Beatles fan and obsessive list-maker Wayland McQueen picks Beatles 5-20.
Also, we plug the current theatrical release of Yellow Submarine!
I play Revolver for Eugene, who's never heard it. This is the fifth in a series of "playing albums for Eugene." Regular panelist Brett Morris heard I was playing Revolver, and asked to come by, so he sits in too! That makes TWO people just staring at a dude as he listens to an album for the first time! Fun!
We go over Paul McCartney's second post-Beatles album, RAM. Criticized upon its release, it's now considered one of his best solo albums! Brett Morris in particular doesn't want to hear you people who don't appreciate this album!
We get into the unfair expectations on Paul, his insane vocal range, the inventive orchestrations, the as-usual-perfect-melodies. We also get into what we think the other Beatles might have brought to this.
And Joel does too many puns about name Klaus, a man who was not involved at all with this album!
Panelists: Will Hines, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Joel Spence.
The panel goes over John's first post-Beatles solo album: PLASTIC ONO BAND. Not enough Beatles fans have heard this, and it's one of the best solo Beatles albums out there. The bleakness, the raw blues rock, KLAUS' BASS and RINGO'S DRUMS!
Plus Barbara Streisand covered "Mother?" Weird.
Panelists: Will Hines, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Joel Spence
Continuing the series of "playing Beatles albums for Eugene" (this is the 4th installment) we do Rubber Soul! Hear Will try hard not to influence Eugene's opinion! Luckily he doesn't have to as Eugene falls in love with this album almost immediately.
In the 3rd episode of "Playing Albums for Eugene," host Will Hines plays "A Hard Day's Night." HOWEVER due to a recording error, the levels are off and so it's hard to hear us talk when the music gets loud. Sheesh. My apologies. That's why I'm releasing this as a bonus ep. Feel free to IGNORE or to PUSH THROUGH, as is your wishes.
Beatles fan Amy Shamanov walks us through the evidence of John's affection for Paul. Sure, we know Lennon cared about Macca, but he sure was stubborn about showing it when journalists were around, especially in the 1970s. Amy takes us through deep cuts of interviews, testimony, and even shopping lists to which reveal what every Beatles fan knows but still loves to hear: John loves Paul.
We loved playing a Beatles album for someone who'd never heard it last week, so let's try it again. With the same person! but a different album. We play "The White Album" for Eugene Cordero and get his moment-by-moment reactions. Some highlights include: Dear Prudence, Honey Pie and Revolution 9.
Sure, the album Abbey Road is a favorite of Beatles fans -- but what does someone think of it if they're not a particular fan of the band, and have never really heard the album? We find out as Beatles-neutral actor Eugene Cordero (Kong: Skull Island, UCB) listens to this seminal album and says what he thinks! Robert Baker (Justified, Grey's Anatomy) is along for the ride too.
Hosted as usual by Will Hines. Pardon the slight-but-yep-you-hear-it echo -- your host did not realize his hotel room had such bouncy sounds.
Here's a major one: We go over George Harrison's first solo album, the triple-album All Things Must Pass.
After having lots of his songs passed up for the later Beatles albums (except when they were so-goddamned-good-not-even-John-Lennon-could-deny-it like Something and Here Comes the Sun) --- George explodes with productivity on his debut.
We talk about the million people who worked on this album, the obvious (though still restrained) "screw you" vibe, the spirituality, the weird house George lived in, the many many great songs, and oh yeah that third disc which is just... uh.. blues jams.
Guess what: we love this album.
Panelists: Will Hines, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Joel Spence, Heather Woodward.
The second post-Beatles solo album is the you've-probably-never-heard-it Beaucoups of Blues, a country album by Ringo Starr released July of 1970. It is quite solidly okay, which is honestly better than probably a lot of people expected, since Ringo Starr is basically the Ringo of the Beatles.
Our panelists are Will Hines and Heather Woodward. Circumstances made us do this episode in a bit of a hurry, with Heather phoning in and Will playing music by holding his iPhone up to a microphone. The audio is, just like this album, still quite solidly okay!
The first true Beatles solo album: McCartney. Recorded almost entirely by himself, including many sessions done alone in his apartment -- this was a sad and lonely time for Paul. The Beatles were over, and he was trying to see what kind of record he would make without his three collaborators around. Turns out: a pretty damn good one. Just "Maybe I'm Amazed" alone makes this a must-have album. But even the smallest trifle is fascinating for what it tells us about how the very recently former Beatle is feeling.
Panelists: Will Hines, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Joel Spence, Heather Woodward
We take a break from going over the solo stuff to discuss BEATLES WOMEN. An all-female panel discusses the wives and girlfriends of the fab four, with a German photographer and British journalist thrown in there too.
This is the second long episode in a row. I promise the episodes are normally gonna be an hour or less! But we had a lot to cover! The next episode will come in two more weeks since this one is basically a double.
Panelists: Jackie Johnson, Jen Krueger, Katie Plattner, Jennifer Wang, Heather Woodward
We're back for season 3! And now we're going over SOLO BEATLES. First, a massive episode that goes over all (well, most) of the solo projects they did before the breakup. And we get into the breakup, too! Allen Klein vs. Lee Eastman! Yoko Ono! Apple Corps! Eeesh. But we also dig into the music: Wonderwall! Two Virgins! Give Peace A Chance! Sentimental Journey!
It's the Beatles! Fascinating, even as they couldn't stand each other.
This is a long episode, and so the next episode will come in TWO weeks instead of next week.
Panelists: Will Hines, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Heather Woodward
We talk about stuff - lyrics, music, licks, moods -- the Beatles stole for their songs!
Wait, are we really saying the Beatles are thieves? Well, no. Not usually. Sometimes we're just interested to see which songs influenced them.
Except for one or two in which case we're like, "Yikes!" ("If I Needed Someone" and "The Bells of Rhymney," anyone?)
This episode is inspired by a new project by our special guest Matt Besser (Improv4Humans, UCB founder). Besser(along with Bobby Matthews as well as Beatles podcast regular Brett Morris) has made a rock opera called "Stolen Idea" -- which we hope you check out on Stitcher Premium.
Also, we are taking a break from the podcast for a bit to recharge our Beatles engines! While we're recharging please know that we appreciate everyone who's taken time to listen! Thank you!
Panelists: Matt Besser, Will Hines, Ariana Lenarsky, Brett Morris, Joel Spence.
On this episode we talk about two less-often-discussed Beatles movies: Nowhere Boy (2009) and Backbeat (1994). These are not Beatles movies as in the Beatles were in them, but that are Beatles movies in that they are fictionalized accounts of the Beatles real lives.
First we discuss Nowhere Boy, which shows John Lennon in high school, meeting his reckless but inspiring birth mother Julia, learning to play banjo and guitar, meeting Paul McCartney and coming to terms with his strict but reliable Aunt Mimi.
Then we get into Backbeat, which shows the life of Stu Sutcliffe, John's friend in Liverpool art college, who was the Beatles original bass player and who joins the band when they go to Hamburg.
Plus we talk about the very cool band of 1994 grungy all-stars that got assembled to make this movie's soundtrack!
Although both movies have their flaws, I think big Beatles fans would love them both and in this episode we get into why!
My panel for this episode is Brian Hines (Sea Tea theatre in Hartford, Ct and brother of the host) and Tara Ariano (previously.tv web site and podcasting network).
As I note in the introduction, the recording quality for this ep is a bit less than usual. We were all in different cities and I was using some new software. I didn't configure everything exactly right. Everyone is still easy to understand, but you can hear that we are all on phones, etc. My apologies!
For our third episode recorded in the vaunted facilities of actual Abbey Road recording studios, we perform our own cover versions of Beatles songs.
They start weird, and get weirder. We go in roughly chronological order, but because of a combination of jet lag and how last-minute we got the studio -- our song selections are truly insane.
Thankfully Joel Spence had arrived so we have his great guitar playing. And we have my own and Connor Ratliff's and Joel's spirited singing.
I do recommended listening to the whole thing for our interpretations of When I'm 64 and You Know My Name, Look Up The Number.
Thanks to engineer Stefano Civetta for his patience and sense of humor throughout!
Back to normal next week!
Musician/subway busker Nicola Hogg (@nicolahoggmusic), with her terrific voice and great songs, saved the day in this episode!
To re-cap: podcast host Will Hines along with temporary co-host Connor Ratliff were in London for improv reasons and impulsively decided to try and rent time at famed Beatles recording studio Abbey Road. To their shock, it WORKED and they suddenly had 10 hours of studio time with almost no plan.
The day before the session, they pass Nicola Hogg playing "You Can't Hurry Love" at the Tottenham Court Road subway station, and she sounded terrific. But that's not a Beatles song, you say. Well, so what? She's a young talented musician, and didn't the Beatles foster many such talents via their Apple Records label? And weren't Connor and Will, for the day at least, owners of official Abbey Road studio recording time?
After exchanging a few tweets ("Uh, hi, you don't know us -- want to meet us at Abbey Road and record?") the delightful Nicola Hogg becomes the one and only client of our day-long adventure in running a record label, which is called Songer Records for reasons made clear in this episode.
Nicola plays us her songs, as well as some great Beatles covers. We talk about her music story, her thoughts on the Beatles and songwriting and performing in general. She's great!
Check out Nicola's terrific music at these places:
On Spotify, she's Nicola Hogg.
And she's @nicolahoggmusic on twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Soundcloud!
One more Abbey Road ep next week!
HOLY CRAP THIS EPISODE RECORDED AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS.
Is this an act of hubris? Or a fulfillment of a destiny? We may never know, but the fact is: THIS EPISODE, and the two that will follow, ARE RECORDED AT ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS!
We explain it in full detail in the episode, but basically Connor and Joel and I were all going to be in London and so we sent an email to Abbey Road Studios to ask if we could record there... AND THEY SAID YES. I mean, for a normal fee, it wasn't like they had any idea who we were.
We recorded 3 episodes on September 22, 2017 (mark that down, Mark Lewisohn). For this episode, we talk to Abbey Road engineer Stefano Civetta.
Abbey Road Studios has a new small studio in their complex called The Gatehouse and that made is financially possible (though still impractical and foolish) for us to record there!
We saw the Beatles studio! We took our photo in the crosswalk! We ate in the Abbey Road work cafeteria! IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE DAY!
Panelists: Will Hines, Connor Ratliff, Stefano Civetta, and for one brief word Mariana Feijo.
Our panel does a live show at the UCB Theatre on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles to talk about BEATLES VOCALS.
Panel regulars and brilliant singers Ariana Lenarsky, Jackie Johnson and Heather Woodward perform some of their favorite Beatles songs to sing! Because, Ticket to Ride, And I Love Her, Oh! Darling and MORE!
Making this episode a manageable size was tough. We pick almost ANY Beatles song and have a great example of great vocals. Melody, harmony and performance was maybe their most consistently amazing trait. But we narrowed it down by a process known as "what would be fun."
Plus hear Brett Morris be a guitar virtuoso, Adam McCabe do very well on drums, and Joel and I banter away as the singers prepare for their next songs!
Thanks to Alex Scordelis for lending us a drum kit extremely last minute, Beth Appel and the UCB Theatre, Darius Hamilton Smith for teching and Rob Pera for recording it.
PLUG: Live show coming up Monday Sep 4th 10:30pm at UCB Sunset in Los Angeles! Singing Beatles songs! Come out!
Good idea gone terribly wrong? Brilliant art project? Or perhaps the most faithful fulfillment of the title of this podcast?
Our panel (Will Hines, Ariana Lenarsky, Wayland McQueen) welcomes guest Arthur Meyer (writer for The Tonight Show, also a human being) as we go through EACH AND EVERY BEATLES SONG to see what our personal / emotional associations are.
I somehow did not realize this would take two and a half hours. I honestly thought "eh, hour, hour and 10 minutes." You can hear me at the 90 minute mark apologize to the group and predict we were about half an hour away from being done. Nope. Another full hour awaited us.
Did I think about chopping this episode down to a more humane length? Yes. I could have skipped all the early albums, for which we didn't have as many memories. Or cut every song for which we had zero personal memories (often true for amazing songs like Lucy in the Sky). But that seemed like a cop-out, hard, and also would still have only gotten this down to an hour and forty five minutes.
So, I'm just leaving it here.
Even if you never listen to this, I do recommend DOING this with your Beatle loving friends. We four learned about each other, and it WAS very fun to DO. You'll be surprised what memories come up. The Beatles are ubiquitous and have bled into our consciousnesses and memories throughout our lives.
Ariana remembers hearing "Yesterday" when she was six years old!
Arthur seems to know the favorite Beatles songs of all of his friends and lovers!
Wayland was married before! News to us!
Will and his brother Brian used to wake up to a different Beatles song every day until they made the mistake of picking "Good Day Sunshine!"
Anyway. Here it is. 2 and half hours of it. "Enjoy!"
Beatles guitars! We have four guitarists on to talk about Beatles songs in terms of the guitar parts in this plus-sized episode!
The ninth chords that ends a lot of the early songs;
the iconic beginnings of A Hard Day's Night / Day Tripper / I Feel Fine and more;
George solo in All My Loving;
cool chords on Michelle;
sick Paul solo on Taxman;
dual guitars on She Said She Said;
easy songs to play around a campfire;
the clawhammer picking on the White Album;
George's stellar contributions to Octopus' garden;
She's So Heavy
Were we up to the technical challenge of recording four guitars in the host's living room with whatever cords people brought to the session? Not always! But the love for the music stays strong throughout!
Plus we do our own version of the Abbey Road trading guitars jam --- at the one hour and twenty minute mark! Necessary? No! Fun? Yes! And as with all our jams it has that first take authenticity! (Order of soloists: Joel, then Brett, then Mike with James playing rhythm).
Panelists: James Bachman, Mike Carlson, Will Hines, Brett Morris, Joel Spence.
There are so many great covers of Beatles songs and we talk about some of them!
With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker
Taxman - Black Oak Arkansas
Norwegian Wood - Swingle Singers
Come Together - Soundgarden
We Can Work It Out - Stevie Wonder
Across the Universe - Fiona Apple
Yesterday - Ray Charles
Blackbird - CSNY
When I Get Home - Harry Nillson
Blackbird - Bobby McFerrin
I Want to Hold Your Hand - Al Green
Eleanor Rigby - Aretha Franklin
Something - Frank Sinatra
I Am The Walrus - Jim Carrey
In My Life - Sean Connery
We will likely do another episode as there are so many interesting covers out there. But, hey, this is a pretty good start!
Panelists: Will Hines, Ariana Lenarsky, Brett Morris, Katie Plattner, Joel Spence
Our silliest idea yet? We got 4 drummers, each with his own drum kit, into a recording studio to talk about Ringo Starr and his drumming. Surprise: we love him and it.
Was it necessary to have 4 drummers at once? No, not at all. Was there some gain to be had for having more than one drummer play Ringo's licks at the same time? I mean, not that I can explain. But let me tell you this: once you get in your head that you're going get 4 drummers and 4 drum kits into a studio, all playing Ringo Starr drum parts at once -- it's a very tough idea to let go of. And we had a blast.
Our drummers / Beatlemaniacs are: Manny Hagopian, Chris Kula, Adam McCabe, Alex Scordelis
Do we do Ringo's big drum solo? Of course. Do we play and sing along to Octopus' Garden? Big yes. Is there a metal band in the adjacent studio playing speed thrash for much of the session? Yes again.
Thanks so much to the drummers for coming and doing this! I wasn't able to give us much (any) time to rehearse together, and our sound check was minimal, but they crushed it! Don't Pass This (Episode) By!*
*I just realized we do not reference that song for the entire episode.
Host: Will Hines
We talk about the Beatles longtime producer George Martin. He's one of the most common nominees for the informal title of "Fifth Beatle" for his contributions to their sound.
Whether it was through knowing when to take the role of teacher vs. letting them make the decisions, or being able to turn John Lennon's abstract wishes into concrete instrumentation, or even in the early days broadly helping to direct their songwriting -- George Martin was crucial in helping the Beatles become THE BEATLES.
Along the way we have some fun distractions including checking out isolated tracks from Sgt. Pepper and also Peter Serafinowicz' track "A Full Day In The Life." And somehow Heather keeps imitating Eddie Vedder.
Panelists: Suzi Barrett, Will Hines, Connor Ratliff, Joel Spence, Heather Woodward.