Episode #40 – ‘Stu Sutcliffe – The Abstract Beatle’

The Beatles’ diminutive co-founder, man of mystery, king of cool, abstract artist, fragile angel, tragic hero.

Stuart Sutcliffe’s short life has been well documented, based on the recollections of some who knew him. His image has been immortalized by fiancée Astrid Kirchherr’ iconic photos. His expressionistic paintings survive on canvas. And his voice can be detected in a few of the letters he wrote. But we don’t have a clue how he sounded—speaking, singing or (barely discernible on some lo-fi amateur recordings) playing bass. And, so far, nothing’s emerged of him on film. So, from the public’s perspective, what does he actually bring to The Beatles’ story?

The music in this episode is from rehearsals captured at the McCartney home on a Grundig reel-to-reel in April and June of 1960—before the group had a permanent drummer, before the first trip to Hamburg:

  • Well, Darling
  • One After 909
  • Hallelujah, I Love Her So*
  • Cayenne*
  • That’s When Your Heartaches Begin
  • Hello Little Girl
  • You’ll Be Mine*

 

* with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass

Episode #39 – ‘Get Back—A Deeper Dive Pt. 2’

Having immersed ourselves in the ‘Get Back’ intra-band dynamics—the politics, the personalities, the nuanced behaviours, the trivia—we now analyze this remarkable docuseries from the respective, related perspectives of studio musician, composer and producer. Which is why, while Erik takes a break, Richard chats with Craig Bartock, who’s all three rolled into one—as well as a diehard Beatles devotee.

This show speaks to our heroes’ artistry. And to our passion.

The Music:

  1. I’m So Tired
  2. Medley: I’m Ready/Save the Last Dance for Me/Don’t Let Me Down
  3. Two of Us/Get Back
  4. Across the Universe
  5. Shake, Rattle and Roll
  6. Get Back

Background jingling by Lucy.

Episode #38 – ‘Get Back – A Deeper Dive Pt. 1’

A discussion about what we’ve learned—and what’s still missing—from the eight-hour release.

When it comes to unseen Beatles material, greed is good. Like Peter Jackson, we want to see a 12-hour Director’s Cut.

This episode starts with Paul’s November 3, 2021 NPR interview by Terry Gross, describing his concerns and subsequent feelings about the three-part docuseries. Among the musical highlights: in-studio crafting of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘For You Blue’, ‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window’, ‘Two of Us’, ‘Get Back (Commonwealth)’ and ‘Dig It’.

Episode #37 – ‘Get Back – Pt. 3 Review’

The final installment of our trilogy, recorded immediately after Part Three of the Get Back documentary began streaming on the Disney+ channel at three in the morning on November 27, 2021.

Only at the last minute did all four Beatles agree to perform on the roof of their Apple headquarters—and, when that happened, it’s a concert for the ages. The peak of the Let It Be movie, how was director Peter Jackson able to elevate it to a whole new level? And what is the verdict on the overall series?

Episode #36 – ‘Get Back – Pt. 2 Review’

The second of our three review episodes, recorded immediately after Part Two of the Get Back documentary began streaming on the Disney+ channel at three in the morning on November 26, 2021.

After George agrees to rejoin the group, there’s a definite improvement in energy, attitude, atmosphere and musicianship—especially after keyboardist Billy Preston joins the fold.

Episode #35 – ‘Get Back – Pt. 1 Review’

The first of three review episodes, recorded immediately after each part of the Get Back documentary began streaming on the Disney+ channel… at three in the morning on November 25, 2021.

Finally, after more than 50 years, does this tell the true story of the Twickenham sessions?

Episode #34 – ‘Let It Be 2021 Review – Take a Bad Film and Make it Better’

In the run-up to the premiere of the three-part ‘Get Back’ documentary on the Disney+ TV cable channel, we decided to give the original ‘Let It Be’ quasi-documentary yet another watch. At this point, there were no surprises, but certainly a fresh perspective in light of the previously unseen outtake footage that’s been included in the new ‘Get Back’ teaser and trailer.

After all, why was the original movie—shot on 16mm for TV but screened in cinemas—edited so crudely, with no through story, no narrative, just what appeared to be rehearsals for the concluding rooftop concert? And why the downbeat framing that was supported by the subsequent negative Lennon and Harrison recollections of events? There was plenty of unused footage featuring smiling, joking, happy Beatles; contrary to unsubstantiated assertions, John wasn’t disengaged and largely strung out on heroin; and Yoko, silent and unsmiling throughout the film, was anything but in reality.

As an addendum to this show, there will be a trio of ‘Get Back’ review episodes, each going live within 24 hours of the respective TV broadcasts.

The Music:

  • ‘Two of Us’
  • ‘I Me Mine’
  • ‘Don’t Let Me Down’
  • ‘Let It Be’
  • ‘Get Back’

Episode #33 – ‘The Beatles Live! Great Recorded Performances 1963-1966’

Whereas, according to John in 1970, The Beatles “used to jump around and do all the things they’re doing now, like going on stage with toilet seats and shitting and pissing” when they were in Hamburg, everything changed when fame and fortune came knocking.

“As soon as we made it, we made it, but the edges were knocked off,” he told Rolling Stone. “The music was dead before we even went on the theatre tour of Britain. We were feeling shit already because we had to reduce an hour or two’s playing—which we were glad about in one way—to 20 minutes every night. The Beatles’ music died then, as musicians. That’s why we never improved as musicians: we killed ourselves then to make it. And that was the end of it.”

In some respects, certainly. But during 1963 and 1964 they were still on fire onstage, feeding off the energy of their rabid fans—before ultimately feeling like they were being fed to those same fans. In this show, we run through some of their best recorded performances in front of an audience during the touring years—on radio, TV and in concert. A future episode will focus on their most interesting ones.

The Music

  • ‘Twist and Shout’ – 18 April, 1963
  • ‘Some Other Guy’ – 19 June, 1963
  • ‘Thank You Girl’ – June 19, 1963
  • ‘She Loves You’ – 9 October, 1963
  • ‘Money’ – 24 October, 1963
  • ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’ – 24 October, 1963
  • ‘Till There Was You’ – 4 November, 1963
  • ‘Long Tall Sally’ – 11 February, 1964
  • ‘You Can’t Do That’ – 17 June, 1964
  • ‘This Boy’ – 17 June, 1964
  • ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – 23 August, 1964
  • ‘Boys’ – 23 August, 1964
  • ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ – 2 September, 1964
  • ‘If I Fell’ – 2 September, 1964
  • ‘Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby’ – 20 June, 1965
  • ‘Ticket to Ride’ – 1 August, 1965
  • ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ – 29 August, 1965
  • ‘She’s a Woman’ – 30 August, 1965
  • ‘I’m Down’ – 1 July, 1966

Episode #32 – ‘Girl – Anatomy of a Song’

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 tits, sighs and Greek-style guitar. It’s an amazing track. And it’s inspired this episode’s multiple takes on its two protagonists.

The Music: recordings of ‘Girl’ by…

  • The Beatles
  • Tiny Tim with Brave Combo
  • DJ Style featuring KSS
  • Medley: Kai Hyttinen (Finnish) / Dalida (Italian) / Johnny Hallyday (French) / Peppino di Capri (Italian) / Ovelha (Portuguese)
  • SaRachel

Episode #31 – ‘Sex, Love and Misogyny – The Beatles in Song’

The Beatles’ songs often have such creativity, depth and nuance. Lyrics open to multiple interpretations, married to music that simultaneously captures and conveys the ‘feel’ of those lyrics.

Here, together with sociologist Candy Leonard, author of the book ‘Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World’, we discuss the songwriters’ journey: from the days of sexual innuendo in their lyrics to those, just a few years later, of overt references – while transitioning from misogyny to feminism with love thrown into the mix.

The Music

  • Girl
  • Getting Better
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
  • Why Don’t We Do it in the Road
  • Don’t Let Me Down
  • I’ve Got a Feeling
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Please Please Me
  • She Loves You
  • I’ll Get You
  • All I’ve Got to Do
  • You Can’t Do That
  • I’ll Cry Instead
  • Run for Your Life
  • She’s a Woman
  • When I Get Home
  • Another Girl
  • You’re Going to Lose That Girl
  • The Night Before
  • Day Tripper
  • Lovely Rita
  • Yer Blues
  • Oh! Darling
  • She’s So Heavy
  • Woman is the Nigger of the World
  • Hi, Hi, Hi
  • Woman