An auction house photograph shows what is described as a "pristine" copy of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album autographed by all four members of the band.
By Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter
Even Lucy and her diamonds can't compete with these riches. A rare, signed copy of The Beatles’ "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" has brought $290,500 at auction, shattering the previous record for such an item.
The item signed by all four members of the legendary band was purchased Saturday by an unnamed buyer from the Midwest. An anonymous seller parted with the album through the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which ahead of the bidding estimated the album would sell for $30,000.
The Fab Four are believed to have signed the cover near the June 1967 release of "Sgt. Pepper's." The previous record for a signed Beatles album cover was the $150,000 paid for a copy of "Meet the Beatles."
Ahead of the auction, Beatles expert Perry Cox said of the piece: "With my being thoroughly immersed in Beatles collectibles for over 30 years, it takes something extraordinarily special to excite me, but I consider this to be one of the top two items of Beatles memorabilia I've ever seen -- the other being a signed copy of Meet The Beatles."
The album is a U.K. Parlophone copy with a high gloss cover and gatefold.
Singer Elvis Presley is pictured in an undated, autographed publicity photograph.
By Eric Kelsey, Reuters
LOS ANGELES -- Elvis Presley and The Beatles top the list of most-forged celebrity signatures in 2012, with less than half of their autographs for sale certified as genuine, memorabilia authenticators PSA/DNA said on Thursday.
The King and The Fab Four British rockers, who topped the list two years ago when it was last released, joined notable figures such as former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and late pop star Michael Jackson on the list of most-forged celebrity signatures.
Late American astronaut Neil Armstrong landed at No. 3 on the list, after fake Armstrong signatures rose significantly after his death in July.
One reason forgeries of Armstrong's autograph soared was that he rarely signed for fans during his life, Joe Orlando, president of Newport Beach-based PSA/DNA, told Reuters.
"Armstrong is someone who is very conscious of the value of his own autograph," Orlando said. "Even before he passed away he was very tough to get ... It really heightens the level of his market."
Secretaries and assistants responding to huge volumes of fan mail are one reason for fake signatures floating through the marketplace, said Margaret Barrett, director of entertainment and music memorabilia at Heritage Auctions in Los Angeles.
"Back in the day, the kids would write to the movie studios," Barrett said.
"There was absolutely no financial gain 50 years ago and secretaries and assistants just wanted to make them happy. A lot of times people stumble upon an old box of signed photographs in grandma's attic and don't know they're forged."
Barrett, whose specialty is late Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe's autographs, said that official documents such as contracts and checks are reliable sources to verify whether or not a signature is forged.
"A good rule of thumb is to compare it to a signed contract," she said. "Sometimes (celebrities) would have secretaries or others sign photos and letters but they couldn't have a contract signed by a proxy."
It's here: The first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" lands in theaters this week. If you're not interested in returning to Middle-Earth, there's a fun kids' movie on home video and an engrossing Beatles documentary on PBS.
TUESDAY: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Pirates, wooly mammoths, and more, oh my. The fourth "Ice Age" movie is no "Toy Story," but it's still a fun romp for kids who love the prehistoric beasts. In this one, Manny the mammoth gets separated from his wife and daughter as the continents do their infamous crack-up. Thankfully, he's surrounded by pals, including Sid the sloth and Diego the saber-toothed tiger, as he tries to reunite with his family. Oh, and Scrat the saber-toothed squirrel is still hunting that acorn. (On home video Dec. 11.)
FRIDAY: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' If you named your son Thorin, have a wedding-ring inscription done in Elvish, or flunked out of college because you spent so many hours hand-painting your D&D orc character, you've been looking forward to this one for a while now. Peter Jackson has returned to Middle-Earth with the first of three films from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." Three films made more sense with the "Lord of the Rings," which was a three-volume work anyway -- but breaking Bilbo Baggins' journey into three films means more hours to savor for fans, more money for the studios. In "Unexpected Journey," unassuming Hobbit Bilbo gets recruited for the journey of a lifetime and sets off on his hairy feet, with plenty of familiar characters (Gandalf, yay! Gollum, yuck!) to see him through. (Opens Dec. 14.)
FRIDAY: "Magical Mystery Tour Revisited' Roll up, and that's an invitation! The Beatles' 1967 film, "Magical Mystery Tour," perplexed many of even the band's most devoted fans. Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were among those who were interviewed for this look at the controversial and surreal film that many Beatlemaniacs have still never seen. After "Revisited" airs on "Great Performances," a fully restored version of the film itself will be shown. (Dec. 14, 9 p.m., PBS.)
When the fresh-faced Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do,” on Oct. 5, 1962, they probably couldn’t have imagined being age 50, much less anyone marking the single hitting the half-century mark. But the record’s silver anniversary is being celebrated in places ranging from the BBC to Rolling Stone magazine and for good reason: it’s one of the most important records ever made.
If any one record could be said to be a harbinger of the musical and social upheavals of the 1960s, “Love Me Do” is it, since it kicked off the career of a rock group that many have called the greatest musical act of all time. To mark this anniversary, we’ve come up with a list of five fab facts about the record.
1. That’s not vibrato, that’s nerves When the Beatles first congregated Sept. 4 in Abbey Road studios to record “Love Me Do,” they had overhauled the arrangement and John Lennon now had a harmonica part. But Lennon’s harmonica got in the way of his singing the song’s a cappella chorus tag so the vocal duties needed to be changed as well, said producer George Martin. That left a very anxious, 20-year-old Paul McCartney to go it alone on the chorus. “Until that session John had done it,” said McCartney in Barry Miles’ “Many Years From Now.” “I didn’t even know how to sing it ... I can still hear the nervousness in my voice.”
2. Sometimes illegal activities pay off Beatle compatriot Bill Harry writes in “The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia” that “Love Me Do” was primarily written by McCartney “one day when he was playing truant from school.” If so, then it was the most profitable day in the history of playing hooky since the song eventually went to No. 1 in the United States. Not one to be outdone on the illegal activities front, Lennon contributed his share of lawbreaking to the record as well, having purportedly stolen the harmonica he plays on the record. And people thought the Rolling Stones were the bad boys of British rock?
3. It wasn’t such a bad start Compared to all the chart-topping hits the Beatles later had, the No. 17 chart placing of “Love Me Do” seems like a minor failure. But compared to the debuts of some other major artists, it wasn’t so bad. The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’” only got to No. 75. Madonna’s first, “Everybody,” didn’t even make the top 100 and stalled out on the Bubbling Under chart at No. 107 (it was a Top 5 dance hit, however). Bruce Springsteen’s first single, “Blinded by the Light,” didn’t chart at all until a cover version became a hit three years later.
4. Brits got Ringo, Americans didn’t Beatle lore has it that Ringo Starr plays only tambourine on “Love Me Do” since an unimpressed George Martin booked session pro Andy White for the date. But according to Mark Lewisohn’s “The Beatles Recording Sessions,” that happened the second time the group recorded the song on Sept. 11, 1962. Their first try, on Sept. 4, did feature Ringo. And although Martin was originally unhappy with the drummer’s playing, that’s the version he ultimately picked when the single was first issued. But in America (where the song topped the charts in mid-1964), the Sept. 11 version was used. Americans didn’t officially get to hear the original UK 45 until the 1980 “Rarities” album. You can tell the difference because only the Sept. 11 recording has tambourine.
5. No stereo for you! Only a handful of Beatles recordings were never issued in stereo and “Love Me Do” is one of them. Singles were only issued in mono then, so no stereo master was ever made for either version of “Love Me Do” or its B-side, “P.S. I Love You.” They didn’t have the chance to create stereo mixes later on because the tapes were thrown away. According to “Recording Sessions,” it “wasn’t customary” to keep session tapes lying around in 1962. So how did they go about getting “Love Me Do” on CD if there are no tapes of it left? An old 45 record. But a really, really clean one.
Tony Sclafani owns an original U.S. copy of “Love Me Do” on the Tollie label and can be found at www.tonysclafani.com.
Food sculptor Paul Baker was commissioned by the Beefeater Grill UK restaurant chain to recreate the iconic photo with cuisine from the eatery’s menu. The resulting art is made with sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, croissants, crumpets, hash browns, toast, fresh and dried fruit, and, of course, cereal.
“To celebrate our breakfast menu, we wanted to do something to mark an amazing year for Great Britain," spokesman Sam Vaughan said. "And what is more British than The Beatles crossing Abbey Road? After a 'Hard Day’s Night,' a hearty breakfast is the best way to start the day and we hope that the variety we offer at Beefeater Grill will keep our customers coming back for more!”
In addition to promoting the restaurant, the appetizing canvas also serves to honor the 50th anniversary of the first time The Beatles recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
According to UK newspaper The Sun, it took a total of four days and three assistants for Baker to put the piece together, and he paid such close attention to detail that he even took into consideration Paul McCartney’s strict vegetarian diet.
“It was a challenge to find the best way to create Paul McCartney – we wanted to stick to his vegetarian preferences,” Baker said. “After trying out a few different things, we decided mushrooms were the best way to go.”
From the looks of things, the rest of the guys were built with heartier proteins: John Lennon out of eggs, Ringo Starr with bacon and George Harrison with sausages.
The artwork, dubbed “Let it Bean,” is not the first food-concocted painting Baker’s made. His other works of art include Prince William and Kate Middleton kissing on the Buckingham Palace balcony; Winston Churchill holding up the peace sign; and the Queen’s coronation in 1953.
Friendships come, friendships go. But 55 years ago today, two young British men met, and it's not overstating things to say they changed the world.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time on July 6, 1957, at the St. Peter Church Fete in Woolton, Liverpool, England. Lennon was playing in his band, the Quarry Men, and a mutual friend and sometimes bandmate, Ivan Vaughan, brought McCartney along and introduced the two.
A plaque on the exterior wall of the church, much-photographed by Beatles fans, tells the story of their meeting, and adds "As John recalled, 'that was the day, the day that I met Paul, that it started moving.'"
The shot, which features the Beatles walking the wrong way, is expected to fetch thousands at auction. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
By Kurt Schlosser, NBC News
When the Beatles had to "Get Back" across Abbey Road, who knew that they were being photographed going in the opposite direction from that shown on their 1969 album cover?
The actual album cover for the Beatles' "Abbey Road."
A rare image now headed for auction is one of just six taken during a 10-minute photoshoot of the Fab Four outside Abbey Road studios in St. John's Wood, northwest London. The photo is expected to fetch up to $14,000 when it's offered on May 22.
In the original image, John Lennon (in his white suit) leads the group from left to right in a crosswalk. A Volkswagen Beetle sits in the background. Ringo Starr follows Lennon. Behind him is a barefoot Paul McCartney and George Harrison brings up the rear. (Want to read more than you ever cared to about why McCartney being barefoot and out of step with the others is actually a clue to his covered-up 1966 death? Do an Internet search of “Paul is dead.”)
In the image up for sale, Lennon leads his bandmates from right to left. Aside from posture and spacing differences, the biggest treat for hardcore fans is that McCartney is seen wearing sandals on his feet.
According to The Guardian website, a police officer held up traffic as the late photographer Iain Macmillan shot the band from a ladder in the street. The Guardian quotes Sarah Wheeler of Bloomsbury Auctions in London: "The photo has been called an icon of the 1960s. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It's a very simple, stylised shot and is a shot people can relate to."
On The Sun website, Wheeler says Macmillan "was the chosen photographer for the shot because he was friends with Yoko Ono. Paul McCartney drew a sketch of what he wanted the front cover of 'Abbey Road' to look like."
The photo up for auction is one of 25 chromogenic prints made at the time and is being offered by a private music memorabilia collector.
News of the photo comes just a day after Rolling Stone reported that Ringo Starr, who often took candid photos of the band, says he doesn't know the location of his numerous unreleased photographs.
The Beatles, preparing to leave London for their American tour in 1965.
By Rolling Stone
The Beatles' first full concert in the United States at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C. will be screened in movie theaters next month, Deadline Hollywood reports. "The Beatles: The Lost Concert" will be shown in a limited engagement at theaters across the United States on May 17 and 22, with a special premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan on May 6.
The concert film will be proceeded by a documentary on the early rise of Beatlemania in the United States. This portion of the movie will feature new interviews with concert attendees, journalists, historians, assorted Beatles associates and contemporary stars such as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Chuck Berry, Mark Ronson and Strokes members Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi.
Paul McCartney performs at the Grammy Awards held at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12.
The Beatles had considered getting back together while all four members were still alive, says Paul McCartney. "There was talk of re-forming the Beatles a couple of times," he tells Rolling Stone, "but it didn't jell, there was not enough passion behind the idea."
According to McCartney, the band was very pleased with having come full circle creatively, and worried about tainting their legacy. "More importantly, it could have spoiled the whole idea of the Beatles, so wrong that they'd be like 'Oh, my God, they weren't any good,'" he says. "The re-formation suggestions were never convincing enough. They were kind of nice when they happened – 'That would be good, yeah' – but then one of us would always not fancy it. And that was enough, because we were the ultimate democracy."
Though the Fab Four never came back together, various combinations of the band's members have played together on various projects and special occasions in the decades since the group disbanded in 1970. Ringo Starr appeared on solo recordings by John Lennon, George Harrison and McCartney, and both Starr and McCartney appeared together on "All These Years Ago," a Harrison song written in memory of Lennon. The three of them also finished a pair of Lennon demos, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love," for the "Beatles Anthology" series.
The individual Beatles also reconnected for one-off live collaborations, including Starr and Harrison's performance together at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and the time when McCartney, Harrison and Starr played "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at Eric Clapton's wedding in 1979.
McCartney and Lennon reunited briefly for a studio jam session in 1974 that also featured Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Linda McCartney and Bobby Keys. "We were stoned," McCartney says of the session, which has been immortalized as the bootleg Toot and a Snore. "I don't think there was anyone in that room who wasn't stoned. For some ungodly reason, I decided to get on drums. It was just a party, you know. To use the word 'disorganized' is completely understating it. I might have made a feeble attempt to restore order – "guys, you know, let's think of a song, that would be a good idea' – but I can't remember if I did or not."
To read Brian Hiatt's cover story on Paul McCartney, pick up the March 1, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone, on stands and in Rolling Stone All Access February 17.