Beatles News

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story - Monday, October 31, 2016

The Music Universe recently interviewed Vivek J. Tiwary, author of the New York Times best selling graphic novel and soon to be TV series The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. It is the story of Brian Epstein, the man responsible for discovering the British supergroup and who had such a profound impact on the band. Discovering the band when they were disorganized teenagers playing pubs in Liverpool, he masterminded their transformation into a revolutionary, trailblazing, pioneering band that would have more impact not just in music but also in the arts and society than any other rock band in history. It’s fair to say without Brian Epstein, the world would not have The Beatles we know today, if at all.

But The Fifth Beatle is not a book about The Beatles. It tells the remarkable story of Brian Epstein, a gay, Jewish man living in England at a time when one could be arrested for being gay. Dying at the age of 32, he would not live long enough to see how his work behind the scenes would influence the way bands made their deals. He laid much of the groundwork that paved the way for bands to profit handsomely from their work.

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“It was one of those things. You take the enormity of being the Beatle brother or the Guinness heir, you face it, you accept it warmly, it is your heritage, it’s who you are,” Mike McCartney said of life in the shadow of his older brother Paul.

“As our kid [Paul McCartney] once said to me, “Mike don’t ever forget, you were there”. And it’s true,” he told Róisín Ingle, presenter of the Róisín Meets podcast.

Another person who was there was Mike McCartney’s friend the Guinness heir Tara Browne. Artists, writers and musicians – including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones – were guests at wild parties at his home, Luggala in Co.Wicklow.

Immortalised in the Beatles song, A Day in the Life, after he was killed in 1966 aged 21 in a car crash in London, Browne is now the subject of the Paul Howard biography, I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.

McCartney is responsible for helping Howard paint a picture of Browne’s life at the centre of the London scene during the swinging 60s. The pair got on well, according to the Liverpudlian, because he and the aristocrat both had big names to live up to.

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A vintage amplifier used on classic Beatles albums Sergeant Pepper and Revolver has been given a new lease of life at a Whitworth recording studio. Chris Hewitt, the man behind the Deeply Vale music festivals, who ran a music shop in Rochdale during the 70s and 80s, got his hands on the amp while working on a Joy Division exhibition with the band’s bassist Peter Hook.

But it was only when it was sent for repair, after Hooky blew it up, that its history as a Beatles studio amp was discovered.

Chris said: “He borrowed it and blew it up. “The repair man could only see it under a certain light, but it had scratched on it ‘Beatles studio amp’. “He had it under a spotlight looking at it and it was scratched on under all the grime and dirt.” After undertaking research on the amp, including looking through old photographs and carrying out a check of its history, Chris was able to confirm it was the one used by George Harrison on some of the Fab Four’s most celebrated work.

Chris has his guitars repaired by Michael Eastwood, guitarist in the band Kelly’s Heroes And when the band came to record their new EP For the Years to Come at Studio-Studio, in Spodden Mil details

A letter John Lennon wrote to the Queen explaining why he was returning his MBE was found tucked in a record sleeve from a £10 car boot haul.

The anonymous owner took the document to a valuation day at The Beatles Story in Liverpool on Wednesday - and discovered it was worth about £60,000.

One expert believes the text is a draft of the letter Lennon eventually sent, which remains in the Royal archives. Lennon returned the MBE in protest at Britain's involvement in a civil war.

The letter reads: "I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts."

The letter, which was recently unearthed in the owner's attic, has been described as an "incredible find" by music memorabilia expert Darren Julien. It was originally discovered inside the sleeve of a record that was part of a collection of 45s, picked up for £10 at a car boot sale 20 years ago.

"My theory is that John Lennon never sent this draft because of the smeared ink," said Mr Julien. "If you're writing to the Queen, you want the letter to look pretty perfect, you don't want the ink to be details

In late 1974, former Beatle George Harrison released a holiday single of sorts. Its A-side, "Ding Dong, Ding Dong," was one of the catchier tunes from his latest album, Dark Horse.

Luckily for Beatles fans—and for guitar fans in general—Harrison filmed a pre-MTV music video to go along with the tune. It's overflowing with guitar cameo appearances; we even see a few of his iconic, Fab Four-era axes a full 10 years after the height of Beatlemania. You can check it out below.

As Harrison parodies several younger versions of himself—"ringing out the old," as it were—he plays (and/or displays) a Gibson ES-5 (not one of his Beatles guitars, despite the Hamburg-era leather jacket he's sporting as he plays it), his legendary 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12, his original Epiphone Casino (the same guitar he played on the Beatles' final tour in 1966) and his 1957 Gibson Les Paul, also known as "Lucy."

This is the guitar Harrison plays in the "Revolution" promo video, the same ax Eric Clapton plays on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (according to Andy Babiuk, and I totally agree). We also see a few custom instruments, including a 12-string acoustic guitar made by Zemaitis.

By: Damian Fanelli< details

THE recent release of The Beatles documentary, Eight Days A Week –­ The Touring Years, showed what life was like for the Fab Four at the height of their popularity. Now a new book, The Beatles – I Was There, uncovers the stories of the fans who saw the band live. Author Richard Houghton spoke to more than 400 people lucky enough to see the group between 1957 and 1966 to record their memories. The Beatles made several trips to Scotland during that period and the book features tales of Scots who saw John, Paul, Ringo and George as they went from unknowns to the biggest stars in the world.

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, January 6 1963

Bill Cowie, 15 at the time, and his brother Mike turned up early, so knocked on the stage door and were invited in to meet them. “They were tuning their guitars and discussing their playlist,” Bill recalled. He requested Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, which John later dedicated to the “lads in the front row”. After the first set, Bill and Mike went back to the dressing room and Paul offered them a cup of tea. Afterwards, Kathleen Donald, 15, and her friend Pat Masson knocked on the dressing room door for autographs. “When I got marri details

Imagine a Beatles biography that combines the rigorous research of a World War II history tome with the continuously unfurling dramatic plot of a Game Of Thrones-style epic. Mark Lewisohn had this thought, or something like it, in 2003, and went about purging his life of virtually all non-Beatles-related activity from that day forward.

Ten years later, in 2013, the first volume of the wryly titled The Beatles: All These Years showed up on bookstore shelves, taking us all the way from the lineage of Ringo Starr’s grandparents to the moment right before the crushing onset of Beatlemania in 1963. Lewisohn expects to finish the second volume, which will cover 1963 to 70, in 2020.

His appearance at the Toronto Reference Library on Saturday, October 22, marked the end of a three-week research trip of gathering new material for this book, some of which he promised would significantly change the way we think about the story of Beatle-mania.

Disputes about the Beatles’ musicianship almost always feel like a show of faux contrarianism, but it’s important to acknowledge that their enduring popularity is due in part to the sheer volume of ephemera produced during the Beatlemania years. Nothing enab details

A former Cavern Club cleaner from Southport rescued a painting of Ringo Starr worth an estimated £5,000 when the club closed down in 1973. In the build up to a special Memorabilia Day at The Beatles Story in Liverpool former cleaner Hal Morris came forward with the painting that was recovered when the club initially shut.

The portrait of Ringo, which hung on the wall of the Cavern Club before its closure was hidden away in a drawer at Hal's home in Ainsdale for more than three decades before it was re-discovered a few months ago. It has been valued at around £5,000 by LA based Julien’s Auctions who are hosting the memorabilia event with The Beatles Story.

The original portrait of the Fab Four drummer deep in thought was painted by artist Pete Williams as he sat next to fellow Beatle John Lennon in the original Cavern Club. While John isn't featured in the painting, there is a rough sketch of him wearing his famous spectacles on the reverse side along with the artist’s signature.

Hal said: “I am absolutely flabbergasted that the painting is worth so much! It was given to me by a builder who was starting to take things down when the Cavern Club closed in March 1973 and it&rsqu details

PAUL MCCARTNEY was upset and emailed Phil Collins after being accused of being rude and patronising, but the Genesis star says the former Beatle needed to be told he had a bad attitude.

The row has rumbled on after McCartney sent Collins a message, but no apology. The drama erupted last week when Collins accused his fellow pop legend of being rude and condescending, saying that he humiliated him at a party at Buckingham Palace. The Genesis star says he is sorry that McCartney is upset but implied that McCartney will keep bing rude unless someone stands up to him

He said: "I met him when I was working at the Buckingham Palace Party at the Palace thing back in 2002. McCartney came up with Heather Mills and I had a first edition of The Beatles by Hunter Davies and I said, 'Hey Paul, do you mind signing this for me?' And he said, 'Oh Heather, our little Phil's a bit of a Beatles fan.' "And I thought, 'You f**k, you f**k.' Never forgot it." This week he told Billboard magazine that McCartney messaged him shortly after he made the accusation.

Collins said: "He's been in touch about it because he was upset. I certainly didn't get any flowers from him; I got more of a 'Let's just get on with our lives.' And I'm details

For The Beatles, 1966 sparked a revolution - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Every corner of the planet had discovered The Beatles by 1966, but it was the year when we would all discover who they were becoming. Steve Turner’s new biography Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Year (Ecco, 464 pp., *** out of four stars) narrows in on the explosive midpoint of the band’s career, which begins, unremarkably, with a badly needed break from the business of being Beatles. Off the road and out of the studio for the first time in ages, the weary quartet settle into their own lives in and around London, sopping up avant-garde culture and experimenting with mind-altering drugs.

When they reassemble at Abbey Road in April to record Tomorrow Never Knows, John Lennon’s rendering of an acid trip, the transformation is unmistakable. As Bob Dylan vastly underestimates when he hears the song: “Oh, I get it. You don’t want to be cute anymore.” Beatles '66 is in many ways a companion piece to Ron Howard’s new Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years documentary. Where that project culminates in the group’s discomforting final tour in 1966, Beatles '66 tracks the evolution of the music that forced their retirement from the road.

The meat of the story is familiar to details

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