"The Beatles: Get Back"—an experience or memory?

It’s the holidays and once again I’m arguing with friends about the latest Beatles’ release! This time it’s about Peter Jackson’s sprawling but captivating miniseries, The Beatles: Get Back. It documents the Fab Fours’ creation of the Let It Be album, including the rooftop concert that would become their last.

For those of my generation The Fab Four seemed to dominate our Decembers, beginning in 1963 when “I Want to Hold Your Hand” jumped out of our transistor radios just before Christmas, signaling to young American teens that rock & roll was back! A year later the Beatles 65 album was released (in December 1964) and 12 months later Rubber Soul served notice that The Beatles were serious recording artists and songwriters. The week after Thanksgiving in 1967 we were presented with Magical Mystery Tour and a year later The White Album. Where I lived, snow dropped when a new Beatles’ record dropped.


My interview with Dave Clark Five songwriter, Ron Ryan—part two

Early Dave Clark Five — John Briggs collection
Here is the continuation of my conversation with Ron Ryan, which I began in my previous post. In Part One, we discussed his early involvement with Dave Clark and how he began writing songs for the band. In Part Two he expands on his claim that Clark went back on his word and failed to give Ryan credit or compensation for his songs. A lesson in protecting intellectual property!

Me: Initially Clark gave you his word that you would be given songwriting credit on the songs you wrote for The Dave Clark Five, yes? And later you say he reneged on it?

RR: We had an agreement that I would write the songs and give Dave 50% of them (which was his idea). I said at the time that it was a deal that not many songwriters would go ahead with, but as we were friends, and I am not a greedy man, I said OK. I thought that 50% of something was better than 100% of nothing. If you look at some early DC5 songs you will see they are credited to “Clark/Ryan” like “Sometimes” that Oliver Reed recorded. But when the band got famous Dave wanted to drop my name as his ego was growing by the day, and he said he wanted him and Mike Smith to be seen as the John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the DC5. I did not like the idea, as they were my songs!


My interview with Dave Clark Five songwriter, Ron Ryan—part one

The early Dave Clark Five — John Briggs collection
The Dave Clark Five, along with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, led the “British Invasion” of the ‘60s that transformed popular music in the US and beyond. Between 1964 and 1967 the band charted 17 Top 40 singles in the US, and toured incessantly and profitably. All the more remarkable given that no other self-managed, self-produced band achieved this level of achievement—before or since.

But the DC5 never sustained their breakthrough success. Clark broke up the band in 1970 and their music disappeared for nearly two decades. As the “owner” of the band, Clark withheld their music catalog for years. The band has also been dogged by its share of controversies. Some of them trivial, like the claim that not all the band members, including Clark himself, performed on their records. Some of them not so trivial, like the allegation that Clark didn’t write the songs he said he did, especially the hits written by his old friend, Ron Ryan.