When They Were Boys

It’s safe to say that all Beatle books contain a few errors.

But not all errors are created equal. In the most recent edition of their “All Together Now” podcast, Karen and Erin used Larry Kane’s “When They Were Boys” to discuss the different ‘tiers’ of errors authors make, from lazy but inconsequential mistakes to the deliberate misrepresentation of evidence. They also discussed how crucial an author’s understanding of the current state of their subject’s historiography is to providing an accurate account, and why secondary works built on memoirs can be problematic. What value does Kane’s work hold? Find out in this episode of All Together Now: A Beatles Podcast.

Conversations With McCartney


All Together Now The world doesn’t need another Beatles podcast. It simply doesn’t. 

There are already countless podcasts, and many of them are very good; well researched, insightful, and fun. Everyone has their must-not-miss favorites to listen to while they drive or jog or cook. (Once, while listening to a SATB episode — which did not include myself, thank you very much — I was so distracted by the show that I labeled the peaches I was putting in the freezer “Beatles.”  That raised a few eyebrows when we pulled those peaches out months later).   

So, having already determined that the world doesn’t need another Beatles podcast, why am I writing a manifesto justifying the existence of my new podcast? 

 That’s a good question. Now watch as I dodge and choose not to answer it in the next sentence. 

When Karen floated the idea of the podcast, my first reaction was reluctance, due to my already hectic schedule. If I were to agree, it would add another task I was simply not sure I had the time to do. I also didn’t want to infringe on the other podcasts who cover the same territory, considering I’ve interviewed with more than a few of them and always had an excellent experience. I’m also, to be blunt, fairly inept technologically, which means any and all tech would fall on Karen’s (more than capable) shoulders. 

However, I miss writing the book reviews and analyses that I used to be able to write when I had the uninterrupted time to work on them. Viewing the podcasts as the verbal equivalent of those reviews — ones which I could produce in a discussion with Karen over approximately an hour, rather than the several hours, at least, it takes to produce a written analysis — convinced me that the podcast approach was a good idea. What Karen and I want to provide with the podcast — what we believe “All Together Now” offers, hopefully episode in and episode out — is the same level of analysis you would receive if you were taking a graduate-school level reading seminar on the Beatles. We’re going to categorize, and discuss, and look at methodology, chronology, and sourcing. And, if people want to hear them, I will occasionally digress down various history-related rabbit holes to provide examples of certain issues from other historical subjects.

That’s our hook, and our goal. If it works for you, and you find the podcast worthwhile, then I guess the world did need another Beatles podcast. Sorta.

Thanks, Erin


Erin is being modest.  Of COURSE the world needs another Beatle podcast–especially one hosted by our favourite Beatle historian!  The link below should take you to our podcast website, where you will also find a brief descriptor of our podcast approach and a few words about the hosts, Erin and yours truly.  If you have any problems connecting, please let me know.  

So, without further ado,  our first podcast:  A review of Conversations With McCartney, by Paul Du Noyer. 



Erin and I are happy to announce that we’re taking our blog to the airwaves!

In this podcast, Erin and I will delve into the band’s historiography— the study of how their story has been told over time — by reviewing beatle biography in the context of its data sources, the objectives and biases of the individuals who have constructed its narratives, and the varying versions of Beatle history contained within its pages. It’s a podcast for Beatles lovers, readers, and history lovers alike. 

Stay tuned!

Testing, Testing

Some of you might have recently received a blog update entitled “test.”

Erin and I are in the midst of experimenting with podcast applications and one test went AWOL. Sorry `bout that!

New Podcast: Interview with Glass Onion

As a wise man once said, “It’s Deja vu all over again.”*

Here’s yet another new interview, done with Antony Rotuno’s Glass Onion podcast. It’s a nice companion piece to the One Sweet Dream podcast I did with Diana, in that my discussion with her primarily focused on McCartney, whereas the one with Antony is more Lennon-centric. We discuss the issues surrounding both Coleman’s Lennon and Goldman’s version, along with less polarizing portrayals, such as the one provided by Pete Shotton. I hope you listen and enjoy; feel free to ask comments or questions.

Here’s the link:

Episode 67- John Lennon and the Historian with Erin Torkelson Weber by Glass Onion: On John Lennon | Free Listening on SoundCloud


(For all that Yogi Berra was more recently most well known for his malapropisms, he was also a well-decorated World War II soldier who served bravely in the Pacific Theater. All honor to him).

Podcast alert: Interview with One Sweet Dream


I’m very pleased to report that today Diana Erickson of One Sweet Dream has posted the single longest podcast interview, to date, I’ve ever done (although I suppose if you combine all my SATB interviews, it would rank a distant second). We cover a lot of ground, with particular emphasis on the Maureen Cleave interviews and the sculpting of the Beatles image. For those who are interested, here’s the link:

Player FM – Internet Radio Done Right

Questions and comments are welcomed.


Completely non-Beatles related note: For anyone who is even remotely interested in Abraham Lincoln, The American Civil War and historiography, I cannot recommend Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image, by Joshua Zeist, strongly enough. Zeist delves into the lives of Lincoln’s two secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay, their roles as witnesses to history and, more importantly, their crucial and massive impact on Lincoln and Civil War historiography.

Lincoln’s only authorized biographers, they published a ten volume biography of Lincoln in the late 19th century that benefited, immensely, not only from their own personal memories and documentation, but from the privilege and power of being the only researchers allowed, until 1947, full access to the Lincoln papers. (As we have recently noted on this blog, regarding the cancellation of Doggett’s Prisoner of Love, control over rare documents ensures a measure of control over a historiography). Zeist discusses issues familiar to readers of Beatles historiography: influential secondary sources far too dependent on retrospective interviews, rather than documentation; authorial disputes regarding crucial and legacy defining writings; how elevating the reputation of one individual in history seemingly can require demeaning another; and the role audience plays in demanding a preferable interpretation from its historians. If given a chance, I hope to write a post further exploring the parallels.