Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Shoulda Been There: 30 August 1972 Part Two

As I mentioned in my previous blog, it's time for a new, improved version of The One-To-One Concerts. Currently, there only seems to be a CD (mostly from the afternoon open rehearsal) in print. The VHS tape, as well as the vinyl LP and the cassette, has been deleted. The CD/LP/CS version featured John's eleven performances. The VHS added two songs by Yoko. It was not released until 1986. Originally it was scheduled to come out in 1972, but was allegedly shelved so that the couple would have a lower profile during their immigration case.

My memory of the original television special only had one flaw - it was too short! I believe it was a one-hour, prime time special on ABC-TV. All four acts were represented. It seemed to capture the feeling of the show, with great camera work, and an excellent audio mix (for the time). It was fantastic to be able to experience a small part of the concert again. And then it was gone.

Occasionally, you would see a clip on Geraldo Rivera's ABC program, Goodnight America, or a telethon Geraldo would be associated with. Footage would appear in Lennon documentaries. Photographs would appear in books. But unlike many other musical events, there was no way to revisit or appreciate it.

After attending the concert, I purchased an Elvis 45 of "Hound Dog". Later, I found a poor quality album called Teddy Boy, featuring almost all of John's songs from the evening performance. When the official Capitol album came out in 1986, I didn't buy it. I'm not sure why. I've bought lots of Fab-related stuff (basically everything else!), but was not compelled to own this release. It may have been that I wanted to keep my own memories of the concert, uncorrupted by an official record. I remember being disappointed when I heard the inferior, afternoon concert version of "Come Together" on the radio. I did eventually buy the album on CD, years later. Of course, it's still a great album. Not exactly what I wanted, but even secondary Lennon is better than most artist's best efforts.

Now is the time for The One-To-One Concert to be remixed, re-edited, and re-released. It needs to be available both visually, and aurally. Yoko may want to follow Neil Young's lead and put it out on Blu-Ray. Or maybe a CD/DVD set ? There could also be a special "deluxe" edition, featuring the complete concert, with all of the opening acts. Sha Na Na, Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack should be able to fit on one DVD.

The evening John & Yoko set should be included, without ANY edits that compromise the integrity of the performance.

The songs should be drastically remixed so that the power of the guitars, and the electricity of the music are restored. (Phil Spector did the original mixing. Use those mixes as a basis, he's probably too busy right now to remix it himself). Other songs from the early show, and the rehearsals, can be added as bonus material. The original concert announcement on Eyewitness News, as well as the radio spots for the second show (including out-takes) can also be included.

The visuals should feature long, lingering shots, not quick MTV-style edits. It should also include lots of close-ups.

The booklet should feature lots of photographs from 1972, along with reviews, interviews, clippings, and re-appraisals. It should be better researched than what was used used in the inaccurate The Lennon Anthology liner notes.

Here's a complete list of the Lennon's songs from both shows, as best as I can research:

John: New York City / It's So Hard /Woman Is The N*gger/
Well Well Well/ Instant Karma /Mother/Come Together /
Imagine /Cold Turkey/Hound Dog/Give Peace A Chance

Yoko: Sister O Sisters /Move On Fast/Born In A Prison/
We're All Water / Open Your Box /Don't Worry Kyoko

Don't cut corners. John's memory, while still with us, is fading every day. In order to keep his spirit alive, people need to be reminded what a vibrant, exciting, and complex human being he was. He was more than a Beatle. More than a poet. More than a peacenik. More than a house husband. He was all of those, and more. But no one will know it if his legacy is reduced to a cliche.
After all, it's John Lennon. He deserves the best.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You Shoulda Been There: 30 August 1972 Part One

August 30 marks the 36th anniversary of the only full-length, rehearsed post Beatle concert given by John Lennon. It was a benefit concert, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, for the mentally challenged at Willowbrook. As I blogged before, I was privileged to attend the evening performance .I was 13 at the time. Getting tickets for the show was like a dream.

My father took my younger sister and me. By this time I had only been to two concerts that could possibly be categorized as "Rock". They were at the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island. Both must have been around 1970. The first was soul singer O.C. Smith of "Little Green Apples" fame. In fact, that was the only song I knew by him. My father somehow was offered a pair of tickets, and asked me if I wanted to go. Of course I jumped at a chance to go to a concert. I remember getting dressed up in a white turtleneck and a blazer.

Before we left for the show I was in the living room with my father, who had uncharacteristically bought The Who's 1969 rock opera, "Tommy". My father loved classical music and had amassed an entire wall full of classical vinyl in the period of a few short years. While there were a few nods to more popular music - two Tom Jones albums (for my mother), the original cast recording of "Hair", and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends"- everything else was classical music. Before we left for the show, I sat on our big red sofa, and listened to the first two sides of "Tommy". Even though I was constantly listening to either WABC or WGLI- the two local AM rock stations- the Who's "Pinball Wizard" for some reason did not register. It's also very likely that I saw the Who on "This Is Tom Jones", but that, too, has no lasting impact. I figured that The Who must be a big deal if my dad had bought a double album by them. While listening, my father explained what a "libretto" was, that an opera told a story with different people singing different parts, and that the "Overture" presented themes that would return throughout the opera, and he liked the pun of something called the "Underture". (Both "Bookends" and "Tommy" somehow mysteriously ended up in my personal collection). I don't remember much about the O.C. Smith concert other than I enjoyed it. It was a mainstream concert, very professional and entertaining, and it whetted my appetite for future concerts.

The next concert was teen idol Bobby Sherman. My sister, of course, was the fan in this case, although I did buy his first hit single, "Little Woman", backed with a cover of Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings". It was on the Metromedia label, which had a really cool powder blue label and sleeve. For some reason, my grandparents (!) brought us. Not too surprisingly, they thought it was too loud . I remember that the opening acts were called Instant Joy and Fat. One of them (Instant Joy ?)I believe were also Sherman's backing band. They announced that they just changed their name to "Bare Feet" after their shoeless drummer. I remember people throwing presents on stage, including a hand made rug that said "Hey Mr. Sun", a song he did not perform. I vaguely recall Bobby performing two Beatles songs. The only one I remember was "I Saw Her Standing There". Sherman would shake his hips like Tom Jones during an added instrumental bit -- Well my heart went boom (drums : booma chucka booma chucka booma chucka) when I crossed that room (booma chucka booma chucka booma chucka), which I thought was pretty cool at the time. I guess I still do !

This was of course bush league compared to my first real rock concert experience, even if I was going with my father and sister. I must have been pretty wide-eyed as my dad lead us through the maze that was Madison Square Garden. My father did get me a small, yellow John & Yoko t-shirt on our way towards our seats. We had a great view - they were behind the stage, about 4:30 from the rear. There were mirrors above the performing area - a short-lived practice I believe used for spotlights to illuminate the musicians. It also helped us see what was happening at the front. I had heard that the shows were sold out (as you would expect), but there seemed to be plenty of empty seats behind the stage. I heard John & Yoko bought a bunch of tickets to be given away - maybe they never got distributed ?

Some random memories: There was some stoner dude behind us who told his date, "I heard that Clapton is gonna be here" (which I didn't really believe). My sister pointed at someone near us and said, "Daddy, look at the funny pipe". My father also informed us that the unusual smell in the air was marijuana.

I was beside myself with anticipation. Geraldo Rivera, the local Eyewitness News reporter who organized the concert, was the MC. (Here's some Fab stuff from Geraldo's vault: ) The first act he introduced was Sha Na Na, a humorous 1950s nostalgia act. I was familiar with them from the "Woodstock" album and movie. They were the penultimate act before Jimi Hendrix. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this group, it featured a backing band in "greaser" attire, with three lead singers (including "Bowser") in gold lame, performing old time rock and roll complete with choreographed moves. I remember they played five songs. The most memorable was "Tell Laura I Love Her", with the singers on their knees, with arms outstretched . I think they also performed "Yakety Yak" and closed with "Rock and Roll is Here To Stay". It was a great way to start the show. One can't help but think that John hand-picked the support acts, as they all seemed to reflect Lennon's musical tastes.

Next up was Stevie Wonder, who also shared the bill with the Lennons at the "Free John Sinclair" rally, in Ann Arbor, the previous December. Fresh off the Rolling Stones US tour, Stevie basically performed a brilliant greatest hits set, and I believe he ended his set with a preview of his next single "Superstition". He was a dynamic performer, and when he would walk around the stage to perform on different instruments, including the drums, my father and I seriously wondered (no pun intended) if he was actually blind !

Between sets, all the equipment had to be removed and replaced with the instruments and amplifiers for the next act. Things were much more primitive in those days - this process is much more efficient now. I didn't mind the wait. I was soaking up every aspect of the event.

Roberta Flack was next. I knew her from her cover of the folk song "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". Unfortunately, it was getting late, it was a long day, and Flack's unfamiliar ballads were not helping me stay awake. She may have covered Dylan's "Just Like A Woman", which I later saw was released as a single. (I was only somewhat familiar with the song from the "Bangla Desh" album).

Finally, it was time for the MAIN EVENT!

A few minutes before midnight, the house lights went down, the (mostly yellow) spotlights illuminated the stage, and the first two lines of "Power To The People" repeatedly reverberated throughout the Garden. (I thought it was "The David Peel Singers", but it may have just been a tape loop of the single) Geraldo introduced Plastic Ono Elephants Memory, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono (as you can hear on Lennon's "Anthology" box set). Then John and Yoko entered from the side of the stage.

They looked so f*cking cool. Yoko was all in white, and John had his army jacket on, as I'd seen him wear on a television talk show. While I didn't dare try to predict what songs he would play, he did open with what I thought would be an appropriate number, the Chuck Berry-ish rocker "New York City", from the recently released album "Sometime In New York City". While everyone else sat down, I continued to stand up. It was almost too much to handle. The stoner dude behind me told me to sit down. I don't think it was because he couldn't see, but because it wasn't that big a deal, that it was just another concert. But THIS WAS JOHN LENNON!! Sit down ?? The LEAST you could do was stand up ! I'm not talking about screaming teenyboppers. I couldn't understand how you could be so non-plussed. However, I did sit down not too much later, sitting on the edge of my seat until it was time to stand up again at the very end.

There has been much confusion about what was played at both shows. The Lennon Anthology box set liner notes says that the included live tracks were from the "unreleased" afternoon show, but some if not all of them are from the evening performance. The live LP and video (still not out on DVD) were heavily edited, used mostly the early show, often with introductions of some songs from one performance was followed by a performance taken from the other show.

The afternoon show was scheduled , I would assume, so John, Yoko, and the band could "rehearse" before the evening performance - which would be an ABC-TV television special (a "pilot" for the future late night music series "In Concert"), with a simulcast of FM radio, and, idealistically, a live LP (which did not appear until 1986). (Go hear:

I guess Yoko sang more songs (and different ones) during the afternoon performance, but my recollection of the evening show was that the set matched the 1986 videocassette, with the addition of Yoko's "We're All Water" as her last lead vocal, near the end of the show. It's possible I'm mistaken,but I think I would have at least noticed Yoko performing an unfamiliar song or two. From what I remember, "Give Peace A Chance " started sometime after 1:10 a.m., and the concert was over by 1:30. However there are recordings that challenge my memory, so who knows for sure ? Those recordings seem to have a lot of edits, though.

There are certain impressions that have stayed with me throughout the years. First of all - John's magnetism was palpable. He was so vibrant and alive that you felt that if you touched him, you would get an electric shock. There was also this sense of you seeing a living legend. Every little movement he made was cool. Everything he said seemed brilliant, yet funny. I recall squirming in my seat, next to my father, during John's introduction for "Mother".

You were there in the moment - sharing it with John Lennon. He was right in front of you. We were breathing the same marijuana-filled air. It was not a record, or a magazine, or a TV show, or a movie. This was live, and it was unfolding right in front of you. I was riveted, as you can imagine. You didn't know what he would do next. Everything song, every introduction, was unexpected, yet familiar. Remember, this was only the second major planned concert in the US featuring an ex-Beatle. It was an event.

Speaking of electric, the sound of the guitars were much heavier than on the eventual "Live In New Your City" album and video. (This was also a problem with Dylan and the Band's 1974 live album "Before The Flood"). The aural record does not capture the event the way it happened.

Yoko was wonderful as well, as I had expected. Some people stayed away for this concert, fearing an avant garde feedback screech-fest. However, Yoko sang in the traditional, rock and roll manner for the most part, and kept the avant garde stuff to a minimum. I particularly liked the harmonies on "Born In A Prison". While I appreciate Ono as an artist, this was not the most appropriate venue for Yoko "to do her thing all over you".

John only performed one Fab song, which was one more than I expected - it wasn't even necessary. The show was great - he had already established himself as a successful artist both critically and commercially. "Imagine", "Instant Karma", "Cold Turkey", and "Give Peace A Chance" were more than enough to please the crowd. But John went back into the past "just once", and it happened to be the highlight of the evening show. During the first show, Lennon kept tripping up over the words for "Come Together". This was not a problem for the performance I witnessed. The version I was fortunate enough to experience was incredibly heavy, with a very confident Lennon spitting out the lyrics, with John relishing his final, rewritten lines: Come together, right now . . . STOP THE WAR ! (If you listen closely to the version on "Anthology", you can hear me cheering . . )

Yet all of the performances were great, if you ask me. All powerful, all energetic, all inspiring. You could feel it in the air. You could feel it in your bones. I thought I was witnessing history in the making. Maybe not as big as The Concert For Bangla Desh, but historically significant.

However, it seems to have become a footnote in Lennon's career. Perhaps it was too local, not global enough. Maybe there was no album or movie to promote it. It could also be that the Lennons had become too political and controversial. The album "Sometime In New York City" alienated many fans at the time. Plus John & Yoko's problems with deportation were just beginning.

It's a shame these concerts are not better represented in the marketplace. While there's no media that will make you feel like you were at the concert, there is certainly better material in the vault than a CD and a VHS tape that do not use the best mixes , the best edits, or the best (evening) performances. It's possible that there are legal hang-ups, but by now, in this day and age, it seems possible to work out SOMETHING to bring this concert back to the fans, bring John's spirit back into our consciousness, and bring some great music into our lives.

Footnote: As I write this, Stevie Wonder is performing at the DNC.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bo Diddley Beat(le)

Writing about Elvis Presley last week reminded me of Bo Diddley's death in June. When I heard the news, my mind did a mental search, trying to make a connection between one of Rock and Roll's founding fathers and The Beatles. Surprisingly, there was not much.

There were a few obvious musical matches. I knew Paul covered "Crackin' Up" on Choba B CCCP, and when he covered "I Wanna Be Your Man", on Paul Is Live, he gave it the legendary Bo Diddley beat (probably in response to a review that accused Macca of treating his catalogue like museum pieces) . The radio series The Lost Lennon Tapes played John's cover of "I'm A Man", where he humorously lapsed into a proper British accent. Lennon also produced Elephant Memory's 1972 Apple album, which featured a song called "Chuck 'n' Bo". Aside from impromptu covers during the Get Back sessions, it's difficult to find any other obvious material with the Bo Diddley stamp on it.

(This is also true of Jerry Lee Lewis. However, Lennon reportedly dropped to his knees in deference to the "The Killer" when they met in the 1970s. He also said, "No group, be it Beatles, Dylan or Stones, has ever improved on 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' for my money.")

The Beatles are at the epicenter of my musical education. My knowledge of 1950s Rock and Roll was learned via The Fabs. When I was young, I'd be home, in my room, reading the information on the Capitol "rainbow" label, trying to figure out where the cover versions originated. Some were obvious, like Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. Others involved detective work. For instance, I wondered if Richard Penniman - who co-wrote "Long Tall Sally" -was "Little Richard". (Of course, it was).

Conspicuously absent from the Beatles' catalogue was Bo Diddley (a.k.a. Ellas McDaniel). Even a search though their BBC sessions came up with no Diddley. Lewisohn's Complete Chronicle book offered a clue : the Fabs covered both "Crackin' Up" and "Road Runner" in the early 1960s. In a 1977 Crawdaddy magazine interview (, George Harrison cited Diddley as one of the artists the Beatles would cover in the early days. Coincidentally, Crawdaddy was also the name of a Diddley song.

Both the Kinks and the Rolling Stones have much stronger connections with Diddley. The Kinks covered Diddley a few times on their early albums. While the Rolling Stones only covered Diddley a couple of times on record ("Mona" in the 1960s , and "Crackin' Up" in the 1970s), their early sets would feature many Diddley covers. Their third single, a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", was steeped in the Bo Diddley beat. Ron Wood even toured with Diddley in 1987, and I was lucky to see them together at The Channel club in Boston.

Plenty of other artists covered McDaniel, including The Who, The Yardbirds, Warren Zevon, Eric Clapton, and Creedence. "Who Do You Love" alone has been covered by Ronnie Hawkins, The Doors, George Thorogood, and Patti Smith, among others. Recent live concerts by Tom Petty and Jefferson Starship featured Bo Diddley tribute covers. Bob Dylan name-checked Diddley in "From A Buick 6". Of course the "Bo Diddley Beat" is ubiquitous in Rock and Roll. You can hear it in Springsteen's "She's The One", The Who's "Magic Bus", The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now", The Strangelove's "I Want Candy", and the Soft Boys' "Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole", among many others.

One of the ironic side effects when someone you are interested in dies, is you get to know more about that person after their death then when they were alive. After researching Diddley, I found yet another Beatles connection. It turns out that the song "Love Is Strange", which Wings covered on their debut album, was actually written by Bo Diddley under his wife's name (for legal reasons). Of course it's probable that Paul knew the song via Buddy Holly's version. Still it is another Fab connection to Mr. Diddley.

When I recently put on Paul Is Live to revisit his version of "I Wanna Be Your Man", I came across his original composition "Peace In The Neighborhood", which has the same feel as "Crackin' Up".

So while his influence on the Beatles may have been less than, say, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and others, I guess you could say that The Fabs DID indeed "Know Diddley".

UPDATE: 9/14/79 Paul performed "Bo Diddley" during a Buddy Holly celebration.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Thirty-one years ago tomorrow, I was mowing the back yard on a typical, hot, sunny, Long Island afternoon. For no reason in particular, my mind was reflecting on the previous summer, when I went on a cross-country trip which stopped at Graceland. I also purchased a copy of the humor magazine, The National Lampoon. On the cover was a cartoon portrait of a very out-of-shape, sweaty, overweight Elvis Presley, and I was wondering how he could let that happen to himself.

Taking a break from the heat, I went inside to get a cold drink, and turned on my radio for a few minutes. As usual, my tuner was set to WNEW-FM. It was there I learned of Elvis Presley's death.

At the time, I was not a big Elvis fan. The only Presley record I owned was a seven inch 45, on the RCA Red Labelled Gold Standard series, of "Hound Dog" b/w "Don't Be Cruel", which I bought after I saw John Lennon perform the A-side at Madison Square Garden. I knew Presley was one of the most important, groundbreaking, and influential artist in history, but it was difficult to fathom. The Beatles and just about every other artist said that hearing Elvis changed their lives, so you could not ignore his impact. It's not like today when you want to find about about someone, you just log onto your computer. In 1969, by which time I had a transistor radio, Elvis had a hit with "In The Ghetto", which seemed as un-rock and roll as you can get. It felt like it's something you 'd like when you grew up.

I was still interested in The King, however. I remember the press conference announcing his first ever New York concerts in 1972 - thinking he looked incredibly cool, and wondering what took so long for him to finally play Madison Square Garden. I also watched his "Aloha From Hawaii" special, and remember being disappointed that he rushed through older hits like "Hound Dog". Yet I was still in awe of his power, talent, and charisma.

I learned from someone who was in music retail at the time, that RCA stopped pressing all other albums right after Elvis' death, and went to a 24-hour-a-day schedule for re-pressing the Presley vinyl catalog. (I also learned that one of the casualties was Iggy Pop's RCA LP "Lust For Life" ). The label also canceled all promotional discount deals previously offered to retailers used to promote Elvis' recent hit album "Moody Blue". One of the benefits for me was that once all of the hoopla died down, much of his catalog was available at record stores at deeply discounted prices. So I invested $9.99 on a 4-LP box set -- "50 Worldwide Hits"-- which I probably listened to all the way through once, which was a bit overwhelming. A few years later, I was in London, and frequently heard Elvis songs on the radio there. I'd hear a great song like "Devil In Disguise", and wonder if I had it on the box set. It turned out I did. So when I returned home, I got into the box set, then also purchased the legendary "Sun Sessions". It finally sunk in. I knew why the Fabs, and others, called him "The King".

Of course, most Fab fans know that The King and The Mop Tops met in 1965 (with contradictory accounts), that a totally zonked-out Elvis tried to turn the Fabs in as a bad influence on youth, and that John said that Elvis died when he went into the army. Lennon also had to decide which version of "Blue Suede Shoes" should open up his 1969 Toronto gig (he chose the original, slower, Carl Perkins version).

Yet John's respect for Presley always remained. Besides his impromptu Elvis cover at The One-To-One concerts, I remember reading that Lennon didn't want to cover any of the King's tunes on his mid-1970s "Rock'N'Roll" oldies collection because he felt intimidated by Presley's original versions. While being interviewed by Tom Snyder on the "Tomorrow" show in 1975, John credited seeing an Elvis movie in a theater as the catalyst to deciding on music as a career. Lennon saw the girls screaming at the Memphis Flash, and thought to himself, "That looks like a good job!".

While being interviewed by Howard Stern, Paul said he loved Elvis' version of "Yesterday", and was amused that The King got the lines wrong so that they no longer made any sense.

The Beatles covered Presley songs well into their solo careers. To celebrate the career of the King, here's a partial list of some Elvis-associated music that the Fabs performed throughout the years. Maybe you'll feel like digging a few of these tracks out on the 16th.

Lennon: Hound Dog (Live in NYC)/Since My Baby Left Me (Menlove Ave.)
McCartney: That's All Right Mama (Sun tribute-with Scotty & DJ); Just Because (Choba B CCCP); It's Now Or Never (Last Temptation Of Elvis); Blue Moon Of Kentucky/Good Rockin' Tonight (Unplugged); All Shook Up/I Got Stung/Party (Run Devil Run).
Starr: Don't Be Cruel (CD5)
Beatles: Sit Right Down And Cry Over You/I Forgot To Remember/I Got A Woman (BBC); Blue Suede Shoes/Shake, Rattle and Roll (Anthology)
Hidden Bonus Track: It's Now Or Never (David Frost Show)

Of course, you can also play some of Elvis' Beatles' covers, like "Something", "Get Back" (part of a medley with "Little Sister"), and the afore-mentioned "Yesterday" . . . or you could play The Beatles' "Run For Your Life" back-to-back with Elvis' "Baby Let's Play House" . . .

Thankyewverrymuchladiesangennlemen . . .

Yer Blogger has left the building . . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cranberry Sauce

There have been rumors that Yer Blogger is dead. People have noted that if you read my blogs backwards, there are clues that I died in a freak blogging incident. I'm here to deny this rumor. Believe me, if I were dead, I'd be the first to blog about it.

The truth is that there was a death in the family - my printer passed away about a month ago (in a freak blogging incident). However, I have gone through the grieving process (after a period of denial), I have moved on and replaced my printer with a brand new (well, old, and refurbished) printer. And now, dear readers, Yer Blogger is back!

Instead of my usual long-winded, insanely detailed musings of all things Fab, I will cover a few subjects briefly in this special edition of Yer Blog. But don't worry, Beaddle Peedles, expect my usual mad ramblings to return in future blogs.

First of all, as I started to write this blog, I had the Howard Stern Sirius satellite radio show on in the background. In case you are not a fan of Howard, one thing is obvious while listening to the show : Howard is a huge fan of the Fabs. Sometime last year there was even a special called "Howard Meets The Beatles" which featured vintage Cynthia, Julian, and Sean Lennon appearances; guests playing Beatles covers; and interviews with Ringo and Paul (The 2001 Macca interview is legendary- Among other things, Howard says Paul is crazy not to sign a pre-nup with Heather Mills). His movie, "Private Parts", even had three Fab references in it. There seems to be a passing Beatles reference in almost every show, and today was no exception. Howard, back from vacation, started commenting on the cretin who shot John Lennon, and how he gets to spent 44 uninterrupted hours with his wife every year in a private setting. Stern expressed his outrage that the jerk who took John away from us gets to have this privilege. Robin Quivers chirped in saying that Sean Lennon would like to spend 44 uninterrupted hours with his father. Nice to hear someone honoring John regularly.

Speaking of Sirius, while Howard was on vacation, I got to spend time listening to my other favorite channel - Little Steven's Underground Garage. It's like listening to the world's coolest iPod-a mix of the hippest music from the last 50-plus years. The music ranges from Howling Wolf and The Coasters to The Yardbirds and The Ramones to newer bands like The Ravonettes and The Oholics. Not to mention long-forgotten singles by Barbara Feldon and Twiggy (!)

You can tell that the shows are programmed by music fanatics. You are just as likely to hear deeper Kinks tracks like Milk Cow Blues and Come On Now as You Really Got Me. Obscure Who tracks like The Good's Gone and Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde get airtime, while I've yet to hear any "CSI" themes. It's interesting to note that a station started by E Streeter Steven Van Zant features tracks focusing on contributions by economy-classed band members like Dave Davies and John Entwistle.

What has this got to do with a Beatles blog ? Well, for starters, here's a partial list of Fab songs I've heard on The Underground Garage lately: Devil In Her Heart, All I've Got To Do, Help!, Matchbox, Baby You're A Rich Man, Misery, You Won't See Me, Act Naturally, I Need You, Helter Skelter, Oh Darling, and She Said She Said, as well as the video mix of Revolution, the film version of It's All Too Much, and the recent "Love" medley of Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing.

Not only that, but Ringo's Liverpool 8 was in heavy rotation when it was released (and a live Ringo interview and mini-concert was broadcast on another cool station, Sirius Disorder), plus I've heard solo tracks like Paul's cover of All Shook Up, and George's Wah Wah.

Plus, where else are you going to hear Fats Domino's cover of Me and My Monkey, or Nancy Sinatra's Run For You Life ? Not to mention that The Rutles are played often, including lesser known tracks like Goosestep Mama and It's Looking Good. If you are like me , and love to learn about the music's history, they've recently played Chan Romero's original version of Hippy Hippy Shake, as well as Billy Fury's Nothin' Shakin', obscure tunes The Fabs covered early in their career.

My favorite DJ, by far, is former Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. When he talks, it's fascinating because he was THERE. It's great when he talks about the "old days' and intimately referring to members of The Stones and The Beatles by their first names . Loog also takes great pains to give credit producers and record labels. He plays the Fabs almost as often as The Stones (one particularly great segue way was The Wilbury's She's My Baby into The Fabs version of Some Other Guy), and has recently been commenting on George Martin's recent L.A. celebration, both praising and (lovingly) criticizing George's speech. As Loog said, "I'm not being bitchy, I'm being Andrew".

The last thing I want to comment on today is about something I received in the mail. A friend sent me a recording of a recent Ringo show from July 26. I have been fortunate to see Ringo live on three different All-Starr tours. Besides being the fun type of show you'd expect from Ringo, I had two observations. First of all, I love the story that Gary Wright told about how he first met Ringo while recording All Things Must Pass, and how a book that George gave Gary inspired his hit single Dream Weaver. One of the things lacking on some of Ringo's tours is fellow musicians with any connection to either The Fabs or Ringo's solo career, so that was a nice touch. The other thing I noticed is that, unlike some touring acts that have been around since the 1960s or 70s, Ringo's set list has been sprinkled with recent material that actually adds to the show! While we no longer get Honey Don't, I'm The Greatest, The No-No Song, or You're Sixteen, we DO get some excellent vintage material like What Goes On and Oh My My, as well as his catchier newer material like Liverpool 8, Memphis In Your Mind, Choose Love, and Never Without You. Now if we can just convince him to rehearse Octopus's Garden, or a closing medley of Good Night into Goodnight Vienna . . .