Beatles News

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

The first thing Stella McCartney ever designed was a fake, ultra-suede bomber jacket she made when she was 12. “It was kind of great,” she said Thursday, perched on a couch deep inside Nordstrom’s flagship Seattle store. “Very ’80s, and if I could find it now, it’s totally on point.”

Three years later, at 15, she was interning at La Croix and Yves St. Laurent. Now 45 and an established, celebrated designer, McCartney is about to launch a men’s clothing line to add to her collections for women, children, athletes; her fragrance line and her signature Falabella bag

“There are few houses that have an iconic bag,” McCartney said of the Falabella, which also comes in a box design. “I wanted to support it and celebrate it and … give it a friend.” McCartney made a few friends of her Nordstrom customers, who gathered behind a whimsical hedgerow on the store’s second floor. There was live music, food and lots of McCartney’s clothing on racks. Her designs, she said, “are very much based on emotions.”

“I think about women and what they need and how I can serve them,” she said. “There are few luxu details

Lancashire author Richard Houghton's new book captures the memories of Beatles fans who saw the Fab Four play live. Here he shares memories of concerts in the Red Rose county.

Amazingly, I was able to track down someone who was at Woolton Village Fete when Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the very first time as well as stories from people who saw The Beatles’ last paid performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966.

So “The Beatles – I Was There” tells the Beatles’ story from beginning to end in the words of people who were there at the time.’ The book includes memories of the Fab Four’s appearance at Preston’s Public Hall in October 1962, when Love Me Do had been released but Beatlemania was yet to grip the nation.

Alan Parkinson was at that gig and spoke to drummer Ringo Starr, who he had seen working at Butlins. “Only about 100 people were there” recalls Alan. “We recognised the drummer who was at Butlins with Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Of course that was Ringo. And my cheeky mate said, ‘Remember us from Butlins?’. To which he said, ‘Yes’. I’m not sure he did.”

A 14-year-ol details

When Paul McCartney shocked the world in April 1970 with his announcement of the Beatles' break-up, drummer Ringo Starr added a surprise of his own by becoming (initially, at least) the most musically active member of the former Fab Four.

As he would later recount in the lyrics of "Early 1970," the deceptively jaunty b-side of his 1971 hit "It Don't Come Easy," Starr was the only Beatle who didn't have any serious beef with any other member of the band at the time. Feeling lost without the family dynamic of the musical entity that had completely consumed the previous eight years of his life, he tried to distract himself from the pain by playing as much music as possible. In addition to releasing two solo albums (Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues) and two non-LP international hits ("It Don't Come Easy" and 1972's "Back Off Boogaloo," both produced by George Harrison), the musician spent his first two post–Fab-Four years playing drums on recording sessions for Harrison, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell and several other artists.

Still, Ringo felt adrift. Unsure of what else to do with himself, he continued to pursue his rather unorthodox film career, which had begun with Beatles v details

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono initiated Rock & Roll Diplomacy which, as with most things John and Yoko, was avant-garde: Bed-Ins, Bagism and the Live Peace in Toronto 1969. As a premiere, they involved a politician, the then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1971, George Harrison pursued that path, in his own way too: the New York Concert for Bangladesh was specifically linked to the Indian sub-continent. In what would become the first humanitarian Rock concert, Harrison involved UNICEF, a host of Rock stars, such as Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr, as well as Ravi Shankar and his Indian musicians. In 1979, Paul McCartney took Rock & Roll Diplomacy to its height. As with everything McCartney, the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea were a super-production, involving the United Nations Secretary General, UNHCR, UNICEF and a most diverse set of three generations of Rock musicians, in London.

1979 was an arguably eventful year. Each month sequenced political developments and cultural rainbows. In January, the United States established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Vietnamese troops seized Phnom Penh, ending the Khmer Rouge’s Democratic Kampuchea. Two day details

Beatles Radio Listener Poll
What will you call him?