Sunday, April 21, 2024

Beatles Songs Suddenly Turn Up in Popular Movies, TV After Years of Being Too Expensive to License


It used to be that Beatles songs were not allowed in popular movies or on TV shows. The Beatles’ former manager, the late Neil Aspinall, wouldn’t permit their classic tunes to be sullie by passing fancies.

After Aspinall died, there was a bit of a softening in the approach. “Baby You’re a Rich Man” turned up in “The Social Network.” I reported that producers had to pay a million bucks to get it.

But now, all of a sudden, the Beatles are slowly crossing into the mainstream.

Last night, Monty Python great Eric Idle, an old friend of the group, performed “Love Me Do” on the insipid game show. Idle was dressed as a hedgehog. (I hope he was paid a fortune.) Idle commented that he had to get Paul McCartney’s permission. McCartney replied, “Just tell me when it’s on so I know when not to watch.” Ha ha.

Today there’s a new trailer for Alejandro Innaritu’s “Bardo,” coming from Netflix. The trailer is set to the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus.”

Netflix has deep pockets, and it’s possible they cut a deal for “Walrus” at Sony Music Publishing when they also picked up the Beatles’ song “Glass Onion” for the new “Knives Out” movie. The whole Rian Johnson film is themed around a Glass Onion, and he’s said in interviews that he got the idea from the Beatles song. In the movie, you don’t hear it, though, until the moment the movie has it climactic end.

So far, all three of these songs are from the lesser group of Beatles tunes. Let’s hope we’re never going to hear the big hits used this way. But with 251 Lennon-McCartney collaborations, there are plenty more that might pop up. (How about “I’ll Be Back” at the end of a horror film?)

Here’s Eric Idle on “The Masked Singer” followed by the Innaritu trailer.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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