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Composing Outside The Beatles: Lennon & McCartney 1973-1980

The Beatles    DVD

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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Presents a rounded picture of the artists' decade Oct. 22 2011
By DVD Verdict - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
James A. Stewart, DVD Verdict --The general angle of Composing Outside The Beatles is that McCartney fared better in the post-Beatles world by going after popularity with Wings--the band he formed with his wife Linda, Denny Laine of the Moody Blues, and a number of other people who came and went--while Lennon's artistic ambitions were less successful.

Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, Composing Outside The Beatles does a good job of outlining Lennon's and McCartney's work and presenting its case. It generally gets closer to McCartney's life, thanks to contributions from Laine and Wings drummer Denny Seiwell, but manages to show how a rough patch in Lennon's marriage to Yoko Ono affected his music--and led to a reunion with McCartney. Music videos and concert clips are plentiful, excerpted to give viewers reminders of songs such as McCartney's "My Love," "Live and Let Die," "Band on the Run," and "Coming Up," and Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" and "Woman." Comments from critics and acquaintances help present a rounded picture of the artists' decade.

Composing is a little long, clocking in at over two hours, but it rarely bogs down. It's apparently a three-part television documentary released as one long unit on DVD; it would have been helpful to keep any divisions so viewers could watch at their own pace. I also noticed that there's another volume available on Amazon.com.

As you'd expect, picture quality varies widely, depending on the clips. It's an all-regions disc. Some extra Laine comments, particularly on his "friendly competition" with McCartney, and contributor bios are included. The DVD box gives a rundown of the contributors so you know who's who among the talking heads.

-Full review at dvdverdict.com
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...decomposing... Nov. 19 2011
By rocky-o - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
There is a new addition to the "Composing The Beatles" series out on dvd this week, concluding the lifelong contribution to music that John Lennon favored us with, along with the continuing attributes of Sir Paul McCartney.

The `now-in-total' four disc set, (sold separately), reveals the trials and tribulations regarding the `Lennon-McCartney' partnership, as some would say, the greatest songwriting team of all time...but...

In the first disc of The Beatles early years, it was indeed a team effort that quickly grew apart where the songwriting was concerned, and, by disc 2, it was all over but the memories. This `team', although credited as such, rarely wrote much together, and it's evident to all those questioned, as well as to all those who listen, who really wrote what.

Disc 3 and 4 go under the paraphrased titles of "Composing Outside The Beatles", and take a look at the solo careers of John and Paul, after the breakup.

Clearly, in all four discs, the consensus is that John was indeed the better writer of the two, and that never becomes more clear than on disc 3, where their early solo efforts contrasted like night and day.

While John released brilliant efforts like "Imagine" and the `Plastic Ono Band' l.p., Paul was struggling with efforts like "Wild Life" and "Ram".

But, on disc 4, the newest entry, Paul's fortunes change, and, though he still isn't given much credit as far as being a songwriter goes, the charts told a different story, as he skyrocketed to #1 with the album still considered his post-Beatle magnum opus, "Band on The Run".

John, at this point, was not very focused on the music, and personal issues took him away from it for a while. Personal issues, however, constantly plagued Paul's new band `Wings', as the band members became a rotating multiplex of names and faces, struggling to find their place amongst the ex-Beatle.

And, sadly, by the end of disc four, the fatal day occurred, practically moments after John got back into the studio to release one of his most prominent efforts, "Double Fantasy". All four of these discs together mark the legacy from beginning to end, and struggle to understand it all, while simply appreciating the time we had.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Solo L & M Documentary Feb. 6 2012
By Robbie Cannes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Nothing gets Beatlemaniacs fired up quicker than a debate on the early solo albums by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Here, critics and former band associates opine on the subject, among them, ex-Wings members Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell, and Lennon mate Klaus Voormann. This covers Wings and McCartney's dismal first albums, such as Wildlife and Red Rose Speedway. In contrast, Lennon exited the Beatles with powerhouse singles like "Instant Karma" and "Imagine," giving him the mantle of hit pop tunesmith - a role most expected for McCartney. The commentary from Laine and Seiwell is especially interesting, especially the latter, who recounts McCartney writing "Live and Let Die" in 10 minutes. While McCartney soared in the mid '70s, Lennon's solo career lost focus, including album misfires such as Somewhere in New York City, Mind Games, and Rock & Roll (though the song "Mind Games" remains a solo gem). Also discussed is Lennon's "lost weekend" in California, where he partied to excess and, unbeknownst to many, jammed with McCartney in a session that produced a sloppy, drunken version of "Stand By Me." Another f lashpoint is his last album, Double Fantasy, which the critics here argue over whether was it a final glimpse of genius or a f laccid bit of tripe. Your call. For the most part, this DVD is compelling, although neither George Harrison nor Ringo Starr's solo albums are discussed. The critics tend to fawn over McCartney while painting Lennon - somewhat simplistically - as a troubled solo artist. But for the most part, Composing Outside the Beatles asks enough questions to make it worthy of a purchase and repeated viewings. -
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lennon and McCartney - Composing Outside the Beatles 1973-1980 April 2 2014
By S Riaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is the fourth DVD in this series and the second looking at Lennon and McCartney’s solo output. The previous disc looked at the period 1967-1972 and was a disappointment for McCartney fans, being very Lennon orientated. This disc is much more likely to appeal to Paul’s fans, than John’s, as John’s output came to a halt in the mid-Seventies, until his return with “Double Fantasy.”

The programme begins with the formation of Wings and “Wild Life.” Although this is pretty much dismissed, I love Paul’s early albums – “McCartney,” “Ram,” and “Wild Life”- and although I think they work better as albums, listened to in their entirety, there were some individual tracks that could have been discussed, surely! However, we then move on to “My Love,” giving Paul his first big solo hit and seeing him begin to regain control over his career. Denny Seiwell discusses Paul writing “Live and Let Die,” ‘in about ten minutes’ and it is clear that he is ready to go out and work again. Good to hear Denny Seiwell and Denny Laine interviewed and worth getting the DVD just for their contributions.

John, meanwhile, had released “Mind Games,” (The “NYC” album is dismissed by the panel as pretty much just an embarrassment). Mind Games is described by the experts as “weak,” (you will certainly not always agree with their opinions!) but there are, at least, some songs discussed. You do feel it is a shame that Paul’s early albums were not given the same attention in the earlier DVD, but “Mind Games,” is certainly a good album.

“Band On the Run,” is the next album offer and the beginning of the problems with Wings, which led to many changing line-up’s over the decade. John was heading into his infamous ‘Lost Weekend,” and Klaus Voorman returns in this DVD to discuss that period and Paul’s role in reuniting John and Yoko. “Walls and Bridges,” and his “Rock and Roll” albums are discussed. “Walls and Bridges” is my favourite of John’s solo albums and it is good to hear that the critics on the panel also feel it merits more attention than it usually gets.

At this point, Wings were poised to become one of the biggest bands of the Seventies and there is a critical appraisal of “Venus and Mars,” “Wings at the Speed of Sound,” “Wings Over America,” “London Town,” “Back to the Egg,” and the demise of Wings. Among individual songs looked at are, “Junior’s Farm,” “Listen to What the Man Said” and “Mull of Kintyre.” Again, it is really good to have Denny Laine’s input about those years. The end of Wings saw Paul back as a solo performer and the release of “McCartney II” which, of course, contains the excellent “Coming Up,” and “Waterfalls.” It is suggested that "Coming Up" was the song which gave Lennon the challenge he needed to get back in the studio and so, we move on to Lennon's. "Double Fantasy."

“Double Fantasy,” is given quite short shrift as an album. Even if, like me, you remember the lukewarm reception of the album in the short time between its release and John’s tragic, and untimely, death, it is still shocking to hear that album criticised. It was, at that time, everywhere and took on a certain emotional quality, which I still find hard to be objective about. Of course, though, that is the panel’s job and, even if you may not agree with everything they say (and I didn’t, often!), they are interesting to listen to. Taken together, the four DVD’s are essential watching for fans and are sure to be watched again and again.

Also, unlike the previous DVD, this has at least one included extra – an extended interview with Denny Laine – in which he puts aside rumours that he argued with Paul (rumours largely based on interviews he did for Geoffrey Giuliano’s revolting biography, “Blackbird”) and lets slip the news that he is writing an autobiography, while interestingly reassuring fans that he is not intending to be negative. Obviously, Laine has done little of note after Wings and is looking to get fans back on side. Personally, I would be interested in reading this when (if?) it is released and it is certainly good to get his take on Wings, as he was Paul’s collaborator during most of the Seventies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things you never knew and videos you have never seen Jan. 29 2014
By Joyce - Published on Amazon.com
I was very skeptical about what this video would be like. Especially when looking at the two hour plus run time. But...it turned out to be very good. I have been viewing, reading and collecting Beatles related stuff since 1964. Even I learned and saw things that were new to me. Denny Laine and Klaus Voorman add insights and stories that only someone who was there would know. Slow at times but overall recommended.

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