Must-Visit Beatles Sites in New York City
1. The Dakota and Strawberry Fields. The corner of Central Park dedicated to John Lennon is just across the street from the building where he lived, and was killed.
2. Central Park bandshell. Site of the Lennon vigil after his death, and the location for the "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" promo film.
3. Ed Sullivan Theater. Now home to "Late Show With David Letterman", it was the site of three Beatles "Ed Sullivan Show" appearances and the taping of Paul McCartney's "Up Close" special.
4. Carnegie Hall. The Beatles' second U.S. concert venue.
5. Madison Square Garden. The only venue where all four Beatles played in concert after the breakup.
7. Shea Stadium. Site of the most famous of all Beatles concerts.
8. Plaza Hotel. The Beatles' New York home during the historic first U.S. visit. McCartney gave interviews there in 1984.
9. 105 Bank Street. John and Yoko's pre-Dakota New York home.
10. NBC "Saturday Night Live" studios in Rockefeller Center. Harrison, Starr and McCartney all appeared there on "SNL". Lennon and McCartney almost went there together in 1976.
11. MPL Communications, 39 West 54th Street. The U.S. headquarters of McCartney's company.
12. Warwick Hotel. The Beatles' New York base during the '65 and '66 tours.
13. Apollo Theater. Along with all its other history, it was the site of a John and Yoko performance.
Two Times Square area sites, the old Paramount Theater (where the group played the charity gig that wrapped up the first national tour) and the Peppermint Lounge (which the group visited after their Sullivan show debut) are, unfortunately, gone.
Honorable mention: JFK International Airport (where they first arrived), Forest Hills Tennis Stadium (where they performed) and the Bottom Line (site of Ringo's pre-"Storytellers" rehearsal show).
2. EMI House, 10 Manchester Square, London. Empty, awaiting
demolition. Once the proud headquarters of EMI Records, it featured in four
album covers. The Beatles even played a gig there on April 5, 1963. Paul
McCartney now owns part of the railing that featured in Angus McBean's shots.
3. NEMS Whitechapel store, Liverpool. Now the Anne Summers lingerie shop. Brian Epstein's shop played a major part in shaping Beatle folklore -- whether it be the Raymond Jones story or the fact that the Fabs listened to new records there.
4. West Malling Airfield, Kent. Site of many psychedelic happenings in September 1967 with the filming of "Magical Mystery Tour". And some say even more important filming and prefab fun with The Rutles in 1977. Now a private housing estate called Kings Meadow.
5. Wimbledon Palais, Merton High Street, London. Now Furnitureland department store. Site of the Southern Beatles Fan Club convention of Dec. 14, 1963, where the fans got to meet the band in the bar. Famous for John's remark concerning the steel cage around the venue, that if the fans pushed any harder they'd come through as chips. Due to be demolished for housing.
6. Scala Theatre, 58 Charlotte Street, London. Now Scala House Office Block. Played a major part in "A Hard Day's Night", both inside and outside the venue, with The Beatles playing a concert on March 31, 1964, for the film. The theater was razed to the ground in 1970 after a fire.
7. Apple Corps Ltd. headquarters at 3 Savile Row. Now headquarters of the British Building Society Association. Once the seat of The Beatles' Apple empire, site of Apple Studios and site of the famous rooftop concert on Jan. 30, 1969. The building still exists, but not as it did in Apple days, having been gutted and renovated.
8. Television House, 4-12 Kingsway, London. Now offices, this was the home of Rediffusion Television's studios, where the TV show "Ready Steady Go" was recorded live on Fridays. The Beatles made two appearances on "RSG" there.
9. Paris Studios, 2 Lower Regent Street, London. Now an empty building. Featured on the cover of "Live at the BBC" and was visited by the Fabs many times from 1962 onwards for BBC recording sessions.
10. Decca Records, 165 Broadhurst Gardens, London. The Beatles were there on Jan. 1, 1962, to audition for Decca. Fifteen tracks were recorded, only to be rejected.
11. Apple boutique, 94 Baker Street, London. Now an employment bureau and renovated extensively since it was the site of The Beatles' retail shop that opened in December 1967 and closed in July 1968 with the stock being given away. The building now has windows where the infamous mural by The Fool, completely destroyed, used to be.
12. Astoria Finsbury Park, London. Now a church. Site of 1963 Beatles Christmas shows. It would later change its name to the Rainbow as one of the London's best known rock venues. Subsequently taken over by a religious group.
13. Theatre Royal Angel Lane, Stratford, London. The Beatles came here to film the "Penny Lane" promo film in February 1967 - footage of John walking and the Fabs on horses. Demolished for a shopping mall.
5 Beatles Sites in Atlanta That You Can't Visit Any More
While Atlanta has the newest Beatle landmark in the Miller's Drugs store featured on the cover of Paul McCartney's "Run Devil Run" album, the city's tendency to tear down things and replace them every couple of decades means that other local sites with a Beatles association no longer are around:
1. Atlanta Airport. The gigantic Hartsfield Atlanta International that you fly into today is not the Atlanta Airport that The Beatles arrived at and departed from in 1965. That terminal was torn down after the new terminal was built in 1980.
2. Atlanta Stadium. Known in its later years of Braves glory as Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, it was the site of The Beatles' Aug. 18, 1965, concert notable for the fact that the sound system made it possible for the band actually to hear itself playing. Torn down in 1997 after the '96 Olympic Stadium was converted into Turner Field.
3. The Omni. The arena where George Harrison played two shows in one night on Nov. 28, 1974; Wings played two shows on May 18 and 19, 1976; and McCartney played two shows on Feb. 18 and 19, 1990. Imploded in 1997 to make way for Philips Arena.
4. Peaches Records and Tapes. The first of the now-defunct Peaches chain's superstores, located on famed Peachtree Street, had a display of handprints and autographs in cement left by visiting performers, and McCartney and Wings did the honors (though the cement was taken to them; they didn't come to the store) on May 19, 1976. The Wings prints occupied the prime place of honor outside the front entrance to the store, which closed six years later. Unfortunately, a dispute between the owners of the property and the last owners of the store resulted in the decision to destroy the collection of stars' prints, which were sledgehammered into little pieces, some of which were carried away by fans.
5. London Brasserie. A British-themed restaurant in which Ringo Starr was a celebrity frontman/partner. Ringo held a press conference in Atlanta in 1986 to announce the Brasserie, and attended its much-hyped grand opening (along with 200 reporters) on Sept. 26, 1987, and joined Jerry Lee Lewis onstage. Once the hype faded, so did interest in the restaurant in downtown's Peachtree Center, and it quietly closed several months later.
10 Most Embarrassing Moments in Beatles History
1. John Lennon's infamous "Lost Weekend" hijinks, including slugging a waitress, heckling the Smothers Brothers and sporting a tampon on his head. (1974).
2. Paul McCartney being asked to open his suitcase at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Made all the more embarrassing because McCartney had been barred from entering Japan five years before because of his two previous marijuana arrests. (1980).
3. Paul and Linda McCartney being arrested for marijuana possession in Barbados almost four years to the day after the Japan arrest. The embarrassment is compounded when they return to London, and Linda's suitcase is searched. More marijuana is found, and she is arrested again. The embarrassment is taken to dizzying heights when Paul blames the second arrest on Barbados customs officials for not searching Linda's bag thoroughly enough. (1984)
4. Ringo Starr appearing on "The John Davidson Show" drunk and hostile. Low point: Davidson asking Starr what his favorite color is (an asinine question, anyway) and Starr spitting back, "I don't like brown!" Davidson was dressed head-to-toe in brown. (1980)
5. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's production of the album "The Pope Smokes Dope" by David Peel and the Lower East Side. Surely the most putrid recording ever associated with a Beatle. The urge to cover your ears and run screaming is overwhelming by the third track. Deservedly unavailable on compact disc. (1972)
6. George Harrison's performance in Tokyo on The Beatles' visit there. None of the Fab Four was particularly fab during their only Japanese stand, but Harrison stands out for an especially apathetic, lazy performance. Evidence: sluggish guitar solo on "Day Tripper" and wildly off-key vocals on his own "If I Needed Someone". (1966)
7. Ringo Starr's appearance as a Mexican bandit in the appalling spaghetti Western "Blindman". Worst moment: Starr sneering "You are my WOOOMAN!" (1972)
8. The Paul McCartney song "Bip Bop". It's hard to believe this came from the same guy who wrote "Hey Jude" just three years earlier. Even McCartney himself has disavowed it. (1971)
9. The song "The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord)" from George Harrison's album "Living in the Material World". It may have been Krishna Harrison was referring to, but it feels as preachy and sanctimonious as anything Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority cohorts would peddle. (1973)
10. Arguably not a Beatle moment, but Tim Cappello's banal sax instrumental "Wiggle" on Ringo Starr's second All Starr Band tour. Made all the worse by Cappello's strutting and male-model posing. (1992)
10 Best Non-Beatle Apple Records Releases
1. "James Taylor" (album).
2. Badfinger: "No Dice" (album).
3. Mary Hopkin: "Those Were the Days" (single).
4. Billy Preston: "That's the Way God Planned It" (single).
5. The Iveys: "Maybe Tomorrow" (single).
6. Ronnie Spector: "Try Some Buy Some" (single).
7. Mary Hopkin: "Goodbye" (single).
8. Radha Krishna Temple: "Govinda" (single).
9. Badfinger: "Straight Up" (album).
10. Jackie Lomax: "Sour Milk Sea" (single).
Bad Days in Beatles History
April 10, 1962: Death of Stuart Sutcliffe
June 15, 1966: "Yesterday and Today" LP is released in the U.S., only to be pulled within a few days because of hostile reaction to the "butcher cover."
July 5, 1966: The Beatles leave the Philippines under threatening conditions after their supposed "snubbing" of Imelda Marcos.
July 31, 1966: Bonfire of Beatles records and memorabilia in Birmingham, AL, in reaction to Datebook's publication of John Lennon's "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus now" quote.
Aug. 29, 1966: The Beatles' final concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.
Aug. 27, 1967: Death of Brian Epstein.
Dec. 26, 1967: British TV premiere of "Magical Mystery Tour", eliciting hostile reaction in the British press.
Sept. 25, 1969: The Beatles lose control of their songs with the sale of Northern Songs to ATV.
April 10, 1970: Paul McCartney, through a self-interview included in British press copies of his "McCartney" album, makes it official that he has, in effect, left The Beatles.
Dec. 31, 1970: Paul McCartney files for legal divorce from the other three Beatles.
March 12, 1974: John Lennon and Harry Nilsson are thrown out of The Troubador in Los Angeles for heckling The Smothers Brothers.
Jan. 16, 1980: Paul McCartney is busted at Narita Airport in Tokyo for posession of pot and spends nine days in jail.
Dec. 8, 1980: Murder of John Lennon.
1. The guitar interplay between John Lennon and George Harrison on "Yer Blues". Their individual guitar solos at the bridge are breathtaking.
2. The song "I Call Your Name", particularly the introduction and the ska-inflected solo.
3. The song "It's All Too Much", particularly the intro and the line, "Show me that I'm everywhere, and get me home for tea . . . "
4. The way the horn creeps back into the song when Paul McCartney sings "Your days breaks, your mind aches . . . " in the final verse of "For No One".
5. Ringo Starr's drum work on "Thank You Girl", particularly his fills at the end.
6. The beauty of George Martin's instrumental material on the original "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack, with "Pepperland" being a stand-out.
7. John Lennon's vocal on "Mr. Mo
onlight", often considered one of the worst Beatles songs. It's a nice example of how good Lennon's voice was without the usual double-tracking.
8. The sheer ferocity of The Beatles' backup work for waiter Horst Fascher on "Be Bop a Lula" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So" on the Star Club album. Harrison's guitar work is particularly inspired.
9. The melody of "It's Only Love". The song may have made Lennon squirm years later, but it has a stick-in-your-head-all-day tune worthy of McCartney.
10. McCartney and Harrison's harmonies on both "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love".
Reasons My Kids Love Me for Being a Beatle Fan
1. As long as McCartney releases classical albums, recent Dylan shows run in my car CD changer while driving the kids to school.
2. Coming back from every record fair in town totally bankrupt, but with old scratchy Beatles vinyls and strange CDs in the bag.
3. No normal people come to our house, just crazy folks talking about Beatle topics or wanting to trade records.
4. Listening hours to a dozen versions of the same Beatles song, instead of cooking a meal.
5. Spending all spare time in front of the PC searching for Beatles news.
6. Family holiday must be planned fitting into the schedule of a Macca tour.
7. Monopolizing the TV all day by trying to catch all the news clips on video whenever a Beatle makes a public appearance.
8. Just wanna watch my newest Beatles video purchase when the new "Star Wars" episode runs on the telly.
9. Playing "Helter Skelter" with full power while cleaning up the house.
10. The living room is filled with nothing but hoards of Beatles vinyl, CDs, books, videos and tapes.
Best songs produced by
a Beatle for another artist
1. "It Don't Come Easy" by Ringo Starr, produced by George Harrison. OK, this one might be a gimme, but the combination obviously works. One of the moments in the solo years that met the lofty standards of the group's work.
2. "Come and Get It" by Badfinger, produced by Paul McCartney. A good song and solid, economical production.
3. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Harry Nilsson, produced by John Lennon. A good, rocking cover of a Bob Dylan classic, with a thick wall of sound.
4. "Many Rivers to Cross" by Harry Nilsson, produced by John Lennon. Has many of the same virtues of the above song, along with an indelible melody.
5. "Love is the Sweetest Thing" by Mary Hopkin, produced by Paul McCartney. McCartney's production of this big band standard illustrates how musically adept he has always been. Keep in mind this was recorded not long after "Helter Skelter".
6. "Leave It" by Mike McGear, produced by Paul McCartney. A stand-out hook (the song was also written by McCartney) and driving production on this overlooked single from "McGear", the best album by McCartney's brother.
7. "Sweet Music" by Lon and Derek Van Eaton, produced by George Harrison. Lush and effective production more than anything raises the question why Harrison hasn't produced more material for other artists. He has a nice touch.
8. "Why" by Yoko Ono, produced by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Phil Spector. Scorched earth playing, particularly Lennon's wailing feedback guitar and Ringo Starr's drumming.
9. "Simply Love You" by Mike McGear, produced by Paul McCartney. Another highlight from "McGear".
10. "My Sweet Lord" by Billy Preston, produced by George Harrison and Billy Preston. Actually released shortly before Harrison's hit version on the Preston album "Encouraging Words", this version has a much more soaring, gospel touch.
Favorite Scenes From
1. Fan mail ("A Hard Day's Night").
2. John in the bathtub ("A Hard Day's Night").
3. A typical buck passer ("A Hard Day's Night").
4. George and the advertising man ("A Hard Day's Night").
5. Ringo goes parading ("A Hard Days' Night").
6. The Beatles in Professor Foot's laboratory ("Help!").
7. The Beatles at Scotland Yard ("Help!").
8. "The Night Before" ("Help!").
9. "I Am the Walrus" ("Magical Mystery Tour").
10. "It's All Too Much" ("Yellow Submarine").
11. Paul lobbies John on live performance ("Let It Be").
12. The rooftop concert ("Let It Be").
13. Ringo (as Mike) and David Essex (as Jim) at the pool table ("That'll Be the Day").
14. "Yesterday"/"Here, There, And Everywhere"/"Wanderlust" medley ("Give My Regards to Broad Street").
15. John in the studio during 1971 "Imagine" sessions ("Imagine: John Lennon").