The full story of The Beatles’ Rishikesh visit and their relationship with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had never been explored in detail and from the inside before – until now. Susan Shumsky spent over twenty years studying TM, including seven working directly with the Maharishi. The author of 14 books, her newest – Maharishi and Me: Seeking Enlightenment with […]
In which I resume the conversation with engineer/producer Jerry Hammack, begun earlier this year. This time, our sounding board is writer/musician/engineer/producer/podcaster/returning guest Anthony Robustelli. We discuss the specifics of their studio work throughout 1967 and into 1968, encompassing Magical Mystery Tour and then some. Jerry’s third volume of The Beatles’ Recording Reference Manual series was recently […]
The first break-out star at Apple Records was, of course, Mary Hopkin with “Those Were The Days.” A huge international hit, it typed her as a cheery ingénue, somewhat removed from her folk roots (and aspirations). Other hits followed, diverging from her preferred stylistic path, until her second Apple album, Earth Song / Ocean Song (produced […]
Apple Jam is a Seattle-based recording and performing outfit specializing in Beatles music; specifically, songs written by Lennon-McCartney and Harrison that, for the most part, went unrecorded/released as “Beatles” product. My guests today are Richard Lovrovich, Jaekal Tristram and Doug Kilishek. In this conversation, they discuss the curation of obscure Beatles material: the selection process (what […]
It is not a unique observation to note that bandleader Duke Ellington and The Beatles shared some commonalities, creativity-wise. They were unclassifiable musically, and a great deal of what made their art magic came from the collaborative process, hardwired into their working method. My guest, musicologist Thomas Brothers, has written a terrific new book – Help: […]
164: George Martin’s Sound Pictures with Ken Womack
Back in 2017, SATB featured a conversation with Ken Womack on the publication of volume one of his George Martin biography, Maximum Volume (here). In late 2018, volume two emerged, this one taking up the story where George Martin resumed production chores with The Beatles, this time as an independent contractor. It marked the era of […]
He’s back, and with a terrific topic: each of us choosing 7 moments in the history of The Beatles that we would’ve liked to have been around to witness as a fly on the wall. The criteria being, occasions where the history is unclear, or simply moments that would’ve been amazing to witness. This ended […]
You know him as the photographer responsible for one Beatles album cover (two in the US); their last group photo shoot, and as the official photographer on the “Get Back” / Let It Be project (his photos filled the book packaged with the original issue). But Ethan Russell also produced iconic images for the Rolling […]
161: January 1969 part two – Into the Nitty-Gritty with Dan Rivkin
This is the second part of a discussion begun with Doug Sulpy (co-author of Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image/Get Back), this time with blogger Dan Rivkin. His blog, They May Be Parted, is a detailed examination of the Nagra tapes of the “Get Back”/Let It Be project. Dan adds detail, analysis and context to the […]
You know him as the human music stand kneeling before John Lennon for “Dig A Pony” during the rooftop session of January 1969. But Kevin Harrington was much more than that: coming into The Beatles’ orbit beginning in January 1966 as an office boy at NEMS; an employee of the Saville Theatre the following year, […]
Back in 2000, Chip Madinger and Mark Easter produced an exhaustive study of every extant recording of the solo Beatles, up to that very year: studio sessions, live concerts and broadcasts. Eight Arms To Hold You was a one-of-a-kind detailed examination of what the four ex-Beatles did musically, when and with whom. The book went out […]
158: January 1969 part one – An Overview with Doug Sulpy
Two words: Peter Jackson Remember the “Winter of Discontent”? My guest today is Doug Sulpy, co-author (with Ray Schweighardt) of Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image (AKA Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” Disaster.) With the announcement of the long-desired fresh look at the Let It Be project being in the works, we […]
It’s the return of Jerry Hammack – creator of the Beatles Recording Reference Manual series. Volume 3, covering the end of 1966 (“Strawberry Fields Forever”) through the whole of Sgt. Pepper (plus Magical Mystery Tour) has just been published. Producer Ben Rowling and I discuss the high level of studio innovation that typified the post-touring era, and though […]
In a slight departure from the SATB norm, I present an account of the career of a Beatles peer: session guitarist Vic Flick, whose work appeared in 1960s music charts alongside The Beatles. Every Fab fan will know his soundtrack work on their first two United Artist films, but in addition to this, he contributed […]
First off, listeners: kindly indulge the first 15 minutes, which represents an audio document of 1968 (January through end of August). It’s one thing to know what happened that year, but it’s quite another to hear the immediacy of actual sound, both news and music. 1968 was a convulsive stream of history and it is with […]
The long-awaited conversation with producer Chris Thomas, recorded at the White Album Symposium in Monmouth University. Audio deficiencies with the sound due to the electrical system; deficiencies in my voice due to an ill-timed tribute to George’s Dark Horse Tour. Thanks to Ben Rowling Joe Rapolla, Dr. Kenneth Womack and everyone at Monmouth University.
In general, you can tell how well a conversation went by how long the show runs. At just past the two hour mark, you get an idea of how well things went with Lon Van Eaton, one-time Apple recording artist and protege of George Harrison. In addition to being one half of the Van Eaton […]
As a sonic landscape to accompany your holiday season demands: driving places – online shopping – gift-wrapping, and so forth, SATB presents an end-of-year look at the highlights of this years’ shows. We had some terrific guests this year, ranging from notables like Randy Bachman and the Mona Lisa Twins to SATB favorites like Erin […]
In the 2nd of a quartet of shows recorded (in part) at the White Album Symposium at Monmouth University (as well as the 2nd in a trio of shows covering Apple in its 50th year), I speak with my friend, Ken Mansfield: former manager of US operations of Apple, as well as author of several […]
In the first of what will be a series of shows originating from the White Album symposium held at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, I am presenting my opening remarks, followed by a brief Q&A. For those who couldn’t attend, it gives you a good flavor of how these events go down. […]
149: No Obvious Title – A Conversation with Vinnie Zummo
You may know his name from his years on tour and in the studio with Joe Jackson; possibly from his series of solo projects (Swinging Guitar Sounds of Young America Vol 1-3, plus The Coyote and two Christmas collections – find them here). But this multi-instrumentalist has been a lifelong Beatle fan, and as he says here, […]
148: Nothing But Today – A Conversation with the Mona Lisa Twins
If all you know about this sister act out of Austria is an array of Beatles covers on Youtube, then you don’t know the Mona Lisa Twins. They are the present-day embodiment of the ripples of waves begun when the Beatles entered popular consciousness over half a century ago; a manifestation of what Geoff Baker […]
147: The ‘Perfect’ Beatles Album – A Hard Day’s Night vs. Sgt. Pepper
There is no real perfection, a much-loved artist once sang. But in Beatle world, where excellence is the common consensus, the act of assessing how well they executed their art as distinguished by individual releases is – at the very least – ripe for a thoughtful discussion. Returning to the show is TV writer Jeff […]
Ever wonder what the lives of those screaming legions of fans were like? Wonder no more: today, I speak with award-winning cartoonist, Carol Tyler, whose memoir of her Beatles adoration, Fab 4 Mania: A Beatles Obsession and the Concert of a Lifetime, has just been published. The book builds on the diary that she kept […]
145: Something About The Rolling Stones (and The Beatles)
At last: SATB takes on a long-desired topic, comparing and contrasting two of the biggest acts out of the UK during the 1960s. Quantifying art is a fool's errand, yet here we are because we can't help ourselves.
As an end-of summer two-fer, SATB presents a double bill: two different ways of “seeing” the Beatles. First, on the 50 years since the Mad Day Out, my guest is photographer Tom Murray; author of the newly-published book, The Beatles: Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out – a colorful revisit to a summer’s day when all was […]
In this extra-length edition, I speak with Dr. Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner. The two have worked together for decades researching the Yellow Submarine film; interviewing every available participant in its creation.
142: Truth and Beauty…and Keyboards (with Jeff Martin)
Television writer Jeff Martin makes his third appearance on the show, this time focusing the conversation on one of his vocations – playing keyboards in a band – and how The Beatles (Paul mainly) utilized an array of instruments in the studio: piano – electric piano – organ – harmonium – Mellotron – synthesizer, and […]
In which we welcome back to the show historian Erin Torkelson Weber. In this episode, we pick up where we left off; this time discussing older canon works like Ian MacDonald’s Revolution in the Head and Peter Doggett’s You Never Give Me Your Money; (also Peter McCabe’s outdated Apple To The Core and the problematic memoir of […]
140: John Lennon: The Boy Who Became A Legend with Michael Hill
It isn’t often that we are given a firsthand account from somebody who set in motion events that literally changed the world. But there we are and here it is: Michael Hill was a classmate and friend of John Lennon’s, beginning at age 5. A keen observer and articulate narrator, he has set his recollections […]
To call the stunningly-talented musician/singer/songwriter a "Beatles sideman" is to sell short his tremendous gifts and the less tangible affect he had on the group when they most needed a spark plug.
136: The Beatles in the Studio with Jerry Hammack (part 2)
Ben Rowling and I resume our conversation with the author of The Beatles Recording Reference Manuals series. In this episode, we talk gear (amps and guitars), as well as examine some long-held beliefs about certain recordings. Check out Jerry’s series here.
Even if we don’t write them down, we all make lists (if only mentally). Back in June 2017, rock journalist Bill Wyman boldly committed his ranking of every Beatles canon recording from worst to best. It was a move certain to stir the pot of debate, and so it did. On this show, we discussed not […]
Returning as a SATB guest is Jeff Martin, whom you will remember from 122 – The Simpsons episode. In addition to his writing on that show as well as Late Night with David Letterman beginning in the 1980s, he is also a musician and therefore speaks the language of The Beatles specifically, as well as creativity generally. […]
Yes, he’s the guy who sang “Takin’ Care of Business” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” but if that’s all you know about this accomplished artist, then you are missing out on a lot. Randy has penned #1 hit singles for two different recording acts; toured as an All Starr; hosted a popular radio show […]
Now that there’s been an ending to the story, it seems like a good time to examine the intersection between artists who stood for love and peace and a career criminal/sociopath who will forever be tied to them, by virtue of the demented “gospel” ripped straight from their albums. It may be unfathomable from this […]
129B: “Acoustic Beatles” with Dave Mirkin 2 (This Time It’s Personal)
Picking up where we left off, we discuss an array of topics and songs, mostly adhering to the “acoustic Beatles” theme. (For some reason, we seemed to gravitate to the White Album a lot…) But there’s also much about the impact of success; the level of support the Beatles gave each other; George and the […]
Back in September, I first talked Beatles with this Renaissance man, in the context of The Beatles with The Simpsons. As you listeners will remember, Dave had a lot to say about the Beatles well beyond the parameters of that TV show. Well he’s back, and the subject we set out to discuss was the Beatles’ use […]
128: The Beatles, Paul McCartney (and added Attraction)
In 1978 – the year he joined Elvis Costello in The Attractions – bassist Bruce Thomas was personally selected by Paul McCartney to participate in the Rockestra – an all-star ensemble assembled for a pair of Back To The Egg tracks. The collective gathered onstage a year later as part of Wings’ finale at the Kampuchea […]
John once observed that, in his opinion, Paul was “…an egomaniac about everything else about himself, but his bass playing” – which was as influential as it was innovative. It is therefore a delicious irony to report the same was true of John: while he touted his status as an artist (not to mention “genius”) at every opportunity, […]
SATB began as a conversation between two Beatle friends who happened to be writers; this episode began as a conversation about being a Beatles fan in the 70s. But in both instances, some unexpected twists and turns along the way led to other destinations… I’d like you all to meet Andrew Vaughan – a good […]
125: Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys
The unexpected loss of The Heartbreakers’ leader (and “Charlie T./Muddy Wilbury”) presents an opportunity to look back on the career of the accidental supergroup: the Traveling Wilburys, whose debut album issued almost thirty years ago represented an unimaginable musical collaboration among some of rocks’s giants. Presenting their back story is rock journalist Jeff Slate (http://jeffslatehq.com/index/), […]
You may already know the author of Liddypool and The Fab 104 for his meticulous research in already well-trod grounds. But with his latest work, David Bedford reveals new revelations – some of them shocking. In Finding The Fourth Beatle, David brings a fresh interpretation and critical new analysis to Beatles scholarship, going where the evidence leads him regarding the […]
In something of a departure from the usual, SATB presents a conversation with Arion Salazar, original bass player with Third Eye Blind (“Semi-Charmed Life” – “Losing A Whole Year” – “How’s It Going To Be” – “Never Let You Go”) and this year on tour with XEB. As you will hear, he is an accomplished […]
In 1989, Paul McCartney hit the road again for the first time in a decade. That same year, the longest running sitcom in US TV history debuted, and like Sir Paul, The Simpsons is still in action today. In addition to the high-calibre talent involved from day one, the show has made frequent references to […]
Our guest’s 13 year-old face has left an indelible impression upon the memory of every Beatles fan who has ever watched their debut appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Deb Supnik (nee Gendler), dubbed “the first fan” by director Andrew Solt, is much more than just an attendee of The Beatles’ first live TV […]
49 years ago, The Beatles launched their Apple label with one of rock’s most successful single releases. Paul’s “Hey Jude,” backed with John’s “Revolution” – if not officially a double A-side release – surely ranks as among the finest 7″ records the group ever produced. It was also, as George observed years later, a real […]
In a recent show, we profiled a pair of Liverpudlians who witnessed the Beatles up close and personal during their ascent to greatness. This time, we feature conversations with two personas – one English, one American – who likewise had a series of most memorable encounters with The Beatles; by this time, greatness achieved. Richard […]
The first volume of a new biography detailing the life of the late Sir George Martin has just been published. Kenneth Womack has been responsible for a number of fine volumes covering aspects of the Beatles’ career, but with Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, he takes on a figure whose background […]
The Beatles remain the most collected rock band on the face of the planet: records of every kind - books - art - toys - and so forth. That's just for the mainstream fandom; for the more serious collectors, there are promotional items, rare pressings, autographs, etc.
While echoes of 1967 live on this year with 50-year commemorations of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love, the events of two summers later were, if anything, even more portentous as far as the Beatles’ story goes. In this episode, Richard and Robert examine one specific week: July 1 through July 9, 1969. These eight days marked the […]
In honor of his birthday, Richard and Robert honor Ringo by focusing an entire show on his drumming (as well as that of his predecessor). Aboard for the discussion is Gary Astridge, Ringo’s drum historian and archivist, as well as Alex Cain and Terry McCusker, authors of Ringo Starr and The Beatles Beat. We’ll […]
Suggested by a listener, your hosts, Robert and Richard divulge their post-Beatles desert island discs (and books and videos, too) favorites, in a follow-up to their earlier Beatles Desert Island Discs show.
Before you roll your eyes, take a second: in this special episode, Richard and Robert dissect what is easily the most polarizing recording of The Beatles' entire canon: the musique concrète produced by John, with assistance from Yoko and George, issued on their wildly expansive 1968 self-titled double album.
It is a sign of the esteem that this musical icon was held by The Beatles that they performed more songs penned by him than any other single artist. Chuck Berry's shadow looms large: as a performer - as a songwriter - as a guitarist.
This episode features Robert and Richard in conversation with singer/songwriter Ann Wilson from Heart, who reveals how her deep love for The Beatles set her and sister Nancy on their life path from childhood.
Half a century ago, The Beatles ushered in the second half of their career - the studio years - with this landmark double A-side release. Though the single's commercial fortunes might not have reflected it,
What if the events of December 8, 1980 played out completely differently and somehow, an unscathed John Lennon - bereft of an obstructions - was able to join his former bandmates in a live concert situation; perhaps more than one?
The New Years Day 1962 showcase at Decca Records in London did not pan out as The Beatles and Brian Epstein had hoped. But the decision to turn down the Beatles has long been regarded in rock history as one of the most bone-headed executive decisions ever made.
The Beatles' 1967 self-produced TV special/film has been pilloried from day one as their first critical disaster; a creative overreach that critics saw as proof of how lost they were when operating out of their element.
It has been 36 years since the December night when we lost John. On this show, Robert and Richard discuss the array of musical tributes to the slain former Beatle that came from peers and admirers alike, some many years later.
For an artist with such a deep and diverse catalog of top-flight material, George remains "the Quiet Beatle" - as his most familiar songs seem to be those from two albums in particular (while the remaining eight are routinely overlooked).
It occurred to us, as it must have with everyone else, that the release of Eight Days A Week really called for an accompanying soundtrack, or at least a parallel collection of music spanning the whole of The Beatles' documented live performing career.
Given the imminent wind-down of the current political season, Richard and Robert thought it timely to examine the political interests connected to The Beatles, both during and after their collective career.
Some day Robert and Richard will devote a show to our favorite covers of songs written BY the Beatles, but in this 90-minute episode, we run down some of our favorite songs written by other artists that they recorded or performed;
In this episode, Richard and Robert chat with Chip Madinger, co-author of Lennonology: Strange Days Indeed - A Scrapbook of Madness. Chip is also the co-author (with Mark Easter) of the acclaimed Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Compendium. (2000).
In this expanded episode, Richard and Robert discuss the parallels between the concurrent releases, George’s All Things Must Pass and John’s Plastic Ono Band. Songs include “Beware of Darkness,” “Let It Down,” “Love” and “Mother.” Find Robert’s books here. Find Richard’s books here.
In another extended episode, Richard and Robert take on an array of topics from listeners, ranging from who played what on certain recordings to the upcoming Hollywood Bowl reissue and much, much more!
In this episode, Richard and Robert trace the arc of Paul’s musical development as a Beatle, encompassing singing, writing and instrumental prowess. Songs include “All My Loving,” “Yesterday” and “You Never Give Me Your Money.”
61: The Beatles and The Monkees – It Goes Like This
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the unleashing of the “Pre-Fab Four” on an unsuspecting public, Robert and Richard examine the ties, parallels and overlapping phenomenon between the two acts. Songs include “Paperback Believer” and “Daydream Believer.”
41: A Beatles Salute to Black History Month (or do you say “R & Beatles”?)
In this expanded edition, Robert and Richard present an array of African-American talent; artists who brought their own unique voices to The Beatles' material and made it their own, utterly. Talents range from Junior Parker to Stevie Wonder;
At holiday season, your hosts - Robert and Richard - present a stroll down memory lane, presenting some favorite clips from the over 30 episodes of Something About The Beatles they've presented. Heard here: rare tracks - isolations - live cuts - guest interviews - bells.