Episode 7 - Revolver

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. 
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Episode 6a - Leftover Singles and B-Sides 1963-1965

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.

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Episode 6 - Rubber Soul

July 2, 2016

In the sixth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by NPR Books editor Petra Mayer in a far-ranging conversation about Rubber Soul that covers everything from the Beatles' sudden spike in maturity in songwriting to just what the ending of "Norwegian Wood" was about to how we reconcile the some of the more unpleasant attitudes toward women in the Beatles' songwriting with modern sensibilities. And then Graeme, Rob and Petra get into it about UK vs. US album releases and whether or not Capitol's choice for first song, "I've Just Seen A Face", was better than the band's choice, "Drive My Car". 


For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Petra listen and watch the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium in New York in 1965 and ponder what were the great performances amid the noise and how easy was it to see that the four lads would soon do away with touring entirely.
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Episode 5a - Films About The Beatles

June 12, 2016

As a supplement to our fifth episode, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones talk with Shannon Dohar about films that have been about the formation of the Beatles or the relationships between the Beatles, particularly 1979's The Birth of the Beatles, 1990's The Hours and the Times, 1994's Backbeat, 2001's Two of Us and 2009's Nowhere Boy. Graeme, Rob and Shannon discuss what makes a film about the Beatles compelling, how historically accurate does such a film have to be (and how close to the actual musician does a portrayal have to be) and what are the best films about the fab four they've seen.

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Episode 5 - Help!

June 2, 2016

In the fifth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined once again by Shannon Dohar for their discussion of Help! They talk about several songs on the album -- including "Help!", "I Need You" and "I've Just Seen a Face" -- that solidify the direction of the band. They also talk about the Beatles' flexibility with genre and what made "Yesterday" the song that not only changed the trajectory of the Beatles, but that of popular music.

For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Shannon all watched the 1965 film Help! and delighted in the Marx Brothers-esque antics of John, Paul, George and Ringo. They discuss what would make this different to TV shows like The Monkees and how this film might have shown the fissures in the group that would manifest in the second half of the 1960s.

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Episode 4 - Beatles For Sale

April 14, 2016

In the fourth month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by their High School English teacher and friend Joanna Ashwanden as they discuss Beatles For Sale. They talk about the power of nostalgia, what it was like to be living in the midst of Beatlemania, the band's final use of covers and whether or not "I'll Follow The Sun" announces the arrival of the Beatles we'll know for the rest of the 1960s.

For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Joanna listened to all the Beatles' Christmas messages to their fan club from 1963-1969 and note the parallels these flexi-discs have with the Beatles' trajectory as a band (with added weirdness and Tiny Tim!)
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Episode 3a - A Tribute To George Martin

April 3, 2016

As a supplement to our third episode, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones get together to pay tribute to George Martin, who died in March at the age of 90. George Martin was not only an influential figure to the Beatles but popular music in the second half of the 20th century and Graeme and Rob discuss what George Martin brought to producing the Beatles, some examples of how he revolutionized pop music and what were some of his best moments with the Beatles. 

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Episode 3 - A Hard Day’s Night

April 3, 2016

In the third month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are talking with Shannon Dohar about A Hard Day's Night, which is the four lads' first album with all original songs as well as the tie-in to their first feature film. There's a small dispute about whether the album innovates, a discussion of Lennon-McCartney's growth as lyricists, a discussion of surprising songs and much more.

For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Shannon all watched the 1963 film A Hard Day's Night and marvelled at the band's adeptness with film comedy and the uncommonly good script by Alun Owen and discussed whether this film laid the groundwork for the band's eventual demise.
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Episode 2 - With The Beatles

April 3, 2016

In the second month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones got together with Andrew Flint to talk about With The Beatles and how it managed to avoid being anything but the difficult second album. There's also a discussion of the Beatles' growth in the studio, how they transformed the covers they performed and even a thought or two of how they might have presaged punk music. 

For extra-credit homework, the guys watched the full episode of the Ed Sullivan Show featuring the Beatles' American debut and pondered what it must be like to be the self-effacing magic act following the fab four and much more.
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Episode 1 - Please Please Me

April 3, 2016

In the first month of our year with the Beatles, Graeme Burk and Rob Jones are joined by Bill Evenson to discuss The Beatles debut album Please Please Me. There's a discussion of the Beatles in their earliest form, a conversation about favourite songs and deep cuts and we tackle the question of whether the Beatles' genius can be seen in nascent form even at this point.

For extra-credit homework, Graeme, Rob and Bill listen to the Beatles' first single as sidemen for Tony Sheridan's "My Bonnie" for the German market.
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