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In a discussion of culture versus history on this edition of The Gang, Denis Pombriant cites The Beatles as examples of change agents who have used rock and roll to alter the arc of history. “Just understand that four children from Liverpool changed the whole culture of the world. Not immediately, but over time. With the release of nearly 8 hours of documented footage from the start of the band’s last year of existence, those of us who revere the production and impact that ended some 50 years ago may have have now reached our limits. As I endured the three-part saga every Thanksgiving weekend night, I kept thinking that was finally enough.

Maybe Jack Dorsey thought the same as he stepped down as CEO at Twitter. Conventional wisdom says he was either asked to leave by a board of directors crammed with corporate raiders and disgruntled investors, or he simply did. I think he did a really good job with a social network that he invented and loved by his built-in fans. Recent social software such as newsletters and Clubhouse clones have brought the company to an interesting place on the road where it can play the role of a post-war Hollywood studio managing the transition to a new era of media. by subscription.

Saturday morning, I’m about two hours away from the end of The Beatles Get Back, and it was more than I expected. For days, I joked that this was finally the end of the story, but it’s nothing like it. The thing that was created might be over, but the band is really taking its place in the history of the world. Every day draws closer to when Lennon hopes to have passed the audition, but we already know the answer from the first moments. Yes it’s true, it’s true.

Harrison runs deep into the essence of what they’ve created, his anger fueling the project. The three songwriters ended up listening to each other on a pragmatic level, battling their fame but not wanting to give up just yet. Harrison and Ringo decipher Octopus’s Garden, but the core of the scene is George’s mastery of the entire Beatles envelope. As he sketches the chord structure of Ringo’s melody, he foreshadows the second part of the project, Abbey Road’s return to the magic of Beatle studios. As each chord resonates, the shimmer of the Beatle process appears, shines, and then is replaced by the following chord and process.

Lennon and McCartney exist more than each other, each somewhat frozen with the fatigue of grappling with each other. Harrison is more than willing to blow things up, but his ongoing narrative commentary is both precise and positive in his optimism. He’s been living in this jar long enough to know he’s the only one in the group pushing it forward. When he injects Billy Preston into the sessions, everyone can see what is obvious to Harrison. When McCartney goes down Let It Be, Preston disappears into the mix. Lennon craves the live-action sensation Preston summons, but McCartney won’t give up his apparent control of the project by endorsing a new member of the group.

A different hierarchy emerges in the film: without Lennon (asleep or anesthetized at home) the three defaults to McCartney but only work when Harrison is engaged. When McCartney senses the Frankenstein he activated in Harrison, he retreats into the relative safety of Lennon’s spirit of call and response. Ringo’s eyes widen as he awaits its opening, a coiled Cheshire cat. Harrison sets trap after trap for those who seem oblivious to comment later on what was going on. George Martin is a third consecutive project to unravel this slow-motion fusion, but seems surprisingly ineffective at adding oomph to the string flowing through the room. Watch Harrison’s eyes as he glances at the camera for only the footage needed to make a smile. He’s the director, screenwriter, and author of this thing.

Several unanswered questions: What happened the day the group banned cameras at Saville Row? Before the break and palpably after, the music tightens as the band applies some of their magic to the material. Harrison’s Get Back lead guitar changes places with Lennon’s rhythm guitar. The presumed wisdom is that the Quiet Beatle organizes after the Twickenham sessions stop, but the results suggest otherwise. McCartney’s Rooftop Chops are transformational across all tracks, a sign the songs locked themselves in a pocket to be ripped in the studio weeks later on the tracks of Abbey Road I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Something and Come Together.

Don’t believe conventional wisdom. Now that we’ve all been in the room, who’s kidding who? Not McCartney, who opened up about divorce long before the project ran aground in the drafty studio in Twickenham. Not Lennon, who knew months earlier that the group was in trouble when their manager passed away. The Magical Mystery Tour debacle should have convinced them that they couldn’t just direct a TV show, but they tried again anyway. George Martin was not their producer; he was their mentor. Ringo married a Bond girl. They spoke a secret language to each other. There was no Fifth Beatle.

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The Gillmor Gang – Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live on Friday, November 19, 2021.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

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