Sunday, March 1, 2015

And In The End, The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make.

I've been listening to The Beatles a lot recently.

Anyone who knows me well may not think this is particularly surprising. I collect Beatles music, books, newspaper cuttings. I've read hundreds of books on them (yes, hundreds) and I'm even acknowledged in one for my comments and critiquing. But for the past few years I've listened to them in much the same way a casual fan would listen to their albums.

I used to listen more like a scholar, (OK, some would say obsessive freak), comparing this mix with that mix, this take with that take, even this pressing with that pressing. I'd listen to hours and hours of Get Back rehearsals, listen to them as they created and constructed their songs. As they chatted about the weather, the news, even what's for lunch. I loved nothing more than finding a fragment of conversation or (oh my goodness) a song I'd never heard before. But with the advent of the internet, I think it all became too easily available and I no longer had to hunt for things. Perhaps too I had access to too much and I became blase about what there was.

But a break is as good as a holiday, they say, and I'm back into it, deep into 1969 rehearsals and listening to perhaps the greatest band the world will ever know as they implode and self destruct.

It makes me sad.

I watched the rooftop session last night. The last live performance they ever gave. It was a cold January morning and they shuffled up onto the roof of the Apple building to run through some songs. And for a few precious moments, you can see them happy, lost in the songs, actually enjoying making music together. Which is unbelievable considering the misery the rest of those three weeks were for them.

And then with a couple of police officers telling them to pull the plug, the dream was over.

None of them could be bothered even touching those rehearsal tapes. They were given to Phil Spector who cobbled the Let It Be album together. Sure, they went back into the studio six months later and recorded Abbey Road, a swansong, but it was never going to be the same again.

Yoko wasn't at fault for the breakup. She was a symptom. As was Linda, Ringo's film-making and George's exploration of all things Indian and spiritual.

If only. If only John and Paul had agreed to sit down and work things out. If only the others had been keen to continue. If only The Beatles were still The Beatles.

Watching them on the rooftop, grinning, flubbing lines, living in the moment is exciting. But it's also sad.

Only a few months after Woodstock, the sixties were over, The Beatles on the rooftop and The Rolling Stones at Altamont had killed the dream.

Write. Read. Make art. Create music. Live the dream. Don't regret. The time is now.

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