Monthly Archives: February 2019

The Grapes speak out on ‘missing’ Beatles memorabilia following fan uproar

Last week iconic Mathew Street pub The Grapes reopened after a major refurbishment.

The pub which dates back to the 1960s is known for its connections to the Beatles.

Last year it was repossessed from the licensee by its owners and it been closed ever since.

Upon taking control back of the pub, owners Star Pubs and Bars appointed Blind Tiger Inns to manage the iconic Mathew Street venue and restore it to its ‘former glory.’

However, while the majority of regulars are happy the pub has reopened with a brand new look, some Beatles fans are disappointed to see famous Beatles memorabilia missing.

Ian Doyle, of Mad Day Out Beatles Taxi Tours, told the ECHO that he believes the iconic bench has been removed along with memorabilia: “I must admit it needed doing, the toilets were terrible and it needed and update but the Beatles fans are saying that yet another piece of Beatles history are gone.”

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The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ Is Now The 4th-Highest Certified Release In U.S. History

Bungalow Bill, Prudence, Rocky Raccoon and the rest of the Beatles’ celebrated White Album cast of characters have moved up the all-time charts.

The Recording Industry Association of America unveiled Thursday that the Beatles’1968 double-album reached 24-time Platinum-certified status – making it the fourth-highest certified release in United States history. The album lands ahead of a three-way tie for fifth place, shared by Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II, Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV and Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

That doesn’t mean it’s the fourth-highest selling album, though. The RIAA counts one double-album sale as two units. It does, however, add to the Beatles’ reign as top-certified group in association history. With an estimated 183 million certified units, the group holds a healthy lead to Garth Brooks’ second-place 148 million units.

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Peter Tork

We are very sad to hear of the passing of Peter Tork of the Monkees.

Although The Monkees were formed as characters in a TV show, that very much mimicked the Beatles films ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Help!’, they all became friends of the Beatles. The Fabs hosted a party for the Monkees at the Speakeasy Club when they arrived in London in 1967 Peter Tork played Banjo on George Harrison’s album ‘Wonderwall Music’ and Ringo appeared in a spoof  ‘Pizza Hut’ ad in the 1995

RIP Peter

In 1969 the fifth Beatle was heroin: John Lennon’s addiction took its toll on the band

Fifty years ago, the Beatles entered their final year as a working rock ’n’ roll band. And in the ensuing decades, the reasons for their eventual disbandment have been debated ad nauseam. Was it Yoko Ono’s constant presence in the studio? Paul McCartney’s increasingly controlling nature? John Lennon’s rage to break free of the partnership that he had brokered with McCartney after their meeting in a Liverpool churchyard in July 1957? Or simply Ringo Starr’s apathy or George Harrison’s need to strike out on his own and fulfill his promise as a songwriter in his own right?

In truth, although each of the above was a contributing factor, by January 1969 a much darker force had made its presence known in their world. During that fateful year, the Beatles suffered, as so many families do today, from the daily pain and bewilderment of an opioid addiction.

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Ringo Starr, Santana to Headline Woodstock 50th at Original Site

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the cultural center located at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, N.Y., announced today (February 19), the first acts that will perform at their edition of the festival’s 50th anniversary.

Ringo Starr will perform, as will several of the artists that played the legendary festival there in ’69, including Santana, Arlo Guthrie and Edgar Winter, at what’s being called Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival. The Doobie Brothers, who are touring with Santana this summer, will also be appearing.

The four-day event will celebrate the golden anniversary of the original, historic event, generally considered the most famous music festival of all time. However, it is scaled back from the original plans first announced in December.

Coming August 16-18, 2019, nearly 50 years to the day after the original, this “pan-generational music, culture, and community event,” as it was called in a December press release, will be held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which is approximately 90 minutes from New York City.

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band will headline on Friday, August 16, along with Arlo Guthrie, who performed just after midnight on Friday, the first day of the original festival. Also playing that evening is Edgar Winter with the Edgar Winter Band, returning to Bethel for the first time since performing at the ’69 festival with his brother, Johnny Winter.

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This is when iconic Grapes pub will reopen – as old sign is revealed

A striking old sign has been revealed on The Grapes pub in Mathew Street as renovation work begins – and the building’s owner has confirmed the famous pub will reopen this weekend.

The Grapes, in the heart of the Cavern Quarter, is one of Liverpool’s most famous pubs and was once a haunt of The Beatles in their Cavern days.

But it was repossessed from the licensee by its owners in December and has been closed ever since.

Star Pubs and Bars said it had taken back control of the pub “following a High Court possession order due to the financial circumstances of the licensee”.

Scaffolding has gone up and the green and white sign above the pub has now been taken down – to reveal a red and black sign saying “The Famous Grapes.” Work has also started inside the pub on what Star has promised will be “a programme of repairs and sympathetic redecoration”.

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A Very Beatley May Day Holiday Weekend in London

May Day! May Day! A very Beatley holiday weekend for the Mayday Holiday weekend:

Friday 3rd May Beatles ‘Come Together’ Show at the Exchange Theatre, Twickenham…/cavern-beatles-present-…/

Saturday 5th May – The Analogues play the ‘White Album’ at the London Palladium

Sunday 6th May – Beatles 1 Day, Turks Head, Twickenham.

Of course I’ll be doing my London Beatles Walks all weekend too! Full details at

It’s turning into London Beatleweek!

‘I took the last ever shot of the Beatles – and they were miserable!’

‘George Harrison was miserable from frame one to frame 500,” says Ethan Russell. “He was so over it. I don’t think he did anything but scowl for three hours.” The photographer is recalling the day he unknowingly took the last ever shot of the Beatles together. It was 22 August 1969, and they were all at John Lennon’s countryside estate near Ascot.

“Paul was trying to hold it together,” he adds. “He had his arms crossed like, ‘Come on, lads!’ But the concept of the Beatles just didn’t sync with who they were any more. I could have asked them to smile, but it would have been totally fake and I’m glad I didn’t. This marriage had come to an end – and boy does it show.”

The fact that this hugely significant photograph isn’t even one of Russell’s best speaks volumes about his career. Over a prolific 10-year period that culminated in 1978, Russell shot the world’s biggest rock stars, usually at their most candid. He had a ringside seat at what’s often seen as rock’s golden era. Russell wasn’t just friends with Lennon and Yoko Ono, he knew their cat as well. And when pandemonium gripped 1969’s Altamont free concert, where a fan was killed as the Rolling Stones played, Russell was airlifted out with the band.

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Michael Jackson and George Harrison: Rare radio interview restored

Forty years ago, two of music’s biggest stars walked into BBC Radio 1 and sat down to review the week’s new releases.

Michael Jackson and George Harrison spent the next 90 minutes discussing singles by Foreigner, Nicolette Larson and The Blues Brothers, as well as the stories behind their own songs.

The BBC discarded the show, keeping only a short clip. But now a rare recording has been found and restored.

Excerpts will be broadcast in a special documentary this weekend.

Listeners will hear Jackson, just months before releasing Off The Wall, discuss how Motown refused to let him write his own music; while Harrison explains what it was like to work in the songwriting shadow of Lennon and McCartney.

At one point, Jackson turns to the former Beatle and says: “Let me ask you a question, did you guys always write your own stuff from the beginning?”

The guitarist replies: “Well, John and Paul wrote right from before we ever made a record.”

Jackson seems taken aback, asking: “How did you manage that?”

“I don’t know,” drawls Harrison. “They were clever little fellows.”

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How Peter Jackson’s new version of ‘Let It Be’ will shatter your view of The Beatles

The Lord Of The Rings director is set to release his own version of the classic Beatles film, documenting studio days Paul McCartney has described as “hell… the most miserable sessions on earth”

If we’ve learnt anything from reality TV, it’s that if you put cameras anywhere – a restaurant, an Ibiza rep pub crawl, a village bake off, even the most arse-scratching sofa telly sesh – the egos involved will explode. So put a film crew into the most hot-house environment outside of Theresa May’s emergency supplication lessons – The Beatles on the brink of collapse in Twickenham Film Studios, January 1969 – and it’s no surprise that tensions were amplified.

That’s what makes Let It Be project the one that the Beatles machine is most reluctant to revisit. After all, when you’re flicking through old pictures of a relationship, you tend to skip over the ones of the tense final meal that ended with the bill being rammed down your throat.

So fans are getting understandably excited by the news that Peter Jackson is set to direct a new version of the film from the 55 hours of original footage and 140 hours of audio recordings, including the 42 minute film of the band playing on the roof of Apple Corps, the original guerrilla gig. Unless he somehow contrives the notion that the Beatles split was down to in-fighting over some manner of magical ring, it promises to be the most revealing new Beatles project in decades. Here’s why…

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