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Rock History and Trivia, Beatles, Zeppelin, Doors

Rock Trivia

By Brooke Saunders

The Beatles will come in for their fair share of items, and we’ll drift over to other acts as time goes on. I don’t have exact dates or even years sometimes. But these things are mentioned in various books about the stars, and if you want to know more exact details, you’ll have to research them yourself.

I went into Barnes and Noble recently and spotted a video with the Beatles on the cover for $4.95, and could not resist picking it up. It was called THE BEATLES Unauthorized, and had a photo of them taken around 1965 on the cover. The back cover describes the product as “A must for every Beatles fan, this one-of-a-kind compilation offers fascinating, entertaining, and surprising look at the Fab Four with newsreel footage, candid and revealing interviews, and historic performances.”

The footage comes from their first US concert in Washington, D.C, in addition to one at the Hollywood Bowl. But most interesting to me was the e last interview they gave as a touring band, just before their final show at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966. Lennon looked extremely stoned or something, and was nervously tapping his feet as they fielded questions.

During the interview, an equally stoned-looking person was coming in and out of the picture from behind a curtain. One of the interviewers finally asked who it was, and Lennon said it was David Crosby. The Beatles connected with the Byrds while in L.A. on tour, and subsequently John Lennon adopted the round sunglasses worn by Roger McGuinn. Of course, Roger got the idea for playing a Rickenbacker 12-string after seeing George use one in “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Later, David Crosby said in his autobiography how much he appreciated the support for the Byrds from the Beatles, in particular, Paul McCartney.

The production of the video is a little bit cheesy, and the sub-titling and general feel of the product is definitely low budget. But the 51 minutes is great for the hard-core Beatle fan, and I especially liked the footage of Pete Best on the television show “I’ve Got A Secret.” That show from the sixties would feature people that have done something noteworthy, but the typical person might not know them, and the contestants would have to determine the what the person had done. I remember a similar show from back then, in which three or four people would sit there on the stage, and you’d have to determine which one was an astronaut or some other great position.

Best was asked a serious of questions, and they finally figured out he had been the Beatles drummer before Ringo. But the interesting part is that Best, when he was asked why he was no longer in the Beatles, he said had left to pursue other projects. I can understand someone sugarcoating their being fired, but this was out and out lying. The Beatles fired Pete Best for very good reason, as Ringo was a far superior drummer, and his chemistry with the rest of the Beatles was way better than the quiet and remote Best. He was just upset at being dumped right before the band shot to stardom.

Ringo had a jazz and big band history and experience from his childhood that Best did not. Ringo had heard a wide variety of music, and later, I just don’t think Best would have been able to handle the highly sophisticated drumming on songs like “Something” and “A Day In The Life. Though Ringo said many times he was the luckiest drummer in history, he got on board just in time, and played a key role in the chemistry of the band. He came up with the phrase “A Hard Day’s Night,” something that Best probably wouldn’t. The only thing the Beatles did wrong was not to fire him face to face, instead they had Brian Epstein do it, and were rather shifty about it.

This video is highly recommended for the Beatles fan looking for something a little different, and it really brings back the era well. The live concert footage shows the band in detail, you can see them plow through all their tunes, the masses of screaming girls, everything. I wondered about the rights to the footage, even though the people putting this video together bought or already owned the footage, paid a photographer for the picture on the cover, how could they release this product without and avalanche of lawsuits? These are full length versions of Beatle compositions, not to mention their covers of other people’s songs, and it is assumed they paid royalties somewhere down the line. A little detective work is in order.

Another intersection of interest concerning the Byrds and the Beatles is the ill-fated tour the Byrds did of England when the Tambourine Man hit big. The promoter ill advisedly promoted them as the “next Beatles” or something similar. That is the wrong tack on many levels, there never will be another Beatles, or anything close to them. The Byrds were upset at the description, it set the wrong tone for the press, and when they arrived and began the tour, the venues and equipment were very poorly set up. On a number of occasions, they played tiny clubs, even playing through one amplifier. But they did get to hang out at Abbey Road with the Beatles and socialize with lots of important people.

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