HEINZ Edelmann, art director for the 'Yellow Submarine' animated film, is dead at 75. Edelman created the look of the psychedelic cartoon, including character designs for the Blue Meanies, Nowhere Man and the Beatles. Edelmann's name is not well-known, owing to a widespread belief that the art style was done by or based on the work of Peter Max. The impression has been aided by Max's own claims of involvement.
GORDOn Waller, one half of the hit duo Peter & Gordon, is died of a heart attack on July 17, 2009. Peter & Gordon had a debut #1 smash with the McCartney-penned "World Without Love" in 1964, leading to a string of hits before they broke up in 1968. Peter Asher left performing to become a record executive. Waller carried on with his solo album, cheekily titled 'and Gordon', but found no success. The duo reunited for a few select shows in recent years, reinvigorating Waller, who recorded a couple of solo albums.
MUSIC mogul and all-around villain Allen Klein died on July 4th. Klein took over as manager of the Beatles in 1969. Klein got them what was then the best royalty rate of any artist and brought order to their company, Apple, which was in chaotic shambles. Paul McCartney, though, never trusted Klein and a further rift was driven between McCartney and the other three, leading to McCartney's lawsuit to get out of the Beatles. Klein was managing George Harrison in 1971 when Harrison was accused of plagiarism of the song "He's So Fine" for his #1 hit "My Sweet Lord". After a falling out with Harrison, Klein bought the company that owned "He's So Fine" and continued the suit, which lasted until 1993 (Harrison eventually won).
ART Director and designer Tom Wilkes died June 28th. Wilkes was best known for his album cover designs, such as George Harrison's 'Concert for Bangladesh' and 'Starr Struck: the Best of Ringo Starr v.2'. His other designs include the Rolling Stones' 'Beggars Banquet', Neil Young's 'Harvest' and John Prine's debut.
PAUL McCartney was on Letterman last week to promote his short U.S. tour. He performed live for 20 minutes with his band on top of the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater. You can view the 22-minute video, most of it unaired, here.
WITH the death of Michael Jackson, the music industry was abuzz with speculation about the fate of the Beatles catalogue, including the rumor that he left them in his will to Paul McCartney. Jackson had purchased a controlling interest in the publishing rights in 1984 for $47.5 million. He sold half of that to Sony in 1995 for $95 million. Lawyers for Sony and for Jackson's estate have both stated that the song rights are not for sale. On a side note, it was McCartney himself who suggested music publishing to Jackson as a promising investment!
OF COurse, the biggest Beatle news to come out since my last report is the reissuing/remastering of the entire catalogue on 9/9/09. They will be released in both stereo and mono. The stereo mixes are the ones that the public is most familiar with. Those will be available individually and as a box set. For decades now, Beatlephiles have been stressing how much better the Beatles music was in mono, that mono is the 'true' Beatles. The first four albums were released in mono, albums #5-10 in mono and stereo, and the last three in stereo only (counting 'Magical Mystery Tour' as an album...quiet, Tom!). So, now was the regular fans chance to get them all in mono, right? WELL, you can, but they are only available as a box set, not individually, AND the box, at $240 on Amazon, is overpriced. There was some web anger over the Beatles' website announcement that the mono box would be limited to 10,000. Correspondence posted by some, if it's valid, from Amazon and EMI (the record company), have allayed these fears. I'm just hoping the price will come down, or I'll have to hope that Santa brings it!
THE Soundrack for the new Judd Apatow film, Funny People, has four Beatles connections. It leads off with "Great Day", the closing track to Paul McCartney's 'Flaming Pie' album from 1997. It contains an acoustic demo by John Lennon of "Watching the Wheels", which was unreleased until 1994's 'Acoustic' collection. It also includes "Photograph" by Ringo and the movie's star, Adam Sandler, doing a rendition of "Real Love".
'JOHN Lennon & Plastic Ono Band: Live in Toronto '69' was released on DVD this week. I've read some complaints about the audio quality being substandard to the 'Live Peace in Toronto 1969' CD, but the real turn-off might be Yoko's primal wailing. I don't have either, so I can't say if the good bits save it or not.
MY OVerview of George Harrison compilations made my all-time one day record for hits on this site. Thank you, readers! While I didn't buy the new CD (I did download two tracks from iTunes), a lot of you did. 'Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison' peaked at #24 on Billboard.
THE Hollywood Chamber of Commerce recently announced who was getting a star on the Walk of Fame in 2010. It looks like Ringo Starr will finally get his star. John Lennon and George Harrison each received his star posthumously, in 1988 and earlier this year, respectively. Other musicians to be honored include Randy Newman and Roy Orbison.