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Eerie. Mystical. Hallucinatory. Numerous words have been used to describe “Blue Jay Way,” one of George Harrison’s Magical Mystery Tour contributions. A kind of sibling to “I Am the Walrus” with its eerie string arrangement, the track represents Harrison’s continued growth as a songwriter and his willingness to experiment with avant-garde structure and themes.

“Blue Jay Way” originated from a rather mundane situation. George Harrison and wife Pattie Boyd, Neil Aspinall, and Alexis Mardas (better known as “Magic Alex”) were visiting California. They were staying at a rented house in the Hollywood hills on a street called — yes — “Blue Jay Way.” One day, Beatles publicist Derek Taylor was driving to meet them at the house, but had gotten lost in the Los Angeles canyon fog. Bored, Harrison jotted down his thoughts to ward off ennui and, frankly, stay awake.

“To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way,” Harrison explained in 1968. “There was a little Hammond [S-6] organ in the corner of this house which I hadn’t noticed until then details

Choosing the most popular Beatles songs of all time among the countless hit records they have made is indeed risky business. We all have that sweet spot for some special Beatles song, right? But some of the band’s songs have received such widespread love that it is impossible to ignore their huge impact on the band’s career. They are the ones that are included in this list while ardently trying not to offend any Beatles fans here! Don’t be surprised to find out that at least one of them could also be found in the list of 10 Most Popular Songs of All Time.

Throughout the 60s the world had been dazzled by the undeniable popularity of the Beatlemania, and the “Fab Four” line-up Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr became international superstars after their brief stint in the Liverpool and Hamburg club circuit. Their brand of rock music laced with classical elements became the talk of the town, and soon they became the leading artists of the “British invasion” in America. And 1965 onwards there was no looking back as they continued producing one hit album after the other, including Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatl details

Young musicians were delighted when the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus rolled into Tallaght this week.

The bus doubles up as a mobile recording studio and gives young singers the chance to take a trip on a 'Magical Musical Tour'.While aboard the bus, students write, record and produce their own music song and videos.

Established 16 years ago by Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, the bus will travel along a 'Long and Winding Road' to six different Music Generation Centres around Ireland. The 24-day Irish national tour will see the bus travel to 11 counties. Lindsey Lawlor (17) was one of the lucky few to board the bus in Tallaght. "We came in and got a tour of the bus. Then we wrote a song from scratch and made a music video," Lindsey said. "It's amazing. The facilities they have are just fantastic."

The nationwide tour took over a year to organise. "Some of the counties where we will stop have been running competitions to select the students who will get to go on board," tour coordinator Caroline Wynne said. The bus was parked in the wide open Library Square in Tallaght and will operate from a beach carpark in Donegal next month. "That's what Music Generation is about," Caroline said. "We go in to every county details

We still believe in yesterday. Well, 18,262 yesterdays ago to be exact. Help! is celebrating a 50th birthday.

The Beatles fifth studio album was released on July 23, 1965, in the United Kingdom. In States, where the Fab Four material was repackaged, recycled and retitled on several labels, it was either their eighth or tenth release, depending on how you count them.

Regardless of its sequential place in the band's discography, Help! signaled a dramatic turning point in the Beatles career. The Liverpool quartet made a bold leap from teen beat combo to studio artists. Rock & roll covers were now a rarity, relegated to just a couple tracks on Side Two. Paul, John, George and Ringo were no longer wearing black suits or turtlenecks on the album cover. The Beatles had met Bob Dylan a year before, and now acoustic guitars and frank introspection were working their way into the songwriting. The title alone was an sincerely plea from John, not merely some love-struck ditty.

Days later, Help!, the group's zany second feature film, would hit theaters. To celebrate the half-century birthday of a pop culture landmark, here some fascinating facts about the album and film.

By: Brent DiCrescenzo

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The historic moment the Fab Four met the king of rock 'n' roll will be recreated in a new radio play almost 50 years to the day since it happened.

A Radio 2 play will revisit the Beatles' trip to Elvis Presley's Los Angeles mansion with the star of The Game, Tom Hughes, playing John Lennon.

Presley is played by Kevin Mains, who previously starred as the US singer in the West End show Million Dollar Quartet and portrayed Paul McCartney in ITV's Cilla.

Two other stars of Cilla, Tom Dunlea and Michael Hawkins, recreate their roles from that show, playing Ringo Starr and George Harrison respectively, with Shaun Mason as Paul McCartney.

Hughes said: "It's said that you shouldn't meet your heroes, I'm not sure that's true. John Lennon is a hero of mine. I'll never have the chance to meet him, so playing him is the next best thing. I was delighted to be asked and I just hope that in some way I've done this great man justice."

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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WHEN Ivor Davis was invited join The Beatles on their first American tour over 50 years ago, nothing prepared him for the wild adventure that lay ahead.

The young Los Angeles-based British showbiz journalist briefly became the fifth member of the band, documenting their U.S. escapades and ghost-writing George Harrison’s column for his London newspaper.

A goggle-eyed Davis spent five weeks jet-setting across the States as the Fab Four fought their way through hordes of screaming fans, bedded an endless supply of groupies and hookers, got high on marijuana with Bob Dylan, sparred with Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and had their one and only encounter with ‘The King’ Elvis Presley.

Ivor was also on the scene during a night in Las Vegas when John Lennon was interrogated by police after a mother complained that her two underage daughters were being detained in his suite.

By: Eddie Rowley

Source: Sunday World

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For the 50th anniversary of the world premiere of the Beatles second film, “Help!,” the South Pasadena Library will host a free screening on July 30 following a performance of Beatles songs by an ad hoc group of Fab Four-inspired musicians.

The screening comes 50 years and a day after “Help!” premiered in London on July 29, 1965, at the London Pavilion Theatre for an audience that included Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon.

“Help!” has been screened in public venues only sporadically over the years, and the South Pasadena Library arranged this event with special permission from the Beatles company, Apple Corps Ltd. UK.

“Help!” followed the quartet’s 1964 cinematic debut, “A Hard Day’s Night,” the latter considered one of the best rock music films of all time. The low-budget, black-and-white film used a cinema verite approach, which gave way a year later to the bigger-budget, color production of “Help!”

By: Randy Lewis

Source: LA Times

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A hand-written letter from Doors singer Jim Morrison during his stint in Paris – postmarked May 18th, 1971, less than three months before his death – is currently bringing over $23,000 at RR's Marvels of Modern Music auction. The event, which ends today, also features autographed and rare memorabilia from John Lennon, Ringo Starr, the Ramones and infamous punk rebel GG Allin, among others. 

Another high-profile item is a hand-written note from John Lennon and Yoko Ono to Beatles press officer Derek Taylor circa 1969, referencing instructions for an unspecified concert. "Audience must not be 'loaded' with 'officials – (Mayors and Kennedys) it must be mainly kids and critics," Lennon writes. "Any charity bits (the gate) only to be known after the event." Ono pens the next three lines: "Don't explain us – John & Yoko. None of Yoko is a good artist bit they ought to know by now." And Lennon finishes by writing, "Tickets shouldn't be too expensive and none of that all Bernsteins and such likes kids getting the 'best' seats at the zoo." The note is currently bringing $1,000. 

By: Ryan Reed

Source: Rolling Stone

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Adrian Bridge goes on the trail of the Beatles, 50 years after the then unknown teenagers headed to the German port.

It is not hard to see how five young lads from Liverpool who had barely been abroad before might have been taken with Hamburg. The German port had a reassuring grittiness to it.

It had the raw energy and power that comes with a seafaring tradition. It had creative tension and edge. It had money. It had amphetamines. And it had sex. No wonder they liked it. Like many British bands back then, the Beatles – who at the time of their first visit to Hamburg numbered five: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe – went there to seek their fame and fortune. And they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Incredible though it may seem, today it will be 50 years ago to the day since the band played the first of what, during the course of five separate visits over the next two and a half years, would be 281 concerts in Hamburg. Their work rate was phenomenal – at one point in 1961 they played for 98 nights in succession, frequently starting at 7pm and going through until 7am. They learnt how to survive on their wits, their flair for improvisation details

"Come Together" is the theme this weekend in downtown Orillia, when streets turn into a large pedestrian walkway to host two popular events -- the Summer Street Festival and Sale and the annual Orillia Beatles Celebration.

All six downtown blocks will be packed with tributes to The Beatles, there will be a "Beatles Marketplace," a giant sidewalk sale, a kids' zone and, new this year, tribute bands performing evenings in downtown pubs and restaurants.

"This is the second year the two events have partnered to host this special weekend of sales and festivities," said Susan Willsey, Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) member and weekend co-organizer. "It provides local residents and tourists alike an opportunity to enjoy our unique downtown shops and services in a relaxed, festive atmosphere."

This year, organizers have opted to make all but one of the acts and events free, thanks to the sponsorship of the DOMB, City of Orillia, Casino Rama and Sunshine 89.1. The one ticketed event is Replay, a Canadian Beatles tribute band, which will perform at the Orillia Opera House Saturday at 3 p.m.

Source: Orillia Packet

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