United Artists via Everett Collection
The Beatles approached director Stanley Kubrick to make a film adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings novels back in their heyday, according to moviemaker Peter Jackson.
The Fab Four starred in five movies during their career, including A Hard Day's Night and Help! in the 1960s, and when they were considering their third film, the musicians went to Kubrick to discuss adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's books into a movie version but the author had not yet sold the rights.
Tolkien eventually released the book for film adaptation and Jackson brought the franchise to cinemas from 2001.
The director tells Deadline.com, "The Beatles once approached Stanley Kubrick to do The Lord Of The Rings. This was before Tolkien sold the rights. They approached him and he said no. I actually spoke about this with Paul McCartney. He confirmed it. I'd heard rumours that it was going to be their next film after Help. John Lennon was going to play Gollum. Paul was going to play Frodo. George Harrison was going to play Gandalf, and Ringo Starr was going to play Sam. And a lot of other people were going to play other roles."
"Paul was very gracious; he said, 'It was a good job we never made ours because then you wouldn't have made yours and it was great to see yours.' I said, 'It's the songs I feel badly about; you guys would have banged out a few good tunes for this. You were The Beatles, after all. It's a shame we missed out.'"
Rock icon Billy Joel is set to be honoured with America's prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The Piano Man star has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Library of Congress award, which is named after iconic composer George Gershwin and celebrates the lifetime achievements of a living musical artist.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington says, "Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music. When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again."
"Importantly, as with any good storyteller, the recognition experienced in a Billy Joel song is not simply because these are songs we have heard so many times, but because we see something of ourselves in them."
A flattered Joel adds, "The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career and the Library's decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member will be presented with the accolade at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November (14).
Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Carole King, who made history last year (13) as the first woman to ever claim the Gershwin Prize.
United Artists via Everett Collection
The Beatles' influence has touched every inch of modern pop music, leaving an indelible mark on film and television... which is pretty good for four working-class mop tops from Liverpool. Director Ron Howard will be the next to immortalize the band onscreen, in a new documentary that will explore the group's early years, when they still toured their music across the globe. Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison will contribute to the feature, which will trace the band's humble beginnings at the Caven Club in Liverpool, their tours through Germany, all the way through the group's final public performance in San Francisco's Candlestick park. But before we get around to seeing Howard's tribute to the Beatles, we're inclined to look back upon some of the best musical contributions they made to movies and TV.
Bowling for ColumbineThe last half of the John Lennon-penned "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," which may or may not be about heroin, serves as the perfect soundtrack for Michael Moore's anti-gun manifesto Bowling for Columbine. It's used in a terrifying sequence that shows just how gun crazy some Americans are, and as the song ramps up, the sequence escalates to a violent and unnerving conclusion that still has us wincing all these years later.
"Baby, You're a Rich Man" in The Social NetworkWhat better way to end a biopic about one of the richest men in the universe than this cut from Magical Mystery Tour. It's so fitting, it's almost like it was made expressly to cap off David Fincher's tale of billion dollar grudges.
"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" in HelpWe couldn't, in good faith, compile a list of the best Beatles moments in film and television without including a sequence from the Fab Four's own filmography. We chose "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" the film Help for sheer oddness of the sequence. Plus, it's just a great song in general.
"In My Life" in Little ManhattanThe best thing about the Beatles is how timeless their music is. "In My Life," a song about losing and gaining friendships through the slippage of time, is the perfect piece of music to accompany the story about a preteen losing his first love in modern day New York.
"A Little Help From My Friends" on The Wonder YearsJohn Cocker's throaty rendition of "A Little Help from My Friends" graces the title sequence of The Wonder Years, and it may be the best cover song ever recorded. It's even better than the original Beatles tune, and it just makes The Wonder Years a better show. Nowadays, we can't even look at Fred Savage without hearing Cocker's raspy croon blasting through our heads at full volume.
"Come Together" in A Bronx TaleIn a scene from Robert De Niro's directoral debut, a pair of Italian mafiosos rough up a couple of unruly bikers that stop into their bar while "Come Together" spills out of a jukebox. Thanks to the '60s aesthetic, the song is a perfect addition to the scene.
"Hey Jude" in The Royal TenenbaumsFilmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese are often celebrated for their use of pop music in film, but Wes Anderson's musical touches in his work are just as poignant. His use of a beautifully orchestrated version of "Hey Jude" in 2001's The Royal Tenanbaums is a perfect example of this.
"Twist and Shout" in Ferris Bueller's Day OffWe're still not sure if Ferris Bueller is really a wizard, or if it was just the power of music, but the teen somehow brings the entirety of downtown Chicago to a grinding halt for the musical number to end all musical numbers.
Hollywood director Ron Howard is to shoot a new movie about The Beatles. The documentary will trace the Fab Four's career from their early days performing in their native Liverpool, England to their final official concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California in 1966.
The band's surviving members, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, are onboard as producers along with John Lennon and George Harrison's widows, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
Howard says of the project, "My 10th birthday was all about me getting a Beatle wig. While my knowledge isn't encyclopaedic, I'm a lifelong fan and I'm fascinated by what they've meant."
The film is slated to hit movie theatres in late 2015.
Country hitmakers John Anderson, Paul Craft, Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters are set to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The four musicians will be feted by officials at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) at the Music City Center in the Tennessee capital in October (14).
Pat Alger, Chairman of the NSAI Board of Directors, says, "Here in Nashville where the music industry has always been built on a foundation of great songs written by legendary songwriters, each year only a few are elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"This year we are very pleased to welcome the class of 2014: Tom Douglas and Gretchen Peters in the songwriter category; Paul Craft in the veteran songwriter category and John Anderson as our songwriter/artist."
Douglas is known for penning songs for Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert, who scored huge success with The House That Built Me, while Peters wrote McBride's Independence Day and The Chill Of An Early Fall for George Strait.
Craft famously created Ray Stevens' novelty smash It's Me Again, Margaret and singer/songwriter Anderson is famed for tracks like Swingin, Seminole Wind and Shuttin' Detroit Down, which he co-wrote for John Rich.
Last year's (13) honourees included Alabama star Randy Owen and singer Jeffrey Steele.
Moviemaker Richard Lester has opened up about his time shooting films with The Beatles in the 1960s, branding Sir Paul McCartney too enthusiastic to act. The Superman II director helmed the Fab Four's first big screen outing in A Hard Day's Night in 1964 and he went on to work with them again the following year (65) on Help!
Now he has given his verdict on the rock stars' abilities in front of camera, praising George Harrison and Ringo Starr but suggesting McCartney was wise to stick to his music career.
Lester tells NME magazine, "(Harrison) didn't try to do too much, but always hit it right in the middle. (McCartney) was so enthusiastic he perhaps tried too hard. (Lennon) had some cutting words for me at times."
The director said there were concerns among the crew when Starr was tasked to shoot a solo scene but he was delighted when the drummer played his role perfectly.
A Hard Day's Night has been digitally restored and remixed to mark its 50th anniversary, and will be re-released on DVD and Blu-ray later this month (Jul14).
Paul Weller has joined former The Verve rocker Simon Tong in the studio for a collaboration. The former The Jam frontman teamed up with Tong, who left The Verve in 1999, to perform on a single by his band Erland And The Carnival.
Weller played guitar and sang backing vocals on the track called Quiet Love, which will appear on the group's new album Closing Time.
Speaking about the tune, Tong says, "It has a slight George Harrison feel, and it helped sway us to add strings to the album."
Weller is not the first high-profile musician Tong has worked with - he temporarily joined Blur to replace guitarist Graham Coxon and later worked with frontman Damon Albarn in Gorillaz and in supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen.
Actress Piper Perabo has become a voice for refugees around the world thanks to her latest role with the International Rescue Committee. The Coyote Ugly star has been named an IRC Voice for the World's Most Vulnerable, and joins celebrities like Rashida Jones, John Legend and Morena Baccarin among the organisation's celebrity supporters.
As part of her new role, Perabo will raise awareness of "the needs of refugees and people who have been displaced by conflict, religious persecution or political oppression around the world".
She says, "I have tremendous admiration for the work the IRC does both in the United States and around the world. Whether it's assisting refugees who have been forced to flee the Syrian conflict or guiding refugee youth through the New York public school system, their work is important, impactful and transforms lives. I am excited and honoured to join the IRC's team."
Perabo first learned about the IRC from a relative who serves as a caseworker for the organisation's refugee resettlement program in Boise, Idaho.
The IRC was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. Since then, the organisation has enjoyed the support of many high profile artists, including Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Paul McCartney and Paul Newman.
Sir Paul McCartney has bounced back from his shock hospitalisation last month (May14) to celebrate his birthday with friends at a dinner in London. The Beatles legend cancelled the Asian leg of his world tour in May (14) after he was hospitalised in Japan with a virus. He flew home to London a week later to recover and was subsequently pictured looking frail and sickly.
McCartney also postponed the first dates on his U.S. tour, which was due to start in June (14), to give himself more time to rest.
However, he was pictured looking well and in high spirits when he headed for dinner at The Ivy restaurant in the British capital with his wife Nancy Shevell and a host of celebrity pals on Tuesday (17June14), the evening before his 72nd birthday.
He was joined by Ringo Starr's wife Barbara Bach, George Harrison's widow Olivia and the Eagles musicians Joe Walsh and Glenn Frey and their wives.
McCartney is scheduled to resume his Out There tour in Albany, New York on 5 July (14).
The history of iconic British rockers The Beatles is to be charted in a new TV series, according to a U.S. report. Bosses at America's NBC network have allegedly recruited The Tudors creator and producer Michael Hirst to write a new series which will tell the story of John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr's rise to global superstardom.
The programme, which is still in the early stages of development, will see Hirst re-team with his fellow The Tudors executive producers Ben Silverman and Teri Weinberg, and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, who gave The Tudors the go-ahead when he ran the Showtime network, reports Deadline.com.