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By Posted on 0 16

The story of the band’s business venture Apple Corps is told in Ben Lewis’s entertaining and revealing new film ‘The Beatles, Hippies And Hell’s Angels’

It was when the hungry and belligerent Hell’s Angel Pete Knell threatened to smash his fist into John Lennon’s face at the office Christmas Party that it finally became apparent that the beautiful dream of Apple Corps wasn’t sustainable. Knell had already knocked out one of the other partygoers, a well-spoken English who had tried to tell him it wasn’t “cool” to be hungry. Actor and author Peter Coyote, a close friend of Knell’s, intervened, telling Lennon (who was dressed as Santa Claus) to sit down before the Hell’s Angel could strike again.
This incident took place in the Georgian building in Savile Row, Mayfair, that served as Apple Corps’s offices. Apple Corps was the venture set up by the Beatles in 1968. It was somewhere between a conventional entertainment business and a hippy nirvana. The story of the early years of the company is told in Ben Lewis’s entertaining and surprising new film, The Beatles, Hippies And Hell’s Angels. This is a Beatles documentary with a difference. There are no screaming teenagers or scenes of John, Paul, Ringo, George singing “Love Me Do”.
This isn’t an official documentary. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the remaining living Beatles, aren’t involved. Lewis, though, has tracked down the secretaries, journalists, DJs, sound engineers, musicians, accountants, hairdressers and freeloaders who lived, worked and hung out at Apple Corps. He tells a story at once comical and very sad. If you want to know why the Beatles split up, you will find out

This is one of the few rock docs in which the accountant’s voice features as strongly as that of his music biz clients. As Steven Maltz, the account at Apple, explains on camera, he had been going through the group’s papers in 1966 and was shocked to discover “nothing had been done”. The Beatles hadn’t filled in their tax returns. They were then probably the most successful band in the world and yet they were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Maltz told the musicians that they should start businesses and invest in them to save themselves from having to give all their money to the taxman.
The staff working at Apple Corps enjoyed themselves. A typical day for the secretaries might start with a sherry and a cigarette. This would be followed by a long lunch. “You never quite knew who was going to be coming into the office,” one former secretary recalls.
Visitors like journalist Ray Connolly might drop by for a drink. It wasn’t unusual for strange gifts to be delivered (among them, once, a donkey).

Apple Corps had opened its own fashion boutique. The company invested heavily in new technology, especially electronics, under their hippy boffin “Magic Alex” (Yanni Alexis Mardas).
Lewis – director of such other docs as Google and the World Brain and The Great Contemporary Art Bubble – reflects on the Apple Corps story. “I thought it was a story that was almost Chaucerian in a way. It was a yarn about something which was quite trivial involving really famous people. It revealed them to be really, really human. I liked all the contradictions. On the one hand, you thought that the Beatles were being really silly and self-indulgent because they had lost of money. On the other, you really identified with them. The Beatles were pretty nice people, clever people, sane people. Given the level of fame John, Paul, Ringo and George had gone through, they had emerged relatively unscathed.”
Now, they wanted to run a business and live by hippy values but money kept on getting in the way.
The latter part of the documentary looks at the power struggle that eventually tore the band apart. The Beatles realised they needed a strong and savvy figure to sort out the mess that was Apple Corps. McCartney favoured his father-in-law, New York attorney Lee Eastman. John Lennon and the others were keener on Allen Klein, the famously abrasive business manager of the Rolling Stones.


By Posted on 0 16

Julian is the coauthor of “Heal the Earth,” the second in his picture book series teaching kids as young as three years old ways to help the planet.

“I wish I had this book when I was at this age growing up,” he said in a recent interview. “I wish we’d all had it growing up. The world would be I think a different place.” The latest book follows a group of children as they fly across the globe, learning to protect coral reefs and planting gardens in cities and trees in the rainforest. “Every day there is something new we can do to heal the Earth,” the book says. “If we work together.”
Each book in the series — “Touch the Earth” was the first last year and the third will be “Love the Earth” — are timed to come out a year apart on Earth Day.

Mark Gompertz, an editorial director at Skyhorse Publishing, said Julian and coauthor Bart Davis (as well as illustrator Smiljana Coh) tried to keep the book entertaining without diluting the message.
“It’s kind of the way he writes a song — every word has a certain weight and a certain meaning … We wanted to make it not scary but, at the same time, create an awareness,” Gompertz said.
This year, Julian said, he had watched with alarm as the White House rolled back many environmental rules, including emissions standards for cars and trucks and pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accords.





By Posted on 0 4

George Harrison, was one of the main coordinators of the Concert for Bangladesh, held at Madison Square Garden, New York, on 1 August 1971 to raise international awareness and funds for Bangladesh’s liberation war. Harrison ended the concert with the song ‘Bangladesh, Bangladesh’.

With such names as Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and finally, Bob Dylan, involved, the concert would have been an enormous success no matter how it was planned or run. But part of the record’s beauty is that Harrison staged a concert worthy of his purpose in every respect.

Taslima Tariq, 19, an avid fan of The Beatles and a student in the Global studies and governance department at Independent University of Bangladesh, says, “It makes me fill up with zeal when I think about Harrison coming forward to help us during the war, makes me put a lot of things into perspective. Harrison being such a famous and charismatic musician — to be moved by something happening so many miles away.” Indeed the art and music of that time screamed out the religion of love and humanity. Hrithik Kabir, 21, a student of literature in Dhaka University, also speaks along that same line. “It was the time! The concert of Bangladesh was the cherry on top of the exuberantly liberating and revolutionary decade the sixties and the early seventies was. It inspires me greatly.”

As a musician and a fellow lover of rock music, Ashraf, 17, says “Music is magic, music works when words and actions fail, Harrison, Ringo, Clapton, Dylan, Ravi Shankar – they are miniature gods who created time bending music. Music which moved people and open up their eyes about what was happening around the world besides the comfort of their houses, it made them wake up. I would like to wake people up with the music I make someday as well.” The Shankar-Harrison duo awed many, the east meets west and the exotic tales relating to the fusion of rock and classical intrigued the music enthusiasts of that time and even now. As Sharmeen Islam, 24, student of business at North South University puts it —

“The intermingling of the magnificent guitar shredding of the rock gurus and Shankar’s iconic classical melodies is what stimulates me about the concert, goes to show how appreciation of different cultures is so important and prove to be so valuable.” Keeping this on one hand, Maruf Ahmed an tenth grader clad in his black T-shirt with the lyrics on “Bangladesh” written on it tells us, “They did it for my motherland, my country, my pride and that is what makes me surge up with emotions and respect for the ones who stood up against the tyranny of 71 in their own ways.”

This concert remains an iconic moment and still inspires the youth of Bangladesh as if it happened yesterday.



By Posted on 0 6

Among the many notable music names who contributed to Cheech & Chong’s comic 1973 hit “Basketball Jones” was the late George Harrison, who played lead guitar on the session. And we may be hearing more where that came from.

“We’ve got a ton of outtakes, where he’s trying different things,” Tommy Chong tells Billboard. “We’ve got all of that in the can that we’re going to spring on people eventually, one day. That’d be great.”
Chong did not voice any specific plans for releasing the Harrison material. This year marks the 45th anniversary of “Basketball Jones” and the duo’s Los Cochinos album, but Cheech & Chong have been focused primarily on celebrating the 40th anniversary of their film Up In Smoke.
“Basketball Jones,” a spoof on Brighter Side of Darkness’ “Love Jones,” peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, higher than the original. Other musicians on the track included Carole King, Billy Preston, Tom Scott, Klaus Voorman and Nicky Hopkins, among others, while Darlene Love and Michelle Phillips were among the “cheerleaders” heard on the song. Chong, meanwhile, brought Harrison to the party.
“George and I were buddies,” he recalls. “George and I used to smoke quite a bit when we’d meet once in a while at different places. He was in the studio at A&M at the same time we were doing ‘Basketball Jones,’ so Lou (Adler) asked him to come in and do a little guitar riff for us. And George is George; He literally made that song. I had Alexa play ‘Basketball Jones’ by Cheech & Chong, and the guitar riff is so good…'”
George was recording his 1973 album Living In the Material World at the time.



By Posted on 0 9

A portraits by John Lennon depicting himself as Hitler is being sold for $54,000.

The crude sketch — which the Beatle did at art college in the 1950s — shows Lennon on a podium with his hand raised in a Nazi salute and the words “Heil John” repeated several times, as if being chanted by an audience below.

“He drew these when he was a college student, and the fact that he even thought of depicting himself as Hitler is weird,” said Gary Zimet of Moments in Time, which is arranging the sale. Zimet added, “Original Lennon drawings are very desirable and they are ultra rare.”

Lennon began attending the Liverpool College of Art in 1957.