Links for the week

Bob Stanley isn’t impressed by the ‘new’ Beatles album. Can’t say I am much either. I’m certainly not the world’s biggest Beatles fan, but hearing the Martins’ reworked ‘Strawberry Fields’ on the radio on Saturday I could only think – as I think Stanley does too – of corporatism and wasted opportunity. You see, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Beatles’ back catalogue is soon to pass out of copyright (new laws to cope with this are likely being drafted as I write), so not only does an official reworking grant a Christmas windfall of sales, but also effectively extends the copyright on all your old favourites by changing them just enough, but not so much that you care about the difference. Frankly, after all the hoo-ha that there has been in the past when half-decent producers have actually attempted something creative with the Fab Four’s back catalogue, it’s hard to imagine Love as anything but a cynical director’s-cut, added-extras, box-set exploitation. Paul’s comparison of the new album to a glossy reprint of Churchill’s writings – greatly preferable to the original manuscripts, he says – exposes this hollowness: sheen over substance. I don’t think this is a question of authenticity (I mean, we all know that’s a crock, right; with Sergeant Pepper the Beatles did as much as anyone to kill this off), but rather the substitution of imagination and ambition for the comforting illusion of Dolby 5.1. (Weird isn’t it – supposedly ‘better’ sound quality, higher fidelity no less, actually draws accusations of inauthenticity…)

And anyway that version of ‘Strawberry Fields’ was pretty weak.

Elsewhere: the Telegraph does post-Soviet jazz; John Mauceri makes many thought-provoking points on concert programming. The latter in particular is well worth a read.

3 thoughts on “Links for the week

  1. Funny, I remember George Martin announcing his last ever album back in 1998. Perhaps he reconsidered his earlier wish to be remembered for recording Goldie Hawn singing “A Hard Day’s Night”.

  2. It is a rare day that I read something that seems a bit too cynical, even for my taste. Oh, we should all hope to still be puttering around in a studio, messing with music in our late age.

    I have only heard the George Harrison song in passing, and I liked the fresh take of something so intrinsic to me.

    Besides, copyright is life plus seventy, or some such, for the composition (a long way to go). And I suppose on all the Lennon/McCartney numbers, it would be life+70 (or somesuch) of the last surviving composer, and Macca is… for better or worse…

    So, what is the length of the sound recording copyright? Is that what you are describing as about to go into PD?

  3. Peter – yeah, sound recording copyright and composition copyright aren’t the same things; so although Lennon and McCartney songs are still in copyright and will be for a while as compositions, the actual recordings have I think (off the top of my head) 50 years flat from when they were made. BUT this is applies to UK recordings, not US ones, which have a different span (much longer, thanks Sony).

    No idea whether the Lennon/McCartney songs will be Lennon + 70 years or McCartney + 70 years. Expect the courts to have to weed out actual authorship between the two some time in 2050…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s