re-reading Emerick's book...

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re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby ahawk66 » Thu May 20, 2010 10:21 am

...and it's amazing to me that those 4 guys weren't able to take a deep breath at some point, sit down together and hash out the future in some way that they could still make music as a group periodically while still going their own way. It's all speculation on my part, but it's nice to be able to do that sometimes with things.

Anyway, Emerick's description of them recording Abbey Road was interesting because the vibe seemed to be OK for most of it (Yoko's bed in the studio notwithstanding). Plus, certain scenes are really poignant, like when they were doing the harmonies on "Because" and when they were doing the final guitar solos for "The End". Emerick's description of how all the crap melted away in those moments even had him wondering what they could've done had they stopped to assess for a bit. I know that the myth might not be as great without the way things played out, but it just piqued my daydreams. They were so close that at times they couldn't stand to be around one another (like a family, really), but, again, there were those scenes like John and Paul having a great time recording "The Ballad of John and Yoko" together.

To continue my little daydream, it would have been interesting to see them sometimes involved with each other's solo albums (not just all helping Ringo on occasion or George and Ringo's "Plastic Ono Band"/"Imagine" work). But to think that Lennon-McCartney would get together every now and then and bat around a few tunes that would've ended up on "Wall and Bridges" or "Venus and Mars". Not a full-time partnership, but something that they could do for a lark every now and then because they were good at it. The book has me going back over a lot of their stuff (again). Brilliant, which is probably why I'm on this board and writing this in the first place...
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jgkojak » Thu May 20, 2010 10:49 am

those 4 guys weren't able to take a deep breath at some point, sit down together and hash out the future in some way that they could still make music as a group periodically


There are a number of reasons why that was not possible:
1) Drugs. John was heading down the path to heroin addiction at the time- he would sober up between Abbey Road and POB (hence the primal scream therapy). Addicts are rarely reasonable people. And John at that point was an addict. Its always interesting how much people discount the impact of severe addictions on band relationships.

2) Business. The contract and business situation under Allen Klein was untenable. In the end Paul was right, but had Paul not sued and things went down as they did, the Beatles business would have been tangled up through much of the 70s, and they could not have made music had they wanted to. As it is, they probably couldn't have done anything together prior to 1973.

3) The payoff. John and Paul on Venus and Mars? Really? It does not pay off one bit for John and Paul to have collaborated in any way other than a "big event". Say John contributed some lyrics to "Listen To What the Man Said"- a contingent would have been disappointed. Say Paul played bass on "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out"... they are giving up their biggest asset- simply, they had people offering them a billion dollars to reunite. Paul may have been financially fine, but the other three were not. You don't destroy your biggest potential paycheck for a one-off. The dirty secret is Double Fantasy was stalled below the top ten and Starting Over was not heading to No. 1 until after John's murder. Had John's comeback failed commercially and he stuck around, I could see him wanting to hook up with Paul again.

4) The Who? When Pete started doing solo records, Roger accused Pete of keeping all his best stuff for his own album (frankly, Let My Love Open the Door and Rough Boys woulda been better as Who songs). Mick said the same about Keith in the late 80s. You think John, Paul and George, in the midst of releasing solo stuff, could have met in, say, 1974, and pulled off a Beatle record without the same stuff going down?
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby mr h atom » Thu May 20, 2010 11:48 am

..."weren't able to take a deep breath..."

here's one: ego...big boys bickering

go read/listen to the wenner interview with john...it was all about the ego: who was the top dog, who had the last say, who made the direction.
didn't matter at all who was right or wrong, it was all about being THE ONE.

they stuck together, for a while, but, it was touch and go since the moment brian e. died
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jgkojak » Thu May 20, 2010 11:59 am

And John's comments always struck me as disengenuous.

No one wanted to do anything: George was aloof and tired of the whole thing, John was caught up in Yoko/his addictions. We would not have had anything after the White Album had Paul not rallied the trooops.
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby ahawk66 » Thu May 20, 2010 1:10 pm

Yeah, I agree with what you're saying. I was just daydreaming a little. John was so all over the map with drugs and Yoko at that time, that a break was definitely needed. His behavior was an x-factor, for sure (as was George's burgeoning independence and Paul's assertiveness in the studio, not to mention the business and other things going on). So many forces pushing down, so many egos. It would've diminished the myth. You're also correct that Lennon's murder put the myth into the stratosphere. I understand that things happened as they did and that's that, but I loved the book and it makes you root for different outcomes, even though it's a done deal...
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby mr h atom » Thu May 20, 2010 11:35 pm

agreed...in the video of the wenner interview, lennon is pathetic in his blaming paul, who, by lennons own words, only wanted to get back to work...if i read lennon correctly, he and george would've preffered to just all go their seperate ways a that exact moment.
everything i'd ever read seemed to indicate that there really hadn't of that much dissension up to that point; that it all began sometime after. john makes it clear he wanted out at that moment, which would seem to indicate he'd been thinking heavily about it for some time.
either way, the idea that the only ego at play was pauls, which john clearly states, is pretty frikkin preposterous.

moreover, such self-serving twaddle is made even more foolish when you think about the fact that, no matter how huge pauls ego might've seemed, there was absolutely nothing that made any of them enter a recording studio together again..except their own two feet.

that and they knew they would shoulder the entire blame for the complete break-up of the group: can't really blame paul if you stop showing up, no matter what the reason.
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jjs » Sat May 22, 2010 6:00 pm

those 4 guys weren't able to take a deep breath at some point, sit down together and hash out the future in some way that they could still make music as a group periodically


jgkojak wrote:There are a number of reasons why that was not possible:
1) Drugs. John was heading down the path to heroin addiction at the time- he would sober up between Abbey Road and POB (hence the primal scream therapy). Addicts are rarely reasonable people. And John at that point was an addict. Its always interesting how much people discount the impact of severe addictions on band relationships.


Lots of people don't accept the impact Lennon's drug use had on the Beatles, and how much these things contributed to the demise of the group. After years of reading dozens of books and articles, that's the conclusion I drew. There seemed to be this JohnAndYoko myth, and in the myth they weren't really that addicted, and whatever addiction they had they kicked in 1970, and all was well after that. But I read several books by insiders over the years that said they both continued to use on and off throughout the 70's. Yoko herself said in a radio interview that she had a "relapse", Fred Seaman said she used constantly while he was employed there. Yoko said John was "clean" when he was murdered. It's common knowledge that he smoked pot in the studio... so what did "clean" mean then? The implication is that she meant clean from harder substances. The general implication is that their drug abuse didn't end in 1970 as goes the myth.

jgkojak wrote:2) Business. The contract and business situation under Allen Klein was untenable. In the end Paul was right, but had Paul not sued and things went down as they did, the Beatles business would have been tangled up through much of the 70s, and they could not have made music had they wanted to. As it is, they probably couldn't have done anything together prior to 1973.


Managing the business themselves was a huge mistake. Apple was a huge mistake. Being a master songwriter doesn't mean you possess master business skills. They should have stayed out of business. Friends should never go into business together. Everyone knows this.

jgkojak wrote:3) The payoff. John and Paul on Venus and Mars? Really? It does not pay off one bit for John and Paul to have collaborated in any way other than a "big event". Say John contributed some lyrics to "Listen To What the Man Said"- a contingent would have been disappointed. Say Paul played bass on "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out"... they are giving up their biggest asset- simply, they had people offering them a billion dollars to reunite. Paul may have been financially fine, but the other three were not. You don't destroy your biggest potential paycheck for a one-off. The dirty secret is Double Fantasy was stalled below the top ten and Starting Over was not heading to No. 1 until after John's murder. Had John's comeback failed commercially and he stuck around, I could see him wanting to hook up with Paul again.


Your argument breaks down here. Your assertion that the other three were not "financially fine" is entirely incorrect. Paul had "more" money because of his music catalog investments, but because he had "more" doesn't mean the other three had "none". Not only did John have his Beatle fortune and consistent royalty cash flow, he had a string of successful albums in the 70's. And Yoko did a surprisingly good job of managing and investing his money. (I can't stand her, but I'm not going to lie) If he needed money, he would have never taken a 5-year holiday. George and Ringo both had successful albums early on, too. I think they all had "cash flow" problems while some early lawsuits pended, maybe you're thinking of this. I believe money was held up to the point where they were not even being paid for their own solo albums...which is why Paul put Linda's name on a few songs. Paul's share of the royalties would be held up, but Linda would have to be paid.

Also, they reunited on Ringo's album. And George John and Ringo all played on each others' early albums. I don't know if Paul or John played on songs contributed by the other, but the entire group was on the same Ringo album. Hardly a big deal.

"Double Fantasy" was stalled just below the top 10, but you have to be fair and put this in context. By this time, The Beatles light was faded. Paul's string of #1 albums was over (Londontown didn't hit the top and Back to the Egg was a low top-10 album) And George could no longer hit the top 25. Lennon's death surely helped DF, but it helped TOW and George's SIE too. After these albums, all of them resumed their slide down the charts until their respective "comebacks" George's "Gone Troppo" barely charted at all, and "Pipes Of Peace" didn't crack the top 20 in the US. "Milk and Honey" fared a little better, hitting #11.

But it doesn't make sense that DF being a #11 album would cause John to want to work with Paul again. John's STINYC was a total failure, selling around 90,000 copies in it's initial release...at a time when "Beatle" still meant an automatic million seller. That didn't do it... why would DF? Money or fame was never a motivation for regrouping. It would have had to be just the right time,and the right thing to do. John ALMOST DID play on V&M. If PAUL hadn't stuck his big nose in and talked to Yoko, John very well might have done it instead of going home. To this day, I think Venus and Mars are John and Yoko, not Paul and Linda. I also think as soon as Yoko got wind of John and Paul cozying up and playing together, she decided to "let" John come home. Right.

jgkojak wrote:4) The Who? When Pete started doing solo records, Roger accused Pete of keeping all his best stuff for his own album (frankly, Let My Love Open the Door and Rough Boys woulda been better as Who songs). Mick said the same about Keith in the late 80s. You think John, Paul and George, in the midst of releasing solo stuff, could have met in, say, 1974, and pulled off a Beatle record without the same stuff going down?


The Who only had one songwriter. Fleetwood Mac made it work. Besides.. think about it. Would either of them risk holding back and letting the other potentially do better?
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jjs » Sat May 22, 2010 6:07 pm

I should mention that Fred Seaman's book has John wanting to work with Paul again around the DF time, but Yoko wouldn't have it. Fred flat out said Yoko hid messages Paul sent to John, including a note congratulating him for releasing DF. The idea that John wanted to work with Paul again was later confirmed in an interview with Jack Douglas, who was DF's producer. Yoko has been trying to squash this out of the Lennon myth since.
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jgkojak » Sat May 22, 2010 11:50 pm

The Who only had one songwriter. Fleetwood Mac made it work. Besides.. think about it. Would either of them risk holding back and letting the other potentially do better?


Not really. Buckingham dominated every record. Chris didn't care. Stevie did, but was powerless (ex lover and all).

I should mention that Fred Seaman's book has John wanting to work with Paul again around the DF time, but Yoko wouldn't have it. Fred flat out said Yoko hid messages Paul sent to John, including a note congratulating him for releasing DF. The idea that John wanted to work with Paul again was later confirmed in an interview with Jack Douglas, who was DF's producer. Yoko has been trying to squash this out of the Lennon myth since.


Now this I find exciting. I'm not sure where they fit into each other's worlds in the 70s... but... Tug of War... as The Beatles...

SIDE ONE
1. Take It Away (Paul)
2. Nobody Told Me (john)
3. All Those Years Ago (George)
4. The Pound Is Sinking (Paul)
5. I Don't Wanna Face It (John)
6. That's the Way It Goes (George)
7. Grow Old With Me (John)
SIDE TWO
1. Ballroom Dancing (Ringo w/Paul)
2. Borrowed Time (John)
3. Wanderlust (Paul)
4. Life It Self (George)
5. Be What You See (link) (Paul)
6. Real Love (john)
7. Tug of War (Paul)
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Re: re-reading Emerick's book...

Postby jjs » Sun May 23, 2010 1:28 pm

jgkojak wrote:Not really. Buckingham dominated every record. Chris didn't care. Stevie did, but was powerless (ex lover and all).


Huh? I'm a major FM fan. Where did you get the idea that Buckingham dominated every record? Stevie and Christine's songs always got the more attention and were the first choices for singles. Lindsey was FM's sound, but the songs the public paid the most attention to are Stevie's and Christine's. I'm not saying Lindsey didn't have his share of great songs but you couldn't be more wrong here. He really produced and arranged everything.. maybe he dominated in that way.

Now this I find exciting. I'm not sure where they fit into each other's worlds in the 70s... but... Tug of War... as The Beatles...

SIDE ONE
1. Take It Away (Paul)
2. Nobody Told Me (john)
3. All Those Years Ago (George)
4. The Pound Is Sinking (Paul)
5. I Don't Wanna Face It (John)
6. That's the Way It Goes (George)
7. Grow Old With Me (John)
SIDE TWO
1. Ballroom Dancing (Ringo w/Paul)
2. Borrowed Time (John)
3. Wanderlust (Paul)
4. Life It Self (George)
5. Be What You See (link) (Paul)
6. Real Love (john)
7. Tug of War (Paul)



Interesting.

You know what makes a good listen? I expanded the "Red" (62-66) and "Blue" (67-70) albums to include more album cuts (all the most popular songs) and then created fictional "Orange" (70-74) and "Green" (75-79) albums out of the 70's material. I did the same thing, using all the singles and best album cuts from each solo album, and arranged them in the order in which they were released. It makes quite the fascinating listen when you listen to the whole collection in order.

The whole John/Yoko/Fred Seaman/Jack Douglas thing is a fascinating read. If what went down wasn't fascinating, the steps Yoko took to discredit everyone involved in order to preserve the myth is something out of an episode of Dallas.
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