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The Times has been suggesting that the occasion of his 70th birthday, might be a cue for giving him a knighthood. I don't see why not as all kinds of honours are scattered around like confetti of late.

I once saw Ringo in the crush bar at Covent Garden back in the 80's, I thought 'that's Ringo Starr!' and did a sort of double take just as he looked up - our eyes met and he gave me a big smile, not something I'll forget in a hurry.

The rise to fame of the Beatles was incredibly rapid and my big regret is that I never saw them live, though I did see most of the other big name groups at the time such as the Stones and Beach Boys. Quite recently I realized that I still remember most of the lyrics from most of the songs when I found myself singing Back in the USSR, to a group of Russian dancers in the middle of the night on the terrace of a hotel in Spain. Rather surreal looking back, but the dancers seemed to genuinely enjoy it.

You probably didn't miss much by not seeing them live, Mashinka. The concert scenes were so hysterical they could not be heard most of the time and although they continued to try to play as professionally as possible in those circumstances, it was hard, especially toward the end.

As for giving Ringo a knighthood - considering some other recipients of the honor I don't see why not, either, but it is a bit like putting Phil Rizzuto into the Hall of Fame.

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Yes, indeed one does. LISZTOMANIA is one of Russell's most indulgent pieces of 'composer trash movie', and focusses on Liszt's obvious potency (there's no denying this, Liszt was generous in all ways, how can you not love Liszt, he even got sated with too much Eros and went to live in Vatican City? how original is that?). Not quite as delicately nuanced as 'The Music Lovers'... :P , or as subtle as the immemorable one about Mahler, but he does pull all the stops out. I went through a period when I watched almost all of Russell's movies, but I've yet to see the Valentino one with Nureyev, I should do so (maybe). Lisztomania is almost unbelievable, though, and you're left more with a general impression of relentless bombardment than a sense of any narrative or story line (after about 10 years of having seen it, I guess.) Not the Ruseell is always terrible--his movies of Lawrence are very good, in fact, and 'The Rainbow' is a wonderful movie, following on the much earier 'Women in Love'.

:off topic: What's also nice for ballet fans is that you see Chris Gable a good bit in Russell's movies, he's good as Tchaikovsky's lover (a count with a blonde wig), and he's wonderful with Glenda Jackson in 'The Rainbow', which really captures certain aspects of Lawrence that nobody else ever has. And, of course, perfect as 'The Boyfriend'. I don't think he's in 'Lisztomania', though, which is a constant assault by Russell on the senses in one of his insane moments. I think his best film is definitely 'Tommy', though, with the Who's super score. He's fascinated by music and musicians of all sorts.

Sorry to veer so off-topic, but now I've got to confess that I don't remember Ringo very well in 'Lisztomania', but I am not sure I recommend that I re-watch it in order to savour this performance!

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One thing I always loved about the Beatles' singing voices was that even after their speaking accents became more internationalized, when they sang they never lost that droll Liverpool accent.

I think the group Americanized its singing voices early on with the intention of exercising broader appeal to the American market, which was probably a shrewd move - if they'd retained those droll accents for musical purposes they probably never would have gotten out of town. The accent did pop up from time to time, but the "international" effect seems to have been deliberate.

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