Episode #25 – ‘Help! – The Beatles’ Seminal Pop/Pot Movie’

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 acclaimed as a pop-art gem that, very much of its time, also helped to define its era while serving as a wide-ranging source of influence and inspiration.

Towering above all, of course, were those personalities and their music…

  • ‘Help!’
  • ‘The Night Before’
  • ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’
  • ‘I Need You’
  • ‘Another Girl’
  • ‘You’re Going to Lose That Girl’
  • ‘Ticket to Ride’
  • Selections from Ken Thorne’s orchestral score

Episode #24 – ‘Walking on Thin Ice – Did Yoko Really Help to Break Up The Beatles?’

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 for Beatle John’
  • ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ (Take 7)
  • ‘Yer Blues’/‘Whole Lotta Yoko’ (The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus)
  • ‘Who Has Seen the Wind?’
  • Beatles/Yoko Jam (Jan. 10, 1969)
  • ‘What’s the New Mary Jane’
  • ‘Remember Love’
  • ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko’ (The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival)

Episode #23 – ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping – The Beatles’ Decca Audition’

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 Brown, The Beatles
  • ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ – Chuck Berry, The Beatles
  • ‘Three Cool Cats’ – The Coasters, The Beatles
  • ‘Sure to Fall (In Love with You)’ – Carl Perkins, The Beatles
  • ‘September in the Rain’ – Dinah Washington, The Beatles
  • ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ – Bobby Vee, The Beatles
  • ‘Till There Was You’ – Peggy Lee, The Beatles
  • ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’ – Buddy Holly, The Beatles
  • ‘To Know Her is to Love Her’ – The Teddy Bears, The Beatles
  • ‘Besame Mucho’ – The Coasters, The Beatles
  • ‘Searchin’’ – The Coasters, The Beatles
  • ‘Like Dreamers Do’ – The Beatles, The Applejacks
  • ‘Hello Little Girl’ – The Beatles, The Fourmost
  • ‘Love of the Loved’ – Cilla Black, The Beatles
  • ‘How Do You Do It?’ – The Beatles

Episode #22 – ‘Leaving the Material World – The Last Years of George Harrison’

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 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 resulted in one of the greatest of all posthumous releases.

Here’s the dramatic, sometimes harrowing, ultimately inspirational final chapter of a man whose humanity and creativity crossed paths with a mass of contradictions.

The Music

  • All Things Must Pass
  • Your True Love
  • Looking for My Life
  • My Sweet Lord (2000)
  • Any Road
  • P2 Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night)
  • Pisces Fish
  • Rising Sun
  • Marwa Blues
  • Stuck Inside a Cloud
  • Run So Far
  • Never Get Over You
  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
  • Rocking Chair in Hawaii
  • Brainwashed
  • Horse to the Water
  • If You Belonged to Me

Episode #21 – ‘When They Was Fab – The Beatles on TV 1962-1966’

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 years—and provides viewer sound recordings of several ultra-rare, ‘long lost’ broadcasts.

The TV Appearances:

(* = unheard since first broadcast)

  • Morecambe and Wise – 2 Dec. 1963
  • People and Places – 17 Oct. 1962 *
  • People and Places – 2 Nov. 1962 *
  • People and Places – 17 Dec. 1962 *
  • Pops and Lenny – 16 May 1963 *
  • Juke Box Jury – 29 Jun. 1963
  • The Mersey Sound ¬– 9 Oct. 1963
  • Ready Steady Go! – 4 Oct. 1963
  • Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium – 13 Oct. 1963
  • Drop In – 3 Nov. 1963
  • The Royal Variety Performance – 6 Jun. 1963
  • This Week – 7 Nov. 1963
  • The Huntley-Brinkley Report – 18 Nov. 1963
  • Late Scene Extra – 27 Nov. 1963
  • Juke Box Jury – 7 Dec. 1963
  • It’s The Beatles – 7 Dec. 1963
  • JFK Airport press conference – 7 Feb. 1964
  • CBS Evening News – 7 Feb. 1964
  • The Ed Sullivan Show – 9 Feb. 1964
  • What’s Happening! The Beatles in the U.S.A. – Feb. 1964
  • Big Night Out – 23 Feb. 1964
  • Around The Beatles – 6 May 1964
  • Beatles in Nederland – 8 Jun. 1964
  • Not Only… But Also – 20 Nov. 1964
  • BBC News – 12 Jun. 1965
  • The Music of Lennon and McCartney – 16 Dec. 1965
  • Circus Krone-Bau, München – 24 Jun. 1966
  • Independent Television News – 8 Jul. 1966
  • Reporting ’66 – 20 Dec. 1966

The Music:

  • This Boy
  • Some Other Guy
  • Love Me Do
  • A Taste of Honey
  • Twist and Shout
  • From Me to You
  • Devil in Disguise
  • I’ll Get You
  • She Loves You
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Till There Was You
  • Love Hit Me
  • Money (That’s What I Want)
  • All My Loving
  • You Can’t Do That
  • Nowhere Man
  • Shout

Episode #20 – ‘Out of My Head – McCartney’s Maneuvers Through His Post-Beatles Depression’

“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 overall feeling: that it was good while I was in the Beatles, I was useful and I could play bass for their songs, I could write songs for them to sing and for me to sing, and we could make records of them. But the minute I wasn’t with the Beatles any more it became really very difficult.”

This episode takes a deep dive into a dark period for the man who’d always been most in love with being a Beatle—covering the years 1969 to 1973 when he was battling his former bandmates, his critics, even his fans… as well as himself: an artistic force of nature at an existential crossroads; a master maneuverer, sometimes outmaneuvered. It’s the revealing story of a complex character and helping to peel back the layers are two experts on the subject: Allan Kozinn and Adrian Sinclair, co-authors of the soon-to-be-published ‘McCartney Legacy – Vol. 1: Beyond the Beatles, 1969-1973’.

https://www.mccartneylegacy.co.uk

The music:

  • Every Night
  • Junk
  • 3 Legs
  • Dear Boy
  • My Dark Hour
  • Man We Was Lonely
  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • Dear Friend
  • Another Day
  • Bip Bop
  • Too Many People
  • Give Ireland Back to the Irish
  • Hi, Hi, Hi
  • The Back Seat of My Car

Episode #19 – ‘Hamburg Spring ’62 – Lennon’s Original Lost Weekend’

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 – Lennon the rocker, Lennon the madman, onstage and off, dealing with grief and loss in his habitually loving, cruel, hilarious, hysterical, sometimes violent way. And helping us to paint that multicoloured, multilayered picture is Mark Lewisohn, reading passages from his unrivalled The Beatles: All These Years – Tune In.

The music:

  • Too Much Monkey Business
  • I’m Talking About You
  • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
  • I Just Don’t Understand
  • A Shot of Rhythm and Blues
  • Ain’t She Sweet
  • Lonesome Tears in My Eyes
  • I Got a Woman
  • Soldier of Love
  • Sweet Little Sixteen

You should’a been there!

Episode #18 – ‘Beatles For Sale – Close to Greatness’

 

“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, press and global concert tour assignments, The Beatles were also under pressure to deliver a couple of LPs per year. Unable to sustain the standard set by the all-Lennon-McCartney A Hard Day’s Night, its composers still produced some magnificent work, yet a few mediocre tracks, out-of-tune guitars and uncharacteristically questionable artistic choices gave the finished record an erratic quality that has resulted in divided opinions among listeners—including those discussing it on this show.

Under-appraised and underpraised, Beatles For Sale is put under the microscope for a well-earned reevaluation. And what no one can deny is that even the group’s sub-par output—in the eyes and ears of some—outstrips that of most other artists.

 

Episode #17 – ‘Twickenham Mind Games – George Walks, Yoko Wants a Mic’

 

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 negativity, as have certain self-acclaimed experts’ uninformed opinions because of their failure to listen to all of the tapes. For, therein lies a very different, far more rewarding story that will likely be revealed in Peter Jackson’s new version of the movie. Regardless, that’s what Richard Buskin and Allan Kozinn (pinch-hitting for Erik Taros) focus on here: the many ups as well as the downs that took place at Twickenham Film Studios in the run-up to George temporarily quitting the group—and the project then relocating to The Beatles’ own Apple facility.

In so doing, Richard and Allan not only examine the long as well as short-term causes for the disharmony—including the personalities involved and their invariably fascinating, often-enlightening interactions; they also provide a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the thoughts and discussions that helped shape the Fab Four’s still-reverberating artistic decisions.

 

Episode #16 – ‘She Loves You—Anatomy of a Song’

 

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, beautifully-crafted rock belter that saw the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team hit the ball out of the park before, five days later, they and their colleagues accomplished the same inside Studio Two.

‘She Loves You’ was unlike anything that had been heard before—in various ways. So, where did it come from? And what were the ingredients in its creation? Take a deep dive into a true classic.