by David Bedford and Garry Popper
The Beatles phenomenon is one amazing story that John Lennon tried to sum up by stating: “I met Paul and said, ‘Do you want to join me band?’ and then George joined, and then Ringo joined. We were just a band who made it very, very big.”
That is one of the biggest understatements ever, because it was so much more complicated than that, and the story involves 18 drummers.
Neil Aspinall once said that “the story of the Beatles always seemed to be about John, Paul, George and a drummer.”
When examined closely, that is exactly what happened, yet nobody has concentrated on the story of those drummers, and the crises in the evolution of The Beatles that always seemed to be around losing, or gaining, a drummer.
How many drummers can you count that played with the Fab Three between 1956 and 1970? We have found 18!
In a new book, and forthcoming documentary film, Finding the Fourth Beatle tells the story of The Beatles from 1956-1970 through the 18 drummers, including Colin Hanton, Pete Best and Jimmie Nicol, and some you will not have heard of before. The book and film explore the Beatles’ crises, changes of musical direction, getting a record deal, and finding the drummer who would put the beat into The Beatles: Ringo Starr, the Fourth Beatle.
It’s hard to believe that there has never been a traditional permanent statue of The Beatles erected – until now! The new statue of The Fab Four was unveiled on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Liverpool’s Pier Head.
The bronze statue depicting all four Beatles in suits, topcoats and Beatle boots, circa 1963 reminiscent of their Live at the BBC album cover photo, was unveiled by John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and Liverpool Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne. According to The Liverpool Echo, the statue weighs approximately 1.3 tons and was sculpted by artist Andrew Edwards.
The faces look extremely lifelike and the statues are a few feet taller than the real thing, causing most people to reach only the shoulder height of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr for photo purposes. John and Paul are placed slightly ahead of George and Ringo as they appear to be walking down the street together. The statue was presented to the city by the Merseybeat venue the Beatles helped to make famous, The Cavern Club.
The statue unveiling marks 50 years since The Beatles final show in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre on December 5, 1965. Sculptor Andy Edwards told the BBC that he hopes his statue will become “a place of ritual” for people to come together.
“The statue stands in loving memory of the best band in the world – the band that leapt from The Cavern stage to worldwide recognition,” Julia Baird said.
See a slideshow of the new Beatles statue from every angle
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Ringo Starr has written a new song reminiscing about his early days in Liverpool about the band he was in before he joined The Beatles. The song title, “Rory And The Hurricanes,” was announced last week along with the full track listing and release date of Ringo Starr’s new album, Postcards From Paradise.
The song “Rory And The Hurricanes” coming out on March 31 will add to the musical autobiography that Starr has been creating since 2008. Instead of publishing a traditional autobiography, Ringo has chosen to write about his life through his songs.
“I have been offered autobiographies, but all they only really wanna know about is those eight years in The Beatles and there would be three volumes before I even got to that,” Ringo explains. “[So] I’ve decided to do mini-autobiographies, instead of writing a book, I’m doing it on record… I’d rather put it quickly in a song, snippets of part of my life.”
This song will continue the musical memoir that Starr started in 2008 with his song “Liverpool 8” about the good and the bad of growing up in this British working class town where he became part of The Fab Four.
Rory Storm was mentioned in “Liverpool 8” as Ringo sings: “Played Butlin’s Camp with my friend Rory / It was good for him, it was great for me.”
It was while Ringo was the drummer for Rory Storm’s band that he adopted the first name “Ringo” instead of “Richard” for all the rings he wore and “Starr” instead of “Starkey” for “Starr Time,” a portion of the show where Ringo did a major drum solo.
Here are Ringo’s autobiographical songs (so far) in order of release:
“Liverpool 8” released in 2008 is the first song in Ringo’s virtual musical biography. Ringo sings about joining The Beatles and leaving Liverpool for worldwide fame. In the song, which was co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Ringo asserts “Liverpool, I left you, but I never let you down.”
“The Other Side of Liverpool”
“The Other Side of Liverpool” released in 2010 was about the negative aspects of growing up poor in Liverpool as Ringo sings “We had to go to Steeple Street / Just to take a bath.”
“In Liverpool” is the third installment to Ringo’s musical biography released in 2012. He sings of his early days as a drummer and going to clubs: “Me and the boys, me and the band / Living our fantasies.”
Marketing research data shows that the Olympics can increase tourism for up to 10 years for the host city following the event, as it did in Sydney, Australia following the 2000 games. This “legacy” effect is projected to be felt in the UK for the post-Olympic games period, especially from 2013-2017.
In addition to the Olympics, The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool is anticipating increased attendance beginning in 2012 due to 50th anniversary celebrations of The Beatles. On April 4, 2012, Camilla, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, visited The Beatles Story in Liverpool to unveil a special plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the formation of The Beatles.
Have you made your pilgrimage to the Beatles’ Liverpool yet? Take your own virtual magical mystery tour by clicking here to see a great slideshow of famous Beatles sites in Liverpool featuring Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, The Beatles’ childhood homes and more!
Following the recent focus on John Lennon’s teenage years inspired by the film, Nowhere Boy, a new book on the specific Liverpool locations in Lennon’s life has just been published. ‘Lennon’s Liverpool‘ by Bill Harry is a comprehensive look at the places which hold a significant connection to John Lennon’s early/pre-Beatle years. And who better to tell this story than a friend and fellow student at the Liverpool College of Art which John attended.
German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr, was the first photographer to take professional quality photos of the Beatles. Her famous black and white portraits taken in Hamburg in the early 1960s show The Beatles dressed in leather jackets and pants–quite different from the Edwardian suits they wore when they became famous. Over 70 images covering Astrid’s career from 1960 until she ultimately abandoned photography in 1967 are on display at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool in an exhibit which opened today.
“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” contains a wide range of images from the early days when Astrid first met the Beatles in Hamburg to her involvement photographing The Beatles on the set of “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 for STERN magazine which brought her back to Liverpool.
Astrid first became aware of The Beatles through her friend, artist Klaus Voormann. Voormann discovered the Beatles when they were playing at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg, Germany in 1960. He immediately brought Astrid to hear the Beatles play. Astrid, Klaus, and another photographer, Jurgen Vollmer formed a tight-knit friendship with the Beatles during the time they spent in Hamburg.
In 1960, Astrid convinced The Beatles to pose for photographs at an old fairground in Hamburg which shows The Beatles dressed like “Teddy boys” sporting leather jackets, leather pants, and slicked-back Elvis-style haircuts. Later on, she did studio-style portraits of them.
“They trusted me, and that is the most important thing for a photographer if you take portraits of people,” Astrid told Daytrippin’ Magazine in an exclusive interview. “If they don’t trust you, then you can forget it.”
In 1964, Astrid, accompanied by another photographer, Max Scheler, was granted special access to photograph The Beatles on the set of “A Hard Day’s Night” in London. She also visited Liverpool and took many photos of The Beatles’ hometown. These photos appeared in the book “Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon A time.”
For the avid Beatle fan, this new exhibit offers some previously unpublished images of the Beatles, some well-known images of the Beatles in their original format and some rare images of the Beatles holidaying in Tenerife. It also includes portraits of key individuals from the period, including Rory Storm, Gibson Kemp and Klaus Voorman, according to a museum press release.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalog called “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” published by Liverpool University Press. This book, available for purchase on Amazon, also contains a series of in-depth interviews with Astrid, Gibson Kemp, Ulf Krüger and Klaus Voorman by Colin Fallows.
“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” runs through January 29, 2011. Admission is free. The Victoria Gallery & Museum is located at the University of Liverpool, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3DR. For more information, visit http://www.liv.ac.uk/vgm/
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