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Vinyl gold: What are the world's ten most valuable records? - Sunday, April 26, 2015

Avid record collectors will happily pay through the nose for the right piece of rare vinyl. But how much is their upper limit and what would they be buying?

Rare Record Price Guide has a list of the ten most valuable vinyl records commercially available. That's stuff you could have bought in Woolworths (remember them?) back in the day.

The big surprise? The top ten most valuable vinyl records are dominated by just two major groups!

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Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr-autographed Beatles piano raises more than $98,000 for veterans: ArtScape - Thursday, April 23, 2015

A piano with a Beatles theme -- signed by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr -- will allow East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity to construct a home for a veteran and his or her family.

The two world-famous musicians signed the piano, restored and painted by Slidell artist Lori Gomez, in the fall. But it took months of effort to obtain certificates of authenticity and a certified estimated value before the piano could go up for auction on the Web site, Charitybuzz.com.

The auction started April 2, but it all came down to the final minutes before it closed April 16 at 2 p.m. About 50 ESTHFH supporters gathered at Carreta's Grill in Slidell to watch the final countdown on their smart phones and IPads.

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How John Lennon and Donovan dreamt up digital distribution...In the 1960s - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Digital distribution may have only reached its true potential relatively recently, but the concept of artists reaching music fans directly and instantly was actually being banded around by pioneering songwriter Donovan and his friends The Beatles half a century ago.

Speaking to Music Week, Donovan revealed that, way back in the 1960s, he and The Beatles discussed the concept of a communication network by which they could distribute music digitally and connect with anyone in the world, whenever they wanted - much like the internet as we know it today.

“The internet is what we spoke about, me and The Beatles, sitting around at Apple, but we didn’t know it was called the internet. We didn’t know that the military establishment were working on it and it was going to come,” he said.

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Why Visiting Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road is Something Every Beatles Fan Should Do - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Liverpool is known all over the world as the birthplace of The Beatles. (And #scousebrow. Look it up.) Obviously, a large portion of the city's visitors are there to see what The Beatles saw in their formative days.

And there's a lot left to see, although most of it has been prettied up, such as the Albert Docks, which houses a Beatles visitor center, and The Cavern Club, where the band played in its early years. (The Cavern Club actually had to close down in the 1980s, but it was rebuilt using a lot of the original bricks.)

Of course, Beatles-themed tours are plentiful, ranging from the Magical Mystery Tour (a two-hour sightseeing bus tour) to the The Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour (a private taxi tour.) But only one tour can get you inside the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

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7 Facts That Will Change the Way You See Yoko Ono - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It may seem like you know a lot about Yoko Ono. The artist, who has been prolific and active in the art world since the 1960s, was showing her conceptual work at a gallery in London in 1966 when she met John Lennon (see How Eight Art World Power Couples Met and Fell In Love). She released her first solo album in 1970 entitled Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. And die-hard Beatles fans blame her for the immensely popular band's break-up. This year, the artist will have a survey at MoMA, "Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971," which will offer a look back at the early years, gathering roughly 125 performances, films, works on paper, installations, and archival materials. In anticipation of the show, we've uncovered some things about Ono that may change the way you see her.

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Ringo Starr Inducted, Green Day Shine at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lou Reed, Joan Jett and Bill Withers also receive special inductions

"It's like my record collection is actually sitting in this room," Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said midway through his acceptance speech at the 30th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "The fact that I heard Patti Smith's Horses as a kid, and now there you are standing there."

Armstrong paused for a split second to take in the moment, looking out across the rows of tables that included Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Stevie Wonder, Peter Wolf, Steve Van Zandt, Bill Withers, Jerry Lee Lewis and many other of his favorite artists. "I love rock & roll music," he said. "I have from the first moment I opened my eyes and took my first breath."

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Yoko Ono On John Lennon's Forgotten First Love -- Drawing - Friday, April 17, 2015

"He had a habit of just giving his art away to people," Yoko Ono softly explained, in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. "He was pretty generous about that."

Yes, that humble "he" refers to John Lennon, the legendary singer, songwriter, musician and artist who inspired the world to imagine peace. As such, it's not a huge shock that he enjoyed giving away his drawings. "We had a big lawyers meeting and the whole time they were talking he was just scribbling something," Ono said. "The lawyers would come to John and say, 'What are you doing?' And he was making this beautiful, beautiful artwork. And the lawyer said, 'Well, can I have it?' And he said, 'Sure, sure.' That's just how John was."

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Take an Interactive Virtual Tour of Abbey Road Studios - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Abbey Road Studios is among the most famous recording studios in music history, and while music fans are no doubt familiar with the albums that came out of Abbey Road – the Beatles catalog, Dark Side of the Moon, The Bends, among many others – not many have actually seen the inside of the storied London studio itself. That is, until now.

For Inside Abbey Road, Google has teamed with the studio to present an in-depth, multimedia guided tour through the famed studios by combining the search engine's Google Maps technology with YouTube videos, interactive exhibits and more.

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Ringo Starr snubs autobiography offers - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ringo Starr refuses to write an autobiography because publishers are only interested in his career with The Beatles.

The 74-year-old drummer has been approached to tell his story in a book on numerous occasions but has always refused because he doesn't want to pen a tome that primarily focuses on his time with The Fab Four and discounts his life and work after the band split in 1970.

Instead, Ringo prefers to tell tales of his life and share memories with his fans in his songs, starting with 2008 LP 'Liverpool 8'.

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Sir Paul McCartney Calls for an End to Canada's Brutal Commercial Seal Hunt - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sir Paul McCartney has issued an impassioned appeal for an end to the senseless slaughter of baby harp seals taking place off Canada's east coast. The Canadian government has authorized the killing of up to 468,000 harp, hooded and grey seals. The seals-almost all just a few weeks of age-are shot, clubbed and skinned for their fur despite dwindling global demand for seal products. Humane Society International is the only organization on the scene to bear witness to the 2015 commercial seal hunt.

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9 Beatles Songs That Clearly Influenced Heavy Metal - Monday, April 13, 2015

It’s difficult to find an area of music that the Beatles didn’t influence, but their contribution to the progression of heavy metal is often overlooked. Perhaps best remembered for their psychedelic art-rock and flawless pop singles, the Fab Four could certainly let their hair down and fire off some headbangers, inspiring metal architects like Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. Plus their pioneering work with distortion, feedback, unorthodox lyrical topics, and death metal roars helped provide the building blocks of the genre.

So without further ado, in chronological order, here are nine Beatles songs that clearly helped pave the road to heavy metal.

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'Mad' Ringo Starr Says He Was Drunk For Decades After Beatles' Breakup - Sunday, April 12, 2015

Were you upset by the breakup of the Beatles back in the day? So was Ringo Starr.

The Fab Four drummer told the Times of London that he often spent the 1970s and '80s in a boozy haze.

“I was drunk,” he said. "Some of those years are absolutely gone.”

Starr, 74, explained to the paper that the group's split affected him for a long time. “I was mad,” he said. “For 20 years. I had breaks in between of not being.”

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1965: Music's greatest year ever? - Sunday, April 12, 2015

Here in the media-saturated 2010s, we get to relive the events of the momentous 1960s in an inexorable year-by-year march.

Last year, the Beatles re-invaded America. Next year, 50th-anniversary journalism will see to it that the miniskirt and Star Trek are born again. In 2017, we'll be tripping on a Summer of Love rehash.

This year, there's a lot on our plate - 1965 was a turning point in American history. As depicted in Ava DuVernay's Selma, it was the year the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights march to Montgomery, Ala., spurred Lyndon Johnson's signing of the Voting Rights Act into law.

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The Fifth Man: Brian Epstein and the Beatles - Friday, April 10, 2015

In a ceremony last year at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Beatles’ original manager, Brian Epstein, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The honor was well deserved. Epstein’s early oversight of what many consider to be the most popular musical act of the 20th century led some to call him the fifth Beatle. Some of the strategies he used to propel the Beatles to prominence (while also probably costing them a fortune in lost potential revenue) would be ill suited to today’s world of digital streaming, music piracy and YouTube, which makes Epstein a case study in how much music management has changed since the early 1960s.

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Stella McCartney: A success without making fashion victims out of animals - Friday, April 10, 2015

In a nondescript building tucked away on a quiet street in west London, Stella McCartney and her team are comparing the properties of a real leather shoe with the various non-leather swatches being considered for her brand’s winter 2015 shoe collection.

Women of differing ages, ethnicities and body types come in and out of the room with a constant flow of new ideas while McCartney acts as a kind of real-time editor, deciding what colours, materials and shapes feel right for the upcoming season.

An assistant is frantically taking notes to capture her feedback while snapping digital photos of the things that catch her eye.

McCartney does not use any animal products — no leather, no fur, no skins, no feathers.

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First-ever exhibition on Ravi Shankar in the US to be unveiled at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on April 29 - Thursday, April 09, 2015

When ‘Ravi Shankar: A Life In Music’, is unveiled at the Grammy Museum here, on April 29, it would mark the first exhibition in the United States to celebrate India’s most esteemed musician, who died on December 11, 2012, at La Jolla in San Diego, California.The date, April 29, would also be the renowned sitar player and Beatles’ inspiration Ravi Shankar’s 95th birthday.Through a collection of sitars, artifacts and rare photographs from the Shankar family, the exhibit will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the Grammy-winning world music icon’s early life, the roots of his musicality and his vast impact on Western music, according to a press release. 

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Revisiting The Beatles' 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction - Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have never shared an embrace at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

Call it a result of unique circumstances or bitter grudges. But it will all change on Saturday, April 18 when McCartney inducts Ringo Starr into the Rock Hall as a solo artist.

The Beatles were inducted as a band in 1988. Yet Paul McCartney chose not to attend. George Harrison, Ringo and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono were on hand to accept the honor.

Mick Jagger inducted the band. Ringo then came to the microphone to deliver a few jokes.

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Yes, I lost John to another woman... but it WASN'T Yoko - Sunday, April 05, 2015

For almost 50 years she kept an astonishing secret, refusing to attack the woman who ruined her life. When Cynthia Lennon died aged 75 from cancer last week, the world believed her marriage to Beatles star John had been destroyed by Yoko Ono.
Yet the truth about John and his relationships with women is infinitely more complex, and vastly more revealing of his real character, than the enduring myth.
I know this because Cynthia told me herself. In a rare and never before published interview, she revealed that her former husband believed the true love of his life was not Yoko Ono, but Alma Cogan, a fading female singing star eight years older than himself.

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Backstage with The Beatles: Page signed by all four before Manchester Apollo gig in 1964 and fan letter listed on eBay - Friday, April 03, 2015

One piece of paper signed by all four Beatles before their 1964 gig at Manchester's O2 Apollo and a fan letter addressed to George are on sale on eBay for £6,000.

The genuine autographs and letter – which is said to be from two fans from Derby, contain a six-verse poem about the fab four and has never been published or seen in public before – are being sold by Brian Higham.

Brian, who was brought up in Manchester during the 50s and 60s, used to work for a music shop on Oxford Road which is how he got so immersed in the industry that he got asked backstage before the Liverpudlian legends’ show.

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The muse who brought out John’s dark side - Friday, April 03, 2015

Cynthia Powell Lennon’s influence an be heard in tender love songs, but also in the early vitriolic and sarcastic songs of The Beatles.

John and Cynthia met at art school in Liverpool and became a couple at Christmas 1958. She was a nice middle class girl and he was already a rocker, fond of fighting, drinking and sex. Friends said they were opposites.

Lennon in later life was nothing but disparaging about her and their time together. His letters from the time tell a different story, like this one from the Beatles’ long residency in Hamburg:

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