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In a newly-released 1987 interview, Yoko Ono talks about the Beatles’ breakup—which she calls a “divorce”.  She told Rolling Stone’s Joe Smith: "The Beatles were getting very independent. Each one of them [was] getting independent. John, in fact, was not the first who wanted to leave the Beatles. [We saw] Ringo one night with Maureen, and he came to John and me and said he wanted to leave. George was next, and then John. Paul was the only one trying to hold the Beatles together. But the other three thought Paul would hold the Beatles together as his band. They were getting to be like Paul's band, which they didn't like." Yoko also said she felt John missed his bandmates so much that it put pressure on her, because he "expected all that to be replaced by me."  The interview, along with Smith’s interviews with Paul and George, can be heard on the Library of Congress website.

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The Justice Collective’s cover of the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” got to the coveted spot as the UK’s Christmas number one.  The single features Paul McCartney, who has appeared on seven other Christmas number ones, as a Beatle, a Wing, and as part of Band Aid.

The Justice Collective is a group of artists, mainly but not entirely from Liverpool, gathered by producer Guy Chambers to raise funds for the legal battles still being fought by the families of 96 Liverpool Football Club fans killed in the infamous 1989 tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. The track features also features Gerry Marsden (Gerry & the Pacemakers), Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls), Peter Hooton (The Farm), John Power (Cast) and Rebecca Ferguson plus other notables including Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith, Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Mick Jones (Clash, Big Audio Dynamite et al) and Beverley Knight.

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Beatles on Ten Pound Notes? - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Could the Beatles’ noses—and the rest of their faces-- soon be gracing ten bob notes?  Reportedly the Fab Four are among 150 great Britons under consideration for the honor as the government prepares to print new currency next year.

Also on the Bank of England’s list: Sir Mick Jagger, the late Princess Diana, the late Queen Mother and World War II-era computer pioneer Alan Turning.  Charles Darwin is on the current ten pound note.

 

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Musician and actor Steven Van Zandt says he made use of his connections in the music world to get rights to use Beatles and Rolling Stones recordings in David Chase’s film, “Not Fade Away”.  Van Zandt, who was part of Chase’s series, “The Sopranos”, served as music mentor and executive producer on the film, about a group of New Jersey high school kids who put together a band in the mid-1960s.  Chase told Billboard.com, "He would tell you he has a few friends who are Beatles, and he had connections with the Rolling Stones Publisher at that time (ABKCO). He has these contacts and he was able to put them to use and negotiate some good deals for us".

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Olivia Harrison Speaks @ Shankar Memorial - Friday, December 21, 2012

Olivia Harrison was among hundreds of people honoring Ravi Shankar at a memorial in California.   Said Olivia of Ravi’s relationship with George : "They were like father and son as well as brothers... they made each other laugh as if they shared a secret. And I'm sure they did."  She said Shankar "laid the stepping stones from West to East, that led George to new concepts, alternative philosophies and completely transformed his musical sensibilities,”and added:"They exchanged ideas and melodies until their minds and hearts, East and West, were entwined, like a double helix."

 

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George's Suitcase on Display in UK - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A suitcase that likely belonged to George Harrison in the early 60’s is currently on display in the UK. The case was found after a Beatles appearance at the Irby Village Hall on September 7, 1962, one of Ringo’s first appearances after officially joining the group.  The suitcase features George’s initials and says, “Mr. George Harrison c/o Beatles Party.”  A Jim Irlam says he found the case after the show, called Brian Epstein’s office to report it, and was told someone would come to pick it up, but no one ever did, so he took it home.

The suitcase is now on display at the Merseybeat museum at Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, Wirral, UK.

  

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Ravi Shankar to Receive Posthumous Grammy - Monday, December 17, 2012

Ravi Shankar will receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy on Feb. 10th. Grammys spokeswoman Stephanie Schell says he was selected before his death and notified of the honor the week before he passed.  Shankar died in California after failing to recover from surgery.

George Harrison called Shankar "The Godfather of World Music", and Yehudi Menuhin, widely considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, compared him to Mozart.

The other Grammy lifetime award recipients are Carole  King, the Temptations, classical pianist Glenn Gould, jazz musician Charlie Haden, blues legend Lightnin' Hopkins, and Patti Page, famous for songs such as "(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window."

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Yoko Gets German Human Rights Award - Monday, December 17, 2012

Yoko Ono has been awarded a German human rights prize for peace activism with her husband, John Lennon, as well as her more recent work championing gender and marriage equality.

Ono picked up the Rainer Hildebrandt Medal at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum, next to the former Cold War border crossing.

Said Yoko: "I'm very honoured to get this award and I will consider this award as an encouragement to do more work in humanitarian causes."

Hildebrandt, who died in 2004, founded the museum to document daring attempts by East Germans living under communism to escape over the Berlin Wall and in protest against the regime's shoot-to-kill policies.

His widow Alexandra handed Yoko the award--which was selected by a jury she said included German President Joachim Gauck, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

"Since the early days of her career, and in addition to her music and conceptual art, Yoko Ono has always drawn attention for her political statements and her fight for peace details

Jagger 1969 Letters Sold - Thursday, December 13, 2012

The letters Mick Jagger wrote to singer Marsha Hunt, the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar", have sold for £187,250 ($301,472).  Jagger wrote to Hunt from the set of the movie "Ned Kelly" during the summer of 1969, and mentions topics including the lunar landing and his thoughts on the newly-married John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Hunt told The Guardian she sold the letters because she is broke and needs the money to pay for utlities and home repairs. Jagger and Hunt have a daughter together named Karis.  The letters sold for twice what was expected.

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Paul Closes 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief - Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paul McCartney says the "real stars" of the Hurricane Sandy relief concert at New York's Madison Square Garden were the first responders. And while they didn't perform, they got themselves a curtain call at the end of the nearly six hour long show on December 12th, which also featured the Rolling Stones, the Who and Eric Clapton, among many others.

As the smoke, flame blasts and fireworks cleared after he performed "Live and Let Die," Paul called Alicia Keys on stage — and motioned for first responders to come out to take a bow. As Keys sang "Empire State of Mind, Pt. 2," the police, firefighters and other emergency workers hugged McCartney and each other, while trading high-fives and smiles.

Paul's set at the show included "Helter Skelter", "Let Me Roll It", "Blackbird", "My Valentine" and "Live and Let Die".  He also sang with the surviving members of Nirvana.

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