Sunday, August 9, 2009

Abbey Road, The Beatles, 4 Decades Ago

Beatles fans swarm Abbey Road on album anniversary

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER – August 9, 2009

LONDON — Hundreds of Beatles fans swarmed Abbey Road on Saturday, singing songs and snarling traffic to mark 40 years since John, Paul, George and Ringo strode across the leafy north London street and into the history books on iconic pop photos.

The famous photo graced the cover of the Fab Four's "Abbey Road," the last album recorded together, and shows the bandmates walking purposefully across the zebra-striped asphalt.

It remains one of music's best-known album covers, endlessly imitated and parodied. Although the shoot itself only took a few minutes, so carefully studied was the cover for signs and symbolism that some die-hard fans came to the conclusion that Paul McCartney — who appears barefoot and out of step with the rest — had secretly died.

McCartney himself made fun of the bizarre conspiracy in the title of his 1993 concert album, "Paul is Live."

Conspiracies aside, the ease with which fans can imitate the scene has drawn throngs of tourists to the site every day, turning the street into "a shrine to the Beatles," said Richard Porter, who owns the nearby Beatles Coffee Shop and organized Saturday's event.

Crowds spilled into the street, cameramen jostled for angles, and exasperated drivers honked their horns.

"I didn't expect so many people to be here," said German visitor Tschale Haas, 50, who was dressed in a Sgt. Pepper jacket.

Abbey Road, which cuts through London's well-to-do neighborhood of St. John's Wood, is home to the eponymous studios where the group recorded much of its work.

The group decided to shoot the photograph in August 1969 while recording music for the last time together. For the shot, photographer Iain Macmillan stood on a stepladder and police held up traffic while the Beatles walked back and forth across the street.

The enduring popularity of the site has caused headaches for local authorities, who have had to move the Abbey Road street sign up out of reach to prevent theft and repaint the wall every three months to hide fans' graffiti.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First look: Mickey Rourke for 'Iron Man 2'

I loved the first Iron Man and I can't wait to see the sequel. I bet it's as good as the first one. :)

In Iron Man 2, the scarlet and golden-metaled hero must face an adversary with some amazing gadgets of his own.

Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) sports a power pack on his chest that looks similar to the one that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) uses.

"The technologies are definitely related," says director Jon Favreau. "That's part of the core theme of the film."

The villain's alter ego, Ivan Vanko, is a Russian who "has constructed his own version of a suit," Favreau says. Among the creative innovations: a pair of whips, powered by the suit's glowing chest piece, that are expected to keep Iron Man cracking.

Whiplash "is going to light them up," Rourke quips.

This first image of the character shows Whiplash making an appearance at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Favreau as usual is tight-lipped about plot points and declines to discuss whether the big-screen Whiplash is, as in the Marvel Comics, a weapons designer who works for Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a competitor of Tony Stark/Iron Man.

"We like to play into and against the expectations that people might have, so we mixed it up a bit," Favreau says.

Rourke's performances in Sin City and The Wrestler helped convince the director that the actor was the best candidate to face Downey in his sequel to last spring's blockbuster that grossed $318.4 million.

"It was very important that the villain be as compelling as can be. … Once I thought of Mickey in that role, it made me understand how to shape the story."


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Joe Jonas Dancing

This made my day! Seeing the very cute Joe Jonas dancing on black tights from one of the songs that I love, Single Ladies by Beyonce. How goofy and adorable! I love him!

I wonder what will Beyonce say...

Friday, August 15, 2008

All for Heath Ledger's Daughter Matilda

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law have donated their earnings from new movie 'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus' to Heath Ledger's daughter Matilda.

The actors - who replaced Heath following his death from an accidental prescription drugs overdose in January - wanted to give their money to Heath's two-year-old child with actress Michelle Williams to ensure she has a secure future.

The movie's director Terry Gilliam said: "The three actors were totally heroic coming in. This doesn't happen very often - where there's a tragedy like this, and very famous, very successful actors suddenly say, 'OK, we'll do whatever it takes to help.'

"They came, they did the work, they allowed the movie to be finished, they didn't take money - the money goes to Heath's daughter. That's extraordinary!

"I am so glad these guys are so humble. That's why they make a great addition to the film. It will be bittersweet seeing this movie knowing he was filming it only days before he died. This picture still hurts to see because as we all know he did die a couple of days after this picture was taken. My thoughts will always be with Heath."

Johnny, Colin and Jude will all play Heath's character Tony as he is transported into three separate dimensions, which he accesses via a paranormal mirror belonging to a travelling theatre troupe.
Aren't they sweet?
Thanks to SOURCE through ONTD.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

John Lennon's Killer Denied Parole Again

ALBANY, N.Y. – John Lennon's killer was denied parole for a fifth time Tuesday by a board that said he remains a threat to the public.

Mark David Chapman will remain in New York's Attica Correctional Facility for at least two more years for gunning down the former Beatle nearly three decades ago on a Manhattan sidewalk.

Chapman, 53, has been in prison for 27 years since pleading guilty to the murder, which he has said he committed to gain attention. He became eligible for parole in 2000 after serving 20 years of a maximum life sentence.

In a one-page decision issued after Chapman's appearance Tuesday, parole board members said they denied his parole "due to concern for the public safety and welfare."

The parole board said the although Chapman has had a clean disciplinary record since 1994, he told board members during the hearing that he planned and conducted Lennon's killing "with an essentially clear mind."

Considering that, the board said, his release "would not be in the best interest of the community."

A transcript of the hearing, conducted by two parole board members, was not immediately available.

Chapman, a former maintenance man from Hawaii, fired five shots outside Lennon's apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, hitting Lennon four times in front of his wife, Yoko Ono, and others.

Ono, who has previously written the parole board arguing against Chapman's release, did not offer any testimony in his latest hearing.

"She was very pleased at the division of parole's decision," said her lawyer, Peter Shukat. He declined to comment further.

Chapman's next appearance before the board is scheduled for August 2010.
This is the first time that I've seen his killer.  I'm just wonderin if he did no do it, what would John Lennon be doing today...  I just wish that he did not.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

John Lennon's former girlfriend May Pang talks about him in a new book

BRIDGETON - To May Pang, the 18 months that she spent with John Lennon in the early 1970s as his girlfriend and companion is the most discussed - and most misunderstood - period of the former Beatle's life.
It was during that time that Lennon had some of his more notorious liquor-fueled run-ins, such as the one where he and fellow musician Harry Nilsson were famously booted from Los Angeles' Troubador Club for heckling the Smothers Brothers.

While people have seized that and other drunken escapades as being indicative of the whole period, which Lennon himself called his "Lost Weekend," Pang said the time was rather a productive, nurturing era that included not only a successful solo album, but also reconnections and collaborations with old friends.

"I don't want people to think it was a down-and-out period for him, because it wasn't," Pang, 57, said in a phone interview Tuesday. "And if you really think about it, I mean really think, how could he be drunk and do all that work? It's one thing to say he was out and having a good time, but to say he was down-and-out every day of his life then, that's ridiculous."

Beatles fans in the region will have an opportunity to hear firsthand about Pang's relationship with Lennon in a free book signing at 7 p.m. Thursday at S.R. Riley's Musical Cafe, a Beatles-themed restaurant in Bridgeton.

Pang's book, titled "Instamatic Karma" and published earlier this year by St. Martin's Press, chronicles the time the two spent together through photographs Pang took. It includes various images of Lennon in his most intimate moments at the time, such as when he, staying at the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World with Pang and his son Julian in 1974, inked his signature to the legal contract dissolving the Beatles partnership.

Pang, a New York native who grew up in the city's Spanish Harlem section, worked for three years as a production assistant for Lennon and his second wife, Yoko Ono, before their relationship became an intimate one.

It happened in 1973, Pang said, at Ono's suggestion. The couple were on the verge of separating, and Ono approached Pang, who was then 23, with the proposal one morning as Pang was performing some office chores.

"Everybody who worked for them knew what was going on, but nobody ever said anything," Pang said. "I was quite surprised at 9:30 in the morning as I was going through the mail. The only reason that I ended up going out with John is because he pursued me in the end."

The pair initially went to Los Angeles, where they crashed at friends' homes in neighborhoods like West Hollywood and Bel Air. The two also spent time, Pang said, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The two were together almost 24 hours a day.

Lennon's time in Los Angeles was spent working with legendary producer Phil Spector on his "Rock 'n' Roll" record, and Pang said she was present when Spector, who is equally known for his eccentricity as much as his musical brilliance, fired his gun in the studio.

"We always thought Phil Spector carried a gun loaded with blanks," Pang said, adding that she really was present at time. "But Phil is Phil."

When they went back to New York, they settled into a small penthouse apartment in an East 52nd Street building. The apartment was located on a dead-end street virtually adjacent to the East River, offering a sense of privacy that Pang said Lennon relished.

During that time back in New York, Pang added, the pair would often just lounge around, watching television - Johnny Carson, Pang said, was Lennon's favorite late-night, talk-show host - and decompressing.

Lennon also used the time to reconnect with old friends, and Pang said some of rock music's most famous luminaries - David Bowie, Elton John and Mick Jagger among them - would stop by to hang out.

Lennon also spent time in early 1975 with former bandmate Paul McCartney, who would often come over with his wife, Linda.

"During the time with him, I almost got John to be with Paul again," Pang said. "A lot of people didn't realize that the two of them were hanging out. Paul and Linda were constantly over. At one point, John said to me, 'What do you think if I started to write with Paul again?' It was just an amazing moment when he said that to me."

Pang also said she was given the opportunity to witness Lennon, who was known for his wry humor and caustic wit, in introspection.

"The side that you don't see of John is his sensitive side," Pang said. "We had gotten kittens from the studio, and John loved them. We ended up taking them home, and he was running around with them. He was upset when the kittens didn't want to play with him. It's the little things."

Lennon would often sit on the balcony, Pang said, smoking his French cigarettes. He eschewed the trappings of a rock star's life, like limousines and fancy restaurants. He enjoyed Americana and exploring the countryside, Pang said, and would love to just get in the car with Pang behind the wheel and go for a drive.

Pang also witnessed Lennon's creative process and even got to participate. She sang background vocals and can be heard whispering Lennon's name on the song "#9 Dream" on Lennon's 1974 album "Walls and Bridges."

"One of our big things was that we could speak music," Pang said, adding that Lennon didn't think he had a good singing voice. "We found out we had the same interests in music. What I didn't know about the older music he was into, he taught me that."

Pang said she will also gladly take questions from attendees at Thursday's event. She again said she hoped her input would be able to put to rest the negative notions about that time in Lennon's life.

"It wasn't that he was drunk and out of his mind the whole time we were together," Pang said. "I didn't want the myth to become truth, as it often happens."

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Beatles: Before They Were Legends

I can't believe that it is the legendary Beatles that I am seeing now on this post! Where are the screaming, crying and running girls? It was nice to see that they were very common and normal before all that Beatlemania. Ok continue reading...

Title: Here comes the sun: Unique photos of the Beatles in the summer of 1963 before worldwide fame

Four weeks later their lives were to change forever.

But in this photograph the Beatles can still enjoy a quiet few hours sunbathing without, it appears, a care in the world - or being swamped by fans.

It was taken in July 1963 during a week when the group had packed out the Odeon cinema in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

Pictured from the left: George Harrison, 20, Paul McCartney, 21, John Lennon, 22, and Ringo Starr, 23, relax in the sun in Weston-Super-Mare during a week's appearance at the local cinema

The band had already had three top ten hits - Love Me Do, Please Please Me and From Me To You.

But it was to be August of that year, when She Loves You shot straight to number one, that saw Beatlemania unleashed and the transformation of the four young Liverpudlians into global stars.

In the deckchairs pictured from the left: Management organiser Tommy Quickly, George Harrison, John Lennon and a waving Ringo Starr

In the calm before the storm, the band was captured in a scene typical of an English resort of that era.

The lack of response to their presence from the holiday crowds can be judged by the dozing sunbather in the picture who lies there in his underpants without a flicker of interest in the soon-to-be superstars.

Famous bands: The Beatles chat with Gerry and The Pacemakers in the Weston-Super-Mare hotel in July 1963

The unknown photographer who took this shot was persuaded to part with the copyright-by Beatles publicist Tony Barrow.

The picture has remained unseen since.

Mr Barrow, who worked with the group between 1963 and 1968, said: "This is before the pressures of the Beatles got to them, they are not putting anything on for the camera.

Tea time: The Beatles and Gerry and The Pacemakers enjoy a drop of tea at the hotel

"They just wouldn't be able to do this again in a month's time, there's a real innocence here."

The picture is from a collection Mr Barrow aims to publish in a book about the Beatles.