Jewish World Review Dec. 17, 2003 / 22 Kislev, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room | NEW YORK — Did the Beatles reunite — six years after their April 1970 split — for an abortive recording session in Los Angeles?

That has long been a rumor in the obsessive cult of Beatlemaniacs, and now dealer Gary Zimet, of, claims to have the smoking tape box.

The label on the box indicates that the Fab Four, along with their longtime producer George Martin, convened on Nov. 2, 1976, at Davlen Sounds, a studio in L.A. The typed label reads:

Client: Warner/Elektra/Atlantic
Artist: John, Paul, George, Rich
Producer: GM
Engineer: GE
Master Reel No.1
No.1 Happy Feeling 4 min 32 sec
No.2 Back Home 3 min 43 sec
No.3 Rockin' Once Again 5 min 34 sec
No.4 People of the 3rd World 7 min 48 sec
No.5 Little Girl 4 min 54 sec

There's a catch, of course.

The tape inside the box was apparently erased, and none of the alleged songs is audible.

"Paul McCartney has done everything within his power to keep this out of print," Zimet told this column. "Since it would be hideously embarrassing to him that the Beatles tried to get back together and failed. . . . They ended up fighting, they walked out of the studios."

Zimet identified the owner of the tape as Arizona resident Keith Chrismon. "I'm a collector, I've been in the entertainment business and I acquired this roughly six weeks ago," Chrismon said, though he refused to name the seller. "I purchased it from a former employee of Apple (Records, the Beatle-owned label) from way, way back. The only reason he knew of the tape was because of working in a minor capacity with Apple. He's not a big shot — he was just a young performer and actor. (He) got scared into burying it. . . . He refused to make the tape public basically out of fear of Paul McCartney.

"Apparently it was a bad way to end things," Chrismon explained. "There were a lot of rumors that they had gotten back together, but no one could prove it. Now I've got the proof. There were five songs put on the tape. Five songs — four were new and one was a remake. The remake was 'Little Girl.'"

Chrismon supplied a tantalizing May 1997 e-mail, apparently from Davlen founder Len Kovner, to a Beatles researcher in Scotland: "Someone you know must have seen the 3M tape box with the Davlen Sound Studios logo and song list. It is rather difficult to talk about, as this is one of the most obscure events in the Beatles' history. . . . As I was the engineer, along with other noted L.A. engineers, I still work with the remaining lads. If you would like to phone me . . . I can shed some additional light and stories about these historical and failed events."

Kovner was unreachable Monday, and McCartney's rep, Paul Freundlich, didn't return repeated phone calls.


Russell Simmons is mad as he-- and he's not gonna take it any more.

The hip hop/fashion impresario was practically spitting with rage Monday when he called to complain about an item in another newspaper's gossip column that says his wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, "comes off a mite materialistic" in the January Harper's Bazaar.

Bazaar documents the eye-popping facets of her larger-than-life lifestyle — including a 49,000-square-foot, 20-bathroom mansion in Saddle River, N.J., a 25-carat diamond ring, a fleet of luxury cars, five maids, four assistants, two live-in nannies, a chef and two drivers.

"Every other week it's the same thing, and I'm upset about it and she's upset about it," Simmons told me, adding that he has no problem with the Harper's Bazaar spread. "Does anyone care about Donatella Versace's extravagance or Karl Lagerfeld's? This is all because Kimora is an African-American Asian woman. It's as if they think she's undeserving."

Kimora Lee, designer of the Baby Phat apparel line among other business and philanthropic pursuits, drafted an aggrieved letter to her tormentors: "It is obvious the writers of the New York Post really don't quite know me, my husband, or family . . .

"I'm not defined by the materialistic things that were listed in the article. I do possess them but they do not possess me. My focus is on my children, my family, my career, and my community. Extravagance is in the eye of the beholder."

She added that their daughters, 3 and 1/2-year-old Ming Lee and 1 and 1/2-year-old Aoki Lee Simmons, "are being exposed to educational experiences of which neither Russell nor I could have ever dreamed. They are learning French and Italian, they take yoga, swimming, ballet, piano, and gymnastics. But most of all, as a mother, I am teaching them to respect the oneness of humanity and to never look down on someone who is less privileged or fortunate.

"The truth is the more I give, the more I receive. In fact, we give to more than 70 different charities."

The author of the offending column told me: "Kimora Lee Simmons is great. If she wasn't already here, we'd have to invent her."


WOULD IT HAVE KILLED HER TO SAY 'GET WELL SOON'?: "Dear Siegfried and Roy," pop star Pink wrote to Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn in a letter ginned up by People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals. "I was very sad to learn that Gildah, the 55-year-old elephant used in your show, has been penned up at the Mirage since the show closed after October's tiger attack. I'm urging all my fans and fellow PETA members to join me in asking you to release her to a sanctuary. . . . 'Peace on Earth' doesn't seem very viable in much of the world this year, but won't you grant it to one pathetic old lonely elephant on the Vegas strip?" Pink goes on in the manner, and never once wishes Horn a speedy recovery from his almost-fatal tiger-inflicted injuries.

NO GEST ROOM: Liza Minnelli's estranged hubby, David Gest, who is looking for a television venue to tell his story of pain and suffering, offered himself recently to "60 Minutes" correspondent Christiane Amanpour after being impressed by her segment on children with cerebral palsy. I'm told that Gest's divorce lawyer, Raoul Felder, made the pitch via e-mail. Amanpour's response: a giggle and a polite no-thanks.

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© 2003, Creators Syndicate