The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years
Image copyright: Washington DC, 1964, Copyright Apple Corps.

Reporter: “What place do you think this story of The Beatles is going to have in the history of Western culture?”

Paul McCartney: “You must be kidding with that question…it’s not culture, it’s a good laugh!”

The Beatles are undoubtedly the most successful group in music history. These four lads from Liverpool – John, Paul, George and Ringo – are estimated to have sold around 600 million albums worldwide since their formation in 1960. They continued to dominate the charts in the UK and overseas, until they split in 1970.

Eight Days A Week brings us the story of The Beatles during their touring years of 1962 until 1966. Directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code), this documentary provides a mixture of interviews, footage, photos and recordings of The Beatles, as they worked their way from small venues in the north of England, to becoming four of the most recognisable faces of the 1960s. Along this journey, we see how their manager Brian Epstein created their image, the recording process of the Fab Four, and the changes in their musical style as we move through the 1960s.

A milestone in the music industry came when The Beatles played to a crowd of almost 56,000 fans in August 1965, at the Shea Stadium in New York. No other artist had attempted to play to this capacity, and their music was spread around the stadium via the tannoy system. Footage of this and other concerts can be seen in the documentary, including the overwhelming reaction of the band as they are faced with the screams of their audience. It is interesting to note that two future Beatle wives were in the audience at Shea Stadium; Linda Eastman (wife of Paul) and Barbara Bach (wife of Ringo).

Interviews with the two remaining Beatles, Paul and Ringo, and former interviews with John and George are in short supply. Eight Days A Week is mostly images and footage, with voiceovers in place. Those hoping to learn about the childhoods, marriages or personal lives of the Fab Four will be disappointed. Additionally, there is no mention of the breakup of The Beatles in this documentary; its entire focus is almost all on the touring years. However, there is plenty of behind the scenes footage of the band and those around them during the early 60s, as we hear how being a Beatle came with both ups and downs. We also see the relationship the Fab Four had with each other during this period of great success.

Any hardcore Beatle fans will not learn anything new from this documentary, but it is still a fascinating glimpse into the early years of a band who have certainly left their mark on Western culture.

The Beatles: Eight Day A Week is on DVD, Blu-ray and Two Disc Special Edition from 21st November. Pre-order now.