TMBP Extra: The quiet man

Unlike a few weeks later, when none of the Beatles would show up to accept their Oscar for best film score, at the 13th Grammy Awards — held March 16, 1971 — there was indeed a member of the Fab Four in the house. Way in the back of the house.

Presenting the award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special was none other than a not necessarily sober John Wayne (who was pretty funny with Andy Williams in the intro to the award). Safe to say there was no Beatles connection.

In fact, the award wasn’t given to the Beatles at all, but to the individual composers.

How the other three Beatles — who lost the case Paul brought against them to formally split up the band four days earlier — reacted to the McCartneys taking their awards for an album he was so dismissive of would have been interesting to see, to put it mildly.

Paul kept his thanks as brief as they could be with a “thank you, good night.”

The awards show itself seemed like a fun watch.

Here’s a rundown, via Film Threat (by way of the Internet Archive)

Speaking of acceptance speeches, no one said anything beyond a mere thanks. Even the most dramatic audience response of the night, which accompanied the surprise appearance of Paul McCartney (with his wife Linda) to accept the Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special Award, was capped by McCartney saying a mere “Thank you!” before disappearing from the show. (Herb Alpert, a guest presenter, deviated from the script to offer a sincere word of praise for McCartney’s attendance at the broadcast.)

But for the rest of the show, “The 13th Annual Grammy Awards” was fascinating for its sheer strangeness. Some of the presenters were having a seriously off-night: Lynn Anderson was sporting a large chin brace (she never explained why, only joking that she was trying “to keep my chin up), Nancy Sinatra boasted of having the flu, John Wayne (who announced the award McCartney accepted) appeared to have indulged in a few too many drinks and was visibly bobbing and weaving, Brook Benton and Glen Campbell could not see the distant TelePrompter during their respective podium turns and needed Williams to help read the nominations out loud, and Zsa Zsa Gabor (introduced by Williams as being “beautiful and talented”) flustered co-presenter Bob Newhart (for the comedy recording award) by the ad-libbed suggestion he was fathering children out of wedlock.

Further, here’s another account of the night, via Ottawa Beatles Site

The following is an excerpt from the “Variety” book entitled “The Grammy’s”  by Thomas O’Neil….

“Bridge [may have] swept the top honours”, wrote the L.A. Times, “but it was ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, in a rare public appearance, who created the most excitement” at the ceremony. “Though the event was strictly black tie, McCartney strolled in wearing a blue suit, red flower shirt and open at the neck, and white tennis shoes.”

Like Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles broke up in 1970 but still had a bounty of nominations (six) for their farewell LP, Let It Be. They won only one award — for Best Original Score written for a Motion Picture or TV Special – after losing Record and Song of the Year nods (in a close contest, according to the Washington Post) to “Bridge.” But “there were shrieks of surprise” from the audience when the winner of the best film score was announced, the Times reported. “With Linda at his side, McCartney raced up to the podium to accept the award from actor John Wayne, saying only, ‘Thank you.'”

Variety columnist Army Archerd added, “Paul McCartney kept his word, returned to the press tent after the awards — and, as expected, had to plough his way thru a mob to reach his car with (expectant) wife Linda. McCartney, informally attired (would you believe sneakers?), admitted, ‘I didn’t know whether they’d let me in.'”

Interesting side note: During the presentation, Wayne said the nominees were John, Paul and George — and he in fact handed Paul three awards.  But as history tells, Ringo should have also received some hardware.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “TMBP Extra: The quiet man

  1. Lou

    Paul should have been the one to accept it. After all, his songs are the best on the album. Lennon’s contributions are among his weakest ever (with the exception of Across the Universe). The whole idea for the album and the film was Paul’s even though after the split, Lennon allowed Spector to ruin the production. So in a way, it made complete sense for Paul to accept the award.

    • Dan

      And even Across the Universe was a retread from the previous year. Can’t blame John for the label leaving off Don’t Let Me Down, but you’re right. As the record existed, it was Paul’s — I certainly don’t question his deserving to accept. I just find the timing funny given their contemporary legal situation, which had included Paul suing in part for what Spector did to Long and Winding Road, and his relentless griping over the way the record turned out. To see John’s face as Paul walked up to the podium was probably priceless.

      • Lou

        Imaging the look on John’s face is probably why Paul did it. He was rubbing it in. 😉 He was saying, in effect, “Not only was I right about the lawsuit, but Let it Be was my idea and I’m taking credit for it. So there.” He and John certainly brought bitchiness to a new level during that period, didn’t they? Although, all in all, John was a whole lot meaner. At least Paul never attacked John’s songs or songwriting the way John did to Paul’s work. That’s one of the things that continues to bother me the most about John: He could have focused his criticism on Paul’s bossiness and controlling tendencies — and made a strong case — without seeking to ruin and undermine Paul’s reputation musically.

        Paul was incredibly angry during this period though he doesn’t seem to want to admit it now. He had worked his fanny off for the Beatles and I think he felt he had carried the band during years when John (busy with acid and heroin and Yoko) and George (busy with sitars and the maharishi) couldn’t be bothered to worry about things like album covers or what their next project would be. It reminds me of that line from the movie Die Hard, where the cop asks the trapped, hard-working Bruce Willis how he’s feeling, and Bruce replies, “Pretty f–king unappreciated.” I think that’s how Paul felt, too. And when John and George were finally ready to exert their own will on the band, Paul wasn’t ready to relinquish the reins. He couldn’t seem to compromise; he wanted it his way, the way it had been for years when he and John were on the same side of things.

        I don’t know, it just seems like during this period they all felt “pretty f–king unappreciated” by each other.

        Ultimately, though, Paul WAS treated pretty shabbily by John and George (what was it someone once wrote, that the mystery wasn’t why Paul sued, it was what took him so long) and he emerged the victor in court. Of course he’d lost everything that really mattered to him in the process.

        Great blog, by the way. Excuse the ramble.

  2. Anonymous

    What happened to this blog? I was looking forward to reading a new post every day but there hasn’t been a post in over a week. Also, I get no replies to my questions from the host. Oh well, just gonna take this site off of my daily visits. It was a good idea, but now it’s just wasting my time checking it every day.

    • Dan

      Anon —

      To quote John, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

      Back with a new post tomorrow, and I’m going to try to keep to a schedule of 1 or 2 posts a week.

      • Anonymous

        “Back with a new post tomorrow”

        Really? Didn’t see one that day. Or the next one or the next one or the next one. C’mon man, if you want people to read your blog, you have to post. 2 weeks of inactivity may not seem like a long time, but in the Internet world, it’s extremely long.

      • Dan

        Anon – A recent unexpected death in the family made the blog (and other things in life) secondary. Were I getting paid for this, I’d probably post more often. But for now, this is a blessed hobby. I appreciate the desire for more posts, and I will continue to post more. And hopefully again soon. Thanks for reading. -Dan

  3. Anonymous

    Sorry to hear about that, Dan. And please excuse my bitchiness. I’ll attempt to explain it this way – I love this blog! Love what you’re doing here, and I wish there was a post ever day. Alas, I know this is just a side project for you and you’re doing the best you can. Regardless, I anticipate your next post and keep up the great work.

    Ps. Great comments by Lou. I pretty much agree with everything you’re saying. I can’t really imagine how Paul must have felt while reading John’s Playboy 1970 interview. Sometimes I even get angry at John for talking that way about Beatles/Paul. However, that was just John; the man could spew bitterness, jealousy, contempt, vitriol and scorn at others and often did. What we know now though, is that he was really feeling that way about himself. At least, that’s my opinion, after having read countless biographies of John. I think we all know that deep down, John knew Paul was a genius musician/songwriter, he was just WAY too insecure to voice those feelings. It’s amazing how different John and Paul are in many ways, but that’s for another post, enough Beatle psychoanalysis for now.

    -Craig

    • Dan

      Thanks, Craig. And don’t sweat it. I truly do appreciate you (and everyone else) reading. Hopefully I can get back to a couple times a week, or at least once a week. For my own sake I want to keep to a decent schedule — I really do enjoy writing this (and listening to the tracks).

      And I’m with you about Lou’s comments, too. John knew what Paul brought — you don’t try to take down someone below you, you only do it to your equal (or superior). And I think John said as much himself what you said — how it was all really directed at himself. Blessedly, I’m no psychologist (or is it psychaitrist?), so I won’t try to figure it all out. But it did at least make for some great music for a little while.. (How Do You Sleep, etc…)

  4. Craig

    I just bought John Lennon Signature Box the other day because I wanted the remastered albums, and I’ve been listening a lot to HDYS. First off, what a terrific track. My only wish is that it was a bit more stripped down. Too much production for my liking. There’s probably some bootlegs out there that have HDYS the way I’d like to hear it played but I haven’t looked. If you listen to the lyrics though, it’s almost hard to imagine anyone thinking this song is about Paul. Right from the very first line about Pepper, John is almost always talking about himself, which he admitted to, I think on the Dick Cavett show. Pepper was Paul’s album and it most certainly surprised John how popular it was and became. Jump when your mama tells you? That’s John/Yoko to a T! Alas, I’m not saying anything new here, it’s just always amazed me how this song is always perceived as anti Paul yet it’s so obviously John writing about himself yet again.

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