101: Beatle Guest Stars

April 20, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

SATB 101
Throughout the course of their career, The Beatles freely tapped the talents of a number of outside musicians to add color to their musical palette. Many (string and brass players, mostly) were professionals toiling in relative obscurity, but a handful were well-known personas in their own right: Eric Clapton – Brian Jones – Billy Preston – Nicky Hopkins – Ronnie Scott. 
In this show, Robert and Richard examine the contributions these men provided; names that many of us are familiar with for work issued under their own names. Songs include “Don’t Pass Me By,” “Lady Madonna” and “Waiting For The Band.”
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    17 Responses to “101: Beatle Guest Stars”

    1. Tony D Says:

      Billy Preston & Nicky Hopkins played with George & John more than any other session musicians I think. Imagine if Billy had played on “Cloud Nine”. Also you forgot to mention I believe Billy played keyboards on Ringo’s “Oh My Lord” from the “Choose Love” album in 2005.


    2. rickylee369 Says:

      The coroner in the Ronnie Scott case concluded that he died through ‘misadventure’ rather than suicide. In this his demise has much in common with Brian Epstein.

      I think it important to clarify as suicide is a very selfish act.

      That aside I am enjoying this episode immensely.


    3. rickylee369 Says:

      The point was made about ‘The Subscription Rooms’ being The Beatles first ‘professional’ gig and many mentions were made of session musicians being paid to scale. Could the two be connected in some way?

      It got me to thinking about the Musicians Union. I would assume that all four Beatles had to be members. I was wondering when they became members? Were Pete Best and Stuart also card carriers? Is this was differentiates the amateur from the professional? Was Brian involved in getting them to pay their dues? Do copies of their cards exist?

      I can imagine that playing the Casbah and the Palladium were very different prospects, not just in terms of scale, but in terms of legality.

      I could Google this information of course, but before I have to, thought I would try the old fashioned way of gaining knowledge through communication.

      Perhaps it was the thought of having to pay their stamp that made the band see other musicians as jobbing folk who sat in for a flat fee? It should be noted that although it seems stingy, people used to sit in on sessions and collaborate all the time in this very creative milieu. We should also remember that all four were happy to appear, often under pseudonyms or totally uncredited which benefited many careers as would the kudos gained from appearing on a Beatles recording.

      It may seem mean in retrospect, but royalty rates for session musicians was not standard practice then, and to my knowledge, isn’t now. What is important that the artists involved get credit for their work, something that your podcast this week serves well to address. Peace again.


    4. rickylee369 Says:


      I had never heard the Clapton solo on ‘Guitar Gently Weeps’ isolated before.

      I remember when Prince died, watching a clip of him playing this track with Dhani, Petty and the other usual suspects and thinking that was the coolest solo I had heard. I’d seen Clapton do live versions of it and they were great, but seemed a bit by the book.

      I guess it is easy to hear something a thousand times and take it for granted. That studio version is simply sublime. I started off impressed, but as the track went on I started grinning wildly from ear to ear like a moon-faced goon.


      PS. Don’t be so hard on the casual fans who may not know about Claptons work. It was only a year ago that I learned that Paul played ‘Georges solo’ on Taxman. We all learn at different speeds.


      • Colin Ricketts Says:

        That Prince solo used to come up on YouTube under a title something like “Best guitar solo ever.” It is amazing solo from an amazing musician, it’s very sad that he’s gone.


    5. Cajun Queen Says:

      A little surprised that David Mason (piccolo trumpet on Penny Lane) wasn’t mentioned. (Unless I missed it??) But, great episode, very informative & interesting.


      • Us Says:

        We talked about him in the Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane show. Also, as someone not particularly known for releases under his own name, he didn’t really fit the criteria.


    6. Billy Shears Says:

      Should Norman Smith be considered for playing the bongos on A Hard Days Night?


    7. WingsJer Says:

      Very good show guys and lots of info. The Clapton solo on “WMGGW” is one of the best in the history of classic rock. Oft overlooked is the great solos by David Gilmour on “No More Lonely Nights” and “We Got Married” for Paul!


    8. WingsJer Says:

      I agree with Richard on the whole “Billy P as a Beatle”-Paul said it best on the Let it Be tapes when he said to paraphrase-“we have 4 unhappy Beatles now, we don’t need a 5th”………


    9. Colin Ricketts Says:


      Stroud Subscription Rooms for you!

      I grew up not too far away from Stroud, and its chief distinction when I was a kid (though it is a very pretty area) was that it was quite “hippyish”. It had lots of alternative things – they had a Local Exchange Trading currency called the Stroud Pound and elected Green Party councillors very early for the UK.

      The Subscription Rooms are a relic of the town’s previous life as a prosperous wool town. I’m not sure it’s 100% historically accurate, but it always used to be put about that Stroud was the source of all the wool for the famous British army redcoats, for the green baize on billiard and snooker tables, and for tennis balls. It’s a nice area to visit if you’re looking to do a very completist Beatle tour of the UK!


    10. Jim Mullahy Says:

      Robert, are you referring to the Irish tinkers?


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