martes, 31 de enero de 2017

'Paul McCartney' performs in Saudi Arabia ?
'Paul McCartney' performs in Saudi Arabia
Tuesday 31 January 2017

Saudis attend a concert by 'Paul McCartney' in Jeddah on January 30, 2017. It was the the first major concert in the kingdom in seven years. Photo: AMEER ALHALBI / AFP

JEDDAH - Saudi Arabia's "Paul McCartney" took to the stage in Jeddah late on Monday for a rare concert in a kingdom seeking to boost entertainment despite religious warnings of "depravity".

The performance by Mohammed Abdu, a mustachioed singer popular throughout the Arab world, was the first major concert in seven years in Jeddah, the kingdom's second city, according to Arab News.

About 8,000 enthusiastic and mostly young fans -- all male -- filled an indoor sports venue for Abdu's romantic and patriotic songs, an AFP photographer said.

He was backed by an Egyptian orchestra and performed alongside another Saudi artist, Rabeh Sager, and Iraqi-Saudi singer Majid al-Muhandis.

Abdu was to sing in Riyadh in September but the show was cancelled without explanation. It would have been the first live concert held in the capital in 24 years, local media said.

The Islamic kingdom bans alcohol, public cinemas and theatres, and normally segregates men and women in public.

But as part of wide-ranging economic and social reform efforts started last year, a new entertainment authority has already brought in some foreign shows, seen by limited audiences.

Those reforms are led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, who faces resistance from religious conservatives.

Saudi Arabia's highest-ranking cleric warned in early January of the "depravity" of cinemas and music concerts, saying they would corrupt morals.

"We know that singing concerts and cinemas are a depravity," Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said, quoted by online newspaper Sabq which is close to the authorities.

Eman al-Nafjan, a veteran blogger on Saudi society, culture and women's issues, in 2008 compared Abdu to the legendary British musician and former Beatles member Paul McCartney.

"What also made Abdu such a hit is his clean reputation for being a family man," Nafjan wrote.

Jeddah, on the Red Sea, is widely considered somewhat more liberal than the capital in the kingdom's centre.


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Paul McCartney on John Hurt


Paul on John Hurt

Paul on John Hurt
Paul on the passing of actor John Hurt:
"Very sad news about our dear friend John Hurt who I've known since the 60s as a mate and a work colleague. He was always great fun to be with and a fantastic actor with a nicely cynical view of the world. Sympathies to his family, love from me and mine."
- Paul McCartney

Photo taken on set of the 'Take It Away' music video, 1982

lunes, 30 de enero de 2017

Meet The Beatles - as comic book heroes!
Meet The Beatles - as comic book heroes!
Crosby author Jason Quinn reveals all about his new graphic novel
29 JAN 2017

From Barbie and the Care Bears to The Beatles! It’s been an incredible journey for comic book novelist Jason Quinn.

Jason, 52, from Crosby, is the author of a Fab Four book with a difference – a graphic novel called The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays (published by Campfire at £12.99, .

Now living in Tunbridge Wells and the editor of the hit BBC magazine Doctor Who Adventures, Jason’s working life has been fascinating to say the least.

Images for the new book Beatles, The: All Our Yesterdays (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

And explaining how it all began, he says: “I grew up reading Marvel comics – I think I learned to read with Spider-Man! Later, my brother Tim was working for Marvel UK – and it’s who you know so he got me in.

“I thought ‘I’m going to be working on superhero titles!’ But the first title I worked on was Barbie! Then it was the Care Bears. I didn’t get to the superheroes for ages – I was in the nursery and girls’ department!

“I then worked in TV at Pinewood Studios (as head of creative development for Platinum Films) but I decided I preferred comic books so I went freelance and ended up working in India for two and a half years.”

Jason moved to Delhi in 2012 to work for Campfire Graphic Novels as their creative content head. In his time there he won the Comic Con India Awards for Best Writer and Best Graphic Novel two years running, with Steve Jobs: Genius By Design and Gandhi: My Life Is My Message. He returned to the UK in 2014.

He adds: “I’ve been so lucky. I’ve never had the chance to get bored, and I’m always looking for the next adventure.”

Images for the new book Beatles, The: All Our Yesterdays (Campfire Graphic Novels) by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

Jason explains: “I’d wanted to do this for years. And I wanted to really focus on areas I think, for kids, are the really exciting parts of The Beatles’ story – like their early lives and the grit of their times in Hamburg.

“There have been graphic novels about The Beatles before – Marvel did one years ago, but I thought it was c**p. I think what I tried to do was get their characters across – the nitty gritty of them, including the way they spoke.

“There would be nothing worse than reading comic books that would have these lads speaking like Dick Van Dyke. Hopefully, people will be able to hear their real voices in this book. That, to me, was the most important thing – getting them across properly.”

He adds: “This started, simply, with ‘Let’s do a graphic novel on The Beatles’. I was looking around for someone to write it. I asked Bill Harry (founder of the Mersey Beat newspaper) but he didn’t have the time. Then I thought I’d love to have a crack at it because I know their story very well and I love them.

“I grew up listening to The Beatles and my brother Tim is a massive Beatles fan. My favourite Fab Four LP is their debut, Please Please Me. I love every track on that – I really love their early stuff. And one I can listen to at any time is Rubber Soul, because I love Girl and Norwegian Wood.

Jason Quinn, author of The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays

“For the book, it probably took six months for me to write the script and then another year for the artwork to be done. The artist, Lalit Kumar Sharma, is based in India. He came over to Liverpool to do his research and got a real feel for the city. And I think he has done a great job.

“The book was great fun to write because I knew the characters so well. I knew The Beatles’ voices, and it was a lot of fun picturing them saying certain things – having Paul and George bickering, for example.”

He adds: “I think there will always be room for more books on The Beatles. They are timeless – like Elvis and Sinatra. Yes, they were around in the 1960s but their music hasn’t dated. I want people to understand The Beatles. And I want younger people – teenagers and children – to get excited about the idea of making music, and to think that they CAN change the world by following their dreams, like The Beatles did. But, like The Beatles, you’ve got to work at it – and not expect an easy 15 minutes of fame.”

* A launch party and book signing for The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays will take place at Write Blend book shop on South Road, Waterloo at 7pm on Friday February 10 – the day the book is published. Len Garry of The Quarrymen will be a special guest, and Jason’s brother Tim will interview Len and Jason.

The Beatles – All Our Yesterdays
The Beatles – All Our Yesterdays

The Beatles are the world’s most enduring and biggest rock band ever! This is the story of their struggle for success. Taking us through the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, and their lives in Liverpool during the 1950s, we journey with them to Hamburg as they come of age and through grit, determination and masses of talent became the lads who made the sixties swing!

domingo, 29 de enero de 2017

How Jimi Hendrix (May Have) Influenced The Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’
How Jimi Hendrix (May Have) Influenced The Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’
The chord changes in "Hey Joe" might have helped Paul McCartney write the clever transition in "A Day in the Life." Here's how.
by CultureSonar
January 28, 2017

American guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix performs at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, February 1968.
February 01, 1968 (Photo by Baron Wolman/Iconic Images/Getty Images)

By Scott Freiman

Editor’s Note: We’ve gotten LOTS of feedback about this video — and Scott’s conjecture about Jimi’s possible influence on Sgt Pepper — so Scott just posted a follow up where he responds to the most frequent questions and comments.  Anyway, here’s the original article. We hope you enjoy it. If you comment, please remember to be kind. After all, we ALL love this music.

In late 1966, as The Beatles began the sessions that would produce Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the band recorded the memorable track that would close the album — “A Day In The Life.” It features John Lennon’s haunted vocal, Ringo Starr’s dramatic drum fills, and the emotional orchestral build-up that author Jonathan Gould describes as “the sound of the high-wire artist as the ground rushes up from below.” It is certainly one of The Beatles’ finest recordings.

“A Day In The Life” began as a Lennon song. It contained verses inspired by the death of a friend, Tara Browne, as well as an article describing the number of holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. But John never managed to write a chorus or bridge for the song. Instead, he turned to his songwriting partner, Paul McCartney.

Paul had a song that he had begun about waking up and beginning the day. John thought it would make a good bridge for “A Day In The Life.” Paul also suggested the vocal trills that end Lennon’s sections of the song — “I’d love to turn you on.”

The pieces of the song were in place. What was missing was the connective tissue. In this video, I’ll show you why I think Jimi Hendrix had a big influence on how Paul joined his section of “A Day In The Life” to John’s.

You can see more in our latest  film, “Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper.” It opens February 6 in theatres around the county. Check  here   to see where it’s playing near you. We add locations frequently, so check back often to see the latest play dates. If we’re not appearing near you, ask your local cinema to contact us to book the film.

– Scott Freiman


sábado, 28 de enero de 2017

When the Beatles Played their Hearts Out for a Quid a Night
When the Beatles Played their Hearts Out for a Quid a Night
Remembering Liverpool’s Cavern Club—a ‘cellar full of noise’ that launched a musical revolution
By Debbie Greenberg
Jan 24  2017

We were greedy for our fix of non-stop beat music. The club didn’t look like much from the outside. After dodging the lorries deliver­ing fruit to the Fruit Exchange opposite and the lunchtime shoppers, we queued to get in through a small door in the wall of a towering brick warehouse at 10 Mathew Street.
Once inside we descended a steep flight of well-worn stone steps to a small landing, where a few more steps led to a man seated at a small wooden table taking the entrance fees. I paid an extra shilling to become a member of the Cavern Club entitling me to an admission discount at each visit — which in my case was most days. The heat and noise would send your senses reeling as you stepped through those cellar arches. It was enthralling and unbearably hot.
The Cavern’s identity began to change at the start of the new decade. Rock & roll slowly replaced jazz and the Cavern became the heart that gave Mersey its beat. We watched the Beatles debut at the Cavern at the lunchtime session on February 9th, 1961. We were blown away. The Beatles were different, their music was incredible, their appearance raunchy, their energy infectious. They just oozed excitement.

The Beatles rehearsing on the Cavern stage (photo courtesy Les Chadwick /Peter Kaye Photography)

Six weeks later on the 23rd of March, after a lunchtime session at the Cavern, they jumped on a train at Liverpool’s Lime Street station on their way to Hamburg for the second time, having previously played there in 1960. This time they sped off out of our lives for four months. We missed them but still went down to the Cavern to watch other groups, like Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Swinging Blue Genes, the Remo Four, the Big Three, Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes, and many more. They were all fabulous groups but they weren’t the Beatles.
News soon spread around Liverpool that the Beatles were back from Hamburg and were to be guests of the Swinging Blue Genes at the Cavern on Friday July 14th, 1961 for their welcome home appearance.
Everybody wanted to see them. They were already by far the best group in Liverpool. Everything about them was exciting and intoxicat­ing. They seemed to be infused with even more vigor and passion than before. The transformation was unbelievable, with their gyrating hips, humorous banter on stage and sexy outfits — clad in tight black leather with black Cuban heeled boots.
Their repertoire was now wide-ranging, making them stand out from other bands. Their sound was unique and addictive, their energy palpable. Liverpool had never seen or heard anything quite like them. Sue and I made sure we were at the Cavern for every one of their performances after that. They appeared every Wednesday night and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtime.

The Hamburg connection proved the ultimate testing ground for many Liverpool groups. On some nights, groups would be expected to play at the Top Ten Club or Kaiserkeller or later on the Star Club for up to seven hours with only a ten-minute break every hour.
Those sessions transformed Liverpool groups into totally profes­sional outfits—none more so than the Beatles. It turned them from talented amateurs into the band of bands, as Klaus Voormann described them. The Cavern was soon packed every time they played.
Bob Wooler booked them and they received £5 for their debut (£1 each). At that time Stuart Sutcliffe was playing bass guitar, although not very well, and he would often play with his back to the audience so no one could see how he was playing.
They had played a few numbers with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg, including “Ain’t She Sweet,” but the one that sticks in my memory is “My Bonnie.” When the Beatles played these songs at the Cavern they were absolutely brilliant. I think Tony had a big influence on how the Beatles dressed and moved. John Lennon copied Tony’s posture, holding the guitar high up on his chest.
Tony was very talented but by all accounts a force to be reckoned with. His mood could change in an instant. It must have been difficult to work with somebody so unpredictable. They had first met when both were playing for a season at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg. German bandleader Bert Kampfert had spotted them and arranged for them to cut a disc of “My Bonnie” together, which was released in Germany.

News of this record filtered back to Liverpool and one fateful day, Saturday October 28th 1961, a Liverpool teenager called Raymond Jones went into NEMS record store asking about the disc. Situated on Whitechapel, NEMS was just a stone’s throw from Mathew Street and the Cavern.
The young store manager was Brian Epstein, who prided himself on being able to source any record that had been officially released. After hearing the track with its throbbing beat he was intrigued. He asked his assistant, Alistair Taylor, to arrange a visit to the nearby Cavern to see the Beatles at one of the lunchtime sessions. He got there on November 9th 1961 with Alistair and saw the Beatles play for the first time.
He was entranced by their performance — and by the Cavern, the place he later called a “cellar full of noise.” However, Brian Epstein was not the first candidate for the position of Beatles manager. A Liverpool-based promoter called Sam Leach, who regularly organized dances and live shows in local venues, frequently hired the Beatles. As he was giving them regular work and they were all very good friends, he suggested he should become their manager.

Beatles’ first manager Sam Leach with Dick Matthews, John Lennon and George Harrison at the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot (Photo: Paul McCartney)

The group agreed and on the strength of a handshake with John Lennon, the group’s leader, he thought he’d secured the position as their first manager.
On December 9th 1961 Sam booked the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, about forty miles outside London. He paid for a full-page ad in The Aldershot News and expected a good turnout for the gig. How­ever, he had paid by check and the newspaper would not insert the ad until the cheque had cleared.
The check didn’t clear in time and on that night only eighteen people turned up to see the Beatles.
After the hiccup at Aldershot everything was going very well for a few weeks until Brian Epstein stepped into the frame. The Beatles, ever eager to climb the ladder of success, were tempted by Brian’s obvious wealth and promises of fame and fortune. With a heavy heart John Lennon had to break the news to Sam that they had signed with “Eppy.”
Eppy was attracted to the group not just for their music; he was besotted by their personalities and he was especially attracted to John. As a closet homosexual he was all too aware that his sexual preference was still a criminal offence. But he had the skills, contacts and commit­ment to help them succeed.
After becoming their manager he vowed to get them a recording con­tract through his connections in the music scene. After many initial rejections he finally succeeded.
Overnight the Beatles had a following of devoted fans and I was one of them. The amazing thing about the Cavern was that the Beatles and all the groups were so accessible. We were literally inches away as they played.

The Beatles rehearsing on the Cavern stage (photo courtesy Les Chadwick / Peter Kaye Photography)

The girls went crazy when Pete Best was sacked and replaced by Ringo. Pete was sultry, fiercely good-looking and oozed sex appeal. They would heckle the Beatles when they were on stage, shouting, “Pete forever, Ringo never.” We were all outraged and couldn’t understand why Ringo was the new drummer. The sound didn’t seem any different to us.
Rumours about Pete’s dismissal circulated around Liverpool. Some said he was too good-looking and Paul was jealous because he was getting the most attention from the girls. Others said Brian Epstein had decided his drumming wasn’t good enough. I don’t suppose any of us will ever get to the bottom of it; even Pete Best didn’t know why he was dropped.
The Beatles inspired many groups to embrace rock & roll — and they all wanted to play the Cavern. The resident DJ, Bob Wooler, would always introduce the show with, “Hi there, all you cave-dwellers. We’ve got the hi-fi high and the lights down low.” At the end of the night he always played “I’ll Be There” by Bobby Darin and we all knew it was time to leave. It was never the signal to get romantic as it was in other clubs. It was just time to go and catch the last bus home.

Paul McCartney (left), John Lennon (right) with Bob Wooler, Cavern Club’s DJ, in the summer of 1961 (source)

Bob later said, “The Cavern was the greatest finishing school pop music had ever known.” How right he was.
Garston-born Bob compered around Liverpool for four years before giving up his day job as a British Rail clerk to go full-time as a DJ in 1960. His first gig was at Litherland Town Hall on Dec 27th 1960, the first major show the Beatles played on their return from their first Hamburg trip. They delivered an incendiary performance, the likes of which Liverpool had never seen before. He would go on to compere lunchtime and evening sessions at the Cavern from 1961 until it was closed in early 1966.
“It was dirty. It was incredibly noisy. It stank to high heaven,” Bob remembered in a 1973 interview with Don Smith of the Liverpool Daily Post. “But it put Liverpool on the map so far as teenagers throughout the world were concerned. It was not just a place but an experience, a revolution. I should know, I saw it through the halcyon years, right through to the bankrupt years. Fed up with my job as a railway clerk, I took a chance and jumped down into the Cave, as I still call it, as a part-time/lunchtime disc jockey and compere. I found myself in a different world. I stayed in it for seven years. The happiest years of my life.
“A lot of rubbish has been written about the place, mostly by people who had either never been in it, or spent a few minutes there before dashing out, deafened. People said it made a fortune, that it led young­sters astray, that it was a vice midden. It was far from that. And it never, as has been suggested, exploited the penniless pop groups that queued to play there.
“It’s true the Beatles played their hearts out for a quid each a night, but there was nowhere else for them to play anyway, and they and the groups that followed were glad of the chance. I compered exactly 292 Beatles shows down in that sweaty hole. They loved every minute of it, so did the kids, and remember it was the kids who made the Cavern, not the Beatles, or the long line of groups that followed on.”

Excerpted from Cavern Club: The Inside Story by Debbie Greenberg, published by Jorvik Press. Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

viernes, 27 de enero de 2017

John and Paul's Friendship Becomes a Musical Data Art Duet

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Lennon and McCartney's Friendship Becomes a Musical Data Art Duet
Kevin Holmes
Jan 26 2017

By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 916-5098. Cropped by Gabriel Sozzi [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (], via Wikimedia Commons

Lennon and McCartney: One of the most famous songwriting partnerships in pop music history, and this year on July 6th, it will be 60 years since the two first met at a church fete in Liverpool, England, back in 1957. John Lennon was 16 Paul McCartney, 15, and since then, it's become Beatles lore that over the years they had their ups and downs. The question for fans has always been, how did these differences effect their songs?

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To mark the anniversary, and their relationship as creative duo, composer Dr. Alexis Kirke from Plymouth University has used an algorithm to "chart the emotional development of their friendship through their lyrics." For a new piece, Come Together: The Sonification of McCartney and Lennon, Kirke will take the data he's gathered to create a classical duet of emotionally-annotated words from 156 McCartney songs and 131 Lennon songs.

Kirke is no stranger to using algorithms for experimental music making. Previous experiments have included using bots with the personalities of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Superman, and Batman to create a live performance. Come Together will be an a cappella performance between a soprano and tenor voice, interwoven where Kirke plotted the emotional positivity and physical intensity.

The words were used to map musical features that chart happiness throughout their time as friends. Kirke has made the duet to mirror events that happened between the two in real life, from Beatle-mania, pointing to the jubilation of their early success, to the negavitity that came with their split in 1970, leading up to Lennon's tragic assassination in 1980.

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“I’ve been a huge fan of The Beatles since my dad introduced me to Sgt. Pepper’s in my early teens," Dr. Kirke said. "Having developed the lyrical analysis method with other artists [Kirke has done a sonification of Bowie's career for the V&A], and realizing that this year was the 60th anniversary of McCartney and Lennon forming The Quarrymen, it seemed a wonderful opportunity to combine my childhood musical enthusiasms with my adult research and composition. The lyrical emotion patterns that I discovered were very exciting and cried out to be turned into a performance. I feel honored to have this opportunity to compose a vocal duet about two people that have had such a large emotional impact on my life.”

Below, an unforgettable performance by the band that shows just how close the two were in song:

The performance will take place next month as part of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival which runs 24 to 26 February 2017 at Plymouth University, UK. Find out more about Dr. Alexis Kirke at his website  here .

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jueves, 26 de enero de 2017

Paul McCartney : A Year In The Life…

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For Whom The Bell Tells: A Year In The Life…

 For Whom The Bell Tells: A Year In The Life…
For Whom The Bell Tells – December 2016 
A year in the life…

2016 has been the year of many things, lots of them not particularly positive. But one thing that has spread joy and brought a smile to people’s faces – and in fact continues to spread joy and bring a smile to people’s faces – has been the mannequin challenge. A viral video craze that follows in the footsteps of Planking from 2011 and the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014, it has seen everyone from Michelle Obama to James Corden to Beyoncé freezing themselves for the camera, while Rae Sremmurd’s ‘Black Beatles’ plays in the background.

But ask the co-creator of said track – rapper Swae Lee – which participant in the craze that helped make his and his brother’s song a huge global hit most blew his mind, and his answer is instantaneous.

“McCartney, of course!” he says.

“When you've reached a real Beatle,” he told Rolling Stone magazine, shortly after Paul uploaded his clip to Instagram in November, “it’s the ultimate co-sign. It's like dang, respect. And the fact that he said ‘Love those Black Beatles’: it's crazy!”

In fact, though, this was not Rare Stemmurd’s first connection with Paul: they’d had an inspiring meeting years before at Coachella."The first time we went with Mike Will, before we blew up, we met him,” Swae recalled. “And he gave us some uplifting words of wisdom. We were humbled. It was a rock star moment to have this dude telling us that. He didn't even know us, but he was just talking to us. I guess it was our aura or I don't know what it was. He just took the time to speak with us before we even made the song. It was crazy.”

A video posted by Paul McCartney (@paulmccartney) on 

Given ‘Black Beatles’ continued dominance of the airwaves, this uplifting story seemed like a good place to start my latest post. It shows how even when he is not spreading love and thrilling fans the world over with his live shows or records, Macca still somehow manages to be here, there and everywhere.

Another (very different) artist who talked recently about being inspired by Paul was Michael Bublé. Appearing on the BBC’s prestigious Desert Island Discs show a few weeks ago, he picked ‘My Love’ as one of his all-time favourite tracks, and also shared his own memory of meeting him. “I was in Toronto and Sir Paul knew I was there,” he said. “He asked if I’d like to come and say hello, and what a beautiful, funny, reverent, humble man… and when I say cool, I mean, I think if you look up the word ‘swagger’ in the dictionary you should see that man’s picture next to it: it’s just one of my favourite moments of all time, getting to meet him and hang with him."

Back in the present, and as of memories of the holidays start to fade and as I’m preparing for another big year I’m spending time in the office doing some much needed filing, I am once again staggered by what Paul got up to in 2016. As I open various project files (touring, Pure McCartney, etc), I find scribbled post-it notes with details of what seem like endless achievements and accolades (not my own by the way: I mean Paul’s!).

Having played 41 shows across 12 different countries to over 1.2 million people alone this year on his new 'One On One' tour, you might think that Paul deserves to put his feet up this Christmas. But this is without taking into account all his other activities in the last 12 months. He composed and launched his own set of emojis for Skype; he made a series of VR documentaries about some of his landmark compositions; he made a guest appearance in Michael Crawford’s 'Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em' Sport Relief special, and also filmed a cameo in the next ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ film.

There were his Grammy nominations (in rap categories this year – more on his 2017 nominations in a minute), his smashing of the charts with his career retrospective Pure McCartney (he was also named the UK’s most successful album artist of all time) and his Rolling Stone cover interview. He re-signed with Capital Records, wrote and recorded a brand new song 'In The Blink Of An Eye' for the 'Ethel & Ernest' soundtrack, and then there was the small little matter of the universally acclaimed Ron Howard film ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week’.

Another extraordinary year I think you’ll agree, containing what would surely be a careers worth of activity for most artists. But then as we all know, Paul is not most artists!

I’ve already written a lot about the 'One On One' tour this year so I won’t dwell on it too long. But suffice to say, as it continued, Paul brought joy with him wherever he went this year – and you never quite knew what surprises might be in store. From set list changes to the special guests who popped up now and again to the audience interaction, no two shows were the same. Launching his all new 'One On One' production in Fresno on the 13th April, the tour took in a variety of venues, from huge stadiums (breaking attendance records in Argentina) and arenas to festival sites and – in a McCartney first – a tipi!

Live song debuts this year included ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Love Me Do’, 'Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’ and, returning to the set, The Quarrymen’s ‘In Spite Of All The Danger’: the first ever Beatles original, recorded all the way back in 1958. The set included this and his 2015 global smash with Rihanna and Kanye, ‘FourFiveSeconds’, meaning that the setlist spanned nearly 60 years.

There were incredibly poignant moments: from meeting two of the Little Rock Nine, to a spontaneous live tribute to Prince in Minneapolis, to performing the largest ever concert in Argentina’s Córdoba, to inviting a ten year old girl on stage to play bass in Buenos Aires, to draping himself in a rainbow flag and pledging his support to the people of Orlando on stage in Berlin. Those who have joined Paul onstage in 2016 include Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, New England Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski, the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir and Jimmy Fallon. Plus of course, most recently, there was the mega festival that was the Desert Trip, which saw him team up with both Neil Young and Rihanna. In the same week, in-between and in contrast to these two huge festival appearances, Paul also popped up in the tiny Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace for one of his smallest shows ever.

Watch highlights from Paul's Desert Trip performance below:

So 2016 was a year in which the McCartney live experience only became more legendary. It might seem a weird thing to say, but sometimes it feels as though Paul’s unparalleled live achievements get overshadowed by his back catalogue. Back when he was launching the tour, I was thinking about this, so I asked him how important his live career is in comparison to his recording career.

“The truth is that both of them are very important,” he told me. “You’ve got to have the songs and you’ve got to record them well. So you need to have an audience. But then when you actually get out and play them it’s really the other half of the job, which is very enjoyable and because of the feedback you get from your fans… and also it’s great as a musician playing your instrument with the band. You know, that’s something that’s very invigorating and healthy, I think!"

The live career of The Beatles is something, too, that often gets overshadowed by their recorded legend. This story was something explored brilliantly in Ron Howard’s film, which chronicled their amazing times as a touring band (and even if you’ve seen it, I urge you to get the DVD, which has some incredible extras!).

I have been lucky enough to again witness so many unbelievable moments with Paul this year, but one of the standouts was the launch of ‘Eight Days A Week’ back in September. I knew at the time it was going to be special, so I kept some notes which I’ve just tidied up and am going to share here now with you.


The Beatles: Eight Days A Week 
Wednesday September 14th – Abbey Road

It is a deliciously beautiful hot day. The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky outside Abbey Road studios on the morning on 14th September. In fact it is the hottest September since 1911: breaking all records. But never mind the weather: today is really all about some other record breakers, the record breakers that changed the world forever.

Outside Abbey Road, fans are hanging around and taking pictures of themselves at the most photographed zebra crossing in the world (to a mixture of amusement and annoyance from the morning traffic). Inside, media crews are working away, preparing for a day that will involve Paul and his friend Ringo undertaking a couple of hours promotional duties for ‘Eight Days A Week’, which will also have its premiere the following evening in London’s Leicester Square. In the corridor outside Studio 2, Ron Howard is hanging out chatting to Giles Martin. Both are doing their bit for the PR campaign, but in truth they and everyone else are waiting for the main event – the arrival of Paul and Ringo.

As I start to put my thoughts and memories down on paper from these special days, I realise I’m in danger of over using words like iconic, legendary, historic, celebrated, distinguished and illustrious. But for someone who grew up in total adoration of The Beatles (and I know I'm not alone), this was to be a truly unforgettable day.

At 11:45am, Paul’s car pulls up to the studio’s side entrance just seconds after the arrival of Ringo. The pair embrace, and it’s beyond special to see them smiling as they walk through the door of Studio 2. As they drink in their surroundings, it’s clear that the moment is not lost on them. If these walls could talk I think to myself – but actually I am about to get better than the walls talking.

“Man, it’s always such a trip being back here,” says Paul walking through the studio door. “Although we did use to start work a little earlier than midday back then!”

Once inside, standing in the middle of Studio 2 he takes stock: “I always try to resist going wow this is where it all happened man but you can’t. It’s just too trippy.”

Meanwhile, Ringo has now gone up the stairs in the studio to the control room. “Hey Paul, we’re up here,” he shouts. “We’re not allowed up there: adults only!” Paul shouts back instantly, demonstrating that the Beatle humour is still alive and well.

Paul then makes his way upstairs to a room that will be used as his dressing room today, saying hi to anyone that comes into contact with him. As he walks through a tiny space between the studio’s control room and his dressing room, he stops, his memory jogged. “We recorded a song in this space,” he says. “I was over here, Ringo over there (pointing), John there and George there.”

Pinching myself I remember the Rolling Stone cover interview which ran recently in which Paul talks about ‘Yer Blues’. “We were talking about this tightness, this packed-in-a-tin thing," he had said. “So we got in a little cupboard – a closet that had microphone leads and things, with a drum kit, amps turned to the walls, one mic for John. We did 'Yer Blues' live and it was really good."

And so stood in this tiny space, with this first hand recollection from one of the four people who was actually there, I’m getting these images in my head of the greatest band of all time packed into this space in 1968 rocking out 'Yer Blues'. Wow. Just wow. History!

Midday, and it’s "call time" for Paul: he’s needed in the studio with Ringo and Ron Howard to start two hours of back-to-back interviews. Taking his seat between Ringo and Ron in front of the TV cameras, Paul looks at Ringo. “Abbey Road! This is cool, baby!” he says as he affectionately puts his hand on his former bandmate’s knee.

The next two hours go by in a flash, and everyone assembled here – the various agents, managers, publicists and general liggers – can’t believe our luck as we listen to some incredible shared memories from Paul and Ringo. It’s incredible to think of their touring world back in the ’60s, especially in contrast to Paul’s current tours. The Beatles pioneered touring on such a huge scale. Like so many things in their career, no one had ever done what they were doing, and the technology just wasn’t there to support the monumental heights they were reaching. This year alone, Paul has already played to well over a million people in gigantic venues, with the state of the art sound and video equipment meaning that, wherever you are, you have an unbelievable experience and you can enjoy the sound and all the action from the stage. Back then, as you can see from the footage, the audience just can’t believe they are in the presence of The Beatles. That’s all they need… just to be in the same space!

Back to the interviews. It’s only right too that Paul and Ringo give their exclusive newspaper interview to the Liverpool Echo, and the following morning they appear on the cover with the headline ‘Watching the film is like having our old mates back’.

You can read the full interview HERE
Another of the afternoon’s duties is a Facebook Live chat with broadcaster Edith Bowman at the helm. Paul, Ringo and Ron answer questions from fans all over the world, and then, with interviews concluded, it’s time for Paul to head off. With the promotional work done, the next stop is the red – sorry blue! – carpet the following night.

Thursday September 15th – Leicester Square – World Premiere

Despite the weather warnings that have been running all day, it’s another beautiful evening, and at 7pm in Leicester Square there is no sign of rain. I’m waiting at the “talent drop off” point with an army of publicists: all waiting for their respective clients to arrive. The excitement buzzes through the air as Beatles songs blast out across the Square, which tonight is hosting thousands of fans, swarms of paparazzi, A-list celebrities, international news crews and a replica Abbey Road crossing for good measure.

The crowd goes mad as people like Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Clapton, Liam Gallagher, Jools Holland, Bob Geldolf and Madonna arrive. But just as they do in the film, the screams go up a gear when Paul and Ringo arrive at about 7:45pm. Working their way round the Square, the pair are on top form, and it is clearly an emotional experience for them.

Speaking to media on the blue carpet about the film, Paul said: “We’re getting great memories obviously of playing with John and George, so that’s very emotional and very special to see that again. There’s some great things that we’d kind of half forgotten, like we refused to play a show in Jacksonville in the south of America because we heard it was segregated, with blacks on one side and whites on the other – we thought that’s stupid and so won’t play it and we didn’t, so they had to change the rules. That’s the first integrated show that Jacksonville had, so looking back now that’s very cool”

On the blue carpet Paul also reveals that the jacket he is wearing is exactly the same jacket he wore for the premiere of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ when he was 22. And that’s without any alterations: so another frankly unbelievable achievement!

The final media commitment before heading in to watch the film is a live interview with comedian John Bishop (which is being broadcast live around the world on The Beatles Facebook page as well as being beamed into cinemas globally), and Paul is then ushered along the rest of the Blue Carpet into the cinema where, before taking his seat, he’ll be introduced on stage along with Ringo. As the pair are waiting backstage for their introduction, they giggle away like school boys together. It’s great to watch them back together, and there is so much affection: the uniqueness of the experiences they shared together forging an unbelievable bond. Onstage introductions over, Paul can finally take his seat where, like the majority of the audience, he will watch the film for the first time, and I can only imagine what it must be like for him to watch ‘Eight Days A Week’.

I find it fascinating watching videos of Paul from this period of his career, because all his mannerisms are the same as they are now, and you can see the way he is with people is the same, with the same excitement and sense of wonder. His energy and enthusiasm is as strong now as it clearly was then. His sense of right and wrong is still never compromised, and this is never so clear as it is in the scene in the film about the segregated audience in Jacksonville. It is this bit where it hits me even harder just how huge the impact Paul has had on the world at large. It goes way beyond the incredible melodies. It’s one thing being insanely gifted – but the responsibility that comes with the gift is equally as insane.

‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week’ is a triumph. Like many, I’ve read a lot about The Beatles, and seen a lot of footage of The Beatles, but this is a film that offers a different perspective, and feels fresh. In many ways, it’s like Paul himself: always happy to celebrate all the wonderful things that have happened in the past, while also constantly looking for new ways to move forward.

All of which brings me nicely on to those Grammy nominations for 2017. As well as ‘Eight Days A Week’ being nominated for best film, Paul’s deluxe edition of Tug Of War is up for best boxed or special limited edition package, and he also features in two other categories. John Daversa's album Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles on the BFM Jazz label has been nominated as best large jazz ensemble album, while two tracks taken from it are also shortlisted: 'Do You Want to Know a Secret', (featuring Renee Olstead) is up for best arrangement, instrument and vocals, while 'Lucy in the Sky (With Diamonds)' gets a nod in the best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella category. And if that wasn’t enough, the Timo Mass-James remix of ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five’ will also compete for best remixed recording.

Add to this the fact that Paul has also just announced the reissue of 1989’s Flowers In The Dirt for March and new Japanese tour dates, you just know that 2017 is already shaping up to be another great year packed full of surprises and memories created for a lifetime. I guess I had better go and stock up on post-it notes!

Happy New Year!

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Meryl Streep responds to Oscar nomination with GIF of her dancing to Paul McCartney

Image result for paul mccartney meryl streep
Meryl Streep responds to Oscar nomination with GIF of her dancing to Paul McCartney
Nick Levine
Jan 25, 2017

Hollywood veteran notches up a record 20th nomination for her performance in 'Florence Foster Jenkins'.

Meryl Streep in Paul McCartney's Queenie Eye video
Meryl Streep in Paul McCartney's Queenie Eye video Credit: Vevo

Meryl Streep has offered a unique response after being asked to comment on her latest Oscar nomination.

Despite recently being called “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood” by Donald Trump, Streep’s performance in Florence Foster Jenkins has earned her a record 20th Oscar nomination – eight more than any other actor.

“Please find the following GIF as a statement on behalf of Meryl Streep,” her publicist wrote in an email to the press yesterday, attaching a GIF of Streep dancing in Paul McCartney’s 2013 video for ‘Queenie Eye’

La La Land is the leading contender for the 89th Academy Awards with a record-equalling 14 nominations.

This includes nominations in each of the big four categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Damian Chazelle, Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Only All About Eve and Titanic have racked up as many nominations in the past.

British and Irish stars Andrew Garfield, Dev Patel, Ruth Negga and Naomie Harris all picked up acting nominations too. However, the likes of Amy Adams, Aaron Taylor Johnson and Deadpool were snubbed.

Meanwhile, Jada Pinkett Smith has praised the diversity of this year’s Oscar nominations after a record six black actors were shortlisted.

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There are Harrison and Beatle Turntables

Pro-Ject Audio Systems - Debut Carbon Esprit SB Turntable (Beatles 1964 edition) - White and Black - AlternateView18 Zoom
There are Harrison and Beatle Turntables
by beatlesblogger
Posted on January 23, 2017

There was a fair bit of interest last week in the George Harrison Pro-Ject Essential III turntable, announced in conjunction with the big vinyl box set out on 24 February. It will retail for £429.00:



However, there was less of a hullaballoo just last December when Pro-Ject also announced a similar Beatle-themed turntable – a decorated Debut Carbon Esprit SB retailing in the USA, only at Best Buy stores, for US$599.00 (that’s about £483.00):



The general consensus online is that the Beatle artwork used for this one is fairly drab. It’s meant to commemorate the historic 1964 U.S. tour, with ticket stubs from the legendary tour dotted across the plinth.

By the way, the Pro-Ject Essential III in non-Harrison form sells for a suggested retail price of £279.00, and you can read more about its features  here .

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB in non-Beatle form sells for around £449.00, and you can read more about its features here. 

martes, 24 de enero de 2017

55 Years Ago: The Beatles Sign Their First Contract With Brian Epstein

Image result for beatles brian epstein first picture
55 Years Ago: The Beatles Sign Their First Contract With Brian Epstein
By Frank Mastropolo
January 24, 2017

By late 1961, the Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and drummer Pete Best – were one of the most popular bands in Liverpool, but were desperate to find a representative who would secure them a recording contract.

Earlier that year. the band had a falling out with their first manager, Allan Williams, who’d booked their gigs in Hamburg, Germany. Enter Brian Epstein, whose family owned the local NEMS record store. Epstein, with no managerial experience, resolved to represent the group after seeing it perform at Liverpool’s Cavern Club. On Jan. 24, 1962, the Beatles inked a five-year management contract with Epstein.

Epstein did his homework before making the Beatles a formal offer. The Epstein biography The Man Who Made the Beatles recounts that the would-be manager approached Williams, who had battled with the group over a commission he felt he was owed. “I hope you don’t mind me asking you, Allan, for a bit of help. I’m thinking of managing the Beatles,” said Epstein.

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“They’re a fantastic group – but they’ll let you down,” Williams replied. “My advice is: Don’t touch them with a f—ing bargepole.” Williams added, “They’re ruthless. When it comes to contracts, be careful what you’re signing. Make sure you can get out any time you want to.”

But Epstein was smitten by the band’s musicianship and humor. He courted the Beatles during a series of meetings held at NEMS in December 1961. “One evening we went down to the NEMS shop,” McCartney recalled in Anthology. “We went upstairs to Brian’s office to make the deal. I was talking to him, trying to beat him down, knowing the game: try to get the manager to take a low percentage. And the others tried as well, but he stuck at a figure of 25 percent. He told us, ‘That’ll do, now I’ll be your manager,’ and we agreed.”

“Epstein was serving in a record shop and he had nothing to do, and he saw these sort of rockers, greasers, seeming-greasers playing loud music and a lot of kids paying attention to it,” Lennon told Hit Parader in 1975. “And he thought, ‘Well, this is a business to be in.’ And he liked it – he liked the look of it. He wanted to manage us and we had nobody better, so we said, All right, you can do it.”

Image result for beatles brian epstein first picture

The contract was signed at Best’s family home in a Liverpool suburb. Its basement housed the Casbah Club, a coffee bar operated by Best’s mother, Mona. As members of the Quarrymen, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison played some of their earliest gigs at the Casbah in 1959.

The contract gave Epstein 10 percent of the Beatles’ earnings, up to 1,500 pounds a year, — about $4,200 dollars in 1962. Should the band earn more than that, Epstein’s take went up to 20 percent. By 1963, Epstein’s commission was 25 percent of the Beatles’ income.

All the Beatles signed the contract, but Epstein did not. It appeared Epstein heeded Williams’ advice: “Make sure you can get out any time you want to.”

Image result for beatles brian epstein

In his autobiography, A Cellarful of Noise, Epstein explained, “Why had I not signed it? I believe it was because even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100 percent faith in myself to help the Beatles adequately. In other words, I wanted to free the Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off.”

Epstein did sign another five-year contract with the band in October 1962. But Harrison and McCartney noted in Anthology that they wondered if the Beatles were really better off with Epstein as their manager. “Brian didn’t get very good deals on anything,” Harrison said. “For years, EMI were giving us one old penny between us for every single and two shillings for every album.”

“Brian did do some lousy deals and he put us into long-term slave contracts, which I am still dealing with,” said McCartney. “If we’d known in 1962-3 what we know now, or even what we knew in 1967,” added Harrison, “it would have made a real difference.”