- From Faith Current: “The Sacred Ordinary: St. Peter’s Church Hall” - May 1, 2023
- A brief (?) hiatus - April 22, 2023
- Something Happened - March 6, 2023
Reader Laura pointed me to an interesting Beatles podcast called “Another Kind of Mind,” and after listening to a bit, I think you guys would love it. AKOM describes itself as “Artists, musicians, & professionals who dissect and challenge Beatles narratives with irreverent, though-provoking analysis.” I think we can all get behind that.
The episode I tasted was Part 1 of their ongoing series on the breakup. Since that’s a topic we discuss endlessly here, I think that might be a good way in…and I think you’ll discern some overlaps over their discussion and ours. Enjoy! Let me know what you think of the series in the comments. (PS — I tried to link to individual episodes, and embed it, but was stymied at every turn. The link above goes to the show’s page; I’ll post it again here: https://anotherkindofmind.podbean.com/)
This is a great podcast and I recommend it. I have to say that it’s refreshing to hear the voices of women who’ve done their research and can back up their claims discussing Beatles history. I’m really happy to see it plugged here!
I was very happy to learn of it myself!
Oh Wow! What a great recommendation,
I listened to the introduction episode to get the vibes. There’s a very Pro Mac thing going on which is fine with me. I hope it doesn’t skew into John bashing though. That seems to be a thing nowadays.
I’m listening to the How Do You Sleep episodes first as that issue has always been fascinating/repulsive to me.. Especially George’s role in the take down.
Some other interesting podcasts are The Beatles Naked, this used to be a general 60’s culture show but transformed into an exclusively Beatles podcast. Music focused , but very interesting. I’m always up for a break down of the White Album to a single record. ☹️☹️ Bound to be controversial!!
Also Fab 4 Free for All.
Both of these podcasts assume you have major background knowledge, but are more nuanced than the average. I’ve listened to so many.
Sorry I can’t provide links, that’s beyond my limited computer knowledge, but are available on I-tunes.
Cheers everyone. Love this blog. Xo
You are absolutely right. There is WAY too much John bashing going on. Granted,Johnny was not perfect,but something tells me Paul wasn’t either.
…and more to the point, making Paul perfect robs him of his humanness. It makes him into a kind of songwriting, empathizing handsomeness machine, rather than a guy in a pretty impossible situation had to make decisions constantly, and (from what we can tell from the outside) seems to have pretty consistently chosen wisely.
Why does John bashing always end up with a “but I bet Paul…” I mean they are not mutually exclusive, although Beatles fandom really does a good job trying to make them one in the same. Paul is his own person and the vast majority of his life since 1970 has been out of the presence of John Lennon.
Hello and happy new year, everyone! I’ve been away for awhile because my family and I recently moved (only about a mile from our previous house), and wow did I forget how exhausting that process is! So glad to come back to HD and read everyone’s comments.
Just wanted to say that on the “bashing” front, I really wish it were more possible for the culture at large to find a way to correct past perceptions (in this case, the 1970s era narrative that the breakup was All Paul’s Fault) without whipsawing to the other extreme and bashing Lennon. I haven’t listened to this podcast, but in general I’m weary of this kind of seesaw effect.
And at this point I’m honestly not sure I can take another deep dive into the breakup, however well done the diving.
There’s other stuff too. Welcome back Nancy! I look forward to seeing the new digs!
I’ve been reading the other stuff too — glad to read all the new thoughts from you and commenters. And yes, please do come visit! Ringo Carr is especially pleased that there is now some upholstered furniture in the kitchen. Evidently a banquette near the table is the dream of every beagle-mix dog.
The lack of balance in the interpretation of the Lennon/ McCartney relationship gets me too.
Balance is everything in any couple. Which I think that they had. But, even this podcast is being somewhat adversarial. Some one must be the better person.
Is it because male friendships essentially can’t be seen as between equals in our culture? Competitive rather than empathetic?
These guys were so in tune with other,
I’m listening to Back to The Egg at the moment, which I love coz my parents bought it for my 8th birthday, and because it stimulated John to record Double Fantasy. Which wasn’t excellent but was his entree to a new musical career. Xo
I’ve been listening to and enjoying this podcast since it started, and I’m a big fan. It’s so refreshing to find more women talking about the Beatles!! I don’t think they “bash” John, in fact they’re often very empathic to his POV, but they do call out his bad behavior at times (and the many Beatles authors who continue to make excuses for it), and they don’t treat him as the sole hero of the Beatles story, which is maybe jarring for people. I’ve listened to every episode and I don’t think they ever just bash him or dump on him for no reason. They’re also fairly irreverent in a fun way, which I love (Phoebe especially makes me laugh out loud) so if that’s not your sensibility you might not like it. And IMO they’re not out to saint Paul, they call him out on his bad behavior too!
I agree. I think the podcast hosts’ sympathy and liking for John comes through. And Paul is never made out to be perfect, and has his issues. He’s just not ridiculed as much as you might hear on a more, er. traditional Beatles podcast (and I’ve quit MANY a podcast in annoyance at the hurhur!Paul jokes).
Yup I think they certainly advocate for Paul at times, when the traditional narrative mostly only takes John’s point of view into consideration. They also see them as artistic equals and co leaders, not as like, senior and junior partners. They’re really all about turning well worn tropes inside out based on real evidence and questioning what we’ve been told for so many years. Obviously anyone is free to disagree with them, but I think they’re worth a listen even just to get yourself questioning certain “givens” in the Beatles story.
I’m absolutely in love with this podcast. It speaks to me in away that only HD has spoken to me before. It truly tries to understand what “love” can mean between two straight male friends and finally brings John’s vulnerability front and centre, after decades of John being superhuman and angry.
To hear this kind of analysis is so refreshing. I’m in the middle of the 1000-part series on the breakup and it’s brilliant, as was the deep dive into How do you sleep?
They are not fans of Lewisohn, and it’s also good to hear people bursting that bubble. I love Tune In but they’ve made me really think about how lopsided Lewisohn is when it comes to Lennon & McCartney.
As others have said, and as HD & The Historian and the Beatles shows, having women’s voices gives such a different perspective to this story, as it does to most stories.
I’d actually love for them to have a multi-episode talk to Lewisohn and try to shift his perspective over to their way of thinking, cos his depth of research married to their depth of analysis could produce something far better about the Beatles than anyone has ever managed.
I replied to this comment, and it became meaty enough that I wanted to make it into a post.
That’s a great idea about the AKOM podcast getting Lewisohn, although I imagine he’s very much in demand.
While AKOM takes issue with the anti-Paul sentiments that got rolling in the early 70s and hardened when John was killed, I don’t think they bash John. Rather they try to see things from both points of view.
I might be the Laura who recommended this podcast – if not I’m doing it now :0)
Totally concur with everyone praising this podcast. Amazingly, it didn’t occur to me until I was roughly halfway through the episodes that I had almost never heard a woman’s perspective on The Beatles, apart from a couple of personal memoirs (Cynthia Lennon and May Pang). Almost all of Beatledom, from books to podcasts to commentary of any kind, is male dominated, and that thought honestly never crossed my mind until recently.
Another of my favorites is Fabcast, and I would be interested in hearing others’ perspective on it. I have a feeling they might be a bit polarizing, given their immense self-regard as the “only” Beatles podcast that’s worth listening to, but I am able to overlook that and enjoy their insights.
I liked this review of the podcast: https://podcastreview.org/review/fabcast/?shared=email&msg=fail
(That link may be wonky.)
Fabcast is by no means my favorite podcast ( yeah, they are a bit too full of themselves for my taste and also too much into the myth that Lennon and McCartney were forever yearning to reunite the partnership), but what I do find interesting and unique is the way they put the solo careers into context by talking about other artists, who were releasing records ore being played on the radio at the same time as the ex-Beatles. One of them obviously worked for record companies and was involved in promotion and for that reason has some unique insights.
Oh, that’s interesting. One of the things that’s too often missing from Beatle-talk is any conception that it all happens within a business; that Beatling was a commercial activity.
“Fabcast is by no means my favorite podcast ( yeah, they are a bit too full of themselves for my taste and also too much into the myth that Lennon and McCartney were forever yearning to reunite the partnership)”.
Is it a myth though? Linda said in the 1984 Playboy interview, when Paul went to take a phone call, that “Paul was desperate to write with John again. Desperate. And I know John was desperate to write. They could have helped each other if only they’d communicated.”
There is plenty of evidence, IMHO, that Lennon and McCartney wanted to write together, both in 1975/76, and in 1980. Which makes perfect sense; commercially it would be titanic, and both men knew that the other was their best songwriting partner. It would be strange, absent legal issues, geography and prickly spouses, if they didn’t naturally think of collaboration.
I tried a few episodes and their enthusiasm for the subject, and personal anecdotes, make it fun. Plus they are there with a pro-everyone agenda, that I can see so far.
Add me to the list of people who have had it up to here with John bashing, from Youtube comments to the Steve Hoffman forums to the AKOM podcast. The idea that Paul gets dismissed, riduculed etc. while John is seen as the sole genius and a saint is itself a tired narrative, if it ever went beyond Rolling Stone magazine circa 1970-71 to begin with. We know what a talentless, wife beating, son hating a-hole John was but can we please talk about Paul’s faults for a change? Wouldn’t it make him more fascinating, as fascinating as John and his issues obviously are? Paul cried to Hunter Davies how John’s tragic death will elevate him saint-like status, not five months after hearing the terrible news. Try being the only Beatle left alive and thus showered with enough adulation to satisfy an entire band (Ringo, like John’s contributions to Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road, doesn’t exist). John wouldn’t trade places with him? Gretchen dear, do youself a favor and listen to a Jude Southerland Kessler podcast instead. No patronizing sympathy for John, not even Paul bashing. Just someone who lived the Beatles and loves them still, especially John. A breath of fresh air.
So I just listened the AKOM podcast on How Do You Sleep and these two women didn’t say a word about the messages John said he heard from Paul on ‘Ram’. Nor did they mention that John later clarified how he doesn’t really feel that way about Paul. It was all a hit job by John, which has had lasting effects on Paul’s critical reception. According to them, all of John’s fans are “nerdy journalists who write stuff only for each other to wack off too.” The entire Imagine album is trashed for reasons not stated. Yeah, no bias there. To illustrate their campaign against John, they play clips of his and Yoko’s interview statements, where Yoko is clearly riduculing Paul and John defends him! Yoko: “His album [McCartney] doesn’t have a message.” John: “Not everything has to have a message.” Yoko: “Klein said he’ll give Paul’s marriage to Linda two years.” John: “But Paul treasures things like children; no, it will last longer.” And they procede to pile on John for what? For his use of the word “things” when referencing children. WTF?
*to, not too
This podcast should be called Toxic Masculinity. That way us John fans can be forewarned.
And I know how to spell ridicule and proceed. Typing fast with no edit option, sorry.
Okay, so admittedly I didn’t listen to the whole podcast in one sitting. They finally did talk about Too Many People, specifically the last verse, as twisting the knife into John, yet laughing at John’s reaction because they despise him so much. Having found what they think is a reasonable motive for How Do You Sleep, they still call John vicious for responding. The kicker: They think John was in love with Paul and there was plenty of evidence for this before Yoko’s offhand comment about her suspicions to Philip Norman. I’d like to know what that evidence is. Paul admitting that he was jealous of both Stu and Yoko and possibly Brian as well? Oh, wait. Question: Does anyone know what Paul is referring to by John’s “last mistake”? His first mistake was taking his lucky break and breaking it in two. Pretty clear. But what was his last mistake? That Paul prefers to be with his wife rather than John? I never really thought about that verse too much, but it’s… strange and possibly gay. Think about it – John couldn’t really say what it was that upset so much him about Ram, and why he thought Dear Boy was about him as well, without exposing something scandalous. And Paul knew that he had to take it quietly. But HDYS was anything but quiet. The whole thing makes me sad and the John vs Paul war that is still raging among so-called Beatles fans doesn’t help. F this podcast.
Replying to Michelle, in the AKOM podcast, they do discuss Paul’s faults, like his womanizing, his his controlling ego, etc. I agree that he’s more interesting as a human than a paragon (like John). And I have to disagree about Jude Southerland Kessler. I tried listening to a couple of podcasts that had her as a guest and I disagreed with many of her assertions (a couple violently). I admire that she promotes Cynthia, though she seems to be of those who’s really concerned with Who’s The Leader Of The Band. And there was Paul-accusing, that seemed to surprise even the other podcast participants. I haven’t listened to everything she’s done, admittedly .
Ermm, didn’t catch that one with Kessler. Is it on Youtube? On the HDYS episode of AKOM, if they admitted a fault of Paul’s, it was rare and followed with “but they all did that/were like that.” Whereas John’s faults are his own. They came close to calling him a psychopath and made fun of his drug use, depression, etc. Paul was the real avant garde artist, the one who pushed bounderies, while John rode Yoko’s coattails when it came to that. Were those shrill, sarcastic, never disagreeing with each other hosts around when the Hello Goodbye/I Am the Walrus single was released? I know that Yoko wasn’t. Not sure whose artisitc coattails John was riding then.
We KNOW John’s faults, because he compulsively admitted to some of them, died young so there were many people left to talk about him, and has a widow who is not shy about discussing his foibles.
We DONT know anything about Paul except what he wants us to know, really. And because he’s living so long (happily!) we likely won’t ever know much more than his carefully constructed and maintained public image.
You can’t “analyze” these guys without a very sensitive Celebrity Bullshit Detector. And everything you guys are saying makes me think that’s not present in these discussions. It’s sounding like Beatle-focused gossip. Nothing wrong with that, but not “history” or “analysis” or whatever.
“F this podcast.”
Hah, well, I can certainly see why it’s not for everyone! Personally I like a little McCartney squee. and I don’t think it’s necessarily John bashing per se, but bashing of the John narrative that’s been propagated in 90% of Beatle books out there, but I can see why you’d feel some disapproval of John. But they do never pretend that at least one of them doesn’t have a hardcore Paul preference. 🙂
It’s probably kind of how I feel listening to ANY podcast featuring Mark Lewisohn, who seems to feel it’s his solemn duty to defend John and make sure we all know the truth about how Paul isn’t a good person. It’s really disheartening, considering he’s the one everyone is praising as the unbiased savior of Beatles history or something. (I listened to one last week – Fab4cast?– where he claimed that he didn’t think John was “addicted” to heroin, that he had control of it, among other things. And he seems to buy into the Ballad of JohnandYoko.)
When did it become unfashionable to like both Lennon AND McCartney? You denigrate one, and you might as well trash the whole band. You don’t have to bring one down to prop up another. I understand the revisionism goes both ways but that doesn’t make it right.
I would caution anybody who dismisses Mark Lewisohn out of hand; he is unquestionably the deepest researcher into this story, and has had the most access. So he’s going to be the baseline from which this story is told. Whether he is RIGHT in every point is less important than whether he opens areas of discussion.
He would not be the person picked for this job if he did not believe (or say he believes) things in accordance with the surviving Beatles and the estates. So take that “belief” with a grain of salt, especially before he’s actually done that part of the story.
I wasn’t dismissing him out of hand; I liked Tune In for the most part (with a few quibbles). But this is me, my opinion, and I am expressing frustration at things he’s said in podcasts. And perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think he’s been picked for the job but rather picked himself based on his experience, and in fact advertises the fact that he is not authorized by the estates/Beatles? And it’s a huge undertaking, and I respect the dedication. I just wish that he would behave in a more unbiased manner when he speaks (and not say things like “people may decide that Allen Klein is the hero”). It just doesn’t engender confidence in me, personally.
“People may decide that Allen Klein is the hero”? Wait, what? I really hope that if Lewisohn said that he meant something akin to “people may interpret the Beatles story in any of a number of ways, and I can’t control that” and not “seeing Allen Klein as the hero of the Beatles’ story is plausible.” Because to that second assertion I can only NOPE with the force of a thousand NOPEs.
That is a peculiar thing to say. What was the context, do you remember? Do you know which episode, and when, he said it, so I can listen myself?
This “picking” thing (was he picked? did he pick himself?) gets at the heart of what I’m talking about re: showbiz. Lewisohn’s entire Beatles career could’ve been derailed at any point had any of the principals or their widows said, “I think Mark Lewisohn is full of shit.” No more book deals; no more forwards; no more TV appearances. But at the same time, if the Beatles story was going to get told — and once Lennon was dead, they NEEDED it to be told, to continue to make money — they needed to pick someone. But not overtly; it was much much better for them to have someone simultaneously not overtly on the team, but also so beholden to them that he could be trusted to color within the lines of every major Beatles issue (e.g., the ballad, John’s heroin, etc).
Does this mean that Lewisohn is corrupt — that he knowingly misreads facts and misleads the public? NO.
Does this mean that Lewisohn is biased? Well, not in his mind, he’s not. But he wouldn’t have been able to keep the job if he weren’t guaranteed to offer up the Standard Narrative in every important respect. Is that bias? Absolutely it is.
Lewisohn’s entire career is based on not being Geoffrey Giuliano. That is the line he has to walk, and it’s a line that gives him the ability to discover/share a lot of really fascinating information, especially raw information based on access, like to the tapes in Abbey Road or interviews or what’s in the Apple vaults. So we should take that information…while at the same time keeping in mind that he is working under severe limitations. He is limited by who he is and where he comes from, and he’s limited in that his entire Beatles career could go “poof” with one interview with Paul or Yoko. Mark Lewisohn requires the good graces of Apple, EMI, and the four parties to keep doing what he’s doing. Those parties control too much raw data for a definitive biography to be written with their opposition.
Money is power. Celebrity is power. Money and celebrity at the Beatles’ level is almost unimaginable power, and it distorts every relationship they’ve had since age 21. Nothing they don’t like is said within their earshot; no idea of theirs is bad; no one who disagrees or challenges or pushes back is retained. Wrongthinkers (Peter Brown, Fred Seaman) are destroyed by the machine. Each of them is surrounded by a phalanx of people who depend on them for money, prestige, and identity. Most of the time, these people have been somewhat benign protectors, and we know this because only one of them (George) was nearly bankrupted.
To get “the real story,” you need access. But to get access, you will be prevented from saying anything they don’t like…so it will be called “the real story,” but it can’t be.
TL;dr — nothing in showbiz, or about showbiz, is real. It is fundamentally corrupted, but in exchange it provides benign fantasy. It is probably the signature corruption of our society that showbiz has become reality (and vice-versa), so that the dishonesty inherent to the exercise has spread to things that genuinely matter. So we sharpen our awareness on the Beatles’ story, the better to navigate the things that genuinely matter.
Ahhh, I get where you are coming from now, Michael. Thanks — it makes me curious to see what direction things will go in the end. And Hah! Giuliano. I have to admit that what I’ve read of his stuff is extremely entertaining, if taken with a chunk of rock salt. His interviewing technique seemed abominable from what I could see
As for the Klein quote, I think it was Fab4cast, the second Lewisohn interview — I’m trying to skim it and find an exact time but it’s difficult. I also listened to a lot of Fabcast last week. If I find it for positive I’ll include it.
I’m sorry to report it’s not Fab4cast — I re-listened to the whole thing. I’ll keep looking. I’ll know in the future to save my sources! Part of his quote has been going around tumblr for months so I assumed it was one of those things people were talking about long before me. 🙂 Basically I was surprised to hear the quote in the wild, but he says something like “when it’s all done people may decide that Allen Klein is the hero. Some of them won’t. All I can do is lay the facts out/put the facts out there.” That and his method of discussing Allen Klein and the Beatles raised my hackles for sure.
Yeah, I am aware of that interview. And I do think that, yes, both at times missed the other and would have liked to work together again.
What I meant in regards to FABCAST by talking about that “myth” was that these guys are so obsessed with this idea that they are quite often replacing facts by assumptions based on their fantasy. For example, they claim that McCartney ll was basically made by Paul in order to tell John “Hey I can do experimental stuff as good as or better than Yoko, so if you want to do to this kind of shit, I am here for you!”
But there is no factual evidence for this whatsoever, and I find this very far fetched.
They also insist that Dear Boy is about John. They know that Paul has said otherwise, but they say , “oh that McCartney guy, he is always telling stories” ( nudge, nudge, wink wink) , “but of course we know better!” ( I am paraphrasing here – if anyone wants to check, it is the first Green episode.)
“He would not be the person picked for this job if he did not believe (or say he believes) things in accordance with the surviving Beatles and the estates.”
Well, he did fall out with George and subsequently the Harrison estate.
Over what specifically, do we know?
Yes, we do as Lewisohn has told the story repeatedly.
He says it was over him letting another writer ( Mark Heertsgard) hear ( with Apple’s permission) session tapes from the EMI vaults and Heertsgard used that extensively for a book published in 1995, garnered with a lot of “ML told me this” etc.
For some reason this riled George and ML claims he actually accused him of being a bootlegger in front of other people. ML says he actually contemplated suing George over this and gets quite agitated when talking aboug this.
Anyway, George then wanted to have ML removed from the Anthology project and only Paul’s arbitration prevented this. But to this day the Harrison estate shuns him.
So this is the gist of it, but if you google it, there is plenty more information about this mess.
That’s fascinating, thanks.
Unfortunately, all it’ll do is reduced the likelihood that George will get his full due in the biography set.
Okay, I had another intrepid soul tell me where the Lewisohn Allen Klein quote is (thanks, intrepid person). It’s Fabcast episode 13, discussion starting right around the 2:20 mark. https://soundcloud.com/fabcast-870039074/013-lewisohn
That and other things ML has said about Allen Klein being the “warrior” for the Beatles who was prevented from doing his job by the recalcitrance of Paul McCartney refusing to sign with him has made a lot of fans defensive.
Thanks for your patience.
Thanks for linking to that, Kristy. My respect for Lewisohn’s judgment has taken a big dive. If he is saying that about Klein despite all that is known about the Stones’ experiences with him . . . . wow. Just wow. Looks like I won’t be buying Tune In volume 2.
I am 59 years old, and a brand new Beatles fan as of two months ago, so basically a blank slate with no preconceived thoughts on the band., My daughter recommended that I watch the Imagine documentary. It peaked my interest in them, so I read the book “You Never Give me Your Money” and I gained the basic story. In the book, I felt there were attitudes,responses that were expressed as the explanation for actions by the members of The Beatles in the later half of the 1060’s, that weren’t adding up as the cause, in my mind. I then researched several podcast and landed on Another Kind of Mind. I LOVED it. It makes a lot of sense to me. I feel it is sensitive to all parties. I don’t in any way feel that it is bashing John. Getting into the way a person’s mind thinks, isn’t the same as judging him. But an understanding of actions. I recommend it!!
@nancy, I was about to order and read Lewisohn’s book, despite his somewhat fanboy slant to his favorite but read on a Beatles blog, Lewisohn’s inexcusable defense of John’s attempted sexual assault of his first girlfriend when she didn’t want sex the because felt circumstances too public. I knew of this event when John tried to choke her but she wrestled herself free and broke up with him. However, I was aghast at Lewisohn’s own defenses of John’s abhorrent behavior thar he was a guy from Liverpool with certain expectations of women. The comments section descended into, well it wasn’t attempted rape as girlfriend to well I guess she should have kept her legs crossed. The comments had to ultimately be shut down. All of the Beatles years of sins have been put under a microscope and judged for years, but it would have been better for Lewisohn to say nothing than to put his several sentences of lame defenses of John’s behavior. Several folks found and additional sentence or two of Lewisohn’s along these lines elsewhere. It’s hard for any author to be completely objective, but I found, as most women would, this beyond the pale. Thus, I’ll boycott the book if for that reason alone but was not interested anyway in yet another single Beatles angle and defense book.
AKOM is a weird podcast for a beginner to get into, because its whole reason for being is to try to reverse what they believe to be people’s preconceived thoughts on the band. When I started getting into the Beatles, all I wanted to do was listen to the records and watch the occasional documentary. Maybe it would have been different if I’d started at 59 rather than 10, but listening to opinionated podcasts telling me whose point of view I should take was the last thing I wanted to do. I think my fandom would have died a quick death. This continual desire to “set the record straight” on what is, when it’s all said and done, just a band that made it very big has become a giant turnoff for me. Just let the music do the talking would be my recommendation.
@Michelle, this is why I’m increasingly saturnine about Beatles fandom that cuts its teeth via the internet. Content recapitulating the oft-told conventional narrative–which is where any newb should start on any topic–is not going to be very popular; hence it’s not going to be featured by the algorithms; hence controversial views (like “Paul is Dead,” or “John and Paul were totes DOIN IT”) are likely to be consumed much earlier in one’s fandom.
There’s a theory that Julius Caesar knew he was dying, so he goaded the Senate into forming a conspiracy, which he purposely let succeed, so that he could be assassinated and die a more honorable death than one of infirmity and illness. This is an interesting theory and, if you’ve read the conventional narrative rather deeply, does answer certain questions. But it is entirely speculative, and 90% of classicists who you asked would dismiss it as ridiculous.
Is it ridiculous? Not SO ridiculous. Do ridiculous things happen? Sure, all the time. But if you’re going to understand an historical event, focusing on the most interesting, contrarian or salacious angles is guaranteed to give you a very distorted and pretty unwholesome view of…nearly everything. If one reads the conventional narrative, THEN reads the contrarian take, there’s more balance in that.
Hello. With respect, I think the best thing you can do is listen to the podcast. (Particularly the Breakup Series which has now been relocated to the One Sweet Dream podcast). You have been hearing secondhand accounts about what it is like and not verified it for yourself. What I think you will appreciate about this podcast in particular is that it uses primary sources: interviews/quotes. Even if you disagree if their perspective, listening to it will help test where you stand and if you are keeping to some biases.
@Michellle, my biggest problem as a boomer with books and later podcasts began when they increasingly shifted from an emphasis to straight factual relay of events and how the group or members were were affected by the sixties and next decade to an author slanted point of view to prove the author’s thesis. The……..whose point of view…narrative became the main interest rather than the book subject and facts. Thus, narratives of these books increasingly shifted to describing a sole protagonist or few protagonists with card board, caricatured secondary characters. Beatle books got bigger, hard back very expensive and lavish in early eighties and I bought many for pictures and to collect, but quit reading then by then. I sadly remember the beginning of the protagonist John and sidemen barely mentioned others rise. There were some seventies solo Beatle books but I remember when rock press prejudices about solo Beatles crept into those books or record reviews or the books were either fanzine types.
The guliano books has extraordinary pics but he stole John and yoko’s personal items negatives I read. There was and is a very sad almost complete lack of George biography books and no ringo ones this was the before the few, much later Macca books arose and folks feared he controlled the narrative which they didn’t fear before. This is an irony considering the history of the ballad controlled books. Nevertheless, I would love to have, however, the very expensive leather bound, limited edition autographed George seventies I, Me, Mine, the later autographed limited edition after 2000 Paul book and the limited edition, more recent autographed ringo photo book. The last book I bought new was one of Ringo’s big Beatles photo books and indeed he was a great photographer. The whose point of view and agenda folks seem to reign supreme in all areas today and I remember this shift, not just with Beatles but with every subject, as was gradual but then kicked up steam.
There were so many expensive Beatles books by the mid eighties, I gave up on them though the collector and record books were good and have the pang paper back. I quickly gave up on Beatle books for objectivity as they became public domain once famous but after broke up became the property of the my favorite Beatle fanboy authors, thus the caricature villain and the unmentioned other two.
I do want to add that the release of Beatles red and blue albums back in those days of album emphasis, the much later anthology series as shown on tv and cd set, along with the BBC cd set and the later Beatles #1 had extraordinary success interesting much younger generations in the Beatles and caused them to go back and buy their CDs. The continuing Macca solo appearances on mtv, records and his ongoing tours In decades past as well as his and Ringo’s last many years of concerts likewise interested younger generations of fans in them as solo artists. I read all of this repeatedly from Beatles and solo fans younger than me. Many are interested in boots and demos and it’s a pity John had the habit of recording over his used tapes. Younger folks said free as a bird song and it’s video and George on mtv likewise interested then in him and secondarily the Beatles. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of mass communication in the Beatles fame.
I’m still following AKOM, but I’m not yet convinced of their premise that John didn’t mean to end the Beatles. Maybe it’ll do the trick when they detail the ways in which John left the door open for Paul.
I agree with AKOM about the relationship between John and Paul crumbling though. I think the process started with their opposite reactions to success. While John hated much of what fame brought down on him and began self-medicating, Paul reveled in his top-of-the-world status.
To make matters worse, the competition between them, which had been crucial in propelling them to the top, became a problem when Paul started coming on strong with “Yesterday,” and later began getting a bigger share of A sides. From John’s point of view, a friendly rival became a bitter foe. John knew Paul might pose a challenge as far back as 1957, but if he wanted to stifle him in 1968… Well, good luck with that.
After Brian died, Paul thought they’d fall apart if they didn’t get back to work quickly, but John couldn’t see them carrying on at all. When Paul stepped up to lead, the band’s equilibrium was thrown off kilter and it wasn’t long before John resented Paul the Usurper.
Then when John added Yoko to the equation and appeared to be more interested in what he and Yoko were doing, Paul most likely didn’t know WHAT John wanted. Communication had broken down somewhere along the line. I’m not sure John knew what he wanted either – was Yoko his way out, a way to regain his power, or both? In any case, it seems like John saw Paul as a juggernaut and fought back by becoming JohnandYoko.
Many years after John was killed, Yoko said she was always surprised at how angry John was at Paul, but I think Yoko took advantage of John’s insecurity with regard to Paul. Her message seemed to be “you’re a true artist – you’re too good for Paul and his light-weight music.” Perhaps John was embarrassed by his pop stardom when in the company of an avant-garde artist and the emerging hipper-than-thou rock press, and began distancing himself from Paul as if to say “it wasn’t me!”
I do think John became paranoid about Paul though, perhaps because of heroin and/or his mental health problems. I recently read that in his last Playboy interview, he said the other Beatles had treated Yoko quite well in the studio. Yoko agreed, saying none of them were nasty to her. That didn’t make it into the magazine version, but it’s in Sheff’s 2000 book version of the interview. I think it must have been in the 1981 book version too, but retractions tend to go unnoticed.
What came across as John’s honesty was a distortion of reality caused by his mental and emotional state, and exacerbated by his drug consumption. John blaming their heroin habit on “what the Beatles and their pals were doing to us” was far more memorable than his retraction.
AKOM mentions a 2009 Rolling Stone article by Mikal Gilmore that said Paul was treated “shamefully during 1969, and unforgivably in the early months of 1970,” and was “forced into an impossible position.” I think there’s a lot to that.
There was Yoko’s constant presence, Klein being forced on Paul, John implying they should do away with the Lennon-McCartney credit, John’s divorce declaration, Paul’s release date being moved, and unauthorized changes to one of his songs. There was also the matter of the Eastmans being forced out as legal counsel for the band once Klein was their manager. Paul didn’t trust Klein and he had no way to keep an eye on him. It sure seems like they were piling on.
Paul has admitted his press release was cold, but it didn’t happen in a vacuum – and the PAUL QUITS headline is what really caused the problem. John now had to save face – he couldn’t be the one who was abandoned. The reporter who wrote the headline later claimed it was based on what two Apple insiders told him.
For me it’s not so much that the band broke up, it’s the ugliness of the way it happened. It’s like a teenager who knows their parents aren’t happy together and should get a divorce, but loves them both and wishes they could be civil about it.
Lara, I strongly recommend reading the whole of Gilmore’s Rolling Stone piece on the breakup: link here.
And more background from RS on the piece here.
This Laura (often confused with Lara). I’ve read both and I’m sure they contributed to the soup that’s become my FWIW opinion. Is there something particular you think is pertinent to my post, Nancy? Maybe I should have reread them before spouting off… :0]
Sorry, Laura! Just wanted to recommend those two pieces in case you hadn’t gotten to see the whole text of them. I think Gilmore’s piece is the smartest analysis of the breakup I’ve read, so I tend to recommend it a lot.
At one time Gilmore was planning to write a whole book about the breakup, but I think he no longer is.
I just wanted to pipe in with a link to an interesting review of the AKOM podcast. I find it intriguing that the person reviewing the podcast noted the lack of diverse voices in Beatles discussion/history bringing new perspectives, something I know I’ve discussed here with varying results, which I suppose may be based upon my inability to communicate my thoughts properly. 😉 Anyway, the blogger admits that they did in fact buy into the whole “Paul is shit” mythology without ever digging deeper, and when they did look more deeply, how surprised they were.
A lot of new traffic has been sent AKOM’s way because of one of the host’s appearance on I Am The Eggpod. I’m really glad, because I want to see how what they say stands up against people who are more inclined to the traditional narrative. Also, it means the AKOM people won’t just be hollering into the echo chamber and may reach some actual “jean-jackets.”
I do know that I tried to send a male friend to listen to AKOM and he complained that he had to out after one episode because they were using words like “feminization” and “othering” and he just couldn’t. So I found the irony interesting, but otherwise I really haven’t had much of a male perspective on this.
And replying to Nancy of a month ago, I really would like to read a book by Gilmore about the breakup! I read Womack’s book about Abbey Road and it was not bad. Like, it was a decent read, there was nothing groundbreaking there, though he was very thorough on the recording-nerd aspect of the technology. I would like more of the emotional and psychological discussion and that’s why I think AKOM is scratching that itch for me right now.
“So I found the irony interesting”
You know what else is interesting? This statement: “If nothing else, that’s the only reason anyone needs to pay more attention to other voices, to understand that diversity matters, and that even wallowing in the warm bath of The Beatles, you are soaking up institutional sexism and racism” while endorsing AKOM’s continuation of the Yoko Was a Witch narrative.
Well, I’m glad the hosts on AKOM don’t think women are beyond criticism.
You know the difference between criticize and demonize, right?
If the horns fit…
I have been listening to AKOM and One Sweet Dream. I find them heartbreaking about what happened to Lennon/McCartney and both are treated as human beings. They get into the emotional core that tied them together and has always remained. Paul took a battering from John and George after the breakup and the podcasts try to understand the hurt feelings that turned to anger. They do a excellent job of connecting dots.