June 1st, 2012

Happy 20th Anniversary Beatle Brunch

It Was 20 Years Ago Today
By Joe Johnson

This is the one time I can use the opening line from Sgt Pepper and truly mean it. This week marks 20 years since Beatle Brunch first aired. The idea came to me when the new car I was driving then, a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse turbo (beep, beep, beep, beep, yeah!), had an in-dash CD player, the first one I’d ever owned.  Well, you probably know the story by now. I was on the road to take part in one of those group family photos you do at places like Sears. I had an hour’s drive, so I brought along some Beatles’ CDs to enjoy. I loved the way they sounded on my new car’s sound system, especially Pepper, with perfect stereo separation between channels.  I immediately wondered why no radio station was putting out a regular show featuring The Beatles.  That’s when the idea was born.
Beatle Brunch launched on MAJIC 102.7 (WMXJ) in Miami, Sunday, May 31st, 1992; the station I worked at and still do to this day. It also premiered on four company owned Oldies stations in Rochester, NY; Laconia, NH, Indianapolis, IN; and Baltimore, MD. The subject of the first program was, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on its 25th Anniversary.  We had yet to experience The Beatles Anthology, Beatles Rock Band, The Cirque du Soleil LOVE show or LOVE mixes for that matter, The Beatles Remastered and certainly not the Mono mixes. There was no e-mail or websites, except for a very slow AOL connection. Remember? - you would sign on, then do a load of laundry.  Recordable CDs were very expensive to produce and DVDs were just beginning, as Laser Discs, the size of pizza trays.
I hope you will enjoy the show this weekend.  For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, we’ve come full ‘circus.’  I’ll be joined by Sgt Pepper and his band again for my 20th Anniversary Brunch; it’s ‘peppered’ with clips from the first broadcast.  Sure, Sgt Pepper’s hair’s a little salt-n-pepper now (so’s mine for that matter!), but the music has held up, in fact, it’s been improved.  We’ve uploaded that very first show to the Beatle Brunch Club website in a new section called Beatle Brunch Classics: Old Brown Shows and every month, you’ll get to hear a new Old Brown Show from the vault.
Today, Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch is delivered nationally to a group of radio station affiliates via Dial Global Networks. Our member site BeatleBrunchClub.com showcases The Brunch ON DEMAND. 
We’d like to thank you once again for making the past 20 years so FAB for all of us at The Brunch and The Beatle Brunch Club.  I hope I’ll still be doing this When I’m 64 if I’m not up in the sky with Lucy or Fixing a Hole on the retirement home roof with Vera, Chuck and Dave (by the way, that’s Billy Shears singing out of tune just down the hall).

A Day In One Man’s Life
By Al Sussman

The wait had seemed interminable.
We hadn't had a new Beatles LP since "Revolver" in early August 1966.  With "Revolver" having been so great and the "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" single perhaps even better all by itself, it made the wait for the new Beatles album almost torturous.  We learned in April that it would be called "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and copies of "A Day In The Life," sounding as if they'd been taped over the phone, leaked out to some radio stations that month. But April passed and so did most of May. It had been nearly ten months since "Revolver" and still no new LP.
On Monday evening, May 28, I came home right around 6 PM and put on Murray The K's show on WOR-FM, the first commercial FM station in New York playing rock full-time.  I just had a hunch that the man who had called himself "The Fifth Beatle" in 1964 might just have an advance copy of the new album.  Sure enough, I tuned in just in time to hear Murray say that he was about to play the entire album, track-by-track.  The "Sgt Pepper" theme and "With A Little help From My Friends" sounded amazing but that first listen was with a transistor AM/FM radio cupped to my ear.  My only other option was one of those little plastic earpieces so, either way, I didn't get a really good listen.
"Sgt Pepper" was scheduled to hit stores in the U.S. on Friday, June 2 and, for reasons lost to the mists of time, I wasn't able to make it to the Relic Rack in Hackensack, NJ, to pick up my copy of the album that day.  But I was there the next morning, bought my copy of the mono LP (which I still have), and hurried home.  Like a lot of '60s teenagers, I didn't have access to a state-of-the-art record player, just one of those fold-out single speaker portables. I unwrapped the album, opened it up and saw the gatefold pic of The Beatles in their "Sgt Pepper" uniforms, with their new-look mustaches and the interesting glint in their eyes. I pulled out the sheet with the cut-outs, which I never cut up and still have. Then, I took out the LP, put it on the record player and, even with the sonic limitations, it sounded absolutely amazing, the third time in a row that a new Beatles LP had left me speechless.
I knew immediately that "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was a special album.  I just didn't know how special until the ecstatic reviews-and the occasional bad one-began to pour in over the course of that summer.  By the end of the summer, "Sgt Pepper" had gained the endorsement of Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles had been given the cover story in Time magazine, a rarity for a rock act in that era. 
It was absolutely worth the wait.

My 1st Date With Sgt. Pepper
By Vanessa Fazio Pasquariello
I couldn't help but count the minutes until the 2:30 PM bell.  I grabbed my coat and hat and ran out of school without saying goodbye to any of my friends.  Spotting my mom's car at the end of the street, I ran as quickly as I could across the icy pavement until I reached her.  Once buckled in, we were off.  She knew today was not a day to run errands on the way home; today I was on a mission.  
I was already out of the car and running for the house before we came to a full stop.  Bounding up the steps, I ran directly to my bedroom and plopped on the floor beside it.  "It" was The Beatles “Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” on vinyl.  I'd babysat many a Friday night to earn this addition to my ever-growing Beatles collection. Sure, I had heard songs off the album before, but I'd never listened to the album as it was meant to be listened to; from beginning to end.  
Finally, I owned Sgt Pepper. This was my moment and I was going to do it right. I placed the needle on the album and laid down on my bed, ready to take in rock and roll's first concept album.  Thirty-nine minutes and 45 seconds later, my mind was officially blown.  The sounds, the imagery, the storyline, the MUSIC - it was unlike anything I had heard before!  I must have listened to the album at least five times that night.  
More than 15 years later, I'm still astounded by the Beatles’ unparalleled creativity in songwriting, composition and cover art.  I have to agree with Rolling Stone, it is the most important rock and roll album ever made.  

On Pepper, Part 1
By Tee Eff
While I always liked Beatle music as a kid, my teen years (when I really started to “get it”) were a few years after they’d broken up (frankly, Wings was the “biggest thing” going).  That said, at that time “Pepper” was being revisited in stage plays, a (dreadful) movie, and was pretty much accepted as their best album.  While I was always more of an “Abbey Road” fan, I do remember being amazed at how different every song sounded, and how many styles were on the record.  And while a lot of people I knew at the time would drop the needle at track #2 so as to skip the sitar track “Within You Without You” (we were kids, we didn’t know any better), I always thought that was one of George’s best songs. It’s not really a “concept” album as it’s often misclassified, except for the “band” opening and closing the album, but I always wondered what it would have been like with “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”, had they not been pulled for release as a single.  I do remember all the hoopla when it came out on CD in 1987 -. It was like a friggin’ holiday for us.  These days, the track that knocks me out most is “When I’m 64” (no, not because I’m getting up there -) but because I marvel that Paul wrote it as a teenager.  The thought of that is simply staggering.

On The Brunch, Part 2

Living in the central NJ area, we’re sandwiched smack between two major radio markets, New York and Philly. Nearly all weekly Beatles programming has been homegrown, and not the syndicated variety (there were exceptions, like The Lost Lennon Tapes).  So, until the relatively recent dawn of online streaming emerged, I’d have to hope to be out toward Long Island, or rely on friends to send me tapes (remember those?) to hear and enjoy Beatle Brunch.  Being a pretty hardcore collector type, my favorite parts of the show have always been the live segment and in-the-studio spots, where we get to hear some rare stuff from the vaults.  I do have a few absolute favorites from the 1000 or so broadcasts, including the spotlight on Madison Square Garden live shows, and the Hollywood Bowl show (where else are we gonna hear the whole album until Apple gets around to releasing it? A show like that is a real service to fans).  Over the years, at the Fest For Beatles Fans, I got to know Joe J, whom I now count among my oldest and dearest friends.  Helping out with trivia and other things, it’s been a privilege to become part of The Brunch Team as well. Congrats, Joe - and here’s to the next 20 years of Beatle Brunch!

First Thursday With Joe

Please don’t miss the Chat with Joe, Thursday, June 7 at 7PM EST.  All Beatle Brunch Club members are invited, and there’ll be a lot to chat about.  The month of June will be exciting Beatle Brunch listening pleasure for all as Joe flashes back to 1992 with a few Classic Clips from “The Old Brown Shows” and Paul’s Birthday Brunch will reveal a smattering of juicy comments from photojournalist, Harry Benson.  Take a look at Mr. Benson’s FABulous new book in the Feature section at BrunchRadio.com.

Under Construction

We unveiled the all new BrunchRadio.com and now we are beginning to lay down the new digs at BeatleBrunchClub.com.  Please bear with us through the hiccups Here, There and Everywhere, but we’ll get it right, mainly due to Webmaster Peter’s diligence in accomplishing the immense project with flying colors; speaking of which, A Big Brunch Thank You goes out to the magic touch of Anthony Parisi who created the awesome graphics complementing the design scope by AmeriMedia.
By George It’s Benson

TASCHEN Publishing Presents, Harry Benson. The Beatles On The Road 1964 – 1966. Beatle Brunch fans are invited to attend Mr. Benson’s exhibition in New York City, Wednesday, June 6th, 7 PM to 9PM. See his rare collection of photos including the iconic The Beatles with Cassius Clay (Ali) at The TASCHEN Book Store in Soho. The exhibit will travel to Beverly Hills, California on June 13th.  Both engagements will feature entertainment and the opportunity to buy a FABulous keepsake you’ll be proud to display in your home. For more details follow Features at BrunchRadio.com
Dash’a Pepper Reveals Mess

Peter Blake was paid £200 in 1967 for “Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover; his agent signed away copyright and royalties. Just 5 years ago he was broke. For the rest of the story follow The News at BrunchRadio.com
Beatle Brunch @ 20. Dig It

Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch Premier May 31, 1992; the birth of a radio sensation, delighting millions of Beatles fans today. The Old Brown Shoe icon will reveal a Classic Clip. Find ’em around BrunchRadio.com.

Fab-Formative Years
Submitted by: Anthony Parisi

Article By: Christopher Bray – The Wall Street Journal
On five extended visits made between mid-August 1960 and the end of December 1962, The Beatles played for an estimated 800 hours, performing multiple sets over 273 nights in several of the city's nightclubs. For the rest of the story follow Articles at BrunchRadio.com.

That’s Not My Bagism

Bags: ownership; identity; memories of who we are. Musicians say, “that’s not my bag,” when referring to something that’s not of part of their persona.  Check out Lennon’s Bag.  For the rest of the story follow Articles at BrunchRadio.com
There Are Places I Remember


The childhood home of Ringo Starr on Madryn Street, Dingle, will be saved from demolition thanks to a British government grant.  It will pass into the hands of the National Trust as a tourist attraction.  Over the past eight years debates ensued over saving or demolishing certain properties and 117 will be saved from the wrecking ball.  Ringo’s home will be restored to original by the National Trust as they have done with John Lennon’s childhood home Mendips on Menlove Avenue and 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton where Sir Paul McCartney grew up.
Join The BBC and WIN

Jon Blosdale of the DenniLu Company is sponsoring our Beatle Brunch Club Member Drive and this year he’s donating a beautiful Beatles Cartoon Sericel autographed by the original cartoon director, Ron Campbell. Anyone who’s an active, registered Beatle Brunch Family member or BBC’er is eligible to win. Don’t Pass It By. Join The BBC Today. See the entire Feature at BrunchRadio.com.

We’re selecting a winner on Monday, June 4th, holding over because our BBC site has been off-line for the past few days.  Join The Beatle Brunch Club and win a beautiful autographed Beatles Cartoon Sericel, compliments DenniLu.
This Week 48 Years Ago
WABC All American "Top 10" June 1, 1964

1. Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups
2. A World Without Love - Peter and Gordon
3. Hello, Dolly! - Louis Armstrong
4. Love Me Do - The Beatles   
5. My Guy - Mary Wells
6. Love Me With All Your Heart - Ray Charles Singers                              
7. Walk On By - Dionne Warwick
8. People - Barbra Streisand
9. Little Children - Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas
10. P.S. I Love You - The Beatles

Joe Johnson’s
Beatle Brunch Schedule
Beatle Brunch 20th Anniversary Show

Bridesmaids – Songs That Hit #2

A Big Birthday for Sir Paul – 70!

The Summer of Love

June 3

June 10

June 17

June 24

Life Gets More Complicated Everyday