Thursday, 19 January 2017


Documentary marks the 50th anniversary of the seminal album.
A new Beatles film marking the 50th anniversary of the iconic band’s seminal album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is in post-production.
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today…Sgt Pepper And Beyond, directed by Alan G. Parker (Hello Quo), will be sold internationally by former IM Global executive Tim Grohne’s Primal Screen.
Image result for It Was Fifty Years Ago Today…Sgt Pepper And Beyond, directed by Alan G. Parker

The film picks up on The Beatles as they end their gruelling tour schedule in August 1966 (coincidentally following on from Ron Howard’s recent Beatles documentary Eight Days A Week) to return to the studio to record the landmark ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album.
As one of the biggest selling records of all time, described by Rolling Stone magazine simply as “The most important rock & roll album ever made…”, ‘Sgt Pepper’ (released in June 1967) marked a pivotal moment in the 60’s, cementing the advent of Psychedelia and the Summer of Love. 
The album includes classic songs Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and When I’m Sixty Four.
The film will journey through various solo projects to the release of Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, touching on flower power, John Lennon meeting Yoko Ono, LSD, meditation, Jimi Hendrix, the death of Brian Epstein, Abbey Road Studios and the Magical Mystery Tour.
“We’re combining first-hand accounts of the events that allowed ‘Sgt. Pepper’ to happen with rare and unseen footage that we’ve forensically unearthed from mainstream archives and private collectors. The last days of touring…. the execution of the album…. and the aftermath that it left behind will, I hope, give the audience an intimate sense of the band, the time and the impact of this extraordinary album,” Parker commented.
Among the interviewees featured in the film are Hunter Davies (the band’s official biographer), Pete Best (the band’s original drummer), music manager Simon Napier-Bell and author Philip Norman, who has written biographies of the Beatles and Rolling Stones and of Paul McCartney among others.
The film will not feature music from the group but has a score from tribute band The Bootleg Beatles, which has existed since 1980.
Director Parker is a writer and documentary maker whose previous music-themed films include Who Killed Nancy? and Hello Quo.
Grohne, who is also the film’s executive producer, will begin sales on the title at the European Film Market in Berlin next month.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Paul McCartney is suing Sony/ATV in an effort to reclaim the copyright on his earliest songs, decades after he lost control of the Beatles catalog to Michael Jackson.

Sony/ATV completed purchase of this cache of legendary tunes last year, just before McCartney became eligible to reassert partial ownership again based on a provision of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. Since then, Sony/ATV has apparently ignored McCartney’s requests to discuss a future transfer.

“Paul McCartney has today filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against Sony/ATV to confirm his ownership in his U.S. reversionary copyrights – which are granted to him by U.S. copyright law – in the songs he wrote with John Lennon and recorded with the Beatles,” a McCartney spokesperson tells Pitchfork.

According to the Copyright Act, tracks written before 1978 – which include all of the Beatles’ output – revert back to the composers after 56 years. His earliest work with Lennon would become available in 2018, then continue reverting yearly through the anniversary of the Beatles’ dissolution in 2025.

TMZ first reported that McCartney had filed “legal docs” to force Sony/ATV’s hand. “McCartney’s tried numerous times to get confirmation Sony will transfer the rights without a fight,but says he kept getting the run around.”
Sony/ATV issued a statement tonight saying the company has “the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney, with whom we have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with respect to the treasured Lennon and McCartney song catalog. We have collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon’s estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog’s long-term value. We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature.”

Rights to Beatles tunes will still be controlled outside the U.S. by Sony/ATV, and McCartney will only receive 50 percent ownership since he shared composing credit with Lennon. His widow Yoko Ono reportedly struck a deal in 1990 – 10 years after Lennon was tragically murdered – to keep control through the duration of the copyright.
This saga actually dates back to 1985, when the late Jackson memorably out-maneuvered McCartney to purchase the Beatles’ catalog. A former musical partner of McCartney’s, Jackson ended up paying more than $47 million to buy ATV, the company that had owned the Beatles copyrights since 1967. Jackson then sold half of his share to Sony for $100 million a decade later.
The remainder of his interest in the old songs was then purchased by Sony/ATV in 2016 for some $750 million, as Jackson’s estate tried to offset mounting debts.


A few weeks’ ago, Best Classic Bands commemorated the U.S. release of The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which occurred on December 26, 1963. This day is notable for The Beatles first U.S. chart appearance. 

It’s hard to imagine – impossible really – but Capitol Records, which is essentially synonymous with the rise of The Beatles in America, had turned down their sister U.K. label Parlophone’s efforts to release the group’s singles stateside.
That all changed with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The single was released in the U.K. on November 29, 1963, though it took two weeks to hit #1 there where the group’s “She Loves You” was ensconced.
Capitol had scheduled it for a mid-January 1964 release but clever U.S. radio DJs who were privy to the song’s overseas success arranged to get copies shipped to them and began playing the import early. This forced Capitol’s hand – they actually contemplated seeking a court order to halt airplay. They wisely recognized that they could use the radio activity to their advantage and the single’s release date was moved up to December 26th to “Capitol”-ize on the demand. (OK, we made that word up.) With the floodgates opened, the 45 is reported to have sold 250,000 copies within days.
How amazing is that picture sleeve? Look closely and you’ll see Paul McCartney holding a cigarette.
On January 18, 1964, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” debuted on the Hot 100 Singles Chart at #45. The Beatles’ impact in America cannot be overstated: When the song hit #1 two weeks’ later on February 1, 1964, it became the first of seven #1 singles they achieved in a one-year period, launching both Beatlemania and the British Invasion.



 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the greatest album of all time, turns 50 on June 2nd in the US (June 1st in the UK.) The very famous cover was made by artist Peter Blake. It’s probably the most parodied cover in rock history.

Now Blake has sent himself up with a 2017 edition mural to cover the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London during renovations. The massive blow up features celebrities who regularly stay in the hotel from Sigourney Weaver and Morgan Freeman to David Oyelowo and Dame Edna.
Ringo really got a nice spot in the center on the front panel. Paul’s portrait, which is larger, appears on the side panel. This is as close as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band can come to getting back together again.
There are 100 celebs on the mural, and it’s an eclectic group that also features Jane Seymour and Helen Mirren. 


John’s vintage Mercedes-Benz 230SL Roadster could fetch up to £2.4millionas it goes to auction.
The custom-made vehicle was bought by the Imagine star in 1965, the same year The Beatles released their hit ‘Drive My Car’.
It is being sold by Worldwide Auctioneers and founder and auctioneer John Kruse, says the vehicle is especially rare as John Lennon owned ‘very few cars’ because he ‘disliked’ driving.
John, 36, said: “He actually ordered this car new and specifically to suit his tastes, a lot of folks don’t realise this but John was not fond of driving so there aren’t many cars that he owned.

“It’s really hard to compare this car to anything else, there have been a couple of other cars he owned for a brief time but I don’t believe they were ordered new.
“When you’re near or inside the car, you just think ‘John Lennon sat here and used this’, which makes it more special.
“I’ve often wondered how many songs and particularly Beatles hits he would have sang in his head while driving around in it, the possibilities are endless, it’s neat to imagine that.
“Because John Lennon was not a big driver and didn’t really like driving an automobile, it was used more for the convenience of going from Point A to Point B as a quick mode of transport.

“It was his personal car, not one used for commercial purposes, so he had it for every day transportation.
“We know he didn’t drive it very far, as it didn’t have many kilometres on the car.
“But through that, there’s a personal aspect of being able to experience what he experienced in the car, which is pretty neat.”
When ordering the Mercedes-Benz, the former-Beatles superstar had the vehicle custom fitted with right-hand drive and automatic transmission.
John added: “One thing he specifically ordered was the automatic transition, this is a bigger thing because of the time and effort to specially order this car.
“When any of us go to purchase a car there’s a lot of factors that go into it, such as where it was manufactured or built.

“Given the travels of the Beatles in Hamburg, he specifically ordered a German car, which certainly lends to the thought it was specific and intentional.”
Lennon owned the vehicle for four years before it was sold privately to a couple in the UK and for the past 17 years it has been on display in a Florida museum.
The car - Lot Number 17 - currently has a reserve of £96,000.
John said: “It really transcends the vintage car market to pop culture, music in general, as well as people with celebrity interest and car folk.
“This is why we go to auction with an item like this, it’s the best form of a true market place, as bidders get to set the price.
“I’m as excited as is everyone to see what the market believe it’s worth.
“Whatever it’s worth to any bidder they should participate, the last thing someone wants to do is find out it sold for a price they would have easily paid.”

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Yanni "John" Alexis Mardas, or "Magic Alex" as he was known in the Beatles universe when he was among Apple Corps' earliest employees, died Friday at the age of 74.
CNN Greece (via Billboard) reports that Mardas died of natural causes in his Athens, Greece apartment.

John Lennon was first introduced to Mardas, an Athens-born artist who had exhibits at the Beatles-frequented Indica Gallery in London, through the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones; Mardas had created a psychedelic light show for the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties' Request tour.
Lennon soon became enthralled with Mardas' "Nothing Box" – a blinking light box that stimulated Lennon's LSD trips – and recruited the Greek expatriate, now dubbed "Magic Alex," into the Beatles' inner circle, employing Mardas as the head of Apple Electronics.

"I invented a large number of electronic devices, none of which had anything to do with music of the business of the Beatles," Mardas said in a 2010 statement after suing the New York Times for defamation after the newspaper called him a charlatan.
"It must be remembered that none of these had even been thought about by others at the time, although most of them are now in common use," citing the "memory phone" and "the composing typewriter," which worked off voice recognition.
In 1968, Mardas, who previously claimed to have the technological wherewithal to construct a 72-track tape machine, was placed in charge of building the Beatles a new recording studio in the basement of Apple's Savile Row headquarters; that project was scrapped soon after Beatles manager Allen Klein was brought in to straighten out the hemorrhaging Apple Corps. Following that incident, Mardas and Apple Corps parted ways.

"Magic Alex" accompanied the Beatles on their visit to India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Mardas also served a pivotal role when Lennon attempted to leave then-wife Cynthia Lennon for Yoko Ono.
"I've come with a message from John," Mardas told Cynthia Lennon after John and Ono departed together for New York. "He is going to divorce you, take Julian away from you and send you back to Hoylake."
Lennon recognized Mardas as the co-writer of the Beatles outtake "What's the New Mary Jane," although "Magic Alex" was not officially given a songwriting credit on the Lennon/McCartney track. Mardas also made an appearance in the band's Magical Mystery Tour film.


#GEORGEHARRISON -THE VINYL COLLECTION is due for release on 24 February, 2017 to mark George's 74th birthday. All 12 of George's studio albums plus Live in Japan and two 12" Picture Disc singles in one specially designed box. 

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
The vinyl box set includes all 12 of George's studio albums with exact replicas of the original release track listing and artwork. Also included in the box set are George's classic live album Live In Japan (2LP), and two 12' single picture discs of 'When We Was Fab' and 'I Got My Mind Set On You.' All the discs are 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box. The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout. 

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