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November 17, 1995 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

vital and valid today as they were
during the Summer of Love.
It's not just the durability of
their hits, even the twinky pop
tarts like "Penny Lane." Or the
likelihood that you'll hear some
Muzak version of "Yesterday"
every time you step on an eleva-
tor.
Or the plethora of Beatles mu-
sic that's dressed up TV com-
mercials under the money-
minded stewardship of copyright
owner Michael Jackson. (The fi-
nancially strapped Jackson and
his new partner, Sony Corp.,
may be willing to sell the rights
to Beatles songs back to Paul Mc-
Cartney, who has not been hap-
py with Jackson's commercial
use of Beatles tunes.)
It's simply that the Beatles
provided the model on which
every pop band that came in its
wake is based, right up to the
Pearl Jams and Smashing
Pumpkins of the world — which,
by the way, have been known to
cover a Beatles tune or two.
Before the Beatles, rock 'n' roll
was a solo game, the purview of
an Elvis Presley, a Chuck Berry,

a Jerry Lee Lewis; the most rec-
ognizable bands, the Crickets
and the Comets, for example,
stood placidly in the shadows of
the stars they supported.
The Beatles brought to the
fore the idea of the band as a self-
contained unit, a gang of kindred
spirits. When Elvis performed on
the "Ed Sullivan Show," all the
boys wanted to be singers and
learn to swivel their hips. When
the Beatles played, all the boys
— and even some girls — called
their friends and wanted to put
together a band.
That's the Beatles' primary
contribution to music. Every
group, right up to and beyond
Hootie & the Blowfish, is mere-
ly the latest incarnation of a
model that formed during the
early '60s in Liverpool.
"The Beatles
Anthology" is
the story of a -
band — its be-
ginnings, its ex-
its
istence,
At
demise.
six hours (10 in
Britain), and

El TL

even longer in the home-video ver-
sion that's due out next year, "An-
thology" is rich in details,
previously unseen footage and
frank revelations by its partici-
pants.
What it lacks is perspective;
"Anthology" is a myopic project.
There's no doubt that it's the de-
finitive story of the Beatles, but
its scope is limited. It doesn't re-
ally give the band its due as a
force of great change in popular
culture.
And for all its virtues, and
they are plentiful, "Anthology"
does reflect the tight control of
the Beatles' organization. The in-
terviews are limited to the band
members — Lennon is repre-
sented by old audio tapes and
video clips — and a handful of
intimates such as record pro-
ducer George
Martin and the
usually reclu-
sive Apple di-
rector, Neil
Aspinall.
There's noth-
ing from the
BEATLES page 75

GARY GRAFF

SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

everal years ago, when he
was asked what interest-
ing Beatles music re-
mained in the vaults,
producer George Martin had a
standard answer.
Not much.
Maybe a couple of things, he
said, alternate versions of a hit
or two. "Ifs a question of choic,e,"
he cautioned. "You can put out
everything the Beatles ever did
or said or breathed, and you'd be
bored stiff. Some of the stuff
wasn't great."
But now, after a year of as-
sembling three double-albums'
worth of material to go along
with "The Beatles Anthology"
TV documentary, Martin has
changed his tune.
"When I said those things
before, I was speaking from
memory," explains Martin, 69,
who produced the Beatles' mu-
sic between 1962-69. "What
changed my mind was having
to listen to these things again.
For a whole year, I've been
sitting in these studios listen-
ing to takes I had long forgot-
ten."

S

"There were quite a few sur-
prises. I didn't expect to find so
much."
Besides being heard on the
"Anthology" TV special — which
debuts 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC
— Martin's labors also have re-
sulted in the three Anthology al-
bums. The first hits record
stores Tuesday and includes
"Free As a Bird," one of the two
new songs the surviving Beat-
les recorded from a demo tape
made by the late John Lennon,
as well as 59 other pieces.
Among them are the very
first recordings Lennon, Paul
McCartney and George Harri-
son made, in 1958; the Beatles'
first audition tapes from 1962;
cheeky covers of show-biz stan-
dards like "The Sheik of Araby"
and "Besame Mucho"; an as-
sortment of concert perfor-
mances; snippets of interviews;
and alternate takes of hits such
as "Love Me Do," "Can't Buy Me
Love" and "A Hard Day's Night"
The next two volumes, which
will be released during the first
half of 1996, will offer similar
gems from later stages of the
Fab Four's history.
"I'm trying to tell the story of
the Beatles in sound," says Mar-
tin, who chose not to produce
"Free As a Bird" or "Real Love,"
the other new recording for An-
thology . "The time has come, 25
years after their dissolution, to
close the door on an extraordi-
nary chapter of British music.
That's what we're doing," he

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3

In His Life

He loved them all.
George Martin talks
about "the world's
greatest band."

THEY
IN
FINALLY, A COFFEE CAFE WHERE
REALLY KNOW BEANS ABOUT COFFEE.

says.
Martin says he was visited
frequently by McCartney, Har-
rison and Ringo Starr while he
was assembling the Anthology
music, And he was most pleased
to see that his former proteges,
who split up rancorously in
1970, were closer to the four
charming and witty lads he met
in 1962.
"Occasionally all three of
them would be sitting around
the control room and start rap-
ping about old times," the pro-
ducer. recalls. "Ringo, because
he doesn't live here, was not as
frequent a visitor as the other
two, but they've all been having
their input, their selection.
"Working with them in the
studio again has been an ab-
solute delight They found them-
selves again; it was almost as
if John has been with them, too.
There's a great spirit of cama-
raderie. They really do love each
other."
And how does his opinion of
the Beatles in 1995 jibe with his
assessment of them after their
first audition for him?
"They have turned out better
than I thought they would ever
turn out," says Martin, who
plans to retire from producing
next year to concentrate on a se-
ries of TV shows about music.
"I thought they were great
then; I think they are even
greater now. There's no question
that in my life they're the great-
est thing I ever had the good for-

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