by Norman Warwick

Gary Hall, former front-man of The Stormkeepers, and subsequently a song-writer and recording artist at Roundtower remains my go to nomination for best British song writer in his genre of all time. Add to that his magnificent voice and dynamic stage presence and you will realise what made Gary Hall so exciting. He is a less prominent media figure these days, as he concentrates on producing studio recordings by others, but I have no doubt he is still voicing his opinions and putting the world to rights.

I saw a lot of Gary and The Stormkeepers and of Gary as a solo artist, sometimes in duo form, too, with American singer-writer Cathryn Craig. I have some fond memories of those times and recall a refined debate between Gary and my then fourteen year old son Andrew. Gary had just had a book published about how he ´survived ´ The Beatles, which kind of riled my son as he was a Beatles and McCartney fan. Gary and Andrew would resume the argument almost every time they met, although their crossing of swords would never match some of the great musical jousts that have taken place between some major arts of the past.

Being the icons that they were and are, it’s hard to imagine anyone having a problem with The Beatles. Their legendary status in rock history is, in our book, well-deserved, but the three musicians below might’ve had something to say about that…

Everyone knows the famous rendezvous between Elvis Presley (left) and Richard Nixon. Being the patriot that he was, Presley wrote to the President in an effort to save the soul of America from the hippie movement. Among the topics discussed at their meeting was the Fab Four–whom Presley chalked up to be the very crux of what was “wrong” with America at the time.

“Presley indicated that he thought the Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit,” The National Archives reported. “He said that the Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned. “Presley indicated that he thought the Beatles had been a real force for anti-American spirit,”

Paul McCartney has often touted his belief that a musician doesn’t have to be classically trained to be great. While that is a solace to many self-made songwriters, to Cream’s Ginger Baker (right), it’s an expression of McCartney’s lack of real talent.

“They can’t read music,” Baker once said of the group. “Even Paul McCartney needs someone to write it down for him. And he thinks that’s good. We used to say about the Beatles in 1963: ‘They don’t know a hatchet from a crotchet.’ A crotchet is what we call a quarter note.”

It’s not hard to figure out why Lou Reed might’ve had a problem with the Beatles. The Velvet Underground and the Fab Four live on opposite sides of the rock spectrum. Reed once went on record saying he found the Beatles to be “Painfully stupid and pretentious.” “I never liked the Beatles,” he once said. “I thought they were garbage. If you asked, ‘Who did you like?’ I would reply, ´I liked nobody.´

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