Talkin' About the Beatles....in 2022
Updated: Feb 22
My partner and I at Beacon of Speech watched the first part of the Beatles Documentary together and it was fascinating, I highly recommend it. Even my Mom is jazzed about it, she's ordering the DVD from her local library.
I would like to talk briefly about what I saw in Part I and lead the topic into what is happening in music today.
First of all, minor spoilers contained within for Get Back. (Remember, Get Back happened in real time over 50 years ago.) I must have mentioned to Ted, at least 5 times, how opulent it was to rent a movie studio to record your next album when you were only using the space about the size of my living room.
For those of you idiots at home who think Yoko Ono DIDN'T break up the Beatles, you have to watch Get Back. In the later years of the Beatles, I had often seen Yoko sitting around, literally doing nothing. In Get Back, she is there almost every second John is there, sitting beside him like a mute German Sheppard.
Don't look at Get Back as a music documentary, but a workplace documentary. In the Get Back Office, best mate John is late every day, is disconnected from the process, and has his wife sit next to him answering mail and knitting. IN THE REAL WORLD, THAT SHIT DOESN'T WORK.
Imagine your job, right now. You go to your boss and say "hey, just so you know, my wife is going to be sitting next to me all day while I do my job." Guess who's fired? Or, if you're not fired, guess who's hated by all his co-workers?
Groupies sneaking into the recording studio is a tale as old as time. That's not what was happening in the Get Back Sessions.
It was amazing to watch Paul McCartney pull songs from the air. Sir Paul is a genius.
Poor George Harrison had idea after idea, but he was the victim of Little Brother Syndrome. Ted leaned over to me and said "all Harrison's ideas ended up on All Things Must Pass. That album went, like, quadruple platinum."
Finally, at then end of Part I, you saw McCartney kind of nicely say to Harrison, just play your instrument. In the twinkle of an eye, you saw the magic of the McCartney/Lennon songwriting team, and you also saw that Harrison had become the third wheel. He was the third wheel and he knew it, and the band knew it.
Now history bore out what you saw in Get Back Part I. Narcissist Lennon was eventually free to focus on all things John Lennon. Paul McCartney let HIS WIFE officially join the band and got a new songwriting partner in Denny Lane. But Wings was Paul McCartney and Wings, 2 guys who told the rest of the band what to play (basically the setup for the Get Back recordings.) And George Harrison thrived without anyone bullying him around.
Which brings us to today. If John Lennon wasn't assassinated in 1980, I'm more convinced than ever that, eventually, the Beatles would have gotten back together. Why am I so sure?
Because of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Last week the Red Hot Chili Peppers released their latest single Black Summer.
It's an amazing video. It was like a time capsule back to the mid 00's. John Frusciante had left the band in 2009, but the magic of the Chili Peppers, in hindsight, was Kiedis, Flea, and Frusciante.
I loved the Chili Peppers since album 3 (Uplift Mofo Party Plan,) but looking back at their inception, they occupied a very unique place between punk and funk. Fight Like a Brave was nothing more than good pop punk.
If you listen closely to Black Summer, the bass/guitar/singer interplay is as timeless as anything the Beatles did. Kiedis/Flea/Frusciante create magic, they just took a very different (and drug addled) path.
But John Frusciante has only been in the Chili Peppers for about 16 years and the rest of the group is pushing 60. He put out a dozen solo albums and disappeared into the nothingness for a while....
What I'm getting at, though, is that few Rock Bands in history have captured the vocal/guitar tandem that drives that rock sound. When Lennon and McCartney locked eyes at the end of Get Back Part I, that was timeless. If Lennon wasn't killed, McCartney/Lennon could have reunited in in the year 2000, dusted off that Beatles catalog, and then worked on something new. That bond would have always been there, just like that unseen bond of the RHCP.
But Black Summer gave me hope. Hope that a few young people can lock eyes and create a new generation of rock. It only takes an unspoken bond between that singer and their guitarist(s). A poet paired with a friend who loves their instrument.
More often than not, bands end up driven by one voice or end up like Rockin' Al:
There will never be another Beatles or Red Hot Chili Peppers, but hopefully instead of trying out for American Idol, which helped ruin the music business, some teens are in a garage right now finding the pulse of a new generation.