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: 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!

 

Rare McCartney Acetate Fetches US$23,639

‘It’s For You’, the previously unknown acetate demo Paul McCartney gave to the late Cilla Black to help shape her recording of the Lennon/McCartney penned song back in 1964, has sold at auction in England for £18,000 (that’s about US$23,639 or AUS$31,229).

‘It’s For You’, which was never recorded by the Beatles, was given to Black who had a hit with it in Great Britain. It made the UK Official Charts’ Top 10 at No. 7 and was one of seven Top 10 hits she had in the UK between 1964 and 1966.

The disc was discovered last month by relatives who’d found it tucked away as part of Black’s personal effects while sorting through her estate. Wisely they took it to the The Beatles Shop in Liverpool for evaluation by owner Stephen Bailey, who immediately recognised it as a long-lost treasure. Bailey confirmed a report by the BBC that Paul McCartney had made a copy of the song for his archive before it was sold at the auction.

The auction was conducted in Liverpool last Saturday. Here’s the online catalogue.

 

Paul McCartney Back with Capitol Records Again

Paul McCartney has just announced that he’s signed a worldwide recording agreement with his old label, Capitol Records.

The deal encompasses McCartney’s entire body of post-Beatles work, from his 1970 McCartney album, through his decade with Wings, to the dozens of solo and collaborative works and is a welcome home to the label where he began his career.

“This is genuinely exciting for me,” McCartney said. “Not only was Capitol my first U.S. record label, but the first record I ever bought was Gene Vincent’s ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ on the Capitol label.”

McCartney is currently working on a new studio album, while a comprehensive plan for the artist’s catalogue is being conceived by Capitol and Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) – in conjunction with the artist and his management team – and will be implemented beginning July 2017**. The catalogue moves to Capitol/UMe from the Concord Music Group, Paul’s previous label partner.

Capitol Music Group (CMG) Chairman and CEO, Steve Barnett said “Paul McCartney’s association with Capitol has long defined so much of our historic legacy, and all of us here are extremely proud and honored that he has chosen to come back home. Paul’s indelible contributions to our culture are second to none, and his constant evolution as an artist and performer continues to inspire and enrich the lives of countless millions of people. We are overjoyed that Paul will be creating new music for years to come, and that Capitol will be helping to present it to the world.”

Paul McCartney High in the cloud recording session

** Just what this means will be interesting for collectors and fans. We’re in the middle of a huge McCartney Archive re-issue program in conjunction with Concord Records. So, what happens to that is one question that comes immediately to mind. Hopefully we’re not looking at starting over with an entirely new back-catalogue release program…..

A Beatle Music Book – and a McCartney CD

Went browsing at an opportunity shop (or “thrift store” if you are in the USA) and found two items of interest.

The first is a sheet music collection of great Beatle tunes called The Beatles Rock Score:Beatles Rock1_0001

There are some good photos inside on the lead-in pages:

Beatles Rock1_0002As you can see from the images above, the book contains the music for twelve songs, scored for small groups:Beatles Rock1_0003

The book is part of a series, with other titles covering The Rolling Stones, The Doors, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and U2 to name just a few. These are listed on the rear cover:Beatles Rock1The other find is of only mild interest, but at only $2.00 who could resist?

It’s Paul McCartney’s 1987 release All The Best!, only this time the CD was manufactured in a country that now no longer exists – West Germany:All the Best1 All the Best2 2

A closer look at the small print:All the Best2

We already have this CD as an Australian release, and also a US version. That’s because in each country these CDs have different running orders and song selections. See here for the background on that.

New Klaus Voormann Book – Revolver 50

Klaus Voormann has a new book due for release in the first week of August called Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50.

It celebrates the background story to his now classic front cover design for the Beatles Revolver LP, released on the 5th of August, 1966.

His book, done in a graphic novel style, tells the story from his perspective as a musician and artist who was called by upon by the Beatles, then nearing the height of their fame, to come up with something special, something new, different and lasting.To say he was put under pressure is something of an understatement.Rev 50 Cover Resize

It looks like it’d be a really interesting read.

Pre-orders for The Birth of an Icon – Revolver 50, which will be hand-signed by Klaus Voormann, 
have a pre-sale price 46 Euro (+ shipping & handling costs).

“…it is good for me to see the other side of a story I know so well and to realize aspects like the sheer panic that Klaus must have felt at being asked to do our album cover. In the end, the Revolver cover was a classic and this book is another.”  Sir Paul McCartney

“…your Revolver book – it brought back such great memories – even farther back than Revolver…I hope it sells a million copies!…the Revolver cover was incredible and perfect for that album.” – Ringo StarrRev 50 Page 2 ResizeRev 50 Page 5 ResizeRevolver

McCartney’s ‘Pure’ – Place of Manufacture

The three iterations of Paul McCartney’s latest “personal favourites” compilation, Pure, are interesting.

The small print on the rear covers of each of the formats and editions (2 CD Standard; 4 CD Deluxe; and the 4LP version) reveal that each are manufactured in different places, and one of them is very surprising.

The 4LP sets come from Germany:PureMcCartney_VinylIMG_1680[Click on each “small print” image to see a larger version]

The 2CD version is made in Poland:PureMcCartney_StandardIMG_1679But the real surprise of the bunch is the 4CD Deluxe edition. A check of the small print on the back shows that these are manufactured in China: 

PureMcCartney_DeluxeIMG_1678Once upon a time any CD with “Manufactured in China” stamped on it immediately aroused suspicions amongst collectors. That usually rings loud warning bells.

Chinese manufacturers are famous for producing unauthorised editions, and also counterfeit rip-offs – entirely fake copies of official releases. Just ask anyone who purchased a 2009 Beatles Stereo or Mono remastered box set at an unbelievably low price. Many of them discovered later that they’d been duped and the quality was just not there:

And so China has been very much on the nose in the music business. But not anymore it seems….

Clearly the country is gaining a new credibility in the legit music business. It is definitely moving into the mainstream.

McCartney’s distribution company, Concord Music, must have shopped around for which companies internationally could deliver the best product at the best price – and a Chinese CD maker won the Pure contract – at least for the 4CD “book” style deluxe edition.

We are seeing this more and more as Chinese manufacturers gain a reputation for making high quality items at affordable prices. It’s happening in the hi-fi industry as well, with some Chinese brands turning now out first-class speakers, amplifiers and players now.

(If your’e interested in this sort of thing see also Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed and New John Lennon LP Box Set Pressed By Optimal Media).

You might also like Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.