Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
George Harrison (1943-2001)
Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)
George Harrison (1943-2001)
February 1, 1964 was the day that a Beatles song hit Number One for the first time in the USA. The song was “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The Beatles flew into JFK on February 7 and made their first appearance on Ed Sullivan two days later. And we all had a gear time!
He was born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940. Like the other three Beatles, Lennon grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool. His parents, Julia and Fred, separated before he was two (Lennon saw his father only twice in the next 20 years), and Lennon went to live with his mother’s sister Mimi Smith; when Lennon was 17 his mother was killed by a bus. He attended Liverpool’s Dovedale Primary School and later the Quarry Bank High School, which supplied the name for his first band, a skiffle group called the Quarrymen, which he started in 1955.
John Lennon didn’t invent rock and roll, nor did he embody it as toweringly as figures like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, but he did more than anyone else to shake it up, move it forward and instill it with a conscience. As the most daring and outspoken of the four Beatles, he helped shape the agenda of the Sixties – socially and politically, no less than musically. As a solo artist, he made music that alternately disturbed and soothed, provoked and sought community. As a human being, he served as an exemplar of honesty in his art and life.
John Lennon’s first Rolling Stone interview~ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/john-lennon-1970-jann-wenner-rolling-stone-interview-w481395
John Lennon’s final interview~ http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/hear-john-lennons-final-interview-taped-on-the-day-of-his-death.html
While some accused Ringo Starr of being a clumsy drummer, many more agreed with George Harrison’s assessment: “Ringo’s the best backbeat in the business.” And while many in the wake of the Beatles’ breakup predicted that Starr would be the one without a solo career, he proved them wrong. Not only has he released several LPs (the first came out before the Beatles disbanded) and hit singles, but he’s also the only Beatle to establish a film-acting career for himself outside of the band’s mid-’60s movies.
Anybody who knows the Beatles’ music intimately knows the tympanic accents and fills as clearly today as when they were recorded: the famous drum roll that launches into “She Loves You”; the shimmering incandescence of his cymbal work on so many of those early hits; the impressionistic free-form of “Rain”; the loping cadence and crispy snare of “Sexy Sadie”; the haunting, almost cinematic drama and rich texture behind “Long, Long”; the building, tour-de-force crescendo that leads up to the “The End” on “Abbey Road.”
“Here’s what I discovered in the very first session that I did with him,” recalls Walsh. “He came in and I said, ‘You want to see a chart on the song?’ And he said, ‘No, give me the lyrics.’ He responds to the singer. A great example of that is when he plays on the Beatles’ ‘Something’ and he does that fill that’s such a musical response it’s almost like a guitar player; there’s notes to it.”
I was saying to someone the other day that one of the very first gigs we did – I don’t even think we were the Beatles, it was the Quarrymen – one the very first times I ever played with John, we did a very early gig at a thing called a Co-Op Hall, and I had a lead solo in one of the songs and I totally froze when my moment came. I really played the crappiest solo ever. I said, “That’s it. I’m never going to play lead guitar again.” It was just too nerve-wracking onstage. So for years, I just became rhythm guitar and bass player and played a bit of piano, do a bit of this, that and the other. But nowadays, I play lead guitar, and that’s the thing that draws me forward. I enjoy it. So, yeah, that means the answer to “Are you going to retire?” is “When I feel like it.” But that’s not today.
At the deepest level, McCartney has little idea where all the melodies come from. He still hasn’t figured out how he wrote “Yesterday” in his sleep. “I don’t like to use the word ‘magic,’ unless you spell it with a ‘k’ on the end, because it sounds a bit corny. But when your biggest song – which 3,000 people and counting have recorded – was something that you dreamt, it’s very hard to resist the thought that there’s something otherworldly there.”
As a songwriter, Harrison was continually out-gunned by Lennon-McCartney. The intense trio of songs he contributed to Revolver — “Taxman,” “I Want to Tell You,” and “Love You To” — would be his most significant contribution to a single Beatles album. He had other classics to his credit, including “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” his first Beatles A-side, a track which would top the charts in America. (Both came off 1969’s Abbey Road) But Harrison also funneled his creativity into the guitar, a suitably introspective pursuit. From his raw, early rock-and-roll influences he extrapolated a wide-ranging and poetic style. In the late sixties, he helped introduce the slide guitar to prominence; he also popularized the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and its ultra-distinctive sound on 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night.
Richard Hamilton* – The Beatles White Album Cover design – from Turnbull Studio
In one of Richard Hamilton’s last filmed interviews, he tells the story of how he designed the Beatles White Album cover. Together with Paul McCartney, they decided that the next Beatles cover should be the total opposite of the Sgt Pepper’s design, which is packed full of Peter Blake’s now iconic imagery, and Richard created a minimalist white double cover sleeve. The Beatles record label, EMI had concerns, but Paul McCartney, who commissioned Richard to design the cover, persuaded EMI to allow the design to go ahead. This Beatles White Album is probably the first album to be known by the cover design and not the actual name of the album, which is simply, “The Beatles”.
*Richard Hamilton (February 24, 1922 – September 13, 2011) was an English painter and collage artist.
The Beatles’ second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show took place in Miami’s Deauville Hotel. The Beatles arrived in Miami on Thursday, February 13, and the concert took place on the night of the 16th. The link below is of a rehearsal, which was filmed but not aired.
Rehearsal video here~
BEATLES REHEARSALS : R. CORTES : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
The Beatle’s first live appearance on U.S. television was February 9, 1964. However, Americans did have previous chances to see them via stories on the evening news, and a taped segment on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. The common thread to these appearances is the sarcasm and bad jokes which the reporters and Paar felt compelled to use in order to dismiss the Beatles as an inexplicable phenomenon. All of them were probably taken aback when they finally realized that the Beatles weren’t going to go away any time soon.
November 18, 1963 on “The Huntley-Brinkley Report”~
Nov. 22, 1963 on “CBS Morning News With Mike Wallace”~
The Beatles, JFK and Nov. 22, 1963~ http://articles.latimes.com/2013/nov/22/entertainment/la-et-ms-beatles-kennedy-assassination-nov-22-1963-20131122
January 3, 1964 on the :Jack Paar Tonight Show”~
Transcript of the Beatles’ first American press conference, held at Kennedy International Airport on February 7th~
The original AP story~
A/P photos of the Beatles’ arrival~