High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John, Paul, George, Ringo and Jaap!




 (...not that there's anything wrong with that.) 

There, I said it! Let's get all of the snickering over with right now. If there are any outbursts later I'll clear the courtroom.
Yes, I admit that I went into a gay establishment but I didn't intend to. Oh alright, Dick Tracy, I guess maybe my first hint should have been the fact that there were no women in the joint. Perhaps I should have put two and two together when I noticed that the walls were covered with framed portraits of divas like Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli.
It just didn't sink in because...well, because I got distracted. Here's what happened (just the facts).

 Friday, May 29th, 1981, 8:45PM:  My partner Frank and I were working the night watch out of LAPD Homicide Division. (Oops!...pardon me...wrong story.) Actually, I was sitting on a bar stool that evening halfway through my first draft beer and paying no attention to the clientele when, to my delight, an exciting medley of Beatles songs began to play on the club's bitchin' sound system. My eyes grew wide in disbelief as the long string of Beatles favorites continued, blended seamlessly and mixed with a nonstop dance beat. It was the coolest thing I ever heard! I wondered where it came from, who assembled it and why didn't I know about it.


Turns out I wasn't listening to the Beatles after all. It was Stars on 45, a Dutch act put together by Jaap Eggermont, formerly of Golden Earring, and consisting of studio musicians recreating the authentic sound of the Beatles and weaving portions of their songs together over a fixed drum/clap track.

The Stars on 45 Beatles medley soared to #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts and spawned other medleys including the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Abba, the Supremes and the Carpenters. Many Beatles tribute bands have emerged in the years since but I never heard any of them imitate the Fab Four better than Stars On!

"Stars on 45 (Medley)" - Stars on 45 
(May/June 1981, highest chart position #1) 

In 1982 I saw the Stars on 45 perform live in concert at a Harrisburg hotel. It was a fabulous show!


Now I'd like to offer a few of my favorite songs by the real Beatles. If you're like me you've heard some Beatles hits so many times that you wouldn't care if you never heard them again. I tried to avoid songs like those and instead present selections that you might not have heard lately and Beatles footage that you might not have seen before. Let's begin with the opening track from the English combo's second UK album With the Beatles. The rocking "It Won't Be Long" was written by John Lennon with an assist by Paul McCartney on lyrics and arrangement.

"It Won't be Long" - Beatles 
December 1963, from album
With the Beatles 

Second in line..."Not a Second Time," another track written by Beatle John and included on With the Beatles.

"Not a Second Time" - Beatles 
December 1963, from album
With the Beatles

The rollicking "When I Get Home," another John Lennon composition, appeared on the album A Hard Day's Night and was first released in America on the album Something New.

"When I Get Home" - Beatles (July 1964, 
from albums A Hard Day's Night and 
Something New

Penned by Paul, "The Night Before" is a track from the album and the film Help!

"The Night Before" - Beatles 
(August 1965, from the album 
and motion picture Help!)



Paul and Linda McCartney wrote the song "Hi Hi Hi" in Spain while Paul was, in his words, "in a sensuous mood." That helps to explain allegations of sexually suggestive lyrics and drug references that got the record banned in the UK by the BBC. Negative publicity often boosts sales and the former Beatle's rowdy recording made it to #5 in Britain and #10 stateside.

"Hi Hi Hi" - Paul McCartney and Wings 
(January 1973, highest chart position #10) 


Ringo Starr and George Harrison wrote "Photograph" and
the two ex-Beatles recorded it with Ringo singing lead and playing drums and George on guitar and harmony vocals. "Photograph" was released as a single in the fall of 1973 and went all the way to #1 in the U.S. while halting at #8 back home in the UK.

"Photograph" - Ringo Starr 
(November 1973, highest chart 
position #1) 


Many songs by the so-called quiet Beatle resonated with me. "If I Needed Someone" is a beautiful George Harrison composition from the UK album Rubber Soul and the USA album Yesterday and Today. The Hollies recorded the song and released it on a single with only modest success. The Beatles version achieved immortality.

"If I Needed Someone" - Beatles 
(December 1965, from UK album
Rubber Soul and 1966 USA album
Yesterday and Today)

A gem from George's solo career, "Blow Away" was released on Valentine's day 1979. At the time everybody and his grandmother was making disco records and "Blow Away" swept in like a fresh cool breeze.

"Blow Away" - George Harrison 
(April 1979, highest chart position 
#16 Billboard, #12 Cash Box, 
#2 Adult Contemporary) 

John Lennon was assassinated 31 years ago today on December 8th, 1980. The following spring George Harrison released "All Those Years Ago," a loving tribute to his friend and former bandmate. The single spent three weeks at the #2 position on the American Billboard chart. In an ironic twist Harrison's record was blocked from the top spot by the band of Beatles imitators the Stars on 45 and their Beatles Medley!

"All Those Years Ago" - George Harrison 
(June 1981, highest chart position #2) 


"I just had to let it go," explained John Lennon when fans, handlers and hangers-on wondered why he retired from the music business and withdrew from the limelight rather than milking his Beatles fame for all it was worth. Lennon reminded all of us that fame and fortune are not the only measures of success. As John discovered, it can be realized in the quiet role of husband and father.

 "But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish 
 to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone 
 without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our 
 relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time.
 Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going 
 to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or 
 any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and 
 neither of us want to be. And you can’t fill a bed with 
 groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger. 
 I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to 
 have someone you love hold you." — John Lennon 

"Watching the Wheels' was the third and final single to be released posthumously from the John Lennon/York Ono album Double Fantasy following John's murder.

"Watching the Wheels - John Lennon 
(May 1981, highest chart position 
#10 Billboard, #7 Cash Box) 

 "There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. 
 When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we 
 are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion,
 excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love 
 ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we 
 cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability 
 to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all 
 hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open- 
 hearted vision of people who embrace life."-- John Lennon 

31 years and counting, John. 
We will always remember.

Have a Shady day!


  1. Oh, Shady, I was remembering that this morning, that it was the anniversary of his senseless death. What a tragic shame that was. I enjoyed hearing about the Stars on 45. I used to listen to PMC and Wings and didn't know the back story to Hi Hi Hi. That explains a lot!

    It's good to see Sir Paul still going strong and in what I hope will be a lasting relationship with Nancy.

    As good as all the imitators are, though, they just won't ever be the Beatles. I didn't really discover them until the late 70's, and I felt a little cheated that I wasn't old enough to enjoy them fully in their heyday.

    Take care, my friend, and be sure to watch what bars you may enter into...

  2. Shelly - I'm proud to tell you that I've been on the wagon for the last 20 years and haven't been in bars of any kind. Yes, this is a date on the calendar which brings back many memories good and bad and also brings tears to the eyes of millions of people around the world. The night of the assassination made an indelible mark in my mind. I was producing the 11pm newscast when the bulletin crossed the wires. I read the headline in shocked disbelief, ripped it off the machine, ran it to the studio and had our anchor team break the news to our viewers. The world couldn't afford to lose a man like John Lennon. Thank you very much for your comments, dear Shelly, and have a great Thursday!

  3. Good for you, Shady! I was just making a tongue in cheek reference to the type of bar it was. I went back and looked at how old John was when he died- that's incredible that he was so young. Of course, at the time, I thought he was bordering on elderly, but I wonder what he would have accomplished, musically and otherwise, had he lived.

  4. Shelly - You're right. I get survivor's remorse when I realize how young John was when he was taken from us. He had much to offer the world and I have no doubt that he would still be influential today if still alive.

    Anybody here seen my old friend John?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He freed a lot of people,
    But it seems the good they die young.
    I just looked around and he's gone.

    Thanks for the follow-up, dear friend!

  5. Beach Boys, John Lennon, Paul McCartney! Awesome list today Shady! :)

  6. I absolutely love the Beatles (like most of the world population probably!). Mum threw a box of chocolates on stage when they played in Plymouth once (or at least she tells me it was chocolates!). I love Paul McCartney and Wings as well as my Dad was a huge fan. Really great listening to all these songs again that still sound so fresh! Have a shady day! We're eating birthday cake in this neck of the woods today :)

  7. Hmm...I just knew I had met you somewhere before, Shady, err, I mean Tom. So it was 'that place' back in '81 and I see you are still smokin' a pipe. ☺ Jus' kiddin' folks!

    A very special memorial to John Lennon, Tom, I really enjoyed listening to the music and seeing the videos. It was amazing to me to hear "Stars on 45". You gave a good description of how they put together their recordings. Glad you were able to see them in '82. The "Not a Second Time" color video was good and noticed at least three of the Beatles with cigarettes. I was happy to hear "Photograph" again especially "Watching the Wheels". Such wise words in the Lennon quotes you shared and I loved those. In the spring of '74 in Nashville, while standing at 28th N. and West End, I looked up and there's Paul and Linda in a Rolls Royce driving down the street. They (Wings) were visiting Nashville for five weeks in 1974.

    Thank you, Tom!

    •:*¨¨*:•.One of the BEST!•:*¨¨*:•.

  8. Kristina - Surely the songs of Lennon and McCartney appear on many lists but I tried to pick a few songs that aren't heard quite as often. I suspect that your fur babies might enjoy listening to these Mop Tops tunes. Rumor has it that Wyatt likes George and Linka is particularly fond of Ringo. I'm glad you took a peek and enjoyed yourself while here today. Thanks for your visit and comments, dear Kristina!

    Gawgus Thingy - Your mum threw chocolates at the Fab Four? I never heard of a fan doing such a thing before. Too bad she didn't have a quantity of your scrummy cinnamon buns to toss at the Liverpoolians. They might have invited her backstage! (LOL) These songs do sound fresh today, don't they? They're classics, ageless and timeless, just like you, dear friend. Thank you very much for delighting me with your visit and once again I wish your lovely daughter a happy birthday!

    Cindy - That was YOU? Good lord, Cindy, that was ME, the guy who was standing right next to you at 28th & West End that day. Don't you remember? You got so excited over Paul and Linda that you started shouting, jumping and waving at them. You knocked the pipe out of my mouth, it bounced once on the pavement and disappeared down a storm drain! You offered to replace it but you looked so cute in your Nixonette costume that I decided to go easy on you! It's a small world after all! (LOL) Your memory must be fading, dear friend, because I guarantee that nobody in that gay bar resembled you. :) Thank you for joining me in remembering John Lennon today. If you noticed my Dragnet gag at the beginning of the post I should point out that veteran character actor Harry Morgan, who co-starred in Dragnet as well as M.A.S.H., died yesterday at age 96. Thank you very much for making me smile and laugh with your comments, dear Cindy!

  9. RIP John! I don't know if you've seen the recent film Nowhere Boy based on John's early life growing up in Liverpool and his struggles with his family. I didn't know much about him before I saw the film but it's sad that he had such heartbreak at such a young age. I suppose that's probably what contributed to making him the great songwriter has was! Although I do have a soft spot for George Harrison (especially I Got My Mind Set On You from his solo career)

    Hope you're keeping well in Florida friend!

    Emma x

  10. Emma - Hello, dear friend, and welcome to my Crackerbox Palace! (LOL) I admit that the two Beatles who are no longer with us were my favorite ones. I can't listen to George's material without becoming misty eyed and I miss John so much 31 years later that it's very hard for me to come to grips with what happened to him. I didn't see that film about his boyhood but now I want to. Thank you very much for helping me to observe the grim anniversary of John's death, dear Emma. It's good to know that you admired him and George as much as I did.

  11. holy crap they really do sound like the fab four. A friend of mine keeps telling me to go see Rain which I guess is a Beatles tribute kind of thing but nothing can compare to the actual band. I know I would just leave disappointed.....and drunk. You should totally take Emma's advise and watch Nowhere Boy if you havent already. really great film.

  12. Amber Girly Bird (formerly Amber Blue Bird) - You've seen Nowhere Boy, too? That seals the deal. I must and will see it! Yessum, Rain is a modern Beatles tribute act. I've seen them perform on a couple of programs and, in my opinion, they don't even come close to matching the sound, the look or the charisma of the original act. The Stars on 45 were mainly a studio group that did limited touring. They were primarily meant to be heard but not seen, allowing listeners to use their imagination and envision the Beatles performing the extended medley, something I doubt they ever did in real life. Thanks so much for coming over to see me, Amber. Have a wonderful evening and stay warm up there!

  13. I love the Beatles' music. Timeless describes it perfectly, Tom. You mention that you were producing a news report when John Lennon was shot. I was going to ask you what your 'day job' was after the last comment on my blog. I thought you had to have been involved in writing, editing or publishing since you write brilliantly. So, come clean now, please and tell us all exactly what you do and why it is that you have such a finely honed writing ability. Apart from your blog, do you do any other serious writing? If not, I think you should. I am just about falling asleep now after a long and busy day, so without further ado I'm off to bed.

  14. Oh, I did enjoy listening to all these songs today dear friend Tom! And yes, Gawgus was right, I throw a huge box of chocolates onto the stage when I saw them appear in my home town. At that time, no=one could hear a word they were singing, because there was so much screaming going on! The chocolates were aimed at George. He was always my favourite. I always thought from the start that he was the most sensitive one. I still have my vinyl LP of Help up in the loft. Wonder if it's worth anything now? Probably not. No doubt it's lovely and warm over there, whilst it's been cold, rainy and with gale force winds over here in Devon. Deep joy, but listening to your songs today really brightened my day, so thank you for that.

  15. Desiree - Awwwww shucks, ma'am. I reckon I write some purdy words now an agin but I ain't never had that much fancy city slicker book learnin' or nuthin'.

    Apart from my blog, my friend, the only serious writing I do is on your blog! (LOL) Dear Desiree, you must consider the fact that you are one of the newer kids on my block. There are several posts published earlier this year in which I shared stories of my career as a television news reporter, anchor, producer and videographer and, later on, my second career as head of production at television station patterned after MTV. That job involved writing, producing and directing commercials, promotions, long form commercial, industrial and seminar presentations as well as music videos. Now that you have coaxed me into posting my resume I hope your curiosity is satisfied. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I don't consider myself nearly as good a writer as you, Desiree, although I have improved slightly during my years of blogging. Sleep well, dear friend, and have a fine day tomorrow and a fabulous weekend!

    Thisisme - Hello, dear friend! How are you feeling? You are a trouper for taking the time to visit and comment and I do hope these songs brightened your day even as we observe the depressing anniversary of John's assassination. It must have been electrifying for you to see the Beatles up close and personal right there in your home town! I can't imagine the excitement! I've seen many clips of their concert performances and the girls were always screaming so loudly that you couldn't hear much of anything. My weather? It was pleasantly cool here today for the first time in a long time. It's after 5pm and I still have the windows open if that gives you any indication. Please take good care of yourself, dear Thisisme. I care about you very much!

  16. After reading the above comments I must see that film too. A lovely tribute to the Beatles and John. I remember the day he died I cried all night long. It was such a sad day. He had a unique voice, unlike any other singer and wrote great songs. I was always happy he found Yoko and raised his son Sean. He seems very happy the last years of his life.

    It was wonderful for me to watch the videos as well as hear the music. I hadn't heard George's tribute song to John before and looked up the lyrics. Beautiful words. I have also enjoyed the songs George has written over the years.

    I have a Wings CD but still don't remember HI Hi Hi. I'm not crazy about the melody so maybe that is why. I listened closely and yes, I can see why it would have been banned. :) He certainly found true love with Linda. She was a great lady. Thanks for the memories and lovely music today, Shady.

  17. Belle - December 8, 1980 was one of the saddest days of my life and I have since dubbed it "the day the music died... again." The senseless slaying of John was just as big a loss to me as the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I'm still bitter over it. I'm so glad you got a chance to hear "All Those Years Ago" for the first time. Isn't it ironic that the Stars on 45 imitators blocked George's record from the top of the chart? I remember you telling me that you don't care for Ringo's solo recordings. I do like his "Photograph" and "It Don't Come Easy." Thank you very much, dear friend Belle, for joining me in this celebration of the Beatles and their songs and the tribute to my fallen hero John Lennon.

  18. Sorry I'm late...what a spectacular tribute to John Lennon, and all the Beatles for that matter. 'The Night Before' was one of my favorites, and 'If I Needed Someone'. You bring back some of the fonder memories of the Beatles. I've never heard of the Stars of 45, but they sound great! I did attend a 64 tribute to the Beatles at Fort Worth's Bass Hall a year ago,and they were very good-couldn't see them too close, but they looked to be an older group, and I think they said they had been around for 25 years!

    So! You heard the music and soon forgot where you were? A funny story! I hope you're doing well Shady. I didn't miss your last post, but will have to go back to take more of it in.

    Kudos to John Lennon...'Give Peace a Chance!'

  19. Hi, Susan! Based on the time stamp of your comment, 7:33 Pacific (10:33 Eastern Time), you posted it only minutes before the time John was shot outside The Dakota "all those years ago." Thank you for being here to hold a candle and join us in remembering the man, his music and his legacy. The Stars on 45 had me fooled that night in 1981 and they amazed me on a subsequent album release with an extended Abba medley in which they mimicked the sound of the Swedish super group with startling accuracy. SO45 consisted of an assortment of male and female vocalists in the studio laying down verses of popular songs. From what I've read few of them knew English and had to sing phonetically. Are you saying that the Beatles tribute band that you saw a year ago only sang their 1964 songs? If so it seems like a good idea to pick one narrow phase of the Beatles' evolution and master it rather than trying to encompass all of their changes in appearance and musical style the way some tribute acts try to do. Thank you very much for your comments, dear Susan. Have a great weekend, my friend!

  20. What an impressive resume! Now I'm too afraid to open my mouth, or rather, continue to tap my keyboard. What an extraordinarily interesting life you have led. When I have time, I'll dig through those archives of yours. It hadn't occurred to me to look there, since your blog seems to be largely about 'the music you love' than about yourself. You appear to maintain a reserve on your blog, which made it difficult to ask my question, since I most certainly did not want to pry. Your eloquence, however, gave me the courage to do so, since I guessed you had to have had some considerable experience as a writer. Your descriptions of the gardens on my blog make mine look quite lowly. And this is not tossed out as idle flattery. It is a sincere compliment! Thank you so much for answering my question so warmly :)

  21. Desiree - Ha! I just came back over here after commenting on your latest post. I suppose you and I are having our first quarrel, dear friend, because I disagree with you when you assert that I am the better writer. Nay! Nay! It is you, Desiree. You write circles around me. You are out of my league and in a class by yourself. Now that we got that straightened out I will tell you that I greatly appreciate your return visit. I will also take this opportunity to wish you a very happy weekend, my dear friend!

  22. This quarrel has now been elevated to a fisticuffs. After the impressive review you left in response to seeing Henk's garden and perusing his website, I cannot stand back and have you elevate my writing above yours. No way, Tom! What you wrote is masterful and I hope Henk will visit my blog and read your comment, especially. Thank you so much for your gift :)
    Now, may I invite you to be my Guest Blogger, to write freely on any subject that takes your fancy and in your own time? That way we can avoid giving each other bruises and a black eye. We don't really want to spoil our appearance so close to Christmas, do we? Besides, I'd love others to be exposed to your writing more broadly. I know they all read your comments already and think you're quite something. My hope is that you accept, but I won't be offended if you decline.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well :)

  23. Desiree - You are too kind, dear friend. I am very flattered by your offer to be a guest blogger but I can't imagine what I could write about that would be of interest to your particular group of followers. May I please have some time to think about it before giving you an answer? Again, I am deeply honored by your proposal, dear Desiree, and I wish you a safe and happy weekend!

  24. Hello, I'm back for good. Thank you for your kind words when I wasn't feeling my best, it meant a lot. I can't believe it's been a year since we met, how time flies! I hope your doing well anyway and as I can see your still up to your old tricks which is nice to see :) If you haven't yet seen 'George Harrison: Living in the Material World' by director Martin Scorsese, I urge you to. It's such a wonderful documentary about George.

    Have a good weekend, my friend :)

  25. Well hello, dear Leanne! I'm delighted to see you over here again. Yes, a year has flown by since we met under less than perfect circumstances, our shared grief over the loss of John. His death still stings every bit as much as it did 31 years ago. I will make it a point to see that George Harrison documentary by Scorsese. Thank you for adding it to our list of must sees. I hope that your life is gaining momentum and that 2012 will be a banner year for you, Leanne. Thank you very much for visiting and please come back soon!

  26. Well, it's good to be back! I know, it's still such a great loss and sometimes his songs brings tears to my eyes. Your welcome for the recommendation. Thank you very much, I will do my best to make sure next year is definitely my year! I have changed my Url. So I can be found at
    I sure will be back :)

  27. Hi, Leanne! Thanks for telling me that your URL changed. I had Ramble On in my blog list just a couple of days ago and didn't notice it was missing till now. I got your new blog added and I am thrilled to have you back among us. You're looking beautiful! Happy weekend, dear friend!

  28. Hi, Tom!

    I was able to look over your new blog Friday, was impressed but unable to alot time to savor it. I have finally finished enjoying it, as well as feeling saddened because John and
    George are no longer with us. I thought you had made a mistake when I listened to Stars on 45. I was convinced they were the actually Beatles recordings with the most clever editing ever. I checked on Wikipedia and had my mind blown! They were really other people singing the Beatles songs! Are you sure the bar wasn't Club My-O-My at Penn State---two bars in one? (LOL) Guess that BA in Journalism has paid off for you, judging by your writing as well as the comments. I thoroughly enjoyed your choice of Beatles songs, together and individually. I hadn't known that George, also my favorite Beatle, sang harmony on "Photograph". I also think "No, No, No, No" and "Goodnight Vienna" are good Ringo songs. I also enjoy Paul, John and George's solo efforts and have had several of them. I will have to rent "Nowhere Boy" and "George Harrison: Living in the Material World". I also recommend the DVD "Concert for George" as a beautiful tribute concert to him. When I first viewed it, I thought his son, Dani, was George, still alive but with cancer. Great work!

    Your friend,

  29. Hi, Ron! Thanks for adding Concert for George to our must see list. I predicted that you and Jerre would assume that I discovered the Stars on 45 at the My-O-My but that wasn't the case. I discovered Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes there! (LOL) My true story took place at a bar in Lancaster although I can't remember its name or exact location. If I can remember the 80s I wasn't there, know what I mean? I'm glad you found out about the Stars on 45 and I encourage you to try their Carpenters, Stones , Stevie Wonder and Abba medleys. They also made medleys of big band era hits, various artists' 60s hits, 70s disco hits, you name it. Thanks so much for coming over, Ron, and I'll see you in your next feature coming up early next year!


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