Beatlemania!

Aside from MST3K, I think the group that has had the biggest influence on my life has been the Beatles. Their humor, their creativity and their talent has done so much for me.

My father was a film historian, so we had a video tape recorder pre-VCR that recorded on one-hour reels. One of the movies we had was Yellow Submarine, taped off TV with a break in the middle when the reels had to be changed. I probably wore those reels out, and then, when we got a VCR and got a tape of Yellow Submarine, I wore the tape out. I used to be able to recite the entire movie from beginning to end.

Of course, that got me into the music. My father, who didn’t normally like rock music, had an LP of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band which I also wore out.

When I was a little older, I saw A Hard Day’s Night and I still think it’s one of the best musical films ever made. It’s absolutely brilliant. (I admit I do have a fondness for Dick Lester’s films.)

Most recently, I watched all eight hours of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back, which I thought was brilliant and such a difference from the Let it Be film. Watching those two, it’s like you’re watching two completely different sets of Beatles make the same album.

Of course, not everyone likes The Beatles. I’ll end this with something for those of you who don’t like the Fab Four-

8 Likes

For anyone else like me who watched Comedy Central on a loop in the ‘90s, you probably watched The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash on a loop. It’s one thing to parody something, but it’s another thing to parody something well. The songs in it aren’t just good as parodies of The Beatles’ music; it’s actually good music on its own! Through the magic of Discogs, I recently obtained the soundtrack album, and it’s just as good as I remember.

Here’s one of the songs on the album, “Ouch”, a parody of “Help!”

8 Likes

I agree wholeheartedly. The music was great, I suspect thanks mostly to Neil Innes. The parody was brilliant, and if you’ve ever seen the documentary The Compleat Beatles, many of the scenes track very closely.
The scene with Bianca Jagger helping Eric Idle’s Paul-type character compose a song had me rolling on the floor.

3 Likes

Apparently John Lennon loved the Rutles movie so much that he refused to give back the preview copy they gave him.

4 Likes

I’ve spoken of this elsewhere…

The Beatles weren’t just a band I liked, something I listened to, they were, aside from my parents, the most important, life-changing element in my life. Growing up, I knew I was looking for something, I just didn’t know what it was until I found them. Then it was like, “Oh yeah, I want this, I want to do this too”

The music was the soundtrack to my life, it’s been with me every day since I discovered it. My lists of favorite songs, favorite band, favorite albums, all topped by the Beatles. The books, the movies, I have it all, love it all.

5 Likes

I’ll admit that while I do like some of the Beatles songs, they’re far from my favorite group. But since there are some big fans here, I’d like to ask a question that has always bothered me.

What’s going on with “The Long and Winding Road”? The lyrics are quiet and soft, but there’s this bombastic orchestration going on that doesn’t seem to fit with the tone of the song at all. I think I’d love the song without that.

1 Like

That’s Phil Spector’s overproducing.

I think you’d like the original, more pared-down version from Let It Be… Naked, which is Let It Be but without Spector’s meddling.

Billy Preston’s magic comes through so much better here.

7 Likes

Yes! That’s much more fitting to the lyrics and tune! Way better than the one I’ve heard before.

3 Likes

It is possible that I found some inspiration from the Fab Four.

9 Likes

So glad you like it!

3 Likes

My favorite song ever? “Blackbird.”

3 Likes

If you watch the Get Back documentary, there are several scenes where Paul is noodling around on a piano with Long And Winding Road. Beautiful. He does the same with Let It be and again you can hear the artistry in the music and the lyrics without the added noise.

3 Likes

Movie wise: The Mads have spoken about Python as being the originators of a style of comedy they like, though in truth it was the Goons that started that (and maybe someone even further back inspired them). But you can see that type of comedy in Beatles films. The intermission in “Help!” (for example) was Goons-like / later, Pythioneqsue.

A Hard Days Night is a classic, but Help is really funny IMHO.

4 Likes

The Rutles was created by Monty Python’s Eric Idle along with Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band for their show Rutland Weekend Television. Innes had incredible musical talent, so it’s not surprise that the music is (almost) as good as the originals.

Innes also did the soundtrack for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

3 Likes

I consider Spike Milligan to be “Patient Zero” of what later came to be called “Pythonesque” humor. Without him I think the history of comedy over the past 70 years or so would be very different.

4 Likes

The mock heroic theme that played between a lot of scenes was library stuff, but all the rest of the music in the movie was Neil’s.

2 Likes

Here’s a fun George Harrison video with some Pythons: George Harrison - Crackerbox Palace - YouTube

2 Likes

I just remembered another Neil Innes-Beatles connection. The only band other than The Beatles to perform in a Beatles movie is The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the movie Magical Mystery Tour. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band featured Vivian Stanshall and… Neil Innes.

2 Likes

They played “Death Cab for Cutie” in the movie, with Stanshall on lead vocals. I like this song better, though, with Neil singing.

1 Like