THE MUSICAL instrument on which John Lennon strummed his first tune has been billed as the 'holy grail of pop memorabilia' with experts claiming it could be worth up to £3 million.
The whereabouts of the much-fabled banjo has been a mystery more than 50 years. The last time anybody saw or heard of the banjo was before Lennon's beloved mother Julia was killed in a road accident in Woolton, Merseyside, in 1958. But now author and playwright Rob Fennah is on a personal quest to locate it. In a new novel, Julia's Banjo, Rob, 47, from Crosby, Merseyside, tells the little-known story of a teenage Lennon learning how to play his Rock 'n' Roll favourites with his mother Julia. The book tells the fictional story of Beatles tour guide, Barry Seddon, who finds a letter giving him clues to the location of the banjo before ruthless Texan antique dealer Travis Lawton hears about the priceless relic and a drama ensues.
In real life, for more than a decade Mr Fennah has combed through car boot sales and dusty attics in a bid to find the 'catalyst that changed the world'. Now he is urging people in Liverpool to rummage through their wardrobes and attics to check whether 'Julia's banjo' banjo could be lurking unacknowledged details
When someone nonchalantly decorated the set for the Beatles' film Help! with a sitar, they were probably thinking it added a certain Eastern exoticism. In a break between takes, George Harrison picked it up and tried to work out how to play it. That set decorator could never have foreseen how this would change the course of popular culture, if not history itself.
Chances are that George's first efforts were less than dulcet, given he'd have had little idea how to tune the labyrinth of strings. Nonetheless his interest was piqued, and so he sought, well, help.
That mainly came in the shape of Ravi Shankar, one of the great sitar players of the century. A friendship blossomed, as, gradually, did Harrison's ability on the instrument, to the point where he could add sitar to Lennon's Norwegian Wood on the Rubber Soul album. By the time the band came to record Sergeant Pepper's, Harrison was capable of playing his own much more demanding Within You, Without You, the song that, more than any other, turned a generation of Western listeners onto the shimmering enchantment of Indian classical music. From there it was a short hippie shuffle to a fascination with Indian mysticism, meditation and yoga. Suddenly mind-expandi details
The 1980s had not been going well for Paul McCartney. A series of commercial flops left even the artist taking stock. "It was time to prove something to myself," McCartney said back then. That he did. "Flowers in the Dirt," released in 1989, marked a rebirth.
But the most intriguing element of "Flowers" was shelved for decades. In 1987, McCartney had invited Elvis Costello to work with him. Four of their songs ended up on "Flowers," but a few others never came out. And both McCartney and Costello agree that their nine initial demo recordings remain the best part of their collaboration. On March 24, those demos are being released as part of an elaborate, box-set reissue of "Flowers in the Dirt."
We spoke recently with McCartney and Costello, separately and by phone, about their intense writing spurts, the challenges of turning the demos into a polished album and about their obvious differences over a certain synth-pop group.
In 1986, McCartney released his sixth solo studio album, "Press to Play," working with producer Hugh Padgham, known for his work with Phil Collins and the Human League.
McCartney: Sometimes you get caught up in trying to be the current flavor, trying to go along and flavor you details
A popular restaurant known for its ‘fab’ selection of groovy food is celebrating a landmark anniversary.
For more than three decades Mike Power and his staff at Sgt. Peppers restaurant in Lowestoft have worked many a hard day’s night. And this year marks the 35th anniversary since the restaurant opened in 1982.
Mr Power, managing director at Sgt Peppers restaurant, said: “We are surprised to reach this landmark especially in the current climate. “Every year we are amazed at the number of people who continue to support us. As well as tourists we have visitors come from Beccles and Great Yarmouth which is very gratifying.”
Previously a pinewood furniture shop, Mr Power opened Sgt Peppers with his former partner, Marie Power, on August 19, 1982. A hotelier by trade, he had worked in hotels and restaurants across country, before moving to Lowestoft to establish Sgt Peppers.
This year’s milestone also coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ iconic Sgt Peppers album after which the restaurant is named. And with musical instruments hanging from the ceiling and images of famous faces from the swinging sixties covering the restaurant’s wall details
A record sleeve covered in doodles by John Lennon as he brainstormed ideas for an album cover has emerged for sale for £15,000.
The black felt tip pen sketchings are believed to have been Lennon's initial ideas for the cover of his 1974 album Walls and Bridges and span both sides of an opened-out record sleeve. The record sleeve was given by the former Beatle to Jesse Davies, a session musician who provided lead guitar on the album.
One of the drawings depicts a flying saucer with the word "UFOer" written on the bottom of the object, most likely influenced by Lennon's UFO sighting that year. This sighting was mentioned in the album liner notes: "On the 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o'clock I saw a UFO J.L."
On the record sleeve, in amongst the numerous doodles, he wrote the names of four people who were central to his life. These were himself, Yoko which refers to his wife Yoko Ono , May for his lover May Pang and Julian, his son who he had become reacquainted with.
This album was produced while John and Yoko were separated and Lennon was with May Pang who also worked on the album. It was a chapter in his life he called his 'lost weekend'. The word 'home' is written multiple times and to reflect his details
Paul McCartney has announced that he’ll release a three-track cassette for this year’s Record Store Day. Titled Flowers In The Dirt – The Cassette Demos With Elvis Costello, the limited edition release features I Don’t Want To Confess, Shallow Grave and Mistress & Maid which were all recorded in 1989.
It’ll be on sale on April 22 and comes after the re-launch of the Flowers In The Dirt Archive Collection, which will arrive on March 24. McCartney says: “The demos are red hot off the skillet and that’s why we wanted to include them on this boxed set. “What’s great about these songs is that they’ve just been written, so there’s nothing more hot off the skillet as I say. That was the kind of great instant thing about them. “I hadn’t listened to them in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out. We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment’s finally arrived.”
Last month, McCartney released a studio demo and video for My Brave Face along with an audio stream of Twenty Fine Fingers from the record.
Along with a standard details
Before he was a Led Zep, before he was a Yardbird, Jimmy Page was an incredibly busy London session guitarist with several notable production credits under his belt.
And we're not talking about long-forgotten recordings made under a flickering lightbulb in his cousin's basement; Page played on countless high-profile sessions, appearing on seminal tracks by the Who, Donovan, Joe Cocker, the Kinks and many more.
One thing he never did, however, is play on a Beatles song. That honor went to only a handful of non-Beatles, including (but not limited to) Billy Preston, Alan Civil, Beatles producer George Martin, the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, good ol' Anil Bhagwat and, of course, Eric Clapton.
It turns out, however, that Page was involved in a seriously Beatles-related session in 1964; his guitar playing can be heard in the score for the band's first film, the hugely successful A Hard Day's Night.
According to a 7-year-old article by U.K. broadcaster Tony Barrell, Page would typically show up for a session "cold," as in, not knowing what he was going to play that day, exactly who had hired him, where and how the music would appear, etc. One day in early '64, he arrived at EMI Studios in London for a details
In new court papers, the song publishing giant says the former Beatle is "clearly forum-shopping."
Paul McCartney waited decades for his opportunity to reclaim rights to songs he authored as a member of The Beatles. Now, Sony/ATV Music Publishing is telling a judge he should have to cool his heels a little longer.
McCartney made his move in January, suing to confirm that under the termination provisions of U.S. copyright law, he gets to recapture his share. The lawsuit in New York federal court followed a stunning U.K. decision, Gloucester Place Music Ltd v. Le Bon, where it was ruled late last year in a dispute involving Duran Duran songs that American termination law took a backseat to an interpretation of contracts under English law.
"As an initial matter, SATV has made no statement challenging the validity of Plaintiff’s termination notices," states Sony in a letter to the judge on Monday in anticipation of a conference that will lay out its forthcoming motion to dismiss. "Indeed, it has acknowledged they are valid, so there is no controversy regarding this issue. Nor has SATV claimed that Plaintiff’s service of the notices breached any agreement and SATV may never make such a claim. details
For Paul McCartney, it was an all-too-familiar feeling. There he was, paired with an acerbic, rough-voiced co-writer with Liverpudlian roots, sitting face to face as they strummed acoustic guitars, finishing each other's musical phrases and lyrics, singing in comfortable harmony. "We would write in the same method that me and John used to write," says McCartney, recalling his wildly productive late-Eighties collaborations with Elvis Costello. "I figured, in a way, he was being John. And for me, that was good and bad. He was a great person to write with, a great foil to bounce off, but here's me, trying to avoid doing something too Beatle-y!"
Those sessions, at McCartney's rustic Hog Hill Mill Studio in East Sussex, England, were intended to yield songs for what became the ex-Beatle's 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt, an Eighties high point. Four tracks, including the playful duet "You Want Her Too," ended up on that LP, two on McCartney's next one (1993's Off the Ground), and the rest on Costello's albums – most notably the hit single "Veronica."
But as an upcoming box-set reissue of Flowers in the Dirt reveals, the collaborative recordings – rough acoustic versions (long circulated as coveted bootlegs details
The scream at the end – “no reply!” – is one of the bleakest moments in the breakup song genre.
“It was my version of “Silhouettes”: I had that image of walking down the street and seeing her silhouetted in the window and not answering the phone, although I never called a girl on the phone in my life. Because phones weren’t part of the English child’s life.” – John Lennon on “No Reply”
This was going to be another essay. I had planned to write about what I am convinced is the greatest single ever released – “Strawberry Fields Forever” b/w “Penny Lane.” But that was going nowhere (though I can see what I want to say, I can’t quite seem to say it yet, which betrays a lot about my love of the Fabs) so I turn to another favorite, the opening song on both the British release Beatles for Sale or, if you were an 8th grade nerd like me, Beatles ’65.
“No Reply” opens both albums. This is one of those rare times that the British album and its American counterpart agree. That makes me very happy. Let’s leave it at that.
As John notes above, he was trying to write a song l details