New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.67: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I Wanna Hold Your Hand: Protests, Police, Prostitutes, and PAUL!!!

Some DVDs linger on my “must watch list,” but for one reason or another keep getting passed up in favor of repeat viewings of Mr. Mom and Nightmare on Elm Street. Those things happen. I’m rendered powerless when I turn on the TV and see Psycho on, but when there’s a hundred movies that I’ve been meaning to watch for years and I still haven’t followed through, then that’s a problem. Recently, I finally watched one that has literally been on my list for more than 5 years.

Talk about underrated! I hereby add 1978’s I Wanna Hold Your Hand to the most underrated comedies ever. While growing up I never even knew about this film. It didn’t really play on TV all that much and it didn’t make a ton of money at the box office either. Considering all the movies that have gone unnoticed in theaters and eventually became legendary on VHS and DVD, by rights this should be one of them, but it’s not. As we take a closer look you can be baffled along with me as to why I Wanna Hold Your Hand doesn’t always show up on those lists of classic rock and roll comedies.

There’s several reasons why you’ll want to check this movie out. What’s most noteworthy is that the film was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis and get this – it was produced by Steven Spielberg! If they aren’t the movie Mega Powers, I don’t know who is! Secondly, my notion of the film before I watched it was that it was probably some sort of Beatles biopic like a more straight laced version of Spinal Tap. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Beatles merely serve as the catalyst for the teenage characters to get to the Beatles legendary performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Remember when Clark Griswold said “Getting there is half the fun, you know that!” Well that is definitely the case and the Beatles take a back seat to all the craziness that happens along the way.


I Wanna Hold Your Hand has more in common with a teen period piece like American Graffiti than a straight up rock and roll film. It’s a time capsule of Beatlemania. Naturally it will have more of an effect on you if you lived through the ’60s, but that didn’t phase me one bit. The cast is fantastic and it includes Nancy Allen who makes out hardcore with Paul McCartney’s bass, the late Wendie Jo Sperber in her film debut (you may remember her from Bosom Buddies and as Mary McFly’s sister in Back to the Future) in her funniest role, Marc Mclure (Marty McFly’s brother), and Eddie Deezen who played the geek Eugene in the Grease films.

In 1999, the KISS version of this film was released as Detroit Rock City. That’s not an exaggeration. DRC is one of my favorites, but I couldn’t believe how much that film borrowed from I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Oh, and last but not least…the film opens in Maplewood, New Jersey! 

The Beatles “Every Little Thing” Written in Atlantic City, NJ

This cool piece of New Jersey rock and roll history comes from The Beatles Bible, a boundless online source of everything Beatles. While reading this amazing site, I discovered some trivia about the track “Every Little Thing,” from The Beatles For Sale album which was released at the end of 1964. Several months prior to the album’s release, The Beatles played Convention Hall in Atlantic City on August 30th, 1964.
After The Beatles played to 18,000 fans at Convention Hall in A.C, they stayed at the Marquis De Lafayette in Cape May. There was no pay per view porn back then so they did what all typical rockers did in their down time, they played cards, had a fiercely competitive game of Monopoly, chatted with Elvis on the phone, and oh yeah…wrote another song. It was “Every Little Thing,” a love song about how lucky this guy was to have such a great girl.

“John and I got this one written in Atlantic City during our last tour of the States. John does the guitar riff for this one, and George is on acoustic. Ringo bashes some timpani drums for the big noises you hear.” – Paul McCartney,  The Beatles Off The Record Keith Badman

Take a look at a collection of ticket stubs from The Beatles A.C concert HERE

Catch The Hit Men Live In Madison NJ!


Just last night I was talking about how lead singers of bands usually grab much of the spotlight, but what about the guys who actually played the music? There’s been so many classic pop and rock groups through the years whose popularity still endures, and the demand to see and hear it performed live is still there. Think back to your favorite groups. Maybe you really dug the guitarist, or the guy on the keys. Perhaps you were a obsessed with the drummer or maybe you were such a huge fan of the band that you even became a fan of the band’s producers. These are the band members who may not have got the same type of notoriety that the lead singers did, but they are just as accomplished and in this case, even more! Comprised of various performing and recording members of groups like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Elton John and others, The Hit Men are the Super Friends of classic pop music. Let me run down The Hit Men roster:

Lee Shapiro – One of the Four Seasons and co-produced the score to Copacabana the Musical with Barry Manilow. Inventor of Rock N Roll Elmo for Fisher Price.
Don Ciccone – Only Don can say he was a Critter, a Four Season, a Shondell with Tommy James and then enjoyed a solo career as well.
Larry Gates – As a composer, lyricist, and studio vocalist Larry has collaborated with a slew of familiar names. Gates has worked with Rick Derringer and co-wrote songs with Desmond Child among many others. His talents can also be heard on local and national commercials including Hasbro and Toys R Us.
Gerry Polci – You know this drummer and former Four Season as the lead vocalist on The Four Seasons mega hit “Oh What a Night.” This graduate of Montclair State University is a music teacher in New Providence, NJ.
Jimmy Ryan – The former lead guitarist and vocalist for The Critters has worked with Carly Simon Jim Croce, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Kiki Dee. He has scored 38 films and 2 NBC documentaries and all kinds of music you hear while channel surfing. You know that “Gotta Go to Mo’s” Jingle for Modell’s Sporting Goods? You can thank Jimmy for getting that stuck in your head!
Russ Velazquez – Emmy nominated singer, composer, arranger and producer who has worked with Sting, The Ramones, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Korn, and Paula Abdul. In addition to working on TV theme songs and Sesame Street, Russ had a #1 record on the children’s charts and Radio Disney for his track “2BA Master” the Pokemon CD title song.
Check them out at Madison PAC in NJ on 11/19 and Mexicali Live in Teaneck on 12/16
Head to their official site:
LIKE them on Facebook
Download their music on iTunes

Jay’s Christmas Playlist 2005

It’s been a while. School’s been kicking my ass. Finals are coming up next week. Can’t wait to be done with this semester. I have 3 finals to go! After my computer crashed AGAIN yesterday I am fuming, but I have my wonderful girlfriend and my f’n amazing collection of Christmas songs to ease my sorrow. If you’re sick of hearing Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is Poo, then here is my guide to Holiday Audio Enjoyment. With the YULE LOGS getting bigger and bigger with each passing day I figured I would mention a few Christmas songs that I HIGHLY recommend downloading these “podtastic” songs if you already don’t own them:

Things I Want by Sum 41 & Tenacious D
Christmas Is All Around Us – Love Actually soundtrack
Yellin’ At the Christmas Tree – Billy Idol
Back Door Santa – Bon Jovi
This Christmas – Christina Aguilera
I Wanna Rock You Hard This Christmas – The Dan Band (Old School)
Father Christmas – Lit
R2 D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas – Meco
Oi To The World – NO DOUBT
Punk Rock Christmas – The Ravers
My Christmas List – Simple Plan
Rockin’ Christmas Time – 40 Foot Ringo
Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby
Merry Christmas – Marvelous 3
Christmas Vacation – Mavis Staples
Merry Christmas Everybody – Rooney
Last Christmas – George Michael
The Phil Spector Album
Merry Christmas Baby – Springsteen
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! – Dean Martin
Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC
and one of my all time FAVORITES: All Alone On Christmas – Darlene Love – ONE OF THE BEST!!!
Merry Christmas and post any others that are your favorites or you think I should have listed!!! This is not a complete list by any means!