Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Definitive Guide to the Music of The Beatles

At the recent Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, I checked out a great new book, I Want To Tell You (The Definitive Guide To The Music Of The Beatles Volume 1: 1962/1963,) along with meeting the author, Anthony Robustelli.  Robustelli's impressive resume of music production has equipped him with the necessary "instruments" to pen this marvelous guide. While the information definitely sings to the musician who has strong technical knowledge, Robustelli doesn't throw non-tech music lovers to the curb, nicely combining the information for all readers.
Included among the technical information are also extraordinary references, interesting quotations and stories. One quote that I enjoyed reading in the book was by Beatles producer, George Martin, who remarked about The Beatles, "Sparks flew off them while they were playing or when you talked to them."
Robustelli's book spans the years 1962-1963, acknowledging Beatles history leading up to their first album production "Please Please Me."  He dissects each song on that album and includes the next Beatles LP release: "With The Beatles."
Check out my interview with Anthony this Friday, August 29 at 3:00 p.m. CENTRAL time.
The show airs live at this link. If you can't listen live, you can hear the archived show at this link once show concludes:

See more about Anthony & his book (or purchase a signed copy) at:

Also purchase at:

Robustelli will be at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas for the Beatles At The Ridge Festival (I will, too) - read more here:

Tune In:   Jude Southerland Kessler's John Lennon Hour was FAB last night with guest Joe Johnson, the host of the wildly popular nationally syndicated show "Beatles Brunch"

My Music Nugget Of The Day:
I am not the most musically technical person around, but I really dig Ringo's drumming on this one:

The Beatles: All I've Got To Do (from Meet The Beatles LP)

Upcoming Radio Show:   Friday, September 5 - don't miss Chuck Gunderson, author of Some Fun Tonight! - also featured author at #beatlesattheridge

Roll Over Beethoven,
Lanea Stagg
radio: records
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't Waste It

My heart is heavy as the turmoil in Ferguson, MO continues to cast a black cloud across our nation. Civil rights issues continue to plague our progressive society & affect people of gender, race and disability. It's all still here.  50 years ago The Beatles stumbled upon segregation in the U.S. & the young British gentlemen (who were described as a flash in the pan) proved they had backbones to accompany talent that seemed effortless. I wonder if they realized how important their actions would be to our society.

Lanea, Moonglow PR Owner Jennifer Vanderslice
and Jude Southerland Kessler (
This past weekend I was one of thousands who attended The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago. Not only did I get to introduce Recipe Records Cookbook Series to many, but I engaged in a program about The Beatles & their experience with segregation in 1964. It was a fantastic weekend where I enjoyed catching up with old friends & meeting new ones. After a rocky start in Chi-town (which included a 9-1-1 trip to Wal-Mart because I left my clothes at home grrr,) I enjoyed many laughs and a few tears with lots of friends.
The authors, bloggers, artists, musicians & broadcast personalities at the Beatles Fest are part of a unique environment & while all are generally retail competitors, the overwhelming respect for each other's work & craft is quite admirable. It was a thrill to be included in a discussion panel "Across the Cyber Beatles Universe," which included notable Beatles scholars: Richard Buskin, Robert Rodriguez, Kit O'Toole and Sara Schmidt. The discussion was brilliantly moderated by Professor Moptop, Gregory Alexander, a highly regarded Chicago radio personality at WXRT.

Meet the Authors Panel:  Robert Rodriguez, Richard Buskin, Anthony Robustelli, Dee Elias,
Candy Leonard, Lanea Stagg, Judith Kristen, Dave Schwenson, Jim Berkenstadt, Susan Ryan
and Al Sussman (photo credit: Sara Schmidt of

In light of what is happening right now in my beloved St. Louis, it was very ironic that 50 years later, our country is still struggling with this very volatile topic.

In order to establish the mood for the program, I began the talk with music. In a somewhat bold move for a Beatles convention, I played a non-Beatles song (gasp!) which I felt set the tone for the social climate of that era. In late 1963, the soulful singer/songwriter Sam Cooke wrote "A Change Is Gonna Come" after being denied vacancy at a hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana, due to the color of his skin. Cooke recorded the song in early 1964 & reportedly said the lyrics came to him without effort; in comparison to his previous hit songs. Sadly, the song was released in December, days after this "King of Soul" was killed in California. This gem became a civil rights anthem & I shared this spine-tingling song with the audience:

Photo Credit: Sara Schmidt
The Beatles began their first U.S. tour in August, 1964, and soon stumbled upon segregation issues. The lads learned that the September performance at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, would take place before a racially segregated audience. John Lennon said "We never play to segregated audiences and we aren't going to start now. I'd sooner lose our appearance money." (Which was in the neighborhood of about $40,000; for an approximate 40 minute show) Furthermore, they also issued a press statement saying, "We will not appear unless Negroes are allowed to sit anywhere." During a time where most performers were instructed to discuss fluffy topics during communication with the media, The Beatles took a stand. The officials at the Gator Bowl lifted their segregation policy & The Beatles performed to a mixed audience that was allowed to sit in any area of the stadium.

According to an article at ( Paul McCartney told a reporter in 1966 "We weren't into prejudice. We were always very keen on mixed-race audiences. With that being our attitude, shared by all the group, we never wanted to play South Africa or any places where blacks would be separated. It wasn't out of any good-goody thing; we just thought, "Why should you separate black people from white? That's stupid, isn't it?"

When the band's contracts were composed for their summer 1965 tour, the segregation policy was actually set out as one of the requirements. A NEMS Enterprises, Ltd. contract, dated March 24, 1965, Item 5, states "Artists will not be required to perform before a segregated audience."

You can view the contract & read more at this article link:

To conclude the presentation (amidst a lot of other mumbo-jumbo,) I wanted the audience to listen to The Beatles' "Blackbird," written by Paul and purportedly inspired by racial riots in the U.S. in 1968. Additionally, this beautiful song is described by many musicians as one of the most difficult songs to learn.

 Let's Imagine Peace.
If you would like more information about the program (and the delicious Blackbird Cake Bites that I also served,) send email to:

My Music Nugget of the Day:
In 2009, Maggie & I fell in love with a new band emerging from Bowling Green, KY, Cage the Elephant. We even named a recipe for them in Recipe Records - "Cage The Elephant Ears" ;)
Lead vocalist, Matt Schultz, (in my opinion) is a modern-day John Lennon. I shared this song with Jude Kessler & she officially announced our new motto "Don't Waste It."  Indeed.

Telescope by Cage the Elephant:


Well... It's Liverpool Legends, and they are the next best thing to The Beatles!
Liverpool legends flyer
George Harrison's sister, Louise, hand-picked the gentlemen who star in this show & they will be in Evansville on August 30. The lads will also be working with local high school student musicians who will perform in the show as well. I am totally stoked about hearing this presentation & you shouldn't miss it either. Get tickets online at address in the ad above or at select Old National Bank branches (which ones? I have no clue, but hey, I'm honest)

Two Fantastic Authors in the Beatles world: 
Anthony Robustelli (I Want to Tell You) & Chuck Gunderson  (Some Fun Tonight) coming soon!

BEATLES AT THE RIDGE - Sept. 19-20 in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas - IT'S *FREE*    #beatlesattheridge

Read all about it here:

Peace, Love & Rock & Roll,
Lanea Stagg
radio: records
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Twitter:  @Recipe Records
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Remember To Let Her Into Your Heart

My first real active memory of The Beatles probably goes back to around 1979 when I was about 13 years old, & I was at my best friend Kathy's annual summer lake birthday party. This pack of soulful teenage girls would gather around the antique player piano, which included numerous boxes of showtunes that we would load & play until our throats were raw. Karla Plummer would always request the unforgettable "Hey Jude," and I remember singing "Nah, nah nah nah nah nah nah" for what seemed like days. Looking back I think about how hip Kathy's family was for actually having "Hey Jude" as player piano music & I'll think of Karla when I hear that song!

My friend Jude Southerland Kessler definitely knows how to take a sad song & make it better. She has spent decades researching & documenting the rather "sad song" life of John Lennon, which has resulted in three publications in The John Lennon Series. Jude's latest volume She Loves You is truly a book that YOU will love.

Jude will be appearing at The Fest For Beatles Fans next weekend in Chicago. Please read her blog contribution below for all the details - you MUST join me at her presentation on Sunday at 11:15 a.m.!

Jude will appear on my radio show THIS TUESDAY, at 3:00 pm. Click on this show link at 3:00 pm CST to listen live (and please call in!) or you can hear the recorded show anytime after the live show signs off -- use the same link:

*                                  *                                *                                  *       

“You CAN Get There From Here”
Can’t You???
by Jude Southerland Kessler
                For the week, I’ve been “workin’ like a dog” (and so has my sweet, supportive husband) on my presentation for The Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans: “You CAN Get There From Here.” And appropriately, that phrase has become my mantra.
My presentation (which will be delivered on Sunday morning, 17 August at 11:15 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt…be there or be square!!) is about The Beatles and how they survived the hectic, daunting year of 1964 – how they pressed on, despite their unbearable schedule.

As I spent 4 hours writing the script for the show, 8 hours or so finding rare Beatles photos to go with each paragraph (110 incredible photos in all), and days helping my husband as he captured these photos for our Power Point, I mulled over the subject matter with more and more significance. Last night, I slept only a couple of hours. My husband slept less. And as I write this to you, he’s still working away on the last set of photos. It has been quite a job putting it all together.
                But in light of what The Beatles faced in the spring and summer of 1964, it seems like a stroll in the park on a gentle autumn day.
George Harrison once said, “In 1964, we seemed to fit a week into every day.” And they did. Between 22 February 1964 when The Beatles returned from America and 19 August 1964 when they flew back to America once again, here’s what they accomplished (in part):
·         Starred in a full-length United Artists’ feature film (2 months of filming from 7 am-5pm) entitled “A Hard Day’s Night”
·         Wrote and recorded all songs for the film’s soundtrack
·         Starred on many BBC television and radio programmes (Saturday Club, Thank Your Lucky Stars, TopGear, and so forth)
·         Wrote a best-selling, Folyles Literary Award winning book (John’s accomplishment: In His Own Write is the book)
·         Starred in a Pathe News documentary, ITV program, and hundreds of live interviews for BBC, ABC, and others
·         Performed in live variety shows (such as Night of 100 Stars)
·         Won the Variety Club “Show Business Personalities of the Year, 1963” award and the Carl Alan Award for distinguished accomplishments in music and received each at a banquet.
·         Attended both the London and Liverpool premieres of “A Hard Day’s Night,” graciously meeting dignitaries such as Princess Margaret and doing interviews with the press.
·         Did a 5-week Summer Seaside Session of live concerts on Sunday nights (their only night off!)
    ·         WENT ON A WORLD TOUR of Australia, New Zealand, etc.
    ·         Did a 3-day tour of Sweden
    ·         Began writing and recording songs for their next LP, to be released just before Christmas

And on and on. And look…this is but a snippet of the things they accomplished. Oh, and John searched for, found, purchased, and moved into a new home. (That alone can put one over the top!)
And in all of this, The Beatles endured. Not only endured, but excelled!
This week in my paltry life, I’m recording two radio shows, finishing the aforementioned Chicago Fest presentation and rehearsing two others that aren’t as big or complicated (but can’t be crappy either!), organizing a fest for September for which I’m the Authors and Artists chairperson, and taking care of my dad, who is…well, not well. And I’m sooooo tempted to feel sorry for myself.

Bill Harry, photo courtesy of Jude Kessler
Yesterday, I wrote to my friend, Bill Harry, (John’s dear friend from Liverpool and the author of at least 10 excellent books on The Beatles and the creator of “MerseyBeat”) and okay…I complained about my hectic schedule. I whined. He answered me almost immediately saying, “Jude, enjoy being busy and productive. It is a wonderful time in your life.”
 What a brilliant and positive man he is! 
I’m sure those four other lads from Liverpool were just as astute. They realized that “workin’ like a dog” is an honor. It means you have something to offer.

If you’re tired and worn out, congrats. You are needed. 

Keep on keepin’ on…and I’ll see you in Chicago! 

Tune in to Jude's radio show - this Monday at 8:00 pm CST - her guest will be the always interesting Rock & Roll Detective, Jim Berkenstadt! He'll be chatting about Jimmie Nicol "The Beatle Who Vanished"  ~ john lennon series 

My Music Nugget Of The Day:
I will be in Chicago Aug. 15-17 at The Fest for Beatles Fans as well. Whenever Maggie & I talked about hanging out in Chicago, this treasured song would always come to our minds - enjoy my Dean-O (and some wine-o)

Check out the latest issue of News 4 U in Evansville - my interview/article with country music star John Pardi is yummy.

Love & Peace,
Lanea Stagg
radio: Records
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

He Does Everything He Can, Doctor Robert

The Lennon/McCartney song from the Revolver album, introduces the character "Doctor Robert," who was the answer to all your "needs"....those needs, however, may have been illegal...
The very legal writer, publisher & pop culturalist, Robert Rodriguez (Doctor Robert) isn't using his mind to relax & float downstream. This intellectual wizard has written or contributed to nine books (with more coming); though he did not set out to write four books about the Beatles (with more coming.) Along with a hectic writing schedule, he also operates Parading Press, a publishing company he started with New York Times best-selling author, Richard Buskin.  
I am excited to chat with Robert & fill you in on his latest book, Solo in the 70's (John, Paul, George, Ringo 1970-1980). Robert will also answer a few of my questions about his magnificent masterpiece, Revolver: How The Beatles Re-imagined Rock 'N' Roll. I'm pretty sure I gained a few I.Q. points by simply reading this full course examination of the album that many feel changed the course of Beatles music.
Of course, Robert is a popular guest & permanent fixture at The Fest for Beatles Fans, taking place Aug. 15-17 in Chicago & he'll update us on his speaking engagement schedule. Please join us on Friday & call into the show, I guarantee that Doctor Robert will "help you to understand."
Nancy Lee Andrews, rock photographer of renown (and Ringo’s ex-fiancee) on Richard Courtney’s Hippie Radio show


Hey Jude:

Author of The John Lennon Series, Jude Southerland Kessler, is hosting her blogtalkradio show this Thursday -- The Moonglow PR stable of Beatles authors will be chatting with Jude (this includes me ;)

Jude will also be my radio show guest next TUESDAY:
Lanea, Robert & Jude - Chicago Beatles Fest 2013

My Music Nugget of the Day:

This is dedicated to my Dad....xoxo Daddy-O!
Chuck Berry's "Brown-eyed Handsome Man," which is sung by the most awesome Robert Cray & legendary Chuck Berry.

Peace, Love & The Beatles,

Lanea Stagg
radio: Recipe Records
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