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'Talking Pictures' exhibit chronicles prolific career of artist Michael Lindsay-Hogg


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Geoff Bennett: An art show in Hudson, New York, called Talking Pictures plays off the previous prolific career of Michael Lindsay-Hogg. He was at the creation of some of the biggest music moments of the 1960s.

And 1970s, and now famed film director Peter Jackson has remastered Lindsay-Hogg's original "Let It Be" for release on Disney+.

Special correspondent Christopher Booker takes a look at his multimedia career for our arts and culture series, Canvas.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Artist: But she is uneasy, which is the state a lot of people are in, which is being uneasy.

Christopher Booker: While he wouldn't call it a rule or a guide, Michael Lindsay-Hogg's paintings do follow a theme.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I only paint people. I will paint a circle. The circle will turn into a face and a couple lines will turn into a neck. And in some of my paintings, there might be some kind of issue between them which is not resolved.

Christopher Booker: In this instance, the interaction is happening on a Canvas. But 84-year-old Lindsay-Hogg has spent a great deal of his creative time working to understand what happens between people.

At 44, he was a young director in England, part of the groundbreaking music television show " Ready Steady Go!" From 1963 to 1966, the Friday evening broadcast was the destination for the new breed of rock 'n' roll.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: You know, how lucky can you be that, when you turn up and you're starting to direct music television and subsequently videos, that you're in the same generation as The Who, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Kinks?

Christopher Booker: But it wasn't just luck. His directorial abilities captured the attention of those leading this burgeoning social and musical revolution.

In 1966, the Beatles hired him to direct videos for their songs "Rain" and "Paperback Writer," followed shortly thereafter by the Rolling Stones.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: When I first met them, there were no videos. The music shows certainly in England and America sort of controlled who's going to be on the show, and they wanted the performers on their show.

In England, only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones had the power to be able to say, it's too much for hassle for us to show up. And, also, they wanted the control of the images. So we're going to give you videos.

Christopher Booker: In the fall of 1968, he would help conceive and direct "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus." Just one month after "The Circus," he was hired by the Beatles to document the writing and recording of a new album, the sessions that would produce "Let It Be."

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I remember it was Christmas, and I was going to -- with my girlfriend. And I was thinking, how lucky can you be? I just finished shooting "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" in mid-December of 1968.

And, in early 1969, I'm going to start working on a concert film with the Beatles. How lucky can you be?

Christopher Booker: While Lindsay-Hogg credits luck and circumstance for putting him in this position, both of these projects would fall victim to events outside of his control.

Release of "The Rock and Roll Circus" was delayed and the tapes later lost, the film not seeing the light of day until 1996. "Let It Be" was another story entirely.

Man: Rehearsing, recording, rapping, relaxing.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: It was part of the collateral damage. People thought it was the breakup movie. It was released one month after the Beatles broke up.

Christopher Booker: The film "Let It Be" received brutal reviews and has largely been shelved since the early 1980s.

And Lindsay-Hogg says his reputation took a hit.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: My stock got lower after it came out and the Beatles kind of shunned it. So I began to remake my career.

And then, gradually, I started to do better work.

Christopher Booker: Creatively, how did you weather that?

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Well, I know. It's kind of like the airplane which gets bumpy for a while, you know? You just -- you hope it lands at an airport that you can get off at and start -- and do something else.

Christopher Booker: Lindsay-Hogg's something else included more music videos, concert films, television, theater, movies, and later a memoir. And for the past three decades, there's also been painting.

But history has been in the midst of a revision in the way it considers his work with the Beatles, particularly with the help of Peter Jackson, the New Zealand director behind the Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" franchise, who spent nearly four years sifting through 57 hours of Lindsay-Hogg's original Beatles footage to release the three-part six-hour film "Get Back."

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: When we first met, he said: "Tell me the story of 'Let It Be.' Why do I have all this footage?"

And then I told him about what had happened. And he said: "So if you weren't involved, 'Let It Be' would really have been an orphan." And I'd never heard of anyone use that word for this movie, because it was an orphan, because I have always been trying to protect it. It's a very, very affectionate picture.

It's basically a story about four men who loved each other and had loved each other since they were in their teens who'd had the most extraordinary early youth together, when they -- the world blew up and showered them with all the glories of the world, but who now were aiming toward their 30s, and they were -- had different expectations, different ambitions.

And it was really -- it's really about how they were making that transition, which is what I hope people will see when it comes out again.

Christopher Booker: But revisiting this past work is for later. Right now, his focus is on painting.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I know there is a conversation going on, like in this one.

One of the things I think is interesting about painting is, you're trying to create order, because life is disordered. Life is chaotic. And you do your best to deal with all that. So, therefore, you're trying to create with color and design some kind of order and completion to it.

And it's not random.

Christopher Booker: I know it wasn't this way, but the chronology seems clean and clear.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I'm lucky because I have always been able to do what I -- what interests me. I mean, there have been bad moments, of course, and failure and disaster and humiliation and everything.

But I just think, let it all go. This is what makes me who I am, for good or bad. And then you have to accept who you are, for good or bad.

Christopher Booker: Through the spring, the Hudson Hall will host his latest collection entitled Talking Pictures.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Christopher Booker in Hudson, New York.

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