Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Boston Globe. He is the author of "NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity" - a widely-praised bestseller in the US and the UK. His TED talk, “The Forgotten History of Autism,” has been viewed nearly 2 million times online. Steve also won a gold record from the Recording Industry Association of America for co-producing the Grateful Dead’s career-spanning box set So Many Roads (1965-1995), which was Rolling Stone’s box set of the year in 1999. His liner notes have been featured in CDs and DVDs by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Jerry Garcia Band, and many other groups. As a young man, he was Allen Ginsberg’s teaching assistant at Naropa University.
On today's episode, Steve talks to Jack about the how The Beatles impacted his life, the importance of Sgt. Pepper in the counter culture revolution, and the influence of The Beatles on bands such as The Grateful Dead and Crosby Stills Nash and Young.
Check out Steve's website: https://www.stevesilberman.com/
Follow Steve on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevesilberman
This episode is dedicated to David Crosby, who was one of the most influential musicians in rock history and a very close friend of Steve’s. To the surprise of the world, David passed away just two weeks after this podcast was recorded.
One of the reasons I started this podcast was to ask great minds such as David’s how The Beatles inspired his music - and thanks our guest Steve Silberman and his recent phone call with David Crosby, that question is answered in today’s episode.
David will be sorely missed here on Earth, but as he once said, music is love. - and David has left behind a legacy of music and love that will live on forever.
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The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960, that comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They are regarded as the most influential band of all timeand were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music's recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock 'n' roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band later explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As pioneers in recording, songwriting and artistic presentation, the Beatles revolutionised many aspects of the music industry and were often publicised as leaders of the era's youth and sociocultural movements.
Led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the Beatles evolved from Lennon's previous group, the Quarrymen, and built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over three years from 1960, initially with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding their domestic success after signing to EMI Records and achieving their first hit, "Love Me Do", in late 1962.
Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr all released solo albums in 1970. Their solo records sometimes involved one or more of the others; Starr's Ringo (1973) was the only album to include compositions and performances by all four ex-Beatles, albeit on separate songs. With Starr's participation, Harrison staged the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City in August 1971. Other than an unreleased jam session in 1974, later bootlegged as A Toot and a Snore in '74, Lennon and McCartney never recorded together again.
Two double-LP sets of the Beatles' greatest hits, compiled by Klein, 1962–1966 and 1967–1970, were released in 1973, at first under the Apple Records imprint. Commonly known as the "Red Album" and "Blue Album", respectively, each has earned a Multi-Platinum certification in the US and a Platinum certification in the UK. Between 1976 and 1982, EMI/Capitol released a wave of compilation albums without input from the ex-Beatles, starting with the double-disc compilation Rock 'n' Roll Music. The only one to feature previously unreleased material was The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977); the first officially issued concert recordings by the group, it contained selections from two shows they played during their 1964 and 1965 US tours.
The music and enduring fame of the Beatles were commercially exploited in various other ways, again often outside their creative control. In April 1974, the musical John, Paul, George, Ringo ... and Bert, written by Willy Russell and featuring singer Barbara Dickson, opened in London. It included, with permission from Northern Songs, eleven Lennon-McCartney compositions and one by Harrison, "Here Comes the Sun". Displeased with the production's use of his song, Harrison withdrew his permission to use it.Later that year, the off-Broadway musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road opened. All This and World War II (1976) was an unorthodox nonfiction film that combined newsreel footage with covers of Beatles songs by performers ranging from Elton John and Keith Moon to the London Symphony Orchestra. The Broadway musical Beatlemania, an unauthorised nostalgia revue, opened in early 1977 and proved popular, spinning off five separate touring productions. In 1979, the band sued the producers, settling for several million dollars in damages. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978), a musical film starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton, was a commercial failure and an "artistic fiasco", according to Ingham.
Accompanying the wave of Beatles nostalgia and persistent reunion rumours in the US during the 1970s, several entrepreneurs made public offers to the Beatles for a reunion concert.Promoter Bill Sargent first offered the Beatles $10 million for a reunion concert in 1974. He raised his offer to $30 million in January 1976 and then to $50 million the following month. On 24 April 1976, during a broadcast of Saturday Night Live, producer Lorne Michaels jokingly offered the Beatles $3,000 to reunite on the show. Lennon and McCartney were watching the live broadcast at Lennon's apartment at the Dakota in New York, which was within driving distance of the NBC studio where the show was being broadcast. The former bandmates briefly entertained the idea of going to the studio and surprising Michaels by accepting his offer, but decided not to.
Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, Shambhala Sun, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Avery 2015), which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.” The book became a widely-praised bestseller in the United States and the United Kingdom, and won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, a California Book Award, and a Books for a Better Life award. It was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2015 by The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, The Independent, and many other publications, and is being translated into 15 languages.
In April 2016, Silberman gave the keynote speech at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day. He has given talks on the history of autism at Yale, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, the National Academy of Sciences, Queen Mary University, Apple, Microsoft, Google, the 92nd Street Y, Imperial College London, the MIND Institute at UC Davis, and many other major institutions. His TED talk, “The Forgotten History of Autism,” has been viewed more than a million times and translated into 25 languages. His article “The Placebo Problem” won the 2010 Science Journalism Award for Magazine Writing from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Kavli Foundation, and was featured on The Colbert Report. His writing on science, culture, and literature has been collected in a number of major anthologies including The Best American Science Writing of the Year and The Best Business Stories of the Year. Silberman’s Twitter account @stevesilberman made Time magazine’s list of the best Twitter feeds for the year 2011. He is proud to be a member of the PEN American Center.
Silberman also won a gold record from the Recording Industry Association of America for co-producing the Grateful Dead’s career-spanning box set So Many Roads (1965-1995), which was Rolling Stone’s box set of the year. His liner notes have been featured in CDs and DVDs by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Jerry Garcia Band, and many other groups. As a young man, he was Allen Ginsberg’s teaching assistant at Naropa University. He lives with his husband Keith in San Francisco.
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