There’s a great flow the presentation. We never know what kind of story we’ll hear next, but it progresses naturally. Was it difficult to achieve that structure?
The actual running order, the juxtaposition of the stories, was carefully crafted that way. There was thought behind it. There’s a general sense of the ‘60s in the first part, and then it goes into the ‘70s, like Art Garfunkel, Henry Winkler, May Pang. It’s kind of important to match the time period in a subtle way so the viewer doesn’t feel jolted.
Once you tracked down and contacted someone you wanted to interview, did you have a hard time scheduling a meeting?
I know nobody in the Beatles world. People have said, “Oh, you’re a songwriter and have written hit songs, so you must’ve known this person or that person.” I didn’t know anybody, I really didn’t. This was all about the passion of doing it. Whenever I got to somebody, say through a guitar player that might’ve played on a demo of mine, I would always say, “I’d love to get 10 minutes of your time.” But what do you say, “Let’s meet at your house?” You just can’t start by inviting yourself over to Art Garfunkel’s house. I always said, “I just need 10 minutes of your time.” And I meant it. And then they would end up inviting me to their house a lot of the times. Before I knew it, 10 minutes turned into an hour. So I had a lot of extra footage.
How did you go about boiling it down to what we see in the final cut?
I always thought of it as a rainbow, in that you don’t always have the exact same hue of blue or orange or yellow. I didn’t want the same story. If Justin Hayward [of The Moody Blues] told me about the first time he met John Lennon, I would think, “I already have that story in another form.” And yet Justin told me another fantastic story about how George Harrison didn’t remember the chords to a Beatles song [“I’m Only Sleeping”], and he had to teach it to him. So I had to choose different ones that weren’t the same thing to make that rainbow. I was always trying to give the viewer a different color.
Did you ever find yourself with footage you really wanted to use, but just couldn’t quite fit into the film comfortably?