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Sir Paul McCartney
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Yoko Ono
Gay Byrne
Geoff Rhind
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Rod Davis
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Beatles News Archives

2003 - Page 9

Let Some Songs Be

Don't expect songs from those long-lost Beatles tapes on the upcoming "Let It Be ... Naked" CD, a reworking of the Fab Four's "Let It Be" album, due in stores Nov. 18.

There was hope that some songs from the 500 original tapes, including unreleased songs from the "Let It Be" recording sessions, would surface on the new, stripped-down version of the classic - which Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr say was more in line with the band's original plans for the album. However, the rights to the tracks remain locked up in litigation in a Dutch court.

"The album was ready, and they didn't want to wait," says Elizabeth Freund, spokeswoman for the Beatles' Apple Corps, adding that some tracks may now be released on a new version of the "Let It Be" film.

After all, the new "Let It Be ... Naked" is such a dramatic change from the original that the unreleased tracks aren't necessary to stir interest in the project. The new version of "Let It Be" replaces "Maggie Mae" and "Dig It" with "Don't Let Me Down," which was previously a B-side, and updates the production of all the songs.

However, the biggest change comes in the new, straightforward versions of "The Long and Winding Road" and "Across the Universe," which will likely gain loads of attention, especially from the "1 Generation," the millions in the under-24 crowd who latched on to the Beatles' "1" greatest hits CD.


Beatles get 'Naked' on radio

The album will be aired in its entirety Nov. 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Infinity stations in 35 major U.S. markets. TV journalist Pat O'Brien will host the broadcast, which will be followed by a live roundtable discussion with musicians and other guests discussing the album and the Beatles' legacy.

In the 10 days leading up to the premiere, 72 Infinity stations across the U.S. will broadcast teaser "vignettes" of rare or unreleased excerpts from the original "Let It Be" recording sessions.

"Let It Be...Naked" will be released Nov. 18 on EMI. The album has been thoroughly remixed to remove the post-recording orchestral overdubs added by producer Phil Spector in the absence of the band, which was mired in interpersonal tumult at the time.

In other Beatles news, rare photographs of the group are compiled in Robert Freeman's book "The Beatles: A Private View," due in November via Big Tent Entertainment/ Freeman shot the album cover for "With the Beatles" and was the group's official photographer in its early years.

A limited edition of the volume includes a signed and numbered print of a prospective photo submitted as a cover possibility for the Beatles' "Revolver" album.


It's a girl for Sir Paul & Heather

Heather Mills, the wife of Paul McCartney, has given birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl, it was announced on Thursday in London .

In a brief statement, the couple said they were "ecstatic" over the arrival of Beatrice, who was born on Tuesday at a north London hospital close to their home in the posh Saint John's Wood neighbourhood.

"She is a little beauty," they said, adding that Beatrice weighed in at 3.17 kilograms.

News of Paul's first child with ex-model Mills first broke in the mass-circulation Daily Mirror newspaper, which quoted a source close to the family as saying it was a boy to be named Joseph - this statement was later corrected to say that the couple had indeed had a girl.

Paul who is 61, has three other children - Stella (31), Paul (25) and Mary, (23) - by his first wife Linda Eastman, who died of cancer in 1998.

Heather, who is 35 and married Paul in June 2001, is handicapped, having lost one of her legs in a traffic accident.


Paul McCartney Has a Boy - Report

Paul McCartney's wife Heather Mills gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby boy, London's Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Thursday.

The newspaper said Paul's nephew and a source at the hospital had confirmed the birth. The baby was born a month early, by Caesarian section.

Paul's representatives were not available for comment.


Paul tops media rich list

Sir Paul McCartney has emerged as the highest-paid music and media figure on a list to find the highest earners in the UK .

Sir Paul made more than £40m for 2003, compared to the £35m he made the previous year.

Pop Idol masterminds Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell emerged as the second and third biggest earners.


John Lennon's art goes on display

A collection of John Lennon's art, including images never previously shown in public, has gone on display.

Etchings, screenprints and lithographs by the ex-Beatle are being shown at The Dome in Edinburgh.

Pieces in the Imagine exhibition date from 1968 to the time of John's death in 1980, illustrating events in the singer's life. His wife Yoko Ono has signed prints for sale. The collection will move to west London 's Gallery One on 30 October.

John is remembered for his music but he began drawing long before he had a guitar.

He attended Liverpool Art School between 1957 and 1960, before his sessions with The Beatles became a full-time occupation. Nevertheless John would always maintain: "Art came first."

The Imagine exhibition reveals John's view of emotional and philosophical milestones, such as his marriage to Yoko Ono. Many pictures are being put on display for the first time.

His appeal for world peace and love for his son Sean, who he raised during a five-year break from music, are also illustrated.

All works displayed will be on sale, with prices ranging from £400 to £4,000.

Acting for the John Lennon Estate, Yoko Ono has been releasing some of his most meaningful drawings since 1986 with the goal of re-establishing John Lennon as an important artist of his time.


John Lennon Musical to Open on New York 's Broadway

Imagine a Broadway musical based on songs by John Lennon -- Yoko Ono has and on Wednesday producers announced she had given the go-ahead for a show using her late husband's work.

Tentatively titled "The Lennon Project," the stage musical will explore the turbulent times of the 1960s and 1970s with some 30 songs drawn from more than 200 Lennon wrote after the Beatles break-up. The legendary band released their last album, "Let It Be," in 1970 but had already dissolved as a act.

"Over the past two decades, I have been experiencing the feedback from the world to John's life, statements and music," Ono said in a statement.

"I realized what John had meant to the world. He was a catalyst who brought down the hypocrisy and the old world establishments by saying 'Gimme Some Truth.'

"What we present on stage should again give people insight, encouragement, inspiration and fun, so they can go on with their lives with some assurance and hope."

The show, which is planned for the 2004-2005 season, will be produced by Edgar Lansbury and Don Scardino. Scardino will also direct the show with a script he plans to write with Eric Overmyer.

The Lennon show follows several recent Broadway shows based on preexisting songs by a composer. The long-running "Mamma Mia" is based on music by Abba; the Tony-winning, rock-ballet "Movin' Out" is performed to Billy Joel's music; and this season marks the opening of "The Boy from Oz," a musical biography of Australian cabaret singer Peter Allen.

Ono says Lennon's message still resonates in the world today. "His message of love and peace is very, very important, especially now," Ono told Reuters in a recent interview.

"It is really taking off without me pushing too much. And I think it is really important that his words and music are communicated, especially to the younger generation."


Yoko Ono Says Lennon's Spirit Watching Over Her

Twenty-three years after John Lennon was gunned down outside their New York apartment, Yoko Ono is convinced: "We are still working together."

"I feel we were like two soldiers in a battlefield marching with the beat of 'Give Peace A Chance'. And we are still doing it," Lennon's widow told Reuters on a trip to London for the launch of a new "Lennon Legend" DVD.

"When I was doing the DVD, I felt as if he was there."

The pain of Lennon's death is still etched on her face, but Ono has come to terms with the vituperation of fans who blamed her for the break-up of the Beatles.

However, her relationship with former Beatle Paul McCartney is clearly not on an even keel after all these years.

"Sometimes we bury the hatchet and sometimes we dig it up again. He always has something to bring up. It's alright. That is his style and that's him," she said.

They last fell out over McCartney's move to have his name put before Lennon's on some song credits.

The new DVD, given its press launch in London Tuesday, includes 20 Lennon tracks, unseen footage and even some home movies that brought the memories flooding back.

"It was an extremely emotional experience because I had to relive my life with John," she said.

After years of being reviled by Beatle fans and mocked by arts critics, Ono is the first to admit she has come out of her protective shell. "I'm starting over," she said.

And that is no idle boast. At the age of 70 she topped the U.S dance music charts with a remixof her song "Walking on Thin Ice."

She also won acclaim in Paris for her performance art show "Cut Piece" when she sat on stage in silence as each audience member climbed up on stage and cut off a piece of her clothing.

True to form, she dedicated the performance to world peace and now argues that Lennon's mantra, forever encapsulated in his classic song "Imagine," is just as relevant today.

"His message of love and peace is very, very important, especially now. It is really taking off without me pushing too much. And I think it is really important that his words and music are communicated, especially to the younger generation."

Their 28-year-old son Sean was reduced to tears by some of the footage in the DVD and Yoko said: "He is very brave about that. It is hard for him just as it is probably hard for all the other children in the Beatle family.

"He is doing his best... Let's hope he is going to come out of this incredible pressure that is on him."

Ono feels Lennon is still watching over her and she still very much carries a torch for his ideals.

Asked what she would say to him first if she saw him again, she instantly replied: "I hope I did the right thing by you."


Beatles see no future online

There are no plans to put the extensive back catalogue of the Beatles on the internet, BBC News Online has learned.

Hundreds of thousands of songs can now be bought online from legitimate, paid-for services, such as iTunes, but the Beatles are a glaring omission.

However, almost every Beatles song can be downloaded free from sites which have been accused of promoting piracy. A spokeswoman for publishers EMI told BBC News Online: "The Beatles have chosen not to put their music online."

"I do not know their reasoning."

The decision has been taken by the band's record label Apple Corps, which is owned by Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the estate of George Harrison.

The lack of Beatles' music on paid-for sites will be a blow to the music industry which is trying to promote its own legitimate services and recover from falling CD sales. But the EMI spokeswoman added: "It is the prerogative of the artists."

Geoff Baker, a spokesman for Apple Corps, told BBC News Online: "We have no plans at the moment to go online." When asked why the former band members were not putting the group's music online, he added: "I do not think there is any reason for it at all."

Apple Corps is currently involved in a legal battle with Apple computers after the tech giant launched its iTunes music service. The row dates back to an agreement between the companies in which, according to Apple Corps, Apple computers agreed not to enter in to the music business.

The Beatles have been traditionally slow to adopt new music formats and were one of the last big-name artists to put their music on to compact discs. EMI Music would not be drawn on whether or not they were disappointed about the former Beatles' decision.

"We have got a massive roster of music online and it is our policy to have music on as many formats as the public demands," said its spokeswoman.

Mr Baker said Apple Corps was unaware of any particular demand for the band's music to go online and was unconcerned by the numbers of Beatles' tracks being downloaded by so-called pirates for free.

"As far as I am concerned we are doing very well as it is." He said neither of the band members have expressed any interest in online music. "I have never heard Paul McCartney talking about it," he said.

The Rolling Stones were also slow to make their back catalogue available online - with the first tracks not accessible until August 2003. While many music sites boost between 200,000 and 500,000 songs they are by no means complete. But most major artists have now committed their songs to online music sites.


Beatles' Club Set to Rock Around the World

The Cavern nightclub where The Beatles launched their career as the world's most famous rock band is set to be reproduced around the world from Rio de Janeiro to Moscow .

The company which owns The Cavern, where the Beatles were first spotted by their manager Brian Epstein in 1961, says it plans to form a subsidiary to oversee the project.

It plans to open a Cavern in the southern Spanish holiday resort of Fuengirola next month, one in Adelaide, Australia, in June and one in Rio next autumn.

If all goes to plan, Caverns will follow in Buenos Aires, New York, Florida and even Moscow , where for years before the collapse of the Soviet Union people were banned from listening to The Beatles.

"There's interest from all over the world," said Bill Heckle, chairman of Cavern City Tours, which runs the club in downtown Liverpool. "The challenge is to do it properly."

Heckle says the new Caverns will have to look like the club where The Beatles first played in February 1961.

They will have to incorporate the unplastered brick arches which characterize the Liverpool club, have a stage like the original and promise to promote live music.

"There will, however, be some flexibility to allow for local differences," Heckle told Reuters. "It's a bit of a hybrid between a license and a franchise."

Cavern City Tours will take a percentage of the turnover of each new club.

The Cavern has had a tumultuous history since it opened as a jazz club in January 1957.

It became the focus for the Mersey Beat sound of the early 1960s and has played host to all the biggest bands of British rock and pop from The Beatles to Oasis.

The Beatles played the club between 1961 and 1963 and secured their first recording contract after being spotted by Epstein during a lunchtime gig there in November 1961.

Paul McCartney returned to his roots in 1999, playing a concert in the cramped confines of The Cavern before just a handful of people.

But the club has also suffered hard times and senseless town planning.

The buildings above it were demolished in 1973 and The Cavern was filled in. For years, locals used the waste ground above as a car park.

It was excavated in the early 1980s, partly in response to the assassination of The Beatles' guiding light John Lennon.

Bricks from the original Cavern were used to build a new club on the old site and, after financial difficulties forced another closure in the late 1980s, it reopened in 1991.

It now reaps a turnover of around one million pounds ($1.6 million) a year and is the centerpiece of an annual Beatles pilgrimage which brought over half a million people to Liverpool over a single weekend in August.

Heckle says 16 cities have already expressed an interest in having a Cavern and more are likely to follow.

But there is one country where the Cavern will never be replicated.

"Other cities in England might be interested but I won't allow it," Heckle, a Liverpudlian, said emphatically.


Canadian Radio Joker Fools Paul

Paul McCartney was fooled by a radio presenter who called him on his mobile phone and pretended to be Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, a British newspaper said on Thursday.

Montreal radio comic Marc Audette, speaking English with a heavy French accent, told Paul he was being awarded the Order of Canada, the Sun reported.

Audette, of Canadian station CKOI, even invited Paul, caught just before going on stage, and his wife Heather to dinner at the prime minister's official residence.

It was only when Audette broke cover after littering his conversation with Beatles lyrics that Paul realised he had been "pranked."

Paul told Audette "we're going to sue your ass off," but then laughed and said no when Audette asked whether he was being serious. "You Canadians are funny," Paul said. "I was beginning to think Canada has one zany PM."


Sales of Beatles records show today's young music fans believe in yesterday

A third of Beatles records are being bought by people under the age of 24, although the group split up a decade or more before they were born.

Research for the group's label Apple shows that the release of a greatest hits album, 1, helped to create a new young fan base for the Fab Four.

Before the album came out in November 2000, only 18.5 per cent of buyers of Beatles records were aged under 24. Since the album, which went to number one in 34 countries and has sold more than 25 million copies, the proportion of Beatles record-buyers under 24 has increased to 32.7 per cent.

The finding coincides with Sir Paul McCartney's experiences on his 15-month world tour, which ended in June. Sir Paul was pelted with underwear by teenagers in Florida, and was surprised by the number of young fans in the US, France and London.

Geoff Baker, a press officer for Apple, said: "Paul reckons it's the songs. It cannot be nostalgia because they are not old enough to have any memories of the Sixties."

Sir Paul's world tour repertoire included 23 Beatles songs.

In an end-of-millennium poll, The Beatles were voted the "best band in the world ever" by readers of NME magazine, which has a large student readership.

Guitar music is enjoying a new heyday with bands such as the White Stripes, the Strokes, Kings of Leon and the Darkness helping to give rock'n'roll the edge over dance music. But the research showed that the Beatles' popularity fell sharply during the dance music explosion of the late Eighties, and that the band has less relevance to people aged between 25 and 39.

Next month, a "back-to-basics" version of the album Let It Be is to be released, stripping away what was widely seen as the elaborate production work of Phil Spector in favour of a cleaner sound that is closer to the band's original idea for the music.


Beatles poster fetches £11,750

Beatles memorabilia always sells well.

A rare 1962 concert poster advertising a Beatles concert has fetched £11,750 at an auction of pop memorabilia.

Hundreds of items related to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Queen and Madonna also went under the hammer at the sale in London.

A wooden sculpture of a cupboard, designed by John Lennon, claimed the highest price of the day, £28,200.

An in-flight Pan Am menu signed by the Beatles fetched almost £10,000. The menu, from 1964, was one of 177 lots to be snapped up.

Other items from the Beatles included an autograph note signed by Lennon for £19,975, and a signed programme for the group's 1965 US tour that fetched £13,512.

Memorabilia linked to the greatest names in pop is highly attractive to collectors.

Last month auctioneers reported a rare photograph of the Beatles on sale in an internet auction attracted huge interest from bidders.

The 1965 picture, which lay undiscovered for more than 30 years, reached £6,900 in bids and the auction website attracted more than 30,000 visitors during its first few hours online.

In April, a cardboard cut-out of Marlene Dietrich used on the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album sold at auction for £86,250.


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