miércoles, 30 de noviembre de 2016

How Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr Survived the ‘80s

Image result for How Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr Survived the ‘80s
Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Starkey (anthology times)

How Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr Survived the ‘80s
By Bryan Wawzenek

beatles in the 80s pic

By the time the ’80s arrived, the Beatles had been broken up for a decade. All four members – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – had embarked on successful careers as solo artists or, in McCartney’s case, with his new band Wings.
Yet, the shadow of the boys’ former band continued to loom large. The ’70s had seen the release of numerous Beatles compilations, stage musicals and whatever the Bee Gees’ Sgt. Pepper movie was supposed to be. All the while, the entertainment press continued to theorize about a possible Fab Four reunion … someday.
That kind of talk was silenced at the beginning of the ’80s. Not long after recording and releasing Double Fantasy (following a five-year hiatus from the music industry), Lennon was shot dead outside his New York City apartment on Dec. 8, 1980. Fans recoiled in shock and horror at Lennon’s murder. His former bandmates were stunned by the news. Lennon was 40.
In a way, Lennon’s death was the impetus for a reunion of the living Beatles members. While dealing with the passing of his friend, Harrison rewrote the lyrics to a song-in-progress to reflect his feelings about Lennon. The track, called “All Those Years Ago,” ended up featuring Starr on drums and McCartney on backing vocals – marking the first time since 1970 that those three Beatles had played on the same recording. Released in May 1981, the single hit No. 2 in the U.S. McCartney recorded his own Lennon tribute, “Here Today,” the following year.

With McCartney, Harrison and Starr firmly in middle age in the early ’80s, the former Beatles were charting new territory in rock ’n’ roll. Although rock pioneers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard had continued to record and perform, only Elvis Presley had maintained an A-list profile into his third decade in the public eye. And now he was gone. Along with contemporaries Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, the ex-Beatles were trying to balance being elder statesmen and relevant artists in the ’80s.
At the dawn of the MTV era, McCartney fared best. A year before the music video network launched, he released a video for the hit “Coming Up,” featuring appearances only by himself and his wife Linda, who impersonated some of their favorite musicians. Disbanding Wings in 1981, McCartney threw his creative energy into solo recordings (helmed by Beatles producer George Martin), along with some famous collaborations. McCartney teamed up with Stevie Wonder for “Ebony and Ivory,” the soft-rock plea for racial harmony that topped the charts around the world (although not in South Africa, where such a message was banned during Apartheid).
McCartney’s duets with Michael Jackson ended up being even more fruitful, resulting in “The Girl Is Mine” (on Jackson’s Thriller), “Say Say Say” and “The Man” (on McCartney’s Pipes of Peace). Both “The Girl Is Mine” and “Say Say Say” became massive hit singles, while the latter earned heavy rotation on MTV.
The clip for “Say Say Say” helped introduce storyline and cinematic production values to the music video, something that Jackson would expand on with “Thriller.” Not only would Jackson one-up McCartney in the music video, he would soon own the publishing rights to McCartney’s Beatles material when he purchased ATV Music Publishing in 1985.

Although McCartney had success with MTV, he struggled when it came to long-form film projects. 1984’s Give My Regards to Broad Street, a movie depicting a fictionalized day in McCartney’s life, was a box-office flop. Movie critic Roger Ebert declared, “You can safely skip the movie and proceed directly to the soundtrack,” which contained reworked versions of Beatles songs and was a considerable hit. The soundtrack also featured Starr, who played himself in the movie. The feature film was the latest in a string of disappointments for the drummer.
The early and mid-’80s had not been kind to Starr. After releasing seven albums in the ’70s (with a little help from his ex-Beatle friends), Starr recorded only two LPs in the next decade. His commercial fortunes were so dismal, he was dropped by RCA and neglected to land a label to release Old Wave in either the U.S. or U.K. (despite being produced by Joe Walsh and featuring contributions from Eric Clapton and John Entwistle). A country album that he planned to make in Memphis fell apart before it could be completed.
Starr couldn’t get a record made, but that didn’t mean he disappeared completely. He stayed visible by doing commercials in Europe and appearing as a special guest on charity concerts and singles. He also joined Harrison on a TV tribute to Carl Perkins. His most successful venture of the ’80s might have had nothing to do with music at all. Starr narrated the popular U.K. children’s television series Thomas & Friends, also giving voices to the locomotive and human characters that inhabit the Island of Sodor. When Thomas-mania invaded the U.S. in 1989, in the form of PBS’s Shining Time Station, he took the role of Mr. Conductor for the show’s first year.

While Starr was forced away from the rock ’n’ roll limelight, Harrison chose to slow his musical output to spend more time with his family (an effect of Lennon’s murder). Unsure how he fit in with the new musical trends, Harrison focused on his film production company, HandMade Films, which had been hastily assembled to produce Monty Python’s Life of Brian in 1979. In the ’80s, Harrison produced such movies as Time Bandits, Withnail and I and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.
After a five-year break between solo albums, Harrison teamed up with ELO’s Jeff Lynne in to begin work on 1987’s Cloud Nine. The title effectively summarized Harrison’s replenished enthusiasm for music, and his efforts resulted in commercial success and critical praise.
The glossy album found Harrison working with old friends (Lynne, Starr, Clapton and Elton John) on new tunes, including a song (and video) that reflected on Beatlemania: “When We Was Fab.” But the big smash was the chart-topping cover of Rudy Clark’s bouncy “Got My Mind Set on You.” At a time when Starr couldn’t get a record made and McCartney could no longer land an MTV hit, Harrison re-emerged as a pop star with videos and songs in near-constant rotation.
At the same time of Harrison’s solo success, the Beatles’ catalog was issued on compact disc for the first time, bringing the band’s music to a new medium and into a new era. It was more significant than a mere format change. EMI/Capitol’s choice of the U.K. editions of Beatles albums (with the exception of the U.S. edition Magical Mystery Tour) for the CD releases streamlined the band’s oeuvre and forever changed how new generations would perceive their art.
The three surviving Beatles appeared to be on course for another reunion when it was announced that the band would be inducted into the, relatively new, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Fans hopes of a performance or just an opportunity to see the three lads on stage together were dashed when McCartney refused to attend. He released a statement about not wanting to be a hypocrite in the middle of “business disagreements” he had with the other members, as well as Yoko Ono (who represented Lennon, along with sons Julian and Sean).
The acceptance speech was far from the celebratory affair it could have been, with Harrison saying, “It’s hard, really, to stand here supposedly representing the Beatles … what’s left, I’m afraid” while Starr made drunken references to Muhammad Ali and “Octopus’s Garden.”

Later in 1988, Starr would get help for his alcohol problem. He and wife Barbara Bach both checked into an Arizona detox clinic, a move that Starr credited with rejuvenating his life and work. The following year, he put together Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band as a touring outfit that included Beatles associate Billy Preston and old buddy Walsh, along with Nils Lofgren, Dr. John, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Jim Keltner and Clarence Clemons. The group played Beatles tunes, Starr songs and selections made famous by other members of the band – setting a precedent for all All-Starr Bands that have followed. At the end of the ’80s, he was sober, steady and successful.
McCartney also found himself back on the road, for the first time in 10 years, as the decade drew to a close. The massive world tour was to promote Flowers in the Dirt, a pop-leaning comeback album. After diminishing creative and commercial returns on his solo records, McCartney had injected some new energy into the album-making process by co-writing songs with Elvis Costello (some of which appeared on their respective 1989 albums). He compared the process to working with Lennon.
The album was greeted warmly, but the year-long tour was met with fervor, as McCartney put together a new band to perform solo hits, Wings cuts and Beatles classics – the last in a way he had never fully embraced until this point. In embracing his Beatles past, McCartney had launched one of the biggest tours of the decade

As McCartney and Starr were forming bands for touring purposes, Harrison joined a new group under a different set of circumstances. Because of a lunch meeting, a call to Dylan and a trip to Tom Petty’s house to get a guitar, the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys came into being. The lineup certainly rivaled the All-Starr band, with Harrison, Lynne, Dylan, Petty and Roy Orbison all participating. The rock veterans quickly recorded their debut album in 1988, which just as quickly shot up the charts and went multi-platinum. In an era dominated by Madonna and George Michael, the surprise hit came from a bunch of old dudes.
Given Lennon’s tragic death, as well as the personal and professional struggles of the other Beatles, the ’80s were far from a kind era. But the three surviving members exited in a stronger position than which they had entered the decade. From these vantage points, each Beatle would be able to thoroughly investigate their collective past for the wave of Beatles nostalgia that would arrive in the ’90s.

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martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Lennon, McCartney and New Orleans: The Beatles reunion that almost happened

Lennon, McCartney and New Orleans: The Beatles reunion that almost happened
By Mike Scott
The Times-Picayune 
on November 28, 2016

Paul McCartney's recording session in 1975 with Allen Toussaint (at piano) at Sea-Saint Studio was the event most symbolic of New Orleans' re-entry into the music world, a highly visible reminder recordings were being made in New Orleans again. (Times-Picayune file)

When most people think of The Beatles and New Orleans, they think of 1964 and the Fab Four's one and only concert in the Crescent City, which took place before a swooning crowd -- kept at bay by a swarm of uniformed, tackle-happy NOPD officers -- at City Park Stadium. But just more than 10 years after that brief but eternal half-hour set, the city came tantalizingly close to hosting another Beatles milestone, in the form of a reunion of none other than John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

That meeting, for which much of the music world had been hoping since the legendary band's 1970 dissolution, never actually happened, of course. But the story behind that near-miss, that almost-history, that elusive happily-ever-after is nicely laid out in author Richard White's book "Come Together: Lennon & McCartney in the Seventies" ($18.95, paperback, Overlook Omnibus). It's a fascinating tale, and one that can be counted on to leave fans of music and of New Orleans wondering wistfully about what could have been.

As the title suggests, White's densely written and painstakingly researched book focuses on Lennon and McCartney's often acrimonious post-Beatles period, which he covers in the sort of detail -- with frequent but still interesting tangents thrown in -- that music lovers will lap up eagerly. While much of it involves the pulling together of previously reported material, it is pulled together nicely, as White takes bits and pieces of various interviews and memoirs to construct a telling and cohesive whole.

Who are those clowns? Paul and Linda McCartney, that's who. They're pictured on Mardi Gras 1975. The two were in town recording the album 'Venus & Mars' with their band Wings. (Photo by Sidney Smith)

At the same time, "Come Together" isn't without its share of fresh insights, including from New Orleans musical legend Allen Toussaint, who discussed with White his work on "Venus and Mars," the album McCartney recorded with his band Wings in New Orleans in early 1975. (Toussaint died in November 2015, as White's book was in the final stages of publication.)

The bulk of White's "Come Together" is set in New York and Los Angeles, with some London happenings sprinkled in. But the meat of the book is that "Venus and Mars" recording session, which played out over about five weeks in January and February 1975 at Sea-Saint Studios on Clematis Avenue -- and which was the event that almost reunited the songwriting world's most celebrated duo.

White chronicles the session in the book's fourth and final section, titled simply "New Orleans" and running a brief but absorbing 59 pages.

'Come Together: Lennon & McCartney in the Seventies'
The cover for the paperback release of Richard White's 'Come Together: Lennon & McCartney in the Seventies,' which includes details of a reunion between the two former Beatles that almost took place in New Orleans. (Overlook Omnibus)

The scene begins in New York City, where McCartney and wife Linda -- on their way from London to New Orleans for that "Venus and Mars" session -- stopped in to visit Sir Paul's old songwriting partner. After dinner at a local restaurant with Lennon and then-girlfriend May Pang, the four returned to Lennon's Big Apple apartment, where McCartney revealed he was headed to New Orleans to record. "We'd like you to meet us there," he told Lennon.

There wouldn't be any pressure to actually record together, though. After all, exactly one week before McCartney's arrival in New Orleans, British courts had severed the last of the legal links tying the Beatles together. Rather, it was pitched as merely a hang session as much as anything else, an opportunity to reconnect personally after that very public, and at times ugly, divorce.

At the same time, McCartney knew full well that Lennon had always wanted to spend some quality time kicking around the birthplace of jazz. A decade earlier, when they had come to New Orleans to play for that City Park crowd, the lads had scheduled a day off in the hopes of exploring the stomping grounds of so many of their R&B musical influences. A too-good-to-pass-up offer to add a date in Kansas City saw those plans scratched at the last minute, however.

Upon arriving in Kansas City on the day after their New Orleans show -- on what would have been a rare day off -- the band was asked at a press conference if there were any places in the United States they'd like to see. Without hesitation, an apparently regretful Lennon responded, "New Orleans is one of them."

Now, all these years later, McCartney figured he'd give Lennon the chance, according to White's telling. And if the city's fertile musical scene bore a creative reunion? Well, so much the better, as far as Sir Paul was concerned.

"McCartney's premise for his old partner's visit to Sea-Saint was: come down and visit us, and watch us record," White writes. "Having already spent two weeks in the Crescent City, Paul would happily welcome John back into the creative fold. Pang was convinced that if Lennon reached Louisiana, something new could be initiated. She also felt sure that McCartney would do the rest and bring Lennon back into the studio. It's possible that Paul, and John, too, privately anticipated an opportunity to play, write or even record together again."

Paul McCartney costumes as a clown on Mardi Gras 1975. The former Beatle was in town recording the album 'Venus & Mars' with his band Wings. (Photo by Sidney Smith)

If Lennon and McCartney were to record together again, the thinking goes, a full-on Beatles reunion bringing in former bandmates Ringo Starr and George Harrison couldn't have been far behind.

According to Pang, writing in her own memoir, Lennon was indeed open to the idea, both of working with McCartney again and of heading down South to New Orleans. "He kept bringing up the trip," Pang said, "and each time he mentioned it, he grew more enthusiastic."

It's there that White's narrative splits into two, and that a long-awaited Beatles reunion was scuttled by circumstance.

One side of the narrative focuses on McCartney's extended stay in New Orleans, which is covered in colorful detail, from the band's riverboat press conference to their stay at Chartres Street's Le Richelieu Hotel to the regular parade of lookyloos that routinely turned up Sea-Saint, hoping to get a glimpse of a musical legend.

"Paul was so at ease with everyone," said one such lookyloo, local fan Gina Fontana. "He didn't rush things at all. He signed autographs and posed for pictures. He kept making all these cute faces. He had the McCartney charm on full blast."

Also included are fantastic details of the session itself, as well as descriptions of the influence of the local music scene on McCartney, which is perhaps most evident in the song "My Carnival," recorded as part of the session. ("My Carnival" didn't make it on the original "Venus and Mars" release, although it was included as a bonus track on later pressings, as well as a B-side to McCartney's 1985 tune "Spies Like Us.")

Paul McCartney in New Orleans
A article from the Jan. 18, 1975, edition of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans announcing the arrival of Paul McCartney, who come to town for an extended stay with his band Wings to record the album 'Venus & Mars.' (File image)

The other narrative, though -- and, as it turns out, the more consequential of the two, at least from a Beatles fan's perspective -- played out in New York. Featuring a cast of supporting characters that includes the likes of David Bowie, Art Garfunkel and others, it centers on Lennon's serious consideration of McCartney's offer to travel to New Orleans, and then his reconsideration of it, apparently at the behest of a villain familiar to Beatles fans.

As it turns out, days before Lennon and Pang were to pack for New Orleans, a call from the other woman in Lennon's life -- his wife, Yoko Ono -- came through. She wanted him to pay her a visit at their apartment at The Dakota in New York. It was something about a cure for his nicotine addiction. He agreed to stop by for what he assured Pang would be a short visit, a few hours at most.

What happened next is cloudy, but here's the gist: Lennon would return to Ono and The Dakota, and he would stay there. He would also pull the plug on any plans to travel to New Orleans for the Sea-Saint session.

Lennon and McCartney remained friends, though, with Paul dropping in on John repeatedly during his stopovers in New York. In subsequent years, they both talked publicly about the prospect of a Beatles reunion -- as did everyone -- but it never materialized.

The opportunity had passed. The Sea-Saint session in New Orleans would be the closest Lennon and McCartney would ever come to collaborating creatively again. As Lennon wrote in his song "God," the dream was over.

An article from the Feb. 14, 1975, edition of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans about former Beatle Paul McCartney being mistaken by a local for John Lennon. (File image)

Former Beatle John Lennon, circa 1971. Lennon was invited by former songwriting partner Paul McCartney to attend a recording session in 1975 at New Orleans' Sea-Saint Studios. Lennon had reportedly decided to take him up on the offer initially, which could have led to a Beatles reunion, but he apparently changed his mind at the last minute. (AP Photo, File)

Who are those clowns? Paul and Linda McCartney, that's who. They're pictured on Mardi Gras 1975. The two were in town recording the album 'Venus & Mars' with their band Wings. (Photo by Sidney Smith)

Paul McCartney dresses as a clown on Mardi Gras 1975. The former Beatle was in town recording the album 'Venus & Mars' with his band Wings. (Photo by Sidney Smith)

A article from the Jan. 18, 1975, edition of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans announcing the arrival of Paul McCartney, who come to town for an extended stay with his band Wings to record the album 'Venus & Mars.' (File image)

An article from the Feb. 15, 1975, edition of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans about the theft of photos of former Beatle Paul McCartney, who was in town recording the album 'Venus & Mars' with the band Wings. (File image)

Ernie K-Doe with Linda and Paul McCartney, March 24, 1975, following the recording of the Wings album 'Venus & Mars' in New Orleans. (File image)

An article from the Feb. 9, 1975, edition of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans about former Beatle Paul McCartney recording the album 'Venus & Mars' in town with his band Wings. (File image)


From famous faces to yours

Bid to win your favourite celebrity specs on eBay. Bidding is open until Monday 5 December 2016.

Specs Appeal gives you the chance to own a pair of glasses donated by some of the most famous faces around, from Daniel Radcliffe, David Walliams, Emma Watson, Ringo Starr and Rita Ora, to Stephen Fry, Chris Froome, Kate Moss, will.i.am, Meryl Streep and many more.

Thanks to the generous celebrity donations we have more than 120 pairs of specs up for grabs.

(Auction ends 12 midday PST, 3pm EST and 8pm GMT)

Good luck!


The money raised through Specs Appeal will help us continue our work in places like Uganda, where your donations have helped saved the sight of many young children, including six-year-old Criscent.

Follow Criscent’s story here

Criscent, 6, having an eye test publicising Specs Appeal by Sightsavers and eBay
Criscent getting tested for his new specs


As worn by Ringo Starr - Daniel Hunter for Rem vintage 80's glasses

Current bid:US $365.00

100 % of the sale of this item will benefit Sightsavers International, Inc.
Sightsavers works to eliminate avoidable blindness and promote inclusion for people with disabilities in 30 of the world's poorest countries. www.sightsaversusa.org

Item description

As worn by Ringo Starr - Daniel Hunter for Rem vintage 80s glasses  

Bid for a once in a lifetime chance to get a pair of Ringo Starr's glasses. These 1980s Daniel Hunter 145'2 glasses are no longer available to buy. They have classic red frames and tinted red lenses. Once owned by and worn Ringo Starr! 

An ideal gift for fans of Ringo and world famous band The Beatles, these glasses include a rare signed case. 

Comes with an exclusive signed message from Ringo which reads: "I'm supporting Specs Appeal because...I can + I want to HELP. Peace and Love. Ringo". 

Ringo Starr is famously known as one of the Beatles. With nine Grammys and a countless number ones he is one of the biggest pop and rock stars of the last 50 years. 

All profits from the auction will go to Sightsavers, an international development charity working in more than 30 countries to eliminate avoidable blindness and promote equality for people with disabilities.

lunes, 28 de noviembre de 2016

George Harrison Is Still Classic Rock’s Best-Kept Secret

George Harrison Is Still Classic Rock’s Best-Kept Secret
Overshadowed during his life by his role in the world’s biggest band, The Quiet One was so much more than just the Beatles—he was classic rock’s best-kept secret.

It’s been 15 years since cancer took the life of singer-songwriter George Harrison, the former lead guitarist of the Beatles who would go on to become a successful solo star, and a symbol of spirituality and higher awareness amongst mainstream rockers of his generation. That latter part of his legacy often gets overshadowed by the former; the phenomenon of that group is a well-documented double-edged sword, but nowhere is it more obvious than in the case of “The Quiet One” who famously hated the experience of being in one of the most scrutinized and overhyped musical acts in history.
And in Harrison’s case, being a Beatle made him undoubtedly rich and famous, but he was creatively stifled by the group’s dynamic and the fame that came along with it. And he never got to showcase his all-around skill set within the context of that band.
“I wasn't Lennon or I wasn't McCartney. I was me,” Harrison told BBC-1 interviewer David Wigg in 1969. “And the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, well if they can write them, I can write them. You know, 'cuz really, everybody can write songs if they want to. If they have a desire to and if they have sort of some musical knowledge and background. And then it's by writing them the same as writing books or writing articles or painting—the more you do it, the better or the more you can understand how to do it. And I used to just write songs. I still do. I just write a song and it just comes out however it wants to. And some of them are catchy songs like ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and some of them aren't, you know. But to me there’s just songs and I just write them and some will be considered as good by maybe the masses and some won’t. But to me they’re just songs, things that are there that have to be got out."
His initial connection with Indian music and culture came via the unfortunate Help!, the Beatles’ tacky 1965 spoof film that featured a storyline about an evil “Indian cult” that was both daftly racist and staggeringly unfunny. Despite that dubious starting point, Harrison’s devotion to the culture and religion would become a hallmark of his life. He’s often praised for introducing western pop audiences to sitar music via his “Indian songs” on Beatles albums, but by 1968, Harrison had decided that he would be better suited to allow the art and culture to speak for itself. He revealed in 1977 that he’d been inspired to put down the sitar after an encounter with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix reignited his passion for the guitar.

“We stopped in New York and checked in a hotel, and Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton were both at the same hotel,” Harrison told Crawdaddy magazine, explaining that Clapton would end up giving him a new Les Paul. “And that was the last time I really played the sitar like that.”
Instead, Harrison would produce albums by the Radha Krishna Temple, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. He took Shankar and Khan on tour as his opening act on his ill-fated 1974 Dark Horse tour—a move that was continuously criticized by rock press like Rolling Stone. Harrison’s production talents would become something of a hidden strength at Apple Records; he would produce the underrated Billy Preston albums That’s the Way God Planned It and Encouraging Words and successful releases by Badfinger as well as solo work from Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr. He would play on Badfinger and John Lennon releases—as well as the excellent but now out-of-print Splinter album, The Place I Love, which was released on Harrison’s own Dark Horse imprint. Musically, it was clear that he was capable of much more than just being “the lead guitarist for the Beatles.”
Unlike Lennon and Paul McCartney, whose creativity and cohesion were the fulcrum for the Beatles’ sound and success, Harrison’s full artistry doesn’t really become apparent until the 1970s. While his bursts of ’60s songwriting excellence (“Here Comes the Sun,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” etc.) are undeniable, his genius within that band was primarily limited to providing color for his more celebrated bandmate’s songwriting, such as the simple, plucky riff he gives “And I Love Her” by McCartney, or elevating Lennon’s repetitive “Dear Prudence” with lyrical lead guitar lines. But his solo career reveals the depths of his introspection and the scope of his creativity.
His first solo album, 1970’s All Things Must Pass, is easily his most praised work, and for good reason. Despite Phil Spector’s often-heavy handed production, there is a power in Harrison’s songs and the performances (which feature everyone from Eric Clapton to Billy Preston to Phil Collins doing session work) are epic in the truest sense—no doubt emphasized by Spector’s sonic trademarks. But while the remainder of his catalog doesn’t quite deliver the gigantic returns associated with All Things Must Pass, it’s clear throughout his body of work that he was always a committed songwriter and formidable guitarist.
Living In A Material World wallows in the preachiness that would lead to Harrison falling out of favor with many rock critics, but it’s the most clear-eyed statement of spirituality that he would ever deliver. For it to come at the height of ’70s rock excess says a lot about Harrison’s commitment to following his own moral path, regardless of how “cool” it was for the times. Albums like Dark Horse and Extra Texture were hamstrung affairs (the former by Harrison’s laryngitis and the latter by his divorce from Patty Boyd and general resentment of rock stardom and critics), but Thirty Three 1/3 is an inspired pop album that finds George balancing his ’60s affectations with mid-’70s studio sheen. Both that album and its even stronger follow-up, 1979’s George Harrison, could be dismissed as the former raga rocker going “yacht rock,” but the songwriting is his best since All Things Must Pass and features the best production and session guys (including the legendary Willie Weeks on bass) that Harrison had used since that high-water mark almost a decade earlier.
He admitted that his disdain for the trappings of rock music and the music industry were why he preferred to keep a low profile—even as he made stellar music.

“I still enjoy writing a tune and enjoy in a way making a record,” he said in a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone. “But I hate that whole thing of when you put it out, you become a part of the overall framework of the business. And I was a bit bored with that. If I write a tune and people think it's nice then that's fine by me; but I hate having to compete and promote the thing. I really don't like promotion. In the ’60s we overdosed on that, and then I consciously went out of my way at the end of the ’60s, early ’70s, to try and be a bit more obscure. What you find is that you have a hit and suddenly everybody's knocking on your door and bugging you again. I enjoy being low-profile and having a peaceful sort of life.”
As such, Harrison is still a somewhat mysterious pop culture figure—especially considering he was an alumnus of “That Band.” His successful solo career is largely a footnote to many casual listeners, despite Harrison’s steady chart presence from the early ’70s to the late 1980s. When he died in 2001, his career had been almost completely obscured by the ongoing adulation of the Beatles and his reputation as an elder rock recluse. Harrison was the guy content to live in his castle and work in his garden. He wasn’t a constant presence at award shows like Paul McCartney or on talk shows, a la Ringo Starr. His most recent studio album had been 1987’s Cloud Nine, an unexpectedly successful comeback album that saw him storm the singles charts with the innocuous Rudy Clark cover, “Got My Mind Set On You,” and form the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and ELO’s Jeff Lynne. All of that was largely forgotten—until November 29, 2001. 
Harrison’s death led to an outpouring of grief from fans, to widespread reappraisals of his work and to newfound attention on the guitarists’ musical legacy. Contemporary fans recognized that Harrison’s 1972 Concert for Bangladesh was a groundbreaking moment in popular music, the first benefit concert staged by major pop artists. His devotion to Krishna consciousness was given more respect than throughout the cynical 1970s and his role within the Beatles was acknowledged as a driving catalyst for the band as opposed to a peripheral development. Concert for George in 2002 was a high-profile affair, with old friends like McCartney, Clapton, Preston, Petty and Lynne all celebrating the artist the world had overlooked for so long. And Harrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years later—again celebrated by Petty and Lynne, who would famously share the stage with Prince later that night as The Purple One delivered a transcendent guitar solo on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” 
Harrison’s music has been reissued successfully and he finally was given a suitable “Best of” compilation with 2009’s Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. Because he wasn’t a part of the already-established Lennon-McCartney brand when he began writing songs midway through the Beatles’ career, Harrison has retained control of those songs without the same issues of rate and catalog control that occurred in the wake of the Michael Jackson purchase of ATV in 1985. Now, the Harrison-penned “Here Comes the Sun” is the most popular Beatles track on iTunes and streaming services. One has to think the Quiet One is somewhere getting a chuckle out of that. 
From producing movies with his Hand Made Films to playing on Hall & Oates and Belinda Carlisle records, Harrison was awfully busy despite his reputation as a reclusive. And his life and career are full of fascinating missteps like the infamous lawsuit he faced for ripping “My Sweet Lord” from the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine,” and personal dramas like Clapton falling in love with and eventually marrying Harrison’s first wife Patti Boyd. And there are much darker moments like the 1999 knife attack that left him seriously wounded. It all makes for quite a fascinating story, with the funny, quiet and pensive ex-Beatle at the center. Fifteen years after his death, there’s still a lot to love about George Harrison—and a lot to learn. He remains fascinating in a way that McCartney, with his omnipresence, and Lennon, with his deification, don’t seem to elicit any longer. He’s still classic rock’s best-kept secret. 
You get the feeling that he wouldn’t have it any other way. 

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5 Noteworthy Things That Happened To Pete Best After He Left The Beatles

5 Noteworthy Things That Happened To Pete Best After He Left The Beatles
By James McClure
Nov 26, 2016

5 Noteworthy Things That Happened To Pete Best After He Left The Beatles

Most music fans know that Pete Best was the original drummer for The Beatles before he was replaced with Ringo Starr in 1962. But do you know what happened to him after that? In honor of the "mean, moody and magnificent" Beatle's 75th birthday this week, we put together a retrospective of five notable aspects of Best's post-Fab Four career.

1. Game Show Contestant

While The Beatles toured the world in 1964, Pete Best did a little travelling of his own. He flew to America for an appearance on the gameshow I've Got a Secret, where contestants took turns trying to guess their guest's secret.

Best's secret was that he had recently left his job as a Beatle. Sadly, none of the contestants immediately recognized him. But based on his hair and accent, they immediately began asking about the Fab Four. Eventually, Betsy Palmer - who later played Jason Voorhees' mother in the first Friday the 13th movie - figured out that he was a former bandmate.

2. The Litigious Beatle

A year later, the old gang almost got back together - in court. Best sued his former bandmates and Playboy magazine for libel in 1965. The embittered drummer took issue with an interview in which John Lennon and Ringo Starr suggested that Best popped pills while in the group, and that his drug use got in the way of his performance.

PLAYBOY: "Ringo, you're the last Beatle to join the group, aren't you?"
RINGO: "Yes."
JOHN: "A few years probably... sort of off and on, really... for three years or so."
PAUL: "Yeah, but really amateur."
GEORGE: "The local pub, you know. And in each other's uncle's houses."
JOHN: "And at George's brother's wedding. Things like that. Ringo used to fill in sometimes if our drummer was ill. With his periodic illness."
RINGO: "He took little pills to make him ill."
Playboy Interview with The Beatles:
A candid conversation with England's mop-topped millionaire minstrels
Interviewed by Jean Shepherd
February 1965 issue

The band settled the case out of court for an undisclosed sum in 1969.

3. 'Best of The Beatles'

Later in 1965, Best almost got into some legal trouble of his own. After leaving the Fab Four, he played with a few other bands and recorded his first album, which he titled "Best of The Beatles" - punning on his name and former fame. Unsuspecting fans complained after buying the record under the assumption that it was a Beatles compilation.

Related image

The confusion even led the New York State Bureau of Consumer Frauds to investigate the matter. But the issue didn't go any further, possibly because the title might be misleading but it wasn't an outright lie. Best was once a member of The Beatles, after all.

4. Back in the Spotlight

In the late 60s, Best began a 20-year hiatus from show business. For most of that time, he worked as a civil servant in Liverpool, helping unemployed residents find work.

Then in 1988, he got back behind the drum kit and formed The Pete Best Band, which still tours today. Here they are covering Ray Charles' hit What'd I Say? in New York back in 2007.

5. Long Awaited Fortune

Even though Best didn't stick as a Beatle, his time with the band gave him considerable fame. But he didn't make a fortune off of it until 1995. That's when Apple Records released Volume I of The Beatles Anthology - a compilation of early recordings that included Best playing on tracks like Ain't She Sweet and Cry for a Shadow. The royalties netted him an estimated 4-million pounds sterling. Not a bad way to begin his golden years.

Here he is drumming on an early recording of "Love Me Do."

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Pete Best in The Beatles Anthology 1 Album Cover

domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2016

New BBC Radio 4 Documentary speaks to Paul and follows LIPA graduates



New BBC Radio 4 Documentary speaks to Paul and follows LIPA graduates

New BBC Radio 4 Documentary speaks to Paul and follows LIPA graduates
Earlier this year Paul was interviewed by BBC Radio 4's Janice Long for a three-part documentary about performing arts school the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). In the three-part series Janice follows students during the final year of their degree, through graduation and their ventures into the world as they try to enter the performing arts industry.
The students featured are singer-songwriter Katya, dancer Danielle, and DJ Dan who is studying entertainment management. They’re hardworking, dedicated and determined to be at the forefront of our performance industries in just a few short years, but first they have to hone their craft.
Katya is writing songs for her big final year show, and Danielle has been cast to represent LIPA at a national dance convention. Dan has been DJ-ing and working in a radio station. As they prepare for final assignments and performances they share the ups and downs of the concluding year as artists-in-training and their hopes for the future.
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was set up by Paul and BRIT school founder Mark Featherstone-Witty over twenty years ago. Paul was worried about what they would offer stating, "You can’t teach them to be John Lennon". As well as performance skills, LIPA also teaches students the business side of one of the UK's most competitive industries.
With exclusive and close-up access to life at LIPA, we meet those who want to become our arts practitioners of the future and those who are helping to get them there.
The programmes will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 3pm (GMT) on: 
Tuesday 29th November - 'Life At LIPA: The Big Performance'
Tuesday 6th December - 'Life At LIPA: Showtime'
Tuesday 13th December - 'Life At LIPA: Come Together'

Life at LIPA
BBC Radio 4

The Big Performance
Life at LIPA
Episode 1 of 3

Raising the curtain on a very modern performing arts school, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

In this three-part series, Janice Long follows students during the final year of their degree, through graduation and out into the world as they try to enter the performing arts industry.

Singer-songwriter Katya, dancer Danielle and DJ Dan who is studying entertainment management are hardworking, dedicated students. They are determined to be at the forefront of the performance industries in a few short years. But first they have to hone their craft.

Katya is writing songs for her big final year show and Danielle has been cast to represent LIPA at a national dance convention. Dan has been DJ-ing and working in a radio station. As they prepare for final assignments and performances, they share the ups and downs of their final year as artists-in-training and their hopes for the future.

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was set up by Sir Paul McCartney and BRIT school founder Mark Featherstone-Witty just over twenty years ago. Sir Paul was worried about what they would offer - as he says, "you can't teach them to be John Lennon". As well as performance skills, LIPA claims to teach students the business side of one of the most competitive of industries.

With exclusive and close-up access to life at LIPA, we meet those who want to become arts practitioners of the future and those who are helping to get them there.

Producer: David James
Executive Producer: Rebecca Maxted
A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.

Tue 29 Nov 2016

Life at LIPA
Episode 2 of 3

Raising the curtain on a very modern performing arts school, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

In the second of three programmes, broadcaster Janice Long meets actors Sarah and Connor and sound technician Django during their final year of their performing arts degrees.

Sarah always wanted to be a star. Her parents would proudly show videos of her singing Disney songs as a young child. Sarah's life has changed dramatically since moving from California to Liverpool for the start of her course, three years ago. She is struggling with artistic and personal challenges during her final year of drama school, and is faced with having to leave the UK in a few short months.

Connor's appetite for acting also began as a child, inspired by watching Power Rangers on TV. He was brought up in Mexborough, South Yorkshire where he admits a career in the arts isn't often a first choice for many. Connor is hoping to get an agent to help him launch his acting career after graduation.

Sound technician Django is the popular man on campus to know. He can be found running between recording sessions, theatre performances and gigs and is already mourning the end of his university life.

In audio diaries and interviews, Sarah, Connor and Django share their professional insecurities, artistic triumphs, personal challenges and hopes for the future. With exclusive and close-up access to life at LIPA, we meet the young people who want to become the arts practitioners of the future and those who are trying to get them there.

Producer: Rebecca Maxted
A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.

Tue 6 Dec 2016

Come Together
Life at LIPA
Episode 3 of 3

It's the curtain call for Janice Long in this last of three programmes following students through their final year at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

Shannen and Rachael are studying Applied Theatre and Community Drama, training to help community groups create theatre, drama and art with a purpose. For their final projects they are tackling the controversial topics of Islamophobia and immigration, trying to build bridges between communities in Liverpool.

Mature student Lauren is a Theatre and Performance Design student with a successful career in costume design. Now she wants to learn how to do more than make the clothes for film and TV - she wants to build a world. In her final project, she's tackling the themes of life and death.

All three women are trying to build careers in tough environments, where competition is fierce, money is tight, jobs are scarce and, for Shannen and Rachael, people don't always want to hear what they are trying to say.

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts was set up by Sir Paul McCartney and Brit School founder Mark Featherstone-Witty over 20 years ago. They wanted to equip students with the skills to navigate one of the toughest industries. For Sir Paul, it's vital to encourage artists who see the world "through another lens".

In this final part of the series, we meet three final year students battling passionately to do exactly that - and make a living from it.

Producer: David James
Series Producer: Rebecca Maxted

A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.

Tue 13 Dec 2016

sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2016

John Lennon's letter to the Queen goes on show at the Beatles Story

Image result for John Lennon's letter to the Queen
Letter written by John Lennon to the Queen explaining why he returned his MBE

John Lennon's letter to the Queen goes on show at the Beatles Story
Letter was discovered inside a record sleeve at a car boot sale
25 NOV 2016

The letter from John Lennon to the Queen which is going on display at The Beatles Story

A letter John Lennon wrote to the Queen handing back his MBE is set to go on show in Liverpool today.

The draft version of the letter which the Beatle penned as an act of protest in 1969 was valued at £60,000 during a memorabilia day at The Beatles Story last month.

Now the key piece of Beatles history is going on show at the Albert Dock attraction.

The letter reads: “Your Majesty

I am returning this MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts.

With love. John Lennon of Bag”

The Beatles with their MBEs (Photo: ©Mirrorpix)

The draft copy was uncovered inside a record sleeve which was part of a collection the current owner picked up at a car boot sale for £10 two decades ago.

Darren Julien, chief executive of LA-based Julien’s Auctions which held the memorabilia day, says it could be “the Beatle find of the year”.

He added: “John Lennon never actually sent this version to the Queen when he famously returned his MBE. You can quite clearly see the signature in this letter has been smudged.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969. Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen as a protest against Britain's involvement in war "and Cold Turkey slipping down the charts".

“My theory is that John Lennon never sent this draft because of the smeared ink. If you’re writing to the Queen, you want the letter to look pretty perfect.

“This suggests he wrote a second version of the letter, which was the one that was actually sent to her.

“The handwriting has been confirmed by three independent experts and I personally verified that the writing was original and not a colour copy”.

The letter will be on show at The Beatles Story for three years.

Image result for John Lennon's letter to the Queen

viernes, 25 de noviembre de 2016

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; It was 50 years ago today ...

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; It was 50 years ago today ...
The Australian
November 25, 2016

Putting the final touches to Sgt Pepper’s. Picture: Apple Corps
Putting the final touches to Sgt Pepper’s. Picture: Apple Corps

In the early evening of Thursday, November 24, 1966, four young men — the oldest 26, the youngest 23 — arrived at a north London recording studio to start work on a song one of them had written in Spain weeks before.

Cars ferried three of them from Georgian and mock Tudor mansions in Surrey — London’s so-called stockbroker belt — while the fourth journeyed from just around the St John’s Wood corner.

These wartime boys of Liverpool’s working classes had come a long way. On that same day in 1962 their primitive debut single was heading towards No 17 on the British charts before its modest run lost momentum. That same night they completed a two-hour set at the Royal Lido Ballroom in Prestatyn, north Wales, earning £30, but the cook threw in a plate of jam sandwiches.

By the time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr assembled at Abbey Road’s Studio Two at 7.30pm, they were the four most famous young men on the planet.

What the Beatles had done in that room in the intervening period changed popular music, and then popular culture, reshaping the century in ways that reverberate still.

When things were tough for the band, as they ground out consecutive eight-hour gigs in Hamburg’s grubby red-light district, the quartet boosted their spirits with a set piece exchange:

Lennon: “Where are we going, fellas?”

The others: “To the top, Johnny!”

Lennon: “Where’s that, fellas?”

Others: “To the toppermost of the poppermost!”

Long before November 1966, it was mission accomplished.

After Love Me Do grazed the charts, The Beatles had 12 successive No 1 singles in Britain and the US. One week they had the top five spots on Billboard. Each of their albums topped the charts globally — unprecedented achievements that remain unmatched.

The band’s recent albums — Rubber Soul and Revolver — were critically acclaimed as landmarks, as music moved away from Tin Pan Alley commercialism.

And just as the Beatles abandoned touring, Beach Boy genius Brian Wilson — himself off the road, and often off his rocker — showed how the recording studio could be used almost as an instrument itself, fashioning his band’s now acclaimed Pet Sounds over a year while his bandmates played their earlier material on stages across the world.

By Beach Boys standards Pet Sounds flopped in the US — and was elbowed out of the way around the world by Revolver — but fans had a keener sense of its greatness in England, where it rose to No 2 in July 1966.

One Englishman in particular was astounded by it — and challenged. McCartney played it ceaselessly, rating God Only Knows as the greatest song of all time.

McCartney's favourite Beach Boys song

Wilson said that with Pet Sounds he set out to make the “greatest rock and roll record ever”. Frustrated that it was slipping between the cracks at home, Wilson’s onstage replacement, Bruce Johnston, flew to London to promote it, playing it twice to McCartney and Lennon at the Waldorf Hotel, after which the pair returned to McCartney’s house to discuss it.

Released from the unbearable circus surrounding them on tour, and freed from the era’s primitive stage sound systems, the Beatles then set out to make the greatest rock ’n’ roll and roll record ever. One they would never be required to replicate live.

The album’s best songs were plundered for a potboiler single, killing off its original concept — “a collection of northern songs”. And lawyers — always the enemy of rock — interfered with its artwork.

Strawberry Fields Forever

But the story of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ends in unprecedented triumph.

On that November evening half a century ago, Lennon picked up an acoustic guitar and played to his bandmates and the Beatles’ producer George Martin a couple of verses to an unusual song he had written about a Salvation Army orphanage near his childhood home. Strawberry Fields Forever marked a change for the Beatles. Lennon had heeded the advice of broadcaster Kenneth Allsop, who had suggested that he and McCartney should write “more autobiographical” lyrics.

Everyone liked the song, but it was a work in progress: the version labelled “take one” is quite unlike the recording we know.

The Beatles — from left, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison — in 1967.
The Beatles — from left, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison — in 1967.

McCartney’s first contribution to what became Sgt. Pepper was a melody he wrote in the late 1950s, to which he improvised lyrics when the sound system broke down at early Beatles gigs.

When I’m Sixty-Four was written with McCartney’s dad, Jim, in mind. Jim had played trumpet and piano in Liverpool bands during the ragtime era. Indeed, the young McCartney wrote the bouncy tune on an old upright piano his dad had bought between the wars from Harry Epstein, father of future Beatles manager Brian. McCartney still plays it today at his London home.

It may have been intended to send up the era that its arrangement echoed, but nonetheless Lennon was sneeringly dismissive of it. Although the famous Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership was still a legal entity, the pair no longer worked collaboratively, but they would each “improve” the other’s compositions. Stung by Lennon’s attitude to his playful tune, McCartney was back on December 29 with another that at first was labelled “Untitled”.

The following day it had a name: Penny Lane.

Penny lane

Lennon’s draft of 1965’s In My Life had included the words Penny Lane, but he later removed references to Liverpool landmarks.

McCartney mentioned real and imagined shops and characters around the Penny Lane bus terminal lane he and Lennon used in their youth. Before long, the jaunty arrangement, led by McCartney’s distinctive piano, included flutes, trumpets, flugelhorn, oboes, harmonium, congas, cor anglais, a double bass and even a hand bell, rung at mentions of firemen and fire engines.

But something was missing. That missing bit turned up soon enough, on BBC television on January 11, 1967, when McCartney saw David Mason playing “a tiny little trumpet” as the English Chamber Orchestra performed Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2. Within a week, Mason was at Abbey Road recording his famous piccolo part. After a distinguished life as a soloist and teacher, he ­predicted, correctly, that this would be first thing mentioned in his obituary.

Putting the final touches to Sgt Pepper’s. Picture: Apple Corps
Putting the final touches to Sgt Pepper’s. Picture: Apple Corps
The effort put into Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane was indicative of the Beatles’ new approach. The security fiasco when the band performed in Manila in July 1966 — they had inadvertently snubbed first lady Imelda Marcos, whose goons sought violent revenge — and the hostile reception in the American south following publication of Lennon’s cynical aside that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus now” had put them off touring.

In any case the Beatles had become two bands: the one that toured, playing the hits from its early career, including covers of Chuck Berry and Little Richard; and the band whose increasingly complex studio music could not be replicated on stage.

The set list for the Beatles’ final tour performance on August 29, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park included not one song from their latest album, Revolver, released 24 days earlier.

All up, the band spent 105 studio hours on Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. On February 11, 1963 they had recorded their debut album in just 585 minutes in that same studio.

Eventually, they devoted 700 hours to Sgt. Pepper, spread across seven months. But the concept of a series of songs recalling memories of a northern childhood was dashed almost immediately.

EMI indulged its favourite band with studio time, mostly “out of hours”, but it was an efficient business and it wanted another record from its uniquely efficient hit-makers. Under pressure for a single, Martin was persuaded that Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever be released immediately. He later regretted this, describing it as “the worst mistake of my life”. He was right.

Sound engineer Geoff Emerick — the only other man to have his name on the album — tells The Australian: “We were devastated when Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane were taken from the album and issued as a single”.

Martin considered the double A-sided single the band’s supreme achievement. But with a value-for-money policy of no singles appearing on their albums, the Beatles dropped the songs from Sgt. Pepper, an omission no other band would — or could — have dared to make. It topped charts around the world, but in Britain became their first single since Love Me Do to fail to reach No 1, kept at bay by Engelbert Humperdink’s dreary Release Me.

By this stage, the Beatles’ studio project was known Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an alter ego for the world’s most famous act so that it might more easily move beyond the expectations of its loving audience.

McCartney and Mal Evans, their burly mate from sweaty Liverpool nightclub The Cavern, who had been their security and road manager, travelled to Kenya for a safari in early November 1966. Flying back to Heathrow, Evans picked up two tiny sachets marked “S” and “P” that arrived with his meal. “What does that mean?” he asked out aloud. “Salt and pepper,” McCartney replied. Moments later it was Sgt. Pepper and an idea was born.

But while the title track and its book-ending reprise suggest a concept of sorts, Sgt. Pepper ended up as just another collection of unrelated songs by Lennon and McCartney.

With their best efforts already gone and with just the passable When I’m Sixty-Four in the can, there was work to do. Lennon was first off the blocks on January 19, 1967, contributing a sparse song first called “In the Life of ... ” whose lyrics were inspired by a coroner’s report into the death of Tara Browne published in the Daily Mail two days earlier. Browne, a friend of McCartney, was killed in Earls Court after driving through a red light at speed.

The same edition of the newspaper contained a story about Blackburn City Council’s survey of holes in its roads. We all know now that there were 4000 of them — and all fans of the era’s music know what those holes would fill.

Days later, McCartney turned up with the title track. It was probably closest to an old-style Beatles rock song, its French horns trumpeting the start of the show McCartney had imagined Sgt. Pepper headlining.

The sounds of an orchestra tuning up at the start came from a session nine days later when Martin was explaining to 40 classically trained, but mystified, musicians what he wanted for the 24-bar crescendo that ends side two.

The crowd sounds had been recorded by Martin in 1961 at a Beyond the Fringe show starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Just 11 days apart, Lennon contributed Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite — with lyrics taken from a 19th-century circus poster he had bought in Kent while filming the promotional video for Penny Lane — and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the words Lennon’s son Julian had used to explain a drawing he had done at nursery that day.

McCartney returned fire with Lovely Rita and Getting Better, a reference to the phrase that had entered the Beatles’ lexicon after interim drummer Jimmy Nicol filled in for Ringo on the band’s 1964 tour of Australia and the Far East. Asked each evening how it was going, Nicol would allow only that “It’s getting better”.

Martin was often asked what would have made way for Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever had they remained on the album. His response was that he would have held over Getting Better and When I’m Sixty-Four.

Over 48 hours in mid-March the band embarked on two songs that are among their most noteworthy, if only for who didn’t play on them. Harrison brought in his droning sitar and tabla-based Within You Without You, and he was the only band member to play on it. McCartney, meanwhile, inspired by a newspaper report on teen runaway Melanie Coe, turned up with She’s Leaving Home — a track on which no Beatle played an instrument (neither had any Beatles played on Eleanor Rigby the previous year.)
It was getting very near the end when Lennon and McCartney realised they had not written a token vocal part for drummer Starr. On March 29, the pair went to McCartney’s house at 7 Cavendish Avenue, around the corner from Abbey Road, and worked on a Lennon nonsense playfully called Bad Finger Boogie. It evolved quickly into With a Little Help From My Friends, with the lyrics completed as the band began recording it that night.

The Beatles left Abbey Road at 5.45am the next morning. Within hours they reassembled at Chelsea Manor Studio for the photograph that would adorn the most famous album of the rock era. The Beatles stood alongside their wax dummies, on loan for the day from Madame Tussauds, and an array of famous characters that band members (minus Starr) had chosen. On legal advice, EMI asked that Gandhi be removed, and the company’s common sense prevailed over Lennon’s wish for Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ.

Model musicians: George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, pose in front of waxworks of themselves at Madame Tussaud's in London. Picture: Getty
Model musicians: George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, pose in front of waxworks of themselves at Madame Tussaud's in London. Picture: Getty

After another all-night session, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr — having wrapped up recording of the Sgt. Pepper reprise — emerged from Abbey Road at 6am on April 2, 1967, a mild Sunday morning in London.

With white-label acetates of their album they headed over to the Chelsea apartment of Mamas and Papas singer Mama Cass Elliot. The boys set her record player’s speakers on the windowsill and loudly played their soon-to-be-released record over the rooftops. People in nearby flats waved and gave thumbs-up signs.

Seems they had a winner.

The Beatles’ sound engineers Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush will talk about their roles on Sgt. Pepper in Melbourne on February 24. TripleAevents.com.au.

The Beatles’ album 
<i>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band</i>, whose innovative contents were packaged in a groundbreaking cover.The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, whose innovative contents were packaged in a groundbreaking cover.