Sunday, August 10, 2014

Remember To Let Her Into Your Heart

My first real active memory of The Beatles probably goes back to around 1979 when I was about 13 years old, & I was at my best friend Kathy's annual summer lake birthday party. This pack of soulful teenage girls would gather around the antique player piano, which included numerous boxes of showtunes that we would load & play until our throats were raw. Karla Plummer would always request the unforgettable "Hey Jude," and I remember singing "Nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah" for what seemed like days. Looking back I think about how hip Kathy's family was for actually having "Hey Jude" as player piano music & I'll think of Karla when I hear that song!

My friend Jude Southerland Kessler definitely knows how to take a sad song & make it better. She has spent decades researching & documenting the rather "sad song" life of John Lennon, which has resulted in three publications in The John Lennon Series. Jude's latest volume She Loves You is truly a book that YOU will love.

Jude will be appearing at The Fest For Beatles Fans next weekend in Chicago. Please read her blog contribution below for all the details - you MUST join me at her presentation on Sunday at 11:15 a.m.!

Jude will appear on my radio show THIS TUESDAY, at 3:00 pm. Click on this show link at 3:00 pm CST to listen live (and please call in!) or you can hear the recorded show anytime after the live show signs off -- use the same link:

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“You CAN Get There From Here”
Can’t You???
by Jude Southerland Kessler
                For the week, I’ve been “workin’ like a dog” (and so has my sweet, supportive husband) on my presentation for The Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans: “You CAN Get There From Here.” And appropriately, that phrase has become my mantra.
My presentation (which will be delivered on Sunday morning, 17 August at 11:15 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt…be there or be square!!) is about The Beatles and how they survived the hectic, daunting year of 1964 – how they pressed on, despite their unbearable schedule.

As I spent 4 hours writing the script for the show, 8 hours or so finding rare Beatles photos to go with each paragraph (110 incredible photos in all), and days helping my husband as he captured these photos for our Power Point, I mulled over the subject matter with more and more significance. Last night, I slept only a couple of hours. My husband slept less. And as I write this to you, he’s still working away on the last set of photos. It has been quite a job putting it all together.
                But in light of what The Beatles faced in the spring and summer of 1964, it seems like a stroll in the park on a gentle autumn day.
George Harrison once said, “In 1964, we seemed to fit a week into every day.” And they did. Between 22 February 1964 when The Beatles returned from America and 19 August 1964 when they flew back to America once again, here’s what they accomplished (in part):
·         Starred in a full-length United Artists’ feature film (2 months of filming from 7 am-5pm) entitled “A Hard Day’s Night”
·         Wrote and recorded all songs for the film’s soundtrack
·         Starred on many BBC television and radio programmes (Saturday Club, Thank Your Lucky Stars, TopGear, and so forth)
·         Wrote a best-selling, Folyles Literary Award winning book (John’s accomplishment: In His Own Write is the book)
·         Starred in a Pathe News documentary, ITV program, and hundreds of live interviews for BBC, ABC, and others
·         Performed in live variety shows (such as Night of 100 Stars)
·         Won the Variety Club “Show Business Personalities of the Year, 1963” award and the Carl Alan Award for distinguished accomplishments in music and received each at a banquet.
·         Attended both the London and Liverpool premieres of “A Hard Day’s Night,” graciously meeting dignitaries such as Princess Margaret and doing interviews with the press.
·         Did a 5-week Summer Seaside Session of live concerts on Sunday nights (their only night off!)
    ·         WENT ON A WORLD TOUR of Australia, New Zealand, etc.
    ·         Did a 3-day tour of Sweden
    ·         Began writing and recording songs for their next LP, to be released just before Christmas

And on and on. And look…this is but a snippet of the things they accomplished. Oh, and John searched for, found, purchased, and moved into a new home. (That alone can put one over the top!)
And in all of this, The Beatles endured. Not only endured, but excelled!
This week in my paltry life, I’m recording two radio shows, finishing the aforementioned Chicago Fest presentation and rehearsing two others that aren’t as big or complicated (but can’t be crappy either!), organizing a fest for September for which I’m the Authors and Artists chairperson, and taking care of my dad, who is…well, not well. And I’m sooooo tempted to feel sorry for myself.

Bill Harry, photo courtesy of Jude Kessler
Yesterday, I wrote to my friend, Bill Harry, (John’s dear friend from Liverpool and the author of at least 10 excellent books on The Beatles and the creator of “MerseyBeat”) and okay…I complained about my hectic schedule. I whined. He answered me almost immediately saying, “Jude, enjoy being busy and productive. It is a wonderful time in your life.”
 What a brilliant and positive man he is! 
I’m sure those four other lads from Liverpool were just as astute. They realized that “workin’ like a dog” is an honor. It means you have something to offer.

If you’re tired and worn out, congrats. You are needed. 

Keep on keepin’ on…and I’ll see you in Chicago! 

Tune in to Jude's radio show - this Monday at 8:00 pm CST - her guest will be the always interesting Rock & Roll Detective, Jim Berkenstadt! He'll be chatting about Jimmie Nicol "The Beatle Who Vanished"  ~ john lennon series 

My Music Nugget Of The Day:
I will be in Chicago Aug. 15-17 at The Fest for Beatles Fans as well. Whenever Maggie & I talked about hanging out in Chicago, this treasured song would always come to our minds - enjoy my Dean-O (and some wine-o)

Check out the latest issue of News 4 U in Evansville - my interview/article with country music star John Pardi is yummy.

Love & Peace,
Lanea Stagg
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