Beatles 'were to come together again'

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    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1915287,00.html

    Beatles 'were to come together again'
    By James Bone in New York and Adam Sherwin



    IT WOULD have been the sensational return of the Fab Four. But the bullet that killed John Lennon 25 years ago today destroyed plans for a Beatles reunion, according to new claims.

    Lennon was making secret plans to record an album with the other former Beatles when he was killed, Jack Douglas, the producer who was working with him until minutes before his death, told The Times.

    He said in an interview in New York: “He and Paul planned to play on a Ringo album and that’s how they were planning to do it, and George had not come aboard yet.”

    The sticking point, however, was with Harrison. “George was already in a lot of hot water with John because of George releasing his autobiography and not really mentioning much of John in it,” Mr Douglas said. “But I think they assumed that George would come along as soon as the thing got going.”

    Mr Douglas, who won a Grammy award in 1982 for producing Lennon’s Double Fantasy album, said that Lennon had already begun sending him material “earmarked verbally” on tape for the planned Ringo album. But he said that Yoko Ono was unhappy about the proposed reunion.

    “Yoko discouraged Paul coming around,” Mr Douglas said. “There was a writing session somewhere in the Dakota [the apartment block where Lennon and Ono lived] and there was one cancelled which John did not know about, cancelled by a third party,” he said. “He was waiting for Paul to show up. He was told that Paul did not show. Paul was told that John was too busy.”

    The revelations were given credence by a new claim that a £6 million record contract, which McCartney signed with CBS in 1978, contained a clause that allowed him to record with the Beatles at any time.

    But Beatles experts said they were unaware of any Lennon reunion plans. Ray Connolly, author of The Beatles Complete, said: “John liked to help Ringo and this could have been a way he saw to get the guys back together in the studio.

    “But George and Yoko had rows and she would probably have tried to stop a reunion.”

    Eliot Mintz, Ono’s longtime spokesman, confirmed last night that Lennon and Ono had planned to go on a limited tour with Double Fantasy, but added that he knew knothing about the ex-Beatles playing together again.

    Mr Douglas, now 60, said that Lennon spent his final day finishing off a track featuring Yoko called Walking on Thin Ice. After weeks of work, they finally finished the mix at the Hit Factory studio and agreed to meet at 9am the next day to make a master tape.

    “We were all thrilled with it. His [Lennon’s] feeling was that this was the one that was going to take Yoko over the top and make her critically acclaimed, and cut him loose so that he could do his things with ‘the boys’ without Yoko tagging along. She could do her own thing,” Mr Douglas claimed.

    Spurned MBE in royal vault

    THE MBE medal that John Lennon rejected in an antiwar protest has been unearthed in a royal vault (Adam Sherwin writes). Beatles historians have called for the medal to be placed on public display.

    The Fab Four were invested as Members of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1965. At the time hundreds of angry war veterans returned their medals. Lennon followed suit on November 25, 1969.

    In an accompanying letter he wrote: “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With Love, John Lennon.”
     
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