viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's' Turns 50: Is It The Best Album Ever?
The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's' Turns 50: Is It The Best Album Ever?
by William Goodman

The Beatles during a photocall for 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.'
Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images

The Best Album of All Time. That’s one hell of a claim.

Even if The Beatles’ eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band -- released 50 years ago, May 26, 1967, in the U.K. -- is the musically ground-breaking, hyper influential career high-water mark from The Best Band of All Time, those can still sound like fighting words. But there’s no hyperbole here. There’s widespread consensus: Sgt. Pepper’s has topped its fair share of Greatest Albums of All Time lists from music magazines and websites, on both sides of the Atlantic, pleasing all the stripes of listeners, from old curmudgeon critics to shrieking teenagers. Sgt. Pepper’s is indeed that album, and half a century on, the argument for that grand statement -- one made since the very week of its release -- has only grown stronger.

And all this was either pre-ordained or a glorious coincidence, because Sgt. Pepper’s became a crossroads for the band -- and the world.

The Beatles, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'
The Beatles, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'
Courtesy Photo

The Beatles, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'
A series of events that nearly broke up The Beatles instead led a group of musical geniuses to produce their most genius work. By 1966, The Fab Four -- the Beatlemania Beatles, the four mop-topped Liverpool lads in suits and shiny black leather boots -- were on death’s door. Over their past few releases, Rubber Soul and Revolver, the band spent more and more time in the studio with production guru/Fifth Beatle George Martin, as their grand (and increasingly intoxicated) musical visions becoming more reliant on his expertise -- and drifted further from their old pop sound. They embarked on a beleaguered world tour, with the band pursued by death threats and political mayhem in Asia, followed by Lennon’s infamous, Bible Belt-insulting “more popular than Jesus” remark in the U.S. With stadiums half full (and lacking the shrieking teenage girls of yore) the band became dissatisfied with the quality of their performances, not attempting even one track from the ambitious Revolver. The gap between the Old Beatles and New Beatles was widening and threatening their very existence. So they decided to quit the road. We thank you for this decision.

After a nearly three-month break, the band reformed with new ideas. In the downtime, George Harrison had visited India, immersing himself self-discovery and learning the sitar. John Lennon had joined the visual art and film world (meeting Yoko Ono), and Paul McCartney returned from an African vacation with a few screwball ideas: What if the Beatles returned to their roots, penning songs about their childhood home of Liverpool? This resulted in "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" (which EMI rushed released to dispel breakup rumors.) The band also dove into another of McCartney’s ideas: What if The Beatles, in an act of total defiance of their former identities, adopted the persona of an old military marching band, complete with colorful officers’ uniforms?

In November ’66, the Beatles hit Abbey Road Studios with more freedom than ever. While “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” didn’t make the album, much to Martin’s dismay, the lush, experimental pair of tracks set the tone for the new sessions. With Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick, the band pushed the very limits of recording technology. Having retired from the road for good and knowing the songs wouldn’t be performed live, they saw the studio as an instrument, using tape effects, double-tracking, pitch control, sound suppression, signal processing and other sound technologies. Another system used tape recorders to double a sound. On a joke, Lennon called it a “Flange,” inadvertently inventing the term for a now popular tone setting on essentially every modern guitar amplifier.

And there were instruments galore: Harpsichords, tamboura, Mellotron, harmonium, woodwinds, and a variety of guitars, pianos, and tambourines. And, of course, a 40-piece orchestra. The power of the studio-centric approach is heard across the LP, especially on “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” and the epic “A Day in the Life.”

The band was tighter and more productive than ever, and Sgt. Pepper’s marked a new dynamic in the McCartney-Lennon songwriting partnership. The myth of Sgt. Pepper’s is that McCartney was becoming the dominant creative force, surpassing Lennon, the most senior member, founder, and longtime de facto leader. Yes, Macca penned more than half the LP’s 13 tracks and the grand concept is uniquely his, but Lennon is the emotional core. Without Lennon, McCartney’s concept would’ve sounded bloated and saccharine. Without Macca, Lennon’s songs could never reach their musical grandeur. Lennon delivered the base feeling. McCartney, with Martin and Emerick’s studio skills, dressed by them up like a Savile Row tailor.

The band spent 700 hours crafting Sgt. Pepper’s and it paid off. It’s the first true concept album and while the actual concept was restrained to the iconic cover art and a few tracks, including its namesake opener and reprised closer, its sounds far surpassed any framework: there’s the shuffling big band camaraderie of Ringo Starr’s “With a Little Help From My Friends”; Lennon’s brass blasting “Good Morning, Good Morning” and trippy Ringling Bros-style circus “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”; McCartney’s bassoon-led “When I’m Sixty-Four,” spaced-out show tune “Lovely Rita” and avant-garde classical “She’s Leaving Home.” Starr’s drumming is tasteful throughout, never overdone, and Harrison shines on a spiritual solo sitar jam “Within You Without You,” and adds guitar flare and texture.

The best songs are, arguable, total collaborations between Lennon and McCartney, with the former bringing the basic song and the latter lifting it to glorious heights. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” thought to be a LSD tribute but actually an ode to a drawing by Lennon’s son, has an iconic organ opening and explosive sing-along chorus. Then, of course, there’s “A Day in the Life,” a monument to groundbreaking recording and studio technologies. It’s Lennon’s cut-and-paste tale of newspaper headlines, building to a moment of psychedelic piano and horn dream with McCartney waking up and rolling out of bed to the sound of an alarm clock. It continues to blow listeners’ minds, and popularized Lennon’s “I’d love to turn you on” catchphrase, resonating with the overall cultural movement.

The LP was an immediate hit and cultural flashpoint. It spent 27 weeks at the top of the U.K. albums chart and 15 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., and was praised for its genius innovations in recording techniques and kaleidoscopic sound that united pop music with other sounds and genres. It became one of the best-selling albums of the year, then the decade, and now—with more than 32 million copies moved worldwide—one of the best-selling in history. It won four Grammys in 1968, becoming the first rock album to win Album of the Year (it did, after all, codify the idea of an album as a cohesive work of art). Sgt. Pepper’s was the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, spreading the Beatles’ vibes for the bubbling alternative culture across the globe.

Its cultural impact was just immense: As Abbie Hoffman, the political and counter-culture icon, said in a 1987 documentary on the album: “There are two events, outside of my inner family circle, that I remember in life. One is JFK’s assassination. The other was where I was when I first head Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The album was the vanguard of the so-called hippie movement. “There was so much attention given to not just the Beatles, but all the changes that were happening in fashion, film, poets, painters, the whole thing. It was a mini renaissance,” Harrison said in the same doc. “There were a lot of people trying to go on the same trip together regardless of what they were doing.

“There was a bond formed between a lot of people,” he added. And Sgt. Pepper’s was the primary cultural adhesive. Fifty years on, that hasn’t changed much -- and isn’t that a damn good definition of “Best”?

jueves, 25 de mayo de 2017

Before 'Pirates,' Paul McCartney Starred in a "Dumb" Film Dud
Hollywood Flashback: Before 'Pirates,' Paul McCartney Starred in a "Dumb" Film Dud
by Bill Higgins

Alamy Stock Photo

The former Beatle, who has a small part in the upcoming 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,' wrote, produced, scored and played himself in 1984's critically drubbed 'Give My Regards to Broad Street.'

It has been more than three decades since Paul McCartney, who has a small part in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26), appeared in a feature film.

The last time was in 1984 when the former Beatle, then 42, wrote, produced, scored and played himself in Give My Regards to Broad Street. The musical drama, however, was not well-received. Phrases such as "congenial but dumb" and "a home movie on an amazing scale" were used almost everywhere — except in The Hollywood Reporter.

Image result for paul mccartney broadstreet

THR really liked Broad Street, describing it as "a fanciful musical feature that may not whip up teenage fancy but thoroughly entertains." It did concede the film "has the barest semblance of a plot," which is a vast understatement. In the movie, McCartney falls asleep in his chauffeured car, dreams the master tapes for his latest album have been stolen and encounters everyone from Ringo Starr to Tracey Ullman (making her feature debut at age 26) while trying to recover them. The film's action comes from a series of set-piece performances of Beatles and Wings songs that range from McCartney playing solo to Baz Luhrmann-style extravaganzas.

Related image

Two years before making it, McCartney told THR that he and John Lennon had tried a couple of times to put a play together, "but it always seemed to fizzle out after three pages." However, he said coming up with 20,000 words about spending nine days in jail for bringing a half-pound of marijuana into Japan in 1980 "showed me I could write." The film's plot came from learning the Sex Pistols once had lost a year's worth of tapes, and the gimmick "allows me to introduce music naturally into the structure of the film." Broad Street did receive a Golden Globe nomination for the song "No More Lonely Nights," but the $9 million film ($21 million today) grossed only $1.4 million domestically. 

Image result for paul mccartney broadstreet

This story first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever RSD
Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever RSD
by beatlesblogger
Posted on May 20, 2017

Thanks to a very kind reader of (Koen in Belgium – you know who you are!), we now have an elusive, limited edition Record Store Day ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever’ 7-inch single re-issue.

Only 7000 copies were issue worldwide, but very few made it to Australia.

Front cover:

Rear cover (complete with original fold-over flaps):

And the RSD sticker up close:

Thanks again for sourcing and sending this to us! So good to have this in the collection.

miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017


Image result for paul mccartney roger moore
Paul McCartney pens tribute to victims of Manchester bombing; pays homage to James Bond actor Roger Moore
ABC Radio
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mary McCartney/MPL Communications

Paul McCartney is among the many people sending out condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack that happened Monday night in Manchester, U.K., outside of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.

In a message posted on his social media sites, McCartney says, "Like everyone else my family and I were shocked to hear about the terrible news from Manchester. All that's left to do is send heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims and Ariana Grande. Praying that something like this never happens again. Love to everyone."

According to Manchester police, 22 people were killed and 59 injured in the suspected suicide bombing.

In other news, McCartney has penned a tribute to one-time James Bond actor Roger Moore, who died Tuesday at the age of 89. Moore starred in seven Bond films, including 1973's Live and Let Die, the theme song for which was co-written by McCartney and his late wife, Linda, and performed by their band Wings.

"Roger was a great man and of course a great James Bond who I was lucky to work with during the time of Live and Let Die," writes Sir Paul. "He had a heart of gold, a great sense of humour and will be missed by the many people who loved him."

"Live and Let Die" was a #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for an Academy Award for best song.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

martes, 23 de mayo de 2017

Paul McCartney is great actor says Pirates of the Carribean actor Johnny Depp

Image result for paul mccartney johnny depp
Paul McCartney is great actor says Pirates of the Carribean actor Johnny Depp
Paul McCartnet will be seen as a part of the movie, Pirates of the Carribean. Johnny Depp says it was his idea to get McCartney on board for the film.
Los Angeles
Published:May 23, 2017

Johnny Depp, Paul Mccartney, Johnny Depp Paul Mccartney, Pirates of the Carribean Dead men tell no tales, Paul McCartney movies

Actor Johnny Depp says “great actor” and legendary musician Paul McCartney doesn’t “lack in the talent department”. Depp was happy to shoot with McCartney for the forthcoming fifth instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean. “Paul’s a great actor. Clearly the guy is not lacking in the talent department. If I changed something up in the scene, he’d change something up in the scene. He’d make stuff up. He was amazing,” Depp said in a statement.

Depp says it was his idea to get McCartney on board for the film. He said: “A funny idea came into my head about Jack running into his Uncle Jack in jail and I thought Paul McCartney would be perfect to play him.

“I didn’t know if it would be possible for me to drum up enough courage to ask him, even though he’s the sweetest man in the world, and certainly the most talented. But I just did it.” Talking about how he mustered up the courage to call the Beatles star, Depp said: “I just called him and told him that I have this idea for a gag in the film that might be fun, and asked if he would be interested. He thought it sounded cool, so we started talking about character.”

The title of the fifth instalment of the Pirates Of The Carribean franchise will be known as Pirates Of The Carribean: Salazar’s Revenge in India, Asia, Russia and Europe, and Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US. It is slated to release in India on May 26.

Image result for paul mccartney johnny depp

lunes, 22 de mayo de 2017

In New York Auction Sold Drawing of John Lennon

Music Lennon Sketch
This image released by Julien's Auctions shows John Lennon's black and white drawing of the iconic "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club" album cover. The drawing, discovered by the owners of the Weybridge house in England where Lennon lived from 1964-68, was auctioned on May 20, 2017. (Julien's Auctions via AP)
Photo Story: In New York Auction Sold Drawings of John Lennon and Kurt Cobain
May 22, 2017, Monday

The drawings of the leader of the British band The Beatles (the Beatles) John Lennon (1940-1980) and the frontman of the American band Nirvana (Nirvana) Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) was sold at auction held Saturday at the new York auction house Julien’s Auctions. This is stated in message posted on his official website, quoted by Russian Reality.

For $87.5 thousand was sold by Lennon made a sketch image for the cover of the Beatles ‘ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967). The picture in black ink imprinted in schematic form, the musicians and flowerbeds lined with the colors of the group. Estimated value of the lot was $40 thousand — $60 thousand.

Image result for john lennon writing

The picture that you have created Cobain when I was in school, went under the hammer for $64 thousand This amount is many times exceeded the estimated value of lot $2 thousand — $4 thousand On the picture in the red-orange background shows four of a raccoon climbing over the black branches of a tree. In the lower right corner of the canvas signed: “curt”.

Among the most valuable lots also includes a piano, which was played by “the king of rock’ n ‘roll” Elvis Presley (1935-1977), and he owned a diamond ring. Musical instrument was sold for $112,5 thousand and decoration — $204,8 million For $112,5 thousand went under the hammer jacket, which was made by the “king of pop” Michael Jackson (1958-2009).

In New York Auction Sold Drawings of John Lennon and Kurt Cobain 

John Lennon's Accidental 'Getting Better' Acid Trip
Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' at 50: John Lennon's Accidental 'Getting Better' Acid Trip
Lennon swallowed the wrong pill the night he was supposed to record backing harmonies for the song. Weirdness – and male bonding – ensued
By Jordan Runtagh
19 may 2017

Read the story of John Lennon's accidental acid trip during the recording of the 'Sgt. Pepper' song "Getting Better."

The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Rolling Stone named as the best album of all time, turns 50 on June 1st. In honor of the anniversary, and coinciding with a new deluxe reissue of Sgt. Pepper, we present a series of in-depth pieces – one for each of the album's tracks, excluding the brief "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" reprise on Side Two – that explore the background of this revolutionary and beloved record. Today's installment looks back on the night John Lennon accidentally dosed himself with acid before a recording session for "Getting Better."

It could be argued that "Getting Better" is the most perfect of all latter-day John Lennon and Paul McCartney collaborations. Sure, "A Day in the Life" gets the prestige, but the fourth track on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band beautifully illustrates their very different characters. While the song was being recorded that spring, an odd incident would further fuse their souls on a psychedelic level.

McCartney devised the title while walking his sheepdog Martha through London's Regent's Park in early 1967. He was joined by journalist Hunter Davies, then shadowing the Beatles while working on their official biography. "It was the first spring-like morning of that year, and as we got to the top of the hill, the sun came up," Davies relayed to Steve Turner in his book, A Hard Day's Write. "[Paul] turned to me and said, 'It's getting better,' meaning that spring was here. Then, he started laughing and I asked him what he was laughing about." McCartney recounted a story about Jimmie Nichol, a drummer who played with the band for 10 concert dates on their 1964 world tour while Ringo Starr recovered from tonsillitis and pharyngitis. When asked how he was adapting to the insanity of Beatlemania, the good-natured Nichol would reply, "It's getting better!" The phrase, and all its earnestness, became something of an in-joke among the band.

When McCartney suggested they write a song around the optimistic line, Lennon's contributions brought the hopeful lyrics crashing back to Earth. "I was sitting there doing, 'Getting better all the time,' and John just said in his laconic way, 'It couldn't get no worse,'" McCartney told friend Barry Miles in the biography, Many Years From Now. "I thought, 'Oh, brilliant! This is exactly why I love writing with John." Lennon also took the opportunity to add a disturbing confessional to the final verse. "All that, 'I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved,' was me," he told Playboy in 1980. "I used to be cruel to my woman, and psychically, any woman. I was a hitter! I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and hit women."

The Beatles worked out the song's instrumental track during two sessions at EMI's Abbey Road studios before arriving – sans Ringo Starr – on the evening of March 21st, 1967, to record the backing harmonies. To prepare himself for yet another marathon all-night session, Lennon reached into his silver art-nouveau pillbox and pulled out what he thought was an amphetamine. Unfortunately, he accidentally picked the wrong tablet, dosing himself with LSD. "It'll certainly keep him awake for a while!" Harrison wryly noted on a 1992 episode of ITV's The South Bank Show.

"I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it," Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970. "I said, 'What is it, I feel ill?' I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going cracked ... then it dawned on me that I must have taken some acid." He informed producer George Martin that he was unwell. Never guessing that Lennon's troubles were pharmaceutical in origin, the older gentleman responded with old-fashioned common sense. "'Come on, John,' I said, 'What you need is a good breath of fresh air!'"

Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' at 50: John Lennon's Accidental 'Getting Better' Acid Trip

With unnatural intensity, Lennon began to climb the staircase from the studio floor to meet Martin in the control room above. "It seemed to take John a long time to get up the stairs; he was moving as if he were in slow motion," recalled engineer Geoff Emerick in his book, Here There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. "When he finally walked through the doorway into the control room, I noticed that he had a strange, glazed look on his face. He appeared to be searching for something, but didn't seem to know what it was. Suddenly he threw his head back and began staring intently at the ceiling, awestruck. With some degree of difficulty, he finally got a few not especially profound words out: 'Wow, look at that.' Our necks cranked upward, but all we saw was ... a ceiling."

Martin led his befuddled charge up through a series of passageways to the platform on top of EMI's studios for what would become the second-most famous rooftop incident in the Beatles saga. Martin, naïve to the world of drugs, was still unclear what was the matter, though he did notice Lennon "swaying gently against my arm and resonating like a human tuning fork" – a condition that isn't usually cured by fresh air. "If I'd known it was LSD, the roof would have been the last place I would have taken him!" he laughed in the Beatles Anthology documentary. "But of course I couldn't take him out the front because there were 500 screaming kids who'd have torn him apart. So the only place I could take him to get fresh air was the roof. It was a wonderful starry night, and John went to the edge, which was a parapet about eighteen inches high, and looked up at the stars and said, 'Aren't they fantastic?' Of course to him I suppose they would have been especially fantastic. At the time they just looked like ordinary stars to me."

Several minutes later Martin returned to the studio to continue work, leaving Lennon to his own devices on the roof. McCartney and Harrison, well aware of what their bandmate had done, carried on for a short time before they grasped the full impact of the situation: Lennon was tripping alone on an unguarded roof! Instantly they sprinted up the stairs to rescue him. "They knew all too well that the rooftop had only a narrow parapet and that, in his lysergically altered state, John could easily step over the edge and plummet thirty feet to the pavement below," Emerick writes. Thankfully, Lennon was found intact, quietly contemplating the universe on his own.

Safely back in the studio, Lennon realized he was in no state to record. "I said, 'Well, I can't go on. You'll have to do it and I'll just stay and watch,'" he later told Rolling Stone. "I got very nervous just watching them all, and I kept saying, 'Is this all right?' They had all been very kind and they said, 'Yes, it's all right.'" The session recommenced briefly, but soon it was deemed useless without a capable Lennon and the group decided to break early for the night.

But there was a problem. Lennon's driver wasn't due to return to Abbey Road for several hours, and his wife Cynthia was fast asleep. To keep watch over his vulnerable friend, McCartney decided to take him back to his own home on Cavendish Avenue, a short walk from the studio. "Paul's thoughtfulness in going home with John was typical of one of the best sides of his character," Martin reflected in his memoir, All You Need Is Ears.

"I thought, maybe this is the moment where I should take a trip with him." –Paul McCartney

The good deed caused something of a dilemma for McCartney, who was perhaps the least enthusiastic acid taker of the band. "I was really frightened of that kind of stuff," he said in The Beatles Anthology. "It's what you're taught when you're young: Watch out for those devil drugs. When acid came around, we'd heard you're never the same. It alters your life and you're never the same again. I think John was rather excited by that prospect, [but] I was rather frightened by that prospect. Like, 'Just what I need, some funny little thing where I can never get back home again.' Might not be the greatest move. So I was seen to stall a little bit within the group."

McCartney's abstinence caused a rift, and for a time the previously impenetrable foursome found themselves on vastly different wavelengths. "Within a band, it's more than peer pressure, it's fear pressure," he related to Miles. "More than just your mates it's, 'Hey, man, this whole band's had acid, why are you holding out? What's the reason, what is it about you?'" He eventually experimented with the drug with his friend, Guinness heir and socialite Tara Browne, in December 1965 (some sources say 1966), and his reaction was mixed. Though allowing that it was "amazing" and "a deeply emotional experience," in the same breath he admits he was "never that in love" with the substance. "For a guy who wasn't that keen on getting that weird, there was a disturbing element to it."

As he and Lennon made the quick trip to his Regency townhouse in the early hours of March 22nd, McCartney made a snap decision. "I thought, maybe this is the moment where I should take a trip with him," he recalled. "It's been coming for a long time. It's often the best way, without thinking about it too much, just slip into it. John's on it already, so I'll sort of catch up. It was my first trip with John, or any of the guys. We stayed up all night, sat around and hallucinated a lot. Me and John, we'd known each other for a long time. Along with George and Ringo, we were best mates. And we looked into each other's eyes, the eye contact thing we used to do, which is fairly mind-boggling. You dissolve into each other. ... And it was amazing. You're looking into each other's eyes and you would want to look away but you wouldn't, and you could see yourself in the other person. It was a very freaky experience and I was totally blown away. John had been sitting around very enigmatically and I had a big vision of him as king, the absolutely Emperor of Eternity. It was a good trip."

John Lennon describes the first time he took LSD. LSD opened the door to the Beatles' masterpiece 'Revolver' – but also opened wounds that never healed. Watch here.

sábado, 20 de mayo de 2017

John Lennon was shot dead by a killer trained by the CIA according to staggering claims.

Image result for john lennon 1980
Lennon (left) signing a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman several hours before the murder
SHOCK CLAIM: John Lennon ‘murdered by the CIA'
JOHN Lennon was shot dead by a killer trained by the CIA to stop the superstar radicalising the West, according to staggering claims.
By Rory McKeown
Published 20th May 2017

An explosive book suggests the Beatles megastar was murdered by US intelligence agencies in a chilling attempt to halt Lennon’s support of “leftist” and “radical” politics.

John Potash’s Drugs as Weapons Against Us states that crime agencies allegedly tracked various high-profile pop stars before their untimely deaths, claiming their huge influence effectively brainwashed young Americans to follow a “leftist agenda”.

Huge stars such as rapper Tupac Shakur and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain died due to involvement by US law enforcers, the publication suggests.

THEORY: John Lennon was gun downed by Mark Chapman – but was the CIA involved?

HERO: John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York home in 1980

And none more so than Lennon, who was one of the world’s most recognisable musicians.

The Liverpool-born songwriter was murdered aged 40 outside his New York home by crazed fan Mark David Chapman in December 1980.

It was one of the most shocking news stories in history, with millions able to recount where they were when they heard the Imagine singer was killed.

KILLER: Mark David Chapman admitted gunning The Beatle down

Chapman, then aged 25, was sentenced to 20 years to life in jail after pleading to second—degree murder

But what if there was more to the case than previously reported?

Conspiracies have surrounded Lennon’s death ever since.

Yet Drugs as Weapons Against Us details an investigation by former Sunday Express legal correspondent Fenton Bresler, who obtained classified documents from the FBI and CIA that claim Lennon was being tracked by the intelligence agencies during the 1970s.

The book alleges the singer developed “radical leftist politics” after allaying his drug use, which led to him holding anti-war events and even a benefit concert to free imprisoned activist John Sinclair.

CONSPIRACY: Was the CIA behind John Lennon's murder?

His album Some Time in New York City focused on political themes, including feminists, Irish nationals and Black Panthers, leading to increased scrutiny from the US government, the book claims.

Lennon also said in an interview: “In my case I’ve never not been political, though religion tended to overshadow it in my acid days.”

Potash writes the US intelligence agencies were becoming more concerned with Lennon after he moved away from drug use and towards activism, and was just one month away from becoming an American citizen at the time of his death.

The FBI and CIA ordered agents to keep Lennon under surveillance, according to the book, while Bresler’s documents show the star’s arrest for drugs use in 1972 was “to neutralise and disrupt” Lennon’s activities.

In a bombshell claim, Lennon’s assassin may have been trained in war-torn Beirut to become a hitman when the CIA held a heavy presence during the 1970s.

TRAGIC: The scene outside John Lennon's home hours after he was shot dead

Author Phil Strongman, in the book John Lennon: Life, Times and Assassination, explores the idea Chapman was programmed to carry out the killing, with the novel The Catcher in the Rye acting as the trigger.

Postash’s book claims Chapman waited for Lennon to arrive home on the fatal night, kneeled down in a combat stance and shot the star four times in the back from 20ft away.

Potash writes: “He could have escaped but instead took of his coat, folded it up and tok out Catcher in the Rye out of his pocket.”

Lennon later died in hospital after losing 80% of blood.

In an interview with Bresler, NYPD lieutenant Arthur O’Connor said: “Chapman looked like he could have been programmed and I know that you are going to make of that word. That was the way he looked and that was the way he talked.”

ICON: John Lennon's death left millions in mourning

Sgt Pepper's
CLASSIC: The Beatles' Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is 50 years old in June

Such was Lennon’s global status, millions mourned his death, with a memorial service at New York’s Central Park attracting 100,000 people.

It was this influence, the book alleges, that worried the intelligence services.

Potash added: “This exemplified the international interest and influence of Lennon, underscoring why his leftist activism was a threat to the CIA and the oligarchy.”

It comes as The Beatles’ seminal eighth album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band marks its 50th anniversary on June 1.

Daily Star Online has approached the CIA for comment.

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John and Yoko in 1980


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A daily guest deejay show hosted by musicians influenced by The Beatles, celebrities and super fan listeners, each playing their four favorite Beatles songs.

A Day In The Life
A daily feature noting milestones in the lives and career of The Beatles.
Peter Asher: From Me To You
He sang Beatles compositions as a member of Peter & Gordon and helped run Apple Records. Now, his stories come to life in this exclusive weekly series.

And so, so much more. We’re the home of all things Beatles. And you can only find it all right here.

Hear & Now: From the Blog

9 reasons to listen to The Beatles Channel

The Beatles and the story behind Number 9

Sneak peek: The story behind the iconic Sgt. Pepper cover art

WATCH: 9 fab moments with The Beatles

Sir Paul McCartney remembers Sgt. Pepper: It allowed us to be ‘more adventurous’