TIME celebrity

Watch Paul McCartney Help This Guy Propose to His Girlfriend

Who could say no?

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When Paul McCartney noticed that one of his fans was standing next to her boyfriend at a concert in Rochester, New York, holding a sign that “He won’t marry me until he meets you” and the boyfriend with one that says “I have a ring. And I’m 64,” he knew just what to do.

In this charming video, McCartney brings the couple onstage and has them sing the Beatles hit “When I’m 64,” about not-so-young love, before successfully proposing. They have the perfect backing band for it.

TIME movies

Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night

Made in an amazing burst of creativity, The Fab Four's first movie, remains as revolutionary as ever, and as much fun

Before anyone saw the movie, its title promised something different from the ruck of cheapo rock ‘n roll films: A Hard Day’s WHAT? As producer Walter Shenson told it, he and director Richard Lester were nearly finished shooting their little picture with the Beatles but had no name for it. Then John Lennon told Shenson that Ringo Starr occasionally mutilated the English language in droll ways. Example: to suggest his exhaustion after an evening’s concertizing and partying, Ringo would say, “It’s been a hard day’s night.” Shenson told Lennon that he and Paul McCartney should write a song with that title, pronto. The next morning they delivered a catchy 12-bar blues riff with a soaring bridge, about a working stiff whose girlfriend makes all his toil worthwhile. Plaaaang!

That’s the sound of the song’s first, long guitar chord — a brash wakeup call to the audience. The film’s first shot is just as startling: three of the Liverpool lads running toward the camera down a narrow sidewalk, hemmed in by parked cars. The screams of pursuing Beatlemaniacs rises under the song’s first phrase, as George Harrison, in the foreground with John, trips and falls, Ringo collapsing over him. John looks back, his deadpan face breaking into a wide smile, and George gets up to carry on running away from their fans and into the Marylebone train station. Now all three are laughing, perhaps at the silliness of pop stardom, while the sacred words THE BEATLES briskly unfurl across the screen, followed by A HARD DAY’S NIGHT.

(FIND: A Hard Day’s Night on the all-TIME 100 Movies list)

Has any movie captured a moment in social, let alone musical, history with as much acuity and joy as A Hard Day’s Night? Directed by Richard Lester, then 32, and starring four musicians, the eldest of whom (Ringo) was 23, the film showed the world’s most famous foursome at that split second when they and their fans could enjoy their early apogee of superstardom. In the years until their 1970 breakup, the Beatles’ influence would broaden, their music become more sophisticated, their politics more complicated. But the world premiere of A Hard Day’s Night at London’s Pavilion Theatre on July 6, 1964 — 50 years ago today — marked the full flourish of Beatlemania on screen, in all its wit, musical bravado and, if we may say it about a canny rock band, innocence.

For the 50th anniversary, the film is showing in theaters in 100 U.S. cities, including Manhattan’s Film Forum. And the Criterion Collection has issued a 4K digital restoration of the film, which necessitated replacing missing parts of the original negative; and Giles Martin, whose father George produced most of the Beatles’ music, had to use a monaural mix of the movie’s closing song, “She Loves You,” for the stereo track. The result is a splendid tribute to this endearing, enduring film — which, when it opened here in August 1964, Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice called “the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals.”

(READ: Corliss’s tribute to legendary film critic Andrew Sarris)

Prescient and true: AHDT revolutionized pop musicals with the same thunder-clap force that Orson Welles brought to the Hollywood drama, and that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho infused into the horror film. A very local comedy with universal appeal, a daring blend of documentary and surrealism, Lester’s G-rated movie junked the tropes of traditional Hollywood musicals and instead found its muses in France: the avant-garde subversion of Luis Buñuel and Jean Vigo and the cinematic playfulness of New Wavers François Truffaut an Jean-Luc Godard. Lester punctuated the movie with swish pans, arc-light glares and an editing pace of controlled frenzy; he broke a thousand filmmaking rules and in the process established new ones that would reverberate decades later in music videos.

(In a making-of extra on the Criterion discs, the director says that “MTV gave me a very nice diploma … saying that I was the putative father of MTV.” He smiled and added, “But I’ve insisted on a blood test.”)

In the decade before AHDN, there were only two kinds of movies with pop stars. A hot star like Elvis Presley (and, in Britain, Cliff Richard) would be cast as a fictional character in an A-minus drama with music. (Frank Sinatra did the same in his ’40s films.) Or, down on the B-minus level, performers like Chuck Berry and Little Richard would play a couple songs as backup to a story of teen striving (as in the Alan Freed-hosted Rock Around the Clock and Mr. Rock ‘n Roll). The first kind of film tried to turn a pop sensation into fodder for the mainstream audience; that’s how Elvis got neutered in movies. The second kind used the artists as teen bait, then gave them only a few minutes on screen. The Beatles didn’t want any of that. AHDN was the first mainstream rock movie that seemed designed mainly to amuse its makers.

(READ: The Beatles Conquer America — 50 Years Later)

It all came together in a flash. In late 1963, Shenson, an American who had produced the 1959 Peter Sellers comedy hit The Mouse That Roared and its less successful sequel The Mouse on the Moon, agreed to produce a musical comedy starring the Beatles, who were just launching into the pop Britosphere. Shenson’s studio back home, United Artists, had no sybil’s foreknowledge of the band’s unique fame; it just wanted an album of new songs to promote, which would make back the film’s modest $500,000 investment.

Even after the Beatles conquered America on The Ed Sullivan Show and monopolized the pop charts like no recording artists before them, a UA executive asked that voice actors dub the Fab Four’s accents into a more intelligible mid-Atlantic patois. McCartney’s response: “Look, if we can understand a f–kin’ cowboy talking Texan, they can understand us talking Liverpool.”

Lester could understand Liverpool. A Philadelphian who had worked in live TV drama in his teens, he had come to London, embraced its comic quirkiness and adopted its accent; it was said he’d become so English that he wanted his surname spelled Leicester. He had directed the jazz musical It’s Trad, Dad and, for Shenson, Mouse on the Moon.

More important to the Beatles, who loved that long-running radio anarchy The Goon Show, Lester had helmed an 11-minute experimental comedy called The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film with Goons Sellers and Spike Milligan. (This short film’s outdoor shenanigans directly inspired surreal bits in AHDN like the Beatles running along outside the train they were just inside, as well as the “Can’t Buy Me Love” field frolic.) The four also approved of Alun Owen, the Liverpudlian writer of TV dramas, to pen the script.

(READ: Peter Sellers and The Goon Show)

The speed at which A Hard Day’s Night was conceived and born testifies both to UA’s original suspicion that the project would be a B-movie promo and to the industry and artistry its makers invested in it. Lennon and McCartney wrote about eight songs on a brief January holiday in Jamaica, leaving Lester and Owen to fit the songs somehow into a scenario about a day or two in the band’s hectic life. Shooting began Mar. 2 at Marylebone, climaxed late that month at the Scala Theatre where the band played for their fans and more or less finished on April 23, when Paul, George and Ringo cavorted on Thornsbury Playing Fields in Middlesex for the “Can’t Buy Me Love” segment. (John, at a signing for his book In His Own Write, was mostly absent from that larkishness.)

Shot in doc-style black-and-white, AHDN had a secret sibling film in What’s Happening: The Beatles in the U.S.A., shot during their first visit to America by the cinéma-vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles. What’s Happening also depicts the Beatles routine: same dashing from train to limo to photo op to TV stage, the same release of tension on a dance-club floor, the same use of wit as armor against imprisonment and ennui — and the same amazing display of geniality by four blithe Liverpudlians. Also the same directorial nimbleness: the Maysles brothers learned of their assignment two hours before the Beatles’ plane landed at JFK airport on Feb. 7, 1964. Artists had faster reflexes then.

(READ: TIME’s 1964 review of the Lester and Maysles Beatles films)

AHDN didn’t open in the States until Aug. 11, more than a month after the London premiere, and for those of us who were young back then it was an essential votive experience. I remember seeing it at a movie house in suburban Philadelphia. I say seeing; hearing was out of the question, due to the shrieks of the band’s bobbysoxer brigade. The theater, I swear, was informally divided into quadrants, each inhabited by the attendant sisters of one band member: John in the lower left, Paul in the lower right, etc. A closeup of one Beatle would cue a communal wail from his quadrant. It was the sweetest form of pandemonium.

The Philadelphia girls, consciously nor not, were imitating the film’s climactic sequence, which intercuts shots of the band performing “She Loves You” with reaction shots from the young audience, and returns occasionally to girls mouthing the names of their particular heroes. The unforgettable one is a pretty blond undergoing a kind of anguished ecstasy. She is seen four times: first clutching her hair, then crying into her hand, then sobbing hand to head and finally, at the song’s last break (“You know you shou-ou-ou-ould…”) silently keening a desperate “George.” On one of the Criterion extras, we learn that editor John Jympson called this girl “the white rabbit.”

(READ: How The Beatles changed rock ‘n roll)

Ten years later, in Film Comment, I wrote my first Beatles nostalgia piece: “You probably have to be about my age — turning 30, and none too pleased about it — to look back nostalgically on a period as recent as 1964, and to smile crookedly when you think of A Hard Day’s Night. Most of us were the last stragglers of the ’50s… all we had were the private passions of movies and rock ‘n roll, which our teachers considered occasions of sin and not yet adventures in scholarship. With the Beatles, and specifically with A Hard Day’s Night, the unspeakable became acceptable. … A Hard Day’s Night today retains its vigor, its good humor, its Lancashire courtliness and easy grace. … We can also find in the film what we responded to then: its perfect distillation of a moment when, for a lot of us, it felt good to be young. … [Now,] we’ve aged, and it hasn’t.”

Another 40 years later, I have aged and the movie still hasn’t. Maybe the Beatles, perhaps even Lester and his team, didn’t know what they made, it soon became clear, was history — and did it with such good humor and blithe, unflappable grace. That’s a big reason for the unique then-and-now status of A Hard Day’s Night: it is both completely of its time and utterly forever.

TIME Music

VIDEO: Exclusive Footage of the Beatles’ Reaction to A Hard Day’s Night

The Beatles describe watching A Hard Day's Night for the first time, in a sneak-peek clip from the film's 50th-anniversary edition

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When the film A Hard Day’s Night premiered in London on July 6, 1964, it wasn’t the first time that its stars — the Beatles — saw the film, but it was definitely better than that earliest viewing. The movie is best remembered for its opening sequence of crazed fans chasing the Fab Four through the streets, but its stars also recall that seeing their own faces on the big screen wasn’t exactly a comfortable experience. Even though they were already bona fide stars, they were still getting used to seeing their faces at such scale — and A Hard Day’s Night, which arrived just weeks after they had made a splash on the Ed Sullivan Show, was their first film.

In this exclusive clip, the Beatles — minus John — describe what it was like to watch A Hard Day’s Night in early screenings versus with an audience, and their hopes that future Beatles movies would be even better than the now-classic comedy is. The clip is from In Their Own Voices, which pairs audio of the band talking about the movie during their 1964 American press tour and behind-the-scenes footage; it’s part of the bonus material from the Criterion Collection’s new 50th-anniversary edition of the movie. The film has been restored from the original negatives with the approval of director Richard Lester, and the soundtrack has been remixed and remastered for modern sound systems.

And now Beatles fans can have the same big-screen-Beatles experience that’s discussed in the clip: in honor of the anniversary, the movie is being re-released in theaters on July 4 in its newly restored condition. (There’s a list of theaters at the website of the distributor, Janus Films.)

 

 

TIME Music

Here’s What Iggy Azalea Has in Common with the Beatles

Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea performs at a Vampire Academy special event featuring a performance by Iggy Azalea hosted by The Weinstein Company and Universal Music Enterprises, on Feb. 3, 2014, in Los Angeles. Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP

The Fab Four and the "Fancy" rapper are the only two acts to have ever simultaneously scored the top two chart spots with their first hits

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea has one less problem without you: her Charli XCX collaboration “Fancy” is now No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, while “Problem,” the Ariana Grande track that features her, comes in second place.

That accomplishment makes the platinum-blonde femcee the only other act in chart history besides the Beatles to have simultaneously held the top two spots with their first chart hits. (“Work,” the year-old first single from Iggy Azalea’s debut album, The New Classic, is currently at No. 63 after entering the chart the same week “Problem” did.)

In February of 1964, the Beatles rode the wave of their The Ed Sullivan Show appearance and watched “I Want to Hold Your Hand” climb 3-1 and “She Loves You” jump 3-2.

But that’s not all — Iggy’s chart success makes her the fourth female rapper to ever score a No. 1 (joining Lauryn Hill, Lil’ Kim and Shawnna, of “Ludacris feat.” fame) and the third woman to ever hold the top two chart positions at the same time (joining Mariah Carey and Ashanti). Looks like all her hard work paid off after all.

[Billboard]

TIME Music

Paul McCartney Cancels His First Budokan Appearance Since 1966

The 71-year-old ex-Beatle says he was "really looking forward to playing in Japan again" but a South American tour has left him feeling unwell

Paul McCartney has canceled the remainder of his Japanese tour, including a much awaited appearance at Tokyo’s Budokan.

The legendary musician has yet to recuperate from an unspecified virus that had already caused him to miss two concerts.

“I was really looking forward to playing in Japan again after we had such an amazing time here in November,” McCartney said in a statement, which mentioned that the cancellation was “unavoidable.”

The 71-year-old arrived in Japan on the back of a strenuous tour in South America, and had three concerts planned for the coming week.

One of them would have been his first appearance on the Budokan stage since the Beatles became the first pop band to play there in 1966 — a set of gigs that led the way for a host of famous Budokan live recordings by the likes of Bob Dylan, Deep Purple and Santana.

[AFP]

TIME

John Lennon’s Doodles Up for Auction

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I am he as you are he as you are me and we can buy the drawings from the Walrus himself.

Sotheby’s New York on June 4 will be auctioning off John Lennon’s drawings, poetry, and stories he created while touring with the Beatles. The doodles fall on the surrealist side with potbellied men walking other humanoid creatures, a giant Sherlock Holmes inspecting a tiny suspect, and a very hairy Snow White ready to bite into her apple.

The drawings and manuscripts haven’t seen the light of day for decades after spending almost the past 50 years in the personal archive of Lennon’s London publisher, but now you can catch a glimpse into the mind of the eggman. Goo goo g’joob.

TIME Music

The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964

The Beatles
Ed Sullivan, center, stands with The Beatles during a rehearsal for the British group's first American appearance, on the "Ed Sullivan Show," in New York on Feb. 9, 1964. AP

At 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964 an unheard-of 60% of American TVs tuned to CBS to see The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Just before 2:30 on the afternoon of Feb. 9, the Beatles got the signal to take their places for the first of two full dress rehearsals in front of a full, hysterical audience. If they seemed daunted at making their American debut, it didn’t show. They plugged in and waited patiently behind a curtain, exchanging relaxed, easy grins, as Ed Sullivan wandered onstage.

Sullivan was an improbable TV star. Stiff as cardboard and about as endearing, the 62-year-old emcee had, a profile in TIME said, as much charisma as “a cigar-store Indian.” He was painfully awkward in front of the camera, but he had an uncanny instinct for spotting talent and the ability to give it a national showcase. As such, he was a powerful star maker, to say nothing of an American icon. If you tuned in on Sunday nights, as a majority of TV watchers did, you were in for “a really big shew.”

If the audience left the dress rehearsals in ecstasy, the Beatles were anything but satisfied. “We weren’t happy with the … appearance,” said Paul, “because one of the mikes weren’t [sic] working.”

John’s vocals were muffled and often lost in the mix.

That evening, when the Beatles returned to Studio 50 for the live broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, George lit into Bob Precht, Sullivan’s son-in-law, who produced the show. The sound quality, he argued, was unacceptable.

In the midst of their heated exchange, visitors and dignitaries began streaming backstage to size up the four boys from Liverpool. Dizzy Gillespie, who was playing down the street at Birdland, “just stopped by to get a look at them,” as did various Capitol Records execs.

The Beatles were already feeling pinched by the crowd. But when Leonard Bernstein swept in with his daughters, babbling about a visit to Washington and “singing rounds with Jackie [Kennedy] at breakfast,” the boys had heard enough. John ordered the entire bunch chucked out and put the dressing room on lockdown.

As it was, the theater felt under siege. The crowd outside stretched over eight blocks, giving the place the revved-up energy of a Broadway opening. CBS had received more than 50,000 ticket requests; it seemed as though half that number were trying to get inside. Among those who did were Walter Cronkite’s and Jack Paar’s daughters, as well as Richard Nixon’s 15-year-old daughter Julie.

At 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, an unheard-of 60% of American TVs were tuned to CBS. The Beatles had caused a run on the airwaves that set all broadcast viewing records. Everyone wanted to have a look at the source of all that hoopla. How could four pop musicians—four boys from England—create so much excitement? It was beyond most American parents, who had watched the buildup with wary eyes.

The audience in living rooms may have been split down the middle, but the makeup of the theater belonged to the Beatles. As the credits rolled, the camera scanned the audience: wall-to-wall teenagers, mostly girls who were wound a bit tight. Passionate female fans were a staple of pop heartthrobs, but this gang was something else, on the edge of frenzy.

At last! The curtains swept open and America had its first look at the band—not in black leather and stagy scowls, not intimidating, as some had feared, but neatly groomed, all smiles, vaguely harmless: a pleasant surprise. The Beatles! Without hesitation, they launched right into a crisp if workmanlike version of “All My Loving,” a cut from their freshly minted LP, Meet the Beatles, which topped Billboard ’s charts the following week and remained there until it was knocked off by their second album.

More than a few eyes widened during their next number as the camera lingered on each of the Beatles’ faces and a crawl appeared at the bottom of the screen, identifying them by name. Paul McCartney, doe-eyed; George Harrison, jug-eared and stoic; Ringo Starr, grinning earnestly. When John Lennon got his close-up at the very end, an unexpected postscript revealed, “Sorry, girls, he’s married.”

That let a big cat out of the bag. Until that moment, John’s marriage had been not only hush-hush but hotly denied by the Beatles’ management. Band manager Brian Epstein had decided early on that the presence of a girlfriend—and especially a wife—would turn off the female fans. As such, Cynthia Lennon was forced to deny her marriage, even her name, to anyone who asked. She kept a low profile, never wore a wedding band, learned how to blend into the crowd. At shows, John would often stash her at the back of the hall, where she would watch like any other desperate fan. Moreover, they carefully avoided going out together in public.

If news of John’s marriage sucked the energy out of the performance for a few lovestruck fans, the boys quickly sent them airborne again. A clatter of drums erupted into “She Loves You,” jolting the audience. The last two numbers were even more riveting. Both “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” delivered on the promise of something thrilling.

The Beatles Invasion: The Inside Story of of the Two-Week Tour that Rocked America, by Bob Spitz.
Copyright 2013, Time Home Entertainment.

The phenomenon unfolded in living rooms across the country. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the viewing audience was estimated at about 74 million people, reflecting a total of 23.24 million homes, a record for any TV show.

This is the third installment in a series of excerpts from the new TIME book, The Beatles Invasion: The Inside Story of the Two-Week Tour That Rocked America, by Bob Spitz. Copyright 2013, Time Home Entertainment. Available wherever books are sold.

First installment: The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Friday, Feb. 7, 1964

Second installment: The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Saturday, February 8, 1964

TIME Music

Here’s Something You Didn’t Know About the Beatles: A Very Strange Story from Their Ex-Con Bouncer

The Beatles at London Airport, February 1964
The Beatles at London Airport, February 1964 Getty Images—Evening Standard

The Beatles first arrived in the U.S. fifty years ago, on Feb. 7, 1964 — so now, a story you probably haven't heard about the band

The 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964 has sparked a wave of remembrances: Bookstores are full of new Beatles books; their music is getting new box sets; there are exhibitions and concerts and fan conventions. In honor of their Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, David Letterman — whose show shoots at the Ed Sullivan Theater — is hosting a theme week with a rumored McCartney-Starr appearance to boot.

Finding a little-known fact about the Beatles is tough — and yet, all but the most devoted fans still probably haven’t heard of Horst Fascher.

Fascher, an “ex-boxer and ex-con”-turned-club bouncer known as “the Enforcer,” looked out for the Beatles when they were in Hamburg in 1960; he isn’t entirely unknown in Beatles-dom, after being interviewed for Larry Kane’s recently Beatles book When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top (which came out last summer).

Here’s the story he told Kane:

One dramatic night, the Enforcer noticed that John was missing from the stage. He looked and looked and found young John in a restroom, where he was locked in an embrace with a woman. Never one for displaying a gentle touch, Fascher poured water over both lovers and demanded that John get on the stage, “even if he was stark naked.” John did appear with only his underpants on, along with the covering guitar and, according to Fascher, the “toilet seat hanging around his neck.”

Fascher’s own story is no less fascinating. In 1959, he qualified for the national boxing championship but got in a nasty fight; he knocked the other man out, and the head injury from the fall eventually led to his death. Fascher then spent nine months in prison and, upon his release, ended up working as a pimp. Eventually, however, Fascher would become a club owner in his own right and in 1962, when The Beatles returned to Hamburg, he booked them to play there. When the band came back to Hamburg later in the ’60s, he was in jail again — but it didn’t hurt his close relationship with them, or with music: Fascher released a single of his own last summer.

To read more about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first visit to America, check out the new TIME book, The Beatles Invasion: The Inside Story of the Two-Week Tour That Rocked America, by Bob Spitz. Available wherever books are sold.

MORE: Beatles’ 1963 Bootleg Recordings Get First Official Release

TIME celebrity

Quiz: How Well Do You Know The Beatles?

The Beatles after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, February 7, 1964. From left: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon CBS / Getty Images

February 7, 2014, marks 50 years since The Beatles arrived for their first U.S. trip. See how much you remember about the British band after all these years.

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