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#3075444 12/23/20 06:32 AM
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I posted this from Bob Lefsetz over in the Keyboard Corner where there was a thread about the new Beatles movie preview, but it didn't get any traction. I thought y'all might find it interesting.

(reprinted with permission)
For those who don't subscribe to Bob Lefsetz's newsletter, I though you might appreciate this. It's long, but echoes what people are saying (in his inimitable style)

UTTERLY ASTOUNDING!

We forget the Beatles were a band. Of twentysomethings. United by the music. Which they loved playing.

I don't know if your inbox has been blowing up with this, but mine certainly has. Showing the power of virality. It seeps through society, slowly, and when it hits you and you click and you start to smile you feel both an individual and part of something greater than yourself, that was the power of the Beatles, that is the power of music.

Too much of the internet is about manipulation. Those with the greatest power are the worst. Just try to delete your account on Facebook. Purveyors are constantly shoving stuff down our throats. First, with a scorched earth publicity campaign, followed up by all kinds of online shenanigans, trying to enlist the hoi polloi to spread the word, to the point where most people ignore hype these days. Talk about being out of touch with the public, did you see the "Wonder Woman" theatrical grosses in Europe? A pittance! No one wants to go to the damn movie theatre, except those not wearing masks who believe they're immune, and there are not enough of those people to sustain all these businesses bitching that they're being hobbled by the government. So, you've got the movie business trying to hold back the sands of time, trying to keep windows in force when you're lucky if anyone is paying attention at all, when you need to hoover up the cash immediately, legs are shorter than ever, get it now, do it now. And chances are your project is a stiff, most are. The key is to get right back in the game, as opposed to promoting that which people do not want. You're a hit or a zit in internet culture, and almost nothing is a hit, and too many substandard products are vying for attention, and then you come across this clip from Peter Jackson's Beatles movie.

I'll admit, I didn't immediately click. I'm jaded. Is there anything new under the sun? The Beatles have been ravaging and raping their past for far too long. The insidious remixes, momentary dashes for cash...what I'm worried about in the future is these third-class takes will become the standard, the ones everybody knows, and they're tripe. Do you have any idea what makes a record a hit? Change one little element and oftentimes you ruin it. To create a hit, everything's got to line up...the song, the playing, the singing, the engineering, the mix... And Geoff Emerick was one of the greats, he had history with the band to boot. Do you think he mixed these records willy-nilly? Of course not, he even told me face to face that the stereo mix of "Sgt. Pepper" was not an afterthought, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

And film is truth. Image is truth. You believe what your eyes see. Well, you used to, before manipulation, but I didn't see any here, watching on my 5k iMac I felt like the sixties were happening right now, it wasn't nostalgia, the Beatles were positively alive, as a group, and I was in the studio with them!

Now the great thing about this clip is the lack of flourish, the lack of seasoning, the lack of shining up. Now, in this all too fake culture, we appreciate, cling to, honesty, directness. When Peter Jackson looks into the camera and talks...you feel like he's speaking directly to you, as if you were in the cutting room and he was setting you up to watch footage on a computer monitor. And he didn't don makeup, he was wearing shorts, he was a creator, not a star, someone like you and me but with a hell of a lot more on his resumé.

Then you see all the guitars. People today have no idea what gearheads we were back then. In an era where electronic gear was not de rigueur, all we had were transistor radios and record players. Guitars were exotic. We learned all the brand names, we could tell what was what by its shape, and it started with the Beatles...a Rickenbacker?

Ringo Starr is still alive, spry and active. We've forgotten that he was once just a young man, barely out of boyhood.

And then when we see/hear John Lennon reading from the paper in that voice, the one we know so well from the intro to "Two of Us"...WHEW, the record comes alive! We've been accustomed to the records for so long we've forgotten that human beings made them, with a hell of a lot less sophisticated equipment than today, and that they were inventing it as they went, there were not well-worn footsteps to follow.

And they're having so much FUN!

And then they're playing together as a BAND! For decades the focus has been on the breakup, the feuds, but here they are all together, SMILING!

And playing. They know how to do it, they've been doing it for years!

And then Lennon tapping his hand on the strings of his guitar...

Then the studio equipment, how ancient, but they got this sound down.

And then Linda and Yoko are so YOUNG, and so ALIVE! You can see the appeal of each of them, before they were dragged through the mud.

Then the band listening to the playback... The dream used to be to be in the studio, you needed access, you had none, that's where the magic was created!

And Billy Preston and George Martin, both so young, both now dead.

But the revelation is John Lennon. His reputation has been dragged through the mud, he's seen now as an angry young man, oftentimes dour, in competition with Paul. But here he's jumping around and smiling and involved, not detached, he's totally different from the legend that's been established, he's once again a musician, a creator, an experimenter, who's also sometimes an imp, the mischievous one who refused to follow norms, who questioned authority. WHEW!

And now you can see why the sixties were so great. It was about liberation! Today too many want to bring us back to a theoretical past that never existed. Where we were all prim and proper, obeyed the rules and were good citizens. But that's not how it WAS! We were testing limits, and we were led first and foremost by the Beatles, who kept pushing the envelope, getting us to question who we were, what we believed, how we dressed, everything was up for grabs, the sky was the limit.

Today "musicians" are "brands." In many cases literally, their music/fame is just a jumping off point to sell you crap. Not only perfume and apparel, but multiple album covers and merchandise, they can't stop milking fans, meanwhile the media doubles down and says it's all right, but let's not forget in the sixties the media was CLUELESS! In order to know what was going on you had to tune in to the radio and listen to the music. There was something happening there, and it certainly wasn't exactly clear.

Same deal today. No one knows what's really going on. Let's start at the top, with the presidential election, the pollsters got it so wrong that they're not even weighing in on the Georgia senatorial elections, we've learned not to trust them.

The only way you know what is going on is by firing up your computer, whether it be a desktop, laptop or the phone in your hand. Meanwhile, the oldsters can't stop decrying them, lauding physical books, like you can't read on a screen, which people are doing all day, saying we're spending too much time in front of screens when the truth is THAT IS WHERE IT'S HAPPENING! It's akin to the parents of the sixties telling their kids to turn off that damn music, the music that's still alive today.

Most definitely in this clip.

These are real human beings, who followed the sound, for years before they got any recognition. And when they finally got in the studio they kept expanding the boundaries, they did not want to be in stasis, do what was expected of them, they wanted to get turned on themselves, they knew the result would turn on their audience.

They may not have gone on tour, but they still loved to play. And create. That was the essence. They were still musicians, they were still a band, that came first, the pronouncements, the controversies, those were all secondary to the music.

And this clip is evidence. Show it to youngsters and they'll feel it, show it to ANYBODY and they'll feel it. That was the power, that was the draw, who in hell could be exposed to the Beatles and want to work at a bank, play it safe? Never forget, Steve Jobs was a big Beatles fan.

But Steve Jobs is already fading into history. But not the Beatles. Music is set in amber, it cannot be superseded with a faster chip, get it right and it lasts. But, more than five decades later we've forgotten the genesis, we're so detached from what once was that we're influenced by the penumbra as opposed to the essence. But Peter Jackson's film brings us right back.

GET BACK HOME LORETTA!

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I look forward to the sans Yoko edit

Edit: I just typed 'Yoko Ono' into Google Translate. The result was 'Horizontal'. Looks like the words to the song 'Julia' will have to be altered...

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I too was really surprised by how much smiling and fun I saw in the clip.

To be fair, we should keep in mind that The Beatles usually did not have a camera filming while they worked on studio recordings. So the presence of the camera may have altered their behavior towards something more positive. We tend to forget how rare it used to be to have a camera nearby recording one's actions (a big bulky camera!), back when everyone was not carrying a high-res color camera in their pocket.

If snapchat TikTok etc. existed during in the Summer of 1969, maybe the Beatles (or others in the studio) would have posted things about disagreements, and the recording of Abbey Road might never have been completed.

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For someone who arrived back in the UK at the age of 16 after living abroad, it was as much the 'spirit of the age' in England at the time, as the quality of the recordings, etc.

I landed back in London at Tilbury docks (now gone) in early January '63 to the Big Freeze (the worst weather in living memory). The snow didn't melt until March.

I'd heard Love Me Do whilst abroad but then ‘Please Please Me’, ‘From Me To You’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, all in '63, just incredible.
So different to the Elvis and Buddy Holly, etc. I'd grown up with.
But it was the exuberance, the sense of fun, the new styles, the whole thing that almost blew my mind.
And the Stones too, often seen at the Eel Pie Island Hotel, Twickenham.
The whole 'sixties scene'.

The Beatles will be forever a part of my youth.


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The 50s were somewhat dreary. The atom bomb (duck and cover), women frozen in designated roles, post-war malaise, music stagnating into formulas, etc. Then there was the Kennedy assassination. So when the Beatles came along with high energy and a positive vibe, the world was ready.

The 70s had its issues, too, what with the gas crisis, stagflation, a major recession, incredibly high interest rates, etc. So when the 80s came along with cheery synth-pop music, it found a willing home.

So now we've had 2020, and 2020 will linger on into 2021. Maybe after it plays out, we'll have another musical renaissance. Frankly, my last album was done more or less as a musical antidote to 2020, and it's gotten a strong response. I'm not saying that means it's a trend, but it could be an indication.

One of the things about the 60s was that style was very important. We don't have that kind of emphasis on individual style these days, it seems to be more about conformity. So that may break through as well.

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But on a serious note...

I always thought the original Let It Be film was quite depressing, but that little snippet on YouTube seems to prove that the sessions were actually good fun

The guys were obviously good friends, and that comes across very clearly. I don't think a group of guys can go through what The Beatles went through without extremely firm bonds being formed

I'm not a great watcher of films (I'm easily bored) but I reckon I'll be watching this when it comes out

Come on, come on!

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Honest. I didn't know who Bob Lefsetz was until now.

I just read his article and the second paragraph (starting with: Too much of the internet is about manipulation.....) had me locked in for a variety of personal and professional reasons and I bet I'm not alone on that one. The paragraph is very well written and a synopsis for much of today's societal ills - IMO.

Bob's message about us gearheads, the old equipment, 1960s expression and the Beatles brought back long lost memories. Much of what we loved and enjoyed got tainted somehow or as Bob wrote, "...dragged through the mud". I look forward to watching a fresh film that conveys 1960s happiness, creativity and musical development.

Thanks Craig, for posting Bob's article.

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I look forward to seeing this movie, eventually.

I first saw the Beatles on the original broadcasts on the Ed Sullivan Show, one of the things my family did together. We watched all 3 weeks. My Mom and Dad both thought they sounded good. I was 10 years old and profoundly affected. I rarely listen to the Beatles now but I hear their influence all the time.

The Beatles were/are inescapable, the influence on music was global and pervasive.


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53 hours of this footage!

Peter Jackson owes it to the world to get at least 52 of it out there. The preview is astonishing - NEW footage of what has been for all of my life a band that is frozen in time by media!

It's amazing how enlivening to the music it is, when given new visual imagery of them interacting in that context - it makes the music fresh again, having new visual memory to associate with it. That alone is an interesting phenomenon....


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I am a bit worried that historical revisionism is happening with the Let it Be/Get Back movie. The original Let it Be movie included some happy moments, but it seemed a bit grim. The new movie looks like it will be the opposite. By most accounts, the Beatles did not enjoy most of the Let it Be movie making process, so the original Let it Be movie may be more accurate. I am especially worried since Disney is involved and they might want to clean up the Beatle's image for the benefit of Disney's branding. The truth may be somewhere between the two movies. I hope they re-release the original Let it Be movie when this comes out on disc so we can compare the versions.

I have heard a large portion of the audio outtakes from the Let it Be sessions and most of it sucks. On most songs they did not seem to be making a genuine effort to play as well as they could. At times I wonder if they were intentionally bad to avoid being bootlegged.

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Originally Posted by hard truth
I have heard a large portion of the audio outtakes from the Let it Be sessions and most of it sucks.

Don't miss the "8 Days a Week" Beatles movie on Hulu, if you can access it. Those live performance tapes from 60s have been lovingly restored, and the sound quality - although "of the time" - gets across how the band sounded in their touring days.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by hard truth
I have heard a large portion of the audio outtakes from the Let it Be sessions and most of it sucks.

Don't miss the "8 Days a Week" Beatles movie on Hulu, if you can access it. Those live performance tapes from 60s have been lovingly restored, and the sound quality - although "of the time" - gets across how the band sounded in their touring days.

at Shea stadium, Ringo kept beat by watching Paul and Johns bums wriggle lol. It's amazing how in time and tune they were,with those harmonies when they couldn't hear themselves.

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Originally Posted by hard truth
I am a bit worried that historical revisionism is happening with the Let it Be/Get Back movie. The original Let it Be movie included some happy moments, but it seemed a bit grim. The new movie looks like it will be the opposite. By most accounts, the Beatles did not enjoy most of the Let it Be movie making process, so the original Let it Be movie may be more accurate. I am especially worried since Disney is involved and they might want to clean up the Beatle's image for the benefit of Disney's branding. The truth may be somewhere between the two movies. I hope they re-release the original Let it Be movie when this comes out on disc so we can compare the versions.

I have heard a large portion of the audio outtakes from the Let it Be sessions and most of it sucks. On most songs they did not seem to be making a genuine effort to play as well as they could. At times I wonder if they were intentionally bad to avoid being bootlegged.


I remember seeing the Let It Be movie and being somewhat disappointed. I bought the Let It Be album at some point and remember thinking that it was the one Beatle album that was spotty and disappointing. I always liked many of the songs, but remember disliking "Across the Universe" and "Long and Winding Road" and maybe a couple of others. Maybe sometime in the 1990's I read an interview with McCartney where he said he thought there was actually a good album in those session tapes. I sort of shrugged to myself and dismissed the thought. Fast forward, and maybe in 2010 I happened upon the CD "Let It Be Naked" at a yard sale. It was maybe $3 so I bought it. And to my surprise, it had that Beatle magic. I even liked "The Long And Winding Road". For anyone curious, listen to Paul's bass line on the song. As so often, Paul's line is inventively crafted. And many of the songs have 2 part vocal harmony melodies - leading to my (likely false) theory that Paul and John were paying homage to Phil and Don Everly.

I watched an interview with Alan Parson's some time back. IIRC he quoted Glyn Johns as saying that the Beatles made an album, and Phil Spector puked on it. I read (on a recent piece appearing on my Google news feed) that said they gave Spector the LIB tapes and he worked slavishly on them. Reportedly John like what he'd done. Paul disliked Spector's version. I couldn't agree more with Paul. I remember John remarking that he liked the Let It Be movie because it exposed the Beatles with their trousers down.

As a side note, there's a (what I'll call) a mini-documentary on Burt Bacharach's "Alfie". It's about 7 minutes on YT. In the doc Bacharach said that after hearing Spector's production of Cher's (of Sonny and Cher) version of Alfie, he was appalled. Burt subsequently wrote an arrangement of Alfie and flew to London to conduct the orchestra for Cila Black's version - produced by George Martin. Evidently Bachrach is such a perfectionist that he had Cila Black record more that 40 takes. When George Martin asked Bacharach what it was exactly that he was looking for, Burt said "that little bit of magic". George Martin said something like "I think we had that around take 3".

I welcome any new historical documentation in the form of a new Peter Jackson version. There was an excellent record album in the Let It Be sessions. And more importantly for future musicians who might come across the Beatles and dismiss them after only hearing "I Want To Hold Your Hand" or "Love Me Do".

In my view, the Beatles became something of a creative musical eco-system. Enabled by George Martin and Geoff Emerick and others. Also by commercial success. I have a similar view of Duke Ellington - using his revenue flow (not concerned with hoarding wealth) to keep his human chess pieces on the payroll for crafting music that at the time was like the tip of a spear. I read an anecdote that around 1940 Ellington hired a then well known tenor sax player, Ben Webster, because he wanted his musical persona in the band. Not having arrangements for a 4th sax, Webster doubled someone else's part. They complained. Ellington told Webster to experiment. Imagine the possibilities. The Beatles did.

Last edited by Strays Dave; 01/20/21 03:20 PM.

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