January 4, 2017
In the twelfth and final month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined one last time by Shannon Dohar to discuss the Beatles final album (at least according to release date) Let It Be. The three get into a … spirited discussion of the merits (or lack thereof) of Phil Spector’s after-the-fact production of the album and talk about their favourite songs (with Graeme, again, taking on all comers about “The Long and Winding Road”!) as well as the less recommended but still notable tracks. And they talk about whether, under the strictest of definitions, this can be considered the Beatles’ swansong.
For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Shannon look back on this past year with the Beatles and reflect on the Beatles’ journey and its pivotal moments and what this year meant to all of them.
This is the final episode of A Year With The Beatles. We’d like to thank all the people who helped us in our discussions of the Beatles over the past year and to thank all of you good people for listening to us. We would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and we hope we’ve passed the audition.
December 27, 2016
As a further supplement to our eleventh episode, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones welcome back Bill Evenson to talk about all the singles and B-sides that never made it onto an album during the second half of the Beatles' career. The three talk about the singles that caught their fancy, their favourite B-sides, what surprised them and the lasting legacy of "Hey Jude" and "Paperback Writer" and what this well-prepared stew of leftovers say about the latter days of the fab four's work together
December 27, 2016
As a supplement to our eleventh episode, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones talk to Felicity Kuzinitz about the Beatles' career in animated cartoons during the 1960s: the first as the subject of a Saturday morning cartoon on ABC from 1965-1969; the second in the big-budget 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. Graeme, Rob and Felicity discuss the TV version's bizarre choice of songs from the Beatles' catalogue and terrible (though familiar) voice work. They generally marvel at the achievements of Yellow Submarine in terms of its contribution to pop art and its portrayal of the fab four, even if they don't entirely get the plot! The three also discuss the original songs by the Beatles that make it into the movie.
December 12, 2016
In the eleventh month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by Steven Schapansky of the popular Doctor Who podcast Radio Free Skaro to discuss the Beatles penultimate or final (depending on whether you agree with Graeme or Rob) album, Abbey Road. The trio discuss whether Abbey Road should be considered the Beatles' final album before moving on to a discussion regarding the surprises the Beatles still demonstrated in this album, the standout tracks and the linked suite of songs. Graeme, Rob and Steven also delve into whether Abbey Road was a progenitor of 1970s music and what state the band was in at the end of their career together.
For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Steven watch the sadly out-of-print 1982 documentary The Compleat Beatles and discuss why, even today, this is one of the best Beatles documentaries ever made, highlighting the strengths of the documentary, Malcolm MacDowell's narration and George Martin's gravitas. The three (who don't rule) examine why it is that perhaps the best Beatles documentaries are the ones where the Beatles aren't interviewed.
November 21, 2016
In the tenth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined once again by Reality Bomb co-producer, writer and musician Alex Kennard as they devote the entire episode to examining the White Album. Graeme, Rob and Alex discuss the White Album's strengths, the great tracks and the weird little tracks that they're rooting for all the same. There's a deep dive into several of the tracks, particularly "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution No. 9" and Graeme, Alex and Rob talk about how the album signals the beginning of the end of the Beatles. And, as they say, much more!
November 19, 2016
As a supplement to our ninth episode, Graeme Burk is joined by Petra Mayer (sans Rob) to review Ron Howard's recent documentary on the Beatles' touring years Eight Days a Week. Graeme and Petra talk about the comprehensive quality of the film (and how it is very slighly analagous to the New York Yankees!) and touch on the suprising aspects (the effects Beatlemania had on youth culture, the brief intersection with the civil rights movement), marvel at the amazing archival finds and discuss how it stands up with other Beatles documentaries.
November 14, 2016
In the ninth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by their old friend, TV and film author (and Liverpudlian) Jim Sangster where they talk about Magical Mystery Tour as the most "Liverpool" of the Beatles' albums and talk about the influences the city has throughout, most notably in "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane". Along the way they discuss the album's contribution to the emerging psychadelic movement and the band's trend toward introspection and Jim points out some filthy phrases only a Scouser would know.
For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Jim watch the 1967 TV special Magical Mystery Tour and discuss its origins in Northern English bank holiday traditions and why most people consider this production a failure for the fab four.
October 10, 2016
In the eighth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined once again by Shannon Dohar to talk about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in a far-ranging conversation that considers how it changed the record album, the qualities that make it unique, its contribution to the Summer of Love, the songs that deserve to be a museum and the songs that you want to take on a desert island. And we get a jump on all the thinkpieces coming next year about how Sgt. Pepper changed the face of popular music completely.
For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Shannon watch Eric Idle's 1978 Beatles parody mockumentary The Rutles - All You Need is Cash and recall its funniest scenes and the amazing songs by Neil Innes and they ponder why it works so well as a parody of the fab four.
July 31, 2016
In the seventh month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by Alex Kennard, Reality Bomb co-producer (and a musician in his own right with the Ludvico Treatment), to discuss Revolver and its impact on music even today. The three talk in depth about "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Eleanor Rigby" but also discuss the more underrated songs on the album as well.
For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Alex watch an episode from musician Howard Goodall's 2005 documentary series 20th Century Greats about Lennon and McCartney. The three have a far-ranging conversation (occasionally punctuated by some disagreement) about Goodall's approach to the Beatles, the band's contribution to classical music and the music theory behind the Beatles' work and the techniques the Beatles used in their songmaking and how that grew and evolved over their careers.
July 7, 2016
As a supplement to our sixth episode, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones talk to Erika Ensign about all the singles and B-sides that never made it onto an album during the first half of the Beatles' career. The three talk about the singles that caught their fancy, their favourite B-sides and what surprised them with this well-prepared stew of leftovers.