Monday, June 30, 2014

Brian Epstein honored by heritage plaque - comments from Paul, Ringo and more

London's Royal Society of Arts has placed a "Blue Plaque" on the original site of the Beatles' London office, on Argyll Street next to the London Palladium.

Here are comments from Paul, Ringo, George Martin and others who provided comments that were read at Sunday's commemoration ceremony:

I know Brian would have been very proud to think that he had earned a Blue Plaque in the West End of London. He played a very important role in guiding the career of us Beatles and more than that he was a lovely man whose friendship we all valued and who I will always remember with great fondness.
Congratulations, Brian. Love from Paul McCartney.

He started like we did. He didn't know the game, neither did we, really. We knew how to play, and he tidied us up and moved us on. He ran a record shop in his father's furniture company, heard about us, or heard about them, I wasn't even with them then; he went down to the Cavern and decided to be a manager. And he was very good.
Love and peace. Ringo

Brian Epstein and I were very good friends from the word go, and we liked each other a lot. We sort of ran The Beatles together but he left the music to me and gave me enormous encouragement. The Beatles were number one in Brian's life, as they were in mine. He was a charming man who we lost far too soon, but will always be remembered with affection and gratitude.

I had the deep honour and great fun of getting to know Brian well in those halcyon years from 1964 to 1967 when we all seemed to cram a year of living into every week. The very essence of Brian was that he was an incredibly sweet man who cared deeply about The Beatles and everyone in his orbit. He was not motivated by money but by a desire to make the dreams of his artists and pals come true. How rare and special that was.

Brian's enthusiasm and unwavering belief in The Beatles, myself and his other artists made it impossible for the world to not sit up and take notice. Over the years, I felt that his huge contribution to the music industry had been totally overlooked, but, finally, ceremonies such as this, along with his recent long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, give Brian Epstein the recognition he deserves. Here it is 50 years later and The Beatles are still the biggest phenomenon that the world has every known, and I attribute a great deal of that to Brian. I was very proud to have him as my manager, mentor and friend.

GERRY MARSDEN: (Gerry & The Pacemakers)
I liked Brian very dearly and appreciated the good things he'd taught me about how to deal with people, he was a great help to me in growing up. A year after his death, three of his acts had achieved precisely what he said they would: The Beatles were bigger than Elvis, Cilla was on her way to becoming a very successful TV personality, and I had made it to the West End for a musical (Charlie Girl). He was a great man who crammed a lot into a short life, and made a lot of people very happy.

At the point that Brian started managing The Beatles, in January 1962, John, Paul and George had been together for five years - yet had not become known outside Liverpool and Hamburg. Brian believed in them passionately and committed himself to fulfilling the dream that John had that The Beatles could become bigger than Elvis. Which seemed impossible at the time. But Brian's tireless efforts on their behalf helped make that dream come true. John never forgot the love that Brian had for The Beatles and his crucial role in that wonderful voyage

ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM: (Former Rolling Stones Manager)
The Beatles changed our lives. Brian Epstein changed theirs. He made it all possible. Brian told them who they could be and helped them become it. He persevered against all odds and got his lads a recording contract and that act changed all our lives for the better. If Brian had loved himself as much as he loved The Beatles, he may have still been with us today. But we do still have all that they did together. And that's a gift that will never stop giving.

Brian was a wonderful person and a wonderful manager who did so much for me and all his acts, nothing was ever too much trouble for him. He always took special care of me as the only female artist on the roster and made sure that everything was right, and for that I'll be eternally grateful. He'll always have a special place in my heart and I'm so pleased for him today.
Thank you Brian, love Cilla.

TONY BRAMWELL: (NEMS promotion executive)
To put it bluntly, without Brian the Mersey Beat phenomenon would not have escaped Liverpool. He was the one who could see further than across the Mersey and by his own energy and determination mastered The Beatles' career and moved the whole thing into an international industry.

GEOFFREY ELLIS: (Managing Director of Epstein's company NEMS)
The whole world of popular music owes a great deal to Brian Epstein, with his innovative and personal approach to the many aspects of management, which ensured the success of not only those under his direct guidance but of artists managed by others.

TONY BARROW: (Beatles publicist)
Brian was always amazingly faithful to the stars he chose to promote, and the style and scope of management he offered has remained a shining example to the rest of the industry.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dissecting -- or not -- Lennon and McCartney

Joshua Wolf Shecnk in the Atlantic takes a look at the collaboration - and non-collaboration - of John and Paul, making the case that, even if the duo wrote most of their songs independently, the partnership still greatly influenced how the Beatles' songs turned out.
The diplomat and the agitator. The neatnik and the whirling dervish. Spending time with Paul and John, one couldn’t help but be struck by these sorts of differences. “John needed Paul’s attention to detail and persistence,” Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife, said. “Paul needed John’s anarchic, lateral thinking.”

Paul and John seemed to be almost archetypal embodiments of order and disorder. The ancient Greeks gave form to these two sides of human nature in Apollo, who stood for the rational and the self-disciplined, and Dionysus, who represented the spontaneous and the emotional. Friedrich Nietzsche proposed that the interaction of the Apollonian and the Dionysian was the foundation of creative work, and modern creativity research has confirmed this insight, revealing the key relationship between breaking and making, challenging and refining, disrupting and organizing.

Video: In Their Own Voices: The Beatles on A Hard Day's Night

Criterion has posted this featurette to promote its restored edition of the film out this week.

Fabs' room in Seattle's Edgewater Inn is now the "Beatles Suite"

The Beatles stayed, and fished from, Seattles' Edgewater Inn 50 years ago. Now, their room is a "Beatles Suite"
...a 750-square-foot space in the refurbished Room 272 where they stayed. It has panoramic views of the bay, a living room, a dining area, a library and an in-room photo gallery of the group. Pictures include images of the lads fishing from the window of the room.

...After they played that 1964 concert, the Beatles returned to the hotel by ambulance to duck the crowds. The hotel's then-PR person, Marty Murphy, told that there were guards at every door of the Edgewater so no one could sneak in and get to the band.

And when the lads were antsy for something to do at 2:30 in the morning, there was only one place to take them: the city's newish Space Needle. "To get there, they had to sneak out disguised, to Marty's car, a '57 Chevy, and crouch down on the floor in the back, and they laughed all the way," the story said.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: "Man on the Run: Paul McCartney in the 1970s" by Tom Doyle

What was it like to wake up one morning in 1970 and realize one is no longer a Beatle?

For Paul McCartney, the experience was both depressing and daunting, one that made him want to keep his face down in his pillow, perhaps never to wake up again.

This is the scene that opens Tom Doyle's "Man on the Run," a quick but insightful look at McCartney's post-Beatles wilderness years.

It's a fascinating slice of history, and one that features a McCartney much different from the one we think of today: The beloved, smiley walking-talking historical figure who always turns up to play "Hey Jude" at awards shows and royal celebrations.

McCartney in his 30s was unpredictable: sometimes aggravating, sometimes astounding, sometimes bright and confident, other times surly and at loose ends.

In the early 1970s, McCartney was a man in the midst of an identity crisis who was also suffering a crisis of confidence. He'd been a Beatle since he was 15. How would he function, how would he create, what would he do outside of that familiar unit, no matter how inhospitable it had become?

Doyle doesn't get bogged down in the bewildering details of the money, management and personal issues that broke up the Beatles, and he doesn't point blaming fingers. His focus is on how McCartney got through it all.

The answer is "without a plan." He seemed to be making it all up as he was going along, which is what people tend to do when they've had the rug pulled out from under them.  You get on with things the best you can.

McCartney plunged immediately into his work - recording his first two solo albums in quick succession. He recruited his wife, Linda, to sing harmonies for McCartney and brought in session musicians to help out on Ram. Which got him thinking about starting a band.

Surrounding himself in a band unit -- in his mind at least -- took some of the pressure off. It also would allow him to perform live. Getting out on the road, playing small venues and getting back to his roots was something he'd been pushing for in Beatles, but the rest of the group wanted no part of it. Now he could make it happen.

Wings hit the road showing up unannounced at various British colleges, playing shows in student theaters and eventually recording LPs under their own banner. But by assembling a new band in the wake of the Beatles, and by daring to include his wife as a member, McCartney drew more fire than he avoided.

Everything he did now invited criticism and comparison - with the Beatles and, particularly, with John Lennon, who, still angry about what he saw as McCartney's betrayals in the last days of the Beatles, had taken to openly slagging Paul in the press and in song.

Doyle is extremely objective in writing about these issues - showing both where McCartney's actions invited fair criticism and instances where he was treated unfairly by the media.

The pretense of operating a "band" when Wings was really nothing more than McCartney and sidemen,  along with the tossed-off nature of much of the music he was producing, made Paul look lightweight and shallow in an era when rock critics favored music full of raw personal expression and political significance.

McCartney created much good music during the 70s. But he was also missing the other Beatles to provide contrast and push him when a song's lyrics or structure fell short. And his optimism, pop craft and silly love songs were out of step with what was seen as rock's vanguard of the time.

Yet, by the middle of the decade, McCartney was, surprisingly, unthinkably, on top again. The hit Band on the Run album, followed quickly by the triumphant "Wings Over America" tour, earned him millions and re-established him as a top star - the most successful ex-Beatle. Even though he didn't sustain that peak, he continued having the occasional hit song and remains a top draw when on tour.

It all now seems like a sure thing: Of course McCartney would become a huge solo star after the Beatles. But, as Doyle's book makes clear, it wasn't a certainty in those bleak post-Beatles days.

Bolstered by recent interviews with McCartney himself, along with Denny Laine and assorted others, the book is evenhanded and often tough on a subject who is skilled at sidestepping scrutiny. McCartney's hippie-ish parenting, pot busts, "proto-mullet," and legendary stinginess are all addressed.

It's not a full biography of the man. We don't get much about Paul's Liverpool upbringing or the Beatles, and the story ends shortly after Lennon's murder, but the period it covers is one of the most interesting of McCartney's remarkable career.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ringo's letters to pre-Beatles fan sell at auction

A batch of letters Ringo Starr wrote to a pre-Beatles girlfriend have sold for £16,250.

The letters were written in 1961 and 1962 to 16-year-old Doreen Speight, who Ringo met while playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes at at Butlin's Holiday Camp in North Wales.
Ringo wrote to her later in October 1962: “I got a phone call asking me would I join the Beatles and I said yes and I left Rory. “I am doing very well with the new group, we have a record out I hope you have herd (sic) it it is on (Radio) Luxembourg every night (also don’t forget to buy it).”
Speight told the Daily Mirror:
“He was known as Richard Starkey back then and we ended up spending the whole week together, having barbeques and beach parties after they had practised.

“We would sit in Rory’s car and Ringo would hold my hand and buy us non-alcoholic drinks, he was a real gentleman. When we left he told me to write to him.”

New Zealand psychologist recounts interviewing John Lennon and Beatles fans in 1964

Via Radio New Zealand, an interview with Tony Taylor, emeritus professor at the School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, who spoke with New Zealand fans of The Beatles in 1964 for a paper about Beatlemania, and interviewed John Lennon during the group’s tour of New Zealand.

Video: Paul McCartney performs "Flaming Pie" solo, 1987

Abandoned Indian temple where Beatles studied meditation has become a Fabs shrine

The Daily Mail has a story and photos of the now-abandoned ashram in Rishikesh where the Beatles learned meditation from Maharish Mahesh Yogi back in 1968.
It's clear though that this is still a place of pilgrimage. A sign outside points passing visitors to the 'Beatle's Ashram'. On the stone walls, a fan has spray painted the lyrics 'I get high with a little help from my friends', next to another piece of graffiti reading 'Make love not war'.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New video: Paul announces US tour

New official video: Paul McCartney "Getting Out There" in Costa Rica

Video: Ringo ad for Shriners Hospitals for Children

Video: Beales in Milan, 1965

Video: Beatles perform "Nowhere Man," Germany 1966

Giles Martin discusses remastering the "A Hard Day's Night" soundtrack in Beatlefan

The new issue of Beatlefan features an interview with Giles Martin about his work revamping the soundtrack for "A Hard Day's Night" for the newly restored version of the film. You can order the magazine here.

Read an excerpt from the Martin interview here.
"I'm mixing for the film. I'm not mixing for some sort of crazy release. It's not like a 'LOVE' thing. I'm mixing for the film, so I want to make people feel like they're hearing the records that they know, but I want them to feel closer to them. That's my goal. I want them to feel what I feel when I listen to the tape in the studio. I want people to feel the energy. That's the other key thing to me. The Beatles weren't old when they recorded those songs. I want that to come out. Sometimes, if need be, to create ambient sound, we'd do something like put 'She Loves You' on playback in [Abbey Road's] Studio 2, and then record the band in the room, if you like, to create surround that way."

50 years ago: New Zealand civic leaders debate whether to throw a welcome party for the Beatles

Looking back on the Beatles' tour there in 1964, the New Zealand Herald writes about the civic debate that erupted over whether to use public funds to hold an official reception for the band upon its arrival.
When it was announced that the mayor would give an informal civic welcome for the Beatles at the Town Hall, tentatively planned for 24 June and restricted to teenagers, the storm clouds gathered. Robbie's chief adversary was Auckland Rugby Football Union president, Tom Pearce.

"Last evening I welcomed home a team of footballers," he informed the city council. "They were all fine young men but there was no civic or mayoral reception for them. If we are going to pander to the hysteria, antics, adulation, rioting, screaming and roaring, and all the things these bewigged musicians engender then I think we should make a point of honouring any youths with a sporting background who are at least endeavouring to act in the best traditions of the young men of this nation."

Sir Keith Park insisted that future civic receptions and welcomes should be limited to "very important people" in order to conserve public money and the time of council staff, weighing in with "I have nothing to say against the Beatles. They give an immense amount of pleasure and fun to thousands of young people. It is not up to us older ones to deny them this childish entertainment."
Also at the Herald, a feature story that looks at the band's activity in the country day-by-day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Video: Beatles interviewed in Northern Ireland 1963

Latest Paul McCartney "death watch" news: Paul looking good on his 72nd birthday!

Given Paul's recent illness and cancellation of some tour dates, there's been a sensational "is-he-really-ok" slant to some of the media attention he's been getting.

It reminds me of the days people would carefully examine May Day Parade footage of Leonid Brechnev and speculate whether he was alive or not.

At any rate, Paul is 72 today and -- judging from photos accompanying the lastest Paul-is-alive story in the Daily Mail -- looks pretty good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did the Beatles REALLY prefer mono?

The upcoming release of the Beatles LPs on vinyl in their original mono mixes has attracted a lot of media attention this week, including an exploration of why mono is such a big deal.

The general explanation for this runs along the lines of "the Beatles helped mix their music in mono and preferred the mono mixes to stereo."

And that's true. To a degree. But saying the Beatles used mono doesn't necessarily mean you can say they preferred mono.

From what I understand,  the Beatles -- once they gained access to the control room of Abbey Road and had more input into how their songs were mixed -- focused on the mono mixes and generally weren't around when the stereo mixes were prepared.

That's because they knew their music would be presented in mono on the radio and that most of their fans listened to their singles and albums on transistor radios and cheap mono record sets.

Pop music throughout most of the 1960s was presented in mono for these reasons. Stereo was more "high end," reserved for grownup hi-fi enthusiasts who listened to classical albums and mood music.

The LPs of Esquivel, Martin Denny and classical LP lines such as RCA's "Living Stereo," pioneered innovative stereo recording and mixing in the days before psychedelia.

So, yes, the Beatles worked in mono and the mono mixes reflect their musical preferences. But that's different from saying the Beatles wanted it this way.

It seems to be more a case of "that's just the way things were." If stereo had been more prevalent in the early 60s, the Beatles likely would have sat in on stereo mixing sessions and left mono to the engineers.

As to preference, I don't recall seeing any quotes in which any of the Beatles explicitly say they like the mono LPs more. If you have any quotes along these lines, please send them.

The closest thing I could find is "Anhology" quote from George Harrison:
"At that time [...] the console was about this big with four faders on it. And there was one speaker right in the middle [...] and that was it. When they invented stereo, I remember thinking 'Why? What do you want two speakers for?', because it ruined the sound from our point of view. You know, we had everything coming out of one speaker; now it had to come out of two speakers. It sounded like ... very ... naked."
But I also remember Ringo Starr saying, back when the remastered Beatles recordings were released in both mono and stereo on CD in 2007, that he liked the stereo versions more because the drums were featured more prominently in the mix.

And the Beatles did seem to enjoy using stereo to create some interesting effects on their later recordings.

So, I wonder if there's really enough evidence to state that the band liked mono more, as in these recent examples:
Alan Kozinn, New York Times: "Many fans of the Beatles, including the group’s producer, George Martin, and the band members themselves, have long argued that the most authentic way to hear the group’s music is in the original mono mixes."

Lily Armstrong, Mojo: "Back when 'stereophonic sound' was the bright young thing of sonic science, even The Beatles admitted that they liked their mono mixes best." 
Again, if there are quotes to back these statements up, I'd love to see them.

What's certainly true is that most Beatles fans in the 1960s heard the music in mono and that the band helped shape the sound of their released recordings by participating in mono mixing sessions.

So, given that, you could claim that -- indeed -- these mixes present the "authentic" sound of the Beatles. The new vinyl releases are of great interest for that reason -- especially since they will be sourced from analogue, just like the Beatles records of the 1960s.

Rather than choose a side in the mono/stereo debate, I have to confess I like having both formats available. If I hadn't grown up in the 1970s hearing Sgt. Pepper and the White Album in stereo, would I enjoy as much hearing how present and punchy they sound in mono?


This post has sparked some discussion and debate on the Steve Hoffman music forum, with a few comments worth relating here:

One polite poster who mentioned wasting "4 minutes of my life" reading this post noted:
I do recall hearing John Lennon express his preference for monaural recordings on one of his 1974 radio appearances. He described the 1967 - 1970 mix of Revolution as sounding like, "ice cream" and that it "lost the guts of it." 
Steve Hoffman himself says:
"George H. told me personally that he thought the stereo mixes for the most part were terrible. Not because they were in stereo but because they exposed the little "tricks" of how they recorded stuff. He didn't like that at all."
John C. Winn, aka Dinsdale, author of the irreplaceable Beatles reference books "Way Beyond Compare" and "That Magic Feeling" meanwhile offers this seemingly contradictory statement:

Here's what George had to say to Kenny Everett in July '69 (so, prior to Abbey Road's release, when the sole "stereo-only" UK Beatles release was the latest single, "The Ballad Of John And Yoko"):

Q: Does it annoy you that most people listen to your stuff on transistors and little tiny record players?

G: Uh... well, it doesn't annoy me, but it's a pity, because they miss it, y'know. They miss most of the, uh, hard work we put in, y'know, getting lovely sounds on things, and... 'specially stereo. Because even if people have stereo players, not many have really good equipment, or the famous stereo earphones that you so often talk about.
There was also a mention of George liking the Yellow Submarine "songtrack" remix because it made the Beatles' music seem more "modern."

So, we're really in the same spot: Can it be said -- as some in the media are saying -- that the Beatles preferred the mono mixes? I don't think it can.

Just like the rest of us, the Beatles seems to have preferred some mixes -- stereo or mono -- to others. Depends which songs, albums you're talking about.

And maybe, as some believe, debating it is a waste time. I just think that if journalists and those marketing the mono LP reissues are overstepping if they say the Beatles "preferred" the mono versions, when any evidence of that preference is so obviously contradictory.

As I said at the conclusion of the original post: I'm glad we get to hear the Beatles in both mono and stereo, as each has its merits and interesting aspects. And I think it's exciting that the mono mixes -- from analog -- will be available soon on vinyl.

Updated some more:

From the Steve Hoffman forum discussion, here's a quote attributed to George Martin:
"Today, most people are only familiar with the stereo version, but in those days, stereo equipment was very primitive, and not very popular. The Beatles and I spent three weeks mixing the mono version of the album. After it was finished, they left it to Geoff Emerick and myself to mix the stereo version, which we did in four days. So, the mono version was the version the Beatles "authorized." And, yes, given that, I think it should be issued on compact disc."

Photos: Beatlemania in Australia

Melbourne's Herald-Sun has posted a nice gallery of archive photos documenting the Beatles' visit to Australia 50 years ago. The newspaper's photographers captured the huge crowds, along with the Fabs being gifted boomerangs and other Aussie doodads.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ringo updates us on Paul's health, talks "peace and love"

The Toronto Sun has a fun interview with Mr. Starkey this week.
“I spoke to Paul,” said Ringo. “Actually, it was weird ‘cause I don’t know the time difference in Japan, I didn’t even look, anyways I just thought, ‘I’ll just leave a message.’ And he picked it up. And I said, ‘Oh, how are you doing?’ And he said, ‘I’m fine. You just woke me up.’ And I said, ‘Well, you picked up the phone!’ Ha, ha! So anyway, he’s doing good. And then I talked to him when he got to England. He’s fine. He’s on the mend.”

Rare photos of George, John and Yoko before Bangladesh show up for auction

Rare snapshots of John and Yoko visiting George before the Concert for Bangladesh in 1970 are up for auction from Sotheby's.

The photographs show Lennon smiling and joking around and Yoko Ono engaged in conversation with a frosty looking Harrison.

The late Harrison asked all his former bandmates to perform and it would have been the first time the group would have appeared on stage together in the U.S. since 1966.

Drummer Ringo Starr and Lennon agreed but McCartney refused due to a rift over the legal problems the Beatles split had caused.

But just days before the Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden in New York Harrison and Lennon's friendship waned because of a row over Yoko Ono performing on the bill with Lennon.

Lennon accepted Harrison’s demand that Yoko Ono was not allowed to perform.

But Lennon and Ono had an argument days before the gig and Lennon left New York so he did not appear on stage.

Video teaser: Beatles LPs in mono on the way

Apple/EMI has finally announced the long-expected/awaited news that the Beatles LPs are coming out in mono on vinyl. Here's a video teaser, followed by the official press release.\


180-Gram LPs Available September 8, Individually and in a Limited 14-LP Boxed Edition with Hardbound Book

London – June 12, 2014 – The Beatles in mono:  This is how most listeners first heard the group in the 1960s, when mono was the predominant audio format.  Up until 1968, each Beatles album was given a unique mono and stereo mix, but the group always regarded the mono as primary.

On September 8 (September 9 in North America), The Beatles’ nine U.K. albums, the American-compiled Magical Mystery Tour, and the Mono Masters collection of non-album tracks will be released in mono on 180-gram vinyl LPs with faithfully replicated artwork.  Newly mastered from the analogue master tapes, each album will be available both individually and within a lavish, limited 14-LP boxed edition, The Beatles In Mono, which also includes a 108-page hardbound book.

In an audiophile-minded undertaking, The Beatles’ acclaimed mono albums have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Sean Magee and GRAMMY®-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz.  While The Beatles In Mono CD boxed set released in 2009 was created from digital remasters, for this new vinyl project, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records without using any digital technology.  Instead, they employed the same procedures used in the 1960s, guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.

Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s.  Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.

Manufactured for the world at Optimal Media in Germany, The Beatles’ albums are presented in their original glory, both sonically and in their packaging. The boxed collection’s exclusive 12-inch by 12-inch hardbound book features new essays and a detailed history of the mastering process by award-winning radio producer and author Kevin Howlett.  The book is illustrated with many rare studio photos of The Beatles, fascinating archive documents, and articles and advertisements sourced from 1960s publications.

The Beatles In Mono (click the links to order from Amazon):

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night 
Beatles For Sale 
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (White Album) (2-LP)
Mono Masters (3-LP)

Box Set

Saturday, June 14, 2014

NBC developing Beatles "event series"

The producer of "The Vikings" and "The Tudors" has received a greenlight from NBC TV in the U.S. to produce an eight-episode Beatles mini-series. Presumably this will be a bio-doc, rather than a straight documentary, though details are still few.

The series will be written by The Tudors creator/executive producer Michael Hirst who will executive produce with Tudors executive producers Ben Silverman and Teri Weinberg.
The project reunites the trio with NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, who greenlighted The Tudors while he ran Showtime.
The Beatles limited series is part of NBC’s push in event programming area that includes live productions like The Sound Of Music, miniseries like Rosemary’s Baby, and limited series like the 12-part Bible follow-up A.D.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Did the Beatles visit Buddy Holly's grave? Lubbock fan claims they did

There's an interesting story in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal today in which a local woman and Beatles fan relates a story her father told her growing up: That he'd greeted the Beatles at Lubbock Airport, where he worked, and helped arrange for them to visit Buddy Holly's grave in the local cemetery.

Reporter William Kerns does a good job trying to fact-check the story, looking at the Beatles' tour dates for 1964 and 1965, when the visit supposedly occurred. The probability of the Beatles being able to make such a visit seems unlikely, yet Lana Dickson Townsend insists her father's story is true.

I don't recall any previous statements about this from the Beatles or anyone else. Certainly, the band loved Buddy Holly and were indebted to his inspiration as a performer and songwriter. But I find it hard to believe they'd make a special trip to do this. They weren't exactly sentimental types.

Anyway, here's a snippet of Kerns' article:
“It was either 1964 or 1965,” she said, when her late father, Jack Dickson, told her that four “hippie guys” arrived in disguise at his office. At that time, he was assistant manager of terminal operations for Continental Airlines.

...According to her father, the band had arrived in disguise, “wearing wigs, cutting up, joking with each other and talking very quickly.”

“He could not understand everything they said,” noted Townsend, “but he said they never stopped asking questions about Buddy Holly. They asked him if he knew Buddy Holly, which of course he didn’t. They asked him if he knew where Buddy Holly had lived, which of course he didn’t. And they’d flown in on a private plane, about an hour’s flight from Dallas, because they wanted to visit Buddy’s grave.

“I don’t know if it was my daddy or someone else who drove them out there (to City of Lubbock Cemetery). I just know daddy said that he was told to look after these men and to not let them leave his office.”

Stories spotlight fill-in Beatle Jimmie Nicol

This month marks the anniversary of the Beatles' Australian tour, which saw London session drummer temporarily fill-in for the ailing Ringo Starr, who was back in London recovering from tonsillitis and pharyngitis.

The Perth Advertiser provides an overview of Nicol's tour of duty as a Beatle and the sad aftermath.

Nicol flew with John, Paul, and George to Melbourne to catch up with Ringo but was soon out at Essendon Airport contemplating the rest of his life.
He left with a gold watch and a bank balance enhanced by £22,500 — a small fortune at the time — if Nicol’s own recount is to be believed.
Not that it did him any good.
Just nine months later he declared bankruptcy with debts of £4,066.
“Standing in for Ringo was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” he said later.
“Until then I was quite happy earning £30 or £40 a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too.”
An article in 2005 by The Daily Mail newspaper confirmed that he was still alive and living a reclusive life in London.
Jimmy Nichol(sic) has one further legacy.
During his brief time as a Beatle, John and Paul would often ask him how he felt he was coping, to which his reply would always be “It’s getting better.”
The phrase inspired the song Getting Better on the classic 1967 Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Meanwhile Beatles Examiner today has an image of that engraved gold watch, along with an illuminating interview with Jim Berkenstadt, author of "The Beatle Who Vanished," a book about Nicol.

Interesting to note Epstein had Jimmie's name spelled wrong on the watch. Also wrong in the Perth news story.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flatbed truck that once paraded the Beatles now on farm

What became of the flatbed truck that paraded the Beatles around the tarmac at Sydney Airport? It's in working order on a farm near Brisbane.

“At the moment it’s got a water cooler on it but it still drives beautifully, it only needs a bit of panel work done to it,” he said.

Mr Gullifer said he wanted to hold on to the piece of history for a while longer.
“Yeah I’d imagine I would have to sell it one day but it’s a big part of history and I wouldn’t just give it away for 20 cents.”

Radio interview: Three Australian women recall meeting the Beatles

Listen here.
Half a century ago the boys from Liverpool touched down in Australia. By chance encounter three young indigenious sisters got to meet the Beatles on the day of their final show of the tour in Brisbane.

Mona, Amy and Joan were window shopping in Brisbane when they were approached by a scout who asked them a question that seemed too good to be true - "would you like to meet the Beatles?"
Mona and Amy told Geoff Hutchison about the chance of a life time and why they felt like the luckiest girls in Australia.

Beatles changed Australian society, rock historian says

Australia is still in the midst of recalling the Beatles' tour down under 50 years ago. In a story from the Australian Associated Press:
Rock historian Glenn A. Baker says the visit caused a shift in Australian society.
"After the Beatles were here, the very nature of society swung around to direct itself to everything the teenagers were doing: what their music was, what their fashion was, I don't think that kind of existed much before the Beatles arrived," he said.

The Fab Four stayed for thirteen days spreading mass hysteria across the country, stopping first in Adelaide where more than 300,000 people turned out to greet them.

The band played 20 shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Baker, who wrote the book about the Australian tour, Beatles Down Under, watched it all play out at home on his on TV in his "red jammies". "It was singularly the most exciting thing that ever happened in Australia," he said.

"And it was the biggest outpouring of devotion anywhere in the world at any time over the Beatles' span."

The change in society was palpable. It wasn't just teenagers who were affected.

The entire music scene also shifted with more four and five piece, black leather-clad, rhythm and blues bands being snapped up by record companies.

"You went from having revue type bands in town halls that had three girls in petticoats and a couple of sax players and three lead singers ... to suddenly they were signing the Easybeats and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs," Baker said.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Australian fan recalls being "saved" by Paul McCartney

Now a grandmother, Adelaide's Judy Nimmo remembers being pushed into the path of the Beatles' motorcade through town in summer 1964.
“All of a sudden the crowd behind surged forward and I thought I would be trapped,” Ms Nimmo recalled.

“To make matters worse I was being pummelled in the back of my legs by a child’s pusher."

“The mother of the child was screaming she couldn’t do anything about it because the people behind her were pushing her.”

...As the car passed by inches away, the child’s pusher caught Judy flush behind her knees and propelled her into the front seat of the car and the lap of a startled Paul McCartney, sitting in the passenger seat.

“I don’t know who was more surprised, Paul or me, but he quickly took control,” she added.

“He grabbed my hand to steady me while at the same time he yelled to the car’s driver to stop the car."

...“He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Are you all right?’

“I can remember even today his lovely grey eyes — It was all very dream like.”

Australian radio doc recalls "The Day the Beatles Came to Town"

More to hear: ABC Radio Brisbane presents an hour-plus special focused on the Beatles' visit to Australia 50 years ago this month.

Listen to/read 1964 Australian interview with the Beatles

An unedited version of Australian radio personality Bunny Linn's 1964 interview with the Fabs is available here.

The audio, which captures the Beatles in a silly and playful mood, was posted by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. You can also read a transcript here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Macca still recovering, delays select U.S. tour dates

Via Rolling Stone:

His Out There tour will now resume in Albany on July 5th. The former Beatle is still recuperating from the virus that forced him to postpone several dates in Japan and South Korea.
..."I'm sorry, but it's going to be a few more weeks before we get rocking in America again," McCartney said in a statement. "I'm feeling great, but taking my docs' advice to take it easy for just a few more days. Look forward to seeing you all soon."

Here's the revised tour schedule:

7/5 Albany, NY - Times Union Center
7/7 Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
7/9 Chicago, IL - United Center
7/12 Fargo, ND - Fargodome
7/14 Lincoln, NE - Pinnacle Bank Arena
7/16 Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
8/2 Minneapolis, MN - Target Field
8/5 Missoula, MT - Washington-Grizzly Stadium
8/7 Salt Lake City, UT - EnergySolutions Arena
8/10 Los Angeles, CA - Dodger Stadium
8/12 Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Center
8/14 San Francisco, CA - Candlestick Park
10/2 Lubbock, TX - United Spirit Arena (originally 6/14)
10/11 New Orleans, LA - Smoothie King Center (originally 6/19)
10/13 Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center (originally 6/16)
10/15 Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena (originally 6/21)
10/16 Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena (originally 6/25)
10/25 Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (originally 6/22)
10/28 Louisville, KY - Yum! Center (originally 6/26)

Early views: new Paul bio - "Man on the Run"

A number of outlets have stories and reviews of "Man on the Run," a new Macca bio by Irish music journalist Tom Doyle. The book focuses on Paul in the 1970s, post Beatles.

New York Daily News:
Doyle, who conducted extensive interviews with McCartney and almost everyone else still alive from the singer’s dark decade, tells the story of a man who almost didn’t make it out of the ’60s and the Beatles alive.

“He knew he was in trouble the morning he couldn’t lift his head off the pillow. He awoke facedown, his skull feeling like a useless dead weight. A dark thought flashed through his mind; if he couldn’t make the effort to pull himself up, he’d suffocate right there and then,” Doyle writes, pulling from McCartney’s recollections.

...“His often sleepless nights were spent shaking with anxiety, while his days, which he was finding it harder and harder to make it through, were characterized by heavy drinking and self-sedation with marijuana. . . . When he did get out of bed, he’d reach straight for the whisky, his drinking creeping earlier and earlier into the day. By 3 in the afternoon, he was usually out of it.”
McCartney later said he “almost” had a nervous breakdown. That was no almost. Linda found the situation “frightening beyond belief.” The rock star she had married was suddenly a broken, beaten man.

 “Linda saved me,” McCartney says. Over time, she was able to slowly rouse him from his depressed, substance-induced stupor with love and compassion, gently urging him forward.
Daily Mail: 
To make matters worse there were huge ups and downs in McCartney’s relationship with John Lennon.

In 1976 Lorne Michaels joked that he’d give the Beatles $3,000 if they reunited on Saturday Night Live – and McCartney just happened to be watching with Lennon at his New York apartment. They nearly took a cab to the studio. However, when McCartney called round to the apartment – the Dakota – the next day, guitar in hand and ready to make music together again, Lennon spat: ‘Please call before you come over. It’s not 1956, and turning up at the door isn’t the same anymore.’

They never set eyes on each other again.
The book is out June 17.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ringo kicks off new tour, talks new LP

Billboard checks in with Ringo, who is embarking on another All-Stars tour this summer and is close to finishing up his latest album.
Starr has been working on the set with Toto guitarist and current All-Starr Band member Steve Lukather, along with Peter Frampton, Richard Marx, Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Nashville songwriter Gary Nicholson. "It's all my pals, really. We just get together," Starr notes. And, he says with a laugh, the results are "sounding incredible. It's a mixed bag, as my records always ware. We have the reggae track and we have the rock track and that's how it is. It's pop, rock, reggae." Starr is also taking the production reins on his own this time after working with Bruce Sugar on "Ringo 2012" and 2010's "Y Not."

"A couple of years ago I thought, 'Hey, I'm gonna try this,' " Starr says. "I was a bit insecure and I did bring a producer in and talked to him, and I said, 'Well, I'll call you in a couple of weeks.' And I did call him and said, 'Look, I'm having too much fun. I'm gonna do it.' I've always had ideas but I never held it together like I do now."

Recalling the Beatles' epic invasion of Adelaide

Lot's of articles this week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' only Austrailian tour. Here's a nice, long article from the Melbourne Herald Sun, including a couple of videos.
The Education Department issued a stern directive that any student found to be absent on the Friday the Beatles arrived would be suspended.

One school went further. Unley High School — the facility that would later educate Australia’s first female prime minister — declared any student absent that Friday who could not produce a doctor’s note would be expelled. With no exceptions.

Unley students with a broad-minded GP for a parent were incredibly popular that weekend. Other headmasters took the smart move of choosing that Friday for the half-day Arbor Day public holiday to shortcut the Education Department’s ultimatum.

The Beatles were a glimpse of an exciting, unpredictable future — and most Down Under youngsters were primed for a promised land of infinite possibilities where youth culture set the agenda.

Radio presenter Bob Francis, then a 25-year-old DJ with 5AD, found himself at the centre of the furore.

Francis had no idea what was to come when he bemoaned the fact on radio that
the Beatles were yet another group to bypass Adelaide for the lack of an adequate pop-music venue.

The now 75-year-old, who retired from the airwaves last year, suggested 3000 signatures could be enough to prod the entrenched government of “Honest” Tom Playford into action.
Within three days he received 80,000.

“They even came in on rolls of toilet paper,” Francis, who is still stopped in the street and thanked for bringing the Beatles to town, says

Video teaser for new Beatles in Australia doc: "The Beatles Drove Us Wild"

More about the film via the Australian:

According to Tyner’s film, the arrival of the Beatles, creating these unprecedented scenes of mass hysteria wherever they appeared, brought a new — and unsettling for conservative authority figures — loss of control of public ­spaces as their children found a voice for the first time.

While the Beatles’ career has been documented in every detail, the story of their 13 days Down Under is less well known and Tyner does it imaginatively with some superb footage, never seen before. The band played 20 shows — in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, two each night and none on Sundays. To judge from this film, the Beatles were not so much exhausted by their performances but by the after-hours shenanigans.

Beatle "bodyguard" recalls 1964 Australian tour

Via the Sydney Daily Telegraph:

Mr Scarborough didn’t see anything “scandalous” occur but he was aware one of the band had an “Adelaide girlfriend” for his entire time in South Australia.
“Jimmy Nichol, ended up with a girlfriend that he kept bringing back into the hotel,” he said. “The guards used to put one of their hats on his (Nichol’s) head so people didn’t realise it was him coming and going at all hours.”

Australian fans recall seeing the Beatles 50 years ago

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
On the Beatles' only tour of Australia 50 years ago, Paul McCartney begged hysterical Sydney fans to do one big favour: ''Don't throw those sweets because they get in our eyes."

Pauline Baylis wasn't a thrower, but after the concert at Sydney Stadium ended, the 13-year-old fan snuck onto the stage to grab a lolly.

''When the crowds had died down, we went down and picked up a jelly baby from the stage, thinking this is amazing, it might have hit one of the Beatles,'' Ms Baylis said.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Richard Lester to speak at preview of restored Hard Day's Night film

Director Richard Lester will introduce "A Hard Day's Night" at a special screening of the restored Beatles film at the British Film Institute, July 3. Info here.

Study shows music tourism could be a big money boost to Britain

Britain could generate an extra £4 billion every year through music heritage tourism, a new study shows.
Titled ‘Imagine’, the study’s findings take the example of Liverpool, where the heritage of The Beatles attracts millions of music tourists every year and generates £70 million for the city’s local economy.

The impact that music heritage has on the region’s tourism economy will be discussed at the ‘Business of The Beatles’ symposium, held by the award-winning Beatles Story, as part of Liverpool’s International Festival for Business (IFB).
Speakers include Pete Best's brother Roag, Bill Kinsley of the Merseybeats and others.

Of course, there are a fair number of people in Liverpool who will tell you they hate Beatles tourists and how much the band's legacy overshadows the rest of the city's rich history.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lennon manuscripts sell for $3 million at auction

A stash of drawings and hand-written poems and stories created by John Lennon for his first two books has sold for nearly $3 million.
The top lot was ‘The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield,” which sold for $209,000, far higher than the $50,000–70,000 asking price. The manuscript contains the bizarre and hilarious parody of Sherlock Holmes from Lennon’s book A Spaniard in the Works (1965).
The highest price for one of Lennon’s drawings today was for Untitled Illustration of a Four-Eyed Guitar Player, which sold for $109,375, on an estimate of $15–25,000.

Promo film for Beatles' Japanese recordings box, plus Lennon's "Shaved Fish" on LP

WogBlog shares a video promoting the release of a boxed set of the Beatles' Japanese LPs. These include the same masterings available on EMI's regular Beatles stereo and mono CD releases, so it's nothing new apart from the packaging song lineups. Which is enough for some collectors to take the plunge, I suppose. You can see the complete song lineups here.

Also, via WogBlog, we learn a vinyl release of John Lennon's Shaved Fish greatest his compilation is set for release. This, too, is basically an exercise in nostalgia, as a variety of Lennon compilations have been issued in the years since. But vinyl fans may enjoy it.

Recounting Jimmie Nicol's 13 days as a Beatle

London session drummer filled in on drums for an ailing Ringo Starr during the Beatles' 1964 tours of the Netherlands and Australia. Thrust into the limelight for a fortnight, he immediately returned to obscurity, despite a stab at making a public name for himself as a one-time "Beatle."

Here Jim Berkenstadt, author of "The Beatle Who Vanished" talks a bit about Nicols' post-Beatles career.
“The first big downer for Jimmie was that his first two solo bands after the Beatles didn’t sell any records despite some radio and TV appearances,” Berkenstadt said. “The music was too much of a fusion of rock and jazz and I think people wanted to hear the British Invasion-style rock music of the day. He had spent all his money on these bands. He went bankrupt, his wife divorced him, he became estranged from his son and he was living in his mom’s basement. “The media built him up and then tore him down with glee.

 The last article was about how he was penniless,” Berkenstadt adds. “Paul McCartney read that story and he secretly called Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon and said, ‘Hey, maybe you could give Jimmie a little work on your next tour because he’s a very good drummer and it looks like from this article he really could use some help.’”

Although Peter and Gordon gave him some concert work, Nicol was soon unemployed and broke. When the Spotnicks, a Swedish instrumental group, offered him a gig in 1965, Nicol quickly grabbed it. “Jimmie didn’t tell a soul,” said Berkenstadt. “He walked out the door and vanished. The Spotnicks toured with him around the world and made him a full member of the band but then he got into heavy drugs. While the Spotnicks were playing an extended stay in Mexico, he vanished again.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Even more Beatles self-help on HuffPo!

It's fascinating how many people are using the Beatles angle in repackaging basic life advice - I've posted several examples in the short time since starting The Glass Onion.

Huffington Post seems to be prime spot for such posts. The latest of which is "How the Beatles (and Yoko) Made Me a Better Dad." The author, Jere Hester, adapted it from his own book "Raising a Beatle Baby."

Naturally, Beatles fans -- and those who love them -- are susceptible to being reeled in by the mere mention the band. If you have a Beatlemaniac friend or relative who's also a new father, your Father's Day shopping is easily completed by purchasing Hester's book.

This is more about marketing than the Beatles are insightful advice. And it seems to be endless.

Rare photos of Beatles in Australia set for auction

Auction house Leonard Joel is selling off a collection of 50 rare photos shot during the Beatles' 1964 tour of Australia. Details:

On 5th June, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to Australia, Leonard Joel will be selling a fascinating collection of photographs taken of the group in Adelaide.  On 12th June,1964 The Beatles touched down at Adelaide Airport for the first leg of their Australian tour. An estimated crowd of 300,000 turned out to catch a glimpse of the band which was remarkable considering this was approximately one third of the population of Adelaide at that time.
Many of the photographs to be auctioned have never been seen before and perfectly encapsulate the wave of excitement that swept across the nation during this time. The images include the Beatles departing the aeroplane on arrival, the crowd lining streets from airport, queues to get tickets, the press conference, Beatles waving from their balcony, the group performing at Centennial Hall and Paul McCartney's 21st birthday. These truly fantastic photos will be sold mostly as unique one-off prints with negatives AND copyright which will appeal to both collectors and commercial entities.

Fab furniture: Sgt. Pepper bass drum side table

Yours for a mere £695.00.

Whether it's with a little help from your friends or just another day in your life, make a fab addition to your home interior by making the Sgt Pepper Drum Side Table the next piece you add to your scheme.
Inspired by the drum pictured on the eight studio album cover by the iconic fab four, The Beatles, this mesmerising side table needs no introduction or justification.
The side table itself features an authentic canvas top while there is also rope detailing around the outer rim of the drum. The side table can be placed anywhere in your home interior to add an individual touch of flair and style to the surroundings, such is the draw and captivating nature of the piece.
The truly unique Sgt Pepper Drum Side Table can be mixed with other products from the Andrew Martin collection to achieve a look of unrivalled designer style in your home.

Height 38cm, Diameter 66cm

Rare pics of John's Aunt Mimi featured on author's site this one. See Kathy Burns' Facebook site for more.

Burns is the author of "The Guitar's All Right as a Hobby," a memoir about John's Aunt Mimi, who she befriended in the 1970s. The Beatles Examiner interviews Burns here. Apparently, the book doesn't include pics, but there are many on the Facebook page linked above.

Newsweek interviews the dentist who wants to clone John Lennon

An interview with Michael Zuk, who purchased one of John Lennon's teeth at auction and is intrigued by the possibility of using it to clone the late Beatle.
From watching news and TV shows about cloning, Zuk learned that teeth are often used as DNA evidence. He hatched the idea while chatting and joking around with a former employee, a woman who offered to be the surrogate mother: “You’d take the DNA, you’d insert it into a cell, then you’d stimulate the cell to reproduce, then you’d insert it into a woman’s uterus to be the host. So it’s kind of almost like artificial insemination."

But he is not sure she should be the one to take on that role. “I think there’d be thousands of people who’d realize it would be an opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. So, I ask: How will the project move forward?

The plan is to find a company that will participate in a documentary exploring “DNA sequencing and the legal and ethical issues,” Zuk told me. He added that he has a representative in Hollywood trying to drum up interest in this project, though he was vague on the specifics of the potential film. 

“There’s a lot of time to think these things through, and if it doesn’t work out, it certainly will be something that will be opened up in the future. You can imagine that someone like the dictator of North Korea might start popping up replicas of himself to try to perpetuate his insanity.”

11 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know about A Hard Day's Night - unless you visit blogs like this one

Over at HuffPo (again), there's a countdown of "A Hard Day's Night" trivia, including the usual stuff about Phil Collins being in a crowd scene, etc., etc., and this, which is actually a pretty interesting note:
Aside from appearing on Ringo's drum kit, the word "Beatles" is never once mentioned in the film.

Australian deejay remembers intereviewing the Fabs

Ian Nicholls recalls interviewing the Beatles during their 1964 Australian tour, includes sound files.
John Lennon was "the most overpowering" of the Beatles, said Mr Nicholls.
"There was almost something hypnotic in his eyes," he said.
He asked John Lennon if he was confident the band could keep making hit records.
"I don't know if we can keep as many, you know the hits going so high, they'll probably level out a bit," said Lennon.

"There's still a couple of years left of making records that sell."

More Beatles self-help tips from Huffington Post

What is the deal with all these better-living-through-Beatles stories on HuffPo? Do people get paid to write this stuff?

The latest is "Liverpool, Beatles and the Beauty of the Back Story," in which the author looks to the origins of the band and reviews how adversity helped them grow:
There are plenty more examples to illustrate how the Beatles "made it" - including a murky, last-minute decision to invite drummer Ringo Starr into the band.
The true insights, however, are found in their aspiring attitudes, optimistic outlooks and purposeful persistence. Fifty years later, we can still reflect upon the how anyone's life's challenges can serve as seeds to long term success.
If you've been caught between launching your dream and seeing it realized, here's hoping this Beatles back story inspires you.
The Beatles story happened a lot longer ago than Yesterday, but yours can begin today!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Newly found pic from early days shows Beatles with fans

The Liverpool Echo is looking to identify the young fans in this early pic of John, Paul, George and Pete, which turned up in the band's hometown recently.

Book excerpt details Michael Jackson's purchase of the Beatles' song rights

Some interesting stuff from Zack O'Malley Greenburg's "Michael Jackson, Inc.," up now at Forbes:
...The lawyer remembers the frenzied days that followed. His first task: to check in with Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, both friends of Jackson. As John Lennon’s widow, Ono was in charge of his estate and was rumored to have had some interest in making a joint offer for ATV with McCartney. Jackson was hoping to avoid a showdown.

“I got Yoko on the phone,” recalls Branca. “And then I said, ‘Michael asked me to call you and find out if you’re bidding [on] ATV Music that owns all the Beatles songs.’ ”

“No, we’re not bidding on it.”


“No, no, if we had bought it, then we’d have to deal with Paul,” replied Ono. “It’d have been a whole thing. Why?”

“Because Michael’s interested.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful in the hands of Michael rather than some big corporation.”

...Branca says his next move was to check in with John Eastman, Paul McCartney’s lawyer and brother-in-law (he represented the singer along with his father, Lee Eastman, who started working with McCartney before the Beatles broke up). According to Branca, Eastman said McCartney wasn’t interested because the catalogue was “much too pricey.” This was one of many reasons that neither

Branca nor Bandier believed McCartney would lay out such a large amount of cash.
Though the Beatles’ songs made up roughly two-thirds of ATV’s value, the remaining third consisted of assets McCartney didn’t want: copyrights to thousands of other compositions, a sound effects library, even some real estate. “Paul’s demeanor was very, very much more financially structured,” says Bandier. Adds Joe Jackson: “The only reason Michael bought that catalogue was because it was for sale! [McCartney and Ono] could have bought the catalogue themselves. But they didn’t.”

A Hard Day's Night airs on TCM tonight

Check yer local listings. I assume this is the newly restored version of the film, but haven't seen any confirmation of that, yet.

1974 George Harrison interview surfaces online

The first part of a radio interview recorded during George Harrison's 1974 U.S. tour has been posted here.

Here are details from the press release:
Recently, unearthed and just released is a historic interview with George Harrison of The Beatles, and legendary radio personality, Levi “Who Loves You” Booker. The first released part of this interview covers George Harrison’s and John Lennon’s troubles with the law and drugs, and how George believes he and John were set up by corrupt cops. This is the first time, the public has heard George’s side of the story, and how it almost derailed him from ever returning back to the United States.
This interview was recorded during George’s first ever solo tour in the United States in 1974. George was the first ex-Beatle to ever tour the United States with his 45-date Dark Horse Tour, supporting his new album at the time “Dark Horse.”
The first part of this exclusive interview has just been released, and expect more excerpts from this wide-ranging interview to be released over the coming days and weeks. Before its digital release, the only other known location for this interview is deep in the archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

To listen to the first part of the interview, visit and follow Levi on Twitter @leviwholovesya. Future editions of the interview will be published on Twitter and on SoundCloud.