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A brand launch across the universe.

More breaking news from the Beatles. You always hear that the Beatles brand has universal appeal. Why not market test it? That's exactly what will happen at 7pm EST tonight. NASA is beaming the Beatles song "Across the Universe," well, across the universe.

It's the first song to be sent into outer space, coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles recording of the tune, which appeared on their Let It Be soundtrack. (This year is also the fiftieth anniversary of NASA.)

"Across the Universe"—considered by critics (and by John Lennon) as one of his best compositions—will be aimed towards the North Star, Polaris, 2.5 quadrillion miles away, where nearby residents can hear it in 431 years. If they like it we'll get quick feedback 431 years later.


Oh, ho-ho, it's magic.

I'm still amazed by this Internet thing. Maybe because I'm not a techno-geek. (A geek, yes, because anyone who majored in ancient Greek is not normal. But I can be flummoxed by trying to open a can of beans.)

So this web deal verges on the supernatural to me. I'm astounded at how easy it is to contact anyone anywhere these days.

Thanks to the magical wonders of email, I recently reconnected with Fox News' Alan Colmes. (For blog readers outside the US, Alan is the liberal half of the enormously successful prime-time television debate show Hannity & Colmes in which Alan pairs-up with conservative Sean Hannity for nightly sparring.)

My quick email exchange with Alan released long-suppressed memories of my appearances years ago on his WPIX-FM radio show in New York—when, while a rock & roll musician I ran (clearly in response to some undiagnosed psychiatric disorder) as an independent candidate for US President.

Here's an example of our scintillating dialogue from a 1980 interview:


Interview with a Beatle.

This summer I found some time to sit down with Pete Best, the original "Fab Four" drummer, when the Pete Best Band was passing through Massachusetts.

I had met Pete several times before—including one occasion in Liverpool in 2002 when sobbing Beatles' fans were trying to get his autograph (I'm not kidding). But this was the first occasion for me to ask him questions that had been tattooing my brain for a quarter century.

Pete, one of the nicest and most gracious fellows I've ever met in the music biz, patiently answered my queries, as he's been doing with others for forty-five years.

Here's an edited version of our conversation…


Innovate, or die.

Three weeks ago I caught Tom Peter's talk at Quinnipiac U in Connecticut, then attended a weekend Beatles fan fest in New Jersey (to interview Beatles' colleagues for my book). I soon realized it was the same message at both events.

Tom: "Be different." "Hang out with freaks." "The Peters Principles include… creativity, imagination, vitality, joy, surprise, independence, spirit."

Norman Smith (original Beatles recording engineer): "I'd seen a few long-haired groups, a few weirdos, but nothing like the Beatles. They were unique. Their hair. Their sense of humor."

Terry Sylvester (fellow musician at the Cavern Club and later member of the Hollies): "We were all wearing gold lame suits while the Beatles were wearing leather jackets."

Larry Kane (author of Ticket to Ride and Lennon Revealed): "The band's music was liberating, along with their dress and style. [It had an] ageless vitality."


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