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

Too Young For Woodstock, But Tuned In & Turned On

This week marks the forty-seventh anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival, an event thought by many to epitomize the spirit of the sixties. As I write about in Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade The World, many music fans, age 12, 13, and 14 in 1969, bemoan the fact that they were “too young… Read more

They’re Gonna Crucify Me

A little over a month after the Beatles shocked fans with the controversial “butcher cover” of Yesterday and Today, the Beatles found themselves at the center of another controversy when John’s casual observation about the declining popularity of the church—made during an interview with the Maureen Cleave of London Evening Standard the previous March—was taken… 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

Giving the Gift of Beatleness To A Young Person

  I’ve received many emails from people who’ve read and enjoyed Beatleness over the past few months. It’s difficult to express how gratifying these emails are, and they make the very hard work of writing a book feel worth every second. The reader reviews at amazon are also extremely gratifying.  Earlier this week I received a letter from a… 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

The Loss of a Comforting Presence

BEATLENESS EXCERPT: With the best of intentions, Paul had been trying to keep the band together and busy since Brian Epstein died, but the Beatle box could no longer contain these four individuals who had grown up and apart. Creative differences morphed into interpersonal conflicts, and despite all the underlying affection it was getting increasingly… 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

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