The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play “what will Santa bring me?” games. Harrison only appears briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas. Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo’s song, the guitar solos from The End are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.
Wings over America is one of the reasons I miss vinyl, it was big in every sense of the word. A triple album, with a poster and a cover designed by Hipgnosis.
Originally, Wings over America was to be a two-record set, but this was rethought due to the success of a bootleg called Wings from the Wings, released on a bicentennial red, white and blue triple record set, recorded on 23 June 1976 at The Forum (Inglewood, California).
This caused McCartney to redo the official release as a three-record set covering the entire concert, including Denny Laine’s “Go Now”, a song from his time as a member of The Moody Blues. This song was only performed 21–23 June 1976 at the Forum.
Compiled from all recorded shows of the band’s Wings Over America Tour that spring, Wings over America was another success for Paul McCartney and Wings, reaching number 1 in the US in early 1977 (the last in a 5-album stretch of consecutive number 1 albums for Wings) and number 8 in the UK, and selling several million copies.
Wings Over America was reissued as a double-CD in 1984 on Columbia Records and later on Capitol Records.
On November 29, 2002, a year after his death, a tribute concert for George Harrison was held at Royal Albert Hall. Friends and family gathered to play his songs, and it was an impressive, if predictable, roster:
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Tom Petty, and Eric Clapton, who also served as musical director, took center stage, but George’s son Dhani Harrison was also there, as was Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka, early British rock & roller Joe Brown, and Gary Brooker. Unlike many all-star lineups, everybody had a close personal connection to George.
.. a big step forward, exploring doubt, loneliness, alienation, adult sexual longing, acoustic guitars, electric piano, bongos, castanets, and the finest George songs known to man. … Help! was utterly ruined in its U.S. version, which cut half the songs and added worthless orchestral soundtrack filler, so it’s always been underrated. But Help! is the first chapter in the astounding creative takeoff the Beatles were just beginning: the soulful bereavement of “Ticket to Ride,” the impossibly erotic gentleness of “Tell Me What You See,” the desperate falsetto and electric punch of “You’re Going to Lose That Girl.”
…. the album’s masterpiece is McCartney’s brooding, deceptively simple chamber-pop ballad “Yesterday.” … it’s compositionally complex, one of the first major pop songs to draw directly from classical music, juxtaposing acoustic guitar with a string quartet, shifting from minor to major chords. It set the stage for one of the most groundbreaking and innovative periods in The Beatles’ career, not to mention pop music in general.
~Mark Kemp (pastemagazine.com)
Help! – from a 6-song set filmed for British television in August of 1965:
6 August 1965
15–19 February, 13 April, 10 May& 14–17 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
“twice as good and four times as startling as Rubber Soul, with sound effects, Oriental drones, jazz bands, transcendentalist lyrics, all kinds of rhythmic and harmonic surprises, and a filter that made John Lennon sound like God singing through a foghorn.”
….. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)