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Will you still love me when I'm 64 - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Liverpool's most popular museum, The Beatles Story, recently asked any "Fab Four" fans celebrating their 64th birthday in 2017 to contact them. It's 50 years since the first song the Beatles recorded for their iconic 1967 album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, was completed.

George Martin (the band's legendary producer) called When I'm Sixty-Four the album's "jokey song", a classic counterpoint to George Harrison's sombre, spiritual and sitar-influenced Within You without You which started Side Two. Yet Paul McCartney's jaunty, music hall melody now causes more angst and introspection than any of the other more exulted tracks on the album.

Why? Because Baby Boomers regard it with special dread.

If you had the misfortune to be born in the 1950s, celebrating your 64th has become far more gut-wrenching than your 60th ever was. Or your 65th could ever possibly be. As a rite of passage, it's simply the pits. Search the web and you'll find entreaties from both sexes complaining about the pressure they felt. Some post photos of themselves looking hot. Subtext? "Be honest – does my backside look 64 to you?" 

Others – mostly divorced, as McCartney has been – insist they're per details

Photographer Shimpei Asai was lucky enough to step behind the curtain with John, Paul, Ringo and George on their 1966 trip to Tokyo. The rare, behind-the-scenes photos have only just been released in the limited edition photo book Hello, Goodbye.

“Though there had to be a lot of security, the Beatles actually escaped from it briefly. I think they accepted their situation though.”

“I had never felt this before. I did know about hysterical fans, but the atmosphere in the Budokan was different. It was as if all the audience shared one idea, and this was the only time they had.”

“I tried not to make them conscious I carried the camera, so they wouldn’t feel my presence.”

“John and Paul did escape from the hotel for a short time, but they saw almost nothing in Tokyo before they had to come back.”

“They looked frustrated about the amount of security, and they were. But they didn’t hate this situation, they accepted it.”

“When I first saw the Beatles, they were in a large room, resting. They didn’t talk to each other very much, they seemed so used to each other they didn’t have to.”

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A pair of John Lennon ’s sunglasses which he stamped on in a fit of rage and threw in the bin have emerged at auction. Luckily his uncle Charlie Lennon fetched them out of a bin and had them repaired and they are now tipped to sell for £3,500. The circular, metal framed glasses were owned by Lennon in the 1970s, post-Beatles , and are accompanied by a fascinating letter from Charlie Lennon explaining the incident in which they were broken. An irate Lennon, according to the letter, stamped on his glasses after an unhappy phone call and chucked them in the bin. His uncle, who died in 2002, decided to salvage the glasses from the bin and had them repaired.

The letter reads: “The glasses were stamped on by John whilst in an argument with someone on my phone in London. “The lenses shattered and I retrieved them from the bin because I felt he (John) could have them repaired. “The boy had a temper - but I thought it was a silly waste of money.” The uncle’s anecdote paints a different picture of a more volatile Lennon than the man who is remembered for his bed-ins for peace with his wife Yoko Ono in protest at the Vietnam War.

The glasses have belonged to a memorabilia collector details

The movie rights for The Beatle Who Vanished, a book by Jim Berkenstadt about the life of drummer Jimmie Nicol who was a Beatle for 13 days, have been secured by Alex Orbison, son of Roy Orbison on behalf of the family's Roy's Boys Films, and Ashley Hamilton's 449 Productions. Hamilton is the son of actor George Hamilton and actress Alana Stewart.

Berkenstadt's book, first published in 2013, told Nicol's story in detail. It included accounts of Nicol with the Beatles, his pre- and post-Beatles career and included many archival photos.

Nicol temporarily replaced Ringo Starr when the Beatle was hospitalized in 1964 for tonsillitis and pharyngitis just as the group was about to play a series of concerts. The new drummer passed an audition in front of Brian Epstein and received a new mop-top haircut. After a rehearsal with the group, he made his first formal appearance with them June 4 at K.B. Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During his almost two weeks with the group, he performed with them in 10 concerts at five venues, a TV show at Hilversum, Holland, appeared at press conferences and made public appearances as a Beatle. Besides Copenhagen, his concert performances were in Blokker, Holland; Hong Kong; and f details

“Wings? They’re only the band The Beatles could have been!”

Television comedy character Alan Partridge, in his inimitable style, summed up the problem Paul McCartney would always face.

How do you follow being in the biggest, most famous, most influential pop group of all time? If you’d been in Newcastle on this night 45 years ago, you’d have found out.

Nearly two years after the Fab For dissolved in acrimony, McCartney rolled into the city’s university, asking (literally) if his new band could play a gig there. Having turned his back on the excesses of life with The Beatles, McCartney had loaded his wife Linda, his eight-year-old step-daughter, assorted pets, and a group of musicians and their instruments into a van and hit the road looking to play music at whichever university venue took their fancy.

Their first port of call was Nottingham University, then York, then Hull, then Newcastle. They would play 11 impromptu uni gigs in all.

Steve Dresser, chairman of Newcastle University’s entertainment committee, said: “I couldn’t believe my luck. “Paul asked if a spot could be found for his new band, Wings , in the Sunday folk night details

The Magical Mystery Tour: Fifty Years On - Monday, February 13, 2017

The worldwide popularity of the Beatles endures a half-century after the lads from Liverpool led the British Invasion of the ’60s, as evidenced by a full house last week at Malibu City Hall for the Library Speaker Series kickoff event of 2017. Beatles expert Scott Freiman presented “Roll Up! Deconstructing The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour.” Fab Four fans of all ages were treated to a two-hour multimedia presentation detailing how the groundbreaking rock group created their psychedelic tour de force.

Freiman, who is a composer and musician himself, gave a detailed song-by-song account of the album to a rapt audience. As referenced in Sgt. Pepper, it really was 50 years ago today that Magical Mystery Tour was released to a confused public. Freiman explained that a disastrous tour preceding the making of the album led the group to retreat to the relative calm of the recording studio. The Beatles’ unprecedented popularity made touring difficult as audiences screamed so loudly that the musicians — relying on primitive monitors — couldn’t hear themselves. A hostile stop in The Philippines cemented the decision: They would no longer play live.

By: Judy Abel

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The record that launched The Beatles career is going on display at The Beatles Story in Liverpool.

The unique acetate disc was presented to producer George Martin by the band's manager, Brian Epstein, 55 years ago, on February 13th 1962. It features a recording of ‘Hello Little Girl’ on one side and ‘Til There Was You’ on the other.

Brian Epstein had the disc cut in the Personal Recording Department of the HMV record store on Oxford St in London. It was cut using The Beatles’ Decca audition tapes before being presented to George Martin of EMI.

Despite Martin’s initial reticence, the disc eventually led to the breakthrough the band were looking for.

The leading Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn wrote about the disc in his book 'Tune In': “Its uniqueness is enhanced by Brian Epstein’s handwriting on the labels, and the recognition of what it led to – making it one of the rarest and most collectible of all Beatles records.”

“This is one of those Holy Grail items like the original Quarrymen acetate that the band recorded themselves. This acetate is a unique item that, in many re details

Plans to marry George. Playing in an all-girl Beatle band. Touring the northeast with a faux George. "Beatles obsession" is putting it mildly.

In the beginning, I’m just like any other teenage girl…

Mid-January 1964: Somebody at school mentions a band called The Beatles. Yuuch. They sound like bugs.

Our January 31, 1964 Life Magazine issue is delivered to our house in Queens, NY. Their pictures are on the cover. “First England fell…” the copy reads. I hoard the magazine and stare at their pictures all week. Can’t wait for Ed Sullivan. Four more days.

Sunday night, my brother, mother and I sit down to watch. My father, who feels that any music written after Debussy is crap (and he is somewhat ambivalent about Debussy), paces, refusing to sit down with us.

The Beatles take the stage. “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you…” Endorphin surge. George. The lead guitar player. Him. We could play music together. He’s mine. After the show, I go upstairs and close the door to my room. Tears on my fretboard.

The obsession takes over. I have an advantage. I’m a musician from a family of professional musicians. I have a cha details

The English composer and musicologist Wilfrid Mellers, in his now classic scholarly study of the Beatles, Twilight of the Gods, calls the early Beatles period, the period of screaming girls and “yeah, yeah, yeah,” their “Edenic” period. In his study, Mellers give particular attention to “There’s a Place,” the American “B-side” (there’s a quaint old term for you) to their iconic cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout.”

Given that the song wallows in obscurity in the Fabs’ canon, you must be wondering Professor Mellers chose to give it serious scholarly attention and why I would choose it as the subject of of an essay. Other sources report that while John, Paul, George, and Ringo originally had high hopes for the song, that they themselves lost interest caused possibly by its having been a bit of a struggle for them to record. From being a song they expected to be their next #1, “There’s a Place” ended up as album filler and a B-side to a popular cover song.

As both Professor Mellers and I will argue, that’s a bad underestimation of what really is one of their finest early tunes.

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Director Ron Howard has said he chose to attend the Baftas rather than the Grammys because he was so gratified his nominated documentary about The Beatles has been received so well in the UK.

Howard has received nods for awards at both ceremonies - for best documentary at the Baftas and best music film at the Grammys - for his movie The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.  The awards shows happen within hours of each other and Howard opted to brave the cold in London rather than attend the music show in Los Angeles. Arriving at the Bafta nominees party at Kensington Palace, he told the Press Association: "I had to choose but I have a lot of fun here, I have worked in London a lot and have a lot of friends here and the Baftas know how to throw a hell of a party."

He said he had not even been deterred by the snow and freezing temperatures, saying: "I came from New York where we had a huge blizzard so this ain't nothing."

However, he admitted making a film about the Fab Four was more intimidating than he first expected. He said: "It was scary as hell but I got into it because it was irresistible. "I thought there was a great story there and when else would you get to work with all that great music?

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