Beatlemania hits America, 1964.

On 4 November, 1963, at the outset of another marathon British tour, the Beatles were the main attraction at a Royal Command Performance in London. With the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret looking on, John Lennon famously asked for the crowd’s help: “The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands, and the rest of […]

Singin’ in the Rain, 1952.

Produced and Distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (USA). The most beloved of all screen musicals is also the most scholarly – a mock film-historical piece about the travails of a silent cinema star, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), struggling to make the transition into the talkies. Some of the film’s choicest humour is, a little cruelly, […]

For Nerds Who Love the Blues on 78.

aka The Wisconsin Chair Factory. In the 2001 movie “Ghost World,” 18-year-old Enid picks up the arm on her turntable, drops the needle in the groove, and plays a song yet another time. She can’t get over the emotional power of bluesman Skip James’ 1931 recording of “Devil Got My Woman.” If you know anything […]

“The Dirty Mac” John Lennon’s Once Only Supergroup, 1968.

The Dirty Mac were a one-time English supergroup consisting of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell that Lennon put together for the Rolling Stones’ TV special titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Recorded on 11 December 1968, this was the first time since the formation of the Beatles that Lennon, […]

John Lennon & Paul McCartney first met in July, 1957.

John Lennon (left) and Paul McCartney, pictured here circa 1960, met as teenagers in July 1957. Image Credit: Keystone/Getty Images Sixty years ago, two young musicians happened upon each other in Liverpool, England, in a meeting that would change the course of popular music forever. It was 6 July, 1957. John Lennon, then 16, was […]

John Lennon’s Cigar Box Guitar.

What is a cigar box guitar? Many people have never heard of them, seen them, or heard them being played – but, these instruments are part of the cornerstone of American blues music dating back to the late 1800s. During the late 1800s, impoverished people (often slaves) wanted instruments, but could not afford a factory-made […]

‘Banjo’ Paterson and Waltzing Matilda.

ANDREW BARTON ‘BANJO’ PATERSON was born in Narrambla, New South Wales, on 17 February, 1864. He lived in the city for most of his life, yet he became wildly famous in the colonies for the poems and stories he wrote about life in the Australian outback. Just before the turn of the century he composed […]

Mick Jagger, the world’s least likely wallflower.

Dafydd Jones’s photograph, taken at Vanity Fair’s 1997 Oscars party shows Mick Jagger, Madonna and Tony Curtis, Morton’s, Los Angeles, Dafydd Jones got his break as a photographer by capturing the excesses of the “bright young things” at Oxford in the 1980s – a decadent cast that included Hugh Grant and Nigella Lawson and prime […]

The Clash. 1981.

The Clash, 1981 “It was an excuse to talk to anybody,” Amy Arbus said. “It was a way for me personally to be involved in a very hip scene, the downtown East Village scene, that I wasn’t initially a part of.” Image Credit: Photograph by Amy Arbus via The Village Voice