Celebrating Paul at the Hard Rock, May 31, 2007
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  June 4, 2007
Paul McCartney

Forget, for a moment, the ugliness concerning Heather Mills and her impending divorce from Paul McCartney. It was a happy time May 31 at the Hard Rock Café’s downstairs Cavern Club — yes, the room with a wall of bricks taken from the legendary Liverpool club the Beatles once played. It was Beatlemania in a time warp, on a small scale. The occasion: an advance listening party for Memory Almost Full, the McCartney CD released June 5 through a deal with Starbucks’ Hear Music label and Concord Records. When he announced the Starbucks link-up, which sidesteps EMI, McCartney said simply, “It’s a new world.”

But it was the old world that was celebrated at the Cavern Club. WZLX’s Cha-Chi — who hosts a Saturday-morning Beatles show — took 25 contest winners and their guests downstairs for a private party while the general public was listening to the disc upstairs. The winners took home goodie bags from Universal, the CD’s distributor, with the new single, “Ever Present Past.” If they didn’t hear it at the party — and they probably didn’t because everyone was swapping Beatles tales — they later heard Paul sing, “I’ve got too much on the plate/Don’t have no time to be a decent lover/I hope it isn’t too late/Searching for the time that has gone so fast/The time that I thought would last/My ever-present past.”

Ken Dobie (a/k/a Ken from Liverpool) has lived here 32 years, but he once worked for Ray Jones. That’s the guy who walked into Brian Epstein’s record store and turned him onto “My Bonnie,” a song cut by Tony Sheridan and the Beatles; Epstein went to see the Beatles at the Cavern Club and history was in the making. Another guest, David Gallant, talked about teaching a Beatles course at Suffolk University: “Popular culture has been an academic discipline for 30 years.” The Beatles appeal, he added, is universal — freshmen know Beatles songs from learning them as kids, from hearing their voices on The Simpsons, from all the TV ads with Beatles songs.

Lisa Plante, in an oversized McCartney T-shirt, talked about singing an a cappella “Blackbird” at a previous Beatlefan gathering; when she heard McCartney live, she admitted to being impressed that “He sings in all his original keys.” Ron Brownelo, in a replica of a “Beatles at Candlestick Park” T-shirt, said he’d scheduled his long-ago marriage for McCartney’s birthday, June 18. And 57-year-old Glenda Fishman said that seeing McCartney play Beatles songs live five years ago was an “epiphany. He is life-affirming. He does all things with excellence.”

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