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Sir Paul McCartney
Ringo Starr

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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 10


Beatles manager's home is B&B

Beatles fans have been given the chance to book into the former family home of the band's late manager Brian Epstein.

The current owners of the house in Liverpool have turned it in to a bed and breakfast.

Epstein's father lived in the house in Anfield until 1933 and his grandparents were there from 1927 to 1946, according to electoral records.

Epstein died in August 1967, aged 32, after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

Owners of the house Darren McLennan and Ian Quigg, who bought it for £36,000, were going to turn it in to a nursery before they were told about its history.

Mr McLennan said: "We are both builders and we were doing a bit of work on the property when a neighbour came over and told us who used to live in it.

"I couldn't believe it so I went to Liverpool Museum and looked it all up on the archives."

Simply called Epstein's, the pair opened for business at the beginning of December, and said they had received 20 bookings within the first two weeks.

"There are thousands of visitors from all over the world to Beatles attractions in Liverpool every year," added Mr McLennan.

"We are hoping to tap into that market."

The childhood homes of both John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney are open to the public.

This year more than 7,000 people visited the properties, which are owned by the National Trust.

Epstein guided the Fab Four to success after meeting them in the NEMS record store in Liverpool city centre.


'Secret Beatles tape' for sale

An internet auction house claimed yesterday to have proof that the Beatles reunited in secret in the mid-1970s in an attempt to record a final album.

The website is auctioning a recordings list and tape, said to have been made at a session in 1976 which ended in a dispute between the Fab Four.

Gary Zimet, of moments intime.com claimed that John, Paul, George and Ringo recorded five songs in Los Angeles .

While the tape label, listing the songs Happy Feeling, Back Home, Rockin' Once Again, People Of The Third World and Little Girl, is intact, the tape itself was said to be "bulk erased" by the Beatles.

An unerased version was still being held in vaults at Abbey Road Studios in London , he said.

Mr Zimet said the former co-owner of the LA studio, Len Kovner, and sound engineers could "independently confirm" that the session took place.

But a spokesman for Paul McCartney said: "I am not aware of any Beatles reunion in the 70s."

A spokesman for George Martin said that he had "no knowledge" of the recording session, adding that the music producer was unavailable for comment.


Sir Paul welcomes his Rupert revival

The Frog Chorus, widely seen as one of the low points in Sir Paul McCartney's career, is to be released on DVD.

It was part of a Rupert animation containing the song We All Stand Together.

Now movie giant Miramaxhas bought the rights to the film, Rupert And The Frog Song, along with two other of his animations for release next year.

Sir Paul - a Rupert fan - had hoped to make a whole film but the project ended up a mere 13 minutes.

It was effectively a video for the much maligned track which still made it to number three in the charts.

Sir Paul said: "I've loved animation since I was a little kid."


Harrison doc fined for talking about star

A New York doctor who treated Beatle George Harrison during his final days has been fined £3,000 for talking about it.

Dr Gil Lederman, director of radiation oncology at Staten Island university hospital, was censured, reprimanded and ordered to pay the fine for a violation of patient confidentiality when Harrison died two years ago.

An investigation was ordered after the star's estate complained.

Although he steered clear of talking about Harrison 's specific medical condition, he engaged in misconduct by his "revealing personally identifiable information obtained in a professional capacity without the prior consent of the patient".

Suffering from cancer, a frail Harrison checked into Staten Island university hospital in October 2001, just weeks before his death.

Dr Lederman performed an innovative treatment known as fractionated sterotactic radio-surgery, which attacks tumours with high doses of pinpoint radiation.

After Harrison died on November 29, 2001 , Dr Lederman was quoted in US TV and newspaper interviews as saying the star did not fear death and was writing and recording songs until the end.

He told how Harrison played for him and gave his 13-year-old son a guitar lesson.

He described the singersongwriter as "quiet and dignified".


For sale: Lennon's last LP autograph

It is the most legendary autograph in music history and it could be yours for £328,000.

Just five hours before John Lennon was shot, he was approached by Mark David Chapman who asked for his autograph on a Double Fantasy LP he had just bought.

Chapman, then 25 years old, went on to murder the musical legend that day and is currently serving 20 years in Attica prison, New York, after having his parole refused for the second time last month.

Now the album is up for sale on an American autograph and manu scripts website, momentsintime.com for $525,000.

Bob Zfian, who is the agent for the anonymous seller, said: "We are very excited to bring such an historically-significant piece to the market.

"I have never come across a piece with such provenance; police reports, fingerprint documentation, letter from the District Attorney, it goes on and on."

The album was originally found where Chapman had stashed it outside New York 's Dakota building in a huge plant pot near where the Beatle was shot.

One of the first people on the scene was hit on the head by the LP when it fell out of the foliage and he put it straight back.

It fell out a second time and he put it back again, but when it fell out a third time, the anonymous man took it as a sign to keep it.

President of the Moments In Time website Gary Zihmet said: "The original owner was at the Dakota just minutes after Lennon was shot, before the police got there and before the area was cordoned off.

"The album literally fell on his head and he kept it under his bed for 18 years before eventually deciding to sell it."

It was first traded four years ago for $460,000 and it took a year to find a new owner.

An American collector bought it as an investment but received death threats from die-hard fans.

Now the private collector "feels it is time to cash out" says Mr Zihmet, especially as the lyrics to Nowhere Man have just sold for $455,000.

The providence of the LP has never been in doubt because of the amount of documentation that accompanies it.

Mr Zihmet said: "This is the most documented piece of rock and roll memorabilia in existence.

"After Lennon was murdered, the LP was given to the New York police department to be used at Chapman's trial but he pleaded guilty so it was never used in court.

"It was returned to the man who had found it in the planter, but still has evidence numbers on it, WJT-2. Chapman's fingerprints are also visible on the sleeve, you can actually see them.

"Finally there are letters from the District Attorney saying thanks for the loan of the album, but it wasn't needed, so here it is back."

Mr Zihmet would not be drawn on how much he is set to profit by the sale of the album, but did confirm he was on commission from the $525,000 asking price.

And as to who would stump up the cash for this almost priceless piece of memorabilia, Mr Zihmet had one suggestion.

He said: "The current owner is American, but I think it would be terribly nice if someone from the UK and especially someone from Liverpool who was a major Beatles fan were to buy it.

"It would have to be someone rich, maybe Paul McCartney could take a look, he has billions, but I have been sued by him over song lyrics before so I doubt it.

"I don't think we will have a problem reaching the asking price."

But one person Mr Zihmet doubts will take an interest is John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono.

"I haven't contacted Yoko directly but I recently testified for her in a trial so I told her lawyers. I'm sure she is aware of it," he said. "I doubt she would buy it, it would bring back too many unpleasant memories."


£3.50 guitar auctioned for £276,000

A "CHEAPO" acoustic guitar on which late Beatle George Harrison learned to play fetched £276,000 at an auction.

The Spanish-style model, made nearly half a century ago, was sold in London last night by music memorabilia firm Cooper Owen.

Other items in the Beatles sale at the Hard Rock Café included a Fender Stratocaster given by Harrison to Spike Milligan, which fetched £17,250.

Meanwhile, a corduroy coat once worn by John Lennon was sold for £2,875.

Harrison 's Dutch-made Egmond guitar was originally bought for him by his father for around £3.50.

"It's funny how little things can change your whole life," he once recalled. "Don't ask me why he chose a guitar instead of a mouth organ or something. They certainly weren't popular at the time. Anyway, I learnt my first basic chords on it."

Harrison - who died almost two years ago - was taught to play it by Len Houghton, a friend of his father's, in weekly lessons.

In The Beatles Anthology book, he described it as "a real cheapo, horrible little guitar but it was OK at the time".

It fell to pieces when he started poking around with a screwdriver. The guitar sat in pieces in a cupboard until Harrison 's brother Peter reassembled it, but the neck had warped and the frets buzzed.

A signed supper invite for the post premiere celebrations of the Fab Four film A Hard Day's Night fetched £17,250. It was dedicated to actor Victor Spinetti, a friend of the band who starred in the film.


Phil Spector Charged With Murder

Legendary record producer Phil Spector, charged with murder in the shooting death of an actress at his hilltop mansion, told his chauffeur that night that he thought he had "killed somebody," according to a police report.

Popular music's one-time whiz kid, whose Wall of Sound brought a symphonic feeling to rock 'n' roll, was charged Thursday with murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

According to police records obtained by the Los Angeles Times, he talked to his chauffeur that night, telling him, "I think I killed somebody."

The chauffeur, identified only as Souza, told authorities he came to the mansion's back door after hearing a boom and saw Clarkson, her face bloody, seated in a chair.

Spector, 63, declined to speak with reporters when he arrived at court. He acknowledged the charges and waived his right to a speedy trial, and was ordered to return to court Jan. 23 for a preliminary hearing.

He entered the court to a crush of cameras and reporters, and was wearing black clothes, dark glasses and platform shoes, reports Chris McWatt of KCBS-TV.

The studio producer, who has worked with the Beatles, the Ronettes, Righteous Brothers and many others, is charged with killing Clarkson, 40, on Feb. 3. He suggested earlier this year in an interview with Esquire magazine that Clarkson, who also worked as a hostess at the House of Blues, may have shot herself.

Defense attorney Robert Shapiro issued a statement declaring Spector's innocence.

"We have assembled a team of scientific experts which is among the most respected and prestigious in the world," Shapiro said. "Based on this team's findings of this horrible human event, any jury will conclude that Phil Spector is not guilty."

The complaint filed Thursday by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office did not specify whether prosecutors will seek a first- or second-degree murder conviction. A first-degree murder charge involves premeditation while a second-degree charge does not.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said either charge carries a possible maximum penalty of life in prison with a possibility of parole.

Spector, who has been free on $1 million bail, was also charged with personally using a handgun in commission of a crime, an enhancement that could add more time to a sentence if he is convicted.

According to the Times, the police report says that when police arrived, Spector refused to raise his hands and was shot with a Taser, a high-voltage stun gun. Officers then knocked him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Spector became legendary in the music business for transforming the sound of rock 'n' roll with heavy orchestration. He once said he was creating symphonies for teenagers. He produced such pop music classics as "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Then He Kissed Me" and "To Know Him Is to Love Him."

Ironically, the charges come the same week as a new version of The Beatles' "Let It Be" album was released, removing all of Spector's work.

Clarkson was discovered by B-movie king Roger Corman and starred in a series of films including "Barbarian Queen," a character Corman said was the model for TV's "xena: Warrior Princess." She appeared in TV commercials and was a guest at comic book and pop culture conventions dressed as her queen character. Corman said she was known for her athletic ability and did all her own stunts.


Handwritten Lennon song auctioned

Lennon memorabilia can fetch high prices at auction.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to the Beatles song Nowhere Man have been sold for $455,000 (£270,000) at auction.

The lyrics, part of an entertainment memorabilia sale at Christie's in New York , were written by Lennon in 1965.

A spokesperson for the auction house said they had been expected to fetch around $100,000 (£59,000).

The sale's other main item, the Oscar won by Michael Curtiz for Casablanca in 1942, was sold for $231,500 (£137,000) to magician David Copperfield.

Lennon and Beatles memorabilia can fetch high prices on the collectors' market, as recent auctions have shown.

In July, two reels of private film footage showing a day in the life of Lennon in 1974 sold for $53,775 (£33,235) in New York .

In September, a set of stamps designed by the singer to support striking postal workers in 1971 went for £1,260 in London .

Earlier this year a long-lost musical collaboration between Lennon and Mick Jagger, entitled Too Many Cooks, fetched £1,400, while a 1960s table owned by Lennon reached £2,400.

Other recent sales include a guitar played by George Harrison at the final Beatles concert making $434,750 (£257,902 ), and a signed copy of the band's album Revolver fetching £21,600.


Let It Be is released

A BACK-to-basics version of the Beatles album Let It Be is released today (Monday 17th).

Surviving band members Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have praised the finished product which does away with the rich orchestral sounds inspired by the original producer, Phil Spector, in 1970.

Sir Paul said: "I loved the idea of releasing the record stripped down so that it's just the band.

"You get a very clear picture of how the band was singing and playing at that time and what a good little band this was.

"And that was the thing about the Beatles, we were always a great little band and that's what shows on the Let It Be...Naked album."

The songs were recorded in January 1969 for a planned TV concert but it was abandoned as the Beatles started to drift apart.

Producer Phil Spector was given the tapes to make a soundtrack for a documentary and came up with orchestral additions to the existing music and an album was released.

Through a time of trouble in the Beatles' personal lives, the music now captures a feeling of a live performance.

Ringo said: "It takes you back again to the times when we were this band, the Beatles band.

"In that period, there was a lot of emotional turmoil going on, but, when you listen to the music, the music always surpassed any b******t we were going through."

Sir Paul added: "It was a group breaking up, my favourite group in the world breaking up and I cannot say 'Yeah, that was easy to deal with or that it's a great memory'. But what is great and what is a great memory is the music we made and now in its unadorned form with this album there it's exactly as we made it. That's a beautiful memory and the shining glory of all the events that took place back then is the music."

Fans are eagerly awaiting the rereleased album which comes out on Monday with a new cover and a 32-page booklet included.

Tracks have been pared down to the bare bones using digital technology and John Lennon's Don't Let Me Down has been added.


'Edwardian' Beatles pictures up for sale

Rare pictures of The Beatles are to be auctioned next month in London .

Black and white shots of the fab four taken in 1963 when they were on tour have come to light.

They show John, Paul, George and Ringo in Edwardian costume on the beach in Weston- super-Mare.

The photographs were taken by Dezo Hoffman, who also appears alongside the band in the snaps.

Cooper Owen who are hosting the sale say that George's Fender Stratocaster guitar will also be sold and is expected to fetch £25,000. And one of John Lennon's corduroy jackets is also on sale.

Meanwhile, fans also have the chance to snap up a special number plate bearing the registration B347 LES.

The Beatles plate is one of the exclusive registrations in the next Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) auction.

The auction will be held at Ragley Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon on December 3 and 4.


Sir Paul's film to mark Revolution

Sir Paul McCartney is to head celebrations to mark the Russian Revolution tomorrow.

A concert film of his performance in Moscow 's Red Square earlier this year will be a highlight of Russian TV programmes to mark the anniversary of the 1917 revolution.

Ironically the music of McCartney and The Beatles typified a spirit of free thinking which spread throughout the USSR and brought an end to Communism.

From the band's heyday and into the Eighties their music was banned - fans could not buy their records and radio play was forbidden.

The concert film Paul McCartney In Red Square features pundits talking about the Beatles' influence in eroding the strength of Russia 's political system.

Timothy Ryback, professor of political studies at the Salzburg Institute said: "There was no more pervasive force throughout the Soviet bloc than The Beatles."

November 1917 saw the Bolsheviks seizing power in Russia after Czar Nicholas II was dethroned earlier in the year.


Beatle tours are in demand

Tours to Beatles homes could be increased next year to keep up with demand from Fab Four fans.

The National Trust is hoping to expand the number of daily minibus trips to 20 Forthlin Road and 251 Men-love Avenue during the peak tourist season, including the annual Mathew Street Festival.

And it says the last tour of every day will take in John Lennon airport where daytrippers will see the statue of the ex-Beatle.

It will also give tourists who have checked in early for their flights the chance to go on the tour of the Lennon and McCartney childhood homes.

Simon Osborne, property manager of the National Trust's Liverpool sites, said: "If people have got to check in early and have an hour-and-a-half to spare, they can come on the tour."

At present there are sixtrips a day, from 11am to 5pm , and a maximum of 15 people on each trip.

The number of days on which the National Trust is allowed to open the Beatles properties, both in residential areas, will not change.

Both houses, the McCartney home in Allerton, and Mendips, where Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi, have now closed for the winter.

Since Mendips was officially opened by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono in March, around 7,000 visitors have toured the two homes - up more than 100% on 2002 when only the McCartney house was open to the public.

Mr Osborne said: "This tells me that the addition of Mendips to the portfolio of places, and the ability to open on Sundays, has created a better package for visitors.

"It's also sustainable. Tours have been running at an average 80% occupancy and that is even now, on cold autumn afternoons."


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