File this entry under Bureaucracy, Wastes of Time Caused By:

Under Paul McCartney’s direction the Beatles had made three promotional films for [“Hello Goodbye”] on 10 November but it was later realized that, in Britain, these might contravene the Musicians’ Union ban on miming. Since the viola players were not shown in the films – making the miming transparently obvious – [a viola-less] remix was made and dubbed onto the BBC’s copy. It was a wasted task, however, for the Beatles’ own miming could not be masked and consequently the film was not shown in the U.K. [M. Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions]

This is all rather confusing. I guess the British Musicians’ Union allowed people to pretend to play music on camera, but only if the miming was considered convincing? A Wikipedia entry on the practice of miming says this:

Initially, bands performing on the UK TV show Top of the Pops mimed to the commercially released record, but in 1966 after discussions with the Musicians’ Union, miming was banned. After a few weeks during which some bands’ attempts to play as well as on their records were somewhat lacking, a compromise was reached whereby a specially recorded backing track was permitted – as long as all the musicians on the track were present in the studio.

In other words, a good-faith effort had to be made to fool the punters at home into thinking they were hearing a live performance. The whole thing seems pretty stupid, but then that’s bureaucracy for you, innit?

Also today,  mixes of “It’s All Too Much,” “All Together Now,” and “Only a Northern Song” were handed off to the producers of the Yellow Submarine movie. Abandoned and unloved, these songs no doubt cried themselves to sleep at night.

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