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This is a photo of George Harrison, who was a Beatle.

Most of you, probably at least 95%, know that. But up until a few months ago, I’m not sure that I would have recognized him, well maybe from this photo but certainly not from an early picture of the band like this one.



Here, I’m sure of Paul, but not even positive about Ringo. But then, a few months ago, I was listening to the Beatles Channel on Sirius-XM, Peter Asher was doing a weekend special featuring the 100 most requested Beatles’ songs and providing fascinating commentary before and after each one, explaining why John was singing such and such a song instead of Paul, analyzing a particularly innovative drum underscoring from Ringo, how George’s sitar at the beginning of Norwegian Wood provided a bit of musical improvisation that would go on to color much of the bands later work – or something like that. I may have some of the details wrong, but the passions and specificity with which Asher broke down the music were thrilling to listen to. I had been launched on my latest obsessive research project – The Beatles. Such compulsions have been an almost lifelong obsession for me, whether it’s searching out the names of every year’s St. Louis Cardinals’ regular line-up from 1926 to the early sixties (a much more challenging task in the days before websites like Baseball-Reference emerged in 2000), since early childhood. These research obsessions tend to begin as compulsive diversions without any goal in sight, but experience has taught me to see them through and they, or their descendants, will end up in an Irondale project. Another obsession of mine is the compulsion to write very long sentences, two examples of which you have just been subjected to.

But back to the Beatles. When I went out this morning to fetch coffee, I had already spent the better part of an hour in my favorite chair trying to determine what really was on my mind today. My thoughts were replaced by earworms, which reflected my mood as I veered back and forth from a Hey Jude morning to a Here Comes the Sun one. Good news, bad news. Barbara and I got our second shots, we’re safe. “Ray! But 49% of middle-aged men of a certain persuasion are saying fuggedaboutit! Ouch. Bummer.


I didn’t get a letter out last week. (sorry) We were coming into the home stretch with our Radio Mother Courage, and I was obsessed with final (more or less) rewrites, which consisted mainly of taking three words out, then sticking them in again, changing ‘dangerous” to “minacious,” things like that. What did Oscar Wilde say? “I spent all morning taking out a comma and all afternoon putting it back.” Then I’d hear the new words in the Mother Courage Zoom remote rehearsal, disparage what I’d done and, like David Selznick said after the seventeenth rewrite of Gone With the Wind was playing flat as a pancake. “Get me Sidney Howard’s original version, and let’s just do that.” I reached for the original version of my script, didn’t look at it, put it back.

Got an updated list of the scenes we either haven’t recorded or need to be redone from Jackie, our most resourceful stage manager and dramaturg associate, this morning. A lot. We want to have this done by Wednesday so we can turn it over to Jeff and Sam to engineer the whole thing.

One ear worm now. It’s playing: “Hey, Jude, take a sad song, and make it better.”

Went out for coffee. Heard George on the Beatles SiriusXM.

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right.

Then this comes in on the Email:

Stephen R Cross (the Cook)
“Can’t upload, need more space”. I tried dragging and dropping, and using the “Upload Files” button.

Terry Greiss (the Chaplain, the Producer)
Maybe it was the File Folder. I just created a new one that says “Steve’s Songs”. Try that one. It is also shared with everyone.
Let me know how it works.

Terry Greiss
I just checked the dropbox account. There’s LOT’S of available space

And I say, “No worries.

It’s sunny and warm here in Pittsburgh.”
And George is coming in on the radio, coming in loud and strong.

Wish you were here, George. A lot of places that could use you singing to them today.

Jim Niesen


Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles


Author Irondale

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