The Beatles vs. the Four Seasons

The Wife and I have been to two programs at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady in the last month, both enjoyable, though in quite different ways.

On Friday, February 24, we went to the GE Theatre and attended “Looking Through A Glass Onion”, a deconstruction of the Beatles white album presented by Scott Freiman. Actually, we were the perfect audience. I remember hearing the album for the first time in the basement of the Unitarian church in Binghamton, NY late in the fall of 1968. By contrast, my wife had probably never heard of more than a half dozen of the 30 songs on the album. Yet we both walked away learning things.

That bit Can You Take Me Back Where I Came From between Cry Baby Cry and Revolution 9 came from a take of the song I Will. The song Revolution 9 came from an iteration of Revolution 1, is one of FOUR versions of Revolution, including the single and the version that shows up on the Anthology video, which is my very favorite, as it rocks like the single, but has the doowaps of Revolution1.

The difference is that Frieman was able to provide music snippets showing these things in context. He also somehow separated some tracks so you could hear Paul sing the bass line in I Will, e.g. Quite entertainingly told. The only problem is that he only got through about 2/3s of the songs on the album, though he did also touch on the single Hey Jude.

Tuesday, March 6, we saw Jersey Boys, the story of the Four Seasons, at the main Proctors stage. The reason the show worked, besides solid performances, is the Rashomon nature of the story, with Tommy, Bob, Nick and Frankie having different recollections of what took place. I knew this quartet far less well than I did the Fab Four, but learned a lot more about them. Unlike some “musicals” that throw a bunch of songs together so that it’s more a musical revue than a stage production, this actually had a narrative flow. There were also effective visual effects that enhanced the narrative. I thought the Nippertown review was spot on.

The Beatles and the Four Seasons were, for a brief time, on the same record label in the US, VeeJay. The label, with pretty much only the songs from the Beatles Please Please Me album, repackaged it several times; likewise, the Four Seasons had moved onto another label. Thus was born the most peculiar The Beatles vs.the Four Seasons collection.

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4 thoughts on “The Beatles vs. the Four Seasons

  1. That’s like Apple and oranges, ha ha ha. But I must tell you, the reference to hearing the White Album for the first time at the UU Church in Bingo was quite wonderful for me personally! My first hearing was in our living room sitting Ground Zero between the two speakers. Perfect. I played it for my daughter when she was 16 and she said, “I like ‘Revolver’ better. It’s more cohesive. This is a bit too self-indulgent on their part.”

    Yeah. I said 16. What a mind… Thanks, Rog! Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/03/16/irony-in-the-air/

  2. The one full Beatles LP on Vee Jay, Introducing the Beatles, might be the most counterfeited album in history. (I have determined that my own copy is a fake.)

    One of these days I’m going to have to edit together a proper single-disc Seasons compilation, assuming I can decide what to leave out.

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