The second installment of Beatle People Interviews features Sarah Stacey, a 22-year old musician and host of the Magical Mystery Hour podcast. AWLT talks with Sarah about her podcast, guitar playing, and her experience as a second-generation fan.
It’s amazing to see people of all ages, and from all parts of the world, gathered in one place for the same reason. [The Beatles] really do bring people together. —Sarah Stacey
AWLT: How and when did you become a Beatles fan?
SS: It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time, because I can’t remember ever not being a Beatles fan! They were just always there and I don’t remember not being aware of them. When I was little, my dad had the Red and Blue albums on cassette (remember those things?!) and they were always being played around the house and in the car. I used to demand The Beatles on every car journey, and I have this clear memory of singing along to “Yesterday” when I was about two or three. I also remember being fascinated by the photos on the covers of those cassettes, the famous image of the band looking down from the EMI stairwell and then the one they recreated a few years later. The change in their image really fascinated me, I couldn’t believe it was the same band! So that was where it all started, and my obsession just became worse over the years.
AWLT: What was it like being a younger fan among your peers?
SS: None of my friends at school were remotely interested in The Beatles, and I found that many kids my age didn’t know who they were. Some people thought it was a bit weird that I was so into them, and I would get comments like, “But they’re so old!” But I think the main reaction from people was just indifference really. They just weren’t interested. A lot of other kids were into chart music and I never was really. I didn’t have anyone to share that obsession with until quite recently; I made a good friend in my first year of university and we kind of bonded over The Beatles among other things. It was the first time I’d met anyone in my peer group who loved them as much as me so that was great. We now host a Beatles radio show and we recently went to Liverpool for International Beatleweek.
AWLT: Tell me about your podcast. What inspired you to start it and what do?
SS: I host a radio show called Magical Mystery Hour with my friend Adele, who I mentioned above. It airs on Fridays at 4pm on our student radio station, DCUfm. We started it last year. The idea came about when we were just discussing The Beatles and we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a radio show all about them? So that’s what we did. I’ve been involved with student radio since I started university and had hosted a couple of other shows before this one. I’m hoping to pursue radio as a career, so I absolutely love doing this, it’s really the highlight of my week. If we do a show which we feel was particularly good, it’s a great feeling. So I’m really combining my joint passions for The Beatles and radio. We play their music, including solo tracks, and of course there’s so much to get through so we’ll never run out! We also discuss all aspects of their history plus the latest news and a lot of trivia, and sometimes we have a particular theme; for example in February we did a special episode for George Harrison’s birthday. We like to be informative and educate people on the band too, by sharing our knowledge and playing some of the more obscure tracks that some people may not have heard.
AWLT: In addition to your podcast, do you do any other Beatles-related activities (sing, play an instrument, draw, fan fic, etc.)?
SS: Yes, I’m a musician, which is pretty much down to The Beatles, and I think that’s true of a lot of people who play music. I’ve been playing guitar since I was twelve and started writing my own songs a few years ago. I actually got my first guitar for my fifth birthday but never learned to play it, then when I was twelve I decided to give it a proper go. I bought my first electric guitar, started teaching myself to play and never looked back. I have an Epiphone Casino and a Vox AC15 which is obviously very Beatles-inspired. I started collaborating with my friend Dominic Williams a while back; he’s obviously a fantastic musician and a Beatles nut, so we recorded a couple of Paul McCartney songs together (from different parts of the world) and have done a couple of other tracks too (see Dominic’s Beatle People interview here). We did a version of “My Valentine” which I’m really proud of, that got a good reaction from people.
Sarah Stacey’s cover of Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” feat. Dominic Williams
AWLT: You recently got a question answered by Paul on Twitter during the #askPaul Q&A. What was that like?
SS: It was amazing, I haven’t got over it yet and don’t think I ever will! I’d been sending questions in for the ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ section on Paul’s website for ages but had no luck, so to get an answer this time was unbelievable, especially when you consider how many questions he must have got. Everyone else knew before I did! I was on a bus with no internet access when I got a text from my friend Adele telling me I needed to get on Twitter right away, then when I did get on I was confronted with hundreds of notifications! I thought, “What is going on here?” and then when I saw Paul’s answer I was completely awestruck! It was something I genuinely always wanted to know too; I can’t imagine what it must be like to hear people singing songs that you wrote. It’s great to get some kind of insight into the way he thinks.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 20, 2014
AWLT: How do you feel 2nd- and 3rd generation fans, artists, writers, and podcasters (i.e., not those who were there when it happened) help keep the Beatles alive so many decades after their breakup? What do you think is different about our experience over theirs?
SS: I actually think the internet has probably helped a lot. It’s something the original Beatles fans didn’t have, so they had to rely on other ways of keeping up with what was going on. The Internet has made it so much easier for people to get their work out there, and when you look at all the websites that are dedicated to keeping The Beatles alive and celebrating their legacy, I think that says it all. I think that’s probably the main difference, and because The Beatles broke up before we came along, we’re left to celebrate them in other ways. Being in Liverpool for International Beatleweek was great. I’m 22 and no longer feel like one of the youngest fans! It’s amazing to see people of all ages, and from all parts of the world, gathered in one place for the same reason. They really do bring people together.
Are you an artist whose art has been influenced by the Beatles? If so, we want to hear your story!