Anna Frawley’s Beatle Show on Wnet RADIO is always a solid listen, and the guest list always top-notch. Murray the K, Cousin Brucie Morrow, and Larry Kane may be legendary deejays across the Beatle universe, but they can’t hold a candle to the woman called ‘The Fab Fraw’. Anna chatted with our collaborator Bob Wilson for Beatles Magazine, and she informed regarding Liverpool’s finest sons, and her fine program.
Beatles Magazine: Will you please tell us about how your radio program began?
Anna Frawley: Just after my husband, John and I moved from London to Warsaw I was approached by the president of the newly formed radio station, who was told by his friend that I’m in town to stay. The president is a well-known radio journalist in Poland and happens to be a massive fan of the Beatles. Radio Wnet, which he created from scratch, has Yellow Submarine as its signature tune. He proposed that I host my own radio program dedicated to the Beatles. It was to be a one-hour Friday evening program. I must admit, I was very scared by this offer as I had no radio experience except as an actress. Our negotiations lasted a whole year because of my reluctance to commit. Finally, we met at a cafe in central Warsaw where Radio Wnet was situated at the time, and agreed that I’d start the next Friday at 6pm. At first, I had a music-loving and radio-experienced friend with me at the studio, and we talked about each song I played. The show was then in Polish. My friend quickly realized that he had run out of topics, as his knowledge of the Beatles wasn’t that big, so he left me to do the show on my own. The young engineer who was producing the show suggested I do it in English, because so many of my listeners were from other countries, at the time mostly Britain and the US. This was because of my activity in the Beatles groups on Facebook. We became more and more successful over the seven years and expanded the listeners’ base to South and Central America, Australia and even Japan, despite the time difference of the broadcast. Anna Frawley’s Beatle Show, known here in Poland as Beatlemania, is now ninety minutes long and going from strength to strength.
Beatles Magazine: Do you recall the first time that you heard the Beatles, and would you please tell us about that memory?
Anna Frawley: I first became aware of the Beatles when my uncle, who was 12 years older than me and a big music lover, played me, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. I remember the event, but I was too young to pay much attention to it. But after I first saw the film “A Hard Day’s Night” I was hooked. The Beatles were the main reason why I went to study in London, and although I didn’t plan to remain there for the best part of my life, it did happen. I studied at the Central Academy of Film Art and Drama with its headquarters at Prince’s Gate in Kensington, the street famous as the address John, Cynthia and Julian Lennon had when in London as a family. By the time I was there, however, John was already in New York.
Beatles Magazine: Which of the four is your favorite Beatle?
Anna Frawley: John Lennon was always my favorite Beatle, but I appreciate all of them very much.
Beatles Magazine: What would your favorite Beatles album be?
Anna Frawley: It’s hard for me to pick my favorite Beatles album as it very much depends on the mood I’m in. I really enjoy all of them, but have probably played “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Rubber Soul”, “White Album” and “Abbey Road” the most.
Beatles Magazine: Is there a different view of the group in Europe, as opposed to the United States?
Anna Frawley: Over the years, observing fans of the Beatles in various Beatlemaniac groups, I’ve noticed that most of the Americans seem to regard the birth of the group as the performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. Of course, in Europe the band was known after the ‘Please Please Me’ album was released in March 1963, and to the British audience even before that, especially on Merseyside. Also, the American TV cartoon was a most non-European invention, which the Beatles didn’t like either. The American word ‘cute’, which was and still is used to describe the group members, is not how the band was perceived in Europe. Also, in continental Europe the Beatles had many more boys at their concerts than in the States or in Britain. The Beatles themselves had to admit that audiences in France, Holland, Italy, Spain or Sweden actually wanted to hear the music.
Beatles Magazine: Who were your most memorable guests on your program?
Anna Frawley: My most memorable guest of all was also the first I interviewed: the lovely Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister and the author of the very moving book ‘Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon’.
I also enjoyed the interview with Bill Harry, the founder of ‘Mersey Beat’ magazine and close friend of John’s at the Liverpool College of Art. Bill is meticulous in his knowledge of all things Beatles, Liverpool and Merseyside’s music scene and a great raconteur.
It was very interesting and revealing to interview John Lennon’s personal assistant, German-born Fred Seaman, who wrote the excellent book ‘The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir’.
Tony Bramwell, the long-term friend and work associate who wrote the great book ‘Magical Mystery Tours – My Life with The Beatles’,
Chris O’Dell who worked at Apple and befriended George Harrison, his then wife Pattie, Ringo and his wife Maureen, the author of ‘MissO’Dell’ – My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and the Women They Loved’ and Leslie Cavendish, who was a hairdresser for the Beatles and wrote ‘The Cutting Edge: The Story of the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era’,
Ivor Davies who travelled with the Beatles on their first tour of the US and wrote ‘The Beatles and Me on Tour’ were all very enjoyable to interview. The list is very long though, so I could go on and on here.
Beatles Magazine: Do you have any first-time guests coming up in the near future?
Anna Frawley: Next week I’m going to interview Jude Southerland Kessler, the author of the John Lennon series, factional narrative biography. Jude just published her fourth tome of the nine planned, titled ‘Should Have Known Better’. Your review of this book in the BEATLES MAGAZINE is very good indeed. You can tune in to this show on the 7th of December.
Beatles Magazine: What do you think of Paul McCartney’s new album, and it hitting #1?
Anna Frawley: I’m quite amazed by ‘Egypt Station’, as at 76 years old Paul McCartney has got nothing to prove to anyone anymore, but still manages to record a very refreshing, if slightly nostalgic at times, honest and quite revealing album. The reviews are very positive and I totally agree with Dan Stubbs of NME, who said “McCartney’s always been about inclusivity and openness, but this latest glimpse into his life feels like a particularly enlightening one”. The number one position was well deserved.
Beatles Magazine: How many of the band members have you seen live, and what memories do you have of the events?
Anna Frawley: I’ve seen Ringo and his All Starr Band once and it was an enjoyable experience. Ringo was in good form and his band was carefully chosen with great musicians, but the concert of Paul McCartney’s I went to in Warsaw was something else! Paul managed, in the almost four hours that he didn’t leave the stage, to keep everyone in the National Stadium on their feet. He was absolutely magnificent. Sadly, I’ve never seen either John or George live.
Beatles Magazine: What would you like to see Paul and Ringo collaborate on in the future?
Anna Frawley: I’d love to see Paul and Ringo collaborating. I’m sure it would be very good and successful whatever the project.
Beatles Magazine: What do you think if the new White Album release, and all of the success it has achieved?
Anna Frawley: Giles Martin managed to make a great album even better. The sound is enhanced in a way that makes us hear what was missing before. Ringo said that he loves what Giles and Sam Okell did because his drums are much more pronounced. I bought the mp3 version of all the Deluxe package and love it. The Esher Demos are greatly improved from what was until now available only on bootleg or some bits on Anthology. I’m also looking forward to the vinyl records I’ve ordered. I’m happy the 50th anniversary edition has already been such a great success.
Beatles Magazine: Would you please tell us where your show streams, and where fans can go to tune in?
Anna Frawley: The Anna Frawley’s Beatle Show goes on air, usually live, at https://wnet.fm every Friday and lasts ninety minutes. If you click on the link www.wnet.fm and then the top circular icon with RADIO written on it, you can also listen to it via internet. Broadcasting times are – Central Europe -18.00, UK/IRE-5pm, US East-Noon, US Central-11am, US Mountain-10am, US Pacific-9am, Argentina-13.00, Mexico- 11am, Rio de Janeiro-13.00, Tokyo-1am, Perth-Midnight and don’t forget – you’re all invited!