CBC Documentary: How The Beatles Changed The World
The rebroadcast of “How The Beatles Changed The World,” a 30-minute 1967 CBC Radio documentary first aired in May 1967, not only holds up well in terms of content but also carries historic significance.
“How The Beatles Changed The World” was the first documentary from Peter Gzowski, who was to become a legend in Canadian broadcasting, a keynote purveyor of Canada’s cultural identity, and a beloved and trusted writer, interviewer, and reporter.
It is also of special interest to those who are fans of both The Beatles and Leonard Cohen. Cohen is given “the final word” on the program and spends those two to three minutes praising the Fab Four’s role as musicians and poets.
Who Leonard Cohen and The Beatles Were In May 1967
By May 1967, Leonard Cohen had published three volumes of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), The Spice-Box of Earth (1961), Flowers for Hitler 1964), and Parasites of Heaven (1966) and two novels, The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). While he was involved in the New York based folk movement in 1967, his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was not published until December 1967, several months after the documentary aired.
The Beatles had been worldwide stars since 1963 and had become the dominant force in pop music since their 1964 trip to the US. When “How The Beatles Changed The World” was originally broadcast, The Beatles had released seven studio albums, including A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver.1
The song to which Cohen refers in his commentary (“… the last song on the last album … ‘It is not dying.’”) is, of course, “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the Revolver album, an intriguing choice that will be discussed further in an upcoming Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox post.2
Leonard Cohen – “How The Beatles Changed The World”
How The Beatles Changed The World – Podcast
The link to the entire program follows:
Credit Due Department: Adrian du Plessis, Allison Crowe’s business manager, Leonard Cohen fan, Canadian citizen, and all around nice guy, alerted me to the rebroadcast of “How The Beatles Changed The World,” its significance as the first documentary from Peter Gzowski, and even the Cohen finale of the program.
- A compilation album issued only in the US and Canada, Yesterday and Today, was released in June 1966. [↩]
- In interviews through the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a handful of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature playing those tunes for your edification and entertainment. The most recent post in this series is Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox [↩]