On Again, Off Again. ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ Now On Again

The mysterious curse of The BeatlesLet It Be sessions seems to have permeated across 50 years, all the way to 2022 with the inability to get to a release date that everyone was happy with…..

Disney and Apple have experienced huge issues in getting Peter Jackson’s wonderful three-part opus out to the public on physical media (i.e. Blu-ray and DVD). There have been a few false starts this year but it seems finally the release is definitely on again. Hence this email from the official US Beatle store in our inbox this morning:

The official Beatle page also trumpets that The Beatles Get Back is definitely on again. At least on Blu-ray. It’s hard to find on either site a reference or images of the DVD…….

As previously announced before it was withdrawn, the Blu-ray will come in a ‘Collector’s Pack’:

This contains a tri-fold inner holding the three discs, one for each of the three parts that have been available as a stream on Disney+:

And also included are four Get Back collector’s cards, one for each Beatle:

There’s no bonus material however. It could be argued though that we’re already getting lots of that ‘bonus’ material on these discs as the original Get Back film (as initially planned for streaming release last year) had many extra hours added to it by director, Peter Jackson before it made it to Disney+.

Beatles “Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” Blu-ray Photo Unboxing

After seeing this on the big screen in the cinema on its first day of release we finally got around to purchasing a Blu-ray copy for the collection. Chose a good day to do it too, as our local store had 30% off all DVD’s and BluRays! This is the Australian, 2 Disc Special Edition (for all images click on each to see a clearer, higher definition version):


Here’s the rear cover:bathb-rear



The inner 3-panel gatefold fans out to reveal this fabulous photograph on its rear: bathb-inner6

On the other side are the storage for the booklet and the 2 discs:bathb-inner4


The 64 page booklet is nicely done, with a lengthy introduction from director Ron Howard, plus a long essay about the Beatles touring years by Jon Savage, plus lots of great black and white photographs:


A close-up of the sticker on the Australian edition:bathb-sticker

And for those of you who like the small print on the rear outer cover:bathb-smallprint

And finally the two discs:bathb-disc1bathb-disc2

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:





















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.

It’s The Beatles, as you’ve never seen them before

This is the answer to the mysterious countdown on thebeatles.com for the last few days:

Yes, it is the video version of the Beatles “1” CD, plus a bit more, newly restored and expanded in multiple configurations for global release on November 6.

At first glance it is a little confusing (see the full press release below) – but this is it in a nutshell:

  1. There’s a new 2015 remixed and remastered version of the single-disc audio CD (containing 27 songs)
  2. There’s a pack with either 1 DVD or 1 BluRay (each containing videos of all 27 songs that are on the CD), plus the CD
  3. There’s a Deluxe set with either 2 DVDs or 2 BluRays (one disc has the videos of all 27 songs that are on the CD, the second disc contains 23 bonus videos), a 124 page hard cover book, plus the CD
  4. Or you can buy just the single BluRay or the single DVD (each containing 27 songs)
  5. A 2 LP, 180-gram vinyl package will follow

The single CD:1 2015 CD

The single DVD (or BluRay), plus CD:1 CD and BluRay

The Deluxe 2 DVD (or 2 BluRay), plus book and CD:1 Deluxe

The single BluRay:1 BluRay (1)

The single DVD:1 DVD

How they did the video restoration, repairs and remastering:

A “before” and “after” comparison: 

And a short example of how “Strawberry Fields Forever” (only available in the Deluxe set) will look: 


All-New Editions of The Beatles 1 Pair Beautifully Restored Promotional Films and Videos with Brand New Stereo and Surround Audio Mixes

Beatles 1+ Deluxe Edition Celebrates the Sight & Sound of The Beatles in 50 Films & Videos

London – September 15, 2015
After The Beatles stopped touring, and because travelling around the globe to promote new releases was impossible, the band increasingly made what could be described as “mini movies”. These pioneering promotional films and videos helped to define the way we have come to watch music, not least because The Beatles approached filming with the same ease and innovative spirit they brought to the recording studio, exploring new creative possibilities with infectious delight. Showcasing the band’s filmed work to accompany their 27 No.1, U.K. and U.S. singles, The Beatles 1 is newly restored and expanded in multiple configurations for global release on November 6 by Apple Corps Ltd/UMG.

The 27-track CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray pairs beautifully restored videos for each song, with new stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS HD surround audio mixes. The brand new Beatles 1+ celebrates their career in over 200 minutes through 50 promotional films and videos. This includes the 27 No.1s, with the restored videos, along with a second disc of 23 videos, including alternate versions, as well as rarely seen and newly restored films and videos; all include new audio mixes in deluxe CD/2-DVD and CD/2-Blu-ray packages. The 27-track audio CD is also being made available with new stereo mixes. A 2 LP, 180-gram vinyl package will follow.

TThe new editions of The Beatles 1 have been made possible following extensive research, and restoration of the original promo films, classic television appearances and other carefully selected videos spanning the band’s history. Apple Corps dug deep into The Beatles’ vaults to select a broad range of films and videos for their rarity, historical significance and quality of performance. An 18-person team of film and video technicians and restoration artists was assembled by Apple Corps to undertake painstaking frame-by-frame cleaning, colour-grading, digital enhancement and new edits that took months of dedicated, ‘round-the-clock work to accomplish.

The result is a visual run down of The Beatles’ number one records, as well as the additional tracks on the bonus disc of Beatles 1+ that show the band in previously unseen standards of clarity and quality; many of the films and videos have never before been commercially released, in whole or in part.

Beatles 1 and Beatles 1+ offers the restored films, including 35mm negatives scanned in 4K and digitally restored with new stereo and 5.1 surround audio remixes, produced from the original analogue tapes by the GRAMMY® winning team of Giles Martin with Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios. For four of the videos, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have provided exclusive audio commentary and filmed introductions, respectively. The 1+ Deluxe Edition, presented in an expanded 124-page illustrated hardcover book includes ‘an appreciation’ of The Beatles’ ground-breaking films and videos by music journalist and author Mark Ellen and extensive, detailed track/video annotation by music historian and author Richard Havers.

“These videos and films are spectacular reminders of the era we lived in. They also rock!”
Paul McCartney

“II think it’s really interesting to see the videos we made, some of them incredible and some of them really incredible. How else would we have got to sit on a horse?”
Ringo Starr

Between 1962 and 1970, The Beatles released 27 No.1 hit singles in the U.S. and the U.K. In 2000, these timeless songs were collected for The Beatles 1, which topped the charts in 35 countries and became that decade’s bestselling album worldwide. 15 years later, 1 is revisited for this entirely new, visually-inspired presentation.

It’s The Beatles, as you’ve never seen them before.Beatles_1_1_1_1

Teaser for The Beatles “1” DVD? – Part 2

The dearth of information in today’s mystery teaser announcement on the Beatles official page leads fans inevitably to snooping around the web trying to find something, anything, on what it might all be about.

Truth be told, there’s not much around. Word has it that there’ll be more official news on Tuesday….

But what is with that address given at the bottom of the image in the email sent out to subscribers of The Beatles.com? You can see it here:_theBeatles1

If you search in Google Maps for 1538 20th Street, Santa Monica, California 90404, and then go to Street View, you’ll see this very non-descript building:1538_20th_Street

Does that look like the US headquarters of a multi-million dollar Beatle empire? No, we didn’t think so either. Check out that hand-written wooden sign propped on the right-hand-side windowsill, with the 1538 street number.

The email image also credits a company called Topspin, and a service called The Topspin Platform. That’s an online, direct-to-fan sales and marketing tool used by a wide range of bands to promote their product, make online sales, sell tickets to gigs, etc. Check out the video on the page to find out more. They’ve done a lot of work with the Concord label in marketing Paul McCartney’s releases over many years, so it’s not that surprising that Universal and/or Apple and the Beatles have used the company to kick off this campaign. But Topspin isn’t at 1538 20th Street, Santa Monica either. Their address is 3120 W. Empire Ave., Burbank, California 91504 – in a much more salubrious part of that city.

So what is going on? The mystery deepens…..

Teaser for The Beatles “1” DVD?

The official Beatles website has emailed subscribers overnight teasing what could be the long-promised Beatles “1” DVD/BluRay – which has been rumoured to be in preparation for over a year now and will contain official versions of all the band’s promo videos and film-clips. _theBeatles1

There’s precious little other information apart from the Twitter hashtag #THEBEATLES1…..and a 16 second video on the Beatles official YouTube channel:

The Beatles website has been given over to a holding page with the countdown clip as well.

It’s all very cryptic, but must surely be leading up to the announcement of a video equivalent of the top-selling “1” CD and vinyl.

Beatles “Love” – Disc and Video Added to iTunes

Got an email from beatles.com , and from EMI Records this morning advising that the Beatles “Love”, on both the CD and the documentary film “All Together Now”, are available for the first time as downloads on iTunes.

The “Love” album includes exclusive, previously-unreleased “Love” versions of the songs “The Fool on the Hill” and “Girl”, and comes as an iTunes LP featuring an art gallery that blends images of the Beatles with colourful photos from the Las Vegas stage production. “Love” will also be available to purchase and download as individual songs.

The “All Together Now” documentary film will be offered with iTunes extras including the 84-minute film, three bonus featurettes and a trailer for the “Love” stage production. It will also be available to rent.

You can see short film trailers from the spectacular Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil live show here.

See also:

Beatles “All Together Now” nominated for a Grammy

Beatles “All Together Now” wins a Grammy

Beatles “Love” Collectable Variations

Beatles “Love” a Further Collectable Items

Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items….Part One

OK. I’m going to preface this first post on some unusual CD and DVD items I acquired in a South East Asian country with a statement that I don’t collect Beatles bootlegs and I don’t support or promote piracy in the music business. All my collection to date has been made up of legitimate, officially released discs – that’s CDs, LPs, singles, books, DVDs, magazines and other printed items.

Recently I was able to spend some time on holiday in Vietnam. Like most Asian and developing countries there are many opportunities to buy fakes – everything from Louis Vuitton luggage and Gucci handbags to Ray Ban sunglasses and Tag Heuer watches. Of course there are lots of stores, markets and street vendors selling illegally copied DVD films as well. There are not so many places to buy music – but they’re there if you seek them out. In the central Vietnamese city of Hue I walked into a store selling mostly fake DVDs and a bit of music on the side and saw a copy of Paul McCartney’s latest 2 CD release “Good Evening New York City”. It was easy to tell it was a fake. It came (like all the cheaply copied DVDs do) in a flimsy clear plastic bag (i.e. no hard jewel case or Digipac cardboard). The artwork was all there ready to put it into a CD jewel case, but it looked like a cheap photocopy. The discs had rudimentary labels printed on them but clearly looked fake. No catalogue numbers, copyright info, not even the title of the disc. One disc had the words “Paul 1” printed roughly on it, the other “Paul 2” and that was it. It was selling (in the local currency) for 20,000 Vietnamese Dong – that’s US$1.03, or $1.17 Australian. And that’s even before any bargaining over the price. I decided I really didn’t want to buy a copy – even for the novelty value.

At the other end of the scale are those CDs and DVDs where its obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into producing what looks to be an absolutely legitimate release. Standing in a shop in Hanoi (which I did last week) it becomes really hard to tell. Is what I’m looking at the version sanctioned by the artist and record company as the official release for China and South East Asia?

Take this example of the Beatles “Anthology” 5 DVD box set. I got it from a shop in Hanoi that was filled with what looked like official releases. All movie stock was in standard DVD packaging with proper labels. It was not one of the shops dealing in fakes.

It looked like this. Here’s the front of the box:

Chinese Beatles Anthology - front

This copy still has the shrink-wrap around the sturdy cardboard box, though the opening has been cut by me so that the DVDs can be removed. The sticker is attached to the shrink-wrap.

Compare this to this official release purchased in Australia:

Official Beatles Antholgy DVD - front

Again, the shrink-wrap is still around the box. The sticker is also on the shrink-wrap.

Here are the Chinese DVD spines:

The five Chinese DVDs

Compared to the official release:

The official release

The number “12” in the pink circle on each refers to the censorship rating in Australia. Apart from that, not a lot of difference….Here is the sticker on the base of the Chinese version:

Sticker on base of Anthology DVD box - Chinese

As you can see, the Apple word is written but the Apple logo itself is missing. Also, apparently common with cheap copies, there are small spelling mistakes. Notice in the centre box of the sticker the words “Doldy Digital 5.1 surround sound”. It should be Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. This sticker appears to be stuck over the printed label actually on the box. You can faintly see the bar code, etc. underneath. Otherwise the Capital, Abbey Road, DVD Video, Dolby Digital and DTS logos on the right-hand side all look legit. Compare it to the Australian official release, where the label is printed onto the box:

Official Anthology DVD box - sticker on box base

Notice the official release has a Parlophone logo instead of Capitol which is just a territory thing (Parlophone seems to get half the world, and Capitol the other half!). There’s also a Region 1 DVD symbol, and a bar code.

Inside the individual DVD containers the story is similar. The actual discs in the Chinese version are very well-printed and look very official:

Chinese DVD disc

They even say “Printed in the USA”. Compare this to the official release:

Anthology DVD - official release

However, the Chinese stuff up the sequencing of labels on the DVD discs.

Disc One, as you can see above, has Episodes 1 & 2 on it and correctly contains those episodes. Sadly, Disc Two is also labeled Episodes 1 & 2, but actually has Episodes 3 & 4.

Disc Three is incorrectly labeled Episodes 3 & 4, but contains Episodes 5 & 6. And Disc Four is incorrectly labeled Episodes 3 & 4, but correctly contains Episodes 7 & 8.  The “Special Features” 5th disc is incorrectly labeled Episodes 5 & 6 but contains the correct Special Features material…….so, all the contents is there across the five discs. Just a severe lack of attention to detail on the part of the counterfeiters. However, they all play well and the quality of the video looks perfect.

The other noticeable difference to the official release is that the Chinese versions don’t have the small booklets inside each DVD box outlining the contents of each episode. These are in official release and look like this:

DVD Booklet - front - from episodes 1 & 2 in official release

Anthology booklet (rear) - inside each DVD box of the official release

So, you can see that standing in a shop in Hanoi, deciding if this is official or not (especially while it’s still sealed up in its shrink-wrap) is very tricky. The price might have been a give-away: this 5 DVD box set cost 250,000 Vietnamese Dong. That’s around US$12.80 or AUS$14.80. Very cheap. It also doesn’t help if you don’t read Chinese. Here’s a close-up of the sticker on the front:

Sticker on the front of the Anthology DVD box set

Vietnam is actively cracking down on pirate or illegal copies of DVDs, CDs, clothing and watches. While there I read an article in one of the national papers that police are actively trying to break up the flow of counterfeit goods from across the border in China. When departing the country via Ho Chi Minh City airport all travelers bags are X-Rayed separately to the usual security check specifically to identify and confiscate goods, or to fine travelers for having fake DVDs. A New Zealand family in front of us were caught. They had in their bags over 60 copied DVDs they’d bought on the street. They were given the option of handing them over, or keeping them and paying a fine of US$50.00 (at first they were asked to pay a US$100.00 fine, but talked the official down…interesting). They decided the pay the fine and keep their DVDs. All the CDs I had purchased, plus the Beatles “Anthology” 5 DVD box above were in our suitcases and were also X-Rayed. We were not stopped by the airport officials. I’ll detail some of the Beatles compact discs I purchased in the next posts. Again it was confusing and difficult to pick the real from the fake.

See also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Two and Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Three

Composing Outside the Beatles – DVD

Despite the somewhat literal and unimaginative title, this recent release is a really a very interesting documentary study of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s careers immediately following the break-up of the Beatles.

I’d read about this DVD by chance and had been looking around on Ebay for a copy. I dropped in to my favourite shop – Red Eye Records – and there it was on the shelf for a reasonable price. Well, reasonable compared to the prices I’d seen for British or US copies on Ebay, plus postage, plus the uncertainty of “will it ever arrive?”….a bird in the bush as they say.

So, I got it at Red Eye, and watched it last weekend – which was a wet weekend and perfect for being a couch potato and settling in in front of the TV for a couple of hours.

Nicely put together, it traces the first few years of Lennon and McCartney trying to make their ways as solo entities outside the protective shell that used to be the Beatles. It compares them as composers and performers, examining their early singles and album releases. There is much more time and effort during the documentary placed on John Lennon’s output than that of Paul – but this is probably because the overall theory of the documentary is that Lennon was by far doing more serious and worthy work, and being more commercially successful than his former band-mate and co-writer.

There are nice shots of original album covers and single releases as the discussion panel (which includes Klaus Voorman, Paul Gambaccini, drummers Alan White and Denny Seiwell, and writers Johnny Rogan, John Blaney and Steve Turner amongst others) commenting on and appraising the relative strengths and weaknesses of each solo release between 1967 and 1972.

The front cover of "Composing Outside the Beatles"

The packaging of the DVD is impressive. It’s in the digi-pack style with opening “pages” revealing the DVD disc inside. It is glossy and has good production values with great photos and printed information.

The DVD cover open to the first of the tri-folds

Its a tri-fold digi-pack that finally opens out like this:

The tri-fold inner fully open

As you can see they have really taken some care with the presentation, including printing the DVD disc itself so that it matches the printing of the inner cover exactly. Here’s the rear cover:

The rear cover of "Composing Outside the Beatles"

So, “Composing Outside the Beatles” really has a strong slant towards John – both in the comments by the interviewees and the ratio of time spent on each. But maybe this is just a reflection on the times where Paul was struggling to be a musician outside the Beatles while John appeared to leap into it with a bit more style (as well as critical and commercial success). If you are interested there’s a further review here.