“Penny Lane” (1967)
The psychedelic video for Paul’s portrait of Liverpool life — although the Beatles, busy making Sgt. Pepper’s, filmed their scenes closer to Abbey Road, in Stratford and Kent. The lads ride on horseback, which gets some priceless commentary from Starr and McCartney. “Ringo’s really not a horseman,” Paul explains. “My big memory of that shoot is always saying, ‘Where’s Ringo? There he is, disappearing over the horizon on that galloping white horse!'” Apparently, it’s still a traumatic memory for Ringo, who shudders as he introduces the clip. “These are monster giant animals!” he says. “Mine tried to run away, so the memory is pretty damn scary.”
“Hey Bulldog” (1968)
The film crew went to Abbey Road on February 11th to shoot a video for “Lady Madonna” — but the Beatles didn’t feel like lip-synching that day, because they were absorbed in cutting a new song instead. Result: astounding footage of the band at work on “Hey Bulldog” in the studio. John and Paul share a mike, eyeball to eyeball, ad-libbing the same demented barks and howls you hear on the record, making each other laugh. It’s poignant to see film evidence of how, even at this late stage in the band’s deteriorating personal relations, John and Paul can have so much fun standing face to face, throwing ideas at each other.
A full-on electric blowout, with a black-clad John snarling while the others chime in with the “shooby-doo-wah” vocals. It’s the definitive version of the song, combining the best of both the electric and acoustic versions, with John in “count me out — in” mode. They filmed this clip in the middle of the combative White Album sessions, when they were falling apart as a team. But as the first verse kicks off, George tosses his hair in unmistakable joy, looking fabber than ever in his red turtleneck — a perfect image of why, even in these grim days for the band, they absolutely loved being Beatles.
No chance of getting all four Beatles together for this clip — instead, each Beatle appears in separately filmed footage at home with their wives. And each couple projects a totally different vibe — George and Patti peacocking in their hippie-royalty finery, Paul and Linda on the farm in Scotland with Martha the sheepdog, Ringo and Maureen goofing around on motorbikes, John and Yoko serene in their matching black robes. Each Beatle looks like he’s found what he was looking for — but they’re heading for four separate futures.
“Don’t Let Me Down” (1969)
From the rooftop jam of January 30th, 1969: None of them realized it would be this cold, so Ringo wears Maureen’s red coat, George wears Patti’s jacket, and John wears Yoko’s fur wrap. Their breath freezes in front of their faces; their hands can barely feel the chords. But with “Don’t Let Me Down,” they look resolved for the future, ready to leave one phase behind and embrace the next. The dream is over.