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Including Mitch & Tony's 2011 interview with Micky Dolenz
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Once upon a time, there were three little Beatles historians who wandered into the Fab land of Fourum. They escaped with their lives, but not with their name, and celebrated by launching a FREE-FOR-ALL! One hundred fun-filled years … uh, episodes later, we find our heroes still friends, with most of their sanity intact. They travel the land - or at least some local studios - trying to avoid biting the Apple, in a quest for Universal appeal (ya get it, 'a peel’!). They seek to spread truth, justice, and the Beatles way … as filtered through their very bleary eyes, and sometimes highly opinionated points of view. And now, these Knights Who Say “Geek” turn to “YOU” (cue George) for your questions and thoughts about their adventure. It’s time for Episode 100, dear friends (uh, cue Paul?). This couldn’t have happened without … well, need they say more?!
For most of the members of the world’s population that have not been living under a rock for fifty years, the name Paul McCartney conjures up thoughts of sweet melodies, accompanied by catchy, sometimes thoughtful, lyrics. Well, how does “1,2,3,4,5 … let’s go for a drive” grab you? For the cast of Fab 4 Free 4 All, those lyrics, and the album they are culled from, have been a source of humorous jabs that have been sprinkled throughout numerous episodes during these first three years of the show. But the time of truth has come! The guys have taken on Paul McCartney’s album ‘Driving Rain’ in an episode that you all KNEW had to be recorded eventually. The fact that we have put together what we hope is a fun and, yes, an honest, analysis and review show centered around this album should prove that all three of us … especially Mitch … will do just about anything for you, our fans.
The Beatles' concert at Shea Stadium on August 15, 1965 was a record-breaking event, and one of the most famous of the rock era. It set records for attendance and revenue generation, beginning a new phase in live rock music events. Dave Schwensen has written a fine book, titled 'The Beatles at Shea Stadium', about this momentous performance. In this episode, Dave joins the Fab 4 Free 4 All for a detailed look at the concert and the events leading up to it. The panel also take a close look at the documentary film about the Shea show that was produced by Ed Sullivan, NEMS Enterprises Ltd., and the Beatles company Subafilms Ltd. The project captured the mayhem and mass hysteria that was Beatlemania in America in 1965. And in this episode, you just may find out some newly-discovered, interesting tidbits about this historic evening!
Thanks to Paul McCartney’s notorious "self-interview" of April 1970, the Beatles had been considered as "broken up" for a few months when Ringo Starr met Nashville session musician Pete Drake and expressed interest in recording an album of country songs. With Drake’s help, the ‘ex-Beatle’ would find himself in Tennessee laying down vocals (and some drum-work) on tracks that featured the cream-of-the-crop of Nasville musicians. The results – Ringo second solo album, ‘Beaucoups of Blues’. The Fab 4 Free 4 All turns a critical eye to Ringo’s second release, a recording venture that found him working in a genre that had been near and dear to his heart since his youth.
Giles Martin grew up without much awareness of The Beatles, and was discouraged by his father from pursuing a career in music lest the inevitable comparisons should be made between father and son. You see, his father, George, was the producer of all of the Beatles’ studio recordings … well, with the exception of the ‘Get Back’ sessions. And since he entered into the Beatles’ sphere in 2006 with the tremendous collaboration with his father on the ‘Love’ soundtrack, Giles Martin has already become a big part of the group’s ongoing legacy. He worked with Martin Scorsese on the George Harrison documentary ‘Living In the material World’, and helped fans to become members of the group with his ‘Rock Band’ remixes. And, most recently, he has mixed the new 5.1 surround sound version of ‘A Hard Days’ Night’ for the recently released blu-ray Criterion version of the DVD. In this episode of Fab 4 Free 4 All, the guys have talk with Giles Martin about this exciting and historic release.
See description of Episode 93 (Part 1).
When the guys met author Richard Buskin at the 2014 Fest for Beatles Fans in New York they knew that he would play a big part in making their Sunday panel discussion - one that also featured Mark Lewisohn and Allan Kozinn - a blast! (Check out episode 84 to see that they were, indeed, correct.) So, the release of Richard's book 'Beatles 101: The Need To Know Guide' seemed like the perfect excuse to make plans for Richard to be a guest on the show. In this spirited episode the guys talk with Richard about 'Beatles 101', a book that provided each member of the cast with some new insights and nuggets of information. But that discussion is just a starting point that leads to some great Beatle-related anecdotes from our friend from 'across the pond'.
It's a given that Fab 4 Free 4 All fans are some of THE coolest people in the world. And we don't say that just because they're fans of the show (though I'm sure it helps raise their coolness factor!). We say that because they are thoughtful, imaginative. talented, witty and intelligent people who not only share our love of the Beatles' music, but also share the desire to learn more about the band, the music, and the cultural phenomena that continues to surround them over fifty years after the release of their first record. To launch what we hope will be an ongoing series, the Fab 4 Free 4 All cast invited our Facebook fans to call in during one of our recording sessions to ask questions or make comments. And we think that the results were ... well ... fab, actually; a thoughtful, imaginative ... well, you get it ... show! (And yes, we will expand the invitation to ALL our listeners next time around.)
What do you do when you've got to design packages for some of the greatest music in the world? Sometimes, you come up with beautiful, moody photos that reflect the artists. In other instances, you might create a collage that reflects the incredible energy that lies within the grooves. And perhaps, as the artist grows and matures, the covers and packages that hold the music can also become works of art. Then there is the occasion where the buyer might think that somebody decided "Eh, screw it! They want the music, they can look at a not-so-pretty cover". And so it went with our boys, The Beatles. There were unique catalog entries and compilations, and along with them unique covers, released all over the world while the group was together, and throughout the years since the break-up. Having culled through so many of the images and designs that companies and countries throughout the years have used to 'present the Beatles', in this episode the Fab 4 Free 4 All crew discuss some of their favorite and least favorite Beatles album covers.
We often speak of George Harrison as being 'the dark horse', the underdog, or the 'little brother' to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But George Harrison grew from being a competent interpreter of other people's songs to a powerful vocalist, songwriter and musician whose work could rival that of John and Paul's. The Fab 4 Free 4 All cover the work of George Harrison as a Beatle, beginning with his first co-composition (circa 1958), through his brilliant contributions to the Beatles swan song, 'Abbey Road'. In part two the cast cover the music that George made with the Beatles after they stopped performing live, and as they began a deeper exploration of the capabilities of the recording studio. With George's growth as a composer, his work now rivaled that of John and Paul's, and earned him great respect among some high profile peers!
The short period of time between late November 1963 and early March 1964 was a tumultuous one. Change was certainly already in the air in the United States, but the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was followed by an almost unprecedented period of accelerated political growth, social activism, and shifts in popular culture. Of course, the arrival of the Beatles, and their appearances on the Ed Sullivan show in February, helped to bring positive energy back to a country that had been on 'rubbery legs' for a number of months. Author Al Sussman (Executive Editor of 'BeatleFan Magazine') discusses his new book 'Changin' Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation' with the crew of the Fab 4 Free 4 All in an episode that puts the Beatles into unique historical perspective.
We often speak of George Harrison as being 'the dark horse', the underdog, or the 'little brother' to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But George Harrison grew from being a competent interpreter of other people's songs to a powerful vocalist, songwriter and musician whose work could rival that of John and Paul's. The Fab 4 Free 4 All cover the work of George Harrison as a Beatle, beginning with his first co-composition (circa 1958), through his brilliant contributions to the Beatles swan song, 'Abbey Road'. This is the first of two episodes on this fascinating topic, covering 1958-1966.
Once upon a time, a man who was quietly running the music department of his family's store in Liverpool stumbled upon a fiery young group of musicians lighting up the stage at The Cavern Club. Who could know that the meeting that was to follow between Brian Epstein and the group with the unusual name 'The Beatles' would lead to incredible changes in pop culture and beyond. Author Vivek Tiwary joins Fab 4 Free 4 All to talk about 'The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story'. The book is a beautifully drawn and written graphic novel that tells the story of a complex, troubled, kind and driven young man who, as manager of the Beatles, would be a catalyst for change that had never been experienced before from something as 'trivial' as the world of music and entertainment. We are delighted to be premiering this episode on the day of Brian's induction into the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame'.
Paul McCartney was coming off the high (no pun intended) of a highly (stop it!) successful world tour. ‘Wings over America’ was still riding high on the charts (oh, come on!) when Paul and the band went into the studio to begin work on their next set of projects. The single ‘Mull of Kintyre’ would become a massive worldwide hit in every country except the US, and a new album was to follow. It would be the last group of songs to feature long-time Wings members Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English, who would soon be replaced by Laurence Juber and Steve Holley, respectively. Recording on the boat lent a unique feel to the new songs. In fact, the environment almost gave the new album its title. But in the end, the new (lengthy) disc would be called ‘London Town’. In this episode, the Fab 4 Free 4 All review and analyze Paul McCartney and Wings’ eclectic collection of songs. And following our ‘primal’ Plastic Ono band show, we hope that this one will light up (oh, puh-lease!) the mood a bit. We hope YOUUUUU (stop it, George!) will enjoy it.
In 1970 John Lennon officially became a 'former member of the Beatles'. He formed - though that term is a loose one - the conceptual Plastic Ono Band with his wife Yoko Ono; a group that incorporated, essentially, whoever happened to be in the room at the time. John and Yoko also went into therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, a psychotherapist who had recently released a book about his 'primal therapy' practice. The two believed that this new therapy would help them to stay drug-free and 'face their demons'. What these treatments definitely did do was contribute to the creation of some of the most personal, painful and gritty music that John Lennon would create during his lifetime, the album 'Plastic Ono Band'. In this episode, the Fab 4 Free 4 All crew analyze and review this complex work by an even more complex artist.
Over the course of the first few months of 2014, the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America was celebrated in style! The 40th Fest for Beatles Fans moved back to New York City - to only a few blocks from the Ed Sullivan Theater - for the first time in MANY years, and was highly successful. The two surviving Beatles appeared together onstage at a tribute hosted/sponsored by the Grammies. A number of fine books were released. And tribute magazine brought the faces of the Fabs into your local supermarkets. Of course, with all of this happening, the Fab 4 Free 4 All have stayed busy, too! In this episode the guys sum up the first portion of what promises to be a fine year for Beatle fans ... the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania!
Sunday, February 9th, 2014 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles' legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. On that day, some of the greatest minds in the Beatles omniverse gathered in a conference room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel before a live audience of thousands of ... OK, maybe there was only a hundred or so ... fun and enthusiastic folks. At this historic event, Rob Leonard, Robert Buskin, Tony Traguardo, Mark Lewisohn, Mitch Axelrod and Allan Kozinn contemplated the Beatles' astronomic rise in popularity in the U.S. What brought it about? Was it expected? What if something ... just one thing ... had been different? These and many other exciting questions are answered ... well, at least talked about ... in this spirited episode.
On Saturday, February 8th, 2014, the guys from Fab 4 Free 4 All hosted a discussion with animator Ron Campbell at the 40th Fest for Beatles Fans (formerly ‘BeatleFest’) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Mr. Campbell was one of the directors of the cartoon TV series ‘The Beatles’. The first-run episodes of the show ran from 1965 to 1967, and when production halted, Ron went on to work on ‘Yellow Submarine’. Ron also talks about his many other work throughout the years as the animator of some well-loved characters. Our own Mitch Axelrod is the author of ‘Beatletoons: The Real Story Behind the Cartoon Beatles’, and he has been a long-time friend of Mr. Campbell. That friendship comes through in this fun and fact-filled episode that was recorded before a live audience.
On February 9th, 1964, The Beatles made their first live American television appearance, performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. A record setting 73 million people tuned in that evening, making it one of the seminal moments in television history. The plan had been for the Beatles to wait until they had a number one record before they went to the U.S., and that had happened with ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’. So, even before the pivotal moment when Paul McCartney counted to five (five?) on the Sullivan show, the radio airwaves in the States were already saturated with their music. Yet, despite all of that, no one was prepared for what was about to happen – widespread, all-encompassing BEATLEMANIA! In this spirited two-part episode the guys discuss the Beatles’ live performances on four episodes of the Ed Sullivan in February 1964 and August 1965.
On December 17, 2013, the folks at Apple Corps Ltd. surprised Beatle fans with the release of an iTunes only download of fifty-nine previously unreleased recordings by the Fab Four. Why? I don’t know. Third base. But seriously, it may have been to preserve the copyright on the material. But there are still a few other curious questions and issues surrounding this unique release. In this episode the guys of Fab 4 Free 4 All look at the ‘interesting’ compilation Apple has titled ‘Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963’. Tune in to find out that even after a whole hour, the guys STILL don’t know what to make of this thing!
In this "mini" follow-up episode, the guys talk with Kathy McCabe about the post-release status of the documentary film "Good Ol' Freda". This episode serves as an update to episode 68, where the cast talked with Freda Kelly, the head of the Beatles official Fan Club for over 11 years. Kathy discusses the new material now available on the DVD release of "Good Ol' Freda", and clues us in on the worldwide response to this delightful film.
In this fun and fact-filled episode, the Fab 4 Free 4 All explore the many connections between the Beatles and Eric Clapton. The band met the guitarist during his stint with the earliest version of The Yardbirds, and a friendship soon developed. As a result of his close kinship with George Harrison, Eric was the first musician of note to be invited to contribute to a Beatles' recording session. The two would continue to work together ... and share MUCH in common ... throughout George's life. Clapton was also a member of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, and he has appeared on albums by both Ringo and Paul. All of this and more is covered by Mitch, Rob and Tony in this hour-plus episode.
In an episode that the Fab 4 Free 4 All cast members believe - and hope - offers insight into the future of the music industry, the guys talk with Michael Epstein, project director of the new app 'John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes'. Created as a collaboration between Design I/O and the strategic design agency eyeball, John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes is an interactive 'Album App' that tells the story of John Lennon’s life-changing journey sailing through a mid-Atlantic storm to Bermuda in June 1980, the creative discovery during his time on the island, and the artistic collaboration from abroad with Yoko Ono at home in New York leading to the release of Double Fantasy: A Heart Play. The app features previously unheard music and interviews that classifies it as an exciting new release in the John Lennon / Yoko Ono catalogs. And all net proceeds from the app go to WhyHunger.org.
Hurrah! It only took Apple Records nineteen years to rush-release their follow-up to the highly successful Beatles release 'Live at the BBC'. Kevin Howlett's recently released book has given fans incredible insight into these important sessions, so logic dictated that we would be wanting to hear more. And here it is – ‘The Beatles On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2’ - two more discs of BBC recordings featuring the early Beatles performing live at the top of their game. The set features live takes of songs that the Beatles never recorded in the studio, along with unique versions of some of their biggest early hits. In this episode, the Fab 4 Free 4 All crew reviews the track list of ‘On Air,’ and discusses some of the decisions that were made regarding the new set. Should there be songs duplicated between the two volumes? Why are some original Lennon/McCartney songs not included? These and many other questions MAY be answered in this episode which takes on the first release of ‘new’ Beatles material that we’ve seen in over seven years.