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Beatles News Archives

2003 - Page 4

Beatles Fans Return Paul’s Stolen Diary

Two Beatles fans have returned a diary they stole from Paul McCartney’s London home 23 years ago.
The women — Italian sisters who grabbed the book during a trip to London in 1980 — showed up Monday at a hotel in Rome where Paul was staying, said Geoff Baker, a spokesman for the musician.

They gave the book to an assistant, then waited an hour before the musician came out to meet with them, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported. "We have always loved the Beatles," one of the sisters, Paola De Fazi, told the newspaper. "Seeing Paul ... and talking to him was a dream."

The women, now in their 30s, had attended his concert outside the Colosseum on Sunday.

The diary contains drawings and personal notes, along with references to meetings with the press, anniversaries and appointments with other members of the Beatles, according to Corriere della Sera and another newspaper, La Repubblica.

On March 12, 1970, Paul drew two hearts and wrote "Happy Anniversary," to his late wife Linda. In another entry, dated April 10 of that year, he wrote: "Paul leaves Beatles."

The sisters said they hadn't planned to steal from him when they went to see his house. "There was some restructuring work going on, and the gate was open," the other sister, Francesca De Fazi, said. "We mustered up our courage and went inside."

Besides the diary, the sisters took a pair of boots and sheet music, then fled. It was unknown what happened to the other items they stole.

Paul played a benefit concert inside Rome's Colosseum on Saturday, followed the next day by a free performance for an estimated 200,000 fans outside the ancient arena.

Beatles, Not Battles, as Paul Takes Colosseum

Taking the floor where gladiators once battled wild beasts and fought to the death, Paul McCartney brought rock 'n' roll to Rome's Colosseum for the first time.

"We understand it's the first time there's been a band in the Colosseum since the Christians," Paul joked with the audience, in reference to the persecution of the early Christians by the Roman authorities.

"Rock the Colosseum," he yelled toward the end of the show on Saturday night, before launching into sing-along Beatles hit "Hey Jude" to a rapturous response.

Lighting in hues of orange gave an intimate atmosphere to the concert despite the immense space. In its heyday some 2,000 years ago, the Colosseum could seat as many as 80,000, but on Saturday just 400 people were let in for the benefit show.

"This is a beautiful, beautiful place," Paul told the audience of VIP guests and a lucky few who nabbed rare paying seats in an Internet auction.

Proceeds from the auction will go partly to Adopt a Minefield, a charity set up by Paul's wife Heather Mills McCartney, and partly to archaeological projects in Rome.

Paul made ample use of his treasure trove of Beatles hits, with 18 out of the 27 songs he performed coming from the pioneering 1960s band's repertoire -- including "Can't Buy Me Love," "Let It Be" and "Yesterday."

"I've loved these songs for more than 30 years, and to see him perform them in the Colosseum is almost too good to be true," said Renato Jacopetti, who paid $1,263 for two tickets and came down from the northern city of Padua.

Paul was due to give a second concert in Rome on Sunday, but this time just outside the monument, using its arches as a backdrop. The concert will be free, and organizers have said they expect some 200,000 people to turn up.

Proceeds from the sale of television rights for both concerts will go to an Italian archaeological mission in Iraq that aims to help the looted Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad get back in operation.

Paul is in the final stages of a world tour that has made him the world's highest-earning celebrity. By the time it finishes on June 1 in Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles, nearly two million people will have paid to see him play.

Fans who hoofed off with Paul McCartney's shoes offer star swap

Beatles fans can't buy love from Paul McCartney, but they can try to bargain him into a photo opportunity.

This, at least, is the hope of two Italian sisters, who are offering to trade in two of Paul's shoes -- stolen two decades ago -- for a souvenir photo posing with the legendary rocker.

Francesca De Fazi, 34, and her sister Bianka, snuck into Paul's garden during a stay in London in the early 1980s and made off with two shoes, each from a different pair, as well as the singer's daily planner.

Now rockers in their own right, with De Fazi Band, the Rome-based sisters just want a photo with Paul in exchange for the pilfered goods, fellow band member and pianist Luciano Gargiulo told AFP.

In a goodwill gesture that made international headlines, the De Fazis returned Paul's daily diary when he came to Rome last week for two concerts.

The planner is filled with the personal notes from the time, including his deceased wife Linda's shopping list and professional rendez-vous.

Paul welcomed its unexpected return, chiding the De Fazis as "you nasty girls!"

But the 60-year-old singer, who filled the Colosseum last Sunday with a half a million listeners at a free evening concert, left Rome without posing with them.

"They never thought of selling the planner, although they could have had millions," Gargiulo said. "All they wanted was a photo".

He said Paul's entourage had contacted the sisters, who offered to follow the British pop legend to his next tour stop in Munich, Germany.

"They're set on getting a few photos with him because they are still fans", the De Fazi band pianist said.

Boldly Going for Worst Beatles Cover

"Star Trek" star William Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" has been picked as the worst Beatles cover of all time. Shatner's spoken word massacre of the Beatles classic was chosen as the biggest crime against the Fab Four in a poll conducted by the digital TV channel Music Choice.

Second place went to British TV's singing piglets Pinky and Perky for their unforgettable "All My Loving."

Former Formula One star Damon Hill was fourth for his version of "Drive My Car" while Hollywood star Jim Carrey (news) reached No. 6 with his "I Am The Walrus."

""The likes of Damon Hill, Jim Carrey and William Shatner are best advised to stick to the day job," said Simon Bell of Music Choice.

Liverpool Gears Up for McCartney Homecoming

Paul McCartney fans said on Monday they were itching to welcome him home next month for his first major solo concert in his northern England home town since 1990.

The Liverpool-born musician, who made his name as one quarter of 1960s rock and roll phenomenon the Beatles, will play the 90th and final gig of his "Back in the World" tour to 30,000 fans on the banks of the city's River Mersey on June 1.

One fan who is well aware of the value of his concert ticket is Eddie Porter, who for 24 years has been a guide on the "Magical Mystery Tour" bus that shuttles tourists to Liverpool's many sites of Beatles interest.

"Put it this way: you can buy me love, but you can't buy my ticket," he said over a beer near the Cavern Club, where the Beatles performed nearly 300 times.

Paul had 17 number one hits in Britain with the group. "They were a unique band, they were teenagers talking to teenagers. When they played, your whole body could feel the heat of the music," Porter said.

Since the band split in 1970, Paul has had further success with the group Wings and as a solo artist.

In all, some two million people will have seen his latest tour, which started in California in April 2002. It has made Paul the world's highest earning celebrity and will have taken him through more than 15 countries including concerts in Rome's Colosseum and Moscow's Red Square.

Liverpool city council said tickets for the final date sold out in four hours.

Bob Scott, head of Liverpool's bid to become a European city of culture, said: "It's probably the biggest concert to come to Liverpool in a generation and will be one of the most memorable in Britain this year."

Paul's tour crew will erect a 70-foot (20-meter) stage in an open-air arena that will buzz to the sound of more than 30 solo hits and Beatles classics like "Hey Jude," "Yesterday" and "Let it Be."

Sinatra did it his way, says Sir Paul

Sir Paul McCartney has told how he wrote a song for the legendary Frank Sinatra - only to have it rejected.

Sinatra rated the former Beatle and his bandmate John Lennon as among the world's greatest songwriters.

But Sir Paul has said that the late crooner thought the track was done as a joke and gave it the elbow.

Sinatra recorded the Beatles song Something calling it the greatest love song ever written.

He wrongly believed it to be a Lennon and McCartney composition, but it was written by George Harrison.

Sir Paul said: "I once sent Frank Sinatra a song called Suicide.

"I thought it was quite a good one, but apparently he thought I was taking the Mickey out of him and he rejected it."

Paul McCartney to give 8,000 dollars to send abused chimp back to Africa

Paul McCartney will provide the plane fare home for "Toto," a chimpanzee smuggled from Africa 23 years ago and forced to perform in a Chilean circus. The former Beatle is donating 8,000 dollars through Animal Defenders, a British non-governmental organization, to finance the trip, the El Mercurio daily reported Sunday.

The gift will allow Toto to live out his days peacefully in a Zambian wildlife orphanage, under a court order in an animal cruelty case here.

Toto arrived in Chile in 1979, when the Koning circus smuggled him into the country, according to Elba Munoz, who has been caring for Toto at the Primate Recuperation and Rehabilitation Center of Santiago since late January.

The circus billed him as a gorilla, forcing him to smoke, drink alcohol and act like a boxer for its show, Munoz said.

The Colosseum: from Spartacus to McCartney

Its heyday of gore and glory may be long gone, but the ancient elliptical walls of Rome's Colosseum continue to hold an eerie fascination for performers, of the musical if no longer the gladitorial kind.

Beatle Paul McCartney will become the first rock musician to play a concert inside the ancient arena on Saturday night when he performs a benefit gig before a select high-paying audience of just 300.

On Sunday, he follows up with a free bash outside the arena which is expected to draw more than a quarter of a million people -- in a way, a peculiar throwback to the Roman Empire when events at the Colosseum were put on to placate the masses.

It's a long way from the 1965 concert at the Hollywood Bowl when the Beatles were almost drowned out by the hysterical screams of American teenagers, to the mother of all arenas, and Paul was suitably humble in a message to Romans on Friday.

"As we say in Liverpool, I'm chuffed to be able to perform for you," the 60-year-old singer wrote in local daily Il Messaggero.

"These next two days of music in Rome will be really special for me. Italy is a unique place, but these two concerts will make it even more unique. We all know that the Amphitheatre Flavio has a long and important history. The fact of being able to bring my music there and to be able to touch something of its celebrated history with these two events, makes me feel really fortunate."

Rare though it may be, Paul's will not be the first concert inside the wall of the arched amphitheatre built in 80 AD for the Flavian emperor Vespasian.

Jazz singer Ray Charles, Israeli star Noa and Algerian Rai singer Khaled were among several musicians to perform at a special concert for Middle East peace hosted by Rome city hall last year. And there have been a number of opera recitals in recent years.

Paul will perform an acoustic set for the event, sparing the ancient stone walls, badly rattled by severe earthquakes in 847 and 1231, further damage from thumping modern amplification.

When the Colosseum opened in 80 AD, it was marked with 100 days of games that featured hundreds of gladiator fights in which around 2,000 gladiators were slain on the ground which will be dominated on Saturday by McCartney's modern stage.

Professional gladiators, mostly condemned criminals or prisoners or war, and slaves, fought either animals or each other, generally until death. Their weapons were swords, spears, firebrands or tridents.

But contrary to popular belief there is no evidence to suggest Christians were thrown to the lions for entertainment during the 300 years the games thrived.

The atmosphere on Saturday will be less cut-and-thrust. "They told me that only 300 people will be inside the Colosseum. Which means this will be the smallest concert of this world tour," said Paul.

"However, on Sunday, we'll be outside the Colosseum and not only will it be our biggest concert, but potentialy, the biggest in my career. My team tells me it could reach 300,000 people. I can't deny that it's exciting.

Proceeds from the paying event will go to the "Adopt a Minefield" charity, as well as towards the upkeep of Rome's architectural heritage. Tickets sold via a special Internet auction last week fetched up to 2,900 euros (3,350 dollars).

Eventually, gladiator fights were halted by Emperor Honorius in 404 when newly-Christian Rome lost its appetite for gore.

He may well have given the former Beatle the thumbs up for Saturday's concert.

Michael Jackson Tells McCartney To 'Mind Your Business'

Michael Jackson has reportedly fired back at Paul McCartney for recent comments regarding his parenting skills. The former Beatle told the BBC that he thought Jackson was "an unusual guy" and that he "felt sorry" for Jackson's children because they're forced to wear veils or masks in public. Tabloid newspapers from Britain to Australia claim Jackson sent an angry email to Paul, which said: "Mind your own business about the way I raise my children. I don't need your advice."

Jackson has three children: six-year-old Prince, four-year-old Paris, and an infant son, Prince Michael II. Jackson made headlines last November when he dangled the baby--then less than a year old--over a third-floor hotel balcony in Berlin, Germany. The two older children have been photographed in public wearing veils and masks over their faces, which Jackson has repeatedly said he insists on to insure their privacy.

Harman Kardon(R) to Sponsor Sir Paul McCartney's "Back in the World 2003" Tour

Harman Kardon, a division of Harman International Industries, Incorporated, and a leader in audio/video home entertainment system solutions, today announced that it has signed on as a sponsor of key dates of Sir Paul McCartney's upcoming "Back in the World 2003" tour.

Paul McCartney's World Tour, which began in April of last year, is being acclaimed as the most successful of his post-Beatles career. It won Billboard's Tour of the Year Award, Pollstar's Major Tour of the Year Award and is currently on its European leg and approaching its two millionth ticket sold.

Tom McLoughlin, President of Harman Kardon, noted: "We are truly honored to support Paul McCartney on his upcoming tour. Dr. Sidney Harman founded our company 50 years ago because he had a passion for music and the arts, and a commitment to quality that has continued to this day. Nowhere is this passion and commitment better reflected than in the lifetime achievements and contributions of Paul McCartney. His career exemplifies the values held strongly by Dr. Harman and everyone at the company: a dedication to quality and excellence, coupled with a desire to enrich the community through philanthropy and music education."

A spokesperson for Paul McCartney said, "We are very pleased to have the support of Harman Kardon, one of the most respected names in audio, associated with us and sharing the passion of the Tour."

Harman Kardon will be sponsoring ten major dates on Paul McCartney's "Back in the World 2003" tour, beginning May 11th in Rome and continuing to Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Hamburg, Moscow, Dublin, Sheffield, and Liverpool.

It’s Dear Prudence

Paul McCartney's personal fortune grew by $75 million last year to a staggering worth of $1.2 billion, according to the annual wealthiest-Britons list published in London today by the Sunday Times. It confirmed his long-held status as the richest musician in Britain, but left some wondering why Paul still chases further big paydays with a hectic touring and performance schedule. Now, his daughter, Stella, reveals a side of her father that could provide the answer. GEOFFREY WANSELL reports . . .

To his millions of fans around the world, Sir Paul McCartney is the Prince Charming of rock 'n' roll, forever polite, eternally kind, immensely generous, and, of course, hugely talented - the mega-rich composer and performer of some of the most famous songs of the past half-century.

But his fashion-designer daughter, Stella, 30, has now hinted - perhaps affectionately - that her 60-year-old Liverpudlian father may have a slightly darker side when he is out of the public gaze.

In a magazine interview, she called him "a tight bastard" - partly for sending her to a local public school where she stood out because of his fame and wealth.

Can this be true? Surely, the most famous and richest surviving member of The Beatles could never be described as stingy. Surely, the rock star whose toothy grin and cheeky smile are trademarks around the globe would never deny anyone he loved, particularly his children, anything that they wanted.

Of course not. But Stella appears to have lifted the lid on something many in the music world have long suspected.

The exceedingly wealthy Paul, who is the 29th richest person in Britain on the latest wealth list, has always preferred to live a distinctly low-key style. Not for him the wild excesses of rock superstardom, the private jets, the endless supply of limousines, the bevy of personal assistants, the vast mansions around the world.

Paul has always been the odd man out in rock's aristocracy, a performer very conscious of the financial bottom line; a composer keen to ensure that he never misses out on his entitled royalties; a rock star who is also an entrepreneur, and a careful one at that. He is the paradoxof an extraordinarily wealthy man who lives a very ordinary life.

Paul's beady eye for never wasting a penny is legendary in the music business - and it is just as famous at home.

No one knows that better than his four children - stepdaughter Heather, 35, and his own three children, Mary, 33, Stella, 30, and James, 25 - who were born in public hospitals, went to public schools and, as kids, wore clothes bought on sale.

The reason, according to Paul, was to keep them "grounded," to protect them from the Hollywood-style upbringing that wrecked the lives of so many show-business children.

He's reported to have told them that he had to work hard for his money - "and it never did me any harm."

There are no trust funds set up for the McCartney kids, because their father decided giving them some kind of nest egg might be a "disincentive" to their carving out a name for themselves in their chosen careers - as Stella has done in fashion and James in the legal world.

"Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves," has long been a McCartney motto, friends say, along with "waste not, want not." Why else would he still be wearing an overcoat bought almost 30 years before, as he did in 1997, when he donned the very same knee-length brown coat for a video recording that he'd worn in the film for the song "Let It Be"?

As one friend put it at the time: "Everyone knows that Paul hates throwing stuff out. It's a perfectly good coat, and he loves it."

It is the same thought process that often sees him take the train to his office in London's Soho rather than rely on a chauffeur and a limousine and the same attitude of mind that often sees him fly economy class.

Ever the cost-conscious businessman, Paul also employs musicians who work with him for a salary rather than a share in the royalties or profits of his records or shows.

That's possibly why his current world tour is likely to make him substantially richer by the time next year's wealthiest-Britons list is compiled.

Before his marriage to former model and now anti-landmine activist Heather Mills, 34, last June, Paul played no less than 27 shows in 20 cities across the United States, grossing an extraordinary $54 million. And he was back on stage again in America for the second part of the tour immediately after their honeymoon. Not that everything about his second marriage was entirely smooth sailing for the careful rock star. Paul's children were wary of his relationship with Mills, which began a little over a year after the death of his wife, Linda, from breast cancer at the age of 56 in 1998.

In particular, they were said to suspect that she was a "gold digger" and that the 26-year age gap between the couple was too great.

Stella reportedly tried to persuade her father to draw up a prenuptial agreement that would limit her future stepmother's share of his fortune to just $31 million should they divorce.

Surprisingly for a man with such a clear head for money, however, it appears that Paul steadfastly refused.

Others who are close to Paul say he can be generous if he believes in a charitable cause.

When he was offered $1 million to play at the 50th birthday party for the wife of American financier Ralph Whitworth in February, he accepted, but asked for his fee to be paid to the anti-landmine charity Adopt-A-Landmine, backed by his wife, Heather.

In the past year, he's made similar donations of performances or recording tracks to raise money for children in Iraq as well as firefighters in New York.

"The thing to remember about Paul," said one record-company executive who's worked with him for more than a decade, "is that he's not very starry, and he's not very flashy. But he is very conscious of his own image, just as he was conscious of the image of The Beatles. He was the p.r. man in the band."

The last thing that McCartney would like the world to think of him was that he was in any way "tight" with his money, friends say. Careful? Certainly. Business-like? Without question. Yet he is always ready to take an entrepreneurial gamble that may benefit him.

And isn't that the way that rich people stay rich and get richer?


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