Episode 150: "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles
This week’s episode looks at “All You Need is Love”, the Our World TV special, and the career of the Beatles from April 1966 through August 1967. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
NB for the first few hours this was up, there was a slight editing glitch. If you downloaded the old version and don’t want to redownload the whole thing, just look in the transcript for “Other than fixing John’s two flubbed” for the text of the two missing paragraphs.
This is just a note to let everyone know what’s happening over the next few weeks. As I said a few months back, I’m taking a break after episode one hundred and fifty, which I’m uploading at the same time as I upload this, in order to get a backlog of episodes done. There won’t be another new episode up for at least a month, possibly longer, as I’m going to get a backlog of four episodes written, recorded, and edited before I release the next one, so that I know I can keep to a regular schedule. When the podcast comes back, those four episodes will go up weekly, and I am *hoping* that that will be the case from then on — but by taking this time to prepare a backlog, I will also know what regular schedule I *can* do. It might be — it almost certainly will be — an episode every week, but it might be three weeks on, one week off, it might be every other week, it might be four times a month with skip weeks, but you’ll be able to predict exactly when it’ll be.
If it *is* three weeks on, one week off, or every other week, I’ll still also make sure I do *something* for my Patreon backers in off weeks — once the podcast restarts, backers *will* get a bonus podcast every week, whether or not the main podcast is up then.
Whatever schedule it is, though, it will be a *regular* schedule, which the podcast hasn’t had for eighteen months, because I’ll no
longer be running on a treadmill that’s going faster than I can keep up, and I’ll be able to upload episodes in advance and schedule them, and I’ll be able to do work in blocks — so if, as has happened in the past, I have to put off recording a couple of days because of roadworks outside, and then Tilt has to leave the editing a couple of days because of a health problem, that won’t mean the episode goes up four days late, because we’ll be working a month ahead. That kind of leeway is what I had for most of the first two years of the podcast, and it’s what I lost when I was hit with a whole bunch of catastrophes in late 2020 and throughout 2021.
Episodes from this point on are also going to be, in general, shorter than they have been for the last few months. 1966 and 67 is a period where I had to cover a *lot* of ground, adding in new backstory while also moving the story forward, and where nearly every episode had to introduce a whole new style of music *and* a piece of relevant social or political history *and* the biography of an artist *and* their connections to other parts of the story. For most of the next fifty episodes, that won’t be the case. There will be other long episodes in the future — I can think of half a dozen episodes in the next fifty that will require lengths of over ninety minutes as I tell multiple stories, and no doubt more will turn up.
So the way I’m planning to do this is to work on four episodes at once. In each batch of four there will be one long episode — say, twelve thousand words, the same length as the “Respect” or “Eight Miles High” episodes. There will be two six-thousand word episodes, the same length as, say, the “My Girl” or “Mr. Tambourine Man” episodes. And then there’ll be a fourth which could be shorter — three thousand words like the very earliest episodes — or longer, depending on how much time I’ve had to spend on the others. So that should be an average of thirty thousand words of script a month — the same length as the Beatles episode I’m uploading now. A pace that should be achievable, that should mean those who like longer *and* shorter episodes will be happy at least some of the time, and that will hopefully allow me to stick to a schedule.
So you can expect at least a month with no new regular podcast episodes, but this feed won’t be empty. Two weeks from today I’m going to start another of my Pledge Weeks, where for a week I’ll put up one old Patreon bonus episode a day. These are things that my backers have already heard, a year or so ago, and it’s to encourage new backers to take the plunge — there’s a lot more where that came from.
Two weeks after that, I will be doing two Q&A podcasts. One will be for questions from the general public, which you can ask in the
comments to this post at 500songs.com. The other will be for backers only, and I’ll put up a post on Patreon for people to ask questions there.
There’ll then be a break of at least another two weeks, and episode one hundred and fifty-one should be going up some time in early August. While I’m taking this time off — which is not really time off, I’ll be working to build up the backlog — I’ll also be working on proofreading, editing, and typesetting the book version of episodes one hundred and one through one hundred and fifty, which should be out fairly soon and certainly won’t be as delayed as the second book was.
Thank you all for listening, and join me again in August, as we return to the summer of love. Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Episode 149 of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Respect”, and the journey of Aretha Franklin from teenage gospel singer to the Queen of Soul. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
Episode one hundred and forty-eight of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Light My Fire” by the Doors, the history of cool jazz, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
Episode one hundred and forty-six of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, and the history of the theremin. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
As many of you will have noticed, the podcast hasn’t been exactly regular in the last year or so. For the first couple of years of the podcast I had a buffer of several scripts written in advance, which allowed me to keep getting episodes out on a weekly basis even if stuff got in the way.
But starting in late 2020, I had a series of massive life crises that essentially meant that I ate up all my buffer scripts, and from that point on any time anything caused even the slightest inconvenience, that would have a knock-on effect which would make the episode late. For the last fifteen months I have only averaged about an episode every ten days. It’s no exaggeration to say that 2021 was the worst year of my life by quite some way.
Most of those crises have either passed or become the new normal, but they meant I used up all my buffer and then some, and it’s been challenging to build up another buffer while running to catch up. I managed for several weeks at the beginning of this year to get weekly episodes out again, but with no buffer any temporary problem knocks me back off schedule.
Luckily, everyone has been extraordinarily understanding about this, but I can only expect so much understanding before people start demanding results, so here’s what I’m going to do.
Episodes 146 through 150 will take as long as they take. I’m aiming for once a week, but I do have a couple of commitments in the next month that might make that difficult. Realistically, you can expect those to continue at about the same rate as the last year or so, an episode every ten days, give or take.
I have previously taken two-week breaks when I got to an episode that was a multiple of fifty — annual breaks that also mark the start and ends of new books in the series of books based on the podcast. When I get to episode 150, I will take a longer break. That break will last however long it takes for me to write four full main episode scripts. My best estimate of that is that it will take three weeks, but I’ll keep people updated in the unlikely event it takes longer. Episode 151 will be up as soon as I have four scripts done. I will do another pledge week in the middle of the break, posting some old Patreon episodes to the main feed to show you what backers get, and so the feed won’t be completely devoid of content.
I will then once again have a buffer — a month’s worth of scripts prepared — that should mean that I’ll be able to get back on a properly regular schedule again, and stay there.
Episode 145: "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles
This week’s episode looks at “Tomorrow Never Knows”, the making of Revolver by the Beatles, and the influence of Timothy Leary on the burgeoning psychedelic movement. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
Episode 144: "Last Train to Clarksville" by the Monkees
Episode 144 of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Last Train to Clarksville” and the beginnings of the career of the Monkees, along with a short primer on the origins of the Vietnam War. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
Patreon backers also have a seventeen-minute bonus episode available, on “These Boots Are Made For Walking” by Nancy Sinatra, which I mispronounce at the end of this episode as “These Boots Were Made For Walking”, so no need to correct me here.
Episode 143: "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful
Episode 143 of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Summer in the City’”, and at the short but productive career of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.