“If Maxwell is a granny song, what the f*ck is Mean Mr. Mustard?” I think I love you.Our Tumblr Asks
Hi! I just wanted to say that I adore the podcast and loved the new episode. I’d never thought about Come Together in any other way than the general hippie togetherness idea and laughed out loud during your discussion of a possible sexual meaning, unfortunately Come Together is in the background of one of the quarantine-themed adverts that’s on TV currently, and I’ve been thinking about ‘they’re all coming on his face, but not in a gay way’ everytime it comes on. Looking forward to part B!!Our Tumblr Asks
Anonymous asked: I’m so ready for the next ep!! The last ep was so good, really really stoked to hear about Linda, especially her early life. She’s so under appreciated in fandom. Also curious to hear your guys’ take on the Cox tapes, if it comes up. Cox’s portrayal of their relationship always felt really out of character, and I would like to be better informed on the topic. Thank you for this podcast, I’m learning a lot!!Our Tumblr asks
We’re so glad you’re enjoying our podcast, and Diana and Phoebe are hard at work on the next episode of the breakup series!
Linda is such an important and influential woman in the worlds of photography, music, art, vegetarian cooking, and sustainable living! She deserves way more attention within the fandom. We’re pleased to share that we have a full episode dedicated to Linda in the pipeline!
We think the claims Peter Cox made about their marriage are sketchy for a number of reasons.
Stay tuned and thanks for reaching out!
– Thalia and the AKOM crew
In episode 3A, it said that John was paranoid Paul would leave him, even though Paul was known to still be very committed to the Beatles, and I’m curious if John was ever sorta “right” in those feelings. Because I do wonder why Paul felt the need to be more musically isolated during the White Album, or was that perhaps Lennon just being paranoid? Always felt like something went down in their relationship, before that album, after the India trip. And I love your show — finally a fresh take!Our Tumblr asks
Hello listener! Thanks so much for reaching out!
Yes, in 1980 John (finally) verbalized his suspicions that Paul might have wanted to leave the Beatles in 1968. At another point (in the epic Playboy interview), John suggests he was considering leaving the band as early as 1966 (whilst in Spain filming How I Won the War) and actually says Paul might’ve been considering the same thing then! (The aforementioned part about John contemplating his departure in 66 is oft-quoted by the Lennon Estate, but the rest of the sentence about Paul thinking the same has been thoroughly buried or ignored by authors).
Considering how “Yesterday” – a song John (and the other Beatles) had no part in either writing nor recording – became an instant classic upon its release in 1965, it’s not a stretch to imagine that this would trigger John’s paranoia about Paul’s talents and his ability to successfully go solo. Add to that a variety of contributing factors such as Paul’s refusal to move to the suburbs with the other Beatles, his growing interest in the London art and avant-garde scenes, his cultivation of friends outside the Beatles circle, his refusal to do acid with the others Beatles, etc….It’s actually pretty reasonable for John to be “paranoid” about Paul’s propensity and ability to stray.
Never mind the fact that Paul is famously a one-man band who has played all the instruments on at least three of his own albums.
Having said that, John was paranoid and had major (well-documented) abandonment issues. So whether or not Paul was a true flight risk is hard to gauge. One thing does seem clear to us – that no matter how much Paul may have loved the Beatles, he did not like being artistically muzzled any more than John did and would fight back as hard or harder if pushed into a corner. In the end, John (backed by lieutenants George Harrison, Yoko, Klein and to a lesser extent Ringo) tried this approach and it backfired.
If you haven’t listened to Episode 1 of the Break-up series, we recommend that you do! 🙂 We discuss 1968 in detail there.
Listener feedback is valuable to us, and we love it when
someone takes the time to reach out and engage us in conversation!
This listener offers several compelling and interesting counter-points to the previous listener-letter’s assertion that the imbalances regarding McCartney’s critical reputation (and fandom toxicity regarding McCartney in general) have been redressed. We don’t agree that they have, and this listener has made many similar observations.
Please feel free to email us at akompodcast at gmail dot
com, send us an ask, or a Tumblr message.
We love hearing from you!
Thank you guys so much for all of your hard work on this podcast! I’ve had an absolute blast listening to all the episodes, and I’m sure there are many who look
forward to it just as much as I do. My letter is partially in response to
another listener’s letter (the one who stressed that the jean-jacket narrative
is no longer as prevalent as it once was).
I really loved your response, and I simply wanted to express that, whatever their
experience with the Beatles’ narrative might’ve been, mine has been the exact
opposite. I’m pretty young and my parents never really listened to the Beatles.
I knew about the Beatles and Paul McCartney, but I was so naive to their story
that it never really clicked that Paul was even in the Beatles until I became
immersed in their lore (I had never even heard of George Harrison. Whoops,
sorry Georgie). So, I was as blank a slate as they come.
I’ve been absolutely devouring Beatles media for the past three months. And being a Paul fan in 2019? Still really difficult due to the toxicity of the fandom. Obscure books about John Lennon or the group as a whole are far easier to track down than Paul books.
It took an embarrassingly long time to discover that Paul even had an authorized
semi-autobiography. (The cringeworthy lack of attention toward Ringo and George hasn’t escaped my notice, either. Their legacy has been seriously neglected) And a lot of the books I’ve managed to get my hands on tend to take unprovoked jabs at Paul’s legacy: two of the “Paul books” I’ve bought recently were prefaced, essentially, with “I’ve never liked Paul because I resented the way
the women in my life so obviously enjoyed him.” Both the Norman and Clayson
biographies began this way, and it just seemed so unnecessary.
Now I have to do extensive research before purchase to avoid wasting money on books that disdain Paul for qualities outside of his control. It was baffling that these men thought, despite their personal jealousies, that they were qualified to not only write biographies but to include their personal issues in the preface
without having their legitimacy questioned. I’d never seen anything like it.
When books or media praise him, the majority of it seems to be for his appearance. Even Cynthia Lennon, bless her old lady heart (loved her book John, by the way, read it ‘cause you guys recommended it), when it came to describing each Beatle in an interview, described a man who had been a true friend to her for decades as ‘Pretty… so, so pretty.’ The other three Beatles consistently get remarks as to their wit and talent, but few people, even some of his close friends, seem to get past Paul’s looks.
To the untrained, twenty-something eye, Paul comes across as something of an adorable, grandad figure, kind of oddly amorphous in his legacy, rather than the musical genius and powerhouse he actually is. When I started to seek out his music, I was shocked at all the familiar melodies that I’d heard hundreds of times
before without ever knowing the artist. His music feels really fresh and
relevant to me, not at all dated, a huge contrast to the affable, aging persona
I’ve been fed by the media.
Paul is my favorite Beatle, but I’m not looking for media that overtly glorifies Paul in relation to his former bandmates. I just want to have historically factual,
fair media that pays respect to the people who have shaped my life and
occasionally comforted me with their art. And I don’t want to feel like I
should have to be ashamed of my enjoyment just because a group of men found my appreciation vapid and aggravating, for one reason or another.
That’s why I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed the AKOM podcast: it feels like, in a room full of toxic men screaming at the top of their lungs about nothing at all and
demanding it become truth, that women (and other varying genders) can still
bravely sit down amidst it all, have tea, and breathe some sanity into the
stupidity. Thanks again!
Thank you for your wonderful letter. We appreciate the feedback. We love long letters and certainly understand having a lot to say on the subject!
We have had very similar experiences to yours and agree:
“Paul comes across as something of an
adorable, grandad figure, kind of oddly amorphous in his legacy, rather than
the musical genius and powerhouse he actually is.”
This bothers us as well. Paul does not get the artistic credit he deserves.
Paul himself has shown frustration with the label “the cute
Beatle” —can you imagine having written some of the world’s most famous songs and being labeled “cute” while you partner is labeled “smart” or “intellectual”
or “genius”? It must be hugely frustrating. Perhaps so much so that he has
taken to giving HIMSELF the label of genius recently! We’re all for it!
Unfortunately, it a label and bias that exists. Problem is, Paul is cute and
charming! But he is also deep and complex and brilliant and sexy, yet so many
writers and observers aren’t able to see beyond the surface-level read of him.
This hasn’t always been the case though, when we examine contemporaneous
reviews of the Beatles, we find that in the 60s Paul’s genius was taken more
seriously by some (yes, he had the label “the cute Beatle” but his talents were
also taken seriously, especially in the UK); the break-up seems to have altered
his critical evaluation.
You said: “When I started to seek out his music, I was shocked at all the familiar melodies that I’d heard hundreds of times before without ever knowing the artist.”
We are thrilled that you have discovered them. I felt this
way about Paul’s solo work as well—I had been led to believe, by
critics, that Paul’s solo music wasn’t up to par with his Beatles work, so
approached it with trepidation. What a pleasure it was finding out they were so
very wrong. Paul’s post-Beatles work is a joy to explore. It is a treasure
chest of incredible music.
“His music feels
really fresh and relevant to me, not at all dated, a huge contrast to the
affable, aging persona I’ve been fed by the media.”
Exactly, and Paul’s post-Beatles story is very romantic and
relevant as well. Paul’s post-Beatles period hasn’t been significantly
romanticized or mythologized….yet.
The McCartneys themselves do a good job of it, but it hasn’t
taken hold in the popular imagination. Based on Paul’s “persona” as
it is portrayed in popular culture, one would think Paul spent his entire
post-break-up career pining for the Beatles and writing sub-standard but
commercially popular music rather than having inspired a whole other music
genre and created a goldmine of incredible music.
“Paul is my favorite
Beatle, but I’m not looking for media that overtly glorify Paul in relation to
his former bandmates. I just want to have historically factual, fair media that
pays respect to the people who have shaped my life and occasionally comforted
me with their art.”
Wouldn’t that be lovely! But it’s tough to find. It seems some of these biases
are so deeply ingrained and embedded in the Beatles story that it colors the
view of everything Paul-related. For example, what is this so-called “granny
music”? This isn’t even a thing! It’s not a genre, yet Paul’s music is
continually given this label. It’s time to stop letting John’s labels, which
were given in a fit of anger and defensiveness, define Paul and Paul’s music.
Again, there are some deep underlying assumptions in this fandom that need to
“And I don’t want to
feel like I should have to be ashamed of my enjoyment just because a group of
men found my appreciation vapid and aggravating, for one reason or another. That’s why I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed the
AKOM podcast: it feels like, in a room full of toxic men screaming at the top
of their lungs about nothing at all and demanding it become truth, that women
(and other varying genders) can still bravely sit down amidst it all, have tea,
and breathe some sanity into the stupidity. “
Ha! Well, we are thrilled to have inspired enjoyment and
relaxation with a good cup of tea! We understand the pleasure of not wanting to
constantly throw your cup at the speaker!
“Can’t wait for the next episode!!”
We hope you have enjoyed our latest episodes on the Break-up and LIB. We think we managed to challenge some deeply held believes and assumptions with our analysis.
Thanks again for the letter, we really enjoyed it! Please
continue to share your thoughts if you are inspired!
Diana and the AKOM Crew
Listener feedback is valuable to us, and we love it when someone takes the time to reach out and engage us in conversation! We will occasionally feature letters we receive which spark some interesting discussion or debate (with name redacted for privacy). Here is one of them, which was particularly interesting because it challenged us to clarify our position Mark Lewisohn, as well as how we view the state of McCartney’s critical reputation.
Please do feel free to email us at akompodcast at gmail dot com, send us an ask, or a Tumblr message. We love hearing from you!
I’m glad I discovered your podcast, you ladies are doing a great job. You’re discourse on 1968, India etc. was new and really made me think. A couple of minor critiques: As a McCartney fan, even I have to say your advocacy of his “position” (if we can call it that) is a bit over the top and defensive. Surprisingly for Beatle fans of your age, your characterization of the critical and Beatle world consensus on Paul seems quite dated. This is 2019, not 1985. Nowadays McCartney’s standing, critically and among fans, is sky high. The Jean Jackets are not as influential as you think. Finally, Mark Lewisohn does not deserve the derision you subject him too. He is a very serious and responsible guy, a true historian who cares about getting things right. Don’t lump him in with the hacks. Anyway, keep up the good work. I’ll be listening
Our response, written by Phoebe:
Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us! We LOVE to hear from listeners and are so glad you’re enjoying the podcast.
It’s refreshing to hear that you don’t believe the Jean Jacket narratives are as influential as they once were! We hope this is the case. The more popular podcasts (by older “experts”) and websites all appear to be steeped in the traditional narrative, but I agree that younger fans often have a more nuanced view of things.
As far as Paul goes, this is something we’ve heard strains of before; that Paul doesn’t need you to defend him, he’s rich, he’s happy, etc. Many people think the record has already been corrected, so what are we even reacting to?
I’d argue that it’s not about “Paul bashing” (although that still exists too) it’s about a sort of perceived artistic hierarchy – with John at the top and Paul underneath- that many in the Beatles fandom still buy into. Lewisohn is actually one of the worst offenders in this regard because he relentlessly perpetuates this hierarchy in Tune In, and fervently continues to push it. Lewisohn admits John is his hero and so we find that John is always the hero of The Beatles story from Mark’s POV. That’s a perfectly fine position to have as a fan, but when you write this into a biography that claims to be unbiased, it’s problematic. It may not wholly invalidate his work (for example, he may be a good researcher) but we believe in holding Lewisohn to at least the same standards to which we hold ourselves.
Our goal with this podcast is to critically examine what we’re being told by those crafting the narratives and that often involves what some may consider “nitpicking.” But in tearing down the wall we feel we should examine each brick.
Our efforts to position Paul as an equal to John are by definition disruptive to the status quo and therefore may sometimes require an “over the top” vigilance. However, our podcast is but a drop in the Sea of Conventional Wisdom so sometimes we decide a “squeaky wheel” approach is required to drive our point home. It takes an extraordinary effort to challenge views that have resided in the public consciousness for fifty years! Hopefully the occasional zeal on our part is tolerable 🙂 and we ultimately take the listener to a thought-provoking place.
Once again, thank you so much for contacting us and sharing your perspective! We learn a lot by hearing from listeners like you, and hope you stick with us.
Phoebe and the AKOM Crew