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Cynthia Powell Lennon

Cynthia Powell Lennon

Julian Lennon, “Beautiful”

 

Cynthia Powell Lennon

Cynthia Powell was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, on September 10, 1939. She met John Lennon in 1957 while both were students at the Liverpool College of Art. She was engaged. He had a girlfriend. She broke off the former and he the latter. 

Much later she said, "“If I’d known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to I would have turned ’round right then and walked away.” 

We don't know what one meeting can do, though.

John and Cythia marry

John and Cynthia married on August 23, 1962 shortly after she discovered her pregnancy. John insisted they marry.

Brian Epstein was the best man. George Harrison and Paul McCartney also attended, but John's aunt Mimi, who disapproved of the marriage, did not. Powell's half brother Tony and his wife were there.

Epstein paid for the reception afterwards at Reece's restaurant in Clayton Square.

That night, the Beatles played at the Riverpark Ballroom in Chester, a situation that increasingly repeated itself as their popularity grew and their touring expanded.

Epstein allowed John and Cynthia to live at his flat without rent. They remained there until Julian Lennon was born on April 8, 1963 after which they  moved in with John's disapproving aunt Mimi in Liverpool.

Married life on the road, before…

To say "they" lived there is an exaggeration, since John was in London most of the time with the band.

To add to the marriage's difficulties, Brian Epstein, urged the Lennons to keep their marriage secret. The image Epstein wanted (as much as those many teenage girl Beatle-maniacs) was of four eligible bachelors, not three + one married with a child. 

As with any relationship that has a mother primarily raising the young child because the father is away and when home usually coming home from a long night out, challenges occurred. 

In a 1985 Fresh Air interview Cynthia said of John: "He used to sleep an awful lot. And he would wake up when we were ready to go to bed, if you know what I mean. With a small child, you have to be up early in the morning, and then you're pretty exhausted at night, whereas John's hours changed. You know, he'd be up at night and in bed during the day. So the whole fabric of our life changed because of the work that he was doing, and because of the pressures from outside.

About the Beatles rapid and phenomenal success she said, "So all of a sudden, you find yourself with a chauffeur and a housekeeper and a cook and an interior designer and all the things in life that you've never experienced before and you weren't brought up to, I was left to cope with and handle, which was hard work. It was a full-time job, actually."

Married life on the rocks…

John met Yoko Ono in 1966. The artistic attraction turned into an emotional and physical one that Cynthia discovered in 1968 when she found them together after returning from a Greek holiday Lennon had encouraged her to take.

At first, Lennon sued for divorce accusing Cynthia of adultery. She counter-sued on August 22, 1968 and on November 8, 1968, was granted a divorce.

She stated, "I had to survive this for Julian. I couldn't afford to crumble: I had to be strong, do what was best for him. I could fight the divorce, but that would get horribly messy and in the circumstances as clean a break as possible seemed best."

Survive she did. Cynthia Lennon married three more times after the 1968 split, most last being widowed to Noel Charles who died in 2013.

When asked what led to the famed split, Cynthia said, "I think we both changed. It was natural that we both change. But I did not want to go down the road John was going ... I had nothing to escape. I wasn't looking for anything else. I wasn't searching in my mind for new experiences on a mental state."

In Loving Memory

Cynthia Powell Lennon died at her home in Spain on April 1, 2015. She was 75. After her death, son Julian posted the following touching video:

Cynthia Powell Lennon, Cynthia Powell Lennon, Cynthia Powell Lennon, 

You gave your life for me
You gave your life for love
The feeling still remains
Though you’re on a different plane
Your world is full of angels
You’ve become one
With God above you’re free

You were so Beautiful
You are so Beautiful
The love you left behind will carry on
You gave your heart and soul to everyone

You never lived a lie
You showed me how to cry

The life that you embraced

Always let you down
But you’re the only one that stood your ground
No matter what they sayYou were so Beautiful
You are so Beautiful
The love you left behind will carry on
You gave your heart and soul to everyoneYou were so Beautiful
You are so Beautiful
The love you left behind will carry on
You gave your heart and soul to everyone
You were so Beautiful
You are so Beautiful
The love you left behind will carry on
You gave your heart and soul to everyoneYou gave your life for love
I know you’re safe above

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Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

US release: October 1, 1969

     What is the last Beatles album? The answer depends on whether one uses the actual times that Apple released the album or the actual time(s) that the Beatles recorded the album.

Let It Be

Beatles Abbey Road

     The US release of Let It Be was May 8, 1970. The Beatles actually recorded in before Abbey Road in February 1968, January – February 1969. Since most of Let It Be was recorded in January 1969, before the recording and release of  Abbey Road, some argue that Abbey Road should be considered the group's final album and Let It Be the penultimate.

     Famed producer Phil Spector is typically associated with the ablum, but his post-production embellishments so disappointed so many that in 2003 Apple re-released the album as Let It Be...Naked and removed  those embellishments that Paul McCartney in particular felt got in the way of the group's original stripped down  sound goal. 

Beatles Abbey Road

Beatles Abbey Road

     In any case, Abbey Road is a different album than Let It Be.  With Abbey Road, knowing it  was likely their last, the Beatles wanted to do what they did best and go into the studio with George Martin, not Phil Spector.

     The album cover is, of course, iconic and no other site of an album cover has had so many visitors and pictures taken by those visitors. Also of note about the album cover is that it contains neither the album's nor the group's name.

George Martin

     As had almost always been the case, George Martin was a huge part of the album. He later said that his response to Paul McCartney's request to produce it: "I was quite surprised when Paul rang me up and said, 'We're going to make another record, would you like to produce it?' and my immediate answer was, 'Only if you let me produce it the way we used to.' and he said, 'We do want to do that' and I said, 'John included?' and he said, 'Yes, honestly.'"

     He also said, ""It was a very very happy album. Everybody worked frightfully well and that's why I'm very fond of it."

Side Two

     We all know side two.  "Here Comes the Sun" then "Because." Then the medley. THE medley.

     The Beatles had popularized the segue with Sgt Pepper's. Not an album of singles, but songs that literally flowed one into the other.

     Abbey Road's "Medley" perfected that production technique with its 16 minutes melodious  jaunt:
  1. At 4:03, “You Never Give Me Your Money” is the longest of the eight songs. Even the song itself has different parts perhaps a foreshadowing of McCartneys 1971 Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey ,
  2. John Lennon’s “Sun King” follows with lots of backing harmonies.
  3. Lennon wrote toth “Mean Mr Mustard” (is the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the “dirty old man”?) and 
  4. “Polythene Pam” during the Beatles 1968 visit to India.
  5.  Four McCartney songs follow:  “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” (written after a fan entered McCartney’s residence via his bathroom window)
  6. “Golden Slumbers” (based onThomas Dekker’s 17th-century poem set to new music),
  7. “Carry That Weight” (reprising elements from “You Never Give Me Your Money”, and featuring chorus vocals from all four Beatles), and closing with
  8. “The End” which has the only Ringo drum solo.  Appropriately (and sadly)_, the song contains three guitar solos, too. McCartney, then Harrison,  then Lennon.
     Though "Her Majesty" ends the entire album and is not part of the medley, it is the end of "The End" that is the true final message of the Beatles to us. One that has always been true whether before any of them were born, any of us were born, or after any of our progeny will be born:

      "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make".

Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, Beatles Abbey Road, 

 

 

 

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Swan She Loves You

Swan She Loves You

Swan She Loves You

Ed Sullivan’s supercharge

Americans typically consider the Beatles starting point in the US as their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. That so many people watched that evening is a great demonstration that the Beatles popularity already existed. The show supercharged that popularity.

US start was crickets

The Beatles recording presence in the United States had begun in 1963, but to little acclaim. The UK release of "Please Please Me" had been on January 11, 1963. It hit #1 there on February 22. 

The US release was on February 7, but the single hardly charted. It only reached No. 35 on the local WLS-AM (Chicago) music survey in March and did not chart at all on Billboard. The Vee Jay label even misspelled their name.

beattles-please-please-me

From a slow first release to…

…a slower second release

When Vee Jay signed an agreement to release "Please Please Me" it also got the right to first refusal. Even though the song did poorly, Vee Jay chose to release "From Me To You" and did that on May 27, 1963. It did more poorly. By the end of June, "From Me to You" had sold fewer than 4,000 copies and had failed to chart anywhere.

At least Vee Jay spelled the band's name correctly.

Swan She Loves You

 

Swan She Loves You

Brian Epstein chose "She Loves You" for the next release. Vee Jay declined. EMI was the Beatles UK label; Capital Records EMI's US counterpart. Capital refused.

Persistent, Brian Epstein licensed the song to Swan Records, a Philadelphia-based label. Few US radio stations picked it up.

The song's poor US showing was definitely a surprise. EMI had released the song in the UK on August 23, 1963.  It had what would become their trademark "Yeah, yeah, yeah." It contained their equally famous trademark of the high pitched "Whoooo." 

In the UK, it had had 500,000 advanced orders. It hit #1 on September 14 and was on the charts for 31 consecutive weeks,  It was the best-selling single of 1963. "She Loves You" built Beatlemania.

NBC News

NBC news had a piece on the Beatles on November 18, 1963. It may have helped light the US Beatlemania fuse, but even such national coverage didn't tip things their way. The link below does work despite its appearance.


CBS News

CBS broadcast a piece about the Beatles the morning of November 22, 1963 intending to rebroadcast it that evening. Obviously, the assassination of President Kennedy cancelled that broadcast.

Jack Parr Show

On January 3, 1964 the Jack Paar program showed film footage of The Beatles performing "She Loves You," but Jack Parr's demographic did not reach out to those Baby Boomer buyers. It is interesting to note Parr's claim to have been the first to show the band on American TV. Apparently his fact-checkers, if they existed, missed the two November news reports.

Swan re-release

Swan re-released "She Loves You." It hit Billboard #1 on March 21 and remained there until April 3 when the now-wiser Capital Record release, "Can't Buy Me Love," replaced it.
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