Spotlight: Scott Freiman Deconstructs the Beatles

A composer and producer who started putting together Beatles lectures in 2011 as a way to entertain his musician friends, Scott Freiman started listening to the Fab Four when he was 11 years old. The Beatles provided Freiman, a classically trained pianist, his first exposure to rock 'n' roll, and he immediately shifted his focus.

This week, Freiman makes his fourth visit in six years to the Cleveland Museum of Art. He'll give two multimedia presentations in which he "examines and analyzes the many innovative songwriting and production techniques used by the Fab Four." Over the years, his lectures here have drawn a few thousand fans, and the first four talks have recently been videotaped for showings in movie theaters across the country.

At 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Freiman will reprise 2013's Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Deconstructing the Early Beatles.

"Everyone knows the Beatles and the Beatles music," he explains. "This lecture will show how four teenagers with no musical training become the Beatles. It's about their early meetings and their first steps into the studio. We go through 1963, ending when they go to America."

Freiman will discuss the birth of songs such as "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do." He'll also talk about what "sponges" the Beatles became.

"They soaked up everything and had a tremendous work ethic," he says. "They had no idea what they were in for when they went to Germany to play in Hamburg. They were essentially just a garage band. They would have to play for hours. They added scores and scores of songs to their sets because they didn't have enough material. And they were forced to put on a show. In the process, they soak up whatever they can. That seeps into their songwriting. When they got back from Germany, no one recognized them."

Then, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, he'll present Roll Up! Deconstructing the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, a program that skips ahead seven years to the band's "psychedelic period."

"The Magical Mystery Tour film is actually one of their failures," says Freiman. "The Beatles felt they could do the movie themselves and rather than hire people who knew what they were doing, the whole thing was poorly planned. It was filmed in color and shown in black and white. People weren't expecting it. The Beatles had seen avant garde stuff and tried to do something like that and put it on TV. People weren't prepared. They then gave up touring so that they could reproduce songs in the studio."

Freiman says he'll deconstruct a song like "I Am the Walrus."

"One of the interesting things about it is the beginning of the song was inspired by the police sirens in England," he says. "The introduction is a copy of the siren and [John Lennon's] phrasing even mimics the siren. It's really fascinating."

Neither of the lectures has been previously recorded or filmed. — Niesel

About The Author

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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