Monday, September 23, 2019

First thoughts on the new 50th anniversary Abbey Road set


Courtesy Apple


Listen to our latest Beatles News Briefs podcast as we run through the music on the new 50th anniversary Abbey Road set. Also available for streaming on YouTube.

Ordering links


Monday, August 19, 2019

An oldie from the Beatles Examiner days ... "How we got engaged" ... a proposal at a McCartney concert that Paul acknowledged







Paul McCartney's Up & Coming Tour -- Thursday, August 19, 2010
"There have many wonderful stories during the Up and Coming Tour, what with all the people who lived their dream to meet Paul McCartney. But how about this? Proposing to your girlfriend during a show and having it acknowledged by Paul McCartney.
It happened in Pittsburgh on Aug. 19th. Here is Luke and Michaela's story as they sent it to us."  
"Our 15 minutes of fame came with a little luck, a little planning but really, it was all due to the generosity of one Sir Paul McCartney. I had planned to surprise Michaela by taking her to the show. I asked her to go to Pittsburgh on the 19th without telling her why. The subterfuge would not last. She soon went to the web, typed in Pittsburgh, August 19th... and bingo! Staring back from her monitor were countless entries about the concert.
In the days that followed, she never let on that she knew, though I always suspected she did. I let her think that I didn't know that she knew. I wanted to surprise her. She wanted me to have fun surprising her. Ah, the games lovers play!
While the concert didn't come as a shock to her, the front row tickets did. I warned that our seats might not be as good as the ones we'd had in Vegas for Macca's show at The Joint last year. They could have an "obstructed view". (You never know just where they're going to put the speakers, right?)
We entered the floor area from the back of the arena. Each step drew us closer to the stage. Upon reaching the halfway point, she turned to me and said "Exactly what row are we?"
"One", I replied. Her smile was priceless.
Upon reaching our seats, Michaela began phoning her parents and friends, excitedly telling them that we were in the front row. While she was doing that, I scanned the vicinity for anyone who looked like they might be able to get a note to Paul. Hope began to dim when I realized that most of the people in the area were locally hired security. I thought to myself, "Oh well, it was a longshot at best".
In any case, I was determined to pop to question during MY LOVE. I mean, how cool is that? Asking the woman you adore to marry you while Paul McCartney is just a few feet away, singing the greatest love song ever written...should make a woman feel special.
Eventually, a lovely lady by the name of Shelley appeared in the restricted area. She began talking with the guards. "Oh, everyone is so emotional backstage. We were all crying back there because tonight is the last show of the tour." she said.
It's now or never.
I approached Shelley with a previously typed note. The heading was simple enough... MARRIAGE PROPOSAL IN THE FRONT ROW TONIGHT. The letter went on to explain that I was going to ask Michaela to marry me during the guitar solo of MY LOVE and that it would mean the world to us if Paul could congratulate us from the stage.
I handed the paper to Shelley, asking if she could take the note backstage.
"Who do you want me to give it to?" she asked.
"Paul, if possible". I revealed the contents and that the element of surprise was key.
She smiled and said, " I'll give it to his head of security." I thanked her and quietly returned to my chair.
A few minutes had passed when I noticed several people in the secure area were looking and pointing at me. Finally, an older, tough looking gent motioned for me to go over there.
"Is this your letter?" His accent sounded like he'd seen his share of fisticuffs in the pubs of England.
"Yes"
"I'm Paul's head of security. I had to come out and eyeball you to make sure you're not a looney."
"I understand completely."
"When do you want to do this?"
"During 'My Love'."
"Right. We'll see what we can do." He disappeared behind the black curtains and velvet ropes.
By this time, Michaela had become curious about my dealings with people I'd never met before now.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Oh, I just sent back a fan letter."
"You're lying."
My beloved knows that I'm not the fawning admirer type. Because of my line of work, I've met famous people from time to time and have never written to a celebrity...until now.
"Well, I was hoping to get an autograph." That response seemed to placate her.
The show started. Everyone knows how wonderful that moment was. Paul strolled onstage. "Venus and Mars" rolled into "Rockshow." We were off and running.
Knowing the setlist in advance was like being on a Saturn 5 rocket waiting for liftoff. I knew that "My Love" would be the 11th song. With each passing tune, a most important milestone approached.
"Jet." "All My Loving." "Letting Go."
Sweaty palms...(Good Lord! I'm in junior high again)
"Drive My Car." "Highway." "Let Me Roll It."
Hey...I haven't seen the ring since leaving Indianapolis! Is it still in the box?!?!
"Long and Winding Road."
Ring check good. Michaela was facing the stage the entire time so she never saw me sneak a peek.
"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five."
Tunnel vision.
"Let 'Em In."
A heart is pounding in my chest. Hopefully, I'll get to propose before the coronary strikes.
Then...a long single note from Wix as Paul introduces "My Love."
The first chord hits. I look at Shelley. She had reappeared along with a number of staff/relatives in the aisle. They were all anxiously waiting for the big moment.
She smiled. "Yes, this is it...go for it!"
Paul was singing. Our little portion of the world grew suddenly brighter. A spotlight was shining down on us. So much for waiting on the guitar solo. I worried that the tech director
would think I was chickening out if I didn't do it right then and there.
So I jumped my cue. I took Michaela by the shoulders, turning her to me. The ring box opened.
"I love you Michaela. Will you marry me?"
With a sudden look of shock, hands to face, tears welling in her eyes my one, my only, my all... said "Yes".
We held each other. The crowd reaction was incredible.
I slipped the ring on her finger...another embrace.
Once again, 19,000 people cheered with us.
As we looked to the stage, Paul smiled at us and gave us the thumbs up. When the song was done, he rose from the piano, looked at us, made the heart symbol
and another thumbs up.
He then approached the center mic and said to me, "I heard you were going to do that!" "Wait a minute, did she say yes?" After I got a confirming nod from Michaela, Sir Paul replied, "Ok, just checking." He then said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, that's Luke and Michaela. They're officially engaged."
We smiled back, trying to yell thank you to him as Michaela waved her new ring and nodded.
Later in the concert, someone held up a sign requesting "Ram On." Paul obliged. As he sang "Give your heart to somebody soon right away..right away"
he looked at us again, gave us a sign of togetherness and hope by raising crossed fingers and thumbs up once more.
Upon leaving the arena, we were greeted by so many well-wishers. Everyone of them was so very kind. We were truly touched. It was an incredible evening for us, the happiest. Imagine, proposing to the woman you love, her acceptance and then the first person to congratulate you and announce your engagement is none other than
Sir Paul McCartney.
Such an incredibly generous act from a man who has already given so much of himself to the world. We can't thank him enough.
As for the marriage plans, no date has been set. After all, this was a surprise. The only people with advance knowledge were my mother and the staff at the
jewelry store in Indianapolis. It's been more than a week since it all took place. Our sleep cycle has yet to return to normal. We're still basking in the glow of it all. The concert, the great seats, the kindness of a living legend and a promise to each other to live out our lives together all combine for the memory of a lifetime.
Every time I think about it I'm stunned. I'm shocked.
No. Maybe I'm amazed."
Luke & Michaela
August 2010


Thursday, August 8, 2019

The official Abbey Road 50th anniversary box set announcement




Abbey Road Anniversary Editions To Be Released


OH YEAH, ALRIGHT!

 THE BEATLES REVISIT ABBEY ROAD
WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY RELEASES
Abbey Road Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos 
– AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 –

Image
London – August 8, 2019 – It was 50 years ago today, on August 8, 1969, that the world’s most famous band stepped out from London’s EMI Recording Studios to stride, single-file, across the black and white stripes of Abbey Road’s nearby zebra crossing. With photographer Iain Macmillan balanced on a stepladder and one policeman stopping the street’s light traffic, The Beatles crossed back and forth three times, led by John Lennon, followed by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Just six photos were taken, with the fifth selected as the cover shot for The Beatles’ penultimate studio album, Abbey Road, named after the tree-lined street in which the studios are located. Released September 26, 1969, Abbey Road was not The Beatles’ final album, as Let It Be followed in 1970, but it was the last one John, Paul, George, and Ringo recorded together as a band. The Beatles will celebrate Abbey Road’s anniversary with a suite of beautifully presented packages to be released worldwide on September 27 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Now available for preorder, the album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased.
“The Beatles recording journey had gone through many twists and turns, learning curves and thrilling rides. Here we were – still wondering at the magic of it all,” McCartney recalls in his written foreword for Abbey Road’s anniversary edition packages.
This is the first time Abbey Road has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings and demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The BEATLES (‘White Album’) released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. To create Abbey Road’s new stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios. All the new Abbey Road releases feature the new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original eight-track session tapes. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin.
“The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments, the blend of The Beatles’ voices, the beauty of the arrangements,” Giles Martin explains in his written introduction for the new edition. “Our quest is simply to ensure everything sounds as fresh and hits you as hard as it would have on the day it was recorded.”
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box set presents 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc (Dolby Atmos, 96kHz/24 bit high resolution stereo, and 96 kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1). The four discs are housed in a slip-sleeved 12” by 12” 100-page hardbound book with McCartney’s foreword; Martin’s introduction; insightful, in-depth chapters written by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett covering the months preceding The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions, track-by-track details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot, and the album’s reception upon its release; plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the album’s influence through 50 years. The gorgeous book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, and tape boxes; and reproduced original print ads. The Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming in standard and MFiT formats, as well as in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.
Abbey Road’s limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The album’s new stereo mix LP is packaged in a faithfully replicated sleeve, with the two Sessions LPs paired in their own jacket, presented with a four-page insert in a lift-top box. The Deluxe 2CD set pairs the new stereo mix with versions taken from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs, sequenced to match the album’s running order. The two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. The album’s new stereo mix is also available in 1CD and 180-gram 1LP vinyl packages, for digital download in standard and MFiT audio, and on a limited edition picture disc vinyl LP illustrated by the album’s front and back cover art images.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets’ 23 session and demo recordings are presented in chronological order of their first recording dates. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” leads the charge:
For an overnight session on February 22, 1969, The Beatles were joined at London’s Trident Studios by producer George Martin and engineer Glyn Johns to record “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Abbey Road’s new edition combines a take from that session with the concluding part of the Trident master’s eight-track reduction mix made later at the EMI studios, revealing for the first time Billy Preston’s thrilling overdubbed organ solo. With their amps turned up high, The Beatles received a noise complaint from one of the studio’s neighbors in the Soho area of the city. The take starts with Lennon exclaiming, “My boys are ready to go!,” before the band is told about the complaint. Lennon replies, “What are they doing here at this time of night?,” then lays it down: “Well, we’ll try it once more very loud. And then if we don’t get it, we’ll try it quiet, like it might do it the other way. OK. The loud one, last go. Last chance to be loud!”
In the same month that the raucous Trident session took place, McCartney recorded a home demo of “Goodbye” for the Apple-signed singer Mary Hopkin and Harrison recorded a solo demo of “Something” at EMI Recording Studios. Both demos are featured on Abbey Road’s new edition. “Goodbye” makes its release debut. Although previously released on Anthology 3 in a version featuring guitar and vocal, the new anniversary mix of George’s “Something” demo features for the first time vocal, guitar and piano.  
The Beatles reconvened at EMI’s studios and Olympic Sound Studios for sessions spanning mid-April to early May. On April 14, Lennon and McCartney recorded the single “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” in EMI’s Studio Three, with Geoff Emerick as the balance engineer. Two days later, the single’s B-side, “Old Brown Shoe” was recorded. Session recordings for these tracks, as well as three more songs started during this period, “Oh! Darling,” “Octopus’s Garden,” and “You Never Give Me Your Money,” are featured in Abbey Road’s anniversary edition.
The remainder of Abbey Road’s sessions took place in July and in August with George Martin producing, and with principal engineers Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald taking turns at EMI’s groundbreaking new mixing console, the TG12345. On July 2, 3, and 4, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr recorded “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight” as a medley (Lennon was hospitalized in Scotland, recuperating after a car accident). A sequence of Takes 1-3 from the first day’s session is featured in the anniversary edition. Take 9 from McCartney, Harrison, and Starr’s backing track session for “Here Comes The Sun” on Starr’s July 7 birthday is also included.
On July 21, 22, and 23, The Beatles were in-studio to record “Come Together,” followed by additional sessions on July 25, 29, and 30. The anniversary edition features Take 5. On July 23, The Beatles began recording “The End,” which, along with McCartney’s timeless couplet – “And in the end, the love you take / Is equal to the love you make” – features Starr’s only drum solo on a Beatles recording. Take 3 is included in Abbey Road’s new edition. The next day, just before the band’s 34-take session for “Sun King” and “Mean Mr Mustard,” McCartney cut a quick studio demo for “Come And Get It” – later a hit for the Apple-signed band Badfinger. The demo’s original 1969 stereo mix, made with McCartney and Lennon present in the control room, is released for the first time in the new edition, as is Take 20 from The Beatles’ “Sun King” and “Mean Mr Mustard” session. On July 25, two more songs, “Polythene Pam” and “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” were recorded as one for inclusion in the album’s epic medley. Take 27 from that session is featured on the new edition.
After Harrison had transported his rare and cumbersome Moog synthesizer to the studios, four songs received Beatle-played synthesizer parts: “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (Lennon), “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (McCartney), and “Here Comes The Sun” and “Because” (Harrison). This was a very early use of the newly-invented instrument on a pop record. George Martin wrote arrangements for several tracks that were recorded in Studio One toward the end of the sessions in August 1969. The original overdubbed recordings of Martin’s scores for “Something” and “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight” are included in Abbey Road’s anniversary edition.
August 20, 1969 was the last time The Beatles were together as a band at the EMI studios, for an evening session to compile Abbey Road’s master tapes. The album’s sides were sequenced, with “Come Together” opening Side 1, and with the medley of “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Sun King,” “Mean Mr Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End” placed on Side 2. “The Long One,” a different trial edit and mix of the medley, including “Her Majesty” (ultimately placed 14 seconds after “The End” as an unlisted, hidden track) is included in Abbey Road’s new edition.
A few weeks before Abbey Road’s release on September 26, 1969, Apple’s press officer Derek Taylor revealed that the album was “recorded at nice, workmanlike sessions which usually began at 2pm and continued until the end of the evening.” Millions of Abbey Road LPs were pressed at manufacturing plants around the world. The album was another blockbuster release for The Beatles, holding the No. 1 spot on the U.K. albums chart for a total of 17 weeks and topping Billboard’s U.S. albums chart for 11 weeks. For their work on Abbey Road, Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald won the year’s GRAMMY Award® for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical. In 1995, Abbey Road was inducted into the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Hall of Fame, recognizing “recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance.” The Beatles’ best-selling studio album, Abbey Road’s universal popularity and influence have continued to grow since its debut.
Since Abbey Road’s release, the street’s zebra crossing has been one of the most celebrated and photographed sites in the world, protected as an historic landmark and visited by thousands of Beatles fans each year. Due to the success of The Beatles’ album, EMI Recording Studios was renamed Abbey Road Studios. Owned and operated by Universal Music Group, Abbey Road Studios is the most famous recording studio in the world and a global music icon.

Abbey Road Anniversary Edition
Tracklists

SUPER DELUXE [3CD+1Blu-ray set; digital audio collection]

CD ONE: 2019 Stereo Mix
1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus’s Garden
6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
7. Here Comes The Sun
8. Because
9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty

CD TWO: Sessions
1. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
2. Goodbye (Home Demo)
3. Something (Studio Demo)
4. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7)
5. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)
6. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
7. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
8. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
9. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)
10. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
11. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
12. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)

CD THREE: Sessions
1. Come Together (Take 5)
2. The End (Take 3)
3. Come And Get It (Studio Demo)
4. Sun King (Take 20)
5. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
6. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
7. She Came In Through  The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
8. Because (Take 1 – Instrumental)
9. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969)
(Medley: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End)
10. Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only)
11. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)

BLU-RAY: Abbey Road
Audio Features:
- Dolby Atmos
- 96kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- 96kHz/24 bit High Res Stereo (2019 Stereo Mix)

DELUXE 3LP VINYL BOX SET (limited edition)

LP ONE: Side 1 (2019 Stereo Mix)
1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus’s Garden
6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

LP ONE: Side 2 (2019 Stereo Mix)
1. Here Comes The Sun
2. Because
3. You Never Give Me Your Money
4. Sun King
5. Mean Mr Mustard
6. Polythene Pam
7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
8. Golden Slumbers
9. Carry That Weight
10. The End
11. Her Majesty

LP TWO: Side 1 (Sessions)
1. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session and Reduction Mix)
2. Goodbye (Home Demo)
3. Something (Studio Demo)
4. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7)
5. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)

LP TWO: Side 2 (Sessions)
1. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
2. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
3. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
4. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)
5. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3) / Medley)
6. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
7. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)

LP THREE: Side 1 (Sessions)
1. Come Together (Take 5)
2. The End (Take 3)
3. Come and Get It (Studio Demo)
4. Sun King (Take 20)
5. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
6. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
8. Because (Take 1 Instrumental)

LP THREE: Side 2 (Sessions)
1. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969)
2. Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only)
3. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)

DELUXE 2CD

CD ONE: 2019 Stereo Mix

CD TWO: Sessions
1. Come Together (Take 5)
2. Something (Studio Demo)
3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)
4. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
5. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
7. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
8. Because (Take 1 Instrumental)
9. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
10. Sun King (Take 20)
11. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
12. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
14. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
15. The End (Take 3)
16. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)

STANDARD [1CD; digital; 1LP vinyl; limited edition 1LP picture disc vinyl]
2019 Stereo Mix

Monday, August 5, 2019

Natalie Merchant to perform, be honored at annual John Lennon Tribute


Natalie Merchant. Photo by Jason Blickenstaff.

Announced today: 

Natalie Merchant To Be Honored at 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute. Artist to receive the 2019 “John Lennon Real Love Award” and play a set of her favorite John Lennon Classics December 6 at Symphony Space, NYC.  More Artists to be announced.

Tickets on sale Tuesday, August 6 at 1PM


August 6, 2019 (New York, NY) – Theatre Within, the grassroots non-profit behind the Annual John Lennon Tribute since 1981, will honor acclaimed alternative rock singer and songwriter Natalie Merchant as the sixth recipient of the “John Lennon Real Love Award” at its 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute –  Friday, December 6 at Symphony Space, NYC. Previous recipients of the prized award include Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith and Donovan. Tickets for Theatre Within’s 39th Annual John Lennon Tribute will go on sale Tuesday, August 6 at 1pm and will be available online anytime at LennonTribute.org or by telephone at the Symphony Space Box office at 212-864-5400, Tuesday - Sunday, 1pm - 6 pm. Plus, a limited number of VIP packages are available at LennonTribute.org.

Ms. Merchant who will be appearing in the long-running charity concert for first time and will play a set of her favorite John Lennon and Beatles classics, said in a statement:

“John and Yoko’s activism had a profound impact upon me as a child. Through their ingenious war protests they challenged the entire world to reflect upon itself. In my estimation, ‘Imagine’ remains the most powerful three minutes and eight seconds of music ever recorded. It contains a vision of our highest aspirations in the most concise language and simple melody. John and Yoko realized that popular art and celebrity could be used to push society closer toward equity and compassion. I’ve tried to follow their example throughout my life, as an artist and citizen. It’s such an honor to be recognized for my work with the John Lennon Real Love award this year.”

With her beautiful songs, social activism, and support of charitable causes, Natalie Merchant has truly brightened our world and our hearts,” said Yoko Ono. “Natalie’s outspokenness on the environment, domestic violence, and special-needs children shines light on these vitally important issues. I am so happy that Theatre Within is honoring her with this year’s John Lennon Real Love Award.” 

Theatre Within Artistic Director and longtime Tribute producer, Joe Raiola added, “John Lennon combined music and social activism in a unique and remarkably positive way. Natalie Merchant is a great artist blazing a similar path with heart, caring and compassion, and she is very deserving of this honor.”

In addition to Ms. Merchant, the Tribute will feature performances by a diverse line-up of veteran and emerging artists to be announced. Recent performers include Jackson Browne Debbie Harry, Joan Osborne and the late Ben E. King. 

Proceeds from the Tribute will support Theatre Within’s ongoing free workshops – in songwriting, art, meditation and more – at Gilda’s Club NYC for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Workshops include the John Lennon Real Love Project, a visionary songwriting program for children who have lost a parent to cancer and adult cancer survivors.

Theatre Within, a 501(c)3 non-profit, relies on contributions from supporters to produce the annual Tribute. John Lennon and Beatles fans are invited to join “Friends of the Annual John Lennon Tribute” at LennonTribute.org/join-friends.

Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute is produced in association with Music Without Borders. It is the only ongoing John Lennon Tribute concert in the world sanctioned by Yoko Ono.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Lennon doc 'Above Us Only Sky' coming to video Sept. 13


JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO: ABOVE US ONLY SKY

RELEASED ON DVD, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2019
 New York, NY (July 30, 2019) – John & Yoko: ABOVE US ONLY SKY shares the untold story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s unique relationship, and the artistic journey that culminated in the iconic Imagine album. This feature-length documentary film, directed by Emmy Award Winner and Oscar nominee Michael Epstein, explores how the art, activism, politics and music of the pair lead to the creative and personal collaboration that defined an era.
A compelling new commentary follows the creative journeys John and Yoko took to arrive at Imagine, as well as their paths to the innovative music film Imagine and Yoko’s lesser-known but extraordinary album Fly. Through a deep dive into previously unreleased recordings, including the first demo of "Imagine", and unseen film, as well as both archive and brand-new interviews, ABOVE US ONLY SKY lays bare childhoods scarred by inequality, racism, exploitation and the horrors of war—and later redeemed by love and art.
Yoko said, “Rock/pop songs appeal. They talk to people. And there's nothing like that. Imagine was a result of that. Both of us knew that we were talking in a way that people understand. The fact that 'Imagine' as a song was written and put out in the world was magical. And I hope you will smell the magic of it. I feel in the big picture the fact that John and I met - was to do this song.”
As well as a new and exclusive interview with Yoko, the film features new interviews with those closest to the couple at that time, including John Lennon’s son Julian, photographer David Bailey who famously captured the couple in a 1971 photograph that graced the cover of Vogue, gallerist John Dunbar who set up Yoko’s first London art show and introduced the couple, Dan Richter, a neighbor of Yoko’s who became their personal assistant, pioneering studio designer Eddie Veale who built Ascot Sound Studios at their home in Tittenhurst Park, as well as Klaus VoormannAlan White and Jim Keltner - musicians who all played on the Imagine album. These influential figures provide open and unprecedented insight to the Imagine narrative, alongside previously-unseen footage, photographs and audio recordings.
In John’s words can be found the central mission of ABOVE US ONLY SKY: to dig past the sweet exterior of Imagine, and in the process reclaim both the song’s radical vision and its fierce relevancy for a new generation.