The Beatles’ “Black Album” from “Boyhood”

Sometimes I hate the invasiveness of new technology into our lives, but other times I figure we are pretty lucky. One of those times was when after watching Enemy (2013) I realized I could immediately seek help from the Internet in decoding what Jake Gyllenhaal saw. And recently, while watching Boyhood (2014), there was a scene with a mix CD where I thought, “I bet I’ll be able to find the track listings for the pretend CD on the Internet.” And, of course, I did.

In Boyhood, there is a scene where Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) gives his son Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) a mix CD he made, called The Beatles’ Black Album. The father explains that it is a compilation of the post-Beatles solo work by George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr. He tells how the music fits perfectly together, illustrating what albums we might have heard had the Beatles never broken up, continuing to work together in their mature years. We get a glimpse of the track list in the movie, and I then spent the next several minutes missing what was happening in the film because I was wondering what is on the CD.

The CD, however, was not created just for the movie. Ethan Hawke first made The Black Album for his daughter, even writing liner notes explaining his choices and why he made the album. Fortunately for us curious folks, he reworked the notes a little bit more and released them to the world via the Internet, along with the track listings. For the touching liner notes, which are worth reading, head over to Buzzfeed. You can catch the track listings from the three CDs of The Black Album below.

Disc 1:
1. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Band on the Run”; 2. George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”; 3. John Lennon feat. The Flux Fiddlers & the Plastic Ono Band, “Jealous Guy”; 4. Ringo Starr, “Photograph”; 5. John Lennon, “How?”; 6. Paul McCartney, “Every Night”; 7. George Harrison, “Blow Away”; 8. Paul McCartney, “Maybe I’m Amazed”; 9. John Lennon, “Woman”; 10.Paul McCartney & Wings, “Jet”; 11. John Lennon, “Stand by Me”; 12. Ringo Starr, “No No Song”; 13. Paul McCartney, “Junk”; 14. John Lennon, “Love”; 15. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “The Back Seat of My Car”; 16. John Lennon, “Watching the Wheels”; 17. John Lennon, “Mind Games”; 18. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Bluebird”; 19. John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”; 20. George Harrison, “What Is Life”

Disc 2:
1. John Lennon, “God”; 2. Wings, “Listen to What the Man Said”; 3. John Lennon, “Crippled Inside”; 4. Ringo Starr, “You’re Sixteen You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine)”; 5. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Let Me Roll It”; 6. John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band, “Power to the People”; 7. Paul McCartney, “Another Day”; 8. George Harrison, “If Not For You (2001 Digital Remaster)”; 9. John Lennon, “(Just Like) Starting Over”; 10. Wings, “Let ‘Em In”; 11. John Lennon, “Mother”; 12. Paul McCartney & Wings, “Helen Wheels”; 13. John Lennon, “I Found Out”; 14. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey”; 15. John Lennon, Yoko Ono & The Plastic Ono Band, “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)”; 15. George Harrison, “Not Guilty (2004 Digital Remaster)”; 16. Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, “Heart of the Country”; 17. John Lennon, “Oh Yoko!”; 18. Wings, “Mull of Kintyre”; 19. Ringo Starr, “It Don’t Come Easy”

Disc 3:
1. John Lennon, “Grow Old With Me (2010 Remaster)”; 2. Wings, “Silly Love Songs”; 3. The Beatles, “Real Love”; 4. Paul McCartney & Wings, “My Love”; 5. John Lennon, “Oh My Love”; 6. George Harrison, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)”; 7. Paul McCartney, “Pipes of Peace”; 8. John Lennon, “Imagine”; 9. Paul McCartney, “Here Today”; 10. George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass”; 11. Paul McCartney, “And I Love Her (Live on MTV Unplugged)”

Regarding the movie Boyhood, it is a fun experience seeing how director Richard Linklater filmed the story over twelve years so that the characters, and in particular the young man at the center of the story, age just like the actors. It is worth checking out for that reason alone. Be prepared that the movie is a little long and there is not a lot of plot. But the movie captures real life, which is pretty great for a film. So you should check it out.

As for the Black Album, the CD is a great idea, and while I might make some different choices, it is pretty cool to sit back and just enjoy the list and think “what if?”

What songs would you change on your Beatles’ “Black Album”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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