The Beatles released their “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in 1967 almost a year after their last tour of live performances. Oscar winning director, Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) focuses his documentary on “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, The Touring Years.”
The title of the film lacks creativity. Nonetheless it primes the reasons to see the film.
“The Beatles”: They’re the top selling musical artists of all time. John, Paul, George, and Ringo got the baby boomer generation rockin’ and shrieking and transforming. Archival clips show them performing and navigating through unrelenting media spotlight. Snippets recall the films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” Interviews with all four include the bonus of hearing from Paul and Ringo more than four decades later. (Of other people interviewed, Whoopi Goldberg’s remembrance is especially telling.)
“Eight Days a Week”: Sure, put into the film title one of about 300 songs they recorded (about 230 written by one or more of them while they were The Beatles). This particular song is one of oh so many love songs (and #1 hits). This metaphor, well represented in the film, gives some idea how hard they worked before they became famous, how prolific and jam packed they were in fewer than 10 years.
“The Touring Years”: From places near where the Liverpool lads lived to places like Hamburg, Germany, where these working-class blokes honed their musicianship, to the world tours that turned up the volume and growth in so many ways, The Beatles played for tens of people in nightclubs and tens of thousands in stadiums.
The Beatles developed during the roiling decade of the 60s that included assassinations, nuclear bomb testing, the Vietnam War, and Civil Rights firestorms. They admitted to being wrapped up in themselves and wrapped up in a crazy phenomenon. They developed as both point and counterpoint of the 60s. They resonate across generations.
Sure, take yet another look at The Beatles. It’s a can’t-miss mash of vitality, chemistry and insight, including their substance, arc, and legacy. It’s fun-plus history.