Monday, January 3, 2022

Beatles Get Back 2: January 3

The second day of filming starts with Paul playing the piano, with Ringo listening and occasionally tap dancing. Like the other Beatles, these guys have been in a fishbowl for almost six years, and while they may try to ignore a camera, they can’t help playing to it.
George arrives, and as soon as he mentions the songs he’s piled up, Ringo demonstrates his own unfinished “Taking A Trip To Carolina”, again in the key of C, just like “Don’t Pass Me By”. John and Yoko arrive, and soon the band is going through pre-fame selections from the Lennon-McCartney songbook. This could also have been an easy angle for the show—rather than try to work up new songs, polish some they used to play in their club days. John is particularly adept at remembering the instrumental “Third Man Theme”, despite being rusty on his own compositions. George suggests they do old album tracks, such as “Every Little Thing” from 1964, to appeal to the audience, but this isn’t pursued past a few bars. (The segment does include jokey renditions of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “I’m So Tired”, which again would support the idea that the show should promote their still-new album. In the end, only one such oldie would make the film, performance, and album: “One After 909”, which gets possibly the most enthusiasm out of the four on this day.)
They do a little more work polishing “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, then John offers the not-yet-complete “Gimme Some Truth”. While still two years away from an album release, Paul is already familiar with much of the song as it stands, suggesting that have may have helped write it. George finally gets to play them one of his new songs, and chooses “All Things Must Pass”, which he plays on his acoustic while John moves to the Lowrey organ. While the song is by nature low-key and down-beat, the other three are willing to learn it, and the tune shows promise as a possible Beatle track. John even suggests a key lyric change that will last to George’s final version on his solo album of the same name, nearly two years later.
The big difference in the atmosphere is the addition of colored lights, which do provide more of a pleasing ambience, but they still complain about the lackluster sound of the room. George is also miffed that EMI won’t do more for them, considering all the money the band has made for them. His mood isn’t improved when he keeps getting electric shocks from his microphone.
Much of George’s conversation on this day is telling, from saying that the White Album was the first one he felt really involved in, and then comparing his lead guitar style to that of Eric Clapton. Paul makes a flip comment about jazz, which reminds George of the Ray Charles band, which recently performed with their Hamburg acquaintance Billy Preston, of whom George highly enthuses. Paul’s facial expressions give away his lack of interest, and at the end of the day’s segment, John can be seen resting his head on his arms at the organ, looking up when Paul calls out his name as if he’d been asleep. John has seemed a little more ragged than the day before, and not just because he hasn’t shaved.
It’s easy to read tension into the scenes, particularly if we’ve been studying these sessions for decades, but day two simply displays less promise than the first. Halfway through the bottomless cups of tea are replaced by drink orders. Plus, it was a Friday, and they would not return to the film studio until Monday. Could be they just wanted to get started on the weekend.

2 comments:

  1. Two things are immediately noticeable:
    1. Michael Lindsay-Hogg comes off as pushy, insufferable twit. He keeps trying to impose these absurd, grandiose ideas on the band.
    2. To be fair to him, The Beatles themselves seem to be doing a lot of flailing about with no clear vision of their own. The void in leadership and direction is really apparent. In retrospect, it's easy to see why Allen Klein was able to exploit this and move right in.

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    Replies
    1. 1. He's a director. He's looking to make a memorable production as befits the band. But yeah, annoying.
      2. Precisely.

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