THE MAGICAL MARTY TOURThe Beatles-related work of Martin Lewis
He is also a world-renowned Beatles historian and authority - considered one of the foremost in the field. He has been a passionate Beatles fan since his childhood - and has a scholarly knowledge of their history and music.
For many years he has been the host of the official Beatles fan conventions held annually in New York and Los Angeles. He has written and broadcast extensively on the subject of the Beatles - including writing, hosting and producing several TV specials and his own Beatles-related radio series. He has also been a prominent consultant on recent Beatles projects such as their Anthology and Live At The BBC albums and the farewell album of all-star Beatles covers by Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
He hosts the annual Beatlefest fan conventions held in New York and Los Angeles - a role he has undertaken since 1990. In 1999 - he will also host a new Beatlefest convention taking place in Orlando, Florida.
At the conventions, he conducts interviews and moderates panel discussions with guests from the Beatles world - including their friends, fellow musicians, family members, former work colleagues and leading Beatles authors. He also emcees concerts of Beatles music and talent competitions - and conducts trivia contests.
He is frequently interviewed about Beatles history - and about the reasons for the continuing popularity of the group nearly 30 years after their break-up. His recent TV interviews about The Beatles include appearances on NBC's Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, The Today Show and Leeza; ABC's World News Now, Disney's The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show; E!'s The Beatles Wives; Access Hollywood and Geraldo Rivera, and programs on VH1, Lifetime, CNBC, MSNBC, FX, BBC and E! In 1995, his one-hour TV special Re-Meet The Beatles! - which he created, wrote, hosted and produced - broke ratings records on E! Entertainment Television. He has been Beatles Correspondent for the TV show Extra since 1994.
He was a co-organizer of the official celebrations held in Liverpool in July 1997 of the 40th Anniversary of the Birth of The Beatles (the day in July 1957 when John Lennon first met Paul McCartney.) Lewis personally arranged special messages for the event from Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. He also secured special personal congratulations for the celebration from President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Her Majesty The Queen. He also arranged and coordinated worldwide publicity for the event.
He has been a consultant to EMI-Capitol Records on all aspects of the Beatles - advising the company on historical matters, product reissues and marketing strategies. He is credited with being one of the principal strategists of the highly-acclaimed marketing campaigns for the American release of the Beatles' Anthology and Live At The BBC projects.
His work devising and executing publicity and marketing strategies for the Beatles reunited him with his first boss and mentor - longtime Beatles publicist Derek Taylor - who was spearheading the campaigns from London. Lewis had worked with Taylor in the British music industry in the early 70's.
Lewis was a consultant on all aspects of the American release of In My Life - the farewell album produced by Sir George Martin - which featured performances of Beatles songs by leading entertainers including: Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Goldie Hawn, Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Jeff Beck, Bobby McFerrin, Sean Connery and Billy Connolly.
Lewis is the Founder and President of MBE! - the campaign to have Beatles manager Brian Epstein inducted into the non-performers' category of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The campaign takes its name from a 1965 comment by Paul McCartney. After The Queen decorated each of The Beatles with the royal honor of the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) McCartney stated that "MBE stands for Mister Brian Epstein!" - a sentiment later echoed by George Harrison. The campaign has the support of many leading entertainers and members of the music community.
In 1995 he conceived, wrote, hosted and produced Re-Meet The Beatles! - a major one-hour TV special - which related the inside story of The Beatles' Anthology and celebrated the return of Beatlemania. The TV special aired extensively on E! Entertainment Television - and generated E!'s best-ever ratings for a music special.
The program featured several exclusive interviews with key Beatles participants. These included in-depth conversations with Ringo Starr, George Martin, Yoko Ono, Derek Taylor and Jeff Lynne. To shoot the special, Lewis returned to his homeland - and visited several key, rarely-seen Beatles locations. These included the tiny church field in Liverpool where Lennon and McCartney had their fabled first meeting; the Cavern Club in Liverpool; Abbey Road's legendary Studio Two and the rooftop of the old Apple building where The Beatles gave their celebrated last live performance. The program also included interviews with celebrity Beatles fans including Robin Williams, Johnny Depp and Dennis Franz.
Lewis conducted many of the interviews for the documentary You Can't Do That! - The Making of A Hard Day's Night - which featured recollections of the film's participants. The documentary premiered on PBS in 1996 and was subsequently released on home-video by MPI.
In 1997, he created and hosted his own live, weekly talk-radio show celebrating The Beatles called Un-Beatle-able! with Martin Lewis. The program - which Lewis also produced - aired on KGIL in Los Angeles. The show featured in-depth conversations with celebrity Beatle fans and a madcap mixture of Beatles classics and rarities; fascinating Beatles facts and comedic segments. Drawing on his reputation as both a Beatles expert and as a comedic host - Lewis personally booked all his guests - an eclectic group which included: Mike Myers, Bill Maher, Janeane Garofalo, Drew Barrymore, Martin Landau, Kathy Bates, Tom Arnold, Lee Grant, Michael York, Lynn Redgrave, Michelle Phillips, Dinah Manoff, Sid Caesar, Robin Leach, Leonard Maltin, Arianna Huffington, Kato Kaelin, Yoko Ono, Jeff Lynne, 'Weird Al' Yankovic and Slash (ex-Guns 'N' Roses.)
In November 1995, Lewis conceived, produced and hosted a major Hollywood salute to The Beatles - presented with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The gala event was attended by many stars - and was completely sold-out
The evening consisted of a special screening of a newly-restored print of the Academy-Award nominated A Hard Day's Night - followed by Lewis' in-depth discussion with Walter Shenson who produced both A Hard Day's Night and Help!
Lewis is the author of With A Little Help From Their Friend... - an extensive 'companion narrative' to the 1998 re-publication of Beatles manager Brian Epstein's 1964 autobiography A Cellarful Of Noise. Lewis' 15,000 word essay was commissioned to provide context and additional information for readers of the book - which was co-authored by Lewis' mentor - longtime Beatles publicist Derek Taylor. Lewis also authored Everybody's Talkin' 'bout...Derek Taylor - a special tribute to Taylor - which is also included in the new edition of Epstein's autobiography.
Acting as an editorial consultant - Lewis also secured a new foreword for the 1998 edition of the book from Sir George Martin.
Lewis' first published work on the Beatles appeared when he was just a 14 year-old schoolboy! An avid Beatles fan even then - he volunteered his services to compile the discography for their authorized biography (The Beatles by Hunter Davies - 1968) and his offer was accepted.
Lewis writes a regular column for a new Beatles fan magazine - Daytrippin'. The column is entitled Beatle-ly Incorrect! - and offers irreverent commentary about Beatles-related issues. The column is named after a panel which Lewis conceived for, and hosts at, the Beatlefest conventions.
At the age of 17 Lewis conceived and compiled a special album released by EMI Records collecting together songs written by The Beatles - but recorded only by other artists (The Songs Lennon-McCartney Gave Away - 1970)
To commemorate the retirement of Sir George Martin from record producing, Lewis was commissioned to produce There Are Places I'll Remember... (MCA Records 1998) - a special limited-edition album of a wide-ranging conversation Lewis conducted with Sir George about the legendary producer's life and career.
In 1996, Lewis conceived, developed and produced the highly-successful reunion of The Rutles - the Monty Python spin-off project which affectionately spoofs the Beatles - and which has been a firm favorite of George Harrison. (Harrison made a celebrated cameo appearance in the original 1978 Rutles TV special - All You Need Is Cash.) Lewis executive-produced the band's Archaeology album - which lampooned the Beatles' Anthology project. He also produced the group's reunion music video - and secured guest appearances for it by a diverse group of 25 stars ranging from Peter Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper and Slash - to Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone and Eartha Kitt! And cameos from comedians Bill Maher, Janeane Garofalo and Richard Belzer.
A throwaway prank Lewis undertook in 1971 as a very young music journalist unwittingly created what became one of the most enduring of Beatles myths. Striving to pad out an otherwise scholarly article he was writing for a British music paper about unreleased Beatles recordings, Lewis inserted the titles of four of his own endeavors as a teenage songwriter - as though they were genuine Beatle rarities! Much to his surprise, over time those titles were erroneously incorporated into many authoritative histories of the band - and have assumed a mythological status. Lewis has now confessed that those four songs: Colliding Circles, Pink Litmus Paper Shirt, Deck Chair and Left Is Right (And Right Is Wrong) - hitherto regarded as part of the ‘Holy Grail’ of unissued Beatles music - were in fact atrociously bad imitation Beatles songs he had composed in his bedroom at the age of 14! The New York Post stated that the confession had revealed “the biggest Beatles hoax since the ‘Paul is dead’ craze.” Click here for more information about this magnificent (unplanned) Beatles hoax!
Lewis became a Beatles fan in October 1962 - when he heard their first record, Love Me Do, played on the radio. 15 months later he persuaded his parents to take him and his elder brother to see The Beatles play at their 1963 Christmas show at London's 'Finsbury Park Astoria' theatre.
His Beatles-related career started when he was a 14 year-old schoolboy. As an avid Beatles fan, he approached Heinemanns - the company publishing the first (and only) authorized Beatles biography - and volunteered to compile a definitive discography of the Beatles for the book.
Drawing on his research for the book, at the age of 17 he conceived and compiled a special album released by EMI Records in the UK - collecting together all the songs written by The Beatles - but given to other artists and never commercially released by The Beatles themselves. (The Songs Lennon-McCartney Gave Away - 1970)
After two years as a freelance music journalist writing for the British music papers - at the age of 20, Lewis entered the entertainment industry. His first job was working as a publicist under the aegis of former Beatles press agent - the legendary Derek Taylor - who became his mentor and friend.
For ten years Lewis worked in the British music industry, as a publicist, marketing executive and record producer. He then became a producer of films, television and stage shows. He enjoyed a successful career as a producer in Britain and America - working with artists ranging from Monty Python, Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson to Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Jeff Beck, Bob Geldof and George Michael.
Click here for full details of Martin Lewis' non-Beatles related career.
In 1984, after Lewis had became a well-established film producer and director, he was invited to make a full-length documentary about the son of his favorite Beatle - Julian Lennon - son of John and Cynthia.
The following year, Lewis was hired by Paul McCartney to produce and direct promotional films publicizing two of McCartney's pet film projects. The first promoted The Real Buddy Holly Story - a full-length documentary about McCartney's musical hero. The second promoted Rupert And The Frog Song - an animated musical feature that McCartney had made of his favorite childhood British comic strip character. Lewis also conducted the in-depth interviews with McCartney for the films - which were shown in the USA by HBO and The Disney Channel.
When, in 1990, Lewis' career changed and he became a comedic performer and TV host - the organizers of the annual Beatlefest offical fan conventions encouraged him to combine his Beatles expertise with his hosting skills and become emcee of the popular events. He has emceed in Los Angeles and New York every year since then - and regards the convention delegates as part of an extended family.
Lewis has a massive Beatles music, video and book collection; owns some very rare Beatle art - and can play most of the Beatles repertoire on the piano (very badly!)