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Imagine seeing the biggest band of all time. At a venue near Surrey. With just 17 other people. For a few lucky souls, this actually happened. Saturday December 19, 1961. The day The Beatles came to Aldershot - and played to just 18 people. It's a date etched into local folklore, but for all the wrong reasons.

Friday marked 55 years to the day since the fateful gig at the Palais Ballroom, organised by promoter Sam Leach. The night was billed a Liverpool vs London Battle of the Bands, but the first in a whole host of issues was the only London outfit, Ivor Jay and the Jaywalkers, failed to turn up. And then, when the doors to the Palais opened, the crowd was conspicuous by its absence, with no more than six people stood outside waiting to get in.

So what went wrong?

A mix-up between Mr Leach and the Aldershot News meant the gig wasn’t advertised and the group, who were to become the biggest in the world, played to a very spartan audience. Mr Leach maintains he booked a sizeable advert in the newspaper and sent a cheque down to cover the cost of it.

When they arrived, Sam told the group he’d promoted the gig in a big way and bought a copy of the News, expecting to see that large adverti details

John Lennon: The Last Interview - Sunday, December 11, 2016

On the evening of Friday, December 5th, 1980, John Lennon spoke to Rolling Stone editor Jonathan Cott for more than nine hours at his apartment on New York's Upper West Side and at the Record Plant recording studio. Three nights later, Lennon would be murdered as he was returning home from a mixing session. The interview had originally been scheduled to run as the cover story of the first issue of 1981, but after Lennon's killing, Cott instead wrote an obituary for Lennon and ended up using very little from their conversations. In fact, he never even fully transcribed his tape. On the 30th anniversary of Lennon's death, we present, for the first time, the full text of Lennon's last major print interview: the joyous, outrageously funny, inspiring, fearless and subversive conversation Lennon shared with us that night, as he was preparing to jump back into the limelight after five years of private life with Yoko and their young son, Sean.

"Welcome to the inner sanctum!" said John Lennon, as he greeted me with high-spirited, mock ceremoniousness in Yoko Ono's beautiful cloud-ceilinged office in their Dakota apartment. It was December 5th, 1980. I sat down on a couch next to Yoko, and she began telling me how their collabora details

A Chat With Beatles Expert Mark Lewisohn - Friday, December 09, 2016

No matter how much you think you know about the Beatles, Mark Lewisohn probably knows more.

Hundreds of books have been written about the band, but none with such care and authority as those by the 58-year-old British author. His resume includes comprehensive releases on their concert performances (“The Beatles Live!”) and studio work (“The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions”), for which he was given a Beatle obsessive’s dream job, getting paid by EMI Records to enter the inner sanctum of the Abbey Road studio and listen to the band’s recordings.

“I was a researcher and realized that the books (on the Beatles) were not quite as well-researched or written as I had expected them to have been,” he told The Associated Press during a recent interview, explaining how he evolved from fan to author. “One project led to the next and suddenly I found myself with a career as a writer, which I hadn’t actually intended.”

The Beatles themselves welcomed him to their special world. He assisted on the band’s multimedia retrospective Anthology that came out in the 1990s and served as the editor and writer of “Club Sandwich,” a magazine r details

On the 36th anniversary of the untimely assassination of John Lennon, we wanted to step back and reflect on one of rock’s greatest songwriters and poets. Lennon’s musical contribution was enormous, his pathos and introspective soul spoke to a nation of lost British souls, and then to the rest of the world.

John Winston Lennon was born October 9, 1940, into a working class family in Liverpool, England. His early life was difficult. His father took off to the seas, leaving his young mother to raise her son alone. When he was a teenager, Lennon’s mother was killed in an auto accident. Lacking parental guidance, Lennon was a troubled youth, prone to rage and anger. Eventually he channeled his passion into art school and then into music.

As did many youths of his generation, Lennon turned to American Rock and R&B for its sheer energy and unabashed disregard for authority. Lennon took to it like a magnet to steel. Forming a friendship with Paul McCartney and then George Harrison, they formed a band that played covers of their favorite American artists: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, et al. While the lives of Lennon and his bandmates were in disarray, the focus of the band and thei details

She has one job: Guard John Lennon's glasses - Thursday, December 08, 2016

It's a cool, sunny morning when the busload of tourists descends onto Havana's John Lennon Park. That's Aleeda Rodriguez Pedrasa's cue. She jumps out from under the shade of a nearby tree and scurries toward the bronze statue of the Beatles legend -- all the while fishing for a pair of spectacles in her purse. She quickly places them on the bridge of Lennon's nose, seconds before the first of the tourists moves in for a picture.

Padrasa has one of the most unusual jobs in Cuba: She's the keeper of Lennon's glasses. It's a job for which the government pays her 245 Cuban pesos a month, more than what many other Cubans make. "I've been working here for two years," says the 72-year-old Padrasa.

Cuba has had an interesting relationship with Lennon. In 1964, then-leader Fidel Castro declared a ban on Beatles' music, as part of his war against Western capitalism. But the band was a mega-act at the time, and smuggled copies of its tunes made it into the island. "He was very loved in the '70s," Padrasa says. "He was very loved and people listened to his music, but it wasn't allowed."

Fast forward to the time when Lennon became a vocal political dissident, criticizing the U.S. involvement in foreign lands. That en details

On 8 December 1980, John Lennon was shot four times in the back outside of his apartment building in New York City.

He was 40 years old.

7 days after his death, millions of people paused their daily routines to honour Yoko Ono's request for ten minutes of silence in commemoration of his contributions.

30,000 gathered in Liverpool, 225,000 in New York City's Central Park. The radios went silent, too.

That strength of love for this man, this musician in a band, has quelled little over the years. His outspoken political activism has made him a herald for those who have so longed for global peace and "Imagine" has become their perennial anthem; it re-entered the UK charts at number 18 in 2012 after Emeli Sandé recorded a cover for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

His legacy is eternal, though his presence is so greatly missed. And though he would have wished it weren't so, Lennon's words still ring just a true today as they did in his own lifetime. Here are a select few:

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."

By: Clarisse Loughrey

Source: The Independent

details

Nigel Sinclair -- producer of The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years -- told Billboard that Tuesday's (Dec. 6) news that the Ron Howard-directed movie was nominated for best music film at the 59th annual Grammy Awards is a great ending to the story of making the film.

"Working with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Ron Howard was the experience of a lifetime. Getting nominated for a Grammy on top of that is just completely over the top. We [the producing team] are all honored,” Sinclair said in a phone interview from London. "Ron and all the producers were very encouraged that we found a story to tell that was fresh and wasn't the same story that people had heard. We found a way to shine a light on this extraordinary adventure with a slightly different emphasis and find some new truths for a new generation."

Besides the Beatles film, the Grammy nominations also had good news for Paul McCartney, whose deluxe edition of the Tug of War reissue from Concord Music is up for best boxed or special limited edition package.

In addition, two projects covering songs by The Beatles and Paul McCartney also will be in the running for awards. John Daversa's album Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Be details

DID you know that The Beatles had an honorary member for 13 days?

Jimmie Nicol joined the band for a short stint in 1964 – after Ringo Starr was hospitalised with tonsillitis.

Jimmie not only got the opportunity to play with The Beatles during the height of their fame, but he also got the chance to hang around with music legends John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. However, this only lasted for two weeks, and then everything went back to normal for Jimmie. Jimmie’s whirlwind began when Ringo Starr collapsed with tonsillitis on the eve of The Beatles’ 1964 Australian tour.

The band’s manager Brian Epstein, as well as their producer George Martin urgently discussed the viability of using a stand-in drummer rather than cancelling the rest of the tour. George happened to suggest Jimmie Nicol – as he had recently used him on a recording session with Tommy Quickly.

Jimmie appeared in his first Beatles concert just 27 hours later at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before hitting the stage, he was styled with the distinctive Beatle mop-top hairstyle and even wore Ringo’s suit – despite the trousers being too short. Paul McCartney recalled teasin details

The Top 10 Best John Lennon Political Songs - Tuesday, December 06, 2016

John Lennon was always the radical one in The Beatles, but it wasn’t until he left that his politics exploded. These are his 10 greatest rebel songs.

The advent of John Lennon’s solo career in 1969 coincided with his immersion in the anti-war movement, human rights issues and various other radical causes. Though his opposition to US involvement in Vietnam brought him into conflict with the authorities, leading to a protracted deportation case and FBI surveillance that posited Lennon as a national threat. Inevitably, his music reflected his polemical stance, popularising the message with user-friendly anthems like Give Peace A Chance, Power To The People and others. “Now I understand what you have to do,” Lennon declared. “Put your political message across with a little honey.”

10. Attica State (1972)

First performed at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at the University of Michigan in December 1971, this bitter condemnation of the American judicial system was sparked by the Attica State prison riots that had erupted two months earlier, leaving 43 people dead. Lennon’s plea for better living conditions also carries a wider remit: “Come together, join the movem details

On the 50th anniversary of the iconic album, the engineers of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush will be fixing a hole in the hearts of Beatles fans everywhere with a once in a lifetime Q&A event and exhibition named The Masters of Sgt. Pepper.

Presented by Planetshakers in Southbank, not only will the event dish the untold deets about the iconic album from a producer’s perspective, it will also be celebrated with performances by Leo Sayer and Davey Lane from You Am I.

The event promises a panel of Beatles royalty disclosing all the behind the scenes details as well as a limited edition merch sale.

Lush has been immersed in London’s music scene ever since starting his recording career at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in the 1960’s. He learnt from masters of the music industry Sir George Martin, Phil Spector, Phil Ramone and Mickie Most before recording some of the world’s biggest artists: The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney & Wings, John Lennon and The London Symphony Orchestra.

For the Beatles, Lush was a significant backbone to their musical success, working on more than a hundred sessions. After joining EMI as a j details

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