A Long Time Ago When They Was Fab
December 21, 2020 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Peter Jackson has released a preview of his upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back due for release next summer (but who really knows?).
posted by octothorpe (127 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
OH GOD OH GOD the shot of George and John skipping through the studio together.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:55 PM on December 21, 2020 [13 favorites]


This popped up on my twitter feed today and what a delight. Such a time it was.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:01 PM on December 21, 2020


My god they look so young and vital. And bearded Paul from that era is like...pretty hot, no?
posted by lazaruslong at 5:05 PM on December 21, 2020 [10 favorites]


bearded Paul from that era is like...pretty hot, no?

I remember even 25 years ago people making fun of McCartney for looking like an old British lady which I thought was shitty to old British ladies and also stupid because Beardy Paul is, like, Top 10 Hottest People Ever in History Even If It Was Only For Like Two Years
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:12 PM on December 21, 2020 [11 favorites]


It's striking how different the tone is of this footage from 90% of the usual stuff from this period, which is all very gloomy and about how much they all hated each other. In this footage, at least, it looks like they were still having a lot of fun.
posted by synecdoche at 5:12 PM on December 21, 2020 [30 favorites]


As I watched this, I thought, how old were these guys anyway? None of them were yet thirty!

I liked the lighter tone about these clips, too. Still, John looks kind of exhausting to be around and work with, even here. I have tried to overcome a lifetime of bad vibes about him; I can't quite been able to put my finger on it. Maybe everyone has a least-favorite Beatle?
posted by Caxton1476 at 5:21 PM on December 21, 2020 [10 favorites]


I can't wait to see this. I went through an era awhile ago of listening to Beatles bootlegs on youtube, including about 9 hours of audio track from the uncut Let It Be film. So many gems--Paul exasperatedly talking about how people were going to think that the band broke up because "Yoko sat on an amp" when their problems were actually a lot more complex stands out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:22 PM on December 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


This version of the film will no doubt be closer to what Paul had envisioned from the start. With this and his "Let It Be... Naked" (holy crap that came out SEVENTEEN years ago), he has managed to have the last laugh by outliving everyone who disagreed with him.

I'm excited to see the finished product, though I was even before I saw this teaser. They look like they're having such a great time. Though I agree John seems like he was a fucking handful.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:48 PM on December 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


Gear.
posted by Rash at 5:56 PM on December 21, 2020 [11 favorites]


Maybe everyone has a least-favorite Beatle?

Definitely John for me.
posted by tclark at 6:37 PM on December 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


It's striking how different the tone is of this footage from 90% of the usual stuff from this period, which is all very gloomy and about how much they all hated each other. In this footage, at least, it looks like they were still having a lot of fun.

Anyone who has ever been in a band can probably attest that it is very much like being in a romantic relationship. One way it is is that even at the end when it’s falling apart, there are still a few good moments when you’re happy and you recall all the in-jokes and the impulsive romantic gestures and doing the crossword puzzles together and all that.

Fifty years ago right now, Beatles were over. If you look at what was going on fifty years after they were breaking big in the US, consider early 2014: Sochi Olympics; the Malaysian airliner disappears; Jimmy Fallon takes over The Tonight Show, Neil DeGrasse Tyson starts up Cosmos; Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released. Doesn’t seem like that long ago, but the band went from being introduced by Ed Sullivan to Let It Be in that stretch. In the process, they experienced a level of fame and attention and celebrity that no one else on earth ever had.

Except the other three guys in the room.

It’s good to see a bit of the lingering joyousness at the end when we have seen the grimness for half a century now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:49 PM on December 21, 2020 [25 favorites]


I can't find it now but I read somewhere that this is an attempt to be a bit of a rebuttal to the movie Let It Be which mostly showed the band fighting with each other.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 PM on December 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


Something to look forward to is a treasure here on the 91st of Endnever, 2020. Maybe it will end. Maybe there will be Nice Things. It could happen, couldn't it?
posted by theora55 at 7:03 PM on December 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


Definitely John for me

Probably the worst guy. Still wrote the most best Beatles songs, though.
posted by atoxyl at 7:04 PM on December 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


I wasn't expecting much when I first heard about this project, but after seeing the preview, I am so glad this was made.
posted by freakazoid at 7:07 PM on December 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


Still, John looks kind of exhausting to be around and work with, even here. I have tried to overcome a lifetime of bad vibes about him; I can't quite been able to put my finger on it. Maybe everyone has a least-favorite Beatle?

I mean, it seems clear to me in retrospect that John was probably dealing with some form of what we probably would classify today as mental illness and also probably neurodivergence, and yes, that can absolutely be exhausting for people without those issues to be around. It also often leads to self-medication, much much more so back then than even now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:13 PM on December 21, 2020 [8 favorites]


The guitar collection in the background! This one pops out, Limited Edition George Harrison Rocky Strat. That's selling for $41,699. For the replica.

Then the Rickenbackers. This has nothing to do with the Beatles. My brother bought one of these with my orphan's pension. He knew he could never explain where he got the money, so he hid it. Wrapped in a blanket under a wardrobe. I knew about it, I had to pretend that I didn't though, and I'd sneak it out to play when he wasn't around. Didn't like it, the varnish on the neck felt gummy, the pickups were too bright, and who knows wtf that fifth knob is for.

Anyhow, my brother had a secret Rickenbacker, and every time I see one I remember they're not that great to play, and my brother is a gigantic asshole.

You can see Ween perform Transdermal Celebrations using the George Harrison strat which costs more than my car.
posted by adept256 at 7:14 PM on December 21, 2020 [19 favorites]



It's striking how different the tone is of this footage from 90% of the usual stuff from this period, which is all very gloomy and about how much they all hated each other. In this footage, at least, it looks like they were still having a lot of fun.


Something that struck me when I listened to the audio tracks (and now I'm realizing it must have been more than 9 hours? I think it was. I would regularly fall asleep listening and wake up to some snippet that was totally random or bizarre or hilarious) is that even when they were mad at each other, their animosity was both very polite (british!) and fundamentally kind of loving. Like. They didn't seem particularly exasperated by John. He made them laugh, especially Paul. They all also were just incredibly quick-witted, not just John--this sort of patter that I don't imagine was matched by most other people. It's just a really fascinating dynamic--I remember first hearing it on the anthology when I was first falling in love with the Beatles, when you hear a crash and John just starts, without missing a beat, saying how "Paul's broken a glass a glass a glass he broke today" or something like that, and they just kind of laugh to themselves and move on.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:14 PM on December 21, 2020 [14 favorites]


Watching this made me happy. You know, that is a task right now. They were so alive!
posted by Oyéah at 7:17 PM on December 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


I mean, it seems clear to me in retrospect that John was probably dealing with some form of what we probably would classify today as mental illness and also probably neurodivergence, and yes, that can absolutely be exhausting for people without those issues to be around. It also often leads to self-medication, much much more so back then than even now.

He was on heroin during this time period. Also agree about the neurodivergence. ADHD seems likely to me, but I know most have theorized it was some kind of personality disorder instead, or maybe bipolar. Still his mental speed specifically just seems peculiar to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:18 PM on December 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


When I turned 12 back in the late 80s I got a cassette tape player and my mom recorded her entire Beatles record collection onto tapes for me. I never got into the early stuff (and I still have a confused idea of what songs are on what albums since she included portions of different albums on the extra space at the end of tapes) but I loved Abbey Road, Hey Jude and Let It Be. I wore those tapes out. As an adult I always felt a little guilty about liking LIB since none of the Beatles seemed to like it so I felt vindicated when ...Naked came out and reaffirmed everything I thought was good about it. Really looking forward to the documentary
posted by not_the_water at 7:22 PM on December 21, 2020 [6 favorites]


Man, between this and Rick Rubin’s McCartney docuseries... good time to be a Beatles fan.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:35 PM on December 21, 2020


It's alarming how much he and Dan Harmon are starting to resemble each other physically.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:42 PM on December 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


I will greatly want to see this in the theater when it comes out. Happy Beatles are better than Unhappy Beatles, which is what Spector reduced these hours of film down to for Let It Be.

I hope I feel safe to go to a movie theater again when this is released.
posted by hippybear at 7:49 PM on December 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


The guitar collection in the background! This one pops out, Limited Edition George Harrison Rocky Strat. That's selling for $41,699. For the replica.

Meh. The hippie visual art style did not age so well for me. I'll have the rosewood Tele reissue over the uglified, ludicrously over-priced Strat.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 PM on December 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


I happened to watch the entire Dick Cavett show with John and Yoko, and my takeaway was ... I dunno, everyone was exhausting in the 70s, weren't they?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:56 PM on December 21, 2020 [9 favorites]


Looks like a worthy film. Unfortunately, listening to the footage sample's soundtrack, I feel compelled to pointlessly blemish this fine thread by linking to New Slovenian Art band Laibach's cover of Get Back.
posted by bertran at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


I dunno, everyone was exhausting in the 70s, weren't they?

That thing about humans suddenly gaining consciousness some X thousand years ago? I counter that it happened in about 1972 or so. People seem so earnest, and unreflective, and naive... You see adults unironically pulling social moves that my 8 and 13 year old boys would be too self aware to attempt... geez, I dunno, but the Internet really has mixed up our brains quite a bit, hasn't it?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:17 PM on December 21, 2020 [8 favorites]


the uglified, ludicrously over-priced Strat.

You're right, George let some dizzy flowerchild follow their vision and gloop a big mess on an innocent strat. That tele looks a lot better, but that bridge shroud needs to go in the bin, then you need to think hard about that lipstick pickup.

Either way, I think these are to be put on podiums for people to admire rather than actually play.
posted by adept256 at 8:27 PM on December 21, 2020


As a deeply introverted and troubled musician who never found his tribe, I confess I was glued to all 5:51 of this, for reasons that had nothing to do with the music, and much more to do with that New Yorker article currently making the rounds. I can't feign much interest in the Beatles otherwise, but I'll surely be watching this and dreaming along...
posted by mykescipark at 8:35 PM on December 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


Either way, I think these are to be put on podiums for people to admire rather than actually play.

The Fender Custom Shop does, I think, produce some guitars that are affordable (at the high end of affordable) for Joe Sixstring, but, yeah, selling midlife crisis guitars to the high disposable income set is probably what their main business is.
posted by thelonius at 8:54 PM on December 21, 2020


A rebuttal? Certainly, a rebeatle.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:16 PM on December 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


Huh. Lennon *really* reminded me here, both in looks and body language, of a couple of gaming geeks I've known over the years, which is not how I usually read him. But I guess most video I've seen from him is much more formal.

Also, I always forget it, but man, the Beatles could really lay down a groove.
posted by tavella at 9:25 PM on December 21, 2020 [6 favorites]


I think Lennon had so many issues, but didn't see much of it in these clips. Looks like they were all still able to have some fun. Which is nice to see.
posted by Windopaene at 9:41 PM on December 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


Probably the worst guy. Still wrote the most best Beatles songs, though.

No. That would be Paul, which I've always suspected was the real rift between him and John. Lennon wrote great songs, but he never had a Hey Jude or Yesterday.
posted by Beholder at 10:06 PM on December 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


Hey Jude is boring.
posted by Windopaene at 10:10 PM on December 21, 2020 [14 favorites]


Also, I always forget it, but man, the Beatles could really lay down a groove.

I used to jam with some guitarists who were into Let It Be-era Beatles (I played bass). I probably played “Get Back” two hundred times with these guys but I am positive the rhythm player never picked up on the in-retrospect obvious fact that Lennon is getting his sound in the intro by thumping openhanded on the strings. Nice one: I didn’t think of that at twenty.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:22 PM on December 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


ADHD seems likely to me

The way he is in this video does remind me way more than I expected of my friend (who is very classically ADHD).
posted by atoxyl at 10:25 PM on December 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


What's with all the John-hate?
I think they are all adorable and so young, and so talented. The original Let It Be film was fine enough, but I can't wait to see this, it has really given me something to look forward to.
posted by mumimor at 12:02 AM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Everything I've read about John in his school days reminds me of the middle-school boys with ADHD I worked with as a student.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:03 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


What's with all the John-hate?

I like what we see of him here. I just know of more examples of him being an asshole (including to the other Beatles) than I do of any of the other Beatles.
posted by atoxyl at 1:11 AM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Lennon wrote great songs, but he never had a Hey Jude or Yesterday.

I’ll take Strawberry Fields or A Day in the Life over either of those, not that Yesterday isn’t a fantastic song.

(I’ll take Eleanor Rigby or several other Paul songs over Hey Jude, not that it isn’t a good song)
posted by atoxyl at 1:17 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


I just know of more examples of him being an asshole (including to the other Beatles) than I do of any of the other Beatles.

Not to imply that he was the only one who was ever an asshole. It was Paul who once said he thought “until this album [Abbey Road, obviously this was well past the point where they were all getting along] that George’s songs weren’t that good.”

(To which his bandmates pointed out that Paul was the only member of the Beatles who ever liked “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”)
posted by atoxyl at 1:43 AM on December 22, 2020


I liked the dancing! And the clothes. Ringo in that fabulous green suit!
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:23 AM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


So much energy! So much fun! Even knowing what we know about these times, you can tell that when they are playing together, it's still giving them something, still driving them. They're a singular tribe that has its own language and customs and inner knowledge and I'm sure that can be so isolating to be part of, but also incredibly powerful and exciting. What lives they led. I cannot wait to see this.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:28 AM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I am at best a casual Beatles fan, but this was so much fun to watch! Thanks for posting!
posted by bookmammal at 5:16 AM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


that George’s songs weren’t that good

You could argue that Paul (or John) never wrote something as good as Something.
posted by chris24 at 5:29 AM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Hey Jude is boring.

Probably, but I suspect that if you're in a crowd of people and it starts playing, and the crowd starts singing along at the end, you're still gonna join in. Some songs appeal to the intellect, others appeal to the gut. Both have their place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:29 AM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


that George’s songs weren’t that good

George came out with All Things Must Pass in 1970. He had lots of good songs that he wasn't allowed to record with the Beatles.
posted by octothorpe at 5:35 AM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


George came out with All Things Must Pass in 1970. He had lots of good songs that he wasn't allowed to record with the Beatles.

On Anthology and on the White Album sessions release, there are recordings of The Beatles playing through at least one ATMP song, as well as "Not Guilty", a song that Harrison released about 10 years later.

The story is that Harrison had Clapton come in for the "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" session so that John and Paul couldn't do the game they were doing of playing poorly on Harrison songs, then saying hey, that one doesn't make the album.
posted by thelonius at 5:43 AM on December 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


Adam Buxton's most recent podcast is a long chat with Paul, including talk about this time and the film, as well as the upcoming McCartney III.

(Sorry not a direct link to the podcast - website blocked at work.)
posted by jaruwaan at 6:02 AM on December 22, 2020




Maybe everyone has a least-favorite Beatle?

The only one who hasn't been my least favorite at one time or another is George.
posted by box at 7:23 AM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


Thanks, hippybear. ;-)
posted by jaruwaan at 7:44 AM on December 22, 2020


Least favorite Beatle? Albert Goldman.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:01 AM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


You could argue that Paul (or John) never wrote something as good as Something.

You could also argue that Something wouldn't be nearly as interesting without Paul's melodic bass-line (which George hated).

I am really looking forward to this film. I have never watched Let It Be because I didn't want to be depressed, and I'm excited to see some of the better times of that era. The more I read and watch about late-period Beatles, the more I reach the following conclusions:

- It is always difficult to have four geniuses with strong personalities (or three and Ringo) in a room together.
- All of them (except Ringo apparently) had negative qualities that drove the others crazy - John could be mean and erratic; Paul could be exacting and critical; George could be whiny and petulant.
- The Yoko Ono thing is a complete myth - what really tore up the Beatles was that they were terrible businessmen who decided to run a business together, and it went horribly wrong. The loss of Brian Epstein was a big factor in this.
- If they weren't all so stubborn, they probably could have taken a break for a year or so and then re-formed.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:27 AM on December 22, 2020 [21 favorites]


what really tore up the Beatles was that they were terrible businessmen who decided to run a business together, and it went horribly wrong.

This.
posted by mumimor at 8:31 AM on December 22, 2020


You could argue that Paul (or John) never wrote something as good as Something.

That’s one of the ones Paul was giving him credit for, though! But obviously Abbey Road is not at all the first time George’s songs are good, though it’s probably the one he brings the most to.
posted by atoxyl at 8:36 AM on December 22, 2020


adept256: "Then the Rickenbackers. This has nothing to do with the Beatles. My brother bought one of these with my orphan's pension. He knew he could never explain where he got the money, so he hid it. Wrapped in a blanket under a wardrobe. I knew about it, I had to pretend that I didn't though, and I'd sneak it out to play when he wasn't around. Didn't like it, the varnish on the neck felt gummy, the pickups were too bright, and who knows wtf that fifth knob is for.

Anyhow, my brother had a secret Rickenbacker, and every time I see one I remember they're not that great to play, and my brother is a gigantic asshole.
"

This is the best short story I've read all year.
posted by chavenet at 8:41 AM on December 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


And bearded Paul from that era is like...pretty hot, no?

Surely there'd be some evidence from the time period if any of the Beatles had been considered attractive? Enthusiastic teenagers or something?
posted by straight at 9:07 AM on December 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


The sheer tonnage of stuff that enthusiastic teenagers have considered attractive that in retrospect are flash-in-the-pan anomalies could stun a team of oxen. Beardy Paul has passed the test of time, though.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:00 AM on December 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


He definitely has that look of a young man who didn't know if he could grow a beard or not and is somewhat shocked at what happened when he tried.
posted by octothorpe at 10:19 AM on December 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


I've been thinking about the John thing I said above.

His songs made me sit up straight and listen hard. "A Day in the Life" did as much for my notions of what music could do as anything I've ever heard. Hearing that song in, I think, 1980 - at age 9 - a decade and change after it was released, seemed like an access to new horizon, where music did something to you, for you. Rarely, but sometimes, something you couldn't even explain. Music as experience. I remember taking the risk to lift the needle and drop it back on that track to listen to it over again. (Doing that on Dad's stereo was kind of a big deal.)

Now, nearing 50, just thinking about that one, I feel it still. There's so much pain woven into it, woven by a man who was, I now know, often in pain. I don't think I want to listen to it today, a few days before Christmas, in a pandemic year.

I think my personal distaste for him is bound up with being treated cruelly by bright young men who used their wit to cruel effect. A lot of them seemed to have trained as his understudy. Many artists whose work shaped me have proven more difficult, sometimes impossible, to enjoy, after I learned about them as people away from the page, the studio. That happened early with John, though his story has only gained in complexity over the years. It's complicated.
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:42 AM on December 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


Hearing that song in, I think, 1980 - at age 9

I remember I had a friend, around that age, who was absolutely terrified by the crescendo section in "A Day In The Life".
posted by thelonius at 10:45 AM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Nthing "John as least favorite." And while it surely is the case, as mentioned, that other factors came into play in breaking up the band, having Yoko attached to him at the hip at rehearsals would've be awkward if they'd been a neighborhood band playing backyard parties and must've fed into animosity at this stage of their career.

Separately, "Hey Jude," for me, is like The Who's "See Me, Feel Me / Listening to You": end already, please, for the love of Baby Jesus, stop playing this song... Until I hear a version that fades out at around the three-minute mark, I might not, myself, place it among Paul's top tunes for The Beatles.

That said, the best work of John and Paul's lives was done at the beginning of their careers and in tandem. Looking at them here really makes me wish they'd, as has been noted here and in the Paul posting a little while back, taken a year-long break, gotten solo albums out of their system, and come back refreshed.

This take on the "Get Back" sessions should be a welcome counterbalance to the deeply depressing Let It Be, which, I think I read, was Peter Jackson's reason for making it.
posted by the sobsister at 12:00 PM on December 22, 2020


Hey Jude is boring.

Nah.
Nah. Nah.
Nah, nah. Nah. Nah.
Nah, nah. Nah. Nah.
posted by otherchaz at 12:01 PM on December 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


It is always difficult to have four geniuses with strong personalities (or three and Ringo) in a room together.

Here are a bunch of gentlemen who would like to tell you that Ringo is indeed a genius.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


Hey Jude is boring.

A decade or so ago, I was in the youth hostel in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I was staying in a private room just a couple of steps from the common room.

There was an acoustic guitar freely available for the use of guests; one evening I heard a guy in the common room who was clearly somewhere between “absolute beginner” and “novice” have a crack at playing “Hey, Jude” to the accompaniment of a dozen or so people singing along (and yes, doing the rising “better, better, better, better” thing every goddamn time the chorus neared).

“Okay,” I thought, “not much of a guitar song, and not especially well played, but we all start somewhere and they’re having fun.” At the end of the song, he moved on “Let It Be” — again a song that really calls for piano and has finite potential as a singalong.

Then he returned to the top of the set list with “Hey, Jude” again, followed by “Let It Be.”

You can probably work out the fifth through twelfth songs in the jamboree.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:14 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


On viewing the original Let It Be movie, a lot of people responded, "What exactly was Yoko doing there?" And yes, I could see how her presence could have disrupted the vibe. I mean, imagine if your coworkers were always bringing their spouses with them into random work meetings. But what the teaser footage from Get Back really drove home was just how many extraneous people were there in the studio with them. In addition to a full camera crew! How did anyone expect a band to be able to work their full creative magic with so many darned people around? Sure, those sessions collapsed largely because the band wasn't getting along, but what if some of it was that they were just distracted?
posted by panama joe at 12:17 PM on December 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Here are a bunch of gentlemen who would like to tell you that Ringo is indeed a genius.

I definitely thought about that before saying what I said, and I recognize I'm being a little unfair to the Ringed One. I wholeheartedly agree that Ringo gets a bum rap and rightfully belongs in the pantheon of the great rock drummers.

But genius? I guess I'm thinking of the songwriting chops of the other three, and Octopus's Garden and Don't Pass Me By just aren't in the same league. Besides, the main point of my comment is that John, Paul, and George appeared to have all of the irritating, selfish traits that go along with genius, while Ringo just seemed to be an affable guy who didn't get caught up in that bullshit most of the time.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:19 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


The only one who hasn't been my least favorite at one time or another is George.

Heh, he's probably my least favorite. Let's fight.

I mean, not really. I think something about my dislike of George is rooted in seeing myself in George--youngest sibling, youngest cousin, always craving attention equivalent to the others. This wasn't entirely his fault. I mean, he's all of eight months younger than Paul and I can't tell you how many interviews Paul's given over the years claiming George was a full 2 years younger so therefore of course he couldn't hold his own against Lennon and McCartney except in technical proficiency, which I think they all acknowledged that Harrison clearly predominated in. And I think his music was technically great and often musically lovely. We sang "Here comes the sun" by candlelight last night. But it just doesn't have the lyrical or psychological depths that John or Paul's music does, and even his dalliances with eastern mysticism often feel facile to me. Light, a little appropriative and colonial. Whereas something like "God" from Lennon has a lot more depth. George just feels comparatively unexamined and maybe not as capable of that examination. McCartney might be, but he largely just wisely sidesteps any deeper introspection. He's sharp, narrative, but not interested. Ringo is Ringo (wonderful workhorse drummer and necessary for the group dynamic, to be sure. But still, Ringo. Not really a striver, maybe? Peace and love, man, peace and love). But George--he wants to be the bright light philosophically and I just don't think he was. You can also watch the anthology now and pretty much see how boiling with resentment he was over the whole enterprise and I don't blame him for that, either--he was in such financially poor shape at that point--but it makes me uncomfortable to see, once you start seeing it. The resentment.

McCartney and Lennon are interesting to me as a pair because you see them in so many ways looking for an artistic match and they probably found it but for whatever reason, it failed--and then John found it again with Yoko. And like, their relationship was so complicated and fucked up but there's still so much racism in the way she's discussed and it really overlooks how funny and brilliant she was. You see that in their interviews in the 70s, how tickled they are by each other, the same way the Beatles used to be. I don't really think their relationship was healthy (hoo boy read the May Pang memoir if you can get your hands on it), but Paul was bringing Linda and her kid to rehearsals too at this point (and during The White Album when her presence was more unusual had suffered a pretty traumatic late term miscarriage). Paul really seemed to hold no animosity toward her at the time. The band was done.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:35 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Also having watched Let It Be, it's actually not very depressing at all. Mostly just deeply boring. Even more boring than Magical Mystery Tour.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:45 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


But genius? I guess I'm thinking of the songwriting chops of the other three, and Octopus's Garden and Don't Pass Me By just aren't in the same league.

Yeah I really like him as a drummer, he just doesn’t stand alone as a songwriter like the other three. I even like Octopus’s Garden but I think it was George, actually, who helped him out with the chords?
posted by atoxyl at 12:46 PM on December 22, 2020


therefore of course he couldn't hold his own against Lennon and McCartney except in technical proficiency, which I think they all acknowledged that Harrison clearly predominated in

Well he was presumably the best lead guitar player they had but by the end Paul had to have been at least as capable as a musician all around? I think he did escape looking too bad by being quieter than the others. But I also think his songwriting was absolutely up to snuff from Rubber Soul, on, and sometimes really interesting and underrated (like “Blue Jay Way”). So for Paul to deliver that sort of begrudging response to the idea of using more Harrisongs (look up his publishing issues, also) - well, George wasn’t crazy to have some resentment.
posted by atoxyl at 12:52 PM on December 22, 2020


As is known, it is very challenging to play in a band with two visionaries.
posted by thelonius at 12:55 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I recently watched the Song Exploder episode on "Losing My Religion" by REM. Lovely, in its way. And an interesting contrast in how bands come to an end. One of them says, we're not a band anymore, but we still get together. Over and above deep family connection (I cannot listen to "Here Comes the Sun" without tears), REM still means more to me than the Beatles.

Anyway, "Two of Us" is sufficient reason for the Beatles to have existed, right?
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:04 PM on December 22, 2020


Well he was presumably the best lead guitar player they had but by the end Paul had to have been at least as capable as a musician all around?

Paul was a great all-around musician but hadn't made study of it in the same way George had and I think, for better or for worse, those teenage impressions would stick with them. Lennon always thought he was an awful musician (only knew banjo chords at the time when Harrison could do a note-perfect rendition of "Raunchy") despite being an insane rhythm guitarist. McCartney seemed to be a solid all around noodler in his dad's dance hall tradition but still muddles through reading music. But Harrison was technically good at lead guitar in a way the others weren't and I think remained a cut above. I can't find it right now but there was an interview with Lennon out there at some point where he talks about how Harrison was asked to jam with all these other musicians in the 60s and 70s and he never was.

I honestly really think that George's lyrics are consistently . . . pretty bad. I like a lot of the songs! But they tend to be vapid and abstract as a way of gesturing toward profundity ("Something", "Here Comes the Sun" which works in its brevity but doesn't say much), or just really quotidian in a way that never quite gets interesting to me ("Northern Song", "Blue Jay Way"), the way the daily journal parts of, say, "A Day In the Life" from Paul do. I think it would have been interesting to see him have been lyrically collaborative with other people, the way Paul and John were early on, because they sucked once too. Thinking of Linking is a good example of what early solo McCartney lyrics looked like.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Also sorry I've been researching this stuff for four years for a book I'm working on and never have anyone to talk Beatles group dynamics with.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:16 PM on December 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


But Harrison was technically good at lead guitar in a way the others weren't and I think remained a cut above.

Well, maybe he remained a cut above, but McCartney did pretty respectably well on "Taxman" and "Good Morning"
posted by thelonius at 1:22 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Well, maybe he remained a cut above, but McCartney did pretty respectably well on "Taxman" and "Good Morning"

Sure, that's true. Honestly my overall impression of Harrison as a musician is technically proficient with a heavy emphasis on the technical, whereas McCartney really gets the emotive qualities of music and lyrics both (Lennon, too, I think, but less of a musician--you get the feeling that music is just an artistic medium he happens to be working in, if that makes sense?) But that all sounds a little mean when he really has written some lovely songs. I mean, in this season I think it bears mentioning that he is not the person who brought us "Wonderful Christmastime," at least.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:30 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I remember hearing Giles Martin interviewed about the mastering work he's been doing on the Beatles' albums and he talked about how big an effect their lack of live touring had on their ability to record. He said that because they didn't play together live, they'd lost a lot of musical adhesion and really struggled during the recording sessions of The White Album and what started as Get Back.
posted by octothorpe at 1:32 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


McCartney seemed to be a solid all around noodler in his dad's dance hall tradition but still muddles through reading music.

I didn’t think any of them could read music at the time. But, I mean, rock band.

Paul just seems like a guy who can pick up pretty much anything and play pretty well. And he was great on bass, and as thelonius says there are songs where he totally rips a guitar solo, too.

John definitely had his style as a guitarist. In general I identify with his “jack of all trades, master of none” level of musicianship.
posted by atoxyl at 1:40 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I didn’t think any of them could read music at the time. But, I mean, rock band.

I meant that McCartney still can't! At least, that's what he was still saying in interviews around his last album. But not sure if the other guys ever learned.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:45 PM on December 22, 2020


musical adhesion

Um. Missed the edit window but I think I meant cohesion here.
posted by octothorpe at 1:46 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I meant that McCartney still can't! At least, that's what he was still saying in interviews around his last album. But not sure if the other guys ever learned.

I suspect a lot of successful people in popular music never do, if they never learned before they were successful. But honestly it’s also less of a binary proposition than people make it sound, at least in my experience. I can read music. I know what the symbols mean, and where the notes are, from playing a series of woodwind instruments when I was a kid. Also, I play guitar - I mean, I play like a guy who started in his 20s, I’m not great, but I get by and have fun and play an electric Yamaha directly into my computer and put a zillion shimmering effects on it. But trying to read sheet music for guitar would be hunt and peck, because I‘ve never had the practice that would set up an automatic association between the symbols and the corresponding muscle movements on that particular instrument.
posted by atoxyl at 2:06 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


But trying to read sheet music for guitar would be hunt and peck, because I‘ve never had the practice that would set up an automatic association between the symbols and the muscle movements on that particular instrument.

Sure, but Paul McCartney writes orchestral pieces without having the language of sheet music (from what I recall he uses computer software to transcribe his melodies for different pieces).

Here's an interesting article about George Harrison's Indian music study. The vibe I've gotten is that he knew more music theory than the other two, generally, even if he couldn't read sheet music, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Paul still doesn't read or notate music. I saw a fairly recent interview where he mentions not wanting to learn, because he feels it would stifle his creativity. And he certainly seems to get along fine without it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:12 PM on December 22, 2020


All this talk about George being technically a better player than the rest makes me think of the Geoff Emerick book where he slams George's playing. Probably a bit unfair (maybe he just didn't like George?) but I still think he's right in claiming that Paul's the better musician.

Also, just want to mention that I love the footage in the Peter Jackson video. Absolutely stunning quality and what a joy to watch. Magic!
posted by Kosmob0t at 2:41 PM on December 22, 2020


I can’t listen to Dear Prudence and not think that Paul was a better drummer than Ringo, too.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:21 PM on December 22, 2020


As I've gotten older I've had to (somewhat reluctantly, as I was a George Harrison stan when I was younger) concede that Paul is the superior musician and songwriter among the group.

The songs speak for themselves, and I always knew they were great, but man. The bass lines. There are bass lines on Beatles tunes that are like, so much better than the song even requires, and yet somehow do not overshadow. And he could play them while singing and performing. Ridiculous.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:35 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


For awhile the received wisdom was that John was the Great Beatle, and more recently the Paul Fan Wagon is picking up momentum. We'll always have the George Faction and the perverse Ringo Acolytes. What's important is that we have these strong views about people we never met. Also the music is something isn't it.

Counting the months when it will no longer be as cool to cast side-eye at John and speculate that he was probably not a great guy.
posted by elkevelvet at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


The songs speak for themselves, and I always knew they were great, but man. The bass lines.

Not Beatles, but, I checked out the Spotify playlist from the recent Paul McCartney post, and, wow, what a master class in both ballad playing and bass tone is to be found on "So Bad". And that fill in the chorus, so simple but, wow.
posted by thelonius at 3:47 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


On viewing the original Let It Be movie, a lot of people responded, "What exactly was Yoko doing there?" And yes, I could see how her presence could have disrupted the vibe...

Editing changes the story so much, and this new clip proves it with a whole different perspective, of course. It's been a long time since I saw the original Let It Be movie, when to my vague recollection it seemed like the editor cut together an implied narrative that reflects Yoko as the antagonist. That was my impression back then. The real villain was off-camera A Klein.

The entire "who is your fave Beatle?" question is a hilarious pop-psych litmus test which is more hilarious because we're still discussing it today! Back in olden times, John was a provocateur who rebelled against post-war cultural complacency and conservatism, which was an admirable thing then. Since then, we've been looking at John in a more critical manner, and as of this current year, the entire concept of rebellion against society is being evaluated in a different light. Also, they're all my fave Beatle.

Samuel Delany distant future sci-fi quote:

“You remember the legend of The Beatles? You remember the Beatle Ringo left his love even though she treated him tender. He was the one Beatle who did not sing, so the earliest forms of the legend go. After a hard day’s night he and the rest of the Beatles were torn apart by screaming girls, and he and the other Beatles returned, finally at one, with the great rock and the great roll.”
posted by ovvl at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


"There were panels in their sides, each carrying an intricate painting depicting some earlier sea victory for Granbretan. Gilded figureheads decorated the forward parts of the ships, representing the terrifying ancient gods of Granbretan – Jhone, Jhorg, Phowl, Rhunga, who were said to have ruled the land before The Tragic Millennium."
The Runestaff, Michael Moorcock, 1968
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:43 PM on December 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


But trying to read sheet music for guitar would be hunt and peck, because I‘ve never had the practice that would set up an automatic association between the symbols and the corresponding muscle movements on that particular instrument.

While I think classical guitar players might actually read musical notation for guitar, most of the time what I've seen (that is equally a form of notation but is less attached to notes on a staff) is guitar tablature. That is something you could probably pick up quickly, as it's written in the form of where you put your fingers on the fretboard to play the piece. It's pretty effective, IMO.

Also, the Paul playing all the instruments -- the thing about McCartney III is he recorded it like he did McCartney and McCartney II, by playing all the instruments. The video for one song from McCartney III, Find My Way, is sort of a fun watch of him being all the musicians.
posted by hippybear at 5:54 PM on December 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Session guitarists who work in film or TV or theatre have to read very well (there are exceptions, like players who get called in to make ambient textures, etc.), but most other non-classical guitar situations don't typically require more than reading lead sheets or chord charts. So people who do that can read, but not like Tommy Tedesco or those old-school players, who could sight-read all kinds of fucked-up guitar scores, with the tape rolling.

For rock and folk and the like, in my experience, people usually just show you a song or give you a demo and you learn it by ear.

The main problems with tablature are that it is awkward to notate rhythms, and that there is so much bad or wrong tab out there. Oh, and it is meaningless to non-guitarists. Those can be worked around: I've seen it layed out well, where it was pretty clear when notes and chords should be played, and there is also a lot of really good tablature out there. I think that beginning players need help finding it, though; their dilemma is that they can't tell if something is wrong, or if they are Doing It Wrong. It being of no relevance outside the guitar is a non-issue for most people, probably, but if you ever want to learn composing or study music seriously, you'd need to learn legit notation.
posted by thelonius at 6:13 PM on December 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I saw that Dick Cavett show with John and Yoko, and I really enjoyed John's take on things, his droll reminder he didn't want to find himself, fifty years down the road, singing "Yesterday." Yoko was wonderful too, as a girl when the breakup came down, I went along with the Yoko breaking up the Beatles fodder, and the interview with Cavett showed it to be a false narrative. They were breathtakingly individual, and that takes some paying attention to, since there will not be a script provided. I was so glad to see them all again goofing around. I forget how much I adored them. I could have seen them in Wiesbaden Germany in 1965 or so, but my Dad, after seeing all the screaming girls, didn't find it a great idea, and said no. Major boo hoo to this day.
posted by Oyéah at 6:43 PM on December 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


"Anyhow, my brother had a secret Rickenbacker, and every time I see one I remember they're not that great to play"

God, the necks alone are cause for them to be rendered kindling.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:21 PM on December 22, 2020


I loved this clip and can’t wait to see the movie. I remember when I was in middle school and really getting into The Beatles I always thought of this period as when they were old (in age).

Now, I’m coming up on my sixth decade and I just can’t get over how young they are here. George, the youngest, is 25 here and Ringo (the oldest) is 28.
posted by marxchivist at 8:06 PM on December 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


This recent article is a great read that definitely increased my appreciation for Paul (and I have long thought he was the most talented and the most grounded Beatle).
posted by Miko at 6:20 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


As we're discussing musical notation:

Does sheet music play any role in registering the ownership of a new song you've just written these days? Or does this proof of legal ownership as the originating artist now rely on some sort of audio register collecting first demos or whatever?
posted by Paul Slade at 8:47 AM on December 23, 2020


Honestly my overall impression of Harrison as a musician is technically proficient with a heavy emphasis on the technical, whereas McCartney really gets the emotive qualities of music and lyrics both (Lennon, too, I think, but less of a musician--you get the feeling that music is just an artistic medium he happens to be working in, if that makes sense?)

I think one of the big reasons that The Beatles as an ensemble was such magic to so many, is that four very different kinds of musicians were able to effectively collaborate--my sense of their individual musical imaginations is:

Ringo: always thinks like a rhythm section contributor, knows how to make a song cohere and move;

George: always thinks like a guitarist, even in his songwriting (and is where his writing has its weaknesses);

Paul: a great (really great) bass player and brilliant songwriter, and his songwriting's strength often derives from his perspective playing bass (in fact, probably bridges some gaps in his formal knowledge, because his hands-on sense of tonal harmony is pretty keen); but his imagination is always best expressed in songs, because he writes about the human heart and the felt experience of being alive;

John: a composer who happened to land in a rock band with a guitar in his hand, writing songs; I think that, with a different background, John would have been just as interested in a deep musical education at a conservatory and probably would have been a pretty terrific composer of concert music (or creator of electronic music, or...), because his music is more experimental and existential in nature. (I do sense that his creative impulses were distinctly musical, though, especially from Emerick's session notes during Sgt. Pepper, with John wanting increasingly absurd effects and timbral alterations and so on, pushing against technical limits to the degree that it catalyzes the creation of new tools [e.g.], it's just really in line with what a lot of composers were doing in all kinds of ways around that time....And I do consider The Beatles' work in a context alongside that music, this is not a hierarchy thing at all, but from 1966 on [imho from mid-1965, Help! is really when the weird sprouts], you really do hear John in particular reaching for musical ideas/expression that a rock band at some point maybe isn't the right canvas for, and I've always felt that that as much as anything interpersonal pushed the band apart...John, Paul and George really matured creatively through their 20s, and I don't know that meaningful collaboration was really possible at that point, because I think they'd matured into very distinct kinds of musicians, and that band was no longer the best place to realize their music [except maybe for Paul]; and I don't mean to leave Ringo out of this framing, he is a truly great rock drummer, but the creative tension mostly involved the other three; all the emotional, interpersonal stuff that also--mainly?--drove the break-up was definitely four-part.)

Sure, but Paul McCartney writes orchestral pieces without having the language of sheet music (from what I recall he uses computer software to transcribe his melodies for different pieces).

But he had composers help him realize and complete both of his composed, concert pieces, because the computer transcriptions of his keyboard playing are vague at best, and needed notation/orchestration/etc. experts to clarify, improve and generally finish. (Paul was engaged with them directly on those projects, but he did essentially need co-composers because his musical skill set--astonishingly enough--lacks a significantly useful set of tools.)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:40 AM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Does sheet music play any role in registering the ownership of a new song you've just written these days?

Not necessarily. The distinction is primarily between the musical work and any specific performance/recording of that work. Copyright on the musical work itself requires that it is 'fixed in a tangible form,' which can be notation as score, other kind of sheet music, or recording of any kind.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:45 AM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


For folks who are interested, the Nashville Numbers system is a handy tool and sort of a middle ground between tabs and sheet music.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:11 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


John would have been just as interested in a deep musical education at a conservatory and probably would have been a pretty terrific composer of concert music (or creator of electronic music, or...), because his music is more experimental and existential in nature.

It’s worth pointing out, though, that Paul was the most technically-oriented and thus the first to get into the studio-as-instrument and also the first to get into the avant-garde possibilities of the studio-as instrument. The tape loops on “Tomorrow Never Knows” were his idea. And John went through a period later where he wanted to be a stripped-down blues/rock songwriter and got sort of disdainful of the mid-period psychedelic frills.

On the other hand there’s the famous quote to the effect that he didn’t think of himself as a musician, but as an artist who ended up in a band. And obviously he did get into the tape loop stuff himself, for a while.

Another funny dynamic with John is that he was famously non-technical, but in a way where he seemed to believe the technical folks could do magic - and many times they rose to the occasion, see the stories behind the development of ADT or the splice in “Strawberry Fields.” On the other hand this attitude is what got him taken for a ride by Magic Alex.
posted by atoxyl at 10:29 AM on December 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


On the other hand there’s the famous quote to the effect that he didn’t think of himself as a musician, but as an artist who ended up in a band.

Maybe this is just the received opinion, but I'd say that Lennon, minus The Beatles, would have been more likely to become a visual artist or writer than a conservatory-educated musician. I don't think he liked school very much, for one thing.
posted by thelonius at 11:35 AM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


(to be clear, my thought was that Lennon, had he been born and raised in different circumstances, might have gone that path; not absent the band specifically--just a read on his compositional impulses and gestures generally)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:53 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I have a serious, serious crush on George's brown+black Tele.
posted by signal at 1:58 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Hey Jude is boring.

na, na, na, na-na-na, na it isn't.
posted by y2karl at 2:04 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


This needs a place in this thread, as in every Beatles thread.
In my life, I've had different favorite Beatles, but now I feel the whole point was that they were all there with their different temperaments and skills. And they were just teenagers! Isn't that amazing? When I was young, there were Prince, and Michael Jackson and Madonna, and they were all really good, each in their way. But I don't feel they changed music history like The Beatles did. Four kids from Liverpool, isn't it strange and wonderful?

That said, I think there are plenty musicians who changed music forever before The Beatles, and they are not white. I'm trying to decide on a top ten, but if anyone gets ahead of me, I won't complain. (I'm in the deepest rabbit hole of blues and jazz music right now).
posted by mumimor at 3:24 PM on December 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Louis Armstrong
Blind Willie Johnson
Bessie Smith
Duke Ellington
Ella Fitzgerald
Charley Parker
Billie Holiday
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Aretha Franklin

...for a start for me.
posted by y2karl at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


For popular/recorded music? I would add to y2karl's list, going back another generation to a few of the musicians who really influenced the music and musicians who really influenced the Beatles, e.g.:

Robert Johnson
Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter
Mary Lou Williams
Rosetta Tharpe
Maybelle Carter (country music, and White, but along with Tharpe, pretty important in moving the guitar to a lead role in American popular music generally)
posted by LooseFilter at 4:28 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, all on the more out end of jazz playing. Some of those people had productive years at the same time The Beatles did, but most if not all started sooner. Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and James Brown, for some blues, rock and roll, and soul. Feels like we’re missing doowop and church music, but I’m not as familiar with those.
posted by box at 4:57 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


This needs a place in this thread, as in every Beatles thread.

Wow, that's hard to watch now. Dusty in here.
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Great notes everyone. Just a flag from down that rabbit hole: papa was a rolling stone
posted by mumimor at 5:21 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not to abuse the edit window, the point about the Temptations link is that something was happening at the same time as the Beatles that was equally groundbreaking, and the Beatles certainly knew and acknowledged it, perhaps more than other British bands.
posted by mumimor at 5:36 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


The Beatles loved Motown in general. And Motown in general is definitely as important as the Beatles. But Motown had a different model for producing music that makes the credits pretty long - and that model itself was part of the innovation, so you kind of have to have Berry Gordy at the center, I think, and Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong... but there were ultimately a bunch of songwriters, songwriting performers, and non-songwriting performers.

With the Beatles you can get a lot of mileage out of talking about, like, seven people.
posted by atoxyl at 10:09 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Man, I didn’t even mention the regular session musicians.
posted by atoxyl at 10:17 PM on December 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's so very nice to see that the film is so clean! No scratches on the film at all. The original film's dreariness was compounded, IMHO, by blowing up 16mm film for a tv special to 35mm for a cinematic release. What I'm thinking is that Peter Jackson's version will go overboard to show the moments of levity to counter the boredom and negativity of 'Let It Be.' The truth, of course, is somewhere in between the two points. I was happy to see part of that bit where Glyn Johns interrupts a take, and John & Paul start saying things like, "We're bloody stars!" I hope the finished product leaves in Paul calling Johns a "fuckface."
posted by frodisaur at 11:29 PM on December 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


that bit where Glyn Johns interrupts a take

There's a similar moment in The Clash's Armagideon Time: "Don't push us when we're HOT!"
posted by Paul Slade at 12:34 AM on December 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Four kids from Liverpool

They were all under 30 when they broke up. So, what did you do with your 20s?
posted by kirkaracha at 10:47 PM on December 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


They were all under 30 when they broke up. So, what did you do with your 20s?

And in the decade they were recording they banged out what, 20 albums?
posted by mikelieman at 12:51 AM on December 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


And in the decade they were recording they banged out what, 20 albums?

12 full studio albums in 8 years, plus some EPs. A truly remarkable not-even-a-decade, really.
posted by hippybear at 3:36 AM on December 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


My favorite take is by Alan Light of Spin:

"If you think about The Beatles it's like if N'Sync became Radiohead, in five years."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:16 AM on December 25, 2020 [8 favorites]


If you think about The Beatles it's like if N'Sync became Radiohead, in five years.

Well it’s like if somebody took a grungy working club band, cleaned them up and turned them into N’Sync, and then they turned into Radiohead.

For that matter, Radiohead is kind of like if a fairly middle-of-the-road one-hit alt-rock band turned into Radiohead in five years.
posted by atoxyl at 1:00 PM on December 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


They were all under 30 when they broke up. So, what did you do with your 20s?

I saw a brief interview with George's son Dhani where he talks about one time when George teased him by saying almost precisely this. "Hey, son, congrats on this new band you just formed. Hmm, let me see if I can remember what I did when I was the age you are now....Oh, that's right, Sargeant Pepper."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:26 PM on December 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


Interview with John from 1975
posted by mumimor at 11:02 AM on December 28, 2020


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