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Going Underground: Paul McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture (DVD)

Going Underground is a rather long documentary about the underground scene in Great Britain that emerged in the '60s and its impact on The Beatles, especially Paul McCartney. The film goes all the way back to the '50s with the emergence of the beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Keruoac. It is quite a history lesson and fairly interesting, especially for '60s buffs. The beat poets opened dialogue that led to discussions that were previously left untouched. Now it was okay to discuss, for example, one's sexuality or any other topic that was considered taboo at the time. The beat poets were not well known in Britain until Barry Miles (Paul McCartney's biographer) sought to publish their poetry.

In the early underground scene jazz was the main component as it was the music that was pushing the envelope the greatest. The emergence of free form composition and abstract music is discussed along with a variety of other topics. So, with all this exploration and new found free thinking it is no surprise that pop and rock music would also take monumental leaps towards experimentalism and the avant-garde. Of course The Beatles were a major player as their music became more cutting edge and experimental while still retaining a pop charm. The documentary goes on to explain how McCartney became involved in the underground scene (the rest of The Beatles moved out of London) as he had access to a myriad of different people. The film talks at length how McCartney was influenced by electronic pioneers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Delia Derbyshire. As Miles points out, "He (McCartney) digested things. Made it into his own and turned it into Beatle's music." The film also goes on to discuss how drugs (ie. acid) affected The Beatles. With lines like, "turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream", taken from the Lennon penned "Tomorrow Never Knows", one can easily connect the dots. Barry Miles makes the argument that "Tomorrow Never Knows" was the first psychedelic record and I think he makes a pretty good case.

So, what do you get with this DVD? Lots and lots of talking (nine people no less) and opinions and at times its quite interesting. Other bands discussed include The Soft Machine, AMM and Pink Floyd. There are also musical snippets included throughout the film.

Extra features include contributor biographies and more interviews and discussion.

Bottom line. If you lived in the '60s or are interested in that era this DVD should be well worth your time. The summer of love awaits.

Added: October 27th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 1990
Language: english

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