Click on the music player to hear the song
Meet The Beatles - Bill Naughton, Jr. with Terry Miggins on guitar, July 23, 2013. (3:05)
Meet The Beatles - First new guitar version, with the bridge, solo, August 17, 2012. (3:15)
**You can listen to a few early versions of this song, before the bridge was added,
played on both guitar and ukulele, on the page Songs by Bill Naughton, Jr.
Meet The Beatles - Guide vocal track. Play along with your own "guitars and bass and drums."
First verse: G, D7, G, C, G, D7 , G.
Second verse: Am, G, Am, G, C, G,D7, G.
Chorus: G, D7, C, G, C, G, D7, G.
Third verse: G, D7, G, C, G, D7, G.
Chorus: G, D7, C, G, C, G, D7, G
Bridge: Em, Am, G, Em, Am, D.
Chorus: G, D7, C, G, C, G, D7, G.
Ending: G, Am, D7, G.
Back in nineteen sixty four when I was only five,
I listened to the records that my parents played each night,
Sometimes they played Bob Dylan and sometimes they played some Bach,
A little Bossa Nova and some country and some pop...
And I never will forget the time Mom brought home something new,
She said it was an English band from a place called Liverpool,
It was different than the music that I heard on other nights,
My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life...
Meet the Beatles everybody here they come,
John, Paul, George and Ringo, with guitars and bass and drums,
My Dad was not convinced at first but I was on cloud nine,
My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life...
By the time I turned fourteen my friends and I had formed a band,
And everyone who's played with us has been a Beatles fan,
Their songs still sound as good today as they did back that first time,
My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life...
From coast to coast........all across America.......
DJs on the radio.......ignited Beatlemania........
My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life...
Question: Tell me how you happened to write the song, where did the idea come from? And let me ask you what everybody who has heard it wants to know, is the song autobiographical?
Response: Well, let me answer the last question first, no it’s not autobiographical, in the sense that the event didn’t really happen to me the way I wrote about it in my song. I actually made it all up. But at the same time, I realize that it’s probably real, or close to being real, for someone, somewhere. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it, I worked real hard to make it believable, and I think it is. I’ll walk you through the process of writing it, and tell you exactly how I came up with the idea and what I did to bring it to life.
First I have to say that that when I started writing the song it was just an experiment in songwriting and I was writing it for my kids. They’re both big Beatles fans, we play the music in the house and in the car all the time and they just picked up on it. We also have a complete set of the Beatles Cartoons which were originally shown on Saturday morning television in the 60s and we watch those together all the time.
So we’re a real Beatles family to start with, and then one day I heard Joe Johnson on Beatle Brunch say something about the album “Meet The Beatles!” and I thought “as far as I know, no one’s ever written a song called Meet The Beatles,” so I set out to do that. I thought the kids would like it. And it took off from there, I immediately started knocking some ideas around in my head and some lyrics started to come to me, and then I just started singing and I realized I had the beginning of a melody and before the end of that day I had a basic song outline on a piece of paper, some words and a simple melody that was easy to remember. That was my starting point.
From there, I spent quite a bit of time working on the lyrics. I really wanted the song to be believable, and historically accurate, so it had to be set in 1964, the year the record album Meet The Beatles! was released in the United States. And that became the first line, “Back in 1964 when I was only five.”
Now I’ve said that the song is not autobiographical, and here’s a big reason why: I was not five in 1964. But it doesn’t matter if someone was five, or ten, or fifteen when they first heard The Beatles and realized that this was a life changing experience. For some it was the Ed Sullivan Show, for others it might have been A Hard Day’s Night, or Sgt. Pepper, or Abbey Road. Kids these days are discovering The Beatles through the parents, or even their grand parents. I imagine there’s someone in the world who can say “back in twenty oh-four when I was only five.” But that wouldn’t work in a song, as I said I strived for authenticity, so the song had to be set in 1964. And the kid had to have been five. For this song, nothing else would have worked for that line. It’s the first of many writing techniques that I employed throughout the song. I used a lot of alliteration, which I’ll explain, and a few more subtle techniques like the use of “four” and “five” back to back in the first line. Honestly, if the kid was eight, or ten, or twelve, it just wouldn’t have sounded as good. Four and five go together, and the ear likes the sound of that, even though the listener probably has no idea why, the mind registers that there’s a balance there, these two words go together, it just sounds right. And it’s not by chance. It’s intentional on the part of the writer. Listen to some great songs and you’ll hear literary techniques like this throughout the lyrics.
In the second line I had to use the word “records” because music was not listened to on any other format back then. That was before 8-tracks, cassettes, compact discs or digital downloads. It was 33 rpm or 45 rpm records. So the kid says: “I listened to the records that my parents played each night.” I used a little alliteration here, with “parents played,” the double-p, back to back. It’s all very natural, most people don’t even notice it but it makes the words sound like they belong together.
Now the next line two lines are perhaps the most interesting lines in the song, because I’ve set up the scenario, the five year old is growing up with parents who appreciate music and listen to records every night. So I wanted to take this a natural step further, and I worked really hard on this line because I wanted to present a variety of music that was relevant to the time period, and it had to flow well. I have to admit that Bob Dylan was not in my early versions of the song, it was actually Merle Haggard. But because I’m a former radio disc-jockey, I still have all these music history books and lists of record charts and best sellers, and so after singing the song for a few weeks with Merle Haggard in the lyrics I discovered that he didn’t have any records out as early as 1964, so I had to come up with another name that would fit into the rhythm of the verse, and I’m really happy that I came up with Bob Dylan. Dylan had two record albums out by that time, including Freewheelin’, and Peter, Paul and Mary had hits with two of his songs in 1963, Blowin’ In The Wind, and Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right. And it actually worked better because there’s alliteration here too with “Bob” and “Bach,” and I already had “Bach” in there for a rhyme with “rock,” which I changed to “pop” when I realized that “rock” was not a term that was used in 1964. I mean there was “rock ‘n roll,” Chuck Berry had written and recorded Rock 'n Roll Music in the late 50s, but not just “rock,” that didn’t come into use until later in the 60s. Hit music was “pop” music in 1964, the record charts were the “pop charts.” The Meet The Beatles album cover actually says, “The first album by England’s phenomenal pop combo.” So “rock” had to be changed to “pop,” and the great thing about it is that it’s still a good rhyme with “Bach.” And the alliteration continues with “Bosa” in the fourth line, again, authentic 1964. Bossa Nova music was introduced to the world in1959 in the movie Black Orpheus, and in 1963 Getz and Gilberto had a hugely successful record album that included The Girl From Ipanema. So it makes sense that this musical family would have some Bossa Nova music in their collection along with, as I wrote, “some country and some pop.” So I think I covered just about everything here, with the exception of maybe Motown, which I considered, but Motown was actually pop music back then, and when I had to drop Merle Haggard from the lyrics I decided to use “country” here because “country” was very distinct from “pop” in 1964, it was actually still "country and western" back then. And also I was thinking about Randy Travis when I was first started singing this song, so it made sense that I go with “country.” It helps balance the first verse, keeps it authentic, and it leads very nicely into the second verse.
Question: It sounds like the chords change a bit at the start of the second verse, but then quickly return to where you'd expect them to be.
Response: That actually happened later, after I was pretty much done with the lyrics, I realized that the first and second verses were musically identical and I didn’t really like that, so I came up with the minor chords to start the second verse, and I think it makes a big difference in the overall feel of the melody. I have to admit that up to that point I still wasn’t sure about the melody, and I was still thinking of sending the lyrics to my song writing partner, Lou Gerolami, to see what he could come up with. He’s written some beautiful melodies for my lyrics.
But when I came up with those minor chords for the second verse I really started liking the feel of the song and I decided to stay with my melody. What really sold me on it was when I played it for my kids, they picked up on it right away, they remembered the melody and after hearing it only a couple times they started singing it from memory. That told me a lot about the melody. I thought if these kids can remember it after hearing it just a couple times, then others would be able to do that too. So I realized I probably had a pretty good, catchy, easy to remember melody and I decided to stay with it. I especially like the chorus, I think it’s a real good hook.
So the second verse starts with that switch to a minor chord when I sing, “I never will forget the time Mom brought home something new, she said it was an English band from a place called Liverpool.” Those words just kind of fell onto the paper, I was just a scribe. They came to me complete. I never changed a thing about them. Then it goes back to the major chords from the first verse when I say, “It was different than the music that I heard on other nights,” and it leads right into the hook that takes us into the chorus, “My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life.” I actually use this line five times in the song. With the exception of perhaps the first line of the chorus, which includes the title, it’s probably the most important line in the song, “My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life.” That's the theme, the whole song is wrapped around that, the fact that this music really had an effect on this particular five year old kid.
Question: You said you really like the chorus. Did that just fall out of your head too or did that take a lot of effort?
Response: I worked on that a lot. The first line right after the title was tough to finish, and the second line wasn’t much easier. The chorus took awhile. It’s really just three new lines because it leads back into the last line of the second verse, which as I said is one of the major hooks in the song, “My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life,” but those lines are so important, I spent a lot of time working on them. I got the title in there where it belongs, leading off the chorus, and then I struggled with the rest of it. I knew where it had to end up, the last line was on paper before the first three were finished.
So after I wrote down “Meet The Beatles,” I finally came up with “everybody, here they come,” and that may sound kind of simple and almost like a throwaway line but it’s anything but that, there’s a reason why I decided on that line. One is I was simultaneously working on the second line of the chorus, and I’d already decided to say, “John, Paul, George and Ringo with guitars and bass and drums,” and I needed the rhyme, but more than that, and here it is again, it’s authentic.
The media theme in the United States back in early 1964 was “Get ready, here come The Beatles!” In fact, the cover story of Life Magazine in January 1964 was, “Here Come Those Beatles!” So I wrote, “Meet The Beatles everybody, here they come,” and it’s has that authenticity that I was striving for. It sounds simple, and it is, but it works, because it’s true.
It's important that it’s the Mom who played the record for the family because in 1964 The Beatles appealed mostly to young people and females. Not so much men, at least at first. Teenage boys yes, but grown men, not so much at first. Men might have felt put off, perhaps even somewhat threatened by these wild, long haired Liverpudlians that their girls and women were swooning over. This was not Tony Bennett, The Beatles were something entirely new and they seemed to come out of nowhere with all this music, not just a hit single but five hit singles, and two albums, all at once here in the United States.
Actually, my inspiration for the line "My Dad was not convinced at first," comes right out of the video The Beatles First US Visit. There's a scene where a family is gathered around the television watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Mom and the kids are really into it, but the Dad is sitting there stone faced. When the song ends, Dad actually starts clapping for a moment but then quickly remembers his place and reverts back to his stoic "man of the house" role, and adopts again that look that indicates, "Dad is not convinced." So I wrote that line based on that scene, and created the contrast between Mom and the five year old child on one side, and Dad on the other side.
Question: You actually put that much thought into each line?
Response: Some people might think it's easy because it sounds so simple, and it is simple, but that's the point. To make it sound simple and appealing to the listener is a lot of work and it can be frustrating at times. But when it turns out good like this one did, it's worth the effort.
Question: So now you've got the first two verses and the chorus. How did you get the third verse, and why jump ahead, what, nine years?
Response: Third verses are always the most difficult, at least for me. I've got dozens of little first verses floating around, first verses come easiest, second verses are more of a challenge, and third verses are usually the toughest to complete, unless you're Bob Dylan maybe. I heard he writes dozens of verses and then chooses the best ones for the song. I wish I could do that but there's only one Bob Dylan, and maybe even he's not doing now what he did in the 60s. But this third verse took quite awhile to come together, even though I knew where I was going to end up on the fourth line, it had to be the same as the last line of the second verse, leading back into the chorus. So I really only had three lines to write, but they didn't come easy. A lot of cross-outs on paper, a lot of false starts, but I really like what I ended up with. I think it works really well.
Why the jump to age fourteen? It just happened, I mean what else could the five year old say or do? And I didn't think he could be in a band at age nine or ten, so I actually had to jump right out of the Beatles years. If you count the years you see that it goes from 1964 to 1973, just like that. The Beatles broke up in 1970. Paul McCartney released his fifth post-Beatles album in 1973, that was Band On The Run, by the way. But that was the only thing that would work for this song. I could have said "By the time I got to high school," or he could have been ten or twelve, but in retrospect, I don't think anything could have worked better than what I wrote. "By the time I turned fourteen my friends and I had formed a band," I really love that line. The alliteration of the triple-f with "fourteen," "friends," and "formed," really make that line special. It sounds so nice, and natural. I worked quite a while on that, it just didn't happen, I really worked on that. It's not that often that you get to use triple alliteration in the same line, and you can't force it or it'll sound unnatural. On this particular line, it works. I love it. And the next line "Everyone who's played with us has been a Beatles fan," just follows nicely. Once I had the first line of the verse, the second line kind of fell into place. I was happy to get the word "Beatles" into a line of the third verse, I thought that was effective. The third line seemed to take forever, and I tried a lot of words there until I hit on what I thought was about as perfect a lead-in to the last line as I could possibly come up with. I had just used the word "Beatles" so all I had to do was refer to them, and I came up with, "Their songs still sound as good today as they did back that first time," which leads seamlessly into the last line of the verse, "My Mom played Meet The Beatles and that music changed my life." That flows right into the chorus, then the bridge which is really catchy, especially the Twist and Shout like vocal hook, then back to the chorus and out. I really like it. I think it's a very good song.
Question: Did you know right away, or did you feel when you finished the song that you had written something special?
Response: I liked it, but I didn't know if it would appeal to anyone else. I didn't think that I had a hit song or anything like that. I didn't know what to think. So I lived with it for awhile. I didn't tell anyone that I had written it. Not my family, my kids, my friends. I just kept it to myself, for a few weeks at least. I played it on my guitar and I was starting develop some feelings for it. It's like a relationship you know, some songwriters say that their songs are like children to them, but that's not what I mean. I was starting to get a little excited about it. Then one night I picked up my ukulele and figured out how to play the ukulele chords and that's when it all came together for me. The ukulele really brought the song to life. So I found my kids and I said, "Hey guys, listen to this, I want to play you a song I just wrote, tell me what you think." And I played it for them on ukulele, and they loved it. They actually started singing it with me the first time they heard it. They made me play it over and over again, and my wife joined in, and that was the night we all fell in love with the song. I thought if these little kids could sing the words and remember the melody after hearing it once, then others would be able to do that too, and I started to think maybe I had something special here. So it became a ukulele song that night, I really like the happy, bouncy kind of groove I get when I play it on the ukulele. I think it really makes the song come alive. So we're recording two versions of the song, one is an up-tempo guitar based version with a wicked guitar riff that will be the lead single off my first album and then we'll record an acoustic ukulele version which will be a bonus track on my second album which will be released in the spring.
Question: You're recording two albums?
Response: I have 27 songs that I've written that I want to record so I have to split them up and release two 14 track albums. The first, which will be released on January 20, 2014 will be called Meet The Beatles and 13 Other Songs by Bill Naughton, Jr. and the second, which will be released in April 2014 will be called I'll Be Your Dylan and 13 Other Songs by Bill Naughton, Jr. My song Meet The Beatles will be on both, the up-tempo hit version on the first album and the acoustic ukulele version on the second album. I'm recording with Michael Arafeh at The Coffeehouse Recording Studio in Middletown, Connecticut and I'm very fortunate to have two great musicians from the Connecticut tribute band Beatles Forever playing with me, Terry Miggins on lead guitar and Jerry Clapis on bass. And Terry's brother Jay Miggins, a former record promotion executive, is probably going to add some percussion. On the first album I will sing all fourteen songs but the second album will feature a female vocalist on six songs that I have written specifically for a female to sing. I have someone in mind but I haven't got a commitment or made a decision yet on who the female vocalist will be. Those tracks won't be recorded until February so I've still got some time to make up my mind on that. Unless I can secure a deal for an established record label to release the record I'll put it out on my own independent label, Biliolga Music, and use Tunecore as my aggregator for digital distribution and Discmakers for the physical cds. Either way, I think the song, Meet the Beatles, has a good chance to become popular when it's tied into the 50th anniversary celebration of the US release of the album Meet the Beatles! which will occur on January 20, 2014, the day I plan on releasing my album.
MEET THE BEATLES
The Movie - A Fictional Review.
MEET THE BEATLES is an interesting film based on a very catchy original song written by former radio disc-jockey Bill Naughton, Jr. (Meet The Beatles, copyright 2013, Biliolga Music). The song has received major radio airplay and has been the number one digital download on both iTunes and Amazon since its release on January 20, 2014. The songwriter actually wrote the original outline for the movie, contributed to the creation of the final script, and served as a consultant during the filming. It's a fine film, well directed with good acting and great music. It's a must see for anyone who is a Beatles fan, especially for anyone who experienced Beatlemania in the United States in early 1964.
The film covers a 46 year period, from February 1964 into 2010, and follows the life and times of a character who is introduced to us as a 5 year old boy in 1964. In the opening scene, the boy’s mother comes home from a day of shopping with the newly released album Meet The Beatles!, and that night she plays it for her family. Although the Dad in the house, a younger Ozzie Nelson type, is not convinced at first, as was true for many Dads in 1964, the boy later recalls in the song how “that music changed my life,” and the film uses that as its starting point and builds on that theme. The degree to which the album Meet The Beatles! had an effect on the life of the 5 year old boy is played out in the film, which accurately and creatively recalls and recreates events in the lives of not only the boy and his family, but the four Beatles as well. Solo songs are used as transitions, flashbacks feature Beatles songs.
The film opens with a scene from February 7, 1964, the day The Beatles arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The mother is seen traveling in her car while running around shopping, and the announcer on the car radio, Murray the K from WINS, is covering the first big press conference for The Beatles. The woman then goes into the record department of a major department store where teenagers have all but taken over, and everything about the scene screams “Beatles!” She chooses two 45s to bring home, and then makes a spontaneous decision to buy the album Meet The Beatles! When she gets home and mentions to her husband that she bought the Beatles record, he’s somewhat more than taken aback, “But isn’t that music for little kids? I mean, it’s loud and noisy, and those haircuts! I mean come on. That’s pretty weird, don’t you think?” She replies, “I don’t know, I mean yeah, the kids are all buying it, but I’ve heard a couple songs and they sound pretty catchy. It just seems interesting, that’s all. It’s different, maybe because they’re from England, I don’t know. We’ll play it later and see what the buzz is all about.” Making a sour face, her husband tries for the last word by exclaiming, “What kind of name is that for a band anyway? Beatles! Sound like a bunch of Bugs!”
As soon as they play the record, and it’s obvious that the 5 year old loves it, the film dissolves to 1973, picking up on the third verse of the song, when the boy is 14. His hair is long now, he plays guitar in a band, and they’re seen practicing a Beatles song.
From this point on, the film chronicles the life of the boy, from age 14 to 50, interspersed with flashbacks to the 60s Beatles era, with lots of Beatles music and solo post-Beatles songs used in the right places. In some ways, like in Across The Universe, the music makes the movie. The soundtrack is awesome!
He graduates high school, gets married right out of college and enters the field of broadcasting, becoming a disc-jockey at a radio station in 1980. This career will take him to top of his field, and we experience that in phases, each phase augmented with relevant flashbacks which develop the factors that influenced him in his formative years. And all illustrated very creatively with Beatles music from that era.
We see him go from a local small town radio station, to a major market station in New York City, and on to being the host of a nationally syndicated radio show called Breakfast With The Beatles. Along the way he authors a book (or books) about The Beatles, and becomes recognized as one of, if not the foremost Beatles authorities in the world. Not bad for a 5 year old kid whose mother happened to play Meet The Beatles! for him in 1964! But the film lays it out very well, and it’s believable, unlike a lot of other films that stretch the truth a little too far. In this film, the lead character’s history is fictional, but that’s it. Everything else is true, and historically accurate. In that respect, it’s probably more like Forrest Gump than Across The Universe, but without reinventing history. It’s fun, believable, and never boring.
By the end of the film, our boy is a grandfather at age 50, with, conveniently, a 5 year old grandchild (get it? “Back in 1964 when I was only five.”) The two of them are sitting at a table playing The Beatles Trivial Pursuit game (the child is wearing a Meet The Beatles t-shirt of course, what else?) and the grandfather reads the card, “Name the 1964 album that started Beatlemania in the United States.” The child laughs and says, “Grandpa, I’m 5, you know I know that. It was Meet The Beatles!”
And with that, the film comes full circle, the theme song begins, and the flashback is to 1964 when the family first plays the album, and a boy’s life is forever changed. It’s not often that a contemporary song can be turned into a credible movie script and the film is not just tolerable but actually enjoyable, but this goes way beyond that. This is pure entertainment, for the entire family, as well as a lesson about an important piece of music history. And speaking about the music, that catchy theme song will stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.
Meet The Beatles
(words and music by Bill Naughton, Jr.)
copyright 2013 Biliolga Music (ASCAP)
P.O. Box 146, Cobalt, CT 06414