- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Beatlemania returns

"Move over, NSync. The original boy band is back in business.

"Thirty years after the Beatles broke up, they've shattered the world record for the fastest-selling album, dethroning today's peach-fuzz pop kings.

"The Fab Four's collection of number-one singles, aptly titled '1,' sold 3.6 million its first week and more than 12 million in three weeks ….

"That's far ahead of NSync's 'No Strings Attached,' which set the previous record with 2.4 million sold its first week and 3.7 million by the third week, according to Billboard.

"And Beatlemaniacs have put the new disc on track to break another big record best-selling album by a group. That one's held by 'The Eagles' Greatest Hits,' with 26 million sold since 1976.

" 'Sales are going through the roof, and it's not going to stop here,' predicted Beatles spokesman Jeff Baker."

Erika Martinez and Tracy Connor, writing on "Fab 4 No. 1 30 Years After Split," in Thursday's New York Post

Joy of motherhood

"Before I became pregnant, I was an onlooker to my friends' experiences of pregnancy and motherhood. But I simply could not grasp what it would mean to have a baby, except in ways that were threatening to me.

"Rather than seeing it as something that would give me more of life, I felt like my world would be narrowed, and I feared the loss of my independence, my identity, and my freedom. Hearing my friends' stories was like peering into an abyss. I couldn't look for long.

"But then (surprise) it happened to me. I felt excitement, but also tremendous fear fear that left me unable to receive, to relax, to celebrate. I was stuck. I couldn't go back to what had been before I got pregnant, but I was afraid to go forward.

"It was so easy for me to feel like a victim. This had happened to me. I had no concept of the 'joy set before me.' …

"At last his head was crowning. 'Do you want to look?' they asked me. 'No,' I said. I was still trying to retreat, afraid of what I might see… .

"Now it was done. He was here. He stared straight at my husband, and then at me. This little stranger, whom I would come to recognize as the answer to my unspoken prayer: 'Samuel,' God has heard."

Louise Walker, writing on "Until I See His Face," in the fall issue of Re:generation Quarterly

Madonna mania

"Something funny is going on between Madonna and the inhabitants of the United Kingdom.

"Since taking up with an Englishman, the film director Guy Ritchie … bearing his son … and announcing her intention to live in London full time, Madonna has replaced the late Diana, Princess of Wales, as Fleet Street's favorite mother.

"Every move she makes is exhaustively reported and analyzed: from having dinner at San Lorenzo, Diana's old haunt, to buying a house in Notting Hill … and trying to get her daughter, Lourdes, a spot at Cheltenham Ladies' College, the snootiest girls' school in the country.

"The fascination with Madonna started in the tabloids but quickly spread to the Times, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, all of which covered last week's concert in their news pages, not their arts sections… .

"The singer is, of course, happy to play the game, but she seems genuinely to like England, despite the fact that … her house was recently robbed while she slept… .

"She also let it slip that she would like to get married to the aforesaid Ritchie in St. Paul's Cathedral, the scene of Diana's wedding, or in Westminster Abbey.

"Even on Fleet Street, this request was considered a bit over the top … . 'Madonna's taking this British thing a bit far, isn't she?' said Shaun McGrath, of Bolton, Lancashire. 'Who does she think she is, the Queen?' "

John Cassidy, writing on "Madonna Mania," in the Dec. 11 issue of the New Yorker

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