Tag Archives: Beatles

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Beatles reference in the Johnny Rivers’ song “Summer Rain”

July and August in my hometown New Orleans are known for their summer rain, which reminds me of the Johnny Rivers song “Summer Rain.” Today’s trivia question is inspired by that classic song.

What is the Beatles reference in the Johnny Rivers’ song “Summer Rain”?

Bonus: Explain the factual error in the reference.

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The Johnny Rivers song “Summer Rain” contains a reference to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The reference is in the song’s bridge, which occurs twice. The first time Rivers sings “All summer long we spent dancing in the sand/And the jukebox kept on playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  The second time he sings “All summer long we spent grooving in the sand/Everybody kept on playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The error is that in the summer of 1967, there was no way that anyone could have heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or any song from the album on a juke box. The Beatles did not issue any singles from the album until many years later. Although some juke boxes in the sixties could play mini-LPs (known as compact 33 discs) that contained three songs from an album on each side, the only Beatles albums issued in that format were “Meet The Beatles!,” “The Beatles’ Second Album” and “Something New.”  So while it was true that “Everybody kept on playing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in the summer of 1967, no juke boxes were doing so. It just seemed that way.  “Summer Rain” peaked at #14 in early 1968.

 

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The first Beatles song Bob Dylan heard on the radio

Both the Beatles and Bob Dylan were featured on the 2012 season opener for History Detectives.

What was the first Beatles song Bob Dylan heard on the radio?

Bonus: What line in the song did Bob Dylan misunderstand what the Beatles were actually singing?

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The first Beatles song heard by Bob Dylan on the radio was “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”  At the end of the middle eight, Dylan mistakenly thought the Beatles were singing “I get high” instead of “I can’t hide.” This impressed Dylan because he thought it was a drug reference. While there were no drug references in the early Beatles songs, that would soon change. For what it’s worth, as an eight-year-old first hearing the song, I also thought the Beatles were singing “I get high” until I saw the lyrics printed in a song book. I was too young to think of the line as a drug reference.

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A new word from their police escort, Sgt. Buddy Dresner

While watching television in Miami Beach on Monday evening, February 17, 1964, the Beatles learned a new word from their police escort, Sgt. Buddy Dresner, that John would later incorporate into a song. What was the word and what song did John use it in?

Bonus question: What television show were they watching at the time?

Bonus for the truly obsessive: What was the name of that night’s episode of the TV series?

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While watching a science fiction television show with the Beatles, Sgt. Dresner marveled at a weapon used by an alien who had landed on Earth. Dresner commented, “If I had one of those guns, I could zap all the criminals.” The Beatles found the expression interesting as they were unfamiliar with the word “zap.” They wrote the word on a hotel picture at the Deauville. John later used it in his lyrics to “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,” “So Captain Marvel zapped him right between the eyes.” The name of the TV series was “The Outer Limits.” The episode was titled “The Children of Spider County.”

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BEATLES CONNECTION TO TRAGIC AIR PLANE CRASH

There are many Beatles connections in our culture, including movies, TV shows, books, fashion and even the news. Most of them are upbeat, but occasionally a connection exists with a tragic event. Thirty years ago, on July 9, 1982, Pan Am Flight 759 crashed shortly after takeoff in New Orleans, killing all 145 on board and eight people on the ground.

BEATLES CONNECTION TO TRAGIC AIR PLANE CRASH

The weather in New Orleans on July 9, 1982, was described as freakish. While afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer months, this one seemed different. It was more intense and accompanied by strong winds and lightening.

As Pan Am Flight 759 sat on the runway at New Orleans International Airport, Captain Kenneth McCullen ran through abort takeoff procedures with his first officer. He mentioned that takeoff could be “heavy” and instructed his co-pilot to “let your airspeed build up on takeoff.” McCullen was an experience pilot who recognized the potential dangers posed by the storm, but had no idea of what would be waiting for him at the end of the runway.

It was Friday, and many of the passengers were looking forward to a weekend of gambling in Las Vegas. As sheets of rain battered the Boeing 727, some of them must have been apprehensive about the weather. But none of them knew they were gambling with their lives just by being on the plane.

Earlier the flight crew heard the tower advise an incoming plane of low level windshear in the northeast quadrant of the airport. The first officer asked the tower for a wind check and was told that there was low level windshear in all quadrants and that the front appeared to be passing over right now. “We’re right in the middle of everything.”

At 4:08 pm Flight 759 began heading down the runway into gusty variable winds and heavy rain. Takeoff appeared normal, but the plane was unable to climb past 100 to 150 feet as it encountered a violent downburst of windshear pushing it towards the ground. About a minute later one of its wings clipped a tree. The jet then hit a powerline and plowed into a row of houses, exploding on impact.

First responders included police and medics, although it quickly became apparent that there would be no survivors on the plane and that there would be casualties on the ground. Nick Congemi, who at the time was a part-time Kenner policeman and a Pan Am employee, recalled that it “was like a bomb had landed in the middle of our city…it was like walking through hell. You’re walking through this fire and mayhem.”

Although the death toll included all 145 aboard the plane and eight on the ground, a policeman found a 16-month old baby girl alive under an overturned crib. The miraculous survival of the child was the only bright spot of the tragedy.

The subsequent investigation into the cause of the crash led to increased awareness of the dangers of windshear. As a result, airports now have sophisticated equipment to detect windshear.

The Beatles connection to Flight 759 is that the plane involved in the crash was named Clipper Defiance. Pan Am had a practice of naming its airplanes. When a plane was taken out of service, its name was often reused. The first Clipper Defiance was a Douglas DC-4 (number N6104C), which was placed in service in 1946. After the plane was retired, Pan Am gave the name to one of its new Boeing 707 jets (number N704PA) in 1959. It was this Clipper Defiance that brought the Beatles to America for the first time on February 7, 1964. The last and tragic Clipper Defiance was a Boeing 727 (number N4737), which was placed into service in 1980.

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What comedians did the Beatles see in Miami Beach?

During their stay at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, the Beatles saw two comedians at the hotel’s night clubs. Who were these comedians?

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Don Rickels and Myron Cohen. Rickels’ routine consisted of launching insults at members of the audience. Everyone was fair game, including little old ladies and, of course, the Beatles and Sgt. Dresner, who had been assigned to escort the group during their stay in Miami. “Look at this. A police sergeant guarding four Zulus when all over the city there’s fighting and burglary going on.”  Although the Beatles laughed along with the audience each time Rickles took aim at them, they were not amused. The group was trying to keep a low profile and resented being publicly embarrassed by the comedian. George thought it unfair that only Rickles had a microphone. “If we’d had him on our own terms we could have made mincemeat out of him.” Myron Cohen, a more traditional comedian, would be one of the acts on the upcoming Ed Sullivan Show broadcast from the Deauville.

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Song performed for Decca audition and “Get Back” rehearsal sessions

What was the only song performed by the Beatles at their January 1, 1962 Decca audition, at their June 6, 1962 EMI commercial test and during the “Get Back” rehearsal sessions?

Bonus: What is the connection between that song and the Beatles February 1964 visit to Miami Beach?

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The Beatles performed “Besame Mucho” at their January 1, 1962 Decca audition, at their June 6, 1962 EMI commercial test and during the “Get Back” rehearsal sessions. The song, written by Consuelo Valazquez and Sunny Skylar, was a Latin standard that came to the attention of the Beatles by way of the Coasters, who issued the song in two parts on the single Atco 6163 in 1960. On the night before their second Ed Sullivan Show appearance broadcast live from Miami Beach, the Beatles went to see the Coasters at a local Miami nightclub. The group included several Coasters songs in their club appearances during their formative years. At their Decca audition, the Beatles played two other Coasters’ songs, “Three Cool Cats” and “Searchin’.”

The Beatles performed three songs recorded by the Coasters at their January 1, 1962, Decca audition: Three Cool Cats, Searchin’ and Besame Mucho. The first two are on Anthology 1. The group’s rendition of Besame Mucho from their June 6, 1962, EMI commercial test is also on the album.

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SEASON PREMIERE OF HISTORY DETECTIVES TO HAVE BEATLES SEGMENT

The 2012 season premiere of the television show History Detectives shall feature a story on Beatles autographs. The program will be broadcast by PBS on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 9:00 PM EDT/8:00 PM CDT (check local listings to confirm the station in your market).

The Beatles segment, filmed in Miami Beach last January 2012, has Tukufu Zuberi using his detective skills to determine if a set of autographs from February 1964 are really those of the Fab Four. Tukufu is given a tour of the Deauville Hotel by Beatles author/historian Bruce Spizer, who shows him where the Beatles stayed and played while in Miami Beach for their February 16, 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Viewers will get to see the behind the scenes locations of the Deauville and learn a bit of Beatles history along the way.

History Detectives, now entering its tenth season, is an entertaining and educational series that explores the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out the facts, myths and conundrums that connect folklore, legends and interesting objects. Segment host Tukufu Zuberi is a professor of sociology and Director of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Bruce Spizer has written eight critically-acclaimed books on the Beatles and does consulting for EMI/Capitol Records on Beatles projects. The season opener will have a rock ’n’ roll theme, with other stories on what may or may not be Bob Dylan’s first electric guitar and a painting allegedly drawn by Frank Zappa.

Visit the History Detectives website: http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/

The Beatles relaxing by the pool at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach during their February 1964 visit, which shall be the subject of a History Detectives story to air on July 17. 

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION:

During their stay at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, members of the Beatles were assigned three rooms with two beds each. Who slept in each of the these rooms?

Bonus question: What floor were the Beatles on?

Bonus question for those obsessed with Beatles trivia: What were the room numbers?

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Paul and Ringo shared a room. John was with his wife, Cynthia. George, who had hopes of a private room, found himself stuck with New York DJ Murray the K, who followed the group to Miami Beach for a few days. When Murray the K returned to New York, Sgt. Buddy Dresner of the Miami Beach Police Department took his bed. The group stayed on the 12th floor, with Paul and Ringo in Room 1219, George next door in Room 1218 and John down the hall in Room 1211.

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50 Years Ago: Beatles First Visit to Abbey Road Studios – Continued

June 6, 2012, marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit to Abbey Road Studios. The group, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney George Harrison and Pete Best, arrived at what was then called EMI Studios on June 6, 1962, for a commercial test (an evaluation of a signed artist). Two days earlier, the band had signed a recording contract with “The Parlophone Company Limited of Hayes in the County of Middlesex.” The group was paid Musicians Union rates for the June 6 session, indicating that the Beatles were in fact EMI recording artists by the time they arrived at Abbey Road.

The following four songs were recording that day: Besame Mucho, P.S. I Love You, Ask Me Why and Love Me Do. The latter three songs were Lennon-McCartney originals that would later be re-recorded for commercial release, with Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You issued as the Beatles first single and Ask Me Why appearing as the B-side to the group’s second single.

Although George Martin set up the Beatles first recording session at Abbey Road, Martin’s assistant, Ron Richards, initially served as producer because he was more familiar with pop and rock ’n’ roll than Martin, whose background encompassed classical and comedy recordings. Memories differ as to when Martin appeared at the session, but all agree he was there for Love Me Do. After hearing the group perform the song, he made two significant suggestions on how to improve the song. It would be the first of many times that Martin would provide valuable input on a song’s arrangement.

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION:

What two suggestions did George Martin make to the Beatles on June 6, 1962, regarding the group’s performance of Love Me Do?

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George Martin reassigned the singing of the “Love me do” refrain that ended each verse from John to Paul. This was done because John’s harmonica playing prevented him from actually singing the word “do.” He also had the group increase the tempo of the song. In the February 9, 1963, Melody Maker Paul recalled: “When we went to London for the first recording, Love Me Do was a slow number like Halfway To Paradise [a number three 1961 U.K. hit for Billy Fury, who covered Tony Orlando’s U.S. hit], you know, DUM-di-di-di-DUM, but George Martin, our recording manager, suggested we do it faster. I’m glad we did.” These would be the first of many suggestions Martin would make over the years.

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50 Years Ago: Beatles First Visit to Abbey Road Studios – More

June 6, 2012, marked the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit to Abbey Road Studios. The group, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney George Harrison and Pete Best, arrived at what was then called EMI Studios on June 6, 1962, for a commercial test (an evaluation of a signed artist). Two days earlier, the band had signed a recording contract with “The Parlophone Company Limited of Hayes in the County of Middlesex.” The group was paid Musicians Union rates for the June 6 session, indicating that the Beatles were in fact EMI recording artists by the time they arrived at Abbey Road.

The following four songs were recording that day: Besame Mucho, P.S. I Love You, Ask Me Why and Love Me Do. The latter three songs were Lennon-McCartney originals that would later be re-recorded for commercial release, with Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You issued as the Beatles first single and Ask Me Why appearing as the B-side to the group’s second single.

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION:

Who initially served as producer for the Beatles first recording session at Abbey Road Studios on June 6, 1962?

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Although George Martin set up the Beatles first recording session at Abbey Road, Martin’s assistant, Ron Richards, initially served as producer because he was more familiar with pop and rock ’n’ roll than Martin, whose background encompassed classical and comedy recordings. Memories differ as to when Martin appeared at the session, but all agree he was there for Love Me Do. He was also there for most of the Beatles other recording sessions through January 3, 1970. As for Ron Richards, he signed the Hollies to EMI’s Parlophone label in 1963 and produced most of the Hollies music for the next 16 years. Richards died on April 30, 2009.

George Martin with the Beatles, late 1963.

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50 Years Ago: Beatles Commercial Test at Abbey Road

June 6, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit to Abbey Road Studios. The group, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, arrived at what was then called EMI Studios on June 6, 1962, for a commercial test (an evaluation of a signed artist). Two days earlier, the band had signed a recording contract with “The Parlophone Company Limited of Hayes in the County of Middlesex.” The group was paid Musicians Union rates for the June 6 session, indicating that the Beatles were in fact EMI recording artists by the time they arrived at Abbey Road.

Engineers attending the session in Studio Two remember the poor shape of the group’s equipment, particularly Paul’s bass amp, which was deemed unusable due to its rattling and rumbling. Engineers Norman Smith and Ken Townsend improvised and created a bass rig by soldering an input jack to a preamp and combining it with an amp and a large Tannoy speaker taken from Echo Chamber No. 1. A string was tied around John’s amplifier to prevent it from rattling. After resolving these problems, the Abbey Road staff was ready to record the group.

Four songs were recorded that day. During the next few weeks, the significance of this historic recording session will be discussed. Today’s question covers the songs that were recorded.

What four songs were recorded by EMI at the Beatles commercial test held at Abbey Road Studios on June 6, 1962?

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Besame Mucho, P.S. I Love You, Ask Me Why and Love Me Do. The first tune, written by Consuelo Velazquez and Sunny Skylar, was a Latin standard that came to the attention of the Beatles by way of the Coasters, who issued the song in two parts on Atco 6163 in 1960. The other three songs were Lennon-McCartney originals. The tape containing the songs was sent to EMI headquarters for evaluation and is presumed lost; however, acetates of Besame Mucho and Love Me Do survived. These songs were released in 1995 on Anthology 1. All three of the Lennon-McCartney songs were later re-recorded for commercial release, with Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You issued as the Beatles first single and Ask Me Why appearing as the B-side to the group’s second single.

  

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Ringo and his fondness for New Orleans music

Although the Beatles were heavily influenced by New Orleans R&B music, the group did not record any songs written by New Orleans songwriters or recording artists for any of their albums. After the group broke up, three of the Beatles recorded songs written by New Orleans songwriter/performers. Today’s question deals with Ringo and his fondness for New Orleans music.

Name two songs recorded by Ringo in the 1970s that were written by New Orleans songwriter/producer/pianist/singer Allen Toussaint and the Ringo album each song appears on.

Bonus: Name the artists who first recorded each song.

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Ringo recorded Allen Toussaint’s “Occapella”  for his second rock ’n’ roll solo album, “Goodnight Vienna.” He also recorded Toussaint’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” for “Ringo the 4TH.” Allen Toussaint’s “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” was the title track to Robert Palmer’s first album. The song was recorded in New Orleans with Palmer backed by the New Orleans R&B group the Meters (Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter, Jr. and Joseph Modeliste). Toussaint’s “Occapella” was first recorded by Lee Dorsey, who had hits with “Ya Ya,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Ride Your Pony,” “Get Out My Life Woman,” “Working In A Coal Mine,” “Holly Cow” and “Yes We Can“ (which was later recorded by the Pointer Sisters).

Allen Toussaint performing at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Photo copyright 2012 by Bruce Spizer)

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PAUL RELEASES REMASTERED AND DELUXE EDITION OF RAM

Paul McCartney has just released the much anticipated remastered and deluxe editions of “Ram,” his second album after leaving the Beatles. Unlike his home-spun simple predecessor “McCartney,” the new album was recorded in New York with top-flight session musicians and featured elaborate instrumentation and arrangements. Although the album was vilified by some overly hip critics, “Ram” is a remarkably fresh-sounding collection of well-recorded and superbly-performed songs.

The deluxe edition of “Ram” is well worth the money if you are into tons of extra photos, information about the recording of the album and bonus tracks. In addition to the remastered stereo album, the package includes a bonus CD containing both sides of the single pulled from the “Ram” sessions and six songs from the sessions that remained unreleased for years, a CD containing the rare mono mix of “Ram” made for AM radio, a CD of the “Thrillington” instrumental version of the album and a DVD. My only complaint is the packaging is too big! For those less obsessed and/or with less disposable income, there are more reasonably priced editions available.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Whether you loved the “Ram” LP when it first came out, had mixed emotions about it or weren’t born yet, you should explore all it has to offer. RAM ON!

For those seeking more information on “Ram” or any other of Paul’s post-Beatles recordings released on Apple, check out the book “The Beatles Solo on Apple Records.” The book will be on sale for $25 through 12 midnight on June 12, 2012.

 

Today’s trivia question is naturally related to “Ram.”

What two songs were pulled from the “Ram” sessions for a single that did not appear on the album, who was the single credited to, and what musicians played on each song?

Bonus question: What usual item did the drummer use for additional percussion on the A-side?

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The single “Another Day” b/w “Oh Woman, Oh Why” was released in the U.S. on February 22, 1971, and in the U.K. on February 19, 1971, nearly three months ahead of the “Ram” LP. The single was credited to “Paul McCartney,” although the “Ram” LP was credited to “Paul & Linda McCartney.” Paul (guitar and overdubbed bass), Linda (vocals), Denny Seiwell (drums) and David Spinoza (guitar) played on “Another Day.” The first three also played on the B-Side, with High McCracken replacing Spinoza on guitar. Denny Seiwell added percussion to “Another Day” by tapping on a Manhattan phone book!

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THE BEATLES & THE BOSS

Bruce Springsteen’s recent performance at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was the Boss’ second appearance at the event. He first performed at the Fest with his Seeger Sessions Band in 2006. That was the first Jazz Fest held in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The most emotional moments came when he performed “My City In Ruins” and “When The Saints Go Marching In” (done in a slow almost somber pace). Both brought tears to eyes of many in attendance.

This year the Boss was back with the E Street Band, playing for over two and a half hours (which is considerably longer than the 50-minute to 90-minute sets that other acts are allotted at the Fest). Springsteen mixed old favorites with plenty of tunes from his new album, “Wrecking Ball,” including “We Take Care Of Our Own,” with its references to New Orleans and the government’s failed response to Hurricane Katrina (“From the shotgun shack to the Superdome/There ain’t no hope, the calvary stayed home”). But, once again, the most touching moments for those from New Orleans were “My City In Ruins” and “When The Saints Go Marching In.” The latter song was folded into a soulful rendition of “Rocky Ground.”

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street band perform “When The Saints Go Marching In” at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Photo copyright 2012 by Bruce Spizer.

Like many musicians of his generation and after, Bruce Springsteen was influenced by the Beatles. In an interview shortly after the death of John Lennon, Springsteen indicated that the first song he learned on guitar was a song performed by the Beatles. Today’s questions are about the Beatles and the Boss.

What song, performed by the Beatles, does Bruce Springsteen claim to be the first he learned on guitar? Bonus: What two groups recorded the song prior to the Beatles?

What Beatles song did Bruce Springsteen perform with Axl Rose at the 1994 Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony?

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Bruce Springsteen claims that the first song he learned to play on guitar was “Twist And Shout.” Apparently he heard the song on the album “Introducing The Beatles.” While Springsteen may also have been familiar with the song from the Isley Brothers version, it was the Beatles that got him interested in the guitar. Although the Isley Brothers had a hit with “Twist And Shout,” the first recording of the song was by the Top Notes. That record, which is inferior to both the Isley Brothers and Beatles renditions, was produced by Phil Spector, who nearly a decade later worked on the “Let It Be” album and produced records by John and George. Springsteen frequently played “Twist And Shout” in concert; however, his concert version more closely resembles the Isley Brothers rendition than that of the Beatles.

 

 

Bruce Springsteen and Axl Rose performed “Come Together” at the 1994 Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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2012: THE YEAR OF 50TH ANNIVERSARIES

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This year will mark important milestone anniversaries for the Beatles. The group’s first recording session for EMI took place at Abbey Road studios on June 6, 1962. Ringo joined the band in August 1962. And the Beatles first single, “Love Me Do,” was released as Parlophone 45-R 4949 on October 5, 1962.

Because Ringo did not become a Beatle until 1962, many are considering 2012 as the official 50th anniversary of the group. While the name “Beatles” and the union of John, Paul and George date back a few more years, THE BEATLES–John, Paul, George and Ringo–turn 50 this year. So let’s not quibble over the choice of this year as the big anniversary.

We all know the press loves big round number anniversaries, so we can expect many stories this year on the Beatles appearing in books, magazines, newspapers, televison, radio and the internet. While many will make a big deal out of the music being 50 years old, the fact that people are still talking about the Beatles and enjoying their music shows that despite its age, the music is timeless. The Beatles music, like that of Beethoven, Mozart and Louis Armstrong,  never grows old.

Another great band is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Beach Boys are currently touring the nation and will be releasing a new album next month (June 5). I recently saw the Beach Boys, featuring Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They performed a well-paced and exciting set consisting of nearly all of the group’s biggest hits, with a few surprises thrown in. The original members are backed primarily by Brian Wilson’s touring band. I highly recommend catching them this summer. You’ll be sitting on the top of the world.


Mike Love


Al Jardine


Brian Wilson

The Beach Boys at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Photos copyright 2012 by Bruce Spizer

 

This week’s trivia questions covers one of the connections between the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Which Beatles song, written during the Beatles stay in Rishikesh, India, contains lyrics that were suggested by a Beach Boy? Who was the Beach Boy and what Beach Boys song formed the basis for his suggestion?

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During the Beatles stay in Rishikesh, India, Beach Boy Mike Love made the suggestion that Paul add lyrics to “Back In The U.S.S.R.” referencing girls from different parts of the U.S.S.R.  This idea was lifted from the Beach Boys smash hit “California Girls.” After singing praises of East Coast girls, Southern girls, Midwest farmer’s daughters, Northern girls and Hawaiian dolls by a palm tree in the sand, Mike Love sings that he “couldn’t wait to get back to the States, back to the cutest girls in the world,” California girls. For “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” Paul came up with “Those Ukraine girls really know me out/They leave the West behind/And Moscow girls make me sing and shout/That Georgia always on my mind.” The last line serves tribute to both the soviet republic of Georgia and the Ray Charles tune “Georgia On My Mind.” And, of course, “Back In The U.S.S.R.” has Beach Boys-style backing vocals.

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DOCUMENTARY ON BEATLES 1st U.S. CONCERT DEBUTS THIS MONTH

A new documentary on the Beatles first U.S. concert makes its debut this month in selected theaters across the U.S.A. “The Beatles: The Lost Concert” will premier at New York’s Ziegfeld Theater on May 6, 2012. It will then be shown in over 450 other locations on May 17 & 22. See the documentary’s website to find a theater near you. Check out this website: www.lostbeatlesconcert.com

The documentary shows the group’s February 11, 1964, show at the Washington Coliseum in front of over 8,000 screaming fans. The concert footage appears in pristine video and sound for the very first time and includes the Beatles entire performance. The film also covers the birth of Beatlemania in America with a series of interviews, including Chuck Berry, Tommy Roe, Steven Tyler and Bruce Spizer.

The complete story of the birth of Beatlemania in America is told in “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America,” which will be on sale through May 22, 2012. The hardback edition is priced at $25 and the paperback edition at $15.

 

 

 

Today’s trivia question pertains to the Beatles historic first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum.

Question

What song was performed at the Beatles first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum prior to the group recording the song for proper EMI release?

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The Beatles closed their historic first U.S. concert on February 11, 1964, with a wild energetic cover of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.” The Beatles, with George Martin on piano, recorded the song at Abbey Road Studios in one incredible take on March 1, 1964. The song first appeared in the U.S. on “The Beatles’ Second Album,” which was released on April 10, 1964, and in the U.K. on the EP “Long Tall Sally,” which was issued on July 19, 1964.

The set list for the Beatles first U.S. concert was written by John on Shoreham Hotel stationary.

 

 

 

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dickclark

THE DICK CLARK BEATLES CONNECTION

This past week we lost another great man in Dick Clark, who was known as “America’s oldest teenager.” To the youth of America in the late fifties through the eighties, he was best known as the host of American Bandstand, a dance show featuring Clark playing hit singles. In addition, the show often had popular artists lip-sync a song or two. Teenagers would get to see other teens dance to the hottest hits, providing the opportunity to keep up with the latest and greatest dance moves and music, all in one show.

Clark also would play new records on his show in the Rate-A-Record segment. Selected teenagers would be asked what they liked and didn’t like about the song (“It had a beat and you could dance to it”) and would assign a number value. Clark would then compute an average score based on the individual scores.

Although the Beatles never performed on American Bandstand, Clark did, of course, play their records. Although tapes of the show from 1963 are limited, it has been reported that Clark played “Please Please Me” in a Rate-A-Record segment in February or March of 1963, with the single scoring in the mid-seventies.

A bit more is known about the next Beatles single featured in Rate-A-Record. Shortly after the single’s release on September 16, 1963, Dick Clark played “She Loves You.” The song averaged a mediocre 73 score. According to Clark, “When the kids saw a photo of the four long-haired lads, they just laughed.” The band’s appearance and the song’s “yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain were totally foreign to what American teens were used to seeing and hearing in 1963. Clark would not play a Beatles record again until 1964 when Beatlemania exploded in America.

I twice contacted Dick Clark during the research of my books. He took time from his busy schedule to answer my questions in writing. My last contact with him was after his 2004 stroke. I faxed him a picture (shown below) of the Beatles receiving an in-house gold record award at Carnegie Hall and asked him to identify the three people in the photo other than the Beatles. He sent me back a fax identifying two of men, who were former business associates of Clark.

QUESTION

Dick Clark was the co-founder and initial 50% owner of a record label that later released singles by the Beatles. What was the name of the record company, the city it was located in and the two Beatles singles it released? Bonus: What were the names of the other two co-founders of the company?

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Dick Clark was the co-founder and initial 50% owner of Swan Records, which was based in his home town of Philadelphia. In mid-September 1963, Swan released the single “She Love You” b/w “I’ll Get You.” Although the record initially flopped, it was re-issued in early 1964 and went on to top the charts and sell over two millions copies. Swan also issued a single featuring the German-language version of “She Loves You” backed by “I’ll Get You.” The record was titled “Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You)” and was credited to “Die Beatles.” After Capitol Records filed suit, Swan pulled “Sie Liebt Dich” from circulation as the label did not have the rights to issue the recording.

 

Swan Records was founded in 1957 by Dick Clark, Tony Mammarella and Bernie Binnick. By the time the label released its Beatles singles, Clark was no longer an owner.

Although Dick Clark was not implicated in the 1959 Congressional investigations into the music industry practice of payola (disc jockeys accepting money and other favors to play particular records), the payola scandal did affect him. American Bandstand was being broadcast by the ABC television network. In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, ABC-Paramount president Leonard Goldstein forced Clark to divest himself of his ownership interests in record and publishing companies, including Swan Records.

Swan co-owner Tony Mammarella hands George Martin and the Beatles an in-house gold record award for sales of over one million units of “She Loves You.” Co-owner Bernie Binnick is in the background between Martin and Mammarella. The picture was taken by William “PoPsie” Randolph at Carnegie Hall on February 12, 1964.

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181-george-uk-trivia

The Taxman Commeth

Although April 15 is the date United States income taxes are normally due for individuals, this year (2012) the due date is April 17. Taxes were not due on April 15 because it fell on a Sunday. And taxpayers got an extra day to file and/or pay because April 16 was Emancipation Day, which is holiday obxerved in Washington, D.C.

While you are lamenting about how much tax you must pay this year, just remember it could be worse. The maximum federal tax rate for individuals in the U.S. this year is 35%. This maximum rate has varied throughout the years, starting in 1913 at 7% and hitting its high mark in 1944 during World War II of 94%. From 1946 through 1963, it remained high at 91%. The maximum rate dropped to 77% in 1964 and the following year to 70%, where it remained until 1982, when the first of the Reagan-era tax cuts lowered it to 50%, with 1988 having the lowest post-WW II rate of 28%.

The U.K. first imposed a personal income tax in 1799 under the direction of William Pitts. Although the revenue it generated helped the British defeat Napoleon, many Brits thought the tax devised by Pitts was the pits. The income tax was dropped and reinstated several times over the next hundred years. By the 1948/1949 tax year, the pressures of the post-WW II economy led to the imposition of a top rate of 95%. This was reduced to 91.5% for the 1966/1967 tax year. By 1978/1979, it had dropped to 83%. For 1988/1989, it was down to 32%. The top maximum rate in the U.K. is currently 50%.

As you can see, the tax rate during the sixties was quite high. No wonder George Harrison wrote a song about it, which gets quite a bit of airplay in the United States every April 15.

QUESTION:

In the Beatles song Taxman, what is the tax rate, what is taxed if you take a walk and who plays lead guitar?

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The tax rate is 95% (“there’s one for you, 19 for me”). This was the maximum tax rate in the U.K. at the time the song was written. If you take a walk, the Taxman taxes your feet. As for the hard-hitting guitar solo, it was not played by George, but rather by Paul McCartney.

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First news broadcasts of the Beatles in America

Today’s trivia question deals with the first news broadcasts of the Beatles in America.

On November 16, 1963, all three American television networks had their London bureaus film the Beatles in concert for potential stories on the group’s success in England.

Which American networks ran Beatles stories in 1963 and on what dates did the stories run?

Bonus Question: Where were the Beatles filmed in concert for these stories?

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NBC was the first American television network to run a story on the Beatles. The network’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” ran a four-minute story on Monday, November 18, 1963, at 6:53 p.m., with Edwin Newman doing the voice-over of film of the group and its fans. This was followed by CBS-TV’s five-minute story, which first ran on the “CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace” on November 22, 1963. The story was rebroadcast on the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” on December 10, 1963. There is no record of ABC ever running a story of the Beatles until 1964. The concert footage used by the networks was taken at the group’s November 16, 1963, performance at the Bournemouth Winter Gardens. The significance of these television broadcasts is detailed on pages 60-61 and 82-83 of “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.”

 

Images from “The Beatles: New Phenomena In Britain,” which ran twice on the CBS television network:

George, Paul and John being interviewed backstage

 

reporter Alexander Kendrick at the London Beatles Fan Club

 

Opening shot of the band on stage at Bournemouth

 

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mikewallace

Mike Wallace’s Beatles Connection

On Sunday morning (April 8, 2012) I heard the sad news of Mike Wallace’s death. I was and still am a fan of the TV show “60 Minutes,” dating back to the CBS news magazine’s initial Tuesday night broadcast in September 1968, at a time when “Hey Jude” and “Those Were The Days” were dominating radio play lists.

Mike Wallace was an integral part of “60 Minutes” from the start, providing memorable stories and interviews. He was a relentless investigative reporter, asking tough questions and often putting less-than-honest people in “gotcha” situations, exposing their misdeeds. For years, those who took advantage of others learned to fear the words, “I’m Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes.” But he also did amazing human interest stories as well. A truly remarkable journalist and man.

As a fan of “60 Minutes,” I never dreamed that I would one day have the privilege of speaking with Mike Wallace. But then again, I never dreamed I would ever meet those in the Beatles inter-circle and spend time at Abbey Road studios. Life can be full of wonderful unexpected moments.

In 2003, I began work on a book that would cover the arrival of the Beatles in America. I knew the press and “The Ed Sullivan Show” would be important parts of the story. I was assisted in these areas Gay Linville, who is a Beatles fan with connections in the television industry.

After my research uncovered that a story on the Beatles ran on “The CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace,” Gay contacted Mr. Wallace about the broadcast. She first asked him if he had any recollections of ever running a story on the Beatles while hosting the “CBS Morning News.” Mr. Wallace said he did not and asked when the story ran. When Gay informed him the story was broadcast on November 22, 1963, Mr. Wallace replied, “Christ Almighty, you know what happened that day, don’t you?” He, like the rest of America, had no memory of the story on the Beatles because President Kennedy was assassinated a few hours after its broadcast.

Gay told me about her conversation and gave me Mr. Wallace’s contact information. I called Mr. Wallace and provided him with the CBS archives information enabling him to obtain a copy of the five-minute story, which had not been shown in its entirety in nearly 40 years. (A portion of the story was shown on the “CBS Evening News” the day after John Lennon died.)

In February 2004 I was in New York for a series of events centered around the 40th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America. One morning I dropped off a copy of my book “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America” to Mr. Wallace’s “60 Minutes” office. The next morning I received a call on my cell phone from an unidentified number. The voice said, “Mr. Spizer, this is Mike Wallace. I want to thank you for dropping off a copy of your book to me.” This was the same distinguished voice I had heard so many times on television. He was very complimentary of the book, telling me it was a fine piece of journalism. He said he was impressed with the thoroughness of the research and that I was to be commended for my efforts. I thanked him for taking the time to call.

After the conversation ended, I sat there for a few minutes reflecting on how much his compliments meant to me. One of my journalist heroes respected my work and took the time to let me know. I jokingly wished I had said, “Mr. Wallace, would you mind repeating those words this Sunday on “60 Minutes”? But, of course, I never would have done that. The call from Mr. Wallace was enough. It was one of those moments in my life I’ll never forget.

I’m often asked if I got to interview any of the Beatles for my book “The Beatles Are Coming!” I tell people that I did not, but that I was blessed to have interviewed three of my other heroes, Walter Cronkite, Edwin Newman and Mike Wallace. All were great newsmen who, like the Beatles, left their mark on the world.

Beatles songs that held the top 5 Billboard Hot 100 spots?

In early April 1964, the Beatles dominated the Billboard Hot 100 record chart in a way that will almost certainly never be equaled. The group held down the top five positions and had seven other songs on the chart. Today’s question covers this remarkable achievement.

What were the five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the Billboard Hot 100 record chart for the week ending April 4, 1964?

Bonus: Name the songs in their proper order and name as many of the other seven Beatles songs that appeared on the same chart as you can.

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The top five songs were, in order, “Can’t Buy Me Love” (in its second week on the chart and first of five weeks at number one), “Twist And Shout” (the only song in the top five not written by Lennon-McCartney), “She Loves You” (which had held down the top spot for the previous two weeks), “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (which had topped the charts for seven weeks) and “Please Please Me” (which peaked at number three unable to break through the log-jam of Beatles songs above it).

The other seven songs were “I Saw Her Standing There” (#31), “From Me To You (#41), “Do You Want To Know A Secret” (#46 in its second week before climbing to #2 six weeks later), “All My Loving” (#58 as a Canadian import single), “You Can’t Do That” (#65), Roll Over Beethoven” (#68 as a Canadian import single) and “Thank You Girl (#79).

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