Friday, June 10, 2016

Beatles Bits: Weekly news roundup

This week marked the sad passing of Muhammad Ali, who the Beatles met as Cassius Clay during their first U.S. visit in February 1964.

The band posed for a memorable series of press photos with the up-and-coming fighter while in Florida for one of their early appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Ali, at the time, was training for his legendary upset against heavyweight champ Sonny Liston.

Both Paul and Ringo posted tributes online.

Paul wrote:
"He was great from the first day we met him in Miami, and on the numerous occasions when I ran into him over the years
"Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humor who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you.
"The world has lost a truly great man."
While Ringo posted: "God bless Muhammad Ali peace and love to all his family."


Ringo also recalled the famed photo session in an interview with Rolling Stone:
"And then he's carrying me. I don't know why, he just picked me up!" Starr says. "It wasn't like, 'OK, pick him up now!' He just suddenly did." Surely there must have been some sort of warning? "No, he just grabbed me and lifted me up! What was I gonna say? 'Hey, come outside. …'" The drummer raises his fists, but his mock-tough expression quickly breaks into a grin. "We only got out of the ring because he put me down."
And the Sun features an excerpt from Ali's authobiography, in which he recalls how John Lennon once asked for a pair of his bloodied boxing shorts to feature in a charity auction.
I had given them as a souvenir to Michael Abdul Malik, a black militant from Trinidad, who had exchanged them for all the hair on Lennon’s and his wife Yoko’s heads.

The hair and the bloody trunks were auctioned off to raise money to fight for world peace.

I never knew how much my trunks were bought for but Lennon said he was glad to see Henry Cooper’s blood used for a good cause.

A New Jersey news site, meanwhile, recounts Ali's role in a 1970s attempt (one of many) to reunite the Beatles. Didn't work.


In a recent interview, Paul McCartney regrets his use of racial slurs as a young man and his recent work with Kanye West, who has been publicly criticized by Oprah Winfrey and others for using the n-word.
"It was just the normal thing to use certain words you wouldn’t use now.

"Along the way we suddenly realised how it would make the people you were talking about feel.

“Then someone points out ‘well that’s know in my case black people’ and then the penny dropped.”

...  "People like Oprah, who's a little conservative about that stuff, said, 'You shouldn't do it, even black people shouldn't use that word.'

 "I said, 'Yeah, but it's Kanye! And he's talking about an urban generation that uses that word in a completely different way.'
"It's the context. So I was actually pleased with it."

Kicking off his U.S. summer tour in Syracuse, New York, earlier this week, Ringo said he remembered "absolutely nothing" about spending time with John Lennon in that city back in 1971. Rumors still circlulate about a near-Beatles reunion at that time in celebration of what would've been John's 31st birthday. George Harrison was expected to be present, too, but evidently didn't make it.


Also in Syracuse, Ringo laughed off disparaging remarks made about the Beatles reportedly made by legendary rock'n'roll crank (and Syrcacuse native) Lou Reed.
Starr laughed and said even if Lou Reed didn't like the Beatles, he liked Lou Reed.
"Everybody has their choice," said Starr. "That's OK. Everyone didn't like us, you know? Some of them couldn't understand it. Some of them thought we were worthless. But thank God the majority didn't think like that."
 Reed, in a 1987 interview, said  "I never liked The Beatles. I thought they were garbage."

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