The less eternal question

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Latest posts by Ed Park (see all)

Which New York Observer film critic had the more interesting Beatles mention last week?
Andrew Sarris, on the Scorsese Stones doc Shine a Light:

When I was teaching at the School of Visual Arts in 1965, all the students seemed to be fanatical Stones fans, listening to their songs incessantly on the cafeteria jukebox. They seemed determined to make me see how wrong I was to prefer the Beatles, as I had implied in 1964 in The Village Voice (I had raved about A Hard Day’s Night, which I designated as “the Citizen Kane of juke-box musicals”). I still like the Beatles, but to put it as brutally as possible, where are they now?

Rex Reed, on Mark David Chapman biopic Chapter 27:


What I saw was the bloody body of not just a revered and peace-loving Beatle, but a shy friend and neighbor as naïve and unsophisticatedly middle-class as he was celebrated. He was an odd but decent guy, and I liked him. Once, when I signed a petition to protect him from deportation during an unpleasant, overpublicized drug investigation into his life and career, he rewarded me with a thank-you note and a year’s subscription to TV Guide.


Reed (of whom I am perhaps not the biggest fan) lives in the Dakota…
He was there!

I will never forget helping a shocked and sobbing Yoko and what was left of her husband into the police car in which he died…

Decision: Rex Reed on John Lennon!

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar Michael wrote:

    There are some GREAT Stones songs–my classic rock station just started playing one right now–but there’s something, well, fake about them. They started out as fake black guys from the Delta, then became fakely psychedelic; when that didn’t work, they were fakely evil for a while.

    None of them have much imagination or much to say, which is why they can keep cranking out the same tunes decade after decade. Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad they exist and like some of their tunes, especially when I’m buzzed. But this “debate” is totally, well, fake.

  2. Avatar ed wrote:

    Yeah, I saw the Reed review too and I too had to laugh over how desperate he wants to MATTER in the Lennon assassination.

  3. Mollie Mollie wrote:

    Well, first of all, neither of them is really talking about the Beatles so much as they are talking about themselves. But nobody does that better than good ol’ Rex!

    Your take on the Stones rings very true for this listener, Mike. I find it very difficult to sit through anything from that regrettable “fake psychedelic” era. My husband makes another point about why there’s no “debate” here — Stones songs, enjoyable though they usually are, must be performed by the Stones in order to succeed. It’s all about their particular sound/vibe. Where are the Beatles now? Being covered and recontexualized endlessly from one end of the musical spectrum to the other. And where are the noteworthy, imaginative Rolling Stones covers? (The version of “Start Me Up” from the A Mighty Wind soundtrack is the exception that proves the rule.)

  4. Avatar Michael wrote:

    Just to torment me, “Breakfast with the Beatles” is doing Beatles vs. Stones. The guest co-host is Little Steven.

    I think the debate becomes legit only in late ’68–in other words, once John has basically left the band. The Stones vs. Paul, George, and Ringo is a very reasonable debate.

    “Where the Beatles are” is reminding people that it’s no longer 1965, and hasn’t been for a long time. If those were your salad days, you’ve gotta subtly resent that; and be similarly grateful to the Stones for grinding along all these years. Nostalgia’s like those last sliver-spoonfuls when you’re scraping a bowl of ice cream; sweet, but never enough. (Can you tell I’ve discovered lactose-free Breyer’s?)

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