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Beatles Fans, Repeat After Me: "Number Nine, Number Nine, Number Nine..."
September 9, 2009  | By David Bianculli

beatles-box.jpgToday is September 9, 2009. It's no coincidence, given how much stock Yoko Ono Lennon puts in numerology, that this is the day the Beatles and their surviving heirs have selected to release the biggest batch of Beatles merchandise in a generation.

The day breaks down, by day, month and year, to 09/09/09. Or, to quote the opening moments of "Revolution No. 9" from The Beatles, a.k.a. the White Album: "Number nine, number nine, number nine..."

So why is this newsworthy on a site called TV WORTH WATCHING?

Arguably, because the conclusion of The Beatles Anthology is shown tonight at 9 p.m. ET on both VH1 and VH1 Classic.

But that's a weak argument.


A better argument is because The Beatles: Rock Band, the interactive musical video game that is released today, has been peppering its song elements as "videos" on MTV. Less of a surprise, when you realize that MTV also owns the Rock Band game franchise.

Finally, no matter where you turn today -- network news, entertainment newsmagazines, even CNN -- you're likely to see coverage of the release of this new videogame, and of the boxed-set CD remastered re-releases of the entire Beatles musical catalog.

Two members of the Beatles are dead. The group itself stopped recording 39 years ago. And yet, today, they're generating the kind of fuss last seen by which rock group?

It's a rhetorical question.

And here's another: Are the Beatles, today as well as they were in 1965, the Kings of All Media?

Answer: Yeah, yeah, yeah.




Greg Kibitz said:

But can I get it on vinyl? And the Blue and Red Greatest Hits Albums? On Blue and Red transparent Vinyl? And was the White Album on White Vinyl? Always wondered that one. Gotta google it I guess.

[I can answer this one. Yes, back in the late 70s, they released very limited vinyl editions of the red and blue albums on red and blue vinyl -- and, even better, the white album on white vinyl.

I own a copy of the white-vinyl white album, and it's cooler than cool. So it DOES exist. -- David B.-eatlemaniac]

Comment posted on September 10, 2009 4:03 AM

Greg Kibitz said:

You lucky dog you!

(I wrote a much better comment, but I had a comment submission error, even when I know I had the text right, and so I lost it all, even when I hit back - So it goes - maybe next time - far too tired now, and I need to get some sleep!)

Reminder to self: Always compose comments in an e-mail window and then be sure to send them to one self, so they won't just vaporize. If only I could do that more. I also lost a bunch of comments/replies to Diane (Your Diane) just several hours earlier tonight, that time because lovely old AOL crashed, and those were in e-mail windows - but they don't auto-save, so until I send them, they are but little more than shadows of what will be. (More or less stole that line from Dickens!)

And don't even get me started on the time in 1989 when I used a friends MAC to write a 20 page Intro to Management 601 paper, the night before it was due, and I was not good with computers yet, I didn't even own my own, and I never saved as I went along, and he hit the wrong button on the A/V power strip timer, and it all went bye-bye, and I was already a good 11-12 pages in, so actually over the hump and seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and then, just a whole lotta tunnel. Let's just say I got that A on borrowed time and not many professors today would have been so kind as to give me an extra day or two extension!

[We all have computer horror stories about what was and wasn't saved. My favorite is making a floppy disc backup of a book I'd been working on for years, on the history of the TV miniseries, only to have both it and my computer go up in smoke, literally, when my house was hit by lightning. -- David B.]

Comment posted on September 16, 2009 3:45 AM

michael fernbach said:

Hi David, I enjoy your pieces on fresh air and was happily surprised to hear of your Beatles admiration when you did the Sgt. Pepper piece. I was hoping you would review the remastered set on fresh air. I understand they had to go with a rock critic's take. I remember in college looking through microfilms of old Rolling Stones and remember Ed Ward's negative review of Abbey Road. I was wondering what you thought of Ed Ward's piece and what you think of the remastered set. Thank you. By the way, I also own a white vinyl white album.

Michael Fernbach

[Michael -- Funny. I had to read the intro to Ed's piece, where he admits to not having a single Beatles album or CD in his house before the review copy of the remastered box set arrived. I read that line with as much disdain as possible, but I like that Ed, whose vintage rock and blues history pieces are fabulous, grudgingly came around to enjoying the music more.

As for my take on the remasters, my stereo set hasn't arrived yet -- but I'm halfway through the mono mixes, and love them.

Oh, and when the "Fresh Air" producers selected a song to play after the piece, I geeked out by talking to the control room, playing "Name That Tune" as soon as I heard it.

"That's 'Flying.' The only Beatles track crediting all four band members as composers. Appeared on the "Magical Mystery Tour" soundtrack -- which was released as an LP in the States, but only as an EP in England. And 'Flying' was one of only two recorded Beatles intstrumentals -- the other being 'Cry for a Shadow," from their Hamburg days."

It was about that time their eyes glazed over... -- David B.]

Comment posted on September 18, 2009 11:50 PM

michael fernbach said:

Thanks for the response. And of course Cry is the only Lennon-Harrison composition. Though off the top of my head I believe Dig It is credited to all four even though it's just some John improv. And let us not forget the instrumental 12 Bar Blues which is on Anthology but never officially released. I'm also waiting on the stereo set. Got through most of the mono. Was familiar with the major differences already on specific songs but still sounds great though not much of a difference in the first couple of albums which were already in mono. I like Ed Ward's pieces but you have to wonder at a rock historian who doesn't own a single Beatles album. C'mon!

Comment posted on September 20, 2009 1:20 AM
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