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An icon he may be, but sometimes Paul McCartney doesn’t get the respect he deserves, maybe because next to sarky, saintly Lennon, he can’t help but look like a bit of a sentimental old softie. But it’s worth remembering that as a fan of experimental composer Stockhausen in his youth and a dabbler in electronica as one half of The Fireman in his autumn years, Macca has always been an experimenter and a technological first-adopter, keen to embrace new techniques and unafraid to appear a little silly in the process. That, in a nutshell, is the story of ‘McCartney II’, his quirky, synth heavy second solo album, released 35 years ago this weekend. In 1979, with Wings gradually disintegrating, McCartney sat alone at home in his farmhouse in East Sussex surrounded by some state-of-the-art equipment – new synths, sequencers, and a hired Studer 16-track tape machine. The self-produced and largely self-performed result was playful, experimental – and greeted with a decidedly mixed reception. Here's its story...

Story be details

Dualities are fascinating: Yin and Yang, Blur and Oasis, God and Satan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and so on. You can analyze these contrasting pairs to apparent death, and yet they’ll spring up again, resurrected, presenting fresh puzzles. Whether you approach each duo as a harmonious conjunction of opposites or as a violent discord between irreconcilables, the process always manages to generate a spark.

In the present case, consider the difficult question of the greatest album by a former Beatle. Sure, you might find a few dissenters who would want to bust up the duality I’m about to present: they’d claim that Imagine is the best post-Beatles effort, and maybe a few daring reactionaries would cite Band on the Run. You could throw Lennon against McCartney and see what insights ensue, since that’s the principal Beatles duality in everyone’s mind, with Lennon as the emotionally raw rocker and McCartney as the consummate craftsman of orchestral pop.

Ultimately, that’s not where the true post-Beatles dialectic i details

The John Lennon and Paul McCartney songwriting duo has been so lionized throughout history it's difficult to consider them anything besides creative divinity. However, after the Beatles broke up, neither achieved a comparable level of artistic mastery. But a third Beatle did: George Harrison.

Harrison, the so-called "quiet Beatle," shocked the world with his solo debut, which he began recording 45 years ago this month. Entitled All Things Must Pass, the album's spiritually infused folk and blues blew critics' minds. The moment was "the rock equivalent of the shock felt by pre-war moviegoers when [Greta] Garbo first opened her mouth in a talkie: Garbo talks! — Harrison is free!" wrote Richard Williams for Melody Maker.

All Things Must Pass remains the greatest solo recording any Beatles released. And had the songwriting partnership of McCartney and Lennon held, the world may never have learned how incredible a songwriter Harrison was.

Rock 'n' roll's Tolstoy: The variety of styles, emotions and stories Harrison drew from to create All Things Must Pass i details

Performing on The Ed Sullivan Show might have helped launch the careers of Elvis Presley and the Beatles, but Bob Dylan took a different approach to fame: courting celebrity by not performing.

Dylan was slated to appear on the massively popular variety show on this day, May 12, in 1963 — a year before the Beatles. At the time, he was little known by mainstream audiences, although TIME had referred to him a year earlier as “a promising young hobo.”

“He dresses in sheepskin and a black corduroy Huck Finn cap, which covers only a small part of his long, tumbling hair,” TIME’s 1962 story attests. “[H]e delivers his songs in a studied nasal that has just the right clothespin-on-the-nose honesty to appeal to those who most deeply care.”

On Ed Sullivan, Dylan planned to put a spin on his clothespin-on-the-nose honesty with “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” a satirical song written from the perspective of a John Birch Society member who is so terrified of communist infiltration that he looks for Reds every details


It was, in almost every respect, a carbon-copy weekend gig for Josh Walther and his wedding band, Phase5. Booked a year in advance at a familiar Winter Park country club. Intimate, 200 people, tops. Decent vegan spread.

"The decor wasn't extravagant," he said. "It was just a typical family gathering."

Totally typical, yes — except for the part where Paul McCartney showed up. And hopped onstage. And grabbed the microphone. And sang I Saw Her Standing There. And left Walther and his band reeling from the musical memory of a lifetime.

It's a bucket list moment for any musician, sharing the stage with Sir Paul, and when you play in a wedding band from Tampa, it's one you're 99.999 percent sure you'll never experience. But it happened on Saturday for Phase5, who played the graduation party of McCartney's stepson Arlen Blakeman, a communications major at Rollins College in Winter Park, just north of Orlando.

A clip of the performance hit Facebook and YouTube over the weekend, and Walther, 33, has since been inundated with kudo details

Songs by rock artists about their mothers are relatively few and far between. Those that there are tend to go to one of two extremes. You’ll get the occasional gushing tribute, a la Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wish.” On the flip side of that coin are the rockers who take umbrage with the way they were raised, such as Roger Waters in Pink Floyd’s scathing “Mother.”

“Julia”, by The Beatles, falls somewhere in between, a kind of impressionistic meditation by an earthbound man on the ethereal presence of a woman calling to him yet hovering out of his reach. Or at least that’s how it sounds removed from any context. In actuality, the man, John Lennon, was writing the song as an indirect tribute to his deceased mother Julia, which makes this one of the more oddly fascinating entries into this subgenre of music.

For those who don’t know the backstory, Lennon’s mother was only a sporadic part of his life once his father left the family when John was an infant. The two got closer details

Most people float down the rivers of time without leaving a ripple. Some stir the waters and leave somewhat of an impact. And then there are those who carve out their own islands in time and form a permanent place in eternity. Such were the Beatles.

Who could have imagined that four boys -- one of them a teenager at the time -- from a seaport village would take the world by storm and eventually become one of the biggest forces in music history, comparable to the likes of Mozart or Beethoven?

It was just over 50 years ago, in February 1964, that the Beatles landed in America to the delight of throngs of screaming fans. Two nights later, their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show drew a television viewing audience of 73 million. For that brief moment in time, the streets emptied and crime stopped.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison would go on to sell some 600 million albums worldwide as a band. What was thought to be a mere generational blip has now become a trans-generational cultural mainstay. Despite the band's breakup in 1970, their details

The legendary musician was being pursued at The Beatles rented mansion in Los Angeles by blonde actress  who was intent on seducing Lennon.

John Lennon urinated in a cocktail before giving it to one of America's best-known sex symbol's and watching her drink it, a new book has claimed.

The legendary musician was being pursued at The Beatles rented mansion in Los Angeles by blonde actress Jayne Mansfield, who was intent on seducing Lennon.

However, the Beatle took a dislike to the actress after she began tugging at his distinctive hair.

In revenge, Lennon urinated into the actress' cocktail before watching in delight as she drank it.

According to the book, called The Beatles: Messages From John, Paul, George And Ringo,Mansfield drank the drink before declaring it was "a real humdinger".

Lennon eventually told the actress later in a nightclub what had been in the drink - which he called a Beatle Special.

He was then forced to make a quick exit from the club after the actress attempting to attack him.< details

John. Paul. George. Ringo.

It's difficult to imagine a time when those four names were not burned into popular culture's lexicon.

But in 1964, The Beatles were just starting their ascent to word super-stardom. They had yet to break America with their astonishing debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, which lifted them to super-stardom. Twenty-three million households saw that performance, a record at the time.

In March of that year, the band began shooting their hugely-influential debut movie, A Hard Day’s Night. Shot in a faux-documentary style by Richard Lester, it featured the band playing “themselves”. A relatively low-budget, six week shoot that was seen as a quick cash-grab by United Artists, looking to tap into the growing reservoir of fans. The film’s overall quality ensured it was anything but.

Incorporating the big cinematic shift of the time, the French New-Wave, the film remains to this day a hilarious, stylistic triumph and one of the greatest British movies ever made, as credited by the BFI in their top 100 list. But why details

The Beatles may now be thought of as squeaky clean, wholesome rockers that are a safe bet to play for all ages and sensibilities, but a closer look into their lyrics and legacy will probably make you think twice about that perception. Somehow "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" wasn't actually their most explicit moment ...

The Huffington Post has done quite a few dives into The Beatles over the last year and here are a few of the more scandalous details that somehow still aren't common knowledge.


1. The Beatles purposely pronounce "Sie Liebt Dich," the German version of "She Loves You," incorrectly. This essentially makes the song "She Loves Dick."

The Beatles recorded German versions of both "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in 1964. For "Sie Liebt Dich" the band completely mispronounced "dich" as "dick," a mistake that seems suspicious since The Beatles spent years in Hamburg.

HuffPost spoke with super fan Mike Brown, who has maintained arguably the most in-depth list of Beatles anomalies -- What Goes On -- since the '90s. "Is that details

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