It was 59 years ago Saturday (August 17th, 1960) that the Beatles began their first stint in Hamburg, Germany's Indra Club. At that time the group consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison -- all on guitars -- along with Lennon's art college buddy Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and drummer Pete Best, who had joined the group only five days earlier.
During their initial 48-date booking, each band member received less than four dollars a day, and was contracted to play four-and-a-half hours every weekday night -- between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., and for six hours a night on Saturday and Sundays. Their Saturday shift ran between 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., with Sunday's set starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 1:30 a.m. The band lived in squalor, rent-free, in the back of the Bambi-Filmkusttheater, a movie theater owned by the Indra's proprietor and the Beatles' employer, Bruno Koschmider.
It was while performing in Hamburg that the group, who were barely professional upon arrival, grew into a tight rock n' roll ensemble by sometimes playing as much as eight hours a night.
Pete Best recalled the scene of the Beatles' opening night in Hamburg on August 17th, 1960 at the legendary Indra Club: "We got some crowd in -- but compared to the crowd that we built it up to before it closed, that happened very quickly. But on that opening night, I'd turn around and say it was a quiet night. But once word was out. . . once they'd actually seen us, people kept flocking in."
George Harrison, who was only 17-years-old when the band first played in Germany, recalled in The Beatles Anthology that, "Hamburg was really our apprenticeship. We had to learn millions of songs, because we'd be on for hours -- we'd make stuff up. Saturday would start at three or four in the afternoon and go until five or six in the morning. We'd have breakfast when we finished."
In many ways Harrison felt that it was all downhill for the Beatles as a band following their early Hamburg days: "In the Beatles, I think the sad bit came when we got famous. Because before that, we played all them clubs, little clubs all over the place and in -- particularly in Germany, we played months and months in these nightclubs. We played eight hours a night. Then it was good, cause you were just. . . everybody was just dancing and drinking, the band was up there just drinking and playing and, y'know, there was no big emphasis on how groovy you were."
Paul McCartney added that sex played a tremendous part of the band's Hamburg era, explaining, "Hamburg was quite an eye-opener. We went as kids. . . We were just Liverpool guys who, as far as we were concerned, could not get arrested back home. . . and suddenly you'd have a girlfriend who was a stripper. If you had hardly ever had sex in your life before, this was fairly formidable. Here was somebody who obviously knew something about it, and you didn't. So we got a fairly swift baptism of fire in the sex scene. There was a lot of it about and we were off the leash."
McCartney recalled the band's pre-Hamburg career as being pretty dire and humiliating at times: "Music? Nah, we couldn't even win talent contests. We certainly weren't great talent. But eventually, we sort of got it together and decided we wouldn't do talent contests anymore. We used to keep getting beaten by this woman who played the spoons -- this old lady. 'Cause everyone was out of it 'round about half-eleven and kept voting (imitates a drunk) 'Ah, she's great!' And we'd come on -- 'Oh God, how you gonna follow that?'"
In 1970 John Lennon revealed to Rolling Stone that Hamburg was also the Beatles' first taste of drugs, as they learned to depend on the amphetamine preludin to combat their alcohol intake and keep up their strength for their marathon sets, remembering: "I've been on pills since . . . I became I musician. The only way to survive in Hamburg to play eight hours a night was to take pills. The waiters gave you them. . . The pills and the drink."
After their initial residency was over at the Indra, the group began playing at Koschmider's bigger Kaiserkeller Club, which is where they became close with fellow Liverpool drummer Ringo Starr, who was then alternating nightly sets with the Beatles' main competition, Rory Storm & The Hurricanes.
Eventually, after continually sitting in with fellow British performer Tony Sheridan at a rival club called the Top Ten, word got back to the Koschmider, who according to legend, had the underage Harrison deported. McCartney and Best were also deported a week later for allegedly setting fire to their meager living quarters. Lennon returned home to Liverpool shortly thereafter, with Sutcliffe staying behind with photographer girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr (pronounced KERR-shirr).
Shortly before her 2015 death, Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Lennon, went to art school with Lennon and Sutcliffe, told us that their personalities balanced each other out perfectly: "What John gave Stu was the ability to laugh at himself and have humor, because he was such a serious student. And what Stuart gave John was a kind of. . . he was inspirational. I mean, John had no faith in his abilities to do anything serious -- or complete anything. And Stuart was constantly supporting him."
She says that even while still in her teens, she was able to recognize Sutcliffe's brilliance and originality: "Stuart was special. He was in art college with us. He was the most brilliant student. He was awesome, the stuff that he did. And he was a gentle, gentle young man."
After their ill-fated first Hamburg stint, the band regrouped in Liverpool with McCartney eventually taking over bass duties from Sutcliffe. The Beatles returned to Germany to headline Hamburg's Top Ten Club on April 1st, 1961. On June 22nd, 1961 they backed Tony Sheridan in what was their first professional recording session.
Pete Best told us that the Beatles' greatest nights were during their original stand in Hamburg during the fall of 1960. He revealed that the group's original bassist, Sutcliffe, while hardly a virtuoso, wasn't the incompetent player history has portrayed him as: "I've always turned around and I'll always defend his corner, because what you have is a situation where someone has said many years ago -- the same as I've been stigmatized over the years -- someone turned around and said 'Stu wasn't a good bass player' and it's lived with him ever since. He's no longer here to defend his corner so I will. There were better bass players and there were worse bass players, OK? But what Stu gave on stage was that he played with 200 percent and he played with his heart and he played with his feelings."
Although no movies of the Beatles' time in Hamburg exists, a number of photographers, including Kirchherr, documented their extended stays in Germany over the two years the band performed there.
During his 2012 keynote address at Austin's South By Southwest music festival, Bruce Springsteen spoke about the importance of seeing the photos of the Beatles during their Hamburg era for the first time: "And then in some fanzine, I came across a picture of the Beatles in Hamburg, and they had on the leather jackets and the slicked-back pompadours, and they had acne'd faces, and I said, 'Hey, wait a minute, those are. . . those are the guys I grew up with' -- y'know, Liverpool wharf rats. So, minus their Nehru jackets and haircuts, (I thought) 'These guys -- they're kids -- they're a lot cooler than me, but they're still kids. There must be a way to get there from here.'"
While researching his globally acclaimed book -- All These Years Vol. 1: Tune In -- Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn uncovered an incredible fact about the band's Hamburg debut on August 17th, 1960, which underlined the Beatles being the mark between the past and future of Europe and eventually the world: "There's that nice fact in the book of the Beatles striking up in Hamburg, which is, y'know, white guys from England with an Irish-Scottish background -- and in Pete (Best's) case, Indian, as well, playing black American music from Africa, originally, to Germans -- to the survivors of the second Word War on the 20th anniversary of the day -- or the night, even -- that the Germans began bombing Liverpool. And they were all war babies. So, y'know, they're making peace, if you like, by bringing together all these things. They certainly had no concept of that and they were not trying to do anything like that, but that, when you step back and try to look at the picture is exactly what was going on."
During John Lennon's 1970 Rolling Stone interview, he set the record straight once and for all about the Beatles' abilities as a live act: "We were four guys, that. . . I met Paul (McCartney) and said, ‘Y'wanna join me band? And then George (Harrison) joined, and then Ringo (Starr) joined. We were just a band that made it very, very big -- that's all. Our best work was never recorded, y'know? We were performers -- in spite off what Mick (Jagger) says about us -- in Liverpool, Hamburg, and around the dance halls, y'know? And what we generated was fantastic, when we played straight rock. And there was nobody to touch us in Britain, y'know? But as soon as we made it, we made it -- the edges were knocked off. Y'know, Brian (Epstein) put us in suits and all that and we made it very, very big — but we sold out. The Beatles' music died then -- as musicians. That's why we never improved (laughs), y'know? As musicians, we killed ourselves then, to make it. We always missed the club days, ‘cause that's when we were playing music."
AUDIO: JOHN LENNON ON THE BEATLES AS PERFORMERS
AUDIO: MARK LEWISOHN ON THE BEATLES' FIRST NIGHT IN HAMBURG
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON THE HAMBURG BEATLES
AUDIO: PETE BEST ON STU SUTCLIFFE'S BASS PLAYING
AUDIO: CYNTHIA LENNON REMEMBERS STUART SUTCLIFFE
AUDIO: CYNTHIA LENNON ON JOHN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH STU SUTCLIFFE
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON THE BEATLES LOSING TALENT CONTESTS
AUDIO: GEORGE HARRISON ON PRE-FAME BEATLES
AUDIO: PETE BEST ON FIRST GIG IN HAMBURG
Today (August 16th) marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Elvis died of a heart attack on August 16th, 1977 at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42-years-old. Thousands of fans have been gathered all week long at Elvis' Graceland mansion for the annual "Elvis Week" celebrating the life and times of "King Of Rock N' Roll" who would now be 84-years-old.
The 50th anniversary of Elvis' watershed American Studios recordings and his Las Vegas comeback are being celebrated this month. Just released is the massive, 11-CD box set of his performances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, titled Live 1969. Also out that day is the special two-LP Live At The International Hotel, Las Vegas, NV - August 26, 1969. The vinyl release features Elvis' complete set from August 26th's Midnight show.
Coming on August 23rd is American Sound 1969 featuring 90 rare and previously unreleased outtakes from "The King's" American Sound Sessions in Memphis, including the classics "Suspicious Minds," "In The Ghetto," "Kentucky Rain," "Don't Cry Daddy," and "Rubberkneckin'," among many others.
Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has tapped actor Austin Butler to portray Elvis Presley in the still-untitled upcoming feature co-starring Tom Hanks as "The King's" infamous manager Col. Tom Parker. Luhrman said in a statement announcing the casting update: "I knew I couldn't make this film if the casting wasn't absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist." The upcoming movie will focus on Elvis and Col. Parker's 20-plus-year relationship.
Col. Tom Parker, who was born on 1909 in the Netherlands, was a carnival barker before becoming Elvis' manager in 1954 with the Presley estate finally forcing him out in 1983. Parker died of a stroke in 1997.
2018 saw the release of Elvis Presley - Where No One Stands Alone, a collection featuring "newly-recorded instrumentation and backing vocal contributions from music legends who'd performed on-stage and/or in-the-studio with Elvis. It also includes a reimagined duet with Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on the album's title track and spiritual touchstone."
In April 2018, the eagerly awaited HBO documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher premiered on April 14th on HBO, including never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections worldwide. The doc was directed by Bruce Springsteen's longtime filmmaker, Thom Zimny and produced by Springsteen's manager Jon Landau, Priscilla Presley, and original "Memphis Mafia" member Jerry Schilling, who now serves as the president of the Beach Boys' Brother Records' Inc.
2016 saw the release of the Way Down In The Jungle Room collection, which compiled Elvis' final recording sessions. "The King" had temporarily transformed his legendary Graceland den -- dubbed the "Jungle Room" -- into a state of the art recording studio, and it was there over two sets of sessions in February and October 1976, that he recorded his final studio masters for RCA. The sessions featured the members of his longtime touring band -- including guitarist James Burton, drummer Ronnie Tutt, keyboardists Glenn D. Hardin and David Briggs, bassists Jerry Scheff and Norbert Putnam, along with backing vocals by J.D.. Sumner & The Stamps. The original masters found their way onto Elvis' two final albums, 1976's From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee and 1977's Moody Blue. Highlights from the sessions include: "Moody Blue," "Way Down," "Hurt," "Pledging My Love," "She Thinks I Still Care," "It's Easy For You," "Danny Boy," "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain," and "Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall," among others.
In 2010, Elvis's personal physician Dr. George Nichopoulos -- infamously known world wide as "Dr. Nick" -- published his memoirs about his decade over-prescribing drugs to Elvis in the memoir, The King And Dr. Nick. In 1980, Nichopoulos, who died in 2016 -- and over the years has been rated no better than a dope dealer by Elvis' family, friends, and legion of fans -- was indicted on 14 counts of over-prescribing drugs to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as 12 other patients. According to court records, in 1977 -- the year Elvis died at age 42 -- Nichopoulos had prescribed over 10,000 doses of amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, laxatives, and hormones for Elvis.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Nichopoulos revealed that Elvis was suffering from, "arthritis, gout, a fatty liver, an enlarged heart, migraines, constipation, and a colon swollen to twice its normal size." Elvis was also reportedly battling glaucoma -- pressure on the eyeball -- as well as hepatitis, an enlarged liver, and Cushing's Syndrome -- a hormonal disease that causes bloating -- which was most likely was attributed to the herculean doses of hard dope he took on a daily basis.
"Dr. Nick" went to great lengths over the years to dodge the blame of "The King's" death by stressing that the majority of Elvis' drugs were gotten from sources other than him -- especially the drugs that were found in his system post-mortem: "My recollection is that there were four drugs found that I had prescribed out of the 12, 13, or 14 that were found in his body. And the others came from who knows where; they may have been from other doctors or other friends."
Dr. George Nichopoulos' prescriptions for Elvis Presley during the final 32 months of his life:
1975 -- Amphetamines: 1,296; Sedatives: 1,891; Narcotics: 910
1976 -- Amphetamines: 2,372; Sedatives: 2,680; Narcotics: 1,059
1977 (through August 16th) -- Amphetamines: 1,790; Sedatives: 4,996; Narcotics: 2,019
Robert Plant recalled the night he and Led Zeppelin met Elvis back in 1974: "We talked with Presley for about three hours, it just went on and on and on. And we were talking about the root -- where did it come from, and it came from him. And he still got it. He still was into that Delta (music) thing -- y'know, 'Good Rockin' Tonight, y'know, all that stuff that got him going in the first place. But he also knew -- and he had a great sense of humor -- and he knew that he was locked in this self-parody."
Paul McCartney explained that although Elvis' health problems were no secret by 1977, his death was still heartbreaking for his original fans: "It was. . . it was still a bit of a shock with Elvis -- 'Oh my God -- there's an era ended,' that sort of thing -- 'Oh, we'll never see him again, y'know, fat or thin.'"
Just prior to his own untimely death in 1980, John Lennon gave his typically cynical take on the death of his original hero and greatest inspiration: "When Elvis died, people were harassing me in Tokyo for a comment. Well, I'll give it now: He died when he went in the army (laughs). That's when they killed him, that's when they castrated him, so the rest of it was just a living death."
Pete Townshend says that the enormity of pressures surrounding Elvis are what ultimately led to his death at such a young age: "That's a terrible tragedy when you think what a decent kind of guy he seemed to be when you read the stuff. Y'know he came to pieces at the end. And it's easy to blame Vegas, but it wasn't about Vegas, it was just about the load."
Keith Richards credits Elvis for making rock a truly colorless art form: "The beautiful thing about Elvis was that, wow, he's just sort of turned everybody into everybody it doesn't matter now -- 'Is the guy black or white' anymore. . . Y'know, and maybe even you can do it!"
Daughter Lisa Marie Presley was asked if since becoming a recording artist in her own right, her bond with her father has gotten stronger: "I think so, in that, I mean, I've always had the most, y'know, he's been, like, untouchable in my eyes in terms of idolized for what he did. But I think me going through -- on a much less scale -- what he had to go through, I think I have more, I'm more locked into him on that realm."
Close friend Tony Orlando recalled pleading with Elvis to not let his fame cut him off from the world: "I remember saying to Elvis one day, y'know, I said, 'You are missing out on life, man. Because I just saw Muhammad Ali in front of the Stage Delicatessen; he was outside doin' magic tricks for kids and signing autographs for kids and he's enjoying his fame.' I said, 'Elvis, you never get out. You're stuck in this gold record cell. C'mon, at least I get out!'
Elton John caught Elvis Presley in concert at Washington, D.C.'s Capital Centre just over a year before his death and after meeting the man, he walked away traumatized by the state his hero was in: "‘Meet' would probably be an extravagant word. I shook hands with him backstage at a concert in Washington. My mother was there and it was very sad. And I thought, y'know, maybe even during the performance. . . I thought there might be (laughs). . . It was so, really tragic. I mean, really. . . so heavy -- there was no eyes there. And yet he still had the most incredible charisma and magic, even though he was like a zombie before. But to meet him -- even to see him was a great honor."
AUDIO: ELTON JOHN ON MEETING ELVIS PRESLEY
AUDIO: TONY ORLANDO ON ELVIS PRESLEY'S ISOLATION
AUDIO: LISA MARIE PRESLEY SAYS SHE RELATES MORE NOW TO HER FATHER
AUDIO: KEITH RICHARDS ON ELVIS_PRESLEY
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON THE TRAGEDY OF ELVIS PRESLEY
AUDIO: JOHN LENNON ON ELVIS PRESLEY'S DEATH
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON ELVIS PRESLEY'S DEATH
AUDIO: ROBERT PLANT ON LED ZEPPELIN MEETING ELVIS PRESLEY
AUDIO: DR. NICK ON DRUGS AND ELVIS PRESLEY
The Dead & Co. has announced its "Fall Fun Run" mini-tour taking in two stops each at New York's Madison Square Garden and -- for the first time -- Hampton, Virginia's Hampton Coliseum. Tickets go on sale next Friday, August 23rd at 10 am ET via Ticketmaster. So far, the four shows are the only ones on the books for the remainder of 2019.
Along with Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann -- the band is rounded out with guitarist John Mayer, former-Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge, and longtime RatDog and Dead sideman, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
Dead co-founder Bill Kreutzmann told us he believes that although revered by the Dead's audience, one of the primary reasons why the band is so beloved is because they were never larger than life, just happy and proud, working musicians: "We're people, we weren't gods or anything. I know we're held in incredibly high esteem -- our Deadhead fans, thank you very, very much -- but we are just people and we all learned to play an instrument and we got together at the right time. It was synchronicity at its best, I would say."
Although some Dead originally scoffed at the notion of John Mayer taking over lead guitar duties for the Dead, a while back, he told us that adopting new styles has always been part of his musical makeup: "That's easy for me to deal with because even before I even made a record I was playing pop music and I was playing blues music. And I interchangeably ripped down the Pearl Jam posters and put up the Stevie Ray Vaughn posters and then take those down and put up the pop music. It's been no surprise to me that I was going to play different music each time out."
UPDATED: Dead & Co tour dates (subject to change):
October 31 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
November 1 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
November 8, 9 - Hampton, Virginia - Hampton Coliseum
January 16, 17, 18, 19 - Cancún, Mexico - Playing In the Sand 2020 at Moon Palace
AUDIO: JOHN MAYER ON PLAYING DIFFERENT STYLES
AUDIO: BILL KREUTZMANN ON THE GRATEFUL DEAD BEING HUMAN
Pete Townshend can't help but gush at how well the Who's 1969 Woodstock performance went down. During a chat with Rock Cellar, he spoke about the band's watershed performance that helped catapult them into super-stardom, admitting, "The footage is brilliant. We were brilliant. It was all those drugged-up hippies that ended up looking like t**** in The Simpsons."
Townshend went on to say, "Listen, Woodstock should have delivered what it promised. We did. The movie delivered too, I think. The sad part is that all I remember about Woodstock is meeting Richie Havens again and thinking, 'This is a truly spiritual man.' Everyone else seemed like rabbits in the headlights. I don't f***with spirituality. I do it like it's a personal war."
Ultimately, Townshend believes the "Woodstock Nation" petered out on itself: "Woodstock could have been a beginning, not an end. There were nearly a million very good souls there, with the best intentions. What went wrong? I don't know. Maybe nothing. I didn't have a good time. It was just another gig to me."
Townshend spoke candidly about his relationship with the Who's audience, explaining, "I have always carried this strong belief that while I am on stage the audience is doing the driving somehow. This has confused some fans when they meet me off stage -- they expect to have the same control over me they enjoy while I perform. But on stage I am powerless over the process, and I think it's about the best thing I do. I am unconditional about my desire to do my best on stage, and I know how good I am. So I am confident, and secure, easy, but also determined -- and yet at the same time I am humble as a performer, I feel as though I have a duty."
One of the most notable moments of the Who's Woodstock performance was when counter-culture activist Abbie Hoffman was booted offstage by Townshend during the band's set: "What actually happened was, he interrupted me singing 'Acid Queen.' And I let him. But he went on too long for me. And then after he'd said what he said, I went up to him and I said, 'Stop.' And he started again. So I put my guitar on the side of his neck and I went like that (makes a sweeping motion) and went back to the song. A couple of minutes later I looked, and he was on the side of the stage, hunched up like a baby, kind of in shock, staring at me really, really angrily. When the song was over, I walked over to him and I said, 'I'm sorry.' And he said 'F*** you' and ran off. And that's actually what happened."
Pete Townshend returned to the Woodstock site for 1998's A Day In The Garden three-day concert, which also featured performances by Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, and Joni Mitchell, among others. Townshend was asked at the time for his feelings on developing what some people feel is almost sacred ground, and he said: "Looking at the very fact that somebody has bought this bit of land and wants there to be music here, it says a lot about what really was important about the original occasion, y'know, 'cause everything other than the music -- everything other than the actual gathering of people -- in a way turned out to be slightly flawed. If anything, what this is doing simply is honoring what was meant to happen back then."
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON THE ABBIE HOFFMAN WOODSTOCK INCIDENT
Out now is perhaps the best new book published in time for the golden anniversary of 1969's Woodstock festival -- Woodstock 50th Anniversary: Back To Yasgur's Farm by author Mike Greenblatt. The 224-page book features a foreword by Country Joe McDonald, along with interviews with such iconic performers as Graham Nash, Carlos Santana, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Country Joe McDonald, Edgar Winter, members of Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly & The Family Stone, Canned Heat, Sha Na Na, co-host Chip Monck, assorted attendees, and many, many more. All 32 performances of the thre three-day festival are covered in detail.
Mike Greenblatt, who was 18 when he attended Woodstock, is able to blend his encyclopedic knowledge of rock with his first-hand experiences at the event to paint a full-scale portrait of what Woodstock was all about: "Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were idyllic. Sure, it rained all three days off and on -- but it was a light, misty rain, and it was warm, and there was no problem. You learned to take as much space as possible; if you didn't people would start crowdin' in on you from the left and right. But, they were friendly, people. They shared their wine, they shared their sandwiches, and water, and pot. We had left everything back at the car! We didn't even know where the car was! We had nothing, except shorts and a t-shirt."
Greenblatt explained that as a die-hard music fan himself, Woodstock 50th Anniversary: Back To Yasgur's Farm, covers all the bases: "This is the ultimate Woodstock book. It has that section in the middle of all 32 acts -- when they went on, every song they played, the personnel, what they were paid. And then I added a fun thing 'cause I'm a baseball fan and I love stats; I added that 'Five Top Albums' for every single band."
AUDIO: MIKE GREENBLATT ON WRITING THE ULTIMATE 'WOODSTOCK' BOOK
AUDIO: MIKE GREENBLATT ON THE WOODSTOCK CROWDS
It was 46 years ago this week (August 18th to August 25th, 1973) that Paul McCartney & Wings' theme to the James Bond movie Live And Let Die peaked at Number Two on the charts. The song, which followed the recent Number One success of the band's "My Love," was kept from the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 first by Diana Ross' "Touch Me In The Morning," and then by the Stories' "Brother Louie." "Live And Let Die" went on to top both the rival Cash Box and Record World singles charts.
McCartney came about writing "Live And Let Die" through former Beatles producer George Martin, who was the film's musical director and pitched the project to him. McCartney spent a day reading the Ian Fleming novel, and then went about composing the song with help from his wife Linda, who contributed the reggae-tinged middle portion.
Wings co-founder and original drummer Denny Seiwell played on the original version of "Live And Let Die" and recalled the events leading up to McCartney recording the Oscar-nominated theme to the 007 thriller: "Everybody thought it was cool that we were doing something for James Bond, y'know? 'Cause I remember what Paul told us -- he said a couple weeks before we did the actual recording, he said they wanted him to write the theme to the next James Bond movie, and they sent him the book to read. And we were up at the house one day and he had just read the book the night before, and he sat down at the piano and said, 'James Bond. . . James Bond . . . da-da-dum!,' and he started screwing around at the piano. Within 10 minutes, he had that song written. It was awesome, really. Just to watch him get in there and write the song was really something I'll remember the rest of my life."
Seiwell recalled the speed in which "Live And Let Die" was recorded: "'Live And Let Die' was pretty amazing, because we did that track in and out of the studio, with a live 40-piece orchestra, overdubs, mix in three hours at Air London at George Martin's studio. So that was pretty impressive."
Over the years "Live And Let Die" has become a McCartney concert favorite, with its explosions and pyrotechnics that seem to grow with each tour. The song has been featured on such live McCartney albums as Wings Over America, Tripping The Live Fantastic, Paul Is Live, Back In The U.S. and most recently on Good Evening New York City.
AUDIO: DENNY SEIWELL ON RECORDING 'LIVE AND LET DIE'
AUDIO: DENNY SEIWELL RECALLS PAUL MCCARTNEY WRITING "LIVE AND LET DIE"
Paul Simon and Edie Brickell's 24-year-old daughter, singer songwriter Lulu Simon, has just released her self-titled debut EP. Lulu is the couple's second of three children, with her two brothers Adrian and Gabriel book-ending her. She has a half-brother, Harper Simon -- from her dad's first marriage -- who in 2008 teamed up with her mom for a joint project called the Heavy Circles.
In a new chat with People.com, Lulu tried to categorize her music, explaining, "They're definitely all on one side of the coin or the other of a romantic situation. Those are the situations that are the most stressful. So I'm like, 'Okay, how do I untangle this thread of emotions? I'm going to write about it.' Whereas if I'm just feeling good about whatever in life, I'm not thinking, 'Let me sit down and write a song about this.' I'm like, I wanna dance to other songs."
Lulu spoke about coming from a family where a song was never that far away: "We used to make up songs as we were walking through Central Park, or in the bath. We would always just write music. . It was inspiring in that it was like, 'Oh, I don't just have to listen to music -- if I want it, I could do it, too. Because I'm watching all these people around me do it."
She spoke about branching out and possibly taking her show on the road: "I haven't really played any shows in this new pop era, but I would be really excited to explore the physical and visual expression of the songs. For so long when I performed it's just been me and my guitar, so to be able to dress up and really go wild with it will just be so much fun. To have people enjoying themselves and dancing hopefully, I think that will just feel so rewarding."
Lulu's 46-year-old half-brother Harper Simon also has also persued a career in music under the long shadow of their father. Although Harper Simon sounds nothing like his dad, he admits that they're alike in many ways -- including how they tend to write to a pre-recorded rhythm track: "Well there's a lot of similarities 'cause I've probably learned a lot, somewhat, watching him write growing up. He writes in a very specific way now. I mean, it changed, I think, for him. We both start with a track. I mean, he'll start with a rhythm track -- I mean, he'll just start with drums. Anyway, he builds a track up and then he writes the song over the track. That's how he writes now most of the time. As opposed to just sitting down on a guitar and writing it all out in one shot on guitar -- he doesn't do that."
AUDIO: HARPER SIMON ON SONGWRITING SIMILARITIES WITH PAUL SIMON
Metallica has donated 250,000 euros (approximately $279,000) to a Romanian association that's building the country's first pediatric oncology hospital.
The band made the donation ahead of the its sold-out concert on Wednesday (August 14) in Bucharest.
Part of the donation was made through the band's non-profit foundation called All Within My Hands. It was established in 2017 as a means to invest in the people and places that have supported the band.
Another charitable note about the bandmembers of Metallica, they've donated at least $10,000 to local food banks in every city they've played.