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Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes, a new John Lennon hits collection produced in collaboration with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and John and Yoko's son Sean Lennon, could surpass Scottish group Travis's new LP 10 Songs to become the top selling album in the UK, according to the Official U.K. Singles and Albums Charts survey. On Oct. 12, Gimme Some Truth had risen to No. 3 on the midweek chart, just 364 combined sales behind the Travis album. Lennon has three No. 1's as a solo artist on the chart, and a whopping 16 with the Beatles, more than any act in Official Chart history. Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes was executive produced by Yoko and produced by Sean, and contains 36 of Lennon's best-loved songs from his solo career. Sean LennonSean Lennon recently told interviewer George Stroumboulopoulos on his Apple Music Hits show "STROMBO" that his dad returning his MBE to Queen Elizabeth II in 1966 was "maybe more punk than anything the punks did." "It was a big deal to return the Member of the British Empire thingamajig that he was given. To the Queen, that was very irreverent," Sean said. All four Beatles were given the honour in 1965, but Lennon returned his award a year later in protest against the Vietnam War and Britain's involvement in the conflict in Biafra. - Billboard/NME...... Meanwhile, country-pop music icon Willie Nelson and the band Promise of the Real lead by his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, have paid tribute Lennon on what would have been his 80th birthday on Oct. 9 with a cover of Lennon's 1981 posthumous hit "Watching the Wheels." In the video tribute, which has been shared on YouTube, Lukas and Micah can be seen trading off lines in the first verse, while Willie takes the second: "Well they shake their heads and they look at me/ As if I've lost my mind/ I tell them there's no hurry/ I'm just sitting here doing time." - NME...... In other Lennon news, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life author Kenneth Womack says that if Lennon was still alive "he'd be giving Pres. Donald Trump hell." "I think in a lot of ways he would have been like David Bowie, very moved by the internet," Womack told the U.K. paper The Mirror. "He would be an influencer in that way... he'd be right there on Twitter giving Trump hell." Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Liverpool's Cavern Club where the Beatles famously gigged before rising to international fame in the early 1960s, is among the venues which have received a lifeline from the U.K. government to survive the financial impact of coronavirus. The Cavern has been given £525,000 to fund the recording of performances from local musicians. They will be streamed online to provide employment opportunities for technical staff and artists from across Merseyside. - NME...... Beatles legend Paul McCartney and actor Alec Baldwin have announced they'll be taking over SiriusXM radio's The Beatles Channel on Oct. 9 to celebrate the life of John Lennon, who would've turned 80 that day. Macca and Balwin's exclusive programming will begin airing at 11:00 a.m. EDT and run throughout the weekend and next week, featuring Sir Paul reflecting on his bandmate and friend in conversation with Baldwin and John's son Sean Ono Lennon guest deejaying with his favorite songs by his dad (both from his solo discography and with the Beatles) while remembering his favorite childhood memories. Snippets of McCartney and Baldwin's conversation have been shared on YouTube. John LennonOther musical guests include Peter Asher, host of The Beatles Channel's show Peter Asher: From Me to You who will explore the connection between Lennon and iconic author Lewis Carroll, and Laura Cantrell, the host of the George Harrison-dedicated show Dark Horse Radio, who will explore the relationship between Harrison and Lennon. Lennon's 80th birthday special will air Friday at 11 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET on channel 18 on SiriusXM radio and on the SiriusXM app. The program will re-run multiple times throughout the weekend and next week and be available On Demand from the SiriusXM app. Meanwhile, a new pop-up TV channel is being launched in the U.K. to mark what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday. Sky, Virgin and Freeview will broadcast LENNON80 on Oct. 9 in honour of John, which will include a mix of old footage and new content. Among the programmes airing on the channel will be the famous documentary Bed Peace, which follows Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous "Bed-In for Peace" protest in 1969, as well as appearances on Parkinson in 1971 and The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and 1972. LENNON80 will be available until Oct. 15. - Billboard/New Musical Express...... In other Lennon-related news, the estate of late 1980s pop superstar George Michael have loaned John's "Imagine" piano to the Strawberry Field exhibition in Liverpool so it can go on public display. John's Steinway piano, which he wrote and recorded his 1971 song "Imagine" on, was bought by Michael at auction for £1.45 million back Oct. 2000. Michael later toured the piano around the world "as a symbol of peace" and used it during the recording of his song "Patience." Speaking to reporters at the time of the auction purchase, Michael said that "it's not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people." In a statement, the Michael estate said, "We know that the piano will be a source of hope and inspiration to all who come to see it... not only during these difficult times but for many years to come, in the same way that it inspired George [after] he bought it some 20 years ago." All funds raised by paying visitors to the exhibition will be used to help The Salvation Army change the lives of young people with learning difficulties. Meanwhile, leading Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack who has just released his new book John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life says he believes he has discovered the baseball film that inspired John's beautiful song "Grow Old With Me." The song was released a month before the legendary artist was shot dead in December 1980, and it was known to have been influenced by a film about baseball that Lennon saw during a visit to Bermuda earlier that year. In an interview with The Observer, Womack said he had watched dozens of films before realising that the key inspiration was A Love Affair: The Eleanor And Lou Gehrig Story, a 1978 movie about a baseball player who died after battling a rare nervous system disorder. "I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song," Womack explained. "For John, the use of such 'found objects' in life and art was essential to his composition practices." After watching dozens in search of the mysterious film in question, I began to study TV guides from that period. John was a regular subscriber." Upon realising A Love Affair had been screened at the time Lennon was staying in Bermuda, Womack made the connection, concluding: "The mystery, quite suddenly, was solved." - NME...... Yoko OnoYoko Ono filed a copyright infringement suit against her late husband John Lennon's former aide Fred Seaman on Oct. 1, alleging Seaman violated a court order by sitting down for a 23-minute interview on Sept. 10 to discuss topics which are legally prohibited, like his work with John and Yoko, the Beatles star's assassination, and Seaman's 1991 book, The Last Days of John Lennon. Yoko says that during the interview Seaman discussed his intention to revise the book and reissue an extended version of it, which she says would "willfully and intentionally violate" the injunction she got against him in 2002. Ono, 87, also took issue with the fact that Seaman was "flanked by Lennon memorabilia" for the interview. In 2002, a court ordered Seaman to stop using John and Yoko's family photos to profit from his legacy and he even apologized to her in open court. Yoko is asking for at least $150,000 (£116,000) and other damages, as well as an order stopping Seaman from talking about her and her family. - In other Lennon-related news, Elton John revealed to John and Yoko's son Sean Ono Lennon during Sean's new BBC Radio 2 series that his dad was "physically sick from nerves" before performing with him at a 1974 show in New York s Madison Square Garden after the Beatle lost a bet with John. "He was terrified," Elton told Sean. "I can tell you that he was physically sick before the show, absolutely physically sick." Elton, who provided backing vocals and piano on John's No. 1 1974 hit "Whatever Gets You Through The Night," convinced Lennon, who was not particularly fond of the song, to release the track and wagered that they would have to perform the number together if it topped the Billboard Hot 100. When the song did become a chart-topper in the US, the pair performed it during an Elton's Thanksgiving 1974 Madison Square Garden concert. But Elton noted that Lennon "wasn't nervous during the show [and] he just played the same brilliantly once he arrived on stage." In another episode of Sean's new radio show, Paul McCartney reflected on reconciling with his former bandmate Lennon shortly before John was shot dead in 1980. "I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really... that even after all of that, I'm so happy that I got it back together with your dad," McCartney told Sean. "It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn't have reunited. It was so lovely too that we did, and it really gives me sort of strength to know that," he added. - NME...... 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' - The BeatlesMarvin Gaye's landmark 1971 album What's Going On has dethroned the Beatles' 1967 LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time" list. The Beatles classic, which led the countdown when it was last published in 2003, was moved from number one to 26. Announcing their pick, the RS editors called What's Going On, which was a respectable No. 6 on the 2003 countdown, "one of the most important and influential LPs ever made." "After What's Going On, black musicians... felt a new freedom to push the musical and political boundaries of their art," they added. The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds comes in at two on the new list, ahead of Joni Mitchell's Blue, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life and the Beatles' Abbey Road. Nirvana's Nevermind, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Prince's Purple Rain, Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, and Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill complete the new "500 Greatest Albums" top 10. - WENN/ According to newly released transcripts of John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman's August parole hearing, Chapman said in the interview that he was seeking glory and deserved the death penalty for a "despicable" act. In the transcripts, which were made available after an open records request, the now 65-year-old inmate expressed remorse for gunning down the former Beatle outside the musician's Dakota apartment building in Manhattan in December 1980. "I assassinated him... because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish," Chapman is quoted as saying. Chapman said that in retrospect his actions were "creepy" and "despicable," and that he thinks all the time about the pain he inflicted on Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. "I just want her to know that she knows her husband like no one else and knows the kind of man he was. I didn't," he said. In denying him parole for an 11th time, the board said Chapman committed an "evil act" and said they found his statement that "infamy brings you glory" disturbing. Chapman, serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, east of Buffalo, will be up for parole again in Aug. 2022. He told the board he would have "no complaint whatsoever" if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life. - AP...... John LennonIn other Lennon-related news, a pair of John's famous round Windsor glasses that he gifted to his housekeeper in the 1960s and are thought to predate his first public outing of the eyewear are expected to fetch anywhere between £30,000 -- £40,000 during a new auction of Beatles memorabilia conducted by Sotheby's beginning Sept. 23. Also up for sale during the auction, which marks 50 years since the iconic band broke up, will be a detention sheet from John's Quarry Bank Grammar School teachers in the 1950s (they criticize his "complete idleness" and "continuous silly behaviour in class"), and one of his report cards, which is estimated to be worth between £3,000 -- £5,000. A copy of the Beatles's debut single, "Love Me Do," signed by all four members the day after it was released, is expected to fetch between £15,000 -- £20,000. The auction runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1 on the Sotheby's website. Meanwhile, John's son Sean Lennon is set to interview Paul McCartney for a new special two-part radio show for the BBC to mark what would have been his late father's 80th birthday. McCartney reflects on his earliest days of making music with Lennon -- admitting that "there were a few songs that weren't very good." He said: "Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off. When asked on their final meeting, he revealed: "I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!" Other interviewees for the new show include Lennon's oldest son, Julian Lennon, and Elton John -- who was a close friend of John's. And speaking of Julian Lennon, the musician was named a UNESCO Center for Peace 2020 Cross-Cultural and Peace Crafter Award Laureate on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, to recognize Julian's "efforts towards the promotion of culture and peace everywhere." His contribution to peace includes his continued work through The White Feather Foundation, which aims to raise funds for "the betterment of all life." In a statement posted to the foundation's website,, Lennon expressed his "deepest gratitude upon receiving the award." "To be recognised for charity efforts on the International Day of Peace means the world to me," he said. - New Musical Express...... The BeatlesThe Beatles' Apple Corps. announced on Instagram on Sept. 16 that an expansive coffee table book, The Beatles: Get Back, will be released on Aug. 31, 2021, as a companion to director Peter Jackson's upcoming 2021 Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The 240-page hardcover book with "hundreds of previously unpublished images" from the 1969 studio sessions for the Let It Be album will hit stores just days after the rescheduled release of the film, which was postponed earlier in 2020 until Aug. 27, 2021, due to the coronavirus. In a press release, the book is described as the "definitive volume" of the Let It Be sessions and will "present an exclusive, in-their-own-words account" of the recordings, "illustrated with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney." The book, according to the statement, "will feature transcribed conversations between the four Beatles culled from more than 120 recorded hours of the studio sessions over three weeks... (an) intimate, riveting book invites us to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of the Beatles' last year as a band." Meanwhile, Jackson's anticipated film will look back at the sessions for Let It Be using more than 55 hours of unreleased original 16-mm footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969. A video announcement for the book, which retails for $60, can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard...... In other Beatles-related news, a new John Lennon documentary, Lennon's Last Weekend, is coming to BritBox in December. Directed by Brian Grant ("Video Killed the Radio Star"), the film will focus on the musician's final interview with the BBC Radio's Andy Peebles before his death in Dec. 1980. John discusses the break-up of the Beatles, his new Double Fantasy LP with wife Yoko Ono, his relationship with Paul McCartney, and his own solo albums. Lennon's Last Weekend will premiere in December to honour the 40th anniversary of John's death, and will include a number of new interviews about the iconic musician. - New Musical Express...... Publisher Omnibus Books has announced a new John Lennon biography, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days In The Life, will be released on Sept. 15 and delve into what it describes as the "powerful, life affirming story" of the Beatles legend's comeback in 1980 after five years of self-imposed retirement. The book is authored by music historian Kenneth Womack, who says the book is "the result of my effort to tell the story of John's final year as a recording artist in the context of his life and not, pointedly, in terms of how he died." "The former Beatle's last episode of greatness is an inspirational story unto itself -- and I am proud to give it the treatment and fullness it deserves," Womack added. - John LennonIn an early draft of the 1966 Beatles' classic "In My Life," John Lennon referred to the Abbey Cinema in Liverpool as one of the song's "places I'll remember all my life." "In the circle of the Abbey, I have seen some happy hours," John wrote, before deciding to scratch that line for the final version. Now that same cinema frequently visited by John and his fellow Beatle George Harrison in their youth is under threat of being rebuilt by the UK supermarket chain Lidl, which says they are "considering all options for the site, which include the potential for a new building of high quality design and that their preference was 'to erect purpose-built food stores' -- but added that they have 'preserved original structures in the past'. Fans concerned about the venue's Beatles heritage have submitted an application for the Abbey Cinema, which hasn't shown a film since 1979, to be listed to Historic England for its preservation. A petition calling for the preservation has attracted over 2500 signatures, while a "Save the Abbey" Twitter account has been set up to support the appeal as well. - New Musical Express...... After a parole hearing on Aug. 26, the convicted murderer of John Lennon was denied parole for the 11th time. Mark David Chapman, 65, will remain in custody in the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo for at least another two years for murdering Lennon outside The Dakota apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side in Dec. 1980. Chapman, who is currently serving a 20-years-to-life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, was first eligible for parole in 2000. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2022. In 2018, the parole board said that Chapman himself was safer in prison than on the outside, where someone may want to kill him for notoriety or to avenge Lennon. During that hearing, Chapman told the parole board that he had "found Jesus" and was ashamed of himself, adding he was willing to be in jail "for as long as it took." Chapman was 25 when he shot the famous former Beatle dead outside the apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. When police arrived to arrest him, he was flicking through pages of The Catcher in the Rye. He later said he was angry at the time about the immense fame that Lennon had amassed. Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has previously argued against Chapman's release, saying he remains a risk to her and her son with Lennon. It's unclear if she wrote to the parole board this year, as she has done in the past. Details of the latest hearing have not yet emerged, aside from the fact Chapman was turned down for release. - John LennonIn other John Lennon news, what would have been his 80th birthday this October will be commemorated with the release of a new remix album called Gimme Some Truth - The Ultimate Mixes. Executive produced by the late Beatle's widow Yoko Ono and produced by his son Sean Ono Lennon, the special collection will arrive via Capitol/UMe on Oct. 9, the same day he would have turned 80 years old. Gimme Some Truth will be comprised of 36 classic Lennon songs which Capitol says were "completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience." One of the remixed tracks from the release, "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," has been shared on YouTube. Other remixes include "Come Together," "Mind Games," "Jealous Guy," "Dear Yoko" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Gimme Some Truth will be available in the following formats: 1CD, 2CD, 2LP, 4LP and streaming/download. A deluxe edition will include 36 tracks, a Blu-ray audio disc and an exclusive 124-page book. - New Musical Express...... Liam Gallagher of the popular alternative band Oasis has revealed that John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono once told him she thought it was "silly" of him to name his son "Lennon" in tribute to her late husband. Gallagher says he met with Yoko in New York in 1999, the same year his son was born, and Ono siad, "I've heard you've called your son Lennon... Why? Do you not think it's a bit of a silly name?" "No, it's a bit silly being called Yoko isn't it? So Lennon it is," Gallagher says he said in response, to which Yoko questioned him if his son would "get picked on in school?" "Nah man, he'll be buzzing with that name," Gallagher said he told Ono. Gallagher then remembered that Yoko "made us a nice cup of tea... asked me if I wanted a go on the piano (to which he declined)... and showed us around" her New York apartment. In 2018, Gallagher revealed how listening to Lennon's music helps him to battle his inner demons. "I do not need therapy. John Lennon is my thing," he said. - New Musical Express...... In a vintage hour-long video tour of his Hog Hill Mill Studios in east Sussex, UK, which is included in the deluxe re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie, Paul McCartney reveals that he still uses an amplifier that he bought when he was a lad aged 14. Sir Paul showed off his "Little Green Amp" -- the Elpico A55 -- that was seen on stage with The Beatles throughout their trailblazing career and become part of Beatles folklore in its own right. Macca says in the 1997 clip: "This is my very first amp I ever had when I was 14, it was called an Elpico. As you can see it is very 50s, it looks like a piece of 50s furniture. Instead of putting guitars into it, it says Mic1, Mic2, Gramophone, anything but guitars really. In those days amps were used more for putting your records through or microphones, for little PAs. That was the first thing and I have kept it ever since. I have now had it fixed up because it is so old. When you put an electric guitar through it now it sounds a bit like a fuzz guitar so it is quite a funky sound that I use sometimes. It is a dear little thing from many years ago." the Elpico A55 was first manufactured by British company Lee Products around 1956, and went on to become a favourite of rock legends such as The Kinks' Dave Davies. - New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr is among the collaborators on a new cover of the Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds" by Toots and the Maytals. Also featuring Marley's son Ziggy Marley, the cover will appear on the forthcoming Toots and the Maytals album Got to Be Tough, their first new record in over a decade. The LP will drop on Aug. 28 via Trojan Jamaica/BMG. Marley's original version of the song was released in 1977 and appeared on his album Exodus. The new version of "Three Little Birds," which has been transformed into into an upbeat, horn-laced track, has been shared on Starr provides percussion on the song, while Ziggy Marley and Frederick "Toots" Hibbert swap vocals. - New Musical Express...... Speaking of Ringo, his former bandmate Paul McCartney has revealed how ELO's Jeff Lynne convinced him to secure Ringo to perform on Paul's 1997 solo album Flaming Pie. "I'd been saying to Ringo for years it'd be great to do something," McCartney explained to the UK paper The Sun. "We'd never really done that much outside the Beatles. One night, Jeff suggested, 'Why don't you get Ringo in?' and I said, 'OK!'" McCartney added the pair were "very comfortable making music together again, joining with Lynne to jam on what would become 'Really Love You'." A remastered deluxe re-release of Flaming Pie was released on June 12. - New Musical Express...... In a new lengthy interview with the UK's GQ magazine, Paul McCartney dismissed the idea of following such rock icons as Aerosmith for a Las Vegas residency, and right now he isn't crazy about following the likes of Bruce Springsteen for a Broadway show either. "That's something I've been trying to avoid my whole life," McCartney said of a Vegas residency. "Definitely nothing attracts me about the idea. Vegas is where you go to die, isn't it? It's the elephant's graveyard. As for Broadway, the Sir Paul says he's "not really" sold on that idea either. "Some people would like me to do it, as they say I've got plenty of stories and plenty of songs, but one of the things that's holding me back at the moment is that Bruce has just done it, you know?," McCartney said. Paul McCartney"It feels a bit like, "Oh, suddenly I'll do it now then!' So I think that's made me a little reluctant to follow in his footsteps or follow a trend," he added. While he's not completely against a Broadway stint, McCartney explained that he would "just prefer to play with the band to a bigger audience, or even smaller... I don't mind little clubs." Elsewhere in the interview, Macca opened up about the time he sued the Beatles in order to "save their music and company, Apple." "The only way for me to save The Beatles and Apple -- and to release Get Back by [director] Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release Anthology and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records -- was to sue the band," he explained. "If I hadn't done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did. "I said, 'Well, I'll sue Allen Klein' and I was told I couldn't because he wasn't party to it. 'You've got to sue the Beatles.'" Paul also commented on John Lennon's 1971 solo song "How Do You Sleep?," saying he found the lyrics criticizing him "hurtful": "But then you hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allan Klein. So, you see the atmosphere of 'Let's get Paul. Let's nail him in a song...' And those things were pretty hurtful." - NME/ Rolling Stone magazine's website is currently sharing a previously unreleased version of Paul McCartney and Steve Miller's collaborative track "Broomstick" in conjunction with the remastered deluxe re-release of McCartney's 1997 album Flaming Pie. "Broomstick," which features on the album, is a tune McCartney cut with Miller, who played guitar on most of the well-received album. It was released as a B side to the single "Young Boy" (which Miller also sang and played guitar on) but has since faded into obscurity. "As long as we're together, it's gonna be just fine/ Well, I heard it on the broomstick, dashing through the middle of the night," Sir Paul sings on the smooth track that hears Miller play a bluesy solo. Although it won't appear on the boxset, a previously unreleased all-acoustic instrumental jam version of "Broomstick" has been shared by Rolling Stone. - Rolling Stone/NME...... Many Seventies artists including Paul McCartney, Stevie Van Zandt, Paul Stanley and Bette Midler have posted tributes to U.S. congressman Rep. John Lewis after the civil rights icon died on July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. "Sad to hear the news that civil rights legend John Lewis died yesterday. He was such a great leader who fought with honesty and bravery for civil rights in America. Long may his memory remain in our hearts. How about renaming the famous Pettus Bridge...," Paul McCartney posted on Twitter, accompanied by a photo of Rep. Lewis standing before the bridge that was the scene of a famous standoff between protesters and authorities in the 1960s. - Billboard...... Paul McCartneySpeaking of Paul McCartney, the former Beatle has released new EP featuring a remastered version of his 1997 song "Beautiful Night" with Ringo Starr. Currently available for streaming on, the EP is part of Sir Paul's forthcoming remastered deluxe re-release of his acclaimed 1997 LP Flaming Pie. The EP also features a 1995 demo of the track, an alternate "run through" recording, and "Oobu Joobu Part 5" -- a medley of Beautiful Night-themed chat, alternate mixes and interview recordings of McCartney and Starr speaking about the song. McCartney will also release a newly remastered video for "Beautiful Night," originally filmed in 1997. - New Musical Express...... Laura Lian, a British sculptor who has created a six-foot bronze statue of John Lennon, says she would like the statue to go on a tour of Liverpool to mark what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday this October. The likeness of Lennon, which can be seen on Lian's Twitter page, has been displayed at London's Hard Rock Cafe since Lian completed work on it in 2018. But Lian is now calling for the statue to tour all of the boroughs in Merseyside over the next two years. "With all the trouble in the world about statues & the pandemic and the strife, it's so right that Lennon can go back to where he belongs," she told the UK paper The Guardian. "For my generation growing up amid protests against the Vietnam war and the threat of nuclear war, Lennon was an inspiration in the way he inspired us to dream of peace," Lian says. "I had always intended for the statue to have a permanent home up on Merseyside and at one stage it looked like the Lennon statue was going to be erected in the Strawberry Fields area of Liverpool. That project fell through but when the metropolitan mayor of Merseyside, Steve Rotheram, suggested it should go up in the borough of Sefton, I thought that was a great idea," she adds. Every year a borough on Merseyside is nominated as the borough of culture and this year it's Sefton's turn. Lian says she thought it was appropriate that the statue "comes home to Liverpool" ahead of the 40th anniversary of his tragic death in December. - New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrCelebrating his big 8-0 birthday online on July 7 due to social distancing, Ringo Starr took some time to note how influential Black music was to creating the Beatles' sound. "There's no greater act than any others can make than to stand up and be counted when you see injustice," he said during the livestream. "I don't have to tell you that the Beatles' early set had a lot to do with the influence we found in American artists. We loved listening to Ray Charles, Little Richard is my hero, Stevie Wonder, Sister Rosetta Tharpe -- I saw her live at the cabin --and my stepdad's favorite, Billy Eckstine. The list goes on and on," he said. The show also had a number of throwback onstage moments, including a dynamic "Helter Skelter" performance with Ringo's former bandmate Paul McCartney, who took to social media earlier in the day to wish his pal a happy birthday. "Happy birthday SIR RICHARD alias RINGO. Have a great day my long time buddy!," Sir Paul posted to Twitter. Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Sheila E., Dave Grohl and Ben Harper also took part in the event, performing Beatles covers at home. Ringo's full "Big Birthday Show" has been shared on YouTube. Meanwhile, Ringo told Britain's Sunday Mirror paper on July 6 that the Beatles once walked away from a multi-million dollar offer to reunite for a one-off concert because the opening act was "a guy biting a shark." Starr says the Beatles were offered $62.4 million (£50 million) -- worth around $250 million (£200 million) in today's money -- back in 1976 to stage the comeback show, just six years after they parted ways, and "we called each other to see what we think." "We decided not to do it because the opening act was a guy biting a shark," referring to showman Bill Sargent's deal of an odd-warm up act which involved a man wrestling an 18-foot long Great White. "So we thought, 'No'," he said. According to Ringo, it was the only offer the band had seriously considered before John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York home in 1980. Billboard/ Yoko OnoElsewhere on the Fab Four front, insiders say 87-year-old Yoko Ono is "slowing down" after she was last spotted in Jan. 2019 at a women's march in a wheelchair and has not been spotted in public since. In 2017, Yoko was presented with a Centennial Song Award by the National Music Publishers Association and was pushed onstage in a wheelchair by her son Sean Lennon, shocking some who didn't realize the formidable avant-garde artist was incapacitated. She began her short acceptance speech by "addressing the elephant in the room. While it's not clear what "illness" she was referring to, Ono is reportedly still ailing, and requires round-the-clock care and rarely leaves her sprawling apartment in The Dakota, a source close to her staff recently told The New York Post. Ono, who has reported assets of $700 million, recently donated $50,000 to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, which during the coronavirus pandemic has provided thousands of meals to out-of-work and needy residents in her Upper West Side neighborhood. - The New York Post...... British photographer Fiona Adams, who took several memorable snaps of the Beatles including the iconic pic of the Fab Four jumping off a Brick Wall on London's Euston Road which adorned the cover of their 1963 "Twist and Show" UK EP, has died at the age of 84. Ms. Adams, who graduated from the Ealing College of Art and Technology in 1952, also went on to photograph some of the Sixties' other defining icons too -- including Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. In 2009 the National Portrait Gallery featured her Sixties work, in their exhibition "Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed." She was hailed as "an unsung heroine of the decade now retired and living in the Channel Islands." Her death follows that of fellow Beatles collaborator/photographer Astrid Kirchherr earlier in 2020. - NME, 7/10/20...... Ringo Starr has big plans to celebrate his milestone 80th birthday on July 7 with an "all-Starr" broadcast benefit called "Ringo's Big Birthday Show." This year Starr, who traditionally spreads peace and love outside of Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, Calif. for his birthday, has recruited his fellow surviving Beatles member Paul McCartney along with his All-Starr Band guitarist Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Sheila E. and Ben Harper for at-home livestream performances, as well as never-before-seen concert footage. Ringo StarrProceeds raised during "Ringo's Big Birthday Show" will benefit the Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid. "As everyone knows I love gathering with fans for peace and love on my birthday," Ringo said in a press release. "But this year, I want everyone to be safe at home -- so I called up a few friends and we put this Big Birthday Show together so we could still celebrate my birthday with you all, with some great music for some great charities. I hope you will all join me! Peace and Love, Ringo." The bash will also premiere a guest star version of Starr's "Give More Love" featuring Willie Nelson, Jeff Bridges, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. "Ringo's Big Birthday Show" will air on his YouTube channel at 8:00 p.m. EDT on July 7. An update on the event has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard...... Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Arcade Fire will perform as part of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band live-stream on June 20 beginning at 8 pm EST (1am BST), taking their "Midnight Preserves" festival jam sessions online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group will host a live-stream from their respective homes and are set to be joined by a number of special guests. McCartney, Grohl and Arcade Fire appeared alongside Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Beck, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Nathaniel Rateliff and more. Fans can tune in on YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook. Some performances will be pre-recorded. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in 1961 as a way to promote New Orleans jazz. They often hold their own 'Midnight Preserves' sessions at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which sees them joined by a host of special guests. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney announced on June 12 a special re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie as the 13th installment of his Archive Collection series, which he began back in 2010 with the purpose of remastering and reissuing all his solo records. Flaming Pie, co-produced by McCartney, Beatles producer George Martin, and ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne, was McCartney's 10th solo LP. It will be available in "Deluxe", "Collectors", and various regular CD and vinyl editions beginning July 31. A promo video for the reissue has been shared on YouTube. In addition two EP's, The World Tonight and Beautiful Night,, will arrive on June 26 and July 17, respectively. Meanwhile, Sir Paul is criticizing the Italian government for their "outrageous" decision to implement a policy that prevents music fans from receiving a full refund for concerts that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Macca's "Freshen Up" tour had been scheduled to stop at a number of European cities this summer, including Naples on June 10 and Lucca on June 13 before they were scrubbed due to the virus. McCartney, in a post written in Italian (via The Guardian), said that "the Italian organiser of our shows and the Italian legislators must do the right thing in this case... We are extremely sorry that the shows cannot take place, but this is a real insult to fans." The concert promoters say they are working to reschedule almost all the cancelled shows for 2021. - New Musical Express...... The BeatlesIn other Beatles-related news, Penny Lane in Liverpool is in danger of being renamed if links to slavery are discovered, the city's regional mayor says. Road signs at Penny Lane were vandalized earlier in June after it was claimed the location was named after the notorious 18th century slave trader James Penny. The mayor says the naming "needs to be investigated" and "I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed," although he added there is no hard evidence that is the fact. The mayor said the road could instead have been associated with a toll that was once paid in pennies to cross the road. Meanwhile, the release of the Peter Jackson-directed documentary The Beatles: Get Back has been delayed for one year by its distributor Disney. On June 12, Disney announced Get Back will now arrive on Aug. 27, 2021 instead of its original scheduled date of Sept. 4. In still more Beatles news, a recording of a 1962 jam session by the Beatles at London's Abbey Road studios is at the center of a $6.3 million court battle that is set to begin on June 16. Songs recorded on the demo at the Beatles' very first Abbey Road session are believed to include their early hit "Love Me Do," and the tape was discovered in late Beatles sound engineer Geoff Emerick's home in a safe, after Emerick was ordered to destroy the tapes by EMI who deemed the recording to not be of good enough quality to be released. Emerick's estate is arguing that they are entitled to the recording under a "Finders Law," but Universal Music, which bought EMI in 2012, counter that law does not count in this case since Emerick was told he should destroy the recording by EMI. - Variety/WENN/ Paul McCartney took to social media on June 5 to share an encouraging message on the fight for social justice as protests over the death of George Floyd continue around the United States and other countries. "I know many of us want to know just what we can be doing to help. None of us have all the answers and there is no quick fix but we need change," Sir Paul posted on his official Twitter account. "We all need to work together to overcome racism in any form. We need to learn more, listen more, talk more, educate ourselves and, above all, take action." McCartney, 77, then recalled a 1964 incident with the Beatles refused to play a concert with a segregated audience in Jacksonville, Fla. "It felt wrong. We said 'We're not doing that!' and the concert we did do was to their first non-segregated audience," Macca wrote. "We then made sure this was in our contract. To us it seemed like common sense." Paul added that he is "sick and angry" that racial tension still exists after so many years. "I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with the countless others that came before," he tweeted. McCartney also shared links to several organizations seeking to fight racism, including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, the NAACP, Stand Up to Racism, and Campaign Zero. - Billboard...... John LennonMeanwhile, the post-Beatles 1971 peace anthem by McCartney's late bandmate John Lennon, "Imagine," was referenced in a speech by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on June 3. Comparing calls to defund the New York Police Dept. to the lyrics of "Imagine," de Blasio said, "I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about, 'What about a world where people got along differently? What about a world where we didn't live with a lot of the restrictions that we live with now?' But we're not there yet." A cultural fixture in the almost 50 years since its 1971 release, "Imagine" was once described by Lennon as "the concept of positive prayer... without this my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing." "Imagine" has been covered by an endless list of notable musicians including Joan Baez, Diana Ross and Neil Young and become a kind of "go-to anthem for the detached," and some have criticized how it is too often "re-molded" by politicians and other public figures to fit certain political and social goals. - Billboard...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr has also shared his views on the current Black Lives Matter protests, saying he is sending "peace, love and continuous support" to them. In a June 5 tweet, Ringo referenced his bandmate Paul McCartney's own message: "As my brother Paul said The Beatles always stood for equal rights&justice and I've never stopped working for peace&love ever since," he wrote on his official Twitter account. "I send my peace love&continuous support to everyone marching & speaking up for justice & a better world." Starr also called for justice for George Floyd's family and "for all those who have died and suffered." "Saying nothing is not an option," he added. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney posted a series of Twitter posts on May 21 paying tribute to Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who died earlier in May at age 81 of as yet undisclosed causes. "Very sad news this week about Astrid Kirchherr," McCartney began. "Astrid was a dear friend from my Hamburg days with The Beatles. Another friend, Klaus Voormann, told me she had passed away and this brought back memories of our days in the clubs in Hamburg. She had a great sense of humour and later went on to marry Stuart (Sutcliffe) our bass player. I have so many fond memories of our time together in the club or her home or a trip to the nearby seaside resort, Lubeck. So sad for all of us who were her friends to lose such a lovely lady from our lives. I will miss her but will always remember her and her cheeky grin with great fondness. God bless you Astrid, see ya love!," McCartney added in his posts. Kirchherr, who was known for taking the first ever photo of the then-quintet in her native Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s and helping to shape their trend-setting style before they shot to international superstardom, passed away on May 13, days before turning 82. - An unreleased demo tape of "Angel in Disguise," Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr's only jointly written duet, sold for $9,900 at auction in the U.K. on May 19. The track was recorded for Starr's 1992 solo album Time Takes Time but did not make the cut -- with a cassette containing two versions of the song selling to an unnamed bidder after a sale at Omega Auctions in Cheshire, England. The tape is currently owned by former Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince, and sold at less than half its top price estimate of $20,000. It features McCartney on vocals on one track and another with Starr singing. "Angel in Disguise" is thought to be the only song "co-written exclusively" by the duo without any other musician's involvement. - WENN/ Astrid_Kirchherr.gifAstrid Kirchher, the legendary German Beatles photographer and collaborator who is renowned for taking the first ever photograph of the Beatles in her hometown of Hamburg, when they were an unknown five-piece combo, has died at age 81 of as yet undisclosed causes. Enjoying a lengthy collaborative relationship with the Beatles, Ms. Kirchherr is also known as the person who first suggested that the band cut their hair into what would become iconic "mop tops." She was also engaged to one-time Beatles guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe before his death in 1962. "Astrid was intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, beautiful, smart, loving and uplifting," Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn posted in tribute on Twitter. "Her gift to the Beatles was immeasurable." Also among the many fans paying tribute to Ms. Kirchherr on social media, where she was referred to as "the sixth Beatle," was George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison. "Astrid is and was the sweetest woman, so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture a soul. Our family loved her and none more than George. I am truly saddened but honoured to have known her," Olivia said. Ms. Kirchherr's photography of several iconic photos of the band was collated into a 2018 book, Astrid Kirchherr with the Beatles. - New Musical Express...... An unheard demo by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr written for Ringo's 1992 album Time Takes Time is set to be auctioned on May 19, with the track expected to fetch as much as £20,000. A quarter of the profits from the song, owned by former Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Prince, will go to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19. The demo tape features two versions of the track that did not make it onto the Time Takes Time album -- a demo with McCartney on vocals and a fuller take featuring Starr's vocals, alongside additional instruments and backing vocals. A demo of another Ringo track, called "Everyone Wins," also features on the cassette, which is being sold by Omega Auctions on May 19, alongside other memorabilia, including autographs by Paul and his late wife Linda McCartney. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney is among 100 celebrity contributors to a new charity book titled Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, a book paying tribute to the UK's National Health Service. Dear NHS will be published on July 9, and includes personal stories from the likes of McCartney and Ricky Gervais which aim to highlight the outstanding work done by the NHS over the years. Meanwhile, Sir Paul reminded citizens of the world to celebrate Earth Day on Apr. 22 with a post on Twitter. "Take care of this beautiful place," McCartney urged. - NME...... Ringo StarrIn other Beatles related news, a sing-a-long version of the Fab Four's animated film Yellow Submarine was hosted by the band on its official YouTube channel on Apr. 25. A remastered version of the 1968 film was released in cinemas in 2018 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, but the new premiere marked the first time it has been available online. Ringo Starr released an invitation for fans to join in the sing-a-long on YouTube on Apr. 22. "Share your photos and videos with us of you singing along at home and tag them #YellowSubLive. Following the film, we'll be sharing your images and videos on Instagram Stories," Ringo said. - NME...... Paul McCartney performed a solo rendition of the Beatles' classic "Lady Madonna" during the The Global Citizen-sponsored One World: Together At Home charity telecast on Apr. 18. McCartney prefaced it with an impassioned shout out to his mother Mary, a midwife and nurse after the second world war. "My mother, Mary, was a nurse and midwife before and during World War II. I have a lot of time for healthcare workers. We love you, thank you," he explained. Sir Paul's quarantined version of the song was virtually unrecognizable as the jaunty 1968 original, stripped down to just Macca and his electric piano, and performed at a slower, more tender pace. A live album featuring all 79 performances from the eight-hour, at-home TV concert, which raised almost $128 million, has also been released. Proceeds from its streaming will go directly to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation. - Billboard...... After Paul McCartney appeared on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show earlier in April and agreed with Stern that the Beatles were "better" than the Rolling Stones, Stones frontman Mick Jagger has responded in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music and shared on YouTube. "That's so funny. [Paul's] a sweetheart. There's obviously no competition," Jagger said, laughing when asked for his response. "The big difference, though, is and sort of slightly seriously, is that the Rolling Stones is a big concert band in other decades and other areas when the Beatles never even did an arena tour, Madison Square Garden with a decent sound system. They broke up before that business started, the touring business for real... we started doing stadium gigs in the '70s and [are] still doing them now. That's the real big difference between these two bands. One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums and then the other band doesn't exist." In McCartney's comments, he noted that the Stones "are rooted in the blues." "When they are writing stuff, it has to do with the blues. We had a little more influences. There's a lot of differences, and I love the Stones, but I'm with you. The Beatles were better," he said. Jagger was speaking to Lowe to promote the Stones' new single "Living In A Ghost Town," a four-minute bluesy and harmonica-driven song released by the band on Apr. 23. "I'm a ghost/ Living in a ghost town/ You can look for me/ But I can't be found," sings Jagger, who wrote it with guitarist Keith Richards. The band has shared the surprise track, its first proper studio single since 2016 and their cover album Blue and Lonesome, on - New Musical Express/AP...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney has called for Chinese "wet markets," which got their name due to their frequently hosed-down floors, to be banned due to the current coronavirus pandemic. In an interview on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio channel, McCartney said: "I really hope that this will mean the Chinese government says, "OK guys, we have really got to get super hygienic around here. Let's face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats." The Beatles icon went on to suggest that the unsanitary nature of the markets was responsible for more than just the coronavirus. "It seems like Sars, avian flu, all sorts of other stuff that has afflicted us -- and what's it for?" Macca said. "For these quite medieval practices. They need to clean up their act. This may lead to [change]. If this doesn't, I don't know what will." Sir Paul, who has been a vegetarian and animal rights activist for many years, added that the markets "might as well be letting off atomic bombs" in terms of the impact they were having on world safety. "I understand that part of it is going to be: people have done it for ever, this is the way we do things," he noted. "But they did slavery forever, too. You've got to change things at some point." McCartney also expressed sadness about the cancellation of the Glastonbury 2020 festival in England, which he was set to headline, due to the pandemic: "What's disappointing for me is the people who bought tickets, who were looking forward to this and thinking here's something groovy to do in the summer, and suddenly the plug is pulled, and we can't come around and play for them. It's sad for us, too...we were looking forward to that." - New Musical Express...... In other Beatles-related news, a medley of the Fab Four's songs provided the soundtrack for a light show at New York's Empire State Building on Apr. 11. The display coincided with the 50th-anniversary of the band's split on Apr. 11, 1970, and is part of the famous tourist destination's continued run of special events while New York is under a stay-at-home order. The show, produced by iHeartMedia and Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT), featured songs including "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" and "A Day In The Life." The medley was broadcast on New York radio station Q104.3 and synced to the light show at the Empire State Building by lighting artist Marc Brickman. - New Musical Express  

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