LET IT BEATLES
THERE ARE MANY ways to approach the Beatles’ career: album by album, era by era, haircut by haircut. But the group’s choices of guitars and other gear is an especially enjoyable and revealing method for examining the development of their music and sounds. The period beginning in 1968 is particularly interesting, as it was then that some great new guitars and amps entered the picture during the making of the White Album. Come January 1969 and the recording of Let It Be, their gear lineup expanded with the addition of several pieces from Fender, including the company’s then-new silverface amps, which make a such a pleasing sight in the previews for director Peter Jackson’s new documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. This issue, we take a look at that gear and the history behind it.
Coincidentally, this August marks the 50th anniversary of another Beatles-related event: George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, the celebrated August 1971 benefit show that became the first of its kind in the world of rock and roll. Recognizing that little research has been done into the guitars used for that event, writer Nikki O’Neill did some sleuthing to uncover not only details about the gear but also to get first-hand stories from Peter Frampton and Badfinger guitarist Joey Molland about the concert and how two of its most famous performers almost didn’t show up. We hope this gear extravaganza will hold you over while waiting for the release of The
Beatles: Get Back, now slated for release in November. Incidentally, anyone seeking more Beatles reading should check out Fab Fools by our own production editor, Jem Roberts, in which he explores the group’s adventures in comedy, from their classic films to cartoons and pantomime.
I hope you’re having a great summer. Enjoy the issue.