The Beatles Movie

by Bob Lefsetz

Ringo’s a revelation!

Somehow, the Beatles coming to iTunes has become a business story, but that band was always about the music. The mania came after. The sheer joy of playing in a group, of living your life for music, not money, was the genesis. Watching this film you can see right through the images all the way to the U.K., where the sons of soldiers picked up instruments to fight their way out of drudgery and boredom. That’s the power of music. It can make you forget your circumstances. And if you’re really good, it can create a world you couldn’t even envision when you first started to play.

Beatles on iTunes? No big deal. Typical Fab Four. Leaders in their day, followers ever since.

Except that’s not the real story. The Beatles wanted to be on iTunes. It was an EMI problem. Castigate Guy Hands all you want, but by putting Roger Faxon in power, a deal could finally be made.

Is there a lot of money to be made?

Of course not. Just like when the Beatles first formed. They didn’t know they’d go on to be some of Britain’s richest citizens. Hell, you can’t get that rich playing music anymore. If you’re all about the bread go to Wall Street, be a banker, or go work for the corporation, being two-faced and conniving to ascend to a platform wherein you can rape and pillage and make double digit millions. But it won’t be fun. And each and every one of those so-called winners would trade everything they’ve got to be up on stage with these guys.

That’s what’s wrong with the mainstream media. They miss the story. So busy talking about Steve Jobs and EMI and Apple they didn’t focus on this Washington, D.C. concert that’s part of the hype. FOR FREE!

Don’t say Steve Jobs never did anything for you.

Go to iTunes. You’re confronted with a big black box that says “The Beatles”. And in the upper right-hand corner, you’re gonna see a little box that says “Watch The Concert”. Click on that RIGHT NOW!

Stay tuned through the voice-over. It’s lame. But the images are cool.

And then you get to the gig.

Security is not wearing yellow windbreakers, they don’t look like they’re on steroids and will beat you to a pulp. It’s a positively civilized affair, with the Beatles on a low riser in the middle of the hall.

And that’s when you see them move their own equipment. You can call it humble. I’ll just tell you this is what a musician does. He SCHLEPPS! Talk to anybody who plays live for a living. Sure, if you’re a household name you’ve got roadies, but everybody below that level is lifting amps into a van or a trailer, or if you’re just starting out, a car. And you set up your gear at the gig yourself. And until you truly make it, you have no monitors. You play by your wits.

The fact that these cats can get it so right, barely able to hear themselves, is amazing.

But what’s really amazing is their ability to play. George picking out the leads. Paul on the bass. Our dear departed John bouncing up and down with his legs spread. If you didn’t imitate that look, you weren’t alive, or you were blind.

McCartney shvitzing. Music, when done right, is a workout.

And speaking of workouts… This film should put to rest any guff about Ringo’s ability to play the drums. He’s the anchor, he’s the powerhouse, and he’s railing and flailing and pounding that big bass drum. You can have a lot more equipment, but you’ve only got two hands and two feet.

And when they bring the mic up to him and he sings “I Wanna Be Your Man”…

Or how about George singing “Roll Over Beethoven”?

But stay until the very end. When Paul rips apart “Long Tall Sally” to such a degree he trumps Little Richard. Not that either he or Richard would agree, but watch with your own two eyes.

This was the beginning. This was the genesis. This was where it all began.

In America.

But for the Beatles it started years before. They had a dream. They played shitholes. They didn’t have rich parents. They didn’t expect to make a record a week after they formed and have it be a hit. They just played and played and played until ability was not a question and they could focus on showmanship.

And what’s truly amazing in this movie is the audience is irrelevant. This is a gang, having a blast. They’re not playing for the media, they’re having a lark. A serious one. They don’t want to mess up. But it’s truly shocking that they’re so on at what many today would consider a secondary gig. I mean who’s paying attention in D.C?

But we were all paying attention. Because nothing we ever heard before came out of the speakers like “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. There was an energy and a confidence and when these guys do the “oos” and all the other initial Beatle tricks/trademarks/cliches your head will explode. Just watch the audience… Oprah never got this reaction.

Everybody’s sitting there, with their Brownie cameras and programs. They’ve spun the LP at home. They know all the words.

Not that Paul is aware of this. He’s got no context. He’s explaining.

But we already knew.

That our lives would never be the same.

Visit the archive:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:

Posted Under