Last Thursday, Jan. 24, Pollock Theater was full of Beatlemania as students and community members came to watch a showing of the Beatles documentary “Let It Be” at 7 p.m. and stayed to listen to musician and producer Alan Parsons talk about his experience with the band. The event was an entertaining experience for both Beatles fans and music enthusiasts.
The “Let It Be” event is a part of the “Beatles Revolutions” winter 2019 film series that the Carsey-Wolf Center is hosting. The series showcases the band at various points in its career and brings in individuals who were involved with the Beatles to talk about their experiences with the band.
The guest for this event was Alan Parsons, the assistant engineer at the Abbey Road Studio in 1967, and the engineer for the Beatles “Abbey Road” album. He was also the sound engineer for Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album. David Novak, an associate professor of music at UCSB, was moderating the post-screening discussion with Parsons.
The excitement for the event was palpable from the beginning of the night. Outside of Pollock Theater was a line full of guests hoping to get into the show — a line which started at the doors of the theater and ended in the street.
“Let It Be” followed the band as it was in the process of recording its last published album. The first half of the film shows Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr working on music, joking, and arguing with each other. The second half is full of music videos and ends with the band’s famous rooftop concert.
As the film played, everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen in awe of the band. Throughout the screening, one could hear a roar of laughter whenever Paul made a joke, and see heads bobbing along whenever music played. Once the Beatles finished their show on the rooftop, the audience gave a hearty round of applause.
After the film, Novak and Parson came to the stage and began discussing the documentary and Parson’s history with the band. Parson reflected on how he was only able to work with the Beatles on their “Let It Be” album for a week. Most of the time he spent with the band was during the recording of the “Abbey Road” album.
“One of the things that I feel like would have came out of the Apple session was how depressed they were. They were really not enjoying themselves,” remarked Parson when talking about the band and their record label, Apple Corps Studio, at the time. “And the Abbey Road became really an album of solo efforts.”
But the night wasn’t full of sad memories from Parson. “Suddenly they’re the Beatles again,” said Parson with a grin on his face, referring to the energy of the band when playing on the rooftop.
The event ended with a Q&A between Parson and the audience. The topics of the questions ranged from his time collaborating with the Beatles and Pink Floyd to his work on the Alan Parson Project, the band that Parson created with Eric Woolfson. The band is most well known for the song, “Eye in the Sky.”
Parson told the audience, “If we had played live, we would have been big,” reflecting on the Alan Parson Project. Novak closed the event by repeating John’s famous last line from the “Let It Be” documentary: “Thank you for coming and I hope we passed the audition.”
The Carsey-Wolf Center has given UCSB a rare and exciting opportunity to witness the Beatles on the big screen as well as a chance to speak to acclaimed artists, writers, and producers. The Pollock Theater will continue to hold three other free events within the series. The next event is on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. when they will be showing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” This film will show the Beatles in the early half of their career, and will have actress Nancy Allen and co-writer Bob Gale as the guest and speakers of the event.