From Mersey Beat to Beatleness

I’ve been interviewed by many journalists, writers, DJs, and talk show hosts since Beatleness was published. But this interview with Bill Harry—founder of Liverpool’s Mersey Beat newspaper, Lennon’s art school mate, and a key figure in the Beatles rise to global fame—is one of my favorites. BH: Did the name ‘Beatleness’ already exist or did… Read more

Remembering John Lennon In the Age of Trump

Like millions of people around the world, I will never forget where I was or how I felt when I heard John Lennon was shot by a deranged fan outside his New York City apartment building on December 8, 1980. It didn’t seem real. Could this really have happened? The world suddenly seemed like a… Read more

Rubber Soul Elevated Beatles’ Cultural Authority

This is is a brief excerpt from a longer section on Rubber Soul, in Chapter Four of Beatleness.  Thinking back to when we first heard John sing “The Word” is especially poignant this week, as we recall December 8, 1980.      Say The Word and Be Like Me Fans were used to hearing the Beatles sing about love, but “The… Read more

79 Days Later: Cheered Up & Ready For Change

According to the “Kennedy Rebound Theory of Beatlemania,” the Beatles boosted the national spirit after the assassination and made us more receptive to the happy tumult the Beatles ushered in. The Saturday Evening Post agreed saying, “They served for a time to divert us. We wish them well. We like them better than Cyprus, Panama… Read more

Thanksgiving ’68: Fans Were Thankful for the White Album

Forty-seven years ago, Beatle fans spent Thanksgiving weekend listening to The Beatles, the new Beatles album which fans quickly renamed The White Album, making it easier to talk about and refer to. They were “thrilled that it was a double album,” but of course that meant it was more expensive. Several mentioned not being able… Read more

The Beatles Spread the Word in Global TV Hookup

On June 25, three weeks after the release of Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles represented the UK in Our World, the first live, international satellite TV hook-up. An estimated four hundred million people watched them perform “All You Need Is Love,” dressed in designer hippie chic, surrounded by a studio orchestra and a crowd of friends,… Read more

Beatles April ’64 Chart Toppers Mesmerized Boomers

In the spring of 1964, young America’s love for the Beatles and the steady flow of Beatle music converged, such that by the week of April 4, the top five songs in the country were Beatle songs. This feat, never accomplished by any band before or since, is often cited as evidence of the Beatles’… Read more

EXCERPT: Let It Be…On The Roof

The most uplifting scene in Let It Be was of course the unannounced rooftop concert. Performing live, which all four loved, had become unpleasant and unwieldy on the road. The plan was for the Get Back project to culminate in a live show, but they couldn’t identify a venue all could agree to. The rooftop was… Read more

John and Yoko’s Peace Campaign: The Fan Reaction

First-generation fans recall the Beatle years as a “journey” or “odyssey,” with a nonstop flow of challenging sounds, images, and ideas all along the way. When Yoko entered the scene, John and Yoko became a compelling spin-off spectacle, parallel to the Beatles and no less challenging. The dynamic duo­—using mass media and conceptual art to… Read more