Sunday, July 30, 2006

Find A Grave

Leave your flowers and messages at the virtual graves of John Lennon, George Harrison, Linda McCartney, Mal Evans, Brian Epstein, Stuart Sutcliffe and Maureen Starkey. (You have to register with the Find A Grave site first, but it's free and only takes a few seconds.)

Lennon.net Shop

www.lennon.net now has an online shop where you can buy official John, Julian and Cynthia Lennon merchandise.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

John Lennon Fans Wanted

Seeking serious John Lennon fans for participation in a video tribute to be shown at various venues around the world.

Required: You have been a fan of Lennon for 30 years or more. You know the lyrics of Plastic Ono Band. You love to sing. You are not shy in front of a camera. You want to pay tribute to John Lennon.

Only serious fans need apply.

Shoot will take place in Newcastle upon Tyne in the second half of August 2006. Travel expenses paid. No fee.

To apply and for more information please call Katharine on 07875 619 588 or email portrait@balticmill.com

Apply by: 11 August 2006

http://portrait.balticmill.com

Stars Honour Lennon At Oxegen

Maximo, Feeder, Corinne and Charlatans cover classic tracks for Amnesty International...

Amid the carnage of Oxegen 2006, bands took time out to perform special John Lennon covers as part of Amnesty International’s Make Some Noise appeal. Maximo Park played Isolation, The Charlatans offered Instant Karma, Feeder covered Beautiful Boy, and for Corinne Bailey Rae it was I’m Losing You. These stunning performances are now exclusive to MTV and you can watch them right here on Overdrive – just click on the link below.

Watch the bands perform their Lennon tributes

[From MTV UK]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stories of the Songs: Imagine

" 'Imagine' is the fruit of John's dream of realizing our ideal world."
Yoko Ono, 2006


"With "Imagine," we're saying, "Can you imagine a world without countries or religions?" It's the same message over and over. And it's positive."
John Lennon, 1980 (Playboy)


"Imagine" is one of John Lennon's best known and best loved songs. One of John's inspirations for the song was Yoko Ono's book, "Grapefruit", which contained 'instructions' such as "Imagine the clouds dripping. Dig a hole in your garden to put them in."



"Well actually that should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song, a lot of it - the lyric, the concept - came from Yoko, but those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of 'Grapefruit', her book, there's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and that and I have given her credit now long overdue."
John Lennon, December 1980

Yoko was with John when he made that statement in a radio interview two days before his death.



"I was thinking, 'Oh, oh, you shouldn't be saying that.' That's how I felt because I have been a figure that was not necessarily loved, and I was worried that the fact that I had anything to do with the song would have been considered as interference to its popularity."
Yoko Ono,2003, The Telegraph

Although he is widely thought to have written the song on New York Hilton notepaper during a plane trip, Yoko said that most of the song was written in their bedroom at their home, Tittenhurst Park, Ascot. "Maybe one verse, maybe not even one verse, was written on the plane," she said in 2003.

See the handwritten "Imagine" lyrics at The Beatles Bad Handwroter Archive.

The upright Steinway Model Z piano on which "Imagine" was written was bought at auction by singer George Michael for £1.45m in 2001. Michael immediately then donated it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool. He said, "It's not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected - it should be seen by people".



In the "Imagine" video, however, John is playing his more famous white grand piano in an all-white room at Tittenhurst Park, while Yoko opens the curtains and lets light into the room.

John Lennon has received a lot of criticism over the lyrics to "Imagine", particularly the line "Imagine no possessions" which prompted Elvis Costello to write, "Was it a millionaire who said, 'Imagine no possessions'?" In my opinion these people are missing the whole point of the song, which is simply to imagine a dream world with no countries, religions, possessions and nothing else 'to kill or die for'. As Yoko said in a 2001 interview, "John was not being preachy - he was asking people to imagine these things, rather than 'do it'".

The lines telling us to 'imagine there's no heaven' and 'no religion too' have also caused controversy. (See Church School Ban On Lennon's Imagine).



"Imagine is a big hit almost everywhere - an anti-religious, anti-conventional,anti-capitalist song, but because it's sugar-coated it's accepted. Now I understand what you have to do.Put your message across with a little honey."
John Lennon

The song was first released on the album "Imagine" in 1971. It was also released as a single in the US in 1971 where it reached #3 and in the UK in 1975 where it reached #6 before re-entering the charts at #1 in 1980. On National Poetry Day in 1999 "Imagine" was voted Britain's favourite song lyric and was re-released soon afterwards, reaching #3.

Song Trivia

When Liverpool Airport was renamed Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2001, Yoko Ono unveiled a plaque which read "above us only sky".

The Strawberry Fields Memorial in New York's Central Park features a mosaic with the word "Imagine" at the centre.



The song has been covered by artists such as Madonna, David Bowie, Joan Baez, Dolly Parton, Neil Young (at the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes) and Peter Gabriel (at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony)

John Lennon performed the song live several times. He included it in his Live in New York City (One to One) concert, in a concert at New York's Apollo Theatre, on the Mike Douglas Show, and at a tribute to Lew Grade.

---

More information on "Imagine":

http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/johnlennon/articles/story/
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/23/1064082987480

Declassified: John Lennon

A documentary about John Lennon's FBI files, in five parts.
(From Youtube)

"US vs John Lennon" soundtrack to be released

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing will release the original soundtrack album to the highly-anticipated feature length documentary film, The U.S. vs John Lennon. The soundtrack, available on CD and digitally on September 26, collects John Lennon's most evocative songs, including "Imagine," "Nobody Told Me," "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," and "Power To The People," as well as two previously unreleased tracks, "Attica State," recorded live at 1971's "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" benefit concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the film's instrumental version of "How Do You Sleep."

The CD and digital album packaging will include a liner notes essay written exclusively for this release by Yoko Ono Lennon. The controversial film, distributed by Lions Gate Films (Crash, Fahrenheit 9/11), will open in New York and Los Angeles theaters on September 15, followed by wide release at the end of September.

"Never in a million years, did we think that promoting World Peace could be dangerous. Were we naive? Yes, on that account, we were. John sings: 'Nobody told me there'd be days like these.' That was his true confession," says Yoko Ono Lennon, "These songs have become relevant all over again. It's almost as if John wrote these songs for what we are going through now."

The U.S. vs John Lennon follows Lennon's artistic and personal evolution between 1966 and 1976 as he broadened his personal and artistic scope, launching from his Beatles-rooted music legend pedestal into powerful, globally-resonating antiwar and social justice activism. As the Vietnam war exploded and America's youth was increasingly under attack at home for expressing its discontent, Lennon's counter-cultural activities were increasingly monitored by the FBI on behalf of President Richard Nixon's administration (Nixon himself was briefed on Lennon's activities). The film, through its captivating exploration of the government's ongoing efforts to silence John Lennon, also clearly illustrates certain parallels to today's political landscape, through insightful interviews with those who knew him best.

The story of The U.S. vs John Lennon is told with archival film clips, illuminating interviews and Lennon's original music. David Leaf says, "We were allowed to 'strip' lead vocals from Lennon's original recordings, so that we could use his own instrumental work as the score for the movie. I think it's the first time that John's solo catalog can be heard in this way."

"I believe John would have loved this film," says Ono Lennon, "It's the kind of cool film he would have liked even if it were about somebody else. It's not tabloid, but rather it tells it like it was. 'Gimme Some Truth,' indeed. If John were here today, he would have felt good about being represented by such a film, and the fact that we took the chance to make it and present it to the world. War Is Over (If You Want It)."

Reprising John Lennon and Yoko Ono's original 1969 holiday season World Peace movement marketing campaign, fans will find "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" messages appearing on billboards in some of the world's largest cities this fall.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

John Lennon Lyrics Quiz

How well do you know John Lennon's solo songs? Find out with my John Lennon Lyrics Quiz!

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Help! pictures

Here are some more Help! photos.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thought for the day

Clive Davis once asked John Lennon what sort of music he was listening to, and was stunned by the Beatle's reply: "Nothing."

"Nothing?" Davis replied. "Don't you want to know what's being played?"

"Absolutely not!" Lennon replied. "Did Picasso go to the galleries to see what was being painted?"

From anecdotage.com

Friday, July 21, 2006

Link To Us

If you have a website and you'd like to add a link to "Sing My Heart, Speak My Mind", you can use one of the banners below.
Link them to: http://singmyheart.blogspot.com
A simple text link would also be okay.











Thursday, July 20, 2006

Church School Ban On Lennon's Imagine

20 July 2006

Peace song anti-God, says head
By Richard Smith

A CHURCH school has barred children from singing John Lennon's Imagine - because the lyrics are "anti-religious".

Primary pupils were rehearsing the 1971 peace anthem, which asks people to imagine a world without religion, when head Geoff Williams vetoed the song following a teacher's complaint.

Mr Williams, who was backed by his governors, said: "We believe God is the foundation of all we do. It's not an appropriate song for our concert."

Yesterday parents of disappointed children said the ban was "ridiculous". They were backed by secular organisations which accused the school of "fun-hating orthodoxy".

Pupils at St Leonard's C of E School, in Exeter, Devon, rehearsed Imagine for their annual concert, which is themed Songs for a Green Earth.

The song's lyrics include: "Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try / No hell below us, above us only sky...nothing to kill and die for and no religion too." It was replaced by a traditional ditty, The Building Song.

Mr Williams said: "A teacher told me she was concerned about Imagine and I supported her. Our festival theme was the environment and we felt it was better to sing something else." School governor the Rev David Harris said: "The song expresses what many want - eternal happiness. But it also says you can have this without religion."

Curate the Rev Steve Goodbody, 36 - whose church of St Leonard's is linked to the school - said: "I agree with the head. The song says how great life would be without religion, heaven and hell. It's almost saying we want what God offers, but we don't want God."

Mum Karen Murray, 28, said: "It's ridiculous and not fair on the children."

Another parent Deborah Dorman, 45, said: "This is over sensitive." Daughter Ellie, 10, added: "It's a good song and a shame we can't sing it."

The British Humanist Association said: "It's a little cruel on the children. This is silly, fun-hating orthodoxy."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Here Comes The Sun



"Holidays were precious: they were the only chance John and I had to be together all the time, to slow down and enjoy each other… So, lazing on a beach, walking, talking, making love, sharing a cuddle and splashing together in the sea were idyllic. We felt no pressure to make those holidays perfect, they just were, because we were together and away from it all. At those times John was happy."

[Cynthia Lennon, "John"]



This article takes a look at three of those holidays in the sun: John and Cynthia's trip to Tahiti with George and Pattie in 1964; a winter break in Tobago with Ringo and Maureen in 1966, and a visit to Greece to buy an island in 1967.

~*~

TAHITI

An interview by Billy Shepherd, Beatle Book Monthly Issue 12, July 1964:

Off to find the sunshine! Almost everybody likes to do that in the summer. But if you happen to be a Beatle, it's as difficult to find a peaceful place in the sun as it is to find that old needle in a haystack.

For every newspaperman, every photographer, wants to go with you. And from the mass enquiries received by Beatles headquarters, it was clear the boys wouldn't be left alone for even a moment unless...

UNLESS they made special plans and kept them secret, even from their best friends! Which they did very efficiently. First, they split up...Paul going off in a small party with Ringo; George and John whisking themselves away in another!

From London to Amsterdam, across the North Pole to Honolulu. This involved nipping high over Iceland, to Edmonton (in Canada), where they stopped for a show of passports, and then on to Honolulu.

And from there to Tahiti.

Said George: "When we got to Honolulu, we found that all the newspapers had been checking the hotels to find out where we were. So we made up that story about us having to leave right away - it sort of gave the impression that we were off to another part of the world."

John: "Anyway, we went on to Tahiti, where we chartered a yacht and sailed off to the Polynesian Islands. And straight into the sort of scenery that we'd only seen in books. It was incredible, really! Like a series of technicolor pictures, with a great blue sky and tropical seas."

George: "He's right, you know. All those coral gardens and reefs running round the different little islands. I spent a lot of time just fishing off the boat - with nylon lines and hooks...and a lot of hope! But there was plenty of diving and harpooning and all that sort of stuff. Marvellous. You forgot all about the Top Twenty and everything..."

John: "George spent a lot of his time just pulling up tiddlers - and making a lot of fuss about what a good fisherman he was. But he was a witness to the fact that I caught an octopus. There was this dirty great tug on my line and I thought it was an ordinary sort of fish. Anyway, I pulled it in and there it was...all eight legs wriggling like mad."

George: "And then this Tahitian bloke put it in a bucket with a lot of other fish - and those fish started eating its legs. Very strange. We went back to our boat, the three-masted Maylis, and wondered what else was going to happen on the fishing scene."

John: "Of course, George had to overdo some of his deep-sea diving. Like going down too far..."

George: "It was great down there in the water. But I got fed up seeing the bigger fish just scurrying round at the bottom, so I went deeper and deeper. And the atmosphere suddenly gets your ears...they get all blocked up. All I had was a snorkel...so I had to leap up and take a breath!"

John: "We called in at a lot of different islands. Places like Moorea, Phiatea, Taha, Bora Bora, Hiahone - don't worry about the spelling - they're all on the map! All different, all marvellous to look round."

George: "John and I made our own 8mm cine films while we were over there. We put on these great black wigs and strange costumes. John wore five pairs of glasses all at the same time. We tried to make ourselves look as horrible and savage as possible."

John: "Then we had a quick change and dressed up as missionaries. Trouble was we had no sound-track, otherwise we'd probably get an X certificate for showing it. But it was all a crazy sort of humour. You know, everything all off-beat and way-out and weird. Anyway, we understood what it was all about."

George: "We decided later to take it a stage further. On the shore we saw these native blokes - all strange looking characters with no teeth, or just teeth that were mouldy. They were hanging out waiting to catch the tourists, with all the junk they'd made laid out near them. Well, they seemed ideal for us to have a go at...."

John: "So we rushed ashore, looking like madmen, picking up the natives' bits and pieces and chucking them into a bag. They looked pretty mad, but we looked even madder."

George: "I had one bit of trouble. I'd caught a fish and thought I'd just throw it ashore. Well, it had these fins on top and they were very sharp. As I threw it, I gashed my thumb - and cut the top of my fingers. Really, I should have had a couple of stitches in it, but there just weren't any hospitals or doctors around! It bled a lot for a long time, but one of the local wallahs split a lime and squeezed the juice out to clean up the wound."

John: "I think George'll keep the scar for the rest of his life...but the lucky thing was that it was his right thumb so it doesn't interfere with his playing. But George nearly came a very big cropper, in fact he could have been killed!"

George: "Oh, that was when I was water-skiing. The motor-boat sort of swerved while I was making a big swing to one side. There was a lot of coral near me - and, you know, it's very sharp and jagged stuff. I got nearer and nearer, in a wider arc, and suddenly I realised I was going to go over it. I honestly thought I'd had it. But miraculously the skis just bounced over the surface, so I was O.K. There was only about two inches of water over this coral."

John: "Still, the rest went without too much difficulty. On the way back, we went from Tahiti to Los Angeles. Pan Am drove us round the city and we saw Sunset Strip and Dino's restaurant and the other sights. It was a long flight, and I can tell you we were very glad to get back to London."



From an interview on a flight to Wellington (21st June, 1964)

Q: Anybody told you about these tikis that you have souvenirs of?

GEORGE: Yeah, well, we saw some in Tahiti, the tiki gods. And I dunno if these are gonna be the same. Actually, John and I ordered two six-foot high tiki gods made out of wood. Two each.

Q: How are you going to get them home?

GEORGE: Well, we ordered them in Tahiti and asked some fella to post them. So we don't know if they got there yet.

PICTURES FROM TAHITI

TOBAGO

John, Cynthia, Maureen and Ringo flew to Tobago in January 1966. Not much information exists about this holiday, but Trend magazine published a series of photos from the period in their March 1966 issue.

PICTURES FROM TOBAGO

GREECE

In July 1967, the Beatles decided they would like to live together on a Greek island and build a recording studio there. John sent his friend Alex Mardas (known as Magic Alex) to search for a suitable island.

"Alex flew to Greece and came up with the island of John's dreams: the island of Leslo, about 80 acres surrounded by four habitable islands, one for each Beatle. The island was for sale for £90,000, including a small fishing village, four ideal beaches and 16 acres of olive groves. "
[From "The Beatles Diary" by Barry Miles]

All four Beatles and their wives (apart from Ringo’s wife, Maureen, who was pregnant) flew out to Athens to inspect Leslo.

"We rented a boat and sailed it up and down the coast from Athens, looking at islands. Somebody had said we should invest some money, so we thought: ‘Well, let’s buy an island. We’ll just go there and drop out.’
It was a great trip. John and I were on acid all the time, sitting on the front of the ship playing ukuleles. Greece was on the left; a big island on the right. The sun was shining and we sang ‘Hare Krishna’ for hours and hours."
[George Harrison, Beatles Anthology]

Alistair Taylor was sent back to London to arrange the purchase of the island but by the time he received permission from the government to buy it nobody was interested anymore and the idea was dropped.

PICTURES FROM GREECE

Dick Cavett Show

A clip of John and Yoko on the Dick Cavett Show.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stories of the Songs: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

"I liked ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ a lot. John always had a way of having an edge to his songs. I particularly liked the sounds on it where I managed to superimpose some Indian instruments onto the Western music."
(George Harrison, Beatles Anthology)


~*~

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" appeared on the album "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and was written mainly by John Lennon with some help from Paul McCartney.
The song was inspired by a drawing that Julian Lennon brought home from school one day in 1966. He described it to his father as his friend Lucy - "in the sky with diamonds".


Julian Lennon's famous drawing

"I don't know why I called it that or why it stood out from all my other drawings but I obviously had an affection for Lucy at that age. I used to show dad everything I'd built or painted at school and this one sparked off the idea for a song about Lucy in the sky with diamonds."
Julian Lennon


"My son Julian came in one day with a picture he painted about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. Simple."

John Lennon (Playboy, 1980)

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John's friend, Pete Shotton, also remembered the occasion:


"I went up to John's house in Weybridge. When I arrived we were having a cup of tea, and he said, 'Look at this great drawing Julian's done. Look at the title!' He showed me a drawing on school paper, a five-by-seven-inch piece of paper, of a little girl with lots of stars, and right across the top there was written, in very neat child handwriting, I think in pencil, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. So I said, 'What's that mean?' thinking 'Wow, fantastic title!' John said, 'It's Lucy, a friend of his from school, and she's in the sky.'
...People later thought 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' was LSD. I swear we didn't notice that when it first came out. In actual fact, if you want to be pedantic you'd have to say it is LITSWD, but of course LSD is a better story."

(Paul McCartney, 1994)

"I was actually with John when Julian came in with this little kid’s painting, a crazy little painting, and John (as the dad) said, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ and Julian said, ‘It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.’ And then John got busy."

(Ringo Starr, Beatles Anthology)

"I also happened to be there the day Julian came home from school with a pastel painting of his classmate Lucy's face against a backdrop of exploding, multi-coloured stars. Unusually impressed with his son's handiwork, John asked what the drawing was called. "It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Daddy," Julian replied.
"Fantastic!" said John, and promptly incorporated that memorable phrase into a new song. Though John was certainly ingesting inordinate amounts of acid around the time he wrote "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," the pun was indeed sheer coincidence."

(Pete Shotton, 1984)

Despite this evidence, many people still believe that the title was chosen on purpose because the initial letters of Lucy, Sky and Diamonds spell LSD. However, John denied that this was intentional:

"I swear to God, or swear to Mao, or to anybody you like, I had no idea it spelt LSD. This is the truth: My son came home with a drawing and showed me this strange-looking woman flying around. I said, "What is it?" and he said, "It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds," and I thought, "That's beautiful."
(John Lennon, 1970)

He was still denying it in his 1980 Playboy interview: "It was purely unconscious that it came out to be LSD. Until somebody pointed it out, I never even thought it, I mean, who would ever bother to look at initials of a title? It's NOT an acid song."

It is thought that the line 'plasticine porters with looking-glass ties' may have been inspired by the mention of 'plasticine ties' in "The Goon Show", a British comedy show which the Beatles were fans of.

Another big influence on the song's lyrics was Lewis Carroll's "Through The Looking Glass", the sequel to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". In Chapter 5, 'Wool and Water', Alice is rowing a boat, and in Chapter 3, 'Looking-Glass Insects, she travels on a train.


"The images were from "Alice in Wonderland." It was Alice in the boat. She is buying an egg and it turns into Humpty Dumpty. The woman serving in the shop turns into a sheep and the next minute they are rowing in a rowing boat somewhere and I was visualizing that. There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me - a "girl with kaleidoscope eyes" who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn't met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be "Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds."
(John Lennon, Playboy, 1980)


"It's very Alice. Both of us had read the Alice books and always referred to them, we were always talking about 'Jabberwocky' and we knew those more than any other books really. And when psychedelics came in, the heady quality of them was perfect. So we just went along with it. I sat there and wrote it with him: I offered 'cellophane flowers' and 'newspaper taxis' and John replied with 'kaleidoscope eyes'. I remember which was which because we traded words off each other, as we always did."

(Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now, 1984)

Beatles' producer George Martin added:

"A girl with kaleidoscope eyes, marmalade skies, cellophane flowers - these were definitely not conventional adjectives, even for John and Paul. But they were very Salvador Dali: bold, inventive and surreal. Rocking horse people eating marshmallow pies, though - that was John more in his jabberwocky mood - Dali, Dylan Thomas and Lewis Carroll - that was John."

Song Trivia

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was one of the songs John Lennon performed live when he made an appearance at Elton John's Madison Square Garden concert. Elton's version was released as a single in 1975 and reached number one on the Billboard chart.

A female skeleton discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 by Donald Johanson and Tom Gray was named Lucy because "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was played at the party held by the anthropologists to celebrate the discovery.
More about Lucy's skeleton

Blue Suede Shoes

"Blue Suede Shoes" live in Toronto, 1969
(From Youtube)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Sean Lennon album



(Tuesday July 11, 2006 08:17 PM)

Eight years after his solo debut, Sean Lennon is releasing album No 2.

Friendly Fire is due out on September 26 Capitol Records announced. It follows Into the Sun, which was released in 1998.

"There was a long period after the first album where I felt disillusioned with the machinery of the industry," Lennon, 30, said in a statement.

"It's not that I stopped recording, playing, performing, I did all those things, just more discreetly.

"Friendly Fire is an experiment to see what it might be like to do music more publicly again."

Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono, produced a short film for each of the album's tracks, directed by Michele Civetta, featuring appearances by Lindsay Lohan, Bijou Phillips, Asia Argento, Devon Aoki, Carrie Fisher, Jordana Brewster and others.

He plays various characters in the film - about betrayal and the failure of love - including a red-coated swordsman and a skate-rental worker.

A trailer for the film can be viewed online. No release date has been set.

http://uk.news.launch.yahoo.com/dyna/article.html?a=/11072006/344/new-album-release-lennon-s-son.html&e=l_news_dm

See the "Friendly Fire" trailer at the official website.

Track list for "Friendly Fire":

"Dead Meat"
"Wait for Me"
"Parachute"
"Friendly Fire"
"Spectacle"
"Tomorrow"
"On Again, Off Again"
"Headlights"
"Would I Be the One"
"Falling Out of Love"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Songs For John

The following songs were all written following John Lennon's death and either make a reference to him or were inspired by him in some way. Click on the song titles for the lyrics (courtesy of Sing365.com and Lyricsfreak.com)

Paul McCartney - Here Today

George Harrison - All Those Years Ago

Elton John - Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)

Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow

Queen - Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)

The Cranberries - I Just Shot John Lennon

Sting - Fragile

Paul Simon - The Late Great Johnny Ace

Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen

The Kinks - Killer's Eyes

Billy Joel - Scandinavian Skies

Joan Baez - Sgt Pepper's Band [Link to the Official Joan Baez website]

Do you know of any others?

Beatle and John Lennon Photo Albums

Current number of pictures: 3,100

About Sing My Heart's Photo Albums:

1) The pictures in these albums were either scanned by me, have been taken with permission from various websites and forums, or are photos I've had saved for a while and can't remember where they came from. If I post anything that you think belongs to you just let me know so I can either remove it or give you the credit for it. No copyright infringement is intended.

2) You're welcome to take any of the pictures you find here, but if you're planning to use a lot of them, a link to my blog would be appreciated.

Here are the links to my Photobucket albums where most of my pictures are stored. Some of the albums are then further divided into sub-albums. Sorry they're not better organized!

Beatles Pictures

John Lennon Pictures

George Harrison Pictures

Paul McCartney Pictures

Ringo Starr Pictures

John and Cynthia Pictures

John and Yoko Pictures

My Favourite Pictures

Special Albums

Screencaps and Scans


---

I found some of these pictures at:
Beatlepics
Watching Rainbows

"Love" premiere videos

Google Video now has footage from the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's "Love". You can watch the videos here.

Love premiere photos
More info

Friday, July 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Ringo!

Just for today I've taken a break from my usual John Lennon posts to celebrate Ringo Starr's 66th birthday!



~*~

Some recommended Ringo sites:
Ringo's Official Site
Gary Schultz's Ringo Starr Page
Ringo Rocks My Socks
The Ringo Starr Fan Site

~*~

A campaign to have Ringo inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

~*~

Dingle rec gets Starr treatment
Jul 6 2006


By Catherine Jones Culture Reporter, Liverpool Echo

A DERELICT Dingle recreation area is being transformed in a £1m scheme and renamed after Beatle Ringo Starr.

Work will start tomorrow on the new sports field at Dingle swings recreation ground.

Starr Fields will include a floodlit synthetic pitch, tennis and net-ball games areas and a changing pavilion.

Shorefields community comprehensive, which has put together the scheme, also has plans for six sculpted bronze benches in tribute to the famous drummer.

The young Ringo Starr attended the school when it was Dingle Vale secondary, but ill health meant he spent much of his time in Liverpool's children's hospital.

Now, Shorefields' 1,000 pupils are using outdated PE facilities. The new scheme will change that.

It will also be used by a number of primary schools.

Headteacher John Charnock said: "We're hugely excited about this scheme as it will provide a fantastic facility for pupils and the local community to use.

"Ringo Starr has offered his support and is as enthusiastic as we are about the opportunities it offers to young people."

Teacher Andrew Chambers, whohas spent 12 months liaising with Starr and his management, said: "In a second phase we want two local artists to spend time with Ringo and get his ideas and inspiration.

"The idea is for six benches, from the six decades of his life, which will be in the parkland surrounding the sports facilities.

"We want the sculpture to last 200-300 years."

Money for the £1m sports scheme is coming from the school and Big Lottery Fund. The future artwork plans could cost an extra £300,000.

The 66-year-old former Beatle, born Richard Starkey, already has a street named after him - Ringo Starr Drive in Kensington.

Last year he revealed on television that he and Sir Paul McCartney had joked about how Liverpool airport, renamed Liverpool John Lennon airport in 2001, could have a Ringo Starr baggage carousel.

Starr's son Zak Starkey is currently in Liverpool, playing drums with the Who at the Summer Pops.

From icLiverpool

~*~

Here are two Ringo interviews, one from 1995 and the other from 2000.

Ringo Starr on The Beatles Anthology
Q, 1995


When did Anthology start coming together?

The original cut was 1970. That’s how long this has been around. Neil Aspinall was involved from the start. He put it together, then something happened and we’ve been working on it for the last four years really. It just seemed to be getting OK. We went through the stages of the three of us saying “hello” in different situations, in restaurants and offices. Then we started working separately, then we started doing a bit together and then of course it ends up with us recording together.

Do you think Beatlemania brought out the best or the worst in people?

Well, I think it was always the best for the fans. I mean, they just came to the place, screamed like crazy and had a good time. And that was it. You have to remember we were only on for thirty minutes. I don’t think any fans could sustain that amount of mania for two hours like they do now.
The bad side, if any, was the Ku Klux Klan shouting at us and the rituals of record burnings because the crazy people were leading the fans on.

Paul has said, “Ringo never repeated the same drum sound, not even on an album.” What about that?

Well, at that time we were the biggest band. We opened up stadiums. We were just playing to more and more people, selling more records than anybody, so you know, that was a hidden clue.

How did you deal with John not being with you for the new records?

We had to get over that. We got over it by feeling that he’d gone for lunch, he’d gone for a cup of tea. ‘Cos all the time we were making records we were all in the room. All the time. So we dealt with it by saying he was just around the corner – but it’s a sadness for all of us because you know, the three of us got pretty close again there, and still there’s that empty hole, you know, that is John.

Do you think he would have loved making up?

Yeah, I think he would have loved being back with us now. A lot of the footage of John is angry, in the documentary, because that’s where he was in the 70s. He was sort of putting the Beatles down, I think. Now he’d have felt differently. He would have loved the new music.

Do you like ‘Free As A Bird’?

It’s great - and I’m not just saying that because I’m on it! It’s an amazing Beatle track. And for me, being away for it so long, I listened to it and I thought, “It sounds just like them!” I’d taken myself away from it for so long, that it was like listening to it as an outsider. It’s brilliant. I think you could say that they could have made this in 1967.

They?

They! So much distance has gone down from those days. I thought, “Sounds just like them! ”
But you know, of course it did, because we were on it! It’s one of their really good tracks.

And the song ‘Real Love’?

Well, Real Love’s more of a pop song. It was more difficult, actually, to turn it into a real Beatle track. And we also did another song that we didn’t finish because that’s not how the Beatles worked. We didn’t just do John songs or Paul songs. We needed a couple of George tracks, a couple of Paul’s and my track to make it more real.
But it felt extremely natural. Over the years, of course, I’ve played with Paul and I’ve played with George, but the three of us together was just really cool.
We are the only ones who know each other. We knew what it was like. They are the only two that don’t look at me like I’m a Beatle. They look at me like I’m a Ringo and I look at them like he’s a Paul or he’s a George, you know.

What do you think is in the future for the Beatles?

There is nothing in the future for the Beatles because there aren’t any Beatles any more. There’s only these films and records of the Beatles. And there are three Beatles still around but the band isn’t here any more. We could go out as Paul, George and Ringo, but not as the Beatles.

The BBC album seemed to pave the way for all this. What did you think of that record?

It was a really cool album. I knew it would do Ok, but it just took off. It was great. I love it, because it showed people that the Beatles weren’t just fab and famous: we were really cool musicians.
That was really how we played. We started live and I think that gave hope to a lot of other bands.

~*~

Ringo at 60
David Wilson, TV Times, July 2000


True to his loveable persona Ringo Starr – born Richard Starkey – is a funny, approachable man. He may grow grumpy when asked too many Beatles questions (‘Enough about those damn Beatle boys!’), but he understands why people are interested 30 years later.

“We had a lot of fun onstage and we were creative,” he says. “The line we always used to trot out was ‘Where are we going boys? To the top!’ Nobody knew it would be like Mount Everest. And we stayed there. That’s the difference with the Beatles.”

In the years that followed the break-up of the band, Ringo surprised his doubters with the smash success of his solo 1972 album, Ringo, as well as impressive turns as an actor.

“John, Paul, George and I were shocked – never mind anyone else,” he smiles. “I was number one. The biggest seller. It was incredible.”

If ever there was an advert for longevity, it’s Ringo. Despite turning 60 this Friday, he’s hardly slowing down. So will he be celebrating the big Six-Oh? He’d rather watch paint dry.

"I hate it. I hated my 40th. My 50th and 55th were fine, but this one, I’m just not enjoying it. I don’t see it. If I don’t look in the mirror I’m 24. But 60 – I have all those images from my childhood. People who are 60 are just…old. Mind you, at 45 I was derelict.”

In typical rock-star fashion, Ringo’s 40s were fuelled by drugs and alcohol. After his first marriage to Maureen Cox ended in 1975, he met Bond girl Barbara Bach. They married in 1981. Seven years later they both checked themselves into a rehab centre.

“We got into a lot of difficulty with drugs and alcohol,” he admits. “The albums went downhill; I went downhill. I wasn’t in charge. I don’t remember the last drink I had, although I remember the fear of coming to after however long it was. We got each other to go into rehab, because we’d finally hit the floor. We both recognised it and we knew we needed help. From those days in rehab in 1988, we’ve supported each other in this new life. I haven’t had a drink in nearly 12 years.”

Ringo puts down much of his success down to his wife.
“The first song I ever wrote for her was called You Can’t Fight Lightning and it’s true, I couldn’t. I surrendered to her.”

The pair met while starring in the movie Caveman.

“Then we met again at LA airport and I fell in love with her as her boyfriend was putting her on a plane. My story is, she then tortured me for three months and we haven’t been apart since.”

“We just knew we were going to get married. We got together in Mexico City and that was it. We both phoned the people we were having affairs with at the time and said, ‘You’ll never believe it, I’ve fallen in love.”

“I can’t describe it. I just felt an incredible love for the woman. She’s so giving and really kind. A heart as big as a house. I fell in love with all that – as well as the visual side. You’d have to be blind not to see it. I fell for this whole crazy woman.”

The feeling is obviously mutual. Barbara once said of her husband, “You can’t fabricate charm and Ritchie has charm.” To which Ringo chuckles “What can I say? My head won’t fit through the door. I’m a charmed guy.”

So what’s the secret of keeping a marriage going?“At night you’ve got to say – no matter how bad the day has been – ‘I love you darling’. And it’s taken me twenty years, but it’s a little easier now to say ‘I’m sorry’.

His private life now is certainly more settled than the Beatlemania he experienced in the sixties. He finds it amazing that, despite all the touring and groupies that were constantly throwing themselves at the Fab Four, Paul and the late Linda McCartney stayed together – unlike Ringo and his first wife, Maureen.

“They managed to keep it together, but I’m afraid the fallout of so much madness was that Maureen and I got divorced,” he says. “We had children [Zak, now 34, Jason, 32, and Lee, 29] and did the best we could. We weren’t like a lot of the bands today who say, ‘Oh, we can’t marry – we put our career first’. Or ‘I can’t do that, I can’t become a parent now.’ I got married. We had Zak. Two years later we had Jay and in 1970 we had Lee. We lived.”

He regrets not being around very much for his children and reckons his ex-wife was generous for saying that he was a good father.

“I don’t feel like that, really,” he says. “I feel that I let them down in many ways. But the kids keep coming around and they tell me that they love me, so that makes me cry. That makes me happy.”

And while he may not like getting older, he’s revelling in becoming a grandfather.

“I love it,” he grins. “Tatia, who’s 14 now and our first grandchild from Zak and Sarah calls me ‘Grandad’. They tried to be modern parents and said, ‘Well, what do you want to be called?’ I said, ‘I want to be called Grandad!’ I love that."

Despite the remaining three Beatles’ busy lives, Ringo still keeps in touch with Paul and George.
“Communication is good between us. We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but we’ve been to each other’s homes, we have dinner, we have lunch. We also say, ‘If you’re in my town, come on over.’ There are certainly no major problems. But we’re like a family and families have their ups and downs.”The trio have been through a lot together recently, most notably Linda McCartney’s death two years ago. Ringo was devastated when she died of breast cancer, but approves of Paul’s new relationship with model-turned-presenter Heather Mills.

“I loved Linda. Barbara and I really adored Linda,” he says. “But you know, she’s in heaven. And Paul is living his life and getting on with it. He’s found someone he can be close to and I think that’s a good thing.”

He and Paul also rallied round George Harrison when he was injured fighting against an intruder who broke into his London home last year.

“George impressed me,” he shudders. “I always think, in that situation I’d lock myself in the cupboard. But you don’t know what you’d do. My relationship with George is very good, so I thank God he’s still with us. It could have been a lot worse than it was. I went into shock, because we’d been friends for all these years. Suddenly you think, ‘My God, I could have lost this friend to some mad-ass guy.’ Suddenly you realise, ‘Wow, I’ve got to phone him more often.”

George is still recovering from the attack.

“He’s doing as good as he can,” says Ringo. “After all, he’s getting over a major madness; it’s not going to happen in a week.”

The next project the three have lined up together is the release of an official book about the Beatles, called Anthology. They hope it’ll put an end to much of the unauthorised material that’s been written about them over the years.Ringo has no time for the unauthorised and sensationalised stream of Beatle-related projects, including a Linda McCartney TV movie, that keep being made.
“I don’t read anything about us and I don’t watch crap like that. Why all this drivel about us? I’m like ‘No, I’m afraid I was there, and we weren’t like that and one of us is dead and can’t defend himself.’ But people make it up and then others believe that’s how it was.”

“Drumming is my madness,” he explains. “My dream at 13 was to be a drummer – to have a kit, and play with really good people. That hasn’t changed. The rehearsals are always hard, the travelling is always hard, but the show’s always a lot of fun.”

“I’m not out every night now; I’m not searching for nightclubs and things like that anymore. When we arrive in cities it’s usually a family affair. We have fun on stage and then I go back to the hotel, usually. It’s not a social world for me anymore.”

He doesn’t miss the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that he experienced with The Beatles, and is amused by the mania that surrounds today’s boybands.

“The fans are always 12 years old,” he smiles. “When the Beatles were out there the fans were 12 and they still are today. That hasn’t changed since Frank Sinatra. Elvis was the same.”

“We’ve had an incredible career, The Beatles, because musically, the records still hold up. There’s a lot of bands today still trying to do a Beatles sound. I love the last Oasis single. I thought the bass player was incredible and as melodic as Paul.”

He even reckons he could take the young ones on. “I’d like to make one more record and go out with a blast,” he says. “I’d like to go out with a number one.”

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Beatles Poll!

Please vote in our latest poll. You can find the poll in the sidebar to the right of this page.
A new question will appear at least once a month.

July 6th - Woolton Village Fete



49 years ago tomorrow (July 6th) John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time during the Woolton Village Fete at St Peter's Church. Here are their own personal memories of that day in 1957:

Paul:
"First time I met John was at Woolton village fete and I'd been invited there by Ivan who was a mutual mate. He was born on exactly the same day as me, Ivan, the 18th June 1942, so we'd always had a lot in common besides that. Ivan lived behind Mendips, sort of a garden away, so they were mates from where they lived. Ivan was my mate from school and he said, “Do you want to come to Woolton village fete, a couple of the lads are going to be there and stuff and I'll take you.” So I was younger than 16, I think John was about 16; I was maybe 14 and a half or 15.

"So I'd been invited by Ivan and he took us along and I remember coming into the village fete like you do, sort of entering the field and it's all sideshows and music from this little tannoy system and it was John and the band. It was John, Len Garry, Pete Shotton, Colin Hanton on drums, Griff on guitar, and maybe Nigel Whalley who was officially manager but he managed to get up on the stage. I saw the band and I thought, oh great, well I'll listen to the band because I'm into the music. And Ivan said, “I know a couple of the lads in the band, they're my mates”.

I thought John was good, he was really the only outstanding member, all the rest slipped away. The drummer was pretty good actually, from what we knew then, Colin Hanton was good, and I knew one of the reasons we liked Colin was that he had the record “Searchin’” and that was big currency you see. And afterwards, after they finished playing, Ive took us up to the church hall just behind the church, up the hill a bit. We went up there and by now they were 'the band' and they'd finished their set and they were kind of having a beer, you know, it wasn't crazy drinking or anything but it was just social, a bit of fun.

"I remember John looking - you know, we really used to think John looked pretty cool - he was a bit older than us and he'd do a little bit more greased back hair than we were allowed, you know, our parents would really... I just didn't dare do it just like that, the way my dad was really. So John was quite groovy, he looked a bit of a Ted then...

"You know, he was pretty cool, he had nice big sideburns. So I remember him just leaning over me and we were round a piano in the church hall, and there was a couple of guitars, and on the guitar - which I think must have been backwards, but I had a mate from the Dingle who played the guitar so I was used to turning the guitar upside down - I played a bit of “Twenty Flight Rock” and I knew a lot of the words.

"And I got asked to join the group, I think on the strength of knowing “Twenty Flight Rock” and I think I must have sang “Long Tall Sally” as well. Those were my two... “Long Tall Sally” was my Little Richard thing that I still do - I was doing it last year. And Eddie Cochran was “Twenty Flight Rock” but it was the words there, that was the really hip thing. "I got a girl with a record machine", you know, great words, all those early rock and roll numbers. So that was lovely, that was the first time I met John."

[From "Beatles Inside Interviews" by Geoffrey Giuliano]



John:
"It was at a church-hall garden fete, and I was performing with a mutual friend of Paul's and mine. Another mutual friend who lived next door brought Paul along and said, 'I think you two will get along.'

"We can both remember it quite well. The Quarry Men were playing on a raised platform and there was a good crowd because it was a warm, sunny day. It was the first day I did 'Be Bop A Lula' live on stage.

"We talked after the show and I saw he had talent. He was playing guitar backstage, doing "Twenty Flight Rock" by Eddie Cochran.

"Paul could play guitar, trumpet and piano. That doesn't mean to say he had a greater talent, but his musical education was better. I could only play the mouth organ and two chords on a guitar when we met. I tuned the guitar like a banjo, so my guitar only had five strings on it. (Paul taught me how to play properly - but I had to learn the chords left-handed, because Paul is left-handed. So I learnt them upside down, and I'd go home and reverse them.) That's what I was doing - playing on stage with a group, playing a five-string guitar like a banjo - when he was brought around from the audience to meet me.

"Paul told me the chords I had been playing weren't real chords - and his dad said that they weren't even banjo chords, though I think they were. He had a good guitar at the time, it cost about £14. He'd got it in exchange for a trumpet his dad had given him."

[From "The Beatles Anthology"]

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Stories of the Songs: Strawberry Fields Forever

In this new series of articles I will be looking at the background behind some of John's greatest songs, both Beatles and solo, starting today with Strawberry Fields Forever.

"Living is easy, with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It still goes, doesn't it? Aren't I saying exactly the same thing now? The awareness apparently trying to be expressed is - let's say in one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life. The second verse goes, "No one I think is in my tree." Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius - "I mean it must be high or low," the next line. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn't see."
John Lennon (Playboy, 1980)

~*~

In September 1966, John was in Almeria, Spain, filming Richard Lester's "How I Won The War". It was here that he began composing "Strawberry Fields Forever". The actor Michael Crawford was sharing a rented house with John and remembered John playing him verses from the song and asking for his opinion.

The title of the song refers to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field (not Fields) near John's childhood home in Woolton.

"There were two famous houses in Woolton. One was owned by Gladstone - a reformatory for boys, which I could see out my window. And Strawberry Field, just around the corner from that, an old Victorian house converted for Salvation Army orphans. As a kid I used to go to their garden parties with my friends Ivan, Nigel and Pete. We'd all go up there and hang out and sell lemonade for a penny and we always had fun at Strawberry Field."
John Lennon (Playboy, 1980)

"We were trying to write about Liverpool, and I just listed all the nice-sounding names, just arbitrarily. Strawberry Fields was a place near us that happened to be a Salvation Army home. But Strawberry Fields - I mean, I have visions of Strawberry Fields. And there was Penny Lane, and the Cast Iron Shore, which I've just got in some song now, and they were just good names - just groovy names. Just good sounding. Because Strawberry Fields is anywhere you want to go."
John Lennon (Rolling Stone, 1968)

"There was a wall you could bunk over and it was a rather wild garden, it wasn't manicured at all, so it was easy to hide in. The bit he went into was a secret garden like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and he thought of it like that, it was a little hide-away for him where he could maybe have a smoke, live in his dreams a little, so it was a get-away. It was an escape for John." Paul McCartney (Many Years From Now)

Strawberry Field finally closed as a children's home in 2005 and is now being used a prayer centre.


The famous Strawberry Field gates

John completed the song on returning to England. George Martin remembers hearing it for the first time:
"The first time I heard the song was when I listened to John singing and playing it on an acoustic guitar. John was very Dylanish in many ways, but of course, he had that lovely voice which I think was much better than Dylan's. Just to hear his voice with a simple guitar backing was absolutely delightful, and I wish we had been able to record a version like that - the way I first heard it."

Lennon then told Martin he would like him to do a score with strings and horns.

"We made another version which was much heavier, with a really raging rhythm section with everybody piling in on timpani and everything, and we made another track completely, which was also extremely good, and I thought now you've got it, John"

However, John was still not satisfied. He decided he liked the beginning of Take 7 and the ending of Take 26, and gave George Martin the task of joining the two together.

"I said there's only two things against it - one is they're completely different tempos and secondly they're in different keys. So he said, 'George, you can fix it, I know you can'."
George Martin (Beatles Anthology)

Fortunately for Martin and the engineers the two takes were found to be almost exactly half a tone apart in pitch so could be combined fairly easily. You may be able to hear the edit 59 seconds into the song.

As well as the guitars, strings and brass, the record also featured several more unusual instruments such as the swordmandel (a harp-like Indian instrument) and the Mellotron.

At the very end of the song, some people believe that John is saying "I buried Paul". What he actually says is "cranberry sauce". As Paul McCartney said, "That's John's humour. John would say something totally out of synch, like 'cranberry sauce'. If you don't realise that John's apt to say 'cranberry sauce' when he feels like it, then you start to hear a funny little word there, and you think 'Aha!'". (The Beatles in Their Own Words)

Song trivia

The Beatles filmed the music video for the song in Knole Park near Sevenoaks, Kent, on January 30, 1967.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" was released as a double A-side with Paul's "Penny Lane". It only reached number 2 in the British chart and was kept off the top spot by Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me".

"Strawberry Fields" is the name of the John Lennon memorial in New York's Central Park.

Around the time of the song's release, Brian Wilson was working on the Beach Boys' album "Smile". On hearing "Strawberry Fields Forever" for the first time, Wilson is said to have commented that the Beatles had 'got there first'. This is thought to be among the reasons why "Smile" was eventually abandoned.

In the line "No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low", Lennon had originally used the word "wavelength" but later changed it to "tree".

Richie Havens performed a cover version of the song at Woodstock in 1969.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fanlistings

Fanlistings last updated: 28th June 2007

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