Eight Days A Week – A Fan Review, plus News on the DVD and Blu-ray

Well, we saw Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years at a screening in Sydney, Australia last night – and it truly does live up to expectations.

The tale of the Beatles touring years is well-told in a (mostly) chronological order with some strong thematic elements sprinkled throughout. Great existing concert footage (remastered and with the sound remixed) sits comfortably alongside newly uncovered footage from fans taken at the time. There are also new interviews with Paul and Ringo (interspersed with archival interviews with John and George), and many observers, key players and fans including Richard Lester, Neil Aspinall, Sigourney Weaver, Elvis Costello, Larry Kane, and Whoopi Goldberg to name just a few. The addition of 30 minutes of pure, infectious performance from the Shea Stadium concert (as an added cinema-only bonus experience) was simply cream on the top.

Enough from me though. Here are some immediate post-movie thoughts from a big Australian Beatle collector and fan, Bruce Hamlin. Bruce runs The Beatles Records Information Service:

In a word: Fab, FAB, fab, etc.

So lets get it straight – this is not a movie of their concerts. Ron Howard has broken the Beatles career into 2 parts that are often quoted in magazines. The Touring Years (that go up to Candlestick Park or just after) and the rest, which is obviously The Studio Years.The end result of the touring stopping was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So that’s actually where this movie finishes (basically).

And what do we get for our money? Some nice and recent interviews with Paul and Ringo. Some very nice sound bites from George and John. There are lots of clips of live songs. Most, unfortunately, have small voice-overs that do tend to detract from them but the audio for the live stuff is great so it tends to make you forget the voice-overs.

Lots of clips from concerts that I havn’t seen before. And believe me, I do have lots in my own collection. Lots of relevant American (especially) newsreel footage of fans, press conferences, interviews with the boys and fans and some other talking heads. Instead of the usual musicians talking about how seeing the boys on Ed Sullivan made them pick up guitars and form bands, this time we get more of a female perspective [especially] how the American girls were affected by The Beatles. So that was an interesting difference to the usual.

It does go back to Hamburg and Liverpool, so it does start at the beginning and yes, we do get “Some Other Guy” from the Cavern. For Australians there was a few seconds of Adelaide footage, and maybe a blink’s worth of a Melbourne street scene! Hong Kong, Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy but no really good concert footage from any of them.

The story linked together pretty well. I did really enjoy the movie. And I will be going to it again, especially as it’s only running for one week here.

Shea Stadium was tacked on at the end as a separate entity. Great to see it on the big screen. Some tech wizardry on some of the close ups, being brought up REAL close to the point of the picture distorting a bit. While we didn’t get the voiceovers that were in the released version, we also didn’t get the support acts and as with the original, they have played pretty loosely with the audio. BUT it still sounds great in the theatre with the great sound system.

All in all, like I said FAB! I really enjoyed it as a Beatles fan. I tried not to dissect it too much, just sat back and really enjoyed the movie.

As it’s only around for a few more days – get off your bums and go and see it NOW.
It will probably be on DVD by Christmas, but the big screen experience is the best way to catch it. My only real complaint was that it didn’t run for 30 hours !!!! That way we would really have got ALL the concert footage from everywhere. Thank you to StudioCanal and Event Theatres.

Bruce was correct about the DVD and Blu-ray being out in time for Christmas.

StudioCanal has just announced a November 21 release date for the UK, and November 18 in the USA. There will be 2-disc special edition, and single-disc standard editions in both DVD and Blu-ray formats:

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Special Edition Content and Features:

* Blu-ray/DVD 1 – Feature presentation
* Blu-ray/DVD 2 – Bonus Material (approx. 100 minutes of extras, highlighted below)
* 64 page booklet with an introduction from director Ron Howard, essay by music journalist and author Jon Savage and rare photos from The Beatles’ private archive
* Words & Music (24 mins) – John, Paul, George & Ringo reflect on songwriting and the influence of music from their parents’ generation, Lennon/McCartney writing for other artists, The Beatles as individual musicians, and the band as innovators. Also featuring Howard Goodall, Peter Asher, Simon Schama and Elvis Costello. The interviews with Paul and Ringo are previously unseen.
* Early Clues To A New Direction (18 mins) – A special feature touching on The Beatles as a collective, the importance of humour, the impact of women on their early lives and songwriting, and the band as a musical movement. Featuring John, Paul, George & Ringo, along with Paul Greengrass, Stephen Stark, Peter Asher, Malcolm Gladwell, Sigourney Weaver, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Curtis, Elvis Costello and Simon Schama. Again the interviews with Paul and Ringo are unseen.
* Liverpool (11 mins) – The early days in Liverpool of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s are brought vividly to life by those who worked closely with them at that time including fan club secretary Freda Kelly, Allan Williams an early manager, and Leslie Woodhead multi-award winning documentary film director.
* The Beatles in Concert (12 mins) – Five great but rarely seen full length performances of The Beatles live in concert – Twist and Shout, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, You Can’t Do That and Help!

Additional Standard Bonus Features (on both Special and Standard editions):

* Three Beatles’ Fans
* Ronnie Spector and The Beatles
* Shooting A Hard Day’s Night
* The Beatles in Australia
* Recollections of Shea Stadium
* The Beatles in Japan
* An alternative opening for the film

Here’s the pack shot for the Deluxe Blu-ray version:edaw-deluxe-packshot

Sadly, there’s no Shea Stadium concert included. That would have been a nice bonus, but it looks like to could have possibly become part of a rights battle. That concert film footage is owned by a different company. Perhaps Shea will be released separately at some stage down the track. We can only hope.

Eight Days A Week – Excitement Builds

On the day of the official launch of the new Beatle documentary film Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years, excitement is building.

This is the front page of the regular weekend lift-out in my local paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, today:img_2035img_2036

And this two-page article appeared in the paper’s Sunday edition two weeks ago:img_1928

Even The Big Issue, a great magazine that’s sold on the street in Australia to assist homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people, has been getting Beatle-happy:img_1925img_1926

We’re off to the Sydney premiere this evening and really looking forward to seeing what director Ron Howard has done. Reports so far suggest his film hits just the right note as far as satisfying die-hard Beatle fans as well as those new to the band.

Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years – Facebook Live Q&A Replay

Here’s a replay of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and film director, Ron Howard, at Abbey Road studios answering fan questions on yesterday’s Facebook Live session.

The moderator is Edith Bowman, host of Virgin Radio’s Breakfast Show in London, and creator of the podcast Soundtracking.

The big surprise is that two days out from its premiere, neither Paul nor Ringo have seen the film yet!

 

The Beatles Collection Singles – Parlophone New Zealand

A fairly unique and unusual box set came into the collection this week.

We’ve written before about a UK singles box set we have called The Beatles Collection. It was released by EMI back in 1978 and contains twenty-five Beatle singles. These were housed in a textured black flip-top box that looks like this:beatles-singles-collection-front

However, the copy of The Beatles Collection you can see below was officially released by EMI only in New Zealand:nz-collection-box2

This set, which dates from 1979, includes the same twenty-five top-selling Beatle singles as the UK version. They are also housed in a black and gold-embossed box. It’s not a flip-top box like in the UK, but a heavier, lidded one made of much thicker cardboard:

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As you can see, there are a few age spots and marks on the front, but overall this one is in very good condition with no tears or splits.nz-collection-box1 nz-collection-box4

All the green, white and black paper sleeves inside (including the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” picture sleeve), weren’t printed locally. They’ve been imported by EMI from the UK and so are identical to the earlier UK release, with “Made in Great Britain” stamped on the front:

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The big difference here is that all the vinyl inside the sleeves was pressed locally in New Zealand, making this set somewhat interesting, unusual and collectable:nz-collection-box6nz-collection-box7

As you can see from the label for “Love Me Do” above, some of the singles have the original UK catalogue numbers, but some (like “Hey Jude” below) have unique New Zealand numbers – with an “NZP” prefix:nz-collection-box17All except “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” are exclusive New Zealand pressings, made only for this box set. They weren’t sold separately. The “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” singles were apparently sold separately, but not in the picture sleeves you see here. All the labels are black and yellow Parlophone labels.

For a full set of scans and some more information about this New Zealand pressing go to the great 45cat site. It’s got more information and images.

The New Zealand Beatles Collection (1979) is a Parlophone box set with 25 x 45rpm records comprising all the Beatles’ singles 1962-1978:

1. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You
2. Please Please Me / Ask Me Why
3. From Me To You / Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You / I’ll Get You
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy
6. Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That
7. A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today
8. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman
9. Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is
10. Help / I’m Down
11. We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper
12. Paperback Writer / Rain
13. Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
14. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
15. All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man
16. Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus
17. Lady Madonna / The Inner Light
18. Hey Jude /Revolution
19. Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down
20. The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe
21. Something / Come Together
22. Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
23. Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better
24. Back In The USSR / Twist And Shout
25. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a Little Help From My Friends / A Day In The Life

From “Love Me Do” to “A Hard Day’s Night” the UK picture sleeves used in this set have this image on the rear:

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The singles from “I Fell Fine” to “Yellow Submarine” have this as the rear-cover image:nz-collection-box10

The sleeves from “Strawberry Fields Forever” to “Lady Madonna” have this photograph:nx-collection-box13

And from “Hey Jude” to “Back in the USSR” this image is used:

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Like the UK release, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (which is a three-track single) comes in a different picture sleeve to the rest of the set: nz-collection-box25 nz-collection-box26nz-collection-box27

Eight Days A Week – The Hulu Extracts

Hulu, which has the rights to show the new Ron Howard-directed Beatle film Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, has begun uploading some extracts ahead of it being available to stream live from September 17.

There are five of these so far. First up is “How The Beatles Fought Segregation”:

Also, “When Paul Met John”:

A Whoopi Goldberg memory of seeing the Beatles at Shea Stadium:

The Beatles describe their writing process:

And a very fast fan summary of who they like best, and why:

Meanwhile, over at the official Eight Days A Week website there’s now a downloadable podcast featuring Giles Martin, the producer who supervised the audio for both the film and the new compact disc:

Of course, the best way to see Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years will be on the big screen in the cinema where, as a bonus, the film will be accompanied by screenings of a newly-restored version of The Beatles At Shea Stadium – 30 minutes of rare footage from the historic 1965 concert:

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(Image copyright: Subafilms Ltd.)

 

Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years premieres in cinemas in the U.S. on September 16, in the U.K., France, Germany and Australia on September 15, and in Japan on September 22.

The Beatles on Compact Disc – First HMV Box Set

We’ve been slowly plugging away at collecting the HMV Beatles on Compact Disc box sets from 1987. These were issued in limited numbers as part of the celebrations around the Beatle back-catalogue being released on CD for the very first time in Britain.

Previously we’ve posted on the Sgt Pepper box set, Magical Mystery Tour, and also the Beatles (Red) 1962-1966 set.

Just this week those three have been joined by the first set release in the series which contained not one, but four CD’s: Please Please Me; With The Beatles; Beatles For Sale; and A Hard Day’s Night. It carries the catalogue number BEACD25:Beatles on CD front

The box lid lifts off to first reveal a “Beatle Fact Sheet”. This is a single 12″ x 12″ sheet of paper, printed on one side only:Beatles on CD fact

Underneath the “fact sheet” are the four UK CD’s, stored in slots on a black plastic inner tray:Beatles on CD discs

Underneath those four CD’s is a 224-page book, The Book Of Beatle Lists, written by long-time Beatle historian and writer, Bill Harry. The book is stored in it’s own slot within the plastic tray:Beatles on CD holderBeatles on CD bookBeatles on CD book2

Inside the lid of the HMV box there’s a song list for each CD and a picture of the band:Beatles on CD lid

Plus the limited edition number is stamped here:Beatles on CD number

The Last Gig – Candlestick Park, 1966

Now on the official Beatles YouTube site:

“It was to be the last ticketed concert for the band, ever. This short film was recorded at the last major event at Candlestick Park in August 2014, Paul McCartney’s ’Farewell to Candlestick: The Final Concert’.

See the exclusive presentation of The Beatles 30 min performance Shea Stadium, only in theatres along with Ron Howard’s Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years. From September 15.”