The Long and Winding Road after Breakup
The Beatles 1970-2013
Part 4 of 4
After looking into George and Ringo last week, this week I have been looking into what John and Paul did after the Beatles,
let's start with John Lennon:
John Lennon - "Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground."
In the late 1960s John began performing and making albums with his second wife Yoko Ono, as the Beatles began to break up. Their first two albums, "Two Virgins" and "Life With The Lions", were experimental and flops by Beatles standards, while their "Wedding Album" was almost a vanity work, but their live album "Live Peace In Toronto" became a Top Ten hit, at the end of the 1960s. In the early 1970s John and Yoko continued to record together, making television appearances and performing at charity concerts.
He was shot by Mark David Chapman at the entrance of the building where he lived, The Dakota, in New York City on 8 December 1980. Lennon had just returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono.
Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Centre, where it was stated that nobody could have lived for more than a few minutes after sustaining such injuries. Shortly after local news stations reported Lennon's death, crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota. Lennon was cremated on 10 December 1980 at the Fern cliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York; the ashes were given to Ono, who chose not to hold a funeral for him.
- Father, with Yoko Ono, of Sean Lennon.
- Father, with Cynthia Lennon, of Julian Lennon.
- An actor named Mark Lindsay Chapman lost the part of John Lennon in John and Yoko: A Love Story (1985) (TV), because he had a similar name (Mark Chapman) as Lennon's killer. Chapman later portrayed Lennon in Chapter 27 (2007).
- When "Rolling Stone" magazine was launched in November 1967, Lennon made the first cover, in a photo from How I Won the War (1967).
- The first instrument he learned to play was the harmonica.
- He used a number of pseudonyms in his musical work. These include Dr. Winston O'Boogie, Booker Table, Dwarf McDougal, Rev. Fred Ghurkin, Mel Torment, Dr. Dream, The Honourable John St. John Johnson, John O'Cean, Joel Nohnn, Kaptain Kundalini, Dad and Winston Leg-Thigh.
- Inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Beatles January 20, 1988.
- Added "Ono" to his name in honour of wife Yoko Ono (aka Yoko Ono Lennon); he wished to drop his middle name Winston, but couldn't under British law. While he never used "Winston" again, his U.S. Resident Alien card (aka "green card") was issued to "John Winston Ono Lennon."
- He was given his U.S. Resident Alien registration (his "green card") on the bicentennial of the American Revolution: July 4, 1976. He was also informed that he would be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship in 1981.
- He wrote the song "Beautiful Boy" for his son Sean Lennon, who was born on John's 35th birthday.
- His murder was first announced to the world by U.S. sports caster Howard Cosell during "NFL Monday Night Football" (1970). According to Frank Gifford, Lennon met Ronald Reagan when both were guests on "Monday Night Football" in the mid-1970s. After appearing on the show, he gave Gifford and Cosell each a complete collection of The Beatles albums, which he autographed.
This is possibly John's last TV interview
- In 1974, he and singer Harry Nilsson were ejected from the Troubadour Club in Hollywood by the bouncers, after they both heckled the Smothers Brothers (Tom Smothers and Dick Smothers) onstage. Lennon and Nilsson both sent flowers and an apology to the Smothers Brothers the next day, and Lennon replied to a columnist's speculation that he might have been using drugs, with the confirmation that they'd simply had too many Brandy Alexander's.
- In 2001 the Liverpool Airport was renamed the John Lennon Airport after him. In 2005, a replica of a Yellow Submarine was unveiled outside this airport as a further commemorative gesture.
- Widow Yoko Ono's photograph of John's spectacles, bloodstained from the day he was fatally shot outside their apartment building in December 1980, sold at auction in London, April 2002 for about $13,000. At a second Christie's auction later in April, two tape recordings of Lennon were also sold. One, from the summer of 1969, was of Lennon making up tunes and telling six-year-old Kyoko about a dwarf who lived in their garden. It sold for $110,000. The other tape, a 25-minute recording of Lennon working on the melody and lyrics for "She Said She Said", contains lyrics never heard in the song's final version. It sold for $85,200.
- Posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a solo artist) in 1994.
- His "In My Life" was played at the funeral of Kurt Cobain.
- In 2002 Paul McCartney changed the credits to many of the songs he wrote with Lennon to "McCartney & Lennon" (from "Lennon & McCartney") to a large public uproar. However, this was not the first time McCartney's name appeared first; many of their early songs were so credited, and the same had been done with songs on the 1976 live album "Wings Over America". In the credits to Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984), McCartney's name appeared prominently - and alone - as composer of the songs performed, which included The Beatles tunes "Yesterday" and "Here, There and Everywhere".
- Was photographed for the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine by Annie Leibovitz on the day he was murdered. Had also just recorded an extensive interview for RKO Radio, and for the BBC the week before.
- He was preoccupied with the number nine: An avant-garde composition on The Beatles' "White Album" was "Revolution 9", while a solo recording of his was "#9 Dream", a term he gave to a state of enlightenment. He died at 11 p.m. on December 8, 1980 in New York, but in his native England (five hours ahead), it was already December 9.
- His neighbours at the Dakota included singer Roberta Flack, and actors Peter Boyle, Gloria Swanson, and Lauren Bacall.
- His mother Julia was killed by a drunk driver when John was seventeen; his stepfather broke down at the news, and John had to go with the police to identify her body (he later named his first son [Julian Lennon] for her, and remembered his mother in the song "Julia", ten years after her death). His best friend and former band mate Stuart Sutcliffe died from a brain haemorrhage in 1962, when they were both 21; John asked Stuart's mother for the old scarf he'd worn to art school, and kept it as a memento.
- In the days leading up to Lennon's murder, his killer Mark David Chapman lived the life' of J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" narrator Holden Caulfield, and in fact Chapman was calmly flipping through that book when he was arrested.
- Married first wife Cynthia Lennon at the Mount Pleasant Registry Office in Liverpool; married second wife Yoko Ono on the Rock of Gibraltar.
- Cremated privately the day after his death. Yoko Ono has never revealed the whereabouts of the ashes, or what happened to them. In lieu of a funeral for John, Yoko asked the public for ten minutes of silence and prayer at 2pm ET on the following Sunday, December 14th, and to contribute to charities in his memory.
- Besides re-releases of his music, his presence has remained in the marketplace and media through selections from his writings and drawings, including a line of children's products based on creations made for son Sean Lennon.
- He didn't spend every day of his five years' retirement at the Dakota. Yoko Ono or one of their consultants would occasionally send him (or the family) to different spots around the globe, for vacations or good-luck trips, beginning with a flight around the world from west to east to "clear their karma". Lennon had to visit Hong Kong alone, book his own room, and see to his own meals, which he'd never done in his life; after a nervous first day (spent mostly in the bath), he finally tried going out for a walk - and was surprised to find that nobody took him for more than a tourist, let alone one of the world-famous Beatles. Not getting the celebrity treatment for the first time since his early twenties, he felt like he'd rediscovered himself.
- Although his music with and after The Beatles usually featured the latest technical and sound innovations, he was all thumbs when it came to most audio/visual equipment, and usually depended on a knowing technician or assistant to give him the sound or look he wanted. He also spent little time on remixing with his solo records; latter-day premasters of his solo albums have been carefully remixed, bringing out many subtleties in the music buried or lost in the original mixes.
- Former band mate George Harrison remembered Lennon in 1981 with his song "All Those Years Ago" (featuring Ringo Starr on drums, and Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney on background vocals). Queen also recorded a tribute to Lennon (the song "Life Is Real", appearing on their "Hot Space" album), as did Paul McCartney with "Here Today", and later Elton John with "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)". Phil Collins recorded The Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows" on his debut solo album "Face Value", which was released in early 1981.
- His first girlfriend (at age fifteen) was named Barbara Baker; his girlfriend at Art school (before dating Cynthia Powell, later Cynthia Lennon) was named Thelma Pickles.
- His song "Imagine" was performed by Peter Gabriel at the opening ceremony to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
- According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries in 2006, The Beatles are the biggest popular music act of all time, with 400 million albums sold (50 million more albums than their runner-up, Michael Jackson).
- In 1969 he recorded the song "Give Peace A Chance" in room 1742, Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montréal, Canada. Norman Mailer, Tom Smothers, and Timothy Leary can be heard as part of the chorus.
- Was the only member of The Beatles to eat meat regularly. Ringo Starr was a vegetarian for life, due to health problems. George Harrison converted in 1968, and Paul McCartney became one in 1975. Lennon mostly followed a macrobiotic diet (with brown rice as a staple), but not strictly.
- It was after hearing Paul McCartney's new single "Coming Up" that Lennon decided to return to music in early 1980. His reported response was, "Oh shit, I've got to get back." Lennon loved the song.
- Isolated himself from the members of The Beatles after 1974. He had slammed Paul McCartney in the press (to which McCartney vehemently responded), he and George Harrison had stopped talking after an argument over The Concert For Bangladesh (Lennon wanted Yoko Ono to be an integral part of the show, and Harrison didn't want her to even perform). Lennon was also deeply hurt that Harrison largely left him out of his autobiography "I, Me, Mine". They never spoke again after the release of the book. He stayed away from Ringo Starr because he wanted to stay sober (and Starr was always drinking). He and McCartney were together for the last time on April 24th, 1976 (the night of the first "Saturday Night Live" (1975) offer of $3200 for the Beatles to reunite). Harrison maintained in later years that their disagreement was petty and that there was no real animosity between them.
- The only member of The Beatles never to attend a Paul McCartney solo concert. Ringo Starr went to one in 1976 and Harrison went to one in 1993 (both preferred not to go onstage). Lennon was planning to visit McCartney in New Orleans during the "Venus and Mars" album sessions, but cancelled when Yoko Ono became pregnant with Sean Lennon.
- Elton John is the godfather of his son Sean Lennon.
- Felt that both "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Across the Universe" were poorly recorded.
- His killer Mark David Chapman has been denied Parole several times due to receiving multiple threats from fans. He has also been kept isolated from other prisoners for similar reasons.
Paul McCartney - " I don't work at being ordinary."
McCartney was 28 when he started his solo career, and formed his new band, Wings. His first solo album, "McCartney," was a #1 hit and spawned the evergreen ballad "Maybe I'm Amazed", yet critical reaction was mixed. He continued to release music with Wings that eventually became one of the most commercially successful groups of the 70s. "Band on the Run" won two Grammy Awards and remained the Wings' most lauded work. The 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and was the highest selling single in the UK for seven years. In 1978 McCartney's theme "Rockestra" won him another Grammy Award. In 1979, together with Elvis Costello, he organized Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. In 1979, McCartney released his solo album "Wonderful Christmastime" which remained popular ever since.
In 1980 McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, Japan, for marijuana possession, and after a ten-day stint in jail, he was released to a media firestorm. He retreated into seclusion after the arrest, and was comforted by his wife Linda. Yet he had another traumatic experience when his ex-band-mate, John Lennon, was shot dead by a crazed fan near his home in New York City on December 8, 1980. McCartney did not play any live concerts for some time because he was nervous that he would be "the next" to be murdered.
After almost a year of absence from the music scene, McCartney returned in 1982 with the album "Tug of War," which was well received by public and enjoyed great critical acclaim. He continued a successful career as a solo artist, collaborated with wife Linda McCartney, and writers such as Elvis Costello. During the 80s, McCartney released such hits as 'No More Lonely Nights' and his first compilation, "All the Best." In 1989, he started his first concert tour since the John Lennon's murder.
In 1994, the three surviving members of The Beatles, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song "Free as a Bird." It was preserved by Yoko Ono on a tape recording made by Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed by George Martin at the Abbey Road Studios with the voices of three surviving members. The Beatles Anthology TV documentary series was watched by 420 million people in 1995.
During the 1990s McCartney concentrated on composing classical works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, such as "The Liverpool Oratorio" involving a choir and symphony, and "A Leaf" solo-piano project, both released in 1995. That same year he was working on a new pop album, "Flaming Pie," when his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, and caring for his wife during her illness meant only sporadic public appearances during that time. The album was released in 1997 to both critical and commercial success, debuting at number 2 on both the UK and US pop charts. That same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as Sir Paul McCartney for his services to music.
In April 1998, Linda McCartney, his beloved wife of almost 30 years, mother of their four children, and his steady partner in music, died of breast cancer. McCartney suffered from a severe depression and had to undergo medical treatment. He spent much of the next year away from the public eye, emerging only to campaign on behalf of his late wife for animal rights and vegetarian causes.
He eventually returned to the studio, releasing an album of rock n'roll covers in 1999. "Run Devil Run" made both Entertainment Weekly and USA Today's year-end top ten lists. McCartney also slowly returned to the public spotlight with the release of his another classical album, "Working Classical" in November 1999, in recording by the London Symphony Orchestra. His 2000 release "A Garland for Linda" was a choral tribute album, which raised funds to aid cancer survivors.
In 2000 he was invited by Heather Mills, a disabled ex-model, to her 32nd birthday. McCartney wrote songs dedicated to her after which he and Mills developed a romantic relationship and became engaged in 2001. However, the year brought him a cascade of traumatic experiences. On September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was sitting on a plane in New York when the World Trade Centre tragedy occurred in front of his eyes, and he was able to witness the events from his seat. Yet there was sadness, as his former band-mate George Harrison died of cancer in November, 2001.
Recouperating from the stressful year, McCartney received the 2002 Academy Award-nomination for the title song to the movie Vanilla Sky (2001), and also went on his first concert tour in several years. In June, 2002, Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills married in a castle in Monaghan, Ireland. Their daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney, was born in October 2003. Four years later, the high profile marriage ended in divorce, after a widely publicized litigation. "Whenever you're going through difficult times, I'm at the moment, it's really cool to be able to escape into music" says Paul McCartney.
In 2003 Paul McCartney rocked the Red Square in Moscow with his show "Back in USSR" which was attended by his former opponents from the former Soviet KGB, including the Russian president Vladimir Putin himself, who invited McCartney to be the guest of honour in the Kremlin. In 2004 Paul McCartney received a birthday present from the Russian president. In June 2004, he and Heather Mills-McCartney stayed as special guests at suburban Royal Palaces of Russian Tsars in St. Petersburg, Russia. There he staged a spectacular show near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where the Communist Revolution took place, just imagine.
In 2005 the Entertainment magazine poll named The Beatles the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. In 2006, the guitar on which Paul McCartney played his first chords and impressed John Lennon was sold at an auction for over $600,000.
On June 18, 2006, Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, as in his song "when I'm Sixty-Four." McCartney's celebrity status made it a cultural milestone for a generation of those born in the baby-boom era who grew up with the music of The Beatles during the 1960s. The prophetic message in the song has been intertwined with McCartney's personal life and his career.
In 2007 McCartney left his long-time label, EMI, and signed with Los Angeles based Hear Music. He learned to play mandolin to create a refreshing feeling for his latest album "Memory Almost Full," then appeared in Apple Computer's commercial for iPod iTunes to promote the album. In June 2007 McCartney appeared together with Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Guy Laliberté in a live broadcast from the "Revolution" Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
- Still plays his 1964 Epiphone acoustic guitar which he used to compose "Yesterday".
- Although all his songs for The Beatles are still credited as "Lennon - McCartney" he individually wrote almost half of all 200 songs for The Beatles, such as "Yesterday", "Let it Be", "Can't Buy Me Love", "Helter Skelter", "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine", "Hey Jude" and many more. Only songs in earlier albums are really joint efforts with John Lennon. The co-credit was because of a handshake deal the two had made in their teens.
- His song "Yesterday" is one of the most popular songs of all time. Whilst he was looking for the right lyrics, he was temporarily using the line "Scrambled Eggs" until he came up with "Yesterday" in the final version of the song, as it is now known to the world. It became one of the most recorded songs of all time, with more than 3,000 known versions.
- He was respected by The Beatles producer, George Martin for his superior musicianship, musical inventiveness, and multi-instrumental abilities. Martin said that Paul McCartney was the one with enough attention span to sit at the piano, or in the studio as long as it takes to compose the best melody and harmony for their songs.
- Plays piano for the song, "Let It Be". Performed "Let It Be" at Live Aid in 1985. During this performance, Bob Geldof, David Bowie, Alison Moyet and Pete Townshend (of The Who) all came on stage towards the end to sing backup vocals.
- His four children with Linda McCartney are Heather McCartney (adopted from her previous marriage), photographer Mary McCartney, top fashion designer Stella McCartney and musician/sculptor James McCartney. Paul was married to rock photographer Linda Eastman on March 12, 1969 at the Marylebone Register Office.
- Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Beatles January 20, 1988. Citing business differences, he did not attend the induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City with his former band mates George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
- He is in the Guinness Book of World Records with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million singles.
- Owns the double bass that once belonged to Elvis Presley's bassist Bill Black. He plays the instrument on his solo sessions at his studio.
- According to McCartney, the name of the rock group Wings was inspired by daughter Stella McCartney's birth, which was premature and traumatic; Stella and her mother both almost died. As his daughter was being born by emergency caesarean section, Paul sat outside the operating room and prayed that she be born "on the wings of an angel."
- Had wanted The Beatles to do a club tour shortly before they broke up. John Lennon disagreed, thinking that if they did tour again, it should have been in stadium-sized venues.
- Has written several songs about his former band mate John Lennon, including "Dear Boy", "Too Many People", "Dear Friend", "Let Me Roll It" and "Here Today."
- Holds a record with 29 #1 singles on the American charts with The Beatles, Paul McCartney & Wings, and as a solo artist (including one duet with Stevie Wonder).
- Fined $200 in 1973 for growing marijuana on his Scotland farm. Arrested and jailed briefly in Japan in 1980 for carrying same substance.
- Made an honorary detective by the New York City Police Department for the benefit concert he gave for 9/11 victims, April 2002.
- Eleven years after the breakup of The Beatles, along with Ringo Starr he played on George Harrison's, "All Those Years Ago", about the death of his singing partner, John Lennon.
- Favourite singers were Little Richard and Elvis Presley.
- Met George Harrison on a bus to school, and asked him to join the band that eventually became The Beatles.
- Born on the same day as film critic Roger Ebert, and two days before fellow musician and composer Brian Wilson.
- Owned a ranch in Tucson, Arizona; this was where first wife Linda McCartney died.
- Owns a Hollywood Hills manor property purchased from Courtney Love, and Ellen DeGeneres.
- The Beatles were voted the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists of all time by Rolling Stone. They also topped a similar list compiled by VH1
So to finish on a Paul McCartney quote:
‘Somebody said to me, The Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John Lennon and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'
By Frazer McMenzie
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