40: “Winter of Our Discontent” Part One – Twickenham

February 4, 2016

Podcast, Podcasting

In this special extended episode, Richard and Robert provide a thorough day-by-day overview of the first two weeks of the “Get Back” / Let It Be sessions, including George’s walk-out. Songs include: “Get Back,” “All Things Must Pass,” “Let It Be,” and “Madman.”  

ruary 2016 is here and so is the Something About The Beatles 2016 calendar – get one of the copies in stock now here and specially priced!


Be Sociable, Share!

    30 Responses to “40: “Winter of Our Discontent” Part One – Twickenham”

    1. King Kevin Says:

      Fantastic show, guys. The official histories seem to unfairly demonize Paul for the Get Back bad vibes, but George and John’s relationship really was at the crux of it all. And George ends up going with Klein partially to get back in good with John later in the year. Macca is living out a Greek Tragedy here, and it haunts him still.


      • Us Says:

        Well said, Kevin!


        • James Says:

          Agreed. The breakup had more to do with George and John. George wanted to collaborate with John and John wanted to collaborate with Yoko. I realize it is Beatle fan doctrine now to lament the “underappreciation” of George but consider something: if The Beatles were to continue, John was looking to fuse Little Richard with the Avant Garde (and what better collaborators than Paul and Yoko in that project? Imagine what those two could have done!). Aside from George’s real nastiness toward Yoko, John was likely bored by “All Things Must Pass” and “Hear Me Lord”—two songs that were they to sit alongside “Let it Be” and “The Long and Winding Road” could have made for a real snooze. I thought we were making a f’in rock record, not conducting a seminar on religious sentiment in pop.


      • Baby Sneaks Says:

        Totally agree. This was the best two hours of Beatles I have had since I finished the Lewisohn book.


    2. RB Says:

      Reminds me of film director Billy Wilder describing Twentieth Century Fox president Spyros Skouras as “the only Greek tragedy I know…”


    3. Luigi Ziccarelli Says:

      Totally agree .. Paul totally got the shaft here.. Wonder how George felt about John wanting to replace him with Clapton.??? Tony Bramwell in his Magical Mystery Toours book discussed how the fight between Paul and George on screen was spearheaded by George’s misplaced anger over Yoko


    4. Dennis O'Neal Says:

      I always thought the Let It Be film was poorly edited. Actually it looks like a rough edit .I find it hard to believe United Artists really thought this was properly directed. My 2 cents again. Dennis


      • Us Says:

        We’ll be doing an entirely separate show on Let It Be, the film, which merits a close look as the abomination it is.


        • WingsJer Says:

          If this ever gets released on Blu-ray/DVD, how about 1 disc of the original movie and disc #2 as a recut and extended version. I always thought Lindsay-Hogg was over his head a bit with this. However in his defense a lot of indecisiveness reigned in the Beatles world in January 1969.


    5. Duncan Says:

      My favourite of all your shows! The last hour was fascinating, though I couldn’t hear ‘John…John… JOHN!” without my blood starting to boil. Can’t wait for part two – “Saville Row”, I’m guessing?


      • Us Says:

        You are correct, Duncan! It probably won’t happen any time soon, as we like to space out the subjects, but it WILL happen.


    6. Andy Oz Says:

      A great podcast, just fascinating and incredibly interesting to any Beatles fan.

      This might be a reach, but is the “John” “Yoko” speaking/yelling that drives everybody mad infact a reference to the old 1950’s Stan Freberg comedy record “John and Marsha” where the two characters just say the names “John” and “Marsha” over and over again in slightly different ways/ more crazy ways to enact a soap opera? It’s the kind of absurd comedy that might have appealed to John (and Yoko) but I have no idea if it got any play in Britain. It is strangely similar though.

      Love the show.


      • RB Says:

        Your are exactly right about the Stan Freberg influence, Andy.

        In a 1984 Playboy interview, when asked about The Beatles’ sense of humor, Paul mentioned “Listening to Lenny Bruce and Stan Freberg records.”

        On 24th August, 1968, Stan was among the guests when John and Yoko appeared on David Frost’s UK TV show ‘Frost on Saturday’ and JL did indeed subsequently borrow from ‘John and Marsha’ for ‘John and Yoko’ on the Wedding Album.


    7. Daniel Jay Says:

      What an episode! The Beatles breakup has never been examined with such depth and insight. Amazing work guys.


    8. George Garcia Says:

      That was definitely one of your best shows. I can’t wait for Part Two.


    9. Jordan Heal Says:

      ‘It’ll be the usual rubbish, but it won’t cost much. That’s the bargain we’re going to strike up!’
      Seriously – This was an incredible listen, without doubt one of your best to date. Great insight and commentary. Despite having heard the Nagra tapes, I found that your analysis breathed new life into them. Many thanks. Can’t wait for the ‘Apple’ follow up.


    10. Paul T Says:

      Awesome research and articulation of your extensive knowledge guys – I wish I could do 1% of what you do. Proud of you both.


    11. Ron Says:

      When it comes to the question, did Yoko Ono break up the Beatles? I will use someone’s favourite word:



    12. Matthew Brazier Says:

      A fantastic episode from a consistently insightful and enjoyable podcast. Probably the best episode yet. Thank you so much. Glad to hear that part two is on the cards and I’m sure it’ll be well worth the wait.


    13. Ron Says:

      Also, since the song “All Things Must Pass” was mentioned a lot, there was a recent episode of Jeopardy, Album By was the category. For $1000, All Things Must Pass. Dead silence.


    14. Kezia Says:

      Great work guys! Very informative, and very fair. I especially thank you for not beating around the bush with the Yoko issue, and telling it like it is.
      Can’t wait for part 2. I hope it would be up soon x)


    15. Jeremy Sams Says:

      Totally hooked on your erudition and enthusiasm, guys. I always tear up when Paul brings out Let it Be for the very first time. Michael Lindsay Hogg, by the way, inherited none of the cinematic genius of his (putative) father Orson Welles…


    16. Jeff Says:

      This is the best podcast I’ve heard in this series so far. Absolutely superb attention to detail. Bravo guys!


    17. BW Says:

      You guys forgot to mention the SECOND most annoying member (besides Yoko) during that time: George’s Wah Wah pedal. 🙂

      I dunno, I think that Paul did the best he could and has taken nothing but crap for it. While I do agree that George kind of got sidelined during this period, I can’t see The Beatles doing “Hear Me Lord”. That’s such a personal thing and I can see the others not being into it.

      During the period where they started talking about Clapton, Paul, VERY CHARACTERISTICALLY OF PAUL, goes and loses himself in his music in the corner of the room. That’s what Paul does. That whole thing when Yoko was on the mic… holy crap! It’s like the drunk Ahole at yer gig that grabs the mic and screams into it full blast. The other Beatles and studio staff should’ve unplugged her. Seriously, it was horrible, not to mention “Who do you think you are??”. Man, I’d have flipped out. And you hear John go “He’s busy!” you’d think she’d take the hint. Wow. John was such an a$$ at that time.


    18. Grete Ringgaard Says:

      I wonder what Paul was thinking when he rehearsed All Things Must Pass for the Concert For George? He did a fine job, but the irony of him performing this specific number must have slipped his mind.

      George must be smiling where ever he is.


    19. rickylee369 Says:

      I do wonder if you may have missed something in your appraisal of these sessions. I guess there is an argument, which you alluded to but didn’t develop (am only halfway through this episode though), about the band coming back from India as a very different group. A theory of mine is that Rishikesh, more than any other factor, led to the break up, though it would take time.

      The key word is group. The Beatles had done drugs together, as well as separately and this may have led to certain experiences (George and John for example) leading to factions, but seemed to think that wasn’t the full answer. India was an opportunity to take time out (though they still worked their asses off it seems) but more importantly, a search for the self. The Beatles had always been almost one personality, but though strong, it isn’t real, people, no matter how close, are islands. You have the quiet one, the witty one, the cute one and Ringo, and that makes a great unit, but you have to grow out of your school buddies.

      The White Album was perhaps the first album where it was blatant which song was written by whom. Of course L and M had stopped writing face to face pretty much and yet the albums still had an overall sound or theme that ran through them. The White Album was Indian fallout, a Bombay mix of light meditations, kitsch and heavy shit. It was the sound of four personalities emerging from their proximity. I think further clues can be garnered from the fact that they grew out of India at different rates and left the ashram, not together, but separate.

      It is no wonder then that faced with the prospect of doing a live performance with the expectations that might entail, that there was reticence to go and be The Beatles as demanded by popular culture, rather than the people they had become. The drugs would not have helped Lennon, the introduction of Yoko wasn’t simply an interference, but a constant reminder that things were changing.


    20. rickylee369 Says:

      I would like to add that having finished this episode, having thought I had known a lot about The Beatles, that this was the most enlightening two hours of Beatle talk I have ever heard. If you read the comments I have made since discovering you last night, you will know that I do not always agree with your analysis, or think that you may be attaching too much, or too little importance to certain events (though obviously we are all just guessing), but this stuff is golden.

      As to Johns passive-aggressiveness in these sessions, it is pure heroin behaviour. You can look at all the motives, the history, the decay, the condescension, but in the end, Heroin makes you a disinterested observer. It makes you self-centred, makes you drift for long periods of inactivity and stifles creativity (Lennons best songs about HARD drugs usually came after he quit using them). It is no surprise that he had little to offer. What is more of a surprise is that they managed to get an album out at all, even if it wasn’t the album they all wanted.


    21. rickylee369 Says:

      I am a Yoko supporter, but the behaviour demonstrated (in a clip I can’t believe I have never heard before!) during Georges temporary absence is shocking. You can’t obviously judge someone on a single days actions (and if there was a row during lunch in which she was the motivation then there may be a smidgen of mitigation), but this makes me sad.

      I have seen the Let it Be film, read many books, heard the quotes from interviews but it is only now that you guys have painted this picture, with a coherent chronology with all those three factors taken into consideration that it seems close to the nightmare it has always been described as.

      I will admit that I have heard many of the unreleased tracks from these sessions and found them dull noodles in the main. I dismissed much of the stuff I heard as casual racism (without malice), tuneless standards and lesser versions of Beatles classics that were half baked. However, the between-takes chatter is very absorbing.

      I must ask though, why are The Beatles so reluctant to release a copy of the DVD of the movie? I thought it was to preserve the myth, but it seems that the actual movie is pretty much a whitewash anyway (except the Paul/George bit which I believe was in the Anthology). It fits perfectly with the well-known narrative which still feels incomplete without this authorised product.

      Looking forward to the next podcast. Peace.


    22. Jimilast Says:

      Just catching up with this excellent podcast. During the Yoko splitting the band discussion the guys mention Paul “having his moment” finding a note the previous year. It’s around 2:07. What’s this in context to?


      • Us Says:

        There was a period in 1968, after John moved out of Kenwood and prior to his moving into Ringo’s Montague Square flat, when he and Yoko were staying at Paul’s place on Cavendish. While there, John was going through some mail when he found a note reading something along the lines of “You and your Jap tart think you’re hot shit.” Ostensibly from a disgruntled fan, Paul apparently revealed that he’d written it as a joke. John was stunned.


    Leave a Reply to Daniel Jay