On August 19, 1964, I was woken up at my home in Los Angeles by the phone ringing at six in the morning. It was my editor in London calling to give me the assignment of a lifetime. He wanted me to fly up to San Francisco to cover - from start to finish - a hot British rock 'n' roll group making their first concert tour of North America. The Beatles had landed. That summer I was the 25-year-old West Coast correspondent of the Daily Express charged with chronicling the vagaries of Hollywood which ranged from the marriages of Elizabeth Taylor to the divorces of Marlon Brando and Cary Grant. Thrown in for good measure was an earthquake, a riot and a shipwreck. But The Beatles looked set to create a sensation to outstrip all these. After all only six months earlier they appeared on the country's most popular variety hour The Ed Sullivan Show and became an instant hit drawing 74 million viewers.
After dealing with several decades’ worth of pedestrians clogging the crosswalk at Abbey Road, local officials are mulling over hiring a crossing guard to keep would-be Beatles from being mowed down by motorists. The BBC reports that the Westminster City Council recently met to discuss the possibility, quoting a representative who cautioned that no decisions have been made. “Local Abbey Road ward councillors raised their residents’ concerns about the number of tourists spilling into the road and traffic near the crossing at the height of the summer season, and put forward various suggestions, asking the city council to review pedestrian safety and crowd management,” he said. “However, no proposals have been agreed by the council, nor the review completed.” As we previously recalled, the Beatles shot the cover photo for their ‘Abbey Road’ LP in that crosswalk on Aug. 8, 1969, inspiring countless others who’ve posed for their own version of the image over the years. “I come here all the time and it’s always been the same — it really does annoy you,” complained one cab driver. “All they’re doing is posing on the crossing. Someone’s going to get mown down one of these days, there’s no doubt about it.”
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) will present starting Friday a pop-up exhibit of nine photos taken from the Beatles' first Seattle concert in 1964. The display, which will be found in MOHAI's Grand Atrium, commemmorates the 50th anniversary of the rock legends' Northwest leg of their visit, made during their first trip to the United States. Taken by Timothy Eagan, the images capture the Aug. 21, 1964 concert at the Seattle Center Coliseum. Eagan, who would later become a P-I staff photographer, was 19 years old when he took the photos. In addition to the pop-up exhibit, MOHAI will add 27 images to its online photo archives for public access. In all, 80 negatives were donated to MOHAI by Timothy Eagan's brother, Mike Eagan.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Traffic was so bad for Candlestick Park's last show that some fans heading to watch Paul McCartney actually gave up and went home without seeing him. There were people who say they felt like the traffic was worse than other events and that it felt like someone dropped the ball. McCartney put on an amazing show to send Candlestick Park out in style. Fans who did make it say they loved the show and that McCartney played about 40 songs. He waited about an hour to go on because the stadium was only half full at 8 p.m. due to traffic problems. There were still many people that didn't make it because they said they were stuck on the highway for hours. Those who made it in say it wasn't easy getting out, but say it was worth it because they loved the show.
The Beatles ended their disappointingly short set on Aug. 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park with a barely-audible-above-the-screams version of "Long Tall Sally." Just before the band hopped in an armored car on that day, John Lennon promised "We'll see you next year!" More than half a lifetime later (17,512 days to be exact), Paul McCartney returned to Candlestick for what will probably be the last major event at the 54-year-old concrete edifice. The Beatles never played a commercial show again, but McCartney arranged his schedule to send the stadium off, with a pre-demolition show that few in attendance will forget. The key word there is "in attendance." Some of the worst Bay Area event traffic in recent memory forced thousands of concertgoers to say goodbye to Candlestick from an idling car outside the stadium. McCartney did his best to accommodate the stragglers, starting at 9 p.m. and playing a nearly 2 1/2 hour show with more than 30 songs.
A DOCUMENTARY photographer from Faversham is ready to present his photos of John Lennon to Yoko Ono. John Stewart Farrier has now teamed up with Faversham’s Maihen Picture Framing Company, in West Street, to finalise the piece. The photos of John Lennon were taken almost 50 years ago by Mr Farrier and were previously unseen until a few years ago. There are twelve pictures of the former Beatle, the negatives of which were left undiscovered in a loft for around 45 years. Mr Farrier discovered them towards the end of 2011 and they went on display for the first time earlier this year at The Proud Gallery in Chelsea, London. He now intends to present the photographs to Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono at The Folkestone Triennial, where she will be featuring as an artist.
Collectors of Paul McCartney’s music may have to add a new format – a version of PlayStation or Xbox — to their stacks of LPs, tapes, CDs, DVDs and digital downloads. His next major project is the score for Destiny, the highly anticipated video game from Bungie and Activision, due on Sept. 9. For the last four years, on and off, Mr. McCartney has been working on the score for the game in a collaboration with Marty O’Donnell – until recently Bungie’s house composer, responsible for the widely praised Halo soundtracks – and Mike Salvatori. He has also written a theme song for the game, which he plans to release as a single soon after the game is released, said Lev Chapelsky, the general manager of Blindlight, a Los Angeles company that puts musicians and game companies together.
The Dream Weaver and Really Wanna Know You hitmaker will publish Dream Weaver: Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison in October (14). A press release announcing the new book reads: "Dream Weaver is ultimately a story of a spiritual journey and Gary's lifelong friendship with George Harrison. At 33, Gary Wright was at the highest point in his career. His album, The Dream Weaver, had been on top of the charts for months with two hit singles - Dream Weaver and Love is Alive - and during the summer of '76, he was part of a massive arena tour with Peter Frampton and Yes. "Earlier, while still living in England, he recorded music with legendary musicians Eric Clapton, B.B King, and George Harrison, who would later become one of his best friends.
A Martin D-28 left-handed guitar signed by Paul McCartney is up for auction, with proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy's African Elephant Initiative. Bidding began on Wednesday on eBay with a starting price of $10,000. Along with his signature, McCartney paid tribute to Woody Guthrie's famous, fascist-slaying six-string, by scrawling, "This guitar saves elephants" on the Martin as well. Money from the auction will go to the Nature Conservancy's efforts in Africa, China and other locations to increase security and protection for elephants, as well as reduce the demand for ivory. If bidding on the McCartney-signed guitar is out of your price range, though, the campaign still welcomes any and all donations.