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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 44 with guest Janice Mitchell 

Welcome back to episode 44 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s special guest is author Janice Mitchell who ran away to England at the age of 16 to be closer to The Beatles. The incident caused quite a sensation on both continents, making headlines news across the globe!

Also, check out Amy Hughes‘ review of My Ticket to Ride at Beatles Freak Reviews.

Don’t forget to buy a copy of her book after you hear her tale – My Ticket to Ride

Listen at: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 44 with guest Janice Mitchell 

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 43 with guest Jim Berezow 

Welcome back to Episode 43 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s special guest in Jim Berezow who saw the Beatles perform in St. Louis in 1966 and oh so much more!

Runtime = 1 hour

Listen here: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 43 with guest Jim Berezow

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 42 with guest Eric Bazilian of The Hooters

Welcome back to a very special episode of I Saw The Beatles! This week were are thrilled to be interviewing Eric Bazilian – founding member of The Hooters! Eric shares with us what it was like to see the Beatles play twice, the influence that had on his musical career and the really jaw-dropping experiences of meeting Paul, George and Ringo after he became a Hooter!

**Eric called into the show from Sweden on his cellphone so the audio may sound uneven, but we’d like to thank Cliff Hillis for his outstanding work in making it as smooth as possible!

Friday, August 13 – Hooters in Quakertown, PA tickets

Saturday, August 14 – Hooters at Appel Farm, NJ tickets

Friday, October 22 – Hooters at The Keswick, Glenside, PA tickets

Runtime = 51 mins.

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 42 with guest Eric Bazilian 

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Book Review: “Why Marianne Faithfull Matters” by Tanya Pearson

Why Marianne Faithfull Matters Tanya Pearson

Are you looking at this title and thinking ‘Who the hell is Marianne Faithfull?’ Yeah, well, I’m sure there are a bunch of people also going, ‘What?! Is she still alive?!’ I’m thinking this title works then for both questions.

Author and oral historian Tanya Pearson has jackhammered this riveting bio cum critique into Why Marianne Faithfull Matters (University of Texas Press, 2021), unearthing all that was borne of Faithfull from quirky ingenue to the time and tone-worn cliches of ‘surviving icon’ and ‘legendary chartreuse.’ What gives this book its curbside edge is the gut-busting honesty of Pearson interweaving her personal insight as a gay, drug-addicted woman hell-bent on destroying herself and somehow finding a way out of her own demonic dream state.

Pearson as you can guess is no stranger to the life that Faithfull inherits (and by the way, as of this writing, Faithfull is alive, having survived Covid-19’s devastation and the loss of her music partner Hal Willner). Her piercing dissemenation latches onto your head, shaking sense into how Faithfull (like a lot of undocumented female musicians who lived thru the misogynist atmosphere of the 60s and 70s) got through with just enough breath left in her to continue fighting to this day.

Faithfull’s quirky upbringing and bohemian lifestyle (massaged into her by mother Eva) led to her first big break: ‘As Tears Go By,’ penned by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the Stones’ manager, Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham had been bitten by the beauty of Faithfull and was convinced he could propel her to stardom (past her folk-style presence) just as Brian Epstein had grown and nurtured his stable of stars after The Beatles began their stratospheric ascent.

1964 was just the beginning of a life that Faithfull didn’t voluntarily embrace. As much as noted by Pearson, Faithfull was a product of her times. Not content with her rising status nor well-equipped to handle the circus that put her out for display, Faithfull began the well-labeled and misguided life that has come to represent her public persona: marrying art dealer John Dunbar, having a baby, abandoning her family for Jagger and becoming addicted to heroin.

Pearson weaves her own conflicted identity and addiction struggles as a companion piece, and while this might be off-putting for some readers, Pearson needs to make this point again and again. If Faithfull didn’t have the ‘voice’ to rise above her demons (past the mythology of the drug bust at Redlands or her overdose while filming ‘Ned Kelly’ with Jagger or the explosion of attention for ‘Broken English’), then Pearson has brought her own bile forward to this tale.

Addiction is a vile animal and if you can finally emerge on the other side with purpose and meaning no matter how long it takes, then that life is worth documenting. Pearson has rebuilt her broken past to become someone who documents women in rock and it’s importance for those that experienced and evolved from it. I would agree that Faithfull has lived several lives that aren’t exclusively hers – look at the framework in artists like Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse and make the painful connection: Why were these women publicly vilified for their talents? How did they rise up and yet were beaten down by the male-dominated rock press and where did Winehouse go wrong when Faithfull pushed on?

In many ways, I appreciate Pearson giving us a view that is honest, embarrassing, cringy, brave, head-shaking, and finger-pointing with interludes of hope: Faithfull rose out of alcohol, drugs and ill health and as Pearson was writing at the time, praying to God that Covid-19 in all its stupidity would not take her and that this all would be an extended obituary. Thankfully that was not the case.

I profess to not be a Faithfull devotee and I probably won’t. What drew me into this narrative wholeheartedly was Pearson. Were it not for the overall punch given to how society treats women in the music business, why would Marianne Faithfull matter? Because she holds a microphone and can still speak out loud about her life. In a nutshell. That’s why.

I give this book 4 out of 4 beetles!

 

 

 

 

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 41 with special guest Pat Mancuso 

Welcome back to episode 41 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s special guest is Pat Mancuso who founded the original George Harrison Fan Club! And she just released her new book – Do You Promise Not To Tell?: The Final Story of the Official George Harrison Fan Club

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 41 with special guest Pat Mancuso 

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 40 with guest Sue Weisenhaus (Part 2) 

Welcome back to I Saw The Beatles! This is part 2 of our exciting journey with uber Beatles fan and true Macca fan – Sue Weisenhaus.

Runtime = 51 minutes

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 40 with guest Sue Weisenhaus (Part 2) 

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 39 with guest Sue Weisenhaus (Part 1) 

Welcome back to episode 39 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s very special guest is Sue Weisenhaus of California who saw the Beatles in 1965 at the Hollywood Bowl! And…she has seen Paul McCartney in concert 117 times!

Runtime – 1 hour

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 39 with guest Sue Weisenhaus (Part 1) 

Part 2 of this interview will air this Wednesday…

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Book Review: “A Band With Built-In Hate: The Who From Pop Art To Punk” by Peter Stanfield

(Book reviewed by Amy Hughes)

Historically speaking, crystallizing the behemoth known as The Who – band, music, movies – involves flying over their career (decades in the making) and analyzing the history and events that influenced not only their impact as a unit but the generation that gave them a voice to erupt volcanically, spewing forth high-volume lava that for many right now, has become hard black coal, dense and cold of meaning.

Author Peter Stanfield writes with academic-minded insight that A Band With Built-Hate: The Who From Pop Art To Punk (Reaktion Books, 2021) should be soaked up with as much history as possible, just in understanding the environment and history of their times (and before). He makes us – the reader – get inside the genesis of prepubescent swinging Britain, move around it, throw it far and attempt to retrieve it back, encapsulated in that era’s urgent pop sensibilities.

For purposes of this review, the book is not a straight-up bio nor is it an extended diatribe framing The Who as hooligans bent on disarming the norm of rock, trashing instruments and hotel rooms (thanks, Keith Moon). What Stanfield does with extensive historical detail is frame the band as overall antagonists, armed with the windmill angst and intelligence of Pete Townshend – who I generally regard as a genius beyond compare – to smash and break the mundane lives of post-war Britain into a compact unit that pushes boundaries unheard of in late 50s and early 60s England.

The band’s ‘built-in hate’ stems directly from a Townshend quote and not far from the kernel truth of The Who’s beginnings in London. The pop scene itself blew up around art, art that had an immediacy and therefore an intelligence that couldn’t be described adequately for the masses. As the band germinated in the early days, the ‘Mods’ that were The Who’s (known as The High Numbers) audience were a fixated young mass that didn’t idolize them onstage or off. Dancing, drinking, clothes-styling, and amphetamines galore kept the message on a speed course that figuratively had them exploding all comfort conventions.

With the advent of pop, the term barreled on through with a notorious edge. Among the writers to expound and define this new wave was critic Nik Cohn. From the initial heady days of reigning in what the sound of pop was (as Townshend relayed the noise as “jet planes, Morse Code, howling wind effects”), Cohn sent forth an undefined, pointed, yet beautiful agenda: first writing in ‘Queen’ then throughout The Who’s career in this reading, giving (or maybe not) Townshend a critical mouthpiece. Cohn was there to hear ‘Tommy’ and later ‘Quadrophenia’ and as an overall arc to this book, provides the blueprint for understanding how the operation of pop culture machines on, whether it made sense then and by way of Stanfield, where to accentuate the importance of all these ground-breaking events in Who history.

Cohn was a pop descriptor extraordinaire and his writings and quotations are sprinkled liberally throughout this book. While there was no preconceived notion as to what ‘pop’ was supposed to be, it’s avenues continually splintered, while Hendrix was setting fire to his guitar: was he upstaging Townshend or paying homage? When ‘The Who Sell Out’ (and just previous to that ‘A Quick One’), Cohn was questioning and embracing it’s humor. Yes, sometimes it was pretentious – who in their right mind wanted to listen to this ten-minute ‘mini opera’ with vocals that shouted ‘clang’ and ‘cello’ in places The Who couldn’t half afford – as the subject matter made light (and dark) notions of a young girl’s naïve awakenings to wanted (or unwanted) sexual advances?

Stanfield also has a great appreciation for the media and artwork that surrounded The Who – from the advert-styled ‘Sell Out’ (among the conceived jingles and spoken word fillers), while at the same time, pointing out the conservatism in alternate, bland sleeve artwork for the European market with point-on results. The former was all part of The Who’s DNA marketing and salesmanship (now handled by filmmakers turned managers/producers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert). The band with hatred was in essence becoming ‘pop’ to be consumed – albeit via a juggernaut of feedback and screeching.

At first glance, these were the baby steps, the rudimentary blueprint for what The Who were to become because of their association with art, consumerism and as it began to unfold in the US and the UK in the late 60s, the rock press: Townshend became the expert in his own Who history, divulging pages and pages of onion-peeling and partial proposals on what pop music was, where he had been (art school auto-destruct), where it was going (read: Tommy 1968 interviews) and later, how were these approaching 30 years of age (the doomed living out their own ‘My Generation’) supposed to bring their gatherings along with them (and did it really matter to the audience anymore).

I know for certain that as a high-schooler that was raised on The Who, there was a complete embrace of songs, especially ‘Baba O’Riley’ for whom the faux hip cigarette-smoking, corduroy-wearing, hanging-outside-the-cafeteria-at-lunch crowd was so off point, so brought up on FM radio to it’s real meaning, that the entity of The Who presented in this academic-leaning dissertation will have zero impact akin to understanding of what Townshend & Co. are all (or were about). I know I missed it, somewhere in-between ‘The Kids Are Alright’ film and ‘It’s Hard.’

Another stop-gap moment if I may: punk rock. As addressed in this title, how has The Who aged these 40 years since the release of ‘Who Are You’ with the bull crap stance of Daltrey dropping the f-bomb amongst synthesizers or ‘Sister Disco’ or Townshend’s footstep backbeat in ‘Music Must Change?’ Townshend at the time thought it was all over with the second coming of The Sex Pistols and The Clash and punk. But punk was already there, simmering and bubbling. It was merely a label. Lydon & Co. did skewer the inflated senses of Britain at the time, but Townshend’s alcoholic-fueled pissy-ness while being talked up by the Pistols’ Steve Jones and Paul Cook only added gasoline to the pyre. The band’s volcanic eruption (best shown at the end of ‘The Kids Are Alright’s’ ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ – due to director Jeff Stein asking them to go out and perform an encore they didn’t want to do) pretty much summed up the end of The Who as we knew them. On the edge, yet high up on the precipice waiting to be pushed off.

While the death of Keith Moon effectively put to bed the essential meaning of their opposition, the push-back of their music and lives, ‘Built-In Hate’ can now address with minute clarity and put-right connections how it all started and for the others that followed in their tidal-wave wake, and for the lows and the highs of the cultural innovators that are collectively engraved as The Who.

I give this book 4 out of 4 beetles!

 

 

 

 

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 38 with guest Patti Gallo Stenman 

Welcome back to episode 38 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s very special guest is Patti Gallo Stenman. Patti saw the Beatles play live three time: Twice in Philadelphia and once in NYC. She’s also the author of the book, Diary of a Beatlemaniac.

Runtime = 58 min.

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 38 with guest Patti Gallo Stenman

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I Saw The Beatles – Episode 37 with guest Pearl Cawley 

Welcome back to Episode 37 of I Saw The Beatles! This week’s guest is Pearl Cawley. Pearl saw the Beatles play at Shea Stadium in 1965 and 1966…and at one time, had a close encounter with John and Paul!

Source: I Saw The Beatles – Episode 37 with guest Pearl Cawley 

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