Over the past few years, the Universal Music showcase has become a staple of Grammy Weekend: a tightly run, three-hour-ish sampler of the company’s current and upcoming talent, ranging from superstars to brand-new artists, wherein each act plays a song or two.
The most exciting of all, we got a top-secret previews of Peter Jackson’s forthcoming film on the Beatles, which was created from the dozens of hours of footage from their 1969 “Let It Be” sessions.
The audience was then politely asked not to film or photograph the segment that followed: a several-minute-long preview of “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Beatles film (announced a year ago). Longtime Apple Records chief Jeff Jones (who noted that the Beatles had taken the name for their record company long before the computer colossus was formed) spoke of how the original “Let It Be” film is considered by many to be a depressing look at the group in the process of breaking up — an impression its murky, shadowy atmosphere exacerbated.
Many hours of “Let It Be” footage:
“We have created a brand-new film that will attempt to bust the myth that the ‘Let It Be’ sessions were the final nail in the Beatles’ coffin,” Jones said.
And sure enough, an amazing counter-narrative to “Let It Be” film has ensued: It’s brighter both visually and spiritually, with many, many shots of the Beatles joking around, making fun of each other, singing in silly accents and generally indulging in vintage Moptop hijinks. It also features many scenes of the group rehearsing songs from the “Abbey Road” album —which would be recorded over the following summer — and even rough versions of songs that would appear on solo records. On the basis of this clip, Beatles fans will lose their minds over this film.
The showcase wound down with a pair of songs from Big Machine’s Riley Green — including a stellar song called “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” — New York Latin rocker Anthony Ramos and clips from the forthcoming film “Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”