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The Beatles ‘Eight Days A Week’ documentary coming to DVD in November

On November 18, the new documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years directed by Ron Howard will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray, plus a 2-Disc special edition.

UMe Polygram Entertainment The Beatles Eight Days A Week

Photo: Polygram Entertainment and Capitol/UMe.

The film was released last week in theaters for a one-day to one-week run which varied across different cities. After the film, the 30-minute Shea Stadium concert film from 1965 was also shown. This footage from the concert is not listed as being included on the DVD.

As a Beatles fan and journalist who saw the film in theaters, the title ‘The Touring Years’ seemed a bit misleading to me. Instead of focusing mostly on the shows that The Beatles performed, the film provided an overall look at their career during the years they were touring and spent lots of time on The Beatles’ efforts in the recording studio.

While there is not much new information offered in the documentary, the high points of the film are the rare photographs and video clips that were included to illustrate the story of The Beatles’ touring years. For example, in February 1964 during an interview in Washington DC, John tells a reporter his name is “Eric.” The uninformed reporter believes him and introduces Lennon convincingly on camera as “Eric” so that John has to enlighten him and tell him it was just a joke.

Another rare clip is an interview with The Beatles in Sweden circa 1963/64 where George is standing behind John who is seated. George keeps flicking ashes from his cigarette on the top of John’s head and John doesn’t necessarily notice.

There are also insightful interview clips from Paul and Ringo in the present day, as well as other celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg and Elvis Costello.

Another highlight is an interview with Dr. Kitty Oliver, an African-American journalist and author who went to The Beatles’ concert in Jacksonville, Florida as a teenager. The Beatles refused to play to a segregated audience at the Gator Bowl. They had it written into their contract, so the venue agreed to integrate the crowd.

“Here was a band I loved and music I was such a fan of, that seeing The Beatles overrode the idea of walking in to this all-white environment that I had never been in,” Oliver recalls.

Historians believe that this strong stand that The Beatles took in Jacksonville in September 1964 led to an end of segregation in most of the big stadiums in the South. – Trina Yannicos

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Below is a description of content included on the DVD release as stated in the official press release:

Featuring a wealth of specially created supplementary material totaling 100 minutes of extras, the deluxe home entertainment editions contain exclusively-created featurettes for fans to delve even deeper into the band’s world.  Accompanying these are stunning, fully restored full length performances of some of the band’s most iconic tracks including “Twist and Shout” and “She Loves You” recorded at the ABC Theatre, Manchester in 1963 and “Can’t Buy Me Love” at the NME Awards, 1964, in London, bringing the experience of seeing The Beatles in concert fully to life for all fans. A full breakdown follows:

2-disc Special Collector’s Edition (DVD and Blu-Ray) includes:
1 x DVD/Blu-Ray feature disc
+ 1 Bonus Disc (containing 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 unseen.

Early Clues To A New Direction (18 mins)
A special feature touching on The Beatles as a collective, the importance of humor, 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 features are:

  • 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

 

Pre-order: Deluxe Collector’s Edition (2-DVD)

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Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, director Ron Howard attend 10th anniversary of The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas

On July 14, 2016, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and many more celebrities gathered in Las Vegas to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Beatles LOVE show by Cirque du Soleil. The audio and visual experience of the show has been revamped and enhanced to give the production a fresh look.

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Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Joe Walsh, Marjorie Bach; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

Giles Martin, who serves as audio producer of the show, said that 10 years ago, “we used a lot of cutting-edge technologies to put The Beatles music into a 2,000-seat space, 7,000 speakers in the room. But the technology now has moved on so much and the actual sound bit of the show we can improve.”
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The updated version of LOVE, which features a cast of 70 performers, includes advanced projection technology, new acrobatic acts, a remixed soundtrack with a new song (“Twist and Shout”), colorful costumes, brand new speakers and state-of-the-art video panels featuring The Beatles’ images.

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Paul and Ringo with the cast of The Beatles LOVE; July 14, 2016; Photo by MJ Kim

This is the fourth time in 10 years that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have publicly attended the show together. The first time was when the show opened in 2006, the second time was for the 1st anniversary in 2007, the third time was for the 5th anniversary in 2011, and now in 2016 for the 10th anniversary. Sadly, two members of the Beatles’ family who attended past celebrations have since passed away: George Martin and Cynthia Lennon. (see photos from the LOVE premiere in 2006)

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Paul McCartney and wife, Nancy; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

Also in attendance was Ron Howard, director of the upcoming documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, and he shared some insights on the making of his film which opens in September. He said he has interviewed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr twice for the movie which documents The Beatles’ years on the road.

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Yoko Ono; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

“It’s kind of an adventure/survival story in a way,” Ron Howard explained in an exclusive interview on the red carpet. “I really wanted to take the audience inside the experience a little bit. It’s not something that’s just ‘here’s where they went’, it’s how and why things worked the way they did. I hope the added value of letting audiences understand really how intense the pressures were from the outside while they were going through all of this AND continuing to grow as artists in this remarkable way.”
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Giles Martin (left) and director Ron Howard at The Beatles LOVE 10th anniversary celebration; July 14, 2016; Photo by Trina Yannicos

 

When asked if he has always been a Beatles fan, Howard remarked:
“Always a fan, not encyclopedic, not a fanatic. So in a way I’m sort of speaking for that group of people who kind of thinks they know the story, and now I can turn to that crowd, maybe the millennials in particular, and say you know the music, you know the name The Beatles, and you know they were big, but you just have no idea really what the story was and the intensity of that journey – what it meant to culture and what it meant for these guys to live through it.”

Paul and Ringo posted their own photo together on Instagram celebrating the LOVE show’s 10th anniversary:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BH30Qc7AWEX/?taken-by=paulmccartney
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Historical Beatle gems hidden among vast display at GRAMMY Museum’s new fab exhibit

by Trina Yannicos
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Originally launched in 2014 in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first visit to the U.S., the “Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles!” exhibit has finally made its way to the West Coast. The GRAMMY Museum, which curated the exhibit along with the avid memorabilia collectors of Fab Four Exhibits, opened the exhibit in Los Angeles on July 1, and it will be on display through September 5, 2016.

The exhibit focuses on the years 1964 to 1966 and The Beatles’ influence on America. Along with countless big and small memorabilia items are interactive displays, audio interviews, concert video clips and a short film shown in the Clive Davis Theater featuring musicians, including Ringo Starr, Graham Nash, Petula Clark and Ozzy Osbourne, talking about the impact of The Beatles.

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The big ticket items in this exhibit include Ringo’s Abbey Road jacket, Paul McCartney’s Shea Stadium jacket, Ringo’s black suit from A Hard Day’s Night, and the Beatles’ drumhead which was given to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London in April 1964 when wax figures of The Beatles were made.
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While we’ve come to expect most rock and roll exhibits to display original instruments and clothing used by the musicians, it’s the little things that make this exhibit shine and showcase its sincerity and authenticity. For example, an original program from the Beatles’ Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12, 1964 lists Paul McCartney’s name incorrectly as “John McCartney.”

Another unique item is the official proclamation when The City of New Orleans declared “Beatles Day in New Orleans” on September 16, 1964, which coincided with The Beatles’ concert there that same day. All four Beatles signed the proclamation.
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The exhibit also includes memorabilia from The Beatles’ early days in Liverpool and Hamburg. A personal letter written by George Harrison in 1962 when The Beatles were in Hamburg showcases the wit and humor of the “quiet” Beatle:
“Thank you for the. We are all still very in Hamburg as the. I started a letter to you on Thursday but it seemed to get a bit ‘you know’, so I have decided to write another.”

Other items of note include the first pair of “granny” glasses that John Lennon ever wore and a lock of John Lennon’s hair given to a fan at a concert in August 1963. John Lennon signed his autograph: “Love from ‘Bald’ John Lennon.”

The exhibit also features a large display of Beatles merchandising products including Beatles coloring books, coin purses and more from 1964 in their original packaging.
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There is much to see at this exhibit. Reserve at least two hours to take it all in. And, on your way out, make sure to get your photo while crossing Abbey Road in London with the help of a virtual scenic backdrop – luckily this photo op doesn’t require dodging the traffic!
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New Beatles statue in Liverpool

It’s hard to believe that there has never been a traditional permanent statue of The Beatles erected – until now! The new statue of The Fab Four was unveiled on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Liverpool’s Pier Head.

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The bronze statue depicting all four Beatles in suits, topcoats and Beatle boots, circa 1963 reminiscent of their Live at the BBC album cover photo, was unveiled by John Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and Liverpool Deputy Mayor Ann O’Byrne. According to The Liverpool Echo, the statue weighs approximately 1.3 tons and was sculpted by artist Andrew Edwards.

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The faces look extremely lifelike and the statues are a few feet taller than the real thing, causing most people to reach only the shoulder height of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr for photo purposes. John and Paul are placed slightly ahead of George and Ringo as they appear to be walking down the street together. The statue was presented to the city by the Merseybeat venue the Beatles helped to make famous, The Cavern Club.

The statue unveiling marks 50 years since The Beatles final show in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre on December 5, 1965. Sculptor Andy Edwards told the BBC that he hopes his statue will become “a place of ritual” for people to come together.

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“The statue stands in loving memory of the best band in the world – the band that leapt from The Cavern stage to worldwide recognition,” Julia Baird said.

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Update: In 2018, Paul McCartney visited The Beatles statues with James Corden.

PaulMcCartney with his Liverpool statue

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Ringo Starr ‘Photograph’ live slideshow in Los Angeles and book review

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Ringo Starr in Los Angeles, Sept 25, 2015; Photo credit: Daytrippin.com

The new Photograph book by Ringo Starr includes Ringo’s personal photos mixed with handwritten letters and memorabilia from his own collection. Ringo attributes the majority of the items shown in the book up to 1964 thanks to his mother who was diligent at saving everything.

The book spans Starr’s lifetime from his early childhood, including time spent in the hospital, his teenage years playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, all the way through to his solo career playing with the first All-Starr band. The Beatles’ years feature unique photos of Ringo’s bandmates that only another “Beatle” could capture.

Ringo Starr Photograph bookThe 304-page book has a dust jacket with a hole cut out on the front to reveal a photo of Ringo (the first “selfie”) on the actual hardcover of the book. This is the third incarnation of the book which was released as a limited edition book by Genesis Publications in 2013 along with a multimedia-filled e-book.
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On September 25, 2015, Ringo joined Conan O’Brien in a live slideshow event at the El Rey Theatre to discuss Photograph. O’Brien, a self-professed Beatles fan, was the perfect choice to interview Starr trading one-liners with him throughout the conversation.

Conan and Ringo sat on the corner of the stage facing each other with a huge screen in the background. Laughter set the tone of the evening. Conan started off by saying: “I think I’m here to book you an airline flight, Ringo. Would you like an aisle seat?”

As the slideshow began, the audience reacted fondly to early photos of Ringo with his mother, including one when he was 7 years old in the hospital with tuberculosis. Ringo shared stories of what his early childhood was like as pictures of him with one of his first drum kits was shown.

When Conan pointed out the streak of gray on the right side of Ringo’s hair noticeable in some early pictures, Ringo revealed that he had alopecia at age 18. He said the doctors told him it would either eventually cover his whole head or it would go away altogether. Luckily for Ringo, the gray went away by the time he was a Beatle.

Ringo Starr and Conan O'Brien

Ringo Starr and Conan O’Brien in conversation at the El Rey Theatre, Sept 25, 2015; Photo credit: Daytrippin.com

In one photo on page 62 of the book, Ringo, pictured with his mother, Elsie, and stepdad, Harry, is showing off his shoes which happen to be Birkenstocks.

“I was ahead of my time,” Ringo responded.
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Ringo described how The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, called him on a Wednesday in 1962 asking him to join the Beatles and play a gig with them that night. However, Ringo had already committed to a gig with Rory Storm at Butlins Camp so Ringo explained that he’d join the band on Saturday.

“I’ll join the Beatles, but on my schedule,” Conan joked.

On page 82 is a photo of Ringo with George Harrison and Paul McCartney before he had joined The Beatles. A girl on the right side is staring at Paul. “The best part of this photo for me,” Ringo observed, “is the chick looking at Paul… She’s like, ‘I’m ready.'”

Pointing out his picture of John Lennon sitting in a hotel room, Ringo said, “What the hell is he doing… nobody can do this!” Ringo and Conan both remarked how Lennon’s leg was extremely flexible to sit up so high on his lap. “Cirque du Soleil was calling,” Ringo quipped.

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Moving through The Beatles’ years, there was a shot of Ringo and Peter Sellers, who The Beatles were big fans of. In 1969, Ringo starred with Sellers in the film, ‘The Magic Christian.’ Ringo revealed that in addition to money, Sellers gave him his house as payment for being in the film.

“What?” Conan exclaimed. “That’s fantastic, you had a great agent,” he continued. “I’m calling my agent tomorrow and firing him.”

During the hour-long conversation, Ringo stated his hopes for a future project. Since all four of The Beatles had their own cameras during Beatlemania, Ringo hopes that a second photo book can be done in collaboration with the photos of John, Paul and George. “Then I’ll be in more of the photos,” Ringo concluded.

Ringo Starr’s Photograph is available on Amazon.com
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