MUSIC MONDAY Beatles Anthology Special Features

You may be interested in links to the other posts I have done on the Beatles and you can click on the link below: FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 288, LINKS TO 3 YEARS OF BEATLES POSTS (March of 2015 to Feb of 2018) Featured artist is Mark Dion

Beatles Anthology (1/12) – Special Features

Golden Slumbers
I know it was an old song. Isn’t it?
When did you write it? – It’s not my lyrics… it’s an old…
It’s ancient… it’s like an old lullaby
Trad arranged by McCartney. Trad arranged, with tune…
I put the tune to it-it’s my tune
It was at my dad’s house – we put the traditional drums on it –
and there was some sheet music for learning piano…
and I just liked the lyrics
I couldn’t read the music so I started doing my tune to it
Which album is this? – This was on Abbey Road
You’re George, this is Paul… – No.1 Beatle expert, George Harrison!
Bass and piano so far
Carry That Weight – It goes into Carry That Weight
I don’t think you are on it – Who’s playing bass?
It wasn’t you, was it? – Unless it was over-dubbed
Why would you over-dub a take 1?
Because he was playing the piano
Are you playing bass? Who’s playing piano? – I think I am
So who was playing bass? – He is
I think I over-dubbed it – You can’t play them at the same time
He over-dubbed it. You can hear the sound of it-it’s like direct inject
But then, he played on 17 takes. This is take 1
He was keen! – It’s been over-dubbed by somebody
Maybe I played bass. I played bass on some…
with that 6-string Fender – Sounds like him
It was definitely Paul playing piano – You should be able to tell…
because you’d know how you’d have done it
There’s lots of false starts and breakdowns. That was take 1
So, are you saying the bass couldn’t be over-dubbed because it’s on every take?
It was live – OK, it must have been me or John playing it
Obviously… – It could have been Ringo
We had a 6-string bass, a right-handed bass…
for these kind of conditions
One of the great things about the way this studio was set up…
they were set up for Mrs Mills, Daniel Barenboim, Russ Conway, Peter Sellers…
so they always had all the instruments – grand pianos, harpsichords…
They’ve ended up at my studio ‘cos they were trying to get rid of them here
Neil and Mal would be over here – I thought it was over here
This is where everyone disagrees – They moved them round so much
And my bit on…
Up the cable! Up the cable! was through that door
He’s talking about Yellow Submarine, I think
That’s all it was-natural echo… just in that door there
At that time there was a little board – the desk-up there
The console was just about this big with four faders on it
There was one speaker right in the middle
For a mix it would be funny because everybody would get a fader each…
and have full bass and full treble and one speaker… and that was it
When they invented stereo I thought “What do you want two speakers for?”
Because it ruined the sound from our point of view
When everything came out of two speakers it sounded very naked
Finally someone said, well, you can move things
So everything from then on got panned like mad, you know
But to mix the drums and bass in the middle, you know…
it used to be over on the side
I remember talking to someone at a party at Brian’s house…
and saying “This is a great bit, listen to the drums”…
and it wasn’t on that speaker
We put it on again and had to go to the other speaker to hear the drums
John had a tape with a rough mix of the backing track to I’m Only Sleeping
By the time he got home-he didn’t realise the tape was tails out –
He put it on his tape machine and threaded the tail in forward…
That’s when he came in the next day and said oh, yeah, backwards…
We made him turn the tape over and play it backwards…
and then John and I, or Paul and I played guitars, just random notes…
and then we reversed the tape…
and that was the first time we had a backwards solo
It became easier to do experiments because we’d had a few hits
That was the key – we’d had success
Then it was “Oh, great. Come in lads…”
And as we got more and more success…
we were more able to try some far out ideas
They’d also give us more time
Then you’d have success with a “far out” idea…
and people would say “Wow, this is great!”
We’d come back again and George would be keen to try other ideas
So it became like a free house –
whatever idea we wanted, we’d try it
Can we have Tomorrow Never Knows?
Which take? – All of them
There’s only three – The first take is really weird
Listen to this. It’s like the drums and a guitar at half speed
There’s only two basic takes…
which is 1 and 3
All that… underwater stuff
We should speed that up and see what it was
Listen to the drum part, it’s great
That’s the guitar slowed down at the top
So is that just on it’s own? – That’s his voice
That’s good. With a bit of drums – And a bit of loop
There’s nothing on there – So we have no loops on this tape?
This was just the first run through
He wanted his voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a hilltop
I said it’s a bit expensive going to Tibet, can we do it here?
I spoke to Geoff Emerick and he had a good idea
He said let’s try putting his voice through a Leslie speaker…
and back again and re-recording it – no one had done that before
That’s how we got the special-effect on his voice
The other things were the tambura drone and Ringo’s drumming
It’s like doing a rhumba
It’s great, I like it
How is he doing that? – What’s that underwater sound?
How’s that drummer doing that, George? – He had to be very brilliant!
There’s no tambura on this
What’s that with the drums?
Sounds like some kind of resonance on the drums
Some residue!
You then changed it afterwards – So that was the first take
John just had the song…
The song was very much influenced by… you know, in those days…
the Indian music had come into our lives…
and Indian music was all in one key – it didn’t modulate
He wanted to try a tune like that – that didn’t change chords
And also because of some of the other influences
He had that Timothy Leary book…
I think it was called Psychedelic Experience…
and some stuff that related to the Tibetan Book of the Dead
And he wrote those words…
and did a kind of… monotone… kind of thing
And also… you know, Paul and…
there were different things going on, different influences…
one of them being avant garde, you know, Stockhausen…
There were a number of experimental things…
that all came together on the one song
Now we’re talking!
Serious music now
So what have we got there? – You’ve got the rhythm on 1
You’ve got the voice on 3… 4 rather
And on tracks 2 and 3 are the various tape loops, guitar and tambura
On that one I brought in some tape loops that I’d done at home…
I just made a lot of little loops and brought them all in –
literally, little pieces of looped tape in a plastic bag –
and we got them all on eight or so machines…
with everyone holding a loop and a pencil…
and got them all running, fed them all into the desk…
and made the little mix that you heard before
All those seagull noises – it’s all sped-up tapes and loops
So that was another little ingredient in that
That wasn’t used, was it?
Bring Phil Collins in!
That one’s really good
I don’t suppose you remember what that loop was made of?
Guitar probably
When we made that record, it would be impossible to reproduce it again…
because the way we made it was the actual mix…
and all over this building, in different rooms…
were tape machines, with loops on them…
and people holding the loops in place with a bit of pencil…
going all the time, being fed to different faders on our control panel…
and we could bring up the sound, like an organ, at any time
So the mix we did was random – it could never be done again
The double-tracked voice is straight and that one has the wobble on it
That’s the best bit – We are gathered here today…!
That’s that piano down… – Is that you?
I don’t know. It sounds like you – It could be me
Sounds like you
Well, there you go – That’s how we did it, really

Beatles Anthology (3/12) – Special Features

The Anthology was originally called The Long And Winding Road
George Martin Producer The boys were to tell their own story rather than entrust it to somebody else
After all, they knew better than anybody what had been going on
And somebody thought it would be a good idea to have an audio equivalent
But it’s no good just doing a soundtrack of a film…
because an awful lot is missing – the vision takes over
So what we’re providing is a complement to it
Something that runs parallel but is pure sound
The main gist of it is, with the music…
to find the most ancient Beatle music possible
To come in chronological order through our various records…
and bring it up to date
We lead the CD with the new song, Free As A Bird…
which we figure is what people are waiting to hear
Then what we do is flash back
Also, as the documentary starts and then goes backwards –
There’s a bit in the opening where it says “Let’s go back, back, back…”
and it backs up until Ringo is about six months old
And then the record, we thought, could work in that respect
There’s a lot of stuff from old tape recorders…
of George, Paul and John singing and playing guitars…
before I was in the band
Then we go into old recordings from when we were about 14 or 15…
which we haven’t heard for ever, you know… things in my front room
These are interesting because…
they include a track where Stuart Sutcliffe was playing
The bass guitar is not very good but it’s historic
We’re talking about a historical thing now
And I, for one, don’t mind it being old and scratchy…
because most of the music I buy is old and scratchy
You know, music that was recorded in the early ’20s and ’30s
I like a bit of tape hiss, personally
It’s not the quality you’re listening to, it’s the story
You see our development happening
We hear some of the stuff at EMI from when I first met them in 1962
There are a couple of tracks… the very early version of Love Me Do…
with Pete Best on drums – which no one’s heard
No tapes exist of that
He found it on an acetate, because they’d cut it onto disc
He found that and it’s been copied onto tape
When I was asked to do this project…
I said there’s no way I’m going to mix this on a modern digital machine…
because it wouldn’t be what people did in those days…
and I’m dealing with old tapes
So I asked EMI if they could find me an old desk
One of their engineers had this one…
and they brought it in and it’s a marvellous machine
This was in number 2 studio, Abbey Road
It was state-of-the-art then, but now it looks so old-fashioned
But it’s appropriate that we use this because it makes a different sound…
so we’re getting right back to the old days in doing this stuff…
and it sounds all the better for it
I’m staying in the old-fashioned mode until the very last moment…
until it goes onto CD so that we keep the authenticity of it
A lot of the tapes we’re working on are 2-track, 4-track, up to 8-track
We still have the old tapes – this is an old box
They’re 1-inch tapes – the 4-track machine is modern…
but it is still the old vintage tapes of 32 years ago
We’re halfway through that CD before I enter the picture
There’s a lot of very early years that hasn’t been heard
Television or radio shows from Sweden…
and various things from the Command Performance
Things shown once on television
We managed to get the soundtracks to some variety show we did
There isn’t a lot of live stuff out so it was a pleasure to hear it…
because they were a great little band
We’ve been listening to every take of every song we’ve done
And we’ve discovered some interesting stuff
Some of the early takes of most numbers are interesting
Seeing how the songs developed and changed
Sometimes they started quite differently to the masters everybody knows
Then we get into cross-fading, like take 1 to take 4
On some of them where we were just working the song out…
We always ran through the song – we very seldom sat around
We’d say let’s do this and that and, like, run it down
And so the attitude from the beginning to 7 takes later…
was like… a mile
It’s not like “Oh, we’ve changed a note”…
We’ve changed the whole thing – working on it and changing it

One of the strengths of the Beatles was that they had eternal curiosity –
an eternal quest for something new
They were always saying “What new sound can we have?”
“What other instruments do you know? Give me a different sound”
They were not content with what they had yesterday

One interesting thing was that
we always thought that people like the Supremes made “a good record”
But then the next one was sort of the same record
It was the Supremes sound, the Motown sound
So we really liked the first one, the second one was not so good…
and it paled a bit, you know
So I think we tried not to repeat ourselves

Our song-writing and our playing got better and it all just grew

The music was always there in the background…
reflecting our feelings and our desires…
and all the various things we’d experienced
It goes in leaps and bounds… and it’s pretty interesting

I thought we’d listen to an old recording we’ve been working on
This doesn’t require a great deal of balancing
It was made on the 19th of January, 1967…
and doesn’t require much balancing because it only has 2 tracks
This was the very first time we heard A Day In The Life in the studio
This was the first version – the master came a bit later
This is the version without Paul’s middle bit…
and without the orchestra
John is just singing it, really, for himself
I think it’s charming. OK, Paul, let’s have a listen
I think that early take of John is so natural

Beatles Anthology (4/12) – Special Features

He wasn’t expecting people 32 years later to be listening to it

Sometimes after 19 takes, no matter how professional you are…
the boredom creeps in-you can hear it. It goes perfect…
but on early takes it’s “God, sounds like they’re really enjoying it”
That’s what I like about it

As it gets into all the other stuff we found different out-takes…
or maybe a version of something with different vocals to the master…
so what we’ve done is present the alternate version

You hear the songs for what they are
I know George Martin was wondering why we had to do them again
We said it’s probably a case of “Maybe we can get it a bit better…
“if we put a bit of drums on… or maybe a banjo…”
You’re always trying to get better

Normally I don’t think back on the past at all but I’ve had to…
and it’s been a strange experience. Paul actually said to me:
“Hearing ourselves as we were 30 years ago, 25 years ago…
“and hearing us chatting away, it’s a strange experience
“It’s like looking into an old scrapbook – but coming to life”

I think it was the early ’70s, ’70l71…
Neil Aspinall Executive Producer I collected all the footage I could find from around the world…
and we put a documentary together, a film together…
without the Beatles being interviewed or anything like that
It was about an hour and three quarters long…
and I put it on the shelf for 20 years
And it was an extremely interesting story
Derek Taylor Series Consultant But it was very close to the breakup…
so it wasn’t done with that long perspective
It was there on the shelf but I didn’t really think about it
It was a question of getting a lot of other business things together…
and getting control, if we could, of various elements…
of Beatle business, if you like
And when we were in that position, it was easier to do
It was easier to do… than not
I really thought it would happen when Neil said…
there’s going to be an anthology, we’re going to do the whole story
The fellows have agreed and it would be on
And I was very interested in a detached sort of way
I think I mentioned it to everybody in 1990 or ’91…
or something like that
And then we started doing it
I got the production team together… and we started doing it
I’d worked with the three of them before…
Geoff Wonfor Director when I was directing McCartney’s Oratorio for Liverpool
He phoned me up and said he’d had a chat with a mate of mine
I said who do you mean, and he said George Harrison
He said “I didn’t know you’d worked with George”
I said, yeah… He said well he didn’t know you’d worked with me
Andy Matthews Editor I was on my way to the Montreux Jazz Festival
I’d arranged to work on that…
and Geoff rang me out of the blue and told me about it
He said “You’ve got to make your mind up. Are you coming or not?”
The rest is history – Geoff and I arrived down here to empty rooms
Chips Chipperfield Producer I was working at EMllPMI, making television programmes
Geoff was a director who’d worked there
We’d both worked with Paul on the Oratorio and things…
and he’d been asked to do this and nobody had asked me
I said “Why haven’t you asked me, I’d love to do this”
He said “I didn’t think you’d want to, you have a proper job”
A full time job. And Geoff… seemed very happy…
spoke to Neil Aspinall, spoke to Paul…
and I went and talked to Neil and got the job
I was on holiday when the rest of the guys started
Bob Smeaton Series Director & Writer I thought, “bad timing” and I expected to come back…
and find myself surplus to requirements
So I phoned Apple: “I’m Bob Smeaton, I’m going to be working on this job”
They said “Yeah, come down whenever you’re ready”
When I came in we had to really start to think about making the programme
There’s been a phenomenal amount of work done by a very small team
Basically, the whole production has been done by ten people…
including research and everything
We’ve used between 9-10,000 pieces of footage and music
All that’s had to be cleared and logged – it’s been a phenomenal job
I’m useful to have around if the Beatles are being discussed…
but I’m no use on some of the minutiae in detail
I’m not good on things like the mechanics of making a documentary
But on perspectives and insights I can be handy to turn to
And I’m extremely generous with my time… and views
And I get along with them and with Neil
I realise that the one thing we had that nobody else had…
no third party had…
was the surviving Beatles, the three of them…
and all John’s interviews with Yoko’s consent
And so what I decided right from the beginning…
not just now, but 20 years ago when I did the original one…
was not to have some mid-Atlantic voice commentator…
telling the Beatles’ story
It was better for them to tell their own story
and to do that they had to be interviewed
It was months of looking and listening before we put anything together
Also, they’re not the easiest of people to get hold of
It took another three months trying to get hold of them to do an interview
That was the other thing – to get an interviewer
Not a David Frost type who would put everybody on their guard…
but another musician, and that’s how Jules Holland got involved
Jools Holland Interviewer My job was to interview them and ask them about their history…
from their small beginnings right up to the end of it
Some of it was quite hard to talk about, the later parts
There were unhappy moments, and laughter and tears, of course
Because I’m a pianist and a musician more than a hard-nosed interviewer…
I think they found it easier to relax
And so Jules tended to ask questions…
that a trained interviewer wouldn’t ask
With the Elvis episode, he asked if Priscilla was there, which is fine…
but a regular interviewer wouldn’t have asked what was she wearing
It’s not an “in-depth” question, is it?
Do you remember how Priscilla was dressed?
She had a long thing on… and a tiara
I’ve got this picture of her like… as a sort of Barbie doll
with kind of purple gingham and a gingham bow in her very beehive hair
Do you remember seeing Mrs Presley?
No, I don’t
I spent most of the party trying to suss out from his gang…
if anybody had any reefer!
We’d want to know what each programme was going to be
I’d write the main areas and say we’ve got to hit all these bases
Once we knew what we wanted in there…
we had to get that information from the Beatles to make the programme
By the time they got to the third interview-it’s noticeable –
you’ll find that if you ask one of them a question…
if they don’t know the answer, it’s maybe Paul, Ringo or George knows…
so you cut to the other individual, who doesn’t know the answer anyway…
and he’ll say maybe someone else knows the answer
That came from watching what they’d done in their first interviews…
and seeing if you don’t know the answer, pass it on to the next guy…
and then you’ve got quite a nice little cut…
so we gradually got into making this thing
We were always aware that John wasn’t with us to get a quote from him…
but the researchers did such a thorough job…
that you’d need a quote from John and you’d get six or seven
And because he was so succinct in all his interviews…
if you ask him a question, he gives you the answer
We looked through hours of footage of everything we have on John…
and just sort of used…
He’s represented mainly in slow motion because he can’t be talking
Wherever he’s appeared in archive saying anything, we’ve tried to use it
We’ve used all that stuff, you know…
and tried to give them all equal billing
They’ve all seen it and approved it…
so they all agree with what’s in it
If there’s something that somebody wants to change…
or doesn’t like, then we would change it
They left us alone, basically, for three years
There were no major things to change
These are Paul’s Programme 1 changes. There aren’t very many
“Sack the crew!”
They came in occasionally
The three of them came in together, which was fantastic…
to have them in here looking at various parts of it
They have been, in many ways, a joy to work with
They’re still the Beatles…
but I’ve had more problems with a new band making a five grand video
They’ve all been, I think, completely honest and frank…
to the point where some of the things they say aren’t…
You know, if you were doing a safe interview about yourself…
you might not say
But I think they feel the story should be told pretty much as it is
The truth should be known even if sometimes it’s a bit painful
So they talk and that’s what I was…
I was pleased that it wasn’t a show-biz cover-up
The position taken by Apple and by us during the making of it…
has been “This may never be released. That’s why we can’t talk about it”
For a while there was very much a sense of that
I can’t think of any particular moment when we felt it wouldn’t be released
But you always got the sense…
from the phone calls you were getting…
the broadcasters that were phoning up…
people asking questions about it –
you got a sense of what it would be like when it was finished
Now you’ve got to decide what to leave out, what to leave in…
you’ve got a deadline to meet…
getting the music together for a film, getting the rights together…
whatever those rights are-master-use licences, publishing licences…
permission for someone’s name and likeness that you’ve used
If they won’t give it to you or you can’t get a particular song…
then you’ve got to change that bit
It’s the finishing process that –
under pressure because you’ve got a deadline –
that, for me, is always the… what’s the word for it?
It’s the most traumatic time
What’s interesting about this Anthology now…
is that they’ve had a long time to think about it…
to get used to not minding having been Beatles
It’s no longer an embarrassment to them…
and it’s time to, as the clichô goes, reclaim their own history
When I joined, Paul was the only one who’d sleep with me
Well, there was actually a reason for that…
I was never very prejudiced!
When you joined, and you were the new fellow…
and I thought if I hang out with you, they’ll all be like… you know…
so I thought… – Put Paul with him!
Yeah, because it would be all right then
But then it changed – it would be with anybody
It just sort of went on through the different tours
I enjoyed it because it wasn’t the kind of thing we’d done much
As kids, we’d hitch-hiked…
and me and George would end up sleeping in the same bed at some B&B
I hadn’t been away from home much when we started
I hadn’t done any of it ‘cos I’m an only child
At Butlin’s, almost… – Yeah, but I still slept on my own
So it was kind of good, you know…
It was great. Staying in a room with a friend and seeing his habits
You stayed up late didn’t you? You couldn’t sleep
You’d always have the light on… – I was frightened of the dark!
He’d have the light on and you’d have to sleep this way
But it was good. You get to know people that way
You know, my hair… I’m still trying to make it go back…
I’ve got some mousse you can use! …but naturally it just goes forward
We used to use really thick Vaseline to just get it back, like that…
and I remember we went to the swimming baths in Hamburg
We were walking back to the Reeperbahn and it dried and it was all like that
By the evening we saw our friends, Jurgen and Astrid…
and I remember them saying leave it like it is, it’s really good
It was kind of like that and everybody at that time was starting to just…
If they’d said it was naff we’d have changed it…
but because they liked it, we liked it
We didn’t really go with it in a major way, we still…
I remember when John and I went to… He had his 21st…
and he got a hundred quid off his uncle who was a dentist in Edinburgh
Very elevated stuff, that –
we’d never known the likes of anyone who had a relative who was a dentist
Or a hundred quid!
To this day no one has ever given me that-a hundred smackers!
And then, as you can imagine, that was like an inheritance
But John got this hundred quid and said what shall we do?
So we decided to go to Spain to spend the û100
We got as far as Paris – we hitch-hiked –
and decided we’d maybe go to Spain later in the week as we liked Paris
We bumped into Jurgen, our friend – Astrid, Jurgen and Klaus –
and said “Your hair’s nice. Could you do ours like that?”
He said are you sure you want this?
I said yeah, go on, we’re on holiday and all that
We arrived back in Liverpool with this funny hair, forward, as you say…
and everyone was a bit dubious about it but it just fell into the thing then…
and we kept it forward
You did yours but Ringo always had a big grey shock under there
It’s still there – He had to do it to join the band
It’s the only way I could join
But when it came forward you didn’t see his grey bit
He had a beard too – “Shave the beard, keep the sideburns”
We’d got a look going here
I looked like this actually, just before I joined you guys
Only with a suit
We actually saw a London band in Hamburg…
and one of them wore boots with a pointy toe and a Cuban heel…
and we thought “Hmm… they’re good!
“Where did you get those?”
He said in London at Anello & Davide’s
We went to Anello & Davide’s and bought those boots
Then we thought hey, they make them – we’ll get our own made
So the one that became the “Beatle boot” were ones we had made
but the original one… Remember, he had that elastic down the side…
It was a ballet shop – Anello & Davide made ballet stuff-tutus and shoes
It’s where all the little girls went
We’d be getting our Beatle boots made and there’d be these children, you know
No, you had the tutu. I never had one of them
It was Ringo who had his feet bandaged wasn’t it?
To fit those little ballet shoes – I was going to China!
And then later we started realising you could get whatever you wanted
At first they were all the same but then…
We could have them in our size! – I had a cord suit…
What’ll go…? I know… cord boots. Just give them the same fabric
Then we had ankle ones, calf ones, knee high… all kinds
Then there was this one that went…
It was one of the first ones…
It was a cinema commercial for Link furniture…
called Thinking Of Linking – we were at the pictures
Good Intro – Good Intro, yeah
There’s no second verse
Cost 75 quid, my first car – That was a good car
Was it off Johnny Hutch? – What colour was it?
Red and white-hand painted. Painted by hand!
You had a green Anglia – Blue
That was much later though – I took you to get that car
Did you? – I took you up to… – Warrington
And as we were coming home, you were speeding and I was speeding…
We were close to each other and you overtook this car…
I was ready to overtake and just as I got right up his arse…
a dog ran out out in front of him so he slammed on his brakes…
I smashed right into him, broke the fuck out of my car…
It was lucky it was by a garage –
we pushed it into the garage – because I had no licence or insurance
Did I stop? – You just kept going
You just didn’t give a damn! – To this day I never knew about that
Couldn’t we do Blue Moon Of Kentucky?
Just a short version
Did you ever meet Elvis again?
I’ve felt I’ve met him several times – You’ve felt him?
We’ll know when we stand up! – How do you mean, you’ve felt him?
I have some memories that I’ve met him several times
Maybe it was just the one night and I kept bumping into him!
It’s called flashbacks, I think
Did you meet him again? – No. I met him just once
I met him in Madison Square Garden…
a couple of years before the end – it was a bit sad, really
Rhinestone cowboy
He had all them squawking girl singers and trumpet players…
but he had a great rhythm section – James Burton and all that gang
And I just wanted to say get your jeans on…
get your guitar and just do That’s Alright Mama
I saw him in Vegas in the ’70s… …and bugger all that other crap
after the er…
You saw him in Vegas? – Yeah
I only met him that once-that night
When I saw him, I was like, a hippy with all this denim on and long hair
It was in the early ’70s, I went backstage to meet him…
and, you know those big dressing rooms and miles of toilets and stuff…
I was sitting talking to the guys and he was nowhere to be seen…
then finally he came round the corner in that big white outfit with gold things…
and he looked like Ringo-all his beard was… was varnished
All his hair was black and he was all tanned and stuff…
and he seemed like… I thought I was meeting Vishnu or Krishna or somebody…
it was just like… wow! And I just felt like this snotty, grubby little…
“Hello, Elvis, how are you?” and he’s like…”Hi”
And I just wanted to say why don’t you just do That’s Alright Mama…
and get rid of all those chick singers
It was sad, but he did a couple of good tunes
Did you ever meet him again? – Not after that day
But he was great when he was great
This has been a really nice day – It’s been a pleasure for me too
Cool. We won’t have to see you for the next 40 years!
That should end the series – we could end on this note
I think it was Candlestick Park – No, it wasn’t, it was…
This is Candlestick Park
It’s been a very nice day, thanks for having us, George
It’s been really beautiful… I like hanging out with you guys
Little choochie face!
When I went on tour, journalists asked me if the Beatles are getting back together
I had to have some kind of answer for that…
so I said maybe the three of us would do some incidental music…
maybe an instrumental for this new Beatles thing, the Anthology documentary
We were going to just get there and play and see what happened
That seemed OK, but then we thought why not do some new music?
We always had a thing between the three of us –
or the four of us at that time – that if any one of us wasn’t in it…
we weren’t going to get… you know… Roger Waters, and go out as the Beatles
Or Dave Gilmour… We were gonna…
So therefore the only other person who could be in it was John
We kept hitting that wall because this is a documentary on the Beatles
It’s not on Paul, George and Ringo
If we were to do something – the three of us –
as interesting as it may be and as nice as we could make it…
to have John in it is the obvious thing
So, I believe it was Paul who asked Yoko…
is there anything of John’s that never came out? Maybe we could work with it
She sent us these tapes and that’s how it came about
In fact, we didn’t know as much as most Lennon fans…
who already knew about Free As A Bird and Real Love
They’d heard them-we hadn’t
It was really emotional
Just hearing the tape that was sent was pretty emotional
And then we got to the studio and it was difficult for a while
You know, he’s not here – we’re all here, where’s John?
Of course, John’s in heaven
But we had to get over that
We got over it by feeling that he’d gone to lunch or for a cup of tea…
because all the time we were making records…
we weren’t all in the room, all the time, and sometimes we would split
And so we dealt with it in that way – at least that’s how I dealt with it
So when we got in the studio we had a cassette of Free As A Bird
It was very bad quality, it was just a mono cassette…
with John and the piano locked in on one track –
which nobody would normally have to deal with
But Jeff Lynne, the producer, overcame those technical difficulties
It wasn’t easy because they were mono tapes…
Jeff Lynne Co-Producer with John singing and playing, so you couldn’t separate anything
John plays piano on the records too, you know…
which is great because it kept the integrity of that
It wasn’t just his voice, he was doing a performance at the same time
Technically it was virtually impossible but we really worked at it very hard
So, after that, we did a basic track with all these gaps in it…
and then we had to fill in the song… which is what happened
What we did was remake the song –
we changed chords and stuff
Well, I vote for the E suspended. What do you think, audience?
We changed arrangements, we added parts and we wrote lyrics
Then we made the multi-track tape of the song…
and then took John’s voice and laid him into the track
When it started taking shape and John was in there singing…
I think everybody said wow, this really works
I was really thrilled because I’d spent a long, long time on it…
making the vocals fit exactly
And once that happened we were all…
yeah, this is really good, and it’s not doing John a disservice
It’s actually a really good record
I listened to it and I thought it sounds just like them
I’d taken myself away from it for so long it was like listening to it as an outsider
It sounds just like them – it’s brilliant
When George and I were doing the harmonies, it was, like Ringo said…
“It sounds just like the Beatles!”
It wasn’t surprising to me because I went there to work with the Beatles
I always assumed, in my naivety…
that it was going to sound like a Beatles record
It’s going to sound like them if it is them
It sounds like them now. That’s what I think
The first choice was Free As A Bird and we did that in February ’94
And then we didn’t do much except put together the Anthology, recording-wise…
until February ’95 when we went back to my studio with Real Love
Real Love is more of a poppy song
It was more difficult, actually, because we’d already done it
Now we’re doing it again…
so for me, I felt it was more difficult to turn it into a real Beatle track
The thing for me that was not quite as much fun with Real Love…
was it was finished – it had all the words and music
So I didn’t really get to input like we had on Free As A Bird…
which made it more like a Beatles session
This was more like we were side men to John…
which was… joyful and good fun – and I think we did a good job
It was like, better than being a fly on the wall-this was great!
It was beyond my wildest dreams to have actually sat with the three of them
Very few people have, I think
And to be making records with them was just astonishing
It brought back memories, hanging out with Paul and George again
We hadn’t done that in a while
We work well together – that’s the truth of it, you know
That’s a very special thing when you find someone you can talk to
If you find someone you can play music with, that’s really something
I think we had so much of the same background…
you know, our musical background, where we came from…
and what we listened to, you know, in common…
and then all those years we played together
Somehow it’s made a very deep groove in our memories
It doesn’t take much to lock in
Originally we were going to have a bird in the piece…
and you follow the bird as it flies through history –
Joe Pytka Director a bird that takes you through the history of the songs…
visiting the places that inspired the pieces
The bird flies through the Beatles’ lyrics…
through Penny Lane and Helter Skelter
Then Neil said not to use a bird…
because no one could agree on what kind of bird it should be
You never see the bird – the camera is the bird
We made the sound of the wings so the rest of the piece would make sense
We have the loud flapping at the beginning…
so later on you’ll know that it’s a bird taking you through these places
We went back and forth between the guys
We had to send our notes back to the surviving Beatles and Yoko…
for their approval of the ideas
Derek Taylor was incredibly helpful
When we presented a sketch of the idea, he sent us a note back…
which was a beautiful piece of poetry…
which not only reaffirmed the potential of the idea…
but gave us a lot of attitude toward the way the material should be approached
We tried to shoot at all the authentic locations
We shot in Penny Lane and had the Art Department rebuild it as close as possible
We shot the Liver Birds from a helicopter over Liverpool
We shot near the docks which is a reference to John’s father
I’m the poppy girl from Penny Lane
We had huge casting sessions, we had hundreds of people on tape
We went through the tapes in London, Liverpool and Manchester
Almost all the people were local with maybe a few actors from London
Paperback Writer, I think, was an actor from London
But most of them were basically local people
Got it? OK, can you do that?
We’re going to do a banquet of piggies based on the… Sgt Peppercover…
with all the celebrities, all these people having dinner
This will probably have to be done digitally after the production phase
The art director found these fabulous little piggy masks
And instead of this really complicated banquet scene…
we just had these masked children skipping down a lane in Liverpool…
which was much more in keeping with the spirit of the Beatles at that time
We story-boarded all the ideas…
but ignored them completely once we saw things in practicality
There’s nothing story-boarded about the idea at all
You couldn’t story-board because of the way the camera flowed
One shot in particular, the Lotus crashing…
was story-boarded from above so the bird sees from above it
We shot it like that for hours…
and then at the last minute I had the Steadicam operator do some low shots…
and with the flow of the piece, it was much more interesting that way
Much more interesting
The shot from above looked nice on a story board and was clever…
but it was better to bring the bird down…
to see the emotion, the car, the smoke and the people
The video’s made up of referenced archival footage…
footage that we filmed live…
and then bits and pieces were put in at various places…
which were shot on a green screen stage, which is a way to marry –
almost everybody knows what that means now-which marries…
other elements into a live background to enhance it
A couple of shots would be the dog in the Eleanor Rigby cemetery…
The elephant in the hotel was put in in post-production
When Ringo saw the rough cut he wanted this elephant
We hadn’t shot the elephant as part of the piece
Neil called and said Ringo wants an elephant
He says he likes everything but misses his elephant
George wanted a sitar and Ringo wanted an elephant
So we got an elephant and shot it on green screen…
and snuck it in that procession in the ballroom
We used a Russian Akela crane which gives these big sweeping moves
The end shot at Abbey Road couldn’t have been done with a Louma crane
That was the star of the piece
Then we used the Louma crane for more precise shots, smaller shots…
and a Steadicam operator
We also had a tiny remote-controlled helicopter…
with a video camera on it to do intricate shots
The thing that I’m most happy with is the seamlessness of the piece
The transition between scenes isn’t obvious
Many of them are invisible even to people in the industry
So the seamlessness of everything, marrying all these bits and pieces –
archival footage, new footage, green screen, live production footage –
I’m very happy
We were given this piece that represents something incredibly precious…
to untold numbers of people around the world… and we had to protect it
In addition, we had to inspire people, so there was a duality there
One, we want to do something very creative and functional…
and do the job as a professional piece
On the other hand, we had to respect everything that had gone before
I felt that we succeeded in respecting the tradition…
and bringing it forward and inspiring it…
and looking at it in an unusual way…
which even reflects how the song was created
One of the things that’s a little bit heart-breaking…
is the ukelele player at the end
George wanted to play that part and I resisted the idea
I didn’t think we wanted to see contemporary Beatles in the piece
Thinking that they had sampled an archival piece of music…
and it turns out that George had actually performed that on the song…
Had I known that, I would have had him do it
I’m heart-broken about that piece – especially now, more than ever

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