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Cynthia Powell Lennon

Cynthia Powell Lennon

Julian Lennon, “Beautiful”

Cynthia Powell

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 never know what one meeting can do, though.

Cynthia Powell Lennon

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.

Cynthia Powell Lennon

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.

Cynthia Powell Lennon

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.”

Cynthia Powell Lennon

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 everyoneYou 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

Cynthia Powell Lennon
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British Beatlemania Born

British Beatlemania Born

British Beatlemania

November 2, 1963

British Beatlemania

British Beatlemania Born

1963

When we Americans think Beatlemania we typically think of their arrival, the 3 straight Ed Sullivan Show appearances, and the resulting cultural explosion.

It is important to keep in mind that the British Boomers were a bit ahead of us. Easily so, of course, since their media were playing and reporting about The Beatles before we had a hint.

By November 2, 1963, The Beatles had finally had the break out kind of success that any struggling band always hopes will happen, but no band could have foretold the success that descended upon them.

Despite their Cavern popularity, the Beatles began 1963 as they had ended 1962: touring as an opening band for higher billed musicians. With Brian Epstein as their manager and George Martin producing their music, success found them with the release of “Please Please Me” hitting #1 on the British charts on February 22. Having said that, even on  March 3, 1963, they were still at the bottom of the bill  supporting a Helen Shapiro tour. Other acts ahead of them included The Kestrels, The Honeys, Dave Allen, Kenny Lynch and Danny Williams.

I know. Who were they? I don’t know either.

British Beatlemania Born

Slowly but surely

Also in March, they released their first album: Please Please Me.

In April, John became a father for the first time.

Quietly.

Brian Epstein realized that the group’s youthful carefree image needed single good-looking young men.

In May, “From Me To You” their second US release also charted poorly.

With continued British success, on August 3, 1963 they performed at The Cavern Club for the last time.

On September 16, 1963, “She Loves You,” their third US release, went nowhere.

British Beatlemania Born

The London Palladium

British Beatlemania Born

In October, the British youth aren’t just listening, they are screaming. Like any successful venture, being seen is a way of increasing that success and on  October 13, their appearance on Sunday Night At The London Palladium  as the top group in front of a TV audience of up to 15 million viewers lighted the very short fuse.

Brian Epstein arranged a Christmas show with the Beatles headlining. The show sells out in October.

More recording. A tour to Sweden.

On November 1, back in the UK, their third EP, The Beatles #1, is released using singles from their Please Please Me album. Side one contained I Saw Her Standing There and Misery. The second side featured Anna (Go To Him) and Chains.

British Beatlemania Born

It’s Official

That night their fourth British tour of 1963 opened at the Odeon Cinema in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

This was the group’s first series of concerts as unchallenged headliners. The Beatles topped a bill featuring five other acts: The Rhythm & Blues Quartet, The Vernons Girls, The Brook Brothers, Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers, and The Kestrels with MD Frank Berry.

The next day the Daily Mirror newspaper carried the headline: “Beatlemania! It’s happening everywhere.. even in sedate Cheltenham.

Follow this link for a 2013 Daily Beast take on the roots of Beatlemania.

British Beatlemania Born
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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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