PAUL: We started Let It Be in January 1969 at Twickenham Studios, under the working title Get Back. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was the director. The idea was that you'd see The Beatles rehearsing, jamming, getting their act together and then finally performing somewhere in a big end-of-show concert. We would show how the whole process worked. I remember I had an idea for the final scene which would be a massive tracking shot, forever and ever, and then we'd be in the concert.
The original idea was to go on an ocean liner and get away from the world; you would see us rehearsing and then you'd finally see the pay-off. But we ended up in Twickenham. I think it was a safer situation for the director and everybody. Nobody was that keen on going on an ocean liner anyway. It was getting a bit fraught between us at that point, because we'd been together a long time and cracks were beginning to appear.
GEORGE: I think the original idea was Paul's - to rehearse some new songs, pick a location and record the album of the songs in a concert. We would learn the tunes and record them without loads of overdubs: do a live album.
PAUL: I don't think we were consciously going for live feeling in those sessions. I'd say that's probably true, but I don't remember being conscious of trying to make it live. They were quite good sessions once we got into Apple Studios later on, and I remember sitting round quite enjoying the music. It was interesting music to play.
GEORGE MARTIN: They were going through a revolutionary period at that time, and were trying to think of something new — and they wanted a new engineer. They have Geoff Emerick, so Glyn Johns came in. I guess basically they wanted a new producer, but they never actually said that to me. So I was still there.
At the same time, they did actually come up with a very good idea, which I thought was well worth working on. They wanted to write a complete album and rehearse it and then perform it in front of a large audience. A live album of new material. Most people who did a live album would be rehashing old stuff, but they thought: 'Let's have a completely new album that nobody has ever heard, and put it in front of an audience.'
It was a great idea, except that you couldn't have an open-air concert in England in February and there was no venue available that would take The Beatles and their crowds. So we then started thinking about staging it abroad, we thought about doing it in California, but that would have been too expensive. We thought of going to Marrakech and importing people – but that fell through. In the end, because there was so much vacillation, there was nowhere left at all. So they started rehearsing down in Twickenham Film Studios, and I went along with them.
But there was a lot of dissension and lack of steering. Really, they were rudderless at this time. They didn't like each other too much and were fighting amongst themselves.
JOHN: What can’t we do if we can’t think of any sport of gimmick? Well, the worst that we have is a documentary of us making an LP, if we don’t get into a show. All the things we do, the whole point of it is communication. And putting in on TV is communication, and we’ve got a chance to smile at people, like ‘All You Need Is Love’. So that’s my incentive for doing it.69
JOHN: I wasn't consciously making any decisions. It was all sort c subconscious and I just made the records with The Beatles like one goes to one's job at nine in the morning. Paul or whoever would say, 'It's time to make a record.' I'd just go in and make record, and not think too much about it. Always I've enjoyed the session if it was a goo session. If we got our rocks off playing, it was fine. If it was a drag, it was a drag. But it ha become a job.80
PAUL: I remember once, at a meeting to discuss Let It Be, John saying, 'Oh, I get it. He wants a job.' And I had said, 'I suppose that right, yeah. I think we should work. It would be good.' They had all been quite happy to have the summer off, and I had felt we ought to do something.
As time went by, I'd talked them into Let Be. Then we had terrible arguments - so we get the break-up of The Beatles on film instead of what we really wanted. It was probably better story - a sad story, but there you are.
NEIL ASPINALL: I'm not sure whether everybody was behind the idea of going to Twickenham. They'd decided to film whatever the were doing. It was the producer Denis O'Dell's idea that, if you were going to film it, you needed space for cameras. They had used Twickenham Film Studios before for Help! and A Hard Day’s Night, so they ended up out there.
Twickenham was very cold in January, and a strange place to fee making an album. It was like half recording am half filming. It didn't really feel right. Nobody was that comfortable out there. It was a big sound stage in a film studio - and they were working on portable equipment because it wasn't equipped as a recording studio. Trying to work creatively, with every single moment of what they we doing being filmed, was not ideal for making a record.
PAUL: IN FACT WHAT HAPPENED WAS, WHEN WE GOT IN THERE, IT SHOWED HOW THE BREAK-UP OF A GROUP WORKS. WE DIDN'T REALISE THAT WE WERE ACTUALLY BREAKING UP AS IT WAS HAPPENING.
JOHN: It was hell making the film Let It Be. When it came out a lot of people complained about Yoko looking miserable in it. But even the biggest Beatle fan couldn’t have sat through those six weeks of misery. It was the most miserable session on earth.70
GEORGE: I had spent the last few months of 1968 producing an album by Jackie Lomax and hanging out with Bob Dylan and The Band in Woodstock, having a great time. For me, to come back into the winter of discontent with The Beatles in Twickenham was very unhealthy and unhappy. But I can remember feeling quite optimistic about it. I thought, ‘OK, it's the New Year and we have a new approach to recording.’ I think the first couple of days were OK, but it was soon quite apparent that it was just the same as it had been when we were last in the studio, and it was going to be painful again. There was a lot of trivia and games being played.
As everybody knows, we never had much privacy - and now they were filming us rehearsing. One day there was a row going on between Paul and me. It's actually in the film: you can see where he's saying, 'Well, don't play this,' and I'm saying, 'I'll play whatever you want me to play, or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play. Whatever it is that will please you, I'll do it...'
They were filming us having a row. It never came to blows, but I thought, 'What's the point of this? I'm quite capable of being relatively happy on my own and I'm notable to be happy in this situation. I'm getting out of here.'
Everybody had gone through that. Ringo had left at one point. I know John wanted out. It was a very, very difficult, stressful time, and being filmed having a row as well was terrible. I got up and I thought, 'I'm not doing this any more. I'm out of here.' So I got my guitar and went home and that afternoon wrote 'Wah Wah'.
RINGO: George left because Paul and he were having a heated discussion. They weren't getting on that day and George decided to leave, but he didn't tell John or me or Paul. There'd been some tension going down in the morning, and arguments would go on anyway, so none of us realised until we went to lunch that George had gone home. When we came back he still wasn't there, so we started jamming violently. Paul was playing his bass into the amp and John was off, and I was playing some weird drumming that I hadn't done before. I don't play like that as a rule. Our reaction was really, really interesting at the time. And Yoko jumped in, of course; she was there.
PAUL: If I made a suggestion and it was something that, say, George didn't want to do, it could develop quite quickly into a mini-argument. In fact George walked out of the group. I'm not sure of the exact reason, but I think that they thought I was being too domineering.
It's easy for someone like me, who likes to get stuff done, to come on too strong. I get excited and I get too keen about something, and talk too fast - 'Oh, we could do that and we'd be there on Monday morning - Twickenham - we'll do it - it's great...' And then it got a bit difficult. I would say, 'It would be great if we could film The Beatles working. It would be fabulous.' And they'd be like, 'Well, are you sure you want to do it that way?' It was getting a very lukewarm reception - and I didn't quite realise how I was.
Looking back at the film now, I can see it could be easily construed as someone coming on a bit too heavy; particularly as I was just a member of the band and not a producer or director. For my part it was just enthusiasm, and I'd sit and talk with the director. But I think it led to a couple of barneys, and in one of them George said, 'Right. I'm not having this!' I think I was probably suggesting what he might play, which is always a tricky one in a band.
On 'Hey Jude', when we first sat down and I sang 'Hey Jude...', George went 'nanu nanu' on his guitar. I continued, 'Don't make it bad...' and he replied 'nanu nanu'. He was answering every line - and I said, 'Whoa! Wait a minute now. I don't think we want that. Maybe you'd come in with answering lines later. For now I think I should start it simply first.' He was going, 'Oh yeah, OK, fine, fine.' But it was getting a bit like that. He wasn't into what I was saying.
In a group it's democratic and he didn't have to listen to me, so I think he got pissed off with me coming on with ideas all the time. I think to his mind it was probably me trying to dominate. It wasn't what I was trying to do - but that was how it seemed.
This, for me, was eventually what was going to break The Beatles up. I started to feel it wasn't a good idea to have ideas, whereas in the past I'd always done that in total innocence, even though I was maybe riding roughshod.
I did want to insist that there shouldn't be an answering guitar phrase in 'Hey Jude' - and that was important to me - but of course if you tell a guitarist that, and he's not as keen on the idea as you are, it looks as if you're knocking him out of the picture. I think George felt that: it was like, 'Since when are you going to tell me what to play? I' in The Beatles too.' So I can see his point of view.
But it burned me, and I then couldn't come up with ideas freely, so I started to have to think twice about anything I'd say - 'Wait a minute, is this going to be seen to be pushy?' - whereas in the past it had just been a case of, 'Well, the hell, this would be a good idea. Let's do this song called "Yesterday". It'll be all right.'
GEORGE: Personally I'd found that for the last couple of albums – probably since we stopped touring – the freedom to be able to play as a musician was being curtailed, mainly by Paul. There used to be situation where we'd go in (as we did when we were kids), pick up our guitars, all learn the tune and chords and start talking about arrangements.
But there came a time, possibly around the time of Sgt Pepper (which was maybe why I didn't enjoy that so much), where Paul had fixed an idea in his brain as to how to record one of his songs. He wasn't open to anybody else's suggestions. John was always much more open when it came to how to record one of his songs.
With Paul, it was taken to the most ridiculous situations, where I’d open my guitar case and go to get my guitar out and he'd say, 'No, no we're not doing that yet. We're gonna do a piano track with Ringo, and then we'll do that later.' It got so there was very little to do, other than sit round and hear him going, 'Fixing a hole...' with Ringo keeping the time. Then he'd overdub the bass and whatever else.
It became stifling, so that although this new album was supposed to break away from that type of recording (we were going back to playing live) it was still very much that kind of situation where he already had in his mind what he wanted. Paul wanted nobody to play on his songs until he decided how it should go. For me it was like: 'What am I doing here? This is painful!'
Then superimposed on top of that was Yoko, and there were negative vibes at that time. John and Yoko were out on a limb. I don’t think he wanted much to be hanging out with us, and I think Yoko was pushing him out of the band, inasmuch as she didn't want him hanging out with us.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO STATE THAT A LOT OF WATER HAS GONE UNDER THE BRIDGE AND THAT, AS WE TALK NOW, EVERYBODY'S GOOD FRIENDS AND WE HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE PAST. BUT TALKING ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THAT TIME, YOU CAN SEE IT WAS STRANGE.
RINGO: George was writing more. He wanted things to go his way. When we first started, they basically went John and Paul's way, because they were the writers. But George was finding his independence and he wouldn't be dominated as much by Paul - because in the end Paul wanted to point out the solo to George, who would say, 'Look, I'm a guitarist. I'll play the solo.' And he always did; he always played fine solos. It got a bit like, 'I wrote the song and I want it this way,' whereas before it was, 'I wrote the song - give me what you can.'
PAUL: After George went we had a meeting out at John's house, and I think John's first comment was, 'Let's get Eric in.' I said, 'No!' I think John was half joking. We thought, 'No, wait a minute. George has left and we can't have this – it isn't good enough.'
RINGO: We all went to visit George at his house and we told him we loved him, and it got sorted and then he came back.
JOHN: Paul had this idea that we were going to rehearse, more like Simon and Carfunkel, looking for perfection – and then make the album. And of course we're lazy fuckers and we've been playing for twenty years, for tuck's sake – we're grown men, we're not going to sit around rehearsing. And we couldn't get into it, and we put down a few tracks and nobody was in it at all.
It was just a dreadful, dreadful feeling and, being filmed all the time, I just wanted them to go away. We'd be there at eight in the morning and you couldn't make music at eight in the morning, or ten, or whatever it was, in a strange place with people filming you, and coloured lights.
It was another one like Magical Mystery Tour. In a nutshell, Paul wanted to – it was time for another Beatle movie or something – he wanted us to go on the road, or do something. And as usual George and I were going, 'Oh, we don't want to do it,' and all that. And he sort of set it up. There was all discussions about where to go and all that. I would just tag along, and I had Yoko by then, and I didn't even give a shit about nothing. And I was stoned all the time, too, on H, etc. I just didn't give a shit – nobody did. Like in the movie, when I got to do 'Across The Universe', Paul yawned and plays boogie, and I immediately say, 'Oh, does anybody want to do a fast one?' That's how I am. So year after year that begins to wear you down.70
PAUL: These things had been going down in Let It Be: George leaving because he felt he was being told what to do (I think that's why he left). Ringo had earlier left because he didn't think we liked him as a drummer. That wasn't as difficult to solve as maybe George's thing was, but at the same time John was looking to get out of the situation, and I think we were all really feeling that some cracks were appearing in the whole edifice.
JOHN: By the time The Beatles were at their peak we were cutting each other down to size. We were limiting our capacity to write and perform by having to fit it into some kind of format, and that's why it caused trouble.71
It's not that we didn't like each other. I've compared it to a marriage a million times, and I hope it's understandable for people that aren't married or in any relationship. It was a long relationship. It started many, many years before the American public or the English public knew us. Paul and I were together since he was fifteen and I was sixteen. It's a long, long time that the four of us have been together. And what happened was, through boredom and too much of everything – Epstein was dead, and people were bothering us with business – the whole pressure of it finally got to us. So, like people do when they're together, they start picking on each other. It was like 'It's because of you – you got the tambourine wrong – that my whole life is a misery.' It became petty, but the manifestations were on each other because we were the only ones we had.
Maybe it was the camera of Let ft Be - the idea that we were going to try and create something phoney. The camera went on and it almost happened in Magical Mystery Tour, but we'd managed to just pick a little magic out.
BY THE TIME WE COT TO LET IT BE WE COULDN'T PLAY THE CAME ANY MORE. WE COULD SEE THROUGH EACH OTHER, AND THEREFORE WE FELT UNCOMFORTABLE, BECAUSE UP TILL THEN WE REALLY BELIEVED INTENSELY IN WHAT WE WERE DOING AND THE PRODUCT WE PUT OUT, AND EVERYTHING HAD TO BE JUST RIGHT. AND WE BELIEVED SUDDENLY WE DIDN'T BELIEVE. IT'D COME TO A POINT WHERE IT WAS NO LONGER CREATING MAGIC.76
GEORGE MARTIN: Paul was trying to keep things together by bossing people around because he’s quite good at that, but John and George didn't like it at all.
John was being more difficult because he was always with Yoko, and he would turn up very late or not at all – and it got into very awkward circumstances. John was going through a very problematic period when we were making the record. He actually said to me: ‘I don't want any of your production shit. We want this to be an honest album.' I said, 'What do you mean by an honest album?' He said, 'I don't want any editing. I don't want any over-dubbing. It's got to be like it is. We just record the song and that's it. I answered, 'OK, if that's the way you want to do it' that's what we'll do.'
We would start a track and it wasn't quite right, and we would do it again... and again... and then I'd get to Take Nineteen: 'Well John, the bass wasn't as good as it was on Take Seventeen, but the voice was pretty good, so let's go on again.' Take Forty-Three: 'Well, yes...' So you go on forever, because it was never perfect – and it got very tedious.
GEORGE: I was called to a meeting out in Elstead in Surrey, at Ringo’s house that he bought from Peter Sellers. It was decided that it would be better if we got back together and finished the record. Twickenham, Studios were very cold and not a very nice atmosphere, so we decided to abandon that and go to Savile Row into the recording studio.
NEIL ASPINALL: By January 20th they decided to move to Smile Row. Alexis Mardas was building a studio there, although it wasn't finished. The control room and the console had wires everywhere, so they had to take the portable equipment in there. But the studio itself, the actual room to play in, was much nicer, much cosier and they were much more at home.
RINGO: The days were long, and it could get boring, and Twickenham just wasn't really conducive to any great atmosphere. It was just a big barn. Then we moved to the new studios in the basement of Apple to carry on.
The facilities at Apple were great. It was so comfortable, and it was ours, like home. It was great to go to, and when we weren't working we could sit round the fire, which we'd had put in because we wanted it really cosy.
It was only at the playback we realised that we couldn't have the fire, because when we listened we heard 'crack, crack, crack.' We'd say, "What the fuck is that?' and then we all worked out that it was the firewood crackling in the fire! We'd spent so long in studios that we wanted to be cosy, but it didn't work, of course. We had to put the fire out when we were recording.
Glyn Johns was working with us on the album and it didn't seem to work out, so we went back to George Martin.
GEORGE: I don't know why George Martin had not been involved at that time. Somebody had the idea of having Glyn Johns, maybe just for a change. It was definitely nothing personal.
Savile Row was a nice building before the builders got in there and turned it into Tesco's. I remember going round there when we were thinking of buying it, and the basement was fantastic. There was a huge fireplace and oak beams, and somebody said it was where Jack Hylton used to have his nightclub. We thought, This is great! We'll be down here writing and making records.'
By the time it had been made into a studio, it was covered all over, and made into a crappy place with polystyrene ceilings. The original culprit was Alex, who 'built' the sixteen-track studio with the sixteen speakers, which they had to rip out and redo. You only need two speakers for stereo sound. It was awful.
But even with the alterations, it was a better place to be.
GEORGE MARTIN: Magic Alex said that EMI was no good, and he could build a much better studio. Well, he didn't, and when we recorded in Savile Row I had to equip it with EMI gear.
The Apple offices were pretty sparse at trial time, clinical and groovy with white paint – a nice place to be – but the studios were hopeless, because they were just empty rooms. In fact Magic Alex, for all his technical expertise, had forgotten to put any holes in the wall between the studio and the control room, so we had to run the cable out through the door, and we had a nasty twitter in one corner that came from the air-conditioning which we had to switch off whenever we made a record. Apart from that, it was ideal!
RINGO: I THINK EVERYONE WAS GETTING A LITTLE TIRED OF US BY THEN, BECAUSE WE WERE TAKING A LONG TIME AND THERE WERE MANY HEATED DISCUSSIONS GOING ON. ABOUT LIFE. ABOUT EVERYTHING.
PAUL: Facilities were OK at Apple because George Martin did what he'd done out at the Twickenham Studios: a bit of a 'lash-up so it was good. The studio wasn't finished, but it was perfectly good technically.
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1. /Paul Harris - Close Up Fantasies Book Two.pdf
1. /Paul Harris - Close Up Fantasies Book One.pdf
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У всех пошли неотложные дела, и нам посоветовали вначале найти спонсоров. В это время я поселился у друзей в Москве и, как в Челябинске,...
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