BBC Radio 2 plans Beatles pop-up radio station

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BBC Radio 2 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album with Radio 2 Beatles, a four-day pop-up DAB digital radio station. Broadcasting from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th September from Abbey Road Studios, the station will honor John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, as individual artists, and as songwriters.

BBC Radio 2 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album with Radio 2 Beatles, a four-day pop-up DAB radio station.

It will feature programmes fronted by Gary Barlow, John Bishop, Martin Freeman, Guy Garvey, Dave Grohl, Giles Martin, Cerys Matthews, Paul Merton along side Zoe Ball, Sara Cox and Jo Whiley.

Broadcasting from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th September from Abbey Road Studios, the station will honour John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, as individual artists, and as songwriters. All the live shows on Radio 2 Beatles will come direct from Abbey Road – with some also simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds – and broadcast alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatles content from the BBC archive.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 says: “The Beatles are woven into the fabric of UK culture. They inspired and continue to inspire artists of all generations and created some of the world’s most loved music. As their seminal album Abbey Road is 50 years old, I am delighted that Radio 2 is celebrating the Fab Four with a four day pop up DAB radio station.”

The launch of the station will be simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and broadcasting live from Abbey Road studios on Thursday morning, by Ken Bruce. His show will feature a special Beatles themed Tracks Of My Years and PopMaster quiz. Later that day, Jo Whiley will present her Radio 2 evening show live from Abbey Road with live performances and special guests.

On the Friday, the day kicks off with The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, with a special Friends Round Friday including music from Rick Astley.

Later that day, Sara Cox is joined by the listeners for a Beatles All Request Friday, and that evening Friday Night Is Music Night presents The Beatles Orchestrated. Guy Garvey will be hosting, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a guest list of artists, including Cerys Matthews, Katie Melua, Level 42’s Mark King, alongside Guy himself, all performing songs from across the Beatles catalogue. On the Saturday morning Dermot O’Leary presents his show live from Abbey Road, followed by an extra hour exclusive to the Pop-Up, where Dermot speaks to writer Richard Curtis about his recent film Yesterday.

Radio 2 Beatles follows other pop up DAB’s from the station, including Radio 2 Eurovision (2014 and 2015) and Radio 2 Country (2015, 2016 and 2017).

Working on “A Day in the Life” with John was a magical moment in time for Martin. He spoke of the shiver that ran down his spine when he first heard John sing, “I read the news today, oh boy.” Soon enough, they constructed one of the Beatles’ most celebrated tracks.(Cheatsheet)

When John introduced “I Am the Walrus” (just after the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein), Martin wasn’t impressed in the slightest. “Well, John, to be honest, I have only one question: What the hell do you expect me to do with that?” Martin said.

The song runs on a two-note melody — a far cry from the symphonic suite that listeners eventually got on Magical Mystery Tour. And on top of the musical limitations, Martin was concerned with potential censorship issues with John’s lyrics.

In his book, Emerick wrote about Martin’s instant distaste for the lyrical content of “I Am the Walrus.” While John ran through lines about “a naughty girl” letting “her knickers down,” the straight-laced producer began foreseeing another problem with BBC censors.

“George turned to me and whispered, ‘What did he just say?’” Emerick wrote. “He couldn’t believe his ears.” Still, Emerick saw real potential for the song, especially after he’d solved John’s request of making his voice sound like it had been transmitted from the moon.

With about 200 songs in the Lennon-McCartney catalog, Paul and John agreed on the primary authorship of nearly every track.

Whoever sang the lead vocal was usually the author.Still, there were two occasions that found John or Paul claiming he wrote more than the other (and everyone else present) remembered him doing. It took some digging by others to set the record straight.(source Beatlesebook-Beatlesbible- cheatsheet.com)

Once Paul recorded “Yesterday” without the help of John and the other Beatles, the cat was out of the bag in the studio, so to speak. From that point on, it wouldn’t be a big deal if one of the band members decided to try an arrangement without guitars and a rhythm section.

Paul once again did that on Revolver’s “Eleanor Rigby.”Speaking with Playboy’s David Sheff in 1980, John said he penned everything but the first verse. But others present during those days recalled him writing much less.

In Paul’s recollection, he had the main lyrics written and asked for help finishing up the song. Ringo chipped in a phrase, George supplied “Ah, look at all the lonely people,” and John might have tossed in a line or two. But no one remembered John doing any significant chunk of the songwriting. He beginning to write the song in the “little music room” in the Asher home at 57 Wimpole Street, London, where he was staying as a live-in guest with his then girlfriend Jane Asher.

 

Donovan remembers. “The doorbell rang. It was Paul on his own. We jammed a bit. He played me a tune about a strange chap…the protagonist…called ‘Ola Na Tungee,’ ‘Ola Na Tungee/Blowing his mind in the dark/with a pipe full of clay/no-one can say’…The words hadn’t yet come out right for him.

eleanor bron

Now for a serendipitous twist. Paul relates: “It seems that up in Woolton Cemetery, where I used to hang out a lot with John, there’s a gravestone to an Eleanor Rigby.”

 

Apparently before this songwriting session, Paul had the idea for a second character for the song – a priest. “I had Father McCartney as the priest,” he explains, “just because I knew that was right for the syllables, but I knew I didn’t want it even though John liked it so we opened the telephone book, went to McCartney and looked what followed it, and shortly after, it was McKenzie. I thought, Oh, that’s good…John wanted it to stay McCartney, but I said, ‘No, it’s my dad! Father McCartney.’ He said, ‘It’s good, it works fine.’ I agreed it worked, but I didn’t want to sing that, it was too loaded, it asked too many questions. I wanted it to be anonymous. John helped me on a few words but I’d put it down 80-20 to me, something like that.”

 

 

 

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