Yellow Submarine in Pepperland

The Beatles: The Mess in 1968

Episode 48

Episode date - September 28, 2012

How Music Changed

    The late ‘60s are often romanticized as a period of intense creativity, particularly in the field of popular music but given the chance, I don’t think I would want to relive those times. From a distance of decades, it is easy to cherry-pick the best bits and paint a rosy picture, but if you were living through it, anarchy seemed to be the rule rather than the exception.

    As usual, the Beatles were prime representatives of their times. 1968 saw the band moving in dozens of directions simultaneously, but with nothing resembling a ‘master plan’. Apple, their new multi-faceted business, seemed destined to fail by design, providing a perfect storm of lunacy for every half-baked thought that crossed their paths. Even songwriting took a back seat – by 1968, John and Paul had ceased even a pretense of teamwork, and a huge backlog of unfinished song ideas started to accumulate.

    Luckily, a project that the band had virtually ignored during its conception was released in 1968, and it was wonderful. The film “Yellow Submarine” provided fans with relief from the confused reality that enveloped the band’s other projects, and kept alive the playfully surreal image that most fans were still clinging to desperately.

    Even this project was marred slightly, though. Until now, every (British) Beatle album was an essential purchase, full to the brim with a dozen or more great new songs. “Yellow Submarine” featured only four new tracks (only three in America), so the balance of the album was filled with tracks that were already released, and then feature an entire side of George Martin’s orchestration for the movie, which was pleasant but hardly essential. Like ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘Yellow Submarine’ should have been released as a double e.p. Instead, it is the first (and only) sub-par Beatles album.

    From a distance of decades, 1968 appears fascinating, but in reality, things were a mess.

    This show includes;

    1) Glass Onion (demo)

    2) Junk (demo)

    3) Piggies (demo)

    4) Honey Pie (demo)

    5) Pepperland

    6) Sea of Time

    7) Sea of Holes

    8) Sea of Monsters

    9) March of the Meanies

    10) Pepperland Laid Waste

    11) Yellow Submarine in Pepperland

    12) Una Sensaionale Intervista dei Beatles, parts 1 and 2

    13) Good Night (unfinished version)

    Channel 141 - The Beatles