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Imagine: 12 Great Books About John Lennon - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Thirty-five years ago, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered outside his Dakota apartment by Mark David Chapman. Lennon, a brilliant artist and complex man, was witty, ornery, and haunted, exploring his life through his art. Lennon remains an influential part of our culture. His song "Imagine" has become a timeless plea for peace.

Because his early life and half of his artistic career was so interwoven with the Beatles, I've included several biographies of the Beatles as well, which show the evolution of the group and the interactions of the members, especially the genius writing team of Lennon and Paul McCartney.

1. John Lennon: The Life Philip Norman

Norman, whose 1981 classic Shout! is considered the definitive biography of The Beatles, returns with John Lennon: The Life. It's an intimate look at the troubled genius who, with other Beatles members, changed the shape and sound of popular music. The book takes us from his early Liverpool days and childhood tragedies through the roller-coaster ride that was The Beatles. It studies his post-Beatles career, his turbulent marriage to Yoko Ono, his peace crusade, and his murder. Monitor critic Lorne Entress called it " wonderful unfolding of Lennon's details

In a Beverly Hills back room filled with the personal possessions of a lifetime of fame as a Beatle and solo artist, Ringo Starr happily posed for pictures with guests on Tuesday. It was the opening-night party celebrating this week's auction of selected items from Starr's life and career to benefit his Lotus Foundation charity. 

More than 800 items from his music career and the life he shares with wife Barbara Bach will be sold by Julien's Auctions, from star-shaped jewelry and vintage drum kits to his suit from A Hard Day's Night and mementos from decades of world travel. As guests took snapshots, Starr picked up a wooden Balinese statue and cradled it like he planned to take it back home.

"They'll never notice," he said with a laugh, then turned toward a mod tweed jacket hanging nearby and stroked his fingers on the lapel. "I'll try this on."

Starr will be one of thousands monitoring the auction online and on site at Julien's, with special attention paid to instruments used on Beatles and Starr solo records, including the 1964 Rickenbacker electric guitar given to him by John Lennon. A pair of rings he wore at every live Beatles gig he ever played are being sold. And in a glass case at the auctio details

The Beatles: 10 Best Solo Songs - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Beatles didn’t stop producing fantastic music just because of the band’s 1970 disbandment. In fact, and this is a controversial one, some of the best stuff from Paul, John, Ringo, and George came during the post-Beatles era.

That isn’t to challenge The Beatles in anyway. The Beatles are The Beatles. They’re the best. If someone asks for your top five favourite bands you don’t even bother mentioning them because they transcend above petty ranking systems. No, it isn’t a challenge. It’s just a reminder that upon going solo, the fab four were still the world’s very best musical artists.

McCartney went on to have immediate massive success with the band Wings, Lennon put out some singles that rival even his sixties Beatles stuff in terms of popularity, Harrison continued to solidify himself as one of music’s most talented guitarists and songwriters, and Ringo, with a little help from his friends in the form of his All Starr Band, is still rocking today. Yes, they each made some fantastic songs following their split up, and here are ten of the very best.

10. My Love – Paul McCartney

Easy listening, romantic bliss.

By: Sam Dawson

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The Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’ Turns 50 - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

For most American teens, the arrival of the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” 50 years ago was unsettling. Instead of cheerleading for love, the album’s songs held cryptic messages about thinking for yourself, the hypnotic power of women, something called “getting high” and bedding down with the opposite sex. Clearly, growing up wasn’t going to be easy.

Released in the U.K. on Dec. 3, 1965, and in the U.S. three days later, “Rubber Soul” remains one of the most critically acclaimed albums in rock history, influencing a generation of artists, including Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder. It also marked rock’s shift from formulaic pop to studio experimentation and high art.

But while “Rubber Soul” has been hailed as an epic masterpiece and one of the first fully developed folk-rock albums, the vision for the U.S. release wasn’t entirely the work of John, Paul, George and Ringo or the Beatles’ producer, George Martin.

The 12-song album issued in the U.S. was markedly different from the British version, which featured 14 songs. Though both versions shared Robert Freeman’s cover photo and psychedelic lettering (ginger here a details

Not seen in public for more than 50 years, Ringo's three piece kit was used in more than 200 performances and was used on classic songs "From me to you", "All my loving" and "Please Mr Postman".

The 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl Downbeat drum kit, which comes with an eye watering estimate of £198,000 to £331,000, was the first ever owned by Ringo and featured on 180 studio recordings.

As well as being one of the most recognisable of Beatles memorabilia, the drum kit was the first to feature the newly designed "drop T" logo, which was put on by sign painter Eddie Stokes for an extra £5. But the drum kit has not been seen in public since their now legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. Since it was retired from use, Paul McCartney has also used the kit when he recorded his first solo album and has now been restored with historically correct hardware. The auction, which will be held in Los Angeles at Julien's Auctions today (thurs), comprises a total of over 800 items from the collection of Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach with the proceeds benefitting the Lotus Foundation.

By: Robert Kellaway

Source: The Express

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Beatles statue at Liverpool's Pier Head - Monday, November 30, 2015

A new statue of the Beatles is due to be officially unveiled at Liverpool’s Pier Head this week. The giant bronzes of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr are being installed in front of the Three Graces – where they were wrapped in tarpaulin against the stormy weather this morning. They have been donated to the city by the Cavern Club and have been sculpted by artist Andrew Edwards, who also created the All Together Now World War I statue last year.

Cavern’s managing director Bill Heckle said: “It has been an unbelievable experience to witness the transformation of this city since Cavern City Tours was incorporated in 1983. “It bears little or no resemblance to the forward thinking vibrant and world-class city that now stands before us. “It has been undeniable that tourism has been an integral and driving factor in the renaissance of Liverpool and its most famous four sons have played a pivotal role in bringing people here. “We’re proud that we have been able to finance this project on behalf of fans from all over the world.”

The unveiling on Friday coincides with the 50th anniversary of the last time the band played in their home c details

While the Beatles' first Anthology, released 20 years ago this month, isn't exactly canonical Fab Four, it's worth remembering how momentous the compilation seemed at the time. Perhaps you were among those whose minds were blown in anticipation of new Beatle baubles, demos, outtakes and live cuts that went beyond what even the most rapacious bootleg collector would have been able to gather up. 

Would it feel as if one were present at Abbey Road, beholding an impassioned conversation before the next masterpiece was commenced? Would there be takes to challenge the known, canonical ones for "best ever" versions? Would one discover a fresh McCartney vocal to claim as a favorite going forward, some new delight that would repay hundreds of listenings, just as the old Beatles records always had?

Upon its November, 1995, release, Anthology 1 was a huge seller, as if there was any way it could not be. Posthumous round-ups of rarities were normally geared toward the obsessives, but as we're talking Beatles, Fab Four diehards form their own kind of widespread subculture, and thus a listening majority. 

And it's not hard to imagine fans agog over performances like a live cut of "This Boy" from The Morecamb details

It has only been a week since John Fardy and Shane Coleman took a look at John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album for the Cultural Toolbox. It's only fair to give some of the other former Beatles some attention, so this week's choice was Paul McCartney and Wings with their 1973 album Band on The Run.

Shane started by explaining how he agreed with John's suggestion last week that the Plastic Ono Band was a great album, "until he said it was the best post-Beatles album by any ex-Beatles. To which I profoundly disagreed, and I said no - this album, Band on the Run, is a better album".

John 'stands resolute' in his view that Plastic Ono is the finest of those albums, but admits "Band on the Run is a great post-Beatles album, and I think it's the second best post-Beatles album".

They did give passing mention to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, leading to John reflecting on the origins of the phrase 'band on the run'.

"The story of how this album was made is quite interesting," he explained. "The phrase, McCartney heard it first, was from George Harrison in a meeting on the dissolution of Apple Corps.

"Harrison had used this phrase 'band on the run' and it stuck in McCartney's head. Fast fo details

What do acid, Peter Fonda, and an argument have in common?

All of these elements led to the recording of “She Said She Said,” the Revolver track known for another fact: Paul McCartney did not participate in the session. Nevertheless, “She Said She Said” stands as a classic example of the Beatles’ musical and lyrical experimentation.

The idea for the track originates from an August 24, 1965 party which occurred during the Beatles’ US tour. Held at the Beatles’ rented house in Los Angeles, the party saw the group hosting such luminaries as Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, and Fonda. During the event everyone except Paul McCartney dropped acid; when George Harrison experienced disturbing hallucinations, Fonda attempted to soothe Harrison. According to the Beatles Bible website, Fonda told Harrison about how he had almost died at ten years old after accidentally shooting himself in the stomach. John Lennon overheard Fonda stating “I know what it’s like to be dead”; annoyed and upset by his words, Lennon replied “You’re making me feel like I’ve never been born. Who put all that shit in your head?” After Lennon recovered from the trip, he details

George Harrison: The quiet Beatle - Saturday, November 28, 2015

He was the diffident Beatle, a quiet and unassuming figure beside the towering egos of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

But, after his innate creativity was allowed to flourish, George Harrison made his own mark as a great songwriter, with works such as Here Comes The Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps holding their own beside those of his colleagues.

And Something was hailed by Frank Sinatra as "the greatest love song ever written".

The son of a bus driver, George Harrison was born in the Hunts Cross area of Liverpool on 25 February 1943.

Although his childhood home was a back-to-back-terrace house with an outside toilet, a scholarship to the Liverpool Institute, where he met Paul McCartney, a year his senior, held out the promise of a better life.

Like millions of his contemporaries, the young George Harrison fell under the spell of rock 'n' roll, especially the records brought to Liverpool by visiting seamen and played, by night, on Radio Luxembourg.

Aged 14, he bought a £3 guitar, music replaced his academic studies and, a year later, his mastery of more than the mere basic chords brought about his induction into The Quarrymen, a group which featured John Lennon and Paul M details

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