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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb insight into genius at work, 27 July 2009
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still searching (MK UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
A few months ago the BBC aired an excellent programme entitled `How Pop Songs Work' with conductor, Charles Hazlewood, amongst others, providing insights into what makes for hit pop songs. Hazlewood's analysis concentrated on five main areas: melody, structure, lyrics, performance and arrangement. One of the songs chosen as an exemplar was John Lennon's `imagine'. Interestingly this was the only `Beatles' representative but, considering how prolific, not to mention successful, the song writing partnership of Lennon and McCartney was, it would not have been surprising if the programme had used only Beatles numbers. In a similar but less formal way, this DVD attempts to provide an analysis of what it was that made the Beatles, and in particular L&M so successful.

There are some truly fascinating insights into the particular chemistry of the pairing that changed the world of popular music forever: not only how their unique influences and backgrounds complimented one another, and the increasingly (creative) tension that produced the music that became the score to the story of our lives, but also how it is possible to discern the degree to which each contributed to particular album tracks.

Contributors also offer opinions of the extent to which it is possible to recognize Dylan's growing influence on, particularly, Lennon's songs in what became, between L&M and Dylan, an increasingly symbiotic `relationship'.

For anyone interested in the history of popular music, how genius works in practice or, perhaps, how the nature of collaboration - in comparison with a solo artist; e.g. Brian Wilson, produces works of art, this DVD will be an invaluable resource.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Composing the Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1957-1965, 4 Mar 2014
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S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is the first in a series of DVD’s looking at Lennon and McCartney as songwriters both within, and after, the Beatles. This particular programme incorporates the time period of 1957-1965. A whole host of people are interviewed: Klaus Voorman, Barry Miles, Maureen Cleave, Paul Gambaccini, Chris Ingham, Allan Moore, Peter Doggett, Robert Christgou, Anthony DeCurtis, Johnny Rogan, Nigel Williamson and Steve Turner. These range from the editors of music magazines, broadcasters, journalists, those who have written about the Beatles and their friends, and they offer a whole host of insights into the most successful songwriting partnership of all time.

In the early works of the band, Lennon and McCartney were very much a two headed creative term; in the words of one interviewee. It was less “John and Paul” and more “Beatle music” that they were creating – enhancing each other’s gifts and collaborating – and often singing – together. The fight for dominance within the band is also explored. Although John was seen as the ‘leader’, it is interesting to note, for example, that most American viewers who tuned into the Ed Sullivan show had their first view of the Beatles with Paul singing lead on “All My Loving.”

This fascinating documentary examines their influences, especially that of Dylan on John Lennon. It looks at how they began to find their own voice and examines several songs in detail, such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I’m a Loser,” “Help!”, “Nowhere Man,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Michelle” and “Yesterday.” There is also an interesting discussion on the songs they gave away to artists such as Peter and Gordon (which included Peter Asher, brother of Paul’s then girlfriend Jane) and other members of the Brian Epstein NEM’s stable, such as Billy J. Kramer and Cilla Black.

By the time this episode finishes, the Beatles are headed into the unknown, and innovative, middle Sixties. For anyone interested in the song writing partnership of Lennon and McCartney and what made them successful, this is a really interesting programme. Those interviewed have links with the band – they are not just a random panel – and their comments are valid and insightful. This disc also contains extras, including extended interviews with Barry Miles, Maureen Cleave, Klaus Voorman and Steve Turner and Chris Ingham discussing “We Can Work It Out."
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The Beatles - Composing The Beatles Songbook [DVD] [2008]
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