Monday, June 29, 2009

Paul McCartney joins Neil Young on stage in London

Here's video of Paul's appearance with Neil Young performing "A Day in the Life" at London's Hyde Park last weekend.

McCartney denies collaboration with Dylan

Paul says he has no plans to co-write any tunes with Bob Dylan:

McCartney told The Daily Telegraph: "That's a newspaper thing. He just said some very complimentary things about me in some interviews and I love him.

"I think he's a great poet and writer so I've always admired him. I don't rule it out and I admire him. But we're not the kind of people who would ring each other up."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jeff Lynne to record unfinished George Harrison tunes

Fellow Wilbury and ex-ELO chief Jeff Lynne plans to complete a batch of unfinished George Harrison tunes:

A source said: 'George half-finished loads of songs and often just forgot about them. There is probably an album’s worth of material.

'Jeff and George were very close and worked together a lot in the later period of George’s life. He’s the right man to work on the material.'

Only recently, Harrison’s widow Olivia revealed she wanted to do something with her husband’s incomplete songs.

She said: 'There are lots of tracks. Some are closer to completion than others and with those I’d ask for help.'

Paul McCartney statement on Michael Jackson's death

Paul has released the following statement on Michael Jackson:

"It's so sad and shocking. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones. I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world."

"Boy man"????

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Former Fabs had impact on Beatles: Rock Band

Game developer Christ Foster talks about the role of Paul, Ringo, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison on the new video game based on their music:

They were really creative partners throughout the project. They were involved in picking and approving the song list, the venues we went into. With the dreamscapes, they saw storyboards of all the material, and gave feedback on whether or not they felt like those interpretations supported the songs in the way they wanted."

That wasn't all, though. "They really kept us honest on whether we were capturing the spirit of the band," continued Foster. "When you know who the Beatles are, and you know the joy in their faces when they play, you have to capture that on-screen. [...] They were really good at keeping the standard high."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Morning Jacket frontman records George Harrison tribute EP

Jim James, lead singer of My Morning Jacket, will release a six-song tribute to George Aug. 4.

Out under the name Yim Yames (sneaky!), the album is titled Tribute To and features James' renditions of:

"Long, Long, Long"
"Behind That Locked Door"
"Love You To"
"My Sweet Lord"
"Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)"
"All Things Must Pass"

According to Billboard:

The set is said to evoke a "raw, minimalist feel" with James utilizing just his voice and an acoustic guitar. James refers to Harrison as "a prime example of the healing power of music" in the liner notes.

Where, indeed, is the Bonzo Dog Band tribute, dammit?!!

Beatles bootleg expert Doug Sulpy poses this question on his 910 newsgroup and I have to agree, what happened to this project?

In slogging through some old files today, I found the samples from the unreleased Bonzo Dog Band tribute album ("Work in Progress") which surfaced in '03.

On this, George sings "Doing The Bonzo Dog." In a contemporary article, Producer Gus Dudgeon mentions a re-make of The Bonzo's "Jollity Farm," with Ringo taking the vocal and George accompanying him on ukulele (the version on the sampler, though, seems to be entirely different and lacking both ex-Beatles).

So... has anyone heard anything about this since it dropped off the face of the Earth six years ago?

I wanna hear it!

Yoko releasing new Plastic Ono Band album

Yoko Ono is releasing an album with her new Plastic Ono Band.

The sessions happened at NYC’s Sear Sound, the same studio that used to house the old Hit Factory, where Double Fantasy was recorded. Sean Lennon both produced with Yoko and acted as musical leader for a group evenly divided between Japanese avant pop musicians, and downtown Manhattan improvisers. In the Japanese contingent is Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, plus the current group led by Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, which includes Yuko Araki and Hirotaka Shimmy Shimizu. Cornelius and Ms. Ono performed together in Tokyo in January, and Yoko was so happy with the result she invited them over to record. In the Manhattan improv camp we find Shahzad Ismaily (guitar, bass, percussion), Erik Friedlander(cello), Michael Leonhart (trumpet, vibes), Daniel Carter (reeds) and Indigo Street (guitar) -- a singularly gifted group of instrumentalists.

Between My Head and the Sky is out Sept. 22.

Autographed Sgt. Pepper poster sells for $52,500

A Sgt Pepper souvenir poster bearing the signatures of all four Beatles has sold for $52,500 (£31,720) at a pop memorabilia auction in New York.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

McCartney plans animated film based on children's book

Paul is reportedly planning an animated film based on his children's book "High in the Clouds," featuring his character Wirral the Squirrel.

The original picture-book was co-written by McCartney and Philip Ardagh, author of the Eddie Dickens series. Illustrations – of Wirral, his friend Froggo, and their quest to find the island of Animalia – were provided by Geoff Dunbar. McCartney has been promising a movie version of the book for years, but this is the first evidence of Wirral the Squirrel becoming a big-screen star.

The trick, it seems, was McCartney's soundtrack. "Paul said he would commit to a score of original songs as part of it," Lynne told Variety this week. "Bob and I had never focused on animation in our career, but that got our attention."

Famed Indian musician, George Harrison collaborator, Ali Akbar Khan dies

Ali Akbar Khan, who played with George Harrison and Ravi Shankar at the Concert for Bangledesh in 1971 has died at age 87.

Khan was a master of the sarod, the fretless 25-string instrument that produces a panoply of evocative sounds - from dronelike touches to complicated twangs that seem to reverberate from the ether. Guitarist Carlos Santana once said that a single note of Khan's sarod "goes right to my heart," while classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin - who prompted Mr. Khan to first visit the United States in 1955 - once called the sarodist "the greatest musician in the world."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Capitol rolls out official site for new George Harrison compilation

Capitol Records has created a new site, featuring sound samples, wallpapers, video and more to promote Let it Roll, a new single-disk compilation of George Harrison's top songs.

Ringo gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

"Caveman" star (and, oh yeah, Beatle) Ringo Starr is set to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beatles WDGY TV Minnesota press conference 1965

Olivia Harrison on George

From the UK Sun:

Do you think he would ever have got back with The Beatles if the others had wanted a reunion?

I think so, yes, I do, because he had great love for the others. He really did. As you get older, you value and treasure your friends so much more.

I don't even want to think about what it would have been like. Very often there are times I think, "Oh, I wish George were here for that." He became more and more loving towards everything. He came to appreciate his friends so much more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yellow Submarine trading cards

Elvis meets the Beatles! What really happened?

What really happened when the Beatles met Elvis Presley? The Los Angeles Times investigates.

“No matter who you are,” says Schilling, “walking into Elvis Presley’s house is a different experience. His presence put things on a certain level, and I think the Beatles could feel that. But Elvis knew how to handle it. He said, ‘If you guys are just going to sit around and stare at me, I’m going to bed.’ That broke the ice and got a laugh out of everybody. Right away, the Beatles understood that Elvis was a guy with a sense of humor—and a guy who really loved crazy British humor. It wasn’t too long before John and Elvis were talking about Peter Sellers and favorite scenes from Dr. Strangelove.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

McCartney to re-release early albums through indie label

Paul McCartney is still less than impressed with EMI, the label he left two years ago--so much so that he's given the rights to his back catalog to indie label One Little Indian, which put out his most recent Fireman album.

...the veteran rocker was so pleased with their work, he has allowed them to oversee the reissue of a selection of his studio recordings since going it alone in 1970.

Yellow Submarine trading cards

First look at Beatles Remasters stereo and mono box sets

Here's a first look at the Beatles Remasters box set! It'll feature stereo versions of all the band's albums, plus the 2-CD Past Masters singles compilation, along with a DVD featuring the "making-of" shorts included on early versions of the individual album remasters.

And here's a look at the Beatles in Mono box set, which includes CDs of all the albums originally released in mono mixes.

Beatle barber chairs up for bid

A pair of Liverpool barber's chairs made famous by the Fabs are up for auction.

Formby businesswoman Tina Morris found the chairs, used in a 1963 Fab Four promotional photo, under 30 years of rubbish in a hairdresser’s wholesaler while she was looking for equipment for her Aqua Relax hair salon.

McCartney disillusioned with British politicians

Macca's not pleased with recent shenanigans of greedy British pols:

The U.K. government, headed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has faced weeks of scrutiny after a British newspaper revealed the extent of taxpayers' money used to fund lavish lifestyles for Members of Parliament (MPs).

The revelations caused a public outcry, leading to several MPs handing in their resignations and Brown's leadership skills thrown into doubt.

And McCartney admits he was also outraged by the abuse of U.K. citizens' cash - and protested against politicians by boycotting the U.K.'s local and European elections last week (04Jun09).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yellow Submarine trading cards

Meet the real Lucy in the sky

Lucy Vodden, the real-life inspiration for the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," suffers from lupus, is not a fan of the song, and made only £500 as a result of it, The London Evening Standard reports.

Mrs Vodden, now 46, was Lucy O'Donnell when she was a classmate of Julian's at Heath House nursery school in Weybridge, Surrey, when she became the unknowing muse for the psychedelic classic.

She said: "It was a long time ago and I don't remember that particular drawing, but I'm told Julian went back and told his dad 'it's Lucy my friend in the sky with diamonds', and it stuck."

Many fans believe the song was the result of the band's experiments with LSD and acid with its surreal imagery but Mrs Vodden believes she was the inspiration.

But she said: "I can't stand the song. I don't feel I can relate to it. I just don't like it. I don't see a four-year-old kid running around with kaleidoscopic eyes, it doesn't make sense."

She said she has never claimed any sense of "ownership" towards the song but she said that the small amount of fame it brought has been used wisely.

"I only made £500 for a photograph of me which I gave to author Steve Turner for his book A Hard Day's Write a few years ago, and I gave all of it away to charity.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beatles-inspired pinball machine

Spotted this on eBay. Here's some background info from an antiques site:

Beatles pinball machine by Williams, 1966, two-player pinball machine with a Beatles motif. Originally labeled "The Bootles," because of pending approval to use "The Beatles" name. Both the original glass "Bootles" panel and the updated "Beatles" version are included, with the latter currently in place. A supremely desirable piece.

Vintage trading cards

Lineup announced for Plastic Ono Band Meltdown performance

Yoko Ono has convened a new Plastic Ono Band to perform at this year's Meltdown Festival in London, which is being curated by free jazz legend Ornette Coleman.

Here's the press release:

The legendary YOKO ONO has confirmed Mark Ronson and Antony Hegarty as the latest addition to her live ensemble Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, making their live British debut as part of Ornette Coleman's Meltdown festival at Southbank Centre.

Ono, who rarely plays in the UK, will be playing a cross section of material from her whole career, including new material from her forthcoming album BETWEEN MY HEAD AND THE SKY, which will be released in the autumn on Chimera Music.

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band will comprise for the live show; YOKO ONO


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vintage Teen World magazine covers

McCartney to inaugurate Shea Stadium replacement

From USA Today:

Paul McCartney will play the first concerts at Citi Field, the new New York Mets ballpark that replaced storied Shea Stadium, where The Beatles made history 44 years ago. Tickets for the July 17-18 concerts go on sale Monday.

Here are the Beatles at Shea back in 1965:

TV alert: Paul McCartney's Ecce Cor Meum on PBS

At least in my neck of the woods, a performance/documentary about Paul's "classical" piece "Ecce Cor Meum" will air on PBS tonight. Check yer local listings.