McCartney to perform in Israel for first time

Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:01pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paul McCartney will perform for the first time ever in Israel next month -- more than 40 years after the Beatles were blocked from giving a concert in the country, the singer announced on Wednesday.

The former Beatle, who along with John Lennon wrote most of the Fab Four's songs in the 1960s, will perform on September 25 in Tel Aviv, the singer said on his Web site.

McCartney and the Beatles, one of the most popular bands in rock history, had planned to perform in Israel in the mid-1960s, but the concert was scrapped, a non-event that has since taken on almost legendary significance.

For years, it was said that the government blocked the show out of fear that it would corrupt the nation's youth, a version of the story that was highlighted on McCartney's website.

But a more recent account given this month in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz blames the show's cancellation on a rift between two concert promoters.

Earlier this year, Israel's ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, apologized for the cancellation in a letter to the two surviving Beatles, McCartney and Ringo Starr.

"There is no doubt that it was a great missed opportunity to prevent people like you, who shaped the minds of the generation, to come to Israel and perform," Prosor wrote.

But McCartney said he looks forward to this second chance to perform in Israel.   Continued...

<p>Paul McCartney performs at the Liverpool Sound concert at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northern England, June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis</p>