How the Beatles electrified the Bacon Brothers

Kevin and Michael go deep into Bacon family musical history on this episode of "Everything Fab Four"

Published October 15, 2022 10:30AM (EDT)

Bacon Brothers (Jeff Fasano)
Bacon Brothers (Jeff Fasano)

The fun and fabulous Bacon Brothers joined host Kenneth Womack to talk about their songwriting parallels with the Beatles and more on the latest episode of "Everything Fab Four," a podcast co-produced by me and Womack (a music scholar who also writes about pop music for Salon) and distributed by Salon.

Kevin Bacon, the veteran actor known for such hit movies as "Footloose," "A Few Good Men" and "Apollo 13," among many others, and his older brother Michael, a music professor and award-winning composer with hundreds of credits to his name, have been performing as the duo the Bacon Brothers since 1995. But their musical roots actually go back to childhood, as they grew up in a family of six siblings who all brought various tastes into the house.

Kevin, the youngest Bacon child, had the good fortune of being exposed to popular music by his four older sisters in addition to his brother Michael, who was old enough to remember the initial backlash to the Beatles in the family's hometown of Philadelphia (something guest John Oates also mentioned on our show). But the two grew to love the music of the Fab Four, particularly connecting with the "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" albums. "Once I got hip to the Beatles," says Kevin, "I was hooked."


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Michael, who started playing cello as a child before moving to guitar and banjo, tells Womack that he was "a complete folkie until I discovered the Beatles," particularly being blown away by the song "Eleanor Rigby" and crediting producer George Martin for his "orchestral point of view." And Kevin recalls collecting the loose change that would fall from their father's jacket after work in order to buy the "Sgt. Pepper" album when it was released, being mesmerized by the cover and calling it "music that was also sort of this other world….their talent just seemed so out of reach."

In terms of their own songwriting, such as with the newer tune "Dark Chocolate Eyes," Kevin explains that he tends to hear music in his head, then sing it to Michael, who can help turn it into a full composition. Michael describes Kevin's talent as "meaningful simplicity," and that he himself connects with songs that are "confessions rather than impressions."

As for the Beatles, Kevin says that "they were such good songwriters, they could have just kept writing straight-up pop love songs. But then they could write the weirdest shit….and people still love it."

Listen to the entire conversation with the Bacon Brothers on "Everything Fab Four," including their differing views on the "Get Back" documentary, and subscribe via SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle, or wherever you're listening.

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"Everything Fab Four" is distributed by Salon. Host Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography on Beatles producer George Martin and the bestselling books "Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles" and "John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life." His latest project is the authorized biography and archives of Beatles road manager Mal Evans, due out in 2023.

By Nicole Michael

MORE FROM Nicole Michael

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Bacon Brothers Everything Fab Four Interview Kevin Bacon Podcast The Beatles