Julia Baird’s breezy sentences, sweetened by her English accent, came to a screeching halt when I asked the question that had to be asked. Where was she the day her half brother, John Lennon, was murdered 35 years ago? We all remember, at least those of us old enough. “I don’t want to talk about that,” said Baird, 69, by phone, her voice barely a whisper. “No. Not at all.”
Everything else, though, was fair game during a half-hour conversation fueled by an upcoming appearance of a band called the Mersey Beatles. A cover band with all the hair and 1960s-era attire, they’ll play May 14 at the Flying Monkey in Plymouth. Baird is the nightly host on the 40-show American tour. She’s the narrator (pronounced na-RAY-tor by Baird), presenting a documentary on the night’s act, then, after the show, signing copies of her book, Imagine This: Growing up with my brother John Lennon.
There, in those pages, is the truth that Baird wants known, setting the record straight on their mother, Julia Lennon, who, Baird says, was misrepresented by the news media after Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon to death in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980. “Five years after John had died details
Considering that it takes some formidable organizational chops to serve as a competent Beatles bibliographer, it can be downright daunting if you're coming to the stacks of Fab Four literature as a neophyte reader wondering where you might start. For those are some buckling shelves, filled with worthy tomes, arresting diversions, gossipy trivia and dense accounts of what kind of gear the band used, who their tailors were, how many times per annum they visited the dentist, etc.
Romantic other-halves have weighed in on the story/saga side of things; ditto competing rivals, A&R men, siblings, business associates, sacked partners. There is a lot of dross. But considering that we're talking hundreds of books, there are some top-drawer offerings as well.
Philip Norman is an old hand with Beatles-based scholarship, and his new, massive bio, Paul McCartney: The Life, provides a nice opportunity to survey those shelves of Beatles lit. Here's a look at 10 of the best Fab Four volumes to date.
10 'The Beatles, Lennon and Me, by Pete Shotton
The standard Beatles history posits the star-crossed Stuart Sutcliffe as John Lennon's best friend, until his tragic death in 1962, whereupon Pau details
A selection of rare photographs of the Beatles filming in Kent has been sold for £2,900 - well over the expected price.
The selection of images - and autographs of three of the legendary band - went under the auctioneer’s hammer in the sale run by Ibbett Mosley. It had been expected to fetch £2,000 after interest was shown from around the world. The pictures were taken when the Liverpool band filmed at Knole Park in Sevenoaks on the last two days of January 1967.
The group, along with manager Brian Epstein, appeared for the filming of the Strawberry Fields Forever. A local photographer, who wishes to remain anonymous, took a sequence of pictures during the two-day visit and was able to obtain the autographs of John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. He was less successful with gaining George Harrison’s signature who, when approached, told the cameraman to “p**s off”.
Also at the sale, were photographs and autographs from stars at the UK movie premiere for Julie Andrews’ Thoroughly Modern Millie which took place at the Odeon cinema in Sevenoaks in 1968 - again obtained by the same photographer.
By: Chris Britcher
Source: Kent News
Ron Howard's upcoming Beatles film will be featured in Hulu Documentary Films, the streaming service's newest division. Howard's movie – working title The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – will debut in theaters and on Hulu this fall, Variety reports. The deal marks Hulu's first exclusive documentary premiere following a theatrical run.
Eight Days a Week focuses on the Beatles' iconic early years between 1962 and 1966. It will feature rare and previously unseen footage. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and the late George Harrison's wife Olivia Harrison are involved in the production.
Imagine Entertainment's Howard and Brian Grazer (Apollo 13) will produce with White Horse Pictures' Nigel Sinclair (George Harrison: Living in the Material World) and Scott Pascucci. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde of Beatles company Apple Corps will executive produce alongside Imagine's Michael Rosenberg and White Horse's Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall. Eight Days a Week is Howard's second music documentary following 2013's Jay-Z festival film Made in America.
By: Ryan Reed
Source: Rolling Stone
A rare document thought to be one of the last items ever signed by John Lennon is to go under the hammer. The contract for the sale of The Beatles’ Apple headquarters is set to go up for auction in Boston with a guide price of $80,000 (around £55,000) The document, was signed by all four members of the iconic band when they bought 3 Savile Row in London for £500,000
All four Beatles installed their own office in the property, as well as a studio in the basement, where they recorded Let It Be - and performed for the last time together on the roof.
Beatles expert Frank Caiazzo said: “This document was formally adopted in late November of 1980, thus making it one of the last documents signed by John Lennon during his life. “John Lennon signed in black felt tip pen, and has added a facial caricature, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (who has signed as R. Starkey, his legal name as required on documents), have all signed in blue ballpoint.”
Robert Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction in Boston, said: “It’s likely one of the final fully signed Beatles documents by all four members.
By: Josh Parry
Source: The Liverpool Echo
Just a year after the breakup of The Beatles, John Lennon was in Syracuse on Oct. 9, 1971.
The visit included the opening of his wife's first major art exhibit, at the Everson Museum, a 31st birthday celebration and almost a Beatles' reunion.
Yoko Ono's art exhibit, entitled "This is Not Here," ran for three weeks at the Everson, and drew thousands of visitors to the museum. Celebrities such as Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, and Dennis Hopper viewed it. The exhibition took up most of the museum, and Ono encouraged visitors to reach out and touch her work. Pieces included a bubble gum machine that offered invisible trinkets, and a pane of glass titled, "Painting to let the evening light through
In an interview with the Post-Standard in 2006, Ono called her time in Syracuse as a "most beautiful memory," and "a milestone in my life." David Ross, an assistant to then Everson director Jim Harithas, spent hours trying to assemble equipment for what was to be Lennon's surprise birthday gift, a secret midnight concert of at least three of the Beatles at the theater in the Everson, accompanied by some of the greatest musicians in the nation. Paul McCartney, estranged from Lennon at the time, declined, and George Harriso details
It's hard to imagine, considering the hundreds of books and websites dedicated to examining the lives of John, Paul, George, and Ringo in microscopic detail, that there are things we still don't know about the Beatles. In fact, if the first edition of Mark Lewisohn's three-volume deep dive into the band's world is any indication, there's actually quite a lot to be learned about the most famous men to ever pick up musical instruments.
With John Lennon and George Harrison now both long gone from this world and Ringo Starr happy to tour the world with his All-Starr band and release the occasional album, its Paul McCartney alone who is still wowing audiences regularly with a stadium show to end all stadium shows, and an endless stream of reissues—there's an excellent new compilation called Pure McCartney on the way next month—and new music (including some unlikely collaborations), making him the most prolific Beatles alumnus. Beatles expert Philip Norman, author of Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation and the biography John Lennon: The Life, has turned his attention to the man once known as the "cute" one—and with McCartney's blessing and assistance, no less.
By: Jeff Slate
Source: Esqui details
Paul McCartney met two of the women who helped inspire the Beatles' White Album classic "Blackbird" backstage at his Little Rock, Arkansas concert Saturday night.
The women, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, were two members of the Little Rock Nine, a group of nine black students who faced discrimination and the lasting impact of segregation after enrolling in the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957, following the Supreme Court's historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision.
After the Little Rock Nine enrolled, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus protested their entrance into the school, which in turn sparked the Little Rock Crisis. It was these events that inspired a young McCartney to pen the song "Blackbird." "Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine— pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for Blackbird," McCartney tweeted.
At the Little Rock concert, McCartney introduced "Blackbird" by telling the audience, "Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock.
By: Daniel Kreps
Source: Rolling Stone
“When we was fab.” Say it with a Liverpudlian accent and it can only be referring to one thing, for that matter said with any accent it can only ever be referring to the Beatles. This was George Harrison’s hook line, and title, for his 1988 single, the second to be taken from his Cloud Nine album. It’s a perfect evocation of those heady days of Beatlemania when those loveable Mop-Tops, the Fab Four, ruled the world and we all thought they would go on forever.
George co-wrote the song with Jeff Lynne, who also co-produced the album that shortly pre-empts the two of them forming The Travelling Wilburys with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison. ‘When We Was Fab’ is a musical nod to the psychedelic sound that the Beatles had made their own in 1967, through its use of sitar, string quartet, and backward tape effects. According to George, "...until I finalized the lyric on it, it was always called 'Aussie Fab'. That was it's working title. I hadn't figured out what the song was going to say ... what the lyrics would be about, but I knew it was definitely a Fab song. It was based on the Fabs, and as it was done up in Australia there, up in Queensland, then that's what we called it. As we de details
As a journalist with NME, Q and Word, Paul Du Noyer has interviewed Paul McCartney more times over the last 35 years than any other magazine writer. The earliest of these conversations came in 1979, when he attended a backstage press conference at a Macca gig in Liverpool. It was at that point, as he explains in Conversations With McCartney, soon to be released in paperback, that he realised he had “stumbled into the right career”.
Published with the blessing of McCartney by Hodder on May 5, the book is a veritable treasure trove of Beatles, Wings and Macca solo goodness, covering all aspects of his five-decade career as the world’s most revered songwriter. After delving into it, we asked Du Noyer to tell us five things only he knows about McCartney:
1. He doesn’t know how to write a song.
"The first time I met Paul McCartney was backstage on an assignment for NME. I found he would talk about everything except songwriting. He just can’t explain how it’s done. It’s a complete mystery to him. “The whole thing about it,” he told me, “it’s magic… I don’t quite know where I’m going, because I make it all up. Some people know details