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Conan Kicks Off George Harrison Week - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Monday marked the start of George Harrison week on Conan. Popular music artists will be stopping in to perform their versions of songs from the former Beatle. Today, we have Beck covering the Harrison song “Wah-Wah,” a track from the 1970 album All Things Must Pass. Watch the video above. George’s original version is full of multi-layered sound effects and horns that travel over a clever bassline and rolling drums. Beck chooses to perform a shortened version without the heavy atmospheric sounds, but nevertheless manages to keep the song’s dynamic punch. “Wah-Wah” isn’t the easiest song for a musician to cover, but Beck does a brilliant job.

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Billy Preston's Bankruptcy Case Finally Settled, Eight Years After His Death - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of music's monumental figures, the legendary "fifth Beatle," Billy Preston, died eight years ago at the age of 59, but not without controversy.

After a legacy of solo hits and recording credits with the Fab Four, few could have guessed that one of the mega-afro-sporting, gap-toothed artist's biggest songs "Will It Go Round in Circles?" would be symbolic of bitter legal battles for his lucrative, multi-million dollar estate.

On Monday, a federal judge in California ruled that Preston, despite a long history of health problems stemming from cocaine addiction, was not incapacitated at the time he filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

The court dispute stems back to 2011, when plaintiff Todd Neilson (the Chapter 7 trustee for the bankruptcy estate) filed a complaint against Preston's family and Joyce Moore, his long time manager, seeking a judgment that Preston was not incapacitated when he filed a bankruptcy petition in 2005 in the Central District of California.

Preston's trust remained revocable, and the assets currently held by Neilson and any other assets of Preston are assets of the bankruptcy estate.

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Iconic Liverpool Club Jacaranda set to reopen - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Jacaranda, reputedly the first venue to host the Beatles, is re-opening next month after a two-year closure.

Appearing as Long John & the Silver Beatles before changing their name, the Beatles helped to establish the club in Slater Street as the musical hub of Liverpool.

Now its owners are hoping to replicate the success with a new generation of local musicians, even relaunching their famous open mic nights.

Graham Stanley, managing director of the Jacaranda said he hopes to strike a balance between keeping the history alive and bringing it into the 21st century.

He added: “The venue has evolved and changed over the years since its opening as a coffee shop in ’58, each new generation experiencing the Jacaranda in a different way to the last.”

Mr Stanley and his team are even offering local musicians the opportunity to rehearse there for free, in exchange for a gig- just like original owner Allan Williams did for the Beatles.

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Will Beatle Paul Twist & Shout For Broadway-Bound Musical About Unknown Legend Bert Berns, Tunesmith? - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mention “Twist And Shout” to a Boomer and you’ll get a shake of the thinning hair or shaved scalp along with recollections of the Fab Four on The Ed Sullivan Show. The more knowing response may even be the Isley Brothers, who recorded it first, in 1962. Ask who wrote the iconic rock number, however, and you’re more than likely to draw a blank look. Answer: Bert Berns. Ask who pulled Van Morrison out of the Belfast band Them and produced “Brown-Eyed Girl,” or who wrote “Piece Of My Heart” — first recorded by Erma Franklin and then made timeless by Janis Joplin — and the answer is the same: Bert Berns. A hit-churning songwriter-turned-producer in the Phil Spector vein, Berns died of a heart attack in 1967. He was just 38 and unlike his contemporaries Spector or Gerry Goffin and Carole King, or Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Berns was all but unknown beyond the Brill Building cognoscenti.

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Presenting Meat Free Monday’s Fifth Anniversary Video! - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meat Free Monday recently invited you to pick a lyric from Paul’s song ‘Meat Free Monday’ and represent that lyric in a creative way for their fifth anniversary video. They received thousands of entries, from Sweden to South Africa, Tahiti to Taiwan, with images taken on beaches and gardens, in restaurants and allotments, on top of mountains and even under water! The video features images from MFM supporters, from schools, from celebrities including Woody Harrelson, Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, Fearne Cotton and Sharleen Spiteri, from chefs including José Pizarro and Rozanne Stevens, from restaurants including tibits, HILTL and The Gate, and from many different MFM campaigns – after all “… it’s happening all around the world!”

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Ringo Starr selling £20m estate - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Beatles drummer, 74, and his wife, former Bond girl Barbara Bach, have put their 200-acre abode, Rydinghurst in Surrey, south east England, up for sale because they no longer spend enough time in the six-bedroom mansion. They told the Sunday Times newspaper: ''We have spent 15 years at Rydinghurst and will always have wonderful memories of our time there. ''It is a beautiful home with some very special features, but we are, reluctantly, unable to spend as much time there as we would wish. ''With commitments in America and our family in all England, we will continue to divide our time between Los Angeles and London.'' The couple - who married in 1981 - splashed out £2 million on the plush property back in 1999 and it is expected to reach between £10 million and £20 million when it goes on sale this week.

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Inside the Long-Unopened Storage Locker of The Beatles' American Lawyer - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I got lucky last June, just not in quite the way I'd hoped, as you'll read. But my pursuit of a long-lost audiotape eventually opened the door (literally) and allowed me to take possession of a storage locker owned by a lawyer named Nat Weiss. For those who don't know, Nat just happened to represent The Beatles over on this side of the pond. It all started when I was doing research for a non-fiction book on The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein. I was poking around for some audiotapes of a phone conversation that I know existed at one time. Whether those tapes still exist, I do not know. But I was hoping they might still be around and, if anyone had them, it was Nat. After all, he was the person who ordered a phone line to be tapped in the first place. I should back up and tell you that Nat Weiss was very good friends with Brian Epstein, both Jewish and gay in an era when being gay was a crime. The audiotapes had to do with a blackmail attempt against Brian. Nat was furious and had ordered all calls from the blackmailer to be taped. I know for a fact that those tapes existed and wanted to listen to them if they were still available.

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Beatles' Eleanor Rigby sculpted from £1m of bank notes - Monday, September 22, 2014

A sculpture of The Beatles' song character Eleanor Rigby, made from £1m of used bank notes, will be unveiled at the Museum of Liverpool later. The 5ft 2in (1.57m) work depicts the "bag lady [who] died without a penny to her name," a museum spokesman said. Liverpool-born sculptor Leonard J Brown said it was "to show people that money isn't the only way to make you happy". He said his inspiration was seeing an old lady carrying a large number of bags in Hull, where he now lives.

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Tyler Ritter remembers dad's Beatles influence - Monday, September 22, 2014

Fact: Today marks the 30th Anniversary—to the day—that Three's Company went off the air. Crazy but true fact: John Ritter was 29 years old when he got his first series-regular gig on a TV show (Three's Company)—which just so happens to be the exact same age as his son Tyler Ritter is now, as he launches his first  job as a series regular on a TV show, CBS' The McCarthys. Both shows are comedies with messy communication styles and gay jokes a plenty—though, of course, in a sign that times have most definitely changed, Tyler is playing a guy who is openly gay, not a guy pretending to be gay in order to shack up with two girls, a laJack Tripper. Tyler is a standout among his show, and, we can only hope, similarly destined for greatness. And not to get all sappy here, but we can't help but think that somewhere, John Ritter is smiling. Not only are his two sons, Tyler (29) and Jason (34), doing really well in their acting careers—please tell me you already know the greatness that is Jason Ritter—they are quickly developing a reputation as two of the nicest and most sincere guys in Hollywood.

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The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written - Monday, September 22, 2014

Reading the words now, and probably trying too hard to work out exactly what he [John] is trying to say, it would seem the message is simple: work hard, bring the money home, and you will get marital bliss. There is a slight hint of a chauvinism when he moans that he is working all day for money so she can have things. Maureen Cleave of the London Evening Standard was one of the first journalists to write intelligently and revealingly about The Beatles. She happened to be interviewing John on the day they were to record the song and went with him to Abbey Road in a taxi. During the journey, John showed her the words of the song, written down on an old birthday card given to [his son] Julian – he had recently had his first birthday – with an illustration of a little boy on a toy train. 

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