Monday, March 10, 2008

An intelligent discussion of the Beatles

Composing the Beatles Songbook: Lennon & McCartney 1957-1965: It's rare when a Beatles DVD that tries to summarize their career in any way makes any kind of sense. The store shelves are filled with slap-dash DVDs of the same old Beatle clips with shallow histories of the Fab Four.
Composing the Beatles Songbook: Lennon & McCartney 1957-1965, to be released March 18 in the U.S., is a very rare and welcome exception. The 80-minute film is an intelligent (for a change) roundtable discussion of the Lennon and McCartney partnership by a number of well-known rock musicians, journalists and authors and broadcasters. The fact some of them have strong Beatle connections gives the project even more credibility. Those on board include Klaus Voorman, who drew the "Revolver" cover, Barry Miles, co-author of Paul McCartney's biography and Maureen Cleave, the journalist to whom Lennon uttered the infamous quote comparing the Beatles and Jesus, and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who has interviewed Paul McCartney for an official audio interview released by Columbia Records when Paul was on that label. Also on the disc are veteran journalist Robert Christgau (Village Voice), Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone), authors Johnny Rogan, Pete Doggett, Steve Turner and Nigel Williamson.
The group analyzes the development of Lennon and McCartney as songwriters. The disc includes clips from "The Ed Sullivan Show," The Royal Variety Performance and other appearances, plus there are clips of the Rolling Stones, the Byrds and Bob Dylan. Any discussion of Lennon and McCartney is, of course, subjective, but we think this disc will provoke a lot of discussion on its own. The disc includes extras with extended interviews, biographies and a Beyond DVD section. Don't miss this.