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The music of the Beatles, four music geeks from Liverpool who made it rather big in the Sixties, will appear on music streaming sites like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music for the first time on Christmas Eve. This comes five years after Apple Music and Apple Computer ended a decades-long rights dispute, the upshot of which was the Beatles' official output becoming available on iTunes.

The Beatles are big, like no other band has ever been big, or can ever be. The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles pinned down their singularity by noting that there's no serious body of academic literature about the Dave Clark Five. The Beatles are the yardstick to which other bands are compared, usually in terms of record sales, seldom in terms of cultural significance. The Beatles' very popularity has been used as a stick to beat them with: no band that popular can be good, so the 'argument' goes, because everybody knows, don't they, that the best music is the most original music, and original music is always unpopular (because people are idiots, or something). This particular chain of reasoning forces some unwelcome conclusions: for example, that JS Bach is the most overrated composer in musical history, and also that all traditional musi details

ALL THINGS MUST PASS – AN APPRECIATION - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Classic album is a term that’s used way too much when describing records from the golden era of rock music; of course, one person’s classic album is another’s long-forgotten record, but we think that without fear of contradiction George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is a CLASSIC album… 45 Years ago, on 19 December it made the Billboard album charts on 19 December 1970 and two weeks later it was No.1.

There’s an old adage in the music business that talks of, ‘the difficult third album’, well this was George’s third solo album and there’s nothing difficult about it, every track is worthy of its place, there’s no filler, just killers… and it was originally released as a triple album when it came out on 27 November 1970. Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as "Wagnerian, Brucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons," and who are we to disagree? Truth is George considered this to be his first solo album proper, having originally released his movie soundtrack, Wonderwall Music and his synthesizer album, Electronic Sound.

The genesis of All Things Must Pass can be said to have begun with George’s visit to America details

He's graced the biggest stages in the world. But Paul McCartney still looks as excited as any regular punter at a hockey game to have his face emblazoned on the big screens. The 73-year-old Beatle cheered as his image was broadcast at the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. 

He joined in with the crowd, alongside two of his children - son James, 38, and daughter Mary, 46. Clad in a black blazer and sweater, the music legend looked younger than his years. Photographer Mary was ever on duty - capturing the moment with a snap on her 'phone - as she wore a navy sweater adorned with birds.

She showed the image to the delighted Hey Jude singer. Her youngest son, four-year-old Sid Aboud looked rather bemused by all the fuss as he sat on his mum's knee next to his famous grandfather. Sid - whose father is Mary's director husband Simon Aboud, lives in England with his parents but looked every inch the all-American fan in blue and red team colours, a baseball hat and a giant foam finger.

Musician James, who shares his father's distinctive cherubic looks, wrapped a check scarf around his neck as the siblings joined Paul for the holiday season on NYC, where he details

No encore for Paul McCartney's son - Monday, December 21, 2015

Choosing to follow Sir Paul McCartney into the music business has not been an easy path for his son James, who is struggling to emulate the success enjoyed by the former Beatle.

Last week James, 38, was met with a mediocre response from customers when he sang and played guitar at a small pub, The Islington, in North London. Only a handful of the audience remained to see the end of his performance and there were certainly no calls for an encore. A blonder, less confident version of Paul, James has found it hard to make his own name in the music business; he finds playing live on stage difficult because of his shyness, and friends say he is constantly aware of living in his father’s shadow.

While his sisters, Stella and Mary, have prospered from their father’s fame, Sir Paul’s only son often refused to tell new friends his surname when he worked as a waiter in Brighton. Like the rest of the family, he is a strict vegan, but has had issues in the past with his weight. James was 19 and an art student when his mother Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer.

He found therapy in playing the guitar and, a month before Linda’s death in 1998, he recorded a track with her, The Light Comes Fro details

Paul McCartney joined Bruce Springsteen for a surprise performance on Saturday Night Live last night (December 19). McCartney joined Springsteen and the rest of the sketch show's cast, including hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, on a cover of 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'. Earlier in the night Springsteen & The E Street Band performed two songs from the recently released 'The Ties That Bind: The River Collection' box set, 'Meet Me In The City' and 'The Ties That Bind'.

Springsteen recently unveiled plans to mark 1980 album 'The River' during his upcoming 2016 tour. A reissue of the album was released on December 4. The River Tour will see Springsteen touring North America from January to March, kicking things off in Pittsburgh on January 16 and finishing up with two shows in Los Angeles from March 15-17. Springsteen is likely to play 'The River' in full and draw heavily from its recent box set release during the tour. 'The Ties That Bind: The River Collection' features the original album plus unreleased music, unseen concert footage and a new documentary.

The double-album gave Springsteen his first US Number One Record and resulted in an extensive touring period. The third disc presents Springsteen's show wi details

The brother of Liverpool musician Holly Johnson is calling for the Cavern Club directors to be awarded a Freedom of the City honour.

James Johnson, the brother of Frankie Goes to Hollywood frontman Holly, believes the directors, particularly Dave Jones and Bill Heckle, should be recognised for their contribution to Liverpool’s music scene.

Mr Johnson, 51, said: “They were the people who started the business off in 1983. They had a vision in them days and they have more than achieved what they set out to do.”

The two men currently run The Cavern pub and club, both on Mathew Street, and also the city’s official Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. They have also run the Mathew Street festival, now known as the International Beatle Festival, for the past 20 years. Most recently, the Cavern Club directors donated four bronze statues of the Beatles to Liverpool.

The Fab Four, sculpted by artist Andrew Edwards, were unveiled on Pier Head last week. Mr Johnson, who works as a freelance Beatle guide, said: “What they have done for Liverpool and it’s tourism industry is really second to none. They have bought millions of visitors to the city and they attract business from all details

First, a little story:my 11-year-old daughter recently gained a merit mark at school for bringing in a book of Beatles lyrics and discussing them.

"Well done," I said. "And what was the lesson you were in? English? Music?" "No, Dad," she replied, "History...."

Well, indeed. It's getting on for half a century since the Beatles were at their peak, so I guess that does count as history. Even so, it's certainly living history, as a packed Colston Hall turning out for the Fab Four can attest.

Of course, it's not them. How could it be? But if you want as near-as-dammit, the Bootleg Beatles have been filling that gap for ages now – the original, and beyond doubt, the best.

More than 50 years since John, Paul, Ringo and George last stepped on the Colston Hall stage in their expensive winklepickers, tonight it's the turn of Adam, Steve, Hugo and Stephen to do the honours.

They're good. Very good. Using authentic amplifiers, drums and guitars, plus an orchestra, the Fake Four breeze through a selection of hits, occasional album tracks and costume changes representing that short but world-shaking era in popular music. The hall's legendarily patchy sound quality only adds to the lo-fi appeal, a details

The Beatles Set to Stream on Christmas Eve - Saturday, December 19, 2015

A "happy crimble" from the mop tops.

The Beatles, the most beloved rock band in history -- and one of the most persistent holdouts in the digital age of music listening -- are set to finally arrive on streaming services, according to Billboard sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

While Billboard has received conflicting reports on the timing of the Fab Four's arrival to streaming platforms, there's a strong indication that fans will be able to hear "Hey Jude" on Thursday, Dec. 24. (Keep an eye out for whether Liverpool's most famous sons unseat Justin Bieber's streaming record.)

Chatter around a six month "exclusive" for a known streaming service reportedly began to trickle out of Apple Records in 2014, according to one source, but fizzled out. This past January, former Universal Music Group digital executive Rob Wells restarted discussions for the massive get, with papers reportedly having been signed in mid-September. It's unknown which specific services have secured the deal, though sources strongly suggest that most, if not all, will have access to the band's catalog of studio albums next week. (The Beatles are already available on Pandora because of how "non-demand" web radio is licensed.)

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Rock music began in the 1950s as a fusion of country and R&B, but the influential and initially controversial genre proved its longevity as it spanned across multiple decades. Even today, as it’s often eclipsed by hip-hop and electro-tinged pop music in the Billboard charts, rock endures in the DNA of popular songcraft and in the hard-edged production and instrumentation of many underground and alternative acts. The long history of rock music, encompassing literally hundreds of movements and subgenres, is impossible to condense into something easily digestible, but we tried anyway, using specific artists to summarize the origins and the impact of several key eras and movements within rock music.

1. Elvis Presley

Rock and roll music became a significant cultural force in the mid-1950s, as multiple artists culminated showy, energetic public images while releasing hit singles bridging the genres of rockabilly, country-western music, R&B and of course, rock music. The biggest star of this formative period for rock and roll music was the Memphis-based singer Elvis Presley, whose 1954 single “That’s All Right (Mama)” is often placed in the running for the first bona fide rock song. Skew details

Paul McCartney stars in the new video for "Love Song to the Earth," an all-star collaboration recorded in the lead-up to the Paris climate conferences. While the lyric video was unveiled in September, McCartney, along with Colbie Caillat, Sean Paul, Natasha Bedingfield and Q'orianka Kilcher, appear in the song's proper video exploring the beauty of the planet and the potential ravages of climate change. The video follows an accord that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the Trey Fanjoy-directed video, which premiered earlier this month at the COP21 conference in front of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders, McCartney sings his verses while strolling alone on the beach and gazing out toward the ocean. Award-winning cinematographer Louis Schwartzberg contributes the stunning images of nature in the video. 

"I'm glad to be a part of 'Love Song to the Earth,' aiming to inspire people across the world to urge their leaders to act on climate change," McCartney said in a statement prior to the Paris climate talks. "We need to be fast and efficient, switching to renewable energy and eating less meat, for example. Big decisions will be made this week, so I am doing everything I can t details

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