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Lennon and McCartney: Composing Outside the Beatles 1973-1980,
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This review is from: Lennon & McCartney: Composing Outside The Beatles 1973-1980 [DVD]  [NTSC] (DVD)
This is the fourth DVD in this series and the second looking at Lennon and McCartney’s solo output. The previous disc looked at the period 1967-1972 and was a disappointment for McCartney fans, being very Lennon orientated. This disc is much more likely to appeal to Paul’s fans, than John’s, as John’s output came to a halt in the mid-Seventies, until his return with “Double Fantasy.”
The programme begins with the formation of Wings and “Wild Life.” Although this is pretty much dismissed, I love Paul’s early albums – “McCartney,” “Ram,” and “Wild Life”- and although I think they work better as albums, listened to in their entirety, there were some individual tracks that could have been discussed, surely! However, we then move on to “My Love,” giving Paul his first big solo hit and seeing him begin to regain control over his career. Denny Seiwell discusses Paul writing “Live and Let Die,” ‘in about ten minutes’ and it is clear that he is ready to go out and work again. Good to hear Denny Seiwell and Denny Laine interviewed and worth getting the DVD just for their contributions.
John, meanwhile, had released “Mind Games,” (The “NYC” album is dismissed by the panel as pretty much just an embarrassment). Mind Games is described by the experts as “weak,” (you will certainly not always agree with their opinions!) but there are, at least, some songs discussed. You do feel it is a shame that Paul’s early albums were not given the same attention in the earlier DVD, but “Mind Games,” is certainly a good album.
“Band On the Run,” is the next album offer and the beginning of the problems with Wings, which led to many changing line-up’s over the decade. John was heading into his infamous ‘Lost Weekend,” and Klaus Voorman returns in this DVD to discuss that period and Paul’s role in reuniting John and Yoko. “Walls and Bridges,” and his “Rock and Roll” albums are discussed. “Walls and Bridges” is my favourite of John’s solo albums and it is good to hear that the critics on the panel also feel it merits more attention than it usually gets.
At this point, Wings were poised to become one of the biggest bands of the Seventies and there is a critical appraisal of “Venus and Mars,” “Wings at the Speed of Sound,” “Wings Over America,” “London Town,” “Back to the Egg,” and the demise of Wings. Among individual songs looked at are, “Junior’s Farm,” “Listen to What the Man Said” and “Mull of Kintyre.” Again, it is really good to have Denny Laine’s input about those years. The end of Wings saw Paul back as a solo performer and the release of “McCartney II” which, of course, contains the excellent “Coming Up,” and “Waterfalls.” It is suggested that "Coming Up" was the song which gave Lennon the challenge he needed to get back in the studio and so, we move on to Lennon's. "Double Fantasy."
“Double Fantasy,” is given quite short shrift as an album. Even if, like me, you remember the lukewarm reception of the album in the short time between its release and John’s tragic, and untimely, death, it is still shocking to hear that album criticised. It was, at that time, everywhere and took on a certain emotional quality, which I still find hard to be objective about. Of course, though, that is the panel’s job and, even if you may not agree with everything they say (and I didn’t, often!), they are interesting to listen to. Taken together, the four DVD’s are essential watching for fans and are sure to be watched again and again.
Also, unlike the previous DVD, this has at least one included extra – an extended interview with Denny Laine – in which he puts aside rumours that he argued with Paul (rumours largely based on interviews he did for Geoffrey Giuliano’s revolting biography, “Blackbird”) and lets slip the news that he is writing an autobiography, while interestingly reassuring fans that he is not intending to be negative. Obviously, Laine has done little of note after Wings and is looking to get fans back on side. Personally, I would be interested in reading this when (if?) it is released and it is certainly good to get his take on Wings, as he was Paul’s collaborator during most of the Seventies.