Monday, January 22, 2007

"The Unseen Beatles"

The past Wednesday night, the Discovery Times channel aired an hour-long program entitled The Unseen Beatles, which had previously aired on the BBC and is also available on DVD. I must say that I really enjoyed the program, especially the interviews with Barry Tashian, Tony Bramwell and Larry Kane. The home movie footage of the lads goofing off and the fan-filmed footage from Candlestick Park made this unauthorized doc more interesting that the usual run-of-the-mill programs. I found the comments regarding the amature nature of the Beatles tours interesting--it seems as soon as their touring days ended, massive improvements in sound equipment, stage-set up, and venues occurred.

(I recall that they were particularly impressed with the new PA system at the Atlanta Stadium in 1965--John remarked they could actually hear themselves above the screaming crowd for once! That's one of my favorite of their live performances.)

Here are a few screen captures to entertain you. (You naughty boy, George!)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent...

"All the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths...." Shakespeare, Richard III

"It's important to state that a lot of water has gone under the bridge and that, as we talk now, everybody's good friends and we have a better understanding of the past. But talking about what was happening at that time, you can see it was strange." George Harrison, Anthology, p. 316.

January 1969
I've often seen the infamous Get Back sessions referred to as the "Winter of Discontent", most recently in reference to the spectacular Picture Perfect DVD release of Let It Be movie outtakes. I find a majority of the quote to be apropos--yes, the Beatles endured an extremely difficult January of 1969, but when all is said and done, they emerged victorious, forever engraved in our hearts and minds as a remarkable group of individuals who created a body of work that can never be surpassed within the medium of popular music. The split was acrimonious, a painful reality for us as fans; fortunately, most of those old wounds healed and peace was made between them.

Tackling the session tapes (all 84 cds worth, including all available audio from the A and B cameras) can be a daunting and somewhat gruelling task. However, what emerges is a clearer picture of what was going on within the group at that time. It can be disheartening and downright sad at times, but not always, and not entirely. (The musicianship is not always poor, either.) In fact, the Beatles' moods appeared to lighten once Twickenham is abandoned in favor of Apple, especially when Billy Preston joins them.

I recommend reading Doug Sulpy's Get Back: The Story of the Beatles' Let It Be Disaster for more information about what is contained within the available tapes; however, sometimes I think Sulpy allows his own opinions to come forward too much and color his commentary instead of just documenting the events as they occurred. Also, more session tapes are now in circulation that were unavailable at the time of the last edition's publication. Sometimes I enjoy listening Purple Chick's A/B Road or perhaps the easier to digest Thirty Days collection, take some time to look over Sulpy's book, and use my own analytical skills to mull over the break up of a band I love so dearly. There's still a magic to be found there, still some solid performances, great songs, and even some lighthearted hilarity. The comradiere of the old days appears at times, too.

The above screen caps were made from the 2003 Apple promos for "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down", created to promote the Let It Be...Naked project. The new footage indicates that Apple has access to some great extras that should be added to the deluxe Let It Be DVD!

All Things Must Pass...

(This post was created for my Beatle Buddy Mike! Hope you enjoy it!)