Jane, a teenager resident of Anchorage, Alaska. The film is set in 1966 when a flight to Japan carrying The Beatles is forced to make an unexpected stop at the city. Jane then dreams up a plan to lose her virginity to The Beatles guitarist.


Kate Trefry (Stranger Things, Fear Street film trilogy) has written the script, and 3311 production’s Ross Jacobson and Jen Dana are on hand to produce. The film will be introduced at next month’s American Film Market.


Ethan currently stars in – and has co-written as well as executive produced – the limited series The Good Lord Bird for Showtime.


Maya was most recently seen in Gia Coppola’s Mainstream, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things. She also released her debut album, ‘Blush’, in August.


In a four-star review of the album, NME‘s Rhian Daly wrote: “‘Blush’ shows the work of a songwriter who, even as something of a rookie, can command your attention and emotions with the most effortless of lines and make you consider your own life and relationships with the gentle encouragement of a close friend. Hold ‘Blush’ close – it’s a special one.”v


The following article appeared in ICON VS.ICON...





October 28, 2020

Signed copy of Yoko Ono's Grapefruit and the original penned lyrics to Heartbreak Hotel up for action




"The original handwritten lyrics to the classic 1956 Elvis Presley hit song Heartbreak Hotel, a copy of Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit signed by John Lennon and twice signed by Yoko, a rare Titanic item with a reference to the American businessman John Jacob Astor, and a scarce and highly collectible Pokémon trading card will all come up for bid in Weiss Auctions’ major online-only auction planned for November 19th-20th at 10 am Eastern both days....


"Heartbreak Hotel was written in October 1955 by Mae Boren Axton, a high school teacher with a background in musical promotion, and Tommy Durden, a Jacksonville singer-songwriter. The lyrics were inspired by a newspaper account of a man who committed suicide by jumping to his death from a hotel window, leaving a note that said, “I walk a lonely street.” Axton presented the song to Presley and he loved it, recording the hit in January 1956 for his new label, RCA Victor. Axton and Durden’s signed lyrics, in pencil with corrections, is a rare slice of rock’n’roll history.


"Grapefruit is an artist’s book written by Yoko Ono and originally published in 1964. It has become famous as an early example of conceptual art, containing a series of “event scores” that replace the physical works of art (the traditional stock-in-trade of artists) with instructions that an individual may, or may not, wish to enact. The book would be rare and valuable by itself, but the fact that this copy was signed by John Lennon and signed and inscribed by Yoko ups its value."




October 26, 2020

John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth" proves to be a very strong contender on the Billboard charts!


From the John Lennon Official Facebook page: "A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has bought a copy of GIMME SOME TRUTH in the USA - we really hope you are enjoying the mixes and all the Box Set contents!


"And big congratulations to BLACKPINK for their #1 album on the Billboard Album Sales Chart!"



George Harrison added his eloquent slide guitar signatures on a song called "Punchdrunk" by Rubyhorse 


Rubyhorse at Whelan’s, Dublin on the 14th of September 2018. © Photography by Aaron Corr.


Rubyhorse is a band originally from Cork, Ireland. The band consists of singer Dave Farrell, guitarist Joe Philpott, bassist Decky Lucey, drummer Gordon Ashe, and Owen Fegan on keyboards. "The original band lineup reconvened during the Covid 19 lockdown and recorded a "live from home" version of Punchdrunk featuring George Harrison," states Wikipedia. It went on to say that: "The YouTube video was released on July 2nd, 2020, and an extended single version was released on October 16th 2020. The delay in the official release was due to permission being required from the Harrison estate to have George's name associated with a new release of the song. Oliva and Dahni Harrison gave it their blessing."



William Decky Lucey writes:


George Harrison played slide guitar on a song I wrote called Punchdrunk. Sometimes it slips my mind and then I remember and I think, ”Holy shit, I played with a Beatle!”


But let me set the scene. We had arrived in Boston some 18 months previous and had been homeless and penniless for most of that time. We were surviving on $5 each a day which we used to spend in a place called Mikes Diner in Davis square in Somerville. We could get a fried pepper burger and fries for that and it was pretty good. It was written in chalk on a huge menu board as fr. pepper burger and for weeks we were ordering the father pepper burger to sniggers from the staff until someone clued us in. That was our life back then. Trying to find places to sleep, trying to scrounge up some gigs and mostly trying to stay warm.


18 months later we were lying on the sand in South Beach, Miami, on the record labels dime, looking liked undercooked chickens, debating the pros and cons of having Beatle, George Harrison play guitar on our new record. We were a bunch of knuckle heads back then but even by our standards this was a picture.


We had just finished recording a song called Punchdrunk, a mid tempo ballad and a mutual friend was picking George and his wife Olivia up from the airport on his stopover from London to Hawaii. This mutual friend happened to be playing a rough mix of the song in the car and George remarked that he liked it. And that was the end of it.


Apparently several days later, he was in his kitchen in Hawaii whistling a tune and asked his wife what it was because he couldn’t get it out of his head. “I think that’s the song by those Irish boys” Olivia remarked. And so, ever the musician, he called us up and offered to play some guitar on the track. We said we had to think about it!


Of course we came to our senses and he played his parts in London on Christmas Day 1998. I remember getting the tapes back from him and sitting in A&M studios in Hollywood listening. What I loved most about it was listening to the performance by itself and the space between the parts when you can hear him breathing and you can hear the ambience of the room. It is a great guitar part and so George.


He sent a note back with the tapes that said “I don’t know if it’s suitable and now I’m going back to my Christmas Pudding”. I suppose all musicians are insecure no matter how successful. George was always my favourite Beatle and a hugely underrated guitar player and song writer and I am humbled that he heard something in my song that moved him.


The funny thing about this particular song was I had borrowed some chords from a song called “I ME MINE”, written by guess who? George Harrison. I always wondered if he gravitated to the song because he heard something of himself in it. Who knows.


And so twenty years later, George is gone but never forgotten and a little piece of him lives on in a song called Punchdrunk.



"Punchdrunk" - words and music by William Decky Lucey


Everyone is out of it
Everybody here has lost control
Traveled eyes and dirty minds
Take the kids outside and lock the door

I'm like the man on the flying trapeze
I feel so close to the stars
But on the ground is where my feet belong

Inside here is an answer
I'm punchdrunk but I'm free
Inside here is a spirit
Don't you see?
Don't you see?

Have no fear of anything
They'll turn you inside out and front to back
Don't drown your sorrows or hang your head
I'll come for you
I'll hold you 'till you crack

I'm like the man on the flying trapeze
I feel so close to the stars
But on the ground is where my feet belong

Inside here is the answer
I'm punchdrunk but I'm free
Inside here is a spirit
Don't you see?
Don't you see?

You and me
We're worlds apart
And far from home
But in this life
We're on our own
A one man show

Inside here is an answer
I'm punchdrunk but I'm free
Inside here is a spirit
Don't you see?
Don't you see?




October 24, 2020

Paul McCartney Says He Felt Like He Was In A Laboratory For McCartney III  


Shaun Keaveny’s BBC Radio 6 Music programme

Matt Everitt interviewed Sir Paul McCartney about his new album, McCartney III.


We bring you the full transcript of the interview.

© Photography by Mary McCartney, taken at Paul's home studio in Sussex.


Matt Everitt: It’s really good to speak to you, I mean, this is all very unexpected. You’re not very good at sitting on your hands are you?


Paul McCartney: Well no, you know, I get these ideas and I don’t know, it keeps me busy.


ME: Actually, I should ask, have you spent this time in lockdown out of the public eye growing like a huge McCartney I beard? There’s an opportunity to do that here – lots of people have.


PM: No, what I do is I kind of grow it for a couple of weeks and then get fed up with it – gets a bit itchy – so I shave it off and then go for another two or three weeks.


ME: How have you been? How’s your lockdown been, Paul?


PM: It’s been ok actually because I came back off holiday at the beginning of the year and got down to my farm in the countryside and happened to be locked down with my daughter Mary and her family, so that meant four of my grandkids. So, I think for a lot of people, suddenly they’re spending more time with their families than they thought they would, so that’s been nice. Then I was able to go to work because the idea was go to work only if you can’t work at home, and I had to do a little bit of music in the studio, so that got me started, kind of thing. So, I did a bit of recording during that time and then I’d come home in the evening and then there’d be Mary and the family – all very lovely. So, I mean in fact it wasn’t that bad. I was a bit sort of loath to say that because I know a lot of people have had a terrible time but no, mine wasn’t too bad at all in fact. Spent a lot of time with the grandkids and that was nice.


ME: This is McCartney III, so let’s do a bit of context […] So, McCartney I in 1970, that was the kind of start of the kind of lo-fi DIY play and produce everything yourself – have you always had a sort of soft spot for that record?


PM: Yeah, it happened just because I was spending a bit of time at home, because suddenly, I wasn’t in The Beatles anymore, so you’re at a bit of a loose end to say the least. But I had all my stuff, I had a drum kit, I had my bass, I had my guitar, had an amp. So I got hold of a four-track recorder from EMI, which is the same machine that we’d used with The Beatles, so I just went real lo-fi, just plugged the microphone straight into the back, didn’t have a mixing desk and made some music – that was it.


ME: Because you’ve said that was an incredibly difficult time for you but I guess, doing that record – writing it, producing it, making it really raw, giving yourself kind of no-where to hide – that must have helped, it must have been a good process to have gone through for you.


PM: Yeah, I think, you know, for me, like everyone, music is a good thing – a great thing – so yeah, it really did help me through that period.


© Photography by Mary McCartney, taken at Paul's home studio in Sussex.


ME: And it’s now also regarded as a bit of a low-fi classic, isn’t it? It’s seen as being the start of that DIY ethos, that DIY sound for bands.


PM: Yeah, it’s funny you know, time brings an edge to all these things because at the time it was supposed to be just a load of crap. Just me on my own, just indulging myself, which it kind of was you know, but I liked that and I thought “there’s something here” you know. I got messages from some people saying “I love that, it’s so sort of laid back and it just, it doesn’t give a damn” kind of thing – so people tend to think better of it now.


ME: In keeping with the kind of trilogy idea, what was your headspace going in to McCartney II then […]


PM: McCartney II was more about – I’d taken delivery of a synth and I’d never really messed with one before, so I was taking advantage of all the things you can do with a synth and then the other thing was a sequencer. Again, something I’d heard people use but I’d never had a go at. So that really was the basis of that album and, you know, it was just me kind of locked away. It felt a bit crazy sometimes. I used to say that I felt a bit like a crazy professor, locked away in his laboratory. I mean, one track in particular […] Secret Friend, it was just eight minutes long – it just happened to keep going for eight minutes. If you wanted to put some percussion on like shakers, you would just do a bit of it and then your computer can do the eight minutes, if you want it to just keep going. But in those days, I’m just standing around in this little empty room going [makes shaker sound] kind of glancing at my watch and going “woah, seven minutes to go”.


ME: Do you think you work differently if you’re recording in a bathroom or recording in Abbey Road. Do you approach things differently do you think?


PM: Yeah I think so, you know. I think if you’re just on your own, you can have an idea and very quickly you can play it. Whereas with a band, you’ve kind of got to explain it, they’ve got to get it, you’ve got to get it, how it feels. Sometimes that’s great, don’t get me wrong you know, obviously live, that’s the best. But yeah, when you’re just noodling around on your own you just have a lot of freedom and it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing.


ME: So for McCartney III, I mean I guess as someone who’s – all your work, everything you play, everything you say is scrutinised so much. To be doing some recordings and just thinking “maybe no one will hear this”, that’s got to be quite a joy I guess?


PM: Well that was the great thing about the album. I didn’t know I was making an album and that really makes a difference. I just went in and as I say, I had this little bit of film music – a guy was making a film for me – he wanted a little bit of intro music and then a little bit of credits, instrumental. So I had to go and do that and I thought “well that’s ok, that’s serious, now I can mess around”. And so for the next nine weeks I was just messing around, thinking “ah it would be good to finish this one up. Oh I could do this one. Yeah that’d be ok” and just going through them all and never suspecting for one second that this was going to be an album.



ME: I mean there’s kind of songs from all over the shop isn’t there – songs from different points in time.


PM: Most of it’s new stuff. There are one or two that I hadn’t finished and because I was able to get in the studio and go “ok wait a minute, what about that one? Let’s have a look at that” and get it out and think “oh dear” you’d try and figure out what was wrong with it, why you didn’t like it and in some cases, it was just the vocal or the words or something just didn’t cut it. So you could strip it all down and go “ok well let’s just make it a completely different song”. And then, when I’d done them all, I sort of looked at them and I was going “well what can I do with this? Is this a new album or something?” and then it suddenly hit me – this is McCartney III. You’ve done it all yourself like the others, so this qualifies.


ME: There’s so much that’s texturally so nice in there. There’s songs that come back in and there’s sort of different bits and almost false endings and stuff. There is a real looseness to it. It sounds great, it’s a beautiful sounding record because it does sound very, very different.


PM: Thanks Matt, that’s lovely, thank you for saying that.


ME: Even the vocals, it’s very easy these days to autotune vocals or comp vocals from different bits but you know, the vocals sound raw – they sound really, really raw don’t they?


PM: Thanks – I was trying to get them posh!


ME: I meant that in a good way!


PM: No I know, I know. Because I wasn’t really aiming at a proper record release, I was just having a go thinking “that’s ok, that’s good, that’s near enough.” So I think it has ended up being exactly what it is, which is me not really trying very hard, except to have fun.


ME: Did the pandemic affect – did what we’re all going through affect any of the writing do you think?


PM: Yeah I think so, a couple of the newer songs. There’s one called Seize the Day – that had echoes of the pandemic kind of thing, when the cold days come, we’ll wish that we had seized the day, kind of thing. So that was just reminding myself and anyone listening that yeah, we better grab the good stuff and you know, try and get on through the pandemic. But it certainly helped me, you know.


ME: How have you found the past six months personally. I’ve found it really difficult to watch the news. There’s a lot of positivity out there and there’s a lot of hope but there’s a lot of fear and there’s a lot of blame – how have you found it?


PM: No I’m like you, I hate it. You know when you turn on the news, the lead story is going to be how many people died. That’s depressing, after a while. But in truth, what kind of saw me through a lot of this was, I remembered that my parents, my mum and dad, Jim and Mary were in World War II. They survived – they survived the bombing and the losing people left, right and centre and yet they came out of it with incredible spirit and so us kids in Liverpool, we grew up with this really, you know “let’s have a good time, let’s roll out the barrel”, with this great sort of wartime spirit that all the people had, because they’d had enough. And so I was brought up in a lot of that, so it’s kind of good to draw on that and think well, if they could do it, I can do it.


ME: And there is this thing about as you say music, making music, heals. Sometimes it’s not about the destination you know, the destination is the journey. Writing it and recording it is the thing – that’s the point of it, not necessarily the end single or whatever.


PM: No that’s true you know, I love it. I always say to people I’d do it for a hobby if they sacked me. I’ve always got my guitar kind of handy and it’s a friend. You talk to a lot of guitar players or instrument players and that’s what they’ll tell you. You kind of get a relationship with this inanimate object. It becomes very important. In the early days of The Beatles we always used to – me and John – used to sort of say it was like a psychiatrist. You’d be feeling a bit down and you’d go off in a cupboard somewhere and start playing and you’d work your way through it and you’d feel better. So it is really important.


ME: Obviously the kind of future of live concerts is really uncertain at the moment. Have you thought about the possibility that you might not be able to play live again? Has that entered your mind as a fear?


PM: Yeah, definitely, yeah. I look back at the last gig I did which was at Dodger Stadium in LA and we did have a very good night and I must say I’m just sort of thinking “uh, oh, what if that’s the last gig?” But it would just be great, wouldn’t it, just to be in a crowd and not worry and just be able to go crazy and listen to a live band or be the live band. I was imagining that the other day you know, instead of doing the songs you’d be standing there going “this is great isn’t it!” […] That would be special I must say, so fingers crossed.


ME: How’s the Let It Be film doing, have you had a look at what Peter Jackson’s been up to? How’s it coming along?


PM: Yeah, I have – I love it. I said to him when he was going to trawl through all the footage – like about 56 hours or something – I said “oh God it’s going to be boring” because my memory of the film was that it was a very sad time, and it was a little bit down beat, the film, but he got back to me he said “no – I’m looking at it” he said “it’s a laugh – you guys, it’s just four guys working and you can see you making up songs.” George wondering about the lyrics of Something In The Way She Moves or me trying to figure out Get Back or you know and he’s shown me little bits and pieces of it and it’s great, I love it, I must say because it’s how it was. It just reminds me of – even though we had arguments, like any family – we loved each other you know, and it shows in the film. It’s a very warm feeling, And it’s amazing just being back stage with these people, making this music that turned out to be good.


ME: And the last question, are we going to get a McCartney IV in 2030? Because I think you’ve set a precedent now.


PM: I don’t know, I think we’ll just have to wait and see won’t we.


The above interview was published on



October 23, 2020

Joey Molland looks back on Badfinger's tumultuous, remarkable career – 50 years on

by Joe Bosso for Guitar World


“There are times when it all feels like a dream,” says guitarist Joey Molland, recalling the glory days a half century ago when Badfinger ruled the airwaves with a series of exquisitely crafted pop-rock hits like Come and Get ItNo Matter WhatDay After Day and Baby Blue


“Badfinger gave me the opportunity to do everything a musician could want. I got to make records. I heard my music on the radio, and I toured all over. I couldn’t believe the luck we were having. For a time, everything was great.”


The Liverpool-born guitarist joined the Welsh/English group, then called the Iveys (which also featured singer-guitarist Pete Ham, singer-bassist Tom Evans and drummer Mike Gibbins), at a most fortuitous time. 


It was late 1969, and the band was not only one of the first signings to the Beatles’ Apple Records, but they were about to experience their first blast of fame with the release of Magic Christian Music, the “pseudo-soundtrack” to the film Magic Christian that starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.


Dropping the Iveys moniker for Badfinger (a reference to Bad Finger Boogie, the working title of the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends), the band saw the album’s lead single, Come and Get It, a Paul McCartney-penned ear-candy gem that could have easily figured on Abbey Road, hit the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in the spring of 1970.


“The Iveys had put out some records before Come and Get It that didn’t really take off, Molland says. “People think that because the band was signed to Apple that they were just given a straight ride to success, but that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t until Come and Get It came out that the perception changed for Badfinger. Then people started to think, ‘Ahh, they can be a big success for Apple.’”


After the success of Come and Get It, various members of the Beatles’ organization – including John Lennon and George Harrison – became more hands-on with Badfinger.


Lennon tapped Molland and Evans to play two cuts on his Imagine album, and Harrison produced half of the band’s 1971 disc, Straight Up (that same year he also enlisted the group to take part in his historic Concert for Bangladesh at New York City’s Madison Square Garden). 


For the first half of the '70s, Badfinger were flying high, racking up hit singles and albums while touring the world (Ham and Evans also saw their composition Without You, a Badfinger track from the band’s second album, No Dice, become a global No.1 when Harry Nilsson and producer Richard Perry gloriously re-imagined it on the singer’s 1971 album, Nilsson Schmilsson).


Yet despite their success, the group soon discovered they had little to show for it. American businessman Stan Polley, who had taken over their affairs from original manager, Bill Collins, defrauded the band out of millions, leaving them all but broke. 


Desperate and in the throes of depression, Ham hanged himself in his garage in 1975. Eight years later, in an eerily similar and no less tragic manner, Evans also hanged himself following a dispute about unpaid royalties.


“People say things like ‘the saddest story in rock,’ and I guess they always will,” says Molland, who at 72 continues to tour with a band he calls Joey Molland’s Badfinger.


“I can’t get away from it, but I don’t really dwell on it. I try to focus on the good things that we did and all the great songs we recorded. I meet people all the time who know our music. Sure, I wish things didn’t turn out as they did. 


“We had two people in the band take their own lives – that’s a tragedy on a human level. Who knows what drives people to do such a thing? But I can’t think about ‘what might have been.’ You go crazy if you live your life like that.”


What kind of guitarist were you back in the '60s before you finally hooked up with Badfinger?


“I was pretty good. For me, getting into the guitar started when I heard Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes. From that moment on, I wanted to be a guitar player. I got really good at rhythm guitar quite quickly, and then I started learning how to play lead. I listened to Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. I never thought I was great or anything – there were so many brilliant guitarists in England in the '60s. But I enjoyed it. Playing guitar was just fantastic.“


Did you know the band when they were the Iveys? What was the buzz on them?


“I didn’t really know any kind of buzz on them. Musicians didn’t really pay attention to them, I don’t think. I’d heard of them, but they didn’t mean that much. I wanted to play Chuck Berry music; I wanted to play beat music. What I knew of the Iveys was that they were a bit too pop for me at the time. I wanted to play guitar music with a harder bite to it.


How did you come to audition with them?


“To be honest, I almost didn’t go to the audition. I’d seen them on TV doing a song called Maybe Tomorrow, and it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve got nothing against love songs, but I want them to come from more of a Tamla/Motown kind of thing – Martha and the Vandellas.


“But my friends in Liverpool insisted that I go and check it out. They thought the Iveys had something. So I went down and met the band. They had a house and we settled down to play together.


“They were really nice, and they wanted to play some beat songs. I sang for them a little bit, and they offered me the job. I think they were happy to find me. They had seen a few guys before me, but I was the only one who was writing some songs.


Was there one Beatle who paid more attention to Badfinger – Paul McCartney or George Harrison?


“When I first joined the band, it didn’t seem as if anybody was paying attention to them. There was one guy, [Apple Records press officer] Derek Taylor, who seemed to take an interest, and [Beatles roadie] Mal Evans, who had gotten the band signed, he was involved. The Beatles weren’t really hanging around or anything. John Lennon didn’t really notice us. It wasn’t till Come and Get It happened that people took a real interest.


Your first album with them, No Dice, featured No Matter What, which many consider to be the definitive Badfinger song. Did that sound like a hit when you were recording it?


“We knew it was a good song, and we enjoyed playing it. We went into the studio with Mal Evans and put together the arrangement. We didn’t record the basics at Abbey Road, but I went there to put on some slide guitar. I don’t know if anybody thought it was a hit. It took the label a little while to get the song on the radio, but once they did, the record did really well.



Do you remember what kind of guitar and amp setup you used on that?


“I used the guitars I was playing at the time: a Firebird and an SG Standard. The Firebird was a guitar I was playing for years before I joined Badfinger. The SG was given to us by George Harrison. I think Pete really liked it. My amp was an AC30 that belonged to the band. I didn’t even have my own amp at the time. But I got a good sound out of the AC30. It was good for rock ‘n’ roll guitar.


You worked with John Lennon on Imagine, and you played acoustic guitar on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. What were the differences in working with the two?


“I did a lot more work with George than with John. George was very direct. He’d come over, sit with me or the other guys, and he’d play a song. I remember him doing that with Beware of Darkness; he had an acoustic, and he played it for us a few times so that we could get a feel for the tune.


“He was always very sweet but very direct. He knew exactly what he wanted as far as rhythm guitar: all straight up-and-down strokes. No jingle-jangle stuff. He made that very clear. 


“But he was cool, and we became good friends. John was quite different. We were all quite freaked out about even seeing him. [Laughs] He was a complete genius as a singer, writer and just… well, he was John Lennon! It was very hard to get over that. 


“He had an aura about him. I don’t remember if it was John or Phil Spector who suggested me and Tom for the album; I just recall John’s driver calling me and saying, “John’s doing some work in the studio. Can you come down and play some guitar?” So the car came and we went to John’s place; we went into the studio, and there was John.


“It was about 10 o’clock at night and John looked like he just got out of bed. It was a friendly vibe. [Keyboardist] Nicky Hopkins was there, [drummer] Jim Keltner was there. Phil Spector was in the control room, and now that I remember it, so was George Harrison.


What was Phil Spector like in the studio?


“I don’t really know – he never really talked to us! He sat in the studio and drank a lot of brandy. [Laughs] But what was funny was, you’d do a couple of takes of the tune, and then Phil would play you back a two-track mix – with echoes on it and everything. I guess he wanted you to know where he was going with it.

George Harrison produced half of Straight Up. What was he like to work with as a producer?


“He was great as a producer. He was great at everything he did with us. He was very communicative. If he had an idea to change an arrangement, he would sit down and talk to you about it. He always had a good reason for doing something, but he wanted you to feel good about it. He was a very good producer in every way.


Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick started that album as producer. Why were his tracks rejected?


“The American label people didn’t like them. We recorded 15 tracks or so with Geoff, and what happened was, the album got sent to America. The people in the States thought it sounded crude and rough. So they said to the people at Apple in the U.K., “Can you maybe redo the stuff?” They didn’t like all the songs, and they hated the sound. That’s when the plan went to George Harrison producing us.


George played slide guitar on Day After Day. I take it you didn’t mind letting a Beatle have a go at the guitar track.


“Oh, not at all. He even came in and asked us, “Is it OK if I do a little slide on your record?” He didn’t just do it or demand it; he wanted to make sure it was what we wanted. I had a ’63 Strat, and that’s what he used. He sounded great. He was one of the best slide players ever. We were thrilled at what he did.


Todd Rundgren produced half the album, including Baby Blue. What was he like?


“He didn’t really think about what he was going to say before he said it – he just said it. He was very rude, actually, and we didn’t like him. We were quite happy when it was over. He went away and took the tapes; we never did overdubs or anything. He took the tracks that George had done and mixed them. We just heard the record when it came out.


What was touring like in the U.S.?


“It was great, man! It was fantastic! We did 50 or 60 dates on our first tour, and then a year later we did another tour. People seemed to really like us over there, and we went over like mad. We loved learning about America. The hippies were all over the place – it was cool. We played with great bands. American bands played really well and could sing their asses off. The Rascals were amazing.


What are your feelings on the band’s original recording of Without You versus the version Harry Nilsson had a giant smash with?


“We were astounded when we heard Harry’s version. It was great that it was so successful – it was Song of the Year. Our manager, Bill Collins, wanted us to do a big version of the song. Maybe he heard what Harry eventually did, but we just weren’t that kind of band. 


“We didn’t do big versions of things; we wanted to be a rock band. We had guitars in our songs! So we did our version of it, and that seemed fine. But yeah, the Nilsson track became huge. Tommy and Pete won the Ivor Novello Award for it. We were all quite pleased for them.


Was calling the band’s 1973 album Ass met with resistance?


[Laughs] I’m sure. I didn’t hear a lot about it, really. It kind of made sense with the other titles – No Dice, Straight Up. We had a bit of a lowbrow sense of humor. I wasn’t involved in those things. I never went down to Apple to talk about titles. I thought that was a good album. We were changing our sound a bit more at this time. We were jamming more. I think we would have gone a long way with that.


Were there tensions within the band at this point? Did you have any inkling that Pete Ham would commit suicide?


“There were some tensions, but not necessarily from Pete. The problems really started when this guy, Stan Polley, got involved. Pete had a lot of faith in him, and I don’t know why because the guy was a crook. That’s what I call him – “the crook.” It was just blatant. Pete and Tommy had been warned when the band left Apple and signed to Warners to get rid of him. 


“Pete actually left the band at one time. He came back after a few weeks and wanted back in. I asked him what we were going to do about Stan, and he didn’t want to do anything. I said, 'Well, what’s the point in this?'


“We didn’t have any money. Think about that: We were selling millions of records and were on the radio all day, all over the world. We were broke! We were driving secondhand cars. We got a salary of $300 a week. And then I quit – I just couldn’t take what was going on anymore. 


“Pete called Stan because he needed some money to buy something for his girlfriend, and he was told that he had no money left. Nothing. It was horrible. Did I have any idea that he would kill himself? No, not at all.

After Pete killed himself, the band broke up for a time, but some years later you and Tom got together again.


“Yeah, I moved to Los Angeles and started knocking around, doing what I could. I had no money. I met some guys who wanted to put a band together, and I liked them, so we started something up. 


“We needed a bass player, so I called Tommy and asked him what he was up to. He was working in a hardware store or something. So he came over and played bass, and we made some demos. When he and I sang together, it sounded like Badfinger.


But you didn’t want to call the band Badfinger.


“No, we didn’t. Elektra/Asylum called it Badfinger. It wasn’t our idea. We were uncomfortable with the whole thing, but we went along with it.


It’s been reported that it was because of an argument about royalties between you, Tom, Mike Gibbins and Bill Collins, your former manager, that Tom also hanged himself.


“It was very complicated. I had an argument the night before he died; he was talking about getting that money from the cohorts. I’d been to England and tried to get the money. 


“We had to all sit down at a table and agree how it was going to be divided, and then we had to get lawyers involved. Pete’s heirs had to be involved, too. All of us had to agree to it. Tommy wanted it done a certain way, but I wanted it to be done the way we had agreed originally. So did the others.


“Tommy had his reasons for it, but they weren’t our reasons. He told me that night he was going to kill himself. It was surreal. It had nothing to do with Pete dying, as some have suggested. It was eight years later. You know, it’s a shame.


“I feel as if things could’ve turned out differently. If we had different management, we could have gone on. Getting involved with the crook was the worst thing we ever did. We could always write songs; we could always play. We just had bad business, and it finished us.



October 21, 2020

Paul McCartney Teases a ‘McCartney III’ Album on the Way

by Chris Willman for Variety


Who says you can’t teach a classic-rock superstar new-media tricks? Paul McCartney seems to be taking some tips from Taylor Swift, in using visual iconography on social media to drop clues about an upcoming project, as she often has. In his case, it would seem, from all indications, to herald the release of a “McCartney III” album.


If the hints indeed lead there, “McCartney III” will be following hot on the heels of “McCartney II,” which came out in 1980. That album, of course, was the fast followup to “McCartney,” his first post-Beatles solo project, which came out in 1970.


Photo image captured by John Whelan from Paul McCartney's Official Facebook pages.


All kidding about timing aside, what “McCartney” and “McCartney II” had in common — which was not a great deal, since those two albums, spaced 10 years apart, could hardly have sounded less alike — was that they were completely solo projects, with no other musicians involved. If that remains the case for a “III,” expect nothing in the way of famous collaborators like Greg Kurstin and Ryan Tedder, who served as producers and co-writers on McCartney’s last album, 2018’s “Egypt Station.”


The singer has been posting photos to social media with triplicates of various items, including flowers in this most recent tweet, and mushrooms before that. He also tweeted a photo of a single rose (although that probably doesn’t point to a “Red Rose Speedway II” on the way).


The barrage of hints began earlier when Spotify users began noticing that, if they played tracks from the previous self-titled albums on the service, a dice animation bearing three dots would pop up.


Some fans who have ordered from McCartney’s online store in the past have reported receiving in the mail a package from Capitol Records that includes a cloth bag with a McCartney emblem containing dice with only the three dots.


The album has been widely rumored in McCartney fan circles as a Dec. 11 release.


In a GQ interview in the August issue, McCartney spoke of working alone in quarantine. “”I feel dreadfully sorry for all those who are less fortunate and obviously all those who have lost loved ones, but I’ve been lucky,” he said. “I’ve been able to write and get into music, starting songs, finishing songs. I’ve had a few little things to write and it’s given me the time to finish some songs that I hadn’t found the time to get around to, you know?”


Related link: "Paul McCartney to release new album recorded alone in lockdown" from the Guardian.



October 19, 2020

Children’s Choir Sings George Harrison’s “Give Me Love” to Raise Awareness for Frontline Nurses

by Carl Caminetti for InsideHook


Over seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and other frontline healthcare workers are still working long hours, and fighting hard to combat the virus and protect those in need. It’s natural, then, that Careismatic Brands — a designer and manufacturer of medical apparel owned by New Mountain Capital — would use its “19 Days of Gratitude” fundraising campaign to pay tribute to the nursing community.


To honor nurses and raise money for the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation’s traditional programs as well as their new initiative awarding nurses grants to advance health equity in underserved communities, Careismatic teamed up with the George Harrison estate and Grammy Award-winning producer Rob Cavallo for a reimagined version of Harrison’s classic “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” featuring children singing the track from home. 


“We kept coming back to Give Me Love’s lyrics, which are incredibly meaningful and exactly what people need to hear during these unprecedented times,” Cavallo said in a statement. “George Harrison found the song to be profoundly moving and described it as a prayer and personal statement between him, the Lord and whoever likes it. If our version of this beautiful classic can brighten one nurse’s day after the incredible sacrifice they are making, it is all worth it.”


You can check out the video “In The Year of The Nurse – A Tribute to Courage” below.




October 18, 2020

Detective who busted John and Yoko lifts the lid on corrupt 1960s policing

by Duncan Campbell for the Guardian


John Lennon and Yoko Ono leave Marylebone magistrates’ court after their hearing on drug possession charges, 19 October 1968.

Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images


Norman Pilcher, who made some of the decade’s biggest arrests and was jailed for perjury, says he is setting the record straight


He was the detective who busted John Lennon, George Harrison and Dusty Springfield, the officer who was told by an Old Bailey judge that he had “poisoned the wells of British justice”, and the man Lennon supposedly had in mind when he wrote I Am the Walrus. Now, at the age of 84, Norman “Nobby” Pilcher has written his memoir, Bent Coppers.


Pilcher was famous in the 1960s. He felt the velvet collars of the era’s best-known rock stars and was responsible for some of its highest-profile arrests. But the squad he worked for was riddled with corruption and Pilcher himself ended up behind bars for four years for perjury. His memoir seeks to “set the record straight” and in it he claims that he himself, like so many of the drug squad’s targets at the time, was the victim of a stitch-up.


Pilcher joined the Met in 1956, after a spell in the military police, because he wanted to “do something sincerely useful”. But he soon found that “the squeaky clean officer was never able to remain dirt-free if he wanted to investigate crime … London and the Met were rotten and if you needed to walk through muck you’d need to be prepared to get your clothes dirty”.


DS Norman Pilcher at the arrests of George Harrison in Esher in March 1969, and John Lennon at his Marylebone flat in October 1968.

Photograph: Daily Express/Getty Images


Pilcher suggests that the Home Office was anxious that there be as many high-profile arrests as possible to deter young people from drugs. So, after tip-offs from informers, the homes of composer Lionel Bart and the singer Dusty Springfield were raided. He ignored “the foul language and insults” from Springfield and she eventually pleaded guilty and was fined.


“The Home Office were breathing down our necks to move on more of the big names,” he recalls. In 1967 Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones was a target, and in 1968 Tubby Hayes, the brilliant saxophonist and an addict, was arrested for heroin possession. On 18 October 1968, wearing a postman’s hat as a disguise, Pilcher led the squad as they crashed into the Marylebone flat of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and discovered that “they were stark naked!”


He was impressed by Lennon: “His ideas of peace and kindness were expressed in his demeanour and attitude, which was quite humbling indeed.” Later he received postcards from the Beatle in Japan with the greeting: “You can’t get me now!”


Prince Stanislas Klossowski De Rola, a.k.a. “Stash” and Brian Jones, arrive by car at West London Magistrates Court, where they appeared on drug possession

charges, 11 May 1967. Photograph: Ted West/Getty Images


George Harrison and Pattie Boyd were next on the list, with small quantities of cannabis being found in their Esher home. Nor did Pilcher and his team limit themselves to British musicians. The late Levi Stubbs of the US band the Four Tops was arrested at the Mayfair Hotel, amid much media fanfare.


By now the policeman was known as “Groupie Pilcher”, as he often appeared in photos of the arrests alongside the famous suspects – the result of some corrupt colleagues leaking the arrests to the press for cash, he says.


At this time Robert Mark, the commissioner of the Met who pledged to “arrest more criminals than he employed”, became determined to clean up the Yard. Pilcher blames this drive – and also the Freemasons to whom he did not belong – for his subsequent disgrace.


He finally came unstuck because, in the course of a major drugs trafficking investigation, he fabricated entries in his police diary – which, he says, was standard practice and something his bosses had encouraged him to do. In 1973, after a lengthy Old Bailey trial, he was convicted of perjury and jailed for four years.


Norman Pilcher outside the Old Bailey in 1973 and at home in 2019. Composite: Daily Mail/Reg Pippet/FTMB Ltd


The hardline judge, Mr Justice Melford Stevenson, said as he sentenced him: “You poisoned the wells of criminal justice and set about it deliberately … not the least grave aspect of what you have done is provide material for the crooks, cranks and do-gooders who unite to attack the police whenever the opportunity arises.”


Pilcher seems to have quite enjoyed his time behind bars, mainly at Ford open prison in West Sussex, where his sentence included a game of cricket at Arundel Castle and football in a local league. He emerged to find work running a driving school and a care home and now lives in Tonbridge in Kent.


Why write Bent Coppers, published by Clink Street, now? “To set the record straight and let the public know about the corruption within the police service,” he said in a phone interview. “I never felt bitter at the time but now I’m really very bitter.”


There were many false stories about him, he said, that he wanted to correct. He did not arrest “a person named Donovan”, despite legend to the contrary, nor did he try to nick Eric Clapton in Chelsea, as the latter has suggested. He denies planting evidence, as was a common drug squad practice, or allowing dealers to operate freely if they informed on a sufficient number of their rivals. “If they were at it, we felt their collars,” he said.


He does accept, however, that when Lennon wrote I Am the Walrus in August 1967 with a reference to semolina pilchard he may well have had him in mind, and is now happy to be known as the Walrus.


The dirty dealings of the Met’s drug squads were a major factor in the formation in 1967 of the renowned drugs advice charity Release by Caroline Coon and the late Rufus Harris. Pilcher expresses a “high regard” for Coon in his book. The feeling is far from mutual.


“At first I had a hollow laugh about his disingenuous ‘high regard’ for me,” she said last week. “Then, I remembered the devastating misery his corruption caused. He served time in prison, yes, but I won’t forgive him for all the rest he did that he didn’t serve time for.”


As for those drugs laws, the man who carried out some of Britain’s most high-profile arrests now believes, like a growing number of former police officers, that “we should legalise drugs and bring them above ground … You’ve only got to look at prohibition and what that led to”.



October 17, 2020

The Beatles Give High Praise to the South Australia Police Department during their 1964 tour


Chris Wilson from Australia writes to the Ottawa Beatles Site:


Hello John,


I’ve used your website as a source of information for almost 20 years.


In fact, I’m mentioned at the foot of the page in the acknowledgements section, under a former now defunct email address.  


But, on the same subject of the Beatles tour to Australia, and more specifically Adelaide, I’ve attached a poor quality (but very real) photograph of a document now kept under glass at the Adelaide Police head office.  


The document is a letter sent from The Beatles, on South Australian Hotel Limited stationery, (the Hotel where they stayed) to the Commissioner of Police.


The unusual (and possibly unique) thing is the letter is signed by the four Beatles of the day, and Jimmy Nichol is one of them! You’ll recall Ringo didn’t make the first few weeks of the tour (Holland, Australia & N.Z.) as he had his tonsils removed early June 1964.  


Feel free to include this photo on your page. I cannot get a better image I’m afraid, but thought it’s rarity would be of value to your readers.


Chris Wilson




October 13, 2020

John Lennon’s ‘Gimme Some Truth’ Challenging for U.K. Chart Title

by By Lars Brandle for Billboard


Sketch of John Lennon by Kim Wang


Imagine John Lennon returning to No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart. It could happen.


Just days after what would have been his 80th birthday, the late Beatles legend is challenging for the crown with Gimme Some Truth (Apple Corps), a new hits collection produced by his widow Yoko and son Sean.


Gimme Some Truth is at No. 3 on the midweek chart, just 364 combined sales adrift from the leader, Scottish group Travis’s 10 Songs (BMG), which leads the way on sales (physical and digital) so far.


Lennon has three No. 1s as a solo artist, and a whopping 16 with the Beatles, more than any act in Official Chart history.


If Travis hold on, it’ll give the four-piece their first No. 1 in almost two decades. All but one of the indie band’s eight previous albums have cracked the Top 5 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.


At the midweek stage, North London rapper Headie One holds the No. 2 position with his debut studio album Edna (Relentless), the market leader on streams.


Further down the list, Queen + Adam Lambert’s Live Around The World (EMI) slips 1-4, and Brit Award-nominees D-Block Europe are at No. 5 with their debut The Blue Print – Us vs Them (D-Block Europe), while new releases from classic British bands Tears For Fears, Dire Straits, Iron Maiden and Suede are set for Top 10 entries.


Several ‘80s albums are set to impact the chart, thanks to last Saturday’s National Album Day, which cast the spotlight on a string of LPs from the  decade with colored vinyl reissues and compilation releases.


They include Ultravox’s Vienna (No. 14 via Chrysalis); The Stone Roses’ self-titled LP (No. 19 via Silvertone); UB40’s The Essential (No. 26); Duran Duran’s self-titled debut (No. 27 via Parlophone); and ABC’s The Essential (No. 39 via Spectrum Music).


The Official U.K. Singles and Albums Charts are published late Friday, local time.



October 12, 2020

Sean Ono Lennon lit up the Empire State Building sky blue for John Lennon's 80th Birthday



The Pretty Green Vinyl Guy unboxing of the "Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes" (4 LP Boxset) by John Lennon




October 11, 2020

Two of Us: inside John Lennon’s incredible songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney

by Adam Behr for the Conversation, Newcastle University


John Lennon was acutely aware of his place in the musical lineage, and the strengths and weaknesses of his own songwriting. His tendency to speak in bold strokes – “Before Elvis there was nothing!” – belied at times both the variety in his work, and its complicated legacy.



Lennon would have been 80 years old on October 9, and his son Sean’s recent interview with Paul McCartney highlights a few aspects of how their partnership shaped popular musical practice. McCartney recalls seeing Lennon around locally – on the bus, in the queue for fish and chips – before their famous first meeting at the Woolton Fête, noting with approval at the time Lennon’s nascent identification with the Teddy Boy sub-culture.



Importantly, their shared social milieu was an important foundation for the musical partnership. Sean Lennon also wonders about his father’s insecurities as a musician and a feeling that: “Somehow he wasn’t officially a true musician, and everyone else was.”


McCartney’s response is telling: “I don’t think any of us were, tell you the truth. And I think that was a very good, strong thing about us, actually.”


Part of the significance of The Beatles as a phenomenon, and the Lennon-McCartney partnership within that, was that its overwhelming industrial and creative success helped to ingrain the “band” as a modus operandi for making popular music into common cultural currency.


Joint ventures


Mick Jagger once referred to the Beatles as a “four-headed monster”. Indeed, The Rolling Stones’ own creation myth – a youthful Jagger and Keith Richards re-kindling a childhood friendship at Dartford train station over a chance encounter and a package of blues records – occupies a similar place in the historical narrative to Lennon and McCartney’s first encounter.


An important underlying aspect of how such partnerships worked, however, is that as well as springing from self-taught musicianship, and the rough-and-tumble of social lives away from the formal demands of school and adult society, they combined what had hitherto often been separate functions – that of songwriter and performer. This wasn’t exclusively the case in rock.


The role of the songwriter as a marker of authenticity in rock music – singing one’s own compositions – drew from a Romantic wellspring, harking back to the 18th century, of artists as a source of inspiration and value beyond being mere entertainers. It also drew from folk traditions, as singer-songwriters asserted their individuality – Bob Dylan is a case in point here.


But there was a growing sense of authenticity in bands, residing in the membership as well as the music. It mattered, for instance, when Ringo Starr contracted tonsillitis and was replaced for part of a tour of Australia by replacement drummer Jimmy Nicol. And songwriting partnerships such as Lennon-McCartney, and Jagger, Richards (as they appeared in the credits) were at the heart of this.


They were also central to the power dynamic within bands. There was – and is – a financial advantage to being credited as a songwriter on top of being a performer in terms of the rights and royalties that accrue. A band is a partnership on several levels: social, creative and financial. Indeed, some acts have deliberately reoriented their arrangements to account for this.


R.E.M., the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and U2, for instance, made a point of co-crediting all band members regardless of who wrote a particular song or passage. And Queen shifted to such an arrangement and away from individual composers’ credits, partly as a way of reducing intra-band disputes about which songs to choose as singles.


Moving apart


In the case of the Beatles, Lennon and McCartney had ceased to co-write the songs several years before the band actually split, although as performers and bandmates they continued to help shape them in the production process. Tensions across one of these axes might be sustainable. The Beatles took divergent paths as the 60s wore on, as is natural enough for school-friends as they move through adulthood and start families.


But by the end of the decade, simultaneous divergence in the creative, social and financial pathways made the partnership unmanageable. “Musical differences” is often jokingly referred to as a proxy for personal enmity. But in truth, the various threads are often hard to fully disentangle.


Ultimately, Lennon and McCartney complemented one another as personalities and as musicians. McCartney’s melodic facility smoothed over some of Lennon’s rougher edges. Lennon’s grit added texture and leavened some of McCartney’s more saccharine tendencies.


Their legacy, though, was more than just musical. Their success coincided with, and helped to shape, an explosion of youth culture as both creative and commercial enterprise.


We can’t know, of course, what would have happened had Lennon lived to 80, especially given that – their business problems receding into the past - his personal relationship with McCartney had become warmer again by the onset of the 1980s. With the hurly-burly of the Beatles behind them, they found common ground over the more prosaic matters of middle age.


As McCartney put it:


We’d chat about how to make bread. Just ordinary stuff, you know. He’d had a baby by then – he’d had Sean – so we could talk babies and family and bread and stuff. So that made it a little bit easier, the fact that we were buddies.


But the fact that their evolution as songwriters and as friends took place in tandem is still felt in the emergence of popular musical enterprises from schoolyards and youthful peer groups in rock and beyond.


About Adam Behr: He is a Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music at the International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University. He has PhD from the University of Stirling that involved historical and ethnographic research into the evolution and social dynamics of the rock band as form of creative practice.


His subsequent research also includes work on the live music sector, musicians and copyright, cultural policy and the interactions of music, politics and policy.



October 10, 2020

“Stand By Me,” A Plea And A Proclamation From John Lennon

by Jeff Cochran for



The song “Stand By Me” is a declaration. It offers assurance. The intended recipient of the song’s message could be a friend or perhaps a lover. That distinction matters little. What really matters is the sense of commitment that’s rock-solid. There’s a sense of emotional peril shared by the comforter and the recipient. Deep dark loneliness is hovering. But the message of support and devotion prevails. The words from the last verse “whenever you’re in trouble, won’t you stand by me” reflect heartfelt determination, and provide security to the recipient. The words are an offering and a plea. These simple words are powerful. They become more so when sung by the likes of Ben E. King and John Lennon.


Ben E. King came into the world September 23, 1938 as Ben Edward Nelson in Henderson, North Carolina. By the late ’50s, he had achieved success as a lead singer for The Drifters. But that success, despite such hit singles as “This Magic Moment” and “Save The Last Dance For Me,” was not bringing in the money Ben Edward Nelson counted on. He was still on a weekly salary and there were disagreements about royalties he believed were his. A solo career seemed a viable option.


October 27, 1960 proved a productive day for Ben. Assuming the name Ben E. King, he recorded his first hit single, “Spanish Harlem.” Three more songs were eventually recorded that day, including one King was still working on as the musicians were leaving the studio. Some time in the studio remained. King’s producers, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, quickly helped him finish the song. The musicians were brought back in, and Ben E. King recorded what would be his biggest hit ever. “Stand By Me” peaked at number 4 on the pop charts in the Summer of ’61. King’s version would again hit the charts more than 15 years later, going all the way to number one on the UK charts. In the ’80s, artists as diverse as Mickey Gilley and Maurice White had their own hits with the song. Thankfully, Leiber and Stoller decided not to let the October 27, 1960 session end without King getting “Stand By Me” on tape. Perhaps they saw the extra work as simply getting one more song in the can. As it turned out, they helped create a standard.


King’s recording of “Stand By Me” is one for the ages. Rock critic Dave Marsh called it “as timeless as a basic black dress.” Leiber and Stoller’s production is elegant but not overstated. King’s rich baritone rises as if on command by the lyrics of the song. His singing is warm and powerful. The strings in the instrumental break underscore the song’s beauty. This is a recording thoroughly delivered. It has made future renditions challenging for the most accomplished artists. Gilley and White experienced chart success with their versions, yet they were hardly memorable. A live performance of the song by Bono and Bruce Springsteen was eventful but short of the standard set by King. The song he might have never recorded, except for his producers’ insistence, became Ben E. King’s most outstanding performance in a long and brilliant career.


John Lennon was not inclined to avoid a challenge, particularly if it meant covering a beloved song. The original versions of “Twist And Shout,” “Rock And Roll Music” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” were one of a kind recordings but that did not stop Lennon from adding the songs to The Beatles’ repertoire. It also didn’t keep him from putting his own special stamp on the songs. Adding his own flair to favorites was a way of paying the songs special tribute. So it was when he recorded “Stand By Me” on his 1975 album of oldies, Rock ‘n’ Roll.


The Lennon version of “Stand By Me” is not as dramatic and visually compelling as Ben E. King’s. Lennon’s rendition, however, does convey strength and faithfulness. His performance is captivating and memorable. One can hear the joy he felt in singing it. That wasn’t the case on all the oldies he recorded on Rock ‘n’ Roll. Obviously there were some he felt more deeply about. That comes through with the rocking spirit he grants “Stand By Me.” The song becomes his proclamation as well.


When John Lennon recorded “Stand By Me,” he was experiencing his own days of trouble. There were nettlesome lawsuits, a continuing battle over his U.S. residency, hard living and a separation from his wife, Yoko Ono. Lennon naturally understood the desires expressed in the song. Perhaps his own yearning led him to offer listeners a feeling of comfort for the ages.


John Lennon’s Gravitas . . . Less than five months before Rock ‘n’ Roll made its way into shops, Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album was released. Considering the range in styles and the strength of his eleven original songs, Walls and Bridges is Lennon’s most thoroughly-arrived album. Critics approved as did the buying public. The album went to number one on the charts as did its first single, “Whatever Gets You Through The Night.”


The most thoughtful and riveting song from the album is “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out).” Lennon applies a bluesy treatment to the engaging melody. The song’s pacing is precise, so its lament hits home. The lyrics recall those of “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” a Beatles song written by Lennon during what he called his “fat Elvis period.” However,the situations presented are of various degrees. On the earlier song, Lennon’s words are those of one distraught and shaken by love’s whimsical nature. With “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out),” the sense of betrayal cuts deeper. There’s disappointment in the actions of lovers, friends and business associates. In this song, Lennon cannot depend on a helping soul, like the one in “Stand By Me” who pleads “Whenever you’re in trouble, won’t you stand by me……”


A Message to the Chairman of the Board . . . John Lennon could be his own toughest critic, but he was pleased with “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out).” In an interview with David Sheff in Fall ’80, he said he always imagined Frank Sinatra covering the song.


“He could do a perfect job with it. Ya listenin’ Frank? You need a song that isn’t a piece of nothing. Here’s one for you. The horn arrangement –everything’s made for you. But don’t ask me to produce it!”


Lennon’s points about Sinatra and the song were well-founded. Earlier that year Sinatra had a big hit with his rendition of “New York, New York.” It was obvious the singer referred to as “The Voice” still had the pipes. Since Frank Sinatra often called himself a “saloon singer, “Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down And Out)” would have been perfect for his repertoire. It would have moved his audiences, whether in the ritzy saloons of Manhattan or the hardscrabble joints of his birthplace, Hoboken, New Jersey. Being down and out is a universal condition.


Jeff Cochran worked in advertising at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 27 years before accepting a buy-out in the Summer of 2008. In the seventies/early eighties, he handled advertising for Peaches Records and Tapes’ Southeastern and Midwestern stores. He also wrote record reviews for The Great Speckled Bird, a ground-breaking underground newspaper based in Atlanta. He is currently the Advertising Director for



October 9, 2020

Happy Birthday John Lennon!


The Beatles and Apple Records Corporation official birthday salute to John Lennon



A Late Show is thrilled to welcome Sean Ono Lennon for this very special performance in honor of his father John Lennon's 80th birthday celebration. 



Paul McCartney & Alec Baldwin to Honor John Lennon's 80th Birthday on SiriusXM's The Beatles Channel (with more audio clips from Paul.)



Miley Cyrus featuring Sean Ono Lennon - "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" Official Performance



John Lennon's 80th birthday to be celebrated worldwide with a free online festival 



Beatles fans from all around the world prepare for John Lennon's 80th birthday with a virtual celebration. The programme will take off on the day the 20th century's most influential rock persona was born October 9 at 8pm GMT (Liverpool, UK time).


On the worldwide celebration nearly 60 bands and artists pay tribute to John Lennon and his works with his best songs in a 3 hours long video premiere from Japan to South America (the long way round of course). Amongst the careful selection of performers real Beatles "heavyweights" are involved too such as The Fab Four (USA), REO Brothers (Philippines), Nube 9 (Argentina), The Apples (South Korea), The Analogues (The Netherlands) and The Bits (Hungary).


"We're very glad that so many of the bands and artists said 'yes' immediately for participating in this unrepeatable moment on this unique event. Sadly festival season was cancelled everywhere this year but Beatles fans still can come together and be in touch on this event whether to be young or forever young. Everybody can sit in front of the screens and pick up the festive atmosphere on October 9 no matter where." - Zsolt Derecskei, artist liaison.


The virtual festival is endorsed by Höfner, manufacturers of John Lennon's first electric guitar aka the Club 40 model not to mention as well as Paul McCartney's famous violin bass. The free live video premiere will be aired on 2020.10.09. - 20:00 BST (GMT+1)


London 8PM

New York 3PM

Los Angeles 12PM

Berlin 9PM

Tokyo 4AM (October 10)


Links, resources

Facebook event

Video premier page - John Lenon 80 - A Wordwide Virtual Celebration

Facebook/Instagram hashtag: #JohnLennon80Celebration


Sean Lennon Reflects on 10 John Lennon Solo Classics

by Angie Martoccio for Rolling Stone



Friday marks the 80th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth. To celebrate, his family is releasing Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes, a box set containing 36 songs from the late Beatle’s solo career, newly remixed from the master tapes. It was executive-produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and produced by Sean Ono Lennon, who shares a birthday with his father.


“It’s been a really tough year for everybody,” Sean tells Rolling Stone. “It’s been genuinely therapeutic to have a reason to reinvestigate all the music and listen to it and really think about it. It’s given me an opportunity to look back at my life and and look at my dad’s work in a way that I don’t always have to.”


One of his goals in putting together the set, he explains, is shoring up John Lennon’s legacy for future listeners.


Click here to read the full in-depth report from Rolling Stone.


From the John Lennon Official Facebook page: A Peace sign is lit up at Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre



"Lennon was one of the most influential musicians and advocates for peace in the 20th century. Yoko Ono chose Reykjavik as the home of Imagine Peace Tower to celebrate his life and continue their tireless campaign for peace and human rights. Harpa is proud to have hosted LennonOno Grant for Peace and other events connected to Imagine Peace Tower and and sends LOVE AND PEACE to all."


Don't miss the 40th Annual John Lennon Tribute charity concert streaming tonight FOR FREE!



The 40th Annual John Lennon Tribute will be streaming for free from October 9 at 7pm thru October 12 midnight ET -- exclusively at!


The Tribute is a benefit for Theatre Within , a non-profit providing ongoing free workshops -- in songwriting, art, meditation and more -- for children, teens and adults impacted by cancer.


Sign up to watch the tribute for free at


Ringo Starr's announcement on his official Facebook page:



"Let’s celebrate John‘s 80th birthday with come together Friday, 9 October I still miss you man peace and love to Yoko Sean and Julian." - Ringo Starr


From the official George Harrison Facebook page:



‘It’s Johnny’s Birthday’. Remembering John Lennon on his 80th Birthday. John was in one room at Abbey Road Studios recording new songs for what would become ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’, while in another room George was mixing tracks for what was soon to be ‘All Things Must Pass’. George invited John (and Ringo Starr ) over to the mix room to present ‘It’s Johnny’s Birthday’. The song features George, Mal Evans and engineer Eddie Klein performing a variation of the Martin and Coulter song ‘Congratulations’. ‘It’s Johnny’s Birthday’ appears on the ‘Apple Jam’ portion of the ‘All Things Must Pass’ triple album.


Click here - - to listen to the ‘It’s Johnny’s Birthday’ George & John Spotify Playlist.


Animation by Spencer Ramsey.


October 8, 2020

John Lennon at 80! Imagining the Beatle today



Thom Gibbs for the Telegraph examines the following questions on John Lennon: "How did the events of his childhood, his adolescence, the dizzying ride of the Beatles and the tricky decade that followed shape him? And how do we think of him now, nearly 40 years since his death? Has his image changed since 1980 and are we at risk of losing sight of the truth he pursued through his art?" Click on the link to find out the answers.


The following information is copied from the John Lennon Facebook page:


HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN! It's lit! The Empire State Building is lit up sky blue with a white peace sign - to kick off the celebrations for JohnLennon's 80th Birthday #JOHNLENNON80 Live Stream here:


To celebrate John Lennon's 80th birthday, watch the Empire State Building light up sky blue with a white ☮︎ peace sign in the antenna - TONIGHT - on the Empire State Building live webcam at

6:30pm NYC

11:30pm Liverpool/London

3:30pm LA

7:30am in Tokyo



Sean Ono Lennon throws the switch to light up a Peace sign on the Empire State Building...



Screenshot image captured by John Whelan, October 8, 2020.



October 7, 2020

Yoko Ono talks about the "Strawberry Fields" memorial in Central Park New York (audio beneath the photo)


The following is a verbatim text from The Central Park Conservancy website:


Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to Beatles legend and peace activist John Lennon.


Featuring an elaborate mosaic bearing the word “Imagine”—a nod to the songwriter’s anthem of peace—the memorial is surrounded by benches and shaded by stately American elms, making it a tranquil spot for reflection.


Named after one of Lennon’s favorite songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the memorial sits just across the street from the landmark Dakota apartment building, Lennon’s former home and the site of his tragic death in 1980. Like many Upper West Siders, Lennon would often enjoy walks in this very landscape.


Strawberry Fields was officially dedicated on October 9, 1985, the 45th anniversary of Lennon’s birth. His widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, worked with landscape architect Bruce Kelly and the Conservancy to create a memorial that represents Lennon’s legacy as a visionary of world peace. The Imagine mosaic, made by Italian craftsmen and gifted by the city of Naples, serves as a testament to Lennon’s global resonance.


A designated Quiet Zone in the Park, Strawberry Fields has also been endorsed as a Garden of Peace by 121 countries, whose names appear on a bronze plaque on the path leading to the memorial.




October 6, 2020

Paul McCartney: John Lennon and I Rescued Each Other

by Martin Kielty for Ultimate Classic Rock staff



Paul McCartney said he and John Lennon had “rescued each other” with the partnership that led to their success with the Beatles and beyond.


Speaking on the BBC radio documentary John Lennon at 80, he recalled how they had started out together at a similar level of musical ability, and kept learning to the point that they “absorbed” each other’s influence.


“We all had to learn together,” McCartney told host Sean Ono Lennon, John's son. “He only knew a couple of banjo chords, but that only lasted a week or two. And I would just show him chords I knew, which [were] very basic, but it was great bonding, just learning chords off each other. And I think the minute he knew those chords, he was as good as anyone. … He might have had a little bit of a hang-up about not being sort of musically trained, but none of us were.”


McCartney recalled how both of them had started trying to write songs around the same time, in an era when it was common for musicians to perform material written by other parties.


"No one would pick up on that songwriting thing until I met John,” he explained. “I said, ‘Well, you know I've written a couple of songs.’ He said, ‘So have I.’ … Having our guitars, it had struck us as a good idea to try and do something of our own. ... When Buddy [Holly] came along, the Everlys came along, we took a lot of their style and put them into our style – but we had actually started to flirt with songwriting independent of one another without major influences.”

He was also asked how both artists managed to continue their development through the Beatles era and afterward. “Okay, number one, we were good," McCartney said. "Right there. Number two, we'd grown up together. From little kids, we’d taken the first steps together. We kind of learned to walk together, then we learned to run. And the fact that each of us was influencing the other was very important … the fact that we'd come along this journey together meant that, ‘Hey, we're just gonna continue, and who knows, we might get better.’ And so we did.


McCartney noted that if he "did something that was a little bit ahead of the curve, then John would come up with something that was a bit ahead of my curve. And then so I'd go, ‘Well, how about this?’ And there was a lot of friendly competition.”


He agreed with Sean’s suggestion that they had “absorbed” each other as influences: “Really very much so. And as you say, who knows – I mean I was looking at being a schoolteacher. And I don't know what John was looking at, maybe an artist or something, I don't know. And I think we rescued each other.”



October 5, 2020

Music Scholar Finds Forgotten Film That Inspired John Lennon’s ‘Grow Old With Me’

by Daniel Krepps for Rolling Stone



A music scholar has discovered which baseball film inspired John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” solving the decades-old mystery about the origin of one of the singer’s final songs prior to his 1980 murder.


The opening lyric in “Grow Old With Me” quotes Robert Browning’s 1864 poem “Rabbi ben Ezra,” “Grow old along with me / The best is yet to be.” Lennon had admitted that he was inspired to write the song after watching a baseball movie on television during a trip to Bermuda, but the actual film Lennon watched remained unknown for 40 years.


However, in the upcoming book John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life, Kenneth Womack writes that the 1978 made-for-TV movie A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story — about the New York Yankees legend who died at the age of 37 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — was the baseball movie that Lennon viewed.


According to the Guardian, Womack researched television schedules and baseball movies from the era before discovering that actress Blythe Danner’s character in A Love Affair quotes the same Browning poem used in “Grow Old With Me.”


“Thanks very much for sending me that book of poems. I especially liked the one by Robert Browning that goes, ‘Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be,’” Danner’s Eleanor says.


“I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song,” Womack told the Guardian. “For John, the use of such ‘found objects’ in life and art was essential to his composition practices.”


“Grow Old With Me” was recorded in November 1980, a month before Lennon’s death, and ultimately released on 1984’s Milk and Honey, his posthumous LP with Yoko Ono; a George Martin-produced orchestral version of the song also appeared on the John Lennon Anthology. In 2019, Ringo Starr covered “Grow Old With Me” alongside Paul McCartney.



October 2, 2020

Yes release cover of John Lennon's Imagine

by Jerry Ewing for Louder


Yes have streamed their brand new single, a cover of John Lennon's 1971 classic Imagine. The song is taken from the band's upcoming new live album The Royal Affair Tour – Live From Las Vegas which is released through BMG Records on October 30. You can listen to Yes' new version below.


Yes drummer Alan White joined John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band in 1969 and played on the Imagine album, as well as 1969's Live Peace In Toronto 1969, Instant Karma! (1970) and Some Time In New York City (1972) before joining Yes. Lennon would have celebrated his 80th birthday on October 9.


“They put a special film together with footage from that time," says White of the new Yes version. "We played Imagine on the Yes tour, and they’d run it behind me. The first time I saw it, I turned around and went, ‘Who the hell is that guy?!’”


The Royal Affair Tour: Live In Las Vegas was recorded at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas in July 2019.



“Having the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well refined set of songs that captures the bands true potential is simply an honour for me," says guitarist Steve Howe.


“The Royal Affair tour album, being released in October, is a welcome new chapter in the wide expanse of Yes live recordings," adds White. "I hope you enjoy it.”



October 1, 2020

Remember That Time The Police Chased Ringo Starr Around Indianapolis?

After a 1964 gig, the ISP gave the Beatles drummer a very special tour of the city.

by Dax Lowery for the Indianapolis Monthly


Early on the morning of September 4, 1964, 11-year-old Karen Marks was helping her mother get her horses ready to show at the Indiana State Fair. She and her two brothers were in the living room of their house in rural Noblesville when she looked out the window in disbelief. She turned toward her brothers.

“I think Dad brought home a Beatle.”

Ringo Starr, drummer for the world’s most famous band, was walking toward their barn with her dad, Jack, a state trooper, and two of his colleagues.

The Fab Four, riding high on the first wave of Beatlemania, had played to 30,000 fans the night before over two shows at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Jack Marks was one of the state troopers assigned to guard the Beatles at a Speedway motel that night. (No posh Canterbury Hotel for the Liverpool lads—they didn’t want anyone to guess where they were staying.)


After returning from the concerts, they spied Starr sitting alone by the motel pool. “Let’s throw him in,” one of them joked before joining him. They asked if he’d like a tour of the city. “Well, I can’t sleep,” he answered. “I might as well.”


The officers drove Starr, still clad in his Beatle suit, around Monument Circle, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—but not on the actual racetrack. During a 1989 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, Starr said he got behind the wheel at one point, and they were pursued by another police car. “We had to drive up an alley and turn the lights out to hide,” he recalled.


Eventually, Marks suggested they have breakfast at his house. He told Starr to go to the barn and ask his wife, Doyne, if she could make something for them. She was unfazed by a Beatle, telling him, “You’ll have to hold your horses until I’m finished working on mine.”


The adults talked at the kitchen table as Karen stood by the counter still in shock, too shy to say a word. As he got up to leave, Starr gave her a peck on the right cheek before offering his autograph. “I have told everyone that Ringo Starr was the first boy who ever kissed me,” she says now.


Karen (Marks) Balach didn’t get to tell her friends about the visit at the time; her mom forbade it, worried fans would dig up the ground he walked on. Years later, in college, no one believed her story about the day a Beatle visited her farm. 







September 30, 2020

The Daily Mail publishes 'colorized photographs' of the Beatles


Click here to view 16 colorized photographs of the Beatles.





September 27, 2020

The Beatles' Cheltenham gig which coined the phrase 'Beatlemania


  For the true origins of the "Beatlemania" phraseology, click here to read the full report by Samuel Port for Gloucestershire Live. (excerpts below from Port's article)

When the Beatles performed to a packed audience in Cheltenham during their first headline tour of the UK it led to an international phenomenon.


The concert, which took place on November 1, 1963, was the first in their headline tour.


The weekend before they'd arrived back in Britain from playing in Sweden, and the Mirror coined the phrase 'Beatlemania' after this Cheltenham gig.


Then a couple of days later, on November 4, they played at The Royal Command Performance for Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother. This is when John asked the audience to "rattle your jewellery" instead of asking them to clap their hands.


'She Loves You' was still riding high in the charts, and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' was released on November 29. They'd taken over Britain on the radio, and were sending fans in to a frenzy across the country with this tour which took them to Christmas.




























September 26, 2020

New book on John Lennon and Yoko Ono due out on October 13, 2020


Write-up From Chapters

John Lennon was the world's biggest rock star in the late Sixties. With his new wife Yoko Ono, the duo were icons of the peace movement denouncing the Vietnam War. In 1969, at the height of their popularity, they headed to Canada. Canada was already a politically charged place. In 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau rode a wave of popularity dubbed Trudeaumania for its similarities to the Beatlemania of the era. The sexual revolution, hippie culture, the New Left and the peace movement were challenging norms, frightening the authorities and provoking backlash. Quebec nationalism was putting the power of the English-speaking minority running the province on the defensive, and threatening the breakup of the country.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a "bed-in for peace" at an upscale downtown Montreal hotel. The couple, aided by the CBC, saw a steady stream of journalists, musicians and activists arriving for interviews, political discussions, singing and art-making. The classic "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded there with the help of local Quebecois musicians. Three months later they were back in Canada with Eric Clapton and other friends to play a concert festival in Toronto arranged by local promoters. American acts like Little Richard, The Doors, Bo Diddley and Alice Cooper, along with many Canadian pop musicians of the time, played at the festival.

At year's end, the duo met with Prime Minister Trudeau in Ottawa. By this time Trudeau was cracking down on dissent, mainly in Quebec, and falling out of favour with the counterculture crowd, John and Yoko included. Recounting the story of these events, historian Greg Marquis offers a unique portrayal of Canadian society in the late Sixties, recounting how politicians, activists, police, artists, musicians and businesses across Canada reacted to John and Yoko's presence and message.

John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Year Canada Was Cool is an illuminating and entertaining read for anyone interested in this fascinating moment in Canadian history.

About Professor Greg Marquis of the University of New Brunswick, Canada.



September 24, 2020

Juliette Greco, French singer inspired Paul McCartney to write "Michelle" has died

from the Associated Press posted by Billboard (excerpts from the report)


  Juliette Greco, a French singer, actress, cultural icon and muse to existentialist philosophers of the country’s post-War period, has died, French media said Wednesday. She was 93.

A fashion icon whose bobbed hair, Cleopatra-style eye-lines and austere black clothes became synonymous with the France of May 1968, Greco became a role model to many, including British Swinging Sixties icon, singer and feminist Marianne Faithfull, who was quoted as saying: “If I want to be anybody, I want to be Juliette Greco.”

Paul McCartney said in a 2007 interview that the Beatles’ 1965 classic “Michelle” was inspired by Greco, who epitomized the cool of the era far beyond France.

"We’d tag along to these parties, and it was at the time of people like Juliette Greco... So I used to pretend to be French, and I had this song that turned out later to be ‘Michelle,’” he said.




September 22, 2020

Paul McCartney and Jimmy Fallon Surprise Fans in 30 Rock Elevators




September 21, 2020




Dear Friends,
In 1969, John and I were so naïve to think that doing the Bed-In would help change the world. Well, it might have. But at the time, we didn't know. It was good that we filmed it, though. The film is powerful now. What we said then could have been said now. In fact, there are things that we said then in the film, which may give some encouragement and inspiration to the activists of today. Good luck to us all.
Let's remember WAR IS OVER - If WE want it. It's up to us, and nobody else.
John would have wanted to say that.
Yoko Ono Lennon
New York City
International Peace Day
21 September 2020




September 19, 2020

Luca Stricagnoli's new guitar invention "Reverse Slide Neck" reveals the George Harrison classic:
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"


Luca writes:


"This video features my latest invention, called "Reverse Slide Neck". It´s an add-on neck which can be fixed and removed in just a few seconds and opens new possibilities to guitar playing. Like all of my instruments, it has been built by Davide Serracini. In this video, I use it to perform "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", beautiful song by The Beatles, written by guitarist George Harrison."




September 18, 2020

Preston and Steve of WMMR 93.3 interviews Paul Saltzman on "Meeting the Beatles in India"

by Marisa Magnatta


Paul Saltzman was a heartbroken twenty-something seeking a life refresh. He went to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram looking for guidance and it just happened to be the same week The Beatles were there in 1968. Paul tells of his adventure in the film, ‘Meeting The Beatles In India”:




September 16, 2020

The Beatles announce Get Back, first official book in 20 years

by Ben Beaumont-Thomas, music editor of the Guardian


Hanif Kureishi writes introduction to book edited from 120 hours of conversations from the Let It Be sessions,
in tandem with Peter Jackson documentary




The first official Beatles book since seminal Anthology in 2000 is to be published in August 2021. 


The Beatles: Get Back will tell the story of the final Beatles album, Let It Be, drawn from over 120 hours of transcribed conversations from the band’s studio sessions. It will accompany Peter Jackson’s feature documentary of the same name, also set for release that month.


The book documents January 1969, with friction building in the band as they recorded music for an intended TV special – George Harrison walked out of the sessions at one point and John Lennon described them as “hell”. The music they made, though, would be among the most poignant in their catalogue, and the sessions built towards the group’s final live performance, on top of the Apple Corps building in London on 30 January 1969.


The songs they recorded were later mixed (including with controversial input from Phil Spector) and eventually released in May 1970 as Let It Be, instead of the original title Get Back. It followed the recording and release of Abbey Road in September 1969, and was released a month after Paul McCartney’s departure precipitated the band’s split.


The book’s introduction is written by Hanif Kureishi, who describes the period as “a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.”

Jackson will write a forward, and the book will also feature hundreds of previously unpublished photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney. Guardian writer John Harris edited the transcripts of the conversations.

Those taped conversations also feature in Jackson’s film alongside selections from 55 hours of unreleased and restored 16mm footage. This footage was made by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, initially for the TV special, and eventually included in his documentary Let It Be. It was released alongside the original album, and earned the band Oscars for best original song score.

The Beatles: Get Back is being published by the Beatles’ company Apple Corps in tandem with Callaway Arts and Entertainment, whose founder Nicholas Callaway said: “The creativity and inspiration expressed in this landmark book and in Peter Jackson’s film are as important and relevant today as ever.”

The previous official project Anthology was a major archival project straddling albums, a TV documentary and book.



September 14, 2020

Iron Butterfly's "In the Godda Da Vida" drum solo was copied from an episode of "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E."



Staying indoors as much as possible to avoid Covid-19 has given me a good excuse to order some television series on DVD that I didn't get a chance to see during the 1960's decade. One of them was "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." which aired in 1966. I've always been a very big fan of espionage shows ranging from Roger Moore as Simon Templar in "The Saint" to Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg who played secret agents John Steed and Emma Peel in "The Avengers." Both shows are terrific, filled with action and adventure.


What of "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.?" While the show ran for only one season, it was the beautiful Stephanie Powers and Noel Harrison who played secret agents "April Dancer" and "Mark Slate" whom portrayed their characters more humorously than its counterpart "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." that featured actors Robert Vaughn and David MacCallum.


While recently watching an episode of "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E." my musical ears did a double-take: "Did I just hear drumming patterns that was used in the middle of 'In the Godda Da Vida' album [released in 1968] by the Iron Butterfly?" Let me replay the video and check again: "Yep! It's in there." The discovery appears in an episode called "The Jewels of Topango Affair" during Act III [the original air date was December 20, 1966.] When you listen to the audio it is too coincidental whether it be a conscious or subconscious effort by the Iron Butterfly's drummer Ron Bushy in composing the drum solo for their album. But somehow Ron Bushy copied it.


Just as the Beatles "Come Together" was akin to Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", the Beatles have acknowledged that their drum solo found on "The End" off of Abbey Road was a special nod to the Iron Butterfly for recording "In the Godda Da Vida." What the Beatles likely didn't know at that point in time was where the root of Butterfly's drum signature originated from and that the musical composers are Dave Grusin and Richard Shores who wrote the music for "The Jewels Topango Affair."


-- John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site



September 9, 2020

'Right Place, Right Time': Inside the Archive of Rock Photography Legend Bob Gruen


Almost no photographer in rock history has witnessed as many key moments as Bob Gruen, and he captured all of them with his camera. His new memoir — Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock and Roll Photographer, available October 20th — tells his incredible saga, beginning at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where he shot the first electric set of Bob Dylan's career all the way through his years with John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, the Sex Pistols, and too many others to mention. "Bob is the most rock and roll guy I know," Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said in a press release. "He has seen it all, lived the life and he doesn't hold back in this book." Check out 12 images from Right Place, Right Time, accompanied by Gruen's own commentary from the book. Excerpts from the forthcoming book Right Place, Right Time: The Life of a Rock & Roll Photographer by Bob Gruen published by Abrams Press. © 2020 Bob Gruen

Click here to see a sampling of the Bob Gruen photography collection.



September 6, 2020

Yoko Ono: "The Learning Garden of Freedom" art exhibition at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Portugal



Introduction by the Serralves Museum web site:


Yoko Ono: The Learning Garden of Freedom [from 30 May to November 15, 2020] will be the major exhibition dedicated to the work of the iconic artist Yoko Ono, bringing together objects, works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings, and films, alongside rarely seen archival materials. The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of the manifold output of this pioneering conceptual and performance artist that, during the first years of her extensive career, moved among New York, Tokyo, and London, serving a pioneering role in the international development of Conceptual art, experimental film, and performance art. Ideas, rather than materials, are the main component of her work. Many of those ideas are poetic, absurd, and utopian, while others are specific and practical. Some are transformed into objects, while others remain immaterial. Her work frequently reflects the artist’s sense of humor as well as her pronounced socio-critical attitude. The point of departure for many of Ono’s works is found in her Instructions: oral or written guidelines for viewers that offer a host of suggestions and assign a much more active role to the audience than usually expected in the art world.


Click here to read the museum tour guide.



August 26, 2020

John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth - The Ultimate Mixes due out on October 9, 2020



LOS ANGELES/span>, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In everything he did, John Lennon spoke his truth and questioned the truth. An incomparable and uncompromising artist who strove for honesty and directness in his music, he laid bare his heart, mind and soul in his songs, seeing them as snapshots of his current emotions, thoughts and world view. Believing the one quality demanded of himself as an artist was to be completely honest, he did not disguise what he had to say or conform his messages to be more in line with what he felt others thought they should be. Love, heartbreak, peace, politics, truth, lies, the media, racism, feminism, religion, mental well-being, marriage, fatherhood – he sang about it all, and one just needs to listen to the songs of John Lennon to know how he felt, what he cherished, what he believed in, and what he stood for.


On October 9th, 2020, Lennon's 80th birthday, in celebration of his remarkable life, a collection of some of the most vital and best loved songs from his solo career will be released via Capitol/UMe as a suite of beautifully presented collections, titled GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES.


Executive Produced by Yoko Ono Lennon and Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, these thirty-six songs, handpicked by Yoko and Sean, have all been completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.


Mixed and engineered by multi GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks, who also helmed the mixes for 2018's universally acclaimed Imagine – The UltimateCollection series, with assistance by engineer Sam Gannonwho also worked on that release, the songs were completely remixed from scratch, using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality. After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analog equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles, and then mastered in analog at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.


"I'm sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted,
narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth
I've had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic,
pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth, just give me some truth"

John Lennon, "Gimme Some Truth"


GIMME SOME TRUTH. – named for Lennon's 1971 excoriating rebuke of deceptive politicians, hypocrisy and war, a sentiment as relevant as ever in our post-truth era of fake news, will be available in a variety of formats including as a Deluxe Edition Box Set that offers several different ways to listen to this engrossing 36-track collection with stunning new mixes across two CDs alongside a Blu-ray audio disc containing the Ultimate Mixes in Studio Quality 24 bit/96 kHz HD Stereo, immersive 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos.


"John was a brilliant man with a great sense of humour and understanding," writes Yoko Ono Lennon in the preface of the book included in the Deluxe Edition. "He believed in being truthful and that the power of the people will change the world. And it will. All of us have the responsibility to visualize a better world for ourselves and our children. The truth is what we create. It's in our hands."


The 124-page book included in the Deluxe Edition has been designed and edited by Simon Hilton, the Compilation Producer and Production Manager of the Ultimate Collection series. The book tells the story of all thirty-six songs in John & Yoko's words and the words of those who worked alongside them, through archival and brand-new interviews, accompanied by hundreds of previously unseen photographs, Polaroids, movie still frames, letters, lyric sheets, tape boxes, artworks and memorabilia from the Lennon-Ono archives.


GIMME SOME TRUTH. will also be released as a 19-track CD or 2LP, a 36-track 2CD or 4 LP, and several digital versions for download and streaming including in 24 bit/96 kHz audio and hi-res Dolby Atmos. The vinyl was cut by mastering engineer Alex Wharton at Abbey Road Studios. The Deluxe Edition and 4LP formats will include a GIMME SOME TRUTH. bumper sticker, a two-sided poster of Lennon printed in black and white with silver and gold metallics, and two postcards, one of which is a replica of Lennon's letter to the Queen of England in 1969 when he returned his MBE in "protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigerian-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and Cold Turkey slipping down the charts." The 2LP and 2CD will also include the poster and all versions will come with a booklet filled with photos and the MBE letter.


The album cover features a rarely-seen striking black and white profile portrait of John Lennon, taken on the day John returned his MBE. The album cover, CD and LP booklets and typographic artworks were designed by Jonathan Barnbrook who created the covers for David Bowie's albums Heathen, Reality and The Next Day and won a GRAMMY® Award for the packaging of Bowie's Black Star album.


GIMME SOME TRUTH. traces the arc of Lennon's post-Beatles life and career, bringing together songs from all of his revered solo albums including John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), Imagine (1971), Some Time In New York City (1972), Mind Games (1973), Walls and Bridges (1974), Rock 'n' Roll (1975), Double Fantasy (1980) and 1984's posthumous Milk and Honey. The collection is bookended with his early non-album singles, kicking off with the one-two punch of "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)," Lennon's exuberant exhortation about the karmic forces of action/reaction and equality ("we all shine on like the moon and the stars and the sun"), and the electrifying addiction-themed "Cold Turkey," and culminating with the holiday classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and the anti-war protest anthem "Give Peace A Chance," with its ubiquitous, titular call to action: "All we are saying is Give Peace A Chance."


Sequenced in chronological order by album they were released on, songs on the 36-track version include all of Lennon's biggest hits and showcase his thoughts, beliefs and convictions about everything from peace ("Imagine," "Give Peace A Chance," "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"), religion ("God"), politics ("Power To The People," "Working Class Hero"), lying politicians ("Gimme Some Truth"), racism ("Angela"), equality ("Woman"), love and marriage ("Love," "Oh Yoko!," "Dear Yoko," "Mind Games," "Out The Blue," "Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him," "Grow Old With Me"), fatherhood ("Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"), loneliness ("Isolation") and much more. Some of the many other highlights include the sonically sumptuous "Jealous Guy" and "#9 Dream," the acerbic "How Do You Sleep?," the breezy, carefree "Watching The Wheels," a rollicking live recording of "Come Together" that he had originally recorded with The Beatles, the rapturous Elton John collaboration "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night," and the jubilant, bittersweet "I'm Stepping Out."


Like all Lennon projects, intense thought and care went into the making of GIMME SOME TRUTH and the remixing of these treasured songs. As Paul Hicks details in the Deluxe Edition book: "Yoko is very keen that in making The Ultimate Mixes series we achieve three things: remain faithful and respectful to the originals, ensure that the sound is generally sonically clearer overall, and increase the clarity of John's vocals. 'It's about John,' she says. And she is right. His voice brings the biggest emotional impact to the songs." Hicks continues, "The combination of remixing from all the original first-generation multitrack sources and finishing in analogue has brought a whole new level of magic, warmth and clarity to the sound, along with a more detailed dynamic range and sound stage, and we really hope you enjoy the results."


The results speak for themselves and allow Lennon's voice and words to shine on, clearer and brighter, at a time when they are needed now, more than ever. When listened to in sequence, GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES. plays both like one of the greatest-ever live Lennon concerts and an emotional telling of his life story, from just after the breakup of The Beatles, to falling in love and marrying Yoko, his peace activism, personal soul-searching, inspiration, celebration, confusion, reunion, fatherhood, his five-year break from music while raising Sean, and his triumphant return into the '80s with two new albums.


John Lennon is arguably the greatest songwriter of his generation. Lennon has won seven GRAMMY® Awards, including two Lifetime Achievement Awards, and two special BRIT Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Music. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has a star on the Walk of Fame. In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Lennon in the Top 5 of the magazine's "100 Greatest Singers Of All Time" list.





1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
2. Cold Turkey
3. Working Class Hero
4. Isolation
5. Love
6. God
7. Power To The People
8. Imagine
9. Jealous Guy
10. Gimme Some Truth
11. Oh My Love
12. How Do You Sleep?
13. Oh Yoko!
14. Angela
15. Come Together (live)
16. Mind Games
17. Out The Blue
18. I Know (I Know)


1. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
2. Bless You
3. #9 Dream
4. Steel and Glass
5. Stand By Me
6. Angel Baby
7. (Just Like) Starting Over
8. I'm Losing You
9. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
10. Watching The Wheels
11. Woman
12. Dear Yoko
13. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him
14. Nobody Told Me
15. I'm Stepping Out
16. Grow Old With Me
17. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
18. Give Peace A Chance


All of the above thirty-six tracks, available in High Definition audio as:
1. HD Stereo Audio Mixes (24 bit/96 kHz)
2. HD 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes (24 bit/96 kHz)
3. HD Dolby Atmos Mixes




1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
2. Cold Turkey
3. Working Class Hero
4. Isolation
5. Love


6. God
7. Power To The People
8. Imagine
9. Jealous Guy


10. Gimme Some Truth
11. Oh My Love
12. How Do You Sleep?
13. Oh Yoko!
14. Angela


15. Come Together (live)
16. Mind Games
17. Out The Blue
18. I Know (I Know)


19. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
20. Bless You
21. #9 Dream
22. Steel And Glass
23. Stand By Me


24. Angel Baby
25. (Just Like) Starting Over
26. I'm Losing You
27. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
28. Watching the Wheels


29. Woman
30. Dear Yoko
31. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him
32. Nobody Told Me


33. I'm Stepping Out
34. Grow Old with Me
35. Give Peace a Chance
36. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)




1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
2. Cold Turkey
3. Working Class Hero
4. Isolation
5. Love
6. God
7. Power To The People
8. Imagine
9. Jealous Guy
10. Gimme Some Truth
11. Oh My Love
12. How Do You Sleep?
13. Oh Yoko!
14. Angela
15. Come Together (live)
16. Mind Games
17. Out The Blue
18. I Know (I Know)


1. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
2. Bless You
3. #9 Dream
4. Steel And Glass
5. Stand By Me
6. Angel Baby
7. (Just Like) Starting Over
8. I'm Losing You
9. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
10. Watching the Wheels
11. Woman
12. Dear Yoko
13. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him
14. Nobody Told Me
15. I'm Stepping Out
16. Grow Old with Me
17. Give Peace a Chance
18. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)




1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
2. Cold Turkey
3. Isolation
4. Power To The People


5. Imagine
6. Jealous Guy
7. Gimme Some Truth
8. Come Together (live)
9. #9 Dream


10. Mind Games
11. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
12. Stand By Me
13. (Just Like) Starting Over
14. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)


15. Watching The Wheels
16. Woman
17. Grow Old With Me
18. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
19. Give Peace A Chance




1. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
2. Cold Turkey
3. Isolation
4. Power To The People
5. Imagine
6. Jealous Guy
7. Gimme Some Truth
8. Come Together (live)
9. #9 Dream
10. Mind Games
11. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
12. Stand By Me
13. (Just Like) Starting Over
14. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
15. Watching the Wheels
16. Woman
17. Grow Old with Me
18. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
19. Give Peace a Chance



August 22, 2020

Exclusive photographs of the Cavern Club

by Rachel Hosie for the Insider



Click here to view all of the terrific photographs that Rachel Hosie took during February 2020, the venues, pubs and The Cavern.


'We can work it out' says closure-threatened home of The Beatles

by Jason Cairnduff for Reuters


LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - “It’s hot, it’s sweaty, it’s packed - that’s its reputation from back in the day with The Beatles, and it’s still a proper rock and roll venue,” said Jon Keats, Director of the Liverpool cellar bar where Britain’s best-known musical export found fame.


That bittersweet sentence explains both why visitors from around the world flocked to the Cavern Club to pay homage to the 1960s musical phenomenon, and why now the airborne, highly contagious coronavirus pandemic threatens its future.


Keats shut his doors in March as the European wave of COVID-19 was hitting Spain and Italy hard and Britain was sliding towards its own crisis.


He expected to be closed for about a month.


Five months later, the club is still shut, the firm has lost more than 600,000 pounds ($788,000) and 20 of its 120 employees have been laid off.


The once-thriving business, which also runs Beatles-themed tours of Liverpool and two other venues, is seeking help from government crisis funds and has calculated it can survive until March in a worst-case scenario.


But as the country adapts to a new life dominated by facemasks and social distancing, Keats is due to reopen next week for International Beatleweek - a six day festival.


“I hate the phrase ‘new normal’, but you’ve got to look at your business differently,” Keats said ahead of the reopening that he hopes will prove the club can adapt and keep its loyal fanbase happy.


“It’s a good way of us looking at how we can do that with a mixture of live music and pre-recorded sets from bands from all over the world.”


To comply with government guidelines, only 150 people will be allowed into the venue, which normally holds 500.


That is a far cry from the screaming Beatles-era crushes, or its more recent incarnation as a tourist attraction-cum-music venue.


It will be a different vibe, said Keats, but it’s a start.


“We are closed, we are going to open, and the Cavern, ultimately, fingers crossed, won’t be going anywhere.”




August 20, 2020

Toto’s Steve Lukather Releases New Collaboration With Ringo Starr

“Run to Me” also features Toto’s David Paich and Joseph Williams along with Huey Lewis and the News bassist John Pierce.

by Andy Greene for Rolling Stone



Toto guitarist Steve Lukather has released a new song, “Run to Me,” with Ringo Starr on drums. It also features Toto’s David Paich and Joseph Williams along with Huey Lewis and the News bassist John Pierce. “Run to Me” will appear on Lukather’s upcoming solo album, due at some point in 2021.


“I wanted to release this now because it fits the moment — a time where we all need a happy song for an unhappy time,” Lukather said in a press release. “When I got together with Joseph Williams and David Paich to collaborate on the songwriting, there was pure collective inspiration among the three of us to articulate this message of hope directed toward our daughters. Musically, the song is absolutely influenced by my growing up in the Sixties, inspired by some of my favorite elements of the repertoire that defined that indelible era.”


Lukather has toured with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band for the past eight years where he sings Toto hits like “Hold the Line” and “Rosanna” in addition to joining in on Beatles/Ringo classics like “Yellow Submarine” and “Photograph.” During that time, he’s forged a tight bond with Ringo.


“We’ve become dear friends traveling the world with one another, and much like Paich and Williams, I am certainly blessed to have these talented, amazing human beings in my life as both bandmates and friends,” Lukather said. “As we all look toward the unknown of this crazy world we are living in, my hope is this tune brings a little peace, love and pleasant distraction to these uncertain times.”


Toto experienced a major career resurgence in recent years when their 1982 hit “Africa” was embraced by a new generation. Weezer recorded a hit cover and the original appeared everywhere from Stranger Things to South Park. It helped the group play to larger crowds in America than they’d faced in years, even after “Africa” singer/writer David Paich left the road due to health problems.


The group went on indefinite hiatus following a show at Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House on October 20th, 2019. Paich made a surprise appearance that night to perform “Home of the Brave” and, of course, “Africa.”


Lukather planned on touring with Ringo this year, but these plans were bumped to 2021 due to the pandemic.



August 19, 2020

What the Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ Means 50 Years Later

by Armond White for the National Review



Rethinking the DNC Convention playlist


A week before the Democratic National Convention in 1968, the Beatles released “Revolution,” blindsiding the generation that trusted them. The hippest pop critics resented “Revolution” because it went against the student tantrum movement. Some felt betrayed, others inferred their own anxious need to dissent anyway. Time has proven the Beatles right in refusing to go along with violence, destruction, and self-aggrandizement. It was a moment of pop-culture wisdom, but the song’s title really should have had a question mark.


By contrast, this week’s virtual DNC convention has met no cultural opposition. “WAP,” Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s whore’s anthem, shows the degrading values that liberal pop musicians contribute to the DNC’s convention week. The DNC pop line-up, from John Legend to Billie Eilish, is banal. (Stephen Stills and Billy Porter’s drag-queen rendition of “For What It’s Worth” was worse than banal; it was ludicrous.) Stoking the ambiguous relation of rock music and pop culture to rebellion — minus the Beatles’ warning — makes celebrity support of protests, violence, and anarchy absolutely, well, revolting.


Broadway’s Phillipa Soo, the token Asian playing one of the Schuyler sisters trio in Hamilton, recently advocated revolution, just like the clueless hippies who misunderstood John Lennon’s reservations as a rallying cry. While promoting her latest commercial project, Soo boasted that she was first inspired by Hamilton’s “We’re in the greatest city in the world” lyric but recently favors a different trope: “Revolution is messy, but now is the time to stand up.” This misconstrued sense of American history is absolutely in synch with Hamilton. Even worse, Soo’s comment on revolution paralleled that of congressional “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley, who vowed to MSNBC, “We need unrest in the streets. There needs to be unrest in the streets as long as there’s unrest in our lives.”


Neither Soo nor Pressley seems to appreciate what “revolution” means. Indifferent to the destruction occurring in Democrat-led cities, they don’t appreciate the danger that the Beatles sang about: “But when you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out.”


The Beatles’ “Revolution” complicates the received history of 1968 by standing in opposition to Sixties violent unrest as proposed by vain activists. “But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow” could well have been inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s anti-Maoist La Chinoise, which was released in the U.S. that same year. (Many film critics still refuse to acknowledge Godard’s skepticism.) John Lennon reiterated the point in 1980: “The lyrics stand today. . . . I want to see the plan. That is what I used to say to [activists] Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me on the barricades unless it’s with flowers.”


No doubt Lennon, Hoffman, Rubin knew more about the consequences of revolution than the superficial Soo and the seditious Pressley are willing to admit. Think about the specifics of the Hamilton lyrics that Soo (and every D.C. liberal) abides by: That “greatest city in the world” lyric expressed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s exalted view of Obama-era America, recently reduced to rubble. Now, Soo’s admiration for the “revolution is messy” lyric expresses post-Obama regret and Kalorama lust for power. Soo’s attitude belongs to the elite class of resisters — from Hollywood to Broadway to TV’s robotic newscasters — who support Antifa violence and excuse every riot as a “peaceful protest.”


Millennial showbiz, mostly in lockstep with the Democratic Party, twists the meaning of traditional showbiz humanism. Partisanship prevents artists from taking the Beatles’ principled stance when addressing the romance of revolution. There’s even a public-service TV commercial that misappropriates Chaplin’s The Great Dictator speech — “fight” meant something entirely different when there were actual Nazis (and Russian allies).


This delusion is neither personal nor a result of education. Despite being spoon-fed radicalism through media or at universities, most folks don’t know enough about communism or socialism to distinguish between Marx and Lenin. It’s just part of following media trends. One frequent concern of this column is the persistent unimaginative unoriginality of the culture world, particularly today’s one-track, simple-minded politicization and division.


The Beatles’ “Revolution” resounds for its challenge and enrichment of cultural consciousness, as opposed to today’s media-sponsored pro-violence consensus opinion. Millennial pop influencers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda lack moral commitment and no longer understand how to articulate feeling into art as the Beatles’ “Revolution” did.


Whining Taylor Swift, smug John Legend, ridiculous Billy Porter, and silly Philippa Soo represent the petulance of this cultural and political moment. When the Rolling Stones made “Street Fighting Man” to capitalize on the Sixties populism, they expressed their comfortable distance as well as their ambivalence; that’s why the Beatles quickly answered back with a definitive negation of street violence. Michael Jackson pulled together both political positions in his great 1991 “Black or White” (which begins with a “Street Fighting Man” riff and ends with a closing guitar note quoting “Revolution”).


This week’s pseudo (virtual) Democratic convention exploits the same social tensions that Jackson addressed in his personal manifesto, but anarchy is at play. In ’68, the Beatles’ “Revolution” anticipated turmoil, and the song remains a beacon to the conscientiousness that today’s liberal pop stars disgrace.


Related link from the Ottawa Beatles Site:  

Pure Freedom Verses Commitment - The changing values of the Counter Culture - By James DeWilde, September 14, 1970 publication



August 18, 2020

Here are some of the many highlights from Hamburg Germany celebration of 60 years of the Beatles


Why Don't We Do It In The Road? - Great harmonica performance on this number


Mark Lewisohn examines the influence that Hamburg had on the Beatles


Eleanor Rigby


Hey Jude- the grande finale from the celebration


Related link, published on August 19, 2020, a backgrounder with a link to the entire concert on Youtube.



August 13, 2020

Hamburg Germany to celebrate 60 years of the Beatles

by Les Luchter for Savvy Screener



Sixty years ago this Monday, on August 17, 1960, a certain band from Liverpool played their first gig under their new name, the Beatles. The band was far from home — at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany — and had five members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best.


To celebrate the anniversary, you can Stream & Shout with a free two-hour show live from the very same Indra Club, this Monday at 3 pm ET (9 pm Hamburg time). Just visit, Facebook or YouTube.


The organizers promise stories and talks with experts and “former companions,” plus a recreated Beatles set from August 1960, and other Fab Four…er, Fab Five songs from a host of bands.



August 11, 2020

Paul Saltzman Premieres "Meeting The Beatles" Documentary

by LATF Staff



With new and vivid first-hand details and over 40 personal photos never-before-seen in any other movie about The Beatles, Emmy Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman shares an extraordinary life experience in a new feature documentary, Meeting the Beatles in India.  


Watch the trailer HERE.


Saltzman learned transcendental meditation while spending a week in 1968 at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges River along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.  Photos and recollections not revisited for 50 years are brought to life. 


Narrated by Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman with executive producers including Pen Densham and David Lynch, Meeting the Beatles in India adds vital details and context to one of the seminal cultural events of the 20th Century.  


In 1968 Paul Saltzman, then 23-years-old, traveled to India to heal his broken heart.  There he discovered his own soul, learned Transcendental Meditation ™ (which changed his life) and hung out with John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Among the other seekers at the ashram were actress Mia Farrow, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, folksinger Donovan and the Beatles’ wives and girlfriends.


Gathr Films has set Wednesday, September 9th for the virtual World Premiere with a Live Filmmaker Q&A directly following on its Gathr At Home™ platform.


Paul Saltzman is a two-time Canadian Emmy Award-winning film and television producer/director with more than 300 films, both dramas and documentaries, to his credit. The 2008 documentary feature Prom Night in Mississippi, featuring actor Morgan Freeman, premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  The Last White Knight—Is Reconciliation Possible?  premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012 and stars Morgan Freeman, Harry Belafonte and Delay de la Beckwith (son of Byron De La Beckwith).



August 8, 2020

Ottawa's CFRA Swing Set Survey of July 28, 1967, reveals The Beatles doing a quantum leap up in the charts with "All You Need Is Love" single at #2 position.  The previous week CFRA had it listed at #24 position.


Click here to view the chart listing.



August 5, 2020

New Book Digs Deep on the Bitter End of the Beatles

by Bob Ruggiero for the Houston Press


AND IN THE END: THE LAST DAYS OF THE BEATLES (OBS commentary:  The book is available for the first time in the United States and Canada.)


320 PP




By the summer of 1969, the finely-tuned motorcar that was the Beatles was nearing “E” on its collective gas tank. There was a grimness that had fallen over their company (Apple), the recording studio (Abbey Road), and in their own interpersonal relations.


But on the afternoon of August 22, they still had one more job to do as a group. Two days earlier, they had completed recording on what would be their final chronologically-recorded album, named after the studio in which they had put down most of their music. But new product also required new publicity photos, so the four (along with two of their wives) came together at John and Yoko’s Tittenhurst Park estate, as photographers Ethan Russell and Monte Fresco began snapping away.


The photos of the four hirsute, darkly-dressed musicians could not telegraph more discomfort and resignation. And the Fabs annus horribilis of 1969 wouldn’t stop when the last shutter clicked. In this valuable addition to the Beatles Bookshelf, author Ken McNab takes a detailed and deep dive into the last year of the band’s existence, and manages to uncover some choice new info about the likely most written-about band in the history of music.


One thing is for certain, known for a long time by Beatle fanatics but somehow still not permeating much of the general public: Yoko Ono did not break up the Beatles. Sure, she was a contributing factor. And irksome for the other three members to have her presence there constantly in the studio and business meetings, with she and Lennon seemingly joined at the hip.


And it was beyond the pale when during the first days of recording for Abbey Road, Paul, George, and Ringo watched with mouths open as a fully-equipped hospital bed from Harrod’s carrying Ono – recovering from a family car wreck which also delayed Lennon’s arrival – into the studio. The couple also had a microphone installed over the prone Ono so she could offer commentary and advice on the music. Oh, and she was pregnant at the time, when both Lennons were also addicted to heroin.


But by those sessions, the end was near. Business problems and arguments over money and contracts and who would represent them – Allen Klein (per George, John, and Ringo) or Lee Eastman (per Paul) drained any sense of camaraderie. And each Beatle was already well on their ways to new paths: Lennon to Ono-fueled avant-garde projects, Harrison chafing to have his own songs be heard as a solo artist, and Starr venturing into film. Even McCartney – always the group’s biggest cheerleader and motivator, even when he became a bit overbearing – was ready to throw in the towel.


As McNab notes, it was Lennon who first said he was quitting for good (earlier departures by Starr and Harrison were quickly smoothed over), but the band agreed not to say anything during continuing contract negotiations about publishing and recording and royalties.


Still, it was bizarre that almost no one picked up on McCartney’s quote from a November 1969 Life magazine: “The Beatle thing is over,” and moreso when he released a “self-interview” as part of his first solo record amplifying the band wouldn’t be working together again. Furious, Lennon wanted to be the first to break the news, since he saw the Beatles as his band.


McNab covers some familiar ground and stories, but putting them all in chronological order is a boon for fans. He also wonderfully locates some people who had encounters with band members during that year, many of which have either never or rarely been interviewed in other Beatles books.


They include Lennon’s cousin, who saw John, Yoko, and their respective children Julian and Kyoko during that fateful Scotland motoring trip to visit relatives (the same one they’d be injured in). There’s also painter/decorator Derek Seagrove, who inadvertently appears on the cover of Abbey Road in the background with a couple of other workers. And engineer Andre Perry, who had to hustle recording equipment into the Lennon’s Montreal hotel bedroom to record “Give Peace a Chance.” Even the studio employee who had to run out and purchase three pairs of ladies pantyhose to put over the microphones for the famous Let It Be rooftop concert - because the high wind would ruin recording!


There’s even one tantalizing musical fact: At one point, as McCartney was running from the “Paul is Dead” mania, Jimi Hendrix sent a telegram to the Apple offices inviting McCartney to play bass on a weekend jam session with jazz legends Miles Davis and drummer Tony Williams that might have led to something more. McCartney never saw the last-minute invite, and who knows what could have resulted from that?


And In the End is one of a number of Beatles media which focus on the timeframe where the band ended. Most anticipated is Director Peter Jackson’s new “recut” of the Let it Be documentary. While the original film (the only Beatles movie that has never re-released or issued on home video) was a dismal chronicle of a band in crisis with their music and each other, Jackson’s version shows a more positive take (and with 200+ hours of footage filmed, it could have also made several other docs).


Still, reading And In the End is somewhat akin to a book about the maiden voyage of the Titanic or the theater-going habits of Abraham Lincoln: You know the end is coming, you know what the result is, and there’s not a damn thing the reader can do to stop it. Like a lot of bands, the end for the Beatles wasn’t pretty. But unlike a lot of other bands, a lot of people still care – and obsess – over the events.


Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.


A hard day’s night: how celebrated producer Giles Martin listens to music at home


Post work, the erudite Englishman settles into the night at his farmhouse with his family. Here’s how he has wired his own home for great sound – and how you can too.


Click here to read the article.



August 4, 2020

Paul McCartney says he sued The Beatles to save them

by Lindsay Kupfer for Page Six (New York Post)


“I suppose that when The Beatles broke up, perhaps there was a misconception that we all sort of hated each other,” McCartney, 78, told British GQ in a new interview.


At the time, the other three members — John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — all wanted to make Allan Klein their manager, which McCartney disapproved of, calling Klein “a f–king idiot.”


“The only way for me to save The Beatles and Apple – and to release ‘Get Back’ by Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release ‘Anthology’ and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records – was to sue the band,” he explained. “If I hadn’t done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did.


“I said, ‘Well, I’ll sue Allen Klein,’ and I was told I couldn’t because he wasn’t party to it. ‘You’ve got to sue The Beatles.'”


OBS footnote: The above article has been edited down for brevity sake. Please consult the active link for the Page Six article.



August 3, 2020

A group of local guys in Ottawa wear their hearts on their sleeves all for the love of Beatles music


Documentary on a concert series marking the 50th anniversary of Beatles album releases from 2013 to 2019 held in various venues in Ottawa, Canada,  performed by Paul Johanis and his Greytones.




August 2, 2020

Sheila E: The "Wow Factor" on Ringo Starr's 80th Birthday Bash!



Sheila E commenting on Ringo's drumming style...



Related link: Video - Sheila E. discusses her album, 'Iconic: Message 4 America' hosted by ABC radio


And since "Everyday People" are here...




August 1, 2020

Rare archival film footage of John and & Yoko in Toronto from CTV news


On May 26, 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrived in Toronto after being refused admission to the U.S. The couple was in Canada promoting their “War is Over” peace campaign. They later staged a famous bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.




July 31, 2020

Here are the Flaming Pie news articles



Rolling Stone: "Paul McCartney Delivers a Bounty of Rarities, Curiosities and Gems on ‘Flaming Pie’ Box Set"

Best Classic Bands: "Paul McCartney ‘Flaming Pie’ Gets Deluxe Editions"

Ultimate Classic Rock: "Paul McCartney, ‘Flaming Pie Archive Collection': Album Review"

American Songwriter: "‘Flaming Pie’ Reissue Provides a Savory Paul McCartney Treat"

Kenneth Womack for Salon: "Paul McCartney's "Flaming Pie" burns ever brighter in this new reissue, a completist's dream"

Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411: "Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie” Box Set is A Must Have with Six Great “Lost” Songs Added Featuring Ringo, Steve Miller, Jeff Lynne, Phil Ramone"

New Music Express: "Listen to a previously unheard, acoustic version of Paul McCartney’s ‘Calico Skies’"


New George Harrison book: "Be Here Now" due out on September 29, 2020


Promo info culled directly from

Never-before-seen candids and ephemera of "the quiet Beatle" during his meteoric solo career, as captured by his friend and famed photographer Barry Feinstein.

On hand from 1970 to 1972 for Harrison's blockbuster "Triple Crown"--the release of All Things Must Pass; The Concert for Bangladesh; and Living in the Material World, which helped make Harrison the best-selling post-breakup Beatle, Barry became good friends with George during the three-plus years they worked together. Feinstein captured George Harrison at home, in his garden, onstage, and in the studio. Nearly all the images are previously unpublished.

The book contains never-before-seen ephemera related to these seminal releases during George's most richly creative time post-Beatles, including handwritten letters talking about album ideas, album-cover thoughts, and putting together the Concert for Bangladesh. This collection also features beloved performers that George convened for that Concert for Bangladesh--where Barry was the only sanctioned photographer onstage--including George's friends Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston.

The book coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of All Things Must Pass. George Harrison: Be Here Now is a deeper visual dive that the significantly large and passionate Beatles/George Harrison fandom will want to add to their collection.


July 29, 2020

National Museums Liverpool: "Linda McCartney Retrospective"


This major exhibition of Linda McCartney’s photography includes more than 200 iconic images, from the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul. The photos will be displayed from August 8, 2020 to November 1, 2020 at the Walker Gallery.



July 26, 2020

Ottawa's CFRA Swing Set June 23, 1967 lists "A Day In The Life" at #19 Position Based on Local Popular Airplay Even Though No Single Records Were Ever Released from the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album during 1967


Click here to view the CFRA Swing Set June 23, 1967.


July 24, 2020

"I Me Mine" (instrumental track) - The Beatles

George Harrison’s ‘I Me Mine’ Inspired by the Beatles’ Dysfunction - excerpt by Greg Bustin


George’s “I Me Mine” became the final song recorded by the band before its split.


In his autobiography, George recalled his own self-centered focus, seeing everything “relative to my ego, like ‘that’s my piece of paper’ and ‘that’s my flannel’ or ‘give it to me’ or ‘I am.’ It drove me crackers, I hated everything about my ego. It was a flash of everything false and impermanent, which I disliked. But later, I learned from it, to realize that there is somebody else in here apart from old blabbermouth. Who am ‘I’ became the order of the day. Anyway, that’s what came out of it, ‘I Me Mine.’”


Perhaps subconsciously, the song also reflects the clash of egos in the studio as the Beatles moved toward their split.


“‘I Me Mine’ is the ego problem,” George explained. “There are two ‘I’s: the little ‘i’ when people say ‘I am this’; and the big ‘I’ – is duality and ego. There is nothing that isn’t part of the complete whole. When the little ‘i’ merges into the big ‘I’ then you are really smiling!”


George’s epiphany offers insight for us as a New Year dawns.


“The truth within us has to be realized,” George said. “When you realize that, everything else that you see and do and touch and smell isn’t real, then you may know what reality is, and can answer the question ‘Who am I?’”




July 23, 2020

The Beatles: guitar by guitar - a guide to the models that made music history

by Tony Bacon for Guitarist


The Beatles revolutionised music and made the guitar the world's most popular instrument. On the 50th anniversary of their final album, we trace the models that made the magic…


A treasure trove of information, click here to read the entire article.



July 18, 2020

Paul McCartney comments on the passing of civil rights leader John Lewis 


The above image is culled from Paul McCartney's Official Facebook page.



July 17, 2020

George Harrison on business & The Beatles, 1969: CBC Archives



Official "Beautiful Night" video by Paul McCartney is released



Paul McCartney Previews ‘Flaming Pie’ Reissue With ‘Beautiful Night’ EP

Four-song digital release collects four versions of 1997 single

by Daniel Kreps for Rolling Stone magazine


Paul McCartney has shared his new Beautiful Night EP, a four-track digital release that extracts the various versions of the 1997 single from the upcoming Flaming Pie reissue.


The EP includes the Flaming Pie finished version of “Beautiful Night,” McCartney’s 1995 demo for the track, a “run-through” take and the 10-minute in-studio medley focused on the recording of “Beautiful Night” that featured within the single’s B-side “Oobu Joobu Part 5.”


McCartney also re-uploaded his newly remastered video for “Beautiful Night.” The song itself features contributions from Linda McCartney, Jeff Lynne, producer George Martin and McCartney’s former bandmate Ringo Starr, marking one of their first post-Beatles collaborations.


“I’d been saying to Ringo for years that it’d be great to do something, because we’d never really done that much work together outside the Beatles. One night Jeff Lynne suggested, ‘Why don’t you get Ringo in?’ and I said, ‘OK!’ It just sort of happened,” McCartney recalled in a statement. “I had this song ‘Beautiful Night’ which I’d written quite a few years ago. I’d always liked it but I felt I didn’t quite have the right version of it. So I got this song out for when Ringo was coming in, and right away it was just like the old days.”


The massive Flaming Pie reissue, due out July 31st, features McCartney’s intimate home recordings, studio jams, rough mixes, outtakes, audio from his radio show at the time, Oobu Joobu, a documentary about making the record and bonus films.


Beautiful Night EP Tracklist

1. Beautiful Night (Main Album – Remastered)

2. Beautiful Night (1995 Demo)

3. Beautiful Night (Run Through)

4. Oobu Joobu Part 5:


1. And Now (Jingle)

2. Oobu Joobu Main Theme

3. Beautiful Night Chat

4. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Chat About ‘Beautiful Night’

5. Ringo Starr Chat

6. Beautiful Night (Flaming Pie Mix)

7. Beautiful Night (Original Version)

8. Goodbyes

9. Oobu Joobu Main Theme


Related link: Paul McCartney reflects on Beatles reunion, how it inspired ‘Flaming Pie’ album (an in-depth interview with Paul) by Adam Wallis for Global News Canada



July 15, 2020

The Beatles Are Rock's Only Million-Selling Act So Far This Year

by Ryan Reed for Ultimate Classic Rock


The Beatles, 50 years after their final studio LP, are rock's only million-selling act through the first half of 2020.
Factoring in the modern metric of album sales plus album equivalent units (via song downloads and streaming), the group moved 1.094 million units from January through June, according to 
Nielsen's Mid-Year Report. The top five rock list also includes Queen (with 768,000 units), Imagine Dragons (593,000), Fleetwood Mac (565,000) and Metallica (551,000).


The top five rock albums are Queen's Greatest Hits (1) (448,000), Elton John's Diamonds (372,000), Creedence Clearwater Revival's Chronicle, Vol. 1 (299,000), Journey's Greatest Hits (273,000) and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (265,000). The top rock songs are Imagine Dragon's "Believer," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Panic! at the Disco's "High Hopes" and Eagles' "Hotel California."


Queen's Greatest Hits (1) ranked fourth in the top 10 vinyl albums category (56,000 sales), followed by the Beatles' Abbey Road at fifth (54,000 sales) and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon at eighth (44,000).


Comparing music consumption trends from the same period of 2019, the Nielsen report found that streaming has increased, vinyl LP sales are up and both CD and digital album sales continue to plummet.


Despite the music industry's shakiness, the Beatles remain relevant. The same goes for film: Grammy-winning director Jonas Akerlund will helm an upcoming movie, Midas Man, chronicling the life of the band's longtime manager, Brian Epstein. And Peter Jackson is still prepping The Beatles: Get Back, a documentary about the band's infamously tense Let It Be sessions. Both projects are now scheduled for 2021.



July 12, 2020

John Lennon statue tour proposed to mark Beatle's 80th birthday

by The Guardian


Sculptor Laura Lian wants statue of musician to tour boroughs around Merseyside


A sculpture of John Lennon is being proposed for a homecoming tour commemorating the former Beatle in the year he would have turned 80.


The sculptor who made the six-foot bronze statue of Lennon says she would like it to go on public display in the singer’s native Merseyside by 21 September – International Day of Peace.


Laura Lian started sculpting the Lennon statue two years ago. Since its completion, the sculpture has spent most of the time inside the Hard Rock Cafe in London. She wants it to tour all of the boroughs around Merseyside over the next two years. It is currently at the Castle Foundry in Liverpool.


Lian, who has made statues for the former Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, said: “With all the trouble in the world about statues … the pandemic and the strife, it’s so right that Lennon can go back to where he belongs. For my generation growing up amid protests against the Vietnam war and the threat of nuclear war, Lennon was an inspiration in the way he inspired us to dream of peace.


“I had always intended for the statue to have a permanent home up on Merseyside and at one stage it looked like the Lennon statue was going to be erected in the Strawberry Fields area of Liverpool. That project fell through but when the metropolitan mayor of Merseyside, Steve Rotheram, suggested it should go up in the borough of Sefton, I thought that was a great idea. Every year a borough on Merseyside is nominated as the borough of culture and this year it’s Sefton’s turn.”


She added that, given that 2020 marks 80 years since Lennon was born and is also the 40th anniversary of his murder, it “was also apposite that his statue comes home to Liverpool”.


Stephen Watson, the executive director at Sefton council, said: “Sefton has always been proud to support artists, and indeed the borough is already home to a number of acclaimed pieces of art …


“If this statue was to go on tour of Merseyside, we would be willing to maintain an open dialogue with Laura Lian, and other artists, about any future opportunities for artwork to be displayed in our beautiful borough.”



July 10, 2020

Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead At 84

by Corey Irwin for Ultimate Classic Rock



Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.


Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Read More: Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84 |
Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Read More: Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84 |
Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Read More: Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84 |

Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Adams’ death was confirmed by her son, Karl. The photographer reportedly passed on June 26 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, Adams left her hometown to study photography at the Ealing of School of Art. Her early work included architectural pictures, travel photographs and contributions to the Sunday Times newspaper.

Read More: Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84 |

Photographer Fiona Adams, best known for her pictures of classic rock icons including the Beatles, has died at the age of 84.

Adams’ death was confirmed by her son, Karl. The photographer reportedly passed on June 26 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, Adams left her hometown to study photography at the Ealing of School of Art. Her early work included architectural pictures, travel photographs and contributions to the Sunday Times newspaper.

Read More: Fiona Adams, Beatles Photographer, Dead at 84 |

Adams’ death was confirmed by her son, Karl. The photographer reportedly passed on June 26 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.


Born in Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel, Adams left her hometown to study photography at the Ealing of School of Art. Her early work included architectural pictures, travel photographs and contributions to the Sunday Times newspaper.


While working for the London-based magazine Boyfriend in the early ‘60s, Adams career would reach a major turning point. The shutterbug was given the assignment of photographing an up-and-coming pop group called the Beatles.


Rather than doing a traditional studio shoot, Adams elected to capture the Fab Four among the ruins of a London bomb site. “Music was changing,” she later explained, “and I wanted to reflect this with a more dynamic, natural background.”


At the photographer’s direction, the young rockers jumped in the air. Doing so created one of the band’s most timeless images.


“I struggled down into the crater with my heavy camera case,” Adams recalled. “There was a pile of fallen bricks and detritus at the bottom. The boys did their bit and stood patiently – beautifully silhouetted against the sky and the buildings. I set up my camera and shouted: ‘One, two, three – jump!’ And they jumped – twice. Cuban heels and all.”


“I didn’t even think to check whether it was safe or not,” Adams would later admit to friend Lynne Ashton.


The band liked the pictures so much, they elected to use one for the cover of their Twist and Shout EP.


Adams would photograph the Beatles on many more occasions as the band elevated to worldwide superstardom. Though the group’s jumping image would remain the most iconic of her career, it was far from Adams’ only work with legendary artists.


The Rolling StonesDavid Bowie and Jimi Hendrix are among the vaunted rockers to appear in Adams’ material. Arguably the photographer’s most popular non-Beatles image was a 1965 picture of Bob Dylan, capturing the singer as he lounged with a cigarette at London’s Savoy Hotel.


Adams would later marry and have two children, focussing her time on family more than art.


In 2009, the National Portrait Gallery in England featured her work as part of an exhibition called Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed. The exhibit referred to her Beatles picture as “one of the defining images of 20th-century culture,” while Adams was described as “an unsung heroine of the decade.”



July 7, 2020

As Ringo Starr turns 80, he talks about his life, Beatles journey

by Ruben V. Nepales, Inquirernet/Asia News Network


Photo credit: Scott Robert Ritchie


“If I’d have gone and lived in Houston because of Lightnin’ Hopkins, who knows where I would have been?” he asked aloud, referring to what would have happened if, at 19, he immigrated to the United States just to be where his country blues musician idol lived.


“And if I’d have stayed with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, what would have happened there?” Ringo was with the band until he decided to join the Beatles to replace drummer Pete Best.


There was also the matter of Ringo being sickly as a child. He suffered from appendicitis, then a ruptured appendix, pleurisy, food allergies and tuberculosis. Lying in a hospital bed, the 13-year-old was given a little drum by a music teacher. In that instant, Ringo decided that it was the only thing he wanted to do in life—to be a drummer.


He ended up playing drums for the greatest band in rock history, alongside Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. In this recent video call, the man who was considered the Beatles’ heart and soul suddenly showed up on my laptop screen, half an hour early. He thought the interview was at 11:30 in the morning. It was set at noon.


In the few minutes that he stayed and then promised to return at noon, the Beatle, who is known for his happy-go-lucky personality, was easygoing and charismatic as we engaged in small talk.


Wearing a short-sleeved black polo shirt with white palm prints, the bearded man who was born as Richard Henry Parkin Starkey Jr. wore tinted glasses. His dark short hair gave him a youthful look.


Behind him in a corner of his Los Angeles home were walls decorated with a black guitar with white stars, a flag emblazoned with Trojan Jamaica, the reggae label, and further behind, a wall with prints of faces, including what looked like George Harrison’s.


A few minutes before noon, Ringo appeared again on my screen, with the most disarming smile and giving us the peace sign. “Peace and love” is his mantra. He also wore a necklace with a peace sign pendant.


I asked right away a question to finally clear the matter about the Beatles’ unfortunate experience in Manila. In early July 1966, the band’s two concerts in one day were enthusiastically received by thousands of screaming fans.


The concert promoter apparently did not tell the Beatles that he promised then First Lady Imelda Marcos that they would show up in a reception at the Malacañang Palace. The group refused to go to Imelda’s event.


In a piece dated Nov. 3, 2018, a PDI editorial looked back at that incident: “Claiming to be incensed at the way the Fab Four had ‘offended’ the sensibilities of the First Family, particularly Imelda Marcos and her children, when they allegedly snubbed an invitation to join the Marcoses and their friends at a get-together in Malacañang, ‘concerned citizens’ lined up all along the exit route of the world-famous band and inflicted physical punishment on them. The Beatles were kicked, pummeled, pushed, abused and cursed, chased to their plane seats and given indelible memories of Filipino hospitality.”


“Yeah, it was hell,” Ringo recalled. “We didn’t understand it. We came with 25 outriders getting us to the hotel. I was sharing a room with John (Lennon). We put the TV on in the morning and it was like, what the hell’s going on? They didn’t like us. They showed pictures of all the children. Someone with the TV camera going past these kids being miserable because we didn’t turn up.


“And we’ve told them. We are not turning up. Anyway, we left back to the airport with one motorbike and we did get pushed around. But we got on the plane and were off to the next round. We were young lads. We came, we played. That’s all we’re there for. There was a hassle. Though it didn’t mean we didn’t still love the people in the Philippines. It was just a couple of them we didn’t love (laughs). So that’s my story.”


Cutting to the present, Ringo was asked about the escalation of racial issues since the death of George Floyd. The Beatles were noted for refusing to play to segregated audiences.


“It is crazy again,” he agreed. “And we did refuse to play in Mississippi. All our heroes are from Ray Charles to Lightnin’ Hopkins. Stevie Wonder was one of them. The acts we loved were African-American. We said no, we play to people, people are people. That was a first for us and a first for them.


“This year has been such an eye-opener because of George Floyd. They killed him but the weeks after, all the parades in LA, all over America, and it went to England, France. It’s so huge now… We want change.”


Ringo smiled when the chat turned to meeting Yoko Ono for the first time. “I remember it well because I walked into the studio and Yoko was in bed,” Ringo began with a laugh. “We never had our wives (in the studio). My wife Maureen (Cox)—God rest her soul—in the eight years and all the studio time we did … she was there more than 45 minutes over all that time. They (wives) would come in, say hi and leave. Because we were working.


“I went and asked him (John), ‘What’s going on here? We’re in the studio and Yoko is here.’


“John said, ‘What we’re planning is to know exactly—what I’m doing, she’ll know and I’ll know what she’s doing. We will know each other.’ So I was fine after that … she’s a lot of fun.”


Ringo added about the woman who was controversial in the band’s lore. “I’ve never felt uncomfortable with her. I played on the Plastic Ono’s first records, John’s and hers. That’s what it’s about. We’re supporting each other. I saw her the summer before in New York. If I’m there, we say hi.”


As he clearly showed in his affable demeanor on our computer screen, Ringo is comfortable in being part of a band so popular and well-loved that it has sold a whopping 600 million worldwide. But even as early as the ’60s, as the Liverpudlian band began to rise, Ringo had to adjust to the new reality.


“In the beginning, we wanted to make good music and play to audiences, which we did,” said the man who also tried being a railway messenger, barman and engineering firm apprentice. “But we got so big that the price to pay was that you couldn’t go into a restaurant. It actually happened to me. I was eating a meal in a restaurant. I’ve got the fork into my mouth and some woman pushed it out and said, ‘Sign this.’ I said, ‘No, I’m having dinner.’ And she told me—this was like in ’67—‘You ruined your whole career (laughs).’”


And what was the strangest request he got from a female fan? With a laugh, he obliged with, “The weirdest ever was, ‘Have you got a light (laughs)?’ Like I’m going to get into that. Get off (laughs).”


In the never-ending journey of the legendary band, Peter Jackson came up with a new documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, which he created from footage captured by Michael Lindsay-Hoggs for a 1970 documentary on the group.


“We made the documentary (Let It Be) a long time ago,” Ringo explained. “We did the last live show on the roof of the Apple (Corps Limited, a London corporation, not the company cofounded by Steve Jobs) building. We found 56 or 57 hours of unused footage. We asked Peter Jackson, could he help us here? It’s now 46 minutes long (in The Beatles: Get Back) and it’s incredible.


“So it’s a shame because it should have been out this year. We’re all in limbo, in a way.”


On how he is going to mark his big 80th milestone, Ringo shared, “I’m going to celebrate it a little differently than I have for the last 12 years, when we have the peace and love moment. Last year, we celebrated it in Nice. But we started in 2008 in Chicago.


“I’ve asked several of my friends to send me footage from a show they’ve done. I’m using some of mine from the All-Starr’s last year. I’ll be there introducing.”


He added, “Oh yeah, we have friends in the videos. One of them you might know well. Have a guess.”


Paul McCartney? “Ah, you got that one,” he quipped with a grin. The virtual charity concert will hit YouTube on July 7 to benefit Black Lives Matter Global Network and other worthy causes.  


As for his plans beyond the big birthday, Ringo answered, “With the All-Starr, we do one tour a year. Now, I’m doing two tours a year.


“I have many blessings. My children are blessings. I’ve got eight grandkids now and a great grandson. I’m an only child and I look around the table and I go, what? All these people are related to me—that’s far out. And Barbara (actress Bach, his second wife) is in my life—that’s another blessing.


“I’m here, the road I’ve taken was made up of good choices and there were some other choices… And we’re in a great business because we don’t have to retire. And I plan to go on longer than 80.


“On July 7th is my birthday. I hope you’ll spread the word. Everybody goes, ‘Peace and love,’ wherever you are.”


Flashing the peace sign with his fingers, Ringo ended our chat with, “I love you, peace and love, remember on the 7th of July at noon.”


This article appeared on the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post


Cher’s First Single Was a Love Song About Ringo Starr That Got Banned

by Matthew Trzcinski for Showbiz CheatSheet



Cher is one of the biggest icons to come out of the 1960s. Thanks to his time with the Beatles and his solo work, Ringo Starr is an icon of a similar caliber. Both are known for taking on more film roles than most famous singers and for having great senses of humor.


Despite this, people don’t associate Cher with Ringo. Perhaps they should. One of Cher’s first songs was about Ringo — and it became very controversial.


Cher’s love song about Ringo Starr


Cher first became a superstar as a member of the duo Sonny & Cher. She also has an incredibly successful and long-lasting career as a solo artist. Rolling Stone reports her solo career began when she released a song called “Ringo, I Love You” under the stage name Bonnie Jo Mason. Cher would later use the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason when she recorded vocals for the Wu-Tang Clan’s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.


Cher released “Ringo, I Love You” in 1964. According to AllMusic, Sonny & Cher released their debut album in 1965, which means that Cher was trying to be a solo artist before she found success as part of a duo. This is interesting, as some fans believe she began her solo career only after Sonny & Cher disbanded.


“Ringo, I Love You” isn’t exactly considered a classic. It’s not even very well-remembered. However, it had some tremendous talent behind it. According to the book Cher: Strong Enough, Sonny Bono got legendary producer Phil Spector to produce the song. Cher was merely 18-years-old when she recorded the track. In keeping with the song’s Fab Four theme, it was released alongside the B-side “Beatles Blues.”


“Ringo, I Love You” includes some obvious references to the Beatles. The lyric “Ringo, I love you, yeah, yeah, yeah” appears to be a reference to a similar lyric in the chorus of “She Loves You.” In another line of the song, Cher sings “Please let me hold your hand,” a line which recalls the Beatles’ early hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “Ringo, I Love You” is certainly a relic of Beatlemania.


Why the song was banned and then flopped


The song is completely innocuous. However, Cher’s vocals on the song made many people assume she was a man. Because of this, people interpreted “Ringo, I Love You” as a gay love song. Subsequently, “Ringo, I Love You” was banned from the majority of radio stations. The song was a commercial flop.


Very few copies of “Ringo, I Love You” were produced. After all, there wasn’t much of a demand for it. Subsequently, the book Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Beatles … and More! says copies of the track will sell for hundreds of dollars. “Ringo, I Love You” remains a bizarre curiosity item for fans of the Beatles and Cher.



July 6, 2020

Ringo Starr reveals his favourite drumming hero!



On the eve of Ringo Starr's 80th birthday, Financial Times journalist Emanual Levy reveals who Ringo Starr's favourite drummer is.


“It’s always the same question, 'what drummers did you like?' and I would say, I was listening to records as records, I wasn’t listening for the drummers.” But he does name one. “My hero is [American jazz drummer] Cozy Cole; I just love what he did because he did tom-tom stuff.”


For the complete article please read: Ringo Starr on turning 80, racial equality and the coming Beatles film


Photo by Ralph F. Seghers (from Wikipedia)



July 5, 2020

The Beatles manager Brian Epstein is the subject of a new biopic film

by the Far Out staff


Brian Epstein, the hugely celebrated music manager who was given the title as the “fifth Beatle”, will be the subject of a new biopic film.


The film, entitled Midas Man: The Brian Epstein Story, is being directed by Jonas Åkerlund who recently directed the black metal film Lords of Chaos. Åkerlund is a filmmaker with close affiliation to the world of music and previously directed music videos for the likes of Beyoncé, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and more.


“Brian Epstein’s story has everything I’m looking for in a story … it’s all about Brian’s singularity for me,” Åkerlund said in a statement to Variety. 


Adding: “I love that Brian seemed to know every step of the way what no one else knew, he saw things that no one else saw. His vision was astonishing, he created a culture that didn’t exist. The film is more like touring Brian’s mind and what it was like to be him than how one thing led to another chronologically. I want to bring him back to life.”


The film, which aims to chronicle Epstein’s life, is being described as “the definitive telling of a life story,” by production staff. “The first, last and most respectful filmic portrait ever painted of Brian Epstein. And one which helps him achieve something he dreamed of in life, but never achieved: to become a star of the silver screen.”


“It is simply a fantastic human story, worth telling, of a remarkable man whose life’s work was to make others more remarkable. He is not a footnote of the cultural revolution of the sixties,” a synopsis adds. “His story adds depth and dimension to the explosion of rock and roll and many artists other than The Beatles, deepening and enriching the cultural heft of this shared inheritance by creating a new way of seeing the sixties and the impact that Liverpool had on the world, through his bands, artists and their music.”


The film, which is being shot in London, Liverpool and in the US, is being pencilled in for a 2021 release.


















A Tree Dedicated to John Lennon in New York City

by Mike Mishkin for I Love the Upper West


A tree on 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam has been “yarn-bombed” by visual artist Carmen Paulino, who collaborated with Knitty City for the project. It was designed as a tribute to John Lennon on Monday.


The tree can be found on the south side of the street – right outside the Knitty City location at 208 West 79th Street.


Carmen Paulino is a visual artist who works on providing community art programming in hospitals, community centers, and senior centers around New York City. Raised in the El Barrio section of New York City, her love for the arts was inspired by the murals in her diverse neighborhood, and her father performed as a musician in several traditional salsa bands. As a young child, she watched her mother and grandmother knit, crochet, and sew unique traditional quilts and patterns. These experiences inspired her to develop her own techniques and produce her own mixed media works that incorporate her own life experiences, visuals from her immediate surroundings, and the inspiration that comes from living in a diverse melting pot of cultures.

OBS footnote: the above article was originally posted on June 25, 2020.


Cirque du Soleil Bankruptcy Also Involves the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Blue Man Group, and Quebec– Not Just Flying Acrobats - by Roger Friedman for Showbiz 411


When anyone says Cirque du Soleil you think of flying acrobats, nameless, faceless bodies from shows with strange names.


But the recent bankruptcy filing from Cirque du Soleil also affects the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Blue Man Group. and the french province of Quebec. They are all screwed.


Cirque du Soleil has at least $1 billion in debt, and that’s from long before the coronavirus. Bad management made them vulnerable to COVID-19, certainly. The ceasing of all live performances everywhere did them in.


But it’s not just those awesome shows we’ve seen with the lights, tumbling, water, and so on. When Cirque laid off almost 4,000 people last week, they were certainly at the top of the list.


But Cirque du Soleil puts on the amazing Beatles show, “Love,” at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas; the Michael Jackson show called “One” at Mandalay Bay in Vegas, and Blue Man Group everywhere including its home, New York, on Lafayette Street. They have all been closed since March 15th and may never return.


Also on hook are the good people of Quebec, the French province of Canada. Their publicly invested funds bailed out Cirque du Soleil because that’s where it came from. Creator Guy Laliberté started Cirque there. But those funds are gone, maybe $400 million.


In February, perhaps sensing the end was near, Laliberte sold his 10-percent minority interest to the Canadian investment company Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). They are now left holding the bag with TPG, the San Francisco-based investment firm that bought 60-percent stake in 2015. The ownership group also includes China’s Fosun Capital Group, headquartered in Shanghai. Laliberte earned a possible $1.5 billion in the TPG deal, and is said to be worth $2 billion.


But Cirque du Soleil is left high and dry. And so are the “Love” and “One” shows. They have no performances set until August 1st, when their reservations start working again for ticket sales. But if everyone’s been laid off, who’s going to be Eleanor Rigby or dance to “Billie Jean”?


A Jackson insider told me: “Right now they can’t reopen the shows because of the virus. Once they are able to reopen the shows they will. They’re waiting for input from bankruptcy counsel to make sure they will get paid when the show reopens. TPG — as private equity companies will do  — hampered the company up by putting $1.2 billion of debt on the company and taking the money out.”


I’ve never seen “One,” but I feel like I have a PhD in “Love.” When it opened on June 30, 2006 I went out to the Mirage and was given an extensive education by George Martin, et al into the whole background. Paul, Ringo, Yoko, and Olivia Harrison were all there. And everyone returned for the 1 year anniversary. It’s been a money maker for the Beatles and very good for their brand. (I went back a third time, years later, with Lou Ferrigno and his wife, and we had a ball.)


So we’ll keep an eye on this. If you know anything, or you were part of these shows, drop me a line at


Ringo Starr On Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ Documentary: “There’s A Lot More Joy”

by Paul Sexton for


“We’re having fun, we’re playing, you know,” said Ringo of his reaction when he saw some of the footage.


Ringo Starr has been sharing his thoughts and early impressions of the much-anticipated The Beatles: Get Back documentary. The film, directed by Peter Jackson, had been due for release this summer by Apple Corps Ltd and WingNut Films, distributed by Disney. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now scheduled for 21 August 2021.


Starr was speaking at a virtual press conference earlier this week to publicise plans for his 80th birthday celebrations on 7 July. He revealed that he had seen some portions of Jackson’s new interpretation of the many hours of footage filmed around the making of The Beatles’ Let It Be album. Notably, he added, of the group’s famous rooftop performance that will be central to the upcoming documentary.


“I was disappointed [when the film’s release was delayed] because, I mean, I’d only seen the on-the-roof stuff that Peter edited together,” said Ringo. He observed that the new treatment vastly expands on Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 film Let It Be and casts the album sessions in a new and much more positive light.


“It was, I’m guessing ten minutes long,” said Ringo of the rooftop edit in the earlier film. “It’s now 36 minutes long and it is incredible…you know, he was still putting the rest of the documentary together his way.


“You know how it started,” Ringo continued. “We found 56 hours of unused footage. So we have plenty to play with. And I always believed that the one that came out was a bit dull and it stuck to one second of what happened between the boys.


“When he comes into L.A.,” explained Ringo of his meetings with Jackson. “I’ll bring up his iPad Theater [app, to view the footage] and he’ll show me ‘Look, we’re all laughing or telling jokes. We’re having fun, we’re playing, you know, we’re always playing and there’s a lot more joy.” Starr concluded by explaining that Jackson has not been able to return to the studio since February.


Rush's Geddy Lee Recalls What He Thought of Led Zeppelin 1st Time He Heard Them, Shares Honest Opinion on Paul McCartney's Bass Playing - by staff


During a conversation with Rolling Stone, Rush bassist Geddy Lee looked back on the first time he saw Led Zeppelin when they were promoting their debut, self-titled album, "Led Zeppelin I" was released in early 1969. Geddy commented:


"Zeppelin were a huge influence on my band. And our original drummer, John Rutsey [who was in the band between 1968 and 1974] - he happened to be at the very first gig in Toronto, at a place called the Rock Pile.


"He came home raving about that band, and so the day that first album dropped, we were lined up the store to get it. And I remember running home to my house and putting it on.


"And the three of us just sat around my record in the room, listening to the first Zeppelin record, and just blown away by the tone of the band, first of all. They were really, for us, the first heavy band.


"And we could hear all those blues riffs and all the sound that they had, and how they sort of had grown out of the blues-rock movement of England, and yet they brought, through Jimmy Page's guitar, all these more ethereal moments.


"But the thing that held the whole thing down was John Paul Jones' bass playing. If you listen to 'How Many More Times,' I mean, no matter how wild that song gets at times, there's John Paul Jones just holding it all down in such a fluid way.


"And he's one of those guys that did not have a twangy sound, but nonetheless, his bass was always loud and proud, and such an integral part and such interesting melodies.


"As they progressed as a band, his musical impact was clear, that it was such a huge musical impact in the final result of what Led Zeppelin sounded like.


"I mean, if you listen to what's going on - a song like 'What Is and What Should Never Be,' where would that song be without the bass part? It is unbelievable. It's such a well-written and fluid and dextrous bass part, that it just finishes it off.


"Not only do I have so much respect for him as a player, but he's such a lovely man. Such a generous guy. [When we met for an interview for my book,] he was so generous with his time.


"We had such a great time visiting together and hanging out for an afternoon, talking about his past and basses. Really considerate dude. Really, I just can't say enough good things about him."


Geddy also talked about The Beatles and Paul McCartney, saying:


"[McCartney] gets overlooked as a bassist, but as a pop bassist goes, he's such a melodic player. And you're talking about a guy who wasn't originally the bass player for the band... He adapted, of course, and he picked it up.


"I just find his story really interesting, as a bass player. So he comes at the instrument from a much more melodic place, and you really hear that in a lot of Beatle music.



"And if you listen to 'Taxman,' or if you listen to 'Come Together,' and a range of music in between, that bass part is always so round. It's always so bouncy and melodic, and I think that's really no small part of the infectious nature of Beatles songs. It really added a great element to those songs.


"I think he was sort of subconsciously working his way into my psyche as a bass player. Although the style of music that I played wasn't The Beatles style of music, I did have great respect for them.


"We used to play a version of a song called 'Bad Boy' that was fashioned sort of after a song that the Beatles did. The Beatles did a cover of that as well. So we all listened to the Beatles...


"I was always respectful of what Paul McCartney brought to the Beatles, not only as a singer - but as a bass player."



July 3, 2020

Ringo to celebrate 80th birthday with Starr studded charity broadcast, "Ringo's Big Birthday Show"


Show to air on Ringo's Youtube channel on July 7, 2020 at 5pm PST (8pm EST) featuring performances from  Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney Joe Walsh Gary Clark Jr Sheryl Crow Sheila E. Ben Harper


Ringo also continues his peace and love initiative and invites everyone everywhere to think, say or post #peaceandlove at noon on July 7th and fans are organizing online celebrations around the world.




June 30, 2020

 ‘RS Interview: Special Edition’ With Ringo Starr

Starr celebrates his 80th birthday with an in-depth video interview, along with a July 7th virtual charity show

by Brian Hiatt for Rollling Stone Magazine


Ringo Starr’s 80th birthday is coming up on July 7th, and we’re celebrating with an in-depth conversation on the latest episode of the Rolling Stone Interview: Special Edition video series. “Man, I’m only 24 in here,” Starr says, pointing to his head. “And I’m still doing what I love to do. I’m still in the music business.”


In the interview, Starr talks about his longevity (one secret: “broccoli with everything and blueberries in the morning”); life in isolation (“I haven’t left the house in 11 weeks now”); hanging out with Keith Moon and John Bonham (“that’s two handfuls”); the early years of his solo career; Peter Jackson’s upcoming Let It Be-era Beatles documentary; missing George Harrison and John Lennon; and playing “Helter Skelter” on stage with Paul McCartney last year for the first time since he recorded it.


Click here to read the entire report.




June 26, 2020

The most difficult thing George Harrison found writing songs for The Beatles

by Joe Taysom for Far Out



George Harrison wrote some of The Beatles finest songs and undoubtedly came into his own as their career advanced, forcing himself in between the principle songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. As Abbey Road acted as his coming-of-age party, Harrison stole the show with a glorious pair of songs that he brought to the table which was, of course, the majestic ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’.


Writing Beatles songs didn’t come easy for George, a conflict which meant that his output was few and far between. While the personal power struggles continued to manifest, Harrison was being restricted and was not being anywhere near as prolific as Lennon or McCartney—but when he did write something, it was usually utterly magnificent.


Considering that only 22 songs written by Harrison would find their way onto records by The Fab Four, it’s not all that controversial to state that his success rate was arguably higher than Lennon or McCartney—even if he doesn’t get the deserved credit.


Harrison was never one who to chase stardom, nor did he want to make himself the centre of attention. The musician dubbed the ‘Quiet Beatle’ tended to go about his business in a nonchalant manner, a factor which meant that if he didn’t think a song was good enough then he was never going to force his bandmates to record it.


By 1969, Harrison had confirmed himself as a gifted songwriter and candidly revealed about why he sometimes struggled writing for The Beatles: “The most difficult thing for me is following Paul’s and John’s songs. Their earlier songs weren’t as good as they are now, and they obviously got better and better, and that’s what I have to do. I’ve got about 40 tunes which I haven’t recorded, and some of them I think are quite good. I wrote one called ‘The Art Of Dying’ three years ago, and at that time I thought it was too far out, but I’m still going to record it. I used to have a hang-up about telling John and Paul and Ringo I had a song for the albums, because I felt at that time as if I was trying to compete. I don’t want the Beatles to be recording rubbish for my sake just because I wrote it — and on the other hand, I don’t want to record rubbish just because they wrote it. The group comes first.”


It’s safe to say that Harrison’s high standards meant that when he did have an idea that he deemed worth sharing, his bandmates tended to agree and his unselfishness attitude played a pivotal role in The Beatles lasting as long at the top as they did.


Editorial: The above article has been edited by the Ottawa Beatles Site for brevity sake.



June 23, 2020

Paul McCartney plays trumpet on "When The Saints Go Marching In" with Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl

by Martin Kielty for UCR


Paul McCartney returned to his roots when he appeared on a fundraising broadcast and played trumpet on “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

He was joined by Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, Dave Matthews, Jim James, Irma Thomas and Nathaniel Rateliff during the benefit performance for the New Orleans Preservation Hall Foundation, with funds directed to helping musicians during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can watch McCartney’s rusty performance, as well as the full show, below.

As The Daily Beatle points out, “When the Saints Go Marching In” was the first single the Beatles ever appeared on; they were credited as the Beat Brothers along with headlining singer Tony Sheridan in 1961. The song was re-released three years later, along with A-side “My Bonnie,” by which time it was credited to the Beatles with Sheridan.

McCartney began learning to play the trumpet after he was given one for his 14th birthday, but he soon gave up on it. In the book The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years, Perez Benitez notes, “Although he could eventually play a C-major scale, ‘The Saints Go Marching In’ and a few other things on the trumpet, McCartney quickly realized that it was going to be difficult for him to both sing and play a trumpet at the same time. Accordingly, with his father’s permission, he traded in the first instrument he ever owned for that Zenith acoustic guitar.”

“The members of our Musical Collective serve in vital community roles: as mentors, teaching artists and tradition bearers,” the Preservation Hall Foundation said in a statement. “Providing for their well-being during this crisis will ensure a solid future for the generations of New Orleans musicians still to come. Spotify is matching all donations to help us provide support and resources to the members of our collective. Through its COVID-19 Music Relief initiative, Spotify has pledged to match up to $10 million in donations to its nonprofit partners around the world.”


Some early photographs of John Lennon taken on November 6, 1963 at the Northampton ABC Cinema in the U.K.





June 22, 2020

Inside John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s $47.5 Million Former Palm Beach Estate - It's guaranteed to give any buyer Instant Karma

by Howard Walker for Robb Report


Photo credit: Andy Frame


When John Lennon spent a few days in Palm Beach, Fla. back in 1974, he told a local newspaper reporter: “I really like it here. I really don’t want to leave Palm Beach. I’d like to own a piece of it.”


Strange as it may sound, that’s exactly what the former Beatle did. In January 1980, he and wife Yoko Ono paid $725,000 for the landmark oceanfront compound known as El Solano on Palm Beach’s billionaire row, South Ocean Boulevard.


The plan had been for the couple to use the massive Spanish-style mansion, designed by famed 1920s architect Addison Mizner, as a retreat from grueling New York winters. They had big plans to renovate the iconic property.


Tragically, just 11 months later, Lennon was murdered outside his apartment at the Dakota building in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. While Ono went on to complete the restoration, she sold the mansion in 1986 for $3.15 million.


Now, for the first time since 2016, El Solano is back on the market with a $47.5 million asking price.


It’s currently owned by John and Cindy Sites, who bought the seven-bedroom, 14,000-square-foot estate four years ago for just over $23 million. John Sites, 68, is a former EVP at failed investment giant Bear Stearns and currently a partner at Wexford Capital. His wife founded the Go Figure barre fitness chain.


Set on a lush 1.3-acre lot with 180 feet of prime Atlantic oceanfront, the estate has no shortage of high-profile neighbors. Next door, author James Patterson owns a 20,000-square-foot compound, crooner Rod Stewart has a 17,000-square-foot spread close by and less than a mile away is President Trump’s 62,500-square-foot Mar-a-Lago club.


Built in 1925, the estate was originally owned by Mizner himself, whose Mediterranean-style designs defined the “look” of Palm Beach. The architect quickly sold El Solano—named for Solano County, in California where he grew up—to yacht-racer Harold S. Vanderbilt who lived there a number of years.


Gates open on to the no-parking-allowed South Ocean Boulevard from the property’s narrow driveway and the main home’s side entrance. Set on three levels, the home has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a huge 40-foot-by-25-foot grand salon, a library and spectacular oceanfront dining room.


On the expansive grounds, hidden behind towering hedgerows are two swimming pools—one for sunrise, the main one for sunsets—a tennis court, beachfront cabana, a two-story pool house with guest suite, and a three-car garage, where Lennon parked his much-loved red Cadillac.


“El Solano is a true oceanfront palace with all the grandeur you would expect of the 1920s,” says Christian Angle, of Christian Angle Real Estate who holds the listing.


That grandeur includes many of the home’s original ornate architectural details, like the exquisite hand-stenciled wooden ceilings, the elaborate crystal and wrought-iron chandeliers, its grand stone and wrought iron staircase, and carved stone fireplaces.


The huge, oceanfront master wing covers most of the upper level and features a 30-foot-by-18-foot bedroom and an adjoining study that leads to a sitting room. Here there are separate bathrooms, an office and huge walk-in closet, with everything decorated in soft pastels.


With an uninterrupted view of the ocean from the master suite, it’s easy to imagine Lennon opening up the curtains every morning and singing to himself a few verses of that Beatles classic “Here Comes the Sun.”


Photo credit: Andy Frame


Photo credit: Andy Frame


Photo credit: Andy Frame



June 19, 2020

Penny Lane: Museum finds 'no evidence' of slavery link

by the BBC News services


There is "no historical evidence" to link Penny Lane to Liverpool slave merchant James Penny, the city's slavery museum has said.


The International Slavery Museum (ISM) included the street in a display when it opened in 2007, as the link to Penny "was in the wider public domain".


The truth of the link has been debated ever since and recently, belief in it led to street signs being defaced.


The ISM said "comprehensive research" had now shown there was no connection.


Janet Dugdale, National Museums Liverpool's executive director of museums and participation, said that after reviewing the display with historians and local schoolchildren, "we anticipate that our first action will be to replace the Penny Lane street sign with another".


Much of Liverpool's 18th Century wealth came from the slave trade and, by the 1740s, the city was Europe's most-used slave port.


Many of the city's streets have names linked to slavery, including Sir Thomas Street, named after the co-owner of one of the first slave ships to sail from Liverpool, and The Goree, which shares its name with an island off Senegal that was used as a base to trade for slaves.


UPDATE JUNE 22, 2020: See also: "The Windy History of Penny Lane, the Slave Trade and a Now-Resolved Controversy" by Brenna Ehrlich for Rolling Stone Magazine.  



June 18, 2020

Ringo Starr gives his June 2020 update




June 17, 2020

The Beatles' Penny Lane 'in danger of being renamed if slavery link proven', says Liverpool city mayor

by Rory O'Connor, Smooth Radio 97-108



Liverpool's Penny Lane, made famous by The Beatles, is "in danger of being renamed" if links to slavery are found, the city's regional mayor has said.


Steve Rotherham, the mayor of the Liverpool city region, says he "doesn't believe" the road is named after 18th century slave merchant James Penny.


Walls and road signs on Penny Lane were defaced last week after claims of the name's origin circulated on social media.


However, there is currently no evidence to support the suggestion that the road was named after James.


Steve said: "If it is as a direct consequence of that road being called Penny Lane because of James Penny, then that needs to be investigated.


"Something needs to happen and I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed.


"But, of course, there is no evidence that is the fact. Just imagine not having a Penny Lane and the Beatles' song not being about somewhere.


He added to Sky News: "I don't believe it is associated with James Penny," noting he himself is a "massive Beatles fan who has done a bit of reading on this", suggesting that Penny Lane was instead associated with a toll that was once paid in that area - in pennies - to cross the road.


The song 'Penny Lane' was released by The Beatles in February 1967 and the road draws thousands of tourists to the area each year.


Steve continued: "It needs to be investigated and then, if it's found as a direct link then action can be taken.


"Of course, the song wasn't written about James Penny, it was written about an area that The Beatles, when they were off elsewhere, were reminiscing about.


"It's a lovely song and hopefully we'll come to an amicable solution on this one."


Liverpool's International Slavery Museum has said evidence linking Penny Lane to James Penny is "not conclusive".


A spokesperson said the museum is "actively carrying out research on this particular question".


OTTAWA BEATLES SITE EDITORIAL: Paul McCartney never had any racist intentions when he wrote and composed Penny Lane. The people who have vandalized the signage in Liverpool clearly have their historical facts mixed up. As the article notes, a penny toll was established in that area and Paul used his memories to help visualize a song, hence the title "Penny Lane." It proved to be effective because here in Ottawa, on February 24, 1967, the CFRA Hit Parade listed "Penny Lane" as the number 1 song upon its immediate release, nudging out the Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday" which fell to second place.



June 16, 2020

The Spiritualism of George Harrison


This is a great folk-rock song from George Harrison released as a single in 1973. George, in his book "I Me Mine" wrote the following about his number 1 hit song: "GIVE ME LOVE. Sometimes you open your mouth and you don't know what you are going to say, and whatever comes out is the starting point. If that happens you are lucky ─ it can usually be turned into a song. This song is prayer and personal statement between me, the Lord, and whoever likes it."




June 13, 2020

Beatles Surprise Disappointment as Peter Jackson's "Let It Be" Documentary Delayed by a Year

by Roger Friedman for Showbiz 411


Disney has announced that Peter Jackson’s “Let it Be” documentary about the Beatles has been delayed by a year. It was supposed to be released on September 4th. Now it’s set for August 2021. If it ever comes out.


What is now also up in the air is a 50th anniversary edition of the “Let it Be” album or any kind of re-release of the original “Let it Be” film. Internet detectives can find the film floating around on the web, but officially it’s out of print.


The Jackson doc was supposed to take Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s original footage and rearrange it to make the Beatles look happier and less at each other’s throats during the making of their penultimate album. As it turned out, after making the album and the film they went on to make their masterpiece, “Abbey Road.” “Let it Be” was issued after “Abbey Road” as the Beatles broke up.


The “Let it Be” film does show the group in a tense moment. Paul McCartney is calling the shots. John Lennon is using Yoko Ono as an ally and shield. George Harrison is trying to be zen, although his facade cracks at one point and he gets a bit put out with Paul. Ringo is just doing his thing, although a highlight moment is the drummer playing a newly written “Octopus’s Garden” for George on the piano.


The Beatles legacy is so Rushmore-ish now that I’m sure there’s internal squabbling among the principals about the tone of the documentary. Frankly, they should just re-release the old movie and be done with it. The reality is that they made “Abbey Road,” broke up, fought in public, made amends, and were friends before Lennon, and then Harrison, died. Everyone loves them, and no opinions will be changed by fans now seeing “Let it Be” in its original form.


The Beatles: UNEARTHED first Abbey Road performance demo sparks £5 million court battle

By George Simpson for the Express


Back in June 1962, The Beatles performed at Abbey Road Studios for the first time. A demo of their performance was recorded by EMI, but the label told their employee – sound engineer Geoff Emerick – to destroy it since it was of poor quality. The footage includes the song Love Me Do and was shot before Ringo Starr joined The Beatles as drummer.


However, Emerick secretly kept a hold of the demo in its original box in his safe at home in Los Angeles.


The sound engineer died aged 72 in 2018 and the piece of Beatles history was unearthed by his estate.


Now a court battle worth millions is set to take place in California on Tuesday between Universal Music Group – who acquired EMI in 2012 – and Emerick’s estate.


A source told The Sun: “It’s an amazing find.”


The insider continued: “It’s been estimated at £5million but could be worth much more.


“Despite wanting it destroyed, Universal all these years later want it back. They know how huge this find is.”


In the dispute, Emerick’s family believe they are entitled to keep the demo due to finder’s law.


However, Universal argues that law doesn’t apply in this instance since Emerick was told to destroy the recording.



June 12, 2020

The highly acclaimed "Flaming Pie" album from Paul McCartney set for special Archive Collection release



On 31st July, Paul’s critically acclaimed and universally beloved tenth solo album Flaming Pie will be the latest to receive the Archive Collection treatment, being released on formats including a 5CD/2DVD/4LP Collector’s Edition, a 5CD/2DVD Deluxe Edition, plus 3LP, 2LP and 2CD editions.


All digital pre-orders for the Archive Collection release of Flaming Pie will include ‘Young Boy’ EP. Also available as a stand alone purchase, the EP recreates the 1997 ‘Young Boy’ maxi single and features the remastered Flaming Pie single ‘Young Boy,’ a home recorded version of the song, the original B-side ‘Looking For You,’ and excerpts of ‘Oobu Joobu Part 1’ also from the original single. The two music videos for the track have been restored and will also be published on the same day.


Two additional EPs will be available for pre-order with 'The World Tonight' arriving on June 26 and 'Beautiful Night' on July 17.


Originally released May 5, 1997, Flaming Pie ended a four-year gap between McCartney studio albums. Recorded largely in the wake of Paul’s involvement in the curation and release of The Beatles Anthology series, Flaming Pie was shaped and inspired by that experience, with Paul remarking at the time “(The Beatles Anthology) reminded me of The Beatles' standards and the standards that we reached with the songs. So in a way it was a refresher course that set the framework for this album.” Produced by Paul, Jeff Lynne and George Martin and featuring a supporting cast of family and friends including Ringo Starr, Steve Miller, Linda McCartney and son James, Flaming Pie is equal parts a masterclass in songcraft and a sustained burst of joyful spontaneity. With highlights ranging from the uplifting and inspirational opener 'The Song We Were Singing' to the raucous title track (named for a quote from an early John Lennon interview on the origin of The Beatles’ name: "It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, 'from this day on you are Beatles with an A.’”) to the pensive 'Calico Skies,' and featuring singles 'Young Boy,' 'The World Tonight' and 'Beautiful Night,' Flaming Pie would represent yet another pinnacle in Paul’s solo catalogue: Released to rapturous reviews, the album would be Paul’s most commercially successful release of the ‘90s, achieving his highest chart positions since the ‘80s and would receive gold certifications in the US, UK, Japan and more.


As the thirteenth release in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, Flaming Pie will be available in formats including a numbered, limited seven-disc (5CD/2DVD) Deluxe Edition Box Set comprised of the original album remastered at Abbey Road Studios, 32 bonus audio tracks including unheard home recordings and demos, alternative studio recordings, rough mixes and B-sides including selections from Oobu Joobu parts 1-6, Flaming Pie At The Mill CD (Paul’s hour-long tour of his studio), video content including the In The World Tonight documentary, original music videos, EPKs, interviews, performances and behind-the-scenes material, a 128-page book containing previously unpublished images by Linda McCartney, expanded album artwork from the archives and the story behind the album written by Chris Heath – including track-by-track information, recipes and new interviews with Paul, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Steve Miller and key album personnel, studio notes, handwritten lyrics, the 1997 Flaming Pie issue of Club Sandwich, the official newspaper of the Paul McCartney Fanclub, downloadable 24bit 96kHz HD audio, and more.


A 4LP/5CD/2DVD Collector’s Edition — strictly limited to 3,000 numbered copies issued in a cloth wrapped two-piece collector’s box — will feature everything in the Deluxe Edition plus a marbled art print portfolio of six silkscreened Linda McCartney art prints, exclusive vinyl versions of the remastered album cut at half speed across 2LPs in an exclusive gatefold sleeve, an LP of home recordings in a hand-stamped white label sleeve, and “The Ballad of the Skeletons” – Paul’s 1996 collaboration with Allen Ginsberg, also featuring Philip Glass and Lenny Kaye – released for the first time on vinyl and cut at 45 RPM with vinyl etching and poster.


Additional Flaming Pie Archive Collection formats will include 2CD (remastered album + 21 tracks of bonus audio), 2LP (remastered album cut at half speed across two 180g LPs in gatefold sleeve with booklet), and 3LP (remastered album cut at half speed across two 180g LPs in gatefold sleeve with booklet, plus single 180g LP of unreleased home recordings in hand-stamped white label sleeve both housed in a slipcase). The release will also be available on streaming platforms.


For the complete track listing, please read: Paul McCartney To Release Deluxe Edition of Flaming Pie by Paul Cashmere for the Noise 11 network.



June 5, 2020

Paul McCartney's poignant viewpoints on racism




June 4, 2020

Retro Flashback! The Canadian Brass does an extraordinary cover version of "Penny Lane"



Max Tetsoshvili does an excellent Ukulele cover of Paul McCartney's "Ram On"




May 27, 2020

Retro Flashback! The Beatles release "Please Please Me" single and makes its debut at #16 in "Pop Weekly"

by John Whelan


Ottawa Beatles Site owner Tony Copple once told me how he got hooked on the Beatles. He was at a dance and he heard "Please Please Me" for the very first time. They played "Please Please Me" over and over and over again. He was hooked on the band and their unique rock and roll sound. So, Tony, how did the song do when it was released in your country? If you look at the "Pop Weekly" chart entry, you will discover that the new Beatles single made an impressive entry at #16 in the pop charts on February 9, 1963. "Please Please Me" would eventually go to #1 spot on "Britain's Top Thirty" category in the "Pop Weekly" edition dated March 2, 1963.


Of particular interest in the write-up below under "Classified Advertisements" is the address for the Official Beatles Fan Club that was runned by Fredia Kelly, the clubs President. She was also secretary to Brian Epstein.


Click on the "Pop Weekly" hit parade to see an early photo of the Beatles on the front cover of the magazine... 




May 22, 2020

Paul McCartney leads tributes to ‘funky pixie’ who shaped The Beatles’ image

by Ben Hendry for the Aberdeen Press and Journal


Photo taken by Astrid Kirchherr


The Beatles would not have been the band they were if not for the creative touch of photographer and “funky pixie” Astrid Kirchherr. The German artist helped shape the Fab Four’s distinctive image in their early years and even inspired their signature “mop top” haircuts. Now, following her death at the age of 81, Paul McCartney had led tributes to the “lovely lady” with a “cheeky grin”.


He said: “Very sad news this week about Astrid Kirchherr. Astrid was a dear friend from my Hamburg days with The Beatles.


“Astrid looked unique. She had a short blond haircut and wore a slim black, leather outfit which made her look like a funky pixie.


“Astrid took beautiful photographs of us. She used black and white film and achieved a stunning mood in her pictures that we all loved.


“I have so many fond memories of our time together in the club or her home or a trip to the nearby seaside resort, Lübeck.


“So sad for all of us who were her friends to lose such a lovely lady from our lives. I will miss her but will always remember her and her cheeky grin with great fondness.”


She first photographed the unknown Beatles in 1960 as a 22-year-old, shooting them in leather jackets in her hometown of Hamburg to help form their distinctive image at that time.


The band were a five-piece then and Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe, the group’s original bass guitarist, began a relationship soon after.


Her 1962 portraits of John Lennon and George Harrison influenced the cover of the 1963 album With the Beatles.


And it was Kirchherr who styled the hair-do sported by her then Beatle boyfriend Sutcliffe, which led to the rest of the band adopting it as they set out on world domination.


In 1967 she married Liverpool drummer Gibson Kemp, who worked in the group Paddy, Klaus and Gibson.


They divorced in 1974 and Kirchherr had a short marriage to a German businessman. She stopped taking photographs professionally, for a time working as an interior designer, and later worked for Kemp in his English restaurant in Hamburg.


Kirchherr’s photography of The Beatles was collated into a 2018 book, Astrid Kirchherr with the Beatles.


Related link: An interview with Astrid Kircherr by David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching




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


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.


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 |



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