Original Broadway Cast
(Arista 8501)

Rekindle your memories of the Fab Four – Joe, Mitch, Leslie and Justin – with this two record set of almost accurate Beatles covers performed live before an enthusiastic audience. "Not the Beatles...An Incredible Simulation."

Actually, the Beatlemania cast falls somewhere between Stars On 45 (less successful than) and your town's Beatle tribute band (more successful than) in terms of overall success in making you believe you're hearing the Beatles.

The in-between song banter doesn't help. Listening to four guys pretending to be the Beatles is a pretty lame experience, Oasis notwithstanding. Listening to them try to talk like the Beatles makes matters much worse. Throw in in-jokes like the intro to "Mother Nature's Son" grafted on to the beginning of "Yesterday" and you've got the recipe for a pretty hammy evening.

I saw the show in 1979 and remembered it being really cool … the "Beatles" onstage prforming while all sorts of cultural imagery from the '60s flashed on the screen behind the stage. Especially the later "Beatles" with their beards – it all seemed so significant. Of course, I was also seven at the time. "Zoom" seemed pretty significant, too. I find fault with myself that I missed the stoner aspect to both of these things!

This is an album that should be a lot worse than it is. Mostly it's a bad musical and a limp tribute, but a fairly good piece of nostalgia. Beatles diehards will smile in the right places, so I guess Beatlemania isn't hurting anyone. Plus, it was pretty successful.

Maybe I should undertake writing Beatlemania 2, which would cover the solo years. You know, the recording of Joe Pecorino/Plastic Perorino Band … the formation of Mitch Weissman and Wings … Leslie Fradkin's concert for Bangla Desh … and who could forget Justin McNeill's endless years in rehab?

Review by Jpeg Jones