Exploring The Songs The Beatles Gave Away

Colin Hall and Bob Harris (Pic Colin Hall)Colin Hall and Bob Harris (Pic Colin Hall)
Colin Hall and Bob Harris (Pic Colin Hall)
The Songs The Beatles Gave Away starring BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Bob Harris and former custodian of John Lennon's childhood home Colin Hall is on the road.

Bob and Colin will be delighting audiences at Shoreham’s Ropetackle Arts Centre on October 20; Turner Sims, Southampton on November 12; and Portsmouth Guildhall on February 4. Together they will talk about their love of The Beatles and about the songs which Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison penned for other artists including Cilla Black's top 10 hit Step Inside Love, Peter and Gordon's transatlantic chart-topper A World Without Love and Jackie Lomax's debut single Sour Milk Sea.

“What people forget is that there were was a time when The Beatles were not famous, when they had not been around for 60 odd years” says Colin (thecolinhall.com), author of the book The Songs The Beatles Gave Away. “They were a young band coming out of Liverpool after their early years in the city. They got their moment in the spotlight and a recording contract and they were releasing singles but in those days there was always the suggestion that they should be aware that their moment would not last that long. Their manager Brian Epstein was very aware of the fact that John and Paul were songwriters who were writing their own records. Brian was tapping into the wellspring of talent from Liverpool with people like Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer. And so he would encourage John and Paul to supply songs for these other people that would hopefully take them into the charts and further establish them as songwriters. The question that The Beatles were always asked was when was the bubble going to burst. It was a bit of a gloomy question but they were always asked it. They didn't have crystal balls and for John and Paul it seemed that their future would be as songwriters. The ambition was that they would be the Goffin and King of the UK and one way to do that was to write songs that got into the charts with other artists. Brian Epstein could see that The Beatles as a unit were formidable and that they would be bigger than Elvis but really he was planning for the future.”

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It was also a question of just how prolific The Beatles were: “They were writing newer songs and they wanted to record the newest songs but obviously they didn't want the older songs that they hadn't used just to slip into the ether. The pressure was on them as performers and recording artists. They were expected to do so many singles a year and a certain number of LPs, and so they always had to come up with songs whether they were on tour or backstage or in hotels. Quite often the boys would share a bedroom on tour and they would sit on the edge of their beds, eyeball to eyeball, with their guitars and they would start writing.”

For Colin and Bob, the stage tour was inspired by the BBC Radio 2 documentary which Bob hosted and which featured interviews conducted by Colin. It was also inspired by Colin's latest book The Songs The Beatles Gave Away.

For nearly 20 years Colin was custodian of John's childhood home in Woolton welcoming the likes of Mark Hamill, Debbie Harry and Yoko Ono.