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By Posted on 0 10

The Beatles’ illustrious eighth album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” lends itself to anniversary celebrations. The central conceit of the album is that of a twentieth-anniversary concert by a once famous musical group that has returned from the oblivion of pop history to “raise a smile” on the faces of its aging, nostalgic fans. At the time John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote that opening number, twenty years must have seemed like an eternity to them: more than enough time for a pop sensation like the Beatles, say, to fade from living memory.

As the recent media blitz of tributes surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper” illustrates, the Beatles and their alter egos in the Pepper Band are still very much with us––not least because “Sgt. Pepper,” more than any other single work, was responsible for generating the aura of artistic legitimacy that would institutionalize the presence of rock music in the mainstream of modern culture. The album inspired an unprecedented outpouring of reviews, cover stories, and sober cultural commentaries in newspapers, mass-circulation magazines, and highbrow literary journals, many of which had never covered rock as an artistic phenomenon before. “The Beatles are good even though everyone already knows that they’re good,” the composer Ned Rorem declared in The New York Review of Books, at the end of 1967, slyly acknowledging the way the group had transcended the limits of both condescension and connoisseurship. Rorem had already told Time magazine that “She’s Leaving Home,” the mock-Victorian parlor ballad on the first side of “Sgt. Pepper,” was “equal to any song that Schubert ever wrote.” Portentously titled “The Messengers,” Time’s cover story went on to enlist a chorus of well-known conductors and composers, such as Leonard Bernstein and Luciano Berio, in singing the praises of the Beatles’ music. The New Yorker greeted “Sgt. Pepper” with a “Talk of the Town” piece written by its editor, William Shawn, who posed as a “professorial-looking” Times Square record-store patron named “Lawrence LeFevre,” to extoll the album as “a musical event comparable to a notable new opera or symphonic work.”

Predictably, the acclaim that was heaped on “Sgt. Pepper” in the summer and fall of 1967 inspired a critical backlash. Richard Goldstein’s tone-deaf dismissal of the record as “an album of special effects, dazzling but ultimately fraudulent,” in the Times, inspired a firestorm of angry letters to the editor, which the paper published for weeks on end. But the most prescient criticism came from the British critic Nik Cohn, who agreed that “Sgt. Pepper” “was genuinely a breakthrough,” but complained that “it wasn’t much like pop. It wasn’t fast, flash, sexual, loud, vulgar, monstrous, or violent.” Cohn’s words presaged the rise of punk, which emerged, a decade later, as a corrective to the rock-as-art pretensions that “Sgt. Pepper” represented. “The Beatles make good music, they really do,” Cohn concluded, “but since when was pop anything to do with good music?”

It is now possible to see “Sgt. Pepper” as the hallmark of an era, which reached from the mid-nineteen-sixties to the mid-nineteen-seventies, when pop had a lot to do with good music––when some of the most profound and provocative music being made was also some of the most popular and commercially successful. This ten-year apotheosis of rock and soul was the result of a unique convergence of culture, commerce, and technology, in which the interplay of African-American and Anglo-American talent that had shaped the sound of popular music in the U.S. and Britain since the mid-nineteenth century was supercharged by the advent of multitrack recording, which turned studios into compositional laboratories and allowed musical artists to exert an auteur-like sovereignty over their work. At the same time, the advent of stereo records and FM broadcasting gave these artists the medium they needed by turning long-playing albums, rather than three-minute singles, into the commercial basis of pop.

Though “Sgt. Pepper” was hailed as a marvel of technical innovation upon its release, multitrack recording was still in its infancy in 1967, and the album was made using a jerry-rigged system of patched-together tape decks that required each layer of instruments and voices to be premixed and rerecorded in order to make room for additional overdubs. In the process of these so-called “reduction mixes,” the presence and clarity of the basic tracks were significantly compromised. Stereo records were still an anomaly in Britain at the time—so much so that the Beatles themselves did not bother to participate in the stereo mixes of the album, which were done mainly for the American market. Minor improvements were made when “Sgt. Pepper” was remastered by the Beatles’ producer George Martin in the nineteen-eighties, for release as a CD. But, for the past half century, “the act you’ve known for all these years” has come to us in a rather crude stereo format that placed the voices and instruments on one side or the other with precious little in between.

George Martin died in 2016, but his son Giles had worked with him for the last decade of his career, during which he assimilated a great deal of his father’s expertise, ingenuity, and impeccable musical taste. In preparing the silver-anniversary edition of “Sgt. Pepper,” Giles, with the full consent of the surviving Beatles, drew on the archives of EMI’s Abbey Road Studios to exhume the original, unreduced tapes, which were recorded during the marathon sessions that ran through the winter and spring of 1967. He digitized these tracks, fed them through a modern mixing board, and then, using the Beatles-approved mono mix as a guide, recast the album in true stereo. For Beatles enthusiasts who can’t get enough, the new reissue of “Sgt. Pepper” is also available in a deluxe package that includes a generous selection of outtakes, which provides a fascinating glimpse of the empirical process by which the Beatles went about their work.

On the occasion of the album’s fiftieth anniversary, how does this refurbished version of “Sgt. Pepper” hold up? The famous cover photograph, staged by the Pop painter Peter Blake, now looks as dated as the Edwardian-era portraiture it was meant to satirize. Yet, for all its identification with Swinging London, the Haight-Ashbury, and the Summer of Love, the album effortlessly transcends the bounds of its historical moment. As Ned Rorem might have said, “Sgt. Pepper” is a masterpiece even though everyone already knows that it’s a masterpiece. The giddy, glad-handing promise of pop (“We’d love to take you home with us!”) still exerts its seductive power over the popular imagination. And the world is still full of girls like the ethereal “Lucy in the Sky” and the earthy “Lovely Rita,” desperate daredevils like Mr. Kite, and cheerfully reformed domestic tyrants like the one in “Getting Better.” The experience of immersing oneself, as a listener, in the rich stylistic swirl of satire, sentiment, and sensation of the Pepper Show, only to be torn from it, at the very end, by the sublime majesty of “A Day in the Life,” on which the Beatles abandon the gaudy self-assertion of their Pepper Band personae to expose the deep well of alienation and vulnerability that lies behind the mask of the crowd-pleasing entertainer––none of this has lost its power to astonish, enlighten, and delight.



By Posted on 0 , 5

Rex Makin – one of Liverpool’s best-known personalities – has died. The 91-year-old lawyer passed away in the last 24 hours. Mr Makin, who was known for his philanthropy, had been increasingly frail in recent years. Confirming the news on Twitter, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said today: “Sorry to hear of the death of colourful character and Freeman of the City, Rex Makin. “The flags will at half mast.”
This morning staff at his office in Whitechapel declined to comment.
A source close to Mr Makin said everybody who knew the solicitor was “devastated” by his death. Robin Makin, his son and a lawyer at his dad’s firm, said he was unable to comment. Mr Makin, whose first name was actually Elkan, for many years wrote a weekly column for the ECHO. He practised law for more than 60 years and was involved with the Beatles’ early career and also the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters.

Rex Makin making a statement to the press outside the home of Epstein following his death,Belgravia,London, August 28th 1967

Mr Makin was the family solicitor to Brian Epstein, who in 1963 sought his advice on setting up a perpetually binding contract between himself and the Beatles. He was also credited with creating the term Beatlemania.

He was also involved in the Knowsley Hall murder case – in which Lady Derby was shot – the Walton sextuplets, and successfully appealing the conviction of George Kelly, a young Liverpool labourer hung at Walton jail in 1950.

Mr Main also provided legal advice to a variety of celebrities and sports personalities including John Lennon, Gerry Marsden, Bill Shankly, Anne Robinson, Ken Dodd and Carla Lane.
In 2003 he was appointed a Freeman of the City of Liverpool, the first solicitor to receive that honour.
At that time, he said: “The ordinary people of Liverpool and I have had a long love affair. I’ve been there in all their disasters and most of their triumphs.”


By Posted on 1 5

Ringo recently announced this year’s plans to celebrate his birthday on Thursday, July 7, 2017, inviting family, friends and the public to come together in a moment of Peace & Love at Noon. This annual event will take place in front of the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, CA, starting at 11 a.m. as The Beatles’ drummer turns 77.

Among those joining Ringo at this year’s event: Joe Walsh, David Lynch, Edgar Winter, Eric Burdon, Jim Keltner, Nils Lofgren, Howie Mandell, current All Starr Band members Richard Page and Gregg Bissonette, and others.

Several of Ringo’s songs will be performed by Don Was with Jenny Lewis, Van Dyke Parks and Michael Bearden, and Emmanuel Jal and Paul Beaubrun.

As in previous years, Ringo invites everyone everywhere to think, say, or post #PeaceandLove at Noon their local time, thus generating a wave of Peace & Love that moves over the planet on July 7, starting at noon in New Zealand and ending at noon in Hawaii.

The Peace & Love birthday celebration was a concept born in 2008 when Ringo was asked in an interview “what would you like for your birthday.” He replied: “more Peace & Love.” This marked the beginning of a yearly tradition where Ringo has hosted events all over the world including NYC’s Time Square, Hamburg, Germany and Capitol Records in L.A.

Said Ringo recently: “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday, or a better gift I could ask for, then Peace & Love. How great that this idea keeps growing and spreading. Thanks to everyone supporting it. Peace & Love, Ringo.”

Ringo has revealed that he’s been recording a new album with a little help from his friends Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Lukather, Page and others. (On June 19, he tweeted a picture “with number one son”, Zak Starkey, implying that The Who drummer is among the classic rock stars participating.

In March, Starr announced fall tour dates with his longest-running All Starr Band. The current lineup of All Starrs–Todd Rundgren, Santana and Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Mr. Mister frontman and bassist Richard Page, saxophonist Warren Ham and drummer Gregg Bissonette–first came together in 2012 and has been touring together ever since.

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band 2017 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here )

13-14, 17, 20-21, 24, 27-28 – Las Vegas, NV – Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
30 – El Paso, TX – Abraham Chavez Theatre
31 –  Austin TX – Moody Theater

2 – Sugarland, TX – Smart Sugarland Civic Center
4 –  Thackerville, OK – Global Events Center at Winstar
7-8 – Ft Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse
11 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theater
12 – Norfolk, VA – ODU Pavilion
14 – Morristown, NJ – Mayo Performing Arts Center
15 – New York City, NY – Beacon Theatre
16 – Newark, NJ – New Jersey Performing Arts Center




By Posted on 0 , 13


The fantastic Beatles tribute show RAIN, comes to the UK and will be performing at The London Palladium on 5th, 6th, and 7th October, with newly announced regional dates in Glasgow, Wales and Portsmouth, to celebrate 50 years of one of the greatest albums of all time. ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club’. Hear all your favourite Beatles hits such as; “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together,” “Hey Jude” and many more, plus the full Sgt Pepper’s album soundtrack including ‘Lucy In The Sky’, ‘I get by with a little help from my friends” and “When I’m sixty four” performed in full,glorious technicolour with LED screens and high definition multimedia content! The show has been a smash on Broadway, hailed as “ A quick fix of nostalgic cheer” by Entertainment Weekly, with rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Herald and LA Times.
We have a pair of tickets for one lucky winner to see this fantastic show.
All you have to do is answer this question: In what year was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album originally released?
A) 1967
B) 1969
C) 1974
Send us email to: with your answer.
Results: 1st. July, 2017 !



By Posted on 0 4

For an entire month the Lennon Bus invited students from Idaho and Utah to come together and imagine peace during our 20th Anniversary Tour! Students not only learned about career path development, but they also had a ton of fun and challenged themselves to create compelling content. Special thanks to Canon U.S.A., Inc., Apple, Juniper Networks, Securematics, Other World Computing (OWC), Yamaha, The NAMM Foundation, Neutrik USA and Genelec for making each stop possible.

Next up, the Lennon Bus heads to Vegas where we’ll place our bets on students having the time of their lives as we continue providing opportunities for creativity to shine!