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The Beatles


Bruce McBroom/ ©Apple Corps Ltd.

No band has influenced pop culture the way the Beatles have. They were one of the best things to happen in the twentieth century, let alone the Sixties. They were youth personified. They were unmatched innovators who were bigger than both Jesus and rock & roll itself: During the week of April 4, 1964, the #Beatles held the first five slots on the Billboard Singles chart; they went on to sell more than a billion records; and 2000′s 1, a compilation of the Beatles Number One hits, hit Number One in 35 countries and went on to become the best-selling album of the 2000s.

Every record was a shock when it came out. Compared to rabid R&B evangelists like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles arrived sounding like nothing else. They had already absorbed Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry, but they were also writing their own songs. They made writing your own material expected, rather than exceptional. As musicians, the Beatles proved that rock & roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures, and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit the Beatles were a synergistic combination: Paul McCartney’s melodic bass lines, Ringo Starr’s slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison’s rockabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon’s assertive rhythm guitar — and their four fervent voices. As personalities, they defined and incarnated Sixties style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Their music, from the not-so-simple love songs they started with to their later perfectionistic studio extravaganzas, set new standards for both commercial and artistic success in pop.

#Lennon was performing with his amateur skiffle group the Quarrymen at a church picnic on July 6, 1957, in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton when he met McCartney, whom he later invited to join his group; soon they were writing songs together, such as “The One After 909.” By the year’s end #McCartney had convinced Lennon to let Harrison join their group, the name of which was changed to Johnny and the Moondogs in 1958. In 1960 an art-school friend of Lennon’s, Stu Sutcliffe, became their bassist. Sutcliffe couldn’t play a note but had recently sold one of his paintings for a considerable sum, which the group, now rechristened the Silver Beetles (from which “Silver” was dropped a few months later, and “Beetles” amended to “Beatles”), used to upgrade its equipment.

##Tommy Moore was their drummer until Pete Best replaced him in August 1960. Once Best had joined, the band made its first of four trips to Hamburg, Germany. In December Harrison was deported back to England for being underage and lacking a work permit, but by then their 30-set weeks on the stages of Hamburg beer houses had honed and strengthened their repertoire (mostly #Chuck Berry, ##Little Richard, #Carl Perkins, and #Buddy Holly covers), and on February 21, 1961, they debuted at the #Cavern club on Mathew Street in #Liverpool, beginning a string of nearly 300 performances there over the next couple of years.

In April 1961 they again went to Hamburg, where Sutcliffe (the first of the Beatles to wear his hair in the long, shaggy style that came to be known as the Beatle haircut) left the group to become a painter, while McCartney switched from rhythm guitar to bass. The Beatles returned to Liverpool as a quartet in July. Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg less than a year later.

The Beatles had been playing regularly to packed houses at the Cavern when they were spotted on November 9 by Brian Epstein (b. Sep. 19, 1934, Liverpool). After being discharged from the British Army on medical grounds, Epstein had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London for a year before returning to Liverpool to manage his father’s record store.

The request he received for a German import single entitled “My Bonnie” (which the Beatles had recorded a few months earlier in Hamburg, backing singer Tony Sheridan and billed as the Beat Brothers) convinced him to check out the group. Epstein was surprised to discover not only that the Beatles weren’t German but that they were one of the most popular local bands in Liverpool. Within two months he became their manager. Epstein cleaned up their act, eventually replacing black leather jackets, tight jeans, and pompadours with collarless gray Pierre Cardin suits and mildly androgynous haircuts.

Epstein tried landing the Beatles a record contract, but nearly every label in Europe rejected the group. In May 1962, however, producer George Martin (b. Jan. 3, 1926, North London, Eng.) signed the group to EMI’s Parlophone subsidiary. Pete Best, then considered the group’s undisputed sex symbol, was asked to leave the group on August 16, 1962, and Ringo Starr, drummer with a popular Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, was added, just in time for the group’s first recording session. On September 11 the Beatles cut two originals, “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You,” which became their first U.K. Top 20 hit in October. In early 1963 “Please Please Me” went to Number Two, and they recorded an album of the same name in one 10-hour session on February 11, 1963. With the success of their third English single, “From Me to You” (Number One), the British record industry coined the term “Merseybeat” (after the river that runs through Liverpool) for groups such as the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and the Searchers.

By mid-year the Beatles were given billing over Roy Orbison on a national tour, and the hysterical outbreaks of Beatlemania had begun. Following their first tour of Europe in October, they moved to London with Epstein. Constantly mobbed by screaming fans, the Beatles required police protection almost any time they were seen in public. Late in the year “She Loves You” became the biggest-selling single in British history (in the years since, only six other singles have sold more copies there). In November 1963 the group performed before the Queen Mother at the Royal Command Variety Performance.

EMI’s American label, Capitol, had not released the group’s 1963 records (which Martin licensed to independents like Vee-Jay and Swan with little success) but was finally persuaded to release its fourth single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and Meet the Beatles (identical to the Beatles’ second British album, With the Beatles) in January 1964 and to invest $50,000 in promotion for the then unknown British act. The album and the single became the Beatles’ first U.S. chart-toppers. On February 7 screaming mobs met them at New York City’s Kennedy Airport, and more than 70 million people watched each of their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 and 16. In April 1964 “Can’t Buy Me Love” became the first record to top American and British charts simultaneously, and that same month the Beatles held the top five positions on Billboard singles chart (“Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please Please Me”).

Their first movie,# A Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester), opened in America in August; it grossed $1.3 million in its first week. The band was aggressively merchandised – Beatle wigs, Beatle clothes, Beatle dolls, lunch boxes, a cartoon series — from which, because of Epstein’s ineptitude at business, the band made surprisingly little money. The Beatles also opened the American market to such British Invasion groups as the Dave Clark Five, the Rolling Stones, and the Kinks.

By 1965 Lennon and McCartney rarely wrote songs together, although by contractual and personal agreement songs by either of them were credited to both. The Beatles toured Europe, North America, the Far East, and Australia that year. Their second movie, #Help! (also directed by Lester), was filmed in England, Austria, and the Bahamas in the spring and opened in the U.S. in August. On August 15 they performed to 55,600 fans at New York’s Shea Stadium, setting a record for largest concert audience. McCartney’s “Yesterday” (Number One, 1965) would become one of the most often covered songs ever written.

In June the #Queen of England had announced that the Beatles would be awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). The announcement sparked some controversy — some MBE holders returned their medal — but on October 26, 1965, the ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace. (Lennon returned his medal in 1969 as an antiwar gesture. Interestingly, even though he rejected the medal, the honor itself cannot be returned; Lennon technically remained an MBE.)

With 1965′s Rubber Soul, the Beatles’ ambitions began to extend beyond love songs and pop formulas. Their success led adults to consider them, along with #Bob Dylan, spokesmen for youth culture, and their lyrics grew more poetic and somewhat more political.

In summer 1966 controversy erupted when a remark Lennon had made to a British newspaper reporter months before was widely reported in the U.S. The quote — “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now” — incited denunciations and Beatles record bonfires. The anti-Beatles backlash was particularly intense in the U.S., where the group was set to begin a tour just two weeks after the controversy erupted, and included death threats against the group. Largely out of concern for the safety of his fellow band members, Lennon apologized at a Chicago press conference.

The Beatles gave up touring after an August 29, 1966, concert at San Francisco’s #Candlestick Park and made the rest of their music in the studio, where they had begun to experiment with exotic instrumentation (“Norwegian Wood,” 1965, had featured sitar) and tape abstractions such as the reversed tracks on “Rain.” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” part of a double-sided single released in February 1967 to fill the unusually long gap between albums, featured an astonishing display of electronically altered sounds and hinted at what was to come. With “Taxman” and “Love You To” on Revolver, Harrison began to emerge as a songwriter.

It took four months and $75,000 to record #Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band using a then state-of-the-art four-track tape recorder and building each cut layer by layer. Released in June 1967, it was hailed as serious art for its “concept” and its range of styles and sounds, a lexicon of pop and electronic noises; such songs as “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life” were carefully examined for hidden meanings. The album spent 15 weeks at Number One (longer than any of their others) and has sold over 8 million copies. On June 25, 1967, the Beatles recorded their new single, “All You Need Is Love,” before an international television audience of 400 million, as part of a broadcast called Our World.

On August 27, 1967 – while the four were in Wales beginning their six-month involvement with @##Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi #Mahesh Yogi (which took them to India for two months in early 1968) — Epstein died alone in his London flat from an overdose of sleeping pills, later ruled accidental. Shaken by Epstein’s death, the Beatles retrenched under McCartney’s leadership in the fall and filmed #Magical Mystery Tour, which was aired by BBC-TV on December 26, 1967, and later released in the U.S. as a feature film. Although the telefilm was panned by British critics, fans, and Queen Elizabeth herself, the soundtrack album contained their most cryptic work yet in “#I Am the Walrus,” a Lennon composition.

As the Beatles’ late-1967 single “Hello Goodbye” went to Number One in both the U.S. and Britain, the group launched the Apple clothes boutique in London. McCartney called the retail effort “Western communism”; the boutique closed in July 1968. Like their next effort, Apple Corps Ltd. (formed in January 1968 and including Apple Records, which signed James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, and Badfinger), it was plagued by mismanagement. In July the group faced its last hysterical crowds at the premiere of Yellow Submarine, an animated film by Czech avant-garde designer and artist Heinz Edelmann featuring four new Beatles songs; a revised soundtrack featuring nine extra songs was released in 1999 (Number 15).

In August they released McCartney’s “Hey Jude” (Number One), backed by Lennon’s “Revolution” (Number 12), which sold over 6 million copies before the end of 1968 — their most popular single. Meanwhile, the group had been working on the double album The Beatles (frequently called the White Album), which showed their divergent directions. The rifts were artistic — Lennon moving toward brutal confessionals, McCartney leaning toward pop melodies, Harrison immersed in Eastern spirituality — and personal, as Lennon drew closer to his wife-to-be, Yoko Ono. Lennon and Ono’sTwo Virgins (with its full frontal and back nude cover photos) was released the same month as The Beatles and stirred up so much outrage that the LP had to be sold wrapped in brown paper. (The Beatles, went to Number One, Two Virgins peaked at Number 124.)

The Beatles attempted to smooth over their differences in early 1969 at filmed recording sessions. When the project fell apart hundreds of hours of studio time later, no one could face editing the tapes (a project that eventually fell to record producer Phil Spector), and “Get Back” (Number One, 1969) was the only immediate release. Released in spring 1970, Let It Be is essentially a documentary of their breakup, including an impromptu January 30, 1969, rooftop concert at Apple Corps headquarters, their last public performance as the Beatles.

By spring 1969 Apple was losing thousands of pounds each week. Over McCartney’s objections, the other three brought in manager Allen Klein to straighten things out; one of his first actions was to package nonalbum singles as Hey Jude. With money matters temporarily out of mind, the four joined forces in July and August 1969 to record Abbey Road, featuring an extended suite as well as more hits, including Harrison’s much-covered “Something” (Number Three, 1969). While its release that fall spurred a “Paul Is Dead” rumor based on clues supposedly left throughout their work, Abbey Road became the Beatles’ best-selling album, at 9 million copies. Meanwhile, internal bickering persisted. In September Lennon told the others, “I’m leaving the group. I’ve had enough. I want a divorce.” But he was persuaded to keep quiet while their business affairs were untangled. On April 10, 1970, McCartney released his first solo album and publicly announced the end of the Beatles. At the same time, Let It Be finally surfaced, becoming the group’s 14th Number One album (a postbreakup compilation would become their 15th in 1973) and yielding the Beatles’ 18th and 19th chart-topping singles, “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road.”

Throughout the Seventies, as repackages of Beatles music continued to sell, the four were hounded by bids and pleas for a reunion. Lennon’s murder by a mentally disturbed fan on December 8, 1980, ended those speculations. In 1988 the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. McCartney, citing business conflicts with the two other surviving members, did not attend. Relations between him and Harrison, in particular, had been strained for some time.

In January 1994 Goldmine magazine reported that McCartney, Harrison, and #Starr had begun recording music for a long-rumored Beatles documentary the previous August, with more secret sessions scheduled. There were other signs that the three band members were on the mend — when Lennon was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 1994, for instance, McCartney did the honors (McCartney himself was inducted in 1999). Later in 1994 Live at the BBC was released, featuring 56 songs the Beatles performed on the British radio between 1962 and 1965. It debuted at Number One in the U.K.; in the U.S., it debuted and peaked at Number Three.

#The Beatles Anthology, the long-awaited six-hour television special, was broadcast over three nights in November 1995, coinciding with the release of the George Martin-compiled double-CD Anthology 1 (Number One), which featured alternate takes, demos, and rare tracks, and premiered the first new song by John, Paul, George, and Ringo since 1970. “Free as a Bird” (Number Six, 1995), a demo recorded by Lennon in 1977, was completed by the other three and produced by Jeff Lynne; it became the Beatles 34th Top 10 single. Lennon’s lyrics didn’t extend much beyond the title, and so Harrison and McCartney collaborated on lyrics for a new bridge.

Two additional double CDs, Anthology 2 and 3 (both Number One), followed in 1996, as well as an extended videotape version of the documentary. Anthology 2‘s “Real Love” (again a Lennon demo, from 1979, with modern additions by the others) reached Number 11 and became the group’s 23rd gold single (the most of any group).

The Liverpool juggernaut continued to roll on in 2000: the Beatles became the highest certified act of all time, with over 113 million albums sold in America (which grew to 170 million albums in 2008); a coffee table book, The Beatles Anthology, topped the New York Times bestseller list; and 1, a collection of the band’s Number One hit songs, became the Beatles’ 19th chart-topping album, selling 25 million copies by 2005.

On November 29, 2001, George Harrison, diagnosed with lung cancer in the late 1990s, became the second Beatle to pass away. Three years later Capitol Records released all of the Beatles’ U.S. albums (in both stereo and original mono versions) as two box sets, The Capitol Albums, Vols. 1 and 2. In 2006, George Martin and his son Giles produced a set of Beatles remixes, Love, for the soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil’s theater production of the same name. The following year, McCartney and Starr appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live to talk about the project; they joined Beatles widows Ono and Olivia Harrison in Las Vegas to celebrate the Love production’s first anniversary.

Until 2007, the Beatles’ #Apple Corp. was in legal limbo with the Apple, Inc. computer company over use of the name. Apple Corp. had sued Apple, Inc. after the computer company opened its online iTunes music store; one result of the suit was that the Beatles’ group and solo music was not made available for digital download. In February 2007, the two sides came to an agreement. Apple, Inc. would retain ownership of the name and license it back to the Apple Corp. record label. By October, all of the Beatles’ solo works were available on iTunes, but as of early 2010 the Beatles catalogue was still not available on iTunes.

September 9, 2009 was a day of 21st century Beatlemania: Apple/EMI released remastered versions of the band’s studio albums, with dramatically improved sound. (Mono versions were also available, though only as a box.) Also that day, The Beatles Rock Band video game hit shelves, featuring 45 Beatle songs; by the end of 2009, it had sold more than one million copies worldwide.

McCartney and Starr continued to tour and record throughout the 2000s. McCartney, who is reportedly a billionaire, released three solo albums during the decade as well as three live albums, including Good Evening New York City, which documented the inaugural concerts at New York’s Citi Field in 2009. Starr released three albums in the 2000s, as well as 2010′s Y Not. He appeared with McCartney at several events, including 2002′s Concert for George, a charitable event held on the first anniversary of Harrison’s death.

Portions of this biography appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/the-beatles/biography#ixzz37Y1bRmQj
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

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HIGHWAY AMERICA- COLORADO CATTLE RANCHERS -Timeless Photographs Capture ‘The Simple Life’ of Colorado Cattle Ranchers


Timeless Photographs Capture ‘The Simple Life’ of Colorado Cattle Ranchers


Timelessness is a quality we all strive for in our images. It’s a quality earned, not given, through the time and effort put into conceptualizing, visualizing and capturing an image.

And when it is earned, the results are phenomenal… oftentimes winding back the clock or making time seem almost irrelevant to the image. Such is the case for the work of #Michael Crouser, a Minnesota-based photographer who has spent the past eight years documenting cattle ranching families in Colorado.


The photographs Crouser captures leave us guessing at when they were taken and what gear was used. #Monochrome, filled with distinct tones and dramatic contrast, the images seem to almost pop off the screen.

Speaking with the #Huffington Post, Crouser was asked about the lifestyles and work of the cattle ranching families he’s spent just shy of a decade documenting.

His reply, as you might expect, was that the work these families do is not for the faint of heart; however, for generations it’s all they’ve done, and therefore all they know. They will continue to live “the simple life” for as long as they can until developers begin taking the land away piece by piece.


On that note, Crouser goes on to point out that such a lifestyle probably isn’t going to be one that his subjects’ children and grandchildren will have.

“As the land in this region of Colorado becomes more valuable and practical for development than for growing hay and grazing cattle, ranching will disappear,” he tells Huff Po. “Along with these families, their operations and traditional ways of working.”

Below is a collection of images Crouser has been kind enough to share with us:














Crouser_M_Rolling Hay


To see more of Crouser’s #Mountain Ranch series, or if you’d like to browse through the rest of his portfolio, head on over to his website or give him a follow on Facebook and Tumblr.

HIWAY AMERICA -The Barrel Daredevils And tightrope walker Nik Wallenda of Niagara Falls N.Y









p>Gallery of Battered Barrels.
Gallery of Battered Barrels.

Barrel Daredevils of Niagara Falls

Field review by the editors.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Tumbling in a barrel over Niagara Falls is a freeway to fame for a select group of crackpots and egomaniacs. No great skill is required: just build a really strong barrel, fill it with a lot of padding, and figure out a way to get into the river above the Falls without getting caught. Twenty minutes later, you’re a star.

Annie Edson Taylor and her barrel.
Annie Edson Taylor and her barrel.

Of course, as the Niagara Daredevils Exhibit in Toronto makes clear, it’s not quite that easy.

Greeting visitors to the exhibit is the red, white, and blue “Death Barrel” of George Stathakis, who survived the Falls but died of suffocation waiting to be rescued (His barrel companion, a turtle named Sonny Boy, survived).

Peculiar stories are everywhere in the exhibit, their details offered in gaudy tabloid-style displays. Bobby Leach was the first man to survive a barrel trip, but died later when he slipped on an orange peel. Karel Soucek went over the Falls with a case of beer and survived, but six months later he dropped in the same barrel from the roof of the Astrodome and died.

Charles Stephens unwisely tied an anvil to his feet as ballast; his barrel survived, but all that was left of Charles was his tattooed right arm. “He was,” reads an accompanying sign, “apparently torn apart.”

Risk-takers have launched themselves over the Falls on a jet ski, a kayak, and a barrel made of inflated inner tubes named “The Thing.” All of them died, but the kayak escaped with just a dent.

Weaver's Rapids Queen.
Weaver’s Rapids Queen.

The first human to go over the Falls and live was Annie Edson Taylor, who did it on her 63rd birthday. “I was on the brink of the awful precipice,” says a disembodied voice at Annie’s display, apparently reading from her account. “The barrel seemed to pause for one second… The sensation was one of indescribable horror….” The exhibit offers a life-size cutout of Annie next to an exact replica of her custom-built oak barrel, which survived the Falls but did not survive a subsequent custody battle.

Plunge O' Sphere.
Plunge O’ Sphere.

William “Red” Hill was a fulcrum of daredevilry: he witnessed Anne Taylor’s plunge; he rescued “Smiling Jean” Lussier after he went over the Falls (his barrel is in a museum on the American side); he re-used the Death Barrel of George Stathakis to ride the “Boneyard of Niagara” Whirlpool and was saved from the Whirlpool by his son, who later died in his own attempt to conquer the Falls. Red’s barrel is covered with a hand-painted resume of life accomplishments: “Gassed and wounded four times in World War I.” “Rescued 177 bodies from the Niagara River.” “Saved girl from burning house 1896″ (He would have been just eight years old).

Dave Mundy’s “no frills” barrel was built, according to his display, “to show the media he could survive” (He did). Another of Mundy’s barrels resembles an oversized aluminum beer keg, and is open — daring visitors to play daredevil by crawling inside. A third Mundy barrel resembles a large hot dog or foot-long sub; it got stuck on the brink of the Falls, and Mundy later agreed that this probably saved his life.

For all it’s insanity — or perhaps because of it — going over Niagara Falls in a barrel has been treated relatively lightly by the authorities. William Fitzgerald, who rode his “Plunge O’ Sphere” over the Falls in 1961, was fined only $100. One daredevil quoted in the exhibit called the fines, “a cheap price to pay to get into the record books.” Today the maximum fine in Canada is $10,000 and the Niagara Falls Parks Commission strongly discourages barrel daredevils, which has apparently triggered some resentment.

A recorded TV news broadcast in the exhibit strikes a defensive tone: “A spokesman for the Niagara Falls Parks Commission says the Commission is not a party pooper.”

Barrel Daredevils of Niagara Falls

IMAX Theatre Niagara Falls

6170 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
In the lobby of IMAX Theatre Niagara Falls, which is at the base of the impossible-to-miss Skylon Tower. Up the hill from Horseshoe Falls, on Fallsview Blvd between Murray and Robinson Sts. Has its own parking lot.
Opens daily at 9 AM. (Call to verify)
Adults $8.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour



The Fascinating Last Photographs of Famous People

By Alison Nastasi on Jan 23, 2013 6:00pm

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This week marks the 32nd anniversary of Rolling Stone’s famous cover featuring a portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. It was the last professional photo captured of the iconic musician, who was killed hours later outside his apartment in New York City. We’re discounting the chilling image fan Paul Goresh took of Lennon and Chapman that fateful morning.

“What is interesting is she said she’d take her top off and I said, ‘Leave everything on’ — not really preconceiving the picture at all,” Leibovitztold the magazine. “Then he curled up next to her and it was very, very strong. You couldn’t help but feel that he was cold and he looked like he was clinging on to her. I think it was amazing to look at the first Polaroid and they were both very excited. John said, ‘You’ve captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it’ll be on the cover.’ I looked him in the eye and we shook on it.”

Leibovitz had only planned to photograph Lennon, but the image of the couple turned out to be one of her most famous portraits and would define one of the most talked about relationships in pop culture history. We scouted for other fascinating photographs that perhaps offer some insight into the final days of famous people. See more photos after the jump.

Photo credit: Jesse Frohman

Kurt Cobain

Jesse Frohmantook these photos of Kurt Cobain close to his 1994 suicide, and they were exhibited last year in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of his passing.The Observer commissioned the images. Dressed in Jackie O sunglasses and a leopard coat, Cobain is seen clinging to his cigarette and a bottle (of something) with peeling nail polish. He looks worn, but every bit the iconoclast his fans remember. See other photos in the series over here.

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