Friday, April 19, 2013

"The world is still spinning"

I'm going to play catch up with some important days in Beatles history that recently came and went. Last week Wednesday, April 10th, marked the 43rd anniversary of the day that Paul's notorious "break up" Q&A was published in the British press. Made available April 9th, the Q&A, which served as promotional material for Paul's forthcoming debut solo record, contained some testy, hard-to-miss lines. Though Paul said he didn't intend for his responses to signal The Beatles' split, the press had other ideas, and the Q&A immediately took on a life of its own.
Q: Did you miss the other Beatles and George Martin? Was there a moment when you thought, 'I wish Ringo were here for this break?'
A: No.
Q: Assuming this is a very big hit album, will you do another?
A: Even if it isn't, I will continue to do what I want, when I want to.
Q: Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?
A: No.
Q: Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?
A: Time will tell. Being a solo album means it's "the start of a solo career..." and not being done with the Beatles means it's just a rest. So it's both.
Q: Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?
A: Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don't really know.
Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
A: No.
That same day, Apple submitted what turned out to be The Beatles' final press release. It was in response to all the noise created by Paul's statements.
It read:
April 10 1970
Spring is here and Leeds play Chelsea tomorrow and Ringo and John and George and Paul are alive and well and full of hope.
The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you.
When the spinning stops - that'll be the time to worry. Not before.
Until then, The Beatles are alive and well and the Beat goes on, the Beat goes on.
Then a week later, Paul released McCartney, punctuating a drama-filled stretch of The Beatles' career. (My review is here.) The end, mercifully and not at all prematurely, had come.
Excerpts from the review:
I find McCartney enjoyable but far from memorable. It boasts some inspired moments but not nearly enough. Too much of its charm fades as quickly as it sets in, due in large measure to how many of the songs feel like rushed, incomplete thoughts. Yes, Paul shows considerable range in his songwriting. And yes, there's a certain appeal to the DIY aesthetic. But McCartney was the first proper solo album to be released by any of The Beatles, and it's understandable that most people were expecting something more than a rumpled collection of demo-like jams, loopy instrumentals, and acoustic ditties broken up by a few gems. It disappointed then, and it still disappoints today.
. . .
Of course, Linda was the inspiration for the best and most enduring cut on McCartney, "Maybe I'm Amazed." Like "Every Night," it shows Paul in a vulnerable state: "Maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you." Unlike "Every Night," "Maybe I'm Amazed" wraps Paul's confession of weakness in dramatic, even triumphant sonics. With a monster backbeat, lively piano fills, and that impassioned vocal, the song soars. When Paul exclaims, "Baby I'm a man/And maybe you're the only woman/Who could ever help me," it's the sound of him moving on with his life. Worthy of The Beatles' better output, "Maybe I'm Amazed" hasn't aged a day because Paul's emotions, delivered with such thrilling conviction, still ring true.

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