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McCartney Takes on New Musical Lease of Life
30-OCT-97 By Paul Majendie LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - At 55, the creative juices are really flowing for Sir Paul McCartney. The Beatle who wrote pop classics with John Lennon at such phenomenal speed has taken on a new lease of musical life and is topping charts around the world all over again. One of the 20th century's most famous composers has no plans to retire graciously to the strains of ``Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64.''

His first solo pop album for four years -- ``Flaming Pie -- went ``gold'' on both sides of the Atlantic when it was released this summer. It was his biggest success since the Beatles disbanded 27 years before. Critics panned his first solo classical work -- ``Standing Stone,'' released this month -- but it was a runaway bestseller, going to Number One in both Britain and the United States in the classical charts. Now he is doing most of the voices and singing all the songs for a children's cartoon film called ``Tropic Island Hum.'' He is even trying his hand at painting with some sweeping impressionist canvasses. Knighted in March by Queen Elizabeth for his services to the pop industry, he hates being called ``Sir'' and thought Lennon, murdered by a crazed gunman in 1980, would have been embarrassed and sent the knighthood back.

Nothing stops the composer who can neither read nor write music. With his impish charm and boyish good looks surviving well into middle age, he has found Beatlemania will not die. Teenagers screamed with delight when he returned for an autograph-signing session to the London shop where he got by with a little help from friends who clinched the first Beatles record deal 35 years ago. He has amassed a fortune of more than 150 million pounds ($242.5 million), outstaying Cole Porter and Irving Berlin to become the biggest commercial success in the history of popular music. ``Yesterday'' is the world's most recorded song.

STRIVING TO CONQUER NEW HORIZONS But he is always striving to conquer new horizons. Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti asked McCartney to sing with him to raise money to set up a musical centre for the war children of Bosnia in Mostar. ``I would be very happy to collaborate with him if I got the chance,'' McCartney said as two of the world's most famous voices met at the annual Gramophone classical music awards in London. McCartney even burst into a few bars of opera when they appeared for a photo call and teased Pavarotti about soccer, a shared passion. The former Beatle, whose trim figure pays tribute to his wife Linda's vegetarian cooking, was convinced ``I am the better footballer.'' The bulky Pavarotti, mindful of Italy's 0-0 draw in their recent World Cup qualifier with England, adopted a note of fake humility with a twinkle in his eye and said: ``He is English. I am just Italian.''

McCartney was in reflective mood about his sudden new burst of creativity. ``It comes in periods. Sometimes you just feel like writing and I've just felt like writing in the last couple of years. I've got a few things on the go,'' he told Reuters. ``I've got the music for an animated children's cartoon and then I've got some smaller pieces from my 'Standing Stone' concert and I think we will be putting those out as a record next year possibly.'' Music critics dismissed ``Standing Stone'' as background music, complaining that the piece was tired, middle-aged and spineless. After he was called back to the stage six times and given a standing ovation at its London premiere, the criticism was like water off a duck's back to McCartney who scoffs at the barriers between classical and pop. ``In truth I expected this as I am crossing over from my field to their field and some people are a little snobbish about that,'' he said, referring to the critics. ``It is not a bad thing. Many people who did good work were criticised heavily. So I rather like to have some bad criticism in there.''

Next stop for the symphony, commissioned to mark the centenary of the EMI record label, will be Carnegie Hall in New York next month. McCartney helped to revolutionise pop music in the Sixties, won the adulation of millions of fans around the world and become one of the most successful singer-songwriters of the century. But he still appears hungry and motivated, as eager as ever to prove himself in a new musical field. Pushing himself clearly gives McCartney pleasure. ``I don't think anyone has to be invited to write an orchestral piece but I like to be invited because I enjoy a deadline,'' he said. ``When people say we would like you to do something in two years' time, it focuses you a bit. That's why I like it.'' 

McCartney Tops British Charts With Classical Symphony

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney has topped the classical charts on both sides of the Atlantic with the first symphonic work he has composed on his own.

"Standing Stone" went to No. 1 in both the United States and Britain, prompting a delighted reaction from McCartney Monday.

"I'm very pleased that so many people seem to like 'Standing Stone.' It's exciting for me to work in a different musical field. I really see no barriers in music, although I think too many people do," he said.

The symphony, slated by music critics but lapped up by fans, was given its world premiere last week by the London Symphony Orchestra.

McCartney brings 'Beatlemania' to the '90s
October 16, 1997

LONDON (AP) -- Teen-agers screamed, police held back the crowd, and Paul McCartney signed autographs Thursday as fans, mostly too young to remember the real thing, replayed a bit of Beatlemania.

McCartney, now 55, sang a line of "It's Now Or Never" when he showed up for an album-signing to mark the
reopening of the refurbished HMV record store in London's Oxford Street shopping district.

"It's nice to meet people," said McCartney, signing records, shaking hands and looking cheerful. "Anyway, I've
got the afternoon off now."

It was at an HMV store in Oxford Street that Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, gave an early demo tape to
producer George Martin. That was the introduction which launched the Beatles' career.
                 It's Beatlemania all over again. QuickTime movie (length 27sec, 1,044k)

Thursday October 16 12:57 PM EDT

McCartney Signs Autographs At London Record Shop

By Susan Cornwell

LONDON (Reuters) - To the screams of teenagers and of fans reliving their youth, Paul McCartney returned
Thursday to the shop where he got by with a little help from friends who clinched the first Beatles record deal 35
years ago.

"It's one of the places where they launched the first Beatle records. So I had to come back, didn't I?" McCartney
told the cheering crowd outside the HMV record shop in London's Oxford Street.

Like extras in a Beatles movie, the fans roared back their approval as office workers waved from a department
store across the street.

Then the throng poured into the record shop for what organizers said was McCartney's first album-signing in
Britain since 1963. But many went away disappointed.

Security guards said some 2,000 people were allowed into the cavernous store. But only about 250 could line
up in a special queue to buy McCartney's latest albums, "Flaming Pie" and the symphonic work "Standing
Stone," and have them autographed by the former Beatle.

"I came today at 10 a.m. for nothing," said Kasia Brylska, 30, who was nearly in tears when she realized she
was only in a "picture-taking," not a "signing" queue.

"I came here especially from Poland for this and for the concert two nights ago," she said, referring to the
premiere of McCartney's "Standing Stone" classical music symphony at London's Royal Albert Hall Tuesday. "It
is a lot of money. I am really disappointed."

For others, though, just seeing McCartney -- now Sir Paul McCartney since he was honored earlier this year by
Queen Elizabeth -- capped a lifetime of devoted Beatlemania.

"I was one of those screaming girls who went out to Heathrow airport when the Beatles arrived and left in the
1960s," said 44-year-old Lynne Moran of London.

"But I never got to see them in concert. My mum said I was too young. She didn't know about the airport," Moran
said with a giggle.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Deborah Fletcher, 18, said she had been waiting in line for six hours.

"I've been a fan since I was 13. I saw the film 'Help,' and I just wanted to find out more about them," she said.

McCartney came to sign autographs at HMV to pay back a favor from 1962, when Beatles manager Brian
Epstein asked for help from an old pal, Bob Boast, then the manager of the record store.

Boast set up a meeting with George Martin, who was then a staff producer for Parlophone records, and that led
to a contract with Parlophone, said Rob Partridge, spokesman for HMV.

"Standing Stone," was another first for McCartney -- his first solo classical music symphony -- and it opened to
mixed reviews from music critics earlier this week. But on the sidewalk outside HMV, the crowd thought it was
just great.

"You could play a lot of Beatles music on the violin," said Lynne Baines, 47, who had driven several hours from
Liverpool overnight with her husband and 18-year-old son to see McCartney. "I don't see a lot of difference,

Paul McCartney Wins Standing Ovation For Symphony

By Jill Serjeant

LONDON, Oct 15(Reuters) - Paul McCartney, the former Beatle who can neither read or write music, won a standing ovation Tuesday for the world premiere of his first solo classical music symphony.

London's Royal Albert Hall echoed to screams of delight and cries of "We love you, Paul" reminiscent of the Beatles' heyday in the 1960s as the London Symphony Orchestra and choir played the last notes of McCartney's symphonic poem "Standing Stone."

The 75-minute-long work, which took four years to write, was McCartney's most ambitious foray yet into classical music.

It was written on a keyboard linked up to a computer program to overcome McCartney's legendary inability to write down the music which has made him one of the 20th century's most successful singer-songwriters.

McCartney's wife Linda accompanied him to the world premiere, making her first public outing since suffering from breast cancer 18 months ago.

McCartney was called back to the stage six times by cheering crowds, who have already put the symphony at the top of the U.S. classical music charts and at number two in the British classical charts.

"I've loved the stretch of writing 'Standing Stone'," McCartney told a news conference before the performance. "It's exciting for me to work in a different musical field, although I really see no barriers in music and I still love my rock and roll."

The symphony, commissioned to mark the centenary of McCartney's EMI record label, follows his 1991 Liverpool Oratorio, which was written in conjunction with British conductor Carl Davis.

The Liverpool Oratorio was slammed by the critics as lightweight, but it proved popular with audiences and has been performed more than 100 times in 20 countries.

"Standing Stone" looks likely to follow the same pattern. Some classical music critics have already dismissed it as "background music."

Hilary French, writing in the Times, called it "a sad monument; it is tired, it is middle-aged."

Rock music critic Andrew Smith said the symphony had a "few pretty tunes, but lacks a spine, an overriding vision."

But McCartney appeared unperturbed by the critics and cheerfully admits to having a scant classical musical background.

"I don't know much about classical music at all. When I was a kid, my dad always used to turn it off when it came on the radio," said 55-year-old McCartney.

"I am quite lucky. It's like a big black hole in there with me when I sit down...Sometimes it is a bit of an Advantage to not know much. Ignorance is bliss in my case," he added.

McCartney says the symphony represents an evolution rather than a break with his pop past, recalling how the Beatles distinguished themselves from other 1960s bands by using a trumpet descant on "Penny Lane" or a string quartet on "Eleanor Rigby."

"Throughout my musical career, rather than staying in one place I've moved from one stepping stone to another," he said.

Knighted by Queen Elizabeth this year for his services to the pop music industry, the title "Sir Paul" makes unpretentious McCartney feel uncomfortable.

"I am highly honoured but I am very proud of the title 'Mr'. It is working reminds me of who I am and where I am from," he said.

"Standing Stone" was conducted by Lawrence Foster with ticket sales from the charity premiere going to the Music Sound Foundation, which aims to assist and encourage young people's interest in music.

The work is due to be performed again at the Carnegie Hall in New York in November.

McCartney's Chloe Scores, McQueen's Givenchy Stings

By Lee Yanowitch

PARIS (Reuters) - The paparazzi and television cameras mobbing Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney at his daughter's debut collection for the Chloe fashion house Wednesday were a reminder of what the event was really about -- star-studded entertainment.

Stella McCartney's spring-summer ready-to-wear performance was a brilliant publicity coup for Chloe, holding the fashion crowd in suspense since she was named in April to replace Karl Lagerfeld, who had quit to focus his energies on Chanel and his signature line.

But that did not hide the fact that the clothing was beautiful, with a fresh romanticism and focus on tailoring that is the strong side of the British designers.

There was a very English type of romance in the sprays of clematis and dandelion blossoms strewn across 1940s-style retro silk dresses, and the Wedgewood stripes on a sheer black negligee or ruffle-edged lace-up silk corsets over slender, pale taffeta skirts.

Sheer white linen camisoles with cutwork and lace edging, very English nightgown dresses and delicate satin lingerie gowns edged with ivory lace set the mood of this collection, which started off to the strains of "All You Need is Love."

McCartney's Saville Row experience paid off in the tailored black coats lined with hot pink satin and the bell-bottomed trouser suits in ivory linen or soft blue cotton blends, worn over sexy little camisoles.

Bias-cut strips of fabric sewn as spiraling stripes on slim satin evening skirts were a technical showpiece to prove that her craftsmanship was up to snuff.

There was a false note in a disco series of hot pink satin slip dresses and sparkly dark chiffon dresses, their skirts hiked high on the thigh with draw strings.

McCartney, who dedicated the collection to her mother Linda -- who was wearing a boyish bob when she and husband Paul made their entrance -- said in a press release that "feeling has been the driving force behind my work."

"What I really want is that women feel right in my clothes, comfortable, aware, tender and sexy. I don't intend to dress intellectuals, but rather intelligent women, women who are sensitive, energetic and feminine," she said.

Dawn Mello, president of U.S. department store Bergdorf Goodman said McCartney was "obviously going to be one of our great talents for the future."

"What I liked was the fact that she understood perfectly what Chloe is about: feminine clothes, lace trims, lovely soft prints. But it didn't look retro, it was very modern. she manage to marry them in a way that was right on target," Mello said.

"I think she will start a trend toward femininity that will influence other designers. It's certainly
something that's been missing," she added.

McCartney Symphony Gets London World Premiere
Tuesday October 14
By Jill Serjeant

LONDON (Reuters) - Paul McCartney, the Beatles singer-songwriter who never learned to write or read music, stages the world premiere Tuesday of his most ambitious foray into the classical music world. "Standing Stone," described as a symphonic poem by the Liverpool lad who rose to become Sir Paul, is to be performed by the London Symphony Orchestra exactly 40 years to the week since the former Beatle played his first public concert in a pop band.

The 75-minute-long symphony -- McCartney's second full-scale classical work -- has already won the people's vote. Released on disc last month, it is currently at the top of the U.S. classical music charts and holds the No. 2 spot in the British charts.

"I've loved the stretch of writing 'Standing Stone,"' McCartney said Tuesday. "It's exciting for me to work in a different musical field, although I really see no barriers in music, and I still love my rock and roll."

The symphony, commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of the EMI Group Plc., follows his 1991 "Liverpool Oratorio," which was written in conjunction with British conductor Carl Davis. "Standing Stone" is a solo effort, written by McCartney on a keyboard linked to a computer program.

"I don't know much about classical music at all. When I was a kid, my dad always used to turn it off when it came on the radio," McCartney, 55, cheerfully told a news conference.

But McCartney, whose 1960s hit "Yesterday" is still the world's most recorded song, sees his lack of formal music education as a plus.

"I am quite lucky. It's like a big black hole in there with me when I sit down. .. Sometimes it is a bit of an advantage to not know much. Ignorance is bliss in my case," he said.

The "Liverpool Oratorio" was slammed by the critics as lightweight but proved popular with audiences and has been performed more than 100 times in 20 countries.

"Standing Stone" appeared likely to follow the same pattern. Some classical music critics already have dismissed it as "background music." Hilary French, writing in The Times, called it "a sad monument; it is tired, it is middle-aged." Rock music critic Andrew Smith said the symphony had a "few pretty tunes, but lacks a spine, an overriding vision."

But McCartney seems unperturbed by the critics. For him, classical music is simply a challenge he wants to tackle in the same way climbers scale mountains -- because they are there.

"It's for me. Nobody else. ... No. I'm not out to show the world what I can do. I think I've shown the world enough already," he said in a recent interview.

McCartney says the symphony represents an evolution rather than a break with his past, recalling how the Beatles distinguished themselves from other 1960s pop groups by using a trumpet descant on "Penny Lane" or a string quartet on "Eleanor Rigby."

"Throughout my musical career, rather than staying in one place, I've moved from one stepping stoneto another. With The Beatles, we would use the instruments we found lying around the studio and explore different instrumental colors," he said.

McCartney appeared devoid of pretension despite a career that has made him one of the richest and most popular songwriters of the century. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II this year for his services to the pop music industry, the title "Sir Paul" makes him feel uncomfortable.

"I am highly honored, but I am very proud of the title 'Mr'. It is working class. ... it reminds me of who I am and where I am from," he said.

"Standing Stone" will be performed at London's Royal Albert Hall by the 300-strong London Symphony Orchestra and chorus, conducted by Lawrence Foster. Proceeds from ticket sales were going to the Music Sound Foundation charity, which aims to assist and encourage young people's interest in music.

McCartney Daughter Grabs Paris Fashion Limelight
10-OCT-97 By Lee Yanowitch

PARIS, Oct 10 (Reuter) - A British designer will once again steal the spotlight at the Paris fashion shows opening on Monday when Beatle offspring Stella McCartney unveils her debut collection for Chloe.

McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney, will stage her collection next Wednesday at the Opera Garnier in what will undoubtedly be the highpoint of the nine-day Spring Summer ready-to-wear season.

A total of 91 houses will present catwalk collections to invited guests, while 44 others will unveil their creations on appointment.

A spokeswoman for the house said McCartney, whose parents Paul and Linda will turn out for their daughter's big break, will send out about 100 outfits, including "very well-cut suits with lacy things. It's very feminine, very beautiful and very romantic".

McCartney's appointment, like that of fellow countrymen John Galliano at Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen at Givenchy, appears to be part of a marketing strategy of hiring high-profile designers to heighten a label's visibility and boost the sales of lucrative spin-off products such as perfume.

However, judging from the London-based signature line that she abandoned to take the job at Chloe, her style is more subdued than that of the theatrical Galliano or subversive McQueen.

McCartney's new role at Chloe has in the meantime stimulated a rush of interest. The fashion house has been flooded with requests for invitations to next Wednesday's collection and interviews with the designer.

"It's too much, much too much. There's no way we can accommodate everyone," the spokeswoman said.

Chloe executives have even decided to do away with standing room -- last-minute admission to people without invitations, a common practice at the fashion shows -- in order to avoid a frenzied crush of fans determined to see the designer and her famous father.

McCartney was appointed in April to replace Germany's Karl Lagerfeld who had left Chloe -- one of four fashion houses he designed for -- the month before to devote more time to Chanel and his signature collection KL.

A graduate of London's celebrated Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design which spawned British fashion talents Galliano and McQueen, McCartney worked with Christian Lacroix on his first couture collection when she was 15.

Her work, influenced by a love of antique clothing and, like McQueen, by a solid background in men's tailoring on London's Savile Row, is also expected to dust off the label and give a new twist to its early reputation as a purveyor of romantic styles.

Chloe's choice of McCartney is part of a trend by Paris fashion houses to lookbeyond France's borders for fresh and exciting talent.

It began with the arrival of Galliano and McQueen, but has since extended to other firms such as Hermes, Guy Laroche, Lanvin and luggage and accessories line Louis Vuitton, which is launching a ready-to-wear next year by U.S. designer Mark Jacobs.

Hermes, the aristocratic maker of horsey fashion, luggage and accessories, has made the unlikely choice of Belgian avant-gardist Martin Margiela, who will show his first collection for the house next March.

American Alber Elbaz made his debut at Guy Laroche in March to mixed reviews, while Brazilian designer Ocimar Versolato, although immensely talented, has had a rough start at Lanvin.

Meanwhile the house of Balenciaga, which let its designer Josephus Thimster go after his last collection in March, has been searching in vain for a well known "createur" to design its collection and restore its fame of the 1940s and 1950s.

For the interim, Balenciaga chairman Jacques Konckier has decided to give achance to Nicolas Ghesquiere, who used to work for Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Oct. 8, 1997 Paul McCartney Hates Being Called 'Sir'
LONDON (Reuter) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney hates being called "Sir" and almost turned down the knighthood bestowed on him by Britain's Queen Elizabeth. McCartney said in an interview published Wednesday that he thought fellow Beatle John Lennon, murdered in 1980, would have been embarrassed by a title and would have sent it back.

McCartney, 55, was given the knighthood in January for his services to the British pop industry. But he said he refuses to use the title Sir Paul and does not use the letterhead printed with it that was purchased for him by his wife Linda. "To me the problem was how much it would change my life, not whether it was a royalist gesture. I don't take it that seriously," he said. "It's a great honor, but I'm intelligent enough to find it easy to be cynical about these things," he added.

All four members of The Beatles were given MBE (Member of the British Empire) medals by the queen at the height of their fame in 1965. Lennon returned his in 1969 in protest of the Vietnam war. McCartney is to stage the world premiere in London next week of his symphony "Standing Stone," a classical piece commissioned to mark the centenary of EMI Group Plc.


Oct. 2, 1997 Standing Stone #1 
LONDON,  (Reuter) - Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney said on Thursday he was ``chuffed to bits'' after his ``Standing Stone'' orchestral work went to number one in the U.S. classical charts. ``This is brilliant news, it's amazing. From New York to Los Angeles, Chicago to New Orleans, Standing Stone is number one,'' he said in a statement.

McCartney, whose first classic work was the 1991 Liverpool Oratorio, is to stage the world premiere of his new work in London on October 14. He urged other rock stars to follow his lead: ``I don't see any fences between pop and classical music but I think too many people do. To me, writing any kind of music gives me a kick.''

Sept. 15, 1997 Montserrat Benifit Concert

LONDON (Reuter) - Britain's rock superstars -- from Elton John to Sir Paul McCartney -- joined forces Monday to raise more than $1 million at a benefit concert for volcano-ravaged Montserrat. The concert, the most star-studded lineup of rock legends since the 1985 Live Aid concert for African famine relief, was the brainchild of Beatles producer Sir George Martin.

All of the artists had recorded at Martin's Air studios in Montserrat. "Everyone I asked said yes. Even the guys who couldn't do it said they would have liked to. Mick Jagger, for example, said 'George, I would love to but we are on tour. We just cannot do it,'" Martin said before the concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.

The stars, who recorded some of their greatest hits at the studio that is now covered in volcanic ash, all performed free of charge. ``I am delighted we look set to raise so much money for the long-suffering people of Montserrat,'' Martin told reporters.

It was billed as the biggest benefit concert of the decade with a lineup that also boasted Sting and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Singer Phil Collins said: ``I spent over a couple of months there with Eric Clapton in the mid eighties and I know it is close to his heart as well as mine.''

Martin said he would be personally visiting the Caribbean island to ensure the money is spent effectively in the northern side that was spared the ravages of the Soufriere Hills volcanic eruption. The southern half of the once idyllic island has been left uninhabitable by volcanic ash. Its population has more than halved to just over 4,000 after the volcano rumbled back into life after 400 years lying dormant.

Forty countries, from Japan to the United States, have bought the broadcast rights for the concert. Sky Television in Britain is donating all the proceeds to Montserrat from its first ever pay-per-view broadcast. The 4,500 tickets to the concert were sold out in just 90 minutes. The concert was staged as the British government pledged more aid for Montserrat and stressed its commitment to the island's future viability.

Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in principle that Britain should build a new airstrip for the island and provide a ``soft'' loan to enable its government to avert a crisis for people buying their own homes. The island is at present so isolated that the only way in is either by helicopter or ferry.

Sept. 8, 1997 Diana Tribute Album
LONDON (Reuter) - Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Sting are among 10 rock stars who have agreed to perform on a tribute album to Princess Diana, a spokesman for British tycoon Richard Branson said on Monday. The album, to be released before Christmas, will also include the new version of Candle in the Wind, sung by Elton John at Diana's funeral on Saturday.

As with the single of Elton's song, all proceeds from the sale of the album will go to a memorial fund set up in Diana's name following her death on August 31.  ``It will not be like similar albums in such circumstances. We want to create something across the whole industry,'' the spokesman told Reuters. Tenor Luciano Pavarotti has also been contacted about contributing a song.

Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel will be executive producers of the album and will contribute new songs of their own. Lennox, once of the Eurythmics, will sing a new version of Angel and Ave Maria while Gabriel sings Your Eyes. Branson, a friend of Diana's who built his business empire on the back of the Virgin record label, contacted the stars in the days after her death. Tribute concerts will take place in London and New York next August with as many of the artists on the album appearing as possible.

Other artists on the album are:
Phil Collins -- Since I Lost You
Seal -- Prayer For The Dying
Eric Clapton -- Tears In Heaven, a song in memory of his son Conor who died in 1991 aged four
Paul McCartney -- Little Willow from his "Flaming Pie'' album.
Sting, Bryan Adams and the Rolling Stones.

August 25, 1997 Montserrat on PPV - SKYTV in the UK and Viewer's Choice in the US.
NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Aug. 25, 1997--  Elton John, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Sting to perform at benefit concert for the Island of Montserrat. SET Pay Per View will present "Music for Montserrat,"  an all-star charity concert featuring confirmed artists Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Mick Hucknall, Sting and Arrow on pay per view Saturday, September 20.  The suggested retail price is $19.95.

 The concert will premiere on September 20th at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with multiple replays to follow.  Request will air the concert at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.  Viewers Choice will feature the show at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT.  Check local listings for time and channel.

The concert, which will take place in London's Royal Albert Hall on Monday, September 15, will feature the artists performing acoustic solos and duets, culminating with an ensemble grand finale. The artists will be accompanied by The Royal Hall Philharmonic Orchestra and The Royal Guard Choir.  Other confirmed artists will be announced shortly.  All 4,500 tickets for this benefit concert were sold within 90 minutes of release on August 1st.

The concert has been organized by Sir George and Lady Martin together with Harvey Goldsmith to raise funds for the victims of the Soufriere volcano on the island of Montserrat which has been in a continuous state of eruption since July 1993.  The most recent explosion in June 1997 killed 19 people and rendered 1500 homeless.

Sir George Martin said, "It is our hope that proceeds from this concert will help Montserratians who have suffered as a result of this ongoing natural disaster. All of the artists, who are giving their services freely, have recorded at my Air Studios in Montserrat and all responded immediately to my appeal for help. The artists are committed to this project because they love the island and the people of Montserrat as much as we do."

SET (Showtime Event Television) Pay Per View is the pay per view production and distribution company of Viacom International Inc. and is managed by Showtime Networks Inc. SET Pay Per View is the industry market leader in sports and event distribution.  The unit has produced and distributed eight of the top ten pay per events of all time.  SET has also been instrumental in bringing milestone events to the viewing public such as numerous music concerts, including Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, and New Kids on the Block.


"Pop legend George Harrison has had major throat surgery in a cancer scare.

The reclusive ex-Beatle checked into a top private hospital to have a series of lumps removed.

His doctors have sent tissue for laboratory tests to see if it is cancerous. George 54, who stopped smoking in the early 1970's, had the surgery after twice seeing a specialist to complain about throat pains.

Last night the multi-millionaire guitarist and singer was recovering at his 120 room Gothic mansion in Henley, Oxfordshire.

A source at the Windsor hospital where he had the op said he had been "very apprehensive" about it. But a spokesman for the star said he was now "feeling fine".

LONDON (AP) - Former Beatle George Harrison has undergone tests for cancer after an operation to remove a lump in his neck, his record company said Saturday. But an Apple spokesman said the legendary band's lead guitarist, now 54, is confident that he is clear of the disease. ``George is absolutely fine. There is no reason why he shouldn't be. He had a quick operation for a small lump on the outside of his neck,'' said publicist Geoff Baker.``He doesn't think he has cancer and is totally cool about it. As far as he is concerned it is no big deal.''

Harrison, who also performed on vocals, was admitted to a private hospital in Windsor, west of London, 10 days ago after he found a lump on his neck. During a 10-minute operation, lymph tissue was removed and sent to a laboratory for further tests. Lumps or swollen glands in the neck can be a sign of throat cancer. It is treatable if caught early enough. The millionaire pop star lives in a 120-room mansion in Henley, southern England, Oxfordshire.

AP-NY-08-02-97 0903EDT 

July 30, 1997 All-Star concert at Albert Hall
LONDON (Reuter) - Some of rock music's biggest stars will perform at a benefit concert in London on September 15 to raise money for the volcano-ravaged Caribbean island of Montserrat. Eric Clapton, Elton John, former Beatle Paul McCartney, Sting and Dire Straits' frontman Mark Knopfler have agreed to perform for free, organizers said Wednesday. Beatles producer George Martin, who has a luxury home and recording studio on the island, is organizing the concert at London's Royal Albert Hall and hopes to raise at least $800,000, the Evening Standard newspaper said. "Montserrat and its people mean a great deal to me. For two years I have seen them suffer and live in appalling conditions with enormous courage and fortitude," Martin said in a statement. The artists will perform both solo, probably acoustically, and in duets, and will then assemble on stage for a finale. The proceeds will go "to relieve the distress of the homeless, the sick and aged and the young of Montserrat," the statement said. Montserrat, a tiny British territory in the eastern Caribbean, has been devastated by natural disasters over the past decade. Its population has dwindled to around 5,800 from about 11,000 two years ago. Recent volcano eruptions, the most serious on June 25, have killed about 20 residents, including Martin's maid Felina, and left hundreds homeless. The British Geological Survey said the Soufriere Hills volcano would remain active, although without a drastic eruption, for between one and five years which local officials fear will leave the south side of the island unusable. The British government said it was drawing up an aid package including financial assistance for those who wish to stay on the north side of Montserrat and resettlement grants for those who want to move to neighboring islands.

May 17, 1997 McCartney Live VH-1 Webchat
LONDON (Reuter) - Sir Paul McCartney took to the Internet Saturday for a live chat with some of the three million fans who bombarded him with questions ranging from his tastes in modern music to his preferred underwear.
The former Beatle, knighted by Queen Elizabeth earlier this year for his services to pop music, revealed that the Fab Four
would probably have got together again if John Lennon had not been murdered in 1980. Getting through 200 questions in a 90-minute session, the cheeky lad from Liverpool said his greatest achievement was his four children and said he kept his medal from the queen by his bed.

Much of the Internet chat session was broadcast live on satellite television, but it would have taken McCartney an estimated six years to answer all three million of the questions submitted.