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Beatles News Archives

2002 Page 1

Beatles Hey Jude manuscript goes under the hammer

Paul McCartney's manuscript of The Beatles hit song "Hey Jude" goes up for auction in London in April when it is expected to fetch 80,000 pounds (€101,000). The incomplete manuscript for the song, the Fab Four's best selling single according to Paul's spokesman Geoff Baker, was found by a Beatles fan on a market stall in 1971, just three years after it was recorded.

The single sheet of unlined paper carries 19 lines of script in blue ink in Paul's neat handwriting. But, as with the only previous sample of the handwritten lyrics to come to auction, the last lines are missing.

Auction house Christie's, that will put the document up for sale on April 30, speculated the reason for the missing verse was Paul's difficulty in rounding off the song. "To our knowledge a complete manuscript of the song has never come to auction," Christie's spokeswoman Jill Potterton told Reuters.

Paul said he began to compose the song to console the infant Julian Lennon over the breakup of his father John's marriage to Cynthia Lennon as Yoko Ono came on the scene. "I thought as a friend of the family I would motor out to Weybridge and tell them that everything was all right," Paul said in notes in the auction catalog. "I started singing 'Hey Jools, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better...'. It was optimistic, a hopeful message for Julian. Come on man, your parents got divorced. I know you're not happy, but you'll be OK," he wrote.

Paul said he later changed the lyric to "Hey Jude" after a character in the hit musical Oklahoma! as it gave the song a more Country and Western feel.

John Lennon, who said he believed the song was a subconscious message from Paul encouraging him to continue with Ono, described it as one of Paul's masterpieces. The song, released in August 1968, spent two weeks as number one in the British Record Retailer charts and nine weeks in the top spot in the U.S. Billboard charts.

It was more than twice the length of normal singles at over seven minutes and included a 36-piece orchestra. Julian Lennon, who said he only found out nearly 20 years later that the song was about him, said he still gets goosepimples whenever he hears it. "It's very strange to think that someone has written a song about you. It still touches me," he said on the catalog notes.


Will Paul McCartney Play Las Vegas?

Paul McCartney could hit the jackpot by signing on to play one night in Las Vegas. Paul is poised to become the highest paid British performer of all time after being offered nearly $4 million for a single concert at the MGM Grand in "Sin City," according to London's Sunday Times.

The city is reportedly trying to find another big ticket event to fill the void left by the postponed world heavyweight championship fight between Mike Tyson and LennoxLewis, which had been scheduled for April 6.

A Paul representative told LAUNCH that they could neither confirm nor deny the Vegas concert or the figure being reported, but the spokesperson did say, "There is a tour in the works and we are speaking with many places."

Although the MGM Grand would not confirm the amount, it did admit to having talks with Paul. A hotel spokesperson told the Sunday Times, "Paul would be a great event for us. We have not signed him yet but talks are continuing and we hope to make an announcement soon."


Man Barred From Selling Harrison Items

The former brother-in-law of George Harrison's widow has been barred from selling memorabilia allegedly stolen from the late Beatle.

In a lawsuit, Olivia Harrison accused Carl Roles or Temecula of taking 10 boxes of clothing, records, photographs and other items from Harrison's Bel-Air home in the 1970s. Roles was once married to her Olivia Harrison's sister, Linda Arias.

Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janavs on Friday granted a preliminary injunction preventing Roles from selling the items while the court battle is under way. The judge exempted personal letters that the Harrison's wrote to Roles and an autographed souvenir program.

Harrison died of cancer Nov. 29 at the age of 58. His widow claims Roles tried to sell stolen memorabilia the next day. Roles has said he received permission to remove the items from the house and denies he tried to sell them.


'American Pie,' 'Eleanor Rigby,' 'Don't Be Cruel' Among New Grammy Hall Of Famers

Don McLean’s "American Pie," The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby," and Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" are among the new tunes named for induction into the Grammy Hall Of Fame this year. The Recording Academy announced a total of 55 recordings that will be inducted into the 2002 Grammy Hall Of Fame, which was established in 1973 to "honor recordings of enduring quality and relevance or historical significance."


Harrison Death Mystery Solved

Maybe now we can finally let it be.

The mystery surrounding George Harrison’s death certificate has been solved--and it appears he really did die at Paul McCartney’s house. Sort of.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said Tuesday that friends of the late guitarist have corrected George's death certificate, after the first version listed a fake address as the place where he died. As it turns out, George died at a Hollywood Hills mansion once leased by Paul. District Attorney Steve Cooley said that noted security expert Gavin de Becker, who was with George in his final days, submitted a different address for George's location of death--a $4 million French country-style manor once owned by rocker Courtney Love.

It was a fitting controversy for the fiercely private George, who died November 29 at age 58 following a long battle with cancer. The original death certificate said George died at 1971 Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills. Only problem was, the address didn't exist--It was most likely fabricated in an attempt to keep memorabilia seekers away and keep the site from becoming another stop on Hollywood's ghoulish celebrity death tours.

Days later, a Los Angeles TV station reported that George actually died in a home owned by Paul. But Paul vehemently denied the claim through his publicist, calling it "complete and utter fiction."

"The fact is that Paul McCartney does not own a home in the state of California, never mind Beverly Hills," his spokesman said at the time. Technically, Paul's rep may be right. According to the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office, the owner of the home is listed as Mike Walley, who is said to have purchased the mansion in March 2001.

The confusion perhaps stems from a Los Angeles Times report dating from March 2001 saying it was Paul who bought the house from Love, when apparently he was just leasing it for a period. It is unknown whether Paul was leasing the home at the time of George's death. Reps for Paul have yet to comment.

Whatever the case, the DA's office said Tuesday that because the address has been corrected, no criminal charges will be filed. Falsifying public documents is a misdemeanor offense in the state of California, and the District Attorney's office initially got involved when celebrity attorney Gloria Allred filed a complaint arguing that no one--not even celebrities--should be above the law and allowed to file false information.

Meanwhile, another George mystery lingers. There's still no official word on the whereabouts of his remains. His ashes were supposed to be scattered in the Ganges River but never turned up, and his family has refused to discuss his final resting place.


Paul Earns Oscar Nom

Paul McCartney's "Vanilla Sky," from Cameron Crowe's film of the same name, earned the former-Beatle his third Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. He was previously nominated for "Live and Let Die" in 1973, and The Beatles won Best Original Song Score in 1970 for Let It Be.

The seventy-fourth annual Academy Awards will be held on March 24th at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. The ceremony will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and televised live on ABC.


Paul Says John is His Hero

Paul McCartney's ultimate hero is ... the late fellow Beatle, John Lennon. "I've got a few heroes, but if I really have to plump for one, well hows abouts .... John?" McCartney was quoted as saying in a celebrity poll published in Wednesday's music magazine Mojo. "But I have to add the reservation that it could also be the other Beatles — or Elvis. Or Little Richard. Or Nat King Cole."

Of John, who was shot to death in 1980 outside his New York apartment building, Paul reportedly said, "What I admire in him was massive talent, great wit, courage and humor. He influenced me, very much so." Together, the pair wrote such hits as "Help!" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and turned The Beatles into stars.

Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher also cited John among their heroes. "People will be surprised I didn't say The Beatles. Paul McCartney is a musical hero — but Paul McCartney is just not my kind of pop star. Lennon is," Noel Gallagher was quoted as saying. "This is no diss to Paul McCartney ... He's a top man, but there's an element of professionalism, whereas Lennon was like 'plug a guitar in and I'll make it howl,'" he said.

Liam Gallagher, whose son with actress Patsy Kensit is named Lennon, added, "It's his voice I most admire."


Jools Holland Both Happy & Sad To Have George Harrison On His Album

Despite an all-star roster, the new Jools Holland album is garnering attention mostly for the presence of one of George Harrison's final recordings. But when George contributed the track "Horse To The Water" to Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues, he was just one of a list of musical luminaries that includes Sting, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and others.

Holland, a former member of Squeeze and now a BBC-TV host in Great Britain, tells LAUNCH that when he went to Switzerland to record George's vocals last September, he knew the former Beatle was battling cancer, but did not feel his death was imminent. "He wasn't very well, but when I left I didn't think it was going to be the last time I was going to see him.

I thought that, maybe rather naively and maybe rather optimistically, that, 'He's gonna be all right.' Although he wasn't well, I thought maybe it would go into remission, or he would kind of...I left feeling very positive. He heard the finished thing and said, 'That's great. I'm really pleased with that,' and then he became a lot iller. And sadly, it didn't work out," he says.

Holland adds that he struggles with the idea of having one of George's final tracks on the album and hopes he's not being viewed as opportunistic. "People say, 'Oh, that's amazing. You've got the last thing he recorded.' I wish that it wasn't the last thing he recorded at all. I wish that it was just a thing that we'd done that was good, and we could've done it, you know, and filmed it and all that sort of thing, but none of that's to be. I think it's very sad that it turned out like that. I wish he could've been here to be doing this interview with us now," he says.


Beatles DJ Dies in Liverpool

A former DJ who helped launch the Beatles pop phenomenon in the northern English City of Liverpool has died, the Liverpool Echo newspaper reported on Friday.

Bob Wooler, 76, died at the Royal Liverpool hospital after a long battle with illness.

He introduced the band hundreds of times live at the legendary Cavern Club, where the Beatles launched their careers in the early 1960s.


Liverpool Council Saves Historic Beatles Stage

Liverpool Council on Thursday stepped in to save the wooden stage where John Lennon first met Paul McCartney in 1957.

"Liverpool without The Beatles would be like Stratford-Upon-Avon without Shakespeare," Liverpool Council's Matt Finnigan said. "If we hadn't stepped in the stage would have ended up as matchwood."

Paul first met John on the stage in St. Peter's Church Hall in Liverpool when John was playing with his band, the Quarrymen. "Paul told John his guitar was out of tune. John was impressed and asked Paul to join the band. The rest is history," said Finnigan.

St. Peter's Hall planned to rip out the stage as part of a rebuilding project, having not found a buyer for the wooden boards which had become a Mecca for Beatles fans. Finnigan said the Council would keep the boards safe until they found a new home. "But they won't be leaving Liverpool," he said.


Paul to Tour U.S.

Fresh off his performance of his new song "Freedom" -- not to mention the impromptu duet of The Beatles "A Hard Day's Night" with football commentator Terry Bradshaw -- at Sunday's Super Bowl in New Orleans, Paul has announced his first North American tour in nine years.

The Drivin' USA tour, in support of Paul's new album, Drivin' Rain, will get underway in California in April and hit thirteen cities in the U.S. and one in Canada before concluding in New York City.

"I'm very excited to be getting back on the road," Paul said, "playing with a new band and including in the show some songs that I haven't played live before."

Drivin' USA dates and venues will be announced shortly. Paul will bring the tour to Europe in May.


George Harrison Tribute Concert Planned For February 24 in U.K.

A special memorial concert for George Harrison will take place at the Empire Theatre in the guitarist's home city of Liverpool, England, on February 24. A list of participating artists will be released closer to the concert date, but organizers promise that "a host of big names" will appear.

Organizers for the Harrison tribute include the Liverpool City Council, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and the local Cavern Club. Neil Aspinall--head of Apple, The Beatles management company--said Harrison's wife Olivia and son Dhani were "touched with the idea" for the tribute concert.

Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey described Harrison as a "true man of peace," and went on to say, "When George died, Liverpool lost one of its most talented musicians. He was one of the most influential figures in the music industry over the past 40 years, both through his work with The Beatles and then later as a solo writer, performer, and filmmaker." Storey also called Harrison "a true Scouser"--the slang term for a Liverpudlian--"who never forgot his roots. He was a great ambassador for the city and popular culture."

The artists participating in the tribute will appear free of charge, and money raised through ticket sales will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Relief and other cancer charities. Tickets for the concert are on sale now.

The date of the concert marks what would have been George’s 59th birthday, although official records list his birth date as February 25.


Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton & Others Lead Queen's Jubilee Line-up

A who's who of British and American musicians have reportedly signed on to participate in the Queen's Golden Jubilee in June, commemorating Queen Elizabeth II 50th year on the British throne. Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton will perform as part of an all-star pop concert set for the first weekend of June on the lawn outside London's Buckingham Palace.

Longtime Beatles producer George Martin will be the musical director for the entire Jubilee, which will also include a classical concert and other events. The concerts are slated for broadcast by the BBC, while tickets will be distributed to the public via raffles. The Jubilee will conclude with the resumption of the Isle Of Wight Festival, Britain's Woodstock-style fete that ran from 1968 to 1970.


George's Re-Release Soars to Top of British Charts

The late George Harrison has soared to the top of the singles charts this week, with his re-issued 1971 hit "My Sweet Lord'' displacing another posthumously released single, according to the Official UK Charts Company. The hit by the former Beatle, who died in November of cancer, toppled late singer Aaliyah's single "More Than A Woman.''

It is believed to be the first time that consecutive posthumous hits have topped the British charts. The single from the third album "Aaliyah'' by the American R&B singer, who died in a light plane crash in the Bahamas last August, dropped to the No. 5 spot.

It is the second time the Harrison hit has held the No. 1 slot. It topped the charts for five weeks in 1971, becoming the first solo post-Beatles No. 1 for any of the Fab Four. Sales of the tribute single are going to the Material World Foundation, set up by Harrison to support agencies that assist poverty-stricken children.


George Harrison Day

Preparations are well underway for "George Harrison Day" on Saturday 23rd February. Obviously this will be extremely poignant, and given the circumstances we did consider canceling, but so many people begged us to carry on, as we have done for the past three years, so 'Hari Day' will happen. The event will begin at 11am, finishing around 1am the next morning and highlights include...

In Depth Coach tour of George's Liverpool
Celebration lunch with an Indian Flavour
Visit to the newly restored (With Hari's Help...) Sefton Park Palm House - featuring performances of George & Beatle songs by a local children's choir - (Kleenexprovided!!)
Souvenir Gift
Evening at the famous Aintree Institute featuring Liverpool's own 'Blue Meanies' (Including transport to & from Aintree & Liverpool City Centre)

The cost will be 55 pounds per person fully inclusive of all the above.

If there is a chance you can make it to Liverpool in February, then I promise you a poignant celebration of George's life that you will never forget. E-mail me on live@pooltours.com to book.

Just one last thing - if you haven't already bought "MY SWEET LORD" then go get it - we need George to be top of the charts again.


LA judge bars man from selling George's effects

The widow of the late George Harrison has sued her exbrother-in-law in Los Angeles court for allegedly stealing the former Beatle's clothing and other effects and attempting to sell them the day after his death.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order last week against Carl Roles, preventing Roles from selling the property, which consists of at least 10 boxes of photos, clothing, records and other personal effects, according to court papers obtained on Wednesday.

Roles was once married to Linda Arias, the sister of Olivia Arias Harrison. FBI agents found that Roles had tried to sell some of George's property the day after his Nov. 29 death at age 58 from cancer.

According to court papers, George allowed Roles and his former wife, Linda, to live for free in one of his Los Angeles homes in the 1970s in exchange for serving as caretakers. A mudslide destroyed the home in 1980. Roles allegedly took the property without George's permission at that time. The couple later divorced and Roles remarried.

On Nov. 30 Roles called a reporter in Arizona in an attempt to sell 10 boxes of George's personal photographs saying there was "a lot of money to be made", according to court papers. The reporter alerted George's friend, security expert Gavin de Becker, who initiated an FBI investigation. An undercover agent posing as a collector then met with Roles and his wife, Carol, who brought 10 boxes to the meeting. De Becker watched the transaction from another room.

One of the boxes was labeled "GH Stuff'' and the "S'' was written as the dollar sign $, court papers said. During the transaction, Roles allegedly admitted the property they were trying to sell had been owned by George and was removed from his home in the posh Bel Air section of Los Angeles after the mudslide. The couple also said they had additional Harrison items stored in a Los Angeles warehouse. The total value of the property has not yet been determined, as it has not yet been returned.

Olivia Harrison and two executors of the Harrison estate seek a permanent injunction against the sale of the property and require the property to be returned. They also seek unspecified compensatory damages.

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