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Frank Frazetta wasn’t all Sword & Sorcery, he painted some classic movie posters too

“What’s New Pussycat?” 1965.
It was a painting of Ringo Starr that changed Frank Frazetta‘s life. Frazetta was a comic strip artist contributing to EC Comics, National Comics (later known as DC Comics) and Avon Comics. He was drawing Buck Rogers, Li’l Abner, Johnny Comet and helping out on Flash Gordon. Occasionally he would supply his talents to MAD magazine. That’s how he produced a painting of Ringo Starr for a spoof shampoo ad for the magazine. The picture caught the attention of PR guys at United Artists who commissioned Frazetta to produce the poster artwork for their Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, Woody Allen film What’s New Pussycat? For one day’s work, Frazetta earned his annual salary. It changed his life. The success of What’s New Pussycat? led to further poster commissions for a whole slate of movies: After the Fox, The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and The Gauntlet.

The movie work led to book cover work. He painted some of the most iconic covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter novels. And most famously redefined Conan the Barbarian as a bulging muscled, rugged behemoth. Frank Frazetta created a whole world of these Sword and Sorcery paintings which defined the genre and became synonymous with his name.

However, I do prefer Frazetta’s movie poster artwork which beautifully captures the whole joyful spirit of the swinging sixties, before progressing towards his more recognizable style in the seventies and eighties.
Frank Frazetta’s painting of Ringo Starr for MAD magazine 1964.
“What’s New Pussycat?” 1965.
More fabulous Frank Frazetta movie posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Blindman’: Ringo Starr’s white slavery spaghetti western
10:30 am


Ringo Starr

I’ve spent some serious quality time steeped in Beatle lore, so it’s not often that something of which I’ve never heard crosses my radar, and yet, here’s Blindman. It’s a 1971 Ferdinando Baldi spaghetti western that featured Starr second-billed after the redundantly-named genre mainstay Tony Anthony, and it’s really quite good.

Anthony is the titular Blindman, a man-with-no-name figure (everyone just calls him “blind man”) who’s tasked with escorting 50 mail-order brides to a group of miners in Texas. He’s double-crossed when an associate sells the women to a Mexican criminal named Domingo (Lloyd Battista). Starr plays Domingo’s semi-sympathetic brother Candy (absolutely nothing to do with the 1968 film Candy in which Starr also had a role—as a Mexican gardener), who shows very little interest in the family’s slave/brothel business, and who’s undone by his forlorn love for a rancher’s daughter.

Despite his eponymous handicap, the Zatoichi-like Blindman fights and shoots with eyerollingly improbable Book of Eli-ish canniness, but when the plot demands a clumsy blind guy who knocks things off of tables and breaks stuff, he obliges. His penchant for dynamite abuse is amusing, as is his (I’m not even fucking kidding) seeing-eye horse. But though his part is smaller, Starr is quite fine here. This isn’t just celebrity stunt casting, he actually gives the rather limited role of “lovesick bandito” some heft. There’s been much said lately—and justifiably—about the casting of white actors in non-white roles, but since the film is 45 years old, I’ll leave that be, as he plays the part so well. (And now I’ll be earwormed with Ringo’s version of “Act Naturally” for a few hours.)

Besides, casting isn’t even Blindman’s most notable values dissonance between its time and the present. The movie—as is to be expected from a western about mail-order brides and sex traffickers—is rapey as all hell, and all of its Mexican characters are villainous or cartoonishly lecherous. Even Candy, who we’re supposed to kind of like, is forcing himself on the rancher’s daughter Pilar, who’s mighty upfront about her disinclination to having him around, which is the only personality trait with which that character was written, making her the second most rounded female character in the film after Domingo and Candy’s one-dimensionally corrupt sister. Try drinking a shot every time Blindman says “I want my fifty women” and YOU’LL end up blind. But this being a western, just desserts are meted out quite unequivocally to the abusers. Mostly.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Marc Bolan, Ringo Starr and Elton John jam in ‘Born to Boogie’
01:54 pm


Marc Bolan
Ringo Starr
Elton John

Although I have always appreciated his music (“Ride a White Swan” was one of the very first 45s I ever bought), I have never been what you would call a major Marc Bolan/T.Rex fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I am indeed a fan, but I’ve always put Marc Bolan in the same category as I do Chuck Berry, Little Richard or Eddie Cochran. Translation: a decent “greatest hits” is probably all I really need to own (Bolan also stole shamelessly from each of these artists, of course).

In actual fact, I do own quite a few T.Rex albums. Probably my favorite song by Marc Bolan is the comparatively little known “Jasper C. Debussy.” It’s not like I’m ignorant of his work, it’s just that a lot of it sounds pretty formulaic and “samey” to me. Bolan had “a thing” that he did quite well, but he just kept doing it and that’s the problem I have with his music.

Having offered the above disclaimer, I don’t think that I ever truly “got” Marc Bolan until I picked up a used Japanese import copy of the “deluxe” Born To Boogie DVD box set from a few years back in the bargain bin for a mere $7 bucks. A friend of mine had the film on VHS in the 80s and I saw it 25 years ago and quite enjoyed it, but the DVD version, with a monstrously powerful 5.1 surround mix done by the great producer Tony Visconti, totally blew me away. It must be the apex of Bolan’s artistry. Nothing short of stunning.

You know there’s always one guy on every block who has one of those huge fuck-off audio systems that the neighbors for a quarter mile radius can hear? I’m that guy. After watching Born To Boogie with the sound cranked up so loud it would have drowned out a airplane landing on my rooftop, I finally “got” Marc Bolan, and can see clearly why the flame of eternal fan love for him will never die. 

And now at long last, the Demon Music Group will be releasing Born to Boogie on Blu-ray, for the first time in HD on June 13th. There are tons of extras and both the earlier, late afternoon concert and the full evening show that was used in the film are included. 10/10 for content, audio/visual quality and overall “wow factor.” If you are wondering if you need to replace your old DVD, you probably do. There is no regional code on the disc, despite what it says on Amazon.

Born To Boogie was directed by Ringo Starr and produced by Apple Films. The concert segments were filmed at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1972 at the absolute height of T.Rextasy. Bolan’s guitar is just FAT sounding here and the 5.1 mix is outstanding. Listening to it cranked up is like having, well… a Tyrannosaurus Rex stomp all over your head… in a good way!

There’s also a stellar jam session sequence with Elton John and Ringo that was captured at the Apple Studios on Savile Row and some “surreal hijinks”—like the Mad Hatter’s tea party bit which was filmed on John Lennon’s estate—that bring to mind Magical Mystery Tour. Still, it’s the concert segments that dazzle the most with Bolan’s 500 megawatt charisma in full effect.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
What do you get the collector who has everything? How about Ringo Starr’s ‘White Album’ No.0000001?
08:11 am


Ringo Starr
White Album

Ringo Starr has been doing some mighty heavy house cleaning lately, and a HUGE collection of personal effects, decorative objects, and of course Beatles memorabilia belonging to him and his wife Barbara Bach is being auctioned on the first weekend in December. The auction takes up 55 pages of Juliens’ web site, and while it features a lot of kinda humdrum rich-people housewares and jewelry, and a stash of religious tchotchkes ranging from Eastern to Catholic, there’s also a rather nice art collection represented here, and some rather marvelously goofy Beatles stuff, certainly fit for the most marvelously goofy Beatle: a “Sgt. Pepper” upholstered leather chair, an extremely cool “Yellow SubmarineRock-Ola jukebox, a script from the movie “Help!,” a certain highly recognizable drum kit, and the single most charming lot in the entire collection (yeah, I went through it all, I’m a professional dork), the “Ringo Starr Press Archive Compiled By His Mother!”

Thanks, Ringo’s Mom.

There’s also this. Click to spawn a readable enlargement in a new browser tab.

But the most jaw-dropping item here is something I’d dare say could be THE ultimate trophy for a record collector: the very first numbered copy of The Beatles. That album is widely known as “The White Album” because of its minimalist packaging—a plain white sleeve, each stamped with a unique number. It’s long been accepted lore that copies 1-4 were in the possession of the Beatles themselves, but it’s been assumed just as long, and obviously incorrectly, that rather than being Ringo’s copy, No. 0000001 was claimed by John Lennon. This misapprehension was shared even by Sir Paul McCartney himself, who “confirmed” the rumor in Barry Miles’ 1998 bio Many Years From Now:

[LP cover designer] Richard [Hamilton] had the idea for the numbers. He said, ‘Can we do it?’ So I had to go and try and sell this to EMI. They said, ‘Can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Look, records must go through something to put the shrink wrap on or to staple them. Couldn’t you just have a little thing at the end of that process that hits the paper and prints a number on it? Then everyone would have a numbered copy.’

I think EMI only did this on a few thousand, then just immediately gave up. They have very very strict instructions that every single album that came out, even to this day, should still be numbered. That’s the whole idea: ‘I’ve got number 1,000,000!’ What a great number to have! We got the first four. I don’t know where mine is, of course. Everything got lost. It’s all coming up in Sotheby’s I imagine. John got 00001 because he shouted loudest. He said, ‘Baggsy number one!’ He knew the game, you’ve gotta baggsy it.



Now, you might be thinking, ‘HEY, wasn’t White Album #1 just sold a couple of years ago?” You are a VERY astute student of popcult ephemera—or a regular Dangerous Minds reader (which is the same damn thing, of course, he said with a wink). DM’s own Paul Gallagher reported on the sale of White Album A0000001 in July of 2013. So here’s the deal: every plant that pressed the record had its own numbering system, and there could be as many as 12 different #1s. The “A” on the serial number indicates that that one was one of several U.S. pressings. This is complicated and highly messy shit, and the online White Album Registry is an excellent resource for sorting it all out. (In case such information interests you, my White Album is A1557636, which, combined with the fact that the poster is long lost, means it’s utterly worthless to collectors. Still sounds great, though!)

Obviously, the fact that this has been in Ringo Starr’s possession (well, in his bank vault, anyway) since day 1 gives it an unassailable provenance—this is clearly THE White Album #1 from the first UK pressing. Starting bid is $20,000, and the final sale estimate is set at $60,000. Good luck. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Ringo and Barbara’s own Lotus Foundation, a charity that, according to its about page, is devoted to “advancing social welfare in diverse areas.” It’s worth mentioning that Starr is also raising money for the Lotus Foundation with proceeds from the new book Photograph, a collection of his personal photos annotated with his reminiscences.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
That time when Ringo Starr evicted Jimi Hendrix for being such a shitty tenant, 1967

Ah, 34 Montagu Square, the infamous ground floor and basement apartment once leased by Beatle Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Many celebrities sub-leased the apartment from Starr then, but perhaps the worst of the worst celebrity tenant award goes to a Mr. Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix—along with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham—sub-leased the apartment back in December of 1966. They both lived on the lower-ground floor and paid £30 a month in rent. That’s a pretty rad bargain if you ask me even for back then. I’d consider it living situation that you’d probably not want to fuck up. But… Jimi Hendrix apparently did. One night while on an acid trip, Hendrix decided it would be a good idea to whitewash the entire place. He threw whitewash all over the walls because LSD. That, er, “mistake” led Ringo Starr to issue Hendrix an eviction. Bye-bye, Jimi!

Hendrix and Etchingham only lasted three months in the digs. Hendrix, did however, compose the song “The Wind Cries Mary”  while he lived there. The song was inspired after a fight he had with Etchingham over her lack of cooking skills.

The photographs you see here, by photojournalist Petra Niemeier, are of Hendrix while he lived at 34 Montagu Square. Judging by these photos, I’m surprised Hendrix didn’t burn down the damned place while smoking in bed. Methinks the Beatle probably made the right call.





via Mashable and Wikipedia

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Son of Dracula’: Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr’s cult comedy horror rock opera
03:17 pm


Ringo Starr
Harry Nilsson

I had the soundtrack album to Son of Dracula when I was a kid—you could buy it for 99 cents in virtually any cut out bin in America in the 70s. It featured impressive album cover art that opened out from under Harry Nilsson’s cape (see below). It stayed in my record collection, mostly unlistened to, but still pretty cool, for many years. It’s not like Son of Dracula ever achieved “legendary lost film” status in my eyes—I was never that curious about it and it had the reputation that it stank—but when I saw a VHS bootleg for sale one day at the Pasadena Flea Market (there was a huge section of the market devoted solely to rock memorabilia and bootlegs of every stripe back in 90s) I scooped it up.

Hmmmm… It’s not like I can stand here before you and tell you that it’s great—because it’s definitely not great—but do take Ringo Starr’s comments on Son of Dracula as the gospel truth: 

“It is not the best film ever made, but I’ve seen worse.”

He ought to know, he produced this turkey. Ringo’s also being a bit cagey with that statement because he’s mum on exactly how many worse films he’s seen? One other? Dozens? I’d venture that it’s probably a number Ringo can count on just one hand…. (All you really need to know about how bad Son of Dracula truly is, is that after the film was shot in 1972, Ringo hired Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, Douglas Adams and Bernard McKenna to rewrite the dialogue which they would then dub over what they’d already shot! Although this notion was abandoned—apparently it was recorded—in retrospect it doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea… Surely it couldn’t have been any worse or more shambolic than it already was!)

Son of Dracula stars Nilsson as “Count Downe” a vampire rock musician who is about to be crowned Overlord of the Netherworld when he falls in love with a mortal and has a change of heart. Ringo plays—who else—Merlin the Magician. Son of Dracula contains celebrity cameos from Nilsson’s hard-partying rocker mates Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and Keith Moon and his backing band included Peter Frampton, Klaus Voorman and Leon Russell.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘A man with a banana in his ear does not want you to notice his feet’: Ringo Starr on Laugh-In, 1970
02:54 pm

Pop Culture

Ringo Starr

In early 1970, Ringo Starr (billed as “Peter Sellers” appearing in the role of Ringo Starr) made a memorable guest appearance on NBC’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In to promote his then-new comedy, The Magic Christian.

Although he is never onscreen for more than 30 consecutive seconds, in the quick-cut style of the show, Ringo still got plenty of airtime (and plenty of opportunity to promote The Magic Christian, as you’ll see). Ringo interacts with Artie Johnson, sexy Teresa Graves, (flamboyant for the times) Alan Sues, Ruth Buzzi and Carol Channing (who, oddly, hasn’t aged a bit since this was shot).


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ken Russell’s visually dynamic ‘Lisztomania’ from 1975

Franz Liszt once said:

‘Truly great men are those who combine contrary qualities within themselves.’

He could have been talking about the late, great Ken Russell, who mixed contrary qualities in his films, perhaps most brilliantly in his bio-pic on the composer, Lisztomania.

Russell had this incredible ability of presenting the truth of an artist and their work, while abandoning any pretense towards biographical realism. In 1975, he captured this perfectly with Lisztomania, presenting Liszt as the equivalent of a pop idol, with his screaming fans and over-indulged libido, in an intelligent, multi-layered imagining of the composer’s life, while using reference points from Charlie Chaplin to rock and roll, comic books to literature, philosophy to the horrors of Nazism.

At the time of its release, Russell described his process of making the film:

‘My film isn’t biography, it comes from things I feel when I listen to the music of Wagner and Liszt, and when I think about their lives.’

Lisztomania is a Pop Art movie with a Punk Rock sensibility - released the same year as Russell’s version of The Who’s rock opera, Tommy, and The Rocky Horror Show, on the cusp of the Sex Pistols formation.

I recall how the Observer Magazine ran a color spread on Lisztomania, in eager anticipation that then 48-year-old l’enfant terrible, Mr. Russell, had re-invented cinema with his marriage of pop stars and classical music - Roger Daltery as Liszt,  Ringo Starr as the Pope, Paul Nicholas as Wagner - all surrounded by icons of Elvis and Pete Townshend. Of course, when the film was released, the critics recoiled in horror, and ran screaming for their mothers, or shared smelling salts in the back row of the cinema, to keep them from fainting.

Lisztomania is like no other movie, it is an art work that demands repeated viewing to pick through the cinematic and cultural references, and to appreciate the workings of the creative mind behind the camera. Ross Care in Film Quarterly said of the film:

‘Ken Russell is an intuitive symbolist and fantasist, a total film-maker who orchestrates his subjects in much the same manner that a composer might transcribe a musical composition from one interpretative medium to another (as, for example, Liszt himself did with certain works by Wagner and Berlioz and other composers of the period).”

Starring Roger Daltery as Liszt, Sara Kestelman as Princess Carolyn, Paul Nicholas as Wagner, and Ringo Starr as the Pope. Look out for (LIttle) Nell Campbell, Rick Wakeman, Georgina Hale, Murray Melvin and an uncredited, Oliver Reed.

Read Ross Care’s article on Lisztomania here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Original photo-spread for Ken Russell’s ‘Lisztomania’, from 1975


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Candy: A Cult Film So Bad That It’s Just Bad



Candy should, I repeat should be off the scale incredible. But it’s not.

Candy was a film that was always talked about, but no one ever saw it. The poster of Candy topless in the airplane cockpit would always be for sale in the back pages of magazines like “Famous Monsters of Filmland” next to ones of King Kong and Frankenstein and it became a familiar image of the era. But the movie you never saw. Not on any late night movie show, never on a Sunday morning “Million Dollar Movie” or anything like that, Candy was seemingly banned from TV for being too racy and for whatever reason was never released on VHS either. Nor was it ever on HBO or Showtime. It was the great lost movie in my eyes.

I became mildly obsessed with this film I could never see and went about collecting movie posters, lobby cards, publicity photos and I own several different versions of the novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg with different groovy covers. The mythical Candy became a cult movie Holy Grail for me. I really built it up in my mind. For years I tried to get hold of a copy in the tape trading underground, but the best I was ever able to find was still unwatchable. Then finally it came out on DVD. It was like Christmas had arrived.

But it sucked! Really sucked. It was such a let down!

I mean just LOOK at the cast: Ringo Starr (Emmanuel, the Mexican gardener), Charles Aznavour (the horny hunchback), Marlon Brando (Grindl, the horny (fake) Indian guru), Richard Burton (MacPhisto, the drunk, horny Welsh poet), James Coburn (egotistical surgeon), John Huston (dirty old man doctor) and Walter Matthau (horny military general). Sugar Ray Robinson and Anita Pallenberg make cameo appearances. How could you go wrong with a cast like that?

Let’s not forget the amazing opening space travel sequence by Douglas Trumbull who went on to make 2001 with Stanley Kubrick. And the soundtrack by The Byrds, Steppenwolf and soundtrack great Dave Grusin (it’s INCREDIBLE and easy to find on audio blogs). The script was adapted by Buck Henry. HOW could this fail?

It even featured the decade defining pulchritude of Miss Teen Sweden, Ewa Aulin, in the title role of “Candy Christian,” the ultimate All-American girl.

But despite all this Candy is a terrible film and even worse, it’s boring.

One of the things that must have mucked up things badly for the production is—and I am just theorizing here—the contracts for the lead actors. These were THE leading actors of the day, all of them top drawer A-list 60s talent. After watching Candy the thought occurred to me that Marlon Brando’s agent probably asked how much screen time Richard Burton was getting and demanded the same for his client. Then James Coburn’s manager asked the same question and demanded equal time for his client and so on and so until each actor was guaranteed “Most Favored Nations” equal screen time. How else to explain the film’s structure? It’s maddening to watch and Candy feels like it’s never going to end.

STILL, I’m not saying it’s so bad you shouldn’t watch it. Actually I think that if this sounds even remotely intriguing to you then it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s not good, no, we’ve already established that fact, but it is a super insane, trippy, campy relic of the 1960s with some of the most iconic actors of the decade behaving like total hambones, each trying to outdo the other in chewing up the scenery.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Excellent Sparks live footage from 1974

Man I love Sparks! They are simultaneously the geekiest AND coolest band in the history of rock. We need to be showing more love to the brothers Mael and their highly literate, fun, sexy and intelligent music here on DM - they are California boys after all. This bizarrely brilliant short concert film is the perfect excuse to post about them.

Sparks always move with the times, and frequently they were well ahead of it. In 1974 they took baroque opera-pop to the top of the UK charts, a whole year before Queen did the same thing to more acclaim. In 74/75 they pretty much invented New Wave (the proof lies in this film)  and 4-5 years later when it had caught on Sparks had already moved on to inventing that staple of 80s pop, the synth-duo (through their incredible work with Giorgio Moroder). That’s not even taking into account the theory that 1976’s Big Beat album paved the way for power-pop. By the early 80s the brothers had settled down and repositioned themselves as perhaps THE quintessential New Wave band, hooking up with uber-fan Jane Weidlin of the Go-Gos along the way, and delivering the MTV staple “Cool Places”. Sparks were on the ball with their music videos too, recognising that the moving image was going to be key to music in the coming decades, and hiring a certain director called David Lynch to helm the promo for their classic 1983 stomper “I Predict”.

And that brings us back to this concert film. It is of course a brilliant look at the Sparks live set-up of the mid-Seventies post-glam era, but it also gives us some unintentionally funny moments too. It must have been a bit of a nightmare for the record company to position this brainy, sarky, odd-looking band as being another teeny-bop pop product, but boy did they try. See the over-enthusiastic reaction from the crowd to every single move the band make! Hear the roars that sound like they were from a different concert! Feel the prodding from assistant directors for bored audience members to get up and dance! Still, none of this hides the true, what-the-hell weirdness that shines out of Sparks, and particularly Ron Mael. Just check the moment at 1:40 when Ron gives a wry smile to an audience member and we see her shocked reaction.

This film is pretty short and only features four songs (“Something For The Girl With Everything”. Talent Is An Asset”, “B.C.” and “Amateur Hour”) and pop spotters will also be interested to see that Sparks are given an introduction by none other than Keith Moon and Ringo Starr:
Sparks Live 1974 Part 1

Part 2 after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Jimmie Nicol: The Beatle Who Never Was

John, Paul, George and…Jimmie? It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? But for ten days in 1964, Jimmie Nicol was one of The Fab Four, drafted in to replace Ringo Starr on The Beatles first world tour.

Starr had collapsed with tonsillitis, and rather than cancel the tour, producer George Martin decided to call in a temporary replacement - Jimmie Nicol, an experienced session musician, who had played with Georgie Fame and jazz musician, Johnny Dankworth, amongst others. Lennon and McCartney were fine with the idea, but Harrison was a bit shirty, and at one point threatened to walk off, telling Martin and Brian Epstein: “If Ringo’s not going, then neither am I - you can find two replacements.” It was soon resolved and within 24-hours of the initial ‘phonecall, Nicol was playing drums with the Fab Three in Copenhagen. He later recalled:

“That night I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was a fucking Beatle!”

The next leg of the tour was Australia and Hong Kong, and Nicol soon found himself at the heart of Beatlemania. Fans screamed his name, his photograph was sent around the globe, and he was interviewed as one of the band by the world’s press. Nicol later reflected:

“The day before I was a Beatle, girls weren’t interested in me at all. The day after, with the suit and the Beatle cut, riding in the back of the limo with John and Paul, they were dying to get a touch of me. It was very strange and quite scary.”

He also gave an inkling into The Beatles’ life on the road was like:

“I thought I could drink and lay women with the best of them until I caught up with these guys.”

Ten days into the tour, Ringo had recovered and quickly reclaimed his place. Nicol was paid off by Epstein at Melbourne airport, given a cheque for $1,000 and a gold Eterna-matic wrist watch inscribed: “From The Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmy - with appreciation and gratitude.” It was like a retirement present. Within a year Nicol was bankrupt, owing debts of over $70,000, and all but forgotten. So much for his 15 minutes of fame.

“Standing in for Ringo was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Until then I was quite happy earning thirty or forty pounds a week. After the headlines died, I began dying too.”

Nicol went on to play with Swedish guitar band, The Spotnicks, but by the late sixties he quit pop music and relocated to Mexico. It was later claimed he had died, but as the Daily Mail explained in 2005, this was false:

At 66, his square-jawed looks have given way to grey jowls, the smile oblieterated by missing teeth. Anything that might remain of his Beatle haircut is tied back in a scruffy ponytail. But he still has his principles. Despite the lucrative rewards of today’s Beatlemania industry, he staunchly refuses to cash in….

It has even been reported that he died in 1988. This week, however, after a difficult search, I confirmed reports of his death are greatly exaggerated. One morning he could be foind visiting a building society, eating breakfast in a modest cafe, then returning silently to his London home. At this flat you could see sheet music through one window but no sign of any drums. He didn’t answer the door when I rang. If he got my messages about the new book, he didn’t reply.

When I eventually made contact, the conversation was predictably brief: “I’m not interested in all that now,” he said. “I don’t want to know, man.”

Here is footage of The Beatles’ tour of Australia and Jimmie Nicol’s time as the fifth Beatle - the Beatle who never was..

Rare clips of The Beatles on tour, plus Jimmie Nicol interview, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Back Off Boogaloo: Ringo Starr blows off Vatican embrace of Beatles

Ringo Starr is saying “who cares” to the Vatican’s late embrace of The Beatles. Starr rolled his eyes at the Catholic Church, which praised the group and expressed forgiveness to John Lennon for his comments that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”

“Didn’t the Vatican say we were satanic?” Starr said during an interview with CNN. “And they still forgive us?”

“I think [the Vatican] has more to talk about than The Beatles,” he added, alluding to the child sex abuse scandal that continues to plague the church.

The Vatican offered its latest peace offering to The Beatles in its recent issue of L’Osservatore Romano, its official newspaper, on Monday.

“It’s true they took drugs, lived life to excess because of their success, even said they were bigger than Jesus and put out mysterious messages that were possibly even satanic,” the newspaper said.

But, “what would pop music have been like without The Beatles?” it reasoned, describing the band’s music as “beautiful.”

The Vatican doesn’t appear to be extending the same kind of olive branch to other popular bands, such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Black Sabbath and The Eagles.

In 1996, those groups were among several - including The Beatles - that Pope Benedict XVI warned youth against listening to when he was still a cardinal, claiming their music contained “subliminal” satanic influences.

Lennon’s full quote was “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” We suspect the late Beatle would feel the same about the Vatican’s volte-face as Starr does.

Ringo Starr tells Vatican to ‘Get Back’; dismisses effort to ‘forgive’ The Beatles (NY Daily News)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frank Sinatra’s One of a Kind Record for Ringo Starr’s First Wife

Dangerous Minds pal Michael Simmons writes: “This is one of the rarest records in the world, though with the advent of the internet, rare ain’t what it used to be.  For Maureen Starkey’s 22nd birthday, someone at Apple arranged to have Frank Sinatra record a private version of “The Lady Is A Tramp” for Mrs. Ringo Starr with new lyrics by Sammy Cahn called “Maureen Is A Champ.”  Allegedly only one copy existed—the one Ringo gave to Maureen.”

Download the MP3 here

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment