“More than any other drummer, Ringo Starr changed my life,” wrote E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg in his 1984 book, “The Big Beat.” On Oct. 16, Weinberg will chance to pay homage in a more direct way, when he makes a guest appearance at a show by The Weeklings, entitled “With a Little Help From Their Friends,” at the Pollak Theater of Monmouth University in West Long Branch.
The Weeklings, featuring Jersey rock veterans Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger, John Merjave and Dave Anthony, play Beatles music, both famous and obscure, as well their own Beatles-inspired originals; they released their self-titled debut album this year on the JEM label. For information on the Oct. 16 show, visit Monmouth.edu.
The Beatles, of course, were a life-changing influence on most, if not all, rock musicians of Weinberg and Bruce Springsteen’s generation. Here’s a timeline of some of the most significant ways in which the E Street Band story and Beatles music intersect.
Feb. 9. 1964: The Beatles make their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Bruce Springsteen, 14, watches in his Freehold home. “This was different, shifted the lay of the land,” he later said. “Four guys, playing and singing, writing their own material … Rock ‘n’ roll came to my house where there seemed to be no way out … and opened up a whole world of possibilities.”
Dec. 9, 1980: The day after John Lennon is murdered, Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. “The first record that I ever learned was a record called ‘Twist and Shout’ … if it wasn’t for John Lennon, we’d all be in some place very different tonight,” Springsteen tells the crowd.
April 1, 1984: Weinberg releases his book, “The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock’s Great Drummers Paperback,” featuring in-depth interviews with Starr, Charlie Watts, Levon Helm and others.
Oct. 25, 1985: Release of the Steven Van Zandt-written and -produced single, “Sun City,” with Starr and his son, Zak Starkey, among the musical contributors.
Jan. 20, 1988: Springsteen, Starr, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and many others participate in an epic jam session at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout” are two of the songs played.
1989: E Streeters Clarence Clemons and Nils Lofgren play on the first summer tour by Starr and His All Starr Band, and on Aug. 11, at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, Springsteen guests, too, appearing on “Get Back,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Photograph” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
Feb. 28, 1990: Lofgren releases his Silver Lining album, with Starr guesting on two songs and appearing with Lofgren and Springsteen in the video for another one, “Valentine.”
Nov. 17, 1990: Springsteen plays “The Wish” — in which he remembers wearing Beatles boots as a youth — for the first time in concert.
1992: Lofgren plays in the second edition of the All Starr Band.
Jan. 20, 1994: Springsteen sings “Come Together” with Axl Rose at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Lennon, already in the hall as a Beatle, was being inducted as a solo artist that year.
Dec. 3-8, 2001: Less than a week after Harrison dies, Springsteen, the Max Weinberg 7 and others present a series of holiday benefit concerts at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. Harrison’s “Something” and “My Sweet Lord” are played the first night, and his “Here Comes the Sun” at all five shows (performed solo by Lofgren or Bobby Bandiera).
March 7, 2003: Springsteen and the E Street Band play “Tell Me Why” at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. It was the first time the band had ever played a song written by Lennon and Paul McCartney in concert. “We’re gonna dedicate this next song to all the bands that played in this room that inspired us,” Springsteen says in his intro. The Beatles played at Boardwalk Hall, when it was still known as Convention Hall, in 1964.
Aug. 24, 2008: Responding to a fan’s sign that read “Let Max Sing” at a Kansas City concert, Weinberg takes his only lead vocal, ever, with the E Street Band, singing “Boys,” the Shirelles hit that was covered by The Beatles early in their career, with Starr singing lead.
July 7, 2010: Van Zandt, Lofgren and Weinberg are among many guest performers at Starr’s 70th birthday concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Feb. 12, 2012: Springsteen and other musicians back McCartney on part of the Abbey Road medley at the Grammy Awards.
July 14, 2012: McCartney guests on “I Saw Here Standing There” and “Twist and Shout” with Springsteen and the E Street Band at Hyde Park in London,
July 3, 2015: Weinberg plays with The Weeklings at the Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, opening for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Among their songs is The Beatles’ “Anytime at All.”
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