The ‘Deconstructing the Beatles’ Series – a Critique

So the story here is that I kept seeing these advertisements for a guy named Scott Freiman in conjunction with something called Deconstructing the Beatles that was showing up periodically at small local theaters.

After a little research I found out that these were – as his website says – “a series of multimedia presentations about the composition and production techniques of the Beatles.” And I thought, oh man, who needs another “Beatleologist?” Especially one going around lecturing about albums that came out 50 years ago like they were the Dead Sea Scrolls.

But eventually, when I found out he was coming to a local theater and was going to discuss Abbey Road, my curiosity got the best of me. So I called up my equally skeptical fellow Beatlemaniac* Bill and talked him into going. I mean, what the fuck it was “only” 17 bucks. So we grabbed our Beatles lunch pails, donned our Beatle wigs and off we went.

What Freiman did specifically, was to come out on stage and host a well-produced – as it says – multimedia presentation. And he did it very entertainingly and very knowledgeably. (He is not some talk show host but a very talented musician in his own right with a Masters of Music Composition from NYU and a couple of musical scores under his belt.)

Using pictures, film and song, he spoke about the culture of the times – 1969 in this case – and what the Beatles were going through in that era. He also did a group Beatles trivia quiz for this (largely, but not exclusively) baby boomer crowd. I’m good at Beatles trivia but some of them beat me to the punch. Bastards!

He then went through the album song-by-song explaining how they came to be and breaking each one down musically in a way that even non-musicians could appreciate.

So he’d graphically demonstrate how the tracks (on a 4-track machine) were laid out, what instruments were on them, how they were mixed down and how the Beatles had to work with 4-tracks, simply because the Abbey Road fuckers were too cheap to upgrade to 8-track when it became available. (This tightness with a buck is what eventually caused George Martin to leave and form his own company.)

Alas, there isn’t much online to show you but if you’re a fan of the Fab Four, this clip may well have you saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

So what did die-hard Beatles fans Jim and Bill think of it? We loved it! We wanted to hold its hand! We wanted to listen to it eight days a week! (Yeah, I know. I’ll shut up now.)

In fact, tt was so enjoyable that at the break I bought a 4-CD set that covered The White Album, Sgt Pepper’s, Revolver and Rubber Soul. 50 bucks. Why didn’t you, Mr. Music Enthusiast, tell him you’re a blogger, that you’d write about his stuff and maybe he’d give you a copy? Quid pro quo if you will?

Never occurred to me until, oh, about 5 minutes ago. Oh, well. These were great too. I found I had to take a break in between them as the style of each is very similar. But I loaned them to Bill and he dug them too. I may even watch them again some day.

No, the Beatles albums were not brought down by Moses. But in the world of popular music they are significant and deserve (at least) the treatment they are given here.

You can buy Freiman’s CDs at his website which I added a link to above in bold. I have no relationship to the guy and I make no money off of his stuff but I wish I did because I could use a little extra dough every now and again if you know what I mean.

I’ll leave you with this interview with Scott which is probably as much promo as anything else. But it’ll give you a sense of whether or not you want to spend a few hours with him. Search YouTube and you’ll find more of him deconstructing other Beatles tunes.

*I saw McCartney once and all you could hear was, “Paul, I love you,” and “Paul, please marry me.” And that was just me.

19 thoughts on “The ‘Deconstructing the Beatles’ Series – a Critique

  1. It might be a bit geeky for non-musicians, but this looks really cool to me!

    Scott Freiman as a music composer does not only appear to be pretty knowledgeable but also seems to have the right dose of enthusiasm. This should make for both a pretty informative and entertaining experience!

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    1. Being the Beatles fan you are, i can practically guarantee you will dig this. And as mentioned, it’s not really aimed at musicians so much as just plain Beatles lovers (and would-be music producers i suppose.) We chatted randomly with some people in the crowd and to a person they were just fans. Freiman also has an “early Beatles” video that I’ll probably ask for for Christmas. Definitely get your money’s worth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a huge Beatles fan. I like a handful of their songs, and I admit they had a tremendous impact on pop music, but they don’t make my list of top 10 favorIte bands. I almost feel like I’m missing something. What song or album should I revisit (or visit) to get a new perspective?

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    1. Given their massive popularity, in the four years I’ve been blogging it’s always dumbfounded me that the response to my several Beatles posts has been tepid. I guess either Beatles fans haven’t made their way to my site or many of them just don’t go online to read about music.
      As to album, my suggestion is to listen to Abbey Road, see what you think. It’s more modern-sounding than the others. And then maybe Rubber Soul or Revolver. So one later album one (relatively) early album.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting Doc. Over exposure, indifference from younger generations etc …? I know from the people I tune into on these takes you are probably the sole torch bearer with a sprinkling here and there of a few other minor interests. I read yours because your takes interest me on all your choices. It was like that person you had commenting on King Crimson. To go to a whole site of KC day in and and day out would not interest me and i really dig Crimson.
        It’s an interesting subject taking in mind how popular the Beatles were (are?). I know my kids do not have them in their listening devices that I know of. I think the only time I heard anyone of them mention them was Falda asked me or told me about some film a few years ago that was based on their music. ‘Across the Universe’? Anyways Doc I’m sure there are still hoards of fans out there.
        Personally I think the last time I really paid attention to anything Beatles was Pauls ‘Band On The Run’. I like that record. I hope this clears up whatever i’m on about.

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        1. Maybe it’s a combination of those things. But I really think that it’s more that the people who would largely be heavily into the Beatles – boomers and some surrounding outliers – are not on the Internet reading blogs. Because there are still wild fans out there. They cross the street at Abbey Road every day; they went there in droves when there was an anniversary; every re-release sells like crazy; tribute bands galore, etc. I gotta think they were popular up there. Maybe not with your generation or your kids but older? ‘Band on the Run’ has long been on my to-post list

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The Beatles appear to have been a pretty big thing, eh?

    Big question is, why aren’t you hitting the toad to talk about albums you dig? Undercut this guy and you’re laughing. “(Insert album) is very good cause (insert reason)”. Get some PowerPoint presentation sorted and film it with the iPhone.

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