In the late 1980’s, Paul McCartney took a shot at writing some songs with Elvis Costello. The ultimate result was a set of 15 songs, some of them never seeing the light of day until years later. But “Back On My Feet” was the first song that was released, buried as a B-side on the “Once Upon A Long Ago” single. It deserved better. Here, we explore the song in detail and shine a light on this overlooked gem.

“Back On My Feet” (Paul McCartney & Declan MacManus) Copyright 1989 MPL Communications Ltd/Plageant Visions Ltd

 — This show is just one of many great Rock Podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Collect ’em all!


Welcome, one and all, to the “I’m In Love With That Song” Podcast. I’m your host, Brad Page, and each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we explore it together, just trying to get a handle on what makes a song great. No musical knowledge is required here. We don’t get into music theory or too much technical jargon. We’re just listening to the performances, the production, and all those little nuances that go into making a song work.

On this edition, we’re uncovering a lesser-known track by Paul McCartney that’s called “Back on My Feet”.

Way back on the very first episode of this podcast, we listened to a McCartney song called “Daytime Nighttime Suffering” that was relegated to a B-side and never got the attention that it deserved. On this episode, we’ll be exploring another McCartney B-side that I think deserves a lot more attention, too.

Back in 1987, McCartney was coming off a run of mediocre albums that didn’t receive great reviews and didn’t sell particularly well, either. So, he was looking to mix things up. He was looking for someone to inject some new life into his songwriting. And so he reached out to Elvis Costello.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions had played at one of the last ever shows by Wings, the Concert for the People of Kampuchea Benefit in 1979. And both Paul and Elvis were working in the same studio at one point during the 80’s, so they had met a few times before. By 1987, Elvis had a number of hits, and he was well-respected as a songwriter and critics loved him. He was a natural choice for McCartney to collaborate with.

People were quick to say that Costello would be the new Lenin in the partnership, but I never really saw it that way. Elvis Costello isn’t John Lennon. He had his own thing going. But he did bring a cleverness and a more biting edge than anyone McCartney had written with since Lennon.

The first song McCartney and Costello worked on together was “Back on My Feet”. Paul had the basic melody for the song together, but it wasn’t finished. Let’s hear a bit of McCartney’s original demo for the song.


If you listen to the whole demo, you’ll hear he just repeats that verse again. So, clearly, the lyrics weren’t finished yet. But the idea is there this image of a down on his luck guy, homeless, living on the street.  Elvis would contribute to the lyrics, in particular, expanding on the cinematic language and adding a counter-melody. Recording sessions for the final version began on March 1987 at Hog Hill Studio, which is McCartney’s home studio in East Sussex, England.

This was the first time Paul worked with producer Phil Ramon. The basic track was laid down with Paul on piano, Tim Renwick on guitar, Nick Glennny Smith on keyboards and Charlie Morgan on drums. Paul would later overdub the bass along with some additional guitar and his vocals, and Linda McCartney would add some backing vocals.

I really like the low-key groove of this song. Let’s bring up the drums for a second just to get a better feel for that beat.


So far, the song is largely keyboard focused, but if you listen closely to this next verse, you can hear some very clean electric guitar come in. Sounds like it might be recorded in stereo. It’s nestled pretty low in the mix.


In that verse, we start to get some of that cinematic imagery in the lyrics:

“Cut to the rain as it runs down the glass,
Eventually through the lightning and thunder,
We see a man going under”

It’s almost like they’re directing a film. Let’s go back and bring up the vocals so we can hear some of those lyrics again.


Now we’ve reached the first chorus, and things ramp up here. There’s a distorted guitar that comes in with power chords, and McCartney intensifies his vocals here. Now he’s singing from the perspective of this guy on the street. Costello referred to this character as a “hapless vagabond”. He’s defiant. He’s saying, “I don’t need your love, I just need a hand until I’m back on my feet.”


All right, let’s go back and listen to that again because there’s something odd happening there as we come out of the chorus. It’s like there’s a half of a beat added, or maybe a half of a beat missing. I can’t figure it out. Listen to the snare drum and you’ll really notice it. The snare is hitting on the two and the four of every measure, as usual. But you’ll hear it sort of skip when they come out of the chorus. So here’s the snare drum on the two and the four, as you’d expect But listen to what happens as the chorus reaches the end.


You caught that, right? Let’s play through that change one more time.


Well, I just think that’s an odd choice, because it’s definitely intentional. All right, here’s the next verse.


I really like that series of chord changes behind that part of the verse. Let’s listen to just the instrumental tracks. There comes the next chorus. And notice how they add echoes to Paul’s voice when he hits the word “Sky”:


Great vocals in the chorus, including those harmonies. Let’s listen to that again and bring up the vocals so we can hear that a little better.

And there’s that skipped beat again.

Paul changes his vocal delivery again for this section. Let’s go back and focus on the vocals here.


I really like that “Whoa” at the end there. Let’s go back and listen to that section again with all the parts together.


Notice how they’ve mixed in an electronic drum sound along with the snare drum, just for those four beats between the vocals. We’ll play that again:


Here comes that added snare sound again. Here’s the last verse. It opens once again with a cinematic reference.


McCartney plays a great little bass part there. Let’s hear that again.


On this chorus, Paul sings some additional lines around the main chorus vocals.


And there’s some guitar fills, probably played by Tim Renwick added here:


Elvis Costello said that one of the things he contributed to the song was a counter-melody sung from the perspective of an unsympathetic chorus of onlookers. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to this part coming up:


And the final lines of the song kind of conclude the film or movie imagery here. They sing:

“His face starts to fade as we pull down the shade
and the picture we made is in glorious CinemaScope”

I love McCartney’s last bit of vocals there. As the song fades out, it’s like he’s yelling into the camera of our imagined movie here, defiant till the end. There’s also some nice orchestration with the guitar and the bass behind that part. Let’s back it up and listen through the fade to the end.


“Back on My Feet” by Paul McCartney.

Here’s a song written by two musical legends, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, produced by a legendary producer, Phil Ramone; they put all this effort into writing it and recording it, and then it ends up being relegated to a B-side of a relatively obscure single called “Once Upon a Long Ago” that most people don’t know that as an A-side, let alone what was on the flip side.

If I wrote something half as good as this, I’d consider that a lifetime achievement. For McCartney, it’s just something to fill space on a B-side. His career is just full of gems like this.

Thanks for joining me again on this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. We’re part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts, home to many great music-related shows, so be sure to check those out, too.

This show will be back in about two weeks, so until then, talk to us on Facebook, send an email to, or write a review on Podchaser or wherever it is that you listen to podcasts.

All of our previous shows can be found on our website,, as well as any place that you can find podcasts. And remember to follow the show so that you never miss an episode.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on “Back On My Feet” by Paul McCartney.

The Beatles had many peaks in their career, but their August 15, 1965 concert at Shea Stadium may be the high point. It was certainly their ultimate live performance and the pinnacle of Beatlemania. On this episode, I’m joined by author Laurie Jacobson; her new book, “Top Of The Mountain“, tells the story of that record-breaking concert. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the events leading up to the performance, including the tale of the man who made it all happen, Sid Bernstein.

More on Laurie’s book here:

And check out our other Beatles episodes:
The Beatles – “Rain”
Special Edition: The Beatles “Get Back” Documentary
The Beatles – “Hey Jude” (with special guest James Campion)

Welcome, welcome. Glad to have you here. This is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network, and I’m your host, Brad Page.

Back in February 1964– 59 years ago– the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and literally changed everything about rock music overnight. That’s when the Beatles conquered America, where it all started here. But if you want to look at where Beatlemania peaked, at least in terms of their first phase, it would have to be 18 months later, on August 15, 1965, when the Beatles played before a sellout crowd at Shea Stadium in New York at the time. The largest concert in history, and still one of the most important chapters in the story of rock.

Laurie Jacobson is an author, and her new book tells the behind-the-scenes story of The Beatles at Shea Stadium. The book is called “Top of the Mountain”. And it’s not only a detailed look at the concert itself, it’s the incredible story of how the concert came to be in the first place, as well as the story of the people who put the show together and the fans who were there. And it’s also full of some terrific photographs taken at the show; many of them have never been seen before.

You guys know that I’m a big Beatles fan, so I asked Laurie to come on the podcast and talk about the night the Beatles took over Shea Stadium and her new book, “Top of the Mountain”.

BRAD: Laurie Jacobson, welcome to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. Usually on this show, we focus on one song, but today we’re going to do something a little different. Because I read your book, and it is such a great story, I really wanted to talk to you about it.0

So your book is called “Top of the Mountain”, and it tells the story of the Beatles legendary concert at Shea Stadium in August 1965. So, first, let’s get some facts and figures out of the way. This was the Beatles second US tour. It was actually the opening night of the show, the first show of that tour on August 15 at Shea Stadium in New York. And they played in front of 55,000 people. Is that right?

LAURIE: 56,000

BRAD: 56,000 — which was not only the Beatles biggest concert, but it was the biggest concert audience ever at that time. It was a record they held until 1973, when Led Zeppelin broke the record with a 56 plus thousand attendance at a show in Tampa, FL. But this is a really significant event. I believe no band had ever played at a stadium before this show, is that true?

LAURIE: Not a stadium of this size. And even The Beatles had played couple of smaller stadiums, but not a huge baseball stadium like this.

BRAD: Right. Nothing approaching 56,000 seats. No one had ever done that before.

LAURIE: No one. Not Elvis. Not Sinatra. Nobody had ever played in front of this many people. Nobody had ever received the paycheck The Beatles received for that night. And 56,000 rock and roll fans had never laid eyes on one another before in such large numbers.

BRAD: Yeah. So let’s introduce the cast of characters. Of course, we all know who the four Beatles are, but there was also Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, right? Talk about Brian Epstein.

LAURIE: Brian Epstein was, you know, a very cultured, refined young man. His parents were in the furniture business in… my dad was in the furniture business also, and they, of course, had a stereo department, and they began selling records. And Brian did the exact same thing. It’s just a natural for your stereo department. And one day, somebody came in and asked for a record by The Beatles, and Brian had never heard of them before, but he decided to check them out because they were playing just down the street at The Cavern. So he was really… and here is Brian, in his suit & tie and very buttoned up. And The Cavern is this basement former fruit cellar with no windows, and hot, sweaty kids on lunch break coming to hear The Beatles. And he was really impressed. And he had the foresight to recognize that these guys could go places with a little help from him.

BRAD: Yeah.

LAURIE: And then he hoped and prayed that America would call. He tried and tried, with no success, little to no success, about getting them on the air in America. And suddenly one day, his prayers were answered when another cast member, Sid Bernstein, called Brian.

BRAD: Yeah. And probably the single most important person in this story is Sid Bernstein. So tell us, who was Sid Bernstein?

LAURIE: Sid Bernstein was a New York concert promoter. He booked pretty concerts with people like Judy Garland and Tony Bennett, people like that. And he believed in keeping himself sharp. So, he was taking a class, and the class assignment was to read newspapers from other countries. Well, Sid could only read English, so that limited him to the British newspapers. And of course, he goes right to the entertainment section, since that’s his field. And he keeps seeing these little blurbs about a group called The Beatles playing small cities in and around the UK. And the word “pandemonium” is always associated with their concerts. So of course, this immediately catches his eye. And then he follows them weekly. And this word “pandemonium”, who are these guys? He starts making some calls, he finds out that Brian represents them, and he, Sid, is like, “I got to have these guys here, I got to book them”. And he found Brian’s phone number and basically got Brian’s mom on the phone and said, can Brian come out to play? Brian was so thrilled that America was finally calling, and Sid had this great idea to book The Beatles at Carnegie Hall, where no rock and roll group had ever been booked. And I think the only reason Carnegie Hall said yes was because they didn’t know they were a rock and roll group, right?

So Sid set the concert several months out, and he said, “Believe me, by the time the concert rolls around, they’ll be on the air here, I can promise you that.”

So in the interim, Ed Sullivan is passing through Heathrow Airport with his wife, and comes in contact with thousands of girls screaming for the arrival of The Beatles. And of course, he says, “What’s going on?” Finds out, discovers that Sid has already booked them at Carnegie Hall and calls Sid Bernstein, who he knew very well, and asked if he could ride Sid’s coattails. Basically, “Can I have them on my show three or four days before they appear at Carnegie Hall?” Well, Sid thought this was great. That guarantees his show to be a sellout.

BRAD: And I think this is really important, because the familiar narrative is, like you said, Ed Sullivan just happens to see all of the pandemonium, like you said, around The Beatles, and books them for his show. But Sid was there first. Sid had booked them for Carnegie Hall long before they were ever booked on The Ed Sullivan Show, long before they ever got any radio play in the States. I mean, he was really the first guy in the States to really see the potential at the time when Capitol Records in the States couldn’t care less about The Beatles, they were actively ignoring The Beatles. But here’s Sid, who’s really the first guy to step up and to have the vision of what their success could be in the States, before Ed, before Capitol, before Murray the K, before any of that.

LAURIE: Absolutely.

BRAD: So he books them at Carnegie Hall for February 12, 1964. He books it 11 months before the show again, before the Beatles were making any waves anywhere in the States, but the show ends up selling out in 40 minutes. Because, of course, by the time we get towards The Ed Sullivan Show, they’ve had a few hits in the States and of course they are massive on The Ed Sullivan Show. But then through the rest of 1964, Sid kind of has a rough time, right?

LAURIE: Well, yes and no. On the one hand, because of this success, he becomes the conduit for the British Invasion. He’s the number everyone has now. The Stones, the Animals. Jerry and the Pacemakers, The Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits. Everybody is calling Sid to come to America, and he actually starts booking the television show “Hullabaloo”, and he is bringing all these groups over to America, and he’s doing really great, but he made a big mistake: He booked The Animals for a five-night run in New York, thinking they would be as popular as The Beatles. And, hey, nobody was as popular as The Beatles. So the first two nights were a big success, and the last three nights of that five-night run, he lost his shirt and now he’s in some financial hot water.

BRAD: He needs a big score.

LAURIE: Yeah, he’s just had a baby. His wife is kind of upset with this turn of events, and, yeah, he needs the big score. So he thinks to himself, “who’s the most popular group in the world? The Beatles. And hey, I have a great relationship with Brian Epstein, so what’s the biggest venue I could possibly book them in?”

He thinks Madison Square Garden… No, not big enough. And he settles on Shea Stadium, which was only a year… Brian was really fussy, and Shea was brand spanking new, still had the sparkle on it, and he thought, yes, he’ll approve of this. So he calls Brian with the idea, and Brian immediately says, No. 56,000 seats. Are you crazy? We will never be able to sell that.

BRAD: No one ever had, no band, no pop artist ever had.

LAURIE: Right, correct. And at this point, there were still a lot of naysayers about The Beatles. It’s a fad, it will never last. It’ll be over by the end of the year.

BRAD: Right.

LAURIE: So he didn’t want to lay The Beatles open to a stadium that was only half filled, where all these people could say, you see, just as we said.

BRAD: And I think wisely, he was just trying to protect his boys. Right. He didn’t want to book them into a half full arena for the embarrassment and the bad press. It’s not an irrational thing for Brian to be hesitant to do it. But then Sid offers them an incredible deal.

LAURIE: Yeah. And Brian’s formula had been to play smaller places and have a line outside the door.

BRAD: Right.

LAURIE: That’s the look he was going for. So, yes, when tickets ranged from like $4.50 to $6.50, Sid says to Brian, I will pay you $10 for every empty seat in the stadium.

BRAD: Right? He not only guarantees them $100,000, which is a huge paycheck at the time, but he also says, for every empty seat, I’ll give you $10. I can’t think of another deal like that at the time, Sid was really taking a big risk there.

LAURIE: Yes, but Sid believed, and he was the only one who believed. Not even Brian believed that this could happen.


LAURIE: So Brian says, that’s a deal I can’t turn down, but here’s my stipulation: I want 50% of the $100,000 in three months. And until I get that, you cannot advertise the concert.

BRAD: Right? No advertising, no publicity. But somehow, I want you to sell half the tickets to this show.

LAURIE: Sid is like, uh, how can I possibly raise $50 grand without advertising, right? And Brian says, well, I didn’t say you couldn’t talk about it.

BRADE: So this is really a fascinating part of the story, of how Sid begins to sell these tickets. Walk us through that, because it’s just so great.

LAURIE: And, Brad, this is actually my favorite part of the story.

BRAD: I believe it. It’s so good.

LAURIE: I just love this. So… Sid’s really depressed, right? He’s like…

BRAD: And his wife is none too happy.

LAURIE: She’s ready to go home to mom. “Are you crazy? What have you done Sid?” And Sid, by the way, he was a very large man, very heavy, and he knew the best entertainment and the best restaurants in New York. So I just see him walking down the street, eating a slice of pizza here, a hot pretzel there, thinking, “Woe is me. What’s going to happen?” And he takes his son in his stroller to Washington Square Park. And, you know, Sid was known by this time amongst all the kids for bringing all the great British groups over. He was pretty much the Pied Piper of Rock And Roll. So, wherever he went and kids saw him, they ran up to him to find out the latest news. And when they asked, “What’s going on, Mr. Bernstein?” He said, “Well, I’m bringing the Beatles to Shea Stadium in August.” Well, I mean, the girls begin screaming. One of them faints. They’re throwing money at him. And he realizes, “Okay, maybe this could be something.” He runs to the post office, he rents a PO Box, he runs back to the park. He tells the girls how much the tickets are and the PO Box address. And every day, he goes to the park, and he tells teenagers this story and gives them the address. And after three weeks, he finally works up enough courage to go to the PO Box. He forgets his key! He’s so nervous, because this is it, if there’s nothing in that PO Box, he’s a dead man.

BRAD: Right.

LAURIE: They open the box for him and when the post office workers find out who’s there, they all come running out of the back to see who is the man behind this box. And he’s like, “What’s going on?” They drag out bags and bags of mail. He had to get his car to bring it all home.

And inside those envelopes, he had rubles, he had yen, he had money from behind the Iron Curtain. So, at a time when there was only long-distance phone calls and letter writing, these kids in Washington Square Park spread the news about the concert around the world.

BRAD: It’s amazing. It’s like a scene from a movie, that you probably wouldn’t believe it if it was in a movie, but you can picture Sid and his wife at their kitchen table just opening these, letter after letter, pulling out money for tickets.

LAURIE: I mean, coins fell.

BRAD: Yeah. And then they came up with a way to go through all these bags and bags of mail. He actually hires some local neighborhood girls or something to help him process all of these letters, right?

LAURIE: Yes. They had a babysitter who was in nursing school, and he asked her if she had six or seven friends who might want to work for them every night until they went through all of these envelopes. And over a three-week period of time, they managed to go through more than 50,000 envelopes.

BRAD: I think you said in the book that it takes them three months to process it, and they end up with over 3000 envelopes that they don’t even open, because by that time, they’ve sold all the tickets, the show sells out and he ends up with $304,000. Is that right?

LAURIE: Yes. So when he meets Brian in January of ‘65, Brian is expecting $50,000 and he is able to give him the full $100,000.

BRAD: Right? Yeah. Brian’s looking, probably questioning whether he’s even going to get his $50,000. And Sid ends up handing him the complete $100,000 check. What a great story.

LAURIE: Really. It’s a wonderful story, and it’s so wonderfully innocent and so speaks to the time. So, now Sid has the hottest show in town that nobody knows, right?

BRAD: Yeah. Because he still can’t talk about. So he’s they start to prep for the show and then his expenses start to rack up for the staging and all of that kind of stuff. And then I believe the mayor of New York tells him he has to cancel the show. What was that all about?

LAURIE: You know, he had to jump through a lot of hoops with the city, I bet, to make this happen. He had rented the stadium on his name alone. That’s how well known he was in New York. He picked the date and the stadium said, we’ll hold it for you until the money comes in. But the mayor wasn’t so sure. They were very fearful, first of all, of security. What were they going to do if 10,000 fans decided to rush the stage?

BRAD: Right.

LAURIE: How were we going to get the Beatles in and out of the stadium without them being injured? What’s going to happen to traffic that day in New York? I mean, they had a million questions.

BRAD: And again, nothing like this had ever been done before, a rock show on this scale. But New York was pretty well aware of what Beatlemania looked like, because, of course, they had already been through the chaos around the Ed Sullivan performance. So they had a taste of it. They could see what could potentially happen. So you can understand the concern.

LAURIE: Oh, sure. And they had seen the thousands of kids around the Plaza in ‘64 when The Beatles stayed there and had done their ‘64 tour. So they knew that it could be absolute chaos out there.

BRAD: So in the days before the show, just kind of, as we lead up to the events of the show, The Beatles fly from Heathrow Airport to New York City; they stay at the Warwick Hotel. That must have been another chaotic scene.

LAURIE: Oh, yes. I mean, thousands, I can’t even imagine, but thousands of kids on the street, mostly girls. The hotel was full of girls that somehow sneaked in or had their parents rent a room there, or they disguised themselves as maids. And there were kids on top of the elevator, where they could have been crushed.

BRAD: The day before the show, the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan. They played, I think, like a six-song set. And then the day of the show, it’s a hot and humid day, right, like an 87-degree humid day in New York?

LAURIE: Yes. Sweltering summer day. And The Beatles had been partying pretty good, too. Bob Dylan was in town, and some of their other friends, The Ronettes, were coming by to see them, and there was a lot of smoking pot and playing records, and they couldn’t go out unless it was in secret.

BRAD: Right. So they were making the best of their quarantine.

LAURIE: And this was their life then, on the road. I mean, literally wasn’t safe for them to leave the room. Not much of an, you know, at a time when people’s security now is massive. They basically had three guys and Brian watching out for them. So the day of the concert comes around, and they’ve already decided that they are going to have to fly The Beatles in a helicopter over to Shea Stadium. And George was really not fond of flying.

BRAD: Yeah. George was a notorious bad flyer.

LAURIE: Yes. And the helicopter made him virtually weep with fear. The pilot of the helicopter said, “Well, you guys have been trapped in your room, you haven’t even been able to see any of New York. Let me show you the Empire State Building. Let me show you the Chrysler Building.” And he’s zooming through, up above, and George is literally white knuckling, crying, “get me down out of here, please.” All of this was filmed for the documentary. They had, um, a cameraman on the helicopter with them. So all of this was caught on film.

And of course, they could not land in the stadium, because they were afraid that kids would rush the helicopter and there could be terrible damage there. So they landed across the street, really across the way, where the New York World’s Fair was held. As well thought out as this was, they suddenly realized, if we drive The Beatles over in a limo, that limo is going to be mobbed. Kids will jump on it and God knows what will happen. So now, how are we going to get them into the stadium? And one security guy is looking around, and he sees a Wells Fargo armored truck; no windows, sitting unused, and won’t be needed for the next couple of hours. So he talks to the driver and commandeers this armored truck, finds four Wells Fargo badges in the front seat. He gives one to each of The Beetles, and he loads them up in the back of the truck. Poor George also is claustrophobic. George, now, who is green from the helicopter, is now being forced into the back of this truck, and they are safely driven into Shea Stadium.

BRAD: Now, before we talk about the show, I think one of the interesting side stories is that Sid was also, I believe, he was managing the Rascals, right? The band The Rascals. The Rascals didn’t play at the show, but he had a bunch of promotion for them going on, right? He was really trying to get their name in front of the audience.

LAURIE: Oh, Sid was really the ultimate old school promoter, actually. The Beatles did a press conference in a ballroom at the Warwick, and Sid had plants in the audience asking The Beatles, “Have you heard the Rascals yet? What do you think of them?” They never heard of them. But Sid just was getting that name out there. So, when kids coming into the stadium were looking into the dugout where they knew The Beatles would make their entrance, they saw some guys with long hair and they mistook them for The Beatles, and went running down there. Well, it was The Rascals. And yes, Sid had buttons and photos and all kinds of stuff that they were signing and handing out. And he also took the opportunity to flash “The Rascals are coming, The Rascals are coming” on a small welcoming screen in the stadium.

BRAD: Which I think Brian wasn’t too crazy about.

LAURIE: Yes. Brian quashed that immediately. I interviewed Felix Cavallari of The Rascals on his experience there that day. And he said Brian just very quietly said, “If that is not removed in the next 10 seconds, Sid, we shall be leaving.” And so Sid immediately had that taken down. “No one rides on the coattails of The Beatles” is what Brian said. He was always watching out for his boys.

BRAD: Right. That’s just a great story, though. And, typical for the shows of the day, this was kind of like a review show, where The Beatles weren’t the only ones that performed. There was a handful of opening acts. Why don’t you talk a little bit about some of the folks who opened the show for The Beatles? And could you imagine– 56,000 people are there, and not one of them is wanting to see you.

LAURIE: That’s exactly right. The first group was the fantastic sax player King Curtis. And um, he played behind a group called Discotheque Dancers, who demonstrated the hot dances of the day. And actually, one of the ladies, I found three of the five ladies from that group.

BRAD: Yeah. You actually interview them in your book.

LAURIE: Oh, yeah. And one of them said, “Well, my dad went with me that night, and he took 80 color slides that evening and we looked at them once and they’ve been in a drawer ever since. Would you like to have them?” Um, yeah!

BRAD: So you’ve got some great photographs in the book, and I imagine a lot of this stuff has never been really publicly seen before. You have those photographs. You also spoke to a number of, at the time, young folks who attended the show, and you’ve got some photographs from some of those people. Tell us a little bit about some of the other people in the book who contributed some of these great photographs.

LAURIE: You know, it sounds like I’m making it up to say at this late date, I have hundreds of photos that people have never seen, but I actually do. One guy, Mark Weinstein, was 17 years old, and he was bound and determined to get on the field. He sneaked into the bowels of Shea Stadium. He began trying every door he came to; they were all locked. And finally, one doorknob turns in his hands, he opens it, and the room is full of cops. And he thought “Oy vey”. He said to me, “I thought, Oy vey, if I run, I’m done.” So, he just thought really fast, walked in, faked a British accent, told them he was a friend of George Harrison’s and he was supposed to take photos that night, but had gotten separated from the group, and they led him right out onto the field. He took 60 photos from the edge of the stage, all of which are in the book, and one of which is the cover of the book.

BRAD: And that is a great shot of George and John.

LAURIE: I love that shot too. It was the last shot of the night, and there was another gentleman, who had to be coerced to even go to the concert, and he didn’t even know who The Beatles were. He decided he was also going to try and get into the stadium. And the door that was unlocked and opened to him led right into their dressing room. I mean, he opened the door, and there they were.

BRAD: It’s incredible.

LAURIE: With just like ten other people. So he walked in and just started taking photos. And he also got onto the field and took more photos. So, I have several photos that George Orsino took and, let’s see… Carly Simon’s brother Peter was there, and he was, I believe, 18. And he took some wonderful photos of the fans. So yeah, just, they covered it.  Like, Marvin Gaye was there. He was introduced to the audience. He didn’t perform, but my friend dawn from the Discotheque Dancers, she had danced, backing up Marvin Gaye. So when her father saw Marvin Gaye, he took his picture. That’s the only picture that exists of Marvin Gaye at Shea Stadium.

BRAD: It’s great.

LAURIE: And he’s holding his own little movie. Oh, I wonder what happened to that.

BRAD: The photographs in the book are just, I mean, they’re great. Between the photographs of the crowd and the band, it really does a great job of just capturing the energy and the excitement of that night.

LAURIE: Oh, the girls running across the field, and The Beatles pointing to the runners and encouraging them, and the police running after them. Just kids, scaling the walls to get in, and what kills me is the security that Sid had to arrange, and that Brian insisted on. And here are these people literally just walking in, walking into their dressing room, walking out onto the know again today. It could have been a terrible situation.

BRAD: Right.

LAURIE: But there was nothing but love and joy out there.

BRAD: Yeah. Sid does get Ed Sullivan to agree to introduce them at the show. And Sullivan makes kind of a side agreement with Brian Epstein to film the show, and Sid gets cut out of that whole thing, which is a shame.

LAURIE: Yes. And you know, Sid could have chosen to introduce The Beatles. Sid could have taken that moment for himself, but that’s not who Sid was. And he realized that the country’s association with Ed and The Beatles was where it was at, and so he graciously invited Sullivan to introduce them. Sullivan couldn’t say yes fast enough.

BRAD: So, after all the buildup, The Beatles play a short 30-minute set, which was standard for the day. They play twelve songs:

Twist and Shout
She’s A Woman
I Feel Fine
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Ticket To Ride
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – which is Georgia’s showcase
Can’t Buy Me Love
Baby’s In Black, which I think is a really interesting choice
Act Naturally – that’s Ringo’s moment
A Hard Day’s Night
I’m Down

But, I mean, that’s a tight little set there. This was before the two-hour concerts, the marathon Bruce Springsteen concerts that we get these days. You got 30 minutes of The Beatles, and they were out of there. I believe that’s the same set they played all on the rest of the tour.

What are some of your favorite moments of that set? I’m sure you’re pretty familiar with the film by now, having written the book and everything. What jumps out to you when you think about that set?

LAURIE: Well, I love “Twist and Shout”, and that’s a great opener, especially after the crowd had been waiting so long. There were several other opening acts I didn’t mention and lots of radio personalities in between. I mean, it just was, you know, the crowds got there at six, I think the stadium opened at six, and the show started at seven, and The Beatles didn’t go on ‘till nine. So “Twist And Shout” is a great opener.

BRAD: “Help!” had just opened a few weeks before. They had filmed in the interim between when Sid books the show and they actually perform the show, they film the movie “Help!” and, of course, record that track & the album during that time. So that was pretty current material for them.

LAURIE: And, you know, they reprised “Hard Day’s Night”, of course, because that was still so uppermost in fan’s minds.

BRAD: No “She Loves You”, No “I Want To Hold Your Hand”…

LAURIE: Yeah, they were moving away from that, trying to play their more current stuff, and as a matter of fact, “I’m Down”, this was the first time they had played that.

BRAD: That was just a B side.

LAURIE: It’s the only song John’s on the organ, which was, um, almost uncomfortable for him. He said, I didn’t know what to do without my guitar. There I am, standing behind this organ, which was something so new for him.

BRAD: Yeah. But probably every Beatles fan is fairly familiar with that footage, probably seen it. But it’s not only the final moment of the show– it really is, to me, that’s the greatest moment of the show. And John is just having a blast pounding away at that electric piano or whatever and it’s one of McCartney’s great vocals on that song. He really gets his best Little Richard voice out for that. But it’s such a great moment. The footage of them playing “I’m Down” at Shea Stadium is just so great.

LAURIE: You know, they were a little bit afraid to go out there. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also there, and they were in the dressing room with the Beatles. And Mick had gotten a little beat up on his way into the dressing room, some tough guys from Brooklyn were like, “You think you’re so great,” bam, bam, and they’re hitting him. And The Beatles were like, uh oh, what’s exactly going to happen out there? And Cousin Brucey assured them that they were going to be met with nothing but love. And from the moment they step out there– that’s my favorite moment of the documentary, they start looking around, they just can’t even believe what they’re seeing, right? It’s stunning, this number of people. And by the time they’re through with their set and they’re into “I’m Down”, and they know nobody can hear them, John has started to introduce songs, just speaking gobbledygook.

He knows nobody can hear them and it doesn’t matter what they say. And now he’s on this electric piano, and he knows nobody can hear that either. And you’re right, he’s pounding it, he’s playing it with his elbow. Ringo looks over and thinks, well, he’s just lost it. And George is trying desperately to stay serious and finally, he just can’t. He just can’t stay serious anymore, John has completely cracked him up, and he makes his way over to John. And that is the shot that Mark Weinstein caught.

BRAD: The cover of the book, and the photo is in the book as well. It’s just a great shot of John and George grinning ear to ear. You know, it’s the last song of the set. They know they’ve pulled it off, what a release that must have been. But I can imagine the terror stepping on the stage the beginning of that set. And then everything they went through to get to that emotional moment at the end of it.

Speaker C: Truly, if The Beatles remember only one concert, this is the concert they remember. You know, there was just nothing like it ever. And yes, that release must have been just, I mean, they did it. They really did. That’s where the title of the book comes from. Several years later, John was out one evening with Sid Bernstein and they were reminiscing about that night, and he said to Sid, “I saw the top of the mountain on that glorious night.”

BRAD: That’s great. So, when all is said and done, concert’s over, everybody goes home. When Sid tallies it all up, he ends up making a total of $3,000 for the show.

LAURIE: Incredible. I know. I don’t know where it all went. And Felix Cavalieri said Sid was a wonderful, honest, kind, generous, savvy man, but not all managers have both the business sense and the financial sense. Sid knew what he was doing promotion-wise. He recognized great talent when he heard it, but he wasn’t that great with the money end of it.

BRAD: But as you said, this assured him a place in history. I remember in the 80’s, going to my first Beatle conventions, Sid was a frequent speaker at those. And this was 20 years after the show. And people still loved to come and hear him tell his story as of the show. And I imagine he did that right up until the day he passed.

LAURIE: Yes, he lived to be 95 years old and was so proud, so proud of this great achievement, as well he should be, because frankly, this concert changed the world.

BRAD: Yeah, well, let’s talk a little bit about how this show changed history– where it fits and the impact it had.

LAURIE: Well, clearly, this was the future. And technology woke up the next morning and said, we flunked. Nobody could see them. Nobody could hear them. And this is all we’re going to see from this day forward, so we better get on board. And four years later, there was Woodstock. So they got on board in a big strapping hurry.

BRAD: Yeah. People forget that at this time, what they were using for a PA system was basically the same setup that they used for the announcers of the ball games, which were nowhere near adequate in terms of just pure volume and sound quality. That stuff sounds atrocious. There wasn’t all the big PA systems and monitors and all that stuff you have now, none of that stuff existed back.

LAURIE: Right. And no diamond screen to see them. You know, we didn’t even mention also at this concert were teenagers like Meryl Streep and Joe Walsh and Steve Van Zant, and Whoopi Goldberg was nine, she was there. Two future Beatle wives. And Meryl Streep was way up in the nosebleed seats with her little “I Love Paul” sign. And she said, “I had a better view of New Jersey than I did of The Beatles”. Everybody was just so happy to share the space with these guys they loved so much. But clearly, later on, people want to see them.

BRAD: Sure.

LAURIE: Technology got the big wake-up call. Madison Avenue saw 56,000 young people together and realized, we’re only selling these kids acne medicine. There is potential here for a lot more money. So, boom. The boomers immediately get on the map. So everything raced to catch up with this new young generation that was changing the world.

BRAD: Just an amazing time for music. And music was driving the culture in a way that it never had before.

LAURIE: Yes. People literally went from maybe ten friends gathered around your parents’ hi-fi to crowds of this size. Many of the opening act people, as well as the fans in the audience that I interviewed, said how empowering it was to be in the presence of 56,000 people who felt the same way that you felt. That was a life changing event for many of the people there. It was really amazing to talk to them and the fans I spoke to that were there, and literally, from Meryl Streep on down to just your basic fan, they still had the amazing enthusiasm that they had that night. They never lost it. It was still the most incredible event that any of them had ever attended.

BRAD: That’s great. Well, the book is called “Top of the Mountain”. It’s Sid Bernstein’s story, which is a fascinating story; t’s the story of dozens of people who attended the show and played their little part in the show by taking photographs or just being witnesses to the event; and, of course, it’s The Beatles story of what was, at the time, the biggest concert in rock history, and still stands as, I think, one of the most significant concerts ever.

Laurie, I really love the book. It was just a great, fun read. Thank you for coming on and talking about it, because it’s been a blast talking to you about the book and the concert.

LAURIE: Thanks, Brad. I so appreciate that, I really do.

BRAD: Sure. What do you got coming up next? Anything on the agenda for you?

LAURIE: This was my 6th book, and I primarily am a Hollywood historian, and I have written lots and lots about the history of Hollywood scandals and mysteries and all kinds of aspects of Hollywood history. And I think that my next book is something I’ve been preparing for for a very long time, which is a history of the Sunset Strip.

BRAD: That should be great.

LAURIE: So there will be lots of music there.

BRAD: Yeah, a lot of stories to tell there, that’s for sure. Well, Laurie Jacobson, thank you so much for doing the show with me. I really appreciate it. Good luck with the book and the books in the future. And thanks for the conversation.

LAURIE: I had a ball. Thanks, Brad.

BRAD: Thank you, Laurie.

And as always, thanks to all of you for listening. Go pick up a copy of Laurie’s book. You’ll love it. I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a new episode. Until then, you can listen to all of our previous shows, including more episodes on the Beatles, on our website– is the place you’ll find them.

I always appreciate your reviews and your feedback. And if you want to support the show, the best thing you can do is to tell a friend about it, because your word-of-mouth recommendations, they’re the best advertising we could get.

Thanks again for listening to this show and all of the other shows on the Pantheon Podcast Network. I’ll see you next time right here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast.

It’s time for another episode in our “Albums That Made Us” series: this time, I’m joined by Craig Smith from the Pods & Sods Network to discuss a much-maligned album that happens to hold a special place in his heart– the soundtrack to the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie. This was how Craig discovered The Beatles. We also discuss “Wings Over America“, which was my entry point into Beatles fandom.

— This show is one of many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Check ’em all out!

It’s nearly impossible to pick the “best” Beatles song, but by nearly every measurement– sales, chart success, cultural impact– it’s hard to beat “Hey Jude”. Author James Campion‘s new book, Take A Sad Song, is an in-depth look at the history and legacy of “Hey Jude”. He joins us on this episode for a deep dive into this legendary, iconic song. A true classic.

John Lennon & Paul McCartney Copyright 1968 Northern Songs Copyright 1968 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

If you enjoyed this episode, please check out these other Beatles-related episodes:

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Nothing came easy for Badfinger. Though they had success with their first few albums (all of them are must-have classics), they soon had a tough time, thanks to terrible management, record label indifference and bad timing. In 1974, worn-down & exhausted from the non-stop touring/recording/touring again grind, they dragged themselves into the studio… and, with help from producer Chris Thomas, made one of their best albums. Many fans say it IS their best. Unfortunately, few people heard it as it was withdrawn from stores shortly after its release, thanks to legal shenanigans. Things only got worse after that. But this record is a masterpiece; let’s celebrate it with a look at the song “In the Meantime/Some Other Time”.

“In the Meantime/Some Other Time” (Mike Gibbins, Joey Molland) Copyright 1974 WB Music Group ASCAP

If you liked this episode on Badfinger, then check out our previous show on “Day After Day”:


Oh, I can’t live if living is without you friends– this is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network. I’m your host, Brad Page, and this episode, we’re digging into a deep track back by Badfinger: “In The Meantime/Some Other Time”.

Most people, if they know Badfinger at all, it’s from their Beatlesque power pop hits like “Baby Blue”, “No Matter What”, “Come And Get It”, and “Day After Day”. We covered “Day After Day” on this show, way back in episode number nine. But Badfinger had a heavier side too, late in their career. After they had fallen off the pop charts, they released one of their best albums. And we’re going to listen to a track from that album, actually a blend of two songs called “In The Meantime/Some Other Time”.

Rock history is littered with artists who suffered bad management, financial disasters, misfortune and untimely death. But by any measure, the story of Badfinger may be the most tragic. It’s the one that breaks my heart the most. With Badfinger, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. And yet they managed to leave behind some incredible music.

The story of Badfinger begins in 1961 with a band called the Iveys. After years of paying their dues, in 1968 they signed to the new record label started by the Beatles, Apple Records. In fact, they were the first act signed to Apple. Pete Ham and Tom Evans on guitars, Ron Griffiths on bass and Mike Gibbons on drums, and all four members shared vocals. The Iveys recorded a couple of singles and an album, but they didn’t have much success. In 1969, Paul McCartney agreed to contribute three songs to the film “The Magic Christian”, starring Ringo Starr. McCartney had written one song for the film already, “Come And Get It”. And he offered that song to the Iveys. They recorded their version of it and it was featured in the film, along with two of their original songs. Before the songs were released, the band changed their name to Badfinger.

The first Badfinger album was issued in January 1970, and it included the three songs from the film, some other new material, and some tracks recycled from that previous Ivey’s album. After the release of that record, Ron Griffiths was pushed out of the band. Tom Evans switched to playing bass, and Joey Molland joined on guitars and vocals. This would be the classic Badfinger lineup. In November 1970, they released their next album, “No Dice”. “No Dice” is one of my favorite albums; it shows all the strengths of this band. All four members could write and all four members could sing. Pete Ham in particular was really coming into his own as a songwriter and singer during this period.

But 1970 also saw the band signing on with a new manager, Stan Polley. This turned out to be a bad move. Polley got them to sign a series of bad deals that would eventually cost the band everything. But the music kept getting better.

In May of 1971, they started work on their next album, and though they had to change producers three times before the album was done, “Straight Up” was released in December 1971, and it was their biggest success yet. “Straight Up” is universally considered a classic, and it spawned two big hits: “Day After Day,” which we talked about on the show before, and “Baby Blue”.

Unfortunately, in a case of one step forward and two steps back, they couldn’t capitalize on the success of the album, because Apple Records was falling apart. The Beatles had split, everyone was suing everybody else, and the cash dried up. Apple wasn’t able to promote the album. Whole situation was just a bummer.

But Badfinger was still under contract for one more album for Apple, so they recorded their last Apple album in 1972. They called that album “Ass”, as in “jackass”. But this time, the album was tied up in legal issues at Apple and it was put on hold. Stan Polley set them up with a new recording contract at Warner Brothers with a $3 million advance. Polley told them that they were all going to be millionaires, and it sounded great to them… unless you looked at the details. They were committed to do six albums in three years. That meant a new album every six months– a punishing schedule, and they had to pay to produce each of those albums out of that advance money. So after you deducted Polley ‘s cut as the manager, there was barely anything left for the band.

Six months after finishing the “Ass” album, they went back into the studio to make their first album for Warner Bros, simply titled “Badfinger”. That album was released in February 1974. But right before that album was released, Apple finally issued the “Ass” album, essentially putting two new Badfinger albums on sale at the same time… which confused everyone, including the buying public, which pretty much ensured that both albums were a commercial disappointment. Still, there were gigs to perform and contracts to fulfill, so after a US tour, the band headed back into the studio again, completely exhausted to work on another album. With no time to prepare new material, they barely had any finished songs, just a bunch of fragments and ideas. Thank God for producer Chris Thomas.

This would be Thomas’ third time working for Badfinger. He had produced the last two albums. He had also worked with the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Roxy Music. Chris Thomas knew what he was doing, so he sat down with the tired and dejected members of Badfinger and said, “the only way to beat this is to make the best album that anyone has ever made in the history of the world”. And damned if they didn’t come close.

Thomas worked with each band member to put the songs together. He asked them for any and every idea they could come up with. Partly inspired by side two of Abbey Road, he took different song ideas and worked out how to combine some of them. And that’s how we ended up with the song we’re going to listen to today. Drummer Mike Gibbons had an unfinished song called “In The Meantime. Guitarist Joey Molland had some fragments for a song he was calling “Some Other Time”. Producer Chris Thomas took those two ideas and found a way to blend them into one coherent song. It’s a masterful work of arranging.

Chris Thomas brought in Anne Odell to write string arrangements for some of the tracks, including this one. Odell created a dramatic crescendo to open.

Now we build to the first part of the song, Mike Gibbons contribution, “In The Meantime”. Pete Ham plays some nice lead guitar fills over an insistent piano part that’s filled with nervous energy. The vocal in this section is sung by Mike Gibbons.

Let’s stop to take a look at the music underneath the vocal here. The drums are doing a typical beat snare on the two and four. The bass is playing one note on each beat. The piano is playing two notes for every beat, twice as many as the bass. And then there’s a guitar hitting one chord every four beats. All of this mathematical playing gives the sense of an unrelenting movement forward, just like time itself. An unstoppable march forward like the ticking of a clock.

On top of that, the strings move in and out, swirling in the currents of time. Intricate little guitar part, before we return to the main section, Pete Ham on lead guitar. Now that guitar part returns to lead us to a new, much slower section.

Badfinger always had great vocal harmonies. Let’s see if we can bring those up in the mix a bit and listen to that again.

I love that arpeggiated guitar part there.

Nice little guitar part there, but it’s buried in the mix. Let’s listen to an alternative mix of this track where we can hear that a little clearer. There’s so much going on in this track, it’s easy for parts like that to get lost. This is one of those songs where every time you listen, you can hear something new.

There’s another variation of that guitar part in the background there.

Now the tempo rises and we’re introduced to a new section of the song. Listen for what sounds like castanets in the center, right. Such a great guitar. If there’s actually two guitars there, one playing a high part and one playing a lower part, that’s kind of hard to hear. Let’s bring both of those to the front section from earlier in the song.

Listen to how the strings embellish this section from earlier. You’ll hear a slight change in the guitar riff as we transition to the second part of the song.

Low in the mix there the backing vocals sing hold on echoing the lead vocal.

And here comes the big finale.

And some backwards guitar.

“In The Meantime/Some Other Time” by Badfinger.

The band released this song, along with eight other tracks, on an album called “Wish You Were Here”. Not to be confused with the Pink Floyd album of the same name, Badfinger’s “Wish You Were Here” was released in November 1974, and this album is a masterpiece.

But the Badfinger bad luck struck again. A large amount of cash that Warner Brothers had provided had gone missing. And Stan Polley was not responding. So, Warner Brothers sued the band’s management and then pulled the album out of the stores before it even had a chance to catch on. That just killed the album.

That was enough for Pete Ham. He quit the band. He eventually returned, but then Joey Molland quit, and they tried to make another album, but that wasn’t released.

By March 1975, all of their paychecks were bouncing, and Pete Ham was told that all his money was gone. On April 25, Tom Evans and Pete Ham went out for drinks. When Pete got home, he went out to his garage and hung himself. He was 27. He left a suicide note that read, “Stan Polley is a soulless bastard”.

The band eventually reformed and released a couple more albums that are pretty good, but just not the same without Pete Ham. There was conflict within the band, and at one point both Tom Evans and Joey Moland fronted two competing versions of Badfinger.

In November 1983, angry and frustrated, Tom Evans took his own life. He hung himself, too, just like Pete Ham. Two great singers, two brilliant songwriters and two good friends, both crushed by the heartlessness and cruelty of the business part of the music business.

Drummer Mike Gibbons went on to do quite a bit of studio work and released four solo albums. He died from a brain aneurysm in 2005.

Joey Moland is still out there. I saw him perform a set of Badfinger material a couple years ago. That was a great show. These songs, though, they carry the heavy weight of history. It’s hard to imagine a band with more heartbreak and tragedy than Badfinger. But the songs– the songs rise above it all. If you don’t have Badfinger’s “Wish You Were Here” album in your collection, go get it now. You will not be disappointed.

That’s it for this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. What’s your favorite Badfinger song? Visit our Facebook page to post your comments and feedback. Just search for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast and you’ll find us there. Or share on our website,

We are part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts; check out some of their other shows when you get a chance.

Thanks again for listening to this episode on Badfinger and “In The Meantime/Some Other Time”. We’ll see you next time.



Pete Ham:

Apple Records

The Magic Christian (Film)

Paul McCartney

The Beatles

Warner Brothers Records

Stan Polley:

Chris Thomas (Producer)

Anne Odell (String Arranger)

After 50 years locked away in a vault, the world finally got to see and hear some of the abandoned footage from the Beatles “Let It Be” sessions. The new documentary “Get Back” gives us almost 8 hours of never-before seen film and an unprecedented look at The Beatles at work. It was worth the wait. On this Special Edition of the podcast, we’re joined by 3 of the biggest Beatle fans I know– Ken Mills, Craig Smith and Brian Jacobs— to discuss this fascinating look at the most important band in rock history.

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