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Mid-late 1960s: West goes East. While it was John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Canada that initiated Rock n' Roll Diplomacy, George Harrison was the first to apply that concept to music.

Through Harrison, The Beatles were the first Western Rock band to use non-Western instruments. Having been intrigued by the sound of a Sitar during the filming of Help!, Harrison went on to learn how to play it with Ravi Shankar. Harrison would first play the Sitar on the introduction to the ballad "Norwegian Wood" (1965) - prompting the Rolling Stones to follow suit in "Paint it Black."

While playing short Indian instrument passages on Beatles tracks, such as "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", Harrison went one step further by convincing his band-members to expand their repertoire by including tracks in which he sang to Indian instruments: from the cynical "Love You To" (1966), to the cosmic Within You, Without You (1967), and the transcendental "The Inner Light" (1968).

Harrison would also produce, in Bombay and London, Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack of the homonymous movie, combining Indian compositions with psychedelic Rock. Thereafter, during the Beatles' post Sergeant details

The sound of the Fab Four is of course what made the Beatles over the span of one joyous decade, during which they used their unbeatable songwriting polish and boundless creativity to deliver the soundtrack for a generation—the biggest band in the world.

But the sight of those long-haired lads from Liverpool also helped complete the package, with everything from their fashion to the Beatles haircut to John’s rapscallion sneer, Paul’s cherubic grin, stern-faced George and the sight of good-natured, jolly Ringo complementing the fandom. Which is why new Beatles releases on the way this week—1 and 1+, which collect the band’s 27 No. 1 singles released between 1962 and 1970, remixed for a new generation of fans—also include treats like restored promotional videos and films that span the entirety of the Beatles’ existence.

The Beatles’ Apple label says it dug deep into its vaults for the packages, with the videos taking us all the way back to the early days. Set for release on Nov. 6, the result is an evocative visual and audio reminder of how the band got to the top and how it stayed there.

In “We Can Work it Out,” for example, we see an early John details

A miniature Bible owned by Eleanor Rigby - the star of the classic Beatles tune - has been put on sale for the first time. The piece of pop memorabilia, which bears the signature of the so-called 'lonely woman' Rigby, is expected to fetch as much as £20,000 at auction thanks to its connection with the song's mysterious central figure. Rigby died in 1939, long before the Beatles had formed, but her grave stands in a Liverpool ceremony where John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to meet and compose songs. 

McCartney has claimed that the song was not an intentional reference to the woman - whose name he invented for the purposes of the song. But he admits the name could have ended up in the back of his mind after spending time near the headstone at St Peter's church in Woolton, and made its way into musical history from there.

Rigby, held up in the 1966 song as an example of 'all the lonely people' had a life with similarities to the figure described in the song. She too could be classed as lonely, having been unmarried for most of her life. She married at the age of 35 - extremely late for the time - to a much older man and died less than ten years later. She never had children. 

And she was details

An extremely rare baseball signed by all four Beatles on their last ever tour of the US has gone on sale with a staggering $100,000 price tag.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr each scribbled their signature on the ball after playing the DC Stadium in Washington DC on the fourth date of their 1966 tour on August 15.

The band's signatures were notoriously hard to come by but when Fred Baster, the equipment manager of the Washington Senators baseball team, asked them to sign three baseballs for him they obliged. 

Mr Baster kept two for himself and gave another to Senators pitcher Mike Cronin. This Joe Cronin Official American League baseball, housed in a velvet-lined wooden box, is one of the two that belonged to Fred Baster. An engraved plaque on the box reads 'Beatles 66 £2'. 

It is tipped to sell for $100,000 - around £65,000 - at Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles. Darren Julien, from the auctioneers, said: "There are only three baseballs in the world signed by the Beatles, and this is one of them. 

"The band had just played their fourth gig of their 1966 US tour when Fred Baster, the equipment manager for the Senators, approached them details

The show, in February 1963, was the only time The Beatles played Sutton Coldfield and took place just as their second single Please Please Me was storming up what was then known as the hit parade.

Richard Houghton is hoping to trace members of the audience from that night in 1963 to share their memories of seeing John, Paul, George and Ringo for what he is terming a ‘people’s history’ of the group.

Richard said:

“There have been lots of books about The Beatles but I’m trying to tell the story of their shows from the point of view of the audience. Britain was a very different place then to what it is now and I’m hoping to capture the memories of the people who were probably teenagers then and who are probably grandparents now so that their recollections can be captured for all time. The show in Sutton Coldfield at what was also known as St Peter’s Church Hall was one of the earliest The Beatles performed in the UK outside Merseyside.”

Richard is the author of You Had To Be There: The Rolling Stones Live 1962 – 69, which tells the story of the Stones early concerts in the words of their fans. Now he is looking to repeat the exercise with his boo details

“Hey Hey” holds a special significance on Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace, and not just because it’s the lone instrumental. It’s also one of just three songs on the project not written solely by McCartney: The other two feature Michael Jackson.

For bassist and co-writer Stanley Clarke, “Hey Hey” represents something else: The fullest flowering of a new friendship. The song gets off to a raucous start, before Clarke steps forward for a memorably jazz-inflected interlude. That Paul McCartney would move aside for a fellow bassist says a lot about their mutual admiration for one another.

Clarke, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown, praises the former Beatles star as “a very melodic player. Melody just comes right out of him. That’s only natural for him to play the bass like that. He does it without thinking. He’s a writer who sings songs, so it was only natural when he plays the bass, his lines would be very melodic.”

Over the years, Stanley Clarke has made a name for himself in fusion circles, even while collaborating with rockers from Stewart Copeland to Jeff Beck to Ronnie Wood. He ended up contributing to both Pipes of Peace, released details

A suit belonging to John Lennon is to be sold at auction this week, having previously been lost for 40 years.

The beige, collarless mohair suits were worn by The Beatles during the early 60s and were made by London tailor Dougie Millings.

Lennon's suit was originally donated by manager Brian Epstein, along with the three other members' jackets, to London's Madame Tussauds for the first wax works of the band. However, it was misplaced and only found in 2006 at a warehouse owned by the company.

As reported by the Daily Express, the item will be sold on Friday (October 30) by online auction house Fame Bureau. Its value is estimated at £150,000.

James Wilkinson, of the Fame Bureau, said: "This suit changed attitudes and was a major cultural change. Before they had this makeover, the Beatles were rockers. They idolised Elvis and wore black leather jackets."

"But Brian Epstein had the foresight to change their appearance to a more wholesome look so they would appeal to a much wider audience, and these suits were a major part of that image. The result turned the Beatles into a clean-cut, media-friendly powerhouse. The suits traversed the Atlantic and the style was later imitated by ma details

It was once home to Ringo Starr and John Lennon and even appeared in The Magical Mystery Tour – for decades Sunny Heights has been a place of pilgrimage for fans of The Beatles.

But Starr’s former estate is now set for demolition after being bought by Russian oligarch Vladimir Scherbakov, 55, who wants to bulldoze the famous home and build a new one in its place.

After the drummer bought the Surrey mansion in 1965, it became where band retreated from the public eye. It even had its own bar on site, The Flying Cow, where Starr would play host to his friends away from the limelight. 

He bought the mock-Tudor mansion with his then wife Maureen Starkey for just £37,000 ($57,000). Just a short drive from both Lennon’s Kenwood mansion and George Harrison’s Kinfauns estate, it quickly became an important part of life among the Beatles.

One of the scenes from their film The Magical Mystery Tour, when Starr projected images onto George Harrison’s face, was filmed in its extensive gardens. They also used it as the location for photo shoots. Starr eventually moved out in 1968 and it was briefly called home by Lennon and Yoko Ono, after they sold their nearby Kenwood details

A semi-autobiographical track, “You Won’t See Me” was inspired by Paul McCartney’s rocky relationship with then-girlfriend Jane Asher. The song represents the final recording session for 1965’s Rubber Soul, as well as the longest track the Beatles had recorded to date. Its polished sound also belies the fact that it resulted from a virtually non-stop, 13-hour recording session — a frantic attempt to finish the album in time for the lucrative holiday season.

After Asher temporarily moved out of her parents’ house to star in a staging of Great Expectations at the Old Vic theater, McCartney frequently found it difficult to contact her. “You Won’t See Me” reportedly resulted from his frustration at his girlfriend’s busy schedule. However, Paul McCartney also wanted to pay tribute to one of his greatest influences: Motown.

He told biographer Barry Miles that he wanted to mimic bassist James Jamerson’s melodic approach to the instrument, a key element of the Motown sound. The foundation of the melody, he told Miles, is built on a two-note progression. “I had it high up on the high E position, and I just let the note on the B string descend a details

Why the Beatles? - Thursday, October 29, 2015

Most discussions about art eventually hit the wall of the argument that "taste is subjective". Nevertheless, in terms of pop music, there is near consensus that the Beatles were the greatest and most important band of all time. This post is dedicated to the minority that is still not convinced.

The image above is emblematic. How much time would you think separates the two photographs? Eight, maybe 10 years? No, four! The bottom photograph is from 1963 and the top one from 1967. But the group's exponential evolution of course goes way beyond looks. The immense and diverse musical production of the Beatles all occurred within a period of less than 10 years. The first album, Please Please Me, is from 1963, the last Let It Be, from 1970. In this incredibly short period, they composed numerous treasures in an increasing level of sophistication, innovation and versatility, and in a way that hasn't been replicated by any other band.

To illustrate it, the following songs were recorded, album after album, from 1963 until 1970 (those who don't know them should check them out, preferably in order): "Love Me Do", "It Won't Be Long", "And I love Her", "Help", "In My Life", "We Can Work It Out", "Eleanor Rigby", "A Day in the details

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