Sunday, March 07, 2004

What I’m watching on the box
Give My Regards to Broad Street

OK, I know it's naff but like it anyway. (Even the allegedly megalomaniacal Sir Paul McCartney has disowned it, referring unkindly to the fans who like it as having 'rather thick glasses'.)

Kind remarks from the Amazon reviews:

If you go into this movie expecting more of a fun collection of music videos [it was 1984 after all] ...connected by a marginal plot, then you will not be disappointed.

Forget about the script... Think about it as a little bit of fantasy + great music and you get a well-organized concert.

Some of the music and vignettes are fabulous - the costumed Victorian scenes with the tableau re-enactment, etc. that fuelled my developing young-fogey æsthetic 20 years ago, for example. John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin plays on some of the tracks. Great to see Ringo and Sir Ralph Richardson, and Barbara Bach (Mrs Starkey) was hot.

On the down side some of the Beatles remakes are disappointing - the beautiful 'Long and Winding Road' (great even when Spectorized) as rendered here by Sir Paul sounds like some awful lounge act, the heart in the original performance gone.

But the notion pioneered by Sirs Paul and George Martin of setting some of these pop songs to strings and horns, like classical music, holds up (as heard in the self-covers of 'For No-One' and 'Eleanor Rigby') - I understand Sir George still guest-conducts symphonies around the world to play these songs.

As proved when Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé covered Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' or even when Frank Sinatra (whom I loathed) changed his mind about the Beatles and covered George Harrison's 'Something', these are good songs and their successfully crossing styles proves that.

P.S. Sir Paul is the only Beatle I've seen in person, in 1990, and fairly up close too (about 20 feet away!) - Linda was indeed lovely (and cute flipping peace-signs from the stage while pretending to play a keyboard) and he was a talented, charismatic performer.