The Beatles & The Rock and Roll Narrative featuring Tim Riley
Rock Journalist and Music Critic Tim Riley is steeped in Beatles lore and history. He’s written the definitive John Lennon bio, Lennon: The Man, The Myth, The Music, plus Beatles books, What Goes On: The Beatles, Their Life and Their Time and Tell Me Why: The Beatles, Album by Album, Song by Song. Tim is an NPR and print journalism Critic, an Emerson College Professor and he is this week’s guest, bringing us intriguing insights into the Beatles, their music and the intersections of their personalities.
Plus Fritz and Weezy are recommending Life After Death with Tyler Henry and Bad Vegan, both on Netflix.
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Fritz Coleman (00:00:04):
Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.
Louise Palanker (00:00:06):
And I am Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:07):
The Media Path podcast has been celebrated around the globe as a cultural mouthpiece. We've become the go-to source for all sorts of entertainment, be it broadcaster, cabler streaming, or printer podcasting. Our listeners are honestly movers and shakers who don't wanna waste their valuable lives on marginal pastimes. So every week we get directly to the quality goods and by quality goods. I include our amazing guest today. We're welcoming Tim Rileys a college professor, a noted author. He's written definitive books about the Beatles, and most recently John Lennon, and I can't wait to get into it with him. Wheezy, tell us what you have this week, first of all.
Louise Palanker (00:00:49):
Well, Fritz, you're, uh, you have a hearty interest in spirituality, correct?
Fritz Coleman (00:00:53):
Louise Palanker (00:00:53):
Sure. Okay. So I've been watching Life After Death with Tyler Henry on Netflix in Life After Death. Clairvoyant Medium, Tyler Henry offers clarity and closure from the Beyond while searching through his own family's tragic past the nine Part series, endeavors to solve a family mystery in which Tyler's mom, Teresa, somehow as a baby, wound up in the custody of a very dangerous woman who was horrifyingly cruel and ultimately wound up in prison for committing a double homicide. Teresa learned only a few years ago that this woman is not her biological mother. And with Tyler's help, they journey to New Orleans to discover more about her birth family and what may have led to her abduction. Along the way, Tyler conducts readings where he receives messages from folks who have passed on, allowing him to deliver healing and hope to loved ones. Tyler, who is just 26 years old, discovered his gift at the age of 10, and has since then learned to channel and interpret the messages he receives. He wrote his first book when his show Hollywood Medium was airing on etv. It's called Between Two Worlds by Tyler Henry. Here Tyler Chronicles his childhood and discusses how his complex and fascinating gift has changed his perception of the afterlife, and more importantly, how readings can impact our relationships with our closest friends and family who have crossed over. Tyler's newest book is called Here and Hereafter by Tyler Henry. This is described as an ultimate self-help guide detailing the insights which the departed have communicated about how we can live our best, most meaningful lives.
Fritz Coleman (00:02:23):
Uh, I I, it's too scary for me. I can't, I can't engage.
Louise Palanker (00:02:27):
All right. Well, Tyler will talk to you about it after you cross over
Fritz Coleman (00:02:30):
<laugh>. Okay. Well, I'm gonna talk about Bad Vegan. Uh, this is a Netflix limited series called Bad Vegan Fame, fraud, and Fugitives. It's four episodes. This is another one of these fantastic looks at how easily seemingly smart rich people who get bamboozled by other manipulative people come together. I love that theme in inventing Anna, where this woman hijacked millions from New York, wealthy. I love the theme in the Dropout where Elizabeth Holmes became a billionaire by getting rich people to invest in a Silicon Valley startup that turned out to be a sham. Here's another one, bad Vegan. This is the story of Sarma Mel Galles, who was a celebrity restaurateur in New York City. She was known as the vegan queen. She opened this red hot vegan dining establishment called Pure Food and Wine. All kinds of celebs were seen there. Owen Wilson, uh, Woody Harrelson Sarma meets a guy on Twitter, and you know, it's downhill from there.
His name is Shane Fox, that's his name on Twitter, <laugh> Fox, and one of the most fascinating mind control trip she'll ever hear about. Somehow Khan sarma into draining her restaurant funds and following them to Fox, and he somehow talks her into it by convincing her that he's gonna make all of her dreams come true, including making her beloved pit ball be immortal. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that pit bull will never die if she funnels millions of dollars to him. Now, this is a woman who's already proven a certain brilliance and starting a hugely successful restaurant. Not only did this guy separate her from her money, he talked her into marrying him, even though it was real. Name wasn't Shane Fox, it's Anthony Stranges. He talked her into marrying him, and when the authorities got wind of what was happening, he talked her into running away and going on the lamb with him.
They both ended up doing jail time. Her defense in this whole thing was the Stockholm Syndrome made famous by Patty Hurst. That is people developed positive feelings toward their captors over time. That's where she claimed happened to her. What made this show really interesting was that they played many recordings of their private phone conversations, and you get to hear how this guy worked, his dark magic, he'd go from soft and seductive to unhinged and screaming, and she bought the whole thing. The only thing missing in it, from my perspective, was a couple of sit downs with, say, a psychologist or psychiatrist that could explain why reasonably smart people seem to be so easily manipulated by other certain people. It was really fascinating, and I know you gotta look at it. What'd you think?
Louise Palanker (00:05:20):
Well, I mean, I think there's like sort of a magnetic charge that draws people, co-dependent people together. Like, you're gonna serve my need and you're gonna, you're gonna serve a need, whether it's a healthy need or not. Like they kind of like, they find each other, sort of like when we were talking, uh, to Joyce b Lafon, and she was saying, you know, as a co-dependent, an alcoholic and spot her across the room, and, you know, I just think there, there's ways that he,
Fritz Coleman (00:05:43):
But this guy reached out to her on Twitter, so he took the magnificent chance that she was gonna fall for this.
Louise Palanker (00:05:49):
Well, I mean, he's probably putting out leads constantly, and when he finds a symbiotic relationship, you know, he, and also his credibility was that is friends with Alec Baldwin. So
Fritz Coleman (00:05:59):
<laugh>. Well, there you
Louise Palanker (00:06:00):
Go. So, so, but it reminded me of this book for some reason, because of the fantastical yarns he was spinning and the promises that he was making, it just sort of reminded me of this book that I read about five years ago called Lucky Me by Sachi Parker. She is the daughter of Shirley McLean, and her book Recounts the Jaw-dropping details of her childhood. Satchi Parker was sent by Shirley McClain at the age of two to live in Japan with her crazy, abusive neglectful. Father Steve, when Satchi was in her twenties, her mother confessed that she had done this because Steve was not really Steve, but a clone of Steve, an astronaut named Paul. And Paul had Con Shirley McClain into paying him $60,000 a month for space travel expenses. I think that since none of us here in our earth bodies know why we are here, or where we came from, or to where we will be returning, it is very possible to trick vulnerable people through religion or spirituality or fantastical stories to believe something they hope to be true. Your dog is immortal. I must send my inconvenient child to a spaceman in Japan. Jews eat babies. It really has to be in alignment with what you are already kind of wistfully dreaming could be possible. This woman wanted her dog to live forever. That guy knew how to tap into what her needs were.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:17):
Yeah, there you go. Wow. It's crazy. And it's, uh, it's, it's, it's populating Netflix and Hulu and all these streaming services with a lot of good content. I'm loving it. Now, off to our guest, Weezy. He's, uh, a, a critical on NPR reviewing pop and classical music. He's a professor at Emerson College. He's written some really wonderful studies of the Beatles. His first one was What Goes On The Beatles, their Music and Their Time. And one called Tell Me Why The Beatles album by album and Lennon, the Man, the Myth, the Music, the Definitive Life. Please welcome Tim Riley. Tim, thanks for joining us today.
Tim Riley (00:07:58):
Uh, it's good to be here. Thanks for having
Fritz Coleman (00:08:00):
Me. Thank you so much. Now, I, I wanna talk about the Lennon aspect and, uh, because he's, he's the mass of Contradictions, the Enigma, and I love that you, first of all, you're a beautiful writer. Uh, I mean your, your descriptions of the relationships with the other Beatles and just putting them in historical context was really well written, Tim, and you said in the Lennon book, he was an anarchic rock and roller, but at the same time, he had a moral spine, and you also said he was a misogynist against women who became later a house husband. So just put some color on those two aspects of him. Yeah, great.
Tim Riley (00:08:42):
Yeah. Well, it, it is, um, it is, the story I wanted to write about Lennon was I do think that his public persona, people want to think of him as, as a two-dimensional person, a piece nick, a uh, you know, a renegade, a loose cannon. And the more I researched his life, the more complexity I found, as you pointed out, and the more contradictions leap out at you. And in Lennon, the contradictions are quite large. So yes, I think rock and roll appealed to him for its an arch possibilities, the way that it was disrupting all of the traditional norms in his culture, the norms of sexuality, the norms of gender, the norms of the way people were thinking about class, the way people were thinking about what was possible in the world. And rock and roll really helped him shake the world up a lot. But at the same time, he had a very strong moral sense, um, even when he, he himself was, was misbehaving <laugh>. So, um, there, there is this really great, the great way in which he's a moralist. He has a conservative streak, but he's also got his foot in the avant garde. And so there's all of that stuff that you have to try and reconcile when you write about him.
Louise Palanker (00:09:49):
Talk about that moment where, you know, he's kind of the star, the standout guy in the Quarrymen, and someone says to Paul McCartney, you need you, you are the two most talented guys in town. You need to meet each other. So it's this moment where, you know, Paul, in days before anything was recorded or saved, whatever, knew the lyrics to songs, knew the chords to songs, and, and Paul plays for him, and John can make the decision of either remaining the star of the quarry man or taking in a guy who's maybe as good as him and like he, so John had this ability to kind of always make good choices, didn't he?
Tim Riley (00:10:21):
Louise Palanker (00:10:22):
Yeah, A critical moment. I
Tim Riley (00:10:23):
Mean, he made a lot of bad choices too, but okay. Aesthetically, that was one of the, one of the good choices he made. Of course, he knew that he, he had a lot to learn from Paul McCartney. McCartney did know, uh, it was a much more, um, fluent musician than Lennon was at that phase. And Lennon sponged a great deal of musicianship off of McCartney and McCartney Sponged a great deal of, um, songwriting Caprice off of Lennon. Lennon wanted to write songs that were different than everybody else's songs. McCartney has a much more conservative streak as a songwriter. He writes a song like yesterday, which sounds like a very traditional sort of tin pen alley, uh, song. It's not a song that Lennon would ever have any interest in writing, but, um, together their partnership was something way beyond what either of them could accomplish alone.
And them discovering that that bond and that how that synergy was gonna work back and forth is still incredibly in instructive today. Um, you know, one of the great stories you trace when you look at the Beatles is what a firm songwriting partnership they were in the beginning. Um, and then how you watch them move apart all the way through to the end of The Beatles, where they're really in very different worlds by the end of the Beatles. Um, and it's kind of amazing they stayed together as long as they did because they've moved so far apart. But actually what this does is it just opens up the idea of the band and of what rock and roll can d can do, the possibilities of rock and roll get bigger because of all of the freedom that Lenn and McCartney give each other in terms of being themselves in their songs. So it's, I've always found it really fascinating part of the story. And, um, I think, I think Lennon's easy to overrate McCartney's easy to underrate. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (00:12:07):
<affirmative>, you, you said an interesting thing in the Lenn book, Lennon's influence on McCartney was greater than McCartney's influence on Lennon.
Tim Riley (00:12:18):
Yeah. Did I say that?
Fritz Coleman (00:12:20):
<laugh>? Yes, you did. Somebody said it and ended up in your book.
Tim Riley (00:12:23):
Yeah. Um, I think what I was trying to say there was, uh, we usually, we assume the opposite. We assume that McCartney had more to teach Lennon musically than Lennon had to teach McCartney. And I think what I was trying to get at there was that I think Lennon's musicianship tends to get underrated because he's seen more as the lyric person as wit as the the philosophical person. Um, and the person who's always pushing boundaries, trying really hard to step outside the traditions and do something different. Do something new, do something disruptive. And outrageous McCartney has a more conservative sensibility when it comes to style. Um, and so I think I was trying to point out that, um, it, it goes both ways. It's not just McCartney teaching Lennon, it's Lennon teaching McCartney too. They both had a lot to learn from each other.
Louise Palanker (00:13:12):
What would you have to say about this whole dynamic of, you know, we all form selves, we form our sense of self in our twenties, they were forming their sense of selves under, in a spotlight with the world's eyes upon them. Does it exponentially exaggerate every sort of nuance or, you know, coloring of, of your, your view of the world as reflected back against not just the people in your immediate family or friend group, but like the whole world? It's like, you know, it's just com it's completely Yeah. Um, amplified. And then they had, you know, both kind of lost their mothers as kids. They had each other, and then they had that fame, and it was like this kind of pressure cooker. So there was so much that was similar. And then when it, so when it was ready to explode and they had formed self within that kind of crockpot, it just had to explode. And I don't know, just like to hear your thoughts on it.
Tim Riley (00:14:08):
Yeah. Uh, you know, it's a fascinating thing to consider. What, what is an intense fame like that, what is that effect on a person's identity formation? Right. Because they're, they're, they're busy forming their identities with one another and through rock and roll as you point out. Um, but by the age of 19 and 20, they're world famous, right? So how does, and you know, nobody's done with their identity formation at age 20. A lot of people aren't done by the age of 30. I'm still working on mine. Right. <laugh>. Right. So, uh, what, how does, how does fame factor into that? What we know now is that it was, um, sort of incomplete and they did a lot of their growing up in public. There's still lot of stuff we don't know. So my, as a Lennon biographer, what I can tell you is what was really difficult for me was I wish I had another 10 years to keep researching, cuz I kept finding out new stuff.
And there was always, there was always more to learn and more to know. Um, and so there's a lot that we still don't know, but what we do know is that, um, they both suffered early childhood trauma with their mothers dying. Um, by the time John meets Paul, Paul's mother's already died, and they are best friends when John Len Lennon's mother suddenly dies. And then Lennon goes through another huge, uh, crushing death with his friend Stu Sutcliffe mm-hmm. <affirmative> a couple years later. Um, and they, they, their bond is thickened by this, right. And then they're world famous. So yes, fame is, uh, kind of a toxic force that presses down on them. And their solution, one way of looking at it is that their solution is that they're gonna be growing up and doing their identity formation in public. And that's one way in which the Beatles catalog is incredibly, uh, gracious and benevolent and, um, helpful to their audience because it's a, it's a giant coming of age story that everybody participates in, right?
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So rock and roll becomes a way of all of us understanding ourselves mm-hmm. <affirmative> through the way we reflect off of and consider ourselves in relation to the personalities that are taking shape in the Beatles albums. Right? Yeah. And that becomes a really important theme in all of rock and roll. And as rock and roll in its second generation is sort of doing that explicitly on a world stage, it becomes really important to the audience. Um, you know, if you're entering what we used to call junior high when the Beatles first appear on Ed Sullivan, and then you're finishing college when they, uh, put out their last album, you have literally gone through like adolescence with the Beatles on the radio and everywhere else, and they are busy grappling with all those identity issues that you're going through at that age. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so that's one reason their, their bond with their audience is incredibly intense and one reason why it sticks around, cuz those themes are universal and every generation is gonna be doing that identity formation as they grow up.
So I think you're right. I think a lot of it is they're growing up in public. We also know a lot more now about how much Lennon was suffering in his first marriage, uh, ending that marriage, finding Yoko. The, the relationship with Yoko is much bumpier than they were letting on at the time. And the way they, we know now that they romanticized that relationship a great deal. He considered it kind of a salvation, a redemptive relationship, but he brought a lot of baggage to that relationship. He had to work through a lot of stuff. And this larger arc of him starting out as a misogynist and a tough guy and someone who really needed to prove himself with his fists and, um, was, was very patronizing towards women. And then really later in life, having a real revelation and really devoting himself to his child and being a house husband. His, that arc is very, very emblematic for the arc that a lot of men went through at the same time. And the, the, the fact that he was able to put that in song, I think is what sort of lifts him above most of the other songwriters There.
Fritz Coleman (00:18:09):
You, you made a, a really interesting observation about his relationship with Yoko. Uh, you said that Yoko was actually John's passive aggressive way of disrupting the band. Yeah. She was, uh, at recording sessions, places where she wasn't invited. She was at private group demos, even at Apple Business meetings, and this was his way of sort of sabotaging the power structure of the band. Comment about that.
Tim Riley (00:18:35):
Yeah. Well, and it's something that doesn't get talked about in the, in the Get Back documentary that everyone's been talking about, but they actually speak about it in this film about how they, they go and have a meeting at George's house after George quits, and they're really miffed because Lennon shows up with Yoko and, uh, Yoko does all the talking. Lennon refuses to participate. But, so the way I look at this is that he sort of turns her into his shield, into his, the, the person he's gonna put in between him and the rest of the band if she's gonna interrupt the normal modes of conversation they're used to. And that's his way of separating out. And it's, um, you know, it's not commented on enough. I think Lennon's always, uh, they always want to think of him as like the tough guy. He was really very conflict averse mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Um, and this was a very passive aggressive way for him to really express his, um, growing disenchantment and ambivalence with the band. And it took him a long time. So he gets together with Yoko in say, may or June of 1968, and it's another year and a half before he announces to the band that he, he has to leave. And he says he's, you know, he has been sort of itching to leave that whole time, but he's very torn because the band A, their muse isn't finished. They're still working a lot. They still have all these great material and energy flowing between them. So on one level they're, it would, it wouldn't make sense to leave the band on another level. He's doing all of these independent avant-garde projects with Yoko like crazy outside the band. And that is thrilling and much more fulfilling to him than the stuff that's going on with the band.
So he's hanging out with the band out of a mixture of insecurity and obligation and duty. And when he finally gets up the nerve to quit, um, you know, he has spent the last 18 months, um, of his membership in the band slowly inserting Yoko and making her the target of everything. I think it's really one of the smaller gestures that we don't really critique lenon enough for, right. Is that he sort of, he sort of lets her take all the heat and she becomes the target then, then everyone blames her for breaking up the Beatles. Well, there's no way Yoko would've shown up at all these business meetings or studio sessions if Lennon had not insisted that she'd be there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. And there's very, there's no other Beatle who could have brought a Yoko Ono figure in and foisted them on the band, uh, the way Lennon does with Yoko Ono.
Fritz Coleman (00:21:00):
And I just, uh, Weezy, if you'll forgive me, I want to go back to the point you made earlier about, uh, them having to realize their identity in, in public, even before the Beatles, the origin story of John Lennon was tumultuous. I mean, he was born as London was being bombed, his mom gave birth to him as the bombing of London was occurring. There was family turmoil because of what happened with his mother and his aunt and everybody. So his life n never knew anything but turmoil even before the Beatles.
Tim Riley (00:21:30):
Right. And, and that is part of the identity formation that we hear in the music, even when it's not overt. A lot of it is, is, uh, under the radar is, uh, subtextual. But he's really had a very traumatic childhood and adolescence, and he's been escaping into drugs, um, a lot throughout his twenties. Um, the thing with Yoko is, is very complicated because in a way, she is a deliverer. She does represent his path out of the band and how Stuckey is, um, in his lifestyle. Um, and at the same time, he's, uh, you know, he, he's still John Lennon. You still have to grapple with those beasts no matter what relationships you get in. Right. A relationship isn't gonna solve the problem. So, but we do have a sense very late in life where we sort of hear him more clearheaded and more, uh, happier and settled.
Uh, he's as settled and as happy as he's never been when he makes double fantasy mm-hmm. <affirmative> in 1980, and then some people slam that because it's not hard enough, it's not edgy enough, it's not, doesn't have enough bristles. So he can't win <laugh>. On the one hand, uh, it would've, you know, it's so tragic to think of what he could have done, um, when, when you live past 40, I, I mean, I always just feel like I can't believe at 40 is just too young, way too young to die. I mean, he had so much more music in him, it would've been so fun to see how much more music would've poured outta him.
Louise Palanker (00:22:59):
Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting that's, that so much more is expected of the darker Beatle. And, uh, you know, maybe that's just kind of how, how we, how we look at life that the darker person is more interesting and therefore, you know, Paul can be the lighter beetle and, and do wings and whatever, whatever, and beyond. But, uh, and it's like, maybe it's not as good as what he wrote, but he doesn't get at, he's not as harshly criticized as, as John if, if he not measuring up to certain people's expectations. But one of the interesting dynamics that you write about is how they eat. You know, since they each lost their mother at a vulnerable age and then found each other after they broke up, the Beatles broke up. And then Fascinatingly John puts his non-musician wife into his stage act. Yes. And Paul puts his non-musician wife into his stage act like they were terrified of being out there alone. And, and you write about that. So, so talk to us a little bit about that. I find it so
Tim Riley (00:23:55):
Fascinating. Right. So I think there's several layers to that. I think on one layer, they are kind of insecure. They, they have relied on each other so much on stage that when they enter these new partnerships, they, they need to bring these new partners on stage with them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> on another level, I think that what it shows us is that they consider the act of music making a very intimate act. Mm. And that if they're going to be intimate with a new person, that that is going to mean that the music is going to remain on an intimate level. That's a language. And so there's a way in which they consider these professional partnerships very on very intimate terms. Now, obviously there are different phases in their life, there's different kinds of intimacy. But I do think that, that both of them bringing their, um, uh, their new partners out on stage with them, I, I think it reflects more than simple insecurity. I think it does reflect a certain way in which they consider music making to be a very intimate act.
Louise Palanker (00:24:50):
Fritz Coleman (00:24:52):
The Beatles, uh, and how they became schooled American music is sort of common across all of the forefathers of the British invasion. And that was that Liverpool was an entry point for American products like rock and roll records. And, and many of the acts in the British invasion talk about trading records with, or buying records from merchant sailors who came back from the states on their travels with all these new interesting country and blues records. And they would have these huge weekend record swaps on the docks. Yes. And John did that a as did Paul, and as did, uh, you know, the, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and all these people seem to have had the same basis for their enthusiasm about American blues, which they ended up teaching American children about their own Yeah. Music style.
Tim Riley (00:25:44):
Yeah. So that's a really fascinating part of the story. And the more I, the more research I did on that end, the more fascinated we became. So you're right, it's a lot of the merchant sailors on the docks, they're trading records. There's also an army base right outside Liverpool. And so that's where l pu first get exposed to things like Coca-Cola. And, um, they watch as the, uh, the young American soldiers come into town, um, to the pubs. All of the British girls are very attracted to the Amer young American soldiers. America has a very sort of glamorous and, um, you know, hyper, hyper, uh, successful aura about it. What we forget is, in the fifties in Britain, it was not really a big economic boom the way it was in America. Right? So America, the hamburgers, the cars, all of that stuff is booming in Britain. They're still rationing butter and meat up through 19 57, 58, and they're paying off a war debt. Right. So they had a 3 billion war debt. And, um, you know, Churchill was kind of hoping America would forgive that war debt. And America didn't. America just said, no, you've gotta pay off the war
Louise Palanker (00:26:50):
Debt. And they're also literally rebuilding structures that have been destroyed.
Tim Riley (00:26:53):
I'm right. And it lit. They're, they're playing in, in, uh, bomb scars. I mean, they play literally in, in scarred pieces of the city where bombs have been, uh, dropped. So it's a very interesting, uh, relationship. And one of the things I wanted to write about, um, in Lennon's book was the British history of rock and roll rings out very differently than the American history of rock and roll. So they select different figures to sort of deify and worship. And so the Beatles version of Rock and roll, which we have now become a, become accustomed to, because they, they presented it back to us as sort of, this is the frame we're putting on this music. Nobody, there was no frame on the music till the Beatles came along, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there was nobody saying, oh, Chuck Berry. So it's Chuck Berry, it's Carl Perkins', buddy Holly.
Well, buddy Holly was very, very big in Britain, is much bigger in Britain than he was over here in Britain. They still have Buddy Holly conventions, uh, in Britain. They mu they deify Eddie Cochrane a lot more than we do over here. Oh. Um, Andrew Luke Oldham's, uh, books on the sixties, he was the manager for the Rolling Stones, and he has great memoir of the sixties. And he says, Eddie Cochrane spilled his blood on British soil for rock and roll. I mean, they consider him like a Christ figure. Um, and we, we like Eddie Cochran, but we think of him as sort of an Elvis Presley knockoff. They think of him as like one of the real gods. And Eddie Cochrane touring with Gene Vincent and dying on British soil is very intensely symbolic for them. Oh. So, uh, the stones all do, uh, do Cochrane numbers.
The Beatles do Cochrane Led Zeppelin does Eddie Cochran, the who does Eddie Cochrane. Um, these kinds of differences in the way rock and roll gets translated over there, I found really fascinating. And so I wanted to try and tell the history of rock and roll through John Lennon's ears, because I think that's an, that's an uninvestigated piece of the story. And it has a lot to do with how, uh, racial tension in American music translates over to Britain. Cuz they don't have the racial tension over there that we had here. Um, and so some of the, the class, some of the status tensions, uh, among, between classes in America that play out as racial separation in America get played out as class differences in Britain. And so what you're hearing when, when Lennon adapts Chuck Berry, he's singing a lot about class tension, and it's a very interesting kind of filter that the racial tension gets put through.
Louise Palanker (00:29:19):
And like, just like, you know, you might say that in, in England, they don't understand racial tension the way we do. Also, you know, for for Americans, please explain class tension because we don't really have that here, and it goes back for generations. Right. You're breeding well.
Tim Riley (00:29:34):
Well, I like to say we, uh, it's not like we don't have it here. We pretend we don't have it. Okay. <laugh>, but ev Right. But everybody, I mean, we pretend we're a class free society and we pretend that what democracy does is it all men are created equal. We know that that's a fiction on a certain level, but we choose to act as though it's not a fiction. In Britain, what it is, is a hard fact that everybody acknowledges all day every day. Right? So in Britain you have this very firm line between working class, which they would consider to be people who got high school educations and took sort of, uh, vo what we call vocational jobs or vocational trainings and became plumbers or, uh, you know, electricians or something like that. And then they have the professional class, right? Which is people who go to university and become dentists and lawyers and doctors, right?
And then you have a, a royal class AB above all of that, right? Which is an untouchable class, right? Um, and th this, this is all the descendant of the aristocracy and the people who work for the aristocracy, right? So, um, this is very pronounced in Britain. And if you're, if you grow up like Lennon in a place called Mendips, which is a suburb of Liverpool, and it's actually pretty middle class suburb of Liverpool, but he's the only member of the Beatles who has indoor plumbing, uh, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, they all have to go outside to go to the bathroom, what we would call outhouses. But they simply do not have indoor toilets in any of the housing that those kids are brought up in. And you can go visit those houses now, and you'll see the, the toilets are outside. So if you get up to we in the middle of the night and you're going outside, well, Lennon actually had a pretty privileged upbringing.
His privation was more emotional, right? He gets passed around from family member to family member, and then his mom dies and his favorite uncle dies and his best friend dies. So he's actually has this very ironic what people in Liverpool would call a cushy existence <laugh>, compared to the other three Beatles. But he's in love with working class music, with working class rock and roll. And what he sees is a rock and roll is really thumbing its nose at the whole idea that somebody is better if they make more money. And that working class identity has every right to have to be treated with the same equality as somebody who makes a lot more money. That that is what he hears as rock and roll is pronouncing. And, um, in a way, um, it's, it is a very curious when it gets reflected back to America because the Beatles are famously singing, alright, black people music, right?
They're Chuck covering Chuck Berry. Uh, Chuck Berry is definitely singing, um, as a person of color in an oppressed minority in his country. But he's getting now reinterpreted by, uh, what John Lennon used to call what we were grammar school boys. So they were what we would call prep school boys who were on their way to university. They're smart enough to get into university, but they are brought up in lower class circumstances. So it gets very complicated very quickly there. But that's sort of what they were, that's sort of what we're talking about. And so, when, very famous moment when John Lennon is at the Royal Variety Show in November of 63, and he says, those of you in the cheaper sheets, clap your hands. <laugh>. He's saying, those of you who have the working class tribe, oh, join us, clap. We all like to clap and dance and have a good time. Those of you in the more expensive seats rattle your jewelry <laugh>,
Fritz Coleman (00:32:58):
Tim Riley (00:32:59):
<affirmative>. He's saying to royalty, he's saying, you know, you guys could stoop to our level if you want to have the slightest bit of fun <laugh>. But what he's really saying is, everybody loves rock and roll too much to ignore it anymore. And we've won. And like this idea of class distinction, the music just obliterates it. That's what he loved about rock and roll.
Fritz Coleman (00:33:18):
But I, I, I, I think, uh, the, uh, beyond Chuck Berry, even even more bluesy acts, the muddy waters, the Howen wolf, all those guys, I think they empathized with the emotion in that because they felt oppressed because of the economic circumstances in southeastern England. Like the blacks in America did, not for the same reason, but they just, the underdog quality of that music seemed to resonate with all those British guys that are blues based rock and roll people. And they also Oh, yeah. And they also, and you talk about this, uh, at length in your book, they also have, um, an identical origin concept, which is skiffle and the Lonnie Donogan era. All those guys looked up to him as a hero, first of all, explain what skiffle music is and how important it was to early rock and roll.
Tim Riley (00:34:08):
Right? Okay. So skiffle was a very important trend that happened, um, in the mid fifties in Britain. It didn't happen in America, so Americans have a hard time identifying with it. But there was a guy named Lonnie Donogan, and he brought out this, this, uh, brand of music called Skiffle. And it was wildly popular, mostly because it was really cheap and easy to imitate. So all you needed was a guitar and somebody on a, what they called a bathtub bass, right? Which was literally a bathtub, uh, a tin bathtub basin <laugh>. And you'd stick a broomstick in it and a string, and you'd get like a low, you'd get like a fake bass, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it wasn't even a real bass. You weren't playing notes, you were just playing these low thumping sounds. It was partly a percussion instrument. And you could imitate these, the sound of this in a washboard.
So running a pick or running just a, uh, a, a pencil across a washboard to make a rhythmic sound, you could imitate this so quickly that many people in Liverpool told me it wasn't Is your brother in a skiffle band? It was, which skiffle band is your brother in <laugh>? Because everybody was in a skiffle band. Yeah. It was a huge explosion. And it lasted for a year or two. And that's where everybody came up and started, got started early on in rock and roll with those skiffle bands. And it was because Lonnie Donogan had this really great kind of energetic, uh, free, pure, uh, spirited way with singing a song. And he had a couple big hits over there and everyone went out and they could immediately imitate it. So it was a very important sort of like, uh, middle step, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> between amateur and professional. You were in a skiffle band and everyone was listening to it and everyone was talking about it. And skiffle translated pretty, um, pretty easily into rock and roll. Cuz if you could master skiffle on those, uh, homemade instruments, then you could translate it onto a drum set and a bass guitar pretty quickly.
Louise Palanker (00:35:57):
So let's talk about birth order for a moment, because I think that I, I think the age difference between George and Paul and, and and John is interesting in that it's, is it, which braces my question, is it possible that George was equally as talented as a songwriter, but because he was only 15 and they were 18 when the group launched, that they never quite took him seriously as they would have if he had been their age?
Tim Riley (00:36:23):
Yeah. Uh, it's a, you know, it's a question that a lot of critics have, have pondered and, and, uh, poured over, and it's impossible to know, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's a, because we, it's a counteraction, we will never know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, what we do know is that, um, they didn't take him seriously for the longest time, and they did treat him rather chaly as a songwriter, but they also, we know that they encouraged him madly, and that by the second album, they were encouraging him enough that he gets a song on the second album. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> now he doesn't really develop as a songwriter for a couple years, and he does lag behind. But his development is one of the really curious things to trace through the Beatles catalog, because by the time you get to the White album in Abbey Road, George is, uh, as good a songwriter as Len and McCartney and watching that development is, is really fascinating.
Um, but they also give George, um, you know, great Len and McCartney songs to sing, I'm happy just to dance with you. And, um, they're v it's, and Lennon has quoted it's quote saying, you know, we thought George was great and we were trying to get him to step forward, but there's a piece of George's personality that's a little bit more a side person. He's not a lead singer, right? He's not a front person for any kind of band, but they always gave George and Ringo a song to sing. And usually they each got a song outside one. If you look at that first album, you get all four singers before side one is over. And I think that's very deliberate.
Fritz Coleman (00:37:47):
I I thought there's a really interesting point that you made about George and his musical history. We, we know that he was drawn to Eastern thought and led the boys into Eastern thought later on studying over there and also adopting and introducing the world to Sitar music and Ravi Shankar and all these sort of eastern musical philosophies. And then come to read in your book that George also listened to a lot of Indian symphonic music when he was younger as a young boy in his home. And I wonder if, if you see the arc between that early exposure and what he did in like, the All Things Must Pass album.
Tim Riley (00:38:23):
Right? So, apparently I discovered, and a few other Beatle authors have discovered that his mom really liked to listen to, um, uh, Indian music on the radio when, when the b BBC would play Indian music. And apparently this was one of her favorite things to do. So he got exposed to the Indian music very early on. So we think that that's one of the reasons. The other reason is that he, there was a sitar on the set of the movie help, and he picked it up and was playing around with it, and he discovered that it, he was fascinated by it. So he travels to India and he meets Ravi Shankar, and Ravi Shankar takes him on as a student. And we know that he was a pretty serious student because he got good enough, um, that he was able to judge for himself. You know, I'll only ever be so good on this instrument.
It's not something I can really pursue much further because I, I just don't have the facility to get as far as my master Ravi Shankar, so I'm gonna stop. But he always loved it. And he, when I saw George Harrison on tour in America in 1974, he was still having Robby Shankar open his shows for him. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now, the irony here is that Robby Shankar is easily the most westernized of all Indian musicians. Oh, right. So Ravi Shanker's mission is to make Western music palatable to the western, to the western mind to make Indian music Yeah. As palatable to the western ear as possible. So what we're listening to is an Indian musician who's desperate to be popular in the West. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. We're not, so I have questions about how authentic and how sort of, how, how what the real serious Indian musicians make of Ravi Shankar.
Um, and so that's a question I have. The other question I have is of, of the all Indian music experts I've spoken with, um, in the Indian music tradition, there is no separation between, uh, musical capacity and musical, uh, virtuosity and spiritual quest. Right? So, to play an instrument well is a spiritual endeavor. In India, there's absolutely no such thing as a non-believing sitar player in India. Right. Oh, wow. That's interesting. To play this satar means you are pursuing a spiritual communion with your maker. Right. So what I'm curious about is how this Western Indian figure, Ravi Shankar, introduces George Harrison to all of these spiritual concepts. Cuz if you play this satar, it's on, it's like, um, it's like some, some variations of, of judo or mount martial arts, right? There's, there's a spiritual element to the discipline. It's not something that you can do, um, in, in a, uh, in a detached way. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it has a spiritual component to it, built into it. Um, so I'm very curious about, about that and whether we should, whether we should think of George Harrison's understanding of Indian music as watered down or westernized. I'm still not clear on a lot of that. Uh, I
Fritz Coleman (00:41:19):
Just found that it was fascinating that it, that it seemed like it was something familiar from his youth when he got to be an adult and could Yeah. Manipulate public taste about music.
Tim Riley (00:41:30):
Yeah. Well, apparently this is, apparently it was something that his enjoyed listening to and whether there's several different sources for that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we know that that's true. By the time he gets to all things must pass, um, he's actually moved through his sitar phase and there's a lot of spiritualizing on All Things Must Pass, but he doesn't play Sitar on that record at all. The Satar phase passes pretty quickly. It's 65 to 67. Okay. There aren't any sitars on Beatle albums after that.
Louise Palanker (00:41:57):
Wow. Okay. Now I wanna, uh, cut to what you've been creating lately, Tim, because I'm not, I'm noticing that you're, you, that you're sort of groundbreaking in a way to me anyway as an author, but y maybe you know more about this than I do, but it seems like your newsletter, the Riley Rock Report and your new book, what Goes On are multimedia. Do you see this as the future of publication where all books will contain hyperlinks to better tell their stories? It's sort of like Wikipedia, but, you know, because I'm wondering why, why kind Kindle experience or e-book reading had didn't do that 10 years ago? It, it, but it, cuz it seems so obvious to me. I remember the first book I read on my iPad was me, the Mob and the Music by Tommy James. And every time he would mention a song, I would leave the book and open up YouTube, YouTube and find the song. And I, and I thought, well, within a year this is all gonna be integrated, but it hasn't been. So talk about that for a moment.
Tim Riley (00:42:53):
Right. So I have the same experience and I find myself very frustrated with the state of digital books. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and e-books are just, uh, the Payless imitation of a print version. Um, and they're so, they could be so much richer and the Kindle is so limited. The Kindle, as far as I can tell, is still black and white mode. So I prefer reading on a, uh, an Apple iPad. Okay. Cause at least you get color, right? Yeah. Yeah. Um, and, uh, so I read most of my books on my iPad and the links now, just so I, when I was putting together my anthology of, uh, scattered essays and reviews and profiles and interviews from the past 40 years, I decided I wanted to self-publish because I couldn't find any publisher who was putting out any music books that had any kind of interactivity in it or any kind of multimedia books.
Now, they will drop a book every once in a while and they'll say, oh, this is multimedia and it has one video in it. And I just don't think that counts as multimedia. I want, when I want multimedia, I want extra links, I want resources, I want, uh, links to the music. I want to be able to stop and listen to the music as I go along. So I decided I'd just self-published this thing and we're, we're on a good course to publish, uh, next year. And, um, what I'm doing is releasing chapters, uh, in serial form as a newsletter and a podcast, uh, to build up the audience before we publish the book. But the book is a completely different kind of book than you've ever encountered before because it has this interactivity and it's part of something much bigger. It's gonna, it's gonna shoot you out into the web to do a lot more exploring. And I'm gonna bring you onto my website in other areas to do more reading and find more links and of understanding the music at a deeper level.
Louise Palanker (00:44:34):
Yeah. It, it, it just, it's, I find it astounding that we're not there yet. It could be a rights issue and you probably know better than me, but, you know, even things as simple as maps. If someone mentions the name of a town, if I'm on my iPad, I'll leave the book and I'll pull up Google Earth and I'll find where it is they're talking about. There's just so much that you can now share with the consumer in a 360 way that that is still kind of a do-it-yourself experience. If you have an iPad and you're curious, you can do it. But, but I'm noticing in what you've written recently, it is like you have YouTube tutorials that match and then you instruct people to, you know, start this and hit pause and then go into Spotify and start the song, and then they should kind of like track along with each other. So tell us about that.
Tim Riley (00:45:19):
Well, so with the Beatle book, what goes on, I developed 20 songs, um, 20 listening guides for songs. And these are silent videos that you cue up alongside the player, whatever player you want to use, your CD or a streaming service. And it does a countdown so you can sync it up and then you'll, you'll see in real time lo all the details and the different layers of meaning in the song go by in a listening guide. And I did this for the Beatle book. And, you know, uh, I, I really think that the publishing industry has a lot to answer for. I think they're woefully, um, anti-innovation, anti experimental. Um, this didn't involve applying for any rights. These videos are silent, right? So I figured out the workaround. All it takes is a little imagination, a little creativity, a little innovation, and you have a whole new multimedia way of blowing out what's there on Beatle records and helping people listen more deeply to the existing details on Beatle records.
And that's what I wanna do on this new anthology too. I want to take them sort of deeper into the text and help them listen more closely and more dynamically and have a richer experience of, you know, the insights on the page and the music as it happens. Um, and I, you know, as a music critic, I watched the music industry implode over the past 20 years, and I think it was really tragic and there was very little accountability, right. And we're watching the same thing happen now in publishing. It's really tragic and it's due to a lack of innovation, right? We, everybody is reading on their phones and their tablets and everybody senses, wait a minute, there's so much more could be happening here. And the publishing industry's not answering that need, and it's quite pronounced by now. I think they're way behind. I hope I would really like to see them try to catch up, but they're using these rights issues as an excuse instead of saying, all right, so how do we deal with the rights issue? Um, and there's a lot of different workarounds that they could get to, including paying rights or cutting new deals for books and music rights. And, um, the, the fact that no one's doing it, I just think is shameful.
Louise Palanker (00:47:24):
I think in, in old bloated business models, people are in job protection mode and they just wanna reach retirement. So it's not as innovative as tech where, you know, they'd be there much, much more quickly. Talk
Fritz Coleman (00:47:35):
About the anthology guy. Are, are you working on that now and when will that launch?
Tim Riley (00:47:39):
Yes, uh, so, um, I'm hoping to release the anthology, um, sometime in 2023, but it's, uh, collection of, uh, pieces, book reviews, record reviews, CD reviews, concert reviews, all kinds of things that I've written over the past 35 years. And it's really a history of pop music, uh, between say 1988 and now, um, through a lot of stuff that is, that it was published once in the Boston Phoenix or on npr, but needs to be collected and put in one place. And it really tells the story of a lot of different, uh, bands, both big and incidental, you know, both popular and obscure that I was covering while I was covering the club scene for the Boston Phoenix when I first got here and later on for npr. And it takes you through in real time, this is what things sounded like. This was the context we were hearing these things in, and here's how it's grown, here's how it's developed, here's how we listen to it now.
And, uh, compile it together into a major anthology. It's 800 pages, it's a little be about 80 megabytes on your iPad, so it's not very heavy, but it has a wonderful color design. And at the, the beginning of each chapter, you get the option to listen to a chapter. So I narrate every chapter. Um, so if you wanna read half a chapter and listen to me read the second half, you can do that at the end of the chapter. There's all the music links for all the music that's included in that chapter. And you can link, some of those are custom playlists, some of them are albums, and then there's all these outside links that I'll put there for further investigation. Right. So we can click through to my website, which is a really rich resource for music history, music criticism.
Louise Palanker (00:49:13):
Oh, that's amazing. And what, um, do you have a favorite Beatle themed movie?
Tim Riley (00:49:19):
Louise Palanker (00:49:20):
Biopic? Cuz I know there's a new one on John in which Sean Yes. And Julian are, uh, and I thought before we we get to that, I could ask you if there's one, if people haven't seen a Beatle movie, which one should they watch first?
Tim Riley (00:49:32):
Yeah, so, uh, I'm not a big fan of most of them, but I'll Okay. I'll cite a couple that I think that I do. Uh, you know, a respectable job with the story. One is, um, backbeat Yes.
Louise Palanker (00:49:43):
I love Backbeat. That's Stewart Sutcliffe
Tim Riley (00:49:45):
One. Yeah. Which is about Hamburg and Stu Sutcliffe. And, um, it's got a really terrific soundtrack. Uh, they did the music well and the story's really pretty great. Um, the performances are really good. Um, and then the next one is Nowhere, boy, which was a few years ago. And there's a some really wonderful stuff in Nowhere Boy about, uh, his mother Julia. And she really was, everyone describes her as colorful and a free spirit. And there's a scene in Nowhere Boy where she puts a record on, on the jukebox and starts dancing and Lennon is mortified, <laugh> embarrassed by his mother's behavior, and you realize, oh, he was a regular teenager just like everyone else. They were mortified by his mother. Right. <laugh>, I just thought that was really a wonderful sweet touch for them to add. I also like the performance of the Uncle George character in that Yeah. In that movie. So those are the two I would recommend. Yeah.
Fritz Coleman (00:50:35):
You know, we've talked about Stuart Sutcliff a couple of times, and it may be the most dominant male relationship he had in his life. John, uh, they were students at Art college talk about his relationship with Stu Sutcliffe, who he was and what he meant to John. So
Tim Riley (00:50:49):
It's a really fascinating figure. There was a, a good article in the New Yorker recently about him. Um, you know, he was a, he was a painter and they talked him into playing bass. Um, and this sort of tells you how much they, you know, they were really big art fans and they saw rock and roll as a piece of this art movement that was going on. Um, and, uh, Astrid Kercher, when I interviewed her, she said that their favorite thing to do, Stu and John, was to go spend the afternoon at the, at the museums in Hamburg and just hang out and just go look at all the paintings. Um, and when they were at a nightclub one night, they recognized a figure across the room, and this was Eduardo Ploi and he was a very famous pop art, uh, figure at the time who had just started teaching in Hamburg.
So if you can imagine the acuity and the passion that these young musicians had for art, that they actually recognized Eduardo Palazzo, who was not n it is not the kind of person most people would recognize, right? They were big enough art fans that they recognized this artist in the club. They introduced themselves. And Palazzi ultimately takes Stu Sutcliffe on to be a student. And Sutcliffe is drawing these huge, huge oil canvases. They're vast, they're really wonderful. Um, and he's a very promising painter. And he's struck dead by, uh, brain hemorrhage. Um, I think he's only 20 years old. Um, and he's, he has left the band to pursue painting. And Lennon is, feels like this is kind of a betrayal. There's a l you know, that's a very tough decision for him to drop out of the band. But losing Stu Sutcliffe is a major, again, a major loss in trauma for John Lennon.
Fritz Coleman (00:52:26):
And peripherally. Uh, I think you talked about, uh, uh, an aspect of British life, which we don't have here, but was the proving ground for so many great rock and roll artists that is the art school. Yes. I mean, you had Clapton, you had, um, uh, all these rock and roll guys that either weren't scholastic and couldn't find their place on the planet, but thank God they had these art schools that they could go to after what we call high school. Yes. Where they got to flex their art muscles. Talk about that in England. And I always thought Right, that they need to instigate something like that in this country.
Tim Riley (00:53:04):
Yeah. I, I agree. So, uh, art school was sort of like an escape hatch for many of students who, uh, wanted to do, wanted to do university, were smart enough to, to get into university, but were not academic. Were not formally, uh, ac in the academic mainstream, let's say, had too much creativity going on. So, uh, instead of studying music, they've shuffled all these kids off to art school. And there were a ton of musicians at art school. In fact, in my book I detail, you know, the top 20 or 30 British invasion figures who all went to art school. Yeah. Wow. And, and it was like a proving ground. I mean, this is really where they found their voice and they figured out, um, a lot of the stuff that they were teaching in art school, they could apply directly in the music. Um, a lot of the principals, uh, spilled over into the music quite easily. So Pete Townsend, for example, goes to art school. Right. And it just makes a lot of sense when you understand sort of how visual these people are. Like the Beatles take all of their album covers very seriously, and their visual persona is a very big piece of their persona. They get that from art school.
Louise Palanker (00:54:06):
But from the standpoint of why it was, it was a, you could learn a practical craft, you could learn drafting, you could learn architecture there. So from the government's perspective, it was teaching kids a trade. Yes. They didn't expect all these musicians to emerge, but it was, there were practical things that you could apply to a life skill. That
Tim Riley (00:54:25):
Was the, that was the philosophy. That was the framework. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Right. Was, okay, well if you got a kid who's artistic, we'll throw him into art school and then at least he'll be able to make a, or she will be able to make a living, maybe drawing pamphlets for a bus company. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> or doing some government documents or whatever it is. Right. That was seen as like, well that's, that's the practical way we'll funnel some of this creative energy mm-hmm. <affirmative> through. Yes.
Louise Palanker (00:54:47):
And let's talk for a moment about, uh, what's going on in the news. The new John Lennon biopic that's coming up, and then Julian's cover of Imagine for Ukraine. All
Tim Riley (00:54:57):
I know about the new Lennon biopic is that it's by the same guy who did the Elton John movie. Yeah.
Um, and I'm curious what his sources are and what, you know, whether he is just writing off the top of his head or if he's gonna use some source material that's different than what story he has to tell that's different. Um, who's gonna play that biopic? I know Brad Pitt has wanted to play John Lennon for a long time, but Oh wow. Um, this guy's British, so I, you know, and the Brits probably would not stand for an American playing John Lennon, um, the, uh, Julian Lenn singing, imagine for Ukraine. I haven't heard it yet, I've just read that it's happening. Is it out? Yeah.
Louise Palanker (00:55:31):
Yeah. It's all over Twitter. Yes.
Tim Riley (00:55:33):
So I haven't heard it yet. I I'm dropping the ball there.
Louise Palanker (00:55:35):
Well, he, you know, as ever, he sounds a lot like his dad and it's, this is something he said he would never cover, but he's, he's done it and he does it beautifully.
Fritz Coleman (00:55:44):
You know, he could play his dad in a biopic cuz he looks and sounds exactly like him if he could act
Louise Palanker (00:55:50):
Yeah. They might need two actors like the Brian, the Brian Wilson film. They might need a Young Leonard. Oh,
Tim Riley (00:55:55):
Well that is a very Love and Mercy is a great movie. Yeah. And that decision to use two different actors there is really imaginative and it shouldn't work. And it works like gang busters fabulous movie.
Louise Palanker (00:56:06):
It really, it really does. All right. Let's get to your recommendation cuz when we, we began our conversation. You were telling us about a comedian that you had seen recently on, on Netflix.
Tim Riley (00:56:16):
Yeah. So I just saw a Netflix special by a comedian who I hadn't heard of before named Katherine Cohen. And the special is called Twist, is she's gorgeous <laugh>. And I was, I was laughing so hard. And she's a great showman. She has great, uh, chop Biz musical theater instincts. She writes her own songs, but the songs are very, are parodies of musical theaters type songs, and she's absolutely hilarious. It's an hour of nonstop, uh, hilarity. Yeah. The Twist is, she's gorgeous. Um, <laugh> the book I just read that I really loved Yeah. Is called, um, no One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood. Okay. And it is a novel and it is, it starts out being about the web and about how the web is changing the way we think and process information and conduct our relationships. And then it takes a big left turn halfway through the book, very unexpected twist into some very dark material. And it is incredible how she pulls off this material in the book. You do Not, you, you expect this book to be light and it is very light, very funny all the way through. But she tells a very difficult story in the second half of the book and I was very impressed with it. Patricia Lockwood, no one is talking about this.
Fritz Coleman (00:57:37):
All right, let's talk about your product before we go. Yeah. What goes on The Beatles, their music and their time. Tell me why. The Beatles album by album and the Lennon book. The Man, the Myth, the Music, the Definitive Life. If you are a Beatles fan, we, we ran into this with one of the Elvis authors, but I can't say this enough. I don't care if you think you know all the minutiae about the life and death of the Beatles. You need to read this cuz there are some fascinating, um, uh, enterprises in this thing. And I'll give you, I'll, I'll tease another one that you ought to read the book about is John's, um, musical legacy. Uh, his grandfather Jack toured the United States in a menstrual band sometimes in blackface Yes. Which was so fascinating to me. Yes. And then his father was a harmonica player, Alfred and played in bands too.
Tim Riley (00:58:28):
Yes. Uh, it's a fascinating story. The more again, I, the more I learned about it, the richer the whole story got. But yes, he comes by his musicianship, honestly. Uh, several generations of musicians in John Linn's, uh, uh, paternal Line,
Fritz Coleman (00:58:43):
Really enjoyed your stuff. Now,
Louise Palanker (00:58:44):
Tim, tell us how people can subscribe to your newsletter.
Tim Riley (00:58:48):
Okay, so my website is tim riley author.com, and you can find signups there. I'm on MailChimp. It's called the Riley Rock Report, and it's twice a month and it's free
Louise Palanker (00:58:59):
And it's, it's kind of a multimedia experience. So it includes podcast and audio clips and, and all kinds of different content that you'll find. Right.
Tim Riley (00:59:08):
So it's a, it's a newsletter posing as a podcast and it helps you listen smarter.
Louise Palanker (00:59:13):
Oh, you've got all your talking points. Yes. That's beautiful. All right. Well, Fritz is gonna tell you our valued listener, how you can review our podcast and do all the things that podcasters love for you to go ahead and,
Fritz Coleman (00:59:27):
And well, I I just wanna reiterate before I do our plug Yeah. But that you're, you're such a great writer, Tim. Yeah. And, uh, and your, your analysis of the psychology of the group and the individuals is real, really wonderful and refreshing and different than anything we've ever been exposed to. So congratulations on great work. Can't wait to see Anthology. What's the name of the anthology Booker? Be The Beatles and
Tim Riley (00:59:47):
Anthology is, the working title is Millennium Pop Love Music and Squalor, uh, Tim Riley anthology
Fritz Coleman (00:59:53):
Louise Palanker (00:59:54):
It. That's a great title. Alright,
Fritz Coleman (00:59:55):
Well we have, when you include this one, I think 92 episodes of the Famous We Do Media Path podcast, we would recommend that there is something in there for everybody. We have lots about, uh, music, we have, uh, lots about, uh, books and art and people and fame and unfamous people. And we would love you to sample our podcast Media Path podcast. And if you would, please listen to an episode or two and then write us a review because, uh, we have very delicate self-esteem and we'd love to be, uh, reinforced in our efforts here.
Louise Palanker (01:00:27):
Yeah. We may even read your review on our next show. Yeah. And then that way we can create a beautiful infinity loop. Uh, we would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where our show page is, media Path Podcast. And our Facebook group is Media Path with Fritz and Weezy podcast community. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path Podcast. Please subscribe. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at Media Path firstname.lastname@example.org. We wanna thank our wonderful guest, Tim Riley. Our team includes Dean of Friedman, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman and Tim Riley. And we will see you along the media path.
You're so fluid.