Can you believe that it’s been 40 years since The Beatles made any kind of new appearance on television. There has been no entirely new music played live, as a group, on television, since 1968. God, that’s so strange.
I know we’ve all gotten to relive the experiences through the Anthology set, but really as a group it was 40 years ago today that the Fab Four made their last live television appearance. My how time really does pass.
Here’s what we’ve read.
September 8 may have been a sleepy day, but four decades ago it was rocking quite nicely on David Frost’s television show. That is when The Beatles delivered their last live TV performance, imploding not long thereafter in a collision of McCartney’s ego, Lennon’s distraction and George’s inability to get his songs on wax.
The Frost clip at right is instructive on those fronts. Lennon spaces out during a musical lampoon of Frost, and McCartney sings “Hey Jude,” a song about divorce for Lennon’s son Julian, directly into the camera. But those short glimpses are quickly overwhelmed by Frost’s audience, which crowds the band at the ballad’s finale, as if they didn’t want to let The Beatles go.
It’s amazing to think that it has been 40 years since The Beatles last appeared on television, or released what I would argue is their best effort, The Beatles, also known as The White Album. (That particular anniversary is Nov. 22.) And it’s even more amazing to think generations have grown up not really knowing much about the band. Even so, The Beatles will remain the greatest pop band to ever live, until someone comes and takes the crown.
One can’t help but think that will be a long wait, indeed.