From: firstname.lastname@example.org (edward s. chen)
Subject: Re: Beatles video list
Date: 1 Jan 1993 18:50:59 GMT
Organization: Little to none, or maybe not......
A summary of the Beatles on video
by Ed Chen
While it has long been acknowledged that the Beatles were the progenitors of
today's "music video", there is much more to the band's music video oeuveure
then simply the feature films that generally gather all the accolades. Other
then my "wish list" at the end, everything I will be discussing is (or was)
released legitimately on video in the US and / or UK.
At the dawn of the video age, much Beatles product such as "Around the
Beatles", or "The Beatles in Tokyo" was commonly available from legitimate
companies. However, in 1980 ATV music (and later the RIAA) began suing
companies selling tapes that included protected music. This drove most
of the companies out of business, with the only real challenge coming
from a company in the mid-eighties selling "The Beatles at the Washington
Coliseum", "The Beatles at Shea Stadium", "The Beatles in Japan", and a
poor-quality "Magical Mystery Tour". That New Jersey Company was not taken
to court, but most of their stock was seized, forcing them out of business.
However, with the passing of time, much of the Beatles video material is
making its way to legitimate video releases. This is ultimately the best
for both the Beatles (since they obtain the royalties they are due), and
the fans (since they get the material in the best available quality)
Now, on to the videos themselves:
A Hard Day's Night -- The Beatles first feature film. A very clever look
at the 1964 stereotypes of the Beatles, and the madness surrounding them.
Very nice transfer, with the soundtrack remixed to Dolby stereo. The CAV
laser disc (still p&s) is particularly worth seeking out as it includes an
interview with Richard Lester, the Peter Sellers short "Running, Jumping &
Standing Still" (which inspired much of AHDN), and the original theatrical
Help! -- The Beatles second feature film. Suffers in comparison to AHDN,
but still a clever, parody of the James Bond genre of action-adventure films
that were popular at the time. Very nice transfer, much cleaner then the
version aired on television throughout the seventies. The CAV laser disc
includes the original theatrical trailer, footage from the film's premiere,
original radio spots, and several hundred stills from "The making of..."
Magical Mystery Tour -- The Beatles attempt to make a television film, with
absolutely no limits placed on them. The result makes little narrative sense,
but still has quite a few high points. Notable among them is the famous "I
Am The Walrus" sequence (with the Beatles in full costume), and Paul's "Fool
on the Hill" bit filmed in France. Something every Beatles fan should see,
but of lesser priority on the "must own" list, particularly if you can tape
it (albeit, somewhat edited) from television. (The Disney Channel in the USA)
Yellow Submarine -- An animated feature, with the live action Beatles making
an appearance briefly at the very end. Probably the best way to describe the
feature is "Disney was never like this". The plot involves the Beatles
helping to stop a group of baddies (Blue Meanies) from invading a land of joy
and happiness (Pepperland). The visuals along the way are absolutely
stunning, and the Dolby soundtrack is marvelous. The transfer is very clean,
and the only thing that would make this tape better is if a letterbox edition
were made available. Recently went out of print.
Let It Be (1981) -- Long out of print, but worth seeking out when it
gets reissued. A nice look at the break-up of the Beatles. The transfer on
the original tape is somewhat muddy, and the sound is mono, but hopefully both
problems will be fixed in the re-release.
The Compleat Beatles (1982) -- A reasonable enough documentary covering the
Beatles from 1960 through 1970, but ultimately a bit unfulfilling. On the
plus side is some excellent narration (by Malcolm McDowell [of "A Clockwork
Orange" fame]), and some very nice interview pieces (George Martin, Gerry
Marsden, Billy Preston, and others). On the down side is the appallingly
poor video quality of those new interviews, the lack of rare or unique film
clips, and the general deceptive nature of the way some of the audio / video
is used (eg: The Granada Cavern footage is used twice, once cut to the Hamburg
recording of "Hippy Hippy Shake" [making it appear that the four are performing
that song]. A clip of the Beatles in Manchester is implied to be the Royal
Variety Command Performance, a 1964 airport landing in a downpour is passed
off as being from 1966, etc.).
The Beatles: Their First US Visit (1992) -- As the title implies, a look at
the Beatles first US visit. Included in the tape is excerpts from the Ed
Sullivan shows, a handful of songs from the Washington DC concert, and a lot
of footage from the short film "What's Happening in the U.S.A" (which covers
the plane trips, train trips, hotels and nightclubs inbetween). All of this
footage was taken directly from the masters, and some of it has been restored
rather extensively. As such, the material all looks and sounds much better
than it ever had previously. The result is an essential tape, covering every
aspect of the Beatles first appearance on US shores.
The Long and Winding Road -- In the works, this will become *the*
definitive video look at the Beatles. Expected to
end up being 8-10 tapes, covering every era of the
An Orchestral Tribute to the Beatles -- A video recording of the Royal
Philharmonic performing 20 Beatles songs. Paul is in the audience. Good
enough for fans who like "classical" renderings of Beatle material, but no
real reason to own.
The Beatles Live -- A nice look at the Beatles circa 1964. Originally
part of a British television program called "Around the Beatles." Only the
"performance" pieces are presented here. The name is a bit of a misnomer,
as the four are miming to a pre-recorded soundtrack. (Particularly evident at
the beginning of "I Wanna be Your Man"
Goodtimes ("Fun With the Fab Four") -- One of many tapes produced without
permission from Apple or EMI. This is easily the best(the quality is
excellent, marred only by a small white "GT" in the corner of the screen)
Pieces included are: the Beatles comedy skit from "Around the Beatles" (John
and Paul as a jokey version of Shakespeare's Pyramus and Thisabee), and
an appearance by Pete Best on the American game show "I've Got a Secret", and
several others. Long out of print.
The Rutles -- Worth mentioning as the film is supposedly very strongly based
on the unreleased in-house (Apple) Beatles documentary. Fan reaction at
places like Che stadium are actual footage of fans at Beatles concerts.
Well loved, and not only because George Harrison appears in a cameo.
Misc -- Most notable are two short films which are best labeled "home movies",
one tape contains miscellaneous footage of McCartney trips taken in the years
1967 & 1968 ("The Mystery Trip"), and the other contains some footage from the
making of "Help!" There are several fictional films available, but two
particularly worth seeking out are "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (Zemeckis / Gale),
and "Twist and Shout" (foreign). Of no use at all is a tape (out of print,
and probably illegal after Apple's lawsuit) of a concert by the quasi-legendary
Rockshow (1982) -- Six years after the concert tour, this film was released
to video. Most of the footage comes from Seattle, but other clips are also
included without being obtrusive. The resulting footage is a bit sterile,
missing the energy evident on the "Wings Over America" CD -- but that problem
aside, the result is worth viewing. It should be noted that the entire concert
is not included on the tape ("Lady Madonna", "Blackbird", "The Long and
Winding Road", and "My Love" are missing). All of this material was included
in the theatrical release of this film. This tape is long out of print, with
re-release unlikely in the near future.
Give My Regards to Broad Street -- Paul McCartney's 1984 attempt at making
a feature film. It was horribly panned by reviewers and the media at the
time of release. In my opinion, the result is a bit haphazard, but not
nearly as bad as others would have you believe. The supporting cast is
excellent, and there are some entertaining gags. However, even if you
hate the paper-thin plot, with judicious use of the fast forward button,
the result is a series of well produced, high quality music videos -- many
including Paul and Ringo onscreen at the same time.
The Paul McCartney Special (1986) -- A program originally produced for the
BBC, and aired on television several times in 1986. Originally conceived
as a long-form promotional piece for "Press to Play", the BBC staffer (Richard
Skinner) persuades Macca to talk about much more, including one of the more
in-depth interviews about Wings. All of the interview bits were done at
Abbey Road studio #2, leading to some reminiscing on Paul's part. Scattered
among the interview are some nice McCartney film rarities (including rarely
seen promo clips / videos, concert footage from both the 1973 and 1976 tours,
and even a bit of the never released "One Hand Clapping" film). A very nice
package, and an absolute must for McCartney fans.
The Real Buddy Holly Story (1987) -- Subtitled "Paul McCartney's film of the
life and music of Buddy Holly". The story is mostly told by Buddy's friends,
relatives, and colleagues; with Paul adding occasional narration to clarify
pieces of the story. Probably the best, most factual look at Holly's life.
In addition to the narration, Paul provides a short introduction to the film
(Paul in a television studio), and also did an interview (in a barn / hay loft)
where he discussed Buddy's influence on the Beatles. During this segment Paul
plays a portion of the Beatles 1958 recording of "That'll Be The Day".
Essential if you have any interest in Holly, but still worthwhile to others
because of the presence of the Beatles first recording.
Rupert the Bear and the Frog Song (1987) -- Paul's cartoon, originally
distributed theatrically with "Give My Regards to Broad Street". Rupert is a
beloved British children's character that Paul now owns. The short is great
for young and old alike, comparable to some of Disney's work. Paul's
soundtrack to this short was a top ten hit in Europe, but never released on
these shores. Also on the tape are animated shorts for "Seaside Woman" (Suzy
and the Red Stripes, aka Linda McCartney and Wings), and "Oriental Nightfish".
Once Upon a Video (1988) -- A Japanese tape which contains 4 McCartney
videos: "Once Upon a Long Ago", "Stranglehold", "Pretty Little Head", and
"We All Stand Together". Expensive for what you get, but neither the song,
nor the video for "Once Upon a Long Ago" was ever released in the US.
Put It There (1989) -- A program produced specifically for the purpose of
promoting "Flowers in the Dirt." This time the production actually achieves
it's purpose. The interview pieces are nice, but contain no revelations. The
real strength of this production lies in the performance pieces. What we are
shown is Macca and band in studio, actually working on the recording of some
of the "Flowers" tracks. Additionally, rehearsals of Beatles songs (such as
"Fool On the Hill", "Hello, Goodbye", and "Let It Be") for the then-upcoming
world tour make this production a "must-own".
Get Back (1991) -- Richard Lester's look at Paul's 1989-90 World Tour. Rather
then going with a straight concert film, Lester has chosen to cut quickly
between scenes at different shows, and other, relatively unrelated footage.
This effect can and does become distracting rather easily. The other major
problem this tape has is that less then 75% of the actual concert is presented
Despite the low retail price, this is a tape to rent rather then to own.
There is also a Japanese videodisc which is called "Get Back Prologue", which
contains an otherwise unreleased interview with Paul, and four songs from the
film. The interview is not worth the cost of the videodisc.
Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio (1992) -- The video version of the
"Liverpool Oratorio", originally produced for the PBS series "Great
Performances". A fairly straightforward look at McCartney and Carl Davis'
work, as it debuted in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. A visual counterpart
to the CD's, and worth owning because the cast (Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Willard
White, Jerry Hadley, and Sally Burgess) and stronger vocally then the cast
which has been appearing with the work across the US. McCartney shows
up to take a bow after the Oratorio is finished, just before the closing
Misc -- Among the things to be on the lookout for is the first "Princes's
Trust" tape, which features Paul and a cast of rock's elite performing
favorite Beatles chestnuts like "I Saw Her Standing There", and "Get Back".
Additionally, an appearance by Paul and Wings at "The Concerts for the People
of Kampuchea" (which Laurence Juber has called "his favorite moment during
his time in Wings") has been out on video, but is sadly out of print.
Paul also provided a theme song (played over the closing credits) for the
film "Twice In a Lifetime".
Interview with a Legend (1981) -- A videotape of an interview John Lennon
and his lawyer (Leon Wildes) did for the "Tommorow" show (4/28/75). As would
be expected, the main topic of conversation was the legal troubles John was
having at the time concerning his American residency status. Out of print.
Imagine (aka "John and Yoko's Imagine") -- The first "video LP", this is
actually a slightly edited version of the original film. (A brief shot
of a woman's breasts, and some footage of Yoko has been deleted). A nice
look at "scenes" of John and Yoko, their home in London, some marvelous
surrealism, and the "budget line" price make this a tape to own.
Imagine: John Lennon (aka "Andrew Solt's Imagine") -- The best documentary
available covering the life of John Lennon. The film is stunning, showing
us John Lennon as he saw himself. This presentation is accomplished via
quotes from interviews, and much rare and previously unreleased footage. (The
footage of John recording the "Imagine" LP, and his discussion with George
over "Beatle Ed" [Paul] are worth the price of the tape by themselves.) There
are only a few minor negative points. The most annoying is that the producers
have chosen to pan-and-scan over footage which was filmed at the proper ratio
for television, but artifically extended for the widescreen release. (Rather
then making a "television master" using the original, unaltered footage)
Another minor annoyance is that some of George Martin's remixes (particularly
the Dolby surround sound "Love Me Do" and "Help!") are so poor as to actually
distract from the scenes. Additionally, two crucial pieces of John's life (his
friendship with Stuart Sutcliffe, and his 1972 "Lost Weekend") have been edited
to an absolute minimum for time constraints. However, these are minor
quibbles, and this tape remains the single most important video for Lennon fans
How I Won the War (1986) -- John's one (and only) solo acting outing. The
film carries a strong anti-war message, and features John as "Private Gripweed"
Gripweed is a soldier in the second world war, and is killed at the very end
of the film. The film marks the first time John wore his "granny glasses"
to any great extent. Directed and Produced by Richard Lester, written by
Patrick Ryan. A bit expensive, so probably a film to rent rather then to own.
Yoko Ono: Then and Now -- An hourlong look at John Lennon's "Better Half"
The results are decidedly pro-Yoko, but a good portion of the tape is devoted
to John and Yoko as a couple. Much interesting footage is used, including
a very effective piece where John (on "The Mike Douglas Show") and Yoko (in
a late sixties black and white interview) describe their first meeting at
the Indica gallery. Not for everyone, but a nice look at the dynamics of
one of the most famous couples in show-biz history.
Live Peace in Toronto -- The video equivalent of the "Live Peace in Toronto"
album. Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker originally filmed all of the acts on the
bill that day, but the footage was not released for legal reasons. This
tape includes a handful of songs from other artists (Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck
Berry), and the entire set from the Lennons and the Plastic Ono Band (here
consisting of such notables as Klaus Voorman on bass, and Eric Clapton on
John Lennon Live in New York City -- The afternoon concert for Geraldo Rivera's
"One to One" foundation, at New York's Madison Square Garden on August 30, 1972
The video really doesn't do Lennon justice. Mediocre material from the
"Sometime in NYC" album, and a rather sloppy band (Elephant's Memory) make for
poor viewing and listening. However, the show does pick up a bit when Lennon
moves to other material such as "Instant Karma", "Cold Turkey", and the only
Beatles number of the afternoon, "Come Together". The cinematography is
average, and the lighting often puts shadows on John's face. However, the
tape is still interesting as a historical document, and at the discount prices
it is currently being offered for (in most places, the video is cheaper then
the CD) worth owning.
Lennon (A Tribute to John Lennon) -- A filmed version of the 1990 Liverpool
concert celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of John Lennon's birth. The
results are decidedly mixed. Michael Douglas' introductions are innocuous
enough, but very forgettable. The acts who played live that day and are
represented on the tape range from good to mediocre to poor (eg: Kylie
Minoughe abhorrent version of "Help!"). Worth seeing for Paul McCartney's
"P.S. Love Me Do", and Ringo Starr's "I Call Your Name" (with two of the
Traveling Wilburys on guitar), but not worth purchasing.
John & Yoko: The Bed-In -- Only available as an import. A video version
of a television special from 1969 named "John and Yoko have a message".
A good documentary-type look at the couple's stay in Montreal's Queen
Elizabeth hotel. Among the highlights are Al Capp's visit to the couple's
bedroom, the telephone call to Berkeley, and a fairly lengthy look at the
recording of "Give Peace a Chance". For anyone interested in the era, or
intrigued by the excerpt's in Andrew Solt's film, worth looking for.
The John Lennon Video Collection (1992) -- it has yet to be released in the
US on tape either. However, the tape was released in Canada and Japan, so
import copies in NTSC are available.
Give Peace a Chance - Bed In Footage.
Cold Turkey - John and Yoko's original promo
Instant Karma - John Live on "Top of the Pops"
Power To the People - John and Yoko at a Peace March, edited with
recent News footage a la "Get Back"
Happy Xmas / War Is Over - The Harlem Community Choir, 1992 version
with still photos of the billboard campaign.
Mind Games - Miscellaneous John and Yoko footage.
Whatever Gets You Through the Night - Animated versions of John's drawings
Number 9 Dream - More Stock Footage of J & Y
Stand By Me
Slippin' and a Slidin' - Both from the 1971 "Old Grey Whistle Test" show.
Imagine - Excerpt from J & Y's Imagine film.
(Just Like) Starting Over - New Clip
Woman, Nobody Told Me, I'm Steppin' Out, Borrowed Time, Grow Old With Me
-- The original posthumous clips Yoko produced to promote "Milk and Honey"
and "Double Fantasy" in the early 80's.
Jealous Guy - The clip as released to promote Andrew Solt's
"Imagine: John Lennon"
Imagine (Live) - From the 1975 special, "A Salute to Sir Lew Grade"
Watching the Wheels is played over the closing credits. Between the
video clips, short quotes from various Lennon interviews (mainly John
describing the song about to be seen), and other video goodies are sprinkled
throughout the tape.
John & Yoko: A Love Story -- Mark McGann and Kim Miyori recreate the life and
times of John and Yoko. About the only way to describe this production is
"adequate." You never really get the feeling that the actor is re-creating
Lennon, and the actors cast as the other three Beatles are very below par.
Particularly annoying is the fact that the soundtrack (which featured actual
Lennon / Beatles material when the film was aired on NBC) has been replaced
by a cheezy Lennon (sort of) sound-alike. Thankfully, this has been superceded
as the "official Lennon video biography" by Andrew Solt's documentary.
The Concert for BanglaDesh -- Recently reissued in true stereo, this tape
contains the complete film as released to theatres. The footage used were
highlights from the two shows, as personally chosen by George. A very nice
look at this precursor to "Live Aid", and a portion of the proceeds from the
sales of this tape still go to help the starving in Africa.
A Rockabilly Session: Carly Perkins and Friends -- George, Ringo and many
others were a big part of this special celebrating the life and times of
one of rock's pioneers. Unlike Paul's Buddy Holly tribute, Perkins' career
is celebrated by playing his music. Essential for both Perkins and Harrison
fans, because this special really marked George's return to public life after
several years spent gardening and nurturing a film company.
Handmade Films -- George's production company, which has produced many films,
some with direct involvement from Mr. Harrison. Two films particularly worth
seeking out are; "Water" (starring Michael Caine) which includes a concert
sequence with George, Ringo, Eric Clapton and Others; and "Shanghai Surprise"
(starring Madonna and Sean Penn), which includes some otherwise unreleased
music from George.
Misc -- The Second Annual Prince's Concert features George and Ringo, and
is definitely worth looking for. The Wonderful film "Time Bandits" features
a different version of the George Harrison song "Dream Away" then the one
which appears on "Gone Troppo". "Wonderwall" features a George Harrison
soundtrack, but is a very poor film. Save your money, and buy the CD.
The Magic Christian -- A 1969 film, with a cameo by John and Yoko, and a theme
song ("Come and Get It", performed by Badfinger) by Paul McCartney. Despite
the presence of members of the Goon Show (Ringo's co-star is Peter Sellers),
and members of Monty Python, the story is only moderately funny. Starr plays
an orphan adopted by Sir Guy Grand, the world's richest man (played by Sellers)
and they proceed to spend the rest of the film showing that money does indeed
make the world go 'round. Produced by Dennis O'Dell, and directed by Joseph
200 Motels -- A 1971 film where Ringo plays the dual roles of Larry the Dwarf,
and Frank Zappa (!). The film has no real plot, and was very much an exercise
in acid and self-indulgence (in that order) on the part of Frank Zappa. Written
by Zappa, directed by Tony Palmer, and co-produced by Jerry Good and Herb Cohen
Out of print, but has previously been released by several companies, and easily
rented from most better video stores.
Son of Dracula -- A 1974 rock / horror film starring Ringo's pal Harry Nillson.
Ringo appears as Merlin the Magician. The film disappeared from theatres quite
quickly. The video release was not by a major company (but was legitimate).
However, the run was rather limited and the tape is long out of print. Good
luck in finding a copy.
That'll Be the Day -- Arguably, Ringo's finest acting performance. He appears
with David Essex and Keith Moon in this story of a young man's induction into
the world of Rock and Roll in the late 1950's. It is worth noting that the
sequel featured the young man's band making it big, and was loosely based upon
Beatlemania. However, Starr does not appear in that film.
Caveman -- A bit of slapstick from our man Ringo. Probably the only film
which sustains a story using only a handful of real words. Amusing, but
not overtly funny. Notable for being the place where Ringo met his current
wife, Barbara Bach. Rent it if you want a no-brainer, and all the "Three
Stooges" films are out.
The Point (1986) -- A cute fable written, produced, and directed by Ringo's
pal Harry Nillson. The story involves a round-headed child who is banished
from his home (the land of "Point") because he does not have a point on his
head. Ringo plays much the same role here that Peter Falk did in "The
Princess Bride"; storyteller to an obstinate child. Be sure to check the tape
before you purchase it. A second video of the same story, (produced by a
different company) narrated by Alan Thicke is also available on video.
Ringo Starr and the All-Starr Band (1990) -- The concert film of Ringo's
first tour with the All-Starr band in 1989. The show filmed was at the
Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, and Zak Starkey (member of the second RASB)
makes a special appearance as "guest drummer". The entire performance is
not presented, but much more is here then the box indicates. (The box copied
the song list from the severely truncated CD of the tour) Available on both
videodisc, and tape.
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends (several tapes) -- Ringo has gained many
young fans as the jovial "Mr. Conductor" on the PBS program Shining Time
Station. An integral part of that program was Ringo reading stories about
a train named Thomas, and Thomas' magical world. These stories, complete with
"live-action animation" (stop motion photography), and Ringo's narration have
been released on a series of videotapes (5 tapes, 8-10 stories per tape).
Misc -- Elbert's Bad Word -- A part of Shelly Duvall's "Bedtime Stories"
series. Much like the Thomas series, the tape consists of Ringo
narrating a story. High production values, and worth seeing,
particularly if you have children about.
Curly Sue, King Ralph -- Neither of these are worth owning for the
films themselves. However, Ringo did record an otherwise unreleased
song (played over the closing credits) for "CS", and he plays drums
for Little Richard on a new version of "Good Golly, Miss Molly"
recorded for "KR"
My personal video wish list
Probably first on my wish list is a compilation of the promo films taken from
the masters. Although they may appear throughout the "Long and Winding Road"
video series, a single tape consisting of just the promos would be my biggest
wish for the moment. A fairly comprehensive tape was released in Japan under
the name "The Private Reel"
An astonishing fact found in Lewisohn's _Chronology_ is that the boys filmed
*ten* promos [3 "We Can Work It Out", 3 "Day Tripper", 1 "Help", 1 "Ticket to
Ride", and 2 "I Feel Fine"] on the evening of Tuesday, November 23, 1965.
A summary of the Beatles promo films:
Promos the Beatles were involved in:
You Can't Do That: An outtake from the concert segment of "A Hard Day's
Night". First shown on the Ed Sullivan show, with a
brief interview of the fabs by Sullivan.
I Feel Fine : Two promos
1) John, Paul, and George wearing turtlenecks, while
Ringo rides an exercise bicycle.
2) Clips of the Beatles backstage and in dressing rooms.
(A third promo, consisting of the Beatles on the set of #1, eating newspaper
wrapped fish and chips was produced, but never distributed.)
Help! : Two promos
1) The Beatles "performance" seen at the beginning of the
movie (minus Clang and his darts)
2) The Beatles sitting on a sawhorse. John, Paul and
George hold instruments, while Ringo holds an umbrella
to shield them from "snow" (actually confetti)
Ticket to Ride : The Beatles in turtleneck sweaters, and overcoats. Ringo
stands behind, obviously disinterested in miming his drum
part. Train ticket blowup used as backdrop
Day Tripper : Four promos
1) The Beatles wearing Shea stadium jackets and turtlenecks
Train and plane facades used as backdrop, Ringo saws
out part of the train set.
2) From "The Music of Lennon and McCartney". The Beatles
dressed in suits and ties, miming on the backdrop of a
3,4) These two are very similar. The differences are mainly
in Ringo's actions at the beginning and end of the
clips. The four are dressed in suits and ties, and in
the standard three guitar / drums positions.
We Can Work it Out: Four Promos
1) From "The Music of Lennon and McCartney". Turtleneck
sweaters and jackets. John plays organ, and spends much
of the clip giving the camera sideways glances.
2) The Beatles in Shea jackets, and John spends much of the
clip openly laughing and grinning at the camera.
3) The Beatles in suits and ties. John spends much of the
clip doing nothing unusual.
4) Similar to #3, but the clip begins with a still of John
with a sunflower over his eye.
Paperback Writer: Three Promos
1) All four Beatles wearing colored "granny glasses".
John, Paul - colorful shirts, George - jacket,
Ringo - coat and tie.
2) John - sunglasses. (the others are not wearing
glasses), Paul - coat and tie, George - white shirt
and vest. Both are clips of the Beatles sitting in
and around a studio set.
3) The Beatles walking around trees and statues at
Rain: Three promos
1) John - sunglasses. Same clothes as PW #1, but
John and Paul are wearing jackets.
2) same clothes as PW #2
3) Cheswick House, but inside the walled garden and
conservatory, rather then in the statue garden.
(a special introduction was filmed for Ed Sullivan, with Ringo introducing
both PW#1, and Rain#1)
SFF: The same clip was issued in both color and B & W. The
most common of their promos, excerpted in "The Complete
Beatles". Mainly the Beatles playing in a tree, and with
an old piano.
Penny Lane: The same clip was issued in both color and B & W. Scenes
of Penny Lane in Liverpool, the Beatles riding white horses,
and being served tea.
A Day in the Life: Surreal clip, consists of the Beatles and friends in the
studio filming the song. Most of this clip was seen in
"Imagine: John Lennon", but new footage was edited in for
the clip's appearance there.
Hello Goodbye: Three Promos
1) Pepper costumes, with occasional shots of them in their
colarless suits. (The moustaches looking quite out of
place) Hula girls appear at the end.
2) Similar to #1, but Beatles in regular clothes.
3) Bits culled from #1 and #2, with new footage of
the Beatles dancing to the tune. (John does the twist)
Lady Madonna: The Beatles in the studio. The footage used is actually
them recording "Hey Bulldog"
Hey Jude: Two Promos
Both involve the Beatles singing live over the record, and
being joined by a crowd for the "na na na's". Slightly
different shots in the two promos.
Revolution: Two versions. Basic performance clip. The Beatles
actually recorded a new version of the song for this clip.
(once again, the difference between the two versions is
in shots and camera angles)
Get Back: The second rooftop performance of "Get Back".
Don't Let Me Down: Taken from the rooftop performance footage.
The Ballad of John and Yoko: Mainly miscellaneous footage of John and
Yoko, their wedding, and honeymoon cut to the music.
Something: Footage of the Beatles and their wives walking around John's
Ascot house, and George's home in Esher.
Let It Be: Fairly different from the version in the film, with many
different angles, and much more footage of John, George, and
Two Of Us: Taken directly from "Let It Be"
EMI created videos:
Back in the USSR: Created in Japan, consists mostly of plane shots, and
Beatles airport arrivals / departures.
The Beatles Movie Medley: Excerpts from the Beatles films, and the
"Our World" footage of "All You Need is Love"
Love Me Do: Two slightly different videos, from the library of Ron
Please Please Me: Mostly the 1964 Washington DC footage, but with inserts
over the main video. The audio is the standard studio
I Want to Hold Your Hand: Much the same format as the "Love Me Do", and
"Please Please Me" clips.
As mentioned, "videos" were also created for many of the songs in "A Hard
Days Night", and "Help!" These are not detailed, as they consist only of
butchered footage from the two features.
Second is an assortment of projects which would work quite nicely on video.
Since most, if not all of these projects were aired on television, there are
copies floating around Beatles video trading circles:
The Early Beatles -- (1982) A special put together by Granada television,
covering the years 1962 to 1965. While ideally, *all* the various
performances the Beatles made for British television will make their way
to video, this (or perhaps an extended version of this special) would be
a much more realistic expectation. Included is the complete "Some Other Guy"
footage, the complete taping from November 25, 1963 ("I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"This Boy" + interview footage with comedian Ken Dodd), and the complete
"We Can Work It Out" promo (from "The Music of Lennon and McCartney). Also
included is miscellaneous other interview footage, and more excerpts from
the Maysalls "What's Happening in the USA" film.
"Concerts" tape -- Several Beatles concerts were filmed in their entirety.
The ones which have been commonly distributed are: Washington (1964), Shea
Stadium (1965), and Tokyo (two shows - 1966). Highlights from these four
shows, along with clips from some of the less well known pro-shot concerts
[eg: France (1965), Germany (1966)] would make a nice retrospective of the
touring years, and the subsequent effect Beatlemania had on the Fabs.
It Was 20 Years Ago Today... -- Produced by ATV, and aired in the US on
"PBS", and "The Discovery Channel". This special uses Sgt. Pepper as a
launching point for a fairly in-depth examination of the year 1967, and
the forces that served to shape that year. Paul, George, and Ringo were
interviewed at length, and Derek Taylor was an executive producer of the
special, as well as being author of the companion book.
The Making of Sgt. Pepper (1992) -- A special produced to commemorate the
25th anniversary of what is often described as "The Beatles masterpiece".
Covers every aspect of the making of the album, including George Martin
playing never before heard demos, and discussing musical details in-depth.
A bit weak when discussing the social aspects of the era (particularly the
neutered Disney Channel version), but this is by far the best look at how
the Beatles created music together.
John Lennon: One to One -- The afternoon performance of this series of
two concerts is available on "Live in NYC". While a release of the evening
concert (which was aired as a special on American TV) might be a bit redundant,
it would still be much appreciated. The performance is better (Elephant's
Memory guitarist Wayne Gabriel describes it as "hotter"), the presence of short
interviews, and the more interesting camera work would make for a better
Candy -- Ringo's 1968 acting debut apart from the Beatles. Ringo plays a
Mexican gardener, and had his hair dyed black for the part. The film follows
the book, and is very sexual in nature (so, it would probably do quite well
on video). The director was Christian Marquand, and the producer was Robert
Princess Daisy -- A decidedly lackluster TV miniseries that starred Mr. and
Mrs. Starkey. While by no means essential, it would be a good release for
those who want to document all of Ringo's major acting roles.
Ringo (aka "The Ognir Rrats Show") -- George and Ringo worked together on this
1978 television special. A loose re-telling of the classic "The Prince and the
Pauper" (as George says at the end of the program "Who Do you Think I am? Mark
Twain?") with Ringo playing a show-bizzy version of himself, and a "nerd"
version of himself named Ognir Rrats (Ringo Starr spelled backwards). The
supporting cast included such luminaries as John Ritter, Art Carney, Angie
Dickinson, and Carrie Fisher.
James Paul McCartney (1973) -- An hourlong special aired on television
both in the US, and in England. Features concert pieces, comedy sequences,
a family singalong in Liverpool (including some nice footage of Paul and
James McCartney, Sr.), and an elaborate song and dance routine. It is
interesting to note that that routine ("Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance") was
originally to feature Paul in drag, but was changed after complaints from
the American sponsors.
The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1974) -- A Behind-the-scenes look at the
recording of the "Venus and Mars" LP. Directed by David Litchfield, and
filmed in Abbey Road studios (not Nashville, as previous reports indicated),
this tape contains Macca and Wings working on 15 different songs (including
the heretofore unreleased "Suicide") with some studio chat between songs. For
me, the best moment is Paul calling out the chords to "Bluebird" while the sax
player works on the solo. The special exists, complete with opening and
closing credits, yet remains unreleased. The only logical reason the special
may have been relegated to the vaults is that drummer Geoff Briton (prominent
on the tape) left Wings before "Venus and Mars" was released.
The Bruce McMouse Show -- A special Paul had in the works during his 1973
tour. The idea was to have footage of Paul and Wings from said tour joined
with a secondary plot involving a cartoon mouse family (Bruce, Yvonne, Soily,
Swooney and Swat) living on the tour bus. It is unknown how much of the
animation was completed, but extensive filming (excerpted in "The Paul
McCartney special) of the band during that tour exists in the vault, and could
probably be released.
Wings Over the World -- This television special also covered McCartney's
1976 world tour. But, unlike "Rockshow" this special covers the entire
tour, and you get a sense of what it's like for the band to be shuffled
from place to place, only what touring is like for them.
Paul McCartney: Coming Home -- A Disney Channel special covering Paul in
Rio, and his triumphant return home to Liverpool. Better concert sequences
then in "Get Back", and a very emotional performance of the "Lennon medley".
Oratorio Documentary -- An hourlong documentary covering Liverpool, and Paul
McCartney's (and Carl Davis') preparations for the world premiere of the
"Liverpool Oratorio". Aired as part of the "Great Performances" package,
but not part of the Oratorio videotape. If the rights could be worked
out, this combined with the "Coming Home" footage would make an excellent
The Paul McCartney Video Collection (2 tapes) -- Paul has produced an enormous
number of videos (approx. 50) for virtually every project since the breakup
of the Beatles. Most of these (specifically the pre-"Coming Up" clips) have
been sitting in the vaults, collecting dust. A two-tape collection,
particularly if Paul were to film new introductions for the clips would be
a godsend for Macca fans everywhere.
The George Harrison Video Collection -- While not making a vast number of
promo films / videos (though certainly more then John) George has easily
made enough to fill up a single tape. With only a little work, and perhaps
some linking bits featuring George with his Monty Python pals, the results
would be very interesting indeed.
"48 Hours with Paul McCartney" (90 minute version) -- Produced by Dan
Rather for the CBS news / information series. A very nice "behind-the-scenes"
look from the first US leg of McCartney's 1989-90 world tour. Included is
an interesting interview with the McCartneys, a look at the tour crew and
what was involved in preparing the stage, and a humorous look at ticket
scalping ("McCartney's crowd is just too damn OLD!") The only weak
segment is a look at Chicago fan Joy Waugh, and her preparations for the
show, and subsequent attempts to meet Macca. CBS does sell old episodes
of "48 Hours" on video tape, but it is unknown whether this is available
from them or not.
"Unplugged" -- Paul McCartney appeared on this MTV production after the
end of his 1989-1990 world tour. The resulting album sold in quite
respectable numbers. A special, particularly one containing the entire
program filmed that evening would be very much appreciated.
The Birth of the Beatles -- Not a terribly deep film, but worth a video run
for the production quality (filmed on location throughout England, Germany,
and other places), and because Pete Best was the "historical advisor". (Which,
incidentally, he didn't do a very good job with.) Reasonably good viewing,
but suffers from the tv-movie problem of condensing weeks of real time into a
single evening, and changing the order of events for dramatic reasons.
Saturday Night Live -- Not counting the Rutles appearances, there are three
episodes of the NBC late night comedy show that would appeal to Beatlefans.
The first is George Harrison's appearance as the "Special Musical Guest" when
Paul Simon hosted the show. In addition to the musical performance by the
two, George's "Crackerbox Palace" promo was shown. The second is a 1980
show where Paul made a special appearance with Father Guido Sarducci. In
addition to a very funny interview between the two, Macca's "Coming Up" promo
is shown. The third, and final SNL with strong Beatle ties is the show from
the early-80's, with Ringo Starr hosting the program.
And then, finally, I would like to see the Beatles cartoons released on video.
The entire run could fit on ten "kid-priced" ($9.99 or less) tapes.
Other then personal opinion, and my very own Beatles video library, I did
use some printed resources. These include:
Beatlefan Magazine (1980 - present)
The Beatles Monthly Book
Good Day Sunshine
_The Beatles A-Z_
_The Beatles: The Ultimate Recording Guide_
_The Complete Beatles Chronology_
The latter is particularly recommended for a detailed look at the
Beatles' television appearances, and film projects.
Something in the way she moves, attracts me like a pomegranate.
-- George Harrison