The Music of Lennon & McCartney (1965)

TV Special   |    |  Documentary, Music

The Beatles host this showcase of other musicians performing their songs.


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Philip Casson

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18 July 2014 | wireshock
| 15 Lennon-McCartney Compositions
This production, recorded at the start of November 1965 and broadcast 6 weeks later, was produced for Granada Television in an open television studio rigged up with corridor-like platforms suspended in space, reached by ladders and steep staircases, providing a compelling visual backdrop for the performances. Many of the numbers feature choreographed dancing by beautiful women, occasionally joined by men; the songs are all lip- synced.

The programme was presented in three parts, allowing commercials inbetween:

• Part One

"I Feel Fine" | The George Martin Orchestra open with a medley which intersperses a number of "classic" musical works, such as the opening chords of Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto #1," with a brassy rendition of Lennon's "I Feel Fine." George Martin plays grand piano while perhaps a score other musicians are dispersed about the stage set .

Lennon & McCartney then begin serving as hosts, listening at first to brief snippets of recordings of their songs demonstrating the wide variety of artists who've covered their material. Recordings by The Rolling Stones, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Newley, Russ Conway, The Chipmunks and Honor Blackman are identified in a variety of comic ways.

"A World Without Love" | 20 months after the song first topped the UK charts, Peter & Gordon are still lip-syncing to it here.

"I Saw Him Standing There" | Lulu does a particularly raunchy-sounding version.

"A Hard Day's Night" | Alan Haven (on organ) and Tony Crombie (on drums) perform a jazzy instrumental interpretation, visually punctuated with shots of miniskirted dancers' legs, wearing tight white boots.

"I'll Get You" | A baroque chamber music take by Fritz Spiegl's Ensemble of Liverpool.

"Day Tripper" | The Beatles give a straightforward miming performance of their latest single release.

• Part Two

"Yesterday" | Though the very first bars are begun by Paul alone with his guitar, this quickly segues to Marianne Faithful who had just released this recording as a single. The arrangement is reminiscent, despite the overbearing use of a female choir, of "As Tears Go By" which had been her breakout hit earlier in the year. At the time of this broadcast, "Yesterday" was the most-covered Beatles song ever.

Recordings of cover versions in languages other than English are the next area introduced by Lennon & McCartney, via brief excerpts again. Paul tries to guess the language, always wrong with John correcting him. The first of these, "Sie Liebt Dich" by The Beatles themselves with Paul's vocal quite prominent, Paul pretends he thinks is Italian. A recorded Spanish version of "She Loves You" is then danced to in the flamenco style.

"Things We Said Today" | Performed (in French) by Dick Rivers.

"Bad To Me" | Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas. By this time this recording was 2-1/2 years old.

"It's For You" | Cilla Black performs a song McCartney wrote specifically for her back in '64.

• Part Three

"This Boy" | The instrumental arrangement by George Martin from "A Hard Day's Night" (released on the American soundtrack LP with the title "Ringo's Theme") is danced to.

"If I Fell" | Henry Mancini's sensitive piano interpretation of one of Lennon's most hauntingly beautiful melodies; unlike all other performances in the programme, this one's done live.

"And I Love Him" | Esther Phillips gets singled out by John Lennon in his introduction as having done "one of the best versions of one of our songs ever."

"A Hard Day's Night" | Recited by Peter Sellers, a satire as though performed by Richard III.

"We Can Work It Out" | The Beatles. Both this and "Day Tripper" were the latest single release by the group, and at the time of the broadcast both were #1 on the UK charts.

* Note: Marianne Faithful's last name is erroneously spelled as "Faithful" in the opening and closing credits of "The Music of Lennon & McCartney." Ironically, the IMDb's spellcorrect feature keeps substituting my attempts to spell it correctly (as "Faithfull") with "Faithful," preventing me from getting it right myself! Witness how it's spelled at the beginning of this note: I put two "l"s there, to no avail. Plus ça change…

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Plot Summary


Documentary | Music


Release Date:

17 December 1965



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