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Everything Fab Four

Everything Fab Four

By Salon
Everything Fab Four is a podcast from Wonderwall Communications and Salon focused on fun and intelligent stories about the enduring cultural influence of the Beatles.

No other band, or popular entity for that matter, has had the world-wide impact the Beatles have. They are part of our human fabric, they created music that still brings people together, and across continents and generations there are individual Beatles stories to tell. In each episode, renowned music historian, author, and Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack hosts a special guest to share theirs.
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Episode 19: Richard Marx on Ringo's "stunning" skills and why Lionel Richie is "an angel in my life"
Richard Marx's self-titled first album went triple platinum in 1987. Between then and 1994, he racked up 14 top 20 hits, including radio classics like "Endless Summer Nights" and "Right Here Waiting." The prolific songwriter and musical collaborator is also now an author — Stories to Tell, his candid and entertaining memoir about the art and business of music, is out now. In this episode of "Everything Fab Four," he and host Ken Womack talk about how Paul McCartney’s melodies influenced his songwriting, singing “Help!” in Berlin when the wall came down, why "Ringo's everything you want Ringo to be," and the day when the “incredibly kind” Lionel Richie called him, a 17-year-old aspiring songwriter, and changed his life. 
July 7, 2021
Episode 18: K. Flay on "Sgt. Pepper's" and her dynamic creative process
Genre-defying singer/songwriter K. Flay was raised by parents who were “Beatles over Stones, one hundred percent,” and as a kid she was drawn to “acid trip Beatles-ness” songs. In this wide-ranging conversation with host Ken Womack about creativity and creation, K. Flay discusses why genre doesn’t matter, Baby Boomers, her approach to songwriting, collaborating with Tom Morello, and how the Beatles prepared us for playlist culture. 
June 22, 2021
Episode 17: Seeing rock history through photographer Ethan Russell’s lens
Ethan Russell is one of rock’s most influential photographers — and the only one to shoot album covers for the Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones, whose work he also chronicled as the band’s primary photographer from 1968-72, including their ill-fated Altamont show. Pete Townshend once called him “the civilized eye of an uncivilized art form — rock and roll.” Through his camera, Russell has had a front-row seat to many of rock’s great historical moments, including shooting the Beatles’ “Let It Be” cover and the band’s final photo session. But his life could have gone in an entirely different direction. “If Cambridge had accepted me, I never would have done the cover for ‘Let It Be,’” Russell tells our host, Ken Womack during their wide-ranging conversation about his career and experiences in documenting so many iconic moments in rock.
June 8, 2021
Episode 16: Sananda Maitreya on why he’s “a Beatle for life”
When Sananda Maitreya first heard the Beatles, he felt a spiritual awakening. The son of gospel singer Frances Howard wasn’t allowed to listen to music that wasn’t gospel until he was 15 years old, but the Beatles were so ubiquitous, he says, that they couldn’t be contained. When he first heard “She Loves You,” the American singer/songwriter (formerly known under the stage name Terence Trent D’Arby) who catapulted to fame with the number 1 hit “Wishing Well,” says the sound and look of the Beatles were “so alien and yet so familiar at the same time that it was utterly captivating. Growing up in predominately Black culture at that particular time, the way the music seemed to fit so perfectly into the culture … It just felt like something ordained by God.” As a young man, Maitreya trained as a boxer, served in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in West Germany and worked as a band leader. Then in 1987 he released his debut solo record, “Introducing the Hardline,” which netted him a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance. His twelfth studio album, “Pandora’s Playhouse,” is out now. On this episode of Everything Fab Four, Maitreya and host Ken Womack talk about all things Beatles, from Ringo’s drumming to the birth of a white blues with “Hard’s Day Night.” Maitreya also takes a deep dive into his spiritual connections to John Lennon and Prince, and tells Ken the story of the time he and George Harrison had a mystical experience together.
May 18, 2021
Episode 15: Nancy Wilson on how the Beatles planted the seeds for Heart
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Nancy Wilson rose to fame as the guitarist of Heart, the first hard rock band fronted by women. With hits like “Magic Man” and “Crazy On You” to “These Dreams” and “What About Love?” Wilson and her sister Ann, Heart’s lead singer, sold more than 35 million records and along the way, changed perceptions of who can lead a hard rock band. In this episode, Nancy and host Ken Womack talk about the early days of Heart, the songwriting craft behind some of their most iconic tracks, her recent tribute to Eddie Van Halen, and how the Beatles inspired her to pick up a guitar — “We weren’t looking to marry them or date them, we wanted to be them” — sparking the passion for rock and roll that would carry her through her storied career.
May 4, 2021
Episode 14: Just Like Starting Over with Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. made their names as members of the Grammy Award-winning group The Fifth Dimension. Together they’ve logged nearly six decades as pop music stalwarts, while also celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 2019. And now the iconic duo is back with their first studio album in 30 years, "Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons.” In their conversation with "Everything Fab Four" host Ken Womack, they talk about the British Invasion; covering songs by the Beatles, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney;  working with the Wrecking Crew; and their own storied history in pop music. 
April 20, 2021
Episode 13: John Roberts on "Let It Be" and how "Bob's Burgers" songs get made
 John Roberts is best known as the voice of Linda Belcher, doting matriarch of the beloved Fox animated sitcom "Bob’s Burgers," but he’s also a musician — you may have heard his new collaboration with Blondie’s Debbie Harry, "Lights Out." On this episode, he and host Ken Womack talk about the TV pilots Roberts has made that you haven’t seen yet, his upcoming musical releases, and which Beatle Linda Belcher would like the best. 
April 6, 2021
Episode 12: Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go's on the Beatles, her first musical relationship
Kathy Valentine made history as the bassist for the Go-Go’s, the first multiplatinum all-female band who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to have a #1 album in the U.S. And her first relationship with music? Was with the Beatles. In this episode, Valentine and host Ken Womack talk about her Beatles and British influences, what she and fellow bass player Paul McCartney have in common, and her memoir, “All I Ever Wanted,” a deeply personal reflection on a life in rock. 
March 23, 2021
Episode 11: "Little Steven" Van Zandt on his Beatles tribute album, paying "15 years of dues" with the E Street Band and playing live with Paul McCartney
In this episode, "Little Steven" Van Zandt and our host Ken Womack go deep into the guitarist/singer/songwriter/actor's legendary musical career and his own Beatles influences, from the Ed Sullivan Show to how dues-paying in New Jersey and Hamburg shaped these bands to the night they pulled the plug on Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park.  . Everything Fab Four's theme song is "Seize the Day," courtesy of Blac Rabbit: Follow them on Instagram @blacrabbit . Everything Fab Four is a WonderWall Communications production, distributed by Salon
March 9, 2021
Episode 10: John Densmore on how the Doors and the Beatles were on parallel tracks
This week’s guest is drummer John Densmore, one of the founding members of the groundbreaking classic rock band The Doors. In a wide-ranging conversation with host Ken Womack, Densmore talks about the parallel tracks the Beatles and the Doors were on for the time they overlapped as bands, musical innovations the Beatles inspired the Doors to take, and how George Harrison talking about losing John Lennon helped him mourn Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek. . Everything Fab Four's theme song is "Seize the Day," courtesy of Blac Rabbit: Follow them on Instagram @blacrabbit . A WonderWall Communications production, distributed by Salon
February 23, 2021
Episode 9: Patty Smyth on Abbey Road, Van Halen, and how motherhood shaped her career
"I think Paul McCartney’s calling you": This week’s guest is singer/songwriter Patty Smyth, who rocketed to fame with her band band Scandal ("Goodbye to You," "The Warrior"), followed by her acclaimed solo career ("Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough"). This week, Smyth and host Ken Womack talk about the pivotal Beatles moments that shaped her life, how pregnancy and motherhood shaped her career, and how she almost joined Van Halen. . Everything Fab Four's theme song is "Seize the Day," courtesy of Blac Rabbit: Follow them on Instagram @blacrabbit . A WonderWall Communications production, distributed by Salon
February 9, 2021
Episode 8: Dessa on the Beatles, the ins and outs of collaboration, and her "Come Together"-inspired song
From an early age, singer/songwriter Dessa, the daughter of a classical guitar-playing father, seemed destined for music. In the final episode of season 1 of "Everything Fab Four," the Doomtree Collective member tells our host Kenneth Womack how the Beatles shaped her understanding of poetic license and creative possibility from childhood on. In this wide-ranging interview, they also dive deep into the ups and downs of creative collaboration, an exclusive clip of her "Come Together"-influenced song "Warsaw" and much more.
December 29, 2020
Episode 7: "A musical punch in the face": Yes frontman Jon Anderson on how the Beatles changed pop, from revelation to revolution
Jon Anderson, co-founder and former lead singer of the legendary prog rock group Yes, has enjoyed a prolific career spanning over six decades, most recently with his 2019 album "1000 Hands." Though he had a band with his brother as a teen in 1962, they were largely focused on being the Everly Brothers or Elvis Presley — that is, until they heard "Love Me Do." The brothers traveled to see the Beatles play live in April, 1963, "and it was a revelation on many levels," Anderson tells Everything Fab Four host Kenneth Womack. On this episode, go deep with Anderson and Womack into how the Beatles shaped pop music throughout the '60s, and discover the very specific musical reason why Anderson believes the band is beloved all around the world.
December 22, 2020
Episode 6: Stephanie Phillips on why we shouldn’t call the Beatles geniuses
Author and musician Stephanie Phillips, who plays in the Black feminist punk band Big Joanie and whose writing has been featured in major outlets all over the world, grew up a music fan but for years had "a general disinterest" in the Beatles, due largely to the "sad dad army" of fans that she couldn't relate to as a young woman of color. “There wasn’t really much in the Beatles for me to latch onto,” Phillips tells host Ken Womack on "Everything Fab Four." “That was, I learned later, because of how their story and their myth and their music had been commandeered by a very specific white middle class elite.” On this episode Phillips talks about her influential essay "On Loving the Beatles as a Black woman," finding her own way into Beatles fandom, why we shouldn't call them "geniuses," and what she doesn't hear on their albums. 
December 1, 2020
Episode 5: John Oates on Philly's Beatles backlash, the Hall & Oates origin story and living next to Hunter S. Thompson
John Oates, best known as half of the iconic pop duo Hall & Oates, has played guitar alongside Darryl Hall for decades, co-writing hits like “Sara Smile,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” and “Maneater.”  He grew up in Philadelphia, and tells our host Ken Womack that when the Beatles first hit the U.S., his local  radio stations wouldn't play their songs. “Being a teenager in Philadelphia I was right along with them. . . . To me the Beatles didn’t mean that much initially.” Eventually, though, his relationship to the Fab Four's music changed, starting with “Abbey Road.” In this wide-ranging conversation, Oates tells the story of a fateful eviction, the impact producer Arif Mardin had on Hall & Oates, his recent solo work, what kind of neighbor Hunter S. Thompson was, and which Beatles song he'd want with him on a desert island. 
November 17, 2020
Episode 4: "Rent" star Adam Pascal on the most dangerous Beatle, his favorite Fab Four song, and the future of Broadway
Broadway star Adam Pascal is a serious Beatles fan — he even named his son Lennon. On this episode of "Everything Fab Four," host Kenneth Womack talks to the artist who originated the role of Roger in Broadway's "Rent"  about what early Beatles music had in common with show tunes, how John Lennon brought an element of danger into the innocence, and even the brilliance of Barry Manilow.
October 29, 2020
Episode 3: Judy Collins on how the Beatles' "In My Life" changed her life and career
Judy Collins is a Grammy Award-winning American singer and songwriter with an eclectic recording career spanning over 60 years that includes folk, rock, pop and show tunes. Primarily known as a folk singer until 1966, she began branching out to include other sounds with her album In My Life, in which she "took a flying leap" and recorded a cover of the eponymous Beatles song, which pushed her career to new directions and heights. In this episode, Judy and Ken talk about her long working relationship with Elektra Records, how she first fell in love with the Beatles' music, and some personal stories, like the time her friend Linda called her for advice on dating a rock star, a guy named Paul McCartney. 
October 20, 2020
Episode 2: Michael Des Barres on his Beatles obsession and the "absolute shift" they created in rock 'n roll
"England needed heroes ... these four kids came out of the rubble of World War 2 and changed the world": On this episode of "Everything Fab Four" Ken and his guest Michael Des Barres go deep into the Beatles' cultural roots, plus his personal story of discovering the Beatles at 16 — at a concert filmed by the BBC. Michael Des Barres is a true polymath — a hit songwriter ("Obsession"), a dynamic frontman (supergroup Power Station, notably their 1985 Live Aid performance), and a versatile character actor with dozens of big- and small-screen credits to his name, including recurring roles on "Melrose Place" and "MacGuyver." He currently hosts "The Michael Des Barres Program" on Little Steven's Underground Garage, SiriusXM channel 21. NOTE: This episode contains some colorful language; listener discretion is advised. 
October 6, 2020
Episode 1: Steve Lukather (Toto, Ringo's All Starr Band) on how the Beatles changed his life
Steve Lukather is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and the sole continuous founding member of the rock group Toto. He also plays with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band. In this first episode of "Everything Fab Four," host Kenneth Womack talks to Steve about how he discovered the Beatles, how their music influenced his, his personal and professional relationship with Ringo Starr, and what it was like playing with George Harrison and Paul McCartney. NOTE: This episode contains some colorful language; listener discretion is advised. 
September 22, 2020
Introducing Everything Fab Four: Where everyone has a Beatles story to tell
Everything Fab Four is a podcast focused on fun and intelligent stories about the enduring cultural influence of the Beatles. No other band, or popular entity for that matter, has had the world-wide impact the Beatles have. They are part of our human fabric, they created music that still brings people together, and just about everyone has their own “Beatles story” to tell. In each episode, renowned music historian, Beatles scholar, and author Kenneth Womack will host a special guest to share theirs.  In Season 1, we'll hear from an eclectic slate of guests ranging from Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, who plays with Ringo's All-Star Band, and Hall & Oates co-founder John Oates to Broadway star Adam Pascal ("Rent") and genre-defying vocalist Dessa, member of the indie hip hop collective Doomtree.  These conversations will be guided by our host Kenneth Womack, who literally wrote the encyclopedia on the Beatles (The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four), as well as a two-volume study on producer George Martin, and the bestselling book Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles. Ken is also a regular music culture columnist for Salon.  Everything Fab Four is produced by Wonderwall Communications and distributed by Salon. Follow @ef4podcast on Twitter and Facebook.  You can also follow Ken on Twitter at @KennethAWomack and visit his website:  Like the theme music? Learn more about Blac Rabbit on Instagram at @blacrabbitband.
September 9, 2020