Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Biography and Discography


Ringo Starr to auction off famous Beatles drum kit, Lennon guitar and much more

Ringo Starr is cleaning house, literally! After being a musician for over 50 years and accumulating lots of stuff that only a Beatle could have, Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, have made the decision to auction off many of their personal items which have been sitting in storage for decades.
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Julien’s Auctions announced today that they will be holding an auction of “Property From The Collection of Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach” on December 4 and 5 in Beverly Hills. Over 800 items from the Starrs’ London, Monaco and Beverly Hills residences are featured in this once-in-a-lifetime auction by a former Beatle.

Read the full article here

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John Lennon drawing recalls frightening Palm Springs tram ride

A rare drawing by John Lennon which sold Friday in a celebrity auction brings to mind a hair-raising story of when the ex-Beatle took a ride on the famous Palm Springs aerial tramway in California. The ballpoint pen drawing shows Lennon, girlfriend May Pang and Harry Nilsson sitting on a tramcar thousands of feet off the ground in midair.

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Courtesy CooperOwen Auctions

This rare drawing was auctioned off along with several other John Lennon sketches from the 1970s on Friday March 21 by CooperOwen Auctions in London. The drawings were given to guitarist Jesse Ed Davis from Lennon. Davis was a session musician who played lead guitar on Lennon’s albums “Walls and Bridges” and “Rock and Roll”.
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In March of 1974, John Lennon was in the midst of his “Lost Weekend” with girlfriend, May Pang, on the West Coast. He had temporarily split from wife, Yoko Ono, and was partying and carousing with friends like Harry Nilsson in Los Angeles.

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On a weekend getaway, Lennon, Pang, Nilsson and his girlfriend, along with former Beatles’ roadie, Mal Evans, drove to Palm Springs from L.A. May Pang recounts the trip in her book “Instamatic Karma” showcasing pictures she took of John and Harry sitting outside on the grass in Palm Springs.
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It was Harry’s idea to go to Palm Springs, the desert retreat once known as the “Playground of the Stars,” and he suggested that they all go to a restaurant and bar which just happened to be at the top of the tramway.
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The amazing 10-minute tram ride has to be seen to be believed. The tram, located at the northern end of Palm Springs, follows an extremely steep route traveling 2.5 miles up the side of the San Jacinto mountains. The tram ride begins at the bottom of the cliffs of Chino Canyon at elevation 2,643 feet and ends at elevation 8,516 feet.
 
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Having the tram stop in midair dangling over the mountainous cliffs would be a harrowing experience for anyone, and that’s exactly what happened when John Lennon was on the tram.

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In her book, May Pang describes in detail the ride she and Lennon took on the Palm Springs tram back in March 1974:
“When dinner was over, we caught the last tram down, along with the other happy campers who closed down the place. I was just thinking what a pleasant, innocuous evening it had been when the power failed, leaving us suspended in midair with forty drunken strangers. All of a sudden, the tram car became the setting for something of a Fellini movie; people making out, hands everywhere, everyone groping. I was freaking out, but John, who had grown accustomed to that kind of craziness, basically told me to relax, since there was nothing we could do dangling in the middle of the sky.”
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View from the top of the Palm Springs aerial tramway
Photo: Trina Yannicos

May’s story ends there, but obviously, the tram soon regained power and delivered the passengers safely to the floor of the Coachella Valley. Since 1963, nearly 18 million people have taken a ride on the Palm Springs tramway, but only a countless few have actually been stuck on the tram, and now we know the fascinating coincidence that John Lennon was one of them.

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Review: The John Lennon Letters is a collector’s and historian’s dream book

The John Lennon Letters is a fascinating document to Beatles history. Not only does it provide entertainment for Beatles/Lennon fans, it also offers a rare insight into the mind of John Lennon unlike any biography has been able to offer. In addition, the book provides a historical account of actual letters in existence, which is valuable information for Beatles memorabilia collectors.

The John Lennon Letters, compiled and edited by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, includes letters that Lennon wrote throughout his lifetime, spanning from his childhood years all the way up until the last years of his life. Some letters are surprising in their sentimentality like the 8-page love letter Lennon wrote to his then girlfriend, Cynthia Powell, while they were attending art school together. Not so surprising may be some sarcastic, biting letters like the typewritten letter to Todd Rundgren in 1974 or the “John rant” that was addressed to Paul and Linda McCartney in 1971.

All in all, the collection of almost 300 letters, notes and doodles compiled together in book form is a feat in itself. Davies, with permission from Yoko Ono, contacted all the people he knew of (friends of The Beatles and collectors) who had a letter from John Lennon in their possession. Each letter is reprinted in its physical form, with Lennon’s handwriting then reprinted in text format. Davies also offers historical context surrounding each of the letters in this almost 400-page volume.

While some may believe owning entertainment memorabilia is more for investment purposes, the importance of collecting and preserving personal items of famous musicians and actors adds a lot to learning the history of the performer. The downside is that these documents or artifacts are often kept hidden in private collections and are never seen by the general public. Surely many Beatles and Lennon biographers would have loved to have had access to all of these letters while they were writing their books.

In recent years, artifacts once owned by The Beatles have often been uncovered for the first time revealing new facts regarding Beatles history. That’s why The John Lennon Letters, and books like Ringo Starr’s 2004 book, Postcards from the Boys, are such a gift to Beatles historians and collectors. Davies said in a recent interview that his next book will be a compilation of original handwritten Beatles lyrics. No doubt that forthcoming book will also add to the scholarship of the Beatles legacy just like The John Lennon Letters does.

–Trina Yannicos

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