Episode 14: I'd Love to Turn You On

We open in Manila on the second stop of the Far East leg of the Beatles’ 1966 tour, which starts out weird and ominous, and gets worse from there. By the time the tour sputters to a halt—late August in San Francisco—the boys are almighty sick of it.

We talk about how an offhand remark by John Lennon to a British journalist gets taken out of context and blown out of proportion. The ensuing controversy in America only confirms something The Beatles have been thinking for a while, and the decision is made: No more touring.

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Episode 13: Hard to Handle

We open at Waldo Point Marina in Sausalito, California, just north of San Francisco. Otis Redding takes a break from the road on Bill Graham’s houseboat, and comes up with a signature song.

Then we talk about Stax Records: the origins, some of the artists, and the source of the Memphis Magic, that tough, lean Southern Soul sound. Lots of great musical examples, because, yeah, we roll like that.

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Episode 12: Machine Gun

Jimi’s astonishing, supernatural talent was forged in poverty and neglect as he grew up in Seattle. We talk about that, and about the night Elvis came to town. After a short stint in the Army comes to a humiliating end, Jimi takes it on the road and spends the next four years paying his dues as a sideman.

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Episode 11: I Can't Explain

We start by taking a clear-eyed look at the infamous seaside “Riots” in the resort town of Clacton, United Kingdom and several other towns in the summer of 1964. The British press were WAY over the top in their depiction of these events, but they did document the first schism, the first big division in Rock music and culture: the traditionalist Rockers versus the Modernists, or “Mods.”

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Episode 10: Roll Away The Stones

Episode Ten opens up with Christian narrating at the site of the Bricklayer’s Arms Public House, in Soho, West London, where Brian Jones met with two younger men, school chums, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in the fall of 1963.

The three of them share a passion for American music—especially the amped-up, tough-sounding Chicago Blues coming out of Chess Records.

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Episode 9: The Medium, The Message, The Music

This show will contain familiar elements — storytelling, commentary, and musicology — but it is also a bit of a departure. It takes place mostly in the mid-sixties, but we’re not following a timeline or building a story: it’s more of a mosaic, a think-piece.

We think the influence of psychedelic drugs — especially LSD — on rock music is critically important and very much overlooked. It’s a vital part of the overall story. We hope to make that case with this show.

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Episode 8: Meet The Beatles Part 2

We open on December 27th, 1961, at the Cavern Club on Mathews Street in Liverpool, just a mile inland from the confluence of the River Mersey and the Bay of Liverpool. Across the Irish Sea, over the Atlantic Ocean, a continent beckons.

Pete Best calls in sick, and the boys bring in Richard Starkey—Ringo Starr to the world—to sit in on drums, his first paid gig with the Beatles. It clicks musically; the band really swings with Ringo on drums.

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Episode 7: Meet The Beatles Part 1

Arrival: we begin the show on February 7th, 1964, in the first-class cabin aboard Pan American Airlines Flight 101 from London to New York City. It’s a raucous, party atmosphere, but John Lennon, for a moment anyway, feels alone in a crowd. 

A door opens, pandemonium ensues, and a new era arrives.

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Episode 6: Soul Sisters

In this episode we — finally !— get to meet some powerful and successful Rock n Roll women. It’s a great storyline we will grow and develop as we move through the years. To the best of our ability, we employ a feminist perspective for much of today’s discussion; we think that’s what serves the story best, and it just feels like the right thing to do. 

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Episode 5: The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

A quick prologue: we stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where they opened up a very cool exhibit in March of 2015.

Then we move on to Newport, Rhode Island, where Pete Seeger is about to introduce Johnny Cash, an established country star playing for the first time to a folk festival audience. After a rough beginning, the show goes very well.

Afterwards, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan—mutual fans—meet for the first time and begin a lifelong friendship.

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Episode 4: The Change of the Guard

The Sixties are about to begin and we’re feeling the change of the guard.

We briefly recap the first Golden Age of Rock N Roll: 1956 to 1959. A lot happened, and fast. Too fast to last.

We skid perilously into a new decade. As we open the sixties, all the big players are offstage, and a lot of folks are saying Rock N Roll is dead.

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Episode 3: The Day the Music Died

We describe Rock N Roll as an “enfant terrible,” then an unruly toddler, then a hyperactive kid. When Buddy Holly breaks out in late 1957, we see Rock N Roll has stepped out into the world as a confident young adult.

Our story begins on a snowy two-lane highway in rural Iowa, on February 2nd, 1959: the fateful last day of the Winter Dance Party tour.

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Episode 2: Elvis and the Rise of Television

We recap episode one, and open in Memphis, 1954. Sun Records owner Sam Phillips has found his elusive crossover sound—and the artist who can deliver it. Elvis breaks out; in just a few months he’s on the cusp of national stardom.

We get to know Sam Phillips better; we find he shares affinity and common ground with his young star. Sam will be showing up again as we go through our story.

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Episode 1: The Precursors

The show opens in New York City at the end of World War 2. We discuss social, technological, and economic forces that converge in the early postwar years: the Baby Boom generation and its impact, the rise of the American middle class, technological advances in radio and recording.

In the early Fifties, “Race Records” (Rhythm & Blues records by African American musicians) start becoming popular with white American Teens.

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