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It was 50 years ago today — almost — that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

The English city of Liverpool is getting set to celebrate the half-centenary of “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” one of the most influential albums by local heroes The Beatles.

The city announced Wednesday that it has commissioned 13 artists to create works based on the album's 13 tracks. They include choreographer Mark Morris' dance tribute to the title song, cabaret artist Meow Meow's “outlandish procession” based on “Lovely Rita” and a mural by U.S. artist Judy Chicago inspired by “Fixing a Hole.”

There will also be a singalong by 64 choirs of the jaunty “When I'm Sixty-Four.”

The works will have their world premieres at venues across Liverpool between May 25 and June 16. On June 1 — the anniversary of the album's release — the city will host a fireworks extravaganza by French pyrotechnic artist Christophe Berthonneau.

By the second half of the 1960s, The Beatles had tired of touring. They played their last live concert in August 1966 and devoted their energies and creativity to the studio. “Sgt. Pepper” w details

By the late-1980s, Paul McCartney may have been the only artist on the planet uninterested in sounding like the Beatles. But then his new collaborator, fellow British superstar Elvis Costello, reunited him with an old friend: his iconic violin-shaped Hofner bass. The instrument had last seen action during the band’s final live performance on the roof of their London offices almost two decades before, and a faded setlist from their last tour remained affixed to the side with yellowed scotch tape. “He was a big Beatles fan and said, ‘Hey, do you still use your Hofner?’” McCartney tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I had semi-retired it. But he said I should get it out, and I rediscovered it.”

In doing so, he rediscovered his voice. After several years of exploring the latest synth-pop trends with mixed commercial success, McCartney got back to where he once belonged on his 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt. The four tracks co-written with Costello at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studios in rural Sussex, England, formed the foundation of his most vibrant and daring work in years. In preparation of an extensive reissue featuring unheard demos and rare session outtakes due out March 24, McCa details

Saturday’s 2017 San Diego Beatles Fair comes 53 years and 45 days after The Beatles first performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” An audience of 73 million tuned in to watch that telecast on Feb. 9, 1964. The impact of the four-man band from Liverpool was profound for several generations of musicians and fans alike.

How profound? These quotes from various Union-Tribune interviews help tell the story.

“That one performance changed my life," Billy Joel recalled.

“I was like every kid in America: I sat there, mesmerized, and it was life-changing,” said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

"I'm amazed at The Beatles’ ingenuity and willingness to experiment with different instruments and music," Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello said.

"There was nothing like them, before or since," agreed John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.

"A blueprint for me was The Beatles," Sting said.

"They turned me on to music,” Ozzy Osbourne concurred.

“Hearing The Beatles is what made me want to do what I do.” "They created an excitement that made music magic," Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry marveled. "And then they to details

In a reflective tribute to the late Chuck Berry, Paul McCartney honored the rock icon's massive influence on the Beatles' formative music. "To us, he was a magician making music that was exotic, yet normal, at the same time," the singer wrote on his website. "We learnt so many things from him which led us into a dream world of rock & roll music."

While admitting it's "not really possible to sum up what he meant to all us young guys growing up in Liverpool," McCartney pinpointed a few signature moments that demonstrated Berry's genius as a guitarist and lyricist. "From the first minute we heard the great guitar intro to 'Sweet Little Sixteen,' we became fans of the great Chuck Berry," he continued. "His stories were more like poems than lyrics – the likes of 'Johnny B. Goode' or 'Maybellene.'"

The former Beatle also recalled meeting his rock idol in Berry's hometown, St. Louis, during a tour stop. "It's a memory I will cherish forever," he said, calling him "one of rock & roll's greatest poets."

The Beatles covered one of Berry's signature hits, 1956's "Roll Over Beethoven," on their second LP, 1963's With the Beatles. They also added their own spin to "Rock and Roll Music" on 1964's Beatles details

As one of the world's most iconic bands you probably won't be surprised to discover The Beatles made quite an impression on Bristol during their visits.

As part of our series celebrating the up-coming 150 anniversary of the Colston Hall we've been granted rare access to their archives and we've taken a look at when the iconic Liverpool four-piece regularly stole headlines performing in the city.

There were threats of bans, day-long queues for tickets and John, Paul, George and Ringo were even 'attacked' on stage – there was never a dull moment.

During the 1960s, The Beatles were just one of an abundance of iconic acts including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Sir Cliff Richard and Jimi Hendrix booked to play the Colston Hall. 

Many of these gigs and more were penciled in by Bristol's legendary promoter Charles H Lockier. Delving through the Hall's archives, thanks to Lockier keeping newspaper cuttings, there was quite a ruckus ahead of The Beatles bringing their tour to Bristol in November, 1963. 

After something of an unruly Colston Hall appearance by Gerry and The Pacemakers the city's entertainment committee, overseen by the council, seriously discussed whether Bristol s details

From the writer of the stage play adaptation of Helen Forrester's 'Twopence to Cross the Mersey' comes a brand-new comedy about the disappearance of Lennon's first musical instrument.

The play is based on the 2012 novel 'Julia's Banjo' by Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones and will mark the 60th anniversary of Julia Lennon's death and the disappearance of the banjo she taught her son to play.

Produced by Pulse Records Ltd in association with Bill Elms, Lennon's Banjo will open at Liverpool's Epstein Theatre on Tuesday 24th April 2018 for a two-week run until Saturday 5th May. Full cast and creative team to be announced soon.

Set in present day Liverpool: When Beatles tour guide Barry Seddon finds a letter written by John Lennon he unearths a clue to the solving the greatest mystery in pop history - the whereabouts of Lennon's first musical instrument which has been missing for 60 years. But Barry's loose tongue alerts Texan dealer, Travis Lawson, to the priceless relic. In an attempt to get his hands on the letter and the clues within he persuades his beautiful wife, Cheryl, to befriend the hapless tour guide and win his affections. The race for the holy grail of pop memorabilia is on!

"The intrigue an details

THE MUSICAL instrument on which John Lennon strummed his first tune has been billed as the 'holy grail of pop memorabilia' with experts claiming it could be worth up to £3 million.

The whereabouts of the much-fabled banjo has been a mystery more than 50 years. The last time anybody saw or heard of the banjo was before Lennon's beloved mother Julia was killed in a road accident in Woolton, Merseyside, in 1958. But now author and playwright Rob Fennah is on a personal quest to locate it. In a new novel, Julia's Banjo, Rob, 47, from Crosby, Merseyside, tells the little-known story of a teenage Lennon learning how to play his Rock 'n' Roll favourites with his mother Julia. The book tells the fictional story of Beatles tour guide, Barry Seddon, who finds a letter giving him clues to the location of the banjo before ruthless Texan antique dealer Travis Lawton hears about the priceless relic and a drama ensues.

In real life, for more than a decade Mr Fennah has combed through car boot sales and dusty attics in a bid to find the 'catalyst that changed the world'. Now he is urging people in Liverpool to rummage through their wardrobes and attics to check whether 'Julia's banjo' banjo could be lurking unacknowledged details

When someone nonchalantly decorated the set for the Beatles' film Help! with a sitar, they were probably thinking it added a certain Eastern exoticism. In a break between takes, George Harrison picked it up and tried to work out how to play it. That set decorator could never have foreseen how this would change the course of popular culture, if not history itself.

Chances are that George's first efforts were less than dulcet, given he'd have had little idea how to tune the labyrinth of strings. Nonetheless his interest was piqued, and so he sought, well, help.

That mainly came in the shape of Ravi Shankar, one of the great sitar players of the century. A friendship blossomed, as, gradually, did Harrison's ability on the instrument, to the point where he could add sitar to Lennon's Norwegian Wood on the Rubber Soul album. By the time the band came to record Sergeant Pepper's, Harrison was capable of playing his own much more demanding Within You, Without You, the song that, more than any other, turned a generation of Western listeners onto the shimmering enchantment of Indian classical music. From there it was a short hippie shuffle to a fascination with Indian mysticism, meditation and yoga. Suddenly mind-expandi details

The 1980s had not been going well for Paul McCartney. A series of commercial flops left even the artist taking stock. "It was time to prove something to myself," McCartney said back then. That he did. "Flowers in the Dirt," released in 1989, marked a rebirth.

But the most intriguing element of "Flowers" was shelved for decades. In 1987, McCartney had invited Elvis Costello to work with him. Four of their songs ended up on "Flowers," but a few others never came out. And both McCartney and Costello agree that their nine initial demo recordings remain the best part of their collaboration. On March 24, those demos are being released as part of an elaborate, box-set reissue of "Flowers in the Dirt."

We spoke recently with McCartney and Costello, separately and by phone, about their intense writing spurts, the challenges of turning the demos into a polished album and about their obvious differences over a certain synth-pop group.

In 1986, McCartney released his sixth solo studio album, "Press to Play," working with producer Hugh Padgham, known for his work with Phil Collins and the Human League.

McCartney: Sometimes you get caught up in trying to be the current flavor, trying to go along and flavor you details

A popular restaurant known for its ‘fab’ selection of groovy food is celebrating a landmark anniversary.

For more than three decades Mike Power and his staff at Sgt. Peppers restaurant in Lowestoft have worked many a hard day’s night. And this year marks the 35th anniversary since the restaurant opened in 1982.

Mr Power, managing director at Sgt Peppers restaurant, said: “We are surprised to reach this landmark especially in the current climate. “Every year we are amazed at the number of people who continue to support us. As well as tourists we have visitors come from Beccles and Great Yarmouth which is very gratifying.”

Previously a pinewood furniture shop, Mr Power opened Sgt Peppers with his former partner, Marie Power, on August 19, 1982. A hotelier by trade, he had worked in hotels and restaurants across country, before moving to Lowestoft to establish Sgt Peppers.

This year’s milestone also coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ iconic Sgt Peppers album after which the restaurant is named. And with musical instruments hanging from the ceiling and images of famous faces from the swinging sixties covering the restaurant’s wall details

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