Episodes
Lennon the storyteller, the cynic, the victim—of his own insecurities and desires, controlled by the woman of his dreams…and nightmares. The last song recorded for The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album, ‘Girl’ is one of its main composer’s most intriguing, sophisticated, nuanced lyrical efforts—brought to life by a young conversationalist’s charismatic, world-weary voice, wrapped inside t**s, sighs and Greek-style guitar. It’s an amazing track. And it’s inspired this episode’s multiple takes on its...
Published 05/09/21
From the misogyny of ‘Run for Your Life’ to the feminism of ‘Woman is the N****r of the World’ in less than seven years; John’s attitude towards women evolved radically after he got together with Yoko, but how much did his and the other Beatles’ behavior echo what they expressed in song? Sociologist Candy Leonard, author of ‘Beatleness—How The Beatles and their Fans Remade the World’, joins Richard and Erik to discuss this via the group’s lyrical journey from subtle innuendo to overt...
Published 01/10/21
Sitting directly behind—and chatting with—The Beatles at the Yellow Submarine premiere, also gatecrashing that for The Magic Christian, photographed behind John and Yoko walking into court following their pot bust, attending The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, asking Ringo out for a drink, eating Aunt Mimi’s egg and chips… and also attending a couple of Swinging Sixties Beatles concerts. These are among the “he did what?” stories recounted by David Stark in his eye-opening, sometimes...
Published 12/01/20
It’s one of the greatest rock voices of all time: alternately melodic, raw, sweet and supercharged while also extremely versatile and infused with different characters. Paul McCartney’s lead, harmony and backing vocals have graced tender ballads, balls-to-the-walls rockers and almost everything else in between. But how did his talents in that regard develop and expand down the years? What has caused the vocal deterioration: insufficient technique, too much weed, old age or undisclosed health...
Published 11/09/20
When, on Monday, 15th August, 1960, The Beatles left Liverpool en route to their first stint in Hamburg, West Germany, the five of them—John, Paul, George, Stu and the newly recruited Pete—were joined by five others: their manager/agent Allan Williams, Trinidadian calypsonian Harold Philips (a.k.a. Lord Woodbine), Austrian translator Herr Steiner, Allan’s wife Beryl… and her 19-year-old brother Barry Chang. 60 years later, Barry shares his memories of that fateful trip: in a van, on a boat...
Published 08/15/20
After they transitioned from a performing group to a more experimental, studio-based band, The Beatles also changed how they utilised television. No longer needing to appear on variety shows—and in comedy skits—to charm audiences and promote their records, they largely relied on videos to achieve the same. And they also used the ‘box’ more for messaging—about peace, love and spirituality… as well as about their business ventures. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of humour and some...
Published 08/10/20
There have been fakers and imitators, tributes and rip-offs, but no one sounds like The Beatles on record—including the ex-Beatles. Nevertheless, some efforts have come closer than others, the most successful being those that have managed to capture the group’s essence rather than just replicate its sound while matching the standard of song material. In this episode, we dive into the good, the bad and the ugly—including those recordings which, bearing zero resemblance to the Fab Four, were...
Published 06/16/20
The Fab Four’s second film, shot in vivid colour, captured a very different group demeanor to that in A Hard Day’s Night. For that first effort they’d been pumped up on pills; this time around, they were laid back on the “herbal jazz cigarettes”. And director Dick Lester, together with cinematographer David Watkin, conveyed the blissed-out vibe via stunning photography, innovative graphics and offbeat comedy. The result, at the time widely regarded as inferior to its predecessor, is now...
Published 04/17/20
Published 04/17/20
50 years after The Beatles’ demise, Yoko Ono is still portrayed online and by the media as the quintessential witch who broke up a famous relationship and ruined a great thing. But did she really earn this reputation? And, if not, should she shoulder at least some of the blame for the group’s demise? A multi-layered topic, it sparks a lively conversation and clashing opinions, punctuated by The Beatles’ own recollections and a predictably eclectic collection of tracks. The Music * ‘No Bed...
Published 02/18/20
The music, the inspirations, the motivations, the performances, the reservations, the fallout... as well as the cloak-and-dagger story behind how the session tape was bootlegged. Here’s what really happened behind the doors of Decca’s Broadhurst Gardens studio in northwest London—as well as in altogether more covert circumstances on the other side of the Atlantic more than a decade later. The Music * ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ – Barrett Strong, The Beatles * ‘The Sheik of Araby’ – Joe...
Published 01/15/20
Physically fighting cancer and a crazed attacker while mentally preparing for his transition to the next phase of his spiritual journey, the youngest Beatle navigated the last stage of his earthly existence with characteristic faith, bravery… and humour. At the same time, racing against time to record an album worthy of closing out a legendary career, he wrote some of his most poetic lyrics to reflect and comment on the past, present and future—complemented by sublime musicianship that...
Published 12/18/19
Charming, funny, provocative, hugely talented and already seasoned stage professionals—The Beatles were perfect for television during an era when sales of television sets were skyrocketing. And TV was also the ideal, all-encompassing promotional tool for the Fab Four. So, it was a symbiotic relationship. At first, they were more than happy to not only perform their songs, but also participate in comedy sketches… until they no longer needed to. This show examines the group’s halcyon TV...
Published 11/19/19
“I exhibited all the classic symptoms of the unemployed, the redundant man,” Paul McCartney recalled in his authorized biography Many Years from Now. “And justifiably so because I was being screwed by my mates. So, I didn’t shave for quite a while. I didn’t get up. Mornings weren’t for getting up. I might get up and stay on the bed a bit and not know where to go, and get back into bed. Then if I did get up, I’d have a drink. Straight out of bed… I felt I’d outlived my usefulness. This was the...
Published 10/16/19
Just over a decade before his ‘Lost Weekend’ in L.A., John had a full dress rehearsal during The Beatles’ third stint in Hamburg. It was April 1962, his friend and former bandmate Stu Sutcliffe had just died from a brain hemorrhage at age 21 and Lennon went off the rails – much as he would after separating from Yoko in ’73. Some episodes have acquired mythical status – and been embellished courtesy of numerous retellings. Yet, the truth still outstrips the legend. Here was Lennon unleashed –...
Published 09/26/19
“It's rip-roaring, infectious stuff, with the accent on beat throughout,” wrote Derek Johnson in the New Musical Express. “Beatles For Sale is going to sell, sell, sell. It is easily up to standard and will knock out pop fans, rock fans, R&B and Beatles fans,” predicted Melody Maker’s Chris Welch. Nevertheless, the Fab Four’s fourth album has received mixed reviews down the years, especially when rated within the context of their musical canon. Worked to the bone with film, TV, radio,...
Published 09/02/19
“It's rip-roaring, infectious stuff, with the accent on beat throughout,” wrote Derek Johnson in the New Musical Express. “Beatles For Sale is going to sell, sell, sell. It is easily up to standard and will knock out pop fans, rock fans, R&B and Beatles fans,” predicted Melody Maker’s Chris Welch. Nevertheless, the Fab Four’s fourth album has received mixed reviews down the years, especially when rated within the context of their musical canon. Worked to the bone with film, TV, radio,...
Published 09/02/19
“It's rip-roaring, infectious stuff, with the accent on beat throughout,” wrote Derek Johnson in the New Musical Express. “Beatles For Sale is going to sell, sell, sell. It is easily up to standard and will knock out pop fans, rock fans, R&B and Beatles fans,” predicted Melody Maker’s Chris Welch. Nevertheless, the Fab Four’s fourth album has received mixed reviews down the years, especially when rated within the context of their musical canon. Worked to the bone with film, TV, radio,...
Published 09/02/19
What John Lennon described as "the most miserable sessions on earth" were recalled by George Harrison as "the low of all time". Yet, while such statements may have accurately reflected their respective mindsets, they also helped fuel widespread misconceptions about The Beatles’ January ’69 ‘Get Back’ project that evolved into the ‘Let It Be’ film and album. The fragmented, shoddily-edited Michael Lindsay-Hogg-directed ‘documentary’ has also played a significant role in spreading the...
Published 08/05/19
What John Lennon described as "the most miserable sessions on earth" were recalled by George Harrison as "the low of all time". Yet, while such statements may have accurately reflected their respective mindsets, they also helped fuel widespread misconceptions about The Beatles’ January ’69 ‘Get Back’ project that evolved into the ‘Let It Be’ film and album. The fragmented, shoddily-edited Michael Lindsay-Hogg-directed ‘documentary’ has also played a significant role in spreading the...
Published 08/05/19
What John Lennon described as "the most miserable sessions on earth" were recalled by George Harrison as "the low of all time". Yet, while such statements may have accurately reflected their respective mindsets, they also helped fuel widespread misconceptions about The Beatles’ January ’69 ‘Get Back’ project that evolved into the ‘Let It Be’ film and album. The fragmented, shoddily-edited Michael Lindsay-Hogg-directed ‘documentary’ has also played a significant role in spreading the...
Published 08/05/19
Such was the growing British interest surrounding The Beatles by mid-1963 that, on 1st July, fans gathered outside the EMI Studios on Abbey Road where the group was recording both sides of its next single: ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I’ll Get You’. Since the late-Sixties, ‘She Loves You’ has been short-changed; dismissed by many as just catchy MOR pop compared to the Fab Four's subsequent, more experimental tracks. In reality, this one was every bit as groundbreaking: a unique, infectious,...
Published 07/01/19
Such was the growing British interest surrounding The Beatles by mid-1963 that, on 1st July, fans gathered outside the EMI Studios on Abbey Road where the group was recording both sides of its next single: ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I’ll Get You’. Since the late-Sixties, ‘She Loves You’ has been short-changed; dismissed by many as just catchy MOR pop compared to the Fab Four's subsequent, more experimental tracks. In reality, this one was every bit as groundbreaking: a unique, infectious,...
Published 07/01/19
Such was the growing British interest surrounding The Beatles by mid-1963 that, on 1st July, fans gathered outside the EMI Studios on Abbey Road where the group was recording both sides of its next single: ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I’ll Get You’. Since the late-Sixties, ‘She Loves You’ has been short-changed; dismissed by many as just catchy MOR pop compared to the Fab Four's subsequent, more experimental tracks. In reality, this one was every bit as groundbreaking: a unique, infectious,...
Published 07/01/19
While The Beatles were at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, performing their final concert for a paying audience, The Doors were in Hollywood recording their first album, an Englishmen was attempting to sail solo around the world—and many people were marveling at the first photos of that world taken from outer space. It was a time when adventurers and new technology still captured the public imagination, as reflected in films and TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic—along with a rising...
Published 06/17/19