The following are brief summaries of lectures presented that focus on The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. For additional lectures, use the drop down menu.
The Beatles: From Liverpool to Abbey Road
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on their historic journey starting from their early days as a cover band in Liverpool and Hamburg, into the excitement of Beatlemania, including concert performances, and films, thru their creative ground breaking studio albums (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers) to the formation of Apple Corps and finally to their remarkable final recordings at Abbey Road Studios. Coming full circle, we will explore the highlights of each individual’s post Beatles work.
The Beatles Next: The Solo Years
The lecture will continue in the footsteps of The Beatles story and focus on the highlights of the “solo” post-Beatles careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo. We will explore the aftermath of The Beatles legacy and how they established themselves as solo artists. Our journey will also discuss their musical collaborations with each other on many of their solo projects. Coming full circle, we will explore their last collaborative project “The Beatles Anthology” released in the late 90’s.
The Beatles: The Making of Rubber Soul (1965)
Follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they establish themselves as a creative force in the studio with the release of their 6th album -- “Rubber Soul”. The album has been recognized as a major step forward in pop music, in terms of lyrical content and musical scope, incorporating a mix of pop, soul and folk genres. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, musical influences, and recording production. “Rubber Soul” introduced the “rock as art” album that influenced many of their peers including Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, and Mick Jagger. Rubber Soul remains the precursor to the development of psychedelia and progressive rock.
Rolling Stone ranks “Rubber Soul” as the #5 album of all time!
The Beatles: The Making of Revolver (1966)
(Expanded 2-Part Program also available)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they redefine contemporary music, breaking boundaries by expanding the scope of pop and rock sounds, as they create their timeless masterpiece - “Revolver." We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were conceived and written, their musical influences, recording and experimental studio techniques and the creation of their legendary artwork cover sleeve. “Revolver” is recognized as inspiring diverse subgenres of music including electronica, baroque rock, and world music among others.
Rolling Stone ranks “Revolver” as the #3 album of all time!
The Beatles: The Making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
(Expanded 2-Part Program also available)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of the Beatles as they embark on the creation of their 8th studio album – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band." We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, their influences, recording and production techniques and the iconic cover art. In addition, we will discuss its legacy that not only defined the counterculture of a generation but whose musical landscape continues to influence contemporary society. “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!”
Rolling Stone ranks Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the #1 album of all time!
The Beatles: The Making of the White Album (1968) (2 Part Program)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles and they journey through their turbulent year of 1968 as they embark on the creation of group’s ninth studio album - The Beatles (aka ‘The White Album’). We will explore the genesis of how many of the songs were written while they were engaged in studying transcendental meditation in India. Additionally, we will discover that even though their recording sessions were filled with personal and creative differences their studio output during 1968 far exceeded their annual work from previous years.
Rolling Stone ranks The Beatles "White Album" as the #10 album of all time.
The Beatles: The Making of Abbey Road (1969)
(Expanded 2-Part Program also available)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they record their final classic work -- Abbey Road. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. After their turbulent year while recording The White Album, the Beatles regroup and create their enduring swan song. Abbey Road stands as The Beatles rock album that incorporates genres such as blues, pop and progressive rock. Their Abbey Road crossing photograph cover art has become one of the most famous imitated in recording history -- “and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
The Beatles: The Baroque Pop Recordings (1965-1969)
(2 Part Program)
Baroque pop fuses elements of rock with classical music, often incorporating layered harmonies, string sections, harpsichords, woodwinds and brass instruments. We will travel with The Beatles as they invent baroque pop from their first piano inspired baroque harpsichord solo on “In My Life” to the many compositions where they incorporated the numerous elements of baroque music. We will discuss how their songs were conceived, written and recorded. Songs include “Yesterday” (string quartet), “Penny Lane” (piccolo trumpet), “Eleanor Rigby” (violin), “Fool on the Hill” (flute) and many others.
To quote John Lennon, “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!”
The Beatles: The Making of A Hard Day’s Night (Film and Music)
This lecture follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on filming and recording their classic movie “A Hard Day’s Night." We will discuss and analyze the creative process including the development of the plot, writing of the screenplay, production techniques, and casting. In addition, we will explore the genesis of how the songs that make up the soundtrack were written and recorded. Film critic Roger Ebert described the film as “one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies”, and added it to his list of The Great Movies.
“A Hard Day’s Night” was nominated for two Academy Awards: for Best Screenplay (Alun Owen) and Best Score (Adaption) (George Martin)
“A Hard Day’s Night” album and single achieved #1 posiiton in both in UK and US in 1964
Rolling Stone top 500 singles and albums of all time ranks the soundtrack at # 154 (single) and # 307 (album).
The Beatles: The Making of Help (Film and Music)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on filming their second movie and record their 5th studio album. We will discuss the film's synopsis, inspiration, cast and production techniques. The film has been considered a forerunner to music videos and the influence on the creation of The Monkees TV series. We will explore the genesis of how the songs that make up both the UK and US albums were written, recorded and produced.
The Beatles: The Making of Magical Mystery Tour (Film and Music)
Our lecture will take us on a journey with The Beatles as they embark on a mystery bus trip with a group of people looking to experience "strange and magical happenings" as they travel through the English countryside. We will explore how the project was conceived along with the improvised scenes from the film. In addition, we will discuss the genesis of how the songs from the soundtrack were written, recorded and produced.
The Beatles: The Making of Yellow Submarine (Film and Music)
This lecture will explore the full-length animated psychedelic film where the music-loving inhabitants of Pepperland are under siege by the Blue Meanies, a nasty group of music hating creature. The Lord Mayor dispatches sailor Old Fred to Liverpool, England to recruit The Beatles. The Beatles embark on the Yellow Submarine to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. We will discuss how the songs used in the soundtrack were written and recorded.
The Beatles: The Get Back Project (Revisited)
This program will journey to with The Beatles to January 1969 as they work on rehearsing for an aborted on-stage “live” performance while, at the same time attempting to complete what became their postponed 11th album “Get Back”. We will discuss how the songs were conceived, written and recorded. Songs will include “Let it Be”, “One After 909”, “Two Of Us” and many others. We will also review the extraordinary documentary series produced by Peter Jackson.
The Beatles: Under the Influence (2 Part Program)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they travel under the influence of some of their rock n roll heroes (Elvis, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins) whose songs and stage performances highly influenced their early repertoire and recordings. We continue the journey as they experiment in the studio by incorporating imprints from classical baroque (Vivaldi), film soundtracks (Bernard Hermann), classical Indian music (Ravi Shankar) and the avant garde (Stockhausen, Cage). In addition, we will discuss the various literary bookmarks --- contemporary literature, philosophical writings and journalistic stories that influenced some of their songs and elevating their music to the level of art rock.
The Beatles and Apple
This lecture will examine a fascinating chapter in The Beatles story as we travel with them through the rise and closure of their Apple organization. Founded in 1967 as a multimedia company (including Publishing, Films, and Electronics) whose major division was Apple Records. Apple signed many diverse artists during its tenure such as James Taylor, Badfinger, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar. We will journey with The Beatles through a turbulent period consisting of personal disagreements and business entanglements. We will discuss their roles as songwriters, producers and musicians with respect to their Apple roster of artists. Additionally, we will investigate the many legal disputes with their business manager Allen Klein, Apple Computer, EMI and Nike.
The Beatles: The Songs They Wrote For Others (2 Part Program)
This lecture will explore the songs that John Paul, George and Ringo wrote while in The Beatles and as solo composers that they never officially recorded for their catalog, giving them away to other artists. We will canvas the 75 songs as well as discuss the various performers that recorded the material and how they fit into the Beatles story. From the early days of the British Invasion of the 1960’s to those artists who were affiliated with The Beatles Apple Record Label to the present, including such diverse artists as Peter & Gordon, The Rolling Stones, Badfinger ,Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello and Kanye West. The presentation is enhanced by visual backgrounds and selected audio clips.
The Beatles: The Songs They Recorded Written by Others
Early in The Beatles career they recorded songs originally written and performed by many of their rock and roll and popular musical heroes. We will explore 70 songs that they covered as well as the various artists that influenced and helped the group to create and shape their early sound. The Beatles versions enabled them to place their stamp on these songs adding the tracks to their catalog thus making the tunes their own. We will examine songs from Elvis to the rockabilly of Carl Perkins to the country pop of The Everly Brothers to the popular jazz of Peggy Lee along with many others.
The Beatles and the BBC
This lecture will examine the unique relationship The Beatles had with BBC Radio from 1962 to 1965. Early in their career The Beatles performed approximately 300 songs “live” on the BBC while touring extensively, recording 5 albums and singles and making two films. From the BBC archive we will focus on 35 cover songs that were originally recorded by 20 various artists and not released by the band at the time. We will explore those early heroes responsible for the original versions of the songs including Elvis, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Arthur Alexander, Buddy Holly and even Ann Margaret. These Beatles covers helped that set the foundation that influenced the early sound of the group as well as many of the other British Invasion bands that followed in their footsteps.
Meet the Fifth Beatles
The 5th Beatle is an informal title given to people who were at one point a member of The Beatles either on stage or assisting the group in the recording studio. We will explore those who could have been considered a candidate for that position within the band. From the early days of The Quarry Men to The Silver Beetles to The Beatles we will travel with them as they enter the revolving door of being a band member as well as exploring the countless session musicians that enabled The Beatles to create their timeless classics.
The Beatles & Their Jewish Gang
The Beatles Jewish Gang consisted of several high-profile members of the Jewish community that were involved in the business management, record production, film, photography, writings and radio broadcasting aspects of 60s popular music. Their presence in The Beatles’ world became a key factor in enabling the group to reach and establish their foothold in the music and entertainment industry. We will travel with the gang as they help The Beatles navigate the beginning of the 60s British Invasion and thus assist the band in conquering the world!
THE SOLO BEATLES:
John Lennon: You Should Have Been There
This lecture explores the life and music of John Lennon starting from his childhood in Liverpool, into the excitement of The Beatles and their ground breaking recordings, to his “solo” post-Beatles career and his political activism. Our journey will examine and discuss both his artistic achievements and controversies that made John Lennon into a cultural icon of the 20th century.
George Harrison: The Making of All Things Must Pass (1970)
(2 Part Program)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of George Harrison as he creates his magnum opus, his first triple album”All Things Must Pass”. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were conceived, written and recorded, his musical influences, guest musicians, studio production, and its cover artwork. Many critics hail the album as being the best solo Beatles album ever made. “All Things Must Pass” has been described as epic, an extravaganza of piety, sacrifice and joy, and spiritually profound and profoundly beautiful!
“All Things Must Pass” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in January 2014.
George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This lecture presents a portrait of the incredible life and spiritual journey of George Harrison. From his work with The Beatles through his “solo” career to the Traveling Wilburys. We will explore the many talents and skills that made George a unique artist as a singer/songwriter, guitarist, session musician, producer, and film executive. We will also examine his enduring relationship with Ravi Shankar and his everlasting love for all things India.
The Traveling Wilburys Story
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of the Traveling Wilburys and how they came together to form the ultimate supergroup. We will journey with founding member ex-Beatle George Harrison as he joins forces with Jeff Lynn (“Electric Light Orchestra), Bob Dylan (“cultural icon”), Roy Orbison (“Caruso of Rock”) and Tom Petty (Heartbreakers). Their unique collaboration resulted in two highly successful albums incorporating folk, rock, rockabilly and pop into their recordings – each member has been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Paul McCartney: The Songs We Were Singing (1960-1980)
This lecture is a snapshot on the extraordinary career of Sir Paul McCartney. We will travel with Paul down the long and winding road through his remarkable creative ground breaking recordings with The Beatles, and continue the journey as he embarks on his subsequent post-Beatles work with his band Wings. From his early days in Liverpool and Hamburg to the most covered song of all time, “Yesterday”, to his triple platinum “Band on the Run” album we will explore the many talents of pop’s Renaissance man -- singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, arranger and painter.
Paul McCartney: The Making of Band on the Run (1973)
We will travel with Paul McCartney as he creates his most successful and celebrated post-Beatles album. The album showcases all aspects of his musical sensibilities from his sophisticated melodies to his multi-part pop suite of the title track to its various hooks and irrepressible tunes. We will examine how the songs were written and recorded. McCartney’s decision to record in a remote studio prompted two band members to quit thus having McCartney respond by playing most of the instruments himself on the album. The album and title song hit #1 along with two additional top ten singles.
The Making of Solo Beatles Albums: "Imagine" and "Ram" (1971)
We will examine John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s second solo albums both recorded in 1971. With the breakup of The Beatles both Lennon and McCartney look to establish themselves as solo artists. During the final days of The Beatles, their personal and professional relationship became strained and revealed itself in their music. We will explore how these albums manage to both interlock and influence each other. From “Imagine” to “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” we will discuss how the songs were written and recorded.
Rolling Stone ranks “Imagine” by John Lennon as the #3 song of all time. The album “Ram" is ranked #2 album in the McCartney catalog.
Ringo Starr “With A Little Help from My Friends”
During this lecture will travel with Sir Richard Starkey (aka Ringo Starr) from his early days in Liverpool playing in a local skiffle band, through the exciting Beatles years and their groundbreaking recordings, to Ringo’s extraordinary career as a “solo” artist. We will explore his talents as a drummer, singer, songwriter and actor. Ringo has been inducted twice into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. First as a member of The Beatles in 1988 and again in 2015 as a solo artist. In 2022 Ringo was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music for his “immeasurable impact on music, film and television and popular culture”.
Bob Dylan Revisited
This lecture will travel on the road with Bob Dylan as he navigates through the turbulent decade of 1960’s. From his childhood in Minnesota, to folk troubadour of Greenwich Village, to his ground breaking trilogy (“Bringing It Back Home” “Highway 61”, “Blonde on Blonde”) to becoming the rock/poet enigma of his time. Highlights from the post-60’s work (including “Blood on the Tracks” to the American Songbook Trilogy) will also be briefly explored. We will discuss his extraordinary artistic achievements as a songwriter, poet and cultural icon of the 20th century.
Rolling Stone ranks Bob Dylan’s "Like A Rolling Stone” as the best song of all time.
The Making of “Bringing It Back Home” (1965)
Bob Dylan’s “Bringing It Back Home” was recorded in 1965 is divided into an electric and an acoustic side. The album became the catalyst for Dylan to reinvent himself by fusing the Chuck Berry beat with traditional folk music thus creating a new form of rock & roll. We will analyze the 13 tracks on the album from Dylan’s pied-piper anthem “Mr. Tambourine Man” to the anti-establishment politics of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” to one of his most ambitious compositions “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” with apocalyptic images and whose line “he not busy being born is busy dying” by President Jimmy Carter during his presidential nomination speech. The album is the first of one of the most unique trilogies in rock and roll history.
The Making of “Highway 61 Revisited” (1965)
“Highway 61 Revisited” is the quintessential Bob Dylan ‘electric’ album recorded in 1965. We witness his transformation from a folk singer to a blues-based inspired rock and roll maverick. This revolutionary album fuses electric guitar licks, organ fills, siren whistles and the imagery of poetry into a stunning masterwork. From the kick-off snare drum of the opening track “Like A Rolling Stone” to the closing 11-minute epic “Desolation Row” with its parade of real and Fellini-esque characters we experience one of the rocks most innovative albums of all time!
Rolling Stone ranks “Highway 61 Revisited” as the #4 album of all time and “Like A Rolling Stone” as the #1 song of all time!
The Making of “Blonde On Blonde” (1966)
(2 Part Program)
The double album “Blonde on Blonde” is the final installment of the extraordinary trilogy of Bob Dylan’s mid-60’s rock albums. Dylan once described the recording as “that wild mercury sound that’s metallic and bright gold. It’s the sound that I’ve been looking for.” The album is a unique rock cycle mixing eccentric blues revisionism, with visionary and the colloquial thus creating an epic masterwork. We will explore how the 15 songs were written and recorded in the studio as well as five unreleased tracks from the same recording sessions.
Rolling Stone ranks “Blonde on Blonde” as the # 9 album of all time.
The Making of "The Basement Tapes" (1967)
Bob Dylan recorded “The Basement Tapes” during a four month hiatus in 1967 with The Band in Woodstock New York. These informal sessions produced over 100 recordings including traditional songs, standards, blues, country ballads as well as new material. The recordings have a down-to-earth sound recorded on a basic tape recording system. We will canvas some of the original basement tapes along with studio produced versions of songs recorded by many of Dylan’s contemporaries. The original tapes were never planned to be released to the general public.
The Making of “Blood On The Tracks” (1975)
Bob Dylan’s “Blood on The Tracks” is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Written and recorded in 1974 during the deterioration of his first marriage, this autobiographical work has been called “the greatest break-up record of all time.” Looking to rediscover his roots Dylan rejected having an electric band backing to using stripped-down acoustic arrangements for the songs. We will perform a track-by-track analysis of the album and follow Dylan during the complex making and remaking of this timeless classic.
The Making of “Desire" (1976)
In the wake of his commercial and critical success of “Blood On The Tracks” comes his follow up album and comeback solidified by his Rolling Thunder Revue tours of 1975/76. This album has an unexpected collaboration with playwright Jacques Levy on seven tracks including two songs based on controversial real-life characters: New York gangster Joe “Crazy Joe” Gallo and boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The album was hugely successful reaching #1 in both the US and UK.
Bob Dylan by Others
Bob Dylan songs have been covered by over 600 artists. This lecture will place into the spotlight 30 Bob Dylan songs as interpreted by various artists from the 1960’s to today. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written and where they first appeared within the Dylan catalog. From a historical perspective we explore these cover versions as well as the influence Dylan has had on the artists -- performers include: Joan Baez, The Band, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and others.
THE ROLLING STONES:
The Rolling Stones Story
This lecture is the story of rock’s original “bad boys” as we journey with them thru their formative years as a cover band devoted to American blues, into their early shows which dictated violence and chaos, thru their notorious drug busts, personal and songwriting conflicts, and management and legal issues while earning the reputation as the greatest rock n roll band with classics from “Satisfaction” to “Brown Sugar." For our encore we will highlight some of their post 60’s work.
The Making of Aftermath (1966)
Aftermath is the Rolling Stones fourth British album and is considered to be an artistic breakthrough for the band. It’s their first album consisting of all original compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Brian Jones emerged as a key contributor experimenting with many instruments including sitar (“Paint It Black”), dulcimer (“Lady Jane”), and marimbas (“Under My Thumb”). Musically many genres are explored, including pop, country, folk, psychedelic, baroque and Middle Eastern. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced.
The Making of Beggars Banquet (1968)
Beggars Banquet is the Rolling Stones 7th British studio album which begins the start of the bands most critically acclaimed period referred to as the “golden years." The album marks a change in direction from psychedelic pop to a return to blues rock infusing both Latin beats and African influenced rhythms into their music. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. Beggars Banquet is considered one of the top blues-based rock records of all time.
The Making of Let it Bleed (1969)
The Rolling Stones 8th album extends the blues feel of its predecessor Beggars Banquet into a slightly harder-rocking sound. The album was released shortly after the start of their 1969 American Tour. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. While no highly-charting singles were released the album, many of the songs became staples of their live shows and on rock radio stations for decades to come. Two tracks “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” both are ranked highly on ‘best ever’ song lists.
The Making of Sticky Fingers (1971)
Sticky Fingers is the Rolling Stones 9th studio album released on their new Rolling Stones Records. The album offers a mixture of decadence (interracial sex, lost virginity, drug addiction) and roots music and outright malevolence. From it’s opening “Brown Sugar” to the closer “Moonlight Mile" we will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. Sticky Fingers is considered one of the Rolling Stones best albums - achieving triple platinum certification in the U.S.
The Making of Exile on Main Street (1972)
(2 Part Program)
Exile on Main Street is the first and last double album released by the Rolling Stones - greeted with mixed reviews upon its release it has become generally regarded as the bands finest album. A very rich and masterful album encompassing rock and roll, blues, soul, gospel and country. It expanded on hedonistic themes that the band had explored on their previous albums. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were conceived, recorded and produced. Rolling Stone has ranked the album as #7 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time!
The Making of Some Girls (1978)
The Rolling Stones’ fourteenth LP is the first album to feature Ronnie Wood as a full-time member of the band. The album marks the Stones return to the blues and rock n roll as well as being influenced by dance music, most notably disco (“Miss You”), country (“Far Away Eyes”), and New York City as a major inspiration for the album’s lyrical content (“Shattered”). We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. The album is considered to be one of the band’s finest records, Rolling Stone has included the album in their lists of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Rolling Stone magazine calls Keith Richards the creator of “rock’s greatest single body of riffs” on guitar and ranked him fourth on its list of 100 best guitarists. Richards is a founding member and co-songwriter of The Rolling Stones. We will journey with Keith from his early days to his role as guitarist, songwriter and bandleader of The Rolling Stones, through his drug busts and various side projects including music production, film work and an overview of his solo career.
As a member of The Rolling Stones he was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.