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The Flaming Lips’s Wayne Coyne on the Beatles, Drugs, and Loving Miley Cyrus - Monday, October 27, 2014

For the last 30 years, the Flaming Lips have been one of the predominant torch-carriers to the psychedelic music movement of the ’60s. So it’s fitting that they’d try to tackle the Beatles psychedelic classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in its entirety. The band recorded over the last year with a host of different artists like Miley Cyrus, My Morning Jacket, Tegan & Sara, Tool‘s Maynard James Keenan and many more. They’re calling the resulting effort “With a Little Help From My Fwends,” a track-by-track recreation of the 1967 record, with a Flaming Lips twist at just about every turn. The band has done this before. In 2009, they released a cover version of Pink Floyd‘s“Dark Side of the Moon” and this time last year, a recreation of Brit-pop band theStone Roses self-titled 1989 debut. This of course isn’t their only means of making music these days; in 2013, the band released their 13th studio album of original material called “The Terror.” Earlier this week, Speakeasy talked with the Flaming Lips’s frontman, Wayne Coyne, while he was cruising around his hometown of Oklahoma City,

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Imagine: Researchers Name New Tarantula Species After John Lennon - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Researchers who discovered a new species of tarantula in Western Amazonia, Brazil, named it after one of their musical heroes: John Lennon. Fernando Pérez-Miles of the University of the Republic, Uruguay, and Alexandre Bragio Bonaldo and Laura Tavares Miglio, both of Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Brazil, named the new tarantula species Bumba lennoni. The proposed genus name, Bumba, is taken from Brazilian theatrical folk tradition of the popular festival called Boi-bumbá ("hit my bull"), which is celebrated annually in north and northeastern Brazil. As for the species name, the researchers explain their choice in a study published in the journal Zookeys: “The specific name is patronymic in honor of John Winston Lennon (1940–1980), the legendary creator of The Beatles, who contributed to make this world a gentler place.”

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Bay City coffee shop doubles as Beatles shrine - Monday, October 20, 2014

For Brad Wilderman, it's not just coffee and specialty drinks he and his wife, Peggy, sell from their shop in downtown Bay City.

Their business stands as a virtual time machine, offering patrons transportation to the mid-1960s, when four lads from Liverpool were in the midst of changing the course of history.

"We touch people's lives every day," said Wilderman, sitting inside Espresso Express Presents Beatles and Beans Coffee Emporium. "They come in here and they think they're back in 1964. All they did was walk through that portal there and I transported them back to 1964. They all have memories, too. I've had people start crying in here, just from Beatles memories."

Nearly every inch of wall space is covered with Beatles memorabilia, affixed by about 500 miles of fishing line and 10,000 binder clips. The ceiling has roughly 5,000 vinyl 45s covering it. From the shop's speakers, music from the Beatles or their solo material plays exclusively.

"A lot of this stuff is authentic vintage memorabilia, a lot of it is reproduction stuff, and a lot of it is stuff I've personally made," Wilderman said.

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The true tale of John Lennon’s mum revealed in Walton author's book - Monday, October 20, 2014

Kevin Roach says many don’t know the true story of Julia Lennon, and he hopes his new interactive book will set the record straight

Most Beatles fans know stories about John Lennon’s mother Julia, whose early death in 1958 scarred him for life and inspired his music.

On his 1970 song Mother, he sang “You had me but I never had you”.

But Kevin Roach says many don’t know the true story – and he hopes his new interactive book, Julia, will set the record straight.

Walton-born Kevin, who has already written about George Harrison and Paul McCartney, wanted to tell the hidden story of John’s roots rather than repeating stories of John’s fame.

He says that the idea of Julia as an irresponsible “good-time girl” who couldn’t look after her son came from Aunt Mimi, who raised John in her house in Menlove Avenue.

But over time a more nuanced portrait of Julia has emerged, helped by John’s half-sister Julia Baird publishing her story in Imagine This in 2007.

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Inside the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney - Friday, October 17, 2014

The Liverpool ECHO is given a guided tour of Mendips on Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon was raised, and 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, the teenage home of Paul McCartney

Over 50 years after they first took the charts by storm, The Beatles are still as strong a draw as ever.

Millions of tourists flock to Liverpool each year, eager to take in the birthplace of the Fab Four and see where it all began, and there is no better way to immerse yourself in the history of pop's greatest band than with a tour of the childhood homes of John Lennon (Mendips on Menlove Avenue) and Paul McCartney (20 Forthlin Road in Allerton), operated by the National Trust.

Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, bought Mendips in 2002 when the previous owner died. She then donated the property to the National Trust, and asked them to "restore the house to what it once was, and tell John's story". 20 Forthlin Road has been within the ownership of the National Trust for 16 years.

Each home has been meticulously restored to the homes that Lennon and McCartney would recognise from their younger years, using photographs and eyewitness accounts to restore original fixtures and fittings, and source identical items of furniture.

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Beatles’ unused Abbey Road photographs to be auctioned - Thursday, October 16, 2014

There are only so many times you can interrupt traffic to walk over a busy London road to have your picture taken before you become a public nuisance – even if you are the Beatles.

Six, in fact, as shown by these rare photographs, one of which became one of the most famous album covers of all time.

Beatles album cover

In what is believed to be an auction first, the full set of six photographs of John, Paul, Ringo and George striding over Abbey Road is to be sold along with the picture of the street sign that was used on the back cover.

“They are incredibly rare,” said Sarah Wheeler, head of photography at Bloomsbury Auctions. “I’ve spoken to other music dealers and no one has been able to find a complete set on the market for at least 10 years.”

The shots were taken by the photographer Iain Macmillan, a friend of Lennon and Yoko Ono, on 8 August 1969. He had his Hasselblad, a stepladder and 10 minutes.

It was the fifth of the six shots that was chosen by McCartney for the album and it’s easy to see why as all four men are in step and nicely spaced.

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Take our Beatles lyrics quiz to see how well you know the Fab Four's songs - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It’s been 50 years since screaming fans watched The Beatles perform on Liverpool’s Town Hall balcony.

When the Fab Four returned home for the northern premier of A Hard Day’s Night, thousands lined the streets on July 10, 1964 to watch John Lennon, Paul McCartney , Ringo Starr and George Harrison.

Half a century on, their music is still played around the world, but how well do you know their lyrics?

Take the Quiz Here

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Tributes paid as The Undertakers’ guitarist Geoff Nugent dies aged 71 - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TRIBUTES have been paid to The Undertakers’ guitarist Geoff Nugent who has died. He passed away yesterday at the age of 71.

The Merseycats rock ‘n’ roll charity posted Mr Nugent’s photograph on their website with the words “too old to rock, too young to die”, describing him as “a great loss to the music scene on Merseyside”.

Meanwhile among the many tributes paid online was one from Ian McNabb who wrote “saddened to hear of the loss of the great Geoff Nugent. Thoughts with his family and friends. we have lots another great. Sleep well brother”, while the Merseyside branch of performers’ union Equity said: “So sad to hear of the death of a great Merseybeat legend and Equity member Geoff Nugent. An amazing musician and great guy.”

Mr Nugent was born in Liverpool in February 1943 within a couple of days of future Beatle George Harrison, and the two were childhood friends growing up in Speke, where they learned to play the guitar together.

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PAUL McCARTNEY IS GETTING BACK 'OUT THERE' MUSIC ICON TO RETURN TO BRAZIL - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday 10th November: Estádio Kléber Andrade – Vitória
Sunday 23rd November: Estádio Nacional – Brasilia
Tuesday 25th November: Allianz Parque – São Paulo

 

Fans can purchase pre-sale tickets through PaulMcCartney.com. Pre-sale tickets for Vitória will go on sale at 10am (local / 2pm BST) on Tuesday 14th October. Fans are advised to come to the website shortly before the pre-sale begins to obtain the link and password.

Keep checking PaulMcCartney.com for further announcements including pre-sale details for Paul's concerts in Brasilia and São Paulo...

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Meet the Beatles again? - Sunday, October 12, 2014

The world is full of geeks and snobs ready to talk too much about their personal passion for wine, for scuba diving, for vampire literature. You know the type.

This is nothing like that.

This is an exploration of the Beatles, and why the recent rerelease of their albums in the mono format on vinyl, the way many fans heard the records in the 1960s, is worth celebrating.

OK, so maybe there is some obsessiveness to this tale, but there is broader cultural significance too.

The music of the Beatles is timeless. Not only were they master songwriters, they were visionary artists who pushed the era’s recording technology and hidebound engineers to create new sounds.

The result is music that is still vital and interesting more than 40 years later. Consider the elegiac beauty of “Eleanor Rigby,” or the psychedelic drone of “Tomorrow Never Knows” with its tape loops that sound like sea gulls. Play a Beatles CD, especially one from their mid- or later-period, starting with 1965’s “Rubber Soul,” and when compared to today’s artists you’ll find their music is still relevant, still influential.

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