Bill King (Photo by Olivia King)
Bill King and his wife, Leslie, have been publishing Beatlefan, a news magazine for fans of The Beatles, out of Decatur, Ga., since 1978. In addition to talking with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr through the years, he has interviewed numerous Beatle friends, family, associates and band members, including May Pang, Peter Brown, Derek Taylor, Victor Spinetti, Leo McKern, Cynthia Lennon, Mike McCartney, Walter Shenson, the members of Badfinger, Jurgen Vollmer, Pete Shotton, Francie Schwartz, Julia Baird, Pauline Sutcliffe, Robbie McIntosh, Hamish Stuart, Rusty Anderson and Phil Ramone.
Bill wrote the captions for an authorized set of Beatles trading cards, and was among the Beatles experts that Apple Corps and ABC made available for press interviews when “The Beatles Anthology” first aired. Beatlefan also was the first news outlet to break the story of McCartney, Harrison and Starr coming together to record “Free As a Bird.” The magazine has been cited for its “serious Beatling” by The New York Times, and was dubbed “the authoritative publication of record” for fans of The Beatles by historian Walter J. Podrazik. Two books compiling the early years of Beatlefan were published by Pierian Press.
Bill is a retired writer and editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where his career included covering pop music, television and films. During that time, he saw just about every iconic musician of his generation in concert, and interviewed many major stars, ranging from Brian Wilson, James Brown, Dolly Parton, R.E.M., the B-52’s, Billy Joel, Lionel Richie, the Allman Brothers, Isaac Hayes, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Grace Slick, Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa and Roger Daltrey, to Burt Reynolds, Raymond Burr, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Charlton Heston, Patty Duke, Patrick McGoohan, Billy Crystal, George C. Scott, Kim Basinger and Robin Williams.
Bill sat in the studio while the Atlanta Rhythm Section recorded, hung out with the Commodores in their Alabama hometown, and traveled on tour with the Oak Ridge Boys. He’s had dinner served to him by Raymond Burr, been invited to lunch by Olivia Newton-John, and had Lucille Ball eat the beets off his plate at a banquet in New York.
He also was sent to Memphis when Elvis Presley died, to talk with those who knew the King; was involved in coverage of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta; received hate mail from Neil Diamond fans; and was thanked for his contributions to Georgia music by Gov. Zell Miller.
He continues to contribute columns to the Journal-Constitution, and he has written a blog for the paper about sports at his alma mater, the University of Georgia, since 2005.
Bill contributed several chapters to Nicholas Schaffner’s book “The British Invasion,” has been interviewed for several books about The Beatles and British pop culture, and is a regular contributor to Bruce Spizer’s Beatles Albums book series.
You can find out more about Beatlefan magazine at www.beatlefan.com.