Below are letters from some readers and the editors’ responses where necessary (in italics). Feel free to add your own comments below. And, if there’s something we’ve published, a topic in the Beatles world you’d like to sound off on, or you’d just like to ask a question, email BEATLEFAN LETTERS at email@example.com.
TO THE EDITORS:
I want to thank Bill King and Beatlefan for continuing to find ways to represent the millennial generation of Beatles fans (third-generation fans?) in the magazine. (I wonder how many of these fans might have been the youngsters contributing to the [Helter Skelter] department for children that the magazine ran back in the mid-1990s!) The Viewpoint in Issue #213 about Paul McCartney working with Kanye West and Rihanna written by Nikki Denett provides a nuanced assessment of a situation that, unfortunately, has tended to draw kneejerk, uninformed reactions from many older fans. And this isn’t the first time you’ve provided an outlet for the generation that is the children of the original Beatles fans. I remember your own son has written eloquently in your pages before, and you’ve had articles by the college student who is your office assistant [Brigid Choi]. Plus, as you’ve noted in your Publisher’s Notes, some of your regular contributors are second-generation fans who came of age during the Wings era or even afterward. Thank you for never viewing Beatles fandom as one bunch of likeminded folks who all grew up in the 1960s!
SANDRA CHARLESTON, email
(Thanks, Sandra. We love to have fans of all ages in our pages, and we urge anyone who’d like to write for us to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I really enjoyed Ken Sharp’s conversation with Ringo in Beatlefan #213, especially the part that dealt with Ringo coming into his own as a songwriter. He said that while he’s written some songs on his own, “mainly it’s always a collaboration.” But he also says that he wrote “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Photograph,” and we know that although he was not credited, George Harrison played a large part in the writing of those songs. Don’t you think that after all these years it would be a great gesture on Ringo’s part to give co-writing credit to George?
TAD BROWN, Chicago
(Although it’s true George gave a very large assist to Ringo in the writing of those songs, we think if he had wanted credit, he would have taken it at the time. So, no, we don’t see a real need for Ringo to revisit the question of the songwriting credits.)
Hey guys and gals at Beatlefan, I’d like to thank you for really making an effort to mix it up over the past year in terms of who you feature on your front cover. As I write this, the past six issues have had a Beatles group shot (from “A Hard Day’s Night”), that lovely, wonderful “Venus and Mars” era picture of Paul, a vintage shot of George, Paul in concert, Ringo in concert, and this latest issue’s outstanding joint photo of Paul and Ringo together. Two or three of those probably rank among my all-time favorite Beatlefan covers, and I’ve been reading your mag since the mid-1980s! Keep up the great work!
DIANA RAMIREZ, email
(Thanks, Diana. It helps when new releases and reissues loosen up the supply of available shots. And we’d like to once again thank Ringo’s personal photographer, Rob Shanahan, and his publicist, Elizabeth Freund, for providing the shot used on the cover of #213 when we asked whether they had something showing Paul and Ringo together. We were very pleased and honored to run it on our front cover.)
I have held my tongue for several years concerning Howie Edelson’s obvious hate of George Harrison and devotion to Paul McCartney. As a journalist myself, I have cringed at the way Edelson puts nasty and ill-spirited digs at George into his news features or Q&As — comments that only belong in editorials or op/ed pieces. Now comes Issue 213 where he throws in that “Press to Play” is “a far better album” than “Cloud Nine.” THAT is a ridiculous comment that insults Harrison’s memory and all of George’s fans. (Yes, Howie, we exist!) This is a disturbing trend in Edelson’s articles and I seriously question a Beatle publication so blatant in publishing such material. Look at the facts (1987-88 charts, articles of the time) and explain how Edelson comes up with his latest gem? I am a longtime subscriber to Beatlefan. But I am ready to cancel because of Howie Edelson’s irresponsible and unprofessional anti-Harrison rants.
TIM SMITH, Livonia, MI
First, a response from Publisher Bill King: Beatlefan is not a newspaper. It’s a journal of news and opinion, and we’ve always run opinions in our articles and even (gasp) in our news roundup, going back to the very beginning more than 36 years ago. I can’t speak to Howie’s preference for “Press to Play” over “Cloud Nine” (personally, I prefer “Cloud Nine”) but he has his own response below. In the meantime, I will say I think you’re cherrypicking his comments in claiming he is devoted to McCartney. You could fairly say Howie is devoted to Wings, but he’s been pretty brutal in some of his views on latterday McCartney. And, frankly, we think you’re overreacting here. Saying he prefers the McCartney album to the Harrison album is hardly an “irresponsible” and “unprofessional” rant that insults George’s memory or fans. It’s a simple statement of a fan preferring one album over another. If he’d compared “Press to Play” to a Lennon album, would you be as upset? Would you consider that an insult to Lennon’s memory and fans? We’d be sorry to lose you as a reader, but as you should know from reading our magazine we’ve always allowed our writers to express themselves freely on Beatle subjects, and we’re not about to stop now. Thanks for reading.
Howie Edelson responds:
Please see my loving tribute to 1982’s “Gone Troppo” (Issue. #192, Page 21). You are incorrect regarding what you perceive as my bias. My writing in said article proves as much. As a Harrison lover yourself, you might enjoy it.
All Glories Go To Sri Krishna.
Love Comes To Everyone.
I really liked Howie Edelson’s interview with Mark Lewisohn! Howie said/asked so many of the things I would have. I finished the abridged version of Vol. 1 of Mark’s book and hands down it is the best, most complete, typo- and error-free, interesting book I’ve ever read about The Beatles! (and I have about 150 Beatles-related books!).
NANCY RILEY, email