Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour


Magical Mystery Tour paulmccartney.filminspector.com





Magical Mystery Tour paulmccartney.filminspector.com


"Magical Mystery Tour" is the vastly under-appreciated intro to the vastly under-appreciated movie. By most accounts, it came at a time when Paul McCartney was beginning to assert himself as the driving force behind the Beatles projects and former leader John Lennon was preoccupied with personal issues. Blanket statements are difficult to make, but the prime driving force behind "Magical Mystery Tour" appears to have been McCartney.

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Filming was chaotic, and there was no real script. The idea was to gather a bunch of funny or at least eccentric people on a bus, drive around southern England, and wait for funny things to happen.

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The funny bits didn't really materialize, and the intervals between classic Beatles songs were tedious to many viewers. Fortunately, there were several legendary music videos (though not known as such at the time) sprinkled liberally throughout the production which kept the show going despite the lack of any discernible plot.

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A more fundamental problem was that the Beatles were relying on razzle-dazzle color to make an impact. Everyone wore flashy threads, and the backgrounds were full of vibrant hues. The major television networks in the United States were rapidly converting to color shows, and it was "the thing to do." However, there were few color television sets, and viewers saw different shades of gray. For instance, it was impossible to tell that Paul's nose was colored the same as his wizard's cape - not that that was particularly funny or notable, but it robbed the viewers of the intended full effect.

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The film aired on BBC-TV the day after Christmas 1967 - Boxing Day - in England after much hype. Everyone eagerly anticipated the Beatles' next masterpiece. Fifteen million people watched it - a phenomenal number of people and a large fraction of the country's population.

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Unfortunately, the film was panned at the time. However, there are lots of iconic visuals in "Magical Mystery Tour" that became associated with the Beatles legend. the whole concept was just way ahead of its time, and several clips in the film later became genuine classics.

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The soundtrack to "Magical Mystery Tour" was a typical Beatles success. It was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy in the United States - a rarity for the Beatles - and is certified for over 6 million sales in the United States by the RIAA, 600,000 in the United Kingdom by BPI, and 400,000 in Canada by Music Canada. Not too shabby, any band would love to have those kinds of sales figures.

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Capitol decided to release an album in the United States divided in half, with one side devoted to soundtrack selections and the other containing the singles released earlier in 1967. The Beatles never intended to create an album and weren't too happy about this decision, but it was a very wise decision from a commercial standpoint.

Side 1: Soundtrack Songs (all new releases)
  1. "Magical Mystery Tour" Paul McCartney with John Lennon 2:48
  2. "The Fool on the Hill" Paul McCartney 2:59
  3. "Flying" (Harrison/Lennon–McCartney/Starkey) (Instrumental) 2:16
  4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) George Harrison 3:54
  5. "Your Mother Should Know" Paul McCartney 2:33
  6. "I Am the Walrus" John Lennon 4:35
Side 2; 1967 Singles (all previously released except "Hello, Goodbye" which was released on 24 November)
  1. "Hello, Goodbye" Paul McCartney 3:24
  2. "Strawberry Fields Forever" John Lennon 4:05
  3. "Penny Lane" Paul McCartney 3:00
  4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man" John Lennon 3:07
  5. "All You Need Is Love" John Lennon 3:57
Side 2, in particular, is just packed with fantastic music, and Side 1 is no slouch either, though it is a little more eccentric (with Paul unleashing his inner McCartney on "Your Mother Should Know" and George Harrison providing a beautiful, introspective ballad in "Blue Jay Way").

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The "Magical Mystery Tour" EP (just the soundtrack songs) was released on 8 December 1967 in the UK and the album was released on 27 November 1967 in the United States. In the States, it stayed on top of the album charts for eight weeks at the start of 1969 and remained in the Billboard 200 until 8 February 1969. The UK EP hit No. 2, held out of the top spot on the Record Retailer chart only by the Beatles' own "Hello, Goodbye" single - hardly a disappointment. The EP did hit No. 1 for a week in the Melody Maker chart.

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There is no question that "Magical Mystery Tour" is legendary and has overcome any initial disappointment experienced by viewers in 1967. The "Magical Mystery Tour" remains a top-selling catalog album and even occasionally returns to the Billboard 200 albums chart, such as on 27 October 2012. "Magical Mystery Tour" is worth having in any record/cd collection.


Magical Mystery Tour paulmccartney.filminspector.com



Magical Mystery Tour paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The "Sgt. Pepper" album cover has become iconic.



"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" is both a single and an album, and the album is so famous that the song itself gets overlooked. The song itself, though, deserves recognition, and, weirdly enough, could be one of Paul McCartney's most overlooked compositions.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The "Sgt. Pepper" uniforms are iconic.

The song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" serves as a bookend for the album, both as the opening track and as the penultimate track (which segues into "A Day in the Life"). Paul was on holiday in November 1966 with roadie Mal Evans and came up with the general idea of creating an alter-ego for the band to perform as if they were another band. He jotted his ideas down in a notebook (which later became a prized collector's item that went to auction in 1998). This ultimately led to the song and the album.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com


The "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" album became such a phenomenon that its origins during that holiday were dissected by all involved. Evans later claimed that he deserved some credit for some comments he made to McCartney on the flight back to England (what exactly those comments were only the two men would know, but Evans apparently began talking about the salt and pepper shakers on the plane, which led to... Sgt. Pepper).

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com


This could have become a major legal issue and Evans was "discussing" the matter with McCartney, but in 1976 Evans was tragically killed at his home in Los Angeles by the police. Evans' girlfriend had called and said that he had a gun and was dangerous. The police shot Evans dead when they saw him carrying an air rifle. After that, the controversy about the origins of "Sgt. Pepper" also died.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com


The song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" was released as a single by Capitol in the United States on 14 August 1978. The song segues into "With a Little Help from My Friends." The flip side was "A Day in the Life." The single was released in conjunction with the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" film. All things considered, the single did well, reaching No. 71 on the Billboard chart and No. 63 in the United Kingdom Music Week chart.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Parlophone issued the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" single in the United Kingdom in September 1978.

Paul still opens many of his concerts with this song - and, who can blame him? Obviously, from the album of the same name. Finally released as a single in 1978 and did quite well, all things considered. As everybody knows, this leads into Ringo's biggest moment as a member of the band.



Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

When I'm Sixty-Four



When I'm Sixty-Four paulmccartney.filminspector.com




"When I'm Sixty-Four" is a song from the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album and "Yellow Submarine" film. It was recorded on 6, 8 and 20 December 1966 at EMI Studios in London, with the album's release on 26 May 1967.

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Paul McCartney supposedly wrote "When I'm Sixty-Four "when he was 16, then returned to it in 1966 because his own father turned 64 that year. It's quite an amazing song for any age. However, as with many Paul songs, there are multiple claims as to when he actually wrote "When I'm Sixty-Four," with John Lennon, for instance, saying:
Paul wrote it in the [Liverpool] Cavern days. We just stuck a few more words on it like 'grandchildren on your knee' and 'Vera, Chuck and Dave' ... this was just one that was quite a hit with us.
The consensus appears to be that Paul wrote the song long before the Sgt. Pepper sessions and returned to it then. However, you never know when Paul will come out with yet another recollection as to where the song came from. McCartney's not obligated to say why or when he wrote a song and he doesn't owe anyone anything, it's just that his explanations that he freely offers tend to change with the asking. So, enjoy the song and don't worry too much about the details.

When I'm Sixty-Four paulmccartney.filminspector.com
"When I'm Sixty-Four" featured in the "Yellow Submarine" film and the later "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band" live-action film.

Along with many other peculiarities, "When I'm Sixty-Four" is unique in the rock era for featuring a bass clarinet and two B♭ clarinets playing a jaunty tune as Paul drives through the lyrics.

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The Beatles originally recorded "When I'm Sixty Four" at a very slow pace, but Paul had the sound engineers speed it up to give it a more "rooty-tooty" sound. George Burns sang the song in the 1970s "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" film, perhaps the highlight of that film. "When I'm Sixty Four" is easy to sing and has great opportunities for harmonies, making it a favorite of Barbershop Quartets.


When I'm Sixty-Four paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

Eleanor Rigby


All the Lonely People

Eleanor Rigby paulmccartney.filminspector.com
A scene from "Yellow Submarine" (1968) that accompanies "Eleanor Rigby."




"Eleanor Rigby" is a track from the Beatles album "Revolver," released on 5 August 1966. It is a classical string octet of a type that was not in fashion at the time, and certainly not for a popular rock band. While "Eleanor Rigby" is fairly short at 2:08, it has had a huge and long-lasting impact on popular music. There are some who believe that the Beatles were the best rock-and-roll band of all time, that "Revolver" was their best album, and that "Eleanor Rigby" was the best track on the album. It was released as a single on the same date as the album with "Yellow Submarine" as the flip side and reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and No. 11 in the United States.

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Paul has this to say:
I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head ... "Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church". I don't know why. I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name "Father McCartney" came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad's a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name "McKenzie."
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"Eleanor Rigby" was on "Revolver," released 5 August 1966. It marked a departure for the Beatles toward a more innovative sound incorporating tape loops, backward recordings, and Indian music.

"Eleanor Rigby" provides a key sequence in the Beatles movie "Yellow Submarine" (1968). It is the second song in the film. While the Beatles themselves did not film a promotional film for "Eleanor Rigby," the "Yellow Submarine" film provides a ready-made music video.

Eleanor Rigby paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The film "Yellow Submarine" was a psychedelic animation romp and a huge hit for the Beatles.

There is no question that "Eleanor Rigby" is one of Paul McCartney's most respected compositions, and it was considered groundbreaking during the 1960s. That there really was an Eleanor Rigby buried in Liverpool only adds to the mystique of this classic. However, Paul McCartney himself has said that the character is completely fictitious and that the name is taken from an actress he had worked with on "Help!" named Eleanor Bron and a store named Rigby in Bristol.

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There is an actual Eleanor Rigby buried at St. Peter's Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool. That's kind of spooky, and Paul himself has said there may be some kind of subconscious connection.

Several top names in the music business have credited "Eleanor Rigby" as personal influences, including Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, songwriter Jerry Lieber, and composer others. Personally, I am hard pressed to think of a better marriage of images and music than the music video for "Eleanor Rigby."


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Statue of Eleanor Rigby by Tommy Steele on Stanley Street, Liverpool. A plaque states that it is "Dedicated to All the Lonely People."

2018

Penny Lane


Penny Lane paulmccartney.filminspector.com
John Lennon strolling on Penny Lane in Liverpool.




"Penny Lane" was part of a "double A-side" single, with the flip side being "Strawberry Fields Forever." "Penny Lane hit No. 1 in the United States and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. While generally considered one of the truly transcendent singles of the rock era, it became the first Beatles single to fail to reach No. 1 in the United Kingdom on the Record Retailers chart (it did hit No. 1 on the Melody Maker chart for three weeks), signaling a slight downturn in the band's fortunes in their home country (but only relatively speaking, as "Penny Lane" did hit No. 2 on the Record Retailers chart, after all).

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"Penny Lane" is renowned for its iconic music video. It features John Lennon strolling nonchalantly along Penny Lane, unmolested and apparently unnoticed by passersby (though, if you look closely, you can see a crowd in the background observing the filming). Rest assured, Lennon would have been mobbed by fans if he tried that in real life without paid extras walking alongside him. The video is unusual in the sense that the song "Penny Lane" was written almost exclusively by Paul McCartney, but the video focuses almost exclusively on John Lennon instead. This goes contrary to the unwritten rock law that whoever is most responsible for a song (in the sense of writing or performing it, neither of which Lennon did) gets the limelight in the accompanying music video.

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John and I would always meet at Penny Lane. We were writing childhood memories — pleasant memories for both of us.

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"Penny Lane" today is one of only five Lennon/McCartney Beatles songs not owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Northern Songs owned it originally, and that company was acquired by Lew Grade's ATV in 1969. ATV sold the entire catalog to Michael Jackson in 1985, but the man running ATV at the time, Australian entrepreneur Robert Holmes à Court, excluded "Penny Lane" from the sale. Instead, he gifted the song to his daughter Catherine (at her specific request after he offered her one song from the entire catalog). Catherine Holmes à Court owns the song "Penny Lane" to this day.


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Paul McCartney returned to Penny Lane in 2018.

2018

Hello, Goodbye


Hello, Goodbye paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul McCartney and George Harrison in the "Hello, Goodbye" music video.




"Hello, Goodbye" was a non-album single released by the Beatles on 24 November 1967. The flip side was John Lennon's "I Am the Walrus." The singles was a big success, hitting No. 1 around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, West Germany, and most other European countries. The RIAA certified it a gold record for sales exceeding 1 million.

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While a huge success on the charts, today "Hello Goodbye" is probably best known for its accompanying music video, or rather, the three separate promotional clips that were filmed. The Beatles assembled at the Saville Theater in London and filmed three separate clips:
  • Performing the song dressed in their Sgt. Pepper uniforms (aside from a brief segment at the end in their 1963 collarless outfits;
  • Miming the song dressed (somewhat) normally and with parts set in a rural location; and
  • a third version with elements of both of the other two versions.
The first version of the "Hello, Goodbye" music video is the one that has become iconic.

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The second version of the "Hello, Goodbye" music video is not as well known as the iconic first version.

The Beatles apparently thought that the first version of the "Hello, Goodbye" music video was the best. However, due to a Musicians Union ban on miming on television, none of the versions could be shown on British television (the song did air, but accompanied by scenes from "A Hard Day's Night" instead). The first version (which included hula dancers) aired in the United States on the Ed Sullivan Show on 26 November 1967 to a somewhat mixed reception.

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Unfortunately for the Beatles, color television sets at the time were still somewhat rare, so the fantastic color in the video appeared as muted shades of gray. While not a disaster by any means, it was a poor omen for the "Magical Mystery Tour" film to be shown exactly a month later. That film's broadcast, which is considered one of the few disasters of the Beatles years, suffered even more than "Hello, Goodbye" in critics' evaluations due in large part to the lack of color (but also for other reasons such as a muddled script and disconnected vignettes).

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Fortunately, color television sets soon became more popular, and, in any event, reactions to the video did not hurt record sales. Today, the "Hello, Goodbye" video now is considered by many to be a classic. It has tens of millions of views on youtube and is one of the most popular videos from the Beatles era. Paul McCartney regularly performs the song at his concerts, and even opens some with the song, so obviously he is quite proud of "Hello, Goodbye."



Hello, Goodbye paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

Hey Jude


"Hey Jude" is the Ultimate '60s Anthem

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"Hey Jude" topped the US pop charts for virtually the entire summer of 1968, which was the crest of the '60s spirit. After the song had been on sale for a week, they filmed a "promotional film" of a performance of the song. It was not their first promotional film - perhaps their most famous and artistically most successful was one for "Penny Lane" in 1967 - but it is one of their most famous.

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Filming the video for "Hey Jude."

As told by Paul McCartney, who wrote "Hey Jude" pretty much alone (despite the joint songwriting credit with John Lennon), the idea came to him during a drive to see Lennon's son, Julian. It was a long drive to Weybridge, and Cynthia Lennon had just separated from John, so it was a kind of sentimental journey to see old friends who had been "cast out" of the club. Paul later changed the title from "Hey Jules" to "Hey Jude" because "it sounded better." Hey, sentimentality is one thing, but business is business. This also is one of those songs for which McCartney has given multiple sources of inspiration (he once told Lennon it actually was written about himself), but the story about Julian Lennon is the generally accepted version. "Hey Jude" also was Paul's first song written and released after he began dating Linda Eastman (later McCartney) in June 1968.

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"Hey Jude" is important in the history of Paul McCartney for another reason. It was the first release of Apple Records, the record label formed by the four members of the group. Imagine that - the very first release by the label was one of the most successful songs in music history! Well, I guess if you look at the glass as half empty, then that meant it was all downhill from there. Also, it marked the first song recorded with Lennon's new girlfriend, Yoko Ono, in the room. It was recorded in 25 takes on 29 and 30 July 1968 and released on 26 August 1968.

Hey Jude The Beatles paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul with young Julian Lennon, and a handwritten lyrics sheet.

"Hey Jude" spent nine weeks at No. 1 in the United States and ultimately sold eight million copies. The Beatles recorded the promo video after the song had been out for a week in the United States. Michael Lindsay-Hogg directed the video performance at Twickenham Film Studio. They gathered 300 people, including whatever number of fans were waiting outside (there were always fans waiting outside in those days). The 300 people all joined in for the finale (but the only Beatle actually singing was Paul, because the group was lip-synching to the already-released single and none of them had to sing). Like virtually all of the Beatles' promo films, it was shot in color despite the paucity of color television sets in England at the time.

Hey Jude The Beatles paulmccartney.filminspector.com


In terms of chart performance, "Hey Jude" is the most successful Beatles song. The song also is very long at 7:11, though many radio stations chopped several minutes off the run-time to avoid the most repetitive part. Importance is measured by more than statistical artifacts since all statistics are broken eventually just by sheer chance, and "Hey Jude" is a very important cultural touchstone. Paul still performs "Hey Jude" in concert and it appears to be his choice as an anthem when such is called for.


Hey Jude The Beatles paulmccartney.filminspector.com

2018

Let it Be single


Let It Be single paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The "Let It Be" album.




From 1970 Beatles album "Let it Be," the title track was a No.1 hit has since become a standard. The video taken from the move of the same name is one of the best music videos ever made, if you ask me, even if it is just a straightforward performance of the song. Billy Preston nonchalantly knocks out the organ notes, George rips through the guitar solo, Ringo takes the occasional drag on a cigaret as he laconically drums away, and Paul mugs for the camera. It is just a splendid window on these sessions.

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The single was released on 6 March 1970. The flip side was "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." "Let It Be is one of the more famous Beatles songs, and it is the only one that Linda McCartney sings backup vocals on. As with the other "Let It Be" songs, initial recordings took place in January 1969. Some overdubbing was done on 4 January 1970, when Linda added her contribution.

While talking with John Lennon about the song in the studio, Paul indicates that he knows the song is a winner:
This'll – this is gonna knock you out, boy.
Paul was right, and John later indicated that he did like the song. It went on to spend multiple weeks at No. 1 in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it was kept out of the top spot by, of all things, a Lee Marvin novelty song, "Wand'rin' Star," from the film musical "Paint Your Wagon."


Let It Be single paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018