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If you thought every conceivable aspect of the Beatles' career had been thorougly investigated and documented, think again. The Beatles and India, a new documentary on the Fab Four's time in India in the late '60s, will premiere in the UK in June. The film is co-helmed by first-time director Ajoy Bose, author of Across The Universe - The Beatles In India, and will comprise of rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India. The BeatlesCultural researcher Pete Compton is Bose's directing partner, and the film will premiere in the UK on June 6 as part of the Tongues On Fire UK Asian Film Festival ahead of a full release in the fall that will coincide with The Beatles and India: Songs Inspired by the Film, a companion album of interpretations of 19 Beatles songs from contemporary Indian artists. The covers will be of songs that the band were inspired to write from their time in India. The first single from The Beatles and India has been released, and features Indian singer-songwriter Nikhil D'Souza performing "India, India," John Lennon's ode to the country. The track has been shared on YouTube and can be purchased on Amazon.com. - NME...... In other Beatles-related news, Strawberry Field, the latest addition to Beatles tourism in Liverpool and now open to the public, have commenced celebrations by inviting a student from Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to play the very piano on which John Lennon composed and recorded "Imagine," with The Liverpool Signing Choir singing the words to the inspirational song. Lennon's world-famous piano was once toured by late pop star George Michael as a symbol of peace in the early 2000s and hasn't been played in a performance since 2007. It is now on loan to the Strawberry Field exhibition, courtesy of Michael's estate. The upright Steinway piano, purchased by the singer-songwriter in 2000 was delivered to Strawberry Field on Oct. 2, 2020, to mark what would have been John's 80th birthday. It is now on display in the Strawberry Field exhibition. Tickets to the exhibition can be purchased on the Strawberry Field website. - Music-News.com/NME...... Klaus VoormannElsewhere on the Fab Four front, Beatles lieutenant Klaus Voormann remembered the first time he saw George Harrison in an interview with Uncut magazine. Describing an encounter with an early incarnation of the Beatles at Hamburg's Kaiserkeller in 1960, Voormann said: "The first time I saw George he was only 17 years of age. He was very different to how he was later. He was a cocky little boy! This band he was with was completely unknown. George was singing all those funny songs, which he did later on a little bit, when he sat around and played ukulele. He was into songs like 'I'm Henry The Eighth, I Am,' singing it all cockney. He would sing all those Eddie Cochran numbers too, like 'Twenty Flight Rock'." Voormann went on to design the Beatles' Revolver album cover (for which he won a Grammy), play on Harrison's All Things Must Pass solo album, three of Ringo Starr's solo albums and four of John Lennon's solo efforts. He was for a time rumoured to be replacing Paul McCartney in a reformed Beatles project. - NME, 5/26/21...... John Lennon's youngest son Sean Ono Lennon has shared a lengthy thread on Twitter about political correctness. In the May 24 post, Sean shared his experiences growing up with a Japanese mother. Sean Lennon"When I was young ppl used to say racist shit about Asians around me all the time and then be like 'Oh sorry! But you're not reeeally Asian so...' and I think they sincerely thought that would make me feel better," he wrote. "I'm not exactly sure why I brought that up but I think it's because I want to say that I grew up in a time when there was zero political correctness." Lennon went on to explain how he believes political correctness and "morality policing" is "arguably" making things worse. "Race relations seem to be in the middle of a 'two steps back' moment," he wrote, citing current events as well as racist direct messages he has been receiving. "I am very sad that I feel like I have to say the following but here goes: Asians are not the problem. Blacks are not the problem. Jews are not the problem," he wrote. "And yes, Whites are not the problem either. No race or culture is 'the problem. I have lived in many cities and countries and I can say from experience that there is an EQUAL distribution of shitty ppl and good ppl in EVERY human population." Lennon clarified that he's not blaming political correctness for "all of the bad things we are seeing in culture today," but he did write, "I am simply saying we should check our strategy if we are not getting the results we intended." - NME...... In a new SiriusXM radio interview, Ringo Starr credited the Beatles' "psychic" connection for their becoming the best band in the world. Ringo insisted no other act can top the Fab Four -- which was also comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison -- because they shared a telepathic bond when performing live. "I don't care what anyone says," Ringo explained. "We knew each other and it was like psychic. I would be playing drums with my eyes closed and the headphones on and would know John was going to go somewhere. I'd drum in that and hold it together while they went mad and then bring it back," he added. Ringo also recently revealed he nearly missed out on being one of the Beatles because he'd planned to move to America. Ringo said that age 19, he and a friend decided to emigrate to the States but they were put off when they saw how many forms they had to fill in, and he often reflects on how different his life could have been. "I love the blues and wanted to go and live in Houston because I wanted to be where Lightnin' Hopkings was -- my all-time favorite blues player.... I often look back on my life and think, 'what if I'd gone and lived in America? Because who knows where I'd have been now," Starr said. - Music-News.com...... Yoko OnoJohn LennonThe new John Lennon and Yoko Ono "mini-documentary" 24 Hours: The World of John and Yoko is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video US. The 30-minute film is available to watch in full for the first time since its initial release on the BBC back in 1969 through the Coda Collection on Amazon. "Last seen more than 50 years ago, and having aired just once on TV, this intimate documentary -- captured over a five-day period -- shows a day in the life of John and Yoko while Lennon was still a member of the Beatles, controversies raged and activism became a central concern in the couple's everyday reality," an official description reads. 24 Hours... was directed by Paul Morrison and delves into Lennon and Ono's creative process, with filming having taken place at London's Abbey Road Studios, Lennon's Tittenhurst Park estate and the London headquarters of Apple Records. - New Musical Express...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney has teamed up with music producer Rick Rubin for a new documentary series on the Hulu streaming platform. McCartney 3, 2, 1 will explore McCartney's musical history as a former Beatle, for a rare one-on-one interview with Rubin. The six-episode series will span McCartney's work with the Beatles and Wings as well as his 50 plus years as a solo artist. It is set to debut on Hulu on July 16. "Never before have fans had the opportunity to hear Paul McCartney share, in such expansive, celebratory detail, the experience of creating his life's work - more than 50 years of culture-defining music," said Hulu exec Craig Erwich in a statement. McCartney 3, 2, 1 was directed by Zachary Heinzerling, while both McCartney and Rubin are among the executive producers on the project. Meanwhile, Sir Paul has topped London's Sunday Times' 2021 list of the most wealthy British musicians with an estimated fortune of £820m. Also making the Top 10 of the richest music people in Britain were Elton John (#4, £375m), Mick Jagger (#5, £310m), Keith Richards (#6, £295m), Olivia and Dhani Harrison (#7, £290m) and Ringo Starr (#8, £280m). - NME...... Guitars from Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith as well as autographed memorabilia from the Beatles and even strands of hair from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain are some of the highlights of an online rock 'n' roll auction that well end over the third weekend in May. The item with the highest minimum bid is a collarless, dark blue jacket custom made for Paul McCartney that starts at $25,000. It was worn onstage over a six-night stand at Bournemouth, England's Gaumont Theatre in 1963. There's also a copy of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band signed by McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and a sheet of handwritten "Blowin' in the Wind" lyrics signed by Bob Dylan. Other treasures include band-signed copies of Led Zeppelin II, Queen's self-titled debut, and Pink Floyd's Animals. Among the 70 or so guitars is one signed by Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath and starts at $500. A portion of proceeds will benefit Crew Nation, a relief fund for live music touring and venue crews who are facing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. - AP...... Paul McCartneySpeaking of Paul McCartney, the former Beatles says practicing eye yoga has helped preserve his eyesight over the years. Sir Paul spoke about the practice during a guest appearance on the latest episode of the Jessie Ware-hosted Table Manners podcast. McCartney's daughter Mary McCartney, who also featured on the podcast, brought up her father's eye yoga routine which, he claims, has helped maintain his eyesight without the need for glasses. "I learned [it] off some yogi in India," McCartney then explained about the practice. "He explained that your eyes are muscles whereas your ears aren't, so you can't exercise your ears. But your eyes, you can." He then talked the listeners through the practice: "So, head still, and then you look up as far as you can, one, two, three, go back to the middle, then down, one, two, three, then back to the middle. You do three lots of that, then go to the left and the right. Now you've got a cross, up and down, and sideways, now you do the diagonals." McCartney said that he believed that regularly doing eye yoga over the years has ensured that he hasn't ever needed to get glasses. "It's pretty good stuff. It makes sense, though, doesn't it? It makes sense if they [eyes] are muscles," he said, adding later: "I don't know if it means that that's why I don't need glasses when I'm reading a newspaper. It makes sense, you know? It's a good idea." - NME...... With everything going on in these unprecedented times, the estate of John Lennon has invited fans to take a moment to stop what they're doing, take a moment to breathe, and relax by watching the soothing, meditative new video for John's timeless and relevant song, "Hold On," which it has shared on YouTube. The video, presented in 5K and beautifully animated by David Frearson, brings to life the classic album cover for John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band which features John and wife Yoko Ono resting underneath a huge oak tree in the gardens of their home at Tittenhurst Park, Ascot in the UK. What at first looks to be a static image, the photo, restored from the original Kodak 126 Instamatic square-format negative, slowly reveals itself as sunlight streams through swaying branches in the tranquil setting, offering a momentary respite from the stresses of the day as John encourages: "Hold on world/World hold on/It's going to be alright/You're going to see the light." The video showcases the new "Elements Mix" of the song which highlights John's vocals by including two previously unused vocal overdubs along with guitar while muting the bass and drums for a more subdued version. The Elements Mix is from the just-released John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - Ultimate Collection edition, which celebrates 50 years of John's transformational and influential first post-Beatles solo album. - Music-News.com, 5/8/21...... Paul McCartneyBritain's Royal Mail announced on May 6 that the "immense" musical legacy of Sir Paul McCartney will be celebrated with a new collection of postage stamps available beginning May 28. With close collaboration from the Beatles legend himself, the 12-stamp collection is set to feature artwork from eight of the musician's solo LPs, including his most recent album, 2020's McCartney III. The remaining four stamps, which are presented in a 'Miniature Sheet', feature images which span three decades of McCartney at work in the studio. David Gold, a spokesman for the Royal Mail, noted that McCartney "remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop, an artist whose legacy is immense, but whose work continues to generate popular attention and critical acclaim" and that the collection is "a fitting tribute to one of the UK's much loved and revered musical icons." The Royal Mail has previously celebrated music icons David Bowie (in 2017) and Elton John (in 2019) with their own collections, and more can be found on the McCartney collection at the RoyalMail.com website. - NME...... In an Apr. 30 appearance on the CBS late night talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ringo Starr revealed his favorite Beatles tune was the 1969 Abbey Road opener, "Come Together." Starr revealed the track during host Stephen Colbert's 15-question "The Colbert Questionert," asking Starr: "You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life. What is it?" to which Starr quickly answered: "[The Beatles'] 'Come Together'." "There's lots of other favourites, but if you want one, 'Come Together' can't be bad," Starr said, adding that it was his favourite Beatles song. "I just think it worked perfectly with the band and the song and John [Lennon] being John. I loved that moment." Ringo also shared his unique take on the afterlife after Colbert asked him what happens when we did. "I think we go to heaven," Starr said. "Heaven's great, but you don't stay there too long; you just gotta get yourself together again and come deal with all that [shit] you didn't deal with last time you were here." Other revelations made by Starr in the segment included: his favorite sandwich ("Cheese"), scariest animal ("I think a lion would be scary"), his least favorite smells ("Bodily functions", he said, something he discussed in Dave Grohl's What Drives Us film), and the most used app on his phone ("Twitter"). - NME...... Paul McCartney was among numerous the numerous musicians and other stars tweeting out awareness of the 50th annual Earth Day celebration on Apr. 22. As global warming's effects continue to push the Earth's climate to a tipping point, the former Beatle and long-time environmentally conscious vegetarian had a very simple message in his Earth Day tweet: "Sir Paul McCartney Has an Important Reminder - Celebrating #EarthDay. It's the only one we've got ! - Paul pic.twitter.com/2xwqAHdbVB." - Billboard...... John LennonDuring a worldwide listening party for the new John Lennon deluxe John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band reissue, Ringo Starr remembered his old bandmate as "a brilliant artist and a brilliant man." As Tim Burgess' latest Twitter Listening Party turned its attention to the upcoming release, the famous drummer wrote on Twitter: "It's so incredible, the emotion on this record, just mind blowing. The sparseness of the band, the force of John Lennon. That's why he's one of the greats." Addressing suggestions that Lennon frequently worried about the quality of his singing voice, Starr wrote: "John always wanted a lot of echo on his voice. He had a great voice and when he was singing, he gave all of that. I don't feel personally he was insecure about his voice. Everybody wants to be someone else, to be different." In his final tweet about the experience, Starr added: "It is an incredibly cool record. It's a beautiful record and he was a beautiful man and I'm privileged to feel he was my friend. Great to be a part of Plastic Ono Band." - NM,...... In other Beatles-related news, a movie theater where Liverpudlians John Lennon and George Harrison spent their teenage years attending has been saved from demolition. The Abbey Cinema in Wavertree, Liverpool which featured in the Fab Four's personal writings and the original lyrics of their 1965 song "In My Life," officially closed in 1979. The cinema, which was designed by renowned architect and Liverpool City Council leader Sir Alfred Ernest Shennan, first opened in 1939. It has since been used as a bingo hall, snooker club and, most recently a Co-op supermarket, which closed its doors in 2020. UK supermarket chain Lidl has called for the building to be knocked down to make way for a new store, but a petition has been started on Twitter to preserve the building by Save Britain's Heritage, Historic England, which has now given it a Grade II listed status. - NME...... A new, "Easter-egg"-filled video for John Lennon's classic 1970 track "Isolation" has been shared on YouTube to help promote the upcoming deluxe box set reissue of his solo debut John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The video for the "Raw Studio Mix" of "Isolation" was filmed upstairs at John and Yoko's home at Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire on July 16, 1971, and fans are encouraged to explore the "timed Easter eggs" in the clip -- showing "hidden elements and clues" of the life that Lennon and wife Yoko Ono shared, as well as important artefacts and more. The 8-disc super deluxe box set will drop on Apr. 23 and celebrate the recent 50th anniversary of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. - NME...... Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Stevie Nicks are among over 150 music and entertainment stars who have signed a new open letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a reform to the music streaming economy. The letter, from the Musicians' Union in association with the Ivors Academy and the #BrokenRecord campaign, says that the law around streaming revenues and royalty payments "has not kept up with the pace of technological change" in the music industry. It comes as British MPs are currently examining the economic impact that music streaming is having on artists, record labels and the wider music industry as part of the 'Economics Of Music Streaming' inquiry. - NME...... In an interview with the UK's Uncut magazine paying tribute to Bob Dylan to mark his 80th birthday on May 24, Paul McCartney recalled the first time the Beatles got stoned with Dylan. "I'm not sure whether he's very keen on me telling this, but here we go," McCartney said. "It was at the Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue and 59th in New York City in August, 1964. We were in a hotel room, all being good lads having our Scotch and Coke -- it was an afterparty, I think. Dylan arrived and he went into the bedroom with his roadie. Ringo [Starr, drummer] went along to see what was up. So he finds Dylan, rolling up, and he has a toke. He came back in and we said, 'What was it like?' So Ringo says, 'The ceiling is kind of moving down...' We all ran into the back room going, 'Give us a bit, give us a bit!' That was the very first evening we ever got stoned!" Meanwhile, McCartney released a "reimagined" version of his 2020 album McCartney III, McCartney III Imagined, on Apr. 16. It features collaborations with the likes of Beck, Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Idris Elba, Damon Albarn and others. - NME...... Brian EpsteinThe Queen's Gambit actor Jacob Fortune-Lloyd is set to play late Beatles manager Brian Epstein in a new film titled Midas Man to be directed by Sweden's Jonas Akerlund. Aukerlund is best known for working with Madonna on the Grammy award-winning "Ray Of Light" music video as well as with other artists including Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Rammstein and The Prodigy. The unauthorized biography of Epstein, who was the Beatles manager from 1962 until his death in 1967, is set to start filming later in 2021 at Twickenham Studios and on location in London, Liverpool and America. According to Deadline.com, the film will "chart Epstein's... role in the cultural revolution and creative explosion of the 1960s and his sizeable yet often unheralded influence on pop music." As well as managing the Fab Four, Epstein also worked with a number of artists including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas. He died of an accidental drug overdose in 1967 at age 32. Fortune-Lloyd, who played chess prodigy and later journalist Townes in the Netflix smash The Queen's Gambit, said in a statement "It's a huge privilege to play Brian Epstein, a man who made such an important and lasting cultural impact, but who struggled to find a secure place in a world he helped to shape." - NME...... Letters and memorabilia from the storied days the Beatles spent in Hamburg, Germany before rising to international fame in 1963 are set to go up for auction in London in May. The Fab Four played over 250 shows in Hamburg between Aug. 1960-Dec. 1962, with the heavy experience they gained gigging and some of the relationships they formed there helping to propel them to fame the following year. The new auction lot will include previously unseen letters, work permits, photos, drawings, poems and more. Some of the items were sent by the band to late photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who was engaged to former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe after meeting them in Hamburg. The Beatles remained close to Kirchherr and wrote her after they returned to the UK. The BeatlesIn one letter that is going up for auction, George Harrison invited her to visit him and Ringo Starr in their new flat and instructed her not to put his name on the envelope when she wrote back. In another, John Lennon told her: "I'm really sorry you are so sad and uncertain about yourself. You must know that Cyn [Lennon's first wife Cynthia], I and the other Beatles will always feel the same about you. You will always be Stuart's Astrid to us." In that letter, John also shared the news that Cynthia was pregnant with "this little John inside her" -- aka his first son Julian. The items will go under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in London on May 5. "The Beatles' time in Hamburg was absolutely crucial to them," Bonham's head of entertainment memorabilia Katherine Schofield told the UK paper The Guardian. "It's fair to say that they came to Germany as boys and left as men." Astrid Kirchherr died in May 2020, a few days before her 82nd birthday. She had taken the Beatles' first-ever known photograph when they were still a five-piece. She also was the person who first suggested the band cut their hair into their iconic mop-top style. - NME...... In other Beatles-related news, a new video for John Lennon's 1970 song "Look at Me" from his LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band has been released ahead of a 50th anniversary Ultimate Collection edition of the album dropping on Apr. 23. Shared on YouTube by the John Lennon Estate, the black and white and colour video, shot on 8 mm film, features never-before-seen footage of Lennon and wife Yoko Ono Lennon from 1968, captured in their home in Weybridge, Surrey. Yoko Ono personally oversaw the production and creative direction of the new reissue, which includes rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations as well as 87 never-before-heard recordings. The full live recording session of her 1970 companion LP, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, is also included, presenting the songs in their full, unedited lengths and speed for the first time. Originally released in Dec. 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was recorded shortly after the demise of the Beatles and once described by Lennon as "the best thing I've ever done." - NME...... Paul McCartney's Twitter account announced on Mar. 31 that a deluxe 50th anniversary version of his and wife Linda McCartney's 1971 LP Ram will be reissued on May 14 as a limited edition, half-speed mastered vinyl pressing via UMe. "Happy RAM-iversary!," reads the message. "To celebrate 50 years since the release of Paul and Lina McCartney's 1971 fan-favourite album, 'RAM' will be reissued on 14th May 2021 as a limited edition half-speed mastered vinyl pressing." The 50th anniversary edition can be pre-ordered at PMC.lnk.to/Ram50EditionVinyl, and its release comes one week before a "reimagined" Ram 50th tribute by original session musicians Dave Spinozza and Marvin Stamm, Ram On: 50th Anniversary Tribute To Paul & Linda McCartney's Ram, hits stores. Originally released in May 1971, Ram served as the follow-up Paul's 1970 debut solo album McCartney, and was also the only McCartney album to be credited to both Paul and his late wife Linda. - NME...... Paul McCartneyIn other McCartney-related news, a letter handwritten by the former Beatle in 1959 that jovially settled a long-standing "debt" over a blanket is going up for auction. The letter was written by Paul in Sept. 1989 in response to Irene Brierley, whose farmhouse in Harlech, north Wales, McCartney and his late Beatles bandmate George Harrison stayed in during two occasions in 1958 and 1959 when they went on a pair of hitchhiking holidays. McCartney and Harrison became friendly with Irene's son John during their first stay in 1958, with John recalling, as the Beatles memorabilia auction site Tracks notes, how he and the Beatles musicians played snooker and listened to Elvis Presley during their time together. The following summer, McCartney and Harrison returned to the Brierley farmhouse to spend more time with the family. At the end of their 1959 stay, the pair surreptitiously made off with one of the Brierleys' blankets. Some years later, Irene wrote to McCartney to remind him of the blanket "debt" and she received a handwritten reply from McCartney in Sept. 1989. "Dear Mrs Brierley (Irene)," McCartney's letter reads. "Your letter reached me, eventually, and I was sorry to hear about my 'debt'! I remember well the time we had in Harlech, and hope the enclosed cheque will settle our money differences! Excuse the scrawl as I'm trying to write this on a bouncing express train!! I was very sorry to hear about your hubby -- he was a very nice man. Please give my best to your boys. Kindest Regards, Paul McCartney." Tracks has set an opening bid of £3,000 for the letter, with more info available on their website. - NME ...... In still more Macca news, the Beatles legend has teamed up with his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney to launch Linda McCartney's Family Kitchen: Over 90 Plant-Based Recipes to Save the Planet and Nourish the Soul. The trio has updated singer Linda's best-loved vegetarian meals, such as shepherd's pie, chili non-carne, "sausage" rolls, and "American-style" pancakes, and has shared stories and personal photos from the family kitchen alongside the recipes. In a press release, Paul notes: "Years ago, before anyone had woken up to the idea of environmental and health and animal welfare issues, Linda was blazing the trail with vegetarianism, telling people about it and promoting it. At home, she would cook for the family and these recipes have been now brought up to date for a modern audience, so they're all now plant-based and fabulous... I hope this book inspires conversations about sustainability and about modern living amongst people besides also just giving them some great recipes to eat." - Music-News.com1...... During a Zoom Q&A session on Mar. 18 to promote his new EP Zoom In, Ringo Starr criticized the original Beatles documentary Let It Be for being "too miserable." Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg oversaw the film which documented the Fab Four during recording sessions for their 12th studio album and drew particular attention to heated exchanges between Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Starr said he was delighted that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson took over 56 hours of footage from that era and made it into the forthcoming The Beatles: Get Back documentary. "I didn't feel any joy in the original documentary, it was all focused on one moment which went down between two of the lads [McCartney and Harrison]," said Starr. Ringo Starr"The rooftop concert [unannounced Beatles gig from the Apple Corps rooftop in 1969] was also only about seven to eight minutes long. With Peter's [documentary] it's 43 minutes long [laughs]. It's about the music and a lot of joy." Ringo continued: "I had several talks with Peter about how I felt. I thought it was miserable. I said, 'There was lots of laughter, I was there, we were laughing, we were having fun. We were playing and doing what we do'. So Peter kept coming into LA with his iPad and he'd show me sections. He said, 'Look what I've found here' and he showed us laughing and having fun as a band. There was a lot of joy in making those records, those tracks so I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the whole thing. Even if you saw that little trailer that came out late last year, it's full of fun." The Beatles: Get Back is due on Aug. 27, after the original release date was moved due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Starr's new EP "Zoom In" was released on Mar. 19. The five track EP was recorded at Starr's home studio between April and October in 2020, featuring contributions from McCartney, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Stapleton and Corinne Bailey Rae. - NME...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has announced his second children's picture book, Grandude's Green Submarine, will be released on Sept. 2 and continue the adventure of his best-selling 2019 Hey Grandude. Grandude's Green Submarine will continue the adventure of the eponymous grandfather and his grandchildren as they set off on a quest to find their music-loving grandmother, Nandude. McCartney previously explained that the lead character's name is taken directly from the nickname that his grandchildren are known to call him. 'I'm really happy with how Hey Grandude! was received as this was a very personal story for me, celebrating Grandudes everywhere and their relationships and adventures with their grandchildren," he said. "I love that it has become a book read to grandkids at bedtime all around the world. I always said if people liked the first book and there was an appetite for more I would write some further adventures for Grandude -- so he's back and this time with his special invention, Grandude's green submarine!," he added. - NME...... Paul McCartney announced on Mar. 11 that he'll release a "reimagined" version of his 2020 album McCartney III with collaborations from the likes of alternative fave Beck and such rising artists as St Vincent, Damon Albarn, Phoebe Bridgers, Josh Homme and many more. Due on Apr. 16 in digital and July 23 on CD and vinyl, McCartney III Imagined will also feature Dominic Fike's hypnotic cover of McCartney III's "The Kiss of Venus," a video of which Fike has shared on YouTube. Confirmation of McCartney III Imagined came after Macca took to Instagram on Mar. 10 to share a short video clip that sees handfuls of multi-coloured dice rolled into different positions. In addition to the number three, the dice also featured the names of the artists taking part. - New Musical Express...... John LennonCapitol Records/UMC and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono Lennon have announced a deluxe 50th anniversary edition of John and his Plastic Ono Band's 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band will be released on Apr. 16. The 6-CD/2-Blu ray deluxe set, dubbed John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - The Ultimate Collection, will feature rare demos, rehearsals, outtakes, jams and studio conversations as well as 87 never-before-heard recordings. Furthermore, the full live recording session of Ono's 1970 companion LP, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band, is also included, presenting the songs in their full, unedited lengths and speed for the first time. A special "unboxing video" for the box set, which was personally overseen by Yoko, has also been shared on YouTube. Originally released in Dec. 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was recorded shortly after the demise of the Beatles. It was co-produced by John and Phil Spector, and Lennon once described it as "the best thing I've ever done." The album featured Ringo Starr on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass and included the songs "Working Class Hero," "Isolation," "God" and opening track "Mother," with a new "ultimate mix" of the latter song also shared on YouTube. - New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr will be the subject of a new virtual exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles beginning on Mar. 4. Starr will be celebrated through new and archival interviews, as well as a virtual version of the 2013 exhibit "Peace & Love." That exhibition was the first to be dedicated to Starr and profiled his whole life, from his childhood in Liverpool, through his pre-Beatles bands, joining the Fab Four and beyond. The digital display will feature images of items from "Peace & Love," including rare and never-before-seen photos, documents and personal letters, alongside other artefacts. On Mar. 4, the Grammy Museum will share an interview with Starr from 2010 as part of its Live From the Vault series. It will be followed by a new interview with the museum's founding executive director Bob Santelli on March 18. During the latter, Ringo will talk about his forthcoming EP Zoom In, as well as the new book Ringo Rocks: 30 Years Of The All Starrs 1989-2019. The virtual exhibition and interviews will be premiered on the Grammy Museum's "COLLECTION:live" streaming service and will be presented in partnership with Iron Mountain Entertainment Services. - New Musical Express...... On Feb. 24 Paul McCartney announced a career-spanning biography titled The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present will be released on Nov. 2. Featuring 154 songs from his back catalog, The Lyrics will recount the iconic musician's life through his earliest boyhood compositions, songs by the Beatles, Wings and from his lengthy solo career, and feature previously unseen drafts, letters and pictures from his personal archive. Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, The Lyrics was co-authored with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Paul Muldoon and establishes definitive texts of McCartney's song lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now. "More often than I can count, I've been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," said McCartney in a statement. "The one thing I've always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I've learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life. I hope that what I've written will show people something about my songs and my life which they haven't seen before. I've tried to say something about how the music happens and what it means to me and I hope what it may mean to others too," he added. A trailer for The Lyrics has been shared on YouTube. - NME...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney has photobombed a TikTok user who failed to clock her close encounter with the rock icon until she returned home. In late January TikTok user Mae Archie (@maebe.later) shared a Queen-soundtracked clip in which she looked back at images she had snapped on her phone during a past visit to New York City. The image in question, taken at E 42nd Street, is then revealed on-screen in the closing split second. McCartney is seen crossing the street in the opposite direction to Archie, who is turning back to the camera. "So I just left the MET [The Metropolitan Museum of Art] to see the Play It Loud exhibit and was legit looking at the Beatles set and everything [because] I love music," Archie explained. "I wanted to take a cute photo and so I took it on the crosswalk but I was facing my mom so I never actually saw Paul until I turned around." However, Macca's true identity failed to register during the brief crossing of paths. At the time of writing, the TikTok upload has registered over 28,000 likes. Meanwhile, UK fans won't have the opportunity to see the former Beatles member headline the legendary Glastonbury festival after it was announced on Jan. 21 that Glastonbury has been cancelled for a second year running because of the Covid-19 pandemic. "With great regret, we must announce that this year's Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us," founder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily said in a statement on Twitter. - NME...... In other Beatles related news, a new streaming music TV channel called the Coda Collection is set to launch in February backed by the likes of John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and Janie Hendrix, who heads Experience Hendrix, the estate of Jimi Hendrix. The venture also has the backing of Sony Music Entertainment, with Coda Collection set to screen a number of new documentaries, music film premieres and rare concert footage by a host of much-loved artists including Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. "The Coda Collection tells the stories of the most iconic moments in music with fresh perspectives, unique editorial and exclusive video content," a statement about the channel says. The Coda Collection will launch in the US on Feb. 18 via Amazon Prime Video, with a global roll-out planned for later on 2021. It will cost $4.99 per month, with a free seven-day trial for Prime members. More info can be found at codacollection.co, and a trailer has been uploaded to YouTube. - NME...... John LennonA recently discovered letter written by John Lennon's aunt Mimi Smith reveals the former Beatles member was "bubbling over" with excitement about returning to the UK in a phone call the night before he was shot dead in Manhattan on Dec. 8, 1980. A month later his aunt Mimi replied in a letter to Daily Express journalist Judith Simons, who had written a letter of condolence following the death of Mimi's famous nephew. "Dear Judith, Thank you for your letter, kind thoughts," Smith wrote. "I'm trying to accept this terrible thing which has happened, but finding it very hard. He had such faith himself, I'm trying to do the same. He phoned the night before, witty, funny, bubbling over with excitement, coming over very soon. Couldn't wait to see me. So I'm glad of that. If I'm in London, I'll get in touch with you. Kind thoughts to you too. Mimi." The letter from Judith Simons' estate was recently discovered by Tracks Ltd, which provides valuations of music memorabilia. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, it provides "solid confirmation that, but for his murder, Lennon would have returned to Britain during 1981 for the first time in 10 years." - New Musical Express...... Beatallica, the Beatles and Metallica mash-up band, is set to release their first album in eight years. The satirical four-piece group shared their first published record in 2007 with Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band, which was followed up by Masterful Mystery Tour (2009) and Abbey Load (2013). According to Blabbermouth.com, Beatallica will return with another full-length in 2021 having signed to Metal Assault Records. The label has also released the band's aforementioned first three albums via Bandcamp.com. On Jan. 19, an in-studio image was uploaded to Beatallica's official Instagram page. "Another creative and successful weekend in the books," its caption reads. "Continuing to write material for an album to be hopefully released later on this year!" Blabbermouth notes that Beatallica were embroiled in a dispute with Sony Music back in 2005 over the "unlawful use" of Metallica's music "without authorization or license." Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich subsequently helped the tribute act get back online after their website was shut down. - NME...... Legendary music producer Phil Spector, whose eccentric and revolutionary "Wall of Sound" production technique transformed rock music and who was later convicted of murdering aspiring actress Lana Clarkson inside his Los Angeles mansion, died on Jan. 16 at the California state prison where he was serving a 19-year to life sentence for murder. He was 81. Spector reportedly contracted Covid-19 in December, had been hospitalized but returned to prison in mid-January. Phil SpectorAfter producing and writing international hits for such acts as Ben E. King ("Spanish Harlem"), The Crystals ("He's a Rebel"), The Ronettes ("Be My Baby"), and The Righteous Brothers ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"), Spector retired from the music scene in the mid-1960s, finally resurfacing in the company of the Beatles, longtime aficionados of his work, first brought in by John Lennon to produce "Instant Karma," and later to doctor the Beatles' controversial Let It Be album, much to the chagrin of Paul McCartney. However, he stayed to work with other solo Beatles, producing George Harrison's epic All Things Must Pass LP and The Concert for Bangla Desh album, and successive albums for Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band. Spector's ex-wife Ronnie Spector shared a statement on Instagram upon learning of his death: "He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband. Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged." - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney's photographer/filmmaker daughter Mary McCartney has been tapped to direct If These Walls Could Sing, the first feature-length documentary about London's iconic Abbey Road Studios. Mary speaks of her "personal perspective" in a press release describing the film, set to be produced by John Battsek (Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars). "Some of my earliest memories as a young child come from time spent at Abbey Road," she said. "I've long wanted to tell the story of this historic place and I couldn't be collaborating with a better team than John and Mercury Studios to make this creative ambition a reality." If These Walls Could Sing is set to be part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of Abbey Road Studios, beginning in November 2021. - New Musical Express...... Speaking to The Irish News, Ringo Starr says whenever he performs with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney "it lifts everything, in a joyous way." "I love that, getting up with him," said Ringo, who has shared the stage with Paul twice in the past few years. "We did it at the O2 in England [in 2018]. And then he called me and he said, 'I'm doing Dodger Stadium, if you want to do a few numbers'." Ringo continued: "The audience is like, 'Oh, there's two of them! Wow'. It lifts everything, in a joyous way. So, yeah, I had a great time." Speaking of the pair's current friendship, Starr added: "We're still pals. We don't hang out with each other a lot. But if we're in the same country, and if we're in the same town we always have a dinner, and we say hi or he comes over here or I go over to his house." McCartney is among the contributors to Starr's upcoming EP, "Zoom In", which is set for release in March. Meanwhile in another interview with the UK's Daily Mirror, Ringo said he "has a little guest house here and it's now my studio... It's been my studio for the last 10 years, actually" as he spends his time during the Covid-19 lockdown recording music, painting and keeping fit at the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, former Bond girl Barbara Bach, 73. "This time it was a little awkward because people were getting tested to come and play. Or, if they had a studio, they could play in their own place. So that took the pressure off the lockdown a little because I was drumming and singing and hanging out with musicians. I do go to the gym quite a lot. And also I took half of the gym, now that's where my paint studio is. So I can make a mess without Barbara getting crazy," Ringo adds. Ringo and his All-Starr Band are due to hit the road in June, though it's uncertain if those gigs will go ahead amid the global coronavirus pandemic. - NME/Music-News.com...... Gerry MarsdenEnglish pop singer/composer Gerry Marsden, the frontman of the British '60s Invasion band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died on Jan. 3 after a short illness related to a heart infection. He was 78. Marsden's friend Pete Price announced the news on Instagram after speaking to Marsden's family. "I'm sending all the love in the world to (his wife) Pauline and his family," Price said. "You'll Never Walk Alone," referring to how Marsden turned a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel" into one of the great anthems of soccer. Marsden was the lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who found fame in the Merseybeat scene in the 1960s. Though another Liverpool band -- the Beatles -- reached superstardom, Gerry and the Pacemakers will always have a place in the city's consciousness because of "You'll Never Walk Alone". "I thought what a beautiful song. I'm going to tell my band we're going to play that song," Marsden told the Associated Press in 2018 when recalling the first time he heard the song at the cinema. "So I went back and told my buddies we're doing a ballad called 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'" The Pacemakers' cover version was released in Oct. 1963 and became the band's third No. 1 hit on the British singles chart. It was adopted by fans of the soccer club Liverpool and is sung with spine-tingling passion before each home game of the 19-time English champion -- before coronavirus restrictions have meant that many matches have been played in empty stadiums. In 1962, Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed up the band and their first three releases reached No. 1 in 1963 -- "How Do You Do It?" and "I Like It" as well as "You'll Never Walk Alone." Later hits included "Ferry Cross the Mersey," and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." The group split in 1967 and Marsden pursued a solo career before reforming the bank a few years later. Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson, who is from Liverpool and covered "Ferry Across The Mersey" tweeted that Marsden was a "Liverpool legend." The Cavern Club in Liverpool, the music venue which was the venue for many of the Beatles' early gigs, described Marsden as a "legend" and a "very good friend." Beatles legend Paul McCartney tweeted that Gerry was "a mate from our early days in Liverpool." "He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You'll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people's hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music. My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I'll always remember you with a smile," McCartney added. Marsden is survived by his wife Pauline, whom he married in 1965, and two daughters. - AP...... With his new release McCartney III debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart dated Jan. 2, Paul McCartney has scored his third chart-topping LP as a solo artist, and the vinyl edition of McCartney III has scored the third-largest sales week for a vinyl album since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began tracking music sales in 1991. McCartney III arrived with 107,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 24 following its Dec. 18 release, according to Nielsen Music. It follows his previous No. 1 albums Memory Almost Full (June 2007) and Egypt Station (Sept. 2018). Billboard's Top Album Sales chart, which was started in 1991, ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. - Billboard...... In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe to promote his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney said one of his favorite Beatles track was the obscure B-side to "Let It Be," "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." "[It's] a zany, zany little B-side that nobody knows, but we had so much fun making it," McCartney said. "But there's a lot of songs that I love of the Beatles. I think 'Strawberry Fields' is a great song, I think, 'Hey Jude' worked out great. I've got a lot of favorite songs. 'Blackbird' I love. 'Eleanor Rigby' I love," he added. Sir Paul says that "Let It Be" is probably the Beatles track he's listened to most throughout his life. "It's the most ubiquitous. It sort of got everywhere. Ubiquitous from the Latin, ubi quo, meaning 'everywhere.' Come on, give it up," he said in the interview, which can be viewed in full on YouTube. Meanwhile, a Cort-made acoustic guitar played by Macca and actor Idris Elba during a recent BBC special to mark the release of McCartney III has gone up for auction to benefit the S.T.O.R.M charity, which provides support and shelter to those suffering from domestic abuse especially during the tumultuous coronavirus-enforced lockdown. S.T.O.R.M will receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar, which already has bids that well exceed its initial £500 - £1,000 estimate. - Billboard/New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrAs Ringo Starr prepares for the release of a new EP called "Zoom In" on Mar. 19 featuring contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl and Sheryl Crow among others, a French Ringo and Beatles fan has compiled a database of Starr's many decades of work with his All-Starr Band. Webmaster Victor Baissait's Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band website features info on each All-Starr Band concert from 1989 to present, the personnel on each tour and song, setlists, tour maps, and even bootlegs info. Baissait, who also runs the popular French Paul McCartney site Maccaclub.com, is asking Ringo fans to contribute any concert video, audio, setlist, review, etc. they might have to help complete his already impressive All-Starr Band database. - (12/23/20)...... As he embarks on a promotional campaign for his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney appeared on the CBS show Sunday Morning on Dec. 20 and reminisced about the lasting legacy of the Beatles and whether the Fab Four might've eventually set aside their differences and reunited. "[John Lennon] was showing no signs of slowing up. You know, he was still making great music," McCartney said of Lennon's newly re-energized solo career. "The question is: Would we have ever got back together again? I don't know. We don't know." McCartney also discussed how he recorded McCartney III in isolation at his Sussex studio earlier in 2020. "It's not like working with the band, because I know what I want to hear, and I don't even have to tell anyone," he said. "I just said, 'Let's do some drums.' I'll sit on the drums and I'll think, 'OK, I wanted doo doo doo ... doo doo dah.' So, it's all in my head," he added. The full interview can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, Macca has just shared a video for "Find My Way," a track from McCartney III, on YouTube. Directed by Roman Coppola, the video shows Paul playing every instrument on the song -- including guitar, drums and piano -- in a collage of footage taken by a staggering 46 cameras. Much like 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, the former Beatle is at the helm of every instrument on every one of McCartney III's songs. - Billboard/New Musical Express...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, director Peter Jackson has shared a preview clip of his upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back on YouTube. Announced on the Beatles' official Twitter account, the film aims to "take audiences back in time to The Beatles' intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history" and has already had its release date moved from 2020 to August 27, 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Jackson says that he and the producers "wanted to give the fans of The Beatles all over the world a holiday treat, so we put together this five-minute sneak peek at our upcoming theatrical film The Beatles: Get Back... We hope it will bring a smile to everyone's faces and some much-needed joy at this difficult time." - NME...... Paul McCartneyWith his new album McCartney III set for release on Dec. 18, Paul McCartney has confirmed he will dissect the latest addition to his trilogy of self-titled efforts with a Twitter "Listening Party" series appearance on Dec. 21. "Hey @PaulMcCartney," Tim Burgess tweeted in November. "Just wondering if you fancy doing a [listening party] for 'McCartney III'. Give us a shout if you do." On Dec. 17, Sir Paul McCartney gave Burgess said shout, tweeting him back with a simple thumbs up, indicating that the listening party is on its way. After the run-through of McCartney III, Macca will then host a special encore, talking through his Christmas classic "Wonderful Christmas Time." Launched back in March as the UK went into coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Burgess's "Listening Parties" are listen-and-tweet-along online events that see bands and artists tweeting through a playback of one of their classic albums and interacting with fans. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed that Taylor Swift moved the release date of her new album Evermore so as not to clash with the Beatle's upcoming album. Talking on Howard Stern's syndicated radio show, McCartney said that he and Swift had a conversation about release dates, and that Swift decided out of courtesy to "keep out of each other's way" and would agree to release her album on Dec. 10 instead of Dec. 18, which happens to be her birthday. Paul's full interview with Stern can be heard on YouTube. In still more McCartney news, the former Beatle has shared a teaser for for his new documentary with producer Rick Rubin on YouTube. On Dec. 16 he posted a 96-second black-and-white preview of the film to his official YouTube channel with a description that reads "Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A forthcoming documentary event. Coming Soon." In the video, we see Macca and the acclaimed producer behind a studio desk as they listen to the Beatles classic track 'Come Together'. "You can actually control the band with the bass," McCartney explains. A release date for the six-part documentary has not yet been confirmed. - NME...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has announced a new EP called "Zoom In" featuring contributions from McCartney, Dave Grohl and Finneas. Starr recorded the five-song collection at his home studio between April and October of 2020. Ringo shared a taste of the forthcoming EP, "Here's to Nights," on YouTube on Dec. 15. Ringo collaborates with LA songwriter Diane Warren on the track. "When Diane presented this song to me I loved the sentiment of it," Starr explained. "This is the kind of song we all want to sing along to, and it was so great how many wonderful musicians joined in. I wanted it out in time for New Years because it feels like a good song to end a tough year on. So here's to the nights we won't remember and the friends we won't forget -- and I am wishing everyone peace and love for 2021," he added. - NME...... John Lennon's former bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with his widow Yoko Ono and sons Sean and Julian Lennon, were among those honoring the late rock legend on the 40th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8. "A sad sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world. I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser! X love Paul," McCartney posted on Twitter on Dec. 8, along with a touching picture of the duo snapped by McCartney's late wife, Linda McCartney. Ringo Starr, meanwhile, took to Twitter to urge radio stations across the globe to play "Strawberry Fields Forever" in honour of his former bandmate: "Tuesday, 8 December 1980 we all had to say goodbye to John peace and love John. I'm asking Every music radio station in the world sometime today to play Strawberry Fields Forever. Peace and love." Yoko Ono, meanwhile, used used the opportunity to campaign against gun violence in the U.S. with her Twitter post. "The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him," she wrote. Sharing the lyrics to John's peace anthem "Imagine," she added: 'Imagine all the people living life in peace," and accompanied the post with a graphic that highlighted the seriousness of gun violence in the U.S. Lennon's eldest son, Julian, shared a picture of his father and wrote, "As time goes by." Lennon, 40, was fatally shot in front of his New York City apartment on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman. - Billboard/New Musical Express  






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