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Sir Paul McCartney
Ringo Starr

Executive Patrons

Sir George Martin
Julian Lennon


Astrid Kirchherr

Honorary Members

Cynthia Lennon
Pete Best
Yoko Ono
Gay Byrne
Geoff Rhind
Gerry Marsden
Allan Williams
Richard Lester
Harry Prytherch
(The Original Quarrymen):-
Rod Davis
Colin Hanton
Eric Griffiths
Len Garry
Pete Shotton

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Beatles News Archives

2003 - Page 3

Nothing to Get Hung About

John Lennon and the Beatles never had an antagonistic relationship with breakfast cereals. Prized Beatles memorabilia, in fact, includes 1969 Nabisco Wheat Honeys and Rice Honeys boxes featuring the Yellow Submarine characters. (Boxes in good condition fetch something like $2,000 each these days.) And John, of course, who loved corn flakes, famously wrote the song "Good Morning, Good Morning" after seeing a Kellogg's commercial that featured the jingle, "Good morning, good morning/The best to you each morning/Sunshine breakfast/Kellogg's Corn Flakes crisp and full of fun."

But now that Kellogg subsidiary Kashi Co. in La Jolla, Calif., has rolled out a cereal called Strawberry Fields under its Organic Promise label, Yoko Ono has reportedly put a call into her attorneys. Which is understandable, probably, although "all you need is lawyers" doesn't have the same ring to it.

The folks at Kashi, who may be less inclined to chat freely about such matters since they sold their company to Kellogg in 2000, offered its official response in a statement. "The Strawberry Fields trademark has been used and registered in the past by a number of other companies," it reads. The name was chosen "because it best represented its new cereal, which includes large slices of strawberries. The company followed all necessary procedures in applying for this trademark last year."

Too early to say if Iraq war was right: Paul McCartney

John Lennon might have sung "Give Peace a Chance," but fellow Beatle Paul McCartney thinks it's too early to judge whether the US-led invasion of Iraq was the right thing to do.

Interviewed on BBC radio, Paul said he was a "pacifist," but added that only "time will tell" whether going to war to overthrow Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do.

"I felt that the UN all agreed that Saddam should be made to disarm. They didn't agree on how to do it," he said.

On the coalition's use of cluster bombs, however, Paul was unequivocal: "It would be great to outlaw these cowardly weapons."

Paul, now playing a four-night stint at Earl's Court in London, is among 17 artists featured on album released Monday to raise funds for Iraqi children.

Produced by the War Child charity, "Hope" also features tracks by David Bowie, Moby, Avril Lavigne, Travis, George Michael and Yusuf Islam, previously known as Cat Stevens.

Paul McCartney's 'Flu Germs' for Sale

Fans of former-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney have been invited to bid for a tiny piece of musical history -- germs from a bout of flu that caused him to cancel a recent gig.

After two days on the ebay.co.uk Web Site, the germs have received two bids, the highest for 1.20 pounds (about $2) and come from British fan Ian Mears who claims he caught the bug from Paul when he met him earlier this month.

"I believe this is the same strain of flu, and effectively his virus," Londoner Mears told the Daily Star newspaper on Wednesday. "I had no cold on the Saturday, then on Sunday I spent most of the afternoon with Paul and by Tuesday I too had a cold."

Successful bidders will receive their germs by post. "The highest bidder will receive a resealable bag that I will cough into," he said. "Or if preferred, they can have a plastic container full of mucus.

Paul McCartney Calls For Ban on Cluster Bombs

Paul McCartney is calling for a ban on cluster bombs because of the harm they cause to civilians.

"It would be great to outlaw these cowardly weapons," the former Beatle told British Broadcasting Corp. radio on Monday. "What happens after the war finishes is that it's the civilians — mainly women and children — who get blown up."

Cluster munitions dropped by U.S. and British aircraft in Iraq contain hundreds of small "bomblets" which sometimes fail to explode until years later. Anti-landmine campaigners — including Paul's wife, Heather Mills — say children are particularly at risk because they can mistake the bomblets for toys.

Paul's call for the ban came as he and other stars released an album to raise money for Iraqi children affected by the war.

David Bowie, George Michael, Moby and former pop star Cat Stevens were among the other artists performing on the album "Hope," which was released Monday.

All the artists recorded their tracks free of charge and London Records is distributing the disc without taking a profit.

"Whatever the politics, whatever the rights and wrongs of war, children are always the innocent victims, so I am delighted to be able to make this small contribution," Paul said of his track, a live recording of his song "Calico Skies."

Pop Stars to Raise Money for Iraqi Kids

Eighteen top pop stars, including Paul McCartney and George Michael, released an album on Monday to raise money for child war victims in Iraq.

All profits from the 18-track album will go to War Child, the relief and development charity set up after the war in former Yugoslavia.

Paul, who made a live recording of his song "Calico Skies," said: "Whatever the politics, whatever the rights and wrongs of war, children are always the innocent victims. So I am delighted to make this small contribution."

The charity said the "Hope" album, whose contributors also include David Bowie and Avril Lavigne, was not a political album.

"The plight of children transcends politics. These songs are a plea for hope without which the children of Iraq have nothing at all," it said.

I'll be on Tour 'When I'M 64': Paul

Paul McCartney has no plans to quit even "when I'm 64" - and said yesterday he'll keep singing in small-town taverns if that's the only place anyone will have him once his concert-playing days are over.

"And if the day comes when they even throw me out of the pubs, I'll keep on singing outside the door," Paul said in an interview with Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "I'm always going to be a musician."

The author of the 1967 pop hit "When I'm 64" isn't at all worried about "losing his hair" or any of the lyrics in his song on the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

Paul, who turns 61 in June, said he can't imagine retiring because he feels fitter now than he did a decade ago - thanks, in part, to his new wife, Heather. Paul told the German newspaper that applause from crowds is a fountain of youth for him - and that Heather, 34, keeps him young.

Paul is in the midst of a 16-nation world tour from the United States to Japan. He grossed $70 million on the U.S. leg, breaking box-office records in 21 cities and winning Billboard's Tour of the Year award as he became the highest-earning celebrity ever.

"It's just magic," he said of the crowd's reaction to his music. "It's a great feeling; every artist does it to get the applause. It sounds so simple, but that's the whole story."

Time to Put Record Straight, Says Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney hit back at critics on Saturday, saying a decision to reverse the traditional "Lennon-McCartney" songwriting credit on his new album was not a slur on his band mate but a chance to "put the record straight."

In an interview with Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, 60-year-old Paul said he was simply "letting people know that the songs I sing today are my own." And he added that he had no doubts that fellow Beatle John Lennon -- killed by a lone gunman on his New York doorstep 23 years ago -- would understand the decision.

"The bottom line is I know what I wrote and so did John," Paul told the paper. "I'm doing nothing wrong. There was an agreement between (us) that if we ever wanted to, we could switch the Lennon and McCartney thing."

And he dismissed claims from die-hard Beatles fans that he was tarnishing the legend of John. "It has come out like I'm trying to dance on John's grave which is a pity because I am his biggest fan," he said. "I'm the guy who knew him best...I'd hate people to think I'm trying to do him down."

Paul's decision to switch the credits sparked a high-profile dispute with John's widow Yoko Ono in December last year. Ono was reported to be considering legal action over the matter, which she said contravened a 40-year agreement.

Her spokesman Elliot Mintz told Reuters that Ono had repeatedly rejected Paul's requests to reverse the credits on the grounds that a "deal is a deal." But Paul, who has long complained that John, for instance, had no input in the hit "Yesterday," wants the songs fairly labelled.

"I personally don't see any harm in John's songs such as "Strawberry Fields" and "Help" being labelled Lennon and McCartney and my songs such as "Let It Be" and "Eleanor Rigby" being labelled McCartney and Lennon," he said last year.

Speaking to the Mirror, he reiterated that point: "I wasn't being big headed. I just asked that for once in 30 years, my name could be switched as a reward."

Paul is currently in the middle of a 16 country, sell-out world tour, due in Britain on Saturday. The tour grossed $70 million in America, breaking box-office records in 21 cities, won Billboard's Tour of the Year and has made Paul the highest-earning celebrity on earth.

McCartney Buys Rights to Carl Perkins' Catalogue

Paul McCartney's music publishing company has obtained rights to 23 classic rock 'n' roll songs composed by the late Carl Perkins, including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Honey Don't" and "Matchbox."

Under the long-term music publishing deal announced Friday, Paul's MPL Communications Inc. will be responsible for worldwide administration of the Perkins catalogue. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

"Carl Perkins was one of my earliest influences; I am quite simply a fan of his," Paul said in a statement.

Perkins, the "Rockabilly King" who died in 1998 at age 65, is considered one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his era, penning hits for such greats as Johnny Cash ("Daddy Sang Bass"), Patsy Cline ("I Was So Wrong"), the Judds ("Let Me Tell You About Love"), Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

He recorded his own hit version of "Blue Suede Shoes" before Presley turned it into a smash record for himself.

Three songs in the newly acquired catalogue were recorded by the Beatles -- "Honey Don't" and "Matchbox" with Ringo Starr on lead vocals, and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" with George Harrison singing lead. Paul also recorded "Matchbox" as a bonus track on his DVD release of "Back in the U.S."

Other rockabilly standards in the Perkins collection include "Dixie Fried," "Boppin' the Blues" and "Cat Clothes."

MPL, founded by Paul in 1971, boasts one of the largest privately owned collections of music publishing rights, which includes the catalogues of such composers as Paul himself, Buddy Holly, Jerry Herman, Frank Loesser and Meredith Wilson.

Ringo Says Beatles Were Not A 'Boy Band' Like Today's Male Pop Groups

Ringo Starr appeared Tuesday (March 25) on MTV's TRL show for the release of his latest album Ringo Rama. The program is geared towards young contemporary pop fans, and Ringo compared the height of "Beatlemania" in the 1960s to the fan reaction for contemporary "boy bands" like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.

Ringo said the groups are very different, however. He said that starting out, the four Beatles were certainly "boys and we were a band," and also admitted that early on, the group also didn't write all of their own material. But then he commented that once John Lennon and Paul McCartney began writing songs--and George Harrison as well--"it became that the song was important, not our dancing."

Starr was making a bit of a joke, as the Beatles were never a dancing group.

Starr kicks off his 2003 All-Starr Band tour on July 24 in Rama, Ontario, Canada.

Credit Grab

Ringo Starr has taken a small jab at his old bandmate Paul McCartney. Starr has made no secret of the way he feels about Paul switching Beatles song titles from "Lennon/McCartney" to "McCartney/Lennon," saying in one interview the move was "sneaky" and "underhanded." Now, on Starr's latest CD, "Ringorama," the producer credit on one song is listed as "Mark Hudson and Ringo Starr," while a second credit reads "Ringo Starr and Mark Hudson."

Ringo's rep insisted to The Post's Kenneth Lovett the move "was not meant as a dig . . . [Starr and McCartney] are friends."

Rome Tells McCartney Not To Disturb Pope's Peace with Concert

Paul McCartney has been told not to disturb Pope John Paul II during an upcoming free concert in Rome on May 11. The former Beatle will perform a three-hour show outside the historic Roman Coliseum, and more than 300,000 people are expected to attend. The site is near the Vatican and there is concern that the 82-year-old Pope will be kept awake by the evening concert.

Tour promoter Barrie Marshall said, "We have been advised by Italian contacts that the show could keep His Holiness the Pope up all night."

The request did not come from the Vatican, but from Italian concert promoters in Rome. However, Paul may still turn down the volume a bit and even drop some of his loudest-rocking numbers like "Back In The U.S.S.R" and "Live And Let Die." He is also considering a more acoustic type of show, though no decision has been made yet.

A spokesman for Paul said, "We don't want to tone down the rock 'n' roll element in the set--we reckon the Pope may actually enjoy a boogie. But we don't want problems with the neighbours."

Promoter Marshall commented, "Obviously we do not want to cause any offence or sleeplessness to His Holiness and, because of the closeness of the Vatican to the show at the Coliseum, we are now considering our position on performing loud rock songs."

McCartney Loses Voice Because Of Cold, Cancels British Show

Paul McCartney cancelled the second show of his first British tour in 10 years on Sunday (April 6) because of a cold that caused him to lose his voice.

Paul's spokesman Geoff Baker read a statement that said, "I've caught a cold which made my voice start to go after last night's show. I woke up this morning with virtually no voice. I've been doing all that I can to try and get my voice back and I tried singing a couple of numbers at a soundcheck this afternoon, but nothing has worked and so I am afraid I have to cancel this show in order to save the other gigs on the tour."

The former Beatle recently launched his "Back In The World" European tour and played the first of two scheduled dates in Sheffield, located in Northern England, on Saturday (April 5). In a photo that appeared in British newspapers and online, Paul held up a handwritten note to fans saying "Sorry."

Paul's statement also said, "I'm sorry to all the people who all bought tickets for the show, at least we got to do one gig in Sheffield."

The second Sheffield show will be rescheduled and tickets for the concert will be honored on the new date, once it's announced.

Paul's next scheduled show is on Wednesday, April 9 in Manchester, England, followed by two dates in Birmingham on April 13 and 14. He wraps up the tour with a concert on June 1 in the city where the Beatles began, Liverpool. He said, "The audience will be my relatives, bringing the whole thing home."

Meanwhile, Paul has donated an autographed guitar to an auction benefiting the Save The Earth Foundation. Other autographed instruments and memorabilia have been donated by Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Irish supergroup U2, and other contemporary music artists. The auction runs through April 23, ending at 8 p.m. PT. Items can be viewed and bid on at the website savetheearth.net.

Paul McCartney tunes up for first British gigs in 10 years

Sir Paul McCartney, Britain's best-known living pop star, was tuning up to wow his fans at the start of his first tour of his native nation in 10 years.

The star, appearing Saturday and Sunday in Sheffield in the north of England, will be working his way through 22 Beatles songs -- almost twice as many as his old band ever played during any single stage show in Britain.

As well as classics like "She's Leaving Home," "Back in the USSR," "Eleanor Rigby" and "Fool on the Hill," Paul was adding more than a dozen hits from his post-Beatles solo period and time with Wings.

He has already taken his "Back in the World" tour around the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan, playing 58 concerts in 37 cities, performing to more than one million fans over the past year.

After more concerts in Manchester, Birmingham and London later this month, he plans to take his 2-1/2 hour act to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna, and Antwerp, Belgium.

The Sheffield concerts mark Paul's first full-dress concert in Britain since his "New World Tour" of 1993.

"I had a lot of fun touring this show around America last year, but now I'm bringing it on home and that's special to me as I always look forward to playing to a home crowd," he said prior to Saturday's performance.

"I think people are going to like this gig. When I was thinking of what to play I imagined myself as one of the audience and thought 'What would I like to hear him play?' So that means we'll be playing some of my Beatles stuff -- rather a lot of Beatles stuff, actually -- some Wings stuff and some more recent stuff; so basically the show pretty much spans my whole career."

Tapes of Lennon and Stepdaughter to Be Auctioned

He was one of the biggest rock stars in the world and she was just a little 5-year-old girl as they sat on the floor in 1969, singing and telling stories with a tape recorder running.

Sounds like just a normal family activity, except the man was Beatle John Lennon and the little girl was the stepdaughter he barely knew, Kyoko Cox.

In 1969 fans worried the Beatles would break up. But instead of attending the last Beatles recording session, John was in Denmark with his second wife Yoko Ono.

They were there to visit Ono's ex-husband Tony Cox, an avant-garde artist. Coxhad introduced John and Yoko at one of Ono's art exhibits. "Coxtold me that was the worst mistake of his life," Chris Lopez, who now owns the tapes, said.

And he was right. Yoko and John fell in love. She divorced Coxand a bitter custody battle for Kyoko followed. So it must have been with some trepidation that John and Yoko showed up unexpectedly at Cox's farm in Denmark.

During the next several weeks, John got to know his stepdaughter and made sixaudio tapes of conversations between them. John sings and plays the guitar and even refers to Yoko as the "queen."

And Cox, knowing those tapes would be of value, kept them until 1995 when he sold them to Lopez who lives in Denver, saying the price should not be disclosed. "I was selling my mom's car and had an ad in the newspaper," Chris Lopez said, explaining how the two met.

Coxwas living in Denver at the time, working on a film project. The two became friends and when Cox, who needed money, asked Lopez if he were interested in buying the tapes, he jumped at the chance. "I knew it was big," Lopez said.

Sixtapes were made and Lopez has sold four of them and is now putting the final two -- that run about 45 minutes in all -- up for sale with MastroNet Inc., which auctions high value collectibles.

He said some of the four tapes he sold fetched sixfigures but he declined to give exact prices or say what he paid originally for them.

Lopez said he has not listened often to the audio tapes. "There's an eerie feeling -- a voice from the grave," Lopez said. On the tapes Kyoko, now a grown woman who works as a teacher in the Denver area, according to Lopez, tells her own stories.

Cox, who worried about drug use in the Lennon home, fled with the girl. Yoko Ono did not hear from her daughter for 15 years. "A number of years ago Yoko and her daughter were reunited," Ono's spokesman Elliot Mintz said.

John Lennon would have criticised Blair, Bush over war

John Lennon, would have "told off" British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush for waging war on Iraq, Yoko Ono revealed.

Ono, an ardent peace campaigner, was speaking in Liverpool, northwest England on Thursay, where Lennon's childhood home was officially being opened to the public.

"I'm sure John would have been terribly upset" about the war, if he were still alive, Ono told BBC radio.

"And I'm sure that he would have expressed his anger and told them off", she said, referring to Bush and Blair, about "how stupid it is to go through this".

"As Gandhi said, 'An eye for an eye will make us all blind'."

In the 1960's John and Yoko took part in several "Bed In" protests against United States involvement in Vietnam and wrote the pro-peace ballad, "Give Peace A Chance".

Yoko Ono Opens Lennon's Childhood Home

Yoko Ono, the widow of murdered Beatle John Lennon, opened his childhood home in Liverpool on Thursday, expecting it to draw thousands of visitors every year.

"This is so important and so meaningful for all the fans around the world and people who might become fans," she told BBC radio.

Mendips, the modest suburban semi-detached house John grew up in with his Aunt Mimi, was donated to the National Trust by Yoko Ono Lennon with the wish it be kept as a testimony to her late husband.

The National Trust is a non-governmental body which runs some of Britain's finest houses and countryside.

Ono Lennon said she had bought the house to stop it being sold to a commercial concern.

"When John's house came up for sale I wanted to preserve it for the people of Liverpool, and John Lennon and Beatles fans all over the world," she said in a statement.

"The house resonates with a special atmosphere. It was after all, where some of John's songs that we now hold so dear were born," she said.

John Lennon lived at Mendips, 251 Menlove Avenue, in Woolton, Liverpool from the age of five to 23, when he left to enjoy the fame and fortune derived from the astounding success of the Beatles.

The porch of the house is where John formed his first band, The Quarrymen, and later rehearsed with Paul McCartney. The two later became some of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century.

The house has been restored as closely as possible to how it looked when John lived there in the 1950s and early 1960s. It opens to the public on Saturday, March 29.

Paul's former home, a smaller terraced house at 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton, Liverpool, already belongs to the National Trust.

"Give peace a chance" at McCartney's Paris concert

Paul McCartney added an unscheduled number to the first night of his European tour when a French audience of 15,000 struck up a spontaneous rendition of "Give Peace a Chance" by his late songwriting partner John Lennon.

Paul had just completed "Here Today" -- a song he wrote after Lennon's murder in 1980 -- when the Tuesday night crowd at the Bercy sports centre in Paris broke into the celebrated peace anthem, originally penned to protest against the Vietnam war.

Visibly surprised, Paul joined in the chorus but he otherwise made no reference to the war in Iraq, which is opposed by the overwhelming majority of the French public.

Paul was kicking off the European leg of his world tour, in which he plays around 40 Beatles classics as well as hits by his second group Wings.

George Harrison's widow in talks to settle lawsuit

The widow of George Harrison is in talks to settle her lawsuit against an ex-relative she accused of stealing personal items from the Harrison’s Los Angeles home and trying to sell them a day after the George's 2001 death, her attorney said.

The terms of the potential settlement between Olivia Arias Harrison and her former brother-in-law, Carl Roles, were not made public.

"A settlement is under discussion but there isn't any settlement yet," said Harrison's attorney Robert Chapman. "I'm confident that we will have a settlement or win the lawsuit."
An attorney for Roles was not available for comment.

Roles, who was once married to Olivia Harrison's sister, is alleged in the lawsuit to have stole personal papers, clothing, photographs and recordings when he lived at the Harrison’s home as a caretaker in the 1970s. George Harrison died of lung cancer on Nov. 29, 2001, at age 58, at a friend's home in Los Angeles.

The next day, Roles tried to peddle the items to an Arizona journalist, the lawsuit said. Roles told the prospective buyer "there was a lot of money to be made from memorabilia related to George Harrison, given his recent death," the lawsuit said.

The unnamed journalist notified Gavin de Becker, a security expert who works for Harrison's estate. De Becker called the FBI, which sent an undercover agent to meet with Roles and his wife, the lawsuit said.

During the meeting with the agent, Roles allegedly admitted stealing 10 boxes of property while he and his former wife, Linda Arias, lived rent-free at the Harrison’s home. The couple later divorced and Roles remarried.

Roles later claimed he salvaged the items from a 1980 mudslide that destroyed the posh Bel Air home.

Chapman said Roles has since returned most of the property, but Olivia Harrison now seeks punitive damages against her former brother-in-law and his wife.

Chapman added that the judge ordered the parties back to court on April 17 to confirm a settlement or to set a trial date.


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