Beatles News

In the late Sixties, the Beatles and Eric Clapton kicked off a nearly five-decade-long tradition of recorded collaborations.

Sure, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"—the only official EMI Beatles recording Clapton ever played on—is an undisputed highlight, but Slowhand's fretwork also graces recordings by all four solo Beatles. In fact, the former Yardbird is the only guitarist—ever—who played on a Beatles album and on official studio recordings by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Clapton even wrote (and played on) a tune for Ringo—"This Be Called a Song"—in 1976. As we'll see, Clapton and the former Beatles also played on the same sessions for different artists throughout the decades.

Today, however, we'll restrict our focus to the late Sixties through 1970, the golden era of Clapton-Beatle collaborations. We'll explore the the rest of the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties and beyond in the near future.

Although they had already been friends since the Beatles' "moptop" period, Clapton and Harrison never got together in a recording studio (to actually record something) until a few years later. And once they started, the floodgates were open details

John and Yoko in Their Own Words - Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Fifty years ago Wednesday, on Nov. 9, 1966, John Lennon met Yoko Ono. The English musician and the Japanese artist met at one of her art exhibits, were married in 1969, and had a son together, Sean, in 1975. With the exception of a year-and-a-half-long separation, which Lennon called his “lost weekend,” they created music — and controversy — together until his death in 1980.

On the day of their meeting, Lennon visited Ono’s conceptual art show in a gallery in London. He was won over by one of her pieces, which was experienced by climbing a ladder and looking through a spyglass onto an apparently blank canvas, where the viewer can see, in tiny letters, the word “yes.” “So it was positive,” Lennon told Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner in 1971, in the series of interviews that would later comprise Lennon Remembers. “It's a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn't say ‘no’ or ‘f--- you’ or something, it said ‘yes.’” The gallery owner introduced the Beatle and the artist, and the rest is history.

Lennon discovered he was in love with Ono when “I called her over, details

John Lennon and Paul McCartney could write from different perspectives — a young woman in “She’s Leaving Home,” or a randy young man in “Lovely Rita” — but “Getting Better” may be one of the most personal tracks the duo ever recorded. A tale of optimism, humility, and a touch of what author Gary Tillery calls “cynical idealism,” “Getting Better” narrates how one man tries to learn from past mistakes and reinvent himself. In 1980, Lennon called the lyrics a “diary form of writing,” and the track allows the duo to reveal their own transformations from their Liverpool days to their London present.

According to Hunter Davies’ Beatles biography, the idea for “Getting Better” came from an unlikely source: Jimmie Nicol, the drummer who subbed for an ailing Ringo Starr during the Beatles’ 1964 tour of Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia. While on that tour, the group would frequently ask Nicol how he was holding up under the pressure. “It’s getting better,” Nicol replied.

That phrase randomly popped into McCartney’s head while he walked his dog Martha one day in March 1967. After returni details

Ten bands that owe it all to The Beatles - Monday, November 07, 2016

From Badfinger to Black Sabbath...

Let's be honest: every band owes The Beatles a huge debt of gratitude. Here's some who owe more than others...

The Beach Boys

OK, so we're not really claiming The Beach Boys owe it all to The Beatles, but it’s clear the Fabs were crucial to their development. Staggered by the ingenuity of Rubber Soul, Brian Wilson was driven to create Pet Sounds in response. “No one had heard that in rock‘n’roll back then,” Wilson said, referring to The Beatles’ use of sitar and other exotica. “It really did inspire the instrumentation I ended up using for Pet Sounds.” He composed God Only Knows the morning after first hearing it.

The Byrds

Roger McGuinn was slipping Beatles beats under traditional folk tunes during his early days in Greenwich Village. When he hooked up with the rest of The Byrds in LA, their collective Fabs obsession took on whole new levels. The tipping point was a cinema trip to see A Hard Day’s Night, after which they reinvented their look, bought themselves a Gretsch and Rickenbacker and set about transposing Beatles harmonies onto their own brand of George-like jangle.

By: Rob Hughes


How a stroll across a North London zebra crossing became one of the most iconic album shots of all time – and fuelled a macabre conspiracy theory.

In keeping with the pencil sketch that Paul McCartney had given to photographer Iain Macmillan, the sleeve simply shows the four Beatles walking across the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios in North London.

The famous cover shot was one of six taken by Macmillan at 10am on August 8, 1969. As a policeman held up the traffic, the photographer had just 10 minutes to balance on a stepladder and get the shots. The result was striking and iconic. But few could have imagined the reaction it got.

Shortly before the release of the Abbey Road album, an American newspaper ran a story that claimed Paul McCartney had died in a car accident in 1966, and that the current ‘Paul’ was actually a lookalike called William Campbell. The rumours gathered pace and when Abbey Road arrived that October, its sleeve was pronounced by conspiracy theorists as final proof of Macca’s demise.

Inevitable, the ‘clues’ were somewhat tenuous, McCartney was out of step with his bandmates; his eyes were closed, and he wasn’t wearing shoes ( details

When Liverpool was Fab - Monday, November 07, 2016

Incredible images show 1960s Beatlemania Liverpool in black and white merged with the colourful modern-day city. The stunning pictures offer a trip down memory lane as excited fans are pictured queuing for a Beatles gig at the Cavern Club while modern-day commuters stroll past on their way to work. Other shots show the young Fab Four playing in an otherwise empty bar, arriving at Speke airport and posing in the modern Derby Square. The nostalgic pictures are the work of Port Captain and amateur photographer Keith Jones, 45, from Liverpool.

He said: 'I'm biased, I know, but who doesn't love The Beatles? 'I'm a lifelong fan of their music and having travelled the world a bit, it has been particularly clear to me that, for people from other parts of the world, the group are absolutely synonymous with their hometown. 

'Ask anybody from New York to Nepal, Auckland to the Arctic, to name someone or something from Liverpool and I imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo would be right out in front. 'I feel our city should be proud and thankful for their music, their impact and their message, and blending their image back into the modern day scenes makes me smile and also wish I had been around to be in that queue for details

The Life of a Song: ‘Yesterday’ - Monday, November 07, 2016

The song came to Paul McCartney in a dream one night in London in 1963

In his two performances at the Californian Desert Trip festival last month, Paul McCartney played for nearly three hours each time but still managed to omit one of his most famous songs. “Yesterday” is one of the most regularly played numbers in the 74-year-old’s touring canon, but perhaps he decided that the audience at what was dubbed “Oldchella” didn’t want to be reminded that they were clinging on to the music of the past.

Despite its popularity — it’s one of the most covered songs in history — “Yesterday” has a divisive reputation among listeners: to fans, it’s a gorgeously simple, melancholy ballad; to detractors, it’s the first major manifestation of McCartney’s Achilles heel — his mawkish sentimentality. Whichever camp you fall into, “Yesterday” was certainly the seed of future ructions in the band dynamics.

McCartney has said that the tune came to him almost fully formed in a dream one night in London in 1963. The then 21-year-old McCartney was living in an attic room in the five-storey Georgian family home in London’s details

If you want to learn how much someone doesn't know about music, engage them in a conversation that weighs in on the importance of Ringo Starr to the Beatles. If the person casts Ringo as the bit player in the Beatles, you know he is missing the big picture and only assessing the vocal and songwriting prowess of the other three against "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden."

And there's always that business about how Ringo couldn't play drums (we'll address that later).

People love to ape tired argument gambits like "He's the luckiest guy in show business," "He was the guy who was along for the ride," or "Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles," that nasty quote attributed to John Lennon that everyone from Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn to Snopes has proved was uttered by a forgotten British comedian in 1983, three years after John ceased to exist. The Beatles lucked out by having Ringo as their timekeeper, and there were enough times Ringo actually saved them from losing the plot completely. I know. I've compiled them. All 10, in fact!

1. Ringo was highly regarded as a professional musician by the beatless Beatles.

Don't believe the Beatles were lucky to have Ringo? Consider how Jo details

FORGET Clapton, Page, Knopfler and Beck — Joe Brown must be the greatest guitar icon Britain has ever produced!

After all, it was the spiky-haired 75-year-old who let The Beatles be his support act when they were still unknown, and he was also the man who played guitar behind his head, something Jimi Hendrix soon copied. Joe also gave Hank Marvin his Italian echo machine, leading to The Shadows’ trademark much-copied sound, and has mastered guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, ukulele and other instruments, without getting a single lesson from anyone.

“The Beatles opened shows for me!” Joe laughs.

“It sounds like quite a claim to fame now, but at the time, it wasn’t. Brian Epstein, their manager, wanted to put the boys in bigger theatres, but they couldn’t fill them.

“Yes, they were doing great in The Cavern and places like that, but he wanted them to have bigger audiences. “I had a big hit at the time, Picture Of You, and did a couple of shows with them up in Liverpool and they opened for me.

“Then I got to know George Harrison very well, when I moved to Henley-on-Thames. We became good friends and he was best man at my wedding. &ld details

Linda McCartney was in love with photography long before she fell for the charms of her superstar musician husband, Paul.

The New Yorker's iconic images of everyone from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan captured the spirit of an era and are still exhibited all over the world.But, at home in Sussex, she spent many hours experimenting with a camera-less technique first popularised way back in the early days of photography by a woman from Tonbridge.

Power of the Sun

Anna Atkins, widely recognised as the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images, was a botanist when she began to experiment with a newly-invented technique using the power of the sun to reproduce images.

By laying a piece of dried seaweed or fern onto light-sensitised chemically-treated paper and exposing it to the sun, she found she could create a white image on a blue background. With a subtle range of shade and texture, the pictures she created were striking and strangely lifelike. 

The technique itself, the original "blue-print", would also prove useful for copying architectural plans and mechanical drawings. The cyanotype photographic process had been invented in 1842 by a family friend, celebr details

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