Kenneth Womack, Ph.D., professor of English and popular music, interviews American filmmaker Ken Burns on the first episode of the fourth season of his “Everything Fab Four” podcast, which debuts Sept. 13. Renowned for his documentary films and television series, many of which chronicle American history and culture, such as “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” and “Country Music,” Burns has earned two Academy Award nominations and won several Emmy Awards, among other honors. His latest documentary, “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” premieres this month and was produced with longtime collaborators Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein.
But before that, Burns worked at a record store where the best-selling album of his tenure was “Abbey Road.” He still thinks about the Beatles every day. In this conversation with Womack, Burns discusses what his creative process shares with the Beatles’ and reveals the secret ingredient that he believes has made the band’s catalog so timeless. And he makes the case that a significant portion of the top-10 quintessential Beatles’ songs aren’t written by Paul or John.
Womack is the author or editor of more than 35 books, including “Fandom and the Beatles: The Act You’ve Known for All These Years” (2021), “John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life” (2020), “Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles” (2019), “The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four” (2014), “Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles” (2007), the “Cambridge Companion to the Beatles” (2009), and a multivolume study devoted to the life and work of Beatles producer George Martin. Womack is also a guest author at “Slate,” “Billboard,” “Variety,” NBC News, “Smithsonian Magazine,” “Time,” and “USA Today.”