I’ve been digging into the Beatles Anthology as of late thanks to Robin Coyle’s piece here. Somehow I made a few observations that escaped me during April 2012’s A to Z Blogging Challenge: Beatles Edition. I thought I’d share them here. Here we go:
- The Beatles Anthology is much more complete than I ever imagined. It nicely set the stage for Love years later, both the Cirque de Soleil show and the album.
- The Beatles gave it their all and truly loved one another. I’d realized this before, but it is an inescapable conclusion of the Anthology.
- John, Paul, George, and Ringo were first and foremost fans. In describing their various musical influences, it is clear they remained in awe of the likes of Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Ronettes, and more, long after they achieved fame themselves. Their desire to take that music further is what ultimately led to their success and their continued popularity.
- Both “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” were better songs than I remembered, and even better videos. They were modest hits at the time of release, but at the time I didn’t really register their significance or how truly good they really are.
- The Beatles Anthology is truly a gift to fans. In the extra segments in the Anthology, Paul, George, and Ringo discuss the technical difficulties in making both “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” from unfinished and unreleased Lennon tracks. They state that “Free As A Bird” is truly a Beatles song, while “Real Love” is much more similar to John Lennon’s solo work. I couldn’t agree more. It says a lot about the band that the three remaining Beatles (at the time) put aside petty grievances to complete the work they started so long ago, and include their slain band mate in a fundamental way. All of them had long established solo careers at the time of the Anthology and could have easily walked away from anything relating to the Beatles; they didn’t
I have to say, after reviewing all of the extras in the Anthology, the ukulele scene at the end of “Free As A Bird” gets to me even more now. I think most Beatles fans recognize it as a tribute to John Lennon. Legend has it that John’s mom, Julia, taught him to play the ukulele first. When John and Paul first became friends, Paul had to teach John guitar chords as he still played the ukulele chords his mom taught him.
But it gets even better. According to the director, George wanted to play the ukulele in the ending scene of “Free As A Bird.” The director said no. At the time he wanted someone not recognizably a Beatle to play it. Of course, after George passed away in 2001, the director felt horrible about his decision. I can imagine George wanted to play it as a tribute to John.
I suppose that is what I absolutely love about the “Free As A Bird.” There are so many references to Beatles songs in the video I notice something new every time I watch the video. It literally covers every aspect of their career. I have no idea how any band could ever top their career and everything they accomplished. It may be cliché to say that or even admit to being a Beatles fan. I simply don’t care. Sometimes things are cliché simply because they are true.
- New ‘Beatles Stories’ Documentary Out This Fall (wcbsfm.cbslocal.com)
- The Beatles Anthology ~ A Must See (robincoyle.wordpress.com)
- The Beatles Jubilee (marciokenobi.wordpress.com)
- 11 Things You May Not Know About John Lennon (mentalfloss.com)
- What marketers can learn from the Beatles (newmediaandmarketing.com)
- Happy 50th, Beatles! (japantimes.co.jp)