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Paul McCartney on Radiohead & labels, Help! on DVD

Paul McCartney Nutcracker, Seattle, 2007 (cred)
Paul McCartney nutcracker

….I feel like I made the right decision, because right after I left, EMI got sold, so obviously something was wrong. They are now in new hands and are applying themselves and they’re going to bring themselves into the modern world. This is the point. They were floundering. Like a lot of these record companies, they were in the old world and they needed to enter the new world. It’s not just me. Look at Radiohead‘s new outing. Artists are taking it into their own hands again, and it’s really showing the record companies that it’s time they get their act together. It’s not the end of the world for EMI, they are like family to me. But the funny thing was, they understood. I’d told people I’d known for years at the label, “Hey, guys, I’ve gotta make this move.” And some of them said quietly, off the record, “I really don’t blame you, man.”……. [Paul McCartney to Chicago Tribune]

Help! is finally out on DVD

Help!

After the worldwide success of A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles and director Richard Lester reunited for a follow-up film, Eight Arms to Hold You. Well, that wasn’t the final title; a pleading Lennon-McCartney tune provided the catchier handle: Help! A loose semispoof of the globe-trotting James Bond pictures, Help! has always been considered a somewhat disorganized comedown from its predecessor; but it presents “the famous Beatles” even more clearly as the English cousins of the Marx Brothers. The plot has an Eastern religious cult declaring that the new ring on Ringo’s finger is the key element in a human sacrifice; they will stop at nothing to obtain it. Meanwhile, a mad scientist (crazed Victor Spinetti, who also appeared in A Hard Day’s Night and Magical Mystery Tour) believes that if he has the ring, he could–dare we say it?–rule the world. The songs, including “Ticket to Ride” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” are filmed with gleeful ingenuity, in locations such as the Bahamas, an Austrian ski resort, and the Salisbury Plain. The relentless nonsense becomes nearly the equivalent of a swinging-’60s Alice in Wonderland: for instance, Paul shrinks to the size of a gum wrapper, John fishes a season ticket out of his soup, George wears a top hat on the ski slopes, the lads sing the “Ode to Joy” to a lion. Oh, and the film is dedicated to Elias Howe, “who in 1846 invented the sewing machine.” Brilliant. –Robert Horton

ALSO NEW TO DVD: The McCartney Years (and Nirvana’s Unplugged)

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