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It was a commission for Paul McCartney’s Kintyre hideaway that led to the Beatles’ most memorable album cover. Now Sir Peter Blake’s version of The Monarch Of The Glen, made in the Swinging Sixties, could go on display alongside the 19th-century original if the latter is secured for the nation.

National Galleries of Scotland chiefs have revealed the idea after pop artist Blake, who painted his take on the masterpiece for McCartney’s dining room, recorded a message backing a £4 million fundraising drive to buy Sir Edwin Landseer’s picture.

The National Galleries said it had four weeks to raise the final £750,000 to buy the painting from whisky giant Diageo, which had been poised to auction it off last November until it was asked to consider a “part-purchase, part-deal” gift.

It would have to borrow the Blake painting directly from the former Beatle. It has been hanging for years in his McCartney Productions offices in London.

The work was completed in 1966, shortly before the artist worked on the famous cover of the Beatles’ eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album cover depicted dozens of famous figures, inclu details

A musician from Cardiff has used a sample of John Lennon on his debut album after getting permission from Yoko Ono.

It’s something of a coup for Gizmo Varillas, the 27-year-old whose family are from Spain but who moved to Cardiff when he was five. The Lennon estate very rarely grants permission for Lennon’s voice to be sampled, but the singer-songwriter who grew up in the Canton area of the city, managed to persuade the wife of the late-Beatles’ guitarist to allow him to use a sample of a Lennon interview on his song No War - which features on his debut album El Dorado.

“He was a huge inspiration of mine - an idol for what he stood for,” said Gizmo, who now lives in London. “I didn’t set out to write an anti-war song, not did I consciously set out to use a sample of John Lennon. All of this happened as I started writing the song and it developed from there.

“The song evolved as I wrote each individual line. Line by line it revealed itself, and then when I reached the middle eight I was thinking to myself what else could I add to the song. “The song is called No War and who expressed that message better than John Lennon.”

By: David Owens< details

The helter skelter story of the Cavern Club - Saturday, February 18, 2017

It has been shut down, demolished, and rebuilt, but Liverpool's Cavern Club remains an icon of pop history. As it celebrates its 60th year, those who were there in its heyday recall its evolution from subterranean jazz club to international music Mecca.

Peter Morris was a friend of the club's first owner, Alan Sytner, who modelled the basement venue on Le Caveau de la Huchette - a jazz place he'd seen in Paris.

He recalled how they were drinking at The Grapes pub in Mathew Street when the idea was formed.

"Alan said, 'We should have a place like [Le Caveau]'. He said, 'I'd love to find a place, like a basement or something'.

"We came out of the pub and [one of us] said, 'Hey Alan, what about that place there?' And there was a sign that said 'Basement For Sale, Or Let'.

 

"The next day we met up again for a pint at lunch time and Alan said, 'Got that place. I've bought it'."

Peter recalled how Alan's vision for the club, which opened on 16 January 1957, involved some questionable manual labour.

"It was actually three rooms, and Alan said, 'What we need is one big room, so these walls will have to come down'. details

David Magnus was once told that he’d never make a photographer. But, at the age of 19, in 1963 he was invited to photograph the Beatles at Stowe School — the first of many assignments he’d undertake for the band.

“They were absolutely charming. They were great fun to be with and I found them very easy to work with throughout,” says Magnus, a member of Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue.

Magnus went on to photograph everyone from Gerry and the Pacemakers to Cilla Black for NEMS Enterprises, the management company formed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

For the first time in his career, Magnus’s photographs, many of which have never been seen, are being exhibited. And at the heart of The Beatles Unseen, at Proud Chelsea, is his exclusive shoot from the historical live recording of All You Need Is Love for the BBC’s Our World on 25 June 1967, watched by 400 million people worldwide.

Magnus took unusually candid photographs of The Beatles relaxing backstage. “The best pictures that I ever took of them were that weekend. I think that was the closest I ever got to the Beatles photographically because it is natural and unposed as you see it.

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The children's home immortalised by John Lennon in The Beatles hit Strawberry Fields Forever is to be redeveloped by the Salvation Army.

An £8m scheme has been unveiled for the home, where Lennon played as a child. The venture will combine an education centre for young people with learning difficulties and an exhibition on the home, the song and Lennon's early life. The gates at the site, which is closed to he public, are a popular attraction for Beatles fans visiting Liverpool.

The plans were announced on the 50th anniversary of the release of the single, which was a double-A side with Penny Lane, reaching number two in the UK charts and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA.

The original home in Woolton was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced with a smaller building.

Major Drew McCombe, divisional leader for the North West branch of the charity, said: "Strawberry Field is special in the hearts of many people in Liverpool, the UK and across the world, and we at the Salvation Army are aiming to redevelop the site to do justice to the many people that have been supported by the children's home or formed a connection with the iconic Beatles song."

According to details

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

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