Ringo had TWO number one hits before John had his first number one hit!

Some may find it hard to believe that Ringo Starr had two number one hits in the U.S. before John Lennon had his first chart-topper. John Lennon privately found it hard to believe as well.

Many assume that John’s 1971 smash international hit “Imagine” reached the top of The Billboard Hot 100, but it did not in the U.S. The song peaked at number three.

Ringo’s song “Photograph” topped the charts for the week of November 24, 1973. Debuting at # 74 on The Billboard Hot 100, it took seven weeks to make the climb to the top. His second number one, “You’re Sixteen”, also topped the charts for one week. It debuted at # 75 on December 15, 1973 and six weeks later on January 26, 1974 it topped the charts.

Both “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen” were singles released from the 1973 Ringo album. Another song from the Ringo’s best solo album, “Oh My My”, reached number five. “Photograph” was written by Ringo Starr and George Harrison, and marked the one and only time that two ex-Beatles collaborated to write a song that made the charts. It was written in 1971 while both were on vacation in the South of France.

John Lennon’s first number one song on the U.S. charts was “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night”, which featured his close friend Elton John on piano and backing vocals. The song was the lead single from his Walls and Bridges album. John was the first Beatle to release a solo single when he and Yoko released “Give Peace a Chance” in 1969, and was the last of the ex-Beatles to score a number one hit. “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” was the number one hit for the week of November 16, 1974. The song would be Lennon’s only number one hit during his lifetime, as “(Just Like) Starting Over” reached number one on the charts three weeks after his death on December 8, 1980. The song stayed atop the charts for five weeks.

George Harrison has the distinction of being both the first and the last ex-Beatle to top the charts in the U.S. Beginning on December 26, 1970, his song “My Sweet Lord” spent four consecutive weeks at number one, making it the first number one song by an ex-Beatle and only eight months after the announcement of the band’s break-up. Harrison’s scored a number one hit in 1988 with “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You”, a remake of a 1962 song written and performed by Rudy Clark. Reaching the top slot for one week on January 16, 1988, it was a real coup for Harrison to break in and top the charts which at that point in time were dominated by Michael Jackson, George Michael and Whitney Houston. To date, “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” ranks as the last number one single by an ex-Beatle.

When “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You” reached the top of the charts, it gave Harrison a unique place in the history of The Billboard Hot 100 as the artist or group with the longest span between numbers one hits (1964 – 1988) beginning with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in February 1964 which gave him a span of 23 years and eleven months. However, this distinction was short-lived as ten months later in November 1988, The Beach Boys reached the top with “Kokomo”, giving them a span of more than 24 years between “I Get Around” (July 1964) and “Kokomo”.

Four post-Beatles number one hits in the U.S. produced by George Martin

Famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin produced 30 number one hits in the UK as well as 23 in the U.S. His distinguished career in music, film, television and live performance would be too great a task to recount in a single blog post. While his records with the Beatles have certainly stood the test of time, in the U.S. it is ironic that the four number one songs he produced in post-Beatles years are not exactly songs that one would expect from George Martin.

A young Martin joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy in 1943 at age 17. He would become both a pilot and commissioned officer, though the war would end before he could see action. Leaving the Royal Navy in 1947, he used his veterans grant to continue his music studies at Guidhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to 1950, where he studied piano and oboe. Ironically, his oboe teacher at the school was Margaret Eliot, whose actress daughter Jane Asher would be Paul McCartney’s girlfriend for five years from 1963-1968; Eliot’s son, Peter Asher, would find fame as one half of Peter & Gordon and later serve as the head of the A&R department for Apple Records in addition to later becoming a highly successful producer in the 1970’s, producing artists such as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and J.D. Souther. Paul gave the unused “A World Without Love“, a song he wrote at age 16 that was later published under the Lennon/McCartney moniker, to Peter and Gordon for their first single. “A World Without Love” by Peter and Gordon topped the charts in the UK in February 1964 and three months later reached number one in the U.S. in June. “A World Without Love” and Elton John’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, a number one hit for two weeks in January 1975 on The Billboard Hot 100, rank as the only two Lennon/McCartney compositions to reach number one in the U.S. by artists other than The Beatles.

After working in the BBC’s classical music department, Martin was the assistant to the head of EMI’s Parlophone Records from 1950-1955 and became the head of the label in 1955. At first Martin signed classical acts and then the label drifted into successful comedy albums. In 1962 Martin thought he needed to bring a successful rock and roll act to the label, and the rest is history as he invited the Beatles to audition for Parlophone on June 6, 1962 and then signed them. In the contract he persuaded EMI to give the four boys two pennies for each record sold instead of the standard one penny per record royalty. When the Beatles found gigantic success, some people in EMI labeled Martin a “traitor” to EMI for giving them the costly two penny per record royalty, which was split four ways.

Needless to say, the Beatles had phenomenal success on the U.S. charts, scoring a whopping 20 chart-toppers on the Billboard Hot 100. The songs were “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Love Me Do”; “A Hard Day’s Night”, and “I Feel Fine” in 1964; “Eight Days a Week”, “Ticket to Ride”, “Help!” and “Yesterday” in 1965; “We Can Work It Out”, and “Paperback Writer” in 1966; “Penny Lane”, “All You Need Is Love” and “Hello Goodbye” in 1967; “Get Back”, “Hey Jude” in 1968; “Come Together/Something” in 1969; “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let It Be” in 1970.

Apart from the Beatles, it is surprising that the four number one songs on the U.S. charts that Martin produced might leave some scratching their heads. They are “Sister Golden Hair” by America (1975), “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (1982), “Say, Say, Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson (1983), and “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John.

Martin produced several albums for America, including Holiday (1974) and Hearts (1975). Hearts yielded the # 1 hit “Sister Golden Hair”, which spent one week on the top of the charts beginning June 14, 1975. Martin also produced America’s two top five songs “Tin Man” (1974) and “Lonely People” (1975). America guitarist Gerry Beckley wrote “Sister Golden Hair” as he was inspired by the works of Jackson Browne and wished to make a song in the Browne mold. The song definitely is about a man who is no longer with his girlfriend and contemplating a return to the relationship. At the time of its release, some religious groups in the U.S. claimed that the song promoted cohabitation, while widespread speculation of the true meaning of the lyrics persists to this day. The band’s second number one song (“A Horse with No Name” in 1972 was their first), it would be their last. Ironically lyrics from the band’s 1972 top ten hit “Ventura Highway” included the line “Sorry boy, I’ve been hit by purple rain” which inspired Prince to write his 1984 # 1 album, song and movie – all of which were entitled Purple Rain.

“Ebony and Ivory” paired McCartney with Stevie Wonder in a song about racial harmony. The song topped the charts in both the U.S. and the UK. From the Tug of War album, “Ebony and Ivory” topped the U.S. charts for seven weeks beginning on May 15, 1982. McCartney and Wonder recorded it together at Martin’s famous studio in Montserrat, while the video for the song was filmed individually with each artist as they were separated by an ocean and video technology was able to merge their two parts to successfully make it look like they had collaborated in person on the video.

“Ebony and Ivory” was McCartney’s most successful post-Beatles number one at seven weeks, and the second-longest of his overall career behind “Hey Jude”. The ex-Beatle definitely saved money on studio musicians as in addition to writing the song he himself provided lead vocals, bass guitar, synthesizers, percussion and backing vocals.

This song was banned in South Africa during the apartheid era. It was included on the song list of The Paul McCartney World Tour (1989 and 1990) with Hamish Stuart, the former frontman of the Average White Band, taking over Steve Wonder’s vocal part. McCartney never performed the song live again until 2010 at the White House in the East Room when both he and Stevie Wonder reunited to perform the song live as part of a concert honoring the ex-Beatle with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on June 2, 2010.

Three months later in September 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked “Ebony and Ivory” as # 9 on the list of 100 Worst Songs Ever. Six years earlier in 2004, Blender ranked the song as # 10 on their list of the worst songs of all time.

The next number one hit produced by George Martin also was a Paul McCartney duet with a famous African-American artist with multiple number one hits. “Say, Say, Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, from McCartney’s 1983 Pipes of Peace album, climbed to the top of the charts on December 10, 1983 and stayed there for six weeks. McCartney and Jackson co-wrote the song. For Michael Jackson, the hit was his seventh top ten hit in less than a calendar year, tying a mark that was jointly held by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. The pair had collaborated on the top ten hit “The Girl Is Mine” from Jackson’s epic Thriller album produced by Quincy Jones. Between the two artists, they had a combined whopping 37 number one singles in the U.S. before they recorded this song. Entering the Top 40 section of the Billboard Hot 100 at number 26 on October 15, 1983, it marked the highest new entry in the Top 40 since John Lennon’s “Imagine” debuted at number 26 on October 23, 1971. Oddly, the song was competing in the charts with Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”, the second-to-last single released from Thriller.

The elaborate video for “Say, Say, Say” featured Paul McCartney, his wife Linda, and Jackson as travelling hucksters who give their proceeds to an orphanage. Surprisingly, iconic actor Harry Dean Stanton and Oscar-winner Art Carney appear in the video. Music critic Nelson George wrote about the song that it would not have “deserved the airplay it received without Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson”. The internet is full of articles and blog posts listing “Say, Say, Say” as the least favorite McCartney song by far.

Maybe the last number one U.S. single produced by George Martin needs little introduction. “Candle in the Wind 1997” was the famous 1997 re-write of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin classic from the 1973 double album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a song which was not released as a single from the album which spawned the top ten hits “Benny and the Jets”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”. When Elton John decided to perform a new version of the song dedicated to the memory of Princess Diana at her funeral, he called Bernie Taupin and asked him to write new lyrics; Forty-five minutes later, Taupin faxed Elton John the new lyrics to what would become “Candle in the Wind 1997”. When Elton John then wanted the song to be recorded and released as a charity song the proceeds of which would go to the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to aid charities which were important to the late princess, he enlisted George Martin to produce it.

The song surpassed Band Aid’s 1984 “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, which was also a charity song, as the greatest selling single in UK history. “Candle in the Wind 1997” is the most successful single of all time in the history of the recording industry. It was a number one hit all throughout the world. In the UK it made the unprecedented debut at number one in the charts, staying in the top slot for six weeks. It was a chart-topper in the U.S., in addition to being ranked the top single of all-time in Australia. In Canada, the song stayed in the Top 20 for three years, with 46 non-consecutive weeks at number one. The 2009 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records cites the song as being “the biggest selling single since UK and U.S. singles charts began in the 1950’s, having accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies.”

While receiving widespread airplay and generating massive sales after Princess Diana’s death, the song has for the most part disappeared from the airwaves.

One great George Martin-produced song that was not a number one song was the 1973 hit “Live and Let Die” by Wings, the theme song to the James Bond movie of the same name. “Live and Let Die” made it to the number two position on the charts on August 5, 1973 and stayed there for three weeks, never making the jump to the coveted top slot. During those three weeks there was a different song in the number one position each week, “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern, “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross, and “Brother Louie” by The Stories.

The producers of Live and Let Die, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, wanted McCartney to write the theme song. Since the screenplay was not yet complete, they sent him a copy of Ian Fleming’s novel Live and Let Die, which he devoured. He wrote the song in an afternoon, and had it recorded in a week. Saltzman and Broccoli loved the song, but were opting for Shirley Bassey or Thelma Houston to sing it. McCartney made it clear he would not allow the song to be used in the movie if his band Wings were not allowed to record it. Saltzman, still smarting from passing up the opportunity to produce the movie Hard Day’s Night nine years earlier, did not want to burn himself again. They allowed McCartney to record it.

McCartney brought in George Martin to produce the single, marking the first time they had worked together since Abbey Road in 1969. Martin had already received accolades nine years earlier for producing the single “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey, the theme song to the 1964 James Bond film of the same name, which was a top ten hit in both the U.S. and UK. Saltzman and Broccoli were so impressed with Martin’s production and orchestration of “Live and Let Die” that they asked him to do the complete score of this James Bond film which was the first in the franchise to star Roger Moore. It was the first Bond theme to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, losing out to Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were”, not to mention the first ever Bond theme song that was a rock and roll arrangement.

The label of the single record of “Live and Let Die” listed “Wings” as the artist, while both the movie’s credits and soundtrack album attributed the song to “Paul McCartney & Wings”. It marked the last McCartney single with Apple Records that was credited solely as “Wings”.

In 1984, “Weird Al” Yankovic wanted to do a parody of “Live and Let Die” entitled “Chicken Pot Pie”, but McCartney refused as he and his wife Linda were committed vegetarians and did not want to promote the eating of animals in any way. Also, during his famous half-time show at the 2005 Super Bowl, McCartney performed “Live and Let Die” and it was the only non-Beatles song in the set. Wings’ “Live and Let Die” was prominently used in a scene in the 2013 movie American Hustle.

While it is true that the aforementioned number one four songs on the U.S. charts were not exactly ones that a person would expect from a George Martin-produced number one hit, he had no control over which songs he was told to produce for the artists who paid him to work his magic on their recordings. That these top artists and groups sought out his expertise is a statement in itself. The magic touch of George Martin did not end with the break-up of The Beatles.

Legendary drummer only person to play with all four ex-Beatles

Some musicians are known to have worked with the Beatles while the group was together. However, famed session drummer Hal Blaine is the only person to have worked with all four ex-Beatles in the studio.

The name Hal Blaine may not be known to many in the general public, but he is the most successful drummer in rock history as he has played on more number one hits, more ten hits and more Top 40 hits than any other drummer. He was the backbone of the famed “Wrecking Crew”, a unit of highly talented session musicians which was used by successful producers like Phil Spector and Lou Adler. Blaine has played on an astounding 40 number one hits.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Blaine (real name: Harold Belsky) grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and attended that city’s Weaver High School, which has other famous graduates from that era such as Norman Lear and Totie Fields. To try to summarize Blaine’s phenomenal career would be too daunting a task. Let’s suffice by saying that he played on number one hits by The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Johnny Rivers, Simon & Garfunkel, The 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, The Partridge Family, The Byrds, The Carpenters, Cher, Dean Martin, The Mamas and the Papas, John Denver, Nancy Sinatra and many others.

An amazing accomplishment is that Hal Blaine played on the song that would go on to win the Grammy for Record of the Year – six years in a row! He played on the 1966 Song of the Year “A Taste of Honey” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; the 1967 winner “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra; “Up, Up and Away” by The 5th Dimension in 1968; “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel in 1969; “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension in 1970; “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Simon & Garfunkel in 1971.

The famed session drummer worked for George Harrison when Harrison was producing the Jackie Lomax album Is This What You Want?; of course, Lomax was signed to the Apple label by Harrison and was being groomed to be the label’s first major star. Blaine played on several tracks on this unsuccessful album.

Blaine was personally recruited by John Lennon to play on his 1975 Rock ‘n’ Roll album, and the two developed a friendship outside of the studio as well.

The U.S. Army veteran jokes that he never physically played with Paul McCartney but they were both recruited to do overdubs on several of the same songs, so in a sense he did “play” with McCartney.

Blaine was friendly with Ringo, who recruited him to play on a few tracks on various solo albums.

For a drummer who played on a record 40 number one singles and a record 150 top ten hits, it is small wonder that he was chosen to work with the four former Fab Four fellows. Below are video clips of Blaine discussing his work with Lennon and Harrison.

Dustin Hoffman and Pablo Picasso inspired Paul to write a song for famed Wings album

There is a famous anecdote in Beatles lore about an encounter between actor Dustin Hoffman and Paul McCartney in Jamaica in 1972. It concerns the song “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)”, which appeared on the 1973 Wings album Band on the Run. The tale was best described in the 1988 book Yesterday: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney by Chet Flippo.

Paul and Linda were in Jamaica on vacation. They were staying at the same hotel as Dustin Hoffman, who was there filming the movie Papillon with Steve McQueen. The trio had dinner together one evening. Hoffman asked Paul, “How do you write songs?”

“They just come out of the air. I dunno,” Paul replied.

“Can you write them about anything?”

“Yeah.”

“Try this.” Hoffman handed Paul an issue of Time magazine and pointed to an obituary of Picasso and read from it Picasso’s last words, which were: “Drink to me. Drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.”

Paul said, “Well, you could probably write a song about that.”

After a moment he started singing it. Hoffman jumped up, shouting, “Look, he’s doing it! Goddamn it! Holy sh–!”

The song was on the classic Wings album a year later.

These are the lyrics……..

The grand old painter died last night
His paintings on the wall
Before he went, he bade us well
And said goodnight to us all

Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

3 o’clock in the morning
I’m getting ready for bed
It came without a warning
But I’ll be waiting for you, baby, I’ll be waiting for you there

So drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

Drink to me, ho, hey, ho

Elton John’s tribute to his close friend John Lennon

Elton John’s “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” is the most remembered tribute song to the late John Lennon. Elton John was devastated after the murder of his close friend. It took him a year and half to come out with this tribute song.

Off of the album JUMP UP!, “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)”, entered the Top 40 on April 17, 1982 and stayed on the charts for ten weeks. It reached # 10. Elton John performed this song on his first ever appearance on Saturday Night Live on April 17, 1982 that featured Johnny Cash as the host.

It was the most solid collaboration between Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin since they ended their exclusive writing partnership in 1977. The duo had written together infrequently since 1977.

The accomplished songwriting record of Elton John/Bernie Taupin needs no explanation. Apart from Elton John, Taupin wrote two number one hits: “We Built This City” by Starship (1985) and “These Dreams” by Heart (1986). Ironically, the most successful song of the John/Taupin partnership was “Candle in the Wind: 1997”, the tribute to Princess Diana which became the most successful pop song in world history, holding the record for topping the charts for the most weeks in both the UK and the U.S., and a multitude of other countries. When Elton John decided to revamp the original 1973 “Candle in the Wind” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as a tribute to play at Princess Diana’s funeral, he phoned Taupin to request new lyrics. Forty-five minutes later Taupin faxed his old songwriting partner the new lyrics.

Believe or not, George Martin produced the single “Candle in the Wind: 1997”, which ironically was far bigger than any number one hit he did for the Beatles. It is the most successful single in pop music history in terms of both sales and topping the charts in countless countries. The three other number one hits George Martin did in the post-Beatles years were not exactly stellar. They were “Sister Golden Hair” by America (1975), “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (1982), and the terrible “Say Say Say” by McCartney and Michael Jackson (1983). Too bad that Martin’s best hit after the Beatles break-up, “Live and Let Die” by Wings, stayed and number two for a couple of weeks in 1973 but could not make the jump to the top slot.

70’s band steals Beatles guitar riff but gives them credit in the song’s lyrics

Many pop songs over the years have borrowed snippets of guitar riffs from Beatles songs, but to my knowledge only one has given them credit in the song. “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You”, a song by Sugarloaf which reached # 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975, does just that.

Just prior to showcasing the guitar riff from “I Feel Fine”, the lyrics go, “And it sounds like John, Paul and George”.

This song contained a practical joke as well. There are two phone numbers that are touch-toned during the song. One of the numbers was an unlisted number at CBS Records, which had recently turned the band down for a record contract. The other number is a public number at The White House. The band hoped that some people would be able to pick out the two phone numbers from the touch-tone sounds and give them crank calls.

Sugarloaf was a Denver-based band which featured Jerry Corbetta on lead vocals. Their other top ten hit was “Green-Eyed Lady”, which reached # 3 in 1970.

Have a listen to “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You”……………………..

Allan Williams: The Man Who Gave Away The Beatles

One person who is an important (and colorful) figure in Beatles history is Allan Williams, the nightclub owner who was the band’s first manager/booking agent.

Williams owned a Liverpool nightclub known as the “The Jac”. Members of the Beatles were frequent patrons, and soon they were invited to perform at the club, which lead to a business relationship.

With new drummer Pete Best, in the summer of 1960 Williams took the band to Hamburg, where he booked them into a popular club that only offered English-language rock music. The following year, Williams had a falling out with the band over a 10% commission he was supposed to receive for their subsequent engagement in Hamburg.

In 1962, before signing a contract to represent the Beatles, Brian Epstein called Williams to inquire if there might be any dangling contracts or obligations left over. Williams gave Epstein the warning, “Don’t touch them with a f—– bargepole; they will let you down.”

In the years after the 1970 dissolution of the Beatles, Williams and the former members of the Beatles would speak fondly of each other. Paul McCartney is on record in many instances referring to Williams as a “great guy”. In 1977, Williams published his memoirs, The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away, which received both an endorsement and praise from John Lennon.

For many years Allan Williams has been a featured speaker at Beatles conventions all around the world. He is always a major VIP at Liverpool’s annual Beatles Week Festival.

It is not uncommon for Beatles fans touring Liverpool to spot him having a beer at one of the pubs which have ties to the Beatles scene in Liverpool. He is always most friendly.

Here is John Lennon in 1975 talking about the early days and a possible Beatles reunion:

This Byrd Has Flown?

Today I heard on the radio Don McLean’s 1972 number one smash “American Pie”. In the famous lyrics of the song, he makes reference to The Byrds:

“The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast”

There are many anecdotes about the relationship of The Beatles and The Byrds. I will touch upon two of them.

When George Harrison invited The Byrds to his Hyde Park home, he showed Roger McGuinn, the Byrds’ guitarist, the Rickenbacker guitar he had used in A Hard Days Night and the things it did for him. From that day on, McGuinn used a Rickenbacker.

On the Fab Four’s 1965 tour of the U.S., David Crosby introduced George Harrison to both the sitar and the music of sitar legend Ravi Shankar. The rest is history as Harrison became fascinated with both the sitar and Indian music. This introduction culminated in Harrison using the sitar in “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) on Rubber Soul, the first ever time a sitar ever appeared on a pop record.

The Beatles definitely did not like Robert Stigwood

Robert Stigwood is an Australian-born and British-based entertainment mogul who managed rock acts in Britain. The British entertainment establishment was shocked on January 13, 1967 when Brian Epstein merged his entertainment management company, NEMS Enterprises, with Robert Stigwood’s company. People are still uncertain as to why Epstein made this move. He obviously wanted to reduce his involvement in NEMS Enterprises, but this merger was considered a puzzling move.

Stigwood agreed to transfer all of his company’s assets into NEMS. As a result, he received major shareholding in NEMS, in addition to a handsome salary and many other perks as could only be expected.

The four Beatles were absolutely livid. They definitely had no fondness for Stigwood. In 2000, Paul told interviewer Greil Marcus:

“We said, ‘In fact, if you do, if you somehow manage to pull this off, we can promise you one thing. We will record “God Save the Queen” for every single record we make from now on and we’ll sing out of tune. That’s a promise. So if this guy buys us, that’s what he’s buying.”

Brian Epstein read the writing on the wall and stayed on solely as the manager of The Beatles and turned over all of his other acts to Stigwood. Obviously, after Epstein’s death later that year, The Beatles waved goodbye to Stigwood and NEMS, en route to forming their own company, Apple Corps. Though they were under a management contract to Stigwood after Epstein’s death, The Beatles could get out of it if they formed their own management company and managed themselves. Hence, some people credit Stigwood for in effect forming Apple Records.

Stigwood would go on to have absolutely phenomenal success in music, movies and television.

After seeing John Travolta in the 1976 movie Carrie and seeing that he could also sing because of his 1976 Top Ten hit “Let Her In”, Stigwood immediately signed the actor from the hit show “Welcome Back Kotter” to a three film deal. The first two films, Saturday Night Fever and Grease were both international smash successes produced by Stigwood that catapulted Travolta into superstardom. However, the third film, 1978’s Moment by Moment starred Travolta and Lily Tomlin; it was an absolute and laughable bomb and many feel that it did irreparable damage to Travolta’s career.

The biggest musical act that Stigwood managed was The Bee Gees; hence the Bee Gees dominated the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and Barry Gibb wrote the song “Grease” which was a number one smash hit for Frankie Valli in August 1978.

Stigwood decided to make Saturday Night Fever after reading an article in New York magazine by British rock journalist Nik Cohn entitled “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night.” Cohn had recently arrived in America and was fascinated by the new disco culture. He wrote a compelling article about an Italian-American kid who worked in a hardware store by day, but on the weekends had a whole new life as a star on the dance floor at discos. Cohn’s article touched upon how this person and his group of blue-collar friends from the same Brooklyn neighborhood were pioneers of disco, a new dance craze and subculture that would soon sweep the nation.

Robert Stigwood was enthralled by the article and paid Cohn the hefty sum of $90,000 for the film rights to the article. Stigwood hired veteran screenwriter Norman Wexler to write the screenplay. Cohn talked about this 1975 magazine article in 1997 for the making of the twentieth anniversary DVD of Saturday Night Fever. About a year later, Cohn went public and said that he totally fabricated everything in the article and that the likable Italian-American young adult disco star and his friends never even existed. Don’t you think Cohn was laughing all the way to the bank when he cashed that $90,000 check?

David Cassidy hanging out with Beatles? Really?

What is David Cassidy’s connection to the Beatles you might ask? This post will touch upon the teen idol’s friendship with some ex-Beatles.

As is well known, Cassidy had a number one hit in 1970 with the song “I Think I Love You”, which was credited to The Partridge Family. The song charted simultaneous to the beginning of the television series The Partridge Family on ABC. Cassidy sang lead, while stepmother Shirley Jones, also a cast member of the show, provided backing vocals. His role on the show catapulted him to international stardom and at one time he was the highest-grossing rock performer in the world before his bubble burst. Between The Partridge Family and his solo career from 1970 to 1973, he had five top ten hits and an additional eight Top 40 hits in the U.S. Many of his solo songs were chart-toppers throughout the world.

In interviews over the years, Cassidy has referred to John Lennon as a friend. Lennon had been introduced to Cassidy at the height of his days on The Partridge Family by mutual friend Elliot Mintz. According to Albert Goldman’s controversial 1988 biography The Lives of John Lennon, once after a lunch with Cassidy, John erupted at his girlfriend May Pang and accused her of flirting with Cassidy. May Pang was John’s companion during his separation from wife Yoko Ono. Goldman wrote on page 470, “As May denied this ridiculous accusation, John started circling her like a menacing animal. While he paced, he wrapped out the carefully compiled evidence of her betrayal: (1) She had met Cassidy outside the house when he arrived; (2) she had ordered the same dish as Cassidy at the restaurant; (3) she had stood at the window with Cassidy, talking to him intimately. “I always knew you would cheat on me, and now I have the proof!” screamed John as he worked himself up for the kill. “Don’t you know who I am?” he demanded. “I’m John Lennon!”

The passage goes on to describe that Lennon started throwing things and destroying everything in sight in the house. But, many feel Goldman’s book in general lacks credibility in some areas.

On the other hand, David Cassidy prevented the famous “Wings Across America” tour from getting started on time. In 1976, while Wings was rehearsing for the tour in Texas, Wings’ lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch was wrestling with Cassidy backstage and broke his wrist. This caused the tour to be delayed for several weeks.

Also, in Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney by Geoffrey Giuliano, Wings guitarist Denny Laine was quoted as saying about a previous Wings tour:

“We were in Paris. Wings had just done a great show so we were all in pretty high spirits. Afterwards we shuffled down to this press conference where we met up with our old pal David Cassidy. I remember Paul was struggling to answer all these typically mundane questions from the media while David did his best to crack us up, making faces and stuff just behind the camera.”