JAIMIE VERNON – THE BEATLE GOES ON

jaimie_penny-lane We live in a very unique time. Pop culture is such a big part of our everyday existence that we are able to watch a rare breed of genius rise and zenith in real time. It’s hard to imagine being there when Bach or Beethoven performed their most celebrated Sonatas and Symphonies for the first. It is so long ago that their stories and their music seem like stuff of myth – we don’t even have recordings just modern interpretations from the sheet music they left behind.

beatles-bedroom

The Beatles, on the other hand, are still casting long shadows in a world where so many living people saw them, heard them, and met them as that history was being made. The planet has lost entire forests for the printing of books that have told their story. And it’s the same story – over and over and over again with the occasional nuggets of new information. Every aspect of their lives has been scrutinized, analyzed and rationalized. But the majority of those stories begin with band’s drummer Pete Best getting fired in 1962, Ringo Starr being instated behind the kit and the Beatles living out fame and fortune until their implosion in 1970.

ringo

Then we were handed another decade of solo pursuits, marriages and reunion rumours before the tragic death of John Lennon. Since then there’s been vault cleanings of old Beatles recordings, a Threetles reunion and the death of George Harrison. Currently we’re watching Ringo and Paul McCartney live out their, and our, Golden Years of Beatles history. We are on the cusp of moving from history-in-the-making to legend and myth. Thankfully, history has recorded more of the former and less of the latter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a82-7ozS_MI
Filmmaker Ron Howard recently put a punctuation mark on The Beatles live performances in the documentary ‘Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years’. It’s a fish-eye lens look behind the scenes of how the Beatles road show functioned in the midst of global mayhem – 99% of it directed at them. They were the Golden Boys long before they became the Gold Standard in the music business.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3WVPt6_Yko

strawberry-fields We finally get to hear what John, Paul, George and Ringo were thinking during the chaos from 1962 – when they’d been commanding hundreds of shows at the undersized Cavern Club – through 1966 when they took their final bows at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. Never before seen fan footage of their stage left exit underlined the end of The Beatles as a team and heralded their unexpected transformation as a four-headed music monster.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brwmLjD-3Hw

hollywood_bowl

The simpatico re-release of the band’s hotly debated live release ‘Live At the Hollywood Bowl’ which has been dutifully re-mixed and expanded with bonus tracks and the legally questionable remastered ‘Shea Stadium’ TV special first aired in 1967 slams the door shut on the Beatles as circus performers. Without the distraction of satisfying a teenaged audience with 2 ½ minute pop ditties, The Beatles were free to explore music as an artform and to challenge the world’s expectations of them.

magical-mystery-bus Howard has hinted at now doing a “Studio Years” documentary next. It would make sense though much of the only existing footage from that period has been mined already in the 1990’s ‘Anthology’ series. It would have to be done quickly as well. George Martin died while Howard was making ‘Eight Days a Week’ – having no need to get quotes for him because Martin was the producer and not on the road with them. That leaves Paul and Ringo to once again act as spokes Beatles with previous available quotes from Lennon and Harrison posthumously tied a bow around the proceedings.
yellow-submarine I’m not sure we’d learn anything more about the studio process that hasn’t been covered in Mark Lewisohn’s unbelievably detailed books unless The Beatles suddenly got over their fear of ‘Let It Be’ and, well, let it be. The movie is not pretty. It’s a heartbreaking document showing the destruction of the greatest band the world has ever known. It’s like watching the Kennedy assassination dragged out in slow motion with an epilogue scene of the Titanic’s musicians standing on the deck of the ship while it’s going down. The performance is spectacular, but you know that The Beatles die in the end.
Cavern Stage_jaimie
And no one wants the Beatles to die. Apple Records and the Beatles themselves refuse to pull the plug. Like Elvis fans before them, we continue to hang on to them as people, as music creators, and now as mythological figures: Lennon the martyr, Harrison the guru, and McCartney & Starr as elder statesmen.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psX3dR6pLyI
Send your CDs for review to:
Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com http://gwntertainment.wix.com/jaimievernon 

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