One day in 1968, Paul McCartney was driving his Aston Martin DB6 to visit John Lennon's son, Julian, when a song came into his head. There was a reel-to-reel tape recorder installed in the car's dashboard for moments just like this, so he turned it on and started recording.
This would have been the very first recording of the song that became "Hey, Jude." That Aston Martin is still around, and the carmaker let me take it out for a drive.
Indeed, this nearly 50-year-old "Goodwood Green" sedan was in very fine shape. The smooth wooden steering wheel felt good in my hands. The shifter slipped easily from gear. Fortunately, I'd been in England a few days by that time and had finally gotten used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road and shifting gears left-handed.
As the young auteur behind Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynne hardly made his admiration for the Beatles a secret, with his distinctive take on Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound engineering, multitracked studio wizardry and soaring multipart vocal harmonies owing a clear debt to “Abbey Road” and “Magical Mystery Tour.”
So it made sense that Lynne would go on to become the defining producer for the group’s post-1960s diaspora.
Not only has he produced solo work for Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, Lynne was behind the boards for the Beatles’ final “new” hit records: “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” painstakingly recorded around existing Lennon demo tracks in honor of the Beatles’ massive “Anthology” releases in the 1990s. (The singles reached No. 6 and No. 11 on the Billboard singles chart, respectively.)
Oscar-winning director Ron Howard will direct a documentary about The Beatles' early touring career. The film will chronicle Beatlemania, from the band's appearance in the clubs of Liverpool, England, to its final appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966.
The documentary will be produced by Apple Corps Ltd. (which represents the Beatles), White Horse Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. It will also feature interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
"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."