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.