If you’re a Beatles fan and especially a scholar of unreleased Beatles songs, you probably know about The Beatles Rarity website, which, for years has has regular postings with information about unreleased Beatles tracks. Happy Nat (who prefers to be called that), the owner of the site, recently announced he was ending the series, though the website will remain online. We contacted him for an interview and asked him some questions by email.
How did the website get started? “The Beatles Rarity began as simply a weekly blog post back in August 2007,” he said. “I would post up a sound file of a rare Beatles/Beatles-related track and do a short write up about it once a week on the (now defunct) music blog site MOG.com. Each of these rarity posts became known as the BROW (for Beatles Rarity of the Week). My following grew but by 2009, MOG got away from allowing individual sound file uploads so I decided to make my own website and put all of the old MOG posts on the new site and continue from there at The Beatles Rarity.” He said the following grew and more features were added to the site, such as a weekly “#askNat column” for Beatles-related questions sent in from site followers, interviews, articles about collectible Beatles vinyl, Beatles news, a weekly newsletter and podcast (named the BROWcast).
When asked why is the feature ending, Nat said he’d prefer to describe it another way. “I don’t like to say it’s ‘ending’ as the site will remain up indefinitely and I will occasionally be adding more. I have always been very regimented about keeping up with the scheduled content and keeping the information and content as accurate and interesting to Beatles fans as possible.”
He explains that for the last seven years or so “The Beatles Rarity” has become a full-time commitment that became a challenge since he has a day job that remains the primary source of his income. “While I maintain a lifelong dedication to the incredible work of The Beatles and continue to be a collector, I came to a point in my life where I recognized the need to take a break from all of the writing. The time it takes to write content to my own satisfaction was preventing me from pursuing a few other interests I have wanted to for several years. Things that have continuously been put off due to keeping up the website protocol. One such interest would be the Appalachian Trail, but there are a few others.”
But he said the time had just come for it to end. “Additionally I never had the time to ‘get out much’ and many of my friendships waned due to simply not allowing myself to be available. These issues along with a few personal family matters that have commanded my attention, I decided to discontinue the regularly scheduled items on the site at least for the time being.”
What was his favorite rarity? He pointed to this version of “And Your Bird Can Sing.” “Because it differs from the original enough to be a fresh change of pace and it has a Byrds influence that comes across in a satisfying way for me.”
What will he do now? “Enjoying having a little less obligation and a little more free time for myself. By saying ‘obligation’ it may sound like I didn’t enjoy it. I did enjoy it immensely but also recognized that as a one-man show all these years, I needed a break from it. John Lennon said in several 1980 interviews when speaking of his five-year hiatus that he enjoyed “switching off that channel” for a time and that is exactly what I’m doing – not listening to music to analyze it and write up a lot of details about it but just because I want to enjoy it.”
Will he pick up the site at some point down the road? “Time will tell.” And then he added, “Will I stop being a Beatles fan? Not in this lifetime.”