Tag Archives: 1970

TMBP Extra: Red-carpet anniversary

The same number of Beatles attended my own bar mitzvah than attended the U.K. premiere of the Let it Be film — which was 42 years ago today on May 20, 1970, in both London and Liverpool.

Liverpool premiere ticket

And that number — sadly for me, certainly — was precisely zero.  (It wasn’t the last time all four bypassed a Let it Be-related event, either).

Did this constitute the  world premiere? Depends on who you ask.

Search the Google, and the world premiere was in New York a week earlier, on May 13, 1970. The same search refuses to actually name a theater (although in some instances, I’ve seen that the film was at multiple theaters across the city that day with no one location having a proper red-carpet premiere).

Furthermore, according to Keith Badman’s research in The Beatles: After the Break-Up 1970-2000, every reference to a May 13 premiere in the Big Apple is sourced from an Apple Corps press release.

“The film Let It Be will, in Britain, be simultaneously premiered in both London and Liverpool on May 20, and, under the distribution agreement with United Artists, the film will open in New York on May 13 and will be shown in 100 cities all over the world! Let It Be is described by United Artists as a ‘Bioscopic Experience’.”

But the New York premiere, he writes, never happened, and the film was to open May 28.

The London and Liverpool premieres, however, did happen.

Back to Badman:

The Let It Be film opens today in Britain with special simultaneous Gala North-South premiere events. In the South, crowds surge upon the London Pavilion where guests include Spike Milligan, Mary Hopkin, Julie Felix, Sir Joseph Lockwood, Richard Lester, Simon Dee, Julie Edge and Lulu. Not to mention fifty dancing members of the Hare Krishna group and various members of The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac pop groups. Most noticeable in the crowd are women no longer involved with The Beatles, John’s ex-wife Cynthia Lennon and, two years after her split from Paul, the actress Jane Asher. Before entering the cinema, Spike is playfully pictured by the press, alongside the police, trying to hold back the large excited crowds.

At the conclusion of its first week at the 1,004-seat cinema, where Let It Be was screened a total of 41 times, the film nets approximately £ 6,229. Brian Millwood, on behalf of UA, announces: “We’re happy with the start made by the film. It’s by no means the biggest take for the house, but it’s nevertheless good.”

Let It Be will run at the London Pavilion for five weeks until Tuesday June 23, when it is replaced by the Mick Jagger film Ned Kelly. Meanwhile in Liverpool, the northern premiere takes place with a comparatively quiet, invitation only, event at the Gaumont in Camden Street, London Road. (The screenings at both cinemas commence at 8:45pm.) Let It Be will eventually go on to be released in 100 major cities around the world.

The film received mixed reviews and has a love-hate relationship with fans as well as the group (probably more hate than love). But the importance of the film and these sessions in the band’s — and music history (see: Rooftop)  — can’t be diminished.

Also, see: This blog, more than 40 years later.

At the London premiere

 

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TMBP Extra: We all shine on

Phil Spector, John Lennon

A key date in the history of the Get Back sessions came a full year later, five months since the end of the Abbey Road sessions and a few weeks removed from the final time the Beatles — three of them, at least (no John) — recorded as a unit.

It was on this day in 1970 Phil Spector entered the Beatles’ orbit.

Spector, for better or worse, soon became the producer for the Let It Be album. And it was for his work on that incredible day — Jan. 27, 1970, the day “Instant Karma!” was born.

As Lennon famously put it:

I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch and we’re putting it out for dinner.

And it was released 10 days later. The song may have been written the day before, but that’s splitting hairs.

The key takeaways:

  • Finally we have a commercial solo record by a Beatle. And it’s really a classic.
  • The work of Spector —  who had said he always wanted to produce the Beatles and was in London to talk to George Harrison about his own solo work (according to the terrific “You Never Give Me Your Money” by Peter Doggett; I’d seen other explanations for how they hooked up) — so impressed John and George that he was tasked with putting together what would be called the Let it Be album two months later. And in doing so, the original intent of the Get Back sessions — capturing the band’s live essence — was in large part shattered with the (over)production.

Regardless of the impact on the Beatles as a whole, Spector became massively important in the solo work of John (Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, Some Time in NYC, Rock & Roll, other singles) and George (All Things Must Pass, Concert for Bangladesh, Living in the Material World).

And it started here:

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