• Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 21, 16:45 From what I can tell, someone was employing some pretty classic behavior modification techniques. John’s attitude changed very drastically in a very short time, and there’s no clear explanation for that.
  • Avatar Bernie and the Beatles Comment by Hologram Sam on Jan 21, 16:40 This is the one! @SenSanders pic.twitter.com/yHO4e7mfVV — Demi Moore (@justdemi) January 21, 2021
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Roma C. on Jan 21, 15:58 Do you really think so, Michael, about John coming back only because of the smoking cure? Could you elaborate on why you think that? Because to me it seemed like he was sick of taking care of himself and just wanted his Mother back, and that he already knew about the shady stuff she would pull on him but followed along.
  • Nancy Carr Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 21, 08:45 Brian Wilson used many of the same musical effects that Phil Spector used, only better and with a lot more positivity, IMO. There’s a dark desperation in a lot of Spector’s work (even “Be My Baby, for example) that I really don’t care for. It’s hard to describe, but I think he often chose to record songs that had an “unhinged” element, emotionally, and that he used production to amp that effect way up. Essentially, Spector was an extremely effective craftsman and a damaged, destructive human being. I’m not ready to agree that *all* early rock was substandard, though. Without Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, for example, it’s hard to see the Beatles or many other “classic” rock bands taking the shape that they did. Add in Little Richard, too.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Elizabeth on Jan 21, 05:28 @Annie M – It’s an appalling comment and Lewisohn should have known better than to make it. Not just as a journalist, but as a human being. We can all think what we like, but sometimes we need to keep our thoughts to ourselves. This was one of those times. That Lewisohn can’t see that makes me question his maturity and/or his emotional intelligence. It’s also obvious that he HATES Paul McCartney, as you wouldn’t say that about someone you didn’t hate. It’s about as appropriate as questioning whether the photograph of Yoko and David Geffen at the hospital on the night John was killed was staged. You might think it to yourself, but it would be extremely inappropriate to make a public statement announcing it – because you are just that clever. Awful, just awful.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michelle on Jan 20, 20:56 He could have called in sick. Just kidding. He was in shock and the only way he knows how to cope is to bury himself in work. And he never shows his feelings. But he didn’t look himself in that video – chewing gum, giving short answers, eyelashes glued together. He said recently that he’s still in denial about John’s death. Really? To me, not having anything to say on the day of a loved one’s sudden death shows a person’s devastation more than delivering a eulogy. It seems like an assessment Lewisohn made in retrospect, because Paul is often criticized for competing with John’s ghost, complaining about revisionism in the wake of John’s death, etc.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 20, 20:15 As a normal adult, there’s a lot of reasons Paul might’ve been annoyed at that moment, not least of which could be, “My friend just got shot and STILL you’re hounding me? When will I ever get some privacy?” To assign it to Paul being jealous of a dead man seems…fannish.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Laura on Jan 20, 19:41 After losing control of Northern Songs, John and Paul both sold their shares. Although it would free up cash, it seems short-sighted to me. Does anyone understand the ins and outs of such things? About AKOM, they’ve recorded three new episodes and I think one will be out in a couple of weeks. (There’s decades worth of Jean Jacketry.)
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Annie M on Jan 20, 13:45 What sort of person would claim to know how someone who had suffered a devastating loss was feeling? Who talks like that about anyone? . @Elizabeth: I remember well my dismay at reading that statement by Lewisohn. For those who don’t know, he said in an interview that when he watched Paul’s face in the “it’s a drag” footage the day after John’s death, he could tell Paul was annoyed by and jealous of all the good press John was getting. For being murdered. (Lewisohn could tell this because he’s such an “astute watcher” of McCartney and has special insight into him somehow, apparently.) Well, my jaw dropped and it rudely dashed my hopes for his objectivity and evenhandedness. In a way it’s good he said it and tipped his hand, so we know where he’s coming from.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 20, 12:14 This seems right to me. Also the “going back to our roots” fetish — as if Spector-era rock and roll hadn’t been a fucking wasteland. That’s why The Fabs were so big.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 20, 12:11 A lot of people who were teenagers in the 1950s loved Phil Spector. And he was important for a short period of time, in that limited way. But when was the last time you heard a Spector-produced song not affiliated with The Beatles? “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” is a great-sounding record, but so is (randomly) “Wall of Confusion.” Is Norman Whitfield ALSO a genius? To me, he’s Richard Perry with a gun fetish. A creature of early 60s youth culture hype. “Hey old people! Something’s happening! It’s a YOUTHQUAKE, and you can read about it in the pages of The New York Herald Tribune Sunday Magazine, when Tom Wolfe introduces you to the weirdest, wildest cat in the millionaire-making world of pop records!”
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 20, 12:01 Because John didn’t want to handle his own business affairs, and had no brother-in-law to turn to. 🙂
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Velvet Hand on Jan 20, 10:41 Nancy and Michael (re. “Allen Klein was a bad dude”) – couldn’t agree more. We may also want to consider that under Klein’s “guidance”, the Beatles failed to take over Nems as desired and lost all control of Northern Songs. In fact, it appears to have been confirmed on 19 September 1969, the day before John announced that he was quitting the group, that Northern Songs finally and completely fell to ATV. I’ve read it said that this may have been the final straw for John, but if so, why didn’t he “divorce” from Klein as well?
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Michelle on Jan 20, 10:28 Has AKOM run its course? They haven’t done anything in a while. Looking for new jean jacket material, I’m guessing.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Michelle on Jan 20, 10:26 He was Brian Wilson’s favorite producer.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by notorious_g_i_b on Jan 20, 09:55 For my money, Jim Steinman did the same stuff Phil Spector was doing in the Seventies and Eighties, but better, and with much less ponderous self-seriousness. (Which does not make him any more of a quality human being — I speak from experience — but at least you didn’t get a feeling of dread like @Hologram Sam seems to have from Phil’s stuff… just unbridled hedonism. And, well, in that case the shoe really fits.)
  • Avatar John and Mimi Comment by Elizabeth on Jan 20, 05:10 What a very interesting topic. I have a lot of thoughts about it, and am able to speak from experience as my youngest son is adopted, and I know many others who have also adopted from the care system in the UK. To me, it is absolutely clear that John’s issues came from unresolved early childhood trauma. They are classic attachment issues that you see with all children who have been removed from their biological parents and/or spent time in the care system. Even children who have been removed at birth and placed with one consistent caregiver exhibit behaviours associated with attachment disorder to some degree. Because so much is now known about early childhood trauma, and how that impacts the rest of a child’s life, anyone who adopts or fosters a child is given training on how to recognise and cope with these behaviours. It is very very difficult to cope with a dysregulated child, and nearly every adopted child I know has required additional interventions at various points – for example, when they start school – because they need absolute consistency and cannot cope with any type of transition or disruption. Poor Mimi. She did her best, but the damage was done. This is a child who was made to share a bed with his mother and her various lovers. That’s abuse. I know that’s difficult for Julia Baird to hear, but it is a fact. In 1945, there would have been no training for Mimi and no interventions for John. He was clearly traumatised – the fact that he was expelled from his first infant school is clear proof of that. A 4 year old child – a baby – does not act out in a way that leads him to be expelled from school without serious underlying trauma. This was a child screaming out for help, but no help was available to him – except that which Mimi could provide, which was a loving home with consistent care. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions about the tone of Mimi’s letter to John either. Mimi speaks like everyone from Northern Britain and says exactly what she thinks. That doesn’t mean she was a cold person – I can hear the affection underneath the abrasive words, just as John would have been able to, because I have a cultural understanding of how Northerners talk. I can also guarantee that Mimi would have given John her last penny. Mimi did not cause John’s mental health issues. They were the result of unresolved early childhood trauma (including sexual abuse – which he had experienced when made to share his mother’s bed), compounded by drugs and fame on an unimaginable level.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Velvet Hand on Jan 20, 04:02 Hi Michael – I think it’s quite possible that John and George became so keen on Phil all of a sudden in early 1970 because he was known for producing music that sounded nothing like what George Martin and team had made with the Beatles, i.e. another “f*** you Paul” gesture. After all Paul had always been the most interested of all the group in what GM/the engineers did (if people like Geoff Emerick are to be believed), and what they did was essentially “not in bad taste at all”. Having (sort of) put one over on Paul with Phil’s re-arrangements on Let It Be, they may have proceeded to have their own records recorded by the same guy to make it clear that they had no interest in going back to Beatleland (in 1970-72 at least) – “f*** you even more Paul”! Which is kind of sad. But then, John is said to alternately have been on heroin and Brandy Alexanders throughout the first half of the 1970s and George was in thrall to a fairly unworldly religious cult, so I can’t claim to even begin to empathise with their behaviour at that time. Cheers!
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Hologram Sam on Jan 20, 03:23 Here’s an interesting and appalling overview of Spector’s life and career and crimes: https://www.vulture.com/article/phil-spector-music-producer-murderer-obituary.html#_ga=2.124693642.1462890152.1611141380-1279915749.1611141380 The time between Clarkson’s killing and Spector’s imprisonment was one of the more reprehensible spectacles of how celebrities accused of sexual inappropriateness and worse in the pre–Me Too era were given a pass. Spector was allowed out on bail. He was free to travel to New York. A long Esquire article by Scott Rabb chronicled a night of partying there with David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and others. In the piece, a 6,000-word feature done up with wan attempts at classic Esquire style, Clarkson is treated with palpable contempt.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 19:55 $$$$$$ No Yoko, no rights to John’s image and voice. At the very least a huge legal battle before it all even began. Probably a pro-Yoko competing Anthology, with Wenner’s backing. And so forth.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 19:54 The problem here is that the internet provides too much data, and pushes a narrative that “my ignorance is just as good as your expertise.” Data is not the problem; it’s judgment.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 19:51 Allen Klein was a bad dude. He’s a type, one I’m familiar with, and wherever they go, they ruin shit. Everything he did well, others could do (Stigwood for example). Klein wanted to “Nanker Phelge” The Beatles’ catalog, that’s why he said, “I’ve got ’em!” not “Maybe I’ll call ’em and see if they need any help.” Epstein turned a bunch of amateurs in leather into the biggest group there ever was; that’s a talent. Klein turned The Beatles into four people who hated each other so much you literally COULD NOT PAY THEM ENOUGH to make music together. If Lewisohn doesn’t call Klein a villain simply for that, he’s too naive to be writing this story. All Klein had to do was keep the band together. That was his only job. Getting them £1 per LP means bupkes if they’re making solo records selling 500,000 units instead of Beatle records selling 20,000,000.
  • Avatar John and Mimi Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 19:40 I have close family who were adopted and I will never forget the kindness shown to them by their adoptive parents. That is a special kind of love.
  • Avatar John and Mimi Comment by Grace on Jan 19, 19:32 This breaks my heart because I was adopted by loving parents too and for that reason, always saw Mimi as John’s main guardian, no questions asked. She raised him day in, day out, she provided for him, she cared about him immensely, as you can see if you read his biographies and watch the interview with her right after he died. They spoke on the phone at least once a week until he passed. It’s so sad to me that John claimed to be an orphan and spent so much time with his biological father who clearly only became interested when money was involved. I love this letter and it conveys Mimi exactly as I always imagined her. Adoption is more common than people think and I wish there was less stigma around it. I think that would have helped John as well, since I read that he was bullied because his parents weren’t around.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Elizabeth on Jan 19, 17:08 @Michelle – Sean wasn’t born when John went back to Yoko, so John’s decision had nothing to do with him. Sadly, I do think that John was a ‘grovelling, high maintenance guy’. I don’t think he started out that way, but it’s what drugs turned him into. I really doubt whether you want to know what my feelings are about Yoko. I do have a tendency not to sugar coat things, so it’s probably best that I don’t say because I WOULD cause offence. However, I will say this: one of the truest things that Paul wrote was in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. Paul has brought joy to millions of people, and when he dies, the whole world will grieve. I doubt whether many tears will be shed for Yoko, and that’s on her for the way she’s lived her life and how she’s treated others. I won’t be shedding any tears for sure.
  • Nancy Carr A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 14:04 Michelle, speaking for myself, I was thinking mostly of the pre-1975 interactions between Lennon and McCartney, before Sean was born. I don’t have any doubt at all that for both men, family changed them and made it harder to “go back” to what was. For what it’s worth, I think Klein really behaved like a villain, and that the person in the Beatles story that he hurt most was quite likely Lennon. Lennon wrote “Steel and Glass” about Klein and came to take a very dim view of Klein’s ethics, and I find the tendency in some quarters to gloss over Klein’s behaviors troubling. What Klein did with The Rolling Stones and the whole “Nanker Phelge” business was dirty for sure. As for the Beatles break up, Klein didn’t create the conditions that precipitated it, but he seems to have served as a potent accelerant. Lewisohn I see as caught between the proverbial rock and hard place: he needs access, and getting access from just about ANY uber-famous and powerful person is complicated. I have respect for all the Beatles’ children — none of them seem to be destructive, and many, very much including Sean and Julian, are doing things that positively contribute to the world. I think that speaks well of all four members of the band, since those kids were definitely in a high-risk group for flaming out in one way or another.
  • Nancy Carr A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 13:56 Michael, I agree with you in essentials, I think. Certainly I think we need to be critical thinkers and ask who benefits from particular narratives. It’s when we get to the explaining away data part that I get especially concerned, since it’s so easy to adopt a conclusion and then pick the “facts” that support it. Hence the Q-Anon exhortation to “do your own research” comes with the unstated addendum “as long as it supports the current Q-Anon line.”
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Tasmin on Jan 19, 13:36 Why does Yoko seem to hold all the cards? It’s too bad that before George died, the three remaining Beatles didn’t come together and just be totally honest about Johns drug use, and Yokos part in that. They seemed to have skirted around the issue in Anthology. Do you think it was money? Meaning, without Yokos cooperation, Anthology couldn’t have been made? I’m wondering if because they all loved John, and wanted to honor his memory, they just acquiesced.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 13:02 @Erin, asexuality is fascinating to me because it’s so often left out of the discussion. 1% of people, according to a 2015 British survey, might be considered “asexual.” That’s a lot of people!
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 12:59 Is Yoko not in good health, @Michelle? I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve sent kind thoughts to her during COVID — all these people, they’re getting up there.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Michelle on Jan 19, 12:59 Woody Allen felt that with Wagner. He said when he listened to his music he had the sudden urge to invade Poland.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michelle on Jan 19, 12:51 Paul had a family to raise. What about John? Was his desire to raise Sean, to the point that he put his music career on hold, count for nothing? Being in a band was the last thing he wanted. Paul needed a band thoughout the ’70s, not him. In the 1984 Playboy interview, when Paul stepped out of the room, Linda said: “Paul was desperate to write with John again. And John was desperate to write. Paul could have helped him.” Sometimes the official story is the correct one. I know that you prefer to see John as a grovelling, high-maintenance guy who couldn’t stand on his own two feet (unlike Paul who rushed into marriage with a raving madwoman after Linda’s death because the thought of being alone was so scary to him), but if you can’t find the quote where Paul says that it’s all conjecture. And to top it off, John would blame Paul for… what? Something that’s a figment of your imagination? The fan-generated persecution complex when it comes to Paul – with Klein (still) and Lewisohn (of all people) has no bounds. Paul is doing all right for himself. As for the Lennon Estate, aka as the Evil Empire around here, Yoko apparently isn’t doing very well and Sean has already started to handle John’s business. Does that pass everyone’s approval?
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Tasmin on Jan 19, 12:29 Yes, Julian has every right to be angry and not forgive. I did hear an interview with him last year on The Beatles Channel (SiriusXM). He said he forgave Yoko because of Sean. He wanted a relationship with Sean, and it was important to him (Sean) to forgive her. I also think Paul forgave Yoko for 2 reasons: 1. Business 2. Before George passed, he encouraged Paul to forgive her for his own mental and spiritual health.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 12:25 Sure, but at the same time, we should also be equally able to see the needs of the institutions involved. It’s very easy to say, “Well, I want there to be UFOs for [reasons], so I’m biased.” That’s a much easier world to live in than the other side of the coin, which is, “Well, I know governments lie to us constantly and control information for their institutional benefit and the benefit of people inside them.” That’s also true. About ourselves, we have as much data as we can bear to excavate. In my case, I can tell you that as a person born in 1969 to an Irish Catholic family active in Democratic politics, the Kennedys (and MLK) were our household gods. But that only predisposed me to be interested in the Kennedys (as my nephew is, a generation later). What caused me to be interested in the facts of their murders was just that: the facts of their murders. Both that they were murdered — hmm peculiar — and that the official stories of both murders are at best infernally complicated and at worst complete whitewashes. Actually, that’s not quite all: my father died when I was young, under some murky circumstances. AHA, right? Well…only if there are murky circumstances. There is no good reason that the JFK/RFK narrative should be loaded with spies, but it is. It is easy for us to believe the national myths, of Camelot, of “the Kennedy Curse.” It is more difficult for us to acknowledge that 1) American rightwingers were terrified of a Kennedy dynasty, because it was a way around their attempts to prevent another Roosevelt. JFK until ’68; RFK until ’76; Teddy until ’84. And that’s all she wrote for conservatism and the GOP. Was that likely? Maybe not — but it’s what they openly feared, and spoke of, in 1961-63. 2) American rightwingers and their fellow-travelers in the military industrial complex were (and are!) all too willing to use violence to circumvent democracy. 3) Violence has been applied unequally in our society, as it was during the run-up to the Roman Civil War. Violence has really only struck people looking to reform within the system, and so the things that need to be fixed remain unfixed until they eventually explode. 4) In addition to the assassinations, you have Teddy’s plane crash in 1964, which he escaped by a hair’s breadth; and Chapaquiddick which some people suggest wasn’t as simple as it seemed. It was–like the assassinations–exceedingly convenient for one political side. So while we interrogate ourselves (I was predisposed to be interested), we must also interrogate reality and politics (that the violence all seems to benefit the Nixon-Bush wing of the GOP). This this last is never really addressed by the intellectual gatekeepers of society. Since they won’t, we have to.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 12:06 JohnandYoko is a religious belief.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 12:05 Yoko, as the martyr’s widow, and the woman wronged by fans, occupies a different place in the firmament from Paul or George. Ask Philip Norman; he’d spent decades burnishing John as the sole genius, and slagging Paul as a try-hard social climber—exactly the Yoko line—and the moment his book comes out, she pulls support and it’s DOA. The very same people who worship Mark Lewisohn (and there’s plenty to admire), are the people who believe Yoko is the keeper of the flame.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Michael Gerber on Jan 19, 12:02 As another professional editor, I concur on all points. Remember what brought Mark Lewisohn to prominence: researching and cataloguing. His work is wonderful in that regard, essential. But the Beatles’ story is vast and has been oft-told, so you really need superb fluidity at all levels — grand theme, structure, chapter breaks, even down to paragraphs. My favorite big Beatles book, from a prose style point of view, is Mark Hertsgaard’s, because he’s a superb writer. If I could wave a wand, I would install Lewisohn at Yale, make him the Paul Mellon Professor of Contemporary British History, and tell him to go research (I think Oxbridge is too snooty to discuss the Beatles for another 50 years, you’d need the prestige to get the access, and there is a strain of Anglophilia at Yale). Then he would do what he’s the best at, which is the digging and compiling, and from that trove other writers more skilled at longform historical narrative could create narratives. But we must remember: it is precisely Lewisohn’s flaws that make him acceptable to the four parties. Norman is full of questionable opinions, but it’s those very opinions that make him a great writer of his type. Grossman even more so. I think the definitive Beatles book won’t be Lewisohn’s, but the book AFTER Lewisohn, and after all four are dead.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Erin on Jan 19, 11:48 Michelle, if I may comment on what romantic friendship was/is–from what I understand, it’s basically friendship with an added element of romance that goes beyond what most people would consider friendship. So yes, holding hands, or other forms of physical affection that might seem exclusive to a committed couple; bed sharing; love letters; perhaps some kind of of priority and/or exclusivity, a commitment that is similar to a traditional romantic/sexual relationship. There might also be jealousy, wanting to be the other person’s #1 priority, etc. From the historical couples I’ve studied, there also seemed to be a sense of wanting to stay together/spend life together, even if they ended up marrying other people. Of course, what romance actually is varies. As a person who has studied a lot about asexuality, I can say that one can experience romance without sex, but what exactly that means is up for debate, even in the asexual community.
  • Avatar Speaking ill of the dead: Phil Spector Comment by Kristy on Jan 19, 11:45 Before I learned more about Beatles-world, every time I heard George Harrison’s “What is Love” I remember thinking, wow, this song would be improved by 200% if you removed about 20% of the backing tracks/instruments/sound effects. When I learned recently that Phil Spector had produced that album it all clicked. Too much going on. . Plus, Spector was a murderous dickwad. One thing that cracked me up on an AKOM podcast is when they made fun of Spector in the Imagine movie, when he’s all “haw haw, who’d want to do a Paul album?” One of the AKOM hosts shouts, “you did, bitch!” True dat.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Erin on Jan 19, 11:39 Nancy, good point. Society was much different back then. I’ve studied a lot of those romantic friendships and Boston marriages because I find them fascinating (and would love to have one!), but I also don’t know our society today can truly understand what they were. Michael, thank you for the encouragement! I’m honored to converse with such intelligent, thoughtful people.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Elizabeth on Jan 19, 11:30 ‘Yoko is a polarizing person, and there are fans who insist that the ‘Ballard’ narrative is true. It’s fruitless to argue with them, because they believe what they want to believe.’ Exactly. If you ask me, it’s the ‘Ballard’ that’s the conspiracy theory – misinformation and propaganda sold as truth to the gullible. It benefits Yoko, and Paul to some extent. But I’m not surprised by how much it has messed up Julian’s life. If I was him, I would never be able to forgive or get over it.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Tasmin on Jan 19, 10:56 Well said. I am happy that the Beatle kids seem well adjusted and socially conscious. Ringo and Paul are basically decent people. And mortal. Yeah, what is up with Morrison and Clapton? I know Morrison is a curmudgeon, and not a very nice person according to Graham Nash. But Clapton?
  • Nancy Carr A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 10:46 Tasmin, I agree that it’s challenging to put aside our emotions when we’re dealing with negative information about someone whose work we care deeply about. As a McCartney fan, I’ve now mostly made my peace with acknowledging that he can be dopey (“Fuh You,” ugh) and oversensitive to perceived slights (his prickliness in some interviews when he faces hard questions). He’s got his faults, for certain. I think the trouble starts when we need someone whose work we esteem to be beyond reproach, because no one really is. I’m just grateful that neither he, Ringo, or any of the Beatles kids or spouses is apparently doing anything actually destructive, like, for example, campaigning against masks and other covid mitigation measures (looking at you, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton).
  • Nancy Carr A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 10:40 Jesse, one thing that could limit the influence of Lewisohn is the reality that he’s not a good prose stylist. I’ve said before that Philip Norman, for all his faults, knows how to write in a compelling way, and that this is one reason Shout! became so influential. I won’t be surprised if most of Lewisohn’s influence comes from people quoting short passages, rather than from people reading the books themselves. I was initially excited to read Lewisohn’s first volume, but it turned into a real slog. He seems to struggle with editing, in two senses: 1) He can’t seem to see when he needs to leave less-essential information out, or cut the treatment of it way back, and 2) He’s not a good writer at the sentence/paragraph level. I say this as a professional editor, by the way.
  • Avatar A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Jesse on Jan 19, 10:10 I don’t think it would matter if Yoko starts to disown Lewisohn at this stage, if anything it would only bolster his image as the sole teller of the true story. George and as a result the Harrison estate fell out with him and Paul has voiced his displeasure in general with outsiders defining the narrative repeatedly, but this only resulted in even more admiration for Lewisohn, because people see it as proof that he is  incorruptible ( oh , and of course McCartney is constantly rewritting and whitewashing the story anyway…). The level of worship this guy gets is frightening. And if he continues to write at the same pace, neither Yoko, Paul or Ringo will be around any more to see volume 3 being published, so who is going to challenge his version?
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Tasmin on Jan 19, 08:20 Just have to add that I also agree with this part of your comment Nancy, “I think an important question to ask ourselves is “How much do I want this to be true?” or “How much do I want this not to be true?” and work to be honest about what we’re up to.” I admit I am guilty of not wanting to believe anything bad about Paul. He’s always been my favorite, and if I hear something not flattering about him, I get defensive for him. Granted, he’s a pretty non controversial person, but like you said, I have to ask myself how much I don’t want to believe anything negative.
  • Avatar A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Tasmin on Jan 19, 08:11 @Nancy, I agree 100% with this: “When people seem to NEED a particular narrative to be true — and when they appear to be deeply invested in explaining a lot of data away to do so — that’s when I get uncomfortable.” That seems to be the case with most hard core Trump supporters. In regards to the Beatles, I once got into an argument on the Washington Post comment boards, on a story about the Beatles. (This was a few years ago) I mentioned Yoko introducing John to heroin, which led to an argument about Yoko being a good person, who is unfairly demonized. As has been discussed here before, Yoko is a polarizing person, and there are fans who insist that the “Ballad” narrative is true. It’s fruitless to argue with them, because they believe what they want to believe.
  • Nancy Carr A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 07:28 “Which isn’t to say that Paul didn’t want to be John’s friend, or even that he didn’t want to work with John again. He just didn’t want to be responsible for John, or for a band in which he and John were ‘equal partners’” Well said, Elizabeth. Things for both men were different after the break up — marriage and (in Paul’s case) newly being a father were huge. It’s a cliche that “you can’t go home again,” but there’s a lot of reality in that statement. People change, priorities change, and at some point relationships have to be recreated or left behind. Just trying to go backwards never really works.
  • Nancy Carr A few thoughts on conspiracy theories. Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 07:25 To me, one big distinction between a responsible discussion of “alternative history” and a deep dive into “conspiracy theory” is the emotional charge involved. When people seem to NEED a particular narrative to be true — and when they appear to be deeply invested in explaining a lot of data away to do so — that’s when I get uncomfortable. I think an important question to ask ourselves is “How much do I want this to be true?” or “How much do I want this not to be true?” and work to be honest about what we’re up to.
  • Nancy Carr A sneak preview of Peter Jackson’s Get Back Comment by Nancy Carr on Jan 19, 07:20 ” . . . this puts someone like Lewisohn in a bit of a difficult position; if Yoko doesn’t cooperate, or cooperates and then recants her statements, his book and its sales are deeply marred. For his project to succeed, Lewisohn needs Yoko on board, 100%” Exactly. See also: Philip Norman. When he was writing his Lennon bio, he went out of his way to get Yoko on his side (and he’s said it was his remark that Lennon was “80 percent of the Beatles” that helped him get that access). Then, after the bio was published, Yoko pulled her endorsement of it. Now, in his more recent McCartney bio, Norman spends the intro explaining this background and essentially disavowing his earlier allegiance to the “Ballad of John and Yoko” version of history and his consequent harsh criticism of McCartney. “Access” is one hell of a drug.