From Huffington Post:
The formal dissolution of The Beatles was announced on April 10, 1970. And, with the end of the band, the story of Ringo Starr seemed set in concrete. You remember: Ringo, the last member of the band, shunted to the sidelines when the Beatles first recorded for George Martin but, in fact, an under-appreciated artist; his left-handed, backward fills and intuitive timing building the beat of modern rock music.
But there’s a lot more. For forty years now, Ringo, sometimes derided, but with the consistent rhythm of a steady backbeat, has become the living embodiment of the spirit of the Beatles.
Listen to the albums Ringo has released recently — culminating this year’s “Y Not” (the first album he has produced) and last year’s paean to his home town, “Liverpool 8.” You will hear the story of the Beatles being told, and retold. How?
First, with the playful introspection exhibited through an intricate web of references linking one song to another. As the Beatles looked increasingly to their own lives and work for inspiration, their songs created an ever-growing structure of self-reference — the lyrics of “Glass Onion,” for example, refer to five earlier Beatles songs — some of which refer, in turn, to others still. So when, in this year’s “Peace Dream” Ringo calls on us to “try to ‘Imagine'” what happens if we “Give Peace a Chance,'” he’s continuing to weave a tapestry of meaning around their legacies.
By no means has Ringo become a songwriter in the class of John, Paul or George. But as Ringo himself has told us, “It does no good for you to play a pretty song like ‘Yesterday’ ’cause that’s not what I need to say.”
What Ringo needs to say through his songs is the second important ingredient of his legacy, namely The Beatles’ message of love, cosmic harmony and the meaning of life. In “R U Ready,” he invokes Jesus, the Buddha and a blues preacher to say that there will be someone to catch each of us at life’s end. And can’t you hear more than a hint of George, the most spiritual of the four, when Ringo intones the thought that “One and one is only one until you become one with you”?
And then there’s peace and love. Ringo may be the last person on earth who regularly flashes the two-finger peace sign. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE:
Happy Anniversary, Abbey Road!
by Kara Kovalchik – August 10, 2009 – 12:02 PM
The cover of the final Beatles studio album has become so iconic that thousands of entities have incorporated it for their own use (including the second issue of mental_floss).
The original photograph was snapped on August 8, 1969—40 years ago this past Saturday. As one of many tourists who has attempted to re-create that photo (darn, that’s a busy street!), I present a few interesting behind-the-scenes fact about the Abbey Road cover shoot.
Paul McCartney had the original concept for the cover, and had sketched out four stickmen walking over the “zebra crossing” (the name given to the stripe marks on roads indicating pedestrian crossings in England) just outside Abbey Road studios. Photographer Iain Macmillan was hired to capture McCartney’s vision on film. Macmillan climbed a ladder that perched him about ten feet above the fabled street. A police officer held the traffic back while Macmillan squeezed off a few shots of the Beatles crossing the street in one direction. Some traffic was allowed to pass for a short time, and then Macmillan photographed the group crossing the street in the opposite direction. He took a total of six photographs during the shoot, and it was number five – which featured all the band members’ legs in a perfect “V” formation- that was ultimately chosen for the cover.
When the rumor that Paul McCartney had actually died in a 1966 car crash started spreading, conspiracy theorists had a field day with the Abbey Road cover. It was rife with clues, according to them. For example, Paul was barefoot, which is the way corpses were buried at the time in England. (In actuality, Paul had turned up at the photo shoot wearing sandals, but had kicked them off after the first two takes.) Also, the Volkswagen behind George bears the license plate number “28IF” – obviously meaning Paul would be 28 years old if he had lived. (At the time of the photo shoot, Paul McCartney would have been or was 27 years of age.)
After the road-crossing photo was finished, Iain Macmillan set off to find a good “Abbey Road” street marker sign to use for the back cover of the album. He found it at the junction of Alexandra Road and started taking photos of the sign. Much to his chagrin, while he was busy shooting an oblivious woman in a blue dress walked right in front of his viewfinder. While reviewing his shots later that day, however, he decided that the “blue dress” photo was the most interesting of the bunch, and he ended up using it in the final composition.
In a somewhat revolutionary move for that time, the front of the album cover did not mention the band’s name or the album title. That decision came from John Kosh, who was the creative director for Apple Records at the time. Kosh was already well known in the London avant-garde art scene when the Beatles hired him, and his argument for the “photo only” album cover was that they were the most famous band in the world and there was no need to clutter the photograph with text. EMI Records protested at first, saying they’d never sell any records that didn’t indicate who the artist was, but the Beatles supported Kosh’s vision, and in the end, they were right.
We all have our favorite. Some say Elvis was “the King” and Michael Jackson was “the King of Pop.” The Beatles don’t have a catchy name and they are not one person. For that reason alone, I hate that they are compared to Elvis and MJ.
The Beatles shaped my childhood. When I was about 9 or 10 I got the double red and blue albums of best songs. I was hooked. My best friend and I collected everything we could about the Beatles. We each had our favorite. Hers was always Paul, mine was always Ringo. However, it was John Lennon who inspired us the most and it was George Harrison that we saw in concert in 1974.
George Harrison, Chicago 1974
I still have the scrapbook-type items I saved from the early ’70’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t know to save the whole magazine and just cut out the articles I liked. I also have all the newspaper clippings from George Harrison’s 1974 Tour. 30 years later I saw Paul McCartney.
Paul McCartney, San Jose 2005
The music catalog that Lennon-McCartney created is like none other. Happy songs, sad songs, brilliant songs, funny songs, political songs, oh, and they did love songs too. The Beatle’s music IS the background of my life. “Twist and Shout” is my favorite song to dance to and “Blackbird” was the song I sang to sooth my baby to sleep.
While searching for information on Michael Jackson owning the Beatle Catalog, this post from NPR asked the same question I did. Now that Michael Jackson has passed, will Paul McCartney get the rights to his songs back?
The Beatles Catalog And Michael Jackson
by Robin Hilton
Earlier this year, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror reported that Michael Jackson had drawn up a will, giving the publishing rights to some 250 Beatles songs back to Sir Paul McCartney. Though a number of other sites were quick to report the news, The Mirror cited unnamed sources, and the reports have never been verified. Now, with Jackson’s passing, the question is very much up in the air.
For those who don’t remember or never knew, Jackson and McCartney recorded a couple of hits together back in the ’80s, “Say, Say, Say” and “The Girl Is Mine.”
The two struck up a friendship. At some point, according to some accounts, McCartney reportedly told Jackson how he’d made a lot of money by owning the publishing rights to other people’s music. This inspired Jackson to start his own side business of buying, selling and distributing publishing rights to numerous artists. When the Beatles catalog, which was owned by ATV Music Publishing, came up for sale, McCartney initially said he wasn’t interested in buying it because it was too expensive. McCartney eventually changed his mind and attempted to persuade Yoko Ono to join him in a bid for the music, but she declined. In the end, Jackson purchased the catalog for $47.5 million dollars. McCartney, according to the Mirror, said ‘The annoying thing is I have to pay to play some of my own songs. Each time I want to sing ‘Hey Jude’ I have to pay.
It’s hard to separate fact from fiction in this 25 year-old story. But according to the Associated Press, McCartney issued a statement today saying “I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.”
Let it bequest – Jackson wants to leave Paul McCartney Beatles back catalogue
EXCLUSIVE by Zoe Griffin 3/01/2009
‘Dying’ Jacko to leave Macca £350million Beatles rights in will.
MICHAEL Jackson hopes to bury his 24-year feud with Sir Paul McCartney – by leaving his share of the Beatles back catalogue to him in his will.
Macca was furious when Jacko outbid him in 1985 to win ownership of the £350million publishing rights to the whole Lennon-McCartney songbook.
The stars, once good pals who collaborated on early 80s hits The Girl is Mine and Say, Say, Say have not spoken since.
But the debt-ridden King of Pop, now said to be battling a serious genetic lung disease, is determined to make peace with McCartney.
Jackson, 50, who according to some reports is convinced he is dying and has been using a wheelchair, has drawn up a new will where Sir Paul, 66, will inherit control of his share of the Beatles songbook if the troubled star dies before him.
Sources close to Jacko say he has always regretted falling out with Macca. One insider said: “Michael is worried about his health so decided it was time to look at his finances.
“Most of his estate has been divided up between his three children. But Michael told his lawyers he was sad he no longer talks to Sir Paul and said he wanted to make things right.”
The source added: “Michael is suffering serious back and leg pain and has for a few years. He gets spasms in his back which means he spends a lot of time in bed and a wheelchair.
“He weighs just over seven stone and is very frail. He’s also had a nasty bout of emphysema and there have been reports he has another lung disease.”
Jacko sold half of his Beatles back catalogue rights to Sony in 1995, but still makes about £40million a year from them.
Macca said recently: “The annoying thing is I have to pay to play some of my own songs. Each time I want to sing Hey Jude I have to pay.”
Last night a source close to Sir Paul said: “If Michael Jackson was to give back the song rights in his will then Macca would be delighted.”
Michael Jackson’s spokesman has officially denied the star believes he is dying.