If an assassin’s bullet couldn’t stem The Beatles’ creative impulses, middle age was never going to be a
problem. David Harris forgives the Fab Four for uniting beyond the grave.
hose of us who lived through the
Punk Rock Wars are instinctively
wary of rock‘s ‘great tradition‘ and
antagonistic to old farts who have
outlived whatever talent they once
possessed. Those of us who grew up
secure in the propaganda that The Beatles were
the greatest band in the history of pop music
will always anticipate the discovery of some
masterpiece in Paul McCartney‘s brain or in a box in a cupboard in a toilet at Abbey Road.
lfyou fall into both categories. the imminent
release of three CDs—wortli of archive material
puts you in something of a quandary. The first
60-track double—CD — triple album to we
unreconstructed vinylists — is a clear case of
milking the cash cow after the sausages have been tried. but what makes The Beat/es Anthology newsworthy
12 The List l7-30 Nov I995
is that it has resulted in the nearest thing to a Beatles band reunion still possible. with Paul, George and Ringo in the studio together for the first time since August 1969.
It was assumed that Lennon’s assassin Mark (‘liapman had stymied any hopes of new Beatles material. despite some tin-cared hacks coming up with the preposterous suggestion that Julian could stand in for his dad. l-lowever, in 1989, Yoko Ono. the woman often instigating the band‘s dissolution, laid the loundations for a quasi-reunion when she gave McCartney tapes of some unused Lennon vocal tracks. The Other Two were contacted. and in l003 The 'l‘hreetles. as they've inevitably been dubbed. added backing to Free As A Bird -— earlier this year they did the same to
Real Love. On tape. if not in
person, the Fabs were a foursome again. Both
songs, produced by George‘s fellow 'l‘ravelling Wilbury Jeff Lynne. will be released as singles: the Christmas Number One seems a fair uccompli.
It’s not as if the surviving Beatles need the money, the publicity or the creative input of a dead icon — even if twenty years of George Harrison records suggest otherwise.
All four appeared on Ringo‘s eponymous 1973 album. though never on the same track. and for years. McCartney has hinted at a willingness to gather round the tapelteads with his old mates again. Come to think of it. he has shown a willingness to gather round with almost anyone. from Stevie Wonder and Youth Martin
to a horde of cartoon frogs. More
recently. Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher have made the pilgrimage to Macca and
the ‘not since the mid-