Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles “Tune In”& Bruce Springsteen Review

The definitive Beatles historian, Mark Lewisohn, talks about the Fab Four before they were legends. His comprehensive new text Tune In delves into the band's early years in Liverpool and Hamburg. And Jim and Greg rekindle an age-old Sound Opinions debate: To Bruce or not to Bruce.

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Music News

With the release of Nielsen's SoundScan year-end sales figures for 2013, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines has officially been crowned the top-selling single of the year with 6.5 million units. Hot on Thicke's heels were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Thrift Shop and Imagine Dragons' Radioactive with 6.15 million and 5.5 million respectively. Turning to albums, Justin Timberlake claimed the top spot with 2.43 million copies of The 20/20 Experience sold. Though, Jim and Greg note that the album's numbers happen to be the lowest sales for a #1 record in Nielsen history.

The report also revealed other interesting trends in the music industry. Vinyl record enthusiasts continued to show the love for LPs in 2013 with sales up 33% over the year before. People loved streaming their music, as well, but digital sales were down 6%. This has Jim and Greg wondering: is the stream going to kill the download?

Speaking of death and downloads… Last week, Jim and Greg reported the loss of pioneering country rocker Phil Everly. Apparently they weren‘t the only ones mourning. In the week after Phil’s passing, fans downloaded 18,000 Everly Brothers songs, a whopping 696% increase from the previous week. Dying, it turns out, can be a great career move.

Coachella Music Festival has released its full 2014 lineup. In addition to top headliners Arcade Fire, Muse, and OutKast (who are reuniting for the first time since 2007), the desert super-show will feature Girl Talk, Lana Del Rey, Motörhead, Lorde, plus two bonus reunions: The Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel.

In other live music news, the NFL has beefed up its plans for the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. Just in case main act Bruno Mars wasn‘t enough to satisfy America’s burning need for overhyped pop spectacle, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be joining him onstage. What a combination, Greg laments.

If the Nielsen numbers were any sign, streaming music is here to stay. And now another big player is hoping to break into that (already crowded) market: Beats Music. Spearheaded by Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and record exec Jimmy Iovine, the new streaming service aims to offer a more curated listening experience than its competitors. Rather than using algorithms to help users find music, Beats will rely on experts from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone—and your esteemed Sound Opinions hosts! But Jim and Greg wanted to know how the service compensates artists and labels, something for which Spotify and Pandora have taken flak. CEO Ian Rogers explains that because Beats Music won‘t be available for free, the company will pay extra for each song streamed. With the majority of every subscription fee going toward giving rights holders their fair share, Rogers says that what’s good for Beats Music is good for the industry.


Mark Lewisohn

January 10 marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles stateside debut, Introducing the Beatles! This was 10 days before Meet the Beatles!, but whether you were introduced to these lads from Liverpool or you met them, you were hit with a thunderbolt—one that has continued to electrify decades after. So what were these four like before they were fab? Who were John, Paul, Ringo and George as young men, performing in skiffle groups like the Quarrymen and jet setting to Hamburg with Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best? To get insight into these early days, leading up to Beatlemania and their smash debut, we turn to leading Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn. He worked with the band on The Beatles Anthology and now has a new book out called The Beatles All These Years, Volume 1: Tune In. In its 800 pages, Lewisohn reveals who had the biggest row with Stu (Paul), who had the biggest appetite for prellies (John), and most important, who was the biggest stud (Ringo). He also sheds light on John's complicated relationship with women and why The Beatles were so ahead of its time, even in 1962.

reviewHigh HopesHigh Hopes available on iTunes

Bruce Springsteen High Hopes

It's that time again - to Bruce or not to Bruce? The age-old Sound Opinions debate continues with the release of Bruce Springsteen's 18th studio album, High Hopes. Greg is generally more favorable to Bruce, but felt that the last two decades of records have been letting him down with overproduction and a lack of energy. He thinks High Hopes continues that trend and gave Bruce a Try It rating on our new ratings scale. Jim says he really wants to like Bruce, but is once again let down by lyrical cliches and bad production. Jim gives High Hopes a Trash It rating.


Featured Songs

  1. Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines, Blurred Lines, Star Trak/Interscope, 2013
  2. Florida Georgia Line, Cruise, Here's to the Good Times, Republic Nashville, 2012
  3. The Everly Brothers, All I Have to Do Is Dream, All I Have to Do Is Dream (Single), Cadence, 1958
  4. Bruno Mars, Gorilla, Unorthodox Jukebox, Atlantic, 2012
  5. The Beatles, I Saw Her Standing There, Introducing… The Beatles, Vee-Jay, 1964
  6. The Beatles, I'm In Love, The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963, Apple/Universal, 2013
  7. John Lennon, Mother, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Apple, 1970
  8. The Beatles, Please Please Me, Please Please Me, Parlophone, 1963
  9. The Beatles, Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby, Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962, Lingasong/Bellaphone, 1977
  10. The Quarrymen, In Spite of All the Danger, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  11. The Beatles, One After 909, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  12. The Beatles, We were four guys… that's all, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  13. The Beatles, Long Tall Sally, Live at the BBC, Apple, 1994
  14. The Silver Beatles, Three Cool Cats, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  15. The Beatles, Getting Better, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Parlophone/Capitol, 1967
  16. The Beatles, Money (That's What I Want), The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963, Apple/Universal, 2013
  17. The Beatles, All You Need Is Love, Magical Mystery Tour, Parlophone, 1967
  18. The Beatles, Boys, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  19. The Beatles, We were performers … in Britain, Anthology 1, Apple, 1995
  20. The Beatles, This Boy, Mono Masters, Parlophone/Capitol/Apple, 2009
  21. Paul McCartney, Early Days, New, Virgin EMI/Hear Music, 2013
  22. Paul McCartney, Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite! (Live at Barclays Center), unreleased, N/A, 2013
  23. The Beatles, You Really Got a Hold on Me, With the Beatles, Parlophone, 1963
  24. Bruce Springsteen, American Skin (41 Shots), High Hopes, Columbia, 2013
  25. Bruce Springsteen, Harry's Place, High Hopes, Columbia, 2013
  26. Clams Casino, Wizard (Remix), Instrumental Tape 3, self-released, 2013
  27. The Drifters, Answer the Phone, I‘ll Take You Where The Music’s Playing, Atlantic, 1965
  28. Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, The New Custom House (Live on Soundcheck), Welcome Here Again, Compass Records, 2008 (0:29)
  29. Secret Machines, Sad and Lonely, Now Here Is Nowhere, Reprise, 2004
  30. School of Seven Bells, Lafaye, Ghostory, Vagrant/Ghostly International, 2012
  31. The Chi-Lites, Give It Away, Give It Away, Brunswick, 1969

Footnotes Everly Brothers' Song Sales Up Coachella's 2014 lineup Super Bowl Halftime Show Beats Music homepage The Beatles' website Mark Lewisohn's website Buy Tune In The Beatles Anthology The Quarrymen Greg Reviews Bruce Springsteen