Wednesday, 7 December 2016


At 77, Ron Campbell could be enjoying a life of leisure. Instead, the animator seems to be hustling eight days a week.
“This was was supposed to be a retirement gig,” said Campbell. “But now I’m working just as hard as ever.”

Campbell will bring his “Beatles Cartoon Pop Art Show” to Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts, 363 Fifth Ave., Dec. 9-11. The show features 50-plus works inspired by “The Beatles,” the TV cartoon series (1965-1969) Campbell directed, and “Yellow Submarine,” the 1968 feature film he helped animate.
“There are millions and millions and millions of Beatles fans who know who I am,” Campbell said.
There’s more bafflement than boast to that statement. Campbell was 24 when he was telephoned by Al Brodax, a film and TV producer.
Brodax offered him a job directing a cartoon series about the Beatles.

“Al,” Campbell responded, “Jiminy Cricket is a good insect. But beetles?”
Only vaguely aware of the Fab Four, he preferred Beethoven. But each 30-minute “Beatles” episode included two adventures — Paul McCartney battling a villain atop the Eiffel Tower, say — each framing a song. (In this case, “Help!”)
“The music came in,” Campbell said, “and it was something. Perhaps even something significant."
The popular cartoon series led to his “Yellow Submarine” gig. For this psychedelic movie, Campbell supplied animated sequences of Blue Meanies and Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles.
Campbell has worked on “The Jetsons,” “Scooby-Doo,” “Rugrats” and other series. But he’s best known for animating The Beatles, even if the real Beatles didn’t always appreciate his work.


Jimmie Nicol joined the band for a short stint in 1964 – after Ringo Starr was hospitalised with tonsillitis.
Jimmie not only got the opportunity to play with The Beatles during the height of their fame, but he also got the chance to hang around with music legends John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
However, this only lasted for two weeks, and then everything went back to normal for Jimmie.
Jimmie’s whirlwind began when Ringo collapsed with tonsillitis on the eve of The Beatles’ 1964 Australian tour.

The band’s manager Brian Epstein, as well as their producer George Martin urgently discussed the viability of using a stand-in drummer rather than cancelling the rest of the tour.
George happened to suggest Jimmie Nicol – as he had recently used him on a recording session with Tommy Quickly.
Jimmie appeared in his first Beatles concert just 27 hours later at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Before hitting the stage, he was styled with the distinctive Beatle mop-top hairstyle and even wore Ringo’s suit – despite the trousers being too short.
Paul McCartney recalled teasingly sending Ringo a telegram saying: “Hurry up and get well Ringo, Jimmy is wearing out all your suits.”

Commenting later on the fickle nature of his brief celebrity, Jimmie remembered: “The day before I was a Beatle, girls weren’t interested in me at all.
“The day after, with the suit and the Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me.
“It was very strange and quite scary.”
Whilst visiting the Netherlands, Jimmie and John Lennon allegedly spent a whole night at a brothel.
John said: “There’s photographs of me grovelling about, crawling about Amsterdam on my knees, coming out of whore houses, and people saying ‘Good morning John’.
“The police escorted me to these places because they never wanted a big scandal. When we hit town, we hit it – we were not p***ing about. We had [the women].
“They were great. We didn’t call them groupies, then; I’ve forgotten what we called them, something like ‘s****’.”

At this point, The Beatles were becoming more restricted by their fame, and had to spend most of their free time inside their hotels. However, Jimmie could behave much as any tourist could, he said: “I often went out alone. Hardly anybody recognised me and I was able to wander around.
“In Hong Kong, I went to see the thousands of people who live on little boats in the harbour.
“I saw the refugees in Kowloon, and I visited a nightclub.
“I like to see life. A Beatle could never really do that.’
In total, Jimmie played eight shows – until Ringo re-joined the group in Melbourne, Australia.
Jimmie didn’t even get a chance to say ‘goodbye’ to The Beatles, as they were still asleep when he left.
Instead, Jimmie silently walked away and everything returned to normal – as if he had never been a part of them and the 13 days were a dream.
George Martin went on to pay tribute to Jimmie, he said: “Jimmie Nicol was a very good drummer who came along and learnt Ringo’s parts very well.
“He did the job excellently, and faded into obscurity immediately afterwards.”
Paul McCartney added: “It wasn’t an easy thing for Jimmie to stand in for Ringo, and have all that fame thrust upon him. And the minute his tenure was over, he wasn’t famous anymore.”
Several years later, Jimmie went on to shed light on any disenchantment he felt when it came to readjusting to normality, he said: “Standing in for Ringo was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
“Until then I was quite happy earning £30 or £40 a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too.”
However, he decided not to cash in on his time in the band, in a rare 1987 interview he added: “After the money ran low, I thought of cashing-in in some way or other.
“But the timing wasn’t right. And I didn’t want to step on The Beatles’ toes.
“They had been damn good for me and to me.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


The list of nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards was announced Tuesday by The Recording Academy. In the Best music film category, the nominees include The Beatles: Eight Days A Week The Touring Years. The Grammys will be awarded on Feb. 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, hosted by James Corden.

*Best music film
“I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: Steve Aoki” — Justin Krook, video director; Brent Almond, Matt Colon, David Gelb, Ryan Kavanaugh, Happy Walters & Matthew Weaver, video producers
“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week the Touring Years” —  Ron Howard, video director; Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Scott Pascucci & Nigel Sinclair, video producers
“Lemonade” — Beyoncé Knowles Carter & Kahlil Joseph, video directors; Beyoncé Knowles Carter, video producer
“The Music of Strangers” — Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Morgan Neville, video director; Caitrin Rogers, video producer
“American Saturday Night: Live From the Grand Ole Opry” — George J. Flanigen IV, video director; John Burke & Lindsey Clark, video producers

*Best Remixed Recording
Paul McCartney and Wings, “Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five” (Timo Maas & James Teej Remix)

*Best boxed or special limited edition package
“Edith Piaf 1915-2015” — Gérard Lo Monaco, art director (Edith Piaf)
“401 Days” — Jonathan Dagan & Mathias Høst Normark, art directors (J.Views)
“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It” (Box Set) — Samuel Burgess-Johnson & Matthew Healy, art directors (The 1975)
“Paper Wheels” (Deluxe Limited Edition) — Matt Taylor, art director (Trey Anastasio)
“Tug of War” (Deluxe Edition) — Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney)

Sunday, 4 December 2016


2016 Kennedy Center Honors, Saluting the Eagles, James Taylor and Others

The 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, last night in Washington, D.C.

The Eagles originally were to have been saluted at the 2015 edition of the Kennedy Center Honors, but that was postponed because founding singer/guitarist Glenn Frey was experiencing serious health issues that sadly claimed his life this past January.

The gala to air this 27 December on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 

The five recipients of the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors pose for a group photo following a dinner hosted by United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry in their honor at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 3, 2016. The 2016 honorees are: Argentine pianist Martha Argerich; rock band the Eagles; screen and stage actor Al Pacino; gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples; and musician James Taylor. From left to right back row: Ricky Kirshner, Glenn Weiss, Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Cindy Frey, wife of Glenn Frey, who passed away earlier this year, and Timothy B. Schmidt of the rock band "The Eagles" and David M. Rubenstein, Chairman, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Front row, left to right: United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Martha Argerich, James Taylor and Deborah F. Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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