Tag Archives: Apple Studios

TMBP Extra: Fête accompli

Author’s note from July 6, 2017: I originally wrote this several years ago. Unlike the other posts on this blog, to which I try to limit any changes, I’ve come back to this one a few times, rewritten some parts, tweaked others, in an effort to more clearly bring things into a fuller circle.

There’s obviously no need to overstate the importance of July 6, 1957, to any reader of this blog. It’s the day John Lennon and Paul McCartney met after John’s Quarrymen played the Garden Fête in Woolton, and thus, everything changed in this world, and for the better.

First, a quick recap of that day, via the Beatles Anthology DVD. Take it, John!

For fun, here’s the story as portrayed in Nowhere Boy:

Let’s get back to reality and what the Quarrymen really sounded like that day, from authenticated tapes recovered decades after the fact:

There simply can’t be a more important moment in Beatles history than the birth of the Lennon-McCartney partnership. Everything came from that, not the least of which was Paul soon introducing George Harrison to John. But that’s another story.

Mark Lewisohn dedicates an entire short chapter to July 6, 1957, in his indispensable extended edition of his Beatles biography Tune In, vastly expanding upon any basic retelling of the Lennon-McCartney origin story and going so far as to tease the possibility the two actually first met — without any guitars — prior to the fête.  But no matter what happened before that day, Paul taking the initiative and confidently performing “Twenty Flight Rock” for John was the moment that mattered.

And it wasn’t merely that Paul could play “Twenty Flight Rock.”

“The thing I think that impressed him most was I knew all the words,” Paul said in the above Anthology clip.

The Beatles never covered “Twenty Flight Rock” — Paul eventually would on numerous occasions solo and with Wings — but they did give it a nod amid the Get Back sessions, on Jan. 23, 1969, by which point the recording had moved to Apple HQ at Savile Row.

More than 11 years after Paul played the song for John — impressing him enough to begin their partnership —  and some months from the last time John and Paul would work together again, Paul couldn’t quite remember the words. At all.

Alas, the elevator’s indeed broken down. There’s not much magic to the light-hearted clip, although it’s nice to hear Billy Preston, and George’s solo is pretty good. But no longer is Paul playing the song to impress John. In so many ways, it was Paul’s group by then.

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TMBP Extra: Let it Be … Naked on iTunes; what’s next?

In some pretty great, and somewhat unexpected news (to me), Let it Be … Naked has been sprung into the iTunes store. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person thinking about the January 1969 sessions at this moment in history.

Better news: That means the “Fly on the Wall” disc (well, digital music file) and all the random studio chatter and song clips within is also now on iTunes, albeit as part of the iTunes LP experience (ie., you can’t buy it as an individual track).

Yet better news: The iTunes LP, which includes all the songs, plus “Fly on the Wall,” appears to have the Get Back book in its entirety, legitimately available for the first time in the United Sates. Furthermore, videos for”Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” with beautiful remastered footage in the Naked edits, are now on sale, too.

The best news? There’s more to come.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be celebrating Let It Be… Naked in a few ways.  We are launching a series of five special podcasts featuring tracks from the album, original archive sound from the making of Let It Be, and interviews with Paul, George and Ringo reflecting on that period in The Beatles’ career.

The podcasts will be featured on the Let It Be… Naked site, or alternatively catch them on Facebook and Twitter. The complete version should be available for download on the iTunes podcast store shortly. It will be annnounced at thebeatles.com

Renewed attention to Let it Be and the sessions? This can only be a good thing.

But what does it all mean?

It could just be they’re filling in the gaps with their apocryphal material. The Anthology compilations weren’t in the first wave of albums to reach iTunes, and after this, Live at the BBC could be next to go digital.

Maybe they’re just marking 10 years since LIBN. The footage for the videos, for instance, was already remastered long ago for Anthology and perhaps more recently for LIBN.

But a big promotional push for The Beatles “as nature intended”? Maybe, just maybe, that Let it Be DVD/BluRay isn’t too far behind.

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