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18 MusicWeek 24.01.14 PROFILE THE BEATLES 50 HOLDING HANDS WITH HISTORY 50 years after The Beatles broke America, close ally Peter Asher gives the inside story



aving Paul McCartney living in the family home in the mid-Sixties meant musician Peter Asher had privileged access to a

Beatle at the height of his creative powers. And one day in 1963 that resulted in him being the first person in the world outside its authors to hear a new Lennon-McCartney song freshly penned in the house’s music room in the basement. As Asher recalls: “Quite early after Paul had

moved in John came over and they were down there I don’t know about an hour or so and Paul called upstairs and asked if I wanted to hear the song they had just completed and I went downstairs and sat on the little sofa and they sat side by side on the piano bench and played the

ABOVE Meet The Beatles: The Fab Four relaxing in Bel Air, Los Angeles, in August 1964

So momentous was this on America and popular

song for the first time anywhere.” The song in question was I Want To Hold Your

Hand, which just a few months later became The Beatles’ breakthrough No 1 in the US, launching the British Invasion of UK artists that flooded the Billboard charts and turning the Fab Four into the most famous people in the world.

culture in general that the 50th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in the States for the first time and performing on the Ed Sullivan show before a record-breaking TV audience of 74 million people is being marked by a series of events. Exactly half-a- century after that broadcast the same US TV network, CBS, will air on Sunday, February 9 a two- hour special called The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles. Among the line-up will be Alicia Keys, John Legend, John Mayer and a reformed Eurythmics. It is preceded this week by Universal – now

custodians of The Beatles’ recording catalogue after buying EMI – reissuing with Apple Corps the group’s 13 US-only albums. These differed from the group’s Sixties UK albums in numerous ways, including having sometimes different titles,

Photo: Bob Bonis (Not Fade Away Gallery)

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