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!

 

Ringo LP’s – Times Two

Friday Music and Sony have just re-issued a special, limited edition, green translucent vinyl pressing of the 1992 Ringo Starr release, Time Takes Time:Time Takes Time

This edition comes in a gatefold sleeve. (And BTW for the absolute completists out there, there’s also a red vinyl pressing exclusive to the Collectors’ Choice Vinyl store!)

We also took the opportunity to grab a copy of his most recent release on vinyl as well. Postcards From Paradise was released last year. We already had it on CD…..but it’s nice to now have it in the collection on LP too:

Postcards from Paradise

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

The Beatles: A 5 Minute Drum Chronology

This is worth checking out. The drummer is Kye Smith:

It’s filmed on a rooftop in Newcastle, Australia. Most probably the roof of The Great Northern Hotel on the corner of Scott and Watt Streets.

It illustrates that Kye is a talented drummer, but also (as one person points out in the comments section) that Ringo Starr created memorable, catchy, inventive drum fills and riffs for almost every song he recorded. It’s not so much about style as about musicality, rather than simply providing a backbeat.

We also like the nice touch of the record sleeve images to illustrate the origins of each song.

Some Christmas Treasure for the Collection

We here at beatlesblogger received some nice gifts over the holiday season.

First up is Ringo Starr’s new book Photograph. It is a beautiful hardback book, in a larger format, coffee-table style:Ringo1Initially released by Genesis Books in a lavish, strictly limited edition, the book has now been released as a more attainable “open edition” for us mere mortals.

That photo you can see of a young Ringo on the cover image above is actually him looking out of a neat cut-out hole around the camera lens on the book’s dust cover. It is a nice little extra production touch:Ringo3

Inside are some fantastic photos taken by Ringo himself over many years:

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When you see images of the early Beatles you sometimes see them carrying their own cameras – and there are lots of pictures out there of the band taking photographs of each other and documenting for themselves what was happening around them. Each Beatle therefore would have hundreds of their own great informal shots tucked away – just like we all do – in albums, in storage boxes, or in closets.

Ringo’s personal photos were thought to be lost forever – until one day he re-discovered them. “We finally found them in a basement in storage” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “I was shocked…..we even found two books of negatives.” So now he’s compiled them in this book, along with over 15,000 words of commentary on where and why each photo was taken. Many of the images have never before been published:Ringo5Ringo6Ringo7Ringo8

Ringo2It is fantastic to flip through. Each page has a new surprise.

We also got a copy of the Barry Miles book The Zapple Diaries – The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label:Zapple1

Miles is a frequent Beatle biographer and author, and he’s something of an insider – having been the manager of Zapple Records when it was first (and only very briefly) established back in 1969. Zapple was one of the many subsidiaries of the original Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. It was a label responsible for releasing the more avant-garde and experimental bands, poets and performers that the Beatles hoped to champion. As label manager, Miles had a ringside seat observing the ructions of the company, and the Beatles themselves in the process of self-destructing. We read of the big plans he had for the label, and how they were bitterly thwarted.

The book is richly illustrated. It tells the story from the perspective of someone very close to the action:Zapple4Zapple5Zapple3

This is probably more one for aficionados of the Apple Records label, its establishment, aims and objectives, and some of the more obscure of its releases, but I’m looking forward to reading this book, cover-to-cover:  Zapple2

Lastly, a great new book of interviews with Paul McCartney by journalist, author and long-time Beatle expert, Paul Du Noyer:Paul 1

As the title suggests, this is a new collection of Conversations with McCartney, over the period 1979 to the present. Du Noyer has spoken with him numerous times over that period – mostly for independently commissioned pieces for some of the best UK music magazines. It should be said however that Du Noyer has also been employed by McCartney’s MPL Communications company to produce content for them (tour magazines, album sleevenotes, etc.), and the book was done with the company’s assistance. Nevertheless, this looks to be a unique insight into what it means to be Paul McCartney and a very interesting work. Paul 2