The News Today
from the Ottawa Beatle Site


Postcard kindly supplied by Alan Chrisman. Acknowledgements to Cavern City Tours
who hold an annual International Beatles Convention in Liverpool. Phone 0151-236-9091


This is a LIFO system - latest items come at the top See archived news pages

May 17, 2021

On this day in 1971, Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy" enters the CFRA Hit Parade in Ottawa at #22 while John Lennon's "Power To The People" moves up one notch to #4

And here is Ringo's new release "Waiting For the Tide To Turn"

The Ottawa Hit Parade is provided by David Sampson with our sincere thanks.

May 12, 2021

Rock Hall: Tina Turner Leads 2021 Rock Hall Group of Inductees Including Billy Preston, Carole King, Jay Z, Todd Rundgren

by Roger Friedman for Showbiz 411

Tina Turner leads the list of inductees for the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Carole King, The Go Gos, Foo Fighters and
Jay Z, who was dead last in fan voting, are the main class.

Billy Preston and Todd Rundgren, LL Cool J are among those chosen by the Hall separate from the voting. We’ve waited a
long time for Billy Preston, so congrats to his manager, Joyce Moore, for fighting to protect his legacy. Billy was the actual
Fifth Beatle. As the “Let it Be” anniversary release is coming this August, Billy’s induction is right on time.

For once the Hall got it completely right. John Sykes has transformed what was a mess into a success.

Carole King has already posted:

Just a note on Todd Rundgren: always an innovator, like Billy Preston he had his own huge hits in the early 70s. But he also
became a noted producer of everyone from Grand Funk Railroad to Meatloaf to XTC. He was way overdue.

Performer Category:


Tina Turner
Carole King
The Go-Go’s
Foo Fighters
Todd Rundgren

Early Influence Award:


Charley Patton
Gil Scott-Heron

Musical Excellence Award:


LL Cool J
Billy Preston
Randy Rhoads

Ahmet Ertegun Award:


Clarence Avant


May 11, 2021

Classic Rock publishes a new interview with Paul McCartney that focuses on his "Ram" album

On May 6, 2021, Ringo's timeless new rocker "Teach Me To Tango" is released

May 9, 2021

A nice cartoon caricature of Paul McCartney performing "Let It Be"



May 6, 2021

New stamps celebrate Sir Paul McCartney's 'immense legacy'

by Sky News

The former Beatle becomes one of only three artists to have featured in a dedicated stamp issue.

A set of stamps is being launched to honour Sir Paul McCartney and his "immense" legacy in the music world.

Royal Mail has revealed that the set of 12, created in collaboration with the singer/songwriter, will be on sale from 28 May.

David Gold of Royal Mail said: "Paul McCartney remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop, an artist whose legacy is
immense, but whose work continues to generate popular attention and critical acclaim.

"This dedicated stamp issue is a fitting tribute to one of the UK's much loved and revered musical icons."

The main set features eight LPs which have defined the ex-Beatle's career.

Among them are his first solo album - McCartney - released in 1970, and his most recent number one album - McCartney III
- which was recorded and released during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

A miniature sheet of four stamps features photographs of Sir Paul in the recording studio during his career.

Sir Paul is the most successful albums artist in UK official chart history, writing or co-writing 188 charted records in the UK,
with 91 of those reaching the top 10, and 33 reaching number one.

He is one of only three artists to have featured in a dedicated stamp issue - the others were David Bowie and Sir Elton

Four stamps show photos of Sir Paul in the recording studio.

May 4, 2021

The Witnessing Rock's Renaissance: Chris O'Dell Remembers The Beatles, Stones & Her Life As A Tour Manager

“I do believe in fate.  I do believe that on a spiritual level, we all have our destiny and our things we need to do in this
lifetime, and it felt to me that was mine.  And no matter how hard I might have tried to avoid it, it just laid itself right down
in front of me.  It was like the yellow brick road just kept opening up and you just take one step forward.”

For Chris O’Dell, music has always been as essential as the blood in our veins, the very lens through which she sees the
world.  Beginning what would become a career in the field with her very first job, a clerical position at the Los Angeles
offices of Dot Records, O’Dell left California- and the firm- for England in 1968.  Selling her record collection for $200, she
parted ways with every precious piece of vinyl she owned in order to afford a one-way plane ticket to London.  Invited by
press officer Derek Taylor to work for the Beatles and their newly launched Apple Records, she arrived at the label’s first
offices on Wigmore Street, completely unaware of all the magic that would follow.

Initially doing odd jobs, she soon found herself working for Apple’s A&R manager, Peter Asher, and later George Harrison.  In
addition to booking sessions for the Beatles and their roster of Apple artists, she also spent time in the studio with the Fab
Four themselves, even lending her voice to the rowdy choir that emerges in the second half of “Hey Jude.” Chronicling her
years in the industry and her close friendships with some of it’s most well known personalities, her 2009 book Miss O’Dell: My
Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved
, follows her
from the freewheeling bliss of Apple’s earliest days to her later work as one of the first women tour managers in rock.
Revisiting her time as both a fly on the wall and an integral component behind-the-scenes, her story and it’s extraordinary
vantage point prompted the New York Times to glowingly dub her, “Nick Carraway to classic rock’s Gatsby.”

Active in the business until the mid-1980s, she later embarked on a second career as a therapist and group counselor.
Talking to Pancakes and Whiskey by phone, she retraced the events that led to her front row seat to rock’s Renaissance
with a level of warmth in her voice that was palpable.  Although as she admitted, it was quite a shock to see the Beatles
move freely around the Apple offices when she first arrived in England.

“You know they were so far away.  I saw them playing in Dodger Stadium and I mean literally far away.  They were little
dots.  And so there was no human contact to them.  It almost was like you’d seen them on the screen, you’d heard their
music, but they weren’t accessible.  So suddenly having them be there in real life form and in the same room as you, in the
same building as you, was a little jarring.”

During those early days, O’Dell took any assignment she could in the hopes of eventually securing a more permanent role at
the company.  Describing how she originally worked there in an unofficial capacity, she laughed as she explained how at that
point, everyone else “actually had been hired,” before later saying, “I went over there on a wing and a prayer.  Basically, I
had to make myself useful and I had to find a position for myself.”

“I was twenty and so it was just a great adventure- it was like the grand adventure.  I had a goal and that was to get
hired.  Everybody else had their jobs to do, it was just me.  I mean, the only other person who had a little bit more flexibility
was Richard DiLello, who had pretty much done the same thing I did.  He was helping Derek, but he wasn’t an English
person.  You know for them, for the other employees, this was their home, this is where they lived, this is what they did. 
They had a job.  For Richard and myself, we were in a new country and doing our best to try to make the adventure more
adventurous, I think.”

A multimedia company created by the Beatles to house projects under various divisions including records, retail, publishing,
film and electronics, John Lennon once outlined Apple Corps Ltd. as a commercial enterprise that valued artistic innovation,
famously declaring, “We want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about anything don’t have
to go on their knees in somebody’s office. Probably yours.”  And though financial problems would later strip Apple of it’s
original bohemian spirit, O’Dell spoke about the revolutionary nature of the venture and it’s optimistic beginnings, saying,
“We just believed, and they believed, that what they were doing was the right thing and it was going to help people and it
was going to change things in the music business.  And to some degree, it really did.”

“On Wigmore Street there was a tea lady who came through and brought everybody tea.  That was standard fare for offices
in London at that time.  And it wasn’t very big.  It was one floor of a building and it wasn’t extravagant.  Then we moved
into Savile Row into a huge four, five-story building and now there were Cordon Bleu chefs in the kitchen.  It got very
extravagant and the more people started taking advantage of it- I mean the employees, you know, getting taxi rides home. 
At that time, it was a sense of entitlement, I think that not everyone had, but some people had.  ‘I’m here, I’m working
late.  I’m working for The Beatles, I’ll get a taxi and put it on the account.’  Now that didn’t do them in, but there were a lot
of things that did.  The amount of alcohol that was bought and consumed and I think some of their extravagances.  So I
don’t think it was immediately there, but once we were in Savile Row in ’69 it was becoming more apparent that it was
getting harder for them to finance it.”

Savile Row

One of the few staffers to be present for their final live performance, she joined the small audience on the Apple roof as
another crowd of curious onlookers gathered on the streets below.  No longer “dots in the field” at Dodger Stadium, O’Dell
sat only a few feet away from the band on that day in January of 1969, watching as their warm harmonies cut through the
blistering cold air.  Yet as iconic as the group’s surprise rooftop gig has become, she said that the Beatles had previously
discussed performing at all kinds of different places, including the Grand Canyon.

“They had really elaborate ideas of where they could do it, and in the end I think someone said, ‘Well why don’t you just go
up on the roof?’
(laughs).  And they had to prepare for it because the building was not in the best of shape.  They had to
prop up the roof to make sure that it held everybody, which is one reason they wouldn’t let all the employees at Apple go

In March of 1970, O’Dell accepted an invitation to work directly for Harrison.  Moving into his newly purchased Friar Park
home, she quickly forged a family bond with the Beatle and his then wife, Pattie Boyd, who remains one of her closest
friends.  Bought at a time when the estate was in danger of demolition and in need of repair, she remembered the 120 room
Victorian Gothic mansion as an amazing place, although one that could be “exceedingly overbearing” in its size and detail.

“When I lived there, and I think I talked about this in the book, it swallows you up- the house swallows you up.  It’s like if
you stay there long enough, you change.  You become part of the house (laughs).  That’s kind of what happens.  Who
knows why, but that’s what it’s like.  It’s just such an overpowering place.”  Discussing the renovations and the musician’s
hands-on role in personally rehabilitating the property and it’s gardens, O’Dell said that the entire endeavor mirrored
Harrison’s artistic nature and deep connection to the world around him.

George Harrison

“He was a highly creative person.  And I think that in that place, when he was in the garden, I think he just loved that
getting back to the Earth place.  Where I can’t imagine the other three doing anything like that.  They’d hire somebody
(laughs).  Again, that goes back to the fact that he kept trying to get back to his roots.  Kept trying to get back, not be
torn away by all the ego, and that was his spirituality.  There’s no doubt about it.”

Present in April when the break-up of the Beatles landed on the front page of the morning newspaper, she spoke about how
she went through the “emotional trip” of McCartney’s unexpected announcement to the press through Harrison’s point of
view.  Although as she explained, no one dwelled on the situation for long, saying, “We quickly recovered from it at the
house by thinking, ‘Ok, now George can do his album,’ because he had so much music. John and Paul had such a monopoly
on the songs that were put on albums, that for him it was really frustrating.  So from his point of view, it was like, ‘Well,
OK-now you can do your solo album and get all those songs on there.’”

As Harrison began work on what would become his first solo record, All Things Must Pass, O’Dell scheduled recording sessions
and set up a make-shift office in Friar Park’s kitchen.  Using a brand-new IBM Selectric typewriter, she compiled the lyrics
for every potential album track.  Recalling the process in her memoir, she wrote of being handed lyrics scrawled on pages
taken from Apple stationary, notebooks and the backs of envelopes.  Occasionally, Harrison would take a seat and play the
songs she’d just typed on his twelve-string guitar.  Describing his creative ambitions and genuine surprise at the album’s
later success, she pointed to the different roles that often exist within a unit like the Beatles.

“If you look at the dynamics of a band, you’ve got different positions in the band, kind of like in a family.  Paul played the
hero and John played the scapegoat or the bad dude, and George was kind of the lost child and Ringo was like the mascot. 
That’s kind of the family roles.  I mean, as a therapist I know all of that now (laughs).  So for George, being the lost child in
there, being a songwriter, being younger than them, always being highly creative…I mean, his desire for fame was he
couldn’t care less about all that at that point because it had gotten bigger than he really wanted it to get.  So I think that
this was an opportunity, but at the same time, he’d never had to hold the whole thing on his own.  The confidence,
musically, was not as much there for him because he hadn’t been given that position in the band to grow confidence.”

Although when asked if she ever got the sense that Harrison knew he was making the masterpiece that All Things Must Pass
turned out to be, she hinted at the mixed emotions that accompanied the band’s demise.  “I just knew that he was excited
to be able to really get into songwriting and be able to really do what he wanted to do for a solo.  I think he was scared. 
But as a musician, it was a really good time for him because creatively he was free.”

Continuing to work in the industry long after her stint at Friar Park and the subsequent breakup of the Beatles, O’Dell
accepted a position with the other biggest band in the world in 1971.  Working as the personal assistant to the Rolling
Stones, she was entrusted with organizing details in their professional and personal lives, accompanying them on tour,
booking recording sessions and typing lyrics for the soon-to-be-released Exile on Main Street.  Reflecting on her time in the
studio with different artists, she spoke specifically about how the Beatles and the Stones differed in their methods.

“It’s very different for each group.  The Beatles were pretty…I mean, it started at a certain time and it ended when it
ended, but they were much more on task.  The Stones always showed up late.  Things got started always very late and
they were OK to play all night, into the day.  They were a much looser group, let me put it that way, of the two groups that
I spent the most time with in the studio.”

Recounting the mesmerizing experience of hearing a song in its every stage of development, she fondly recalled what it was
like to see a composition take shape in real time.  After saying that you never really knew what the finished product would
be, she compared the creative process of those she knew as being akin to “cooking really, really excellent food- just adding
this and adding that.”  Even now, those different approaches underline just how crucial it was for her to be able to adapt to
the style and personality of each artist she worked with.

“I’d go from one job to the next job, working with a different band.  And it was like, ‘Wow, Ok…’ I had to adjust to how they
operate.  It was like switching companies all the time in a job (laughs).  You have to learn the dynamics of the band in order
to really be there for them with what I did.”  Discussing her years as a tour manager for a host of artists including Bob
Dylan, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, O’Dell
talked about the rigors of the road and the responsibilities behind the scenes.

"There was never an average day.  I mean, there were normal things that had to happen everyday.  If we had a flight to
catch, then it was getting everybody up and out.  If we had a show to do, it was organizing for the show.  So it went along
with what was going on that day, but you never knew what was going to show up (laughs).  You never knew what was
going to happen.  It was exciting.  In fact, if you to do that 365 days a year, you wouldn’t be able to do it.  It was that
hard of work.”  And while the time leading up to a show could be hectic, every minute after was a chance for both the band
and their crew to relax and unwind.

“After a show was usually downtime.  On most of the tours I did- the big ones- we always had a room, a suite, that was
just for everybody to come into.  There was always food and there was always drink and other things.  So after the show,
everybody would go there.  That was my time also.  Even if there were things to do, at least then you had a little let down
time.  I remember there were plenty of times when I’d just hang out and party and socialize with everybody.  In the middle
of it, somebody might say, ‘Oh, my girlfriends coming tomorrow, can you arrange a car?’ (laughs).  But overall, it felt like a

After leaving the business and starting a family in the mid 1980s, O’Dell eventually moved back to where she grew up in
Tucson, Arizona.  Enrolling in school soon after splitting from her first husband, she earned a college degree and a master’s
degree in counseling psychology and began a career as a therapist.  Now remarried and living in Honduras, she spoke about
he eighties as being a transitional period, before talking about the peace that has come with true retirement.

“It was like living in the real world and that was hard.  That was hard to make that switch, but I had to because I was a
mother and I had a son, and I was a single mother.  And I think that pulling away from all of that life, it was difficult.  Had I
stayed in London and had a life there, I probably would have remained close to that group of people.  But I moved to
Arizona and nobody ever comes here (laughs).  But then after I decided not to be a therapist anymore, my husband and I
moved.  We went looking for a quiet paradise and we found one.  So to me, that’s the most peaceful I’ve ever been.  I’m in
Tucson now, but I can hardly wait to get back to the island (laughs).  That’s where life is just easy.”

Offering a perspective that so few have, her memoir captures both her personal and professional journey, while also detailing
key moments in rock history with a keen sense of wonder and affection.  And though it remains her own story with life’s own
distinct set of peaks and valleys, her recollections can’t help but expand on the essence and aura of the era and it’s music.

Not one to save much, she has one trunk of memorabilia and keepsakes that stretch back to those days.  Although after
calling moments like having her picture appear on the back cover of Exile on Main Street just one of the many “nice things
to have to remember everything by,” she said that Harrison’s 1973 song bearing her name remains one of the biggest thrills
of them all.  Released as a B-side, “Miss O’Dell,” remains a fan favorite, as well as something the real Miss O’Dell has always
considered “an honor” of her close friend George.

Today, her memories remain vivid and bright, forever woven together by the music and her own unique view from the crow’s
nest of rock’s most studied and celebrated generation.

The above article appeared in Pancakes and Wiskey, March 7, 2016.

May 3, 2021

The Beatles net worth: Incredible ways the Beatles made even more money outside the music
by Stefan Kyriazis for the Daily Express

THE BEATLES extraordinary net worth has been boosted over the years by some astute and sometimes
unusual investments from record-breaking cows and toy trains to Monty Python movies. How much are the
estates of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison worth today?


In the many decades since the band split in 1970, their music has remained as popular as ever, although Beatles royalties varied, with Lennon and McCartney having most of the songwriting credits. All four had successful solo careers. Paul also formed the band Wings, George formed the Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, and Ringo had his All Starrs band. In 1995 and 1996 the three surviving Beatles also released the three retrospective Anthology albums (and lucrative TV series). The first album alone went 8x Platinum in the US, with sales of over 3.6million. Together with the Beatlejuice radio show host Geoff Johns, we look at how the four musicians all diversified beyond their own music, to generate wealth in sometimes surprising ways.


Ringo Star: In 2020 Ringo was named the wealthiest drummer in the world with an estimated $350 million fortune.


He has never stopped making music and is currently waiting to get back on the road with his All Starr Band but his  involvement with the TV launch of Thomas The Tank Engine in 1984 never ceases to surprise people. He actually narrated the early series from 1984-1986 and from 1989-1990 in the US.


ProducProducer Britt Allcroft said she chose him because she thought children would relate to his relaxed, jovial voice. As well as his standard fee, Ringo cleverly took a 5.1 per cent stake in the Britt Allcroft Company. It was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1996 for £30 million, then sold in 2002 for a reported £139 million.


Apart from that, Ringo also ran the construction firm Bricky Builders in the 1960s and ROR interior design company until the mid 1980s.


ROR worked on palaces in Oman and Abu Dhabi as well as British pornographer Paul Raymond’s London homes and created a range of hip furniture with clients like David Bowie, Elton John and Ted Heath.


In 1987 he opened London Brasserie, a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia.


George Harrison died from cancer on November 29, 1991, leaving an estate that is worth an estimated $400 million today to wife Olivia and son Dhani.


If Ringo’s blockbuster kids cartoon series is impressive, George went one better by founding an entire film production company. A lifelong Monty Python fan, he stepped in when financing was withdrawn for their next film, The Life of Brian, in 1978. They needed $4million to start production and the former Beatle assured a dubious Eric Idle that he would sort it out.


Eric later said: "He mortgaged his house to put up the money for this movie  because he wanted to see it - which is still the most anyone has paid for a cinema ticket."


The risky gamble paid off when the $4million movie banked $21million at the box office.


GeorgeGeorge founded Handmade Films with his business manager Denis O’Brien to get The Life Of Brian made and went on to produce critically acclaimed 1980s hits like Withnail and I, Time Bandits, Mona Lisa and A Private Function.


Unfortunately, Handmade collapsed in 1991 after O’Brien incurred major debts through fraud and negligence. Their partnership ended acrimoniously in court.


Although, this indirectly benefitted Beatles fans. Geoff Johns points out: "His reduced financial circumstances paved the way for the surviving three Beatles to reunite in the 90s for the Anthology project."


In the end, Harrison also eventually received an $11.6 million settlement over the Handmade collapse.


John Lennon was worth an estimated $200 million when he died (approximately $620 million in today’s money). Much of this came from his Beatles royalties and subsequent solo projects, but his wife was also responsible for managing and growing their wealth.


Yoko came from an extremely wealthy, upper class family in Japan (she went to school with the future Emperor Akihito) who had been part of the financial elite for many generations. 


Yoko explained that she got involved after seeing the complicated tangle of finances from the Beatles era: “We weren’t financially independent; we didn’t even know how much money we had.”


She handled an ambitious investment portfolio while insisting they aimed to make ethical choices, most famously in the purchase of  a dairy farm with 122 cows and 10 bulls for $2.7 million – they wouldn’t invest in beef cattle which were killed for their meat.


Any doubters were quickly silenced when Yoko sold one of the Holstein cows for a world-record $265,000 in June 1980.


John responded; ‘Only Yoko could sell a cow for a quarter of a million.”


John and Yoko also invested heavily in property around the world, as well as buying up at least five apartments in the prestigious Dakota building where they had lived since 1973. Apartments there can fetch over $11 million today.


In 1980 John said: “Yoko became the breadwinner, taking care of bankers and deals, and I became the housewife. It was like one of those reversal comedies. I’d say (jokingly), ‘Well, how was it at the office today, dear? Do you want a cocktail? I didn’t get your slippers, and your shirts aren’t back from the laundry.’ ”


Paul McCartney is currently worth an estimated $1.2 billion and has topped the lists of richest musicians for decades.


As welAs well as his royalties from the Beatles and Wings, he continues to tour and can personally bank up to $70 million each time. But his personal wealth began to outstrip his bandmates when he split from the other three to take direct control of his finances in the Beatles era, taking advice from the attorney father of his wife Linda, which lead to some incredibly lucrative investments.


Geoff Lloyd says: “Perhaps scarred by some of The Beatles’ hasty early business decisions, Paul became incredibly adept at taking the long view. He refused to join his band mates in their choice of manager, the abrasive Allen Klein, instead appointing his father-in-law Lee Eastman as his business manager, who wisely steered him to invest in the evergreen songs that had inspired him.


"It’s an approach that has served Paul well, and over the years he’s acquired one of the most valuable music catalogues in the world.”


Paul oPaul owns the publishing rights to Buddy Holly, Rupert The Bear, musicals Grease, Annie, A Chorus Line, Guys & Dolls, and standards like Mr Sandman, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and Baby It's Cold Outside.  


By 1984 he estimated that half of his income came from his publishing investments.



April 27, 2021

Ringo Starr celebrates 40 years of marriage to wife Barbara Bach
by Amy Johnson for Yahoo news span>



Sir Ringo Starr is celebrating 40 years of marriage to Barbara Bach. 


The Beatles star marked the occasion on Instagram with a throwback photo of himself and his wife on their special day of 27 April, 1981.


"It was 40 years ago today The love of my life said yes yes yes. And I said it right back peace and love," he wrote alongside the photograph.


In the photo, Starr and Bach are standing behind their wedding cake while the musician's bandmates George Harrison and Paul McCartney pose either side of them with their own spouses, Olivia Harrison and Linda McCartney.


Meanwhile, Barbara's young son Gianni from her first marriage to Count Augusto Gregorini was pictured standing in front of his mother.


Harrison's widow Olivia commented on the post: "What a day that was. I’m stunned by the passing years and each day of the love you have shared not only with each other but with the world around you. 


"I love you both dearly. Happy Anniversary dear Rich and Barb."


Starr – real name Richard Starkey – was first married to Maureen Cox from 1965 to 1975. They had three children, Zak, Jason and Lee. 


US-born Bach is an actor, having appeared as Bond girl Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me opposite Roger Moore's 007. In addition to Gianni, she had daughter Francesca with her first husband.


On April 23, Paul McCartney posts a rare photograph under the headline of: "Two great Georges on St George’s Day. Have a happy one - Paul" - Photo credit: Linda McCartney




April 25, 2021

Sad story about the guy who was a Beatle for 2 weeks - The Jimmie Nicol story
by Beatles Song Contest

The Beatles caused intense fan hysteria around the world during the 1960s. "Beatlemania" was a cultural phenomenon that brought massive popularity as well
as financial success to the members of the band. At the time, millions of fans were dying to see the Beatles performing live, and the band was often
overwhelmed with tour demands. The entire production machinery behind them was trying hard to keep it all going.

In June 1964, when Beatlemania was at its highest point, the band was preparing for its tour to the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Denmark, New Zealand, and
Australia. Unfortunately, just before taking off, drummer Ringo Starr collapsed at a photo shoot and was immediately taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed
with tonsillitis. The upcoming tour was threatened with a possible financial catastrophe due to the millions of sold tickets and the booked venues and hotels.
The band's producer, George Martin, and their manager, Brian Epstein, understood that they had to either cancel the tour and upset the fans or find a
replacement and thus upset the Beatles.

Epstein had to persuade the other Beatles to accept a substitute drummer, but George Harrison was strongly against it. He threatened to hinder the tour, telling
Epstein and Martin, "If Ringo's not going, then neither am I. You can find two replacements."

Martin recalled in an interview, "They nearly didn't do the Australia tour. George is a very loyal person. It took all of Brian's and my persuasion to tell George
that if he didn't do it, he was letting everybody down."
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, however, quickly accepted the idea of using an understudy.

Although it was quite hard to imagine that there was actually someone able to replace Starr, Martin proposed Jimmie Nicol, a 24-year-old London drummer
whose studio work had impressed him. Nicol had drummed on a budget label album and played Beatles covers, which meant that he was familiar with the songs
and their arrangements. McCartney also knew Nicol, having seen him perform with George Fame and Blue Flames.

The arrangements were made and Nicol was invited to an audition-rehearsal at Abbey Road Studios. Nicol was hired after a successful performance of six songs.
He was given a Beatles haircut and was ready to hit the stage. Starr became very sentimental over the situation. "It was very strange, them going off without
Starr said in Anthology. "They'd taken Jimmie Nicol and I thought they didn't love me any more–all that stuff went through my head."

Epstein offered £2,500 per gig and a £2,500 signing bonus to Nicol who, reportedly, was so thrilled that he couldn't sleep a wink that night. His first concert
with the Beatles was in Copenhagen. He went on stage in front of 4,500 fans, playing 10 songs except "I Wanna Be Your Man," which was focused on Ringo's
vocal spot. He played eight concerts and taped a TV show as a Beatles drummer.

Regarding his brief status as a celebrity he reflected, "The day before I was a Beatle, girls weren't interested in me at all. The day after, with the suit and the
Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me. It was very strange and quite scary."

On the other hand, he felt really fortunate for not being an actual Beatle because he wasn't shadowed by their increasing fame, which brought many
restrictions to the members of the band. He discovered that besides being a Beatle, he was able to behave as any tourist when he wanted to: "I often went
out alone. Hardly anybody recognized me and I was able to wander around. In Hong Kong, I went to see the thousands of people who live on little boats in the
harbor. I saw the refugees in Kowloon, and I visited a nightclub. I like to see life. A Beatle could never really do that."


Nicol was a Beatle for 13 days before Starr rejoined the group in Melbourne, Australia. At the airport, Epstein gave him a gold Eterna-matic wristwatch that

was inscribed with the words: From The Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmy – with appreciation and gratitude.


As soon as his stint was over, he wasn't famous anymore, which made him face reality. It wasn't pretty. He later declared that "Standing in for Ringo was the

worst thing that ever happened to me. Until then I was quite happy earning £30 or £40 a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too." Later, Nicol worked

with many different bands before he finally left the music business in 1967. Over the decades, he has been living away from the public eye, preferring not to

discuss his connection to the Beatles.


April 23, 2021

56 years ago today the Beatles "Ticket To Ride" went number #1 in Ottawa
The Ottawa Hit Parade is provided by David Sampson with our sincere thanks. The front cover is a photo of Sandy Gardiner who was a music reporter for the Ottawa Journal. Mr. Gardiner wrote the caption that is found on "Beatlemania! With The Beatles" Canadian Capitol release which came from one of his articles that he wrote for the Ottawa Journal.


April 22, 2021

A tender and young Julian Lennon with his Dad

April 20, 2021

The funky sounds that were played in Canada's capital on radio station CFRA for the week of April 16, 1973

CFRA Hit Parade was provided by Dave Watts, former writer, announcer, Music Director and Promotion Director for CFRA with our sincere thanks.



April 18, 2021

Guitar Autographed by the Beatles

A woman brings in a guitar she insists was signed by all four of The Beatles in 1964 in this collection of scenes
from "Ticket to Pawn."




April 15, 2021

One of a kind Beatles 'White Album' set to fetch $1,000,000




Considered the holy grail of all Beatles albums, the only known factory sealed White Album Marked 0000001 hits the block today [April 14, 2021] for New Jersey auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

The limited edition “first print” albums were made only for The Beatles and Capitol Records executives exclusively, and all of
the other known albums have been taken out of their seal. Ringo Starr himself auctioned off an unsealed “first print” copy in
2015 and fetched $790,000. This album — which has a starting bid of just $25,000 — comes from a well known Beatles
collector and has been privately appraised for $1 million.

The "White Album" was the Beatles last album released on Capitol Records and the first Beatles album for Apple Records — a
division of their Apple Corp Ltd. A double album, it was released on November 25, 1968. First issue covers had the title "The
BEATLES" in raised letters, the covers were numbered and the discs had an Apple label with a Capitol Records logo in white
around the perimeter. Later issues were not numbered and the discs also lacked the Capitol Records logo.

The record itself has a history as remarkable as it is. The Factory Sealed No. 0000001 White Album came from a high ranking
Capitol Records executive who obtained it at the album release party. Within a week, he took the album cover back to
Capitol Records to have it factory sealed. By doing so, they created perhaps the most valuable Beatles record of all-time!

This piece will easily become the centerpiece of any Beatles collection. You can view the album, along with 1,400 unique
music, sports, and celebrity memorabilia at

A Fab Four find with a story to match
by Scott Simmons for the Florida Weekly

The Beatles’ Sept. 3, 1964, concert in Indianapolis inspired a lifetime of collecting Beatles memorabilia by Steve Smith, a part-time resident of Naples.

So much of the value an object holds for us lies in memories.

And it’s been said nothing stirs memories more than music — it evokes a time and a place in our lives. Sometimes, a find
incorporates both.

Witness this story:

“It was Sept. 3, 1964. I was 11 years old and breathless with anticipation,” writes Steve Smith, a resident of Naples and
Indianapolis. “At 5 p.m. that evening, The Beatles were performing at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis at a cavernous
building called the Coliseum.”

Everyone of a certain age was hankering for tickets.

“My father worked at a local television station and was able to secure three of the approximately 12,000 tickets available.
I was to attend the concert with my mother and 9-year-old brother. My father did not accompany us as he was busy
producing a documentary of The Beatles’ visit for his TV station that became known as “Our Fair Beatles.”

The anticipation must have been great.

“I remember standing in line at the front entrance of the Coliseum while a large crowd milled about outside anxiously waiting
to go in,” Mr. Smith writes. “Finally, the time arrived to enter, and we took our seats. There were four warm-up acts before
The Beatles took the stage. After what seemed forever, the moment arrived, The Beatles appeared, and a deafening
explosion of screams erupted. I saw girls sobbing and tearing at their clothes.”

The Fab Four deserved the accolades.

“The lads from Liverpool put on quite a show,” he writes. “I was mesmerized. I had never seen or heard anything like it.
The concert ended all too quickly, lasting only 30 minutes and 12 songs.”

That performance was a life-changing event for Mr. Smith.

“I became a Beatles fanatic and eventually began a lifelong hobby of collecting vintage Beatles memorabilia,” he writes.
“Unfortunately, the three tickets that my family possessed were lost to history. I have no idea what happened to them.
When I began collecting, I was determined to purchase a ticket to that concert.”

It cost him more than the $4 face value.

“Many years later, I finally found one that I wanted,” he writes. “It was in great condition. Back then, tickets were not
scanned, of course, but instead were torn by ticket-takers to prove that the holder of the ticket had legitimately passed
through the turnstile. The ticket I found had been torn only slightly at one end, thus preserving full headshot pictures of all
four Beatles on the front of the ticket. I paid $580 for the ticket, substantially more than the $4 original face value. I’m
reasonably confident that it’s worth more than $1,000 today.”

It was a keeper.

“I ended up selling my vast collection of Beatles memorabilia in anticipation of our move to Florida, but one item I did not
part with was the State Fair ticket, which I still have,” Mr. Smith writes. “That 11-year-old pre-teen is now a 68-year-old
senior citizen. Whenever I gaze upon that ticket, it brings back fond childhood memories of a momentous occasion when I
personally witnessed a phenomenon that changed popular culture and popular music forever.”

April 14, 2021

If you own property in Penny Lane, you're sitting on a goldmine

● The worldwide recognition of the name makes homes far more expensive than they are in the rest of the city

by Alan Weston for the Echo

Penny Lane - a house in this street will set you back far more than it will elsewhere in the city

If you live on Penny Lane, not only are you lucky enough to have one of the most famous addresses in the world - it
also means your property is worth a small fortune as a result. If you live on Penny Lane, not only are you lucky enough
to have one of the most famous addresses in the world - it also means your property is worth a small fortune as a
result. If you live on Penny Lane, not only are you lucky enough to have one of the most famous addresses in the
world - it also means your property is worth a small fortune as a result.

Penny Lane, known the world over thanks to The Beatles song of the same name, is the only non-London address in a
list of the 10 most Instagrammed streets in the UK.

House prices on average in Liverpool stand at £182,534 [$251,365 USD], but prices on Penny Lane are £569,778
[$784,444 USD] making the Mossley Hill street a huge 212% more expensive than the surrounding area.

The research, carried out by Bankrate, revealed the 10 most Instagrammed iconic streets in the UK and exactly how
much it would cost you to live on them.
The other nine are all in London, but bizarrely in some of them house prices were below the local average. This included
another famous street with a Beatles connection - Abbey Road, where the average house price was 33% less than it was
in the surrounding area.

And only Oxford Street in central London showed a bigger "iconic street premium" than Penny Lane, at a massive 374% -
making the average price of property on that famous London street a huge £6.2m [$8,534,075 USD].



April 13, 2021

The best dressed and most charming drummer you could ever meet: Ringo Starr!



On this date, John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance" demo is featured on Youtube




April 12, 2021

Remembering the greatness of John, Paul, George and Ringo: "No reverb, no autotune, no BS. Two guitars, one bass, three voices, and a simple drum set. If this were released in 2020 it would be a hit," MD poster wrote.




April 10, 2021

On this day in 1972, Ringo Starr's "Back Off Boogaloo" enters at 21st spot on Ottawa's CFRA Hit Parade




The CFRA Hit Parade is provided by David Sampson with our sincere thanks.


On Friday, April 6, 1956, Capitol Records premieres




April 6, 2021

Love Me Do? ‘Quite good’, wrote John in revealing cache of Beatles letters

by Richard Brooks for the Guardian


Memorabilia from the band’s Hamburg years, sent to photographer Astrid Kirchherr, will be auctioned in May

It was the city that made the Beatles. Not Liverpool, but Hamburg, the north German seaport where, between August 1960
and October 1962, the group played more than they ever did at the Cavern in their home city.


Sixty years on, previously unseen letters, work permits and photos have been unearthed about the band’s time in Germany and their relationship with Astrid Kirchherr, the photographer best known for her stark black-and-white portraits of the Beatles taken in Hamburg before they were famous.


Letters to Kirchherr – who is credited with influencing the group’s style and signature “mop-top” haircuts – include one from George Harrison inviting her to London “to make him tea and give him cornflakes” and one from John Lennon, who mentions their just-released first single, Love Me Do, writing modestly: “It’s quite good but not good enough.”



Kirchherr had been engaged to Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the group’s original members, who died, aged 21, in April 1962 from a brain haemorrhage, a year after leaving the Beatles to study art in Hamburg. The story of the Beatles in Hamburg and her relationship with Sutcliffe was told in the 1994 movie, Backbeat.


“All the Beatles were in love with her – partly, a sort of mother or elder sister love, and partly sexual,” says Stefanie Hempel, a close friend of Kirchherr for a quarter of a century until her death last year. “Astrid was so beautiful. But she also took care of them, looked after them in a spiritual and intellectual kind of way, as well as giving them a new awareness of themselves. It was much, much more than giving them their mop haircuts. In fact, she hated being known as the Beatles’ hairdresser.”


The unseen letters to Kirchherr have been owned for many years by an unidentified German man, who is now selling them at auction. Lennon’s letter, written to her from his home in Liverpool in October 1962, six months after Sutcliffe’s death, starts in his inimitable larky style. “Yes, it’s me – John Winston.” (Winston really was Lennon’s middle name). But its tone then changes. “I’m really sorry you are so sad and uncertain about yourself. You must know that Cyn, I and the other Beatles will always feel the same about you. You will always be Stuart’s Astrid to us.”


“Stuart was really the one person to whom Lennon looked up,” says Hempel, who for the past two decades has given tours and talks about the Beatles in Hamburg. “Both Astrid and John were grieving at the same time.”


Lennon’s letter adds that Cynthia is pregnant with “this little John inside her”. The baby was to be Julian, who too became a singer-songwriter.


Harrison wrote that autumn to Kirchherr about how he had recently been back in Liverpool. “Three weeks ago some boy biffed me in the Cavern and gave me a black eye. I went to hospital and had a patch put over it. Then Johnny Kidd and I walked across the road, but into the path of a bus, which knocked me down.” Kidd was the singer in Johnny Kidd and the Pirates who, ironically, wore eye-patches when performing.


Harrison then relates that he and Lennon had “just got new amplifiers and guitars – Gibson Jumbo Country and Western style”, adding that “Paul [McCartney] has a new car – a Ford Classic, which is bigger than mine”, before a comment about Ringo Starr, who had just replaced the sacked Pete Best. “He is already drumming very nice.”




A 1964 missive from Harrison has him reminiscing about Hamburg. “I’ve found some old letters from Stu,” he writes to Kirchherr. “It seems funny reading again about the Beatles in the Top Ten club.” This was one of the city’s raucous music venues, in which they performed 92 times in 1961 alone. He then asks Kirchherr to come to London to see him and the other Beatles. “You could stay in our new London flat,” which he shared with Starr in Mayfair. Harrison suggests, “you could make us tea and give us cornflakes”.


“That’s just what Astrid and her mother did for the Beatles in Hamburg,” says Hempel. “Also, some local restaurants put cornflakes on their menus for ... other British groups performing in Hamburg.”


Harrison, however, warns Kirchherr not to use his name on the envelope in any reply. “Put on Dave Lloyd instead at our Green Street address. Don’t put George Harrison or everyone will find out from the postman.”


“George and Astrid remained very close until George’s death in 2001,” says Hempel. “Astrid would go to see George when he was living in Surrey.”


Also included in the sale at Bonhams in London on 5 May is an early 1963 letter from McCartney about the release of their first LP, Please Please Me, plus drawings and poems she received from Lennon. At the same auction, though never owned by Kirchherr, are Lennon’s German work permits plus previously unseen photos, taken by a fan, of the group leaving Hamburg airport in June 1962.


“The Beatles’ time in Hamburg was absolutely crucial to them,” says Katherine Schofield, Bonhams’s head of entertainment memorabilia. “It’s fair to say that they came to Germany as boys and left as men.”



April 4, 2021

Special Feature: the Control Room where radio station CFRA would spin those Beatle tunes 


The above article appeared on Facebook's "Old Ottawa's past - forgotten and fond memories" on April 4, 2021.


Many thanks to Dave Watts recounting his fond recollections about Ottawa's #1 radio station: CFRA. Dave Watts is a former

writer, announcer, Music Director and Promotion Director for CFRA.



April 3, 2021

Student Dispatch: Paul McCartney Visits Princeton Songwriting Course

by Anna Allport for the Princeton Alumni Weekly


Photo credit: Edmon de Haro, Steve Parsons/AFP via Getty Images (detail of a 2018 photo of McCartney), iStock (guitar)


Students on the class Zoom call could barely believe their eyes. Some gasped. Others cheered. A few started crying tears of joy.


“IS THIS REAL?” asked Glenna Jane Galarion ’21 in the Zoom chat, as Sir Paul McCartney logged onto the Princeton Atelier course “How to Write a Song.” The students had the rare opportunity to have their work critiqued by the legendary Beatles musician and songwriter when McCartney, calling from New York, joined their virtual classroom in February.


“When we started listening to [my group’s] song, Paul McCartney started bobbing his head,” Galarion told PAW. “And I thought, ‘No way is Paul McCartney, the greatest songwriter in music history, grooving to our song right now!’”


“How to Write a Song,” taught by poet and Princeton creative writing professor Paul Muldoon, has been offered at Princeton in various forms since 2010. Bridget Kearney, a songwriter and bassist for the band Lake Street Dive and a former guest artist in the course, is co-teaching with Muldoon this year.


“We have an inordinate amount of fun in our class,” Muldoon said. “Every last one of [the students] is talented in some way.” 


Every week, the 33 students in class are given a theme by Muldoon and Kearney, such as “protest” or “desire,” and hear a musical lesson from Kearney on elements including harmony, meter, and orchestration. They work in groups of four or five, and each group’s homework is to write and produce a full song. Class time is spent reviewing and discussing each song.


During the third week the theme was “loss,” and a new Zoom participant mysteriously labeled “Test Student” popped onto the screen. Unbeknownst to the students, Muldoon had reached out to McCartney about visiting. The two have known each other for years; the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet is collaborating with McCartney on the musician’s recently announced lyrical autobiography, due out in November. 


When the students got over their initial awe, they settled in for a workshop full of incisive musical analysis and charmingly off-the-cuff stories. 


McCartney listened as each group played its recording for him, and he gave specific advice to improve each song. He suggested that one group move an intriguing lyric to the top of its song, to grab listeners’ attention. He advised another that words should be sung as naturally as they are spoken — the flow of language shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of rhythm. 


“He gave a lot of great advice on structure,” said William Hunt ’23. Anna McGee ’22 cited the “empowering feeling” of having McCartney critique her work, and Rohit Oomman ’24 appreciated learning to “let go of the idea of perfect.” 


Several of the students said McCartney has been influential in their songwriting. “Paul McCartney is a genius,” said Oomman. “His influence is so far-reaching that it’s not really a question of ‘How has he influenced me?’ It’s like, ‘How has he not?’”


Muldoon has hosted other notable artists in past semesters, including Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, and Steve Martin, but the class is “not about having stars in the room,” he said. “It’s about giving the students the opportunity to have a response to their work by another artist in the field.” 


“How to Write a Song” is traditionally offered in person, featuring an end-of-semester concert of live student performances. Transitioning to Zoom, though, has allowed students to learn more about professional recording and production (key for future personal Spotify releases), and as Muldoon and Kearney noted, Zoom also facilitated McCartney’s surprise visit.


McCartney seemed inspired by the class. He told the students, “I must say, I love to see the young talent. And the kind of hopefulness. And the joy. The positivity. You know, even if it’s a sad song, just the fact that you wrote it is positive. And so, as far as I’m concerned, any message I can give you guys is: Hold onto that.” 



April 2, 2021

Kelly Clarkson Has Our Mind Set On Her George Harrison Cover

by Heran Mamo for Billboard



Kelly Clarkson has us zeroing in on her cover of George Harrison's rendition of "Got My Mind Set On You" for Tuesday's (March 30) Kellyoke segment.


And it doesn't take a whole lot of spending money nor a whole lot of precious time to relish in Clarkson doing the song right with her energetic performance.


The Beatles member released his cover of James Ray's originally titled song "I've Got My Mind Set on You" in 1987 as part of his 11th studio album, Cloud Nine. It became his third and last solo No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.


This isn't her first time covering a song performed by The Beatles (or any one of its members). She performed "Oh! Darling" from their 1969 album Abbey Road on a stop during her 2012 Stronger Tour.


Upon Clarkson's entry to superstardom following her American Idol victory, her 2002 debut single "A Moment Like This" made the biggest leap to the top of the Hot 100 when it skyrocketed 52-1, shattering The Beatles' 38-year-old record when "Can't Buy Me Love" flew 27-1 in 1964.



For further details, please click here.



April 1, 2021

Retrogroove Flashback: Ringo Starr's "Oh My My" starts climbing up the CFRA charts while Paul McCartney's "Jet" hits the #2 position during the first week of April, 1974




CFRA Hit Parade provided by Dave Watts with our sincere thanks.



March 30, 2021

From Japan's news page...




March 28, 2021

Please please me: Celebrating 58 years since The Beatles’ debut


Justin O’Toole/THE REVIEW

Staff reporter Liz Hartshorne pays tribute to the band everyone’s still in love with nearly six decades on.


By Liz Hartshorne for the Review


On March 22nd, 1963, The Beatles released their first album titled “Please Please Me”. No one really knew how much music history this 32 minute album would kick off in the 1960s, but it definitely started a whirlwind of a life for John, Paul, George and Ringo. Voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” this is “Please Please Me.”


I was able to get my hands on a “Please Please Me” original record a few years ago when I was given a turntable for my 16th birthday and started collecting vinyl records. Although it was the first full album that The Beatles released, it was not the first Beatles record that I could find at a record store.  


I began listening to The Beatles at a very young age; I think I was about three or four years old. But I didn’t listen to their earlier albums, like “Please Please Me” and “With The Beatles” until years later when I really began to appreciate the history of the band. Most people my age only know The Beatles for their most famous albums like “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Let It Be” and, of course, “Abbey Road” that have cemented their place in music history. But listening to their earlier music in addition to their late 1960s hits shows how far the band has come and how well they changed with the times by their different sounding albums.  Each one of The Beatles albums, with the exception of “Please Please Me”, “With The Beatles” and “Help!”, sounds completely different, and that is one of the many reasons why I’ve come to love The Beatles. 


George Martin was the band’s producer and was commonly known as “the fifth Beatle” because of his involvement in each and every one of The Beatles’ original albums and the films that were produced starring The Beatles. He also had a lot of say in when singles would be released and which songs would be on the record. Martin originally thought about recording “Please Please Me” at the Cavern Club, the famous club in Liverpool, England where The Beatles were first discovered. There, they performed songs like “Please Mr. Postman,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Till There Was You,” “Tutti Frutti” and “Twist and Shout.”  


In their Cavern Club days, The Beatles were not yet called “The Beatles,” they were called “The Quarrymen.” One of their first songs they performed at the club was the song titled “In Spite of All The Danger,” a song that I’ve actually heard McCartney sing live at a couple of his concerts within the past few years that he’s gone on tour. He normally plays around 40 songs at his concerts and always makes sure to add in this “Quarrymen” original song, which is always such a nice tribute to the start of the band that everyone in the audience knows and loves. 


Having the album recorded at the Cavern Club would have been a good place to start for the band’s first album, but Martin ended up landing them a recording with EMI Records in London, England. The Beatles took all day to record the album by doing their set of the album, song by song.  They recorded their cover of the song “Twist and Shout” by The Isley Brothers last because Lennon had a nasty cold the day they recorded the album. They chose to do this because Martin was worried that Lennon’s big solo section in the song would make him sound worse on the rest of the album. It is difficult to notice, but while listening to Lennon’s singing parts on the record, you can kind of notice that his voice was a little bit raspy, and he sang at a lower pitch than he sings in later recordings of their music. While listening to the record on my turntable, I noticed Lennon’s raspy voice the most in the songs “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Misery.” 


Just like music today, most artists chose to release a “single” song off of their album to kind of give it a head start in the media and the public. Of course, because in the 1960s the singles would be released on two-sided records, two songs needed to be picked. So, The Beatles decided to release “Love Me Do” / “P.S. I Love You” as their first single off their debut album a few months before the whole record was released. When they began recording the song, Martin had suggested that they use an instrument like a harmonica, an instrument that was used in multiple hit songs in the early 1960s.  The Beatles are historically known for their very original sounding songs, and the use of the harmonica in “Love Me Do” was the beginning of their original trademark. 


The Beatles’ started out being credited as just “McCartney-Lennon” because John and Paul wrote most of the songs on the album. Out of the 14 songs on “Please Please Me”, McCartney and Lennon wrote eight of them, including “Love Me Do.” Many Beatles listeners know “Love Me Do” as their debut single. That is exactly what it was. The record peaked at number 17 on the U.K. top music charts. The song was also released in America but not until 1964.  It wasn’t long after it’s debut in America that the song became a number one hit. 


But what some Beatles listeners don’t know is that McCartney wrote most of this song when he was only 16 years old. McCartney was always one to chase trouble, especially when he was younger. McCartney has gotten in trouble at school for skipping class and was suspended for a few days. So, why not write a hit song? The song was not yet finished though, which is where Lennon’s contribution came in. Lennon and McCartney sitting down scribbling songs in their notebooks together, like they did while writing “Love Me Do” and hundreds of other songs, was the start of something big that they were not yet aware of. 


The album cover ended up being quite memorable as well. After weighing many ideas that Martin had for the cover, they went with what seemed to be the simplest of all ideas: a friendly photograph of the group looking down from the stairwell of EMI Records, where the band had recorded the album. The photo was later remade for the cover of their blue compilation album, consisting of their songs from 1967-1970, including songs from “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be.”  The compilation album also included several singles that did not appear on any Beatles albums, such as “Lady Madonna,” “Hey Jude” and “Revolution.”


Every band has to start somewhere, but it is astonishing how much of an impact The Beatles had on music and society, starting with their debut album in 1963. “Please Please Me” remained on the top charts in the U.K. for 30 weeks that year and remains known as the record that started an earth-shaking decade in music history.  



March 27, 2021

The latest video updates from Ringo and Paul






March 26, 2021

Turkuaz improvised cover ending on "Rain" will surprise Beatle fans!




March 25, 2021

The Confidant in the Shadows - Neil Aspinall

by the Beatles Story Liverpool, originally published on March 22, 2021


Debate amongst Beatles lovers across the world continues in regard to the identity of the true ‘Fifth Beatle’. Yet when immersed in the life and times of The Beatles, one finds the task of identifying a sole person very difficult. You see, The Beatles were the Fab Four and quite rightly so, but their success is shared with many others who helped them along their journey.


In this series of special blog posts, we will explore the lives and roles of those who were very much integral to the growth and evolution of The Beatles over the years.


Road manager turned CEO of Apple Corps, Neil Aspinall was involved in every aspect of The Beatles and their rise to global stardom, this is his story…


Photo credit: Getty Images


Born in Prestatyn in 1941, Neil met Paul and George at the Liverpool Institute, an all-boys grammar school in the city. Although George was the year above them both, Neil remembers the first time they met;


“My first encounter with George was behind the school’s air-raid shelters. This great mass of shaggy hair loomed up and an out-of-breath voice requested a quick drag of my Woodbine. It was one of the first cigarettes either of us had smoked. We spluttered our way through it bravely but gleefully. After that the three of us did lots of ridiculous things together. By the time we were ready to take the GCE exams we’d added John Lennon to our ‘Mad Lad’ gang…”


After school, Neil went on to study accountancy and was a trainee accountant for 2 years. He enjoyed music and had a membership for the Casbah Coffee Club ran by Mona Best where The Beatles as we know them today first played as The Quarrymen and then as The Silver Beatles with Pete Best as their drummer. Neil became a close family friend of the Bests and eventually rented a room in their house. It was Pete Best who asked Neil in 1961 to be the band's part-time roadie and from there, his relationship with The Beatles grew stronger.


Eventually, Neil gave up his studies and became their full-time road manager. During this time, he also developed a romantic relationship with Mona Best and their child was born in 1962. When Pete Best was sacked as their drummer by Brian Epstein, Neil felt a massive loyalty for Pete and indicated that he would quit as a result. Due to Pete’s encouragement and belief that The Beatles were going places, Neil continued to work for them whilst maintaining his friendship with Pete.


As The Beatles continued to grow and their entourage got bigger, Neil became more of a personal assistant to the band working closely with Brian Epstein. Always just out of the camera shot, he went everywhere with the band. He was a great friend, helping them remember lyrics to songs, offering relationship advice and even standing in during rehearsals if anyone was sick, as was the case during rehearsals for The Ed Sullivan Show when George caught tonsilitis. As Beatles biographer Hunter Davies states, he was one of the ‘paid mates’, who the fab four trusted unconditionally.


Neil’s training in accountancy never did go to waste because come 1967, he was asked to head Apple Corps - a role which he officially held for over 30 years. Throughout the years, he played an integral role in managing the band's numerous commercial interests. This included overseeing various lawsuits and most notably producing The Beatles Anthology, where his friend Pete Best would finally receive royalties for the part he played during the early years of the band.


On this day, we remember the extraordinary life of Neil Aspinall who sadly passed away after a battle with lung cancer in 2008. He is survived by his wife Suzie Aspinall, 3 daughters and 2 sons. He is remembered as a fierce protector of the band’s legacy who always had their best interests at heart. As an insider, he never did publish any memoirs but his story is remembered through The Beatles Story exhibition and will continue to be shared with visitors from across the world.



March 23, 2021

How the Beatles Ditched Psychedelia With Lady Madonna

by Nick Deriso for Ultimate Classic Rock


The Fats Domino-inspired "Lady Madonna" served notice that the Beatles' technicolor dream was over.

Released in March 1968, this account of an exhausted, probably single mother facing down daily problems is as lean and rootsy as 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was layered and kaleidoscopic. Named in a clear reference to his Catholic upbringing, "Lady Madonna" also served as a stopgap as the Beatles prepared for a trip to India where they'd study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

"'Lady Madonna' was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing," Paul McCartney said in Barry Miles' Many Years From Now. "I got my left hand doing an arpeggio thing with the chord, an ascending boogie-woogie left hand, then a descending right hand. I always liked that, the juxtaposition of a line going down meeting a line going up. That was basically what it was. It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression."

McCartney's intro likewise tipped his hat to Humphrey Lyttelton's 1956 hit "Bad Penny Blues," which was also produced by George Martin. Lyttelton later revealed that he took this quote at the piano as a compliment.

"I've never had any sympathy with the notion of 'Here are some guys, they're worth a fortune. Let's try and get some of it,'" Lyttelton said. "Although none of the Beatles cared for traditional jazz, they all knew and liked 'Bad Penny Blues,' because it was a bluesy, skiffley thing rather than a trad exercise."

McCartney's dad sidelined as a jazz musician, but this latest tribute to steadfast women was mainly inspired by his mom – a midwife who served as the family's principal breadwinner before her too-early death. So, "Lady Madonna" was tougher than "Eleanor Rigby" or "Lovely Rita" – and far more worldly.

Every line is sharpened to a knife's edge, as she muscles her way through another difficult week. The Beatles' only look back from this gritty scene arrives with the line "see how they run," a double entendre about her worn-out stockings that echoes a John Lennon lyric from the previous year's "I Am the Walrus."

The spark for McCartney came courtesy of a photograph of a Malayo-Polynesian woman caring for three small children, taken for National Geographic in 1965 by Howard Sochurek.

"I saw that as a kind of Madonna thing, mother and child, and I just – you know, sometimes you see pictures of mothers and you go, 'She's a good mother,'" McCartney told National Geographic in 2017. "You could just tell there's a bond and it just affected me, that photo. And so I was inspired to write 'Lady Madonna,' my song, from that photo."


Still, it wasn't all so serious. Lennon and George Harrison joined McCartney for background vocals that imitated brass instruments during the instrumental break before bringing in four saxophonists – including the legendary Ronnie Scott – to complete the session. Unfortunately, Scott's solo was buried in the mix until the Anthology series salvaged it by combining elements of takes three, four and five.

"Lady Madonna" entered the U.K. charts at No. 5 in late March, then spent two weeks at the top. The single was halted at No. 4 in the U.S., but nevertheless made history of another sort.

The Beatles had originally considered releasing "Across the Universe," but Lennon withdrew the song because he wasn't happy with the arrangement. Harrison was the beneficiary, as they paired "The Inner Light" with "Lady Madonna" to fashion his first original B-side. In a cool twist, Fats Domino also covered "Lady Madonna," and it became his 77th – and final – U.S. charting song.

Only later did it occur to McCartney that the song had a timeline error. "I was writing the words out to learn it for an American TV show and I realized I missed out Saturday; I did every other day of the week, but I missed out Saturday," McCartney told Miles. "So, I figured it must have been a real night out."


March 22, 2021

The songwriting advice John Lennon gave to Joni Mitchell

by Joe Taysom for Far Out



John Lennon and Joni Mitchell are undoubtedly two of the finest songwriters of all-time. Still, their approach to music came from opposite ends of the spectrum; that’s if Mitchell’s debut encounter with the bespectacled Beatle is anything to go by. It was during this first meeting when Lennon decided to give the folk singer some career advice.


The source of contention that led to Lennon handing out words of wisdom to Mitchell came from one of the standout singles from Mitchell’s album Clouds — the track, ‘Both Sides Now‘. It remains, to this day, as one of Mitchell’s most iconic compositions. Mitchell is said to have written ‘Both Sides Now’ in March of 1967, after being inspired by a passage in Saul Bellow’s novel Henderson the Rain King.



However, the song is best known by Judy Collins’ version and charted at eight in the States, a whole year before Mitchell would get round to sharing her own version of the track. Lennon found this staggering. The singer was perplexed by the idea that an artist wouldn’t protect a track like ‘Both Sides Now’ at all costs and, what’s more, allow their friend to have a hit with it.


Once commenting about the track, Mitchell noted: “I was reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King on a plane and early in the book ‘Henderson the Rain King’ is also up in a plane. He’s on his way to Africa, and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.”


The most famous example of Lennon giving away a song came when The Beatles allowed The Rolling Stones to have their first hit with ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’. Lennon later commented: “It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it: We weren’t going to give them anything great, right?”


During a television appearance in the ’90s, Joni spoke of ‘Both Sides now and joked about people not realising that the track written by her, not Judy Collins. Mitchell revealed that people come up to her on the street and ask,” ‘How did you get Judy to give you permission to sing her song?”.


This unselfish approach to music epitomises Mitchell, but it’s fair to say that most artists of her size would hoard their best work rather than letting their friends have it. During the same appearance, the singer recounted the words of warning that John Lennon gave her about this the first time they met each other.


“When I met John Lennon, it was during his lost year in LA y’know, and he came up to me to say, ‘Oh it’s all a product of overeducation, you want a hit, don’t you?’,” she says in her best Scouse impression, which if you’re from the UK, sounds just like a typical American attempt at a standard British accent — the kind that sounds like absolutely nobody in reality. But it’s the effort from Mitchell that counts.


“I was cutting Court and Spark; he was cutting across the hall, so I played him something from Court and Spark,” Mitchell remembers before resurrecting her best Lennon impression once more. “He said, ‘You want a hit don’t you? Put some fiddles on it! Why do you always let other people have your hits for you y’know?'”,” she adds before bursting into laughter.



Even if John Lennon would have you believe that all he cared about was expressing his artistry, his comments to Mitchell show that the former Beatle loved searching for a hit record, and few people managed to strike gold as often as Lennon. Whereas Mitchell’s road to success was a route less travelled and hit records were never on the horizon of her desires. Instead, she chose a purer artistic road, something she would have done with or without Lennon’s words ringing in her ears.



March 18, 2021

Paul McCartney to release new picture book 'Grandude’s Green Submarine'

It's the sequel to 2019 best-seller 'Hey Grandude'

by Nick Reilly for New Music Express



Paul McCartney has announced the release of ‘Grandude’s Green Submarine’ – his second picture book.


A direct sequel to 2019’s ‘Hey Grandude’, the book is set for release on September 2 and continues the adventure of the eponymous grandfather and his grandchildren as they set off on a quest to find their music-loving grandmother, Nandude.


McCartney previously explained that the lead character’s name is taken directly from the nickname that his grandchildren are known to call him.


‘I’m really happy with how Hey Grandude! was received as this was a very personal story for me, celebrating Grandudes everywhere and their relationships and adventures with their grandchildren,” McCartney said.


“I love that it has become a book read to grandkids at bedtime all around the world. I always said if people liked the first book and there was an appetite for more I would write some further adventures for Grandude – so he’s back and this time with his special invention, Grandude’s green submarine!”


Illustrator Kathryn Durst said: ‘I am so thrilled to be collaborating with Paul again on Grandude’s Green Submarine. I think this is the adventure book we all need during this time, when everyone is stuck at home and longing to travel to exciting new places.


“I really enjoyed drawing the newest character in the book, Nandude, particularly because we both share a love of playing the accordion!”


Meanwhile, McCartney announced last week that he is to release a reimagined version of last year’s ‘McCartney III’, featuring re-workings of the album from the likes of St Vincent, Beck, Damon Albarn, Phoebe Bridgers, Josh Homme and many more.



March 16, 2021

Ringo Starr, 80, looks incredibly youthful as he makes surprise appearance at Grammys to present Record of the Year

by Rachel McGrath for the Daily Mail


Ringo Starr made a surprise appearance at the Grammy Awards in LA on Sunday night.


The Beatle, 80, took to the stage during the live telecast to present the final trophy of the evening, the award for Record of

the Year.  


'After a year when we've all been zooming in and zooming out, it's great to be here. In fact, it's great to be anywhere,' he



Ringo, who lives in LA with his wife Barbara Bach, will release a new EP Zoom In on Friday as well as his new book, Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of the All Starrs 1989-2019.


He wore a black t-shirt with a rainbow-hued peace sign on the front and black drawstring pants with red stripes down the sides.


He completed his ensemble with a black leather jacket and sported dark glasses.    



Flashing his signature peace sign, Ringo shared he was 'honored' to be a part of the Grammys, which this year were held in a socially-distanced ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center.


'I want to say this with peace and love to all of these gifted nominees: If you're making music in our world today, you've already won. And I thank you,' he said.


He then opened the purple envelope and announced the Record of the Year winner as Billie Eilish for Everything I Wanted.


Billie and brother Finneas appeared shocked when Ringo announced the winner and seemed a little overcome to be on stage with the legendary rock star.



Billie, 19, also made out that she wished fellow nominee Megan Thee Stallion had won in her stead.


She began her acceptance speech with, 'This is really embarrassing for me.'


She went on:  'Megan, girl, I was going to write a speech about how you deserved this, but then there is like there is no way they will choose me, I was like it's hers. You deserve this. You had a year that I think is untoppable. You are a queen.'


The teen added: 'You are so beautiful, you are so talented. You deserve everything in the world. I think about you constantly. I root for you always. You deserve it, honestly.'


Billie then went on to thank the Recording Academy for her win, saying: 'I really do appreciate this.'


The Stephen Colbert Show - Ringo Starr: Peter Jackson's Documentary Captures The Fun Of Being In The Beatles




March 15, 2021

The Beatles "Nowhere Man" goes number #1 on Ottawa's Radio Station CFRA



Dave Watts writes:




"Pascal arrived at 580 CFRA Ottawa in September, 1965. Initially, his program “Best Sellers” ran from 7:00 to 7:30 PM, followed by Gord Atkinson’s “Campus Club” from 7:30 to 8:00 with Al returning to 9:00PM. Within 18 months, petitions circulated through Ottawa area high schools calling for “Best Sellers” to be extended. By late 1968, “The Al Pascal Show” was on the air from 7:00 PM to 11:00PM. Al Pascal enjoyed tremendous ratings every evening on CFRA before moving into Production and Program Management in 1973."

Dave Watts is a former Writer, Announcer, Music and Promotion Director for CFRA. 



March 14, 2021

George Martin Early Electronic Recordings to Be Reissued

by Best Classic Bands staff



In early 1962, George Martin collaborated with BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Maddalena Fagandini to create and record two pioneering electronic instrumental tracks, “Time Beat” and “Waltz in Orbit.” Under the artist pseudonym Ray Cathode, the tracks were released that April as a Parlophone single and B-side, just weeks before Martin met and recorded The Beatles for the first time. Bridging six decades of electronica, George Martin Music has partnered with dublab, a non-profit online radio station broadcasting out of Los Angeles, to release a very limited run of 100 numbered 12-inch vinyl EPs pairing the two songs, newly remastered by Craig Leon, with contemporary remix reinterpretations by SPARKLE DIVISION and Drum & Lace. The announcement of the release was made on March 9, 2021, one day after the fifth anniversary of Martin’s passing.


Cut at Finyl Tweek and pressed at The Vinyl Factory, the collectible EP will be released on May 1, 2021, and sold exclusively by dublab, with all proceeds benefiting dublab’s nonprofit community radio programming and mission.


The premium (#1-10) edition is available here.


The remaining batch (#11-100) are here.


During Martin’s storied seven-decade career, the venerated producer, composer, and music executive actively nurtured his lifelong fascination with sound. From his first hit recordings, he would experiment in the studio, using the room and its equipment, playing with different tape speeds, acoustics, reverse echo, backward recording, music concrète, and other forward-looking techniques. Martin’s working base since 1950, EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, was light on electronics at the time, but only a short walk away from the innovative BBC Radiophonic Workshop. There he met fellow audio experimentalists who were making soundscapes for television shows from nascent electronic hardware they’d made or acquired long before the emergence of anything recognizable as similar. At the Workshop, every sound was made laboriously by hand.


The then-36-year-old Martin teamed up with the Workshop’s Fagandini for a commercial experiment. Under the pseudonym Ray Cathode, the two audio pioneers created a brace of tracks: the first with Martin providing the manmade melody alongside Fagandini’s electronically created rhythm, and a second for which they switched roles. Sounding like nothing else of the time, “Time Beat” and “Waltz in Orbit” drew a great deal of interest upon their release.


Listen to “Time Beat”



Also notable as the first commercially released recordings from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the Ray Cathode tracks heralded the dawn of electronica.


Listen to “Waltz in Orbit”



The Parlophone Records executive famously met with Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1962 after all other British record labels had passed on the quartet. Martin signed them soon after. He always maintained that it was his early career experimentation, including Ray Cathode, that helped him in his work as The Beatles’ producer to meet the band’s constant need for new sounds and effects. Fagandini continued creating electronic music and sounds, including jingles and interval signals, at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop until 1966, when she moved into her successful career as a television producer and director.


Martin and Fagandini’s pioneering use of synths on “Time Beat” is carried forward in the song’s Drum & Lace remix, using some of today’s innovative recording technology. For SPARKLE DIVISION’s remix of “Waltz in Orbit,” the 1962 recording is a launching point for their own creation of something different and individual, but firmly rooted in the techniques and spirit of the original.


SPARKLE DIVISION is the dynamic jazzy side project of ambient legend William Basinski and LA producer extraordinaire, Preston Wendel, aka Shaia Taint. Their debut album, To Feel Embraced, was released by Temporary Residence Ltd. in 2020


Drum & Lace, aka Sofia degli Alessandri-Hultquist, is an Italian composer and performer who creates music for film and media. Raised in Florence, Italy she relocated to Los Angeles after receiving her undergraduate degree from Berklee College of Music (Film Scoring & Composition) and a master’s degree (Music Technology & Composition) from New York University. Her composition work includes writing for various mediums, amongst them film, TV, dance, theater, fashion, and advertising. Recent soundtrack works have been the upcoming film Cobwebs and the TV series, Good Girls and Dickinson.


Over the past 18 years has been acclaimed as one of the world’s premier Internet radio stations. Dublab is a community supported organization funded through contributions and underwriting from individual donors and groups from around the world, including the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.



March 13, 2021

50 Years Ago Today: Paul McCartney's first solo single "Another Day" enters at number #23 on Ottawa's CFRA Hit Parade (and he never looked back after that!! Well done, Paul!)




March 6, 2021

Life in The Beatles rhythm: LI man collects the band's music, memorabilia

by Claude Solnik for Newsday



Back in the early 1990s, when he worked as an editor for an ABC television pilot, Ron Seifried struck a kind of gold. While he visited one of the producers, she showed him a framed gold record (John Lennon’s 1975 "Shaved Fish") in her husband’s recording studio in upstate New City. The record had been awarded to Wayne "Tex" Gabriel, the producer’s husband, who played lead guitar with John Lennon in 1972. Gabriel showed Seifried around the studio and five years later made the gift of a lifetime as a thank you for Seifried's production work on various projects.


Gabriel gave Seifried 30 minutes of remastered, never released recordings on CD of John Lennon playing at Butterfly Studios in Manhattan in 1972, including an electric-guitar version of "Working Class Hero," a kind of gold in the world of Beatles collecting.


"John’s voice is clear and confident. He was planning to tour with Wayne and the Elephant’s Memory band," said Seifried, 52, of Huntington. "They rehearsed it for a possible live performance, but for some reason decided not to perform it in their many appearances in 1972."


It is now more than 50 years since Paul McCartney in 1970 announced the Beatles' breakup, but for fans like Seifried, it might as well be like the Beatles’ song, "Yesterday." Siefried has been collecting Beatles discography and memorabilia most of his life, starting young and getting more serious, amassing small and big finds.


"When I met Ron, he was already a Beatles collector. It was one of the things we bonded over," said his wife, Anne Seifried, also 52. "There’s always a Beatles song for any mood. It’s become the background music for our life together."


The Fab Four — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — stayed together only eight years, although Lennon and McCartney had been together for 13. Yet interest in the band — and its music and memorabilia — continues as strong as ever.


"Ron is a true collector and an encyclopedia of knowledge about Beatles and post Beatles," said Stefan Adler, 73, who lives in upstate Cornwall and whose Beatles collection includes replicas of guitars used by the band. "I kid Ron that he should go on "Jeopardy!" and hope the category is the Beatles."


Seifried, a Web architect for a photography and electronics retailer for more than 20 years and author of "Long Island Freemasons" (Arcadia Publishing, 2020), studied broadcasting at LIU Post. Beatles’ music and memorabilia became his passion, though he never heard them perform live.


 "They transcend generations. You can play ‘Yesterday’ for a 2-year-old or an 85-year-old," he said. "They love the song. Very few musicians have that broad, multigenerational appeal."



Music and more


Seifried has assembled some 500 CDs, 300 albums and 150 45-rpm Beatles records as well as production animation cells from the 1968 film "Yellow Submarine." He has contact sheets of The Beatles from their 1966 U.S. tour photographed by Danny Fields, the managing editor of the teen-fan magazine Datebook that helped popularize the band.


Seifried also has a so-called third-state copy of the Beatles' 1966 "Yesterday and Today" with the "butcher cover" image of the band in butcher coats with plastic doll parts and fake blood. The cover was recalled and reissued with a less controversial image after public reaction threatened sales. (First-state copies have the original image intact; second-state have the new image pasted atop the butcher cover; and third-state copies are those that had the second cover removed to reveal the original butcher image.) Seifried’s items from the early Beatlemania era also include wigs, brushes and a board game. He’s got lithographs by Mike McCartney (Paul’s brother) from the late ’80s and a photograph of The Beatles with Ed Sullivan taken and signed by Newsweek staff photographer Bernard Gotfryd, among other items.


Seifried wouldn’t describe himself as a musician or particularly musical — he doesn’t play any instrument — though he once was a roadie for New Wave band The Touch and worked on a Bela Fleck music video. But Seifried studied the Beatles as a group and in their post-Beatles days, collecting facts and finds along the way.


"Here’s an easy one. What’s Paul McCartney’s middle name?" he’ll say in what turns out to be a trick question. "You know the answer to that. It’s Paul. His full name is James Paul McCartney."


Among the other tidbits he’s collected: McCartney, he says, played drums on many songs including "Back in the USSR" and "Dear Prudence," while Harrison played violin for "All You Need is Love." Those are easy trivia questions, Seifried said.


"Who is the photobomber standing next to the police van on the cover of Abbey Road?" he asks, before listing tougher questions. "The answer is Paul Cole."


Seifried was born in October 1968, a month before the release of The Beatles’ self-titled double album, also known as the White Album. His childhood home, though, was not suffused by music: His parents were deaf, he said. His mother was born deaf, and his father lost his hearing at age 2 due from illness and was legally hearing impaired.


"My father told me years later the only song he kind of knew was ’The Twist,’ by Chubby Checker," Seifried explained. "He watched people dance to 'The Twist.' He couldn’t feel it. He couldn’t hear it. But he could at least visualize it."


Seifried’s mother used to put her hand on his bedroom door to feel vibrations to see if he listened to loud music. "She would knock on my door to lower the music, not realizing it wasn’t that loud," Seifried said. "My parents were familiar with who the Beatles were, but they couldn’t hear any of the music."


An early introduction


Eleven years older, Ron’s brother Rob, a fan of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, had a few Beatles albums. When Rob wasn’t home, Ron, starting when he was 10, would sneak into Rob's room to play his records, including The Beatles’ greatest-hit sets "1962-1966" and "1967-1970," known as the Red and Blue albums, respectively.


Those sessions introduced Seifried to The Beatles alongside reruns of "Help!" and "Yellow Submarine," which he saw on TV during Christmas break in 1978. Tragedy later drove him deeper into the band. Seifried was a 12-year-old seventh-grader at the former Memorial Junior High School in South Huntington the day in 1980 when John Lennon was shot.


"We had an assembly at the end of the day to remember and pay tribute to John Lennon," he said. "There was an outpouring of love and grief."


Seifried began learning more about Lennon and the band. "I noticed a ton of tribute magazines to John Lennon on the magazine racks," he explained. "I started buying them and reading about the Beatles." He bought "The Beatles Forever," the 1977 compendium by Nicholas Schaffner that became his Beatles bible. "I lived and breathed that book," Seifried said. "I constantly read sections over and over again. It was like a holy book."


He bought albums at the South Huntington TSS, the department store that was once a fixture on Long Island, and widened his search for used and bootleg records at Titus Oaks, a record store in South Huntington. "I begged my mom for money," he said. "I diverted my baseball card money for Beatles albums."


Thus began a 35-year hunt for recordings of unreleased tracks, demos, live performances, interviews and guest appearances. If any one of The Beatles performed on someone’s else’s album, Seifried would seek it out. "I was fascinated by how quickly they evolved," he said.


He saw how the Beatles influenced pop culture beyond music, impacting how people dressed and expressed themselves — and making their memorabilia even more appealing. "They influenced fashion, their haircuts, the way they thought and spoke," Seifried said. "And the music was mind-blowing."


As Seifried aged, so did the band’s remaining former members. Before he went to work on a Friday in November 2001, Seifried learned George Harrison had died. "I took a day off from work and listened to only George Harrison music all day," he said.



All in the family


He doesn't just love the hits, but obscure B-side or deep album cuts, like "Hey Bulldog." "I never get tired of that song from ’Yellow Submarine,’ " he said.


In addition to the iconic Look and Life magazine Beatles covers, Seifried has a collection of more than 100 books. He bought a1965 Playboy magazine with a Beatles interview for $1 at a garage sale along with a rare album for a quarter.


He has heard Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr each perform half a dozen times and met Pete Best, The Beatles drummer for two years, at a signing at The Book Revue in Huntington. "He was a nice guy," Seifried said. "He was more of an outsider, only showing up for the gig and almost never spending down time with John, Paul or George."



And there appears to be no end to Beatles-related merchandise, including upcoming multi-disc sets of Lennon’s and Harrison’s first albums and Peter Jackson’s documentary "The Beatles: Get Back," slated for release later this year.


Seifried continues to acquire memorabilia, including the most recent of his five animation production cells from "Yellow Submarine." "I got one for Father’s Day," he said of the gift from his family last June.


And his love of the Fab Four has left its mark on his family in other ways. He and his wife named their oldest daughter, Julia, after the eponymous Beatles song on The White Album, and both of their daughters — Julia, 15, and Sophia, 11 — like the band. Ron’s parents never got to hear the Beatles, but the Beatles remain part of his and his family’s life.


"I grew up with the Beatles as well," said his wife, Anne. "My dad had lots of albums in the house. That was part of the soundtrack I grew up with. On a Sunday afternoon, you put on a record. Listening to the Beatles isn’t a bad thing to do. It’s comforting, relaxing."



March 5, 2021

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band new stereo mixes planned for release



Click on the above image for track details.



March 2, 2021

Editing Paul McCartney's autobiography a similar process to The Beatles' song-writing sessions, says NI poet Paul Muldoon

by Maureen Coleman for the Belfast Telegraph


Photography credit: Steve Humphreys


Pulitzer prize-winning Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who has edited Sir Paul McCartney's lyrical memoirs, has likened the book's creative process to The Beatles' legendary afternoon song-writing sessions.


The Co Armagh man and contemporary of the late Seamus Heaney, was enlisted by McCartney to work on his 900-page volume The Lyrics, a 'self-portrait in 154 songs', charting the 78-year-old's career from boyhood to The Beatles.


The book will cover the 'circumstances in which the songs were written, the people and places that inspired them and what (McCartney) thinks of them now'.


Muldoon, a former professor of poetry at Oxford and fan of Sixties pop, met up with the former Beatle many times to discuss the book's content and the writing process.


“Sir Paul and I met regularly over a period of five years for two or three hour sessions in which we talked in a very intensive way about the background to a half dozen songs,” said Muldoon.


“In a strange way, our process mimicked the afternoon sessions he had with John Lennon when they wrote for the Beatles. We were determined never to leave the room without something interesting."


Muldoon described McCartney as 'a major literary figure' and a poet.


“He’s one of the most buoyant, upbeat people I know, but his general demeanour shouldn’t suggest that he’s anything but a deep thinker,” said Muldoon.


“He looks long and hard into every aspect of life and I believe readers, old and new, will be struck by a book that will show that side of him. He’s going to come out of this book as a major literary figure.


“His insights into his artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed: that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”


Muldoon also revealed that McCartney pranked him with a phone call, pretending to be then-US president Donald Trump.


During an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today show, the poet said that he had received a call from Trump in 2016, inviting him to be his 'poetry tzar' but that it turned out to be the Beatles legend impersonating the president.


“Paul McCartney is a very serious person but he’s very far from being a solemn person. He’s a great believer in fun," said Muldoon.


“This is absolutely clear from his catalogue, if we may describe it as such. He’s more inclined to see the upside of things and to be joyous, rather than anything else.”



March 1, 2021

Grammy Museum Announces Ringo Starr Virtual Exhibit

by Angie Martoccio for Rolling Stone magazine


Museum will also release new and archival interviews with the former Beatle



The Grammy Museum has announced a virtual Ringo Starr program in March featuring a virtual exhibit and interviews with the former Beatle.


On March 4th, the museum will release a 2010 interview with Starr from their Live From the Vault series, followed by a new interview with the museum’s founding executive director Bob Santelli on March 18th. Starr will discuss his upcoming EP Zoom In and his new book Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of the All Starrs 1989-2019.


The museum will also feature the 2013 exhibit Peace & Love virtually; it covers his early life in Liverpool, his launch to superstardom with the Beatles, and his years with the All Starr Band. The museum’s streaming service Collection: Live can be accessed here.


Zoom In includes the new track “Here’s to the Nights,” featuring Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, and several other musicians. “Diane Warren wrote it: ‘Here’s to the nights we won’t remember, with the friends we won’t forget,'” Starr told Rolling Stone last December. “So it has a beautiful sentiment. It’s about us all coming together, so it seems appropriate for today. Everybody I know, we’ve all had quite a few nights we don’t remember. And we’ve all had them with friends we won’t forget.”

The long-awaited documentary The Beatles: Get Back arrives on August 27th, 2021.



February 25, 2021

Paul McCartney to publish 900-page lyrical 'autobiography'

by Alison Flood for the Guardian


The Lyrics, a ‘self-portrait in 154 songs’, will look at the people, places and circumstances behind songs written in boyhood, with the Beatles and beyond  



It will be “as close to an autobiography” as Paul McCartney “may ever come”: the former Beatle is set to publish The Lyrics, a deep dive into his life, based on conversations he had with the prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon.


The Lyrics, a two-volume, 900-plus page “self-portrait in 154 songs”, will be released on 2 November. It will be “a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account” of McCartney’s life, said publisher Allen Lane, and will cover the musician’s earliest boyhood compositions – he wrote his first song at 14 – through the Beatles catalogue to Wings, solo albums and his present life. The book will cover “the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what [McCartney] thinks of them now”.


McCartney said: “More often than I can count I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs.


“Some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.”


Muldoon, the Pulitzer prize-winning Irish poet, edited the book, which is based on conversations he has had with McCartney. “Sir Paul and I met regularly over a period of five years for two or three hour sessions in which we talked in a very intensive way about the background to a half dozen songs,” said Muldoon. “In a strange way, our process mimicked the afternoon sessions he had with John Lennon when they wrote for the Beatles. We were determined never to leave the room without something interesting.”


Muldoon said that he was “struck again and again by what you might term Paul McCartney’s ‘scholarly’ disposition” during the process.


“He’s one of the most buoyant, upbeat people I know, but his general demeanor shouldn’t suggest that he’s anything but a deep thinker. He looks long and hard into every aspect of life and I believe readers, old and new, will be struck by a book that will show that side of him. He’s going to come out of this book as a major literary figure,” said Muldoon.


“His insights into his artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed: that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”


The volumes will also include material from McCartney’s personal archive, including never publicly seen drafts, letters and photographs. “We learn intimately about the man, the creative process, the working out of melodies, the moments of inspiration,” said the publisher.


McCartney said he hoped what he had written would “show people something about my songs and my life which they haven’t seen before”. “I’ve tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too,” he said.


McCartney’s previous books include Blackbird Singing, a collection of lyrics and poems spanning 1965-99; High in the Clouds, a children’s book written with Philip Ardagh; and the picture book Hey Grandude!, based on his relationship with his eight grandchildren and illustrated by Kathryn Durst.



February 24, 2021

University of Liverpool Launches World’s First Master Programme in “The Beatles, Music Industry and Heritage”

by Erudera College News



The University of Liverpool is offering to students from across the world a unique master programme in the Beatles’ impact on Music Industry and Heritage.


The university has already begun accepting applications for the programme, while students from across the world will have the chance to study the major starting from September 2021, Erudera College News reports.


The postgraduate unique qualification Master in the Beatles: Music Industry and Heritage is listed alongside MA Music Industry Studies and MA Classical Music Industry.


The programme will apply to individuals who are currently working or aiming to build a career in the music and creative industries.


Following the launch of this type of MA degree, the Head of Music at the University of Liverpool Catherine Tackley said that the new programme is being introduced at the same time as the opening of the Tung Auditorium in the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, which will extend the contribution of the university to the rich musical and cultural life of the city.


“We are excited to welcome the first students to study the MA in The Beatles in 2021,” she said.


The Beatles expert, Holly Tessler, expressed delight over the possibility to formally study the Beatles at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Music and Institute of Popular Music – the world’s first specialist centre for the study of popular music.


“What makes this MA unique is its focus on The Beatles in a future-facing way, considering the legacy’s influence on the music and creative industries, in popular culture, and within the heritage, culture and tourism in the 21st Century,” Tessler said.


Whereas, a member of the Beatles Legacy Group, Mike Jones, said that Liverpool should not be acknowledged only as the birthplace of the Beatles but also as “their cradle”, claiming that what Beatles took to the world was in part Liverpool’s unique culture.


“The introduction of The Beatles MA, at last, gives the University of Liverpool a framework to explore this deep, significant and lasting relationship,” Jones said.


The Master programme in the Beatles starts with contextualising the study of The Beatles within a music and creative industries framework, examining then the band’s role in other scopes such as tourism and heritage before and more.


In addition, persons who are employed in museums and galleries, arts, tourism and leisure sectors could also see this programme as a good choice.



February 23, 2021

The Abbey Road Sign Made Famous By The Beatles Is Hitting The Auction Block

by Kaitlyn McInnis for the Tatler


The iconic piece of The Beatles history has already outperformed its estimated price—and still has a week left under the hammer



Music collectors and Beatles aficionados will finally have the chance to own one of the most coveted pieces of Beatles history: the iconic Abbey Road street sign—home of the Abbey Road Studios—is officially hitting the auction block.


The authentic Abbey Road street sign is currently listed with Catherine Southon Auctioneers, and, according to a recent Hypebeast report, the famous sign is just one of many authentic road signages that is currently being sold by the Westminster City Council, with funds collected expected to go toward civil services in the area.


“This collection offers a unique opportunity to own part of our city's history,” deputy leader Melvyn Caplan said in a statement. “These are original signs which have been on the streets of London in recent years—through historic moments and cultural milestones.” 


Described by the auction house as an enamelled iron street sign for Abbey Road NW8, City of Westminster, with iconic black and red sans serif lettering first created by Sir Misha Black in 1967, the font is is unique to the Westminster signs and under copyright law, is actually forbidden to be copied anywhere else in the world. Collectors will also be happy to know that the sign will be sold together with a signed certificate of authenticity.


Bidders should also take note that the road sign has been hung outside and has been exposed to the elements, resulting in expected wear and tear—but overall remains in quite good condition given its time spent as, well, an actual road sign.


Interested in finding out more about the road sign auction or registering to bid for yourself? More details can be found at the official Catherine Southon Auctioneers website—but you’ll want to act fast. The unique piece of Beatles history will close next week, March 3, 2021 and has already exceeded the £2,000 GBP estimated lot price by over £7,000.



February 19, 2021

Carnival 2021 - All Things Must Pass


"Check out this ‘All Things Must Pass’ inspired “house float” as part of the 2021 Mardi Gras. With no parades this year, residents in New Orleans are decorating the fronts of their houses to resemble floats, including this one, which pays homage to George’s timeless #1 album." ─ culled from The Beatles Official Facebook pages.




February 18, 2021

Guest book from the Grand Hotel with Beatles signatures sells for £6,700. ($8,100.99 United States)


The BBC reports that Birmingham's Grand Hotel 1965 guest book "signed by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and a then-future prime minister" Ted Heath has been sold by Fieldings Auctioneers.


Click here to read the full report.




February 15, 2021

New John Lennon ‘Love’ Video Released Ahead of ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ Reissue

by Paul Cashmere for Noise11


A new John Lennon ‘Love’ video has been released on Valentine’s Day ahead of the expanded reissue of the ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ box set.


Details of the box set will be revealed on March 4, 2021. We know the expanded set will included 159 new mixes. The hardcover book focused on the album was released in 2020.


‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ was released on 11 December 1970. It was John’s first contemporary solo album and came at the end of a productive year for The Beatles four members.


In a Beatles timeline we had:


17 March 1970 – Ringo Starr – ‘Sentimental Journey’
17 April 1970 – Paul McCartney – ‘McCartney’
8 May 1970 – The Beatles ‘Let It Be’
25 September 1970 – Ringo Starr – ‘Beaucoups of Blues’
27 November 1970 – George Harrison ‘All Things Must Pass’
11 December 1970 – John Lennon ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’


Lennon’s next album ‘Imagine’ was released in September, 1971.


‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ came after John’s three experimental albums ‘Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins’ (29 November 1968), ‘Unfinished Music No 2: Life With The Lions’ (9 May, 1969) and ‘Wedding Album’ (7 November, 1969).


‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ was produced by Phil Spector who also produced ‘Imagine’ for Lennon, John’s singles ‘Power To The People’ and ‘Happy Xmas’, The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ and ‘George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ and ‘Concert for Bangla Desh’. The later returned to work with Lennon on 1975’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’.


‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ will be released on 16 April 2021.


Related links: Click here to watch the new "Love" video and join the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band mailing list.



February 14, 2021

Paul McCartney wishes his wife Nancy a Happy Valentine's Day





February 11, 2021

"One Flower" poem by Michael X is posted on the official John Lennon Facebook pages




While men watched the cities disintegrating
Princesses saw me building our community of new people
Who once were write-offs in the old world.
We toiled with a vigour that made them ask
'For what?' and 'Where are you going?' even 'Why?'
It was late in the year, and their peace feelers were out
But we could not hear; our hands were full.
The only sounds were the hammers and saws
Of the carpenters. Music we call it. Bombs fall around us.

Those, they could gather, were thrown into their jails.
We went on. They could not tear down our town.
Their bombs kept raining but our building stood;
It shone like a light among the ruins.
They could not understand; our foundation was solid.
It is made of the new material: IDEA.

‘One Flower’ written by Michael Abdul Malik, aka Michael X

John & Yoko kissing in front of a white wall inscribed with Michael X’s poem ‘One Flower’ at The Black House,

95–101 Holloway Road, London, 11 February 1970.

Photo: Richard DiLello.



February 8, 2021

Watch David Lynch and Paul McCartney discuss the world of ‘Transcendental Meditation’

by Lee Thomas-Mason for Far Out magazine


Photo credit: John Whelan, the Ottawa Beatles Site. Photo was taken in Chelsea, Quebec.


David Lynch, the iconic filmmaker for mindbending creations such as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and more, has been an avid practitioner of Transcendental Meditation for decades.


Lynch’s commitment to meditation has only grown stronger over the years and, in 2005, he created the charitable organisation of ‘The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace’, a foundation that looks to teach aspects of Transcendental Meditation in schools and other at-risk populations such as the homeless, veterans and refugees.


Like many creatives, Transcendental Meditation has grown into a way of life. Paul McCartney, a founding member of The Beatles and meditation advocate, has been an avid meditator for the better part of 50 years. “In moments of madness, meditation has helped me find moments of serenity — and I would like to think that it would help provide young people a quiet haven in a not-so-quiet world,” McCartney says.


During the Beatles’ famed spell in India, McCartney revealed that he had been first introduced to meditation by Indian sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in 1968. “It was actually George Harrison’s wife, Patti, who had heard Maharishi was coming to town,” Paul McCartney said. “And she said we should all go… [I was] just overdoing it in the ‘60s. I was just not very centred and I was looking for something. I think we all were.”


In a meeting of exceptional minds on both a creative and spiritual level, Lynch sat down to interview McCartney on all things meditation: “It was very interesting,” he recalled about his first introduction to skill. “It was very calming and it seemed like something that was worth trying. [Maharishi] put it very well.


McCartney added: “He made it seem simple; he made it seem very attractive. It was a great gift that Maharishi has given us. It came during a period at the end of the ’60s when we were looking for something that could bring us more stability, and it was a lifelong gift. It’s something you can call on at any time.”


When discussing Lynch’s foundation, the former Beatle added: “The kids love it, kids in Brazil love it, kids in the West Bank love it… I think this is what people need, they don’t need high minded talk, as much as results.”

See the full interview, below.




February 7, 2021

How the Beatles recorded bass in 1967



The Pan Am Boeing Boeing 707 That Brought “Beatlemania” To The US

by Sumit Singh for Simple Flying


Beatlemania was running wild during the 1960s. Fans across the globe were obsessed with The Beatles during the British band’s record-breaking rise in the music industry. 57 years ago today, the group disembarked a Boeing 707 operating Pan American World Airways Flight 101 to John F. Kennedy International Airport from London. This trip was the band’s first-ever visit to the United States.


A grand tour


Between February 7th and February 22nd, 1964, The Beatles had an incredibly busy run of appearances. They performed at the Washington Coliseum and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Additionally, they appeared twice on The Ed Sullivan Show, garnering over 70 million viewers.


According to AeroTime Hub, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr arrived at New York JFK at 13:20 and were welcomed by 4,000 fans and 200 members of the press. The aircraft that made this landmark event possible was a Boeing 707-331 with registration number N704PA. In true Pan Am fashion, the plane was nicknamed Jet Clipper Defiance.


The Beatles with their manager Brian Epstein


The right transport


The four-engine jet aircraft had a flight crew of four members, including the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and flight engineer. The 707-331’s wing is notably different from the initial 707-120 series. It was longer and had different flaps and spoilers. The engines are mounted further outboard. Meanwhile, the vertical fin is taller while the horizontal tailplane has a greater span. It also has a ventral fin to improve “longitudinal stability.”


The -331’s Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3 turbofan engines helped it hit ranges of up to 4,298 mi (6,920 km) at speeds of up to 552 mph (889 km/h).


Altogether, the 707 would help transform the way people around the world traveled. Boeing initially intended for the plane to be focused on medium-haul routes. However, the type was soon heading on transcontinental and transatlantic missions. Overall, Boeing delivered 856 707s in all variants between 1957 and 1994.


Registration N704PA held serial number 17683 and performed its first flight on March 3rd, 1959. PlaneLogger reports that first arrived at Pan Am’s holdings a year later. World Airways then operated the unit from March 1972 before returning it to Pan Am in December of that year. However, the legacy carrier would pass it to Vietnam Air in March 1973 before taking it back again in August 1975. The aircraft subsequently left the fleet and was scrapped after arriving at Aerotron AC’s facilities at the end of that year.



Time to head back


Following the end of The Beatles’ tour, Jane Luna Euler was a Pan Am flight attendant that was invited to work on The Beatles’ return trip to London on February 22nd. At the airport, she witnessed thousands of fans screaming from behind barricades.


“The noise was incredible. Medical staff had been assigned to stand in the aisle created by the barricades to accept those fans who fainted in the crush of people and who were over-excited at the opportunity of seeing the Beatles. Those who fainted, both girls and boys, were forwarded to the medical staff hand-over-hand to the barricade aisle,” Euler said, as shared by The Pan Am Historical Foundation.


“On entering the aircraft another memorable sight awaited us. The entire First Class lounge was filled with hundreds/thousands of gifts of all sorts – large flowers arrangements, bouquets, drawings and paintings of a favorite Beatle, cakes, written tributes and poems, photos, and other tributes from their fans. There was an amazing assortment of these items.”


Euler adds that the band members were very courteous and pleasant during the flight, and despite enjoying some downtime with a cocktail of Scotch and milk, they were willing to sign autographs for those that asked.


An unmatched legacy


Altogether, this trip across the pond would long leave a mark on the music industry. Moreover, pop culture as a whole was revolutionized.


“The Beatles’ first American tour left a major imprint in the nation’s cultural memory. With American youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the Beatles, with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift,” HISTORY shares.


“Their singles and albums sold millions of records, and at one point in April 1964 all five best-selling U.S. singles were Beatles songs. By the time the Beatles first feature-film, A Hard Day’s Night, was released in August, Beatlemania was epidemic the world over. Later that month, the four boys from Liverpool returned to the United States for their second tour and played to sold-out arenas across the country.”


A unique time


Meet the Beatles! was the group’s second album released in the US. It debuted at #92 on the album chart for the week ending February 1st, 1964. Two weeks later, it peaked at #1 and remained there for eleven consecutive weeks.


The Beatles may have already been popular before their physical arrival to the US. However, after flying in on Pan Am’s Boeing 707 for their first visit to the country, their presence was undoubtedly cemented. This event was just one of the thousands of memories made thanks to the help of Pan Am in the middle of the 20th century.



February 3, 2021

Watch Prince deliver a mind-blowing guitar solo in tribute to George Harrison

by Lee Thomas-Mason for Far Out Magazine


“Music is music, ultimately. If it makes you feel good, cool.”—Prince.


If there’s one thing that can be said about the music of Prince and how he performed his art, it is that he made people feel good—and it was, of course, very cool indeed. One perfect performance of The Beatles classic ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ in tribute to George Harrison proves that.


On March 15, 2004, taking to the stage alongside the great Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison among many others, Prince was preparing something typically unique. The occasion was a celebration of former Beatles member George Harrison who was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—so it needed to be special.


The all-star band, performing ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ which is quite possibly remembered as Harrison’s most-beloved Beatles song, included members of the Heartbreakers and had pre-planned a moment for Prince to take the lead, a moment of majesty, a moment of sheer rock and roll brilliance. A moment only Prince could pull off.


Remembering the moment on reflection, the late Tom Petty once explained: “Olivia Harrison [George’s widow] asked me if I would come along and induct George. I was told, ‘Well, Prince is going to play too,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic’.” If there was a chance of Petty feeling upstaged (and if you’ve watched the footage you’ll know that’s quite likely) he wasn’t going to spoil the evening and show it.


Then the news broke that Prince, a massive Beatles fan, was also in discussions to make an appearance, Petty explained: “Look, we got Prince here willing to play lead guitar. Why should we give him an eight-bar solo? Over a solo that — the Beatles solo, everyone knows it by heart and would be disappointed if you didn’t play that particular solo there.”


Explaining how the makeshift band knew that The Purple One was destined to nail the solo, Petty continued: “Prince was a great fan of George’s and the Beatles in general, but I think he particularly admired George.” He added, somewhat modestly: “I think George would have liked it a lot.”


Prince was determined to make the most of a moment to pay tribute to Harrison and he began to wield his axe with powerful uncompromising confidence, with a style that ultimately defines his nickname as ‘His Royal Badness’ and unleashed a relentless three-minute guitar solo that had his new bandmates smiling from ear-to-ear, gasping at its splendour and making sure George had a fitting tribute.


As if the moment wasn’t magical enough, Prince had one more trick up his sleeve—albeit accidentally. Tossing his guitar up to the heavens, the instrument appears to vanish in thin air, never to be seen again, just the ringing of reverb in the venue left behind.


See the clip, below.



RetroGroove flashback: A fun interview with George Harrison in October, 1987



Ultimate Classic Rock is reporting that George Harrison played slide guitar on Dave Mason's "If You've Got Love" in 1973 under the pseudonym as "Son of Harry."  Listen to George's brilliant slide guitar work below.




February 1, 2021

Blackbird - The Beatles

by Natalia Marín for Agencia Central de Noticias ACN


Photo credit: John Whelan, Ottawa Beatles Site


Blackbird is an emotional and controversial song from The White Album, by the English band The Beatles, which was recorded on June 11, 1968 in London, written and performed by Paul McCartney, produced by George Martin with Apple Records.

It is an acoustic piece, which in its composition has in the background the recording of the song of a blackbird, known as the poet of the darkness of the night in the world of birds, and the harmony of a guitar inspired by the musical notes of a Bach classic, entitled Bourrée in E minor. In addition, the beat of this melody is set by a rhythmic tapping against the floor of McCartney's foot, a special touch by the author.


"Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise".

This fragment of the song refers to a metaphor about a woman of black complexion who longs for her freedom, in the midst of a society full of prejudice and inequality, and who regardless of the damage caused can continue to dream. It also alludes to the struggle of the black community against racism and the search for access to civil rights and equality before the law.


In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the reason why McCartney decided to write this song comes from the Little Rock crisis in Arkansas (United States), an event considered the most significant in the civil rights movement, because the south of this country managed a segregation in the educational field, in which blacks and whites were separated.

This became evident on September 4, 1957, when a group of nine African-American students attempted to enter Little Rock Central High School and the Arkansas National Guard prevented their entry with the excuse of protecting its citizens. A few days later the federal district judge, Ronald Davis, ordered the troops to be withdrawn and the students were allowed to enter, which was the trigger for McCartney to give a voice of freedom.


Well, it would seem from the above that the composer wanted to send a message of empathy and solidarity with all those people who were going through a time of difficulty and discrimination because of their skin color.

From this, I consider that the singer had the intention of transmitting faith, hope and support to the constant struggle for civil rights, which was being lived at that time, also it can be noted that he wanted to be the spokesman for part of the black population that could not be heard.

In addition to this, I think he makes a connotation to the union, which is expressed in the sound of his guitar, using as a reference the classic Bourrée in E minor, as I said before. This is a musical example of counterpoint, which is a relationship between two or more voices that seek harmonic balance, this used as a symbol of peace and equality between blacks and whites, which McCartney wanted to imply.

Finally, it is important to say that it is a song that, from the simplicity of its composition in terms of lyrics and melody, manages to have a transcendental meaning to this day, because after the ideal and example of life of Nelson Mandela, by fighting until the end to put the entire black race at the level of whites and to assert their rights, generated an impact and social awareness, about his dream of freedom, which can be seen embodied in Blackbird, saying that although your wings are broken or have suffered, you can still fly, dream and think of a better future.


End of article.


Ottawa Beatles Side editorial: Listen to the late great Billy Preston do his fantastic cover version of "Blackbird."


Ottawa Beatles Site RetroGroove with George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity"

Make no mistake, if you haven't heard the "All Things Must Pass" album in its entirety, you are missing out on the monumental folk-rock album of the entire 1970's decade. Having listened to this album for many decades now, I can compare this bodied work as good as Paul Simon's material. With hits like the Beatles's "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun" from Abbey Road, both written by George along with the songs from "All Things Must Pass" placed George on the same level of greatness like Lennon and McCartney.

If ever there was a double A-sided single, then it was George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and "Isn't It A Pity." And to drive that point home, here in Canada the single had both "formatted A side Apple labels printed" on either side, meaning the sliced Apple for the B-side was not included. 

Said George Harrison on the meaning behind the song: "‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is about whenever a relationship hits a down pint – instead of whatever other people do (like breaking each other’s jaws) I wrote a song. It was a chance to realise that if I felt somebody had let me down, then there’s a good chance I was letting someone else down. We all tend to break each other’s hearts, and not giving back – isn’t it a pity." ─ from George Harrison's official book "I Me Mine."

George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity" became a template for my creative juices back in 1975 when creating a lyrical response similar in style to George's composition. The lyrical poem that I wrote is called "Of Heavenly Blue" which is presented below this report.

From my personal scrap book (with glue bleed-through after all these years), the Ottawa Citizen publishes the CFRA Hit Parade for January 9, 1971. George Harrison's double hit single "My Sweet Lord" and "Isn't It A Pity" is still in the coveted #1 slot. "I Hear You Knocking" by Dave Edmunds makes its debut which John Lennon referred to as a great rocker in "Lennon Remembers" by Jann Wenner

"Of Heavenly Blue"
by John Whelan (to the tune of "Isn't It A Pity")

How do I explain my undying love for you?
It is more trying love for me than for you.
Unfolded as I remain love,
I feel indifferently the same love.

All the love that you hold,
Is worth waiting for the new day.
All the love that you hold,
Is worth waiting for when given away.

Would you believe that I'm growing in love with you?
That I'm knowing all the love within you?
As I bathe my eyes in tears love,
Cleansed is the pain of lonely years love.

All the tears that I hold,
I hold in my hand for you.
All the tears that I hold,
Is a cloudburst of heavenly blue.

Of heavenly blue.
Of heavenly blue.
Of heavenly blue.

Lyrics are copyrighted by John Whelan, "Mirrors of a Rogue" poetry collection, 1975.


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