This documentary is really about the effect Beatlemania had on PJG&R. We see nothing (thank you!) of the Yoko takeover or the great divide of John and Paul over manager preferences and deeper issues. We see nothing of Pete Best, the pre-Ringo days. And nothing (well not much) of the pills-weed phases.
What we did see was shots of camaraderie, warmth and playfulness. We saw their cheery sarcasm grounded in realness that was and still is so damn refreshing. A reporter asks the group what they think about why the crowd screams so much. George (the cheeky bahstad) says he doesn’t know but if he did he would hire up another band (train them to do that) and be their managers instead. When asked why they are so snobbish to reporters, Paul says that they get a lot of questions that are not nice, so don’t expect a nice answer. That just means we’re real. You gotta love their fearlessness and comfort with themselves! That is what we all want: freedom and permission to play. They would not settle for less. That’s why they did Sergeant Peppers. They were so thrashed and beaten from the pressure of being a “Beatle” that Paul suggested they take on new personalities to play in.
Most interesting, for me, was the behind the scenes song writing. They wrote rough skeletons (P and J) and brought them into the studio every morning for just an hour and a half to write the drums, and flesh out the songs! I was inspired. We see/hear about John’s discovery, by sheer accident, of backmasking, recording recorded tracks backwards, during Revolver sessions. We get plenty of interviews of Paul and Ringo but also a few precious interview recordings of George and John.
Then there is the full live performance at Shea Stadium after the credits. This was pretty awesome because we learn early in the movie that they could not hear themselves during that gig due to the noisy 52,000 people crowd and the teeny field speakers (used by the sports commentators during games) as an attempt at a PA system! What were they thinking? Listen to how in tune they are! Watch for the brief moment on the second to last song where Paul gets off tempo and John laughs at him. They had such a great attitude! 52,000 fans and they are just highly skilled goofs up there rolling with it.
Well done Ron.
I just realized the coincidence of it being Day 8 of the 10 day blog challenge and the movie title!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8