Saturday, September 25, 2010

John by Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia Lennon (née Powell) (born 10 September 1939) is the former wife of musician John Lennon. She grew up in the middle-class section of Hoylake, on the Wirral Peninsula, and at 12 years old was accepted into the Junior Art School, and later was enrolled in the Liverpool College of Art. Lennon also attended the college, meeting Powell in a calligraphy class, which led to a relationship.

When Lennon was performing in Hamburg with The Beatles, she rented Lennon's bedroom from his aunt and legal guardian, Mimi Smith. After she became pregnant with Julian Lennon, the Lennons were married on 23 August 1962, at the Mount Pleasant Register office in Liverpool. In 1968, Lennon left her for Yoko Ono, and planned to sue for divorce and sole custody of their son. During this time Paul McCartney visited her, composing "Hey Jude" on the way. The Lennons' divorce was legally granted on 8 November 1968.

She married Italian hotelier Roberto Bassanini in 1970, divorcing him in 1973. In 1976, she married John Twist, an engineer from Lancashire, but divorced him in 1983. After her divorce, she changed her name back to Lennon by deed poll and met Jim Christie, who was her partner for 17 years. She published A Twist of Lennon in 1978, and later married Noel Charles, a night club owner, in 2002. In September 2005, she published a new biography, John. In 2006, she and her son attended the Las Vegas premiere of the Cirque du Soleil production of the Beatles Love, which marked her only joint public appearance with Ono. She currently lives in Majorca, Spain.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Their Manager Brian Epstein (1963)

Have you ever wondered what it must feel like to be the manager of a chart-topping disc star? Imagine the Palladium people telephoning you to talk terms and the record companies sending out their talent scouts to see what other goodies you've got amongst your pop stock!

A fair number of astute and influential music business moguls have found themselves in that envied position but only one man in Great Britain knows what it feels like to have his artists occupying not just the top one but the top THREE positions in the hit parade at the same time. He is 28-years-old Brian Epstein, director of Nems Enterprises, the Liverpool concern, which controls and guides the professional lives of The Beatles, The Fourmost, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer, The Dakotas, The Big Three and Tommy Quickly.

At the earliest stages of his adult career Brian Epstein was more concerned with dining suites and wardrobes than with disc sessions and one-night stands. He had gone into his family's extensive furniture business on the outskirts of Liverpool. Failing to see himself as a long-term enthusiast in this particular line Brian made a timely switch to something entirely different. For twelve months he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. At the end of this period he found he didn't want to become a professional actor and returned to Liverpool. He took with him a faultless speaking voice with a quality of diction which could do justice to even the most frightening passages of Shakespeare.

So far as the management/direction of artists was concerned it all started happening for Brian in 1961. At this time he was running several of Liverpool's largest record-retailing stores and whenever customers asked for specific out-of-stock records Brian would make a point of satisfying their requirements. In 1961 people were beginning to ask him for records by a local group called The Beatles. Fascinated by the group's name and obvious reputation Brian took himself underground to Liverpool's famous subterranean basement of beat, The Cavern, where The Beatles were giving forth with knock-out performances of things like "Twist And Shout," "Love Me Do" and "Long Tall Sally."

Several confabs later Brian had signed the fabulous foursome to an exclusive contract. For almost a year Brian watched his discoveries consolidate their position as the North West's favourite beat boys. He spent hours and days giving advice and encouragement which ran the grooming gamut from clothes and hair styles to choice of instruments and venues. Gradually The Beatles moved from small clubs to large ballrooms and from large ballrooms to luxury theatres.

By the middle of 1962 Brian was convinced that the time was ripe for a trip to London and a series of interviews with some of the country's leading recording managers.

Clutching a precious leather bag laden with Beatle-filled recording tapes Brian planed to the capital. "Eventually I was able to play my set of tapes to George Martin at E.M.I. That meeting and George's favourable reaction to everything he heard on the tapes led to the release of The Beatles' first Parlophone single three months later in October."

That Brian has a keen ear for chart-type sounds is obvious from the enormous success being enjoyed by his star-spangled roster of recording artists. Although it has left him with very little leisure time, Brian has continued to keep in closest contact with each group. He spends his time planing and training around the U.K. in a series of cross-country sprints so that he can attend concerts, recording sessions, television programmes and radio shows which involve Nems chart giants.

Brian is calm, cool and confident by nature but he still gets a tremendous kick out of hearing that any one of his artists has entered or re-entered the Top Twenty with a new release. He talks quietly, thinks briskly, dresses immaculately, plans brilliantly and works diligently. His relationship with the members of his groups is a close and unusually trouble-free one for his forthright business acumen is tempered by an acute personal understanding of their likes and dislikes. They, in turn respect the wisdom of his decisions and the value of his counsel upon all matters connected directly or indirectly with their busy new lives as part of Britain's entertainment scene.

Ever since the first week of April 1963 the Number One spot on the hit parade has been held by groups which are managed by Brian Epstein. In April it was Gerry And The Pacemakers ("How Do You Do It?"), in May it was The Beatles ("From Me To You"), in June it was Billy J. Kramer ("Do You Want To Know A Secret") followed by Gerry And The Pacemakers who are still at the pop peak with "I Like It" as this page goes to press in the middle of July. Throughout the later portion of this period The Beatles gave Brian a double honor by taking their "Please Please Me" album to the top of the LP charts. Brian was now the manager of Nems Enterprises groups which headed the best-sellers in both the single and long-play departments!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

New John Lennon Releases Scheduled for Release on October 5

Press release from EMI:

EMI Music is set to embark upon a sweeping catalogue initiative to commemorate John Lennon's 70th Birthday.

On October 5th, the 'Gimme Some Truth' catalogue campaign will launch, timed to coincide with what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday on October 9th.

Overseen by Yoko Ono, the project features:
- Eight albums remastered from John's original mixes

- 'Double Fantasy Stripped Down' 1980 GRAMMY Award winner for Album of the Year presented with a newly remixed 'Stripped Down' version produced by the album's original co-producers, Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas

- 'Power To The People: The Hits', a 15 track collection of John's hits - in both an audio-only CD format and a CD / DVD Experience format, containing the 15 videos for the hits

- 'Gimme Some Truth' - a 4CD collection based on the key themes in John's music: Working Class Hero - socio-political songs; Woman - love songs; Borrowed Time - life lessons songs; and Roots - rock 'n' roll roots songs

- An 11CD and digital John Lennon Signature Box - including all eight studio albums, a disc of 13 previously unreleased home tapes and studio outtakes, an EP of the non-album singles and B-sides, a 60 pg book celebrating John's life and solo career with liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis, a 70th birthday art print of one of John's drawings and personal essays written by Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon especially for this lavish collection.

- An exciting interactive online universe available with select releases from the project to immerse yourself in the world of John Lennon

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

John Lennon: The Kenwood Tapes

Kenwood is a house on the St. George's Hill estate, Weybridge, Surrey, England. Originally called the Brown House, it was designed by architect T.A. Allen, and built in 1913 by local builders Love & Sons. The estate was constructed around the Weybridge Golf Club, which was designed in 1912 by Harry Colt. Kenwood was re-named by manufacturer Ken Wood when he owned the property.

John Lennon, of The Beatles, bought Kenwood for £20,000 on July 15, 1964, on the advice of The Beatles' accountants, Dr. Walter Strach, and James Isherwood. Lennon was resident from the summer of 1964, until the late spring of 1968. Film of the exterior of the house and the gate was included in an ITN programme called Reporting 66, in 1966. Parts of a home movie showing Lennon at Kenwood (1967) were featured in the film Imagine: John Lennon.

Kenwood is close to Sunny Heights, the former home of Ringo Starr, and a short drive from Kinfauns, George Harrison's former home in Esher. In October 2006, Kenwood went back on the market, with an asking price of £5.95 million, and was sold in January 2007 for £5.8 million.

Lennon did much of his songwriting in the attic, where he had several Studer tape recorders. Little was done with them until fellow Beatle Paul McCartney came over and helped re-install them in sequence, so overdubs could be made. Lennon could thus record his own double-tracked song demos. (These demos, and some other, more avant garde sound recordings also made in the attic, have appeared on various bootlegs). The attic also contained a mellotron, an electric organ, a piano, a Vox AC30 and several guitars, all of which were used when songwriting. Lennon also wrote on an upright piano in the sunroom.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Paul McCartney Answers Fan Mail, 1963

Dear Paul,

I think the four of you are the greatest, dreamiest, most fantabulous thing that's happened to pop music in years. I'd like to say thank you for being like you are and for making such wonderful music.

I was wondering if you all prefer your fans to love the four of you equally. Please may I love you just a little more than the others?

Lots of kisses,

Sheila Watt.
Southgate, N.14.

Paul McCartney writes:
I love me a little more than the others so I don't see any reason why you shouldn't too?