Besides stories about John in 1980, there is nothing i love posting more on this blog than reports of the united Beatle family, nothing makes me happier or brings me more joy. After so many years of squables and bickering i think it’s fantastic that finally things have settled, and we can read with joy about Paul and Nancy hugging Yoko, and the Beatle family uniting and enjoying each others company. Long may it last.
The following fantastic reports are from Showbiz 411.
by Roger Friedman
Paul McCartney, now 72 and spry as ever, still looked wiped out when he arrived at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday night. He’d flown overnight from Brazil, where he’s been on a stadium tour, so he could be at the Lincoln Center tribute to his successful and lovely daughter Stella McCartney.
Paul and wife Nancy were supposed to do the red carpet with Stella. But as they were literally coming from South America, the couple took their seats just as the lights went down and the program began. Whoever cut together the clips of Stella’s life and career used Paul’s song “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” as the background music. When Paul himself took the stage to help Jerry Seinfeld give Stella her award, the producers used “Band on the Run.” As Paul spoke, he actually started to break up. Very emotional. Wow.
Seinfeld had given Stella such a hard time on stage with nutty questions that McCartney quipped: “We used to like the Seinfeld family!”
The evening was a rare one. For one thing, it’s quite amazing how Yoko Ono has become an almost beloved sort of grandmother in the extended Beatles group. After decades of fighting, she and Paul seem quite at ease now. What was especially poignant was a moment I witnessed among the women– Nancy Shevell McCartney and Olivia Harrison were just lovely with Yoko, hugging her and having intimate chats. Nancy put her hand on Yoko’s back in a very affectionate way while they were talking.
There is a rich closeness now as the Beatles family has aged. Stella had her mother’s family present, the Eastmans–uncle John and aunt Louise, her mother Linda’s brother and sister. Dhani Harrison– I still can’t get over how he called Stella his “big sister” and played her favorite Everly Brothers song as well as her dad’s “Live and Let Die.” Dhani, by the way, has married a beautiful and smart, funny girl named Sola Karadottir, now Sola Harrison, who’s launched a line of popular evening wear called GalvanLondon. It looks like a very happy match.
Dhani, by the way, has his own group– The New No.2–and he’s got a great career scoring movies. His father would be very proud, and of course his mother is– Olivia Harrison is one the gentlest souls, and she’s done a miraculous job keep George’s legacy alive. She’s just released a box set of George’s most famous albums, all remastered.
Meantime, as far as Stella McCartney goes– she’s always in the newspaper, and her best pals are Liv Tyler and Gwyneth Paltrow. But she’s also the mother of 4 kids under the age of 9. She has a terrific husband named Alistair whom Seinfeld envies for being impeccably dressed at all times. Stella is as down to Earth as her late and wonderful mother Linda. You can see why she’s engendered so many loyal friends. Even the legendary Doris Day, who rarely speaks in public, sent an audio message to be played to the audience. Doris Day! (She and Paul are old friends.) That’s saying something.
PS Paul McCartney, you know, her father– has just reissued two of his gigantic albums from the 70s– Wings at the Speed of Sound, and Venus and Mars– in collector’s editions on Concord. They join McCartney, Ram, and Band on the Run in McCartney’s Archives collection. They’re beautifully done. I hope we get Red Rose Speedway, Wings Wild Life, and Flowers in the Dirt soon. There’s also a big McCartney tribute package for Christmas, with dozens of artists performing Paul’s songs. McCartney told me at the event: “To listen to Bob Dylan do one of my songs…” McCartney said, literally wide eyed. I’m telling you, he’s impressed.
An earlier report also by Roger . .
It was a wild New York night at Alice Tully Hall for Lincoln Center’s second annual Corporate Fund gala: designer Stella McCartney was honored with a Q&A by Jerry Seinfeld that she never could have expected, followed by a swanky dinner with vegetarian menu and lots and lots of stars. It was also a weirdly warm Beatles semi-reunion that had Yoko Ono getting hugs and kisses from Paul and Nancy McCartney, Olivia Harrison and her son Dhani, as well as Stella.
And then a surprise of Dhani Harrison, son of George and Olivia, performing “Love of My Life,” an Everly Brothers song (Stella’s favorite) as well as rocking “Live and Let Die” with his band, for an audience that included a five months pregnant Liv Tyler, plus Woody Harrelson, Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, a very pregnant Alicia Keys, actor Luke Evans, famed artist Jeff Koons, as well as Paul’s in-laws John and Jodie Eastman, rock jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, Helena Christensen, and a hilarious Chelsea Handler, who emceed the evening until she had to leave to take a plane to Australia.
Handler exited the show as irreverently as she could by making a joke about Paul McCartney’s infamously unpopular second wife: “I would say a break a leg but I don’t want to insult Heather Mills.”
Legendary (and rocking, believe me) Harpers Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey and Hearst president Steve Swartz (who’s president of the Fund) put together this amazing group of people.
Meantime, the sublimely funny Jerry Seinfeld– assigned to interview Stella on stage for about a half hour– brought the silly. Seinfeld asked Stella a series of non sequitur questions including “What do you wear when you feel bad?” and “Why do most people look disgusting?” McCartney was up to the challenge though and gave him as good as he got. When Jerry asked her “Why do people come to my shows at Caesar’s Palace wearing tank tops, flip flops and shorts?” Stella volleyed back: “Because they’re your shows!”
Finally Jerry observed that Stella does not use leather or fur in her clothing. He said. “I eat only leather and fur.”
Video tributes were shown from Quincy Jones, Bono, Gwen Stefani, Chrissie Hynde, Kate Winslet–and of all people a bright and brisk sounding 90 year old Doris Day who praised Stella for her work in animal rights. That was quite a coup!
Dhani Harrison summed up the tone for the whole night. On stage he said he there “to honor my big sister.” Afterwards he told, “Stella has looked out for me my whole life.” You know, just the idea that Paul McCartney’s daughter has done that for George Harrison’s son– the two Beatles met when they were 15, in 1957–makes you believe in the magic of the Beatles. Aw shucks!
The evening, which looks like it will become an annual tradition, was put together by Harper’s Bazaar rocking editor in chief Glenda Bailey and Hearst mags’ Steve Swartz. I think even they were surprised how well it worked out!