The Beatles' Failures
Not everything The Beatles touched turned to solid gold. Although they did have the Midas Touch, the two most notable Beatle flops were Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, Let it Be (formerly Get Back) in 1968-9, Apple Corps and How I Won the War in 1966.
Ironically, both were not directly related their songwriting capabilities but showed when they went outside their venue of music, they were not "solid gold".
Released in 1967, Magical Mystery Tour was a concept of Paul. Taken by film making, Paul and company went out with 16mm cameras to create a one hour long TV show that would hopefully be sold to American TV, NBC. The film's concept was some sort of "tour" in the heyday of hippieness, peace, love and flowers. They would all get on a "magical bus" with many other odd characters and drive into the English countryside and other realms. It was a mish-mash and a collage that, when done, resembled a film student's final project. The script was all ad lib. The characters were all semi-actors at best. Paul and John directed it. The theme was really just a psychedelic party with weird things happening. For instance, the most memorable is when this huge, fat, overweight lady sits down to eat. John is the waiter and takes the order for spaghetti. When served, John brings a wheel barrel of it and shovels it onto her plate.
For the most part, the film is amateurish and lacks polish in all aspects. When NBC viewed it, they thought it was rubbish and not worthy of American TV. It was never aired in the US.
Most ironical is the fact even though the film was a fiasco, the Magical Mystery TourLP or CD spawned FIVE number one songs that year, an incredible feat for any rock band still today. Many of them can be heard in commercials for Target, Mervyns, or credit cards. During 1967, these five songs were released at intervals in order not to deluge the market.
In 1968-9, Paul once again brought up the concept of Get Back. A film about how the Beatles made music. The band was holed up in a cold warehouse hated by all members by Paul, who was again, trying to direct a film. The Get Back sessions only produced a few great songs and sadly, ended up documenting the Beatles breakup. At the time, it was not thought of in that manner, although, it was on every one's mind. The film was documentary, so there was no real acting as in a Hard Day;s Night or Help. It was a bare-bones film. Once it was completed, the band was so disgusted with the event, the shelved its release until 1969. The recordings were remixed by Phil Spector, now sentenced for murder. The other Beatles hated the remix Spector had done, John, who had brought him in, was sued in court by Paul. It was a crazy mess. In 1969, after the band's breakup, it was released as Let it Be, a much more appropriate title given the arguments in the film. It is difficult to watch for any Beatle fan.
In 1968, the Beatles were sick of Capitol records and EMI. They created their own corporation called Apple. Long before Apple computers. It is no wonder where Steve Jobs got the "Apple" name from, he was a huge Beatle fan! Apple orignal was involved in not only recording but producing movies, finding new artists, fashion shops for women. The Apple store was painted in bright, bold colors. One could not miss it.
Some of the artists they discovered included James Taylor, Mary Hopkins, Badfinger, Jackie Lomax. They had created the world's most modern recording studio. The music side of things were a success, however, everything else was failing and subsidized by the Beatles until they pulled the plug. James Taylor went to another company, Hopkins had only two hits, written by Paul, Badfinger was there most successful, lasting until the mid 70s. Many called them , "The Beatles twin", they remain the closest sounding band to them. Their songs were written by their members, many were Number 1. The band was so tight, yet, its two key members would die. One in an accident, the other suicide. Apple soon simply ended up being only for The Beatles.
How I Won the Warwas a movie released in 1966. It starred John Lennon and others. John had a minor role of a anit-war soldier. John even cut his hair for the role. He actually took off from being a "Beatle" to take acting seriously. The film is anti-war satire of the British Army during WW2. It is a true film. All acting, John does no singing. The film was only a modest success in the US. The thick British accents made difficult listening for the American audience. Plus, America was in a Vietnam War. Some of the satire is so British, Americans simply were dumbfounded. John does a decent job of acting, he had the capability if he wanted to focus on it. Interesting to watch, but John is not the star.