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Everything Fab Four

Author: Salon

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Everything Fab Four is a podcast from Wonderwall Communications and Salon focused on fun and intelligent stories about the enduring cultural influence of the Beatles.

No other band, or popular entity for that matter, has had the world-wide impact the Beatles have. They are part of our human fabric, they created music that still brings people together, and across continents and generations there are individual Beatles stories to tell. In each episode, renowned music historian, author, and Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack hosts a special guest to share theirs. Support this podcast:
45 Episodes
Ken Womack's guest this week is Grammy-nominated American jazz guitarist Dan Wilson. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, Wilson made his recording debut with pianist Joe McBride and performed to worldwide acclaim with Joey DeFrancesco and Christian McBride’s Tip City, eventually recording his debut as a band leader with "To Whom It May Concern" in 2012. Over the years, Wilson has shared the stage with a host of jazz greats including Eric Marienthal, Russell Malone, Les McCann, René Marie, Jeff Hamilton, David Sanborn and Dave Stryker. In 2017, Wilson earned a Grammy nomination for his work on DeFrancesco’s "Project Freedom" album. He also served as a guitarist on Van Morrison’s recent albums "You’re Driving Me Crazy" and "The Prophet Speaks." In 2021, Wilson released "Vessels of Wood and Earth," which includes the standout cut “Who Shot John.” The album was produced by McBride for his Brother Mister Productions label. In 2022, Wilson was named a Letter Rising Stars Jazz Winner. His latest LP, "Things Eternal," features his innovate take on the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” --- Support this podcast:
In this episode, Ken Womack talks with Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Madison Cunningham. She made her recording debut in 2014 with the self-released gospel album “Authenticities,” which reflected her exploration of faith. In 2017, Cunningham joined the cast of American Public Media’s “Live from Here.” In 2019, she released her breakthrough LP "Who Are You Now," nominated for the Best Americana Album Grammy. Her 2020 EP, “Wednesday,” featured cover versions of songs by Tom Waits, Radiohead and the Beatles, while also earning a Grammy nod for Best Folk Album. In 2022, she released her follow-up LP “Revealer,” which enjoyed extensive critical acclaim. “Revealer” was nominated for two Grammy Awards and won Best Folk Album.  --- Support this podcast:
Legendary singer-songwriter, author, and rock ‘n’ roll star Ian Hunter's illustrious career is now in its seventh decade. His rock ‘n’ roll life has long been marked by collaboration, from the golden age of Mott the Hoople to his fabled partnership with Mick Ronson and 21st-century renaissance with his crack backing combo, the Rant Band. Over the years, Hunter has enjoyed numerous chart successes, especially Mott the Hoople’s international hit “All the Young Dudes,” the David Bowie composition that emerged as a countercultural anthem in the 1970s. Hunter would later recount the trials and tribulations of his life with Mott the Hoople in his autobiography "Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star." During his solo career, Hunter’s best known work includes the song "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", later covered by Great White, and "Cleveland Rocks,” (originally “England Rocks”) the popular theme song for "The Drew Carey Show." With his latest album DEFIANCE PART 1, Hunter takes creative solidarity to an unprecedented new level with accompaniment from a truly awe-inspiring roster of special guests, famous fans, and lifelong friends. DEFIANCE PART 1 sees backing from luminaries such as Ringo Starr, Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren, Joe Elliott (of Def Leppard), Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Jeff Tweedy and – in one of his final recordings – the Foo Fighters’ late, great drummer Taylor Hawkins. --- Support this podcast:
This episode’s guest is Barbara Feldon, a model, author and actress best known for portraying “Agent 99” on the classic ‘60s sitcom “Get Smart.” Feldon was born Barbara Anne Hall in a suburb of Pittsburgh and studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University. Soon after, she departed for New York City to pursue a career in acting, where a stint as a showgirl led to her appearance on the game show, “The $64,000 Question,” where she took home the top prize for her knowledge of Shakespeare. The next year, Barbara married Lucien Feldon-Verdeaux, a handsome European she’d been dating, and took “Feldon” as her last name personally and professionally. Working as a fashion model led to a few TV ad spots before landing the one that would make her a household face, lolling about on an animal rug and daring all the male “tigers” out there to try Revlon’s Top Brass hair tonic. That led to securing the plum role of Agent 99 in the spy spoof “Get Smart” opposite comedian Don Adams. The role became Feldon’s biggest break, leading to an Emmy nomination and several film roles to boot. In more recent years, Feldon has written two books: 2003’s “Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life” and, in 2022, “Getting Smarter: A Memoir,” which recounts for the first time the true story of her marriage and the many lessons she’s learned since. --- Support this podcast:
On this episode, host Kenneth Womack welcomes Grammy winner Kenny Loggins, whose songs have left a musical imprint on “the soundtrack of our lives.”  Over the last four decades, his chart-topping songs have included “This Is It,” “I’m Alright,” “Footloose," “Danger Zone,” and so many more. “Danger Zone” was featured once again in Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” the biggest theatrical release of 2022, earning over $1.5B in box offices globally. “Danger Zone” earned over 1 million streams per day across streaming services at its peak. On June 14, 2022, Hachette Books published “Still Alright,” Loggins’ long-awaited memoir. In “Still Alright,” Loggins gives fans a candid and entertaining perspective on his life and career as one of the most noteworthy musicians of the 1970s and ’80s. In addition to his string of successful recordings, both solo and as a member of the famed duo Loggins & Messina, Kenny became the first major rock star to dedicate himself to recording music for children and families. His album “Return to Pooh Corner” remains the best-selling children’s album of the last 20 years. His gift for crafting deeply emotional music is unparalleled, and it's been a part of his life as long as he can remember. His generous support of countless local organizations has made a lasting impact on the causes that are close to his heart. And in 2016, he was a recipient of the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award at the annual Chapin Awards hosted by WhyHunger. --- Support this podcast:
Pattie Boyd is an English model, photographer, and an eyewitness to key moments in rock ‘n’ roll history, particularly in terms of the lives and times of the former members of the Beatles, especially George Harrison. In 1962, Boyd began her modeling career, later appearing on the covers of Vogue and other leading magazines. In 1964, she met Harrison while working as an extra on the set of "A Hard Day’s Night." After moving in together at Harrison’s Kinfauns home in Esher, Boyd and Harrison married in January 1966. Boyd was a regular fixture in the Beatles’ lives, attending the June 1967 Our World live simulcast and joining them in Rishikesh, India, for the group’s February 1968 visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram. In 1970, Boyd and Harrison relocated to Friar Park, the former Beatle’s enormous Victorian mansion in Henley-on-Thames. By 1973, the Harrisons’ relationship was disintegrating. In 1974, the couple separated, with Boyd later marrying Harrison’s longtime friend and collaborator Eric Clapton, who had nurtured a long-running passion for the model. Over the years, Harrison had written numerous songs for Boyd, including the top-charting Beatles hit “Something.” In 1970, Boyd was the subject of the legendary Derek and the Dominos’ album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs." The album’s title track describes Clapton’s unrequited love for Boyd. Clapton later composed the Top 20 U.S. hit “Wonderful Tonight” with Boyd as his inspiration. In 2007, Boyd published her best-selling autobiography entitled "Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me." In 2022, she published her latest book, "Pattie Boyd: My Life in Pictures." --- Support this podcast:
Today’s guest is Hayley Orrantia, an American singer and actress known for her role in the hit TV show "The Goldbergs." The show follows the hilarious and awkward lives of a colorful, suburban family in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania in the 1980s. Orrantia is a scene stealer as Erica, the eldest Goldberg sibling, who fans have watched transform from a socially awkward, nerdy high schooler to popular, college-aged beauty who drops out of school to form a band with her girlfriends. In film, Orrantia most recently starred in Amazon/Lionsgate’s holiday comedy “Christmas is Cancelled” alongside Dermot Mulroney and Janel Parrish.  Born and raised in Texas, Orrantia discovered her love of performing at nine years old, performing impromptu concerts in her bedroom. Now Orrantia is widely recognized as a successful independent music artist, who draws on inspiration from all genres to create soulful country-pop.  In 2018, Orrantia conducted her first headlining tour, the Strong, Sweet and Southern Tour, hitting 22 cities across the United States.  On this episode of "Everything Fab Four," host Kenneth Womack and Orrantia discuss covering iconic songs like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” her search for authenticity as an artist, working with the late George Segal, and how Lindsay Lohan’s “The Parent Trap” introduced her to the Beatles. --- Support this podcast:
In this episode, bassist Dougie Payne of Travis joins host Kenneth Womack to talk about his Beatles influence, the 20th anniversary of "The Invisible Band" and why "everyone needs their own Mal Evans." The Scottish band, originally named Glass Onion after the famous “White Album” song, was formed in 1990 and later took its name from a character in the movie “Paris, Texas.” Payne learned to play bass and joined the band, also providing background vocals. Growing up, he says the Beatles were “always there,” having had three older sisters who loved music and one who was a “Beatles obsessive.” As he says, the Beatles’ music “has a way of becoming part of your DNA.”  --- Support this podcast:
Ken Womack's guest this week is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright). Best known for her holiday hit “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” in addition to her vocals on records by “girl group” The Crystals and her acting roles such as in the “Lethal Weapon” film series, Love's beginnings were modest, having started out singing in the Los Angeles church choir where her father was the pastor. She began working in 1962 with notorious producer Phil Spector (who’d given her the “Love” surname for recording, and who also worked on several Beatles-related projects). In light of his later troubles, Love explains to Womack, “I will say this: He was not the same guy to me back then that he later came to be.” In this conversation she dives deep into her storied career, opens up about working with Phil Spector, and answers a complex question: Were the Beatles influenced by Black musicians, or did they steal from them? --- Support this podcast:
May Pang is a former music executive and an eyewitness to key moments in rock ‘n’ roll history, particularly in terms of the lives and times of the former members of the Beatles, especially John Lennon. After growing up in Spanish Harlem and Manhattan, Pang's early jobs included working as an old-school record-plugger and at Allen Klein’s management office, which represented Apple Records and three former Beatles: Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. In December 1970, Pang was invited to assist Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono with their film projects, “Up Your Legs Forever” and “Fly.” Pang was then asked to be Lennon and Ono's secretary in New York and Great Britain, which led to a permanent position as their personal assistant when the Lennons moved from London to New York in 1971. That October, Pang famously coordinated an art exhibition for Ono's This Is Not Here art show at the Everson Museum in Syracuse. When Lennon and Ono separated in 1973, Pang and Lennon began a relationship that lasted more than 18 months. Lennon later referred to this time as his "Lost Weekend". In addition to acting as Lennon’s muse, she served as production coordinator for him on such hit LPs as “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Walls and Bridges,” which included “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” John’s only number-one solo hit during his lifetime. After Lennon returned to Ono in 1975, Pang began working as PR manager for record companies. Pang subsequently authored two books about her relationship with Lennon—a memoir entitled “Loving John” (in 1983) and a book of photographs, “Instamatic Karma” (in 2008). She was recently the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary, “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival this past June. --- Support this podcast:
German artist, musician and record producer Klaus Voormann, former bassist for Manfred Mann, has played on a number of iconic recordings, from Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" to Lou Reed's "Transformer" album, and with many projects of the former members of the Beatles, whom Voorman has known since their Hamburg days. The one-time London roommate of George Harrison and Ringo Starr won a Grammy for designing the cover of their 1966 album "Revolver," which has just been reissued in a deluxe remastered box set. In 2009, Voormann released his debut solo album "A Sideman's Journey," which featured the two surviving Beatles, McCartney and Starr, performing as "Voormann and Friends." His latest work involves the composition of the graphic novel "Birth of an Icon, which details his efforts behind the creation of the "Revolver" cover art. In this bonus episode of "Everything Fab Four," Voorman — on the phone all the way from Germany — and host Ken Womack discuss the evolution of the Beatles' songwriting, everyone's favorite Mal Evans, and of course, how he created the "Revolver" cover. A note to our listeners: Technical difficulties resulted in audio that's less clear for this episode, but we hope you'll stick around for Klaus' fascinating eyewitness accounts of working with the Beatles.  --- Support this podcast:
American filmmaker Ken Burns is renowned for his documentary films and television series, many of which chronicle American history and culture, such as "The Civil War," "Baseball," "Jazz," and "Country Music." Burns's documentaries have earned two Academy Award nominations and have won several Emmy Awards, among other honors. His latest documentary is "The U.S. and the Holocaust," which premieres this month and was produced with longtime collaborators Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. But before that, he worked at a record store where the best-selling album of his tenure was “Abbey Road.” He still thinks about the Beatles every day. In this conversation with our host Kenneth Womack, Burns discusses what his creative process shares with the Beatles’ and reveals the secret ingredient that he believes has made the band’s catalog so timeless. And he makes the case for a significant portion of the top 10 “quintessential” Beatles’ songs aren’t written by Paul or John. --- Support this podcast:
This episode’s guests are the duo ensemble The Bacon Brothers — younger brother and veteran actor Kevin and his older sibling Michael, an award-winning composer. Since his breakout roles in the early 1980s, including a starring turn in “Footloose,” Kevin has been a star on the big and small screens. And Michael, a music professor at Lehman College, has enjoyed a long and celebrated career as an accomplished guitarist, keyboardist and cellist. Over the years, Michael has composed hundreds of film and TV soundtracks and scores. And since the late 1990s, they’ve performed together as The Bacon Brothers. In this conversation with host Ken Womack, the brothers talk about how the Beatles brought the electric guitar into their lives, keys to great songwriting, what they thought about the “Get Back” docuseries, George Martin’s influence on the Beatles, and the finer points of “Revolver.” --- Support this podcast:
In this episode, host Ken Womack and powerhouse rocker Ann Wilson go deep into Beatles songs and their influence on her own work, the high school politics of fandom, and what the Beatles taught her about gender as a young rocker. Wilson rose to fame alongside her younger sister, guitarist Nancy Wilson, as lead vocalist in the rock band Heart, the first hard rock group fronted by women. In their heyday, Heart released numerous albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including "Dreamboat Annie" and "Little Queen," and "Dog and Butterfly," which generated hit singles such as "Magic Man," "Crazy on You," "Barracuda," “Straight On” and “Dog and Butterfly.” The band later enjoyed commercial success with a trio of albums, including the self-titled "Heart," "Bad Animals" and "Brigade," along with a raft of hits such as “What about Love,” “Never,” “These Dreams,” “Nothin’ At All,” “Who Will You Run To,” “Alone,” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You.” To date, Heart has sold over 35 million records. Over the years, Wilson has earned her place as one of rock’s most vaunted singers. Known for her operatic abilities and banshee screams, she was ranked no. 78 in Hit Parader's 2006 list of Greatest Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time. And in 2013, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Heart. --- Support this podcast:
Today’s special episode features our good friends from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, here to discuss their new exhibition, The Beatles: Get Back to Let It Be. Designed to serve as an immersive complement to Peter Jackson’s Get Back docuseries, the groundbreaking exhibition allows fans to experience The Beatles’ creative journey through original instruments, clothing, and handwritten lyrics used by The Beatles and seen in the film. Artifacts include items loaned directly by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the estates of George Harrison and John Lennon. The exhibit features high-definition film clips, audio, and custom projections, transporting fans into The Beatles’ vibrant world of January 1969. Fans will also enjoy audio engineer, producer, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Glyn Johns' record acetate from the sessions and iconic photography by Linda McCartney and by Ethan Russell, who documented the band’s January 1969 rehearsals, sessions, and rooftop performance, and whose photos are featured in the Let It Be album art. As with Jackson's Get Back docuseries, the exhibit shows how The Beatles composed and recorded many of their iconic songs from scratch. The exhibit's three screening rooms feature a selection of footage from each location from the docuseries: Twickenham, Apple Studios, and the Apple Corps rooftop. Ken's first guest is Greg Harris, President & CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Prior to serving in his current role, Greg worked as a senior executive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for 14 years. Ken is also joined by Nwaka Onwusa, the Rock Hall’s Chief Curator & Vice President of Curatorial Affairs. Prior to joining the Rock Hall in 2019, Nwaka spent a decade researching, developing and curating more than 20 full-scale exhibits for The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE. --- Support this podcast:
Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter, and actor Colin Hay first came to prominence as the lead vocalist of the Australian rock band Men at Work, which won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1983. Their big break came in August 1982, when Men at Work toured Canada and the US to promote their first LP Business as Usual, supporting Fleetwood Mac. That October, their song, "Who Can It Be Now?" reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. In January 1983, they became the first Australian artists to have a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single on the United States Billboard charts with Business as Usual and the song "Down Under" (1981), respectively. As a solo artist, Hay’s music has been used frequently by actor and director Zach Braff in his work, which helped establish a career rebirth for the musician in the mid-2000s. Hay has also been a recurring member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In this conversation with host Ken Womack, Hay talks about his musical childhood and the work behind the band's seemingly "overnight success," his Beatles influences, playing with Ringo, and what the Beatles documentary "Get Back" reveals about the realities of being in a band. --- Support this podcast:
Kenneth Womack's guest on this episode of “Everything Fab Four” is English singer/songwriter Dave Mason, who first found fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the rock band Traffic. He wrote and sang lead on Traffic’s 1968 single “Feelin Alright?” which also went on to become a hit for Joe Cocker and throughout the years has been covered by a wide range of artists, from the Jackson 5 to Widespread Panic. Over the course of his legendary career, Mason has played and recorded with many notable musicians, including Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and on Jimi Hendrix's version of “All Along the Watchtower.” In this conversation, Mason talks about being a young musician in London when the Beatles hit, listening to “Sgt. Pepper” at George Harrison's house, what it was like playing with Jimi, and more. --- Support this podcast:
Singer/songwriter Janis Ian started her music career as a folk prodigy, writing and recording “Society’s Child,” her groundbreaking 1966 song about an interracial couple, at age 14. She won a Grammy Award for her 1975 hit “At Seventeen” and the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. Her new EP, “The Light at the End of the Line,” her first album of new material in 15 years, will be followed by her farewell North American tour this year. In this conversation, she and host Ken Womack talk about the impact of technology on creativity, her Beatles fan origin story, the violent reactions her groundbreaking song “Society’s Child” faced, the origins of “At Seventeen,” and the enduring appeal of “Baby Shark." --- Support this podcast:
"Weird Al" Yankovic has come a long way since his days making music in his bedroom with an accordion and a "cheesy little cassette tape recorder" and submitting to the Dr. Demento Show. On this episode, he and Ken talk about how Al's songwriting process has become more elaborate over the years, the story behind why Paul McCartney vetoed his "Live and Let Die" parody, getting a cease and desist from George Harrison's lawyer, and his upcoming tour, which he hopes will be a "a super-spreader of joy." --- Support this podcast:
Margaret Cho is a Grammy and Emmy Award nominated stand-up comedian, actress, and singer-songwriter. In this episode, she and host Ken Womack talk about her journey to becoming a comic, her gateway album into Beatles fandom, and why her favorite Beatle — of, she suggests, up to ten Beatles in total — would have been Brian Epstein.  --- Support this podcast:
Comments (1)

Greg Barnett

Thanks, Ken. Great series. I've sent feedback via email to save my thumbs 😊

Apr 15th
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