Entries tagged with “Beatles”.


I was last week in Beijing for the IETF meeting, and after an intense week of work as all IETF meeting weeks are and one day spent on airplanes and airports I landed in Israel late on Saturday night (or early on Sunday morning). Yet, at 11 in the morning I was in the AVAYA office for an event that I could not miss – hearing Yoav Kutner speak about the Beatles.

Kutner is one of the well-known music experts and radio presenters in Israel. His radio broadcasts promote best quality Israeli music and sone of the TV films he made trace the history of the rock and pop music in Israel. He is also probably the best expert in Israel in what concerns the Beatles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGQgd2PT4mw

(video source zooootv)

The meeting hosted by my company had Yoav Kutner present the history of the band from its first record in 1962 until their formal split in 1970 (actually the breakdown started a few years earlier). Using musical clips in order to create the atmosphere and illustrate the principal steps in the evolution of the band, Kutner marked the key moments in their evolution and made pertinent comments about the musical track followed by the Beatles from the early simpler rock tunes to the sophisticated music and arrangements of the later disks, the impact they had on the young generation of their time, the characters of the principal members of the band, and their evolution as musical creators while they were together and after they broke away. Interesting to note that his sympathies in the creative duel and personalities clash between Paul McCartney and John Lennon go in favor of Paul, whom Kutner considers a much more fulfilled musician as well as a more balanced character. Overall Kutner shows that he not only masters well the subject, but also is in love with the Beatles, talking about them with warmth and familiarity. For him as for many people in his generation (which is also mine) Paul, John, George and Ringo are heroes and also close people, important persons who marked our lives.

Exactly because Kutner is almost the same age as I am, it also was interesting to see the differences in perspective and reception the Beatles had in Israel and Romania. Initially their music and influence was not welcome by the establishment in either place. They almost came to Israel on tour in 1964-65 but bureaucratic and ideological resistance prevented two planned visits. In Romania as in the rest of the Communist world they were perceived as ideological enemies as the documentary film How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin (which Kutner was not aware about) shows. While in England and the US the band got quick acceptance and became part of the nicer face of the pop music (compared to other music genres as rock or underground) it would take a few years in Israel and a few decades in Romania until their music became part of the main cultural streams. Their influence however was overwhelming in all places, censorship and ideological resistance could not defeat the talent and the impact on the young generations of – maybe – the most important musical group in the history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7JjJJZi1Q

(video source ThoughtRidden)

We are having an extraordinary celebration today – 50 years since the Beatles hold their first concert at the Indra club in Hamburg. It was the first in a series of hundreds of concerts in Germany which in the next few years saw the stabilization and the formation of the style of the band that changed music forever.

(video source proukraine)

The city of Hamburg prepares to celebrate the event with gatherings of fans, exhibitions, and of course, a lot of music of the Beatles.

(video source bogmantim)

Here is also a taste of how the band looked and sounded by that time.

Veteran documentary director Leslie Woodhead filmed on the British pop scene since the 60s. He starts ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ by telling how he filmed the four boys in Liverpool in 1962. He did not stop here, catching The Stones in the Park on film in 1969. Then, triggered by the events in Prague in 1968 his attention shifted to the processes in Eastern Europe, to the repression and the hopes, the birth of the Solidarity movement in Poland and the changes that finally led to the fall of the wall in 1989. Lately he was in Srebenica and in Beslan,with the attention still focused in the same geographical space, to be witness to the horrors of the post-communist world. ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ represents the merging of the passion of rock in the first years of his career with the long term obsession with the history of the last decades of the Communist era.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elaz8Ffp2mI

(video source LPBTV)

Woodhead’s thesis is striking and daring. He says that it is not merely the cold war enemies or the economic situation that led to the melting of the Soviet system, and it was not Gorbachev either. More than everything else it was the four boys from Liverpool, the culture of freedom and the influence they had on the young generations of Russia in the 60s and 70s.

(video source TRIESTEFILMFESTIVAL)

And let me say that I believe that for a large extent he is right. I have lived that period in Romania. I had the walls in my room filled with posters of my rock music idols. I was circulating vinyl music disks obtained on the black market and I was copying music on tapes. I was listening to foreign radio stations and especially to Radio Free Europe, where we, Romanian, had the chance to listen between 1969 to 1975 to the fabulous music that was broadcast by the legendary DJ and professor of rock and freedom who was Cornel Chiriac. I knew none of the people who were interviewed by Leslie Woodhead for the film – Artemy Troitsky, Kolya Vasin, Iury Pelyushonok – fans, musicians, DJs, but I knew their stories because this was the story of my whole generation, a generation which was taught freedom of thought and beauty and joy of life by the Beatles and the rock music that followed, which refused to live according to the rules imposed by the system, and which eventually, when it grew up helped tear down the system. And I do agree with Woodhead when he says (in other words, but this is the essence) that when thinking at the fall of the Soviet system ‘Yellow Submarine’ was more important than rockets, and Paul and John played a greater role than Reagan and Gorbachev.

Exaggerating? Just a bit.

(video source yanros)

In one of the final scenes of the film, in 2004, Paul McCartney eventually made it to Moscow and sang ‘Back in the USSR’ in the Red Square. People wept. The circle was closed. The Beatles had won the cold war. Cornel Chiriac was also there.

Scriitorul Erich Segal a murit la inceputul acestei saptamani la Londra. Pentru majoritatea celor din generatia noastra el ramane in memorie ca autorul lui ‘Love Story‘. Putem desigur spune astazi ca este vroba doar despre un roman sentimental si un film cam dulceag, dar pe multi dintre cei pe care ‘Love Story’ ne-a prins la varsta potrivita filmul ne-a emotionat la vremea sa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoe5Bf-c8dM

Nascut in 1937 Segal a fost fiu de rabin si a copilarit in Brooklyn. A fost co-scenarist al lui ‘Yellow Submarine‘ – filmul animat al Beatles-ilor. In ultimele decenii ale vietii s-a luptat cu necrutatoarea boala a lui Parkinson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlAMbWI_oyA&feature=PlayList&p=E54284DD3BEA8E25&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20

Fie-i memoria binecuvantata.