Morgen zal het vijftig jaar geleden zijn dat The Beatles het nummer “Two of us” opnamen.

Het zou uiteindelijk verschijnen op de laatste Beatles-elpee “Let it be”. Maar veel belangrijker is dat het ook de titel is van een film van Michael Lindsay-Hogg (overigens ook de maker van de documentaire film over de opnames van die elpee) uit 2000, waarin een fictief verslag wordt gegeven van de laatste dag dat Paul McCartney (gespeeld door Aidan Quinn) en John Lennon (gespeeld door Jared Harris) elkaar hebben ontmoet (foto en informatie afkomstig van de Internet Movie Database).

John Lennon and Paul McCartney actually did spend 24 April 1976 together, the day Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live offered the Beatles $3,000 to appear on the program, when by coincidence McCartney was visiting Lennon at his New York apartment and watching the program. It was the last time they met, but contrary to the movie, both Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney were also present.

They got along so well (*) that Paul returned the next day to see John. John would not let him in, saying, as he does in the movie, “You can’t just be dropping by like it’s the good old days.”

The song, written by Paul McCartney but credited (as usual) by Lennon-McCartney, was originally titled “On Our Way Home”. Ian MacDonald claimed the lyrics sounded like McCartney was probably addressing Lennon, e.g.: “you and I have memories/longer than the road that stretches out ahead” (**).

An early performance of the song, in a guitar-driven rock style, can be seen in the “Let It Be” film. Unsatisfied with this style, which McCartney described as “chunky”, the band reworked the song around acoustic guitars. The Beatles performed a finished version of the song live at Apple Studios on 31 January 1969; this performance was included in both the “Let It Be” film and album. The clip was also broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show on 1 March 1970 as the final appearance by the Beatles on the program.

On the “Let It Be” album, producer Phil Spector added, as a spoken introduction to the song, a snippet of unrelated studio humour by Lennon, who says: “‘I Dig A Pygmy’ by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf-Aids! Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats!” This intro, with its passing mention of the British comic actor, was removed in the “Let It Be… Naked” version.

In May 1969, McCartney produced a recording of the song using this title by the group Mortimer, a New York City trio that briefly recorded for Apple, but this recording was never released. Several other obscure singers had a go at it, but the most famous were Boney M. who covered the song on their 1979 album “Oceans of Fantasy” and Kenny Loggins on his 2009 album “All Join In”. (Wikipedia)

(*) After John kisses Paul in the elevator (in the movie), Paul asks John “Is my name Brian?” This is of course a reference to Brian Epstein, the gay manager who was rumoured to have had a sexual relationship with John Lennon (although McCartney has rubbished this suggestion).

(**) At D5 Conference in 2007, Steve Jobs got emotional with Bill Gates about their friendship. He described their friendship with the song: “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.”

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