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Episode 122 : David Dalton on the Beach Boys + the Beatles + Charles Manson

7 March 2022

In this episode we welcome the legendary — and highly amusing — David Dalton to join us all the way from his rural retreat in upstate New York.

We start by comparing our shocked reactions to Vladimir Putin's horrific invasion of Ukraine before asking David how he moved to America from England in 1961. He tells us about his mid-'60s adventures as a photographer of British Invasion acts like the Animals — with assistance from a pre-Beatle Linda McCartney — and then about his mid-stream switch to profiles of James Brown and Little Richard for Jann Wenner's nascent Rolling Stone. He also recounts his very fond memories of crossing Canada by train with Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and fellow stars on 1970's Festival Express tour.

We revisit the award-winning 1970 Stone piece David co-wrote about Charles Manson and the Family, hearing along the way about Manson's connections with the Beach Boys. This leads almost seamlessly into clips from the late Andy Gill's 1988 audio interview with Dr. Eugene Landy, the shrink who "saved" Brian Wilson only to abuse his professional trust by inveigling his way into the singer's music and business affairs.

We then return to the horrors of Manson when we ask David about the influence of Beatles tracks on the man who orchestrated the Tate-LaBianca killings. Our guest reminisces about working with Rolling Stone colleague Jonathan Cott on Get Back, the only book the Beatles ever commissioned, and we discuss with him the Fab Four's unhappy last days in the context of Peter Jackson's recent documentary of the same name.

After David brings his American story full circle with memories of hanging out with Andy Warhol in 1961, Mark talks us through newly-added library pieces on Muddy Waters (1958), Brian Epstein (1963), the Who (1967) and Jerome "Doc" Pomus (1982), while Barney quotes from a review of a 1990 book about Eastern Bloc rock and Jasper mentions 2012 pieces about Kendrick Lamar and Green Day's American Idiot musical...

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest David Dalton; find his excellent biographies at any good bookshop and read his writing on RBP.