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Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton is my eighth rock biography since Shout! The True Story of the Beatles in 1981. It left me feeling more than ever that writing books about such people is no job for a grownup and determined never to be talked into another one.

I had intended Shout! to stand alone, but it started a chain reaction that has kept me chained ever since, with only temporary breaks for novels, short stories, plays, TV documentaries, musicals and journalism.

Researching the Beatles provided an irresistible flying start to a biography of the Rolling Stones, whose story was so closely bound up with theirs. Afterwards, it was almost obligatory to “do” Buddy Holly, who established the rock band concept with the Crickets, and first inspired John Lennon and Paul McCartney to try songwriting, as they in turn inspired Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and hundreds of other musically unschooled young Brits. Then there was no escaping Elton John, who was discovered by the Beatles’ music publisher, Dick James, and took to wearing outsize spectacles like Holly although his eyesight was normal.

Source: Philip Norman/theguardian.com

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The White Album 'slaps you in the face' - Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Beatles are celebrating the 50th birthday of their 1968 double album - dubbed The White Album - with a deluxe edition that delves into the record's exhaustive recording sessions. An interview with producer Giles Martin, who oversaw the anniversary project, reveals some of the box set's secrets and surprises.
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The Beatles' ninth album has confounded, delighted and divided fans ever since its release in 1968. To some, it's their masterpiece: a vibrant explosion of ideas from a band no longer bound by format, genre or style. To others, it's a mess: a quixotic, fractured collection of songs that fails as often as it soars.

"You are either hip to it, or you ain't," opined Rolling Stone in its original review.

Simply called The Beatles, the 30-track double LP became known as The White Album thanks to its plain white, subtly embossed sleeve - and the contrast to the colourful explosion of their previous album, Sgt Pepper, was deliberate.

The White Album is turbulent, raw, and challenging - partly in reaction to the political upheaval at the end of the 1960s, as the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King crushed the idealism of the Summer Of Love.

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On Nov. 8, 1968, John and Cynthia Lennon's divorce became official. It brought to an end a tumultuous romance that included courtship, marriage, childbirth and infidelity -- all within the growing shadow of Beatlemania.

Lennon met Cynthia Powell in 1958 while both were attending the Liverpool College of Art. “He was a real scruff, a real teddy boy. He looked as if he would punch you as soon as look at you,” Cynthia remembered during an interview with journalist Alex Belfield. “He ended up in my calligraphy class and he didn’t want to be there.”

Even though she initially dismissed Lennon as some kind of troubled rebel, Powell was won over by his musical talent. “Everyone else had gone for lunch and I was trying to gather my pens,” she reminisced about one of their school days. “He sat and played ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ right through, and I looked at him and I thought, ‘That’s for me.’"

The two began dating. Even in the early days, there were warning signs. Lennon had a notorious temper, a characteristic that many have attributed to an estranged relationship with his father. During one particular argument while in college, Lennon details

Reissues have been dominating news about The Beatles and John Lennon lately, and fortunately for fans, this also means new things, like videos to enjoy.

Both The Beatles and Lennon camps have released new lyric videos in correlation with their respective reissues. Below you’ll find the lyric videos for “Back In The U.S.S.R” off the 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles (aka: The White Album) and “Gimme Some Truth” off the mega reissue of John Lennon’s Imagine.

The Beatles 50th anniversary reissue comes out November 9 and will be available in multiple formats, all of which can be pre-ordered right now at TheBeatlesStore.com. Imagine, meanwhile, is now available in multiple formats at ImagineJohnYoko.com.

Source: by Erica Banas/wror.com

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In a recent interview with Ultimate-Guitar, Muse bassist Chris Wolstenholme explained why The Beatles’ Paul McCartney is important about evolution of bass guitar.

He said that ‘McCartney was probably the master at really making the bass an incredibly melodic instrument’. Here’s the statement:

“I think Paul McCartney was probably the master at really making the bass an incredibly melodic instrument. I think he’s one of the rare bass players where you can actually sing the bass lines.

There’s not many people you can say that about. Although Paul McCartney probably wasn’t the most technically gifted bass player, he was certainly one of the most important at making the bass a really melodic instrument. I don’t think a lot of people were doing that back then.

He also revealed the story of how he got his first bass guitar and said:

There was a girl who was friends with Matt and Dom because they were a school year ahead of me. There was a girl who was in their school year and she had a bass. I can’t even really remember what it was called. It was cheap and a piece of shit.

Source: metalheadzone.com

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It took a remarkable effort to sound so casual. That’s one lesson of the hugely expanded 50th anniversary reissue of “The Beatles,” the double album that has been known as the White Album since its release in November 1968.

On the surface, the White Album marked a shift from the orchestral formality and sonic experimentation of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Its core approach returned to the four Beatles strumming and picking guitar and bass, pounding a piano and socking the drums. There are giggles and hoots and wisecracks scattered through the album, as if making the music was a lark.

But as Beatlephiles have long known and the reissue documents, the White Album was by no means back to basics. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr worked painstakingly, using start-to-finish live-studio performances as a foundation but then building around them. In the studio, the Beatles ran through songs again and again, often in all-night sessions that ended up wearing down their producers and engineers. The new White Album package peers deeply into their labors; it includes, for instance, Take 102 of George Harrison’s “Not Guilty,” a song details

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr created what would be the longest Beatles album (around 93 minutes) between May 30 and October 14, 1968.

Released a month later as simply The Beatles, it became, for obvious reasons, better known as The White Album. Produced by George Martin, the album ambitiously merged rock, blues, folk, country, music hall and avant-garde music; its scaled-down production and monochromatic cover were intended as a dramatic departure from the trailblazing psychedelia of 1967’s Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Upon release, some critics found the approach scattershot, the quality of songs dramatically uneven. But most raved. The Observer’s Tony Palmer called Lennon and McCartney the greatest songwriters since Schubert. Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times wrote, "Musically, there is beauty, horror, surprise, chaos, order. And that is the world; and that is what the Beatles are on about.” And it has continued to thrill. In 2009, Chuck Klosterman called the album "almost beyond an A+."

Source: Zach Schonfeld /newsweek.com

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Paul McCartney is offering one lucky fan the chance to duet with him on stage in his hometown, Liverpool.

The former The Beatles rocker, 76, has teamed up with fundraising platform Omaze to give one person the opportunity to perform with him at the Echo Arena in the British city. All they have to do to be in with a chance of winning is donate to his family's vegetarian charity Meat Free Monday.

Fans can enter the contest by donating $10 (£7.80) or more to his cause, with the winner then chosen at random from those who have helped his non-profit - which aims to persuade people to eat less meat. The more fans donate, the more chances they have to win.

The sold-out gig on December 12 kicks off the U.K. leg of Paul's latest world trek, and is sure to be an emotional return to the city he grew up in.

The concert will be his third in his hometown this year as he played two intimate surprise shows there over the summer.

Source: aceshowbiz.com

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It’s 55 years since the Fab Four came to Dublin. Imagine.

Way back in 1963, The Irish Times wasn’t really what you’d call rock and roll. Nevertheless our photographer Dermot O’Shea was despatched to the boardroom of the Adelphi cinema - which, to be fair, wasn’t all that rock and roll either - to capture a shot of the Liverpool lads.

Five years ago, Eanna Brophy - one of just a handful of journalists who got in on the action - penned a wonderful Irishman’s Diary recalling the big day. “They trooped upstairs to the mezzanine floor, dressed and coiffed as few others in Dublin were then,” he wrote.

“It was immediately clear that these new Beatle chaps were sharp, witty and totally clued in to how publicity worked. You wanted a four-column photo? They obliged with a a wide-armed, leg-kicking ‘ta-dahh!’ pose. Single column? They somehow put their heads atop each other on an adjacent table.”

The cynical snappers, he added, were utterly charmed. Our photographer went for the “single-column stack” and his shot has languished, unused and unloved, in the archives ever since.

Source: irishtimes.com

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Rock legend, animal rights activist, and longtime vegan Sir Paul McCartney has launched a contest that supports his non-profit Meat Free Monday campaign. The 18-time Grammy Award-winning musician took to Instagram today to announce the opportunity for one fan and a friend to join him and sing onstage at his forthcoming show at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

“Hi there! It’s Paul McCartney, and I’m gonna invite you to come and sing with me on stage. We’ll fly you and a friend out to the concert in Liverpool. The lucky winner will come on stage and sing a song with us,” McCartney said.

He continued: “I’m teaming up with Omaze to support Meat Free Mondays. Great charity and it gets you and a friend to come and be my guest in Liverpool, the place where it all began.”

A Liverpool native himself, McCartney and his fellow Beatles band members got their start performing in local clubs. His return to the maritime city as part of his Freshen Up tour takes him to the Echo Arena on 12 December. The arena has the capacity to seat 11,000 and according to multiple sources, concert tickets have already sold out.

Source: Tim Peacock/udiscovermusic.com

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