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Tag: The Beatles (31-40 of 67)

Taylor Swift's amazing sales: Who else has sold a million in a week?

Taylor-Swift-million-in-a-weekWhat do Lil Wayne, the Backstreet Boys, and Garth Brooks have in common? They’ve all released albums that sold over one million copies domestically in their respective first weeks on shelves. If industry projections are accurate, Taylor Swift is about to join that elite group thanks to Speak Now‘s spectacular debut week.

The instant-million club is a strange place. The very first member was Garth Brooks, whose Live Garth set sold 1.08 million copies when it debuted back in 1998. At the time, no album had ever sold that many copies in its first sales frame. (The soundtrack for The Bodyguard had previously sold 1.06 million during one week in 1993, a few months after its release.) Swift’s victory this week brings things full circle in a couple of ways, then — not only is she the first country artist since Brooks to join the club, but she’s joining at a time when moving a million is similarly unheard of. In 1998 and 2010 alike, this is a rare accomplishment worth noting.

Things were different for a brief, wild period around the turn of the century. Brooks ushered in an era where pop stars routinely broke the million mark. It started in May 1999, when the Backstreet BoysMillenium sold 1.13 million in a week, but the following year was the really crazy one. In March 2000, *NSYNC shattered the previous record with an astounding 2.42 million-copy opening week for No Strings Attached. (*NSYNC’s record still holds today, by the way.) Britney Spears joined the club that May by selling 1.32 million copies of Oops!…I Did It Again. Eminem followed suit in June with 1.76 million copies of The Marshall Mathers LP, the first rap album in this category. Limp Bizkit became the club’s first (and last) hard-rock members that October, selling just over 1 million copies of Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog Flavored Water. In November, BSB lapped everyone else, scoring a second instant-million badge for Black & Blue (1.6 million). Finally, the Beatles rounded out the busy year by selling 1.26 million copies of their compilation 1 during Christmas week (again, somewhat after the week of release). READ FULL STORY

'Glee' cast breezes past Beatles' 'Billboard' record

glee-castImage Credit: Miranda Penn Turin/FoxThe cast of Fox’s Glee is officially bigger than the Beatles. That’s per Billboard, which notes that the TV cast will score six new entries on this week’s Hot 100 singles chart, bringing their career total up to 75 charting singles. The Fab Four made it onto the Hot 100 a mere 71 times back in the day. Still comfortably ahead of Glee (for now) are James Brown, with 91 charting singles, and all-time record-holder Elvis Presley, with 108.

Cynical types might observe that by sending all those cover versions to iTunes after each show airs, Glee has already released more “singles” than the Beatles did in their entire career. Also, it’s hard to compare the the many actor/singers who make up the Glee cast to a discrete band or solo artist like the Beatles or Elvis.

Still, numbers don’t lie, so let’s be happy for the Glee gang. What do you think of their latest chart accomplishment? Let us know in the comments.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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John Lennon's killer denied parole again: Will he ever be released?

Mark-David-ChapmanImage Credit: NYC PD/AFP/Getty ImagesThe man who murdered John Lennon nearly 30 years ago was denied parole for the sixth time today, CNN reports.

Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life in New York’s Attica Correctional Facility after pleading guilty to shooting the former Beatle to death in December 1980. He has previously applied for parole and been denied in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. He will have another opportunity to go before the parole board in 2012. Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has repeatedly said that she would fear for her safety and that of Lennon’s two sons if Chapman were released.

In its written decision, the New York State Parole Board acknowledged Chapman’s generally good behavior record behind bars. “This panel remains concerned, however, about the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life when, after careful planning, you traveled to New York for the sole purpose of killing John Lennon,” the board’s decision went on. “This premeditated, senseless and selfish act of tragic consequence, when considered with required and relevant factors, leads to the conclusion that your discretionary release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community. To hold otherwise would so deprecate the seriousness of your crime as to undermine respect for the law.”

New York State Parole Board spokesperson Marc Violette says the board released nine percent of the violent felony offenders appearing before it in the most recent fiscal year. While explaining that parole commissioners make these decisions based on factors including the inmate’s own statements and communications from the victim’s family, Violette acknowledges that Lennon’s status as a beloved cultural figure might also be playing some role in Chapman’s repeated failure. “At a purely theoretical level, the parole commissioners would probably just look at the facts as presented,” he says. “The notoriety of the crime or the fame of the victim, at a theoretical level, would not play into it. But they’re humans.”

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Ringo Starr's 70th birthday concert: Guests galore, and Paul McCartney, too!

Ringo-Starrs-70th-birthdayImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comThe cake had been served, the candles had been blown out, and Ringo Starr had all but told the sold-out crowd at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall to go home, but the most exciting part of his 70th birthday show last night was still to come. That was the exact moment, right around 10 p.m., that none other than Paul McCartney bounded on stage in his skinny tie and fitted suit. The art-deco hall filled with 1964-style squeals as Sir Paul tore through the Beatles’ “Birthday” with the wild-eyed drive of someone decades younger.

McCartney’s unannounced appearance was the perfect end to an evening of festive collaboration. Ringo calls his touring act the All-Starr Band for a reason: They’re all handpicked veterans of bands from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. In between his solo hits (“Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy”) and Beatles classics (“Yellow Submarine,” “Act Naturally,” “Boys”), he gave each of his bandmates ample time to demonstrate their own claims to fame. Keyboardist/saxophonist Edgar Winter led electrifying renditions of “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” Guitarist Rick Derringer of the McCoys rocked “Hang On Sloopy.” The Romantics’ Wally Palmar told us “What I Like About You.” Mr. Mister’s Richard Page spread his “Broken Wings.” Gary Wright crooned “Dreamweaver,” which he said was inspired by a book on Eastern philosophy that George Harrison once gave him. (“George Harrison never gave me no damn book,” cracked Ringo.) I’m not sure I’d sit through an entire concert by any of those guys’ original groups, but seeing them run through their hits with Ringo was fun — a classic-rock radio revue with one of history’s greatest beat-keepers behind the kit. Starr himself was as energetic as any 70-year-old I’ve ever encountered, grooving gamely at front stage or drumming with that familiar head-bobbing enthusiasm. READ FULL STORY

Ringo Starr: Happy 70th birthday!

ringo-starr-birthdayImage Credit: John Shearer/; Cake: Stone Sub/Getty ImagesLet’s all wish a hearty “Happy birthday!” to Ringo Starr, who was born Richard Starkey exactly 70 years ago today. This milestone will no doubt make many people other than the legendary drummer feel old. Easy solution: Throw on a Beatles album, or better yet, find A Hard Day’s Night on DVD. The world has yet to discover a superior source of renewable youthful energy than the twentysomething Starr’s steady drumbeats and silly faces.

Perhaps you think Ringo is owed a birthday gift of some sort in return for this legacy of awesomeness. What do you get a 70-year-old Beatle — a yellow submarine? Maybe just a nicely framed photograph? Luckily, the man himself has already anticipated this question. In a video posted on his official site, he asks fans around the world to say the words “Peace and Love” and flash a peace sign at 12 noon today in their respective time zones. Get ready!

Check out Starr’s birthday video after the jump, then share your best wishes in the comments section. While you’re at it, let us know your favorite Ringo music moments, whether from the Beatles or his long and successful solo career.

MORE: Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday concert: Guests galore, and Paul McCartney, too!


Apple Records to release remastered albums by James Taylor, Billy Preston, and Badfinger

beatles-james-taylorImage Credit: Cummings Archives/Redferns/Getty Images; Michael Putland/Retna LtdThe Beatles’ music label Apple is set to release 15 remastered versions of albums by, amongst others, James Taylor (1968’s James Taylor), Billy Preston (1969’s That’s the Way God Planned It, 1970’s Encouraging Words), Badfinger (1970’s Magic Christian Music, the same year’s No Dice, and 1972’s Straight Up), and classical composer John Tavener (1970’s The Whale and 1971’s Celtic Requiem, which will be available on the same CD). Apple are putting out the collections on October 26.

Apple acts didn’t always enjoy the greatest success during their time with the label. But history has proven that, in addition to their other talents, the Beatles’ track record as talent spotters was pretty decent. Welsh rockers Badfinger are now regarded as one of the great, tragic, cult bands and their song “Without You” has been much covered over the decades; John Tavener was twice nominated in the ’90s for the presitigious UK award, the Mercury Prize; and I believe that James Taylor kid found some success in the ’70s. The slate of reissues will also include albums by Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. They are the first Apple releases to be available by digital download.

Will you be buying any of the reissues? Do you have a favorite Apple act (who don’t have members called John, Paul, George, and Ringo)? And do you think this is is the first step towards Apple making you-know-who’s albums available to buy digitally? Let us know!

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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President Obama joins 'Hey Jude' singalong at the White House

barack-paulImage Credit: YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty ImagesPaul McCartney’s performance at the White House last night turned into an all-star jam session — and a presidential one, at that. He was there to accept the third ever Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which has previously been awarded to Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. The New York Times has a full run-down of Macca’s set, which included singing “Michelle” to First Lady Michelle Obama (cute!), along with several other Beatles and solo hits.

Perhaps the best part of all came when McCartney closed the show with “Hey Jude,” accompanied by many of the other artists who had paid tribute to him during the evening. The line-up included, among others, Elvis Costello, Jack White, Emmylou Harris, Dave Grohl, Herbie Hancock, Faith Hill, Jerry Seinfeld (?!), and President Barack Obama himself. Hit the jump to see the leader of the free world getting into the spirit with a few enthusiastic na-na-na-nas. (Clip via Pitchfork.)

Some critics seem to find Obama’s participation in the singalong unbefitting of his office, but come on. Who among us could resist singing along to the end of “Hey Jude” when Sir Paul himself is in the building? Certainly not I.


Liam Gallagher's new band is called Beady Eye. Where on earth did he get the idea for having a name that starts with the letters B, E, and A?

guess-whoImage Credit: Chris Ashford/Camera Press/Retna LtdFormer Oasis singer Liam Gallagher has announced that his new band is to be called Beady Eye. The group features his fellow ex-Oasis members Gem Archer and Andy Bell, but not, of course, his brother Noel whose sudden departure from the group last summer provoked its implosion.

The Oasis-crazy British media has already weighed in on the name “Beady Eye,” with Paul Stokes of the NME declaring it to be “terrible.” One point I’m surprised Stokes doesn’t raise is that Beady Eye will finally allow the Beatles-obsessed Gallagher to get very close to the Beatles—at least alphabetically. That’s right, on CD shelves and in record stores, no one will stand between The Beatles and Beady Eye but those pesky Beastie Boys (and, in Gallagher’s U.K. homeland, the Beat, who are, unsurprisingly, not known as “the English Beat” in England).

Is this a coincidence? Given that Gallagher recently announced plans to actually produce a film about The Beatles, I think not!

What do you think of the name Beady Eye? Of Liam Gallagher? And can you think of any other bands that would, alphabetically, squeeze in between Beady Eye and the Beatles?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Ringo Starr brushes off Vatican's forgiveness: 'They've got more to talk about than the Beatles'

Ringo-StarrImage Credit: Jon Furniss/WireImage.comRingo Starr is responding to the Vatican’s olive branch with a pointed wisecrack. To recap: In 1966, John Lennon sardonically remarked that the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus Christ Himself. Various religious authorities, including the Vatican, issued furious if ineffectual denunciations at the time. This week, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, announced that forgiveness has been granted at last. Evidently the Beatles’ “beautiful melodies,” which “live on like precious jewels,” outweigh the Fab Four’s “dissolute and uninhibited lives” in the Vatican’s eyes.

So what does Ringo think of all this? “Didn’t the Vatican say we were satanic?” the drummer replied pithily when asked by a CNN interviewer. “Possibly satanic, and they still forgive us. I think the Vatican — I think they’ve got more to talk about than the Beatles.” Zing!

Watch Ringo Starr’s full CNN interview (the Vatican question comes around the 5:40 mark) and let us know what you think of Ringo’s response.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter @EWMusicMix.)

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Roberta Flack almost loses her Beatles tribute album in a taxicab

roberta-flackImage Credit: Dan MacMedan/WireImage.comSoul great Roberta Flack is working on an all-Beatles covers album under the working title Let It Be Roberta. Sounds like a disc worth hearing! Yet the world was nearly deprived of that possibility when Flack left her in-progress recordings in the back of an NYC taxicab last month, per The New York Times. (Full disclosure: A friend of mine penned that Times item. I tried and failed to think of a “Killing Me Softly” headline pun for him this weekend. Maybe something about newspaper taxis would have worked better?)

The story ends happily: Flack’s cabbie was located and duly returned her missing suitcase full of Beatles covers, at which point Flack rewarded him with “a big, big, huge tip.” Whew.

Now that this incident has brought the existence of Let It Be Roberta to my attention, I really want her to finish recording so I can hear it. Anyone with me? Which Fab Four tunes do you think Flack could do the most with? I bet her smooth, heartfelt vocals would sound very nice on “Sexy Sadie” or “For No One” or “If I Fell,” to name three at random…

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter @EWMusicMix.)

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