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BMG ENTERS GLOBAL PACT WITH GEORGE HARRISON’S DARK HORSE RECORDS, MXMTOON SIGNS WITH AWAL & MORE

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Photo (Josh Giroux): L to R: Michael Kachko, SVP, Catalog Recordings, BMG US; Hartwig Masuch, BMG CEO; Dhani Harrison; Thomas Scherer, EVP, Repertoire & Marketing, BMG Los Angeles; David Zonshine; John Loeffler, EVP Repertoire & Marketing, BMG New York; Marian Wolf, VP, Global Writer Services & China, BMG

BMG has formed a new multi-faceted global partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded label now led by Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison and manager David Zonshine, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 22).

The deal will include releases from the catalogs of Dark Horse Records, Harrison’s Indian label imprint HariSongs and The Clash frontman Joe Strummer’s solo output, including his work alongside The Mescaleros. Dark Horse will also release entirely new recordings through BMG including the Tom Petty estate charity single “For Real – For Tom” featuring Jakob Dylan, Dhani Harrison, Amos Lee, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, and Willie Nelson.

Available on digital platforms, the first slate of releases under the deal will include the George Harrison-produced Chants of India by Ravi Shankar; the live album Ravi Shankar & Ali Akbar Khan In Concert 1972; Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros’ albums Rock Art and The X-Ray Style, Global A Go-Go, and Streetcore; and Attitudes’ Ain’t Love Enough: The Best of the Attitudes. Future releases in 2020 will include compilations, live albums, and box sets featuring rare and unreleased recordings from the Dark Horse label, many of which will be available digitally for the first time.

“It is with great pleasure and excitement that I can finally announce a new chapter for Dark Horse Records in the music industry alongside our friends at BMG,” said Dhani Harrison in a statement. “The label started by my father in 1974 has been a family business my whole life (and is indeed even the reason that my parents met.) From the Indian classical Ragas of Ravi Shankar to the Rock and Roll of ‘Attitudes’ I look forward to reintroducing, to a new audience, all of those artists that my father loved so much. We will also be expanding the Dark Horse family with new artists and classic catalogues in the coming years to include a rich and varied roster of incredible musicians whom we love.”

“BMG is the perfect home for us to expand, explore and create new opportunities for iconic artists across all platforms,” said Zonshine, who added that the company will be looking to develop film and book projects under the deal.

BMG’s roster also includes catalogs by The Kinks, Nick Cave and the solo works of Keith Richards and John Fogerty. It also publishes the catalogs of the Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Jim Croce and Willie Dixon.

“Dhani and David have long been close with BMG,” added BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. “We are delighted to formalize our partnership with the two and begin our new venture as their trusted label home. We look forward to working closer together as we develop new catalog and publishing initiatives.”

Founded by George Harrison in 1974, Dark Horse Records was established to house both Harrison’s solo work and that of other artists. The label’s roster additionally includes the two-man vocal group Splinter, R&B group The Stairsteps, singer Keni Burke and late Wings guitarist Henry McCullough. HariSongs was launched by the George Harrison Estate in April 2018 to celebrate the kind of Indian classical music Harrison loved.

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TERRY JONES, LIFE OF BRIAN DIRECTOR AND MONTY PYTHON FOUNDER, DIES, AGED 77

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Terry Jones, founder member of Monty Python and director of three of Python’s celebrated feature films, has died aged 77, his family have announced. In a statement they said: “Terry passed away on the evening of 21 January 2020 at the age of 77 with his wife Anna Soderstrom by his side after a long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.”

“Over the past few days his wife, children, extended family and many close friends have been constantly with Terry as he gently slipped away at his home in North London. We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades.”

After huge success with Python in the 1970s and early 80s, including the feature films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian ( as a solo director, with Gilliam opting to concentrate on the film’s design. Backed by George Harrison’s HandMade films and released in 1979, the religious satire proved a major commercial hit as well as sparking global controversy, and The Meaning of Life, Jones went on to work on a huge variety of projects. With Palin, he created the successful TV series Ripping Yarns and forged a post-Python directorial career with Personal Services, Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows. He made a series of TV documentaries (specialising in medieval history), wrote nearly 20 children’s books, and contributed a string of comment pieces for the Guardian and Observer denouncing the “war on terror”.

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THE CALIFORNIA BAND GEORGE HARRISON SAID INSPIRED ‘IF I NEEDED SOMEONE’

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In 1965, The Beatles started on a new path. After racking up No. 1 hits with songs like “She Loves You” , the Fab Four began digging deeper. John Lennon, resolving to turn the lens on himself, had his most introspective moment to that point with “Help.”

Though he charted a path in a different direction, Paul McCartney was also growing rapidly as a songwriter. After delivering the masterpiece “Yesterday,” he followed with more like “Drive My Car” and “You Won’t See” me on Rubber Soul (released later in ’65).

By then, John was turning out classics like the sitar-infused “Norwegian Wood”.
On the track “If I Needed Someone,” George incorporated two new influences: Indian music and the Los Angeles band, The Byrds.

When The Byrds’ cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” hit No. 1 on the U.S. and UK charts in ’65, “folk rock” or the “California sound” became known by everyone on the music scene. A year earlier, the group had formed when L.A. musicians wanted to combine the depth of folk with the energy of The Beatles.

After watching A Hard Day’s Night, Roger McGuinn went out and bought the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar George played. On their first album (Mr. Tambourine Man, 1965), The Byrds played three more Bob Dylan covers along with a track by Pete Seeger called “The Bells of Rhymney.”

While The Byrds freely acknowledged the influence of The Beatles on their early sound, this track would go on to influence George’s “If I Needed Someone” on Rubber Soul. George made sure to let McGuinn and his bandmates know about it.

When Derek Taylor (a Beatles press officer) moved to California in ’65, he brought a recording of “If I Needed Someone” and a message from George for McGuinn. “[Taylor] said George wanted me to know that he had written the song based on [“The Bells of Rhymney”],” McGuinn said in 2004. “It was a great honor.”

In ’65, The Byrds went to London to play some shows and capitalize on the success of their top-10 UK hits. Even though the tour wasn’t an overwhelming success, at least McGuinn, David Crosby, and the rest of the band got to meet both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

It wasn’t only a musical exchange. After seeing McGuinn’s signature rectangular “granny” glasses, George got himself a pair, which you see him wearing in photos from that era. (McGuinn claimed John’s small round glasses were based on these, too.)

At one point during these years, The Beatles even called The Byrds their favorite new band. So there was a lot of mutual respect between the two. As McGuinn said in ’04, “It was kind of a cool cross-pollination in a way.”

For George, that period stood as a high point for him in The Beatles. He called Rubber Soul his favorite album. “The most important thing about it was that we were suddenly hearing sounds we weren’t able to hear before,” he said in the ’90s. “Everything was blossoming at that time — including us.”


NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS

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BILLY CONNOLLY, COMEDIAN REMINISCED OF HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH GEORGE HARRISON

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Billy Connolly, comedian reminisced of his friendship with George Harrison on The Adam Buxton Podcast last week, sharing an amusing case of mistaken identity when Harrison was thought to be a retired Manchester United footballer.
Connolly said he never met John Lennon, but admitted: “I’m friendly with all the other Beatles.

“I like George Harrison. He’s not my favourite, none of them is my favourite. I treasure my friendship with them.
“George was a lovely man. I spent a lot of time with him. A lot more than the other ones.
“I remember we went for Chinese food in the East End of London and a waiter came out and served us.”
The comedian continued: “And then he came back all shuffly footed, and he said, ‘I believe there’s somebody here I should know.’

“One of the guys who was with us pointed to George and said, ‘He used to play for Manchester United.’
“[The waiter] said, ‘Great can I have your autograph?’ George signed it.
“He went away quite happy. And the waiter came back and he asked me something.”
He added: “And I said, ‘That’s okay man.” And I turned to George and I said, ‘I love man, you don’t have to learn anybody’s name. Just call them man.’
“George said, ’It’s good to be a man.’ And I said, ‘I suppose it is, it’s very nice.’
“He said, ‘We were the boys for so long.’ It was funny to see his side of it. He wasn’t allowed to be a man.”
Buxton asked Connolly what Beatles questions he would ask Harrison, to which he replied: “Yeah, just about songs. They didn’t realise he was a writer.”
Harrison, who is best known for writing Here Comes The Sun once revealed what his favourite Beatles album was.
He favoured Rubber Soul of the Beatles’ albums, according to the book This Bird Has Flown: The Enduring Beauty of Rubber Soul, Fifty Years On.
In 1995, George said: “Rubber Soul was my favourite album even at that time, I think that it was the best one we made.
“The most important thing about it was that we were suddenly hearing sounds we weren’t able to hear before.”
He added: “Also, we were being more influenced by other people’s music and everything was blossoming at that time — including us.”
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ 12th and final studio album Let It Be.
And to coincide with it, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is making a documentary film full of unseen footage from the studio recording.
express

PEACE & LOVE FOR XMAS : JOHN LENNON, GEORGE HARRISON, ERIC CLAPTON, KEITH MOON & MORE

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The UNICEF event featured John and George’s first scheduled performance since The Beatles’ last concert in 1966, and John Lennon’s last UK live appearance.

A historic concert that, surprisingly, sometimes goes under the radar in the history of some British rock royalty took place at London’s Lyceum Theatre on 15 December 1969.

It was a charity event for UNICEF, the United Nations’ international fund, called Peace and Love for Christmas. The concert marked the live debut of the extended Plastic Ono Band, on this occasion featuring the incredible line-up of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton and more with a brief appearance by Keith Moon. It came in the week of release of the Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace In Toronto, the cover of which is pictured above.

 

The concert turned out to be Lennon’s last live appearance in his home country, and it’s also the answer to what could be a memorable trivia question, about the night Lennon and Harrison were on a bill that also featured Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, the Young Rascals and UK hitmakers Blue Mink. Tickets cost £1 each, and others joining the stellar cast included Klaus Voorman, Bobby Keys, Jim Price and Alan White, all regular collaborators to this extended family. BBC Radio1 DJ Emperor Rosko MCd the evening.

The Lyceum stage was adorned with a giant “War is over” message banner, previewing the sentiment of John and Yoko’s subsequent Christmas single.

This supergroup performed Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band’s then-current single ‘Cold Turkey’ and its b-side ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow),’ both in extended versions. The recordings, mixed by Geoff Emerick, were included as the second disc, titled Live Jam, on the original release of the 1972 album credited to Lennon, Ono and Elephant’s Memory, Some Time In New York City. John introduces ‘Cold Turkey’ (which was in the UK chart at the time of the event, having peaked at No. 14) by saying “This is a song about pain.”
Lennon is quoted, by The Beatles Bible and elsewhere, expressing his enthusiasm for the night. “I thought it was fantastic,” he said. “I was really into it. We were doing the show and George and Bonnie and Delaney, Billy Preston and all that crowd turned up. They’d just come back from Sweden and George had been playing invisible man in Bonnie and Delaney’s band, which Eric Clapton had been doing, to get the pressure off being the famous Eric and the famous George.

“They became the guitarists in this and they all turned up, and it was again like the concert in Toronto. I said, ‘Will you come on?’ They said, ‘Well, what are you going to play? I said, ‘Listen, we’re going to do probably a blues…or ‘Cold Turkey,’ which is three chords, and Eric knew that. And ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko,’ which was Yoko’s, which has three chords and a riff. I said, ‘Once we get on to Yoko’s riff, just keep hitting it.’”
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