Lee Hall on a film legacy at least as valuable as - and perhaps more politically potent than - the British Transport Films archive I've perhaps known too long
also check this if you really want to feel bereft: this was contemporaneous with "Billie Jean"!
This is relevant to the recent assertion of The Beatles, Inc. on multiple levels: while the remasters are, on one level, an attempt to sell the music to a generation for whom it is, finally, becoming ancient history, for whom the still-potent-in-1995 language of "it's the Beatles, man! the fucking Beatles!" - the irrational suspension of regular criticism whenever they are mentioned - no longer has any meaning, the reassertion of that very irrationality in the way they've been promoted and sold may also be seen as a cynical attempt to see off discussion of what the Beatles mean today, of whether or not their legacy is truly progressive now (and even if it ever was). If there was ever going to come a time when the progressiveness of the Beatles' inheritance would be up for question it would have come when the very class their power laughed out of office in 1964 (or so their official story has told us for so long) were on the brink of a gloatingly triumphant return and when the writing of the heavy-industrial-socialist legacy out of the public memory was being tentatively challenged. That time is now. EMI, if they are to survive, need to perpetuate the suspension of serious debate over the Beatles and what they mean four decades after - yes, quite, exactly - "Carry That Weight".
Of course, as I said, it isn't - mostly - their fault that Joy of a Toy (an Abbey Road / Python beginning / Murdoch eyeing his prey contemporary) hasn't been used to sell neoliberalism whereas their work has - it was an essential part of the Blair con-trick, the lie that somehow along with Anthology was going to come a return to the post-war settlement and an abandonment of everything from the hated 1980s (in truth, The Swing Out Sister Anthology would have been a more accurate harbinger of the political times to come). As I said earlier, I remain convinced that Lennon knew McCartney was more of a socialist than he was, and that the awareness of this haunted and chided Lennon far more than he would ever have been prepared to admit. And, as I said, I still love a lot of their work. But the fact remains that the Beatles are beloved of the very same forces who have written our industrial past and all it stood for out of history - and, in the long term, what has the Beatles' influence done more to erode: unaccountable elite power in the UK or the genuinely progressive culture of betterment (a word, tellingly, only used once in pop to my knowledge: "Earn Enough for Us" off Skylarking, what the Beatles' legacy should have been) and learning in the old industrial working class? You could surely, surely, not seriously dispute that they have done far more damage to the latter to the former. It wasn't their fault. But it still hurts.