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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...... In related news, James Taylor has shared a chilling story about meeting Mark Chapman the day before he fatally shot John Lennon. In an interview with the U.K. paper The Telegraph, Taylor said he encountered Chapman approximately a 25-minute walk away from where Chapman shot John in front of his Dakota apartment building on Dec. 7. According to Taylor, Chapman was "glistening with sweat" and "his eyes were dating all over the place... dilated like crazy," and "seemed either drugged or in a manic break of some sort." He also remembered that Chapman mentioned Lennon in conversation and said he was "going to show him" something. "He was just talking a mile a minute about something he was going to show John Lennon," said Taylor, who was once signed to the Beatles' Apple Records early in his career. "He was just someone who knew me who I didn't know; someone who had an agenda that I knew I couldn't deal with. I just knew that I needed to get away from him," Taylor added. - NME...... John LennonOne of the most tragic anniversaries in rock history will occur on Dec. 8, which will be the 40th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon as he was walking into his residence at the Dakota apartment building with his wife Yoko Ono on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980. Unbelievably, Lennon, who was 40 when he was killed, has now been gone for as long as he lived. "It was a dark day," says British-born, Toronto-based author Piers Hemmingsen, 65, who penned 2016's The Beatles in Canada: The Origins of Beatlemania. "And I just remember the winter of 1980-81 was kind of all about feeling sad about that." Almost everyone remembers where they were when they heard the shocking news that Liverpool-born Lennon had been murdered by Mark David Chapman who waited for police to arrive and arrest him while reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. "I didn't find out about it until I turned my little Panasonic TV on at 6:30 in the morning (the day after) and I was shocked," said Hemmingsen, who was a computer programmer working overnight at the time. "A vigil was held at Nathan Phillips Square on the evening of Dec. 10. So I felt compelled to go. I felt something. Everybody felt something. We all felt a loss. It had to be 10-15 Celsius below zero. There were 35,000 people. It was jammed." Among those in attendance were musicians Ronnie Hawkins and Long John Baldry, the latter in a fur coat. "They all said things, great things, about John Lennon. But the power of it was that everybody just felt connected," said Hemmingsen. "We needed to be somewhere and we needed to share the emotion." On Dec. 12, 1980, Lennon's ashes were given to Ono, who requested 10 minutes of silence around the world instead of holding a funeral, and two days later over 225,000 converged on Central Park, close to the scene of the shooting. Five years later, New York City dedicated an area of the park, directly across from the Dakota, as Strawberry Fields. - WENN/Canoe.com...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has hailed director Peter Jackson's upcoming Fab Four documentary Get Back for providing confirmation in his own mind that he wasn't responsible for splitting up the band. McCartney has previously been accused of orchestrating their split, after he announced his departure from the band in Ap. 1970 and later that year filed a law suit which called for the group's formal dissolution. While he previously said that he undertook the move to protect their music, McCartney explained that seeing footage from Jackson's film confirms that he isn't to blame for their split. "It was so reaffirming for me," McCartney told The Sunday Times on Dec. 6. "Because it proves that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill." He went on: "The proof is the footage. I bought into the dark side of the Beatles breaking up and thought, 'Oh God, I'm to blame.' I knew I wasn't, but it's easy when the climate is that way to start thinking so. But at the back of my mind there was always this idea that it wasn't like that, but I needed to see proof. There's a great photo [late wife] Linda [McCartney] took, which is my favourite, of me and John working on a song, glowing with joy. This footage is the same. All four of us having a ball." Paul has previously hailed the documentary for providing an authentic portrait of the Beatles' final years together. "I love it, I must say because it's how it was. It just reminds me of -- even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," he said. The Beatles: Get Back covers the making of the band's 1970 album Let It Be and features recut material originally captured in director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary of the album recording process. - NME...... George HarrisonThe estate of George Harrison has marked the 50th anniversary of his seminal album All Things Must Pass by sharing a new stereo mix of the stunning title track on YouTube. The new mix of the 1970 track was led by Grammy-winning producer Paul Hicks, who previously worked on recent reissues of the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup and John Lennon's Gimme Some Truth. "The new stereo mix of the album's title track is just a taste of more things to come in 2021 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father's legendary All Things Must Pass album," said George's son, Dhani Harrison. "We've been digging through mountains of tapes, and they just kept coming -- boxes and boxes of them. Making this album sound clearer was always one of my dad's greatest wishes and it was something we were working on together right up until he passed. But with the help of new technology and the work of Paul Hicks on this project, we are now able to make that happen. We can't wait for you all to hear everything we've been working on and your patience will be rewarded next year," Dhani added. Originally released on Nov. 27, 1970, the triple LP was produced by Phil Spector and went on to become one of the most influential rock albums of all time. As well as the new stereo mix of "All Things Must Pass," the Harrisons are also set to release George's "My Sweet Lord" on a 7" Milky Clear Single, individually numbered, exclusive to Record Store Day. - NME...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has revealed that he has his own yoga group with movie actor Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Sir Paul also says he's adopted Baldwin's "polite but firm" response whenever someone approaches him for a photo in public, because the rocker's always hated posing for pictures when he's not working. "I don't like to take pictures," he shared on the Smartless podcast with actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. "When people say, 'Can I have a picture?' 'cause everyone's got a camera (on their phone)..., I say, 'I'm sorry, I don't do pictures.' It's a line I got from watching Alec Baldwin once." - WENN/Canoe.com...... Actor Idris Elba will sit down with Paul McCartney for a new one-off BBC One special, it was announced on McCartney's Twitter account on Nov. 27. "This December, @BBCOne and @BBCRadio2 will air a world exclusive special featuring Paul in conversation with @IdrisElba. Find out more: https://t.co/vpoxSccqfl #IdrisMeetsPaul," the post states. Paul McCartneyThe special will see the Beatles legend discussing his writing process, while Idris will seek to understand what continues to inspire the singer some 50 years into his career. "I am a massive fan of Paul s! His work has inspired and driven me as a musician, and once I get through the shock of sharing the stage with him, I m excited to talk about his music and craft. What an honour! Looking forward to sitting with you Paul," Elba posted, with Sir Paul responding "I'm looking forward to sitting down to a chat with the mighty Idris!" Also in the works is a release of Paul's "secret" 2018 show at Liverpool's Cavern Club, where Macca performed a 28-song set to 250 lucky gig-goers. The release date is to be confirmed. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed he uses a teleprompter at his live shows in case he forgets the lyrics to the Beatles' songs. In an interview on a recent edition of the SmartLess podcast, the 78-year-old said: "Sometimes I'll be doing a song, like 'Eleanor Rigby' [released in 1966] or something, and I'm on autopilot. And I'm starting to think, 'Oh, what am I gonna have for dinner? Maybe you won't have the soup but maybe you'll just go for the main course'. Then I go, 'Stop!' because I'm singing 'Eleanor Rigby'! I've separated myself not only from Paul and fame, but a couple of bits in my head are going in different places. Sometimes that breaks down and I forget the song. I have a teleprompter." McCartney has also reflected on the 80th anniversary of the birth of his former bandmate John Lennon on Oct. 9 in an interview with Uncut magazine. McCartney explained how Lennon's birthday had sparked a mixture of emotions from him. "That was happy sad. It reminds me he was murdered -- but it also reminds me of the fantastic times we had. I tend to think back to early times," he said. He added that he still mentally consults Lennon while writing. "We collaborated for so long, I think, 'OK, what would he think of this? What would be say now?' We'd both agree that this new song I'm taking about is going nowhere," he explained. "So instead of sitting around, we'd destroy it and remake it. I started that process yesterday in the studio. I took the vocal off it and decided to write a new vocal. I think it's heading in a better direction now." - New Musical Express...... John LennonWhat is probably the most infamous souvenir of the tragic assassination of John Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980 in front of his New York City apartment building is being put up for auction. The copy of John and Yoko Ono's then new LP Double Fantasy signed by John at the request of Mark Chapman five hours before he was slain by Chapman is being put up for sale by Goldin Auctions, with bidding opening on Nov. 23 at 2:00 am EST (5:00 am GMT). Police markings from the investigation appear on both the front and back of the record sleeve. The album will have an opening bid of $400,000 (£301k). Earlier this year, Chapman apologized to Yoko "for the pain that I caused to her." "I think about it all of the time," he said at a hearing in New York, where the 65-year-old inmate was denied parole for the 11th time. - New Musical Express...... In other Beatles-related news, the release of Paul McCartney's forthcoming album McCartney III has been delayed one week to Dec. 18 due to what Sir Paul describes as "unforeseeable production delays." A post on Macca's Facebook on Nov. 19 says that "Unforeseeable production delays have forced the release date of Paul's all-new all-Paul album 'McCartney III' to be moved back one week to December 18, 2020. Thank you to everyone for your patience, support and excitement for the album. We can't wait for you to hear it!" McCartney III is the long-awaited final part of his McCartney solo album trilogy, following 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II. - NME...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the 19-year-old grandson of Ringo Starr and Gene Gallagher, the 19-year-old son of Oasis member Liam Gallagher, have pleaded guilty after being charged with attacking an Indian security guard in a convenience store in May 2019. The pair, along with model Noah Ponte, 20, pleaded not guilty on Nov. 20 to an assortment of charges stemming from a fight at a Tesco Express shop in north London. Gallagher allegedly stole a can of beer at around midnight after the shop had stopped selling alcohol. Officials at Wood Green Magistrates Court heard he then told a South Asian worker: "You bloody Indians. Go back to where you came from. You're not wanted here." The trio is then claimed to have attacked members of staff before leaving the store. Gallagher and Ponte are also accused of racially aggravated assault, while Sonny is facing two charges of assault by beating two Tesco workers. All three only spoke to plead not guilty to the charges. - WENN/Canoe.com...... A joint interview with Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine reveals that the former Beatle had planned to jam with the pop sensation on her massive hit "Shake It Off" at the ill-fated 2020 Glastonbury Festival in the UK. The two were set to headline the Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, before the festival was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Wow, it would've been so fun to play Glastonbury for the 50th anniversary together," Swift said, to which McCartney replied: "It would've been great, wouldn't it? And I was going to be asking you to play with me." "Were you going to invite me?" Swift said. "I was hoping that you would. I was going to ask you." "I would've done 'Shake It Off'," McCartney revealed, which Swift then said "would have been amazing." The interview took place in McCartney's London office in October, and opens with Swift describing the 78-year-old music legend dancing around and singing to Motown hits during the shoot and indulging her request that he hand-write her favorite lyric of his and sign it, which she promises to "cherish forever." The pair then fall into easy conversation about recording their recent albums, their shared love of numerology, performing under pseudonyms, and their reluctance to jump up and perform at celeb-packed parties. McCartney and Swift may get the chance to perform together at Glastobury 2021, which is currently set to go ahead. "The plan would be to rebook the 2020 bill, it will move everything, including our 50th-anniversary celebration to 2021," according to the festival's lawyer Ben Challis. - Billboard/New Musical Expess...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr inducted his late friend and fellow musician Marc Bolan of T. Rex into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 7. "People knew him as a great musician, a songwriter, a guitarist, but he was also a poet," Starr said of his glam rock friend, who died in a car crash in 1977. "And he was really proud of that. He was always telling me that he was the Number One selling poet in Britain. In fact, his poetry was as important to him as his music. He had great style and was really unlike anyone else I have ever met." Ringo added: "He was a great performer, just incredible. And that's why I called the film we did together Born to Boogie, because he really was. I told Marc, I'll bring the camera and everything else, you just bring yourself. We had a lot of fun together. I remember lots of laughter. We lost him way too young, but in his short life, he made over 12 albums that are as far out and ahead of their time as he was. With the help of [producer] Tony Visconti and his band T. Rex, Marc's style started a lot of trends. They called it glam rock with singles such as 'Get It On', 'Children of the Revolution', and, of course, 'Born to Boogie'." Starr's speech concluded: "But it was always just great music to me. And that's why people are still listening to T. Rex today. There's no doubt they believe in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- finally. And I'm very proud to welcome them in right now. Peace and love to [T. Rex members] Marc, Mickey, Steve, and Bill, and peace and love to all the fans from me and T. Rex. Peace and Love." Alongside Bolan, Nine Inch Nails were also inducted, with Iggy Pop giving a speech to welcome Trent Reznor and co., while Depeche Mode also joined the revered list. The Doobie Brothers and Whitney Houston were also among the 2020 inductees. - New Musical Express...... In a new interview with the UK music mag Uncut, Paul McCartney shared his admiration for fellow legendary rock veteran Bob Dylan, and says that he "wishes he could be a bit more like him." When asked about his reaction to Dylan's latest acclaimed LP Rough and Rowdy Ways, Sir Paul said: "I always like what he does. Sometimes I wish I was a bit more like Bob. He's legendary... and doesn't give a shit! But I'm not like that. His new album? I thought it was really good. He writes really well. I love his singing -- he came through the standards albums like a total crooner. But, yeah, I like his new stuff. People ask me who I'm a fan of and Bob Dylan and Neil Young always make the list." McCartney is currently giving interviews promoting his upcoming album McCartney III, which drops on Dec. 11. - New Musical Express...... In other Beatles-related news, crowds of New Yorkers came together to sing John Lennon's "Imagine" to celebrate former Vice President Joe Biden being formally called the winner of the 2020 US Presidential election on Nov. 7. In videos posted to social media, crowds at the city's Washington Square Park are seen singing "Imagine" in the park to toast Biden's victory. The footage was then retweeted by Lennon's official Twitter account, along with the hashtag: "#IMAGINE". The song also became an unofficial anthem in the global struggle against the coronavirus earlier in 2020. - New Musical Express...... London's Daily Mirror newspaper is reporting that the Beatles' company Apple Corps Limited earned over $50 million in 2019, the equivalent of $137,657 a day, despite the group having gone their separate ways more than 50 years ago. Of the total, surviving members Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison, received $6.1 million each. A large chunk of the money comes from Las Vegas stage show "Love," a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil. The figures are a huge growth on the previous year, when turnover was $36.5 million with a pre-tax profit of $5.5 million -- about $3 million less than 2019 -- and shares to Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia were $3,685,000. - Music-News.com...... George HarrisonActors Ethan and Maya Hawke will both star in a film entitled Revolver in which Maya will portray a teen who's determined to lose her virginity to Beatles legend George Harrison. Revolver, which is being helmed by Finding Nemo co-director Andrew Stanton, will see Ethan and Maya portray father and daughter in the '60s-set romantic comedy. Maya will play Jane, a teenager resident of Anchorage, Alaska. The film is set in 1966 when a flight to Japan carrying the Beatles is forced to make an unexpected stop at the city. Jane then dreams up a plan to lose her virginity to the Fab Four guitarist. Revolver will make its world premiere in November at the American Film Market festival - NME...... Paul McCartney recently told the BBC that his new album McCartney III is "just me having fun during lockdown." The rock icon explained that most of the LP is "new stuff" that he worked on during lockdown, but some of the tracks had been set aside because they "just didn't cut it" in their original form. "I thought 'OK, wait a minute, what about that one?'," he pondered. "So I'd get it out and think, 'Ugh, oh dear.' And you'd try to figure out what was wrong with it, or why you didn't like it," he went on. Sir Paul said his creative process sometimes involved rebuilding a track entirely. "In some cases the vocal or the words just didn't cut it, so you'd strip it all down and go 'OK, let's just make it completely different'," he recalled. McCartney III, slated for release on Dec. 11, comes 50 years after the debut of his self-titled first solo venture, and 40 years after the follow-up. Meanwhile, Macca says that director Peter Jackson's upcoming Beatles documentary Get Back is an authentic portrait of the band's final years together. "I love it," he said of the new film from the Lord of the Rings director which captures the making of the band's final album, 1970's Let It Be. Get Back is set to challenge the popular narrative that the group constantly clashed during their later years. "Even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," McCartney said. "It's a very warm feeling, And it's amazing just being backstage with these people, making this music that turned out to be good." - Music-News.com/NME...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney announced on Oct. 21 that he will release the third album in his 50-year-spanning "McCartney" series, McCartney III, on Dec. 11. In a statement, Sir Paul said he hadn't intended to release a new album in 2020, but during the "isolation of 'Rockdown', he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones." The COVID-19 quarantine resulted in what Macca described as a "stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade." Paul says he recorded McCartney III earlier in 2020 at his home in Sussex, England, and like it's predecessors McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), it's built from mostly live takes of himself on vocals, guitar and piano, with overdubbed bass and drumming. The session found him revisiting an unreleased track from the 1990s, "When Winter Comes," which was transformed into album opener "Long Tailed Winter Bird." In addition to CD and digital releases, McCartney III will be issued on vinyl, limited edition (3,000) hand-numbered red vinyl manufactured by Third Man Pressing, as well as standard 180g and a "333" Edition available only at the Third Man Records online store in a limited run of 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II; a 4,000-run, hand-numbered white vinyl version will be available at U.S. indie record stores. Paul has shared a preview video of the new album on Instagram. - Billboard  






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