WCBS 101.1 FM: Got to Get You Into My Life

WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City is the most listened to radio station in the U.S., with its transmitter located on the top of the Empire State Building. Every Wedensday when I am in my office I listen to WCBS via internet radio because they have their famous “Beatles Wednesday” which entails more playing of Beatles songs along with interesting factoids and trivia, both on the air and on the WCBS-FM website (www.cbsfm.com). It was from a Beatles Wednesday not too long ago that I got the idea for a post about the classic song “Got to Get You into My Life”.

The last Beatles hit released was “The Long and Winding Road”, which stayed at # 1 for two weeks in June 1970. However, some of you may remember that in the summer of 1976, strangely enough the song “Got to Get You Into My Life” was released as a single, received major airplay and reached # 7 on the Top 40! “Helter Skelter” was on the B-side. This marked the first time that the song was released as a single, as it was not released as a single when Revolver was released in 1966. The song was released as a single in 1976 as a promo to bring attention to the Rock N Roll Music compilation album of Beatles works.

What received much attention years later in 1997 was Barry Miles’ book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, in which McCartney disclosed that the song was actually about marijuana. He said,”‘Got to Get You into My Life’ was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot … So [it’s] really a song about that, it’s not to a person. It’s actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.”

“Got to Get You into My Life” also has the distinction of being the first ever Beatles song to use horns. Three trumpet players were brought in for the sessions as well as two tenor saxophonists. Also, John Lennon claimed it was one if his favorite Beatles songs written primarily by Paul, and also liked the fact that it was a song about marijuana.

The fact that it reached # 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1976, some ten years after its original release, is eye-opening. Early on, it was competing with Wings’ “Silly Love Songs”, which held the top slot on the charts for five weeks in the early part of the summer of 1976.

Similarly, ten years later, in 1986, “Twist and Shout” was released again as a single and reached # 23. It had attracted a new following after being featured in the hit summer movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, helping to form a new generation of Beatles fans.

I recommend checking out “Beatles Wednesday” on WCBS-FM because it is always chock full of cool surprises. WCBS-FM has faithful daily listeners from all over the world who tune in on the internet to make it the soundtrack to their workday. I have the station on constantly in my office via internet.

Intriguing new book on The Fab Four: Beatleness by Cathy Leonard

As I am known to family and friends as a Beatles enthusiast to say the least, several of my gifts this holiday season were Beatles items. By the way, if you like this blog please go through our Amazon box on this site when you order from Amazon.com. Many thanks.

One gift I received was 2014 book Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World by Cathy Leonard. It was a fascinating read and I recommend it. The book covers how the Fab Four was a constant presence in the 1960’s. She interviewed hundreds of fans of different ages and genders over six years. Leonard has a master’s degree in Human Development as well as a doctorate in Sociology. In Beatleness, the six year period of 1964-1970 addressed in the book covers so much ground it was incredible.

One memorable aspect of the book is that it gives unique insight into how the band’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the major impact of this single appearance on culture.

Apart from Dr. Leonard’s book, another memorable anecdote about the first appearance on Sullivan comes to mind. Last year at this time I was very interested to learn once again about the story of Vince Calandra, the employee of Ed Sullivan who had to stand in for George Harrison for the rehearsal the night before their groundbreaking appearance on February 9, 1964.

Vince Calandra started out as a mail boy for The Ed Sullivan Show, working his way up to holding cue cards and later enjoyed a distinguished career in television as both a producer and a writer. That Saturday night George Harrison was back in the Plaza Hotel battling strep throat. Going to the rehearsal was out of the question in light of his delicate condition. Calandra just by chance was wearing the same color suit and tie as John, Paul and George as he had plans later in the evening. He was instructed to stand in for George for the rehearsal. He was given George’s guitar and told to don a mop top. He stood off next to Paul for the three song rehearsal. He commented in a 2014 interview, “I stood there like a statue. I didn’t move. I did not hit the strings. I didn’t open my mouth.”

In a January 31, 2104 New York Post article entitled “Sullivan Staffer Recalls Stint as Honorary Beatle”, Calandra stated that The Beatles were the only act in his 14 years of working for The Ed Sullivan Show that asked to go into the control room and hear the playback for themselves. He also said, “There was something about them when you started meeting them. You really wanted them to succeed. They were unpretentious. They knew they were talented.”

Before the rehearsal, Calandra stated that Paul turned to him and said, “My whole life, we always dreamed about doing this show.”

Please check out below the Amazon page for Beatlesness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World.

Linda McCartney vs. Yoko Ono: rivalry and comparisons

Of course, everyone knows the about the rivalry between Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney, both in the last phase of the Beatle years and for almost the next thirty years. The two wives of the most famous Beatles tried to stake out their different characteristics, but Yoko and Linda had some very interesting things in common. Let’s look at three of them.

1. Both had wealthy parents who lived in the affluent New York City suburb of Scarsdale in Westchester County. Linda Eastman actually grew up in Scarsdale and graduated from Scarsdale High in 1959. Mr. and Mrs. Ono moved to Scarsdale in 1952 when Yoko’s father was transferred to run the New York office of the Bank of Tokyo; in her early 20’s, Yoko would soon go to the U.S. to live with them.

2. Both Linda Eastman and Yoko Ono attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville,NY, a twenty minute ride from Scarsdale, though at different times. Neither would graduate from Sarah Lawrence, both leaving to pursue artistic endeavors.

3. Both of their fathers were very hard-working and successful, while both mothers came from old-money backgrounds. Linda’s father was Lee Eastman, who worked his way through Harvard Law School and became a prominent Manhattan tax attorney who would also handle entertainment law after heavily investing in Broadway shows and song catalogs. Linda’s mother was the former Louise Linder, the daughter of the founder and CEO of the famous Linder Department Stores chain in the Midwest.

Yoko’s mother was a Yasuda, the family that was the backbone of Japan’s business empire, mainly financial, commercial and industrial conglomerates. Her mother, Isoko Yasuda, was the great-granddaughter of the founder of the Bank of Tokyo. On the other hand, Yoko’s father, Eisuke Ono, was from a much lower social caste. From a Samauri family whose lineage reached back to a 9th century emperor, Mr. Ono became a top executive with the Bank of Japan. While his wife’s family was from a higher class, the Onos became very prominent in politics.