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Ringo Starr will make his debut on the blockchain in June, announcing a collection of non-fungible token (NFT) artworks dubbed "The Creative Mind Of A Beatle." Ringo StarrThe collection features five of Starr's original art pieces -- two paintings, one Bansky-esque self-portrait, and two hybrid works -- each being minted as editions of four. Each piece will come with a physical print of the corresponding artwork, signed by Ringo, as well as an audio recording of Starr performing an original composition inspired by the piece, written for and released exclusively through the collection, on the drums. "I am excited to join this digital art community," Ringo said in a video announcing the collection he posted on Twitter on May 24, "and look forward to continuing to learn and build in Web3... I've been doing art for many, many years, with paint, stencils, digitally, spin art and I'm honoured to be part of this community." As for why Starr chose to jump onboard the NFT train, he explained: "It's really important to have a platform to display your art and to be in control of how it is shared and appreciated." "The Creative Mind Of A Beatle" will be opened as an online auction, accessible via Julien's Auctions, on June 13. Each of the 20 NFTs will launch with a starting bid of $1,000 (£800), with an unspecified portion of the final proceeds being donated to Starr's own charity, The Lotus Foundation. However the collection's existence has been widely derided by Beatles fans, with almost all of the 70-plus replies to its announcement on Twitter being negative. "I love Ringo and I find his art very tasteful, but the majority of us Beatles fans are not in favour of the concept of NFTs," one fan wrote, while another pleaded with the artist: "In the name of peace and love please stop." Meanwhile, Ringo is set to kick off an ambitious tour of North America with his All-Starr Band this summer, beginning with back-to-back shows in Ontario on May 27 and 28. The tour will roll into June with a further 20 shows, before picking back up in September for another 19 dates. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney wowed fans on the opener of his "Got Back" tour in Spokane, Wash., on Apr. 28 by performing the Beatles' classic "I've Got a Feeling" with footage of John Lennon from director Peter Jackson's recent The Beatles: Get Back documentary in the background. McCartney began the song strumming a guitar with a swirl of pastel colors on the screen behind him and then elicited gasps of elation when mid-way through when Lennon's voice came in for his verse as Macca turned toward the screen to watch the footage from the Beatles' legendary Jan. 1969 rooftop gig atop the band's Apple Corps HQ in London. Paul McCartney"Everybody had a hard year/ Everybody had a good time/ Everybody had a wet dream/ Everybody saw the sunshine," Lennon sang in the footage as McCartney sang counter-melodies. After the performance, McCartney explained how it came together, telling the audience, "So, Peter Jackson, the director of the Get Back film, he texts me one day. And he says, 'we can extract John's voice. And he can sing with you live.'" The crowd roared at the idea and McCartney, 79, shrugged and added, "I thought, 'Oh, yeah!" The gig marked McCartney's return to the stage following the pandemic and he was overjoyed to be performing once again as he treated the crowd to hits from the Beatles, Wings and his solo career. He said: "They said 'get back', and we got back. And it feels cool. "You'll have to give me a moment to myself, just to let me take this in." - Billboard/Music-News.com...... In other Beatles-related news, John Lennon's son Julian Lennon says he's had a "love-hate relationship" with the Beatles classic "Hey Jude." Julian, the son of John and his first wife Cynthia Lennon said the song serves as a "dark reminder" about his parents' divorce after it was written for him by Sir Paul McCartney. Speaking on the SiriusXM radio show Debatable,Julian explained: "I wasn't really aware of what was going on except when I started seeing Yoko (Ono) around, obviously that made a bit of an impact and apparently I struggled with the separation a great deal at five. "I would have raging moments of being a screaming child but those moments haven't stuck with me. For me it has always been about moving forward, protecting mum the best that I could and making her proud, keeping an eye on her, arms around her, protecting her all the way up until the end, she was my priority." Julian also explained how the track inspired the name of his latest album, titled Jude: "The album allowed me to explain what 'Hey Jude' meant to me because the fact of the matter is it was a love-hate relationship, I thought I had heard it enough. I am thankful to Paul for writing it and putting some hope behind what was to come, but the downside of it was it was a dark reminder of what actually went down at that time, the separation." Lennon revealed how he was filled with pride after watching the recent Fab Four documentary The Beatles: Get Back. He said: "After watching the documentary there was such pride seeing dad the way I used to know him as a kid, remembering him and seeing him being a goofy b------ but also being such a great writer, performer and singer." - Music-News.com...... Ringo StarrOn Apr. 17 Ringo Starr added further dates to his upcoming 2022 North American All-Starr Band tour in a post to his Instagram account. The legendary Beatles sticksman and his band -- Toto's Steve Lukather, Men At Work's Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette, Average White Band's Hamish Stuart and Edgar Winter -- are set to kick-off their tour on May 27 in Ontario, Canada. Following the tour's initial announcement which had it wrapping up in Clearwater, Fla., on June 26, Ringo and the band have confirmed 19 new dates extending the run to Oct. 20 with a two-night stand in Mexico City, Mexico, with new Sept. and Oct. shows in Michigan, Washington, New Jersey, California and more. Starr -- who turns 82 this summer -- last released a solo album, What's My Name, in 2019. Since its release, he has shared two EPs in 2021: "Zoom In" and "Change the World." - New Musical Express...... A British Beatles fan named Ken Lambert has turned George Harrison's suburban Liverpool childhood home at 25 Upton Green into an Airbnb and "living museum" of Harrison memorabilia. Lambert says he bouth the home in Nov. 2021 for around £171,000. According to the listing, Harrison lived at the three-bedroom house between 1949 and 1962, and the house was also used as a practice space for the pre-Beatles incarnation, The Quarrymen. Lambert says the house will be "a living museum by letting people stay overnight" and that a weekly tour group will also be able to stop by and spend about half an hour in the home drinking tea and playing music. "I'm not a wealthy individual. It's not like I go around buying up properties. I'm a Beatles fan, yes, but I am a big George Harrison fan specifically," Lambert told the New York Post. "I think it was a shame that George's house had no relevance to millions of Beatles fans, but they're waiting in line to walk into John Lennon's house. George is my favourite Beatle. I want to respect his legacy," he added. The property sleeps five guests, and a stay will set you back around £200 a night (there is a two-night minimum). Meanwhile, Paul McCartney announced earlier in April that he's opening up his childhood home for unsigned artists to use as a base to write, perform and gain inspiration from. The Forthlin Sessions initiative, backed by the former Beatle's brother Mike McCartney, will see artists chosen by Mike and local partners to write music at the same place where Paul and John Lennon forged their distinguished songwriting partnership. - New Musical Express...... John LennonJulian LennonJohn Lennon's eldest son Julian Lennon has broken a musical vow to himself to help the people of Ukraine by singing his dad's peace anthem "Imagine" "only if it was the end of the world." Julian sang "Imagine" publicly for the first time ever on Apr. 8 to help raise money for Ukrainian refugees during Global Citizen's Stand Up For Ukraine fundraising campaign, and shared his performance across socials with a lengthy caption addressing his decision to finally perform his late father's iconic peace anthem. "The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy ... As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could," Julian wrote on Instagram. "So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad's song, IMAGINE." The 59-year-old singer-songwrier explained what led him to decide to perform the song for the first time in his decades-long career. "I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing 'IMAGINE' would be if it was the 'End of the World,'" he wrote. "The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for ... As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere," he added. Julian performed the song, which has also been shared on YouTube, in a somber setting, surrounded by dozens of candles. He was accompanied by Extreme frontman Nuno Bettencourt on acoustic guitar. John Lennon released the title track to his album Imagine in 1971, and it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. - Billboard...... The childhood Liverpool home of Paul McCartney at 20 Forthlin Road, where Paul and his songwriting partner John Lennon wrote such iconic Beatles hits as "I Saw Her Standing There" and "When I'm 64," has been opened up to unsigned artists as a spot to write and perform songs. Britain's National Trust announced on Apr. 5 that the initiative, dubbed the "Forthlin Sessions," will allow budding acts to "visit, write, and perform at 20 Forthlin Road, sitting in the very same spots where around 30 of the world's most famous songs, including "Love Me Do," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Hold Me Tight," "I'll Follow The Sun" and "When I'm 64" were written and rehearsed. It is also where Paul wrote his first-ever song, "I Lost My Little Girl." National Trust Director General Hilary McGrady said in a statement that the Beatles "inspired a generation to feel free to be creative, regardless of who or where they were" and that "it's a pleasure to care for the Beatles' childhood homes and to use the story of what happened there to continue this legacy." The artists who get this rare opportunity will work with Paul's younger brother, Mike McCartney, and British journalist Pete Paphides in consultation with the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts; acts must be over 18 and UK-based in order to participate. The sessions will be recorded and publicized, allowing the act to reach new, potentially global audiences. A video announcing the initiative has been shared on Twitter. - Billboard...... Julian LennonThe eldest son of John Lennon has announced his seventh studio album, JUDE. Julian Lennon, 58, says the title is a nod to the Fab Four classic "Hey Jude," which as legend has it Paul penned for 5-year-old Julian following his parents' separation in 1968. Julian has hailed the collection -- which he co-produced with Justin Clayton -- as a "coming-of-age" tale of his life. "Many of these songs have been in the works for several years, so it almost feels like a coming-of-age album. With great respect for the overwhelming significance of the song written for me, the title JUDE conveys the very real journey of my life that these tracks represent," says Julian. Ahead of the LP's release later this year, the Grammy-nominated artist will release the singles "Every Little Moment" and "Freedom" on Apr. 8. - Music-News.com...... Paul McCartney has shared a letter he recently wrote to the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, urging him to end the surcharge on plant-based milks before he's set to retire on Apr. 4. "My friends at PETA are campaigning for this," McCartney wrote in the letter. "I sincerely hope that for the future of the planet and animal welfare you are able to implement this policy." According to PETA, producing cow's milk generates around three times more greenhouse-gas emissions, and uses nine times more land than vegan options do. It takes 628 liters of water to make 1 liter of cow's milk, while oat or soy milk requires 90% less water. Starbucks currently charges 70 cents for oat, almond, soy and coconut milk added to its drinks, and McCartney and PETA believe that is unfair. McCartney previously teamed up with PETA for his 78th birthday in 2020, when a video for the organization titled "Glass Walls" showed how horrific animal slaughterhouse conditions are, and most recently urged leaders at COP26 -- the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference -- to address that animal agriculture has a detrimental effect on the environment. Meanwhile, McCartney has called recently deceased Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins a "true rock and roll hero. Posting on Twitter on Mar. 30, Sir Paul said that "Taylor's sudden death came as a shock to me and the people who knew and loved him. Not only was he a GREAT drummer but his personality was big and shiny and will be sorely missed by all who were lucky to live and work alongside him." McCartney, who sat in on drums with the Foo Fighters on the band's 2017 Concrete & Gold LP song "Sunday Rain" (which featured a rare vocal from Hawkins), included a picture of himself with Hawkins in his lengthy post, which referenced the sessions for "Sunday Rain." - Billboard...... In other Beatles-related news,Paul McCartney was among the numerous celebrities paying homage to St. Patrick's Day on Mar. 17, reminiscing on a long-ago trip to Ireland in a Twitter post. "Here's to Ireland and St. Paddy - Paul," the former Beatle wrote, with a pic taken by his late first wife Linda McCartney. Other '70s personalities celebrating the Irish holiday included "Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter and the proudly green guy himself, Kermit the Frog. - Billboard...... Yoko OnoA benefit show held in support of war-torn Ukraine took place in New York on Mar. 10, with Patti Smith, Gogol Bordello, The Hold Steady's Craig Finn, Suzanne Vega and more in attendance. Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz, who was born in Ukraine, co-hosted the benefit at NYC's City Winery, to raise funds for financial and humanitarian relief in the country. In total, $130,000 was raised, with proceeds going to Come Back Alive, a foundation that provides support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Care.org. Among the funds raised, there was a $50,000 donation by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon to Doctors Without Borders. Yoko and Sean were invited but couldn't attend on the night. Videos from the benefit can be seen on Smith's Instagram account. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar have been confirmed as the Pyramid Stage headliners at this year's legendary U.K. event The Glastonbury Festival. McCartney will return to Glastonbury in 2022 to headline on the Saturday (6/25), and Lamar, who will go last on the Sunday, organizers announced on Mar. 4. Also announced for this year's event are Diana Ross, Billie Eilish, Angelique Kidjo, Arlo Parks, Australian acts Amyl And the Sniffers and The Avalanches. Organizers have shared poster line-up of acts confirmed so far on Instagram. Established in 1970 by Michael Eavis, a dairy farmer, Glastonbury is the granddaddy of U.K. music festivals and attracts upwards of 150,000 attendees each year. The event is returning in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. - Billboard...... In other Beatles-related news, the band's 2000 Beatles 1 compilation has been remastered for spatial audio by Giles Martin, the son of the band's late producer George Martin. Giles said in a 2021 interview that he was a fan of the immersive 360-degree sound technology launched in 2021 by Apple Music, as well as the Dolby Atmos that it is built on, but said that it doesn't always "sound quite right." Martin revealed that he intended to remaster the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band but has since worked on the band's mega-selling greatest Number Ones compilation album 1. "Records don't get old, we get old," Martin explained. "We get older, records stay the same age as it was on the day of recording. Spatial audio works to make music more engaging and accessible on the latest tech platforms. You could be with the band with Dolby Atmos," he added. - New Musical Express...... Paul McCartneyOn Feb. 24 Paul McCartney shared a new Wordle-style teaser on his Twitter feed, prompting renewed speculation that he may soon be announcing his headline slot at England's Glastonbury 2022 festival. The Beatle had been set to headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2020 with Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, but that edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now that the Glastonbury fest is back on in '22, speculation about who will join Billie Eilish at the top of the bill reignited on Feb. 24 after McCartney shared a "Wordle-style" teaser on Twitter. The tweet appears to hint that McCartney will be headlining Glastonbury 2022 via the inclusion of the numbers "25/6," which could mean June 25 (Saturday of this year's event). The Wordle teaser also features six green tiles which could spell out "GLASTO." McCartney has previous form when it comes to this type of hint, having previously shared a composite image of Philip Glass, Emma Stone and Chuck Berry ahead of the announcement that he'd been booked to headline Glastonbury in 2020. So far, only Eilish, Diana Ross (who is playing the "Legends' slot) and Little Simz have been officially announced for this year's festival, with the complete line-up to be announced in April. - New Musical Express...... A notebook containing Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for the Beatles' classic "Hey Jude" has been donated to Beatles museum in Liverpool by British actress Davinia Taylor, best known as a former member of the cast of the British soap opera Hollyoaks. Taylor was given the special pad for her 21st birthday by her millionaire dad Alan Murphy, who Taylor says purchased the notebook in a Sotheby's auction for "something crazy like £100,000." "Sotheby's had an auction, dad was at home, a few bottles of wine in and started bidding against an American. He won. He said, 'It's not going to America, it's staying in Liverpool," Taylor says. In addition to the "Hey Jude" lyrics, the notebook also contains doodles and poetry by all four band memebers, including John Lennon, George Harrison and Sir Ringo Starr, along with snippets of lyrics from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and other tracks. The pad -- which was compiled from 1967 to 1968 -- is now on display at The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool. Taylor admitted she was "over the moon" to have donated the item, and the museum has insured it for £1 million. - Music-News.com...... Paul McCartney announced on Feb. 18 that he'll be hitting the road in 2022 for his first live shows in three years. Macca's "Got Back" arena/stadium tour is slated to kick off on April 28 at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., his first-ever show in that city. The 13-city, 14-date outing will also find the Beatles legend playing East Rutherford, N.J.'s MetLife Stadium for the first time since 2016 on the tour's wrap date June 16. "I said at the end of the last tour that I'd see you next time. I said I was going to get back to you. Well, I got back!," McCartney, 79, said in a statement. Other stops on the 13-city, 14 date tour include Seattle (5/2, 3), Oakland, Calif. (5/6), Los Angeles (5/13), Fort Worth, Tex. (5/17), Winston Salem, N.C. (5/21), Hollywood, Fla. (5/25), Orlando, Fla. (5/28), Knoxville, Tenn. (5/31), Syracuse, N.Y. (6/4), Boston (6/7) and Baltimore (6/12). Tickets for the tour will go on sale to the general public beginning Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. local time. McCartney concluded his 39-date, 12-country "Freshen Up" tour in July 2019. - Billboard...... Brian EpsteinIn other Beatles-related news, a statue of the band's early manager, Brian Epstein, has been given planning permission by Liverpool council, according to a Twitter post by a local newspaper on Feb. 17. The statue of Epstein, who also worked with such "60's British invasion" acts as Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers, will be erected near his family's former record shop in the Whitechapel neighborhood. Jane Robbins, one of the statue's sculptors and Paul McCartney's cousin, says she showed Paul McCartney the photograph of the final clay model of the statue and that he "spent several minutes looking at it and he was delighted." "I don't know if there was an actual a tear in his eye but he was very moved to see the clay and that, I think, speaks volumes," she added. A date for the statue's installation is expected to be announced in the coming months. In related news, director Sara Sugarman (Vinyl, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen) was hired to helm an upcoming biopic of Epstein in 2021. Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, (Wolf Hall, The Queen's Gambit), will play Epstein in the biopic, which will chart the entrepreneur's huge influence on pop music within the 1960s. - New Musical Express...... On Feb. 11 Paul McCartney issued a statement through PETA to both show his support for the nonprofit animal rights organization's new "Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics European Citizen's Initiative" to uphold the ban of animal testing for cosmetic items, and vehemently oppose the European Chemical Agency's current practices. "We all thought the battle was over and that cosmetics tests on animals in Europe were a thing of the past, but sadly, that's not the case," Sir Paul's statement reads. "The European Chemicals Agency continues to demand the use of thousands of rabbits, rats, fish, and other animals in cosmetics ingredients tests. But you can help put a stop to it. No animal should suffer for beauty, so if you re an EU citizen, please go to SaveCrueltyFree.eu and sign the European Citizens Initiative to protect the ban. Signing the petition takes only a minute and it will help save lives," he added. The Beatles legend also teamed up with PETA for his 78th birthday in 2020, when a video for the organization titled "Glass Walls" showed how horrific animal slaughterhouse conditions are. Most recently he urged leaders at COP26 -- the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference -- to address that animal agriculture has a detrimental effect on the environment. - Billboard ...... The BeatlesIn other Beatles-related news, the Fab Four's legendary final concert on the rooftop of Apple Corps' Savile Row headquarters on Jan. 30, 1969 is getting an extended theatrical run in the UK market in 2D beginning on Feb. 18. The concert will be optimized for IMAX screens, digitally remastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Remastering) technology. Director Peter Jackson said in a statement that he is "excited to partner with Disney to bring Get Back to an entirely new stage and give Beatles fans everywhere a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch and hear their heroes in the unrivalled sight and sound of IMAX." The 65-minute concert is included in the new Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back, which was released on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 8 in the U.S. - Music-News.com...... On online auction conducted on the Julien's auctioneers website on Feb. 7 saw a non-fungible token (NFT) of Paul McCartney's handwritten notes for "Hey Jude" selling for $76,000 (£56,136). The six available NFTs sold for a combined $158,720 (£117,236) with McCartney's personal "Hey Jude" notes coming in as the biggest-seller at $76,800 (£56,727). It was estimated that this individual NFT would fetch between $50,000 to $70,000 (£36,932 and £51,704). Elsewhere, an NFT of John Lennon's Help! cape brought in $12,800 (£9,455) while the NFT of the Afghan coat he wore in the Magical Mystery Tour film sold for $22,400 (£16,545). An NFT of a 1959 Gibson guitar that John gave to his son Julian Lennon as a gift was also snapped up for $22,400. In January, Julian launched a special range of NFTs containing digitized pieces of Lennon and Beatles memorabilia from his personal collection. Each item in the auction was presented as an audio-visual collectible, with Julian also providing narration as well as accompanying imagery of the item in question. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the Beatles and Lennon NFT collection will go towards Julian's White Feather Foundation. - New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrIn other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has announced he'll kick off an 18-city spring/summer tour of North America with a two-night stand in Rama, Canada's Casino Rama on May 27 and 28. The famous drummer's first tour of the continent in nearly three years, the trek will also see Ringo and his All Starr Band visiting such markets as Boston (6/2), New York's Beacon Theater (6/6,7,8), Red Bank, N.J. (6/10), Providence, R.I. (6/12), Baltimore (6/14, 15), Pittsburgh (6/18), Philadelphia (6/19), Atlanta (6/22), and Hollywood, Fla. (6/25) before wrapping in Clearwater, Fla. on June 26. Ringo's current All-Starr Band lineup is comprised of Starr, Steve Lukather (Toto), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Edgar Winter, Hamish Stuart and Warren Ham. Ringo, who celebrated his 81st birthday in 2021, released his latest solo LP, What's My Name, in 2019, and shared two EP's -- Zoom In and Change the World -- in 2021. He also contributes to Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder's upcoming solo album, Earthling. - NME...... On Jan. 30 a special theatrical version of The Beatles' final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters in London's Savile Row on Jan. 30, 1969, played to near-sellout crowds in nearly 70 Imax theaters across North America and at the BFI Imax theater in London. The debut of the 60-minute The Beatles: Get Back -- which features the roughly 45-minute concert in its entirety -- was accompanied by a live Q&A with director Peter Jackson and BBC broadcaster, author and musician Matt Everitt. Jackson used footage from his 8-hour docu-series to create the larger-than-life presentation of the rooftop concert. The acclaimed series itself debuted on Disney+ over Thanksgiving 2021. According to Imax, a majority of the Jan. 30 locations were sold out in cities including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Charlotte, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, San Antonio and Cleveland, with the special event generating roughly $500,000 in grosses. The Beatles: Get Back -- The Rooftop Performance will play exclusively in select Imax locations across the globe over the Feb. 11-13 weekend. The concert footage was digitally remastered with proprietary Imax technology. The film can also be streamed in its entirety on Spotify.com. Meanwhile, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Oh. has announced that The Beatles: Get Back to Let It Be, an immersive compliment to Jackson's docuseries, will open on Mar. 18 and run through the remainder of the month. SiriusXM radio's Beatles Channel also debuted a Beatles The Rooftop Concert Special on Jan. 30. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard...... Paul McCartneyIn other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has posted an emotional tribute to his late friend and former bandmate John Lennon. To celebrate the 50th anniversary reissue of their debut album Wild Life, a Q&A about the record from 2018 has been shared on PaulMcCartney.com, and can also be viewed on YouTube. Speaking about the Wild Life track "Dear Friend," Sir Paul says that he finds it "very emotional when I listen to it now... I have to sort of choke it back." He went on to explain how the track is "me talking to John after we'd had all the disputes about The Beatles break up." "That lyric: 'Really truly, young and newly wed'. Listening to that was like, 'Oh my God, it's true!' I'm trying to say to John, 'Look, you know, it's all cool. Have a glass of wine. Let's be cool.' And luckily we did get it back together, which was like a great source of joy because it would have been terrible if he'd been killed as things were at that point and I'd never got to straighten it out with him." He goes on to say that "Dear Friend" was "me reaching out... So, I think it's very powerful in some very simple way. But it was certainly heartfelt." - New Musical Express......Julian Lennon, the eldest son of John Lennon, has announced on Instagram that he'll sell a range of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring digitized pieces of Lennon and Beatles memorabilia from his personal collection in an online Julien's Auction on Feb. 7. While Julian will keep the physical items from his collection, bidders will have the chance to buy NFT versions of the memorabilia in the auction. Each item, which will be presented as an audio-visual collectible, will include narration by Julian and imagery of the item in question. The NFT collection includes handwritten notes by Paul McCartney from the writing of "Hey Jude," which as legend goes was originally written for Julian to comfort him during the time of John and Cynthia Lennon's divorce. The bidding for this NFT starts at $30,000 (£22,258). Other items include the Afghan coat worn by John Lennon in the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour, a Gibson Les Paul guitar gifted by the late artist to his son, and the black cape worn by John in the film Help!. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this NFT collection will benefit Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation. Julian told Variety that "I have a lot of projects happening this year, including a new album, and these [items] tie in to a few of them. I can't really say much more -- you'll understand why when it happens. The first release will be April 8 and that will inform you of the campaign going forward." - New Musical Express...... 'Let It Be' - The BeatlesA digitally restored 4K Ultra HD edition of the iconic 1964 Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (Criterion Collection) was released on Blu-ray + DVD on Jan. 18. Showcasing the start of Beatlemania in the States, the Richard Lester-directed A Hard Day's Night takes place one month after the Fab Four's first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The film captures just 36 hours in the lives of the British band that became music idols of a generation. Beatles pop anthems like "Can't Buy Me Love," "If I Fell" and the title track are featured in the film, which is available on Blu-ray ($35) and DVD ($14), and as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The Lester-approved, digital restoration of A Hard Day's Night comes with three audio options: a monaural soundtrack, stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes supervised by Giles Martin, sound producer at the famed Abbey Road Studios. Other bonus features include Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about A Hard Day's Night featuring Lester and producer George Martin; the 1994 documentary You Can't Do That: The Making of A Hard Day's Night and In Their Own Voices, a special-edition program consisting of behind-the-scenes footage, photos and interviews with The Beatles during their 1964 American tour. - Billboard...... Speaking of George Martin, the famed late Beatles producer can be seen in a sweet new clip shared by his son Giles Martin on Twitter. In the footage, the producer discusses with Giles's daughter how he initially met The Beatles and what he thought of the quartet when they travelled from Liverpool to London to meet him: "Well, that's a silly name for a start... I met them in London and when I listened and it was ok but it wasn't brilliant. But the magic bit came when I started to get to know them because they were terribly good people. They were funny, they were very clever -- and they were the kind of people that you liked to be with. So I thought, 'if I feel this way about them, other people will feel this way about them'. So therefore, they should be very popular." "I don't normally share anything personal but this my dad from a while back explaining to my daughter he signed the Beatles," Giles Martin posted ."Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Great decisions are made for the simplest reasons. "I figured if I like them this much other people might too," he added. - New Musical Express...... The 2021 Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 8, and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Target, Walmart and Best Buy. The triple-disc collection ($27.99) features nearly eight hours fully restored, archival footage with Dolby Atmos sound, while a special collector's edition Blu-ray gift set, which comes complete with collectible cards, will also drop on Feb. 8. The Blu-ray set is available for pre-order at Walmart, Target and Best Buy while supplies last. The BeatlesDirector Peter Jackson's 6-hour documentary premiered on Disney+ in Nov. 2021 over Thanksgiving weekend. The film takes audiences inside the band's recording of the band's 1970 album Let It Be and compiles over 60 hours of unseen footage with more than 150 hours of unheard audio showcasing the creative genius of the Fab Four. The film also shows footage of The Beatles' legendary 1969 rooftop concert at London's Saville Row, which marked the band's last live show as a group. Fans will get a chance to relive that unforgettable concert in IMAX theaters beginning Jan. 30. The release date coincides with the 53rd anniversary of the original performance. The Beatles: Get Back - The Rooftop Performance Concert will screen in IMAX at the Apple Corps headquarters in London and various theaters around the U.S. Jackson will attend the London showing and participate in a Q&A that will be broadcast simultaneously in participating theaters. The 60-minute film will return to IMAX screens for a short theatrical run from Feb. 11-13. - Billboard...... Paul McCartney has paid tribute to his late friend and BBC DJ Janice Long, who died on Christmas Day at her home at age 66 after battling a short illness. "I was very sad to hear that my old Liverpudlian friend Janice Long has passed away," Sir Paul posted on Twitter on Jan. 7. "Janice was a fun-loving lady who always had a twinkle in her eye. She was very knowledgeable about the music scene and whenever we met it was a pleasure and we had a great laugh... My sympathies go out to her family and friends. We have all lost a great Scouse girl, but I will always have very fond memories of her and of the times we spent together. Paul x," he added. In her career, the beloved broadcaster and champion of new music also became the first woman to regularly host Top Of The Pops, fronting the TV show for five years, and later had a long-running show on BBC Radio 2 until 2017. She also worked for the likes of BBC Radio London, BBC 6 Music, BBC WM, BBC Radio Wales, Greatest Hits Radio and Radio X, and set up her own station Crash FM in Liverpool in 1995. - New Musical Express...... The Disney+ streaming service announced on Jan. 5 that The Beatles' full 1969 Apple Corps rooftop concert highlighted in director Peter Jackson's acclaimed three-part documentary The Beatles: Get Back is getting a limited theatrical release in IMAX. The famed 60-minute farewell performance will premiere on Jan. 30, on the 53rd anniversary of the public performance in London. Following the concert film, Jackson will participate in a Q&A session that is set to broadcast to all participating IMAX theaters. "The Rooftop Concert" will then get another limited theatrical release from Feb. 11 through 13. Premiering in November, The Beatles: Get Back showcased the Fab Four's fascinating songwriting process, friendship and struggles during the recording of their Let It Be LP, which was released in 1970. The Beatles: Get Back will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on Feb. 8. - Billboard...... Denis O'DellDenis O'Dell, a British film producer and director who worked with The Beatles on their 1964 movie A Hard Day's Night and other productions, has died at his home in Almera, Spain on Dec. 31, his son announced. He was 98. Mr. O'Dell was an associate producer of A Hard Day's Night, the Fab Four's first film, and How I Won the War, in which John Lennon appeared as a supporting actor. He also produced the 1967 Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour, as well as The Magic Christian, which featured Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, and later became a director of The Beatles' new organization, Apple Corps, and the head of Apple Films. In 1970, he was immortalized during a spoken passage by Lennon in the obscure Beatles song "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)," the B side of their "Let It Be" single which also later featured on their Rarities album. - Billboard...... Paul McCartney is among a litany of both established and up and coming artists set to offer signed, rare and otherwise unique collectibles that will benefit MusiCares, the charity arm of The Recording Academy. An Hofner B-Bass Hi Series violin bass guitar belonging to Sir Paul will be among the articles on the block in the virtual auction conducted by Julien's Auctions on Jan. 30. The sale comes in tandem with the 2022 Grammy Awards which will be held the following evening. Other artists contributing items include Keith Richards (a signed ebony Gibson ES-333 guitar), the estate of Tom Petty (a signed Gibson ES-335 guitar), Joni Mitchell (an original oil painting of Prince), and KISS's Gene Simmons (two of his own unique artworks), as well as items by such hot rising artists as BTS and Harry Styles. More details on the auction can be found on the Julien's Auctions website. - New Musical Express...... An all-star cast of celebrities from the worlds of music, TV, film and comedy have joined forces to honor George Harrison in the first-ever official music video for his 1970 song, "My Sweet Lord." Over 40 musicians, actors, comedian, directors, artists and other creatives make cameos in the Lance Bangs-directed clip, ranging from Harrison's friends and former Beatles band mate Ringo Starr and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne to actors Mark Hamill, Darren Criss, Jon Hamm and Rosanna Arquette. Originally released on Nov. 23, 1970, in the US, the track featured on the late Beatle's third studio album, All Things Must Pass. The new video version boasts a fresh 2020 mix by Paul Hicks, released this past August on the 50th anniversary edition of All Things Must Pass. The new official video for "My Sweet Lord" has been shared on YouTube. - New Musical Express...... Yoko OnoYoko Ono's 1971 track "Listen, The Snow Is Falling," which was the B-side to the John Lennon yuletide classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," was made available on all streaming platforms for the first time on Dec. 16. Speaking about the track in 1993, Ono said: "The first pop song -- if you can say pop song -- I ever wrote was 'Listen, the Snow Is Falling.' I did that before (Lennon and I) got together. Then, when we got together, I made it into a real pop song." "Listen, The Snow Is Falling" can be streamed on Spotify.com, among other services. - NME...... The 2021 version of British designer Chris Barker's annual Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's cover-inspired tribute to the celebrities who passed away earlier in the year can be viewed on Twitter.com. This year's tribute includes the likes of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, The Monkees' Michael Nesmith, Gerry & the Pacemakers' Gerry Mardsen, Stephen Sondheim, Phil Spector, the New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain, the Bay City Rollers' Les McKeown, The Wailers' Bunny Wailer, ZZ Top's Dusty Hill, Don Everly, Kool & the Gang's Dennis Thomas, and Mary Wilson of The Supremes, among many others. Since 2016, Barker has been posting his quirky homage to the music, art, culture, politics and movie/TV stars who passed in the calendar year. While Barker's converted cover usually drops in early November, the artist says he found himself hedging this year, adding Michael Nesmith at the last minute after the TV actor/country rock innovator/musician passed away over the weekend. "Just as I was about to post the image I got news of Mike Nesmith dying. Suddenly the whole image made sense," he says. "A Monkee and a Rolling Stone right in the middle. And Merseybeat star Gerry Marsden just near them. Made the whole thing feel absolutely fine and got rid of any worries I had about the piece." - Billboard...... The deluxe special edition reissue of The Beatles' 1970 No. 1 LP Let It Be has vaulted from No. 10 to No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart following the Nov. 25 premiere of the new Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back, which chronicles the album's recording, on the Disney+ channel. In the chart dated Dec. 2, Let It Be earned 27,000 equivalent album units, up 124%, according to MRC Data. Of that sum, 18,000 units are from album sales (up 115%), and the set also surges 21-6 on the Top Album Sales chart. The Beatles now boast five No. 1's on Top Rock Albums, which began in 2006, as Let It Be follows Love (2007), On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 (2013), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road, the latter two reigning following anniversary reissues in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Meanwhile, other albums by the Fab Four have also gained amid interest in the band's catalog. Abbey Road jumped from 9-3 (20,000 units, up 59%), the best-of set 1 ranks at No. 26 (9,000, up 8%) and The Beatles ("The White Album") re-enters at No. 45 (7,000, up 32%). - Billboard...... The new Beatles docuseries The Beatles: Get Back has prompted tracks from the film to top the LyricFind US tally, whose Global and LyricFind U.S. charts rank the fastest momentum-gaining tracks in lyric-search queries and usages globally and in the U.S., respectively. According to LyricFind, lyric usages and searches of Get Back saw a 1,965% increase in the U.S. following Get Back's Nov. 26 premiere on the Disney+ streaming channel. In other Beatles news, rare interviews with each member of the band have been made into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and are now up for auction. The online auction for The Beatles Collection began on Dec. 6 through the Voices Of Classic Rock Archive, which hosts 650 historic interviews and radio shows featuring major rock artists recorded between 1964 and 2008. Four separate snippets from conversations with Paul McCartney (on Chaos And Creation In The Backyard), John Lennon (on "A Day In The Life"), George Harrison (on Abbey Road) and Ringo Starr (on "His Lost Medallion") are available on the site. Meanwhile, the family of longtime Beatles roadie/manager/friend Mal Evans, who features prominently in the Get Back docuseries -- have announced the publication of an authorised biography set to cover his life and career. HarperCollins' Dey Street Books imprint will publish it in 2023, with Evans' estate working closely with author and Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack to tell Evans' story in resounding detail. The biography, as yet untitled, will be followed in 2024 with a sprawling compendium of Evans' personal archives, which will feature diaries, manuscripts and more. Having obtained the Beatles' blessing, Evans planned to published those manuscripts himself before his death at age 40 in Jan. 1976. - Billboard/New Musical Express...... Denis O'BrienDenis O'Brien, who served as George Harrison's manager for much of the former Beatle's solo career and with Harrison co-founded the production company that backed such hits as the classic Monty Python's Life of Brian, died on Dec. 3 in Britain at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon after being admitted for severe abdominal pains. He was 80. Mr. O'Brien was a St. Louis native who moved to Europe after receiving a law degree from Washington University and had a long record of successes, along with setbacks and legal battles. Through the actor Peter Sellers, whose career he had helped revive, he met Harrison in 1973 and quickly formed a personal and professional bond. Harrison hired him as his manager after parting with Allen Klein, who had become The Beatles' manager in 1969 but eventually fell out with the group, which broke up a year after signing with Klein. In 1978, Harrison and O'Brien co-founded HandMade Films, a top independent company over the next decade. Their initial project was Life of Brian, Monty Python's controversial religious parody which they financed after EMI Films dropped out at the last minute. HandMade went out of business in 1991 and the partnership between Harrison and Mr. O'Brien ended in court. Mr. O'Brien was ordered by a California judge in 1996 to pay Harrison damages of $11 million for alleged mismanagement of the company's finances. In August 2001, three months before Harrison's death, a judge rejected the musician's effort to stop Mr. O'Brien from declaring bankruptcy. - Billboard...... Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have shared tribute to their late Beatles bandmate George Harrison on the 20th anniversary of the latter's passing. McCartney took to Twitter to share an old image of himself and "the quiet Beatle" in the studio with a caption reading: "Hard to believe that we lost George 20 years ago. I miss my friend so much. Love Paul." Meanwhile Ringo took to Instagram to share an image of him and Harrison smoking cigars, saying: "Peace and love to you George I miss you man. Peace and love Ringo." Harrison also received a tribute from his widow, Olivia Harrison, who shared a video to her Instagram page that featured a psychedelic photo of Harrison's face set to his song "Within You Without You," and ended with the words, "We love you, George." In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono has shared an article on Twitter which says the new Peter Jackson-directed Beatles documentary, Get Back, dispels rumours that she broke up the group. Yoko's Nov. 27 post to her 4.6 million Twitter followers was titled "Beatles Fans Think 'Get Back' Dispels The Idea That Yoko Ono Broke The Band Up." Ono has been blamed for breaking up of the Beatles since the group called it quits in 1969. The Beatles: Get Back is currently available to stream on the Disney+ channel in the US and the UK.- New Musical Express...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr has launched a new MasterClass Course on "Drumming & Creative Collaboration," a 10-part lesson with themes including "Ringo's Early Days," "Drum Kit Essentials," "Navigating Your Kit," "Playing With Feel," "Turning Life Into Lyrics," "Connecting With Your Audience" and much more. "Now the 9-time Grammy Award winner wants to inspire new and seasoned drummers alike," according to a MasterClass description. "Through demonstrations behind the kit and personal stories from his time in The Beatles, Ringo shares his principles for creative collaboration, finding your unique playing style, and embracing your musical journey with joy." Fans can sign up for Ringo's course at MasterClass.com. For those who don't have a MasterClass account, signing up gets you access to the hundreds of courses on MasterClass' site for $15/month (billed annually). - Billboard...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney is among the famous rockers auctioning off guitars to help musicians impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Macca's Yamaha BB-1200 Electric Bass Guitar that he played on Wings tours in the late '70s is one of several instruments belonging to iconic rockers such as McCartney, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen, Ronnie Wood and others to be auctioned on Dec. 11 at an "Guitars Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising" sale at Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles. Bids can also be made online. - NME...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the actors playing The Beatles in the forthcoming biopic of their late manager Brian Epstein called Midas Man have been revealed. Jonah Lees (The Letter For The King) is set to portray John Lennon while musician Blake Richardson (from the band New Hope Club) will appear as Paul McCartney. Leo Harvey-Elledge has been lined up to portray George Harrison, with Campbell Wallace appearing as Ringo Starr. Elsewhere, Peaky Blinders' Adam Lawrence will play original Beatles drummer Pete Best, and former NBC talk show host Jay Leno will portray the late variety show host Ed Sullivan. A release date for the Sara Sugarman-directed Midas Man is yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, John Lennon's son Julian Lennon says that the new Peter Jackson-directed Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back was a "life-changing" experience that "made me love my father again." On Nov. 18, Julian and his half-brother Sean Lennon attended a special screening of the documentary in Los Angeles ahead of an event held by Paul McCartney's daughter Stella McCartney. "What an Amazing night," Julian reflected in an Instagram post after the event. "Firstly seeing Get Backand then [attending] Stella's event afterwards. The One True thing I can say about it all is that it has made me so proud, inspired & feel more love for my/our family, than ever before. The film has made me love my father again, in a way I can't fully describe," he added. The three-part The Beatles: Get Back premiered on the Disney+ channel on Nov. 25. - NME...... Speaking to London's Sunday Times after watching the premiere of the new Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back, Paul McCartney revealed that the new Peter Jackson-directed film changed his perception of the break up of the Beatles. "I'll tell you what is really fabulous about it, it shows the four of us having a ball," Sir Paul noted. "It was so reaffirming for me. That was one of the important things about the Beatles, we could make each other laugh. John [Lennon] and I are in this footage doing 'Two Of Us' and, for some reason, we've decided to do it like ventriloquists. It's hilarious. It just proves to me that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill," he added. Asked if it had changed his perception of the band's eventual split, he said: "Really yes. And there is proof in the footage. Because I definitely bought into the dark side of The Beatles breaking up and thought, 'God, I'm to blame.' It's easy, when the climate is going that way, to think that. But at the back of my mind there was this idea that it wasn't like that. I just needed to see proof." The Beatles: Get Back will premiere on Disney+ on Nov. 25, 26 and 27, and its first official clip can be viewed on YouTube. - NME...... The BeatlesIn related news, The Beatles: Get Back director Peter Jackson has revealed he had to convince Disney bosses to break their own rules about swear words in their movies ahead of the new documentary. "We've had to have a discussion with Disney about the swearing," Jackson told Radio Times magazine. "The Beatles are Scouse boys (from Liverpool) and they freely swear but not in an aggressive or sexual way. We got Disney to agree to have swearing, which I think is the first time for a Disney channel (project). That makes them feel modern, too," he added. The Lord of the Rings director spent years creating his six-hour epic from footage captured by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for his 1970 documentary Let It Be. "I kept finding new stuff and new ways to tell the story. It ended up being six hours," Jackson said. "I thought I couldn't do it justice as anything shorter. And you can't help but be aware that this is historical footage. I was very aware of my responsibility to get this into the world and not have it disappear into a vault again," he added. - WENN/Canoe.com  






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