All posts by Richard Porter

As dad Paul performs tonight, Mary McCartney shows photos in Crescent City: ‘I edited with New Orleans … in mind’

Black and white images of a louche model, pensive ballet dancers and a bed with rumpled sheets are at home on the walls of A Gallery for Fine Photography in New Orleans.

In “From the Print Drawer,” photos by Mary McCartney evoke timelessness and an intimacy enhanced by the 19th-century venue, and vice versa. And that’s the point.

“This show came about specifically for this gallery,” said McCartney. “I edited for New Orleans and the gallery in mind.”

McCartney started shooting with a Leica R, given to her by her mother, photographer Linda McCartney, whose iconic work includes a photo of baby Mary nestled in the fur-lined jacket of her father, Paul McCartney, that was used on the back cover of his solo album, “McCartney.”

Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, performs at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Thursday night. Daughter Mary will lend a hand with social media.


For more click here

Liverpool’s Cavern Club named the UK’s favourite small music venue

There are thousands of music venues across the country, from hidden intimate gig spots to major stadiums that hold world tours.

And while the biggest concert venues are in London, or Glasgow, Liverpool has one of the most popular venues of all time.

The Cavern Club, on Mathew Street, has been awarded the top small venue in the country, beating Ronnie Scott’s and Jazz Cafe in London.

The accolade has been given to the famous Liverpool venue by new research from ICMP, that looked into hundreds of venues across the UK.

Out of all the smaller gig venues in the country, The Cavern Club was the most Instagrammed and the most highly rated venue on TripAdvisor.

Liverpool’s M&S Arena also came fifth in the Top 5 Indoor Arenas category, behind Alexandra Palace, The SSE Hydro, Manchester Arena and The O2 Arena.

For more click here

Imagine all the people: Beatles Story report record breaking attendance

The Beatles Story is celebrating its best-ever year of attendance, breaking previous records for the fifth year running. Results show that the award-winning attraction welcomed a total of 310,894 visitors during the 2018/19 season. In the previous year, The Beatles Story welcomed 305,335, making this season’s results around a 2% improvement.

The majority of visitors came from overseas, with the attraction experiencing further growth from international markets, which now represents over 60% of total visitors. To cater for international audiences, The Beatles Story has recently introduced two new languages to its multimedia guides; Korean and Cantonese. The complimentary guides are now available in twelve different languages, making The Beatles Story one of the most international-friendly attractions in the UK.

For more click here

Forget Liverpool. Hamburg, Germany, made the Beatles into the band they became

At the tender age of 8, I knew the Beatles were extraordinary. In their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” they sang and played effortlessly, their timing perfect despite rarely looking at one another.

Like thousands of others, I basked in that black-and-white glow on that Sunday night in February 1964, but when it was over, I had a burning question: How did they do that?

I recently had the chance to find out. On a business trip to Germany, I spent three days in St. Pauli, the Hamburg district where the Beatles became really good before they became really, really famous.

My expert guide: Peter Paetzold, a bearded 68-year-old with the street cred of a chain-smoking rock drummer, well versed about St. Pauli’s music scene of the 1960s. He grew up around the corner from the Indra club, one of four venues the group played.

For more click here

Rare and controversial Beatles record owned by John Lennon sells for £180,000

A rare and controversial Beatles record once belonging to John Lennon has sold at auction for £180,000.

The so-called “butcher” cover of Yesterday And Today sparked outrage upon its unveiling in the US in 1966 as it showed the Fab Four smiling while posing in white coats and covered in pieces of raw meat and decapitated baby dolls.

The controversy led to it being withdrawn and replaced by a more public-friendly cover showing the band standing around an old fashioned steamer trunk.

Despite the last-minute change, the damage was done to The Beatles’ record label, Capitol, and it was reportedly the only Beatles’ album to lose money for the company.

Lennon’s personal copy of the album went under the hammer at an auction in The Beatles’ home city of Liverpool on Thursday, and smashed its expected selling price.

For more click here

Tributes to Monty Lister, the man who interviewed The Beatles

Listeners and volunteers at Radio Clatterbridge have been saddened to learn of the death of one of the station’s founding members, the broadcaster Monty Lister.

He was 92.

Monty managed the station until 1967 before he moved to BBC Radio Merseyside to present the long-running Sunday morning request programme Tune Tonic.

Roger Hazlewood, our Honorary President who Monty enlisted the previous year, described him as a “force behind the scenes” who was always available to discuss strategy for the station in the early years.

“I have met many gentlemen in my life but Monty is one of a very small number that can also be called a gentle man. Rest in peace.” – Roger Hazlewood

Monty interviewed a number of well-known celebrities of the era including Bill Haley, Cliff Richard and Gene Vincent and he recorded possibly the last interview with Eddie Cochran who died in a car crash days later.

However, he is perhaps best remembered for recording the first broadcast interview with The Beatles for us in 1962 for the programme Sunday Spin, which he also broadcast to Cleaver Hospital in Heswall.

For more click here

Yesterday review – Richard Curtis’ magical mystery tour of a world without the Beatles

Imagine no Beatles, it’s not easy even if you try. No Yesterday, no Blackbird, no Sgt Pepper … and then … no Imagine, no all-time best Bond theme (Live and Let Die), no all-time best comedy band name (Ringo Deathstarr), no Concert for Bangladesh to inspire Live Aid, no Withnail & I, no Life of Brian – but then again, no Charles Manson. In a Beatle-less universe, Mike McGear could be Bono’s producer and best mate and Jeff Lynne is president of the world. Screenwriter Richard Curtis’s goofy, wacky, exasperatingly enjoyable fantasy-comedy riffs on ideas like these with a story co-written with Jack Barth – although it turns out TV’s Goodnight Sweetheart got to the idea first. It is directed with dash and gusto by Danny Boyle.

Maybe it shouldn’t be any sort of evaluative factor, but the simple fact of hearing Beatles songs, the simple thought experiment of pretending to hear them for the first time, does carry a charge. And, although this film can be a bit hokey and uncertain on narrative development, the puppyish zest and fun summoned up by Curtis and Boyle carry it along. It’s ridiculous and indulgent at all times, like Russell Crowe shouting his “Are you not entertained” line from Gladiator wearing a Beatles wig. Yet there is a weird and heavy backwash of sadness at the end, a kind of melancholy comedown, and I can’t quite decide if that was intentional or not.


For more click here

DJ Who Began ‘Paul is Dead’ Rumors, Russ Gibb, Dies

Russ Gibb, the Detroit disc jockey who, nearly 50 years ago, fueled a rumor that had begun weeks earlier that Paul McCartney was dead, has himself died. The longtime local music legend died April 30 in Garden City, Mich. Gibb was 87 and living at a rehab center in nearby Dearborn Heights. His death was reported by the Detroit Free Press.

On October 12, 1969, while on-air at WKNR-FM in Detroit, Gibb took a call from a listener who told him that in “Revolution 9,” a voice says, “Turn me on, dead man.” And it’s a sign that Paul McCartney is dead. Gibb played the song as instructed and his listener phone line lit up with more callers offering clues that indicate that Macca “blew his mind out in a car” accident a few years earlier and was replaced by a lookalike to spare Beatles fans the grief of losing their hero.

The rumors had started with a September 17 article in the college paper at Drake University in Iowa that explored whether McCartney was dead and mentioned the backwards-masked voice on “Strawberry Fields…” and other clues. Two days after Gibbs’ broadcast, a University of Michigan student published a satirical review of Abbey Road that details the clues to McCartney’s demise on the album, a number of which he simply made up. Soon after, they were being picked up by wire services and printed in newspapers across America. On October 19, WKNR devoted a two-hour show to the mystery.

Eventually hundreds of “clues” were “discovered” by fans. The armband Paul wears on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s supposedly reads “OPD” for “officially pronounced dead” (though it actually reads “OPP” for Ottawa Provincial Police and was given to McCartney while on tour in Canada)– just one of the many hints of Paul’s death people read into that cover.

Similarly, the four Beatles striding across the street on Abbey Road represent an undertaker (Ringo in black), gravedigger (George in denim), minister (John in white) and corpse (Paul barefoot and out of step with the others). The license plate of the Volkswagen in the background reads “28 IF,” meaning McCartney would have been age 28 if he’d lived (though he was only 27 at the time).

For more click here

Ringo Starr honours historic US label at Jazz FM Awards

Ringo Starr has paid tribute to the president of one of the US’ most prestigious jazz labels during an event celebrating the genre in London.

The former Beatle handed Don Was the lifetime achievement gong for his work as president of Blue Note Records at the Jazz FM Awards at Shoreditch Town Hall in east London.

The historic label has released music by John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk since its inception in 1939.

Was, who has produced for stars including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Elton John, has been the label’s president since 2012.

for more click here

Julian Lennon on Yoko, Cynthia, Ringo and Sean

Julian Lennon is doing a book tour for the third in a series of children’s books. The latest title, Love the Earth, written with Bart Davis and illustrated by Smiljana Coh, was published on April 22 (via Skyhorse Publishing). The singer-songwriter, musician, philanthropist and photographer [check out his Instagram account] did a Q-and-A with radio legend Dennis Elsas at a New York City Barnes & Noble on April 22 and then joined Elsas (and his Fab Fourum co-hosts Bill Flanagan and Tom Frangione) for a wide-ranging April 24 interview on SiriusXM’s Beatles Channel.

The son of John and Cynthia Lennon turned 56 on April 8. In 1984, at just 21, he released his debut album, Valotte, which yielded two hit singles, the title track and “Too Late For Goodbyes.” Both songs were Top 10 singles on the Hot 100. With the still-maturing performer suddenly omnipresent, the public were amazed at how much he resembled his father in looks and voice.

For more click here