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January 31, 2024
The Estate of Stuart Sutcliffe, Artist and Original Beatles Member, Is Selling Its Entire Collection
The archive includes Sutcliffe's artworks and early Beatles memorabilia.
By Min Chen for Artnet

For more than two decades, Diane Vitale has helped steward the estate of artist and original member of the Beatles, Stuart Sutcliffe. At its heart is a collection that numbers hundreds of objects, comprising artworks, letters, notes, photographs, memorabilia, and other ephemera. “It really goes on and on,” she said of its contents, which document Sutcliffe’s life and work in vivid detail. But now, Vitale is ready to let it all go.


The Sutcliffe estate is currently seeking a buyer to acquire its entire collection—a trove that doesn’t just capture an abstract artist in bloom, but logs the formation of one of the world’s most beloved bands. It promises to be a goldmine for art as much as music historians, if they’ll bite. 


“To be very honest with you, I’d love to give that responsibility to someone else,” Vitale told me over the phone, speaking about the management of a repository that consumes most of her days.


The collection was begun and built by Sutcliffe’s younger sister, Pauline Sutcliffe, over the decades following his untimely death in the 1960s. Her main goal, Vitale emphasized, was to establish her brother as an artist apart from the Beatles. This, she accomplished with exhibitions of his work, the 2001 book The Beatles’ Shadow, and Sutcliffe’s inclusion in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 


Pauline died in 2019. Since then, Vitale has been single-handedly administering the estate as CEO and fulfilling Pauline’s other wish: to keep the collection intact. It remains top of mind as she embarks on its sale. 


“I’d like to keep it together,” she said. “That was Pauline’s dream from the very beginning.”



Sutcliffe was born in 1940 in Edinburgh, Scotland, before his father relocated the family to Liverpool, the U.K., to seek work ahead of the war. At 16, he attended the Liverpool College of Art, excelling in painting and befriending one John Lennon. The pair became close companions: as students, they shared an apartment which they painted yellow and black on a lark. Their bond was such that another friend, Paul McCartney, grew jealous. 


“I looked up to Stu. I depended on him to tell me the truth,” Lennon once reflected. “Stu would tell me if something was good and I’d believe him.”


Early in 1960, Lennon and McCartney convinced Sutcliffe to purchase a bass guitar using the proceeds from a painting he’d sold, and join their rock ‘n’ roll band. Originally dubbed the Quarrymen, the group was renamed the Beatals at Sutcliffe’s suggestion, then Silver Beatles, then simply, the Beatles. By August, they had landed in Hamburg, Germany, for a three-month club residency. There, their 17-year-old guitarist George Harrison was deported for being underage, McCartney and drummer Pete Best were arrested for light arson, and Sutcliffe fell in love.



Photographer Astrid Kirchherr was in the audience at one of the Beatles’s club gigs, where she was bowled over by their raucous set. “All I wanted was to be with them and to know them,” she recalled. And she did: Kirchherr shot some of the earliest photographs of the leather-clad band with her Rolleicord camera. She also began dating Sutcliffe; the couple was engaged by the end of 1960. 


Inspired by the beatnik Kirchherr, Sutcliffe opted to rededicate himself to art. He left the Beatles and Liverpool, moved in with the Kirchherr family, and began attending classes at the Hamburg College of Art under the tutelage of sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi. But, alas, not for long: in April 1962, Sutcliffe suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in Kirchherr’s arms, in an ambulance en route to a hospital. He was 21. 



In the years following his death, Sutcliffe’s sister has assiduously amassed an archive in his name. Today, it encompasses some 400 paintings, sketches, and drawings, and 200 other artifacts. Among them, the artworks reveal Sutcliffe’s burgeoning abstract and figurative style across life studies and densely impasto-ed canvases. Other objects bear out his fastidious record-keeping. There are his hand-drawn maps of London galleries, as well as an historic letter in which the band name “The Quarryman” is scratched out and filled in with “Beatals” in Sutcliffe’s hand.


However valuable such a collection, Vitale told me, “the weight of managing an estate is heavy.”  


Around 1999, Pauline Sutcliffe, then running a thriving practice as a psychotherapist, decided to sell the estate. “I would feel then that I had done my bit and would be able to free myself from the Beatles,” she wrote in The Beatles’ Shadow. “I have been trapped by them most of my life—I wanted to say goodbye.” 



She had planned to auction the collection through Fleetwood Owen, an entertainment auction house co-founded by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame. The sale never got off the ground. Still, she found cause for reevaluation, said Vitale, following the success of and interest in her book: “Pauline later reflected that it was a sign she should work to keep the collection together and find one home for it.” 


Though initially based in Liverpool, the collection moved with Pauline when she relocated to New York around 2003, when Vitale began working with the estate. It is stored in a 10-by-15-foot room in East Hampton, when not rolled out for exhibitions. Among its many outings were retrospectives at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool, and Stavanger Museum in Norway. More recently, in 2019, “Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York included two Sutcliffe paintings, handpicked by Richard Prince.



Since announcing her intention to sell the collection on January 23, Vitale said she has been inundated by interest. Auction houses have called, as have institutions such as the Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. She won’t disclose how much she’s asking for the archive—she’s keeping her options open. “I’m willing to speak to anyone who’s serious,” she added. 


While the best scenario would be to keep the collection together, Vitale sees herself making “concessions” depending on the proposals she receives. “It would be nice if it stayed together,” she said. “But it might be that the artifacts could go to a museum or university, then the major art, about 150 pieces that have been widely exhibited, would go to a collector. That’s probably realistic.”


Even without its collection, the Stuart Sutcliffe estate will continue to bolster the artist’s legacy. Various projects are in the works, according to Vitale, not limited to a digital showcase of Sutcliffe’s work at the Beatles Story, a theatrical production based on his life, and a fellowship or scholarship award in his name. She also discussed the possibility of updating The Beatles’ Shadow for a TV adaptation. 



For her part, Vitale, once freed of managing, housing, insuring, and maintaining the collection, hopes to tend to her personal pursuits. One of them is writing—perhaps even a book on her experiences overseeing the Sutcliffe estate and encountering his fans (including, surprisingly, one of the artist’s life drawing models). The timing, she said, is right. 


“I am a woman of faith, so I’m just standing on faith that the right person is going to come at the right time,” said Vitale. “I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to do some of my own dreams.” 

January 30, 2024
Three of the best from The Beatles Live at Stowe School, April 4, 1963


Grateful Dead Cover The Beatles’ “Get Back” For The First And Only Time, On This Day In 1987 [Video]
By Tom Shackleford for Live For Live Music
Originally published on

Thirty-seven years ago tonight, the Grateful Dead played their first show of 1987 with a hometown performance at San Francisco Civic Auditorium (later renamed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in honor of the rock impresario). The January 28th, 1987 concert stands out in Grateful Dead history thanks to the band’s performance covering The Beatles‘ “Get Back” for the first and only time in their career.

The show that night treated attendees to a mix of fan-favorites from the Dead songbook, as the band opened with “Shakedown Street” and filled the rest of their two sets and encore with renditions of “Row Jimmy”, “Bird Song”, “Jack Straw”, “He’s Gone”, “Eyes of the World”, “Sugar Magnolia”, and “U.S. Blues” to name a few. Their performance of “Get Back” was arguably the highlight of the concert, and helped to kickstart the night’s festivities following the 13-minute “Shakedown Street” opener.

Bob Weir took the vocal duties for the cover, although he did have to stretch his vocal range to the point of almost cracking during the verses. It’s strange to think that the Dead only covered the popular Beatles tune once throughout their 30-year run—or maybe not after listening to the rendition—because its country-drawn rock sound is sonically in line with their own California country style from their Workingman’s Dead era.


Deadheads and Beatles fans can check out the video below to hear the performance of their 1987 live cover.


Setlist: The Grateful Dead | San Francisco Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, CA | 1/28/87


Set One: Shakedown Street, Get Back*, Peggy-O, Walkin’ Blues, It Must Have Been the Roses, It’s All Over Now, Row Jimmy, My Brother Esau, Bird Song, Jack Straw


Set Two: When Push Comes to Shove, Samson and Delilah, Black Muddy River, He’s Gone, Spoonful, Drums, Eyes of the World, Black Peter, Around and Around, Sugar Magnolia


Encore: U.S. Blues


*Beatles cover, only time played by Grateful Dead


Door into Beatle George Harrison's childhood home goes on display

By The BBC



Beatles fans will be offered a glimpse into George Harrison's childhood via the back door of his former home.


The door, previously on the guitarist's family home in Liverpool, is the latest item from the Fab Four's past to go on show at the Liverpool Beatles Museum.


Harrison moved to the home from the age of six, in 1950, and the family stayed there until 1962.


Museum owner Roag Best said Harrison was still living there at the beginning of Beatlemania.


The terraced home on Upton Green, Speke, is now an Airbnb and is owned by Ken Lambert, who got in touch with the museum.


"When he bought the house the previous owners asked him if he was interested in the original back door," said Mr Best, who is the brother of early Beatles drummer Pete Best.


"It was just propped up in an outbuilding, a little bit worse for wear.


"He and a friend spent a considerable amount of time renovating the door and once it was renovated he wasn't going to put it back on the house because it's 73 years old, if not older.


"He asked if we'd like to put it on display."


Visitors to the museum will now be able to open the door to see photos of Harrison as he was growing up on display behind it.


Mr Best said the exhibit looked like "a normal back door" but was likely to have been stepped through by John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney as well as Harrison.


He added: "I think fans are going to get a kick out of the fact they can open the door and see a collage of photos behind which will take them back in time to when George lived in the house."

January 29, 2024
The Song That Made America Fall In Love With The Beatles
By Andrew of Parlogram Auctions

The Beatles Live at Stowe School, April 4, 1963

January 28, 2024
Paul McCartney says Johnny Cash inspired him to form Wings: “It was a real act of faith”
Wings are preparing to release the 50th anniversary reissue of 'Band On The Run' on February 2
By Alex Rigotti for NME

Paul McCartney has credited Johnny Cash for inspiring him to form Wings.

McCartney told MOJO in a new interview that he turned to Cash for inspiration when he found himself at a crossroads once The Beatles were done.

“After the end of The Beatles I was faced with certain alternatives,” he says. “One was to give up music entirely and do God knows what. Another was to start a super-band with very famous people, Eric Clapton and so on. I didn’t like either so I thought: How did The Beatles start?”


“It was a bunch of mates who didn’t know what they were doing,” he continued. “That’s when I realised maybe there is a third alternative: to get a band that isn’t massively famous, to not worry if we don’t know what we’re doing because we would form our character by learning along the way. It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually."

McCartney then said he watched Johnny Cash one night with his wife, Linda, and found his idea for a new band.

“We were in bed one night,” he said, “newly married, when Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine. There they were, playing with some country musicians I had never heard of, looking like they were having fun.”

“I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he’s doing it. So I turned to Linda and said: Do you want to form a band? And she went: ‘Sure.’ That’s how our relationship was. Do you want to go and live on a farm in Scotland? ‘Why not?’”

Wings are set to release the 50th anniversary reissue of their seminal album, ‘Band On The Run’, including some new ‘underdub’ mixes on February 2. “This is ‘Band on the Run’ in a way you’ve never heard before,” said McCartney of the new mixes.

“When you are making a song and putting on additional parts, like an extra guitar, that’s an overdub. Well, this version of the album is the opposite, underdubbed.”


In other news, Paul McCartney paid tribute to Wings band member Denny Laine, who passed away aged aged 79 last December.

January 27, 2024
"What was really exciting for me was watching Paul's total respect for his band members": Giles Martin tells the inside story of the final Beatles song, Now And Then
By Ken Sharp for Louder's Classic Rock

You probably didn’t have a new (and final) song from The Beatles on your 2023 bingo card, but that’s what we got, surprising everybody

Get back indeed. On November 3, 2023, more than 25 years after the release of two new Beatles songs for the group’s multi-part Anthology documentary series (Free As A Bird and Real Love, which featured surviving members Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr lending accompaniment to a sparse John Lennon 70s-era demo), came what is being described as the last Beatles song ever: Now And Then. 


During the Jeff Lynne-led reunion sessions in 1994, Paul, George and Ringo spent a little time laying down some ideas over John’s Now And Then demo before work ceased. Decades later, using film director Peter Jackson’s de-mixing technology, which allowed clear separation of John’s vocals on his rudimentary demo, Now And Then, produced by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin with additional production by Jeff Lynne, is given the grandiose ‘Fab Four’ treatment. 


Using George’s acoustic and electric guitar from the aborted mid-90s session, alongside newly recorded contributions from Paul and Ringo, and a sparkling string arrangement by Paul, Giles Martin and Ben Foster, The Beatles returned one last time. Martin tells us the story of how this last ever Beatles track came to be.


Giles Martin: Well, this was a track that was worked on during the Free As A Bird sessions that I wasn’t aware of. The song was in Paul’s vaults because Paul, George and Ringo worked in Paul’s studios when they recorded it way back then. And through the birth of the technology that we worked on during Get Back [The Beatles’ 2021 documentary series] and the de-mix technology, Paul originally went to [director] Peter Jackson to get him to work on stuff for his concerts so John [Lennon] would be singing with him on I’ve Got A Feeling during his concert. 

And I think from there, Paul asked Peter whether he would look at Now And Then, and he [Paul] started working on it in his studio and came up with the arrangement and came up with things like the guitar solo. 

What shape was the track in when you received it? How much had George Harrison recorded on those sessions? 

Well, George had laid down acoustic and electric guitar, both rhythm guitar tracks. The guitar solo section in the track was written and done by Paul before he came to see me. It was done as kind of a tribute to George. It’s Paul being George, if you like [laughs], and he was thinking: “Okay, what would George have done here?” And actually, that ran through the whole sessions, where it was pretty obvious that Paul was really missing his friends and trying to respect them and do what they want him to do. 

Was it you or Paul who asked Ringo to play drums?

I said to Paul: “We should get Ringo to re-record the drums,” and he agreed. I think he’d already spoken to Ringo, or Ringo was aware he was doing the track. I phoned up Ringo on a Tuesday night or something, and Ringo says: “I know why you’re phoning me. You want me to play drums on a Beatles song.” And I said yeah. So Paul must have already phoned him. 

I had the multitracks to send him. He went: “Fine, I’ll listen to it and I’ll play on it and send it back to you.” It’s as simple as that. He said: “I’ll play it twice, I’ll listen to it, and I’ll just play along with the song.” He doesn’t play with a click track, he just listens to a song and he plays it. 

Was there anything that Paul had done at the initial sessions with Jeff Lynne that was kept, or did he redo everything? 

I think we kept his acoustic guitar; he played acoustic guitar with George, and I think there’s video of him doing it with George. He re-did the bass and piano.

Were you at those sessions when he was redoing the bass and piano, or were you only in attendance with Paul for the string sessions?

No, I wasn’t. The sessions he was doing, he did that in his own studios and he did those things before he came to me. I think I said to him: “It sounds beautiful, Paul.” And he looked at me and he gave me his look, like: “What are you going to say now?” I said: “Well it might be a good idea if we have a look at doing some strings, and maybe some BVs [background vocals], and then we improved the quality of John’s voice; I think I made it a bit more sparse at the beginning. 

I had a bit of a bigger entry to it originally, a bit more of a
 Free As A Bird-type entry. But I thought that once John’s voice is clear and clean and he sounds so great and it’s unmistakably john, let’s start with John. 

Was much of John’s piano kept from his demo when you were able to separate it using the de-mixing technology, or did Paul replay it?

Paul re-did the piano, because it had to be re-done because the format of the song changed. But I think that’s okay. If anyone’s going to replace a Beatle, it should be a Beatle. 

Getting to work on what is now being said to be the last Beatles song ever, there had to be both excitement and trepidation. What did you want to do, and what things did you want to avoid?

Well, okay, I had Paul for a start. What we talked about was trying not to be cheesy with anything. I did the string arrangement; I’m ripping off my dad [original producer and ‘fifth Beatle’
 George Martin] quite a lot [laughs]. But it’s not a Beatles tribute record, it’s a Beatles record. So we were concerned about just doing the song justice.
What was really exciting for me was watching Paul’s total respect for his band members in the process of doing this. The strings are quite staccato; they’re quite Eleanor Rigby, if you like, and Paul was like: “Okay, the rhythm that’s being played by George, can you just isolate that? I want to hear what George is doing. I want to make sure that we are playing exactly the rhythm he is playing and that we follow that on the record.” Because as you pertinently asked the question: what’s George doing on this? So it’s really important that his contribution is really respected and that we’re not washing things out with too much colour.

Your father was a master at string arrangements. What were some of the things that, consciously or unconsciously, you brought to that string arrangement giving a little bit of a nod to his brilliance? 

Well, economy, really. It’s funny, we did actually start off with a bigger string section in the room. On the track, it’s just a double string quartet in the end, apart from the guitar solo, which has a bigger, more sort of Golden Slumbers vibe. There’s like a line in the guitar solo which is basically similar to the viola line that he put in Golden Slumbers

There’s a line at the very end of the guitars which is a triplet line, and which is a very I Am The Walrus triplet-type thing. They’re going all the time, so there are conscious nods. But, as Paul says, I’m not trying to do stuff for the sake of it. I’m doing stuff because it’s The Beatles. And if we’re going to do that, if you’re going to do that with any artist, you must do it with the artist that did in the first place. 

But none of the string players there knew exactly what this was exactly for, correct?

It was a strange day, but yeah, why would anyone even suspect it was for a Beatles session, is the question. It’s funny, the best way of hiding something is putting it in plain sight. 

Fans were hoping for a Rubber Soul box this year, and it’s been rumoured that Anthology could be in the works too. Can you give us any hints on what could be coming next? 

‘No’ is the answer [laughs]. But I can absolutely honestly say I’m not working on anything at the moment. That’s all I can say.

End of article.

Ottawa Beatles Site bonus feature: "Giles Martin on Completing the Beatles"


January 25, 2024
Paul McCartney Interviewed: “Can you imagine trying to start another band after The Beatles?”
Paul McCartney speaks exclusively to MOJO about the messy dissolution of The Beatles, the impossible act of following them and remembers his fallen Wings bandmate Denny Laine.
By Will Hodgkinson for Mojo Magazine



“I heard that Denny was getting better, there was hope for the future, but obviously not,” says McCartney of the singer and guitarist who stuck with him in Wings through good times and bad. “It’s very sad because Denny was great. Can you imagine trying to start another band after The Beatles? With Denny, we managed it.”


In the early ‘70s Paul McCartney knew all about having work to do. The end of the band against which all others must be judged left him in a depression, exacerbated not only by feeling he had peaked aged 27 but also the law suit he filed on December 31, 1970, in response to John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appointing Allen Klein as Beatles manager. The old gang fell apart. McCartney needed a new gang. It turned out to be his family.


“Yes, that was the feeling,” says McCartney. “After the end of The Beatles I was faced with certain alternatives. One was to give up music entirely and do God knows what. Another was to start a super-band with very famous people, Eric Clapton and so on. I didn’t like either so I thought: How did The Beatles start? It was a bunch of mates who didn’t know what they were doing. That’s when I realised maybe there is a third alternative: to get a band that isn’t massively famous, to not worry if we don’t know what we’re doing because we would form our character by learning along the way. It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually.”


READ: Paul McCartney And Wings' Best Albums Ranked


The inspiration came, strangely enough, from Johnny Cash. “We were in bed one night,” he recalls, “newly married, when Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine. There they were, playing with some country musicians I had never heard of, looking like they were having fun. I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he’s doing it. So I turned to Linda and said: Do you want to form a band? And she went: ‘Sure.’ That’s how our relationship was. Do you want to go and live on a farm in Scotland? ‘Why not?’”


Not just any farm in Scotland, but one that would provide McCartney with the solace he needed after the dream of The Beatles ended in litigation and despair. High Park near Campbeltown is a surprisingly modest three-bedroom farmhouse that McCartney bought for £35,000 in June 1968 – a wise investment, given that it went on to inspire McCartney and Denny Laine’s 1977 mega hit Mull Of Kintyre. With 183 acres of land, it was a refuge from Beatle mania. It soon became a refuge from The Beatles themselves.


The Beatles' 10 Most Ground-Breaking Songs

“The greatest thing about High Park was that in London, we were swimming through treacle with business,” says McCartney, still sounding pained at the memory. “Every afternoon I had to go into the Apple office to face the latest horrible development. ‘Allen Klein said this, and what do you think of that?’ It was turgid, honestly a bad, bad time. Here’s me, got into rock’n’roll to have a good time, and now I had this sluggish life, dragging my way through one mess after another. Everything at Apple was about dealing with old things, and the brilliance of me and Linda was that we wanted to do new things. She had a romantic American dream of Scotland, which was lovely because it cued into mine.”


McCartney, his 1970 solo album, featured a back cover photograph of the singer in the Scottish wilds, baby Mary poking out of his sheepskin coat. Yet the declaration of rural independence was a premature one. McCartney vs Lennon, Harrison, Starkey and Apple Corps opened on January 19, 1971 at the Royal Courts Of Justice in London, with McCartney engaging in the 11-day hearing to free himself of their 10-year partnership agreement, held onto by Klein, which meant all proceeds from individual projects went into the Beatles account. It also meant his earnings were frozen and he and Linda were living on her savings. McCartney wanted to sue Klein, but since the turtleneck-clad New Yorker had not been party to the original Apple agreement he had to sue his former bandmates instead.


“Every so often I’d go to the cupboard and think, There’s a new song in there we’ve got to do it...” Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on The Beatles' Now And Then.

“All these meetings were going on and there would be a call: ‘You have to be in a meeting at three o’clock.’ Suddenly it was: Sorry, can’t make it, don’t live in London any more. Now I’m on a farm in Scotland, and like most of our decisions it was stupid and brilliant at the same time. We got to know each other, we got to farm, we got to be in nature, we got to be free. With Klein I had to resist every little thing, every decision being made, while the others were very gung-ho: ‘Yay, he’s great!’ It took them years to say: ‘Actually, he isn’t so great. And now we’re going to sue him.’”


“I wasn’t motivated by having a fabulous group. I was motivated by not wanting to leave my wife behind..." Get the latest issue of MOJO to read a candid and emotional interview with Paul McCartney about going back to square one with Wings and the debacle-fuelled creation of his greatest album outside of The Beatles, Band On The Run. More info and to order a copy HERE!

January 23, 2024
Handwritten draft of Beatles' 'Lovely Rita' lyrics to be available at San Francisco exhibition
By Timothy Karoff for SFGate

San Francisco is a city with frustratingly expensive parking tickets. But next month, residents may clamor for a chance to spend $650,000 on some kind words written about a parking enforcement officer. 


A notebook page of Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for the Beatles’ “Lovely Rita” will be available for sale in February at the 56th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, which will take place Feb. 9 through Feb. 11 on San Francisco’s Pier 27. The track, which is from the B-side of the Beatles’ most famous album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” is a cheery love song about a fictional “meter maid” whom the speaker encounters doling out tickets. 


The rare slice of Beatles’ history is priced at well over half a million dollars. It’s the very first draft of the song’s lyrics, according to the website of Biblioctopus Rare Books, the company selling the page. (An especially eager fan could purchase the sheet directly from the Biblioctopus website before the exhibition.)


The handwritten lyrics are scrawled in pen on a sheet of lined paper torn out of a spiral-bound notebook. The sheet shows crossed-out words, comments and alternative phrasings. It is sold framed, alongside the “Sgt. Pepper” album art and a small plaque.


“These types of things don’t come onto the market that often, and when they do they’re not always this significant,” Susan Benne, who heads the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, told SFGATE. ABAA is the organization behind February’s event.


The California International Antiquarian Book Fair is an annual exhibition of rare and antique books, maps, manuscripts and photographs. Other rare items include the original cover art of “The Left Hand of Darkness” by speculative fiction legend Ursula K. Le Guin, as well as a 4-by-5-foot map of San Francisco from 1911.


January 22, 2024
Non Beatle songs that were produced by George Martin
A full list of songs that George Martin produced other than Beatles is available at Wikipedia

"You're Driving Me Crazy" by The Temperance Seven. Producer: George Martin

Just click on "Watch On Youtube" to access the video.

"Sun Arise" by Rolf Harris. Producer: George Martin

"The First and Second Law" by Flanders and Swann. Producer: George Martin

"Freeway Jam" by Jeff Beck. Producer: George Martin

"13 Questions" by Seatrain. Producer: George Martin

January 20, 2024
The Last Occasion All Four Members Were Together for Band Duties on August 22, 1969

TThe Beatles’s Comeback Single Has Spent More Weeks On One Chart Than All Their Other Hits Combined
By Hugh McIntyre, Senior Contributor for Forbes (originally published on January 18, 2024.)


The Beatles’s comeback single “Now and Then” faced mixed reviews from critics and some longtime fans in 2023, but its lukewarm reception didn't hinder its success on the Billboard charts. Months after its release, the tune continues to thrive on one of the company’s radio lists, surpassing every other hit from the legendary band.


“Now and Then” has now spent an impressive 10 weeks on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Airplay chart. The weekly tally ranks tracks based on their radio audience at stations across the country, focusing on a genre known as “adult alternative”—a broad term for rock music that appeals to a more mature crowd. This frame, the tune dips slightly to No. 17 on the 40-spot tally.


With a 10 weeks now earned on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart, “Now and Then” stands as The Beatles’s longest-running hit on the ranking. In fact, it’s been there so long, it has surpassed the combined total of all their other charting titles.


Apart from "Now and Then," The Beatles have placed only two other tracks on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart. Given that the ranking was established long after the band’s prime, it’s not shocking that most of their beloved classics have never been able to accumulate enough plays in a a tracking week to make it to the tally.


Before "Now and Then," The Beatles’s longest-running entry on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart was "Real Love." The tune spent five weeks on the tally. Their most recent release has now doubled that duration.


The only other charting single on the Adult Alternative Airplay list from The Beatles is “Free as a Bird.” The cut, which was released around the same time as “Real Love,” held on for three weeks in 1996. Combined, their two hits from that year have spent a total of eight weeks on the roster.


“Now and Then” has established itself as The Beatles’s biggest single on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart. Not only has it outlasted any other hit from the rock band, it also achieved a higher peak. The single not only secured The Beatles’s first top 10 but also clinched their only No. 1 on this particular chart.


January 19, 2024
Mona Best: How The Beatles got their start from the ‘Mother of Merseybeat’ and Casbah Coffee Club

By Kelly Scanlon for Far Out

(Credits: Far Out / Casbah Coffee Club / Pete Best)

Unveiling the layers of The Beatles‘ triumph almost feels like uncovering a goldmine. While many associate the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll scene with the beloved quartet, there’s much more to the story. Beyond the bobbing heads and mop-style haircuts, one figure was the crucial foundation for an enduring legacy that spans decades: The ‘Mother of Merseybeat’, Mona Best.


In the 1800s, years before anyone would utter the names John, Paul, George or Ringo, an unknown builder crafted a Victorian site that the West Derby Conservative Club would eventually take on. This particular house was unique, unlike many other residences in Liverpool. Nestled away from the bustling road, this expansive house boasted 15 bedrooms and sprawled across a lush acre (4,000 m2) of land.


The interiors exuded a cosy yet mysterious atmosphere, with all rooms adorned in deep shades of green or brown. Once a wild oasis, the garden added to the allure, while the cellar served a practical purpose as a coal storage space. Mona Best had been married to John Best for ten years when her son, Rory, told her about the house at 8 Hayman’s Green in 1954.


Recognising the excitement – and sheer power – of owning your own coffee bar, one that would become central to the burgeoning music scene, Mona decked out her own cellar so that her sons and their friends could meet new people and enjoy current music. The Casbah Coffee Club did many things that others, like The Cavern Club, didn’t, such as championing rock ‘n’ roll musicians.


Unlike many other clubs at the time, the Casbah also served cakes, snacks, soft drinks, and coffee made with a coffee machine. On the club’s official opening night, Mona originally billed the Les Stewart Quartet to play with George Harrison on the guitar. However, the band fell through after having a tiff, and Harrison instead suggested two other friends who could join him under the name The Quarrymen.


With 300 memberships already secured, the trio of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison convened at The Casbah to secure their spot. Best, in her characteristic candour, agreed to them performing while acknowledging the incomplete painting in the club. Rather than leaving her to it, the band lent a hand to complete the artwork. Cynthia Powell, who would later become Lennon’s wife, painted his silhouette on the wall — an artistic detail that still graces the venue today.


The Casbah wasn’t just the first rock ‘n’ roll venue in Liverpool; it crafted an entire culture that cemented the city’s place, and later The Beatles’, as world-class entities in the realm of music talent. Moving from India in 1945, Mona landed in a war-torn city, embodying independence and free-spiritedness with her charismatic and unconventional character.


Mona’s son, Pete Best, joined The Quarrymen after his mother bought him a drum kit so he could explore his musical curiosity. His brother, Vincent ‘Roag’ Best, holds the legacy of his mother and The Casbah dear to his heart; his words about her legacy and the world he continues to thrive in coming from him like a vibrant city still reeling from the fires of its rich history.


Speaking to Far Out about his mother’s impact on the music scene, it’s clear that all of her hard work still ripples into the expanding corners of Merseyside. “There was no women promotion, she was the first to do that,” Roag explains. “There’s so many groups that came through The Casbah doors that went on and had success. Obviously, the biggest being the Beatles, and Mo gave them their start.”


Credits: Far Out / Casbah Coffee Club / Pete Best)


Mona possessed more than just an interest in the Fab Four: she believed in them. She also became “business savvy”, as Roag explains, and applied those skills to rock ‘n’ roll in an effort to support the band and other potential talent. “It wasn’t just like a pipe dream for her,” Roag states. “I think she was just initially surprised that it took off so quickly, but she knew she was onto something. She started Casbah promotions and realised that they were the biggest drawing band. So she wanted them to be on the top of the bill.”


The real game-changer arrived when The Quarrymen came back from Hamburg, Germany, as The Beatles. They enlisted the help of Ringo Starr as their drummer in 1962 and played The Casbah Coffee Club almost 300 times. “She felt that they had something, especially when they when they came back from Germany, because she gave John, Paul, and George shows to begin with as The Quarrymen,” Roag explains. “They literally went through Liverpool, and other groups followed. And then the whole thing kept building and building and building, and we know what happened in the end.”


There’s no textbook on how to create the biggest, most popular band in all of music history. Equally, the recipe is hard to put into words. “They’re still the biggest and most popular group in music history,” Roag claims, and he’s absolutely right. Maybe it was the impeccable blend of fortuitous circumstances, an abundance of talent, charisma, and a solid support system that held unwavering belief in The Beatles’ potential. Or it was a sprinkle of fairy dust — a phenomenon where the magic embedded in music resonated most profoundly.


Or, it could very well have been Mona, a genuine force of nature, a beacon of unwavering determination. With her heart firmly fixed on steering the music scene toward its destined trajectory, Mona emerged as the world’s first female rock ‘n’ roll promoter. Her collaboration with unstoppable talents like The Beatles set their trajectory ablaze, propelling them into an era of perpetual and well-deserved hype.

January 17, 2024
Paul McCartney Explains How the Beatles Wouldn't Exist Without Chuck Berry
Here's his touching tribute to the inventor of rock.
By Matt Miller for Esquire (originally published March 21, 2017)



In early 1958, Chuck Berry released "Sweet Little Sixteen," a song that would change the course of music history. It ignited the urge to celebrate rock and roll in kids throughout America, but it also traveled the world and influenced four boys in Liverpool during their defining years.


"From the first minute we heard the great guitar intro to 'Sweet Little Sixteen,' we became fans of the great Chuck Berry," Paul McCartney wrote of the late Chuck Berry's influence on the Beatles. "His stories were more like poems than lyrics—the likes of 'Johnny B. Goode' or 'Maybellene.' To us he was a magician making music that was exotic yet normal at the same time. We learnt so many things from him which led us into a dream world of rock 'n' roll music."


Five years later, the Beatles recorded "Sweet Little Sixteen" only once in London before storming America in the winter of '64. During their formative years, some of the Beatles' biggest hits were covers of Berry songs. And throughout the band's iconic career Berry's influence was on nearly every album, from "I Saw Her Standing There" off Please Please Me to "Back in the U.S.S.R." off the White Album.


"Chuck was and is forever more one of rock 'n' roll's greatest legends all over the world," McCartney wrote in his tribute. "I was privileged to meet him in his home town St Louis when I played there on tour, and it's a memory I will cherish forever. It's not really possible to sum up what he meant to all us young guys growing up in Liverpool but I can give it a try."


It's hard to imagine the Beatles without Chuck Berry paving the way for them, but then again it's impossible to imagine last half-century of music as a whole without the inventor of rock.


How can I explain Chuck Berry’s legacy to future St. Louisans?
St. Louis Sage remembers the legend.
By St. Louis Sage for St. Louis (originally published April 20, 2017)

John Lennon said it best: “If you tried to give rock ’n’ roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.” Charles Edward Anderson Berry was arguably the first to create the brash new music that became a rallying cry for generations of rebellious youth. “School Days” and “You Can’t Catch Me” captured the urges and anxieties of adolescence, and backbeat rockers like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven” drove them to dance those cares away.


Berry grew up in The Ville, a black neighborhood on the North Side that was then middle-class. After shocking his devout parents by stealing a car at gunpoint, he landed in reform school, where he started a singing quartet and launched his performing career. He was released on his 21st birthday, got bored working at auto plants, and decided to become a beautician, enrolling at Poro College to study cosmetology.


Along the way, he played in clubs, eventually joining Johnnie Johnson’s trio and performing regularly at the Cosmopolitan Club in East St. Louis. His unique brand of string-bending blues attracted both white and black devotees to what he called “salt and pepper clubs” across the region.


As the gigs multiplied, he began traveling beyond St. Louis, eventually meeting his idol, Muddy Waters, who hooked him up with Chess Records. Berry had a rocked-up version of the country song “Ida Red” that he called “Ida May,” but Chess wanted a new name. (Johnson credited a box of mascara named “Maybellene”; Berry remembered a cow with that name from a childhood storybook.) The song shot up to No. 1 on the R&B charts, then No. 5 on the pop charts, and a young singer named Elvis Presley began performing it.


It was one of Berry’s later records that, in 1961, brought Mick Jagger and Keith Richards together. It was “Johnny B. Goode” that was launched into space in 1977. And it was Berry’s signature “duck walk” that Michael J. Fox imitated in 1985’s Back to the Future—a spot-on choice, considering that, as The New York Times noted, Berry “understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves.”


He was impulsive and restless and had to fight racism and piracy every step of the way. Flaws and genius were bound up together in this man, and though the world claimed him as a rock god, he never wandered far from home. He put down stakes on 35 acres outside Wentzville, and he made Blueberry Hill his base. Now he’s gone, but the music he forged here—imbued with his life’s struggles and pain and exuberant joy—will live forever.


Top 5 songs that climbed the highest on the Billboard Hot 100


#1: “My Ding-a-Ling” (1972)

#8: “Nadine (Is It You?)”(1964)

#10: “No Particular Place to Go” (1964)

#14: “You Can Never Tell”(1964)

#18: “Carol”(1958)


Paul McCartney’s School Teacher Alan Durband is Interviewed (1965)
Posted on Youtube by Emma

January 13, 1969 - UK Release of Yellow Submarine!


January 16, 2024
George Harrison Songwriting and Recording
Originally published in Hit Parader, April 1969


The Records The Beatles Never Wanted You To Hear
By Andrew of Parlogram Auctions

Beatles bootlegs have been around for over 50 years. In this video we look back at how they began and how the coming of the CD in the late 1980s saw an explosion of high quality releases by pirates who serviced a gap in the market which Apple has still to completely fill. Whilst it is illegal to make or sell bootleg material, showing and discussing it is not.


January 14, 2024
The Beatles Cartoon: How the Fab Four Came to Saturday Mornings
Check out how John, Paul, George and Ringo became animated versions of themselves
By Ed Gross for Woman's World

The Beatles pose in front of animated cartoons of themselves in London on 11th November 1964
Photo credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns


Do you remember The Beatles cartoon? No, not the one in which John, Paul, George and Ringo travel with an old man in a yellow submarine, meet some blue guys and save the world at the end with their music. This one was born out of Beatlemania, and brought an animated version of the Fab Four to Saturday morning television at a time when actual people were not the subject of cartoons.


“It began — as so much did back then — on February 9, 1964,” explains Mitchell Axelrod, author of Beatletoons: The Story Behind the Cartoon Beatles, “with The Beatles making their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. When impresario Sullivan introduced them with the words, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles…,’ nothing would ever be the same again. Certainly not the people who watched that broadcast, one of whom was struck with an idea, which led to an innovative plan involving the British band, a lot of chutzpa and Saturday morning cartoons.”


A gentleman by the name of Al Brodax had, at the time, established himself as a producer of cartoons based on King Features syndicated comic strips, among them Beetle Bailey, Krazy Kat and Snuffy Smith. Additionally, Brodax and his team had produced — in just 18 months —220 new cartoons featuring Popeye the Sailor.


What he had not suspected was that producing so much in so short a span of time would actually enhance his career beyond anything he could have imagined. And while the details surrounding how he got involved with the Fab Four — which in turn would lead to the production of The Beatles cartoon — have gotten a bit cloudy over the years, there’s no denying the fact that Brodax was the creative genius behind the venture.


Notes Axelrod, “Al Brodax claimed that when he saw the group perform that Sunday night on the Sullivan show, he quickly called their manager, Brian Epstein, at his hotel in New York City.  Unsurprisingly, everyone was chasing after Brian to inquire about The Beatles, so one can only imagine how tied up that phone line must have been following their incredible performance that Sunday night. It would seem to be virtually impossible to get through, but somehow Al Brodax did. Brian’s secretary Wendy answered the phone.”


The conversation, he says, went something like this:


WENDY: “Hello, Brian Epstein’s room.”


AL BRODAX: “Hi, my name is Al Brodax and I think I can help The Beatles. Can you hold on a moment; I have another call?”


“With that,” laughs Axelrod, “he put his associate, Mary Ellen Stewart, on the phone with Wendy.  He was lucky enough to actually get through to Brian’s hotel room and he put them on hold! That is the word chutzpa personified.  Luckily enough, the ladies chatted for a while and became phone buddies.  And that is how Al Brodax said he got his foot in the door to the world of The Fab Four.”


The Fab plan unfolds


The producer’s concept was to use The Beatles in animated form on television each week. Speaking to the group’s lawyer, Brodax secured the rights to do the Beatles cartoon. “According to Brodax,” the author shares, “The Beatles’ management company was not too strict about approvals of anything at that time.  Having secured the rights, it was time to announce to the world that The Beatles, currently the hottest thing in the entertainment industry, would be the subject of a half hour cartoon series.  No one knew exactly how long Beatlemania would last, but Brodax did know that he didn’t have time to waste.”


The first announcement of the Beatles cartoon in development came in the pages of Daily Variety in November 1964, calling for the show to begin airing in the fall of 1965. The challenge for Team Brodax, of course, was to get the characters designed, find scriptwriters, audition for voices, seek out a studio to create the magic, and find sponsors for the show — all in less than a year! But Brodax managed to accomplish it all, sponsors coming in the form of A.C. Gilbert (maker of Erector Sets and American Flyer trains), Quaker Oats and Mars Candy Company, with the network turning out to be ABC.  At this point it was April of 1965, less than six months before the show was scheduled to debut.


Writers were hired and provided the format of the show: two five-and-a-half minute Beatles adventures based on one of their songs with two sing-along segments. Brodax recalled to Axelrod, “We did a lot of theme things about subjects such as ghosts, cowboys, ships at sea, Transylvania and things of that nature. We had ten-minute meetings about the stories, and that was it.” It was up to the writers to turn them into the scripts.


For the studio, a small London-based one called TV Cartoons (TVC) got the job. “With the writers and studio now in place, Brodax still needed to have the group’s characters designed in cartoon form so TVC could animate the series,” Axelrod details. “The very formidable task of designing the cartoon Beatles went to a nineteen-year-old kid with a Beatle haircut named Peter Sander.  He worked at TVC and used pictures that the studio had been given of The Beatles in order to come up with basic characters that the animators could draw in a simple style, and, most importantly, in a quick manner.”


Norman Kauffman, a production assistant at TVC, told the author that he remembered the model sheets designed by Sander. “Peter,” he said, “used what had been the typical ‘Beatles stereotypes’ at that time, where John was seen as the leader, Paul was the most poised and stylish, George was portrayed as loose-limbed and angular, while Ringo was seen as the nice, gentle, but always rather sad-looking, Beatle.”


Speaking Beatle


Lance Percival, who voiced Paul and Ringo on the Beatles cartoon
Getty Images; © Apple Corps Ltd


The task of finding the actors to portray the voices of the group was the final piece of the series puzzle.  “The choices made by Brodax and his team are quite possibly the main reason that most fans are unfamiliar with the series unless they were watched in their original broadcasts in the 1960s or the syndicated version in the 1970s,” Axelrod opines. “The team at King Features had planned for this series to be seen on American television. Brodax felt that if he hired voice actors from The Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, no American child would understand the accents. He wanted the voices to be what he called an ‘Americanized’ version of a Liverpool accent. Overall, there was some give and take on this issue and a compromise was struck.”

For the voices of Paul and Ringo, British actor Lance Percival was chosen.  He was already in the entertainment business and had known The Beatles. He remembered portraying Paul as “bright and cheerful” and Ringo as “the low-voiced fall guy for the humor.” 


Paul Frees, who voices John and George in the Beatles cartoon
L-R: © United Artists/Wikipedia; © Apple Corps. Ltd


“The actor chosen to voice John and George was Paul Frees,” says Axelrod, “which was a major point of contention then, and continues to be so to this day.  Frees is an icon of animation and voice-over work.  His name might not sound familiar, but his voice on television and in film certainly is.  He was the voice of Boris Badenov in the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and Inspector Fenwick from Dudley Do-Right.  He portrayed voices in countless cartoons, including most of the Rankin-Bass Christmas special beloved to this day. So why would the voice of such an icon of entertainment be so controversial as two of The Beatles?”

Jack Stokes, director of the series at TVC, summed it up best: “The voices sounded nothing like The Beatles’ own Liverpool accents.  Just some daft idea of how we English sounded to Americans.”


The Race is On!


John Lennon inspects the drawings for the Beatles cartoon series at the TVC studios in London, 11th November 1964
Photo credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images


Back in 1965 there were only a few months to go and although the puzzle pieces were all in place, no work had actually begun on the series, so what followed was a fast and furious pace, resulting in animation suffering in terms of detail.  But production was in full swing, though there was one more thing that needed addressing.


King Features and TVC wanted The Beatles to see the progress on the show that would immortalize (or demoralize) them in cartoon form.  The date was July 30, 1965, which was the day after the group attended the premiere of their second motion picture, Help!  They were also rehearsing for their live performance on the UK series Blackpool Night Out on August 1, so they were exhausted.


The small offices of TVC were transformed into a screening and reception area and some of the production team, along with an ABC UK film crew, were on hand as The Beatles walked in to see their animated counterparts for the very first time.  The lights were dimmed as the group was shown two completed episodes. When it was over, the reaction of the group was initially positive


“They liked it at first,” recalled Lance Percival. “It was an ego thing, but then they got picky. I didn’t hear what John was saying but Paul was sitting in front of me asking who was doing his voice. Ringo was okay with it all, and he commented that I made him the dum-dum, and I told him that it wasn’t me, it was how the scripts were written.”


The screening soon became one big party as the food and the booze began to flow.  At one point someone noticed that John Lennon was missing.  The TVC staff was ordered to “find John Lennon.”  After a brief search, Norman Kauffman found him hiding under one of the buffet tables. He was tired and didn’t feel like being a Beatle for a few minutes, so he went and hid. Kauffman tried to coax John out, but he simply wasn’t ready to exit. Instead, John asked Kauffman to get him a bottle of wine, which he enjoyed under the table for a bit.


Beatle singalongs


It was Saturday, September 25, 1965, at 10:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time. The show was finally about to premiere. The first cartoon to be seen was “A Hard Day’s Night,” which found the group trying to find a quiet place to rehearse, which was Transylvania where monstrous mayhem ensued. Two sing-alongs and another adventure later, the ratings waiting game was on. 


“By this time, The Beatles had conquered the planet but would their popularity, fame and gold records translate to ratings gold?” Axelrod asks rhetorically. “ABC would have to wait approximately two weeks for word about whether their ground-breaking cartoon show was worth the enormous gamble taken by all parties involved. It was. The Beatles cartoon opened with an almost unprecedented 51.9 share of the viewing audience.  In America, the show became a Saturday morning success, airing two seasons of new episodes and three of reruns. Yet another aspect of Beatlemania in American, born, like so much else, out of February 9, 1964.”


The Beatles Cartoon

Photo credit: © Apple Corps Ltd/YouTube


February 13, 1965, advertisement found in Billboard magazine...



January 12, 2024
The Beatles have been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video
Bonus feature: Em Cooper Talks John Lennon and Her ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ Music Video          

January 11, 2024

By Andrew for Parlogram Auctions

2023 was an incredible year for Beatles fans. But what does 2024 hold in store? In this video we look at the state of vinyl as we enter the new year and more importantly what releases are planned and hoped for in the year ahead. We also tell you our plans for the channel this coming year and what exciting projects we already have lined up for you.

Flashback: In 1965 VJ Records releases "Log Cabin" by Billy Preston, promotes it in Billboard magazine

It's interesting to learn that the Fifth Beatle, Billy Preston, was a recording artist on VJ Records. The record company believed that "Log Cabin" was a hit contender, so much so that an advertisement appeared in Billboard magazine. It doesn't sound much like Billy Preston when you hear his vocals, but the vocal intonations are there of a young wannabe pop star. However, the song that really shines on this single is an instrumental called "Drown In My Own Tears".  This track showcases Billy's musical professionalism when he performs on the Hammond Organ. If you loved Billy's work with the Beatles, a jaunt back to his early recordings is worth experiencing.  − John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site.

Above: Screen-grab of Billy Preston.

"Drown In My Own Tears" - Billy Preston

"Log Cabin" - Billy Preston

Also, found this interesting Billboard write-up on the Beatles

January 10, 2024
Back In the USSR: The album Paul McCartney gifted to Russia
By Jon O'Brien for Reader's Digest

Also known as The Russian Album, Paul McCartney's Choba B CCCP record helped to bridge the gap between east and west long before the USSR's fall

The Beatles’ affiliation with the Soviet Union was turbulent to say the least. While their music had been a valuable commodity among British and American youth during the Swinging Sixties, the slightly less impressed Soviet press officially declared the Fab Four as the “belch of Western culture.”

Yet, though the White Album’s “Back in the USSR” was intended as a satire on American idealism, it was interpreted by parts of the West as an advert for communism

Although regularly denied the opportunity to perform there, Paul McCartney maintained an affinity with the region. In 1988, inspired by new leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s pledge of openness and transparency, the Liverpudlian decided to offer a peace gesture in rock n' roll form: a covers album that would be released in the Soviet Union only. 

The making of Choba B CCCP



The idea for Choba B CCCP, the Russian translation of “Back in the USSR”, came about essentially by accident.

Following the underwhelming response to 1986’s experimental Press to Play and the scrapping of an entire album produced by Phil Ramone, McCartney appeared to have lost his musical mojo.


But thanks to nostalgic jam sessions with the likes of Elvis Costello, Trevor Horn and Johnny Marr, the star quickly rediscovered it. Soon after, he hit the studio to lay down 22 of his early rock n' roll favourites.


Many of the chosen tracks were already part of Beatles folklore. Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” for example, was the song McCartney impressed John Lennon with during their first meeting, ultimately leading to an offer to join The Quarrymen.

Little Richard’s “Kansas City” was a staple of the Scousers’ setlist during their Hamburg years and was later recorded on their fourth LP Beatles for Sale.

And Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame” and Elvis Presley’s “Just Because” had previously been covered by Lennon on his similarly-themed 1975 solo swan song Rock ‘n’ Roll

Paul McCartney's Soviet sensation


Unlike his former bandmate’s tribute, however, McCartney’s wasn’t intended for global consumption (although the songwriter did initially plan an unorthodox UK release designed to resemble a smuggling operation).

After receiving several vinyl copies boasting Russian-language covers as a present from his manager, Macca hit upon the brainwave of regifting it to the Soviet public. 


The bassist subsequently agreed a deal with Melodiya, a state-owned record label, which would see 400,000 copies of the album hit the shelves, but only in the Red Empire.

It was a warmly accepted gesture. The 11-track edition’s first run was an instant sell out. Likewise, the expanded edition, which added Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers’ “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” and George Gershwin standard “Summertime” to the track list, which arrived three months later. 

The Russian Album goes west

Credit: Lear 21 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. After the Berlin wall came down, Choba B CCCP found listeners in the West 


Of course, the appetite for all things Beatles is so insatiable that copies quickly found their way onto the international black market.

Those who paid £500 to get their hands on one would undoubtedly have felt aggrieved when Choba B СССР later got an official worldwide release in the wake of the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, charting in the UK at No.63 and at No.109 on the other side of the Atlantic (eight tracks also showed up as B-sides during the late Eighties).  

These might not have been the lofty positions that the former Wings frontman was used to. But as he explained on his official website, the number one spot wasn’t the goal: “I knew it wouldn’t be a big chart-topping thing, but I knew it would be a collectible. People would be like, ‘Have you heard about this?!’ Word of mouth, you know.”

Return to Red Square



This wasn’t the end of McCartney’s Russian connections, though. In 2003, he finally got the opportunity to play in the country, a historical event captured for posterity on the Grammy-nominated live DVD Paul McCartney in Red Square two years later.

“It was a mystical land then,” he wrote in memoir The Lyrics about his long-awaited trip. “It's nice to see the reality. I always suspected that people had big hearts. Now I know that's true.”

Nor was it Macca’s last covers album. He also doffed his cap to the rock n' roll classics he grew up with on 1999’s Run Devil Run, allowing fans to finally hear his take on “No Other Baby,” The Vipers song that had been left off СНОВА B СССР.


And then in 2011, the Grammy-winning Kisses on the Bottom saw McCartney put his own spin on Great American Songbook classics such as “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” 

But it’s the self-described “crazy little Russian release” that remains McCartney’s most intriguing and, judging by 1989’s commercial return to write Flowers in the Dirt, most rejuvenating trip down memory lane. 

January 9, 2024
Why you should definitely own Klaatu's debut album, and it's got nothing to do with The Beatles
By Dave Ling for Classic Rock

When the mysterious Klaatu released their first album, rumours about the musicians' identity sent sales soaring... but it's an album that stands up on its own


Infinitely more famous for the heated speculation that surrounded the identity of the creators of the record than for the record itself, the debut album from Klaatu nevertheless remains a fine example of radio-friendly yet psychedelic mid-70s pop-rock. 


The album was mysteriously released in a sleeve that featured a smiling sun rising over a hill strewn with mushrooms and butterflies, but bore no credits for the musicians or the producer behind it. The mystique was heightened when it was revealed that nobody from Capitol Records had even met the band by the time the label released Klaatu in the summer of 1976. 


It was a journalist in Rhode Island who first put two and two together and came up with five, initiating rumours that Klaatu were none other than The Beatles and that Klaatu was a long-lost, anonymously issued follow-up to Revolver


His ‘evidence’ was flimsy to say the least: The Fab Four had shelved an album before their own 1970 break-up; Klaatu was the name of an alien in the sci-fi film The Day The Earth Stood Still, in which the actor Michael Rennie had appeared; coincidentally, Rennie had also been pictured at the door of a spaceship that appeared on Ringo Starr’s Goodnight Vienna album; The Beatles and Klaatu also shared the same record company in North America; further parallels were drawn between Klaatu’s track Sub-Rosa Subway and Paul McCartney’s solo album Red Rose Speedway.


Meanwhile, the silence from Klaatu was deafening. Consequently, Rolling Stone awarded them Hype Of The Year 1977, and NME ran the headline ‘Deaf Idiot Journalist Starts Beatle Rumour’. But by then Klaatu had already sold more than 600,000 copies.



Klaatu were in fact a trio of studio musicians from Toronto (ironically, a city that John Lennon’s persecution by the CIA had caused him to consider relocating to) led by multi-instrumentalist and singer Terry Draper. None of the trio had a pedigree of any real significance, but they all had talent in abundance. It also later transpired that Klaatu was produced by Terry Brown, of Rush, Voivod and Max Webster fame. 


A mostly lightweight and provocatively arranged album, Klaatu (called 3:47 EST in Canada) begins with its best-known song (though not necessarily its best); The Carpenters later took Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft into America’s Top 40, Richard and Karen having wisely retained the original’s spirit, even spicing up its coda with an inspired hard rock guitar solo. Klaatu’s version still has a beautiful pleading innocence that is hard to beat. 


Elsewhere, Draper and fellow member John Woloschuk display their best Lennon/McCartney harmonies on the Beach Boys-influenced California Jam. Based on a riff inspired by The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, the spirited Anus Of Uranus is followed by the lavish commercial tones of SubRosa Subway


Klaatu add an intelligent twist to the era’s bubblegum sound with True Life Hero, and tiptoe soothingly through Doctor Marvello before Sir Bodsworth Rubblesby III lives up to its eccentric title, coming on like The Muppets jamming with Genesis. Finally, Little Neutrino sprawls across eight-and-a-half minutes of spacey, symphonic exploration. 


Klaatu is available from BGO Records as a 'twofer' CD package that also includes Klaatu's second album Hope.


End of article


Video bonus feature from the Ottawa Beatles Site: "California Jam" by Klaatu


January 7, 2024
Congratulations to Peter Asher on his "2024 Trustees Award Honoree" from the Recording Academy


  I Feel Like Going Out

January 6, 2024
The Beatles’s Comeback Single Is Now Their Longest-Running Hit On Several Billboard Charts
By Hugh McIntyre, Senior Contributor for Forbes

The Beatles returned in 2023 with their first new single in decades, much to the delight of fans. The band’s “Now And Then” cleverly utilized artificial intelligence technology to allow all four members of the group to contribute to the tune–even though half of the outfit is no longer with us. “Now And Then” became a quick hit on many Billboard charts, but on most of those, it didn’t hold on very long.


The single is still present on a handful of Billboard rankings to this day, months after it was released. As the cut continues to perform well, it has not only become a welcome win for the group, but their longest-charting hit single on a number of lists.


“Now And Then” has spent the most time on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. That tally ranks the most-consumed rock and alternative tracks in the U.S., as its name suggests. The list uses a methodology that combines sales, streams, and radio airplay to show what rocking tunes America loves.


As of this frame, “Now And Then” has spent nine weeks on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. That’s the longest stay The Beatles have ever managed on the ranking. Before this latest smash, their longest-running hit was “Here Comes the Sun.” That cut held on for half a dozen turns.


“Now and Then” has been falling down the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart for weeks, but it probably won’t disappear for a little while. The tune is still sitting pretty at No. 37 on the 50-spot tally, so it may soon become their first hit to spend double-digit turns on the ranking.


Over on the similar Hot Rock Songs chart, “Now And Then” has racked up nearly as many weeks. This frame, it’s up to eight turns on the tally. Just as is the case on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs list, the track recently passed “Here Comes The Sun” as the longest-running winner, beating its six stints on the roster.


“Now And Then” is also performing well at rock radio stations across the U.S., which were initially eager to play something brand new from the most successful rock band of all time. On the Adult Alternative Airplay chart, the recent single didn’t have as many other cuts from the same outfit to pass when it comes to longevity, but it’s still managed to become the Fab Four’s biggest hit so far.


“Now And Then” didn’t just give the group their first No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay tally, it has now become their longest-charting smash as well. The track has lived on the list for eight weeks–beating the five that “Real Love” accomplished in the mid-’90s.


− End of article.

One Of Paul McCartney’s Most Beloved Singles Hits A New High On The Hot 100
By Hugh McIntyre, Senior Contributor for Forbes

It’s been a few years since Paul McCartney scored a new solo hit on the Hot 100. While he may not be enticing the public with his newer material–at least not on the grand scale he used to–some of his older tracks are still incredibly popular. This week, one of his most beloved compositions reaches a new peak position on the competitive roster, decades after it was first released.


McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” rises once again on this week’s Hot 100. The tune lifts to No. 26, a new best placement for the track on the weekly ranking of the most-consumed songs in the U.S.


Before this frame, the highest that “Wonderful Christmastime” had climbed on the Hot 100 was No. 28. Now, in its lucky thirteenth turn on the tally, it’s bested that position—and it could climb even higher next year.


Last week, McCartney’s tune was down at No. 36, and it seemed like it might not have a shot at reaching its previously-set peak–or even beating it–this year. Somehow, the track gained massively in consumption in the past tracking period, leaping over a number of other popular Christmas cuts from musical superstars.


“Wonderful Christmastime” is one of many holiday songs that return to the Billboard charts around the end of every year. McCartney is included in a group of legendary artists who don't usually appear on the tally these days, but who can now count on their Christmas cuts to bring them back. The roundup includes names like the Jackson 5, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and many others.


McCartney released “Wonderful Christmastime” in 1979 as a standalone single. At the time, it was not a big hit, and it failed to reach the Hot 100 for the first few decades it was out in the world. In fact, the title didn’t debut on the competitive chart until 2018, but now it’s making up for lost time each season.

− End of article.

Fun Facts:

On December 21, 2017, Jesse Kinos-Goodin, journalist for the CBC declared:

"Wonderful Christmastime" is played so much every holiday season that Forbes estimated it earns McCartney $400,000 to $600,000 US a year. Basic math would tell us that, since its release in 1979, it's brought in roughly $15 million US, almost half of his estimated annual earnings of $20 to $30 million.

On January 3, 2024, Matt Friedlander for American Songwriter declared: "Paul McCartney Nabs Another No. 1 Hit, Ruling Atop a Pair of ‘Billboard’ Charts"

Paul McCartney ended an eventful 2023 by adding a couple more Billboard chart milestones to his long list of career achievements. A cover of McCartney’s 1979 holiday classic “Wonderful Christmastime” by Nigeria-born artist Blessing Offor landed at No. 1 on two Billboard charts–the Christian Airplay and Christian AC Airplay tallies–late last month.

January 4, 2024
Highlights from Paul McCartney's 'Got Back' Tour in Brazil

George Harrison remarks on Jackie Lomax


This is where Jackie Lomax performed Sour Milk Sea at the Savoy Tivoli in San Francisco 1976.

Why the Beatles Made Us Look
And what their fashion choices said about the charged-up era in which they reigned.

By Dorothy Woodend for the Tyee

  • Fashioning the Beatles: The Looks That Shook the World
  • Deirdre Kelly
  • Sutherland House Books (2023)


Rock star clothes. When you read those words, what comes immediately to mind? Elvis’s blue suede shoes, Jimi Hendrix’s fur and feathers, the whirling dervish capes of Stevie Nicks? Or the Beatles in their varied sartorial glory?


Toronto journalist Deirdre Kelly’s new book, Fashioning the Beatles: The Looks That Shook the World, takes on the quartet of trendsetters, from the earliest incarnation of the band, leather-jacketed and greased up, to the later peacock period of Sgt. Pepper. It’s an encompassing look at how the band influenced culture, and how culture shaped them.

A longtime Beatles fan, Kelly came to her subject quite intuitively. But in any period of deep research, it’s the unexpected perambulations and tangents that prove the most fascinating.

The Beatles may have set the tone for style, but the various cultural epochs through which they lived were indicative of how much fashion is reflective of the greater zeitgeist. The tumultuous years spanning the mid-1950s to the 1970s saw some of the most radical cultural shifts in the 20th century. And fashion occupied an interesting place — it drove and was driven by changes in the fabric of society.


Kelly’s deep dive is fascinating stuff. A buffet of style, the book overflows with anecdotes, photos, band lore and stories about the differing social periods that the Beatles traversed.


The Tyee posed a few questions to Kelly about the band, the clothes and, of course, the music. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


The Tyee: I was kind of surprised that no one had ever written about the Beatles and their relationship to fashion, given how immediate and overt it was.


Did you have one of those epiphany-type moments or was it a gradual realization that this was a motherlode of a subject yet to be fully explored?


Deirdre Kelly: It is very much a short answer — it was an epiphany. I did mention this a bit in the acknowledgments to the book because it really was an idea that I must credit to my husband.


So now here’s the long version: I have done two books prior to this, both with Vancouver publisher Greystone Books. I had wanted to do a third book, and we were in discussions about it being a fashion book because at the time I had been reassigned to the fashion beat at the Globe and Mail.


The thought was to capitalize on my expertise, much as we had done with my Ballerina book, which stemmed from my decades working as a dance critic for Canada’s national newspaper.


There was a lot of back and forth with proposals and ideas, all in pursuit of a subject that hadn’t been written about before. It was hard to find one. So, it was just one of those moments where I was bellyaching really to my long-suffering husband, who was trying to make himself a coffee in our kitchen.


I was yammering at him, bemoaning my inability to come up with a topic that had not been much examined before. I thought he was ignoring me, but then without lifting his head from the stirring of his Nescafé, he quietly said that I had it all wrong.


“Your next book has to be about the Beatles,” he said.


With hands on hips, and convinced now he really hadn’t heard a word I had been saying, I impatiently inquired, “Why?”


And he said, “Because you are Beatles obsessed.”


“True,” I responded. “But what could I possibly ever say about the Beatles that hasn’t been said before?”


And then, only because I had fashion on the brain and wanted to bring the conversation back to what was vexing me, I said, “Unless, of course, I was to write about their fashion.” I had meant it as a joke, but as soon as I said the words “Beatles” and “fashion,” practically in the same sentence, I became rooted to the spot.



In reading your book, I was struck by details and aspects of their performances that I’d never really thought about before. I’m thinking about the rendition of “Get Back” on top of the roof of Apple headquarters, and the respective outfits worn by each band member. After reading that chapter, I rewatched the video, and knowing more about what they were wearing added another layer of complexity and nuance to the action.


This was something of a pattern, with clothing manifesting the inner workings of the band — from unitedly cute to something more complicated and adult.


But you make the point that even when they were on the verge of dissolution, they still dressed/looked like a group. Was fashion something of an unspoken but still binding force throughout?


Yes. Fashion was a bond. It was there at the beginning and there at the end, a shared passion as much as music. John, Paul, George and Ringo understood the power of clothes to create an identity and reflect a mindset. They dressed not just for success but for self-expression, and to make themselves noticed for being different than any other group that had come before them or would follow.

The Beatles dressed to be true to themselves. They were style leaders who became the biggest trendsetters of their era, even when that had never been the goal.


For a group so exhaustively, almost forensically covered, was there particularly surprising information that emerged in researching the book? The Canadian connection with the story of Le Château and the velvet jumpsuits is a corker. The details of the Abbey Road cover are also fascinating.


Thanks for mentioning that. John Lennon’s Le Château black velour jumpsuit, immortalized in the cover of the Hey Jude album, was definitely a revelation for me. It took me years to uncover its Canadian origins. I thought it was European at first, from a designer such as Ted Lapidus, one of the first couturiers to triumph in what was called unisex fashion. I received confirmation from Le Château founder Herschel Segal himself. He had met John and Yoko in Montreal in 1969 at their bed-in.


There were other surprises, besides — George jump-starting the acid-wash denim trend, for example, and discovering corduroy, which the Beatles popularized, was initially an unfashionable cloth, reserved for the working class.


By wearing corduroy as they did — jackets and even customized footwear to match their bespoke outfits — the Beatles signalled their essential nonconformist and subversive nature.


There’s a quote in the latter part of the book where John Lennon references how the band’s changing styles affected public perception of them: “I guess they didn’t like how the image was looking. No reason to protect us for being soft and cuddly anymore — so bust us!”


As the band grew out of their mop-top phase and left behind their more innocent look, how did fashion play a part in this maturation and individuation process?


Fashion mirrored what was going on with the Beatles at every stage of the game. That’s what ultimately makes it such a fascinating topic. It’s not just clothing. It’s a band identity, and a reflection of the quest for artistic innovation and excellence.

The Beatles were no slouches. They worked extremely hard, held to a punishing schedule of creative output — especially during the Beatlemania period — and pushed themselves relentlessly forward, to the toppermost of the poppermost, as John used to say.

Their artistic evolution was a constant, resulting in no two records ever sounding the same and a dazzling array of looks that changed as they changed, season to season, album to album.

When they dressed in suits — something they all wanted to do despite what you might have read — it was to enable them to reach a new mass audience through the new medium of television.

They were cunning and canny about that, believing (quite rightly, it turned out) that a change of dress would presage a change of fortune. They dressed alike in those days as a matter of course for the stage. But they are so in synch that they often dressed alike even when they didn’t need to.

As they matured as musicians and as men, they never lost their bond through clothing. The garments might not have been identical, but they continued to showcase a shared sensibility.

Their fashion choices also reflected the volatility of their era, a time when creativity and youth usurped tradition and the status quo as cultural imperatives. It was all intimately connected.

Can you talk about your own relationship with the Beatles, how you first came to listen to them? Do have a favourite fashion period for the band? Also, I have to ask, a favourite Beatle?

The Beatles have been a part of my life since I can remember. Their music was a constant for me growing up, on the radio, and on vinyl. I was 10 when I bought my first Beatles album with my own money — Magical Mystery Tour.

The single “I Am the Walrus” bewitched me as soon as I heard it on a transistor hidden under my pillow. It bewitches me still. I papered my childhood room with Beatles posters; I read everything I could about them at a young age. I wrote school essays and did public speaking assignments on them.

By Grade 7, I was signing my artwork “Deirdre Lennon Kelly.” I also had an alias, Rita McCartney, that I used when being truant at my friends’ high school.

As a Globe and Mail staff writer, I got to write about them again. I interviewed Ringo for my paper, and reviewed Paul in concert in Halifax. I later met Paul when I crashed a New York City party where I knew he’d be guest of honour. This wasn’t that long ago. I remain Beatles mad.


Who’s my fave? I definitely can’t say. I love each for different reasons.


I have two favourite fashion periods: 1965 around the time of Help! — love the length of the hair, the East-meets-West clothing styles, the sexiness exuding from the we’re-great-and-we know-it attitude. They’re smoking a lot of weed at this time and it’s making them come loose at the seams.


I also adore their late Beatles look, 1968 on to 1969, when the look isn’t as much fashion as it is anti-fashion — in other words, a pure distillation of individual style.


When you look at photos from this period you can see so many iconic Beatles garments melding together — the pointed-toe boots, the distressed denim, the androgyny which the Beatles trail-blazed as a mainstay of pop culture. It is here represented by flowing silk scarves, transparent fabrics and (on Paul) the colour pink. They are like chameleons, ever changing their polka dots to keep us fascinated — and forever turned on.

− End of article.

Our Top 10 Beatles Stories from 2023 | Channel Highlights

By Andrew of Parlogram Auctions

We've published over 50 videos in 2023 and this video is a compilation of edited highlights from 10 of our favourites. Some you may have seen, others you may have missed and some might be completely new to you. But all were made with a passion which we hope comes through on each and every one and we really hope you enjoy watching them.

New Interview with Terry Draper of Klaatu plus Terry's new release "In The Beginning"
By Michael Noland


January 1, 2024
Unboxing The Sgt. Pepper's Master Tape - A Genuine Beatles Holy Grail
by Andrew of Parlogram Auctions

KLAATU: The Complete Breakdown! Their History, Albums & Songs
By Michael Noland: The Bottom Line

Klaatu then...

                                                                                           ...and now.

Ringo Starr takes fans on a colorful to
ur of his past in book 'Beats & Threads'
Published on the Hamilton Spectator

This cover image released by Julien's Auctions shows "Beats & Threads" by Ringo Starr, an illustrated journey through the former Beatles drummer's career, featuring images of everything from his drum kits to his trend-setting wardrobe. The 312-page book is being sold through the publishing division of Julien's Auctions. (Julien's Auctions via AP)


NEW YORK (AP) — Ringo Starr's latest project is for fans of music and of fashion.


Published Friday, “Beats & Threads” is an illustrated journey through the former Beatles drummer's decades in show business, featuring images of everything from his drum kits to his trend-setting wardrobe. The 312-page book is being sold through the publishing division of Julien's Auctions.


"Featuring nearly 300 shimmering images capturing iconic and many never-before-seen intimate moments of Ringo’s illustrious life and career, along with the drum icon’s warm memories told in his own words, this immense tribute to the enduring influence and time transcending impact of the Fab Four member is a ticket to ride through fashion and Beatles history," the publisher announced.


“Beats and Threads” has a list price of $80, along with signed limited editions for as much as $750. All proceeds will be donated to the Lotus Foundation, which offers support for various charitable projects, from substance abuse to homelessness.


Starr, 83, has had a busy 2023, releasing the EP “Rewind Forward,” touring with his All-Starr Band and working with Paul McCartney on the “final” Beatles song, “Now and Then.”


The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

"The Summer of Love with Marijke of The Fool"
Original Title:
Meet the Trendsetting Mystics that gave The Beatles their Psychedelic Style
By Isabella Barnett for (original publication date: October 13, 2021)

The Fool left its mark all over the 1960s, but few can match the name to the art today. The Dutch collective of artists and designers who named themselves after a Tarot card that’s often numbered as zero in the deck – as in the first – were unquestionable pioneers of the psychedelic aesthetic that defined one of the most memorable and revolutionary decades of the 20th century. From their far-out album art, marketing and set design, to the groovy fashion worn by the bands that led the British Invasion, most notably The Beatles, the collective’s work had a tremendous influence on the hippie movement as a whole. So let’s take a trip (pun semi-intended) and discover the tastemakers behind the look that propelled a cultural phenomenon….

The Fool. 1968 (From left to right: Barry Finch, Simon Posthuma, Yosha Leeger and Marijke Koger)

The Fool

Fashion designer and artist Marijke Koger of The Fool in her Amsterdam studio,1965, by Cor Jaring

Marijke Koger would become the leader of the collective that included Dutch artists Yosha Leeger, Simon Posthuma and Barry Finch as its original members. She was a high school dropout who opened her first fashion boutique at the age of 18 in Amsterdam, where she met her band of future collaborators. Together, they decided to pack up and move to the “magic island” of Ibiza, where intellectuals, artists, painters and photographers were starting to establish their residence. It was there that a photographer for The Times, Karl Ferris, snapped a photo of Marijke and her friends, wearing the collective’s eclectic designs made from colourful batik fabrics.

© Karl Ferris


The photo story was promptly sent off to print in London and almost overnight, they became the faces of the burgeoning hippie movement. London was abuzz with murmurs about this “exotic” new look that was such a departure from the geometric Mod fashion dominating British youth culture at the time. Seizing the opportunity, the hungry young designers made their way to London where they met a high-powered publicist and quickly became designers in demand.

The Fool in London

The Fool

Marijke was first introduced to tarot in 1966 by Graham Bond, a rising blues musician at the time, and was instantly intrigued by the cards’ ethereal properties as well as their notable artistic identity. Originating in Italy in the 1400s, tarot has associations with the occult dating back to 1780 in France, when mystics first started to ascribe meaning to the different figures on the cards. Since the hippie movement was associated with mind altering psychedelics, there was a natural draw to esotericism. Marijke was only interested in the lighter energy of tarot, and identified most with the fool card because it represented cultural and creative activities. From then on, her collective became known as The Fool.

Marijke Koger modelling her designs


Later, when The Beatles met members of The Fool for the first time, Marijke would do a tarot reading for Paul McCartney when he unexpectedly showed up at their London apartment with John Lennon. The band’s manager Brian Epstein had already been working with the collective and commissioned their work for his concert flyers. The Beatles by this time were ready to shed their Mod style, and when Lennon and McCartney saw the The Fool’s psychedelic artwork, they insisted on seeing more.


“During John and Paul’s first visit to our house in Bayswater,” remembers The Fool’s Simon Posthuma, “they saw the ‘Wonderwall,’ a composition consisting of a decorated armoire and a bust, against an arched wall, painted in the style that was up until then new to the world. ‘I love it, I want to live in it,‘ John said … and Paul agreed. Afterwards, Marijke laid the tarot cards for Paul. It turned out to be his inspiration for writing The Fool on the Hill."

Marijke at work in the Beatles’ Apple Boutique

The Fool was now in business with The Beatles, who were gearing up to open their first business enterprise; a concept store in the heart of swinging London that they hoped could capture the true essence of the band and become a cultural keystone. After designing the band’s wardrobe for the television broadcasts of All You Need Is Love and the Magical Mystery Tour, The Fool were given full creative freedom for the band’s retail venture, from designing the boutique’s three story exterior and interior, to the clothing and accessories on sale.

The Apple Boutique

The Fool with their designs in the Apple Boutique

It was called “The Apple Boutique” and opened on Baker Street in 1967, much to the excitement of the press, who dubbed it a “psychedelic supermarket”:

The store faced trouble almost from the start. For one, The Fool’s striking mural turned out to be just a bit too striking, and had to be promptly painted over in white, allegedly due to the increase in traffic jams brought on by distracted drivers and complaints from the neighbours.

Only a year later, the Apple boutique closed down, having lost a lot of money very quickly, which was blamed on a shoplifting problem. Despite the failure of the shop, it was only the beginning of the Beatles venture under their trademarked “Apple” name. (In 1976, George Harrison spotted an advert for Apple Computer while flicking through a British magazine and two years later, the first lawsuit was filed – but more on that here).

Lennon with Marijke and Simon

The Fool’s working relationship with The Beatles didn’t cease with the ill-fated Apple boutique either. Not only did they continue to collaborate commercially with the band and its members, but they also designed private pieces. John Lennon asked for his piano and guitars to be painted by their hand, and in addition to his Mini car, George Harrison’s fireplace was ornamented with The Fool’s colourful, signature Art Nouveau inspired motifs.

The Fool painting John Lennon’s piano

George Harrison with his Mini, painted by The Fool

George Harrison’s fireplace, designed by The Fool

Of course, they weren’t the only designers inspired by Art Nouveau in the 60s – in fact there was a large revival of work inspired by the organic shapes and themes explored at the turn of the century. The Fool saw these seductive styles as the key to a new psychedelic vision.

Wonderwall promotional poster

Jane Birkin in Wonderwall, standing in front of the famous armoire designed by The Fool

In 1968, their popular aesthetic won them an important gig designing the set for Wonderwall, starring a young Jane Birkin and scored by George Harrison. While reviews were mixed at the time, visually, it’s one of the most stunning films to come out of the 1960s, and now considered a cult classic which perfectly embodies the era.

The Fool, unused artwork for the Sgt.Pepper Beatles album cover, 1967

The Fool was now busier than ever creating and defining the look of British counterculture. The same year that the collective designed the sleeve graphics for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, they worked with Eric Clapton to decorate his infamous guitar and the rest of the instruments and costumes for his band Cream, as well as the album’s packaging.

Other leading music bands of the 1960s were lining up to work with them, but in 1968, The Fool decided to create music of their own when US Mercury Records offered them a recording contract. Their psychedelic folk album, The Fool, was a monumental flop – although pop culture magazine Dangerous Minds now calls it “an incredible, but long-forgotten album”.

The Fool, album cover, 1968

For their final act as a group after moving to Los Angeles, they created a mural on the Aquarius Theatre for a production of the Broadway musical Hair. But this wasn’t just any mural, it was the largest mural in the world at the time. Shortly after, the collective went their separate ways.

Aquarius theater Los Angeles, mural by The Fool

Yasha and Barry started a clothing boutique on Melrose called The Chariot but returned to Amsterdam soon after. Marijke and Simon Posthuma, who were married at the time, stayed in Los Angeles to pursue a music career as a duo, but also split up eventually and Simon too, returned to Amsterdam.

Marijke, photographed by Linda McCartney

Sadly Simon Posthuma died last year, but Marijke can still be found living in LA; painting and designing album artwork and sharing all of the wild tales from her life on her blog. Her online musings are a rare opportunity to hear tales of this legendary time straight from the source, as she recalls her adventures from within the inner sanctum of rock royalty.

End of article.

Bonus videos:

"Rainbow Man" by The Fool

Documentary about the Artist Marijke Koger (artist for The Beatles, Cream, Procol Harum, Aquarius Theater and more). It focuses on 1967 - 68 but also on her early career and subsequent creations.

Beatles-Style Poster With Slain Russian Activists Removed From Wall In St. Petersburg
By Radio Free Europe (originally published on July 15, 2021)

Witnesses said the poster was removed after hanging in position for several hours.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Police in Russia's second largest city, St. Petersburg, have removed a wall-sized poster with portraits of slain Russian rights defenders, politicians, and journalists, hours after it appeared on a wall in a park.

The poster, drawn as a replica of the 1966 Beatles' Revolver album cover with portraits of slain lawyer Stanislav Markelov, journalists Anna Politkovskaya and Anastasia Baburova, human rights defender Natalya Estemirova, and opposition politician Boris Nemtsov among others, appeared on July 15 on the wall of a transformer vault in the Pushkarsky Garden in President Vladimir Putin's hometown. It came on the 12th anniversary of Estemirova's murder.

Natalya Estemirova, the head of the Memorial human rights center's office in Chechnya, was abducted near her home in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on July 15, 2009, and shot dead. Nobody has been convicted of her killing.


A sentence saying "Heroes of the days that passed" was written on the right side of the poster.

Witnesses said the poster was removed by police officers and a number of men in civilian clothes after hanging in position for several hours.


The mural depicted Navalny making the heart gesture to his wife from a glass defendants' cage in a Moscow courtroom in
early February after he was sentenced and taken away to a Russian prison.

It only took a few hours before police in President Vladimir Putin's hometown arrived and the authorities ordered that it be
painted over.

In late April, a mural of jailed Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny was painted on the same wall and survived only a matter of hours before authorities painted over it.

In that mural, Navalny, Putin's most-vocal critic, was shown smiling and making the shape of a heart with his hands with the slogan "A hero of a new time" next to them.

Local police then launched a probe into "vandalism motivated by political, ideological, racial, ethnic, or religious hatred."

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Beatles were a symbol of freedom among Soviet youth.

‘They Can F**k Off’: Russian Rock Icon Sounds Off On Backers Of Putin’s Ukraine War
By Carl Schreck for Radio Free Europe (originally published on May 28, 2022)

The lead singer of Mashina Vremeni (Time Machine), Andrei Makarevich, has become an open critic of Putin's expansionism since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in


When Vladimir Putin took in a Paul McCartney concert on Red Square nearly two decades ago this month, Andrei Makarevich rocked out next to the Russian president as the ex-Beatle performed an encore of “Back In The U.S.S.R.”


Five years later, Makarevich -- one of Russia’s best-known rock stars -- played a Red Square concert in support of Putin and his handpicked placeholder successor, Dmitry Medvedev, and said he truly supported the ruling duo.


But since Russia’s seizure and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, Makarevich has become an open critic of Putin’s expansionism. And after the Russian leader launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February, the rock star has a message for those who embrace Putin’s war and the Latin letter “Z” that the government deploys as a patriotic symbol.


“They can f**k off,” Makarevich, founder of the legendary Russian rock band Mashina Vremeni (Time Machine), said in an interview with Current Time, the Russian-language channel run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

Makarevich (second right), rocks out with Vladimir Putin (third right) at Paul McCartney's 2003 concert in Moscow.


Like several other prominent Russian entertainers, Makarevich, 68, has decamped to Israel since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Some of these celebrities -- such as Makarevich’s fellow rock star Boris Grebenshchikov and showman Maksim Galkin -- have been openly critical of the war, a position now fraught with legal risks under a snowballing crackdown on dissent in Russia.


The invasion, Makarevich says, became a red line for him.


“Before the hostilities started, before people started dying, I could fully understand that people can hold different views of the same thing. But when it suddenly turned into war, and someone shouts, ‘Right on!’ -- then I just cross this person out,” Makarevich said.



Much Worse’ Than 1968


Makarevich, who says his musical career was inspired by The Beatles, founded his band Time Machine in 1969. And while the band was admired by many in the underground Soviet rock scene, it was never deemed subversive by authorities and even went on to achieve mainstream status.


In a 2008 interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Makarevich defended his decision to play the Red Square event in support of Medvedev’s presidency, calling Putin’s anointed candidate the most reasonable and acceptable choice.


But three years later, when Putin opted to return to the presidency, Makarevich expressed disillusionment, saying Russians were “being robbed of what was left of our electoral rights."


Following Makarevich’s criticism of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, Kremlin loyalists branded him a traitor, and his concerts were canceled.


Makarevich (center) joins fellow Russian stars onstage in 1993.


While Russian officials have denounced what they call cancel culture targeting Russians and Russian culture in the West following the Ukraine invasion, Makarevich told Current Time that he has not experienced this personally since leaving Russia.


“I travel around the world a lot now and am invited to give concerts. I’m traveling to Cyprus now. Georgia is calling. They probably wouldn’t be calling if there was some kind of ‘canceling’ of Russian culture,” he said.


Makarevich likened Russia’s war against Ukraine to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 but said the current war is “much worse.”


“What is happening in Ukraine is much worse in terms of the scale of misery than what happened back then in Prague,” he said.


‘Criminal Orders’


Amid mounting evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, Makarevich said he couldn’t speak on behalf of Russian soldiers but said that they should not carry out criminal orders.


“That is on their conscience. That is their decision,” he said.


Russia has denied targeting civilian areas in a war it insists on calling a special operation, though reporters -- including RFE/RL correspondents on the ground -- have documented numerous cases of such attacks. Moscow has also spread demonstrably false conspiracy theories claiming incidents involving potential war crimes were staged by Ukraine.


Asked whether he envisions any scenario in which he would not return to Russia, Makarevich said: “I don’t even think about that.”


“I am waiting for events to unfold that I, unfortunately, cannot influence,” he said.


Makarevich added that he continues to follow the news about the war.


“I feel the same as I did on day one [of the war]: It’s disgusting,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”


Written by RFE/RL’s Carl Schreck based on reporting by Andrei Tsyganov of Current Time

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