There are interviews somewhere, can’t find them just now, where members of the greatest pop band in the world are asked about their futures. Can’t imagine we’ll be doing this in a few years, is the reply, John and Paul will ultimately turn to writing songs for musicals, Ringo wants a hairdressing salon. This from the early 1960s.
Who would know that here we are, sixty years later, and the Beatles are as popular as ever? Their cds sell, so does vinyl, and they are hugely popular downloads. There are more books about the Beatle years than any other artists. Two of them are dead, but the other two, in their eighties, are still performing. Indeed, McCartney did a tour just this year. They are not the same as they were, but who is.
The 1960s were not like now. Anything a famous person does now in public, or even in private, is recorded. Everyone, virtually, has cameras on the phones or whatever. It may not be interesting or of value, but it’s there. In the 1960s, recording was less easy.
There are clips of The Beatles in concert. There are interviews. The quality can be good, or not. So much of what The Beatles did is lost forever.
The Fab Four made some feature films. “Yellow Submarine” is an animation based on their songs. The guys don’t do the voices and appear just briefly at the end for some fun. “Let It Be” is a documentary about rehearsals for a concert. It has been re-visited recently and is a cause of much discussion among fans.
“Help!” is a kind of sixties James Bond type spoof. There are some big stars in it and it’s fun enough, but not great.
And then there is “A Hard Day’s Night”.
This black and white film from 1964 is directed by Richard Lester. Although it’s fiction and the lads are acting, it kind of reflects the lives they were leaving at the time. Of course, we know it’s fiction – Wilfred Bramble is not really Paul McCartney’s grandfather.
The Beatles play The Beatles. The film records a few days in their hectic lives, preparing for a tv concert.
It’s funny, and captures the lads’ genuine warmth towards each other and their natural humour. And the songs are great.
It was re-released to the cinema not long ago and did good business.
If you weren’t alive in this era, see it. Well, see it anyway.