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Looking back: The Year in Beatles News 2008

by Dave Haber, Beatles News Editor

2008 was quite a year for Beatles fans, with lots of ups and downs, sad times and happy times. This is a look back at some of the more prominent and interesting things that happened in 2008, as we covered them this year on the Beatles News Blog.

2008 started off the year early in January with the announcement of 15 lost Beatles songs which claimed to be "recorded at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany a short while after the Ted Taylor recordings," but turned out to be just from the same old Hamrburg tapes that have been available for decades. A court eventually blocked these "new" tapes from being released.

A week later on January 17, Paul denies he had heart surgery after press stories about him had been blown out of proportion. He said on his official website, "People are ringing and texting me saying 'are you ok?' and I hadn't seen the report so I was puzzled by so many enquiries about my health."

Also in January, Ringo released his new album Liverool 8, and on January 28 it was declared Liverpoool 8 was the highest album debut for Ringo, according to Billboard, it entered the list at No. 94.

On February 11, George and Giles Martin were honored with Grammys, as in the Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media category, the winner was Love, the Cirque de Soleil Las Vegas show soundtrack.

The year's first sad news, on February 16, it was announced that the Bystander on Abbey Road cover had passed away. It was longtime Florida resident Paul Cole, who was caught while on vacation in London in 1969 in the photo that appears on the cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road. He was 96.

And then, a week later on February 22, Help! cinematographer David Watkin passed away at the age of 82. David Watkin was the cinematographer for the Beatles film Help! and John Lennon's film How I Won The War.

March started off sad as well, on March 4, Norman Hurricane Smith passed away at 85. The Beatles original groundbreaking engineer and Pink Floyd producer, Smith was the engineer on all of the recordings by the Beatles up until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul. Smith engineered the sound for approximately 180 Beatles songs in all.

On March 10, Ringo got in trouble with the fans when, after just recently saying he wouldn't be interested in moving back to Liverpool, now says that he's sick of being remembered as a Beatle. He said in the press, "Some days I'm just fed up with The Beatles. I think that when I die, the message on my tombstone will be 'Ex-Beatle'. Like I've done nothing else."

Then on March 18, yours truly was greatly honored to be among 50 of their closest pals when the original Rutles reunited for the first time! It was a special celebration of their 30th Anniversary Reunion in Hollywood, and to the delight and surprise of everyone in the room, late in the evening, the event's organizer Martin Lewis coaxed all four Rutles to get on the tiny clubroom stage where some musical instruments had been strategically-placed, to give a truly historic performance! It was the first time the four had ever performed musically together, even during making of the film!

Another little of bit of Beatles history passed on April 23, when William F. Ludwig II, the man behind Ringo's famous drum kit passed way at the age of 91. William F. Ludwig II was the founder of the Ludwig Drum Company.

May, 2008, was highlighted when Paul McCartney called for the ban of all cluster bombs. On his official site, Paul said, "Cluster bomblets, like anti-personnel mines, are unacceptable when they kill and injure innocent civilians including children. I call upon individuals, organisations and politicians to do all they can to remove and reduce the impact of these weapons for future generations."

On June 1, Paul wowed the Liverpool crowd for an emotional 2 hours at the historic Liverpool Sound event at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, and Beatles News was there!

In July, Paul McCartney's message for the Paralympics was shown on TV in UK. Paul said, "I met leading Paralympic dressage rider Sophie Christiansen and was completely blown away by her skill, dedication and the fact that she had won a gold medal for Britain, so I felt I had to do something."

On August 27, Paul announced his historic concert in Israel, calling it his "Friendship First" concert, and saying, "We can't wait to get out there and rock."

On October 13, Ringo got in trouble with fans again, when, in a video on his official website, Ringo released a VERY angry message to his fans, in which he said that after the 20th of October, he would no longer sign any more autographs, and anything received for signing after that date would be tossed.

The following week, on October 21, we lost another member of the extended Beatles family, as Peter Copley, the jeweller in Help, passed away at 93. Copley worked with everyone from Sir Laurence Olivier to The Beatles in a career that spanned eight decades.

On November 10, the Beatles won the WMA Diamond Award, an award that was created in 2001 to honor artists who have sold more than 100 million albums during their career. Ringo accepted the award.

Finally, the year ended on the most bizarre note, as John Lennon appeared in a new ad posthumously, putting words in John Lennon's mouth that he could have never said, and Beatles fans didn't much care for it.

And what's up for next year? The Beatles guitar game has already been announced for later in 2009. But what about Beatles songs remastered? Beatles on iTunes? Will Capitol ever release Capitol Albums Volume 3? Will we see finally see the remastered Let It Be film? Stay tuned, if it's Beatles news, you'll see it here on Beatles News!

Published December 31, 2008

This article is Copyright © 2008, David Haber, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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