Beatles News


beatlessignCYou could say “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles”  was 50 years in the making since it marks the 50th anniversary of The Fab Four’s historic debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. In truth, it was over ten years in the making according to Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich, longtime producer of The GRAMMYs and many other music shows including “Come Together: A Night for John Lennon’s Words and Music.”

Ehrlich told the studio audience at last night’s taping that he was in talks with former Apple CEO, the late Neil Aspinall, to do a Beatles special for the 40th anniversary of the Ed Sullivan performance but it “wasn’t the right time.” Ehrlich, a self-proclaimed Beatles fan himself who said he even applied to run Apple in the 1960s, put together a stellar group of musicians to pay tribute to The Beatles just one night after The GRAMMY awards telecast.

This GRAMMY Salute to The Beatles does not disappoint — all the performances are top-notch. While the audience patiently awaits the reunion between Paul and Ringo at the end, highlights by other performers include a special Eurythmics reunion to sing “Fool On the Hill,” a duet between Alicia Keys and John Legend performing “Let It Be,” and a touching rendition of “Something” performed by Jeff Lynne and Joe Walsh joined by George Harrison’s son, Dhani Harrison, which was introduced by Johnny Depp.

Jeff Bridges, who said he got to meet the Beatles at a Hollywood charity party on August 24, 1964, introduced Ringo Starr who shouted it was “Starr Time” as he sang classic covers of songs from The Beatles’ days of “Matchbox” and “Boys.” Starr then gave a rousing rendition of “Yellow Submarine” which unified the audience in spirit.
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Sean Penn then introduced Sir Paul who took the stage with his own band. McCartney explained his initial hesitance for taking part in the show: “Was it seemly to tribute yourself? But I saw a couple of American guys who said to me, `You don’t understand the impact of that appearance on the show on America,'” which convinced him to do it. He performed “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Birthday,” “Get Back,” and “I Saw Her Standing There” on his own.
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When McCartney started singing “Sgt. Pepper”, the crowd knew what would happen next. “Billy Shears,” a.k.a. Ringo joined Paul onstage to sing “With A Little Help From My Friends” making this 50th anniversary tribute a historic night on its own. Ringo then took a seat at the drums to accompany Paul on the finale of “Hey Jude.” All the performers from the night including members of The Beatles “Love” Cirque du Soleil show joined in at the end.

This Beatles show was a wonderful tribute and was reminiscent of the touching, classy performances at the Concert for George from 2002. The big difference was that it was less of a memorial and more of a celebration. However,  Ringo summed it up well when he said, “We were in a band. It’s called The Beatles, and if we play, John and George are always with us. It’s always John, Paul, George and Ringo.”
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Tune in February 9, 2014 for some more history-making performances on “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles” on CBS, you don’t want to miss it!
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FULL PERFORMANCE LIST
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Maroon 5 – “All My Loving”, “Ticket to Ride”
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Eric Idle as Nigel Spasm from The Rutles introducing Beatles biography clips
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John Mayer and Keith Urban – “Don’t Let Me Down”
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Ed Sheeran – “In My Life”
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Alicia Keys and John Legend – “Let It Be”
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Imagine Dragons – “Revolution”
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Katy Perry – “Yesterday”
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Eurythmics – “Fool on the Hill”
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Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley – “Here Comes the Sun”
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Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne – “Hey Bulldog”
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Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, Dhani Harrison – “Something”
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Gary Clark Jr, Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
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Stevie Wonder – “We Can Work It Out”
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Ringo Starr – “Matchbox”, “Boys”, “Yellow Submarine”
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Paul McCartney – “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Birthday”, “Get Back”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
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Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “Hey Jude”
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Ringo Starr appeared in Hollywood on Wednesday with members of his latest All Starr Band to promote his 2013 tour to Latin America. The band played shortened versions of songs including “Boys” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” sung by Ringo, “Oye Como Va” sung by Gregg Rolie from Santana, and “Rosanna” sung by Steve Lukather from Toto.
ringo-singCPhotos by Trina Yannicos

Wearing a black blazer and a glittery “peace sign” black t-shirt, Ringo took questions from reporters. When asked why he agrees to sign special photo and art prints even though he vowed a few years ago that he would not sign autographs anymore, Ringo said that he has not changed his view on signing autographs for people in public, but that he only signs for special projects where the money goes to his charity, The Lotus Foundation. Watch video here:

The press conference was held later in the same day following a special presentation of Ringo’s new hardcover limited edition book called Photograph. Dave Grohl and others praised Ringo as a drummer and photographer during a celebration of Starr’s book of personal photographs that he shot of his life before, after and with The Beatles.

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Ringo calls his All Starr band “the best 1-800 band in the land” where you have to have a hit to be a member. Other All Starrs on this tour include Richard Page, Todd Rundgren, Mark Rivera and Gregg Bissonette. The tour travels through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and ends with two dates in Las Vegas in November. Visit RingoStarr.com for tour information.
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The Beatles "On Air: Live At The BBC Vol 2" CoverApple Corps announced today that The Beatles will release a new two-disc CD set ‘On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2‘ on November 11, 2013, almost 20 years after Volume 1 came out. ‘On Air’ features 63 live recordings, none of which overlap with The Beatles’ first BBC release. According to the press release, ‘On Air’ includes 37 previously unreleased performances and 23 previously unreleased recordings of in-studio banter and conversation between the band’s members and their BBC radio hosts.

The Beatles appeared on various BBC radio shows including Saturday Club and Easy Beat. In June 1963, The Beatles got their own BBC weekly radio show called “Pop Go The Beatles.” Between March 1962 and June 1965, the BBC broadcast 275 unique musical performances by The Beatles in the U.K.

Ten of the songs on The Beatles ‘On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2‘ were never officially recorded by the group for EMI, including two never before released performances:  The Beatles’ direct-to-air performance of Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and a rocking cover of the standard “Beautiful Dreamer.”  ‘On Air’ also includes different versions of six rarities heard on the 1994 BBC collection:  Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” and two songs they learned from records by Carl Perkins, “Glad All Over” and “Sure To Fall.”

Also included for the first time are the Beatles’ candid interviews for the Pop Profile series recorded in November 1965 and May 1966.

Along with the Volume 2 release, a remastered reissue of The Beatles ‘Live at the BBC’ (Volume 1) is also being released in 2013. When Volume 1 was originally released in 1994, it sold 5 million copies in the first six weeks reaching number one in the UK and number three in the US.

bbc-archivesbkAlso being released is the book, The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 by producer Kevin Howlett who compiled and researched the CD set along with Mike Heatley.  The booklets for both collections include Kevin Howlett’s essays on the history of The Beatles’ BBC radio sessions and his detailed commentaries on all of the tracks.

View FULL track listing of The Beatles ‘On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2’

View slideshow of photos of The Beatles at the BBC in London over the years

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Freda Kelly and Paul McCartney; courtesy Freda Kelly

Freda Kelly and Paul McCartney; courtesy Freda Kelly

Daytrippin’ recently interviewed film producer, Kathy McCabe, to learn more about the new film, Good Ol’ Freda, and its star, Beatles fan club secretary and confidante, Freda Kelly. The film is being released in theaters, on iTunes and VOD this Friday, September 6.

The documentary sheds light on what it was like to be a Beatles fan when The Fab Four played at The Cavern Club in the early ’60s when Freda Kelly first met The Beatles. Kelly says she saw The Beatles play 190 out of the 292 times they performed at The Cavern. Kelly expressed her dedication to the group by running their fan club before Brian Epstein was in the picture. Once Brian signed The Beatles, he asked Freda to be his secretary and her life changed forever. The film follows Freda on her journey working for NEMS during the day and still fulfilling her Beatles fan club duties at night, all the while maintaining a loyal friendship with John, Paul, George, Ringo and their families. The film captures the warm heart of Freda showing why The Beatles trusted her all those years ago.

1) How did you come up with the idea for Good Ol’ Freda? Are you and the other producers Beatles fans, or was it more about telling a compelling story?

Oh yes!   I am a huge Beatles fan and was lucky to see them play live twice.  Our director and other producers are big Beatles fans too so it’s been a real honor to make this film and preserve some of their history.  In 1964, when I was 16 years old, I asked for my name to be put on the pen pal page of the Beatles Monthly Magazine in which Freda wrote a Beatles Fan Club column. It turned out that the sister of the person who picked me as his pen pal worked for Freda at the Beatles Fan Club and her husband was Billy Kinsley of The Merseybeats who appears in the film and played on the same bill as The Beatles many times.   It was through Billy that I became friends with Freda.  Although we saw each other at parties and concerts, we never talked about The Beatles.   She was so private about her years with The Beatles and I had been warned not to bug her with questions!!  

About 5 years ago though at a family wedding, she told me a few stories that blew me away.  I encouraged her to do some private talks at my house in Baltimore Maryland to see how fans liked her ‘little tales.’  Well, a talk that was supposed to be one hour lasted four!  These talks gave her confidence to accept an invitation to appear at the Fest for Beatles fans and the reaction of fans there was phenomenal.   One standing ovation after another!  You can’t fool Beatles fans and they knew Freda was the real thing.     Not long after that Ryan White, with whom I’d worked earlier on a film called ‘Pelada,’ became free unexpectedly and ‘the penny dropped’ as Freda says.   Ryan, Freda, and I began talking about doing a documentary and in August 2011 we started filming!  It became obvious to us right away that this was not going to be a tell-all  or a film about The Beatles.  Freda’s stories and her own life were so compelling that we knew the film would center on her.

2) Did you approach Freda Kelly or did she approach you? Did she have any hesitation in telling her story after all these years?

We kind of mutually approached each other and we were very blessed that she had reached a time in her life where she felt comfortable telling her ‘little stories.’   The big catalyst was the birth of her grandson, Niall.  Although she was hesitant, she knew deep down she wanted Niall to understand what she had done in her youth so he would be proud of her.   She says in the film she didn’t want him to look over at her in her chair with a cat on her lap and think ‘oh she’s never done anything.’  She’d had many offers over the years to tell her stories but turned them all down.  Doing this film was a big leap of faith for her but I think she felt comfortable because she’d known us for a long time so there was trust.  She says in the film that if she hadn’t have done this now she knows she would never have done it.  If she hadn’t, all those never-heard-before, true stories would have been lost.   So we’re very grateful she decided to do the documentary with us.
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3) There’s a nice message from Ringo at the end of the film. Have you spoken to Paul McCartney about the film and what was his reaction?

Good Ol' Freda movie poster

Good Ol’ Freda movie poster

Yes, isn’t it a lovely message from Ringo?   Obviously from the heart!   Sadly, Freda lost her own mother when she was 18 months old. She was so close to Ringo’s Mum Elsie that she considered her a mother figure and her children called her Nanny Else.  We’re so thankful to Ringo for recording this message.  

Paul knows about the film and gave it his hearty approval.  Freda was also very close with Paul’s father who she called Uncle Jim.  We worked with Paul’s office to get a message but despite great efforts on both parts the scheduling didn’t come together.  

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4) I see that you got the rights to four Beatles songs to use in the film (Love Me Do, I Saw Her Standing There, I Feel Fine and I Will). How hard were the negotiations for that?

We were delighted to be granted very rare permission to license four Beatles songs as well as the funny music on the very first Beatles Fan Club Christmas Record.  That is a true testament of the esteem The Beatles hold for Freda and her devotion to them and their families. We are very proud to have these songs in our film and every time I hear them while watching the film I get goosebumps. The negotiations were long and involved and we received approval just six weeks before our world premiere!   One good thing about having Beatles music in your film, it sure helps pave the way for the rest of the soundtrack.   We’ve got a killer soundtrack with not only The Beatles but also Buddy Holly, Little Richard, The Marvelettes, The Isley Brothers, Little Richard and Carl Perkins among others. We picked songs that the Beatles loved and had covered in their early days.  
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5) How did the Kickstarter campaign help your film? Would you have been able to complete it without Kickstarter?
 
We couldn’t have made this film without the generosity of our nearly 700 Kickstarter backers.  We had to meet our goal of  $50,000 or we wouldn’t have been able to start the film much less complete it.  We had an amazing Kickstarter team….a group of friends who worked together for 30 days across all time zones to ensure we met our goal.  It was a team effort and Beatles fans came out of the woodwork to help us.  We’ll have DVDs in December to send to all our backers.   They’ll be the first ones to actually get the DVDs in their hands.   We’re working hard on DVD extras right now too so there will be some extra goodies on it!  
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6) What has the reaction been from people who have seen the film? Do you think this film will appeal to non-Beatles fans?

 
Freda Kelly ; Photo by Austin Hargrave

Freda Kelly ; Photo by Austin Hargrave

The reaction has been amazing!  Audiences are touched deeply by the way she has conducted her life and Freda’s personal character, integrity, and loyalty to The Beatles themselves, their families and fans.  They love it that she was a fan herself and very protective of The Beatles.  They love her modesty and honesty, that she never sought attention or the limelight, and never sold out despite so many offers to do so. They understand the great lengths she went to to keep fans happy whether it was collecting hair on the floor after the barber cut their hair or getting Ringo to sleep on a pillowcase so she could send it back to the fan.  The personal attention she gave was amazing….there’s nothing like it now.  As she says in the film ‘no one took these girls seriously but I did because I was one of them.’

Audiences get emotional when they watch the film   We’ve seen grown men cry during it! They’re touched that she gave away all the leftover Beatles memorabilia to fans rather than selling it for millions for herself.   She’s still a working secretary after 50 years.  Still modest, still shy, still private….people really ‘get’ what she’s all about and in today’s world of 15 minutes of fame, her story really grabs audiences whether they are Beatles fans or not.   Freda’s stories are all new and all true and this film presents The Beatles from an angle other films have not…so yes it’s appealing to a wide range of audiences.
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7) As a documentary filmmaker, do you have any more music-related films in the works?

Good Ol’ Freda is still a full-time job for me!!  So I’ll be focusing on this film for the next year or so.
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8) Is Freda Kelly happy with the way the film turned out? What does she wish for fans to take away from watching the movie?

She’s very happy with it….and she’s even more happy we’ve finished making it!!  She’s enjoying meeting fans on the film festival circuit and is astonished that people are interested in her ‘little tales’ as she calls them.  Freda wanted to convey to Beatles fans that ‘the lads’ as she calls them were human beings….not gods.  So she wanted to humanize them and the experience they went through.  She wanted fans to know what it was like for The Beatles and their families in the early days when things were fun and the Beatlemania craziness hadn’t started yet.  They were just regular guys from Liverpool who became famous beyond their dreams. But best of all Niall will now know what his grandmother did in her youth!

Note: Kathy explained if the movie is not playing in a theater near you, you should call your independent theaters and request it to be screened.  The theaters will get in touch with Magnolia Pictures to set up screenings.

To sign up for their newsletter and keep up to date about news and screenings, visit www.goodolfreda.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goodolfreda

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Ringo Starr at The GRAMMY Museum, June 11, 2013

Ringo Starr at The GRAMMY Museum, June 11, 2013

Ringo Starr appeared at the GRAMMY Museum yesterday at a media preview to promote his new exhibit, ‘Ringo: Peace & Love’, and his new e-book, ‘Photograph‘, both of which are available to the public starting June 12. Ringo explained that these projects, centering around his archive of personal artifacts, were planned in conjunction with each other. Additionally, a more extensive version of the e-book will be published in hardcover format in December.

Ringo credited his wife, Barbara, as motivating him last year to go through his archives. “I found so much stuff I didn’t know I had,” Ringo explained, including a wealth of old photos and letters that his mother had collected over the years. Even though Starr’s mother died in 1986, he hadn’t looked through the box of mementos she left behind until last year. He found old photographs and letters written before he joined The Beatles when he performed with Rory Storm’s band in Liverpool and Hamburg.

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Singer Jackie DeShannon, who toured with The Beatles in 1964, at the GRAMMY Museum. Photo by Trina Yannicos

Singer Jackie DeShannon, who toured with The Beatles in 1964, at the GRAMMY Museum. Photo by Trina Yannicos

At the press preview, Ringo answered questions from the audience. He revealed his musical idol when he was a teenager was Lightnin’ Hopkins, an American blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was such a big fan that he considered emigrating to the US as a teenager so he could live in Texas where Hopkins lived. The Beatles’ would have never met Starr had he followed through and moved to the US when he was 18. Ringo got discouraged and gave up on the idea since he did not have the patience to fill out the paperwork required for emigrating to the US.

Starr also put a rumor to rest stating that the Beatles “did not jam with Elvis” that fateful day when the two legends met in 1965 in Hollywood. Starr explained that while he looked up to many rock and roll pioneers who were older than The Beatles, Elvis was the “first one not like my Dad.”

Ringo worked closely with The GRAMMY Museum by loaning many items for display including his clothing, drum kits and personal artifacts for the exhibit.

See PHOTOS of the exhibit here.

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As a longtime Beatles fan, it’s been hard to keep track of the different versions of The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do”– specifically, which released versions of “Love Me Do” did Ringo play drums on and which he did not. As historians explain, the original 45 single release of “Love Me Do” is the one with Ringo as drummer, while the album version (on Please Please Me) has Andy White as the drummer.

Well, apparently Ringo and EMI get confused on this issue as well. For the 50th anniversary special 45 release of “Love Me Do”, EMI released the version with Andy White playing drums and not Beatle Ringo! As a result, those copies are being recalled and another 45 release will replace it, making this a true collector’s item!

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The Beatles single “Love Me Do” reached number 17 on the British charts after its initial release in the UK on October 5, 1962. Why there are different versions of the song on the album versus the single is explained in an article by Beatles expert, Bruce Spizer.

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Biographer Michael Starr has two things in common with former Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr – the same last name and the passion to tell Ringo Starr’s life story. Ringo recently admitted that he was interested in writing his autobiography, but turned down the offer because the publishers want him to focus on just his 8 years with The Beatles. Ringo insists that his life before and after The Beatles should not be left out.

Michael Starr agrees that Ringo Starr’s entire life will be a fascinating subject for his new biography on the world’s most famous drummer. The author is sending out a request to Beatles fans for “anyone who has a Ringo story, or any info concerning Ringo, they can contact me at michaelsstarr@gmail.com.”

“My book will cover the entire arc of Ringo’s life, from his birth in Liverpool to the present-day,” Starr explains. “I’m very interested in exploring Ringo’s pre-Beatles life in Liverpool (family, friends, schooling, etc.) and how this shaped his life — since I feel this hasn’t ever really been covered with any depth (especially when compared to the early-life coverage of Paul McCartney, John Lennon and, to a lesser extent, George Harrison).”
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The book is scheduled to be published in 2015. Starr has already written six entertainment biographies, on Peter Sellers, Art Carney, Joey Bishop, Bobby Darin, Raymond Burr and Redd Foxx. Michael Starr is also the television columnist for the NY Post.

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