"Today is fantastic. There is blue sky and it's springtime. My mum
and dad would have been extremely proud - and perhaps they are.
I would never have dreamed of this day. It's a long way from a little
terrace in Liverpool."
Ringo and Barbara travel to Aspen, Colorado for some winter skiing. (They return home in early February.)
Wednesday January 1
Following much press speculation, Paul finally receives a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's Honours List, which is announced today. Paul is on holiday with Linda and the children when the news is revealed.
In the States, The Beatles win three Grammy Awards at the 39th annual American celebration. The awards are for 'Best Vocal Group or Duo' for 'Free As A Bird', 'Best Short Form Video' for 'Free As A Bird' and 'Long Form Video' for The Beatles Anthology. Accepting the awards on behalf of the group is Bob Smeaton, the writer/director on The Beatles Anthology.
Still Stateside, Ringo begins recording what is to eventually become the album Vertical Man. The long and winding road to the release begins when, as planned, Mark Hudson and Dean Grakal travel to Ringo's Beverly Hills home where they join him in a spot of songwriting. The first track they compose is 'My Love'. But this title is quickly shelved when Ringo points out to the others that this title has already been used by another ex-Beatle! The song title is swiftly changed to 'Everyday'. (Shortly after, the trio record a demo of the song, which also features guitarist Steve Dudas. Pleased with the results of the session, the four-piece line-up continues recordings.) At the end of February, Barbara's mother becomes ill and passes away. Ringo and Barbara leave their home in Beverly Hills and head for Europe to be by her side just before she dies.
The American label Rykodisc sign a deal with Yoko to reissue her entire back catalogue on compact disc.
Friday February 14
Paul arrives at Abbey Road Studios in London, where, today in studio No. 1, he oversees the massive orchestral overdubs for his track 'Beautiful Night'. Joining Paul at the session, which is videotaped and appears in the Paul McCartney In The World Tonight MPL documentary, is George Martin.
Ringo and Barbara return home to Beverly Hills. He spends March 6 at home shooting publicity shots for his upcoming All-Starr Band tour with the noted photographer Henry Diltz, then rejoins Mark Hudson, Dean Grakal and Steve Dudas in writing and recording for what is to become Vertical Man, at Mark Hudson's Whatinthewhathe? Studios in Los Angeles, situated on the second storey of a building over the top of a Thai restaurant. The walls of this small studio are covered with frame upon frame of pictures of The Beatles, many of which are signed by the various Beatles. "I had to take some down before Ringo came the first night," Mark recalls, "otherwise he would have thought I was a stalker!" The tracks recorded by this group are 'Mr. Doubleitup' and 'One' (originally titled 'All It Takes Is One' when it first appeared on Dean Grakal's original lyric sheet). At this stage in the recordings, Ringo, instead of the 'Trap Kat' drum kit he had been using, brings into the studio his Ludwig Beatles look-a-like drum set, which features his original Beatles hi-hat cymbals and a "ride" cymbal, complete with Paul McCartney's signature still on it!
Monday March 3 & Tuesday March 4
In London, Paul records demo versions of Standing Stone at Abbey Road Studios. These two-day sessions, featuring production by John Frazer, mark the first time the 60-minute symphony has been played by a full orchestra.
Tuesday March 11
At 11am today, in a two-and-a-half hour ceremony at London's Buckingham Palace, Paul is formally invested with his knighthood for services to popular music. He is ushered into the presence of Her Majesty The Queen in the Palace ballroom where he kneels before her as she places the King George VI's Scots Guard sword on Paul's right shoulder and then on his left, before accrediting him with the title "Sir Paul", the sight of which makes Mary McCartney start to cry. Due to strict Palace etiquette, each inductee is allowed to bring only three guests. Linda is not among them; instead he brings his three youngest children, Mary, Stella and James. Following the investiture, Paul, dressed in a black morning suit, greets the waiting army of reporters by showing his medal and saying: "Today is fantastic, there is blue sky and it's springtime. My mum and dad would have been extremely proud - and perhaps they are. I would never have dreamed of this day. If we'd had that thought when we started off in Liverpool it would have been laughed at as a complete joke. Proud to be British. A wonderful day. It's a long way from a little terrace in Liverpool."
Reporters ask him, "Have you spoken to the other Beatles about this?"
"Yep", he replies. "They make fun of me. They keep ringing me up and calling me 'Your Holiness', but they're having a good time. It seems strange being here without the other three. I keep looking over my shoulder for them."
The reporters then enquire about Linda, who is conspicuous by her absence. "She's doing fine, thanks. We drew straws, 'cos we could only get three tickets. So I've got my three youngest kids with me."
"But she's doing well?" another reporter asks.
"Linda is fine," Paul replies. "She's doing very well. I would have loved my whole family to have been here, but as we had three guest tickets, Linda and Heather decided to stay out of the limelight today."
Paul also takes time to promote, to the reporters, his new album. "I'm still heavily involved with music ... I have a new album, Flaming Pie, out in May. It's mainly a solo album, but Ringo plays on it."
Paul leaves the Palace, driven away in his Mercedes to an accompaniment of screaming fans surrounding the Palace gates singing 'Hey Jude', 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Yesterday', scenes reminiscent of when The Beatles received their MBEs back in October, 1965.
Where is George while Paul is receiving his Knighthood? He is to be found in Australia on holiday with Olivia and Dhani. Today, at 2am, George strolls into the Melbourne Casino, sits down at the house piano and plays for almost two hours. Sitting by his side throughout the performance is his 19-year-old son.
Saturday March 22
Bonham's of Chelsea, in London, present the 'Ultimate Beatles Auction' which takes place simultaneously in Tokyo.
Monday March 24
In the States, Carroll James, long recognised as being the first American disc jockey to play a Beatles record on US radio in Washington DC on December 17, 1963, dies of cancer, aged 60.
Thursday March 27
A further complete screening of the 1968 film Yellow Submarine, takes place today on Channel 4 in the UK.
Wednesday April 2
The first "playback" of Paul's new album Flaming Pie, aimed specifically for the retail trade, takes place before a gathering of 20 at 6 Hamilton Place, in Park Lane, London. The unique Flaming Pie press kits, given away to reporters as they enter the building and requested back as they depart, feature a message from Paul which reads: "I came off the back of The Beatles'Anthology with an urge to do some new music. The Anthology was very good for me, because it reminded me of The Beatles' standards and the standards that we reached with the songs. So, in a way, it was a refresher course that set the framework for this album.
"Watching the Anthology also reminded me of the time that we didn't take to make an album and of the fun we had when we did one. The Beatles were not a serious group ... So I wanted to try and get back into some of that, to have some fun and not sweat it. That's been the spirit of making this album, you've got to have a laugh, because it's just an album. So I called up a bunch of friends and family and we just got on and did it. And we had fun making it. Hopefully you'll hear that in the songs."
Ringo meanwhile takes part in the first of two Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp sessions, in which a number of artists have a chance to participate in seminars, jam sessions or simply "hang out"! Joining him at the five day get-together in Miami, Florida are former members of his All-Starr Band, including Joe Walsh, Felix Cavaliere, Mark Farmer, Nils Lofgren and Billy Preston. The cost for the session, which lasts until Sunday April 6, is a cool $695, even if you decide not to participate in any of the organised events.
Friday April 4
Allen Ginsberg, the legendary Beat poet, with whom Paul recently collaborated on 'The Ballad Of The Skeletons', dies of liver cancer in America, aged 70.
Sunday April 6
The first public airing of 'Young Boy', a track from Paul's new album Flaming Pie, occurs on The Pepsi Chart Show, transmitted today on ILR (Independent Local Radio). The broadcast also features a new specially recorded interview with Sir Paul.
Tuesday April 8
In the UK, the BBC1 Watchdog programme reports on a scam involving the potential sale of Paul's famous Homer bass guitar through the London auction house of Sotheby's.
Thursday April 10
Paul ventures up onto the roof of his MPL building in Soho Square, London to play a short acoustic set ('Young Boy' and 'The World Tonight') recreating the famous Beatles January 30, 1969, rooftop concert, for inclusion in his upcoming Flaming Pie television documentary. (The scene, which completes the 35 hours of shooting for the Paul McCartney In The World Tonight documentary, does not make the final edits of the show.)
Saturday April 12
The first version of the Young Boy' promotional video is prepared today for television distribution by the London-based company of Imagine Post Productions. Meanwhile, Paul is none too pleased when the Daily Mail newspaper publishes a four-page interview with Maggie McGivern, with whom Paul, apparently, had a secret affair between 1966 and 1969. The story is given more impetus because during the early stages, Paul was engaged to Jane Asher.
Tuesday April 15
The press launch for Flaming Pie, intended purely for the benefit of international journalists, takes place this morning at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick High Road, London.
Tuesday April 15 (for almost two straight weeks until Friday April 25)
In Los Angeles, at Studio City, Ringo and his fourth All-Starr Band begin rehearsals for his 1997 All-Starr Band tour. During the second week, Dave Mason, formerly of the Sixties group Traffic, quits the group, citing the perennial favourite of "musical differences" with Ringo and the rest of the band. He is not replaced. At this point, Ringo will spend part of the day rehearsing for the tour and the other recording Vertical Man with Mark Hudson at the Whatinthewhathe? Studio. The last track Ringo will record before commencing on the tour (which starts on Monday April 28 - see entry) is 'I'll Be Fine Anywhere'.
Friday April 18
In London, the promotional video for 'The World Tonight' is prepared today for television distribution. Its first premiere screening will take place on the live VH-1 programme McCartney's Town Hall Meeting, transmitted on Saturday May 17.
Thursday April 24
A party at Abbey Road Studios is held for the launch of the book Abbey Road, a new updated edition of which is published this week by Omnibus Press. Among those in attendance are George Martin, the vice president of the studios Martin Benge, Abbey Road managers Peter Vince and Allan Rouse (who co-authored the update section in the book) and engineers Geoff Emerick, Jeff Jarratt and John Leckle, and the former head of the studios Ken Townsend. A film on the history of Abbey Road is shown. (Note: The original, now hard to find, book Abbey Road: The Story Of The World's Most Famous Recording Studio, was originally released in hardback in 1982 and in paperback in 1985, and has been out of print for years.) The new edition of the book contains the most detailed account of The Beatles Anthology sessions yet published.
Ringo & His Fourth All-Starr Band
Tour Of America
Monday April 28 to Sunday June 8
Ringo's current All-Starr Band, consisting of an all-British line-up of Ringo (on vocals and drums), Peter Frampton (of the sixties group The Herd, and himself a star of the Seventies on guitar), Jack Bruce (of the classic Sixties supergroup Cream on bass guitar), Gary Brooker (of Procul Harum on keyboards) and Simon Kirk (of Free and Bad Company on drums), tours America. Their repertoire includes the following songs: 'It Don't Come Easy', 'Act Naturally', 'The Devil Came From Kansas', 'Show Me The Way', 'Shooting Star', 'Boys', 'Baby I Love Your Way', 'You're Sixteen' and 'Yellow Submarine'. Then, after a short break, 'All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)', 'Imaginary Western', 'Conquistador', 'I'm The Greatest', 'No No Song', 'I Feel Free', 'All Right Now', 'I Wanna Be Your Man', 'Do You Feel (Like I Do?)', 'White Room', 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' and 'Photograph'.
Concerts during this tour include performances at the following venues:
The Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington (Monday April 28)
Hult Center, Eugene, Oregon (Tuesday April 29)
Arlene Schitzner Auditorium, Portland, Oregon (Wednesday April 30)
Concord Pavilion, San Francisco, California (Friday May 2)
Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, California (Saturday May 3)
Humphrey's San Diego, California (Sunday May 4)
Mesa Amphitheater, Phoenix, Arizona (Monday May 5)
Fiddler's Green, Denver, Colorado (Wednesday May 7)
Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, Illinois (Friday May 9)
Riverport Amphitheater, St. Louis, Missouri (Saturday May 10)
State Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Sunday May 11)
Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Tuesday May 13)
Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan (Wednesday May 14)
Chastain Park, Atlanta, Georgia (Friday May 16)
Sunrise Theater, Miami, Florida (Saturday May 17)
Ruth Eckerd Hall, Tampa, Florida (Sunday May 18)
Palace Theater, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Tuesday May 20)
Wolftrap, Vienna, Virginia (Wednesday May 21)
Billy Bob's, Fort Worth, Texas (Friday May 23)
Six Flags, San Antonio, Texas (Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25)
Bob Carpenter Center, Newark, New Jersey (Wednesday May 28)
I.C. Light Amphitheater, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Thursday May 29)
Pine Knob Amphitheater, Detroit, Michigan (Friday May 30)
Rubber Bowl, Akron, Ohio (Saturday May 31)
Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, Uncasville, CT (Monday June 2)
PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey (Wednesday June 4)
Harborlights Pavilion, Boston, Massachusetts (Friday June 6)
Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey (Saturday June 7)
Jones Beach Amphitheater, Wantaugh, New York (Sunday June 8)
During the tour
Ringo gives an interview to the American newspaper Orange County Register, where he reveals that more archive Beatles projects are in the pipeline, including restored versions of the films Yellow Submarine and Let It Be, as well as CD versions of The Beatles Live At The Hollywood Bowl and the unreleased 1969 Get Back album. During the same interview, Ringo also speaks about the recent Anthology project. "It was great therapy for the three of us," he announces, adding: "We went over things that we thought were really big at the time, and they aren't that big at all - those little arguments that form up in your mind. It just brought back what a great time it was, and how close we all were. We tend to forget that. We did live in a box, and saved each others' lives."
Monday April 28
The opening night of the tour in Seattle is performed before a 1,400 crowd.
Friday May 30
Today's concert at the Pine Knob Amphitheater in Detroit, Michigan, is videotaped and released by MPI home video in America on July 28, 1998.
Sunday June 8
Following the conclusion of the American tour, Ringo remains in America where, at the end of July, he will continue work on his next solo album, Vertical Man.
Monday April 28
'Young Boy' is released as a single in the UK today in three different formats. One 7-inch picture disc and two different CDs. Trevor Dann, the man responsible for banning 'Real Love' from Radio 1 last year, bans Paul's single from Top Of The Pops. He uses the "new music" argument for his decision.
Wednesday April 30
Recordings begin on Paul's Standing Stone at the Abbey Road Studios in London. These sessions last until Friday May 2.
In London, Paul gives an interview in the Boulevard section of the Daily Express newspaper. Of most significance are his recollections of the recent Beatles' reunion recording sessions and of the third "Beatles comeback" song: "There are a couple of things, which may surface at some point. You see, with The Beatles, there's always a surprise somewhere along the line. We did 'Free As A Bird' and 'Real Love', those two songs of John's. That was very exciting, very moving and very comfortable for me having his voice in my headphones in the studio again. And there was a third track, another song we had our eyes on called 'Now And Then'. I actually wanted to do it on Anthology 3, but we didn't all agree. But things change and the thing is that it might not go away. There was only one of us who didn't want to do it. It would have meant a lot of hard work, the song would have needed a lot of re-writing and people would have had to be very patient with us. But there are these one or two things lurking in the bushes." He adds optimistically, "The Beatles might just raise their ugly heads again ..."
In the UK, Corgi Toys re-launch the 1968 Yellow Submarine model as part of a range of six Beatles designs, manufactured under licence with Apple Corps.
Julian Lennon rents a house in Dublin, Ireland where, at his own expense, he begins recording tracks for his next album.
Thursday May 1
On the day of the British General Elections, Sky news broadcasts (at intervals throughout the day, with a complete round-up of the segments just before 9:00pm) an exclusive interview with Paul, carried out by the Reuters news service, which includes the first television glimpses of The World Tonight documentary. An extended version of the interview is transmitted on May 4 on the Sky News series entitled Newsmakers. Also today, the publishers Little Brown release the book Linda McCartney's Summer Kitchen.
Monday May 5
Paul's new album Flaming Pie is released today in the UK. To commemorate its release, BBC Radio 2 transmits, this evening, the Flaming Pie radio special. (The American release of the album does not take place until May 20, while other territories of the world receive the album one week previously, on May 12.) The track listing is as follows: 'The Songs We Were Singing', 'The World Tonight' (originally titled 'I Saw You Sitting'), 'If You Wanna', 'Somedays', 'Young Boy', 'Calico Skies', 'Flaming Pie', 'Heaven On A Sunday', 'Used To Be Bad', 'Souvenirs', 'Little Willow', 'Really Love You', 'Beautiful Night' and 'Great Day'. (Ringo collaborated with Paul on 'Really Love You' and 'Beautiful Night'.) In America, where the newspaper US Today describes it as "His Most Beatlesque Album In 30 Years", sales figures reveal that the album sells 500,000 copies in its first three days of release. To promote the release, the American video company Second Coming Productions distribute, to selected television stations across America, a 15-minute EPK (electronic press kit) for Flaming Pie, which includes exclusive interviews with Paul and a promotional clip for the song 'The World Tonight'.
Tuesday May 6
One day after a new offering from Paul in the UK, comes a new release from George in America, albeit on Chants Of India, the new CD from Ravi Shankar. George contributes acoustic guitar, bass guitar, autoharp and glockenspiel on the recordings which were carried out in London, Madras in India and at his Friar Park studios in his mansion in Henley-on-Thames. (The UK release takes place on September 1.)
Sunday May 11
In order to reach the deadline set for its first screening on Tuesday, the documentary The World Tonight is finally prepared for TV screenings by the Imagine Post Productions company in London today. Paul oversees the finished production.
Monday May 12
In America, VH-1 begins a week of special Paul McCartney programming, culminating in the Town Hall Meeting special programme, which is due to be aired this Saturday May 17.
Tuesday May 13
Paul's documentary The World Tonight, released to coincide with his new album, is premiered at a press launch at BAFTA in London's Piccadilly. Paul, though, is not in attendance.
Wednesday May 14
In the States, as part of the VH-1 Paul McCartney week of programming, the station transmits a show hosted by John Fugelsang entitled The Paul McCartney Video Collection. The 60-minute programme contains ten Macca promotional videos and gives an interesting insight into Paul's writing career through his solo years.
George arrives in New York to meet up with Ravi Shankar and various members of the press in a promotional exercise for the album Chants Of India. Today, George and Ravi visit VH-1's studio on 11th Avenue where they tape a two-and-a-half-hour interview with John Fugelsang for the programme George & Ravi - Yin & Yang (see entry for Thursday July 24 for details of the programme).
Thursday May 15
At the Plaza Hotel in New York, George and Ravi tape interviews for the American television programmes Access Hollywood and CNN's Showbiz Today, an item that will be transmitted one week later on Thursday May 22. During these lengthy sessions of interviews to promote Chants Of India, George and Ravi also give an interview to People magazine and to Robert Siegel of the NPR (National Public Radio) programme All Things Considered. During the latter, which is aired later this evening, Ravi recalls how he and George met at a party in 1966. "A few days later," George continues, "Ravi offered to come to my house and teach me some of the basics of sitar playing. After a few hours, we gave a small concert at my house with Alla Rakah, the tabla player, which was attended by Ringo and John Lennon."
Friday May 16
Paul's new documentary, featuring the complete title of Paul McCartney In The World Tonight, receives it worldwide television premiere in America tonight on VH-1.
In New York, at the Plaza Hotel, George and Ravi continue with their Chants Of India promotions by giving interviews to Associated Press, Reuters, Westwood One and the New York radio station WNEW. In addition, George and Ravi also give an interview to Marc McEuen for the television programme CBS This Morning. When this is aired, just under a month later on Thursday June 12, McEuen notes at the end of the feature that, "George expects to begin recording a new solo album next year."
Saturday May 17
On the day that Paul's Flaming Pie reaches number one in the Music Week Top 75 album chart, VH-1 in Europe transmits (simultaneously with VH-1 in Germany and in America) the programme Paul McCartney's Town Hall Meeting, a question and answer event, hosted by John Fugelsang, transmitted live from Bishopsgate Memorial Hall, in Bishopsgate, East London. (Fugelsang, a self-confessed Beatles fanatic, had met George only three days earlier, and now meets Paul, in what is his first visit to London!) During the show, Paul answers questions submitted by fans throughout the world the previous month, some asked byway of videotape, one of these being from the president of the United States, Bill Clinton! Paul also delivers, on an acoustic guitar, a short burst of the song 'Bishopsgate', a track that he claims he "wrote backstage". (Of course, Bishopsgate is a site mentioned by John in The Beatles' 1967 track 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite', which Paul point's out during the show.)
Paul arrived at the hall at 1:30pm and spent parts of the afternoon watching TV live coverage of this year's FA Cup Final. The 100 members of the audience in the Hall consists of 50 American contest winners, 25 members of Paul's Fun Club and 25 from Paul's large pool of family and close friends. The various transmission times of Paul McCartney's Town Hall Meeting are as follows: London - 6pm, Europe - 7pm, USA EDT - 1pm. Immediately following the 60-minute programme, Paul takes part in a 30-minute live "Netcast" chat with fans, held on the first floor of the Bishopsgate Hall.
In America to coincide with these special shows, VH-1 transmits, for the first time in 18 years during this special Paul McCartney Week, the MPL programmes Wings Over The World (1979). This is the first time ever an almost complete uncut screening of the Wings concert film Rockshow, a version previously only seen in the cinemas, has been shown on TV.
Sunday May 18
In the UK, two days after its worldwide premiere, Paul's MPL documentary The World Tonight receives its European premiere tonight across the ITV network between 11:01 and 11:59pm.
Tuesday May 20
Rykodisc releases the first of its Yoko Ono back catalogue on CD. The first phase includes Two Virgins (1968), Unfinished Music #2 - Life With The Lions (1969), The Wedding Album (1969) and Yoko Ono - Plastic Ono Band (1970). All releases feature additional tracks from Yoko's own archives.
Thursday May 22
In America, the first single off Flaming Pie, 'The World Tonight', is released.
Saturday May 24
The 30th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper passes without any official Apple or EMI celebration. The only item appearing to commemorate the landmark is on BBC Radio 2, when they broadcast the documentary Pepper Forever. (Although June 1, 1967, is always listed as the official release date for the album, May 24, 1967, was the date when the album was first distributed to record shops by EMI.)
This month's issue of the music magazine Mojo, features an exclusive interview with Paul. Conducted over his car phone, he tells of his current "strained" relationship with George Harrison. "When we were working on 'Free As A Bird'," he announces, "there were one or two little bits of tension, but it was actually cool for the record. For instance, I had a couple of ideas that he didn't like and he was right. I'm the first one to accept that, so that was OK. We did say then that we might work together in the future, but the truth is, after 'Real Love', I think George has some business problems. It didn't do a lot for his moods over the last couple of years. He's been having a bit of a hard time, actually, he's not been that easy to get on with. I've rung him and maybe he hasn't rung back. No big deal. But when I ring Ringo, he rings back immediately, we're quite close that way. You know, I'll write George a letter and he might not reply to it. I don't think he means not to reply to it, but it makes me wonder whether he actually wants to do it or not. And if you're not sure, you back off a little. But I love him, he's a lovely guy..."
A Paul and Linda's youngest daughter Stella secures a £100,000 a year job as head designer at the prestigious Paris fashion house Chloe. In the UK, the National Trust wins its National Lottery bid for £47,500 to restore 24 Forthlin Road, in Allerton, Liverpool, the house where Paul lived as a teenager and wrote many of The Beatles' early songs with John.
Also this month, an exclusive interview with Paul, conducted by Des Burkinshaw, is published in Record Collector magazine. He is asked: "What do you think John would have thought of the National Trust buying your old house in Liverpool?" Paul replies: "If you'd ever said to me and John as kids, wandering around with guitars slung over our shoulders walking down Forthlin Road to Menlove Avenue, that one day it'd be a National Trust house ... well - the idea is still fairly laughable!" He goes on: "The last time I was in Liverpool with the kids in the car, I drove down Forthlin Road, and pulled up outside the house and told the kids, 'That was my room, there. Dad planted a tree there. He used to have a lavender bush right there, and the ginger torn from next door used to come out and pee in the bush ...' Then some bloke walks past, leans down to the car window and says, Yeah, he did used to live there!' "
Yoko briefly visits Britain where she undertakes promotional interviews to promote the Rykodisc reissues of her back catalogue.
Monday June 2
In America, approximately 12,000 schools tune in to a special radio broadcast, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the American release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Monday June 16
Two months four days after the version is completed, the Moving Picture Company of London prepares, for TV distribution, a second version of the Young Boy' promotional video, this time directed by Alastair Donald.
Monday June 23
A pre-recorded interview with Paul, conducted at his MPL offices in London, is transmitted on the programme In Control, on the Italian TV station RAI3.
Thursday June 26
In anticipation of his appearance on TFI Friday tomorrow, Paul spends the day at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London, recording his guitar, drums and bass parts that will be played to "back him" on the show.
Friday June 27
Paul arrives in the early afternoon at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, where he rehearses the songs ('Flaming Pie' and 'Young Boy') he will be performing on the show TFI Friday tonight. For the transmission (on Channel 4 between 6:01 and 6:59pm, and then repeated later this night between 11:36pm and 12:29am) Paul appears at the tail-end of part two where he is interviewed by the host Chris Evans and takes questions, by fax, from various celebrities. These include Ringo, the comedian Frank Carson and the footballer George Best and then, as a climax to the programme, Paul performs, as in rehearsal, 'Flaming Pie' (aboard his psychedelic piano) and 'Young Boy', both against the backdrop of himself (videotaped the previous day) playing guitar, drums and bass. The show ends with Paul rushing out of the back of the studio with Evans to climb aboard a waiting speedboat, where they seemingly speed off down the river Thames. In fact, the pair (once live transmission on Channel 4 has been concluded) return to the studio to participate in the end of the series celebration party, with non-stop free beer until 7pm! Joining Paul at this event are his daughters Stella and Mary as well as his close friend Geoff Wonfor. Impressed with the "video screens depicting himself playing instruments while he sings out in front" idea, Paul will resurrect this process for American television on Thursday November 20 (see entry).
At the start of the month, whilst tending the garden at his Friar Park mansion, George discovers a lump on his throat and is immediately put in touch with the Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor, Berkshire, to have it checked. As planned, George then visits Paris to promote Ravi Shankar's album Chants Of India, where again, he uses the world's media to launch an attack on some of the world's current top pop groups and the industry in general. In the French newspaper Le Figaro, George is quoted as saying: "One thing irritates me about current music, everything is based on ego. Look at a group like U2. Bono and his band are so egocentric. It's horrible ... the more you shout, the higher you jump, the bigger your hat, the more people listen to your music. It's like that in the recording industry. It's got nothing to do with talent. Everything has got out of proportion today with the power of the record companies, the media, television, radio ... it's staggering."
George is asked his opinion on the group Oasis. "They aren't very interesting. They're fine if you're 14 years old," he rants. "I prefer to listen to (Bob) Dylan. The Beatles still appeal to audiences aged from 7 to 77. Adolescents and children still adore Yellow Submarine. That gives me comfort and proves that we will last forever. Will U2 be remembered in 30 years? I doubt it." He is asked what he would do today if he were aged 20. "I would certainly produce The Spice Girls," he replies, adding, "The best thing about them is that you can watch them with the sound down!"
His ranting continues in the French Sunday paper Le Journal Du Dimanche: "When you are a teenager," he says, "your nervous system is able to tolerate the loudest things. Then as you get older, you consider the same things as an aggression and a pollution in your life. As far as I'm concerned, I cannot bear all sorts of pollution any more, whether it is in the food I eat, the air that I breathe or what I hear. It seems to me that music of today is a pollution and has no value at all. Rap stinks and techno is humanless music coming out of computers that bring you to madness if you listen to it for too long."
Asked if the pace of life is too fast these days, George replies philosophically: "Definitely! If you observe a monkey, it lives with quick agitated movements and its breath is very agitated. Its life is very short. Now if you consider giant turtles, they hardly breathe and move very slowly but they live many, many years. Keeping a control on your breath is respecting your spirit and assuring yourself of a long life."
Following a holiday abroad, Ringo, at the end of the month, resumes recordings for Vertical Man with his second band, which he has now titled The Roundheads. (See next Vertical Man entry on Sunday July 20.)
Sunday July 6
The 40th anniversary of the day when Paul first met John is celebrated today at the original venue, St. Peter's Church in Church Road, Woolton in Liverpool. Messages of support for the event are received from Paul, Yoko, The Prime Minister Tony Blair and even Her Majesty The Queen. Paul's message, recalling the historic meeting back in 1957, is sent by fax on Flaming Pie headed notepaper, and reads as follows:
"Ah yes, I remember it well. I do actually. My memory of meeting John for the first time is very clear. My mate Ivan Vaughan took me along to Woolton here and there were The Quarry Men, playing on a little platform. I can still see John now - checked shirt, slightly curly hair, singing 'Come Go With Me' by The Del Vikings. He didn't know all the words, so he was putting in stuff about penitentiaries - and making a good job of it. I remember thinking, 'He looks good - I wouldn't mind being in a group with him'. A bit later we met up. I played him 'Twenty Flight Rock' and he seemed pretty impressed -maybe because I did know all the words. Then, as you all know, he asked me to join the group, and so we began our trip together. We wrote our first songs together, we grew up together and we lived our lives together. And when we'd do it together, something special would happen. There'd be that little magic spark. I still remember his beery old breath when I met him here that day. But I soon came to love that beery old breath. And I loved John. I always was and still am a great fan of John's. We had a lot of fun together and I still treasure those beautiful memories.
"So I send you all in Woolton and Liddipool my best wishes today. And thanks for remembering - there's no way that when we met here we had any idea of what we'd be starting. But I'm very proud of what we did. And I'm very glad that I did it with John. I hope you all have a wonderful day and God bless all who sail in you."
Yoko meanwhile had telephoned the organiser Martin Lewis just prior to the event, where she left this message to the fans:
"What a sweet celebration! Yes, the meeting of John and Paul was an important event not only for those of us who loved their songs but for the whole world which went through a social change for the better as a result of their words and music. John's first thought as Paul showed what he could do was: "Okay - this guy is good and already girls are flocking around him, not around me! So, if I let him in, he's going to be a tough one to handle - but I'll have a strong band.' So John took Paul in, I think this story is important in that it shows as a creator and a leader of a band, John went for getting a strong band rather than having an easy time. And John was only a teenager. What a brain! What a guy!
"By the way, it's interesting that the meeting took place at a church. Also, the main bulk of their songs were recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. Am I the only one who thinks of these coincidences as interesting? John and Paul were travelling minstrels, who spread the word of love throughout the world. Through their songs, they brought the energy of love to the then grey world, which was still coping with the aftermath of the Second World War. With their words and music, John and Paul showed the world that law and order was not necessarily the most important force in the world. Love was the power and energy that could change the world. And it did.
"But it all started at the Woolton church forty years ago. As you celebrate this day, the world joins you in your celebration. Those who cannot come physically to Liverpool join you in spirit. It's a nice day to celebrate and I thank you for doing it. Peace."
The event, which features a musical performance by five original Quarry Men, is organised by Liverpool Beatlescene.
Monday July 7
The second single from Flaming Pie, 'The World Tonight', is released today in the UK. In the States, NBC TV Today broadcasts the first part of a three-part interview with Paul. (Parts two and three occur on Tuesday July 8, and Wednesday July 9, respectively.)
Thursday July 10
Pre-taped interviews with Paul, obviously to promote Flaming Pie, are transmitted in America. These include a lengthy appearance on the NBC News programme Internight and an extremely light-hearted conversation with Conan O'Brien for his NBC TV talk show, an item recorded at Paul's MPL offices in London a week previously.
Saturday July 12
VH-1 in Europe transmits the 50-minute Paul McCartney edition of the series Ten Of The Best.
Sunday July 20
In Los Angeles at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios, recordings resume with Ringo and The Roundheads writing and recording during this period 'What In The ... World', 'La De Da' and 'Mindfield'.
Tuesday July 22
Still in the UK, Rykodisc issues the second batch of their Yoko Ono CDs, which include Fly (1971), Approximately Infinite Universe (1973), Feeling The Space (1973) and A Story (1974), originally recorded during her 1973/1974 separation from John.
Thursday July 24
The Virgin megastore in Oxford Street, London, throws a, somewhat belated, Sgt. Pepper 30th Anniversary Party, which features a Beatle look-a-like contest and the sound-a-like band The Paperback Beatles.
In America, VH-1 transmits the programme George & Ravi - Yin & Yang. This fascinating 22-minute pre-taped programme features the former Beatle and his Indian guru in conversation with John Fugelsang who, on Saturday May 17, interviewed Paul in London for the station's live Town Hall Meeting special. True to form, George uses the opportunity to promote his beliefs and to explain how he became friends with Ravi Shankar. "It might sound like a lofty thing to say on VH-1," George announces, "but basically, what are we doing on this planet?" he asks. "I think, through The Beatles' experience that we had, we had grown so many years within a small period of time, hearing so many things and had met so many people, I realised that there was nothing giving me a buzz anymore. I wanted something better. I remember thinking I'd love to meet somebody who'd really impress me. That's when I met Ravi, which was funny. He was a little feller with an obscure instrument, from our point of view, and yet he led me into such depths. That's the most important thing, and still is, for me. I get confused when I look around the world and I see everybody's running around and, as Bob Dylan said, 'He not busy being born is busy dying', and yet, what's the cause of death? What happens when you die? That to me is the only thing that is of any importance. The rest is secondary. I believe in the thing that I read years ago that was in the Bible. It said, 'Knock and the door will be opened', and it's true. If you want to know anything in this life, you just have to knock on the door. Whether that be psychically on someone eise's door and ask them a question or, which I was lucky to find, in meditation. You know it's all within and that's really why, for me, this record is important (Chants Of India) because it's another little key to open up within for each individual, to sit and turn off your old mind, relax and float downstream and listen to something that has its roots in transcendental, because even all the words of these songs carry with it a very subtle spiritual vibration and it goes beyond intellect really, so if you let yourself be free to let that effect have an effect on you, it can have an effect. It was a positive effect."
Naturally, excerpts from George and Ravi's 1968 meeting, captured for the 1971 released Apple film Raga, as well as clips from the 1971 Concert For Bangla Desh film, are aired during the show. For many, a highlight of the programme is when Fugelsang asks George to play something on an acoustic guitar which just happened to be in the studio. "Wanna try one of The Beatles' tunes," he excitedly asks. "Wanna try 'Something'? A Bob (Dylan) song? A Carl Perkins song? I'll take a Rick Astley song! I'll take a Spice Girls medley, George!" A studio technician then joins in on the requests by shouting " 'All Things Must Pass' ", which George duly obliges with a 1' 44" second version. A second studio performance, this time 'Prabhujee', a track from the Chants Of India album, on which they are joined by Ravi's wife Sukanya, closes this unique show. (Incidentally, George's acoustic performances of two further tracks during the 150-minute recording, namely 'If You Belong To Me', a track from the Traveling Wilburys' album Volume 3, and an unreleased Harrison composition entitled 'If You Don't Know Where You're Going, Any Road Will Take You', do not feature in the edited television transmission. The latter track was suggested by Ravi's wife when George began wondering what song to play. (As a footnote to this, just prior to the transmission, George writes to VH-1 requesting that all of his performances be cut from the broadcast. His request is denied.)
Friday July 25
Back in Berkshire following his American visit, George makes a low-key appearance in the audience at Ravi Shankar's performance at the Womad Festival concert in Reading. Accompanying George is his 19-year-old son, Dhani, who is seen wearing dark glasses and queuing outside a tent as part of Ravi's VIP guest list.
Monday July 28
Back in LA at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios, Ringo is to be found recording the vocal for the track 'What In The ... World'.
Tuesday July 29
Ringo pays a visit to see his friend Joe Walsh who is performing, for two nights, at the club House Of Blues, on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. He invites Joe to come and play some new studio recordings, to which he agrees. (See entry for Thursday July 31.)
Wednesday July 30
Still at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios in Los Angeles, Ringo records the vocals for 'Without Understanding'.
Thursday July 31
The guitarist Joe Walsh drops by the Whatinthewhathe? Studios where he records a guitar track for the songs 'La De Da', 'What In The ... World' and 'Mindfield'.
In the UK, George undergoes surgery for suspected throat cancer at the Princess Margaret private hospital in Windsor, Berkshire. To avoid publicity, George, his long hair tied in a ponytail, checks in under the name of "Sid Smith". Following the operation, in which several enlarged lymph nodes are removed from his throat, a hospital spokesman tells waiting reporters: "The operation went without a hitch, and we are all confident that it's the end of the matter. George didn't want to take any risks." He adds: "The procedure was routine and now he is home and feeling fine. The nodes were reported to be benign." (Sky news broadcast a report on George's cancer scare on August 2.) George then spends two further weeks undergoing radiation therapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and is advised to return next month.
Friday August 1
At Whatinthewhathe? Ringo records a further vocal track for the song 'Without Understanding'.
Tuesday August 5
Recordings in Los Angeles for Vertical Man continue when today, at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios, Ringo and the musicians hold a session for the track 'Good News', a song originally titled 'Old Country Song'.
Thursday August 7
Further work on Ringo's track 'Good News' takes place today when the former Stray Cat member Lee Rocker drops by the Whatinthewhathe? Studios to record a "slap-bass" track for the song.
Tuesday August 12
Blockbuster home video in America releases Ringo And His All-Starr Band - Volume One, a limited edition concert CD with a price tag of only $6.
Monday August 18
BBC1 in the UK transmits the episode of Classic Albums, featuring brief interviews with George, which is devoted entirely to The Band's eponymous titled 1969 album.
Friday August 22
Paul sends a tribute message to the organisers of the Memorial Service at Liverpool Town Hall marking the 30th anniversary of the death of The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein. "Brian was a wonderful man who had an exceptional talent for guiding the careers of young people," Paul's statement read, adding: "I'm eternally grateful for the loving guide that he gave The Beatles. Brian - your show goes on!"
At the end of the month, Ringo and Mark Hudson leave Los Angeles and head off to Europe, where they will remain until the autumn. (During his visit, Mark will spend September and October in England producing the young pop stars Hanson's 1997 Christmas album Snowed In.)
It is reported that Yoko is to sign a £40 million deal with Columbia Pictures in Hollywood to make another film based on her long relationship with John Lennon. Press reports in America announce the film will, at last, enable Yoko to "tell the truth" about her relationship with John as well as her relations with the other Beatles. Production is scheduled to start sometime next year. Part of this deal also involves Columbia Pictures, to the tune of £50 million, acquiring the rights to two of John's songs, namely 'Give Peace A Chance' and 'Imagine'. Already in the frame for the lead role as John is the Trainspotting film star Ewan McGregor.
Paul becomes the second Beatle to launch an attack on the group Oasis. In an interview this month with the New Statesman newspaper, he is quoted as saying: "They're derivative and they think too much of themselves. I hope that for their sakes they're right. But really they mean nothing to me. They're not the problem - Oasis's future is their problem. I sometimes hear their songs and think, 'That's OK', but I hope they don't make too much of it and start to believe their own legend because that can cause problems as others discovered. I wish them luck. I don't want to see them as rivals."
George returns to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London where he undergoes further radiation therapy. He remarks later: "Right through this whole period, I never felt sick. I didn't really relate to it, to be honest."
Friday September 5
Paul visits the ailing Derek Taylor at his Suffolk home.
Sunday September 7
Long time Beatles confidant Derek Taylor dies peacefully in his sleep at his home in Suffolk following his long battle with throat cancer. He is survived by his wife Joan and their six grown-up children, Timothy, Gerard, Abigail, Vanessa, Dominic and Annabel. Following his death Paul, via his spokesman Geoff Baker, releases this brief statement: "He was a beautiful man. It is time for tears and words may follow later." Respectful obituaries are published in several newspapers.
Monday September 8
The final batch of Rykodisc's Yoko Ono CDs is released today. These include: Seasons Of Glass, It's Alright (I See Rainbows) and Starpeace.
Friday September 12
In London, the private funeral of Derek Taylor takes place today. His family requests that donations should be made to the MacMillan Cancer Relief Fund. Those present at the service include Mike McCartney, Neil Aspinall, Neil Innes, Michael Palin and Jools Holland. George, wearing a baseball cap, is the only Beatle in attendance. Derek died while working on the long-planned, official Beatles Anthology book.
Sunday September 14
Paul and Linda send a bouquet of flowers to mark the unveiling of the English Heritage Blue Plaque in honour of Jimi Hendrix, at his former home at Brook Street in London, which is unveiled by Pete Townshend.
Monday September 15
Paul stars alongside Eric Clapton, Elton John, Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler, Sting and Carl Perkins in a charity event at the Royal Albert Hall in London, organised by George Martin to raise funds for the British Dependency of Montserrat, stricken by the recent volcanic eruptions. Martin remarks: "I am delighted that we look set to raise so much money for the long-suffering people of Montserrat I am very grateful to all the wonderful musicians who will perform in the concert. I'm going to Montserrat in the next few weeks to see for myself where the money raised should be spent to the best effect." All the stars of the concert have, at one time or another, used George Martin's AIR Montserrat Studios on the island. Further money for the cause is raised by special pay-per-view screenings on the Sky Box Office station. The broadcast, lasting two hours 45 minutes, is transmitted daily from September 16-19. (In total, an estimated $1 million is expected to be raised from the show.) For the concert Paul, following afternoon rehearsals, performs a solo acoustic version of 'Yesterday', followed by 'Golden Slumbers', 'Carry That Weight' and 'The End' with an all-star line-up of Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins on drums. For encores he sings 'Hey Jude', duetting on piano with Elton John, and they are joined on stage by Sting, Midge Ure, Carl Perkins and others. The show closes with an all-star jam on 'Kansas City'/'Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey'. (The concert is transmitted live on the radio station Heart FM.)
Tuesday September 16
On the 20th anniversary of the death of the Seventies glam-rock star Marc Bolan, Channel 4, in the UK, transmits the 50-minute tribute programme Dandy In The Underworld, which features clips from the Apple 1972 film Born To Boogie, which Ringo directed and appeared in.
Thursday September 18
In London, Paul and Linda's youngest daughter Stella is named as Best Young Designer at the annual Elle Style Awards presentation.
Wednesday September 24
In the UK press, Paul provokes fury by calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis. "You're filling all the jails and yet it's when you're in jail that you really become a criminal. That's when you learn all the tricks!"
Monday September 29
Paul's album Standing Stone - A Symphonic Poem is released in the UK. Also today, at The Mill recording studio in East Sussex, Ringo, Mark Hudson, the producer Geoff Emerick and Paul Wright, from the Sarm Hook End Studios in Henley, join Paul at his home studios where he records backing vocals and a bass line for the track 'La De Da'. Dean Grakal is also in attendance and proceeds to capture this recording session on his home video camera, clips of which appear later in the 'La De Da' promotional film and the Mercury Vertical Man electronic video press kit. During the afternoon get together, Paul gives Hudson, a self-confessed Beatles fanatic, a guided tour of his studio, a highlight of which is when Paul plays him a short burst of 'Strawberry Fields Forever' on the original Abbey Road Mellotron, as used on The Beatles' 1966 recording. With the excitement over, Paul begins recording the bass line for the Vertical Man song 'What In The ... World', replacing the temporary one recorded in Los Angeles in July. During the playback of the song Paul turns to Ringo and says: "Whoo ... Rich! Sounds kinda Beatle-ish!" Ringo replies, "I know! That's what I said to Mark months ago." Paul then looks back at Ringo and replies: "You are a fucking Beatle!"
After more than 50 years in the music industry, George Martin, now aged 71, announces his retirement. He tells reporters: "I am an old man and don't want to do any more music. I'll go back to my Beethoven Sonatas and Chopin Etudes and start playing them again. But just for myself." George's final production will turn out to be his most successful single of all time, the re-recording of Elton John's 'Candle In The Wind', issued in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, who died after a car crash in Paris in August.
Peter Blake begins court proceedings against Apple to recover some of the lost royalties he insists he's still owed from the Sgt. Pepper album sleeve. Asked about the case, an Apple spokesman says: "That's just the way the business works. His contract said he would get a one-off payment and that is what he accepted at the time." (Blake was paid just £200 for his work back in 1967.)
Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher, during an interview on MTV, replies to George's criticism that he is "the silly one" in Oasis. "He doesn't know me, so what's he on about?" he snaps. "It goes to show that after all that time in The Beatles and he's still stupid! How does he know I'm silly? I've got four GCSEs; I'm not silly. If that's his personal opinion, fair enough, you know what I mean? I still love The Beatles and I still love George Harrison as a songwriter, but as a person, he's a nipple. And if I ever meet him, I'll tell him. And if you're watching George - nipple!" While U2 lead singer Bono also takes the opportunity to reply to George's attack in July. During a U2 concert in Leeds, Bono tells the audience: "Good people of Yorkshire, you are making a terrible mistake. George Harrison says you shouldn't be here. He says it's all about big hats, lemons and egos. This one's for you George," Bono concludes, making a rude gesture with his middle finger.
The National Trust purchases Paul's old house at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, on the suggestion of Sir John Birt, the Director General of the BBC, a one time Liverpool musician and a life-long Beatle fan.
Thursday October 2
Many Years From Now, the highly anticipated 680-page authorised biography of Paul, written by Barry Miles, is published in the UK by Seeker & Warburg. "I'll give it to you as I remember it. A sequence of things that did all happen within a period, so it's my recollection of then ..." (Paul on Many Years From Now.)
Monday October 6
Paul's second major classical work Standing Stone, is released today on EMI classics. Also released today in the UK is the PNE Home Video of an extended version of the MPL documentary The World Tonight.
Sunday October 12
After waiting for more than 20 years, Paul finally succumbs to an interview with Michael Parkinson for his BBC Radio 2 show Parkinson's Sunday Supplement, but not his TV chat show as Parkinson would have preferred. During the course of the live interview, carried out at BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London, Paul tells Michael about how privileged he was to be in the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, and discusses the break-up of The Beatles. He also touches on delicate subjects like John's inadequacy as a father, the death of John's mother and the current health of Linda. Paul also naturally talks about his new biography Many Years From Now. Music from The Beatles and his latest album Flaming Pie are featured in the show.
Tuesday October 14
In London, the day begins with an 11:30am press gathering in a Mayfair hotel for an 11:45am private screening of Paul's Standing Stone documentary. Afterwards, at 12:15pm, Paul conducts a press conference about the documentary and the concert itself, which opens tonight. Before departing for the Royal Albert Hall, Paul also poses for press photographers. At the Albert Hall, Paul conducts another news conference with the press and then, later on in the evening, Paul's Standing Stone is premiered. The evening's performance includes 'Standing Stone', 'A Leaf' and three new pieces, also being premiered, entitled 'Spiral' (performed by the London Symphony Orchestra), 'Inebriation' (by The Brodsky Quartet) and 'Stately Horn' (by the Michael Thompson Horn Quartet). Among the star-studded audience this evening are Ringo and Mark Hudson. The event is staged in aid of the Music Sound Foundation. (News clips from the show are featured on the programme London Tonight, transmitted the following night in the Carlton region of ITV.)
Wednesday October 15
Linda reappears in public, joining Paul, as well as Ringo and Barbara, in Paris, where they attend their daughter Stella's first catwalk show for the fashion house Chloe. Backstage scenes at the show are captured on film for the ITV documentary Clive James Meets The Super Models, transmitted across the ITV network on Sunday September 27, 1998.
Thursday October 16
Paul holds a signing session at the newly refurbished HMV store in Oxford Street, London, where he is presented with his Composer of the Century Award by HMV. Many fans had queued up all night, and Paul is asked why he returned to do this signing at the store. "Because of a bit of nostalgia," he replied. "HMV was the first place that Brian Epstein dropped off one of our records and it all happened from there. So when they asked me to do it, I thought 'Yes. Why not?' I know a lot of the kids too. I see them from event to event, but normally I don't get a chance to speak to them."
Due to London Transport, Paul's arrival at the store is delayed by 20 minutes. He is introduced at HMV by Capital Radio DJ Dr. Fox.
Adverts announcing Paul's appearance at HMV were placed in the music press and London papers by MPL. Although billed as his first album signing session in 34 years, this is not the case. Paul had recently conducted autograph sessions in Australia, at the Brash's music store, during the March 1993 Australasian tour, and at the PNAC record store in Paris, France in October that year.
Thursday October 23
The George-Oasis war rages on, when tonight on BBC Radio IFM's programme The Evening Session, Liam Gallagher threatens George with assault live on air. "I'm gonna shoot me mouth off here - all these snakes coming out of the closets, all these old farts, I'll offer 'em out right here on radio. If they want to fight, be at Primrose Hill, Saturday morning, at 12 o'clock. I will beat the fuckin' living daylight shit out of 'em. That goes for George, Jagger, Richards and any other cunts that give me shit. If any of them old farts have got a problem with me then leave your Zimmer frames at home and I'll hold you up with a good right hook. They are jealous and senile and not getting enough fuckin' meat pies. If they want to fight, I'll beat 'em up."
Monday October 27
EMI releases the 20-track compilation album Lennon Legend, comprising John's singles and most famous solo album tracks. The tracks on the album are: 'Imagine', 'Instant Karma', 'Mother' (single edit), 'Jealous Guy', 'Power To The People', 'Cold Turkey', 'Love', 'Mind Games', 'Whatever Gets You Through The Night', '#9 Dream', 'Stand By Me', '(Just Like) Starting Over', 'Woman', 'Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)', 'Watching The Wheels', 'Nobody Told Me', 'Borrowed Time', 'Working Class Hero', 'Happy Christmas (War Is Over)', and 'Give Peace A Chance'. (The release, which is backed by a £500,000 plus EMI press campaign, comes in the shape of a CD, cassette and double album.) Lennon Legend subsequently replaces on the EMI catalogue the 1982 compilation album John Lennon Collection which, prior to its deletion last month, had sold over 1.8 million copies in the UK alone, of which 350,000 was on CD.
Paul is a special guest at the 21st Annual Gramophone Awards (Classical Music Awards) ceremony, held at the Alexandra Palace in London. During the event, he presents the Young Artist of the Year award to the German violinist Isabelle Faust. At the end of the get-together, Paul happily poses for pictures with the tenor, Luciano Pavarotti. (The ceremony, including Paul's presentation, is transmitted across the ITV network the following night, Tuesday October 28.)
Following on from their success with their Ringo Starr range, Gartlan USA announces the launch of The John Lennon Collection, which includes a limited-edition "Happy Christmas" plate, featuring a Lennon drawing of stylised figures gathered around a Christmas tree.
The National Trust begins renovating Paul's old home at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool. The Trust search out original Fifties' windows, doors and a fireplace to replace the modem fittings, and eventually they discover the windows in a house across the road.
Saturday November 1
Ringo returns to Los Angeles where a collection of overdubbing sessions on previous recordings and a selection of new Vertical Man recordings at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios take place.
Monday November 3
At Whatinthewhathe? Studios in Los Angeles, Ringo and his musicians record the track 'I Was Walking'.
Tuesday November 4
Paul attends the Q Awards ceremony held at Park Lane Hotel in London, where he receives the Best Songwriter award for his album Flaming Pie. Also in attendance is the legendary American record producer Phil Spector. Paul is not pleased to see him, the antagonism stretching back to 1970 when Spector, in Paul's opinion, ruined his recording of 'The Long And Winding Road' on The Beatles' Let It Be album. Paul leaves when Spector gets up to deliver a speech.
In LA, sessions begin on the track 'Puppet', a song originally titled 'The Puppet Song' and based on an expression that Ringo had come up with: "Put the puppet to bed."
Thursday November 6
Paul and Linda fly to New York where they attend rehearsals with the St. Luke's Orchestra in preparation for their premiere performance of Standing Stone at Carnegie Hall. During Paul's stay in the city, he contributes an interview for the BBC2 Arena "warts and all" documentary on The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, a two-part show that will receive its UK TV premiere on December 25 and 26, 1998.
Ringo meanwhile, is still at work on recordings for the album Vertical Man. Today, he begins recording the track 'Sometimes', which, not knowingly, features a riff borrowed from his 1976 song 'Cryin' ', recorded for his album Ringo's Rotogravure.
Friday November 7
Recordings at Whatinthewhathe? Studios continue with the veteran session guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, best known for his work with Steely Dan, adding steel guitar to the tracks 'One' and 'Sometimes'. Later this day, the keyboard player Jim Cox arrives at the studio to record some tracks. (Incidentally, Ringo's original choice for keyboards on the album was Billy Preston, but unfortunately, he was serving time in an American prison.)
Wednesday November 12
The first overdubs for Vertical Man, recorded at The Village Recorders Studios, are put to tape.
Thursday November 13
Further overdub sessions take place at The Village Recorders Studios in Los Angeles when the huge chorus, comprising 46 friends and relatives, record the backing vocals for the track 'La De Da'. This line-up includes Ringo, Barbara, Lee Starkey, Barbara's daughter Francesca and sister Mariorie, and Mark Hudson and his daughter Sarah. In addition, there are Keith Allison from the Sixties group Paul Revere & The Raiders, former All-Starr Band member Nils Lofgren as well as Van Dyke Parks and his family.
Monday November 17
The proposed release today, in the UK, of a special Sgt. Pepper's 30th anniversary box set fails to materialise and is cancelled altogether by Apple. EMI are reported to be "very disappointed"!
In Los Angeles, at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios, Ringo is joined by the Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who had flown in from Amsterdam especially for the recordings. Tyler plays harmonica on the track 'I Was Walkin' '. Also today, Ringo begins recording a cover of The Beatles' track 'Love Me Do', an idea conceived by the former Beatle himself. "I've always loved that song," Ringo announces. "I didn't get to play on the first one (1962) - I'll show the bastards!" Steve Tyler plays a new harmonica arrangement on the track and comes up with the new "Lovemedo - lovemedo - lovemedo" ending.
Tuesday November 18
During more Vertical Man recordings at Whatinthewhathe?, Ringo announces that he is unsure about the re-recording of 'Love Me Do' yesterday. "It haunted me last night," he tells his line-up of musicians. The significance of a Beatle performing 'Love Me Do' is too great to allow for a change to the signature riff of the song, so Tyler is requested, by Ringo, to re-record his harmonica track, keeping true to the original.
Wednesday November 19
The Julien Temple directed promotional video for 'Beautiful Night' is prepared for TV distribution. The first (censored) copy is immediately dispatched to America for screening on tomorrow's recording of Oprah. In the States, Paul records an interview for the NPR Radio station at Carnegie Hall.
Back in the Whatinthewhathe? Studios in Los Angeles, the singer Alanis Morissette drops by the studio and ends up singing on the album. "We had this open-door policy," Ringo recalls, "whereby if you dropped by while we were recording, you were going to get asked to be on the record." Alanis's contribution is a beautiful strong vocal for the track 'Drift Away'.
Thursday November 20
Still in New York, Paul videotapes an appearance on the top-rated ABC TV chat show Oprah, hosted by the queen of the talk shows Oprah Winfrey. The 44-minute programme, first transmitted on Monday November 24, features an exclusive interview with Paul and then, as on Channel 4's TFI Friday on June 27, he performs the tracks 'Young Boy' and 'Flaming Pie', to an accompaniment of newly recorded videos of himself playing guitar, bass and drums, taped the previous day. The broadcast also includes the American Television premiere of the censored version of the video for 'Beautiful Night'. Following the show, ABC continues with a Beatles theme when, on an Eyewitness News special, they broadcast the programme Why Is America Still In Love With The Beatles?, examining, as the title suggests, America's great fixation with the fab four. On December 14, ABC transmits a second version of Paul's appearance on Oprah. This alternate show features additional scenes of Paul taking questions from the studio audience as well as the 'Beautiful Night' video being replaced with the new clip for 'Little Willow', as featured on the Princess Diana Tribute album. (The European premiere for the first Oprah show takes place on Sky One on December 23, between 4:01 and 4:58pm.)
Ringo's recordings in Los Angeles continue, this time back at the Village Recorders Studio, with background vocals for 'Without Understanding' and 'Drift Away'. Providing their services today is the Los Angeles gospel group called Sauce.
Saturday November 22
Yoko's latest art exhibition, entitled Have You Seen The Horizon Lately, co-sponsored by EMI, Virgin Atlantic, Beck's Lager and BMG Music Publishing, has a press preview at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. The exhibition concentrates on Yoko's London period of the late Sixties.
On Channel 4, in the UK, the Cilia Black episode of the Granada TV series Brit Girls, a five-part look at British female singers from the Sixties, features pre-recorded interviews with celebrities such as Ringo Starr and George Martin.
Sunday November 23 (until March 15 1988)
Yoko's art exhibition Have You Seen The Horizon Lately?, opens to the public at the Museum on Modem Art in Oxford. A fully illustrated catalogue with a text by Chriss Lles and Yoko accompanies the four-month show.
Tuesday November 25
In Los Angeles, the sessions for Vertical Man, at the Whatinthewhathe? Studios, resume with the genius from The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, dropping by to help record the song 'Without Understanding'. (The song contains the line "no good vibrations", a referral to The Beach Boys' classic, which Brian was invited to sing.) Under Mark Hudson's direction, Brian layered numerous backing vocals for the track. Later in the day, Alanis Morissette returns to the studio to record, adding backing vocals to the songs 'Mindfield' and 'I Was Walkin' '. In between Brian and Alanis's recordings, Ringo's nephew Christian Phillippe Quillici, the son of Barbara's sister, drops by the studio and sings on the track 'Without Understanding'. To close the day, tape copies of the songs 'King' and 'I'll Be Fine Anywhere' are made at The Village Recorders studio by staff engineer Eric Greedy and dispatched, the following day, to George at his Friar Park home in England. (George is sent one reel of 24-track 2" analogue tape, two mixes of each song, one with vocals, one without, along with a SMPTE time code stripe, to allow his contributions to be synchronised back with the original digital multi-tracks upon their return back to Ringo in Los Angeles.) At this point in the Vertical Man recordings, there are 16 finished songs waiting for the final mixing.
Friday November 28
Throughout Europe, Sky News broadcast extracts from the Diana Tribute electronic press kit, which features a new clip of Paul performing his track on the album 'Little Willow'.
Sunday November 30
With the Vertical Man album now needing a final mix, Geoff Emerick, The Beatles' studio engineer since Revolver in 1966, packs his bags in England and flies to the A&M Studios in Hollywood, just a short distance from Mark Hudson's studio. (This studio boasts the original Neve mixing console, acquired in 1985 from George Martin's AIR Montserrat Studios.) The mixing sessions for Vertical Man generally last from 11am to 11pm with each song usually taking two or three days to complete. (Ringo initially told Geoff that they had only ten days in total to mix the album. This estimation will soon prove optimistic.)
The month sees two former Beatles contributing forewords to new publications. George writes a 250-word piece to the book Skiffle - The Definitive Inside Story, by Chas McDevitt, while Paul appears in the MPL sponsored book A Poem For Buddy.
Monday December 1
In the UK, Virgin Records release the double album Diana Tribute, issued in honour of the late Princess of Wales and featuring Paul's recording of 'Little Willow', a track originally recorded as a tribute to Ringo's first wife Maureen.
At the A&M Studios in Los Angeles, mixing is completed on 'One', the first track on the Vertical Man album.
Tuesday December 2
At the A&M Studios, mixing work is completed on the track 'Mr. Doubleitup'.
Sunday December 7
Paul appears in a pre-recorded interview for the BBC1 early morning show Breakfast With Frost, hosted by David Frost.
Thursday December 11 (until Tuesday December 16)
At the A&M Studios in Los Angeles, mixing takes place for the Vertical Man track 'What In The ... World'. At its conclusion, mixing is immediately started on 'Love Me Do', which is concluded on Tuesday December 16.
Friday December 12
Amidst all the excitement of the Vertical Man recordings, Mark Hudson has not paid the rent on his room which is being used for the recordings. During activities today, a knock comes on the door. It is the landlord's secretary. "I need rent," she screams, "$450!" Ringo responds: "Do you play an instrument?" Startled by the question, the woman replies: "Yeah, cello." "Go get it," Ringo insists. Thus Nina Pieseckyj, the landlord's secretary, finds herself playing an 'I Am The Walrus'-style cello line on the album's title song 'Vertical Man'. Also today, it is announced that Ringo has signed to Guardian Records, one of EMI's newer labels, who will be releasing the Vertical Man album. The release date is provisionally scheduled for April 21, 1998, with the catalogue number A2-23702.
Monday December 15
In the UK, EMI releases Paul's 'Beautiful Night', the third single to be lifted off his album Flaming Pie. As with the two previous releases, the single comes as a 7-inch picture disc and as two different CDs. Controversy surrounds the promotional video for the song, which features full-frontal scenes of the actress Emma Moore swimming in the River Mersey. Naturally the music station MTV bans the video, forcing Paul to order a broadcastable version of the clip to be made. The only station to quite happily play the banned version is, predictably, the American Playboy channel. On a less controversial note, Paul co-stars in the film with the unknown four-piece West London group Spud, who were spotted playing in a small London club by the video's director Julien Temple. Also (in whichever version of the video you see), Ringo can be seen making a cameo appearance as a night watchman, disturbed by the noise and eventually playing drums on the song.
Thursday December 18
Just six days after the announcement that Vertical Man will be released by Guardian Records, comes the news that EMI's new president, Ken Berry, has decided to streamline the US operations of the company, which means, among many other things, the closing of the company's smaller labels, including Guardian. Ringo is again without a record label. Nevertheless, Ringo consoles himself by recording today, back at Whatinthewhathe?, his final lead vocal for the track 'Vertical Man'. Ringo, Geoff Emerick and all the musicians then take a break for the festive period.
Monday December 22
Ringo's planned Christmas break is interrupted when he receives in the post this morning a tape from George who has, as requested, recorded guitar overdubs on to two Vertical Man tracks. Excited by this delivery, Ringo and The Roundheads all climb into Dean Grakal's van and drive around to The Village Recorders Studio. On their arrival, the group put on the tape and listen to George's work. Ringo, sitting back with his hands behind his head, listens to George's beautiful guitar track and announces: "You're killing me George. You've got me crying, you bugger!" George had provided a single lead guitar for the track 'King Of Broken Hearts' while for the song 'I'll Be Fine Anywhere', he produced two guitar lines, one picked and one played with a slide, recorded on two separate tracks. The studio engineer notes: "You can hear it was a seemingly casually done track for George. He engineered it himself, and you can hear on the tape that he was at home, with people talking in the background." In the end, it is decided to use both of George's leads for 'I'll Be Fine Anywhere', the tracks playing in tandem with each other on the final mix.
There is a moment of mirth for Ringo and The Roundheads when they notice that George had accidentally wiped off the SMPTE time code from the second half of one of the songs. This means that it will now be more difficult for the engineers to synchronise this tape up with master studio recording of the song, in order to dub the guitar's track to the master tape. George, back home at Henley, had noticed this mistake and had written a note to this effect, enclosing it within the returned tapes. It read: "Well, with the rush and no engineer, I'm afraid the code has disappeared. But you're all 'smart assed jacks', I'm sure you'll be able to get it back!" George also notes that Ringo had missed a drum fill at one point in the track 'King Of Broken Hearts'. Ringo quickly puts it right before going for a European Christmas vacation with Barbara.
Thursday December 25
On Christmas Day, Channel 5 screens throughout Europe the premiere of the television version of Paul's Standing Stone concert.
Friday December 26
One day after the television version of Standing Stone comes the edited 51-minute Making Of Standing Stone documentary, shown this morning on BBC1.
Sunday December 28
Channel 5 transmits the 58-minute programme Paul McCartney Talks With David Frost. Later this evening, BBC1, in the UK, begins broadcasting the three-part George Martin music documentary The Rhythm Of Life, which features contributions from celebrities such as Paul, The Bee Gees and Brian Wilson. (Part two is transmitted on December 29 with part three appearing on the station on January 5, 1998.)
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