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Tag: The Beatles (41-50 of 73)

Ringo Starr: Happy 70th birthday!

ringo-starr-birthdayImage Credit: John Shearer/WireImage.com; 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!

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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.

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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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Abbey Road Studios for sale: Is nothing sacred?!

Strange news out of London: EMI Records is selling the legendary Abbey Road Studios, according to a report in the Financial Times (registration required to read; h/t). Apparently the rooms where the Beatles did the vast majority of their recording in the ’60s just aren’t a sound financial investment anymore.

I know times are tough, but come on, EMI! History! In addition to all those amazing Beatles albums, Abbey Road has also been the site of essential recordings by the likes of Radiohead (The Bends) and Pink Floyd (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Dark Side of the Moon, etc.). More recently, Abbey Road is where all the Beatles’ albums were lovingly remastered for last fall’s reissue campaign. The Financial Times story implies that its recording facilities have become outdated; does that make it any less of a landmark?

Of course, assuming EMI finds a buyer, there’s a strong chance Abbey Road’s new owners will continue to operate it as a recording studio. Let’s hope so, at least. Anyone else dismayed by the idea of Abbey Road changing hands?

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

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Vatican newspaper releases list of top ten albums: Fleetwood Mac! Pink Floyd! ... Oasis?

L’ Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican in Italy, has released its official list of all-time top ten albums, and there is nary a children’s choir nor a Pat Boone best-of to be found.

Amongst the papal state’s surprisingly secular picks? The Beatles’ Revolver (holding the no. 1 spot), Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon, Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, whose “illuminating simplicity and musical thrust” they hail. Also: U2’s Achtung Baby, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours,  Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame’s The Nightfly, Carlos Santana’s Supernatural, Paul Simon’s Graceland and David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name.

Even Bob Dylan’s recent Christmas-themed efforts couldn’t get him shortlisted, however; article authors Giuseppe Fiorentino and Gaetano Vallini excluded him on the grounds that generations of less-talented Dylan acolytes have “harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners with their inferior imitations, thinking that their tortured meanderings might interest somebody.” Tough toke, Bobby Zimmerman.

Does 82-tear-old Pope Benedict XVI personally approve? He is nominated alongside Oasis for a Brit music award—he for Classical Brit, they for best album of the last 30 years. Alas, the ceremonies are held separately, so it is unlikely the twain shall physically meet.

What do you think, readers—are the Vatican paper’s picks divinely right, or holy crap? For Santana, we would vote his 1970 classic Abraxas over the Rob Thomas-noodling Supernatural any day; then again, we are but mere heathen mortals. And perhaps the Church does not approve of his Wiccan muse?

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'Yellow Submarine' casting rumors: Darth Maul IS Paul McCartney?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a quartet of actors are in negotiations to portray The Beatles in director Robert Zemeckis’ planned 3D remake of the 1968 film Yellow Submarine. The four thespians are Princess Bride star Cary Elwes who is apparently in the frame to impersonate George Harrison, Dean Lennox Kelly from the UK dramedy Shameless who will tackle John Lennon, Epic Movie actor Adam Campbell who will negotiate Ringo’s nasal vowels, and Peter Serafinowicz who will take on Paul McCartney. Serafinowicz’s credits include Shaun of the Dead, Couple’s Retreat, and the fantastic fake science show Look Around You, though there is a strong possibility that the words “He was the voice of Darth Maul” may appear on the Brit actor’s gravestone.

All in all, that seems like a line-up capable of handling the Fab Four’s Liverpudlian twang. They’re all Brits and Serafinowicz, in particular, is an accent master and Liverpool-raised to boot. Meanwhile, anyone crying “Foul!” over the idea of people impersonating John, Paul, George and Ringo, may care to note that the Beatles’ animated avatars in the original movie were also voiced by actors, with the Beatles themselves only contributing to a live action sequence at the end (see below).

Are you a big fan of the original movie? What do you think of these rumored casting choices? All together now!

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

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Eminem, Beatles, Shakira top decade-end sales list

Who wins the record-sale wars of the ’00s? The battle comes down to the Real Slim Shady, the Fab Four, and a perhaps less fab boy-band fivesome.

According to Nielsen SoundScan (via USA Today), Eminem garners the top overall prize for album sales over the last ten years with 32.2 million copies sold, despite having a five-year gap in studio albums between 2004’s Encore and this year’s Relapse.

The Beatles, however, come in a close second with 30 million, and earn the single-album ticket to ride; their greatest-hits compilation 1, released in 2000, sold 11.5 million, edging out ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached from that same year by a mere 400,000. (The latter sold 2.4 million in its first seven days, still a SoundScan record.) Norah Jones’ 2002 debut Come Away With Me wins the bronze, taking third place with 10.5 million.

As for digital music? Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” is the decade’s most-streamed track by nearly double numbers, with 85.3 million online plays, followed by Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” at 43.5 million, and Chris Brown’s “Run It!”

Cross-format rock and country rule the Aughties’ radio-play records, however; Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” was the most spun, followed by Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” Lifehouse’s “Hanging by a Moment,” two Faith Hill songs (“Breathe,” “The Way You Love Me”), 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite,” and Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”

Readers, who were your artists of the decade? And who did you forget even belonged to this decade? Don’t Lie.

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

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