Episode #31 – ‘Beatles For Sale – Close to Greatness’

“It’s rip-roaring, infectious stuff, with the accent on beat throughout,” wrote Derek Johnson in the New Musical Express.

Beatles For Sale is going to sell, sell, sell. It is easily up to standard and will knock out pop fans, rock fans, R&B and Beatles fans,” predicted Melody Maker’s Chris Welch.

Nevertheless, the Fab Four’s fourth album has received mixed reviews down the years, especially when rated within the context of their musical canon. Worked to the bone with film, TV, radio, press and global concert tour assignments, The Beatles were also under pressure to deliver a couple of LPs per year. Unable to sustain the standard set by the all-Lennon-McCartney A Hard Day’s Night, its composers still produced some magnificent work, yet a few mediocre tracks, out-of-tune guitars and uncharacteristically questionable artistic choices gave the finished record an erratic quality that has resulted in divided opinions among listeners—including those discussing it on this show.

Under-appraised and underpraised, Beatles For Sale is put under the microscope for a well-earned reevaluation. And what no one can deny is that even the group’s sub-par output—in the eyes and ears of some—outstrips that of most other artists.

Episode #30 – ‘Twickenham Mind Games – George Walks, Yoko Wants a Mic’

What John Lennon described as “the most miserable sessions on earth” were recalled by George Harrison as “the low of all time”. Yet, while such statements may have accurately reflected their respective mindsets, they also helped fuel widespread misconceptions about The Beatles’ January ’69 ‘Get Back’ project that evolved into the ‘Let It Be’ film and album.

The fragmented, shoddily-edited Michael Lindsay-Hogg-directed ‘documentary’ has also played a significant role in spreading the negativity, as have certain self-acclaimed experts’ uninformed opinions because of their failure to listen to all of the tapes. For, therein lies a very different, far more rewarding story that will likely be revealed in Peter Jackson’s new version of the movie. Regardless, that’s what Richard Buskin and Allan Kozinn (pinch-hitting for Erik Taros) focus on here: the many ups as well as the downs that took place at Twickenham Film Studios in the run-up to George temporarily quitting the group—and the project then relocating to The Beatles’ own Apple facility.

In so doing, Richard and Allan not only examine the long as well as short-term causes for the disharmony—including the personalities involved and their invariably fascinating, often-enlightening interactions; they also provide a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the thoughts and discussions that helped shape the Fab Four’s still-reverberating artistic decisions.

Episode #29 – ‘She Loves You—Anatomy of a Song’

Such was the growing British interest surrounding The Beatles by mid-1963 that, on 1st July, fans gathered outside the EMI Studios on Abbey Road where the group was recording both sides of its next single: ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I’ll Get You’.

Since the late-Sixties, ‘She Loves You’ has been short-changed; dismissed by many as just catchy MOR pop compared to the Fab Four’s subsequent, more experimental tracks. In reality, this one was every bit as groundbreaking: a unique, infectious, beautifully-crafted rock belter that saw the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team hit the ball out of the park before, five days later, they and their colleagues accomplished the same inside Studio Two.

‘She Loves You’ was unlike anything that had been heard before—in various ways. So, where did it come from? And what were the ingredients in its creation? Take a deep dive into a true classic.

Episode #28 – ‘August 29, 1966 – Summer in the City’

While The Beatles were at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, performing their final concert for a paying audience, The Doors were in Hollywood recording their first album, an Englishmen was attempting to sail solo around the world—and many people were marveling at the first photos of that world taken from outer space.

It was a time when adventurers and new technology still captured the public imagination, as reflected in films and TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic—along with a rising interest in social realism and hallucinogens, as expressed on-screen and on record. With parents predating the rock era and popular music having a major impact across the generations, eclectic singles and album charts represented sharply contrasting tastes.

The 1960s were now in full swing and it was an exciting time to be alive—so long as you weren’t among those suffering poverty, persecution or the atrocities of war.

The Music

  • ‘Summer in the City’ – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • ‘Guantanamera’ – The Sandpipers
  • ‘Summertime’ – Billy Stewart
  • ‘With a Girl Like You’ – The Troggs
  • ‘Black is Black’ – Los Bravos
  • ‘Lovers of the World Unite’ – David and Jonathan
  • ‘We Can’t Go On This Way’ – Teddy and the Pandas
  • ‘Theme from Star Trek’ – Alexander Courage
  • ‘The Man Called Flintstone’ – John McCarthy
  • ‘Theme from The Avengers’ – Laurie Johnson
  • ‘High Wire’ – Edwin Astley
  • ‘Secret Agent Man’ – Johnny Rivers
  • ‘Theme from Mission: Impossible’ – Lalo Schifrin
  • ‘Yesterday’ – The Beatles
  • ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – The Beatles
  • ‘I Want You’ – Bob Dylan

Episode #27 – ‘Loving The Beatles’

How, when and where did our passion for the Fab Four first get ignited? What form did it take and how has it evolved, personally and professionally? Our friend Mark Lewisohn, the group’s foremost biographer, joins us for an informal chat recorded at Erik’s home studio that provides perspective and reminiscences from both sides of the Atlantic, reaching back more than 55 years to our initial encounters with John, Paul, George and Ringo on TV, radio, record and in print. It’s been a lifelong love story, focusing on not only the music, but also the personalities… and the humour. As such, this episode speaks to fans everywhere.

The Music

  • ‘I’ll Get You’
  • ‘She Loves You’
  • ‘Here There and Everywhere’
  • ‘The Inner Light’
  • ‘Look at Me’
  • ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’
  • ‘All My Loving’

Episode #26 – ‘Love, Drugs and the Generation Gap – 1967’s New Musical Order’

It was a new age: the young were going to rule the world—well, parts of it. And they were certainly taking hold of the music business… or so they thought.

1967 was a halcyon year in the annals of psychedelic rock and the counterculture movement on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, high hopes and lofty ambitions were soon brought back down to the earth by the powers-that-still-were. L.A.’s Sunset Strip riots of November ’66 would prove to be a harbinger of things to come. And the British Government banned pirate radio while launching its own rock-oriented, more sanitized broadcast station. So it was that the ‘Summer of Love’ started to fade.

Musician/producer/songwriter Ben Rowling joins Richard Buskin as guest co-host for this episode while Erik Taros participates via the phone. However, Erik’s back in the studio to hear David ‘Mr. Bonzai’ Goggin talk about his own psychedelic West Coast experiences in 1967 – as well as his phenomenal up-close experiences with The Beatles.

The Music

  • ‘We Love the Pirate Stations’ – Trinity
  • ‘Radio One Theme’ – Jimi Hendrix
  • ‘For What It’s Worth’ – Buffalo Springfield
  • ‘I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)’ – The Electric Prunes
  • ‘She’s a Rainbow’/‘We Love You’ – The Rolling Stones
  • ‘Somebody to Love’ – Jefferson Airplane
  • ‘Viola Lee Blues’ – The Grateful Dead
  • ‘Light My Fire’ – The Doors
  • ‘Intruder’ – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  • ‘I Am the Walrus’ – The Beatles
  • ‘Purple Haze’ – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ – Cream
  • ‘The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag’ – Country Joe and the Fish

Episode #25 – ‘Isn’t It a Pity – The Beatles’ Unrealized Album’.

During a taped business meeting attended by three Beatles and Neil Aspinall while Ringo was away – likely in mid-September ‘69, a month before that in which John would say he wanted “a divorce” from the group – JL remarked, “Alright, let’s move on. We’ll do another album. We’ll all do four songs. How’s that? That’s fair.”

When the others showed no interest, he then said, “Alright, how about a Christmas single? Y’know, we finish it with a Christmas single. I think it’s a great idea — I’m in.”

That changed after John and Yoko performed in Toronto with Eric and Klaus. But what if the others had approved John’s initial suggestion and immediately returned to the studio? Between them they already had enough songs for another LP – songs that would end up being utilized for their own solo projects.

Here are the tracks selected by your co-hosts…


  • Let It Down
  • Look at Me
  • Another Day
  • Stormy Weather
  • Gimme Some Truth
  • Hear Me Lord
  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • Oh My Love
  • Art of Dying
  • Child of Nature
  • All Things Must Pass
  • The Back Seat of My Car
  • Isn’t It a Pity
  • Suicide


  • Gimme Some Truth
  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • Art of Dying
  • Child of Nature
  • All Things Must Pass
  • Another Day
  • Isn’t It a Pity
  • Oh My Love
  • When Every Song is Sung
  • Every Night
  • Beautiful Girl
  • Look at Me
  • The Back Seat of My Car
  • What is Life

Featuring a recording of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Mark & Rosalie Cunningham, produced for this show.

Episode #24 – ‘American Music ’63 – The Year Before The Beatles’

There’s a notion that American popular music was in the doldrums when The Beatles first touched down in New York City. The original rock ‘n’ rollers had either gone soft (Elvis Presley), gone to jail (Chuck Berry), gone into the church (Little Richard), gone with their 13-year-old cousin (Jerry Lee Lewis) or gone from this world (Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran). In their place: a bunch of smiling, clean-cut, parent-friendly twisters and crooners, performing antiseptic pop material for the middle-class white market.

There’s truth to this. But it’s far from the whole truth. The American music charts during the year preceding the ‘British Invasion’ were actually packed with a broad range of artists and eclectic variety of songs—many of them now regarded as solid-gold classics that underscore the ingenuity of their highly talented creators. Some would be swept aside by the coming tidal wave; others would continue to flourish—although in a very different world to that characterizing the first half of the decade.

Featured Tracks:

  • ‘He’s So Fine’ (The Chiffons)
  • ‘Sugar Shack’ (Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs)
  • ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ (Peter, Paul and Mary)
  • ‘If I Had a Hammer’ (Trini Lopez)
  • ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah’ (Allan Sherman)
  • ‘Pipeline’ (The Chantays)
  • ‘Sukiyaki’ (Kyu Sakamoto)
  • ‘The Night Has a Thousand Eyes’ (Bobby Vee)
  • ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me’ (The Miracles)
  • ‘Pride and Joy’ (Marvin Gaye)
  • ‘Fingertips’ (Little Stevie Wonder)
  • ‘I Will Follow Him’ (Little Peggy March)
  • ‘Louie Louie’ (The Kingsmen)
  • ‘The End of the World’ (Skeeter Davis)
  • ‘Who Do You Love?’ – Ronnie Hawkins
  • ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’ (Andy Williams)
  • ‘Sally Go ’Round the Roses’ (The Jaynetts)
  • ‘Devil in Disguise’ (Elvis Presley)
  • ‘In Dreams’ (Roy Orbison)
  • ‘It’s My Party’ (Leslie Gore)
  • ‘Judy’s Turn to Cry’ (Leslie Gore)
  • ‘Walk Like a Man’ (The Four Seasons)
  • ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ (The Angels)
  • ‘One Fine Day’ (The Chiffons)
  • ‘Wipe Out’ (The Surfaris)
  • ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ (The Beach Boys)
  • ‘Another Saturday Night’ (Sam Cooke)
  • ‘On Broadway’ (The Drifters)
  • ‘Ring of Fire’ (Johnny Cash)
  • ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ (Bob Dylan)
  • ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ (The Crystals)
  • ‘Be My Baby’ (The Ronettes)
  • ‘From Me to You’ (Del Shannon)

Episode #23 – ‘Multicoloured Mirrors – The Beatles Christmas Records’

At the suggestion of press officer Tony Barrow, The Beatles ended their first year of national fame by thanking the members of their UK fan club with a flexi-disc single containing a specially recorded Christmas message. So began an annual tradition that not only endured as long as they were together, but also mirrored and encapsulated their career: from the innocent fun of 1963 and 1964 to the biting cynicism of 1965, offbeat creativity of 1966, psychedelic surrealism of 1967, disparate contributions of 1968 and complete fragmentation of 1969. What starts off joyous ends up sad, with much of life in between – and guest appearances by George Martin, Mal Evans, Victor Spinetti, Yoko Ono and Tiny Tim.


  • “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)”
  • 1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record”
  • 1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” + outtakes
  • 1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” + outtakes
  • 1966: “The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record: Everywhere It’s Christmas” + outtakes
  • 1967: “Christmas Time Is Here Again!”
  • 1968: “The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas Record”
  • 1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record: Happy Christmas 1969”
  • Dora Bryan – “All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle”

Episode #22: ‘Music That Bleeds – Elvis’s ’68 Comeback Special’.

“There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home,” ‘Eye’ magazine’s John Landau commented when reviewing Elvis’s 1968 ‘Comeback Special’. “He sang with the kind of power that people no longer expect of rock ‘n’ roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy.”

Undertaken by the King as a make-or-break project that would either salvage his career or confine it to the backwaters where it currently resided, the show captured him laying everything on the line – vocally and emotionally. This in spite of manager Colonel Tom Parker’s insistence on an NBC Christmas special that might have appealed to only those still brave enough to watch his legendary client’s lousy films.

Director Steve Binder provided the vision, production partner Bones Howe attended to the music, and the result was a small-screen smash that grabbed viewers’ attention right at the start with a menacing close-up, striking Elvii-filled backdrop and a voice that attacked the songs with raw beauty. Topping the ratings, this show and the accompanying album made Elvis musically relevant for the first time in years.

Binder and Howe are among the interviewees in this 50th anniversary tribute to a timeless TV classic, alongside executive producer Bob Finkel, guitarist Scotty Moore, drummer D.J. Fontana and special guest Allen. J. Wiener, author of ‘Channeling Elvis: How Television Saved the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

“It was the finest music of his life,” Greil Marcus wrote in his book, ‘Mystery Train’. “If ever there was music that bleeds, this was it.”

Featured tracks:

  • Trouble/Guitar Man
  • Trying to Get to You
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Stuck On You
  • A Little Less Conversation
  • When It Rains, It Really Pours
  • I Got a Woman
  • Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  • One Night
  • That’s All Right
  • Let Yourself Go
  • Blue Christmas
  • Memories
  • Saved
  • If I Can Dream