Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Beatles Get Back 16: January 25

Michael’s original Let It Be film included a scene where Paul is talking about the home movies he, John, and Ringo took during the Beatles’ Rishikesh jaunt of a year before. One coup of Jackson’s edit is that he was able to use some of this actual footage to illustrate the dialogue, along with putting it all in better context. The music used here includes the same mid-‘90s performance of George’s “Dehra Dun” from the Anthology soundtrack, plus a “Within You Without You” rehearsal from the Sgt. Pepper sessions. We even get the infamous shot of the copulating monkeys that inspired “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?”, as one of Paul’s early takes from the White Album sessions plays under. Ringo’s timely choice to wear an Indian shirt to the studio space today notwithstanding, John and Paul have a more irreverent view of the experience than George, who would go back to India in a second. Paul feels the films show they were almost playing a role, and John agrees they weren’t being themselves. George finds that ironic, because finding themselves was the point of the excursion. They may have overcome the rift of two weeks before, but the boys are clearly growing up and apart.
Billy is still busy filming elsewhere, so the day starts with some busked covers before working on “Two Of Us”, specifically the harmonies, albeit via comedic Dylanesque, Scottish, and Jamaican accents and slight grammatical variations. George and Ringo aren’t as amused by the voices, but they gamely keep up. As a respite, George gets to revive his recent original “For You Blue”, which he plays on his acoustic, with John on the Hawaiian and Paul on the piano, the strings of which George Martin and Glyn have layered with newspaper to make it sound more honky-tonky. (One of these takes will the basis for the version eventually released on Let It Be.)
They’re still trying to figure out how to approach the songs, both as an album and as a potential live performance, with the switches between acoustic numbers and electric numbers. They could potentially have all the new songs ready in a few days. Glyn has changed his plans from leaving on Tuesday (three days off) to Thursday, though he says he’d like to have time to mix the tracks as well if it’s going to be an album as well as a show.
Meanwhile, they won’t be able to use the Primrose Hill site as mooted a few days before. John is still keen to a live show, with an audience, but without the BS needed to prepare it. George is happy with the organic development of the project, particularly with the atmosphere in the basement studio. It takes a while for Paul to say so, but whatever vision he had for a TV show has disappeared. He was hoping for something bigger, and a documentary of making an album isn’t it, because while they’ve had their fun, it’s not a catalyst to truly rejuvenate the band back to high-energy activity. His underlying hope, which is not voiced, is to get back to playing gigs, which isn’t going to happen for them. (Throughout these discussions, Ringo reads the newspaper and smokes.)
However, the captions inform us that Michael and Glyn have an idea for a suitable performance venue, so they bring Paul, Ringo, Mal, Kevin, Ethan, and at least one cameraman upstairs to the roof of the very same Apple building where they’ve been working in the basement. Presumably, provided they get the proper permission, as well as suficient structural support, the Beatles could play their show there.
Back downstairs, it’s tea time again, and the cocktails have come out while John plays “Mean Mr. Mustard”. Then Paul moves to the piano so they can work on “Let It Be”, George on his psychedelic painted Stratocaster. Robert Fraser is visiting again, and gets namechecked in the song. Also glimpsed today are Apple assistant Chris O’Dell and Alan Parsons, employed here as an engineer a few years away from launching his eponymous Project. Except for a moment showing painting Japanese characters on parchment, Yoko is merely there to smile at John and vice versa, or to stroke his hair when he lies in her lap.
As Part 2 ends, the captions inform us that the performance is penciled in for Wednesday, which gives them three full days to prepare. The credits roll and we hear a snatch of a rock jam featuring Billy on organ, and the old standard “Without A Song”, which he would re-record for an album in two years’ time. Sitting through the credits pays off, as we also get to hear a January 1969 performance of “Love Me Do”.

1 comment:

  1. One sequence I do miss in Jackson's is one where the four Beatles are sitting very close and playing "For You Blue". It's one of the few times in "Let It Be" where they seem like they're actually enjoying themselves.