When MTV Network’s Harmonix (Viacom) locked up the coveted rights to bring the Beatles to the digital age last fall, only a few details were revealed about the project. The company said simply that the new game was being developed from the ground up, that it wouldn’t be merely a customized version of the Rock Band franchise, that Electronic Arts would be involved with publishing, and that the game has the full support of the band members (or their heirs).
Today, new details emerged. Though still entirely new, the game will tie-in to the Rock Band series in name. It’s title: “Beatles: Rock Band”
The game will launch in Australia, Europe and North America on September 9th. It will be released simultaneously for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 platforms.
Beatles fans are almost guaranteed to chime in that the scheduling, 09.09.09, is no accident. It may or may not be coincidental but the number 9 has been connected to the band many times in lore, and urban legend (see below for a partial list of the 9-Connections).
Most notable of the ties is probably the experimental track “Revolution #9” on the White Album. The song has a man repeatedly saying “Number 9” throughout the song. When played backwards these same segments say, “turn me on, deadman.” This planted “back masking” is viewed by some as a clue in a Beatle’s-centric conspiracy theory from the late 60’s sometimes known as the “Paul is Dead Hoax.” (More on the “Paul is Dead Hoax” and the backwards tracks can be found here or here. A list we’ve compiled of purported Beatles connections to the #9 follows below this article).
When released on September 9th, it’s a decent bet the game will have a few surprise “easter eggs,” the video game equivalent of "back masking" but hidden messages when songs play backwards? Probably not.
The game will sell for $59.99. Beatles branded controllers will be sold separately for $99.99, or a combination will available in a limited edition bundle priced at $249.99. No song information has been released yet.
A website to support the game is live at beatlesrockband.com.
Now for those number nine connections that Beatles fans are sure to connect to the launch date…. from a collection of websites and research, here are some of the ties, some obvious and few other’s that stretch to make a link:
• John Lennon’s birthday was on a 9th, October 9th, 1940. His son Sean was also born October 9.
• When John died, it was December 9th in his hometown of Liverpool. (It was Dec. 8th locally in New York).
• The “Paul is Dead” theory says the day of the car accident was November 9th, 1966. (Paul McCartney parodied the conspiracy theory with the cover and title of his 1993 album, “Paul is Live”)
• The Beatles made their Ed Sullivan Show debut on February 9, 1964 (video).
• John told Rolling Stone magazine that 9 was his lucky number. In an interview in 1980, with the same magazine he said he had an unusual guitar hanging over his bed, the number 9 next to it, and also a dagger Yoko had given him. He told Playboy in 1980 that “I lived in 9 Newcastle Road, I was born on the 9th October. it’s just a number that follows me around, but, numerologically, apparently I am number six or three or something, but it’s all part of nine."
• One of Lennon’s first songs was One after 909. He wrote it when he was somewhere between 15 and 18. The band performed it early in their careers, recorded it in 1963 but didn’t release until 1970, on their last album: Let It Be. John also wrote the song #9 Dream as solo artist, and with the Beatles wrote Revolution #9.
• As a child, Lennon lived at 9 Newcastle Road, Liverpool. On the cover of his 1974 album Walls and Bridges, the art is a picture of his from age 11. One of the soccer players in the picture wears #9. #9 Dream is one of the hits from that album.
• The band’s hometown of Liverpool, is spelled with 9 letters. So is Abbey Road, and McCartney.
• Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager and a man sometimes referred to as the “Fifth Beatle” for his contributions to their success, first heard the band play at the Cavern Club on November 9th, in 1961. The first day the Beatles played the Cavern Club was also a ninth, February 9th, 1961.
• John met Yoko on November 9, 1966.
• A last sidebar on numbers and John Lennon: Author Robert Rosen, who for a brief time had access to Lennon’s diaries before writing a best selling but controversial biography called “Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon,” says Lennon became obsessed with numerology. Rosen calls Chiero’s Book of Numbers Lennon’s bible and notes in a blog posting from 2006 that “Lennon spent a great deal of time making notes on the “birth numbers” and calculating, according to Cheiro’s arcane formula, the “name numbers” of those closest to him. There were 9’s and 18’s everywhere. Yoko Ono was born February 18. Paul McCartney was born June 18. John equals 18 or 9. … Yoko Ono equals 9. Sean Ono Lennon equals 9. Paul equals 9. Richard Starkey (Ringo’s real name) equals 9. Mimi Smith (the aunt who raised him) equals 9. The Dakota, [where Lennon lived] on West 72nd Street (9), was built in 1881, which equals 18 or 9.”
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