Thursday 26 October 2023

Now And Then

The release date of the 'final Beatles' song', Now and Then, an unfinished demo recorded by John Lennon in 1979 and worked on by the remaining Beatles during the Anthology project in 1995, and again over the last couple of years was announced today. 

The track will be released on a number of single vinyl formats, a cassette, and as the final song on reworked versions of the classic red and blue 'best of' compilations The Beatles 1962-66 and The Beatles 1967-70.

Predictably the news has sent Beatles fan pages and social media groups into overdrive, with fans sharing some very mixed opinions about the entire enterprise.  Personally I'm interested to hear the song, obviously. I absolutely hate the artwork for the single. I assumed it was a placeholder, like you sometimes see on Amazon before the final artwork for a forthcoming book or album is available, but no, that uninspiring bluey grey square with the song title written diagonally is the real deal. I don't think I've seen artwork on a Beatles' product as bad as this since Ringo's last EP.

I'm a second generation Beatles' fan who discovered them through my parent's copies of the red and blue albums. While the red has been criticized in the past for being too short and favouring 'Rubber Soul' tracks over 'Revolver'  (valid points) do we really need two dozen extra tracks added to these re-releases? In my opinion, changing the track-listing means  they're no longer the albums a lot of us seventies-born Beatle fans grew up with. Isn't this what playlists are for? Nobody buying these albums will agree on the additions and omissions which I strongly suspect was decided by committee, aka the surviving Beatles and the estates of John and George.  You can imagine the discussion: 'There's no songs with my Dad on lead vocals on the Red Album'.  'Ok, Dhani, how about Roll Over Beethoven and Taxman? What? You want 'Within You Without You' as well? Right'. 'What's that Sean? You really love 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)'? On a Beatles' best of compilation? It's seven minutes long! Ok, you're the boss. One of the bosses. You want 'Glass Onion' on there as well?!   Ringo, you've been very quiet. Are you sure you don't want 'What Goes On' alongside the rest of the 'Rubber Soul' album? 'Don't Pass Me By?' 

I know, I know. Nobody is forcing me to buy anything.

What I DO like, is seeing any 'new' footage of the 'Threetles' together and an excerpt from a 12 minute 'Now and Then' documentary film also premiered today including a lovely clip of Paul and George together. I can never get enough of that.

In keeping with the themes of this blog I also really like this imaginative series of images showing John's original 'Now and Then' demo cassette (with manufacturers brand name removed) which I assumed were photoshopped but according to reports actually appeared overnight, projected onto places particularly synonymous with the Beatles and their songs. 

Even though its now 60 years since they lived here it can never be said that The Beatles fail to acknowledge their birthplace when the opportunity arises.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Sue Me, Sue You Blues: The Beatles and The Law

In December 1970, Dirk sued Stig and Nasty; Barry sued Dirk; Nasty sued Stig and Barry; and Stig sued himself accidentally...

It was the beginning of a golden era for lawyers, but for the Rutles,  it was the beginning of the end.

The above of course is from The Rutles, a 'mockumentary' which satirises  the career of the Beatles, but sadly, not too far removed from the reality, as I learned on Monday evening when I attended 'The Beatles and the Law', a lecture at the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre in Liverpool University. I was accompanied by my friend, fellow MA, Beatles' historian and blogger, Steve Bradley. 

        Ron Decline / Allen Klein