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The US Ambassador to Japan and Yoko Ono, the wife of legendary Beatles frontman John Lennon, have added their names to the growing list of high-profile opposition to Japan's annual dolphin cull in the rural town of Taiji. Friday, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy said in a tweet that the US government opposed the annual "drive hunt" and that she is concerned about the issue.

"Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing," Kennedy wrote. "USG opposes drive hunt fisheries." A drive hunt refers to the practice of corralling dolphins into a cove or otherwise inescapable area, where they can be trapped or killed. Japan's whaling and dolphin-hunting programs have long been a controversial subject, and the nation frequently faces criticism for the practice. Japan, however, claims that hunting marine mammals is part of its cultural heritage. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Monday that the Taiji dolphin cull was done in accordance with Japanese laws. "Dolphin fishing is a form of traditional fishing in our country," details

Having changed the world once with The Beatles, at the beginning of the 1970s John Lennon wanted to do it all over again, but this time in line with his personal vision of global concord. Desperate to consign the Moptops to history, he escaped to America with the love of his life, Yoko Ono, and plunged into his new world of activism and giving peace a chance.

But if New York welcomed him with bright eyes and open arms, Washington didn't want him around. Richard Nixon was seeking re-election and had a long list of enemies drawn up; Lennon rose rapidly up that list as he began to make himself at home. His first achievement, according to James A Mitchell, was to get the White Panthers leader John Sinclair out of jail. The Detroit activist was two years into a 10-year stretch for giving two joints to an undercover cop, but days after Lennon headlined a John Sinclair Freedom Rally he was released. It wasn't all down to the Fab One, of course – Mitchell doesn't mention the ruling by Michigan's Supreme Court that the state's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional &ndash details

Beatles 50 is getting a big push this week. Sources tell that CBS’s special scheduled for February 9th–and being taped this Monday at the Los Angeles Convention Center– could end up being three hours long.

Right now the show–which will 50 years to the day that the Beatles debuted on American TV on CBS’s “Ed Sullivan Show”–is set from 8 to 10 pm. The Eurythmics are re-uniting for the event, and contemporary artists are lined up to perform Beatles songs. But Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as some other unannounced guests, will be on the bill. And frankly, if Paul and Ringo wanted to do an hours’ worth of Beatles songs, everyone would be very very happy indeed. McCartney and Starr are also performing on the Grammys on Sunday night, January 26th as well. And on Saturday afternoon they will be there with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison at the Grammys’ Special Merit ceremony to receive their Lifetime Achievement Awards. And there’s more: both Paul and Ringo are expected on David Letterman as part of &l details

The Ticket to Write playwriting contest - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Ticket to Write playwriting contest – launched as a Beatles-themed Festival – is  now open for entries for the third year when the selected plays will be performed at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre on July 15 and 16. 

The 2014 Festival has two new exciting changes: Plays need not just have themes on The Beatles – they can include the wider Mersey Music scene of the 60s. Plays entered should now be one-act 40 – 45 minute dramas rather than 15 minute offerings. As usual the plays can be about the people, stories inspired by songs and song-titles or any genuine connection with The Beatles or the Mersey Scene of that period. The winner gets a tasty £150 and it costs £20 to enter. Entries must be in by Friday April 18. All plays will be assessed anonymously by a theatre professional and three will go forward to be performed on both nights of the final when the audience vote will count towards the final result. All entries will receive a considered written critique from the as details

Ringo Starr has gotten an honor in Los Angeles — less than a week before The Beatles get a tribute at the Grammys. Starr was given the Lifetime of Peace and Love award from the David Lynch Foundation.

There was a tribute concert for Starr — and he called the praise "overwhelming." Starr closed the show by taking the lead on "With a Little Help From My Friends," joined onstage by Jim Carrey, Sheila E. and Edgar Winter as the crowd got on its feet for the sing-along. Paul McCartney and Starr will perform separately at the Grammys on Sunday.

Listen to the Audio Version of this News Story 

Source: Beatles Radio Exclusive

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WONDERWALL BLU-RAY - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shout Factory has announced the upcoming Blu-ray release of Joe Massot'sWonderwall (1968), starring Jane Birkin and Jack MacGowran. The film was released on by Rhino on DVD in 2002 (with handmade edition in 2004), but has since gone out of print. Shout Factory's release will offer the first Hi-def edition of the movie.

George Harrison provided the soundtrack, which fused electric and traditional Indian instruments in a kaleidoscope of sound. Harrison recorded theWonderwall Music album between December 1967 and January 1968, and it was the first solo Beatles record and first release on the band's Apple label (personnel included Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Peter Tork of The Monkees, and members of The Remo Four). From the press release: "Jack MacGowran plays Oscar Collins, an eccentric butterfly scientist who becomes obsessed with his neighbour, Penny Lane ( Birkin) after discovering a secret peephole in the wall between their flats. Penny is a young and beautiful fashion model, who spends her days in her rain details

Few events in John Lennon’s brief life were as traumatic and painful than the death of his mother, Julia, when he was 17. Although Julia had abandoned John to be brought up by her sister, Mimi, the event proved important in cementing his close working partnership with Paul McCartney, whose mother had died from an embolism when he was 14.

The road accident that killed Julia -- with an off-duty policeman at the wheel -- confirmed Lennon in his distrust of anyone in authority. Lennon’s first son, Julian, is named after his mother. But most of all Julia’s death was a musical inspiration. Both his gentle ballad to his absent mother on the White Album (1968) -- “Half of what I say is meaningless,/ but I say it just to please you, Julia” -- and “Mother,” his anguished recollection of her death that opened his first single album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970) -- “Mother, You had me. I details

On Jan. 18, 1964, the Fab Four graced the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, as 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' entered the Hot 100 at No. 45. Music, and our charts, would never be the same.

Fifty years ago today, the Beatles appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time. The band's breakthrough, and ultimately, pop culture-redefining, first U.S smash, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 45. The issue was dated Jan. 18, 1964. The following week, the song rocketed to No. 3. It became the Beatles' first of 20 No. 1s the following week (Feb. 1, 1964). The Beatles' 20 toppers remain the most by any artist in the Hot 100's history. (Mariah Carey follows with 18.) When Billboard ranked the top acts of the chart's first 55 years this past August, the Beatles ranked at No. 1. While today's gold anniversary clearly marks one of the most significant milestones in Billboard chart history, even at the time it was front-page news. Literally: "British Beatles details

After declaring the end of the Beatles, Paul McCartney retired to a studio-equipped farm in Scotland and released two modest, true solo efforts as if to deflect all the expectations: the charmingly ramshackle McCartney followed by Ram, a proto-indie folk/pop record, a cloistered and insular “selfie” that was dismissed as fluff in its own time and is now widely regarded as his best post-Beatles effort and a five-star desert island necessity.

On it, Paul flexed his multi-instrumental prowess and studio savvy (he alone among the Beatles positively lived in the studio) in the service of rustic and sweet throwaway tunes of the kind that must float out of his head when he sleeps. Elliot Smith never would have happened without Ram. Even now, 40 years later, Ram has all the freshness of a genuine rebirth. In his more combative and demonstrative way, John Lennon also followed through on the return-to-basics statement that Let It Be was supposed to make with Plastic Ono Band, exploring both musical primitivism and Janov’s primal scream on what is one of the most details

The University of Rochester Institute for Popular Music will continue its "In Performance" Series with a concert and lecture series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first U.S. performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014—exactly 50 years, to the hour, after that famous nationwide broadcast aired to 73 million viewers—a concert honoring the Beatles and their music will begin at 8 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the University River Campus, featuring performances by faculty, students, and Rochester-area 60s band The Smooth Talkers. "At the end of 1963, the Beatles took over British popular music in a way that no one had ever done before," said John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music and chair of the music department in the University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. "In 1964, the Beatles conquered America and the world." But according to Covach, the Beatles' lasting contribution was their ability to cash in "that initial fan popularity for details

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