Film Spotlight: Beatles Lectures

Scott Freiman, a composer and producer who started putting together Beatles lectures four years ago as a way to entertain his musician friends, says those same friends pushed him into going public.

"What happened was that I decided to put on a talk in my living room for friends," he explains via phone from Los Angeles. "That talk was to get a bunch of music guys together. They said that it was something that other people should hear. One guy knew someone at a college. Another guy knew someone at a college. I made some calls and started doing some lectures and it just took off. I try to add new talks every year and keep expanding. People seem to really enjoy them. No one has explained how the Beatles work creatively. There's a lot of stuff up there but no one has put all the research together with audio and video. It's quite fun."

In 2013, Freiman lectured to some 15,000 people nationwide, including employees at Pixar, theaters and museums. He's recently expanded his multi-media presentations and appears at the Cleveland Museum of Art this weekend wtih three different lectures: "Say the Word: Deconstructing Rubber Soul" (6:30 p.m. Friday); "Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper" (1:30 p.m. Saturday); and "Looking Through a Glass Onion: Deconstructing the Beatles' White Album" (1:30 p.m. Sunday).

"I started listening to the Beatles when I was 11 years old," he says. "I was a classically trained pianist and they were my first exposure to rock 'n' roll. I immediately shifted my focus. I always enjoyed the music. Even from a young age, I was curious about how the sounds I was hearing were made. On 'Lovely Rita,' there's a strange swooping sound. I always wondered what it was. I later found out it was a paper and comb that made a noise like a kazoo."

Given that Freiman knows so much about the Beatles, does he think that there will ever be another group of the same magnitude?

"I answer that two ways," he says. "First of all, I think there are a lot of amazing bands out there doing really creative things. There's innovation in music that continues. You'll never have another band like the Beatles because music has become so fragmented in the way we find it and the way we listen to it. We've gone from singles in the '50s and '60s to albums and we're back to single songs. We're listening to one song at a time and not really listening to a collection. Not to pick on Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, but you don'ts have to listen to those songs as an album."

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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