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
Facebook: send friend request to RecipeRecords Cookbook
Twitter:  @Recipe Records
Instagram: Recipe Records

No comments: