Denny LaineFormerly of Wings
Formerly of Wings
Denny Laine was a founding member of Wings and the only member other than Paul and Linda to be in the group from beginning to end (1971 to 1980). He co-wrote some songs with Paul, including his biggest U.K. hit, Mull of Kintyre, which outsold She Loves You. Denny was also a founding member of the Moody Blues. He sang the lead on their 1965 No. 1 hit, Go Now. Denny has never stopped writing, recording and performing and it is always a thrill to have him speak and perform on our stage. This year, he is joined by three former band mates for a mini Wings Reunion, on both Saturday and Sunday.
Laurence JuberMusician, Formerly of Wings
Musician, Formerly of Wings
Laurence Juber was Paul's lead guitarist from 1978 to 1980, a time that included the Back To The Egg album. Laurence recently premiered his third solo Beatles album at the New York Metro FEST, called LJ Can't Stop Playing the Beatles. He has recorded over a dozen acoustic guitar albums and has won a couple of Grammy awards along the way. Laurence has written and played on many TV show and movie soundtracks, and has been named Guitar Player's 'Guitarist of the Year' twice! Laurence and our three other guests who were also Wings member will perform a set of Wings (and other)songs on both Sat & Sunday evening. Laurence will also afternoon solo concerts on both Saturday and Sunday. You don't want to miss these!
Denny SeiwellOriginal Wings Drummer
Original Wings Drummer
Denny Seiwell first crossed paths with Paul in 1971 during the recording of Ram. He was a session drummer in New York City when the call came. Paul invited him to join his brand new band, Wings, soon after. Denny was on that legendary first Wings tour when the band would take a van around to U.K. colleges unannounced and asked to play for nothing. Most said yes!! This is Denny's first appearance at the Chicago Fest in 7 years, and he'll be performing some Wings hits in Concert with other former Wings members Denny Laine, Laurence Juber and Steve Holley, with Liverpool. Denny will be presenting his fascinating Ram Seminar where he plays drums live on stage over the original Ram album minus the drums! He augments each song with stories in the studio with Paul.
Steve HolleyDrummer, formerly of Wings
Drummer, formerly of Wings
Steve Holley was a member of Wings from 1978 to 1981. Aside from performing and recording with Paul, Steve has played with Joe Cocker, Elton John, Ben. E. King, Chuck Berry, and more. Steve, who has been touring with Ian Hunter’s Rant band for the last several years, will be joining three other members of Wings for incredible Concerts, and will also be filling in for Chris of Liverpool during their nightly concerts.
Neil InnesMusician, Comedian, Actor
Musician, Comedian, Actor
Neil Innes was a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and worked with Paul, who produced one of their hits, I'm The Urban Spaceman. He wrote many of the music for Monty Python, appeared in skits, and was considered the 7th Python. In 1978, Eric Idle wrote a film about a fictitious band, called The Rutles. It is the greatest parody of the Beatles ever. Neil wrote all of the music for their All You Need is Cash movie/CD. 16 years later, Neil attended his first FEST and was 'stunned' at the response to him and his music. So much so, that he was inspired to go back to the vaults and complete what became The Rutles Archaeology CD. Neil is one of our all time favorite guests and after a nine year absence, we are delighted to welcome him back to The FEST. A message from Neil:“I am SO looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago this August. Beatle Fans are simply the best because deep down they know it was the Rutles who actually started it all. No other music fans have such a genuine sense of humour or the willingness to embrace so warmly the idea of spreading Peace and Love.We all need lots of Peace and Love these days - don’t we?I can’t wait!. xx Neil"
Leon WildesImmigration Attorney, represented John Lennon
Immigration Attorney, represented John Lennon
Leon Wildes is the legendary Immigration Attorney who almost singlehandedly won the federal case against John Lennon. It was the most influential and bitterly contested deportation case in U.S. history. The American Bar Association has named his book, John Lennon vs. The USA, the most important legal book of the year. We are honored to welcome Leon to his first Chicago FEST and will be joining us to talk about the case and sign copies of his book. Please note his approximate speaking and signing times for Leon. Friday 5:30PM with signing to follow. Saturday 9:00PM with signing to follow, Sunday around 1:30PM with signing. Make sure you plan your weekend to see him at least one time. His story is truly remarkable and he rarely makes public appearances.
Louise HarrisonAuthor of "My Kid Brother's Band...a.k.a. The Beatles"
Author of "My Kid Brother's Band...a.k.a. The Beatles"
George's big sister is the author of the recently published book, My Kid Brother's Band...a.k.a. The Beatles. This year, Louise, who moved to Illinois in early 1963, is going to read some of her "Letters From Mum", which were keeping her informed on what was happening with the family and, of course, with George's exploding musical journey. Lou has put them on a CD which she will be offering at the FEST. She would love to hear letters her Mum wrote to fans, so if you still have yours, let us know and bring them along. Lou will also do a talk in the Ashram about the spiritual side of George. She is again bringing along her grandson, Tory Rodgers, who shares a resemblance to and encapsulates the spirit of his Grand Uncle George. We are always delighted to welcome back members of the family.
LiverpoolWorld's Finest Beatles Tribute Band, Concerts All Three Nights
World's Finest Beatles Tribute Band, Concerts All Three Nights
LIVERPOOL, featuring Drew Hill, Glen Burtnik, John Merjave and Steve Holley (sitting in for Chris Camilleri), is the World's finest Beatles tribute band. Their amazing concerts highlight every FEST, including the last hour of the concert when they bring up all the musical legends of their time to perform their hits live on our stage. In honor of its 50th Anniversary, the guys will be performing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety, with Side 1 on Saturday night and Side 2 on Sunday night. They'll also be performing dozens more Beatles cuts! Just to name some artists Liverpool has played with over the past 37 years at the FEST - Harry Nilsson, Billy Preston, Donovan, Peter & Gordon, Klaus Voormann, Joey Molland, Gerry Marsden, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender (Searchers), The Quarrymen, Ronnie Spector, Alan Parsons, Doris Troy, Norman "Hurricane" Smith, Peter Noone, Micky Dolenz, Six Wings Members, Spencer Davis, Terry Sylvester (Hollies), Gary Wright, Albert Lee, Gene Cornish (Rascals), and Billy Kinsley (Merseybeats). For Liverpool, the focus is on the incredible music the Beatles created, and bringing that energy to the stage while performing note-for-note renditions. Friday evening, they welcome fans with a 60s (optional) Dress Up Night that includes a Look-Alike Contest, a Dress Up Contest, Door Prizes and more. Saturday and Sunday evening's concerts are not to be missed. You never know who is going to show up unannounced to join in the jam!
Mark RiveraRingo Starr's Music Director, Legendary Sax Player
Ringo Starr's Music Director, Legendary Sax Player
Mark Rivera, Ringo's current Musical Director, premiered his first solo album, Common Bond, at a recent NY FEST. His main gig is being Billy Joel's horn player. On August 11th, Billy is playing Wrigley Field, so Mark will be joining us on Saturday only, in the nightly jam. Mark is considered one of the finest horn players in the world. Mark premiered his first solo album, Common Bond, at a recent NYC FEST. His song, "Money, Money, Money" (with Ringo playing Drums) was voted the 8th Coolest Song of the Year on Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sirius/XM. Mark is a huge Beatles fans and early in his amazing career, performed with John Lennon in 1975, an experience he will never forget. We're thrilled to be welcoming back Mark, to the Chicago FEST!
The WeeklingsIn Concert on Sunday
In Concert on Sunday
Appearing in concert on Sunday Afternoon, The Weeklings -- consisting of Glen Burtnik and John Merjave from LIVERPOOL, Bob Burger, and Joe Bellia -- will be playing songs the Beatles wrote but never recorded as well as their Beatle-esque originals. Be Part of The Weeklings Q & A Session in the Discussion Room early Sunday afternoon. They'll also be selling copies of their latest album, Studio 2, recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2!
Mark HudsonMusician and Ringo Starr's Former Producer
Musician and Ringo Starr's Former Producer
Mark Hudson (The Hudson Brothers) was Ringo's producer for 10 years. During that time, most of the recordings took place in Mark's tiny studio in Los Angeles, which was a shrine to the Beatles. It was at those sessions that Mark got to work with Paul, George, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler, and dozens others. At the Chicago FEST, Mark will lead the Grand Jam Finale's near the end of Liverpool's concerts on Saturday and Sunday, when he brings on all of the musical guests. Mark also heads up the always fascinating and lively Musicians' Forum on Sunday with all of our musical guests! This has become one of the top highlights of the weekend over the years.
Terri HemmertMaster of Ceremonies
Master of Ceremonies
Aside from being a legendary Chicago DJ (WXRT) and a member of the Radio Hall of Fame, Terri Hemmert has been serving as our beloved Master of Ceremonies in Chicago since 1978, which was the second Chicago FEST ever. It just wouldn't be a Chicago FEST without Terri. She has been an integral part of WXRT for 40 years and is the host of Breakfast With The Beatles every Sunday morning at 8 AM. Terri was voted the #1 Beatles Fan in Chicago!!
Bruce SpizerLeading Authority on the Beatles Recordings
Leading Authority on the Beatles Recordings
Bruce Spizer is one of the world's leading authorities on the U. S. Beatles recordings. His brand new book, The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fans' Perspective was released to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's release. Bruce has been a guest at every FEST nationwide since 1998 - that's 48 FESTS!! His eight Beatles books are part of every collector and music aficionado's book shelves. His talks on many various topics are legendary in the Beatles world, and for the 2017 Chicago FEST, his A/V/Talk will be on Sgt. Pepper a U.S. Perspective.
Vivek TiwaryAuthor of "The Fifth Beatle"
Author of "The Fifth Beatle"
Vivek Tiwary's New York Times best-selling graphic novel The Fifth Beatle - The Brian Epstein Story, is being turned into a television event series, produced by Sonar Entertainment (MTV's The Shanarra Chronicles, FX + the BBC's Taboo). They will combine Vivek's powerful script with the use of The Beatles' original songs -- a combination that should make for a phenomenal TV Series. Vivek is a multiple Tony Award winner (Green Day's American Idiot, The Addams Family, The Producers), and he's very excited to be joining us at the Chicago Fest, getting us up to date on the project. Vivek will also do some exclusive script reading from the series.
Jude Southerland KesslerJohn Lennon Author/Historian
Jude Southerland Kessler
John Lennon Author/Historian
Jude Southerland Kessler is now working on the fourth volume of the history of John Lennon, scheduled for publication in the near future. The current book, called She Loves You, is a must read, as her writing style is geared for fans, as she explains in great detail all angles of events in a very enjoyable and engaging manner. 800 + pages of day by day accounts of the year Beatlemania broke out in the U.K. - 1963-1964. The first volume in the series is Shoulda Been There and the second is Shivering Inside. Jude has been a featured writer on the Fest's Blog for the last two years, where she is contributing two pieces per month. Her A/V presentations at the FEST are original and you will even learn new things about the Beatles. Our condolences go out to Jude and her family on the passing of her father earlier this year. She had to miss our NY METRO FEST in March, so she is even more excited about the Chicago FEST this year so she can be around her Beatles family for the weekend.
David BedfordAuthor of "The Fab 104"
Author of "The Fab 104"
Liverpudlian David Bedford will be screening his new Looking For Lennon film at the Chicago Fest. His new book, Looking For The 4th Beatle, will hopefully be ready in time for Chicago. His previous book, The Fab 104, refers to the number of musicians/friends/others who were involved with the Beatles story from the Quarrymen (July 6, 1957) until the day Ringo completed the band in August of 1962. David's first book, Liddypool, is one of those essential books to own, giving us a great glimpse of what it was like to grow up in Liverpool and how that influenced the Beatles. His always entertaining talks and A/V presentations have become fan favorites.
Simon WeitzmanResearcher, Project Wrangler: "All You Need Is Love"
Researcher, Project Wrangler: "All You Need Is Love"
Simon Weitzman served as Researcher and Project Wrangler for recently released All You Need Is Love. The book features images from the preparation and performance of 'All You Need Is Love' on the Our World satellite broadcast. Simon has also worked on Tom Murray's Mad Day Out and Eight Arms To Hold You.
Eric CashBeatles Fine Artist and Illustrator of "Once Upon A Time In Liverpool"
Beatles Fine Artist and Illustrator of "Once Upon A Time In Liverpool"
Internationally acclaimed artist Eric Cash is back again this year at the FEST displaying and selling his traditional style oil paintings. Eric, who has been at most Fests since 2008, continues to be one of the most well known Beatles artists going.
Rob ShanahanRingo Starr's Photographer
Ringo Starr's Photographer
Rob Shanahan was Ringo's personal photographer from 2006 to 2016 and a drummer himself, Rob will be displaying his amazing work in a Photo Exhibit Room, including his photos of Ringo and Paul from the Ed Sullivan Theatre in NYC in February of 2014 during the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Rob took the iconic photo of Ringo and Paul at Ringo's 70th birthday, and will also be displaying photos from Ringo's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Chuck GundersonAuthor of "Some Fun Tonight"
Author of "Some Fun Tonight"
Chuck Gunderson has been attending the FEST since the late 1970s. An avid fan and collector, Chuck's book, Some Fun Tonight!: The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America, The Historic Tours of 1964-1966, is a must have for all fans. Carefully researched with lots of new information, this epic two-volume comprehensive history of the North American tours features many unpublished images along with rare memorabilia from each city the Beatles performed in. It is now available in a 2 volume soft cover edition. He will be treating us to another A/V Presentation and will be participating in some of the Panel Discussions.
Robert RodriguezAuthor of 'John, Paul, George, & Ringo, Solo In The 70s'
Author of 'John, Paul, George, & Ringo, Solo In The 70s'
Robert Rodriguez' book John, Paul, George & Ringo, Solo in the 70s, puts the decade in perspective with a 30,000 word day-by-day timeline, following rock's evolution through the decade, and giving the reader a better perspective. He interviewed solo Beatles producers, engineers, friends, musicians, and associates. Robert's previous book, Revolver, was one of the best books in recent years, giving reasons why the album was the Beatles' height of creativity as a band. Robert is a Chicago native.
Al SussmanFest Favorite/Author 'Changin Times'
Fest Favorite/Author 'Changin Times'
Al Sussman's first book, Changin' Times: 101 Days That Shaped a Generation, November 22, 1963 - March 1, 1964, is a portrait of an unforgettable time in American history. It is more of a history book than a Beatles book, but the British Invasion is key to the story - especially the Beatles. A friend and part of our staff since the first FEST in 1974, Al assists Tom in the Beatles Name That Tune Competitions. Al is a longtime executive editor for Beatlefan Magazine.
Wally PodrazikPanel Discussions
Wally Podrazik has been the Discussions Room host at almost all of our Chicago FESTS (and other cities) since 1977. Wally is one of the most respected Beatles historian in the world and from 1976-1983 wrote three books (with Harry Castleman) that became an early part of a journey to delve deeply in The Beatles history. Wally also heads up the Beatles Trivia Competitions each day, with a segment for young fans, too!
Tom FrangioneBeatles Trivia Expert
Beatles Trivia Expert
Tom Frangione - for over thirty years, Tom’s been covering the Beatles on radio and in print, and is a long-time master of ceremonies and co-host at the Fest, heading up the “Name That Tune” game here in Chicago, as well as the Trivia contest at our New York shows, and taking part in many of the panel discussions and interviews on the ballroom stage. These days his work can be found in Beatlefan Magazine, on Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch Radio, and on Sirius XM's new Beatles Channel, where he is one of the hosts of the weekly “Fab Fourum” program.
Susan RyanBeatles Historian
Susan Ryan started an online publication over 15 years ago called Rooftop Sessions, where fans submitted stories and prose about the Beatles. Now she hosts groups of women Beatles historians and comes up with new topics to explore each year in always fascinating talks.
Greg SterlaceAuthor of "The Beatles: Having Read The Book: A Collector’s Guide To Beatle Books"
Author of "The Beatles: Having Read The Book: A Collector’s Guide To Beatle Books"
Greg Sterlace's second Beatles book, The Beatles Album Guide 1963-2016, briefly examines every Beatles and solo Beatles album released in the last 54 years. His first one was Having Read The Book: A Collector's Guide To Over 100 Beatles Books.
Kit O'TooleAuthor of "Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles' Lesser-Known Tracks"
Author of "Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles' Lesser-Known Tracks"Kit O'Toole, the author of Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles’ Lesser-Known Tracks, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and blogger who has written about rock, jazz, and R&B for over 20 years. As a blogger, Kit writes for Something Else Reviews (including the popular column “Deep Beatles”), Blinded by Sound (including the column “DeepSoul”), and Cinema Sentries, and previously served as a music editor for Blogcritics. Kit is also a longtime contributing editor for Beatlefan magazine
Jorie GracenAuthor of "I Saw Him Standing There"
Author of "I Saw Him Standing There"
Photojournalist Jorie Gracen is the author of Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There, a long out of print book, which features her photos of Paul from 1976 onward. Filled with terrific anecdotes and focusing largely on Paul's solo tours and Wings tours, Jorie's book gives readers a glimpse into Paul's private life while also showing him smack in the middle of his life on the road. Jorie, a native Chicagoan, has never missed a Chicago FEST. She will be treating us to her annual A/V Show with lots of new photos from the more recent and current tours. She has the most read and informative site on the web dedicated to Paul >> http://themaccareport.com
Aaron KrerowiczBeatles Scholar
A professional Beatles scholar, Aaron has presented his findings through more than 300 presentations in the United States and England. He has also written numerous books on the subject.
Marti EdwardsFounder of Chicagoland Beatles Club
Founder of Chicagoland Beatles Club
Marti Edwards was the founder of the Chicagoland Beatles Fan Club in the 60s and got to meet the band at their first Chicago Press Conference. She tells her story in the book 16 in '64. This is her first time attending as a guest author.
Kenneth WomackAuthor of "The Beatles Encyclopedia"
Author of "The Beatles Encyclopedia"
Kenneth Womack is world-premiering his new book on George Martin, called Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Early Years, 1926-1966, Ken is a literary critic and award-winning author who has written five books about the Beatles. His most recent before the George Martin book, New Critical Perspectives on The Beatles, explores the lives and works of the Beatles with new essays. Kenneth is the Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at at Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Terry Lilly Whitney, a.k.a. The Rockin’ Rhymer, is a Michigan native who has been part of the poetry jam and other activities at the Chicago Fest for several years. Her new book, Any Rhyme At All, will be available at the Fest. Her talks take place in the Paperback Writer Room.
Lanea StaggBeatles Culinary Tribute
Beatles Culinary Tribute
Lanea has come up with many clever Beatles titled and inspired dishes and the recipes are all in her book: Recipe Records: a Culinary Tribute to The Beatles. We welcome Lanea back to the Chicago FEST.
Confirmed Chicago Fest Guests
You Know My Name (Click on The Photo)
More Guests to Come
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