Something About the Beatles
Something About the Beatles
About Something About the Beatles
Hosted by award-winning author Robert Rodriguez, Something About The Beatles is an intelligent but entertaining examination of The Beatles' music and career. Smart, funny and surprising - just like the Fab Four.
I asked for your questions last summer and you responded, so here you go! Aided by Gary Wenstrup (SATB regular of Olympiad series fame), we tackle the following subjects: The "aaahs" on "A Day in the Life" The end of touring Beatles '76 Live Aid A psychological exam of John and Paul's relationship Mimi Smith's parenting The "Come Together" lawsuit George on Sgt. Pepper Where were you December 8, 1980? Myths that won't die Check out Gary Wenstrup's lectures here: http://www.garywenstrup.com Gary's December 1980 review of Double Fantasy here. Send further questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifty years on, Ringo's third solo album (or first, as he counted it in 1977) remains a stunning achievement, not just for the near-Beatles reunion but also on its own musical merits. With Richard Perry in the producer's chair, an array of talent was rallied in support of the beloved ex-Beatle, resulting in something greater than the sum of its parts. At Perry's side was engineer Bill Schnee, who'd worked with him on hits by artists like Streisand, Nilsson, Carly, Leo Sayer and many others. Schnee has penned a memoir, Chairman at the Board, detailing a career that began with Three Dog Night and encompassed artists ranging from Steely Dan and Neil Diamond to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Schnee has been a mixer/remixer, engineer and producer in support of the rich soundtrack of life for anyone enjoying music during the 70s and 80s and beyond. Bill was there at the right place and the right time to take full advantage of his gifts and creativity. His book is rich with stories, and in this conversation, we discuss his work with all four ex-Beatles, mostly but not entirely in support of Ringo. Check out his website - https://www.billschnee.com/ This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off your first month of treatment.
No one on the planet knows more about the contents of The Beatles' Nagra reels than Beatle scholars Doug Sulpy (Drugs, Divorce and A Slipping Image) and Dan Rivkin (They May Be Parted blog). We convened to review the Get Back film and discuss how well it depicted the events revealed by the extant audio. Doug's works can be found at www.dougsulpy.com Dan's blog is here: https://theymaybeparted.com/
Returning guest Glenn Greenberg (216 Dear Friend; 223 The Beatles 1971 - 1973; 235 Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson at 80) is back for another discussion, this one examining the complex relations between George and Paul - the longest running friendship in the band. This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off your first month of treatment.
This show was taped a month ago, in conversation with Yardbirds/Renaissance/Illusion founding member Jim McCarty, in an effort to widen the lens exploring the world of 60s British rock that The Beatles operated in. Sadly we find ourselves now memorializing his friend and bandmate, Jeff Beck - a giant of guitar whose boundless brilliance we were privileged to witness. So it is in the spirit of celebrating the legacy of Jeff and The Yardbirds as well as McCarty's creativity that this show is presented. If you are already a fan, I know you will enjoy it; if you are new to this band, I hope the music and story presented will set you off on your own discoveries. Jim McCarty was far more than The Yardbirds' drummer - he sang and co-wrote, as well as collaborated with singer Keith Relf beyond the band's lifetime. They recorded together and formed Renaissance, as well as Illusion. McCarty also was part of the latter-day Yardbirds iteration, Box of Frogs, featuring contributions from Beck and Page. Jim has also recorded prodigiously, as a soloist as well as a collaborator on numerous projects. He has also written a pair of books: 2018's Nobody Told Me (featuring a foreword by Jimmy Page) about his life in music, as well as the more esoteric She Walks In Beauty (2021), presenting his exploration into the world beyond this world and the answers he found when seeking communication with his late wife, Lizzie. Jim is a canny, insightful storyteller, and both books include much on what he's learned in and out of music. You can find all his info at http://www.jamesmccarty.com/ This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off your first month of treatment.
Author Susan Shumsky first appeared on SATB in 2019, upon the publication of her memoir, The Maharishi and Me, which detailed her twenty years living at his ashram (including six years working directly for his organization). We discussed her knowledge of The Beatles' Rishikesh sabbatical then, but with her new book, The Inner Light, she goes deep with an exploration of how their interactions with Indian culture and the TM movement impacted their lives and their art. In the course of over 500 pages, she gives chapter and verse on the manifestations of these interactions, sometimes hiding in plain sight, that appeared in their music.
Musicologist Walter Everett joins professional musicians Cameron Greider and Jack Petruzzelli in a return visit to discuss the latest Beatles reissue set. Revolver is analyzed through the prism of its poetry as well as its musical maturity and what the new set reveals in terms of The Beatles' major artistic advance. Check out the upcoming Revolver class here: http://www.rpm-school.com This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit http://www.betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off of your first month of treatment.
Between 1963 and 1969, The Beatles issued ephemeral holiday greetings to members of their fan club on flexidiscs. These were collected onto an LP in 1970, but for the most part, escaped a proper issue for the masses (excepting the 2017 limited edition set). In this holiday edition of SATB, Gary Wenstrup (Beatles Olympiad shows) and I take a deep dive into the history of these recordings, providing context and analysis. In their way, the seven messages serve as a microcosm of the group's career, reflecting the state of the band each year. You can hear the entire collection here: https://tinyurl.com/23v8vuwe "Beatles Christmas Supermash" by Tom Teeley. This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for10% off your first month of treatment.
Returning SATB guest favorite Ray Connolly (journalist, Beatles insider, screenwriter) penned what remains the finest Lennon bio in print, Being John Lennon: A Restless Life. On this, his 82nd birthday, we celebrate John's life and Ray's as well as we discuss a wide array of topics with someone who knew John well: a journalist friend and confidant. In this far-reaching conversation, we touch on topics including the Get Back film - drug use - Michael X and James Hanratty - the abominable behavior of Phil Spector's entourage - skiffle - Mimi and Yoko - the "Working Class Hero"project - the Lennon-McCartney creative partnership - Ray's interactions with the Lennons during the last hours of John's life - and more. Ray's works can be found on his website here. Ray's miraculous COVID story here.
An entire book dedicated to a single song may strike some as bewildering, but not if the song in question is both The Beatles' longest single (in length) as well as one of their most successful (quadruple platinum): 1968's "Hey Jude." Deceptively simple and universally appealing, the Apple Records debut marked an astonishing launch to their label while serving as an anthem of healing during a tumultuous year - in the world as well as within the band. Author James Campion (Take A Sad Song: The Emotional Currency of Hey Jude) discussed the song with returning guest Jeff Martin and I for nearly two hours. You too will discover what James did - that uncovering the magic and pull of this recording is something that will take you farther than you can imagine. This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to www.betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off your first month.
In which the worlds of three returning guests collide to discuss 1) is there (or should there be) a common starting point for all critiques of art and 2) the world of rock criticism generally - what's the purpose and where does it go wrong? Dr. Allison Bumsted is a popular music scholar, specializing in teen magazines (Teen Set in particular) and has written extensively on rock criticism on the 60s and 70s. She appeared on SATB here and here. Kyle Driscoll is a writer for Medium.com and this article is where the conversation began: https://medium.com/@kpdriscoll33/the-art-of-quantifying-art-663729c02c89 He was on SATB here. Bill Wyman has been writing and reviewing art and music for 30 years for outlets ranging from the Chicago Reader to NPR, EW, WSJ and currently with New York and Vulture.com His ranking of The Beatles list can be found here. His SATB appearances include this and this. Check out the Beatles Song Sorter here.
Are you Get Back-ed out yet? No? Good, because there are still plenty of avenues to explore within the scope of January 1969. Featured today is something from the vaults: the conversation reuniting three witnesses to the events on Savile Row on 30 January, 1969: Apple press office deputy Chris O'Dell, Beatles equipment manager Kevin Harrington, and EMI tape operator Alan Parsons; yes, the eventual producer and recording artist himself. This was taped live at the Fab4ConJam event in February 2021 and therefore before Peter Jackson's film had been screened. Therefore, their recollections come purer: what they remembered and how they remembered it, unaffected by any more recent info coming their way. They all experienced the day from different perspectives, but over 5 decades on cannot help but be moved by what the were a part of, all these years later. Co-hosting is Beatles author and podcaster Anthony Robustelli. This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off your first month of treatment.
Returning guest Robert Rosen (Nowhere Man) penned an essay last year discussing a phenomenon called "catch-and-kill," wherein the powerful who wish to keep unflattering stories from reaching the public exert pressure and influence to keep media companies from publishing them. In the instances he wrote about, a pair of book projects detailing life at the Dakota during John Lennon's final five years were suppressed, for no apparent reason beyond the estate wishing to keep any variance from the narrative they have been controlling for decades to be challenged in any way. This led to a discussion on the why and the how these stories are being kept hidden, despite the legitimacy of the narrators. Here's to link to Robert's article in the Village Voice: https://www.villagevoice.com/2021/12/07/mike-tree-in-john-lennons-nutopia/ This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off of your first month of treatment.
Luther Russell and I roll into the next hour of discussion and analysis of the intent behind Double Fantasy; about Yoko's standing in the rock world, and how The Beatles might better have dealt with her entry into their world. The album is ripe for a fresh listen, and no matter how you may rank it in the canon, is certainly worthy of an extended discussion as a release so heavy with meaning. Enrollment open now for Why The Beatles? - an online 3-session course beginning in October: https://ce.harpercollege.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=9470614&selectedProgramAreaId=27039&selectedProgramStreamId=508576 This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb for 10% off of your first month of treatment.
Given the unique circumstance of Double Fantasy - John Lennon's first work in five years and his slaying within a few short weeks of its release - it is hard to assess the final work issued during his lifetime; a joint effort with his wife, Yoko Ono. Its initial tepid reception gave way to it serving as a place for mourners worldwide to project their grief, and has, for some, grown to status as perhaps his finest work. For others, it pointed to evidence of his irrelevancy in a world that had changed during his time away; for still others, it was a showcase for Yoko being in far more tune with the times than the former Beatle. Singer-songwriter/performer Luther Russell (solo artist, Those Pretty Wrongs) returns to the show to make the case for the album representing peak Lennon-Ono collaboration - the culmination of their years together. He argues that it is ripe for reassessment, just as Ram was. See what you think during the first hour of our discussion. My "Why The Beatles?" course is here: https://tinyurl.com/3xe56k86 A sample of Sarabeth Tucek's work: https://youtu.be/CTFfoc4aeYg Luther Russell's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmDA0CTEdPNeCuZ_I4nAJZA This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/satb and receive 10% off your first month of treatment.
In which Gary Wenstrup and I continue the discussion of Revolver, followed by a thorough analysis of the group's OTHER 1966 UK release, A Collection of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!). This podcast is sponsored by Betterhelp. Go to betterhelp.com/SATB for 10% off your first month of treatment.
Taking a detour from some of the heavier SATB topics of late for end-of-summer light entertainment, Gary Wenstrup and I return to the series of gold, silver and bronze rankings of Beatle cuts through their catalog. We're at the halfway point now as The Beatles turned the page from a touring to a studio band, but not before a final blast of nostalgia by years' end.
Returning guest Terry Zobeck (234: Paul McCartney Lyrics ) spent his career studying drug addiction and its effects. With a PhD in anthropology besides, this Beatles scholar is uniquely qualified to discuss the Joe Goodenn's book, Riding So High: The Beatles and Drugs. (Here's Erin Weber's review.) Our conversation covers a lot of ground, but mostly concerns itself with an informed perspective on how particular drugs affect the brain and behavior of users. This podcast is sponsored by Better Help. Please go to betterhelp.com/satb to get 10% off your first month.
In the time since publishing his memoir, The Redhead on the Roof and first appearing on SATB (160), Beatles equipment manager Kevin Harrington has now become known to millions of fans by his ubiquitous presence captured on film and presented in the eight hours of Peter Jackson's Get Back. It therefore was time to bring him back to get his reaction to the film and drill down deeper on his experiences working with The Beatles.
As part of the Fab4ConJam online fan event, I convened these two Beatles insiders to take questions and reminisce. Chris O'Dell came from Tucson, AZ (yes! home of Jo Jo AND Linda) and was pulled into the Apple Press Office by Derek Taylor. She was a rooftop attendee as well as a one-time resident of Friar Park, witnessing the daily drama of the group as it ended, along with George and Pattie's marriage. She recalled her experiences in 2009's Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and the Women They Loved. Nancy Lee Andrews was a model, actress and briefly, in the music biz as well as a photographer. More importantly, she was Ringo's romantic partner from 1974 through 1980, and likewise a witness to much of the inside relations between the former Beatles. (She also attended the Concert for Bangladesh as a guest of her then-boyfriend, bassist and future Domino, Carl Radle.) Nancy's book of spectacular photos was published as A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll in 2008. These women have maintained a close friendship since the 70s and it was our treat to hear them recall those days during this terrific conversation.
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