PAUL MCCARTNEY prevented The Beatles' road manager from being arrested during the legendary rooftop concert in 1969 by doing something he didn't expect. After he was saved, John Lennon couldn't help but crack a joke.
In 1969 The Beatles decided to finish off their documentary, Let It Be, with a bang by performing some of their newest and biggest tracks on the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters. The band had not performed publicly for a few years and were working on writing and recording what would become their final album, 1970's Let It Be. But once they got on the roof of their Savile Row building on January 30, 1969, the police were not very happy.
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The resurgent interest in vinyl LPs has resulted in more and more people surveying record shop bins like musical archaeologists. The careful eye and ear can trace cultural shifts, breaks, and trends through the images and sounds of 12-inch vinyl LPs encased in cardboard sleeves. The diligent (or obsessed) explorer will occasionally come across a record that stands out from the rest in both its aesthetic presentation and, perhaps, sonic appeal that hints at something significant.
Such is the experience of encountering The Concert for Bangladesh, a three-record set released on 20 December 1971. The recording is encased in a plain burnt-orange box whose design might have seemed innovative at the time but rarely escapes the wear and tear of five decades’ worth of use.
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As someone who likes the Beatles but is nowhere near a superfan, I've found the recent Peter Jackson documentary about the group equal parts boring and fascinating; on a couple of nights, it did a great job of putting me to sleep. Given what I do for a living, it's probably no surprise that the fashion is what really succeeded in holding my attention. John, Paul, George and Ringo were certainly a well-dressed group of lads.
I love seeing the more casual outfits they wore to write, rehearse and record, but they also really knew how to serve a look for special, public-facing moments — especially, in my opinion, George Harrison, who seemed to have a penchant for glamorous winter outerwear. So it's no surprise that for his January 1966 wedding to supermodel Patti Boyd, he topped his suit with a sumptuous fur coat. As they stepped out of the London registry office, Boyd, too, covered her mod-era short dress with an opulent fur. There was something about celebrity weddings during this era (or maybe just rock-star weddings) where personal style seemed to eclipse tradition when it came to clothing.
Multi-instrumentalist Davey Johnstone has been Elton John’s guitarist for 50 years, which hasn’t left him with much free time to focus on his solo career — his debut LP, Smiling Face, came out on Elton’s Rocket Record Company label way back in 1973, and it’s taken him this long to make a follow-up album. Johnstone found the time, obviously, during 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary halt to Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour — and the result is Deeper Than My Roots, a family affair featuring musical contributions from four of Johnstone’s sons and artwork by his daughter Juliet. Fifteen-year-old Elliot, Johnstone’s youngest child, sings lead on most of the tracks, including a cover of “Here, There and Everywhere,” which Johnstone describes as “one of the great Beatles songs of all time.”
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Unfortunately, John Lennon did not perform at Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. The festival’s co-creator, Michael Lang, died on Jan. 8. The famous music festival was the crowning jewel of Lang’s career in the music industry. However, it wasn’t without its hiccups. Among other issues, Lang had a problem getting some of the acts he wanted to perform during the three-day festival, including John.
However, The Beatles, who were breaking up at the time, and the U.S. government barred John from performing.
In 1969, The Beatles were on the brink of breaking up. By then, each of the Fab Four thought about leaving at some point or another. We recently saw what happened when George Harrison briefly quit the group in Peter Jackson’s new three-part documentary, The Beatles: Get Back.
So, when Lang was getting the lineup for Woodstock together at the time, it was doubtful that he’d be able to get one of the biggest bands in the world as they were on the outs with each other.
What makes an album cover controversial? In the classic 1984 rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, record industry executive Bobbi Flekman (played by the great Fran Drescher) finds herself embroiled in an argument with band manager Ian Faith about exactly that, while discussing the proposed artwork for new record Smell The Glove.
“You put a greased naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man’s arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it,” points out Flekman. “You don’t find that offensive? You don’t find that sexist?”
Faith can’t see the problem: “Well you shoulda seen the cover they wanted to do,” he shoots back. “It wasn’t a glove, believe me.”
In the newly released documentary “The Beatles: Get Back,” famed director Peter Jackson highlights the band’s professional relationships, business approach and, most interestingly, their creative process during a recording session in January 1969. While The Beatles are globally regarded as one of the most successful and influential bands of all time, five business lessons can be learned from observing their creative and innovative process unfold during rehearsals — lessons that can be applied to all work settings, regardless of the discipline.
1. Collective compromise builds strong teams
While Paul and George were discussing how to finish a song, their views clashed, with neither musician willing to compromise. This ultimately led George to quit the project and the band. Several days and some discussions later, a compromise was reached, and George re-joined the band.
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The legendary band members of The Beatles are still considered experts in the music industry to this day. Paul McCartney and John Lennon's songwriting is still unparalleled to this day, and the blend of their two voices is endlessly iconic. So then it is extraordinary to hear McCartney declare one rock band from the 1990s were vocally better than him and his songwriting pal.McCartney spoke to journalist Ian Halperin where he discussed the state of rock music at the time. He confessed that a lot of the bands around were "a lot more technical" than The Beatles were.
This is a no brainer considering how much music and music production had changed between the Fab Four's final album (1970's Let It Be) and 2008's chart-toppers Kings of Leon. But McCartney's gaze was fixed on the comedic pop-rockers the Barenaked Ladies.
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By his own admission, David Crosby is the country’s third-most famous stoner, behind Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg. He’s an iconic musician who’s found an enthusiastic sideline rating people’s joints on social media. And he’s looking to leverage that persona into a profitable business selling weed.
His explanation? “Well, I like getting stoned,” he told the Los Angeles Times in a new interview for their video series The Green Room.
He went on to cite the experience of getting high with his wife and son. “I like the bonding,” Crosby said, and recounted his memories of getting high and playing Words With Friends with his wife. Given that he’s been married to his wife Jan for 43 years and says weed is central to their marriage, he might be on to something.
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When I first saw the photograph, I was a bit confused. One was Beatle John Lennon because his name was written in bold, but who was the other similar-looking person?
Well, it’s New York photographer Eric Kogan who is often traveling by foot in Manhattan. He loves street photography as it engages him with his surroundings, and he can see something new even in mundane or familiar places.
On the afternoon of October 25, 2020, Kogan was running errands. John Lennon was not on his mind at all when he dressed up to leave his house. New York was on a COVID-19 lockdown and how he looked or dressed was not of any concern.
At Houston Street near West Broadway in Manhattan, an intersection he passed very frequently, Kogan suddenly stopped in his tracks and did a double-take. Oh, yes, it was John Lennon, but…why does Lennon suddenly look so familiar? Of course, he spotted a resemblance for the first time!