Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Mike Solof - Off The Beatle Track - Episodes 48/49 (1992)

You may have seen that Mike has mentioned in the notes to his Beatles Remix albums that he started doing them after hosting a Beatles-themed radio show in the US, and a while ago he sent me a load of these shows to listen to, and after hearing a few I thought they would be a great addition to the blog. The only thing stopping me posting them was the fact that I didn't know much about the background of the shows, but out of the blue I've just received a complete history of how they came about from Mike himself, so I'm now able to start posting them. Here's how it all started...........  
When Mike was around 13, in 1976, he used to listen to NPR, which was a classical station, at the same time as he was just getting into the Beatles, and he realized that 'Yesterday' was basically a classical song but just with Paul singing. He got thinking about all the rock groups that took that idea and ran with it, like, to name just a few, The Moody Blues with 'Nights In White Satin', Elton John's 'Indian Sunset', ELP's 'Pirates' and Peter Gabriel's 'Down The Dolce Vita'. That would make a cool show on the classical station and push its bounds, and so he wrote to them with the idea and they wholeheartedly umm...didn’t agree! Jump to 1988, and Mike's interest in the Beatles had greatly intensified in college, when someone played him the Red and Blue albums, and he suddenly realized that all these songs that he didn’t know were the Beatles, were in fact the Beatles! He wasn't the first person to realise that this exceptional group had gone from 'Love Me Do' to 'I Am The Walrus' in the span of just six years. Around that time he was in his local college Record Store, when suddenly he noticed a back room with a black curtain that said you must be over 18 to enter. One day he jokingly said to the owner "what's back there, porn?", and the owner said no, it's bootlegs. The naive Mike said "what are bootlegs?", and he was led behind the black curtain to a locked case that contained about 40 CDs ranging in price from about $30 each up to about $120. Two of them caught his eye - they were Beatles bootlegs entitled Ultra Rare Trax Volume One and Two and they were $90 apiece (for a single CD), and he decided to take a chance and splurged on them. At the time he had a really phenomenal stereo system set up in his college room, and when he slipped these CD's on and heard 'I Saw Her Standing There (Take Two)' in a quality beyond anything that I had heard before, it was so clear and so stunning that he stood there in shock. It was like the band was right there in the room, and that moment cemented his love for the Beatles and all things bootlegs! 
Soon after that his research into the Beatles led him to a website called Beatles-A-Rama. It was 24 hours a day of beautifully produced Beatles stuff, and it often played many things that he had never heard before. After listening to that station for a couple of years he finally got up the nerve to write to the owner, Pat Matthews. He was a super nice guy and they got along great, so Mike told him about his idea to do a single two hour show based around classic rock and it's influences from classical music, using all sorts of different bands, but grounding it in Beatles songs like 'Yesterday', 'I Am The Walrus' and 'Strawberry Fields', plus a few others where they used classical instruments in the song ('Penny Lane' and 'For No One' come to mind). He said great, send me a show, so Mike bought himself a microphone and learned how to record things on Audacity, and proceeded to create a two hour show, the one that he'd been planning in his mind since he was 13. Once Pat had played the tape his reply was unexpectedly... "Love it. You're on every Saturday at 10.00am". And that was the start of 11 years of his own show called 'Off The Beatle Track' on Beatles-A-Rama, running to over 300 episodes in its 11 year run. 
As I said, Mike has sent me a load of these shows, and of course the first one I listened to was the 'classical music' one which started the whole thing off, so in the first of a sporadic series, here are Episodes 48 and 49 of Mike's 'Off The Beatle Track' radio broadcast. 

Track listing

01 Episode 48 - Classical Classics Part 1
02 Episode 49 - Classical Classics Part 2


  1. Awesome... Didn't expect you to post these but so happy you are. Let me know if you want a little history on each show as you decide to post it... happy to provide you with some fun background info!

  2. Would love to hear these but Soulseek is a no no for me.

  3. I cannot find these on soul seek. I tried aiwe and Albums I wished existed and cannot find them. I would like to hear the shows. Thanks. Ed

  4. Curious to hear what is in store. This remixing of beatles is something that really really find intriguing and interesting.