Sunday, January 27, 2008

John's Teen Screen Magazine 1964

A friend gave me a near mint copy of this Beatlemania teen magazine for my birthday. I already had the "Paul" issue, so I was naturally very happy to receive the "John" one. These magazines are quite hilarious. Very little of the information included is actually true, but the pictures more than make up for it. I recall that the Beatles themselves would get particularly irritated by the American "movie mags" due to their complete disregard of the facts.

From the looks of it, most of the photos in this particular magazine came from the Beatles' first trip to the U.S., particularly their first Ed Sullivan appearance. I love the 10th picture--Mark Benson, who portrays John in the tribute band 1964, has that "face" down pat.

One of my favorite aspects of John's appearance was his gorgeous smile--I also love the way his eyes would light up when he was really amused by something, or genuinely happy. I once had a very close friend (with whom I've lost touch) who also had that same kind of smile. I find myself missing him as I write this.

Click on the above pictures to enlarge so you can make your very own Teen Screen magazine!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ringo Starr Is Having A Party--And You're Invited!

Ringo Starr is having a party in Los Angeles!

WHAT: Ringo Starr & Dave Stewart and band will perform a short set of Ringo's songs LIVE at an exclusive event celebrating the release of Ringo's new Capitol/EMI album, Liverpool 8!

WHEN & WHERE: 1pm PST on Friday, January 25 at Los Angeles' House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. & LIVE webcast on Ringo's official site

Amoeba Music in Hollywood and Los Angeles' KLOS 95.5 FM are giving you a chance to 'bypass the line' and guarantee your entry!

** Beginning Tuesday, January 22, while supplies last, purchase Ringo Starr's Liverpool 8 on CD or USB wristband at Amoeba Music in Hollywood to receive one 'bypass the line' pass to guarantee your entry into the party!
One non-transferable 'bypass the line' guaranteed entry pass per Liverpool 8 CD or USB wristband purchase. Limit 2 per customer. Offer is valid while supplies last. Name on pass must match ID for entry. Pass void if transferred, altered or otherwise tampered with.

** Los Angeles' KLOS 95.5 FM is the only radio station giving fans the chance to bypass the line for guaranteed entry to Ringo Starr's Liverpool 8 album release celebration at the House of Blues. Tune in to KLOS all week for a chance to call in and win a pair of passes to 'bypass the line' and celebrate with Ringo Starr!

** Fans without 'bypass the line' passes from Amoeba Music or KLOS are welcome to begin lining up at 9am on Friday morning outside the House Of Blues on Sunset Blvd. for a chance to be admitted to the event, space permitting. Due to capacity restrictions, there is no guarantee that fans without 'bypass the line' passes will be admitted, but we will do our best!

Event is all-ages. Doors open at 11am. Performance at 1pm.

** We hope you can join us for the
free LIVE webcast at Ringo Starr's official site:! Log on to the site on Friday for the 1pm PT (4pm ET) LIVE webcast of Ringo's Liverpool 8 celebration!

I've included a few personal scans from the original "Ringo for President" campaign, as well as pages from The Beatles Official Coloring Book, a Christmas gift from a friend. Those of you who are among the extremely creative, why not print and decorate the pages as you see fit? Email the results to me at with "Beatles Coloring Book" in the subject. I'll get some judges together to determine the top choices and post them here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ringo For President: Liverpool 8 Review

I could sum up this review in one sentence: This is Ringo's best album since Vertical Man.

I had been anticipating how Dave Stewart would impact Ringo Starr's work since I heard they were collaborating. Although the albums with Mark Hudson at the helm were often good, they were becoming a bit predictable; it was time for Ringo to try another "sound." Thankfully, Stewart dismisses a total reliance on Beatlesque flourishes, only keeping references that do not feel contrived. Hallmarks of Hudson's production remain in Liverpool 8 (especially in background vocals), but they are somewhat muted by Stewart's contributions and variations in approach and style. For example: "Think About You" bares traces of Hudson (particularly in the background vocals), yet is elevated by Stewart's touches and a blistering guitar solo by Roundhead Steve Dudas. Stewart adds interesting elements of backwards guitar, phasing, and electronica to the album, all of which are extremely refreshing. Ringo's voice is stronger and mixed better as well.

Some highlights:

"Liverpool 8" is one of Ringo's best songs since the Ringo and Good Night Vienna albums. Touching and nostalgic, with fine lyrics to boot.

The opening to "Gone Are The Days" reminds me of William Orbit. I wish the entire track continued in an electronica style.

"Give It A Try" reminds me of the Mavericks: a touch of flamenco and c&w.

"Harry's Song" is a jazzy rendering (think Django Reinhardt) with poignant lyrics. Nilsson would certainly approve.

"Love Is" is my second favorite track, and the one that forced my eyes to well. The opening finger picking guitar refrain hearkens back to "Julia," Hudson's mellotron to "SFF". Ringo often sings of universal love and peace, but the lyrics of "Love Is" are among the best of his oeuvre.

"R U Ready" is the outstanding track of the album: a country-gospel song about heaven, with references to Krishna. Lots of banjo. Fantastic lyrics.

If you have enjoyed Ringo's run with Mark Hudson (yet perhaps you weren't completely satisfied) I think you will be pleasantly surprised by this departure. Over all, the songs are stronger, have better lyrics, and a variety of styles are explored. I certainly hope Ringo collaborates with Dave Stewart on some future endeavors. This is one of Ringo's strongest efforts in recent years. (Mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound)

Enjoy the recent Mojo article--an insightful interview with Ringo, originally scanned and posted by someone at the fabulous Beatlepics site.

I have one promotional CD to give away to the first person who correctly answers a trivia question. Please post your answer in the comment section here. I will post a comment when I have a correct answer, and invite that person to email me with his or her mailing address!

**The current promotional campaign for Liverpool 8 consists of badges and bumper stickers urging a vote for "Ringo for President" on the platform of Peace & Love, a clever idea as this is an election year in the US, and it also relates to a past campaign as well. In 1964 (another election year) who released the novelty record "Ringo for President" and on what label? Good luck!!**

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Toasting the New Year with Beatle Dreams

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and that the new year brings you good health, peace in your heart and mind, and prosperity in all your ventures. For the first post of 2008 I've assembled some random photos I scanned (and touched up) from various '60s & '70s U.S. magazines. The first one seems appropriate for a New Year post, don't you think? Cheers!

Imagine how thrilled I was to find a picture of John brushing his teeth.

Well, first you'll need the back story:

In 1984 (aged 10 years), I was enamored by the usual lot of '80s pop stars including Duran Duran, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper. Around this time, I read an article in Rolling Stone which contained interviews with contemporary artists reflecting on those who had inspired them. In this article, Cyndi Lauper discussed her love and admiration for John Lennon. She recalled a dream she had of brushing her teeth with John, and they were both spitting in the same sink. For some reason, that stuck with me all these years (very strange, I know--maybe I wished I had dreamed it). I can still remember the portrait of Cyndi that accompanied the article. Many years later she performed a beautiful rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever" at the Imagine mosaic for the Come Together: A Night for John Lennon concert, and I thought of that interview. I wonder if Cyndi had this picture of John? If anyone reading knows Ms. Lauper, please refer her to this blog so she can see it and know her story made a lasting impression. :-)

Of course, the Ringo-brushing-his-teeth photo is also lovely, as is the one of a reclining George. I think the picture of John standing in what I think is the Beatles press office seems somewhat melancholy. It seems every version I've seen of the photo of John and Cyn on the boat has had Paul cropped out! I found it interesting to discover him there, hat on head, camera & ciggie in hand.

I have had a few Beatles-related dreams, one of which includes my presence at the recording of the Imagine album in John and Yoko's Ascot home studio. I recall laughing hysterically with John and then falling onto a couch with him, both of us still laughing. He was wearing the same shirt and jeans as he had on while recording the backing vocals of "Oh Yoko" with Phil Spector. Everyone was there--Yoko, Nicky Hopkins, George Harrison. Great dream. A few years after George's death, I had a dream that I was with a group of people on a beach at night. We had built a large fire in a pit in the sand. The George of 1995 sat there with us and told old stories all night. I felt at peace when I woke the next morning and smiled all day.

If you've had some Beatles-related dreams, please share them in the comment section.

Happy New Year! (Click to enlarge photos.)