It was an eventful year for the Beatles, both solo and individually, with tours, releases and various events. It’s also been a busy year for us, Beatle peoples, looking at all the stories we covered this year. Here’s our two-part look back at the best moments of the year (and not in any order), several of which we covered on Beatles Examiner (and our other music columns). The second part will also have a list of Beatles friends who have passed on during 2012. And please join us in 2013 for more Beatles coverage. (If you don’t subscribe, please do and pass the word.)
- The 50th anniversary of “Love Me Do”: The half-century anniversary of “Love Me Do” became a huge media event and ignited coverage of every Beatles 50th anniversary to come. The Beatles themselves paid tribute by reissuing the original Parlophone vinyl single. And we reported that one Liverpool shop sold an original copy of the single on the day of the anniversary for a bargain price.
- McCartney on the Walk of Fame: The Grammy Awards in February were a busy time for Paul McCartney. He was honored as MusicCares Person of the Year and awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which we observed from the front row of the press section (with McCartney directly in front of us at one point). It was a nice warm day in February (only in Southern California) and it brought all four individual Beatles back together with stars next to the Capitol Tower. Finally.
- “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” out on DVD in the U.S.: England got their copies a few weeks after the original broadcast, but the U.S. had to wait until after the New Year for theirs because of commitments to HBO It was worth the wait. The set came with extras (and even more additional stuff with the deluxe version), plus an album of unreleased “Early Tracks” which was released separately. Which made everyone want more.
- Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom”: It was unusual, very different and even took some getting used to. But Paul McCartney promoted the heck out of “Kisses on the Bottom” in 2012, even going as far as releasing a “Live Kisses” PBS special, then on DVD and a complete collection through iTunes with both the live and studio versions. The “Live Kisses” DVD was the crowning touch and showed the album in the best way.
- “Strange Fruit: The Beatles’ Apple Records”: This long but absorbing, three-hour documentary went deep inside Apple Records and its history and made more than a few people nervous since for a time Amazon.com wouldn’t sell it for fear of a lawsuit. But nothing happened and it’s now available fairly easily. As we wrote in our review, it’s a very comprehensive look back at the history of the label that’s also very honest and opinionated.
- “Ringo 2012”: Ringo’s new album, made with a little help from his friends, wasn’t as enjoyable as “Y Not” (and also didn’t include help from Paul McCartney), but it contained some good music. The lead track, “Anthem,” was wonderful. The album also contained a couple of covers of “Rock Island Line” and Buddy Holly’s “Think It Over.” Ringo also covered himself with new versions of “Step Lightly” and “Wings,” with the latter added to the All-Starr Band shows that followed the album’s release.
- Ringo’s All-Starr Band tours: The 12th All-Starr Band took to the road in June and July across the U.S. As always, the shows were fun. He’ll take the same group to the Pacific Rim after the New Year.
- Ringo on Twitter: Paul McCartney (or an account labeled @paulmccartney) has been on Twitter for a while, but Ringo Starr had been absent. Until June when @ringostarrmusic, his official account, signed on. And unlike @paulmccartney, which has consisted of mostly promotional announcements, @ringostarrmusic is really Ringo. He started posting pictures from the summer All-Starr Band Tour, then just making occasional comments. Fans have pleaded with him to follow them or even post, since he’s pretty much stopped posting regularly after the tour ended. His last post, which was RT’d extensively, read “I never studied anything, really. I didn’t study the drums. I joined bands and made all the mistakes onstage.” More please!
- The Rory Storm and the Hurricanes CD: The big news here was although Rory Storm’s sister said Ringo Starr was on it, Ringo said he wasn’t on this live show disc from his previous group to the Beatles, as originally thought since his picture was plastered all over it. But it is a great disc even without him and shows Rory Storm and the Hurricanes were one of Liverpool’s great groups.
- “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Yellow Submarine” reissued: There were two different reasons for the reissues. “Yellow Submarine” was coming back into the marketplace after being long out of print. And “Magical Mystery Tour” was re-branded and re-evaluated for its place in Beatles history. Of the two, “Yellow Submarine” was the better release.
- Yoko Ono’s “Share the Dream” app: It didn’t get as much attention as it deserved, but Yoko’s “Share the Dream” app was yet another way that Yoko used her art to get people involved in her art. And this one didn’t make you cringe unless you take an awful picture.
- “The John Lennon Letters” : This book revealed a lot more about Lennon than the new CD we didn’t get in 2012 would have. The letters in the huge volume were honest and laid the real Lennon bare. We had an interview with author Hunter Davies, who compiled the book and said there may be more to come. (Read the interview.)
- A few other Beatles books out this year in the U.S.: “The Beatles in Liverpool” by Spencer Leigh (interview with the author), “Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of The Beatles’ Solo Careers” by Andrew Grant Jackson, “Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust: Off-the-record with The Beatles, Bowie, Elton, and so much more,” by Ken Scott and Bob Owsinski (our interview with the author), “Revolver How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll” by Robert Rodriguez (our interview with the author in two parts here and here), “Love Me Do: Behind the Scenes at the Recording of the Beatles’ First Single” by Bill Harry (ebook), “The Ray Connolly Beatles Archive” by Ray Connolly (ebook) (interview with the author), “The Beatles: The Playboy Interview (50 Years of the Playboy Interview)” (ebook), “The Beatles: A Band Reviewed” (ebook) by the UK Guardian (our review).
- Also on the market this year: “Beatles Scrabble,” a new twist on an old game.
No, this isn’t all. There’s more to come in part 2 (he says almost out of breath…)
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