BOOTLEG FILES 732: “Salute to Sir Lew – The Master Showman” (1975 TV special with John Lennon, Tom Jones, Peter Sellers and Julie Andrews).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Music clearance issues are keeping it out of release.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.
John Lennon fans know that the ex-Beatle’s last live performance took place in a 1975 television special honoring Sir Lew Grade, the British television executive. Oddly, Lennon’s time on stage seemed strangely out of place in a show that offered an overripe line-up of 1970s kitsch.
You can’t just put any band on a film and expect laughs. And chemistry and appeal. That’s what happened to “Spice World.”
The directors and creators behind it seemed to basically assume, “Hell, this band is popular, they’re a pop band, they have massive appeal with the male audience, they make catchy music, and they’re British, so they’ll be perfect equivalents to The Beatles.”
And… well… if you saw the movie, you’ll know that the logic behind that theory was slightly eschew.
I hate country music, I really do. But the only band I can hold any sort of tolerance for is The Dixie Chicks. Am I a fan? No. Am I fan of their views? God yes. Particularly Natalie Maines that little hot firecracker. Outspoken, charismatic, and intelligent, you just have to love her. Hats off to you, babe. In 2006, no two documentaries were more inadvertently paralleled than “Shut up & Sing,” and “The US vs. John Lennon.”
A long time ago, John Lennon, sitting with the Beatles, explained to a reporter, in sheer shock, that he couldn’t believe the way fans were gushing. It was almost as if they were more popular than Jesus.
Fans, thanks to the media, took it out of proportion, and wholly out of context.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is essentially the film debut of the Beatles and celebrates everything fun and creative about them. The film is meant to be an entertaining and care free romp through the lives of history’s most popular music group and the earthquake they caused when they stormed the music world. For fans of the Beatles who stuck it out with them through the period of re-invention and discovery of their musical and creative limits, “Yellow Submarine” is a film worth watching.
John Lennon was calling for something big, he wanted something revolutionary to happen, something that would shake up the world and let the government realize that the people would not and could not be bullied in to war. He wanted peace, and as wholly naive as it may have seemed on the outside, it was a goal that was possible if we’d just try it out. It hurts to think that his words were in vain and that everything this man believed and taught went away in a hail of apathy, comfort, and luxury with technology and the man meant every single word.
The Beatles are now and have always been four men who carried with them a presence that is hard to pin down or describe. Something about these fab four, these mop tops always inspired an attraction from music lovers and fans around the world. It doesn’t matter what they did or do, people responded and they came in droves to watch the four do what they did best. The transition to film is rarely a successful venture for a musical star. Many times you’ll see a singer anxiously trying to act and failing or just pretty much supplying a string of mediocre performances. “A Hard Day’s Night” makes no bones about itself. It’s a vehicle, a promotional tool, and of course a way for fans to see the Beatles without going to a concert.
15. Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the best alternative rock bands to come out of the nineties and couldn’t be lumped in with everyone else simply for their sheer originality and odd appearance, but their music was great from songs like “1979” to “Bullets with Butterfly Wings”, no two songs ever really sounded alike, especially when talking about “Tonight, tonight”. This impressive rock song backed with an orchestra and sometimes sounding like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, about growing up and losing your precious youth recalls the classic silent films “From the Earth to the Moon” shot by shot with the young couple being marooned on the moon with aliens as the husband kills the aliens with his umbrella, meanwhile they fall into the sea and are greeted by Poseidon and his mermaids. Meanwhile, Billy Corgan and his band sing atop clouds like angelic ghosts. “Tonight, Tonight” is their best video and an ode to classic silent films with a bittersweet but memorable song.