Latest posts by Nancy Carr (see all)
- Hey Dullblog Online Housekeeping Note - May 6, 2022
- Beatles in the 1970s: Melting and Crying - April 13, 2022
- The Beatles, “Let It Be,” and “Get Back”: “Trying to Deceive”? - October 22, 2021
The consistently illuminating and funny duo who run the comedy fashion site gofugyourself.com, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, just posted a photo of John and Yoko at Cannes in 1971 to promote their film Apotheosis. I highly recommend checking out Heather’s comment on the photo, and the site as a whole.
I’d never heard of this film. Wikipedia summaries it thus: “The film depicts a 17-minute-long journey on a balloon as it ascends and finally rises into the clouds. Lennon and Ono appear at the start of the film dressed in dark cloaks and hoods.”
I dunno about the cloaks and hoods, but taking off in a balloon sounds pretty appealing, given the current lockdown landscape many of us are inhabiting.
Genius is pain.
The comment above about members of the public heckling John and yoko in England was interesting. By 69, Murdoch had bought out the old main stately English evening newspaper and began to to his newspaper into a celebrity hating and heckling, public agitating rag. He eventually bought up more news outlets and caused others to follow suit. I have read that the British coverage of the late sixties and early seventies John and yoko performance art spectacle really affected them and caused them to leave England. Interestingly, I read that the British press really disrespects Paul and Elton and has ridiculed them for decades. Because of the brit press apparent hatred of rock stars, most left early on, like the stones, especially as brit tax rates were so high anyway.
Paul and Linda dodged the brit press for most of the eight years lived in remote area of Scotland then moved to windmill house in rural peas marsh. I was shocked to read in eighties articles ridiculing their choice of a home style.
I read and can tell from all of my old paper Beatle snd solo Beatle collection, that Americans as a whole were much more tolerant of brit rock stars then. The exception of course was the American rock critics and that very much depended on who you were and if they liked you, as those mags acted more as a fanzine to their favorites. America had a precedent with the Hollywood celebs and a celeb fascination then. All Beatles married American wives eventually …even yoko previous husband was American. Paul said wouldn’t marry a brit woman again after heather and Jane kept delaying marriage to him. The class system is still bad there and no matter how famous or rich, former Beatles would forever be seen as bourgeoisie to classes above them. John and yoko said, this as much as anything affected their choice to move to America.
I think British class system as relates to others relationship to the Beatles and as was within Beatles is a very interesting but little discussed subject. Brian was middle class merchant as was his friend peter brown. Brown barely disguised his class distinction snobbery and distain for low class McCartney in brown book the love you make and ridiculed Paul’s later art events pursuits and self education efforts as being a culture vulture, but he clearly had higher regard for the upper working class John. The middle class brown ridiculed especially the Beatles choices of home decorations, none more so than the low class ringo who he said bought cars he couldn’t spell, and brown went into lavish details about the subject. I’ve seen it mentioned along that not just age, but class played a role in John’s early Chief beatle rank. With later extreme fame of the group and its success in America the financial success of the individual members, class rank soon Became more fluid and faded somewhat.
@Pidpoo, we’ve discussed the UK’s class system a bit on this site, but as an American I perceive such things very imperfectly. That topic — which is at the very core of The Beatles — would require someone from that place (and time — it changes) to untangle it. I think we can say for sure that The Beatles suffered from the “pound the nail down” instinct; no matter how rich and famous they became, it was important for some to demonstrate that they didn’t escape — that no one can escape — the class hierarchy. It’s like patriarchy that way; it only works if everybody’s irrevocably trapped in it, and if anyone is seen to escape/ignore it, the people at the top must come down on them, hard. (This is a lot of what Trumpism is about, IMHO. The election of Obama was intolerable for those invested in America’s racial hierarchy.)
Good point @pidpoo about John’s leadership being as much about class as age, although I would call him middle class rather than upper working class. There is this peculiar investment in the British class system but it is a lot more fluid than even the British would like to admit – witness the rise of Paul’s family background through his mother’s work as a midwife from poor working class beginnings. Considering his maternal grandfather was an illiterate farmer, Paul had made a great leap even if he hadn’t become a Beatle. But isn’t it Paul who goes on and on about his working class roots with such pride? The others didn’t seem to care too hoots. George in particular settled well into moneyed Surrey and married a posh English girl in Pattie Boyd.
The British press did deteriorate once Rupert Murdoch, an Australian, took ownership of much of the British media. I say Australian because the Murdoch owned and Australian published magazines were and are some of the worst in the world for their attacks on high achievers. However, not everyone was totally adverse to the British press attacks on rock stars. They needed to be called out for the excesses of fame, drugs, obscene wealth, and the sexual degradation of women. If that included the Beatles, then so be it.
The British also have a deep dislike and distrust of hypocrisy and fawning ingrained into the national character, which is reflected in their culture and literature. May I be so brave as to suggest that the Beatles breakup had a good deal to do with America itself? It wasn’t just Britain that felt uneasy about the excessive adulation coming out of America but also the commonwealth countries as well. It’s not surprising that in all of these countries the solo Beatles lost a good many of their fans. There is a sense of American ownership of the Beatles now and it began towards the end – Americans in Klein and Eastman fought for their management, they married American or American-based women, they hired predominantly American musicians to work with, they lived and bought houses in America, and they pitched their solo music and concerts to the American market. Over the years they even lost their beautiful educated Liverpool accents. Paul in saying he wouldn’t marry a British woman again is sad and doesn’t exactly endear himself given the perception that he needs to be stroked.
In effect, to many outside America, the Beatles had lost what it was that made them so popular, so charming and unique – their quintessential Britishness. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-American at all – I grew up with both American and British popular culture and I love both.
This is a wonderful comment, thank you @lara.
There is a Ton Wolfe piece that coined the phrase “mid-Atlantic man” for a certain type of 60s/70s person, not wholly British, but definitely not American. I always thought the Beatles became that in 1968 or so. Prior to that, they strike me as (as you say) quintessentially British, and I love them for that. That is my favorite period—when the Beatles aren’t just British, which of course they were, but also a little European, from their german experience.
To the degree that the Beatles became Americanized — and not just The Beatles, but Peter Sellers, Monty Python, and Pete and Dud, in that order— the less interesting they are to me, because they begin to reflect not their British authentic life but a NY/Hollywood one that is pretty much the same no matter who is living it.
All comments above, bring up exceptional points. I do think Britain resented the high living rock stars because seventies Britain as well as rest of western world was in extreme recession and thatcher instituted extensive austerity measures. The great thatcher austerity I read led to the punk rock music as much as anything and the youth revolt there then. Macca did not, however, live a lavish lifestyle in England In seventies through nineties as lived in simple homes, bought his kids used clothes and spent more in them their birthdays and Christmas. Nevertheless, he was very wealthy then. It was heather who began buying all of the additional homes, took helicopters everywhere and lived garishly and macca said he didn’t live like that. She spent so much would have gotten way more in divorce settlement but judge tallied all Of her previous extreme spending and deducted from her part. The regular folks resented the wealthy then especially in the seventies and probably beyond because of their severe recession more the way trumpers today resent celebs. I think macca more than the others did not live as lavishly earlier possibly due to Linda’s influence and her love of the country, cooking, animals, etc, but in seventies ringo was jet setting with models and George bought an extraordinary 220 room mansion with big acreage, After linda died, macca was stuck with heather bought houses and London in a hard sellers real estate market and his living in London then more in America, was the urban lifestyle.
Liverpool folks openly spoke repeatedly of how Beatles never returned there to live. I liked every era of the Beatles and realized their extreme international fame changed them as it would anyone. I do think Paul’s background is important to him, so he tries to live more normally, taking public transit in England and I think he realizes that grounds grounds him better. John and George had servants and John’s servants had to cut up his steak in tint pieces. Paul has some household assistants and servants as well but George’s mansion and grounds were huge and all seventies info speaks of John Yoko servants at a time when Paul and Linda had a lady rode helped with kids on tours, As for their accents and Paul’s accent, Linda lived in England since 67 and acquired a type of transatlantic brit accent and Paul now has an American wife and seems to have lived last many years has lived in America as much or more than England. His teachers said he was Best at foreign languages and my hours of listening to his bootlegs show man is an extraordinary mimic and imitator of many accents and when on tours in other countries greets them briefly in their language. I saw an interview where he still pronounces saw as soar, however.
I loved their early British period but as am American was very glad they came to America, loved it and its music and toured it group and solo. Had they not done this, I would have never seen three of them live. I was in high school when Paul recorded in two different southern cities in US and I was thrilled as lived in the south. I think Paul had a bad experience with jane’s long delay of marriage to him and obviously with heather, that it soured him and she ran all over to the tabloids there. I have heard folks who have lived in another place so long say they feel more at home in the new place, as I’ve worked with many folks from other countries.
When you get to the. Beatles level of fame, you become more international and their wealth allowed them to make personal choices. Ringo had dual citizenship a long time though mainly lived in LA, but think he gave up brit citizenship. I was surprised with George’s history of money consciousness that he stayed in England with its excessive tax rate but was not surprised Paul stayed in England long as he did and is still a citizen. As someone who enjoyed their solo much as their Beatles careers, their main resident country would have changed so much about their lives had they made different choices along the way. Linda’s acquired brit accent never bothered me as Paul’s somewhat transatlantic American accent doesn’t bother me. Much as I’ve read on all of them. He has probably tried more than the others, not to judge them, but to live much as possible more like an ordinary person. The stern interview with him in his home showed a dual Then high quality well made mid sixties Gerard turn table model. My record forum dudes identified it immediately. The man could have long upgraded but had a good reliable system with parts that could be upgraded, so It is stuff like that and other things I’ve read that shows simple living. I just watched some wings over America videos and he had a small plane as cheapest transport to get from country to country but the band road in coach buses from city to city and sometimes to get him in the stadium he was either in a limo but usually a car.
Thank you for your feedback Michael, I was a little worried that I may have offended which wasn’t my intention. This social and racial stratification that afflicts humanity is such a strange thing isn’t it? The term mid-Atlantic of Wolfe’s was very astute – and far reaching. Perhaps we’re all a little mid-Atlantic now or “mid global” perhaps, particularly in the electronic age.
I too loved reading about the Beatles’ Hamburg years. Post-war Britain and Germany have often been portrayed as dull and grey but I found them fascinating at times. Perhaps it was the seed waiting to germinate. Excellent post on the passing of Astrid by the way.
@lara, it is always good to hear from those from other countries, though there is some xenophobia in the idea that Americans took the later Beatles and destroyed them. I literally read that extract statement in an online magazine in the last two years. There’s also some regionalism in how London then America took “our boys” and they never returned. Neither of the above two statements are directed at you personally, but reflect those increasing tendencies in the world. One of the most interesting things to me as an older fan is observing how perceptions of the Beatles evolved as a group on the sixties and as solo performances beginning in the early seventies till ends of lives of those who died and continue with those who live.
In relation to this, though, my city did not build a bigger inside area until 2014 so Paul never played here until that area complete and he was the first concert there . It costs more to set up multi shows one place and only worth it if ticket sales adequate. There have to bigger venues and Demand and ticket sales for an artist to play a place, as in Paul’s first huge Brazil concert. I have lived in music city Nashville since 1980 and country stars move and live here, as did Taylor Swift in her youth who immediately left when she hit the big time. Dolly Parten from East Tennessee is normally popular here, but I read is highly beloved in England. There is great truth to the Bible verse, a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.
As a youngster I too remembering the early sixties, I too was fascinated with the black and white, wool England and Germany era of the Beatles. Color TV and color photography’s importance on the psychedelic hippie art and music movement cannot be overestimated. I have to say though that I was soon swept up in the color world of psychedelic music, photos but most especially tv and secondarily fashion styles. I remember when only the high end more costly movies were made in black And when that changed. Most of the real photo pictures of the early Beatles In my massive Beatle fan photo collection are in black and white from early era to 66 and in color from 67 forward.
In relation to Astrid dying, she looked like twiggy before twiggy and I somehow acquired several of her beautiful 8×10 shots of the early Beatles in Hamburg. I had to buy these photos then, and remember these copies of her original negative pics were very expensive then. They are the oldest era Beatles pics in my collection, though I do have several 1963 era 1963 8×10 pics. I lived and emphasized pics and have many multiple photo albums of nothing but Beatles and solo Beatles pics from sixties and seventies. I know remember where I got them, but did in the very early seventies but my Astrid early Beatles real photos are by best Beatles pics though I have many excellent seventies first row solo Beatle tour pics and various random fan photo shots of them in Beatles era and afterwards.
For years, even possibly decades, the later Beatles and that entire era of the sixties was far more liked and in style than the mid sixties era. Eventually, it faded and younger fans now overall appear to be far more interested in early sixties music, hair and clothing styles. Even early sixties furniture and fabric styles are again the rage. The psychedelic era is out of style and the late sixties era music and fashions appear to be the most out of style now. Late sixties and seventies appearance and music styles are now positively ridiculed, nowhere more so than the constant dissings of what is now called the male mullet, but then called the shag hair styles because guys now wear much shorter hair styles and much more conservative style clothes now.
As for the living survivor Beatles, the public perceptions of them have truly changed throughout the decades. Paul’s public persona went from the true solitary living and rock singer outcast to the crowd drawing people pleasing big concert draw and ringo from the model chaser to the retired and later to the multi older act concert circuit performer. Solo Paul went from being viewed as an inferior hack pop performer to now being hailed by one musicologist to a rare in a century or two musical genius and a type of contemporary Mozart, a tier 1 songwriter credited by other living songwriters and a melody master. However, it is yoko now who now has quite a small but devout cult of fans who rabidly defend her and accuse all who do not like her of PC crimes and she has wisely in the last twenty years updated her style, toned down the worst extreme old vocal techniques and most of her fans like her better than the Beatles or a solo Beatle. Both yoko’s music evaluation and the macca is own solo music and his ram album has done the biggest 180 degree turn in my lifetime. Ram, secondarily McCartney II , have been so redeemed that folks now argue if it was indeed ever so reviled except by one or two American publications. Truly, my history teachers were right, all of the Beatles will have to die and the dust settle to more objectively evaluate them and their music, group and solo and their real cultural impacts.
Thank you all above for extraordinary points and I regard these as some of the most interesting issues of the Beatles in my lifetime. Truly, it was not just the world economies or countries that increasingly became a global product but the Beatles themselves did. I do not think this happened in 1968, however, but did when they came to and conquered America as I so remember that time. As can be said with John and Yoko, they individually chose to marry Americans and hire American managers in they end and that was not the fault of America. Solo, America was George’s only big tour till later Japan in nineties and once Paul quit playing the British college circuit, he did wings over the world tour. Had they never gotten out f Liverpool or England, they would have remained a local phenomenon and had they never evolved in the sixties they would have become an oldies act. This boomer is glad. They made the choices they did.
I do want to add that up until the recent trump era and recent fad of hatred of the rich and educated elite, I have read for years of America’s much greater tolerance for rich folks as the country has had throughout the years many self made millionaires. I remember when youth movies and tv shows went from reflecting set in middle class to the Beverly Hills and NYC yuppie crowd. It was not assumed until recently that rich folks were hypocrites as some of them are great charity givers, if for no other reasons great tax benefits. I have made sure to research solo Beatle charity giving as much as is possible and my problems with two f them is how two hid behind politics and religion personally, as I did not begrudge their personal wealth.
Yes, the mother country if Great Britain and common wealth countries along with such countries now as Germany and a few others are some of the last western democracies left and the long history of England and later France is where democracy began in the west though its roots go back to Greece and Rome. The US house could definitely take lessons from the House of Commons in serious and vital debates, as I always enjoy their vibrant debating but the equivalent CSPAN US debating puts me to sleep with a few notable exceptional moments of recent years. Brit history and lit shows a long history of the spirit of the common folk. I do want to add as an aside, as macca had a residence and land in Scotland, the locals were very sad when he sold it after having it over thirty years and there are many stories through the years from the locals and their enjoyable interactions with him.
@Pipdoo & @Lara – about Paul allegedly having said that he would not marry a british woman again:
Well, I am 100% sure he never said anything like that and I am amazed that a claim like that is so easily accepted. Does it really sound believable to anyone? He hardly discussed Heather Mills at all after their divorce. Only once did he lose his guard when an interviewer asked him about his biggest missteps of the decade and when Paul could not think of anything went on to suggest that it may have been getting married again – he then laughingly agreed and added that he held no grudges. And he obviously regretted that slip when the tabloids took that half quote and made a screaming headline out of it.
I suppose this is the where that claim stems from.
Might we get a source on the statement? @Lara, do you know?
@Michael, I certainly don’t want to be spreading hearsay here. Nevertheless, ether I am pretty sure I read it onlinE, but can’t remember the source, when he was divorcing or after he divorced but before he married Nancy. I don’t think he actually said in in a video but with my medical memory problems I could have seen him in a video say it and forgotten it. I can’t source it in my old dinosaur paper collection because I had long quit collecting by then. Around the a little before the last time I saw him in concert, 2014, I began to go back and look at lots of internet articles on him and videos of him since 2000 to catch up in him. Around eleven years ago, however, is when my seizures worsened and meds kept being adjusted up and down. As an older fan, I was much more familiar with his pre 2000 articles, videos and music.
I apologize that I would be completely lost to cite where I read or saw it , but do remember that it struck me at the time though I didn’t fault his saying that because his very bad experiences. Nevertheless, especially after his very embarrassing and public problems and how drawn out they were with heather and how she made a grand spectacle of their messy divorce and subsequent custody battle in the especially bad brit muck wracking tabloid press and had a complete melt down in a brit tv show, I was not at all surprised he felt that way.
If she were American like I am and the man had gone through all of that, I wouldn’t take offense that he felt that way. Nevertheless, his kids all knew and he knew her background and he was repeatedly warned not to marry her. He was a lonely old man…you may edit, Michael, if wish ..but he was in heat with a younger woman after his wife had been dead three years. LOL, but true. There’s no fool like an old fool the saying goes and I won’t go into what her own friends said about her background, but he was warned. During this time of divorce and custody battle crisis, the normally private Paul publicly admitted he knew when he neeed help, began to see a shrink and got on metal medication. In light of his our various Paul confused memory discussions On this blog, I have read that several of those mental meds can cause memory loss. I know that my regular doctor put me on one and it worsened my own memory problems which I already had with uncontrollable seizures, so the doctor took me off of the mental med.
It is hard to deal with memory loss which is one reason I have more sympathy for Paul. You can remember older memories much easier than new ones but have big gaps. I am saddened by how much sharper I was as a younger person but am very grateful that pushed myself to read a lot and continue learning on different subjects when I was clearer. I have studied memory loss to understand my own problems and feel very lucky to have made it through my increasingly complex job to get full retirement and health insurance benefits as soon many now lack this. I hesitated somewhat to join this blog commenting as the moderators and commenters are so smart. However, beatles and their lives, group and solo music I have had a longtime interest in and have kept up with many decades now, though some of the stuff I knew so well then I am reminded I have forgotten now.
I’d have to say that what I said was a reflection on the comments of the previous poster and pertained to the general context of the Beatles’ relationship with America and Americans. After his nightmare divorce from Heather, Paul did mainly see American women before marrying Nancy Shevell.
I was trying to find an article on Egypt Station on this blog but couldn’t find one. Nice album (even though I much prefer New). I love Fuh You and the video. I know the song has its detractors. “On the night that I met you, I was on the town… You make me wanna go out and steal”… Is it John that he wanted to fuh? Because when Paul agreed to go to the Woolton fete with Ivan (granted, on a sunny afternoon) his foremost thought was to meet girls (night on the town), but he met John instead. But more curious is the “go out and steal” line. After meeting John, along with other misbehaviors such as skipping school, he learned the art of shoplifting. Bob Spitz and other biographers mentioned it. “I can stay up half the night, playing with your head”. Really? If you want me to stop with McLennon musings don’t hesitate to say so. I don’t want to be the one responsible for shutting down this blog.
Of course, I am no moderator, but since you asked – I wish you would stop filling each and every blog entry with your McLennon musings. The thread about that topic was closed for a reason, and everybody else seems to have accepted that and moved on.
A working class hero is something to be!
Heads up, the last paragraph has a spam link (and appears to be inserted text):
I’m not sure if the Wikipedia link to ‘balloon’ is meant to be there, either.
Fixed! Thank you, Victoria.