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Stella Gets OBE from Queen - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Stella McCartney is being honored by Queen Elizabeth with an OBE—being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire—for her work as a fashion designer, especially creating the British team’s Olympic uniforms. Other honorees include all the British gold medalists from the 2012 Olympics, actor Ewan McGregor and singer Kate Bush. The Queen's Honours are given out twice a year on New Year's and in June on the Queen's official birthday. The majority of recipients are selected by government committees after a nomination process by officials and the public.  

The OBE is a step above the MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire, which Stella's father first received in 1965 as a member of The Beatles. The next highest honor is CBE, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, then followed by knighthood.

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A rare copy of Please Please Me signed by all four Beatles has sold for the price rejected at auction in December.  The BBC reports that brother and sister Chris Collins and Liz Chambers initially turned down a £12,000 bid for the album, which was given to their late father during a drinking session.

They had hoped to get £15,000 ($24,400 US), but the siblings have now accepted £12,000 ($19,500 US) from private buyers.

The album, sporting a black and gold label, was signed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr after they used it as a drinks coaster during a card game in 1963.

The earliest copies had black and gold labels and are more valuable than the subsequent versions, featuring black and yellow ones.

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Beatles "Bucket List" Book Due in June - Monday, December 31, 2012

Beatles fans can look forward to lots in the new year, including a book telling us 100 things to do before we die. Or to be precise, 100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, a book due this June from author Gillian Garr. “It's actually a bit more like 126 'things,' because aside from the 100 listings there are 26 sidebars,” Garr says.

The book comes from Triumph Books, who have done books like this for sports fans, including ones for Chicago Cubs fans and Seattle Seahawks fans, but this is their first book on another pop culture subject. Look for it in June 2013, according to examiner.com.

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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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