Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Fan Stories: Erika Abrams

This is a new segment I hope I get a good response with and to kick things off we have our first fan story exclusive to Beatles Through The Years. Please click Here if you would like to participate! I LOVE reading about your fan story and I know others do too!

Our first interview is with Erika Abrams. Erika is 37 and is from Rhode Island, USA but now currently lives in Colorado, is a graphic designer and like us at Beatles Through The Years is just crazy about those four lads from Liverpool who call themselves the Beatles, Now today on our blog you're going to be entertained by Erika's story so ladies and gentleman.....Erika Abrams!

Erika Abrams

What is your first Beatle Memory: 
EA: My parents and I were driving from our house to my grandparents', which was about a three-hour drive. So my dad said that we could each have an hour to play the music of our choice. He selected a mix tape of early and middle Beatles songs, none of which I had ever heard before. That hour of music changed my whole world. It was simply magical; even at eight years old, I knew there was something about it that was like nothing else. I kept the tape playing through my hour and from that day on, the Beatles became my number one obsession.

As I was devouring every book, record, and piece of memorabilia I could find, I also got into their solo catalogs. And since Paul McCartney was the most active at the time, I especially gravitated to his music. My first McCartney memory is that I wouldn't play a video game unless the sound was muted and replaced with a Beatles or McCartney album, much to the annoyance of friends who came over to play! To this day I see images of Super Mario Brothers 2 in my head when I hear "Band on the Run."

But the most intense part of my obsession came when Paul McCartney launched his 89/90 World Tour. Oh. My. God. The idea of a real live Beatle, in the same room as me, was too much to handle. I collected every article, magazine, and TV special I could find. And of course, I went to see him. He came to my area twice, and both times I remember dragging my dad out in the middle of the night to stand on line for tickets the moment they went on sale. I also saw him a third time. Once of my dad's coworkers had access to a secret extra performance, where Paul and the band were filming parts of the concert for what became the Get Back film. That was incredible. It wasn't a true concert, since they didn't play every song and the production company stopped them multiple times to adjust lighting or stage positions. But the specialness of that event made it one of the best concerts I've ever been to.
Erika's extensive collection of memorabilia from Paul's 1989/1990 World Tour

Ever been to the UK on a Beatle Pilgrimage? 
EA: Once, in 2001, the only time I've been to the UK. Our itinerary was packed but I did manage to spend a day in Liverpool, find Penny Lane, and see the Beatles Story exhibit. The part that most stood out to me was the replica of the Cavern. That's my clearest memory of the trip—just how small the Cavern was and how much history took place on that stage. A magical moment. 

Ever met one of the Beatles? 
EA: I haven't, but I do have a story about my grandfather, who not only met them, but perhaps is heard on one of their performances. 
My grandfather, Hy White, was the guitarist for the Ed Sullivan Show house orchestra in the '50s and '60s. He was there in 1964 when the Beatles performed the first live performance and recorded the songs that were to be their third appearance two weeks later (which was not live, despite editing that suggested the opposite). My grandfather said that once the Sullivan production company reviewed the tapes, they found that the lead guitar wasn't loud enough, so he was asked to double George's part for that third appearance. He also got an autograph on the back of a rehearsal call sheet that listed the Beatles and other acts on that show, including Davy Jones. 

I'm still doing research on whether this overdub was actually broadcast, but I think the difference in guitar sound between the first and third shows does suggest that they used it. So if that happened, then I'm related to someone who could have been the first musician who ever publicly played on a Beatles performance once they became internationally known (only one degree of separation!). 

Did the Beatles inspire you to learn an instrument or your choice of profession? 
EA: Absolutely! One of the greatest things to me about the Beatles is the way their voices blend and their use of harmony. So while I know how to play a little guitar and piano (badly), I gravitated to singing, eventually earning a musical theatre degree and performing both professionally and locally for a number of years after college. I had always thought about collaborating with my grandfather on an album of Beatles and Beatles solo covers but that unfortunately didn't happen. We still have one of his guitars in the family, so perhaps I'll learn to play it properly and make that album one day after all...

We'd like to thank Erika very much for taking the time to respond to our questions and we insist you all check out her own site at And We Love Them. It's a fantastic site with more information on her Beatle connections and other Beatle goodness and Erika also loves to hear your fan stories too so don't forget to contact her with them! 

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