03 January 2019

Festival of Sleep


T
he Republicans having failed at keeping the government open when they had control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, now look to the Democrats to bail them out of the difficulty they created for themselves. What’s in it for the Democrats is far less obvious. On this tenth day of Χmas the Dopey Don’s reckless gamble is looking more and more like a bust. Maybe sleeping in should be the order of the day.
But setting the Festival of Sleep aside, today is the fiftieth anniversary of the second day of the Beatles’ infamous Get Back project, a project that rode the roller-coaster of despair from a high sense of ennui to low and bitter recriminations. The concept was simple enough—the Beatles would write and rehearse an album’s worth of material which they would then perform live before an invited audience. The recording of that concert would then be released as their next album, and the film of the whole ordeal could serve as a television special or something. It would take a band a lot less talented than the Beatles to pull this feat off.
Still, at this point in the project spirits were as high as they would ever be, and boredom had yet to transform into umbrage. On the first two days the various members put their wares on display. McCartney had “Two of Us,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Oh! Darling,” and “Let It Be.”  Lennon had “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Dig a Pony,” and “Child of Nature” (the last still evolving from the White Album sessions). Harrison had “All Things Must Pass” and “Let It Down,” while Starkey had “Taking a Trip to Carolina” and “Picasso.” They also took a look at “I’ve Got a Feeling” and resurrected “The One After 909” from their early days. (I may have left some out.)
Some of these would indeed end up being performed for the project, while others would turn up on Abbey Road or later solo albums. There were a number of passes at things that never did turn into proper songs and would probably be now forgotten if they hadn’t been immortalized by the tape recorders that the film crew kept running for possible later use. Some bits from the day did end up in the eventual film—Harrison getting an electric shock, for one, and part of a run-through of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”—but for the most part the material was left in decent oblivion.

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