Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stella McCartney Exclusive U.S. Personal Appearance

Neiman Marcus is pleased to announce the personal appearance of designer Stella McCartney on Wednesday, May 3, in Dallas, Texas. Neiman Marcus NorthPark will host an exclusive cocktail party, in honor of Ms. McCartney, and presentation of her Fall 2006 collection. Stella McCartney is known for her witty and irreverent mix of sharp tailoring and sexy femininity. Born and raised in London, Stella McCartney graduated from Central St. Martin's in 1995, with the rare accolade of having her final year collection bought by several influential retailers, including Neiman Marcus. Upon graduation, McCartney immediately launched her own line, which instantly garnered international media attention. In 1997, after only two seasons on her own, McCartney was appointed Creative Director for the venerable house of Chloe. During McCartney's tenure at Chloe, the collection achieved stratospheric commercial success, and received universal praise from both buyers and press. In April 2001, Stella McCartney launched her own eponymous fashion house in a joint venture with Gucci Group. A strict vegetarian, Stella McCartney does not use leather or fur in her designs, which include women's ready-to-wear, accessories, eyewear and the fragrance 'Stella', which launched on her birthday, September 13, 2003. Information about the Company can be accessed at

A Note From me: Sorry about the late update, it's been a long week studying for finals.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Scissor Sisters Will Introduce Paul McCartney

The band will introduce "Paul McCartney," an ode to the doe-eyed Beatle, penned by co-frontman Jake Shears. "He had a dream and wrote the song when he woke up," Matronic says. "It was a really amazing dream about Paul McCartney, so it's definitely a homage. But it doesn't sound anything like any Paul McCartney song that I've ever heard. It's pure hands-in-the-air, ridiculous disco fun."

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cruise To Book Beatles Tribute For Wedding?

Tom Cruise is considering hiring Beatles tribute band The Bootleg Beatles to play at his wedding to Kate Holmes, after his Mission: Impossible III co-star Simon Pegg suggested them.Pegg, who plays computer geek Benji Dunn in the new movie, hired the Beatles imitators to play at his own reception when he married Maureen McCann last summer (JUL05).He says, "Tom and I were discussing bands at weddings and I told him I had The Bootleg Beatles at mine and that they were really good."I'm not sure if he's going to heed my advice and book them for his wedding to Katie - but you never know."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Let It Be: The Beatles Songs of Lennon and McCartney

With a few notable exceptions (Doug Parkinson's version of Dear Prudence, Joe Cocker's With A Little Help from My Friends), the best versions of Beatles' songs are versions by the Beatles. So why do lesser talents - in this case John Waters (who has spent part of his career playing John Lennon), Leo Sayer, Rick Price and Christine Anu - believe that the public wants to rush out and hear their versions of the old classics. Who knows?Anyway, this is a concert hall production of some of the Beatles' later songs (from Rubber Soul and Revolver on) with the singers backed by an outfit calling itself The Day Tripper Band. It is worth remembering that some years ago an English journalist named Roy Carr put together a book of Beatles memorabilia (photos of old tickets, posters, etc) and sold a million copies.

A note from me: Not much news, if any news pops up I will update my webpage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

'Lennon's spirit sends peace message'

Psychics claim murdered Beatle John Lennon told them: "Peace... the message is peace" in a controversial pay-per-view TV séance.The 90-minute show, which cost £5.60 to watch, was broadcast on American TV. The makers of The Spirit of John Lennon said a voice recorded at the La Fortuna restaurant in New York, which the star used to frequent, appeared to be that of the murdered musician, speaking via the paranormal "Electronic Voice Phenomenon".British psychic Joe Power, who conducted the séance, said: "I have no doubt in my mind that we were able to make contact with the spirit of John Lennon."The show provoked outrage among Beatles fans, and was branded "tacky" and "exploitative" by Yoko Ono's friend and spokesman, Elliot Mintz."A pay-per-view séance was never his style," Mintz said of Lennon.The show was made by Starcast Productions, whose British head, Paul Sharratt, was also behind a pay-per-view effort to contact the late Diana, Princess of Wales in 2003.Lennon was assassinated outside his home in New York's Dakota building in 1980.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Catholic group backs McCartney anti-fur campaign

An international Catholic animal welfare lobby has backed a new campaign by pop legend and animal rights campaigner Sir Paul McCartney to prevent high-street shoppers from unwittingly purchasing real fur.The Universe reports that the former Beatle and his wife Heather, are continuing to wage war against shops selling real fur after a BBC documentary following their anti-fur campaign found that the absence of any legal requirement to label fur garments meant that some people in the UK could be buying real fur without ever knowing."I cannot imagine of any Catholic wanting to take part in this barbaric trade," said Catholic Concern for Animals General Secretary Debbie Jones after stating her support for Sir Paul's campaign."Obviously if there is no labelling scheme people will assume that what they are wearing is humane. What the McCartneys have unearthed will be a cause of great distress for a lot of people," she said."It would take a very callous person to wear real fur knowing how it is acquired."According to their website, the Catholic lobby "research and disseminate authentic teachings of the Catholic Tradition and of other religious beliefs to help bring about a way of living in accordance with the Creator's design."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Psychics 'contact Lennon' in TV séance

Psychics believe they have made contact with late Beatle John Lennon in a controversial pay-per-view television séance set to be broadcast in the US.The show’s makers claimed a voice recorded on the 90-minute show, which will cost Americans $9.95 (€7.90) to watch, appeared to be that of the murdered musician.“I have no doubt in my mind that we were able to make contact with the spirit of John Lennon,” British psychic Joe Power said.“John was a very spiritual person who was taken from the world in the worst possible way and he wants to reach out.“It’s not a question of us going out and finding John, it is making ourselves available for him to come to us.”The show, The Spirit of John Lennon, has already provoked outrage among Beatles fans, and was branded “tacky” and “exploitative” by Yoko Ono’s friend and spokesman, Elliot Mintz.“A pay-per-view seance was never his style,” Mintz said of Lennon.An online trailer promises viewers they will also see the figure of a man filmed on infra-red cameras, and asks “Is it John Lennon?”Music “from the other side” can also be heard, it claims, asking the same question.Starcast Productions, which made the programme, said technical experts were currently reviewing the seance footage to try to confirm if the images and sounds were from the star. The makers claim the recording is an example of a paranormal “Electronic Voice Phenomenon“, or EVP.Those who believe in EVP think spirit voices communicate through radio and TV broadcast signals.Starcast’s British head, Paul Sharratt, was also behind a pay-per-view effort to contact the late Diana, Princess of Wales in 2003.The Lennon special was filmed in Liverpool, India, New York City and Los Angeles, at sites that had special significance to the musician.It was at his favourite New York restaurant, La Fortuna, that the voice said to be his was captured on sound equipment.Lennon was assassinated outside his home in New York’s Dakota building 25 years ago.Sharratt said although he was currently withholding judgement on the recording, he believed viewers would be “bowled over” by its contents.“I am a dyed-in-the-wool sceptic by nature, but have been simply amazed at what we have seen and heard during the filming of this special,” he said.The pay-TV service In Demand will show The Spirit of John Lennon in the US tonight.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why Don't We Do It on the Internet?

Go to iTunes or Rhapsody and search for "Beatles" and where do you wind up? Nowhere, man. The greatest rock group ever doesn't sell its songs online. That's why the managing director of the Beatles' record label, Neil Aspinall, made a stir recently when he revealed that the Fab Four were finally planning to sell their songs on Internet stores—but only after a long-term project of remastering the songs wascompleted.Though Aspinall's comment made news, the impact was mitigated by the fact that the digital music world has already established itself, with no help from John, Paul, George and Ringo. It is telling that his remarks were made in the context of a London court case charging Apple Computer with violating the trademark of the Beatles' record label, Apple Corps, by selling music online. Instead of working with the Net's flagship of legal downloading, the band is suing it.During their heyday, the mop tops could get away with anything (like selling watered-down versions of their U.K. albums in America, or "Revolution No. 9"). But the Beatles today (the living members and heirs of George and John) don't seem to understand that even they can't control the Internet. A glimpse of their thinking came in 2004, when the group considered going online with a service other than iTunes. Microsoft was building an Internet store to compete with iTunes, and the Fab Four's people actually discussed terms with the Softies. According to a source close to the negotiations (who would not be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue), the Beatles wanted $15 million for starters—not as an advance against royalties, but a cash payout—for a window of exclusivity that would end after 90 days. After that the Beatles would be free to sell their songs everywhere else on the Net. Even worse, the Beatles demanded that their tunes be treated differently from any other songs in the store. "It would be a walled garden, a Beatles store within the store," the source told me. "If you bought a Beatles song, you'd go immediately to checkout and wouldn't be able to add anyone else's songs to the purchase." This approach is antithetical to what makes an online music store successful—it must be so convenient and delightful that people pay for what is available on the file-sharing services free of charge. Microsoft walked away.The Beatles' stance only hurts the band. Their obstinacy has not deterred millions of fans from loading Beatles music on computers and MP3 players—it just means that no one pays for the songs. Even George W. Bush has figured out how to get Beatles songs on his iPod. People simply rip the CDs they already own into iTunes or other jukebox software. Or they use their friends' CDs. Or they grab the songs online; according to the market-research firm NPD Group, the Beatles are the fifth most popular band among illegal downloaders.The buzz among digital-music insiders is that if the two Apples settle the court case, part of that arrangement would be a deal that lets the Beatles sell their work on iTunes. (Neither party would comment on that.) The wrong way to do it would be the walled-garden approach, with premium prices for albums and restrictions on buying songs à la carte. The right way would be to follow in the path of another great band, U2, whose iTunes relationship has been a boon for both sides. Put the entire catalog online—as a pricey package for those who want it all, or available by the album or single song for everyone else at standard rates. A Beatles-branded custom-made iPod would be a huge seller. And a cool iTunes commercial with the band in silhouette would be a sensation. During the mania years of the 1960s, John Lennon once described the Beatles as being bigger than Jesus. But in 2006, the Internet is bigger than the Beatles. Instead of fighting the Net, the Beatles can use it to reinvigorate their glory. What happened to "We can work it out"?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New Beatles play onstage in Springfield, Illinois

A new stage production from playwright Robert Bartel, "Imagine - Yesterday", is to be performed at the Hoogland Center For the Arts in Springfield, Illinois on May 27th, 2006. There will be two performances of the play and after each performance, the Britles, a Beatles tribute group, will perform. Sir Paul of Livermore will also host the events and meet and greet the fans along with production cast and The Britles after each performance. A VIP dinner is also planned after each show. Robert Bartel is also the author of a soon to be released audio book called "The Beatles We Love". For more information visit A follow up printed book by the same title will be released later in 2007. This is Robert Bartel's second play based on a Beatles related theme. His first play was "All Those Years Ago", the story of George Harrison's first American visit in 1963 to Benton, IL, to visit his sister Louise Harrison Caldwell. An award-winning DVD, "George Harrison: A Beatle In Benton, IL" was released in 2005. It is featured at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Robert Bartel has been a guest on the Beatle Years show and has also been a guest on other Beatles related shows on radio and television. He is also the owner of a large Beatles Collection along with is wife Janice, both first generation Beatles fans, who showcase their Beatles collection at Beatles events. For more information about the new play, go to

Anu refuses to let it be where Fabs are concerned

Two things happened in 1970 on opposite sides of the globe: the Beatles broke up, and, on an island off Queensland, Christine Anu was born. Thirty-six years later, the little girl who grew up singing Beatles songs, is part of a concert tour called Let It Be, which showcases the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And Anu couldn't be more excited. "I'm part of a show honouring the greatest songwriting duo of our time," she said in Melbourne this week.The tour, which goes to Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia and NSW, for two weeks in May, also features singers Leo Sayer, John Waters and Rick Price. It has a nine-piece band, including horns and strings.Anu's eyes light up in relating the prospect of performing the Lennon-McCartney catalogue and singing with her colleagues and "their extraordinary voices". Waters is intimately familiar with Lennon's works, having put on shows exclusively of his songs. "To me, John Waters is John Lennon," Anu says.But to Anu growing up, they were just a band that was non-existent - "a band from the olden days". She used to sing Beatles songs, such as Yellow Submarine, at school and remembers being at parties where singalongs would include the Fab Four's material. "I grew up with footage of them," she says. "I just thought they were not individuals - they all had the same haircut and I just thought, 'Who wants to go round sporting the same haircut and looking like each other', but then you realise they were the first band to write songs for themselves. They made bands writing their own material a hip thing."Anu mentions two songs she will sing that have a special resonance to her: Blackbird and Yesterday. "Blackbird is probably the first song that ever really meant something to me," she says. "I lost a friend who was killed in a hit-and-run in Hawaii - he was part of an Aboriginal surf team - and at the time this song was going around and it reminds me of him and I used to sing the song around about the time that we took him back to Inverell to bury him. I've thrown it into my set occasionally, and it's just wonderful to be able to sing it again in Let It Be."As for Yesterday, Anu says: "I remember singing it when I was five. It's just a simple song, and any flaw will be able to be heard. It's such a beautiful song and I want to stay true to it. I don't want to stuff it up." It is the the group's genius for melody that Anu credits with informing her attraction to a song. "I think it's because of the Beatles songs and their melodies that it's the main reason I get hooked on to a song - a lot of Beatles songs were melody-driven."This feeling goes to the reason why the group is never out of favour and is enjoying a revival. A stage show in Las Vegas is being planned with the blessing of McCartney and Ringo Starr. The music will be overseen by "the fifth Beatle", Sir George Martin. To Anu, "Beatles songs have been around us forever and always will be." It also means a little extra to her. "I'm just looking forward to my children (Kuiam and Zipporah) experiencing the Beatles like I've never experienced, and bring that whole circle around again."Back to a childhood in Queensland, when a little girl thought a band from the olden days sounded fab.Let It Be will be performed at Hamer Hall, Melbourne, on Tuesday, May 23.

Friday, April 21, 2006

How Mr and Mrs Macca took on a bloody battle with the fur trade

Perhaps we ought to start trying to picture Sir Paul McCartney in a dress - after all, it now seems pretty clear who wears the trousers in his various houses.This is not intended as a slight against the relatively retiring ex-Beatle, more a tribute to his second wife, the forceful, formidable, feisty and, sometimes, even frightening Lady Heather Mills-McCartney.Both hubby and missus, we know, are passionate and powerful campaigners against animal cruelty, including that involved in keeping a thriving fur trade going - both here in Europe and across the Atlantic.But while their aims are the same, their approaches couldn't be more different, as you'll find out in tonight's special edition of Real Story on BBC1: The McCartneys Versus The Fur Trade. In Heather and Paul's case, it's Tough Versus Timid."I'm not very confrontational," says Sir Macca."I do find it difficult going up to someone in the street about the fur they are wearing. It's just my personality. If it's someone I know it's easier."Heather? Confrontation and In Your Face are probably her middle names. Which means she has a very unwieldly name, indeed: Lady Heather Confrontation In Your Face Mills-McCartney.Viewers will see her badgering her better half to personalise her letters to A list celebs - some of which are known to him: "We will look at it later," he says,, looking a little uncomfortable."Don't bottle out!" Heather tells him. And later, you will be able to eavesdrop on a 'phone conversation between the pair. She is in Brussels preparing for one of her impassioned, no-holds-barred performances at a press conference at the European Parliament, while Paul is reporting a brief 'phone chat he had with EU commissioner Peter Mandelson - and carefully explaining to Heather how he didn't want to harass him.Heather replies: "I'll do the harassing, you can be the nice boy."True to form, she harasses shoppers while stalking the streets of London, beseeching them - especially those wearing fur - to take a leaflet about the trade in dog and cat fur. And if they refuse to take one, she says sarcastically: "No? Don't you care about them?"Although her tone soon softens when she confesses: "I can't say I haven't walked past a leaflet-deliverer in my time."She makes much more of an impact on the streets of New York, where she gatecrashes the offices of Jennifer Lopez's Sweetface fashion company --and poses for Press pictures in front of a giant image of the fur-loving superstar.The next day's headlines - including Heather v J-Lo: A Day In The Strife - proof that Mrs Macca's tactics do pay off. Next up is a protest outside (and, until she's chucked out, inside, where she puts leaflets in fur coats) a J. Crew store, which she urges shoppers to boycott. And at the end of the programme, it is revealed that three months after this protest, J. Crew removed fur from its American stores.But the relentless campaigning wasn't easy. At one point, Heather says: "It's so hot, my leg is starting to come off."Many have found it easy to mock the Maccas (I can feel my own hands starting to go up here) and sometimes, to be fair, they do make it easy for their critics.For his part, all Paul probably has to do to win more street cred is stop giving his much-ridiculed thumbs-up salute, while his Lady - who,, likeYoko Ono, knows only too well the pitfalls in being with a former mop top - has been advised to tone down her alleged self-righteous shrillness and shrieking.Her critics will probably believe she has given them more ammunition here but, given the disturbing subject matter and her obvious sincerity, determination and strength of purpose, it seems churlish to indulge in petty, personal attacks.And even if people did, you'd just expect her to pull a face and ask: "Am I bovvered?"
Of the Press's possible reaction to her anti-fur trade campaign, she says: "They slate me all the time anyway for doing my charity work, so who cares?"She undoubtedly does care, however - as will millions of viewers - about the trade in fur, not least cat and dog fur (you might wish to cover your eyes when undercover footage from Chinese fur farms is shown).And yet I was left feeling uneasy regarding her boast about the ease with which she - or,, rather, Paul - can access the likes of Tony Blair: "Paul can ring up and get through and he will call back in 10 minutes if he's in the country - and within hours if he's not in the country."As Paul says, no one is Beatleproof."But is this really the way democracy and the lobbying of our politicians and Prime Ministers should work? As in: "Ordinary do-gooders needn't bother calling, but don't hesitate if your name is Macca or Bono.The PM will drop everything for pop stars." And while we hear Heather's manifesto together with opposing views from supporters of the fur trade, what is missing from the film is a face-to-face debate between the two sides.Perhaps no one was brave enough to sit in the same room as Lady Heather Confrontation In Your Face Mills-McCartney ...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Paul McCartney regrets wearing fur

Sir Paul McCartney has berated people who knowingly wear garments made from animal fur.The music legend has also criticised himself for wearing fur in his younger Beatles days, but now realises he made an error in judgement.He explained: “Like most people we didn’t realise when you wore a fur jacket, as John (Lennon) did on the concert tour on the roof of Apple, or as I did in the film Help… you didn’t realise what you were doing by wearing fur.”Wife Heather Mills McCartney added: “If I ever bumped into Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista or Jennifer Lopez, you know, there is no way I would be gentle with them because they’ve been informed time and time again.” The pair are vehemently anti-fur, and frequently protest against cullings of animals including seals and cats for fur.

John Lennon's Schoolbook Fetches $226,150 in London Auction

John Lennon's schoolbook, entitled ``My Anthology,'' fetched 126,500 pounds ($226,150) at a London sale of rock memorabilia last night. Auction house Cooper Owen Plc had set a minimum price of 100,000 pounds for the 12-year- old's scribbles and drawings. ``It is fitting that one of the earliest items from Britain's greatest songwriter has fetched such a significant amount,'' Cooper Owen Director of Acquisitions Ted Owen said in a statement. A 1966 Rickenbacker guitar that once belonged to the Byrds' Roger McGuinn sold for 110,000 pounds. The Beatles had 17 U.K. No. 1 singles, second only to Elvis Presley, who had 21. Experienced buyers tend to seek rare and well-preserved items that illuminate the Beatles' history, according to collectors and dealers. Lennon's schoolbook illustration of ``The Walrus and the Carpenter'' revealed the inspiration behind the Beatles classic, ``I Am the Walrus,'' said Cooper Owen. Lennon, born in Liverpool in 1940, was shot dead outside his New York apartment house in 1980. His handwritten lyrics to the Beatles song ``Nowhere Man'' sold for $455,500 in 2003 at Christie's International, the No. 1 auction house. Surrey, England-based Cooper Owen, which specializes in selling music and film collectibles, held its first sale last year after a revamp of a previous auction house.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More details and pictures of Beatles: Cirque Du Soleil

Go to the Beatles Cirque Du Soleil's new webpage to see more details and pictures of this new extravaganza.

The Beatles: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil

Preview performances begin June 2 for The Beatles LOVE, the latest Cirque du Soleil production which celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles. The Gala Premiere will be held Friday, June 30, 2006. LOVE will be presented exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas. This joint artistic venture marks the first time that The Beatles company, Apple Corps Ltd., has agreed to a major theatrical partnership. The project was born out of a personal friendship and mutual admiration between the late George Harrison and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. LOVE will bring the magic of Cirque du Soleil together with the spirit and passion behind the most beloved rock group of all time to create a vivid, intimate and powerful entertainment experience. Sir George Martin, The Beatles original producer, and his son Giles Martin have been working with the entire archive of Beatles recordings to create the musical component for LOVE. The result is an unprecedented approach to the music for a stage production. "After spending more than 40 years of my life working with The Beatles and their wonderful music, I am thrilled to be working with it once again, on this exciting project with Cirque du Soleil," said Sir George Martin, "The show will be a unique and magical experience." Using the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios, Sir George and Giles have created a unique soundscape for LOVE. "I think we will achieve a real sense of drama with the music, the audience will feel as though they are actually in the theatre with the band. People are going to be knocked out by what they are hearing!" said Giles Martin. Dominic Champagne directed and wrote the original concept for the show which captures the essence of love that John, Paul, George and Ringo inspired during their astonishing adventure together. LOVE evokes the exuberant and irreverent spirit of The Beatles. "When we embarked on this extraordinary adventure in 2002," said Gilles Ste-Croix, Show Concept Creator and Director of Creation, "we set out to create a timeless, three-dimensional evocation of The Beatles music. Drawn from the poetry of the lyrics, we developed a preliminary concept that explored the content of the songs in a series of scenes inhabited by real and imaginary people." The international cast of 60 channels a raw, youthful energy underscored by aerial performance, extreme sports and urban, freestyle dance. LOVE will be presented in a custom-built theatre at The Mirage featuring 360 degrees seating and advanced high definition video projections with 100- foot digital, moving images. The panoramic surround sound system will envelop the audience who will experience The Beatles music like never before... Apple Corps Ltd. is planning to release the album through EMI Music later this year.

Cirque du Soleil Creative Team:

Guy Laliberté - Guide, Show Concept Creator
Dominic Champagne - Director, Show Concept Writer
Gilles Ste-Croix - Director of Creation, Show Concept Creator
Chantal Tremblay - Associate Director of Creation
Jean Rabasse - Theatre and Set Designer
Philippe Guillotel - Costume Designer
Jonathan Deans - Sound Designer
Yves Aucoin - Lighting Designer
Francis Laporte - Video Projection Designer
Hansel Cereza and Dave St-Pierre - Choreographers
Guy St-Amour - Acrobatic & Rigging Designer
Daniel Cola - Acrobatic Performance Designer
Nathalie Gagné - Make-up Designer
Patricia Ruel - Props Designer
Michael Curry - Puppet Designer

Guest Creators:

André Simard - Aerial Acrobatic Designer
Alexis Martin - Dramaturge Consultant
François Pérusse - Comic Audio-clips Designer

For Apple Corps Ltd.:

Sir George Martin - Music Director
Giles Martin - Music Director
Neil Aspinall - Executive Producer

Tickets to LOVE will be on sale at 9:00am April 19.


(*)$150, $125, $99, $69
All preview performances(*) will be discounted 25 percent.

(*)Preview performances for LOVE begin June 2 and run through June 29.
During these performances, the creative team is in the very final stages of production. The audience's reaction and participation is an important step in this process. The artistic direction of LOVE reserves the right to interrupt the performance to make adjustments as necessary.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lennon's sons set for album clash?

Julian and Sean Lennon are set for a new chart battle later this year, after both revealed plans to release albums in 2006. The sons of the late John Lennon had a public battle eight years ago when both released records on the same day. Julian is the son of Cynthia Lennon - John Lennon's first marriage - while Sean is the son of John Lennon and his widow, Yoko Ono. Another clash over release dates is possible later this year. Sean Lennon said: "I'm just finishing the cover design. Then it's up to the record label when it comes out."

Behind-the-scenes tales from Beatles' glory days

Geoff Emerick was 15 years old in 1962 when he began working as an assistant engineer at EMI Studios in London. Talk about timing. On his second day on the job, a new band came in for its first recording session for the label. The band was the Beatles, their sound shook the world, and the kid from North London took it in from ground zero. There have been hundreds of books about the Beatles, but only a handful from insiders. And for seven years, Emerick was a witness to history who worked alongside the Fab Four and producer George Martin on nearly all of their major recordings. The highlights and lowlights are documented in Emerick and Howard Massey's "Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles" (Gotham $26). Emerick said Elvis Costello and other recording artists encouraged him to tell his story. "I wanted to wait for what I felt was the right moment to do it," he said from his Los Angeles home. "It's been building up over the years. It's nearly 44 years." Though Emerick didn't keep a diary during his time with the Beatles, the book is richly detailed, including conversations with and between the bandmates. He tells the back stories behind landmark albums such as "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." "Because of what I was going through, especially working on those sessions, the visual images are so vivid in my mind still," Emerick said. In 1966, at 19, Emerick was promoted to main recording engineer for the Beatles. The band was just starting work on what some critics now consider their greatest album, "Revolver." The very first song Emerick worked on in his new role was John Lennon's "Tomorrow Never Knows." The complex composition, partially based on "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," was a droning, mind-spinning piece of pure psychedelia, light-years ahead of its time. Emerick knew he had his work cut out for him when he heard Lennon tell Martin: "I want my voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop, miles away." Emerick said he was under tremendous pressure. "They said, We don't want it to sound like anything we've ever recorded before.' I thought, well, here we go. But I won John over when we got that sound through the Leslie speaker on his vocal." Emerick's new sounds for the Beatles were revolutionary in an era when studios were simple, and mono still ruled the day. In his foreword to the book, Costello writes: "What makes this memoir so entertaining is that these fabulous inventions and innovations always seemed to be made out of elastic bands, sticky tape and empty cotton reels. It was the stuff of the hobby shop or do-it-yourself enthusiast rather than the computer-assisted boffin." The engineer, who later won the first of four Grammy Awards for his work on "Sgt. Pepper," assesses each man in the band. While he can be excessively giddy in his praise for Paul McCartney (they worked together after the Beatles' breakup) and paints a primarily flattering portrait of Lennon, Emerick portrays Ringo Starr as quiet and mostly bored during the recording sessions. And he's especially tough on George Harrison, panning his pre-1967 songwriting and guitar playing. "George had Paul and John there, writing some of the best songs ever, as we were later to find out," Emerick said, "and he obviously felt he could never match that in this stage. I used to see this vacant look on his face." After the Beatles, Emerick manned the studio for dozens of other artists, including Costello, Kate Bush, Cheap Trick, Jeff Beck and Nellie McKay. He's looking forward to working with the Story, a new band from Cincinnati. Emerick said he misses most the old ways of engineering and still tries to bring something of its creativity into his work.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sir Paul McCartney is paranoid people will forget he was a Beatle

The legendary musician says he worries new fans will only remember him for his later work - and not what he brought to the Fab Four.He confessed to US publication Association of Retired Persons Magazine: 'They say John was the Mozart, Paul was the Salieri. 'Like John was the real genius, and I was just the guy who sang 'Yesterday'. 'People say, 'Paul, people know'. But what about in the future? If this revisionism gets around, a lot of kids will say, 'Did he have a group before Wings?'' Meanwhile, Sir Paul believes John Lennon haunted the recording of the 1995 Beatles single 'Free As A Bird' - in the form of a white peacock. The legend, Ringo Starr and George Harrison posed for a photograph outside the studio where the track was recorded - when the bird wandered in shot at the last minute. He said: 'It was like John was hanging around. Spooky, eh? We felt that all through the recording' McCartney also believes Lennon made his presence felt on the single's B-side. He revealed: 'We put one of those spoof backwards recordings on the end for a laugh. 'Then we were listening it in the studio and it goes, 'zzzwrk nggggwaaahhh jooohn lennnnnon qwwwrk' I swear to God.'

Lennon Anthology Leads Beatles MemorabilIa

A childhood anthology from John Lennon’s schooldays is amongst some 300 lots of pop memorabilia coming up for auction in London later this week. Other items include a letter from the other Beatles to Paul McCartney spelling the end of the group. Watch a video about John Lennon and Beatles memorabilla at this link.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Beatles holding ticket to ride MP3 boom

Signaling an end to the highest-profile holdout in the booming digital music arena, The Beatles are coming to the Internet. The band's business arm, Apple Corps, has confirmed plans to digitally remaster The Beatles' hit-filled catalog and then sell the songs individually online.Signaling an end to the highest-profile holdout in the booming digital music arena, The Beatles are coming to the Internet. The band's business arm, Apple Corps, has confirmed plans to digitally remaster The Beatles' hit-filled catalog and then sell the songs individually online. But don't get out your wallet just yet. The Beatles' work won't be available anytime soon, nor has it been decided which online stores will stock the tunes. The group's intentions were made public this week in written testimony by Apple Corps' managing director, in the firm's trademark lawsuit against Apple Computer. In a statement to the High Court in London, Neil Aspinall acknowledged that Hey Jude, Yesterday, Can't Buy Me Love and the like would, for the first time, be sold in digitally downloadable form upon completion of the remastering project. "I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters," Aspinall wrote. "It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc." "This is not imminent," Apple Corps spokeswoman Elizabeth Freund said. "The only thing we're prepared to say is that we are indeed working on the masters. Where they'll end up, or when, I don't have that information." There were also hints in Aspinall's statement, although no explicitconfirmation, that the remastering will result in new CD versions of The Beatles' albums. "We're remastering the whole Beatles catalog just to make it sound brighter and better, and getting proper booklets to go with each of the packages," he said. After years of foot-dragging along the sidelines of the digital frontier - an unsurprising move for a band that waited until the mid-1980s to convert its catalog to the CD format - The Beatles are shuffling into the online music market during a period of explosive growth. With iPods and other MP3 players now outselling CD players, sales of downloaded songs are booming accordingly: Though US sales of full-length albums were down 7.2 percent last year, the digital singles market grew by 150 percent, with 352.7 million individual songs sold online, according to Nielsen SoundScan. There are some superstar holdouts such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Radiohead, but in recent months multiple big-name acts, including Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, have agreed to sell their full catalogs online. Most recently, the Dave Matthews Band announced a deal with Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store. None of them, however, can match the enormous, enduring popularity of The Beatles, whose entry into the digital sector "removes any shadow of a doubt that digital distribution is going mainstream," said Phil Leigh of market research firm Inside Digital Media. Said Isaac Josephson, an analyst with the NPD Group: "Digital music is all about breadth and depth of content, which means back catalog is going to play an extremely significant role. And you can't have a conversation about back catalog without putting The Beatles at the top of the mix... This is a big win for consumers and for the digital music industry." Then again, said Craig Marks, editor of the music magazine Blender: "I don't think this strikes a great victory for the online music world. I think the online music world has already kind of won." There's no telling exactly, or even approximately, how much digital business The Beatles might do, analysts said - particularly given that the band's music has long been informally available through illegal online file-sharing networks: The Beatles were the fifth most downloaded artists last year, according to NPD Group research. But with some of the most popular songs in the history of recorded music, the band would certainly seem poised to succeed in the singles-driven digital realm, where consumers tend to show an affinity for familiar touchstones. "The Fab Four have always been among the most popular bands online even though they're technically - or legitimately - unavailable online," said Eric Garland, chief executive of the Internet measurement company BigChampagne. "My easy prediction is that The Beatles will sell a lot of songs online, even though seemingly everybody who has access to them has their songs already," Garland said. The decision to finally go digital was apparently made by the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, along with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. Freund, the Apple Corps spokeswoman, declined to elaborate. The Washington Post

Nestlé to buy Linda McCartney

Swiss food giant Nestlé is preparing to buy Linda McCartney, the vegetarian frozen foods business from Heinz. Nestlé owns 50.1% of Israel’s Osem, whose subsidiary Tivall is understood to be readying an offer for Linda McCartney. Tivall already sells similar products as Linda McCartney, like vegetarian sausages and burgers, to British supermarkets Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, and Tesco.A Heinz spokesperson would not comment on any specific approach being made for Linda McCartney, but said: “We continue to explore options to maximise the value of the [frozen food] business.”A source, however, stated that a month ago Heinz had stopped the £200m (E289m, $350m) sale of its frozen food business, which also includes Weight Watchers, because private equity and trade bids came in too low. The source added that some of the periphery frozen food brands, including Linda McCartney, would be sold regardless. The late Linda McCartney, who was married to Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, created her own choice of vegetarian frozen meals in 1991. Heinz acquired the brand in 1999 when it bought the frozen food and chilled business of United Biscuits, which makes Jaffa Cakes and McVitie’s biscuits.Heinz wants to continue to add value to the frozen food assets it intends to keep, by growing them to a position for an eventual sale, sources told The Business. But because consumers have been buying more chilled, ready-prepared microwave meals – in the belief that they are healthier than frozen – the frozen food businesses has suffered declining revenues. Revenues dropped 13% last year for Unilever’s Birds Eye frozen meals division. Unilever is currently selling Birds Eye.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Macca in anti-vivisection campaign

The former Beatle said animal testing was "a holdover from the dark age of medical science".More modern methods are available but many scientists are too unenlightened to use them, he said. Sir Paul has joined forces with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to spearhead an anti-vivisection campaign.And he urged the public to donate their money to health charities which did not test on animals.Peta has blacklisted charities including the British Heart Foundation, the Cancer Research Campaign and the Royal National Institute for the Blind."Sometimes people place too much faith in people in white lab coats and assume that there`s a need for animal testing just because it has been going on for so long," he said."I believe this to be a holdover from the dark age of medical science, and more enlightened scientists nowadays believe they can get more reliable results with more modern methods."Vivisection has long been presented as a solution to health problems, but trying to mimic human diseases in animals is a costly, cruel diversion."If the amount of money poured into animal experimentation was spent instead on prevention, we`d have much better results to show."In the interview, which appears on the Peta website, Sir Paul urged the British Government to explore alternative means of testing."I wish that governments would step into the 21st century and recognise that animal tests are unreliable and cruel," he said."I call upon governments to validate the more modern non-animal tests and move away from torturing our fellow creatures."Sir Paul has been a long-time opponent of animal testing.In 2000 he donated £625,000 to the Arizona Cancer Centre, the US clinic where his late wife Linda was treated, on the proviso that none of the money be used for animal testing.He has continued to campaign for animals with second wife Heather.Last month they travelled to Canada to protest against the country`s annual seal cull.Next month Heather will give a speech to the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation to back claims that drinking cow`s milk may cause breast cancer.

Jackson to Sell Beatles Catalog

Michael Jackson has restructured his finances to avoid declaring bankruptcy, his attorneys said yesterday in a statement. Although the deal's details have not been disclosed, Jackson will reportedly be selling half of his share of the Sony/ATV catalog -- with its significant share of the Beatles' recordings, as well as songs by Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and others -- to Sony Corp., according to the New York Times. Jackson took out a $270 million loan from Bank of America, to continue to fund his wildly expensive lifestyle. The bank then sold the loan to Fortress Investment Group. As Jackson's trial on child molestation charges was about to begin early last year (he was acquitted last summer), his financial advisors reportedly began pressuring the singer to sell a significant share of the Sony catalog on order to pay off his mounting debts.According to the Times' unnamed sources close to the deal, proceeds from Jackson's sale of twenty-five percent of the catalog would go towards paying off Jackson's debt to Fortress, who would in turn offer the pop star a lower interest rate on the loan. Jackson purchased half of the catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million, and it is now valued at $1 billion.Sony has been in negotiations with Jackson and his representatives for some time now to broker a deal that would prevent the artist from declaring bankruptcy. If bankrupt, Jackson's half of the Sony/ATV catalog would be auctioned off, potentially pitting Sony against other companies in an all-out bidding war.After his acquittal in June, Jackson relocated to Bahrain, trailed by rumors of serious financial troubles, and shuttered his Neverland California ranch last month.He is currently at work on a new single with R. Kelly, Wyclef Jean and other artists. No official release date for the single, or a new studio album, has been set.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Davies urges McCartney to go 'extreme'

The Kinks frontman Ray Davies is desperate to see Paul McCartney move away from middle-of-the-road music and produce something extreme.The Waterloo Sunset rocker is convinced the former Beatle is hiding behind a smokescreen and should either strip down his sound or take it to the other end of the spectrum and collaborate with Andrew Lloyd Webber.Davies says: "I'd like to hear him stripped down musically. Then maybe more of him could come through."I still think there's a camouflage there and I don't know whether that's intuitive or planned. I'd like to hear him sound like what he is, one of our great folk heroes. Let's try to restore that."Or he should work with Andrew Lloyd Webber. I really think that is the marriage I am waiting for. Get more real or go that far."

Lennon And McCartney Bail Out Jackson

Keeping Neverland Ranch equipped and running was never a modest financial proposition--lemurs, Tilt-A-Whirls, and child-sized tanning beds cost, after all-- and now Michael Jackson is feeling the strain from years of indulging his enchanted lifestyle. After turning off the Neverland carnival lights for good last month, the $300 million-in-the-hole King of Debt must finally put up his cherished song catalog (including over 200 Beatles tunes) to avoid filing Chapter 11:As part of the new agreement, Fortress has agreed to provide a new $300 million loan and reduce the interest payments Mr. Jackson must make. Under the deal he has been negotiating, Mr. Jackson would agree to provide Sony -- which is co-owner of the Sony/ATV Music catalog with him -- with an option to buy half his stake, or about 25 percent of the catalog, at a set price, according to the people briefed on the deal. Aside from the Beatles songs, the venture has a vast archive including "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan...Interestingly enough, the Jackson-owned Dylan composition could be reinterpreted as a cautionary tale about certain highly inappropriate star/fan interactions high atop the Neverland ferris wheel. Though if it's ironic subtext you are looking for, one needn't go further than that other catalog property, "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Beatles Coming Together Online

It's been a long and winding road, but The Beatles are finally getting online.
Apple Corps, the music company formed by the Fab Four to control their music and business empire, has confirmed plans to digitally remaster the band's entire catalog and, for the first time, make it available for download via online stores. The news surfaced in testimony by Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' former road manager who's now managing director of Apple Corps, in the company's trademark lawsuit against Apple Computers in London. In a written statement submitted earlier this month, Aspinall told the High Court that surviving members Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon (Yoko Ono) and George Harrison (Olivia Harrison) had been taking a wait-and-see approach to Web-based distribution. They decided that before jumping on the online bandwagon--which accounted for a whopping $1.1 billion last year, they wanted to digitally polish the 40-year-old songs. (The Beatles have been famously technology-shy, having waited until the mid-1980s to release their albums on CD.) "We're remastering the whole Beatles catalog, just to make it sound brighter and better and getting proper booklets to go with each of the packages," Aspinall explained. "I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters. It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc." A rep for London-based Apple Corps has confirmed the company is in talks with various Internet music services, but said there was no firm timetable. There was no comment on whether one of those services would be Apple's iTunes Music Store--by far the most popular online service; but given the litigious history between the companies, such a deal might seem like a pipe dream at this point. Apples Corps is claiming that Apple Computers' iTunes violates a 1991 settlement in which the computer company agreed not to go into the music business. Apple Corps claims Apple Computers' logo is too similar. Apple Computers, which was named in honor of the Beatles' company, asserts that the 1991 agreement only covered physical media--like CDs, tapes and records--and did not extend to digital delivery. The trademark trial concluded on Apr. 6 and a ruling is expected later this month. Meanwhile, Daily Variety reports that Apple Corps is working on is remastering a batch of previously unreleased Beatles tunes to be used as background music for a new Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The launch of the show will reportedly be accompanied by the release of an album of "completely new music." Famed Beatles producer George Martin told the trade that the recordings were made during the band's Abbey Road sessions and were relegated to the vaults before being unearthed for the circus project. "I think we will achieve a real sense of drama with the music," Martin said. "The audience will feel as though they are actually in the room with the band." The remastering is being supervised by McCartney and Starr, with Ono and Olivia Harrison ultimately having sign-off powers. The Cirque du Soleil production is expected to debut this summer. No word when the purported album will hit stores. The last time the Beatles reworked old tracks for release was in 1995, when "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" appeared as singles on the group's Anthology collection. This week also saw the release of The Beatles: The Capitol Albums Vol. 2, a four-disc box set featuring the U.S. versions of four mid-1960s Beatles releases--The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! and Rubber Soul. Finally, in related news, Michael Jackson is close to selling off a portion of the Beatles' song catalog to stave off bankruptcy. (While Apple Corps oversees the band's business interests and controls release of Beatles music through EMI, Jackson owns the entire Lennon-McCartney Beatles songbook and oversees use of the actual songs.) Per the New York Times, the erstwhile King of Pop would sell Sony the option to purchase half of his stake in the Beatles catalog in exchange for obtaining a loan that would help him remain solvent. Sony already has a 50 percent stake in the catalog through an earlier deal with Jackson, and if the company exercises its option, it would control 75 percent. Jackson outbid McCartney in 1985 for the rights to the ATV catalog, which includes 251 Lennon-McCartney compositions, paying $48 million. Today, the same catalog is worth an estimated $1 billion.

Michael Jackson May Sell Beatles Songs Stake

Michael Jackson looks set to worm himself out of bankruptcy by refinancing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of loans. The New York Times claims that Jacko may be forced to offer part of the Sony.corp song catalogue. Of course part of this is his famous owning of many The Beatles' songs. The paper says Jacko would need to agree give Sony the option to buy out 25% to 50% of his stake in the songs at a set price.

Lennon 'bed-in' inspires art students

Two Halifax art students are staying in bed all week, in the name of peace and John Lennon. Jody Zinner, a student at NSCAD University, said she was inspired by Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, who staged a "bed-in" for peace in Montreal in 1969. "I remember growing up and hearing about it. It was the ultimate Canadian peace demonstration, in my mind, even though it wasn't two Canadians," she said. Zinner and partner Maggie Boyd have set up a double bed at the Miniseeds gallery on Hollis Street as way to get people thinking about war. "With us entering into Afghanistan more and it getting more serious, a lot of Canadians are really conflicted about their feelings towards that. This is just another great way for them to pause and walk by and think," Zinner said. Lennon and Ono held their first bed-in for peace in an Amsterdam hotel in March 1969. A few months later, they spent a week in a bed at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel.Zinner said the storefront gallery is a great location for the bed-in because people are comfortable dropping in for a visit. She and Boyd even brought along their dog and cat. "We get a lot of people making peace signs. Everybody just walks away grinning," Zinner said. The art students began the bed-in Monday evening and plan to wrap it up on Friday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Magical history tour: The Beatles as the ultimate team

Andrew Sobel, consultant, author and guitarist, like many in the baby boom generation, holds fond memories of Beatlemania, the rage that swept the United States in 1964 after four plucky lads from Liverpool hit this nation’s airwaves and played on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” But what he recalls most is not the hair-shaking and the mediocre lyrics like “I want to hold your hand” and “yeah, yeah, yeah.” It’s not even the screaming teenage girls.It’s the teamwork.In a strategy+business magazine article titled “The Beatles Principles,” Sobel makes the case that the group was not just the best band of our time, it was also “the most successful team of our time,” surpassing any collection of Fortune 500 go-getters assembled to date. “The Beatles were great artists and entertainers,” he wrote, “but in many respects they were four ordinary guys who, as a team, found a way to achieve extraordinary artistic and financial success and have a great time together while doing it.“Every business team can learn from their story.”Even the television stage setup from the band’s first Ed Sullivan appearance, on Feb. 9, 1964, illustrates Sobel’s theme: Ringo Starr’s drum kit was elevated above the stage, which at the time was an unusual arrangement. The result was that he was “as much the center of attention as the other three Beatles.” (Note to young readers: Their names were John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. And they were pretty good, too.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Beatles Catalog To Be Remastered, Offered on iTunes

The Beatles entire back catalog will soon be available for download - but only when each track has been digitally remastered to perfection. Up until now, the Fab Four are one of the few acts to have resisted making their work available at the iTunes Music Store. They were similarly the last stars to release their catalog onto compact disc. But the boss of their record label Apple Corps, Neil Aspinall, revealed the development in London's High Court, where the company is currently battling Apple Computer over its logo. He said, "We're remastering the whole Beatles catalog, just to make it sound brighter and better and getting proper booklets to go with each of the packages. I think it would be wrong to offer downloads of the old masters when I am making new masters. It would be better to wait and try to do them both simultaneously so that you then get the publicity of the new masters and the downloading, rather than just doing it ad hoc."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rolling Stone gives the Beatles 5 out of 5 stars

Check out Rolling Stone magazine giving the Beatles album a 5 out of 5 star rating. Make sure you buy the album tomorrow.

Beatles will release new album to mark opening of Las Vegas extravaganza

An album by the Beatles featuring "completely new music" is in production and will be released to coincide with the first authorised theatrical show of the group's work. After decades of wariness about how to handle their hit legacy on stage, a summer opening in Las Vegas is planned for the extravaganza, with the acrobats of the Cirque du Soleil interpreting the songs.Neil Aspinall, the head of Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label, said the show was an ambitious project with "a huge investment". "It involves the creation, by the re-mixing and re-mastering of the Beatles' recorded performances, of completely new music, which will be featured in the show, and which should lead to the release of the show album." The producers will have the pick of the Beatles' catalogue, which has long been protected. Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the surviving members of the group, are helping to shape the production, but will not appear on stage. Sir George Martin, the producer of the Beatles' records, is overseeing the music. He said that after spending "40 years of my life" working with the Beatles, he was thrilled to be involved in what he imagined would be "a unique and magical experience".However, care is being taken not to make the show a nostalgic run through of the band's number ones, but to reflect their "uniqueness" as a rock phenomenon. The project was initially the idea of George Harrison two years before his death from cancer in 2001. He met Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque, at a party and, after an impromptu rock jam, they became friends. Harrison then saw the Cirque show "O", and became excited about a joint stage production. Laliberte, originally a fire-breathing street performer, said that the Beatles "did with words what we do with images". In the theatre he wanted to mix the magic of his acrobats with the "spirit and passion" of the band to create a "single statement of delight".
The 90-minute show, at the Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip, will be a homecoming of sorts. The band was paid £15,000, with no percentage of the gross, for their last visit, during their 1964 US tour. They performed twice at the Las Vegas convention centre, on a bill with The Righteous Brothers and Jackie De Shannon.Now, their music is back, with the production set for a casino with a volcano that belches fire every 15 minutes after dark. But Apple Corps, formed in 1968 to manage the creative affairs of the band, is keen to avoid tackiness.The company has long refused offers of stage productions. However, this deal was considered too good an opportunity to pass up, with punters willing to pay £143 per ticket for a show.The producers will have access to unreleased archival material, including 200 hours of recorded conversations between the Beatles in the recording studio.Mamma Mia, based on the songs of Abba, is already playing in Las Vegas, as is the Queen musical, We Will Rock You.

Beatles go blue chip

Rockaway music store in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove has been operating for 14 years. Its owner, Scott Johnson, bought most of his stock from the US, where his brothers run two other Rockaway stores – one in Los Angeles, the other in Arizona. "Most of our stuff is under $500. But people will pay big money for cream of the crop," he says. Mr Johnson says people looking to buy items as an investment should choose blue-chip stocks – that is, classic rock paraphernalia such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly, KISS and Elvis Presley – and must buy from reputable dealers. "An investment in something like The Beatles will increase by 5 or 10 per cent in value a year," he says. "But you have to buy at the right price, not an inflated price." He says his price for sellers depends on how "hot" the item is and what the market for it is. "If we think it is going to be hot and will sell quickly, we offer the customer 50 to 60 per cent of the value," he says. "But if we think we might hold on to it for a while, we will offer about one third." Mr Johnson says there are also some artists whose popularity varied – specifically Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson. "Then there are artists that skyrocket today and tomorrow hit rock bottom." He says bad publicity corresponds with value and as such Michael Jackson's stocks have diminished. The best tip Mr Johnson can give collectors is to buy items in mint condition. He says items referred to in the industry as "wrecked but rare" are not valuable. "A beat-up copy will not increase in value. A mint copy will increase five times as fast." Mr Johnson said rare CDs must be from the original label and be the first pressing to be worth a significant amount. "Most people ask about The Beatles. Their albums were reissued about 15 times on vinyl. What's worth most is the first pressing, but it's not an easy one to know." He said one of the most unusual things to come through his store was a collection of Johnny O'Keefe material, owned by the president of the fan club. It included cufflinks, ties, bereavement notices and locks of hair. "If it had been Buddy Holly I would have retired after that," he said. "It would have sold for $50,000 to $100,000. But the J O'K collection only sold for about $4000 all up." In terms of autographs, he says value depends on how early it is, how clearly the signature is and what item it's on. "Autographs are a very sought-after investment." Mr Johnson said Rockaway does valuations but it is better for people to do their own research – through eBay or reference books – so they can avoid paying a fee. "Most people want valuations for insurance. But if you are looking to sell, we will make you an offer and if you think it's fair, take it," he said.

Heather McCartney recovering after leg surgery

Heather Mills McCartney has had an operation on her part- amputated leg - and is now in a wheelchair. The former model, - wife of Beatles legend Paul McCartney - underwent a "revision amputation," which involves re-attaching muscle tissue to her bone, last Monday after experiencing severe pain. The 38-year-old blonde - who has a young daughter, Beatrice, with Sir Paul -is now recovering at home.A spokeswoman for Heather - who lost her leg in a motorbike accident in1993 - is quoted in Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying: "It's amajor operation - but it's been a success. She's in a wheelchair, but out ofhospital...She has been putting off the operation but she couldn't put it off any longer."Heather will be in a wheelchair for the next four weeks and is then likely to need crutches for several weeks.Last year, Heather was left limping in agony after having her false leg wasallegedly knocked off by one of Jennifer Lopez's bodyguards during a furprotest at the star's fashion headquarters.The injury occurred as she stormed into the New York office of the Latindiva's fashion label, Sweetface, which uses fur in its clothing range. During the protest, Heather clashed with the star's security guards and asthey tried to move her out of the building her prosthetic leg twisted andcame loose, leaving Heather writhing in agony.

Don't Forget

I received a sampler copy of Beatles Capitol Records Volume 2 on Saturday and I must recommend to everyone to buy a copy of it. On Capitol Records Volume 2, it has one of my favorite Beatles album Rubber Soul. On Rubber Soul you will hear the classic In My Life, which is one of my favorite Beatles songs. So don’t forget to buy this album tomorrow.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

He brought the fledgling Beatles to Hamburg

And that is what led Fascher, who is now a graying but fit 70-year-old, to emerge at the center of what became Hamburg's moment of glory in the world of pop music.As manager of the brand new Star Club, he brought the Beatles to Hamburg in 1962, when the group was on the cusp of global fame.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Documentary tackles Beatles' contentious breakup

Even younger music buffs are fans of the Beatles. Like their parents-and grandparents-they marvel at how the '60s group's memorable songs have remained fresh and vital to this day. Thus, they rue the group's demise, and wonder how and why it happened.All sorts of theories have been advanced to answer this baffling question. Many versions focus on the "Yoko Ono factor," blaming the Japanese visual and performance artist for "poisoning" John Lennon's mind against the other Beatles.Result But, a recent TV documentary indicates that the group's breakup was the result of a more complex skein of factors:From the very start of the Beatles' spectacular musical career, the relationship between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr was characterized by a volatile but productive creative rivalry.More specifically, John and Paul were engaged in a constant "friendly battle" to see who could come up with the best original songs.John held the preeminent position in the group, Paul kept pushing him due to his exceptionally productive output when it came to coming up with original songs.In the long run, this potential source of conflict benefited the group, because it pressured John to be similarly productive as a composer.Fueled by the great new songs penned by John and Paul, the Beatles surged to the top of the pop and rock scene, exciting millions throughout the world with their songs' memorable tunes and lyrics.Indeed, the Beatles' songs eventually defined their generation-and decades afterwards, continue to delight music lovers belonging to different generations.So, why did the Beatles' amazing upward trajectory eventually self-destruct? Their creative rivalry turned into a destructive force when their manager, Brian Epstein, died.Power vacuum A power vacuum opened up, and John and Paul had different ideas for filling it. John wanted Alan Klein to step into Brian's shoes, but Paul pushed the group to hire his father-in-law. John won that battle, but it divided the group.In addition, Brian's death pushed John into a deep depression that caused him to stop being the group's leader. Paul stepped into the breach to keep the group together, but George and Ringo periodically got ticked off with the new arrangement.The next bone of contention was that infamous "Yoko Ono factor," which caused John to turn even more inward and to further distance himself from the group.The rift became even more pronounced when Sir Lew Grade made an offer to purchase the Beatles' publishing empire. Reports have it that Paul secretly bought more shares in the group's holding company, and John was incensed when he found out about this underhanded move.Official announcement Paul then announced that he would no longer perform as a Beatle, and John got even angrier because it was his decision to break up the group, so he wanted to be the one to make the official announcement regarding this momentous move.The case reached the courts, where all of the Beatles' "dirt" came out, further souring its members' interrelationships.Then, in 1980, John was shot dead. This radically changed the situation because "it instantly turned John into an angel, and Paul into a devil."The impression was created that Paul was "second-rate" compared to John-and Paul "had to fight with John's ghost for his rightful place."These days, Paul has reasserted himself as an exceptional musical artist in his own right. As for the Beatles' legacy, the documentary concludes with the observation that both John and Paul have become musical icons whose songs have transcended the teapot tempests of the past. -Beatles forever!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Doherty: "The new Lennon"

Pete Doherty has compared himself to John Lennon, claiming he is the most significant rock star on the planet.The Babyshambles star reportedly made the brave boast after a show in an Austrian porn club this week, where he also revealed he is to marry on/off girlfriend Kate Moss.Speaking after the gig to gathered media, Doherty apparently commented: "The new Lennon - I like that. "Honestly, I am the most important rock star now. And you will hear lots of great songs from me in the near future," he claimedAs reported yesterday, the former Libertine also told reporters he and Moss will marry later in the year at a ceremony in a Scottish castle.

Band revolutionizes tributes to the Beatles

Four guys who can remember the Beatles' first performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" spend every night of their working lives trying to recreate that feeling. It's a natural thing, said Tim Piper, 49, who will portray John Lennon in the show "Revolution: The Band That Goes Beyond Beatlemania" on Friday at Jackson Community College's Potter Center. Piper said he's taking advantage of his resemblance to Lennon and a lifelong love for the Beatles' music. "We grew up with it, so I think we kind of understand (the music)," he said. "I just took it into my professional life and made a career out of it." He and the other band members -- his brother, Greg Piper, as George Harrison; Jim Neil as Paul McCartney; and Les Perez as Ringo Starr -- have been part of a number of "tribute bands." Tim Piper said the trend got started in the late 1970s, when "Beatlemania" became a hit on Broadway. "That kind of made everyone realize you can go out and make a living doing this," he said. "I thought, I can do that -- maybe even better." Piper put his own version together and began national tours in the late 1980s, he said. It appeals to both older and younger fans, he said. "For older people, it's a way for them to go back in time, relive moments that they experienced firsthand," he said. "Music does that for people ! it's going to put you back in a place in your history. "For younger people, it's a bit of a history lesson -- a physical way of trying to explain what it was like." Piper said it is difficult for younger people to understand how revolutionary the Beatles were, musically and culturally. "Even my own kid, (he has a 13-year-old son), he's fascinated. ! (But) to see this kind of social and musical change all at the same time, you had to be there. ! They're just not going to get what that meant (when) guys wore crewcuts and girls, god forbid they should wear jeans." What they will get, Piper said, is the music. "I think the great thing about the Beatles, compared to lots of other groups, they had so much range and so much depth," he said. The band takes the audience through the evolution of the Beatles' music, from the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" days to "Rubber Soul" to "Sgt. Pepper" and beyond. But, Piper said, the group tries to do more than get the notes and costumes right. "I think the reason we're popular in what we do, I really believe in my heart we put across the spirit of the group," he said.
Piper considers himself a Beatles historian. "I've got every book and every film," he said. He's met Lennon's sons, Julian and Sean, as well as McCartney and Starr. "It's a great gift to be able to have your hobby, something you would do anyway, be your vocation," he said.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Beatles: Clueless about technology

The Beatles' longtime Geoff Emerick says that during the recording of their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album the group was pretty clueless as to the magic that he was performing. Emerick has just published his memoirs, Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording The Music Of The Beatles. In 1967 he won the first Grammy for Best Engineered Rock Album, for his work on Sgt. Pepper, and explained in the book that he frequently dealt with requests from the group to make their guitars sound like pianos, or to make their vocals sound as if they were being sung underwater.Emerick told us that beyond the band requesting these ground-breaking techniques, they were clueless as to how he and producer George Martin achieved them: "They never realized what we were doing. As you know most of the tracks were constructed down in that studio, 'Cause while they were doing that, it gave me the time -- the luxury of time -- to think up ideas and how to record different instruments in a different way and get different sounds. But, they were never really aware of what we were doing, I don't think." Emerick who had worked on most of the Beatles' albums prior to 1966, became their chief engineer at the start of the group's work on their Revolver album in the spring of that year. He engineered many of the group's biggest hits, including "Paperback Writer," "Eleanor Rigby," "Yellow Submarine," "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "All You Need Is Love," "Lady Madonna," "Come Together," "Something" and many more. After the group split in 1970, Emerick continued to work for Paul McCartney throughout the years, earning the Grammy for Best Engineered Rock Album for his work on McCartney's 1973 Band On The Run album.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

McCartney Offers Cobain/Love Daughter Internship

Sir Paul McCartney's designer daughter Stella has offered the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love an internship at her New York store. The kind-hearted 34-year-old knows what it's like to grow up with famous parents, and so decided to give 13-year-old Frances Bean the summer (06) job. An insider tells British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, "Stella knows how difficult it can be to have famous parents, so she's keen to help out Kurt and Courtney Love's daughter in any way she can."Frances is 13 and dreams of a career in fashion, so this ought to be an interesting experience for her." Nirvana frontman Cobain killed himself in 1994.

Apple boss 'admitted' taking name from Beatles

The latest round in the 25 year battle between Apple Corps, the Beatles' music company, and US giant Apple Computer brought a claim on Monday that the latter has admitted taking its name from the former.The claim was made in the High Court in London, which is hearing a case over the computer company's use of the name and logo on its iTunes music store. In a witness statement made available on Monday, Neil Aspinall, the Beatles' former road manager who now runs Apple Corps, maintains that Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive of Apple Computer, once told him the US company had actually been named after Apple Corps. Mr Aspinall said he could not remember exactly when the conversation took place. But it happened during discussions on a proposal for a website proposal aimed at helping to promote The Beatles 1 album six years ago. "I have enjoyed good relations with Mr Jobs over the years, and I was not surprised that he told me this," Mr Aspinall told the court. Mr Aspinall's account is at odds with some of the perceived wisdom.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Apple Says Beatles' Agreement Narrow

Apple Computer Inc. argued that surviving members of the band are losing out on opportunities while their company Apple Corps refuses to license The Beatles' songs to iTunes. The company also argued that a 1991 agreement allows the computer company to broadcast. The U.K. High Court case marks the third time the music company has sued Apple Computer in territorial disputes. The first two lawsuits were settled out of court with cash payments and an agreement about what exactly the two Apple-named companies can market.Apple Corps formed by The Beatles nearly 40 years ago. Band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, own the music company. Apple Computer formed in 1976 and is owned by Steve Jobs, who has said he is a fan of The Beatles. In addition to sharing the word "Apple" as the main component of their names, the companies each use an image of an apple as their logo. Apple Corps claims the computer company agreed 15 years ago to stay out of the music business, while the computer company claims that iTunes sells digital files and therefore doesn't infringe on an agreement it characterizes as "narrow." A woman at Apple Corps' offices referred reporters to a phone number for a media relations company where no one answered Monday. Apple Corps appears to be using the fact that iTunes sells exclusive music online to build its case. The trial is expected to end this week.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Yoko's Sexy Bed-In With The Beatles

The beatles' sound engineer Geoff Emerick still chuckles when he recalls the sight of Yoko Ono bedridden at Abbey Road studios - because she wore her sexiest bedroom attire in front of the Fab Four. John Lennon set up a bed for his girlfriend in the studio while he was recording Abbey Road after Ono was injured in a car accident. Many fans still believe the act was the beginning of the end for the group - but Emerick insists it was just hilarious.He laughs, "She became part of the furniture. She could've been hanging from the ceiling in the bed; we just took it in stride. "It was a big Harrods bed with white painted brass headboards. She was in bed in the studio in her negligee, wearing a black band to hide the scar from the accident. "We saw the funny side of it but, by then, nothing surprised us."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Cynthia Lennon shares John's story from her side

Like the woman who helps put her young husband through college only to be abandoned once he's become a success, Cynthia Lennon was there for husband John when he was a struggling musician trying to get his 1950s Liverpool band, the Quarrymen, noticed. Then John and three friends formed a little group called the Beatles. For the next 10 years - from "Love Me Do" to LSD, from Ed Sullivan to the Maharishi - Cynthia Lennon was there. And then she was gone, consigned, in her own words, "to a brief walk-on part in John's life."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Myspace Page for The Beatles Vol. 2

Capitol just setup a Myspace page for The Beatles Vol. 2. It has a few songs and some info from the release.

Monk Meets the Beatles

For years it was rumored that Thelonious Monk was asked to do an album of Beatles tunes, but now we finally have proof that it was actually made. In the summer of 1971, the pianist was approached by an English businessman to make a record of Beatles tunes as a surprise birthday gift for his wife. Monk was hesitant to record adaptations of rock music, but was finally persuaded by the considerable fee offered to him, with the stipulation that only a single copy was to be pressed. Monk played approximately twenty songs at home over a two-week period, then selected twelve he felt he could adapt. During a day off while in Great Britain as a part of the Giants of Jazz tour, he completed the recording in a single session. Over thirty years after the recording was made, the Monk estate was asked about the possibility of commercially releasing this long-lost album. The master tapes, still in the hands of the session engineer, were found to be in excellent shape. After some lengthy negotiations, it was agreed that a limited edition of 5000 would be sold, though it would be issued by a European label. Unlike many warmed-over jazz treatments of rock songs recorded during the 1960s, Thelonious Monk obviously took his rehearsals of these unfamiliar songs seriously. Monk’s choice of “Birthday” is an appropriate opener, played as a brisk stride arrangement with a dissonant countermelody. The pianist has a bit of fun with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by initially starting off with an angular chorus of Mary Lou Williams’ “In the Land of Oo-Blah-Dee.” One of the most unlikely choices would seem to be “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” but Monk interprets it as a slow ballad, incorporating some humorous tremolos and revealing its hidden possibilities. “Yesterday” has long since become a jazz standard, though Monk’s version is both bittersweet and hilarious, partly because of his closing glissando cascading down the keyboard. The CD concludes with a whimsical take of “When I’m Sixty-Four,” followed by a single chorus of Monk’s theme song, “Epistrophy.” The only US source for Monk Meets the Beatles, expected to become a collector’s item, is To purchase the recording, click here.

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