Sunday 26th August
I have been watching the Beatles films on DVD; not really very exciting bucket list but there you go. And the last one, which like the album, came out posthumously. The film was made in 1969 but by the time it was released they had acrimoniously split; the film and the album were contractual obligations – and they made a bit of money too of course. Paul, who saw himself after Brian died, as the leader of the band, wanted them to rehearse new songs for a live performance. The idea was that it would all be filmed and shown in cinemas all over the world. Well, the live performance ended up being a short gig on the roof of the Saville Row Apple headquarters, before being halted by the Police. Incidentally my office at the time was just a few streets away – but I had no idea it was happening and missed the whole thing.
The rehearsals seem pretty unhappy, and the first two thirds of the film are pretty dire, squabbling, and half-finished scraps of songs. But the concert was brilliant. I watched it three times and you suddenly realise that actually they could have blown everyone away a a live group, even though they finished touring two years earlier in America.
The tapes of the songs were handed to Phil Spector by John, much to Paul’s annoyance and the record was actually okay. Anyway, all in all a quite sad way to end; although that live performance – especially with John’s quip at the end “And I hope we passed the audition” will live on forever