New Play About John Lennon to Open in Liverpool

Today (Monday, 9 October) marks what would have been the 77th birthday of the legendary singer, songwriter, musician, peace campaigner and BeatleJohn Winston Lennon.

And in just over six months time, new comedy play Lennon’s Banjo will premiere at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre – telling the fascinating and touching story behind the beginning of the singer’s musical journey, influenced by his mother Julia.

Produced by Pulse Records Ltd in association with Bill Elms, Lennon’s Banjo will open at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre on Tuesday 24 April 2018 for a two-week run, continuing through until Saturday 5 May.

On 9 October 1957, a young John Lennon would have been celebrating his 17th birthday. It was the last birthday he would spend with his mother, Julia, who was killed the following Spring in a road traffic accident.

It was well documented that Lennon was estranged from his parents and brought up by his Aunt Mimi. He said in many of his interviews: “I lost my mother twice. Once when I was five-years-old when she left me with my Aunt Mimi, and again at 17 when she was run over by a drunken off-duty police officer.”

It was Julia Lennon who introduced John to the world of pop music, teaching him to play rock and roll on a banjo, given to her by John’s grandfather. Lennon often recounted how he would sneak off to visit his mum who lived only a few miles away. There, he would learn to play songs like ‘That’ll Be The Day’. He has been quoted as saying: “Mum would sit there with endless patience until I managed to work out all the chords.”

Mysteriously, the banjo went missing shortly after Julia Lennon’s death and no-one has set eyes on it since. One thing is certain though, if it did resurface it is estimated to be worth in the region of five million pounds.

Stage play Lennon’s Banjo is written by Rob Fennah, who will also co-produce the show. No stranger to theatre, Fennah wrote the stage play adaptation of Helen Forrester’s ‘Twopence to Cross the Mersey’.

 The play is based on the 2012 novel ‘Julia’s Banjo’ by Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones.

 Lennon’s Banjo is directed by Mark Heller and a full all-star cast will be announced soon.

Rob Fennah commented:The show tells the story of a Beatles tour guide who uncovers a clue to the whereabouts of Lennon’s missing banjo. It’s like The Beatles meets the Da Vinci Code. As a big Beatles fan, I have matched the story to historical reality including dates, places and events.

 “Next year marks the 60th anniversary of Julia’s tragic death. John idolised his mother. Julia’s banjo played a vital part in hers and John’s lives; nurturing and developing John’s musical talent; and of course, the history of popular music. Without the banjo, The Beatles would never have happened – that’s quite monumental when you think of the banjo in that context.

 “I want fellow Beatles fans to enjoy the romp through Beatledom in search of the holy grail of pop music and come out of the theatre believing, as I do, that the banjo is still out there somewhere just waiting to be found.”

 The creative team behind the show are delighted to announce the Fab Four Production Partners on-board are The Cavern, The Beatles Story, Hard Days Night Hotel, and The Beatles Shop.

 So where do the facts end and the fiction begin? Everything will be revealed in this fast paced, comic caper, multi-media play.

 Missing for 60 years… The holy grail of pop is now worth millions to whoever finds it!

Watch the Promo Video here   

 For more info visit



Epstein Theatre
Tue 24 April – Sat 5 May 2018


 Tickets are on sale now. 


ONLINE: CALL: 0844 888 4411

IN PERSON: Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ |Mon-Thu 2pm-6pm, Fri & Sat 12pm-6pm

ONLINE: CALL: 0844 8000 410

IN PERSON: Echo Arena Box Office, Kings Dock, Liverpool


Robert Whitaker Website Include lots of Beatles Photos

The website for the late photographer, Robert Whitaker, has just been updated, with lots of Beatles photos, including many rarely seen. Robert notoriously took the photo used on the Yesterday and Today LP in America, which shows the Beatles in white coats, draped with dismembered dolls and raw meat – the ‘butcher cover’. However, he took photos of the Beatles on many other occasions too, and many of these are included here. Go to

Yoko to Illuminate the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland

Yoko will be paying her annual visit to Iceland this October, to signal the illumination of Imagine Peace Tower in memory of John Lennon on Monday 9th October – his birthday. The illumination will be at 9 pm.

Located on the Icelandic island of Videy, Imagine Peace Tower is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko. It was dedicated to John by Yoko at its unveiling on October 9th 2007, John Lennon’s 67th birthday. Each year since then Yoko has travelled to Iceland to illuminate the vast tower of light – and it remains lit from 9th October until the day of Lennon’s death, December 8th.

For more on this story click here

Laurence Juber to Play in London Next Week

Laurence Juber is playing 2 concerts at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street, London next week. Laurence was of course in the last line-up of Wings.

Juber, known to his fans as LJ, has released 25 solo albums which spotlight his unique touch and tone on acoustic guitar. The latest, LJ Can’t Stop Playing The Beatles! is the third in his series of arrangements by the Fab Four.

His LJ Plays The Beatles was voted one of Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s all-time Top Ten albums. His solo arrangement of The Pink Panther Theme earned him a second Grammy, while his arrangement of Stand By Me was heard nationally in a Diamonds Are Forever commercial. Juber’s DVD-Audio project Guitar Noir (AIX Records) won a CES Demmy award for best audio.

His ‘photo memoir’ Guitar With Wings was recently published by Dalton Watson Fine Books.

The concerts are on October 11th and 12th. October 11th will be mainly of Beatles songs. N

By the way, Pizza Express is literally around the corner from MPL, Paul McCartney’s offices…

For more info and tickets, see

Paul McCartney in Soho Today

Thanks to my friend Gillian Byant, who told me that Paul McCartney was seen at the Soho Hotel in London today. He apparently posed for pictures and signed autographs (pity I wasn’t there!). The hotel is metres away from Paul’s offices in Soho Square. We have no info on what he was doing there though.

Paul is making a brief visit to London in between his concerts in the USA, and forthcoming concerts in South America.

October 5th 1962 – The Beatles Release ‘Love me Do’

On October 5th 1962, the Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do’ was released. On the Parlophone ‘red label’, it featured the Beatles recording made on September 4th 1962, with Ringo Starr on drums. This was significant, as originally, the Beatles producer George Martin wasn’t happy with Ringo’s drumming that day, and had the Beatles remake ‘Love Me Do’ on September 11th with session drummer Andy White on drums. Ringo was given a tambourine to bang, much to his ever lasting chagrin.  When it came to the original release though, Ringo’s version was chosen.

Things became confusing months later when Parlophone changed its record label to a black one, and at the same time, substituted the Andy White version of  ‘Love Me Do’ as the single. This led to a big mistake decades later. On October 5th 2012, EMI were due to re-release  ‘Love Me Do’ on its 50th anniversary, in an identical packaging and recording to the original release. We were sent copies of the new single to sell in the Beatles Coffee Shop. However, just 2 days before the release date, we were send an email from EMI to say the release had been cancelled to a ‘production problem’ and that we should send the singles back. Curious to what the problem was, I took a copy home and played it. The ‘problem’ was obvious right from the first few seconds – it was the wrong version of  ‘Love Me Do’! They had used the September 11th with Andy White on drums.

Because of the problem, the re-release of  ‘Love Me Do’ was delayed for several weeks, so missed the 50th anniversary. Rather than send all the copies we had of the rejected version back, I kept a couple. (shhh, don’t tell anyone!)

The reject re-release of Love Me Do

On October 5th 1982, Paul McCartney made a surprise visit to Abbey Road Studios, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Love Me Do. Well, it was supposed to be a surprise – lots of Paul’s fans (including yours truly!) found out Paul was going there. There was a group of about 10 fans outside when Paul arrived. He was totally amazed we were there – but was great about it. We all shouted out ‘Happy Anniversary!’  to Paul, and he said thanks and stayed around to sign autographs.

Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios, October 5th 1982, the 20th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do

On the 30th anniversary, I was invited to a special party in Studio Two at Abbey Road. As well as celebrating the anniversary, the British Council launched its new Beatles exhibition, including a video that included a section of me and members of the London Beatles Fanclub having a meeting at the Liverpool Beatles convention.

At the party, Apple MD Neil Aspinall, and reps from EMI, cut the 30th anniversary cake, which had been baked by Paul McCartney’s ex, Jane Asher!

The cake to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Love Me Do – as designed by Jane Asher!

Ringo to Kick Off US Tour in Las Vegas





Wednesday October 4, 2017 – Ringo is getting ready to hit the road next week with his longest running All Starr Band. This line-up has been touring with him since 2012 and features Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Hamm and Gregg Bissonette. The band launches the tour with a mini residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas beginning October 13. Ringo will dedicate the first show and make a donation from his Lotus Foundation to the victims from the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.

The tour will take them to Texas including a show in Austin at the Moody Theater on Halloween, down to Florida with two nights in Fort Lauderdale at the Parker Playhouse November 7 & 8, and concluding on the east coast November 15 show at New York’s Beacon Theater and the following night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Ringo just released his 19th solo album, Give More Love, which debuted at #25 on the US Top Current Album Charts. Recorded at his home studio in Los Angeles it features 10 new tracks and 4 bonus tracks (on the CD only). The original tracks were written and performed with friends, including Paul McCartney and Joe Walsh as well as Gary Burr, Nathan East, Peter Frampton, Amy Keys, Richard Marx, Gary Nicholson, Van Dyke Parks, Timothy B Schmidt, Dave Stewart, Benmont Tench, Don Was, Edgar Winter, and current All Starrs Steve Lukather, Richard Page and Gregg Bissonette.

Additionally a series of limited edition artist-signed photographic prints by Ringo Starr are now available from Genesis Publications. Ringo has chosen 12 images selected from his sell-out book, PHOTOGRAPH, to be reproduced as large format museum quality artworks including George during a visit to Miami, John in Paris, John and Paul singing at Abbey Road as well as stunning landscapes from Ringo’s travels around the world. All of Ringo’s royalties will go to benefit The Lotus Foundation, the charity he established with his wife Barbara Starkey. More information on the prints can be found at:…/

Here is where to catch Ringo and the All Starrs on the road:
13-14, 17, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas
29 Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM
31 Moody Theater, Austin TX

2 Smart Sugarland Civic Center, Sugarland, TX
3 The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX
4 Global Events Center at Winstar, Thackerville, OK
7, 8 Parker Playhouse, Ft Lauderdale, FL
11 Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA
12 ODU Pavilion, Norfolk, VA
14 Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ
15 Beacon Theater, New York City, NY , Sirius Town Hall
16 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

For More Information on the Tour and the new record go to:

For Information about the limited edition prints and book please visit:

About the Lotus Foundation:
Founded by Ringo and Barbara Starkey, the objectives of the Lotus Foundation are to fund, support, participate in and promote charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas included, but not limited to: substance abuse, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, cancer, battered women and their children, homelessness and animals in need.