Thursday, 16 April 2015

Let It Be

Watched Let It Be, the Beatles film from 1970… It wasn't quite the scenes-from-a-marriage I was expecting, no doubt the four Beatles had cherry-picked the most appealing footage of their stint at Twickenham Studios rehearsing for the aborted Get Back album. And yet there are painful hints that the band was working towards an inexorable dissolution – one imagines Ringo was wishing he was away on a film set, or George working instead on the songs he had been quietly squirreling away. John simply goes thru the motions (accompanied everywhere by Yoko Ono, wearing a rigid Noh expression throughout her scenes), whilst Paul shows the strain of keeping the fragmenting band together – a shot in the film of a partially devoured green apple on top of McCartney’s piano can help but raise a wry smile. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the film is how ragged The Beatles were sounding - a lot of the music they make in the film dissolves into loose jams, old rock n’ roll standards and comedy routines, but as if by magic, the lethargy is swept away when they convene on the rooftop of Apple HQ on a cold January morning for one last concert, to the delight of lunch-hour shop girls and a few disapproving bobbies who eventually break the whole thing up...

It's a shame that Let It Be can only be seen through unofficial channels, McCartney and Starr have apparently scotched proposed re-issues of the film which is dofficult to fathom considering the final days of The Beatles are well documented. In fact the film is nowhere near as bruising as Peter Doggett's book You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles but it remains an important, perhaps even essential closing chapter the Fab Four's story.

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