Beatles News

49 years ago today John's "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus Christ" comment was widely reported in North American papers sparking controversy in the middle of their 1966 tour.

The following is an article from Nov. 2008.

More than 40 years after Christians were infuriated by the Beatles' claim that they were "more popular than Jesus", the Roman Catholic Church has made peace with the Fab Four.

Saturday's edition of the Vatican's official newspaper absolves John Lennon of his notorious remark, saying that "after so many years it sounds merely like the boasting of an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success".

In a lengthy editorial marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' famous White Album, L'Osservatore Romano heaps lavish praise on the British band.

"The talent of Lennon and the other Beatles gave us some of the best pages in modern pop music," said the newspaper, which has recently tried to shake off its stuffy image by covering popular culture events such as the Oscars and inviting articles from Muslim and Jewish contributors.

By: Nick Squires

Source: The Telegraph


On a hot and muggy evening 50 years ago this month, four mop-haired young men walked across the top of New York City's Pan Am Building and boarded a waiting helicopter. A few minutes later, the aircraft carrying the Beatles_John, Paul, George and Ringo_approached Shea Stadium at Flushing Meadows, Queens. There, 55,600 screaming fans, the largest crowd in show business history, waited in frenzied anticipation of their arrival.

The undisputed leaders of the British Invasion were about to launch their second sortie onto American soil, one year after their initial 1964 tour. The Shea Stadium concert was the first stop in an 18-day, 11-city tour that showcased the Beatles in front of a total of 300,000 adoring fans. The Shea concert generated the biggest crowd and biggest hype during the trip, and the event helped cement The Beatles as music's most influential rock & roll band. Moreover, the tour itself became important in other ways. First, it reflected The Beatles at the apex of their career together. In his 2005 memoir, "John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me," Beatles press agent Tony Barrow wrote of the significance of the 1965 concerts. "This was the group's brightly-shining summer solstice, after which all the Beatles' details

From April 2014

Beatles-in-the-studio experts Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan rank the works of Fab in terms of their groundbreaking sonic innovations.

The Beatles' stellar songwriting skills and world-class charm are the staples of pop culture commentary. Less often mentioned are the groundbreaking production tricks and ideas that made their records the benchmark for creative recording in the last century, and beyond.

The group’s remarkable thirst for newness, allied with the ingenuity of their producers and engineers at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, gave rise to cutting-edge sonics and daring studio exploration – now often taken for granted.

The following ten tracks showcase The Beatles at their most technically innovative: applying production ideas stunning for their age to make music that sounds as current and powerful today as it ever did. In fact, given the fairly safe standards of today’s pop, it’s arguable that in 2014 we’re still far behind the Beatles’ trailblazing 40-year-old lead…

So, enjoy these 10 Beatle greats from a whole new angle....


By: Brian Kehew and Kevin Ryan

Source: Mojo


Peter Jones obituary - Sunday, August 02, 2015

Music journalist and author who wrote the earliest biographies of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

During the late 1950s and early 60s the weekly music press was the main source of news and information about the latest developments in British and American pop music. Of the several papers in the marketplace, Record Mirror was most often the first to spot new trends, including the Motown sound and rhythm & blues. Its chief writer and editor for much of this era was Peter Jones, who has died aged 85. As well as his articles, Jones wrote the earliest book-length biographies of both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Always immaculately dressed, Jones evolved a working routine at Record Mirror centred on a lengthy lunchtime spent at the bar of the De Hems pub off Shaftesbury Avenue in London. There, according to his friend and colleague Norman Jopling, when music business contacts came to meet him “he was genial, good company, and, importantly, an easy touch for those precious column inches”. Frequently interviews with artists would take place at De Hems, with Peter taking notes in shorthand. He would compose articles and pithy record reviews on a typewriter that had two sizes of capital letters b details

Do you know that during the recording of the Beatles' iconic song 'Norwegian Wood', one of the strings of the sitar played by George Harrison broke leaving him with no clue about how to replace it until he was helped by none other than Indian political activist in Britain Ayana Angadi.

This and several other titbits about the Fab Four and their India connection are mentioned in an article in "The Equator Line" magazine written by American freelance writer Robert Cepican.

Harrison bought the sitar from a shop called Indiacraft on Oxford Street in London and John Lennon suggested using it for the first time in the song 'Norwegian Wood'.

The Beatles-India story took an interesting twist during the recording of 'Norwegian Wood'. Whether it was divine intervention or the product of a 'real crummy' sitar, one of the strings on the instrument broke," writes Cepican in the piece titled "The Yogi and the Fab Four".

Written by Lennon and Paul McCartney, 'Norwegian Wood' was recorded in October 1965 and released on December 6, 1965. Cepican, who is the author of "Yesterday Came Suddenly, The History of the Beatles" and is working on another book on the legendary British band, says Harrison had no clue how t details

The Beatles stars Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have remembered their friend Cilla Black in emotional tributes today.

As Cilla began to make her name in showbiz, she could count The Beatles as some of her close friends, and her first single was Love of The Loved by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. When her music career began at Liverpool's famous Cavern Club, she performed alongside such acts as The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. Now Ringo, who appeared on her BBC variety show, Cilla, which aired between 1968 to 1976, has paid tribute to his “good friend”.

He tweeted today: "I just heard the news Cilla black has left us she was a good friend we will all miss her peace to Cilla peace and love to the family R&B xxx." While Paul McCartney, who is currently in LA, said in a statement: "Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing. "She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit. From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around. "She had a fine distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her."


What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said?

I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular than Jesus," getting the chance to see one of its members in concert isn't just a show, it's a bucket list life experience (yes, this includes Ringo). Those lucky enough to pick Macca over Bud Light stage headliner the Weeknd got just that: a completely joyful, can't-miss concert that celebrated more than 50 years of music.

Even at 73, McCartney exudes the energy of an artist half his age. He bounces around onstage, bobbing his head to the music and looking in awe at the thousands and thousands of fans. It’s the kind of energy that makes it seem like he’s still not used to receiving so much love and support—a really good trait that makes fans feel like this night is special, that this concert is historic. “This is so cool. Just give me a moment to let it sink in.” he said, taking a minute to wave to the crowd and survey the Chicago skyline.

By: Josh Terry

Source: Red Eye

GEORGE HARRISON – HUMANITARIAN - Saturday, August 01, 2015

Fully 14 years before Live Aid, on 1 August, 1971, George Harrison, his friend and mentor Ravi Shankar and a host of stars pulled off something that had never been achieved, or even attempted before: the two Concerts For Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden in New York.

George had been deeply moved when Shankar had brought to his attention the plight of millions of starving refugees of the former East Pakistan, suffering the effects of the Bhola cyclone of 1970 and the Liberation War in the country. Five days earlier, on July 27, he had released his single ‘Bangla Desh’ on the Apple label, bringing this humanitarian crisis to the world’s attention as only a world-famous former Beatle could. That same day, he and Shankar held a press conference to announce their ambitious concert plans for just a few days’ time.

The track, co-produced by George with Phil Spector, featured Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner on drums and other such alumni as Billy Preston and Leon Russell. It went to No. 10 in the UK and No. 23 in the US, and made the top ten around much of Europe.

On August 1,after rehearsals in New York, the concerts took place at 2.30pm and 8pm. They played to a total of 40,000 people, w details

Paul McCartney has claimed that "dozens" of potential Beatles songs were lost as he and John Lennon would frequently forget their work before getting the opportunity to record it.

The bassist was talking to The Evening Standard about how new recording devices have fundamentally changed the songwriting process, revealing that songs he co-wrote with Lennon in the 1960s were often forgotten the morning after.

"Things have changed quite a bit," said Sir Paul. "You've got recording devices now which change the songwriting process. For instance, John and I didn't have them when we first started writing, we would write a song and just have to remember it.

"And there was always the risk that we'd just forget it. If the next morning you couldn't remember it – it was gone. In actual fact you had to write songs that were memorable, because you had to remember them or they were lost! There must have been dozens lost this way. 

"We didn't have tape recorders. Now you can do it on your phone. So you would have to form the thing, have it all finished, remember it all, go in pretty quickly and record it. Now, because you can get things down on a device, I've got millions of things I want to record and details

At first it looked like Bono, the robber baron of pop, had struck again. Not content with trying to turn the world’s mobile phones into a global brainwashing droid army by secretly implanting U2’s new album into their otherwise immaculate iTunes libraries, now he’s trying to steal the Beatles.

“John Lennon was an immigrant,” he said on Ellis Island on Wednesday, at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of John Lennon being granted his US green card. “One more Irish immigrant on an island full of Irish immigrants … Let’s claim him, in fact let’s claim all the Beatles, not as immigrants, but as Irish.”

He may have been semi-comically nodding to America’s widely claimed Irish roots but you could virtually hear Merseyside bristling at his blasphemy. Yet Bono’s argument has precedence. The Beatles’ Irish roots have, according to some cultural repatriators, never been properly acknowledged.

Lennon was born and raised in Liverpool, as were his parents, after which his family tree starts sprouting shamrocks. Some sources claim that his paternal grandfather, a freight clerk called John (Jack) Lennon, originated from 19th-century Dublin details

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