Devil's RadioWe're back with more Beatlejuice . . .
Our buddy Weed says to file the following under: Another Sign the Apocalypse Is Upon Us.
Number of Apple Records sides available on iTunes: Chris Hodge ? 4 The Beatles ? 0
If you're keeping score at home, yes, that represents Hodge's entire Apple catalog. We don't know whether the downloads of Hodge's 1972 Apple tracks "We're on Our Way," "Supersoul," "Goodbye Sweet Lorraine" and "Contact Love" are officially sanctioned by Apple, or if they still belong to Apple (maybe he had a contract where they reverted to him after a few years), or if they even remember Chris Hodge. But the tracks are up there on iTunes (along with some of his tracks from other labels and a bunch of previously unreleased stuff). And, of course, we still have no sanctioned Beatles downloads on iTunes or anywhere else. Anyway, you can check it out at Hodge's Web site (http://www.chris-hodge.co.uk), which is prominently adorned with the Apple Records logo. And we're willing to bet THAT'S not sanctioned.
Rolling Stone magazine so corporate these days that it rarely bucks the record industry, which is why we were amused when our pal Howie pointed out that the Stone (as it was known back in the hippie heyday) named the bootleg Purple Chick remasters of Beatles albums "Best DIY Reissues" in its Best of Rock 2008 list. Although no Web site was listed to download them, in a rare ballsy move RS told readers interested in the releases to do a Google search for "purple chick and megaupload."
Remember rock singer/model wannabe Ruth McCartney, Sir Paul's estranged stepsister? (She was HUGE in Russia. Or so she said.) She's now CEO and co-founder of McCartney Multimedia and iFanz.com, an L.A.-based company that helps clients track who and where their fans are, and what those fans want and need. Self-pronounced "Digital Diva" McCartney recently hosted a symposium at the Center for Advancing Business Through Information Technology. She said that her childhood experience helping her mom (Jim Mac's second wife, Angie) sort her stepbrother's fan mail led her to realize not only how close fans felt to musicians they'd never met, but how the stars themselves never knew who bought their music. Ruth and her husband, Martin Nethercutt, formed iFanz.com 13 years ago to help artists manage their fan base directly online. Among her clients are John Cleese of Monty Python, Billy Bragg and David Cassidy. When Cassidy was assembling a greatest hits album, McCartney suggested he poll his fans on her site. Turned out only 40 percent of his proposed compilation jibed with what his fans wanted. (Too bad she can't make the same suggestion to her brother!) The company also sells T-shirts and sends out fan e-mail blasts.
We're not sure how many fans of Ringo and his late, lamented band the Roundheads, led by producer Mark Hudson, are actually Hudson Brothers fans, but there's probably a few. So this is for them: A 3-disc DVD set of the Saturday morning comedy show that Hudson and his brothers had back in the 1970s, "The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show: The Complete Series," is out June 17 from Video Service Corp. It sells for $29.98.
Last year, you'll recall, Cheap Trick performed Beatles songs, including the "Sgt. Pepper's" album, at the Hollywood Bowl and New York City's Waldorf Astoria, with former Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick at the soundboard. Recently, Emerick and Trick's Robin Zander have been working on a DVD of the New York performance that they hope to release sometime in 2008. Meanwhile, the band is doing some more Sgt. Pepper Revisited shows this summer.
The woman who as a 17-year-old inspired Paul McCartney to write "She's Leaving Home" recently hit the news again when authorities in Spain, where she lives, forced her to demolish her home because it had been built illegally. Melanie Coe, now 58, was the subject of U.K. newspaper headlines back in 1967 for sneaking out of her parents' North London home because she was pregnant, and the story caught McCartney's eye. Although in his fictionalized version she left home to meet a man in "the motor trade," she actually ran away with a croupier. They spent a week together and then she went home and had an abortion. Not quite as romantic as the "fun" Macca envisioned in his tune. She later moved to L.A., where she dated Burt Ward, who played Robin on the old "Batman" TV series. She says that "She's Leaving Home" actually wasn't her first connection with McCartney. "I first met Paul when I was 13 and on the pop show 'Ready Steady Go!'," she told London's Mail on Sunday. "He presented me with first prize for miming to Brenda Lee's 'Let's Jump the Broomstick,' which meant I danced on the show for a year."
Planet Stella continues to expand. In addition to her high fashion line, sportswear and perfume lines, Stella McCartney has signed a deal with Italy's Luxottica for a line of designer sunglasses. The first collection of shades under the six-year deal will be launched in summer 2009. ...
Ringo Starr's stepdaughter Francesca Gregorini, formerly known
chiefly as the ex of Portia DeRossi, is now making her name in production
circles. She and Tatiana von Furstenberg are co-directing "Tanner
Hall," a never-made UPN TV series pilot that is finding new life as an
indie feature film. Chris Kattan, Amy Sedaris and Tom Everett
Scott have been cast in the picture, written by von Furstenberg and
Gregorini. It's a coming-of-age story about four teenage girls at a boarding
school and their parents and teachers. Von Furstenberg is the daughter of
fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg and Gregorini is Barbara Bach's
daughter. The two met while attending Brown University (also the alma mater of Dhani
Harrison). UPN had picked up the project as a potential series but it fell
victim to the UPN-WB merger into the CW. The pair took the project back,
reworked the script, broadened its scope and made it into a feature film.
They're also producing the movie, which is being shot in Rhode Island. Gregorini
was the partner of Australian actress DeRossi from 2000 to 2004. DeRossi is now
with Ellen DeGeneres. Gregorini also works as a singer-songwriter, having
contributed two songs to the 2001 film "See Jane Run".
Julian Lennon has shown up in the news a couple of times recently, but unfortunately neither was in connection with a new album. MyStore.com confirmed that Lennon is among the group of private investors behind Yourstore, LLC, which owns and operates wwww.mystore.com, an online marketplace. "In addition to his monetary investment, Julian has contributed some great ideas to the options MyStore.com offers to musicians and artists who want to resell or self-distribute their music and art online," said Todd Meagher, the company's CEO. Lennon was an early user of the site, setting up his own MyStore and linking it to his MySpace page. Julian also has purchased a residence at the Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences in Miami Beach's South Beach, it was announced. He plans on splitting his time between Miami and Europe. "Miami Beach is one of my favorite places, and I am excited to own a residence there," he said. Lennon reportedly is still working on his sixth album, which will be called "Conscious". His official Web site is currently undergoing reconstruction, but his MySpace site has early mixes of three new songs and a remixed version of "Saltwater". He also is the producer of the documentary "WhaleDreamers," about an aboriginal tribe and its special relationship to the whales. The film was shown at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Both the Observer and the Guardian papers in Britain have reported that The Beatles' Apple Corps is about to start the slow process of restoring their TV film "Magical Mystery Tour" for future DVD re-release.
Paul McCartney's onetime fianc?e, British actress Jane Asher, seen recently in the film "Death at a Funeral," talked to the London Daily Mirror about having her sons, ages 23 and 25, still living at home. "I hope they stay as long as they want, I hate to think of them leaving," she said. "I wouldn't mind at all if they're all here in their 40s." Asher also has had a recurring role on the BBC1 TV hospital drama "Holby City" and she's filming a new drama for ITV called "The Palace" in Lithuania. She plays the Queen in a fictional royal family. Asher has been married to cartoonist Gerald Scarfe for 36 years. She continues to refuse to discuss her time in the 1960s with McCartney and The Beatles. "I never talk about that," she says. "Private life is private life."
Our pal Weed recently returned from Las Vegas and reports that Cirque du Soleil continues to tinker with "LOVE" show featuring Beatles music. The long-winded "Blackbird" sketch has been removed. In its place is a much more thematically consistent performance of the song, with appropriate staging replacing the previous "blowhard" poetry reading. Other than that, only a couple of minor tweaks in the "linkages" between songs (most noticeably, inserting a bit of "It's All Too Much").
A name from The Beatles' past, John Alexis Mardas (aka "Magic Alex"), resurfaced recently when the London daily The Independent ran the following correction notice: "On 14 June we inaccurately referred to Mr. Mardas' involvement with The Beatles' company, Apple Electronics Ltd. Mr. Mardas was not an employee of this company but a director and shareholder. He was not sacked by Apple Electronics but resigned his directorship in May 1971, retaining the shareholding until he gave it to Apple Corps some years later. We accept that he did not claim to have invented electric paint, a flying saucer or a recording studio with a 'sonic force field,' or cause his employers to waste money on such ideas. We apologise to Mr. Mardas for these errors." Darn, and those were some of our favorite Apple myths! ... From the Wisconsin State Journal comes this heartwarming nugget: Tom Zimbrick and his wife took their three kids, ages 10 to 17, to London's Abbey Road, to do as thousands had done before them: re-create the "Abbey Road" cover shot of the band walking in the zebra-striped crosswalk. Zimbrick says his wife Marykay took the photo while he watched traffic which was brisk (trying to run down Beatles fans in the crosswalk is apparently a favorite sport among North London drivers). As his kids were putting their shoes back on (everyone wants to be barefoot Paul!) he looked up and saw a man coming toward them, talking on a cellphone. The man leaned over to Zimbrick's daughter and said, "It's a pretty cool picture, isn't it?" Then Zimbrick's wife looked over and blurted out, "Holy smoke, Sir Paul McCartney!" Macca chatted with the family and even posed for a photo, though he said, "I usually don't do this." A very memorable moment for the Zimbrick family. ... During an August appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, official Beatles biographer Hunter Davies (who has a new autobiography out in Britain), showed a 3-minute Super 8 movie he recently unearthed while researching his memoirs. It was shot in 1968, not long after Macca had started his relationship with Linda Eastman, and was shot when Paul and Linda came for a visit to Davies' home in Portugal. Macca is shown walking on the beach with Linda, sitting playing with various children, drinking tea (aha!) and talking with members of the local press. ... According to a post on U2's official Web site, when the Irish band recently was recording at Abbey Road, Sir Paul and Sir George Martin dropped by. Said the post: "Bit of a moment to see Macca sliding down the banister of the stairway from the control room to the studio floor. This place is like his second home."
For a veteran spotlight hound, Heather Mills McCartney's
post-breakup publicity offensive at times has seemed in disarray. Like when
Heather's U.S. publicist Michele Elyzabeth announced that Heather had
gained full custody of daughter Beatrice in an agreement with Sir Paul.
Almost immediately, Macca's spokesman and lawyers shot that down as "total
rubbish" and Heather's own U.K. spokeswoman, Anya Noakes, told
People magazine that the report was not true and added: "Michele is
Heather's U.S.-based publicist and a friend of hers, but I have absolutely no
idea why she would have said this, as no decisions have been made about custody
of Beatrice." . . . C.B. Wallop caught up with Elvis
Costello after a recent show in Atlanta and asked if he'd ever considered
being in Ringo's All Starr Band. "I don't think I am All Starr
material," Costello said. He also said that the had spoken recently with
Macca and he thought the split with Heather was "the right thing for
him." Touring with Costello was Allen Toussaint, who worked with Wings
on the "Venus and Mars" album in New Orleans. Asked to sign the LP
cover, Toussaint said, "Woooo, now that takes me back . . . We was a
partyin' in them days!" Looking over the center spread, he pointed to Linda
Mac and said, "Now there was a lady." He said he had last spoken
with McCartney at the Grammys but added, "I'm sure he's a gonna be alright.
He should come back South and relax with us again. We had a grand time!" He
added that Linda was a great photographer and he still has a bunch of pictures
she gave him. . . . Known in his heyday in Liverpool for his "atomic"
beat, former Beatles drummer
Pete Best doesn't seem to have lost any decibels. During a July 30
outdoor show by Best and his band in Athens, GA, a college town that's spawned R.E.M.,
the B-52's and Widespread Panic, police showed up and cited the
club's owner for violating the county's noise ordinance because someone living
several blocks away had complained about the volume of the sound. Police did not
shut down the concert, which was over shortly before 10 p.m. . . . Here's the
text of a letter Yoko Ono sent to a recent tribute to onetime Apple
manager Allen Klein:
"Time flies. I am surprised that Allen and I have known each other for such a long time. 37 years; that's a long time. The first time I met Allen was at the Dorchester Hotel in London with John. John and I had a fixed cartoon image of Allen as the 'meanest business man in town.' That made us a bit nervous, but in person we immediately noticed that Allen was clearly very human.
"First off, he knew which Beatles songs were John's -- well, that was important enough as you can imagine -- but Allen knew every lyric to every song John wrote, and kept reciting them, fluently weaving them into his conversation. Allen not only knew John's lyrics, but seemed to know every Rock and Roll lyric that was ever written. So the guy was a 'lyric' man; neither John nor I expected that from him. We were both totally impressed, that was it.
"At Allen's suggestion, John decided to sign a letter of intent for Allen. There was no typewriter in the room, but as if by magic, Iris' hands slowly stretched out from behind the door with a typewriter. Since neither Allen nor John could type, I played the secretary and typed the letter for John to sign. John signed and the rest was history.
"By the way; Allen went too far that day -- he had a macrobiotic dinner waiting for us, not knowing that we were off macrobiotic at the time [crowd laughter]. We laughed, but his caring showed and we liked that.
"Allen was thought of as the 'tough guy,' but in his private life he was and is a good daddy and grandpa to all his children and grandchildren. He is also a warm friend to all of us who know him. So contrary to what people might think; he, his family and I have remained good friends throughout all these years.
"I am happy that he is finally being honored for his dedication to the music business. I am sorry that he cannot be here tonight, but he is well represented by his son Jody, his daughters Robin and Beth -- and of course Iris the 'superwoman.?
"Good work Allen, we all love you.
June 15, 2006"
Sir Paulie famously dreamed the tune to "Yesterday" (as he
tells ad nauseum). In that grand tradition, the New York dance act the Scissor
Sisters has a tune called "Paul McCartney" on its upcoming album.
According to Ana Matronic of the Scissors, partner Jake Shears
"had a dream and wrote the song when he woke up. It's definitely an homage.
But it doesn't sound anything like any Paul McCartney song that I've ever heard.
It's pure hands-in-the-air, ridiculous disco fun." Sounds like something
right up Macca's alley. . . . A couple of interesting tidbits from an interview
with former Wingsman Denny Laine coming up in Beatlefan: 1) He was
with The Beatles at John Lennon's house in 1965 when they first watched
the Shea Stadium footage. 2) When he moved to Las Vegas a year or so ago, he
proposed to Macca a Wings musical along the lines of ABBA's "Mama
Mia!" McCartney e-mailed him back a few months later saying he
thought it was a great idea, but unfortunately it was still too close to the
release of "Wingspan". (God knows we wouldn't want Paul OVERDOING the
Wings stuff!) . . . Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee on his upcoming
animated DVD project with Ringo: "We're going to make a sort of
superhero out of him. Not necessarily the kind you'd expect him to be." . .
. Our roving reporter, C.B. Wallop, recently crossed paths with
singer-songwriter Toni Wine ("Groovy Kind of Love") who said
she had tried to pitch that song to The Beatles but by then (late 1965) they
didn't need outside songwriters [duh]. She gave Brian Epstein a demo of
the tune and Eppy told her that "the boys wouldn't use the word 'groovy' in
a song." Wine says she was a background vocalist on Jackie Lomax's
"3" album in 1972 and that Lomax had nothing but good things to say
about his Apple Records days. One more bit of Wine trivia: She provided the
female voices on most of the Archies' hits. . . . The Reporter in
Vaccaville, CA, recently caught up with Peter Asher, who will do another Peter
& Gordon reunion concert with Gordon Waller at the August Fest
for Beatles Fans in Chicago. Asher, who nowadays manages Courtney Love and
Morrissey, said that he had to relearn the lyrics to Peter & Gordon's
hits. "It represented a bit of hard work to get it all back," he said.
What a charming guy this Bob Spitz is. You know, the one who wrote
that error-filled biography of The Beatles and who suggested that a fanzine
editor who pointed out some of those errors needed an enema? The guy who told
NPR that George Harrison played the lead guitar solo on
"Taxman". (It was rather famously Paul McCartney.) In
interviews, Spitz at first claimed there were no errors in his book. He told
U.S. News that a "Beatle blogger" (the Daytripin' Web site, actually)
"was incensed that I had corrrected some of the dates in the Beatle
lore." Later, Spitz finally admitted to errors in the photo captions
(including identifying a little girl as Julian Lennon), which he said
resulted from him being exhausted when he dashed them off hurriedly. His
publisher announced that 16 caption errors were being corrected for the second
printing of the book. Meanwhile, in an interview with the Abbeyrd Web
site, which has been an ardent supporter of Spitz for some reason, Spitz
continued to win friends in the Beatles fan community, which he dismissed as
"no different from religious fanatics determined to hurt people in order to
protect their extremist views." He went on to slag off other Beatles
biographers and dismiss the pre-eminent Beatles researcher, Britain's Mark
Lewisohn -- who is working on a three-volume Beatles biography that is
expected to be the definitive work on the group -- as "an accountant who
has put together a few good chronologies." Oh yes, what a charming
guy this Bob Spitz is.
Rick Suchow, a longtime Beatlefan reader who had one of his songs, "What Goes Around", recorded by Ringo on the "Time Takes Time" album, has done his own remix of The Beatles' "Because" that you can listen to at www.ricksuchow.com/music.html . . . Just how complete is the John Lennon Museum at the Saitama Super Arena in a suburb of Tokyo? Well, Yoko Ono, who has loaned a number of items to the museum, including a Rickenbacker John bought in Hamburg in 1960, is heavily represented in the museum's exhibits. But you have to look hard to find the one and only picture of Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, downstairs. And May Pang, Lennon's mistress during his separation from Yoko, isn't mentioned at all. . . . Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen on working with producer George Martin: "George was the most brilliant producer, musician and artist that I ever have worked with." And, you'll recall, Cheap Trick worked with John Lennon . . . Finally, a Wings sound-alike act! Wonder what took so long? It's called Wings Band and consists of Ardy Sarraf as Macca, Christine Rosander as Linda, plus Ron McNeil, Michael Amador, Rolo Sandoval and a horn section. Check 'em out at wingsband.com . . . Someone posting to the Yahoo Beatlegs group recently pointed out that in Macca's recent performance at Abbey Road (already aired on BBC radio and TV and airing Feb. 27 on PBS), Macca improvised a mock lounge number around a cheesy mellotron riff. It turns out that 38 years earlier, George Harrison used the same mellotron loop when he put together the incidental music for his film "Wonderwall" . . . The Badfinger curse continues. In a recent issue of Britain's respected Mojo magazine, a small obituary for Badfinger's Mike Gibbins was accompanied by a photo of Pete Ham. Oh, well, at least Mike's last name was spelled correctly (for a change!).
The initial announcement of Paul McCartney's tour itinerary sent out
by e-mail by paulmccartney.com had the New York City dates listed for Sept. 30
and Oct. 1, but Macca's tour publicist later sent out a corrected itinerary with
Oct. 4 and 5 in their place. Of course, the earlier dates were booked as well,
but they weren't supposed to be announced at that point. How to explain such a
major screw-up in the unveiling of a tour? We asked our pal Weed, a noted
Macologist, who explained: "Look, McCartney albums and tours are like
elephants mating. 1. Everything is done at a high level. 2. There's usually a
lot of yelling and screaming going on. 3. It takes a minimum of two years to get
the results!" . . . In addition to her April 9 "Concert for
George" book signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York
City, Beatle widow Olivia Harrison attended a little-noticed reception
March 15 at Taschen Books in Beverly Hills. Our man on the scene, Martin
Klein, reports that also in attendance were son Dhani, Olivia's
sister, Ringo Starr and wife Barbara, Barbara's sister,
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and his wife, the wife
of guitarist Albert Lee (who was on tour in Europe), Jeff Lynne
and Danny Ferrington, who made ukes and guitars for George. The
last guitar that George played, in the hospital, was a beautiful acoustic that
Danny made for him. Klein asked Dhani about the instrument and he said he has it
and had "just played it last night." . . . A week later, Klein saw
Olivia and her sister and Ringo, Barb and her sister at the March 26th Bob
Dylan concert at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Cheers went up from the
crowd when Ringo was spotted walking in. Dhani and some friends also were seen
at the March 25th Dylan show. . . .
The most recent sales numbers from SoundScan we've seen (as of late March) show the "Capitol Albums Vol. 1" box with 180,505 sold, Lennon's "Acoustic" album with 152,570 sold, and his "Rock 'n' Roll" reissue with 29,147 units sold . . . This spring, Ringo joined Jerry Lee Lewis in the studio for work on Lewis' forthcoming "The Pilgrim" album. Ringo sang "Sweet Little Sixteen" with Jerry Lee, then Jim Keltner and Ringo double-drummed on "Roll Over Beethoven" . . . Here's something that should surprise absolutely no one: Dubya ain't a Beatles fan. He told Joe Gross of Cox News Service that "The Beatles went through that kind of a weird, psychedelic period, which I particularly didn't care for." . . . Some rare footage of The Beatles' visit to the Southwest of England when filming their "Magical Mystery Tour" in 1967 has been unearthed by the BBC library in Plymouth. The film of them at Plymouth Hoe was found during a transfer of old film reels into the digital format . . . Joanne Peterson, a former aide to Brian Epstein, reportedly is working on a book that contends that one of The Beatles (she's not saying yet which one) engaged in "intimate" relations with Epstein. Uh, Joanne, hate to spoil your "scoop" but that's a very, very old story that's even been the subject of a movie! . . . Yoko Ono may not get along with the Big Mac, but she was praising his designer daughter Stella at a recent party. "She's part of the Beatles family and I'm very pround of her," said Ono, who was wearing a Stella Mac jacket. "She has incredibly high taste and originality. I've been buying her clothes for years." You gotta wonder, though, whether reports (denied by Macca) of Stella's estrangement from her Dad and his second wife have anything to do with Yoko's praise of her . . . You might just think Lexus is a line of high-end cars owned by Toyota. Oh, but they're so much more. Macca, who has signed up Lexus to sponsor his upcoming U.S. tour, told Lexus that he's pleased to hook up with them because "the kind of thing I like to do with my music is to make people happy and at the same time try to help the world. I think that's what you do." And there we thought they just made vehicles featuring air-polluting internal combustion engines! . . . Sooner or later, everyone who ever met a Beatle will have a book out. Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo, 72, of the Spanish port of Pontevedra, who used to clean for John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Dakota in New York, reportedly has one out in Spain that reveals the Lennons "slept on a bedstead supported on two church pews" and consulted an astrologer before traveling. Lennon, she says, "was a very good father and husband, and friendly to everybody. He always treated me kindly." But Ono, she says, "wore the trousers" in the relationship. Once, when Lopez had a cold, Ono decided she needed a warmer coat and gave her a credit card and told her to go buy one "but said it should not be fur, because I was married and husbands don't like fur." She says she only heard Lennon refer once to former partner McCartney, when Paul was busted for pot in Japan. "John was furious. 'What an idiot! Why didn't he get someone to carry it for him? You're a Beatle for Chrissake!'" . . . The Beatles sound-alike band Strawberry Fields will perform at B.B. King's in New York City for after-show parties following Macca's Oct. 4-5 Madison Square Garden dates. Are they any good, we asked our pal Weed. "Oh yeah," he said. "They're very good. They were the 'house band' at Charles Rosenay's wedding." Make that very good!!!
A highly placed source who wishes to remain anonymous (this sounds just like
journalism inside the Beltway, doesn't it?) says that Apple has been working
hard on the "Let It Be" DVD for two years. "There is a lot
to do, but people will be happy with the results," the source says. The
target release date, at this point anway (this is Apple, after all!), is fall
Bill Monnell from the Great White North was in Liverpool in July when James Taylor (onetime Apple act) was doing a concert at the Albert Docks there. On the day Monnell was touring John Lennon's boyhood home, Mendips, he noticed Taylor's signature in the Guest Book. He asked the curator whether this was THE James Taylor, and the curator said yes. The house had been closed to tours the day before and the curator had spent the whole afternoon giving Taylor a private tour of Mendips and Paul McCartney's Forthlin Road boyhood home (plus other Beatles sites in Liverpool, including Strawberry Field and Penny Lane). He said Taylor was very enthusiastic about anything related to the Fabs.
Now that we've heard from Sir Paul that his new album is being produced by Nigel Godrich, what about those "power trio" sessions earlier this year in L.A. with producer Bryce Goggin? We hear that Macca and Goggin didn't hit it off very well, and those sessions may wind up in the "lost" category.
One of the musicians reportedly taking part in those sessions was Jason Falkner, formerly of the Beatles-influenced group Jellyfish, who on his Web site responded to a question about his experience working with Macca: "Paul? You mean the guy who calls me 'Jase'? Hahaha, well I did 2 weeks on his record in April and might be doing a bit more but I'm not sure. It was incredible as one would imagine. He sent me the sweetest letter saying how he's still listening to 'Bedtime With The Beatles' [a children's lullaby album released in 2001 by Falkner] in between naps! I'm still in shock when I think about it."
Meanwhile, Jorie Gracen's Macca Report hears that a rumored song recorded for the new McCartney album, "I've Got My Magic Back", is said to sound like "'Day Tripper' Meets 'Paperback Writer'." The song reportedly opens with Sir Paul singing a capella, "I've got my magic back . . . " Uh, let's hope so.
Also from the Macca Report comes word that Pete Best has put together a video documentary about his days with The Beatles and that Macca supposedly agreed to be interviewed for the documentary.
Speaking of unconfirmed (and improbable) but thoroughly entertaining stories, here's one involving one of the Monkees from John Lennon's "Lost Weekend" that supposedly was posted in a Beatles collectors' e-mail group by a Robert Zack: "I went to Peter Tork's house in 1998 after seeing him with Shoe Suede Blues in a Santa Monica blues club. he was one of the nicest rock stars I ever met. he regaled me with tales of his meeting The Beatles and he played me a reel to reel of the most amazing tape. It was made, he claimed, during Lennon's Lost Weekend. It was a tape of him, Lennon, McCartney, Starr, Nillson and Keith Moon doing "Last Train to Clarksville" (Lennon on vocals), "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" (Lennon on vocals) and one other song I can't remember now. He claims it had never been played before I heard it. I was so flabbergasted I wrote of the episode in my business diary, I'll have to retrieve it as I know there were a few takes of each song. As we all were pretty stoned that night, I wanted to write it down so I could remember it all, but Peter was a very nice man."
British singer Robbie Williams claims that he saw ghosts while living in Ringo Starr's former home in L.A. "When I moved out, the removal men wouldn't go in because of the old lady sitting in the chair," Robbie told BBC Radio One. "Ringo's son, Zak Starkey, told me: 'I hear you're in my old place,' because his dad used to own it. And he asked me if I'd seen the children in the garden and the old lady. Well, I never saw the kids, but the old lady certainly kept cropping up."
Apple Computer reportedly fired the law firm Linklaters that was representing it in the lawsuit filed by The Beatles' Apple Corps after Linklaters recommended that Apple Computer settle with the Fabs for nearly $37 million. Observers believe the dismissal of Linklaters is a sign the case will continue to drag on.
Here's a dispatch from the "Right Place, Right Time" department from Mike McAteer, who says a buddy of his drove down with a couple of friends to Laguna Beach in California with a bottle of wine and they lit a beach fire, sitting around it late into the evening. Around 10:30 p.m., a certain celebrity walks up and introduces himself as "Paul" and "my wife Heather" and asks "Could we join you?" And they all sat around the fire talking.
Yoko Ono, who seems to have the hottest Beatles-related recording career of late, has enlisted the Flaming Lips to remix her old track "Cambridge 1969", according to MTV.com.
Here's a Ringo quote one of our agents ran across from a bit he did on a Conan O'Brien segment called "Celebrity Secrets": "Yeah, it was incredible, the drugs, the sex, the all-night parties. I really miss that 'Shine Time Station'."
When Madonna was inducted recently into the first class of the U.K. Music Hall of Fame (don't ask, we suppose because she lives there!), a video tribute put together by pals Stella McCartney and Gwyneth Paltrow was shown, with the famous pair wearing take-offs on some of the Material Girl's past outfits -- Stella in the pink "Material Girl" dress and Gwyneth donning a conical bra and basque. Stella said Madonna "doesn't compromise -- that's why she's had such staying power." The designer added about the get-ups: "And you look a lot better in this than we do."
Meanwhile, London's Mirror reports Stella gave pal Gwyneth a $108,000 diamond and platinum ring from her own collection for the actress' 32nd birthday.
Stella's smartass dad told The Guardian's Pendennis columnist at the recent opening of the "Each One Believing" photo exhibition in London that he's decided "all young people should be done away with. Anyone under the age of 28. I've had enough of them." Wonder how his son James, 27, felt about that . . .
Speaking of Beatle offspring, as if being John Lennon's son wasn't silver spoon enough, Sean Lennon reportedly is set to inherit some of Elton John's wealth as well. It seems Elton, who is childless, has named his 10 godchildren (of which Sean is one) as his heirs, London's Sun reports.