Friday, December 31, 2021

Beatles' associate, film producer Denis O'Dell dead at 98

Film producer Denis O'Dell, seen often in Peter Jackson's recent "The Beatles: Get Back" documentary and mentioned in the band's tune "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)," died Dec. 20, Variety reports.

Denis O’Dell, a producer on two Beatles’ movies as well as “How I Won the War,” “Robin and Marion” and “Heaven’s Gate,” died Dec. 30 from natural causes in Almería, Spain at his home in San José, Cabo de Gata. He was 98.

Father of “Exodus: Gods and Kings” producer Denise O’Dell and grandfather of Denis Pedregosa, producer of Netflix hit “The Paramedic,” O’Dell’s connection with movies stretches back to the ‘40s.

He had already produced six movies, such as Brian Desmond Hurst’s “The Playboy of the Western World” in 1962, before his association with the Beatles which begun in professional terms with O’Dell taking an associate producer credit on Richard Lester’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” starring the Beatles and released in 1964.

O’Dell is generally credited with persuading John Lennon to go to Almería to star in absurdist WWII drama “How I Won the War,” during whose shoot Lennon composed much of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a milestone in the Beatles’ output. An associate producer on “How I Won the War,” O’Dell took a full producer credit on the made for TV “Magical Mystery Tour,” directed by George Harrison, Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Such was the Beatles’ gratitude to O’Dell that on “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” one of the last songs the group recorded, Lennon introduces McCartney by the name of “Denis O’Bell.”

O’Dell would go on to produce big films, such as Sidney Lumet’s 1973 “The Offence,” Lester’s 1975 Flashman-based “Royal Flash” and above all 1976’s “Robin and Marion,” starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, and Michael Cimino’s 1980 “Heaven’s Gate,” where he worked on the film’s prologue, set and shot in Oxford, but had little to do with the rest of the film.


Vintage Beatles Pop Weekly magazine covers

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

New book, "Lifted," by Ringo focuses on the Beatles years

Out Feb. 14, "Lifted" is a coffee table book with pictures and memories from Ringo Starr's time with the Beatles. The book is available only via Julien's Auctions, with proceeds benefiting Ringo's Lotus Foundation charity.

Details from Julien's:

“I am not writing this book as a Beatle historian," Starr explains with a laugh. "I’m writing this book as a Beatle -- and there's only a couple of us who can do that.” Asked about the origins of this new project, Starr explains, “I didn’t keep all these photos. These fantastic images came back to me in recent years from here, there and everywhere -- online and off -- and have somehow helped me get back to seeing my life with The Fab Four through fresh eyes. A lot of the photos in this book I spotted on my phone and on my computer and “lifted” them because they brought back so many fabulous memories. In recent years, I’d gather these Beatles photos that I sometimes barely remembered. After a while, I thought, how great it would be to "lift" these fantastic photos and some of my other favorites for charity and tell my true tales that they inspire about what the four of us -- John, Paul, George and Ringo -- went through back in the day. And the best thing is that it’s all for a good cause because the money is going to our Lotus Foundation.

According to Starr, “When people ask me about the Beatles, I often tell them, `You better ask Paul,’ because somehow he seems to remember everything. But along with great projects like Get Back, seeing so many of these amazing Beatles images has really brought back those days to me and all the love and friendship that we four shared back then. So this a book full of Beatle images that many people haven’t seen and stories that I’m sharing with a little help from my longtime writer friend David Wild. We’ve all been through a pretty tough time for a lot of people who’ve been locked down, and this book has really lifted my spirits and took me back to where I once belonged in a whole new way. And in the end, that’s why this new book is called Lifted. The Beatles changed my life forever. So it’s about getting back and giving back.”

Ringo Starr’s LIFTED -- Images and Memories In My Life with the Beatles From Across The Universe – is a beautifully designed hard cover with jacket, many rarely seen images overlaid with captions and quotes by Ringo Starr with help from best-selling author and award-winning TV writer-producer David Wild. In the Forward, Ringo will explain the origin and motivation for the exciting new book.

The proceeds of the book will benefit The Lotus Foundation whose mission funds supports, participates in and promotes charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas including, but not limited to substance abuse, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, cancer, battered women and their children, homelessness, and animals in need.


Limited-edition retrospective hardcover book titled Ringo Starr’s LIFTED – Fab Images and Memories In My Life with the Beatles From Across The Universe is offered for sale online exclusively for $59 each. 


Five hundred exclusive-limited hardcover “signature edition” books personally signed by Ringo Starr are offered for $495 each.

You can order either volume from Julien's here

Vintage Beatles pic: George

Monday, December 20, 2021

Listen: New BBC Radio documentary on the Beatles in the Philippines

Listen to "When the Beatles Didn't Meet Imelda" here.

The story of the disastrous visit to the Philippines in 1966 by the most famous band on the planet, the Beatles, and the international incident which followed after they refused an invitation from the now infamous First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. 55 years on, for the first time, Filipino fans, witnesses at the palace, DJs and journalists, as well as the last surviving member of the Beatles' management team, tell the story as it happened.

Filipino-British presenter David Guerrero hears from the young teenage Filipino fans, now in their 70s, who, unexpectedly, did get to meet three of the Fab Four at their hotel; and from Peter Brown who was part of the Beatles' team in 1966, as well as from a hostess who looked after the Beatles on a luxury yacht. They explain what really happened on the ill-fated trip, which led to the Beatles being hounded out of the country.

On 4 July 1966, the Beatles played to their biggest one-day crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, where 80,000 people attended two concerts. However, the Beatles' visit to The Philippines was overshadowed by an incident that hit the world's front pages - when the band famously refused an invitation to lunch at the Philippine Presidential Palace from the then First Lady Imelda Marcos. The next day at the airport, official-looking thugs gave the band and their entourage a rough send-off and scared the wits out of the touring group.

Foreground image: Images of John Lennon (Credit: Bettman via Getty Images), Paul McCartney, George Harrison (Credit: Cummings Archives/Redferns via Getty Images), Ringo Starr (Credit: Bettman via Getty Images) and Imelda Marcos (Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Background image: Images of murals depicting the Beatles in Barangay 330, Santa Cruz, Manila (Credit: Lynaya Jorge and John Medina)

Vintage Beatles "Yeah Yeah Candy" packaging