How the first Beatles bootleg material was leaked – The Great Elusive “Get Back” Radio Search, Part Eight (of 8)

[Picking up where we left in part 7 but written years later as a summary.]

I’d have to dig out the notes I took while corresponding with Segal, but I remember that he was extremely open with me and was more than willing to crack open his memory cells and recollect all that he could. It was during the first call when he credited Derek Taylor as his tape source, and from there we pretty much went backwards to flesh out his broadcasting history and professional relationship with Tom Donahue. There was one chronological detail that didn’t quite fit, but I didn’t press him on it.

I sent him his radio broadcast (burned a copy of the Vigotone CD), as he had ever heard it.

I don’t think I mentioned in that mess of a story that I had finally located Jefferson Kaye in early ’05; Dan Neuvert invited me to call him (Dan), so I did, and while ironing out some of the details of his 1969 trip to Toronto to purchase the tape, he gave me Kaye’s home phone number. Now I knew him well — or rather his radio personality well — when I was a teenager in Baltimore, listening to him on WBZ in Boston in the early months of 1966. I was a big fan of the Boston station and tuned to it nightly, atmospheric conditions permitting (also regularly recorded it and, shortly later, WKBW and WLS — I hope to someday get them online before they dissolve).

Jefferson left WBZ for WKBW that March, ’66, so I would catch up with him there. He introduced his listeners (or, at least me) to Jefferson Airplane’s “Come Up the Years” that spring — this wonderful, strange music airing over a commercial pop station was unheard of back then.

In his later career, Jefferson had become the Voice of NFL Films for many years before he was stricken with throat cancer, which forced him to retire. So I called him, and after I explaining to him  John and my little project, he filled me in on what he remembered that Friday, September 19, 1969. And he remembered everything to the smallest detail — the anonymous phone call from this guy in Toronto and the directive to Dan to go get the tape the following day. What he couldn’t recall was the caller’s name. (He was about to go on vacation that weekend, so he was out of the loop by Saturday.)

Once we pretty much exhausted that topic, I decided to ask him about something I wanted to know for 38 years: back in mid-April, 1967 (Wednesday, April 19, to be exact), WBZ in Boston, at 11:30 PM that night, debuted “A Day in the Life.” This had the full intro (no fade-in from the Pepper Reprise). This was over a month before stations were allowed to air pre-release promotional copies of the LP. It was a huge deal at the time, and the song went into heavy rotation the following day, Thursday, April 20. That Thursday evening was the first I remember Kaye playing the track in Buffalo, likewise putting it in heavy rotation. Now, the prime-time deejay at WBZ then was Bruce Bradley, and he regularly taped his Friday evening program on Friday afternoon. So that Friday night, listeners heard Bruce regularly tease us with a number of upcoming re-airings of ADITL. But throughout his 3 1/2-hour show, the song never aired.

The following Monday evening, Bruce, now back live on the air, apologized and explained to his audience that, yes, he did tape his Friday show earlier that day, and he did include the song for broadcast,  but sometime between his taping and the evening broadcast, the station received a cease-and-desist notice, so the song was edited out of that program’s tape before it aired, but Bruce’s teases were left in. The song never aired again until a month later.

I noticed that WKBW was also no longer airing the song that Friday, April 21, and figured that they, too, were likewise prohibited.

So that’s what I wanted to ask Jefferson: How they got the song in the first place and why they suddenly stopped airing it. Without missing a beat, he gave me the story: he got the tape directly from Capitol! And, yes, they, too, had received a cease-and-desist notice, which seemed odd, considering from where they got it, but they complied.

It was a couple of weeks later when they learned that the notice was a fake, sent to them by a rival radio station in the area. As soon as they realized that, he said they returned to airing the song again.

(I tracked down Dick Summer, the WBZ all-night deejay who followed Bruce’s show that mid-April evening, to ask him about how his station got the tape, but he just couldn’t remember. I remember trying to find Bruce but don’t think I had much success.)

Another odd ‘n’ end was meeting up with David Dalton in June, 2005. I posted that little tale here in February ’07:

Thought I’d post here communication I had in mid-2005 with David Dalton, co-author (with Jonathan Cott) of the Get Back book that was included in the original UK LIB LP package. Some here have already suffered through this, so I figured everyone else should have the same privilege. 🙂

In early June 2005, I attended a little-publicized event at a nearby culture center here in NYC. It was a Q&A with Brian Wilson, David Leaf, and David Dalton. Around 30-40 people showed up in a small room. The purpose was a discussion of Leaf’s “Beautiful Dreamer” documentary that had just been shown in a theater on an upper floor. Dalton had interviewed Brian during the summer /fall of 1967, so he was invited to share his memories with Leaf and Wilson and answer questions.

(A podcast of the Q&A with Brian, David L, and David D is available here:

http://blog.92y.org/index.php/weblog/item/brian_wilson_podcast/

Unfortunately, only the first half is included; no Q from the crowd here.)

I brought with me the September 20, 1969, Rolling Stone article/preview of the GB LP, author unsigned, but London-sourced. Also brought along the GB book.

After the discussion, I went up to David D. and showed him the GB book. His eyes lit up; he’d been looking for a copy for decades. I then opened the Rolling Stone issue to the GB article and asked, “Did you write this?” He recognized it immediately and said, “Yes.”

I summarized for David the little research project our fearless leader, John Winn, and I had been pursuing then (analyzing the earliest GB bootlegs and contacting those at WKBW and WBCN who broadcast taped dubs of the first two GB acetates in 9/69 — John later wrote it all up in his _Lifting Latches_), and so we agreed to correspond further after he returned home.

(And yeah, I did have a few solitary moments with Brian afterwards — he had left the room, and while I was chatting with Leaf, after the room had emptied, Brian returned, and I found myself having a conversation with him with just 2 or 3 others around. Words here fail.)

Back to David D. — I wanted to learn where he had heard the GB material for his RS article, whether it was tape or vinyl, and what he remembered about the GB book. Here’s what he told me over the phone a week later:

– Derek Taylor had first approached Cott in, probably, early February 1969, to do whatever was to be done to put together a GB book; no one had any clear idea. David said that the Rolling Stones had wanted to assemble a book for their Rock and Roll Circus, so perhaps the idea for a GB book came from that.

The-Beatles-Let-It-Be---Box-S-552358

– When Cott got the assignment, David asked to get involved, and Cott said sure; he didn’t want to wade through the 1/69 tapes. (Note: I had talked with Jonathan a few months earlier, and he said the same thing: he left the the tape listening to David; that’s pretty much all he could remember.)

– David shared a 4-bedroom, 2-story house in London with his then-girlfriend Andie, artist Stanley Mouse (poster guy from SF) and Derek’s assistant at Apple, Richard DiLello. (Later, author of
_The Longest Cocktail Party._ He’s now a screenwriter in Hollywood.)

– Derek provided David and Andie with _all_ of the 1/69 tapes. Boxes and boxes were delivered to their house. David assumed they were dubs, but he and I both determined that they were, in all likelihood, the original Nagra tapes. (We couldn’t imagine anyone spending hundreds of hours making dubs.) Derek also loaned them two reel-to-reels. David says that he and Andie listened to the entire batch, then dubbed for themselves (via the two tape recorders) 17 hours of what they considered the “best” material, and they then began to transcribe dialogue from those dubs.

Nagra IV-L

David returned the original reels to, he thinks, Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

David didn’t know why Derek loaned them two tape recorders. Perhaps Derek assumed that David and Andie would split up the work evenly, each listening and transcribing different reels separately, who knows. But that’s what David used the tape recorders for — to dub 17 hours for later transcription.

– Friends would drop by and listen to the tapes, but after awhile they’d zone out, the stuff too tedious to hear for too long a stretch. I asked David if anyone there had ever thought of distributing the material further — i.e., making more dubs — and he said no. I pressed a little further, mentioning that some of the B-reels they transcribed for the GB book ended up on bootleg, but the reels themselves had since gone missing (I think I have that right; maybe not), and so I wondered whether he or his friends might have perhaps been the source for that initial bootleg distribution. David said that he never even considered the thought of dubbing any of it for others. He did it for himself solely for the transcription work.

He still has his 17 hours of tapes somewhere in his home. (He may, perhaps, have a copy of Nagra reel 117A buried somewhere.)

– The Beatles — or at least Ringo and John specifically — read through the transcripts and offered their edits. Ringo told David, “I wasn’t chewing gum” (David had written that he had, so Ringo wanted to correct him). And David had transcribed John saying, “Masturbating doesn’t make you blind, just short-sighted,” but Yoko had that sentence removed.

– David’s access to the Apple offices was easy; he and Cott had established themselves there, so he never had any difficulty walking in and out. He now thinks that he wrote the RS LP article /preview after listening to the material in the Apple offices, but he still can’t recall whether it was on vinyl or tape.

David put me in touch with both Andie and Richard. I corresponded with both, but, unfortunately, neither remembered a thing.

****

Dat’s it; take of it what you want.

Then there’s the tediously-long story of how the acquisition in 1971 of the 9 1/2-minute version of  Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird” helped make this entire story possible 34 years later. But seeing this is a Beatleg board, it’s prolly WAY off-topic. 🙂

The END ***

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