Early Beatles gig featuring 18 “very bored” people

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It was 1961, and a friend booked the gig in the Palais Ballroom, Aldershot, Hampshire. The Beatles and their friend, Sam Leach, hoped to attract the attention of London record executives, but Leach didn’t realize Aldershot was a military town 37 miles outside London.

Also, the ad that Leach paid to have in local papers never showed up because Leach paid with a check instead of cash and didn’t provide contact information.

Dec. 9, 1961, the Beatles in Aldershot [Alex Q. Arbuckle – Retronaut]

RIP Clare MacIntyre-Ross, who inspired the Harry Chapin song “Taxi”

She came from swank Scarsdale, N.Y. He was a guitar strummer from Brooklyn.

They met as summer camp counselors in the early 1960s, and the result was a weepy love song, “Taxi,” a hit for Harry Chapin in 1972.

MacIntyre-Ross spent her final years in Falls Church, Va., and died March 9 from complications of a stroke at age 73. Her father, Malcolm MacIntyre, was a lawyer who headed Eastern Airlines from 1959-63, and she had an on-again off-again romance with Chapin in the early 1960s.

Their split inspired the song, described by the musician as about 60% accurate, according to his biographer, Peter M. Coan.

In the song, a cabdriver discovers his old flame, now wealthy, in the back of his taxi. She hands him $20 for a $2.50 fare and says, “Harry, keep the change.”

In the song, it’s implied that the woman is a hothouse flower, living in idle dissipation in the mansion of a husband she doesn’t love, pining for her lost romance and dead dreams.

In reality:

Ms. MacIntyre lived in Argentina with her first husband before moving to New York and working as an institutional securities sales executive at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1970s, when few women held such jobs. Her Spanish-language abilities helped her find Latin-American clients.

[Clare MacIntyre-Ross, Woman Who Inspired Song ‘Taxi:’ 1943-2016 / James R. Hagerty / The Wall Street Journal]

Leonard Cohen on creative work and meaningful songs

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Cohen approaches his work with extraordinary doggedness reflecting the notion that work ethic supersedes what we call “inspiration” — something articulated by such acclaimed and diverse creators as the celebrated composer Tchaikovsky (“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”), novelist Isabel Allende (“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”), painter Chuck Close (Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.”), beloved author E.B. White (“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”), Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope (“My belief of book writing is much the same as my belief as to shoemaking. The man who will work the hardest at it, and will work with the most honest purpose, will work the best.”), and designer Massimo Vignelli (“There is no design without discipline.”).

Also:

There are always meaningful songs for somebody. People are doing their courting, people are finding their wives, people are making babies, people are washing their dishes, people are getting through the day, with songs that we may find insignificant. But their significance is affirmed by others. There’s always someone affirming the significance of a song by taking a woman into his arms or by getting through the night. That’s what dignifies the song. Songs don’t dignify human activity. Human activity dignifies the song.

I hate the phrase “guilty pleasure,” or assigning certain works of art or food as “highbrow” or “lowbrow.” Love what you love. You want to listen to ABBA in the morning and Tchaikovsky in the evening? They’re both good choices.

Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting

Pete Best, who was kicked out of the Beatles in 1962, hasn’t spoken to any of his former bandmates since

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The reasons behind Best’s notorious 1962 dismissal as The Beatles’ drummer—two years before their historic Ed Sullivan Show performance—has never been fully explained. It has been said that Best lacked the solid beats needed to support a rock band, while others claim John and Paul were jealous of Pete’s good looks. Still others say Best was too quiet and a bit moody.

The firing took its toll on Best, who attempted suicide in the mid-’60s. He did shift work in a bread factory before finding happiness as a civil servant. Best has been married to the same woman for over 50 years, has two daughters and five grandchildren. He also has his own band, The Pete Best Band, and his own fans. Pete Best has not spoken to any member of The Beatles since that fateful day in 1962.

Also, Stu Sutcliffe quit the band in 1961 to focus on his painting. He died of a brain tumor the following year. He was only 21 years old.

Lennon, Stuart’s closest friend in the band, asked that Sutcliffe be included on the whimsical cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Yoko Ono has said that hardly a day went by when her husband did not mention Sutcliffe’s name.

Lousy Timing: 9 Musicians Who Came This Close To The Big Time