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An entire book dedicated to a single song may strike some as bewildering, but not if the song in question is both The Beatles' longest single (in length) as well as one of their most successful (quadruple platinum): 1968's "Hey Jude." Deceptively simple and universally appealing, the Apple Records debut marked an astonishing launch to their label while serving as an anthem of healing during a tumultuous year - in the world as well as within the band.  Author James Campion (Take A Sad Song: The Emotional Currency of Hey Jude) discussed the song with returning guest Jeff Martin and I for nearly two hours. You too will discover what James did - that uncovering the magic and pull of this recording is something that will take you farther than you can imagine.  This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to for 10% off your first month. 
In which the worlds of three returning guests collide to discuss 1) is there (or should there be) a common starting point for all critiques of art and 2) the world of rock criticism generally - what's the purpose and where does it go wrong?  Dr. Allison Bumsted is a popular music scholar, specializing in teen magazines (Teen Set in particular) and has written extensively on rock criticism on the 60s and 70s. She appeared on SATB here and here.    Kyle Driscoll is a writer for and this article is where the conversation began:    He was on SATB here.  Bill Wyman has been writing and reviewing art and music for 30 years for outlets ranging from the Chicago Reader to NPR, EW, WSJ and currently with New York and His ranking of The Beatles list can be found here.  His SATB appearances include this and this.  Check out the Beatles Song Sorter here.   
246: The Rooftop Reunion

246: The Rooftop Reunion


Are you Get Back-ed out yet? No? Good, because there are still plenty of avenues to explore within the scope of January 1969. Featured today is something from the vaults: the conversation reuniting three witnesses to the events on Savile Row on 30 January, 1969: Apple press office deputy Chris O'Dell, Beatles equipment manager Kevin Harrington, and EMI tape operator Alan Parsons; yes, the eventual producer and recording artist himself.  This was taped live at the Fab4ConJam event in February 2021 and therefore before Peter Jackson's film had been screened. Therefore, their recollections come purer: what they remembered and how they remembered it, unaffected by any more recent info coming their way. They all experienced the day from different perspectives, but over 5 decades on cannot help but be moved by what the were a part of, all these years later. Co-hosting is Beatles author and podcaster Anthony Robustelli.  This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to for 10% off your first month of treatment. 
Returning guest Robert Rosen (Nowhere Man) penned an essay last year discussing a phenomenon called "catch-and-kill," wherein the powerful who wish to keep unflattering stories from reaching the public exert pressure and influence to keep media companies from publishing them. In the instances he wrote about, a pair of book projects detailing life at the Dakota during John Lennon's final five years were suppressed, for no apparent reason beyond the estate wishing to keep any variance from the narrative they have been controlling for decades to be challenged in any way. This led to a discussion on the why and the how these stories are being kept hidden, despite the legitimacy of the narrators.     Here's to link to Robert's article in the Village Voice:    This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to for 10% off of your first month of treatment.
Luther Russell and I roll into the next hour of discussion and analysis of the intent behind Double Fantasy; about Yoko's standing in the rock world, and how The Beatles might better have dealt with her entry into their world. The album is ripe for a fresh listen, and no matter how you may rank it in the canon, is certainly worthy of an extended discussion as a release so heavy with meaning.    Enrollment open now for Why The Beatles? - an online 3-session course beginning in October:   This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to for 10% off of your first month of treatment. 
Given the unique circumstance of Double Fantasy - John Lennon's first work in five years and his slaying within a few short weeks of its release - it is hard to assess the final work issued during his lifetime; a joint effort with his wife, Yoko Ono. Its initial tepid reception gave way to it serving as a place for mourners worldwide to project their grief, and has, for some, grown to status as perhaps his finest work. For others, it pointed to evidence of his irrelevancy in a world that had changed during his time away; for still others, it was a showcase for Yoko being in far more tune with the times than the former Beatle.  Singer-songwriter/performer Luther Russell (solo artist, Those Pretty Wrongs) returns to the show to make the case for the album representing peak Lennon-Ono collaboration - the culmination of their years together. He argues that it is ripe for reassessment, just as Ram was. See what you think during the first hour of our discussion.    My "Why The Beatles?" course is here:    A sample of Sarabeth Tucek's work:   Luther Russell's YouTube channel:   This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to and receive 10% off your first month of treatment. 
In which Gary Wenstrup and I continue the discussion of Revolver, followed by a thorough analysis of the group's OTHER 1966 UK release, A Collection of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!).  This podcast is sponsored by Betterhelp. Go to for 10% off your first month of treatment.  
Taking a detour from some of the heavier SATB topics of late for end-of-summer light entertainment, Gary Wenstrup and I return to the series of gold, silver and bronze rankings of Beatle cuts through their catalog. We're at the halfway point now as The Beatles turned the page from a touring to a studio band, but not before a final blast of nostalgia by years' end. 
Returning guest Terry Zobeck (234: Paul McCartney Lyrics ) spent his career studying drug addiction and its effects. With a PhD in anthropology besides, this Beatles scholar is uniquely qualified to discuss the Joe Goodenn's book, Riding So High: The Beatles and Drugs. (Here's Erin Weber's review.)    Our conversation covers a lot of ground, but mostly concerns itself with an informed perspective on how particular drugs affect the brain and behavior of users.  This podcast is sponsored by Better Help. Please go to to get 10% off your first month.  
In the time since publishing his memoir, The Redhead on the Roof and first appearing on SATB (160), Beatles equipment manager Kevin Harrington has now become known to millions of fans by his ubiquitous presence captured on film and presented in the eight hours of Peter Jackson's Get Back. It therefore was time to bring him back to get his reaction to the film and drill down deeper on his experiences working with The Beatles. 
As part of the Fab4ConJam online fan event, I convened these two Beatles insiders to take questions and reminisce. Chris O'Dell came from Tucson, AZ (yes! home of Jo Jo AND Linda) and was pulled into the Apple Press Office by Derek Taylor. She was a rooftop attendee as well as a one-time resident of Friar Park, witnessing the daily drama of the group as it ended, along with George and Pattie's marriage. She recalled her experiences in 2009's Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and the Women They Loved.   Nancy Lee Andrews was a model, actress and briefly, in the music biz as well as a photographer. More importantly, she was Ringo's romantic partner from 1974 through 1980, and likewise a witness to much of the inside relations between the former Beatles. (She also attended the Concert for Bangladesh as a guest of her then-boyfriend, bassist and future Domino, Carl Radle.) Nancy's book of spectacular photos was published as A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll in 2008.  These women have maintained a close friendship since the 70s and it was our treat to hear them recall those days during this terrific conversation. 
He's known to millions, in the words of Arthur C. Clarke, as “The most famous unknown actor in the world.” Richter was a mime (and a poet) during the 1960s, but also gained cinematic immortality as "Moonwatcher" in the iconic "Dawn of Man" sequence in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. This in itself would be enough to stir our interest, but Dan was also intimately involved with John and Yoko as a personal assistant for five years, during which time he helped manage their film and recording projects while kicking his heroin habit. He tells his story in compelling detail in his book, The Dream is Over: London in the 60's, Heroin and John and Yoko.  Joining the conversation is guest co-host Ian McNabb (see SATB 234). The conversation covers Dan's time with the Lennons, as well as work on 2001 with Stanley Kubrick.   
One of the things that's kept Beatles fans captivated was their refusal to stay still and how each album felt like a progression into new territory. That said, as you delve deeper into the structures and configurations of the band's music across their discography, there are certain tools, tricks, and ideas that they used and repurposed to great effect. In today's episode, returning guests Jack Petruzzelli (Fab Faux) and Cameron Greider (Sean Lennon) sit down to discuss some of the most notable and how the band helped rock 'n roll to expand, becoming richer in the process. (Rock, not The Beatles, though there's that too...) We discuss Paul's links to Bach, John's connection to the blues and more static melodies, and how all the strands of musical history came together to create the vocabulary that we can observe and appreciate in their music.   Jack and Cameron operate the RPM School (Rock Pop Music) and their next session is just days away: details can be found here: 
Two master craftsmen of pop/rock, born two days apart; both possessing a good number of commonalities as well as some major diverging paths. My returning guest, journalist Glenn Greenberg (Paul McCartney at 80) and I discuss their friendship and rivalry, as well as what each learned from the other.    Here's the 1967 CBS TV special, Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution:    The Brian Wilson/"Surf's Up" sequence appears 50 minutes in, but the earlier "debate" between Graham Nash and Peter Noone is worth the price of admission alone. 
In the latest effort in a line of works presenting his side of his own history (which include Many Years From Now, Wingspan, the McCartney 3 2 1 docuseries as well as Anthology), Paul McCartney published The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present in 2021. It was in collaboration with Irish poet Paul Muldoon, an as-told-to project where he got deep into his recollections about a selection of his works, pre, during and post-Beatles. But the book is deeper than that: his observations detailing his entire life from boyhood in Liverpool onward were sparked by the 25 hours of conversations he and Muldoon had.  My guest is Terry Zobeck: a first-generation Beatles fan and collector who reviewed the book for Doug Sulpy's 910 newsletter. The most recent issues also feature the first two parts of his three-part critique of The Beatles Get Back docuseries. All of Doug's writings, including the indispensable Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image (revised edition) can be found at  
After shows post-Get Back with guests representing American musicians, multi-generation female fans, and the film's maker (Peter Jackson), conspicuously missing from the SATB conversation to this point has been the POV of British fans/musicians. No longer: today's guests are drawn from the UK music scene and ALL have a deep fandom for The Fabs - some have even worked with one or more.  Producer John Leckie first came to SATB in late 2020 to discuss his experiences working on John and Yoko's 1970 Plastic Ono Band albums; thereafter, he appeared at Fab4ConJam to recall working on All Things Must Pass. Afterward, his career during the '80s and beyond included working as producer for some top UK talent, including, Stone Roses, XTC, Radiohead...and Simple Minds. By sheer happenstance, John has worked with BOTH of his co-guests, who are new to SATB: bassist Derek Forbes worked with a number of Scottish acts, including The Subs, Simple Minds, Big Country, etc, while Ian McNabb fronted The Icicle Works: "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)." ALL are hardcore Beatle fans going back a ways, and each fully immersed themselves in the 8 hours of Get Back. But the conversation ran far broader, covering their fandom during the 70s, working with an ex-Beatle, the Liverpool scene post-Beatles, Stiff records, musical influences, Dan Richter, Mickie Most, Wings, and a lot more. It's a freewheeling conversation and you haven't heard the last of these guys on the Something About The Beatles podcast.   
Long on the list of my coveted guests has been singer-songwriter Sam Brown. The daughter of Joe Brown - an early UK rock legend - and Vicki Brown - an astonishingly gifted singer herself - Sam's career as an artist kicked off in 1988 with Stop!, the first of seven albums. (The first letter of the titles spell out her name - the 8th installment, titled Number 8 is due out this year.) Sam is also known for singing with Pink Floyd and David Gilmour, as well as on television and on tour with Jools Holland. It was with Jools that Sam took center stage at the 2002 Concert for George, stealing the show with her reading of George's last recorded composition, "Horse To The Water."  She has remained active as a performer and a recording artist, despite tragically losing her ability to sing in 2007, following surgery. The mysterious condition forced a re-think of her career and led to her establishing a decade-long running school empowering folks to take up ukulele. In this conversation, we discuss her career and the struggles of being an artist - her friendship with the Harrisons and working with George - the concert - and how she's managed the challenging events that followed.  Sam is resourceful and an artist whose rich catalog is worth exploring. You can check out her work here:    Vicki Brown's farewell to fans:   Joe Brown sharing a 1964 stage with The Beatles:   Sam at Concert for George:    "Stop!" live:   "Valentine Moon" - fixed: 
The conclusion of the discussion Gary Wenstrup and I had in rating individual tracks on the albums named here, as well as the 1966 Capitol release, "Yesterday"...and Today.  I think, is so overlooked, both message-wise and musical construction-wise. It's one of those songs, first of all, musically, based on piano. Not a lot of guitar, except those little stabbing, which was a 1965 sound in other people's records that year. Nice block harmonies. Then John breaking out his own for the verses, starting this implicitly spiritual song, the first words out of his mouth of the verse in the beginning. Nice touch. That's beautiful. It's this precursor to certainly, All You Need is Love and Give Peace A Chance. It's him. It's messianic John for the first time, really wanting to use his platform to promote something good. They'd said that they're all potheads at this point. I mean, they'd taken acid a couple of times at this point, but not the full immersion by the time of Revolver.   That has to be what's informing his wanting to evangelize on behalf of love at this point. It's interesting that they didn't use this one for Yellow Submarine, because that whole love thing at the end in pepper land, in the face of the mayonnaise, it seems like it would be enmeshed right in there. I guess, they had All You Need Is Love. That was what they went with. I think, it's a great message, a great performance, nice arrangement. I love that organ. Then there's that whole musical, we're going to build a song around one note and it's got that drone throughout it, so you've got that musical experimentation going on at the same time.   Not a song that got a lot of airplay. I don't know if anybody ever covered it. One, they never seemed to look back at it, but it's an early clue to the new direction. It's just this forerunner of lots of things that would come and they just pull it off. They don't sound like you're being preached to. It works as a pop ditty, but also, it's like, wow, it's got a really good message to it, that's bigger than boy-girl relationships.  
In which Gary Wenstrup and I return where we left off in offering our picks in ranking Bronze, Silver and Gold tracks off of The Beatles' 1965 releases, as well as a little beyond. This show represents the first hour of our conversation - part two coming next.    Loyal SATB fans: we are asking for you to take a minute to fill in this survey    First 50 respondents get a SATB bumper magnet (US only) but all are encouraged to help us get sponsors on board - thank you!   We commence Beatles Olympiad 2, where we left off, which was starting with their fifth album released in the summer of 1965, Help! Got two albums out of them that year, one being a soundtrack, more or less. It certainly was in the States and Capitol. Then the year ended with a bang, with Rubber Soul; two versions of that. Then in the next year, we got only one new album of material out of them, Revolver. In the States, it being the States, we got another one of those Capitol-only issues, which I think we will talk about today. Because I don't know if we're going to talk about Oldies, which came out on Parlophone, the end of ’66, while they were working on Strawberry Fields, but we'll see what we feel like. For the show, I think we can talk about the UK Help!, both Rubber Souls and Yesterday and Today.
230: Erin Weber Q&A

230: Erin Weber Q&A


Given Beatles author and historian Erin Weber's recently announced sabbatical from Beatling these days, I wanted to share with SATB listeners the Q&A we held last year for Fab4ConJam, where she fielded questions on the Beatles' literary canon.    Authors covered included:  Lewisohn (of course) Michael Braun Peter McCabe Barry Miles Mark Hertsgaard And much more... Also revealed: her favorite Beatles music - favorite Beatle - and why she detests "Jet."    Erin's website:    Erin's podcast: 
Comments (10)

Marc Watt

this man is a moron

Aug 16th


question an answer to which I've never found.... what the heck is wrong with Ringo at the 1965 Warwick hotel media junket.... he looks half dead

Aug 6th

Johnny Blackburn

Have you noticed on the roof George keeps looking over at Maureen who's sitting to his left....funny!

Mar 9th

Scott Murray

this episode is broken

Dec 28th

Brian Gold

Hi can't get Part three to play! been trying for 2 days. Any ideas? :)

Dec 22nd
Reply (1)

Ian Ritchie

Made a long bus journey much more enjoyable. Thanks!

Oct 9th

Elizabeth Ellen McCarthy

Gosh, you missed so many connections.

Jul 5th

Letícia Stofel

jbnc ndhfngh hj fh funk funk

Feb 5th
Reply (1)
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