Monday, March 5, 2012
Band on the Run - Original Video
This original video for the song has striking similarities to the "Eleanor Rigby" Beatles video. Alienation, religious imagery and striking visuals of ordinary people dominate. A surprising emphasis on the Beatles themselves, from start to finish, really sets this apart. Many thought they were still feuding at this point.
My interpretation is that Paul is celebrating his Beatles past, while implying that the Beatles themselves were ordinary people like everyone else. The theme is that everyone has greatness within them and that the Beatles just managed to express it in their own way. I think that Paul realized he finally had hit a home run with this song and album that equaled the Beatles albums, so he felt that now was finally the time to explicitly associate himself with that grand past. Previously he had downplayed his past. He went so far as to simply start over with a new band from scratch. He was still very young, just entering his 30s, so he probably felt burdened by his past until this album.
Though I don't think he has come right out and said it, this video strongly suggests that the "band" in the song is, indeed, the Beatles. They have escaped from the confining straightjacket of being "The Beatles" and now are on their own. Forces keep trying to put them back in that cell, but it will never happen: the people trying to do so will "search forevermore."
What's striking is the heavy emphasis on celebrating Brian Epstein, who passed away right around the time of "Sgt. Pepper." Epstein was credited by many with keeping the group together in some kind of harmony. When he passed, the four Beatles flew away from each other like suddenly disconnected spokes of a wheel. Perhaps this video was a silent nod by Paul to the huge impact Brian had on their development, and the fact that his passing led directly to their breakup and their being "free."
A very sentimental journey, especially with the elaborate nods to Epstein. One gets the impression Paul was trying to tie his life together after having had it ripped apart with the Beatles breakup.